Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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2:00PM Water Cooler 9/22/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Italian Sparrow, Castello di Riomaggiore, Liguria, Italy. “Gathering in large tree to roost.” My favorite sparrow sound, indeed one of my favorite sounds.

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Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap

Capitol Seizure

“Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, to answer Jan. 6 committee questions – lawyer” [Reuters]. “‘I can confirm that Ginni Thomas has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the Committee,’ Mark Paoletta, an attorney for Thomas, said in an email, confirming an earlier CNN report. ‘As she has said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas is eager to answer the Committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election,’ he wrote. A lawyer for Thomas has said previously Thomas had no role in the Jan. 6 attack and never discussed election litigation strategy with [Pence advisor John] Eastman.”

Biden Administration

“Biden approves disaster declaration for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico” [NBC]. “About 41% of all water service customers, or over 520,000, still did not have water access as of Wednesday morning, according to Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewage Authority. A larger number of Puerto Ricans also remain without electricity.”

2022

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“Notes on the State of the Primaries: Sept. 21, 2022” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “2022 was the first election cycle since 1998 where no incumbent Senators or governors who ran for reelection were denied renomination. Though there was considerably more turnover at the House level, over 96% of members who are seeking another term made it through the primary phase (we are assuming that all 6 members of Louisiana’s delegation, who all have safe seats, will ultimately prevail).”

AZ: “Kelly leading Masters by 12 points in Arizona Senate race: poll” [The Hill]. “Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) is leading his Republican challenger Blake Masters by a 12-point margin in the race to hold his seat in November, according to a new poll. An Ohio Predictive Insights (OHPI) poll released Wednesday found that Kelly is backed by 47 percent of likely voters, while Masters has support from 35 percent. Libertarian Marc Victor received support from 6 percent of those surveyed, while 12 percent said they were undecided.” • I wonder if the DNC is funding the libertarian….

GA: “Opinion | Is Stacey Abrams Really a Political Star?” [Politico]. “The narrative about her has been that, unbowed and undefeated, she’s fighting a righteous battle against the voter suppression that denied her her rightful victory the first time around, and — as a charismatic figure of unbounded talent — she’s heading for bigger and better things than narrow defeats in state-wide elections. As it happens, she may be headed for an even less narrow defeat in exactly the same state-wide election. Come November, she may look more like Beto O’Rourke than Barack Obama. There’s no doubt that Abrams is a talented organizer whose voter registration and turn-out efforts helped move the needle in Georgia. She also has performative ability, and the enthusiastic support of a cadre of loyalists — a category of people that seemingly includes everyone who does a profile of her. New York Magazine wondered in the headline of its 2019 profile if she’d run for governor, senator, vice president or president — the world was her oyster. Vogue asked, “Can Stacey Abrams save American democracy?” A Washington Post Magazine piece about her famously included an arty, moody picture of her staring off into the distance wearing what looked like the cape of a superhero.” • Gad. I assume Neera Tanden set up those stories….

2024

“Five scenarios that could help Joe Biden” [The Hill]. “‘Look, my intention as I said to begin with is that I would run again,’ Biden said in an interview with ’60 Minutes’ that aired Sunday. ‘But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.’” • The scenarios depend on various levels of performance by Democrats in the midterms.

“Trump vs. DeSantis in 2024? USA TODAY/Suffolk poll shows Florida Republicans prefer their governor” [USA Today]. “In a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary in the Sunshine State, DeSantis leads Trump 48%-40%. That’s a reversal from a poll of Florida in January, when Trump led DeSantis 47%-40%.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

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Republican Funhouse

“The Power Latent in a Countercultural Right” [The Upheaval]. “[T]he youth of today, bombarded 24/7 as they are with an official ideological Message that is suffocatingly all-pervasive and repeated with a rhythm as subtle as a jack-hammer, and finding themselves lost with an unfulfilled human yearning for normality and truth in a society saturated with thermobaric levels of gaslighting, just might do the natural thing and rebel. And if they do, they’re likely to rebel in the only direction they now can: by becoming more traditionalist and conservative. Far out, I know!” • This argument periodically pops up. Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe if the Republicans could broaden their idea of what is traditional to include unions? They seem quite popular among young folks these days.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Wounded City” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “To capture just a glimpse of the summer’s epidemic and document its unrelenting toll, Inquirer journalists in early August visited the scene of every shooting during a single weekend in nearly real-time. In the weeks that followed, they attended funerals, spoke with survivors as they sought to heal, visited with neighbors afraid to leave their homes, and tried to understand why the shootings occurred. Their reporting presents a microcosm of the violence many Philadelphians endure every single day, and what’s driving it: people using guns to resolve trivial disagreements; only one in four shootings resulting in charges; unsolved shootings festering and leading to threats of retaliation; neighborhood groups beefing over social media; and untold grieving families and shooting survivors facing searing trauma in the aftermath. And yet that weekend’s gun violence was cruelly average.” And: “‘In a majority of shootings, people know who did it,’ Capt. John Walker, head of the Police Department’s nonfatal shooting unit, would later explain. ‘They are going to allow themselves to digest it a bit first, and then decide what way they’re going to go: are they going to let law enforcement handle it, the streets handle it, or handle it themselves?’ Increasingly, people opt for the latter two. While the Police Department does not compile data on the motives behind nonfatal shootings, nearly 20% of homicides last year were retaliatory, determined to be motivated by revenge against someone for a past assault or insult, or an attack against a rival group over a perceived beef. This motive saw a 145% jump over the year before, according to police statistics.” • Heading toward Cormac McCarthy territory. Very sad, because Philly is a wonderful city.

“Suspect free after admitting he mowed down ‘Republican’ teen over politics” [New York Post]. “‘Brandt admitted to striking the pedestrian with his car because he had a political argument with the pedestrian and believed the pedestrian was calling people to come get him,’ the court document continues. “Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the incident and returning shortly after where he called 911.’” • North Dakota.

#COVID19

• “‘Can’t work at a desk’: What it’s like to be out of work with Long COVID” [Yahoo News]. • Handy map:

Yikes.

• ”Pulmonary Dysfunction after Pediatric COVID-19″ [Radiology]. n=54. “Between August and December 2021, a cross-sectional, prospective clinical trial using low-field MRI was performed in children and adolescents from a single academic medical center. The primary outcome was the frequency of morphologic changes on MRI. Secondary outcomes included MRI-derived functional proton ventilation and perfusion parameters…. Low-field MRI showed persistent pulmonary dysfunction in both children and adolescents recovered from COVID-19 and with long COVID.”

* * *

• Maskstravganza: Special hat tip to Joe Biden for destroying the domestic mask industry:

• Maskstravaganza: Teaching opportunity:

* * *

• Another teaching opportunity:

• “Effectiveness of HEPA Filters at Removing Infectious SARS-CoV-2 from the Air” [American Society for Epidemiology]. “Air filtration simulation experiments quantitatively showed that an air cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter can continuously remove SARS-CoV-2 from the air. The capture ratios for SARS-CoV-2 in the air when the air cleaner was equipped with an antiviral-agent-coated HEPA filter were comparable to those with the conventional HEPA filter, and there was little effect on SARS-CoV-2 in the air that passed through the antiviral-reagent-coated HEPA filter.” • A lot of pushback on the thread for this study from Hospital Infection Control community, who are insisting on an RCT, the counter-argument being that this is engineering, the laws of physics, hence no RCTs are required. We don’t test parachutes where half the subjects get placebos, do we?

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Case Count

Case count for the United States:

Cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the nominal case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~60,500. Today, it’s ~59,200 and 59,200 * 6 = a Biden line at 355,200. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.

Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

I should probably give the South (minus Texas and Florida) a shoutout for the steady decrease. Encouraging!

The West:

California on a high plateau all of its own. A sudden jump, and then no doubling behavior? What’s up with that?

Wastewater

Wastewater data (CDC), September 18:

Lambert here: I added all the dots back in. The number of grey dots really concerns me. How can all the sites for international air travel center New York be grey (“no recent data”). And California’s pretty gappy, too.

For grins, September 13:

NOTE Finally got the page to load. I had to turn off my VPN. Thanks for the security breach, CDC.

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 22:

-2.2%. Good news!

Transmission

NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. (This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 20:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 20:

If I had been fooled by CDC’s “Community Levels” okey-dokey, I’d be pretty happy right now.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.

Variants

Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 10:

Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its appearance in CDC data below.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), August 27 (Nowcast off):

Two highlights: BA.4.6 has assumed a slightly greater proportion (more in the NowCast model, which I refuse to use). Also, first appearance of BA.2.75. So where is it, you ask?

The above chart shows variants nationally. I have gone through the CDC regions and made a table. As you can see, BA.2.75 is prominent in Region 2 (New York and New Jersey), followed by Region 5 (Midwest), and Region 1 (Northeast). Hmm.

Table 1: CDC Regional BA.2.75 Data, Sorted by % Total

CDC Region % Total States in Region
Region 2: 0.8% New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
Region 5: 0.7% Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Region 1: 0.7% Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont
Region 3: 0.4% Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia
Region 4: 0.4% Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Region 7: 0.3% lowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska
Region 6: 0.0% Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Region 8: 0.0% Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
Region 9: 0.0% Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands….
Region 10: 0.0% Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

Let’s see if BA.2.75 starts doubling.

Deaths

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: Not sure why World in Data changed the color to red.

Total: 1,080,356 – 1,079,206 = 1150 (1150 * 365 = 419,750, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line.

It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 5 thousand to 213,000 in the week that ended September 17th, below market expectations of 218,000. It marked a slight increase from the previous week’s downwardly revised value, which was the lowest since May, still pointing to a tight labor market.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production Index recovered to 2 in September 2022 from -9 in the prior month. Still, factory growth remained downbeat, led by decreased activity at durable goods plants, primarily electrical, furniture, nonmetallic mineral, primary metal, fabricated metal, and transportation equipment manufacturing.”

* * *

Commodities: “A Great Copper Squeeze Is Coming for the Global Economy” [Bloomberg]. “The price of copper — used in everything from computer chips and toasters to power systems and air conditioners — has fallen by nearly a third since March. Investors are selling on fears that a global recession will stunt demand for a metal that’s synonymous with growth and expansion. You wouldn’t know it from looking at the market today, but some of the largest miners and metals traders are warning that in just a couple of years’ time, a massive shortfall will emerge for the world’s most critical metal — one that could itself hold back global growth, stoke inflation by raising manufacturing costs and throw global climate goals off course. The recent downturn and the under-investment that ensues only threatens to make it worse…. Inventories tracked by trading exchanges are near historical lows. And the latest price volatility means that new mine output — already projected to start petering out in 2024 — could become even tighter in the near future.”

The Bezzle: “Google co-founder’s flying car startup is winding down” [CNBC]. • We were supposed to have flying cars by now. What’s up with that?

The Bezzle: “Meta Sued for Skirting Apple Privacy Rules to Snoop on Users” [Bloomberg]. “Meta Platforms Inc. was sued for allegedly building a secret work-around to safeguards that Apple Inc. launched last year to protect iPhone users from having their internet activity tracked. In a proposed class-action complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court, two Facebook users accused the company of skirting Apple’s 2021 privacy rules and violating state and federal laws limiting the unauthorized collection of personal data. A similar complaint was filed in the same court last week. The suits are based on a report by data privacy researcher Felix Krause, who said that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram apps for Apple’s iOS inject JavaScript code onto websites visited by users. Krause said the code allowed the apps to track ‘anything you do on any website,’ including typing passwords.” • Those crooks just can’t help themselves, can they?

Tech: “iPhone 14 iFixit teardown shows Apple’s learning on repairs” [The Register]. The deck: “Or was forced into a rethink by legislation.”The iPhone 14 harbors a secret that’s a pretty big deal: The internals have been redesigned to make it more repairable, says iFixit. Gone is an excessive use of glue and solder, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens said in his iPhone 14 teardown report. Instead, Wiens said, the iPhone 14 features a butterfly-style design with a pop-off screen and back plate that can be removed with nothing but a single pair of screws, as you can see below. Wiens said the iPhone 14’s design is a ‘dramatic rethinking’ of Apple’s flagship device that signals right-to-repair advocates have won yet another victory against Apple, a long-standing opponent of the self-repair movement. But the legislative tide is turning and Apple sees which way the wind is blowing.” • See NC on right to repair here.

Tech: “Google loses EU appeal and is fined a record $4 billion” [Axios]. “Google suffered a significant loss Wednesday when a European court denied its appeal of an antitrust decision and issued a fine of 4.1 billion euro ($4.13 billion), a record penalty. Google had challenged an earlier EU ruling that said it used its Android mobile operating system to stymie rivals, but Europe’s second-highest court upheld it. The hefty fine and ruling is a win for top EU antitrust official Margrethe Vestager, who has aggressively prosecuted Big Tech companies, and could set a precedent for future European antitrust rulings covering tech giants.” • Why the small fine?

The Economy: “Christian Sewing’s keynote at the Handelsblatt Banken Summit 2022” [Deutsche Bank]. Sewing is CEO of Deutsche.

I am delighted to be with you today at a time that is more challenging than anything I have experienced in more than 30 years of banking. While the Covid pandemic proved to be a temporary shock to the world economy, Russia’s war against Ukraine has destroyed a number of certainties on which we built our economic system over the past decades.

– The brakes have been applied to globalisation and, in the face of major geopolitical tensions, it is unlikely to pick up its old momentum any time soon.

– As a result, many seemingly perfect global value and supply chains have been disrupted.

– The workforce, which for a long time was thought to be available without limit, has become a bottleneck factor worldwide.

– At the same time, electricity and gas have become scarce and extremely expensive. Energy is set to stay an expensive commodity in Europe for some time. This represents a structural competitive drawback and it is a threat to our economy. In the long term, we will need to respond with structural solutions.

– These points are the most important reasons for soaring inflation. As a result, we will no longer be able to avert a recession in Germany.

And:

[W]e have been under the illusion for the past 30 years that we could live forever in an ever more globalised world with no major conflicts and with steady growth. Francis Fukuyama has often been criticised for equating the end of the Cold War with the “end of history”. But de facto we acted as if this thesis was correct; we have been acting as if the world was on its way to becoming one big village where everyone is interested in economic cooperation because, after all, everyone benefits from it. That has stopped being the case for some time now, though.

Of course, this is Deutsche. Nevertheless, interesting reading.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 29 Fear (previous close: 30 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 22 at 1:11 PM EDT.

The Gallery

Summer fun:

Beach fun:

Yes, the title says nothing about the beach, but everybody’s a comedian, so….

Zeitgeist Watch

“Facebook Proven to Negatively Impact Mental Health” (press release) [Tel Aviv University]. “The study was based on data that dates back to the 2004 advent of Facebook at Harvard University, before it took the internet by storm. Facebook was initially accessible only to Harvard students who had a Harvard email address. Quickly spreading to other colleges in and outside the US, the network was made available to the general public in the US and beyond in September 2006. The researchers were able to analyze the impact of social media use by comparing colleges that had access to the platform to colleges that did not. The findings show a rise in the number of students reporting severe depression and anxiety (7% and 20% respectively). …. The study combined information from two different datasets: the specific dates on which Facebook was introduced at 775 American colleges, and the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a survey conducted periodically at American colleges…. the methodology also considered any differences in mental health over time or across colleges that were not related to Facebook. This approach enabled conditions similar to those of a ‘natural experiment,’ which would be impossible today now that billions of people around the world use many different social networks.”

“How Gaslighting Manipulates Reality” [Scientfic American]. “Our task as sociologists is to follow the elusive, topsy-turvy ways in which social domination operates. We must follow what sociologist Avery Gordon calls the “spells of power” and the way patterns of noncredibility are established. By taking gaslighting seriously, we can learn about the relation between macro-level inequalities and the “micro” forms of silencing and disempowerment that people experience in their everyday lives.” And: “After conducting 122 interviews over six months and analyzing the patterns that make up this form of abuse, I became most intrigued by the social contexts where we find gaslighting, and its relation to inequalities around gender, sexuality, class, ability and race. Unsurprisingly, gaslighting does not involve just one of these axes of identity—rather people experience gaslighting intersectionally [of course!], meaning that factors such as age, race, gender and sexuality all matter for the way people’s realities are distorted, questioned or denied. Based on my sample, there appear to be four central relationships or contexts in which gaslighting typically occurs: domestic violence; intimate partners who are not otherwise abusive; parents and other family members; and institutional gaslighting, primarily in the workplace.” • In my view, the term “gaslighting” was invented in the blogosphere in 2003 – 2006, and applied to Iraq WMDs and Bush Administration propaganda generally*; I remember finding the movie poster for the 1944 film and putting it in my blog. Nothing to do with “intersectionality” at all; straightforward indictment of an increasingly sick political situation. But grifters gotta grift. NOTE * Possibly to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge’s ludicrous color-coded system of terror alerts; it’s been a long time, and there’s been a lot of link rot.

Groves of Academe

“Quantifying hierarchy and dynamics in US faculty hiring and retention” [Nature]. “Prestige plays a central role in structuring the US professoriate. Analyses of faculty hiring networks, which map who hires whose graduates as faculty, show unambiguously in multiple fields that prestigious departments supply an outsized proportion of faculty, regardless of whether prestige is measured by an extrinsic ranking or reputation scheme or derived from the structure of the faculty hiring network itself. Prestigious departments also exhibit ‘social closure’ by excluding those who lack prestige, facilitated by relatively stable hierarchies over time, both empirically and in mathematical models of self-reinforcing network dynamics.”

Class Warfare

“Home Depot workers petition to form 1st store-wide union” [ABC]. “Home Depot workers in Philadelphia have filed a petition with the federal labor board to form what could be the first store-wide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer. The petition, filed with the National Labor Relations Board this week, seeks to form a collective bargaining unit for 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations. The federal agency’s database shows no other attempts to form a store-wide union at the company, though a group of Home Depot drivers successfully unionized with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2019.” • Not all the news from Philly is bad.

“Airline’s Pitch to Aspiring Pilots: Fly Our Planes Now, Work for Us Later” [Wall Street Journal]. “Regional airline company Mesa Air Group Inc. MESA -0.78%▼ is offering a new way for pilots who have gone through initial training to build up the hundreds of additional flying hours they need to qualify for airline jobs. The airline, which flies for United Airlines Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and cargo carrier DHL Express, said Thursday that it acquired 29 small two-seat planes with options to buy as many as 75 more over the next year. It plans to extend pilots interest-free loans to fly those planes around until they have accumulated the hours they need to work at Mesa. ‘I really believe this will crack open the nut in terms of all these pilots out there trying to build time,’ Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa’s chief executive, said in an interview.” • More debt? Really? Why not just give the hours away?

News of the Wired

Haiti, ahead of the curve, as usual (guurst):

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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 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 PH:

PH writers: “To continue with the sunflower theme, this is a pic I took a few years ago in my garden on the crest of the Cascade Range in South Central Washington. There is one of my honeybees and a couple of native bees. A nice Fibonacci lure to draw them in.”

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