By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Great Horned Owl, P. Fenwick NFC – El Caminito Road, Monterey, California, United States. Scary!

Who? Who?

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Trump VP picks.

(2) Biden’s wall of Black support

(4) Pelosi: “Not so fast!”

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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 half a year to go!

Friday’s RCP Poll Averages:

First post-debate polling: Trump jumps a full point in the 5-way national race, which a Biden supporter might find concerning. OTOH, the Swing States seem relatively unaffected. Swing States (more here) still Brownian-motioning around. Of course, it goes without saying that these are all state polls, therefore bad, and most of the results are within the margin of error. It would be hilarious if the Biden Debate debacle had exactly the same effect as Trump’s 34 bazillion felony convictions, i.e., none, both parties are so dug in.

Swing state motion:

Judgment calls, of course. But Cook Political is old school, not into dogpiling.

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Trump (R): “As Dems end calls for Biden to step aside, window opens for Trump VP pick to take the spotlight” [Just The News]. “Among the candidates most discussed as potential running mates to Trump are Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.” • Little Marco? Surely not.

Trump (R) (Smith/Cannon; Smith/Chutkan): “Jack Smith Isn’t a Special Counsel ‘by Law’” [Michael Mukasey, Wall Street Journal]. “The Constitution’s Appointments Clause limits how executive offices can be created and how they may be filled…. It empowers the president to nominate and appoint “officers of the United States” not specifically provided for in the Constitution only with the advice and consent of the Senate, and only to offices “which shall be established by Law.” Authority for appointment of the current special counsel doesn’t exist ‘by Law,’ but rather through a set of regulations put in place unilaterally by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in 1999. They don’t have the force of a law passed by Congress and signed by the president, and can be changed at any time by any attorney general…. If Congress had wished to allow the attorney general to create an office of special prosecutor, it would have done so with a statute as simple and direct as those that give the power to create offices to other cabinet secretaries—including the secretaries of transportation, agriculture, health and human services and education. It wouldn’t have relied on gossamer emanations from four statutes.”

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Biden (D): A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet on Biden’s NATO speech:

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Biden (D): “Joe Biden Hasn’t Lost Dems on Capitol Hill. Keeping Them Won’t Be So Simple” [Notus]. “‘They’ve outflanked us with the CBC and others,’ this lawmaker texted, referring to Biden’s efforts to gather support from the Congressional Black Caucus. ‘Members are becoming resigned to Biden holding all the cards here, and us having no real say in the matter.” And: “In that sense, with more bad news on the horizon, Monday was more of a stay of execution than a definitive decision on Biden’s future. But if Biden can make it through this week, he may be in a much stronger position. Next week is the Republican National Convention, where the focus will almost certainly be back on Donald Trump and the GOP. Moreover, Congress will be out of town. It will again be difficult for a jailbreak moment of Democrats coming together against Biden to move the president.” • Of course, a week is a long time in politics.

Biden (D): “Black House Democrats embrace Biden at another critical juncture” [WaPo]. “The desire to defend Biden appears to be so widespread among CBC members, three people aligned with the group said, that it is possible the group will formalize its support for him in a statement over the next several days. The group’s influence could blunt widespread concerns among other colleagues about Biden, and possibly sway Jeffries’s opinion about how House Democrats should respond in an unprecedented moment.” • Does “the next several days” mean this week? We’ll see if this statement comes out.

Biden (D): “After Propelling Biden in 2020, Black Women Aren’t Eager to Abandon Him Now” [WaPo]. “Interviews with nearly two dozen Black Democratic women, including many of the grass-roots organizers credited as instrumental to Mr. Biden’s victory four years ago, indicate that a vast majority of this loyal voting group is not yet prepared to abandon him or Ms. Harris. Their continued backing is driven in part by pragmatism. If he were to drop out, many argued, it would throw the Democratic Party into disarray and gravely imperil their chances of defeating former President Donald J. Trump, whom they see as a threat to democracy and to the racial progress made over the last several decades. … But Ms. Harris is also a significant factor in their support, they said, sharing concerns that attempts to undermine Mr. Biden could also undercut her as part of the ticket and do damage to her future prospects. Should Mr. Biden step aside and Democrats select a candidate other than the vice president, it would all but assure a monumental loss of Black support, many suggested.” And: “A group of more than 150 Black female organizers who attended a gathering in Macon, Ga., one day after the debate said plans were immediately laid to reinforce support for the president. Some leaders are now planning weekly meetings to discuss turnout strategies. The heads of several of these organizing groups, which focus on both rural Black voters and those in the deep-blue Metro Atlanta region, say they will concentrate their efforts on young voters and men. They also plan to counter what they see as Republican-led disinformation efforts aimed at Black voters through in-person engagement.” • But the Democrats are extrremely unlikely to win Georgia. So….

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Biden (D): “Pelosi says it’s up to Biden ‘to decide if he’s going to run’” [New York Times]. “On Wednesday, Ms. Pelosi said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the president should continue to weigh his options. ‘It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,’ she said. ‘We’re all encouraging him to to make that decision. Because time is running short.’” Encouraging Biden to make a decision he has said explicitly he has already made is, well, the reverse of encouraging….. . ‘Let’s just hold off,’ she said. ‘Whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see how we go this week.’” • When I wrote yesterday that “by this Thursday it will have been two weeks since Biden slipped a cog in debate. That should be sufficient time for a dogplle like this one to die down” I seem to have been channeling Pelosi. That’s an odd feeling, to say the least (and I should have taken NATO into account).

Biden (D): “‘There’s no way out’: Democrats feel powerless as ‘elites’ fall in line behind Biden” [NBC]. “‘I wish I was more brave,’ said one Democratic state party chair who thinks Biden should step aside. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they fear retaliation from the president’s camp. ‘I would be crucified by them if I spoke out of line,’ the chair continued. ‘I know when you get out of line they all of a sudden have a shift of priorities and your races, your state is no longer on the map.’ Now, they say, it’s happening again.”

BIden (D): “Stephanopoulos apologizes after saying Biden can’t serve another term” [Axios]. What Stephanopolous said, apparently to a passer-by (!!!): “I don’t think he can serve four more years.” • Not quite the same as the headline.

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Biden (D): “Biden’s Biggest Donors Left Powerless to Sway Him to End Bid” [Bloomberg]. “The view within Manhattan circles, one top Wall Street executive said on Monday, is largely unchanged since Joe Biden’s June 27 debate: A change at the top of the ticket will boost the Democrats’ chances…. But what’s clear to these ultra-rich bankers and investors is that there’s no obvious path to making the change happen themselves. Some also see sitting on the sidelines as a savvy option, wanting to avoid fueling a narrative that financiers are pushing Biden out.” But: “Money usually talks — but, perhaps, not in this case. Biden’s political operation has some $240 million on hand, and efforts from those like Mike Novogratz to drum up funds for a yet-to-be-determined alternative have thus far fallen far short of that kind of figure…. Donations to the campaign have thinned in recent days, with some wealthy donors saying they will withhold any future contributions until Biden is off the ticket, according to a person familiar with the fundraising efforts. The Biden campaign has said that grassroots contributions surged following the debate and reported raising more in June than any other month. Biden’s sizable war chest had been a selling point for donors, especially compared to Trump’s cash-poor campaign through the primaries. But since clinching the nomination, Trump has caught up and surpassed Biden, and now has $285 million cash on hand, according to his campaign. Unlike Trump, who’s spent little on television or offices in battleground states so far, Biden’s campaign is employing an expensive strategy. The campaign alone booked $48 million in advertising time last month, according to AdImpact.”

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Biden (D): Not an issue at all:

Biden getting dinged for slipping a cog after slaughtering a few hundred thousand people with his policy of mass infection without mitigation, while fully compose mentis. reminds me of Cuomo being taken down over a #MeToo case, but not for slaughtering a few tens of thousans of elders by shunting them into Covid-infested nursing homes.

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Biden (D): “The Terrible Debate” [Banned in Your State]. “And then, the debate began. Biden looked exhausted. One eye more open than the other. He kept looking down, which made it look like he was closing his eyes. Stumbling over his words, badly. He froze, at one point — four or five seconds of silence. But then, things seemed to get better, at least from my perspective. Sure, I couldn’t really understand what Biden was saying, but my hearing is pretty shot and it was a loud bar so I figured he probably didn’t sound as bad as he sounded to me (turns out he sounded worse: because I couldn’t entirely make out what he was saying, I missed how often he tripped over words and fumbled over facts). Sure, he was missing a lot of opportunities to hit back at Trump, but he was more or less coherent. He wasn’t freezing up. His mix-ups were relatively minor. Sure, Trump was giving the best debate performance of his political career (a very low bar), but this wasn’t catastrophic. Biden’s performance was so much better than I was expecting. I was enjoying my drink and laughing about the whole pathetic golf score exchange and feeling genuine relief when I heard Rachel Maddow — RACHEL MADDOW — declare that Biden had botched this horribly. Then I heard Joy Reid suggest that Biden should step down. Then I looked at my phone.” And: “The Democrats have smoothly transitioned from the delusion that Biden is a great candidate, never better, totally able to win this election and be President for four more years, to the delusion that Biden will step down for the sake of America. That anyone on this earth can convince him to do this.” • Fun piece.

Our Famously Free Press

Getting over the idea that the New York Times isn’t a player:

Republican Funhouse

The kind of question Democrats used to ask, oh well:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Dave’ Predicted the Biden Debacle” [Free Press]. The reference is to the movie Dave, but this caught my eye: “Is the president sane? Competent? Entirely alive? You need not ask yourself these questions, because the president is not the president; he’s just a figurehead, more of a mascot, really—like the Geico Gecko of the executive branch. The actual presidency consists of somewhere between five and 50 people, whose identities may or may not be public knowledge, who stand behind or around or sometimes on top of the president and execute the duties of the office according to their collective wisdom. Did you think, when you pulled the lever for Joe Biden in 2020, that you were actually voting for Joe Biden the singular human being? You fool. You absolute imbecile.” • I expressed the same concern here: “ian extra-constitutional entity at the head of the executive branch.”

“American academic freedom is in peril” [Science]. I’m reading along, nodding my head, and then I come on this: “Although the precise reasons for the recent dismantling of a misinformation research group [the Stanford Internet Observatory] at Stanford University are unclear and complicated, the cost—in time, reputation, and legal expenses—of defending itself against accusations of complicity in government censorship likely played a role.” • “Dismantling” is overblown; these are all Flexians and they’ll just set up shop in a new NGO. As for complicity, see here.


“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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Covid 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, KF, 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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Censorship and Propaganda

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Readers, there is no good news here at all, and this data does not include the Fourth of July weekend. It would sure be handy to have Biobot still in operation, so we could have a single indicator for infection, but of course that was not to be.

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] (CDC) This week’s wastewater map, with hot spots annotated. Worse than two weeks ago. New York is a hot again, and Covid is spreading up the Maine Coast just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, in another triumph for Administration policy. On that Bay area hotspot:

[2] (CDC) Last week’s wastewater map.

[3] (CDC Variants) LB.1 coming up on the outside.

[4] (ER) This is the best I can do for now. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Now acceleration, which is compatible with a wastewater decrease, but still not a good feeling .(The New York city area has form; in 2020, as the home of two international airports (JFK and EWR) it was an important entry point for the virus into the country (and from thence up the Hudson River valley, as the rich sought to escape, and then around the country through air travel.)

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC). This is the best I can do for now. Note the assumption that Covid is seasonal is built into the presentation, which in fact shows that Covid is not seasonal. At least data for the entire pandemic is presented.

[7] (Walgreens) Still going up! (Because there is data in “current view” tab, I think white states here have experienced “no change,” as opposed to have no data.)

[8] (Cleveland) Still going up!

[9] (Travelers: Positivity) Up. Those sh*theads at CDC have changed the chart so that it doesn’t even run back to 1/21/23, as it used to, but now starts 1/1/24. There’s also no way to adjust the time rasnge. CDC really doesn’t want you to be able to take a historical view of the pandemic, or compare one surge to another. In an any case, that’s why the shape of the curve has changed.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) Same deal. Those sh*theads. I’m leaving this here for another week because I loathe them so much:

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

There are no offical statistics of interest today.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 10 at 1:38:28 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • Not what the climate coverage implies.

The Gallery

Hot weather:

News of the Wired

Droplet Dogma-like dogmas everywhere:

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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 Upstater:

Upstater: “My iris garden 7 years ago… before the weeds conquered it and favorites had to be relocated. Many are from my late daughter’s garden. Lots of fond memories of beauty.”

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