By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Bird Song of the Day
American Woodcock week at Naked Capitalism. Note: “In flight, then calling from the ground.”
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson
“Biden menu of options to lower gasoline prices is not appetizing” [The Hill]. “Publicly, White House officials have said all options are on the table. They have not detailed all of them, but they include a gasoline tax holiday or gas cards that would provide rebates to consumers; possible relaxation of the Jones Act, a law requiring domestic cargo to be carried on American-made tankers using union labor; and lifting of sanctions on oil-producing nations. Privately, officials say all these options are politically complicated and few of them may actually lower gas prices much, according to two sources familiar with the administration’s thinking. ‘They are perusing the menu and can’t find anything they want to eat,’ said Stephen Brown, a veteran oil lobbyist who consults energy companies.”
“Biden Doubles Down On Defending DeVos’ For-Profit College Giveaway” [The Lever]. “During the Trump years, one of the most consequential of DeVos’s many gifts to the for-profit college industry was the repeal of an Obama-era rule that required schools that wanted to participate in federal student loan programs to prove that their graduates could find good enough jobs to pay off their student debt…. Ahead of a hearing in the case next month, the Biden administration argued in a recent brief that reverting to the Obama rule would be “disruptive” to the Education Department, students, and vocational programs…. Instead of reinstating the Obama rule, which had gone through a lengthy rulemaking process and survived multiple legal challenges, the Biden Education Department has pushed to leave the DeVos repeal in place while crafting an entirely new rule. That rulemaking process has been slow, so a new rule wouldn’t come into effect until July 2023 at the earliest, and more likely not until the following year.”
“Court remains silent on Thomas’ condition after he entered the hospital last week” [SCOTUSblog]. “Five days after Justice Clarence Thomas was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., with “flu-like symptoms,” the Supreme Court is providing no updates on his condition. For the third consecutive day, the 73-year-old justice was not on the bench when the justices heard oral argument…. The court announced on Sunday evening that Thomas had been hospitalized on Friday night and had been diagnosed with ‘an infection’ for which he was receiving intravenous antibiotics. Thomas was ‘resting comfortably,’ the court’s public information office indicated, and ‘expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two.’ However, by Wednesday evening, there was no indication that Thomas had in fact been released. The dearth of information about Thomas’ condition is not unusual.”
“Hunter Biden Laptop Scandal Is the Ultimate American Information Operation” [Newsweek]. “Why did The New York Times feel compelled to admit it only now, after reporters for mainstream publications like the aforementioned Politico had confirmed the authenticity of much of the laptop’s contents months back? Is it simply because the case against Hunter Biden, billed as a tax matter, but which the Times reports has evolved into one centering on money laundering and potential Foreign Agents Registration Acts charges, is built so heavily on the substance of the laptop, making it impossible to report on the case while outright ignoring it? Or is there something bigger at play concerning the president, and his troubled son?”
“Reality bytes: Hunter Biden’s laptop repairman harassed, nearly bankrupt” [New York Post]. “When [Mac Isaac] applied for unemployment in December 2020, Isaac ran into complications with government officials. ‘I would open up a case, wouldn’t hear anything, then open another case, then open another case and then I was told to stop opening up cases. And they would keep closing these cases,’ he said. As bills piled up, Mac Isaac dipped into his 401K, but the checks never came. In December 2021, the computer man sent a pointed letter to Delaware Sen. Chris Coons. ‘I would hate to think that I was singled out in a politically motivated attack. If a state agency was weaponized to punish a perceived political enemy, the country has a right to know,’ he warned the Democratic colleague of Joe Biden. The unemployment cash came swiftly after that, though Mac Isaac insists he still ended up getting short-changed by several thousand dollars.” • Hmm.
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
“Cory Booker Aside, Democrats Stranded Ketanji Brown Jackson” [Dahlia Lithwick, Slate]. “Chairman Dick Durbin’s inability to control some of the most shocking bullying and abuse from Cruz, Graham, Tom Cotton, and Hawley left observers speechless. At some point, you need to just start gaveling. But there was also a pervasive sense of Democratic senators’ almost chilling unwillingness to go to the mat for their nominee, who was being savaged by Cotton, who called her “not credible,” and Graham, who berated her with the claim that he was sparing her from being bullied like Justice Amy Coney Barrett.” • Stoller comments:
The problem isn't that Democrats didn't defend KBJ, it's that they have no actual philosophy of justice. The right was taking issue with her judgment, and the Democrats couldn't defend her because they don't have a reason for pushing judges beyond the fact that they are fancy. https://t.co/UvhhLQvFjW
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 24, 2022
“Democrats Are Making Life Too Easy for Republicans” [Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times]. “The historical pattern of midterm contests suggests that a rejection of the party in power is the customary order of business. But the consequences of a Republican takeover of the House or of both branches of Congress are unlikely to be routine. What we can be sure of is that the Democrats can’t go on forever with this much of a gulf between what the majority of progressive party activists think the party should stand for and what the majority of Americans think it should.” • Edsall empties his Rolodex.
“Column: Is Trump losing his mojo? Several of his candidates are struggling in primaries” [Los Angeles Times]. “A January survey by NBC News found that more than half — 56% — of Republicans interviewed described themselves as more supportive of the GOP than Trump personally, while 36% saw themselves as more supportive of Trump than the Republican Party. That’s a near-total reversal from 2020, when 54% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they considered themselves more supportive of Trump than the party and 38% were more supportive of the GOP than Trump. In a separate measure, a Quinnipiac Poll last month showed, by a 52%-36% margin, Republicans sided with Mike Pence over Trump on the question of whether the former vice president could have overturned the 2020 presidential election, as Trump urged.”
“Trump withdraws endorsement of ‘woke’ Mo Brooks” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump has pulled his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks in this year’s Alabama Senate primary, slamming the Republican as ‘woke’ and disloyal to him for doubting his claims about the 2020 presidential election. ‘When I endorsed Mo Brooks, he took a 44-point lead and was unstoppable. He then hired a new campaign staff who ‘brilliantly’ convinced him to ‘stop talking about the 2020 Election,” Trump said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning. ‘Very sad but, since he decided to go in another direction, so have I, and I am hereby withdrawing my Endorsement of Mo Brooks for the Senate. I don’t think the great people of Alabama will disagree with me. Election Fraud must be captured and stopped, or we won’t have a Country anymore.'”
“Trump Is Guilty of ‘Numerous’ Felonies, Prosecutor Who Resigned Says” [New York Times]. “Mr. Pomerantz, 70, a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who came out of retirement to work on the Trump investigation, resigned on the same day as Carey R. Dunne, another senior prosecutor leading the inquiry….. Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne planned to charge Mr. Trump with falsifying business records, specifically his annual financial statements — a felony in New York State.” • Doesn’t sound very exciting. Moreover, the values Trump is said to have inflated are “golf clubs, hotels and office buildings.” Real estate. Good luck valuing it…..
Our Famously Free Press
“The puzzling pandemic pundit problem” [Politico]. “A now-familiar cast of pandemic pundits has spent the past two years on our television screens and social media feeds, guiding us on how to navigate Covid. We look to them for impartial, science-backed answers about what’s safe and what isn’t during a pandemic that has killed nearly 1 million Americans. One of these pundits, Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, is joining the Biden administration in April as the White House Covid-19 response coordinator. His elevation has raised questions among some of his fellow public health experts about how these pandemic pundits straddle the line between neutral expert and official government representative, Walid F. Gellad, a health policy professor at the University of Pittsburgh, told Nightly…. ‘Everybody has looked to Ashish as the calm wisdom about what we should be doing. OK, but do they also know that he’s getting memos from the administration about what their plans are? Now he’s going to work for the administration,’ he said in an interview. ‘When you push certain points of view in the media and on TV, that’s obviously going to influence what the public feels. There are deep divisions in society about what the administration has done, and so it matters greatly what independent public experts say about it.’ When Gellad says ‘memos,’ he’s referring to a list of people, including public health experts, who regularly receive updates and announcements from the White House communications team. This list, which includes Jha, was confirmed by a White House official, who also said Jha never coordinated his statements with the Biden administration.” • Just like the generals and intelligence officials on CNN….
Could the Los Angeles Times social media team actually be worse than the New York Times media team?
More from Columnist @GustavoArellano:
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tapped into the vein of anti-Blackness latent in all Latinos.
This type of resentment politics is toxic — and Villanueva offered far too many personal examples.https://t.co/NDaVmY901C
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 24, 2022
“[T]he vein of anti-Blackness latent in all Latinos.” Really?
Realignment and Legitimacy
“A High-Speed Scientific Hive Mind Emerged from the COVID Pandemic” [Scientific American]. “Rapid and unorthodox channels of communication also could not solve all the problems scientists encountered. We took too long to recognize the importance of airborne transmission of the virus. We spent early 2020 washing our groceries but not wearing masks. Most critically, we have been largely unsuccessful at anticipating and managing the human element of the pandemic. By not accounting for ways that behavior would change in response to information—and misinformation—we have struggled to predict the size and timing of successive disease waves and virus variants. A collective failure to stop misinformation from spreading on social and traditional media platforms has left large segments of the population unvaccinated, vulnerable and unwilling to embrace measures such as masks and social distancing.” • One wonders what other purposes such a “hive mind” could serve.
“Billionaire-Backed Group Enlists Trump-Supporting Citizens to Hunt for Voter Fraud Using Discredited Techniques” [Pro Publica]. “Calling its work unprecedented, the Voter Reference Foundation is analyzing state voter rolls in search of discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters credited by the rolls as having participated in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The foundation, led by a former Trump campaign official and founded less than a year ago, has dismissed objections from election officials that its methodology is flawed and its actions may be illegal, ProPublica found. But with its inquiries and insinuations, VoteRef, as it is known, has added to the volume in the echo chamber. Its instrument is the voter rolls, released line by line, for all to see…. ProPublica contacted election officials in a dozen of the states where VoteRef has examined voter rolls, and in every case the officials said that the methodology used to identify the discrepancies was flawed, the data incomplete or the math wrong. The officials, a mix of Democrats and Republicans, were in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin…. VoteRef, records show, is an initiative of the conservative nonprofit group Restoration Action and its related political action committee, both led by Doug Truax, an Illinois insurance broker and podcaster who ran unsuccessfully in the state’s GOP primary for the U.S. Senate in 2014. A ProPublica review found that VoteRef’s origins and funders are closely linked to a super PAC predominantly funded by billionaire Richard Uihlein, founder of the mammoth Wisconsin-based packaging supply company Uline. A descendant of one of the founders of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, Uihlein is a major Trump supporter and a key player in Wisconsin and Illinois politics.” • VoterRef assumes that voter rolls are static, not dynamic….
Case count by United States regions:
Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count is now leveling out. At a level that, a year ago, was considered a crisis, but we’re “over” Covid now, so I suppose not. I have added a Fauci Line.
The official narrative is “Covid is Over.” In the fall, the official narrative was “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher). That narrative was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?
NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.
The MRWA is divided into two sections, North and South. North is rising, South is falling. The rise has visibly affected this chart, which aggregates them. The aggregate of the enormous Omicron spike conceals change, but change there is. Of course, it’s a very small rise. Maybe this time the movie will end differently.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.
From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Every so often I think of doing away with this chart. Then something like Colorado or Nevada happens. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)
The previous release:
NOT UPDATED, the CDC site is once again hosed. Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission from yesterday:
Continuing slow improvement, assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered.
Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
I don’t like the sudden effloresence of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)
Death rate (Our World in Data):
999,792. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. Fortunately, the numbers are headed downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.
Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 28 thousand to 187 thousand in the week ended March 19th, from a revised 215 thousand in the previous period and compared with market expectations of 212 thousand. It was the lowest level for initial claims since September 6, 1969, as demand for workers is much higher than supply and employees try to hold on to their workers. ”
Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured durable goods fell 2.2 percent month-over-month in February of 2022, the most since April of 2020, following a 1.6 percent gain in January and surpassing market expectations of a 0.5 percent decline.”
Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production Index rose to 46 in March of 2022, the highest on record, Increased activity was driven by growth in printing and paper, plastics, electrical equipment, furniture and related product manufacturing, and especially transportation equipment. On the other hand, the pace of growth for food and machinery manufacturing declined. Indexes for production, shipments, new orders, backlog of orders, and supplier delivery time increased at a faster rate in March. However, the pace of growth for number of employees and new orders for exports moved down.”
Retail: “How Upselling Is Saving Restaurants” [Grub Street]. “If it seems like restaurants all over the city are adding luxury-ingredient supplements to their menus, that’s because they are. They run the gamut, from a $20 “bump” of caviar beside a martini to the classic $75-plus shaving of seasonal white truffles. Wagyu is the lavish-beef signifier of choice — be it for burgers, tartare, or straight-up steaks — and you’d be hard-pressed to find a bowl of spaghetti that can’t be topped, for a price, with a few precious lobes of orange urchin. At a certain tier of New York restaurants, once rare luxuries have become everyday ingredients, as much because of their pedigree as their ability to consistently improve restaurants’ bottom lines at a time when operators are working every available angle to remain profitable. Luxury goods are, by definition, inessential and difficult to obtain. As a result, luxury means expensive. …. When done right, supplements can be a mutually beneficial model: A customer has a good experience, a restaurant has more cash to pay the bills, and the front of house stands to benefit as well: ‘It allows the service staff to wow the guest,’ says the former server. “Bringing the truffle to the table and making it rain, people love that.” And then there’s the more obvious upside: “Anytime you raise the cost of the bill, you’re most likely going to make more in tips.'”
The Bezzle: “Bored Ape’s New ApeCoin Puts NFTs’ Power Problem on Display” [Bloomberg]. “Bored Apes are already the third-most valuable collection of NFTs, with $1.5 billion in all-time sales, according to blockchain data tracker CryptoSlam. They also unlocked early access to a new digital currency — ApeCoin. ApeCoin launched Thursday in a type of release known as an “airdrop,” in which certain groups of crypto holders automatically receive tokens as a reward. In this case, 1 billion ApeCoins dropped, with owners of Bored Ape NFTs in line to receive some of the haul. The coin grants holders influence over another crypto-native entity known as a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. The idea was to give the Bored Ape community a hand in shaping the decentralized, blockchain-powered vision of the internet that venture capitalists often describe as web3. The Bored Ape DAO will use the blockchain to enable and record votes on decisions related to how the community is managed. Together, though, the ApeCoin and DAO have provided yet more grist for some of the harshest criticisms about venture capitalists’ influence and power in this evolving space. Typically, the more tokens a participant has in a DAO, the more say they have over the group’s governance. And venture capital investors that helped with the launch, including Andreessen Horowitz and Animoca Brands, were some of the biggest recipients of ApeCoins.”
Tech: “Lessons From 19 Years in the Metaverse” (interview) [The Atlantic]. “[Wagner James Au] is, in short, one of the few people with a real historical perspective on, and lived experience in, metaverse communities. Since Facebook rebranded as Meta, the idea of the metaverse has been consumed by a kind of ahistorical hype cycle.” And: “Warzel: When the idea of an immersive virtual internet is bandied about, people tend to make huge assumptions. What did you learn walking the Second Life beat as a reporter? Au: Two big things. First, if you give a user community powerful enough creator tools, what they create in these worlds will be far more interesting than anything a major company can officially create. In terms of the culture of a metaverse environment and the community’s experiences in a place like Second Life, that’s remained true since 2003. Second, I’ve learned that, as humans, we take all of the big challenges of real life and the complex social structures of the physical world and they get re-created in weird ways in a digital, social space. Racism, for example, is an enduring issue and an interesting one in these worlds. There are very basic questions: If you can change your avatar to anything at all, what race would you choose? And are there any rules governing representation? Then there are issues of discrimination and harassment. In Second Life these issues create ongoing controversy, and Meta will have to deal with it in whatever they’re building. Racism doesn’t go away, no matter the avatars people choose. People talk a lot about how these worlds allow you to be freer than in the physical world but there’s a flipside where people can sometimes be worse in these spaces because people feel freer to be assholes. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing necessarily—these are simply just challenges that exist in these virtual worlds.” • Hmm.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 43 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 23 at 1:27pm. Not sure what’s in Mr. Market’s mind, here. Settling in for the long haul in Ukraine? Weapons stocks?
“Harvesting the Blood of America’s Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism” [Mint Press]. “Teenager blood is in high demand in, of all places, Silicon Valley, where anti-aging technologies are the latest trend. One company, Ambrosia, charges $8,000 per treatment to aging tech executives, infusing them with the blood of the young, turning these individuals into bloodsuckers in more ways than one. Despite the fact that there is no clinical evidence that the practice has any beneficial effects, business is booming. One committed customer is PayPal co-founder turned Trump surrogate Peter Thiel, who is reportedly spending vast sums of money on funding anti-aging startups. Thiel claims that we have been conned by “the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual” and believes that his own immortality may be just around the corner, a notion that has deeply concerned academics and commentators alike.” • From 2019, still germane.
“Bessemer Alabama Amazon Workers Continue Struggle to Unionize” [Black Agenda Report]. “The second Bessemer Alabama Amazon workers and Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) labor board union vote will be counted starting on March 28th. It comes as a result of the National Labor Relations Board ruling that Amazon’s anti-union actions in the 2021 union campaign, was in violation of laws in the National Labor Relations Act…. Self-organized rank-n-file committees in Amazon warehouses and delivery centers, organizing groups like Amazonians United and some labor union interests in organizing in Amazon, became more visible, as the breath of national solidarity for Bessemer began to show itself. The Queens and Staten Island New York Amazon workers’ independent union initiatives and the Starbucks union campaigns are part of this growing and expanding rank-n-file social movement. They are engaging in concerted actions, fighting around issues and winning improvements in working conditions. A recent first multistate walkout took place involving night shift Amazon workers in two delivery stations in New York and one in Maryland, demanding a $3-dollar an hour wage increase. Several estimates of high Bessemer Amazon worker turnover since the 2021 union vote, indicate that nearly half of the 6000 workers eligible to participate in this 2022 union vote, are new employees. This makes a mainly union card signing and mobilizing for labor board votes organizing approach more difficult, especially when it is a single workplace campaign and against a behemoth corporation like Amazon, the 2nd largest corporation in the US with 1.1 million employees.”
“Subsidized By Taxpayers, Stealing From Workers” [Boondoggle]. “The U.S. Department of Labor earlier this month found that Seaboard Triumph Foods, a pork processor in Sioux City, Iowa, illegally stole wages from workers by not paying them for work done before and after their official shifts, including time for “set up, clean up and knife sharpening.” Seaboard was ordered to pay more than $331,000 in back pay to the affected workers…. But in the case of Seaboard Triumph Foods, the issue is compounded by the fact that taxpayers were subsidizing the company, meaning the public put money into one of Seaboard’s hands as it was stealing from workers with the other…. Seaboard received a few tax break packages from the Iowa Economic Development Agency (IEDA) for this particular plant, including one last year for more than $6 million, and received local subsidies too, taking its total to somewhere between $20 million and $30 million. (And an executive vice president for Seaboard admitted that the incentives weren’t what drove the location decision for the plant, but be that as it may. The IEDA said it won’t try to recoup any of that money following the wage theft case, saying its not an enforcement or regulatory agency.”
News of the Wired
Harrison Salisbury (!) interviews Hunter S. Thompson:
The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production Index rose to 46 in March of 2022, the highest on record, Increased activity was driven by growth in printing and paper, plastics, electrical equipment, furniture and related product manufacturing, and especially transportation equipment. On the other hand, the pace of growth for food and machinery manufacturing declined. Indexes for production, shipments, new orders, backlog of orders, and supplier delivery time increased at a faster rate in March. However, the pace of growth for number of employees and new orders for exports moved down.
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Via Angie Neer:
Angie Neer writes: “This tree gave its life for trail maintenance, as a youngster of 35 rings. As usual for the Pacific northwest, it hosted a variety of other plants, fungi and lichen. I note its asymmetry: the rings are about 20 thinner on the right side than on the left, and the branches seem thinner and more numerous on the right side as well. I don’t really know much about trees, but I speculate that that was the more shaded side of its home on a hillside.”
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