By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
Thrush Nightingale, Spurn Bird Observatory Recording Area, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom.
Look for the Helpers
From alert reader CC:
At one time you had put out the call for articles ( and pictures I hope), of helpers. In the above is little Penny, a miniature border collie on my daughter’s farm. She will help by being a watchdog, keep the free range chickens out of the barn or areas they don’t belong. Just say the word and she shoos them out. Helps keep away other critters that wander around the hills of Vermont. Maybe most importantly, just a wonderful, all around pleasant companion to all, at home or on the road. Trucking cattle, hay or on product delivery routes of farm subscribers.
Patient readers, I have not given up on this category! However, I feel that I have not characterized it adequately. However, “I know what I like,” and CC’s picture + caption contribution was so on point I felt I had to print it.
“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
“A High-Risk Legal Effort to Keep Trump Off the Ballot” [The New Yorker]. “Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment says that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and then participates in an insurrection—or gives aid or comfort to those who have—is disqualified from holding any office, civil or military.” • I wish liberal Democrats would stop lying about this. That’s not what Section 3 says. But Larry Tribal says it does, and Larry is an honorable man. See here (and here for more examples of the sort of pack journalism in which I did not expect The New Yorker to engageMR SUBLIMINAL Oh, what’s the use….
Our Famously Free Press
“The public doesn’t understand the risks of a Trump victory. That’s the media’s fault” [Margaret Sullivan, Guardian]. “Here’s what must be hammered home: Trump cannot be re-elected if you want the United States to be a place where elections decide outcomes, where voting rights matter, and where politicians don’t baselessly prosecute their adversaries.” • No ability to self-reflect at all. I’m so old I remember when Margaret Sullivan was good (when she was Ombudsman at the Times, though I suppose by comparison….).
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“Trump picks up backing from two major GOP donors” [The Hill]. “Robert Bigelow, one of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) most prominent donors, said he is switching his support from the Florida governor to Trump. Bigelow, owner of the Budget Suites of America and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that DeSantis is ‘not strong enough,’ nor is he the commander in chief the U.S. needs…. Top GOP donor and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus also announced his endorsement of Trump on Thursday, arguing the former president is the ‘simple choice’ in a high-stakes political world…. The support comes on the heels of the third GOP presidential primary debate, which Trump notably did not attend. Despite his absence from the past GOP debates and his ongoing legal battles, the former president continues to hold a strong lead over his rivals.”
* * *
“DeSantis grapples with what’s next after third Republican debate” [Washington Examiner]. “Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has eased the immediate pressure on his campaign with a solid performance during the third 2024 Republican debate in Miami…. DeSantis himself described his priority during the debate as “articulating [his] vision directly” to Republicans, as opposed to his opponents or the moderators. But since the first outing last August in Milwaukee, the governor’s average national primary support has remained at 14%, according to RealClearPolitics. It has similarly been static in Iowa at 17%.”
* * *
“Democrats Grow More Confident in Campaign Message, but More Nervous About Biden” [Wall Street Journal]. “A year away from the 2024 election, Democrats see trends pulling in different directions: an electorate that appears motivated to vote in their favor, particularly on abortion, but is also deeply skeptical of handing another term to the party’s standard-bearer—President Biden. … Interviews with a dozen Democratic leaders in five swing states found that they registered varying degrees of concern about the president’s ability to defeat Trump, and some questioned the wisdom of putting him forward again as their nominee. ‘It feels like he was the perfect person for 2020. But not for 2024,’ said one former Democratic state lawmaker in Michigan, a key battleground. ‘He’s a transitional president and you have to know when to transition and it is now.’… ‘The sense I get from people is that they are hoping the president will make the decision that it’s in the best interest of the country that a stronger candidate be the Democratic Party’s nominee. I don’t think anyone is prepared to push him out,’ said , who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘At some point, he may have no choice.’” • So far, the press has not gone into full pulling-the-wings-off-flies mode with Biden. It would be very easy for them to do so.
“Elections 2023: Democrats Enjoy a Strong Night” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Last night’s results have given Democrats a shot in the arm and have confounded the recent narrative about Democrats being in deep trouble next year. But it’s also true that these races in many respects differ from the election coming up next year. It may be the case that President Biden is in fact uniquely vulnerable, and that even former President Trump — himself dragged down by plenty of vulnerabilities that likely are not getting the kind of attention now that they will if he is renominated — could beat Biden. It may also be the case that polling a year out from an election is not predictive (and it often is not). Maybe the Democrats do just have an advantage now in smaller turnout, off-year elections as their base has absorbed many higher-turnout, college-educated voters while shedding lower-turnout voters who don’t have a four-year degree. Maybe the presidential year turnout will bring out more Trump voters and give the Republicans a clearer shot. About all we feel comfortable saying is that we should continue to expect the presidential race to be close and competitive — a boring statement, we know, but probably true. One other thing before we take a quick look at some more granular results: In case it wasn’t already blindingly obvious before, the abortion issue in a post-Dobbs political environment continues to be a significant advantage for Democrats. ”
* * *
“The real reason Republicans aren’t winning swing voters” [FOX]. “Another election night in which the Republicans had to put away those champagne bottles they had on ice and keep them for perhaps another day. It wasn’t a disaster for them, but it also wasn’t the results they were expecting to hear from the voters, either. What is the message the voters are sending? A lot has been written about how the abortion issue is backfiring on the Republicans, and it is. But that’s not really the reason they are failing to win over swing voters unhappy with the economy and other issues. What voters are saying is that they want more personal freedom. Abortions over the last several decades have been greatly declining in numbers, down about two-thirds from their peak numbers. People don’t really want more abortions, as today most women have access to and use contraception — but they do want the personal freedom of having the choice of abortion — hence the very name ‘pro-choice.’” • Hmm.
* * *
IA: “Vander Plaats Won’t Cancel Iowa Forum Despite RNC Warning” [RealClearPolitics]. “When the influential evangelical organization invited each of the 2024 GOP presidential candidates to attend its Thanksgiving forum, the Republican National Committee quietly warned the campaigns that participating in the event would disqualify them from all future sanctioned debates, RealClearPolitics was first to report. Regardless, the Iowa Family Leader doesn’t have plans to reschedule or reformat. ‘We are going to move forward with the forum,’ said Bob Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of the organization. The issue is what exactly constitutes a debate. According to the RNC counsel, the forum is an unsanctioned debate, and participating in the event would violate the pledge candidates signed in order to participate in the sanctioned debates. According to Vander Plaats, who characterized all his conversations with the RNC as ‘amiable,’ this is nonsense. ‘First of all, this is not a debate, not even close,’ he told RCP in a Thursday morning interview, noting how his organization previously hosted primary candidates in 2012 and 2016 without incident. Rather than standing behind podiums, attendees sit around the same table. And rather than exchanging barbs, in past years, they’ve talked about their faith. The rules are simple. ‘You can’t talk negative about anybody at the table,’ he said.” • Bring a mop and bucket to clean up the smam.
VA: “How Virginia’s Elections Came Down to the Wire” [Wall Street Journal]. “[A] closer look at the returns shows that GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin performed better in state Legislature races than the headlines suggest. The Old Dominion is competitive for Republicans who aren’t in the mold of Donald Trump…. Mr. Youngkin threw his full political weight behind holding the House of Delegates and flipping the state Senate, part of why Democrats were so relieved he failed…. Of the parts of the state Donald Trump carried in 2020, Republicans outpaced ‘the former president in every district,’ as analyst Sean Trende notes. The GOP carried 13 districts won by President Biden in 2020 and seven that Democrats won in 2022 congressional races. Republicans came up short in suburban areas like Loudoun County in Northern Virginia and outside Richmond. But they did add one seat in the upper chamber for a 21-19 split. The GOP’s Danny Diggs, a longtime local sheriff, managed to defeat Democratic incumbent Senator Monty Mason in the southeastern peninsula around Williamsburg. One more seat would have given the GOP control. In Northern Virginia in Manassas, Republican Bill Woolf lost to his Democratic opponent by fewer than 2,000 votes of more than 57,000 cast—in a district Democrats carried by more than six points in last year’s congressional elections.” • This article reads like cope, an attempt to rehabilitate Youngkin for 2024. But a loss is a loss.
WV: “Why I Won’t Be Seeking Re-Election to the Senate” [Joe Manchin, Wall Street Journal]. “I will finish my term while traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is interest in building a movement to mobilize the middle, find common ground and bring Americans together.” • Hey, maybe a Phillips-Manchin ticket? Appealing to the “Exhausted Majority”? Or maybe… Manchin-Phillips? Or maybe not–
WV: “Dems’ new question for 2024: What will Manchin do?” [Axios]. “In a statement, No Labels — a well-funded organization that’s exploring a potential bipartisan presidential ticket — called Manchin a ‘tireless voice for America’s commonsense majority and a longtime ally of the No Labels movement.’ ‘Regarding our No Labels Unity presidential ticket, we are gathering input from our members across the country to understand the kind of leaders they would like to see in the White House,’ the statement said.” • Lots of good detail on those “No Labels” weasels (“Classification struggles? What classification struggles?”
WV: “Manchin Goes From Biden’s Most-Prized Democrat to Most Dangerous” [Bloomberg]. “A Manchin candidacy could capitalize on the growing number of “double haters” — voters who are dissatisfied with both Biden and Donald Trump — which now stands at 19% of the electorate in swing states, according to the Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll released Thursday. Right now, that void is being filled by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The poll shows that Kennedy’s independent campaign attracts supporters about equally from Trump and Biden supporters, owing to his family’s Democratic pedigree combined with anti-vaccine rhetoric that many Republicans find appealing. However, an independent bid by Manchin, an ex-Democrat, could damage Biden much more than Trump.” But: “Without party backing, the process to get an independent candidate on 50 state ballots — or even enough to plausibly compete in the Electoral College — can be expensive and time-consuming. And Manchin, at 76, would suffer from the same questions about age that dog Trump and Biden, the oldest presidential candidates on record.”
WV: “Joe Manchin retires, making Democrats’ brutal 2024 Senate map even more brutal” [VOX]. “Democrats currently have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, so losing Manchin’s seat would put them back to 50-50 — still enough for control if President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris win reelection. The problem is that Democrats’ 2024 Senate challenges go far beyond West Virginia. They face such a starkly unfavorable map that, if things even go somewhat poorly for the party, they could fall into a deep Senate hole for years to come. Besides Manchin, two other Democratic senators represent states Donald Trump won in 2020, and they’re also up for reelection in 2024. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are both running again, but these are all very red states, and winning them in a presidential year will be quite difficult for Democrats. But the vulnerabilities go deeper. The only remotely close states (per presidential results) where Republicans are defending seats are Florida and Texas — two states where Democrats have had few victories in recent years. Meanwhile, Democrats are also defending seats in five states Joe Biden very narrowly won in 2020. These seats are currently held by Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).”
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.
* * *
“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!
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.
* * *
All part of “the urgency of normal”:
The pandemic school closure debate is now often framed as being solely about the kids. However, it’s important to acknowledge that in 2020, the focus was mostly about using the kids as guinea pigs (ie subjecting them to a new virus) to achieve herd
immunity + faster reopening.👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/PjwdDSAcHO
— Jerome Adams (@JeromeAdamsMD) November 8, 2023
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 6:
Lambert here: Cases up, just in time for Thanksgiving (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).
NOTE I’m so happy to see that Biobot is back. I confess that I have not made a serious comparison of Biobot’s sample sets pre- and post-Verily. Nor to my knowledge has anyone. Readers?
NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 28:
Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, with FL.1.15.1 and XBB.18.104.22.168 trailing. No BA.2.86 (although that has showed up in CDC’s airport testing). Still a Bouillabaisse…
From CDC, October 14:
Lambert here: 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.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, November 4:
Lambert here: Still flattening. Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).
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 November 10:
A definite decrease. Should be up in two weeks, though! (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).
NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 28:
Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, November 6:
-1.4%. But bouncing around. (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 Cleveland Clinic, November 4:
Lambert here: Slight increase. I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, October 16:
Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers:
Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance. This variant chart has not been updated, which makes me wonder if CDC is gaming the data, and BA.2.86 is worse than we think.
NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 27:
Lambert here: Dunno why no updates. I may have to drop this one, with great reluctance; I like my sources non-CDC.
Total: 1,181,863 –
1,181,620 = 243 (243 * 365 = 88,695 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, November 10:
Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.
There are no official statistics of interest today.
The Bezzle: “What happened to Airbnb?” [Vox]. “Between mid-2021 and mid-2022, the number of new Airbnb hosts in the US jumped by over 50 percent, and the growth was biggest in small towns, says Lane. Expansion, however, hasn’t been an entirely positive change: In some cases, Airbnb has rapidly changed the character of these neighborhoods from residential areas to tourist towns. Because there are so many more listings now, Airbnb hosts say they are watching their bookings plummet. The flood of new hosts has meant fewer can earn good money. ‘Now, the markets are completely oversaturated,’ says Melody Wright, founder of mortgage strategy and technology company Huringa. Meanwhile, excess supply hasn’t led to lower prices, and anecdotes about bad Airbnb experiences keep pouring in. Some of the most vocal grievances center on cleaning fees. In the US, only 15 percent of Airbnb listings don’t have cleaning fees, and a NerdWallet analysis found that cleaning fees now make up about a quarter of the total price guests pay. Airbnb’s service fee is generally under 14 percent on top of the nightly rate, and it also takes 3 percent from most hosts. All this is encouraging a hospitality-industry doom loop: If hosts see their bookings drop, they might try to raise rates to make up for it (or at least resist lowering them), which drives guests back to hotels or the cheapest Airbnbs that tend to be run by bigger professional hosts who can afford to cut prices in ways small hosts can’t. If hosts try to lower rates to draw in more bookings, they might still be unable to turn a profit. ‘For both the guest and the host, it’s just not a good value proposition anymore,” says Wright. The only one winning, it seems, is Airbnb.’” • Sounds like enshittification….
Tech: “Restaurant Owners Are Fed Up With Reservation-Hoarding Bots” [Bloomberg]. The deck: “Platforms like Resy and Tock are searching for ways around algorithms that snatch up prime-time reservations and then re-sell them to desperate diners.”
Tech: “AI could cause ‘catastrophic’ financial crisis, says Yuval Noah Harari” [Guardian]. “‘What happens if AI is not only given greater control over the financial system of the world, but it starts creating new financial devices that only AI can understand, that no human being can understand?’ said [Yuval Noah Harari], adding that the 2007-08 financial crisis was caused by debt instruments such as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) that few people understood and were thus inadequately regulated. ‘AI has the potential to create financial devices which are orders of magnitude more complex than CDOs. And just imagine the situation where we have a financial system that no human being is able to understand and therefore also not able to regulate,’ he said. ‘And then there is a financial crisis and nobody understands what is happening.’” • Just pull the plug and go back to paper to unwind everything… What fun!
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 10 at 1:41:38 PM ET.
— Francisco Goya (@artistgoya) November 8, 2023
Millet – the Sower [840 × 1024] pic.twitter.com/ozosH2BEdU
— Art Dose (@artd0se) April 25, 2018
News of the Wired
I am not feeling wired today.
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 Carla:
Carla writes: “Monarch caterpillar on my milkweed. I’m excited!” Who would not be?
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