By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, if once again I must ask you to be patient. Our backend has a case of the slows, and I may not be able to post in time. –lambert UPDATE Success!
Bird Song of the Day
Western Meadowlark, On Sharp-tailed Grouse Dance G[r]ound, Community Pasture, Delta, Manitoba, Canada. “No. songs: IIIII IIII / IIIIIIIIII / IIII / dancing changes theme after song 5 and 15 Also: sharp-tailed grouse recorded with open mike.” From 1959! Old school!
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“Read annotated Trump indictment from Jack Smith’s 2020 election probe” [MSNBC]. • The hand-annotated look is actually much better than the NYT’s swipe-friendly version. The also translate the obfuscatory “Conspirator N verbiage to real names, consistently. This sticks in my craw:
Beltway swamp creatures can take care of themselves, and I suppose everybody who volunteered to be an elector knew what they were getting into, but nevertheless could we leave the small-timers out of it?
“How the Trump fake electors scheme became a ‘corrupt plan,’ according to the indictment” [Associated Press]. “The 45-page indictment states that when Trump could not persuade state officials to illegally swing the election in his favor, he and his Republican allies began recruiting a slate of fake electors in seven battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to sign certificates falsely stating that he, not Democrat Joe Biden, had won their states. While those certificates were ultimately ignored by lawmakers, federal prosecutors say it was all part of ‘a corrupt plan to subvert the federal government function by stopping Biden electors’ votes from being counted and certified.’” • “Contingent” is a more neutral term than “fake” (especially if the electors believed, as some seem to have been told, that their votes would be used depending on the outcome of court cases). “Contingent electors” differ from the “faithless electors” contemplated by the Clinton campaign in 2016.
“The biggest misconception about Trump’s third criminal indictment” [Popular Information]. “If Trump is convicted, it will be based on his actions…. The indictment alleges that Trump participated in three conspiracies that violate three federal statutes: obstructing the process by which ‘the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified by the federal government,’ obstructing ‘the January 6 congressional proceeding,’ and interfering with ‘the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.’ Each of the conspiracies is based on the same overall narrative…. Much of the evidence to establish that Trump violated each statute does not depend at all on whether Trump believed his lies. For example, the efforts of Trump and his co-conspirators to cling to power by creating a fake slate of pro-Trump electors is a key piece of the case against Trump…. This scheme alone, if proven in court, would likely be enough to substantiate all four felony charges. And it has nothing to do with whether Trump believed (or still believes) he won the 2020 election. Even if Trump believed with all his heart he actually won Arizona despite the vote count, that does not make it legal for him to conspire to create a fake set of electors to disrupt the certification process and the January 6 congressional proceeding. That is illegal regardless of what he believes.”
“Indicting Trump for ‘knowingly false statements’ about election sets US on dangerous path” [Jonathan Turley, USA Today]. “In the 2012 United States v. Alvarez decision, the Supreme Court held 6-3 that it is unconstitutional to criminalize lies in a case involving a politician who lied about military decorations. The court warned such criminalization ‘would give government a broad censorial power unprecedented in this Court’s cases or in our constitutional tradition. The mere potential for the exercise of that power casts a chill, a chill the First Amendment cannot permit if free speech, thought, and discourse are to remain a foundation of our freedom.” More: ‘On the election claims, Smith declares that Trump ‘knew that they were false’ because he was “notified repeatedly that his claims were untrue.’” The word the indictment uses again and again is “explained.” But: “The problem is that Trump had lawyers and others telling him that the claims were true. Smith is indicting Trump for believing his lawyers over his other advisers.” And: “Smith also noted that Trump made false claims against the accuracy of voting machines in challenging the outcome of the election. In 2021, Democratic lawyers alleged that thousands of votes may have been switched or changed by voting machines in New York elections. Was that also a crime of disinformation? Smith indicted Trump because the now former president ‘spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.’” “Outcome-determinative fraud” — not just “fraud” — is another phrase constantly used. More: “The special counsel also says Trump ‘repeated and widely disseminated (the lies) anyway – to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.’” • I don’t know enough about causality in conspiracy cases. On my reading, an “intense national atmosphere” is, at it were, a “material cause” for a lot of the events described in the indictment; January 6, for example. Presumably, creating an “intense national atmosphere” is not a crime?
“Supreme Court Could Throw Wrench Into Trump’s Jan. 6 Indictment” [Newsweek]. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday announced four felony charges against Trump, accusing him of three conspiracies plus a fourth charge of . The fourth charge is not new to at least 310 January 6 defendants who were also charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, and it’s this charge that could be upended by a different case, should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to take it up.” Those defendants having been charged and convicted in the same court trying Trump. More: “ is titled “Tampering with a Witness, Victim, or Informant” and provides that an individual who ‘corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document’ or ‘otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so’ can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.” “Influences” seems broad. More: “The petition sent to the Supreme Court last month said that there was reason to suspect that the DOJ’s use of 1512 will ‘serve to chill political speech and expression on the eve of one of the most consequential events in American life – the election of the next President of the United States.’”
“The Indictments Are Trump’s Rocket Fuel” [Newsweek]. “Trump’s enemies are so consumed with hatred for him that they cannot think or act strategically. They believe they are being strategic by orchestrating flimsy if dangerous indictments in New York, Florida, Washington D.C., and Georgia soon as well. They think they’re burying him under a blizzard of charges, draining his resources, and distracting him from campaigning effectively for re-election. And they may be right that their despicable lawfare will hobble him until November 2024 and beyond. But they’re missing the central point about Trump and his powerful, unprecedented appeal to voters: As an America First outsider, he established an organic emotional bond with the people, who view him—rightly—as their champion, a man who sacrificed everything to improve their lives and restore the America they love back to greatness. That’s an incredibly potent draw, and it’s one that cannot be overcome by conventional political means. Hence the ruling class’s increasingly desperate and relentless attempts to destroy him, from the Russia collusion hoax to two bogus impeachments to encouraging the violence of radical groups in an election year and more.” • The proof of the pudding is in the eating….
* * *
“Gaggle of crackpot lawyers.” Ouch!
President Trump and his gaggle of crackpot lawyers asked me to reject electoral votes and chaos would have ensued. To keep faith with the oath that I made to the American people and to Almighty God, I did my duty that day. pic.twitter.com/FktUIODXCF
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) August 2, 2023
NEW: Mike Pence selling “”TOO HONEST”” merch in wake of Trump indictment
According to the Special Counsel, Trump called Pence on New Year’s Day in 2021 and “”berated him.”” When Pence said he didn’t have the authority to return or reject votes, Trump told him, “”You’re too honest.”” pic.twitter.com/srGkmJWuMG
— Libby Cathey (@libbycathey) August 3, 2023
* * *
“Ron DeSantis agrees to debate Gavin Newsom on Fox News” [Politico]. “A showdown between the two seemed unlikely as DeSantis ramped up his presidential campaign. But Newsom still has spent months trying to entice his counterpart into joining him on a stage. On Wednesday, DeSantis agreed, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity: ‘Absolutely I’m game. Just tell me when and where.’” • Hmm.
* * *
“Comer Releases Devon Archer’s Transcribed Interview Transcript” (press release) [House Committee on Oversight and Accountability]. The full transcript is here. The release includes key portions. Here’s one:
Mr. Goldman: Well, I don’t understand. How does [the Biden brand] have an impact?
Mr. Archer: Well, the capabilities to navigate D.C. that they were able to, you know, basically be in the news cycle. And I think that preserved them from a, you know, from a longevity standpoint. That’s like my honest ‑‑ that’s like really what I ‑‑ that’s like how I think holistically.
Mr. Goldman: But how would that work?
Mr. Archer: Because people would be intimidated to mess with them.
Mr. Goldman: In what way?
Mr. Archer: Legally.
The “Biden brand” is the theory of the case. It’s not a bad theory (albeit not a quid pro quo). More:
Archer stated then-VP Biden was on the phone over 20 times with Hunter Biden’s business associates and that these phone calls were a “”signal.”” pic.twitter.com/Fat4PaBJ72
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) August 3, 2023
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:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“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.
* * *
This “polluting the jury pool” talking point is new. I’ve seen it around a couple of times:
One of the 16 Michigan Fake Electors has been arraigned. Here she is trying to pollute the jury pool on the news the other day. “”They’re jailing all of Trump’s top leaders””. Ok Meshawn. They are only jailing the one’s who tried to overturn the damn election. pic.twitter.com/2gZhKNjLDW
— Is Anyone Left? (@is_anyone_left) July 26, 2023
Apparently, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to opinions expressed on a case before a court (modulo a gag order for participants in the trail, of course). Good to know.
“Wisconsin lawsuit asks new liberal-controlled Supreme Court to toss Republican-drawn maps” [Associated Press]. “A lawsuit filed Wednesday asks Wisconsin’s newly liberal-controlled state Supreme Court to throw out Republican-drawn legislative maps as unconstitutional, the latest legal challenge of many nationwide that could upset political boundary lines before the 2024 election. The long-promised action is backed by Democrats and was filed by a coalition of law firms and voting rights advocacy groups. It comes the day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped from a conservative to liberal majority, with the start of the term of a justice who said that the Republican maps were ‘rigged’ and should be reviewed.”
“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).
Hat tips to helpful readers: 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, Utah, Bob White (3).
Stay safe out there!
Look for the Helpers
People want to be well and are not stupid. They knew their masks were not much good but did not know about alternatives. I gave them notes about FFP2 and FFP3 and told them to come back to me if they find it difficult ordering on line.
Grassroots doing the job of Public Health.
— Jane #YellowRose 💙 (@janestevenson68) August 2, 2023
Covid is Airborne
Regulation needed, as for masks, with air cleaning devices:
— Joey Fox (@joeyfox85) July 28, 2023
You’d think that could have been part of Project NextGen.
Censorship and Propaganda
“Amid Signs of a Covid Uptick, Researchers Brace for the ‘New Normal’” [New York Times]. And we have to “brace” for a “new normal” why? The deck: “Infections remain very low, despite signs of a slight increase. Now, experts are looking for clues to this winter and beyond.” tl;dr: Cope. “Nearly all Americans have built up multiple layers of immunity following repeated infections, immunizations or both, so the virus is unlikely to cause the harm this winter that was seen in previous seasons.” But: “Researchers have been trying to assess how updated Covid vaccines and emerging variants might change the course of the pandemic. By the most pessimistic estimates, if no vaccine were available and the circulating variant dodged most immune defenses, Covid might lead to about 839,000 hospitalizations and around 87,000 deaths nationwide between September and April.” • So that’s alright, then. I’m totally braced!
“Nose-picking healthcare workers more likely to catch Covid, data suggests” [Guardian]. • Hard to do with a mask!
“Epigenetic liquid biopsies reveal elevated vascular endothelial cell turnover and erythropoiesis in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients” (preprint) [medRxiv]. From the Abstract: ” Asymptomatic patients had elevated levels of immune-derived [cell-free DNA (cfDNA)] but did not show evidence of pulmonary or cardiac damage. Surprisingly, these patients showed elevated levels of vascular endothelial cell and erythroblast cfDNA, suggesting that sub-clinical vascular and erythrocyte turnover are universal features of COVID-19, .” • Erythrocyte = red blood cell.
Interesting thread on ground truth. Walk around and look!
This is Belfast, Ireland. Readers, what do you see?
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.
* * *
Filing this here. Family values (1):
Even writing this out I feel fucking conspiratorial. But then I look at the BMA, the BMJ, Nature, all this shit, and I know I am right to be cautious. The gaslighting is on a whole other level. Everyone gave up on reality. Fuck you. /end
— Julie (@jubunnies) August 2, 2023
Family values (2):
Thanks to the people who did this
— chantzy (@chantz_y) July 28, 2023
Very sad. What to do?
#StopHICPAC Dr. Alex Kallen, Designated Federal Officer for HICPAC, said yesterday in NAS COPPE meeting that NIOSH has been included in devt of new isolation precautions guidelines. NIOSH liaisons are not from NPPTL and there’s been no NPPTL (respirator research) involvement.
— Lisa M Brosseau (@brosseau_lisa) August 2, 2023
NPPTL = CDC’s own “National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.” In other words, HICPAC didn’t consult CDC’s own in-house engineering experts. MD’s exclusively, who should stay in their lane (because ventilation and masking are engineering problems, not medical problems).
Also, HICPAC’s next meeting:
#StopHICPAC Register for the August 22 HICPAC meeting: https://t.co/Hx6YRjgccU
Deadline is August 17. Sign up to give comments. If you need talking points: https://t.co/XcYtQ16pVA CDC staff say a vote on new guidelines is unlikely. But not sure that is believable.
— Lisa M Brosseau (@brosseau_lisa) August 2, 2023
* * *
Three years in, and droplet dogma reigns in Hospital Infection Control, at least in British Columbia:
I was in the hospital today and the entire wing had “droplet precaution” signs everywhere and ALL THE NURSES were in masks again (they haven’t worn masks for months).
So let’s hope my N95 did its job.
And of course none of the patients were in masks
— lucas 🎺 (@theLUCASTDS) August 3, 2023
Granted, at least they reacted. Too late, I assume.
NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, July 31:
Lambert here: Still rising. People have now noticed this chart, I assume because CDC gave them permission to do so. Doubling in about a week. One thing is sure: If it doubles again (blue line), the levels of cope and denial will be off the charts.
Lambert here: Again, backward revision. Now all regions are reporting increases but at different rates.
Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.
Regional variant data:
Whatever the cause of the uptick in the Northeast, it’s not EG.5 (the orange pie slice), which seems evenly distributed.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, July 22:
Lambert here: EG.5 still on the leaderboard, but getting crowded out (?) by all those XBB’s.
From CDC, July 8:
Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).
CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 29:
Lambert here: Increase is even more distinct. (The black line is “combined”, but it is easy to see that Covid, the red line, is driving everything.)
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.
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, July 31:
3.2%. Interestingly, people are citing to this, too, as well as Biobot. Vertical, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)
NOT UPDATED From CDC, July 10:
Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one….
Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 2:
Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?,,
Total: 1,169,985 –
1,169,841 = 144 (144 * 365 = 52,560 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).
The Economist, August 2:
Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )
Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits edged higher by 6,000 from the prior week to 227,000 on the week ending July 29th, in line with market expectations and holding close to the five-month low from the previous period.”
Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for manufactured goods in the US increased by 2.3% from the previous month to $592 million in June of 2023, the most since January 2021, and extending the upwardly revised 0.4% advance from the previous month.”
Tech: “IBM and NASA Open Source Largest Geospatial AI Foundation Model on Hugging Face” (press release) [IBM]. “IBM and open-source AI platform Hugging Face today announced that IBM’s watsonx.ai geospatial foundation model – built from NASA’s satellite data – will now be openly available on Hugging Face. It will be the largest geospatial foundation model on Hugging Face and the first-ever open-source AI foundation model built in collaboration with NASA. Access to the latest data remains a significant challenge in climate science where environmental conditions change almost daily. And, despite growing amounts of data — estimates from NASA suggest that by 2024, scientists will have 250,000 terabytes of data from new missions — scientists and researchers still face obstacles in analyzing these large datasets.” • Oh, great. A bullshit generator proffering climate solutions. We have the Koch Brothers already. Why do we need this?
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 66 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 1:47 PM ET. Big swing to mere greed. Fitch? The latest Trump indictment?
Our Famously Free Press
What Happened to Reddit (1):
— Reddit for Business (@RedditforBiz) July 24, 2023
“What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?” [David Brooks, New York Times]. “We built an entire social order that sorts and excludes people on the basis of the quality that we possess most: academic achievement. Highly educated parents go to elite schools, marry each other, work at high-paying professional jobs and pour enormous resources into our children, who get into the same elite schools, marry each other and pass their exclusive class privileges down from generation to generation…. Does this mean that I think the people in my class are vicious and evil? No, most of us are earnest, kind and public spirited. But we take for granted and benefit from systems that have become oppressive. Elite institutions have become so politically progressive in part because the people in them want to feel good about themselves as they take part in systems that exclude and reject. It’s easy to understand why people in less-educated classes would conclude that they are under economic, political, cultural and moral assault — and why they’ve rallied around Trump as their best warrior against the educated class. Trump understood that it’s not the entrepreneurs who seem most threatening to workers; it’s the professional class. Trump understood that there was great demand for a leader who would stick his thumb in our eyes on a daily basis and reject the whole epistemic regime that we road in on.” That’s “rode in.” The Times firing the copy editors is a fine example of the process Brooks describes. More: “As the sociologist E. Digby Baltzell wrote decades ago, “”History is a graveyard of classes which have preferred caste privileges to leadership.”” That is the destiny our class is now flirting with. We can condemn the Trumpian populists all day until the cows come home, but the real question is when will we stop behaving in ways that make Trumpism inevitable.” • Commentary:
This is like a chimpanzee recognizing itself in the mirror pic.twitter.com/3AiZSGRuu0
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) August 3, 2023
If so, there are some chimps who can do that. And other chimps that don’t look in the mirror at all. How come it takes — ffs! — David Brooks to write this piece?
“Affirmative action for rich kids: It’s more than just legacy admissions” [NPR]. “Among a number of other discoveries, [Raj Chetty and David J. Deming] find that kids from the richest 1% of American families are more than twice as likely to attend the nation’s most elite private colleges as kids from middle-class families with similar SAT scores. The silver spoon these wealthy kids are born with can, apparently, be used to catapult them past other equally bright, but less privileged kids into some of America’s best colleges. Chetty and his colleagues provide compelling evidence that fancy schools are promoting a kind of neo-aristocracy, with admission programs that help to perpetuate a family’s class privilege from one generation to the next. The advantages they grant to rich kids are about more than just legacy admissions, a practice in which elite colleges give preferential treatment to kids of alumni and donors. The economists find that other types of evaluation and recruitment play important roles in giving rich kids a leg up, as well. Going further, the economists find evidence suggesting that reforms to the admissions policies at these prestigious schools could really make a big difference in the life trajectories of less affluent kids, and make America’s elite less of an exclusive club for people born into privilege.”
News of the Wired
“The Elusive, Maddening Mystery of the Bell Witch” [Atlas Obscura]. “‘Hauntings’ and the stories they spawn require some kind of supernatural explanation, and over the years, many of them end up getting real-world explanations, too: mental illness, a desire for attention, natural phenomena misinterpreted. The case of the Bell Witch stands out for its lack of explanation on either count: There’s a marked lack of a consistent narrative for why the Bell family was so plagued and no simple moral for audiences a century later. The Bell Witch herself offered up any number of explanations, while dismissing them all. At one point she told the family, ‘I am the spirit of a person who was buried in the woods nearby, and the grave has been disturbed, my bones disinterred and scattered, and one of my teeth was lost under this house, and I am here looking for that tooth.’ But when John [Bell] pried up the floorboards in search of the lost tooth, the witch laughed at him, claiming the whole thing was a joke. The Bell Witch kept changing her story.” • Inspired the Blair Witch Project.
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