2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 1

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

My E[pastes]f[pastes]fing “[pastes]f” key is still [[pastes]family blogged] and will be or the orseeable uture… The worst o it is that I can’t ind anything I any reader has a clever solution or my 2021 M1 MacBook Pro, so I don’t have to take it to the shop, I would appreciate it. Shake it upside down? Microwave it? Care[pastes]fully detach the… no no no no no. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Sage Thrasher, Twelve Mile Cr., Crook, Oregon, United States. “Song.” Voluble little chap!

* * *


“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“Biden world restructures itself around selling Bidenomics” [Politico]. “Inside the White House, a team of senior officials led by deputy chief of staff Natalie Quillian has been charged with leading the acceleration of thousands more investments in the bridge repairs, railroad upgrades and clean energy initiatives that the White House believes will drive job growth and, ultimately, provide an antidote to Biden’s stagnant approval ratings. That’s just one component of the push. Cabinet departments are also under orders to speed implementation of key social and economic policies passed under last year’s huge climate, health care and tax law. And the White House plans to deploy top officials across the U.S. to highlight construction improvements and new manufacturing projects in red and blue states alike, punctuated by a two-week blitz at the end of June that the administration has dubbed its ‘Investing in America’ tour.” • Obama did infrastructure during his miserably inadequate and needlessly prolonged “recovery,” but never publicized it, so this is smart. But will Biden also tout the “acceleration” of lashing the poor with work requirements?


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

On the Trump matter, I think this Greenwald video is dispositive:

Double standard. And the Espionage Act is bad. Case closed. 23:15, but well worth listening to in full. Grab a cup of coffee. (I do try to listen while writing, and often I can multitask like that successfully. Greenwald’s voice, which might be described as grating, is also very compelling. In this case it’s worth it.)

Maddow lets the cat out of the bag:

Of course [slaps forehead]! Why didn’t I think of that?

* * *

RFK on Jordan Peterson:

[I will have orts and scraps for this shortly].

* * *

“George Soros Hands Control to His 37-Year-Old Son: ‘I’m More Political’” [Wall Street Journal]. “Alex [Soros] said he was concerned about the prospect of Donald Trump’s return to the White House, suggesting a significant financial role for the Soros organization in the 2024 presidential race. ‘As much as I would love to get money out of politics, as long as the other side is doing it, we will have to do it, too,” he said in an interview at the fund manager’s New York offices.’”

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!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“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.

* * *


Realignment and Legitimacy


“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); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data).

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).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

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

If you know of children going to summer camp:

(From Australia, but a bus is a bus.) And:


The CDC finally “supports” masks. I think this is the lamest ad I’ve ever seen (or listened to):

First, the opener suggests that masks are only for the disabled. Second, the protagonist is only wearing a Baggy Blue. Why not a respirator? Has CDC learned nothing? (Wait, don’t answer that). Leaving aside the cloying choice of a disabled American Indian girl having what to do explained to her by her father, the final message: “Some people wear masks. Some don’t. That’s okay!” No, it’s not. Infecting other people with your own bio-effluent isn’t the most immoral act in the world, but morally neutral? Innocuous? No, it’s very not. If you just can’t do it, for pity’s sake minimize the chances of tranmission to others in every way possible.


“Social media, duct tape are helping people make DIY air purifiers to filter out wildfire smoke” [Associated Press]. Even though the Corsi-Rosenthal Box emerged as a response to the Covid pandemic, there is no mention of Covid in the article. The entire history has been erased. With lethal effect, of course, since when what you can see — smoke — goes away, it will seem OK to turn of the box, at which point what you cannot see — the virus — can infect you. A shocking dereliction by AP.


“Mild SARS-CoV-2 infection results in long-lasting microbiota instability” [American Association for Microbiology]. “Viruses targeting mammalian cells can indirectly alter the gut microbiota, potentially compounding their phenotypic effects. Multiple studies have observed a disrupted gut microbiota in severe cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection that require hospitalization. … Taken together, our results demonstrate that even mild cases of SARS-CoV-2 can disrupt gut microbial ecology. Our findings in non-hospitalized individuals are consistent with studies of hospitalized patients, in that reproducible shifts in gut microbial taxonomic abundance in response to SARS-CoV-2 have been difficult to identify. Instead, we report a long-lasting instability in the gut microbiota. Surprisingly, our mouse experiments revealed an impact of the Omicron variant, despite producing the least severe symptoms in genetically susceptible mice, suggesting that despite the continued evolution of SARS-CoV-2, it has retained its ability to perturb the intestinal mucosa.” • Hmm. Mucosa again, as in the nose.


“Dicoumarol is an effective post-exposure prophylactic for SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection in human airway epithelium” [Nature]. From the Abstract: “Repurposing existing drugs to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in airway epithelial cells (AECs) is a quick way to find novel treatments for COVID-19. Computational screening has found dicoumarol (DCM), a natural anticoagulant, to be a potential SARS-CoV-2 inhibitor, but its inhibitory effects and possible working mechanisms remain unknown…. Collectively, we demonstrated that DCM is an effective post-exposure prophylactic for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human AECs, and these findings could help physicians formulate novel treatment strategies for COVID-19.” • The mechanism, apparently, operates on the cilia of nasal tissues. More on DCM–

“A pharmacological review of dicoumarol: An old natural anticoagulant agent” [Pharmacological Research]. From 2020: “Dicoumarol is an oral anticoagulant agent prescribed in clinical for decades… Due to its structural similarity to that of vitamin K, it significantly inhibits vitamin K epoxide reductase and acts as a vitamin K antagonist. … The side effects of dicoumarol raise safety concerns for clinical application.” • Kids, don’t try this at home!!! (This 1948 article on “Dicumarol Poisoning” includes the phrase “bloody stool.”)

“Something Awful”

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 Infectivity and Neurological Targets in the Brain” [Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology] (via). From 2020, still germane. From the Abtract: “The gateway for invasion by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into human host cells is via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) transmembrane receptor expressed in multiple immune and nonimmune cell types. SARS-CoV-2, that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; CoV-19) has the unusual capacity to attack many different types of human host cells simultaneously…. The highest ACE2 expression level was found in the pons and medulla oblongata in the human brainstem, containing the medullary respiratory centers of the brain, and may in part explain the susceptibility of many CoV-19 patients to severe respiratory distress.” • Handy chart:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 2

Heaven knows I don’t play a neurologist, not even on TV, and [hand on heart] I like mechanisms but dislike mechanistic explanations, because the body is extremely complex, but: The second-highest bars is the amygdala. Let’s assume damage there. From PNAS, “Facing the role of the amygdala in emotional information processing”: “The amygdala is commonly thought to form the core of a neural system for processing fearful and threatening stimuli.” Hence, one might speculate, the anecdata on refusal to protect oneself or others, aggressive individualism, bad driving, general rudeness, etc., post-covid? Intriguingly: “[H]umans with amygdala damage tend to be impaired in recognizing emotional facial expressions, especially fearful ones.” Speculating even more wildly, the oft-heard demand for removing one’s mask may be an unconscious reaction to/rationalization of impaired facial recognition capacity, due to covid. (And to round out the woo woo, both these speculations would be a case of SARS-CoV-2 optimizing its own environment for spread. Perhaps we have some neurologists in the readership?

Elite Maleficence

The Surgeon General’s website on Covid is ghastly. But then there’s this:

Also, on the “Three Vital Components of Social Connection,” shouldn’t there be four? Besides Structure, Function, and Quality, shouldn’t there be — putting this in neoliberal terms — Risk? Like the Risk on infecting or being infected? Extroverts are gonna kill us all. Breathing is a social relation, after all:

Second verse, same as the first:

* * *

Case Data

UPDATED WITH NOTE From BioBot wastewater data from June 5:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 3

Lambert: Oh no….

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.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 10:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 4

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:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 5

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:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 6

0.4%. Frequency down to once a week.


NOT UPDATED Death rate (Our World in Data), from June 7:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 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: 1,166,663 – 1,166,408 = 255 (255 * 365 = 93,075 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).

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published June 4:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 8

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. )

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

Tech: “Tesla is about to pull the plug on its main EV charging rival” [The Verge]. “Fast-forward to today’s electric vehicle charging standards war, and it feels like déjà vu. Last month, Ford announced it’s adopting Tesla’s previously proprietary North American Charging Standard (NACS) port for its future vehicles. And General Motors, the largest automaker in North America, just announced yesterday that it’s following suit. Together, Ford, Tesla, and GM represent nearly three-quarters of the EV market in the US — or 72 percent.” •

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 73 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 12 at 1:29 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Gallery

“Syntax in Santa Barbara” [nonsite]. This is very cool; nonsite is one of the few sites to have really rigorous art criticism, which I like. This is a great story:

In the late 1940s, William Carlos Williams’s understanding of modern art suddenly became inseparable from an origin story about it. Regularly featuring the anecdote in his lectures of the period, he would just as regularly mention how fond he was of telling it. “I have told this story often before,” he says in a 1952 speech published as “The American Spirit in Art,” “but it bears repeating”:

Alanson Hartpence, who used to be with the Daniel Gallery, once, during his boss’s absence, had one of the gallery’s best patrons there looking at a picture. The estimable lady admired one of the paintings and seemed about to buy it—or at least she was leaning that way.

But Mr. Hartpence, she said, what is all this down here in this left-hand lower corner? […]

That, said Hartpence, leaning closer to inspect the place, that, Madame, he said, straightening and looking at her, that is paint.

He lost the sale.

But that is the exact place where for us the virus first bit in. That is the exact place where for us modern art began.

Now, I’m not sure I agree with this…

Zeitgeist Watch

“Drowning in Dupes Shoppers will buy anything — except the real thing” [The Cut]. ” Influencers have built enormous followings shilling dupe recommendations in every product category, from makeup to electronics to food, and when a dupe goes viral, both it and the original product often sell out. But as dupes have taken on a life of their own, all sense of what makes a good one seems to have been lost. Today, the dupe itself is more valuable than the original, and the quality alternatives have been eclipsed by a tsunami of trash. This is Peak Dupe, when the basic rules of spending and quality no longer apply.” • Worth reading in full.

Guillotine Watch

“JPMorgan to pay up to $290mn to settle Epstein accusers’ lawsuit” [Financial Times]. “PMorgan Chase has agreed to pay up to $290mn to settle one of two bombshell lawsuits over its 15-year relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, which accused the bank of profiting from human trafficking by ignoring multiple internal warnings about their former client’s sex crimes. The agreement came just hours after a federal judge ruled that the case, originally brought by a single Epstein accuser under the pseudonym Jane Doe, would be widened to include dozens of women who claim to also have been abused by the disgraced financier. The total size of the group who will share the payout exceeds 150 victims, a lawyer for Doe said.” • 150? That’s a lot, as Dima would say. I wonder when Epstein’s “black book” will be published? I don’t think the world is run by literal lizard people, Epstein moved in rarefied circles — “There are not very many of the Shing” — and I can well believe that his milieu, broadly, has tastes that are more diverse, shall we say, than those of dull normals.

Class Warfare

“A massive UPS strike could devastate the economy. It could be just eight weeks away” [CNN]. • So give the workers what they want and deserve. Is that so very hard?

News of the Wired

“SmolNet” [Community Wiki]. “Unfortunately, capitalism has been working ever diligently in the opposite direction towards hooking people into unhealthy computing practices. It can feel hopeless hearing my loved ones actively complain about how Facebook and Twitter make them feel bad yet continue checking their timeline throughout the day. … By reconsidering the utility of time-tested protocols and hobbling together a few new ones, a growing community of people are leaving the proprietary world of flashy social-media websites to slow down and enjoy life accented by computers, not controlled by them. … On the Small Web, communities host themselves which means cross-domain browsing is very much encouraged and an important feature of the network at large. Real people, not corporations, host the Small Web.” • Interesting…

* * *

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 GC:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 9

GC writes: “In Tucson environs today while hiking to suppress this attitude.”

* * *

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:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/12/2023 10

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!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email