2:00PM Water Cooler 2/21/2023 | bare capitalism

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Chook Music of the Day

I considered jackdaws due to Konrad Lorenz’s great King Solomon’s Ring, which I learn once I was fairly younger (and unaware of Lorenz’s views on “social decline”).

Daurian Jackdaw, Bei Zha Forest Reserve Nangqian Qinghai, Qinghai, China. “Rain.” Loads occurring right here, together with different birds and a barking canine. The clopping sound jogs my memory a horse’s hooves, however now I believe it’s simply raindrops beating on… What? The mike?

* * *


“However what’s authorities itself, however the biggest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“Right here’s meals for thought, had Ahab time to suppose; however Ahab by no means thinks; he solely feels, feels, feels.” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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

Biden Administration

“U.S. alerted Russia to Biden’s Ukraine go to for “deconfliction functions,” White Home says” [CBS]. • So I assume the air raid sirens have been a part of the picture op? It could appear so:

And talking of picture ops:

In the meantime, Dad’s pupils are the scale of dinner plates due to what they juiced him up with. Therefore the sun shades. So father and son share a bond.

* * *

Why is the Surgeon Normal of america utilizing his public workplace to shill for a non-public firm?

Properly, cash, after all. So I assume I don’t imply “why.” I imply “how?”


“Buttigieg unveils freight rail reforms in wake of East Palestine derailment” [The Hill]. • Nothing about Precision Scheduled Railroading. Or empowering unions. I’m shocked.

Republican Funhouse

“Unique: McCarthy provides Tucker Carlson entry to trove of Jan. 6 riot tape” [Axios]. “Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox Information’ Tucker Carlson unique entry to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources inform me. Carlson TV producers have been on Capitol Hill final week to start digging by way of the trove, which incorporates a number of digicam angles from throughout Capitol grounds. Excerpts will start airing within the coming weeks. Carlson has repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6 [the idea!!!] , downplaying the rebellion as ‘vandalism.’” Was anyone truly charged with insurrection, a Federal crime? Did I not get the memo? Extra: “Now his reveals — ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ on Fox Information, and “Tucker Carlson In the present day” and “Tucker Carlson Originals” on the streaming service Fox Nation — have a large trove of uncooked materials. Carlson instructed me: ‘[T]right here was by no means any respectable cause for this footage to stay secret.’ ‘If there was ever a query that’s within the public’s curiosity to know, it’s what truly occurred on January 6. . It’s unimaginable for me to grasp why any trustworthy particular person could be bothered by that.” • There’s no “by definition.” Digital proof shouldn’t be proof. Here’s a chart on the 1/6 expenses:

I don’t see “rebellion.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

Affected person readers, plainly individuals are truly studying the back-dated submit! However I’ve not up to date it, and there are lots of updates. So I should do this. –lambert

I’ve moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Occasion (“the Democrat Occasion is a rotting corpse that may’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I’ll periodically add materials, summarizing the addition right here in a “stay” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It seems that defining the Democrat Occasion is, in actual fact, a tough drawback. I do suppose the paragraph that follows is on level all the way in which again to 2016, if not earlier than:

The Democrat Occasion is the political expression of the category energy of PMC, their base (lucidly defined by Thomas Frank in Hear, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Occasion didn’t exist, the PMC must invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” after all.) Second, all of the working components of the Occasion reinforce one another. Depart apart characterizing the relationships between components of the Occasion (ka-ching, however not completely) these components comprise a community — a Flex Web? An iron octagon? — of funders, distributors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with property within the press and the intelligence neighborhood.

Notice, after all, that the category energy of the PMC each expresses and is proscribed by different lessons; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial mannequin’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to thoughts. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

“Sanders targets drug corporations over COVID-19 vaccine worth hikes, excessive prescription prices” [CBS]. • Most cancers surgeon goes into the bandaid enterprise. It’s pathetic.

“Blueing Kansas” [The American Conservative]. “The left believes that mass voter registration campaigns enhance election turnout and that top turnout results in Democratic victories. The trick is getting hundreds of thousands of disengaged eligible voters on the voter rolls in key states, a feat requiring a military of activists and an ocean of cash. The left has each. The highest 24 leftist voter registration nonprofits spent an estimated $434 million in 2020 alone, a lot of which got here from foundations of ‘progressive’ mega donors sharing the final title ‘basis.’… However that’s simply the tip of the iceberg. The left excels at working within the shadows, using refined speaking factors and mobilization methods to deceive voters into believing these causes are grassroots. The reality is that it’s the identical drained, cynical politics Individuals are sick to demise of.” • I believe these guys have the NGOs confused with the left. Are they actually that dumb?


Appears like “leveling off to a excessive plateau” throughout the board. (I nonetheless suppose “One thing Terrible” is coming, nonetheless. I imply, moreover what we already find out about.) Keep secure on the market!

• Readers, because the nationwide knowledge techniques in america are being vandalized, let’s begin amassing hyperlinks to state knowledge, too. If readers would ship me hyperlinks (see Plant beneath) to their favourite State and native dashboards/wastewater websites, that will be nice. Canadians, too! Or go away a hyperlink in Feedback.

Sources, United States (Nationwide): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, however nationwide knowledge).

Sources, United States (Native): CA (dashboard); CO (wastewater); CT (dashboard); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); SC (dashboard); TX (dashboard); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater).

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

Hat tricks to useful readers: Art_DogCT, CanCyn, ChiGal, Gumbo, hop2it, JB, Joe, John, JM (2), JW, Michael King, LaRuse, mrsyk, otisyves, Petal (5), RK, nRL, RM, Rod. (Readers, I’m not placing your deal with subsequent to your contribution as a result of I hope and count on the listing will likely be lengthy, and I need it to be simple to scan. (In case you go away your hyperlink in feedback, I take advantage of your deal with. In case you ship it to me through electronic mail, I take advantage of your initials (within the absence of a deal with.)

• Extra like this, please! Whole: 1 6 11 18 20/50 (40%). Can anybody discover RI? Additionally, we should always listing states that shouldn’t have Covid sources, so others don’t look fruitlessly. Thanks!

* * *

Search for the Helpers

I ought to do that extra typically:

Though I do advocate for sprays, and present them to folks.

* * *

“Covid Meetups” [COVID MEETUPS (JM)]. “A free service to seek out people, households and native companies/companies who take COVID precautions in your space.” • I performed round with it some. It appears to be Fb-driven, sadly, however you need to use the Directory with out logging in. I get rational hits from the U.S., however not from London, UK, FWIW.

Covid Is Airborne

Many individuals appear to have actual issues grokking the concept of a number of layers of safety:

Perhaps this one factor doesn’t must be — can’t be — the entire reply? The place does this mentality come from? (Any New Englander is aware of you layer up within the winter, and never all days demand the identical quantity or sort of layers. However certainly precept is normal?)

Far UV unboxing:


That’s a protracted wait and some huge cash.


Variant soup:


“Lengthy COVID charges fall by half nationwide, New England charges amongst lowest” [Connecticut Public Radio]. “The variety of folks reporting lengthy COVID signs fell by roughly half from final summer season to 1 in 10, in keeping with new knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s (CDC) Family Pulse Survey, analyzed by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)…. Researchers couldn’t pinpoint whether or not lengthy COVID charges have been definitively linked to the variant, vaccination and boosters or fewer exterior pandemic pressures – social isolation and loneliness. Venkatesh theorized that it’s more than likely a mixture… ‘It’s optimistic findings that the odds are lowering,’ [Dr. Ulysses Wu, an infectious disease expert at Hartford Hospital] mentioned. ‘However we nonetheless wish to stop folks from getting COVID. And the easiest way to assist together with your lengthy COVID is to not get COVID to start with.’ Wu expects lengthy COVID charges to extend if COVID charges begin to climb.”

“Lengthy Covid Is a Incapacity. Right here’s Easy methods to Ask for Office Lodging.” [Wall Street Journal]. “Many individuals with lengthy Covid are legally entitled to lodging at work to assist them do their jobs. Nonetheless, some are discovering it onerous to ask for assist…. [T]he onus is often on staff to make the case for assist. However coming clear on the restrictions posed by lengthy Covid is tough for a lot of…. In 2021, the federal authorities clarified that lengthy Covid could be considered a disability below the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lengthy-Covid signs and severity can range enormously. Folks with lengthy Covid ceaselessly expertise extraordinary ranges of fatigue, which might be worsened by exertion, cognitive impairment, nervous-system dysfunction, in addition to vascular, respiratory and immune-system points. Between 7.7 million and 23 million Individuals have lengthy Covid, in keeping with a November report by the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies. In circumstances the place the situations restrict no less than one main life exercise, the mandatory lodging is likely to be short-term or everlasting, relying on every employee’s case.”

Elite Malfeasance

What an act of civic vandalism:

It appears that evidently elites don’t actually wish to return to the Nineties:

Extra just like the 1490s.

* * *

Case Knowledge

BioBot wastewater data from February 21:

For now, I’m going to make use of this nationwide wastewater knowledge as one of the best proxy for case knowledge (ignoring the medical case knowledge portion of this chart, which for my part “goes dangerous” after March 2022, for causes as but unexplained). A minimum of we will spot tendencies, and evaluate present ranges to equal previous ranges.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, revealed February 21:

-0.5%. Nonetheless on the excessive plateau, equal to earlier peaks.


Loss of life charge (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,142,704 – 1,142,595 = 109 (109 * 365 = 39,785 deaths per 12 months, at this time’s YouGenicist™ quantity for “dwelling with” Covid (fairly a bit greater than the minimizers would love, although they’ll speak themselves into something. If the YouGenicist™ metric retains chugging alongside like this, I may must resolve that is what the powers-that-be contemplate “mission completed” for this specific tranche of demise and illness). Properly, the overall wasn’t 192 once more. Not that I really feel higher about it.

It’s good that for deaths I’ve a easy, each day chart that simply retains chugging alongside, not like all the pieces else CDC and the White Home are screwing up or letting go darkish, good job. (Although CDC could also be jiggering the numbers quickly. Decrease, naturally.)

Lambert right here: Lowest degree in awhile. Though we’ve seen this earlier than.

• I confess I’ve not mastered the surplus deaths statistics. Then once more, the chart above begins at zero. And it’s not at zero now, is it? Take Germany for instance:

And so:

Properly, maybe not the inhabitants degree. Some are fairly happy, making good cash, constructing their bunker, and so on.

• And mortality charges. Take the UK for instance:

Stats Watch

There aren’t any official statistics of curiosity at this time.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Chatbots set off subsequent misinformation nightmare” [Axios]. “New generative AI instruments like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s BingGPT and Google’s Bard which have stoked a tech-industry frenzy are additionally able to releasing an unlimited flood of on-line misinformation.” You say that prefer it’s a foul factor. Extra: “Generative AI applications like ChatGPT don’t have a transparent sense of the boundary between reality and fiction. They’re additionally inclined to creating issues up as they attempt to fulfill human customers’ inquiries…. At Microsoft, person suggestions is taken into account a key part to creating ChatGPT work higher…. ‘The problem for an finish person is that they could not know which reply is right, and which one is totally inaccurate,’ Chirag Shah, a professor on the Data College on the College of Washington, instructed Axios.” • If certainly there may be one right reply. Many of the essential questions in life should not answerable (What is love? What’s consciousness? Why will we sleep? Why will we die?).

Tech: Syntax vs. semantics:

* * *

In the present day’s Worry & Greed Index: 64 Greed (earlier shut: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week in the past: 72 (Greed). (0 is Excessive Worry; 100 is Excessive Greed). Final up to date Feb 21 at 12:36 PM ET.

Feral Hog Watch

I simply bought Neal Stephenson’s newest doorstop of a e-book, Termination Shock, as a result of within the first few passages the Queen of the Netherlands, who’s piloting her non-public aircraft, is diverted from Houston to Waco as a result of the air is a too scorching, and crashes right into a sounder of feral hogs who’re crossing the ACT runway as she’s touchdown. I rejected the choice, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry of The Future, even when it does point out MMT, as a result of once I opened it and skim a couple of random paragraphs, the central bankers have been good guys doing the correct factor. I’ve an enormous pile of books to overview, and Stephenson’s is considered one of them. Perhaps he regained his Snow Crash contact?

The Gallery

Little cubes besides in wallpaper, in 1902:

Cloisonnism, however not in Tahiti.


“Third affected person freed from HIV after receiving virus-resistant cells” [Nature]. “A 53-year-old man in Germany has turn into no less than the third particular person with HIV to be declared cleared of the virus after a process that changed his bone marrow cells with HIV-resistant stem cells from a donor. For years, antiretroviral remedy (ART) has been given to folks with HIV with the intention of reducing the virus to virtually undetectable ranges and stopping it from being transmitted to different folks. However the immune system retains the virus locked up in reservoirs within the physique, and if a person stops taking ART the virus can start replicating and spreading. A real remedy would eradicate this reservoir, and that is what appears to have occurred for the most recent affected person, whose title has not been launched. The person, who’s being known as the ‘Düsseldorf affected person’, stopped taking ART in 2018 and has remained HIV-free since. The stem-cell method concerned was first used to deal with Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the Berlin affected person. In 2007, he had a bone marrow transplant, wherein these cells have been destroyed and changed with stem cells from a wholesome donor, to deal with acute myeloid leukaemia. The crew treating Brown chosen a donor with a genetic mutation referred to as CCR5Δ32/Δ32, which prevents the CCR5 cell-surface protein from being expressed on the cell floor. HIV makes use of that protein to enter immune cells, so the mutation makes the cells successfully proof against the virus. After the process, Brown was capable of cease taking ART and remained HIV-free till his demise in 2020. In 2019, researchers revealed that the identical process appeared to have cured the London affected person, Adam Castillejo. And, in 2022, scientists introduced that they thought a New York affected person who had remained HIV-free for 14 months may also be cured, though researchers cautioned that it was too early to make certain.” • Bone marrow transplants aren’t for everybody….

Our Famously Free Press

“The Supreme Court docket may change the legal responsibility sport for web companies. Right here’s how” [Yahoo Finance]. “A 1996 legislation that’s credited and criticized for legally immunizing interactive web sites — like YouTube (GOOG) (GOOGL), Fb, Instagram (META), and Twitter — that average, and chorus from moderating, posts made by third events, is about to face a problem earlier than the U.S. Supreme Court docket. The underside line: the case, relying on the end result, may overhaul the dangers of recommending on-line social content material. On Tuesday, the excessive courtroom is scheduled to listen to arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, which questions conflicting appellate courtroom interpretations of Part 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The legislation, typically cited as containing the ’26 phrases that created the web,’ supported fast proliferation of interactive web sites by shielding them from obligation for harms third get together content material might trigger. In Gonzalez, relations and the property of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen killed in a December 2015 ISIS capturing at Paris’ La Belle Equipe bistro, argue that Google must be held no less than partially accountable for her demise. That’s as a result of, they allege, the corporate’s YouTube service knowingly permitted and really useful, through algorithms, inflammatory ISIS-created movies that allegedly performed a key position in recruiting the attackers.” • I believe outlawing suggestion algorithms could be swell. Then my timeline could be solely from accounts I subscribe to, in reverse chronological order, like God meant (and the way it was within the blogosphere). By some means, nonetheless, I doubt that the Court docket will come to such a rational choice when there are such a lot of different alternatives to make new legislation.

Class Warfare

“LABOR ACTION TRACKER 2022” [ILR Worker Institute]. “We now have created a complete database of strikes throughout america as a result of official knowledge sources solely report a small fraction of this exercise. Since funding cuts by the Reagan administration within the early-Nineteen Eighties, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) excludes work stoppages of lower than 1,000 staff from its database. As this report demonstrates, solely recording very massive work stoppages excludes the overwhelming majority of strike exercise and leaves practitioners, policymakers, and students misinformed in regards to the true degree of office battle. Strikes stay an essential supply of labor activism and, no less than compared to 2021, have elevated in salience. On this report, we observe the lead of the BLS and doc work stoppages, which embrace each strikes and lockouts.” • Handy, interactive map:

“The reply to the East Palestine catastrophe: Railroad staff’ management over security and dealing situations” [WSWS]. “Railroaders have been warning in regards to the situations that resulted within the derailment for years. They embrace the affect of Precision Scheduled Railroading and comparable attendance schemes, limitless cost-cutting by the railroads, a large discount within the measurement of the nationwide workforce, and a rest of inspection and upkeep. These have made the trains ticking time bombs. All of us knew that one thing like this was certain to occur. The truth is, it occurs every single day, the place on common there are three derailments in america…. The catastrophe is a direct consequence of Congress’ ban on our putting. The situations on the railroads have been decaying for years. We wished to struggle for higher and safer situations, ample staffing and upkeep. However the authorities determined that the revenue pursuits of the railroads are extra sacred than our democratic proper to strike and even the correct of the general public to a secure and wholesome setting.” • Actually odd that that Lever Information and a refrain of liberals instantly targeted on technical options….

“America’s afternoon afterthought” [Vox]. After-school care. “A national survey of providers carried out by Edge Analysis on the finish of 2021 discovered half of respondents have been ‘extraordinarily involved’ about hiring workers and staffing shortages. One other national survey led in the summertime of 2022 by the EdWeek Analysis Heart discovered comparable outcomes: Recruiting and retaining workers have been by far the highest challenges faculty principals and after-school leaders reported. Many say throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and hasn’t returned.” • Perhaps the “pool” “evaporated” as a result of the employees died. Or obtained lengthy Covid. Or determined that they didn’t wish to work in an setting saturated with deadly pathogens. Or — one hopes — went on to make more cash at higher jobs (unhappy to say. Hey, possibly we may use jail labor. Or ex-military. Perhaps cops who obtained fired?

From The Black Swan, apparently:

I don’t suppose Marx sees class as pushed by psychological components, and that on the society degree, so-called “luck” is a perform of 1’s class place — i.e., the sources one has to acknowledge and make the most of luck — looks as if an unexceptionable proposition. Nevertheless, this quote does throw a sidelight on catastrophe capitalism.

“Suppose Ambitiously on Behalf of the Poor” [Peste]. “Once I completed medical faculty, I made a decision I wished to dedicate myself to supporting the poor in my nation. I selected to remain in Sierra Leone, and I’m grateful that I did, as a result of in 2014, I used to be capable of work carefully with Dr. Paul Farmer throughout the Ebola outbreak. And all through our time working collectively, I discovered a lot from him. I partnered with PIH as a result of I believed of their mission: to supply a preferential possibility for the poor in well being care. We spent years slowly rising our work and offering extra entry to look after the poorest folks in Kono. Paul taught me early in our relationship to suppose ambitiously on behalf of the poor folks I used to be serving. …. Paul as soon as instructed me that not being bold means not contemplating the poor. He provides that should you ask the poor and weak about what sort of healthcare they need, they may all say they need one of the best well being care attainable for anybody on this planet. It’s the identical I might need for my household. Due to this fact, prime quality healthcare must be obtainable for all on this planet, no matter the place you reside or how a lot cash you may have.”

Information of the Wired

“Easy methods to Begin Your Weblog in 2023” [Yury Molodtsov]. ” Having your individual platform allows flexibility and portability, so your content material might be stored on-line virtually eternally. There are lots of choices on the market, starting from WordPress and Ghost to static blogs to managed on-line platforms and Micro.weblog. How do you select between them?” • For some, the blogosphere by no means went away. Perhaps it would revive once more?

“DYEP? (Do You Even Philosophy?” [SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE]. Seneca, Ethical Epistle 15.2-3: “The thoughts is sick with out philosophy. The physique too, even when it possesses nice power, stays no totally different from the power of a person in rage or insanity. So, look after the well being of the primary particularly, after which the second, which is not going to be onerous for you, if you wish to be properly.”

* * *

Contact data for crops: Readers, be happy to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) learn the way to ship me a test if you’re allergic to PayPal and (b) to learn the way to ship me pictures of crops. Greens are tremendous! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary crops! In order for you your deal with to seem as a credit score, please place it firstly of your mail in parentheses: (thus). In any other case, I’ll anonymize through the use of your initials. See the earlier Water Cooler (with plant) here. From ChiGal:

ChiGal writes: “Yay, snow drops!” Life is skittles, and life is beer…

Including, I hope this hasn’t occurred to any readers:

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not lined by the annual NC fundraiser. So should you see a hyperlink you particularly like, or an merchandise you wouldn’t see wherever else, please don’t hesitate to specific your appreciation in tangible kind. Keep in mind, a tip jar is for tipping! Common optimistic suggestions each makes me really feel good and lets me know I’m heading in the right direction with protection. Once I get no donations for 5 or ten days I get nervous. Extra tangibly, a relentless trickle of donations helps me with bills, and I consider that trickle when setting fundraising objectives:

Right here is the display that can seem, which I’ve helpfully annotated:

In case you hate PayPal, you possibly can electronic mail me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I provides you with instructions on how one can ship a test. Thanks!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *