2:00PM Water Cooler 12/26/2023 | naked capitalism

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

White Stork, Strasbourg–Parc de l’Orangerie, Bas-Rhin, Grand Est, France. “Several pairs clapping on their nests.”

* * *


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

The Constitutional Order

“Tracking Section 3 Trump Disqualification Challenges” [Lawfare]. “The procedural posture and legal theories behind these challenges vary greatly, and a dismissal in any particular action does not necessarily bar other challenges from being brought in that same state.” Handy map:

* * *

Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment:

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

So, “self-executing”?

“There are five judicial opinions out of Colorado on this Trump ballot thing” [Jarvis, ThreadReader]. “I think SCOTUS will reverse the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court, and will largely follow the dissent of Justice Samour. I think the SCOTUS decision will be either 9-0 or 7-2…. The trial court held that Section 3 did not apply to the President, and the trial court might be right. Justice Samour did not need to resolve that issue, though [in dissent]… Because of Section FIVE of the 14th Amendment. That section says hey — you know the whole insurrection thing we just talked about? How is this supposed to work? Who gets to decide who engaged in an insurrection? What sort of standard of proof applies? Is it a civil trial or a criminal trial? Is it a judge or a jury or someone else who decides that a particular person engaged in insurrection and therefore disqualified? What if they’re already appointed – do they still get paid while the proceedings are going on? The 14th amendment doesn’t answer any of these questions. Instead, Section 5 says that Congress gets to pass legislation to give enforcement power to carry out Section 3… And Congress did just that! Justice Samour points out that in 1870, Congress passed a law that allowed for both civil and criminal enforcement of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.” • This is an assault on the “self-executing” concept, since — arguably! — if Section Three were self-executing, Section Five would not be necessary. Interesting argument. More on both sides soon.

“The Meaning and Ambiguity of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment” (PDF) [Kurt Lash, SSRN].

[N]one of the multiple drafts of Section Three addressed whether the text could be enforced in the absence of congressional enabling legislation. Instead, key framers insisted that the text was not self-executing. For example, drafting committee member Thaddeus Stevens explained that Congress would have to pass enabling legislation since the Joint Committee’s draft of Section Three ‘will not execute itself.’… As far as enabling legislation is concerned, every time the subject arose the speak speaker presumed the necessity of such legislation. This was publicly announced understanding of Thaddeus Stevens, the view of Thomas Chalfant in the Pennsylvania ratifying debates, the view of Chief Justice Chase in Griffin’s Case, and the view of Lyman Trumbull during the passage of the 1869 Enforcement Act. I have not discovered a single person who thought the text was self-executing and capable of disqualifying a candidate prior to some kind of adjudication. It would have been surprising to find otherwise, given the Republican commitment to due process–a concern reflected in the opening section of the Fourteenth Amendment itself.”


“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” (PDF) [William Baude & Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law School]. The paper that started it all.

While Section Three’s requirements could be made the subject of enforcement legislation by Congress, under its general power under Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment “to enforce” the provisions of the amendment, no such legislation is constitutionally required as a prerequisite to Section Three doing what Section Three itself does. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase’s circuit court opinion to the contrary, In re Griffin,6 is simply wrong on this point—full of sleight of hand, motivated reasoning, and self-defeating maneuvers—as we will explain at length. In re Griffin should be hooted down the pages of history, purged from our constitutional understanding of Section Three.

Pounding the table? More:

55Professor Magliocca concurs. Magliocca, Amnesty, supra note 5, at 106 & n.101 (noting that “enacting enforcement legislation does not imply that legislation is required” and that the existence of Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment does not imply that the other sections are not self-executing). Indeed, this is especially so because Congress may have been responding to the decision in Griffin’s Case () holding that such legislation was required for Section Three to have operative legal effect.

So Congressional intent is irrelevant if Griffin was “wrongly” decided? Who thought it was wrong at the time? If Section Five is a hood ornament. why include it at all?

* * *

“California secretary of state responds to calls to strike Trump from the presidential ballot” [CBS]. “California’s secretary of state issued a tepid response to the lieutenant governor’s call to strike Donald Trump’s name from the presidential ballot on Friday. ‘The former President’s conduct tainted and continues to sow the public’s mistrust in government and the legitimacy of elections, so it is more critical than ever to safeguard elections in a way that transcends political divisions,’ Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber wrote in an open letter to Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis… ‘Removing a candidate from the ballot under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is not something my office takes lightly and is not as simple as the requirement that a person be at least 35 years old to be president,’ Weber wrote. Weber did not indicate if she would fulfill Kounalakis’s request, claiming that the decision to omit or include Trump on the ballot must “be grounded firmly in the laws and processes in place in California and our Constitution.” • Hmm.

“Former federal judge: The Constitution will disqualify Trump from higher office, ‘not Joe Biden’” [The Hill]. Luttig: “It will be crystal clear to the American public that it’s the Constitution of the United States that’s disqualifying the former president from higher office, if he is to be disqualified. It’s not President Joe Biden. It’s not the Democrats. It’s not the anti-Trumpers.” • What a bizarre statement. The Constitution isn’t a scrap of paper, but it is a document; documents don’t do anything. Only humans, acting in their official capacities, can disqualify Trump. Lutting, in erasing that which relates the Constitution and the person — the office — makes a clever move; it’s precisely the corruption of office by party that makes Section Three disqualification so dangerous.

“The Colorado Court’s Ruling Banning Trump From the Ballot Is Sharp as Hell” [Elie Mystal. The New Republic]. “[Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment] doesn’t say ‘convicted’ of insurrection…. It says what it says: Government officers who engage in insurrection cannot be officers of the government again. Donald Trump engaged in insurrection. That’s not me saying it, or Jack Smith saying it; that’s what the first court to hear this case, the Colorado state court, ruled at trial a few weeks ago.” • So now a court ruling is the same as a trial? Really? You can bet Mystal would be thundering his outrage if another court, in a Red State, ruled the opposite. That’s why due process demands a trial, not a court ruling.

“The Liberal Plot Against Democracy” [Samuel Moyn, Compass]. “An equally grave concern is what happens in the short and long run when self-styled democrats refuse the grubbiness of democracy itself. I suspect the backlash to constitutionally disqualifying Trump would be enormous. If that happens, it isn’t clear “our democracy” will survive the storm into which a Colorado court might just have piloted the ship of state. Regardless, it would be a strange way of responding to the most plausible truth—among so many baleful lies—that Trump has stood for: that America’s ongoing crisis is a result of elite failure, which is never going to be addressed so long as popular control of politics is seen as worth circumventing, rather than reclaiming.”

“Republican lawmakers seek to bar Biden from state ballots in an act of retribution” [Washington Times]. Because of course. “Aaron Bernstine of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Cory McGarr of the Arizona House of Representatives and Charlice Byrd of the Georgia House of Representatives released a joint statement on Thursday announcing their plan to remove Biden from the 2024 general election ballots in those three states…. ‘Colorado radicals just changed the game and we are not going to sit quietly while they destroy our Republic. To be clear, our objective is to showcase the absurdity of Colorado’s decision and allow ALL candidates to be on the ballot in all states. To do that, we must fight back as Republicans against the communists currently running our great country.’” • Communists. I wish!


Less than a year to go!

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“What the Polls Said This Year: Trump’s Up, Americans Are Down” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “At this point, a long-shot Haley upset in New Hampshire followed by another a month later in South Carolina is the only foreseeable development that could deny Trump an early nomination (by mid-March). DeSantis is just scratching for survival in Iowa and doesn’t have much of a path to success after that…. ‘Direction of the Country’ polls typically measure whether respondents regard America as being on ‘the right track’ or ‘off on the wrong track.’ 2023 polling on this question reflects the general sour mood of the public. The right-track/wrong-track ratio in the RCP averages began the year at 29.7 percent ‘right track’ to 63.7 percent ‘wrong track’ and managed to deteriorate to 24.6 percent ‘right track’ to 68.7 percent ‘wrong track’ at present. That’s hardly atypical, though: Gallup’s long-term polling on ‘satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S.’ hasn’t shown a majority feeling good since . We’re a grumpy bunch of people.” • No, Ed, ffs. We’re a people with a lot of be grumpy about. The Iraq War began in March 2003. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” moment was — you guessed it — May 1, 2003. There’s your turning point, right there.

“Donald Trump faces many signs of potential political trouble; here are a few of them” [USA Today]. “Here are some of the things that can and will happen to Trump as he pursues the presidency again: [(1)]Adverse court rulings: The potential for legal trouble is all around Trump and could pop up any time… [(2)] Falling poll numbers; rising rivals…. [(3)] Bad voter reaction: The ultimate bad sign for Trump would come from voters. If Trump underperforms in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, and DeSantis does better than expected, that will embolden opponents. If Haley defeats Trump in the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23, that could totally change the race. Haley also has high hopes in her home state of South Carolina, which holds its Republican primary on Feb. 24. As they walk through a political minefield, Trump and his campaign aides said they are counting on a huge haul of delegates on March 5, the day of “Super Tuesday” primaries in more than a dozen states. They hope to have enough delegates to clinch the nomination after a March 19 set of big-state primaries that include Florida and Ohio.” • I’m picturing Haley v. Harris…. No problems on the gender front, but what a pair of mediocrities.

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“The seven counties that will help explain the 2024 election” [NBC]. NBC’s Political Unit will follow them. “ County, Arizona: Home to Phoenix, it’s the biggest and swingiest county in battleground Arizona…. County, Florida: With Latinos making up a majority of its residents, this county was once reliably Democratic…. County, Georgia: This diverse county (30% Black, 20% Latino, 14% Asian) is where the Democratic Party has had one of its biggest increases in its vote share from 2008 to 2020…. County, Michigan: Home to Grand Rapids, this once-reliable Republican county started breaking the Democrats’ way in the Trump era…. County, Nevada: Representing Reno, it’s the swingiest county in Nevada, and it’s where Republicans have to win if they want to flip this battleground in 2024….. County, Wisconsin: Home to Madison and the University of Wisconsin, this county is all about the Democratic intensity in highly educated college towns.”

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“A flood of retirements is shaking up the 2024 battle for the House” [NBC]. “Retirement announcements often come after the holidays, as lawmakers discuss their next steps with their families and weigh whether to continue in an increasingly dysfunctional Congress. And because Democrats need a net gain of just five seats to take control of the House in 2024, every seat is going to matter, and the dynamics can shift if a race suddenly becomes an open contest. So far, 35 House members — 23 Democrats and 12 Republicans — have announced they are retiring or leaving the chamber to run for other offices, according to the House press gallery. That’s still behind the 49 House members who decided not to run for re-election in the midterms in 2022, a redistricting year, but it’s only one shy of the 36 who bailed before the 2020 election, with time to add more to the list. More Democratic lawmakers in competitive districts have retired, resulting in seven open seats that the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates as in play.”

* * *

IA: “To beat Trump, Nikki Haley tries to expand coalition, and fast” [Reuters]. “Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley has risen in opinion polls in recent months largely on the back of college-educated, affluent, suburban professionals, many of whom have tired of Donald Trump’s caustic rhetoric and legal troubles.” • Oh gawd. Haley is the Republican PMC candidate. Haley v. Harris, here we come!

NH: “Trump rails after poll shows Haley within 4 points in New Hampshire” [The Hill]. “According to a December survey by American Research Group Inc. asking voters who their preference was in the Republican presidential primary, Trump earned 33 percent support. Haley earned 29 percent, a significant milestone for the former U.N. ambassador, who appears to have been gaining ground on Trump’s steady lead in the state; the gap between her and the former president was well within the poll’s margin of error of 4 points.” • American Research Group is a NH firm whose record is not excellent. Still, Eugene McCarthy didn’t beat LBJ in New Hampshire; coming close was enough.

NH: “Marianne Williamson questions Dean Phillips’ move to the left” (video) [WMUR]. “He says he’s for [Medicare for All] now, but there’s nothing in his three terms of Congress to indicte that.” • Fair! Damascene conversions are rare in politics….

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Black swan events are unpredictable by definition. So this video is odd:

Herridge, now at CBS, was Chief Intelligence Correspondent at FOX. Hmm.

“Meet the Americans Trying to Lower the Temperature in Politics” [Wall Street Journal]. :One conversation at a time, groups such as Braver Angels, which sponsored the discussion at its annual meeting this year, are aiming to lower the temperature in politics by encouraging Americans to leave their partisan corners and listen closely to those with differing views. They are part of a growing bridge-building movement that has drawn in tens of thousands of Americans as participants, many of whom see themselves as part of an ‘exhausted majority’ worried that the coarseness in politics is tearing the fabric of civic life.” Provenance of “exhausted majority,” from consultant Steve Schmidt through Tim Ryan to Dean Phillips. I’m exhausted too, but I don’t think for the same reasons. More: “These groups have won increased support from the donor community, including one alliance of right-of-center and liberal foundations that says it has raised about $40 million in less than three years toward a $100 million goal. They are also drawing from the work of social-science researchers at Stanford, Northwestern and many other universities who are testing which messages in ads and in-person conversations show the most promise in toward more productive forms of debate.” • Stanford, eh? So it’s a psy-op? NOTE If this “movement” had anything to do with deliberative democracy, which is promising, I’d be less jaundiced.

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

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

d>. (“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.

* * *

“Ukraine and Israel and the Two Joe Bidens” [Matt Duss, The New Republic]. “I heard President Biden’s October 20 Oval Office speech positing an equivalence between Israel and Ukraine, which I found misleading and, frankly, offensive. The reality is that Russia is occupying Ukraine to end Ukrainian self-determination, and Israel is doing the same to Palestine. “They’re not a real people and the land is really ours by right” is the position of both the Russian and Israeli governments regarding Ukrainians and Palestinians. Israel’s methods are not as extreme as Russia’s, and it’s very important to acknowledge that, but its goal is nonetheless the same: the prevention of the other’s independence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said explicitly that he had helped sustain Hamas in power in Gaza precisely because it served that goal. Many, including Israeli security officials, have been warning for years that it would lead to exactly what we’re seeing now: all-out war.” • Hmm.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why Did Harvard University Go After One of Its Best Black Professors? [Quillette]. Roland Fryer Jr. The article is interesting, but this factoid caught my eye: “Fryer’s first major published work, co-authored with Levitt, deconstructed the 1920s-era Ku Klux Klan…. [T]hey were surprised how expensive it was to become a KKK foot soldier: a $10 initiation fee, $6.50 for branded robes, a $5 annual membership charge, plus a mysterious yearly $1.80 ‘imperial tax.’ That’s equivalent to about $350 today—a lot of money for many of the joiners. Fryer tracked the money flow, and found that it fuelled lucrative paydays for upper management. An imperial ‘Kleagle‘ could pocket $300,000 a year (in 2006 dollars). D.C. Stephenson, the “Grand Dragon” of Indiana, made double that. The KKK has the look of what Levitt and Fryer call a ‘classic pyramid scheme,’ but for gullible racists.” • Hitler’s Nazis had to buy their own uniforms, too. I wonder if the Nazis got that idea from the KKK, just as they copied Jim Crow from us (see here “shirt movements” in interwar Europe, perhaps prefiguring the tactics of color revolutions).


“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!

* * *


Vax-only fail:

And fail, fail again:

Vaccine harms are clearly real, but if they’re sending a signal, the signal is overwhelmed by Covid as such, at least for mortality:

Immune Dysregulation

“Single-cell RNA-Seq reveals intracellular microbial diversity within immune cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovery” [Cell]. From the Abstract: “Intracellular microorganisms, like viruses, bacteria, and fungi, pose challenges in detection due to their non-culturable forms…. We utilized single-cell RNA-seq from PBMCs to probe intracellular microbes in healthy, SARS-CoV-2-positive, and recovered individuals… Staphylococcus aureus, Mycoplasma mycoides, Leptospira interrogans, and others displayed elevated levels in SARS-CoV-2-positive patients, suggesting possible disease association.” Oh, good. And: “An important finding from our analysis was that all the three bacterial species that are highly abundant in the recovered (B. aphidicola, C. beijerinckii, and E. canis) are opportunistic in nature. .”


Executive dysfunction:

Science Is Popping

I ran this on December 22, but I’m running it again because I think it’s important:

Merry Christmas from Science. This is super interesting–

Cross-regulation of antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and commensal microbiota via molecular mimicry Cell Host & Microbe. Granted, a mouse study (“monkeys exaggerate, and mice lie”). Nevertheless, the Abstract:

The commensal microflora provides a repertoire of antigens that illicit mucosal antibodies. In some cases, these antibodies can cross-react with host proteins, inducing autoimmunity, or with other microbial antigens. We demonstrate that the oral microbiota can induce salivary anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike IgG antibodies via molecular mimicry. Anti-Spike IgG antibodies in the saliva correlated with enhanced abundance of Streptococcus salivarius 1 month after anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. . A specific S. salivarius protein, RSSL-01370, contains regions with homology to the Spike receptor-binding domain, and immunization of mice with RSSL-01370 elicited anti-Spike IgG antibodies in the serum. Additionally, oral S. salivarius supplementation enhanced salivary anti-Spike antibodies in vaccinated individuals. Altogether, .


It is also evident that bacteria of the microbiota provide a vast repertoire of potential molecular mimics for the mucosal immune system, which may provide cross-reactive, pre-existing mucosal immunity against pathogens. Thus, .


Apart from host-intrinsic factors, the initial virus load may affect disease outcome and severity, and there is increasing evidence of microbiota changes during severe COVID-19, suggesting that the microbiota composition may be a risk factor for the development of severe disease as well. The data are conflicting in terms of the genera associated with disease severity, which is probably due to the heterogeneity of the patient cohorts and differences in treatment. A common denominator is that acute COVID-19 is associated with the prevalence of opportunistic bacteria and depletion of immunomodulatory bacteria.


In summary, we here provide the first evidence that distinct bacteria of the microbiota of the oro-nasopharyngeal tract contribute to the regulation of mucosal immunity to SARS-CoV-2 by means of their molecular mimicry of the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein and that they support the persistence of salivary immunity.

Intriguing! As I keep saying, we don’t really know very much…

Here is a long thread on the article, suggesting regulating (?) commensal bacteria with probiotics:

FWIW, BLIS K12 seems to be sold out on Amazon. Readers?

I know that proibiotics (see here) tends toward the woo woo, but since the article is from the Liebniz Institute….

This makes me hopeful because it’s genuinely “outside-the-box” thinking. (I keep remarking on how little we know, but that’s actually an optimistic perspective because that means there’s a lot to learn!)

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

* * *

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, December 23:

Lambert here: Still going up. As a totally “gut feel” tapewatcher, I would expect this peak to meet or exceed the two previous Biden peaks; after all, we haven’t really begun the next bout of holiday travel, or the next rounds of celebrations. Plus students haven’t come from from school, and then returned. So a higher peak seems pretty much “baked in.” And that’s before we get to new variants, like JN.1. The real thing to watch is the slope of the curve. If it starts to go vertical, and if it keeps on doing so, then hold onto your hats.

Regional data:

Regional split continues.


From CDC, December 23:

Lambert here: JN.1 now dominates. That was fast.

From CDC, December 9:

Lambert here: I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, December 16:

Lambert: Return to upward movement. Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator.

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections. And of course, we’re not even getting into the quality of the wastewater sites that we have as a proxy for Covid infection overall.


Bellwether New York City, data as of December 22:

Lambert here: That’s a very ugly upward slope, steeper, if my eyes do not decieve, than any previous. Will be interesting to see holidays, and post-holidays

Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. December 16:

Moving ahead briskly!

Lambert here: “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†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, December 18:

-0.3%. Down. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From Cleveland Clinic, December 16:

Lambert here: Plateauing. I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

From CDC, traveler’s data, December 4:

Turning down.

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, December 4:

BA.2.86 turns down. This would be a great early warning system, if the warning were in fact early, instead of weeks late, good job, CDC.


NOT UPDATED Here is the New York Times, based on CDC data, December 16:

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas general business activity index for manufacturing in Texas improved to -9.3 in December of 2023 from -19.9 in the previous month, pointing to the lowest amount of pessimism in Texas manufacturing in one year.” • Oil bidness in better shape, then?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79 Extreme Greed (previous close: 76 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 77 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 26 at 1:49:46 PM ET. Woo hoo.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Volcanoes. “A volcano erupts in Iceland after weeks of quake activity” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • What are they waiting for? A red heifer?

Class Warfare

“Gaza Ceasefire Protesters are Shutting Down Weapons Manufacturers” [Teen Vogue]. “According to organizer Lara Kiswani, she and other organizers had just a few hours to galvanize protesters to form a picket line at the port around 6 a.m. Kiswani is the executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), one of the organizations that led the demonstration…. AROC led the first #BlocktheBoat campaign, in 2014, alongside a coalition of local organizations, picketing for days and discouraging rank and file workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 from working ships owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, the largest Israeli cargo shipping company. In 2021, when a Zim vessel attempted to return to the Port of Oakland for the first time in seven years, ILWU 10 workers refused to cross he #BlocktheBoat community picket line, heeding the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions’ call for US labor unions to ‘boycott the Israeli occupation’ in part by ‘refusing to unload their ships.’” • The departing ship was delayed, but not stopped. Lots of detail in the article, which I am no longer surprised to see in Teen Vogue, and nowhere else.

Vote yourself a farm,” but no:

News of the Wired

“Watch sand defy gravity and flow uphill thanks to ‘negative friction’” [Ars Technica]. Here we go:

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

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

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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