2:00PM Water Cooler 7/1/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Common Nightingale, Taliouline, Morocco. Quite a concert. 28 minutes!

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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

Capitol Seizure

“Why was there no organized resistance to Trump’s January 6 coup?” [WSWS]. “It is clearer than ever that neither before nor during the coup was there any attempt to forestall or obstruct it in any way. Now, the contrast between the scale of the crimes revealed and the meagerness of the reaction is staggering….. Its preparation was no secret; it was organized in plain sight to a large degree. Trump spelled out his plans again and again in the weeks and months leading up to the 2020 election…. No faction or individual in the political establishment attempted to prevent Trump’s criminal operation ahead of time…. On January 6 itself, there was no effort to put down the coup d’état while it was in progress…. The January 6 coup and the response of the entire political establishment to it demonstrates that opposition to dictatorship can only come from a movement that is based on the working class and fights for the overthrow of capitalism.”

“Jan. 6 wasn’t an insurrection. Stop calling it what it isn’t.” [Derek Snyder, MSN]. “Historically, Shays’ Rebellion (1786-1787), the Whiskey Rebellion (1790), and Fries Rebellion (1799) were actual acts of insurrection. Post-Civil War, the Wilmington Insurrection (1898) is by far worse than Jan. 6. Another one, the Battle of Athens, TN (1946), involved local armed WWII GIs taking over the town, forcing the corrupt sheriff to hide in the jail clinging to the election ballot boxes, until he finally surrendered and the GIs’ candidate won the election. There were the L.A. riots of 1992. And the BLM riots during the summer of 2020 caused 18 deaths, over $1 billion dollars in damage, including federal and state buildings, and in some cities sovereign nations were declared. Jan. 6. caused $1.5 million in damage and, despite what was often reported, one person was killed. An unarmed woman, Ashley Babbitt, was shot by a Capitol police officer. The officer’s interview on NBC resulted in more questions than answers about why he fired his weapon and killed Babbitt. The word insurrection is a legal term. Under federal law it’s a crime to incite or engage in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the U.S. or its laws. Black’s Law Dictionary defines insurrection as “a violent revolt against oppressive authority.” It is to be distinguished from a mob or riot based on organization of an armed uprising. Mobs and riots can involve unlawful and violent acts, but they aren’t necessarily insurrections. A revolt is an act to overthrow the government. Insurrection, therefore, requires an organized group that plans an attack to overthrow the government. To date, a small percentage of the approximately 725 charged have been accused of violent crimes, and no charges of rebellion or insurrection have been filed.” • My heart is with the WSWS (see that last sentence). My head — at least on this issue — is, sadly, with Snyder.

“Jan. 6 committee rallies around Hutchinson amid Trump World onslaught” [Politico]. “The Jan. 6 select committee is raising sharp doubts about the credibility of Tony Ornato, a former Trump White House aide who played a featured role in this week’s explosive testimony by onetime colleague Cassidy Hutchinson.” And: “Ornato, a veteran Secret Service agent of more than two decades with stints in the presidential protection division under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was detailed to the White House by Trump in late 2019 and appointed deputy chief of staff, an unusual arrangement for a law enforcement official.” • I’ll say it’s unusual.


“Laws targeting free speech about abortion would put journalists in the line of fire” [Prism]. “New anti-abortion model legislation released last week by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) would force anyone who publishes work online to grapple with that question, putting journalists who cover abortion squarely into legal crosshairs. The model legislation—which NRLC hopes will be adopted by state legislatures around the country—would subject people to criminal and civil penalties for ‘aiding or abetting’ an abortion, including ‘hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion.’ Unsurprisingly, the text offers no guidance on how broadly or narrowly the provision might be interpreted: Does it cover an article on how medication abortion is accessible by mail or reporting on the medical consensus that it’s safe? What about a story on the opening of a new abortion clinic, or one covering the work of abortion care clinicians, advocates, and doulas?… [AT]he First Amendment may not offer much refuge. The legislation prohibits “encourag[ing] abortion access,” which might mean virtually anything—and that’s by design. With laws like these, both the cruelty and the vagueness are the point. Conservatives have used precisely the same playbook with “Don’t Say Gay” laws and so-called “anti-CRT” legislation—the ill-defined and vaguely-worded laws leave so much uncertainty about what’s prohibited that people start policing their own speech out of sheer caution. The result is that a vast amount of speech is chilled without the state ever having to lift a finger for enforcement. While one might expect such clauses to be struck down as First Amendment violations, given the vagueness and overbreadth, it’s no longer a given that the U.S. Supreme Court or the lower federal courts would adhere to longstanding precedent to do so. Overwhelmingly Republican-controlled state supreme courts probably would not stand in the way either. Thus, if the model legislation is adopted and allowed to stand, deep-pocketed anti-abortion activists could use it to tie up news outlets in costly litigation, wasting both time and money crucial to our continued operation.”

Biden Administration

“How unpopular is Joe Biden?” [FiveThirtyEight]. Handy chart:

“US Supreme Court’s blockbuster term reverberates through America” [Financial Times]. “The Supreme Court is set to weigh more divisive issues in its next term, which starts in October. It has agreed to hear a case over affirmative action based on race in university admissions, and will take up a free-speech case involving a website designer who has refused to create pages for same-sex weddings. Environmental regulation will once again be before it in a case involving a couple seeking to build on land the EPA has deemed protected wetlands. And justices on Thursday accepted a case involving North Carolina that could give states free rein to regulate federal elections.”


* * *

“The (new) GOP plan to defeat Raphael Warnock and Mark Kelly” [Axios]. “In a broadly unfavorable national environment for Democrats, control of the Senate may rest on a pair of incumbents with two of the most compelling backstories in politics — Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona. Warnock is the pastor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Kelly is a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, a gun control activist who survived an assassination attempt in 2011…. Republican strategists have discovered a problem: Personal attacks on two of the most vulnerable Democratic senators are falling flat because of their likability.” So the Republicans are trying to tie both to Biden. But: “Senate races tend to be candidate-versus-candidate contests. And both Sen. Kelly and Sen. Warnock have a strong identity, a strong record of service to their states, and they are backed by a unique and deep coalition that is drawn to them, not any one individual party,” [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director David Bergstein] told Axios.”

RI: “Notes on the State of the Primaries: June 29, 2022” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “The latest positive indicator for Republicans was an independent poll of Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers the western half of the state. A Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll found that former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R), who was also the party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2014 and 2018, was leading the likeliest Democratic nominee, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, by a 45%-39% spread. This comes in a district that Joe Biden carried 56%-42%; Rep. Jim Langevin (D, RI-2) is retiring. The poll was completed a few days before the Dobbs ruling. We flagged this race as a potential sleeper when we initially rated the Rhode Island districts back in February, and we considered rating it just Leans Democratic at the time, but we stuck with Likely given the fact that Republicans have not won a House race in the Ocean State in nearly 3 decades and that the district, at the end of the day, may just be too Democratic to elect a Republican these days. But independent polls of congressional districts are hard to come by, and Suffolk generally does a decent job.” • Hmm.

WI: “The Democratic primary that could determine the future of abortion rights” [Politico]. “Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) are backing Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s 35-year-old lieutenant governor who’s led the polls for months. However, 34-year-old Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry is catching up down the stretch after spending millions of his own dollars. That’s not all: Sarah Godlewski, the 40-year-old state treasurer, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, 46, fill out the top tier of candidates in a state with a history of surprising Democratic primaries. All four candidates offer a generational contrast from the tempestuous Johnson, who at 67 is running for his third term after twice beating former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). Each Democratic candidate wants to eliminate the filibuster to preserve Roe, and none believe in any abortion restrictions. The biggest difference among them is on adding seats to the Supreme Court, a liberal goal that Nelson supports, Barnes is open to and Godlewski and Lasry oppose.”

WI: “The rot runs deeper” [Don Moynihan, Can We Still Govern?]. “Republicans in the state legislature do not believe that the Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, should have the power to appoint officials, a power that all of his predecessors held. They have operated on this belief by refusing to schedule hearings, or holding hearings when they determined that they wanted to fire the acting Cabinet officials. For example, after a mainstream nominee for the Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection criticized the legislature for not providing enough funding to address farm suicides, the Senate convened a hearing, and voted him down. The message was clear: regardless of the fact that their gubernatorial candidate lost, the Republican legislature had decided their party would continue to run the executive branch. This extremism was surprising in its novelty, if not its intent. As soon as Republican Scott Walker lost the 2018 election, the legislature used a lame-duck session to remove from the new Democratic Governor and Attorney General many of their traditional powers. For example, Evers was restricted from determining how Medicaid could be implemented, even though Medicaid expansion was a signature campaign issue that helped get him elected. Walker signed these laws, and the conservative-leaning supreme court blessed them. All of this occurred in the aftermath of an election where gerrymandering meant that Democratic candidates had won considerably more votes than Republicans for the state legislature, but gerrymandering allowed Republicans to control 63 of 99 state Assembly seats.” • Yikes!


“GOP megadonors turn on Trump after Jan. 6 hearings, set sights on DeSantis, Pence and other 2024 hopefuls” [CNBC]. “Support from some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors for a 2024 White House run by former President Donald Trump is dwindling, especially after damaging new details of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, were revealed at a hearing Tuesday by the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Republican financiers and their advisors have been privately meeting since the committee started to release the initial findings of its probe in a series of public hearings earlier this month, according to interviews with top GOP fundraisers who have helped the party raise millions of dollars. Most of the people asked not to be named because they didn’t want to provoke retribution from Trump or his allies. “Donors are very concerned that Trump is the one Republican who can lose in 2024,” Eric Levine, an attorney and longtime GOP fundraiser, said after the hearing Tuesday featuring testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. ‘I think donors were already moving away from Trump,’ he noted. Levine is co-hosting a fundraising event for the Trump-endorsed former TV host and current Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in New York in September, according to an invitation reviewed by CNBC.” • Oh, Mehmet Oz.

“DeSantis backers plot early 2024 boost” [Axios]. “A new political group led by veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins is looking to jump-start a potential Ron DeSantis presidential bid with a legally extraordinary attempt to beef up his donor contact list, Axios has learned. The group, Ready for Ron, says it plans to gather the names and contact information of more than 1 million DeSantis supporters nationwide by the end of the year — then provide that potent political asset, free of charge, to the DeSantis camp. Campaign finance experts say its proposed tactics are legally questionable, and, if accepted by federal regulators, would remake how candidates ‘test the waters’ before runs at public office.” • Ingenious, though!

“The Clinton Moment” [John Ellis, News Items] (Ellis). “Now is her moment. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade creates the opening for Hillary Clinton to get out of stealth mode and start down the path toward declaring her candidacy for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination.” Biden is too old. There is no bench. ‘If anything, veteran Democrats are even more pessimistic about Kamala Harris as a potential presidential nominee. As for the others, former Vice President Al Gore is probably the party’s best bet. He has indicated zero interest in running. That leaves former Secretary of State John Kerry, Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, California Governor Gavin Newsom and….maybe….possibly….an outsider like Sheryl Sandberg (ex-Facebook COO) or Bob Iger (ex-Disney CEO). That’s the field. When describing it, the word “formidable” does not spring to mind. Nor do the words “up to it.'” • Make it stop.

Republican Funhouse

“Election deniers have taken their fraud theories on tour — to nearly every state” [NPR]. “An NPR investigation found that since Jan. 6, 2021, the election denial movement has moved from Donald Trump’s tweets to hundreds of community events like these — in restaurants, car dealerships and churches — led by a core group of election conspiracy influencers like Keshel and Clements.” • Handy map:

Oh, here’s a caption:

David Clements talks to audience members after speaking to the Surry County board of commissioners during a presentation by several individuals that aimed to cast doubt on election integrity, urging the commission to replace existing voting machines with purely paper ballots in Dobson, N.C., on May 16.

So, if election denial brings us hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, o felix culpa! (Meanwhile, I’m always a little take aback by liberal aghastitude at similar efforts: They’re going on speaking tours! They’re running for office!! First, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in a democracy? Second, isn’t is possible — hear me out — for the Democrat party apparatus to counter the moves?

“State education board members push back on proposal to use ‘involuntary relocation’ to describe slavery” [Texas Tribune]. “A group of Texas educators have proposed to the Texas State Board of Education that slavery should be taught as ‘involuntary relocation’ during second grade social studies instruction, but board members have asked them to reconsider the phrasing, according to the state board’s chair. ‘The board — with unanimous consent — directed the work group to revisit that specific language,’ Keven Ellis, chair of the Texas State Board of Education said in a statement issued late Thursday.” That’s a mercy. Here is the real story: “The working group of nine educators, including a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is one of many such groups advising the state education board to make curriculum changes. This summer, the board will consider updates to social studies instruction a year after lawmakers passed a law to keep topics that make students ‘feel discomfort’ out of Texas classrooms. The board will have a final vote on the curriculum in November.” • Education ought only to be comfortable? Really? (Note that when urban liberals ask “Why don’t they just move?” that’s…. forced relocation, albeit forced by “the market,” not an overseer.)

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!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“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.

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As in South Korea, so in the United States:

This seems famliar:

“Multiple Indicators in Survey Research: The Concept “Sense of Political Efficacy” [George I. Balch, Political Methodology]. From the introductory paragraphs:

I wonder if there is a partisan breakdown on “political efficacy.” After all, conservatives just won a fifty-years-long political battle on abortion, a project on a scale which liberal Democrats can’t even conceive of. The dichotomy:

AOC (1): 15% seems high, in fact loan shark-high:

AOC (2):

It will be interesting to see if MTG’s views carry weight if and when the Republicans carry the House. Or will the Republican leadership back off, beholden to The Blob?

“Supreme Court to hear Syracuse COR developers’ appeal in ‘Buffalo Billion’ case” [Syracuse.com]. “The Buffalo News reports the Supreme Court, which includes newly sworn-in Justice Katanji Brown Jackson, will hear development executive Louis Ciminelli’s appeal of his July 2018 conviction for federal wire fraud and conspiracy in the Cuomo-era program. Ciminelli, former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros, and former Syracuse COR developers Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi filed a joint appeal arguing that the “right to control” theory of the federal government’s case was constitutionally flawed…. According to the Times Union, the “right to control” theory argues that anyone who denies necessary fiscal information to an entity is criminally culpable for denying it the right to control its economic decisions. In their appeal, lawyers for Aiello and Gerardi said their actions do not constitute a crime, as the state suffered no loss of money or property by picking COR as a developer because the projects were completed as promised.” • Bob comments: “They finally put that fack f*cker Aiello in jail a few months ago, and now the Supremes are going to weigh in. I wouldn’t be surprised to have them find for the payers of the bribes. These sorts of cases are very dangerous to the people that own everything, including the politicians. And they never even tried to go after Cuomo, who everyone agrees was the ultimate beneficiary of this giant, steaming pile of sh*t.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“At least 90 lawmakers became foreign agents after exiting Congress since 2000, study finds” [Washington Times]. “Foreign interests in Turkey enlisted the most former lawmakers, 16, with governments and groups in South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and China not far behind. The Quincy Institute research identified some prominent former Democratic lawmakers performing ‘perfectly legal influence work’ at the behest of Turkish interests. They include former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri and former Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan…. It is not just Democrats cashing foreign interests’ checks. The Quincy Institute pointed to former Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, doing work for Hikvision, a Chinese state-owned video surveillance company. Former Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, went from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to representing the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, the report noted…. Of the 90 former lawmakers, 49 are Republicans and 41 are Democrats, the researchers said.”

“Boebert, court decisions ignite debate over church and state” [The Hill]. Boebert: “The reason we had so many overreaching regulations in our nation is because the church complied. The Church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church.”

“Q Is Back and It’s Tearing the QAnon World Apart” [Vice]. “[O]utside of this small circle of believers, the wider QAnon community is still celebrating the return of Q, oblivious to the fact that the new Q drops appear to be written not by a secret military intelligence insider, but by a 58-year-old pig farmer who’s obsessed with fountain pens.” • Various technical details imply that the current “Q”, the pig farmer, is not the previous, authentic Q.


* * *

• UPDATE “Monkeypox mutating 12 times faster than expected amid warning UK cases could hit ‘60,000 a day’” [Independent]. “Monkeypox is mutating up to 12 times faster than expected, a study says, amid warnings the UK could see as many as 60,000 new cases a day by the end of the year. As of Sunday 26 June, there were 1,076 cases across the UK, up by 166 on the previously Friday with health experts stating the outbreak is likely to spread further over the coming weeks. While a surge to tens of thousands of daily cases in six months might seem exteme, scientists have found the virus appears to be mutating at an unusual rate.” • Ph.

• UPDATE [bangs head on desk]:

The best part of this long and hilariously angry thread:

Quite a find. The study actually measured for airborne virus by waving a Q-Tip in the air. That’s science, published here by a gaggle of lab-coated wankers from employees of the CDC’s International Emerging Infections Program.

* * *

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:

We now see a slight increase, but under the hood the BA.4/BA.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 ~109,000. Today, it’s ~108,000, and 108,000 * 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.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

1.0%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)

Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 29:

NOT UPDATED Wastewater data (CDC), June 4 – June 18:

CDC’s wastewater chart is down again.

This chart works a bit like rapid riser counties: “This metric shows whether SARS-CoV-2 levels at a site are currently higher or lower than past historical levels at the same site. 0% means levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% means levels are the highest they have been at the site.” So, there’s a bunch of red dots on the West Coast. That’s 100%, so that means “levels are the highest they’ve ever been.” Not broken down by variant, CDC, good job.

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 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].

MORONIC CDC FAILS TO UPDATE “DAILY” REPORT YET AGAIN 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.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

Status quo.


Very volatile, but a lot more yellow since the previous update several days ago.

Get ready.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,042,678 1,042,291. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Stats Watch

“United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI fell to 53 in June of 2022 from 56.1 in May, pointing to the slowest growth in factory activity since June of 2020, and below market forecasts of 54.9. New orders contracted for the first time in two years (49.2 vs 55.1), in a sign rising interest rates are hurting demand. Also, employment declined further (47.3 vs 49.6) although companies improved their progress on addressing moderate-term labor shortages at all tiers of the supply chain. At the same time, supplier deliveries slowed (57.3 vs 65.7) while production (54.9 vs 54.2) and inventories (56 vs 55.9) increased slightly faster and price pressures eased (78.5 vs 82.2). Meanwhile, business sentiment remained optimistic regarding demand, but firms continue to note supply chain and pricing issues as their biggest concerns.”

* * *

Tech: “Cruise robotaxis blocked traffic for hours on this San Francisco street” [TechCrunch (dk)]. Yesterday’s story verified. And: “The issue calls into question the policy cities need to build around autonomous vehicles when they break the law, as well as Cruise’s own operational protocol for these types of incidents. In April, a Cruise car was pulled over by a police officer because its headlights had malfunctioned. An Instagram video of the event shows the car pulling over when signaled to do so, but when the cop tried to open the driver-side door, the vehicle drove off and then pulled over a little way down the road and activated its hazards. The cop then approached the vehicle again. No citation was issued.” • This is like one of those Philip K. Dick futures where nothing works.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 24 Extreme Fear (previous close: 22 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 1 at 12:53 PM EDT.

Groves of Academe

Zeitgeist Watch

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Trucker Nation” [John Paul Hampstead, The American Mind]. “Meanwhile, the truck driver remains a window into what’s left of the American soul: sick unto death, hated by the regime, under continuous surveillance, pulled to and fro by algorithms ultimately constructed by the Saudi and Chinese limited partners of venture capital firms, constantly reminded of his own obsolescence, waiting to be replaced.” • The author works for Freight Waves. Amazingly, this is published by the Claremont Institute.

News of the Wired

UPDATE “Harmonizing Prokaryotic Nomenclature: Fixing the Fuss over Phylum Name Flipping” [American Society of Microbiologists]. Strong stuff for the taxonomically inclined, so I won’t quote it, except for this one sentence: “Together, these changes will help researchers attain chaos-free uniform nomenclature.” • Let me know how that works out.

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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. From RM:

RM: “Things are popping out all over. Western Spiderwort.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. albrt

    Lambert, as somebody pointed out in the comments yesterday, the CDC variant chart has been updated to 6/25. May need to refresh your browser?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the CDC variant chart has been updated to 6/25

      The 6/25 chart is “updated” using CDC’s NowCast, “a model that estimates more recent proportions of circulating variants and enables timely public health action.” Having demolished one CDC model already, I don’t trust this one. There is a radio button to turn off NowCast; if you do, you will see that the date is 6/11.

      I prefer to wait for actual data, not CDC’s model.

      1. ambrit

        I remember when the Pentagon’s “model” of military operations in Vietnam said that almost a million ‘enemy’ soldiers had been killed. The “true” figure is closer to 200,000.
        Beware models, as Profumo could warn us.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          So you’re saying, “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” . . .

  2. Carla

    Gavin Newsom as candidate? An alcoholic, adulterer, sponsored by an oil aristocracy family, who married a billionheiress, who gets special real estate deals and has failed at everything he promised?

    Two examples:



    If the Democrats want to win, they will beg Tulsi Gabbard to run as their candidate. Otherwise it’s DeSantis/Gabbard, or Ventura/Gabbard, or Gabbard/Ventura.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Bah[1]. A couple of weeks on the Fox Leg Cam and she’ll be a shoo-in.

        [1] Truth in posting: I gave $5 to Tulsi during 2020 in hopes she would make a debate stage. Urged to do so, in fact, by this very commentariat.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Urged to do so, in fact, by this very commentariat.

          First, the commentariat is not a second* entity. Second, it was good she got on the stage!

          NOTE * I think I meant “separate.” Looks like the “second” to go with the “first” emerged prematurely!

      2. AndrewJ

        She says the right things sometimes, but other times her religious fundamentalism is prominent. She’s not a candidate I could get behind.

        1. marym

          She goes on Tucker and talks about a few things counter to policies of the Democrats. These may be valid points, but wouldn’t make her a likely Dem candidate. Her website currently has no policies, mostly bio and some generalities about war

          1. Pat

            Hasn’t stopped the Democrats from supporting Manchin, Casey, Cuellar, etc all of whom qualified for the BIG TENT.

            I realize you know the difference, but can we please be accurate and make it clear that often this is not counter to the policies of Democratic voters but what is deadly is when it is is counter to the unwritten policies that are largely different from the Platform which fund Democratic Party Leadership grift in the form of donations and retirement sinecures.

            1. marym

              OK re-wording it: Talks about a few issues on which she takes positions that disagree with the Dem establishment party line.

              That’s all she does. Her website says nothing even about those issues. That doesn’t seem to be sufficient to indicate whether she she’d be a good president or a good candidate.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I gather you have to pay $70/year to join and get everything the paying supporter gets. If there is more there for the paying supporter, you would have to pay to see it and to know what it is.

          2. John

            “talks about a few things counter to policies of the Democrats” The Democrats have policies! I am shocked, shocked. I thought they just had donors and activists.

      3. super extra

        who is this magic candidate the democratic party could run who is supported by more than a “small, but devoted cult”?

      4. Danika

        Such anger, something about her must terrify the insiders. No way she would stoop to the Democrats. Independent or GOP definitely.

        Who might support her?
        Tucker Carlson viewers,
        Far leftists,
        Peace activists,
        Women of color, except Kamala’s clones,
        People suffering medical debt who like Universal Health care,
        Social security and medicare recipients,
        Alienated Democrats,
        Alienated Republicans.

        Nah, she doesn’t have a chance :-)
        Let the PMCs select another loser.

        Don’t forget Josh Hawley.
        There’s an intellect. Imagine him debating the Kamaleon?
        His wife, like him, successfully argued before the Supreme Court.

        1. dcblogger

          there is no evidence that those groups would support her. Fox news viewers will vote Republican like they always do. Trump voters wills vote for whoever the Republican nominee is. The military is NOT a monolith, it reflects the country, so I don’t see any one candidate getting the military vote. But I would note that Northern Virginia, home of the Pentagon, Ft Myer, Ft Belvior, and the Occoquan Marine base, voted for Biden, Clinton, and Obama twice. So I really do not see any evidence that the military would turn our for Tulsi Gabbard. Leftists voted for Bernie in 2016 and 2020, don’t see them supporting Tulsi in the future. Environmentalists did not support her last bid, neither did African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, or even Hawaiians. She has a devoted following and nothing else.

          1. Pat

            On Trump voters, I think it will depend on the Republican nominee, for many some one who denied Trump the nomination would be a no go. Think of it as Sanders being the nominee in 2016 and Clinton voters. (Since data shows that the majority of Sanders voters did wear a respirator and voted for Clinton it can’t really be turned around.)

          1. John

            Hawley is an ambitious young man isn’t he? Other than chutzpah, what are his attributes?

      5. flora

        It much pains me, really, to note Tulsi is WEF. WEF membership is an automatic disqualifier for me no matter how good a candidate sounds. Membership in WEF means, to me, the candidate’s fidelity to a “higher corporatist” over whatever is said to the voters. Claiming ‘better than Dem/GOP pols’ isn’t a claim for MainStreet. But that’s just me.

        If Jesse runs he will have my vote, and not because I want to put a finger up to the currently ruling Dem/GOP elite but because I think he has a Main Street common sense to what we have before us. I’m willing to be proved wrong on this idea. (OK, let the flaming being. heh.)

        1. flora

          adding, on a wholly trivial point (forgive me): her Cruella De Vil hair style, with stark white streaks in black hair, makes my point. What the heck signal is she sending?

          (Don’t @ me about a women’s appearance being judged differently than mens’ appearance in politics. Of course it is. Everyone knows this. It is a thing, fair or not. She must know surely know this.)

          1. flora

            going on too long:
            If tomorrow you notice the stark white streaks in her hair begin to fade out, I think that will be a sign her campaign managers read NC. / heh

            1. super extra

              I thought she had poliosis? natural thing that happens after a certain age in some people. sometimes it happens as an autoimmune response along with other illnesses. I developed it after having covid as part of a case of VKH. I knew a guy who developed a white spot in his hair after a really stressful family event. There’s a basketball player who has the white hair in his eyelashes. Some people get vitiligo with it, others don’t.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                always reminds me of what happens to Bob the (black) Cat when he insists on pettings after ive applied corn starch to my sweaty dadbod…i turn him into a skunk.
                it’s become a thing with us.

                and, weird religion aside, Tulsi’s definitely antiwar, and a whole lot more believable in her compassion for regular folks than anyone else i’ve seen in politics.
                i think she’s hotter than hell, too…fwiw…which would make for a more pleasing presser/STOU.(something something about “getting behind her”…smh)
                as for WEF membership…first i’ve heard of it.
                if those reptiles invited me…i’d be there with bells on…and make darn sure to bring my stick.

                that that writer is actually suggesting Bob iger and sheryl frelling sandberg as postbiden democratic contenders is really all i need to know about him.
                let Rev Barber run, instead.
                i might actually make it to the polls this time.

                1. super extra

                  aww bob! after I developed my spot, my family started calling me the silver skunk. god bless em :|

                2. flora

                  Oh indeed. Forgive me for saying my personal observations, which may mean nothing in the long run, and may be entirely wrong. M. Tulsie’s speeches are, to me, perfectly fit to the anxieties of our times and perfectly fit to ‘fool the voters’ about her deepest corportest intents. She was quick to change parties, after all, to the most corporatist party in the US. See the WEF

                  on a wholly ‘nother aside: my very deepest best wishes to you and family in your grief and your creating a celebration for the life of your dear family member loss. Been there, done that, it’s hard. Are we not supposed to talk about the hardness of losing a dear one? It’s hard. It continues for some time after the ‘you ought to be over it by now’ outer world’s thinking. OK, too much, sorry. My best deep regards to you and your family.

                3. Pat

                  Hey it could be worse, as tone deaf as the writer is I am surprised they didn’t include Bezos or even better Starbucks union busting or at least ignoring Howard Schultz although I think he became an independent not that that would preclude him probably.

              2. Ghost in the Machine

                I am pretty sure she has stated that she got the white streak during or soon after her time in Iraq. She thinks because stress.

                If true, I would definitely keep the streak.

          2. Bart Hansen

            You want Cruella style, check photos of Fiona Hill’s testimony back during the time of Vindman, the man who would be King of all Ukraine.

            Now Fiona got a makeover with light highlights and a puff piece on at least one of our two major papers.

      6. drumlin woodchuckles

        It is true enough that no Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites support Tulsi Gabbard? But is that enough to equal “nobody”?

        Remember this deathless quote? ” How could Nixon get elected? I don’t know ANYBODY who voted for Nixon.” –some liberal

      1. Danika

        A misogynist gigolo backed by a couple of corrupt local familes might cut it in Cali, but not nationwide.

        1. Yves Smith

          Unfortunately, with the bench both parties have, who knows what will fly. But I think Youngkin by virtue of being rich, relatively new to politics (as in less dirty laundry) and very tall, will be the winner. Not that I like him, he just has fewer warts.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            And if Youngkin wins, what’s left of the Democrat Party will curl up at his feet like a purring cat. “What a relief to be out of “power’!”

            1. caucus99percenter

              The dustup over race as a metric in admissions to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, which among other things left a distinct taste 👅 of being scapegoated and ganged up on in many Asian-American parents’ mouths, didn’t help.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                This doesn’t explain uniform increases across the state by parents. No one in Roanoke or Norfolk cared. David Wasserman noted Danville was a particular problem for Terry Mac. TJ is meaningless there. Virginian students spent the most time out of school compared to other states with teachers completely left to their own devices.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > An alcoholic, adulterer, sponsored by an oil aristocracy family, who married a billionheiress, who gets special real estate deals and has failed at everything he promised?

      He’s perfect!

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      After the way the Democrats utterly and totally betrayed and double-doublecrossed Gabbard, she will never run as a Democrat for anything ever again.

      Currently she seems to be exploring growing a movement to see how much and where-to it will grow. She may re-enter the sewage lagoon of electoral politics as a Republican or an Independent, but not in 2024. That is too soon for anything to develop in her favor.

    3. Darius

      Assuming he is kept off the ballot this year in North Carolina, Matthew Hoh should run, perhaps on the Green Party line. They’re on the ballot in most states. He could take a chunk out of the Democrats. Good payback.

    4. Tom Stone

      No mention of snorting coke off of Ruby’s …in the Mayor’s office?
      I thought it was hilarious when she got out of rehab and got right into the whole “making amends” mode by letting it all hang out.
      We’ve had worse Governors, but Newsome is Noisome.

      1. Skippy

        This back in the Calif days of the late 80s was seen as a right of passage … I came out the other side … where lesser mortals did not …

    5. Anthony G Stegman

      Lots of politicians hailing from California think they have national appeal. Very few actually do. Jerry Brown comes to mind. Gavin Newsom will find that his political career will be limited to California. Senator Newsom is very possible. President Newsom very likely not.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lots of politicians hailing from California think they have national appeal. Very few actually do.

        Also Harris. The counter-example would be Reagan, but Reagan was already a national figure before becoming Governor of California.

        1. Pat

          Sadly, in a similar manner I think the cult of celebrity would have meant that Schwarzenegger would have had a shot if he had been eligible. He would have been acceptable to the 0.1%, at the time he was close enough for the Christian Right, and his personal rags to Terminator riches story worked.

          In a similar vein, I vacillate between optimism that people know better and dread finding out people really are stupid if Oprah ever runs. I hope I never find out.

    6. Carla

      I happen to agree with “Carla” about Gavin Newsome, but I’ve been commenting here as Carla for at least 12 years, and I did not compose the comment above. Welcome to the new (or newer) Carla with a friendly invitation to consider adding another initial or other unique identifier to your handle so that others do not confuse us one for the other. You might not want to be thought responsible for my comments, after all.

      1. Carla

        This was a reply to the comment way above posted by “Carla” on July 1, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Perhaps technically true, but what is a President going to do if his protective detail refuses to follow a directive from the President? Being armed versus not armed is nine tenths of the law.

    2. Carolinian

      More from Turley


      Patrick Lawrence with another good column


      And I found this description of Canada interesting even if from a paleocon point of view.


      The Canadian medical system is often seen as a central feature of “Canadian values” that are alleged to make Canada definitively more compassionate, caring, and ethical, than the said-to-be morally indifferent United States. Many Canadians are willing to accede to virtually anything the government demands—if they can only be assured of quality medical care.

      Perhaps Dems fretting about Biden’s 36 percent should take note. But they probably won’t. The New Deal has been exchanged for the Old Deal where plutocrats run everything.

  3. Jason Boxman

    FYI Lambert Walgreens is up 1.8% as of 6/29. I’m gonna call this the start of a new epic wave as we head into the summer. It’s gonna be great!

    And the Omicron proportion tracker says “Update in progress” on the graphic with a 7/1 date.

    And update as of today 7/1:

    In response to the rise in other Omicron sub-variants, the National Omicron Sub-Variant Trend header has been updated to include confirmed BA.4 and BA.5 cases. As noted previously, reduction in next-generation viral genome sequencing services is still ongoing. Therefore, due to lower volume of sequencing results and to ensure PHI compliance, states with less than 10 cases are shaded in ‘light grey’.

    If only the Centers for Disease could keep up.

    Stay safe out there!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lambert Walgreens is up 1.8% as of 6/29

      I must have just missed it (as “Update in progress” would suggest).*

      I’m not ready to call a wave yet (although the case count is starting to look that way).** But I will be tape-watching really hard after the Fourth of July weekend.

      * Keeping track of what chart got updated when is a PITA, and wouldn’t it be great if we had regular updates, like serious countries do.

      * * Biodata seems to contradict this. I’m just not sure about Biodata, and that makes me queasy.

  4. Jeff W

    (Note that when urban liberals ask “Why don’t they just move?” that’s…. forced relocation, albeit forced by “the market,” not an overseer.

    The (presumably) “forced relocation” of the closing parenthesis to…well, elsewhere is subtly meta. Calligrams next?

      1. Jeff W

        Ha, yeah. I love your writing but the closing parenthesis thing (or lack thereof) drives me crazy. It’s like the punctuation version of waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Still, I recognize that it’s completely trivial in the grand scheme of things.)

  5. ambrit

    Mini Zeitgeist Report.
    First, I was in the local Alcoholics Enablement Outlet Monday. There was a new manager behind the counter. What happened to the nice woman who used to be there? She died. Dropped dead of cardiac failure at home, at the age of 33. I knew she had Lupus, which is reason enough for the event. However, I do remember her telling me about getting vaxxed and wondering if she should get boosted as well. So, there is that.
    Second, we had a visit from middle daughter and teen grandson and granddaughter for belated birthday visit for Phyl. All claimed to be ‘safe’ and not recently knowingly exposed to Covid, so, against my better judgement, no masks. The air cleaning units were going full blast. Windows open, though temperatures were a bit below summer normal for here, as in lower 80s.
    Daughter knows friend who’s Mom is a medium scale Medium. Made some good money with two brick and mortar offices, one in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge. Since the Covid arrived, migrated to mainly online ‘seances’ action. Business has steadily declined over the last two years and she is now considering throwing in the ectoplasm and retiring. Basic observation given for this is that people no longer have the disposable income to dedicate to the spirit world, and gatekeepers thereof.
    You know times are tough when the Witch Doctors are going out of business.
    Was questioning an auto dealer’s parts counterwoman about the unavailability of a fuel hose for the car. She seriously suggested that we purchase a new car. Talk about an Upton Sinclair moment!
    Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” No truer words.
    Stay safe. Watch the fireworks from the great outdoors. It’s much safer that way.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The air cleaning units were going full blast. Windows open, though temperatures were a bit below summer normal for here, as in lower 80s.

      Not to pile on, but fans? I’m a big believer in fans. (Maybe an air quality engineer can tell me if they interfere with the “air cleaning units” (Corsi-Rosenthal boxes?). I’m guessing no.

      1. ambrit

        Some ceiling fans, several stand alone fans spread throughout the house, mainly as single window air conditioner assists, but no box fans in the windows if that is what you mean. A Corsi box in the living room, for which we get twitted by family. Also a pair of ‘air cleaner’ stand alone filter units with ultraviolet light sterilization function. In short, an eclectic mix. (We are the dreaded “obsessional, quack medicine promoting old fogeys” of both families. I don’t think there is a “Horse Paste” ‘joke’ I haven’t heard from them. In older times, we would have been the “strange” uncle and aunt banished to the attic when company comes over. “It’s curious about Uncle ambrit. He keeps saying, ‘Han shot first!’ How quaint.”)
        Stay safe! Enjoy the spectacle!

        1. fjallstrom

          How much noise does the Corsi box do? On the scale from a fridge to a washing machine?

            1. ambrit

              Thank you. It is like everything else. You become accostomed to the “average” noise level. At one time, back in the sixties, we lived next to the main runway of the Miami International Airport. After a few weeks, we became ‘used’ to the sound of jets taking off and landing. It took us more time getting used to the relative silence when we moved to another part of Miami than we first did the airport noise level. Go figure.

      2. Lex

        More ventilation is always better ventilation. A solution to pollution is dilution.

        Also, they waved a q-tip in the air … smdh

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      Why would she need to believe that Ukraine is a boondoggle for the West/US?

      Is she just a reactionary opposed to anything the Libs say?

      Strange times when I support Tucker, MTG, etc over AOC, Bernie et AL!

      I’m fiercely anti war and pro global peace. Anything to get us there!!!!

  6. caucus99percenter

    Tulsi Gabbard and, oddly enough, MTG seem to be speaking truth there when none of the elite-approved political figures will, i.e. when it comes to Ukraine, or Julian Assange.

    More power to them. Fie on liars and those who run interference for liars.

    1. Late Introvert

      AOC spouting that pro-war NATO-speak was educational. I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed, Dem Rats will do what Dem Rats do.

  7. Lee

    Drought In Western Kansas Exacerbates Global Wheat Shortage Science Friday

    Fortunately, I guess, I have late in life developed non-celiac wheat allergy along with a number of other food sensitivities I never had before. It’s as if my digestive system is devolving to a pre-agricultural, pre-northern European stage of evolutionary development. Condolences to all you wheat eaters.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      after 6+ years of biblical grasshoppers, during which time, there were no pecans, acorns or mesquite beans….the hoppers are gone(birds are all back, along with abundant lizards).
      ergo, the mesquites are all fully loaded with red beans…and i’ve been out there picking them and squirrelling them away in grain sacks.
      “make hay while the sun shines”, and all…because i expect severe food shortages later this year.
      still waiting to see how the acorns and pecans are doing.

      and…mesquite flour is gluten-free

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It’s nice when The Plague lets up, at least a little.

        Their staple food in Octavia Butler’s Parable series, set mostly in southern California, is acorn flour.

  8. Mikel

    “Surprised nobody has pointed out if you find it all over surfaces that means it’s even MORE LIKELY YOU CAUGHT IT IN THE AIR….”

    Not only that…how are you all feeling about going to the stores these days and trying on clothes???

      1. Mikel

        And the fact that pox viruses can spread via shared linens and clothing…there’s that too…

      2. chris

        You mean, your stores have rooms where you can try clothes on? Around where I live few stores re-opened their dressing rooms. Most are still closed. The experience of shopping at Target for anything is awful. Some stores like REI or Men’s Wearhouse have dressing rooms and large HEPA units outside of them. But most stores where I could use dressing areas don’t have them anymore.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given that the WHO and Gebreyesus are pretending that monkeypox is not an epidemic and their studied obstruction of declaring it a pandemic as long as they can, it seems obvious to me that they ( WHO and Doctor Evil G ) are trying to prevent control of it until they can make it become an irreversible pandemic.

      Deliberately and on purpose.

      So watch out for monkeypox.

    2. griffen

      Nope, I’ll keep buying waste* size 32/33 and deal with it later! Shrink to get leaner, or fatten up to be fitting but not that snug. Yeah that’s a typo but I’m gonna leave it. One hell of a week.

      Now shoes on the other hand. I can’t just guess anymore as to fit and comfort There is the Gump approach, and just wear lots of shoes.

  9. Pelham

    Re the observation that the GOP is like the Uvalde shooter and the Dems like the Uvalde cops: I like that. But on closer consideration, I think it actually distorts the case. The two parties are both shooters, and there are no cops.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      That seems right. Bill So Hard is entertaining. Drifted over there for about 10 minutes.

  10. wsa

    Spiderwort is a nice native, though I have to admit I prefer one of its other informal names: “cow slobber.”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      One of the few flowers in the yard when we moved here was a Spiderwort. I’ll say three things about it:

      1) It’s cool the way the blossoms close during the heat of the day;

      2) Bees love it about as much as anything; and

      3) It’s really good at spreading. Cut off the blossoms when they’re spent. Otherwise, you’ll get little singletons like the one pictured, but they’re perennials so they’ll establish another mound.

  11. rowlf

    Reporting from Georgia, USA.

    First, no Columns Of Russian Tanks spotted. I think John McCain lied to me that they were everywhere in Georgia.

    Second, whoever makes the Raphael Warnock tv ads is a pro. Very well done ads and a welcome counter to almost all other political advertising. Recommended viewing.

    Last, the 2018 Brian Kemp ads were fun when you understand that Kemp looked at the percentages in the electorate and decided to make the Democratic party supporters heads’ explode while distinguishing himself from the usual Republican fruitcakes jockeying for position.

  12. jax

    “Laws targeting free speech about abortion would put journalists in the line of fire”

    Guess the first case will be the Washington Post who published a helpful guide for not getting caught seeking an abortion in today’s digital edition. Talking about VPNs and whether Signal is the best encrypted app – and it wasn’t even paywalled, so they want everyone to see it. Oh, I so hope a state or 12 takes them to court. Pass the popcorn. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/06/26/abortion-online-privacy/

  13. Wukchumni

    A good many of the walking trails in Sequoia NP are unfortunately closed due to issues with availability of semi-conductor chips, but on a ‘50% more weekend’ such as this one, just finding a place to park in the National Park is incredibly difficult. This time tomorrow drivers will be jockeying-vying for a place to rest their 4 wheels good.

    1. Geo

      Might be visiting Sequoia in a few weeks. Only have a day there if I do. Would you (or any others here) have any recommendations of spots to see and off-the-beaten-path areas to stay?

  14. Tom Stone

    I have a background in Credit Card risk management and would rather see a more nuanced approach to Credit Card rate caps.
    I’ve seen an 18% prime rate,peg it at 700 basis points above prime adjusted twice annually.
    Low enough to encourage responsible underwriting, high enough to give a nice steady profit to the lender.

    No arbitration requirements allowed.

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    In response to rowlf:

    He’s a charismatic minister, not a safe seat dotard. It’s showbiz at the end of the day. I’m loathe for people who don’t to use religious language, but charismatic religious types know the game.

    1. rowlf

      All valid. I have marketing allergies so it is nice to have some ads that are not leveraging fear.

      Now if Warnock could promote right sizing US oligarchs and promoting US autarky…

  16. Jason Boxman

    California Requires Plastics Makers to Foot the Bill for Recycling

    Possibly some rare good news?

    In one of the most ambitious statewide attempts to reduce dependence on plastics, California instituted a new requirement that makers of packaging pay for recycling and reduce or eliminate single-use plastic packaging.

    The law, signed by California’s governor on Thursday, is the fourth of its kind to be passed by a state, though experts say it is the most significant because it goes further in requiring producers to both make less plastic and to ensure that all single-use products are recyclable or compostable. Last summer, Maine and Oregon passed the country’s first such requirements, known as producer-responsibility laws.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      So what will become of all the Trader Joe’s plastic packaging? Costco too. The double bagging of various Costco bread is particularly reprehensible.

  17. The Rev Kev

    The Democratic Party of South Korea had the presidency and once-a-generation supermajority. They were riding on a massive popularity wave because the Moon admin handled COVID exceptionally well. And they pissed away that moment.’

    Has Robby Mook being doing himself some consultancy work?

  18. kareninca

    This has probably come up without my seeing it – although I have looked – but there’s something I don’t understand about using sewage data to estimate the number of cases. Do they have some way to adjust for the differing attributes of different variants? And different attributes of the human/rat/deer populations?

    Couldn’t two variants produce the same viral load, and so produce the same sewage quantity, but one be much better at sticking to receptors than the other? And so cause more cases, despite the same sewage reading? Couldn’t two variants produce the same viral loads in the body, but one ends up in sewage in greater quantity due to how the body processes the remains of the virus? Couldn’t something about the population (vaccination rates, prior infection rates, use of Paxlovid) affect the viral loads that are found in the sewage?

    For intance, it is being claimed in some quarters that vaccinated people take a lot longer to clear the virus than unvaccinated people do (the idea is that their bodies do not see the virus as being as threatening, and so doesn’t mount as vigorous an attack). So they are shedding into the sewage a lot longer. However, if the local population is highly vaccinated, then the greater quantity in the sewage may not indicate that there are more cases (I am NOT claiming that these hypotheticals are true; I’m just coming up with an example of how it could work).

    Also, if some people have hidden reservoirs of the virus in their bodies for a year or more, could they be shedding in sewage without being infectious?

    Again, this has probably come up already. It is just occurring to me since suddenly the sewage is improving in the Palo Alto, CA area but I don’t have a sense that cases are going down.

  19. Tom Stone

    The only one of the recent Supreme Court decisions I agree with is Bruen.
    Particularly in light of their other decisions and their announced intent.
    Women and Minorities have been the fastest growing portion of the firearms owning public, the number of top female shooters has exploded over the last decade and good training is widely available.
    Black Gun Owner’s Associations have become much more common as have groups of the “Pink Pistols”.
    That trend is likely to accelerate,which given the reality of American “Society” is a good thing.
    Sometimes reality sucks.

    1. ambrit

      Not to be confused with the PMC funded remake/reboot; “The Unbearable Lightness of Seeming.”

  20. Tony Wikrent

    I believe Heather Cox Richardson’s interpretation is much more accurate than Snyder’s ““Jan. 6 wasn’t an insurrection. Stop calling it what it isn’t.” Richardson brings the perspective of a scholar of the periods leading up to and after the American Civil War, and a firm grasp of the ideological wars that precede civil conflict. Her June 28 podcast, reviewing the June 6 Commission testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson is especially powerful. I am rather surprised that her material is not regularly featured here at NC.

    Richardson’s 2020 book, How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America (Oxford University Press) is especially important for properly understanding the irremediably seditious nature of modern American conservatism, libertarianism, and today’s Republican Party.

    Here is Richardson explaining the real war of ideologies behind the Watts decision: Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade. And she provides even more historical background on this ideological war in this podcast from yesterday.

    Again, I really think that NC is missing the boat by not covering Richardson much more often.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Richardson brings the perspective of a scholar

      I suppose I should crack one of Richardson’s popularizations; but from the reviews I have (here, here) she treats the West and “the South” as entities with political agency. Further, her analytical scheme seems to give a walk-on role, if that, to the Populists, which wouldn’t make Thomas Frank happy. Neither demonstrates a “firm grasp” of anything. More to the point at the present juncture, Richardson, like most liberal Democrat operatives and pundits, is far too spook-adjacent and RussiaGate-addled for me to take seriously. For example, from Richardson’s Substack in 2020:

      “We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November.”

      Thus reads the first line of a top-secret CIA assessment, published on August 31 but reported today.

      Top sekrit! In the lead, no less! Haven’t we learned, over the years, to ignore any story with quotes from anonymous intelligences sources in the lead? Because they turn out to be lies, as indeed would would expect, coming from professional liars as they do?

      And RussiaGate:

      In her testimony before Congress, [warmongering goon Fiona] Hill warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was attacking our elections. Tonight, she reiterated that Putin was deliberately pitting the extremes of American society against the great middle to tear us apart and destroy democracy. When asked to speculate on why the Russians are backing both Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, she said, “What the Russians are looking for is the two candidates who are kind of the polar opposites… So that it exacerbates… the polarization in the country.”

      Yes, this is the Russian disinformation that sold me on Sanders (the Times actually published this with a straight face):

      In the first few minutes of her video, Richardson refers to the events of 1/6 as a “coup” (not the same as an insurrection, obviously, but that’s what she said). Somewhere in the bowels of the CIA or State there’s a three-ring binder that gives the operational definition of a “coup”; we should know, because we’ve sponsored so many (including the coup in Maidan that brought about the current confrontation between two nuclear power). The events of 1/6, by that definition — liberal Democrat aghastitude not being one of the bullet points in the binder — are not a coup. It’s careless and definitely not scholarship to confuse the two. If I want to know the latest liberal Democrat party line and/or what The Blob thinks should be done about Russia, I can read the Washington Post or the New York Times. I don’t see what value-add Richardson brings, any more than I saw the value-add of Maddow.

  21. bwilli123

    Interesting takedown of Van Der Lyden in ‘Foreign Policy.’

    …”Indeed, Germans mistrusted her so badly that her appointment to lead the European Union was largely greeted with skepticism in the country, although she is the first German to hold the office since Walter Hallstein in 1958.
    What’s remarkable is not that she has failed so badly in the position. She rose, after all, by playing on her family connections. What is, however, remarkable is she has failed in so nearly the same way as in her last two positions. Running the Bundeswehr, she entrusted the army’s procurement efforts to neoliberal market logic espoused by management consultants, and things went poorly. A few years later, responsible for Europe’s vaccine procurement efforts, she has faced criticism for placing too much trust in the free market, failing to insist on centralized control of vaccine production and distribution within the European Union. As a result, people are dying.
    For any other politician, one suspects it would have been a career-ending mistake. But the world works differently for von der Leyen, and the press has already largely moved on from her disastrous mismanagement of Europe’s vaccine procurement efforts. She is one of the hübsche, Germany’s privileged few.”


    1. JohnA

      And the email dialogue between VDL and big pharma has managed to delete itself, coincidentally.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a letter someone got from Homeland Security after being caught sending a mean tweet on twitter with generalized performative threatening language in it. It goes to show that Homeland Security is watching.

    Perhaps in future tweeters of unhappy tweets should alter their language to say things like . . . . ” I hope the (targets of my anger) all die in an earthquake. I hope a meteor hits you all. I earnestly pray for your death by cancer.”

    Would Homeland Security consider that illegal too?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I earnestly pray

      There is a category of prayer called “imprecatory prayer,” where you express just such desires. The Old Testament is a rich source. You could quote it, or simply cite chapter and verse. Many, for example, are familiar with these verses from Psalm 137, the source of a lovely reggae song:

      By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
      when we remembered Zion.
      2 There on the poplars
      we hung our harps,
      3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
      our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
      they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

      4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
      while in a foreign land?

      Few are familiar with the imprecatory ending:

      8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
      happy is the one who repays you
      according to what you have done to us.
      9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
      and dashes them against the rocks.

      So a reference to Ps 137:9 should do the trick. Who, after all, could take issue with a Bible quotation?

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I believe Willem Dafoes character in THE LIGHTHOUSE invokes Neptune in an imprecatory prayer of Vengeance!

        Robert Pattinson *SPOILER ALERT* shoulda never killed that seagull smdh….

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Well, here’s a story of an activist preacher in Benton Harbor, MI who was sentenced to 3-10 years for “threatening” a judge by quoting Deuteronomy 28:13. (This part of a lo-o-ong story does have a somewhat happy ending, but you’d have to read a lot to get there, and I don’t want to be giving out assignments.)

  23. caucus99percenter

    @ drumlin woodchuckles
    > Would Homeland Security consider that illegal too?

    Depending on who is attacking whom, to a large extent already prosecutable in Germany and other E.U. countries as intimidation / “hate speech” / Volksverhetzung.

    Slippery slopes. “Stochastic terrorism,” “creating a climate of hostility,” and all that.

    Free speech / free press as they had been understood since the American and French Revolutions left the building years ago.

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