2:00PM Water Cooler 3/20/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Sadly, Cornell Ornithology Lab’s “planned outage” continue through tomorrow. No bird song today. Here, however, is one of their cams, for Red-tailed Hawks:

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) John Barnett’s stepson (possibly) speaks.

(2) Hitchhiking

(3) Trump to unload Trump Tower?


“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 (Insurrection)

“Trump, GOP-led states argue presidential immunity claim to Supreme Court” [NC Newsline]. “As a deadline loomed for briefs in the case, 18 Republican-led states filed an amicus brief Tuesday urging the Supreme Court to reverse the lower courts and grant Trump blanket immunity. Oral arguments before the high court on the immunity question are scheduled for April 25, and federal district court proceedings have been halted until the Supreme Court issues a ruling. Trump’s lawyers, led by D. John Sauer of St. Louis, in a 52-page brief argued that a strong executive with virtually no criminal liability from the judicial system was intended by the framers of the Constitution and part of a ‘234-year unbroken tradition’ of not prosecuting presidents for action taken while in office…. ‘The President cannot function, and the Presidency itself cannot retain its vital independence, if the President faces criminal prosecution for official acts once he leaves office,’ the attorneys wrote in the brief’s opening paragraph. That view is in line with how framers of the Constitution saw the presidency, they said. ‘Even if some level of Presidential malfeasance, not present in this case at all, were to escape punishment, that risk is inherent in the Constitution’s design,’ Trump’s attorneys wrote. ‘The Founders viewed protecting the independence of the Presidency as well worth the risk that some Presidents might evade punishment in marginal cases. They were unwilling to burn the Presidency itself to the ground to get at every single alleged malefactor.’ The only exception to absolute immunity is a president who is impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate, Trump’s lawyers said.” And: “They asked the court to reject an argument that another exception to presidential immunity could be made for criminal charges stemming from a president’s desire to stay in power. ‘Because virtually all first-term Presidents’ official actions carry some, at least partial, motivation to be re-elected, this exception to immunity would swiftly engulf the rule,’ they wrote. Prosecuting or not prosecuting a president is inherently a political act, Trump’s attorneys said. ‘This observation applies to former Presidents as well — and it applies most of all to a former President who is the leading candidate to replace the incumbent who is prosecuting him,’ they wrote.” • Leave it to Trump to find the edge case for any system he’s involved with.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “Donald Trump may not pay bond — and instead let Letitia James seize Trump Tower: insiders” [New York Post]. “As Donald Trump faces a Monday deadline to post a $454 million bond in the civil fraud case against him in New York, insiders said he may be weighing a little-discussed option: Doing nothing…. While some reports have raised speculation that Trump may ‘go nuclear’ with a Chapter 11 filing to protect his prize real estate assets across Manhattan, experts said bankruptcy would create unwelcome complications as the 2024 election season comes to a head. A third possibility, however, is to let the deadline pass, leaving it to New York Attorney General Letitia James to seize Trump’s bank accounts or buildings — including Trump Tower, from which he declared his 2016 presidential run, and which famously includes his personal penthouse. It’s an option Trump appears to have considered – partly because he believes the chances are good that he could recover the assets on appeal, even if he is forced to take his case to the US Supreme Court, according to friends. ‘Even if there is a taking, it doesn’t mean he can’t take it back later,’ a source close to Trump told The Post. A decision to do nothing poses risks of its own — among them that the New York AG’s Office has the right to sell off any properties it confiscates in order to recover the cash penalties it is owed.” • No mention, however, of the Eighth Amendment.

Trump (R): “Judge grants Trump permission to appeal Fani Willis ruling” [Axios]. “The judge overseeing former President Trump’s Georgia election subversion case granted a pathway Wednesday for Trump to appeal his decision to allow Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain at the helm of the prosecution. By granting a ‘certificate of immediate review,’ Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee enabled Trump’s lawyers to appeal the decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals before the start of a trial…. While McAfee granted the defense’s request for a review, he noted in the court filing that other matters related to the case will go forward as planned, pending the review.” • Here is the “certificate”:

* * *

Trump (R): “Trump suggests 15-week abortion ban is ‘very reasonable'” [Axios]. “Trump during an interview with conservative radio host Sid Rosenberg on WABC Tuesday repeated his boasts about helping to overturn Roe v. Wade by nominating three conservative Supreme Court justices. The court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in 2022 made abortion policy a state-level issue. ‘The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15, and I’m thinking in terms of that, and it’ll come out to something that’s very reasonable,’ Trump said. He added that he would make an announcement on what limits he officially supports ‘at the appropriate time.’ He called views that have led Republicans to lose at the ballot box ‘impractical.’ After tentatively supporting the idea of a federal ban, Trump claimed that ‘everybody agrees’ that it should be a state issue. ‘It shouldn’t be a federal issue, it’s a state issue,’ he said.” And: “He emphasized during a radio interview on Tuesday that he supports “exceptions,” increasingly part of the GOP playbook, for rape, incest or life of the mother.”

Trump (R): “Let the Presidential Election Mudslinging Begin!” [Jeet Heer, The Nation]. “Analysis suggests that the first order of business for Biden is to return Trump to his former status as the most unpopular figure in American politics. In other words: Let the mudslinging begin. Biden and those around him seem to have drawn this obvious lesson. A recent New Yorker report on the Biden White House quoted Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Like many, Whitehouse is supporting Biden more out of resignation than enthusiasm. Whitehouse told The New Yorker that while Biden was ‘not the only option that we had…once he’d made the decision to go, he became the only option that we have.’ Given this reality, Whitehouse advocates a ‘Biden plus offense’ based on the fact that when people are ‘frightened or angry, you need to convince them that you, too, are equally concerned and you’re willing to throw punches and pick fights. Whitehouse added, ‘If you’ve got your sleeves rolled up and you’re waist-deep fighting alligators in the swamp, then nobody’s really thinking about your age.'”

Trump (R): Missed this one:

And see Kennedy below.

* * *

Biden (D): “Biden ices a controversial donor” [Politico]. “The Biden campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are freezing hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations made by a businessman accused of fraudulently pretending to be associated with the CIA. A Biden campaign official told West Wing Playbook they were putting a $50,000 donation made to the Biden Victory Fund last April by GAURAV SRIVASTAVA into escrow after concerns were raised about the source and legality of the donation. A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which received almost $290,000 last year from a man identifying as Srivastava, said that group, too, has set aside the money for the ‘foreseeable future’ out of an abundance of caution. The decisions to freeze the money come in the wake of recent reporting around Srivastava’s business dealings and philanthropic giving. A Los Angeles-based businessman, he has been involved in a variety of causes through a family foundation. But he was also the subject of an unflattering profile by Project Brazen, a news outlet founded by two former Wall Street Journal reporters, that suggested misconduct on his part, including fake ties to the CIA. POLITICO Influence reported last month that the Atlantic Council had terminated its donor relationship with Srivastava after they couldn’t confirm important details of his background.” And this glorious sentence: “All of it has raised the question of who, exactly, Srivastava is.”

* * *

Kennedy (I):

West (I):

* * *

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Democrats are hemorrhaging support with voters of color” [Nate Silver]. [John Burn-Murdoch of the Financial Times] “notes that the problems are particularly bad for Democrats among working-class voters of color, and younger ones.” Controversy ensued. But: “Adam Carlson has been performing an invaluable service by aggregating the results of different polls together, which at least solves the sample size problem. And he’s finding that Joe Biden’s share of the vote has dropped dramatically among Black and Hispanic voters as compared with an average reliable estimates of the 2020 vote.” Handy chart:

More: “As you can see, Biden’s margin against Donald Trump has basically not moved an inch among white voters; he’s losing them by 12 percentage points, as he did in 2020. However, Biden is now only winning Hispanics by 7 percentage points — down from 24 points in 2020 — and Black voters by “only” 55 points, as compared with 83 points in 2020.”

“Mystery among the vines: Why is the FBI probing some of Napa Valley’s fanciest wineries?” [LA Times]. This is very detailed and dense, and gets wilder as it goes in, culminating in a landfill scandal (“An Odor of Mendacity”). “Why have so many of the fancy wineries along this road — and their rich and powerful owners — been named in federal subpoenas that were served late last year on Napa County?…. The subpoena seeking records on the wineries and their owners, dated Dec. 14, 2023, is filed under the name of Patrick Robbins, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California. It also references an FBI agent, Katherine Ferrato, who has experience working on complex financial crimes.” Oddly, however, the names in the article are all locals. Not A-listers. Not Black female executives. Not Gavin Newsom or his Getty friends. And certainly not Nancy Pelosi.

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Partners With Anti-Porn Lobby NCOSE” [XBIZ]. ” Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued a press statement last week prominently highlighting her partnership with religiously-inspired anti-porn lobby NCOSE, an organization that seeks to criminalize all sex work and eradicate adult content, and that has an extensive, well-documented history of championing state censorship and opposing LGBTQ+ rights. The statement released by Ocasio-Cortez’s office celebrates her introduction of the Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024 (DEFIANCE Act), which proposes to create a federal civil right of action for victims of deepfakes…. XBIZ contacted Ocasio-Cortez’s office and her Communications Director Sidney Johnson, for comment on whether the congressperson is aware of NCOSE’s history, past stances against free speech, promotion of censorship and opposition to LGBTQ+ rights. XBIZ also asked Ocasio-Cortez to comment on her partnership with Hawkins, a religious conservative activist who has spoken extensively about the Mormon roots of her War on Porn crusades and her efforts to rebrand Morality in Media as the more secular-sounding NCOSE. After this story’s publication, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Mike Casca, contacted XBIZ via X offering as the office’s official statement the following: ‘Bullshit. It’s not a partnership. She has a bipartisan bill to stop nonconsensual deepfake pornography that centers survivors’ civil right of action. Orgs left, right and center support it. Bipartisanship is how bills become law in a divided congress.'” And: “Earlier this week, Christopher Kane from LGBTQ+ politics site the Washington Blade also noted the peculiar alliance between NCOSE — which generally partners with religious Republicans for its campaigns — and Ocasio-Cortez, a notably progressive [snort] New York representative and member of ‘The Squad.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Right to Vote” [Teri Kanefield]. “You don’t have an affirmative Constitutional right to vote. (Did you know that?) The right to vote was not (affirmatively) included in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, or any of the other Amendments…. None of this gives anyone an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court views the omission of an affirmative right to vote from the Constitution to mean that voting is a privilege that states may administer or infringe as they see fit—as long as the limits and infringement does not discriminate based on race, color, or gender…. So if a state wants to deny the right to vote to anyone who has been convicted of a felony, the state can do so. If a state wants to deny the right to vote by mail, the state can do that as well. The only thing states can’t do (under the law as it now stands) is pass laws that deny the vote based on race, gender, or a suspect classification like religion or national origin. A government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’ raises a question: Who is included? Who are the people? It is obvious that if you can’t vote, you are not one of the ‘people’ in “We the People.'”


* * *

“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 (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, 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, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Testing and Tracking

Yesterday, New York. Today, Philly:

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot March 18: Regional[2] Biobot March 18:
Variants[3] CDC March 16 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 16

New York[5] New York State, data March 19: National [6] CDC March 9:
National[7] Walgreens March 18: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 16:

Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC February 16: Variants[10] CDC February 16:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 9: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 9:


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Midwest ticks up.

[3] (CDC Variants) 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.

[4] (ER) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”.

[7] (Walgreens) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: “Google’s Woke AI Wasn’t a Mistake. We Know. We Were There” [The Free Press]. “These ex-Googlers, as they’re called, said that they were discouraged from hiring white, male employees; that DEI ‘is part of every single thing’ in the company; and that engineers even had to list the ‘DEI impact’ for the tiniest of software fixes. All of them agreed that the Silicon Valley giant entered the artificial intelligence race with an upper hand but has squandered it by cowing to an activist faction in the company that’s more committed to advancing social justice than making world-class products.” • Like the 1619 Project, except completely out in the open and a million times worse:

Dudes (dudettes (duderinos)), come on. Although I suppose it’s re-assuring, in a way, to know that anybody can grow up to be a Nazi. NOTE The caption to the photo doesn’t show the prompt. But I’ve seen plenty of other examples.

Manufacturing: “Another Boeing emergency: Delta Airlines 737 plane makes emergency landing after one of the engines caught fire moments after taking off in Aruba” [Daily Mail]. “A Boeing-made Delta Airlines flight out of Aruba and bound for Atlanta was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing after an engine blow out on take-off.” • Whoops.

Manufacturing: “Boeing burns more cash than expected as it limits 737 production” [Reuters]. “Boeing opens new tab’s MAX safety crisis is causing it to burn more cash than expected, its finance chief said on Wednesday, meaning the U.S. planemaker will need more time to hit a key financial target for coming years. The company is trying to get control of safety issues following a Jan. 5 mid-flight panel blowout on a 737 MAX 9 aircraft that has placed it under the watchful eye of U.S. regulators – and frustrated airlines already struggling with delivery delays from both Boeing and its rival Airbus. CFO Brian West told a Bank of America conference that Boeing’s cash burn in the first quarter will be somewhere between $4 billion and $4.5 billion, higher than they planned back in January. The order backlogs are frustrating airline executives, who have started to cut routes and are trying to acquire additional aircraft to meet demand. Michael O’Leary, CEO of key European Boeing customer Ryanair (RYA.I), opens new tab, told Reuters he is meeting with senior company executives on Wednesday in Dublin to discuss prolonged delivery delays. Boeing declined comment on the visit.

U.S. regulators have limited Boeing’s 737 production to 38 a month – but West said Boeing is producing fewer than that allowable amount, though did not elaborate.” • Whoops.

Manufacturing: I wouldn’t call this exactly authenticated, but:

Manufacturing: “Understanding the Boeing Mess” [Wall Street Journal]. “Rather than surfacing Boeing’s deeply hidden problems, it seems the second [737 MCAS] crash gave birth to them. The subsequent 20-month grounding and production shutdown, combined with Covid, cost Boeing thousands of skilled workers. The pressure of its duopoly competition with Airbus plus customers clamoring for their backordered planes made management unwisely desperate to restart production. January’s nonfatal door-plug blowout of an Alaska Airlines 737 appears to have been a one-off when Boeing workers failed to reinstall the plug properly after removing it to fix faulty fuselage rivets. Not a one-off, apparently, are faulty rivets as Boeing has strained to hire new staff and resume production of half-finished planes. Boeing will sort out its troubles eventually by applying the oldest of manufacturing insights: Training, repetition, standardization and careful documentation are the way to error-free complex manufacturing.” I bet this guy thinks that the biggest problem with the pandemic was being deprived of the Mozzarella sticks at Applebee’s; he’s certainly capable of that level of denial and cope. Stoller’s perspective is IMNSHO correct:

* * *

Manufacturing: “TSMC, Intel suppliers delay U.S. plants on surging costs, labor crunch” [Nikkei Asia]. “Chemical and material makers LCY Chemical, Solvay, Chang Chun Group, KPPC Advanced Chemicals (Kanto-PPC) and Topco Scientific all announced plans and bought land to build facilities in Arizona after the world’s two top chipmakers, TSMC and Intel, rolled out their own multi-billion-dollar investments in the state. But construction of these facilities — which are vital for building a complete chip supply chain — has been put on hold or significantly scaled back, multiple chip industry executives briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia. In some cases the delays are expected to be temporary, while in others the projects will be subject to later review, with no clear timeframe on when they might be reactivated. Most of those affected attribute the postponements to surging costs for building materials and labor, as well as a shortage of construction workers. A flood of investment into the state for a wide range of sectors, including chips and automobiles, has squeezed the building sector. The suppliers also cited slower-than-expected progress on Intel’s and TSMC’s expansions for the postponements.

The fact that multiple suppliers are slowing their projects indicates the issue is not down to one or two individual companies but is more structural.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 70 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 20 at 1:23:00 PM ET.

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

“United States of America” [HitchWiki]. Overview of hitchhiking laws by state:

Relative Ease of Hitchhiking Each State of America (based on a survey of hitchhikers with 114,000 miles cumulative experience.).

Green: Easy

Yellow: Average

Red: Difficult

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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, lichen, 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 RH:

RH writes: “Spring peeper in the mint.” Mint is invasive! So I like mint.

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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. flora

    Happy First Day of Spring. The spring (vernal) equinox was late last night in the continental US.

    Spring Peeper! How do such tiny frogs make such loud chirpying songs?

    1. Samuel Conner

      It’s coming too soon. My zinnias are getting leggy faster than I can pot them up.

      1. flora

        My geranium cuttings got that way over the winter like starving for sunlight plants reaching for food. I’ve cut them back a couple of times over the winter and now they’re fluffing out nicely in the past couple of weeks. ymmv. (Can you cut back or pinch back zinnias? I don’t know.)

        1. Samuel Conner

          I have the impression that zinnias can be pinched, and will grow back bushier, so I will try that. Thanks!

        2. Cassandra

          There is actually a zinnia variety named cut-and-come-again. Nice basic traditional zinnia, does indeed get bushy if you pinch back as soon as a flower starts to fade.

    1. Feral Finster

      “re: “Dudes (dudettes (duderinos)), come on. Although I suppose it’s re-assuring, in a way, to know that anybody can grow up to be a Nazi. …”


    2. Daniil Adamov

      This is an amusing article. The headlines are at odds with the text. The name claims Jesse Owens foiled Hitler’s plans, the text admits that Hitler still got most of what he wanted out of the Olympics. The text points out that “Hitler’s snub” was probably not a thing; then the next subheader goes “Despite Hitler’s snub…”

      What’s interesting to me (and absent from the article) is that Owens himself repeatedly denied the snub reports and insisted that Hitler treated him well, in contrast to FDR.

    3. Jeff V

      If Jessie Owens was snubbed by anyone, it was FDR, who invited all the white US Olympians to the White House but none of the black ones.

      1. flora

        Looking back, that is awful by today’s standards. At the time in the mid-1930’s in the US lynching was still happening often enough that it was understood to happen. Strange fruit. Only 25 years earlier this happened when then pres T. Roosevelt had Booker Washington to dine at the White House:


        In the 1930’s lynching began to decline, but was still a danger. Imo, If FDR had invited the Black athletes to the White House along with white athletes it would have stirred up another firestorm against Black people and he would have lost the necessary support from southern Dem pols to pass his legislative programs.

  2. David B Harrison

    Another anecdote(what I call evidence) on Covid. I overheard a conversation where a grandfather described his granddaughters death. She was two years old and had cancer. She was treated and went into full remission. She then caught Covid at 4 years old and died. The doctor told the family that Covid had caused the cancer to reactivate in her lungs and she died of lung cancer.

  3. antidlc

    Eric Feigl-Ding: “complete dereliction of duty of the CDC”


    Audio: Eric Feigl-Ding comes on around the 13:30 mark

    Transcript: https://slate.com/transcripts/Q0UzaC82ejlwY3JYLzZUTThoUU8wNjhBUXhUUVpHQXZNbHl5WVpiZ2Vwaz0=

    Speaker E: And one thing in epidemiology, I was warned years ago when I was doing my doctorate in epidemiology, is ever, ever do short term ecologic state correlation studies because it’s junk in, junk out noise.

    Speaker E: And the fact that CDC relied on this and relied on such limited data literally less than two months ago, and they compared a one month difference.

    Speaker E: It’s junk science and the CDC scientists know better, but they probably were forced to do this analysis.

    Speaker E: And I have insights.

    Speaker E: Someone inside the CDC network told me that apparently that was the main justification for their guideline change, which is absolutely ludicrous that they did such a short term junk study to justify whatever, because you’re going to find nothing and you’re going to justify, oh, we found nothing as this justification.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the CDC scientists know better, but they probably were forced to do this analysis.

      Thanks, this is really great stuff. If only one of these CDC scientists would throw something over the transom to us. We would preserve their anonymity, no question, as we have done in the past….

        1. IM Doc

          You can FOIA all you want – they would probably provide you with 148 pages of completely and totally redacted documents as they did the other day on the myocarditis documents. And when I say complete, I mean complete.

          I simply do not understand in the least why this is tolerated. I absolutely understand redacting personal phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses etc.

          I understand redacting information related to national security – or in the case of the CDC direct documentation on for example how to create superbugs, how to manufacture poison etc.

          But these redactions have nothing to do with any of that. They simply do not want anyone to know what was going on.

          I can think of no clearer way to lose complete trust than to behave this way. At this point, it is almost as if they are trying to torch their credibility in the quickest manner possible. Any rational human being looking at this would naturally question “What are they trying to hide?” I worry about people who are not having that question.

          I cannot impress upon everyone how completely different this is compared to their behavior just a few years ago. There was a time when so much data was released about every topic that wading through it all was actually difficult. This new approach of ‘NO DATA, just take our summaries, suckers” is not a good look at all. Especially when so many of the summaries are so fatally flawed.

          1. flora

            Thank you, IM.
            I’m not a medico as I’ve often stated. I am however a science researcher in another non-medico field.

            When your write:
            “I understand redacting information related to national security …” so do I understand the potential conflicts of interest.

            When you write:
            “But these redactions have nothing to do with any of that. They simply do not want anyone to know what was going on.” I agree entirely.

            And it more than pains me to see this nonsense perpetrated on the American public in the name of “safety” with no, absolutely no disinterested 3rd party standards of what constitutes standards of safety or claimed dangers (by financially interested parties) . / oy

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Any CDC scientist who would like to do this would have to feel very assured that he/she would not be traced and suicided like Mr. Barnett of Boeing was. Unless they are very sure they will not be traced and suicided, they will not send anything to you or anyone else . . . . in my purely amateur purely tinfoil opinion.

  4. Ranger Rick

    Re: FBI in California vineyards?

    I stick with a general axiom: if I can’t understand why something official is happening in California, it’s a real estate scam. It’s always a real estate scam.

    In this case, though, I’m reminded of some farmers near here who got busted for crop insurance fraud. The stated interest in financial records certainly raises some suspicions. However, I still wouldn’t rule out real estate. Maybe they aren’t convinced these people are the real owners of the land?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if I can’t understand why something official is happening in California, it’s a real estate scam. It’s always a real estate scam.

      That’s really handy, and applies to at least one aspect of CalPERS.

  5. Janie

    I wonder if hitchhiking is low in Nebraska because of a murder spree there in the mid-fifties by Charles Starkweather and his young girl friend. It lasted for a few weeks, as I recall; they murdered those who stopped for them and took the cars. I recall huge headlines in Oklahoma City about not picking up hitchhikers. People still picked up hitchhikers in the forties and early fifties. Many were discharged servicemen headed home.

    1. Wukchumni

      I think hitchhiking died thanks to Charles Manson, it was pretty common in the 60’s, and then you never saw it again largely.

      Lake Tahoe was good for hitchhiking in the 1980’s when I lived there, but I rarely see hitchhikers on the road in Cali now.

      1. Wukchumni


        Used to hitchhike in NZ every trip, not that I needed to, but because it was a normal thing as opposed to here in the USA, no stigma in stopping a 3,500 pound car with a mere thumb.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Used to hitchhike all around Europe in the early 80s as it was a popular way to travel. Germany was the easiest and you could go long distances. There were highway filling stations along the highways that had 24/7 restaurants and they also had showers as well. It was an interesting way to travel. Don’t know how it is these days.

  6. ChrisFromGA

    By request from Griffen.

    1. This song is a bit obscure unless you were an 80’s hair band fan. That may be helpful, as hopefully I won’t ruin it for too many people.
    2. The video doesn’t age well.
    3. Billy Sheehan, the bassist is from my hometown.
    4. Steve Vai arguably the best rock guitarist ever, he had honed his chops playing for Zappa. This band probably showcased his talents the best. Something about his quirky playing he must have learned from FZ.
    5. David Lee Roth is, well, David Lee Roth.
    6. Definite trigger warning. This was the best I could do on short notice.

    Yankee Chosen


    [Steve Vai talking guitar] King David?

    [David Lee Roth] What!!

    [SV] What’s that over there?

    [DLR] Well, let me roll up to the temple and take a look, yes!

    [SV] Whoa!

    [DLR] Whoa, she’s beautiful!

    [SV] (imitates cat-calls)

    [DLR] I’m talking ’bout the Yankee Chosen!

    [SV] (makes squealing noises)

    [DLR] (Laughs) And they look docile, docile, docile! Docile!

    [Verse 1]

    Are you tired of the United Nations?
    Well, here’s a shot heard ’round the world
    All you backroom goys salute, while our flag unfurls!

    (SV guitar mimicry) Over Congress, Dave!

    Well, guess who’s backing Gaza’s starvation?
    Now I dunno what you may have heard
    But what we need right now is a belligerent, well-armed girl


    She’s committed to pier the coast (Pier the coast!)
    From sea to shining sea! (River to the sea!)
    Hey sister you’re the perfect host! (Raise a toast)


    She’s not the brightest light,
    (won’t stop)
    Gaza fights
    I’m talkin’ bout the Yankee Chosen

    To our delight
    (she’ll back)
    All our fights,
    I’m in love with the Yankee Chosen

    [Verse 2]

    When she cranks up the bomb supply
    Ethnic cleansing on the fourth of July
    No sad scuds tonight, something’s in the air (can’t ya feel it?)
    A real state of co-dependence, they need us and the world don’t care
    Still proving any night that our flag’s bigger than theirs!

    She’s committed to pier the coast (Pier the coast!)
    From sea to shining sea! (River to the sea!)
    Hey sister you’re the perfect host! (Raise a toast)


    Ah, she’s beautiful alright
    Mmm, nothin’ like her in the whole world

    She’s right on time, I’m on the base
    Pick up the phone, she’ll make great haste
    No cops on the beat, and here’s a little crumb comin’ Gaza way …ayy!

    (DLR scat-singing)
    Change their national anthem
    Protectin’ our rights
    They’re not the brightest lights!

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that these are monetizable.

      Or would the algorithms ban them?

      Or maybe too much hate would be elicited from people whose feelings were offended.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Copyright laws would apply. Assuming we found someone to put music behind them. “Weird Al” made a career out of it, but that was in the 80’s when things were more informal and he could just call up Michael Jackson’s agent and get permission.

        I think the smarter ones figured out that “Weird Al” parodies actually helped their sales, because he made their original versions more popular and brought them more listeners.

        I have a suspicion that AI cannot detect or process sarcasm. At least not original sarcasm, which these sorts of creative efforts are.

        1. Bugs

          Parody is still a fair use exception. Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994) is still good law.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Parody is protected speech; Yankovich did not need anyone’s permission to do them.

        3. Wukchumni

          Why not do Karaoke to our ditties?

          Where would that come into play as far as the law is concerned?

          1. ChrisFromGA

            I think that would be a safe option.

            I call dibs on singing your “Gaza City” tune sung to the tune of Jan & Deans “Surf City”

      2. flora

        When did having feelings, like “too much hate” ( and who arbitrates what confers that status), become illegal? I thought it was certain actions – not feelings (or thoughts) – that were illegal. / ;)

      3. Robert Hahl

        Can’t those AI programs that draw pictures render songs, if you give them the score and the lyrics? Asking for a friend.

    2. griffen

      Bravo, I salute you with seated applause! Sorry I got late to posting an appreciation.

      Steve Vai is up there high, no questions. I believe he’s touring again this year with Satriani, another guitar god ( who instructed other guitarists like Nuno Bettencourt or Tom Morello, to name two ).

  7. Ghost in the Machine

    The judge makes it sound like Trump was surprised by the documents about JFK. Trump has to know about the conspiracy theories,or he wouldn’t make the campaign promise about the files. What is worse than a deep state (I know you don’t like that term, or permanent government in Sachs’ terminology) cabal of intelligence/military personnel assassinating a president to further an agenda of coups, assassinations,and war to move forward an agenda of corporate imperialism and profits for the connected, to summarize with a CT caricature. ;) I would see evidence of the above and say: yep, most people already suspect this. It won’t destroy the country. Let’s get it out there and move onto a better agenda. Can it really be so bad that it would end the country?! I guess if people found out all presidents post JFK were puppets it might cause a ruckus. But, Trump wants to go back to that!?

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that the “reason” for not making the truth public was not exclusively the anticipated reaction of the public. There are other actors who would have an opinion about disclosures of that kind. Perhaps there was also an element of self-preservation.

      1. Mike

        JFK, MLK, RFK, the Black Panther hits, 9/11, and the ton of assassinations done via “foreign policy” have a mountain of secret documents somewhere that might lead one to strongly believe nefarious action on our governments part. The key secrets that would confirm the facts are long since gone, so the slow dribble of parts of it are just another joke on us. Carrot dangling has never been my favorite game, and the lack of citizen outrage about this results in acceptance of “it’s all normal”, just as school shootings are becoming normalized news for some talking head to announce before the good news segue.

      2. Luckless Pedestrian

        “Perhaps there was also an element of self-preservation.”

        Yes, and self-aggrandizement. “I know, and I wish I could tell you!” asserts self-importance and false comradery.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      What if the people who showed Trump this material also told Trump . . . ” if you say anything about this that can somehow be traced back to us or would shed any light on any details related to “methods” . . . you will be given the Kennedy Treatment. And so will all your children.” Would that motivate Trump to not release the material?

      1. Milton

        You have that conversation recorded. You then have a nice fireside chat with the nation and disclose everything, including all elements of the entrenched state and if he ends up murdered, people will know the truth.

        1. Cassandra

          Somehow, I don’t think Trump is the man to put his life on the line just so people may know the truth.

  8. Lee

    U.C. Berkeley Peregrine Webcam.

    Friends and I located a Peregrine nest with four chicks on a cliff above Goat Rock Beach near Jenner, CA in the late sixties. We reported this to California Fish and Wildlife and were informed that it was the only such nest reported in the state that year. There are currently about 400 breed pairs known to be in the state.

      1. flora

        re: hit man is probably also dead now.

        That is very Stalinist, truly. Very Stalinist. Send out true believers to kill, then kill the true believers who killed so there are no witnesses.

        You think I’m kidding or am making this up. No. It was a true thing. You’d have to know people who escaped the regime I guess. And how many still survive?

  9. Wukchumni

    One of the more memorable weeks of skiing with the Dartful Codgers, east coast variant.

    Beaver Creek was on today’s menu of purposely hurling ourselves down steep embankments repeatedly, and one of the more memorable climate change days common to spring, in that was a somewhat vertical ice skating rink early in the day turned to snow with consistency of thick mashed. potatoes by the end of the day with the middle part being magnificent.

  10. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ” Murdering whistleblowers should be subjected to the rule of reason.” . . .

    It should also be subjected to the rule of law. If the relevant legal authorities continue to refuse to take action, is there a way for other relevant persons to legally sue to legally compel the police and other authorities to treat this as a homicide and move forward on that basis?

    1. lambert strether

      Plenty of stories on Boeing in the Charleston Post and Courier, but the only story on Barnett remains the original on March 13. The silence begins to deafen.

  11. Jason Boxman

    So you gotta love this, from the Democrat Party

    Democrats Prepare Aggressive Counter to Third-Party Threats (NY Times via archive.ph)

    An army of lawyers aims to challenge the steadily advancing ballot-access efforts of independent candidates, who Democrats fear could peel votes away in swing states.

    Liberal Democrats do take electoral politics seriously, just not in any way useful to the working class.

  12. jsn

    “Most of those affected attribute the postponements to surging costs for building materials and labor, as well as a shortage of construction workers.”

    The payoff for 50 years of neoliberal divestiture in the development of real skills, a healthy population and aptitudes oriented to engagement with physical things rather than money.

    Like the MIC supply chain fail, if policy makers actually started to address this now we might see a turn around in 10 to 15 years: I don’t expect policy makers to get around to anything like this for at least another two presidential cycles. Then again, the USSR unwound very quickly once the process visibly got going.

  13. Glen

    Bidenomics greedflation/shrinkflation anecdotal report:

    Was out picking up chicken feed and some tools at the local feed store, and stopped by the local high end grocery store on the way home (it’s close to the house). We haven’t been there in a while because a Winco opened in the next town over, and it’s seriously cheaper. But we shopped pretty much exclusively at the “high end” store since it’s so local until the prices just got too high.

    So shrinkflation is hitting both the store and the products being sold. The store is remodeling to REMOVE AISLES. Not sure what that means, maybe the traffic is down in the store. But the made in store pizza is also smaller and not as good which is a shame, their made in store pizza was absolutely killer and even the reduced version is very good.

    So just gotta say, Biden pushing Bidenomics, and the economy is great is SO STUPID that I just don’t know how to explain it at this point. Maybe all these clowns pushing this are so rich that they never even go to a grocery store anymore. They certainly don’t even seem to live in the same America that the rest of us inhabit.

    1. Screwball

      Another example; electric bill.

      I’m retired so I have a lot of time, and a spreadsheet. I have tracked my electric bills for over two years. I even read my meter each day at 6pm. and compare the numbers to my bill. I have a smart meter, live in a small rural town and my provider is AEP Ohio.

      My last bill, 32% of my bill was for the electricity that I used, the rest was various other charges. You can shop for electric providers and get better deals per kW, but you are only helping 32% of your bill. In two years time, the “extra” charges has went up over 17%.

      My meter readings don’t always match what the electric company bar graphs tell me when I compare them. I wrote them an e-mail asking them to explain why. I got a response from the “Smart Meter” division telling me they would forward this e-mail to someone who can help. Too funny…

      What a world

      1. Pat

        You’re lucky, in my most recent bill the electrical charges were just under 30% of my bill.
        I haven’t tracked my bills, but I believe that might be because of the second of three planned increases over less than eighteen months. The delivery fee section of fees and taxes is more per kilowatt than the electrical and then the other fees and taxes are calculated on that. I fully expect the next increase to take it even closer to the electricity being barely over a quarter of the bill.
        This even as the NY state legislature bans all over forms of energy usage without really requiring improved either improved electrical creation or delivery from the utilities. And no smart meters do not improve things.

        I thought it was outrageous hyperbole when the NY Post estimated that electrical bills could double in two years or so. Now, even though it won’t be that much, I think I have to classify it as a mild exaggeration.

    2. Pat

      There is a serious divide that isn’t just about grocery stores. On a national level most politicians never make it into a grocery store. I would bet that most don’t even pay their own bills, someone does it for them. Some of this is because most are seriously wealthy, but some of it is time. But along with this, there are perks to the job that distort the reality. How often are they taken out to dinner? Or the business meeting is paid by the campaign? Think about the divide between what the public gets from Heath insurance (like just trying to get an appointment) and that Congress has a medical office at the Capitol. Or the ability to avoid airportsecurity lines even after they leave office. Sure there are stories about younger congresspersons having to share apartments in DC, but somehow that changes the longer they are in Office. Because people want to “help” them out. Of course their financial outlook is distorted. And even those that get that have large reasons to ignore the reality.

      The bubble isn’t just from the reality on the ground for the public, but also how corrupt the system around them is day to day.

  14. Tom Stone

    At any given moment every Human Being is doing the best they can with what they have…

  15. marym

    > Realignment and Legitimacy + Constitutional Order
    The right to vote doesn’t exist because it’s not explicitly granted, but presidential immunity from criminal prosecution exists because it’s not explicitly prohibited?

    > Constitutional Order again
    “[A]ctions which carry some, at least partial, motivation to be re-elected” isn’t the same as actions done to continue to be president after losing an election.

  16. spud

    “The fact that multiple suppliers are slowing their projects indicates the issue is not down to one or two individual companies but is more structural.”

    there are no advanced western economies anymore. they went out the window in 1993. from carter to the first bush, was reversible, what happened from 1993 on wards, is almost impossible to reverse. bill clinton took a meat axe to america, and turned us over to wall street, the banks, the fire sector, etc.

    almost everyone in power, was either a direct participant in bill clintons quack economics, or direct descendants.

    don’t hear much out of dim bulbs like gene sperling, but i bet he and others like him are still in some sort of power seat.

    bill clinton abdicated the role of government, to self rational, self regulating, self policing markets/SARC!, they have almost complete 100% power now over western governments.

    so in reality, to over turn this by dim wits that created this mess, is impossible. to over turn this mess may well never happen, and if by some miracle it is over turned, it will not be done by these dopes, and it might take a more rough way of doing it, and take decades.

    someday the dim bulbs might figure out that supply chains, have supply chains. smoot-hawley, the additional tariffs FDR imposed, and trumans Gatt, sorta restored Hamiltons and lincolns dream.

    maybe a hard liner nut case like a hitler gets into power in the west, all they will have to work with is the bomb and the dollar. not much to work with there.

    so in reality, russia, china, iran and others are the advanced economies today.

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