By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, I’m going to go through and beef this up a little. Covid coverage plus 1/6 plus is clogging my filters, and so I’m chugging along a bit more slowly than usual. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Bird Song of the Day
Roberts’s Warbler, Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Chatter, chatter!
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson
“The January 6th Scam” [Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report]. “There really isn’t a lot to say about what happened on January 6, 2021. Trump riled up his supporters to either stop the electoral college certification or just to yank the establishment’s chain. There was no threat to what most Americans think of as democracy and no path for a government to be overthrown even if that is what the mob wanted to achieve. Mostly they were motivated by racism, a white mob in the classic American sense without any high minded thought about the electoral process. They didn’t want to believe that their guy lost, so they broke in and trashed the place. But that simple explanation isn’t very useful to people with ulterior motives who want to win while also stabbing voters in the back. .” • Bingo.
UPDATE “Trump had a direct role in plan to install fake electors. Key takeaways from the fourth Jan. 6 hearing” [CNBC]. “Witnesses testified under oath to Trump’s direct involvement in efforts to reverse elections in key states by either decertifying Biden’s win or sending an alternate slate of fake pro-Trump electors to cast ballots in the Electoral College….. Arizona Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he refused to cede to Trump and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani when they asked him to hold an official committee hearing at the Arizona capitol to prop up their claims of election fraud. Bowers said they wanted the hearing to justify arguments to remove and replace the electors. ‘I did not feel that the evidence, granted in its absence, merited a hearing, and I didn’t want to be used as a pawn,’ Bowers said. He recalled telling them: ‘You’re asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath.’ Bowers also said Trump lawyer John Eastman asked him in a separate call to hold a vote to decertify Arizona’s electors. ‘Just do it and let the courts sort it out,’ Bowers recalled Eastman as saying. Bowers said he replied: ‘You’re asking me to do something that’s never been done in history — the history of the United States — and I’m going to put my state through that without sufficient proof? And that’s going to be good enough with me?’ … RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told congressional investigators that Trump, during a phone conversation, ‘turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors, in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states,’ according to a replay of part of her taped deposition.” So — lack of cross-examination, due to Republican stupidity, aside — a variant of faithless electors.
UPDATE “Trump’s open confession will loom large at today’s Jan. 6 hearing” [WaPo]. “Trump and coup-blueprint author John Eastman pressured Pence to and certify electors for Trump. Separately, Eastman and others around Trump saw the fake-elector scheme as a way to manufacture doubt around which electors were the real ones…. This might also have given Pence a pretext to delay the count. Everything else flowed from this: Trump and his advisers pressured the Justice Department to fabricate an aura that the election was fraudulent, to create that pretext. Trump directly pressed the Republican secretary of state in Georgia to “find” votes for the same purpose.” And: “Given all this, Trump’s open telegraphing of intent to rerun his coup plot should frame how we understand Tuesday’s hearing. Let’s hope 10 Senate Republicans take it this way, even if they don’t say so publicly. If so, they have the option to help revise the Electoral Count Act so such a scheme will be much harder to pull off, by requiring Congress to count the slate of electors deemed legitimate by the courts.” • Well… First of all, like all of this, the timeline seems pretty rickety. How long would the “delay” be? Nothing suggests days, let alone weeks. (I suppose at this point we could wheel in an appeal to the Supreme Court through Ginny Thomas, which adds another layer of rickitiness.) Second, that word “illegal” sneaks into “illegally delay.” If that’s an unchallenged interpretation, then why does the Electoral Count Act need revision? I hate all this, but I’m also not sure how much is bent lawyers racking up the billable hours + cosplay, and how much is real.
UPDATE “CNN picks worst time to bail on ‘the Big Lie’” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “[New CNN boss Chris Licht] said his issue with ‘the Big Lie’ was that he saw the term as ‘partisan; and associated with Democrats, something he wants to avoid. As reported by veteran media critic Dylan Byers at Puck, Licht is aiming to ‘discourage spectacle and alarmism’ at the cable network.” • Maybe instead of “the Big Lie” we could say “a Large Lie.” That way, we avoid the inflammatory Hitler association and, better yet, we have a bucket we can throw RussiaGate into (arguably more significant, as it built an ideological/demonization foundation for war with a nuclear power, even if only by proxy).
“Senators hail ‘bipartisan breakthrough’ on gun safety legislation” [The Hill]. “Senate negotiators on Tuesday reached a long-awaited deal on a bipartisan gun safety bill to take firearms away from dangerous people and provide billions of dollars in new mental health funding. The legislation represents a rare moment of bipartisan agreement on the charged issues of gun violence and gun control, breaking nearly 30 years of stalemate on those issues. The bill does not ban assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines or significantly expand background-check requirements for gun purchases, reforms that were top Democratic priorities a decade ago. But it does give states more resources to take guns away from dangerous individuals, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime, and provides billions of dollars in funding for mental health treatment.” • Anybody who could smuggle one of those Armalite things past the metal detectors in a stadium could whack hundreds, not mere tens. I suppose it’s only a matter of time, and maybe then we’d get some decent legislation.
“Joe Manchin signals he’s open to extend Obamacare aid — but seeks to restrict richer families from qualifying” [Business Insider]. “Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia signaled he’s open to extending enhanced subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, a move that would help Democrats avert a huge political threat in the November midterms from millions of people learning about spiking monthly premiums only weeks before casting ballots…. “The main thing here is the means-testing,” he said in a brief interview on Wednesday evening. “We should be helping the people who really need it the most and are really having the hardest time.’” • That’s our Democrats — means-testing an already means-tested program.
UPDATE The political economy of Covid according to Ashish Jha:
Shoutout to @wsbgnl for getting some White House financial disclosure forms, which help paint a fuller picture of the political economy of covid response (among other things). pic.twitter.com/wpv5uvJFZK
— Justin Feldman (@jfeldman_epi) June 22, 2022
UPDATE “School meal waivers expire in 9 days. After axing them, Congress may try to save them” [NPR]. “A bipartisan group of four lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bill that would extend the school meal waivers that have been a lifeline for schools and families during the pandemic…. Lawmakers failed to extend those waivers one more academic school year when they were excluded from the budget signed by President Joe Biden in March, resulting in a scramble for administrators and parents nationwide. School leaders and parents had weeks to prepare for summer meal programs without the waivers that allowed more summer meal sites. They also had to get up to speed on how fall meals would function with the return of free and reduced-price meal applications and continued supply chain challenges that meant some foods were not always available. Now, Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Boozman, R-Ark., and Reps. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., have released the Keep Kids Fed Act with the goal of passing the bill out of both chambers and to Biden’s desk before the waivers expire on June 30.”
* * *
UPDATE “Biden’s optimism collides with mounting political challenges” [Associated Press]. “Democrats are going to hold onto the House after November’s midterm elections. They will pick up as many as four seats in the Senate, expanding their majority and overcoming internal dissent that has helped stifle their agenda. As the challenges confronting President Joe Biden intensify, his predictions of a rosy political future for the Democratic Party are growing bolder. The assessments, delivered in speeches, fundraisers and conversations with friends and allies, seem at odds with a country that he acknowledged this week was ‘really, really down,’ burdened by a pandemic, surging gas prices and spiking inflation. Biden’s hopeful outlook tracks with a sense of optimism that has coursed through his nearly five-decade career and was at the center of his 2020 presidential campaign, which he said was built around restoring the ‘soul of America.’ In a lengthy Oval Office interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Biden said part of his job as president is to ‘be confident.’ ‘Because I am confident,’ he said. ‘We are better positioned than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the 21st century. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact.’” • If true, the Democrats had better start making the case. The 1/6 hearings and framing defeat in Ukraine as a victory over [makes warding sign] Putin won’t do the trick.
PA: So far, Fetterman’s variant of the “front porch” strategy (“I’ll hit the campaign trail when the doctors approve”) seems to be doing OK:
Pennsylvania Senate Race:
John Fetterman 46%
Dr. Oz 37%
Fetterman is pulling ahead by running strong in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh AND by polling way better than Democrats usually do in rural counties where he has gone out of his way to campaign.
(USA Today/Suffolk Poll) pic.twitter.com/kifwJQc3Mc
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) June 22, 2022
I wonder if Fetterman could deke frustrated Doctor Oz into doing armchair diagnosis….
UPDATE PA: “Why is no one talking about Doug Mastriano’s plan to destroy public education in Pa.?” [Inquirer]. The deck: “GOP’s radical Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate would end property taxes, slash per-pupil spending, and boost religious schools and homeschooling.”
UPDATE TX: “Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar declared winner in Texas recount” [Associated Press]. “A recount in Texas affirmed Democrat U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar as the winner Tuesday of his primary race against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros, who had trailed by fewer than 200 votes following a runoff in May.” • Nancy, good job.
“DeSantis escalates feud with White House” [The Hill]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is escalating his feud with the White House over the COVID-19 response as he positions himself for a possible presidential campaign in 2024…. ‘Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there’s not going to be any state programs that are going to be trying to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,’ DeSantis said to applause from the crowd on hand. ‘That’s not where we’re gonna be utilizing our resources.’” • We’ll see.
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
“Trump praises ‘powerful’ Texas GOP after rejection of Biden win” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump applauded the Texas Republican Party’s proposed platform that declares President Biden ‘was not legitimately elected’ on Tuesday. ‘Look at the Great State of Texas and their powerful Republican Party Platform on the 2020 Presidential Election Fraud,’ Trump wrote on Truth Social, the social media platform he founded as an alternative to Twitter. ‘After much research and study, they disavow the national result for President.’” Interestingly: “Texas GOP communications director James Wesolek told The Hill on Monday that the resolution the party passed is not officially part of the platform and passed by a voice vote of delegates. Each delegate needed to vote in favor or against 275 proposals for the platform, and the results are expected to be counted this week.”
“Donald Trump Likely No Longer in Contempt of Court in New York Probe, State AG Says” [Bloomberg]. “Former President Donald Trump, who was fined for failing to comply with a New York subpoena in a probe of his real estate company, may finally be in compliance with a court order, according to the state’s top law enforcement officer. Affidavits filed by Trump employees outlining record-retention policies at his business are likely sufficient to resolve a contempt-of-court finding against the former president that resulted in $110,000 in fines, a lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a letter to a judge on Tuesday.” • But the walls were closing in!
Realignment and Legitimacy
“I’m Not Sexist, Other Voters Are” [Liz Lenz, Men Yell at Me]. “[In 2017, when Regina Bateson, a former diplomat and academic, ran for office] circular reasoning from voters who liked her and wanted to vote for her but were worried about the sexism that she’d face in a general election. It was a frustrating logic, one that wouldn’t be swayed by truth or actualities. Women did win. They could win…. When Bateson lost, she decided to study the infuriating logic of voters, which she termed “strategic discrimination.” Her resulting research offers insight into the sexist logic of electability and a better framework for assessing elected officials.” More:
LL: Something that jumped out at me in your research was that people overestimate how racist and sexist other people truly are.
RB: Yes. Massively. You do see this in other fields and professions and aspects of society, especially when there have been patterns of discrimination in the past, people have a tendency to hold on to their kind of knowledge from the past about how others think and how others behave.
And it almost seems like people are updating their own preferences and their own views more quickly than they’re able to update their beliefs about what other people think. In the paper, I quoted some psychologists and other research on how people get stuck in the prejudices of the past and perpetuate them because they believe that they’re still true. Even if other people’s views have actually changed.
It’s our beliefs about other people’s beliefs that hold us back sometimes.
Sounds like a Keynesian beauty contest.
“The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)” [The Tablet]. “One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI).” Beware of all enterprises that require new acronyms. Nevertheless, it’s always good to follow the money, and especially family office money. More: “Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions.” • Hmm. Lots and lots of detail on the funding, though. And the Pritzkers will no doubt heavily fund the Democrat Party in 2022 and 2024, too, so hold on to your hats.
I am but a humble tape-watcher, and I’m perplexed about the current state of play. Case data is showing the fiddling-and-diddling behavior characteristic of a peak. However, nothing I hear in anecdotal case data tells me there’s any relief. Hospitalization data (trailing) is easing (and so the hospital-centric public health establishment probably thinks Covid is done). Positivity data (leading) has been fiddling and diddling as it too does at peaks. Then again, waste-water data (leading) is slightly downThe wild card is variants BA.4/5 (and I thought we were supposed to be giving names to these things). All the variant sources I have say BA.4/5 are up, but they differ as to how much and where, and the data is two weeks behind (hat tip, CDC; who could have known we’d need to track variant data?). I am reminded of the “stairstep” (see the Case count chart below: I muttered about this at the time) that marked the Delta/Omicron transition, just before Omicron’s amazing take-off. Perhaps a BA.4/5 transition will exhibit the same behavior. OTOH, I could be projecting patterns into clouds.
“Ventilation is crucial, but until recently it took a backseat to other covid measures” [WaPo]. Rather, it was tied up, gagged, and stuffed in the trunk by droplet goons at CDC, WHO, and in the public health establishment generally (see here and here among many; NC readers know the story well). The article does contain an excellent timeline of official folly, but also contains some howlers: “For more than two years, scientists and researchers have known the coronavirus often infects people through ultra-tiny particles that hang out in the air — not just the bigger droplets that masks are supposed to protect against.” N95 masks protect against aerosols. That’s why people should wear them. More: “But it wasn’t until March that the White House pivoted its strategy to stress ventilation measures, in addition to face coverings, as a primary method of slowing the spread of the virus.” First, if there is any such stress, it’s not visible (the White House Office of Science and Technology has no clout, sadly, and there’s no funding for ventilation. And of course the Biden Administration has systematically destroyed masking as a non-pharmaceutical intervention). Second, masks aren’t “face coverings” because — hear me out — they don’t cover the whole face; not, for example, the windows of the soul, the eyes. More: “But spreading the message of covid spread through aerosol droplets was especially challenging.” And conflating aerosols and droplets with “aerosol droplets” doesn’t help, does it? More, this tweet:
— Krystal Pollitt (@PollittKrystal) September 14, 2020
Tell me you don’t know what a Corsi-Rosenthal box is without telling me you don’t know what a Corsi-Rosenthal box. (Of course, both Corsi and Rosenthal worked at state schools, not Yale. Perhaps that’s it [bangs head on desk].
• Maskstravaganza: Obama models masking. Watch all the way to end:
— Revolutionary Blackout Network🥋 (@SocialistMMA) June 22, 2022
#CovidIsAirborne, and spreads by breathing, talking, singing, and shouting. Jerk.
Knew I bookmarked this for a reasonhttps://t.co/5xwUaV7emQ
— Bevan M (@motbevron) June 22, 2022
I’m not the only one whose back teeth itch when hearing “Let’s see your smile!” Reassuring!
Oh and CDC guidance would clearly be to live with the zombies. Bites are mild. Try to wear clothes and not touch their rotting flesh. Sext only.
— Jonathan Mesiano-Crookston 🌬️🔅#COVIDisAirborne (@jmcrookston) June 22, 2022
• More reassurance:
With only a small number of people in an area, social activities such as outdoor meetups can be relatively safe, especially if everyone is already taking precautions and/or agrees to be tested beforehand.
The same principles apply to play dates for small children. 2/
— CovidMeetups.com (@covidmeetupscom) June 22, 2022
A very good thing!
If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.
I cannot find a case count chart that integrates regional and national subtotals, so we are that much stupider. I thought the New York Times had the nicest data presentationL
Case count for the United States:
The totals are or less level, but under the hood the BA.4/5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was ~96,000. Today, it’s 100,500, and 100,500 * 6 = a Biden line at 603,000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.
• “Coronavirus: French face Covid-19 upsurge, other Europeans see increase” [South China Morning Post]. “France is facing a new wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled by new variants of the disease, French vaccination chief Alain Fischer said on Wednesday, as daily new cases reached an almost two-month peak the day before at more than 95,000. Speaking on France 2 television, he said there was no doubt there was once again an upsurge of the pandemic in the country, adding he was personally in favour of reinstating mandatory face mask wearing on public transport… Other European countries, especially Portugal, are also seeing an increase, due two new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, are likely to become dominant in the region. The variants do not appear to carry a higher risk of severe disease than other forms of Omicron but as they are somewhat more infectious than the latter, it could lead to an increase in hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC said.” • Good thing we kept testing at international airports. Oh, wait….
0.0%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)
NOT UPDATED Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 15:
Wastewater data (CDC), June 22:
I thought I’d give CDC’s wastewaster page another shot, and here it is. I don’t want to be cranky about this, but you’d think that the world’s premier public health agency would be able to keep its website up and running consistently. How am I supposed to do my personal risk assessment?
• So I must rely on this tweet from the CDC:
Wastewater can be used to track #COVID19 in communities. A new chart on COVID Data Tracker shows how virus levels in wastewater have changed over time at wastewater sites across the United States. Over half had increasing levels in May. See the data: https://t.co/i5L5PFTlyM. pic.twitter.com/k2caL3Uq36
— CDC (@CDCgov) June 10, 2022
NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 15:
Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 15:
In 18 days, BA.4/5 has gone from 18 days, 9.66 to 28.47 (and this is not according to some sorta model, like CDC’s NowCast, which gives 35%). Nice doubling behavior, implying BA.4/5 should be happily dominant just in time for the travel weekend of July 4, good job everyone.
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 4:
Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is.
NOT UPDATED From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:
The previous release:
NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.
West Coast, and Midwest are all red. More and more orange (“substantial”) on the East Coast. Great Plains speckled with yellow and blue.
NOT UPDATED Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,038,385. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.
The pattern appears to have changed. Nearly three months since ultra-contagious Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, Americans are dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic. https://t.co/9Aro6EAF0K
— NYT Science (@NYTScience) June 20, 2022
Let’s wait until the reinfections — the reinfections that the Biden Administration has built into the system through its Let ‘Er Rip policy — begin to kick in.
There are no official statistics of interest today.
Supply Chain: This is a cheap shot at the young person:
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 22, 2022
Who created the situation? Who set up the supply chain? Who profited? For some reason, they are not in the picture at all.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 23 Extreme Fear (previous close: 19 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 20 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 22 at 2:16 PM EDT.
Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)
Combining one’s pleasures:
Unknown Artist, Female Courtier On a Rampart Smoking a Hookah, While Watching a Flight of Birds, early 19th century #unknownartist #harvardartmuseums https://t.co/DGA7m2qBK2 pic.twitter.com/lyezc2cLZs
— HAM: Paintings (Bot) (@harvard_artbot) June 22, 2022
“Do you take us for a gang of brainless lizards?” [Letters of Note]. • Rejection letters. T.S. Eliot’s rejection letter to George Orwell is clarifying.
Great metaphor…. For something:
When i delivered papers early morning in the snow, i’d walk backwards to random peoples frontdoors then follow my steps back out. Imagine peoples faces when they leave for work & think that someone’s already left their house.
— Fesshole 🧻 (@fesshole) June 22, 2022
“Buy Now, Pay Later Is Exploding in Popularity as Experts Warn of Overspending Risks” [Bloomberg]. • Another metaphor…..
“What the Right Doesn’t Get About the Labor Left” [Sohrab Ahmari, Compact]. Well worth a read, though a bit dyspeptic on masks as a cultural marker. “America’s class structure isn’t all that complicated. Those who wish to map its contours would be better served by examining things like labor markets and capital flows than critical theory. Roughly speaking, there is the top 0.1 percent, the largest owners of capital; the top 1.1 percent, composed of Wall Street executives and other high managers; and the top 5 to 10 percent of professionals who service the assets of the first two groups. The bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, comprises blue-collar workers, nonmanagerial workers, non-college-educated workers, and downwardly mobile college-educated ones. That last group is the target of much right-wing ire, because its members often share the cultural views of the upper 10 percent. Indeed, those who work in media, information, and education often serve as the frontline enforcers of elite ideology. Even so, the wages of that last cohort have remained stagnant for about 30 years, all the more painful for a generation brought up to believe that a college degree is the pathway to a stable life. By any serious material measure, no one in the bottom 90 percent can be counted a part of the ruling class. To suggest otherwise is to stretch the notion beyond recognition. Yet so much of what passes for “class analysis” on the New Right is premised on the notion that the college-educated precariat is in the driver’s seat of the national economy, of politics and culture.” • Note that he mostly trashes the left (and here I don’t mean liberals) using (facile) cultural tropes, but his criticism of the right is strategic.
“The maddening saga of how an Alzheimer’s ‘cabal’ thwarted progress toward a cure for decades” [STAT]. From 2019, but highly reminscent of the droplet goons: ” The most influential researchers have long believed so dogmatically in one theory of Alzheimer’s that they systematically thwarted alternative approaches. Several scientists described those who controlled the Alzheimer’s agenda as ‘a cabal.’ In more than two dozen interviews, scientists whose ideas fell outside the dogma recounted how, for decades, believers in the dominant hypothesis suppressed research on alternative ideas: They influenced what studies got published in top journals, which scientists got funded, who got tenure, and who got speaking slots at reputation-buffing scientific conferences. This stifling of competing ideas, say a growing number of scholars, is a big reason why there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s. (The four approved drugs have no effect on the disease, providing only a temporary memory boost.)” • So there’s [genuflects] Science, and then there’s actually existing science.
News of the Wired
“Tear out your lawn, check. Drought-tolerant plants, check. Next up: recycled water” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘If we’re going to adapt to climate change, we need to recognize the impacts on the region, which means longer dry cycles and extreme rain events, so when it rains, it will rain more intensely,’ said Melanie Winter, founder and director of the River Project, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Los Angeles River watershed. ‘We’re basically looking at aridification and flood.’ At a minimum, this means we should be installing gutters on our roofs, permeable walks and driveways around our homes and storage tanks in our yards — not barrels, because they’re not big enough to hold the water that pours off a roof in a single rainfall, Winter said.” • Interesting. Do any readers have projects like this underway?
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 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 ChiGal:
ChiGal writes: “Snake in the garden: taken during a walk on Wooded Isle in Jackson Park, where the red crane in the background is the only tell of how close the sprawling construction site for Obama’s monument to his own ego is….”
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