Announcing 2022 Mini-Fundraiser for Water Cooler!

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Dear Readers,

As you know, I hate to talk about money — for those who can’t stand to see me dance around the topic, my goal this year is 350 donors, and you can click here for the tip jar; dig deep! — so I thought I would begin this year’s fundraiser by mentioning some of the Water Cooler features we’ve introduced and refined to smooth out a very rough couple of years.

First, we have Birdsong of the Day. In fact, since at reader suggestion this is Northern Bobwhite week at Naked Capitalism, herewith:

I really enjoy starting a new Water Cooler post by searching for birdsongs. I hope you enjoy starting your reading by listening to birdsongs just as much!

Second, I’ve made a big effort to curate artworks, especially paintings. For example:

I subscribe to a lot of artbots, because I think they are “timeline cleansers”; just like a contemplative perambulation through a quiet museum can take the edge off a stressful day, so viewing these works soothes the irritation from pervasive mis- and disinformation, general hysteria, emotional manipulation, lying officialdom, and — in short — the news flow in its usual state. I hope what works for me works for you.

Third, we have the daily plant pictures (and gardening projects) that so many of you regularly send in. Today’s plant is from JB:

JB writes: “It’s that time of year when our oaks have dropped their leaves and spring growth is underway. It’s gorgeous! Not ‘showy’ but beautiful in its own right.”

Michael Pollan expresses the idea that plants cultivate us as much as we them, and the message I take — the message they are, possibly, sending? — is that the earth is more various, more beautiful, and more full of hopeful possibility than we realize. Even if plants are the ones who end up taking it over from us!

Now that you have had your ration of Water Cooler features, let me quote some of the nice things all y’all have said about Water Cooler over the last year:

Thanks for doing what you do. Water Cooler brings me joy. (and depending on the article content, sadness, rage. . . the entire range of human emotions :)) –M.Y.

Thank you for running the Water Cooler – I have truly come to depend on it for perspective Stay safe! –K.M.

A lot of what you write and post pisses me off, but I realize that I need to keep reading. –J.M.

Thank you for the Water Coolers and your other thoughtful writings! –R.S.N.

Thank you. Water-cooler shows up at 6am (I’m in New South Wales), and I settle to read it first thing over a cup of coffee. Your work means a lot to me. I find Lambertisms creeping into my conversation . . . Stay well! –A.D.

I have to say that you manage to be sharp on just about any topic you turn to, my hat is off to you, and in addition to great content – what style! I only wish I could contribute more. –B.T.

Thank you for all you do to inform, illuminate, and keep me somewhat sane through these wild times. –G.S.

Thanks for the Water Cooler! –S.F.

Hey Lambert! Nothing much to say but hey. –H.C.

Thank you all. What Yves wrote in 2017 is a better description of Water Cooler than any I have ever been able to come up with:

Besides providing general business news, Water Cooler files all the scamming and grifting and phishing under the heading of “The Bezzle,” provides a contextual view of official statistics, maintains a watch on important indices, and follows shipping and supply chain news as a non-financial window into globalization. In politics, Water Cooler provides detailed, gritty coverage of important races, of sausage-making on policy, especially health care, and tracks the continuing legitimacy crisis of the political class as a whole, especially out in the “flyover states.” In addition, Water Cooler gives dispatches from the front of Class Warfare. That’s a lot of material to cover and bullshit to wade through on a daily basis!

I should also mention that I’m rubbing my hands gleefully gearing up to cover the cast of characters in the coming midterms, which I expect to be more than “gritty” and clarifying in a number of ways.

I should also pat myself on the back for tape-watching the Covid statistics (IM Doc called my work “meticulous”). Horrid though the state of the data is, I think I have called the turns correctly so far, and, just as important, have not called turns that never happened. I have always thought of this work — which would be numbing or enraging if I allowed it to be — as a reader service, and I hope it helped you in your decision-making about precautions, travel decisions, family gatherings, and so forth. We need to watch these numbers even more closely today, considering that the dominant — and clearly false — narrative is “Covid is over.”

* * *

2021’s Water Cooler fundraiser went very well, and we would like 2022’s to go just as well. Our goal is 350 donors, an increase of 25 over last year. Please give what you can.

Readers, I couldn’t write Water Cooler — which depends on my having my head down over my iPad during every free moment to keep my head in the news flow — without independent funding from you; there’s no mainstream market for calling out bullshit — let alone helping people to keep their balance with bird songs and artwork and plants!

What Yves wrote back in 2017 is true this year as well:

To be crass, Lambert is making well under a living wage for his work on Water Cooler and that is not right. We need you to live up to what we hope is one of the widely-held values in the commentariat, that people should be paid fairly for their work, especially work that has already been done! That means digging into your wallets, whether a little or for a lot, and chipping in for Water Cooler.

If you can dig deep, please consider doing so. Not only is this quarter tax time for me, I have responsibilities in the real world. Further, you will be paying me for work I have already done — unlike the Naked Capitalism fundraiser proper, which sets the budget for the following year — and so having played the fiddle, I am now passing my cap, which I hope will shortly sag with your contributions. Please click the Donate button below and contribute what you can.

Again, our target is 350 donors, and we’d like to return to our regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible. I really enjoy writing Water Cooler, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Thank you!

* * *

To make the business relationships clear, Yves writes:

Water Cooler is a separate store front within Naked Capitalism to pay for [Lambert’s] considerable effort on it over and above all the work he already does on the site… Yes, Lambert also gets paid out of the annual fundraiser, but that is for the considerable amount of work he does besides Water Cooler, such as DJing the site, helping manage the comments section, managing a lot of the tech issues, and helping in tooth-gnashing over other “business of running the business” matters.

* * *

Readers, you may donate here:

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

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

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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. LadyXoc

    Stay true to your New England WASP roots, Lambert, and never discuss money! My check is in the mail in the hope that I will live long enough to see another “(Lambert preens!).” Keep up the great work! A necesary part of my day.

  2. Wukchumni

    Many thanks for keeping me off the streets and safe from polite society, or whatever passes for it these days~

    The e-check is in the mail…

  3. Carla

    Thanks to a post you wrote a few days, Lambert, I just ordered some anti-viral nasal spray from Israel. I think it will be helpful when isolation is impossible or very undesirable. And of course, unlike almost anyone else around me, I’m still masking in public indoor spaces. Anyhow, a modest contribution to the Mini-Fundraiser for the Water Cooler will be on its way to the tip jar in just a moment. I would like to dedicate it to the Plantidote feature — my favorite!

    1. Janie

      Carla, I missed the nasal spray mention. Can you reference it for me please? I’ve been short of time to read lately. Thanks.

  4. Sub-Boreal

    Just tipped. Thanks for becoming an indispensable part of my daily filter-feeding routine.

  5. Wukchumni

    Whether at a luxury spa or a more rustic natural environment, a dip in a natural hot springs promises to be relaxing, if not also medicinal. Here’s where and how to get started.

    Most of the hot springs listed are commercial ones and while I never met hot water I didn’t like soaking in, there’s just something wrong about having to pay for it, not that i’m a cheap bastard.

    The furthest i’ve ever walked to be in the embrace of one is 34 miles @ Kern hot springs on the Kern River, which is the halfway point on the High Sierra Trail and by then you’re so ready for a soak, ahhhh.

  6. SD

    The Water Cooler is indispensable. Morning links and the Water Cooler are my two must-reads every day, no matter what I’m doing.

    My gratitude to Yves, Lambert, and Jerri-Lynn and so many other linked-to authors for their uncompromising commitment to factual reporting is metaphysically limitless. My contribution to this project reflects that as best it can within my budget.

  7. bassmule

    Not just a talented writer and researcher. At our house you are “King of Snark.” We quote you all the time. “As my cranky friend Lambert says…”

  8. Chuck Harris

    It’s pleasure to donate to Water Cooler. I look forward to reading the articles and the commentary. It helps me feel less alone in the world. Also, as a gardener, I appreciate the plant pictures and reports on garden projects. With spring coming on I’m spending lots of time in the sunshine getting the space ready and planting the cool weather seeds. Peace and solidarity.

  9. Jen

    Thank you Lambert! The Water Cooler is an essential part of my day. I love the variety, the commentary, and your impeccable musical taste. Send a donation your way!

  10. Pnwarrior_Womyn

    Concrete goals. I’m in. First time supporter, lng time reader. Thank your for saving me time. Superb curation.

  11. dftbs

    Envelope is just waiting for a stamp and address. Thank you for all your hard work Lambert.

  12. Maggie

    OK… so I have to ask… since I’ve donated before and the Paypal “fund” looks a bit different to me… Ready to send some greenbacks your way… How about confirming the “fund name” is not exactly the same as last time… thanks for all your efforts…

  13. Flyover Boy

    Wonderfully clarifying, every business day. A little recompense is not too much to ask.

  14. Donna

    When I click on donate Paypal says I will be donating to Robert Hunting of the Hamster Fund. Is there an error in the link?

    1. Wukchumni

      Had I have known that my donation was to pay for his transgerbil surgery, I still would have given anyway.

  15. Donna

    When I click on donate, Paypal says I will be donating to Robert Hunting of the Hamster Fund. Is there an error in the link?

  16. .human

    I love the diversity of costumes of oak trees, and I’m still looking for that bird song book a grandchild gave me! Thanks for filling in.

    Keep up the great work. I was never comfortable in waders :-)

  17. ambrit

    Curious, but two attempts to comment earlier literally disappeared into the ether. I hope my miniscule contribution made it.
    Stay safe!

  18. Wukchumni

    Hey Joe, where you goin’ with those sanctions you demand?
    Hey Joe, I said, where you goin’ with that sanctions demand? Oh
    I’m goin’ down to shoot myself in the foot
    You know I caught him messin’ ’round with another land, yeah
    I’m goin’ down to shoot myself in the foot
    You know I caught him messin’ ’round with another land
    Huh, and that ain’t too cool

    Hey Joe, I heard you shot the mid-terms down
    You shot it down now
    Hey Joe, I heard you shot your chances down
    Shot it down in the ground, yeah

    Yes, I did, I shot hope down
    You know I caught him messin’ round, messin’ round Kyiv town
    Yes, I did, I shot hope down
    You know I caught my old nemesis messin’ ’round Kyiv town
    And I gave him the ultimatum
    I shot capitalism down

    Hey, Joe
    Where you gonna run to now? Where you gonna run to?
    Hey Joe, I said
    Where you gonna run to now? Where you, where you gonna go?

    1. orlbucfan

      I saw Hendrix do that tune live. Okay Lambert, please check your email, tomorrow. Thanks for the terrific work!

  19. ChrisRUEcon

    Snail mail per usual …

    My only lament is that I have not been able to turn more people on to #NC/#2PMWC … redoubling my efforts!

    1. GramSci

      I’ve learned (far too late), that I can share the antidote pic, which redirects sucks my recipients into the day’s Links. They often refuse to read, but they can no longer maintain they hadn’t been warned.

      Unfortunately the plantidote does not similarly redirect :-( .

      1. ChiGal

        hey, so how do you share the pic in particular–and do they then have to scroll past the links above it or does it show up first?

        1. GramSci

          From the front page the antidote shares the top of the Links page; from the Links page it shares the pic itself.

  20. dougie

    Done. I love reading your take on a subject before I form too many hard and fast opinions.

  21. Sardonia

    (apologies to Alan Ginsberg)

    “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
    dragging themselves through the neo-liberal streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of CNN,
    who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural disinformation of the MSM. floating across the tops of cities contemplating Maddow”

    The sanity I get from the Water Cooler exceeds what I could get from therapy – happy to pay for it, once I email to get your address to send a check. Thanks!

  22. Brian

    Hello! Just donated $25.00 last night before this popped up. Wish I could donate more today but I will try for a follow up one in a month or so. Thank you for all the hard work that you do.

  23. Jason Boxman

    From the NYTimes: Ivermectin Does Not Reduce Risk of Covid Hospitalization, Large Study Finds

    In a new study published on Wednesday, the TOGETHER team reported on its ivermectin data. Between March and August 2021, the researchers provided the drug to 679 patients over the course of three days.

    The results were clear: Taking ivermectin did not reduce a Covid patient’s risk of ending up in the hospital.

    The researchers zeroed in on different groups of volunteers to see if they experienced benefits that others didn’t. For example, it might be possible that ivermectin only worked if taken early in an infection. But volunteers who took ivermectin in the first three days after a positive coronavirus test turned out to have worse outcomes than did those in the placebo group.

    Dr. Hill was impressed with the results. “They have run a high-quality, placebo-controlled trial,” he said. He also expressed impatience with the New England Journal of Medicine for taking months to publish the results: “I don’t understand the delay with this trial from NEJM.”

    There is both vocal support for and opposition to IVM, so I’ve never known what to believe or how to interpret studies that demonstrate a benefit or no benefit. It’s a shame the public health establishment in the United States has discredited itself, and I’m forced to try to figure out what to do to protect myself on my own. But hey, public health is an individual concern, eh?

    1. ChiGal

      I think that was linked here as a preprint and the discussion focused on the fact that although their conclusions were that IVM was of no benefit, the actual data told a different story…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        My 30,000-foot take has been for a long time:

        1) As putative prophylaxis, it’s cheap and safe. Given the downside, it looks an awful lot like a no-brainer..

        2) The hysterical reaction against it is really a reaction against treatment, generally. Not a priority for Operation Warp Speed, though part of it, and abandoned under Biden’s Vax-Only approach. It’s rather telling that we hear “Don’t treat yourself with horse-paste” instead of “IVM doesn’t work as a treatment, but A, B, and C are safe and effective!” Where are A, B, and C and why is nobody trying to find them?

        3) Making drug choice a marker of party affiliation in the midst of a pandemic is and was odious.

  24. Ed Miller

    Thanks for the reminder, and it’s been a while. I’m in.

    Hope you like the pics I sent yesterday. Don’t know if they are your style.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Don’t know if they are your style

      I am flexible on matters of style! (Not for my own work, where my aesthetic is constrained*, but my aesthetic is not universal!)

      * “You can’t play tennis without a net.” — TS Eliot, apocryphal

  25. jhg

    I read the Water Cooler every day. Great Links and Great Commentary. I donated to help keep the ship afloat and on course. Amazing work, Lambert!

  26. You're soaking in it!

    Seriously, between the birds, the plants, the support for Yves and this community, not to mention the go-to source for so many important topics . . . (did I mention you and Yves are my go-to source for just about everything that I get from the internets?) . . .

    Your friends at Commie Martyrs’ must be mighty proud of you!!

    1. ambrit

      Yes, but, “They’ve stolen More Science High!”
      “Re-enlist now!”
      Alas, I fear this is the wrong platterlicious analogy. Today’s narrative seems much more like “We’re all Bozos on this bus.”

  27. ChiGal

    as ever, a thousand thanks, and frankly if we all sent a dollar a day it wouldn’t even come close to a correct valuation of your true worth–you sir are priceless, and my donation is forthcoming

  28. PlutoniumKun

    Thanks for all the great work, Lambert, Watercooler is my evening must-read every day. Contribution sent.

  29. Lambert Strether Post author

    For those questioning the PayPal screen, it’s working as it should; the set-up has been this way for years.

    My secret identity is pretty porous at this point, but nevertheless I don’t see a good reason to hand it to Google on, as it were, a silver platter, and so I deleted a number of comments. Sorry!!!!

  30. Fastball

    Last time your fundraiser rolled around, I was in a world of hurt financially but I regretted not being able to donate to your fine work just the same. Fortunately things have turned around for me. Thank you for your work keeping me informed!

Comments are closed.