By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Sedge Warbler, Uitkerkse polder, Vlaamse Gewest, Belgium. “Elevation (m): 4. Habitat: reed in meadows . Confidence in ID: 100%. ID determined by: seen.”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Electoral college moves toward Trump (slightly).

(2) Hillary Clinton and AIPAC.

(3) CDC publishes tweet with upside down mask.

(4) Mushrooms and citizen science (as a signfier).

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“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 half a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, May 24:

No discernible effect from Trump’s conviction yet (though Democrats have only just begun to exploit it). Swing States (more here) still Brownian-motioning around. Of course, it goes without saying that these are all state polls, therefore bad, and most of the results are within the margin of error. If will be interesting to see whether the verdict in Judge Merchan’s court affects the polling, and if so, how.

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“Electoral College Rating Changes: Half-Dozen Moves Toward Republicans in What Remains a Toss-up Race” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “We are making six Electoral College rating changes this week, all in favor of Republicans. However, we don’t really see a clear favorite in a presidential race with many confounding factors. We consider Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to all be must-wins for the Democrats. While one can hypothetically come up with paths to 270 electoral votes for Democrats without them, we don’t find those paths to be compelling.” And: “[W]e also recognize the clear big-picture trends. Trump has been polling better than he typically polled in both 2016 and 2020, and that has been the case for many months. Biden’s approval rating is in a dangerous zone—the high 30s—and he has been in that weak place consistently since November, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. Biden is not going to be at net-positive approval by Election Day—fortunately for him, he does not need to be, but one would probably expect to see some level of improvement if he is going to win reelection. The danger for Biden is that voters may just be done with him: There is some nostalgia in polls for the pre-2020, pre-Covid, and pre-inflation period that coincided with Trump’s presidency. That doesn’t necessarily mean the public is clamoring for Trump, who remains unpopular; it’s just that they may prefer him to Biden, or may just be thinking more about what they don’t like about Biden (the incumbent) than Trump (the challenger). One thing that Biden has going for him is that Trump does not seem to have trimmed the sails on his own rhetoric at all—Trump continues to laud the Jan. 6, 2021 rioters who tried to disrupt the 2020 electoral vote count as persecuted patriots, for instance, a position we just can’t imagine helps him with the middle of the electorate trying to decide between two flawed major party candidates.” • Here is a table of the changes:

And here is a map of the electoral college:

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Trump (R) (Smith/Cannon): “Searching for the Truth About the Raid at Mar-a-Lago” [RealClearPolitics]. “In another oddity, the FBI disclosed that a prosecutor for the U.S. attorney’s office in southern Florida was present during the search; prosecutors generally do not participate in raids, as they instead handle charging decisions after evidence is collected as a result of a search. Further, the prosecutor would lose immunity if the search was declared unlawful. That appears to be a possibility. The warrant allowed agents to search Trump’s office as well as ‘all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored.’ Trump’s lawyers argue that FBI agents exceeded the scope of the warrant by searching the private rooms of Melania and Barron Trump. But Trump’s lawyers argue that FBI agents exceeded the scope of the warrant by searching the private suite of former first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s son, Barron, who was 16 at the time. An FBI photo log demonstrates agents entered and took photographs of items inside both bedrooms.” • Sounds to me like the FBI has the right of it, but the raid also sounds like a mess.

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Trump (R): “Trump’s Project 2025 plot would take ‘wrecking ball’ to US institutions, key Democrat warns” [Guardian]. • You say “take [a] ‘wrecking ball’ to US institutions” like that’s a bad thing. (Of course, I’m being flippant. And I do have to take a serious look at Project 2025. It’s too big to take an exhaustive view, but it might be useful to see what Heritage has to say about the spooks.

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BIden (D): “The White House isn’t ruling out a potential commutation for Hunter Biden after his conviction” [Associated Press]. ” The White House is not ruling out a potential commutation for Hunter Biden, the president’s son who was convicted on three federal gun crimes and is set to be sentenced by a judge in the coming months. ‘As we all know, the sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday on Air Force One as President Joe Biden traveled to the Group of Seven summit in Italy. She said she has not spoken to the president about the issue since the verdict was delivered Tuesday. Biden definitively ruled out pardoning his son during an ABC News interview last week. ‘He was very clear, very upfront, obviously very definitive,’ Jean-Pierre said of the president’s remarks about a potential pardon. But on a commutation, ‘I just don’t have anything beyond that.’” • Oh.

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“Why Senate Democrats Are Outperforming Biden in Key States” [New York Times]. “‘I’ll show up in deep-red counties, and they’ll be like, ‘I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen a sitting U.S. senator here, especially not a Democrat,” said Ms. Baldwin, an hour into her unassuming work of handing out plastic silverware at an annual dairy breakfast, and five months before Wisconsin voters will decide whether to give her a third term. ‘I think that begins to break through.’ Wisconsin is one of seven states that will determine the presidency this November, but it will also help determine which party controls the Senate. President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump are running neck-and-neck in the state, which Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016 and Mr. Biden took back in 2020. Ms. Baldwin, by contrast, is running well ahead of the president and her presumed Republican opponent, the wealthy banker Eric Hovde. Polls released early last month by The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Siena College found Ms. Baldwin holding a lead of 49 percent to 40 percent over Mr. Hovde. In late May, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report put the spread even wider, 12 percentage points. That down-ballot Democratic strength is not isolated to Wisconsin. Senate Democratic candidates also hold leads in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. A Marist Poll released Tuesday said Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden in Ohio by seven percentage points, but Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, leads his challenger, Bernie Moreno, by five percentage points, a 12-point swing.”

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“Ten rules for understanding the 2024 elections” [Walter Shapiro, Roll Call]. “We have reached that point in the 2024 election cycle when it is too late to be early and too early to be late. With summer approaching and the first debate ever between an incumbent president and a convicted felon looming, this seems like the ideal moment to propose 10 rules for following the campaigns.” Here are two: “3) Be cautious about electoral models, since it is impossible to replicate the idiosyncratic factors that are shaping the race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.” And: “8) Remember there has never been a June presidential debate. Be skeptical about any glib after-action assessments of who won and what it ultimately means. In Denver in early October 2012, Obama had probably the worst debate of any candidate in history, including Richard Nixon in 1960. A month later, Obama easily won reelection.” • Worth a read. Horse races are fun, but not necessarily, along the way, informative.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Hillary Clinton stuns Democrats by endorsing George Latimer for Jamaal Bowman’s congressional seat” [Daily Mail]. • Democrats are easy to stun. Latimer:



Normally, I’m not quite this mechanistic, but this seems a lot like Ferguson’s “industrial model.” Except artisanal.


“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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Transmission (H5N1)

“Bird flu poses unanswered questions in leap to dairy cows” [Cedar Rapid Gazette (RK)]. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sent a “strike team” to Iowa to assist it with testing after the highly contagious bird flu usually associated with poultry flocks now has been discovered in three dairy cow herds in the state…. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will begin testing dairy farms within 20 kilometers — or over 12 miles [not, apparently, six feet] — of any poultry farm where the virus is detected, said department spokesperson Don McDowell…. . In a statement, Mc-Dowell said wild birds are frequent carriers of the virus. ‘,’ he said. ‘We are always looking for epidemiological clues and ties and that’s why we are making our requests of USDA to assist with research.’” Remember that one of the things public health told us was that Covid was a surprise to them, unlike avian flu, for which they had been preparing for years. And now here it is, and we don’t know a thing. More: “The disease also appears to be spreading between cows, rather than just from birds to cows, making interstate transportation a likely culprit for the spread, said Iowa State University Dairy Extension Veterinarian Phillip Jardon.” Here we are taking notice of cattle transmission, how many months in? [pounds head on desk]. And finally: “The Iowa Department of Agriculture said last week it is considering additional requirements for livestock exhibitions at the Iowa State Fair, which begins Aug. 8.” • Well, there’s your worse case scenario right there: State fairs as superspreading events, except for H5N1.

Elite Maleficence

Think material before thinking psychological:

(“[T]he identity of revenues and sources of revenue” –Capital, Volume III, Chapter 52, “classes.”) CDC seems like a horrid place to work. So no wonder Mandy had CDC’s propaganda department emit this:

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How many things can you find that are wrong with this picture:

Here’s a list:

[to come: Notes keyed to the bracketed numbers]

This mage must have gone through eighteen different layers of management before being posted on The Twitter. How on earth did they all sign off on an image with an upside down mask. Ignorance? Malevolence? A perverse sense of fun? Brain damage?

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Lambert here: Patient readers, I finally gave up the unequal struggle and went with CDC’s wastewater maps; they will at least give us some at-a-glance sense of how cases are changing in time and space.

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] (CDC) This week’s wastewater map, with hot spots annotated.

[2] (CDC) This week’s wastewater map, not annotated. Next week I will move the map at [1] to [2], and update [1].

[3] (CDC Variants) FWIW, given that last week KP.2 was all over everything like kudzu, and now it’s KP.3. If the “Nowcast” can’t even forecast two weeks out, why are we doing it at all?

[4] (ER) This is the best I can do for now. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) A slight decrease followed by a return to a slight increase. (The New York city area has form; in 2020, as the home of two international airports (JFK and EWR) it was an important entry point for the virus into the country (and from thence up the Hudson River valley, as the rich sought to escape, and then around the country through air travel.)

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC). This is the best I can do for now. Note the assumption that Covid is seasonal is built into the presentation. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[7] (Walgreens) 4.3%; big jump. (Because there is data in “current view” tab, I think white states here have experienced “no change,” as opposed to have no data.)

[8] (Cleveland) Going up.

[9] (Travelers: Positivity) Up. Those sh*theads at CDC have changed the chart so that it doesn’t even run back to 1/21/23, as it used to, but now starts 1/1/24. There’s also no way to adjust the time rasnge. CDC really doesn’t want you to be able to take a historical view of the pandemic, or compare one surge to another. In an any case, that’s why the shape of the curve has changed.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) Same deal. Those sh*theads:

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US jumped by 13,000 to 242,000 on the week ending June 8th, well above market expectations of 225,000, to record the highest reading since August 2023. In the meantime, outstanding claims rose more than expected to 1,820,000 in the earlier week, the highest in nearly five months. The results were further evidence of a softening US labor market, strengthening the case for the Federal Reserve to deliver multiple rate cuts this year should inflation progress in converging to its target.” • Except they’re not going to. Or so they say.

Inflation: “United States Producer Price Inflation MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Factory gate prices in the US went down 0.2% mom in May 2024, compared with market expectations of a 0.1% increase and after a 0.5% rise in April.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 13 at 1:35:27 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“The Mushroom Hunters Can’t Stop Finding Mysterious Fungi” [New York Times]. “Once collectors receive a match for their sequence, they can enter the information on iNaturalist, a website where hobbyists can share observations of the natural world. Meanwhile, organizations like the Ohio Mushroom DNA Lab and Mycota Lab, founded by Stephen Russell, a biochemist at the University of Michigan, enter the sequences into scientific databases accessible to the research community. This way, the information generated by dispersed networks of foragers can be funneled directly to scientists and conservation organizations.” • Citizen science! Too bad we can’t do wastewater testing that way….

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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 timotheus:

Timontheus writes: “Isham Park @ Seaman Avenue, northern Manhattan.”

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