By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I am traveling today. This Water Cooler is a bit light, because I am posting it in a window of connectivity. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Sadly, Cornell Ornithology Lab is having a planned outage. No bird song today. –lambert

“Birding for Long-Haulers” [Ed Yong, The Ed’s Up]. My favorite birding moments often involve stillness. I stand in front of a single tree, watching a conveyor belt of warblers passing by. I sit at a shoreline, scanning through large groups of foraging shorebirds. I lean against my car at night, listening for owls in the darkness. At those times, with my body rooted and my senses fully engaged, I feel a peculiar blend of serenity and adrenaline, of presentism and disconnection. And during one such moment, I thought: This would be perfect for people with long COVID… I started wondering if I could share the hobby that has become so restorative to me with the community that has become so important to me. Birding could expand the world that long COVID has contracted. It could offer long-haulers the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors and immersing in nature. It could salve some of the solitude that chronic illness brings, offering social time in an outdoor setting with low risk of respiratory infection. It can be done with relatively low physical or cognitive demands, minimizing the chances of triggering a PEM crash.” • A very hopeful post!

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Boeing story isn’t exactly advancing….

(2) Global elites form brain genius club.

(3) The science and art of chicken sexing.


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

* * *

Capitol Seizure

“Newly obtained video shows movement of group suspected of constructing Jan. 6 gallows hours before Capitol siege” [CBS]. “Newly obtained [how and from whom?] video shows movement of group suspected of constructing Jan. 6 gallows hours before Capitol siege. The people who erected the infamous gallows and noose on the west front of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, began their work in the predawn hours that day, according to newly released videos obtained [how and from whom?] by CBS News… Surveillance footage shared [by whom?] with CBS News shows the brazenness of the work behind the gallows and noose.” • Whoever “shared” the videos to CBS was a little slow moving, yes?


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “‘Arbitrary Enforcement’ of Federal Law Roils Classified Documents Case” [Julie Kelly]. Jack Smith’s Florida case. “[Judge Aileen] Cannon repeatedly asked both sides for examples of criminal prosecution for ‘other officials who did the same.’ She questioned the ‘arbitrary enforcement’ of the espionage statute, forcing the government to admit that no other former president or vice president has faced criminal prosecution for keeping similar documents and failing to return them. ‘This speaks to the arbitrary enforcement…featuring in this case,’ Cannon told Bratt. Cannon also pushed back on claims Trump should have expected to face prosecution for storing classified files. Once again noting no former president or vice president—Mike Pence also discovered classified records after Trump was indicted in 2023—has been charged, Cannon suggested it was fair for Trump to expect the same treatment since ‘no historical precedent’ is on the books. ‘Given that landscape,’ Cannon continued, Trump could argue he has been unfairly targeted. Which his team already has. In a motion emailed to the court and the government last month, Trump’s attorneys asked to dismiss the case based on ‘‘ Although the motion is not public, Jack Smith quickly responded to defend the Department of Justice’s choice to pursue Trump and not Biden. ‘,’ Smith wrote in a March 7 response. ‘Second, the evidence concerning the two men’s intent—whether they knowingly possessed and willfully retained such documents—is starkly different.’ In an almost comical passage, Smith admits Biden unlawfully retained classified records—just not as many as Trump. ‘Biden possessed 88 documents bearing classification markings, including 18 marked Top Secret. By contrast, Trump possessed 337 documents bearing classification markings, including 64 marked Top Secret. Ah ok. So Biden was just a little bit pregnant…” • I’m not sure that “selective and vindictive prosecution” flies as a matter of law. As a matter of politics? I think so.

* * *

Biden (D): “Biden seeks to reinvigorate diverse coalition in critical 2024 campaign swing out West” [CNN]. “Arizona and Nevada could see abortion rights provisions on ‘Nevadans and Arizonans are gathering signatures for ballot initiative to give voters the opportunity to protect abortion access in their states’ constitution in 2024. Nevada is one of the most pro-choice states in the nation. And the vast majority of Arizonans support abortion access, as well,’ Dan Kanninen, the Biden campaign’s battleground states director, said.” • Does anybody believe that if the Democrats won the Presidency and both houses of Congess, that they’d codify Roe?

Biden (D): “Democrats urge campaign to ‘let Biden be Biden’ as polling pressure mounts” [Washington Examiner]. “The Biden campaign defended the president’s smaller events last week in Michigan and Wisconsin, even though a lack of planning [ha ha] meant reporters traveling with him could not hear him during his Saginaw, Michigan, stop. A campaign aide described the events as opportunities for Biden to speak and connect with supporters and voters in “a very personal” capacity, one that can be amplified on social media afterward. ‘The crowds in Milwaukee and Saginaw were thrilled to see the president,’ the aide said. ‘They were fired up, and the president was, in turn, thrilled to see them, and he was fired up. I think everyone got a handshake. ” • Oh. So that’s how they think of us.

* * *

Kennedy (I):

I can’t for the “ballot access windows,” but a national movement to get a candidate on the ballot would be interesiting.

* * *

“The most important Senate primary of the year is just one of today’s elections” [Politico]. “Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno … has spent the final days of the closely contested GOP primary trying to move quickly past an Associated Press story about an account on an adult website that he says was created by an intern in 2008…. Moreno is locked in a competitive, three-way race for the nomination to face Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in what could be the decisive contest for control of the Senate. There’s little in the way of reliable, independent polling, though most observers see Moreno and self-funding state Sen. Matt Dolan — who is running in a more moderate lane — as the top contenders, with Secretary of State Frank LaRose a tier below. Trump is putting his political capital behind Moreno, trekking to Ohio for a weekend rally just 48 hours after the AP story was published. He reportedly scheduled the trip the week before the primary after polling showed Moreno had not locked down the nomination despite Trump’s long-standing endorsement.” 2024 – 2008 = 16 years ago? That’s some well-funded oppo — which I don’t picture AP as taking the lead in, usually. Can any Ohio readers comment?

The Wizard of Kalorama™

“Mystery as Barack Obama spotted outside No10 Downing Street for unannounced visit” [The MIrror]. “Mr Obama smiled and waved at photographers before he entered No 10 shortly after 3pm. Downing Street later said Mr Obama – who has not visited No10 since leaving office – was making an ‘informal courtesy drop-in’ while in the UK capital. The ex-President, who served in the White House from 2009 to 2017, was seen leaving around an hour later with US ambassador Jane Hartley. He held a meeting with Rishi Sunak, who is currently having a difficult time at the helm.. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘He was making an informal courtesy drop-in as part of his trip to London, where he is conducting work of the Obama Foundation..” • Oh, totally. Maybe Obama knows where Kate is?

Democrats en Déshabillé

“The Democratic Party Owes Us Some Candor” [Brian Beutler, Off Message]. From February. ” Recent reporting suggests even old colleagues from the Obama-Biden years can’t get straight dope from the people running the Biden re-elect. They want everyone else to think that everything’s going according to plan. But it’s obviously not… This is why I’d still like the Biden campaign to be candid with the party rank-and-file about how we got to this point. Presumably being down two points in mid-March was never part of their plan. Why do they think it happened?Did Democrats make a mistake by treating Trump as though he’d entered exile, giving him wide berth to rehabilitate himself and smear Biden without pushback? And if that was a mistake, how do they plan to fix damage done over three years in the next few weeks or months?” • “Without pushback” except for a multipronged lawfare assault, including an effort to remove Trump from the ballot altogether under Secion Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. “Without pushback.” Really?

“How Actually Existing Democrats Run for Office” [Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect]. “Last week, the Center for Working-Class Politics, in conjunction with Jacobin and Arizona State University’s Center for Work and Democracy, released a remarkable survey that went about answering this question in a way I hadn’t seen before. They looked at all the 966 Democratic candidates for federal office (the House and the Senate) who ran in the 2022 midterm elections (primaries as well as the November generals), reading all their websites and records of their talks to see the themes, the platforms, and the words themselves that the candidates used.” More: “[O]n page 13. the authors present the data on just how many of these nearly 1,000 candidates, spanning all types of districts and ideologies, invoked the themes and language of the cultural left. To no one’s surprise, a hefty majority of Democratic candidates devoted their attention to the issue of abortion and the right to choose. About one-quarter of them raised issues relating to gays and lesbians, and a little more than 10 percent those relating to undocumented immigrants. But on the other 40 topics that to many Americans define today’s Democratic Party—ranging from reparations and defunding the police to open borders and gender identity—the share of Democratic candidates who had so much as a word to say averaged under 5 percent, and for a number of these issues, was a flat zero. Which raises a rather important question: How has the Democratic Party come to be defined by issues and concerns that its candidates and officeholders don’t even talk about? How have the Democrats become identified with positions they don’t hold?” • Mayerson’s answer is Republican propaganda, amplified by a complaint press. But there could be other factors….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How Revolution Happens—and How to Stop It” [Tucker Carlson, Mordern Age]. “It happened because only one side of the revolution recognized that it was a revolution. The other side had no idea. One side saw these changes for what they were: Let’s completely change American society, from the bottom to the top. Let’s eliminate any sense of shared culture or history. Let’s atomize the country to the point where there’s no viable opposition to what we’re doing. And once we’ve done that, let’s addle everyone with prescription drugs. Let’s encourage them to be unhealthy, unmarried, and childless, and then we can do whatever we want. And no one’s aware on the other side—which is not just the right, but the vast bulk of everyone else, which would include a lot of Democrats and just normal people who aren’t at all interested in the revolution. They had no idea what was happening. It’s important to understand the moment that you’re in. It cuts against the very core of human nature to understand that, because denial is the most powerful of all human instincts.” • Hmm. I wouid have said that all the revolutionary energy is on the right. Revolutions can be reactionary, surely?


* * *

“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Droplet dogma took us backwards?


More conversational tips:


Death Panel podcast goes after that horrid NPR story:

Elite Maleficence

Readers, thank you so much for your help with getting a copy of “The politics of ‘letting it rip.’” Since I’m traveling, today is not the day to return your kindness, but soon. –lambert

* * *

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 the level of previous Trump peaks. 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) Midwest ticks up.

[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) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Still down.

[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.

Stats Watch

Housing: “United States Housing Starts” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US soared 10.7% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1.521 million in February 2024, after falling by 12.3% in January, and beating forecasts of 1.425 million, amid a persistent shortage of previously owned houses. ”

* * *

Manufacturing: “Boeing Faces Tricky Balance Between Safety and Financial Performance” [New York TImes]. The lead: “Less than four weeks after a hole blew open on a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet during a flight, company executives face a thorny question: Should they emphasize safety or financial performance?” • I know! I know! Commentary:

Meanwhile, the silence on Barnett’s death from in Charleston Post and Courier’s “nice, quiet, little beach community” becomes ever more deafening, as six days pass without a followup story.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69 Greed (previous close: 71 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 19 at 11:58:19 AM ET.

Class Warfare

Daily Beast]. “With just 1,500 members, World.Minds is a concentrated collective of wealth and power with a roster that includes former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and retired Gen. David Petraeus, philosophers Peter Singer and Daniel Dennett, and billionaires Bill Ackman, Henry Kravis, and Alex Karp. Under its charter, at least 51 percent of the community must work in the sciences to ensure that it doesn’t ‘devolve into a business club.’ World.Minds does not accept membership applications, its website coldly states: ‘Unless you are an international scholar, do not contact us. We will contact you.’ Never mind that there is no email address or phone number listed.” • Well. with Geithner and Petraes on board, I don’t know what more we need to know!

“Ultra-Wealthy Are Souring on Chicago’s Most Elite Neighborhood” [Bloomberg]. “The historic Gold Coast, featuring 100-year-old mansions, opulent condos and designer boutiques, has lost some of its most illustrious residents and appeal in recent years as the city’s high taxes and crime encouraged the wealthy to relocate. Those staying in Chicago are opting for more modern homes in trendier areas, leaving Gold Coast properties sitting on the market for months.” And; “Homes in the Gold Coast were already struggling due to the upkeep costs of the older ornate properties, and the growth of other neighborhoods. Jennifer Ames, a real estate agent with Engel & Volkers Chicago who has a listing in the area, said part of the challenge is that while the homes are beautiful, they require buyers to have a ‘curator mindset.’ ‘Think about like Downton Abbey, right? It’s super cool, really fun to watch, but nobody lives like that anymore,’ she said.” • Can’t find good help?

News of the Wired

“The US government seems serious about developing a lunar economy” [Ars Technica]. ” Last year, the defense agency announced it was initiating a study, LunA-10, to understand how best to facilitate a thriving lunar economy by 2035. In December, DARPA announced that it was working with 14 different companies under LunA-10, including major space players such as Northrop Grumman and SpaceX, as well as non-space firms such as Nokia. These companies are assessing how services such as power and communications could be established on the Moon, and they’re due to provide a final report by June. Things are moving faster than that, however. The DARPA program manager overseeing these activities, Major Michael “Orbit” Nayak, published a paper earlier this month based on learnings from these studies that only began a few months ago. ‘Based on technical work and development conducted under the LunA-10 study, I have identified six hypotheses where, if revolutionary improvements in technology can be made, I assess that a direct acceleration to the fielding of a lunar economy is likely to occur,’ Nayak said in the paper.” • Since when did the horrid “learnings” replace “lessons”? Who did it? And who’s responsible for the nimbus of authority surrounding “assess”? The spooks?

Medium]. “Without getting into the intricacies, turns out, even for the most well-trained folks, ascertaining the sex of a day-old chick was hard. The chick’s rear end had a constellation of folds, marks, spots, and bumps that revealed the sex of a chick. But, these were extremely hard to read. By some estimates, there are as many as a thousand different vent configurations that a sexer has to learn to become competent at their job. And given that they have to make these decisions in seconds, it became even harder to understand how they do what they do.” And: “Turns out, even the most professional sexers were unable to explain how they did their job. It was just… an inexplicable art 😮. Within 3 seconds, they just ‘know’ the sex of a chick. They saw things that a common person simply does not see. Turns out, tt’s a unique art, as much as skill.” Enter (of course) AI: “In the context of the death knell that’s AI, there’s a lesson to learn from Chicken sexers. A marketer’s job is enunciating differentiation. If AI is a learning model trained on what exists, it’s at best the top 10% of what’s out there. That is the arbitrage for a marketer. If you want to foolproof your job, you have to beat the top 10% of an AI model. Good odds, if you ask me 😜”

* * *

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: “I’m guessing not all of these are real. Hopefully, some are. It’s this cheery collection of flowers more than the food that attracts me to “Yellow Vase Bakery, Café, Flowers”. This one is in Malaga Cove (Palos Verdes Estates, CA).” Nature morte … But not entirely!

* * *

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