By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Bird Song of the Day
Thrush Nightingale, Podlaskie, Poland. Two nightingales.
Lambert here: One reader suggested changing these quotes; I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I need to think about it. I don’t want to be too doomy — we are not short of inventory in that department — but I don’t want to go all chipped and Pollyanna-esque, either.
“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
Lambert here: I’m doing my best to sort this, but it’s not easy, because the journalists and politicians running what is a in fact a show have form: Not one, but two episodes of hysterical official propaganda: RussiaGate, and Ukraine. Presumably, if the hearings are worth anything, they will lead to some criminal indictments, and not a little weak-a*s legislation. (Conversely, if they don’t lead to criminal indictements, they are by definition worthless, since there could have been no coup; I don’t see how a “legal coup” can be a thing. High stakes!)
“‘Ketchup dripping down the wall’: 5 stunning moments from Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 testimony” [Politico]. Ketchup instead of blood seems like useful metaphor. The Committee was called back from recess for Hutchinson’s testimony, so it was either important or the Committee wished to make it appear so. “Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, on Tuesday delivered bombshell testimony to the Jan. 6 committee about the inner workings of Trump’s White House as his election subversion push mounted. Over the course of a couple hours, she laid out her knowledge of Trump’s post-election campaign to hold onto power — from his desire to go to the Capitol as unrest by his supporters became a riot, to his efforts to allow armed rallygoers to join him on the Ellipse hours before the attack.” This, again, seems to be a pattern. Trump wants to do something, his staff stops him, and he doesn’t do it. As Yves says, when a CEO smashes up a conference room because his accountants won’t let him commit tax fraud, that doesn’t make him guilty of tax fraud; he actually has to commit the fraud. For example: “When Trump was told he would return to the White House instead of going to the Capitol that day, while being driven in the presidential vehicle known as ‘the Beast,’ Hutchinson recalled hearing that he became irate. She said [oh] that Trump lunged for the steering wheel of the car and was physically restrained by the head of his Secret Service detail, Robert Engel.” Last I checked, being irate wasn’t a criminal offense. Commentary:
Trump trying to wrangle the car to go to the capitol building is so comedic that I immediately see and hear it. It is cinematic.
— Sun Destroyer 999 (@bombsfall) June 28, 2022
Bobby Engel, Fmr. President Trump’s special agent in charge on Jan 6th and his limousine driver are both prepared to testify under oath before the Jan 6 committee that neither man was attacked and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the Beast’s steering wheel, @CBSNews confirms [1/2]
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) June 28, 2022
UPDATE “More Testimony on Trump’s Jan. 6 Tirade” [Wall Street Journal]. “The biggest news is that Mr. Trump was advised, according to Ms. Hutchinson, that some of the people who were awaiting his Jan. 6, 2021, speech had come armed. He was angry that the crowd wasn’t filling up the ellipse, apparently because some onlookers preferred not to go through the official security check, which included magnetometers, or ‘mags’ for short.” • I have looked again at the AP chart of the charges against the Capitol rioters. There are no weapons charges. Are we really to believe that, determined to assault the Capitol and bring down the government in a coup, the very first thing the rioters did was leave their guns in their cars?
UPDATE “Six takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony.” [New York Times]. “Upset that the crowd at his rally on Jan. 6, 2021, didn’t fill the cordoned-off space on the Ellipse, a furious Mr. Trump ordered security officials to allow people milling outside the security perimeter into the space so the event would appear well attended. Informed that some of those people were standing outside because they had weapons and didn’t want to pass through metal detectors, the president urged that they be allowed in anyway. ‘They are not here to hurt me,’ he said, according to Ms. Hutchinson, who was within earshot of the president at the time. Using a string of expletives, she testified, Mr. Trump said he wanted the security features removed. She also said the president had been told that the crowd of his supporters were threatening violence and had come armed including with guns, knives, spears and flagpoles, and wearing body armor. Mr. Trump encouraged them to go to the Capitol anyway, a detail that could prove legally problematic for him.'” I have tried to follow this closely, and as best as I can recall, the unlawful paraders who entered the Capitol were not strapped. (This would be easy to refute with photographs, but I don’t recall any. NOTE The Proud Boys, whose prosecution was delayed by the House’s, uh, work, are a separate issue.) And then there’s this: “Members of the president’s Cabinet were distressed enough by the assault on the Capitol and the president’s encouragement of the mob and refusal to intervene that they quietly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, Ms. Hutchinson testified. The ignominious prospect of being the first president to be subject to the amendment was one of the reasons he agreed to record a video on Jan. 7 committing to a peaceful transfer of power.” • So, yet again, Trump’s subordinates want him to do something that’s against his wishes. And he does it. (It may be that Trump was better at hiring than I thought; he was just using an odd spectrum of choice.)
UPDATE “The Most Damning January 6 Testimony Yet” [The Atlantic]. “By the morning of January 6, Trump’s attempts to steal the election had largely failed. Every lawsuit had foundered, every state-level ploy seemed to have stalled, and Vice President Mike Pence had declared that he would not engage in chicanery concocted by the attorney John Eastman and his confederates. There was one last hope: disrupting Congress’s certification of the result.” • “Somehow” is doing a lot of work, there, because the how of the somehow is never explained. Is a coup without an actual plan to seize power a coup? Really? Shocking not shocking that Frum’s Atlantic passed this piece.
UPDATE “How the Jan. 6 panel’s star witness drew a roadmap for Trump’s culpability” [Politico]. The headline is misleading. The article is a useful picture of the communications flow in Trump’s White House. There’s no “culpability” because the actions described (Trump “lunging” for the steering wheel) aren’t connected to the theory of the case, if any. •
UPDATE “Hearing raises the prospect of Team Trump’s witness tampering” [MSNBC]. “‘Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump’s administration or campaign whether they’ve been contacted by any of their former colleagues or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony,’ Cheney explained. Evidently, some witnesses were, in fact, contacted by those interested in having an influence. One witness described receiving phone calls. ‘What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right team,’ the unnamed witness said. ‘I’m doing the right thing. I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World — and they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my interviews with the committee.’ Another witness received related pressure. ‘A person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow,’ the witness was told. ‘He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.’ Cheney concluded her comments by saying, ‘We will be discussing these issues as a committee, carefully considering our next steps.’ If that sounded to you like a committee leader planning to make a referral to the Justice Department, you weren’t alone in getting that impression. In case this isn’t painfully obvious, witness tampering is a felony.” • It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. But it’s remarkable that the Commitee is coming up with this criminal charge at such a late date.
Lambert here: Can somebody just lay out a timeline of what Trump did, and then put the evidence along the timeline? So we have a theory of the case? Maybe there is such a thing, buried in the muck. If so, can any alert readers link to it?
“Do what now?”:
But can we still judge her on her response and readiness to the substantive policy questions? I think so. Again, it's 2 months advance warning. Does not matter if some people hoped SCOTUS might change its mind. That's not the complacency she should accept from her policy staff
— dan nguyen (@dancow) June 29, 2022
One shouldn’t rely on clips (especially ones tagged “RNC research”). That said, Harris had plenty of time to prepare. She should have knocked that one out of the park! And in a friendly venue, too. Because what we got—
“Kamala Harris disappoints in CNN interview: ‘[Do what now?'” [Boing Boing]. Full context:
CNN: What do you say to Democratic voters who argue “Wait a minute, we worked really hard to elect a Democratic president and vice president, a Democratic-led House, a Democratic-led Senate. Do it now.”
Harris Do what now? What now? I mean, we need, we, listen, what we did, we extended the Child Tax Credit.
CNN: I’m sorry, when I say “Do it now,” yeah, act legislatively to make abortion rights legal.
Harris: We feel the same way. Do it now. Congress needs to do it now in terms of permanently putting in place a clear indication that it is the law of the land that women have the ability and the right to make decisions about their reproductive care and the government does not have the right to make those decisions for a woman.
Top of mind is the child tax credit? (Also, in the video above, Harris seems to be shifting nervously around in her seat rather a lot. Odd.)
* * *
“A Mixed Night for MAGA and Meddling” [Cook Political Report]. “One of the bigger storylines from Tuesday’s primary was the extent to which Democrats meddled in GOP statewide primaries, with the goal of helping to elect the weaker (and usually more Trump-oriented) candidate. As Jessica Taylor writes, their months-long strategy worked out in the Illinois governor race, where the DGA and incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker combined to spend more than $35 million to boost conservative downstate Sen. Darren Bailey over the more moderate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. Even though billionaire hedge fund executive Ken Griffin put $50 million behind Irvin, Bailey notched a comfortable win – with Irvin coming in third place, 42 points behind the GOP winner. Bailey’s victory was another reminder of how the GOP base in the state – once centered in the prosperous suburbs around Chicago – has migrated to the more rural downstate. But, Democratic efforts to secure more controversial candidates backfired in both the Senate and governor primaries in Colorado.” • Wait. Didn’t the Democrats recently have some problems with this strategy?
CA: “Millions of Calif. families to get ‘inflation relief’ stimulus checks of up to $1,050: What we know about whether other states will follow” [CNBC]. “Record high inflation and gas prices have many Americans hoping for financial relief. And in California, that’s exactly what approximately 23 million residents stand to get, thanks to the state’s new budget deal, which is slated to give qualifying taxpayers new direct payments. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders agreed on a $17 billion relief package that includes $9.5 billion in inflation relief funds. Those estimated 23 million California taxpayers will receive between $200 and $1,050 by early next year. ‘Millions of Californians will be receiving up to $1,050 as part of a NEW middle class tax rebate,’ Newsom tweeted on Sunday. ‘ to help you fill your gas tank and put food on the table,’ he wrote.” And: “Other states, such as Maine, New Jersey and New Mexico, have also made efforts to provide direct relief payments to residents… California has more flexibility to send these kinds of payments because its budget is one of the largest in dollar terms and they have the biggest surplus on record of any state, he said. ‘They have a highly progressive tax code that is bringing in a lot of revenue from the profitable corporations and wealthy individuals that are doing the best in this economy right now,’ [Dylan Grundman O’Neill, senior state policy analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy] said.”
“The G.O.P. Inside Conversation on Roe” [Puck]. “Cortez tweeted that her fellow party members need to stop fundraising off the repeal of Roe and actually do something. Even Republicans who had spent the last two years peddling the “Dems in disarray” line thought it was a little harsh. ‘I was surprised at A.O.C. blaming the Democratic leadership,” one G.O.P. aide told me. “I was like, woah.’ But A.O.C. hit on a sentiment that is quietly but widely shared in Washington, especially among Democrats. Even they admit to being in disarray. ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ a Democratic lobbyist fumed. ‘What the f*ck is the D.N.C. doing? I’m on their listserv and I haven’t gotten a f*cking thing, have you? Every woman I’ve seen on social media that’s so mad, I’ve seen no link to, hey, here’s where you vote. If this was the G.O.P. side, that whole apparatus would be mobilized. From the Koch brothers to the N.R.A. to big oil, they would be efficiently mobilizing their base right now.’ Asked what they expected to see from fellow Democrats, the lobbyist responded,
“Howard Stern May Run For President, Reveals Plan To ‘Overturn All This Bulls**t'” [HuffPo (jr)]. Stretch goal. “Stern, a longtime supporter of abortion rights, said he would set out to accomplish just two things. ‘The problem with most presidents is they have too big of an agenda,’ he said on his SiriusXM radio show on Monday, according to The Hill. ‘The only agenda I would have is to make the country fair again.’ … Stern briefly toyed with running for governor in New York in the 1990s as a Libertarian but dropped out over financial disclosure rules.”
“The Jan. 6th Hearings” (video) [Jesse Ventura’s Die First Then Quit]. • Worth a listen. I wonder how close Ventura is to the famous median voter on this issue.
“Youngkin meets with megadonors amid hints he’s mulling White House bid” [WaPo]. “Gov. Glenn Youngkin flew to New York last week to meet privately with GOP megadonors in Manhattan, a move that underscores recent hints that the Republican is considering a run for president in 2024. The day-long visit, which was not listed on Youngkin’s public calendar and included a trio of national TV interviews, comes as the new governor prepares to headline his first out-of-state political event since taking office, with an appearance next week in Nebraska. He also has begun speaking more often about the needs of ‘Americans,’ not just ‘Virginians,’ and has subtly changed how he answers questions about whether he will seek the White House.” • Hmm. I wonder who his political strategists are….
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.
* * *
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Court kills Flint water charges against ex-governor, others” [Associated Press (jr)]. “The Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and others in the Flint water scandal, saying a judge sitting as a one-person grand jury had no power to issue indictments under rarely used state laws. It’s an astonishing defeat for Attorney General Dana Nessel, who took office in 2019, got rid of a special prosecutor and put together a new team to investigate whether crimes were committed when lead contaminated Flint’s water system in 2014-15. State laws ‘authorize a judge to investigate, subpoena witnesses, and issue arrest warrants’ as a grand juror, the Supreme Court said. ‘But they do not authorize the judge to issue indictments,’ the court said in a 6-0 opinion written by Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.” • Oops…
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 down. The 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.
• ”The dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity with changes in aerosol microenvironment” [PNAS]. “A combination of measurement strategies to probe the changes in airborne viral infectivity with time and the physicochemical transformation dynamics of the host aerosol is crucial to improve our understanding of the influence of environmental (such as [relative humidity (RH)], temperature) and biological (such as spike protein mutations) parameters on the transmission of viruses in the aerosol phase. While the current consensus is that the half-life of SARS-CoV-2 in the aerosol phase is between 1 and 2 h, if not longer, we report an initial rapid decline in infectivity within a few seconds to minutes of aerosol generation. Under all conditions measured, the majority of SARS-CoV-2 is inactivated within 10 min of aerosolization. Further research is required to determine for how long the remaining fraction persists, how this may depend on the viral load in the aerosol, and the influence of chemical composition.” • Note that the maximum duration tested was 20 minutes, and real saliva was not used. Commentary:
3) more decay at 2 min at lower RH; 4) aerosols are physico-chemically heterogeneous at mid-range RH; 5) poorer survival at high pH, which results from shift in bicarbonate system going from 5% CO2 in exhaled breath to 0.04% ambient; 6) results are in culture medium, /2
— Linsey Marr (@linseymarr) June 29, 2022
So I wouldn’t bet the farm on that “10 min” figure. Good topic for investigation though!
• ”Lufthansa is the latest European airline to cancel thousands of flights at the last minute” [EuroNews]. “Airline giant Lufthansa is planning to cut more than 3,000 flights this summer due to staff shortages and strikes… ‘Strikes among air traffic controllers, the weather and above all an increase in COVID-19 infections’ are cited as the cause.” • It’s unfortunate that the entire system of international air travel is a ginormous and continuing superspreader event, but here we are.
Every time you get infected with COVID-19, you've got 1:20 – 1:5 odds of developing long COVID, a disablility with no standard treatments or cures.
As scientists, why are we ignoring the obvious data showing us that unmitigated spread is dangerous? I will never understand…
— Dr. Janna Moen is still masking 😷 (@jannamoen) June 28, 2022
I’m baffled, too (and angry, to tell the truth). I was about to make a joke about scientists “leaving science at the office,” but this behavior is in the office (or the workplace). I could blame droplet goons in infection control, but this seems more a form of collective… madness.
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. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. 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 ~106,300. Today, it’s ~108,000, and 106,300 * 6 = a Biden line at 648,000. 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.
• ”Coronavirus Today: It’s everywhere” [Los Angeles Times]. “Just a couple of weeks ago, I wondered whether the coronavirus would take a summer vacation. Now we know the answer: It most certainly will not. It feels like people with COVID-19 are everywhere.” It feels like that because they are.
0.4%. (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.
• From alert reader RN:
Hello, I have been following the wastewater numbers for my city Athens Ohio, and CDC has published nothing since June 14th. We are having a surge of cases, 3 workers out at my bakery, sick, symptoms not “mild” and other restaurants closing because of workers out. Any word out there as to why CDC isn’t getting some numbers out. Our official case numbers are way up, but I know that there are more cases and we should see a rise in the waste stream. Thanks
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 22:
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 11:
Doubling behavior moving along quite briskly.
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 get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? 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].
From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
The West Coast is on fire again, as is Texas (but, oddly, not Florida). Illinois and West Virginia are heating up, too.
The previous release:
No matter what else the CDC butchered, they have published the Community Profile Report regular as clockwork since forever. It’s resumed after stopping for two days (and wastewater collection is still down). Just to be clear on the responsibilities:
Yes, the Community Profile Report commits to be “daily.” That the report didn’t come out for two days is a White House
f*ck-up responsibility, but multiple agencies are also involved. All of them look bad.
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.
Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
Very volatile, but a lot more yellow since the previous update several days ago.
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,041,027. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.
Inflation: “United States GDP Deflator” [Trading Economics]. “The US gross domestic product price index, which measures changes in the prices of goods and services produced, jumped 8.3% on quarter in the first three months of 2022 to a record high.”
Inflation: “United States PCE Prices QoQ” [Trading Economics]. “The PCE price index in the US increased 7% on quarter in the first three months of 2022, the most since 1981 and in line with the second estimate, final figures showed.”
Consumer Spending: “United States Real Consumer Spending QoQ” [Trading Economics]. “Final personal consumption expenditure in the United States grew by 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2022, easing sharply from a 2.5 percent increase in the previous three-month period. The reading came much lower than 3.1 percent reported in second estimate and 2.7 percent seen in the advance estimate.”
Profits: “United States Corporate Profits” [Trading Economics]. “Corporate profits in the United States fell 4.9 percent to USD 2.40 trillion in the first quarter of 2022, following a 0.2 percent gain in the previous period and compared with preliminary estimates of a 4.3 percent drop.”
Retail: “Analysts accuse Bed Bath & Beyond of turning off AC in stores to save money as sales plummet” [CNN]. “A new report from Bank of America claims that the company has cut air conditioning in an effort to quickly lower expenses to make up for a slump in sales. Bed Bath & Beyond told CNN that any changes in store temperature guidelines did not come from corporate. “We’ve been contacted about this report, and to be clear, no Bed Bath & Beyond stores were directed to adjust their air conditioning and there have been no corporate policy changes in regard to utilities usage,” said a representative. Still, analysts at Bank of America who have conducted store visits report mounting concerns, including labor hours that have been meaningfully cut, scaled back utilities, reduced store operating hours and canceled remodeling projects. Rewards programs have also been scaled back and replaced. The analysts expect Bed Bath & Beyond’s management will soon announce more store closures and halt openings of its Buy Buy Baby stores. Meanwhile, fire sales and price reductions run rampant.”
The Bezzle: “Tesla Is Building a Robotaxi Without a Steering Wheel or Pedals by 2024, Musk Says” [The Drive]. From April. We haven’t heard much since then. “Tesla is building a ‘dedicated robotaxi’ without a steering wheel or pedals that it plans to launch in 2024, CEO Elon Musk announced during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The vehicle will be ‘highly optimized for autonomy,’ according to Musk. He reiterated that it wouldn’t have any physical controls for the driver, meaning its .” • Let me know how that works out.
I am not broke. I am in a pre-revenue growth stage with a roadmap for future profitability as market conditions stabilize.
— Jacob Silverman (@SilvermanJacob) June 28, 2022
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Extreme Fear (previous close: 26 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 21 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 29 at 1:11 PM EDT.
Feral Hog Watch
For you have the feral hogs with you always:
pigs, france, 15th century pic.twitter.com/CtlPb0FLRM
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) June 21, 2022
Preferable to guitars, I suppose:
— Stuart Davis (@StuartDavisArt) June 22, 2022
Then along comes Warhol, who just… paints the box.
No! Don’t go in!
The American version of finding a Roman bath while digging up a Tesco car park. https://t.co/JOvAMOaMXN
— matt christman (@cushbomb) June 28, 2022
Many votes, few contracts:
I keep thinking (crying) at the fact that since we filed at the end of January only myself and one other person in this photo still work at our store.
Union busting is truly disgusting. pic.twitter.com/qvowhFodY8
— Alydia Claypool (@AlydiaDClaypool) June 29, 2022
“Viewpoint: Two Contrasting Visions of the Labor Movement Were on Display in June” [Labor Notes]. “In her prepared remarks, President Shuler announced the establishment of a Center for Transformational Organizing, comparing this to how the AFL ‘invested to create the CIO for industrial organizing in the 1930s.’ ‘And here’s the bottom line,” she announced: ‘In the next 10 years, we will organize and grow our movement by more than one million working people. Together. All in. One, single, transformational goal.’ ‘How’s that for a goal?’ The delegates cheered. Well, since you asked, that’s a bad goal. It falls way short of what is needed. If the AFL-CIO meets this goal, it wouldn’t even keep up with the growth in the size of the workforce. It would fail to increase the percentage of workers represented by unions…. The AFL-CIO convention took place during a rise in union organizing and public support for unions. Although Shuler mentioned the organizing being done by workers at Starbucks and Amazon—the people who are doing transformational organizing—no representatives from the Amazon Labor Union or Starbucks Workers United spoke at the convention, most likely because they are doing it outside the framework of the AFL-CIO.”
“Assortative Matching at the Top of the Distribution: Evidence from the World’s Most Exclusive Marriage Market” [American Economic Journal: Applied Economics]. “Using novel data on peerage marriages in Britain, I find that low search costs and marriage-market segregation can generate sorting. Peers courted in the London Season, a matching technology introducing aristocratic bachelors to debutantes. When Queen Victoria went into mourning for her husband, the Season was interrupted (1861–1863), raising search costs and reducing market segregation. I exploit exogenous variation in women’s probability to marry during the interruption from their age in 1861. The interruption increased peer-commoner intermarriage by 40 percent and reduced sorting along landed wealth by 30 percent. Eventually, this reduced peers’ political power and affected public policy in late nineteenth-century England.” • Amazing. I wonder if Covid is doing anything similar.
News of the Wired
“Six Dead In Two Amtrak Crashes Due to Cars on Tracks Within 24 Hours” [Vice]. Thank you, vice, for the “Due to Cars.” Generally, it’s always the train’s fault, no matter how idiotic the behavior of drivers. However, in this Brentwood, CA and Mendon, MO: “Although the crashes occurred thousands of miles away, they have one thing in common: Both occurred at crossings without guardrails or alert systems. Authorities in Brentwood told the media that crossing sees an average of one to two crashes per year, a predictability that author Jessie Singer has argued strains the definition of the word “accident.'” • So why no level crossing signals?
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 EMM:
EMM writes: “I lucked across this really nice spot in Killarney National Park in Ireland. A Lord of the Rings type of place. O’ Sullivans Cascade. Thanks for listening.”
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:
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!