By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I hope this is the last time I must ask you to be patient, at least for awhile. Because I kmew I would be traveling, I did a good deal of work early, and so I hope I don’t miss anything essential. For those who celebrate, Biden’s essential NATO presser is at 5:00pm, past press time, sadly. Perhaps readers will comment. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus, Hato El Milaglro, Cojedes, Venezuela. “Natural song by pair.” Sounds like a kazoo at the start!

Who? Who?

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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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Biden Administration

Good, decent, etc., etc.:

But not an issue, of course.


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.

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Let’s try to get our arms round the detail with some buckets:

The Calendar

Calendar is first for a reason.


From one county clerk:

Virtual Convention:

“How the calendar favors Joe Biden” [Politico]. “While there are technically 40 days remaining until the convention formally begins, the window for replacing Biden is actually much tighter since the party plans to designate Biden as the nominee in a virtual roll call that takes place in advance of the actual convention. . (The Democratic National Committee voted to move forward with a virtual roll call before the calamitous June 27 presidential debate, in response to a threat from Ohio Republicans that would have kept Biden off the ballot there).” • Note, however, that the date has not been set, showing that the correlation of forces within the Democrat Party has not yet resolved.

The NATO Presser:

“”How the calendar favors Joe Biden” [Politico]. ” Biden has made clear in recent days he intends to be the nominee — and the most obvious hurdle standing in his way at the moment is another meltdown in a high-stakes situation. There aren’t many of those chances left before the Democratic convention kicks off in mid-August. . Next week, there is a televised interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt scheduled for Monday, but Biden has already proved he can meet that bar. He didn’t receive rave reviews for his interview last week with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, but it didn’t damage his cause. In any case, starting this weekend, the media oxygen will be sucked up by the Republican National Convention and the rollout of Trump’s vice presidential nominee. And since Congress will be out of session, Democratic members will be out of town, diminishing opportunities to hatch a consensus plan designed to convince Biden to step aside.”

“Biden Faces Fresh Calls to Withdraw as Democrats Fear Electoral Rout” [New York Times]. “Mr. Biden’s strategy to save his candidacy appears to be aimed at running out the clock. And every day he defies pressure to step aside makes the logistics of replacing him more difficult. On Wednesday, he appeared to have survived another day, as Capitol Hill remained mired in a state of uncertainty and division during what lawmakers had deemed to be a critical week for Mr. Biden’s campaign. , which Democrats said would be a critical — and perhaps final — test of the president’s ability to stay in the race.”

“Today is Game 7 for Joe Biden” [The Arena] “The Press Conference: Joe Biden must not only give the performance of his life at his 6:30 PM press conference, but he has to change the subject. I’m not suggesting he ‘wag the dog,’ but that immediately redirects everyone’s attention to what matters most—who can do the job. On the other hand, if Biden’s press conference is mediocre, or heaven forbid, bad, it’s over.”

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“Three reasons the calendar could be on Biden’s side as divided Dems fret” [Roll Call]. “”Biden is outplaying all of his Democratic adversaries right now. The President controls the calendar, the delegates, and ultimately the power,” David Jolly, a former Republican House member, said in an email…. Biden campaign aides for months have bragged they have a superior ground operation across the country, but especially in the six to eight battleground states that likely will decide the election. If Biden stepped aside, Democratic strategists this week said it is unclear if, or how much of, Biden’s state-by-state organizations would cleanly transfer to the eventual nominee… That’s a reason Jolly said of congressional Democrats: ‘Unless a leading Democrat launches an organized effort to flip 2,000 delegates at the [Democratic] convention, then they’re just meeting to meet — and with no discernible strategy to rally adversarial Democrats to.’ The vast Biden campaign apparatus is a big reason why, if he sticks by his vow to run, Democrats might have to accept another thing Pelosi said Wednesday: ‘Whatever he decides, we go with.’” • The ground game takes money….


Obama (and Clooney):


Good call:


“Pelosi hints at something big coming” [The Editorial Board]. “he Times stepped in it this morning when it reported that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, on ‘Morning Joe,’ that the president should ‘reconsider’ his decision to keep running. According to the paper, she said Joe Biden ‘should continue to weigh the matter, after he made it clear this week that he’s committed to staying in the race.’ ‘Reconsider’ is the problem. ‘Continue to weigh the matter’ isn’t. She said the latter, not the former. That’s a highly nuanced difference, obviously, but the Times decided to interpret the ambiguity in such a way that fits into its narrative about the president being too old to continue running for president, and the Democrats experiencing ‘deepening divisions’ over the question of whether he should. And for that, the Times earned this rebuke from Pelosi (per Jaala Brown, a Capitol Hill reporter for CBS News): ‘I think the president is great. And there are some misrepresentations of what I have said. I never said he should reconsider his decision. The decision is the president’s. [lol]. But if that’s why you’re here, it isn’t true.’” •

Lambert here: I’ve been mentally comparing Biden’s strategy to the game of “Chicken,” “in which two drivers drive toward each other on a collision course: one must swerve, or both may die in the crash, but if one driver swerves and the other does not, the one who swerved will be called a ‘chicken’, meaning a coward.” Supposing the road to be straight, one winning strategy to get the other driver to swerve is to throw your steering wheel out the window — but you’ve got to do it first! That is what Biden did on Sunday and Monday: “‘I am not going anywhere.” In response, Pelosi, as we see above, served up one of her classic word salads, from which we might extract a Minimuim Viable Signal that achieved two goals: (1) Calmed things down ’til NATO was done (see discussion of the NATO presser above) and (2) reminded Biden, by its very effects, that his game of chicken is not linear, i.e. not a straight road; there are more than two dimensions to consider. There could be, say, snipers by the side of the road, ready to shoot out his tires. There could be minions strewing caltrops on the road itself. There could, who knows, be earth movers regrading the road. Pelosi — who, let us remember, is an expert at counting votes — has created options for herself, and Biden must know she has created options. Now, what Pelosi will exercise those options, that I cannot say (except, I should think, prevent both drivers from dying). Perhaps Biden will ace NATO presser. Or perhaps not!

Obama and Pelosi

“Playbook: What Obama and Pelosi are doing about Biden” [Politico]. “, we’re told from people familiar with their exchange. The lack of pushback is an eye-popping revelation given that the former president was one of the first big voices defending Biden following his abysmal debate performance (while many of his former aides have been some of the incumbent’s biggest critics)…. In private conversations with lawmakers, we’re told, the former speaker hasn’t tried to hide her disdain for the situation that party now finds itself in. She’s suggested to people that Biden won’t win this November and should step aside, according to about a half-dozen lawmakers and others who have spoken with her or are familiar with these conversations. In fact, she’s advised some Democrats in swing districts to do whatever they have to do to secure their own reelections — even if it means asking Biden to relinquish his place atop the ticket. Pelosi has advised those members, however, to wait until this week’s NATO Summit is finished out of respect for Biden and national security writ large. Some members, we’re told, have already started drafting statements of what they want to say, ready to drop once foreign leaders leave town.” • Pelosi, of course, denies all this….

The Squad:

That, plus AOC doesn’t want to overthrow Pelosi, or anything Pelosi represents; she wants to be Pelosi.


Question begging!

Random Democrats:

“Peter Welch becomes first Democratic senator to call for Biden to drop out” [Just the News]. “Welch said his constituents are ‘terrified of another Trump presidency,’ but who can replace Biden as the Democratic nominee. Other Democratic senators have expressed fear over Biden’s reelection chances against Trump, but none besides Welch have called for him to exit the race. ”

Wait, perhaps the Trump Threat isn’t existential? At least not for some electeds?

Black Women and Party Loyalists

“Stacey Abrams: Biden is still best bet against Trump” [Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “. Most of the voters Biden has won and needs to win again already know his foibles — and they aren’t turning in droves to say, ‘I’m now voting for the bombastic fascistic liar.’ … Let’s be clear: The wishful benefits of a contested convention or a late-stage exit are vastly outweighed by the potential harm. President Joe Biden has the integrity, moral character and record needed to beat Donald Trump in November. Our path to victory lies in standing by Biden and understanding the high stakes of this election.”

Perhaps a better source:

Perhaps an even better source:

Nice of Ro to say:

On the other hand, “true believers”… Rhinoceros is a wonderful play.


Where the heck was Clooney a month ago:

Or, for that matter, the rest of the great and the good at Clooney’s fundraiser:

If I had to pick a proximate cause for the dogpile — not the whole mess, just the dogpile — it woud be donors (whose stupidity and laziness is such that they know less about Biden than any Naked Capitalism reader). Why? Because they’re rich. Noboby says no to them. The signature: They think any problem — to be generous, outside whatever their limited business expertise may be — can be solved with money. Unfortunately, that’s not true for the electoral calendar. So Clooney can fiddle and diddle for a whole month, along with all his rich friends. And speaking of George Clooney:

“US election 2024: People’s will or donors’ will?” [Al Jazeera]. “In Biden’s case, though, it is noteworthy that the president’s alleged incompetence was only elevated to the status of Very Important Issue when donors got their panties in a bunch. This, despite the fact that, prior to the debate, an Ipsos poll found that a mere 28 percent of likely voters in the US were confident in Biden’s ‘mental fitness to be president’. Following the debate, this figure dropped to 20 percent. In short, it is just another reminder of the inordinate power and influence wielded by America’s donor class in a shameless plutocracy euphemised as ‘democracy’ – where voting and other democratic charades barely conceal a reality in which the people’s will could not matter less.” • Why not just dispense with the cumbersome and messy primary process and focus group the Forbes billionaire’s list? Or better, wire them all up to psychometric devices and parade the candidates in front of them, beauty contest-style. Check the dials, and whichever candidate gets the audience most sweaty and excited, nominate them! Just be sure to do it close enough to election day that they don’t change their minds….

* * *

“‘It’s already disastrous’: Biden campaign fundraising takes a major hit” [NBC News]. “One of the people close to the re-election efforts said this week that the campaign believed major donors who have threatened to jump ship after the debate would come around — if only to avoid helping former President Donald Trump by sitting out the race. Biden aides had said privately that One of the sources said several unplanned fundraisers were in the early planning stages for the month.” • Problematic, then, that Biden’s strategists chose the expensive ground game route.

“Dems fear Biden’s fundraising is ‘cratering’” [Politico]. “Biden is scheduled to appear at several high-dollar fundraisers this month, including one in Austin early next week, and a West Coast swing is scheduled, according to a source familiar with the planning of the events.”

“After a Bruising Day, Biden Faces a New Test” [New York Times]. “Some donors said they still backed Biden, including Alex Soros, son of George Soros, and James Costos, a former HBO executive who attended the Los Angeles fund-raiser.”

The Spooks

Biden is, in essence, saying: “Go ahead and shoot me” (in keeping with the game of chicken).

The Press

The savage irony is that if the Press will emerge more powerful than ever if, after declaring Biden’s cognitive ability an unstory for, well, donkey’s years, they manage to take him down:

Skip this if NSFW material offends or triggers you, but I can’t resist:

The Polls

“Biden’s poor debate performance had almost no impact on voter preference, new report says” (press release) [Northeastern Global News]. “Led by David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer science at Northeastern, the report indicates that the debate had little if any impact on people’s voting preference. Lazer hopes the report helps illustrate the dangers of making a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to the media interpreting data. ‘Even the New York Times, which is usually better about this, talked about a very tiny shift that was totally insignificant statistically like it was evidence that it was a shift toward Trump after the debate.’… Seeing the dominant narrative coming out of the debate, Lazer and the team at CHIP50 decided to test the hypothesis that Biden had lost ground in public opinion after the debate. Notably, Lazer says, they didn’t survey two different cross-sectional groups of people before and after the debate like most polls. Instead, the team was able to survey the same group of respondents from a survey conducted before the debate. Lazer says using the same group of people helps make the results more precise, which is important in polling that inherently has a margin of error. What the report finds is that Biden held on to 94% of the people who said they would support him before the debate. For Trump, 86% of people who said they would support him before the debate said they would do so after the debate. ‘What we see is that there is some churn –– maybe 10 percent or so of people change what they answer –– but that the net result is not a movement away from Biden,’ Lazer says. ” • So Biden slipping a cog had the same effect as Trump’s 34 million felony convictions?

“Who Is Favored To Win The 2024 Presidential Election?” [FiveThirtyEight]. “It’s 120 days until Election Day, and our model thinks the presidential election could go either way. Right now, President Joe Biden is favored to win in 492 out of 1,000 of our model’s simulations of how the election could go, while former President Donald Trump wins in 505 of our simulations. There is still a small chance of the pure chaos scenario: In 3 simulations, no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, which would throw the election to the House of Representatives. . This means there is a lot of uncertainty about where the polls will end up on Nov. 5. In turn, the 538 election model puts a healthy amount of weight on non-polling factors such as economic growth and political indicators. Today these indicators suggest an outcome closer to a 3-point Biden win — clear in the opposite direction of national polls. 538’s focus on uncertainty partially explains why our election forecast has not moved much in reaction to new national polls showing Trump gaining on Biden. In effect, we are hedging our bets, putting more weight on the so-called “fundamentals” because we believe the campaign could be volatile or polls could be biased.” • Model, FWIW.

“Tracking 2024” [Morning Consult]. “[W[ith Biden forcefully telegraphing his intent to remain atop the ticket — and a critical mass of Democrats on Capitol Hill apparently falling in line for him, at least for now — I wanted to use today’s edition to highlight a shift in our tracking that seems most salient now. It’s our buzz metric, which tracks what voters have heard about certain politicians or issues over the past week. Voters have three options on this question: They can say whether what they’ve heard about a person or thing is mostly positive or mostly negative, or they can say that they haven’t heard anything at all. Of all of the post-debate data I’ve seen, it’s Biden’s buzz numbers from our last two surveys that are most jarring….. It’s a devastating shift that threatens to disprove what appears to be the Biden campaign’s prevailing theory for 2024: That ultimately this election, just like 2022 and 2020, will be more about Trump than it will be about Biden, benefiting Democrats just as it did in those past two elections.” • Handy chart:

“The Bonfire of the Democrats” [The Bulwark]. “But there’s another thread that’s emerging: voters comparing Joe Biden to their aging relatives who won’t give up their car keys. That’s not an analogy you want to hear with democracy on the line. On Wednesday, these comparisons were more common than ever among the voters I talked to—a group made up of those who cast ballots for Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 but were now undecided. ‘I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to get, you know, mom’s driver’s license or aging parents’ license away from them,’ one participant said. ‘What does that look like when it’s the president of the United States?’ This is fundamental to understanding voters’ fears about Biden’s age. They are disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt because many have seen this all before. They don’t want their octogenarian father (or grandfather) running the country, let alone driving a car. Most of these voters believed Biden should leave the race: ‘,’ one said. ‘.’

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Lambert here: How a great nation, the world’s oldest democracy, and the oldest political party in the world select a Presidential candidate:


Always something to look forward to.

<— Our Famously Free Press



“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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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.

[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.

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED up.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Consumer Price Index (CPI)” [Trading Economics]. “The consumer price index in the United States rose by 3% year-over-year to 314.18 points in June 2024, following a 3.3% increase in May and below the market consensus of a 3.1% advance.”

Employment Situation: “ıUnited States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US fell by 17,000 from the prior week to 222,000 on the period ending July 6th, reaching a new 5-week low, and below market expectations of 236,000. The claim count was considerably below the elevated levels from June but remained firmly above the averages from February to April.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 11 at 11:22:01 AM ET.

News of the Wired

“Engineering Principles for Building Financial Systems” []. “When data is immutable, you have a record of what the state of the system was at any given time. This makes it really easy to recompute the world from previous states, because no state is every lost.” Who wants that? Where’s the space for accounting control fraud? More: ” Even though that balance was incorrect, we want an audit trail of what the balance was at any given moment.” • No, we really don’t. I say use Excel.

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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: “We stopped at a yard sale in San Pedro (CA) over the weekend and the neighboring house had this sweet little garden.”

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