By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
Freckled Nightjar, Omaruru; at railroad crossing just before Paula’s Cave, Namibia. “These birds sit in and on rocks near riverbeds. There was rain here during the night.”
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
Asking for my vote again:
Trump: "admitting Ukraine into NATO at this time is completely unhinged." pic.twitter.com/q3FrMPVQEs
— Ben Swann (@BenSwann_) July 20, 2023
“Trump and DeSantis to face off at Iowa’s famed Lincoln Day Dinner” [Washington Examiner]. “Iowa caucusgoers are about to be provided with their first side-by-side comparison of former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) as each candidate contends with a pivotal moment in their respective 2024 primary campaigns. The Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner is a critical opportunity for candidates to pitch themselves to the state’s caucusgoers, activists, and officials, according to University of Iowa politics professor Timothy Hagle. ‘What makes the RPI’s Lincoln Dinner a bigger deal is that it’s the state party putting it on, and those attending will be from across the state,’ Hagle told the Washington Examiner. ‘The event will draw many elected officials, as well as members of the county Republican organizations and other activists. That means it’s a very good place for candidates — and their staffs — to schmooze with the people that will be attending the caucuses, but also those who can influence others.’ That “influence” can include encouraging others to caucus for a candidate, but it can additionally encompass finding precinct representatives for the candidate or volunteers willing to door knock and phone call on their behalf, per Hagle.”
Why Did Jack Smith ignore Biden family scandals when he was head of DOJs Public Integrity Section, tasked with investigating political corruption?
In May 2014, the Obama/Biden White House was scrambling to deflect questions related to Hunter Biden’s new gig as a board member at… pic.twitter.com/Q6nP53cKRw
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) July 27, 2023
All of dear Hunter’s Burisma dealings happened when Smith was head of Justice’s Public Integrity division….
* * *
“The Mysterious Dark Money Group Connecting Trump, Christie, and DeSantis” [Daily Beast]. “Peck, a widely respected Republican strategist who prefers to operate in the wings, is DeSantis’ 2024 campaign manager, having quietly steered him to victory in 2022. But before she took the top job, she helmed a battery of low-profile conservative advocacy groups—where the funding is largely untraceable and the spending is exceedingly difficult to unravel, often by design. Peck’s present, however, is distinctly different from her past. A presidential operation tasked with taking down the most powerful force in the Republican Party has to reckon with far more public scrutiny than Peck has dealt with previously. And the transparency demanded of federal campaigns is entirely different from the occult financials of the comparatively obscure dark money groups and consulting firms where she cut her political teeth. Peck’s approach, and the complications she faces today, are captured in the story of one of those groups—a dark money nonprofit that Chris Christie started to support then-President Trump, but which in hindsight looks more like an incubator for a future DeSantis presidency. But after Trump was acquitted and Christie was gone, the group assumed what seems like its true purpose all along: a nozzle to spray anonymous cash to a broad range of conservative groups, issues, and politicians. RDA’s filings don’t appear in IRS searches, nor in any other public database that compiles those records. The Daily Beast previously obtained the group’s 2020 filing, which shows it doled out $700,000 in grants. Those funds went to two other secretive entities, both of which, like RDA, are classified as 501(c)(4) ‘dark money’ groups—and both of which are directly tied to Peck. When one of those groups, ‘Building a Better America,’ emptied its coffers in 2021—the year Peck moved to Tallahassee to take over DeSantis’ 2022 campaign—the group poured almost all of its bank account into reforming a federal environmental policy of deep interest to DeSantis: a Florida mining project.”
“Biden Allies Now Want to Run Against ‘Collapsing’ DeSantis Over Trump” [Rolling Stone]. “Some of Biden’s closest confidants have in recent weeks told the president that DeSantis has performed so poorly in the primary, that the governor would likely be notably weaker than the twice-indicted Trump in a match-up against Biden, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Biden has at times agreed with this premise in private conversations. It wasn’t always this way. As recently as late last year, there was a widespread feeling among Team Biden and prominent Democrats that the governor was the more formidable candidate than the twice-impeached former president. But the more they’ve seen of DeSantis running a presidential campaign, the less concerned they’ve become about whether he can be beaten.”
“DeSantis’ tourism district wants to cut $8 million for extra Disney deputies” [Orlando Sentinel]. “But district officials call the program ‘wasteful’ spending and say Disney should pay for its own private security, rather than relying on public dollars. Bay Lake’s proposed budget includes $7.4 million for off-duty deputies, while Lake Buena Vista has $2 million in its spending plan. With a combined population of only 53 residents, those cities are part of a unique government framework for Disney World. Disney hand-picks the residents of the cities, allowing the corporation to control the city councils.” • DeSantis could have been running against Disney, the corporation, because Disney’s deal with the state of Florida is absurd. But no, he had to tangle that up with “woke.”
“Florida’s Black history standards are even worse than reported” [Michael Harriot, the Grio]. “Not only are non-white taxpayers funding a disproportionately white version of history, but they are paying to whitewash their own. Meanwhile, white Floridians who want to learn more about their history and culture can take an Advanced Placement course in European History, German Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture or United States History. Even those not necessarily interested in white history can enroll in the AP Chinese Language and Culture, Spanish Language and Culture, Spanish Literature and Culture, and Japanese Language and Culture. AP African American Studies is banned in Florida, partly because it makes white people uncomfortable. Florida’s STOP WOKE Act prohibits classroom instruction that makes white people ‘feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress, because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race.'”
“VP Kamala Harris backed national high school course about slaves’ ‘skills’ before Florida controversy” [NY Post]. “Vice President Kamala Harris once praised a college-level class about slavery taught in high schools across the nation — even though it’s nearly identical to the Florida lesson she recently blasted as replacing ‘history with lies.’ The College Board’s 2023 AP African American Studies course includes a lesson about slaves learning ‘specialized trades’ that they used ‘to provide for themselves’ once freed — recognized by Harris earlier this year as part of ‘American history.'”
* * *
“Will the real Ramaswamy please stand up, please stand up” [Politico]. “During his time as an undergrad at Harvard, Ramaswamy had a side-hustle as a libertarian-minded rap artist who went by the stage name ‘Da Vek.’ The gig was an early sign of the extroverted, self-assured personality that has propelled him far further in the primary than virtually anyone expected. It makes him only the second known presidential candidate in a Republican party to have ever willingly embraced Eminem (after Marco Rubio). ‘I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,’ Ramaswamy, now 37 years old, said in an interview. A friend, who watched him rap at some point in his twenties, provided footage of it…. For Ramaswamy, the dabbling in rap was an early indication of the kind of presidential candidate he would be — one who is experimental, outgoing and most comfortable in the spotlight. Since launching his campaign earlier this year, Ramaswamy has been an omnipresent figure, demonstrating an eagerness to appear on a wide and diverse range of media platforms, from podcasts to Twitter Spaces.” • Meanwhile, a reader in NH reports: “Both of Vivek Whatshisname’s campaign signs are still there. Hard to see amongst the 3′ tall unmowed greens, but they’re there.” I would have expected them to be torn down.
* * *
“White House Backtracks on Hunter’s Business Deals” [CNN]. “Biden told Fox News on the campaign trail in September 2020, ‘I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,’ a categorical denial he later repeated the next month in a radio interview with WBZ Boston when he said, ‘I don’t discuss business with my son.’ But the verbiage shifted in June when Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, told the Washington Examiner, ‘As we have said many times before, the president was not in business with his son.’ On Tuesday, the White House press secretary repeated that line. Asked by RealClearPolitics at the daily White House briefing Wednesday why the language had shifted and if both statements were simultaneously true, Karine Jean-Pierre replied, ‘Nothing has changed on this. You could ask me a million different ways on this question. Nothing has changed.'”
Top Dems secretly want Biden replaced.
I've heard from some of my former establishment colleagues that Biden is even more frail in person than what we're seeing in public.
They are extremely worried about his candidacy but have been told to keep quiet.
Since I long ago ditched… https://t.co/mpCKeiORDi
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) July 26, 2023
“Frail Joe Biden FORCED to Use ‘Lower Stairs’ on Air Force One to Avoid More Embarrassing Tripping Incidents” [OK! Magazine]. “Biden is using “lower stairs” on Air Force One to avoid tripping incidents, such as the one that took place days prior amid his return from a press conference in Helsinki, Finland. Two of Biden’s advisors ‘privately acknowledged an intentional shift to steer the 80-year-old president to the lower stairs more often to make his travel easier and limit the possibility for missteps,’ it was reported. Another reported part of the plan was a change in his footwear, as he was notably wearing sneakers as opposed to dress shoes recently. ‘The sneakers are another concession to comfort necessitated by age,’ according to the report. ‘One person close to the president said Biden used to always resist wearing anything other than dress shoes, believing that any other footwear look was unpresidential. But he has eased up on that stance in recent months.'”
* * *
Biden denies RFK Secret Service protection:
Meanwhile this is the taxpayer funded Secret Service motorcade Hunter Biden receives on his way to court pic.twitter.com/X4skgKq7Hw
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) July 28, 2023
Why, it’s almost as if Biden were petty-minded and vindictive….
* * *
Ever since Cornel West announced his Green Party candidacy, some on the left decreed that Biden is so clearly the lesser of two evils, and that one's moral obligation in swing states is to vote Dem, that only a charlatan would contest this.
I asked West to respond. He did: pic.twitter.com/RWfRe40g21
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 25, 2023
* * *
The No Labels Scheme: Not Just Dangerous But Undemocratic” [Al From (!!), The Bulwark]. “[I]t is also worth noting more generally what the No Labels scheme would mean for our democratic system: It would roll the clock back on a half century of reforms by both major parties to democratize the way we select presidential candidates, to make the process more transparent, and to create new pathways for insurgent candidates to pursue the highest office in our land—all goals No Labels claims to support. Unlike the two major parties, No Labels plans no primaries or caucuses that allow tens of millions of Americans to participate in choosing their nominee. The organization remains curiously vague about its nominating process, saying only that it will hold a convention in Dallas next spring. .” • Dude. Remember how Obama selected Biden in 2020? Anyhow, the No Labels process is exactly what the DNC would revert to, if the outcome of balloting is not to their liking; see If You Want to Know What the Democratic Party Is, Just Ask Their Lawyer.
“A Four-Way Race? The 2024 Presidential Contest is Anything But Settled” [Politico]. “We are underestimating how turbulent next year’s campaign will be and how likely, on the current trajectory, it is to become a three or even four-person race. If voters are faced with a nearly 82-year-old incumbent who may not be able to serve a full second term and a 78-year-old challenger who could be a felon by election day, millions will seek a safe harbor… The possibility of Cornel West, tapping into the youthful discontent with the president, claiming votes from Biden’s left and a moderate, third-party candidate offering an escape hatch for voters who grudgingly supported Biden in 2020 is already panicking senior Democrats. But these officials have taken solace that, despite Biden’s weak approval ratings, no elected Democrat has emerged to challenge the president in the primary… Yet even that may no longer be a sure thing. U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Minnesota moderate, has been receiving inquiries about his willingness to challenge Biden and is going to New York City next week to meet with Democratic donors about such a race, I’m told. Phillips, who’s in his third term representing suburban Minneapolis, has drawn attention from contributors by both denouncing the ‘No Labels’ attempt to field a third-party ticket and calling for a contested Democratic primary next year. A former executive, he’s also the sort of pro-business social moderate with private sector experience who corporate leaders usually pine for in a presidential candidate.” • A “centrist dipshit“?
“The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2024” [CNN]. Manchin, Tester, Sherrod Brown, Sinema, Jacky Rosen, Tammy Baldwin, Bob Casey, Debbie Stabenow, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott.
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.
* * *
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Citizens’ Assemblies Are Upgrading Democracy: Fair Algorithms Are Part of the Program” [Scientific American]. “The Irish Parliament convened a citizens’ assembly, whose 99 members were chosen at random. The selection process ensured that the group’s composition represented the Irish population along dimensions such as age, gender and geography. Over several months in 2016 and 2017, the assembly heard expert opinions and held extensive discussions regarding the legalization of abortion. Its recommendation, supported by a significant majority of members, was to allow abortions in all circumstances, subject to limits on the length of pregnancy. These conclusions set the stage for a 2018 referendum in which 66 percent of Ireland’s voters chose to repeal the Eighth Amendment, enabling abortion to be legalized. Such an outcome had been almost inconceivable a few years earlier. The Irish citizens’ assembly is just one example of a widespread phenomenon. In recent years hundreds of such groups have convened around the world, their members randomly selected from the concerned population and given time and information to aid their deliberations. Citizens’ assemblies in France, Germany, the U.K., Washington State and elsewhere have charted pathways for reducing carbon emissions. An assembly in Canada sought methods of mitigating hate speech and fake news; another in Australia recommended ethical approaches to human genome editing; and yet another in Oregon identified policies for COVID pandemic recovery. Taken together, these assemblies have demonstrated an impressive capacity to uncover the will of the people and build consensus. The effectiveness of citizens’ assemblies isn’t surprising.”
* * *
“Dianne Feinstein misstep in key Senate committee raises more questions on lawmakers’ ages” [Sacramento Bee]. “For at least the second time in a week, Democratic colleagues had to prod Sen. Dianne Feinstein on how to vote in a committee meeting, once again raising questions about her fitness for office and whether elected officials should be subject to an age limit. In Thursday during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the California Democrat failed to cast a vote until directed by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, the committee chair. Feinstein, 90, didn’t initially respond when prompted to say ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ regarding a defense spending bill. ‘Say aye,’ Murray, the committee’s chairwoman, encouraged three times. Feinstein started to read from prepared remarks before an aide whispered to stop her. Another back-and-forth between Murray and Feinstein ensued, with the California Democrat seemingly questioning what to do. Feinstein then sat back and said, ‘aye.'”
“Mitch McConnell’s abrupt episode has an important public health takeaway” [STAT]. “The handling of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s abrupt medical issue this week is raising concerns among medical experts that the event sent a potentially dangerous public-health message — that when someone experiences an episode with symptoms like McConnell’s, they can simply return to work as though nothing had happened…. It’s unknown whether McConnell was examined by a doctor who cleared him to resume the press conference, and McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment on that matter. [Jose Vega, a neurologist at the East Carolina Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina] notes that he doesn’t necessarily think it would have been appropriate or essential to rush McConnell to the ER in front of cameras. But he added that people with ‘this very symptom, the very thing that this man suffered in front of those cameras — these are people who are brought to the hospital routinely to be examined for a potential acute stroke.'”
* * *
“Deep dive into Meta’s algorithms shows that America’s political polarization has no easy fix” [Associated Press]. “The powerful algorithms used by Facebook and Instagram to deliver content to users have increasingly been blamed for amplifying misinformation and political polarization. But a series of groundbreaking studies published Thursday suggest addressing these challenges is not as simple as tweaking the platforms’ software. The four research papers, published in Science and Nature, also reveal the extent of political echo chambers on Facebook, where conservatives and liberals rely on divergent sources of information, interact with opposing groups and consume distinctly different amounts of misinformation.” Importantly: “When they replaced the algorithm with a simple chronological listing of posts from friends — an option Facebook recently made available to users — it had no measurable impact on polarization. When they turned off Facebook’s reshare option, which allows users to quickly share viral posts, users saw significantly less news from untrustworthy sources and less political news overall, but there were no significant changes to their political attitudes. Likewise, reducing the content that Facebook users get from accounts with the same ideological alignment had no significant effect on polarization, susceptibility to misinformation or extremist views. Together, the findings suggest that Facebook users seek out content that aligns with their views and that the algorithms help by ‘making it easier for people to do what they’re inclined to do,’ according to David Lazer, a Northeastern University professor who worked on all four papers. Eliminating the algorithm altogether drastically reduced the time users spent on either Facebook or Instagram while increasing their time on TikTok, YouTube or other sites, showing just how important these systems are to Meta in the increasingly crowded social media landscape.” • Yes, the problem is political parties, not social media.
* * *
“Inside Washington’s most exclusive club” [Axios]. “White House chief of staff Jeff Zients invited all the former occupants of his office — Democrats and Republicans — to the White House this month for a wide-ranging conversation on the presidency, followed by a casual dinner at his D.C. home, according to participants…. Most of the counsel — along with praise for keeping the economy humming and resolving the debt ceiling standoff — was centered on how to run the White House effectively, regardless of which party controls it…. In all, 12 former chiefs attended: Jack Watson (Carter), Mack McLarty (Clinton), Erskine Bowles (Clinton), John Podesta (Clinton), Andy Card (Bush 43), Josh Bolten (Bush 43), Japan Ambassador Rahm Emanuel (Obama), Bill Daley (Obama), Jack Lew (Obama), Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough (Obama), Mick Mulvaney (Trump) and Ron Klain (Biden)…. [F]or the attendees, there’s camaraderie and comfort in belonging to the most exclusive club in Washington — and one that now includes dinner.” Oh good. “One practical tip from both Democrats and Republicans: Make sure the president takes debate prep seriously. Presidents tend to think they are prepared. They rarely are.”
“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; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).
Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!
Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); 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: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), 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!
Covid is Airborne
A trip to the dentist:
NO QUESTIONS ASKED: I was worried that staff or dentist would give me a hard time, but they competed routine procedures while purifier was running full speed in my face: x-rays, inspection, cleaning, flossing, etc. They used surgical masks 😷, KF94 but none had N95. (2/6)
— Devabhaktuni "Sri" Srikrishna (@sri_srikrishna) July 27, 2023
It does seem that dentists are more amenable, no doubt because they know that dentistry is an Aerosol-Generating Procedure. Sadly, the goons in Hospital Infection Control cannot bring themselves to accept that breathing and talking also generate aerosols.
“I received a $47,000 Covid bill – but the treatment was ‘exceptional'” [Cruise Passenger] and “Aussie couple charged $21,000 for catching Covid on their overseas cruise” [Cruise Passenger]. • Commentary:
So now covid is a money maker for them. Getting back what they lost. Airlines the same
— Frances Daily (@Frances__Daily) July 28, 2023
“Photodisinfection cuts COVID in meat processing plant” [Ondine Bio]. “Newly published research in the journal Public Health Practice shows that a weekly program of nasal photodisinfection implemented at a major Western Canada meat packing plant, alongside standard safety measures recommended by the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (“CDC”), reduced the expected COVID-19 positivity rate by over 99%, from 1,344 expected positive PCR tests to 3 positive PCR tests out of over 21,000 administered tests over a seven-month period.” • Big if true!
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.
* * *
“Neuroinvasion and anosmia are independent phenomena upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 and its variants” [Nature]. Hamster study. Nevertheless, from the Abstract: “[A]ll . Taken together, this confirms that neuroinvasion and anosmia are independent phenomena upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using newly generated nanoluciferase-expressing SARS-CoV-2, we validate the olfactory pathway as a major entry point into the brain in vivo and demonstrate in vitro that SARS-CoV-2 travels retrogradely and anterogradely along axons in microfluidic neuron-epithelial networks.” • Yikes.
“An Unwelcome Visitor Returns This Summer. Hint: It’s Covid.” [Wall Street Journal]. “One possible factor: Heat waves are sending people fleeing for air-conditioned indoor spaces, where Covid transmits more easily compared with outside. Summer travel might also play a role, as people crowd into airports and bring their germs along with them crisscrossing the world. ‘We are in a very warm year and people are spending a lot of time indoors,’ said Dr. Luis Ostrosky, chief of infectious diseases and epidemiology at UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. ‘People are congregating in air-conditioned settings and that is providing an opportunity for transmission.'” • Filing this under The Jackpot because of the cascading, interacting factors; “in a crisis, things correlate.”
From BioBot wastewater data, July 27:
Lambert here: People have now noticed this chart, I assume because CDC gave them permission to do so. Doubling in about a week. One thing is sure: If it doubles again (blue line), the levels of cope and denial will be off the charts.
Lambert here: Note the backward revision. Now all regions are reporting increases at more or less the same rate.
Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.
Regional variant data:
Whatever the cause of the uptick in the Northeast, it’s not EG.5 (the orange pie slice), which seems evenly distributed.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, July 22:
Lambert here: EG.5 still on the leaderboard, but getting crowded out (?) by all those XBB’s.
From CDC, July 8:
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
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 22:
Lambert here: Increase is now quite distinct.
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, July 24:
3.5%. Vertical, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)
From CDC, July 10:
Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one….
Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, July 26:
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.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?,,
Total: 1,169,777 –
1,169,747 = 30 (30 * 365 = 10,950 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).
The Economist, July 28:
Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. 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. )
Inflation: “United States Core Pce Price Index MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Core PCE prices in the US, which exclude food and energy, went up by 0.2% month-over-month in June 2023, easing from a 0.3% increase in the previous month and in line with market expectations. The annual rate, the Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge to measure inflation, rose by 4.1%, the lowest since September 2021 and less than market expectations of 4.2%.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 82 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 28 at 1:45 PM ET.
Groves of Academe
This cranky humanities major agrees:
Wonder if all the STEM-posters who say things like "any STEM student can pass a humanities course easily but no humanities major can pass Diff. Equations or Calc 2" realize how much material we cut from the reading load of our survey courses so that STEM majors can pass them?
— Christopher W. Jones (@cwjones89) July 27, 2023
“The Talent Strikes Back” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal]. Nooners does class conflict. “I’m neither an entertainment reporter nor an industry veteran, but I watch the business and culture of Hollywood pretty closely, and I have a bad feeling about this strike. I hope I’m wrong, but the struggle between the writers and actors unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers looks to me as if it will go long and be epic. We may look back on it as one of the consequential labor actions of the 21st century…. My fear is that the conflict isn’t between competent owners of companies operating profitably and union members who want a larger share. It’s not Ford in 1960 vs. the guys on the assembly line or, still going back in time, prosperous newspaper owners vs. reporters. It’s not the secure vs. the hungry. It looks more like Lost People without vision vs. Aggrieved People feeling genuine grief. The Lost People are the corporate CEOs and studio and streaming bosses who were concussed when the world shifted under everyone’s feet in 2020. …. Charitable gloss: They did their best as a historic plague collided with a technological revolution. Less charitable read: They made blunder after blunder and will now cut to reduce costs as uncreatively as they spent…. Against them are the Aggrieved People, the actors and writers. In the rise of streaming they were denied, against tradition and history, full residual payment for their work. And they see artificial intelligence for what it is: I am become death, destroyer of jobs. And worlds. And words.
News of the Wired
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— Benjamin Carlson (@bfcarlson) July 27, 2023
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 Stephen V:
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