By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers, I had some sort of versioning problem, so I only just now got the proper bird song in place. I also added some material on Fetterman v. Lamb. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day
This is California Quail week at Naked Capitalism. Grab a cup of coffee, because this is eight minutes of quail hooting, or calling, or whatever it is that they do.
“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 proposes tax credit fix to Affordable Care Act ‘family glitch’ affecting 5 million people” [Roll Call]. • Hold me back, Maw! Hold me back!
“Obama returns to White House as reminders of his tenure abound: The Note” [ABC]. “Democrats also know that the push to engage their voters again revolves around the ability to get the Obama-Biden coalition back and ready to cast ballots.” • They do? That’s what they know?
“Why Biden’s base is in distress” [Politico]. Maybe because a lot of ’em died? “Democrats are desperately trying to understand what’s roiling the electorate heading into a brutal midterm environment…. On Monday night we watched discussions with two different subgroups of partisan Democrats assembled by the firm: “Black Base, Always vote for Dems, Ages 25+” and “Youth Base; Always vote for Dems, Ages 25 – 39.”… But watching the three-and-a-half hours of conversations, you notice a yawning gap between what Democrats here in D.C. are saying and what their most loyal voters are experiencing outside the Beltway. This was especially true on two big issues:” The economy and crime (!!). On the latter: “It was impossible to ignore how much it came up. A Black man from New York complained about bail reform laws in that state leading to ‘repeat offenders’ who get arrested and released and are ‘re-arrested in less than 24 hours.’ A Black woman in the Philadelphia area wanted something done about gun violence and carjackings in the city by ‘repeat offenders.'” • 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.
Returning once more to Bourdieu, with yesterday’s maxim “[T]he social object is to some extent something that we do not wish to understand” in mind. Re-posting this remarkable memo from a Harvard Dean on smliing:
Sure, elites hate the working class, but they really hate masks, too:
Remarkable stuff. Covid-19 rages on and Harvard eliminates pandemic sick leave and dependent care, announcing the news with the header “A Time for Connection and Community.” The neoliberal university on display: “community building” and “relaxing mandates” as anti-labor policy. pic.twitter.com/zkOHtgEc4G
— mo torres🧍🏽♂️ (@motorresx) March 30, 2022
Why are these people smiling?
"Of course they hate us. They see us as people who write about them as hicks and losers and idiots, and who are not on their side – and why wouldn't they hate us, right?"
– Taibbi talking about the crowds at campaign events attitude towards the press pic.twitter.com/oAUHt4vsUa
— DJ 'Rude Dogg' Havenstein (@RudyHavenstein) February 9, 2022
It occurred to me that Bourdieu’s answer to that question might be — in the two contexts above, at least; context matters! — that smiling occurs when some social capital is realized; and that the Harvard Dean was frustrated by masks because he was not able to accumuliate social capital in the style to which he had become accustomed. (I bet Amazon union busters smile a lot.) And if you find this conclusion repellent, alert reader hemeantwell remarks: “Good sociology is always at least dangerously close to triggering hindbrain responses.” To be clear, I am not dour — even though I remember reading somewhere that a constant, very faint smile is a sign of WASP dominance, I don’t depploy it– and I am for smiling. Just not on a commission basis. “I cannot heave my heart into my mouth,” as Cordelia says.
“Your Top Priority is The Emotional Comfort of the Most Powerful Elites, Which You Fulfill by Never Criticizing Them.” [Glenn Greenwald]. On the Bernie Bro phenomonenon: “With this power matrix in place, what mattered was no longer the pain and anger of people whose towns had their industries stripped by the Clintons’ NAFTA robbery, or who worked at low-wage jobs with no benefits due to the 2008 financial crisis caused by Clintonite finance geniuses, or who were drowning in student debt with no job prospects after that crisis, or who suffered from PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction and shabby to no health care after fighting in the Clintons’ wars. Now, such ordinary people were not the victims but the perpetrators. Their anger toward elites was not valid or righteous but dangerous, abusive and toxic. The real victims were multi-millionaire hosts of MSNBC programs and U.S. Senators and New York Times columnists who were abused and brutalized by those people’s angry tweets for the crime of supporting a pioneer and avatar for marginalized people: the Wellesley-and-Yale-Law-graduate, former First Lady, Senator from New York, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” • “Smile when you say that, son.”
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“Stacey Abrams reaches millionaire status before 2nd campaign” [Associated Press]. “Abrams now says she’s worth $3.17 million, according to state disclosures filed in March. That’s compared with a net worth of $109,000 when she first ran four years ago….. Her rapid ascent into millionaire status corresponds with her rise in national politics.” • That’s Sanders’ net worth, too, after a lifetime in politics and inheriting a house. Abrams must be truly blessed.
“Stock in Trump-linked SPAC falls after Truth Social executives resign” [The Hill]. “Stock in the SPAC that is bringing former President Trump’s social media platform Truth Social public fell Monday after top executives reportedly resigned from the company. Stock in the SPAC, Digital Word Acquisition Corp, fell 14 percent in premarket trading Monday, Yahoo reported. The fall came after chief of technology Josh Adams and chief of product development Billy Boozer resigned, which Reuters first reported. Chief legal officer Lori Heyer-Bednar also resigned, according to a report from Politico. The drop also came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk became the largest outside shareholder of Twitter, acquiring a 9.2 percent stake in the company. Twitter shares rose more than 20 percent after the news. Truth Social’s plunging stock and top executive resignations add to the growing list of troubles plaguing the rollout of Truth Social. The app was released in the Apple app store on Feb. 20. It was the most downloaded free app in the Apple store initially, but within just 20 days fell down to number 116. As of Monday afternoon, the app didn’t appear to be anywhere in the top 200 most downloaded free apps listed by Apple.” • Failure to execute by Trump, and big missed opportunity. I doubt he will get the chance to iterate leadership in this space.
“What was the popularism debate?” [Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring]. “I think people are mad mostly about inflation and the fact that .” • Man. That take is so scorching I’m gonna have to call Code Enforcement!
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“Fetterman raises $3.1 million in first quarter of 2022” [The Hill]. “Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) announced on Tuesday that his Senate campaign raised $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2022. In a statement, Fetterman also shared that his campaign has received more than 106,000 donations from 58,000 unique donors, including 23,000 first-time donors as well. The $3.1 million raised in the first quarter brings Fetterman’s campaign total to more than $15 million, and more than 192,000 unique donors have contributed more than 530,000 individual donations to his campaign. Fetterman’s campaign also said it received donations from 88 percent of Pennsylvania ZIP codes and from every county.” if only Amy McGrath could have said the same, for her state of Kentucky….. More: “The announcement comes after a new poll on Thursday shows that Fetterman is leading his state’s Democratic primary by 23 points, receiving 33.4 percent of support from those surveyed.” • I guess the Democrats had better wheel in Clyburn pretty soon…
“Populist Democrat John Fetterman is touring red PA counties for U.S. Senate. Here’s why” [York Daily Record]. “Now, as he vies for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, he’s again touring all of Pennsylvania’s counties. And he’s doing something most Democrats rarely do — especially in a primary: he’s campaigning in red counties. ‘,’ Fetterman said by phone during an interview with the USA TODAY Network Pennsylvania Capital Bureau. ‘We need to engage everyone.’ Taking the road less traveled is as much a part of his personal ethos as it is of his political brand — even when the road leads through reliably red places such as Butler and McKean counties. It’s not that Fetterman is naive to think he can flip them blue. He’s campaigning there because there are Democratic voters there, and he wants to hear from everyone.” • And so what if he’s not telling the truth? At least he cares enough to fake it. (This is reminiscent of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, which arguably put Obama in office and then was destroyed by him and Rahm Emmanuell.
“John Fetterman has a big lead in the Pa. Senate primary. Will attacks matter with 6 weeks to go?” [The Inquirer]. “Democrats watching from the sidelines have been waiting for this moment. Fetterman began the race as the favorite and has maintained a 20- to 30-point lead in all public and private polls. The next six weeks will show how much of that is solid support he can hold even as he comes under attack, and as the candidates ramp up TV advertising….. An Emerson College survey released last week found about a third of Democratic voters undecided, but about half of those undecideds lean toward Fetterman, with few considering Lamb, according to Emerson pollster Spencer Kimball.”
Lamb gets ugly:
We all know why John Fetterman isn't coming to the debate on Sunday.
He doesn't want to talk about the fact that he chased down an unarmed Black man and held him at gunpoint.
That's the elephant in the room. And we have to talk about it. pic.twitter.com/eiGx1Yoqz8
— Conor Lamb (@ConorLambPA) March 31, 2022
“The Braddock man John Fetterman confronted with a shotgun in 2013 says that should not stymie his Senate bid” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “A man confronted in 2013 by a shotgun-wielding John Fetterman — then mayor of tiny Braddock, now lieutenant governor and running for the U.S. Senate — claims Fetterman has “lied about everything” that happened that day. But Christopher Miyares, writing from a state prison in Somerset County, also told The Inquirer that incident should not stop Fetterman from becoming a senator. ‘Even with everything I said, it is inhumane to believe one mistake should define a man’s life,’ Miyares wrote in one of two letters sent to The Inquirer. ‘I hope he gets to be a Senator.’ (That last line was underlined three times.) The 2013 incident has been long discussed in political circles as Fetterman’s career soared. But it has drawn new attention amid the racial reckoning stoked in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and as Fetterman, a favorite of progressives, emerged as the early Democratic front-runner in a race next year that could determine control of the Senate.” • Ah yes, the reckoning, so selectiveliy applied.
“Fracking Divides Field in Democratic Pennsylvania Senate Debate” [Bloomberg]. “Fetterman told Pittsburgh public radio station WESA last year that he doesn’t support a ban on fracking but said he wants to work toward a ‘de facto moratorium because the transition is going to be toward green and renewable energy.” • Commentary:
Lamb keeps defending fracking after Kenyatta once again says working class people in eastern PA are worried about the pollution. "He's extremely clear on this issue. John Fetterman is not."
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) April 3, 2022
Lamb may be onto something there. The Trillbillies spit nails when you mention “just transition.”
“Special counsel Durham wants to bring up Trump-Russia dossier at trial against Clinton campaign lawyer” [CNN]. “Special counsel John Durham wants to bring up the infamous Trump-Russia dossier and might even call its author Christopher Steele as a witness at the upcoming criminal trial of Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, according to court papers filed on Monday. Two late-night filings from Sussmann and Durham provided the first indication that the special counsel plans to introduce Steele and his politically fraught dossier from 2016 into the case. Sussmann was charged with lying in regard to a September 2016 meeting with a senior FBI official, where he provided a tip about strange cyberactivity between the Trump Organization and a major Russian bank. Prosecutors say Sussmann falsely denied providing the tip on behalf of a client — and was really working for the Clinton campaign at the time. He has pleaded not guilty. .” • Hoo boy.
Realignment and Legitimacy
“L.A. County Voting System Still Fails to Meet State Standards, County Clerk Smears Expert Critics: ‘BradCast’ 4/4/2022” [Bradblog]. Bradblog has been fighting the good fight on this topic since forever. “Back in 2020, Los Angeles County deployed a new, unverifiable touchscreen voting system called “Voting Solutions for All People” (or, VSAP) across the nation’s most populous voting jurisdiction. Some ten years in development by the County’s Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, the new touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) failed spectacularly in that year’s Super Tuesday Presidential Primary, leading to long lines and questions about the results. The VSAP system had been conditionally certified by the Secretary of State just weeks before their first county-wide use, after state testing discovered about 30 different violations of California Voting System Standards. The County was required to correct the violations detailed in the Conditional Certification in the months following the election, though they failed to do so in many cases — for years. Now, the County is seeking state certification of VSAP v3.0 but, according to our guests today, has still failed to correct a number of critical security issues that failed more than two years ago.” • NC readers will not be surprised by this; see this post from 2019. (The Democrat in charge of the debacle is, as one one expect, smearing his critics as Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists.)
“Why I Am Not A Liberal” [The Sooty Empiric]. The conclusion: “I believe core elements of liberalism, derived from the central historical missions it is meant to fulfil, are untenable. We cannot have a neutral public sphere and nor would the greater good just so happen to coincide with what liberals say the neutral public sphere looks like. As such we cannot make liberal tolerance norms work. What is more, the notion of private property used to make that tolerance concrete by giving each a sphere of action over which they have control, in fact tends towards undermining what is elsewise best in liberalism, and prevents collective action that might stop its reliance on imperialist exploitation. I hence think a system which did not rely on the public/private division, or anything akin to private ownership of the means of production in a market society, is required if we are to make good on the promise of Enlightenment.” • Well worth a read.
If you missed it, here last week’s post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.
With a pathogen that multiplies geometrically, yes, slow data is bad data.
Case count by United States regions:
In the aggregate, cases are down. However, cases in the Northeast are up (reinforced by wastewater and rapid riser data).
For grins, here are the four-weeks numbers:
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.
Still going up, both in the aggregate and in the North and South Systems.
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.
For grins, here is the national Biobot data for the last six weeks:
Once again, the Northeast leads.
From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Every so often I think of doing away with this chart, and then there’s another flare-up. I remember using the metaphor of flying coals in a forest fire — many land, but sputter out; a few catch, and the first spreads. What I notice about this round of flare-up is that the “coals” are the size of multiple counties, not, as previously, single ones. FWIW! (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:
Continuing slow improvement as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered). However, look at the Northeast, which remains stubbornly red.
Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
Again, 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):
1,008,198. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. An unfortunate upward blip. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.
Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased to a record high of 76.2 in March of 2022, as continued inventory congestion has driven inventory costs (91 vs 90.3), warehousing prices (90.5 vs 86.4) and overall aggregate logistics costs to all-time high levels. This is putting even more pressure on already-constrained capacity which hit an all-time low (36.1 vs 42.4). Transportation capacity (45.7 vs 44.4) was headed in that direction too from March 1st-March 15th but seems to have changed course slightly due to the rapidly increasing cost of fuel. Deadhead loads are likely to increase by $2,000 – $3,000 per load given the high costs of fuel, making it less attractive to drive empty trucks back to California, and could significantly impact the tender rejection rate.”
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Tech: “Twitter adds Elon Musk to its board of directors” [New York Times]. “Elon Musk is joining the board of Twitter. The company disclosed the news in a securities filing on Tuesday, one day after Mr. Musk revealed that he had bought a 9.2 percent stake in the social media giant, a purchase that appeared to make him its largest shareholder. The news sent Twitter’s shares skyrocketing more than 20 percent on Monday. Twitter’s stock rose more than 6 percent in premarket trading.” • Commentary:
Liberals: yes, we want tech billionaires to control, police and censor Western political debates, but not *this* tech billionaire. https://t.co/atHAOkt8ZI
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 5, 2022
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Here’s a good one: Facebook has prevented us from promoting our article on record rents today because it’s “discriminatory” against… landlords.
We appealed as well: no dice. Big Tech censorship is off the wall. pic.twitter.com/e9F4JIRYGC
— Ronan Burtenshaw (@ronanburtenshaw) April 4, 2022
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 5 at 1:21pm.
I think I like Bonnard’s interiors better:
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) – Jardin à vernon (ou Paysage au bord de la Seine) vers1916 huile sur toile collection particulière pic.twitter.com/47x4XbzCrl
— Olga Tuleninova 🦋 (@olgatuleninova) April 3, 2022
Colors like Guagin, though?
“#Vanlife Collides With Costly Fuel” [Wall Street Journal]. “#Vanlife, a movement celebrating the thrifty, unencumbered life on the road, is cruising head-on into record prices at the pump. That has pushed devotees to get more creative about making ends meet…. A 50% rise in fuel costs is stretching the best-planned budgets in a free-spirited culture that enjoys decamping to scenic locales in converted vans and buses. That is posing a major test for a community that in recent years remade a once-marginal existence into an Instagram trend, turbocharged by the pandemic’s combination of indoor restrictions, remote work and cheap gas….. Compounding the pain, vehicles big enough to live in tend to get relatively poor mileage. Newer camper vans can go 20 miles a gallon, similar to recent SUVs. But some older RVs and vans average closer to 10. Adding to costs, many camper vans use diesel—common for commercial vehicles but more expensive than gasoline. An average gallon of diesel cost more than $5 on Friday….. Compounding the pain, vehicles big enough to live in tend to get relatively poor mileage. Newer camper vans can go 20 miles a gallon, similar to recent SUVs. But some older RVs and vans average closer to 10. Adding to costs, many camper vans use diesel—common for commercial vehicles but more expensive than gasoline. An average gallon of diesel cost more than $5 on Friday.” • Somehow I doubt this little cultural moment started with six-figure vehicles. Maybe return to a “marginal existence”?
“Can We Please Stop Acting Like Jerks to One Another?” [Bloomberg]. “This acting-out is a strong argument for swift and comprehensive resocialization — i.e., going back to the office and keeping classrooms open even if the pandemic resurfaces. Where it’s safe to abandon masks, we should, so we can see people’s faces again.” • It’s as if nobody in Asia, where masks are routine, is seeing anybody else’s face at all. And yet they do business and have relationships and families and everything. I don’t mean to keep harping on this (well, I do, see above) but it’s bizarre. We are seeing people’s eyes and foreheads. What we are not seeing is the people’s mouths (and chins). I think Freud would have a field day with this synecdoche of mouth for face (and no, it’s not smiling; people can smile with their eyes. Is it that we can’t look at people in the eye anymore? Is that it?) Anyhow, I’m throwing a flag on the massive Betteridge’s Law violation. Forget it, Jake. It’s capitalism.
“Could This Time Be Different?” [The Forge]. “You bounce around the American labor movement as long as I have, and your one constant is that there’s always a false dawn. Always. Back when I first got involved, it was the 1997 UPS strike over two-tier workforces. The strike was popular with the public and incredibly successful — for a while. Two years later, it was the WTO protests in Seattle. So much energy, so much at stake. These weren’t staged protests for fun; they meant something. Until 9/11 came around, and they faded into the rearview mirror. Even though people in the movement ended up on different sides, the split within the AFL-CIO in 2005 felt like it might be different. Everyone was talking about doing more organizing, on a bigger scale, better executed. Folks were so, so serious about a renewed commitment to organizing. Yet our slow decline continued. The brief hopes of passing the Employee Free Choice Act in 2009. Occupy Wall Street. The Chicago Teachers Union strike in 2012. West Virginia, Arizona, and General Motors in 2018. There’s always a reason to be hopeful. And, let’s be clear, there have been great labor victories in the past 25 years. Real victories that have made life better for real people. But it’s two steps forward, one-to-three steps back. We gain a little ground; we lose a little ground. We win a strike; we lose a key union election. We get new labor rights in one state; we get Scott Walker in another. Someone always wants to be the one to say, “This time is different!” This is the moment, the jumping-off point, the strike, the vote, the march that will turn everything around. But it’s never quite panned out. And while I cheer us on as much as I can, and take pride in the good that we do, I’m usually the curmudgeon.” • That (IIRC) $110,000 organizing budget, tbough. And perhaps the complete lack of involvement by Big Labor or the NGOs was a plus?
“Walking the World: Lima (part 2)” [Walking the World]. ” Across from the fish sellers are a cluster of of stalls serving ceviche. The best is a corner place named Cevicheria Polito. After I found it, I stopped eating ceviche at all the other places, and did my best to eat at Cevicheria Polito everday, which was a bit tough because it is only open from 11 to 2. It serves the best ceviche I have ever had, which makes it one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. It really is magical and eating it makes you realize good ceviche is better than good sushi. Not that anyone is judging. They also have a soup, which is also the best soup I have ever had. It is simple, clean, and filled with subtle flavors. It taste like your are drinking the best of the sea. Everything else they serve is equally good. Their cancha (the large roasted corn nuts that are everywhere in Lima) are also the best I’ve had. Their shrimp, the most flavor filled. You can eat here for an hour, and if you don’t speak Spanish (I don’t), point and then let them decide what to serve you, fill yourself up, and then get embarrassed when they charge you only $4. You can tip them very well, and they will do everything they can to not accept that tip. If they do, they will then try to charge you less the next time. All of the food is made in a small kitchen by three very friendly, hard working, and happy women. I have no idea how they do it. I am not a food person, so maybe there is stuff they do food people would recognize. I simply assumed they have been blessed by the Virgin Mary statue ten stalls away.” • Reminds me of Anthony Bourdain, who not only respected food — and not food-like products — but deeply respected the people who made it. This whole piece is worth a read. See also how franchising “destroys the transcendent” (like this small food stall).
And articles on the working class….
"The problem of knowledge is that there are many more books on birds written by ornithologists than books on birds written by birds and books on ornithologists written by birds" – @nntaleb
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb Bot (@nntalebbot) April 4, 2022
News of the Wired
“‘Superblooms of fungus’: Climate change is making valley fever worse” [Los Angeles Times]. “Officially known as coccidioidomycosis — or “cocci” for short — valley fever is a fungal infection that is transmitted in dust. In the United States, it has mostly plagued humans and animals in Arizona and California’s San Joaquin Valley, where the illness was first described as “San Joaquin Valley fever” more than a century ago. But a disease that was confined to the arid Southwest for decades appears now to be spreading, with new cases being reported in Washington, Oregon and Utah. At the same time, infection rates are increasing, particularly in California, where rates have risen 800% since 2000. Now, as health officers attempt to track this emerging infectious disease, researchers say climate change is largely responsible for its spread — much the way malaria, Zika virus and Lyme disease are believed to be getting worse because of global warming. Cycles of extreme precipitation, along with worsening drought and heat, are creating more of the dangerous dust, researchers say, and worsening wildfires may also be fueling the spread. By the end of the century, valley fever may be a threat across the entire western United States, they say.”
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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 TH:
TH writes: “I spent several hours this day with friends roaming around the Huntington Library gardens. This white bearded iris is one of my favorites. In fact, I was so enthused about the irises that the friend who invited me (she has a season pass that allows her to bring a friend, and occasionally, like this time, more than one) bought me an iris for my birthday when she returned a few weeks later.” Iris, my favorite flower! Of course, I say that about a lot of flowers, but this one really is gorgeous.
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