2:00PM Water Cooler 6/11/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Sedge Warbler, Parque Ambiental de Vilamoura, Loulé, Faro, Portugal. “Fotos e vocalizações a adicionar.Aves a vocalizar ao mesmo tempo em sítios diferentes.” A child’s bicycle horn in there, somewhere?

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Hunter Biden — dear Hunter! — convicted on gun charges.

(2) Luntz focus group on Trump conviction

(3) Library card catalogs.

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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 24:

No discernible effect from Trump’s conviction yet (though Democrats have only just begun to exploit it). Swing States (more here) still Brownian-motioning around. 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. If will be interesting to see whether the verdict in Judge Merchan’s court affects the polling, and if so, how.

* * *

Trump (R): “‘Antihero’ or ‘Felon’: 11 Undecided Voters Struggle With How to See Trump Post-Verdict” [New York Times]. “”How the heck can you be undecided at this point?” Four hours after the conviction of Donald Trump, the focus group moderator Frank Luntz posed that question to 11 voters who said they were still torn – even post-verdict – between whether to support Mr. Trump or President Biden (and, for some, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) in November…. All 11 participants in our Times Opinion focus group were swing voters: They had supported or been open to Hillary Clinton or Mr. Biden at least once in 2016, 2020 or 2024, and backed or considered Mr. Trump at least once in those years as well. … Inflation, the economy, immigration and abortion were the things that they said would ultimately determine their votes.” That’s the Times intro. I highly recommend you read the entire article, whose body consists of free-form Q&A with the focus group, which Luntz is very good at. I can’t summarize, but this exchange caught my eye:

Jonathan, 37, Florida, Black, operations manager

Trump is not a moral compass to a lot of his supporters. He’s the bad guy that’ll do things on our behalf. He’s the Tony Soprano or the Walter White —

Ben, 42, Texas, white, college adviser

Don’t bring my “Sopranos” into this.

Jonathan, 37, Florida, Black, operations manager

He’s an antihero.

Ben, 42, Texas, white, college adviser

Come on, man.

Moderator, Frank Luntz

OK, hold on. Hold on. Hilary, you’re grimacing right now. Explain why.

Hilary, 55, California, white, social worker

Jonathan, when you brought up “The Sopranos,” I got it. He’s the antihero. And that’s why I cast a vote in 2016 for him, though I did expect at the time that a lot of the shtick was just shtick and that once elected, if elected, no grown 71-year-old man would comport himself in the way he did. What does that portend, though, for a democracy if we have nothing but antiheroes, going forward? That these people, these complicated, murky, ambiguous, morally ambiguous people, are the models? And maybe that’s putting it mildly and gently. What does that portend for our system of government?

Again, I highly recommend that you read the whole thing. (Adding, (1) fascinating to see the “college advisor” try to dominate, and Luntz reining him in; (2) Jonathan has really good taste in TV; both the Sopranos and Breaking Bad are very good shows.

Trump (R): “Trump Sexual Misconduct Allegations: What We Know” [Teen Vogue]. “As he runs for president again, The 19th is pulling together allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him and people who worked for or with him in his campaigns or in his time in the White House. Some resigned only to be later welcomed back into the fold; some have stayed connected to Trump.” • Quite a list.

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Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “What potential grounds does Donald Trump have to appeal his hush money conviction” [ABC]. Various: “While the crime of falsifying business records — which Trump was charged with — is a misdemeanor, prosecutors charged Trump with a felony, arguing he falsified records with an intent to conceal another crime. ‘I think the statute is at risk of being declared unconstitutional because the statute that charged the former president with the felony does not say what that other crime is that elevates the misdemeanor to a felony,’ Randy Zelin, a Cornell University Law professor, told ABC News.” And: “In U.S. criminal law, a jury needs to unanimously find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But, one expert argues the judge’s jury instructions were not clear and could be grounds for appeal…. ‘It is equally a bedrock principle of our system of justice, that a defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt by a unanimous jury, and for the judge to essentially permit the jurors to disagree over what this other crime was … [and] still convict the defendant — that flies in the face of everything that this country was built on,’ Zelin said.” And: “Other experts say a similar Sixth Amendment argument Trump’s attorneys could make is that they didn’t have notice of the three different theories of the unlawful means Trump intended to commit in violation of New York election law, which prosecutors told the jury in closing arguments.” And: “Trump could potentially also argue the charges were unconstitutionally ‘vague’ based on the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.” Finally: “While experts said Trump could move for an expedited timeline of appeal due to the upcoming election, it is unclear if the appeal could be concluded before November. [Brian Buckmire, an ABC News legal contributor] said it could still take a year before the appeal is concluded.'” • I am sure readers are familiar with all these points already, but here they are at ABC!

Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “Donald Trump completes mandatory presentencing interview after less than 30 minutes of questioning” [Associated Press]. ” Donald Trump completed his mandatory presentencing interview Monday after less than 30 minutes of routine, uneventful questions and answers, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. The former president was quizzed by a New York City probation officer for a report, required by law, that trial judge Juan M. Merchan can use to help determine Trump’s punishment when he is sentenced July 11 in his hush money criminal case. Monday’s interview was conducted privately by video conferencing. Under state law, the resulting report — which may also include information about Trump’s conviction, his social, family and employment history, and his education and economic status — will remain confidential unless the judge authorizes its public release…. After Blanche balked about Trump being made to answer questions alone, Merchan granted the defense lawyer permission to sit in on Trump’s interview.”

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Biden (D): “Ruth Bader Biden” [The Atlantic]. “There is a broader thematic reality for the president: Bad vibes have been the persistent feature of his campaign. No matter the obstacles Trump creates for himself, Biden remains a comprehensively weak incumbent, weighed down by the same liabilities that burdened him from the start, beginning with the largest, and completely unfixable, one: At 81, he is much too old to run for president. Durable supermajorities of voters still do not want any part of Biden at this age. His bullheaded insistence on doing something no one has ever done (Ronald Reagan, then the oldest president in American history, was 77 when he retired), along with the unwillingness or inability of Democrats to stop him, remains an existentially risky, potentially disastrous, proposition. The stakes remain appallingly high. If Biden loses in November, that’s all anyone will remember him for…. It is too late for Democrats to do anything about their predicament now, barring some 11th-hour event that triggers an extremely unlikely swap-out of nominees at the Democratic National Convention.” • The stakes for the upcoming debate are pretty high.

* * *

Biden (D): “Hunter Biden convicted on all 3 charges at federal gun trial” [CNN]. “A federal jury has convicted Hunter Biden on all three federal felony gun charges he faced, concluding that he violated laws meant to prevent drug addicts from owning firearms. The conviction marks the first time a president’s immediate family member has been found guilty of a crime during their father’s term in office, though his crimes predate Joe Biden’s tenure as president. The jury, which deliberated for just under three hours, returned guilty verdicts on all three charges, which stemmed from a revolver Hunter Biden bought in October 2018 at a Delaware gun shop. The first two counts were for lying about his drug use on a federal background check form, and the third count was for possessing a gun while addicted to, or using, illegal drugs. Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000 at sentencing, though he likely will receive far less than the maximum as a first-time offender. Before dismissing the parties, the judge told them sentencing is usually set for 120 days following a verdict, which means it is likely to happen before Election Day.”

Biden (D): “What son’s conviction means for President Biden” [BBC]. • It means that there’s nothing in court about Dear Hunter’s business dealings, which is all to the good (for Biden).

Biden (D): “Hunter Biden trial shows the first family’s agony — and its bond” [Financial Times]. “Unsavoury as the trial’s revelations have been, though, some believe it might also remind voters of Biden’s virtues as a father, particularly at a time when so many American families are dealing with drug addiction. That is the view of Chris Whipple, who chronicled the family in his book The Fight Of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House. ‘For, me, the trial confirms what we’ve always known about Joe Biden,’ Whipple said. ‘It’s just hard to overstate how strong the bond is between him and Hunter. How close they are.’ Even if his political career demanded it, Whipple is convinced the president would never cast Hunter aside. “Family is everything to Biden,” he observed.” • I left out all the Beau Biden stuff. Give it a rest. I wonder if Biden’s dogs started biting people only after Beau died, or whether they’ve always done it. My money’s on the latter.

* * *

Biden (D): “Laptop deniers conspired to make Hunter Biden news disappear. They can’t now” [FOX]. “Watching the coverage this week out of Delaware was like finding oneself in a parallel universe. There were ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post and other news outlets reporting matter-of-factly that the Hunter Biden laptop showed no evidence of tampering and was both real and authentic. These are the same outlets, and some of the same reporters, who eagerly spread the false claims that the laptop was ‘Russian disinformation.’… Yet, what followed the testimony of FBI agent Erika Jensen was absolute crickets. There was no effort to track down the signatories of the now-debunked letter from former intelligence officials just before the election. In the letter, figures such as Leon Panetta, former CIA director in the Obama administration, claimed that the letter had all the markings of a Russian disinformation effort by intelligence services. (Panetta continued to make the assertion even in late 2023 in pushing what the federal government is now calling a ‘conspiracy theory.’) There was no attempt by the media to confront associates of the Biden campaign (including now Secretary of State Antony Blinken) who pushed a long effort to get former intelligence officials to sign a letter. ” • But surely that was “election interference”?

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Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. sues Nevada’s top election official over ballot access as he scrambles to join debate stage” [Orlando Sentinel]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign filed a lawsuit Friday against Nevada’s top election official, alleging a requirement that independent candidates must name their running mate by the time they start gathering signatures for ballot access is unconstitutional. The filing in the U.S. District Court of Nevada comes just over two months after Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar’s office clarified guidance that would likely nullify signatures that Kennedy Jr’s campaign collected for November’s ballot due to the petition not listing a running mate. Kennedy Jr’s campaign said in the lawsuit that they received approval in January from Aguilar’s office allowing them to collect the required 10,095 signatures for a petition that did not list his vice presidential selection. The requirement to name a running mate on the petition, the campaign alleges, violates the 1st Amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.”

* * *

“First Presidential Debate 2024: Everything You Need to Know” [Teen Vogue]. “Pretty much everything about the 2024 debates is unusual. For starters, they’re happening much earlier in the election cycle than they usually do, and the first debate will not have a live audience…. It’s unlikely that independents Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, or any other Republican candidates will qualify to join.” • Plenty of details on time, dates, venue, etc.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Canada’s Big Worry: A US Civil War” [Politico]. “In a spring report titled “Disruptions on the Horizon,” a quiet office known as Policy Horizons Canada proposed American civil war as a scenario that Ottawa should consider preparing for. This hypothetical was tucked into the middle of the 37-page document, which sketched the possibility in 15 spare words: ‘U.S. ideological divisions, democratic erosion, and domestic unrest escalate, plunging the country into civil war.’ It’s an unsettling thing to find out your immediate neighbor is getting nervous about the possibility of gruesome violence in your home.” • Hmm.

* * *

“Tony Evans Says He Is ‘Stepping Away’ from Leading Dallas Megachurch Due To ‘Sin'” [The Roys Report]. Evans: “‘While I have committed no crime, I did not use righteous judgment in my actions,’ he said. ‘In light of this, I am stepping away from my pastoral duties and am submitting to a healing and restoration process established by the elders.'” • Hmm.

“‘Jesus was the best affiliate marketer in the world’: How a ‘Reverend CEO’ allegedly stole $1 billion in a crypto scam” [MarketWatch]. • Indeed!


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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Covid Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Airborne Transmission: H5N1

“CDC Reports A(H5N1) Ferret Study Results” [Influenza (Flu), CDC]. “The A(H5N1) virus from the human case in Texas spread efficiently between ferrets in direct contact but did not spread efficiently between ferrets via respiratory droplets.” So, “transmission through the air,” I take it, and we don’t know whether aerosols or tiny loogies. More: “In terms of spread, the CDC ferret study found that the A/Texas/37/2024 virus spread easily among ferrets (3 of 3 ferrets, or 100%) in direct contact with infected ferrets (placed in the same enclosure). However, the virus was less capable of spreading by respiratory droplets, which was tested by placing infected ferrets in enclosures next to healthy ferrets (with shared air but without direct contact).” • So the presumption is that ferrets in the same cage infect each other only by direct contact? Do I have that right? If so, why? Commentary:

1 in 3 is still pretty infectious:

And then there’s the airflow:

(Note that WHO’s “technical report” on airborne tranmission terminology was rendered obsolete within weeks of its release because they got their model wrong for the same reason (hot air rises). In short, the CDC seems to be working a little too hard to be able to say “H5N1 is not airborne,” but even their own data says that it is.


“NC is on the brink of changing its mask laws. Here’s what the bill would do.” [Raleigh News and Observer]. “Instead of broader language that currently allows any kind of mask to be worn to ensure ‘the physical health or safety of the wearer or others,’ the exception would be changed to narrower language that only permits ‘medical and surgical grade’ masks to be worn for the purpose of ‘preventing the spread of contagious disease.'” Does that mean N95s are OK? How about elastomerics, which are higher than surgical grade? More: “Existing law already stated that anyone wearing a mask in public for health and safety reasons would have to remove their mask if asked by a law enforcement officer, either during a traffic stop or at a checkpoint or roadblock, or if the officer had ‘reasonable suspicion or probable cause during a criminal investigation.’ The bill as rewritten would remove the conditions of either a traffic stop, checkpoint, or roadblock, or if an officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause, and simply states that anyone masking in public to prevent the spread of contagious disease shall ‘remove the mask upon request by a law enforcement officer.’ The bill would also require people to ‘temporarily remove the mask upon request by the owner or occupant of public or private property where the wearer is present to allow for identification of the wearer.’ That provision is new.” • This isn’t a “compromise.” It’s worse.

Masking as an ADA accommodation:

Morbidity and Mortality

“Excess mortality across countries in the Western World since the COVID-19 pandemic: ‘Our World in Data’ estimates of January 2020 to December 2022” [BMJ]. From the Abstract: “Excess mortality has remained high in the Western World for three consecutive years, despite the implementation of containment measures and COVID-19 vaccines. This raises serious concerns. Government leaders and policymakers need to thoroughly investigate underlying causes of persistent excess mortality.” • Commentary from a long thread worth reading in full:

Perhaps we have some actuaries in the readership who would like to comment?

Celebrity Watch

“When Athletes, Entertainers, & Other Notable People Get Long Haul COVID+” [Long Covid Foundation]. “The Long COVID Foundation has taken over the list of athletes, entertainers, & other notable people who get Long Haul COVID. There are currently 206 on the Long COVID list, with details and sources.” • Here is the list. See NC here for celebrities who got Covid, and here for the economics of Covid and insurance in the music business.

Elite Maleficence

As I keep saying, they know:

But they don’t want you to know.

* * *

Lambert here: Patient readers, I finally gave up the unequal struggle and went with CDC’s wastewater maps; they will at least give us some at-a-glance sense of how cases are changing in time and space.

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

This week[1] CDC June 3: Last Week[2] CDC June 3 (until next week):
Variants[3] CDC June 8 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC June 1
New York[5] New York State, data June 7: National [6] CDC May 18:

National[7] Walgreens June 10: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic June 1:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC May 20: Variants[10] CDC May 20:

Weekly Deaths vs. % Positivity [11]CDC June 1: Weekly Deaths vs. ED Visits [12]CDC June 1:


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] (CDC) This week’s wastewater map, with hot spots annotated.

[2] (CDC) This week’s wastewater map, not annotated. Next week I will move the map at [1] to [2], and update [1].

[3] (CDC Variants) FWIW, given that last week KP.2 was all over everything like kudzu, and now it’s KP.3. If the “Nowcast” can’t even forecast two weeks out, why are we doing it at all?

[4] (ER) This is the best I can do for now. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Slight leveling out? (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 then around the country through air travel.)

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC). This is the best I can do for now. Note the assumption that Covid is seasonal is built into the presentation. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[7] (Walgreens) 4.3%; big jump. (Because there is data in “current view” tab, I think white states here have experienced “no change,” as opposed to have no data.)

[8] (Cleveland) Going up.

[9] (Travelers: Positivity) Up. Those sh*theads at CDC have changed the chart so that it doesn’t even run back to 1/21/23, as it used to, but now starts 1/1/24. There’s also no way to adjust the time rasnge. CDC really doesn’t want you to be able to take a historical view of the pandemic, or compare one surge to another. In an any case, that’s why the shape of the curve has changed.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) Same deal. Those sh*theads:

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

Business Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the US rose to 90.5 in May 2024, the highest in five months, from 89.7 in April and above forecasts of 89.8. 22% of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, unchanged from April and the top business problem among owners.”

* * *

Tech: “The iPhone Is Now an AI Trojan Horse” [The Atlantic]. I hope I can turn it off. “Apple reportedly has been in talks with both Google and OpenAI to integrate each company’s generative-AI products into the iPhone. As today’s event revealed, Apple made a deal with OpenAI first, and its ChatGPT model will be available to supplement Apple Intelligence features later this year. (Apple said it plans to incorporate models from other AI developers in the future.) It’s likely a lucrative contract for OpenAI, but the start-up is arguably getting something even more valuable out of the agreement: access to millions of normal people…. Apple is betting that its AI offering will be greater than the sum of its parts. Adding up iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Macs, and AirPods, billions of the company’s devices are used by people all over the world, perfect delivery vehicles for AI. The Apple announcement is the clearest sign that generative AI, foisted onto an enormous web of mainstream devices, will be essentially inescapable. But the plan isn’t guaranteed to work. AI, although popular, is far from widely adopted—Apple is now taking a chance to see what happens when all the mundane tasks in our lives come with a little pop-up widget that asks if we’d like a bot to rewrite that email with a slightly more “professional” tone. Already last month, Google began forcing AI-written responses upon 1 billion users of its search engine. The results, including medical misinformation, conspiracy theories, and plain nonsense, were so embarrassing that the company quickly appeared to roll back the function, at least temporarily.”

Tech: “First Came ‘Spam.’ Now, With A.I., We’ve Got ‘Slop'” [New York Times]. “The use of slop as a descriptor for low-grade A.I. material seemingly came about in reaction to the release of A.I. art generators in 2022. Some have identified Simon Willison, a developer, as an early adopter of the term — but Mr. Willison, who has pushed for the phrase’s adoption, said it was in use long before he found it. ‘I think I might actually have been quite late to the party!’ he said in an email. The term has sprung up in 4chan, Hacker News and YouTube comments, where anonymous posters sometimes project their proficiency in complex subject matter by using in-group language.” • Hmm. #slop not prevalent on the Twitter.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 47 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 11 at 1:45:09 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • Bird flu not a concern, apparently. Still flirting with the 189 ceiling….

The Gallery

More Midwest modern:

The Conservatory

Not typical Beato content, but interesting::

It all goes back to Clinton?!

Guillotine Watch

“Can money conquer death? How wealthy people are trying to live forever” [Los Angeles Times]. “[L]ongevity influencers and enthusiasts [are] experimenting, especially those with the money and time needed to immerse themselves in the booming market of treatments, superfoods, pills and powders, concierge doctors and med spas, IV nutrition drips, biometric screenings and strict regimens that they believe will extend their lifespans and, crucially, their healthspans…. A separate analysis by Deloitte found that the top 50 longevity-focused companies raised more than $1 billion in venture funding as of 2020 and noted that “we are at the cusp of a new multibillion-dollar longevity industry…. Twice a year, [Peter Diamandis] leads a ‘Platinum Longevity Trip’ that links 40 ultra-high-net-worth individuals with top scientists, chief executives, startup founders and laboratories in the age-reversal field. For $70,000, promotional materials promise, participants will ‘gain unparalleled access’ to the latest treatments and clinical trials and learn about research into tissue and organ regeneration, epigenetic reprogramming, neurocognitive regeneration and AI drug discovery. The ‘five-day, five-star longevity deep-dive; includes private air travel and resort lodging; upcoming trips this fall in San Francisco and San Diego are already more than half full…. Other groups catering to the uber-wealthy are assembling their own anti-aging programs. Last year R360, an exclusive organization for centimillionaires, led a longevity trip to the Harvard laboratory of David Sinclair, a genetics professor and leading researcher on reversing the aging process at a cellular level. This July members will visit the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato. ‘If you’ve been fortunate enough to make $100 million or more, you want to do whatever you can to live forever,’ said Michael Cole, managing director of R360…. While Diamandis likes to say that 8 billion people all face the same disease of aging, what he’s selling is a luxury currently out of reach for most people. He insists costs will come down as AI, biotech and imaging technologies improve. ‘When technologies don’t work well, they’re paid for by the rich, who experiment,’ [Diamant] says. ‘When they finally work really well, they’re in mass production and available to everybody.'” • Lol, no.

News of the Wired

“Vintage Photographs of People Using the Card Catalog at the Library in the 1970s” [Vintage Everyday]. “Back before computers were invented, librarians put information about their books on cards and filed those cards in cabinets called card catalogs. Multiple copies of the card for a particular book were printed, and particular bits of information–such as the title, the author’s name, or a subject the book was about–would be added at the top of different cards. The cards were then filed in alphabetical order in the card catalog so people who wanted to find a book (patrons) could search and find the book they wanted. The people who decided what to put on the cards were called catalogers. The information on the cards is human created metadata.” • I remember when the Boston Public Library made the transition from a card catalog to search. Search was lousy. In fact, it still is. I think the transition was for library adminisrators, not librarians let alone patrons (prove wrong). An image from that time:

A card catalog will still work after the data centers go up in flames, too.

* * *

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

SR writes: “Hellebore, known as Lenten Rose and native to Greece and Turkey, photographed in Mt. Tabor Park, Portland, Oregon, on Easter 2024. It is, unfortunately, poisonous!”

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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. Neutrino

    Card Catalogs. Loved them, that satisfying tactility that supplemented the thrill of the chase.

    And now? Awaiting news that Homeland is going to classify as Mis- or Dis-information, and insecure, to top it all off. Visualize, hah, retinal scans required to access those remaining reminders of a more innocent time.
    Only half kidding.

    1. Stephen V

      There’s a history of this, natch:
      While librarians are often cheered for democratizing knowledge, controlling information is the underlying tenet of the profession—which is partially why the profession today is largely categorized within information sciences. Hoover understood this from the time he joined the Library of Congress as a clerk, his first job in Washington, in 1913. He created catalog cards for the collection, which was then a novel way of organizing libraries. This experience would later help him to index thousands of citizens he deemed radicals, as well as obfuscate evidence to avoid accountability.
      HOOVER, as in J. Edgar

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > controlling information is the underlying tenet of the profession

        Well, that’s what classification is all about. That, and asserting power over that and those classified. (I grant that the exercise of power is a little rarefied in the typical librarian’s case, but it is true nonetheless. The classification scheme is after all the ordering principle of the stacks.

        1. lapsed cataloger

          “The people who decided what to put on the cards were called catalogers.”

          They’re still called catalogers, although now they maintain catalog records online instead of on cards.

          By the way, OCLC (Online Computer Library Center; formerly Ohio College Library Center) printed the last cards in 2015:

          OCLC prints last library catalog cards: https://web.archive.org/web/20170227132310/https://www.oclc.org/en/news/releases/2015/201529dublin.html

          Image of an OCLC card printer (ca. 2007): https://www.flickr.com/photos/tang02/472320724/

          OCLC and the Library of Congress believe that the next evolution is Linked Data: https://www.oclc.org/en/linked-data.html

    2. Carolinian

      I find it funny that they have to explain what card catalogs were. We used to use them when not hand cranking our flivvers.

      Our library’s was made of pleasant polished wood. I can remember it in detail.

      1. Randall Flagg

        It brings back memories of when in elementary school in rural NE Pennsylvaniain the late 60’s the teacher had a session in the school library and the librarian taught us how to use the card catalog, the Dewey Decimal System, AND, how to properly hold a book, properly turn the pages while reading by gently putting a finger under the upper right corner and sliding the rest of your fingers under to flip it over. (What an adult would call a lover like touch)
        And whatever you do, NEVER, EVER act like a savage and Dog ear a page. Use a bookmark you beast.
        What a different time in our world and the things we remember from school as little kids. Don’t get me started on going to gym to kneel down next to the wall re nuclear bomb attack…

    3. Mark K

      From Lambert’s excerpt of the article in Vintage Everything: “The people who decided what to put on the cards were called catalogers.” The writer is clueless. Cataloguing still happens and it is still done by catalogers. What has changed is the medium of presentation (online catalogs instead of card catalogs) and the ability to do keyword searching. The latter helps in the comprehensiveness of a search, but hinders precision. If I want to find books on precisely the topic I’m interested in, I still take the time to find out what subject heading captures that concept and conduct a subject search (usually available under “advanced search options” or some such designation in the online catalog) using that heading.

      The Wikipedia article on Library of Congress Subject Headings provides a decent overview of library subject headings.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a subject search (usually available under “advanced search options”

        If you want a quick scan of how a subject heading is broken down sections, and how much material is in each section, then a card catalog drawer is by far the best UI/UX. Card catologs and the stacks also enable serendipitous results in a way that “search” does not.

        To brag a little about how good I am or at least was: Back when I was a college debater, I needed a key piece of evidence in about 45 minutes. I went to the library and found the right book in the stacks almost instantly, with no catalog search, even though — and this is the kicker — I was in the “wrong” section.

        There is something about the massive physical organization of a physical library of printed books that enables “The Palace of Memory” in the brain to function in a way that I, at least, don’t get from digital at all. Same with books: I can very often open a physical book to the passage I want, even without consciously seeking. Digital doesn’t do that at all.

        Have other readers had similar experiences?

        1. Steve H.

          I do, though part of my childhood had the stacks at the Meadville Theological Seminary as my playground. I organize my notes via Dewey, with my personal topics list running over 2000 rows. I still have The Library as a location in my dreams.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Still remember going through card catalogues at the NSW State Library in search of books to research. You had to use your noggin sometimes to think which section a book might be found.

    5. Lunker Walleye

      Everything about the Card Catalog was pleasing, from the nice wooden drawers to the scent of the index cards.
      I had to learn an additional classification system when I went to the state college and the library wasn’t as intimate as my earlier university days. Going into the darker, low ceiling stacks was the best part of searching — even better than the Card Catalog.

    6. s.n.

      brings to mind what was one of my very first jobs- putting the cards for newly acquired titles into their right place, early-mid 70s…..1973-74 to be more exact…..[also brings to mind the massive elephant folios of the NUC [ National Union Catalogue of the Library of Congress] which ran into hundreds if not thousands of volumes…which lined the walls of the card catalogue rooms in many major libraries—–and worth checking out: nicholas baker[still alive?]’s new yorker piece on what was being lost… from exactly 34 years ago

    7. Brian Beijer

      I got a wave of warm nostaglia when seeing the card catalogs too. But man, when I saw all of those people crowded around them, it gave me the heebie-jeebies. If I saw that many people standing in an indoor space; I would keep walking. It’s photos like this that remind me of things that will never happen again…at least for me.

  2. Carolinian

    re the laptop–not just election interference but election interference by the people (the media) who spend all their time yelling about election interference. They also say the recent Trump trial was justified because we need to know everything about our potential presidents (even when they’ve already been president) but secrecy applied to the laptop story because…..was there even a reason other than orange man bad? They were desperate for Trump to lose.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They had one one of those 50 spooks that signed onto that letter claiming that Hunter’s laptop was Russian misinformation in an interview. The interviewer pointed out that he was wrong and that everybody now knows that the Hunter laptop was actually true. Without batting an eyelid, the guy said that no he and the other spooks were right. They never said that the Hunter laptop wasn’t real. They only said that it had ‘the hallmarks of Russian disinformation’ so actually they were right. Don’t those guys take actual classes in how to lie?

      1. ambrit

        “Don’t those guys take actual classes in how to lie?”
        When you get as far up the ladder of “success” as an Agent of State Security as the ‘Hunter Fifty’ have, you begin giving lessons in “The Theory and Practice of Lying” to younger acolytes in the Calling.
        Our Motto: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, come see us. We might have a job for you.

        1. JohnA

          Examples of Russian dis or missinformation, please Emma. Or do you mean whatever is labelled as Russian dis or missinformation turns out to be true?

          1. Emma

            Any honest reporting on Gaza or Donbas or Syria immediately gets reporters like Aaron Mate denounced as Hamas/Putin/Assad apologist. After seeing this phenomenon for the hundredth or thousandth time, I have to conclude that the truth is actually Russian disinformation.

      2. Ed S.

        The lawyerly parsing of words in the context of ordinary conversation is seen as cleverness by the parser but simply ordinary lying or deceit by the receiver of information. It’s utterly corrosive to any trust and in the long term (and not-so-long term) results in expecting that anything the parser states is simply a lie.

        So yes, the spook was right, in the most narrow sense of right (and knowing full well that “the hallmarks of Russian disinformation” would be interpreted as “it’s Russian disinformation”) but in the broader sense now everything that individual says will be presumed to be intentionally deceptive and untrustworthy.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Always be mindful of former CIA skulch William Casey’s touchstone statement:

      “We will know our program of disinformation is complete when nothing the American public believes is true.”

      (Mumbles long string of curses and imprecations aimed at the PTB Spook etc. scum sucker class…)

  3. lyman alpha blob

    ” AI, although popular…”

    Perhaps if the would be masters of the universe at the Atlantic keep writing that on the interwebs often enough, it will become true! Or at least AI will claim it is.

      1. Stephen V

        War stories: hypnotized peeps abound. As a tax professional IRS requires so many hours of continuing ed. per year. So there we were on lovely Branson Mo (sorry coasters, look it up) and the presenter launches into a full hour of why we need AI. ! All they really did was use Chat GPT to write poetry! What this has to do with Tax Prep., I will never know.
        Flash forward to a few days ago. I ran into a guy who is a tax manager for a certain wealthy family with a lot of investments. They decide to buy an AI package to do rote preparation of Forms used to report Partnership income and distributions. He said it was an utter sh*tshow. So Full of mistakes they had to go back and re-do hundreds of them with scads of hours and beaucoup bucks wasted.

      2. Geo

        I’ve had a lot of clients over the past few months who’ve been using AI in concept generation, and have been asked numerous times to use AI to create stuff. I have to explain every time that it’s not able to create what they want (yet). Many seem to think it’s a magical tool that can make anything (they want big budget looks for no budget prices) when in reality it currently more like the Infinite Improbability Drive from Hitchhiker’s Guide in that it creates random approximations but not accurate renderings.

        Also seen it piping up a lot in movie development talks. There’s an AI script reading software that purports to give analysis on everything from story structure to budget and casting decisions to financial outlook that companies are using.

        The most frustrating one though is how many musicians I know who have gone all in on AI for everything from album covers and music videos to even writing their music.

        Very depressing time to be an artist.

        1. Yves Smith

          I have a friend, from the antipodes, who used AI to design his book cover.

          His main female character is a wannabe actress in LA who is a black barista.

          The AI put the woman in a shower cap style hair protector AND made her very dark skinned. Uncomfortably evocative of Aunt Jemima.

          He has no clue how this would have the wrong connotations in the US and I did not have the heart to tell him.

  4. Wukchumni


    These aren’t regular Joe variety Illionaires, they don’t want to really be classed with those with barely 7 or 8 figures to their name, and yes they want to live forever, kind of similar to end of times evangs.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>When technologies don’t work well, they’re paid for by the rich, who experiment,’ [Diamant] says. ‘When they finally work really well, they’re in mass production and available to everybody.’” • Lol, no.

          Like with insulin? I just love how the bottom half of the American nation is leaving the vale of tears ever earlier while those wealthier than god seek to extend their worthless lives. They don’t believe in hell, do they?

    1. Joker

      Centimillionaires, aka non-billionaires. It’s like inventing new word for beauty pageant runner-up, in order not to sound like loser.

  5. tommys

    I’ve always liked Beato, though I dislike 80% of the music he likes….he just has a great knowledge of production and engineering, and I’ve been in studios enough to know, I wish I could have someone like that. That episode is totally true. I was so surprised they brought that up. he rarely gets ‘political’…. I was in the indie music industry at the time…..and the effect was drastic in just a couple of years. I mean, really big. It was hard enough to ‘break’ into the certain few stations before….and there was even payola around that in the 90’s, but damn…clinton just never got the hate he deserved for so much he did. Thomas Frank details only part of it really. And that the party, saw him get away with it, has imitated him ever since. Seriously African american mayors to this day….lying , just damn lying , about violent crime rates in ‘liberal cities’ to get more money to cops. While people starve on the streets, and under bridges.

    1. djrichard

      It would have been interesting for them to speak to why rock doesn’t lend itself to how the music business operates now. If I had to guess I’d guess we live in a manufactured music world now and rock just isn’t a good fit for that.

      1. bassmule

        What is still happening is small-scale live rock music. The kind that gets played by bar bands. I quit mine in 2022 because I didn’t want to play 67 gigs a year anymore. Around Hartford CT, anyway, you can’t make a llving at it, but it is still, mostly, a job where you get paid in good old untraceable cash, and where you can use your $100-$150 on Friday and Saturday night to take the Significant Other out to a nice dinner once a week. And it’s not just for Boomers anymore: The kids come out for it too, because mom & dad played all those Zeppelin albums while they were growing up. As I’ve often said, the great joke is that Zep stole from American folk music when their first album came out in ’68: blues and country. Now they are American Folk Music: I still hear Stairway To Heaven once in a while at the Stop& Shop.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      It’s tragic. I do almost all of my music listening on random play to make it more like radio. Music’s more fun when you don’t know what the next song will be. The suits fixed it so you don’t care what the next song’s going to be because it sounds just like the last song they played.

      Not AI-related but this still seems #slop eligible.

    3. spud

      when people speak about reforms and conveniently leave bill clintons name out of it. and put the blame on reagan and bush, well in reality, they were pikers compared to clinton.

      almost all damage done to america, and in fact the world, most of it can be traced back to 1993-2001.

      yes clinton was corrupt. but that statement to is not only incorrect, its a back door apology. bill clinton was a zealot, a fanatic, a ideologue, that actually believed that what he was doing, was right.

      there can be no reform, till we go through line by line, of every bill, every executive order, bill clinton signed, looking for the incredible damage he did.

    4. britzklieg

      Personally, I’d never quibble with Beato’s preferences as he does a great job of articulating why he likes most good music, even the stuff that’s not my cup o’ tea (metal, in particular).

      And check out the ear on his son, Dylan. I spent a good portion of my career singing atonal “new” music in the “classical” genre for which one’s ear for pitch can be essential (and which most listeners find off-putting). It was never easy (and often unsatisfying, alas). It might have been gratifying and certainly easier if I had Dylan’s ear. The kid is amazing:


      There are several astounding videos of his talent and one can tell that his dad is not just proud, but blown away by the innate skill.

      Interestingly, I believe he turned into an architect as an adult, rather than a musician. Wise choice.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: living forever for rich people

    What I want to know is, will there be a reading of Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies the Swan on the trip? If not already planned, I’m happy to do the honors, for a perfectly reasonable fee of course.

    Huxley seemed to know where this was all heading, and settled for dropping acid on his deathbed.

    1. IM Doc

      Last week, I attended a medical lecture with the discussant talking about these procedures for the very wealthy. I have seen and heard quite a bit in my life, but many of these things are entering serious whack-a-doodle territory.

      After I heard about all the new “treatments”, all I could think about immediately after the lecture was the movie “The Road to Wellsville” – a comedy about the self same “patients” and the self-same youth-forever “treatments” from around the time when the 19th Century became the 20th.

      It certainly did not work then. And it will certainly not work now. These experiments in treatments during the Gilded Age back then are laughingstocks to us now. They did however bring a highly profitable product to the world – Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. One does wonder what potion or elixir of life these modern quacks will birth to the world.

      Your homework for the day should you choose to accept it is to read the HG Wells novel Tono Bungay. And to ponder the words of a 85 year old Professor of Medicine when I was but an intern. He self-reported that he heard these words from Sir William Osler himself – “Humanity is just like Jesus Christ…..the same yesterday, today and forever”

      Some things will never change.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidiin ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβνλλα τί ϴέλεις; respondebat illa: άπο ϴανεΐν ϴέλω.”

        I had no idea Eliot took this from Petronius’s Satyrican; the story is told over dinner at Trimalchio’s, he being the Roman equivalent of a squillionaire, and a buffoon, no doubt like these rich deluded souls.

      2. Carolinian

        As I recall it the Matthew Broderick film was about the theory that America’s afflictions boil down to constipation. Jury still out?

        It was not a big hit but all Bridget Fonda movies once welcome.

      3. Geo

        Will always love that film for the line “ With friends like you, who needs enemas?” being introduced into my life.

    2. LifelongLib

      Based on your comment I just started “After Many a Summer…”.

      I’ve never experienced either, but I think on my deathbed I might prefer heroin to LSD.

  7. Mikel

    “Vintage Photographs of People Using the Card Catalog at the Library in the 1970s” [Vintage Everyday]
    Even children learned the system.

    1. rowlf

      True. My mother was a librarian until she recently retired in her early 80’s so I spent a lot of time in libraries, my favorites being university libraries. I think learning the various ways of searching for a book or subject in the Card Catalog helped me when computer searches were developed.

      I know X is out there, how do I get to it?

    2. JBird4049

      Compared to the computerized catalog search, the card catalog was easier for me despite the ability to manipulate the search parameters onscreen; like with handwriting, the physicality and size of items being used makes for a better, more permanent understanding.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Readers, see NC here on Carvalho and its basis in Jacobson, the “recent court decision re mandates” that Market Ticker is commenting on:

      The Most Important Case No MSM Reports On

      Well, that’s why we have blogs. You’re welcome. However, this passage:

      Note the limitation on penalty: Jacobson did not permit imprisonment, either literal or effective (e.g. “stay home unless” or “you can’t shop, go to a concert or travel unless”)…

      It’s beyond absurd to conflate non-pharmaceutical interventions like quarantine or travel limitations to a “penalty” or “imprisonment”, although perhaps they feel that way to the author. Continuing…

      …. nor did it permit forced inoculation at all. It only permitted the assessment of a fine and while said fine was material in the earnings power of the day it was not confiscatory nor was it continuing (e.g. a “health care surcharge” every month) — it was a one time event for refusal.

      I disagree. Presumably the legislature imposed the fine not as a token measure, but because they thought it be effective, i.e. compliance was “forced.”* Further, the fine is an aspect of police power, and if the state had decided that a confiscatory fine was required to prevent, say — as with Covid — millions of deaths, they can in principle do so under both Jacobson and Carvalho, and the principle is the important thing to establish.

      There’s more, but that will do for now, and I must move along.

      NOTE * If enough free-riders simply paid the fine so as to “infect their neighbors as themselves,” that would render the law incapable of achieving its public purpose, in which case the fine would be increased.

    2. ambrit

      Thanks ‘flora’ for this. It hits several important issues square on.
      I particularly enjoyed the admonition at the very end.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The admonition at the very end

        Here is the admonition:

        But if you’re facing this sort of mandate and personally object irrespective of why you now have the legal ammunition to shove up the mandating party’s ass and break it off.

        First, this is outright wrong*, and it’s hard to believe the author read the case (“Carvalho”) to the end, where the following text appears:

        We note the preliminary nature of our holding. We do not prejudge whether, on a more developed factual record, Plaintiffs’ allegations will prove true.

        The Ninth circuit remanded the case to the District court for a rewrite. We don’t really have any “legal ammunition” at this point until the rewrite occurs and is passed; what we have is, as it were, a blueprint for future ammunition. Not that it’s a bad blueprint; it’s a very good one.

        Second, “this sort” is doing a lot of work. In fact, Carvalho, being founded on Jacobson, supports the necessary and moral exercise of State police power for prevention of the spread of infectious disease in pandemics (as opposed to treatment). So, if “this sort” means “treatment,” then absolutely that is what Carvalho means. If it means — as some in the more vociferous anti-vax contingent might say it means — that all vax can be rolled back, all the way past MMR in favor of so-called “natural immunity,” then no, it doens’t mean that.

        NOTE * It’s also not a very good metaphor. How is one to “break off” ammunition when it’s been shoved up somebody’s ass? With what? Where’s the leverage point?

        1. Watt4Bob

          What might be inferred about people whose pre-occupations so often involve fear of others “forcing stuff down-their-throats” and “shoving stuff up somebody’s ass”?

          I think it’s an obvious tell?

        2. ambrit

          Re the NOTE:
          From my louche years working in the French Quarter, the phrase “shoving something up someone’s a– and breaking it off” was often meant to describe an action mutually destructive. The ‘thing’ to be inserted and broken off was presumed to be an aggressor’s penis. Thus, an erotic and sadistic action. The inference being that said offensive action would bring shame to one and pain to the other.
          Re “We note the preliminary nature of our holding.”
          Quibbling here, but isn’t this a secondary holding? The opinion noted is in reply to a preliminary holding, ie Carvalho.
          The following phrase, “We do not prejudge whether, on a more developed factual record, Plaintiffs’ allegations will prove true.” is just verbiage. The intent is implicit; back to the drawing board for the lower court.
          Agreed, “this sort” is doing a lot of work. A more accurate and honest formulation would be; “But if you’re facing a mandate and….” Implied in all this is indeed the Libertarian Holy Grail, or perhaps the Federalist Society Holy Hand Grenade, to wit, “My Body, My Choice.” Now, where have we seen that formula before? As can be seen, this falls squarely in the category of “The Slippery Slope.” Such an argument could be stretched to include the ‘Pandemic of Pre-natal Infanticide’ (as some would categorize it.)
          Stay safe.

  8. Laura in So Cal

    In response to Lambert’s question about who wants AI:
    We’ve had Co-pilot foisted on us at work (we have all the Microsoft stuff including teams etc.) and my boss is all in about how it will make us more productive. It keeps trying to “fix” my emails which I then have to fix back to make them sound like me.

    I’ve agreed to use it for writing desk top procedures since it is “good” for those to be bland and verbose word salads.

    1. ambrit

      Same here when we had to “upgrade” to a Win10 OS using desktop unit.
      I refer to it as the Co-Pilot From H—. Once engaged, it proceeds to perform a “flight into Derain.”

        1. JBird4049

          Okay, for my personal clarity, let me go over all this. I have not read of or from a single person or business that is happy with or gets even modestly decent results from the AI, and yet, somehow it is all the rage, the It thing that will solve everything and make your coffee first in the morning. This is just like the manipulations with Covid isn’t? It does not matter what reality is, nor does it matter if it kills you or destroys your work/business, it just matters if the fevered fantasies and delusions of profitability of the idiots in “charge” are met.

          To further extend this reasoning, our betters are trying to jam spyware and censorware on us all because reasons even if anyone with a bit of imagination, reason, and common sense will understand that doing so will destroy free speech, business, medicine, science, government, education, even religion, and really any organization of any kind and size that uses word processing and the internet, which is everyone; people will both censor themselves and have their work manipulated into uselessness thus making having functional organizations in a functional society dealing with the problems facing our civilization impossible all because our betters wanted both to extract more wealth from and greater control of our society.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I’m not formulating this crisply but–

            It’s like McLuhan’s idea that technology is a form of amputation (like my memory for some things is worse because we have Search, so whatever system I have for allocating cranial energy doesn’t invest so much time in it).

            They make us more stupid and more sick, and then they rent us prothetics and appliances so we can return to some sort of baseline (i.e., sell our labor power successfully*). And so what if all these -ectomies are really imagination-ectomies and creativity-ectomies and (hat tip to the reader who coined this phrase) empathectomies. The only skill that really matters is making money….

            * And if not, be discarded under Rule #2.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      No doubt AI refuseniks will be mercilessly purged from workplaces by the PMC.

      Gotta jack those productivity metrics!

  9. Ranger Rick

    Ha, late to the party indeed. “Slop” as a term actually lost its edginess in the mainstream translation. It was originally an antisemitic meme (it had a Yiddish prefix) intended to highlight what the coiners saw as garbage being fed to the masses. It was applied to a great many things, from fast food to popular culture. The suffix was appropriated into “AIslop” as machine-generated content became common. Faked voice reproductions, which precede the current glut of uncanny valley imagery, enjoyed a different status for a while because it was frequently used for humorous purposes, such as imagining how US presidents would play video games or react to other banal situations.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Thanks for that good catch.

      Slander per se is defined as a false statement about a person that falls into one of the following categories:

      (1) Business dealings – the statement negatively reflects on the plaintiffs fitness in their ability to conduct business, profession, or duties of office.
      (2) Crime – a false statement imputing a criminal act by the plaintiff
      (3) Loathsome disease – historically, AIDS, or some other accusation about a plaintiff having an STD
      (4) Sexual chastity.

      Turley refers to 3 & 4 as falling into the “moral turpitude” category with the analogy to slander per se in tort law.

      Not sure how “falsifying documents” with the intent to commit either tax fraud, FECA violations, or campaign finance violations (intent only!) equates to those, but I am sure that a creative New Jersey D.A. can figure it out.

      As an aside, it is amazing how Trump-hating liberals find their inner Puritan so quickly! Moral judgment is fun!

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Well there was a porn star involved, so QED. The prosecution rests. Off with his head!

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Bidens are not a family. They are a business. And they want payment for everything that they do.

  10. dday

    Re Canada and the upcoming US civil war, the TV show “Handmaids Tale” has an interesting take on the Canadian response to Gilead, the post civil war evangelical US. I enjoyed the episode where Commander Fred Waterford is captured after crossing the Canadian border.

  11. Wukchumni

    Requiem for a heavy wait dept:

    Does it matter what order Benedict Donald and First Arms Perjurer are sentenced, and any chance they can bunk together, with Trump getting top tier in the big house?

  12. Pavel

    Based on the latest videos of Biden coming across as semi-comatose at various events, how can the debate in a few weeks not be an absolute fiasco for him? Even if Trump is his usual bombastic and unlikable (to many) self, a senile, barely coherent Biden should enrage the regular democrats and make them ask how they were made to accept this farcical, corrupt, warmongering candidate to run against the (ostensible) second coming of Hitler… who may yet win.

    My usual caveat: a pox on both their houses.

  13. Bugs

    “Tony Evans Says He Is ‘Stepping Away’ from Leading Dallas Megachurch Due To ‘Sin’”

    Hmm indeed. I think one look at Tony’s mustache, straight out of a Tom of Finland illustration, solves the mystery of his “sin”.

    Happy Pride, everyone.

  14. Tom Stone

    I see the Hunter Biden conviction as a yank on Joe’s leash.
    The FBI confirmed the authenticity of the laptop in May 2019, Months before the election ( Hoover would have approved of how they handled it)
    If you look at the timing of the various charges Vs Trump and the progress (And lack of it) and timing of the various charges VS Dear Hunter it seems to me that TPTB have been trying to use it to keep Joe in line.
    With little success.
    Brandon reminds me of a Landlord I once had who was a dry drunk, a man whose last few years were profoundly affected by dementia in an extremely ugly way.

  15. Tom Stone

    Totally off topic.
    I own a very accurate .22 LR and looked into buying some Match grade ammo for the first time in 15 years.
    Lapua now makes .22 rimfire ammo optimized for target shooting at 300 Meters (!), which is triple the distance of early this century.
    So I searched “Extreme long range” and learned that target matches at a 2 mile range are now common enough that a commercial rifle is now being sold for those matches (The Barrett ELR) which weighs 23 Lbs.
    I have looked at modern optics the last year or two and the improvements there are astounding to someone who began shooting in the 1960’s when extreme long range was 1 KM.
    I’m sure everyone here knows that bullets are spun by the rifling, they rest on a cushion of air and at 2 miles that spin can move a bullet several feet.

    1. JBird4049

      Two miles with a .22 LR?!?

      Honestly, I have never been a good shot, and if I ever get back into the game, I will be very happy to just consistently hit the target at a hundred yards. It will be a cheap, very basic bolt action for me.

      1. ambrit

        “Two miles with a .22 LR?!?”
        I had to look that up.
        The Barrett ELR is in .375 or .416 calibre. So, a large calibre rifle.
        Match grade performance of 300 metres for a .22 LR is plenty good enough for that small of a projectile.
        I just hope you do not fall in with a group like the “sport shooters” I encountered at the local public range recently who set up man sized and shaped targets embellished with “Hippy” accoutrements.
        One of the Oligarchies’ great achievements has been to frame the ongoing social power struggle in terms of a “Culture War,” rather than a “Class War.”
        If there is a full on Civil War in our future, it will be won by those who are willing to make the hard choices and take no prisoners. Look to the career of Ulysses Grant in the previous American Civil War for an example.
        Stay safe.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>If there is a full on Civil War in our future, it will be won by those who are willing to make the hard choices and take no prisoners. Look to the career of Ulysses Grant in the previous American Civil War for an example.

          Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Lee, and IIRC Longstreet supported ending the war once it ended instead of either of mass retribution by the North or continuing civil war as a guerrilla war by the South. The very lenient terms offered by Grant and Sherman were not popular and Lee had to flatly order his officers to not break up the Army of Northern Virginia and go into the mountains. (The ring around was loose enough that probably as regiments and companies the entire army could slip past. Just not as a whole, organized body. Guerrillas with artillery?)

          I understand that it was touch and go with confederates and unionists having to be tamped down repeatedly with Lincoln’s assassination making it much harder. It was done by leaders of both sides, not because they wanted to, but because they were afraid of an even worse guerrilla war.

          And because former? confederates were determined to bring back slavery under another name and because of the fecklessness of the Republican Party in 1876 ending Reconstruction, we can say that a successful guerrilla war did happen.

          This is just my long winded explanation of what I fear might happen in a second civil war. One only has to see the multi generational violence in the various civil wars in various countries around the war admittedly often with American assistance. It often is easier to start a war than it is to end it. Too many Americans are wanting to have a fight with guns and our leaders are midgets compared to previous generations. It does not matter in what areas, but it does include most politicians, senior military officers, and a big bunch of foolish wannabes. I am not sure that we will have a war, but I am sure that ending it especially cleanly will be almost impossible given the current leadership.

    2. rowlf

      Stick to European 22 ammo as US ammo is crap. The US companies gave up the precision category as the US mindset is 22 is for plinking and should be dirt cheap. Don’t be surprised if less than top-of-the-line Euro ammo performs better than premium in your rifle. That is part of the craziness of 22 ammo and production lots.

      Centerfire cartridges and reloading makes it easier to get consistent precision ammunition than 22, where you are at the mercy of the production lot. (For high level competition there are testing facilities to match your barrel to a 22LR production lot. The manufacturer tests for best lot and the competitor buys several cases or a pallet.)

    3. rowlf

      I think it is fun to consider that a British company makes some of the best 22 ammunition for International and Olympic competition.

      1. ambrit

        “Is there a gun club for introverts?”
        Not certain, but there are magazines full of kinetic goodness.
        It’s sort of like toy train aficionados; chock full of choo choo woo woo.
        I’f certain that you have heard them all. Such as: “How do you gague a train set? Easy. By the track record.” Etc. etc., etc. etc., etc, etc,.

        1. Joker

          Introverts came up with “Extreme long range” sniping, in order to distance themselves from others even more. Extroverts are the ones demanding a bayonet mount. :)

    4. sarmaT

      I have looked at modern optics the last year or two and the improvements there are astounding to someone who began shooting in the 1960’s when extreme long range was 1 KM.
      I’m sure everyone here knows that bullets are spun by the rifling, they rest on a cushion of air and at 2 miles that spin can move a bullet several feet.

      That’s why Russian snipers use ballistic calculations from Apple app store :)

  16. Navile

    I’m a North Carolina resident. A couple weeks ago I contemplated ordering some face masks w/text “I’m Allergic to Genocide”.

    Now maybe I need a second mask underneath that says “Family-blog the statehouse”…

  17. Lunker Walleye

    Cobb’s Barns, Hopper Painting
    There’s something very unsettling about this work. The sharp angles and acrid palette are jarring. It is desolate. Yet, it is a masterful composition and beautifully executed.

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