2:00PM Water Cooler 4/25/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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Bird Song of the Day

American Woodcock, Powhatan State Park, Powhatan, Virginia, United States. “In flight then calling from ground.” Apparently the peents are from the ground!

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Anti-trump legal cabal — Hi, Larry! [waves] — detailed in Politico article.

(2) Sudden emergence of the Molineux Rule, as an issue for Bragg’s prosecution.

(3) Documents unsealed by Judge Cannonallegedly reveal DOJ functionary threatening a Trump lawyer with the loss of a judgeship.

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“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

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Biden Administration

“TikTok’s Ban Bill Nightmare Is Just Beginning” [Forbes]. “An Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill that will force China-based social media giant ByteDance to sell its crown jewel TikTok. If it does not, the app will be banned in the United States—an unprecedented move that would be the first instance of this country prohibiting a foreign-owned social media app…. [C]onsensus is beginning to emerge that unraveling TikTok from ByteDance will be all but impossible. Forbes reporting on the platform used by 170 million Americans has also repeatedly shown just how entangled the two companies are, with much of TikTok running today on ByteDance tools—its own versions of Microsoft Office, G Suite, Salesforce and the like—built years ago by engineers in China. That has given staff at both companies, across the U.S. and China, broad access to sensitive information about American TikTok users, TikTok creators, TikTok advertisers and celebrities, politicians and other public figures on the app. The argument that the new law is not, in fact, about a divestiture is one that TikTok has been making all along. ‘Make no mistake, this is a ban—a ban on TikTok, and a ban on you and your voice,’ TikTok CEO Shou Chew said Wednesday in a viral video posted to the platform after Biden passed the law. ‘Politicians may say otherwise, but don’t get confused. Many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is their ultimate goal.’

‘Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere,’ he added. ‘We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the Courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side.'” • If this is true, the platforms that are part of the Censorship Industrial Complex are strangling a successful rival and an outsider. Twitter would be next.


Less than a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, April 19:

Here last Friday’s RCP polling. Trump is still doing very well in almost all the Swing States (more here), leading with one exception: PA. Forget all the arithmetic, and look at PA as a test of the Trump campaign’s basic competence. What are they doing to fix this? (I’ll work out a better way to present this, but for now: Blue dot = move toward Biden; red dot = move toward Trump. No dot = no change (presumably because state polls are not that numerous so far from election day).

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Trump (R): “Inside the Off-the-Record Calls Held by Anti-Trump Legal Pundits” [Politico]. “Every Friday, they meet on Zoom to hash out the latest twists and turns in the Trump legal saga — and intellectually stress-test the arguments facing Trump on his journey through the American legal system.” Dear Lord, “journey.” Who let that one past? More: “The meetings are off the record — a chance for the group’s members, many of whom are formally or loosely affiliated with different media outlets, to grapple with a seemingly endless array of novel legal issues before they hit the airwaves or take to print or digital outlets to weigh in with their thoughts. About a dozen or more people join any given call, though no one takes attendance. Some group members wouldn’t describe themselves with any partisan or ideological lean, but most are united by their dislike of Trump. The group’s host is Norman Eisen, a senior Obama administration official… ” And I do wonder if Eisen and The Wizard of Kalorama™ chat more than occasionally. More: “… longtime Trump critic and CNN legal analyst, who has been convening the group since 2022 as Trump’s legal woes ramped up. Eisen was also a key member of the team of lawyers assembled by House Democrats to handle Trump’s first impeachment.” And here is the list of very familiar names: “The regular attendees on Eisen’s call include Bill Kristol, the longtime conservative commentator, and Laurence Tribe, the famed liberal constitutional law professor. John Dean, who was White House counsel under Richard Nixon before pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with Watergate, joins the calls, as does George Conway, a conservative lawyer and co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. Andrew Weissmann, a longtime federal prosecutor who served as one of the senior prosecutors on Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation and is now a legal analyst for MSNBC, is another regular on the calls. Jeffrey Toobin, a pioneer in the field of cable news legal analysis [indeed], is also a member of the crew. The rest of the group includes recognizable names from the worlds of politics, law and media [I wonder who!] … The existence of the call isn’t necessarily surprising: There’s a long history of commentators, journalists and newsmakers discussing current events in off-the-record settings, and similar groups gather regularly today in Washington.” But wait: There are more names! “You probably know some of the other regular participants on the call, which draws in some of the most recognizable names in the Anti-Trump Cinematic Universe. They currently include Obama-era U.S. Attorneys Harry Litman, Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance, [and] Jennifer Rubin, an opinion writer for the Washington Post who often covers Trump’s legal affairs, and Mary McCord, a former federal prosecutor and high-ranking official in the Justice Department, [and] Karen Agnifilo, a former senior prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and CNN commentator, is an occasional attendee, as is Elliot Williams, also a former federal prosecutor who provides commentary on CNN. Other regulars include Ryan Goodman, an NYU law school professor who often collaborates with Weissmann; Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and occasional contributor to POLITICO Magazine; Asha Rangappa, a former FBI Special Agent focused on counterintelligence investigations, Shan Wu, another former federal prosecutor, a regular contributor to the Daily Beast and a veteran cable news talker; and Norman Ornstein, a long-time political observer affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute.” • This looks like a cabal to me (as opposed to, say, a General Staff). However, I think in an emergency — say, a Trump acquittal — the group would tighten up rapidly and act as unit. The second list of names (starting with Litman) is more interesting to me than the first. Here are the former prosecutors who would act as cutouts to the real prosecutors (Bragg, Smith, Willis). Presumably there are cut-outs for the judges, too. However, this entity is clearly treating the four cases against Trump as individual fronts in a single campaign of lawfare. The Trump campaign takes the same view. So should we all. I marked all the names with the symbol “‡” (I felt “with an asterisk” was too ambiguous), and will try remember to do so in the future when I cite them, as an indicator that although each one appears to be speaking for themselves, they’re really not.

Trump (R): “Judge unseals reams of records in Trump classified documents case” [Washington Examiner]. “[Judge Aileen Cannon] in Florida went on an unsealing spree this week, making public a trove of documents that had previously been filed under seal or in heavily redacted form in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case. The revelations came after special counsel Jack Smith fought to keep witness names and accounts under seal. Trump objected to keeping the information hidden, and Judge Aileen Cannon ruled partially in Trump’s favor, ordering witness accounts to be unsealed but allowing their names to remain redacted.” Here, it seems to me, is the juiciest bit: “Cannon asked Smith and Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta in August 2023 to file details about what transpired, in their views, during a controversial meeting between Nauta’s attorney Stanley Woodward and DOJ prosecutor Jay Bratt, according to a newly unsealed order. Cannon said her order was prompted by news reports containing allegations that Bratt made a veiled threat to Woodward during that meeting by referencing Woodward’s pending judicial application. Accounts from both parties indicate that Woodward and Bratt attended a meeting at DOJ headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 24, 2022, during which Bratt sought cooperation from Nauta on the DOJ’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents. At the start of the meeting, Woodward said, according to unsealed filings, that he observed Bratt had a folder of information about him, and Bratt mentioned that Woodward had been recommended to Biden for a judicial appointment. ‘Mr. Bratt followed up with the words to the effect of ‘I wouldn’t want you to do anything to mess that up,” Woodward wrote. Woodward said Bratt effectively offered him a ‘quid pro quo.’ ‘In other words, ‘play ball or you have no chance of becoming a judge,'” Woodward wrote. Prosecutors disputed the account and claimed that Woodward’s timing of raising the allegation was ‘suspect,’ noting that he had at no point mentioned any issues with the encounter until nine months after it, shortly after Trump and Nauta “learned they were targets of the grand jury investigation,” the prosecutors said.” Let sleeping weasels lie. More: “‘The allegations told an implausible, if not ludicrous, tale in which a career prosecutor who had served the Department with distinction for more than 30 years concocted a plan to threaten an attorney by insinuating that, unless his client agreed to cooperate, the prosecutor would contact the White House and attempt to scuttle the attorney’s nomination to D.C. Superior Court, which contact alone would itself violate Department policy,’ the prosecutors wrote.” • Table-pounding. I think it’s entirely plausible, given a sufficient “othering” of DOJ’s interlocutors.

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Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Trump lawyer on hush money case: ‘I don’t have hopes really that high'” [The Hill]. “Alina Habba, an attorney for former President Trump, signaled she does not have high hopes for the former president’s success in the New York hush money trial. ‘But I don’t have hopes really that high at this moment that the New York courts will do the right thing, that the jury will do the right thing,’ Habba said in an interview Wednesday on Newsmax’s ‘Greg Kelly Reports.’ ‘We’re in a blue state, as you know, Greg. And I think everything’s by design.’ ‘We’re in a case that was eight years old, over the statute of limitations, was denied by [former Manhattan District Attorney] Cy Vance, then brought only after President Trump decided he was going to run for office,’ she added.” • See above. And see above.

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Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Litman: How Trump’s trial will go well beyond the charges to paint a damning portrait of him” [Los Angeles Times]. “But the jury, and the country, are going to hear a lot of evidence of Trump’s other allegedly wrongful acts — and a virtual avalanche of such evidence should the defendant decide to testify. That will paint a broader and more damning portrait of Trump, who is reportedly already on tenterhooks about Daniels’ expected testimony, giving him even more opportunities to complain that he is the victim of a no-holds-barred railroading at the hands of Manhattan Dist. Atty. Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s team can introduce information about Trump’s other alleged misconduct under New York’s rules of evidence, which mirror the federal courts’. Known in New York as ‘Molineux evidence,’ after the case that defined it, it’s generally considered a bonanza for prosecutors and a bane of defendants. It’s an axiom of criminal law that jurors should assess guilt or innocence based on the defendant’s conduct in the case before them. That means they shouldn’t make their decision based on judgments about the defendant’s character — for example, that the defendant is a ‘bad person’ who, having done bad things in the past, probably did them again. So it would be improper to introduce the fact that an alleged bank robber previously robbed a bank to show that he is a “bank-robbing kind of person” and therefore likely committed the bank robbery he’s now charged with. New York’s rule generally prohibits the prosecution from relying on ‘character’ or ‘propensity’ evidence to urge conviction. But it’s riddled with exceptions that permit prosecutors to offer evidence of prior bad acts for many purposes other than character, including to show ‘motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident’ — more or less anything other than the forbidden character inference. One example in Trump’s case, greenlighted by the court over his vigorous objections, concerns a ‘catch and kill’ scheme in which the National Enquirer agreed to buy and then bury embarrassing stories about the then-candidate. That’s not what happened in Daniels’ case, but Judge Juan M. Merchan agreed to let the prosecution present it to the jury. His rationale was that it is part of the same ‘narrative of events that precipitated’ the alleged falsification of records and could help prove Trump’s purported intent to conceal allegations of affairs from voters.” • Ah, narrative. So the Catch and Kill scheme is Molineux evidence, which explains why it was introduced even though it’s not a crime. And suddenly Molineux evidence has become very important–

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction overturned by New York appeals court: Live updates” [USA Today]. “A New York appeals court has overturned embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction, after finding that the judge for the trial handed down improper rulings. The case, which helped galvanize the #MeToo movement and spurred a reckoning in the entertainment industry, was part of a wave of allegations against the 72-year-old movie mogul…. The New York appeals court said in a written opinion Thursday that the judge in Weinstein’s 2020 case, James Burke, admitted testimony from women with allegations that were not a part of the case − known as Molineux witnesses − but rather ‘irrelevant, prejudicial, and untested allegations of prior bad acts.’… Molineux witnesses are intended to establish a pattern of bad acts. Weinstein’s attorneys took issue with these witnesses being allowed to testify in his trial when he was not charged in connection with their allegations. In 2022, a state appellate court upheld his conviction, concluding that his trial was fair, but New York’s Court of Appeals later agreed to hear the case. In the New York appellant court’s dissenting opinion, the judges said the majority opinion’s ruling could lead to Molineux witnesses no longer being used. ‘The Molineux rule — created by this Court — has never been static. Instead, its use has evolved over time to meet the challenges of complex criminal prosecutions,'[ the opinion states. ‘Unfortunately, in the context of sexual assault, that evolution lapses today with a decision that has all but ended the use of Molineux evidence in such cases.'” • Now, IANAL, but I would bet that the Trump defense team is reading this decision very carefully. As are the Zoomers listed above,

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr.: ‘I’m gonna put the entire US budget on blockchain'” [The Hill]. “‘We’re gonna have 300 million eyeballs on our budget, and if somebody is spending $16,000 for a toilet seat, everybody’s gonna know about it,’ Kennedy said, appearing to reference a long history of scandals stemming from reports that the Pentagon paid $640 per toilet seat in the 1980s and $10,000 each for replacement toilet seat covers in 2018. Kennedy has embraced digital assets, accepting campaign donations in bitcoin and touting plans to back the U.S. dollar with bitcoin if he’s elected to the White House in November. But Kennedy has also publicly opposed plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which the Federal Reserve is currently “exploring,” as have many Republicans including former President Trump. While Republicans have rallied against the creation of CBDC, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank will not create one without Congress ordering it through legislation. The Independent firebrand has described himself as the only pro-cryptocurrency candidate running for president as he wages a longshot bid in a contest dominated by the rematch between Trump and President Biden. Stand With Crypto — a 501(c)(4) nonprofit launched by grassroots advocates and the crypto exchange giant Coinbase that ‘champions for clear, common-sense regulations for the crypto industry” — rates Kennedy as ‘strongly supportive of crypto.'”

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr.’s quest to get on the presidential ballot in all 50 states” [CBS]. “— In mid-April, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was on the ballot as an independent presidential candidate in Utah and Michigan, though his campaign says it is working to get him on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia…. Kennedy’s campaign says it has completed signature gathering in seven other states in addition to Utah and *Michigan — Nevada*, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, North Carolina*, Nebraska and Iowa.” • Of course, whether the gathered signatures are sufficient will only be determined after battalions of Democrat lawyers attack them, so we’ll see. But if these state come to fruition, Kennedy will be on the ballot in three swing states, enough to have an outsized impact on the election (no matter who he ends up taking votes from).

Democrats en Déshabillé

“The Butterfly’s Wings: FDR, Truman, And Henry Wallace” [3 Quarks Daily]. Fascinating: “Henry Wallace is a footnote right now—the butterfly never got to flap his wings—but, for much of the 1930s and 40s, he one of the most impactful men in America. It was because of his gifts that he rose to a level of prominence where a Presidency was even a possibility. FDR had chosen him to be Agriculture Secretary in 1933, when the farm sector was on its knees…. Many families picked up and left. Some headed West with virtually nothing—John Steinbeck was effectively writing non-fiction. Wallace had a ton of ideas, an enormous amount of energy, and a greenlight from a President who was willing to experiment. Experiment they did—the Wallace-designed Agricultural Adjustment Act and its progeny birthed a whole series of regulations on crop and livestock management and storage, price supports, and cash assistance. An ultra-conservative Supreme Court struck down some of these measures (on the grounds that agriculture was “local” and the federal government had no authority to regulate), but Wallace showed finesse in creating workarounds. In a time of extraordinary stress, with the public grasping for answers, Wallace became one of the most popular men in America. When FDR decided to run for an unprecedented third term, in the process infuriating his then VP, John Nance Gardne [who?], who expected the Democratic nomination, he needed a new VP. FDR the Party chief decided to shore up the Left side of his coalition and chose one of the most effective advocates of the New Deal, Henry Wallace. Wallace did not sail through the Convention nominating process without a hitch—even in 1940, he was a bit too liberal on many issues for the tastes of Democratic conservatives, but FDR’s preference was honored, and Wallace got the job. You can make an argument that, in the summer of 1940, FDR was, in fact, picking a political ‘heir’ and not just a running mate. Eleanor Roosevelt, a big Wallace fan and always a lot more liberal than her husband, certainly thought that, and Democratic conservatives fretted over it. It is more of a stretch to assume that mortality calculations came into play. FDR himself was only 58, and seemingly quite vigorous. The ticket overwhelmed the GOP’s Wendell Willke-Charles McNary team. FDR then did something that either was a surprise, or an affirmation of his anointing touch. Gardner himself had said that being Vice President ‘wasn’t worth a warm bucket of piss,’ but FDR deployed Wallace in an unconventional way. In addition to the mostly ceremonial role in the Senate, FDR tapped Wallace to take charge of economic planning when America’s entry into World War II was becoming more likely. It was in this capacity he was picked to be chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare (BEW) and of the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board (SPAB). He was also named to the Top Policy Group, which presented to FDR scientists’ recommendations to begin developing nuclear weapons. It’s an extraordinary irony of American history that Wallace had intimate knowledge of the Manhattan Project when Harry Truman, the man who replaced him as Vice President, had none until after assuming the Presidency.” • Amazing.


“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

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Covid 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!

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Elite Maleficence

“As bird flu spreads in cows, fractured U.S. response has echoes of early covid” [WaPo]. “Federal agencies with competing interests are slowing the country’s ability to track and control an outbreak of highly virulent bird flu that for the first time is infecting cows in the United States, according to government officials and health and industry experts… Officials and experts said the lack of clear and timely updates by some federal agencies responding to the outbreak recall similar communication missteps at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They point, in particular, to a failure to provide more details publicly about how the H5N1 virus is spreading in cows and about the safety of the milk supply….. Responsibility for monitoring and containing the outbreak is divided among three agencies. USDA leads the investigation into the virus in cows, the FDA oversees food safety, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring risks to people.” • So nobody’s tracking the transmission of the virus across species. That seems like a recipe for success.

“A Message to the Ag Industry about H5N1” [Bovine Veterinarian]. Since March:

By early March, [Dr. Barb Petersen] had begun sending daily emails and text messages to her Texas Panhandle dairy clients who needed answers and support.

Petersen, who has been in practice 15 years, did her best to provide both. But she didn’t know what she was dealing with. Neither did any other veterinarian Petersen reached out to within 200 miles of her practice.

“We started to text and email each other, and give summaries of ‘OK, here’s the test that this doctor has run. Here’s what another colleague has run,'” Petersen recalls.

“We tested for every single viral bacterial mycotoxin, lepto, rumensin toxicity, nitrates… I mean, you name it, every single thing that we vaccinate for, we tested for, for sure, right off the bat. And then even some of the things that we don’t or can’t vaccinate for. We tried to cast a really wide net.”

None of the test results provided an answer.

Some members of the animal health community suspected winter dysentery – an acute, highly contagious gastrointestinal disorder that can affect housed dairy cattle of all ages.

Petersen was skeptical.

“The first clinical symptom I saw was cows that had indigestion. They had manure that wasn’t well-digested, manure with particles of feed in it,” she says.

As she checked more cows and talked with colleagues, more information came to light and she began to identify recurring symptoms: thick, colostrum-like milk; lesions on cow vulvas; high temperatures; respiratory distress; a drop in feed consumption; and a corresponding lack of rumination. None of it added up to winter dysentery.

“This is a really strong and fierce reminder to keep your hands on the cows,” Petersen says. “It’s wonderful to have data, but you have to trust and then verify.”

When Russo at Novonesis got news of the problem from a colleague, she called Petersen.

Russo, who’s worked both as a dairy veterinarian and in the poultry industry, asked Petersen to gather whatever samples she could – milk, dead birds, dead cats – and send them to a laboratory able to turn around results quickly. Advise them to check for H5N1, she added.

“I said, ‘You know, I may sound like a crazy person, a tinfoil-hat-wearing person, but this sounds a bit like influenza to me that’s been circulating (in the poultry industry),’ and I kind of left it there,” Russo recalls.

Science Provides Answers

Petersen turned to a former veterinary classmate at Iowa State University, Dr. Drew Magstadt, now a pathologist at the school’s diagnostic laboratory.

“Whenever I’ve gotten into a real jam professionally – like, you have a question that you can’t seem to find an answer to – the group of folks that have always helped me solve it have been pathologists,” Petersen says. “It’s been pathologists that I could give the clues to who helped finish the puzzle.”

On a warm March night in Amarillo, Petersen sat resting on her back porch at home when a text message from Magstadt popped up on her phone.

“There’s something in the results,” he wrote. “Can I call you?”

On the phone, Magstadt shared what he’d found in the lab tests: H5N1.

“I was like, ‘Are you serious?'” Petersen asked Magstadt. “Are you going to run those tests again?”

“Yes,” he said. “Just to make sure.”

The initial H5N1 confirmation flabbergasted Magstadt. The next day, he retested the samples to confirm the finding.

“April 24, 2024: HHS press briefing on avian influenza” [Alexander Tin’s notes]. Speaking of transmission, Mike Watson, APHIS [00:13:58]:

Additionally, we continue to see affected cows recover after supportive care with little to no associated mortality. However, over the past several weeks, USDA has noted a few things that have been the impetus for us to issue this federal order.

That includes spread between cows within the same herd, spread from cows to poultry, spread between dairies associated with cattle movements, and cows without clinical signs that have tested positive for the virus.

Also on April 16th, USDA APHIS microbiologists identified a shift in the H5N1 sample, this is one sample from a cow in Kansas, that could indicate that the virus was mutating for adaptation to mammals.

However, CDC conducted further analysis of the specimen sequence and their assessment is low risk over all, of this one sample that has that change.

Additionally, APHIS’ national veterinary services laboratory found H5N1 in a lung tissue sample from asymptomatic coal dairy [huh?] cow that originated from an affected herd was sent to slaughter.

That coal dairy cattle was condemned by USDA’s food safety inspection service during inspection, and did not enter the food supply.

The one sequence shift and the one dairy cow with H5N1 in the lung tissue so far appear to be isolated events.

However, the novel movement of H5N1 between wild birds and dairy cows requires further testing.

We need time to develop a understanding to support any future courses of action. So this federal order is critical to increasing information available for USDA.

(Laudable, Tin puts his notes up on github. I think more reporters should do this.) That H5N1 has been discovered in lung tissue seems newsworthy. And what is a “coal dairy cow”? Is that a transcription error?

An excellent timeline for the creation of WHO’s “Technical Report on ‘Pathogens That Transmit Through The Air'” (see NC here):

I can’t believe that Technical Consulting Group members are under NDAs. Obviously, they should be released from them. After all, the work is done, right? And:

(Thread worth reading in full; I can’t make it into an image because it’s too long.)

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot April 22: Regional[2] Biobot April 22:
Variants[3] CDC April 13 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data April 24: National [6] CDC April 13:
National[7] Walgreens April 22: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic April 13:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC April 1: Variants[10] CDC April 1:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 16: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 16:


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 a level far above valleys under Trump. 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) No backward revisons….

[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) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Flattening out to a non-zero baseline. I suppose to a tame epidemiologist it looks like “endemicity,” but to me it looks like another tranche of lethality.

[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) Slight uptrend.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Uptick.

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

[11] Looks like the Times isn’t reporting death data any more? Maybe I need to go back to The Economist….

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US fell by 5,000 to 207,000 in the week ending April 20th, the lowest in two months, and below market expectations of 214,000. This unexpected downturn provides more support for the notion of a tight labor market, adding leeway for the Federal Reserve to delay interest rate cuts to tackle stubborn inflation.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index fell to -13 in April 2024 from March’s -9, signaling a notable decline in activity. Additionally, the composite index, averaging production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes, dropped to -8 from -7. Factory activity decreased in both durable and nondurable goods, with most monthly indexes negative, except for flat price indexes and new export orders. Production, shipments, supplier delivery time, and material inventories decreased, while new orders and backlogs moderated.”

* * *

Tech: “Over a billion users could be at risk from keyboard logging app security flaw” [TechRadar]. “Almost a billion mobile users, holding various devices, could have had their communications revealed to malicious third parties, a report from cybersecurity researchers Citizen Lab claims. It says different device manufacturers have used different keyboard apps which were relaying unencrypted communications, transmitting keystrokes via plaintext, and similar. Tencent QQ Pinyin, Baidu IME, iFlytek IME, Samsung Keyboard on Android, Xiaomi (with keyboard apps from Baidu, iFlytek, and Sogou), OPPO, Vivo, Honor, all of these allowed potential threat actors to decrypt Chinese mobile users’ keystrokes, completely passively, and without the users needing to send any extra network traffic. The team says it believes the keyboard apps found on these devices were “revealing the contents of users’ keystrokes in transit”. The only manufacturer whose keyboard app was secure is Huawei, the researchers said. As for Apple and Google, neither app has a feature to transmit keystrokes to cloud servers for cloud-based communications, it was said, which made it impossible to analyze the keyboards for the security of the feature. ‘However, we observed that none of the mobile devices that we analyzed included Google’s keyboard, Gboard, preinstalled, either,’ the researchers claim. The researchers disclosed their findings to the manufacturers and say that as of April 1, almost all have addressed their issues. Only Honor and Tencent (QQ Pinyin) still remain a work in progress.”

Manufacturing: “Southwest to Exit Four Airports as Boeing’s Problems Ripple Through Industry” [Wall Street Journal]. “Southwest said it now expects to receive just 20 new Boeing planes this year—less than half the number it had been expecting as recently as March and well below the 79 total 737 MAX deliveries it had expected before that. Regulatory approval for a smaller version of the MAX, which Southwest has been waiting for, remains up in the air. The delays will thwart Southwest’s growth ambitions this year, the company said Thursday, damping revenue and leaving it on the hook for higher costs. As it tries to improve its fortunes, Southwest is backtracking on part of its network expansion from a few years ago and rethinking its one-of-a-kind seating setup. ‘We are focused on controlling what we can control and have already taken swift action to address our financial underperformance and adjust for revised aircraft-delivery expectations,’ said Chief Executive Bob Jordan. The Dallas-based airline had already planned to moderate growth in 2024, citing the need to tweak its network to better reflect demand. Its costs have crept up, especially after it struck expensive new labor deals with pilots and flight attendants. Its profit margins have lagged. Southwest had already said it would stop bringing on more pilots and flight attendants as it adjusts to the jet delivery setbacks. It said Thursday that it is limiting hiring and offering voluntary time-off programs to workers, and expects to end this year with 2,000 fewer employees than it had at the end of 2023.” • Sad for the workers, though I think travel needs to shrink drastically to prevent future pandemics.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Fear (previous close: 40 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 25 at 2:45:42 PM ET

The Conservatory

“Jihyo Claims There’s A Hidden Extrovert In TWICE Who’s More Outgoing Than All Of Them” [Koreaboo]. “TWICE stands out not only for having one of the largest member counts in K-Pop, but also for their striking uniqueness—eight out of nine members are introverts!” • One for reason for me to be a fan!

“Know thyself − all too well: Why Taylor Swift’s songs are philosophy” [The Conversation]. “Swift is also interested in paradoxes of moral psychology. Songs like ‘This Is Me Trying,’ ‘Illicit Affairs’ and ‘False God’ reflect on the philosophical concept of akrasia: cases where people seemingly know they shouldn’t do something but do it anyway. A lot of the philosophical literature about akrasia asks whether it’s even possible: If someone believes their decision is wrong or bad for them, why would they do it? But through her lyrics, Swift sketches psychologically realistic vignettes that suggest genuine akrasia is at least possible and probably happening all the time – from sabotaging a loving relationship to pursuing one that ‘we were crazy to think … could work.'” • Certainly Swift is an interesting historical figure. Perhaps any Swifties in the readership can comment.

Class Warfare

“Unions Take Aim at South After UAW Win” [Wall Street Journal]. “The United Auto Workers’ first-ever victory at a foreign automaker in the South marks a momentous gain for unions in a region that traditionally has been hostile to organized labor and is now in the midst of a manufacturing boom. The win, in the face of stiff opposition from six Southern governors who said unionization would imperil jobs and future investments, is expected to trigger fiercer battles between organizers and elected officials and others resistant to their campaigns. ‘The business community in right-to-work Southern states has largely been immune to sustained, well-funded organizing drives,’ said Michael Lotito, co-chair of the Workplace Policy Institute at Littler, a law firm that advises employers on labor issues. “It seems those days may be coming to an end.’ The UAW succeeded Friday in organizing about 4,300 workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., winning 73% of workers who cast ballots. Union officials said the win showed the UAW’s stronger position after securing pay raises in last year’s strike at the Big Three automakers, as well as greater receptivity to unions, especially among younger workers.” • As big or bigger than the campus protests, but recieiving far less coverage. I still dream that one day the transport unions — say, Teamsters, Association of Flight Attendants, the “Big Four” brotherhoods in rail, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will all decide to “down tools” for a single day, never mind the demand. Much good would come of it.[5]

News of the Wired


* * *

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 SR:

SR writes: “I believe this is an oak tree shading the square in Savannah where Flannery O’Connor grew up.” Flannery O’Connor, Living with a Peacock.

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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. Michael King

    Very pleased that you are back in action. Hope you are feeling better if not fully recovered from your “cold”.

  2. urdsama

    RFK Jr. wants to use the blockchain for government audits.

    Is he known for a dry sense of humor?

    1. t

      He’s known for being humorless. (I had a laugh at the notion of Coinbase and grassroots activists launching a non profit. Like the Tea Party, I suppose.)

    2. Ranger Rick

      Humorous it may be, but when you consider the chief advantage of blockchain is tracking every transaction… The Pentagon would never fail another audit again, that’s for sure.

  3. DavidZ

    Our curve has now flattened out at a level far above valleys under Trump. 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.

    This section may be factually true, though the “valleys under Trump” were despite that administrations;

    It would be more honest to say something like – “Our curve has now flattened out at a level far above valleys in 2020. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger after 2020, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.”

    let’s not forget:

    – Feb. 7: “It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch … You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And, so that’s a very tricky one. … It’s also more deadly than your – you know, your, even your strenuous flus. … This is more deadly. This is 5, you know, this is 5% versus 1% and less than 1%. You know, so, this is deadly stuff.” — Trump in an interview with Woodward, released in September.

    – CDC or FDA wouldn’t buy/authorize covid tests from Roche in Germany because they wanted to promote “buy USA nativism” vs. ensuring steps were taken to save people.

    – let covid go through the population to build “herd immunity”.

  4. hunkerdown

    re: “Inside the Off-the-Record Calls Held by Anti-Trump Legal Pundits”, have you lost your voice toward the end there? I can barely hear you with the nested superscripting…

  5. Benny Profane

    Seems that the Molineux evidence against Weinstein was just overruled by the NY Supreme Court. Interesting timing

    1. lyman alpha blob

      In other news, kangaroos set world record for highest leap in NYC today, jumping completely over the courthouse.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Being a bundler for the Democrats does have its privileges. Just wait until they free Sam Bankman-Fried on a technicality. And that will probably be done through a NY court too.

    3. aleric

      The Ghislaine Maxwell trial also had testimony from trafficking victims who were not part of the charges – I wonder if that also counts as Molineux testimony and will cause her conviction to be overturned.

      1. Heraclitus

        Very good point, Aleric. I was about to make it myself but saw your post.

        Many people we would describe as the sort who are on the Progressive vanguard today were completely smitten with Henry Wallace’s Progressive party campaign for President in 1948. Two enamored of Wallace at the time were Virginia Durr, Civil Rights Pioneer, and sister-in-law of Justice Hugo Black, and Norman O. Brown, Wesleyan classics professor who gave up his position to read everything Freud wrote. He wrote several ’60s classics, including ‘Life Against Death’ (1959) and ‘Love’s Body’ (1966).

  6. Jason Boxman

    And here is the list of very familiar names:

    Recursively reduces to sub-1px font. This might be by design, though? Neat effect, in any case!

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added orts and scraps, including some good material on H5N1. And the stuff on Trump’s legal “journey” is dense, but I think rewarding. If I am correct in my interpretation, the New York State Supreme Court just kicked the props out from under Bragg’s key tactic.

  8. Louis Fyne

    weird question..for those who remember 1968, was there a foreboding zeitgeist in the air in the spring of 1968?

    I wonder if 2024 will be a reboot of 1968, but i have no frame of reference

    1. FlyoverBoy

      I was very young, but I’d say there was horror and hope together, at least before RFK’s assassination. I don’t detect the same immediacy of horror among the US general populace now because the people coming home in boxes aren’t Americans, and I definitely don’t see any hope on the part of pretty much anybody. But yeah, both years share a sense of foreboding.

    2. Benny Profane

      There was a draft, which really put the fire under a lot of butts. You could go to jail if you didn’t play that game. I commend these kids for thinking of others, and probably making career damaging decisions.
      We would have a much better world if we had a draft today. Smartest thing Cheney and Rumsfeld did, in abolishing it. Now 95% of Americans are spectators with, literally, no skin in the game.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Here’s how and when the draft actually ended:

        The draft law was due to expire at the end of June 1971. But Nixon decided it needed to continue and asked Congress to approve a two-year extension. In March 1973, 1974 and 1975, the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955 and 1956, in case the draft was extended — but it never was.

        The draft was not reauthorized, and Nixon’s SecDef Laird ended it in 1973 when the authorizing legislation expired. You’ll note that it was anti-war pressure that induced Nixon to go along with this.

        If we had a draft today, it would be quite easy to ramp up a big army (maybe with a lot of troops in poor condition) so we could fight all the wars our crazy neocons have in mind. As it is, they’re afraid of that first step–re-instituting the draft–that puts the fear into them. Without a draft, sending troops to Ukraine or Taiwan beyond some token or trip wire force is a pipe dream.

        It was a hard fought battle that cost lives at Jackson State and Kent State that brought down the draft along with draftees’ resistance once in the military that ended the draft. We don’t want to go back to a situation where young people are forced to choose among jail, exile or becoming a trained killer. That’s tyranny at its worst.

        1. Benny Profane

          Kids were protesting on the streets (including myself) not out of some pure anti war peace philosophy, but, most didn’t want their asses sent off to a jungle to fight that idiot war and die. It was the law, and, it was Canada or jail. That made a lot of stoned, relatively privileged kids sit up and educate themselves about what was really going on. Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with a lot of the early neocons, recognized that as the main reason they lost any public support for that folly, and got to work on an all volunteer army fast. It wasn’t just the kids they were trying to kill, their parents woke up to the fact their own were being sacrificed to a losing cause. Of course Nixon abolished the draft, sort of, but he saw the tide going out and wanted re-election. Besides, it was over at that point.
          We don’t have outrage today for forever wars because maybe 5% actually serve, and they come from the same forgotten class and the same extended families. The rest of America is watching Netflix or porn or sports or playing video games and suffer nothing, and don’t know anybody who does. A draft will turn all of that around. I know, cruel, and easy for me to say at my age, but, it’s the best solution. They have to do it anyway, they ran out of bodies some time ago, if they want to play this game.

          1. Screwball

            Born in 56. Missed the draft by a year. My number was 8 in 1973. I would have been gone if I was a year older.

            As ugly as war is, I’m all for bringing back the draft. That would get people’s attention if nothing else.

            That’s like fighting fire with fire but something needs change. As pointed out in the LINKS thread today; in 2024 (and before) we spent more money on wars than our own people.

            I think all the pricks who voted for this last bill should suit right up and have at it.

            We are spending billions of dollars to kill people all over the world while ignoring the people who are paying for it. WTF?

            1. Jason Boxman

              Or we could simply revert to the original intent of the founders and not have a standing army. To have a large standing army with such a huge geographical bulwark against direct attack is lunacy. Instead we merely need a nuclear and hypersonic deterrence, as usual. Let other regions of the world settle their own affairs, as it should be. Let us engage in peaceful commerce and cultural exchange.

              But because markets, go die.

              1. Screwball

                Yea, there is that too. Great point.

                Maybe it’s just me, but I think most of the people in the world just want to survive, not kill each other.

                Doesn’t matter what we think.

                10k’s are more important than lives.

            2. scott s.

              1952 birth year was the last year to be drafted (through number 95). I was born in 53 but classified 1-D (member of reserve component, namely NROTC). In fall of 73 we lost about 3/4ths of my NROTC class as Junior year was when you had to commit to obligated service, and without incentive of draft many obviously didn’t feel the call. This was at UW-Madison, so got to experience the whole Nazi/baby killer thing.

              I still have my draft card around somewhere. (Actually, two — card itself and second with classification.)

              Note that aside from the draft, colleges that were founded under the land-grant act had been obligated to have male students in Army ROTC, created as part of the Army reorganization post Span-Am War that resulted in the National Guard and concept of “Army of the United States” (AUS).

            3. Jorge

              The advantage of the draft is that it is the last chance to teach a lot of people how to read. The US military is, among other things, a vast teaching machine that is not controlled by the Carnegie Foundation education mafia.

          2. steppenwolf fetchit

            It took 10 years of Vietnam Protest spreading into general rejection of establishment culture coupled with 10 years of victory by Vietnam in Vietnam to get the draft ended.

            Bringing back a draft would enable another 10 year Vietnam War 2.0. Returning to a draft would solve nothing in that regard unless enough drafted soldiers came back from the war over time to be able to mount a credible insurgency or Civil War here. Bring the war home indeed.

            The Army leadership rejected the idea of any more draft because they remember the various kinds of cold mutiny, fraggings, etc. spreading throughout the ranks. They don’t want all kinds of random disgruntled citizens in the Army ever again.

      2. Lee

        Yes, the immediate likelihood of being drafted to kill or be killed by people against whom I had nothing and whom I came to admire frequent got my ass up and out in the streets. Heady days those. I assume that there is less immediate self interest at work among today’s antiwar protesters and therefore, it could be argued, their efforts are all the more laudable.

      3. VietnamVet

        After 2 years in SE Asia, I returned to the USA in 1968, a stranger in a strange land, to go to Grad School. I went to Robert Kennedy’s & Dick Nixon’s campaign speeches. Kennedy was so much better than Nixon. Got drafted in January 1969. I still remember “Light My Fire” blasting at the college street dance. I thought I would never re-experience such feelings of dread and helplessness. Except 2024 is repeating that year all over again. This time, I’ve scheduled a hospital procedure to counter my old age and live in suburban isolation. History rhymes. Urban college protestors back then were called hippies, today’s anti-war protesters are labelled Antisemites.

        95-billion-dollar spending bills were just passed and signed to keep the proxy WW3 escalating and spread it to Asia. Homelessness and the plunging American life expectancy are the direct consequence of the forever wars and funding of the war profiteers.

        The only real alternative to the world war escalating to a global nuclear exchange is recognizing reality and the withdrawal back to fortress America and reestablish the draft and conscript men and women for the Army, Navy, and Air Force — Signing Armistices, restarting Cold War 2, and separating the combatants with UN DMZs. To do this, a healthy population that supports national defense requires the restoration of public health, public education, and public safety. Taxing the wealthy to pay for it and living within our means, together with giving peace a chance, will allow the continued human habitation of the earth.

    3. Tom Stone

      I was living in the East Bay in 1968 and spending a good deal of time on and near Telegraph Ave.
      There and then, yes, there was a large influx of undercover feds and the whole feel of the place changed almost overnight.

    4. Tom B.

      I think Buffalo Springfield’s “For What its Worth” (1967 – step outa line, the man come, and take you away) captured the spooky vibe. Also the Stones apocalyptic “Gimme Shelter” (1969).

      1. Benny Profane

        That song was actually inspired by the Sunset Strip curfew riots in ’66, when kids threw a temper tantrum about being told to stop partying and go to bed, but, it was almost instantly co-opted by the early anti war movement. It was the reason Buffalo Springfield eventually split up, because the record company went with Stephen Stills as the leader of the band after that, because he was suddenly money, and Neil Young got extremely jealous.

      2. Unfinished

        In 1969 our mother took my brother and me (9th grade) to participate in the Vietnam War Moratorium demonstration in San Francisco. At some point in the march, and for some distance, “For What It’s Worth” could be heard blasting from some open window. My memory is that the song was repeated over and over as the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of marchers passed by. It was galvanizing and created an indelible memory of that momentous day.

    5. Bugs

      I was young but I’d say that my parents and their circle (working/middle class whites), did not at all see it coming. There was angst about hippies, the war and the drug scene, but the riots came out of nowhere. In Cali, the hippies were really everywhere and it freaked them out to no end.

      I could ask next time I talk to some oldsters.

  9. FlyoverBoy

    Regarding an item from yesterday(?): I think JB Pritzker, despite his toxic connections, has done a much better-than-Newsom job in Illinois and generally has had my support. But he didn’t cover himself with glory when he defended Biden’s sponsorship of genocide with the creepily Nixonian phrase “lasting peace,” nor when he boasted of how speedily and efficiently his troopers broomed anti-genocide protesters off the expressway. Disappointing.

    1. Louis Fyne

      federal Covid funds saved JB (and many other states) from making the really hard choices.

      fiscal cliff inbound soon with the Fed rate >5%.

      And the Bears want $1 billion. JB might be wishing that he just spiked the football and left govt after his 1st term

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Why are various establishment figures moving so fast and hard to stamp out the protests? Because they either personally ( a few of them) or insitutionally ( the entire leadership elites) remember the Sixties.

      They have decided that no more Sixties will be allowed to get entrenched ever again. Never ever.

      Between Mister Ban TikTok signing the Ban TikTok Bill and the college kids alienating Trump’s ” deplorable silent majority”, a Trump victory looks ever more likely. And if Trump achieves it, then the “deplorable silent majority” will want to see Two . . Three. . . Many Kent States. ( With apologies to the pro-NLF protesters’ slogan of “Two, Three, Many Vietnams”.)

      1. blowncue

        I mean if I had left the streets for the suites, do I want to wake up and be the next Willie Horton? While my endowment fund projections go up in smoke as my donors head for the exits?

  10. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Swift and akrasia

    Perhaps Tay Tay is an Updike fan! Been a generation or so since I read the Rabbit books, but my recollection is that is was a couple thousand pages worth of akrasia. Pretty sure most people know that doing the wild thing with your son’s(!) wife is a no-no, but that doesn’t stop Updike’s randy character, to name just one instance of many from those libidinous tomes.

    1. begob

      I’m one of those who can only name “ever ever (I think that’s what it’s called)” as one of Swift’s songs, so I dismiss her as one chosen for the hype by neolubrisum, along the lines of that Harry Potter author. But then I heard this on BBC radio yesterday: Florida – adult lyrics in duet with Florence and the Machine, shades of Lauri Anderson, Lana del Ray: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEssK8o3jKg

  11. Big River Bandido

    The picture from SR looks like the historic Andrew Low house on the left. If that’s correct, that would be Lafayette Square on the right. But I’m not sure, it was 6 years ago that I was there.

    1. griffen

      I was thinking, that is a tremendous picture, the large tree with outstretched limbs. Such a splendid tree would look at home near the Shire and Middle Earth.

  12. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “infuriating his then VP, John Nance Gardne [who?],…”

    “Garner”. John Nance Garner, aka “Cactus Jack”. If he had had his way, Lady Bird would have not been out pushing bluebonnets, and Texas would have been 5 states. (And voted with the Texas Dems for a poll tax in 1901.)


  13. Stephen V

    Thanks for the great 3 Quarks piece Lambert. A taste for woo fans:
    On a personal level, he experimented with strange diets, embraced Russian guru Nicholas Roerich, edited the Wallace Almanac to include religious and spiritual tips, dabbled in Theosophy, was notoriously bad at small-talk, and seemed to lack a sense of appropriateness at times.

      1. Harold

        He did not “embrace” Nicholas Roerich, but rather quarreled bitterly with him. It was Roosevelt’s mother who was interested in theosophy. At the time of her interest in in him, Roerich had been a very respectable figure who was celebrated for his efforts to protect international artistic monuments from wartime destruction). Wallace, an Episcopalian, took the rap for her.

  14. VTDigger

    Isn’t the Tiktok thing because the kids are all for Palestine on there? I thought I read AIPAC is driving the tiktok bus but I could be hallucinating.

  15. Hank Linderman

    Supporting unions is the obvious move for Dems that have lost touch with rural (whether they work or not) and working (wherever they live) people. I have proposed in a State Central Executive Committee meeting that the Kentucky Democratic Party come out in favor of unionizing Toyota’s Georgetown Kentucky plant – I’m told it’s the largest Toyota plant in the world. So far, no takers.

    The SCEC is the Board for the KDP – something like 60 members to *oversee* a party that at full employment is 12 people and 10 consultants. The real control is in the Governor’s office – since the late 1800’s, control of the party is firmly in the hand of the Governor IF he/she/they is/are a Democrat. I am told we in the SCEC cannot be shown the budget, but that we are expected to approve it. This sent a non-political attorney friend’s eyebrows into his hairline.

    I’m on the SCEC as the Chair of the Rural Council. We are advisory only, so far our advice is ignored. That included adopting a Contract for Rural and Working America, we were open to improving it – the party said they were okay with everything but legal cannabis. https://c4rwa.org

    We also proposed a committee to figure out what steps to take in the 4 rural Districts, to be called “1245.” A response from an SCEC member: “How DARE you not include Louisville and Lexington?” Louisville is District 3, Lexington District 6. Motion tabled.

    Interestingly, when I speak with local County D parties here in the 2nd District, they are very much in favor of supporting the UAW efforts to unionize Toyota. The moment Gov. Beshear’s team realizes this could help propel him further into the national spotlight and improve his chances for the Presidency, they’ll jump on it.

    Have a look at the Ky Dems store to see just how focused on Beshear they are, never mind that he’s termed out for Governor: https://store.kydemocrats.org/?emci=9ff8bc9e-2b03-ef11-96f3-7c1e521b07f9&emdi=a5f8bc9e-2b03-ef11-96f3-7c1e521b07f9&ceid=16956616

    The KDP does not invest in candidates or offices they cannot win this cycle, so it’s been 2 and 3 decades since there was any real D connection in Districts 1,2, 4 & 5. When Beshear was elected in 2019, Dems had 45 seats in the 100 member State House. In 2020, Dems lost 20 of those seats, 6 of them by a combined total of 96 votes. Since then, another 5 have been lost – an organizer friend says “get ready for 10.” But hey, they raised $15M to re-elect Beshear.

    So yeah. I’m pro UAW. When the combined UAW / AFL-CIO strike for 2028 was announced, I proposed finding a way to include non union folks. Like – maybe aim to unionize Walmart through a general strike.

    Yes, I’m running again for US House in KY-02. Until the party decides to care, it’s unlikely to win. But, being the nominee 3 times since 2018 has allowed me a tiny bit of leverage to influence the party. Rank and file Dems agree – it’s time to return to rural and working Kentucky – but the Party seems to have other fish to fry. Like, until recently, an “enemies list” of Dems they didn’t like. When it was exposed, it resulted in the reassignment of the KDP Exec Director. Not to worry; he works directly for the Governor now.


  16. steppenwolf fetchit

    Chances of a Biden defeat are much higher now. Millions of TikTok Americans will not vote for Mister Ban TikTok. They might not vote for Trump, given that he also wanted to ban TikTok before he pretended not to want to ban Tiktok anymore. But they will not vote for Mister Ban TikTok.

  17. steppenwolf fetchit

    So . . . Kennedy is strongly supportive of crypto?

    Well then . . . I am strongly opposive of Kennedy.

    1. Benny Profane

      Everytime I think it’s ok to vote for him, he sprays bear repellent in my face. Strange person. Shame. Articulates some positions so well.
      He will do a lot of damage, though. To both sides.

  18. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . ” So nobody’s tracking the transmission of the virus across species. That seems like a recipe for success.”

    Success? Well, if the secretly unstated goal is to HIHOP the transmission of the virus across species, then yes, it does look like a recipe for success.

    It all depends on what the real goal really is.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I have a severe irony defficiency. The irony has to be as heavy as lead before I am even aware of it.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>It all depends on what the real goal really is.

      Spanish Flu, Part Deux: This Time It’s For Realz?

      I get the we all agree at least somewhat making this an answer to a rhetorical question, but I just had to answer in this way. Perhaps a bad attempt at humor.

      I also want to note that it appears that the cows’ illnesses are being treated with more seriousness than of people’s.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘If this is true, the platforms that are part of the Censorship Industrial Complex are strangling a successful rival and an outsider. Twitter would be next.’

    Not Telegram? It has more than 900 million monthly active users but more to the point was founded by Russians! Case closed. It is true though that they do want their own Twitter back as it was the personal playground for the spooks, the media, the Democrats and the PMCs.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Manufacturing: “Southwest to Exit Four Airports as Boeing’s Problems Ripple Through Industry” ‘

    There are already food deserts. Will there be soon air travel deserts too? All in flyover country of course but in this usage, literally fly over as in don’t land.

  21. Jeotsu

    I’m guessing “coal” is a mis-hearing of “cull”. Culled catele would be on their way to the meat works, where they would be examined there for suitability in the human food chain.

  22. Rodeo Clownfish

    Those zoom meetings to discuss the legal “journey” of the bad orange man could get a little racey with Jeffrey Toobin on the calls. You have to wonder if they can keep his camera off, just in case he he can’t resist himself from his trademark peccadillo…

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