2:00PM Water Cooler 6/5/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Killdeer, Tomahawk; Emma’s Lane, Berkeley, West Virginia, United States. “Singing while in flight.”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Biden’s cognitive decline.

(2) Alvin Bragg’s helpers.

(3) About that word “mild”….

(4) More Boeing whistleblowers.

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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:

A mixed bag for Team Trump, this week with some Swing States (more here) Brownian-motioning themselves back toward him, including Pennsylvania. Not, however, Michigan, to which Trump paid a visit. 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.

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Trump (R): “‘It’s very possible’: Trump floats imprisoning his political opponents” [NBC]. “n an interview with the conservative outlet Newsmax, Trump seemed to float the possibility of imprisoning his political opponents if he becomes president again. ‘So, you know, it’s a terrible, terrible path that they’re leading us to, and it’s very possible that it’s going to have to happen to them,’ Trump said when discussing his guilty verdict. ‘Does that mean the next president does it to them? That’s really the question,’ he added…. Trump credited himself for not going after Clinton, compared to what is now being done to him. ‘Some people said I should have done it, but, you know, could have, would have been very easy to do it, but I thought it would be a terrible precedent for our country,’ Trump said. ‘And now, whoever it may be, you’re going to have to view it very much differently. This is a bad, bad road that they’re leading us down to as a country.'” • FAFO.

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Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “The aristocrats who martyred Trump” [Martin Gurri, Unherd]. “When Hillary Clinton, from sheer paranoia, set up her own private server to conduct business as secretary of state, the FBI naturally took an interest. I worked for many years in a classified environment. If I had done anything similar, I’d be writing this from my austere prison cell. But Clinton wasn’t me. She belonged to a different class. The FBI rapped her knuckles gently, called her out as a bad example, but refused to prosecute. When Joe Biden mishandled classified documents in an apparently egregious manner, he attracted the attention of a special prosecutor. The ensuing investigation proved without a doubt that Biden had violated the law. If I had done the same thing, and stashed government secrets in my garage near my trusty Rav4, I would never see the light of day again. But again, I’m not Biden. He belongs to a special class. The prosecutor’s report admitted Biden’s guilt but refused to prosecute because the president of the United States, leader of the free world, was too old and dotty to be held accountable. Then there’s Trump. The New York State district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is a Democrat with powerful political motives to bring down the likely Republican nominee. That should be a scandal but, in the ethical muddle of our age, it seemingly isn’t. The actual charges concocted by Bragg against Trump I leave for the legal experts to parse. None of them rose to the level of Clinton’s server or Biden’s garage sale of secrets. But Trump is the monster that haunts the nightmares of the privileged class. He must be prosecuted in multiple times and places, convicted, fined hundreds of millions, imprisoned, annihilated, pulverised. The whole process stinks of desperation. If the progressive elites who run the Biden administration felt confident they could defeat Trump at the polls, we would hear Homeric laughter ringing from the White House and its pet organs in the news media.” • Gurri is a putatively former spook who works for the Mercatus center and here I am quoting him. It’s a funny old world.

Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “Joe Biden’s Fingerprints Are All Over The Criminal Prosecutions Of Donald Trump” [The Federalist]. “A lead prosecutor for Bragg during the trial was Matthew Colangelo. In December 2022, Colangelo left the Biden Department of Justice to ‘jump start’ the criminal case against Trump. Biden had previously named Colangelo his acting associate attorney general—the third-highest-ranking official in the DOJ.” Which is well known. This, less so: “[T]he incestuous relationship between the Manhattan D.A.’s office and Team Biden began as early as mid-February 2021. Then, ‘Bragg’s predecessor, District Attorney Cyrus Vance, arranged for private criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to be a special assistant district attorney for the Manhattan D.A.’s office.’… As The New York Times reported at the time, Pomerantz was to work ‘solely on the Trump investigation’ during a temporary leave of absence from his law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison. ‘But even before being sworn in as a special assistant to the Manhattan D.A., Pomerantz had reportedly ‘been helping with the case informally for months.'” Even Democrats’ most reliable Old Grey Lady (of the evening) acknowledged, ‘the hiring of an outsider is a highly unusual move for a prosecutor’s office.’ Soon after the Manhattan D.A. hired Pomerantz, two of his colleagues, Elyssa Abuhoff and Caroline Williamson, also took leaves of absence from Paul, Weiss to serve as special assistant district attorneys on the Trump investigation. ‘For a law firm to lend not one but three lawyers to the Manhattan D.A.’s office seems rather magnanimous, until you consider Paul, Weiss’s previous generosity to Joe Biden” (a $2,800-per-plate fundraiser for about 100 guests). But for Paul, Weiss lending Pomerantz to the Manhattan D.A.’s office to control the Trump investigation, the former president likely never would have been charged. According to Pomerantz, Bragg had decided ‘not to go forward with the grand jury presentation and not to seek criminal charges,’ indefinitely suspending the investigation. Pomerantz made those claims in the resignation letter he tendered to Bragg in early 2022, which was deliberately leaked to The New York Times. ‘Pomerantz’s letter and his claims that Bragg had suspended the Trump probe triggered a political firestorm, which the Manhattan D.A. sought to quell by telling the public the investigation was ongoing.” Soon after, Bragg capitulated, hiring Biden’s high-ranking DOJ lawyer, Colangelo, who proceeded to indict and convict Trump.” • Good reporting…..

Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “The case for imprisoning Donald Trump” [MSNBC]. “As a former state and federal prosecutor, the author of many works on criminal sentencing and a sentencing consultant to major white-collar criminal defendants, I think the factors usually considered in such cases would support sending Trump to prison…. Most violations of New York’s business records laws are likely to be considered fairly minor because their object was to secure modest financial gains or avoid regulatory or tax obligations. But in Trump’s case, the prosecution’s theory was that Trump falsified business records to hide payoffs to a porn star that would damage his presidential campaign. In simple terms, the object of the crime was to corruptly affect a presidential election. And that elevates Trump’s offense above a simple recordkeeping default to something far graver. Sentencing judges also consider the histories and character of defendants in judging personal responsibility and the likelihood of recidivism. Hence, a first-time offender who has led an otherwise exemplary life is considered less blameworthy than a persistent malefactor and less in need of the incapacitation and deterrence that prison would provide.” • There is, I suppose, something to be said for carrying the test of strength through to its conclusion.

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Biden (D): “What Did the President Know, and How Long Did He Remember It?” [National Review]. Follow-on for today’s Wall Street Journal story: “[I]nterviewing more than 45 sources, [the reporters offer] a grim portrait of President Biden behind the scenes: forgetful, mumbling, increasingly reliant on notes to remember basic facts, and seemingly oblivious to his own administration’s policies and decisions. The assessment from some sources that Biden has some good days and some not-so-good days reminds our Luther Ray Abel of visits to family in nursing homes throughout his childhood and early adulthood. It’s as bad as you fear, Americans, because all of us with experience with elderly relatives know that over time, the good days become rarer, and the bad days become more frequent. Put another way, Biden’s never going to be as young and sharp-minded as he was yesterday.” • Yep. Biden’s had Covid, but of course that would have nothing to do with this. And, of course, “Stress literally eats away at your brain’s cognitive reserves“. Quoting from the Journal:

Americans have had minimal opportunities to see Biden in unscripted moments. By the end of April, he had given fewer interviews and press conferences than any of his recent predecessors, according to data collected by Martha Joynt Kumar, an emeritus professor at Towson University. His last wide-ranging town-hall-style meeting with an independent news outlet was in October 2021.

He has had fewer small meetings with lawmakers as his term has gone on, visitor logs show. During his first year in office, even with pandemic restrictions, he held more than three dozen meetings of fewer than 20 lawmakers in the West Wing. That number fell to roughly two dozen in his second year, and about a dozen in his third year.

Sounds like those Republican loons in Ohio did Biden a favor by forcing a virtual nomination on the DNC; they can keep Biden off the floor as long as possible!

Biden (D): “Biden’s challenge runs deeper than ‘bad vibes'” [Financial Times]. After blathering about deficit spending, concludes: “There is a deep sense that America is increasingly dominated by a wealthy elite. They can afford the $250,000 membership to new private restaurants, which are subdividing vibrant cities like New York and Miami by income class. They set the rules in Washington and own the preponderant share of stocks, bonds and assets of all kinds, so they prosper most when easy money policies drive up the value of those assets. And also benefit when the government steps in to bail out the markets, as it now always does at the first hint of trouble. Most people, surveys show, would prefer a more modest salary than to live among richer neighbours, yet that in effect is how Americans have no choice but to live now — in the shadows of great wealth and power. It would be unfair to blame Biden alone for imbalances that have been widening for decades, but it is also short sighted to suggest, as many have, that his main challenge is to sell the good news harder. The flaws of capitalism in its current, twisted form are real. Better ‘messaging’ won’t whisper the resulting frustrations away.” • Weirdly, the Biden administration is actually “fighting,” not “fighting for,” giant monopolies (“great wealth and power.” I continue to believe that for Democrats this will be, ultimately, a long con — extortion — and that they’ll throw Lina Khan under the bus, but for now, the fight is real, as it would have to be. Perhaps this explains why antitrust doesn’t figure in Biden’s campaign messaging at all).

PA: Biden (D): “What Trump’s Black outreach looks like in Philly” [Semafor]. “About a hundred Trump supporters, overwhelmingly Black men, gathered at The Cigar Code on Tuesday evening in North Philadelphia, filing into a smoke-filled room with tufted sofas for an informal chat with Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, about the pivotal role they have to play in the election. ‘Pennsylvania’s a swing state,’ Hunt told Semafor. ‘It’s one of the most important states in this entire election. And so what we know is we could carve out between 25% and 30% of the Black male voters in Pennsylvania. What we’re trying to do is actually go fish where the fish are. The ‘Congress, Cognac, and Cigars’ conversation, moderated by sports reporter Michele Tafoya, was tied to a kickoff event by the Trump campaign the same day it opened its first office in the city. President Biden has paid special attention to Philadelphia throughout his presidency and visited the previous week with Vice President Kamala Harris to warn Black voters that Trump was ‘peddling lies and stereotypes for your votes so he can win for himself, not for you.’ Polling has shown Republicans have a significant opportunity to make gains with Black voters this cycle, but there’s also skepticism of their party’s ability to capitalize on it.”

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“America’s Most Powerful Pollster Has Some Doubts” [New York Magazine]. Interesting Q&A with Nate Cohn, the New York Times pollster: There weren’t real primaries this time around, and it doesn’t really feel like there’s been the usual election slog yet, just a creeping sense of dread among Americans that it’s going to be the same two guys. [COHN:] Yeah. This is pretty subjective, but I don’t really feel like this campaign is underway yet.” • Volatility!

“Citizen Forecasting for the 2024 Presidential Race: A Second Sounding” [The Center for Politics]. Interesting method: “Most media sources turn to public opinion polls as a leading source of scientific prediction, which rely heavily on the vote intentions of respondents for the fall. But while we have frequently relied on voter intentions to make scientific predictions about elections, we should also consider voter expectations about elections, which reflect not just current preferences but beliefs about the future. The deployment of such voter expectations, commonly referred to as Citizen Forecasting (CF), asks citizens to answer a critical question, ‘Who do you think will be elected President in November?’ These questions, which have regularly been asked in the American National Election Study (ANES), have proved to be a valuable guide to election outcomes.” Table 1: Expected presidential winner, April 2023 polling:

Table 2: Expected presidential winner, April 2024:

And concluding: “The timeline of the campaign itself, with its intensifying dynamic, suggests that the race will tighten. Election polls and citizen forecasts both narrow in on election victories as Election Day draws nearer. These results demonstrate, however, that the Biden campaign has quite a bit of work to do to convince voters not only that they should win, but that they can.” • Of course, this is June. Nevertheless…

Republican Funhouse

“It’s Not an Accident That So Many GOP Senate Candidates Are Rich” [NOTUS]. “In a calculated risk, Republican officials and allies of Donald Trump have rallied behind Senate candidates who — like Sheehy — have never held elected office but can help fund a campaign through their own personal wealth. In addition to Sheehy, who received a key endorsement from Trump that helped clear his path to the nomination, national Republicans backed Senate candidates like Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania and Eric Hovde in Wisconsin, both of whom are rich and politically inexperienced. A fourth wealthy Republican candidate, Bernie Moreno in Ohio, had more competition in his primary but ultimately won the Senate nomination thanks to a Trump endorsement. ‘We’ve focused on recruiting candidates who are really strong fundraisers or who are capable of making a personal investment in their campaign to try and close the money gap,’ said one GOP aide involved in Senate races, who noted that the party’s candidates in Senate elections have been heavily outspent in recent years. Republicans maintain that their candidates’ wealth could help free up money elsewhere on the 2024 Senate map, letting the party push deeper into Democratic territory and maximize its gains. But such an expansion depends on candidates like Sheehy holding up under pressure in their own critical races against experienced incumbent Democrats with massive fundraising hauls of their own.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The legal fight over the 2024 election has begun” [Axios]. “The Trump-controlled Republican National Committee is assembling a network of lawyers and volunteers to gather string for lawsuits challenging the results of the Nov. 5 vote. The RNC plans to hire more people for the operation than for any other department it has, a committee official told Axios. The RNC has installed 13 “election integrity” state directors who’ve been hosting training sessions with state and county GOP parties in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin. It’s also contracted with 13 in-state counsels to help identify local litigation opportunities. Beyond that, Trump’s campaign and RNC plan to recruit and deploy 100,000 volunteers, law students and lawyers to serve as poll watchers and observers…. Democrats are responding to the onslaught of GOP lawsuits with legal challenges of their own. Some are spearheaded by the Democratic National Committee and election lawyer Marc Elias‘ firm, which is operating independently from the Biden campaign [oh, yeah, right]. The DNC and the Biden campaign are building out their own election litigation team to respond to GOP lawsuits .”


“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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Transmission: H5N1

“How Michigan became ground zero for H5 avian influenza in the US” [Detroit Free Press]. “Michigan has become ground zero for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus that’s sweeping the nation, killing turkeys, chickens and wild birds, infecting cows and other mammals — and now has sickened a third U.S. farmworker. The Great Lakes state has more dairy cattle herds known to be infected with avian influenza than any other state in the U.S., with 24 outbreaks in 10 counties as of Friday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It now also has two farmworkers with confirmed bird flu infections — transmitted to them by close contact with sick cows… The reason Michigan’s tally of livestock outbreaks and farmworkers with avian influenza is higher than other states is not because Michigan is especially ripe for viral activity or because there’s something different about the state’s cows or workers, said Dr. Arnold Monto, emeritus professor of epidemiology and global public health at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Michigan Center for Respiratory Virus Research and Response. “The main reason we’re detecting more infection is because we’re doing very good surveillance,” Monto said. “Other states need to do the same. … It’s being missed.” • It’s not being “missed.” It’s being suppressed. That’s what the refusal to test amounts to.

“USDA aims to isolate, exhaust H5N1 virus in dairy herds” [Successful Farming]. “The USDA’s strategy against bird flu in dairy cattle is to identify infected herds and wait for the virus to die out within the herds, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. ‘I’m confident we have a good understanding of the virus and how it is being transferred,’ he added. ‘We are trying to essentially corner the virus’ within infected herds so it eventually dissipates, he said during a teleconference. • With voluntary testing? Really?

“USDA Adds House Mouse To Mammals Affected by H5N1” [Avian Flu Diary]. “Last week the USDA added domestic cats to their list of mammalian infections, and in today’s update, they’ve added 11 infections of a new species Mus musculus (the common house mouse), all from a single county (Roosevelt) in New Mexico…. While it is not surprising that mice are susceptible to H5N1, given past laboratory experiments (see NIH Assessing avian influenza in dairy milk), this is the first time they’ve been placed on the USDA’s list.”

Censorship and Propaganda

“From Long COVID Odds to Lost IQ Points: Ongoing Threats You Don’t Know About” (interview) [Philip Alvelda, Institute for New Economic Thinking]. A good round-up; NC readers will be familiar with all the points made, but many won’t, and it’s good to see them collected in one place on a platform like iNet. However, this exchanged leaped out at me:

[ALVELDA:] The UK and the US are among the few nations where public health agencies have been subverted, controlled, and confused by the political machinery. As a result, they’ve abandoned their public health mission and are merely making a minimal effort to maintain politics and economics as usual. The reality is that everyone, from infants on up, would benefit dramatically from receiving a booster every six months. What you need is the most updated vaccine available, whether that’s a booster of the most recent formulation or a new vaccine designed for a completely new set of variants. Essentially, you should be getting whatever is the latest available.

[PARRAMORE]: So regardless of age or health condition, we should all be getting a shot every six months? Not once a year as we’ve been led to think?

[ALVELDA]: Yes, that’s correct. It’s that simple. Every six months. Health agencies are trying to get people to treat COVID like other diseases, even though it’s actually very different. They’re trying to get us used to the idea of getting an annual booster, similar to what you do for the flu. But COVID variants progress faster than that, which is why COVID is a very different situation.

[PARRAMORE]: So it’s known that a shot once a year isn’t going to cut it, even though the CDC won’t come out and say it?

[ALVELDA]: That’s right.

At the best, this is a counsel of despair, and entirely predictable, given Biden’s vax only policy of mass infection without mitigation: there is no alternative (TINA) to virtually continous vaxxing. But I flat out don’t accept the recommendation; any vaccine every six months can’t possibly be good for the body; how many insults is the immune system supposed to endure? But in any case, this will make “vaccine hesitancy” even worse (or even more sensible, depending on your point of view). Meanwhile, potentially sterilizing nasal vaccines limp along, with virtually no funding. I keep reminding people to make sure to renew their passports, or obtain one. This exchange gives one more good reason.

Testing and Tracking: H5N1

Wastewater detectives:

Pigs, I believe, have both avian and mammal receptors, so they are a natural “mixing vessel,” as it were, for H5N1.

Sequelae: Covid

Another perspective on “mild”:

Asymptomic = the immune system didn’t kick in. Can people more knowledgeable than I am confirm this framing?

Celebrity Watch

“Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Make Announcement After ‘Vocal Issues’ Forced Them to Postpone Concerts” [American Songwriter]. • Huh. I wonder what caused those vocal issues. ‘Tis a mystery!

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

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts


❌ National[1] Biobot May 13: ❌ Regional[2] Biobot May 13:
Variants[3] CDC May 25 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC May 18
New York[5] New York State, data June 4: National [6] CDC May 11:
National[7] Walgreens May 28: ‘ Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic June 1:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC May 13: Variants[10] CDC May 13:
‘ Weekly Deaths vs. % Positivity [11]CDC May 18: ‘ Weekly Deaths vs. ED Visits [12]CDC May 18:


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) Dead.

[2] (Biobot) Dead.

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

[4] (ER) 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) Flattening.

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

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED not up.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US added 152K workers to their payrolls in May 2024, the least in four months, and well below forecasts of 175K and a downwardly revised 188K in April…. “Job gains and pay growth are slowing going into the second half of the year. The labor market is solid, but we’re monitoring notable pockets of weakness tied to both producers and consumers”, said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.”

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Manufacturing: “Two more Boeing whistleblowers go public over plane safety: ‘Like a ticking timebomb'” [New York Post]. “Brian Knowles, a Charleston, SC, attorney who represents whistleblowers including Irvin and Paredes and also represented Barnett and Dean, told The Post his law firm has fielded dozens of new calls from potential whistleblowers in recent weeks…. ‘Missing safety devices on hardware or untightened hardware means that you’re not going to be able to control the airplane if those fail,’ [Roy] Irvin told The Post…. [Santiago] Paredes was a production inspector for Spirit AeroSystems for 12 years before leaving in 2022. He told The Post he was shocked when he arrived at the company and, he alleges, saw hundreds of defects on the production line. He was even more horrified, he said, when he was pressured not to say anything. ‘I was at the end of the production line and so I was supposed to be looking at the finished product before they shipped it to Boeing.’ Paredes said. ‘Instead I saw missing parts, incomplete parts, frames that had temporary clamps and missing fasteners, dents in the parts, damaged parts, cut rivets, issues that might occur but should be fixed before they got to me. Everything I was seeing was like a ticking time bomb.’ … His bosses, he alleged, would pressure him to keep his reports to a minimum — and nicknamed him ‘Showstopper’ because his write-ups on the defects would often delay deliveries.” • I don’t see how this company culture gets fixed; you have to fire all the managers down to the shop floor level.

Manufacturing: “United Airlines to hire fewer employees due to Boeing aircraft delivery delays” [WION]. “According to a company executive, United Airlines will hire fewer employees than projected in 2024. The decision comes as the airline deals with delays in Boeing aircraft delivery. Kate Gebo, United’s president of human resources and labour relations, revealed that the airline expects to hire approximately 10,000 new employees next year, down from 13,000 to 15,000.” • Oopsie.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 5 at 1:42:13 PM ET.


“Higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer” [Science Daily]. “The systematic review and meta-analysis examined 17 cancer studies published from 1966 to 2020. Analyzing data from more than 19,500 cancer patients, researchers explored the relationship between mushroom consumption and cancer risk. Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. The team’s findings show that these super foods may also help guard against cancer. Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than white button, cremini and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer. According to the findings, individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not eat mushrooms. ‘Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of ergothioneine, which is a unique and potent antioxidant and cellular protector,’ said Djibril M. Ba, a graduate student in epidemiology at Penn State College of Medicine. ‘Replenishing antioxidants in the body may help protect against oxidative stress and lower the risk of cancer.'”

Class Warfare

“How 1980s Yuppies Gave Us Donald Trump” [Politico]. ” President Ronald Reagan’s approval ratings were low, the Democrats had done well in the midterm elections and the misery of the 1981-82 recession was still palpable. The ’84 race would, Democrats believed, be a referendum on Reaganomics, and if that were the case, the American people might be glad to reverse course and put a Democrat back in charge. Going into the primaries, Jimmy Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale, a classic New Deal Democrat, was the clear front‐runner to win the nomination; he had a double‐digit lead over other Democrats in national polls and a string of endorsements from unions and party insiders. But not everyone was willing to hand the nomination to Mondale, including Gary Hart, the 46‐year‐old senator from Colorado…. What most distinguished Hart, though, was the fact that he wasn’t a traditional New Deal Democrat. While he was a decade older than the oldest members of the baby boom generation, he shared a sensibility with those who’d come of age in the 1960s — and particularly with those well-educated young professionals who’d been flooding into American cities over the last several years. He was liberal on social issues like women’s rights, abortion and the environment, but he wasn’t afraid to question Democratic Party orthodoxy on things like defense (he didn’t want to cut spending, just refocus it) and the economy (where he questioned the clout of Big Labor and put a premium instead on innovation and technology).” • Ah, “innovation.”

News of the Wired

“Boeing’s Starliner launches astronauts for 1st time in historic liftoff (photos, video)” [Space.com]. “Starliner is headed toward the International Space Station (ISS), where Wilmore and Williams will spend about eight days putting the spacecraft through a series of tests toward operational crew certification. Rendezvous is scheduled for Thursday (June 6) around 12:15 p.m. EDT (1615 GMT).” • Here’s hoping they doublechecked the doors…

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

Upstater writes: “It’s that time of year! These are early bearded irises.” Readers will remember how many times I have exclaimed “That’s my favorite flower!” of many flowers. But irises are my favorite flower.

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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. Mark Gisleson

    Almost all my irises are gone now, just waiting on the day lilies (it’ll be a while).

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I love day lilies and have seven or eight different types around my yard. There are varieties that bloom earlier and I have one patch that is just about to flower. The blooms are slightly smaller than the later-blooming ones, which won’t blossom for another few weeks. Unfortunately though, I don’t know what kind they are or remember where I got them.

      1. Carla

        The deer love my daylilies, so they chomp the buds and I’m left with a bed of sticks rising above the strappy foliage. ;-(

        1. John9

          My deer are gourmet food snobs. Won’t touch the orange native daylight, love the named multicolored varieties$$$daylilys. I’m building deer barrier around the oriental Casa Blancas, which are in pots because voles.
          Last winter the voles went through a 20′ mature border of Siberian Iris was was going to be glorious. There were about three flowers this spring. They didn’t clear cut it however. They left an orderly row of starts, so on about 3 years they can return. Very Zen.

  2. Louis Fyne

    >“How 1980s Yuppies Gave Us Donald Trump”

    Oh puh-leeze, The 1980’s Yuppie has turned into the Boomer 401k bourgeoisie, listening to NPR, and cheering on Israel.

    One of the pillars of Donald Trump’s base are the Yuppies’ classmates who started working at the local factory at 19 in 1984, only for the factory to shutter post-NAFTA.

    In my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

    1. Louis Fyne

      for any 80’s sit-com fans….

      an allegory of the post-gold-standard US economy is, ironically, the TV show “Married With Children”

      Al Bundy, the ex-HS footballer, now living paycheck-to-paycheck as a shoe salesman versus his neighbor, banker and card-carrying Yuppie, Marcie.

      Hilarity ensues as blue-collar troubles dog Al and his family.

    1. Bugs

      And he’s been continuously on tour for well over a year now. I’m always ready to blame Covid but I think the Boss might just have tired vocal cords. You can’t sing “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” every night for a year without taking a break amirite.

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw the boss @ Wembley on July 4th 1985, and he’d probably only sung that song a thousand times by then…

        1. Carolinian

          I saw him in the 1970s at a small auditorium in Columbia, SC so there.

          As for “the ethical muddle of our age” that’s the truth. Applies double to the preachings of moralizers like Dowd and Nooners.

          1. Benny Profane

            I saw him at the Rutgers student center in 72. Nah na nah na. He was still melding his Dylan/Hendrix appropriations at the time, to much success in the nest few decades. As a Jersey boy, I never got it. But at least he wasn’t Billy Joel.

          2. Wukchumni

            We were at a Dire Straits concert the day before in an intimate setting in Brighton, great show.

            Springsteen’s concert was a little less intimate, ha.

  3. JBird4049

    >>>I don’t see how this company culture gets fixed; you have to fire all the managers down to the shop floor level.

    Any company or country that has people believe with justification that it has people suicided to shut them up for legal reasons is more than corrupt. With countries, their governments get (violently) overthrown, the companies get bankrupted and sold. The government gets reformed using the survivors with the understanding that being “fired” means something permanent. However, I don’t know how a company the size of Boeing can be reformed without it being nationalized, but as the federal government is thoroughly neoliberalized and corrupt itself, it cannot do the job right. Maybe, some of the old employees could be brought back and some business leaders with good reputations could be hired? It probably would be a Hail Mary, but considering how important the company is, it is worth the attempt.

  4. Lee

    Trump (R) (People vs. Trump): “The aristocrats who martyred Trump” [Martin Gurri, Unherd].

    “If the progressive elites who run the Biden administration felt confident they could defeat Trump at the polls, we would hear Homeric laughter ringing from the White House and its pet organs in the news media.”

    “Progressive elites”? Surely he jests, it seems he and I are living on separate planets.

    But it is true that the stink of elite desperation hangs heavy in the air. It is a fragrance I’m coming to enjoy.

    1. t

      Tone is a bit odd, and sheer paranoia is perhaps not the reason for the server, “Unherd” seems to reference “sheeple” as in we, through un herd, are not sheeple which is dumb. But, I did find the rhythm in the quoted paragraph entertaining.

    2. cgregory

      Gurri seems to have overlooked the difference between the Biden and Trump reactions when National Archives notified them they had classified documents that weren’t supposed to be there.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        democrat partisans seemed to have overlooked the fact that Biden willfully held on to his own classified documents for decades. But if you’re a partisan democrat, apparently saying “whoopsie” after the fact makes up for the blatant illegality.

        1. Googoogajoob

          And as usual, it’s never acknowledged that Trump made a concerted effort to not return them. Biden gave them up the moment they were identified.

          And therein lies the point – the illegality wasnt simply stemming for the mere act of having the docs. Pence was identified as being in the same circumstance but as with Biden, he returned them without obstruction.

          And the best clanger of all this? Trump is getting pinched on laws he signed as a reaponse to the Clinton server/email ordeal.

          I am getting very tired of conservatives and their victim complex.

          1. c_heale

            Biden never made any attempt to return them, either. in fact he hid them in various different places.

            Trump and Biden are the same and neither deserve to be President.

            I’m tired of the victim complexes of both Liberals and Conservatives. Both are the same.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Progressive elites”?

      Conservatives have odd ideas about (nominal) progressives, and tend to think liberals are the left.

      OTOH, I am not especially adept at distinguishing strains of conservatism from each other.

      1. ambrit

        I have it on good authority that the best way to differentiate “strains of conservative” is to try growing them in various “cultures.”
        America as the World’s Neo-liberal Petri Dish? (No, not Rob and Laura Petrie. They were proto-PMCs. Although, they were a bit “dishy,” as in “Absolutely Fabulous” darlings.
        I wonder what Sheldon Leonard would think of all this.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Though tainted by Carter’s trucking and airline deregulation – early symptoms of neoliberalism – compared to every D President and nominee who’s followed him, he mostly was.

      1. Bugs

        Yes. My second presidential election. He was much more socialist than the neoliberal Carter. He actually shored up the liberal wing on the 1976 ticket.

      2. albrt

        Mondale was tasked with defenestrating the Mississippi Freedom Democrats in 1964. That’s pretty consistent with how the New Deal worked, so I guess it doesn’t disqualify him.

        1. ambrit

          Man oh man. So, Obama was our modern-day Franklin D Roosevelt? I’m not so sure. But then, I see no Huey Long analog running at present in American politics. (I also don’t see analogs to the SNCC and Black Panthers running around either. Go figure.)

          1. Mark Gisleson

            In 1982 I drove/escorted a gubernatorial candidate to a rally where Mondale was to speak. The candidate told me in no uncertain terms that if Mondale offered me his hand, I would shake it. He did not and so I was spared having to shake the hand of a man who in 1982 was definitely seen as Jimmy Carter’s junior partner and not as a New Deal Democrat.

            It’s been all neoliberalism ever since.

  5. JBird4049

    >>>If the progressive elites who run the Biden administration felt confident they could defeat Trump at the polls, we would hear Homeric laughter ringing from the White House and its pet organs in the news media.

    I wonder if they realize that their efforts to stop the Orange Menace re-election more likely is instead making it likely? Now, if only I could not worry about Trump having an unexpected heart attack or lead poisoning. Not because I want the Shambolic One to be re-elected, but because of how Americans would react as even an honest death would likely never be believed after “suicides” like Jeffrey “Pedopimp” Epstein. Heck, I am not believing that the deaths of the two Boeing whistleblowers were actually suicides because even if they are, and they could be, I know too much American history, which is a very real and serious problem.

    But then there is the likely Democratic Convention’s August Surprise whatever it might be. Is it my marvelously oiled weasel of a governor Gavin Newsom? Or some other creep? Maybe they will a mind control chip in President Biden. Political parties used to try to have the appearance of honest nominations and have candidates that would not cause uncontrollable nausea in their voters, but here we are.

    1. MaryLand

      I think the August surprise will be Michelle Obama as VP. If they are elected Biden will resign for health reasons.

      1. ambrit

        I’m trending towards agreement with Mz. Smith on this. M/M Obama doesn’t want the job. She has seen how it works, and the toll it takes from close up. I suspect that the “Democrat Party Elders” want to lose to the Republicans because of the serious trouble they see approaching over the horizon. Here, I make the assumption that the “Democrat Party Elders” are not solidly Neo-liberal. If I am wrong, and that group is “solidly Neo-liberal,” then I can see the Democrat Party doing a Whig Out and being replaced as a major American political force.

        1. JBird4049

          Both political parties are more fragile than one might suspect. However, the Uniparty has done really well in obliterating civil society; former American Whigs formed a solid core of the Republican Party and they were able to flesh out the membership with abolitionists and other malcontents many of whom were connected with other social groups.

          We don’t anywhere near what could called the pre-organization needed for a new party, and there the security state doing what it can to prevent or at disrupt the formation of such. And they are very good at this. It is possible, even likely, that by the 2028 election cycle there will be a functional political network or a proto-political party, maybe something for the 2026 election cycle. I could so easily be wrong. However, I just don’t see it, but political movements are often hidden beneath the surface with its pieces needing the right trigger to coalesce. Who knows?

        2. scott s.

          The problem of the Whigs was they were formed primarily as a fusion of anti-Jacksonians. The Dems by virtue of the Jackson admin, had a recognized national party. While the recurring financial panics did create opportunity for “outs vs ins”, it didn’t create a national Whig party; their only presidential success came from running old generals who were at best nominal Whigs. The best opportunity was with Clay v Polk, but even then creating a national platform was difficult. (But, complaints of election fraud in that election were taken seriously, not treated as a “big lie” resulting in Congress mandating the uniform Tues in Nov election day for electors in all states. Early voting was seen as a cause of corruption.)

  6. ChrisFromGA

    I think I’ve found it – the analysis that explains everything:


    So what we have is a series of PR stunts designed to get good press and confuse just enough voters—stunts that enable Biden to, at a minimum, sufficiently distance himself from the horrors unfolding in Gaza and, ideally, to brand himself as a friend of the Palestinians working hard to protect them from the hot-headed and vengeful Israelis. Using this deeply cynical—but, at this point, obvious—criteria, the “humanitarian pier” wasn’t a failure at all. It was a pretty effective marketing spectacle in service of the Biden administration’s larger strategy of whitewashing its role in facilitating mass death in Gaza.

    Viewed in this light, the bizarre “Israeli” peace proposal that was repudiated by Israel faster than a ham sandwich goes bad in the desert, was just another PR stunt to confuse, bamboozle, and daze the low-information voters.

    Expect it to be memory-holed by tomorrow, after which another “proposal” to solve the war, distract from videos of kids getting decapitated, and get Blinken a Nobel Peace prize, will resurface in around 30 days in order to give the Biden admin a boost in the summer polls.

    1. Pat

      I agree with the first part and reject the conclusion. PR stunts that make the brand look stupid and incompetent in a very short time are not good, especially doing one after another. The pier failing and multiple ships running aground is not something that can be portrayed as successful the stunt gets brought up again. Netanyahu may be saving their asses by not outright shouting h..e…double hockey sticks NO!, but the ceasefire isn’t going to happen and the reasons are going to be shaky. Especially as Biden keeps sending funds and arms. If either were truly successful we wouldn’t still be watching the MSM being forced to recognize the genocide because the public won’t let it drop.

      They were pacifier moves based on the assumption this has to end. It isn’t and Israel’s public public support continues to weaken and drop. How far is an open question but PR is not the answer to the problem.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I have to say, Netanyahu is a clever politician. Yelling “heck NO!” as you put it, would have just isolated him and made him look even more like the villain. Instead, he put out a statement that there were “gaps”, mumbled something about needing to finish the job, and then simply shut up. Leaving the Biden fake ceasefire PR stunt to dangle in the wind, and slowly die. Which it now apparently has.

        That deprived the media of oxygen, and they now have moved on to other things (fires, Hezbollah, Hunter.)


        The memo highlighted Hamas’s commitment to the principles outlined by President Biden, suggesting a perceived divergence between Biden’s statements and the content of the Israeli proposal. Hamas emphasized the need for clarity in any agreement, stressing the importance of securing Israel’s commitment to Biden’s statements as a precondition for moving forward.

        Hamas sniffed out a rat. Actually, this behavior by Biden and Blinken looks awfully like “Fraud in the factum” which is when you go beyond mere misrepresentations and use forgery or other tricks to get another party to sign an agreement.

        1. Ben Joseph

          I think Netanyahu doesn’t trust USA to provide effective munitions in future to make the favor to Biden worthwhile. Hold off for November for what benefit?

          Didn’t Ohio making digital convention shorten the clock and remove the traditional convention excuse for any Biden defenestration? How can anyone else be nominated. I am wearing my seat belt and helmet for this ride.

      2. scott s.

        “The pier failing and multiple ships running aground is not something that can be portrayed as successful the stunt gets brought up again.”

        OK but let’s be fair and admit it was a “Mike boat” (LCM) which went ashore, something of course which it is designed to do. Though in the picture I saw it had broached which is always a danger and why in a D-Day style engagement you provide the means to recover landing craft with salvage boats. Though not so sure of our retained competency in amphib operations considering the loss of the USMC AAV in 2020 that resulted in the Marines no longer deploying the AAV.

  7. Bugs

    “(“great wealth and power.” I continue to believe that for Democrats this will be, ultimately, a long con — extortion — and that they’ll throw Lina Khan under the bus, but for now, the fight is real, as it would have to be. Perhaps this explains why antitrust doesn’t figure in Biden’s campaign messaging at all).”

    Lambert, if I could vote for Lina Khan, I’d do it a few times and dig up all my deceased family members and make them do it too. But – are you saying what I think you are? It’s a vibe here and I’m freaking out.

    Fondly, Bugs

    1. ambrit

      As far as it goes, the Party Platform ‘approved’ at the Convention should tell us a lot. If the Party doesn’t try to lie about supporting anything “worker friendly” this summer, then that will be it.
      It used to be that Politicos would pretend to support something or other to garner votes. Now, they lie, cheat, and normalize stealing in pursuit of Donor Dollars.
      Time for a “reboot” of the Declaration of Independence.
      “We the Special People, in order to…..”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if I could vote for Lina Khan

      Me too.

      I don’t mean, if you think I mean, that the Democrats would have Khan whacked. But suppose Khan wins a ginormous case with billions of dollars in fines and jail terms for the executives (just supposing). So the Justice Department swoops in and imposes a settlement that’s a lot smaller and less punitive, in exchange for corporate fealty, expressed as campaign contributions, jobs for the boys, censorship, intel, etc., the usual, you name it. “Nice little platform you’ve got here.” But for the extortion to work, Khan has to win.

    3. NotThePilot

      I like Khan as a person and agree with her goals, but I’m honestly ambivalent about her as a political figure. She’s one of those rare people that is a product of the system, adopts the rationalization of “changing the system from within”, but then sincerely means it!

      Never once in my life (or history for that matter) can I think of someone that successfully carried it off in the end. Most ultimately seem to cave and sell out in the end, but occasionally you get someone that just refuses and flips a few tables on their way out of the bar.

      So I wish her well, but my optimistic case is that she resigns with a glorious, righteous meltdown in a congressional hearing or something. Kind of like that airline attendant a few years back that quit over the intercom, grabbed a beer, then deployed the emergency slide to escape.

  8. Lee

    Asymptomic = the immune system didn’t kick in. Can people more knowledgeable than I am confirm this framing?

    There are pathogens that asymptomatically infect many more people than they make ill. Polio is a prime example where symptomatic disease occurs in only one in several hundred of those it infects. It’s high transmissibility is what makes it a scourge. There endeth the extent of my knowledge as regards this particular question. I am no specialist in this area. I believe there are some among the commentariat that may have more to offer.

  9. Pat

    Trump pointing out the obvious regarding the Beltway regulars and their financial supporters attacking him in the courts and opening the floodgates is both amusing and terrifying. Oh not that he is reported as saying something that was at most inferred, but that somewhere in the deep hive mind this is only breaking through. Well, duh, dolts. As someone said the other day, cases against Democrats are being looked at in many red states

    And not for nothing, I think there is a real case to be made that the Manhattan DA’s office, it’s special helpers and the Biden supporter who largely paid DID engage in a conspiracy to undermine a federal election. It might be interesting for that one to be one of first more national moments of we don’t give you the courtesy of treating you as above the law. As it would be a federal case, I’m thinking it could be tried in Virginia, or maybe even Florida. (I would also include Merchan in this.)

    It used to be they just thought we the people were stupid, but our bureaucracy has deteriorated so much that almost every aspect of it appears to be run by the severely logic impaired.

  10. MaggieNC

    Pleased (again) to see Marc Johnson – “Wastewater Detective” – in the Water Cooler. The “pig” discussion within his posting this morning was an eye opener for me. Transportation of cattle and then, subsequent of pigs, possible without an interim “cleaning”…. The potential for “mixing” is much broader than I imagined.

  11. Big River Bandido

    Re: “It’s Not an Accident That So Many GOP Senate Candidates Are Rich” [NOTUS].

    In a calculated risk, Republican officials and allies of Donald Trump have rallied behind Senate candidates who — like Sheehy — have never held elected office but can help fund a campaign through their own personal wealth.

    Please, which Democrats entered the Senate poor or working class? The lack of self-reflection would be painful if this weren’t so obviously the clumsy run-of-the-mill No Labels-type of propaganda.

  12. Wukchumni

    My Kevin is worth an estimated $45 million after his 17 year run of doing nothing much as a Congressman…

    1. Benny Profane

      I’m watching Cory Booker. Last time he declared income and personal assets before becoming a senator, he claimed he was worth a million, which, yeah, I know, ain’t much these days, but it sure is healthy for someone who never really worked for a living and served as mayor of Newark, of all places, at a pretty young age. His parents were IBM execs, not exactly big money, but, comfy. Let’s see how much he’s worth the next time he declares publicly. My bet is ten million, if he learned his craft well.

  13. pjay

    Regarding the guy recommending a COVID booster every six months for everyone, from infants on up, here are some excerpts from his bio I thought were interesting:

    “Dr. Phillip Alvelda, is the CEO and Chairman of Brainworks Foundry, Inc., a U.S. based developer of AI-enhanced healthcare technologies and services. Prior to Brainworks, Dr. Alvelda was a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] Biological Technologies Office where he developed and ran national scale R&D programs and technologies at the intersection of engineering and biology…”

    “…He is a regular invited speaker at science, technology, and education industry events, including the World Economic Forum where he was chosen as a “Technology Pioneer” in 2007.”


    Regarding “the intersection of engineering and biology” while at DARPA, Alvelda was a Program Manager in the Biological Technologies Office, where he was

    “… developing programs to take the latest neural engineering science and technology out of the laboratory and seed the creation of new mind-enabled industries.”


    Now I’m certainly not going to suggest that a twice-yearly booster is a plot to inject us with tiny implants to neurally engineer us or anything. But I will say that for those prone to such conspiracy theories, this is probably not the guy you want pushing the boosters.

    1. ambrit

      The unstated problem with this twice-yearly booster “suggestion” is that the virus seems to evolve quicker than these “vaccine boosters” can be formulated and deployed. Until a pan-virus sterilizing vaccine is developed, we personally are sitting the “Vaccine Theatre” out.

      1. Lee

        What I don’t understand, probably because I haven’t looked hard enough, is why there is no vaccine that targets the more genetically conserved elements of the virus? Is it too difficult? Would such a vaccine be less effective or a hazard to human health, or what?

        1. Ghost in the Machine

          I have wondered the same thing! There is a test that looks for Covid nucleocapsid protein Antibodies that tells whether you’ve been exposed to the virus and not just the vaccine. So it seems like that protein in particular would be available for vaccine production. why not that?

          1. Lee

            Okay, dammit, enough of this not knowing: I propose that you or some other knowledgeable member of the NC commentariat, go out, get the answer, and report back. I am on this day otherwise occupied.

          2. Samuel Conner

            IIRC, the nucleocapsid protein does not work as a target for coronavirus vaccines — vaccines targeting this protein, IIRC, make the disease worse. There was an item in the “In the pipeline” ‘blog several years ago that mentioned this.

            This may be the ‘blog-post I am remembering.

            1. Lee

              Thanks for this. The world keeps getting curiouser, and curiouser, and more molecularly complex.

            2. Acacia

              One comment on that Science article by Derek Lowe stands out:

              There were over a YEARS worth of very informative comments here that essentially fractured DL’s hypothesis….. why were they removed???

              I’m no expert on any of this, but I recall at the very beginning of the epidemic, IM Doc commented that medical textbooks had made it clear there were no sterilizing vaccines for coronaviruses. I don’t recall whether the reason was stated, or whether it was ADE or something else.

              In any case, when the mRNA vaccines finally did appear, amid much fanfare, etc., I recalled IM Doc’s note and just assumed the vaccines were in effect only “shots”, being passed off as “vaccines” through some dubious word play.

              The fact that we have since seen a whole series of boosters and VE still seems low-ish has, at least for me, only confirmed IM Doc’s observation.

              One of my close friends has landed in the ER twice with “complications “ after receiving a mRNA booster “too soon” after a SARS-2 inflection. No thanks.

              1. Yves Smith

                The reason there could be no vaccines with sterilizing immunity (which was well known at the time) is that immunity to ALL coronaviruses is comparatively short-lived. The common cold is six months. The longest immunity period for a corona virus is 34 months for MERS, which for the convenience of memory, happens also to have a 34% mortality rate. There was keen watching of the UK regular REACT surveys (regular blood work, n of ~100,000, every 5 weeks or so) to see antibody levels and speed of waning as a proxy for how long immunity to SARS-2 lasted. The best guess from early work was 6-8 months.

                I have never heard anyone articulate a theory describing how a Covid vaccine of any type could produce better results than that of a killed virus vaccine, which as you know produces immunity via generating a weak version of an infection.

                So then the question is could the immunity be sterilizing during the period when the patient does have immunity? I recall reading that no one had ever achieved that with an injected vaccine for a respiratory virus. My layperson understanding is injected vaccine = immunity fight takes place in the blood and tissues, but you can get a virus that is reproducing nicely in your sinuses and infects others with that before the vaccine immunity has kicked in much. Hence the nasal cavities have to be the first line of defense to have any hope of achieving sterilizing immunity. How durable that is is another matter.

                Anecdata suggests that the period of Covid immunity has decreased, witness after Omicron hit many people reporting new cases within weeks of a previous infection.

    2. Lee

      “… developing programs to take the latest neural engineering science and technology out of the laboratory and seed the creation of new mind-enabled industries.”

      Do we really need more digital doohickies between us and and our light switches? I recently experienced a steering failure in my car. Fortunately, when my steering went out I was happy to find that by applying my Herculean arm strength to the wheel I was still able to control the direction of the vehicle because of the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels on the ground. During my research into my own car’s problem I was horrified to learn that some cars have steering wheels with no mechanical connection with their electric power steering unit but rely on electronic signals. Were I driving such a car, I might not be here to tell the tale.

  14. polar donkey

    News here in Memphis. Elon Musk has decided to build the world’s largest supercomputer in the abandoned Electrolux factory on the Mississippi River here in Memphis. I guess it needs a lot of water and cheap electricity, something Memphis has. News says it is a $6 billion investment. Rare good news for we Memphians.

    1. Carolinian

      I just drove through Memphis. No offense but nightmare traffic. Maybe Musk can bore some tunnels.

    2. ambrit

      I wonder if they can get preferred access to the Tennessee Valley Authority hydro-electric system grid, and Mississippi River water for cooling? That plus a Deep South labour “management” environment, (keeps labour costs low.)

  15. kareninca

    A women in her 40s who lives in Cleveland and attends my online church just discovered that her cubicle companion has had whooping cough for three weeks now. She herself developed a fairly unpleasant cough, but it seems to have gone away. I don’t think of whooping cough as being something adults catch.

    1. Retired Carpenter

      re: “I don’t think of whooping cough as being something adults catch.”
      Unfortunately they do catch it. Very unpleasant!
      FWIW Pertussis (whooping cough) is a nationally notifiable disease in these United States. It has a (real, non-Fauci) vaccine. Boosters recommended every 10 years or so for adults. I have received boosters of said vaccine after some job complications which required tetanus boosters. One apprentice passed out while coughing. Luckily he was on the ground, not on a scaffold. Such folks should not be out working, driving or infecting others. perhaps IM DOC can comment.

      1. kareninca

        She said she had a booster within the past ten years when she was pregnant with her son.

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. Are we looking here at a vaccine avoiding version of the pathogen? Like multi resistant tuberculosis?
          Mother Nature wants to kill us all. The Church of the Neo-liberal Dispensation is just doing Her work. Hmmm… I think that I have just described a Death Cult.
          Thought Leader: “Brothers, Sisters, and Things In the Middle. We are here to spin the wheel of evolution! Can I have an Amen?”
          Congregation: “Amen!”
          Thought Leader: “Round and round it goes, and where it stops… Oh my. Jackpot!”
          Wild cheering from the Congregation.
          Thought Leader: “Due to these sudden happenings, I call for an executive meeting of the Heaven’s Gatekeepers after the service.”
          Cheering continues.

          1. albrt

            Mother nature, probably. But the Republicans and the Democrats definitely want to kill us before we can collect social security. So I guess we need to keep our eyes open.

    2. LifelongLib

      A few years back there were some ads on local TV (Hawaii) advising adults who are around children to get immunized against whooping cough. Apparently the disease is little danger to adults but can be quite serious for children. Since I have a bunch of grandnieces/nephews I see a couple of times a year, I asked my doctor about it. He said I should get the shot, which I did.

    3. kareninca

      I have a relative by marriage who has an eleven year old daughter who has been diagnosed with h. pylori. The symptoms began in October (eight months ago!!!!) but she was only scoped a couple of days ago, and finally got an actual diagnosis. Every time the mother took her in, the doctors told her it was anxiety and ADHD.

      The doctor told her that everyone has this microbe in their system, but some people can’t fight it off. Now she is on Tetracycline, Omneprozole, Pepcid and Metronidazole (or something similar). Her family members will be tested to see if they should be put on something.

      I guess it took so long for the diagnosis because it seems it is very rare for kids to catch this, and those who do typically live in developing countries. And the few who catch it in the U.S. live in poverty in a slum. Until now, anyway. My relative is a well off college professor who lives in a trendy Western state and her husband has a good job too and their hyphenated-American culture of origin (unlike mine) is one that values a clean house. So this kid is well off, properly fed and washes her hands. The whole family has had all of the covid (and other) vaccines that are available, and they have all had covid more than once.

      It sounds to me like the poor kid’s immune system is shot.

    4. kareninca

      I just talked with the Cleveland lady again and she told me that eight people in her cubicle area are coughing. She’s the only one who is getting tested (there is still a small residual cough); she’ll get her results tomorrow. I told her that I did think that there were labor laws concerning infectious disease in workplaces. That may not help her since she needs her job badly; she is divorced and one of her sons is autistic and the other has separation issues.

  16. Pat

    Bwahahaha. After almost two decades and three mayors actively making traffic worse in Manhattan, the beloved Congestion pricing boondoggle is indefinitely postponed.

    Hochul “delays” congestion pricing

    There will be a lot to speculate about why. I particularly liked one NY Post headline that her putting party over climate, like climate is ever the Post’s concern. I would hope that finally there would be a focus on both needed additional and expanded public transportation before implementation and another restructuring of both the discounts and the waivers. There were some clearly ridiculous choices made in those areas. I did think it was telling that the one big comment from a board member was about loss of funds. Getting more and the most money possible seemed to be the real goal from the beginning not congestion relief.

    1. Jeff V

      That was a depressing run-through of world elections. Seemed like they only scratched the surface and could do an individual video about each “democracy”.

      Apart from the bit about Iran not being very democratic; I think I already had an inkling about that.

  17. ChrisPacific

    From the National Review Biden article:

    The PDB represents the end result of a far-reaching, Herculean effort — billions of dollars spent, thousands of U.S. intelligence community employees working all kinds of hours, spy satellites, human sources, signals intercepts, information that is often gathered at considerable risk — every day of the year.

    What is the point of putting all that effort into gathering, analyzing, and providing the best information possible to a man who won’t remember it for long?

    Trump, if people will recall, rarely bothered to read it at all.

    This is why the “OMG! Look how bad this candidate is!” stories need to be taken in context. They’re both awful. We know that. The question for voters will inevitably be which one is the least horrible choice.

    At present I’m thinking (reluctantly) that ‘May destroy the world in a nuclear escalation with Russia’ beats ‘May destroy democracy and the legal system in America.’ The latter would be bad, but I feel like the US is more than halfway there already. I definitely don’t want the world destroyed. As ‘The Tick’ would say, it’s where I keep all my stuff.

    1. Pat

      Are you thinking your choice is Biden or Biden? Just wondering because off hand if I were taking each of those descriptions separately I would assume you are talking about Joe. I am seeing a hell of a lot of destruction of the tenets of Democracy and abusive and destructive use of the legal system from the Biden administration. A Trump term two might not look like one, but based on one war mongering and civil rights destruction not to mention lawfare were surprisingly rare, unlike the last three years. Biden is by far the greater evil but lesser evil is no reason to vote for anyone.
      The best thing for all would be a rejection of incumbents for Congress and a third party victory for President. Our political class needs to be defeated in a manner that leaves no doubt that not only are the people no longer are eating the dog food they are ramming it down the throats of the major parties until they choke.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I am (perhaps thankfully) not a US voter. I suspect I would not be able to stomach voting for either. I’m probably fortunate that I don’t have to make that choice, as it would greatly annoy my wife.

    2. albrt

      I am not 100% convinced that the only question for voters will be which one of Trump and Biden is the least horrible choice. I am on record predicting that if either party replaces their demented front runner, the replacement candidate will win.

      Another possibility, if a third party candidate wins a few electoral votes in a close election and no candidate wins a majority, the house gets to decide among the three top candidates.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I am not 100% convinced that the only question for voters will be which one of Trump and Biden is the least horrible choice.

        If I were really paranoid, I would speculate that the Democrat’s ironclad commitment to Biden is really a scheme to have the Democrat National Convention pick the candidate in a smoke-filled room after Biden slips a cog at the last possible moment (“medical emergency”). I can see a cabal gaming that out, but I think the Democrat hive mind, taken as a whole, is deeply committed to the him, as authoritarian followers would be.

        Funny, all these leaks from Democrat insiders. The Republicans, and the press generally, were much more disciplined after Reagan lost his mind, and Nanch was running the country with advice from her astrologer (which, to be fair, is better than taking advice from mainstream economists, even back then).

  18. Glen

    Another container ship leaving port having control problems, but it was able to get out to sea despite running at RAMMING SPEED.

    Containership Throttle Jammed Open Leaving Port of Charleston | Ravenel Bridge Closed

    I’m just guessing, but as an engineer, this is sure starting to look like an industry that has cut preventive maintenance and crew size to the bone. Our company did something similar (management cut back preventive maintenance work and maintenance crew sizes over the strenuous objections of the engineering groups) for a while in the 00’s until one factory quite literally melted down most of the prime power distribution for the site.

    1. AhMòStoBene

      Turns out the profit is in selling not objects, these days, but almost-not-objects! Likewise the running of processes (a given when objects are themselves processes). If a medieval cathedral was instinctively, belts-and-bracingly, perhaps fearfully over-engineered with much of the stone structure unnecessary for it to stand, then the modern compulsion is to run things just this side of collapse, of give, of rupture. It saves resources! The medieval master builder and the modern businessman look at their projects both wondering “I wonder how little would be too little” but from awfully different perspectives, one faction apparently lacking all fear or humility.

      We all go about our days somehow as if the logic is not in place that will undermine our foundations as quite a primary expression of function. Imagine losing sight of the river because it has dug its way completely under the bank on which the village stands, and just putting it out of mind!!

  19. jean

    Re asymptomatic=bad immune system. Could be that, AND asymptomatic=good immune system. Both could be true, depending on the mechanism that causes a particular person to be asymptomatic. As with so many things, once you declare something is “always” or “never”, you are likely wrong. But not always, of course. That’s why research.

    See Silent battles: immune responses in asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection https://www.nature.com/articles/s41423-024-01127-z
    “Notably, asymptomatic infections [with SARS-CoV-2] are characterized by an early and robust innate immune response, particularly a swift type 1 IFN reaction, alongside a rapid and broad induction of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. Often, antibody levels tend to be lower or undetectable after asymptomatic infections, suggesting that the rapid control of viral replication by innate and cellular responses might impede the full triggering of humoral immunity. ”

    Note “suggesting” and “might”. That is, until they are able to do the experiment, they won’t know. So nice when people make clear that they realize they are just speculating based on what they know, and that it can change tomorrow when they know more. I trust them more.

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