By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
Blue Jay, James Webb Wildlife Management Area, Hampton, South Carolina, United States. Two jays calling two each other.
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
“The National Science Foundation’s ‘Convergence Accelerator Track F’ Is Funding Domestic Censorship Superweapons” [Mike Benz, Foundation for Freedom Online]. Worth reading in full. “[W]ith NSF censorship grantees like WiseDex, the end users of the government-funded tech product are the social media platforms who actually delete the flagged posts. With other NSF censorship grantees, like the Orwellianly named project “Course Correct”, the end-users of the government-funded tech censorship tools are politically like-minded journalists and fact-checkers who flag posts to social media platforms for deletion or demotion. There, the censorship laundering process works as follows:
And: “But it’s more than just names of US citizens in a wrongthink database for ordinary opinions expressed online. The ‘dynamic dashboard’ will also reveal relationship dynamics about the US citizens, who communities they are a part of, and who they influence and are influenced by… On a closing note, we stress that the NSF’s Track F censorship projects are still largely in their early or infant stages. Only a handful of Track F project like Course Correct have qualified for the additional $5 million in federal funding to fast-track them to full-fledged censorship juggernauts.” • This is from January; it looks a lot like Taibbi and Shellenberger’s Censorship Industrial Complex. CAVEAT: Benz appears to be from the rightwing-o-sphere. As readers know, I came up as a Democrat, and Benz’s ground is not familiar to me. If there’s anything I should know about Benz or his projects, please leave word in comments.
I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“The Numbers That Show Trump’s Strength” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “In reviewing the results of the NBC News poll released Sunday, I am reminded of how important it is to distinguish between wishful thinking and objective analysis, particularly when it comes to a figure as polarizing as former President Trump. These days we hear a lot of smart, experienced, and usually wise political pros predicting either that Trump will be overtaken in his bid to be the Republican presidential nominee next year, or that if nominated, Trump has no chance of winning a general election. In many cases, they have a thinly disguised, if disguised at all, personal animus to Trump, which, I think, colors their analysis. I disagree with both of these propositions regarding the nomination and general election. .”
“Trump Could Win Another Lesser-of-Two-Evils Election” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “It’s pretty well known among attentive political observers that Donald Trump’s shocking 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton was driven by his solid win among the many voters who disliked both major candidates. Exit polls showed 18 percent of voters fell into this category, and Trump won them by 17 percent. It’s far less well known that despite losing in 2020, Trump won ‘I hate ‘em both’ voters once again, by about the same margin as in 2016. The big difference was that their share of the electorate dropped from 17 percent to three percent. Both Trump and Joe Biden had lower unfavorable ratings than either candidate did in 2016; but in general, Biden was significantly more popular than Clinton had been. Still, Trump’s showing among the haters, defying what most polls had been predicting, was one of the reasons he did better than expected. Now 2024 election polls suggest the pool of voters disgruntled with both candidates in a Biden-Trump rematch could be back at 2016 levels, if not higher, as CNN’s Harry Enten reported: ‘When you zoom in on those who [in a June CNN survey] were unfavorably inclined toward Biden and Trump (i.e., putting aside those who were unsure or were neutral), 22% of adults and 21% of registered voters had an unfavorable view of both men.'”
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“Ron DeSantis’ Campaign Is in Deep Trouble” [Newsweek]. “However, DeSantis has failed to take advantage of Trump getting indicted in both the New York falsifying business records case and Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents investigation, where the former president has denied 37 charges respectively. DeSantis has not made any traction in the GOP primary polls while also seeing his favorabilty rating plummet.” Perhaps the number of Republican primary voters who are about Trump’s indictments is vanishingly small, in which case DeSantis was right to ignore the issue; we’ll see if Christie does better. More: “‘Our mission is very simple,’ DeSantis said. ‘We’re going to defeat Biden. We’re going to get all this stuff done for the American people. No more excuses. Republicans need to win elections again, and we need to actually bring all these important issues from the border to crime, to the economy, in for a landing,’ he added.” • “In for a landing”? What does that even mean?
“DeSantis is squeezing the sunshine out of Florida’s public records law, critics say” [NBC]. “As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigns for the White House, government accountability watchdogs are pointing to the long shadow of secrecy cast by his administration. In the four years since DeSantis took office, his administration has routinely stonewalled the release of public records, approved a slew of new legal exceptions aimed at keeping more information out of the public eye, and waged legal battles against open government advocates, the press and other watchdogs. DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former U.S. attorney, is the only Florida governor known to use ‘executive privilege’ to keep records hidden, transparency advocates and experts said. His travel records, previously under scrutiny by the media, are now secret, thanks to a new legal exemption — one of a record number created in 2023 by the Republican-led Legislature and approved by the governor. DeSantis also has fought to conceal information about some of the most significant events during his tenure, including withholding Covid infection data and blocking release of records about the controversial relocation of dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, legal filings show.
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“Why Democrats Should Primary Biden” [Jack Shafer, Politico]. “President Joe Biden needs a tuneup. He’s a stiff when speaking at the lectern. When not a stiff, the 80-year-old can be a dolt, saying, as he did this week, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ‘losing the war in Iraq’ when he meant Ukraine, or blurting out a senseless, ‘God save the Queen, man,’ at a gun control rally last week…. Biden has challengers, of course, but Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy Jr. aren’t the right ring partners to prepare him for what will be his last electoral contest…. If Biden can’t vanquish a worthy Democrat in primary season, he has no business entering the general. Who might that challenger be? …. Both Newsom and Buttigieg are going to run in 2028 anyway, so why not get going now? They would be doing him a favor by toughening him up.” • My view is that the Democrat hive mind would prefer to have Biden totter along until it’s too late for a real challenger to enter the race — say, after Super Tuesday — and then slip a cog (or even be helped to slip a cog). Then the Democrat hive mind could nominate a new front runner by acclamation — much as happened on the Night of the Long Knives, when Obama dispatched Sanders. The hive mind quite liked that, and wants more of it. No more pesky voting! We need to rid ourselves of the notion that, as a governing class, Democrats (electeds, apparatchiks, strategists, operatives, NGOs, etc.) look downward to the base, even the PMC base. No, the various fractions of the base (more precisely, the engineered hates and fears embedded in fractions of the base; RussiaGate comes to mind) are assets, to be owned by whoever can afford to manipulate them. No, the Democrats look upward to the ruling class, which collectively and through layers of fixers and intermediaries, provides them with the necessary funding to manage those assets (various governing class entities being items in the ruling class portolios).
“Can Bidenomics Turn Gloomy Views on the Economy Around?” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “White House senior officials Anita Dunn and Mike Donilon, noted in a recent memo that the ‘President, members of his Cabinet, and senior Administration officials will continue fanning out across the country to take the case for Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda directly to the American people, and to call out those who want to drag our country backward by returning to the failed trickle-down policies of the past.’ In other words, the White House is going to play offense on the economy and not allow Republicans to define the rules of engagement. This strategy suggests that the White House sees the challenge going into 2024 as a messaging problem. But I’d argue that there’s also a messenger problem. A poll released last week by NBC found that 68% of all voters say they have concerns about Biden having the necessary mental and physical health to be president, including 55% who say they have ‘major’ concerns.”
“Biden Can’t Hide From the Media Forever” [Walter Shapiro, The New Republic]. “[T]rying to replicate the 2020 pandemic-era campaign bunker in the coming presidential race will only foster conspiracy theories about Biden’s health. Ultimately the White House should trust in the president to make more off-the-cuff appearances because being unplugged was once the essence of Biden’s brand.”
“Powder that prompted brief evacuation at White House found to be cocaine” [The Hill]. “The discovery of the powder in a ‘work area’ [(!!)] caused a brief evacuation of the White House Sunday night followed by a visit from the D.C. fire department, the Secret Service said.” • Dear Hunter!
“Newsom hits the road to campaign for Biden in Idaho, building his own base in red states” [San Diego Union-Tribune]. “Saturday’s swing through Idaho didn’t just energize Biden’s much-neglected base in such a conservative corner of the West. It helped build a future one for Newsom. Many of the Democrats who flocked to hear Newsom speak in Idaho and at a separate fundraising event earlier that day in Bend, Ore., said they thought the 55-year-old liberal governor offered a glimpse into the future of their party, a bolder, more charismatic and younger potential heir of Biden’s legacy in the post-Trump years. ‘He looks like an incredible presidential candidate,’ said Russ Buschert, an Idaho Democratic Party trustee.” • Just so we’re clear on Newsome, see “How eight elite San Francisco families funded Gavin Newsom’s political ascent” [Los Angeles Times]. See also this handy chart, restricted solely to California oligarchs; the previous article includes, e.g., the Pritzkers:
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“RFK Jr vs the Democratic elites” [Spiked]. “[D]espite the efforts of the Democratic elites and their media allies to marginalise and even silence Kennedy, he is still getting a lot of attention. It’s clear that a portion of Americans – including Republicans and independents – are RFK-curious. This has allowed him to gain a foothold in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, and made it even more difficult for the Democratic elites to dismiss him. On average, polls now put his support for the nomination at 14 per cent. That’s still a long way behind Biden’s 64 per cent, but it’s far higher than expected…. Kennedy wasn’t always persona non grata. The media may currently be dismissing RFK Jr as a cranky outsider, but hitherto he had been treated as a serious Democratic player. John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all courted and then welcomed his support for their presidential campaigns. And after Obama’s election in 2008, he was considered a front-runner to head up the Environmental Protection Agency. Rolling Stone even named him one of its ‘100 Agents of Change‘ in 2009…. The attempts to sideline RFK Jr are now backfiring. So widespread is the distrust of the media and political establishment that the more it attempts to silence him, the more people think he must have something to say. As has often been said about Donald Trump, Kennedy has all of the right enemies.”
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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.
* * *
“We predicted the books on Obama’s 2023 summer reading list” [WaPo]. • They didn’t, actually. In a normal universe, the headline would read “We predict,” because Obama’s summer reading list has not yet been released. But to WaPo, what WaPo predicts is news, so, “We predicted” is indeed the headline.
Idpol clang birds:
I observed yesterday that liberals don't believe non-white people are capable of forming dissenting views on their own.
Here's Jen Psaki claiming the only reason Muslim Americans object to trans dogma in schools is because white conservatives are manipulating them into it: https://t.co/niK8XepNWi
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 3, 2023
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Soros Foundation to Cut Staff by 40%” [Wall Street Journal]. “George Soros’s $25 billion nonprofit, Open Society Foundations, will cut its staff by about 40% while reorganizing various senior roles, according to a spokeswoman for the foundation. The foundation, one of the biggest backers of progressive causes, is now led by Soros’s 37-year-old son, Alex…. Behind the move, which was earlier reported by Bloomberg, is a view that Open Society Foundations has become too large and unwieldy. As a result, it takes too long for it to make decisions, the people said. OSF sends about $1.5 billion a year to groups such as those backing human rights and helping build democracies and has offices around the globe. Part of the goal is to streamline the organization. OSF isn’t expected to reduce its activity or backing of various causes.” • Looks like Alex is going to do for the NGO world what Elon did for Silicon Valley: Slash headlcount, and get away with it.
“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!
Look for the Helpers
Alert reader Josh throws this over the transom:
I also generally do not eat indoors because of COVID but someone recommended a Chinese restaurant (in Kennett Square, PA) that had put filters in their indoor space. They have Fujitsu filters that resemble Corsi-Rosenthal boxes all over the ceiling. I was eating with a slight breeze at all times. Pretty cool.
I can’t vouch for the filtration/ACH of the Fujitsu. That said, moving air, especially air moved in from outside, is good. Unbelievably, there are four Chinese restaurants in Kennett Square, PA, so I don’t know which one to single out for praise!
A thread on CO2 testing (at a school where the principal is an “ally”):
Let's start with the EXPERIMENT 1⃣: door and window closed.
I had my CO2 monitor at least 10ft away from the activated dry ice, with a box fan blowing to help disperse the CO2.
Once CO2 levels >2000pm, the ice & I left the room. I watched from my app how CO2 levels changed. pic.twitter.com/Cyk0W1hfIN
— Liesl McConchie (@LieslMcconchie) July 1, 2023
“Aggressively Wrong: What Sellout Scientists Did to Public Health, and Who’s Actually Going to Fix It” [Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer]. “[T]here’s a class of real heroes. They’ve thanklessly advocated for masks and clean air for three years now. They’ve educated and informed. They’ve championed and persevered. They’ve given up comforts and conveniences. They’ve endured ridicule and persecution. They’ve taken it upon themselves to develop their scientific and medical literacy. They’ve donated masks and air purifiers. They’ve made Corsi-Rosenthal boxes for others. They’ve spent their own personal time, money, and energy going out of their way to protect the people they care about, at an even greater cost to their emotional and mental health. They’re the real heroes. They’re the compassionate ones. They deserve far better than what they’re getting. They don’t need some elitist medical quack lecturing them on the state of public health. They’re the ones who are going to fix things, and they’re not doing it for awards or book reviews. They’re doing it because nobody else will. Who are these heroes? They’re you.” • 100%.
Covid is Airborne
“ASHRAE 241 Control of Infectious Aerosols Part 1 — The History of the Standard” [Joey Fox, It’s Airborne]. “It was not sustainable to be lacking a standard for controlling infectious aerosols. This desperately needed requirement, which was missing throughout the pandemic, had to be part of a long term plan to avoid this occurring again. As described here by ASHRAE president Farooq Mehboob, the White House COVID-19 Response Team asked ASHRAE to develop a standard for control of infectious aerosols.” • Important!
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.
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Hospital Infection Control whacking more patients:
Great news–my local hospital has apparently invented human teleportation, allowing the immunocompromised to reach the cancer centre and dialysis units without passing through public areas! pic.twitter.com/8iOUwPfkwG
— Dr Jonathan Douglas PhD CPsych (@JonathanCOnP) June 30, 2023
It’s not that Hospital Infection Control doesn’t believe in aerosol transmission; it’s that they actively oppose it, and sabotage mitigation when they implement it. It’s as if they joined clean water and sewage lines in the sinks for their precious handwashing (ok, ok, handwashing is good. But it doesn’t help with aerosol transmission, and Covid is not transmitted by fomites).
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 29:
Lambert here: Slight uptrend, confirmed by airport wastewater (and local wastewater samples in California). Absent a new variant to race though the dry tinder, I don’t see an oncoming debacle even with July 4 travel. But plenty of people will still get sick (again).=
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
NOT UPDATED 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.
NOT UPDATED From CDC June 12:
Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one….
NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, June 28:
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: 1,168,113 –
1,168,100 = 13 (13 * 365 = 4,745 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 July 4:
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. )
• A useful thread on excess deaths:
Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for manufactured goods in the US increased by 0.4% from the previous month in April of 2023 amid strong defense spending, but slowing from the downwardly revised 0.6% increase in the prior month and missing market forecasts of a 0.8% jump. Albeit slower, considerable order growth was noted for transportation equipment (3.7% vs 9.8% in March), carried by defense aircraft and parts (32.7% vs 26.9%), while demand for machinery rebounded (1.6% vs -0.1%).”
Economic Optimism: “United States IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index in the US edged slightly higher to 41.7 in June of 2023 from 41.6 in May, but remained well below the 50 benchmark to indicate optimism and market forecasts of 45.2. Americans’ six-month outlook declined 0.3% to 34.5, the lowest since November. 51% of the respondents think the economy is in a recession, the least since May 2022, but only 25% see it improving.”
Tech: “Microsoft, OpenAI sued for $3B after allegedly trampling privacy with ChatGPT” [The Register]. “Microsoft and OpenAI were sued on Wednesday by sixteen pseudonymous individuals who claim the companies’ AI products based on ChatGPT collected and divulged their personal information without adequate notice or consent. The complaint [PDF], filed in federal court in San Francisco, California, alleges the two businesses ignored the legal means of obtaining data for their AI models and chose to gather it without paying for it. ‘Despite established protocols for the purchase and use of personal information, Defendants took a different approach: theft,’ the complaint says. ‘They systematically scraped 300 billion words from the internet, ‘books, articles, websites and posts – including personal information obtained without consent.’ OpenAI did so in secret, and without registering as a data broker as it was required to do under applicable law.’ Through their AI products, its claimed, the two companies ‘collect, store, track, share, and disclose’ the personal information of millions of people, including product details, account information, names, contact details, login credentials, emails, payment information, transaction records, browser data, social media information, chat logs, usage data, analytics, cookies, searches, and other online activity. The complaint contends Microsoft and OpenAI have embedded into their AI products the personal information of millions of people, reflecting hobbies, religious beliefs, political views, voting records, social and support group membership, sexual orientations and gender identities, work histories, family photos, friends, and other data arising from online interactions.”
Tech: “Goodreads was the future of book reviews. Then Amazon bought it” [WaPo]. “Former employees said Amazon seemed happy to mine Goodreads for its user-generated data and otherwise let it limp along with limited resources. In Amazon’s more than 20-year history, the company has made dozens of acquisitions, and it is not unusual for it to try to cheaply acquire properties in markets that it wants to dominate, only to let them languish. Until recently, Amazon owned Book Depository and camera-enthusiast favorite DPReview, and it still operates discount marketplace Woot, collectibles website AbeBooks and movie database IMDb. Goodreads ‘hasn’t been all that well maintained, or updated, or kept up with what you would expect from social communities or apps in 2023,’ said Jane Friedman, a publishing industry consultant. ‘It does feel like Amazon bought it and then abandoned it.’ Amazon spokesperson Ashely Vanicek said that “By joining Amazon, Goodreads has accelerated their mission to delight customers with the help of Amazon’s resources and technology.'” • Both Book Depository and DPReview were great, but Amazon killed them. I’m sure they would kill IMDB if they could. Perhaps they’re not done torturing it.
Labor Market: “Labor Market Headfake? Key Report Could Be Overestimating Job Growth” [Walll Street Journal]. “The monthly jobs report, usually published the first Friday of each month and watched closely by investors, policy makers and businesses, consists of two surveys. The payroll survey is based on a sample of more than 122,000 businesses and government agencies covering around 42 million workers—about 28% of formal employment. The household survey is based on a sample of 60,000 households. The payroll survey showed a gain of 339,000 jobs, while the household survey showed employment falling 310,000 and the number of unemployed leaping 440,000 to its highest level since February 2022. The two surveys often diverge because of statistical noise or because they define employment differently. For example, the self-employed are counted by the household survey but not the payroll survey, and their numbers fell sharply in May. Historically, economists consider the payroll survey a more reliable indicator of labor market health, except at turning points in the economy…. For example, from 2007 to 2010, a period dominated by recession and a weak recovery, the payroll survey overstated jobs by a cumulative 1.7 million, as shown by subsequent, more comprehensive tax data. A major cause of such overestimates is related to jobs created by startups and lost by business closures. The survey has no way of capturing businesses it doesn’t yet know exist, or whether a company that doesn’t respond to the survey is ghosting it, or has closed, until many quarters later, when tax data become available.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 3 at 8:59 PM ET.
Rapture Index: Closes down one on Earthquakes. “The lack of negative activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!
“Colorado rides cresting wave of psychedelic medicine as state prepares to roll out regulation” [Colorado Sun]. “As powerful drugs are pulled out of decades in a deep freeze, researchers are exploring the possibilities of psychotropic medicines, business folk are scheming a new world of ceremonial healing centers, and underground practitioners are basking in a new light as state and federal lawmakers and regulators warily eye a tidal wave of new ideas flooding the mental health space. In the middle of the maelstrom of medicine, mental health, business and regulations are traditional practitioners — especially Native Americans — who are wary that the end result could ruin the magic of the medicine.”
“‘It’s Tight Like That'” [JSTOR]. “This type of blues, however, has a long tradition. It came to be known as “hokum” blues, Schwartz explains, and it had a formula: ‘humorous and suggestive lyrics, moderate to fast tempos, dance rhythms, and evocations of both rural and urban styles of African American music, usually in twelve-bar verse and refrain form,’ with roots in vaudeville and even earlier. For example, the 1920s song ‘I Want a Hot Dog for My Roll’ was considered so raunchy that the label refused to release it. But a specific song, Schwartz writes, ‘is often identified as the root cause of this ‘corruption'”: ‘It’s Tight Like That,’ recorded by Thomas A. Dorsey and Tampa Red in 1928…. For gospel fans, one of the those names may seem out-of-place—that of Thomas Dorsey. Often credited as the father of gospel music, it’s hard to imagine that the same person who wrote ‘Walk Over God’s Heaven’ and ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ was a part of this movement, but we all contain multitudes. One of the many layers of Dorsey’s life was as a piano player at juke joints in Atlanta.”
The F ar Side:
News of the Wired
“What To the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” [Frederick Douglass, University of Rochester]. I should have put this in Links this morning, but herewith: “Fellow citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the profes sions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery–the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.”
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 AM:
AM writes: “Wild blue violets in Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI. I think they may be invasive but still are nice to look at. Sometimes it’s good to look down too.” I am here for invasive plants! The more the merrier. Let them duke it out!
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!