2:00PM Water Cooler 5/23/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Chihuahuan Meadowlark, Milpa Alta, Ciudad de México, Mexico.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Can the Democrats allow Trump to take office, should he win?

(2) White House issues corrections…

(3) Marijuana policy (“and boogie they will”).

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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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Less than a half a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, May 10:

National results static, but most of the Swing States (more here) are incrementally, but steadily, moving Trump’s way. Pennsylvania leans more Trump this week than last. Of course, it goes without saying that these are all state polls, therefore bad, and most of the results are within the margin of error. Now, if either candidate starts breaking away in points, instead of tenths of a point…. NOTE I changed the notation: Up and down arrows for increases or decreases over last week, circles for no change. Red = Trump. Blue would be Biden if he were leading anywhere, but he isn’t.

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Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): Pursuant to yesterday’s ethics filing by Stefanik alleging Merchan violated New York’s section 100.3(E)(1)(d)(iii), given that his daughter is a Democrat consultant, I hate to quote Laura Loomer, but since she’s supplying documentation:

The thought occurs — pure speculation — that laundering money through Democrat consultants for services rendered would be one way for the spooks to, well, express their gratitude for certain outcomes.

* * *

Trump (R) (Willis/McAfee): “Fani Willis and judge presiding over Georgia Trump election case defeat challengers” [Associated Press]. “Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who brought a sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and others, has won the Democratic primary in her bid for reelection. Willis defeated progressive attorney Christian Wise Smith in the primary election and is now set to face off against Republican Courtney Kramer in the fall. Willis told reporters after her victory that the voters sent a message that ‘people want a DA that is just, that treats everybody equally and that works hard, and they know that they have that in me.’… Meanwhile, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the judge who was randomly assigned to preside over the election interference case, also fended off a challenger, winning a nonpartisan election to keep his seat.” • If the Democrats can’t throw Willis out after her blunders in the apocalyptic fight against fascism….

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Trump (R) (Smith/Cannon): “One Incriminating Footnote in Bombshell Trump Classified Docs Report” [The New Republic]. “The 2023 opinion from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell reveals that an unnamed witness scanned and saved confidential documents onto a laptop owned by Save America PAC, a political action committee formed by Trump in 2020. The detail sheds new light on the depths to which Trump consciously violated federal law…. On January 6, 2023—two years later—Trump’s lawyer notified the government of what this unnamed witness had done and provided a thumb drive of the files to the government. This revelation came four months after the FBI had already executed a search warrant on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to retrieve classified materials Trump had illegally kept…. The opinion by Howell, who presided over the case in 2023, also revealed that the FBI discovered more classified documents in Trump’s bedroom months after the Mar-a-Lago raid that turned up boxes of classified materials stored in his bathroom.” • Footnote 11, page 36.

Trump (R) (Smith/Cannon): “Florida hearing in Trump classified documents case devolves into shouting match” [CNN]. “The heated arguments played out in a morning proceeding in Fort Pierce, Florida, that had been scheduled for Walt Nauta, one of former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants, to present arguments that special counsel Jack Smith’s team had selectively and vindictively brought charges against him. But the hearing quickly diverted into a longstanding disagreement over an August 2022 meeting between prosecutor Jay Bratt and Nauta’s defense attorney, Stanley Woodward. Woodward has claimed in court proceedings and filings that Bratt attempted to pressure him into convincing Nauta to cooperate against Trump by threatening to affect a potential judgeship nomination…. Nauta claims that he was criminally charged in the case as retaliation for declining to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president’s retention of classified documents at his estate. ‘I had been recommended for a judgeship, that’s beyond dispute,’ Woodward said Wednesday. ‘There was a folder about defense counsel on the table’ during that meeting, he said, claiming Bratt referenced that judgeship recommendation. ‘I think the implication was that I was to travel and convince Mr. Nauta to cooperate with the investigation, and if I didn’t that, there would be consequences,’ Woodward said. Prosecutor David Harbach then rose and accused Woodward of engaging in ‘procedural gamesmanship’ by making a ‘garbage argument’ about the meeting. ‘Mr. Woodward’s story of what happened at that meeting is a fantasy,’ Harbach shouted, banging his hand on the lectern in front of him. ‘It did not happen.'” • I’m inclined to believe Woodward (remember, preventing Trump from taking office is existential for Democrats, so anything goes). But so far as I can tell from the coverage, there’s no contemporaneous record of the event, so we are in “he said/he said” territory.

* * *

Haley (R): “Nikki Haley says she will vote for Trump, ending months of silence” [The Hill]. Haley: “I put my priorities on a president who’s going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border, no more excuses, a president who would support capitalism and freedom, a president who understands we need less debt, not more debt. Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I have made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump. Having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech. Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they’re just going to be with him. And I genuinely hope he does that.”

* * *

Biden (D): “White House issues a whopping nine corrections to Biden’s NAACP speech transcript” [FOX]. “The White House transcript made nine corrections to President Biden’s gaffe-filled speech to the NAACP on Monday. Biden made multiple confusing comments and flubbed words while speaking to the civil rights organization in Michigan the night before. One notable one included his suggestion he was vice president during the COVID-19 pandemic, which began nearly four years after he left office. ‘When I was vice president, things were kind of bad during the pandemic,’ Biden said near the beginning of his remarks. ‘And, what happened was Barack [Obama] said to me: ‘Go to Detroit — help fix it.'” The next day, the White House’s correction implied that Biden intended to say ‘recession,’ referencing the Great Recession when he assumed the vice presidency in 2009.” • That makes it worse. How do you confuse the 2009 Great Recession with the 2020 pandemic? Here it is:

Scratch out “cat” and write in “dog”….

Biden (D): “Biden Can’t Blow the Debates” [Mona Charen, The Bulwark]. “It was a relief therefore, when, after the New York Times/Siena poll dropped showing Trump ahead in five swing states, Biden stepped up and challenged Trump to two debates—a sign that he recognized the need to shake things up. Debates with a ‘f— moron’ (to quote a former secretary of state under Trump) are not ideal, but there aren’t a lot of good choices at the moment. Our fate as a country depends on getting the attention of voters who would rather not think about politics. Debates, as stupid and dismaying as they have become, may be the best vehicle to secure their eyeballs…. Trump and his allies have way oversold the Biden-is-senile message. A fair share of voters have come to think that he is not just old, but drooling and unable to function. The truth is that, though his voice is getting croaky, he messes up words and names sometimes, and he walks quite stiffly, he is very much compos mentis. He has demonstrated this again and again—as when he traveled to Kyiv, or to Jerusalem, or when he delivered his State of the Union message complete with unscripted moments. …. This is not to suggest that all Biden needs to do is stay vertical for 90 minutes. If Biden has a serious brain freeze or incoherent digression, he and we are in terrible trouble…. The majority of the American people have never liked Trump. Biden has given himself two opportunities to convince them that granting Trump another term, however tepid their feelings about the incumbent, would be a disaster.”

Biden (D): “CIA briefing caused investigators to stop probing Hunter Biden’s Hollywood lawyer: Whistleblower” [Washington Examiner]. “The CIA gave a briefing to the Department of Justice in the summer of 2021 that prompted the department to shut down any pursuit of Hunter Biden’s lawyer and friend Kevin Morris, according to an affidavit published by Congress on Wednesday. Whistleblower Gary Shapley, a senior IRS investigator, wrote in the affidavit that while he was working on the DOJ’s broader inquiry into Biden, he was unexpectedly told by a prosecutor that he could not use Morris as a witness. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, a Delaware-based prosecutor who was heavily involved in the Biden investigation, gave the instruction to Shapley after she had been ‘summoned’ to the CIA headquarters in Virginia to receive the briefing, Shapley said. ‘AUSA Wolf stated that they were provided a classified briefing in relation to Mr. Morris and as a result we could no longer pursue him as a witness,’ Shapley wrote. Shapley said he repeatedly requested more information from Wolf but that he was stonewalled. Morris, a Hollywood entertainment lawyer, became a financial savior to Biden when the first son was drowning in years’ worth of unpaid tax bills in 2020, according to an indictment against Biden and testimony Morris gave to Congress in January.” • Dear Hunter!

Biden (D): “Exclusive: Largest rent increases are in swing states. Will it spell trouble for Biden?” [USA Today]. “As housing costs continue to be the biggest driver of core inflation, renters are feeling increasingly disillusioned with politicians. In some swing states, which are critical to President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, rental costs have more than doubled in the past four years. In fact, 6 out of the top 10 markets and 34 of the top 100 markets with the largest increases are in swing states, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data obtained exclusively from Rent.com.” • Hmm.

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Kennedy (I): “A Running Mate’s History: $1 Billion, Cocaine, a Fling With Elon Musk” [New York Times]. So Shanahan is a billionaire, at least according to sources: “Ms. Shanahan has a fortune of more than $1 billion that stems largely from her divorce settlement last year with Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, whose net worth exceeds $145 billion, three people with knowledge of her finances said.” • First hit piece. Shanahan has certainly lived a vivid life, though perhaps less so than Hunter Biden. Then again, Hunter Biden isn’t running for Vice President….

Kennedy (I): “Key RFK Jr. adviser leaves campaign alleging ‘hateful and divisive atmosphere'” [The Hill]. “A senior adviser to independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced she was leaving the campaign Wednesday, citing an ‘increasingly hateful and divisive atmosphere,’ a blow to the third-party bid as it steps up ballot access efforts nationwide. Angela Stanton King, the campaign’s head of Black voter outreach, said Kennedy’s campaign ‘no longer aligns with my values.’ ‘After much reflection, I’ve decided to step away from the political theater,’ Stanton King wrote on social media. ‘I will continue to advise RFK Jr. on key community issues.’ ‘Now, it’s time for me to pursue peace and fully dedicate myself to nonprofit work, supporting pregnant women and returning citizens,’ she continued. ‘This new chapter excites me, as I focus on making a tangible difference where it’s needed most.’ Stanton King was a key Kennedy adviser on the issue of abortion, expected to be a major focus in battleground states this November. Critics have repeatedly scrutinized Kennedy and running mate Nicole Shanahan’s conflicting comments on abortion rights. Kennedy, who previously said there should be no federal restriction on abortion care access, changed his position earlier this month to support some restrictions after urging from Shanahan and Stanton King.” • Hiring from NGOs, always a concern….

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OH: “Ohio prepares to leave Biden and Harris off presidential ballot as Democrats search for answers” [Washington Examiner]. “President Joe Biden is set to not appear on Ohio’s presidential ballot in November, the state’s secretary of state confirmed. In a letter to Ohio Democratic Chairwoman Liz Walters on Tuesday, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said, ‘Today, the Speaker of the Ohio House told members of the media there would not be a legislative solution,’ adding he was ‘duty bound to instruct boards of elections to begin preparing ballots that do not include the Democratic Party’s nominees for president and vice President of the United States.’ … The Democratic National Convention will not confirm Biden as the nominee until Aug. 19, conflicting with an Ohio law requiring presidential candidates to certify their nomination to the secretary of state’s office 90 days before the election. …. The Democratic Party could still resolve the conflict by rescheduling its convention or by filing a lawsuit arguing that an arbitrary and long deadline barring Biden violates the First and Fourteenth amendments. Biden lost Ohio to Trump by 8% in 2020.”

OR: “Progressives flop in Oregon: 5 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries” [Politico]. “The left took it on the chin in Oregon on Tuesday. Major progressive figures had mobilized in a safe blue congressional district — and their preferred pick lost. Establishment Democrats, meanwhile, successfully blocked a more liberal candidate from winning the nomination for a key battleground seat. That means Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s sister won’t be joining the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in Washington next year. And that national Democrats get their candidate of choice to take on Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer — and avoid a rematch of a race they lost in 2022.”

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“2024 Race: Biden-Trump Matchup Margin Razor Thin With Nearly 1 In 5 Voters Likely To Change Their Minds, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; More Than 7 In 10 Voters Plan To Watch June Debate” [Quinnipiac University Poll]. “When independent and Green Party candidates are added to the presidential matchup, Biden receives 41 percent support, Trump receives 38 percent support, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. receives 14 percent support, Green Party candidate Jill Stein receives 2 percent support, and independent candidate Cornel West receives 2 percent support. There is no clear leader in either of these matchups as the leads are within the margin of error, making the race too close to call… Among voters supporting Biden, 15 percent say it is either very likely (3 percent) or somewhat likely (12 percent) that they will change their minds, while 84 percent say it is either not so likely (9 percent) or not likely at all (75 percent). Among voters supporting Trump, 8 percent say it is somewhat likely that they will change their minds, while 92 percent say it is either not so likely (13 percent) or not likely at all (79 percent). Among voters supporting Kennedy, 52 percent say it is either very likely (11 percent) or somewhat likely (41 percent) that they will change their minds, while 46 percent say it is either not so likely (16 percent) or not likely at all (30 percent).”

Republican Funhouse

“Extreme Right State Freedom Caucuses Create Big Headaches for Republicans” [Exposed by CMD]. “In Wyoming, a far-right faction of GOP state legislators split with the rest of the party this year in unsuccessfully fighting to prevent the families of police officers killed while on duty from receiving an increase in death benefits — from 60% to 90% of the officer’s salary — because it cost too much. This is in a state where a total of 62 officers have died in the line of duty since 1877. In Idaho, members of its Freedom Caucus ousted the Republican House Majority Leader in February for being insufficiently conservative. In Missouri, five GOP members of the state legislature filibustered the state Senate earlier this month in an unsuccessful attempt to defund the state’s Medicaid program. In fact, this year the Freedom Caucus there held up so much legislation with procedural ploys that the nonpartisan Missouri Independent, which reports on state government, called the legislative session the least productive in decades. These far-right Republican state legislative groups are affiliates of the State Freedom Caucus Network (SFCN)…. ‘In every state where they appear, Freedom caucuses cause headaches for the so-called establishment Republicans in charge,’ according to a recent piece in Governing. SFCN lists 11 states with caucuses, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and until recently, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) tracked active caucuses in Mississippi and Nevada.” • I don’t blame them for acting on their (screwball) beliefs. I do blame the left for being unable to do the same thing.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Pressley says Trump Justice Department would ‘go on a murdering spree'” [The Hill]. “In a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing on the Office of Personnel Management, Pressley warned of what she viewed as negative policy implications of ‘Project 2025’ — a detailed set of policies, spearheaded by the conservative Heritage Foundation, that would drastically reshape the federal government to support a hypothetical future Republican president. The effort — sometimes referred to as a blueprint for a second Trump administration — would consolidate executive power, slash funding for many agencies, and replace career civil servants with loyal supporters of the president in an executive order known as ‘Schedule F.’ ‘It is critical that we understand that the far-right extremists who are advocating for Schedule F see it as a means to an end. It is their pathway to enact widespread wholesale policy violence,’ Pressley said at the hearing… ‘The Department of Justice would go on a murdering spree,’ she said. ‘It would rush to use the death penalty and expand its use to even more people, while circumventing due process protections.’ Project 2025, according to its text, calls for ‘the next conservative Administration’ to ‘do everything possible to obtain finality for the 44 prisoners currently on federal death row.'” • So the headline is somewhat — not entirely — clickbait. “Policy violence” is not the same as Trump’s “locked and loaded” for him personally. Nevertheless, Pressley clearly believes it. That said, I think the Democrat base takes a somewhat less systemic view than “policy violence.” See this handy chart from The Liberal Patriot:

So I think it’s fair to say that the Democrats, top to bottom, are of the view that Trump cannot possibly be allowed to take office, no matter what. We would not, then, looking at a transition from one party to another, but at something existential. Where to go from there, I don’t know, except to note that in their control of the press, and in their alliance with the spooks, the Democrats are well equipped to do the needful, moreso than the Republicans (who, to date, lack the “mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites” that would otherwise provide their countermove). I imagine all this is being gamed out somewhere in the Beltway right now, just as in 2020 (“Project Transition Integrity“), certainly by Democrats, possibly by Republicans.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“THIRTEEN conservative counties in Oregon approve ballot measures for SECESSION vote that would see them join non-woke Idaho – as they issue list of demands” [Daily Mail]. “The proposal seeks to move the Oregon border 200 miles to the west, meaning that 14 counties and several partial counties would fall under Idaho state lines. Organizers behind the Greater Idaho movement say east Oregonians are being alienated by the state’s progressive policies which they blame for high crime rates. They claim a move to Idaho would allow residents to take advantage of lower taxation and provide better representation and governance. Measure 7-86, as it was known, passed by 53 percent in Crook County in the latest boost to the Greater Idaho campaign. However, the vote is not legislatively binding and just means residents are in favor of informing state and federal representatives that they support negotiations to annex part of Oregon.” • Handy map of “Greater Idaho”:

Festung Squillionaire, more like it.

“Gen Z’s pessimism fueled by depression, social media use: Expert” [NewsNation]. • Not by a million dead from a pandemic, lousy wages, and the inability to start a family or own a house. No no!


“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!

* * *


“University of Otago’s Michael Baker among health experts calling for better face mask use in New Zealand after international study on effectiveness” [Newshub]. One of the co-authors of Greenhalgh et al.’s mask paper:

Prof Baker wants to see better infection prevention and control policies reinstated, especially in four areas:

  • Personal protection of at-risk groups

    Protection in specific settings, including workplaces and healthcare facilities

  • Protection for seasonal respiratory infections
  • Protection for pandemics

“Updating our policies will allow all New Zealanders to benefit from the effective and versatile protection that masks provide against seasonal, epidemic and pandemic infections,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Denial and Cope

The circle of living your life:

Testing and Tracking

Speculation on Biobot:

I hope this isn’t true. If it is true, it would be totally in paradigm for CDC and our political economy: A crapified system owned and run by a giant monopoly.

Sequelae: Covid

“Unraveling the enigma of long COVID: novel aspects in pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment protocols” (abstract only) [Inflammopharmacology]. From the Abstract: “The paper introduces a unified theory of long COVID, detailing a novel pathophysiological framework that interlinks persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection, autoimmunity, and systemic vascular pathology. We posit a model where viral reservoirs, immune dysregulation, and genetic predispositions converge to perpetuate disease. It challenges prevailing hypotheses with new evidence, suggesting innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The paper aims to shift the paradigm in long COVID research by providing an integrative perspective that encapsulates the multifaceted nature of the condition. We explain the immunological mechanisms, hypercoagulability states, and viral reservoirs in the skull that feed NeuroCOVID in patients with long COVID.” Yikes. This tweet quotes the text:

* * *

Lambert here: Patient readers, I’m going to have to rethink this beautifully formatted table. Biobot data is gone, CDC variant data functions, ER visits are dead, CDC stopped mandatory hospital data collection, New York Times death data has stopped. (Note that the two metrics the hospital-centric CDC cared about, hospitalization and deaths, have both gone dark). Ideally I would replace hospitalization and death data, but I’m not sure how. I might also expand the wastewater section to include (yech) Verily data, H5N1 if I can get it. Suggestions and sources welcome. UPDATE I replaced the Times death data with CDC data. Amusingly, the URL doesn’t include parameters to construct the tables; one must reconstruct then manually each time. Caltrops abound.

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts


❌ National[1] Biobot May 13: ❌ Regional[2] Biobot May 13:
Variants[3] CDC May 11 Emergency Room Visits[4] ❌ CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data May 22: ❌ National [6] CDC May 11:
National[7] Walgreens May 20: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic May 18:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC April 29: Variants[10] CDC April 29:
Weekly Deaths vs. % Positivity CDC May 11: Weekly Deaths vs. ED Visits CDC May 11:


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) Dead.

[2] (Biobot) Dead.

[3] (CDC Variants) FWIW, given that the model completely missed KP.2.

[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) Slightly, but distinctly up. The New York city area has form; in 2020, as the home of two international airports (JFK and EWR) it was an important entry point for the virus into the country (and from thence up the Hudson River valley, as the rich sought to escape, and around the country through air travel). So my natural inclination is to see how wastewater at JFK and EWR is doing. CDC, before it decided to butcher wastewater visualization, provided data down to the sewage treatment plant level, so I could check the Brooklyn plant for JFK (and also the Brooklyn plant for LGA). Well, that’s no longer possible, but the Verily [vomits quietly] wastewater site — Biobot being kaput — provides data on EWR. Here it is:

So, New York City Hospitalization up, Covid from air travel up. Make of that what you will. Covid is also up in Singapore and France, you will recall.

[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) Slight uptick.

[8] (Cleveland) Leveling out.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Up and down.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) KP.2 enters the chat, as does B.1.1.529 (with backward revision).

[11] CDC’s data and visualization, still being updated.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US fell by 8,000 to 215,000 on the week ending May 18th, below market expectations of 220,000. The claim count was considerably below the elevated levels from earlier in the month but remained firmly above the averages from February to April to consolidate the softer momentum in the US labor market.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index improved to -1 in May of 2024 from -13 in the previous month, pointing to the softest contraction in three months.”

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 23 at 12:32:09 PM ET.

The 420

This Isn’t Your Father’s Marijuana Use” [Washington Monthly]. “A new study has documented a remarkable rise in Americans’ use of marijuana. Over the last 30 years, the number of people who report using the drug in the past month has risen fivefold from 8 million to 42 million. Through the mid-1990s, only about one-in-six or one-in-eight of those users consumed the drug daily or near daily, similar to alcohol’s roughly one-in-ten. Now, more than 40 percent of marijuana users consume daily or near daily… Legalization and commercialization have produced a spectacular rise in the potency of cannabis products. Until the end of the 20th century, the average potency of seized cannabis never exceeded 5 percent THC, its active intoxicant. Now, the labeled potency of “flower” sold in state-licensed stores averages 20-25 percent THC.” • Commentary:

“And with the right medication….”

I don’t know if this is an actual “boogie“; I think not. One reviewer calls it “a loose funky-tonk wobble.” But I don’t know what that even means, if anything. Perhaps the musicians in the readership will enlighten us?

The Gallery

“Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.”

“Out of the Ordinary: Vermeer’s world and ours” [The Point] “The experience of Americans coming to terms with Dutch art in self-reflective ways is a recurring theme in 21st-century American literature. Take, for instance, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (2013), named after the aforementioned painting by Carel Fabritius. The book follows Theo, a young American, as he struggles to find his place in our modern world; the bird—a light, almost weightless creature affixed to a feeding post—becomes symbolic of these travails. The painting is so magical, Theo narrates, one barely notices ‘the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature—fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.’ For Tartt, The Goldfinch is not so much an illustration of a bird as an inverted portrait of us: modern subjects, bearing the shackles of our own putative freedom. ‘It’s hard not to see the human in the finch,’ Tartt writes. ‘One prisoner looking at another.'” • The Goldfinch:

News of the Wired


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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From CK:

I think we are mostly past winter now, touch wood, but this is a lovely photo.

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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. ChrisFromGA

    Is anyone else skeptical that we’re going to buildout all these new AI data centers, an EV infrastructure, continue crypto-mining, AND mitigate climate change?

    I suspect math class has once again been skipped.

    AI’s Theme


    Sung to the tune of, “Arthur’s Theme” by Christopher Cross

    AI needs lots of power
    More than our grid can yield right now and
    Next thing you know, your clothes need hand-washing
    Wake up and it’s still rationed
    Blackouts are rolling way across town
    Wondering to yourself, “Hey, what country I’ve found?”

    If AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    When AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do, the best that you can do is fall in line

    Our tech lords they do as they please, yes
    All of their life they’ve made wrongful choices
    Masked by privilege, they’re just, they’re just bad boys
    Living their life one fraud at a time
    Hell-bent on profits; ethics? Declined
    Laughing about the way, they de-mothball coal mines

    When AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    If AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do (because you’re really screwed)
    The best that you can do is fall in line

    [Musical interlude]

    When AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    I know, it’s crazy? But it’s true
    If AI gets caught stealing the juice out of the city
    The best that you can do (because you’re really screwed)
    The best that you can do is fall in line …

    [repeat chorus]

    1. Jason Boxman

      It’s difficult to get a person to believe a thing…

      I skimmed an extensive, 10 or 20k post on why, among other things, cryptocurrency actually doesn’t use all that much electricity, that its’ been calculated wrong, that miners go find stranded power, ect.

      People justify what they want to believe however they can.

      I lack the research or analytical skills to debunk crypto, but out in the real world, I’m not seeing any worthwhile utility for it. Lots of fraud and money laundering though. At this point it’s had like a decade to demonstrate utility of purpose.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I go by intuition and the laws of thermodynamics.

        1. You can’t win – no perpetual motion machines
        2. You can’t break even – heat loss, and friction always take their cut.
        3. You can’t take your chips and go home; you have to play or else entropy wins.

        I’ve read the stranded power argument. It goes something like, power plant produces X number of gigawatts, but during low demand hours, some of it has to be wasted on something like heat dissipation. Crypto-mining activities can harness some of that wasted energy.

        The crazy thing about AI is the usual Wall St. touts project all this power and data center demand just to tell us that James Madison won “Dancing with the Stars” and such. Who is going to assume the risk of massive infrastructure costs to subsidize that?

        Meanwhile, Europe is facing much higher energy costs due to the loss of Russian gas. I too lack the expertise and discipline to pencil this all out, but it sounds like another huge lie meant to sell stonks.

        (And we haven’t even gotten to the whole climate change/green energy thing.)

  2. Another Scott

    Regarding the Ohio ballot. I think it’s ridiculous that we have gotten to the stage where a state leaves off a major candidate, and the Ohio Republicans (an incredibly corrupt bunch) are clearly playing politics. That being said, for far too long the political parties have been strong arming the states regarding elections: keeping off third parties, setting the election dates, etc. They knew (or should have known) when the states’ deadlines are, and should be able to schedule their nominating conventions around state laws. Why even have public elections if everything is outsourced to a private entity (which the Democrats and Republicans clearly are)?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s ridiculous that we have gotten to the stage where a state leaves off a major candidat

      I think it’s payback for the (failed) effort to get Trump off the ballot in Colorado.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        And done with clever lawfare methods. ” Its not our fault if the DemParty can’t/ won’t reschedule its Convention to meet the needs and deadlines of Ohio State law.”

        And if Trump “won” the electoral votes of Ohio because Biden/Whomever was not allowed on the ballot, that would give the existential Dems a very good reason to not allow Trump to take office . . . if they have the brute-force power to prevent it.

        The wiser course of wisdom would be for the DemParty to reschedule its Convention to before-the-Ohio deadline.

        1. Stephen of Ohio

          Ohio’s 90-day deadline has been in place since 2010. This isn’t a new or recently-passed regulation. The only difference this year, relative to previous, is that the legislature has declined to extend the deadline. They are by no means obligated to do so. Both parties knew the rules going in. Both houses of the Ohio State legislature are totally dominated by Republicans. They were never likely to extend the deadline.

          Democrats made a terrible, borderline incompetent tactical error. But of course, the media narrative will be very different.

        2. flora

          Interesting. I wouldn’t put it past the Dem estab to use it to generate national public outrage, knowingly missing the deadlines. Painting B and themselves as victims. (Not mentioning the failure is theirs.) Then comes the lawfare. / ;)

        3. none

          Maybe someone can ask Biden if he’ll accept the election result if he doesn’t win.

    2. BrianH

      Possibly now after it has become clear the Republicans have a strong enough argument and the political will to pull this off, the Democrats will write off Ohio. Good chance they would have lost, now they have an excuse and more fuel for the argument that Republicans are corrupt. Maybe even pull all resources and abandon their supporters, send it to other battleground states. Stupid plan, but it is the Democrats.

      1. flora

        What are the Ohio Rs pulling off. The law has been on the books over 10 years. Do Dems expect every state to change its laws to suit the Dems preference (or incompetence)? This is what happens when the Dem estab ignores flyover states that are mostly GOP. My local Dem chapter headquarters in a uni town disbands after a national election and only reopens a few months before the next election to ask for donations, etc. The Dem estab broke Howard Dean’s 50-State plan – which O used to get elected – and now has no real feedback from the states. The estab could/should have a group that keeps track of all the states’ voting laws and deadlines for candidates, etc. If they don’t, and they miss deadlines because they don’t know long-established law – whining isn’t a defense.

        This is sheer insult to local Dems in these states who keep trying to build the local/state parties.

        1. JBird4049

          Both parties are atrophied at local levels, say at the county level and lower. It is more noticeable with the Democrats as they used to be supported by the little people, which required extensive and deep organizing to the house, apartment, and individual voter.

          However, in the past half century, they stopped funding and organizing, even to where the national organization and president candidates just steals all the donations. And I use the word steal deliberately. Depending on donations from the wealthy is preferable to actually interacting with the little people including, I think, the local business owners.

          This all goes with the centralization of business and politics, which I assume is also true for religion and the arts, but I don’t know enough about them to comment on. However, the important part is that everything is centralized for greater “efficiency” for profit or looting. Remember how California only really has two or three ports that can take the gigantic container ships? Greater efficiencies, but ports like San Francisco are gone. Well, there are still the repair facilities. And the California Democratic Party pretty much does not care about anything below the county level either. Just send in the checks, which is more important efficient, I guess.

          1. flora

            “national organization and president candidates just steals all the donations. ”

            Happened in my state. Had a big rally after 2016 to build funds to support local and state candidates; the Dem estab swooped in and took over 90% of the money raised for themselves, leaving local Dems with just enough to cover the costs of setting up the rally. Then forgot about my state.

        2. Lena

          It’s been years since my local Democratic Party headquarters has actually answered their phones even in the days leading up to a major election. This is the same headquarters where I used to volunteer, doing phone banking, mailing out campaign literature and getting people rides to the polls. I realize times have changed a lot but when you can’t even call the local Dem Party to ask a question about voting places or something else important, it’s just pathetic. They do take donations though.

        3. steppenwolf fetchit

          Perhaps local Dems in these states should start trying to build their own separate and separately named local/state parties.

          The Ohio Dems for example could all give up on the “Democratic” Party label and all en masse relable their local and state Party as the Ohio State Democrat Party or the Real Democrat Party of Ohio or some such thing. And if it becomes effective enough to prevent the Democratic Party from being able to get any Federal officeholders elected to any relevant seat in Ohio, they can then move on to trying to get Ohio State Dems or Real Dems of Ohio elected to some of the Fed-level seats from Ohio. Or maybe call it the Ohio Social Democrat Party or some such thing.

          They could then see if such a thing could be done in other states. Perhaps a Real Democrat Party movement could exterminate the Democratic Party from political existence in state after state. If they could do that, they could then start a multistate regional or national Party Movement and call it the Union of State Democrat Parties or something. And start running people for Pres and Vice in order to exterminate the DemParty from national existence at that level too.

          Of course such a Party or Parties would need a very strong and effective Intelligence-Counter Intelligence Bureau to prevent contamination by Tandenite Clintonite Bidenite Obamazoid infiltrators.

    3. Acacia

      Re: Ohio, the point that jumped out at me was:

      The Democratic National Convention will not confirm Biden as the nominee until Aug. 19.

      Either they have very low confidence in Genocide Joe, or they are smoking something very strong, or maybe both.

      In any case, this is another “it’s okay when we do it…” that looks like it will blow up in their faces.

    4. Stephen of Ohio

      I would quibble with the framing. Ohio has not left off a major candidate. Rather, a major candidate has chosen to not participate in Ohio’s electoral process. These are two very different things. The Democrats and the Biden team have chosen to not run for president in Ohio.

      The Ohio legislature is under no obligation to change state law to accommodate one party’s schedule. The regulation has been in effect since 2010, it’s not a surprise.

      1. Screwball

        I’m in Ohio. I hope they don’t cave.

        This seems to be the rule. If so, the dems had 13+ years notice. And failed. Swing and a miss.

        More proof they are arrogant, clueless, and inept.

    5. scott s.

      Private entities created ballots and observed their deposit in the past, resulting in what is considering terribly corrupt presidential election in 1888 where the incumbent, Cleveland, was denied re-election. (Or, maybe it was all just a “big lie”.) But back then the Ds actually cared about election integrity and pushed through the state-controlled ballot/election system (known as the Australian ballot as it was used in New South Wales). In the subsequent election of 1892, with the new state, secret ballot system Cleveland was returned to office.

  3. bassmule

    Odd that an example of straight-ahead boogie comes from Canada, but what can you do, eh?

    Biscuit’s Boogie (Richard Newell & Crowbar). Crowbar was the band Ronnie Hawkins picked up when Robbie Robertson et al left for Woodstock and Dylan.

  4. i just don't like the gravy

    If anyone bought $GME puts on Monday like I suggested, you’re welcome!

  5. Stephen V

    Holy be-Jesus. I had barely stopped laughing at Fani’s claims to be “just and treat everyone equally” and I hit Biden’s fixer Morris protected by spooks– while Trump’s fixer rips him off and testifies against him. Just can’t make this stuff up. Even if Trump has no peers, perhaps the b.s. detectors of a couple of jurors will save us from more of this nonsense. Dems think Biden flubbing a debate us bad, wait ’til Trump goes to Ryker’s Island!

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I’m wondering if — after Fani Willis blew up on the national stage — her potential challengers had time to get themselves on the primary ballot?

      Not trying to assign work, just lacking the stamina/courage to tackle the Fulton Co. govt website. Thinking I should invent a German word for ‘fear of government websites.’

      1. Stephen V

        Best I can do is Yiddish: one could say you get a “kallish” from govt websites.
        They make you nauseous. Used by my HS Miami Jewish friends a long time ago.
        Etymology might have to with “Gaul” so there’s that…

  6. Trees&Trunks

    Biden and dear Hunter. I wonder how the. 10% big guy handles this renaissance man son of his (thank you the Duran for the descriptions). I would be surprised if Genocide Joe is not trying to build a dynasty somehow and then comes this drugged-up, hooker-buying loser and screws it all up. Does Dementiacrat Joe care about his family legacy or he is just as evil as he appears and do not care about anybody?

    Don‘t get me wrong, I welcome all desasters and suffering on the evil Bidens. There is nothing human left in the rotten corpses of this family. The questionnis More like a speculative question about the configuration of the minds of real evil.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Beau would have been the chosen successor. But he got dead and Hunter got left over.

      What would the movie The Godfather have been like if Michael had got killed somehow and Fredo became the living successor?

  7. griffen

    So it looks like that Judge raised a very enterprising and entrepreneurial daughter…father must be beaming with pride come mid June…on Fathers Day the gifts must be great.

    Nope not going the sarcasm route. That’s our reality… politics ain’t beanbag and the Democrats don’t have the market cornered on bad optics. Man oh man if this lawfare sh*t is ever occurring on the other side of the political aisle say in a future Jackpot scenario.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Hate to borrow from Mao but when this gets sorted out, worse things could happen than sending a couple hundred thousand ‘elites’ to work on farms for at least one growing season. No need for group criticism sessions but maybe a 24/7 live cam/audio stream of HRC in their barracks.

      Not being sarcastic, just mean spirited.

    2. Reply

      Merchan daughter consulting fees look like an opportunity, a variation on a book deal to provide some cash under a plausible cover. What else will crop up?

  8. t

    . During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use cannibus or hashish?

    I couldn’t see where they excluded, for example, a nightly gummy for sleep. Can anyone more familiar with the study and methods help me understand?

    1. Bugs

      I’ve consumed what’s available in the US today on trips over there and I wouldn’t even call it weed. It’s ultra potent and just knocks you back on your a– for a good hour before you can even catch a breath. If I could, I’d get some Panama Red – or Lebanese blonde hash – seeds from around 1976 and just raise that in my garden for the occasional smoke. I don’t know where or how you can get the old style land race seeds or God forbid something similar to the product itself but it sure was an easier ride. Just my humble old dude opinion.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          In Michigan it is state-legal for individual residents to grow up to 12 plants per year for personal non-commercial use. If Michigan personal-use hobby-growers could locate legacy seeds of the legacy varieties, they could grow ” their grandfathers’ marijuana” for safe personal use. That would keep the old varieties from going extinct.

          If a pro-freedom Pres Administration ever de-lists cannabis altogether from the Controlled Drug registry, then artisan growers would be legally free to grow traditional legacy cannabis for sale and use in the spirit of fine wines. And the corporate sector could continue to grow and sell its high octane powerdrug marijuana to those who want that.

      1. Thistlebreath

        Search for True North Seed Bank. Dial in what qualities you want and remember what Dorothy Parker wrote about horticulture.

    2. upstater

      The billionaires want the native born to own nothing, have subscriptions for their game boxes, smoke lots of 25% THC weed, post photos of their navels on instagram, and have no concerns about class, climate or war. Seems to be working from my vantage point. 25% THC is a gateway, sorry to say.

      NYT reports Baltimore overdose deaths “Nearly 6,000 people have died over the past six years.” That’s 1% of the population! The elites want a drugged population and immigrants to patch potholes at starvation wages on the Key bridge.

      All according to plan.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Exactly none of those 6,000 overdose deaths were due to marijuana alone.

        And, the idea that pot (buds, not preparations) is so much more potent today is an artifact of the sources of the data.

        Back in the 60’s and 70’s the tested potency of cannabis came from the DEA and police departments after testing the pot they had confiscated. Since the vast majority of this was cheap, low-grade, mostly Mexican grown the tested THC levels were low.

        Today testing is done by independent certified labs and they are testing high-grade, mostly cultivated cannabis.

        From personal experience, the great marijuana available today was also available 50 years ago, there was just a lot less of it. Maui Wowie actually referred to a particular strain grown on the island of Maui.

  9. Screwball

    Pressley says Trump Justice Department would ‘go on a murdering spree’

    I can tell you from talking to the PMC people I know, they DO believe this with every inch of their body. I have heard them say; if Trump wins he will go after his enemies and have them murdered, including Biden.

    They are scared out of their minds, or whatever minds they have left after guzzling all the MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, CNN, Aaron Ruper, Rick Wilson, etc. that is humanly possible.

    And also, whatever any democrat says because they always tell the truth. Putin and the evil GOP are getting in the way of team blue utopia. Team Blue are the only ones who care about them and are serious about governing.

    1. flora

      Was Pressley the one who sic’ed the IRS on Taibbi right before he and Shellenberger were scheduled to give Congressional testimony about their Twitter Files reporting? hmmm. Probably not, probably someone else. It’s hard to keep up these days. / ;)

    2. Stephen V

      Our situation now is TDS gone nuclear. I lost a 25 year friendship (she still blames Nader for the Iraq War! He was sposed to drop out doncha know?) by making the mistake of sending her a Tweet wherein Rob Reiner said he would burn himself to death if Trump won. I mean I thought it was a joke. I said something like “a bit extreme, no?”
      She responded saying I was terrorizing her. What? My smarter than me friends said it wasn’t a joke! Good grief.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good thing you didn’t suggest that if Trump was elected, that people like Rob Reiner should storm the Capital Building. Right after brunch of course.

    3. flora

      adding: My similar PMC Dem friends are political zombies…or like these guys . / ;)

      Why is the Dem estab resorting to this?

      House Democrat introduces bill aimed at Trump that would strip Secret Service protection from felons


      Jeez, guys, if ya want to win start doing good things, concrete material benefit things for the broad US public.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Of course they have to get cute and call it the Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable (DISGRACED) Former Protectees Act.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      “Pressley says Trump Justice Department would ‘go on a murdering spree’”

      As long as he starts with the regular gang at “Morning Joe.” Sure, give ’em a trial first, Judge Roy Bean-style.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Nobody keeps any more, i guess.
      When the Reaganauts took power in 1981, they all carried a copy of the “Mandate for Leadership,” a virtual kill list for all the social parts of the federal government. Written by some really nasty true believers at the Heritage Foundation, it laid out exactly how to cripple the federal agencies, like the US EPA which has subsequently become one of the most disappointing and regulatorily captured fronts of what was supposed to be implementation of the precautionary principle.

      There were a few valiant souls at EPA in the decades after the Reagan Revolution who fought rear guard actions to try to retain some vestige of “protection of human health and the environment,” but the Reaganuts terrorized the troops with threats of “reductions in force” and the ever popular Death Star of “budget cuts to eliminate waste.” We were told by the Reagan DoJ to stop sending in new enforcement action referrals, and by our new streamlined management and the Quislings that changed their stripes to “go along,” that we were now a “customer service agency,” and “the business community” was our customer.

      The shit we get from FDA and CDC and EPA these days is a result of a murder of the public interest and any vestige of the “commons” that started with the dismantling done by the killers in-filled into all the policy positions up and down the bureaucratic chain.

      I hope Trump, if elected, is not just given the JFK-RFK-MLK treatment. The PTB -PMC see the potential for some of them to have their rice bowls shattered, but in pretty much every end-of-empire to date, the courtiers and Praetorians somehow manage to string out their displacement for quite a while. As the ship of state slowly sinks under them.

      No doubt Trump will, in self defense given the enemy within the Gates already, and also in service to the Rich Class, apply the pruning shears to many portions of government. If he does win, I expect that the Blob will go fully visible with the double-shotted cannon.

      Gonna be a rough ride. Or so it seems to me.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        If Trump gets elected again, won’t a new generation of Trumponauts conduct a new takeover and burndown of whatever is left of the Federal Agencies, Departments, Bureaus, etc.? Isn’t that what ” deconstruction of the Administrative State” means? Isn’t that what the Heritage Foundations 2025 Plan is about?

  10. britzklieg

    Certainly not “boogie” as traditionally used for a musical style… that would be Jerry lee Lewis, nor does it suggest “boogie” as motion or movement, which would be faster and in 4/4 not 2/4. But qualified here as “old folks” makes the misnomer more acceptable, I suppose. Personally I’d call it a “strut.”

    Here’s Tormé playing (!) and singing one of my favorites, Segal and Fisher’s “When Sunny Gets Blue”


    stunningly beautiful, imho.

        1. Lena

          My mother, who was a teenager during WWll, and I used to dance the jitterbug together to Big Band boogie woogie in our kitchen when I was growing up. We could really cut a rug (okay, it was actually linoleum). The Andrews Sisters’ song was a favorite to dance to. A nice memory.

        1. Lena

          I’m partial to Ella Mae Morse who had a big band hit called “Cow Cow Boogie” in the 1940’s.

          “Singing his cowboy songs, he’s just too much

          He’s got a knocked out Western accent, with a Harlem touch

          He was raised on loco weed

          He’s what you call a swing half breed

          Singing his cow, cow boogie in the strangest way…”

  11. Ranger Rick

    I’m starting to understand why the college protests in support of the Palestinians are rattling the PMC so badly: these are their successors, and if they lose the ideological battle, well, the writing is on the wall. Note the photo of Stefanik (mentioned above as intervening in the Trump case) holding up the ADL “report card”.

  12. diptherio

    Maybe we should be having a conversation about why so many people feel the need to be self-medicating? Like, maybe there has been a decrease in some important standards of living that people are offsetting through increased drug use? I mean, maybe…

    1. GramSci

      Self-medication is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of the soulless condition.

  13. steppenwolf fetchit

    Hmmmm . . . . ” Greater Idaho” . . . I have read that some people informally think of the tier of Nevada counties just south of Idaho as being ” Nevadaho”.

    Perhaps the ” Idahoregon” counties and the “Nevadaho” counties could all join Idaho and the resulting state could be called Nevadahoregon.

    I would be more interested in seeing West Virginia change its State Name to Appalachia. If West Virginia became Appalachia, it could then invite all the Appalachia-minded counties of all the neighboring states to become part of the new and growing State of Appalachia. Its State Motto could be . . . ” Appalachia – a Madagascar of the Mind”. Its welcome-to signs on all the highways leading into Appalachia could read . . . ” Welcome to Appalachia – America’s Tibet”.

    1. griffen

      We can just update the region of Appalachia to District 13…just like the Hunger Games and you get a tourism boost as well. I live in a part of South Carolina, whereby this would be adjacent to where I am.

      Hop in your canoe and one could listen while a banjo playing, as you float down the river. Think of the hijinks. Paddle faster.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I would rather see such a state called Appalachia. If all of “Appalachia” were united in a State of Appalachia, would the Appalachian people gain enough self-confidence and self-power to begin crafting and forcing into existence and forceful application a bunch of strictly pro-Appalachia Appalachia-centric policies and approaches to things and stuff?

        ( I lived in Knoxville, Tennesse till age 15. On a clear day, I could see the Smokies from my house).

        1. griffen

          My maternal roots are in eastern Tennessee, Greeneville and Tusculum… grandparents and a few of his brothers interred at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. I always enjoyed visiting the area well into my early 40’s.

          I left off a sarc tag on my canoe + banjo references….but the Nantahala is a fun river for such activities.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      At the time (40+ yrs ago) I lived in northern Idaho, there was occasional discussion of southern Idaho annexing itself to Utah, and northern ID joining up w/ eastern Washington. Oregon wasn’t in that picture at all, and I’m not sure Idaho wants anything to do with them now (in part or in total). Perhaps reconfigure the 4 states into 3: combine northern ID with eastern WA (“New Idaho”); southern ID w/ UT & those Oregonians (“Max Utah”), and western WA with western OR (“New Pacific Northwest”). I would vote for that, were I a resident.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If they want a Greater Idaho, they should call in the professional for border expansion. Invite the ultra-Orthodox in to settle in those border communities. :)

    4. Lee

      On my trips to Yellowstone, I’d head west a good long while, then turn left at Wells, NV, heading north toward Idaho. The only thing that denoted the border was the casino town of Jackpot, NV. Otherwise, it all looked pretty much like the same state to me.

  14. JM

    I see the Bird Song of the Day and the map of the possible Oregon/Idaho merger as flipped. FYI.

    I agree 100% with dipthero, we need to be talking about the causes of why so many people are self medicating. A non-exhaustive list might start with: gambling, “retail therapy”, alcohol, opioids and other hard drugs, and plenty more besides. Only book I can think of lately that tackled it was The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate, which was well worth a read.

    1. Lena

      JM, what you and dipthero are discussing is important. For reading material, see also Gabor Mate’s “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction” as well as Bessel van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”.

      We are dealing with an epidemic of trauma in this country on both a personal and collective level. People are traumatized by Covid, the economy, the political system, the medical system, the failure of educational and religious institutions, the endless war and genocide our government is supporting, etc, etc, etc. Add to that increased isolation from other people which predates Covid (see the so-called ‘bowling alone’ problem) who might in previous generations have provided a cushion of comfort. Everything is falling apart and one has to be braindead not to recognize it. We feel helpless and powerless. The trauma resulting from all this isn’t being talked about by anyone except Mate and a few other specialists. Our leaders (*cough*) are certainly not addressing it. We are on our own, indeed, and much worse off for it. That people would turn to various forms of addiction is not at all surprising.

      1. GramSci

        I have previosly blamed it on the ‘interstate highway system’: [family blog] friends and neighbors; go where the jobs are! Pre-modern neo-conservaliberalism.

        1. Lena

          Very true. My mother grew up in a midsized Midwestern factory town. She lived a block away from her aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. Her grandparents also lived nearby and every Sunday dinner after church was spent there with the whole extended family. They were there for each other during hard times. It wasn’t perfect but she had a sense of security from that closeness that most kids don’t have any more. It was gone even when I was a kid. All my mother’s siblings and cousins had moved hundreds or thousands of miles away to get better jobs. We rarely ever saw them. I have first cousins I’ve never met.

  15. aj

    I read this article as fear mongering by anti-legalization folks. Since it was announced that they might lower marijuana to schedule 2 or 3, there have been lots of “we need more studies” types of articles. Even though we have decades of studies that show pretty clearly the impacts. Higher THC content means you have to consume less to get the same feeling, which is actually a good thing as smoking is bad for you. Daily moderate use goes up since it is now legal in most places and has gained more public acceptance.

    I would however, recommend against using gummies as a sleep aid. Yes, they will help you fall asleep, but THC prevents you from going into REM sleep which will still leave you tired the next day. When you digest THC, it stays in your system for hours longer than when you smoke it, thus a gummy can disrupt your sleep all night, while smoking a little before bed can help you get to sleep and then leave your system quicker. If you don’t like smoking (I don’t either), take the gummy a few hours before you really want to go to sleep and can sleep for a full 7 or 8 hours.

    source: lots of articles and several decades of experimental self-medication.

      1. GramSci

        Different tokes for different folks. Bedtime brownies keep me awake, but the same strain puts Juana out like a light.

  16. Val

    “Until the end of the 20th century, the average potency of seized cannabis never exceeded 5 percent THC” … because seized cannabis with THC above 5% dry mass was never submitted for testing and disappeared from the evidence room with an unstartling regularity.

    Didn’t stop Genocide Joe from forcing a lot of poor and brown people into cages for a long time…For doing less than what Hunter did under CIA and Secret Service protection. Heroes.

    As for the kids, let’s prioritize safety checks for pre-pubescent SSRIs, hyper-processed food-like substances, constant digital manipulation and hormonal gear-jamming, full spectrum injecta-thons, etc, then a flourish as we release the faucis to save us all from unpatented devil’s lettuce!

    “I heard Papa tell Mama, let that boy boogie woogie. Cuz it’s in him, and it’s got to come out.”
    John Lee Hooker (hats off).

    Seems more like a ramble than a boogie. Still, I say we jump on in.
    I support bassmule’s taxonomy, but that may well be this spicy mango kush talking.

  17. antidlc

    NNU invited to join CDC’s HICPAC workgroup on infection prevention
    National Nurses United

    May 22, 2024

    National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union of registered nurses in the nation, is proud to announce that Jane Thomason, its lead industrial hygienist has been invited to join the workgroup of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, Lisa Baum, lead occupational safety and health representative at NNU affiliate New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), has been invited to join HICPAC.

    1. JM

      That seems like good news, and seems like excellent timing with the recently released masking meta-study. Fingers crossed sanity prevails.

  18. hk

    One thing that I tend to follow closely on two candidate polls is the total between Biden and Trump and the % of “missing” respondents. There isn’t something one can say too systematically about this: pollsters tend to vary quite a bit on how much they press respondents to give an answer (some explicitly ask “if you have to choose,” who will you choose? Others, not so pressing.) and this is too idiosyncratic, even for the same polling org. Still, if Biden and Trump collectively add up to 85-90% and there’s only 1-2% separating them, that means “I don’t know” is the only meaningful answer…

  19. Lunker Walleye

    Caillebotte’s work is very beautiful to my eyes. He used a painter’s version of what we call cropping, like Degas, but some of his work is much more realistic than Degas’. He apparently had been a wealthy naval architect or engineer and hob-nobbed with artists labeled “Impressionists”. “The Floor Scrapers” looks like it could have been painted after a photograph. The excellent draftsmanship, tipped perspective, transition from dark to light to dark, and subject matter make it one of my favorites. Some of his work like, “The Plain at Gennevilliers”, looks much more freely brushed, as does “Laundry Drying — so more “Impressionistic”.

    1. wol

      The Floor Scrapers is one of my favorite paintings as well. Nothing to add save my enthusiasm.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Have his Paris street rainy day in my rotating wallpaper. Adding a bunch of others now from wikimedia.

  20. Ben Joseph

    Re: Detroit NAACP remarks corrections.

    The current mayor is Mike Duggan, who was sworn into office on January 1, 2014.

    So they really bonded during the recession…

  21. JustTheFacts

    It seems rather more important that Max Blumenthal says on his Twitter feed that RFK Jr’s policy on Israel is due to the influence of a multi-billionaire than whether Nicole Shanahan took too much of a dissociative anesthetic one evening and found Elon Musk irresistible… But I guess that’s hard-hitting journalism for you.

  22. Mikel

    “A society where individuals are constantly self-medicating with a mind altering substance is a health recipe for disaster…”

    It’s dwarfted by the mind altering, side effect heavy, suicide-watch pills dished out by big pharma.

  23. Dornbirn Panther

    The Jerome Adams tweet is a head-scratcher to me. Who doesn’t already agree that marijuana shouldn’t be consumed by kids/pregnant women/at work/while driving? This is common knowledge, what conversation is needed? Perhaps I am naive, but as a marijuana user for over two decades the fellow smokers I’ve encountered all know it’s a bad idea for those people/situations. Some make bad decisions regardless, unfortunately, but I don’t think it’s a matter of public ignorance.

    I agree that a spike in irresponsible marijuana use is undesirable, but I don’t necessarily see a rise in daily use in comparison to alcohol use as necessarily indicating that. I can tell you from experience a joint every night after work does little harm. Pot is not without its own risks, and can even be addictive in its own way, but it is clearly a far less dangerous substance than alcohol. With that being the case it stands to reason it could possibly be consumed at a somewhat higher frequency without as many bad outcomes. I also think 1992 figures are inaccurate. We almost certainly have seen an increase but part of it is surely people being more comfortable admitting their use. I can tell you I’d absolutely never admit I smoked even as recently as 2004 due to social stigma, now it’s not a problem in most situations.

    I suppose I am a bit prickly on this subject because I’d hate to see the progress we’ve made towards ending marijuana prohibition be derailed by bad apples held up as examples of all smokers. Cannabis users have been vilified and discriminated against for far too long, and it’s particularly hypocritical in societies where alcohol/tobacco are both legal.

  24. JM

    That quote from the Vermeer article is fantastic and terrible, in it’s way. I haven’t read the article yet but I’m looking forward to it.

    For the linked Goldfinch, I wonder if there are two versions or if it was different lighting that led to the huge difference in hues…

  25. Jason Boxman

    Amtrak officials still had no explanation on Thursday for what had caused the wire to break. But the meltdown appeared to be unrelated to a problem on Tuesday morning with wires in a tunnel under the Hudson that led to delays of up to 60 minutes. Separately on Thursday, New Jersey Transit warned of delays as long as an hour because of signal problems at Amtrak’s Dock Bridge in Newark.


    Failed state watch.

    Meanwhile the Wizard made a special appearance at Biden Kenya party.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Moderna’s long Covid plan

    Moderna is eyeing a new target: long Covid.

    The pharmaceutical company that became a household name when it developed a Covid-19 vaccine now wants to treat the disease’s lingering effects, which have afflicted tens of millions of people by some estimates.

    But waiting and seeing for now. More COVID, more customers

  27. Pat

    Lambert, here’s a little something for guillotine watch.
    Vanity Fair on Hamptonites realizing congestion pricing isn’t excluding them.
    It is a fun read, and there is one free article from them so some can read it.

    For the record I am also against it and I believe that for something that has been in the plans for decades it is a hot mess and deeply discriminatory. And that doesn’t even address the MTA’s stunning lack of expansion of public transportation to prepare for it and address obvious issues with holes for available and accessible public options necessary for this to work.But there is so much entitlement on view in this article especially the pricy bus option.

  28. Jason Boxman

    My latest report from asking if someone is COVID safe on dating apps;

    I only get two kinds of replies; From spammers/scammers, invective.

    The other reply is only from women in the health care profession. They all universally so far believe it isn’t dangerous, or it’s just the flu, or a common cold, or oh I must have had a bad experience, so sorry.

    Health care professionals.

    We’re doomed.

    1. Yves Smith

      What the response from these medical-adjacent women suggests is that they feel compelled to reinforce the party line, and/or to reassure themselves about the risks they are running at work.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I follow up with a quick note about long COVID risks and reinfection, but that’s generally end of line. I’m not gonna change any minds, least of all on a dating app.

  29. SD

    I adore Mel Torme and thank you for posting the YouTube video of this wonderful Tokyo concert. I had never listened to it until today.

    I could go on and on about why I love this artist, his technical skills, his voice, his artistry, etc., but sometimes the greatness comes down to RIZZ, as the kids like to say, i.e., charisma. (Although I think there may be some additional and ineffable qualities to rizz v. charisma; I will ask around.)

    The Velvet Fog has rizz in spades. Gracious to his fellow musicians, grateful to his audience, superbly showing up with all of his talent… A model for us all.

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