2:00PM Water Cooler 1/26/2024 | naked capitalism


By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I apologize if this Water Cooler is a little disjointed. Doing the workup on Abbott’s letter on immigration took a bit longer than I expected. More soon!

Bird Song of the Day

Pine Siskin, Brown, Indiana, United States. “Flock.”

* * *


“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 (Insurrection)

“Maine’s top court dismisses an appeal of a judge’s decision on Trump’s ballot status” [Associated Press]. “Maine’s top court has declined to weigh in on whether former President Donald Trump can stay on the state’s ballot, keeping intact a judge’s decision that the U.S. Supreme Court must first rule on a similar case in Colorado…. In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed Bellows’ appeal of the order requiring her to await the U.S. Supreme Court decision before withdrawing, modifying or upholding her decision to keep Trump off the primary ballot on Super Tuesday.”

The Constitutional Order (Invasion)

On invasion, the Constitution contains two relevant texts:

Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and ; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

Article I, Section 10 (the “Compact Clause”):

No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or , or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

What then does “invasion” mean?

“The Meaning of Invasion Under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution” (PDF) [Texas Public Policy Foundation]. “It should first of all be highlighted that, as only , the unlawful entry of people into the United States cannot be construed as an invasion. Nor, for the same reason, can the prospect of further illegal entry in the imminent future be so construed…. The phrase ‘actually invaded’ in the Compact Clause refers to the presence of flesh-and-blood enemies on the soil of the invaded state. The phrase ‘imminent danger’ in the same clause refers to the possibility of such enemies coming to be present soon.” • The Texas Public Policy Foundation, if you look at the About page, isn’t exactly composed of bleeding heart liberals.

Here is a copy of Abbott’s statement (thank you, Elon. Seriously). I have helpfully highlighted and annotated the Constitutional issues:

[1] Article I, Section 10 (as above).

[2] I don’t see “enforcing the law” as relevant, pragmatically, because Biden will have his own lawyers who will say they are enforcing the law.

[3] Ditto, and to be settled by impeachment, if it comes to that.

[4] Ditto.

[5] Ditto.

[6] There is trespass, but there is no “invasion,” since there’s no “enmity” (all most of the immigrants want is jobs). Hence Article IV, Section 4 is not triggered.

[7] The cite is to a dissenting opinion, so not relevant.

[8] The text of the Article 1, Section 10 does not “reserve to this [(?)] State the right of self-defense.” That interpretation may be in the penumbra of the text, but it’s not in the text.

[9] “Supersedes any Federal statutes” makes the border crisis a Nullification Crisis, so this topic really is important, even if Abbott is reasoning from false premises. (It doesn’t help that the Blue Cities, with their idiotic and ultimately self-canceling “sanctuary” concept, have also been practicing Nullification.)

“”Hold the line”: Republicans rally to Abbott’s defense in border standoff with Biden” [Texas Tribune]. “Abbott’s statement was quickly condemned by some legal scholars, who said it was blatantly unconstitutional and amounted to a usurpring of the federal government. ‘By this logic, states could use their own determination that an ‘invasion’ exists as a justification for usurping control of whichever federal policies they don’t like,’ Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas at Austin law professor, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. ‘Imagine blue states taking this approach: ‘We’re being invaded by drugs.’ ‘We’re being invaded by pollution.’ The right of states to defend themselves does not, and was never meant to, provide a hook for supplanting federal authority.” • As Andrew Jackson wrote in the previous nullification crisis:

, and whether it be formed by compact between the States, or in any other manner, its character is the same. It is a government in which all the people are represented, which operates directly on the people individually, not upon the States–they retained all the power they did not grant. But each State having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute jointly with the other States a single Nation, cannot from that period possess any right to secede, because each secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a Nation, and any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offence against the whole Union.

* * *

“Trump urges states to surge National Guard to Texas as Abbott standoff with Biden accelerates” [FOX]. “Former President Donald Trump on Thursday gave his backing to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amid the latter’s feud with the Biden administration over border security — urging states to send their National Guards to the border and promising to work ‘hand in hand’ with the state to combat the ‘invasion’ if he is inaugurated again in January 2025. In posts to Truth Social, Trump backed Abbott and accused President Biden of ‘fighting to tie the hands’ of the Republican governor ‘so that the Invasion [sic] continues unchecked.’ A feud that has been bubbling for months between Texas and the administration exploded in recent weeks after Texas seized the Shelby Park area of Eagle Pass and blocked Border Patrol from entering — sparking protests and threats of legal action from the administration.” • Abbott endorsed Trump back in November 2023. Speculating freely: If Trump came up lame — say, Trump Force One flew into a cloud and all that came out the other side was shredded aluminum and broken glass, or the spooks somehow get past his food taster and feed him an exploding Big Mac — that many Republican voters would look with favor on Abbott in a way they would not on DeSantis or Haley (let alone Romney),

“Texas Defies Joe Biden By Recruiting Volunteers To Bolster Border Fight” [Newsweek]. “Texas has continued to defy President Joe Biden on the border issue and is offering cash for Texas Military Department members to man the border. The Lone Star State is seeking ‘to deploy border security assets to high threat areas to deny criminal organizations the ability to illegally move drugs and people into Texas,’* according to TMD’s website. This comes amid ongoing tensions between Governor Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over the border with Mexico. On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration and held that federal Border Patrol agents were authorized to remove the razor wire installed under Abbott’s orders near the border city of Eagle Pass. Volunteers will work with the Texas Military Department full-time for up to $55 per day, according to the agency’s website.” • NOTE * That is, not an “invasion?”

“Joe Biden Faces Growing Calls to Federalize Texas National Guard” [Newsweek]. “State National Guards ordinarily fall under the control of their respective governors, but they can be federalized by a mechanism known as Title 10 status, which places them at the direct disposal of the president and defense secretary, with active duty officers taking over day-to-day command. In 1957, the Eisenhower administration federalized the Arkansas National Guard after the state’s governor ordered them to prevent Black students from attending the Little Rock Central High School during the segregation era. Under federal control, the Arkansas National Guard, together with federal troops from the 101st Airborne Division, instead ensured the students were able to attend the school. The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) is campaigning for the Lone Star State to break away from the United States and become a fully independent country, using what it regards as the federal government’s failure to control the Texan-Mexican border as one justification. If Biden does federalize the Texas National Guard, Daniel Miller, the TNM president, is urging Abbott to massively expand and militarize the Texas State Guard and deploy them to the southern border instead.” • I don’t think even John C. Calhoun advocated that…. Readers?

“Republican Governors Band Together, Issue Joint Statement Supporting Texas’ Constitutional Right to Self-Defense” [Republican Governors Association]. “”We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border. We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally. The authors of the U.S. Constitution made clear that in times like this, states have a right of self-defense, under Article 4, Section 4 and Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution. Because the Biden Administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states [plural] and our nation.” • In the same way that government is not a household, a State is not a gunhumper “standing his ground.” See discussion above.

“The Supreme Court’s Silent Rulings Are Increasingly Troubling” [The New Republic]. “On Monday, the Supreme Court lifted an injunction that had blocked Border Patrol agents from cutting through razor wire installed by Texas along the southern border. The move was a victory for the Biden administration, which claimed Texas officials had obstructed them in performing border enforcement duties. It was also a defeat for Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his Republican allies in Austin, who have aggressively opposed current border-related policies. When normal cases are heard before the court, there are extensive briefings and oral arguments and, eventually, a written decision on the ruling. But this dispute reached the justices on the “shadow docket,” the court’s mechanism for reviewing stays and injunctions issued by the lower courts. As a result, the court’s announcement at this stage in Department of Homeland Security v. Texas was perfunctory and unenlightening.”


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Fed Fears Being Sucked Under a Trump Riptide” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “A final problem concerns politics and the way it affects both the Fed’s potential decisions and the data on which they’ll be based. There’s a widespread belief in markets that the FOMC will want to do all it can to avert a Trump victory in November, and therefore cut rates sooner than otherwise. Whether or not this is true, it does make it harder to cut; Donald Trump would doubtless call foul, and heap derision on Jerome Powell and his colleagues. It’s only human that they’d want to avoid that. Politics complicates the decision and makes it much harder to predict.”

“Will politics or economics win out in 2024?” [Gillian Tett, Financial Times]. “Greg Jensen of Bridgewater, for example, thinks investors are ‘under-discount[ing]’ the inflationary threats that could arise from any putative Donald Trump presidential victory, since Trump would probably appoint a compliant Federal Reserve governor, impose high trade tariffs and unleash expansionary fiscal policy. Of course, central bankers themselves are not allowed to factor in such risks in their models, or at least not officially. But risks of this sort explain why the Davos mood music was at odds with the market pricing. And it points to two key lessons: first, economists of all stripes urgently need to study supply-side issues, not just demand cycles; and second, it is smart for CEOs and investors to hedge this year. .” • Volatility!

And then there’s the labor market:

The chart is confusing, since the x-axis is not time, but issues (“Tarriffs”, at left, “Immigration,” at right). The chart shows the difference between “broadly accepted” and “polarizing” (in the red box).

“The Coming Working Class Election” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Here is a simple truth: how working-class (noncollege) voters move will likely determine the outcome of the 2024 election. They will be the overwhelming majority of eligible voters (around two-thirds) and, even allowing for turnout patterns, only slightly less dominant among actual voters (around three-fifths). Moreover, in all six key swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—the working-class share of the electorate, both as eligible voters and as projected 2024 voters, will be higher than the national average. It follows that significant deterioration in working-class support could put Biden in a very deep hole nationally and key states. Conversely, a burgeoning advantage among working-class voters would likely put Trump in a dominant position. This very trend explains a lot about Biden’s current poor position in general election polls, where he is running behind Trump both nationally and in most swing states. In 2020, Biden lost working-class voters by 4 points, while carrying college-educated voters by 18 points. Biden would have lost the working class by more (and perhaps the election) if he hadn’t actually done slightly better than Hillary Clinton among white working-class voters; among nonwhite working-class voters, especially Hispanic voters, he did sharply worse. In current polls, we see a marked decline in Biden’s support among both components of the working-class vote with the decline among nonwhite working-class voters if anything larger than the decline among white working-class voters.” • It’s nutty to bifurcate the working class by race. Teixeira just can’t quit identity politics!

* * *

Trump (R): “RNC draft resolution to declare Trump as party’s nominee withdrawn” [Axios]. “Republican National Committee draft resolution seeking to declare former President Trump as the party’s presidential nominee was withdrawn on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. The withdrawal comes after Trump said Thursday evening that the RNC shouldn’t move forward with the resolution — which, if approved, would have named him as their 2024 candidate at a time when Nikki Haley has no intention of dropping out of the race…. Trump said on Truth Social Wednesday before the withdrawal that while he greatly appreciates the RNC wanting to make him their presumptive nominee, ‘and while they have far more votes than necessary to do it,’ he feels ‘for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan.’ He continued saying he should do it the ‘Old Fashioned’ way, and finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX.’” • Maybe Democrats could take a cue from Trump?

Trump (R): “Inside Trump’s Cutthroat Conquest of Iowa and New Hampshire” [New York Times]. “That night, the former president and his usual coterie of top aides were joined by about a dozen Iowa staffers headed for New York, boarding the plane his campaign calls Trump Force One. Not everyone was invited. Mr. Trump had lost Johnson County, home of the University of Iowa, by a single vote. The regional political director who had overseen the area was not given a seat on the plane. The next morning, according to two people familiar with the matter, she was informed by a terse email from her supervisor that her contract with the Trump campaign was not being renewed. It was the type of ruthlessness the Trump team had deployed in the prior 14 months: Win — or else.” Pour encourager les autres…. • This headline is deceptive, because some editor wanted to make it all about Trump, the personality who’s probably invaded their dreams. However, the piece, which is worth reading in full, shows Trump at the head of a really effective, well-organized campaign.

Trump (R): “With Texas primary looming, Donald Trump is riding an improved political operation” [Dallas Morning News]. “Trump’s dominance is indicative of his campaign’s stout political and voter turnout operations. He’s been relentless in locking down support in critical states, including Texas. ‘What everyone seems to forget is that the Republican Party today has been built by Trump,’ said GOP political consultant Matthew Langston. ‘Like it or not, he has had eight years in the public spotlight, so that’s an incredibly powerful force to have to go up against.’ His political machine is more efficient than in his previous presidential campaigns, when his fresh popularity drove voters to the polls… An improved campaign organization has helped him maintain his standing as leader of the Republican Party at a time when his focus is split between running for president and dealing with legal challenges…. Texas has the second-most delegates in the primary race, trailing only California. That makes it a critical battleground in the Republican race for the White House. Before Trump solidified his front-runner status, Texas would have served as a firewall. Now the Super Tuesday contest could be his coronation. Trump’s approach to locking down Texas has been replicated in other states, which is why thus far, he’s on track to win the GOP presidential nomination without much resistance.” • Supporting the Times story above.

Trump (R): “The Victorious, Censorious, Malicious Donald Trump” [Frank Bruni, New York Times]. “CNN, which I happened to be watching, went live to Nashua and stayed with him for maybe 10 minutes, maybe less — the new fashion is to mete out attention to Trump modestly, carefully, lest he get too big a megaphone for his lies — and yet that abbreviated encounter provided ample information.” • I like the casual mention of “met[ing] out attention.” Not exactly censorship, I suppose…

* * *

Trump (R): “The conservative legal world lines up behind Donald Trump at the Supreme Court” [CNN]. “As Donald Trump wages a Supreme Court battle to stay on state presidential ballots, a potent contingent of the conservative legal world has united behind him. His new principal attorney for the case, Jonathan Mitchell, is a former Supreme Court clerk connected to the right-wing elite who devised the 2021 Texas abortion ban that helped lead to reversal of the Roe v. Wade landmark decision. The Texas law, which included a shrewd mechanism impeding judicial review, prompted liberal Justice Elena Kagan to refer disparagingly to its masterminds as ‘some geniuses.’ Also backing Trump, with ‘friend of the court’ briefs, are the Republican National Committee and GOP establishment forces, similarly represented by elite appellate advocates who’ve worked for the justices and speak their language. They include former Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco, George W. Bush-era legal adviser John Yoo and other ex-clerks of conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.” • Ugh, torture advocate John Yoo, now at Stanford. Naturally.

Trump (R): “Former President Donald Trump walks out of court during closing arguments of defamation trial” [Associated Press]. “Former President Donald Trump abruptly walked out on closing arguments at his defamation trial Friday as a lawyer for writer E. Jean Carroll urged a jury to award her client at least $12 million damages, saying Trump had shattered her reputation and her world by unleashing a flood of hate toward her through his public statements branding her a liar…. The unexpected departure prompted Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to speak up, briefly interrupting the closing argument to say: ‘The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom.’ … Trump, who was not required to attend the civil lawsuit proceedings, had appeared agitated all morning, vigorously shaking his head as [attorney Roberta Kaplan’s] closing arguments got underway. The walkout occurred shortly after Roberta Kaplan said: ‘Donald Trump has tried to normalize conduct that is abnormal.’” • The Norms Fairy!

* * *

Haley (R): “Haley Tries to Run As Outsider in State Where She Was Governor” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “You can’t blame Haley for trying to make a virtue of necessity by treating her lack of elite and popular support in South Carolina as the product of an arrogant Establishment she is bravely battling, just as she did 14 years ago (which seems like 40 years in terms of the changes the Republican Party has undergone since 2010). To a limited extent, it might even work. A wild card in her 2010 victory was an ugly spate of racist and sexist comments and rumors about her (most notably undocumented claims of extramarital sexual activity) that reinforced her image as a courageous woman of principle fighting piggy rednecks.” • These claims are documented now; the Daily Mail printed affidavits, after which the story, oddly, dropped like a stone.

Haley (R): “Alex Castellanos: Nikki Haley “Represents A Republican Party That Doesn’t Exist Anymore,” Donald Trump Killed It” [RealClearPolitics]. Republican strategist Alex Castellanos: “It’s a tough situation for Haley. She ran a great campaign. And, by the way, she is a spectacular candidate. She certainly has a big future in the Republican party. But she represents a Republican party that doesn’t exist anymore and that’s the Republican party that is dominated Mitch McConnell, the Washington establishment, insider Republicans, and the donor class. Donald Trump killed that Republican party.”

* * *

Biden (D): “Could weed policy woo young voters back to Biden?” [Politico]. “The president has seen an alarming erosion in support among young voters in recent months, with a spate of national and state polls showing him with a narrow lead — or even running behind — Donald Trump with that demographic. Weed could be the unlikely way back into their hearts for Joe Biden. It’s no small matter for Democrats because young voters are a crucial part of any winning coalition: Biden crushed Trump by 24 points among voters under the age of 30 in 2020, according to exit polls. A recent national poll shows that young voters overwhelmingly support Biden’s moves to loosen federal marijuana restrictions. A whopping 65 percent of 18- to 25-year-old likely voters expressed support for the administration’s recent recommendation to move marijuana to a less stringent classification under federal law, compared to just 14 percent who indicated opposition. Veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, whose firm conducted the survey, argues that the issue could help woo back young voters who have grown disaffected with Biden, particularly over his unwavering support for Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza war.” • Why putz around? Why not just take marijuana off Schedule 5 1?

* * *

RFK, Jr. (I): “Democratic concerns grow amid RFK Jr. ballot push in battleground states” [The Hill]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement Tuesday that he had amassed enough signatures to qualify for the New Hampshire ballot for the general election, after already getting on Utah’s, is drawing fresh concern from Democrats over how he could transform the race… The spoiler theory — that there’s another potentially lethal force lurking, in the form of Kennedy — has been minimized in the discourse, at least publicly, as Biden looks to project confidence as voting commences. That hasn’t stopped Kennedy from trying to play his cards well. He has taken the unusual step of manufacturing an entirely new party as a way to circumvent ballot signature requirements for independent candidates in states with tougher benchmarks to meet than New Hampshire, which only needs 3,000 signatures. According to a release sent by his campaign earlier this month, the effort, dubbed the ‘We The People’ party, is showing that Kennedy can get on ballots in Biden’s home state of Delaware, the reliably Democratic California and Hawaii, as well as North Carolina and Mississippi. His campaign said it also created a similar party in Texas, on Democrats’ wish list each cycle, under the name the ‘Texas Independent Party.’” • Handy map:

I have asterisked the swing states where RFK, Jr. has a ballot access effort under way: *Arizona, *Georgia, Michigan, *Nevada, *North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“Trump Privately Pressuring GOP Senators To ‘Kill’ Border Deal To Deny Biden A Win” [HuffPo]. “‘Trump wants them to kill it because he doesn’t want Biden to have a victory,’ said the source. ‘He told them he will fix the border when he is president… He said he only wants the perfect deal.’” Plausible, but single-sourced. More: “Trump’s meddling generated an “emotional” discussion in a closed door meeting between Senate Republicans on Wednesday, as senators vented their frustrations for hours about the largely secret negotiations over emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel and immigration. The conference is splintering into two camps: those who believe Republicans should take the deal, and those who are opposed at any cost.” • It might also be that Trump doesn’t want money to go to Ukraine.

“U.S. Senate Republicans insist they won’t bow to Trump demands to quit immigration talks” [Missouri Independent]. “Despite the push from Trump to quash the talks, some Senate Republicans said that they have an obligation to address the Southern border. GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who endorsed Trump earlier this week, said that ‘Texas can’t afford to wait 11 months,’ referring to a potential second Trump presidency in 2025. ‘Some people have said, well, the (immigration) issue is going to go away, and so that’ll be denying President Trump the issue. I think that’s a fantasy,’ Cornyn said. ‘You’re not going to turn off what’s happening at the border like a water faucet, so this is going to continue to be a problem and it’s obviously a very, potent, political issue.’ He said that while Trump is ‘an important voice,’ the Senate ‘has a job to do, and we intend to do it.’ Lankford echoed the same sentiments, and expressed doubt that Republicans would be able to get substantial immigration policy done under a second term with Trump because ‘we tried to do some immigration work while President Trump was president (and) Democrats would not join us in that conversation, and I’m not sure that they would in the next administration in that time period as well.’”

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Willie Brown’s Old Clothes Now On Sale Through Goodwill In the ‘Willie Brown Collection’” [SFist]. “We kid you not, former SF mayor Willie Brown is now selling his clothes on Goodwill, and you can own Da Mayor’s old clothes. There aren’t any fedoras on sale, but you can buy one of his puffy Patagonia vests, and… his old coat hangers?…. It’s called the Willie Brown Collection, but the clothes are not for sale on the rack at your local Goodwill. They’re up for bid on eBay. And eBay is a pretty standard platform for charitable bidding fundraisers…. This is apparently not the first time Willie Brown has sold some of his old clothes in a Goodwill fundraiser — he did it back in 2021 as well. So maybe this latest batch of items just doesn’t fit anymore, or maybe his new sidepiece doesn’t like them. So yes it’s great that Willie Brown is doing a charitable turn for Goodwill, but he’s still no angel. Shortly after President Biden took office, , and apparently that’s what Brown is doing these days. In San Francisco, that’s the sort of thing that burn a lot of good will.” • What?! Talk about burying the lead!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Demiocracy, Chapter 5: History’s Hints — The Venetian Republic’s Electoral Procedures” [Equality by Lot]. “[In Venice,] to prevent tensions between the ruling families, sortition was introduced as way of appointing a new doge, but in order to ensure only a competent person could become ruler, the procedure was combined with elections. The result was an unbelievably roundabout system that took place in ten phases over a period of five days…. The Venetian system seems absurdly cumbersome, but recently several computer scientists have shown that this leader election protocol is interesting in that it ensured the more popular candidates actually won, while nevertheless giving minorities a chance and neutralizing corrupt voting behavior. Furthermore, it helped to bring compromise candidates to the fore by amplifying small advantages…. In any case, historians agree, that the extraordinary, lasting stability of the Venetian republic, which endured more than five centuries, until ended by Napoleon, can be attributed in part to the ingenious selection of ballotte. Without sortition the republic would undoubtedly have fallen prey far sooner to disputes between ruling families.” • The argument would be that this did not scale, but if we had more subsidiarity?


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

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

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

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

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

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Here is one view of Far-UV:

The estimable Naomi Wu takes issue with it here; the whole thread is worth reading:

Not sure where I come out on this (except I really worry about businesses screwing a blue bulb into a high-up socket and calling it good). But the discussion is fruitful. The airborne community on the Twitter remains one of the best around.


“Long COVID is associated with severe cognitive slowing: a multicentre cross-sectional study” [The Lancet]. From the Abstract: “We identified pronounced cognitive slowing in patients with PCC, which distinguished them from age-matched healthy individuals who previously had symptomatic COVID-19 but did not manifest PCC. … Together, these results robustly demonstrate pronounced cognitive slowing in people with PCC, which distinguishes them from age-matched healthy individuals who previously had symptomatic COVID-19 but did not manifest PCC. This might be an important factor contributing to some of the cognitive impairments reported in patients with PCC.” • Yikes! Yesterday, Tom Stone asked:

Has Covid had an effect on Humans that encourages risky and extreme behavior?

Driving is noticeably worse since the pandemic hit and the extremists appear to be more extreme than in the past while the deranged ( Nuland Et Al) are behaving in an even more deranged manner than they have previously.

There’s lots of anecdotal evidence like this on the Twitter. But this article, to my mind, lends it real backing (I realize that cognitive slowing isn’t, say, road rage per se, but one can certainly see imcomprehensibly lost capacities as a trigger.)

Elite Maleficence

How odd to characterize those who with to project others and themselves from an asymptomatic, airborne, Level Three Biobazard as a “cult” (although, to be fair, no doubt the Romans felt the same about the Christians):

For Dore and his ilk, the phrase “death cult” comes to mind, I think with more reason.

Joe, Jeff, Ashish, Mandy, good job:

WHO sabotages search on “airborne” and “aerosol”:

“Inhalable Respiratory Particles spread like smoke.” Has a nice ring to it!

* * *

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] Even after a decline, we’re still higher than any of the surges under Trump.

[2] Steep decline in the Northeast!

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

[4] “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.

[5] Decrease for the city aligns with wastewater data.

[6] “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”.

[7] -0.7%. (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.)

[8] Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

[9] Up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States PCE Price Index Monthly Change” [Trading Economics]. “The personal consumption expenditure price index in the US increased 0.2% month-over-month in December 2023, in line with market expectations, and following a 0.1% drop in November. It is the first increase in PCE prices in three months.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 26 at 1:54:35 PM ET

News of the Wired

“Dana-Farber retractions: meet the blogger who spotted problems in dozens of cancer papers” (interview) [Nature]. “The prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Massachusetts, acknowledged this week that it would seek retractions for 6 papers and corrections for an additional 31 — some co-authored by DFCI chief executive Laurie Glimcher, chief operating officer William Hahn and several other prominent cancer researchers. The news came after scientific-image sleuth Sholto David posted his concerns about more than 50 manuscripts to a blog on 2 January.” And: “You recently left your 2,000th comment on PubPeer. What keeps you coming back? [DAVID:] I enjoy the ridiculous back and forth with the authors over e-mail. I care a lot about the animals [that are killed for life-sciences experiments] as well. The level of expectation we should have when we’re dealing with animals and high-profile institutions is that they’re super careful and that they get things right, so it’s frustrating when you see errors.” • See, we can make a difference!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From CW:

From Alaska. CW sends us a picture of lovely snow-covered trees, plus a moose. Moose are big, so that snow is deep!

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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:

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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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