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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Mt. Hagen; Baiyer River Sanctuary, Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea. “I have heard this species mimic during territorial disputes. The species mimicked in this are: Coracina morio, Coracina boyeri(?), Dicrurus hottentottus, Merops ornatus(?), Cacomantis variolosus, Halcyon sp., Rhipidura rufiventris, Eudynamis scolopacea.” From 1975!
“Showcasing the spectacle of bird migration” [BirdCast]. • I’m not a stone birder, so I don’t already know about this. Cornell Lab of Ornithology involved, which is nice. Includes maps and many charts.
“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 Constitutional Order
“States Can Enforce Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment without Any New Federal Legislation” (PDF) [Free Speech for the People]. From Section IV (citations omitted):
In 2022 a New Mexico state court applied Section Three, pursuant to the state quo warranto statute, and removed Couy Griffin, a county commissioner, from office for engaging in the Capitol insurrection. See New Mexico ex rel. White v. Griffin… No special federal legislation was needed. Similarly, Georgia adopted Worthy’s approach in addressing a Section Three ballot challenge against Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. See Rowan v. Raffensperger… .While the administrative law judge overseeing the state proceeding (like the Louisiana Supreme Court in Downes) ultimately concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Representative Greene engaged in insurrection on January 6th, 2021, he specifically followed Worthy and adjudicated the Section Three question on the merits. —let alone suggested that the challenge could not even be adjudicated absent a specific Act of Congress authorizing the challenge. See, e.g., Greene, 599 F. Supp. 3d at 1319 (“”Plaintiff has pointed to no authority holding that a state is barred from evaluating whether a candidate meets the constitutional requirements for office or enforcing such requirements””). The actions of these courts comport with the holding of Judge (now Justice) Gorsuch that “”.”” Hassan v. Colorado, 495 Fed. App’x 947, 948 (10th Cir. 2012) (Gorsuch, J.) (rejecting challenge to state’s exclusion of a naturalized presidential candidate from ballot).13 Nothing materially differentiates Section Three from other constitutional qualifications for office, or from other questions under the U.S. Constitution that state courts routinely adjudicate without a special act of Congress instructing them to do so when the question properly arises in a state law proceeding.
Quoting Gorsuch. Cheeky!
* * *
“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” [William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law Review]. I highly recommend this piece (and the ensuing discussion at NC, starting here). As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution? Just as long as understanding doesn’t end there! In any case, I’m working through it. One thing I notice is that there do seem to have been rather a lot of rebellions and insurrections, not just the Civil War. To me, this is parallel to one lesson I drew from Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (episode 1): There are rather a lot of revolutions, too. Alert reader Pensions Guy summarizes Baude and Paulsen as follows:
The authors go through an exhaustive textual and originalism analysis of Section Three, and their Federalist Society leanings do not deter them from reaching their conclusion that officials in every State who are charged with determining candidate qualifications should conclude that Donald Trump is disqualified from being on ballots because of the oath he took on Inauguration Day 2017 and subsequently violated through his role in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.
Taking “insurrection” as read (I need to do more reading), this has been more of my continuing coverage of Section Three.
“Biden, Lula to launch partnership on workers’ rights amid labor strikes in U.S.” [The Hill]. “President Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will launch the U.S.-Brazil Partnership for Workers’ Rights on Wednesday, with the goals of advancing workers’ rights and stopping worker exploitation. The focus on workers’ rights from Biden comes as the United Auto Workers began its historic strike against the Big Three automakers Friday, when the sides failed to successfully negotiate a new contract. The Biden administration has been involved with pushing both sides to reach a deal, and Biden has deployed officials to Detroit to help with a solution. When asked about the timing of the announcement with Brazil amid the automaker strike, as well as the ongoing writers strike, a senior administration official said, ‘nothing about this initiative should be interpreted as discouraging or limiting the right to strike.'” • Interesting idea, though don’t we have the ILO and the AFL-CIO (granted, infested by spooks) for this?
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“What the Polls Say Today: Trump’s Rivals Need a New Strategy, Fast” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “So today, four months before the voting phase of the contest begins, Trump’s level of support in the national RealClearPolitics polling averages has reached an all-time high of 56.6 percent. DeSantis is at an all-time low of 12.7 percent in the same averages, and nobody else is above the mid-single digits (Trump’s trusty wingman Vivek Ramaswamy is third at 7.2 percent). The increasingly compelling question, then, is how, exactly, do Trump’s rivals think they’re going to bring him down? All the ways in which he was supposed to have self-destructed by now have turned out to be illusions. And nobody other than the increasingly feeble DeSantis has ever been in a position to serve as anything other than a minor nuisance to the 45th president.” And: “[A]t this point, GOP primary voters actually believe Trump is their most electable candidate, and the polls don’t contradict that assumption, either. All in all, the candidates hoping to supplant Trump need to quickly come up with new and direct criticisms of the front-runner that primary voters can buy, or find ways to make themselves incandescently appealing. The time for hoping Trump will defeat himself has passed.” • Hilarity ensues. Do you see any “incandescently appealing” Republican candidates?
* * *
“There’s a simple answer to questions about Biden’s age. Why won’t Democrats say it?” [Perry Bacon, WaPo]. The lead: “The answer to questions about Biden’s age is simple: ‘Yes, there’s a chance Vice President Harris becomes president — and that would be fine.'” No, it very wouldn’t, though Bacon gives it the ol’ college try: “If you are talking to a friend who is undecided or probably voting for Biden, but worried about him being so old, try something like this: “”President Biden is flying around the world, giving long speeches and making tons of complicated decisions. He’s very up to the job right now. I hope and expect he will be able to serve his full four-year second term if reelected. That said, he’s 80 — so no one can promise he will be in great health in 2028. But Vice President Harris of course could step in if needed. She has plenty of experience — and the presidency isn’t a single person anyway. All of the people helping Biden would be by her side, too. And a President Harris would be much better than a President Trump.” • So, summarizing, we should vote for Biden’s staff? Really? The same people who got us into a losing proxy war with Russia and killed more people than Trump with Covid?
“Spinning the Press on Hunter Biden” [Lee Fang, RealClearInvestigations]. A very good review. “During President Obama’s second term, then-Vice President Joe Biden was the administration’s point man on the nation’s policy toward Ukraine, a perch he used to urge the country to resist ‘the cancer of corruption’ and enact sweeping ethics reforms. At the time, some American journalists began to question whether the vice president’s stern message was undermined by his son Hunter Biden’s employment at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, which was owned by a notorious local oligarch. Emails on Hunter’s laptop reveal that the inquiries sparked an internal debate within his team of consultants and public relations agents. Ultimately, they devised a series of responses about Hunter’s work with Burisma that were, at best, misleading and, at worst, outright falsehoods. . The laptop emails show that the team closely monitored critical reporting and pushed to shape coverage with reporters from the New York Times, Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press. Their spin informed much of the ensuing coverage in the mainstream press, defusing the issue, even as President Trump and other Republicans insisted that Ukraine was a hotbed of Biden family corruption. Although he had no background in the energy field and little experience in corporate governance, Hunter Biden, who had a law degree, was appointed to the board of Burisma in May 2014. It was revealed later that he was paid about $1 million per year – as was his business partner Devon Archer.”
* * *
“Oliver Anthony’s Remedy for the ‘Rich Men North of Richmond'” [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., RFK, Jr.’s Policies + Politics]. “Oliver Anthony’s anthem captures the overwhelming sense of despair among our working poor as they watch the American Dream disintegrate along with any hope that their children will lead better lives. ‘I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day / Overti me hours for bullshit pay / So I can sit out here and waste my life away / Drag back home and drown my troubles away.’ Oliver’s song is an anthem of angst representing hitherto invisible men in a declining empire whose dream has become a nightmare. His song vividly depicts the nexus of state and corporate power that resides inside the D.C. Beltway, 110 miles north of Richmond. Oliver understands how this power complex has systematically strip-mined Americans of their equity, their hope, even their sanity. Those in power have made a mockery of our claim to being the world’s exemplary democracy, and Oliver calls out the totalitarian flavor of economic oligarchy: These “”rich men north of Richmond”” who are steadily shifting wealth upwards want, in his words, ‘total control,’ these men who ‘wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do.'” That’s the stuff to give the troops! And: “Oliver sees America’s crisis as a class war, and he is distressed by the identity politics that keep the working poor locked in orchestrated conflict with each other: Left vs. Right, Republican vs. Democrat, Black vs. White.” Then again: “Oliver described this project during his recent podcast with Jordan Peterson.” • Oy. I guess you have to meet people where they are, but oy,
* * *
“How to Think Like a Philosopher” [Cornel West (Amfortas the Hippie)]. The deck: “Cornel walks you through his personal philosophy, explaining how .” Sounds like West — this is not an endorsement — would be looked on with favor by NC readers! From the sample transcript:
Socrates is a figure that the Greeks call a tapos. A tapos Means unclassifiable, unsubsumable. There’ll never be one label that fully accounts for who he was. Socrates exemplified a way of being, a way of living in the centrality of questioning, interrogating, scrutinizing in a quest for truth. The mentor, the master– he used to have masterclasses right there in the public space. He used to have the young folks sit, and he would ask, what is justice– as in ‘Republic’; what is courage in the ‘Laches;’ what is knowledge in the ‘Theaetetus’– these elenchus forms of inquiry– what is, what is, what is?
So he went around and asked these questions of the people he thought were the wisest…
(Elenchus is the Socratic method.) West’s students must have been very, very lucky to have him as a teacher. (And if I were West’s campaign manager — Yo, Peter Daou! — I’d be getting testimonials from some of those students and running them as a campaign ad.()
* * * * * * * * *
“Why McCarthy’s margin matters” [CNN]. “McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican members on a House vote, depending on how many overall lawmakers are voting. To pass most Republican priorities, he needs to win the support of both far-right Republicans as well as the moderates in districts President Joe Biden won in 2020.” • Handy chart:
“House GOP bridge-burners are eyeing the exits” [Axios]. • “Exits” like: To CNN, as state AG, governor, Senator, as Trump’s VP, or in his cabinet.
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.
* * *
“Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?” [Michelle Golderg, The New York Times]. “Panic is setting in among some progressive groups because the donors who buoyed them throughout the Trump years are disengaging. ‘Donations to progressive organizations are way down in 2023 across the board,’ said a recent memo from Billy Wimsatt, executive director of the Movement Voter Project, an organization founded in 2016 that channels funds to community organizers, mostly in swing states, who engage and galvanize voters…. As both big and small donors pull back, there have been layoffs across the progressive ecosystem, from behemoths like the Sierra Club to insurgent outfits like Justice Democrats… This isn’t just about political operatives losing their jobs: It means that organizations that should be building up their turnout operations for next year are instead having to downsize. And it speaks to a mood of liberal apathy and disenchantment that Democrats can’t afford ahead of another grueling election.” Interestingly, I’m not the only one that hates Mothership Strategies: “One small, characteristic piece of this problem — and perhaps the easiest part to solve — involves the way Democrats use email. If you’re on any progressive mailing lists, you surely know what I’m talking about: the endless appeals, sometimes in bold all caps, warning of imminent Democratic implosion. (Recent subject lines in my inbox include, ‘We can kiss our Senate majority goodbye’ and ‘This is not looking good.’) In the short term, these emails are effective, which is why campaigns use them. Over time, they encourage a mix of cynicism and helplessness — precisely the feelings leading too many people to withdraw from political involvement.”
“Lawsuit Unearths Link Between Dem Megadonor SBF, Parents, and Democratic Dark Money Behemoth Arabella Advisors” [Washington Free Beacon]. “The father of disgraced cryptocurrency kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried sat on the advisory board of the liberal dark money behemoth Arabella Advisors and likely had access to the group’s funds, a federal lawsuit filed against Bankman-Fried’s parents on Tuesday charged….. The suit also reveals that FTX had a special arrangement with the largest Arabella affiliate, the New Venture Fund, through which the crypto trading firm and its donors could contribute to ‘select charitable causes.’…. Arabella’s network of five nonprofit funds, which do not have to disclose their donors, have spent billions of dollars operating a vast array of left-wing advocacy groups that present themselves to the public as grassroots initiatives…. Arabella claims it only provides back-office administrative support to New Venture Fund and the other nonprofit funds in its network. But documents obtained by the Free Beacon show Arabella wields centralized control over the funds, which hauled in a combined $3.3 billion in 2020 and 2021 and used those resources to operate hundreds of Democratic projects across the country. Each of those projects is managed by a team of Arabella employees, including an account manager and a managing director.” • You have to wonder if the “panic” described above by Michelle Goldberg is being caused by the SBF debacle (and it would be rather pleasing if all those Democrat NGOs were in fact financed by fraudsters).
“Major Progressive Donors, Including Swiss Foreign National Hansjörg Wyss, Funded Press Herald Purchase and Are Funding Yet Another News Outlet in Maine” [The Maine Wire]. “The majority of daily news outlets in Maine are now bankrolled by some of the country’s largest donors to the Democratic Party and left-wing interest groups. Mega donors George Soros and Swiss foreign national Hansjörg Wyss are among the uber wealthy progressives that are bankrolling a new ‘non-partisan’ news outlet in Maine, the Maine Morning Star, through the left-wing nonprofit States Newsroom…. Wyss, who grew a billion dollar fortune in the medical device industry, and Soros, who became a billionaire through currency speculation and other investments, are now financially involved with the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel (now combined as CentralMaine.com), the Lewiston Sun Journal, and the Brunswick Times Record…. States Newsroom, like dozens of liberal political groups in Maine, has been funded by progressive donors, including major contributions from the Wyss Foundation as well as the North Fund and the Hopewell Fund, two funds managed by Arabella Advisors.” • [family blogging] out-of-staters.
The Bush Legacy
There was discussion in Links this morning on Florida 2000, the election that gave us George W. Bush. There were a lot of moving parts to this story, which continued after Bush was inaugurated:
“So, who really won? What the Bush v. Gore studies showed” [CNN]. A good review. “Months after the United States Supreme Court delivered its ruling to stop the statewide hand recount in the Sunshine State, media and academic organizations conducted their own studies of the disputed ballots in Florida. Taken as a whole, the recount studies show Bush would have most likely won the Florida statewide hand recount of all undervotes. Undervotes are ballots that did not register a vote in the presidential race.” And: “The studies also show that Gore likely would have won a statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes, which are ballots that included multiple votes for president and were thus not counted at all. .” • The 60,000 figure is the number of undervotes. CNN summarizes several studies. One factoid unremarked by all sides: 300,000 Democrats who voted for Bush cost Gore the election (and not Nader, either). Unfortunately, to the best of my recollection, the 300,000 figure came from Jim Hightower, and he didn’t quote a primary source,
Realignment and Legitimacy
“‘Sound of Freedom’ Producer Felt the Naked Breasts of Apparently Underage Trafficking Victim” [Vice] • At this point, I feel about the word “freedom” the same way I feel about “innovation”: Whoever is using it is a con artist of some kind.
“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
The highly requested English translation of the Austrian physicians letter, adapted for international audiences: https://t.co/Adu6kul5kR@igoe_at@TheWHN@BildungSicher@GoldaSchl @MarkedByCovid@CovidSafePlaces@LongCovidAP@zalaly@PutrinoLab@lungendoc@EricTopol pic.twitter.com/EIXVlPxWR6
— Spela Salamon, MD, Ph.D. (@SalamonSMD) September 18, 2023
We ask the Medical Associations to advocate for the development of long-term strategies to manage this health crisis. We ask that you reinvigorate the idea of prevention! It is also critical to increase collaboration within the medical community and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and data related to COVID-19 and its sequelae. Now is the time to demonstrate leadership, unity, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of the general population. By applying a comprehensive, strategic, and sustained approach, we can effectively control the transmission and impact of SARS-CoV-2 through simple means. We are confident that you will show dedication to our profession and promote the highest standards of patient safety and care. We hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to working with you.
I hope this is legit, because as usual the Google finds nothing on it.
It’s hard to read this thread without concluding that both Administrations destroyed the domestic mask industry, which is a tough business:
For starters, the overhead is really high because you invest a ton of capital to build the proper manufacturing equipment. Then you have to file IP to protect yourself from having someone threaten to sue you for claiming you copied their stuff. (We had this happen to us…
— Kevin Ngo (@NgoTheWorld) September 20, 2023
(I should really do a screen dump of the whole piece, but I’m not at my big screen just now.)
More on BA.2.86:
New batch of data analyzed, with further detections of #BA286 / #Pirola in multiple locations in #Switzerland through our #Wastewater surveillance of #SARSCoV2 variants. The BA.2.86 variant was detected in most of the treatment plants we survey. pic.twitter.com/7EffrYs86B
— CBG, ETH Zurich (@cbg_ethz) September 20, 2023
It would be nice if CDC’s traveler’s genomics project weren’t weeks behind. After all, plenty of flights from Switzerland to the US.
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, September 18:
Lambert here: The national drop is due exclusively to the South. Other signals — scattered and partial though they be — also converge on a drop: ER visits, positivity. We shall see. (I would include CDC’s wastewater map for comparison, but it’s eleven days old.)
The same regional variation also appears in the Walgreen’s positivity data. Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, September 16:
Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). Still BA.2.86 here, not even in the note, but see below at Positivity.
From CDC, September 2:
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, September 16:
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 Bellwether New York City, data as of September 19:
Drop continues. I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.
NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. September 9:
Note the slight drop, consistent with Walgreens. At least now we now that hospitalization tracks positivity, which is nice. Even if we don’t know how many cases there are.
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, September 18:
-8.3%. An enormous drop (so not Labor Day data). However, I cannot recall seeing the map so polarized; so much deep green, so much deep red. 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 Cleveland Clinic, September 16:
Lambert here: I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, August 26:
A drop! And here are the variants:
No BA.2.86 for two of the long-delayed collection weeks. I have highlighted the two leaders: EG.5 and FL.1.5.1. Interestingly, those are the two leaders within the United States also, suggesting the national and international bouillabaisse is similar. Or we’re infecting the world.
NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 13:
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: 1,175,395 – 1,175,354 –
1,175,172 = 41 (41 * 365 = 14965 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).
Tech: “Franzen, Grisham and Other Prominent Authors Sue OpenAI” [New York Times]. “More than a dozen authors filed a lawsuit against OpenAI on Tuesday, accusing the company, which has been backed with billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft, of infringing on their copyrights by using their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot. The complaint, which was filed along with the Authors Guild, said that OpenAI’s chatbots can now produce ‘derivative works’ that can mimic and summarize the authors’ books, potentially harming the market for authors’ work, and that the writers were neither compensated nor notified by the company. ‘,’ the complaint said.” • The Silicon Valley maxim that “it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission” can be translated, in this context, into “Hey, what’s wrong with a little “original accumulation”?
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 48 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 20 at 1:40:21 PM ET
Groves of Academe
“How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Elite Parents Enabled His Crypto Empire” [Bloomberg]. This should be read in conjunction with the material on Arabella under Democrats en Déshabillé. The whole piece is well worth a read for detail on the Bankman-Fried milieu, but this on Stanford itself: “And then there’s Stanford itself. Bankman-Fried’s arrest came just a month after Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11 years in prison in connection with fraud at her medical device company, Theranos Inc. She’d founded the company on campus as a student and had recruited well-known faculty members to serve as employees and directors. The Holmes case—coupled with the resignation of Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne over allegations of manipulated data in several academic papers—has caused some professors and students to ask why the university hasn’t been quicker to identify cases of misbehavior.” • There’s no such thing as “misbehavior” in a house of ill-fame, which is what Stanford — home of the Great Barrington Declaration — has become. Donald Knuth, were he dead, would be rolling his grave.
“Electric vehicle jobs are booming in the anti-union South. UAW is worried” [CNN]. “While all of the Big Three’s plants are unionized, not a single plant in the South is unionized…. Automakers’ transition to electric vehicles is accelerating these regional trends. Ford and GM are building battery plants below the Mason-Dixon Line, where states have laws that make unionization much harder than in the traditional working-class bastions of the Midwest. UAW leaders and union supporters worry the shift will lower compensation and cut out unions from the auto industry’s future, and they are seeking to address these concerns in talks with the Big Three. Almost as alarming for the UAW is that EVs require fewer parts and, accordingly, less labor to assemble than gas-powered cars. Jobs at nonunion EV battery facilities pay less than the roughly $32 an hour that veteran UAW workers make. ‘The balance is shifting in favor of the Southeast over the Midwest,’ S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a recent report on auto industry jobs. ‘The South is poised to take a greater portion of US vehicle production in the years ahead.'” • Not “the South.” Capital, invested in the South.
News of the Wired
I am not wired today.
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 EMM:
EMM writes: “Hollies are pound for pound the toughest trees I’ve come across. They seem to thrive in areas where you wouldn’t expect plants to grow and they can take a pasting.”