By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, this is a bit light because I’m on the road and fighting connectivity issues. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day
American Goldfinch, Mount Pleasant, Tompkins, New York, United States. “Song from a perched male, then flight calls as he flew away.”
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“At 43%, Biden’s Job Approval Rating Highest Since August” [Gallup].
* * *
“Column: Here’s Trump’s outlandish and dangerous plan to beat the classified documents case” [Los Angeles Times]. “[A]ddressing a rally and then a candlelight dinner at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club for donors who paid $100,000 apiece for the honor, Trump found his voice and proclaimed that he ‘had every right to keep’ the classified documents at issue. The day’s events reflected the Janus-like political and legal strategy that Trump will follow going forward. Outside the courtroom, he will beat the drums and raise money off what he portrays as a witch hunt; in court, his team will strive to put off a trial he can’t possibly win on the merits. Trump is engaged in an outlandish and, for the country, very dangerous plot to delay the case until he can end it by winning the presidency in 2024. At that point, he could just order the Department of Justice to stand down.” • I think both prosecution and defense have the electoral calendar very much in mind.
“Trump valet arraignment delayed after losing Florida lawyer over fees dispute” [The Guardian]. “Donald Trump’s valet charged in the classified documents case had his arraignment on Tuesday delayed for a second time to July by a magistrate judge, after he was forced to abandon his top choice Florida lawyer over a dispute about legal fees, according to two people familiar with the matter…. Two weeks later, Nauta remains without a lawyer admitted to practice in the southern district of Florida after the person at the top of the shortlist drawn up by Nauta’s defense team decided he needed to charge higher fees to represent him the night before the arraignment, the people said.” • No man is a hero to his valet….
“Was Garland Lying? New York Times Confirms Weiss was Blocked from Bringing Additional Charges” [Jonathan Turley]. “I recently wrote a column entitled ‘Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers?’ after the allegations of IRS whistleblowers and the categorical denial of Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Hunter Biden investigation. I noted that it would not be a difficult question to answer given the highly specific account of the whistleblowers of meetings, including witnesses. Now the New York Times has confirmed one of the key allegations. While the newspaper buried the major fact in the 21st paragraph of the story, it confirmed that U.S. Attorney David Weiss did attempt to bring additional charges in California and D.C. but was blocked. Many have observed that the placement of the disclosure in the Times is a classic example of ‘burying the lede.’ If this were Bill Barr, the confirmation of the story would have been a banner headline. Instead, the confirmation is found in with the baggage 21 cars down the train.”
“IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley says he was barred from taking ‘certain investigative steps’ that could’ve led to President Biden” [New York Post]. “The IRS whistleblower accusing the Justice Department of interfering in the Hunter Biden tax fraud probe claimed in a new interview that his team was prevented from taking investigative measures that ‘could have led us to President Biden.’ IRS supervisory agent Gary Shapley, who delivered bombshell testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in May related to the five-year-long tax fraud investigation of first son Hunter Biden, made the assertion in a sit-down with CBS Evening News that aired Tuesday. ‘There were certain investigative steps we weren’t allowed to take that could have led us to President Biden,’ Shapley told CBS reporter Jim Axelrod.” • Shapley is still working for the IRS.
“Appeals court dismisses Ivanka Trump as co-defendant in civil fraud case against Donald Trump” [CNN]. “A New York appeals court has dismissed Ivanka Trump as a co-defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, his children and the Trump Organization, according to a court order filed Tuesday. James filed the lawsuit against the former US president, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization, among others, last September, alleging they were involved in an expansive fraud lasting over a decade that the former president used to enrich himself. The court order dismissed the claims against Ivanka Trump as untimely after finding that she was not a party to an August 2021 agreement between James’ office and the Trump Organization to toll the statute of limitations.”
* * *
“GOP presidential candidates struggle with response to Trump’s unprecedented legal troubles” [Associated Press]. “Even the most aggressive have layered their criticism of Trump with attacks against the Justice Department — for bringing charges against him — that make it difficult at times to determine exactly where they stand on the former president. And that’s precisely the point, given Trump’s continued popularity among GOP voters and his rivals’ desire to dent his lead without alienating his base. Indeed, most of Trump’s competitors are making a risky bet — for now — that the weight of his extraordinary baggage will eventually sink his reelection bid. They believe it will take time.” • It’s hard to imagine a more gigantic upraised middle finger than electing a former President indicted — or convicted! — by his political enemies. So Trump’s baggage would have to be more extraordinary than it already is; “dead girl or live boy“-level, which classified document mishandling — legal, apparently, for Democrats — is not.
“GOP presidential field embraces Trump’s border wall” [Axios]. “Almost every Republican running for president supports constructing a wall along the southern border, including candidates who were previously skeptical of the idea such as former Govs. Nikki Haley and Chris Christie. The GOP’s full embrace of a border wall — a concept that most Republican candidates mocked or criticized during the 2016 primary — is the latest example of how Donald Trump has transformed the party’s approach to immigration. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a sweeping immigration proposal at the border Monday, calling it a ‘no excuses’ plan to finish the wall and execute other promises Trump failed to deliver on. ‘Obviously, you did have some wall built, but not nearly enough,’ DeSantis said about Trump’s immigration policies in a Monday press briefing. ‘I think a lot of the things he’s saying I agree with, but I also think those are the same things that were said back in 2016. And here’s the thing: We’re not getting a mulligan on this one, OK?’ he added.
“Miami GOP Mayor Francis Suarez jumps into presidential race” [Politico]. “Last month Kellyanne Conway told POLITICO reporters in D.C.: ‘I’ve not been shy about telling President Trump that Suarez should be on the short, short list for VP should Trump be the nominee.’ Suarez has argued that Democrats have been ‘reckless’ in their branding and ‘messaging’ with Hispanics. He argued that Republicans in general have a ‘tremendous opening’ in part because Trump supported rolling back policies the Obama administration had put in place for Cuba.”
* * *
The Twitter Files still reverberating:
Here, at least, RFK is 100% right. Not only that, nobody else is saying it!
* * *
“Cornel West is running for president to dismantle the US empire” [Al Jazeera, YouTube].
“Can Cornel West Win in 2024?” (interview transcript) [Cornel West, Glenn Loury (!)]. Here’s the video:
Williamson: “Abolition wasn’t politically feasible”:
Abolitionists, suffragettes, early labor organizers, civil rights workers— surely they too felt hopeless by the enormity of their challenges. But they rose to the occasion – and so can we. #Marianne2024 pic.twitter.com/mfaLWq48LV
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) June 27, 2023
* * *
The scale of Mayo Pete’s ambitions:
In San Diego, CA we’re deploying 23 hydrogen fuel-cell buses and building a workforce development program with Palomar College.
Our investment will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, increase service reliability, and create a pipeline of good-paying jobs. https://t.co/EM4BrdbQ1L
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) June 27, 2023
23 buses! Just imagine!
“Supreme Court rules against North Carolina Republicans over election law theory” [SCOTUSblog]. “In a major election-law decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that although the Constitution gives state legislatures the power to regulate federal elections, state courts can supervise the legislature’s exercise of that power. By a vote of 6-3, the court rejected the so-called ‘independent state legislature theory,’ holding that the North Carolina Supreme Court did not violate the Constitution when it set aside a congressional map adopted by the state’s legislature.’… Republican legislators came to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, challenging the state supreme court’s decision. They argued that when it set aside the legislature’s congressional map, the state court violated the ‘independent state legislature’ theory. That theory, which the Supreme Court has never endorsed in a majority opinion, rests on two provisions of the Constitution. In Moore, the legislators point to one of those provisions, Article I’s elections clause, which provides that the ‘Times, Places and Manner’ of congressional elections ‘shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.’ Article II’s electors clause provides that states shall appoint presidential electors for the Electoral College ‘in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.’ These provisions, the theory’s proponents contend, mean that state courts lack the power to supervise how state legislatures run elections for Congress or the president – including, as in this case, the power to set aside congressional powers. The ‘independent state legislature’ theory first made an appearance at the Supreme Court in a concurring opinion by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Bush v. Gore, the case that halted the recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. In an opinion joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas, Rehnquist contended that the recount ordered by a state court violated the legislature’s authority under the electors clause because it conflicted with the deadlines set by the state legislature.” • Bush v. Gore. Memories…
“___ don’t let the sun set on you in Florida”:
I’m warning socialists and communists not to travel to Florida. They are not welcome in the Sunshine State.pic.twitter.com/ZB4RVz6XdK
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) June 27, 2023
Of course, many Republicans believe that liberal Democrats are socialists (or communists (or Marxists)), which is analytically the sloppiest knee-jerkery imaginable (and I have a vivid imagination). Do you see liberal Democrats calling for the ownership of the means of production by the working class? No? Then they’re not Marxists (or socialists (or communists)). Because that’s the Marxist project in a nutshell. And trust me on this — Democrats hate the working class just as much as Republicans do.
Democrats en Déshabillé
Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert
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.
* * *
“Obama’s Personal Investment Deals Mirror Tax Strategies He Once Criticized” [Lee Fang]. “Barack Obama campaigned extensively during his presidency to eliminate the ‘carried interest loophole,’ a tax strategy that allows billionaire investors to evade ordinary income taxes… Obama, while in office, said this ‘loophole’ leads to ‘folks who are doing very well paying lower rates than their secretaries.’ However, since leaving the presidency, Obama has employed a similar tax strategy to potentially only pay capital gains taxes for the services he has provided to private business interests. One example of this is Obama’s strategic partnership with NBA Africa, which was announced in July 2021, as part of an expansion of Africa’s largest men’s basketball league. According to private information I obtained, the deal is structured as a ‘profit interest’ share.”
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Trump’s Kryptonite: How Progressives Can Win Back the Working Class” [Jacobin]. “The Center for Working-Class Politics (CWCP) sees its work as part of this larger project. We aim to provide research that will help progressives expand their appeal among working-class voters, in the hope of achieving our shared political goals. In November 2021, together with Jacobin and YouGov, the CWCP published findings from our first original survey experiment, designed to better understand which kinds of progressive candidates, messages, and policies are most effective in appealing to working-class voters. Among other things, the survey found that voters without college degrees are strongly attracted to candidates who focus on bread-and-butter issues, use economic populist language, and promote a bold progressive policy agenda. Our findings suggested that working-class voters lost to Donald Trump could be won back by following the model set by the populist campaigns of Bernie Sanders, John Fetterman, Matt Cartwright, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, and others. Yet our initial study left many questions unanswered and posed many new ones. Which elements of economic populism are most critical for persuading working-class voters? Would economic populist candidates still prove effective in the face of opposition messaging and against Republican populist challengers? How do voter preferences vary across classes and within the working class? Can populist economic messaging rally support from working-class voters across the partisan divide? To address these questions, we designed a new survey experiment in which we presented seven pairs of hypothetical candidates to a representative group of 1,650 voters. We assessed a vast range of candidate types (23,100 distinct candidate profiles in total) to better understand which candidates perform best overall and among different groups of voters.” • Oh. A survey. (On the CWCP: Matt Karp is on the Board, which speaks well of the project. That said, I could wish for the presence of some board members from outside academe. From the same axis–
“What Running on a Jobs Guarantee Could Mean for Democrats” [The Nation]. “In fact, one of the clearest findings from a new survey launched by the Center for Working Class Politics (CWCP) is the persistence of support for progressive jobs proposals as part of a broader economic strategy. In our first study, titled ‘Commonsense Solidarity,’ we found that candidates who run on bread-and-butter economic issues like jobs policies fare better with working-class voters than candidates that do not. In the survey we just launched, ‘Trump’s Kryptonite,’ respondents were given the choice between candidates with a variety of demographic characteristics and policy positions, including two jobs policies: one a more moderate and mainstream jobs proposal, and the other advocating a bold federal jobs guarantee. Both policies were broadly popular across the group of respondents, underscoring the continued importance of jobs policies for American voters. Democrats, regardless of class, overwhelmingly supported the federal jobs guarantee in our survey by a margin of nearly four to one, signaling the popularity of this proposal across the Democratic base. But our results revealed important differences in support for these policies based on the party and class of respondents. First, and most significantly, while both policies were popular across the pool of respondents, the progressive jobs guarantee was most popular among working-class respondents—and not just those who identified as Democrats but also working-class independents and Republicans as well. Importantly, working-class people from either party were more likely to prefer progressive economic policies than their middle- and upper-class counterparts. . Not only did some Republicans and independents respond favorably to this policy, but , which could indicate that it is less likely to generate electoral backlash for a political candidate in a competitive district. In fact, we found that even in the face of Republican opposition messaging, broad support for a jobs guarantee actually increased slightly. The power of the jobs message surprised even us.” • Too bad the Democrat base isn’t the working class, but that’s where we are. For example:
Wild how fast they went from "we support workers rights and healthcare for all!!" to "get back to work at ur shit min wage and don't you dare ask for healthcare if you get long covid, which is made up btw"
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) June 28, 2023
Seems appropriate to share this meme I made again pic.twitter.com/5p24IJgEeH
— 💖Local Cryptid Aggie Panda💖😷 fuck walensky (@aggie_panda) June 27, 2023
So fascinated by the self identified leftists on here who are vehemently against collectivism, human rights, and community care https://t.co/phD5VmmChF
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) June 27, 2023
The so-called left — the left we hear about, the left of the NGOs — is just as “commmitted to the bit” as any other PMC fraction, that is, totally.
“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison
Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). NEW “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).
Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort.
Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard);
MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV ( wastewater); WY ( wastewater).
Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).
Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).
Stay safe out there!
Why not roll back Semmelweis too?
The human touch is back!!! From tomorrow all our clinics will no longer use surgical gloves in any medical procedure. They are inconvenient, uncomfortable and interfere with immunity development..so no more gloves, we are bringing back the loves pic.twitter.com/79QlfOJHLi
— Prof Cynthia Doença AC (@DoencaProf) June 26, 2023
Covid is Airborne
I still hear of people looking for a way to carry an #Aranet around. This is mine: searched for a small mesh bag with a ring on the zipper, use a carabiner to attach it to something. Check the metal on the zipper every couple weeks and flatten with pliers to close any gap. pic.twitter.com/gBURlxWymp
— ~the biggest mood~ (@kelcsimpkins) June 27, 2023
“Reckitt creates ‘air sanitizing spray’ effective against coronavirus” [Reuters]. ” Reckitt’s (RKT.L) Lysol disinfectant brand said on Tuesday that it would start selling in the U.S. an ‘air sanitizing spray’ that kills 99.9% of airborne viruses and bacteria. The spray, which Reckitt said helps reduce the spread of airborne pathogens such as cold, Influenza and Coronavirus, has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Reckitt, Clorox (CLX.N) and other disinfectant makers benefited from a boom in sales of surface cleaners and wipes. At the time, there were no products suited to sanitizing air, though some anxious consumers took to spraying surface cleaners into their surroundings. ‘We’d actually been investigating previously around air transmission, but I would say that the inflection point was really born out of COVID,’ Chris Jones, Reckitt’s category group director for R&D for Lysol & Harpic…. The formula contains active molecules that are hygroscopic in nature, which allows the molecules to attach to microorganisms suspended in the air. Once attached, the molecules break down the structural membrane of the microorganism, leading to its destruction, Reckitt said.” • Maybe. It’s very bad of me, but I’m picturing myself whipping out my spray bottle and hosing down a gaggle of anti-maskers…
Arts community committed to the bit:
"We share the air," says the concert venue's pre-recorded telephone message.
So get a free refund & stay home if sick? No.
Wear a mask to avoid spreading viruses? No.
We upgraded our ventilation to keep you safe? No.
"…so please don't wear scented products," it concludes.
— Eric Kennedy (@ericbkennedy) June 26, 2023
“Promises and challenges of mucosal COVID-19 vaccines” [Vaccine]. From the Abstract: “Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are given intramuscularly and they have been shown to evoke systemic immune responses that are highly efficacious towards preventing severe disease and death. However, vaccine-induced immunity wanes within a short time, and booster doses are currently recommended. Furthermore, current vaccine formulations do not adequately restrict virus infection at the mucosal sites, such as in the nasopharyngeal tract and, therefore, have limited capacity to block virus transmission. With these challenges in mind, several mucosal vaccines are currently being developed [nobody ever mentions Bharat, or Cuba] with the aim of inducing long-lasting protective immune responses at the mucosal sites where SARS-COV-2 infection begins.” And from the Conclusion: “The information still emerging from research on the basic biology of SARS-CoV-2 and also clinical outcomes of infections and vaccinations, likely, will allow us to design second generation vaccines that are superior to natural immunity, either through vaccine design and/or vaccine schedule. Mucosal vaccines show great promise in solving the limitations of first-generation vaccines and providing needle-free alternatives to the vaccine hesitant.” • A good wrap-up, worth reading in full.
“Safety, immunogenicity and protection of heterologous boost with an aerosolised Ad5-nCoV after two-dose inactivated COVID-19 vaccines in adults: a multicentre, open-label phase 3 trial” [The Lancet]. N = 11 ,410. “Aerosolised Ad5-nCoV is one of the first licensed mucosal respiratory vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the world; however, the safety profile of this vaccine has not been reported in a large population yet.” From the Discussion: “[D]ue to the relaxation of restrictions in China on Dec 7, 2022, a major outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the dominant omicron subvariants BA.5.2, BA.2.76, and BF.7, occurred. The outbreak provided a chance to compare the protection level of aerosolised Ad5-nCoV versus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine as a booster following the priming immunisation. Aerosolised Ad5-nCoV showed a relative protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection of 35·1% (95% CI 23·0–45·2) over inactivated COVID-19 vaccine around 12 months after the boost, regardless of the disease severity. Participants who received aerosolised Ad5-nCoV had a slightly longer interval between the booster immunisation and breakthrough infection than those who received the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, indicating a potential benefit associated with aerosolised Ad5-nCoV to delay infection.”
Immune System Dysregulation?
“More than 9,000 US flights delayed or canceled after severe storms” [CNN]. “The head of United Airlines, in a strongly worded memo to staff, blamed the FAA’s air traffic controller staffing problems for ‘unprecedented challenges’ this past weekend that impacted ‘over 150,000 customers on United alone.'” • Challenges? I wonder why?
“A surge in child strep throat cases is baffling N.J. doctors” [NJ.com]. • ‘Tis a mystery!
Science Is Popping
“This Blood Type Could Make You More Vulnerable to COVID-19” [Time]. “While working with scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a blood-based test for COVID-19, Dr. Sean Stowell, an associate pathology professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, learned the finger-like projections jutting from the SARS-CoV-2 virus were very similar to those from blood groups on human cells. The connection is important because the virus uses those projections, or proteins, as the entryway to bind to and then infect human cells. If the virus recognizes the blood group proteins, then that might mean certain blood groups could enhance the viruses’ ability to infect cells. That would provide an explanation for how blood type might play a role in COVID-19 risk….. With his team, Stowell did a series of experiments to understand the connection, and reported the results in a paper published this week in the medical journal Blood. He found that, indeed, the cells from people with blood type A were more likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 than cells from people with blood type O. Type O is essentially a clean slate when it comes to blood type proteins, so it can serve as a universal donor and be transfused to people with type A, B or AB and not trigger an immune response. Types A, B and AB, however, each contain different groups of proteins, or antigens, which, as Stowell learned, makes them interact differently with the COVID-19 virus.”
Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.
* * *
“Rochelle Walensky: Our Pandemic Despair Is Fading Too Quickly” [New York Times]. Oh no. No. “Yet I fear the despair from the pandemic is fading too quickly from our memories, perhaps because it is too painful to recall a ravaged nation brought to its knees.” Note lack of agency in “fading,” which Walensky’s gaming the data (see the “Green Map”) did so much to bring about. More: “As the leader of the C.D.C., I had the privilege of a unique perspective, seeing public health in the United States for both its challenges and its gifts. And yet the agency has been sidelined, chastened by early missteps with Covid and battered by persistent scrutiny. We tackled the aforementioned threats and barreled forward to address the hard lessons learned along the way.” • I haven’t seen any signs of “chastening,” certainly not in this screed. And the agency’s flip-flops on masking, tooth-and-nail resistance to airborne transmission, and total subservience to Biden’s policy of mass inection without mitigation hardly qualify as “barreling forward,” unless into the abyss of stochastic eugenics.
Life’s little ironies:
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 28, 2023
“DC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel” [CDC]. “CDC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel is a resource for health professionals providing care to international travelers. It compiles the US government’s most current travel health guidelines, including pretravel vaccine recommendations, destination-specific health advice, and easy-to-reference maps, tables, and charts.” Here is their Covid advice:
Inhalation of virus particles and deposition of virus on mucous membranes can be prevented by wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator and avoiding crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation. Handwashing can help prevent transmission from contact with contaminated surfaces (fomite transmission). Used in combination, layered interventions (e.g., mask wearing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, testing, isolation, quarantine, vaccination) are measures that can reduce risk of transmission.
Actually not insane, three years in. At least they mention “layered intervention.” However, I have never seen evidence of fomite transmission; we can cross out that passage as due to institutional factors at CDC, probably Hospital Infection Control. Nor does their notion of layered protection include sprays, whether Enovid, or Betadine, or even good old saline. (My mother was an intrepid international traveler long before Covid, and used saline to prevent dryness.)
I was hoping or some sort of airport transmission map from CDC’s “Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance” program, but no such luck. I guess they’d rather be writing articles….
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 26:
For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 24:
Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).
CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from June 24:
NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, June 26:
-1.5%. Still chugging along, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say.
Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, June 21:
Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.”
Total: 1,167,832 –
1,167,763 = 69 (69 * 365 = 25,185 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).
Excess deaths (The Economist), published June 28:
Lambert here: Still some encouragement! Not sure why this was updated so rapidly; it used to take weeks. The little blip upward? Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )
There are no official statistics of interest today.
“Mining lithium in the birthplace of Alberta’s oil industry for tomorrow’s EVs” [Bloomberg]. “The Leduc oil field was discovered in the 1940s, when a group of Imperial Oil Ltd. workers stumbled upon a well so profuse with petroleum that, on first drill, it burped a gaseous fireball almost 15 metres into the air. The discovery effectively birthed Canada’s oil and gas industry. Before long, prospectors were drilling thousands of holes across Alberta in pursuit of black sludge. Oil companies drilled more than 4,000 holes in the Leduc field alone. Today many of those wells have been depleted and abandoned. The cavities have been filled with cement, and some of the salvageable areas are now occupied by wheat farmers. What remains underneath these vast expanses, now that the oil’s gone, are large deposits of saltwater known as brine that contain traces of lithium, the coveted ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries. Early-stage mining companies such as the one Doornbos runs, E3 Lithium Inc., are betting they’ll one day be able to extract lithium from those underground aquifers at commercial scale.” • Oh, swell.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 75 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 28 at 1:48 PM ET.
And we’re working hard to bring the same system to Canada and the UK!
it’s so cool how every doctors office is one doctor and 15 people whose job it is to deal with insurance. good system.
— p.e. moskowitz (@_pem_pem) June 27, 2023
I can’t quite hear the name of the creed. The “sparkle” creed?
“I believe in a non-binary God whose pronouns are plural.” pic.twitter.com/9yknZi3sJ7
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) June 27, 2023
I suppose this creed is as intellectually tenable as the Nicene Creed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with Mary over there somewhere, but were I to believe in a God, that God wouldn’t have human characteristics, or even characteristics (that we could apprehend)).
A floating Petri dish:
— CNN International (@cnni) June 27, 2023
What a bloated, decadent monstrosity.
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush email exchange with Submersible Operations Expert (Rob McCallum) pic.twitter.com/XYQuoX4ryR
— Benjamin Young Savage (ᐱᓐᒋᐱᓐ) (@benjancewicz) June 26, 2023
News of the Wired
“Dreaming” [Becky Hansmeyer]. “Every day I drive down a small stretch of our town’s Main Street in order to drop my kids off at the elementary school, which is nestled a block over in the midst of a tightly-packed residential area, full of quirky old houses and frustratingly-narrow streets. The town has around 7,000 residents and, contrary to popular belief about small-town Nebraska, is wonderfully diverse…. I’ve been dreaming of having a little shop in this town for a long time, but I was never sure what exactly I would want it to be. A bookstore? A café? A few weeks ago an idea cropped up in my mind and has been nagging at me ever since: what about a yarn shop? I could offer a place to buy supplies, gather, take classes: a lovely third space for people who like to knit, crochet, sew, quilt, weave, whatever. There could be coffee, lots of plants, comfy couches.” • One for the knitters among us….
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 NM:
NM writes: “Lichen on a Trellis in my Backyard. I hope lichen qualify for water cooler posting. I was dumbstruck when I happened to see it.” Lichen qualify, under the “Fungi and coral” clause. I would wish for better depth of field here, but an oddity worth documenting!
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the 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:
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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!