By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren, Coronado National Forest, Pearce, Ash Springs Trail, Cochise, Arizona, United States.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Trump posts bond.

(2) Kennedy makes the ballot in NC.

(3) Shanahan: More detail.


“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!

RCP Poll Averages, March 29

I think I’ll leave this up until this coming Friday, so I can at least mumble something about trends. Nationally, Trump is up 2.4% in the Five-Way, same as last week, give or take. Trump is still up in all the Swing States (more here). I’ve highlighted PA, (1) because Trump is actually down there, and (2) it’s an outlier, has been for weeks. Why isn’t Trump doing well there?

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“Trump posts $175 million bond in New York civil fraud case” [NBC]. “Former President Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond in the New York civil fraud case, preventing seizure of his assets while the case is under appeal… Knight Specialty Insurance Co., the entity that underwrote Trump’s bond, is part of a group of companies run by Los Angeles-based billionaire Don Hankey, who is No. 128 on the 2023 Forbes 400 list and No. 317 on the 2023 Forbes billionaires list. Hankey has been an investor in Axos Bank, the financial institution that refinanced Trump’s loans on Trump Tower and Trump National Doral Miami in 2022. Axos has lent Trump $100 million in his refinancing of Trump Tower and $125 million more for Doral. Neither loan is due until 2032, according to the Office of Government Ethics disclosure Trump submitted in August.” • File that name away.

“Ex-Trump aide Hope Hicks expected to testify in former president’s New York criminal trial” [NBC]. I’ve always had a soft spot for Hicks, because one of the earliest stories I read on Trump was from a Bloomberg reporter; Hicks told him she couldn’t take his call just then because she was going to take a nap. A little taste of what was coming, I suppose. More: “‘I have learned that in the days following the Access Hollywood video [‘grab ’em by the pussy’], [then-Trump lawyer Michael] Cohen exchanged a series of calls, text messages and emails with Keith Davidson, who was then [Stephanie Clifford [a.k.a. Stormy Daniel]’s attorney, David Pecker and Dylan Howard of American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, Trump, and Hope Hicks, who was then press secretary for Trump’s presidential campaign,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. ‘Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,’ the affidavit said.” • Hicks will testify for the prosecution. We’ll see what she has to say.

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“Trump Media Shares Slump as Early Fervor Fades” [New York Times]. “Shares of former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company slumped more than 20 percent on Monday, as the fervor around the company’s debut on public markets last week appeared to subside. The sell-off cut the market value of Trump Media & Technology Group, which trades under the ticker ‘DJT,’ by some $2 billion, to about $6.5 billion. The value of Mr. Trump’s majority stake in the company fell to about $3.7 billion, from over $6 billion at its peak last week. Still, shares of Trump Media were higher than they were immediately before the firm merged with a public shell company on Tuesday and began trading on the Nasdaq. Strong support for the merged company after it began trading pushed its market value as high as $10 billion at one point last week. That raised eyebrows across Wall Street, given the relatively small size of Trump Media’s business. A filing on Monday showed that the company generated just $750,000 in revenue in the fourth quarter last year, bringing its full-year total to $4.1 million. Trump Media recorded a $58 million loss in 2023. It got more than $300 million in cash as part of its merger with the shell company. All the company’s revenues come from advertising on Truth Social, the digital platform that has become Mr. Trump’s main outlet for reaching his supporters and blasting his critics, political opponents and other perceived enemies, including the prosecutors and judges involved in his criminal and civil cases.” • I don’t play the ponies, so I don’t know if Trump has been able to convert any of this paper to cash, or how he would do so, absent simply sellling it, which he seems not to have done. Readers?

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“Trump’s VP search is starting to get serious” [Politico]. “Susie Wiles, a top adviser to Trump, is leading a close-to-the-vest process of narrowing a list of around a dozen lawmakers and other Republican personalities under consideration, according to multiple people familiar with the process. The campaign has already hired an outside firm to vet candidates and prepare research documents. Former first lady Melania Trump, who influenced Trump’s decision to select Mike Pence in 2016, has been kept apprised. And Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. said he speaks with his father frequently about who is in contention. While who is up or down seemingly changes by the minute, the list has included everyone from Tim Scott and Kristi Noem to Byron Donalds, Elise Stefanik, Tulsi Gabbard and J.D. Vance, whom Trump has called a ‘fighter.’ Trump, despite saying he doesn’t think the vice president matters all that much, regularly asks guests at his Mar-a-Lago club for their opinion on different options and, with a flair for suspense, teases his choices in private meetings and media interviews. The process is expected to take months. ‘He’s going to draw this out ‘Apprentice’-style,’ said one person close to the Trump campaign who was granted anonymity to speak freely.”

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Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. has qualified for ballot in North Carolina, campaign says” [The Hill]. Swing state. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign has added North Carolina to the expanding list of battleground states in which it has qualified for the ballot in November. The independent candidate’s campaign says it now has enough signatures to list Kennedy as a White House contender through the ‘We The People’ party, gathering 23,000 pledges of support in the purple state. ‘We have the field teams, volunteers, legal teams, paid circulators, supporters, and strategists ready to get the job done,’ Kennedy’s campaign press secretary Stefanie Spear said Monday in a statement announcing the news. North Carolina is considered an important swing state for all parties in 2024, including a potential third-party ticket. Former President Trump won the state by just more than 1 percentage point in 2020, giving Republicans a slight edge and inspiring Democrats to try to win it this cycle. The addition of the Tar Heel state brings Kennedy’s ballot qualified total to five states so far, including , and . In [second swing state], he cleared the signature threshold prior to meeting the requirement of having a declared vice president alongside his name, raising questions about whether he will have to regather signatures of support.”

Kennedy (I): “Column: Voters wishing for an alternative to Trump and Biden got one. Unfortunately, it’s RFK Jr.” [Los Angeles Times]. “Long before Trump, RFK Jr. was the original election denier, insisting that Republicans stole the 2004 election. Before COVID, Kennedy was already famous for falsely claiming that all vaccines are dangerous and that some cause autism. He also stands by his claim that cellphones and Wi-Fi cause cancer despite the lack of evidence of an increase in cancer rates amid exploding use of those technologies. Kennedy’s default position is that official explanations are suspect, which is another way of saying that all conspiracy theories — from 9/11 trutherism to fringe theories about the assassination of his own father to the idea that the COVID virus was engineered to spare Jewish and Chinese people — deserve the benefit of the doubt. It’s as if his entire political persona were designed to monetize what the political historian Richard Hofstadter called ‘the paranoid style in American politics.’ It’s a testament to the pervasiveness of the paranoid style that it’s difficult to figure out which party Kennedy will take more votes from. ‘Our campaign is a spoiler all right,’ Kennedy said last week while announcing his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, in Oakland. ‘It is a spoiler for President Biden and for President Trump.’ But there’s the rub: The same duopoly that Kennedy is running against ensures that he can be a spoiler for only one candidate. Hofstadter also said, ‘Third parties are like bees: once they have stung, they die.’” • On election 2004, it’s a judgement call. Kennedy’s post is, IIRC, on Ohio. I live-blogged that election all the way ’til coverage ended (from a café in Philly; yes, I’m that old). There was plenty suspect shenanigaos in Ohio; I’m too lazy to dig out the links — though I will at reader request — but there were plenty of sober-minded, non-conspiratorial observers who thought the results stank. On Covid: The Times link on SARS-CoV-2 being engineered to “spare Jewish and Chinese” people links to the New York Post, which cites to a video, providing a partial transcript. So I don’t think we’re dealing with the press simply making up quotes, as they often have done with Trump.

Kennedy (I): “Why Silicon Valley Reactionaries Love RFK Jr.” [The Nation]. “Silicon Valley money, often tied to people in the circle of Peter Thiel, has fueled Kennedy’s presidential run. As Axios reported last June, ‘Several of Silicon Valley’s noisiest tech moguls have begun to support the candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the vocal anti-vax activist who’s xcvkl;’ for the Democratic Party nomination.” These early backers included Elon Musk as well as venture capitalists Chamath Palihapitiya and David Sacks (a longtime business and ideological ally of Peter Thiel, a Paypal and Facebook tycoon who backed Donald Trump in 2016). Writing about this cohort in The New Republic in 2022, Jacob Silverman noted that a pivotal movement that helped coalesce the group was the successful campaign to recall Chesa Boudin as district attorney of California because of his support for criminal justice reform. Both Shanahan and Sacks contributed heavily to the Boudin recall campaign, which demonstrated that Silicon Valley money could roll back left-wing social movements. Prior to 2022, Shanahan was a typical wealthy Democratic Party donor, giving to figures such as Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. But in 2022 she joined the anti-Boudin campaign, which connected her with a wider cohort of reactionary tech figures. As Shanahan explained, she didn’t think that criminal justice reform was necessary and ‘Chesa came into a situation that needed to be maintained, in my opinion, not necessarily reformed.’ There’s a pipeline that runs from anti-Boudin sentiment to supporting Robert Kennedy, but law-and-order politics is just one component of Shanahan’s journey. Another key factor was openness to alternative medicine and quack science, defended with the familiar contrarian defense that we need to ask questions. ”

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Kennedy (I): “55 Things You Need to Know About Nicole Shanahan” [Politico]. “In divorce proceedings, which were finalized in 2023, Shanahan sought over $1 billion from Brin. The final division of assets was settled in confidential arbitration.” • Hmm. Either Brin wants it confidential because she got a billion, or she does, because she didn’t. Regardless, she has enough to help Kennedy right now. Whether she can harvest from Silicon Valley — and, if so, from whom? — remains an open question.

“Tech leaders have all the skills for politics. Still, most don’t want to run” [USA Today]. “Shanahan, a self-proclaimed “technologist,” is also a research fellow at CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, which focuses on ‘humanistic coding.’” From the her Stanford bio: “Apart from the practical applications of legal technology, her academic research centers around Ronald Coase’s work on transaction cost theory. Entitled, ‘Coasean Mapping,’ she theorizes on the pace and nature of society’s adoption of artificial intelligence for law and government.” • Any readers have views on Ronald Coase and his work?

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why are Americans so unhappy?” [The Hill]. “Overall, Americans feel broke and brokenhearted even with overall good national news on inflation.” Lol. More: “America is in a period of internal dissonance — not quite decay but something akin to it. We don’t feel like a happy country. Financial stress is one reason so many Americans want to move to another country. In a recent poll by Monmouth University, one-third of respondents said they would like to live in a different nation — a figure that stood at 10 percent 50 years ago. (Not many people had an exact destination in mind.) Other factors contribute to unhappiness, but the common issue is generalized worry about where America is going on almost every issue from education to politics, according to the most recent Gallup polling data. And the discontentment leads to a belief that America is not well respected overseas. Americans’ satisfaction with our global position is at its lowest since 2017 — also according to Gallup. Unhappiness is both a political state and a mental health crisis, although we rarely see them as interrelated. Anxiety affects 1 in 5 adults. More than 20 percent of teens have seriously considered suicide. Experts on mental health point to social media as one reason for social disconnectedness.” • A continuing pandemic would, of course, have nothing to do with “social disconnectedness.” Nor the million deaths and counting, which “disconnected” families, friends, co-workers, neighbors. Anyhow, if you’re one of that one-third considering expatriation, it might be wise to purchase a Canadian lapel pin…. (The Monmouth poll that figure is based in doesn’t take either income or location into account, ffs.)


“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) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm.

[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

Employment Situation: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings went up by 8,000 from the previous month to 8.756 million in February 2024, above market expectations of 8.75 million.”

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods rose by 1.4% from the previous month to $576.8 billion in February of 2024, trimming the upwardly revised 3.8% drop in January, and above market expectations of a 1% increase to point to further resilience of the US economy.”

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Tech: “New XZ backdoor scanner detects implant in any Linux binary” [Bleeping Computer]. “Firmware security firm Binarly has released a free online scanner to detect Linux executables impacted by the XZ Utils supply chain attack, tracked as CVE-2024-3094. CVE-2024-3094 is a supply chain compromise in XZ Utils, a set of data compression tools and libraries used in many major Linux distributions. Late last month, Microsoft engineer Andres Freud discovered the backdoor in the latest version of the XZ Utils package while investigating unusually slow SSH logins on Debian Sid, a rolling release of the Linux distribution.” • The XZ backdoor is actually post-worthy, given its social engineering aspects.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 2 at 1:49:21 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Plagues. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • Bird flu not a concern?

News of the Wired

“The Human Hemisphere” [Radical Cartography]. “Just under 88 percent of humanity lives in the Northern Hemisphere; 82 percent lives in the Eastern Hemisphere…. So it looks like there might be some justification for Eurocentrism after all, at least geographically. Ah well.” • Hmm.

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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 TH:

TH writes: “Close-up of one of Sherman Library and Garden’s lovely cyclamen.”

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