2:00PM Water Cooler 6/19/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, what you see is what you get, today; I must hustle along and finish up a post on Trump. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Mishmi Wren-Babbler, Mishmi Hills–Coffee House (52 km), Lower Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Did you mishmi?

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Democrat plotting.

(2) RFK doens’t make the cut for the debates.

(3) How a serious country (Finland) handled bird flu.

(4) The physics of knitting.

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Mail from Bruce F:


I’ve found a couple of sites that let “normal” people help each other learn languages. Sites where ordinary people can help and be helped.



The idea is that you create a profile (free) saying what language you already know as well as your target language. You can then contact others on the sites and connect directly with them via Skype. It’s an excellent way to teach, and in turn, be taught. Perfect for autodidacts.

This is a terrific tool for those of us who are following the “Comprehensible Input” method. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vrNtU8feek)

Thanks for all the excellent work over the years.

There seem to be more submissions for this category lately. Thank you!

* * *

My email address is down by the plant; please send examples of there (“Helpers” in the subject line). In our increasingly desperate and fragile neoliberal society, everyday normal incidents and stories of “the communism of everyday life” are what I am looking for (and not, say, the Red Cross in Hawaii, or even the UNWRA in Gaza).


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

* * *


Less than a half a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, May 24:

Still waiting for some discernible effect from Trump’s conviction (aside from, I suppose, his national numbers rising). 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.

* * *

BIden (D): “Biden’s Secret Weapon Against Trump: Older Voters” [Wall Street Journal]. “Senior citizens, long a reliable voting bloc for Republicans, are showing signs of turning into an election-year swing group, potentially giving President Biden an unlikely boost in his tough rematch against Donald Trump. Americans ages 65 and older turn out at significantly higher rates than younger voters do, giving them outsize clout as they choose this year between the Democrat Biden, 81, and the Republican Trump, who turned 78 on Friday…. Biden has notched about 48% of seniors in The Wall Street Journal’s national and swing-state polls this year, a number that puts him in line with his 2020 performance. The polls have shown Trump getting about 46% of that age group, down from 51% in 2020. Biden’s standing among older voters has a few possible explanations: The president has been performing well among Americans who are closely monitoring the election, giving him an advantage with seniors who actively consume cable television and news coverage in their retirement. Some polling has shown seniors with more favorable views of Biden’s handling of the economy, possibly because they feel more insulated from the impacts of higher interest rates and inflation. But Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, said any feeling of dramatic movement among older voters toward Biden may be overstated. The bigger change, he said, may be that older voters don’t seem to be moving toward Trump while other groups are. Beyond that point, he said, there is the broader question of the composition of the 65-and-older voting bloc in 2024.”

Biden (D): “The Biden Campaign’s Losing Battle” [The Atlantic]. “The Biden campaign seems to believe that journalists should stop reporting on polls, rallies, and other tentpoles of traditional presidential races, and instead devote their resources to telling Americans that Trump wants to be a dictator, over and over again. If that means ignoring Biden’s missteps and weaknesses, well, the Biden campaign can accept that.”

* * *

BIden (D): We get letters:

A *.gif in the subject line is new for Mothership Strategies, AFAIK. (Actually, I don’t know who the vendor is, but the old school, direct mail style is Mothership’s.) But on that *gif: We al know about Obama’s big ears, but what’s with his expression?

Biden (D): “Biden targets Trump’s conviction as tensions ramp up ahead of debate” [CNN]. “Biden’s new ad zeroes in directly on the guilty verdict in Trump’s hush money trial and his huge loss in a civil fraud case to strike a sharp contrast with Biden’s character. As the ex-president’s mug shot flashes on screen, a narrator says: ‘This election is between a convicted criminal who’s only out for himself and a president who is fighting for your family.’ The ad marks the Biden campaign’s most explicit strategic use so far of Trump’s legal woes in a campaign message.” • We’re gonna have to pry “fighting for” out of their cold, dead hands. They deeply believe in that phrase!

* * *

Secret Democrat plot to replace Biden revealed: How Clinton, Obama, Pelosi and Schumer would topple the aging President… and when they’d do it” {Daily Mail]. This did run in Links a couple days ago, but I had to leave it on the cutting room floor. Given a debate stumble by Biden: “The only people who could force [Biden] out would be Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,’ one Democratic strategist told DailyMail.com. ‘It would have to be the four of them collectively.’… But other party insiders concede that the candidate swap could work if everything was carefully planned and executed… However, there’s another potential complication. As the recognized leader of the Democratic Party, a stubborn Biden could refuse to step down and fight on to Election Day, even as the party grows more exasperated with his performance…. The Democratic party machine has now elected to hold an online nomination, complete with a ‘virtual roll call,’ to formally select Biden as their nominee ahead of the DNC convention in Chicago in mid-August. Part of the reason to go ‘virtual’ is to ensure a more controlled process should the party decide to select a replacement candidate. In that case, top Democratic leaders would quietly draft the substitute nominee in advance. That person would not be Vice President Kamala Harris, according to sources, who observed that Harris has already had to fend off a push to replace her on the ticket… But if not Harris, then who? Democratic leaders would quietly draft the substitute nominee in advance…. Strategists theorize that Democrats would have to hold a public event to symbolically transfer power to the new candidate. Biden, Obama, Clinton, Schumer, and Pelosi would publicly introduce and endorse the anointed nominee. They would also have to convince Harris to throw her support behind the substitute, which would be a painful experience for someone so fiercely protective of their political future.” • The headline (“revealed”) isn’t supported by the story, which is either speculation, not sourced, or single-sourced (with the single exception of sources plural saying, unremarkably, that Harris ain’t it). Note the use of the subjunctive throughout. I just can’t see a scenario where Biden and the Big Four — Bill? And not Hillary? — collectively say “Whoops!” and Biden steps down voluntarily. The insiders might think there’s no problem — after all, they’ve been gaming this out for months — but I think the country at large would think it laughable. Unless Biden’s replacement has absolute starpower — very much unlike any Democrat politician on offer — something would have to… happen to Biden. Something physical and incapacitating. Maybe somebody could stretch some fishing line across one of the steps down from Air Force one. After all, “our democracy” is at stake.

* * *

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. won’t qualify for June Trump-Biden presidential debate: report” [New York Post]. “Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will fall short of meeting the ballot access requirements needed to qualify for next week’s debate between President Biden and former President Donald Trump, according to a report. …. However, the independent candidate is not on the ballot in several states where he has claimed he is, and he won’t meet the threshold needed to qualify for the June 27 CNN debate by the Thursday deadline, a Washington Post survey of state election officials found.”

* * *

“Exclusive: Leading chatbots are spreading Russian propaganda” [Axios]. “The leading AI chatbots are regurgitating Russian misinformation, according to a NewsGuard report shared first with Axios. Users turning to chatbots for reliable information and quick answers to all their questions are finding that AI can also offer disinformation, satire and fiction as fact. To conduct the study, NewsGuard entered prompts asking about narratives known to have been created by John Mark Dougan, an American fugitive who, per the New York Times, is creating and spreading misinformation from Moscow. Entering 57 prompts into 10 leading chatbots, NewsGuard found they spread Russian disinformation narratives 32% of the time, often citing Dougan’s fake local news sites as a reliable source.” • It does seem as if having the Censorship Industrial Complex — i.e., the spooks — somehow certifiy the election results is becoming an inevitability. “Our democracy” in operational terms, I suppose.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“The Resistance to a New Trump Administration Has Already Started” [New York Times]. “A sprawling network of Democratic officials, progressive activists, watchdog groups and ex-Republicans has been taking extraordinary steps to prepare for a potential second Trump presidency, drawn together by the fear that Mr. Trump’s return to power would pose a grave threat not just to their agenda but to American democracy itself…. But the early timing, volume and scale of the planning underway to push back against a potential second Trump administration are without precedent. The loose-knit coalition is determined not to be caught flat-footed, as many were [although not the spooks!] after his unexpected victory in 2016…. Interviews with more than 30 officials and leaders of organizations about their plans revealed a combination of acute exhaustion and acute anxiety. Activist groups that spent the four years of Mr. Trump’s presidency organizing mass protests and pursuing legal challenges, ultimately helping channel that energy into persuading voters to oust him from power in 2020, are now realizing with great dread they may have to resist him all over again.

The group leaders say they learned a lot from 2017 to 2021 about how to run an effective resistance campaign…. The group hired the journalist Barton Gellman [hmm] from The Atlantic to help with scenario planning and tabletop exercises focused on what could unfurl during a Trump presidency, with a report likely to be made public this summer. Other work has included a focus on the Insurrection Act and the Emergency Powers Act.” • War games, just like 2020, as I’ve been saying.

“How a Network of Nonprofits Enriches Fundraisers While Spending Almost Nothing on Its Stated Causes” [ProPublica]. • Penny ante 527 stuff.

“State Department hit with subpoena over ‘censorship-by-proxy'” [Washinton Examiner]. The Censorship Industrial Complex at State. Here is the Republican framing: “‘All Americans deserve a fair shot to compete in the marketplace, and the government should not be tipping the scales against any business for their legal speech on the internet,’ [Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)] told the Washington Examiner. ‘The refusal to comply with repeated document requests is unacceptable, especially when the livelihoods of many small businesses are on the line.'” • It would be interesting to know if WIlliams would apply that rationale to, say, the World Socialist Web Site. One would hope so.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘I Live in Hell’: Anti-Growth Fervor Grips US South After Pandemic Boom” [Bloomberg]. “In Gallatin, Tennessee, house prices have jumped by two-thirds since the pandemic, and one local commissioner incensed at nearby homebuilding said she ‘lives in hell.’ So many Californians have moved to the booming state that locals fear their lefty politics migrated with them, and lawn signs target the “greedy developers” they say are swallowing up farmland. Tennessee and several of its neighbors in the US South are facing an anti-growth backlash, after turbocharged migration helped boost the region’s population by 2.7 million people — the size of Chicago. As traffic snarls in once-sleepy downtowns, apartment complexes replace meadows and municipal water systems strain under new demand, passions are running high in a way that goes beyond regular nimbyism. In Sumner County, where the Cumberland River snakes through the verdant hills northeast of Nashville, the economy grew by 8.5% a year from 2020 to 2022, putting it in the top 7% of all US counties for growth. The number of apartments in the county seat of Gallatin almost doubled in the four years through 2022, according to property marketplace RentCafe. The boom — driven by transplants from blue states like New York and California — has spurred a right-wing group that marries conservative religious beliefs with restrictive policies on growth into control of the local legislative body. At a planning board meeting in May, the pressing agenda item was whether to boost minimum lot sizes in rural areas to at least 2.3 acres; big enough to ward off housing developers who need more density.”


“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!

* * *


Hospitals have regressed:

Testing and Tracking: Wastewater

I should really file this under Maleficence:

For my purposes, I use CDC’s wasterwater maps, not their charts (though presumably the same data drives both, and a chart comes up for a wastewater treatment plant “dot” when you click on it). The difficulty with Wastewater Scan is that I’ve never found a way to easily aggregate the data; they want you to type in a particular location, so you can never get an overall view. If any readers have made Wastewater Scan work for them, please say so in comments.

Elite Maleficence

“We aren’t doing enough about the risk of bird flu but we can” [CNN]. “We’ve seen H5N1 coming for more than 20 years. Although the challenge was smaller because of it size, Finland stopped H5N1 in animals before it spread to humans last summer. This story, among a half dozen outbreaks that never made headlines, is featured in our new Epidemics That Didn’t Happen report. “Rapid response. Within 24 hours of the first cases being reported on a mink farm, Finland confirmed that the animals tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1…. In the United States, H5N1 has been spreading among cattle since at least late last year. Even today, the United States doesn’t know the extent of spread among animals or humans due to insufficient testing and tracking…. Trust. Farmers already had a high level of trust in the Finnish Food Authority after years of successful programs, and had launched a surveillance program that resulted in rapid notification of unusual symptoms among their animals…. Trust toward the United States government is low, especially among rural Americans who are on the front line of these outbreaks…. Coordinated government response. Human health and agriculture officials in Finland coordinated closely, paving the way for a rapid, effective response…. In the United States, government agencies have had rocky relationships given varying priorities, legal authorities, agility and politics. There are multiple agencies involved: USDA monitors cattle health, US Food and Drug Administration monitors milk safety and the CDC monitors diseases in humans, including from animal exposure. Coordination seems to be improving, but any directives from the government should be crafted to the specific needs of each community; national mandates will likely not be practical given our country’s size and diversity.” • What a mess. And we’ve known for years — decades? — that bird flu was something to watch for. And here we are, with a government and public health response that’s worse, if that were possble, than our response to Covid-19.

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

This week[1] CDC June 10: Last Week[2] CDC June 3 (until next week):

Variants[3] CDC June 8 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC June 8
New York[5] New York State, data June 17: National [6] CDC May 25:
National[7] Walgreens June 10: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic June 8:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC May 27: Variants[10] CDC May 27:
Weekly Deaths vs. % Positivity [11]CDC June 8: Weekly Deaths vs. ED Visits [12]CDC June 8:


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. The numbers in the right hand column are identical. The dots on the map are not.

[2] (CDC) Last week’s wastewater map.

[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) A slight decrease followed by a return to a slight, steady increase. (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. I’m leaving this here for another week because I loathe them so much:

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

There are no offical statistics of interest today.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 42 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 45 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 18 at 8:59:52 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“Unraveling the Physics of Knitting” (press release) [Georgia Tech]. “Physicists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken the technical know-how of knitting and added mathematical backing to it. In a study led by Elisabetta Matsumoto, associate professor in the School of Physics, and Krishma Singal, a graduate researcher in Matsumoto’s lab, the team used experiments and simulations to quantify and predict how knit fabric response can be programmed. By establishing a mathematical theory of knitted materials, the researchers hope that knitting — and textiles in general — can be incorporated into more engineering applications. Their research paper, ‘Programming Mechanics in Knitted Materials, Stitch by Stitch,’ was published in the journal Nature Communications. ‘For centuries, hand knitters have used different types of stitches and stitch combinations to specify the geometry and ‘stretchiness’ of garments, and much of the technical knowledge surrounding knitting has been handed down by word of mouth,’ said Matsumoto. But while knitting has often been dismissed as unskilled, poorly paid ‘women’s work,’ the properties of knits can be more complex than traditional engineering materials like rubbers or metals. For this project, the team wanted to decode the underlying principles that direct the elastic behavior of knitted fabrics. These principles are governed by the nuanced interplay of stitch patterns, geometry, and yarn topology — the undercrossings or overcrossings in a knot or stitch. ‘A lot of yarn isn’t very stretchy, yet once knit into a fabric, the fabric exhibits emergent elastic behavior,’ Singal said.” • I’m picturing an Ursula LeGuin story of an Ekumen planet where the matriarchy won out, and (say) high school physics isn’t based on the movement of planets and Newtonian principles, but on…. “emergent elastic behavior” based on yarn topology. Would that world not be very different from our own?

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: This is my freshly potted (about a month ago) catmint plant. I’m pretty thrilled with it. I never knew there was such a thing. I’d heard of catnip, but no catmint. I read that it attracts cats but doesn’t have the intoxicating effect that catnip tends to have. I brought some of the flowers in and put them in a little cup. The cats, who chewed on every plant we’ve ever brought in the house, have not noticed it, so just how strong the attraction is, is under suspicion.” Very nice depth of field.

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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


    Christopher C. Cuomo
    What’s behind the post covid sickness surge? The vaccine? Immunity suppression? Long Covid? The answer is there is not one answer. It’s complicated and we have to keep the conversation going. Dr. David Putrino, Dir. of Rehabilitation Innovation of Mt Sinai Health System joins me to discuss

    Video at the link.

    Protect yourself from long COVID by not getting infected.

    1. antidlc

      “We need to be very firm with our messaging. There’s no such thing as a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. There’s no such thing as a SARS-CoV-2 infection that does not have prolonged consequences.”

  2. Neutrino

    Knitting? I see forthcoming grants combining knot theory and string theory, to start. /s

      1. Screwball

        Also known as a gravity table. Tension integrity is the other as you say. Neat stuff for sure. I hope this works. Link to my youtube channel to a picture of a 3D modeled table that was then 3D printed. The pipe wrench weighs about 2 lbs while the table less than 1/3 of an ounce.


  3. Screwball

    I’m in Ohio and we are having a week long heat fest. 95-100 every day. If I had an old style electric meter with hands, it would look like a fan. I have been on a mission to reduce my electric bill. I had it down to around 8-11 kW per day without air conditioning. The last two days I used over 30 kW. This heat wave will not help people who are already struggling with inflationary pressures.

    Stay safe out there.

    1. petal

      We just hit FL 104 here in Hanover. It’s bad. Am in a 2nd floor west-facing apt with an elderly dog. AC is cranked to max along with a box fan. During my Manx lesson today I said “I am hot” in Manx, and my teacher said our heat wave made their news and that it is headed their way. Their high during it will be 68F. sigh. Dreading my coming electric bills.

      1. ambrit

        Sarcasm alert!
        Manx, er, do you mean what were once referred to as men?
        What then would be the singular of ‘minx?’

        1. Ellery O'Farrell

          It’s a nearly extinct Celtic language once spoken on the Isle of Man. According to Wikipedia, the last native speaker who grew up in a community that spoke Manx died in 1974. It’s now being revived, though I have few hopes of it becoming a flourishing language spoken throughout Man.

      2. Bugs

        Cool. If you go to the annual motorcycle rally, I’ll bet you can find someone to try out a few phrases on. Lovely place. Kind people. Though the food was, well, not fantastic. Sort of Britain 30 years ago.

        1. petal

          I will have to visit when the TT is not on. I hate motorcycles with a passion-one Manx gene I didn’t get.

    2. thousand points of green

      Well . . . if air conditioning is survival-necessary, one uses it. And reduces other power uses as much as one is able.

      Would an air conditioning system work more efficiently at night time than during the day? Because the outdoor compressor-system component is not being warmed up by sunlight at night? If it would, what if one were to run the air conditioning all through the night to cool the house including all its solid physical mass down as cool as possible before the sun comes up, and then sets the daytime thermostat to the highest temp. one can safely tolerate for a whole day? Would the house be cooled down enough at night to be able to ride several hours on stored overnight cool before finally reaching the temperature set for daytime kick-in of the air conditioning?

      I’m in SouthEast Michigan and we are having a very-warm fest for that same week, temperatures to the highest 80s to mid 90s, not quite as hot as Ohio. I never got air conditioning because procrastinertia, so I just take whatever the heat is.

      Since I live alone in a fairly small place ( 640 square feet), I am able to get by on relatively little household electricity. My daily kilowatt-hours usage per day for the last most recent billmonth was 1.4 kilowatt-hours per day.

      1. hemeantwell

        Not sure about product recommendation guidelines here, but here goes,
        Back when we lived in SE Michigan we had a portable (sorta) window unit we used rarely. It was a noisy divinity when we needed it. Lately, after losing power again in North Florida (tornado) we found a Midea 12000 btu unit at Costco for three hundred (price has gone up for the moment) for use during summer blackouts, which we expect to become common. Weighs 60 pounds, but with some help not hard to install and remove. Pretty sippy electricity-wise, 500 sq feet cooled.

      2. Alice X

        S/E MI also. My last bill was an average of 4.6 kwhrs/day. 1.4 is pretty amazing. When it will be hot the next day I run an exhaust fan all night before, then close the house up for the day. That works quite well, or at least well enough unless the over night low is 72° or 74° like the last two nights. My A/C is set at 79° (so it kicks in at 80°), it just went on for the first time this year. I didn’t use it at all last year.

      3. jsn

        Thermal mass works as a cooling strategy where masonry walls are 18″ thick or more. If you have such an assembly, and aren’t stacked on top of dozens of others in an apartment building who are all generating their own heat, the cooling strategy you describe will work. But if there are heat loads being discharged into your space (neighbors heat coming up through the floor, for instance) the thermal mass will probably be quickly overwhelmed.

        The south of France and Mediterranean Spain keep cool with thermal mass in thick walled masonry buildings with wood shutters outside the windows which get closed in the morning when the ambient temperature starts to rise and not opened again until it cools down in the evening.

        Most American houses are wood frame, even ones that have masonry typically only have veneer stone or brick. As a result, they have little thermal mass and are better served by insulation to damp temperature swings than mass.

        1. thousand points of green

          Well, I am wood frame, no masonry. Decent insulation. Given that, would the concrete slab my unit sits on, and the ground just under it, be a little bit of thermal mass? If the unit were cooled off through the night, would enough heat rise up out of the slab and underslab ground to cool that off a little too? And if so, would it be enough to slow down the next-day reheating of the house for a few hours?

          A whole-house attic exhaust fan sounds good too. Many of the summer nights here in SE Michigan should be at or under 70 degrees for the next few years anyway.

          1. ambrit

            The whole house attic exhaust fan works fairly well. Our house, built at the end of WW-2, has one. The sticking point is to have adequate exhaust ports in the attic itself. Here in the North American Deep South, most older houses have attic ‘vent’ openings, usually at the point of the triangle created by the end of attic space wall. Generally permanently enclosed in wooden louvers.
            The average American concrete residential foundation is a lot of mass. Include the generally trucked in “red dirt” subsurface the concrete rests on, and you have something usable. I Southern climes, the main problem with concrete slabs is the tendency for condensate to form on uncovered concrete surfaces. Air exchange is needed or mold will often become a problem.
            Also consider the source of the air that will replace the air exhausted from the dwelling by the fan . With a concrete slab, some of the windows, preferably on the shady sides of the building, will need to be opened a bit to allow outside and hopefully cooler air to enter. Old timers often planted fairly large shrubs just away from the sides of the building to create a shade zone where air could cool off a bit before being drawn into the building. Keep a space between the outer walls and the plantings so as to avoid molding, ‘rust’ etc. that such ‘close quarters’ promote. The rule of thumb is to make the space just wide enough to allow passage for someone to prune the plants. Many crime averse persons used to tear these sorts of plantings out so as to deny malefactors a place to hide from the ‘virtuous’ attentions of the police, night riders, brown shirts, etc. etc.

      4. Acacia

        Might be worth mentioning “passive house” designs to reduce heating and cooling requirements, e.g.:


        One of my friends has persuaded me that this is a worthy design approach, from an energy efficiency standpoint. OTOH, the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic has made me aware that indoor CO2 levels are likewise an important issue, and I’m not sure how these passive house designs manage CO2, as they seem to work in part by providing a tightly sealed interior. Maybe a conundrum, maybe not(?).

        If anybody has experience with this, or articles about it, I’d be curious to hear.

        1. ambrit

          For information concerning tightly sealed house designs, try the building codes of the Scandanavian countries. Some of their insulation regs are severe. (Ever hear of a R-21 insulated front door? Me neither.)

        2. fjallstrom

          As far as I understand, passive houses needs well planned air flows (otherwise you get mold), it’s just the heat from the outgoing air is used to heat the incoming air.

    3. skippy

      Old trick around here on hot ones is to pop in for a cold shower for a few min. Would also note that thermal loading inside of house is important i.e. cool house very early in the morning so everything inside is cool. This way the aircon does not have to struggle with it, like putting a hot item in the fridge.

      Same with hydration, starts the night before and then first thing in the morning, followed through out the day. Once you get behind you can’t get the curve back in control, oh and the water should not be icy cold, takes body longer to absorb due to needing it warmer to absorb.

      Heh … I need the empty house I am working on to be warmer, pop on heat via split system first thing when I walk in. Paints and Plaster don’t like the cold much and I have floor sanders coming in on Monday. Working through the weekend …

    4. Jason Boxman

      I don’t miss my window-AC summers in Boston; I think I gave myself heat exhaustion working out inside back in 2018 one day. Fortunately I survived, but that’s a nasty feeling.

      I was in a south west facing top floor unit without any shade, so the building got the heat all day. And they painted they roof black! Most of the 500 ft unit was just an oven. I kept the A/C in the bedroom, as you’d expect.

      I was late to the climate party, and didn’t first learn about it until 2004 in a NY Times article. I knew that day that we’re all going to burn alive. It’s a shame to find that, yet again, I am correct, as I often am about such things. I’ve hated the heat even more ever since reading that in 2004, back when living in Florida.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Here we are about two days away from the winter solstice and our house is freezing with the outside being cold and windy. Would I swap for that heat where you guys are? Hell no. As they say, when it is cold you can throw on another jumper but when it is really hot, there is not a damn thing that you can do.

      1. JBird4049

        Living somewhat near the Golden Gate (the mouth of the San Francisco Bay) I often am unhappy with the overcast, the wind, and the occasional fog, but on those rare occasions when it does hit the 80s or even the 90s, I am most appreciative for the fog coming back. Being able to sleep at night is nice.

        The sad bit is that the fog of now seems much weaker than the fog of forty years ago. Not that it has gone away. It still gets plenty of wind and fog, but I suspect that the temperature difference between the land and the ocean is shrinking because of the ocean warming. There just isn’t the regular train of fog as before. The ocean is still plenty cold and hypothermia is still a problem for the unprepared, but still.

        One of the benefits of living in the same state, usually in the same general area all my life, I guess, is I get to notice the weather changing as well as the insect and bird numbers shrinking. However, it is not what the average person would easily notice as the change from year to year is nothing as every year is different from the previous, sometimes greatly, but the aggregate over several decades is significant.

    6. Screwball

      I’ll add a few things to this great conversation.

      I’ve tracked my electric bill for almost 2 1/2 years. I have a spreadsheet with all the bills as well as a meter reading each and every day. I don’t have to do that, but I do. Ohio AEP. They are a few days behind but I want to know today. I record all this along with temperature, what appliances I used, and what heat or cooling.

      On normal days where I don’t run the washer/dryer, oven, air conditioner/furnace, I can get by on 8-11 kW per day. I have gas water and furnace. The furnace is only a fan so doesn’t use that much, but the air conditioning is a hog (goes through the same pipes).

      I even went as far as using an ammeter around the house to check various things. My kitchen refrigerator used around .6 to .8 kW a day, smaller ones less than that, and I have 2. The one that surprised me was my laptop – depending on use – I had some days over .6 kW. Almost as much as the fridge.

      Which fits into what some call “phantom” electric use. I have 3 computers, 4 wireless devices, 5 televisions, and the normal other household things that are plugged in and lighting up a diode or two, not to mention lights, garage doors, fans, etc. But it all adds up. The lowest I ever printed was a 7. I don’t know how I can get under that.

      Also, since this is too long anyway, my electric bill tells me the actual electric I use is 27% of my bill, while 2 1/2 years ago it was 45%. Thanks!

    7. edwin

      I’m about 750 km due north of Youngstown. Temperature is similar up to – 35. Humidex in the 40’s. Seasonal averages 20/12. We are in a micro climate and things can be wild, but this is insane. It is an unusual summer when this type of temperature is reached at any point, let alone in June.

      Our pole pea crop has had the growing points singed and are stunted. Looks bad. Expecting a complete loss for harvest. Fortunately we have some bush peas that are quicker. We are going to do the last harvest today. That is about 3 weeks earlier than last year. Interestingly they haven’t singed. Peppers won’t flower in this temperature. Not sure about tomatoes, but all the fruits are not happy. Few flowers. Water usage is way, way up. If we water at this time of year I would expect about once every 2 weeks. (drought is often a thing here) We watered our peas 3 times in one week. New seedlings are not getting the water they need.

      Hopefully the sweet potatoes and lima beans that we plant will do well this year. They are out of zone. Sweet Potatoes need to be babied and lima beans do well one year in 3.

      The heat is just brutal. Our garden is not getting the attention it needs.

      It’s not just electricity. Water as well, and potentially food crops.

  4. JM

    Thank you Bruce F for the links! I’ve been meaning to brush up my Japanese skills and these seem like great additions to the cause.

  5. hemeantwell

    Re plotting and/or preparation, I got a link to What If Trump Wins? through Portside two days ago.

    It reminds me of very early, DOS-based political strategy games in that it walks you through decision trees requiring clarification of worries and suggests rudimentary action plans — community organizing, etc. It might help those without much political experience to avoid just waiting for Lefty, or Ms. Suitpants, to come up with a Plan. Haven’t seen anything like it before.

    One of the organizations involved is WV Can’t Wait, sporting a set of goals that seems ok, though it takes a long time to get to support for unions in a state with at least a history of strong union effort. The other is 350.org, which afaik has yet to sell out.

  6. Tom Stone

    I’ve been following Ms Harris’ political career since she was first mentioned as Willie Brown’s “Companion” in Herb Caen’s column and thought that an explanation of Her political philosophy might be helpful to those not familiar with Her.

    1. Late Introvert

      Heh. I lived in SF during the 90s and one of the many reasons I’m no longer registered Democratic is due to Slick Willie.

  7. Carolinian

    Re Nashville–it must be the full size reproduction of the Parthenon in west Nashville that is luring them in. Greek golden age meets Dolly Parton…..what’s not to like?

    When recently driving through Tenn I did notice an unusual number of Teslas. Cheap TVA power another attraction? At the time I took it as a marker of prosperity but maybe it’s all the Californians. In any case Dixie is becoming trendy.

    1. Wukchumni

      Californians here we come
      Far away where I started from
      Where buyers in the Carolinas bloom in the spring
      Each morning at dawning, equity refugees sing and everything

      A sun-kissed Realtor miss said, “Paying all cash-why worry about an interest rate?”
      That’s why I can hardly wait
      Adios to that Golden Gate
      Leaving California, here I come

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Nowadays I think I will retire right where I live at. But for the longest time I was thinking of “nice places” to retire. One requirement for being a “nice place” was being too unfashionable for California refugees to ever want to go to. I couldn’t imagine a lot of Californians in exile wanting to spend their exile in Nebraska or Illinois ( except maybe Chicago) or other unfashionable states.

    3. Clark T

      I live in Nashville and see Teslas every day. This wasn’t the case even a year or two ago. And not just the “cheap” Teslas, but the big ones that are probably home-based in areas of Davidson County that I refer to as Richistan. (Not original, but it makes people mad.) I do not like this city any more and am distressed to hear that Gallatin (Sumner County, borders Nashville/Davidson to the east) is overrun by cash-out transplants as well. Haven’t checked out Tesla sightings out there. Maybe I can construct a “Tesla Index” of the decline by unchecked growth of any generic metro area.

  8. kareninca

    If you go to the Santa Clara, CA County wastewater site, you can get covid wastewater data for that county and other nearby counties (https://covid19.sccgov.org/dashboard-wastewater). From there you can click to “influenza data and reports” for those counties.

    For the past several months, Gilroy (a farming area) had extreme Influenza A spikes out of season. Then they didn’t update for weeks. Then, very recently, they updated, and happily the concentration had fallen to a very low level. However, now for the bad news. If you click on that page to see what is up now, the page has been taken down.

  9. Washington Woman

    I still wear masks anytime I have to go into a public space, and it is a full respirator. I am OK being alive and not burdened with Long COVID than upset that someone thinks I am paranoid.

    1. albrt

      I still wear n-95s in the grocery store and basically all other public spaces. I am a tall white male and I recently got a haircut so no one ever bothers me about it. I enjoy giving people cognitive dissonance, so I probably would do it even if I were not concerned about my own health.

      I am pretty consistently the only one with a mask now. I do not even see occasional old or frail looking people wearing masks.

      Lots of people I know suddenly got sick in the last few weeks, but nobody knows what any of them had.

    2. kareninca

      If someone thinks I’m paranoid because I am wearing an N95, they might leave me alone!!! Win-win!!!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Tell people that annoy you that State law requires you to wear an N95 so that you do not spread any germs from your tuberculosis infection, start coughing into your mask, and then make movements to maybe lift and adjust your mask. See if they stick around.

  10. Jason Boxman

    Senior citizens, long a reliable voting bloc for Republicans, are showing signs of turning into an election-year swing group, potentially giving President Biden an unlikely boost in his tough rematch against Donald Trump.

    I’d love to see a study that checks death certificates against voting patterns for older Americans, and seeing how many people murdered under Biden’s public health regime were reliable Democrat voters. Would be instructive.

    1. The Rev Kev

      This could be fun. Kids could use it as a bingo card for what their parents do – or don’t. Doing so for a politician though would be just shooting fish in a barrel.

    2. JBird4049

      I think that mandating the Ten Commandments would be too much even for Alito. I think that he would be very happy if people posted them on their own as it being free speech, but there is still the whole separation of church and state bit. Ordering people to do religious things under the law kills that.

      1. Alice X

        You’re correct, it would be a direct dismantle of the founding premise. I do think, however, that maybe even several Supremes would harbor a soft spot for idea. It is purposeful mischief as there was an earlier law, Kentucky in ‘1980 that had a similar directive. In that case, Stone v. Graham, the court found that the law violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.’ (from the NYT piece I linked to start, it speaks of more recent cases that suggest a softer ground for that soft spot.)

        Awhile ago, I was looking for Morton Borden’s edition on the Anti-Federalist Papers. I came across another book of his and checked it out online. I only managed maybe the first chapter or two before the checkout expired. It began with ca 1800 and dealt with Jewish efforts to enforce the separation in state and local practice, where there was oblivion to such separation (there was glaring anti-semitism). It is on my list to read, the list is too long and I make woeful progress. Oh, and the anti-federalist papers.

        Morton Borden – Jews, Turks and Infidels

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    I’ve been thinking about that Daily Mail story since I read it the other day. It seems to me if they wanted to get Biden out of there, they would have to do so in a way without making his age an issue. It seems to me they would risk offending donors, many of whom aren’t much younger, and older voters, who in another link, are supposedly Biden’s secret weapon. Also, if his age is the issue, how does that look for say Pelosi, who isn’t much younger and is also prone to glitching out? I am not sure they can thread this needle, even assuming they want to (which I don’t.)

    And then there’s Kamala. The idea that “progressives” care about her is laughable, but I’m not sure how they throw her overboard either. I doubt the K Hive is that big of a concern, but there’d be some interesting questions to answer about how she was fit to me next in line but not to actually take the reins. (To be clear, I think she’s fit for neither.) And I don’t think it’s “progressives” they’ll need to worry about if they throw a woman of color off the ticket, but I do think there would be blowback.

    It just seems to me by going so hard on this ticket, the Dems have painted themselves into a corner and short of both of them expiring, they’re stuck with ‘em.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      If she has convinced Black people that she is Black, dropping her would alienate a lot of Black voters.

      Un LESS . . . another Black VP runner could be inserted into her place, one just as much liked by Clyburn or even more liked by Clyburn.

    2. albrt

      I don’t think there is a K-hive, but I do think the average Democrat will have an “oh, so it’s the black woman’s fault” reaction. Which is not entirely unreasonable – she is awful, but she is clearly more mentally competent than Joe Biden.

      But then again, i am on the record predicting that whichever legacy party replaces its candidate will win, even if the replacement is Kamala Harris.

  12. Lazar

    “…created by John Mark Dougan, an American fugitive who,…”

    I think he is a fugitive becaues he filmed cops comitting crimes, which is illegal (filming, crimes themselves not so much).

  13. Lazar

    “But while knitting has often been dismissed as unskilled, poorly paid ‘women’s work,’…”

    Well, Elisabetta and Krishma are ladies, and probably not too well paid, so it still checks out, sans the “unskilled” part which was never true anyway.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The article sounds like that they see the skill that knitters have and want to reproduce it in an industrial setting so that it will push those knitters out of the picture.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: What’s with that expression?

    Looks like he’s about to hock a loogie at any deplorables who refuse to donate.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Surely it’s a frame of an animated gif. (or ‘gif’, depending on how you want to pronounce it)

      1. albrt

        That is one of the downsides to sending gifs to people who do not want to receive them.

  15. Carolinian

    Patrick Lawrence has chapter and verse on the ongoing Hunter Biden legal saga and the Department of Justice that protects him. Is Garland the most corrupt Attorney General since John Mitchell?



    Watergate was once treated as the apotheosis of the fourth estate but in reality it seems to have been the beginning of an MSM slide into overt power mongering. As Kay Graham said in the 80s: “we’ll have no more of that.”

  16. Acacia

    Re: Obama GIF… looks like he’s enunciating some profanity, e.g., “F— You”.

    … though maybe I’m just projecting.

  17. debug


    waste waster scan org tips (I am using Firefox on linux)

    If I understand correctly, you are looking for a national chart. It’s a little tricky at first, and if you miss it the first time you can’t get there from wherever you’ve gotten to!

    When you first access the map, it is in ‘national’ mode, and if you immediately click on the “View chart details” button below the word “National” in the upper left hand corner, it will take you to a grid of national graphs for various viruses.

    From there, choose “See details >” to the lower right of the SARS-CoV-2 chart and it will take you to a national chart with a date range chooser underneath. To the upper right of the chart is a dropdown button to “share chart” and you can download a png file. You can also “Copy” and paste into your favorite software’s layout scheme.

    Apparently there is also an embed available by using the button at the bottom right of the view, but I haven’t tried it.

    Note: It seems that if you start viewing charts of any specific location, you must restart your whole experience to get back to the “National mode”. It would be nice if they had a button or an entry in their location chooser dropdown for the national option.

    I hope this is clear enough to help. If not I can send visual details with screen captures, or try to clarify my writing.

    Thanks for helping us all do our personal risk assessments. The information you provide is invaluable to me!

    1. debug

      One addition. It seems, at least in my browser, that you need to choose to extend the graph backwards to the 24 months option in that screen with all the different viruses before selecting the specific SARS page. Otherwise, the scaling does not happen properly in the following graph that you can download, at least in FF on linux.

  18. thoughtfulperson

    “It would be interesting to know if WIlliams would apply that rationale to, say, the World Socialist Web Site. One would hope so.”

    Sorry Lambert I can’t resist: ROTFLMAO

    Frankly I suspect you agree!

  19. VietnamVet

    In the last six months, I’ve joined Terry Flynn, Tom Stone and many other males across the West dealing with old age and the medical-industrial complex trying to heal and relieve pain. Right now, I feel exactly like I have been sucker-punched. MedStar Health is the $7.7 billion not-for-profit, regional healthcare system here. The doctors seem to middle-aged Car Salesmen and young South Asians. Nurses global. You are being sold a procedure to get back on the road but with no warranty. As a customer, you literally are on your own.

    This is all tied together by current end-stage capitalism whose only goal is to profit at the expense of the lives of others, completely free of any consequences. The proxy World War 3 in Ukraine and Gaza has no outcome other than total defeat like WWI and WWII of either the corporate-state Western Empire or the Axis of Resistance.

    The alternative, a multi-polar world with armistices and DMZs along the Line of Contact, is inconceivable, unacceptable, and labeled as Russian propaganda.

    As shown above, it is the exact same plague that has infected the Democratic Party. To save ourselves, the USA needs to return to a government run by and for the people. Democrats are simply incapable of conceiving, let alone planning, for a clean slate of candidates in Chicago in August 19-22, 2024.

    1. albrt

      I think it will work out fine in the early stages because nobody will notice. The kids don’t care what database they are in.

      If the U.S, starts trying to draft people the result might be a little different, but I don’t think it will happen.

      The U.S. government will pay $1,000,000 enlistment bonuses to the deplorables before they will try to draft the child of a congressperson or a university professor.

    1. albrt

      More to the point – don’t own a Tesla.

      By the way, I saw a driverless Waymo vehicle get chased down and pulled over by a cop today. I circled back but I couldn’t tell what happened. The Waymo was parked and two cops were sitting in their vehicles window-to-window in the parking lot arguing.

  20. SD

    Re: Wastewater Scan: I just typed in the zip code for my town in Berkshire County, Mass., but the result that came up was for Millbury, Mass., which is about 120 miles from where I live. I tried some other zip codes for towns near me, but Milbury, Mass. was the inevitable result. We’re used to not be taken into account here in the sparsely populated westernmost county in Massachusetts, but this is ridiculous.

    1. kareninca

      I am having trouble with that site too; it is not just your location. It doesn’t want to go from one request to another, and it gives locations that weren’t asked for.

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