2:00PM Water Cooler 7/9/2024 | naked capitalism

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Great Horned Owl, East Loma Alta Drive, Altadena. ”
The first bird in the recording was perched atop a utility pole about 10 meters from me. While recording it, a female flew in and vocalized loudly, and then the the first bird flew east about 50 meters and continued to vocalize. This may have been a family group because they were moving around the neighborhood together and were very vocal the whole time. Three birds persistently followed one male. There were three males and one female, which I determined based on the vocalizations. One of the males made some juvenile sounds an adult calls. Audio recordings. It’s also possible that the female was chasing off the first bird in the recording below because it sounds like there was bill snapping by the female. Although there was an interaction between the two birds at the top of the utility pole, I didn’t see it well because I wasn’t looking through binoculars nor was I using a light.”

The owl of Minerva calling “Who? Who?”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) New Covid charts (except for CDC’s national wastewater map, which naturally has not been updated for data later than June 22.

(2) Biden on Morning Joe/

(3) Replacing Biden: open processes.

(4) The Enneagram .

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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!

Friday’s RCP Poll Averages:

First post-debate polling: Trump jumps a full point in the 5-way national race, which a Biden supporter might find concerning. OTOH, the Swing States seem relatively unaffected. 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. It would be hilarious if the Biden Debate debacle had exactly the same effect as Trump’s 34 bazillion felony convictions, i.e., none, both parties are so dug in.

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Lambert here: My picture: A pursuing pack of jackals (the funders) and weasels (the press) is taking down an aging, wounded hyena (Biden). Looking on, a troop of apes (the press and their sources) chatters, gesticulates, and occasionally throws feces. High in the air, vultures circle (the spooks). It’s not an edifying spectacle. I don’t have a rooting interest. In the theatre, we have narratives and expectations that work for individuals, families, and small groups. I don’t think we have anything that scales beyond that. Imagine King Lear that looked more like the Beltway; hundreds of Gonerils and Regans, all scheming for advantage; hundreds of Edmunds (“Fine word, legitimate!”) , plotting and betraying; and any Cordelias or Edgars lost in the muck. Not the play we know.

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Biden (D): “Biden firmly denounces calls to step aside from fellow Democrats: ‘The voters have spoken” [NBC]. “Phoning into MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on Monday, the president said the voters have chosen him and dared his Democratic critics who want him out to challenge him at the party’s August convention. ‘I’m getting so frustrated by the elites in the party. … They know so much more,’ Biden said, mockingly. ‘If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president — challenge me at the convention!’” • Which is what Clyburn says will happen during the virtual convention. I looked for a transcript, and couln’t find a complete one. This is the best I can do, a big slab of material not quoted elsewhere:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So you have repeatedly said that all of these people and entities are wrong, and let me go through them. The New York Times editorial board, The Economist, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe. Jerry Nadler. Seth Moulton. Let me go to Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, David Axelrod–


MIKA BRZEZINSKI: David Remnick, haha– Richard Haass. Yeah, I know which one you’re responding to there — Zeke Emanuel, but they are saying that you should step aside. So what is your plan of attack moving forward? These are pretty big names.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I understand there’s lot of [inaudible]. But I’m not, I don’t care what those big names think. They were WRONG in 2020[1]. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave[2]. They’re wrong in 2024[3]. And go with– to come out with the watch and watch people react. You make a judgment. You make a judgment. And by the way I’m going to be have all these foreign leaders here. I’ve been in contact with a new British prime minister, which is– anyway. Look the country the rest of the world. Look at our allies looking for U.S. leadership. Who else do you think can step in here and do this? I expanded NATO, I solidified NATO, ask your brother about it in Poland. I made sure that we’re in a position where we have a coalition of people, of the nations around the world to deal with China, with Russia, when everything is going on in the world. We’re making real progress. The Biden plan, which Gaz– in Israel to, for the Gaza Strip. It is something that was adopted by the U.N. Security Council. Whether it comes to fruition, it’s awful close. We’ll see. G7–. But look, I’m not going to explain anymore about what I should or shouldn’t do. I am running. I am running.

NOTES [1] Correct. [2] Correct. [3] 2024 is not 2020 or 2022.

Biden (D): “Biden turns to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough as calls to step down continue” [NPR]. “Well, you know, Joe Biden has made ‘Morning Joe’ his morning ritual. This morning, he called in. And, you know, he’s feisty. He was animated. He was impassioned, and he was kind of defiant. And it was sort of an intense defense saying, you know, I’m the guy, and people should stick with me.” • That word “defiant” is always one to watch for; generally what is being defied is a consensus of the general will, as represented by the press (“Biden pushes defiant message“).

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Biden (D): “Scoop: Biden rebels in Congress see their revolt crumbling” [Axios]. “Just before House Democrats’ Tuesday morning ‘come-to-Jesus’ meeting on President Biden’s path forward, a smaller group of swing-district Democrats held what sources described as a despondent gathering with ‘actual tears.’” Lol. More: “The bloc of battleground House Democrats is one of the last firm pockets of a rapidly disintegrating movement on Capitol Hill to get Biden off the ticket. One shell-shocked lawmaker who was present at the meeting would offer only one word to characterize it: ‘Intense.’ Another described the mood as ‘pretty much unanimous’ that Biden has ‘got to step down,’ adding, ‘There were actual tears from people, and not for Biden.’ Democrats’ full caucus meeting was far less unanimous, with lawmakers both defending Biden and airing concerns about his ability to take on former President Trump, attendees told Axios. One House Democrat who was in both meetings said: ‘Most of our caucus is still with him … meaning he’ll stay in. Which sucks for our country.’ Going in and out of the meeting, several House Democrats who have previously raised concerns about Biden said they are now with him: ‘Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point. He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him,’ said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). Biden enjoyed his first sustained show of support on Capitol Hill on Monday, with dozens of House and Senate Democrats saying publicly they support him staying on the ticket.” • The party decides…. Commentary:

Maybe yes, maybe no. It’s volatile! The Biden team moved to crush “Never Biden” types early in the week. I’m not sure that’s time for timorous electeds either to process what they heard back in the district or to digest any polling (and I trust Data for Progress about as far as I can throw a grand piano). But by this Thursday it will have been two weeks since Biden slipped a cog in debate. That should be sufficient time for a dogplle like this one to die down. The signal to watch for is when the date of the Democrat “virtual roll call” — expected to be in mid-July, but as yet unknown — is announced, because Biden would never allow the date to be announced unless the outcome was sewed up. Who knows, they could even fake some open-ness! I can see three counter-forces: (1) a demand for Biden to reveal the results of a neurological exam builds up a head of steam; (2) Biden slips another cog at NATO (but I bet they prefer Biden to either Trump or Kamala); or (3) the spooks drop or instigate something extremely nasty, like a tape of some sort — at one remove, of course. On the exam:

Biden (D): “House Dems desperately seek consensus on Biden’s future in ‘sad’ venting session” [Politico]. “In a closed-door caucus meeting hosted at Democrats’ campaign headquarters, increasingly distressed Democrats spoke candidly to each other for the first time since Biden’s unnerving debate performance. Several lawmakers who have already called for Biden to step aside made their case, provoking a larger block of the caucus that believes Democrats need to stay united behind the president, according to about a half-dozen members in the room…. Democrats who tried to argue that Biden should step down from the ticket included Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who later told reporters he is concerned about Biden ‘dragging the ticket down.’ All three have already publicly called on Biden to drop out of the race. Still, most of the voices at the meeting were in support of the president. But the internal divide was on full display — and many more are still harboring private doubts. Senate Democrats will have their own family meeting Tuesday afternoon, though it’s doubtful they’ll have any more luck on charting a path forward. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will steer that discussion of his caucus, several of whom have voiced their own concerns about Biden’s electability. No Democratic senators have called on Biden to step aside.”

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Biden (D): “Parkinson’s Expert Visited the White House Eight Times in Eight Months” [New York Times]. “The expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, is a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and recently published a paper on Parkinson’s. The logs, released by the White House, document visits from July 2023 through March of this year. More recent visits, if there have been any, would not be released until later under the White House’s voluntary disclosure policy. It was unclear whether Dr. Cannard was at the White House to consult specifically about the president or was there for unrelated meetings.” • Oddly, potential effects of Covid are never, ever mentioned:

Biden (D): “White House doctor offers explanation for Parkinson’s expert’s visits” [ABC]. “Cannard’s visits to the White House don’t represent examinations of the president, according to O’Connor’s letter. Cannard is involved in a range of care for others beyond the president at the White House, O’Connor said in his note. ‘Prior to the pandemic, and following its end [lol], [Cannard] has held regular Neurology clinics at the White House Medical Clinic in support of the thousands of active-duty members assigned in support of White House operations,’ his letter reads. ‘Many military personnel experience neurological issues related to their service, and Dr. Cannard regularly visits the WHMU as part of this General Neurology Practice.’ On the subject of Biden’s physical, O’Connor noted that ‘President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical.’ O’Connor also stressed that Biden’s last physical found no signs of Parkinson’s, which he detailed in a Feb. 28 letter. While the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to confirm these details earlier Monday, citing privacy concerns, O’Connor said he ‘obtained permission from the President and Dr. Cannard to confirm the details I am sharing.’ O’Connor offered in his letter a full-throated endorsement of Dr. Cannard and his work as the neurology consultant to the White House since 2012.”

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Biden (D): Clyburn’s base:

(And they don’t want Kamala, apparently.) Since this is the voting bloc that gave us BIden, Clinton, and Obama — in other words, made the Democrat Party, at least the electeds, what it is today — I’d be perfectly happy to throw them under the bus. But then, I’m not a Democrat. Commentary:

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Lambert here: How a great nation, the world’s oldest democracy, and the oldest political party in the world select a Presidential candidate:

Biden (D): “Clyburn says he would support ‘mini-primary’ ahead of DNC if Biden steps aside” [Politico]. “Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn [(84)], a top ally of Joe Biden, said Wednesday that if the president steps aside from the election, he would expect to see a ‘mini-primary’ ahead of the Democratic National Convention with Kamala Harris and Democratic governors vying for the top two spots on the party’s ticket. Responding to a question on CNN about whether Harris should be the party’s automatic nominee if the president were to step aside or if there should be a ‘mini-primary’ between several candidates, Clyburn (D-S.C.) said: ‘Well, I think we’re going to have a mini-primary leading into the convention,’ describing the virtual roll call needed to appear on the Ohio ballot. He added, ‘You can actually fashion the process that’s already in place to make it a mini-primary, and I would support that absolutely. We can’t close that down, and we should open up everything for the general election.’… When pressed by CNN’s Erica Hill as to if there will be an expanded field during the virtual roll call vote ahead of the DNC, Clyburn said ‘.’ ‘My understanding is there are 700 uncommitted delegates and of course there are delegates who are pledged,’ Clyburn said. ‘It would seem to me that any one of these people who aspire to be president, who would like to see a contest taking place — look at those 700 delegates who are now uncommitted and get into the action.’” • Hmm.

Biden (D): “Jim Clyburn Is Right About What Democrats Should Do Next” [Ezra Klein, New York Times]. “If Democrats need to choose another candidate, they need to make the process as competitive and open as possible. Harris would be the front-runner, and there’s a good case to be made that she’s underrated. But she needs to prove her mettle. To anoint her because it would minimize conflict would be madness. Imagine the intraparty battling if Democrats, after unwisely closing ranks around Biden, close ranks around Harris and lose to Trump…. In an interview with Politico, a Democratic National Convention delegate from South Carolina said aloud what many Democrats have told me privately. ‘I think it would be fantastic for the party. I mean, think about it: People would watch it. It would get the ratings: It has the drama that people would pay attention to. And if multiple candidates were seeking our nomination, you would have wall-to-wall, weeklong, prime-time coverage of all of our best rising stars, delivering the party message that, frankly, Joe Biden couldn’t against Donald Trump.’”

Biden (D): “James Carville: Biden Won’t Win. Democrats Need a Plan. Here’s One” [James Carville, New York Times]. “I want to see the Democratic Party hold between now and the Democratic National Convention in August — one each in the South, the Northeast, the Midwest and the West. We can recruit the two most obvious and qualified people in the world to facilitate substantive discussions: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They may not represent every faction under our party’s big tent. But they care as much about our democracy as our nation’s first president, they understand what it takes to be president, and they know how to win. Town halls — high-stakes job interviews for the toughest job in the world — would surely attract television and cable partners and generate record numbers of viewers. Think the Super Bowl with Taylor Swift in the stands. The young, the old and everyone in between will tune in to see history being made in real time. How will potential nominees be chosen to participate in the town halls? There is no answer here that will satisfy everyone, but hard choices must be made, given the tight timetable, and I think leaning on the input of former presidents makes good sense. So I would advise Presidents 42 and 44 to select eight leading contenders out of the pool of those who choose to run, with Ms. Harris most definitely getting a well-earned invite. I believe the vice president would be a formidable opponent for Mr. Trump.”

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Biden (D): “The Foreign Policy Biden Is Putting on the Ballot” [Seymour Hersh]. “Despite some early losses, Russia, with its advantage in air and ground forces, is now dominating the war and, despite scant interest in Washington, there are going on. A senior American official told me that Putin ‘has what he wants’ in Ukraine and delayed an all-out assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, while a possible settlement is being negotiated, with .” • Hmm. Somehow I don’t think the parties to the negotiations, whoever they may be, will have election 2024 as their uppermost concern, so the timing of the talks — if successful — should prove interesting.

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Trump (R): “RNC poised in draft text to drop national limits on abortion from party platform” [Politico]. “The Republican Party is poised to abandon its current position explicitly advocating for federal abortion limits, according to a draft text of its new proposed platform obtained by POLITICO. The platform represents a major change for the GOP — and one that anti-abortion advocates had spent months rallying against. The new language describing abortion as an issue to be decided by the states is in line with the position held by former President Donald Trump. Still, some anti-abortion leaders are lauding the inclusion of language pointing to 14th Amendment protections that conservatives have long argued protects life beginning at conception.” • And in line with the gift handed to Trump by the Supreme Court overturning Roe (hat tip, Democrats, for never codifying it).

Our Famously Free Press



“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, KF, 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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Handy chart of masks for more purposes than Covid prevention (e.g., wildfire smoke):

Censorship and Propaganda


“Why You Should Always Choose a Window Seat on a Plane During Flu Season” [Travel and Leisure]. “Commercial planes are cramped, with hundreds of travelers all sharing the same recycled air for several hours. They are, unsurprisingly, breeding grounds for infectious illnesses. But some seats are deemed safer than others because they’re further away from the zone with the highest risk….. It all has to do with your contact with other people. The researchers found that the closer passengers are to the aisle, the more likely they are to get up to visit the lavatory or move around. And the more they move, the higher their chances of coming into contact with germs. While about 80 percent of passengers in aisle seats ended up leaving their seats at least once during the flights in this study, only about half that number moved from their seat while sitting next to a window. Passengers in aisle seats had an average of 64 “contacts” with other passengers during a flight, making it the greatest contact space. Passengers in middle seats had 58 contacts, and those in window seats had just 12.” And: “[S]tting in the last couple rows of the cabin prevents you from being breathed on from behind, because airflow generally moves forward and not backward — therefore, your chances of catching a contagious illness will be lower.’” • So, choose a window seat in the back of the plane. Wish I’d seen this before the July 4 holiday; sorry!

Origins Debate

“Serologic Testing of US Blood Donations to Identify Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 and other Coronaviruses, December 2019-July 2020” [Open Forum Infectious Diseases]. N = 46,120. From the Abstract: “The first COVID-19 case in the United States was recognized on January 19, 2020, but the time of introduction of the virus into the US is unknown. An existing sample cohort was examined for serologic evidence of early SARS-CoV-2 infections…. Nine (0.07%) confirmed-positives were identified among the 13,364 donations collected between December 13, 2019 and January 22, 2020.” From the Discussion: “In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, the first cluster of clinical cases later attributed to SARS-CoV-2 was identified on January 7, 2020.”


“Commission finds COVID pandemic caused $18 trillion in economic damage to US” [FOX]. “A new report by the Heritage Foundation’s Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19 found that the COVID pandemic caused $18 trillion in economic losses to the U.S. and placed blame for the outbreak on the Chinese government.

FOX Business exclusively viewed an advance copy of the report, which estimated that as of December 2023, the pandemic’s total economic cost in the U.S. topped $18 trillion after taking into account several ways in which the pandemic affected the economy. That figure includes more than $8.6 trillion caused by excess deaths; more than $1.825 trillion in lost income; $6 trillion due to chronic conditions such as ‘long COVID’; and mental health losses of $1 trillion and educational losses of $435 billion pushed the total above $18 trillion.” • “Nonpartisan” is in caps because it’s part of the name of the Commission (!).

Elite Maleficence

“Pandemic Revisionism: Doctors Who Defend Dr. Scott Atlas Are Afraid to Accurately Quote Dr. Scott Atlas. I’m Not” [Science-Based Medicine]. “Dr. Atlas was one of several Stanford doctors (Dr. John Ioannidis, Drs. Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya) who predicted that COVID’s 2020 death toll would be 10,000-40,000 people and that the mass infection of unvaccinated youth would lead to herd immunity. Like Dr. Atlas, these doctors- none of whom treated COVID patients- now insist they were basically right about everything. Imagine predicting that the flu was going to be worse than COVID, and 1.1 million COVID deaths later, having the audacity to claim that the passage of time has validated your initial pandemic pronouncements. In fact, advocates of mass infection are aggrieved. Although they became pandemic celebrities, they claim to have been silenced, and they feel they are owed an apology. Since they can’t admit error, they claim there’s a conspiracy to hide the truth- COVID wasn’t that bad after all.”

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Readers, there is no good news here at all, and this data does not include the Fourth of July weekend. It would sure be handy to have Biobot still in operation, so we could have a single indicator for infection, but of course that was not to be.

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. Worse than two weeks ago. New York is a hot again, and Covid is spreading up the Maine Coast just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, in another triumph for Administration policy. On that Bay area hotspot:

[2] (CDC) Last week’s wastewater map.

[3] (CDC Variants) LB.1 coming up on the outside.

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

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Now acceleration, which is compatible with a wastewater decrease, but still not a good feeling .(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, which in fact shows that Covid is not seasonal. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[7] (Walgreens) Still going up! (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) Still 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. I’m leaving this here for another week because I loathe them so much:

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

Small Business Optimism: “United States Nfib Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the US rose to 91.5 in June of 2024 from 90.5 in the previous month, the highest since the start of the year, and contrasting with expectations that the index would slow to 89.5. Still, the reading remained below the long-term average of 98. ‘Main Street remains pessimistic about the economy for the balance of the year,’ said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. ‘Increasing compensation costs has led to higher prices all around.’”

Retail: “United States Used Car Prices YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index for the US decreased 8.9% year-on-year in June 2024, following a 12.1% drop in May.” • Seems like a leading indicator of some kind, but I don’t know what. Readers?

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Tech: “Gen AI: Too Much Spend, Too Little Benefit?” (PDF) [Goldman Sachs]. The conclusion: “So, what does this all mean for markets? Although Covello believes AI’s fundamental story is unlikely to hold up, he cautions that the AI bubble could take a long time to burst, with the “picks and shovels” AI infrastructure providers continuing to benefit in the meantime. GS senior US equity strategist Ryan Hammond also sees more room for the AI theme to run and expects AI beneficiaries to broaden out beyond just Nvidia, and particularly to what looks set to be the next big winner: Utilities. That said, looking at the bigger picture, GS senior multi-asset strategist Christian Mueller-Glissmann finds that only the most favorable AI scenario, in which AI significantly boosts trend growth and corporate profitability without raising inflation, would result in above-average long-term S&P 500 returns, making AI’s ability to deliver on its oft-touted potential even more crucial.” • Pop? Commentary:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 9 at 2:01:04 PM ET

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • Not what the climate coverage implies.

The Gallery

Inventor of the eponymous cheese, so no wonder:

Zeitgeist Watch

“Vending machines selling bullets at grocery stores” []. “Grocery stores in Alabama and Oklahoma have vending machines that allow users to purchase ammo for guns. The vending machine supplier, American Rounds, markets ‘ammo sales like you’ve never seen before’ on its website. The company is looking to revolutionize how ammunition for handguns, rifles and shotguns is sold. The automated ammunition dispenser uses artificial intelligence technology to verify a buyer’s identification and age through card scanning and facial recognition software. The buyer inserts their photo ID, and the machine conducts a scan to match it to the ID card. In a promotional video, American Rounds CEO Grant Magers said the stores were looking for an innovative way to bring ammo sales to their stores.” • Wowsers

News of the Wired

“The Nine Ways: On the Enneagram” [The Paris Review]. “Ichazo’s core theory is that people, on the deepest level, wish to avoid a very bad feeling, an experience so awful it is what we imagine death is like. There are nine ways this terror can be imagined reaching us, and nine correspondent ways it can be avoided. The nine techniques of avoiding this universal fear are figured as points on the enneagram and exist in a complex and dynamic interplay with one another. In any individual personality, one of the nine is predominant. The nine ways are often referred to using a kind of shorthand: 1 is the Reformer; 2, the Helper; 3, the Achiever; 4, the Individualist; 5, the Investigator; 6, the Loyalist; 7, the Enthusiast; 8, the Challenger; and 9, the Peacemaker. It can be hard to pinpoint the right metaphor for the role these numbers are thought to play in a person’s psyche. The nine can be conceived of as parts, dimensions, or styles. I sometimes picture each number as being a corner in a very large room. Imagine the plane of this room’s floor is uneven, and the walls, as a result, are of irregular shapes and sizes. We may find something close to a natural comfort in one corner or in some nook nearby. The light from a window might amiably rhyme with that of a spot across the room. Some parts of the room might have high ceilings with bare white walls. Others, though narrow, might overlook a courtyard. If this place is big enough, its far corners might seem beyond reach or even nonexistent. We might hesitate to emerge from our favorite hideaways. I offer this extended image to illustrate that while, as a numerical typology, the enneagram may seem like a tacky attempt to reduce human complexity, it is intended do the opposite.” • 10, Analyst.

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Upstater writes: “It’s that time of year! These are early bearded irises.”

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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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