2:00PM Water Cooler 12/27/2023 | naked capitalism

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Painted Stork, Delhi Zoo, South East Delhi, Delhi, India. Counterpoint between storks and other birds! (I picked storks because storks have a variety of postive associations, so I’m going my bit to make 2024 better than 2023. I would like very much to be bored, and enjoy it!

* * *


“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

“Michigan Supreme Court rejects 14th Amendment election challenge to Trump” [ABC]. “The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal aimed at barring former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 Republican primary ballot based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. In doing so, Michigan’s high court upheld a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling earlier this month that rejected an earlier appeal filed by the watchdog group Free Speech For People [FSFP] on behalf of a group of Michigan voters…. The Michigan Supreme Court rejected the FSFP’s appeal on procedural grounds, saying it was not ‘persuaded that the questions presented’ should be reviewed by that court… FSFP said it was ‘disappointed’ by the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision, noting in a statement that the high court did not rule on a number of questions concerning the legal theories advanced in the lawsuit. ‘It simply declined to overrule a lower court ruling that the Michigan state challenge process does not allow challenges to presidential candidates at the primary stage,” the group said.’”

“A Fake Trump Elector in Michigan Told Prosecutors of Regret, Anger” [New York Times]. “One of the Republicans in Michigan who acted as a fake [“contingent”] elector for Donald J. Trump expressed deep regret about his participation, according to a recording of his interview with the state attorney general’s office that was obtained by The New York Times. The elector, James Renner, is thus far the only Trump elector who has reached an agreement with the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, which brought criminal charges in July against all 16 of the state’s fake Trump electors. In October, Ms. Nessel’s office dropped all charges against Mr. Renner after he agreed to cooperate. Mr. Renner, 77, was a late substitution to the roster of electors in December 2020 after two others dropped out. He told the attorney general’s office that he later realized, after reviewing testimony from the House investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, that he and other electors had acted improperly. ‘I can’t overemphasize how once I read the information in the J6 transcripts how upset I was that the legitimate process had not been followed,’ he said in the interview. ‘I felt that I had been walked into a situation that I shouldn’t have ever been involved in.’” • Again, this, to me, is the narrative that really has the potential to hole Trump below the waterline, if liberal Democrats could tone down their hatred of all things Trumpy just for awhile. Conning the overly trusting…. Not a good look!

“The Colorado Ruling Changed My Mind” [The Atlantic]. “The closest the dissents come to presenting a federal-law issue that ought to give someone pause comes in Samour’s argument that Section 3 is not self-executing—that it can’t be enforced unless Congress passes a law detailing how it can be enforced. The majority opinion, though, along with Paulsen and Baude and Luttig and Tribe, have disposed of that argument many times over. All you need to do is to look, as any good Scalia-like textualist would, to the words and structure of the Fourteenth Amendment. True, Section 5 of the amendment gives Congress the power to enact enforcement legislation. But nothing in the amendment suggests that such legislation is required—that Section 3 (or any other prohibition in the amendment) has no teeth unless Congress implants them.” • This is awful. The author is a lawyer, and doesn’t quote from, or even cite to, the dissents (and after a long wind-up about how willing he is to be persuaded, too, despite his view that the Baude/Paulsen article is “masterful.” Conway is, one finds, a member of the Lincoln Project, and, although his Atlantic bio does not mention this, was President of Yale’s chapter of the Federalist Society.


Less than a year to go!

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“How Trump Is Running Differently This Time” [Kristen Soltis Anderson, New York Times]. Anderson is a Republican pollster. “But if Mr. Trump ran before as the disrupter, don’t count on him doing so a third time in 2024. Voters don’t want chaos anymore. In my assessment of the dynamics of this election, what I see and hear is an electorate that seems to be craving stability in the economy, in their finances, at the border, in their schools and in the world. They want order, and they are open to people on the left and the right who are more likely to provide that, as we saw with the rejection of several chaos candidates in 2022, even as steady-as-she-goes incumbents sailed to re-election…. Unfortunately for Mr. Biden — and for America — stability and unity did not arrive in the wake of his election…. [I]ndeed, many voters are beginning to look back longingly at the Trump era; while, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, voters say by a 30-point margin that Mr. Biden’s policies have hurt them personally more than helped, by a 12-point margin those same voters are more likely to say that Mr. Trump’s policies actually helped them. Today, Americans are exhausted. Two-thirds of them told Pew Research Center that’s how they feel — outpacing emotions like ‘angry’ and certainly ‘hopeful.’ Asked to describe politics today in their own words, ‘messy’ and ‘chaos’ sit alongside ‘divisive’ and ‘corrupt’ atop the list of replies… This is why, already, Trump is beginning to work to portray himself as the safer, more stable pick, and to go to great — even misleading — lengths to claim that Mr. Biden actually wantss chaos and has created a world filled with more terror. He has already produced ads suggesting that Mr. Biden’s inability to lead is directly responsible for the global disorder that threatens American security, and it is a message voters have begun to echo in polling.” • Interesting. Of course, to the extent that Biden allows himself to be The Blob’s instrument, yes, he wants chaos. Then again–

Tone aside, where’s the lie?

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“Why So Many Young Americans Support My Presidential Campaign” [Newsweek]. “According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, I am leading in a three-way with President Biden and former President Trump among voters 18 to 34, and a New York Times/Siena poll shows me beating Biden and Trump among 18 to 44 year olds in six key battleground states. sMainstream media often ask me why I enjoy such strong support from young voters. Based on countless campaign trail conversations, I believe America’s youth support me because I am offering them something that has been nearly lost over the last two [two?!] presidential terms: hope for an America that lives up to its promises and ideals… Young people are not satisfied with voting for the lesser of two evils. Their generation seeks an outsider like me who is running as an independent, given that 38 percent of the youngest voters aged 18 to 29 have no party affiliation, a higher percentage than identify as Democrats (35 percent) or Republicans (26 percent). Because they are repelled by the rancor and name-calling in two-party politics, they respond positively to my mission to ‘Heal the Divide.’ Moreover, my message resonates because I show this generation a viable path toward restoring hope in America, so that they can be proud of their country and believe in their future.” • I suppose I should be going on TIkTok. Just what I need. A second infinite scrolling experience….

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“Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign stops all TV ad spending less than a month before Iowa and New Hampshire” [CNBC]. “Vivek Ramaswamy’s presidential campaign has stopped spending money on television ads and does not have any TV ad reservations booked, according to his campaign and data from an ad-tracking firm…. Ramaswamy’s campaign says it is still spending money on ads, just not on TV. ‘We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified — best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out,’ Tricia McLaughlin, the campaign’s press secretary told NBC News. ‘As you know, this isn’t what most campaigns look like. We have intentionally structured this way so that we have the ability to be nimble and hypertargeted in our ad spending,’ McLaughlin added.” • Oh-k-a-a-a-y…

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NH: Alert reader Petal throws the following brochure over the transom:

And the PAC:

Not subtle! Catchy, “High-tax Haley.” An earworm. Alert reader Kilgore Trout remarked yesterday:s

I’ve seen the anti-Haley ad run on Boston’s Channel 5, and I assume on WMUR. It claimins Haley raised the gas tax after saying she wouldn’t. It’s targeting that segment of the GOP/Libertarian Right for whom “taxes” are the only thing that matters. It always works at the state level: the “pledge” to disavow a “broad-based” sales or income tax is still the single most important thing a state-wide candidate in NH must do to remain viable.

IA: “Two Minute Warning: On the Road in Iowa With Ron DeSantis” [RealClearPolitics]. “The pandemic made the ‘American Carnage’ Trump invoked worse, the governor argues aboard the bus as it rumbles past cozy farmhouses decorated for Christmas. Worse even, he says, ‘than it was in 2016.’ ‘Are we going to have some type of accountability?” he asks. ‘Are we going to have a reckoning for this, or are we just going to act like everyone did such a great job?’ DeSantis wants that conversation. But Trump won’t even show up to discuss it. What DeSantis considers his marquee accomplishment – how he handled a once-in-a-century crisis, refusing to lock down when Trump acquiesced – is becoming an afterthought. ‘The 21st century: The three biggest events: 9/11 and the wars that followed, the Great Recession, and then COVID,’ he says, moving his hand along an invisible timeline and pounding a tray table to punctuate each ugly epoch. The virus, and its still festering wounds, DeSantis continues, ‘had a broader impact than the other two events combined. And yet, here we are. We’re not even discussing that.’ The moderators asked exactly ‘one question even involving COVID’ during all the primary debates, he complains, and then to make matters worse, ‘The former president, because he won’t debate on the stage, has not had to defend his record.’” • Poor little guy can’t catch a break.

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Almost complete unanimity:

Hard to blame people for believing “Covid is over.” Makes the pre-Holiday increase in testing all the more remarkable. But see above: DeSantis acknowledges it (so the tweet is also a statement on DeSantis). Not the million deaths, naturally, but whether our pissant lockdowns prevented people from infecting each other at Applebee’s for a couple of months…

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.

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“How Mass Mail-In Voting Changes Everything” [The American Conservative]. “The objective of mail-in voting activists is an electoral world in which polls, historical trends, economic issues, messaging, voter enthusiasm, candidate quality, traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, candidate debates, and voter persuasion no longer matter in elections. All that ultimately matters in mass mail-in voting states is the number of absentee ballots that can be distributed, harvested, and ultimately counted in local election offices by partisan election activists over the weeks and months preceding election day. Through the strategic expansion of mass mail-in voting, Democrats are creating a new urban based, activist driven electoral playing field where they alone can win. The idea that mass mail-in voting expands general “voters rights” is not what it appears to be. Instead, the spread of mass mail-in voting since 2020 has greatly increased the political power of urban and university-based bloc voters, partisan election activists, and the many wealthy nonprofits that support them, such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life and the National Vote at Home Institute. Meanwhile, conventional, in-person suburban and rural voters see their votes diluted by a flood of questionable absentee ballots emanating from heavily Democratic cities and university towns.” • The Rasmussen poll asked:

When asked, “During the 2020 election, did you fill out a ballot, in part or in full, on behalf of a friend or family member, such as a spouse or child?”, 21% of respondents who said they voted by mail answered “yes.” (Filling out a ballot for someone else is illegal in all states, although many states allow people to assist others with voting.)

Additionally, 17% of mail-in voters said they voted “in a state where you were no longer a permanent resident.” Seventeen percent of mail-in voters also admitted to signing a “ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member.” (Both voting in a state where you are no longer a permanent resident and forging a signature on a ballot or ballot envelope are fraudulent activities that invalidate votes, when caught by election officials.)

The Heartland Institute. Big if true. So cut the numbers in half, and it’s still affects the margin. (We’re also seeing a phishing equilibrium (“If a system enables fraud, fraud will already have happened”), produced by a voting architecture that separates the ballot from the ballot box and the ballot booth).

“A More Actively Managed Decline?” [The American Prospect]. “After decades of glacial wage growth for most Americans, and following a pandemic that did not spare the rich world, it seems possible that the United States is exiting market-mania and adopting a new mode of more explicitly interventionist, and protectionist, economic governance. COVID-19 was the immediate trigger, spurring lawmakers to revive old crisis management tools. Though broad stimulus packages and the Fed’s emergency lending initiatives did most of the heavy lifting, the administration also used an arsenal of more targeted measures, from the Defense Production Act to first-loss guarantees and advance market commitments, to encourage investment and innovation and to stabilize demand. These tools will be used to manage future environmental and health crises for which COVID-19 was just a dress rehearsal. President Joe Biden’s economic-planning agenda, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and several juggernaut defense spending packages, signals a new willingness to set explicit goals for national investment. Over more than a year, the administration hammered together a coalition to back the IRA.” • Naturally, this liberal Democrat erases Trump’s CARES Act, completely, even though paying people to say home will be key to having any prospect of success whatever airborne pandemic follows Covid.


“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!

* * *


Maskers are tough:


“Advancing Past Early Trials – Plus Shooting for Lifelong Immunity (Next Generation Covid Vax Update 12)” [Hilda Bastian, Absolutely Maybe]. “A massive funding boost from Project NextGen enables 3 phase 2b trials of next generation Covid vaccines to start in the US next year, each with 10,000 participants. Another US vaccine is also heading into phase 2 next year. And could ‘lifelong,’ or even decades-long, immunity against Covid be possible? A vaccine aiming for that is heading into its first clinical trial next year, also funded through Project NextGen.” • The funding is not “massive” put beside Operation Warp Speed, let alone our (failing, bloated) military, but this is encouraging nonetheless.


“Gargling with Salt Water, Iodine, Peroxide, or Essential Oils- Which is Best for the Oral Microbiome?” [Health First Consulting]. “Gargling is a great way to shift the balance of bacteria in the mouth. While an antiseptic gargle like iodine or hydrogen peroxide can battle infections like a pro, it also can wipe out your good bacteria. From grandma’s salt water rinse, to Listerine®, probiotics, essential oils, and more, figuring out what to gargle with can be a trick. In this blog, clinicians and consumers will learn what gargle solutions are best and worst, when you need them, when you don’t, and how much to use. Most of all, we will talk about how to preserve the oral microbiome- one of your best defenses against harmful infections and chronic diseases.” • Obviously, I want both: Flourishing and Covid antibody-producing oral biota, and faithful servant Povidone Iodine, plus other sprays. when my risk of exposure is high. Is this possible? I’m not sure, but this article is a good starting point. (The topic is hard to research, being contaminating by “natural” woo woo.) Discussion sparked by alert readers farmboy and bobert.

“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

NOT UPDATED 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.


NOT UPDATED 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

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, December 23:

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.


NOT UPDATED 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

NOT UPDATED 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?


Lambert here: Notice that for both Walgreens and the Cleveland Clinic, that although the percentage of positives is stable, the absolute numbers have greatly increased; Walgreen’s doubled. This speaks well of people; they’re getting tested before the holidays (and in face of a shit*tstorm barrage of propaganda and peer pressure to minimize, too).

From Walgreens, December 26:

-2.3%. 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.)

From Cleveland Clinic, December 23:

Lambert here: Plateauing. I know this is just Ohio, but we’re starved for data, so….

NOT UPDATED 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 Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in the Richmond area decreased to -11 in December 2023 from -5 in November, the lowest in ten months. ”

* * *

The Bezzle: “New York Times sues Microsoft, ChatGPT maker OpenAI over copyright infringement” [CNBC]. “In its lawsuit Wednesday, the Times accused Microsoft and OpenAI of creating a business model based on ‘mass copyright infringement,’ stating that the companies’ AI systems were ‘used to create multiple reproductions of The Times’s intellectual property for the purpose of creating the GPT models that exploit and, in many cases, retain large portions of the copyrightable expression contained in those works.’ Publishers are concerned that, with the advent of generative AI chatbots, fewer people will click through to news sites, resulting in shrinking traffic and revenues. The Times included numerous examples in the suit of instances where GPT-4 produced altered versions of material published by the newspaper. In one example, the filing shows OpenAI’s software producing almost identical text to a Times article about predatory lending practices in New York City’s taxi industry. But in OpenAI’s version, GPT-4 excludes a critical piece of context about the sum of money the city made selling taxi medallions and collecting taxes on private sales.” • Good. The training sets are based on theft (“original accumulation,” as the Bearded One calls it). But why not go for an injunction?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 27 at 12:29:26 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“Teen’s death in Wisconsin sawmill highlights “21st century problem” across the U.S.” [CBS News]. “[T]he high school football player’s death isn’t an isolated incident. Rather, it reflects the growing number of children and teens around the U.S. working in hazardous jobs meant for adults, a violation of federal laws aimed at protecting minors. The Labor Department conducted 955 investigations that found child labor violations in fiscal 2023, up 14% from the prior year. Roughly 5,800 kids were illegally employed in the 12-month period ending September 30 — up 88% since 2019.” • Pour encourager les autres…. s

News of the Wired

“Donald Knuth’s 2023 Christmas Lecture: Making the Cells Dance” [The New Stack]. “Approaching his 86th birthday, Donald Knuth — Stanford’s beloved computer science guru — honored what’s become a long-standing tradition. He gave a December “Christmas lecture” that’s also streamed online for all of his fans.” • I’m a Knuth fan because of his typesetting program. TEX. IMNSHO, Knuth is one of the few reasons why Stanford, home of both the Great Barrington Declaration and a central node of the Censorship Industrial Complex, the Internet Observatory, should not be burnt to the ground.

“Sometimes a Little Bullshit Is Fine: A Conversation with Charles Simic” [The Paris Review]. “INTERVIEWER: Here is line from a poem titled “Could That Be Me?” that captures your self-effacing, tragicomic style—”An alarm clock / With no hands / Ticking loudly / On the town dump.” Is the dump a metaphor for your study? SIMIC: It’s not a metaphor. The dump is a place where I’ve spent a lot of time. I’m about five minutes from the dump. It used to be a very different dump. It started out being just one little place filled with garbage. And then it became more complicated, with everything sorted out. But I’m an aficionado of the old, old dump where many, many years ago I found a big alarm clock, an old-fashioned alarm clock, happily ticking.” • I remember that kind of dump!

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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 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 just love the shape and color of these flowers! (Protea at Sherman Library and Gardens).”

• Kind readers, I’m running very short of plants. More harvest photos like this one would be nice. Or snowy scenes. Even Christmas trees. Or whatever! Thank you so much!

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