2:00PM Water Cooler 5/2/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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Bird Song of the Day

American Robin, 138 Captains Dr, West Babylon, Suffolk, New York, United States. “American Robin singing on a roof before dawn. Bird gives a few call notes before flying off at the end of the recording.”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Boeing deaths.

(2) Trump nostalgia.

(3) Encampments news.

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Politics

“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

“Biden on campus protesters: No ‘right to cause chaos'” [Axios]. • Correct. Let’s leave that to the Executive Branch!

2024

Less than a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, April 26:

National results are still moving Biden’s way. But all the Swing States (more here) are moving Trump’s way, although in tiny increments. It’s hard to attribute this consistency to mere chance. “All” with one exception: Pennsylvania. If Susie Wiles is such a brain genius, why isn’t she fixing this?

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Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Michael Cohen TikTok videos, fundraising stun legal observers: May have ‘torpedoed case against Trump'” [FOX]. “Michael Cohen, who is supposed to be a star witness in NY v. Trump, might have ‘torpedoed’ the case before taking the stand by ranting about it on TikTok while fundraising, according to legal observers…. ABC News published an article Sunday declaring Cohen’s actions ‘could be a problem, pointing out that Cohen has chimed in on former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker’s testimony, has regularly ‘railed against Trump,’ has insisted the jury isn’t ‘bored’ and can profit when followers shower him with gifts. TikTok allows viewers to donate ‘gifts’ as they watch users’ livestreams…. ‘Michael Cohen through his narcissism and his ego may have just torpedoed the case against Trump,’ [Michael] Avenatti told Fox News Digital from federal prison.” “(!!!!) More: ‘The state can’t win the case without him and because of his conduct in reviewing trial testimony in violation of the court’s order, which just admitted to when speaking with ABC, the court must strike him as a witness, declare a mistrial, or both,’ Avenatti continued. ‘He had no business commenting on other witnesses’ testimony.’ Avenatti said Cohen is ‘not even supposed to be hearing or learning of that testimony before he testifies’ himself. ‘Alvin Bragg and his team have a lot of explaining to do, in my view,’ Avenatti said.” • Entertaining!

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “NY vs. Trump: A trial in search of an imaginary crime” [FOX]. “Bragg’s courtroom smear campaign against Trump continued with prosecution witness Keith Davidson, the Los Angeles lawyer for Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who purportedly had an affair with Trump. Davidson negotiated the so-called “hush money” payments for both his clients, which were completely lawful. Paying someone for their silence in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement is not a crime. Indeed, it’s a staple of thousands of settlement agreements signed every day…. Prosecutors also exploited the McDougal-Daniels imbroglio to backdoor a prominent mention in court of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape that proved damaging to Trump just weeks before the 2016 election. Such evidence should never be permitted since its scant probative value is materially outweighed by the prejudicial effect on the jury. No matter. That’s exactly what Bragg wants.” • The Molineux Rule once more….

Trump (R) (Smith/Cannon) “Unredactions Reveal Early White House Involvement in Trump Documents Case” [Julie Kelly, RealClearInvestigations]. “A comparison of the redacted and unredacted material shows the Archives acted in concert with several Biden administration agencies to build the case — coordination that included the DOJ, the Biden White House, and the intelligence community. The Trump case prompted revelations that both Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence had also retained classified documents – in Biden’s case for decades, stretching back to his time in the Senate. But while the Archives’ outreach to Biden and Pence consisted of requests, the agency took a more assertive stance with Trump. ”

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Trump (R): “Is Trump Nostalgia Enough?” [Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics]. “The political science literature is pretty consistent that this is the time when the electorate’s views about the election start to harden, particularly with respect to the economy. That’s not good for Biden either: When asked how they would rate conditions in the economy today, 30% said ‘good,’ while 70% said ‘poor.’ That’s better than the 18-82 split from mid-2022, but it’s still worse than in the middle of the COVID shutdown, when it was a 34-65 breakdown. And it is far worse than the 70% ‘good’ rating Trump received in late 2019. We can repeat ‘It’s a long time until Election Day,’ and that’s true in a sense. But Election Day is also fast approaching; we’re almost in May, and people start voting in September in some states. If voters still have a favorable view of Trump’s presidency in a few months and think the incumbent president is a failure, the situation will quickly turn critical for Biden and the Democratic Party.

Trump (R): “On a day off from court, fired-up Trump hits swing states” [BBC]. “But on Wednesday at a rally outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he seemed fired up as he spoke to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters for about an hour and a half…. ‘The trial is definitely going to increase his popularity,’ said Nancy Ridge, a supporter from nearby Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, who was wearing a jacket printed with Mr Trump’s mugshot on the back and the words ‘Wanted: for president.’ ‘Especially among lower-class people who have been convicted of crimes or even falsely accused. They understand the justice system and how corrupt it can be,’ she said. ‘It’s free publicity,’ said Jerry Cleppe, another Trump fan waiting in a queue outside the event. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, it’s attention. The trial is a good thing.’…. After his rally in Wisconsin, the former president hosted another event in Michigan.” • So, MI and WI are the priorities (this week).

Trump (R): “Trump eyes 2 battleground states as he looks to tear down Dem ‘blue wall’ again” [FOX]. “It’s the former president’s second swing through the two Great Lakes swing states in a month…. Biden has made multiple trips to Michigan and Wisconsin this year, and his campaign enjoys a formidable advantage in both states when it comes to organization and ground-game efforts.”

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Biden (D): “Biden’s Electoral College Challenge” [Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic]. “President Joe Biden won a decisive Electoral College victory in 2020 by restoring old Democratic advantages in the Rust Belt while establishing new beachheads in the Sun Belt. But this year, his position in polls has weakened on both fronts. The result is that, even this far from Election Day, signs are developing that Biden could face a last-mile problem in the Electoral College. Even a modest recovery in Biden’s current support could put him in position to win states worth 255 Electoral College votes, strategists in both parties agree. His problem is that every option for capturing the final 15 Electoral College votes he would need to reach a winning majority of 270 looks significantly more difficult…. Biden’s odds may particularly diminish if he cannot hold all three of the former ‘blue wall’ states across the Rust Belt that he recaptured in 2020 after Trump had taken them four years earlier: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Biden is running more competitively in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin than in any other swing states. But in Michigan, Biden has struggled in most polls, whipsawed by defections among multiple groups Democrats rely on, including Arab Americans, auto workers, young people, and Black Americans. As James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist told me, if Biden can recover to win Michigan along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, ‘you are not going to lose.’ But, Carville added, if Biden can’t hold all three, ‘you are going to have to catch an inside straight to win.'” And: “Many operatives in both parties separate the six states Biden carried most narrowly into three distinct tiers. Biden has looked best in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Biden’s position has been weakest in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. Michigan falls into its own tier in between.” • The collective wisdom of Democratic strategists but still worth a read.

Biden (D): “Don’t Forget the Backlash to the ’60s” [Politico]. “Most media retrospectives of the 1960s celebrate the marchers, the protests, the peace signs along with the compulsory Buffalo Springfield lyrics (“There’s something happening here/ But what it is ain’t exactly clear”). The reality is those upheavals were an enormous in-kind contribution to the political fortunes of the right. And if history comes even close to repeating itself, then the latest episode will redound to Donald Trump’s benefit. Begin with this, unfortunately accurate, generalization: Protests of any kind, even those most justified, produce a sense of unease among the public…. When upheaval began on college campuses, largely triggered by the escalation of the Vietnam War, this sense of disapproval grew sharply, and so did the political consequences. Ronald Reagan centered much of his 1966 campaign for governor of California on attacking the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley. He pledged to ‘clean up the mess at Berkeley,’ and denounced the ‘beatniks, radicals and filthy speech advocates’ who fueled ‘anarchy and rioting.’… The backlash against the left was a key part of the 1968 presidential race. Richard Nixon famously ran a campaign on ‘law and order’ — highlighting both urban and campus unrest. One commercial featured scenes of protest, as Nixon argued that ‘in a system of government that provides for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies a resort to violence.’…. The scenes of violence in Chicago outside the Democrats’ 1968 presidential convention, meanwhile, further contributed to the notion that left-wing lawlessness had gotten out of control. It was a nightmare event for Hubert Humphrey’s beleaguered presidential campaign, one where the public overwhelmingly sided with the Chicago police, not the demonstrators. (And, of course, guess where Democrats are holding their 2024 convention: Chicago.)”

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Kennedy (I):

Cheeky!

Kennedy (I): “Railroad Owned by RFK Jr.’s Megadonor Repeatedly Violated Environmental and Safety Laws” [Exposed by CMD]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may claim he will be ‘the best environmental president in American history,’ but the Republican industrialist bankrolling the super PAC behind his longshot bid for the White House has a long history of violating environmental laws. A Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) study of the railroad business that 81-year-old megadonor Timothy Mellon owned for 45 years shows numerous violations of federal and state environmental and safety laws, including a criminal conviction of the company for covering up a 2006 oil spill. Mellon’s backing may be related to Kennedy’s recent emergence as a climate skeptic and harsh critic of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite being a former environmental lawyer and ‘crusader,’ he has shifted his position so radically that former allies are calling his campaign a ‘climate disaster.’ On the campaign trail, Kennedy has called the climate crisis ‘a pretext for clamping down totalitarian controls, the same way the Covid crisis was,’ blaming ‘intelligence agencies,’ ‘the world economic forum,’ and ‘the billionaire boys’ club at Davos’ for efforts to control global warming. Kennedy also denounces the EPA as ‘effectively run by the oil industry, the coal industry and the pesticide industry,’ despite the fact that the fossil fuel industry and Republican state attorneys general have repeatedly sued the agency to challenge its regulations….. During this election cycle alone [Mellon] has given more than $50 million to GOP candidates and PACs, including over $20 million to the American Values 2024 super PAC that supports Kennedy’s independent run for president. This represents almost half of the PAC’s $43-million haul so far this cycle. At the same time, Mellon is financing former President Trump’s third run for the White House.”

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“Why the Senate GOP is downplaying the chances of a red wave” [Politico]. “Senate Republicans are six months away from their most favorable Election Day map in a decade, with pickup opportunities in at least a half-dozen states — including sapphire-blue Maryland. Mitch McConnell isn’t predicting a red wave ahead, though. There’s a reason for that. The minority leader is clearly wary of his party overextending itself despite the advantageous conditions after the twin debacles of 2020 and 2022, when former President Donald Trump’s embrace of flawed GOP nominees contributed to surprising Democratic wins. While former Senate GOP campaign chief Rick Scott (R-Fla.) predicted the party would win up to 55 seats in the midterms, Democrats ended up gaining a seat. So even though Republicans have room to compete in eight states, McConnell said in an interview that he’s primarily focused on four for now…. ‘You take polls around Labor Day and begin to decide where you’re going to play,’ McConnell said. ‘But we know where we’re going to play for sure right now: Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland.'”

“Democrats Are Feckless and Republicans Are Chaotic. Here’s Why” [Politico]. “As the political scientists Sam Rosenfeld and Daniel Schlozman argue in their new book, Hollow Parties: The Many Pasts and Disordered Present of American Party Politics, America’s current system is shaped by a paradox: The parties appear omnipresent — on the ballot line, at the party conventions, on the debate stage — yet they’re unable to perform many of their basic functions, like enforcing ideological discipline among officeholders or building effective electoral coalitions.” One more goddamned book to read. More: “Rosenfeld: If you have a project for power and if you want to accomplish something, there is no alternative to party politics.” • Lenin would agree. And he would be right.

AZ: “Arizona Senate repeals near-total 1864 abortion ban in divisive vote” [Al Jazeera]. “The Arizona Senate has voted to repeal the state’s 1864 ban on abortion, which would otherwise have taken effect within weeks. The repeal was passed by the Senate in a 16-14 vote on Wednesday and is expected to be signed swiftly by Governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat. Two Republican senators crossed party lines to vote in favour of repealing the ban. The Arizona House last week passed the measure after a handful of Republicans broke party ranks and voted with Democrats to send it to the Senate. ‘We’re here to repeal a bad law,’ Senator Eva Burch, a Democrat, said from the floor. “I don’t want us honouring laws about women, written during a time when women were forbidden from voting.'”

Republican Funhouse

“Political center revolts against fringe, as leaders rebuke Greene, protesters” [The Hill]. “In a remarkable development Tuesday, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) announced he and other Democrats would step in to help Johnson defeat any motion offered by conservatives to vacate his position. ‘I think people are sick and tired of chaos and dysfunction. So I congratulate all of our friends on both sides of the aisle in the House for … actually doing their job instead of all of the sideshow,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate leadership team. ‘Republicans are by and large tired of all the antics and the chaos, and they realize it’s a political liability,’ he added. Vin Weber, a GOP strategist and former member of the House Republican leadership said, ‘We are seeing a very strong reaction against the political process by the fringes of both parties.’ ‘Even though he’s of the other party, we’re seeing in the reaction of the Democratic leader a leader,’ he said of Jeffries’s decision to side with Johnson against the conservative insurgents in is conference. And he praised Johnson for standing up to the critics in his conference by pushing the foreign aid package through the House, even though doing so put his job at risk. That bold decision was validated by the strong vote its different components received from House Republicans, including 101 GOP lawmakers who voted for Ukraine funding.” • What the heck is “bold” about servicing The Blob?

“GOP Right Flank Challenges Speaker Johnson (and Trump)” [RealClearPolitics]. “House Speaker Mike Johnson has a revolt on his right flank, and by extension, so does Donald Trump. The former president has certainly tightened his grasp on the Republican Party as he seeks to return to the White House. All the same, his authority is not complete…. Greene was never among those who distanced themselves from Trump after Jan. 6, and her connection with him was so strong that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy repeatedly sought her counsel as a liaison to Mar-a-Lago. MTG still speaks with Trump regularly. She campaigned with him earlier this year…. The Georgia firebrand is not, however, a Trump rubber stamp. Neither is Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie or Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar. The trio plans to force a vote to remove Johnson next week…. ‘Whether it’s running for minority leader or speaker next Congress, nobody’s counting on this guy being around,’ another Republican lawmaker told RCP before adding that Johnson’s only path to salvation would be ‘Trump maneuvering to keep him around.’ ‘I don’t know why he would,’ the lawmaker continued. ‘I don’t know how Trump would justify that.’ For the speaker’s part, Johnson has said that he and Trump ‘are 100% in line’ on their policy agenda. And right now, the former president opposes the effort to shake up leadership and sees it as counterproductive to Republican electoral aims. A Trump emissary, RNC Chair Michael Whatley, delivered that message directly to the congresswoman in her office Wednesday.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

Yep:

All factions of both parties partaking liberally of the fascist “All You Can Eat” buffet.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Northern Arizona University encampment:

Same as at Columbia, where the cop-wielding President is a “woman of color.” So much for identity politics, one would have thought.

UCLA encampment:

Maybe a UAW 4811 strike will ignite something….

UCLA encampment:

The dastardly campers are cleverly concealing their connection to Soros by purchasing multi-colored tents…

Dartmouth:

“More than 90 protesters arrested at Dartmouth College pro-Palestinian encampment” [Boston Globe]. “Hanover police said in a statement that they had been advised by the college that no tents would be allowed. Protesters put up a small grouping of four tents, and soon hundreds of people had gathered at the small encampment, singing songs and calling on the university to divest from companies that profit from war in Israel. By 8:30 p.m., about 30 state troopers and local police officers arrived on campus.” • Seven cops oer tent.

Brown encampment:

This is the time-honored tactic of university administrators: Divert the student energy into a committee (and then, of course, sabotage the committee).

Pandemics

“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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Airborne Transmission: Covid

“Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The Contrast between Indoors and Outdoors” [Fluids]. From the Discussion: “Two issues in particular, the interaction between thermal plumes and ceilings and the entrainment of room air into exhalation plumes, appear to have been largely overlooked in the literature. Both are not a problem outdoors. Yet indoors, they present a major challenge because rooms are by definition confined and generally have ceilings. This means that indoors: (i) boluses of respiratory aerosols (high-concentration clouds) will tend to form at the ceiling and travel horizontally before descending through the breathing zone of the room occupants; and (ii) as the concentration of respiratory aerosols builds up in the room space, so the near-field exposure risk associated with exhalation plumes will tend to increase. Both these phenomena mean that the risk of transmission is much greater indoors compared with outdoors. They also highlight the inadequacy of the simplistic ‘near-field’–‘far-field’ analysis framework. In reality, in most indoor environments, the near-field and far-field exposure risks are inextricably linked—something that is not the case outdoors. Because exhalation plumes entrain air from the surrounding room space, a feedback loop exists between the far-field and near-field. ” And the conclusion: “By comparing aerosol behaviour inside and outside buildings, we have been able to show that profound differences exist between the two environments and that this is likely to be the main reason why SARS-CoV-2 transmission is so much higher indoors than outdoors. In particular, we have identified that a feedback loop exists between the near-field and the far-field inside buildings, which is completely absent outdoors. This feedback loop is facilitated by the action of the exhalation and thermal plumes associated with occupants in room spaces. These plumes drive much of the air circulation within rooms and can rapidly disperse respiratory aerosol particles throughout a space.” • This why masking should be universal throughout hospital facilities (although one would think CDC would know better than anyone that hot air rises).

Transmission: H5N1

Michigan takes the lead:

Good for them!

Sequelae: Covid

Hair loss? Really?

Have any readers heard of this?

Elite Maleficence

CDC kills off hospital data:

Since obviously only hospitals who feel they are performing well will report, the data is now useless. I’m going to have to rethink my tables again. Remember that the public health establishment thinks only hospitalizations and deaths are important, and both seem to be going dark.

WHO is a maskless and ill-ventilated talking shop:

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

Cases
National[1] Biobot April 29: Regional[2] Biobot April 29:

Variants[3] CDC April 27 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
Hospitalization
New York[5] New York State, data May 1: National [6] CDC April 20:

Positivity
National[7] Walgreens April 22: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic April 20:

Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC April 8: Variants[10] CDC April 8:
Deaths[11]
Weekly deaths New York Times March 16: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 16:

LEGEND

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.”

NOTES

[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) KP.2 has entered the chat, at least in the model. 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. And no mention of KP.2

[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 was unchanged from the prior week at 208,000 on the period ending April 27th, remaining at the lowest level in two months, and firmly below market expectations of 212,000. It was the fourth consecutive stronger-than-expected result, pointing to continued tightness in the US labor market and adding leeway for the Federal Reserve to delay interest rate cuts should inflation remain stubbornly above the central bank’s target. ”

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods rose by 1.6% from the previous month to $584.5 billion in March of 2024, following a 1.2% increase in February, in line with expectations.”

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased to 58.3 in March 2024, from 56.5 in February, marking the fastest expansion since September 2022. This indicates that the overall logistics industry is experiencing healthy growth, albeit at the lower end. The growth is attributed to long-planned inventory expansions and improved efficiency in warehousing and transportation.”

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Manufacturing: “Whistleblower Josh Dean of Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems has died” [Seattle Times]. “Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems and one of the first whistleblowers to allege Spirit leadership had ignored manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX, died Tuesday morning after a struggle with a sudden, fast-spreading infection. Known as Josh, Dean lived in Wichita, Kan., where Spirit is based. He was 45, had been in good health and was noted for having a healthy lifestyle. He died after two weeks in critical condition, his aunt Carol Parsons said…. Parsons said Dean became ill and went to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing just over two weeks ago. He was intubated and developed pneumonia and then a serious bacterial infection, MRSA…. Dean was represented by a law firm in South Carolina that also represented Boeing whistleblower John ‘Mitch’ Barnett.” More detail–

Manufacturing: “Boeing supplier whistleblower Joshua Dean dead at 45” [FOX 59]. “Dean had been hospitalized with Influenza B and MRSA, and developed pneumonia, according to a Facebook post from his mother. His condition quickly deteriorated and he was transferred to a hospital in Oklahoma City. There, he was put on an ECMO machine, which pumps blood outside the body and circulates oxygenated blood, taking over the function of the heart and lungs and allowing other organs to heal. He was also undergoing dialysis. It was soon discovered after a CT scan that Dean suffered a stroke. Prior to his hospitalization, Dean was said to be ‘in good health and was noted for having a healthy lifestyle,’ according to The Seattle Times, which first reported his death.” • Eeesh. Can’t Boeing stick to killing people wholesale? Does it have to go retail? Kidding!

Manufacturing: “Whistleblower Laws That Protect Lawbreakers” [Maureen Tkacik, American Prospect]. This article, excellent as usual, is really two articles, one on the topic in the headline, one buried. Here is the buried part: (1) “Appearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, [Sam] Salehpour described an unsettling evening when his brand new tire began to flatten on the drive home. When he pulled over at a body shop, a mechanic discovered a nail. Just so you know, the mechanic told him, you didn’t run over this nail; it’s not an accident.” (2) “Later that afternoon, I got a text message from one of Barnett’s old Boeing co-workers who’d been fired from the Charleston plant for reporting a safety risk created by shoddy manufacturing. An FAA investigation had vindicated most of the whistleblower’s allegations, only after they’d withdrawn their AIR 21 complaint out of fear Boeing would force them to pay legal fees. Inside the whistleblower’s text was a photo of a wheel missing two lug nuts; the car had been mysteriously wobbling, so they’d pulled over to check. It had been years since they’d left the company, but they could not shake the sense that someone, somewhere was still trying to exact revenge on them for speaking out. “If anything happens,” they told me, not for the first time, “I’m not suicidal.'” (3) “”John’s boss always told him he was going to push him till he broke, and that’s what they did,” says Turkewitz, whose therapist has been helping him come to peace with the fact that Barnett likely did kill himself, and that his initial denial was in part influenced by guilt for having forced his client to relive six and a half years of daily micro- and macro aggressions in a grueling deposition.” • Anybody other than me having some cognitive dissonance over (1) and (2) vs. (3)? And now we have another death, this one from “a fast moving infection,” not crude sabotage, but maybe they’re more sophisticated up in Seattle? Not that I’m foily, but as I wrote, of Barnett’s death: ” Things I want to know: Why was the gun in Barnett’s hand? Why did the police dust the car for finger prints? What did the note read? Where is Barnett’s computer?” These questions seem reasonable to me, and have never been answered. So I don’t know why the opinion of Turkewitz’s therapist — Jennifer Melfi? — is relevant, here.

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s deliberately defective fleet of flying sky-wreckage” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. Summary of the field of play. This is intereting “The thing is, Swampy* wasn’t just protecting the lives of the passengers in those defective aircraft – he was also protecting Boeing employees. Under Sec 38 of the US Criminal Code, it’s a 15-year felony to make any ‘materially false writing, entry, certification, document, record, data plate, label, or electronic communication concerning any aircraft or space vehicle part.’ (When Swampy told a meeting that he took this seriously because ‘the paperwork is just as important as the aircraft’ the room erupted in laughter.)” • Holding off a felony charge seems like a good motive for murder, to me. NOTE * “Swampy” = John Barnett’s nickname, which Tkacik has adopted, and Doctorow seems to have adopted from Tkacik…..

Manufacturing: “Another Boeing Whistleblower Turns Up Dead” [FITS News]. The deck: “They’re dropping like 737s….” I can’t get into this; if some kind reader can, please send it along, because these are locals who don’t mess around. I thought the first comment was interesting: “If we were living in an episode of The Blacklist, someone inside the law firm would be responsible for the deaths. They’d be the common denominator that has the appearance of advocating for the whistleblower. They’d be part of an international operation, probably based in Russia, and only a Boeing senior official and another from an institutional shareholder would know about it.” • Perhaps a trifle baroque….

Tech: “A Lawsuit Argues Meta Is Required by Law to Let You Control Your Own Feed” [Wired]. “The suit was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of researcher Ethan Zuckerman, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst. It attempts to take a federal law that has generally shielded social networks and use it as a tool forcing transparency…. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is best known for allowing social media companies to evade legal liability for content on their platforms. Zuckerman’s suit argues that one of its subsections gives users the right to control how they access the internet, and the tools they use to do so.

“Section 230 (c) (2) (b) is quite explicit about libraries, parents, and others having the ability to control obscene or other unwanted content on the internet.” • Interesting!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 40 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 2 at 1:37:46 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“Police Unions: What to Know and Why They Don’t Belong in the Labor Movement” [Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue]. “Police unions have always been outliers among organized labor, and there are many reasons why the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union has long refused to allow cops (and prison guards) into its organization. For one thing, no other union members hold the legal ability to straight-up kill another human being while on the job…. [Author Kristian Williams] argues that the shared workplace identity that makes up the “thin blue line” mentality for cops transcends other identity markers, and shows how they view themselves as police first, and everything else second. As such, police unions tend to keep their distance from the rest of the labor movement (unless they’re cracking its members’ skulls)…. The cognitive dissonance that comes with knowing that members of my union are being beaten bloody and viciously arrested by members of another union that falls under that same AFL-CIO umbrella is sickening, as is the knowledge that we will have to fight our own leadership to force a change. But I know that there are a great many of us who are up for the challenge, and this battle is far from over.”

News of the Wired

“Key Consciousness Connections Uncovered” [Neuroscience News]. “The study involved high-resolution scans that enabled the researchers to visualize brain connections at submillimeter spatial resolution. This technical advance allowed them to identify previously unseen pathways connecting the brainstem, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal forebrain, and cerebral cortex. Together, these pathways form a ‘default ascending arousal network’ that sustains wakefulness in the resting, conscious human brain. The concept of a ‘default’ network is based on the idea that specific networks within the brain are most functionally active when the brain is in a resting state of consciousness. In contrast, other networks are more active when the brain is performing goal-directed tasks…. The authors are currently conducting clinical trials to stimulate the default ascending arousal network in patients with coma after traumatic brain injury, with the goal of reactivating the network and restoring consciousness.” • Fine, but when can we use this default network for advertising, or better yet, rent it?

* * *

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 Carla:

Carla writes: “These cactus blooms last for only a day. For many years, the plant bloomed only once a year. The last few years it has bloomed more often. Always a treat!” This lovely photo screams Midwest to me, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps because my mother’s friends put blue China plates in the window? Or is it the shape of the driveway, sidewalks, and lawn outside?

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for three or four days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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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.

49 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    Not for nothing do I call it the Crass-Test-Dummy state…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Two Republican senators crossed party lines to vote in favour of repealing the ban. The Arizona House last week passed the measure after a handful of Republicans broke party ranks and voted with Democrats to send it to the Senate. ‘We’re here to repeal a bad law,’ Senator Eva Burch, a Democrat, said from the floor. “I don’t want us honouring laws about women, written during a time when women were forbidden from voting.’”

  2. Feral Finster

    “Same as at Columbia, where the cop-wielding President is a “woman of color.” So much for identity politics, one would have thought.”

    You hire such a president to deflect away from the donor-friendly policies and to give a race card to play when needed. “Sure, you’re always complaining about ;’genocide’ but that’s really just because you hate women!”

    Same reason rape defendants are advised to hire female lawyers.

    1. digi_owl

      The whole race and gender thing since 2011 has been about PMC power dynamics.

      They are all so highly accredited they need to use something else to pull rank.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, pull rank, and use it as a vehicle for all kinds of venal politics, in the workplace and elsewhere.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that Max Blumenthal mentioned in that interview mentioned in Links that she has some sort of official position with the NYPD so for those kids, they see her as being as good as a spook. Considering the fact that Columbia has two active criminals on their staff – Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland – they should not be surprised.

    1. IM Doc

      Toward the end of last week, I had a young male patient, very athletic and healthy, who works around animals all the time, get fairly sick with what turned out to be INFLUENZA A. Certainly not hospital level sick – but quite ill at home. He was so sick, I felt the need to visit him twice at home.

      Two things that stand out – 1) Almost always – patients who get that ill with the flu are older and not as fit – 2) This is really the wrong time of the year for flu. When I look back over my records for 35 years, I have had but 11 patients in 35 years have confirmed flu positivity and illness from APR-SEP. It is just very unusual. All 11 were compromised in some way – either age or illness. As a comparison – the most patients I have had in a JAN was 142 patients in just that one month of that year.

      So, just for the sake of completeness, I did contact the Health Dept to make sure they did not want to test this guy for the strains of concern that we have been warned about for weeks. I doubt I would have called them if it was a compromised person. It is very likely this was not anything special, but the only way to know is to test. Thankfully, the guy has gone on to a complete recovery.

      I was told in a roundabout but “polite” way that these types of calls were not welcome, they had their own surveillance, and not to call again.

      It is deeply difficult to fathom or express how completely different our entire public health apparatus is now compared to when I was young. It gives me great concern. Most importantly, I and so many of my colleagues have given up. We all know there is nothing that we can do.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > there is nothing that we can do

        Do you find that your patients are receptive to medical counsel about the utility of NPIs such as N95s? Not meant to be a “loaded” question, just wondering how widespread the “capitulation to the inevitable” is at both ends of the “power distribution,” among the public health establishment and among individual members of the public.

      2. Wukchumni

        3 weeks ago on a trip with the Dartful Codgers, I skied one day and then the next morning started throwing up with liquid coming out of my mouth and the other end in one of the worst flu experiences of my life. I mostly slept and ate nothing in the 3 day skein, and then drove home with the idea of stopping at a motel en route if I couldn’t go on, and I seemed to get better, but that was only round 1, and then went through my liquidy coughing stage for about a week, and things finally have made me feel almost human now, a rough ride.

        There were 7 of us in our group and we live cheek by jowl in our rental condo in Mammoth, and I gave the flu to a 74 year old that was sleeping across the way from me, and he too thought it was one of the worst cases of influenza he’d ever had.

        1. JohnnySacks

          When the Covid deniers say “It’s just like the flu” I immediately assume they’ve never REALLY gotten a banger case of the flu! Didn’t get the water works, but fever so high I was hallucinating! Teeth chattering with shivering – aspirin – sweat pouring off in buckets – repeat for a day or two. No wonder people die regularly!

        2. The Rev Kev

          Sure doesn’t sound like any flu that I have ever had. This version certainly sounds more nasty.

      3. lambert strether

        > This is really the wrong time of the year for flu

        Odd, then, that the Boeing whistleblower caught Influenza B — and died of it.

        1. IM Doc

          I have found that whole story very odd.

          The largest problem is the fact that there seem to be multiple versions of the story – at least 2 – going around. It is hard to tell exactly what is the truth.

          Regardless, medically, a few of the things in the story do not make much sense. It sounds like the guy was really sick – but being transferred to Oklahoma City from Wichita in my mind would be a lateral transition at best. And then more importantly, why? Furthermore, Influenza B typically is much less problematic than A, at least in the kinds of things being described here. I am straining to remember right now if I have ever had any B patients that had these types of complications. And then other stories that are circulating are just wild.

          Like so many other things in our world today – we seem to be incapable of producing just simple facts.

      4. The Rev Kev

        ‘I was told in a roundabout but “polite” way that these types of calls were not welcome, they had their own surveillance, and not to call again.’

        It’s an election year. Of course they are going to try to hide the fact that a major influenza outbreak is spreading across the country. It might interfere with the voting. If you had asked them just what sort of surveillance they used, they would have told you to mind your own business as likely there would be none.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > As such, police unions tend to keep their distance from the rest of the labor movement (unless they’re cracking its members’ skulls)

    I recall reading somewhere, probably linked at NC, a couple of years ago, an item that argued that municipal police were created for this very purpose, to control labor unrest — arguably a subset of “protection of property”, with the property being the capital assets of the people with the power to influence municipal governments.

    1. skippy

      See old L.A. riot where police set up blockades outside the area, too adjacent better parts and watched.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Runaway slavecatching is often given the sole credit for the origin of policing in America today and union-movement and socialist-movement busting starting in the 1880s is not given the co-equal credit it deserves for the origin of policing in America today.

      1. JBird4049

        Even for the Southern slave patrols, an important part of their duties was the monitoring of poor whites, which included making sure they were not having suspicious meetings with others especially blacks, and occasionally checking their passes for whites and always for blacks if caught out at night. Parts of the United States have been like a police state since the Antebellum South.

  4. Roger Blakely

    RE: KP.2, surprise

    I feel awful today. I think that the spawn of JN.1 are kicking me around.

    KP.1, KP.2, and KQ.1 are subvariants of JN.1. Notice how JN.1 is splitting up into a rainbow of subvariants as did XBB. The top ten subvariants on the list are subvariants of JN.1.

    I think that the splitting of JN.1 causes a problem. What is the added burden on my immune system when I walk into the grocery store and get hit with twenty different subvariants of JN.1 instead of JN.1 by itself? It can’t be good.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Another article in that series is headlined “Flight Attendant Hands Out Complimentary Bag of Nuts and Bolts.”

  5. ambrit

    “…when can we use this default network for advertising, or better yet, rent it?”
    I would venture to say that if one can “turn on” a ‘damaged’ consciousness, then the same method could be reversed to “turn off” a healthy consciousness.
    The biggest Pharma moneymaker of all, “Pay to Live.”

  6. Dr. John Carpenter

    It’s hard not to feel the Brown students were just sold a bill of goods. October is a long time…

  7. Wukchumni

    Yack it up, Yack it up
    Marge, gonna shut you down

    It happened on the DC strip where the R divide is wide (yack it up now)
    Two evangs standin’ side by side (yack it up now) (yack it up now)
    Yeah, Johnson & M T-G on the Freedom Caucus team (yack it up now)
    Are revvin’ up their rhetoric, and it sounds real mean (yack it up now)

    Yack it up, Yack it up
    Marge, gonna shut you down

    Declinin’ majority numbers at an even rate (yack it up now)
    On account of one an expulsion could accelerate (yack it up now)
    Their majority is light, the Demos are startin’ to spin (yack it up now)
    But the Donkey Show is really diggin’ in (yack it up now)
    Gotta be cool now, power shift, here we go

    Super stuck Marge is windin’ out in low
    But Hakeem & Co. are really startin’ to go
    To get Ukraine traction, they’re ridin’ the Johnson clutch
    Her chances are turnin’, that MIC machine is too much

    Motion to vacate to the floor, hear M T-G speak (yack it up now)
    And now the Pachyderms lead is startin’ to shrink (yack it up now)
    She’s hot with indignation, but it’s understood (yack it up now)
    The Donkey Show has enough votes for Johnson in their hood

    Shut it off, shut it off
    Marge, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Marge, now I shut you down

    Shut it off, shut it off
    Marge, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Marge, now I shut you down

    Shut it off, shut it off
    Marge, now I shut you down

    Shutdown, by the Beach Boys

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pYU0p6WZhU

    1. SocalJimObjects

      I experienced hair loss after my one and only Omicron infection, it lasted for about 6 months, but thankfully my hair is back to normal now. At one time, someone had pointed out that I was starting to get bald, but I asked the same person again afterwards, and she took a look at my scalp and said that she could not recall ever making that remark ;)

      1. truly

        I would like to weigh in on the hair loss issue. I am a hairstylist with 36 years of experience. I am willing to talk. I will go down any rabbit hole you want. Other commenters may remember my saga of having a blood clot 12 days after vaccination. And some may remember that I am a user and advocate of a product that must not be named. (As an aside, I do use a generic equivalent of Heart Guard for my dogs for parasite control).
        I work in a shop with 2 other busy stylists.
        We have NOT noticed anything that supports the Covid hair loss connection. Open minded to be shown that there is a connection. But while we have noticed many other things, things which might send this comment to moderation, nothing about hair loss.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Very good read. Lawrence explains why this current system isn’t f* but does not go into what he sees is the underlying philosophy or belief system driving the West’s economic and political behavior of the past several decades.

      An interesting Duran interview with Jay Dyer does go into exploration of one answer to that question. Just the first 30 minutes of this longer interview gives the flavor and direction of Dyer’s critique.

      End of the Globalists w/ Jay Dyer

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IUCwtPLxPQ

  8. John k

    Reading of the student/admin deal at brown I first thought they caved. But the semester is nearly over, protests likely to fizzle out in a couple weeks. Maybe the deal isn’t so bad.
    But divesting isn’t really the issue, imo it’s the genocide. I hope students focus on that in the fall when they return.

    1. Verifyfirst

      The Brown students got more than any of the student groups that have been busted up and locked up at other schools. No US college is going to suddenly call a Board meeting tomorrow and vote to divest.

      What the Brown students got is also not going to lead to divestment, but at least they have a small vehicle to make some noise in the fall (will they still be interested?). And they could always re-start other actions in the fall. Summer is here for college kids, I don’t suspect any of them will camp out all summer on a mostly empty campus?

      “Divestment” does work on the level of comparing Israeli apartheid to South African apartheid, so that makes some sense. And the ones who were brutally attacked and suppressed have learned some valuable lessons about “their Democracy”.

      I am telling everyone Biden is going to lose the election for Israel’s sake–my hope is that will be the main takeaway by the punditry if Biden does lose, whether it is true or not. That could be helpful loosening the grip of AIPAC et al over the US (and state) governments.

      1. Anon IU

        Many universities, especially public ones, have well attended summer classes with undergraduate and graduate students remaining on campus. For example, Indiana University- Bloomington’s summer term begins May 7th and lasts until July 26th. Fewer students are on campus during this time but it will be far from empty.

      2. JBird4049

        >>>I am telling everyone Biden is going to lose the election for Israel’s sake–my hope is that will be the main takeaway by the punditry if Biden does lose, whether it is true or not. That could be helpful loosening the grip of AIPAC et al over the US (and state) governments.

        I went from perhaps, maybe, possibly voting for Biden, if only to keep my Mom happy as she is worried about Trump, to flat out telling her that I will not vote for him do to Gaza, and I doubt that I am the only one like that.

        But as with Russia, Russia, Russia being the designated reason for Hillary Clinton losing, some other manufactured reason will be substituted.

    2. Janet

      But divesting isn’t really the issue, imo it’s the genocide. I hope students focus on that in the fall when they return.

      Enjoy the summer! Israel will still be genociding when you return.

      The world stopped the Nazis at the point of a gun. The Zionists have so much power that the kids get summers off.

  9. Jason Boxman

    He was intubated and developed pneumonia and then a serious bacterial infection, MRSA

    By definition hospital acquired, usually. So the hospital infection control team killed him. I guess they picked his wallet first, though, as our healthcare facilities do.

  10. Wukchumni

    (News from my made in China crystal ball I purchased @ Wal*Mart… it’s good at telling you the future, but only for about a month out at the most)

    In a stunning turn of events another Boeing whistleblower succumbed when he swallowed what appeared to be an NHL ref’s whistle and it got lodged in his larynx, a game misconduct.

  11. Benny Profane

    “Michael Cohen through his narcissism and his ego may have just torpedoed the case against Trump,’ [Michael] Avenatti told Fox News Digital from federal prison.”

    Every time I hear, “Stormy Daniel’s lawyer”, I think, hey, what happened to, you know, that guy? Kudos to Fox for relieving his boredom in jail and entertaining us.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Remember when #McResistance media was touting Avenatti as a potential presidential candidate? Good times!

      I was hoping someone would bring him back for a Russiagate Nostalgia Tour.

  12. steppenwolf fetchit

    If Biden remains broadly disliked by September, those abortion-neutral Republicans who would like to see Republicans win bigger as against smaller might try the following . . . . quietly spread the idea that a citizen can do “ideological ticket splitting” by means of voting for the Legal Abortion state-constitution initiative on their ballot while still voting against Democratic officeseekers in their state.

  13. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ” • What the heck is “bold” about servicing The Blob? ”

    Well, would it be bolder to service the Trumpanons and the MAGAnons?

    Beau of the Fifth Column offered an interesting little video about Johnson, etc. recently titled ” Let’s talk about McConnell’s recent statements”. Beau’s theory is that McConnell thinks Johnson is very smart and is able to learn all McConnell has learned about the dark arts of political conniver-ship, and so McConnell is teaching Johnson everything McConnell knows.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Alexander Aviña
    @Alexander_Avina
    Can’t make this up. At Northern Arizona University, the VP of Inclusion helped tear down the encampment tents set up by anti-genocide student protestors. 24 were arrested. Oh & the university suspended the SJP chapter.’

    At least those kids are getting a deep understanding about the credentialed class and whose side they will always stand on. The VP of Inclusion? To me, that kinda sounds like a policing position to keep people within the pre-set lines. They are actually enforcers.

  15. The Rev Kev

    I see that the dates have been set for the Swiss peace conference on the Ukraine-

    https://twitter.com/Violapamherd/status/1785943245907743229

    But it won’t be based on the UN Charter as stated here but Zelensky’s 10 point plan which calls for Russia’s surrender. And as the Russian Federation has not even been invited to attend, this conference is only a pr effort. More so as Russia regards Switzerland as a hostile country due to its actions.

  16. Victor Sciamarelli

    On the, “sense of unease among the public” due to demonstrations and “The scenes of violence in Chicago outside the Democrats’ 1968 presidential convention.”
    Bear in mind that the DP nominee Hubert Humphrey won zero primaries and received zero primary votes. Humphrey worked behind the scenes collecting delegates, permitted back then, and secured the nomination for himself. The largest vote getter, Eugene McCarthy, the peace candidate, was locked out. And a close second to McCarthy, and rising fast, was Robert Kennedy who, unfortunately, was assassinated before the convention.
    The anti-war demonstrators had good reason to think they were betrayed. And the msm had a tighter grip on the public mind in 1968.
    The party rules were changed after 1968 but never so much that they prevented Sanders from being cheated in 2016 and blocking any primary challenger to Biden in 2024.

  17. Pat

    There are some deep psychological truths at the base of fairy tales. They illustrate the fears, the hopes, even the faith that people live with every day. Aspects of them are found in folk tales across most continents.
    I’m going to say the real unease about the protests, both in the past and today, is that they pierce the narrative. They show the man behind the curtain, or to use a favorite they are the kid saying out loud that the emperor is naked. This is not just disruptive and challenging to those in charge, it is scary and embarrassing to the “spectators as well.
    Even when protests are shut down effectively, the truths they illuminate can permeate the national psyche. Occupy still resonates. Despite being used as a distraction the truth at the bottom of BLM still holds. (I would posit that Donald Trump has even been helped by it.)
    The longer the campus protests continue, and yes the more crackdowns there are the more the narrative is splintered. And by crackdowns, I include the Congressional overreach trying to shut people up.
    So Biden is telling the truth, they are causing unease. They are scaring the bejesus out of him and a vey powerful set of his owners.

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