By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
I hope my [pastes]f[pastes]fing mis[pastes]firing “[pastes]f” key doesn’t a[pastes]f[pastes]f my style in any way; I’d hate to [pastes]find mysel[pastes]f writing around it.
Let me also reinforce a Thomas Ferguson’s point by quoting it: “If there were a sort of VIX index for instability in politics that you could easily calculate, I’d say this thing is much dicier than people think.” The upcoming elections are going to drive pandemic policy, both Covid and whatever is to come. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day
Namaqua Dove, NEAR ISIOLO; 12.8KM ON WAJOR ROAD, Eastern, Kenya. “SONG – SUCCESSION OF SOFT SINGLE COOS. BUSHES IN SAVANNAH, DRY TYPE. MACHINE NOISE.” Kenya, 1955. This is an amazing historical document; most of it is not a cooing dove, but speech from a Brit who sounds like he’s wearing a pith helmet complaining about his malfunctioning microphone; this example of the birding genre deserves the complete parodic treatment. I am reminded of this, by Alan Bennett:
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“Trying Trump: Scandal May Be His Element — But This Time May Be Different” [Jonathan Turley, The Messenger]. “Destroying Trump in a scandal is like trying to drown a manatee: Both are in their element. The fact is that many people will see this indictment as confirmation of their worst expectations of either Trump or the Justice Department. It will be difficult to get through a trial before the 2024 presidential election. Even if the Justice Department pushed for a trial, judges likely would balk at the notion of trying this case months before the election. Either way, Trump — if he won reelection to the White House — could give himself a pardon before or after any conviction…. Regarding Mar-a-Lago, the reported inclusion of a charge under the Espionage Act is a bit surprising, given the novel legal issues surrounding the handling of such documents. However, the inclusion of false-statement and obstruction charges is what many of us have predicted all along. These are the favorite charges of federal prosecutors; they are easier to prove and can be presented as stand-alone offenses… Indeed, the ultimate jury in this case could prove to be the American people. The 2024 election could become a referendum on this case. I have long maintained that presidents can pardon themselves, and Trump could well use his mugshot as a campaign poster…. The Justice Department has done tremendous damage to itself — and, potentially, to this case — due to its prior history with Trump. FBI and Justice officials have shown open bias against him and have treated him differently than figures like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That record was further exposed recently by another special counsel, John Durham, who found that the Justice Department lacked a basis to launch the Russia-collusion investigation. Polls show that the majority of Americans harbor serious doubts about the independence and integrity of the FBI. Many voters are skeptical over yet another criminal allegation just before a presidential election…. He will surrender on Tuesday — but that will be only the start of an existential fight for Trump.” • On the Espionage Act, so recently abhorred by liberals:
Arguing that Trump lacked the ability to de-classify materials by whatever method he chose would have to mean ultimate control over the classification regime lies not with the Executive Branch’s lone elected officer, but an unknown glob of unelected Executive Branch bureaucracy
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 9, 2023
Prior to last year, former presidents were assumed to have “a high degree of discretion” over compliance with the Presidential Records Act. This isn’t about Trump being “above the law,” it’s about repeatedly inventing new legal theories specifically to criminalize Trump’s conduct pic.twitter.com/GXzY3PFAUe
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 9, 2023
I would reconceptualize Tracey’s point at a higher level. Recall the great PMC chain of being; predatory precarity, as Waldman describes it. Those above accumulating social capital from those below; and they in turn being preyed upon by those above them. Clearly, in the official Washington and the Acela Corridor generally, both the ability to classify information, and the ability to declassify it, whether de facto or de jure, are both forms of social capital available to the PMC* (“I would say that our Mr. Swain has recently come into possession of a very high-grade source of intelligence and is busy converting it into power.” –William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive.) Trump’s brutal handling of these precious secrets is both a cultural affront to the PMC, and a threat to their class power. In fact, if Trump does not have “a high degree of discretion” over classified material, unelected PMC classifiers would be running the exective branch, and not the whichever elected official holds the Presidency under Article II. This class power is something I think the PMC would very much like to exercise, and it should come as no surprise that they are collectively and independently “working toward” it. (This would be one way of looking at the change in the Constitutional order initiated in 2016.) In this way, Trump’s indictment over classified material becomes a “classification struggle,” exactly at Bourdieu described it, a result that I think would please him very much. NOTE * A status hierarchy based on “access” to classified material might be a dividing line between what we might label as the “national” PMC, and other PMC **subclasses, an interesting result. NOTE ** I believe in multiple inheritance.
“Trump Associate Indicted in Mar-a-Lago Documents Case” [Wall Street Journal]. Really a wrap-up: “Donald Trump shook up his legal team Friday, one day after he and an associate were indicted in Miami over the handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, as prosecutors considered unsealing the charges against the former president and law enforcement braced for the potential for unrest. Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta—who went to work at the Florida resort after working in the Trump White House—also faces charges alongside Trump, according to a social media post from Trump and a person familiar with the matter. The federal case against Trump and Nauta has been initially assigned to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2020 and last year approved a request from the Trump team to appoint an outside arbiter—known as a special master—to review documents the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago in an August search. A three-judge appeals court panel later overturned her ruling and disbanded that review process, saying it represented a radical departure from past criminal cases.” • Trump’s “associate” is his valet? That seems a little low.
The case for the prosecution:
This seems bad, but we should take DeSantis, McCarthy, Youngkin, Haley, et al at their word that they support it and don’t see the need for any consequences. pic.twitter.com/hhEBLDOrzC
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 9, 2023
Of course, if I got the “classification struggle” argument above correct, what is in the documents isn’t material; it’s not relevant, for example, in answering the question of whether we wish to have a small-r republican government or not. Nor is it relevant to the question of whether over-classification is rife (here; here; here), and that the whole system should be regarded is irredeemable and torn down (PMC social capital: Poof!). However, the particularities — if one believes the indictment, which one might not (“They would, wouldn’t they?” — don’t look so good for Trump. I will be interested to hear his defense, and it would speak well of the PMC if (say) the ACLU would find him a good one.
“Trump indictment cheat sheet: What to know about the classified documents case” [Politico]. Useul if you haven’t been following the story. One nugget: “Federal court rules don’t allow photography or video broadcasting of criminal cases. It’s possible audio of some hearings might be available via phone, but the legal authority to allow that sort of remote public access is unclear now that the coronavirus public health emergency has ended.”
* * *
“Biden dismisses ‘malarkey’ FBI tip claiming he played a role in Burisma bribe scheme: ‘Where’s the money?’” [New York Post]. • Probably distributed through a large number of shell companies and ending up in the pockets of Biden clan members, if the bank records obtained by the House Oversight Committee for other Biden inluence-peddling schemes are any indication. My understanding is that most criminals are very consistent in their methods.
That FBI FD-1023 term — one of those technical-sounding earworms — just in case you hear it because it’s floated out of right-wing circles:
After reading the FBI FD-1023 form, the American people should know it also stipulates that according to the confidential human source, money was moved through several accounts to get to Joe Biden.
To clarify, money was MOVED ON PURPOSE through multiple accounts to get to Biden. pic.twitter.com/rUEzQk65Yl
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) June 9, 2023
Money moving “through several accounts” is Biden’s “modus operandi,” so it’s not surprising he or they would move $5 million that way. However, the FD-1023 form is for unverified information (IIRC, from confidential informants). That is, it’s a lot like the Steele Report. The Republican Twitter brigade should really do better before they start frothing and stamping about this.
“Construction workers union endorses Biden” [Axios]. “The Laborers’ International Union of North America, with half a million construction workers, has endorsed President Biden for re-election. It’s a sign that Biden is picking up some labor support as his campaign, in the early stages of the race, tries to make the case that the Biden administration has created a ‘manufacturing boom’ in the U.S. The construction workers union, with a diverse membership including Latino and Black men, will engage begin a digital media campaign to mobilize to its members and other union leaders. ‘One of the first actions he took was the American Rescue Plan, which not only created jobs for our members, but it also created long sought after pension relief,’ union president Brent Booker told Axios in an interview.” • Yeah, and [family blog] the railroad workers!
Democrats en Déshabillé
Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert
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.
* * *
“The conservative Supreme Court might have paved the way for Dems to take the House” [Politico]. “The Supreme Court just handed Democrats a huge favor: a ruling that likely widens their path back to the House majority in 2024. Democrats are poised to net a congressional seat in Alabama next November after Chief Justice John Roberts’ surprising opinion affirming a lower court’s findings that Republican mapmakers had likely illegally diluted the power of Black voters in the state. But the ruling could very well have implications beyond Alabama. In declining to further weaken the Voting Rights Act, the high court opened the door for Democrats to make other claims of racial gerrymandering in states across the South. That decision could possibly cause a domino effect in Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas, which may be forced to add new districts where Black and Latino voters would hold greater sway. It may also leave other Republicans on defense in states they control across the South, though it’s not clear whether that litigation will be complete in time for the 2024 elections in states other than Alabama. New maps could help deliver the House back to Democrats, particularly if the party also performs strongly in the 2024 elections from the presidential race and down the ballot.”
“Kathy Hochul Wants a Republican to Lead New York’s Energy Sector” [The New Republic]. “Kathy Hochul is trying to push through a Republican and climate-denialist donor to lead the state’s energy and power operations. Justin Driscoll is the current interim CEO of the New York Power Authority, earning the recommendation of the NYPA board last year (a board that is appointed by the governor). Now, the state Senate will hold a confirmation vote this week on whether he should become a permanent fixture in the role. Driscoll has a long résumé working in energy, but a closer look reveals a mixed record of concern to anyone who might specifically care about clean energy…. Driscoll is a registered Republican with a history of donations to Republican candidates and organizations. That includes the New York Assembly Republican Campaign Committee, then–New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, and Texas’s John Cornyn, during his first bid for the Senate in 2002. At the time, Cornyn had been criticized for accepting nearly $200,000 in political contributions from Enron, the energy company infamously wrapped up in corporate fraud. Driscoll nevertheless apparently found the Texas Republican—now a member of Congress who doesn’t believe climate change is real—to be compelling.” • What is with New York Democrats?
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Rural Oregon movement to join ‘Greater Idaho’ gains traction with vote in 12th county” [FOX]. “Wallowa County became the 12th Oregon county to join the ‘Greater Idaho’ movement when special election results on the measure were finalized Tuesday. The vote originally took place in May, with preliminary results showing support for the effort leading by only 21 votes. After all votes were finalized in June, the lead shrunk to only seven votes, narrowly avoiding the state requirement for a recount. The ‘Greater Idaho’ effort originally began in 2020 as an idea for large swaths of rural eastern Oregon to secede and join the more conservative Idaho to get away from the western, progressive part of the state. With Wallowa County’s vote, 12 out of 12 counties that have held an election on a “Greater Idaho” measure of any kind have voted in favor of exploring the move.” • I assume this movement is part of some squillionaire’s portfolio, but whose?
“Billionaire Biden Donor Bankrolled 2020 Election Social Media Censorship Effort” [Lee Fang]. “The Department of Homeland Security’s controversial social media censorship effort during the 2020 election was propped up by a partisan billionaire. Newly obtained documents, acquired through a public records request, confirm that Pierre Omidyar [or “Mr. Swain,” supra], the billionaire founder of eBay, financed a specialized portal maintained by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). This portal was used to facilitate the swift removal of predominantly conservative messages on Twitter and Facebook during the previous presidential election. Omidyar, previously identified as one of the largest donors to campaign groups supporting Joe Biden’s presidential bid, donated $45 million to the “Sixteen Thirty Fund” in 2020. This dark money group mobilized Democratic voters and financed pro-Biden Super PACs. However, Omidyar’s direct involvement in the DHS partnership, which is now facing increased scrutiny, remained undisclosed until now. The funding provided by Omidyar to CIS was used to establish a Misinformation Reporting Portal (MiRP). A team from CIS continuously monitored this portal 24/7 from September 28 to November 6, 2020, as revealed in a post-election report, “Election Infrastructure Misinformation Reporting.” The Democracy Fund, Omidyar’s foundation, supported the creation of the MiRP through a direct grant, according to the report.” • Move along people, move along. There’s no story here.
“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
Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort.
Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); 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).
Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).
Stay safe out there!
Look for the Helpers
Let’s straighten out Hospital Infection Control:
The CMS (an agency running Medicare) is proposing regulatory changes, and is seeking input until 5PM ET today.
Let’s demand financial incentives to keep hospitals accountable for reducing COVID infections in their care.
The safety of patients and health workers depends on this! pic.twitter.com/eGc6p0dfiB
— Friesein (@Friesein) June 9, 2023
You can still comment, before 5:00pm today
To demand that layered COVID precautions are kept in place as a part of Medicare’s financial incentives, comment here: https://t.co/0tqNTlrEcT
We have until 5PM ET, 9th of June (today) to make our voices heard on this important issue.
— Friesein (@Friesein) June 9, 2023
So if you have the inclination, go comment when you finish Water Cooler!
Covid Is Airborne
The Big Smoke:
More dunking on the droplet goons:
PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT:
If You Have To Go Outside Today In New York,
PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS. pic.twitter.com/L0HBSHlgNB
— The Vertlartnic (@TheVertlartnic) June 9, 2023
Can’t have too much of that, really.
More dunking on the anti-maskers:
NY Mayor Adams asking people to wear mask for smoke but not COVID is peak 2023 science illiteracy.
March 6th: “…do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask.”
June 6th: “If you must be outside, we recommend wearing a mask.” https://t.co/820WifSVkG
— Mary Fernando MD (@MaryFernando_) June 8, 2023
* * *
“What Wildfire Smoke, Gas Stoves and Covid Tell Us About Our Air” [Linsey Marr, New York Times]. “If the pandemic was whispering to us about air quality, the wildfires are screaming to us about it. Add to that concerns about gas stoves and longer allergy seasons, and it’s clear we should be on the precipice of a new public health movement to improve the air we breathe.” The pandemic wasn’t “whispering,” nor were aerosol scientists or NPI advocates. But do go on. “The particles in wildfire smoke are about the same size as respiratory particles that carry the coronavirus, so some of the same tools we used during the pandemic also work for wildfire smoke. Indoors, the portable air filtration unit that some people used to scrub viruses from the air will also remove smoke particles. Run it on high. If you must go outdoors, wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask such as an N95 or a KN95, which are designed to filter out at least 95 percent of particles of all types.” So now the PMC are authorizing themselves to protect each other because (a) this being the stupidest timeline, they are only reacting to what they can see and (b) because the authorities told them they could. More: “As the saying goes, we wouldn’t accept a glass full of dirty water, and we should no longer accept a lungful of dirty air.” • I won’t dunk on Marr, because the Times is justly giving space to one of the aerosol scientists who made this moment, if moment it be, come true. But Holy Lord, did the Times editorial team have molasses brain on this, or what? More:
2/3 of people I just passed on street in downtown DC are wearing masks.
Curious how this pandemic would have been different had we been able to *see* COVID like we can see the haze from this smoke. #cleanair
— Ida Bergstrom, MD (@DCDoc33) June 8, 2023
Instant. Just instant. PMC schooling behavior (I’m assuming this is Dupont Circle, not Anacostia). Just imagine: Many thousands of lives could have been saved if Biden had said “Wear a mask!” and modeled masking behavior, consistently, throughout the pandemic. Instead, we got that “scarlet letter” foo-fra from garbage-mouthed Rochelle Walensky.
Hot mask summer:
— DrJames @YorkU (he/him/il) (@jasmith_yorku) June 9, 2023
xoxo’s tweet doesn’t even have a hash tag and it’s still going strong. The power of a great concept!
Testing and Tracking
“COVID-19 monitoring with sparse sampling of sewered and non-sewered wastewater in urban and rural communities” [Cell]. “However, large-scale studies on SARS-CoV-2 detection in wastewater from low-and middle-income countries is limited due to economic and technical reasons…. Results showed an increase in SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in wastewater from urban and rural areas 14-20 days earlier than infected individuals were officially reported. It also showed that community/food markets were ‘hot spots’ for infected people. This approach offers an opportunity for early detection of transmission surges, allowing preparedness and potentially mitigating significant outbreaks at both spatial and temporal scales.”
Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.
* * *
“SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral fusogens cause neuronal and glial fusion that compromises neuronal activity” [Science]. “Numerous viruses use specialized surface molecules called fusogens to enter host cells. Many of these viruses, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), can infect the brain and are associated with severe neurological symptoms through poorly understood mechanisms. We show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces fusion between neurons and between neurons and glia in mouse and human brain organoids…. We demonstrate that neuronal fusion is a progressive event, leads to the formation of multicellular syncytia, and causes the spread of large molecules and organelles… These results provide mechanistic insights into how SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses affect the nervous system, alter its function, and cause neuropathology.” • Syncytium: “Because many cells fuse together, syncytia are also known as multinucleated cells, giant cells, or polykaryocytes. During infection, viral fusion proteins used by the virus to enter the cell are transported to the cell surface, where they can cause the host cell membrane to fuse with neighboring cells.” A popularized version–
“Researchers discover that COVID-19 can cause brain cells to fuse” [Medical Xpress]. “‘We discovered COVID-19 causes neurons to undergo a cell fusion process, which has not been seen before,” [study author] Professor [Massimo] Hilliard said. ‘After neuronal infection with SARS-CoV-2, the spike S protein becomes present in neurons, and once neurons fuse, they don’t die. They either start firing synchronously, or they stop functioning altogether.’ As an analogy, Professor Hilliard likened the role of neurons to that of wires connecting switches to the lights in a kitchen and a bathroom. ‘Once fusion takes place, each switch either turns on both the kitchen and bathroom lights at the same time, or neither of them,’ he said. ‘It’s bad news for the two independent circuits.’ The discovery offers a potential explanation for persistent neurological effects after a viral infection.”
As soon as Walensky disappears — though I think she’s still wandering about the office, dispensing her famous “warmth,” and smiling — things improve:
The best way to stay safe from #wildfire smoke is to stay indoors. If you must go outside, wear an N95 respirator and follow instructions to wear it correctly.
— CDC (@CDCgov) June 8, 2023
CDC immediately and heartily endorses masks for wildfire smoke; I’ll take the win. But remember how I’ve been whining that clip art always represents masks as ineffective and gappy “Baggy Blues”? The mask in that tweet looks a lot like a KN95 to me; it’s white, and not blue. True, it’s got earloops and not head straps, but at least the artwork isn’t steering people in the wrong direction.
Ashish Jha tells the whole truth, or once in his life:
From what? The answer is: From nothing. Biden’s policy of mass infection without mitigation protected nobody:
gov: “You do you”
me: Can I have air upgrades?
me: far UV?
gov: No, regulatory issues
me: rapid tests?
gov: we don’t cover
me: another booster?
gov: COVID is over
me: Bit of COVID data?
gov: don’t collect
me: So by “you do you”, you really mean “you do nothing”
— Jonathan Mesiano-Crookston 🌬️🔅#COV1DisAirborne (@jmcrookston) June 9, 2023
Hospital Infection Control whacking more patients:
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 5:
For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.
From CDC, June 10:
Lambert here: Looks to like XBB.1.16 and now XBB.1.16 are outcompeting XBB.1.9, but XBB.1.5 has really staying power. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).
CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell. Looks like the Walgreens variants page isn’t updating.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from June 3:
NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.
NOT UDPATED From Walgreens, June 5:
0.4%. Frequency down to once a week.
Death rate (Our World in Data), from June 7:
Lambert here: Theatre of the absurd. I can believe that deaths are low; I cannot believe they are zero, and I cannot even believe that all doctors signing death certificates have agreed to make it so. Looks to me like some administrative minimizer at WHO put the worst intern in charge of the project. And thanks, Johns Hopkins of the $9.32 billion endowment, for abandoning this data feed and passing responsibility on to the clown car at WHO.
Total: 1,166,408 –
1,166,331/del> = 77 (77 * 365 = 28,105 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).
NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published June 4:
Lambert here: Actually some encouragement!
Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )
There are no official statistics of note today.
Monopolies: “The Saudi-PGA Tour Golf Deal Isn’t Going to Happen” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “There is no way this merger happens in its current form, as it’s obviously creating an illegal monopoly. There is a lot of grey area in antitrust law, but when two companies want to merge to a monopoly, and announce it as such, that’s a violation of black letter law. In fact, this deal is so wildly and comically against the law that I actually don’t think it is intended to close. If I had to guess, I would say it’s a desperate move by the Saudis to keep their dirty laundry out of an American courtroom in a separate but related case. Indeed, the more I look into it, the more baffled I become.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 76 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 6 at 1:39 PM ET. • What’s gotten Mr. Market so exuberant? Trump’s indictment?
“How a New Wave of ‘Hypersentimental’ Portraiture Is Serving Up Painting for the Age of Vibe Shifts and Nano-Influencers” [Artnet]. • No.
Look, I grant that velvet isn’t the most forgiving surface…
“Hollywood’s hot strike summer” [Axios]. “This fall might be a great time to catch up on your streaming list — Hollywood has one union on strike, and studios are facing more labor strife that could result in further shutdowns this summer. Why it matters: The streaming era has fundamentally broken the industry, and that has Hollywood’s biggest unions united to a degree we haven’t seen in decades. It’s not just Hollywood that’s embroiled in media labor battles either….” • Maybe the writers — I’m not knocking the writers — could demonstrate solidarity by writing content for other unions? Having listened to many episodes of “West Wing Thing,” I know they could add some humor to the situation — sorely needed!
You can bet nobody’s reporting PMC children to CPS, let alone the children of the wealthy:
3rd rigid rhetoric about anxiety, lockdowns, and immune deficit causing physical ailments in children is harming #LongCovidKids. The pediatric #LongCovid info vacuum results in professionals making ill-informed assumptions that harm families. Long Covid needs to be ruled out. 2/
— Long Covid Families (@LongCovidFam) June 2, 2023
News of the Wired
On the spectrum:
“Hey have you taken care of that thing we spoke about last week?” becomes:
“Dear Tom, hope you are well. I’m writing to follow up on action item 4 from last week’s meeting. As discussed, we’re working with a short timeline so it would be ideal if you could get it to me by Thurs”
— Dr. Lisa Iannattone (@lisa_iannattone) June 2, 2023
When I worked at Midwest firm, I actually had to be told — not unkindly — that some amenities were required before I got down to business.
This is a bit long, but I hadn’t thought Pierre Bourdieu would look a bit like a French movie star:
I’m really posting this for two pretty trivial reasons: First, I love the title: “Sociology is a Martial Art.” Let’s do that. Second, while I was finding it, the phrase “shambolic capital” (to go with “symbolic capital” and “social capital”) popped into my head. Is it possible to accumulate chaos, to achieve power over others by embodying and creating it? I think it can; recall also — I think I have this right — that volatility favors the speculator, and the deeper the pockets, the more favor. One thinks of Boris Johnson. Or Trump. Or for that matter any of the “disruptors” in Silicon Valley (and their backers). Chaos is a ladder….
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 Chet G:
Chet G writes: “This dogwood is close to my front door (very convenient as well as very lovely).” This photo reminds me of a Japanese print, it’s so lovely (though no particular print). And “close to my front door” reinforces a prior of mine, that beauty can always be found close at hand; it’s only a matter of looking (though perhaps a change of scale, or distance, may be required).
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:
Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:
If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!