ECONOMY

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/5/2024 | naked capitalism

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Some readers asked for something table of contents-like, so here are a few highlights amidst the density:

High- or Lowlights

(1) Victoria Nuland, baker of cookies, retires.

(2) What if Congress decides not to count Trump’s electors?

(3) On the extraordinary and sudden drop in Walgreens Positivity numbers;

(4) Taylor Swift has a cough.

(5) Google’s siloed culture (of fear).

Bird Song of the Day

Mountain Mouse-Warbler, 1 km N Warili Lodge, below Tari Gap, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea. I assume near a waterfall… But a pretty song!

* * *

Politics

“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)

“Supreme Court rules states cannot remove Trump from ballot for insurrection” [SCOTUSblog]. “In their six-page joint opinion, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson agreed with the result that the per curiam opinion reached – that Colorado cannot disqualify Trump – but not its reasoning. The three justices acknowledged that permitting Colorado to remove Trump from the ballot ‘would … create a chaotic state-by-state patchwork.’ But the majority should not, in their view, have gone on to decide who can enforce Section 3 and how. Nothing in Section 3 indicates that it must be enforced through legislation enacted by Congress pursuant to Section 5, they contended. And by resolving ‘many unsettled questions about Section 3,’ the three justices complained, ‘the majority goes beyond the necessities of this case to limit how Section 3 can bar an oathbreaking insurrectionist from becoming President.’” • And–

“Takeaways from Trump’s Supreme Court win: He stays on ballot, but his legal peril is just starting” [Associated Press]. “But another potential nightmare is that if Congress is the only entity that can determine whether a presidential hopeful is indeed disqualified for engaging in ‘insurrection,’ that it makes that determination on Jan. 6, 2025, when required to certify a possible Trump victory in the presidential election. The high court shut down the first possibility, but may have left the door open to the second one. The five-justice majority — all from the court’s conservative wing — said Congress can implement Section 3 through legislation, ‘subject of course to judicial review.’ (That means the court reserves for itself the right to have the final say.) That triggered a dissent from the court’s three liberals, who complained that that ‘shuts the door on other potential means of federal enforcement.’ That would appear to include a rejection of Trump’s electors should he win the election — but multiple legal experts said Monday that it wasn’t that clear, and the only way to know may be for Congress to try.’” • Generally, winning both Houses in addition to the Presidency is considered ideal, but for Republicans this year, it’s really ideal. And–

“‘They didn’t do it clearly enough’: SCOTUS ruling prompts worries of another Jan. 6 crisis” [Politico]. “The five justices who fully endorsed the court’s lead opinion envisioned Congress passing ‘enforcement legislation’ to make this call. But scholars say the 13-page opinion left room for Trump’s detractors to pursue another path if he receives a majority of electoral votes this November: They could try to throw out his electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2025, when Congress will meet to certify the winner of the 2024 election.” And: “Some constitutional scholars noted, however, that Congress did pass legislation that lawmakers could view as justifying challenges to Trump’s electors in 2025: a 2022 law reforming the electoral vote counting process intended to prevent a future effort to subvert the results. That law sharply limited the types of challenges lawmakers could raise to electoral votes certified by the states but included a key exception: .” • Here is the same scenario made more concretely, also from Politico–

“The glaring omissions and telling fractures in the Trump ballot ruling” [Politico]. “Consider a scenario in which Trump prevails in the November election and at least one branch of Congress ends up under Democratic control. On Jan. 6, 2025, the newly elected Congress will meet to certify the results of the Electoral College. And in that scenario, Democrats — some of whom have already declared that they believe Trump is ineligible to serve — would have to decide whether to count Trump’s electoral votes and certify the election. It’s not difficult to imagine a movement to refuse to count Trump’s electors by citing the 14th Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision empowering Congress to enforce it.” • And of course, the Democrats could try to create “faithless electors,” as in 2016. Speaking of the transfer of power in “our democracy.”

The Constitutional Order (Eighth Amendment)

“‘Clean’ property, private lenders could be Trump’s best option to get $540 million for legal judgments” [CNBC]. “They also say Trump can’t simply post a cash deposit — at least not in his New York civil business fraud case, where he is facing $454 million in fines and interest alone. ‘No one, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Donald Trump, has five hundred million laying around,’ Trump’s attorney Chris Kise told an appeals court judge last week. But legal experts say there’s another option that Trump’s lawyers haven’t mentioned in the court filings: Trump could offer up some of his properties as collateral to borrow what he needs — potentially from private equity sources. There are ‘lots of private lenders out there in the debt markets and private equity markets that could lend’ to Trump, said Columbia University law professor Eric Talley. ‘In all cases, the loans would probably have to be secured with Trump properties, but if there is enough equity in some of them, he should be able to obtain secured credit, even on a compressed timeline,’ Talley said. Any loans ‘would themselves involve making declarations of the value of the property — and that of course is what got him into this mess to begin with,’ said Talley. But , and did not rely solely on the claims at issue in his financial statements. A more important factor could be whether Trump’s real estate assets are already mortgaged, said law professor John Coffee. ‘He would have to come up with clean real estate property that is not already securing something that some other bank has a lien on,’ Coffee said. ‘Does he have that property? I can’t tell you.’” • Hmm.

Biden Administration

“White House lifting its COVID-19 testing rule for people around Biden, ending a pandemic vestige” [Associated Press]. • “Vestige.” One must admire BIden’s commitment to the bit, and the (pre-SOTU) timing, oddly coincident with CDC’s “one day” isolation guidance. One can only hope that nothing terrible happens, although….

And also before the SOTU:

What a shame. It couldn’t happen to a nicer Ukrainian irredentist. Did she fall, or was she pushed?

2024

Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “Takeaways from Trump’s Supreme Court win: He stays on ballot, but his legal peril is just starting” [Associated Press]. The state of play: “Few observers expected the Supreme Court to keep Trump off the ballot. But he’s facing far more perilous legal road ahead. The first of Trump’s criminal trials, for allegedly falsifying business records to pay hush money to an adult film actress during the 2016 presidential campaign, is scheduled to start in New York later this month. The former president is also appealing a New York judge’s ruling that he pay $355 million for fraud committed by his businesses, and verdict that he pay a writer $83 million for defaming her after she sued him for sexual assault. Depending on how and how quickly the high court rules on Trump’s immunity claim, he could still face charges for trying to overturn the 2020 election in Washington DC before this November’s election. Two more cases are more likely to come later – in Atlanta where Trump faces state charges for his 2020 election plot, and in Florida where he’s tentatively scheduled for a May trial on improper retention of classified documents after leaving the presidency, but the trial date is expected to be postponed. Monday was a win Trump needed to continue his campaign, but his days in court are far from over.”

Trump (R): “The Supreme Court just crushed any hope that Trump could be removed from the ballot” [Vox]. “This means that any attempt to disqualify Trump is almost certainly dead. Even if special counsel Jack Smith can amend his indictment to bring charges under the insurrection statute [and why would he do that, if he has not already done it?], the Court’s decision to slow-walk Trump’s trial means that the election will most likely be over before that trial takes place. The courts, it is now crystal clear, are not going to do much of anything to prevent an insurrectionist former president from occupying the White House once again. And the Supreme Court appears to be actively running interference on Trump’s behalf.”

Trump (R): “Despite win, Supreme Court strikes blow to Trump’s central campaign theme” [ABC]. “The Trump playbook is well established. When legal proceedings don’t go his way, he lashes out at judges, prosecutors, court employees, witnesses and even potential juries. The Supreme Court, including the justices he nominated to the court, have been the target of Trump’s wrath when they have shown independence in the past.” • I think the headline overstates the case. The argument, insofar as I can parse it out, is that since a Court decision went Trump’s way, none of Trump’s past complaints about bias were justified. The argument could also be made that Trump has finally instilled fear in the Court.

* * *

Biden (D): “Joe Biden’s Last Campaign” [The New Yorker]. “Unsurprisingly, Biden’s aides reject the idea that the White House is insular or dismissive of reality. Zients, who succeeded Ron Klain as chief of staff last year, pointed to Biden’s reputation for soliciting opinions from critics. ‘Just the other day, he picked up the phone and called Larry Summers,’ Zients said. As outreach goes, it was relatively safe; Summers, despite his critical comments, is a longtime adviser to Presidents. Biden’s other occasional calls range from the columnist Thomas Friedman to the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. ‘,’ Zients said.” • Wowsers.

Biden (D): “Reality bites Democrats: Courts won’t save them from Trump” [Axios]. “The sprawling efforts to hold Trump accountable for Jan. 6 — including through impeachment, criminal prosecution and the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause — appear unlikely to ripen before November. Many Democrats are coming to grips with the idea that Trump can only be defeated at the ballot box.” • Poor babies!

* * *

“Will Biden or Trump win ‘double haters’? Unhappy voters may decide 2024 election.” [USA Today]. “One important voting group we will be watching is voters who are unfavorable toward both Biden and Trump. These ‘double haters’ or ‘double unfavorables’ show significant volatility, questionable turnout and a keen interest in third-party candidates…. The latest Marquette University Law School national survey pegs this group as 17% of the electorate, which is nearly identical to the share of voters in 2016 who disliked both Hillary Clinton and Trump. Trump ended up winning this group, which broke toward him in the late stages of the campaign and may have been a key factor in his victory. In 2020, however, just 3% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of both Biden and Trump, according to exit polling. Trump has managed to win votes among people who say they don’t like him as a person, but winning among people who dislike him is new terrain for Biden…. Who will win these double haters in November? Well, it’s not certain that either Biden or Trump will. In fact, in the latest national polls from Quinnipiac University, Marquette University and Morning Consult, Robert Kennedy Jr. wins a plurality among those who dislike both Biden and Trump.”

“How Democrats Can Win Anywhere and Everywhere” [Frank Bruni, New York Times]. Even though it’s Frank Bruni, it’s not bad! “The specificity and detail with which state-level Democrats, working on a smaller canvas, can portray problems, sketch solutions and describe successes make me wonder if Democrats would be wise to pitch more of their policies and concentrate more of their energies outside Washington. They often find better traction and make readier connections that way. I think of Shapiro’s livestreaming of the fleet work on I-95.” Which was impressive! More: “I think of many key lines from Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth remarks in January, when he advanced measures regarding climate change, economic development and job creation without dwelling on clinical phrases like ‘climate change,’ ‘economic development’ and ‘job creation.’ He gave shout-outs to several companies ‘building the two largest electric vehicle battery plants on planet Earth, in Glendale, Ky.’ He noted that ‘approximately 400 Kentuckians’ had been hired. This was no fancy policy seminar. It was a straightforward report card.” • Concrete material benefits; “potholes.” This would drive the identity politics NGOs nuts, not a bad thing. And they have been weakened by layoffs. But I don’t think it’s in the national Democrats to do, and I don’t think voters would believe them if they tried it.

* * *

“Pollsters are pranking us, right?” [Yahoo Finance]. “The American doom loop deepens…. But sorry, this is not Venezuela or Zimbabwe. Inflation has come down remarkably fast, and most economists think it will be back near the preferred level of 2% or so later this year. Inflation is painful for families on a budget, but there’s no way an 18-month spate of price hikes explains why half of all Americans say they’re living in misery. Something’s off.” More: “There are many other polls and surveys that suggest Americans are far more bummed out than a relatively solid economy should warrant. Economists have puzzled over the seeming breakdown between confidence and employment. Maybe inflation is a far more traumatic phenomenon [not to mention a million Covid deaths] than understood. Maybe people are worried about other things — crime, wars, cultural decay — that they express as concern about the economy. Maybe Americans just hate their leaders and want to punish them by telling pollsters everything sucks.” Seems plausible! And: “The real answer may be that a lot of people think they deserve more and they’re frustrated they’re not getting it. It doesn’t really matter if our overall numbers are better than anybody else’s or if this or that group is doing just fine. We’re just not doing good enough.” • Kudos for coming round to class warfare, which “economists” tend not to do, even when puzzled.

Republican Funhouse

“The Surprising Takeaway From My Survey on How Trump Got a Grip on the GOP Grassroots” [Politico]. “County chairs are influential in local GOP circles, party leaders who can offer the kind of endorsements that candidates are eager to collect. They’re also still close to the rank-and-file grassroots, and their shifts, I imagined, would signal where the rest of the party was going. But instead, I found that the county chairs didn’t lead their voters. For the most part, they followed them — to Donald Trump.”

#COVID19

“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!

* * *

Celebrity Watch

“Taylor Swift concert review in Singapore: A near-perfect celebration of the singer’s legacy thus far” [Channel News Asia]. “Swift was operating at 110 per cent from the get-go. Her energy was infectious and it was honestly hard to look away from her iconic bedazzled Versace bodysuit that has since become a calling card of The Eras Tour…. As one would expect from Swift, her vocals were on point. In fact, they were unwavering. Not once during the three-and-a-half-hour show did Swift’s voice show any weakness.” • This is typical hagiographical coverage. But “not once” is untrue–

“TAYLOR SWIFT FANS CONCERNED OVER COUGH …” [TMZ]. “Taylor Swift fans are apparently worried about her health because she happened to cough onstage — which, while sweet, speaks to how hyper-focused these loyalists really are.” • “Happened to” seems not to be true either–

“Fan fears for Taylor Swift after she struggles through Singapore show” [News.com]. “In a video shared on social media, Swift is seen repeatedly coughing and clearing her throat as she sang the song Delicate for a 55,000-strong crowd at Singapore’s National Stadium. ‘Hope she’s OK, she’s been coughing,’ the social media user captioned their video. Others who had been at the concert shared that they were concerned about Swift…. After watching the video from Singapore, one fan noted that Swift even looked a little ‘clammy’, with several wondering if she might have COVID. ‘That’s a lot of coughing,’ the fan wrote…. ‘Most people that went to the Sydney shows caught COVID, poor Tay Tay probably did too,’ wrote another. Another fan said she was already starting to sound a bit ‘raspy’ at the final Sydney concert. ‘Can you imagine having the tickle cough and having to sing?’ they wrote. ‘I don’t even like coughing in my cubicle at work.’” • S-o-o-o…. Could be PM2.5, I suppose, of which Southeast Asia has plenty. See “Adele vs. Taylor Swift, Covid, and Entertainment Industry Pandemic Insurance.”

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

LEGEND

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.”

NOTES

[1] (Biobot) Biobot drops, conformant to Walgreen positivity data (if that is indeed not a data artifact). Note, however, the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Regional separation re-emerges.

[3] (CDC Variants) 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] (ER) Does not support Biobot data. “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Not flattening.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “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] (Walgreens) That’s a big drop! 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. UPDATE Given the extraordinary and sudden drop-off, I thought I’d check to see if the population being tested changed in some way. Here are the absolute numbers on February 14, at the edge of the cliff:

And here are the absolute numbers on March 3:

As you can see, there’s an order of magnitude decrease in those testing between those two dates. Was there an event on or about February 14 that is a candidate suggesting an account of this massive shift in behavior? Why yes, yes there is:

“CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines” [WaPo] (February 13, 2024).

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening, consistent with Biobot data.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) Backward revisions remove NV.1 data. JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods fell by 3.6% month-over-month in January 2024, following a revised 0.3% decrease in December, and compared with market forecasts of a 2.9% decline. It is the biggest decrease since April 2020….” • Hmm. Nor for the same reason, surely.

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased to 56.5 in February 2024, the highest reading in four months, from 55.6 in January, amid a broad-based expansion in all metrics and continued progress in transportation and the buildup of inventories upstream at the manufacturing and wholesale levels.”

Services: “United States ISM Services Business Activity” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI Business Activity sunbindex in the United States increased to a five-month high….”

* * *

Banking: “If One Megabank Collapses, the US Economy Goes With It. Should We Have More?” [Politico]. “How big should American banks be, and how much financial power should be concentrated in the largest ones? It’s an important question — perhaps even more so now than when Wall Street crashed the economy 15 years ago. Since then, the four universal megabanks that now dominate the economy — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo — have grown significantly.” • Thanks, Obama!

Tech: “Google’s Culture of Fear” [Pirate Wires]. “Over the last week, in communication with a flood of Googlers eager to speak on the issues facing their company — from management on almost every major product, to engineering, sales, trust and safety, publicity, and marketing — employees painted a far bleaker portrait of the company than is often reported: Google is a runaway, cash-printing search monopoly with no vision, no leadership, and, due to its incredibly siloed culture, no real sense of what is going on from team to team. The only thing connecting employees is a powerful, sprawling HR bureaucracy that, yes, is totally obsessed with left-wing political dogma. But the company’s zealots are only capable of thriving because no other fount of power asserts, or even attempts to assert, any kind of meaningful influence. The phrase “culture of fear” was used by almost everyone I spoke with, and not only to explain the dearth of resistance to the company’s craziest DEI excesses, but to explain the dearth of innovation from what might be the highest concentration of talented technologists in the world. Employees, at every level, and for almost every reason, are afraid to challenge the many processes which have crippled the company — and outside of promotion season, most are afraid to be noticed. In the words of one senior engineer, “I think it’s impossible to ship good products at Google.” Now, with the company’s core product threatened by a new technology release they just botched on a global stage, that failure to innovate places the company’s existence at risk.” • Following Conway’s Law, all you need to do to understand how Google is siloed is look at their home page:

For example, Maps aren’t integrated with News, although that would be a representation useful to many readers. Search isn’t integrated with Mail. What you are seeing in the above dropdown is successful efforts by project teams, but the projects are not integrated in any way. Of course, that could be a good thing; imagine if everything Google did was as enshittified as Search (though s).

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Greed (previous close: 78 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 5 at 2:55:14 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

Keep the gravy train rolling:

Not all that different from droplet dogmatists; the same drive applies across all the professions, I would say, although with different degrees of corruption.

“The Data is Clear: People Are Having Less Sex” [Graphs about Religion]. “There was a bit of kerfuffle on the internet back in August surrounding a piece published with the title ‘Failure to Launch: Why Young People are Having Less Sex.’ Using a survey of Californians aged 18-30, the percentage reporting no sexual partners in the prior year reached an all-time high of 38%. Here’s an even more eye-raising statistic: in 2021, among that same age group, just 9% of women reported having at least 2 sexual partners. It was 12% of younger men. The widespread belief that these young adults are having a ton of casual sex is demonstrably false. The common perception of ‘sexually promiscuous’ likely doesn’t align with a 25-year-old having only two sexual partners in a year, I’d guess.” However: “It’s not just young people having less sex; this trend spans virtually all adult age groups. People are having less sex.” From the General Social Survey, by religion:

Over time:

The author half-jokingly suggests social media as a cause, but I don’t see how the data supports that. It would also be useful to have international data. Nevertheless….

Class Warfare

“Unmasking a Nurse’s Journey Through Long COVID Gaslighting” [MedPage Today]. “I met with a pulmonologist for further evaluation a few weeks later, but it did not go well. After explaining my symptoms and concerns about my scan, I shared my theory that I had COVID-19 in February. He immediately downplayed the scan results by shrugging and saying, ‘eh, it’s just inflammation.’ Then, in an offhanded tone, almost jokingly, he replied, ‘Yeah, I’m in the ICU all day long, intubating patients with sputum flying everywhere, and I haven’t caught it yet, so I doubt you got it. But we can do an antibody test if that will make you feel better.’ I was speechless. He didn’t ask how I was exposed. He just took this infallible and condescending tone that somehow what he did was so much more critical and that if he hadn’t caught it, I certainly couldn’t have. Here I was, despite my medical knowledge, scared about what was happening with my body. Not knowing if I was ever going to recover or if this damage was permanent. There was so little known about COVID at this point, it felt utterly reckless to make assumptions about what it was and wasn’t doing in the body. It was incredibly frustrating to me that my health was in the hands of a provider who acted so nonchalantly about something that, to me, he obviously knew so little about. And for my concerns and fears to be minimized as if they weren’t important.” • And it’s still going on.

News of the Wired

“Tricks By Difficulty” [The Library of Juggling]. • I don’t know why they start at Level 2. Have fun!

* * *

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 Carla:

Carla doesn’t comment, but this captures December light beautifully. And for me, brings back so many memories of the Midwest. Everything screams Midwest, from the roofline of the house opposite, to the sidewalks, to the bushes, to the window display itself.

* * *

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