2:00PM Water Cooler 8/2/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got a late start due to a household emergency, so this is a little thin. More shortly. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Western Meadowlark, Fred Hervey WTP (FWTX 4), El Paso, Texas, United States.

* * *


“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!

* * *

“Atlanta Sheriff Rules Out Special Treatment if Trump Is Indicted There” [New York Times]. “The sheriff of Fulton County, Ga., said on Tuesday that if former President Donald J. Trump were to be indicted in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state, he would not receive special treatment, and would be booked and photographed like any other defendant. The Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, has signaled that she will bring indictments in the matter by the middle of the month…. Sheriff Labat spoke at an afternoon news conference across the street from the Fulton County Courthouse, where orange security barricades were erected last week. He said that for months, he and other law enforcement agencies have been preparing for possible trouble in Atlanta surrounding the sprawling state investigation of election interference by Mr. Trump and his allies. Mr. Labat said that “”dozens”” of threats had emerged in recent months, directed at him, the district attorney and local judges. He said that one person was arrested several months ago based on a threat investigation, and that the authorities were looking into other threats.”

* * *

“How the Trump fake electors scheme became a ‘corrupt plan,’ according to the indictment” [Associated Press]. As I said in my “hot take” this morning, I think the electors scheme makes this a serious narrative. “The third criminal case into Trump details, among other charges, what prosecutors say was a massive and monthslong effort to ‘impair, obstruct, and defeat’ the federal process for certifying the results of a presidential election, culminating in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The 45-page indictment states that when Trump could not persuade state officials to illegally swing the election in his favor, he and his allies began recruiting a slate of fake electors in seven battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to sign certificates falsely stating that he, not Democrat Joe Biden, had won their states. While those certificates were ultimately ignored by lawmakers, federal prosecutors say it was all part of ‘a corrupt plan to subvert the federal government function by stopping Biden electors’ votes from being counted and certified.'” • Two thoughts: Once again, the verbiage doesn’t have outcomes (presumably that’s why we aren’t simply charging Trump with insurrection, pure and simple). Second, on mens rea: From my hasty reading of the indictment, Smith is inferring Trump’s state of mind from what he was told (a fine example of the PMC’s attitude that what they emit is knowledge, rather than, say, assertion, conventional wisdom, regurgitated paradigms, etc.). But anybody knows that a billionaire, certainly, and most probably a President, is hampered by “Big Man* Syndrome,” which means that the “Big Man” simply can’t get reliable information from subordinates; his power is so great that everybody games him for their own advantage.   Further, Smith is inferring Trump’s state of mind from what he says, but Trump is such a bullshit artist I don’t see how that’s possible. No doubt this latter is one reason Trump had such a long career in the real estate business. So, again, the narrative and the theory of the case are not the same thing, and IMNSHO the former is much stronger than the latter.

“Key revelations, groundbreaking strategies and notable omissions in the new Trump indictment” [Politico]. “The indictment does not identify any of the six alleged co-conspirators who prosecutors say unlawfully agreed to aid Trump’s bid to subvert the election. But five of them were readily identifiable based on the widely known details in the indictment.” Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, and Ken Chesebro. “The identity of the sixth alleged co-conspirator, a political consultant, was not immediately verifiable, but the indictment says that person played a role in the effort to assemble false slates of pro-Trump presidential electors in states that Biden won.” • Hmm.

“Trump attorney vows strong defense against latest indictment: ‘We are in a constitutional abyss'” [CBS]. “‘This is the first time that political speech has been criminalized in the history of the United States,’ [Former President Donald Trump’s attorney John Lauro] told ‘CBS Mornings’ a day after a federal grand jury indicted Trump on felony counts related to his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 U.S. presidential election.’ ‘It’s the first time where a current president is using the criminal process* to attack a former president on policy issues,’ Lauro said. ‘We are in a constitutional abyss right now. We’ve never seen this … the president wants his day in court. Most importantly, he wants to get to the truth, which we will do in this case.'” • NOTE * As opposed to the impeachment process (which was about making sure we went to war with Russia over Ukraine).

“Trump attorney John Lauro says he wants January 6 case moved to WEST VIRGINIA so ex-president can get a fair trial and expects Pence to take the stand as he is grilled about campaign comparing the US to Nazi Germany” [Daily Mail]. I love Daily Mail headlines, but that’s two stories, not one. “Lauro suggested moving a trial to West Virginia when questioned in a TV interview bout how trying the case in Washington, D.C. would put him in a jurisdiction that voted overwhelmingly against Trump. ‘Well, there’s others options. West Virginia is close by. There’s other areas of the country,’ Lauro told CBS ‘This Morning.’ Pressed about the idea, Lauro responded: ‘Absolutely. It’s very in close proximity to D.C.’ He said it was ‘much more diverse,’ and pointed to the election results. Joe Biden defeated Trump 92-5 in heavily Democratic D.C. in 2020. Trump trounced Biden in West Virginia, 67 to 30 per cent.” • Love the appropriation of “diverse.”

“Trump quietly adds new attorney to January 6 legal team” [CNN]. “Attorney John Lauro, who has also represented Trump attorneys Christina Bobb and Alina Habba, is joining the team and will be working alongside Todd Blanche, several sources told CNN. Lauro will be solely focused on special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election…. Lauro is a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn turned white-collar lawyer who practices out of Florida and New York.” • So Larry Tribe he’s not. OTOH, Larry Tribe he’s not. 

“Mike Pence’s secret notes revealed in Jack Smith’s Trump indictment” [FOX]. “Then-Vice President Mike Pence took ‘contemporaneous notes’ of his conversations with Donald Trump in the days before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of the former president revealed Tuesday. Pence’s previously unreported notes are presented as evidence against Trump…. The indictment next recounts a New Year’s Day meeting between Trump and his vice president, which Pence wrote about in his memoir. Pence said Trump discussed a lawsuit filed by Republicans that asked a judge to declare the vice president had ‘exclusive authority and sole discretion to decide which electoral votes should count.’ Pence said he reiterated to Trump ‘that I didn’t believe I possessed that power under the Constitution.’… ‘You’re too honest,’ Trump replied, according to both Pence’s book and the indictment. ‘Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts… People are gonna think you’re stupid.’  This argument allegedly continued for several days.” • And Pence never got in the car…. 

* * *

“U.S. v. Trump Will Be the Most Important Case in Our Nation’s History” [Slate]. The narrative: “In straightforward language with mountains of evidence, the 45-page document explains how Trump, acting with six (so far unnamed, but easily recognizable) co-conspirators, engaged in a scheme to repeatedly make false claims that the 2020 election was stolen or rigged, and to use those false claims as a predicate to try to steal the election. The means of election theft were national, not just confined to one state, as in the expected Georgia prosecution. And they were technical—submitting alternative slates of presidential electors to Congress, and arguing that state legislatures had powers under the Constitution and an old federal law, the Electoral Count Act, to ignore the will of the state’s voters. But Trump’s corrupt intent was clear: He was repeatedly told that the election was not stolen, and he knew that no evidence supported his outrageous claims of ballot tampering. He nonetheless allegedly tried to pressure state legislators, state election officials, Department of Justice officials, and his own vice president to manipulate these arcane, complex election rules to turn himself from an election loser into an election winner. That’s the definition of election subversion.” I think “predicate” is doing a lot of work, there. And: “It is hard to overstate the stakes riding on this indictment and prosecution. New polling ….” • Oh, so those are the stakes….

“The Trial America Needs” [David French, New York Times]. “In the months and years since the violent insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, the legal system has switched from defense to offense. With all deliberate speed, prosecutors first brought charges against Trump’s foot soldiers, the men and women who breached the Capitol. Next, prosecutors pursued the organizers of Trumpist right-wing militias, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who had engaged in a seditious conspiracy to keep Trump in the White House. And now, Smith is pursuing Trump himself — along with six yet unnamed co-conspirators — alleging criminal schemes that reached the highest level of American government. This is the case that, if successful, can once and for all strip Trump of any pretense of good faith or good will*. But make no mistake, the outcome of this case is uncertain for exactly the reason it’s so important: So very much of the case depends on Trump’s state of mind. If you were to urge** a government official to overturn election results based on a good faith belief that serious fraud had altered the results, you would not be violating the law. Instead, you’d be exercising your First Amendment rights….. Millions of Americans believe today that Joe Biden stole the presidency. They believe a series of demonstrable, provable lies, and their belief in those lies is shaking their faith in our republic and, by extension, risking the very existence of our democracy.” • Millions of Americans also believe RussiaGate. Millions of Americans believe that “Covid is over.” Millions of Americans also believe (of vaccines) that “you are protected” (except not from tranmission). And so forth. “Our democracy” is indeed in a sad way. A two-tier system of justice is only one of the many problems. NOTES * Thin on the ground, these days. ** “Urge.” So if I wrote a letter to the editor in bad faith, I could be criminally charged? Really? That’s exceptionally nasty. Frankly, that level of hysteria would induce the deeply cynical to infer that in fact election theft was both routine, and not known. And if you were a Sanders supporter, you’re quite clear on the “routine” part.

In another part of the forest:

* * *

“Harris fires back at DeSantis offer to talk Florida’s Black history curriculum” [The Hill]. Harris: “Well, I’m here in Florida and I will tell you, there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.” • Harris is so utterly useless. Accept the invitation, and then take DeSantis apart! That she doesn’t means either that she knows she can’t, her staff won’t let her, or Biden won’t let her, or perhaps all three.

* * *

“Gavin Newsom running for president? His fundraising strategy signals White House aspirations” [Sacramento Bee]. “Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking fundraising steps often used by potential presidential candidates, setting up multiple committees that in their first three months have raised and spent millions of dollars. The three Newsom-affiliated committees are a political action committee, which limits contributions to $5,000 a year and can donate to individual candidates; a SuperPAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of cash but is restricted from promoting a specific candidate, and a joint fundraising committee, which functions like a bank, mostly collecting and distributing funds to the other groups. Forming the trio of fundraising committees allows prospective candidates like Newsom to begin building a base of support and explore a run for federal office without saying it outright, according to Brendan Glavin, senior data analyst at Open Secrets.”

* * *

“Campaign 2024, Officially Chaos” (unlocked) [Matt Taibbi, Racket News]. As I’ve said, I’m with Thomas Ferguson, who calls 2024 “incredibly volatile.” Taibbi is too, apparently. “This race is turning into a parodic repeat of 2016, the difference being the shock waves that rippled across Washington on Election Day that year are already here, with all conceivable counter-measures already deployed. Instead of starting up a Russia investigation leaders hope will end in indictment, this time the guy is already indicted many times over, and voters have already signaled they’ll be unfazed by conviction. Democrats meanwhile are repeating the process of cooling turnout by blasting their own protest candidate, and instead of an alert-if-off-putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket, the standard-bearer is a half-sentient, influence-peddling version of Donovan’s Brain, with no one behind him but Kamala Harris — who just got asked by a trying-to-be-friendly reporter at ABC if ‘race and gender’ were a cause of her own historically low approval rating. Absent a big switch, our future is either Donald Trump, who by next year will be in more restraints than Hannibal Lecter on the tarmac, or this DNC dog’s breakfast. Other countries are surely already laughing. It’s getting harder to resist joining them.” • Fitch isn’t happy either, not that it matters much.

Republican Funhouse


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!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

“Wisconsin Supreme Court flips to liberal control” [Chicago Tribune]. “Wisconsin Democrats celebrated the beginning of a new era for the state Supreme Court on Tuesday as it flipped from conservative to liberal control for the first time in 15 years. Janet Protasiewicz, who made abortion rights a focus of her winning election campaign and called Republican-drawn redistricting maps “”rigged,”” marked the start of her 10-year term with a swearing-in ceremony in the state Capitol Rotunda attended by an overflow crowd of hundreds, including many Democratic officeholders…. The conservative-controlled court came within one vote of overturning President Joe Biden’s narrow win in the state in 2020, though Biden still would have had enough electoral votes to claim the presidency…. Protasiewicz, who was previously a Milwaukee County judge, ran with backing and deep financial support from Democrats, abortion rights groups and other liberals in the officially nonpartisan race. She handily defeated her conservative opponent in April, raising expectations among liberals that the new court will soon do away with the state’s abortion ban, order new electoral maps to be drawn and ensure a long line of Democratic success after 15 years of rulings that largely favored Republicans.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

* * *

* * *


“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).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

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

“Huge, FREE covid safety resource list” [Violet Blue]. “Your ultimate guide to staying covid-safe.” • Yes, Blue is, well, very much of San Francisco, but she’s an excellent aggregator and this looks good to me.


Intelligence test:

And Darwin exam.

Celebrity Watch

“California lieutenant governor joins call for Taylor Swift to postpone Los Angeles shows” [Politico]. “Some of California’s top politicians are calling on Taylor Swift to postpone her Los Angeles concerts, standing in solidarity with striking hotel workers — and risking scorn from Swifties. California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat, and dozens of elected officials from across the state on Tuesday signed their names to a campaign organized by Unite Here Local 11 to put pressure on the music icon. Swift is scheduled to perform six sold-out shows at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, beginning Thursday and continuing through Aug. 9.” • Not because of superspreaders, of course! And while I applaud even performative support for labor, workers also need protection on the job, in the form of non-pharmaceutical interventions, like ventilation and masks.

Immune System Dysregulation

“The plasma metabolome of long COVID patients two years after infection” [Nature]. “Mitochondrial dysfunction, redox state imbalance, impaired energy metabolism, and chronic immune dysregulation are likely to be the main hallmarks of long COVID even two years after acute COVID-19 infection.” • Two years. So far.

Scientific Communication

“From Belief to Behavior: An IP’s Step-by-step Approach to Changing Belief Systems” [Infection Control Today]. “Pioneers of medical science have successfully changed the beliefs of an entire society throughout history—pioneers such as physician and epidemiologist John Snow, who broke the handle off London’s Broad Street water pump to demonstrate his belief that the water was the cause of the cholera epidemic, not the noxious air that was believed to spread the disease. As infection preventionists today, we are the pioneers of preventing and controlling infections. We are revolutionizing the approach to infection prevention and control, including recognizing that behavior change cannot occur until we have first begun to tackle the underlying beliefs and opinions that drive the health care behaviors we’re seeking to change.” Very well. And the concrete example given? That’s right: “I remember speaking with an anesthesiologist about hand hygiene rates for the operating room. It struck me when he explained, ‘Honestly, I think we wash our hands too much in health care. It’s often unnecessary and much less important than we make it out to be.’ It occurred to me that before adherence could be increased, I would need to persuade staff to believe hand hygiene is important.” • Yes, Semmelweis. But no mention of masking, ventilation, or #CovidIsAirborne?



“Why do I need another COVID shot this fall?” [Globe and Mail]. “To get an idea of what the next flu season will bring, infectious disease experts have traditionally looked to the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed. ‘The southern hemisphere serves as a crystal ball to what we can reasonably expect in our future,’ said Dawn Bowdish, a professor of medicine and a Canada Research Chair in Aging and Immunity at McMaster University in Hamilton. And, unfortunately for us, the south has had ‘a particularly grim flu season and they have also had a lot of COVID,’ noted Dr. Bowdish.”


“NIH launches trials for long-COVID treatments: what scientists think” [Nature]. “The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced yesterday that it will launch its first trials to test the safety and efficacy of treatments against long COVID. These trials will focus on therapies aimed at some of the most debilitating symptoms of the disease, including brain fog and disturbed sleep. The announcement comes after two years of criticism from researchers and people with long COVID about the direction and productivity of the NIH’s nearly-US$1.2-billion RECOVER initiative. They say that the agency has moved too slowly to enrol people in studies and start testing potential treatments for the condition, which affects an estimated 65 million people around the world. Responding to this criticism, Kanecia Zimmerman, a clinician at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, who is helping to coordinate the RECOVER studies, said at a press briefing yesterday that there are many steps to launching a clinical trial, including drafting study protocols, consulting with specialists and people with the disease and getting approval from authorities. Researchers who spoke to Nature say that launching treatment trials is a crucial step, but that it will take tangible progress in these trials to assure those affected that US health officials are taking their concerns seriously. ‘The fact there were no trials until this point has been highly discouraging,’ says Eric Topol, executive vice-president at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. ‘The community of people suffering are desperate and want to see the investment by NIH bear fruit.'” • Over a billion bucks spent for a checklist and no biological markers. But little Madison is getting their violin lessons!

“Why So Many Long COVID Patients Are Reporting Suicidal Thoughts” [Time]. “Last year, Diana Berrent—the founder of Survivor Corps, a Long COVID support group—asked the group’s members if they’d ever had thoughts of suicide since developing Long COVID. About 18% of people who responded said they had, a number much higher than the 4% of the general U.S. adult population that has experienced recent suicidal thoughts. A few weeks ago, Berrent posed the same question to current members of her group. This time, of the nearly 200 people who responded, 45% said they’d contemplated suicide. While her poll was small and informal, the results point to a serious problem. ‘People are suffering in a way that I don’t think the general public understands,’ Berrent says. ‘Not only are people mourning the life that they thought they were going to have, they are in excruciating pain with no answers.’…. The virus that causes COVID-19 has well-documented effects on the brain, which can potentially result in psychiatric and neurologic symptoms, says Dr. Wes Ely, who treats Long COVID patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. ‘We’ve been collecting brains of some patients who didn’t survive Long COVID,’ he says. ‘We’re seeing inflammation and ongoing cellular abnormalities in these brains.’ Those changes to the brain can have profound effects, possibly including suicidal thinking and behavior. ‘There is a high probability that symptoms of psychiatric, neurological and physical illnesses, as well as inflammatory damage to the brain in individuals with post-COVID syndrome, increase suicidal ideation and behavior in this patient population,’ reads a January 2021 article in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. Research published as a preprint last year (meaning it had not been peer-reviewed) also found differences between ‘post-COVID depression’ and typical depression, including higher rates of suicidal behavior—suggesting ‘a different disease process at least in a subset of individuals.'” • Normally I don’t run studies on this topic, because I don’t want to give people ideas. But material on neurological issues created by Covid is coming from so many directions at once, I thought this was important.

“Something Awful”

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.

* * *


Elite Maleficence

For public consumption:

In reality, capital knows perfectly well that Covid is real and takes measures to protect itself; that’s why #DavosSafe. They just don’t want you to know.

Maybe the best way for CDC to regain trust — I mean, besides blowing itself up and disappearing from the face of the earth, as recompense — would be to produce a timeline, in public, of all its private decision-marking:

Warts, scarlet letters, and all.

“With a few basic steps, most of us can finally ignore COVID” [Boston Globe]. • More commentary:

Hard agree on “crisis comms perspective”; Jha is deploying the blame cannons, pre-surge.

The Jackpot

Our reaction to Covid as a society does not bode well:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, July 31:

Lambert here: Still rising. 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.

Regional data:

Lambert here: Again, backward revision. Now all regions are reporting increases but at different rates.

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

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 29:

Lambert here: Increase is even more distinct. (The black line is “combined”, but it is easy to see that Covid, the red line, is driving everything.)

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 31:

3.2%. Interestingly, people are citing to this, too, as well as Biobot. 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.)

NOT UPDATED 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…. 


NOT UPDATED 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: 1,169,841 – 1,169,813 = 28 (28 * 365 = 10,220 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, August 2:

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. )

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US hired 324 thousand workers in July 2023, following a downwardly revised 455 thousand increase and surpassing market expectations of a 189 thousand rise.”

* * *

Tech: “Sharing photos of your kids? Maybe not after you watch this deepfake ad” [Good Morning]. “The campaign documents the various potential dangers of oversharing your children’s data, from online bullying to identity theft to the creation of child sexual abuse material, or CSAM.”

Tech: “Amazon employees leak secret info that marketplace sellers can buy on Telegram” [CNBC]. “For the millions of sellers who make up the booming Amazon marketplace, few things are as perpetually concerning as the threat of getting suspended for alleged wrongdoing and watching business evaporate overnight. Helping third-party sellers recover their accounts has turned into a large and lucrative enterprise, because the only way the merchants can get back up and running is to admit guilt and correct the issue or show sufficient evidence that they did nothing wrong. The process is often costly, lengthy and fraught with challenges. Enter the illicit broker. For a fee of $200 to $400, sellers can pay for services such as ‘Amazon Magic,’ as one broker on encrypted messaging service Telegram calls it. The offerings also include access to company insiders who can remove negative reviews on a product and provide information on competitors. Users are told to send a private message to learn the price of certain services.” • Wowsers, Amazon corrupt to the bone. Who knew?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 76 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 1:47 PM ET. Big swing to mere greed. Fitch? The latest Trump indictment?


“August Is An Epic Month For Game Releases” [Kotaku]. “If you thought August was gonna be a snoozefest for gaming, I’m here to wake you the hell up because this month looks like it’ll have something for everyone—and that’s not just BS boilerplate. Between spooky horror games, shooters, strategy games, that big-ass RPG arriving in a couple of days, the return of Armored Core, and a game about dinosaur kids that’s gonna friggin wreck me (seriously, don’t make me watch the trailer again), August is packed, and at least a few of these games ought to catch your attention.” • Enjoy!

The Conservatory

“Lawsuit by former dancers accuses Lizzo of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment” [Associated Press]. “The court filing claims that after performing a concert in Amsterdam, Lizzo and her crew attended a sexually themed show at a club in the city’s notorious Red Light District where ‘Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers.’ During the show, Lizzo led a chant pressuring Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club, the filing states. ‘Finally, the chorus became overwhelming, and a mortified Ms. Davis acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants,’ the complaint states. ‘Plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.’ Lizzo, who routinely champions body positivity, is also accused of calling out Davis for her weight gain after accusing the dancer of not being committed to her role. Davis was fired in May for recording a meeting during which Lizzo had given out notes to dancers about their performances, according to the complaint.”

Zeitgeist Watch

I wish this were a parody, but I don’t think it is:

Class Warfare

“Inside the online world of people who think they can change their race” [NBC News]. “Practitioners of what they call ‘race change to another,’ or RCTA, purport to be able to manifest physical changes in their appearance and even their genetics to become a different race. They tune in to subliminal videos that claim can give them an ‘East Asian appearance’ or ‘Korean DNA.’ But experts underscore that it is simply impossible to change your race. ‘It’s just belief,’ said Jamie Cohen, an assistant professor of cultural and media studies at Queens College, City University of New York. ‘It doesn’t ever really work, because it’s not doing anything, but they have convinced themselves that it works because there’s other people who have convinced themselves, as well.’ Though they do not constitute a full-blown trend, a number of racial subliminal creators have popped up on YouTube in recent years, with videos racking up on average over a half-million views apiece. On TikTok, dozens of accounts have emerged in recent weeks sharing similar goals and aesthetics and documenting what people describe as their race-change journeys.” • The great Adolph Reed covered this years ago. Now, here come the influencers! Funny how nobody ever says “I identify as a capitalist” and then expects to get treated like one….

News of the Wired

“Many people feel their jobs are pointless” (press release) [University of Zurich]. “A sociological study by the University of Zurich confirms that a considerable proportion of employees perceive their work as socially useless. Employees in financial, sales and management occupations are more likely to conclude that their jobs are of little use to society.” • Who knew?

* * *

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 MF:

MF: “Took a few pictures during a long hike Sunday in the Santa Monica Mountains (my first in two and half years) — a lush, verdant landscape replete with a variety of wildflowers. Hard to believe this green space exists in the middle of L.A. county with less than a month till summer arrives.”

* * *

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:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. antidlc

    Yesterday’s Water Cooler had this link from The Lever:

    The Church of Leonard Leo

    From ProPublica Aug, 2022:

    The IRS classifies churches and associations of churches as tax-exempt charitable organizations, meaning that they do not have to pay federal taxes and that donors can deduct contributions from their own taxes. However, churches are exempt from submitting Form 990, the annual financial disclosure that nonprofit organizations use to list board members, key staffer salaries, large payments to independent contractors and grants given by the organization.

    And unlike for other tax-exempt organizations, a high-level Treasury official must sign off on any audit of a church.

    1. GramSci

      Putin censors Taibbi’s Telegram-tweet:

      Courtesy of Google Translate:


      The Russian State Newspeak has been replenished with a new term. We already have “cotton”, “negative growth”, “goodwill gesture”, “regrouping”… Now another “incident”. This is when an explosion destroys the most important strategic object – the most expensive and most guarded bridge on the planet. …»

      Thanks for the warning, Google Translate. This appears to be the most offensive passage:

      «… the main achievement of the Putin era [is the] material proof that in our country, even against the backdrop of total theft and inefficiency, it is still possible to achieve practical results if you invest some 400 -500 percent of technologically necessary funds.»

      LOL :-/

    2. Bruno

      The persecution of Boris Kagarlitsky, perhaps Russia’s leading socialist, proves that the crypto-stalinist regime headed by KGB Colonel Putin is taking its lessons in lawfare from our Clinton/Obama/Biden regime.

      1. pjay

        This is indeed an unfortunate development, and it is certainly understandable that it would be condemned by Taibbi, an uncompromising free-speech champion who is no fan of Putin. I do not justify it. But describing Kagarlitsky as a leading “Marxist” or “socialist” does not really depict the situation accurately. From what I have read from Kagarlitsky, his stance on the war is indistinguishable from pro-Western liberals. It had little or nothing to do with geopolitics, in his view. Rather, Putin did it to take the heat off of his domestic policy failures! This “Marxist” seems to be little concerned with the obvious NATO project for Russia – or the Ukrainian “nationalist” project for Russian speaking citizens in Ukraine. His comments on both the war, and the internal situation in Russia, could have been written by some hack NY Times reporter (in fact, they have been).

        It’s a dilemma for me. I tend to share Taibbi’s uncompromising attitude toward free speech. But I have that luxury. I don’t rule a country that has been under a tremendous hybrid warfare siege for 30 years involving massive amounts of pro-Western propaganda and support for pro-Western individuals and organizations. My privileged and probably naive preference would be to allow Kagarlitsky to debate some of the other “experts” on those Russian talk shows Doctorow is always writing about. But again, I have that luxury.

      2. pjay

        I had a long comment disappear, so my apologies if it turns up later. But let me say briefly that describing Kagarlitsky as a leading “Marxist” or “socialist” is misleading in this context. His comments on the war, Putin, and Russia’s internal situation are almost indistinguishable from pro-Western liberals, inside or outside Russia. What has happened to him is very unfortunate, and I do not support such action. But like Taibbi, I have the luxury of unconditional support for free speech. I don’t rule a country that has been under constant hybrid attack from a myriad of Western interests for 30 years.

        I would love to examine your “crypto-stalinist” charge in detail, but in the interests of getting this response out I’ll leave it here.

  2. Hepativore

    I find it ridiculous that mainstream publications are unafraid to point out that you cannot change your racial phenotype for the most part, yet if you say something similar when it comes to sex, you will be shouted down by said mainstream publications or social circles for being “transphobic”. Yet sex is equally as immutable as it is hardwired into our DNA. It is hypocritical to say that the latter is possible but the former is not when it comes to “trans” issues.

    I am not saying that gender dysphoria is not real, but I do think that it should be classified like a mental illness and treated as such like we do with people with eating disorders or body-integrity disorder, not with dangerous and pointless “affirming” care to unsuccessfully do what is basically impossible.

    1. brooke

      no trans person thinks they can become the non-trans version of their desired sex/gender/whatever. That’s why they call themselves trans, as opposed to cis/non-trans. If they really thought they were doing the impossible, they wouldn’t bother to call themselves ‘trans’. I think it’s fascinating how many people seem to miss this and proceed to talk about trans people dismissing biological reality or whatever.

      also, isn’t dying one’s hair changing one’s phenotype? I think you meant genotype

      1. semper loquitur

        This is patently false. The insipid and numbingly familiar war-cry “Trans women are women!” belies your claim. Numerous imbe(iles are on video stating that trans identified men are in fact women. Or in the case of arch-degenerate Dylan Mulvaney, a “girl”. It’s fascinating how often the trans ideologue ignores what’s right in front of their face in order to make a claim that buttresses their warped perceptions.

        1. brooke

          If you want to willfully misinterpret what people are saying, then sure, you can come up with all sorts of shocking and baffling things. When people say “Trans women are women” do you really think they are claiming that there is no distinction between trans woman and cis women? If so, you are mistaken.

          When they say ‘trans women are women’ they are using it as a simple slogan to say ‘trans women are a type of woman’. You can disagree with that, but sensible people can disagree with you.

          You are well within your rights to say that you disagree with them that the term ‘woman’ or ‘girl’ or whatever should apply to them, but it is simply false to say that what they mean by ‘Trans women are women’ is that trans women and non-trans women are the same in every respect.

          I am also trans, am I a degenerate? What do you mean by that?

          1. flora

            At the risk of sounding like “some of my best friends are…”, no you are not degenerate. You are outside the center of the bell curve of sexuality. That is your business.

            However, if you were born male do not erase born-female women in womens sports, and especially do not use born-female bathrooms and locker rooms if you’re still “packing”. If you’re afraid of assault in the mens areas, what do you think women and girls think about a still-packing trans in their areas. We born-females are not obliged to deny our own feelings and experiences about safety to comfort your feelings.

            Too harsh? Too bad.

            1. brooke

              Where did I mention sports or locker rooms or anything? I don’t think your opinions are too harsh. In fact, no one said that. I was responding to a comment about the common misunderstanding about what trans people believe with respect to their sex and its mutability. Strange to just bring up whatever other things you think about trans people, to each their own I suppose

              1. flora

                Don’t slide away. These arguments are exactly what’s used in a step-by-step process. Start at an agreed upon A, agreed upon by most, follwed by a move that A must therefore lead to B, etc. Surely you see this, even if it isn’t your direct argument. You put the predicate with no boundaries. / ;)

                1. flora

                  adding on a more humorous ( but on target) note: this clip from the great old movie 9 to 5.


                  If the roosters are changed physically to hens then I got no problem with them in womens’ bathrooms or prisons. They’ve been disarmed. While this sounds funny it’s really no joke.

              2. Henry Moon Pie

                When belief conflicts with reality, best to adapt your beliefs to fit reality rather than try forcing reality to conform to your beliefs.

              3. Fiery Hunt

                I think your broad brush denial that trans women don’t think they are “women” is a flat out misrepresentation.

                Language matters and if trans were fine with being trans, we wouldn’t have so much animosity in the country.

                It is the erasure of women-only spaces and sports that puts the lie to… “When people say “Trans women are women” do you really think they are claiming that there is no distinction between trans woman and cis women?”

          2. Dobbs

            If the slogan was
            Trans people are people. ( and we should respect the divinity within them.)
            Far fewer people would have a problem.

            But as you point out the slogan
            Trans women are women
            isn’t actually true.

            But then again i think much of the trans activism purpose is to divide the population to make them easier to rule.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I happen to agree with the sentiment that trans people are people as because they are. But if you tried to say ‘women are people too’, you would have certain factions asking ‘what is a woman?’ which even a Supreme Court justice pretends unable to answer. Nobody asks ‘what is a trans?’ I have no problem with trans people. But what I do have a problem with is trans people using their male strength and hormones to take away prizes and positions from women themselves whether it be in beauty contests, sporting competitions, etc. when they are perfectly capable of organizing their own events which would have the backing of corporations.

          3. semper loquitur

            “If you want to willfully misinterpret what people are saying, then sure, you can come up with all sorts of shocking and baffling things. When people say “Trans women are women” do you really think they are claiming that there is no distinction between trans woman and cis women? If so, you are mistaken.”

            Horse$hit. And you know it full well. Stop equivocating. This >exact< claim has been made innumerable times by the trans-identified. And they full well meant exactly what they said. "I am also trans, am I a degenerate? What do you mean by that?" What do you think I mean? I mean Mulvaney is a degenerate. This isn't some wellspring of a heretofore unrealized "gender identity" coming to flower, whatever that even means. It's a sexual fetish. He is a pervert. He lives within a delusional fantasy, a mental cyst of narcissism. Are you an adult male who dresses up in teenage girl's clothing and calls himself a "girlie girl" while waxing on about your period? To be clear, I could care less how Mulvaney dresses and comports himself. But he isn't a woman, not of any stripe. The word woman refers to the adult female of the human species. There is no other type. No amount of hormones, breast work, high heels, whatever, can change that.

            1. chris

              And Dylan! went in hard for it. I can’t imagine what else besides mental illness would have some one elect to shave material off their facial bones to match some kind of ideal in their head. His rage against the bulge and other statements are so sad. He really wants to be a teenage girl. He seems angry that others and life itself consider him a deranged man and not a teenage girl. But it seems sponsors don’t care so I guess he’ll be OK.

      2. chris

        No. In your analogy then, putting on make up would be the equivalent of changing your race. If the hair dye changed the protein configuration of your hair and made it so that your new natural color was different then you’d be changing phenotype.

        Phenotype is what is expressed based on your genes but that can vary somewhat. Genotype is your DNA. The two don’t always line up. But in the vast majority of cases they do. And even when they don’t, because the two poles of sexual dimorphism we have as humans are male and female, our bodies still do everything they can to be one or the other. That’s what gets everyone so picky about using science here.

        Because the trans positive people want to say life is this beautiful spectrum and XX or XY doesn’t define them. They give examples from lots of other animals and expect that to end the discussion. If you talk with an transvengelical biologist or similarly minded person, they’ll tell you about extra chromosomes and other details that make women more male and vice versa. They make it seem like there’s enough edge cases to really muddy up the simple truth that for 99.99999% of people this isn’t a medical issue. It’s a mental issue.

        And the use of cis/trans is offensive. Women aren’t “on the other side of” men they’re completely different in important ways. You can’t reflect a man in a mirror and magically give them a uterus. Or change how they bleed. Cis and trans and non-binary are examples of post-human fiction. But it is a free country and as long as you’re an adult I don’t really care what you do. I just don’t want to be forced to applaud that you did it.

        On the other side, people want to believe that the feelings these people have aren’t real. That gender disphoria doesn’t exist. That all these harms are imaginary. Because of that, they conveniently ignore the economic and health hardships trans people suffer in the US. Regardless of what you call them or what they call themselves these people are denied access to good jobs, stable community connections, and most importantly, healthcare. Many are poor and disenfranchised. It seems like no one actually wants to help trans people get good, safe jobs and the healthcare they need. We need to support people with these beliefs and to understand why they came to these conclusions to enact such drastic changes in their lives. I’ve posted the paper before that estimates are somewhere around 0.05% of births are intersex. We have way more people identifying as trans than that. We really need to understand what is going on and how to help them better. Because a permanently medicalized condition where you’re also economically excluded can’t be the only option we give people who are suffering. I want them to have a chance to live a dignified life as they choose looking the way they choose to look.

    2. GramSci

      I get diagnosed with mental illness all the time when I express my dysphoria about being “American”. It sucks when the media tell you you’re not a good representative of what you’re “supposed to be”. So I feel some empathy for the LGBTQXYZ+ crowd.

    3. semper loquitur

      The illogic is the point. You can’t pin these !diots down. One second they attempt to use reasoning and logic on you, then in the next breath they deny reasoning and logic as tools of patriarchy or whatever.

      Think back a few days ago to that discussion of “kritiks”, blocks of predigested cartoon history that debaters can simply insert into a debate at any point. Most likely when they are getting their a$$e$ kicked. It’s bullet point history, it’s the antithesis of debate, it’s used to dissuade critical thinking. It’s literally stupefying.

      This stuff is dumb. That’s it’s strength. It attracts middling minds with it’s inchoate word-salads and it’s reliance on moralizing. It dismisses any criticism of it as racism or “make up a word”-phobia. It’s a comforting rats nest of truisms, “just-so” stories, and delusion.

      Stupid sells.

    4. chris

      It really is curious, isn’t it? Why can a person allegedly change their sex/gender and not race? I say sex/gender because the language around this has gotten quite loose. There’s even people who now think they’re intersex based on feelings alone, rather than any designation from phenotypic or genotypes expression. And for the most part, who cares? But then they come for language and a bunch of other things because they’re not content with being trans I guess?

      Anyway, with respect to trans racial attempts, it feels like everyone has forgotten “Black Like Me”? John Howard Griffin changed his skin to pass as black in the 60’s. That took some courage. I’m not sure what the reason is for people to do it today.

      1. Vocabulary, vocabulary

        > It really is curious, isn’t it? … [how] the language around this has gotten quite loose.

        Indeed. In the olden days, there were only two ‘trans’ — and it must be said that even then they were sometimes mixed up (including deliberately). You had your transvestites, which category comprised everything from Christmas pantos to drag queens to Tootsie. And you had the (very rare) transsexuals, people such as Christine Jorgenson, who were ‘trapped in the wrong body’ and took serious steps, pharmacological and surgical, to correct the situation.

        It all got very confusing when they started talking about transgender. ‘I “identify” as a woman but I’ll keep my male equipment, thank you very much’ — like that Penn swimmer or some of these prisoners. (‘The Auld Triangle’ was ahead of its time [ha ha].)

        “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

        “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

        Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

  3. Mikel

    “Campaign 2024, Officially Chaos” (unlocked) [Matt Taibbi, Racket News].

    “…Absent a big switch, our future is either Donald Trump, who by next year will be in more restraints than Hannibal Lecter on the tarmac…”

    Please include Hannibal Lector in the next polls.

  4. some guy

    question: ” Why are you wearing a mask?”

    answer: ” Because I’m the smartest person on the stairs.”

  5. MT_Wild

    Enjoying Western Meadowlark week. FYI, it’s probably one of the most secure bird species in the West. Population and habitat trends are favorable across it’s range.

    They are a bit of a pain in the a** when you’re doing bird surveys. Their song really carries and tends to drown out the less vocal species.

    1. flora

      I love the meadowlark song. It’s the song of home for me; the song of morning after sunrise and of evening as twilight draws in.

      1. some guy

        There is still a species called Eastern meadowlark. Its song is very different than the Western meadowlark, though they look almost exactly the same. The Eastern meadowlark used to be common. Decades ago I would see/hear them every single day that I went out birdwatching.
        More recently, it has become years between seeing one and then seeing another. It may be heading towards extinction while nobody is watching.

        So, perhaps as a pre-elegy. . . the Eastern meadowlark.

        1. Lunker Walleye

          The uplifting and beautiful Eastern Meadowlark song used to resonate in fields and you could hear them driving down country roads and blue highways here in flyover. I rarely hear them anymore.

          1. flora

            Indeed. When I hear the eastern meadowlark I think of the old Robert Browning poem taught to grade school children in their English lesson classes in times past.

            The Year’s At The Spring by Robert Browning

            The year’s at the spring,
            And day’s at the morn;
            Morning’s at seven;
            The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
            The lark’s on the wing;
            The snail’s on the thorn;
            God’s in his Heaven—
            All’s right with the world!

    2. MT_Wild

      To add to the “AI is coming for your jobs” discussion, we’re starting to use song recorders instead of field technicians to do song surveys of birds. It’s easier than dealing with hiring and supervision, and the recorders don’t scare the birds and can stay out as long as the battery lasts.

      Then the recording is fed into a bird song identifying software package and you get a list of species at that point. Thankfully I’ll still get to go out and ground-truth the recorders.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Looking at the spectrogram of the Lark’s song I was struck by how similar it appears to some form of writing — like a cursive Chinese or some Indian or Middle Eastern writing system. Recalling how some early efforts at human speech recognition attempted identifying spectrograms as speech components using techniques from computer handwriting, gesture, and character recognition and combining this with Gibson’s bird song language for speech encryption in “Peripheral” … Perhaps toss in use of some spread spectrum techniques …

  6. Jason Boxman

    So riddle me this; For years we were hearing about how oppressive and stupid China’s COVID response was; now, silence. Given the experience in the US, certainly millions of Chinese must have died as a result of the first COVID wave there, and they’re into newer variants now. So what’s happening, anyway? The only stories I see now are China’s recovery isn’t what was expected, for some unknown reason, that we honestly can’t guess or delve into, except perhaps sovereign debt overhang.

    ’tis a mystery.

    1. some guy

      They are not going to reveal any problems they may be having with Covid for the West to gloat over.

      1. Jason Boxman

        And the west isn’t going to discuss it, either, because it might hit a little too close to home. Shared amnesia.

  7. flora

    Thanks for the link in your Class Warfare commentary to Adolph Reed Jr’s. great essay. Good stuff. (Reed does not follow the approved narrative currently in vogue.)

    1. Sardonia

      “Here’s why health experts are masking indoors—13% increase in hospitalizations reported in three weeks”

      Here’s what Fire Prevention Experts are advising – “When you have a gas leak from your stove and you always have a lit candle in your kitchen, when fire breaks out, be sure to pour water on it”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Here’s why health experts are masking indoors—13% increase in hospitalizations reported in three weeks

      Of course, hospitalizaion is a lagging indicator, so the so-called experts are masking two or three weeks too late [pounds head on desk]. Hat tip, Mandy Cohen.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Exactly. You just know that some Silicon Valley techie is looking at that parody and saying to themselves ‘Hey. This could work. We could have it linked to the parent’s mobile and upload all that tracking data to our servers which would also track the parents as well, if not the day care that they dump that kid at. And we could sell it by saying that parents do it only because they love their children and are trying to protect them.’ Ka-ching!

  8. Stephen V

    Everyone knows that 2020 was stolen by those who buried the Little Guy’s laptop story: it’s a big club and they’re still at it. Where are indictments for their crimes?

  9. Blurry Rothtard

    >Funny how nobody ever says “I identify as a capitalist” and then expects to get treated like one….

    Literally Ancaps

  10. Mark Gisleson

    In 1971, Matthews’ Southern Comfort had a hit single with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.

    The band got back together [I’m assuming original members are involved but given the time frame that’s hard to imagine] and just put out the best country-western reimagining of Woodstock possible. The Woodstock Album is worth checking out ; )

  11. albrt

    Lambert, I am unclear on how much you know about the fake slates of electors. In Arizona they got together and signed documents claiming to be the rightfully chosen electors and transmitted them to DC, hoping Mike Pence would be persuaded to act on them. It was not just fantasy.

    I personally have talked to a nationally recognized Arizona Republican official who thinks the fake electors should be prosecuted.

  12. marym

    > “The Trial America Needs”

    I think the letter-to-the-editor analogy would be someone writing it in furtherance of a plan to do something or urge others to do something illegal: In this case obstructing the congressional certification process with fake electoral ballots or VP rejecting state certified electoral ballots isn’t a legal way to get to continue being president.

    From the indictment:
    “The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won. He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means, such as by seeking recounts or audits of the popular vote in states or filing lawsuits challenging ballots and procedures. Indeed, in many cases, the Defendant did pursue these methods of contesting the election results. His efforts to change the outcome in any state through recounts, audits, or legal challenges were uniformly unsuccessful.
    4. Shortly after election day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.”

    I don’t understand the “good faith” argument. Is it really true that it’s not illegal to pressure a government official to do something illegal, if one has “good faith” in one’s stated reason for wanting them to do it?

  13. Michael King

    Thank you for the Matt Taibbi and Violet Blue links. Needed time outs for laughing out loud when reading MT’s wise analysis. Violet Blue’s Thursday Covid roundup is always a must read. Re: birds. Has there been a Northern Flicker appearance? Beautiful species that I often see in Vancouver during the spring/fall.

  14. GramSci

    Since being exiled from Florida to Outer Pentagonia, I’d almost lost track of Rebekah Jones, the anti-DeSantis Florida Covid whistleblower. I’d even begun to doubt her a bit as she got smeared in the Florida press that still crossed my screen.

    But I respect Josh Fox, who really stepped up when we were fighting the motherfrackers in the Everglades, so I want to give Josh’s upcoming documentary about Rebekah a shout-out here:


  15. The Rev Kev

    “Lawsuit by former dancers accuses Lizzo of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment’

    That article was sanitized. There is no mention in it of her former dancers, those stage performers and bananas which I won’t go into here. Good job AP News.

  16. Benny Profane

    Aren’t there links already established between the Proud Boys and the FBI? Didn’t that come out in court testimony? Wow, just think of the discovery and obstruction and all the other delays just pertaining to all that, plus many more participants, if this ridiculous case goes to trial. Gasoline on a fire. Trump is bulldozing through the RINO party with barely an effort, and they think this will stop him?

    Watch out for left field, though. RFK Jr. is beating both Trump and Biden in new poll. https://youtu.be/okh0nsX-CQI As he said, this is stunning, considering the month he has had in the popular press.
    It’s going to be a very interesting year plus 3 months.

    1. notabanker

      I’ll repeat this over and over. RFK jr is running as democrat. He has zero chance of receiving the nomination. If you want to get footballed by Lucy again, knock yourself out.

      1. Benny Profane

        Probably not, but, 2016 was such a shock to my system, I stay open to all possibilities.
        All I can say is, imagine RFK Jr. actually winning an early primary or two. Or three. Hey, Trump steamrolled through a field of 12. The meat of America may start paying attention, as they always do pre convention. Won’t look too good for the Big Guy, especially if Hunter is still in the news. Sure, the DNC will come at him with guns blazing, but, they already have, and look where he is in the polls. He’s working hard, he’s been on any “alternative” media that will take him, and maybe that’s working.
        Then, of course, there’s Joe wandering off stage muttering and trying to shake hands with ghosts, and Kamala. Poor Kamala.

        1. notabanker

          Polls and votes mean nothing in the primaries. The DNC can decide at the converntion who they want to nominate and they will. And there is no way they will nominate RFKjr.

          Don’t contribute to the illusion that the primaries actually elect nominees. The primaries manufacture their consent. It’s all a farce, remember Iowa and Nevada and the “apps”? Biden was the presumptive nominee with 10 million “votes”. My Ohio primary “vote” was disenfranchsied months before the “election”.

          The meat of America is already paying attention. Look at the actual ratings for cable news. There are a few hundred thousand half-wits a night left watching Maria Bartolomo or Rachel Maddow spew the propaganda of the day. They just aren’t going to change things by “voting”.

          1. GramSci

            Where’s your sense of humor, guys?That’s why I’m supporting RFKJ. It’s one’s NC duty to be part of the act undressing the Empire.

  17. cnchal

    > Wowsers, Amazon corrupt to the bone. Who knew?

    I have known that for at least a decade. I thought it was common knowledge.

    Amazon’s PE > 300 Imagine the hellish world if Amazon,s earnings grow into that PE. I think the IRS would have a field day auditing them. I bet the frauds extends to the accounting department and whatever numbers they barf forth in the next couple of days is fiction.

    1. Screwball

      I got a kick out of this interview. Archer reminded me of the corporate worms I used to work with, and despise. He’s just a slimy little prick. Carlson can be a hoot, and I’m not a fan of his usually. A few times I thought Carlson made Archer look like an idiot, probably because he is.

      But everything seems slimy anymore, and there are plenty of idiots. Apparently that ain’t gonna change anytime soon.

  18. ChrisRUEcon


    The House Of Tupac Rises!!!


    I remember discussing this just over a year ago here (via NC) … it was always the plan … but I’m not sure which “wing” inside #TeamBlue has decided that it’s gotta be #SleepyJoe2024. I’m wondering if there’s some “Deus Ex Machina” that’s gonna save #TeamBlue here – Biden gets COVID a 3rd time … or he tumbles down the stairs somewhere out of a camera’s view. Or perhapsNewsom’s “readiness” may mean that the “Obama wing” is getting ready to make a call – a la night of the long knives.


    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, we all know how messed up the “Law & Order” universe’s view of its title topic is, yes?


      Maybe it’s just me . . . but the “Law & Order” franchise has been spoiled for me forever since I realized what those famous words before that famous sound effect really say — or, more to the point, what they don’t say.

      “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

      What could be wrong with that? Well, let’s see. . . .

      First, the police don’t investigate all crimes, and not everything the police investigate is a crime.

      Second, district attorneys don’t prosecute all offenders, and not everyone they prosecute is an offender.

      Third, at least some district attorneys are elected — police, not so much. And without community control, how sure are we that either group is doing a good job of “representing” the people?

      Maybe the line is trying to talk about another definition of “representing” — but then, those two groups are not the only representation of the people in the criminal-justice system. Jurors are people too. So are victims. And defendants. And judges, and bailiffs, and court reporters. And witnesses — yes, including expert witnesses. Even unindicted co-conspirators are people. (Except when they’re corporations.)

Comments are closed.