2:00PM Water Cooler 4/16/2020 | naked capitalism

by nyljaouadi1
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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID-19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

“But the number of new cases in the state seems to have reached a plateau, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said, ‘I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart.’” [New York Times]. • This curve hasn’t gone flat though….

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories, adjusted for population. See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.

I hope this change is helpful. One also notices at once that the New York and New Jersey metroplexes stand out.

Politics

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

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

* * *

2020

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Is the Democratic Nominee. Progressives Are Worried About His Cabinet” [Mother Jones]. “Now that Biden is moving ahead to the general election, progressives are determined to exert what power they have to shape his future appointments. But the former vice president ran a campaign that, for the most part, remained ideologically agnostic and scant on policy details. That, in combination with his White House experience, may actually set the table well for progressives hoping to exercise some control, says Chris Lu, who served as a deputy secretary of labor during the Obama administration and executive director of the Obama–Biden transition.” • I thinik they’re delusional. My, well, current model is that Biden is being operated — because how else could he function? — by some sort of kitchen cabinet. They will make the picks. A tell-tale lacuna in the article is HHS. Not, I would think, Jayapal. Or any single payer advocate. I suppose it’s a good fight to have to weed out the crazies — like Larry Fink of BlackRock should not be Secretary of the Treasury — but ultimately of little importance. Does it really matter if Count Witte stays on through 1907 instead of leaving in 1906?

Biden (D)(2): Two products of Tyrell Corporation in one shot! I mean, at least two:

Perhaps the Biden campaign thinks Facebook appeals to the youths. Let me disabuse them of that notion. (I periodicallly play this video; I can’t imagine who at Adobe was permitted to come up with it.

Biden (D)(3): “AOC lays out progressive wish list for Biden” [Politico]. “Although Ocasio-Cortez said she was heartened by Biden’s pledge to name a female running mate and his openness to a woman of color being on the Democratic ticket, she argued that ‘what’s really important is not only just that woman’s identity, in terms of gender and cultural terms, but … who that woman is and [what] her stance is.’ ‘There is a wide spectrum, politically, of women of color. There’s some that are very conservative, in terms of Democratic context, and there’s some that are more progressive,’ she said.” • No explosion of fury from the idpol crowd, oddly.

Biden (D)(4): “Progressive movement wary of Warren for VP” [Politico]. “Sanders’ campaign leadership believes that her assertion that Sanders privately told her a woman couldn’t win, which he denied, hurt him among women voters and amounted to a personal betrayal. Sanders was also deeply disappointed that she didn’t endorse him after she dropped out of the primary, and it even made him question her progressivism.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Essential workers”:

Maybe we could expand the category of “essential workers” to those otherwise inessential wprker who selll their labor power to feed their families. Or how about the unpersons otherwise unworthy of life who contribute to aggregate demand? Words can’t express how deeply I loathe this concept, currently generating buckets of virtue signaling by liberal goodthinker, the same kind of people who thought Clinton’s $12 an hour minimum wage was probably too generous, in 2016. I forget who brought this wonderful piece of ’80s madness to our attention:

“Chuck, I like the singer, but would you really call the piano player essential? I mean, a prepared piano? Liz, what do you think?”

Cuomo (D)(1): “Exclusive: New York taps McKinsey to develop ‘Trump-proof’ economic reopening plan” [Reuters]. • Wowsers.

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“Wall Street Titans Finance Democratic Primary Challenger To Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” [The Intercept]. “WALL STREET TITANS are financing a direct challenge to firebrand progressive lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the New York primary on June 23. Disclosures show that over four dozen finance industry professionals, including several prominent private equity executives and investment bankers, made early donations to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC contributor who is challenging Ocasio-Cortez. Caruso-Cabrera was a registered Republican until a few years ago and authored a 2010 book advocating for several conservative positions, including an end to Medicare and Social Security, which she called ‘pyramid schemes.’ The donors include Glenn Hutchins, the billionaire co-founder of Silver Lake Partners; James Passin of Firebird Capital; Bruce Schnitzer of Wand Partners; Jeffrey Rosen of Lazard; and Bradley Seaman, managing partner of Parallel49 Equity. The chief executives of Goldman Sachs, PNC Bank, and Virtu Financial, are also among the Caruso-Cabera donors.” • Absolute genius to pick a hyphendated Latin name. And as I’ve said often, I hope AOC has her constituent services office running like a well-oiled machine.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Breaking the Grip of White Grievance” [The New Republic]. “With Biden’s success in the primaries, lines are drawn. The presidential election will likely pit the Democratic herald of a younger, more tolerant, multiracial America against a Republican tribune of white fear and grievance.” • Or would, if the Democrat Establishment hadn’t thrown Latins and youth (by which is meant under 50 (!)), under the bus on policy. Just a thought, but if the Liberal Democrats had greeted the decline of life expectancy in the heartland with anything other than malign neglect, they might have an easier time on the “grievance” front. Too late for tears! In any case, there will be plenty of money for the idpol grift, so look forward to a great wave of it.

“What Richard Hofstadter Got Wrong” [The New Republic]. “Hofstadter argued that the reformers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century—Populist agitators, Progressive social planners, temperance and suffrage advocates—were engaged in a panicked bid to reclaim their diminishing status in public life. As the Protestant guardians of small-town America saw the forces of capitalist modernity overtake the world they knew, they lashed out, reasserting their waning power and prestige as defenders of an embattled cultural order. Amid the present academic boomlet in anti-populist jeremiads, Hofstadter’s reading of the American Populist movement as a bigoted, nativist, and anti-Semitic insurgency, steeped in “status anxiety,” is arguably more influential than ever, half a century after his death in 1970. But as is the case with many intellectual legacies, a great deal has been lost in translation: Hofstadter envisioned reform as a prolonged revolt against modernity—not a particularly useful framework for understanding today’s demagogues, who, instead of trafficking in grievances about the world they have lost, augur a bold new turn in plutocratic governance. Meanwhile, Hofstadter’s crudest simplifications have endured: His latter-day anti-populist apostles tend to fall back on his caricatured accounts of the backward masses and their motivations, pointedly ignoring the social-democratic cast of American Populism of the Gilded Age.” • Waiting for Thomas Frank’s book on populism to emerge…

“When Will The Riots Begin?” [Marginal Revolution]. ” From the point of view of the non-elites, the elites with their models and data and projections have shut the economy down. The news is full of pleas for New York, which always seemed like a suspicious den of urban inequity, but their hometown is doing fine. The church is closed, the bar is closed, the local plant is closed. Money is tight. Meanwhile the elites are laughing about binging Tiger King on Netflix. It doesn’t feel right. I can understand that or feel that I must try to understand that.” Keying off the following–

“Ohio Senate candidate attacks DeWine’s ‘tyranny’ in coronavirus response” [Columbus Dispatch]. “Republican Melissa Ackison was among about 100 protesters outside the Statehouse during DeWine’s appearance inside on Monday…. “‘The original model, along with the president’s condemnation of the World Health Organization’s handling this pandemic inappropriately, is all that the public needs to know,” she said. ‘We have children to feed, businesses to run, employees to pay, and Ohio must end this shutdown now. Those with high-risk categories and compromised immune systems can shelter safely at home while the rest of us can exercise our constitutional liberties to work and take care of our businesses and children.’” • A little odd that Marginal Revolution confuses a Republican candidate with some sort of organic movement (the “bourgeois riot” in Florida 2000 doesn’t count). But how could I have forgotten the Second-and-a-Half Amendment: “My profits being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of a business to infect others, shall not be infringed.”

UPDATE “The very American conflict between liberty and lockdown” [The Week]. “To recap: Demonstrators have hit the streets this week in Ohio, Kentucky, and North Carolina. On Wednesday, a protest in Michigan was dubbed “Operation Gridlock.” Despite the firearms and Confederate battle flags, the protesters’ demands might seem familiar, even sympathetic to most Americans. They want freedom — freedom to go shopping, freedom to open up their businesses, freedom to go sit in a restaurant and have dinner with friends, freedom merely to do what they were doing unencumbered two months ago. Don’t we all? ‘Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people,’ one of the Michigan organizers told Fox News. ‘Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people.’” • Wrong on the merits. Federalist 47: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” That said, this gentleman doesn’t seem to understand that the sick/healthy binary breaks down in the absence of testing and with asymptomatic transmission. And that’s before we get to the “Not us, me” mentality. Naturally, the press is treating these putatively spontaneous demonstrations as very serious and important, much as they treated Santelli’s rant against foreclosure relief in 2009.

“Vicious. Eternal. Deadly.” [Cthulhu for America]. From the “Meet Chtulhu” page: “Cthulhu’s spent Its entire career charging towards big challenges, garnering diverse support to carry out Its bidding, and achieving the impossible according to our primitive scientific understanding.” • OK, it’s a merch site. But still.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “11 April 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 5,508,500 This Week” [Econintersect]. “The pandemic has so far caused a 22,034,000 job loss.” • And those are the ones who have been able to file, so the real figure is hire.

Employment Situation: “Jobless claims reach 22 million over four weeks” [Politico]. “The mass of jobless workers struggling to get through to state unemployment offices remained concentrated among lower-wage occupations, but it’s also starting to include middle and professional classes as quarantines and lockdowns spread economic misery upward…. This week’s report is the first to record some claims by self-employed workers, who were made temporarily eligible for jobless benefits under Congress’s $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. Many, however, were still waiting this week to have their claims processed as state unemployment offices struggled to update their systems.”

Manufacturing: “April 2020 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Now Below Great Recession Lows” [Econintersect]. “Overall, this report was much worse than last month’s report with key elements declining and in contraction…. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based.”

* * *

Bailout: “Paycheck Protection Program out of money: Thousands of small businesses shut out” [CBS News]. “The U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday morning the Paycheck Protection Program wouldn’t be accepting any more applications for the $349 billion program. The agency reported approving more than 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan applications totaling more than $339 billion from over 4,900 lending institutions.” • That was fast. I’m betting Melissa Ackison’s “demonstration” above in “Realignment and Legitimacy” has something to do with this.

Retail: “Walmart To Customers: Get Stimulus Check Deposited In MoneyCard Account” [PYMNTS.COM]. “Walmart is hoping customers will sign up for its Walmart MoneyCard to create a direct deposit account to access the government stimulus payments being sent out this week, touting waived fees and quick access, according to an emailed press release…. The measure could be a boon for customers who don’t have traditional bank accounts and thus wouldn’t be eligible for the IRS’s standard measure of direct depositing the stimulus funds into those accounts. ‘We know getting immediate access to funds during this time of financial uncertainty is a priority for everyone — including the millions of customers who rely on our stores for essential financial services,’ said Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer officer for Walmart U.S., in the release. The offer is available to new MoneyCard customers who deposit $500 or more to their MoneyCard account. The company has waived maintenance fees for these customers through June 30.”

Retail: “Parts of the retail sector are starting to buckle under the coronavirus-driven upheaval in consumer markets. J.C. Penney Co. skipped a $12 million interest payment owed to bondholders, … making the embattled department store chain one of the first major retailers to show deeper signs of distress from the pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “J.C. Penney says it is evaluating strategic alternatives and other struggling chains, including Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and J.Crew Group Inc., have also been in negotiations with creditors this month. Government figures show U.S. retail sales crumbled in March, falling 8.7% in the biggest decline in records going back to 1992. The divide in retail business was stark: Grocery store sales soared nearly 27% from February to March while clothing sales tumbled 50.5%. Reports suggest some retailers are conserving cash by pulling back payments to suppliers, adding to stresses in supply chains.” • As we saw yesterday in retail sales.

Supply Chain: “The gap between industrial and consumer-focused supply chains has never been clearer. Shortages of consumer goods have been cropping up in stores even as farmers have been dumping milk and other foodstuffs, … highlighting the challenges suppliers face as they try to redirect goods to retail outlets” [Wall Street Journal]. “Experts say the frustration is the result of a divide between industrial and consumer distribution that grows larger at virtually every step of the supply chain, from contracting to packaging and shipping. Supermarket chains have to vet suppliers while wholesalers set up new distribution networks. Middlemen might repackage goods for consumer markets, but that may mean investing in new equipment with little prospect for a long-term return. Even donating agricultural excess to increasingly inundated food banks is proving tough on the fly since it means working out the logistics of transportation and cold storage.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 41 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 16 at 12:41pm.

The Biosphere

“What If Houston Floods During The Pandemic?” [Houston Public Media]. “The spring rains are upon us in Southeast Texas, and hurricane season is less than two months away. And with Houston in the midst of a pandemic, some are already wondering what will happen if the region gets hit with the level of flooding it’s seen in recent years…. Elizabeth White-Olsen used to live in West Houston and worked at a literary non-profit. Then Hurricane Harvey upended her life: She and her husband were forced to evacuate and ultimately move to another part of town…. White-Olsen recounted the many steps it took to get her and her husband from their apartment to a place of safety during Harvey. From a canoe to a speedboat, then to a truck, and finally to a bus. And at each step, she was exposed to more people. ‘The first responders will need to be in protective gear, in my opinion, for people to be assured that they will be safe,’ White-Olsen said. ‘We were evacuated with neighbors. I would feel uncomfortable about that now.’”

Water

“Shrewd water use helped South America’s first empire thrive. So why did a drought destroy it?” [Science]. “But this time the Wari colonists did something unexpected. Rather than trying to seize the fertile valley floor, where people already lived, the newcomers occupied high, dry land that no one else had figured out how to use. They constructed their government and religious buildings on top of a high mesa, now called Cerro Baúl, and erected canals and aqueducts that carried water much farther than any previously attempted in the valley. They carved mountain slopes into agricultural terraces, which efficiently trapped and distributed water from rain and snowmelt to plots of maize, quinoa, and peppery berries called molle. People from several other regions moved to the new farms and towns, forming a powerful labor force that helped maintain the sprawling water infrastructure…. Archaeologist Patrick Ryan Williams of the Field Museum calls the Wari strategy ‘conquest by hydraulic superiority’… Those studying the Wari state’s rise and fall, however, confront a puzzle. Its end, about 1000 years ago, appears to have coincided with a severe drought…. Increasing factionalism and decreasing cooperation to maintain infrastructure ‘might mean this society is more vulnerable to even the beginnings of a changing climate,’ Williams says.”

“Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers” [Science]. “Now, California has launched a landmark effort to save its groundwater. In 2014, deep in drought, the state passed a law to protect its aquifers; since then, local water managers have developed sustainability plans for those deemed the most imperiled. The plans for some particularly hard hit regions, just released for public comment, call for ending the groundwater deficit mainly by allowing precipitation to refill aquifers, but also by curtailing demand. The state is funding scientists to gather better data on the crisis; researchers estimate that in the Central Valley, half of the aquifers are dangerously depleted, but they don’t know the extent of the damage. Meanwhile, geologists are working to identify the best places to replenish aquifers by flooding farm fields, including some with especially permeable geology. Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population, according to the World Resources Institute. Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.”

Health Care

“Researchers seek what weather can reveal about COVID-19’s future areas of highest risk” [Accuweather]. “The researchers who published an initial analysis in early March regarding the effect of temperature, humidity and latitude on the ability to predict the potential spread and seasonality of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are now working with a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to advance their research. The team’s particular focus is to see if its hypothesis can be validated in the United States, ‘which has vastly different climatological areas within the continental U.S.,’ Mohammad Sajadi, one of the initial study’s authors and an associate professor of medicine at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told AccuWeather.” • More natural experiments…..

Greatest health care system in the world:

And, of course, skewing the numbers down.

“Donald Trump’s Plan for Uninsured Coronavirus Patients Is Outflanking Joe Biden” [Jacobin]. “For most non-elderly people in the United States, insurance coverage is tied to employment, either their own or a family member’s. This presents an obvious problem when a recession hits — especially one wrapped up in a public health crisis…. For mainstream Democrats (and insurance companies), the default answer to this frightening maelstrom is to double down on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). … But this wouldn’t make COVID-19 treatment remotely affordable. A bronze plan with no premiums still carries an average deductible of $6,506. … Trump’s solution is to circumvent private insurance entirely and send money directly to providers to treat the uninsured, with no out-of-pocket costs for the patient.” • Clearly, we should have a means-tested program, for “heroes” only, with complex eligibility requirements, certainly with co-pays and deductibles, with payment by individuals structured as nudges for different tax brackets. Because that’s the American Way.

“A Failure, But Not Of Prediction” [Slate Star Codex]. “Predicting the coronavirus was equally hard, and the best institutions we had missed it. On February 20th, Tetlock’s superforecasters predicted only a 3% chance that there would be 200,000+ coronavirus cases a month later (there were). The stock market is a giant coordinated attempt to predict the economy, and it reached an all-time high on February 12, suggesting that analysts expected the economy to do great over the following few months. On February 20th it fell in a way that suggested a mild inconvenience to the economy, but it didn’t really start plummeting until mid-March – the same time the media finally got a clue. These aren’t empty suits on cable TV with no skin in the game. These are the best predictive institutions we have, and they got it wrong. I conclude that predicting the scale of coronavirus in mid-February – the time when we could have done something about it – was really hard.” • This is well worth a read, but I would expect some mention of the Precautionary Principle.

“How raw numbers mask the effects of COVID-19” [Wired Pen]. “COVID-19 raw numbers out of New York provide newsroom drama. Come with me to rural Georgia, where I will show you how the horror of this disease has been masked by standard news reporting. With a population of about 80,000, Albany is the eighth-largest city in the state and serves as the regional hub. This is where I was born and raised…. On Monday, 15 March, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the regional hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial, had 65 patients who had been either diagnosed with coronavirus or were waiting for confirmation. Another 115 were waiting at home for test results. Not quite a month ago, on day 54 since the first case of COVID-19 was identified, those 65 people represented a case rate of more than 700 per million. In my current home state, Washington’s 642 cases represented a case rate of only 8.4 per million. And Italy’s death rate, 29.9 per million. Albany’s cases were one order of magnitude smaller in numbers but almost two orders of magnitude larger, proportionally, than the situation in Washington. Gross numbers can mislead. A lot. (And we were still speaking in cases/million. Now it’s cases/100,000.)”

Self-deselection and contact tracing:

Guillotine Watch

“Carnival Executives Knew They Had a Virus Problem, But Kept the Party Going” [Bloomberg]. “In the view of the CDC, however, Carnival helped fuel the crisis. ‘Maybe that excuse flies after the Diamond Princess, or maybe after the Grand Princess,’ says Cindy Friedman, the experienced epidemiologist who leads the CDC’s cruise ship task force. ‘I have a hard time believing they’re just a victim of happenstance.’ While it would have been tough to get everyone aboard the ships back to their home ports without infecting more people, Friedman says . She says its actions created a ‘huge strain’ on the country. ‘Nobody should be going on cruise ships during this pandemic, full stop,’ she says.”

Class Warfare

“Over 100 Hospitals Cut Staff as Pandemic Spreads” [Labor Notes]. “More than 100 hospitals in the U.S. have laid off workers since the pandemic began. Tens of thousands of medical workers are furloughed at the exact moment hospitals should be staffing up and training everyone in intensive care. Expecting a tidal wave of very sick patients, many of whom could be unemployed and uninsured, many hospitals have ended all elective procedures, one of their most lucrative sources of revenue. Since insurance in the United States is primarily tied to having a job, hospitals anticipate being left with egregious costs they have no hope of ever being able to recoup.”

“Pick of the coronavirus papers: Ski buffs helped to seed coronavirus in Iceland” [Nature]. “Holidaymakers returning from ski trips to the Alps helped to bring the coronavirus to Iceland…. The team sequenced viral RNA from people who tested positive and found that some of the strains had probably originated in Austria or Italy, which both have Alpine ski resorts.” • Exactly as in the American West (sorry, Wuk, it’s systemic, not personal).

Bourgeois feminist erases the entire working class:

Needless to say, “the economy” is not does not consist of, and is not composed of, businesses only.

News of the Wired

“10 pioneer-era apple types thought extinct found in US West” [Lowell Sun (anonymous)]. This is awesome:

A team of retirees that scours the remote ravines and windswept plains of the Pacific Northwest for long-forgotten pioneer orchards has rediscovered 10 apple varieties that were believed to be extinct — the largest number ever unearthed in a single season by the nonprofit Lost Apple Project.

The Vietnam veteran and former FBI agent who make up the nonprofit recently learned of their tally from last fall’s apple sleuthing from expert botanists at the Temperate Orchard Conservancy in Oregon, where all the apples are sent for study and identification. The apples positively identified as previously “lost” were among hundreds of fruits collected in October and November from 140-year-old orchards tucked into small canyons or hidden in forests that have since grown up around them in rural Idaho and Washington state.

“It was just one heck of a season. It was almost unbelievable. If we had found one apple or two apples a year in the past, we thought were were doing good. But we were getting one after another after another,” said EJ Brandt, who hunts for the apples along with fellow amateur botanist David Benscoter. “I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with that.”

When I say “citizen science,” this is what I mean. Not entering data into some effing app.

Kids these days:

Need to strap the kid into a chair and aim her head at the screen with clamps, Clockwork Orange-style. That’ll teach ’em.

“Hallucinogenic effects of LSD discovered” [This Day in History]. Albert Hoffman: “Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.” • When they intubate me, that’s what I want in my drip.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) 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. Today’s plant (steve):

Steve writes: “Phlox divaricata, Woodland Phlox Misty, Opelika, AL.”

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