By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this is at present a little unbalanced, as am I, due to a late start. More soon! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Red-winged Blackbird (Mexican Bicolored), 1.31 km al NW del COLPOS, Texcoco, Estado de México, Mexico.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Shanahan launch.

(2) Boeing re-org, plus Tcakik on Barnett.

(3) SBF gets twenty five years.


“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

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Less than a year to go!

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Kennedy (I): Shanahan’s speech introducing herself to the electorate:

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. Unveils Running Mate in 2024 Presidential Bid” (transcript) [Rev] (love Kennedy’s Willie Brown reference at 1:32). Transcript is in two parts, first Kennedy, then Shanahan:

[KENNEDY:] Now, the last time I was in Oakland was when I served on the trial team in the Monsanto cases. So we tried two of the three cases in this city. We won 289 million in the first. And then, the third one, which we tried here, we asked the jury for a billion dollars, and an Oakland jury gave us $2.2 billion. That brought Monsanto to the negotiating table, and we settled in all 40,000 cases. But I lived here for several months during that trial, and I got to really love the city. The Monsanto case was the latest in a lifetime of battles for me, to get poisons out of our food and out of our farms and to restore our soils. That effort has consumed a lot of my life. And I wanted a vice president who shared my passion for wholesome healthy foods, chemical free, for regenerative agriculture, for good soils.


[KENNEDY:] And I found all of those qualities in a woman who grew up right here in Oakland, the daughter of immigrants, who overcame every daunting obstacle and went on to achieve the highest levels of the American dream. So that is why I’m so proud to introduce to you the next Vice President of the United States, my fellow lawyer, a brilliant scientist, technologist, a fierce warrior mom, Nicole Shanahan.

“Warrior mom.” Brilliant framing.

[SHANAHAN:] My mother who’s standing right there with her phone up, she immigrated here from Guangzhou, China, and my late father was an Irish and German American. I want to tell you a little bit about my childhood, so you can understand the source of my politics and convictions. My mother’s first job when she came to the United States in 1983 was as a live-in caretaker to an elderly woman here at Lake Merritt. By the time I was born, she worked as a dental office secretary. My father loved my brother and I dearly, but he was very troubled, plagued by substance abuse, and he struggled to keep a job.

(Maybe Shanahan’s gonna end up President. Clinton, Bush the Younger, Obama, and Biden all had serious Daddy issues.)

[SHANAHAN:] Every time my dad lost his job, our family just couldn’t cover expenses. Food, gas, clothing, upkeep. It’s adds up more than you have in this situation. I know a lot of Americans know exactly what that’s like, to just be one misfortune away from disaster. I don’t think we would have made it without food stamps and government help. My mom worked hard, but it wouldn’t have been possible to keep it together without that help. As you probably know, I became very wealthy later on in life, but my roots in Oakland taught me many things I have never forgotten. That . That’s what it’s for. I want to bring that back to politics too. That is the purpose of privilege.

If Shanahan can and maintain that note, she will be formidable indeed. I’m licking my chops a little, waiting for the Harris/Shanahan debate. (Of course, the press hasn’t yet gone into full pull-the-wings-off-flies mode, though I expect that will begin shortly. For example–

Kennedy (I): Also at the Shanahan launch:

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr.’s vice presidential pick calls IVF ‘one of the biggest lies being told about women’s health’” [Politico]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate has been a harsh critic of in vitro fertilization, while funding alternative research on extending women’s reproductive years. Nicole Shanahan has for years denounced IVF — calling it “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.’… As a candidate, her criticisms of IVF have taken on heightened importance following an Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that embryos are children, which briefly forced clinics in the states to pause operations. Republicans and Democrats — including both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — rushed to defend the procedure, which is broadly popular. The 38-year-old’s opposition to IVF and skepticism of the fertility industry makes her an outlier in the presidential field — though she has not called for banning the procedure. Kennedy has not weighed in on IVF access, and has made conflicting comments about abortion access. At the Iowa State Fair, Kennedy, 70, said he supported a ban on abortion after 15 or 21 weeks of pregnancy, but then his campaign said he misunderstood the question and does not support such a ban.” • Let the oppo begin!

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. super PAC says it raised $2M after VP announcement” [The Hill]. American Values 2024, the main outside group supporting Kennedy’s White House bid, raked in $2.1 million at a fundraiser on Tuesday, right after the official announcement of tech attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan joining his 2024 ticket, PAC head Tony Lyons shared first with The Hill. Around 60 donors attended the outside group’s cocktail party, Lyons said….. This is the second-highest amount American Values 2024 has raised at an event. In January, the outside group brought in $5.8 million during Kennedy’s 70th birthday celebration in West Hollywood, Lyons confirmed to The Hill.” And crucially: “The group said it garnered enough signatures to get the independent candidate on the ballot in four states: Arizona [swing], Michigan [swing], Georgia [swing] and South Carolina.” • More on swing states here. We’ll have to see on the Silicon Valley squillionaires. Maybe it’s time for Biden to rein in Lina Khan ka-ching?

Kennedy (I): “Chair says Libertarians are ‘confused’ by RFK Jr.’s VP pick” [The Hill]. “‘I think that a lot of libertarians are a little bit confused over why he chose Nicole Shanahan. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she doesn’t necessarily fit into alignment with any of our views,’ Libertarian National Committee Chair Angela McArdle said on NewsNation’s ‘The Hill.’ Kennedy announced tech attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his pick for vice president during an event in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday. When pressed further on why Libertarians are unsure about Kennedy’s choice, McArdle noted that she had supported President Biden and now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. ‘So I’m really unsure how she’s going to fit in with the Libertarian Party. You know, I’m anxious to hear about it,’ she added.” • So perhaps Kennedy has decided on funding ballot access with Shanahan’s money, as opposed to using the Libertarian Party’s existing ballot lines?

Kennedy (I):

“This moment is as revolutionary as her transformation caused from damage to her own baby by the same murdering profiteers that conned us about the Covid vaccine.” The account is a “lead activator” (whatever that is) at “Team Kennedy.”

Kennedy (I): “Lawyer, mother and billionaire’s ex: Who is Nicole Shanahan, RFK Jr’s VP pick?” [Independent]. “Shanahan may not have the same name recognition or star status as other names previously floated as VP – NFL provocateur Aaron Rodgers, former governor/wrestler Jesse Ventura, and self help guru Tony Robbins, for example – but she has famous friends with deep pockets, experience with enormous wealth and power, and a hardscrabble backstory that make for the consummate campaign catnip.” Also: “She said it took her several more years to forgive her father, with whom she had a complex relationship – and only after she participated in an intensive retreat called The Hoffman Process.” • Thinking like the cheapjack oppo researcher I am: The Hoffman Process reads like California woo-woo (Willliamson is, I think, given insufficient credit for creating a woo-woo permission structure for candidates).

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

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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!

ake effect by summer. The move by the Democratic administration angered board members, who called it a ‘last-minute stunt’ that undermines their regulatory process. It also sparked a protest by warehouse workers, who temporarily shut down the meeting as they waved signs declaring that ‘Heat Kills!’ and loudly chanted, ‘What do we want? Heat protection! When do we want it? Now!’” • Gavin Newsom, the worker’s friend.

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!

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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] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also 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) Backward revisions, I hate them.

[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) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[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) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

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

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

GDP: “United States GDP Growth Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US economy expanded an annualized 3.4% in Q4 2023, slightly above the 3.2% previously reported, supported by consumer spending and non-residential business investments, according to the third estimate from the BEA.”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US eased by 2,000 to 210,000 on the week ending March 23rd, beating market expectations of 215,000 to extend the momentum of relatively low claim counts since the start of February.”

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, fell once again to 41.4 in March 2024 from 44 in the prior month and missing market forecasts of 46. The latest reading indicated that Chicago’s economic activity contracted for the fourth consecutive month in March, and to the greatest extent in ten months.”

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Manufacturing: “Boeing is paralyzed, and this failing of its executives and directors is to blame” [Morningstar]. “While some have been keen to frame Boeing’s problems as a consequence of its DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts, this argument is wildly unconvincing. What Boeing’s problems actually illustrate is that despite corporations adding more women and minorities to boards and C-suites over the past several years, conformity of thought and the strength of social ties are more powerful. The actual problem isn’t a lack of controls, visibility or knowledge. Rather, it is group dynamics. Nell Minow, a leading corporate governance specialist, has decades of experience directly observing board dynamics. She has this to say about : ‘We take these people of extraordinary ability and achievement. We put them in a boardroom, and there they suddenly become totally incompetent. Why is that? My answer is that these are people who have a genius for sizing up the norms of the room and adapting to them. And that’s a fabulous quality to have. But unfortunately, you’ve got 11 people like that – and one very visionary, dynamic leader who controls their information, their access to other people in the organization, and even their tenure and their compensation. That’s not a good system.’ Board selection criteria vary, but while efforts have been made to increase the independence of board members, personal and social connections still predominate. Many studies demonstrate that members tend to have similar backgrounds, political affiliations and even religious beliefs. Bonding on the golf course remains a hallowed professional practice. At Boeing, its 2021 $246 million fine did lead to the addition of aviation and safety experts to the board, and 30% of its directors are women. But neither factor is enough to offset the complex web of connections, relationships and loyalties between its members.” • “Group dynamics” (social and symbolic capital). And, of course…. the money (economic capital).

Manufacturing: “New planemaker chief says Boeing faces ‘pivotal moment’” [Reuters]. “‘This is a pivotal moment for us, and we have serious work ahead to build trust and improve our operations,’ said Stephanie Pope, who was named president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes on Monday, in an email to employees seen by Reuters.” • Pope’s not an engineer.

Manufacturing: “Boeing had a good week cleaning house – but now comes the hard part” [Morningstar]. “This was Boeing’s best week in many years. A dysfunctional management team was ousted. President and CEO David Calhoun will step down at the end of the year. Board chairman Larry Kellner announced that he would not stand for reelection. Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, left the company immediately. By several accounts, this long-overdue reckoning resulted from a revolt by the company’s airline customers, concerned about missed production plans, uncertain new model-certification schedules, and high-profile incidents resulting from manufacturing ‘quality escapes.’ Now comes the hard part. Getting Boeing (BA) back on track will take years, maybe decades.” In particular: “If both the company and unit CEO positions are filled by non-engineers, that would be disastrous. In fact, the only time that’s happened in Boeing’s history was in 2012-2015. That’s when the 737 MAX was developed, and certainly a low point in terms of company engineers having access to managerial authority.” • A good week indeed. The relevant hashtag seems to be getting little traction:

Manufacturing: “Suicide Mission” [Maureen Tkacik, The American Prospect]. The deck: “What Boeing did to all the guys who remember how to build a plane.” Gave ’em the old heave-ho, as Tkacik recounts in nauseating (and I admit, gruesomely entertaining detail. What a horrible place to work). Reading all the way to the end: “It is worth noting here that Swampy’s [Barnett’s] former co-workers universally refuse to believe that their old colleague killed himself. One former co-worker who was terrified of speaking publicly went out of their way to tell me that they weren’t suicidal. ‘If I show up dead anytime soon, even if it’s a car accident or something, I’m a safe driver, please be on the lookout for foul play.’…. Discussing Swampy’s death and the whistleblower lawsuit he left behind, the longtime former Boeing executive told me, ‘.’ Did that mean he thought Boeing assassinated Swampy? ‘, he replied. More importantly, he added,’. Let’s say you rob a bank and while traveling at high speed in the getaway you run down a pedestrian and kill them. That’s second-degree murder at the very least.’” • Sounds like Tkacik’s got a source. Good. Things I would like to know about Barnett’s death: Where is the CCTV footage of the parking lot? Has the “silver” gun he is alleged to have used been traced? Was there gunpowder residue on his hand? What did the putative suicide note say, and how and on what was it written? Why did the cops dust the car for fingerprints if suicide is an open and shut case? And what happened to Barnett’s computer? Was it in his hotel room? If so, do the cops have it? Meanwhile, the local paper, the Post and Courier, hasn’t run one single story on Barnett’s death since the original story on March 13. That’s more than two weeks. The silence is beginning to scream. Are the cops having a hard time constructing a story? Is Boeing’s C-Suite involved?

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The Bezzle: “Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison” [CNN]. “Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement that Bankman-Fried’s 25-year sentence ‘will prevent the defendant from ever again committing fraud and is an important message to others who might be tempted to engage in financial crimes that justice will be swift, and the consequences will be severe.’” • Maybe. Let’s wait and see.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 27 at 1:55:00 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“Working With Your Hands Is Good for Your Brain” [New York Times]. “But we’re doing less intricate hands-on work than we used to. A lot of modern life involves simple movements, such as tapping screens and pushing buttons, and some experts believe our shift away from more complex hand activities could have consequences for how we think and feel. ‘When you look at the brain’s real estate — how it’s divided up, and where its resources are invested — a huge portion of it is devoted to movement, and especially to voluntary movement of the hands,’ said Kelly Lambert, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Dr. Lambert, who studies effort-based rewards, said that she is interested in ‘the connection between the effort we put into something and the reward we get from it’ and that she believes working with our hands might be uniquely gratifying. In some of her research on animals, Dr. Lambert and her colleagues found that rats that used their paws to dig up food had healthier stress hormone profiles and were better at problem solving compared with rats that were given food without having to dig. She sees some similarities in studies on people, which have found that a whole range of hands-on activities — such as knitting, gardening and coloring — are associated with cognitive and emotional benefits, including improvements in memory and attention, as well as reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms.” • I suppose gardening is something like digging up food with my hands….

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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 Huckleberry Garden:

This fence leads the eye in pleasingly ramshackle fashion.

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