By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, a bit more shortly. The disintegration of our Covid data gathering capabilities is making me think too much. –lambert UPDATE Finished!
Bird Song of the Day
Common Nightingale, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. Time for some musicality!
“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
Roe v. Wade
UPDATE Thanks, Obama, for installing Biden:
Biden didn’t just promise to codify Roe v. Wade, he effectively told us he was the only one who could. Now he explicitly opposes abolishing the filibuster to get it done. He simply lied. https://t.co/FSASWf78Y3 pic.twitter.com/NUPsRUNWF4
— Holding Biden Accountable (@WaitingOnBiden) June 25, 2022
UPDATE More flaccidity:
Q Will the president dedicate travel to the abortion issue to reach out to young ppl and women who are angry? @PressSec: "I don't have anything to read out to you specifically on a strategy — a strategic strategy — around the decision that was made by the Court yesterday"
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) June 25, 2022
* * *
“Florida’s GOP stays vague about abortion; Gillum indicted and defiant; Surfside remembers” [Miami Herald]. “Democrats, beleaguered after electoral and legislative losses in the past four years, hope the issue will mobilize voters to break the mid-term trend and show up at the ballot box…. Republicans, fresh off a legislative session in which they pushed through a ban on abortions after 15 weeks that mirrors the Mississippi ban, could go further and outlaw most abortions entirely…. But consider this: the majority of Floridians oppose the state’s new abortion law. And a May survey by Florida Atlantic University showed 67% of Floridians want abortion to remain legal in either all or most cases, including 85% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans and — this is significant — 63% of independents. After the ruling, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he would ‘work to expand pro-life protections.’ But he was careful not to provide any specifics about what that would mean. Will voters demand specifics answers about what’s next? Unless the issue becomes a litmus test for voter support, watch conservative abortion opponents keep their positions vague in advance of the November mid-term elections.” • Should be interesting. For the “vague” scenario to work, the Christian Right will have to be magnanimous in victory, and not over-reach. Neither seems likely to me. OTOH, I would bet the the “litmus test” will vary by the state. DeSantis and Abbot (for example) might keep their positions vague. A smaller and redder state might well outlaw all abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. Democrats will then try to make that small state a synecdoche for the Republican Party as a whole. Key question: What will suburban women, especially the non-working class white women both parties covet, think?
“What to Expect in a Post-Roe World” [Jonathan Turley]. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Harris and other Democrats continue to claim that the court was taking the country back to the last century. The image of criminalized homosexuality, marriage bans and contraception limits is unnerving — but also untrue. In the Dobbs decision, the court’s majority expressly, repeatedly rejects the application of this holding to these other rights. Indeed, it is relatively rare to see the court go to this extent to proactively close off the use of a new case in future cases. The court said that ‘intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage’ are not impacted by its holding because ‘abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged.’ It noted that abortion is unique in dealing with ‘what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’’ The court repeatedly stressed that those claiming the country will be put into a legal Wayback Machine are simply using the opinion ‘to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights.’ It could not be more clear, as the court said, that ‘rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed ‘potential life.'” • First, that’s not what Clarence Thomas believes (though granted his opinion is a concurring one. Second, trusting proven liars is generally a bad idea (“It’s my nature”). Third, I suppose, I suppose that, as an, er, prophylactic, we should research the Catholic teaching on all these matters, given the Catholic majority on the Court (their religion being shared by Biden and Pelosi, both of whom are noticeably non-energetic on this issue).
“SD gov: Bar abortion pills, but don’t punish women for them” [Associated Press]. “South Dakota’s Republican governor pledged on Sunday to bar mail-order abortion pills but said women should not face prosecution for seeking them. In apparent defiance of legal guidance by the Justice Department after the Supreme Court last week stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, Kristi Noem indicated in national television interviews that she would put in place a plan approved by state lawmakers to restrict the pills. The majority ruling Friday by the court’s conservative justices triggered abortion bans in South Dakota and elsewhere. But Noem said doctors, not their patients, would likely be prosecuted for knowing violations of what would be one of the strictest laws on abortion pills in the United States. ‘I don’t believe women should ever be prosecuted,’ she said. ‘I don’t believe there should be any punishment for women, ever, that are in a crisis situation or have an unplanned pregnancy.’ At issue is mail-order or so-called telemedicine abortion pills, which have been on the rise in the country since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone — the main drug used in medication abortions. , and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.”
UPDATE “Democrats agree to confirmations of 15 Trump judges” [Politico]. • So the pipeline is full with “professionally qualified” creatures from the Federalist Society. From 2018, still germane.
UPDATE “The Radical Reign of Clarence Thomas” [MoDo, New York Times]. “While his wife ran around helping Trump with his coup, Thomas was the senior firebrand in a coup of extremists on the court. They yanked power away from John Roberts and are defying the majority will in this country in ways that are terrifying…. The court is out of control. feel powerless to do anything about it. Clarence Thomas, of all people, has helped lead us to where we are, with unaccountable extremists dictating how we live. And that is revolting.” • Pretty loose use of the word “coup.” And the Supreme Court, for good or ill, is not a majoritarian institution. Good history of Thomas’s ascension the Court, though, including Biden’s role; MoDo was present for it all.
“The Biden administration has dropped the ball on vaccine development” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. • I swore a blood oath never to quote Smith again, but “when you’ve lost Noah Smith…..” The deck: “Vaccines have saved tens of millions of lives. So why aren’t we making better ones?” And: “So the real problem here might be that our leadership, like some segments of the American populace, have simply decided that they’re “done with Covid”, even if the virus isn’t done with America. This is unacceptable. Vaccines are one of our most amazing accomplishments, and we’ve just decided to leave it in the past and rest on our laurels. Not the kind of thing a first-rate nation ought to do.” Well, as I keep saying, America isn’t a serious country (a.k.a. first-rate nation”). So this should come as no surprise. (Note that “better vaccines” includes sterilizing vaccines and/or nasal vaccines, neither of which is getting the “Operation Warp Speed” treatment. Biden didn’t so much “drop the ball” as “drop kick the ball out of the stadium entirely.” More: “So the real problem here might be that our leadership, like some segments of the American populace, have simply decided that they’re “done with Covid”, even if the virus isn’t done with America.” • Some segments certainly includes (the dominant players of) PMC, who are “vaxxed and done,” in their delusional minds, through a combination of high-on-their-own-supply trust in “the science” (or rather, scientists in the same class position as themselves), plus a desire to maintain or enhance their class position by resuming their climb up the professional ladder (as in superspreading events like conferences). And good heavens, let’s dump the kids back in the schools!
“‘YOU take YOUR seat’: Very specific cheat sheet reminds Biden how to act” [New York Post]. “President Biden on Thursday inadvertently held up a comically detailed cheat sheet prepared by his staff instructing the gaffe-prone leader of the free world to ‘take YOUR seat’ and to limit his remarks to ‘2 minutes.’… The prepared instructions for Biden — titled ‘Offshore Wind Drop-By Sequence of Events’ — tell Biden to “enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants.’ Then, the paper says, ‘YOU take YOUR seat.’ The typed-up note says that after reporters arrive, ‘YOU give brief comments (2 minutes).’ When reporters depart, ‘YOU ask Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO, a question’ and then ‘YOU thank participants’ and ‘YOU depart.'” • Good staffwork, though!
“Joe Biden unwittingly helped finance Hunter’s trysts with Russia-linked escorts” [Washington Examiner]. “President Joe Biden apparently unwittingly financed his son’s participation in an escort ring tied to Russia, records from a copy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show. Hunter Biden spent over $30,000 on escorts, many of whom were linked to ‘.ru’ Russian email addresses and worked with an “exclusive model agency” called UberGFE during a 3 1/2 month period between November 2018 and March 2019. He managed to do so thanks in part to Joe Biden committing to wiring him a total of $100,000 to help pay his bills from December 2018 through January 2019. In one instance, Joe Biden wired his son $5,000 while he was actively engaged with an UberGFE escort…. There is no suggestion in these messages that Joe Biden knew what his son was spending his support payments on.” Joe Biden didn’t know his own son? More: “.” • Oh. No security issues here! (Also, Ukraine is crawling with CIA spooks. Are we really to believe that the CIA didn’t have UberGFE wired to the gills? (Not, of course, that the CIA would ever have used its data to muscle a President.)
* * *
UPDATE PA: “Pa. primary election set voter turnout records. Here’s what else the data show.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The 2022 Pennsylvania primary election — finally filed away in the history books after a recount — wasn’t just a wild political saga. It also set vote records. More Democrats and Republicans voted than in any midterm election primary in the last 25 years. Who those voters are, where they live, and which candidates they supported for Senate and governor show how the state’s political geography is shifting…. The parties’ long pattern of geographic self-segregation continues: Republicans are increasingly a rural and exurban party, while Democrats rely on urban and suburban voters. What’s less obvious, but equally important, is that there are also important geographic divides within the parties. Consider rural counties. They’ve always been more important in Republican primaries than in Democratic ones. But Democratic primary votes from rural counties now make up just one-sixth of the statewide total — half the share they did 20 years ago. By contrast, rural votes have consistently made up a third of the Republican primary electorate, even as overall turnout has increased and the rural population has significantly declined. Many of these voters were mobilized by Trump’s 2016 campaign and have stayed engaged. Philadelphia has long anchored the Democratic primary electorate, being between 15% and 20% of the vote. Republicans get less than 5% of their primary vote from Philly. But city turnout has been stagnating for both parties. For Republicans, Philly barely cracked the top 15 counties for primary votes this year. And while Democratic turnout set records, the proportion of statewide votes that came out of Philly was at a 10-year low. A repeat of that in November could be trouble for the party.” • This implies that Fetterman is right to pick up rural votes, at the margin.
UPDATE PA: Fetterman (1):
A woman's reproductive freedom is non-negotiable.
Dr. Oz said he would support a ban on abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
The stakes couldn't be higher for women in PA + across the country – and this isn't the end of attacks on our civil rights. pic.twitter.com/5R8q8A6zvT
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) June 24, 2022
UPDATE PA: Fetterman (2):
Monday ☀️ Morning 🥱
Finishing my walk with a sincere + humble ask: If you can spare it, will you pls chip in a few bucks to our campaign today?
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) June 27, 2022
Walking is good. Hitting the campaign trail would be better.
UPDATE “Gavin Newsom jumps onto the national stage and Bidenworld takes notice” [Politico]. “For weeks, an exasperated Gavin Newsom warned Democrats they need to more aggressively confront Republicans in the national culture wars he’s convinced his party is losing. In recent days, the California governor signaled to his team that, for now at least, what they’ve referred to internally as his “Paul Revere” phase has gone far enough. But the warnings turned a whisper campaign into something audible: Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024? … [Cedric Richmond, a former senior Biden White House official who recently transitioned to a top role in the Democratic National Committee] bristled at suggestions — advanced by Newsom and others — that Democrats aren’t taking the fight to Republicans on abortion and guns, and praised Biden for uniting the West against Russia, delivering baby formula and continuing to lead the response to Covid.” • So Biden’s gonna run on Ukraine and Covid? Let me know how that works out.
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.
* * *
“The Democrats’ Progressive Organization Problem” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “The secret is out. Progressive organizations—nonprofits and advocacy groups—which form a vital part of the Democrats’ supportive ecosystem have become massively dysfunctional due to internal meltdowns, mission creep and maximalist goal-setting… A party that is serious about winning would be wise to start ignoring these organizations and concentrate on what is really important: connecting to the values and concerns of the broad majority of the American electorate. No doubt they’d get some flak from these organizations for doing so. But I suspect the trade-off in support where it really counts–among actual voters–would be very much worth it.” • The irony is that nobody did more to structure the NGO “ecosystem” as a bundle of identity-driven verticals than Ruy Teixeira; that’s the structure his “coalition of the ascendant” justified. (The inventors of “intersectionality,” which came into play when any of the verticals needed to meet in the same room, didn’t help any.)
UPDATE “It Is Time For Dems To Fear Their Own Voters” [David Sirota, Lever News]. “First, an admission. For most of my adult life, I’ve clung to a grand unifying theory: The only way to fight off right-wing fascism is to build not just a well-organized progressive movement, but to also mobilize rank-and-file apolitical Democratic voters to press their own party to deliver…. It wasn’t just external factors that undermined this effort to mobilize normies. It was a failure of an entire generation of operatives, activists, advocacy journalists, policy wonks, philanthropists, filmmakers, pundits, labor leaders, think tankers, Capitol Hill staff, and politicians in left-of-center politics — and I include myself in that group of failures…. Because this dynamic allowed Democratic leaders to never feel the heat of accountability, they never wielded their power to make a serious effort to avert the current nightmare. In many cases, they did the opposite.” But tellingly: “If Democratic base constituencies — college-educated white collars, communities of color, young people, etc. — went beyond merely voting in November and actually made demands of their Democratic lawmakers (and held them accountable in primaries), then maybe the party would pursue its purported agenda.” • Not the working class? David, David, David….
Realignment and Legitimacy
This America is gone forever. pic.twitter.com/Y2jdtouSSu
— SparkleResist (@Sparkle31888597) June 24, 2022
You know how SCOTUS said Maine couldn’t exclude religious schools from their voucher program?
Maine just changed the guidelines to exclude schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) June 25, 2022
I am but a humble tape-watcher, and I’m perplexed about the current state of play. Case data is showing the fiddling-and-diddling behavior characteristic of a peak. However, nothing I hear in anecdotal case data tells me there’s any relief. Hospitalization data (trailing) is easing (and so the hospital-centric public health establishment probably thinks Covid is done). Positivity data (leading) has been fiddling and diddling as it too does at peaks. Then again, waste-water data (leading) is slightly downThe wild card is variants BA.4/5 (and I thought we were supposed to be giving names to these things). All the variant sources I have say BA.4/5 are up, but they differ as to how much and where, and the data is two weeks behind (hat tip, CDC; who could have known we’d need to track variant data?). I am reminded of the “stairstep” (see the Case count chart below: I muttered about this at the time) that marked the Delta/Omicron transition, just before Omicron’s amazing take-off. Perhaps a BA.4/5 transition will exhibit the same behavior. OTOH, I could be projecting patterns into clouds.
• ”COVID cognitive decline more widespread than thought, say researchers at Australia’s first long-COVID clinic” [ABC Australia]. “Hidden behind St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney there’s an unassuming grey building where some extraordinary research is happening. It’s here that the detailed medical data of 128 of Australia’s COVID veterans — who caught the original Alpha strain in early 2020 — is being picked apart and exhaustively analysed. The hope is that by tracking this cohort over years, Australia might contribute to the international effort to understand this fiendish virus and its short and long-term effects. And the team has found something startling. Around one quarter of the ADAPT study’s participants were experiencing noticeable cognitive decline a year after getting COVID…. [neuropsychologist and associate professor Lucette Cysique] emphasises that the cognitive decline recorded among most participants in the study is mild and they may not even notice it.” • Ah. “Mild.”
• ”Psychological underpinnings of pandemic denial - patterns of disagreement with scientific experts in the German public during the COVID-19 pandemic” [Public Understanding of Science]. “Two groups in the general public differed distinctively from expert evaluations. The Dismissive (8%) are characterized by low-risk assessment, low compliance with containment measures, and mistrust in politicians. The Doubtful (19%) are characterized by low cognitive reflection, high uncertainty in the distinction between true and false claims, and high social media intake. Our research indicates that pandemic denial cannot be linked to a single and distinct pattern of psychological dispositions but involves different subgroups within the general population that share high COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and low beliefs in epistemic complexity.” • Hmm.
• ”SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission in schools: the effectiveness of different interventions” [Swiss Medical Weekly]. From the Abtract: “In the absence of interventions, the cumulative dose [of viruses absorbed by exposed occupants] absorbed was 1.5 times higher in winter than in spring/summer, increasing chances of indoor airborne transmission in winter. However, natural ventilation was more effective in winter, leading to up to a 20-fold decrease in cumulative dose when six windows were fully open at all times. In winter, partly opening two windows all day or fully opening six windows at the end of each class was effective as well (2.7- to 3-fold decrease). In summer, good ventilation levels could be achieved through the opening of windows all day long (2- to 7-fold decrease depending on the number of windows open). Opening windows only during yard and lunch breaks had minimal effect (≤1.5-fold decrease). One HEPA filter was as effective as two windows partly open all day in winter (3-fold decrease) whereas two filters were more effective (5-fold decrease). Surgical face masks were very effective independently of the season (8-fold decrease). Combined interventions (i.e., natural ventilation, masks, and HEPA filtration) were the most effective (≥25-fold decrease) and remained highly effective in the presence of a super-spreader.”
• Fine, fine, maybe there’s something to fomites and in any case it’s good to wash your hands:
We should work together to reduce the circulation of #COVID19:
💉Get vaccinated if you have access
😷 Wear a mask
↔️ Keep physical distance
🪟 Ventilate spaces
🤧🧼 Good hand & respiratory hygiene#InThisTogether pic.twitter.com/B5S1SnhBX5
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 26, 2021
But did they have to make the mask icon a surgical mask? What were they thinking? Who approved this? (Granted, from November 21; N95s were known to be most effective at that point.)
• Maskstravaganza: From the Times of London:
The cognitive dissonance here is incredible. In the same edition of the same London newspaper, they pathologize Japanese safety practices that have successfully controlled Covid spread, while wondering where all the workers went in the UK.
We are surely in the dumbest timeline. pic.twitter.com/Hyt0QI1INw
— Kashif Pirzada, MD (@KashPrime) June 26, 2022
I agree with @KashPrime. I hate this timeline and I wish the showrunners would change it. And speaking of our stupid timeline–
“Expert puzzles – Mysterious cough disease keeps Sweden in suspense” [Today Times]. • It does?
If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness 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.
Case count for the United States:
The totals are more or less level, but under the hood the BA.4/5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was ~ 99,600. Today, it’s 103,000, and 103,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 618,000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.
I cannot find a case count chart that integrates regional and national subtotals, so we are that much stupider. I thought the New York Times had the nicest data presentation. UPDATE Hoping against hope, I checked out 91-DIVOC again. Looks like it’s back. Phew! I will have time to look more tomorrow.
1.2%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)
NOT UPDATED Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 22:
STILL BROKEN Wastewater data (CDC), June 4 – June 18:
CDC’s wastewater chart is down again.
NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 8:
Out of date compared to Walgreens (below) but still showing doubling behavior.
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 15:
In 18 days, BA.4/5 has gone from 18 days, 9.66 to 28.47 (and this is not according to some sorta model, like CDC’s NowCast, which gives 35%). Nice doubling behavior, implying BA.4/5 should be happily dominant just in time for the travel weekend of July 4, good job everyone.
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 4:
Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does (BA.4/BA.5 is 27.7% as of June 18) but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment gets a promotion for tracking variants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].
• ”What Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 variants mean for the pandemic” [Nature]. “The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are spiking globally because they can spread faster than other circulating variants — mostly BA.2, which caused a surge in cases at the beginning of the year. But so far, the latest Omicron variants seem to be causing fewer deaths and hospitalizations than their older cousins — a sign that growing population immunity is tempering the immediate consequences of COVID-19 surges.” • That’s what we always hear, in the beginning: “Fewer deaths and hospitalizations.” Let’s wait to see what happens: “One possible future for SARS-CoV-2 is that it will become like , the levels of which ebb and flow with the seasons, usually peaking in winter and typically reinfecting people every three years or so,’ [Christian Althaus, a computational epidemiologist at the University of Bern] says.” “The” “other four” is question begging. It’s true that there are large peaks in the winter (Biden’s Omicron, for example). There are also peaks in the summer. I think the case for seasonallity is not proven. More from Althaus: “The big question is whether symptoms will become milder and milder and whether issues with long COVID will slowly disappear,” he says.” More question-begging on “milder.” And more: “If it stays like it is now, then it will be a serious public-health problem.'” • Indeed!
• ”Bay Area COVID surge is winding down, but experts say cases could stay high well into summer” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “Coronavirus cases are continuing to level off or decline across the Bay Area as the spring surge appears to be winding down, though health officials note that the amount of virus in the community is still astonishingly high and the arrival of new variants could prolong the current wave well into summer…. Unlike the omicron surge that quickly spiked to previously unimaginable case counts and then plunged to relatively low levels, this wave may take many weeks longer to taper off, health experts said. That’s due in large part to new variants — specifically, the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which together now make up roughly 20% of cases — taking hold in the region and potentially slowing the downward trend in cases or even causing a new upswing. ‘This is one surge that I would describe as having a long tail: It doesn’t go down sharply all of a sudden, it’s kind of lingering with us,’ said Stephen Shortell, former dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. ‘I don’t anticipate any sharp upsurges in the next few months. On the other hand, it may not go totally down as much as it has in the past.'” • “kind of lingering” is what I tend to call (following dhttp://lexnihilnovi.blogspot.com/2009/09/most-enjoying-offseason.html) “fiddling and diddling.”
NOT UPDATED From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
Improvements everywhere. Good news, for once!
The previous release:
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. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.
West Coast, and Midwest are all red. More and more orange (“substantial”) on the East Coast, with some yellow breaking out. Great Plains speckled with yellow and blue.
NOT UPDATED Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
Very volatile. And speaking of BA.4/BA.5:
NEW: unfortunately it’s time for another international Covid update, as the BA.5 Omicron lineage (and BA.4 to a lesser extent) sends not only cases but also hospitalisations climbing around the world, from South Africa, to Portugal, the UK, Israel and now the US 📈 pic.twitter.com/fEBZS3Fl0A
— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) June 26, 2022
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,040,236. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.
— Max Ernst (@artisternst) June 26, 2022
“Major WA employers commit to maintaining abortion access for employees” [Seattle Times]. Deceptive headline: “Starbucks said it will reimburse abortion travel expenses for employees enrolled in its health plan if a legal provider isn’t in a worker’s state of residence or within 100 miles of their home…. On June 15, Starbucks also said all partners who are enrolled in the health care plan would have access to the benefits, including those who are in the process of unionizing. But it added that it could not ‘make promises of guarantees about any benefits’ for unionized stores.” • Sounds like union-busting to me.
“The unexpected immortality of Karl Marx” [Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality and More]. “Marx’s influence as a thinker, appealing to our intellect, is inextricably linked with capitalism. So long as capitalism exists, Marx will be read as its most astute analyst. He identified two crucial and historically original features of capitalism: insatiable need for gain (“Accumulate, accumulate, this is Moses and all the prophets”), and the need for perpetual expansion to new territories or areas of production, which itself derives from the search for gain. If capitalism ceases to exist, however, Marx will be read as its most prescient critic. So whether we believe that in another 200 years, capitalism will be with us or not, we can be sure that Marx will.” Also the “boom and bust cycle,” “first anticipated by Karl Marx” (Investopedia (!!)). And then this factoid: “[T]he Chinese government’s decision in the early 1980s concerning how far to allow the growth of the private sector was justified by Marx’s true or apocryphal statement that workers’ exploitation was acceptable if the total number of employees hired by a capitalist does not exceed seven. (This particular classification is still present in Chinese official statistics that distinguish between owners of private businesses (hiring more than 7 persons) and owners of individual businesses.) ” • I poked around to find the source on “seven.” Here is an explanation:
Marx does endorse that idea that beyond a certain threshold the nature of the employer-employee relationship changes fundamentally. The passage Engels cites [in Anti-Duhring] is from Volume I, Chapter 11 of Capital:
If this labourer were in possession of his own means of production, and were satisfied to live as a labourer, he need not work beyond the time necessary for the reproduction of his means of subsistence, say 8 hours a day. He would, besides, only require the means of production sufficient for 8 working-hours. The capitalist, on the other hand, who makes him do, besides these 8 hours, say 4 hours’ surplus-labour, requires an additional sum of money for furnishing the additional means of production. On our supposition, however, he would have to employ two labourers in order to live, on the surplus-value appropriated daily, as well as, and no better than a labourer, i.e., to be able to satisfy his necessary wants. In this case the mere maintenance of life would be the end of his production, not the increase of wealth; but this latter is implied in capitalist production. That he may live only twice as well as an ordinary labourer, and besides turn half of the surplus-value produced into capital, he would have to raise, with the number of labourers, the minimum of the capital advanced . Of course he can, like his labourer, take to work himself, participate directly in the process of production, but he is then only a hybrid between capitalist and labourer, a ‘small master.’ A certain stage of capitalist production necessitates that the capitalist be able to devote the whole of the time during which he functions as a capitalist, i.e., as personified capital, to the appropriation and therefore control of the labour of others, and to the selling of the products of this labour. The guilds of the middle ages therefore tried to prevent by force the transformation of the master of a trade into a capitalist, by limiting the number of labourers that could be employed by one master within a very small maximum. The possessor of money or commodities actually turns into a capitalist in such cases only where the minimum sum advanced for production greatly exceeds the maximum of the middle ages. .
Fascinating notion. And quite a twist at the end! And speaking of booms and busts–
“Growing up in a Recession” [The Review of Economic Studies]. From 2013, still germane. From the Abstract: “Does the historical macroeconomic environment affect preferences for redistribution? We find that individuals who experienced a recession when young believe that success in life depends more on luck than effort, support more government redistribution, and tend to vote for left-wing parties. The effect of recessions on beliefs is long-lasting. We support our findings with evidence from three different datasets. First, we identify the effect of recessions on beliefs exploiting time and regional variation in macroeconomic conditions using data from the 1972 to 2010 General Social Survey. Our specifications control for nonlinear time-period, life-cycle, and cohort effects, as well as a host of background variables. Second, we rely on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972 to corroborate the age–period–cohort specification and look at heterogeneous effects of experiencing a recession during early adulthood. Third, using data from the World Value Survey, we confirm our findings with a sample of 37 countries whose citizens experienced macroeconomic disasters at different points in history.” • So, individuals who experienced a recession when young (as my parents experienced the Great Depression) are more likely to be members of the reality-based community…..
News of the Wired
The original "I've got a lot of tabs open." https://t.co/0f3KoBdMyp
— Jonathan Ladd (@jonmladd) June 27, 2022
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. From SC:
SC writes: “A quick update: the milkweeds are blooming in the “I hope they’re A. purpurascens” colony and things are looking up. According to Prof. Steven Broyles of SUNY Cortland (thanks to NC reader BrunchesWithCats for drawing attention to his work on Purple/Common Milkweed hybridization), who has kindly been advising me, this specimen is a healthy Purple Milkweed. The mature Rose Campion in the background is a nice accent; not sure how that ‘volunteer’ got there. I am not fully in control of this garden. I’ll send a fuller report when time permits; as the weather warms and the plants speed up, their requirements absorb more and more time.”
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