2:00PM Water Cooler 6/3/2022

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/3/2022 1

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Alaska, United States. This is Sparrow week at Naked Capitalism (which I think I will continue next week). If you have a suggestion for a sparrow species, please leave it in comments. I’m surprised at how different their calls are.

“Sparrow ID Guides from Macaulay Library and Bird Academy” [The Cornell Lab of Ornithology]. Free downloads. “Sparrows are a challenge to birders of all skill levels because they’re often skulky and hard to see. At first they seem like dull brown birds, but when you get a good look, they show beautiful and intricate patterns on their feathers. Because many species are hard to see, they are sought after by avid listers and those who appreciate the beauty of birds. Whether you’re at home or out in the field, these helpful four-sheet sparrow reference guides have full-color photos of eastern, central, western and widespread sparrows.”

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Biden Adminstration

“Biden urges Congress to renew assault weapons ban, pass stricter gun laws” [The Hill]. • A speech will change everything. If you have West Wing Brain.


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CA: “A midterm alarm for Dems in California” [Politico]. “After this week’s break in the primary calendar, seven states will hold elections on Tuesday. In the biggest of them, California, Democrats are already looking at some troubling early turnout numbers: So far, only about 2.2 million Californians have returned ballots. That’s less than a third of the total early vote at this point in California’s recall election last year…. At the top of the ticket, it probably doesn’t matter…. Where Democrats do need to worry is those competitive congressional districts. California has a number of congressional districts that could be considered swing districts. If Democrats aren’t successful in reelecting Katie Porter and Mike Levin and Josh Harder and then maybe even picking up the Mike Garcia seat in North L.A. County or pushing Michelle Steel and that district to potentially either pick it up or maybe pick that up 2024 — that’s where macro-level turnout can make a big difference…. When turnout drops, it doesn’t drop evenly for all groups. It drops most precipitously for lower income, minorities, younger people. And suburban white affluent voters who are homeowners always stay relatively high turnout. And so, when the floor falls out on a low turnout election and you have those critical Democratic core groups voting at 18 percent turnout and core Republican groups voting at 70 percent turnout, then you have a recipe for disaster in those competitive congressional districts.”

PA: “Fetterman’s health, return to campaign trail a mystery as some Democrats grow ‘very nervous’ about Pa. Senate race” [NBC]. For my part, I’d rather have an unrehabilitated stroke victim in the Senate than any member of the Pennsylvania Democrat establishment. And since a mutual hatred exists betweem Fetterman and that establishment, there’s no reason to take anything “some Democrats” say as in good faith; if it weren’t this, it would be something else. More: “Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman does not have a timetable for returning to the campaign trail, sparking some worries in the party nearly three weeks after he suffered a stroke and surgeons implanted a pacemaker with a defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat. Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, has appeared publicly only in recorded video since the stroke. His wife is speaking to the media on his behalf. And the situation has prompted Democrats to refresh their knowledge of state ballot-replacement law — the deadline is in August — according to two party sources who said they don’t anticipate a candidate switch being necessary.” They would l-o-o-o-v-e to replace Fetterman on the ballot. They’re salivating. More: “The careful statements from Fetterman’s campaign since his stroke and surgery have done little to answer lingering questions about his health or whether he has fully disclosed the scope of his heart condition.” • Of course, “full disclosure” is a classic moving target. To be fair to the Democrats, Fetterman has to know he’s handing them an issue; that implies — assuming the time off from the trail is not a light-hearted vacation — that there’s something consequential we don’t know about. (I should know the normal recovery scenario for somebody with what Fetterman is said to have had. Perhaps one of our medical team can weigh in.)

PA: “Fetterman will have announcement ‘soon’ on return to campaign trail” [Politico]. “Despite multiple requests, Fetterman’s campaign has not allowed reporters to interview his physicians. But some outside doctors have been quoted in media reports saying that defibrillators are not used to treat atrial fibrillation, and questioning whether Fetterman has an additional heart condition that has not yet been disclosed. Gisele Fetterman has said previously that is not the case. Asked if doctors revealed any new heart condition on Wednesday, she said no. ‘Not at all,’ she said. ‘The heart’s working great. The pacemaker helps regulate the A-fib.’ As for when the press will be able to talk to Fetterman’s physicians, she said, ‘We’re working on that. That is coming next.’ Gisele Fetterman also spoke about the changes that her husband has made to his health since his stroke. She said he has dramatically changed his diet. ‘The diet is different for sure,’ she said. ‘Very low sodium levels. He’s monitoring that. Eating a lot more of greens and folic acid and B-12, those kinds of things.’ She said her husband has also returned to walking. He has always been a ‘big walker,’ she said, but that became more difficult for him to do in the winter, as well as in the final months of the campaign. Now, she said, ‘The walking has returned full-force. He’s back to his usual mile walk.’ Fetterman has been taking blood thinners since his stroke. No new medications were prescribed during his Wednesday follow-up, Gisele Fetterman said.” • I dunno. This heavily priored layperson thinks — subject to correction — that three weeks is not excessive after major surgery, especially since the campaign trail is so rough, stressful, and nasty. It’s not like going back to the office. Five weeks, though….


“Two words explain why Trump won’t run in 2024” [The Hill]. Fear and fight. “Trump won’t run because he fears losing and does not want to fight for the nomination. But here is why I could be wrong: I asked Mark McKinnon, the co-host of Showtime’s ‘The Circus’ and the last presidential strategist to win the reelection of a Republican president — George W. Bush in 2004. McKinnon replied: ‘Trump will never concede the stage or the spotlight to anyone else unless he’s in prison or a hospital. He’s not licking his wounds, he’s licking his chops. Every defeat is someone else’s fault. Every victory is his alone. The notion that he would simply exit stage left because of some political reality, self-reflection, or awareness flies in the face of everything we’ve learned about him.’ It is fitting to conclude with a favorite Trump quote: “We’ll see what happens.”

Well, we know who Adam’s voters aren’t:

Something wrong with being a waiter?

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). 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.

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“Democrats Misunderstand the Suburban Vote” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “The idea seems to be that the suburbs are full of liberal, highly-educated voters who are likely to be particularly moved by these issues and turn out against the Republicans. That may be true in some limited areas at the margins but it seems highly unlikely to work in the suburbs writ large for a very simple reason: actually-existing suburban voters are quite different from this caricature. Start with who actually lives in the suburbs. Contrary to popular perception, less than a third of the suburban vote nationwide is made up of college-educated whites, the presumed locus of appeal for the suburban abortion/guns/very liberal on social issues vote. In fact, about three-fifths of suburban white voters are working class (noncollege). It is widely misunderstood how vital these voters were to Biden’s victory in 2020. While suburban white college voters shifted around 10 margin points toward Biden, suburban white working class voters also had a solid 5 point pro-Democratic shift. Because of this group’s larger size, their shift toward Biden contributed almost as much to the Democrats’ improved margin over Trump in 2020 as suburban white college voters. And just how liberal are these college-educated voters anyway? Overall, according to Gallup, just 30 percent of adults with a four year degree only describe themselves as liberal and 36 percent of those with some postgraduate education (the less numerous group) do so. Putting this together with the data about suburban demographics, this implies that perhaps one-ninth (a third of a third) of suburban voters are white college-educated liberals. Perhaps the figure is a bit higher but I doubt that it’s much higher.” • Hmm. Of course, Teixeira was responsible for the “coalition of the ascendant” debacle, so any recommendation he might make should be taken with a truckload of salts.

Republican Funhouse

“‘New Right’ takes it back to old pre-neocon roots, starting with Ukraine” [Responsible Statecraft]. “[O]pposition to the $40 billion bill that Biden promptly signed into law was a minority position. But zero Democrats in either chamber of Congress voted against it. All 11 no votes in the Senate and 57 in the House came from Republicans….. Soon there were reports that the conservative-libertarian coalition that has for over a decade sought to defang the GOP hawks are seeing this as their big moment. And they have as unlikely allies some of the biggest guns in the conservative movement, including new Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts. ‘Heritage is consciously shifting gears on foreign policy, with an eye toward less military involvement in Europe and more attention on China in particular,’ Roberts told Axios in an interview saying the venerable think tank that helped arm the Ronald Reagan revolution was shifting its gears closer to those of the Cato Institute and Koch network. ‘Roberts said Heritage’s rank and file donors have generally come down firmly on the restraint side of the foreign policy fight,’ Axios stated.” • Hmm. (And a nice little description of the linkage between donor, NGO, and party. The donors rejiggered their NGO portfolio, and that in turn affected the party.

“The New MAGA Establishment” [The Bulwark]. “Tf you want to understand what an ‘establishment’ is in politics, it is this: A collection of people, institutions, and ideas which are not all powerful but are dominant to the point of being all-encompassing. The establishment can be, every once in a while, circumvented or leapfrogged. But it cannot be successfully opposed. Which is why the Reagan legacy remained in firm control of the GOP for 28 years after Reagan had left office. Until Trump… e are now six years into the Trump era and one clearly sees—in the donor and media ecosystems, in the new ideologies (however poorly grounded and tendentious), in the odd combination of orthodoxies that an establishment can enforce and the flexibility it can grant itself—that a new MAGA establishment has been created. Do not count on it going away soon. It may not last as long as the Reaganite establishment. That establishment was built on the foundations of a large-scale win over a sitting president, followed by a massive re-election victory, followed by the election of Reagan’s vice president, followed by a victory in the Cold War which had been set in motion by Reagan’s policies, followed by one of the largest expansions of peace and prosperity in America’s history. The Trump establishment obviously has no such claims. Instead, Trump’s claim on the party centers around failures. He beat a weak Democratic candidate in 2016 while losing the popular vote. He lost the popular vote by an even bigger margin in 2020, as he became the first sitting president to lose re-election in 30 years. His hold over the party is based not on expansion, but on contraction: He has whittled the party base down to a demographic nub—but it is a nub which is in thrall to him precisely because of its sense of grievance.”

“Trump’s Insurrection Is Building Professionalized Institutions Next time, they won’t rely on amateurs.”[Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “The plan is to flood voting sites with Republican volunteers, who largely believe they are witnessing crime scenes. The Republican poll watchers will almost inevitably harass and challenge both voters they suspect of fraud (i.e., ones who have dark skin) and the poll workers processing their votes. These objections can gum up the workers, increase lines, and discourage potential voters. Worse, they can trigger messy disputes, which opens the door for legislatures to override the results and select the winner. ‘Come Election Day, you create massive failure of certification’ in Democratic precincts, Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of Issue One, an election-watchdog group, tells Politico. ‘The real hope is that you can throw the choosing of electors to state legislatures.’” • Would it be a norms violation for Democrats to counter with their own poll watchers?

Clinton Legacy

“Putin ‘doesn’t Like Critics, Has Almost Messianic Belief In Himself’, Says Hillary Clinton” [Republic World].

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Everything Is Terrible, but I’m Fine’” [The Atlantic]. “Something deeper is happening. Even outside economics and finances, a record-high gap has opened up between Americans’ personal attitudes and their evaluations of the country. In early 2022, Gallup found that Americans’ satisfaction with “the way things are going in personal life” neared a 40-year high, even as their satisfaction with “the way things are going in the U.S.” neared a 40-year low. On top of the old and global tendency to assume most people are doing worse than they say they are is a growing American tendency to be catastrophically gloomy about the direction of this country, even as we’re resiliently sunny about our own household’s future…. I have a final theory of what’s going on here. With greater access to news on social media and the internet, Americans are more deluged than they used to be by depressing stories.”

“Left-Wing Group Too Disorganized For FBI Agents To Infiltrate” [The Onion]. “We also tried to sow division in their ranks to ensure that they couldn’t become powerful, but that didn’t work because these people already all fucking hate each other. They spend all their time arguing about minutiae, and most of the time when we try to talk them into doing something violent to the communal spaces in their community, they don’t even know where to go. They’re just a mess.”


• “Covid Is Way More Lethal to Kids Than The Flu” [Bloomberg]. “In the US, nearly six times more kids and teens died from Covid in one year than did from the flu, according to a new analysis of pediatric mortality data. Millions of kids get sick with the seasonal flu each year. But although it can be dangerous — especially for those who are unvaccinated — it’s much less lethal than Covid. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, childhood flu deaths during the regular season have ranged from 39 to 199 since 2004. Meanwhile, in 2021 alone, more than 600 children died from Covid-19, according to the analysis done by Jeremy Faust, a professor at Harvard University Medical School and physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. ” • Oh noes, the minimizers were wrong again.

• Summer camp:

• “Jewel-Osco Stores Reinstate Mask Mandate for Employees Due to High COVID Transmission” [NBC Chicago]. “As a new subvariant of omicron continues to spread across the country and COVID cases continue an uptick in Illinois, Jewel-Osco stores are asking employees to once again wear masks. ‘Jewel-Osco continues to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health,’ a spokesperson from Jewel-Osco said in an email statement to NBC 5. ‘Due to current high COVID transmission rates in the counties where we have stores, the Distribution Center, and the corporate office we are requiring associates and vendors to wear a mask.” • Ha ha, CDC guidance is community levels, not transmission. And so, by not following CDC, Jewel-Osco did the right thing.

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If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

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Case count by United States regions:

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This looks like we’re catching up on the record keeping, to me. (I’m not drawing any lines on the chart because it would be pointless.) Note, however, that similar “fiddling and diddling” behavior is seen at previous peaks. So maybe there’s a signal here, and maybe there isn’t.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

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As above.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

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After a little dip for Memorial Day data, an upward move. I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to the goons at CDC.

MWRA wastewater data:

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Still fiddling and diddling, with South and North down.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

Cases lag wastewater data.

From Biobot Analytics:

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Still May 11 for the variants? Really? I want to know about BA.4 and BA.5 (dubbed “variants of concern” by The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)). And then we have another wild round of unexplained revisions: Here’s yesterday’s Biobot Analytics:

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I don’t know what to do with these people, I really don’t.

• “What wastewater surveillance currently tells us about COVID-19 cases” [The Hill]. “Over the pandemic, wastewater surveillance was able to alert health officials to potential oncoming increases in cases or waves. A review of studies found that positive signals from wastewater surveillance typically anticipated cases by 10 days according to 24 separate studies. The authors also found that the wastewater signal may preempt clinical cases by up to 63 days… This spring, the trend has creeped upwards over a long period of time, unlike it did for delta and original omicron variants. ‘It looks like a surge in slow motion,’ physician Jennifer Avegno, who is head of the New Orleans health department, said to The New York Times. ‘It’s not the sharp increase we saw with Delta and definitely not with Omicron.’” • Hmm.

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

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California better, Southwest better, Midwest, New York, New England, and Gulf Coast improving, Pennsylvania better (why).

The previous release:

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NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal.

• Walensky shamelessly continues to advocate for the “Community Levels” metric:

Don’t use “Community Levels.” Use “Community Transmission,” below. Walensky’s advice is going to get people killed.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

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East coast, West Coast, and Midwest are all red. That bit of Upstate New York is still yellow.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

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Still very dynamic.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

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Total: 1,032,862 1,032,410. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

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More weird fluctuations. (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday:

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What kind of organization puts “in recent weeks” in an explanatory dropdown, and then obviously never comes back to check? Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks. CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. I certainly hope there are no “coding errors” in the algo.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in May of 2022, the same as in the previous two months, remaining the lowest since February 2020 and compared with market expectations of 3.5 percent.”

Services: “United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI fell to 55.9 in May of 2022 from 57.1 in April, below market forecasts of 56.4 and pointing to the slowest expansion in the services sector since February of 2021.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 28 Fear (previous close: 25 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 3 at 1:25 PM EDT.

Sports Desk

“LeBron James becomes first billionaire active NBA player: Forbes” [The Hill]. “Off the court, James’s wealth has come from endeavors including his production company SpringHill, a sports marketing business partnership with Fenway Sports Group and investments in pizza chain restaurant Blaze Pizza, as well as real estate properties around the country, Forbes reported.”


“We’ve Known How To Prevent A School Shooting for More Than 20 Years” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The studies [Marisa Randazzo] and [Mary Ellen O’Toole] published years ago showed that, like people planning to attack the president, would-be school shooters don’t keep their plans to themselves. They tell friends or even teachers that they want to kill. They talk about their anger and their suicidality. They lash out violently against family and friends. And as more teens have attacked their schoolmates, that pattern has proved to hold true over time. It was true for Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. It was true for Payton Gendron, the Buffalo shooter. It was true for Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter. While all the experts I spoke with said that policies that keep guns out of the hands of teenagers are an important part of preventing mass shootings, they all also said it is crucial to set up systems that spot teens who are struggling and may become dangerous.” • I’m sympathetic to this thesis.

The Gallery

Indian sculpture:


The “intimate details” are servants — or slaves?

Zeitgeist Watch

Remember laugh tracks?

“Brrr! Air-Conditioned Offices Give Chilly Reception to Returning Workers” [Wall Steet Journal]. “[O]ne of the worst excesses of modern life [is] meeting rooms air-conditioned to Arctic levels…. Like most offices, the health department’s thermostats can’t be adjusted without a big rigmarole. Employers may want to rethink that…. Office temperatures are typically set to comply with comfort guidelines established in 1966 and updated by ASHRAE experts. The group’s researchers delve into such comfort issues as “ankle draft,” an unpleasant ankle-high chill….” • I should look into ASHRAE’s standards on air changes per hour, if they have this much clout….

Class Warfare

“How Amazon and Starbucks Workers Are Upending the Organizing Rules” [In These Times]. “The goal of momentum organizers is to foster a virtuous cycle of building to trigger events and then absorbing the subsequent explosion of energy through mass trainings and decentralized structures, while then building to another, future, trigger event. Police violence can be a trigger event, such as in the case of the murder of George Floyd, but so can worker victories. It’s not difficult to see this virtuous cycle being unleashed at Starbucks, where dozens of stores have successfully won union elections and hundreds more are seeking to vote. When the whirlwind comes, what was once seen as a risky long-shot action or fringe idea — going on strike, organizing a union, running for political office as a socialist, advocating for policies that divest from police and prisons and invest in communities — suddenly snowballs into a series of independent, self-organized actions. Among structure-based organizers, ​’mobilizing’ is often described, somewhat derisively, as turning out everyone who already agrees with us, while ​’organizing’ is seen as the more difficult work of systematically convincing those who don’t yet agree with us. This approach underestimates the power of movement moments — the whirlwind — where, very suddenly, the number of people who actively agree with us skyrockets. In the structure-based approach, organizers often spend months having organizing conversations, building committees, and assessing workers in the lead up to a union vote. They often spend even longer painstakingly building the confidence of workers through small, workplace actions to build to a strike. But in a whirlwind moment, those kinds of actions can suddenly be jump-started by the workers themselves. ‘In most conditions, momentum organizing is not the way to organize unions,’ Engler says. ​’The elders in the structure-based tradition know what they are doing and their advice is solid under normal conditions, but they don’t have the skills or the way of thinking that can take advantage of moments when those conditions radically change.’ Engler is not surprised that Amazon was organized through the self-activity of workers outside the mainstream labor movement. ‘It’s not structure-based mass organizations that can step into the void and absorb momentum quickly,’ Engler says. ​’It’s the people coming out of nowhere. Often by people who don’t even know how to do it or by those who are rooted in the mass protest tradition. It’s the unusual suspects.’” • Very interesting, well worth a read.

“House Staffers’ Union Effort Moves Forward, Open Questions Aside (Correct)” [Bloomberg]. “US House staffers’ ability to negotiate key aspects of employment remains up in the air as they prepare to go to the bargaining table under newly granted union rights. Capitol Hill staff are scrambling to define the boundaries of a resolution the House passed last month that allows them to unionize and bargain collectively. Senate Democrats have said they will do the same, but face much greater hurdles to adopting a similar measure. The discussions have brought some of the biggest workplace issues—pay, diversity, long hours, and safety on the job—to lawmakers’ doorsteps at the same time they’re considering a sweeping package of pro-union legislation. And although Democrats have criticized Amazon.com Inc., Starbucks Corp., and Apple Inc. for alleged union busting, they may soon find themselves facing similar scrutiny if they’re not careful.”

News of the Wired

“The Puzzle of Human Origins” [Policy Tensor]. The deck: “African population structure and the origins of the Boas-Chomsky universal.” More: “What truly revolutionized paleoanthropology was the ancient DNA revolution at the end of the 2000s. By looking at the genomes of fossil humans, molecular anthropologists could start to discern the population history of different regions at a much finer resolution. The old certainties especially did not fare well after ancient DNA sequencing arrived at scale. The picture that emerged even overturned many of the claims established by the molecular anthropologists not ten years earlier. The idea that Europeans and Asians had split soon after the Out-of-Africa dispersal around 45ka, did not stand up to scrutiny. It turned out that a basal or ancestral population roughly equally distant from Europeans and Asians had occupied much of Europe and Asia before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) around 20ka. Moreover, it turned out that what had been thought of as the continental races of man (in particular, the big three in Europe, Asia and Africa) that were assumed, in 1859-1987, to have occupied their continents in genetic insulation from each other for a million years, were all recent populations that had emerged from the LGM and expanded during the Holocene. They cannot be said to have existed before 20ka; they were, in fact, created by the shock of the LGM. Even later, they were confined to their tiny homelands (southern Europe, northeast Asia, and central west Africa), until well into the Holocene.” • Read the essay for “the Boas-Chomsky universal.”

The Atlanta Forest:

Can any Atlanta readers comment?

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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 AM:

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AM writes: “Lavender and alpine strawberry in a wall planter.” I like the tinfoil reflector idea, capturing light for the plant on a dim porch?

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