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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
American Robin, Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary, Frederick, Maryland, United States. “Dawn song.”
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
The Constitutional Order
“Trump faces another 14th Amendment candidacy challenge, this time in Minnesota” [CNN]. “The new Minnesota lawsuit was filed in state court by Free Speech For People, one week after another group initiated a similar challenge in Colorado.” NGOs doing yeoman work. More: “The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight Minnesota voters, including a former GOP-appointed state Supreme Court justice, a former Democratic secretary of state and an Iraq War veteran who ran his county GOP chapter. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, acknowledged in a statement last week that Minnesotans have the right under state law to challenge in court a candidate’s eligibility for office, and pledged to ‘honor the outcome of that process.’” • The lawsuit. Jena Griswold, also a Secretary of State, is a defendant in the Colorado case. So the (granted, small) pattern we have so far is non-swing states with Democrat Secretaries of State (or, presumably, other election officials). If this is the pattern, the Democrats are making exactly the same mistake here that they made when suing for recounts in Florida 2020: While preening themselves about defending democracy, they also only sued in counties they thought Al Gore could in, not merely ceding the high ground, but rushing from it into the depths. Come on, dudes! Sue in some states with Republican Secretaries of State! Or is all the yammering about “our democracy” just noise?
* * *
“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” [William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law Review]. I highly recommend this piece (and the ensuing discussion at NC, starting here). As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution? Just as long as understanding doesn’t end there! In any case, I’m working through it. One thing I notice is that there do seem to have been rather a lot of rebellions and insurrections, not just the Civil War. To me, this is parallel to one lesson I drew from Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (episode 1): There are rather a lot of revolutions, too. Alert reader Pensions Guy summarizes Baude and Paulsen as follows:
The authors go through an exhaustive textual and originalism analysis of Section Three, and their Federalist Society leanings do not deter them from reaching their conclusion that officials in every State who are charged with determining candidate qualifications should conclude that Donald Trump is disqualified from being on ballots because of the oath he took on Inauguration Day 2017 and subsequently violated through his role in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.
Taking “insurrection” as read (I need to do more reading), this has been more of my continuing coverage of Section Three.
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“How Jack Smith can prove Trump knew he lost the 2020 election” [The Hill]. “The prosecution will almost certainly call witnesses who will swear that Trump privately acknowledged losing the election. Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, testifying before the January 6th House Select Committee described conversations in which Meadows and other White House staff reported hearing Trump admit he lost.” • So Hutchison is repeating what Meadows et al. said they heard?
MAGA missing the point:
NEW: President Trump statement on Biden’s terrible Iranian hostage deal. pic.twitter.com/6imoX5RDFc
— Karoline Leavitt (@kleavittnh) September 12, 2023
The point is not the Iranian hostage deal (though no doubt some frothing and stamping can be worked up). Rather, Trump is saying: “I’ll see you the Fourteenth and raise you the Twenty-Fifth” (also, and amusingly, a “Section Three” and “Section Four” issue).
“Trump is explaining exactly how wild and extreme his second term would be” [CNN]. “Trump is a highly skilled demagogue whose facility for injecting falsehoods and conspiracies into the country’s political bloodstream creates a swirl of chaos and acrimony in which he alone seems to prosper. And his words shape public opinion.” • I’m so tired. RussiaGate ffs. “You are protected.” Ukraine. You’ve gotta admire Trump, in a way; his bullshit is artisanal, whereas Democrats have the press and the spooks, both enormous institutions.
“Republican megadonors wait for their anti-Trump champion” [Financial Times]. “Billionaire Republican donor Thomas Peterffy wants to bet on someone he thinks can win the White House in 2024. But this year, he gave $2mn to a political action committee supporting Virginia’s governor Glenn Youngkin — who is not running for president. Like other Republican megadonors, Peterffy fears frontrunner Donald Trump would lose in another run-off with Joe Biden. He does not love the former president’s primary rivals either. He told his friends not to back any other candidates until January, by which time he hopes the Virginia governor has changed his mind. ‘We’re hoping for Glenn Youngkin,’ Peterffy, who founded Interactive Brokers, told the Financial Times. The yearning for Youngkin is a sign of the donor dilemma: for some deep-pocketed Republicans, no single, compelling alternative to Trump has emerged in the primary. And while the billionaires want to see such a candidate break from the pack before giving, the candidates need the money first to help them make that break. ‘Is Trump beatable? Yes, but the first step is the field consolidating,’ said an adviser to one donor. ‘Without consolidation, there’s not a viable path.’ Several big GOP donors — from billionaire hedge fund bosses such as Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, to Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late casino emperor Sheldon Adelson — are now on the sidelines. Peter Thiel, who gave $35mn to two Senate candidates in 2022, ‘does not plan to donate to any 2024 race’, said a person familiar with his thinking. Traditional conservatives in the party are urging both donors and contenders to face reality before it is too late, fearing that the hesitancy could help pave the way for Trump to win the nomination. Utah senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, has said donors must push underperforming contenders out of the race by late February, but has been discouraged by donors’ reaction.” • Youngkin has little to distinguish himself from the field — I grant he doesn’t carry himself like a chiselling small-town auto dealer, unlike DeSantis — except for the events that swirled round Loudon County schools. The problem is, that’s red meat for the base, exactly what the megadonors hate and fear.
* * *
“Speaker McCarthy directs a House panel to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden” [Associated Press]. “Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 election. McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation so far has found a ‘culture of corruption’ around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office. ‘These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,’ McCarthy, R-Calif., said outside the speaker’s office at the Capitol. ‘That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,’ he said. The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces mounting pressure from his right flank to take action against Biden while he also is struggling to pass legislation needed to avoid a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.” • As I saying, I thought the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has done a good job; no hysteria, no hairballs, timelines, a general air of sobriety (in other words, fit to govern, at least in tone). If House Republicans can manage to stay that way, they might get taken seriously outside the circle of true believers.
“Fact check: Biden falsely claims he was at Ground Zero ‘the next day’ after 9/11” [CNN]. “Biden, returning from a whirlwind trip to Asia, said in his Monday remarks at a military base in Alaska: ‘I join you on this solemn day to renew our sacred vow: never forget. Never forget. We never forget. Each of us – each of those precious lives stolen too soon when evil attacked. Ground Zero in New York – I remember standing there the next day, and looking at the building. And I felt like I was looking through the gates of hell, it looked so devastating because of the way – from where you could stand.’ Facts First: Biden was not at Ground Zero the day after 9/11. He actually went to Ground Zero nine days after the attacks.” • As a Certifi
ableed Old Codger™, I’ve gotta say I don’t think being give-or-take a week off in recollecting an event twenty-two years ago is worth a dogpile. Now, if Biden had said he met his old friend “Corn Pop” at the site….
“What an unprecedented Biden ad blitz says about his reelection fight” [Politico]. “The election is still 423 days away, and Biden and an affiliate of his chief super PAC are already running TV ads in nearly every major battleground state — far earlier than normal for a presidential election… The election is still more than a year away, but the early ad bookings provide clues to Democrats’ perceived path to victory. Both Biden and Future Forward are spending in six states: . All six were 2020 battlegrounds Biden won by close margins ranging from 0.2 percentage points in Georgia to 2.8 points in Michigan. Biden’s campaign is also advertising in , which voted for Trump by 1.3 points in 2020. Thanks to its growing population, North Carolina now has more electoral votes (16) than Michigan (15) for the first time since Reconstruction and now has the same weight as Georgia. The two general-election campaigns will likely dip their toes into other places, but those seven states represent the 2024 battlefield on which both parties will do the vast majority of their fighting. The only state decided in 2020 by 5 points or fewer that’s missing from the ad buys is Florida — which went for Trump by 3.4 percentage points and is perceived by both parties as continuing to drift toward the GOP — though Biden’s campaign did briefly run ads there earlier this year.” • Hmmm.
“Naomi Klein’s new book hints at a roadmap for Biden’s re-election” [MSNBC]. “…the world has understandably hastened to put the global pandemic behind us… ” What subliterate life form wrote that sentence? [hums: “the world is us… we are the people…”]. Anyhow: “‘And because the system is rigged, and most people are indeed getting screwed,’ Klein writes, ‘without a firm understanding of capitalism’s drive to find new profit sources to enclose and extract, many will imagine there is a cabal of uniquely nefarious individuals pulling the strings.’” It’s not a cabal. And its not an identity vertical. It’s a class. More: “During the 2020 campaign, Biden ran on a return to normalcy — an end to what he called the “aberrant” Trump presidency. On the one hand, unlike his predecessor, Biden follows the law. But Americans clearly still feel overwhelmed in the post-pandemic malaise. ‘People need very robust policy solutions to these crises,’ Klein told me, ‘and if they’re not seeing them manifest, then they will be more attracted to a kind of a counterfeit anti-elitism, which is what the Bannons of the world are selling.’” • As opposed to liberal Democrat counterfeit anti-elitism. I mean, Naomi, is the solution to capitalism’s “drive to find new profit sources to enclose and extract” really a “robust policy solution”? (When I did IT in the Beltway, back in the Age of Steam, my definition of “robust” was “big honkin’ three-ring binder.” A new doorstop for every American worker!)
* * *
“EXCLUSIVE: Inside Ron and Casey DeSantis’ meeting with 9/11 families in New York – as Florida governor demands the Biden administration declassify any files showing Saudi Arabia was involved” [Daily Mail]. “Ron DeSantis called on President Joe Biden to declassify information regarding the planning and financing of the September 11th terrorist attacks and to reassure Americans he will make no plea deals for some of the planners. ‘We as a nation still owe full transparency and accountability to these grieving families. Yet too many politicians have broken past promises to them, and that is wholly unacceptable,’ said the Florida governor in a statement. He and Casey DeSantis spent the 22nd anniversaryy [sic] of the attacks at Ground Zero at the invitation of family members of September 11th victims. ” • Not a bad idea. Why didn’t Bush do it? Or Trump?
* * *
IA: “Trump, Biden both tumble in Iowa: poll” [The Hill]. “An Emerson College poll of Iowa Republican caucus voters showed support for Trump currently sits at 49 percent, a drop from 62 percent in May. Meanwhile, a poll of Iowa Democratic caucus voters showed that Biden’s support now sits at 50 percent, a drop from 69 percent in May. Both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former Vice President Mike Pence’s numbers also dropped from May; DeSantis’s numbers went from 20 percent to 14 percent, and Pence decreased from 5 percent to 3 percent support. Meanwhile, conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) appeared to be gaining some ground, both rising 5 points. Ramaswamy increased from 2 percent to 7 percent, and Scott from 3 percent to 8 percent.” • Volatile.
* * *
* * *
* * *
“Yang confirms ‘conversations’ with No Labels” [The Hill]. “Yang has stirred some questions about his future plans with the creation of his Forward Party, which he has described as a centrist alternative to the two main parties he argues are too extreme. He left the Democratic Party to become an independent in 2021 and launched the Forward Party soon after. No Labels has meanwhile been trying to gain steam to get its presidential ticket potentially composed of one Democrat and one Republican on the 2024 ballot in states across the country. The organization has called for national unity behind what would be a bipartisan ticket. … Yang slammed the idea of Trump and Biden being the two main nominees, calling it “terribly unrepresentative and borderline ridiculous” and mentioning their ages. Biden is currently 80, while Trump is 77… Yang described a situation in which third-party candidates could hurt Biden in a potential rematch against Trump next year. He said he expects Green Party candidate Cornel West to win 2 percent to 3 percent of the vote and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running in the Democratic primary, to run as a Libertarian for not getting a “fair shake” in his challenge against Biden.” • The national percentages don’t matter. What matters is the swing states. (Which is why the GP’s ballot access matters so much….).
“A Day that Never Ended” [Matt Taibbi, Racket News]. “It’s forgotten, but Barack Obama was sent to the White House in what a lot of the voting public at the time considered a referendum on the security state. The genteel Obama played up ‘constitutional lawyer’ credentials, announcing in a national security address at the Wilson Center in 2007 his opposition to the ‘color-coded politics of fear’ and ‘a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized.’ Candidate Obama added it was time to ‘turn the page’ with more peaceful means of ‘drying up’ support for terrorism, a strategy that hurtled him past favored Hillary Clinton in primary season. Privately however he’d already met with people like Richard Clarke, who told him, ‘As a president, you kill people.’ This is who Obama would actually be in office, an ‘idealist without illusions’ who expanded the buildup, institutionalized the ‘kill list,’ and in one of his last major acts, created a new counter-disinformation authority that helped birth the censorship state.” • I’m always felt, although with no real evidence, that Obama’s refusal to prosecute spooks for torture in Iraq cemented an alliance between the intelligence community and the Democrat party, leading to their current Cthulhu-like merger. Also, Obama started out with a “kill list,” but when his extra-judicial system for whacking “terrorists,” including US citizens, really got rolling, the list morphed into the Orwellian “disposition matrix.”
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. (H opefully, 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.
* * *
Bernie Sanders proposes an 18% cap on credit card rates. “I don’t think the fact that Wall Street has gotten its way for 30 to 40 years running in this country has proven to be a good thing,” he said.
Sorry, I got confused, that’s Josh Hawley. https://t.co/GM5hhxu3jm
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) September 11, 2023
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Do Geezers Run the World? Should They?” [Counterpunch]. • Do Walmart greeters run the world? From a putatively left publication!
“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
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).
Hat tips to helpful readers: 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, Utah, Bob White (3).
Stay safe out there!
Look for the Helpers
Your grandmother could do this, too:
Feel good story for the week:
My 90-year-old grandma asked me to join her Wednesday “coffee girls group” as a “guest presenter” for all things SARS-CoV-2.
I brought my DIY air purifier and wore my KN95 while we discussed the research behind all their questions. pic.twitter.com/s8Y91uHFNj
— Ryan Tennant (@ryantennant_) September 9, 2023
Also libraries, church groups, bridge clubs… shooting ranges.
Covid is Airborne
Testing and Tracking
“Registration is currently paused”:
Not enough people know about this, but there’s a NIH-supported program giving out SIX FREE COVID TESTS.
Sign up here: https://t.co/MiSmFzdBGa
No insurance required. You also get access to telehealth, as well as free treatment (if eligible).
Please share and get the word out! pic.twitter.com/8vNISz52ZO
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) September 10, 2023
I can’t think why….
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.
* * *
From BioBot wastewater data, September 11:
This time, it’s the South bringing down the curve
Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, September 2:
Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). No BA.2.86 here, not even in the note, but see below at Positivity.
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.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, September 2:
Lambert here: Another Labor Day weekend drop, like Walgreens? Typically, three-day weekends don’t coincide with peak infection!
Lambert here: I changed this ER chart to a Covid-only chart broken down by age. Note the highlighting.
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.
Bellwether New York City, data as of September 9:
Still climbing. I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.
NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. September 2:
At least now we now that hospitalization tracks positivity, which is nice. Even if we don’t know how many cases there are. And positivity as high as it’s been at any time, except for Omicron.
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, September 11:
0.4% Still thinking the dip is Labor Day data. Or perhaps people were actually testing for Labor Day, and stopped. The absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)
NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, August 21:
No BA.2.86 for two of the long-delayed collection weeks.
NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 6:
Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?
Total: 1,174,631 –
1,174,580 = 51 (51 * 365 = 18,615 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).
The Economist, September 12:
Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. 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. )
Business Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States decreased to 91.3 in August 2023 from 91.9 in July, below market expectations of 91.6. Twenty-three percent of small business owners reported that inflation was their single most important business problem, up two points from last month. Also, the number of small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined.”
Tech: “United States takes on Google in biggest tech monopoly trial of 21st century” [NPR]. “A court battle kicks off on Tuesday in which the U.S. Justice Department will argue that Google abused its power as a monopoly to dominate the search engine business. It’s the government’s first major monopoly case to make it to trial in decades and the first in the age of the modern internet. The Justice Department’s case hinges on claims that Google illegally orchestrated its business dealings, so that it’s the first search engine people see when they turn on their phones and web browsers. The government says Google’s goal was to stomp out competition. The company says its search product is superior to competitors and that is why it dominates the industry. Google says if people don’t want to use its search engine, they can just switch to another.” • That passes neither the laugh test nor the smell test. Google search, as a consequences of the enshittification cycle, sucks. Stoller is in his element:
I’m announcing a special section of BIG specifically focused on the Google trial, the biggest antitrust case in a generation. The trial starts tomorrow. Get ready. @BigTechOnTrial https://t.co/VedXW09B4V
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) September 11, 2023
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 12 at 1:36 PM ET.
I like it that somebody painted over the spikes. What were they thinking?
East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY pic.twitter.com/zAPNn2wlK7
— Hostile Design (@hostiledesign) September 9, 2023
“Exhausted, Injured and Angry: Autoworkers Are Ready to Strike” [In These Times]. “Some of the union’s top demands are cost-of-living adjustments, an end to wage and benefit tiers based on hiring date, and an end to the mistreatment of temporary workers. ‘When I took this job, it was not a traditional job for women. I love my job. I have pride. I want them to show they have respect.’ Those demands apply not just to Ford but to all the ’Big Three’ automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis North America (the parent company of Chrysler and Jeep). UAW’s contracts with all three, covering some 146,000 workers, run out at the same time, a momentous opportunity for joint labor action across employers from a union that recently saw a big shift in leadership. Reform challenger Shawn Fain won the union presidency in March, calling for a new era of militancy, more democratic decision-making and new organizing. Fain has struck a confrontational stance towards the Big Three automakers — and the wealthy class overall—criticizing the greed of corporate executives and making bold demands, like a 32-hour work week with no reduced pay. Other demands Fain has presented to all of the Big Three include enhanced profit sharing, improved wages, more paid time off and the right to strike over plants closing. And as the Biden administration subsidizes a boom in electric-vehicle manufacturing, the union also wants a just transition to ensure electric vehicle jobs are good jobs and do not drive down labor conditions.” • Commentary:
Shawn Fain, president of @UAW, went on CNN.
When asked if a strike could hurt the economy he said:
“It’s not that we’re going to wreck the economy. We’re going to wreck their economy, the economy that only works for the billionaire class. It doesn’t work for the working class.” pic.twitter.com/84HrhnmvWu
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) September 12, 2023
Let’s see if Biden busts the auto workers like he did the railroad workers.
“Several hurt in ADM central Illinois plant blast; corn, soy processing down” [Reuters]. ” Several employees were hospitalized after an explosion and fire late on Sunday at a massive Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) (ADM.N) facility in Decatur, Illinois, that severely damaged crop processing operations, the company and the local fire department said. Eight workers were injured at the ADM East processing plant and six were taken to hospital via ambulance, the Decatur Fire Department said in a statement on Monday. Five remained hospitalized on Monday morning, ADM said. The company said it was evaluating the extent of the damage and investigating the cause of the incident. Several structures were severely damaged in the blast, including a 10-story building and adjacent buildings, the fire department said. A plant that crushes soybeans into soybean oil and white flake for soy protein production was down on Monday, ADM said. An adjacent corn processing plant was also ‘temporarily down until we can safely resume operations,’ the company said. A prolonged outage at the massive processing facility in the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt would put downward pressure on crop prices just as Midwest farmers are preparing to harvest their corn and soybeans. U.S. crop prices, especially for corn, have declined as export demand has slumped.”
“Why You Should Rest—a Lot—If You Have COVID-19” [Time]. “Stories like Zimmernan’s—illness, improvement, exercise, crash—are common in the Long COVID world. And they highlight what many researchers, patients, and advocates say is one of the most powerful tools for managing, and potentially even preventing, Long COVID: rest. The only guaranteed way to avoid Long COVID is not to get infected by SARS-CoV-2. But if someone does get sick, ‘Rest is incredibly important to give your body and your immune system a chance to fight off the acute infection,’ says Dr. Janna Friedly, a post-COVID rehabilitation specialist at the University of Washington who recovered from Long COVID herself. ‘People are sort of fighting through it and thinking it’ll go away in a few days and they’ll get better, and that doesn’t really work with COVID.’ Researchers are still learning a lot about Long COVID, so it’s impossible to say for sure whether rest can truly prevent its development—or, conversely, whether premature activity causes complications. But anecdotally, Friedly says many of the Long COVID patients she sees are working women with families who rushed to get back to normal as soon as possible. ” • Paid leave would help. What’s the point of giving advice to people that they have no power to take? It’s sadistic.
Once again, stop thinking in bell curves, and start thinking in power curves:
Most people can only conceptualize the socioeconomic class right above us or right below us and this is a good reminder that while yes, wealth across the board needs to be reigned in, there’s “rich guy” rich and there’s “God calls you for a loan rich” pic.twitter.com/SfuMebe2mR
— Kristi Yamaguccimane (@TheWapplehouse) September 2, 2023
News of the Wired
“September Song: The 50 Autumns of the Leaf Blower” [James Fallows, Breaking the News]. “The focused 200-mph wind out of these blowers, an intensity unknown in nature, destroys plant and animal habitat, blasts away topsoil, converts animal remains and animal feces to aerosol, and is generally bad. Do you miss the fireflies you used to see in the summer? One of their big enemies is blowers that eradicate the organic shelter in which their eggs and larvae would spend the winter.” • [gasps, amazed].
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 Desert Dog:
Desert Dog writes: “It is always nice when a weed patch pops out with a surprise.”