By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren, Kingston Canyon Rd., Lander, Nevada, United States.

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Look for the Helpers

Not merely because of their masks:

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My email address is down by the plant; please send examples of “Helpers” there. In our increasingly desperate and fragile neoliberal society, everyday normal incidents and stories of “the communism of everyday life” are what I am looking for (and not, say, the Red Cross in Hawaii, or even the UNWRA in Gaza).

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“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 (R): “Why have Trump’s bond documents been rejected – and what does this mean for his legal troubles?” [Independent]. “Documents for Donald Trump’s $175m bond in his New York civil fraud case have been rejected and ‘returned for correction’ to the former president due to missing financial information. A docket appeared on the New York County Supreme Court website on Wednesday, detailing that a ‘Bond/Undertaking’ had been ‘returned for correction.’ The court said that the reason for the rejection was that some of the documentation filed on behalf of the Republican presidential candidate failed to include a current financial statement, power of attorney or list an attorney-in-fact… Mr Trump will now have an opportunity to resubmit the documents with the proper information in order for his bond to be accepted. This means the former president being forced to share his recent financial records.” And on the calendar: “What the $175m bond really buys the candidate is time – several months in fact, as his appeal against the fraud judgement will not take place until September at the earliest, when the court’s autumn term commences. That, however, does bring the matter uncomfortably close to Election Day on 5 November – a period when many of the candidate’s other legal entanglements likewise threaten to come to a head.” • Accident? Or for a purpose greater than trolling?

Trump (R): “As general election heats up, Trump camp prepares to be frozen in court” [Semafor]. “One of the complications the campaign will have to sort through is scheduling. Up until now, Trump has only been seated in court for a few days at a time — and oftentimes, it’s been of his own volition, with the campaign seeing his presence as a way to merge the legal and campaign battles while heightening Trump’s claims of political persecution for Republican primary voters. Now, though, team Trump is readying for their candidate to be required in court multiple days a week, for weeks at a time, which will make organizing consistent campaign events that much harder. ‘This is just the progression of where the campaign season is headed into,’ one aide said. ‘Certainly, he’ll have to be in court quite a few days out of the week, and that’s never an ideal thing. We would never wish to be in that position, of course.’ But his team still believes there’s ‘ample opportunity’ to work around these limitations: Based on the judge’s public schedule, they believe Trump, who is likely to camp out at Trump Tower during trial days, will have Wednesdays off, meaning the former president could participate in campaign-related events that day or on Tuesday evenings. The campaign also noted that they’ll have weekends to work with — and left open the possibility of doing mini-trips to neighboring states on court days, too.” • Trump could conduct a “front porch campaign” from the steps for Trump Tower!

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Biden (D): “Joe Biden can’t get out of the hole he’s already dug for himself” [New York Post]. “But you’d much rather be where Trump is in the polls right now than where Biden is. Trump was never in this strong a position at any point in the 2016 or 2020 elections. At this stage in 2020, Biden was up 4 points in Michigan, 3 in Wisconsin and North Carolina and 2 in Pennsylvania. At this point in 2016, Hillary Clinton was up 10 in Michigan and Wisconsin, 9 in Pennsylvania and 2 in North Carolina — and she lost all four states.” And: “Yet Biden refuses to change course or change his message: The economy is good, Trump is a threat to democracy, and abortion, abortion, abortion. Those campaign tactics helped Democrats avoid what should have been a much worse loss in 2022, but they still lost the national popular vote in House races [they did] — and a repeat of that showing would mean President Trump: The Sequel. But don’t expect an old dog to learn new tricks.” • Just so long as he doesn’t bite anybody!

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Kennedy (I): “How Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Could Doom Joe Biden” [Politico]. “But his campaign and an allied super PAC, American Values 2024, announced in the last month they have collected more than enough signatures to make the ballot in the critical Southwestern battlegrounds of Arizona and Nevada, where roughly one in five voters are Latino. Those signatures are still subject to challenge, but if Kennedy does appear on the ballot, it could create dire complications for the Biden campaign. Latino Democrats are now taking the threat of Kennedy’s campaign deadly seriously after national and state leaders were briefed on a previously unreported poll in mid-February by Democratic group Equis Research, which showed Kennedy performing surprisingly well among Latino voters in a dozen battleground states, effectively splintering Biden’s Hispanic coalition from 2020, when he garnered 59 percent Hispanic support. Kennedy’s popularity appears to be a function of name recognition and a general lack of enthusiasm for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, not to mention voters brushing their views onto the somewhat empty canvas of his candidacy. . The drag on Biden’s Latino support was so great in the survey that Trump was winning among Hispanics overall in 12 battleground states, 41 percent to Biden’s 34 percent.” • Yikes!

Kennedy (I): “Column: Trump’s vice presidential show and Kennedy’s kamikaze mission” [Los Angeles Times]. On Kennedy’s chances of winning: “I would say slim to none — but slim was last seen paddling as far and fast as possible away from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. (Much of Kennedy’s family fervently oppose his bid and support Biden’s reelection.) So I would venture to say there is absolutely no chance.” Who gains and who loses with Kennedy running: “That’s unclear. His platform — a farrago of liberal and conservative views mashed up with a mess of conspiracy-laden pottage, isn’t easily categorized. He could appeal to both disaffected Democrats and Republicans.” • In the “change vs. more of the same” framework, however, Kennedy is definitely in “change,” as is Trump. And Biden is in “more of the same” (“fundamentally nothing would change“).

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Kennedy (I): “The ‘Traditional Organizing’ Election?” [Campaigns & Elections]. “Sdd another voice to the “field will be crucial in 2024″ discussion: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The independent presidential candidate told CNN this week that his campaign has deployed some 200,000 volunteers to help him gain ballot access in all 50 states. ‘We have a very, very good volunteer army out there,’ he said. ‘We already have the biggest field operation of any campaign. We are going to have no problem getting on the ballot in every state.’” Maybe. More: “Currently, the candidate is only confirmed to be on the ballot in Utah, and while his campaign claims to have the needed signatures for ballot access in North Carolina (and a handful of other states) ballot access for Kennedy remains a very uphill battle. While Kennedy was talking up the strength of his own operation, consultants have also been calling for investment in field organizing, and talking up how necessary it will be for campaigns to boost spending on organizing programs this cycle…. ‘It’s 67,000 votes,’ [Jeff Roe, founder of Axiom Strategies, recently told C&E] said, referencing the difference between Hillary Clinton and President Trump’s vote totals in deciding states in 2016. ‘The investment in those six, maybe seven states on the ground motivating people to vote for their party preference is going to be the whole game.’ Part of the reason why that investment is so crucial is because of how hard it is to thread the needle to reach the right people with an effective TV ad. ‘,’ he said. ‘And then you have streaming, which just passed linear TV last year — and half of that is not ad supported.’” • That statistic on video and TV watching is the most encouraging number I’ve seen in some time.

Kennedy (I): “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not just a ‘spoiler candidate’” [The Berkshire Edge]. Letter to the Editor from Kennedy’s Berkshire County campaign coordinator. “Team Kennedy has over 12,000 volunteers and supporters already registered in Massachusetts. And the effort to get the 10,000-plus signatures to get RFK Jr. on the ballot—so that Americans have their democratically protected choices—will be beginning shortly. Anyone interested in volunteering or just learning more about the policies and platform of the Kennedy-Shanahan Ticket can visit” • Good staffwork. Here is the ballot access page for Kennedy’s site; I clicked on “Massachusetts” to double-check the 10,000 figure:

Looks informative and professional. Also, July 30 is very far away if Kennedy has the money and catches fire with volunteers; very close if he does not.

NC: Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. is officially joining the NC ballot” [CarolinaCoastOnline]. “The newly formed We The People political party gathered more than 23,000 signatures, far above the requirement to gain ballot access, with over a month to spare and a 60% buffer to protect against invalid signatures. .” • And I’m sure there’s an army of lawyers protecting “our democracy” by disputing those signatures even as we speak. (Also, the 60% margin seems fair, meaning that the 10,000 figure for MA is really 16,000.)

NC: Kennedy (I): “How North Carolina’s presidential election changes if RFK Jr. is on the ballot” [Charlotte Observer]. “Still, Kennedy’s presence on the ballot could have a meaningful impact on the outcome of the election, especially in a swing state like North Carolina. While Trump carried North Carolina in the 2020 election, it was his lowest margin of victory in any state. He won it by only a 1.34% margin, and it was the only state in which he won with less than 50% of the vote.Anticipating yet another close race in 2024, both the Biden and Trump campaigns are making North Carolina a priority. It wouldn’t take much to seal the outcome in either candidate’s favor — and .” And: “Most polls currently show Trump with a lead over Biden in North Carolina, and that lead grows when third-party candidates like Kennedy are included on the ballot, poll averages show. A new Wall Street Journal poll published this week showed Trump with a six-point lead in North Carolina on a test ballot that includes third-party and independent candidates.”

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Kennedy (I): “Terrified Parents, New Age Health Nuts, MAGA Exiles. Meet the R.F.K. Jr. Faithful.” [Michelle Goldberg, New York Times]. “[O]n the ground, I haven’t met many Kennedy-curious voters for whom Biden is a second choice. Instead, Kennedy attracts many of the same sort of alienated political eccentrics who in the past have gravitated to Trump. ‘They keep saying that he’s pulling from Biden, but most of our people are actually coming from the right,’ said Leigh Merinoff, volunteer chair of the finance committee of American Values. Anecdotes aren’t the same thing as data, and people who go to rallies and volunteer for campaigns aren’t necessarily representative of the electorate, which is full of people who are much more disengaged. Nevertheless, there’s a gap between both Democratic and Republican assumptions about Kennedy’s appeal and the character of his real-life movement. He’s much more of a wild card than left-wing third-party candidates like Stein and Cornel West. There’s something distinctly Trumpy in his campaign’s mix of New Age individualism, social media-fueled paranoia and intense, aching nostalgia for the optimistic America of the early 1960s, when Kennedy’s uncle John F. Kennedy was president and his father, Robert F. Kennedy, served as attorney general. It’s not surprising that some otherwise Trump-leaning voters are picking up on it.” • So, Kennedy voters are deplorables too?! (As for as

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Kennedy (I): “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate and the vaccine wars” [Glenn Kessler, WaPo]. Four Pinocchios: “Shanahan does not quite say that vaccines cause autism, but she implies it, demanding a study that is not feasible because it would be unethical. She cites numbers that claim that autism has spiked, without acknowledging the main reason is because the definition of autism has been greatly expanded. This is textbook anti-vaccine rhetoric. The overall effect is to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines. She earns Four Pinocchios.” • I so, so don’t want to get involved in that discourse; there seems to be a distinct lack of good faith participants, and don’t @ me.

Kennedy (I): That’s the stuff to give the troops:

If Moms are for us, who can be against us?

Kennedy (I): Shanahan on policy:

Sounds good “at a high level,” as we say, but there are two problems beyond the Silicon Valley triumphalism: (1) We don’t really have health records databases; we have databases categorizing putative health treatments in medical facilities for payment purposes, contaminated by upcoding, and (2) AI = BS (though I grant some pattern recognition applications aren’t as pernicious as the ChatGPT branch of the field).

Kennedy (I): “How Nicole Shanahan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s VP Pick, Got So Rich” [Forbes]. “Shanahan’s wealth comes from her previous marriage to Sergey Brin, the Google cofounder whose net worth Forbes estimates at more than $120 billion—enough to rank him as the tenth richest person in the world.” And: “Divorce records are not clear on how much Shanahan walked away with, and neither she nor Brin responded to requests for comment, but Brin’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission offer revealing information. The documents show a decrease in his Class B shares of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) totaling some 2.6 million shares sometime between May and December 2023. During that period, he did not report any share sales or gifts, which would normally be required for Brin, an Alphabet director who owns more than 5% of the company’s shares. In all likelihood, those shares, worth about $390 million at current prices, went to Shanahan: Transfers due to divorce do not need to be disclosed immediately in insider transaction filings, according to four experts contacted by Forbes.” And but: “Assuming that Brin’s SEC filings show a transfer to Shanahan, she didn’t get close to $1 billion in Class B shares. However, Brin has historically executed parallel transactions for his Alphabet Class C shares—which do not appear in annual ownership filings because they do not have voting rights—selling or gifting similar numbers of Class B and Class C shares at similar times. If he followed his usual pattern and also transferred approximately 2.6 million Class C shares to Shanahan, then taken together, those 5.2 million shares would be worth just under $800 million today. Add in any other assets she may have gotten in the split, like homes they lived in together or some cash from Brin’s $900 million in Alphabet shares he sold during their marriage, and that could put her closer to the $1 billion she wanted. But even if Shanahan only got the Class B shares, a fortune of around $400 million would still make her the wealthiest vice presidential pick in decades—likely since Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford’s VP. .” • The essential point.

Kennedy (I): “Tulsi Gabbard turned down RFK Jr.’s offer to be his running mate, she says” [ABC]. “Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party in 2022, declined an offer to be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate in his independent presidential bid, she tells ABC News. ‘I met with Kennedy several times, and we have become good friends,’ she said in a statement. ‘He asked if I would be his running mate. After careful consideration, I respectfully declined.’”

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PA: “F&M Poll: Pennsylvania Moving in More Positive Direction” [Politics PA]. “The good news for President Joe Biden comes in the form of a two-horse race against former President Donald Trump. After landing within the margin of error against the 45th president in February, the 46th president has more than doubled the 4.0% margin of error (MOE) in this survey with a 48-38% percent advantage.” However: “When two other options were presented to the respondents in the form of Jill Stein (Green) and Robert Kennedy Jr. (Independent), the race moved within the MOE with Biden at 42% and Trump at 40%. Kennedy (9%) and Stein (3%) seemed to take more support from Biden, who was at 42-37% with the same question in February.”


“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!

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. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game…

[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 Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US surged by 11,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised value to 221,000 on the period ending March 30th, the most in two months, and well above market expectations of 214,000. The result suggested a departure from an extended period of low initial claim counts and contrasted against other strong labor reports released this week, suggesting that tightness in the US labor market may be absorbing the delayed impact of elevated interest rates.”

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Manufacturing: “Sen. Tammy Duckworth calls for FAA review of Boeing’s failure to disclose 737 Max flight deck features to pilots” [CBS]. “Senator Tammy Duckworth is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to take a closer look at how it responds to what she says is a pattern by Boeing of failing to disclose flight deck features of the 737 Max to pilots, according to a letter to be sent Thursday and obtained exclusively by CBS News. Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois and chair of the Senate’s Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation Subcommittee, is calling on FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker to investigate why Alaska Airlines pilots were unaware the plane’s cockpit door was designed to automatically open during a rapid depressurization — which is exactly what occurred on flight AS1282 when a door panel on a Boeing 737 Max 9 blew out mid-flight in early January. ‘Boeing’s failure to disclose this feature is chilling given its history of concealing 737 MAX information from pilots,’ Duckworth writes. National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy told reporters following a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on January 17 that the flight crew should have been told about the feature. ‘Nobody knew about it. So it was a complete surprise. And the flight crew needs to know,’ she said, adding, ‘knowing this could occur is pretty key to safety.’” • Meanwhile, the universal blackout of John Barnett’s assassination continues. How long does it take to write up a police report? Or will we ever get one?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 4 at 1:57:59 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“1,2,3,4,5” [The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences“] “‘God made the integers; all else is the work of man.’ This famous quotation is a translation of ‘Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk,’ spoken by Leopold Kronecker in a lecture at the Berliner Naturforscher-Versammlung in 1886. Possibly the first publication of the statement is in Heinrich Weber’s ‘Leopold Kronecker,’ Jahresberichte D.M.V. 2 (1893) 5-31.” • I’m amazed that there is such a thing. It certainly passes the random opening test!

“Our tools shape our selves” [Aeon]. “According to [French philosopher Bernard Stiegler], technics – the making and use of technology, in the broadest sense – is what makes us human. Our unique way of existing in the world, as distinct from other species, is defined by the experiences and knowledge our tools make possible, whether that is a state-of-the-art brain-computer interface such as Neuralink, or a prehistoric flint axe used to clear a forest. But don’t be mistaken: ‘technics’ is not simply another word for ‘technology’. As Martin Heidegger wrote in his essay ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ (1954), which used the German term Technik instead of Technologie in the original title: the ‘essence of technology is by no means anything technological.’ This aligns with the history of the word: the etymology of ‘technics’ leads us back to something like the ancient Greek term for art – technē. The essence of technology, then, is not found in a device, such as the one you are using to read this essay. It is an open-ended creative process, a relationship with our tools and the world. This is Stiegler’s legacy. Throughout his life, he took this idea of technics, first explored while he was imprisoned for armed robbery [whoa!], further than anyone else.” And: “In the late 20th century, Stiegler began applying this idea to new media technologies, such as television, which led to the development of a concept he called pharmacology – an idea that suggests we don’t simply ‘use’ our digital tools. Instead, they enter and pharmacologically change us, like medicinal drugs.” • 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 SR:

SR writes: “More bark.”

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