By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Goldfinch, Tompkins, New York, United States. A woodpecker, too.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Democrats and the working class.

(2) Starry Night, updated.

(3) Diddy, Son of Epstein?


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

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Less than a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, April 5

Here is Friday’s RCP poll. Trump is still up in all the Swing States (more here), but still leading with one exception: PA. I’ve highlighted it again, (1) because BIden is now up there, and (2) it’s an outlier, has been for weeks. Why isn’t Trump doing well there? (I’ll work out a better way to do this, but for now: Blue dot = move toward Biden; red dot = move toward Trump. No statistical signficance to any of it, and state polls are bad anyhow!)

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Trump (R): “Florida man found with contraband” [Adam’s Legal Newsletter]. “Donald Trump contends that he cannot be prosecuted for possessing classified documents at Mar-a-Lago because, while he was President, he exercised his authority under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) to categorize those documents as “personal records.” On April 4, 2024, Judge Cannon denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the criminal indictment based on that theory, while declining to resolve the parties’ dispute on the proper interpretation of the PRA. In this post I will offer my take on this fracas. Executive summary: 1. The PRA defense is terrible, but also kind of funny. 2. The court’s order on this issue was misguided, but 3. P(Doom) on this particular issue is low.” PDoom is the probability of doom (for some definition of doom). I think that’s a neat construct! The whole article is well worth a read.

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Trump (R): “Inside the Terrifyingly Competent Trump 2024 Campaign” [Vanity Fair]. Important. “Trump’s 2024 campaign has already demonstrated Trump can run an effective operation. ‘This campaign is locked down,’ a Republican close to Trump said. In previous cycles, Trump populated his campaigns with huge egos like Roger Stone, Kushner, Ivanka, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Corey Lewandowski, and Brad Parscale, among others. In 2024, Trump’s inner circle is made up of heads-down operatives Susie Wiles, Chris LaCivita, Miller, and James Blair, who don’t play their agendas through the media. ‘You have experienced people who don’t leak,’ longtime Trump confidant Stone said. Trump trusts his senior team to do their jobs. In the past, Trump worked the phone constantly, soliciting advice from a wide circle of friends, family, Manhattan business associates, and media personalities. Trump’s style of pitting staffers against one another created an incentive to leak. ‘The side whose opinion lost would run to the media,’ a 2020 campaign veteran explained. ‘This time, he’s not talking to randos.’ Most of all, Trump is disciplined because fear is a powerful motivator: His wealth and freedom are at stake.” And: “In early February 2023, Miller, the CEO of right-wing social media platform Gettr, joined the campaign as senior strategist and messaging guru. With Miller and spokesperson Steven Cheung driving the message, the campaign started to change the news cycle. Trump visited the town of East Palestine, Ohio, weeks after a train derailment caused a disastrous chemical fire.” Too bad Biden never showed up. More: “In October 2022, the 56-year-old Marine veteran, who has a shaved head and linebacker build, joined the campaign as senior adviser. LaCivita is a practitioner of the political dark arts. During the 2004 presidential election, he advised the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that smeared John Kerry’s Vietnam War record. It was a supreme act of chutzpah: Kerry’s opponent, George W. Bush, never served in Vietnam. LaCivita is more than a street brawler. He has a Talmudic understanding of primary rules. Last summer, LaCivita lobbied state Republican parties to change their processes to favor Trump. (For example, he convinced the California GOP to apportion all delegates to the winner.) ‘While everyone was dicking around last year, the Trump people were changing all these party rules, getting their people in place, changing the battlefield,’ a top GOP strategist said.” • Presumably, the campaign team has figured out a way to take advantage of Trump’s court appearances. The story opens with a hilarious anecdote of Trump making seven million bucks in two days off his Atlanta mugshot.

Trump (R): “Trump warns: “lunatic” Biden could start World War III” [Infobrics]. TRUMP: “This guy has no clue. He can’t put two sentences together, and he’s dealing with Putin, and he’s dealing with President Xi, and he’s dealing with Kim Jong-un. All people I know very well. We were under no threat from anybody until this guy got in office. Now they’re talking nuclear all the time. We didn’t talk nuclear…. You were safe because they respected your president, and they respected the United States of America. And now you’re not safe. .” Interesting to see Infobrics picking up a FOX transcript. And on nuclear war: Is Trump wrong? That wrong?

Trump (R): “Trump Says States Should Chart Their Own Path on Abortion” [Wall Street Journal]. “Former President Donald Trump said abortion should be left to the states, avoiding taking a position on the number of weeks at which the procedure should be banned as he tries to navigate an issue that has animated Democrats.

‘My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both. And whatever they decide must be the law of the land,’ Trump said Monday in a campaign video. ‘Many states will be different…At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people.’ Trump’s stance is unlikely to please religious conservatives who want him to embrace tougher restrictions, and one prominent group quickly expressed its disappointment. And Democrats are certain to continue to blame him for the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that ended the constitutional right to the procedure.” • Of course they will, but that’s only because they never take responsibillity for anything (including the composition of the Court).

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Biden (D): “Biden Not Only Reason for Dems To Panic” [RealClearPolitics]. “What matters even more is that the Republican Party is showing signs of waking up from its long uniparty slumber and recognizing that fighting back is the best way to win an election. You saw elements of this renewed engagement last month when the new leadership of the GOP opted to partner with community activist Scott Presler to increase voter registration and legal ballot harvesting in battleground states. Presler, the co-founder of Gays for Trump, goes by the handle #ThePersistence on social media, and his support for Donald Trump and MAGA has seen him travel tirelessly in pursuit of every legal Republican vote he can find. Last month, he was registering members of the Amish community in Pennsylvania. Brilliant!… Grassroots Republicans, who see themselves becoming empowered by people like Presler and Kirk, and by the Precinct Strategy program that is taking leadership of the Republican Party away from the Old Guard. No wonder Democrats are panicking. If they lose their upper hand in recruiting new voters, turning out the early vote and seizing every opportunity to improve their chances for victory in battleground states, then the electoral map could very possibly transform into a landslide victory for Trump and the Republicans.”

Biden (D): “Judge calls out blatant double standard when it comes to Biden’s Justice Department and Hunter” [Jonathan Turley, New York Post]. “The House is in the midst of an impeachment inquiry that includes allegations of influence over the Hunter investigation. While insisting that there was no pressure or special dealing in the matter, the DOJ has blocked key sources of evidence. That led to the House subpoenas…. The only way for the House to investigate such corrupt special dealings is to interview the principle actors, including these two attorneys. Otherwise, as Democratic members have done, critics can insist that they have no direct evidence of wrongdoing…. [US District Judge Ana Reyes] noted the obvious: “There’s a person in jail right now because you all brought a criminal lawsuit against him because he did not appear for a House subpoena.” The DOJ demanded six months in prison. Navarro is serving a four-month sentence…. The Justice Department insisted that it is different when its own prosecutors refuse to testify and noted that the House had also refused a demand to have other Justice Department lawyers present for the depositions. They then stressed that the decision to defy the subpoena came after lengthy deliberations ‘at a high level.’” Like what? The Oval Office? More: “Reyes then asked if the DOJ would drop its opposition if it were allowed to have DOJ lawyers in the room for the questioning. When the lawyers said they could not answer that question at this time, Reyes exclaimed, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

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Kennedy (I): “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. questions prosecutions for Jan. 6 attack, says he wants to hear ‘every side’” [Associated Press]. “Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a lengthy statement Friday suggested that the prosecution of rioters who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, might be politically motivated, partly aligning himself with the false portrayal being pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies.” What on earth does “partly aligning” mean? More: “‘One can, as I do, oppose Donald Trump and all he stands for, and still be disturbed by the weaponization of government against him,’ Kennedy said.” • The gallows still making an appearance, I see.

Kennedy (I): “Spoiler alert: RFK Jr. embraces the chaos, has Democrats ‘paranoid’ he’ll cost Biden” [Washington Examiner]. “‘Democrats are right to take the third-party threat very seriously. Donald Trump is openly rooting for both No Labels and RFK to drain Democratic votes,’ said Matt Bennett, the executive vice president for public affairs at Third Way, a centrist Democratic group, in a statement to the Washington Examiner. ‘He remembers how third parties won just enough votes in 2016 to allow him to capture the three Blue Wall states and the presidency. Democrats learned the hard way how dangerous third-party spoilers can be in a closely divided electorate and are mobilizing allies across the anti-Trump coalition to prevent third parties from helping Trump win again.”” • I don’t know where this “Blue Wall” trope came from. From the Labour Party’s “Red Wall” in the UK? It’s a rotten metaphor. Precincts aren’t like walls (unless you’re a child playing Risk, or an armchair strategist working from a map).

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“Democrats spar over registration as worries over young and minority voters grow” [WaPo]. Important. “For decades, nonpartisan groups allied with the Democratic Party have run wide-ranging efforts aimed at increasing voter registration among people of color and young people — groups that tend to lean Democratic but have historically voted at lower rates than older and White people. . Aaron Strauss, an influential data scientist who helps direct progressive spending at the firm OpenLabs, sparked private disagreements over this issue in January, when he sent about a dozen major Democratic donors a confidential memo that challenged traditional nonpartisan registration. ‘,” Strauss argued in the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post and cited recent polling that showed Trump’s strength among unregistered voters. He also warned that efforts to gain Democratic votes among younger and non-Black people of color were often expensive — costing more than $1,200 per net vote in 2020, by one estimate — because the groups now include so many non-Democrats. Among voters of color, he wrote that ‘only African American registration is clearly a prime opportunity,’ adding that netting Democratic voters among Black people cost approximately $575 per vote in 2020. He called on donors to nonpartisan nonprofits to also donate to political groups that focus voter registration spending on ‘specific, heavily pro-Biden populations’ like Black Americans, while using more targeted techniques among other groups to filter out likely Trump supporters.” • Heaving the NGOs over the side? Unthinkable!

“How House Dems plan to use abortion ballot initiatives on the campaign trail” [Politico]. “The DCCC is zeroing in on races in Arizona [swing], Colorado, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada [swing] and New York — all states that could have an abortion measure on the ballot — with 18 races where Democrats are playing defense or hope to flip GOP-held districts. The party sees abortion as a potential swing-seat turnout booster, pointing to purple-district Rep. Sharice Davids’ (D-Kan.) 2022 win after an abortion referendum was on her state’s ballot and increased turnout in Ohio last cycle.”

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FL: “Florida Is (Hypothetically) Winnable for Biden and the Democrats” [Washington Monthly]. “The 62 percent supermajority in favor of the abortion rights referendum, from a November poll by the University of North Florida, is buoyed by 53 percent support among Republicans. … Can abortion prompt a 3.4 percentage point shift in the presidential race and flip the state to Biden? The data from the 2022 midterms is uneven. Republican governors in Georgia and Texas were re-elected in 2022 despite polls showing opposition to their abortion bans. But abortion does appear to have helped accelerate the bluing of Arizona, where in the 2022 gubernatorial race, Democrat Katie Hobbs edged MAGA Republican Kari Lake by less than a point, following two double-digit victories by Republican Doug Ducey.”

FL: “Florida no longer in play as a swing state as GOP voters surge over Dems by nearly 900K: DeSantis” [FOX]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis believes Democrats don’t stand a chance in the Sunshine State going forward. This comes as reports indicate registered GOP voters now outpace Democrats by nearly 900,000. ‘You’re talking about a million-plus voter registration shift,’ DeSantis told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, saying that older numbers indicated Republicans were behind their Democrat adversaries by nearly 300,000 registered voters in 2018.” • That’s a steep hill to climb…

NE: “Inside the battle over Nebraska’s electoral college votes” [Semafor]. “Six months ago, Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Eric Underwood pitched Ronna McDaniel on a simple idea that could help the GOP win the presidency again. Since 1991, Nebraska had split its electoral votes; two for the statewide winner, then three for the winner of each congressional district. Trump lost the Omaha-based 2nd district in 2020, and if the GOP lost it again in 2024 — even if it flipped Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia — it would lose the presidency by a single vote. There was a bill frozen in the state legislature that could change that, assigning all five electors to the statewide winner, if Republicans rescued it. Underwood’s question for the RNC chair and its legal counsel was: Would the national party help? ‘In essence, the response was: I’m a federal officer, this is a state issue,’ Underwood recalled this week. ‘Thanks for the heads up, tell us how it goes.’ The idea went nowhere until late Tuesday morning. Underwood got a text from Tyler Bowyer, the chief operating office of the conservative activist group Turning Point USA and an RNC committeeman from Arizona, who was one of the loudest voices in the successful recent campaign to oust McDaniel. Bowyer asked if the Nebraska legislature was still in session, and whether the ‘winner-take-all’ bill could still be revived. Underwood said that it could. Within 36 hours, that plan was endorsed by Gov. Jim Pillen, Sen. Pete Ricketts, Donald Trump, and most of the GOP supermajority in the unicameral state senate.” • So yes, the Trump operation is competent. (The bill hadn’t passed, but it looks like Lara Trump can’t possibly be worse than McDaniel.

OH: “Biden may be missing from Ohio’s general election ballot due to key deadline issue, election official warns” [FOX]. “President Biden may fail to get on Ohio’s general election ballot after the state’s top election official warned his campaign about missing a key deadline on Friday. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, notified top Democratic officials that their party’s national convention is scheduled to occur well past the deadline for certifying a presidential candidate in Ohio. ‘The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to convene on August 19, 2024, which occurs more than a week after the August 7 deadline to certify a presidential candidate to the office,’ LaRose wrote to Ohio Democratic Party Chairwoman Liz Walters, according to the letter first obtained by ABC News. ‘I am left to conclude that the Democratic National Committee must either move up its nominating convention or the Ohio General Assembly must act by May 9, 2024 (90 days prior to a new law’s effective date) to create an exception to this statutory requirement,’ LaRose legal counsel, Paul Disantis, wrote in the letter.” • May 9 is not far away.

PA: “‘Now They’re Voting Red’: A Pennsylvania Fracking Boom Weighs on Biden’s Re-Election Chances” [Wall Street Journal]. “Pittsburgh is at the center of a class inversion between the two parties that is redefining American politics. Democrats have traded their former blue-collar base for professional-class, metropolitan workers, while Republicans have become overwhelmingly dependent on working-class voters concentrated in far-flung suburbs, small towns and rural areas…. In Pennsylvania, the largest 2024 battleground state, President Biden’s victory four years ago depended in large part on big gains among [the city’s heavily Democratic professional class]. But those gains have been overtaken by opposition from voters like Sabo, who works in the natural-gas industry, a sector that has given a boost to blue-collar workers in rural counties. These energy-economy voters see Biden as hostile to fracking, which taps natural gas trapped in sedimentary rock deep underground. The sector has drawn billions of dollars in new investment in Pennsylvania, much of it in the state’s southwest corner. Biden has been particularly hurt by his decision to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which local companies say cut into demand for their services; and his order this year to pause new permits to export liquefied natural gas, which could deprive drillers of new markets. Many of these voters also believe the president’s push for Americans to adopt electric vehicles will undercut jobs tied to fossil fuels.” And: “There is little sign that Biden can regain substantial support in seven largely working-class and rural counties that surround [Pittsburgh], every one of which produced a larger vote margin for Trump in 2020 than in 2016. The resistance to Biden’s energy policies is making it harder for the incumbent to stop his party’s decline among noncollege voters there, forcing the party to wring more votes out of a Democratic base elsewhere that, so far, seems dispirited.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Man Arrested for Setting Fire at Bernie Sanders’ Office. Motive Remains Unclear” [Time]. “Shant Soghomonian, 35, who was previously of Northridge, California, entered the building on Friday and went to Sanders’ third-floor office where security video showed him spraying a liquid on the door and setting it afire, officials said. The building’s interior suffered some damage from the fire and sprinklers that doused the area with water, but no one was hurt. Sanders, an independent, was not in the office at the time. Soghomonian was arrested Sunday on , according to a statement from Nikolas Kerest, the U.S. attorney for Vermont. The motive remained unclear.” • What a weird charge. Anyhow, filing this under “Democrats en Déshabillé” for reasons that are, at this point, obvious….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Batya Ungar-Sargon: Class, Not Race, Is the Dividing Line in American Politics” [RealClearPolitics]. “Batya Ungar-Sargon, the deputy editor of Newsweek and author of the new book, Second Class: How the Elites Betrayed America’s Working Men and Women, speaks with RCP Washington bureau chief Carl Cannon on Thursday’s edition of the RealClearPolitics radio show”:

“People don’t talk about it like it is an outrage,” [Ungar-Sargon] said about the transformation of the Democratic Party into something other than a party for the working class. “It is such a fait accompli at this point that we forget that it is outrageous for a party that used to represent labor, the little guy against big corporations and the rich, completely abandoned that constituency to cater to an over-credentialed college elite on one hand, and the dependent poor on the other. And it is double outrageous because that party still masquerades as the party of the little guy, even though it is not the case anymore.”

Carl Cannon asked: “Do they really hate the working class, or are they just in their politically correct bubble and don’t see what they’re doing?”

“They cannot stand the idea that they will lose, even if they lose in a very obviously democratic way,” Ungar-Sargon said. “They are very comfortable when they can sit there on cable news making millions of dollars to sneer at the working class. They’re comfortable when the working class can’t clap back.”

“This was really Obama’s revolution, the idea that the ‘smart set’ should run things. We should have an oligarchy of the credentialed. But when the working class has their audacity to vote in their own interest and clap back by putting somebody like Donald Trump in power, that sneering contempt turns to hate.”

Well, yes, the Democrats really do hate the working class; see Thomas Frank, Listen, Libera! (that is, do your reading, Batya!). However, it’s not only the working class that voted for Trump; plenty of local gentry voted for Trump as well. Further, even if this is my kind of red meat, let’s be clear that nobody’s talking about empowering the working class, as a class, certainly not Trump.


“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

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Covid 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).

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

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, 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, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Airborne Transmission: Covid

“Evidence from Whole Genome Sequencing of Aerosol Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 almost Five Hours after Hospital Room Turnover” (abstract only) [American Journal of Infection Control]. ” Whole genome sequencing during an outbreak suggested in-room transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to two patients admitted nearly 2 and 5 hours, respectively, after discharge of an asymptomatic infected patient. .” • Yo, HICPAC. Are you listening? MR SUBLIMINAL Lol no

“Investigation of a superspreading event preceding the largest meat processing plant-related SARS-Coronavirus 2 outbreak in Germany” [SSRN]. 2020, missed it at the time. From the Abstract: “Transmissions occurred in a confined area of a meat processing plant in which air is constantly re-circulated and cooled to 10°C. Index case B1 transmitted the virus to co-workers in a radius of more than 8 meters during work-shifts on 3 consecutive days…. Our results indicate climate conditions and airflow as factors that can promote efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 via distances of more than 8 meters and provide insights into possible requirements for pandemic mitigation strategies in industrial workplace settings.” • Like CAFOs?

Immune Dysregulation

“CDC Tracking “Dangerous” Bacterial Infection Spreading in New York” [WIBX]. “The New York State Department of Health is tracking the spread of the “Neisseria meningitidis” bacteria. This virulent strain is highly invasive and can lead to death if left untreated. Neisseria meningitidis causes meningococcal disease as well as a serious blood infection called meningococcal septicemia. This bacteria is also capable of causing meningococcal meningitis once it infects the linings of the brain and spinal cord. If this sounds alarming, that’s because it is. This bacteria is known to strike quickly and cause serious health complications or even death within days.” • CDC says it’s not airborne, fortunately (not spread by breathing).

Transmission: H5N1

Vector transmission from @LazarusLong13:

“Detection of H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus from Mosquitoes Collected in an Infected Poultry Farm in Thailand” (PDF) [Vector-Borne And Zoonotic Diseases]. From 2008.

Blood-engorged mosquitoes were collected at poultry farms during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Central Thailand during October 2005. These mosquitoes tested positive for H5N1 virus by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results were confirmed by limited sequencing of the H5 and

N1 segments. Infection and replication of this virus in the C6/36 mosquito cell line was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. However, , and further research is needed.” • Something to ponder.

“The potential of house flies to act as a vector of avian influenza subtype H5N1 under experimental conditions” [Medical and Veterinary Entomology]. From the Abstract: “The present study shows that the flies may harbour the [avian influenza (AI) H5N1] virus and could act as a mechanical vector of the AI virus.”

Sequelae: Covid

“COVID-19 and Its Ophthalmic Manifestations: A Literature Review” [Cureus]. “The most common ocular manifestations that have been noted are episcleritis and keratoconjunctivitis and inflammation of the sclera and conjunctiva of the eye, respectively. A study conducted by Zhou et al. [10] examined postmortem eyes and surgical specimens of COVID-19-positive patients. Immunohistochemical assays were performed on each sample, revealing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors are expressed in the conjunctiva, cornea, and limbus surface of the eye. The findings presented in this paper emphasize the importance of the eye as a reservoir for COVID-19 and how transmission can occur without proper eye and hand care [10, 11]. The ACE 2 receptor is used by the virus to enter cells [12, 13]. Another study showed neuropathic corneal pain as a debilitating manifestation of the long-COVID syndrome [14].” • I don’t think this source is all that great, but it shouldn’t be that hard to do a literature review, and in any case I can’t find KLG trashing them.

Elite Maleficence

WHO promotes baggy blues [bangs head on desk]:

“Federal Judge Hits CDC Over Withholding Data on Adverse Vaccine Reports” [Jonathan Turley]. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to resist disclosing information on claimed side effects and problems with its COVID-19 vaccines, including from healthcare workers. Due to a January order by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in a Freedom of Information Act case, the CDC is being forced to turn over hundreds of thousands of “free text” entries from V-safe. The court has scolded the CDC for its continuing efforts to withhold information on these complaints…. For a year, the CDC has been fighting these efforts. The lawsuit by the Informed Consent Action Network, revealed ‘nearly 8% of V-safe users said they required medical care, another 12% couldn’t perform normal daily activities and yet another 13% said they missed work or school.’ With limited ‘boxes’ supplied by the CDC, people had to write in their complications. The CDC then failed to disclose those reports. The free-text entries reportedly support one of the most controversial moves by the CDC to downplay heart complications. Litigants say that the new disclosures show a frequency of symptoms associated with myocarditis – inflammation of the the heart muscle myocardium.”

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at a level far above valleys under Trump. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) No backward revisons….

[3] (CDC Variants) 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.

[4] (ER) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game…

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “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†”.

[7] (Walgreens) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

[11] Looks like the Times isn’t reporting death data any more? Maybe I need to go back to The Economist:

Stats Watch

There are no statistics of interest today.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 8 at 1:47:15 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes up two (!) on Earthquakes and Plagues. “The strongest quake in 25 years hit Taiwan” and “CDC says bacterial infection cases are rising” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • Bird flu not a concern?

The Gallery


Zeitgeist Watch

“Two weeks after raid on Diddy’s homes, it’s quiet on the news front” [WaPo]. “Two weeks ago, federal agents raided Sean “Diddy” Combs’s mansions in Miami and Los Angeles, searching for evidence tied to a sex-trafficking investigation. The shocking headlines prompted a wave of speculation that Combs, one of the most powerful producers in the music industry, might soon be arrested in connection to any of five recent lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault. He has denied all of the accusations.

But since then, there has been no arrest and few, if any, revelations for tabloids.” • One can only wonder why–

“Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Former Bodyguard Claims Music Mogul Had Tapes of ‘Politicians’ and ‘Princes’” [Modernity]. “The former bodyguard of Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ claims the music mogul had blackmail tapes of politicians, princes and other prominent individuals who were involved in his sex parties. Gene Deal, who was present the night when Notorious B.I.G. was fatally shot in 1997, made the sensational comments during an interview with ‘The Art of Dialogue’ YouTube channel. ‘I don’t think it’s only celebrities gonna be shook. He had politicians in there, he had princes in there. He also had a couple of preachers in there,’ said Deal. ‘Can you imagine, he had every room bugged,’ he added. When asked why Combs’ media department had stayed silent on the allegations against him, Deal responded, ‘Either they took part in some of the stuff that happened, or they’re scared that it may mess up their brand.’ Fox News host Jesse Watters speculated that the tapes, if they exist, are now in the hands of the feds and ‘that’s a lot of blackmail.’” • Indeed. “I would say that our Mr. Swain has recently come into possession of a very high-grade source of intelligence and is busy converting it into power. ” –William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive>

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Interesting question:

Yes, I remember my parents doing this; cocktails, and so forth. When did these customs die out? When “party” became a verb?

Class Warfare

“People quasi-randomly assigned to farm rice are more collectivistic than people assigned to farm wheat” [Nature]. The Cultural Revolution as a natural experiment (!): “The rice theory of culture argues that the high labor demands and interdependent irrigation networks of paddy rice farming makes cultures more collectivistic than wheat-farming cultures. Despite prior evidence, proving causality is difficult because people are not randomly assigned to farm rice. In this study, we take advantage of a unique time when the Chinese government quasi-randomly assigned people to farm rice or wheat in two state farms that are otherwise nearly identical. The rice farmers show less individualism, more loyalty/nepotism toward a friend over a stranger, and more relational thought style. These results rule out confounds in tests of the rice theory, such as temperature, latitude, and historical events. The differences suggest rice-wheat cultural differences can form in a single generation.” • Fascinating! Via Marginal Revolution, who commented:

It’s long been argued [by, say, The Bearded One] that the means [and mode] of production influence social, cultural and psychological processes. Rice farming, for example, requires complex irrigation systems under communal management and intense, coordinated labor. Thus, it has been argued that successful rice farming communities tend to develop people with collectivist orientations, and cultural ways of thinking that emphasize group harmony and interdependence. In contrast, wheat farming, which requires less labor and coordination is associated with more individualistic cultures that value independence and personal autonomy. Implicit in Turner’s Frontier hypothesis, for example, is the idea that not only could a young man say ‘take this job and shove it’ and go west but once there they could establish a small, viable wheat farm (or other dry crop).

News of the Wired

I am not feeling wired today.

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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, lichen, 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 TH:

TH writes: “This is the Cactus Garden at the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar. It’s got quite a variety and some rather large specimens. The Spanish architecture works especially well with this section of the gardens.” That bench in the shade makes me want to go and sit down….

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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 three or four days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

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