2:00PM Water Cooler 1/30/2024 | naked capitalism


By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Northern Shrike, Apache, Arizona, United States. “Two adults. Interacted with each other, vocalizing.”

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Politics

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

The Constitutional Order (Insurrection)

“Illinois election board dismisses 14th Amendment case against Trump, though an appeal is expected” [CNN]. “The Illinois State Board of Elections voted Tuesday to dismiss a challenge to former President Donald Trump’s candidacy, but the decision is not expected to be the final word in the matter, with an appeal all but assured. The panel voted 8-0 on a bipartisan basis to dismiss the challenge, finding that it didn’t have jurisdiction to adjudicate a complex constitutional dispute involving the 14th Amendment…. The election panel accepted a recommendation from retired Judge Clark Erickson, who presided over an evidentiary hearing last week and concluded that the board isn’t legally empowered to undertake a complex constitutional analysis of Trump’s potential culpability in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. However, Erickson, a Republican, also concluded that, based on the evidence presented at the hearing, Trump did engage in the January 6 insurrection and the 14th Amendment would apply to him. He said state courts – which have more power than the election board – should decide Trump’s eligibility.” • I guess if Section Three is self-executing, it doesn’t matter who does the executing: Election officials, as Baude and Paulsen contemplated; or state courts, or whoever. I suppose if a State legislature wanted to, they could set up a magic board, and punt the decision over to them. Or, idea: How about sortition? Our militias are more “well-regulated” than this.

“Baude and Paulsen Are Mistaken: Section 3 Has Never Barred Anyone from Serving as President” [David Weisberg]. Weisberg is an “independent” without affiliation but I think his argument is a good one:

Baude and Paulsen make the textual mistake of ignoring the significance of the omission of the specific terms “President or Vice-President” at the head of the list of specifically barred federal offices. If it had been intended that the presidency and vice presidency would be barred offices, any reasonable, competent, careful, sober legislator would have drafted Section 3 to begin with the words: “No person shall be President or Vice-President, or a Senator or …”

[T]heir textual mistake ensures that Baude and Paulsen are blind to the policy consideration underlying the deliberate omission of “President or Vice-President” from the list of barred offices. Elections for president and vice president are nation-wide in scope. Federal electors are elected in individual States, but the president and vice president are elected only after tallying the electors’ votes from every State all together. All the specifically barred federal offices entail elections limited to individual States.

The distinction between nation-wide elections and elections held in a single State is crucial. While unreconstructed rebel voters might constitute majorities in individual States that had formerly seceded, the national electorate could never have been so constituted. In the late 1860’s, the ratio of populations of States that had remained in the Union compared with populations of formerly Confederate States was almost 5 to 1. Additionally, disloyal persons were specifically barred by Section 3 from serving in the electoral college. Thus, . That is why Section 3, on its very face, never barred anyone from serving as president.

So Jefferson Davis was never within hailing distance of the Oval Office, despite the hysteria of some liberal commentators.

The Constitutional Order (Invasion)

“Texas Gov. Abbott sends stark message to sanctuary cities as migrant crisis continues” [FOX]. Abbott: “Texas has transported over 102,000 migrants to sanctuary cities. Overwhelmed Texas border towns should not bear the brunt of Biden’s open border policies. Our transportation mission will continue until Biden secures the border.” Mission? More: “Former President Donald Trump on Thursday gave his backing to Abbott amid the latter’s feud with the Biden administration — urging states to send their National Guards to the border and promising to work ‘hand in hand’ with the state to combat the ‘invasion’ if he is inaugurated again in January 2025.”

“Governor Abbott’s Perilous Effort at Constitutional Realignment” [Lawfare]. “Article I, § 10, Clause 3 is primarily a statement of several things that states may not do. It includes a default rule that ‘[n]o State shall, without the Consent of Congress, … engage in War.’ It is true that the final clauses of Clause 3 create a limited right for states to respond to “invasions” in a way that the clause otherwise denies them—namely, the power to “engage in War” without congressional consent when they are ‘actually invaded” (or at imminent risk of the same). The ‘Actual Invasion Clause,’ in other words, is an exception to the default prohibition on states’ war-engagement power in Clause 3. In arguing that Clause 3 provides a federal constitutional basis for its actions along the U.S.-Mexico border, Texas has advanced two broader claims. The first is that what is currently happening along the border meets the threshold definition of ‘invasion.’ The second is that Texas can defend itself against invasions without regard to—and even in derogation of—federal laws and policies. Neither argument is persuasive, but the second is truly extraordinary.” More: “[E]ven in cases (unlike in Texas today) in which § 10 is applicable, it does not give the state any power to ‘supersede’ federal statutes. Abbott’s claim to the contrary—which he has yet to test outside of briefing in the current lawsuits between the United States and the Biden administration—is . And however sympathetic some might be to what Texas claims it is trying to do, were courts to endorse these arguments, it could have far beyond the specific—and hotly contested—space of border security.” • Good thing the Feds were sensible enough never to base nuclear weapons in Texas, eh? I like the “Actual Invasion Clause”; a plain reading of the text contradicts Abbott, as I show here, but there’s no question the Lawfare dudes added some spice (as one would expect; this is journal for practitioners).

“Texas’ Border Stunt Is Based on the Same Legal Theory Confederate States Used to Secede” [The Daily Beast]. “Abbott’s accusation that the federal government has breached the Constitution by having ‘broken the compact between the United States and the States’ is almost identical to South Carolina’s 1860 declaration of secession.” I don’t think “almost identical” is correct, but it’s certainly worth a click-through to see the Slave Power pounding the table. More: “Abbott’s letter espouses the fringe theory of constitutional law known as ‘compact theory,’ popularized by Confederate states during the Civil War era and supported by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. This theory posits that the United States was formed through a compact agreed upon by the states, with the federal government being a creation of the states. However, this view conflicts with the widely accepted social contract theory, which asserts that the federal government derives its authority from the consent of the people, not the states. The Supreme Court has consistently rejected compact theory, deeming it illegitimate and incompatible with constitutional law. At the crux of what’s happening at the southern border lies the question: Does the federal government have the authority to regulate access to Texas’ borders? The answer is unequivocally, yes. Texas’ embrace of compact theory and its assertion that state government can supersede federal authority directly contradict the landmark Supreme Court case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819).” • Of course, this Supreme Court is fully capable of turning up its nose at any doctrine with the word “social” in it. But Abbots view is indeed “fringe,” even for Texas Republicans; see the views of the Texas Public Policy Institute in Water Cooler of last week.

Can our European readers speak to this point?

2024

Less than a year to go!

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“Trump is running a disciplined campaign. That should worry Democrats” [MSNBC]. “It’s unclear what’s driving the relatively high functioning of Trump’s campaign operation, in contrast to his past campaigns and presidency. It’s unlikely that, at 77, Trump has had an epiphany on the importance of professionalism and attention to detail. What may be at play is that Trump has become more deeply enmeshed in the Republican Party apparatus and more attuned to the benefits of building relationships with its important players. He and his inner circle have become more experienced with electoral politics, and he has more connections to seasoned operatives. In other words, while Trump still presents himself as an outsider, he’s not running as an outsider anymore. We see that not only in his efforts to return to the White House, but also in his preparation for what he would do if he were to return to it: The Heritage Foundation, a Beltway think tank, is helping prepare extensive plans for him to hire an army of yes men and radically reshape the federal bureaucracy in Washington from the day he enters office. It would be a mistake to assume that Trump has struck upon a kind of new, unerring discipline. He remains impulsive, fickle and inclined to rage-post on social media. His powers as a rhetorician may be in decline as his speeches grow ever more discursive and his agenda is ever more defined by a thirst for personal vengeance. While the going is easy for him now, his general election campaign would be a much more complex effort and more likely to grow unstable as Election Day nears and pressure mounts.” • Cope.

“Trump’s Inflection Point Began Where No One Was Looking: East Palestine” [RealClearPolitics]. “The sleet and rain were unforgiving here on Feb. 22, 2023, the day former President Donald Trump came to this small Columbiana County village. Despite the weather and concerns about what was in the air or what kind of chemical was lurking in the pools of mud they were walking in, folks by the hundreds lined up along Main Street as Trump’s motorcade, filled with state and local law enforcement, sirened its way into town…. If you had visited here for weeks — as I had, reporting about the disaster — you understood, more than anything else, that the people here wanted to know that those in power would help them…. [T]he person with the most power, President Joe Biden, had not come, nor would he ever…. While the shift toward Trump in the polls would not happen for at least a month after his visit here — he started gaining steam in March when news broke of the indictment from the Manhattan district attorney — I wrote down in my rain-smudged reporter’s notebook that day that if he is able to resurrect the magic of 2016, understanding the forgotten man and woman and the dignity of work, it started here, the day he showed up when Biden refused.” • Maybe so. What is clear from this story: “[P]eople here wanted to know that those in power would help them.” I think that’s a broad-based desire, or hope, or exercise in wishful thinking across the political spectrum. It’s certainly true for me on Covid. And while I don’t think much of Abbott and his Confderate Constitutional theorizing, I can understand why Texas border towns would have exactly the same desire.

“Tim Scott to serve as key Trump surrogate amid push for Black voters” [The Hill]. “Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is poised to play a key role in former President Trump’s campaign as Trump and the GOP look to boost support among Black voters. Scott has been a fixture on Trump’s stage since dropping his 2024 bid late last year, spurring speculation he could be Trump’s vice president pick. He also drew scrutiny recently over remarks defending Trump’s policies regarding race. The South Carolina senator’s public support of Trump comes as Republicans have recently made a concerted effort to appeal to more Black voters, long seen as a core constituency for Democrats. ‘He certainly brings a lot to the table,’ Brian Seitchik, GOP strategist and Trump campaign alum, told The Hill. ‘He’s a substantive person. He’s very conservative, with strong ties into the African American community.’” • Commentary:


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“Mayorkas lashes out at ‘baseless’ GOP allegations ahead of key impeachment vote” [FOX]. “Mayorkas’ letter comes after Republicans have traded barbs with Democrats and the administration over the impeachment push against the Biden cabinet secretary, who Republicans have accused of a “dereliction of duty” in his handling of the ongoing and historic crisis at the southern border. Migrant numbers officially hit 302,000 in December, a new record, after 2.4 million encounters in FY23. Republicans have said that large releases into the interior and a rolling back of Trump-era policies have fueled the crisis.” • I hate that word “baseless.” Too many “s” sounds!

* * *

“Trump team made ‘early on’ attempts to recruit RFK Jr. as former president’s running mate: report” [FOX]. “People close to former President Donald Trump made attempts to recruit Robert F. Kennedy to serve as his running mate, according to a report which was subsequently denied by Trump’s team. Citing a source in Trump’s orbit who is familiar with the matter, the New York Post reported that people close to the former president made “preliminary overtures” to Kennedy, a former Democrat candidate now running as an Independent, about the possibility of him serving as Trump’s running mate in the 2024 presidential election. ‘Trump operatives expressed an interest in Kennedy early on, but it was all premature,’ one person familiar with the matter told the outlet, adding that it was ‘right out of the box when Bobby announced’ in April 2023 that he was making a run for the White House.” • There’s only one “Bobby,” and that Bobby ins’t Junior.

“Measles cases expected to spread cross-country due to vaccination gaps, high travel” [KRCG]. Thanks for doing your bit, Junior:

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“House Republicans poised to torpedo GOP’s best chance in years to pass border bill” [The Hill] .

Democrats en Déshabillé

“The Anti-Democratic Movement Targeted Ralph Nader First. We Should Have Paid More Attention” (unlocked) [Matt Taibbi, Substack]. The deck: “The recent ballot access challenges, political investigations, and canceled primaries are just an extension of a phenomenon we should have seen coming twenty years ago.” More: “Democrats showed great creativity when seeking ways to keep Nader off the ballot, but almost none when it came to examining possible reasons it might be underperforming. Kerry in 2004 was fatally flawed because he had no position on this central issue of the campaign, the Iraq war. He tried simultaneously to be against it (‘Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions‘) and for it (pledging to ‘hunt down and kill the terrorists‘), while running all year from the fact that he voted for Bush’s war resolution. This complex non-position not only created a clear rationale for a third-party run in a year when support for the war dropped as low as 45%, it was a major factor in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 general election loss, when Donald Trump won 57% of military households vs Clinton’s 39%. Had the party shown a fraction of the backbone on the Iraq issue during the crucial October 2002 vote that it showed in bollocking Nader all through the 2004 cycle, it’s possible Trump never would have been president.” And: “Twenty years and multiple political upheavals later, the Democrats are taking the sabotage game it played in 2004 up a notch or ten. It’s taken the position that all of Joe Biden’s potential challengers within the party and without are, in effect, new Naders, whose presences are “distorting” the real election. The major difference between 2004 and now is that thanks to major changes in both the Democratic and Republican parties, current Democrats have the money and institutional capacity to attempt a legal campaign to “Naderize” even the likely GOP nominee, Trump, essentially seeking to ballot-block their way to victory.” • Well worth a read, and mark well that as I have long urged: The distinctive competence of the modern political party is control of the ballot. (I just hope Taibbi gets out of bed with Bhattacharya* before he gets confused, and thinks the money on the dresser is for him. Decrying censorship is one thing; treating the GBD crowd as anything other than Koch-funded eugenicist weasels is quite another. NOTE * Battacharya is not a “real scientist. He’s an economist, ffs.) Commentary:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Religious ‘Nones’ are now the largest single group in the U.S. [NPR]. “A new study from Pew Research finds that the religiously unaffiliated – a group comprised of atheists, agnostic and those who say their religion is ‘nothing in particular’ – is now the largest cohort in the U.S. They’re more prevalent among American adults than Catholics (23%) or evangelical Protestants (24%). Back in 2007, Nones made up just 16% of Americans, but Pew’s new survey of more than 3,300 U.S. adults shows that number has now risen dramatically…. “We know politically for example,” Smith says, ‘that religious Nones are very distinctive. They are among the most strongly and consistently liberal and Democratic constituencies in the United States.’ And that could change electoral politics in the coming decades. The political power of white Evangelicals has been well-reported in recent decades, but their numbers are shrinking while the number of the more liberal Nones is on the rise. However, Smith points out that Nones are also less civically engaged than those who identify with a religion – they’re less likely to vote. So, while they identify as Democrats, getting them to the polls on election day may prove to be a challenge.” • Funny how Christianity took a hit when the Christianists went into politics. I would be surprised if the trend didn’t start with the Bush Administration. “In The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W Bush, the former Bush speechwriter David Frum tells of how virtually the first words he heard were: The remark, it should be said, was not addressed to Frum, who is Jewish, but to the chief speechwriter Michael Gerson.” • As, Bibles in hand, the Bushies tortured and bombed their way to disaster. And speaking of realignment and David Frum:

Readers: I’ve had a complaint that the screen shots I make of Twitter threads and documents are not readable. I don’t understand this, because I thought *.PNGs, as opposed to *.JPGs, were supposed to scale without jaggies (and in any case they look fine on my Mac, or I wouldn’t be using them in the first place). I just tried an online sharpening tool which in fact added jaggies. Thoughts? Tools?

#COVID19

“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

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!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Guerilla public health communication, since CDC has given up:

I applaud the effort, but I think that the layered protection strategy (a) saves more lives (has greater efficicacy) and also (b) gets rid of the moralizing aspect of mask vs no mask (which I freely admit I have vociferously participated in):

Maskstravaganza

Idea: Why don’t we call respirators “Razor wire for Covid?” Sure, there would be an intracranial splatterfest in the liberal Democrat camp, but so what? They hate non-pharmaceutical interventions anyhow.

Censorship and Propaganda

“Why Covid Can Never Be ‘Just A Cold’ [Nate Bear]. “I’ve said it many times before, and it bears repeating again and again: most people didn’t wake up one day and decide to think about covid like a cold. People didn’t go from being happy to isolate, test, mask, lock down, to being chill about coexisting with this virus. The normalising process wasn’t organic, it was engineered… If covid is here in three hundred years, it won’t be a cold. Why? Because Sarscov2 infects cells in the human body in a very different way to any other virus that causes a cold.” • Worth reading in full.

Sequelae

“Altered brain connectivity in Long Covid during cognitive exertion: a pilot study” [Frontiers in Neuroscience]. From Methods: “Functional MRI was acquired in 10 Long Covid (LCov) and 13 healthy controls (HC) with a 7 Tesla scanner during a cognitive (Stroop color-word) task.” From the Conclusion: “In this pilot study of brain connectivity in Long Covid, despite limited subject numbers, we have detected significant differences from [healthy controls (HC)], mostly in brainstem and salience network connections that are important for the regulation of brain function. Altered regulatory connections can have complex consequences that may manifest as the symptoms of [Long Covid (LCov)]. In the brainstem during the same cognitive exertion, enhanced connectivity in LCov was opposite to the impaired connectivity in ME/CFS.” • Hmm.

Maybe this will do it; the threat of brain damage certainly hasn’t:

Many studies on the thread.

Elite Maleficence

“How to Eat a Tire in a Year” [David Sedaris, The New Yorker]. Filed under “Personal History”:

One of Dawn’s lungs collapsed when she was in her late fifties, so she was super cautious about covid—kept her face covered long after everyone else had returned to normal. We were in Chicago together, at O’Hare, in the spring of 2022, when I told her she needed to take it off.

“But—” she said.

“Let it go,” I told her. “Everyone else has.”

I felt like a director coercing an actress to unhook her bra for a sex scene. “Come on,” I said. “You can do this. Start by just . . . lowering it to your chin.”

She took off her mask, and then of course immediately got covid—a bad case, too. All my fault, but she’s never held it against me.

Classic New Yorker! (“The Collapse of the Public Health Establishment is the Collapse of the Professional-Managerial Class,” for whom The New Yorker is or was a sort of fetish or totem).

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

LEGEND

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.”

NOTES

[1] Even after a decline, we’re still higher than any of the surges under Trump.

[2] Slight increase in MWRA wastewater data, as of January 25, i.e. the incubation period from the student’s return:

[3] “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] “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections. And of course, we’re not even getting into the quality of the wastewater sites that we have as a proxy for Covid infection overall.

[5] Decrease for the city aligns with wastewater data.

[6] “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] -0.7%. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

[8] Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

[9] Up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Job Quits” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job quits in the United States declined by 132,000 from the previous month to 3.392 million in December 2023, down from November’s revised figure of 3.524 million and touching the lowest level since January 2021.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Greed (previous close: 75 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 30 at 1:48:31 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on earthquakes: “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • What are they waiting for in the Middle East? A red heifer?

News of the Wired

“Why flying insects gather at artificial light” [Nature]. “Explanations of why nocturnal insects fly erratically around fires and lamps have included theories of ‘lunar navigation’ and ‘escape to the light’. However, without three-dimensional flight data to test them rigorously, the cause for this odd behaviour has remained unsolved. We employed high-resolution motion capture in the laboratory and stereo-videography in the field to reconstruct the 3D kinematics of insect flights around artificial lights. Contrary to the expectation of attraction, insects do not steer directly toward the light. Instead, insects turn their dorsum toward the light, generating flight bouts perpendicular to the source. Under natural sky light, tilting the dorsum towards the brightest visual hemisphere helps maintain proper flight attitude and control. Near artificial sources, however, this highly conserved dorsal-light-response can produce continuous steering around the light and trap an insect. Our guidance model demonstrates that this dorsal tilting is sufficient to create the seemingly erratic flight paths of insects near lights and is the most plausible model for why flying insects gather at artificial lights.” • So we could think of the effects of propaganda as a sort of “dorsal tilting”? Anyhow, since I cannot forbear:

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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 Judith:

Judith writes: “I saw this snow person (artist unknown) in front of the Cambridge (MA) public library and it made me smile.” Me too!

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