2:00PM Water Cooler 6/10/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Sedge Warbler, ‘thy’ Denmark. “Habitat: Swamp.” Virtuousic!

* * *

Patient readers, I’ve had an enormous scheduling debacle, and so must sacrifice Water Cooler to complete a post on an important court decision by the California Ninth Circuit on vaccine mandates.

In the meantime, I’m surprised Taylor Swift, superspreader, never came up with her own version of this (or maybe she did):

Readers, I reverence the New York Public Library, and so this example of end-state neoliberalism fills me with appalled disgust. Do we have any New York readers and/or librarians who can find out who committed this atrocity and get them pilloried? Why the heck don’t they fix their ventilation system, make C02 concentrations visible, and have N95s available? Have fun! (Also, should be “agents,” plural, and there’s a missing Oxford comma.)

* * *

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 Amfortas:

I believe these are Black-Eyed Susans — I recall fields of them in the Midwest — but don’t Black-Eyed Susans have yellow petals?

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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. antidlc

    “In the meantime, I’m surprised Taylor Swift, superspreader, never came up with her own version of this (or maybe she did):”

    Do you get tickets through Ticketmaster?


    An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people gather. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. You assume all risks, hazards, and dangers arising from or relating in any way to the risk of contracting a communicable disease or illness—including, without limitation, exposure to COVID-19 or any other bacteria, virus, or other pathogen capable of causing a communicable disease or illness, whether that exposure occurs before, during, or after the event, and regardless of how caused or contracted—and you hereby waive any and all claims and potential claims against Ticketmaster, Live Nation, and the Event Organizer (as defined in our Purchase Policy)—and against any companies affiliated with Ticketmaster, Live Nation, or the Event Organizer—relating to such risks, hazards, and dangers.

  2. Tommy S

    I’m sad when you do this. Which proves we are so spoiled by all the work you all do. Two massive link posts a week day. damn. Thank you NC. the Conor and Nick articles are great too… rival in a big way, what I use to read in the 80’s and 90’s…NACLA, lies of our times, CAQ, and etc. Just saying, I appreciate this site so much.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m sad when you do this.

      I’m sorry, too. I hate it. I’m trying to change my personal schedule to avoid it, but that’s like getting a supertanker to change course, I am such a creature of habit.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I think you’re right. I often buy it here in Maine – I can’t remember if they sell it as an annual or perennial here though. I put it in pots and then I’ve replanted it in the ground in the fall, but it’s never come back. Imagine my surprise when I went to TX last year and saw it just growing by the side of the road, free for the taking!

      On a related note, I planted some snapdragons last year which are sold as annuals here. They kept blossoming into November so I didn’t yank them, then it froze and I couldn’t pull them and I figured I’d deal with them in the spring. But they were very resilient – before I could pull them after the thaw they started greening up, and now I have a whole bunch of them just about to bloom, looking even better than they did last year.

      Not sure if I should be thrilled at my seemingly magical gardening abilities and saving a few bucks on plants, or rather worried about the real reason these annuals decided to become perennials…

      And yes Lambert, the flowers I call Black-Eyed Susans have yellow petals with a dark center

    2. GramSci

      Yep! Over planted our septic field with them (and a mix) back in 2000, much to the consternation of our lawn-loving neighbors. If there were more sun in Outer Patagonia, I’d plant them again.

  3. ambrit

    Time to do some chores around the house. Particularly setting up the “kinetic engagement pods” for when the Vaccine Mandate Enforcers come calling.
    Stay safe.

  4. steppenwolf fetchit

    Perhaps the New York Public Library is afraid of No Mask Freedumm riots by hordes of No Mask Freedumm rioters. Perhaps the Library just doesn’t want to get picketed by hordes of screaming MAGAnon rioters like the ones who disrupted various vaccination-availability events in NYC two or three years ago. ( I remember reading about that right here in NaCap and no, I won’t spend hours or days looking back through millions of words trying to find it).

    1. jax

      New York Public Library – perhaps the library should invest in updated HVAC systems that return clean air on sixty second intervals? In 2020 Japanese gargantua movie theaters updated their HVAC and placed digital signs outside each theater with the carbon monoxide readings inside. It’s 2024 and I’ve seen exactly zero American establishments attempt to mitigate indoor air, even to the point of making some Corsi-Rosenthal boxes for kindergarten classrooms. Until if and when they do, scapegoating MAGA people is picking low-hanging fruit.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        You may well be correct. I am theorizing about what the Library might be thinking, especially with regard to even daring to offer N95 respirators. ( Though of course Head Cop In Charge Adams might also try to obstruct such an offer of respirators). After all, the anti-vaccine-center disruptions actually did happen in New York City.

        Investing in high-powered HVAC systems and public display CO2-level readers would be the best approach. Would the patrons of the Library all chip in if the Library were to start a Go Fund Me to raise money for it? ( Because if the various levels of Government are all part of a secret conspiracy to infect millions of people with covid deliberately and on purpose, why would any level of government invest in HVAC? )

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          And now that I see a new thread-entry below, it looks like HCIC Adams and his City Council are indeed the cause of the problem.

          So it looks like the only way to get ventilation into the NYPL will indeed be a GoFundMe, if it can raise enough money.

            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              People for Tax Restoration would have to win overwhelming power over relevant levels of government to restore taxes at those levels of government. Till then, GoFundMe is all there is. Well . . . bake sales also.

              Is NYC a special case? Does it collect enough taxes to support its libraries if it desupported something else? If a Public Library Party could achieve overwhelming command power over the NYC government at all levels, then it could force library support back up to viability levels.

  5. IM

    Plantidote looks like gaillardia, or blanketflower. Some of the new coneflower breeds look a bit like that too, maybe it’s faking me out.

  6. ChrisFromGA

    Big deal, maybe?


    Intel has halted construction of a chip facility in Israel.

    According to the report, Intel’s (INTC) suppliers have recently received cancellation notices for contracts to supply equipment and materials required for the construction of the new factory.

  7. Amfortas the Hippie

    Those are indian blankets…galliarda.
    Im covered up with them from may into july.
    That was taken years ago where the library chicken house is today

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yes I pay for those at the greenhouse up here in New England. When I visited TX last year, I was surprised to see them growing everywhere by the side of the road, free for the taking!

      1. John

        A library chicken house? Having grown up surrounded by chickens and chicken houses … and all the books I could find …that combination is intriguing.

        1. Glen

          Yes, I too, am intrigued, and depending on what it is, I may have to build one too.

          We may have to set up a means to make plans available. My wife designed what looks like a craftsman hope chest, but it actually is a cat litter box in disguise. iI looks nice, and is easy to clean out. I’ve always meant to find a good way to publish the plans so that others can build one too.

  8. Pat

    I am going to lay the blame for the NYPL’s inaction on ventilation upgrade on Mayor Adams and our feckless City Council. He loves to cut the Library’s budget and they love to rubber stamp the cuts. You never hear of the Library’s funding being restored, unlike the police and sometimes the fire department (object to the first not the latter). The NYPL is fighting to keep the doors open and the buildings standing at all, not so much upgrading ventilation systems.

    The Times from last year, and take the “fighting” rhetoric as we all do for most Democrats. There were further cuts later in the year
    NY Times on protests to Adams’ cuts from January 2023

    But the cuts didn’t end there. Here is an NYPL support request from the end of last year referencing further cuts
    from Mid Year cuts and that there is further cuts planned for FY2025

    And this is their press release about directors testifying before the council about those proposed FY25 cuts earlier this year

    I realize that seven days a week or even five might seem like a luxury, but to put this in perspective please keep in mind that most of the public “cooling spaces” in NYC are public library spaces. They not only provide the service that is their mandate they also provide a safe space (for many things) including one that is properly cooled or heated for NYers who might otherwise not have one.

    I also would throw out that NYC has too many legal grifters who would see the NYPL as low hanging fruit for this kind of law suit. it would be far easier to hit them successfully then the various David Koch supported theaters in Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall. While I think there will be legitimate suits, after finding out how pervasive nuisance disability suits filed strictly for settlement from small businesses are in NYC I am pretty sure that may be the point of the waiver.

  9. griffen

    Watched something relevant over the weekend related to casino gambling, er stock market trading in lesser than blue chip entities. Particular to this story the meme trading of stocks like a GameStop or an AMC was much in the headlines early 2021.

    Has anyone else watched Dumb Money, release was late 2023 and streaming on Netflix. I had forgotten or just memory holed so much of the hullabaloo and in particular, the interval when Robin hood almost went the way of the dinosaur to extinction. Help us Obi Wan ( Ken Griffin of Citadel),you are the only hope!

    1. Mikel

      It’s back in the news because Keith Gill started posting again,

      But the bigger fix is in when 1 stock is headed for 15% – 20% of the S&P.
      Lots of FOMO has to be generated for people to gain from very large positions and hide the delivery of the bags.

  10. kareninca

    Yesterday I posted re a coreligionist whom I know via zoom; she works in Michigan. Everyone in her office is coughing like crazy. A coworker of hers tested positive for whooping cough last week and now she has tested positive as well (despite having had multiple whooping cough vaccine boosters during pregnancies) No one else has bothered to get tested yet. Even though this is a reportable illness, there has been no sign that the state health authorities are interested.

    Today there was this on reddit/covid/positive:
    “:Hi all. Im 31 weeks pregnant and had covid a month ago. Im having a brutal cough 😷, violent cough that is getting worse. Were any of u prescribed inhaled steroids for a bad cough that is causing vomiting? If so which? Last time i saw the ob a couple weeks ago she told me to suck it up and just take dextromethropan. Whatever its called. Been taking that non stop and this is getting worse instead of better. Any experience u may have would be great.”

    I suggested to the lady that she get tested for whooping cough asap, just in case. I am seeing that a mother’s whooping cough does not harm the infant before is born, but once it is born it is a serious hazard.

    1. RR

      I did a little bit of research on the Tdap vaccine during a recent pregnancy. There is evidence that suggests the vaccine might not be sterilizing:


      Which means the increased outbreaks could be more a sign of post-Covid immune deficiency rather than vax hesitancy. Scary stuff. It’s also a different type of vaccine than the one many of us got when we were young, which IIRC was more effective but had worse side effects. Even before Covid, Pertussis outbreaks were on the rise — but the lockdowns temporarily reversed the trend.

  11. Lee

    Is this the summary of the ruling (pdf) you refer to?

    The panel vacated the district court’s order dismissing
    plaintiffs’ action alleging that the COVID-19 vaccination
    policy of the Los Angeles Unified School District
    (“LAUSD”)—which, until twelve days after oral argument,
    required employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination or lose
    their jobs—interfered with their fundamental right to refuse
    medical treatment.

    Scrolling further, one comes upon this:

    Here, however, plaintiffs allege that
    the vaccine does not effectively prevent spread but only
    mitigates symptoms for the recipient and therefore is akin to
    a medical treatment, not a “traditional” vaccine. Taking
    plaintiffs’ allegations as true at this stage of litigation,
    plaintiffs plausibly alleged that the COVID-19 vaccine does
    not effectively “prevent the spread” of COVID-19. Thus,
    Jacobson does not apply.

    Assuming a can opener, I see this can opening up and revealing a particularly delicious can of worms. Maybe they’ll do masks next. Ever the giddy optimist, me.

  12. Wukchumni

    The First Son tolls the knell of judgment day
    Will he get off for his gun role play?
    President hopes to have not set a precedent
    Jurors will decide if he is guilty or innocent


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