Links 2/7/2020

Why rare beetles are being smuggled to Japan at an alarming rate National Geographic

Hungry fungi chomp on radiation Nature. Paging Paul Stamets.

The only way to hit net zero by 2050 is to stop flying FT. One more reason to end mass tourism.

Lindblad Becomes “First Self-Disinfecting Cruise Fleet” Maritime Executive

The limits of high speed rail Mapping Ignorance

U.S., allies should consider Nokia, Ericsson investments to counter Huawei: Barr Reuters. Financially, this is possible. However, though Nokia and Ericsson are not Chinese company, they rely at least in part on China for, er, the means of production.


“It’s Hard to Break Free from a Union” (DJG):

The skies darken for France’s Sun King, Emmanuel Macron FT

Spain’s govt sets timing of talks with Catalonia leaders AP


Netanyahu Sold U.S. on Moving Israeli Arabs to Future Palestinian State, Sources Say Haaretz


Coronavirus: the cost of China’s public health cover-up FT

Video shows interior of new Wuhan ‘hospital’ resembles prison Taiwan News. One might ask why the CCP has the capability to rapidly construct prison camps…

AI robots busy in China’s fight against novel coronavirus Xinhua. Makes for a cheerful confinement, I suppose…

Thoughts on a pandemic (thread):

Effectiveness of airport screening at detecting travellers infected with novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) separator commenting unavailable Eurosurveillance

No Handshakes at Global Wireless Conference as Virus Spreads Bloomberg. Social distancing. Go long gloves.

Frustration grows in China as face masks compromise facial recognition Quartz

Li Wenliang: Death of Wuhan doctor sparks outpouring of anger BBC

The racist art of naming a virus Salon

Tamil-language anthem dropped from Sri Lanka independence party Agence France Presse


Delhi Elections: What Have Political Parties Promised to Mitigate Air Pollution? The Wire (J-LS).

The Daily Fix: By refusing to let women be commanders, armed forces are out of step with real India (J-LS).

Shock after alcohol flows from kitchen taps in Kerala BBC

Brazil judge rejects hacking accusation against Greenwald AP

Right-wing Nicaraguan opposition boasts of support from US and EU in campaign to oust Sandinista gov The Grayzone


Trump Transition

DHS bans New Yorkers from Global Entry and other programs over state law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses CNN

Senate report faults Obama administration’s paralysis on Russian election interference Politico. A riddle wrapped in an enigma…

House votes to do away with massive USPS financial burden Federal Times. Could be sane. Unless enough damage has been done that privatization can be put “on the table.” Readers?


The House Impeachment: A Postmortem Lawfare. “From the moment that activists made an unprecedented effort to lobby the presidential electors to overturn the results of the general election and embraced conspiracy theories about Russia ‘stealing’ the election, any subsequent impeachment efforts would have been heavily discounted by Republicans.” And not just Republicans. Also, “activists” is doing a lot of work, there. See “Federalist 68, the Electoral College, and Faithless Electors.” The kicker: “The House failed to establish that this impeachment effort was anything other than politics as usual. Next time, hopefully, it will do better.” Next time?! The whole article is well worth a read; it is not sparing of Pelosi’s leadership, which seems to have similarities to the management at Shadow.


Note the differences in coverage:

Amid irregularities, AP unable to declare winner in Iowa AP

Presidential caucus results NBC. NBC says that the results are “100% in,” but does not declare a winner.

Pete Buttigieg keeps narrow lead in Iowa caucuses with 100% of precincts reporting CNN. Includes video where CNN “surprises” Buttigieg with the happy result at one of its Town Halls: Buttigieg: “That’s fantastic news, to hear that we won.” Iowa caucus chairs do not agree:

* * *

Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies NYT. “According to a New York Times analysis, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.” It’s enormously irresponsible for the Times to undercut the results without releasing a tabulation of the errors.

Chaos Continues in Iowa as Democrats Mistakenly Award Delegates for Bernie Sanders to Deval Patrick Democracy Now (MH). Interview with chair of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors, the state co-chair for Bernie 2020.

DNC Completely Loses Public Trust In Its Primary Process On Very First Day Caitlin Johnstone (Furzy Mouse). Hard to disagree. Here let us introduce “The Ludic Fallacy,” invented by Nicholas Nassim Taleb:

One example given in [Taleb’s The Black Swan] is the following thought experiment. Two people are involved:

  • Dr. John who is regarded as a man of science and logical thinking
  • Fat Tony who is regarded as a man who lives by his wits

A third party asks them to “assume that a coin is fair, i.e., has an equal probability of coming up heads or tails when flipped. I flip it ninety-nine times and get heads each time. What are the odds of my getting tails on my next throw?”

  • Dr. John says that the odds are not affected by the previous outcomes so the odds must still be 50:50.
  • Fat Tony says that the odds of the coin coming up heads 99 times in a row are so low that the initial assumption that the coin had a 50:50 chance of coming up heads is most likely incorrect. “The coin gotta be loaded. It can’t be a fair game.”

Democrats in Disarray

If You Think It’s Bad for Mainstream Democrats Now, Just Wait Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine. “[I]t is entirely possible that, following South Carolina, Sanders will have won three or all four of the contests. If nobody has emerged as a viable alternative by then, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign will be stepping in.”


Boeing Fixing New Software Bug on Max; Key Test Flight Nears Reuters

Boeing’s fraying 737 MAX suppliers see capacity crunch Reuters

Consultant to Boeing: cut dividends, invest in new airplane Leeham News and Analysis

Boeing’s Botched Starliner Test Flirted With ‘Catastrophic’ Failure: NASA Panel US News

How once mighty Bombardier became politically toxic in Quebec CBC

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Judge demands answers from Jeffrey Epstein’s estate after millions of dollars flood into his dormant offshore bank in the Virgin Islands in the months following the pedophile’s death Daily Mail

Imperial Collapse Watch

Admiral Warns America’s East Coast Is No Longer A “Safe Haven” Thanks To Russian Subs The Drive (Re Silc).

What The Machiavellians Can Teach Us About The National Interest The American Conservative

How Serbian Immigrants Made an Ohio Town the ‘Fried Chicken Capital of the World’ Atlas Obscura

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    re: “House votes to do away with massive USPS burden”

    Me thinks that unless House leadership knows there is bipartisan support for this in the Senate, it may just be “virtue-signalling”.

    Or maybe, if they believe that there isn’t bipartisan support in the Senate, it’s a ploy to elicit votes from R senators that can be used against them in the Autumn campaign season.

    Or maybe a two-fer or beyond.

    Until I see stronger evidence, I’m not going to believe that this is motivated by genuine concern for what is good for the country.

    1. MK

      If the votes aren’t there in the Senate, Grim Reaper Mitch won’t let it come up for a vote. It will die a silent death with all the other House passed bills sitting in Mitch’s graveyard.

      1. jackiebass

        You are absolutely correct. Mitch has dictatorial control over what bills are allowed to be voted on. His decisions are based solely on whaat is good for republicans, Trump and Mitch.

      2. Calvin

        Maybe Feinstein’s husband has now sucked out all the insider profits he can from “surplus”
        Post Office properties?

        “CBRE, a giant real estate company partially owned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, is costing the U.S. Postal Service millions of dollars a year in lease overpayments, and its exclusive contract should be immediately canceled, the service’s inspector general has found. The USPS made the contract with CBRE in June 2011 for all real estate transactions. Blum chaired CBRE at the time; he stepped down last year, but remains a director and a major shareholder…
        The contract enables CBRE to market and sell properties, and conduct negotiations for leases of postal buildings. Prior to the contract, USPS negotiated leases directly with landlords. Now, CBRE often represents both the Postal Service and the landlord in negotiations, known as “dual agency transactions.”

    2. Wukchumni

      Guess what the last thing was that Nancy introduced into legislation?

      To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 21701 Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, California, as the “Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson Post Office Building”.

      Yes, that’s all they’re good for our hapless leaders, is the renaming of post offices across the land, no wonder the house wants USPS saved.

      1. smoker

        Point definitely taken, that crap has been going on forever. Just a minor correction. Ro Khanna sponsored it, while thousands of renters in his district face homelessness. Nancy co-sponsored it, along with all of the other House Reps in California.

        It should have been a bill to stop selling and moving Post Offices.

        1. Wukchumni

          Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds in re-naming post offices as the only bipartisan efforts our leaders are capable of.

          1. smoker

            Yep, and allowing them to be sold off, as Calvin has pointed out above, via that criminal Blum [Senator Feinstein’s husband]/CBRE contract.

            I believe it was CBRE behind the recent deal where Quasi Government Google quietly bought up huge parcels of land in Sunnyvale, one of which the Main Post Office had been moved to a few years back, after it’s years long location, down the street from where Reid Hoffman’s LinkedIn Headquarters was subsequently built, apparently became to pricey.

            1. smoker

              Perhaps CBRE was also connected with the deal where the Social Security Office, at the borders of Mountain View and Sunnyvale, was shut down for about a year and then moved, at around the same time the Sunnyvale Post Office moved (that lovely Obama Hope Era), it wouldn’t surprise, but I don’t have the stamina, or fortitude, to research yet another Major Public Swindling.

              1. Off The Street

                I can hardly wait for the next USPS legislation to see how it will benefit more insiders. Ben Franklin would have a few more entries for Poor Richard, and about those Rich ****s.

                My recommendation remains Post Office Banks. Other countries make them work, there are still plenty of open facilities and they would serve under-banked people. Limit the scope to reduce the grift and help the country.

                1. smoker

                  I agree on the Postal Banks, of course after some defenestration of upper USPS management. And hell, replace the Post Offices that were closed, buy the property some are now leasing, the US is sovereign in its own currency.

                  It’s indicative that, in Silicon Valley, not only can renters and small to medium sized businesses not afford to buy or rent, but the Federal Government can’t either. There’s nothing at all healthy about that sort of economy, it’s deadly. I watched a grown man cry in a well loved, still busy electronics supplies business he owned in Santa Clara for decades, as the insane rent was forcing him to shut down.

                  (Of course Bill Gates MS Word doesn’t acknowledge USPS.)

        2. Wukchumni


          My bad, it was Ro Khanna, all Pelosi did was sponsor it, along with these other ones where she went postal.

          To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 5186 Benito Street in Montclair, California, as the “Paul Eaton Post Office Building”.

          To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 8520 Michigan Avenue in Whittier, California, as the “Jose Ramos Post Office Building”.

          To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 13308 Midland Road in Poway, California, as the “Ray Chavez Post Office Building”

          1. smoker

            No problem, I immediately knew because I live in his District (17), which includes a number of cities, or portions of them.

            1. smoker

              It also includes a stunning array of Quasi Governmental Tech Oligarchy Campuses, Offices, and Property holdings, along with the likes of a major Lockheed complex, etcetera. The [Jimmy Whales Foundation] Wiki Page™ definitely needs to be corrected and updated to at least include Sunnyvale Lockheed (with it’s own bus line), Google’s extensive recent property holdings and yet a third Campus Plan (succeeding Mountain View and San Jose), a very secretive Amazon extension, Tesla’s Fremont NUMMI Plant, and LinkedIn headquarters; at a minimum.

      2. chuckster

        So you give up a child to the war machine but get a post office named after him instead? America is lost.

        1. JTMcPhee

          From the Vietnam era, one of the hippie mantras was “ War is Good Business! Invest your son!”

          Oh, and speaking of Nancy, I got this nice text message from her just now:

          It’s Nancy Pelosi.

          My heart sank when I heard this news:

          ?????-??? ??????? ??? ????? ???????? ??? ??? ??????????? ??? ???????? ?? ????? ?? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ????? ?? — ??? ??????? ??????????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????????’? ???????? ???? ?? ???? ????????? ????? ???????????.

          I need your help now more than ever to protect my Democrats from McCarthy’s all-out power grab.

          That’s why I’m coming to you right now.

          Will you rush in $5 to help me fortify my Majority for years to come?

          “MY majority,” indeed.

    3. Dr. Roberts

      It’s possible that business interests in general realize that with a privatized USPS we would end up with de facto cartel pricing on shipping services, which would be disastrous for most businesses that rely on shipping. Those interests might override those of whatever vampire squid wants to sink its beak into the postal service.

      1. inode_buddha

        The Grand Hypocrisy of it all being that they have no problems with inflicting cartel pricing on the rest of us. See: healthcare, education, housing, transportation…. I’m sure there are many more.

    4. a different chris

      One man’s virtue-signalling is another’s “heightening the differences”. I mean you got two approaches:

      1) Bring up big, simple-to understand legislation and make the R’s defend the do-nothing stance. Take it to the people every election.
      2) Just don’t do anything “because it won’t pass”. Tell the people every election that you are doing the best you can and be surprised when they don’t show up for you.

      AOC understands #1. Pelosi is stuck at #2.

    5. chuck roast

      Relieving the massive USPS burden would free up a lot more cash for its Amazon subsidy…there’s that.

    6. William Beyer

      Odd that the pre-payments disappear into the Treasury. I would think the intent was to create a large pot for looting after privatization of the USPS.

      1. Calvin

        Those prepayments are chicken food compared to the overall debt burden.
        This is one of the best sites I ever found to show the up to date obligations of we citizens, by family, mortgage, student loan, etc.

        U.S. National Debt Clock real time

        1. hunkerdown

          No neoliberal propaganda here, please. That’s not how sovereign currencies work. Public debt === private assets, dollar-for-dollar.

    7. Darius

      It’s still worth doing. The House Democrats should be passing a whole agenda of legislation to set the stage for the election and force Republicans to take a stand. It’s what Republicans do. And they’re way better at politics than Democrats are.

      1. chuckster

        You do realize that if the Democrats ever won back the White House that they would pass NONE of these bills right?

        1. Matt

          Just like how the republicans passed a full repeal of the unaffordable care act while Obama was president, then when Trump got elected, somehow they could not get it passed anymore. Both parties play their voting bases for fools.

    8. jrs

      And so? The House literally can’t pass any good legislation now due to the situation in the Senate plus Trump it seems to me.

      So at least they are raising issues like this then, I mean whether their motives are good or bad may be immaterial, it may literally be the best they can do, is use the bully pulpit of their House majority this way. It’s not like the House can issue executive orders either.

  2. Samuel Conner

    re: “It’s enormously irresponsible for the Times to undercut the results without releasing a tabulation of the errors.”

    More virtue-signalling? Perhaps demonstration of a posture of “serious” concern, but without provision of concrete details that might benefit a candidate whom the Editorial Board has not endorsed?

    I’m not fond of the smell of cynicism in the morning, but I can’t escape it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s not the smell of cynicism at work here. What you smell is typically brown, curly and is usually found in a paddock full of bulls.

      1. Olga

        Not sure whether this had been posted already
        “The flaw in this expectation is its premise that Democratic Party elites care if their party wins in November. They do not.”
        Actually, I think they do care if they win – it’s just that their definition of victory is different from what a regular joe-six- pack-voter imagines. One could fill in the blanks, but it’d always start and end with the defeat of Sanders. Nothing else matters, it seems.

        1. mpalomar

          Yes, a Sander’s defeat in the primary selection process is the big win but should he become the Dem’s national candidate a loss to Trump is preferable to a win which would make the containment of an outbreak of small d democracy more difficult.

          To keep the Democratic wing of the business party concern profitable it must present itself as a viable entity, so of course they’ve got to win one on occasion. Currently they’re making a hash of it, fortunately they are receiving cover from the MSM

        2. chuckster

          They’ve already won. How many Democrat Party kids’ Ivy League tuitions is Bloomberg good for? Little Mikey is their wet dream. They will suckle at his teat until November. Bernie was right. The Democratic Party is ripe for a takeover but he underestimated their whoredom.

          1. Geo

            At the risk of sounding like an apologist fanboy, I don’t think Bernie, with his decades of experience being arrested, shamed, shunned, silenced, and slandered trying to take on the establishment, underestimated them. I think he honestly hopes the power of he movement he’s been building will be enough to overwhelm the establishment. He can’t fight them on his own and is relying on us to do that while he stays on message.

            He’s made it clear this wasn’t going to be easy. He’s stated many times we’d be going against not just the GOP but the Dem establishment, media and more. At this point I feel we’re at a “Don’t ask what Bernie will do for you but what you will do for Bernie” moment in the election.

              1. Debra D.

                Absolutely true. His campaign motto is “Not me. Us.” If all you can think of doing now is complain, then you have decided to lose. It was always absolutely the case that the DNC and all the state parties would go after Sanders.

                Sanders will win if voters show up for him. That’s it. There is no other electoral process going on right now. Just the corrupt one. That’s the one we have to contest. There is no other contest.

      2. QuarterBack

        I second that emotion Rev Kev. The Dems hypocrisy runs deep. For months, they have been giving one impassioned speech after another on how fair elections are sacred to their very souls, and therefore were honor bound to push the impeachment noodle up hill. Now with Iowa having legitimate questions of accuracy coming from many angles at once, to include potentially changing the winner, they can’t run away from it fast enough. Move on.

        1. lordkoos

          Unfortunately the likely (and intended) result of this could well be the demoralizing of Sanders’ army of young volunteers.

          1. Debra D.

            I’m a Bernie Sanders volunteer (Illinois), and I’m fighting mad. Being demoralized is for wimps.

            1. lambert strether

              That was pretty much Chapo’s point.

              “Of course they cheated. Back to work!”


          2. Geo

            If it demoralizes them then they never had a chance in the first place. Has anyone ever read about the labor rights movement? Civil rights movement? Women’s rights movement? People died in the streets fighting for those things. The powerful won’t open a door for us because we ask them to. They will call out the goons on anyone who approaches their doorstep.

            This is just the beginning. We’ve all seen/read what happens when the neoliberal order is challenged in other countries. What makes us think it will be a cakewalk here?

            If a rigged primary and biased media are enough to demoralize people then we’ve already lost.

      1. pretzelattack

        dnc response “have you hear about how bad trump is? he’s a russian asset like tulsi gabbard”

      2. JohnHerbieHancock

        I know there has been screwy, no good, very bad election fraud before; in my adult life, ’00, ’04, and ’16 are the most obvious examples.

        But something about the Iowa debacle really killed any last hope for America in me. like the establishment is simply not willing to compromise with the people at all.

        and it’s more galling b/c whether they care to hide this fact or not, they CAN’T because they’re too incompetent. Perez and crew couldn’t run a lemonade stand, let alone manage to preserve a semblance of democracy in a primary campaign.

        The unraveling is speeding up.

        1. voteforno6

          Well, this was never supposed to be easy. One advantage that the Sanders campaign seems to have is that the establishment is largely incompetent. There’s still a long ways to go.

        2. Debra D.

          The only thing unraveling is the DNC.

          Bernie Sanders won in Iowa, is leading in New Hampshire, and is ahead in national polls. I’m not too concerned about seeing the DNC unravel. That would be another good result coming out of Iowa.

      3. Kurt Sperry

        There are problems with that link. Firstly, it doesn’t provide any link to its sources, and secondly a web search for “Storm Lake 1 – Sanders down 1 delegate (.0785 SDE)” which leads off the report only gives results from the same domain, “” which I’ve never heard of. Not a good look for its reporting methods, even if it turns out to be true.

        1. lordkoos

          Using whois to look up the domain, it seems to be owned by tucows, a Canadian ISP and domain registrar. I recall that was also one of the first sites on the web to offer a lot of free downloadable freeware and shareware. They seem vaguely to be the good guys, but the ownership of tucows is opaque:

          Registrant Name: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant Organization: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant Street: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant City: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant State/Province: Ontario
          Registrant Postal Code: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant Country: CA
          Registrant Phone: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant Phone Ext:
          Registrant Fax: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
          Registrant Fax Ext:
          Registrant Email:


          According to wikipedia:

          Tucows Inc. is a publicly traded Internet services and telecommunications company, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and incorporated in Pennsylvania, United States. It is currently the second-largest domain registrar worldwide and operates OpenSRS, Enom, Ascio and Hover, platforms for domain owners and resellers. It continues to host its namesake directory of shareware and freeware software downloads.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “U.S., allies should consider Nokia, Ericsson investments to counter Huawei: Barr”

    A case where all you need to know is in the title of an article. Unpacking it, you see that the US cannot suggest an American corporation to do it because they have not been investing in newer technology. For why, see Yves new article “Rentier Capitalism: Great for Stocks, Lousy for Growth”. And just to put the boot in, the countries that are home to Nokia and Ericsonn are – gasp! – socialist countries of the sort which Trump hates and despises. As to why the US Attorney general is spruiking this idea, could there be an underlying message that if countries do not, that the US will use lawfare against them?

    1. Larry Y

      Nokia is made up of bits of Germany (Siemens), US/Canada (Motorola, Nortel, Lucent), and France (Alcatel). They took the Microsoft money, bought out competitors to acquire customers, and offshored product development to Poland, China, and India.

      I think the French government still has a large share in Nokia.

      Without industrial policy, what kind of plausible the right-wing “free-market” solution unwinds all that? The ideology that lead to the fall of Lucent ( is still very much dominent.

  4. Livius Drusus

    Re: If You Think It’s Bad for Mainstream Democrats Now, Just Wait.

    First, I don’t agree with Chait’s comparing Bernie Sanders to Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn lost due to the immensity of the Brexit issue. Given the division within the Labour Party over Brexit there was really nothing Corbyn could have done to win. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place and it would have taken a real political master to overcome that problem. There is no huge issue on the scale of Brexit in the United States right now so I don’t see Corbyn and Sanders being in similar situations.

    Second, Republicans were having the same meltdown about Trump in 2016 and then he won the general election. The Republicans completely underestimated public anger and dissatisfaction with the status quo. Democrats seem to be doing the same thing now, assuming that a populist candidate cannot win and that you need to run a moderate. I think there are arguments to be made against populism as a long-term solution to America’s woes but right now voting for outsider candidates is one of the only ways ordinary Americans can voice their disapproval with the system in a way that actually impacts the system.

    Third, the election will come down to a handful of swing states, mostly in the Frost Belt area and I think Sanders can do very well there. If Sanders can win back enough Obama-Trump voters (which is very doable for Bernie because these are mostly disgruntled working-class voters) and increase youth/minority turnout in the big cities then he will win the election.

    Note: I should probably add that the only problem I really see for Sanders is among affluent voters who are an increasingly important part of the Democratic coalition. Would this group switch to Trump after spending years screaming about how evil he is? It will be interesting to see if they put their money where their mouth is.

    1. ACF

      Re: Note: I should probably add that the only problem I really see for Sanders is among affluent voters who are an increasingly important part of the Democratic coalition. Would this group switch to Trump after spending years screaming about how evil he is? It will be interesting to see if they put their money where their mouth is.

      Yes, after decades of being told I must vote against the other guy, even if I can’t vote for the choice I’m being urged–and generally cooperating even when living in a deep blue state so the winner didn’t need my vote to get the electoral college votes *including 2016*–it will be interesting to see how many of those that would castigate me will turn out to be people of principle and how many will be crass hypocrites. It’s also interesting to watch the two related narratives: Bernie voters betray the party, won’t support the ultimate nominee, if we lose blame them vs. If Bernie’s the nominee even otherwise reliable Ds won’t vote for him, he can’t win.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yeah, but it’s not really an electoral college issue. For all of HRC’s accomplishmentioned of second most votes EVER!, she did worse than Kerry in a host of competitive and formerly competitive states (until 2016).

        Obama didn’t need PUMA voters again’t Saint McCain because of the focus on non voters.

        1. Darthbobber

          Obama didn’t need pumas because 2008 was a virtual lock for almost any conceivable democratic nominee

          1. Oh

            The grifter won because he happened to be there at the right time after he got big finance’s help to take down Hilly, the other crook. People would’ve voted for a dead body at the time fo the GFC.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Not Hillary. She didn’t always beat McCain in head to heads, so…and given 2016…yeah…it wasn’t a lock.

        2. Geo

          Agreed. Dems are a metropolitan party which is why they can win the popular vote but lose the electoral college. When they had their 50-state strategy they actually won. Bernie does well in places Dems are normally toxic.

          To appropriate Schumer: For every entitled rich liberal we lose we’ll gain two working class disaffected voters.

      2. CBBB

        Bernie would need to bring in people who normally don’t vote. That’s always been his key strategy. The Iowa turnout numbers don’t look too promising in this regard, but it was a caucus which is difficult for people, particularly Bernie’s working class targets, to participate in.
        The Raytheon Ackers Democrats of Northern Virginia won’t come out to support Bernie, his road to victory would really require bringing out the working class.

        1. Debra D.

          More youth came out to caucus for Bernie Sanders in 2020 than voted in the 2016 caucus. Bernie Sanders won the satellite caucuses by a wide margin, and these were almost entirely first time voters. They were predominantly POC. Sanders canvassed to get their votes. No other candidate made an effort.

        2. Debra D.

          Bernie Sanders won the popular vote in Iowa with more first time voters than any other candidate – 35%. Bernie Sanders won more women of color; non-whites, in general; people under 50; women. Who didn’t win — Joe Biden and his staunchly “always vote” 65+.

    2. jackiebass

      I would add that the UK voters were conned by a master at conning, not unlike Trump in the US. Unfortunately the UK voters were fed a lot of propaganda from both sides. Not much objective information was provided so people could make an informed decision. The British people will get their sovereignty but at a long term economic cost. There will be a lot of economic pain for the long time it takes to negotiate trade deals. If they believe that a Trump US will give them a good deal they are delusional.
      The democrats will probably lose again. The Wall Street democrats don’t represent the base, who every day are moving more left. The DNC wants another Wall Street candidate and will do every thing possible, including cheating, to prevent a liberal from being the candidate. Iowa is a preview of coming attractions. If a liberal wins the nomination the DNC will work to see they aren’t elected. Until real democrats control the DNC they will not win because they are really moderate republicans calling themselves democrats. I’m 78 and a life long registered democrat. I didn’t vote for Obama or Clinton but for a third party candidate. The last democrat presidential candidate I voted for was Bill Clinton. I now regret that vote because I now realize what Clinton really was. A Wall Street democrat or really a moderate republican. Clinton was the beginning of the destruction of the Roosevelt democrat party.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. i’m 50. first presidential vote was for ron paul…small L libertarian, here.
        then Perot, twice. clinton(X2) rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go…took a while to put my finger on it….maybe just inherent allergy to BS.
        i did vote for the boring kerry…because cheney and the gang scared me.
        and obama the first time.
        i’ve been third party ever since, because the dems don’t look any better than the repugs…..which is sad as hell…because i’d really like to be proud to be an american and all.
        but i ain’t…and really never have been.

      2. LifelongLib

        Dunno. I’ve seen it argued that the FDR dem party started to unravel when Truman put a civil rights plank in the 1948 platform (IIRC LBJ said he himself had signed away the Democratic South with the 1964 Civil Rights act). The 1960s anti-war movement took away the potential next generation of Democratic leadership, that and the battles over school busing alienated much of the working class. McGovern’s defeat convinced party leaders that there were no votes to the left. Carter and Clinton were the tail end of a long process.

    3. Bob

      Do you really believe an old east coast Jewish socialist will fly outside the northeast and west coast? Same with Bloomberg.

        1. JBird4049

          He will do really well because it is the Rust Belt. The United States’ ongoing economic collapse of the last forty years has been detailed in Naked Capitalism and in many blogs, magazines, and books; it cannot continue much longer without either the economy seizing up or large scale unrest perhaps to the level of a civil war.

          The governing class under the leadership of the 0.01% must known the somewhere in their minds; those books make it obvious. A several good high school history classes also. People and societies break and once broken become desperate enough to do desperate things. This screaming about evil socialism and the concurrent cheering of free market capitalism under the direction of the neoliberal order while everything goes to hell for the 90%, good for the 10% and great for the 1% makes socialism or at least a new New Deal attractive.

          Our ruling class is saying who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes? Neoliberalism or socialism?

          1. tegnost

            The governing class is trying to keep things left and right, the working class is leaning in on top/bottom and that numbers game is the cause of much indigestion…oops I mean indignation

          2. allan

            Possible reality check, FWIW:

            Chris Arnade @Chris_arnade

            Mayor Pete(and Klobuchar) won the parts of Iowa I went to, the parts that flipped massively from Obama to Trump.

            For what that is worth (which I think is certainly something)
            9:37 AM · Feb 7, 2020

            1. Grant

              LOL! The idea that someone paid to change nothing is going to go to parts of the country that have been destroyed by the present system and win people over is deluded. And I would appreciate data on those areas and how they voted last time. Bernie gets more donations from areas that flipped from Obama to Trump than anyone, by a long shot. Forget the data on people of color, young people, immigrants, etc., I guess if that fits some narrative.

              But, regardless, if the Democratic Party is so right wing and utterly lost to go with sociopath Pete (the data still doesn’t look good for him after NH), who is blatantly corrupt, then they deserve to lose, will lose, and the left has to come to terms with this situation. It has to leave that right wing party in large numbers and deal with the short-term electoral ramifications while they build something new. As should be obvious, turning the Democratic Party into a party that someone like AOC will be the norm is not a smaller project than that. It simply isn’t.

              What I will say is that people assumed Bernie would pick up Biden’s voters as they left, possibly Warren’s too. I don’t see that as a certainty at all, and that could be a problem if the establishment rallies around someone. I don’t think it will be sociopath Pete, hard to pretend to care about people of color if that is the case. But, it could be Bloomberg or even Warren at the convention. That party is not only internally undemocratic and corrupt, it is very right wing. Given what is coming for us, we really are just walking over the cliff collectively with Trump vs anyone but Bernie.

          3. Calvin

            Bird, Try squeezing the issues onto a poster or bumper sticker:

            “Every dollar spent on health “insurance”, medical care
            and student loans is a reason to vote for Bernie Sanders.”

                1. Foy

                  Not bad, but I could see Trump tweeting “Look at these grown up wimps crying out for their ‘Maaa’ to come and help them”

          4. Procopius

            Back in the ’30s the elites got scared and allowed some reforms (which turned out to be more effective than they had expected) because there were many political organizing frameworks being seriously looked at: socialism, communism, technocracy, “Every Man A King,” fascism, anarchism, … In 1934 there were general strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Toledo. We don’t see anything like that yet, and I think until we do the elites won’t see any reason to give concessions.

      1. Darius

        It’s common for Americans to see politics entirely in terms of identity. East coast Jewish socialist. Long haired hippies. Communists from Jew York City.

        The voters Bernie is going for want jobs not piece work and healthcare.

      2. SlayTheSmaugs

        I think antisemitism is real, and that to the extent those voters could otherwise vote D, it will hurt Bloomberg more than Sanders b/c 1) Bloomberg has a classic Jewish last name; 2) Bloomberg ‘looks’ at least a little more ‘Jewish’ than Bernie and as no WASP overlay to his NYC identity while Bernie has VT branding, and 3) Bloomberg is a billionaire with all the global influence that goes with being a 0.1%er.
        That said, Bloomberg’s pro-Israel stances will get him votes that Bernie will lose for his insistence that Palestinian lives matter. Fwiw.

        1. chuckster

          It’s not just anti-Semitism. Bloomberg is going to go to Wisconsin, Michigan and rural Pennsylvania and tell them to give up their Big Gulps and turn in their guns. Civil War !! in the making.

          Bloomberg is Trump’s dream candidate.

      3. Yves Smith

        Only evangelicals and Mormons care about that and they don’t vote Dem. Fer Chrissakes, Sanders defies AIPAC by saying nice things about Palestinians.

        Both are secular. Odds high they go to synagogue at most at Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur, which is when rabbis grumble about “twice a year Jews”.

    4. farragut

      I’m sorry, I stopped reading after Chait’s first paragraph:
      “…Bernie Sanders is currently favored to win the nomination, a prospect that would make Donald Trump a heavy favorite to win reelection”

      The RCP nationwide polling shows a very different picture, with Sanders beating Trump in 6 of the 7 polls conducted in January.

      1. Laputan

        Notice that the link he used to back that statement up was an opinion piece…from himself.

        This is my first Chait blog read and I feel like Tom Hanks in the pitch meeting in Big: “I don’t get it.” At least Friedman has his corny, folksy (and often mixed) metaphors and his clumsy dismounts where he convinces himself he’s nailed it. Chait is just dry, fact-free pablum.

      2. Aumua

        “…Bernie Sanders is currently favored to win the nomination, a prospect that would make Donald Trump a heavy favorite to win reelection”

        It is a very common talking point among a certain set. I see it repeated again and again as if it were a matter of fact. I personally believe Sanders is the only candidate that has any chance of beating Trump (not that he necessarily will). AFAIK national polls do support that belief.

    5. funemployed

      Chait has made himself quite the lucrative career by being consistently wrong about stuff. Had he your perspicacity, he would probably be poorer and you never would have heard of him. It would probably be fascinating in an anthropological sort of way to listen to him and the moustache of understanding chatting over brunch.

    6. Brooklin Bridge

      Democrats seem to be doing the same thing now, assuming that a populist candidate cannot win and that you need to run a moderate.

      As has been discussed here a great deal, the notion that the democrats don’t think a populist can win is highly suspect as a premise in this case. As the Iowa flustercluck has illustrated, or at the very least indicated, in bright red neon letters; it is the opposite, the democrat establishment is t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d that Sanders can and will win.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Adding that is the opposite of what the Republicans feared in ’16. They feared a democrat grifter, Clinton, would prevail over a sleazy vulgar casino grifter wearing a republican name tag since the democrat one was taken. But the key to it was that both were grifters, both were looters. One looter, by comparison to such a sleaze ball, simply cast a bigger, more plausible shadow. Agreed that republican party higher ups miscalculated the desperation and anger of the public.

        With Sanders (both now and then) it’s way beyond a mere partisan desire to have the compliant winner, the player, wear their stripe. There is the very stark, visceral, existential and well justified fear that Sanders isn’t the normal ‘player,’ rigidly required of all presidential candidates regardless of party. ‘Players’ are shadows that claim to be real, Sanders is real and casts a terrifying shadow. He threatens their looting outright and worse, the whole ideology that makes it possible. That goes way beyond partisan politics and hits both US political crime families, ahem…, parties, in the gut with real fear.

        1. Deschain

          100%. The GOP elites were concerned Trump would lose the general. The Dem elites are terrified Bernie might actually win.

        2. Oh

          To add to your excellent comment, I’d say that M4A, lowering drug prices. forgiving student loans and crushing that cabal, taking down the prison-industrial complex, reducing the power of the MIC, going against the big corporaates are all the tnings that the Democrats and Republicans fear because it cuts into their gravy train.

        3. Debra D.

          This is absolutely true. The gold-plated rice bowls will be snatched up so fast.

          This election is the only contest that exists right now in the USA. The only one. It is corrupt. The state parties are corrupt. The DNC is corrupt. If the DNC steals this election should Sanders win the most delegates going into the convention, then the corporate takeover of our political system will be complete.

      2. Procopius

        In Science and Sanity, “Count” Alfred Korzybski explained at great and tedious length that it is unsane to repeat someones words as a description of their beliefs. We do not know what they think; we only know what they say. To try to become sane we must work to establish correct speech in ourselves. Never say, “X believes …” or, “X thinks …” Always say and think, “X says …” and then look at whether X’s actions follow from her words. It’s not easy.

  5. MK

    NY is one of several states that allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver license.

    It was singled out because it’s the only state that does not allow Homeland Security to access its DMV database. And they were warned of this issue before Cuomo signed the legislation.

    Easily fixed by NY, but it’s about the show for Cuomo.

    1. jackiebass

      Cuomo needs to go. He is a phony democrat only working for the wealthy. He occasionally throws the people a bone to keep their vote.

      1. Pat

        As long as it doesn’t cost the wealthy anything. His occasional bone only produces the thinnest of broth.

  6. Samuel Conner

    Reading the Jonathan Chait item, I am reminded of a line from Red Dwarf:

    “Brown trousers time”

    It seems odd that the candidate whose policies are preferred by a majority of the population should be regarded to be the weakest in the field, uniquely vulnerable. Of course, that’s what they all said about the current occupant of the WH. I’m guessing that JC doesn’t get out much.

    1. Bandit

      It certainly garners way too much attention, but the entire “time is running out” meme is just pernicious war mongering as applied to climate science. If one canvases the spectrum of articles concerning this over-debated issue, s/he is going to get very dizzy. Just recently read a headline claiming we are actually heading into 30 years of a mini ice age; record floods and droughts with so many maybes, ifs ands and buts that one can “predict” just about anything and still be correct at least part of the time. These so called predictive models are just f*ck all clickbait, in my not so humble opinion. Like the coverage of the Coronavirus, Brexit, the 2020 election, alarmist climate predictions just makes my eyes glaze over.

      1. jackiebass

        At 78 I personally see the climate changing over time to a warmer climate. The change is gradual so we don’t easily see it happening. Where I live in upstate NY the seasons have changed. Summer starts about a month earlier and continues about a month longer. Winters aren’t as cold with more rain and less snow. When I was a child rain was rare in the winter. When it snowed much of the snow remained all winter. Now we have more bare ground than snow covered ground. On a global bases look at pictures of glaciers. Most of them are slowly disappearing. The average temperate change doesn’t seem like much but the effects are big. Costal cities are experiencing more flooding. If we as people don’t control our influence on the climate we are doomed to drastic changes in our environment. Much of it negative and costly .

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          here in central texas, i’m seeing pretty much exactly what the hadley climate model predicted almost 20 years ago…extreme swings between flood and dry…colder winters(counterintuitively, perhaps…but the mechanism for this is pretty simple when you get yer head around it—last 3 summers had cold fronts strong enough that my skeleton hurt)
          and hotter late summers…with a sort of monsoon in august.
          also an “indian spring” in february…consistently now for 6-8 years.
          this last confuses flora and fauna to a great extent(until yesterdays 18 degree morning, i had fruit trees budding)

          the relative predictability and mildness of the holocene will be missed.

        2. Carolinian

          My neighborhood was hit by a tornado yesterday. This is the first time that has ever happened. AGW is real!

        3. LawnDart

          Don’t think that I’ll see 78 (a long ways off for me) but my decades of life have left me wondering “what the hell happened to Spring and Fall?!?”

          We seem to go from Summer to Winter and Winter to Summer with a transition of a few days between. It wasn’t that long ago here in the Midwest that we had four distinct seasons.

        4. lordkoos

          It is much the same here in eastern WA. On new years day here it was 50 degrees. I’m 68, and growing up here in the 50s and 60s I cannot recall the weather in January ever being warm and wet like this. What was once snow and dry air (we are in a semi-arid region) is now rain, and January weather is now like March weather. The trend is continuing into February, and I’m getting fearful of what the summer could be like this year, as there have been large wildfires in our state every year since 2012.

      2. pretzelattack

        the science isn’t in some clickbait news article. what do you think is going on? every large science organization backs the basic science. the climate is becoming hotter overall due to human activity. it’s a severe problem, which gets worse as long as we put off dealing with it.

        1. Matt

          Is it wrong for me to cheer for more global warming because it has been making the crawfish season start earlier and end later in the year? I was able to purchase medium sized crawfish in December this year!!!

      3. Titus

        Bandit, well that was content free. The facts are in. The only issue is whether one wants to do something about it.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        The “time is running out” meme is probably understating the case. We have already screwed up the Earth’s climate. At this point it is all a matter of just how badly and do we really want to double down on a bad bet? Yes you can find papers claiming we could be heading into a mini-ice age. Some are bogus but some are based on solid science and credible. But what makes you think global warming is a nice linear process that smoothly moves from temperature A to temperature B with some minor side impacts?

        “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 ◦ C global warming could be dangerous” Hansen et al. 2016 Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3761–3812, 2016
        “By the time sea level rise reaches 59 cm (2065 in the present scenarios), when fresh-water flux is 0.48 Sv, the impact on AMOC is already large, consistent with the substantial surface cooling in the North Atlantic” [p. 9 of 52]
        AMOC: Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation — the Gulf Stream is part of the AMOC.
        “The AMOC shuts down for Northern Hemisphere fresh-water input yielding 2.5 m sea level rise (Fig. 10). By year 300, more than 200 years after cessation of all freshwater in-put, AMOC is still far from full recovery for this large fresh- water input. On the other hand, freshwater input of 0.5 m does not cause full shutdown, and AMOC recovery occurs in less than a century.” [p. 10 of 52]

        Will the AMOC shutdown? No one knows for sure because — as far as I know — the addition of 100+ ppmv CO2 in a century is not a change that has previously occurred with the present arrangement of the continents and during a nice era like the Holocene. I suppose a temporary [a few centuries or so] shutdown of the AMOC might be called a mini-iceage. But it is a consequence added heat entering the Earth’s climate system.

    2. voislav

      No. These are not simulators, they are models that are used for fitting existing data to look at warming contributions from different climate mechanisms. These results are then used as a basis for a predictive model that can model future climate. So you can use them to predict future climate, but they are not very good at it as this is not what they were designed to do.

      So somebody is using these models for something they are not supposed to do, it’s getting anomalous results (no surprise there) and is reporting it. As usual the popular press is blowing it out of proportion.

      1. jef

        An awful lot of denialism going on around here today.

        Much of the hotter model runs are due to the addition of new cloud research showing less fluffy cooling clouds and more planet heating water vapor at altitude. BACKED BY OBSERVATION! It is ok that you don’t understand,but it is not ok then proclaim that therefore it’s not happening. It’s real, Its now, and we must stop the madness.

        “Why Clouds Are the Key to New Troubling Projections on Warming”

        “Real-world data from satellites suggests that the modelers’ predictions may already be coming true.”

        “This tweaking of the models followed recent field research over the Southern Ocean, which is currently one of the cloudiest regions on Earth. ”

        “Tapio Schneider, then at ETH Zurich, noted that climate models that incorporated this link in their calculations predicted faster global warming.”

        By the way the solar minimum leading to ice age has been thoroughly debunked …just look it up.

    3. Braden Smith

      Just like the actual climate system, modeling can produce complex, non-linear results based on fairly small tweaks to the model’s inputs. In this case, the removal of a new module predicting the impact of aerosols and cloud-cover caused the model to return to “normal”. It’s likely that it’s this new bit of climate science that has had the profound effect on climate modeling. Now, the research on the impact of aerosols and cloud cover will examine whether the module they added is backed with strong, empirical results. If it is, then climate scientists have likely under-estimated the impact of GHG emissions significantly.

      It’s beyond folly to trust that climate models can accurately predict future global temperatures to the degree of accuracy necessary to make strong policy judgments. Instead, we should be applying the precautionary principle, and assuming a worst-case scenario. Is that scenario likely? Well, the sad news is that we really have no way of discounting it with the accuracy necessary to apply the fundamentals of risk management. It’s there, and there’s a very non-zero chance that it could occur in a few generations, or perhaps in our generation, and you won’t get a second chance if we’re wrong.

      But EVERYONE already knows all this information. It’s evident that human greed will be a more important driver of action then any perceived risk of human extinction. Just like the ever-increasing deer herd I see in my backyard munching away on my perennials, humans will not have the capacity to self-regulate their behavior to prevent a population collapse. It’s just not the way that apex mammals behave in a limited ecosystem.

      1. Titus

        “It’s beyond folly to trust that climate models can accurately predict future global temperatures to the degree of accuracy necessary to make strong policy judgments. ” Your proof for that statement? I can’t find any scientific peer reviewed papers that say anything remotely like that, just the opposite. Hanson predicted in 1982 that by 2020 the world wide temperature increase would be +1.1C° over the average for 1980 (100 yr average). We are at 1.3C° higher everywhere in the world as of 2020. So very accurate model. But in many places it is 6-9C° higher. Antarctica hit 61F° yesterday. Second time in 5 years before that never as far as we know. It’s the we know, as in, as long as humans have been around that matters here.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          First to substantiate your claim that climate models are doing a decent job of predicting global temperatures:
          “Update day 2020!” []
          “To summarize, the 1981 prediction from Hansen et al (1981) continues to underpredict the temperature trends due to an underestimate of the transient climate response. The projections in Hansen et al. (1988) bracket the actual changes, with the slight overestimate in scenario B due to the excessive anticipated growth rate of CFCs and CH4 which did not materialize. The CMIP3 simulations continue to be spot on (remarkably), with the trend in the multi-model ensemble mean effectively indistinguishable from the trends in the observations. Note that this doesn’t mean that CMIP3 ensemble means are perfect – far from it. For Arctic trends (incl. sea ice) they grossly underestimated the changes, and overestimated them in the tropics.”
          [I think you mean Hansen 1981: “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” Science 28 August 1981, Volume 213, Number 4511 [] not 1982?

          Predicting the amount of heat added to the Earth climate system is not the same thing as predicting the climate in a particular locale at a particular time — which is what the demands of risk management and policy come down to.

          I agree with Braden Smith that It is beyond folly to trust that climate models to have a sufficient accuracy … predicting future local climates as they transition [not “future global temperatures” which they have predicted reasonably well] … to make strong policy judgments. A model can only model known effects. There are many climate effects we do not completely understand. I view the paleoclimate data as a better estimate for what kind of climate the future might hold — though much paleoclimate data is based pm proxy data and with limited time and space resolution. The paleoclimate data suggests we are in for a rough ride over a bad road. Our planet is definitely absorbing more heat from the sun. The climate is ‘warming’ — but a warming climate does not mean that local weather and micro-climates are linearly warming in some nice fashion. Large amounts of heat are absorbed by the oceans. The oceans distribute this heat, variably, and release this heat variably over time.

          Humankind dumped 100+ ppmv of CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere in less than a century. Watch a youtube to see what kinds of things from some simple systems when you give them a hard push: “Triple Pendulum Chaotic Acrobatics” [] … and consider that chaos was discovered when a mathematician turned meteorologist studied the behavior of an extremely simple model for the weather.

          1. MLTPB

            Today’s a good day to examine our taken for granted assu,ptions.

            Is that coin fair?

            Will the sun stay the same? We assume often it will. There is currently a NASA mission to the sun, motivated because we dont know much about it, and even with it, we will still not know a lot. History might provide a guide, but without knowing the sun, inductive reasoning can be misleading.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              The sun does not remain the same. But I will take my chances that it changes gradually as it has in the past. That is a far safer bet than betting on what happens when 100 ppmv CO2 is added to our atmosphere, especially considering what kind of changes have been characteristic of past climate transitions.

              Is that coin fair? The past offers a decent prediction for answering your question. Just as 99 tosses told that the coin was not fair we have ’99 tosses’ telling us the coin of climate change is not ‘fair’ like a coin toss but most probably the dynamics of climate change are ‘fair’ — meaning physics has not been tampered with in this universe. The sun will come up tomorrow.

              1. MLTPB

                I frankly dont know how the sun will do tomorrow, though I act like it will be the same, and i assume most of us act the same.

                It is good to keep the assumption in mind though, as the Carrington Event reminds us.

              2. Aumua

                No one knows the future, that much is true. Black swan events can and do happen. However, the idea that climate scientists have somehow forgot about the Sun, and the variations in both solar output and in Earth’s distance from that star are wrong. The scientific community does take the Sun into account in their calculations, and generally it has been found that changes in insolation produce far less of a forcing on our climate than the uncontrolled experiment we are currently running with regards to greenhouse gas increase.

  7. pretzelattack

    hell, pelosi, just run guaido in the primaries, you know you want to if bloomberg doesn’t work out.
    guaido is our best most electable hope ot beat trump!

    1. urblintz

      the ugly face of “liberal” fascism now belongs to the Dem leadership and far too many Democrat partisans. Frankly I don’t know what can be done about it. Our two loathsome parties have conjured another area of agreement (coupling to the bi-partisan affair with neoliberalism/neoconservatism): they can both hate Russia and can agree on trillions to the Pentagon to protect us – Atlantic coast states are no longer safe because of Russian subs, hahahahahahahaha – and not say a word as Trump introduces low-grade first strike nuclear warheads into the mix. They can both shamelessly offer their undying devotion to the apartheid state of Israel and ignore, with a straight face, the “meddling” of that state’s malign interference in our polity as a whole, not just our elections – all the while wrapping themselves in the flag and carrying a bible.
      They can both support nazis in Ukraine while undermining raprochement between Zeleyensky and Putin…

      and they can both give Juan Guaido a standing ovation at Trump’s SOTU address.


      1. pretzelattack

        the way i see it, if a hostile takeover of the democratic party doesn’t work, we move on to a general strike and monkeywrenching. there is a climate crisis coming, with attendant wars and mass migrations and starvation, and we don’t have the luxury of time.

        1. Shonde

          Suggest all do as I did once I saw that photo of Pelosi and Guaido. Donate to Shahid Buttar who is running against her in California’s 12th Congressional District.

          Lots of out of state donations coming in, like mine, might be one of the few ways we can send a message to Pelosi.

        2. chuckster

          … there is a climate crisis coming, with attendant wars and mass migrations and starvation,

          Don’t worry. Little Mikey Bloomberg is going to run a billion dollars in TV ads against global warming and it will solve the problem.

      2. anon in so cal

        Speaking of which, (somewhat relatedly): Israeli military jets bombed Damascus, Syria suburbs yesterday, taking cover behind an Airbus commercial airliner with 172 passengers. “The A320 with 172 passengers on board made an emergency landing in Russia-controlled Khmeimim Air Base after Syria’s air defence nearly hit it because of Israel’s air raids.”

    2. Wukchumni

      There is a rich history of pretenders to the throne throughout history, and our man Guaido the starlet pimpernel w/GQ looks, is merely the latest entry on the long game, as dictated from DC.

      A pretender is one who maintains or is able to maintain a claim that they are entitled to a position of honour or rank, which may be occupied by an incumbent (usually more recognised), or whose powers may currently be exercised by another person or authority. Most often, it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied, claimed by a rival or has been abolished.

      Kid by the Pretenders

      1. Monty

        They might have had more luck getting people to take him seriously if they had chosen somebody who’s name didn’t sound like a racial slur.

  8. New Wafer Army

    > Here let us introduce “The Ludic Fallacy,” invented by Nicholas Nassim Taleb

    I was looking for a moniker for when you know something isn’t quite right, despite it being trumpeted as being rationally feasible by ratfvcking geeks. I shall now refer to it as “the Fat Tony test”. Does Iowa pass the Fat Tony test? Resoundingly not.

      1. Procopius

        Wait a minute… what’s this about? Chinese New Year was the 25th of last month (well, actually 23-25). I know this because we set out the traditional offerings to the ancestors and set off firecrackers. Why are they having a parade now?

    1. MLTPB

      Fat Tony should have doubted it from the start*, or at least the second toss.

      ‘Once is on you…’

      *I doubt, therefore.

      A broader lesson here is about doubting all assumptions.

      Even innocuous ones like, ‘Let’s look at a straight line, or a perfect circle.’

      Our knowledge base is built on many such assumptions, first encountered by most, me for sure, before one’s brain is ready to handle them safely.

    1. katiebird

      In the Kansas City market, Bloomberg’s ads all feature Obama. Apparently they were great friends and as ‘Mike’ worked on plans for solving healthcare crisis, he got a lot of help from Obama. Or was it the other way around? I can’t tell. Anyway, I’ve heard Obama’s voice more these last 4 days or so than since 2017.

      1. pretzelattack

        maybe he worked with joe biden too? i can just picture the 3 of them, obama in his comfortable shoes, sharing some bottled 10000 year old glacier water as they solve the american healthcare crisis.

      2. T Ward

        Don’t you need someone’s permission to use his or her likeness in an advertisement? Is this effectively an endorsement?

        1. John k

          Obama has been minting ads for several non sanders…
          but mike is a special case, mike can legally pay him really big bucks for endorsing, say 100 mil quite affordable.
          Dem elite fear is Bernie wins 3-4 of first four. Mike to the rescue on super tue! But several non sanders will continue splitting the neolib vote, mike won’t be able to get enough votes in enough states to threaten the only progressive. After super tue it’s too late.

          Bernie gets to run against two billionaires, piece of cake.

      3. savebyirony

        I live in the N.E. Ohio Cleveland/Akron area and do not watch much TV except for sports, and I am seeing plenty of those Bloomberg/Obama ads, too.

      4. ambrit

        It would be instructive to see just where these Type O/B ads are being run. In effect, where the remnants of the Cult of Saint Obama are considered to be strong and influential.

        1. Pat

          Add NYC to the Bloomberg/Obama ad onslaught.
          I would hope that the populace is not stupid enough to vote for him, but there is a whole group of Upper East Side pensioners/grew up wealthy and still have the trust fund supporters along with a significant portion of the Wall Street crowd who do. And with Cuomo in charge of the vote count I have no confidence that we will see the real numbers if Bloomberg doesn’t do well in the city.

          (I don’t even think Cuomo can find enough false votes to hide the crash he will have in upstate NY.)

    2. flora

      Last line from the article:

      It seemed like such a good idea to take these decisions out of those smoke-filled rooms. But today, we’re choking on the results.

      He’s wrong. Nothing was taken out of the Dem estab smoked-filled rooms. Today’s smoke-filled room is an electronic voting machine or an app to a virtual electronic voting machine.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          The decisions have been moved to a highly sophisticated AI algo:

          If(sanders_votes > 0)
          flavor_of_the_day += sanders_votes;
          sanders_votes = 0;
          SecretSauceMakePlausible(sanders_votes, flavor_of_the_day);


    3. Woodchuck

      This article makes me feel sick. This elitist mentality is so backward it’s crazy. What they need to do is drop the electoral college that makes a few states incredibly more impactful than they should be and go for a real democracy, not restrict how the system works even more. But “this could open the path for candidates on the left and right! Before we were all happy centrists, what America is REALLY about!”. I like how a few people believe they can decide what the majority of the country is, but the majority of the country clearly cannot.

    4. Shonde

      Read that opinion piece last night and immediately commented. I just now read all the comments since last night. Almost overwhelmingly the comments are against smoke filled room decisions. How about adding to the comments at the StarTribune some of these great comments here at NC?

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      ive followed steve chapman for a long time…i know his cousin(one of the more lefty-ish Dems around here, but morphed into a puma with 2016)
      back in the day, when he was beginning his career, he was a welcome voice in texas, for sanity and a more liberal outlook.(remember, it’s texas…dominated by crazy right wingers)
      last decade, not so much.
      i got the feeling that he figgered the revolution had been won with obama, and we should just sit back and let the cool kids run things…not worry ourslves about it.
      “overdose of democracy”?
      is that what this is?

    6. chuck roast

      Mike was in Providence this week to pick up the endorsement of Governor Gina (yes, there is a guillotine with my name on it) Raimondo (D). Here they can be seen walking from the announcement venue across a pedestrian bridge spanning the mighty Woonasquatucket River for a photo op. A huge crowd of locals is cheering them and demanding that Mike toss them dimes. Gina (yes, there is a guillotine with my name on it) is walking hand-in-hand with “the-first-gentleman”.

  9. timbers


    Consultant to Boeing: cut dividends, invest in new airplane Leeham News and Analysis

    I’m sure the consultant meant: cut dividends, invest in more stock buy-backs.

      1. timbers

        Forget where I read it, but apparently Boeing spent about $43 billion on stock buy backs last 7 or so years…about the cost of developing and making a new major plane.

        1. Monty

          The big question around $BA board room is, “Why develop a new plane when you can use tax efficient buy backs to develop a massive IRA balance, and retire in unimaginable luxury?”…

          In the greed based community, it’s what we call a “No brainer.”

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi – It is my pleasure to welcome Interim President @jguaido of Venezuela to the U.S. Capitol.”

    The way that I heard it, she spent ten minutes trying to talk high school Spanish with him until she realized that she was actually talking with Pete Buttigieg. Without switching gears, she then said

    “It is my pleasure to welcome Interim President @Buttigieg of America to the U.S. Capitol.”

    1. ambrit

      You meant it as sarcasm, or irony, but, considering first, that Buttigieg was at the least a CIA ‘asset,’ and second, that Pelosi admits to having been “in on” the con about Weapons of mas destruction before the Irak war, which knowledge is the definition of ‘Deep State Insider,’ her touting Mayo Pete as Interim President is actually logical and consistent with events on the ground in America today. Next shoe to drop would be a political endorsement of Buttigieg by some senior American military officers, serving or retired.
      The real show will be when Hillary Clinton tells Pete to step aside at the Democrat Party convention in Milwaukee “in the interests of National Unity.” Then the real power struggle will begin.

  11. David Carl Grimes

    Turnout was only 176K in Iowa. Biden gets 15.8% in SDEs. Does that mean he meets the threshold? I am confused.

    1. mpalomar

      Just googled and difficult to find good information due to the clusterf%!k of the DNC Iowa caucus and the degradation of information on the internet. However I did hear Bernie Sanders state that the SDEs are largely irrelevant, it’s the National delegates that are assigned from the Iowa results that are important. As far as I can tell due to the aforementioned debacle, those are yet to be determined.

        1. mpalomar

          I saw that JD segment last night before drifting off. The indentation in the back of Buttigieg’s head caught my eye before JD pointed it out. Stepford candidate?

          (This may double post; apologies)

        2. barefoot charley

          Good Mayo video! He’s already ignoring the press like an incumbent. Why say anything when it’s already fixed for you?

          1. Off The Street

            Mad Magazine should get royalties for the resemblance to Alfred E. Newman. Or are they in some PE portfolio?

    2. human

      I have a feeling that the turnout numbers have been massively manipulated. I can’t believe that the numbers are this low in this climate and reading between lines, I believe that Bernie knows this and has the evidence. One of the linked tweets above corroborates this with a 50% undercount reported by a caucus official. This would, of course, grease the wheels for Bidens’ >15% and Mayo Petes’ “narrow” victory.

      1. Chris

        My bet is the turnout numbers are accurate but the demographic make up is completely different than expected. Way more participation from people under 40. That’s an observation which checks with the pictures I’ve seen but we’ll see when and if we get any data that can be trusted.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          No chance of more votes being found, but many votes will be moved around as the errors are corrected.

          In so far as the correction process goes, don’t hold your breath. While active in the early ’80s I heard a party insider (after a few drinks) tell a group I was in that the 1972 results included a tabulation error. Which I can no longer accurately remember but everyone at the table gasped when they heard it.

          The real fraud in Iowa is yet to be uncovered. We need to find out just what was in the speech Pete was giving to rural Iowans. As I’ve said before, Pete’s Iowa ads were duplicitous in the extreme. The twitter video of a Pete supporter being shocked to learn he was gay strongly suggests his voters didn’t know him very well at all.

          Pete’s a Bernie-stopper, nothing more. His “win” was pyrrhic, his role will be given to someone else in South Carolina and we won’t hear much about him after that. Ratfvckers win battles, not wars.

    1. inode_buddha

      Shorter Pete: “We can try something new.”

      He’s really just trying to sell more of that “hope and change” stuff that worked so well for Obama. I consider his entire campaign to be a “trojan horse” move by the Deep State, one which will certainly not do anything good for the working class.

      1. RMO

        I bet if someone slipped “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity” into one of his speeches he would say it loudly, clearly, earnestly and not even notice what it was he was saying.

  12. Paradan

    I was thinking about making a bumper sticker…

    “If they wont let Bernie run, then Ca Ira!”
    (that’s french for it’ll be all right.)

    Too obscure?

    1. Woodchuck

      You would at least need the Ça and not just Ca, because I’m a French-Canadian and had no idea for a while what this meant.

      1. a different chris

        >I’m a French-Canadian

        Two countries even more separated by a common language than the US and Britian! :D

    2. Robert Gray

      Wasn’t ‘ça ira’ one of the slogans chanted by the sans-culottes as they danced the Carmagnole?

  13. zagonostra

    Reporting by MSM on Iowa, such as I heard on NPR driving to work, keeps referring to it as a “debacle” and as no clear winner emerging. No analysis, no history of Iowa in 2016, not mention of Bernie leading in the polls going into the caucus,no mention of how this favors establishment candidates, no details of nature/type of inconsistencies, nothing, just that it was a “debacle.”

    This is “soft” propaganda at work designed for the causal listener on his commute to work and the majority who skim the headlines or get their news from Facebook. Will it be enough to steal the nomination from Bernie a second time?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      LIstened to the Iowa Public Radio podcast this morning. Good but incomplete. Not critical of Bernie, but not critical of anyone really. They pointed a finger at the DNC, but mostly talked about the IDP.

      Because Bernie folks are deeply embedded in the Iowa party, I have to assume that the rest of the IDP leadership is not as bad as Price. The chair has enormous power, doesn’t need approval to go off script with 3d party vendors apparently, especially with DNC encouragement.

      IPR didn’t have a single quote from any IDP folks other than Price. There’s a shoe waiting to drop here, but I don’t know what it is.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Also the incentive structure is different. There are only parachutes for people at Price’s level. If you are a failure before you make it or don’t have patronage (see: Mook), you are done.

        Even then, half the fun of these kinds of jobs is simply having a cool title without any negative memory attached. You still get invited to cool parties. Statewide office holders salute you when they come to town.

        Hillary bought loyalty because everyone expected her to ascend to the imperial throne and spend that Clinton Foundation money on state parties. They will push back now.

      2. lordkoos

        The IDP has been complaining on twitter about how the Shadow software was forced upon them by the DNC with short notice, not much time to train people with it, let alone fully testing it.

        1. Elizabeth

          I have a silly question and this is what I don’t understand – why did the IDP use an app? Did they request one, and if so, why? Or was the app forced on them by the DNC? After 50 years of doing caucuses, and getting credible results, why was an app used in the first place? If the app was forced on the IDP I think that would have engendered a bit of suspicion.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Why rare beetles are being smuggled to Japan at an alarming rate”

    I hope that these beetles in South America never become endangered because of collectors. If so, the Japanese would still insist on importing the last of them on the grounds of “scientific research.”

  15. Stanley Dundee

    Richard Samans of the World Economic Forum (yup, the Davos hosts) identifies a unifying theme running through 2020 Democratic policy platforms which he denotes Level-up economics:

    Rebalancing capitalism in the 21st century and reclaiming it from the clutches of 20th century neoliberalism begins with reconstituting economics, both scholarship and policy practice, so that it focuses at least as much on cultivating the median living standards of nations as the aggregate wealth of nations.

    What sayeth the NC commentariat?

    1. inode_buddha

      I think he’s trying to politely say, “We gotta start thinking about the lower classes in addition to ourselves before they up and choke us”

      1. hunkerdown

        He said median. I assume that’s an instruction to the wise men and women of means to be sure to pay your (personal and social) guard labor ranks well, and in particular don’t forget to take care of your top 10%.

    2. Titus

      Davos man is without a clue. Humanity needs new living arrangements with reality we can adopt them and do this in an orderly way or we get “The Road”.

  16. thoughtful person

    Re the tencent coronavirus screenshots, which where posted in recent days, not today, I don’t think they are likely reflecting reality. We have multiple countries other than China where there are confirmed cases and the fatalities in those are a lot closer to the published stats than the tencent screenshots.

    That’s my 2 cents ?

    1. MLTPB

      I had the same though about comparing to other countries.

      With one additional consideration. It is said the Asians and Asian males more so, are particularly vulnerable.

      When comparing the Chinese numbers with those worldwide, do we look only at Asian nations, or Asian patients?

    2. John k

      Lot of indications China med system is swamped, staff overworked, many things in short supply. logical that survival there once sick or in critical condition would be lower.
      Plus indications people turned away with mild symptoms bc no beds, meaning they are accepting and dealing with worst cases, not avg ones. Then, as noted below, Asians might be more susceptible than non Asians.
      I would expect the unofficial clandestine reports paint a more accurate picture of the dire situation there. Whether the 6x worse Tencent mirage is real or not, who knows… but it might be.
      Banning flights to China is critical imo, we stand a chance if our hospitals don’t get overwhelmed with cases.
      Hard to believe people still getting on cruise ships.

  17. allan

    The Real News in Bill Barr’s Announcement: He’s Vetoing Campaign Finance Investigations, Too [Emptywheel]

    Yesterday, NYT broke the news that Attorney General Barr had issued a memo, as promised, requiring his approval before opening an investigation into a presidential candidate. … the [memo] make it clear that criminal investigations, including into donors!!!, must be approved. …

    This rule would have protected the following people from any investigation in 2016:

    •Trump, for paying off former sex partners
    •Paul Manafort, for taking $2.4M after discussing carving up Ukraine to Russia’s liking in 2016
    •Roger Stone, for dark money activity and coordination still unresolved as well as optimizing materials stolen from the Democrats
    •Mike Flynn, for being on Turkey’s payroll while attending Top Secret candidate briefings
    •George Papadopoulos, for trying to monetize his access to Trump with foreign countries including Israel
    • Illegal donations from Russians, Malaysians, Emiratis, and Ukrainians in 2016
    •Illegal coordination between the campaign and its SuperPAC …

    Barr has snookered reporters into believing this is the same announcement as he made in January.

    It’s not. This is not about spying on a campaign, much as [NBC’s] Pete Williams wants to pretend it is.
    This is about telling Trump and his associates they will not be prosecuted by DOJ, going forward,
    for the same crimes they’ve committed in the past. …

    When Barr was nominated I said that he would be the worst AG in US history – worse than Palmer,
    worse than Mitchell – and that looks to have been an understatement.

    1. marym

      It would be interesting to have a list of all the different mechanisms the Trump administration is invoking to prevent any form of accountability to Congress, the DOJ, or the courts for Trump, his family, and his non-government cronies.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Trump just doesn’t have the luxury of Congress simply looking the other way as they did with all Obama’s crimes…

        Invoking Papadopolous as some sort of master criminal is how you know emptywheel has full on TDS. I’m still trying to figure out what that guy has supposedly done, other than being set up by the other side.

        Enough with all the r@fvkers. Bernie or burn it down.

      2. Pat

        Call me obstinate, but only if we also have a list of the various abuses of power, campaign crimes, etc that have been ignored if you are part of the club – both Republican and Democratic.

        Yes, Trump and his people have ignored the rules. I would put their astonishment about being called on some of them to two things. First he has been able to ignore the rules his entire adult life. Rarely has he or his businesses been called on their abuses, and when they have the whole thing has largely been the equivalent of getting a warning after being picked up for drunk driving a dozen times. No one who matters got hurt so what the hey. But also because he has been around the political system and politicos not to mention the deeply corrupt construction industry most of his adult life, he couldn’t imagine that anybody was going to care since it is largely SOP to side step the rules.

        I am not happy that Barr is going to do nothing, especially since I’m pretty darn sure that some of the shenanigans we can expect from the Democrats in the next few months are illegal. But just as I get pissed at the privileged folk, usually white, ignoring drug laws and suffering no consequences while we send the less privileged ones, usually not remotely white, to prison, I’m not down with the double standard with Trump vs the villagers.

        1. marym

          I don’t think responding to a Trump issue with examples of other issues are always useful, just as I didn’t think it was useful for his followers to respond to Obama issues with examples about the evils of Bush or other Republicans.

          The whatabouts are a necessary part of the picture, but not sufficient in understanding the specifics of where we are and what we need to do to build something better. The “village” evils are amply discussed on this forum. I don’t see the need to include them with every mention of a Trumpian issue.

          AG John Mitchell went to prison for Watergate obstruction and Nixon resigned. Now that’s a whatabout!

  18. Wukchumni

    A wolverine in the antidote, wow.

    There was a sighting in 2010 of one northwest of Truckee, and the thought is that he’s a transient male from Idaho in search of a mate he’ll never find, as the last sighting of a wolverine in California was in 1922, right around the same time when the last grizzly bear was seen in 1926.

    The rifle which killed the last grizz in California is in a glass display case in the Mineral King room of our museum in town, kinda grisly that.

    1. Lee

      An amazing creature much storied in the critter lit I favored as a youngin’. Relatively small among carnivores, yet fearless and ferocious when need be, punching way above its weight. They’ve been known to back grizzlies off a kill.

      1. Wukchumni

        Seeing a wolverine would be quite the sighting in the Southern Sierra. My best animal was a Sierra Nevada Red Fox frolicking forty feet in front of me deep in the backcountry off-trail in the Kern-Kaweah drainage about 20 years ago. The Sequoia NP wildlife biologist was incredulous when I told her what I saw, the white-tipped tail being the telltale sign. Since then there’s been a few more sightings of what is the 2nd rarest mammal in the Sierra.

    2. a different chris

      Maybe somebody should surreptitiously catch a female (not I job I would volunteer for, those guys are terrifying) and bring her to him!

      I’m normally not for screwing with nature, but 1922 is not a long time ago.

    3. Ignacio

      Lambert should confess that besides his Feline game he is playing and upping a Mustelid game after those lovely utters. These are the largest and most ferocious of all them!

    4. Susan the other

      I was thinking honey badger. I wish – because it is homage to Trump – for better or worse.. Just go for it and don’t pay any attention to any barriers whatsoever. Unstoppable. Immense energy. Too fast and focused to even be greedy. Who doesn’t love a honey badger – you can’t even keep them in a cage. They are much to determined and clever. In short, they can create a difference. Well, not to overstate it. I suggest it is, in fact, honey badger week.

  19. Expat2Uruguay

    The Twitter thread on the new coronavirus introduced me to a new acronym / disease, ARDS:

    Accute Respiratory Distress Syndrome often results in lifelong health effects and respiratory dysfunction. So that made me wonder with the new Coronavirus. Will it be different from getting the flu because a person Who recovers will have lifelong effects? something to think about

    1. David J.

      ARDS is deadly. A friend of mine died from this some years back. In a two week span he went from “being really tired” to getting hospitalized, to being put into an induced-coma, to having his organs shut down. At the end, they wanted to get him on kidney dialysis, but couldn’t: his body wasn’t able to withstand the stress. It was a terrible and swift decline.

    2. lordkoos

      I read something similar to this, that around 30% of the people who contracted SARS went on to have diminished lung capacity and other problems. These are life-changing symptoms that are permanent.

  20. Ignacio

    RE: Thoughts on a pandemic (thread):

    Following associated Twitter links I arrived to this tweet by Xiaowei Jiang where he states that according to South China Agricultural University studies the intermediate host for the new coronavirus could be a pangolin, apparently the most trafficked wild mammal species in the world. This is important on two ways: 1) prevention of new CoV and 2) turning our eyes to the illegal trafficking of this lovely animal.

      1. Ignacio

        MERS-CoV intermediate host: almost certainly camels
        SARS-CoV: not known but SARS-like viruses detected in civets, tanuki (Japanese racoon) and chinese badgers from Chinese markets samples.
        2019n-CoV: 99% homologous virus found in Chinese zoo pangolin, but frequent on Chinese markets for their scales.

        Something has to be done with those Chinese markets and farms handling mammals.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          Eventually, all wild animals in China will be extinct (as they are nearly so throughout Southeast Asia), so wet market transmission of viruses will be a thing of the past. One bright side to mass extinction events.

    1. MLTPB

      The numbers on cases show it is decelerating for the 2 last two days (today’s second derivative by finite differences is (31,162 – 28,018) – (28,018 -24,324) , or – 551).

      People have noticed and are arguing about how to interpret the 2 data points. Is it due to some reporting issues?

      As for the design of that speedy new hospital, Vietnam wants one too, and is currently asking for proposals. That takes time. Did Wuhan or Beijing already have a design on hand? I mentioned this yesterday, as well as the ‘Superdome post Katrina’ like idea of using convention centers to add beds.

      As for no hand shaking at that wireless conference and cancelled or postponed large gatherings elsewhere worldwide, including possibly the upcoming annual meeting of the Chinese parliament, how will that impact the US primaries and the nomination conventions?

      As for face recogition and face masks, I asked about whether it was still illegal to wear one publicly in Hong Kong a few days ago.

      Last comment for now – with quarantines and people in a few cities confined to their homes most of the time, is this time for Basic Income, and not JG (can they all work from home?)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Most sources I’ve read consider the 2 day drop to be probably a statistical reporting anomaly, only time will tell if its a real drop.

        The Chinese hospital is nothing special, despite all the hype – the Chinese specialise in standardised pre-cast modular construction systems, it would be a standard industrial type structure, modified on the hoof for use as a hospital/prison/widget factory, as required. There are countless thousands of such buildings around China, many of which don’t bear a close examination if you are nervous about unstable buildings.

        1. MLTPB

          Instead of more one-week or 10-day hospitals, convention centers are being converted.

          Was it a one or two time deal? Why not more, if many additional beds are needed?

          Are hospital ships being used? Have they evacuated patitents to military hospitals, or hospitals in other less hit provinces?

          Speaking of ships, two cruise ships are under quarantine. Is everyone confined to his cabin???

          Here is the question: if patient A only shows symptoms on, say, day 4, and patient B catches it from A on day 3, say, but does not look sick until day 11. And patient C gets it from patient B on day 8, and looks well on day 14. Would he be released from the ship after the 2 week quarantine?

          I assume those under quarantine in US bases are isolated.

          From what I have read, passengers can move freely on board, though not many do.

      2. Ignacio

        I shouldn’t interpret those numbers as real-time epidemic spread indicators. These numbers depend on epidemic and many non-epidemic factors as well (availability of testing facilities, testing times, sampling directives…). According to some sources in China the number of infected can be estimated by multiplying confirmed cases by a factor of 10 or more.

    2. lordkoos

      Pangolins seem popular food in China, they probably have some superstition attached to them, like the rhino horns, deer penis’ etc.

      An Australian guy I knew was in China to meet his Chinese fiance’s family, who lived way out in the sticks. At a small crossroads there were a couple of shops and restaurants. He saw a bunch of caged animals outside one of the restaurants. He pointed in wonder at a rare animal he had never seen before (from his description, I think a pangolin) and then entered the restaurant. The restaurant staff automatically assumed he had chosen his dinner, and promptly killed and cooked it for him before he realized what had happened.

      1. MLTPB

        In Wiki’s Chinese Pangolin page, it says the animal is believed, rationally or not, to be a treatment for a variety of ailments, from cancer to upset stomach to asthma,

        I wonder if the ideas came from Bencao Gangmu.

      2. Ignacio

        Oh no! If you can forgive me for some vlade-ish sense of humour, do they cook them without passing them through the blender?

  21. SlayTheSmaugs

    The Iowa issues may have real impact on NH. I know people canvassing in NH for Bernie who say they are finding Butt has a lot of support, at levels that seem inconsistent with pre-Iowa polling. Now, I know anecdotes aren’t data, and it’s also true that I know these anecdotes are inspiring even more people to get out and knock doors for Bernie (also anecdotes, but I know of actual people.) It’s also true that even if there were no shennigans in IA, and Bernie had the win and the speech he deserves, Butt would’ve been a strong second which may have given him real momentum anyway. So hard to say the net impact of the false IA crown. Meanwhile, CA has started voting.

    1. Monty

      It’s simple. All the people who want Trump to win, but find themselves ideologically indisposed to cast a ballot his way, want Pete as the candidate. That way, Trump wins in a historic landslide and their assets are safe, but they can say they tried to stop him, and blame homophobia, Russia, China, Bernie bros, Facebook etc for his loss.

  22. Svejk

    I was listening to a sports talk show this morning and they casually dropped a reference to the Red Sox “McKinsey-ing” the team. Glad this awareness is popping up in the culture and hope that it redounds to the discredit of Beto-jedge.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The previous GM Dombrowski did this. The McKinseying had previously occurred under Dombrowski. Given the state of the farm system that was the gold standard just fours seasons ago, the Red Sox main option as a trade partner is to eat up

      With the free agent value of middle relievers having spiked and the Sox losing some ungodly amount of games with late leads, they had make plans. Is Mookie’s WAR with the contract he will command worth Mookie over one of the other three outfielders who would start on every team? I also don’t know the state of Pedroia. I suspect he’s done, but the Sox have a solid infield regardless. Price wasn’t a bust, but he hasn’t been worth his contract relative to where that money could have gone. The Red Sox aren’t competing with the Yankees for top spending money but the Dodgers and Cubs with teams such as Seattle, Atlanta, and Anaheim ready to jump. As for trade bait if the Red Sox make a run, all they can offer is to eat salary.

      In the event of injuries, they have no one to bring up. Dombrowski did the same thing to Detroit.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Dombrowski definitely screwed things up, but the owner John Henry has more money than he knows what to do with. Worrying that he might have to pay a luxury tax for a year or two by paying Mookie the going rate is ridiculous. Henry can certainly afford a few million to keep the fans happy. This trade is absolutely ridiculous. You trade stars to cut salary and get multiple prospects in return. The Sox are still on the hook for half of Price’s salary and they get one major leaguer and an injury prone pitching prospect for Betts and Price. Contrast that to the Sox giving up four good prospects for a reliever in Craig Kimbrel a few years ago. You’d think a 5 tool MVP player would command way more than that.

        This Sox fan is really sick of billionaires crying poverty. They haven’t been doling out much bread and now they take the circuses away too.

        1. Titus

          The tax isn’t even that big, $17 million, is puny. As far as paying Betts $300 million or whatever it is who cares what the amount is, the Red Sox can afford it. Fans clearly are not part of the “stakeholders” chain. I grew up a 10 minute walk from the stadium, I truly hate what’s going on.

          1. chuck roast

            Thanks Bosox fans for the update. One night not so long ago I listened to Curt Gowdy’s play-by-play of Don Buddin making five errors in one game…including losing the ball up his sleeve and into his jersey. Sorry, but walk, strikeout, home run, W, K, HR no longer does it for me.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Admiral Warns America’s East Coast Is No Longer A “Safe Haven” Thanks To Russian Subs”

    This Admiral – Vice Admiral Andrew “Woody” Lewis – is the commander of the Navy’s 2nd Fleet as the article mentions. This Fleet was re-activated about two years ago but does not have many ships at the moment. In other words, he is talking his budget here with this article. He wants more money and more ships for his command and going on about Russian submarines is one way. Forgotten is the fact that there have been Russian submarines in the Atlantic for several decades now.

    1. mpalomar

      Good dog, yes one would think! Though they are extra sneaky and facebot activated.
      Woody is just doing his part for the ongoing MIC narrative.

    2. Ignacio

      We have a phrase typically assigned to people asking for money in the streets that sounds funny if properly pronounced and looks apt for the military complex that could be translated like: “It’s hard to be forced to beg (for money), but it’s harder to be forced to steal it”

  24. Whoamolly

    Question: How does the supply chain interruption caused by corona virus not trigger a severe economic contraction?

    Asked another way: how can China go offline abruptly without causing a depression?

    1. Whoamolly

      PS I am glad I bought my new Kindle paperwhite 4 this week.

      My old one is crapping out and I’m not at all sure it will be possible to get a cheap one in a month or two.

      Amazon is having a Valentine’s Day sale on Kindles right now.

    2. MLTPB

      In 2018, there were 141 million inbound tourist arrivals, per travelchinaguide.

      That seems like a large number and not many are going there for now.

  25. Dave

    The link to the Admiral’s comment about the east coast no longer safe from Russian subs. Okay, well it hasn’t been safe from anyone’s subs since the Nazi sub packs of WWII. Hasn’t he seen the pictures of the merchant ships on fire off the coast? I thought these guys had to take classes in military history somewhere……

      1. Anon

        The details are not certain, but a Japanese submarine is believed to have surfaced off the West Coast (Coal Oil Point, near Santa Barbara) and lobbed some kind of ordnance into the oil producing infrastructure there during/preceding WWII. The US Marines had a military base nearby. The base is now the campus of UC Santa Barbara.

  26. CuriousConcerns

    Hey Ignacio,
    I’ve seen your comments on coronavirus over the last couple of weeks and I wanted to get your opinion on a thought I had(don’t know if it’s being discussed in other venues).
    Do you think the mortality rate will increase in western countries because our populations are older(assuming it’s true that are populations are older)? Ie if the actual lethality of the illness doesn’t change but the underlying populations have more comorbidities and thus be more likely to succumb to the virus?

    1. Ignacio

      It has been suggested, though without serious proof, that Asians could be more sensitive than others due to higher expression of the entry target of 2019n-CoV. What you say is true, assuming older populations, serious respiratory illnesses caused by this virus can and probably will be more frequent though mortality will be also affected by other factors: quality of health care, genetic factors, and environmental factors like atmospheric pollution having effects on the immune system and virus spread. Also the pattern of respiratory disease epidemics is different in temperate vs tropical/subtropical regions. I don’t think anyone can predict the outcome. I pretty much dislike having a new viral respiratory disease particularly for the elder being them already sensitive to existing respiratory diseases (nosocomial or not). We will be lucky if this one is not big deal.

  27. Frank

    Netanyahu Sold U.S. on Moving Israeli Arabs to Future Palestinian State

    Current issue of Monthly Review has this article and you can read it here:

    After reading it I can say that I am less ignorant than before

    Messianic Zionism
    The Ass and the Red Heifer
    by Moshé Machover

    The relation between Zionism and Judaism (the Jewish religion) is paradoxical and complex. In its early days, Zionism was apparently a thoroughly secular political movement. Apparently. In reality, while its ego was secular, its id has always been religious. And in recent times, the latter has emerged from its hidden recess and is parading in full view. A form of religious Zionism has gained influence in Israel, which shares with militant Christian evangelism and Islamic jihadism the character of political movement with fundamentalist religious ideology.

  28. PlutoniumKun

    The limits of high speed rail Mapping Ignorance

    Very informative article, but it misses one of the key reasons why high speed trains rarely go as fast as the limits of engineering allow – noise. There are a number of threshold speeds above which wind noise increases very significantly, which means you either have to build in noise suppression, or ignore local complaints. In any event, there are very few places (usually only where railways have nice flat unpopulated plains to cover, such as in north central France or parts of inland China), where you can build as straight (horizontally and vertically) as necessary go go much above around 300kph. The alternative is spending enormous sums on tunnelling and viaducts.

    One of the great ‘what ifs’ of high speed rail is the decision by the Chinese to go for wheeled rail systems rather than maglev – the success of the Shanghai airport rail maglev (German technology) made them consider this, but they were put off by the costs and uncertainties. Had they opted for maglev, the huge economies of scale may well have made it a viable option in many other countries. Ultimately, maglevs are a far better technology as they avoid the friction issues discussed in that article, its just that only the Japanese have been willing to invest the time and money. The cost of the new Tokyo to Osaka line will be staggeringly high – probably only viable in a very small number of extremely high density urban areas, or where the geography is particularly suitable.

    1. vlade

      Czech Republic has the highest rail network density (m of rail per km2) in the world. Third higher than second (Germany) and twice the third (the UK).

      The reason being it’s all hills and valleys (with a few exceptions).

      But it also means that there is only a limited number of place you can yout a high-speed rail w/o massive investment in tunnels. Or rather, you can put fast trains there, but if the rails snake around the rivers (as they often do, to get advantage of the terrain), you just can’t run the trains at speed (ignoring the fact that a lof of the infrastructure is quite old) often for long stretches.

      So you have say a pendolino line from Prague to the west Bohemia, which for the first 50 or so km has an average speed of probably less than 100km/hour, as is snakes around (arguably quite scenic) Berounka valley.

    2. lordkoos

      This noise problem would only be a factor in populated areas. At least in the western USA, the majority of rail miles are in wilderness so noise wouldn’t be a problem, except for the wildlife. Trains can always slow down a bit when in populated areas.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Maglev strikes me as the ultimate re-invention of the wheel. Wheeled trains run every day at 300kp/h safely and with high mechanical efficiency. If maglev were *cheaper* than wheeled, that’d be a good start.

    4. Anon

      The article has tangential oddities, as well. For example, modern diesel locomotives are actually diesel-electric combinations. The diesel engine turns an electricity generator that powers electric motors that directly drive the wheels of the locomotive. (They are called “trucks’, are modular, and can be removed for easy replacement/repair.) This combination allows for matching the torque/rpm capability of the diesel motor to the needed generator/electricity output. (The diesel engines are designed to operate at 75 to 750 RPM’s, and have pistons that are about 10-12 inches in diameter.)

      Electric motors are the key element in a freight locomotive. They have high torque capability and can be operated at a continuous range of RPM.

  29. IronForge

    On FT’s Article on ending Tourism to be Net Carbon Neutral by 2050: Not Happening.


    Carbon Neutral to Kyoto/Paris Baseline(s) are simply insufficient.

    Professor Walter Jehne : (35:00 Onwards)

    We may have to be “Net Carbon Negative” (from Kyoto/Paris Baselines) for Decades, if not for Centuries, for the “excessive” Carbon in the Atmosphere and the Oceans to be sequestered in the Soil+Oceanic Fungi, Algae, and Flora.

    As it stands now, Atmospheric Carbon continues to Rise; and we’re Now at Levels that allegedly haven’t been encountered for 3 Million Years.

    Meanwhile, CHN, IND, and Non-Industrialized Nation-States look to Modernize their Civil Infrastructure and Standards of Living via Energy Consumption.

    Do we even Produce enough Petroleum/NatGas/Coal to Fuel a Fully Modernized World?

    Can Conservationalists Plant enough to OffSet the Carbon Output and more?

    Will TreeHuggers and Climate Justice SnowWokes stop Whining and actually DO Something other than gather for AntiSocial Riots, Rants, and Squat-Ins?

    It’s Every Nation-State for their Own Industrial and Political Oligarchies’ Interests, yet those who neglect the Carbon may find themselves Fail-Stating.


    1. jef

      The collective belief is that none of the other prophecies of doom happened so this one probably won’t either.

      Malthus wasn’t wrong and we only avoided his projections at the expense of the biosphere and wildlife die-off.

      Limits to Growth wasn’t wrong and nothing has been avoided but has been papered over with money.

      Peak Oil happened but there are no zombies in the streets so simple minded people ignore the price of oil, the fact that we are even fracking at all, the falling eroei, Mexico no longer exporting, etc. Again it is primarily money, whatever that means these days, that has made peak.oil look like a fail.

      All of this needs to be understood so that we can understand that climate change is real and has the potential to bring all of these things down on our heads and end all life on earth unless we stop the madness.

    2. MLTPB

      The brain is the most energy consuming organ, I read.

      Is it?

      But we need harder working brains to address climate change.

      So a balance is needed.

      Though sitting quietly, meditating with a few or zero thoughts is an alternative to using the brain to come up with more greener technologies (in order to avoid changing our lifestyle). Here, the motto is ‘(do) nothing is better than something,’ versus the more popular ‘something is better than nothing.’

  30. cm

    Demoines Register reports that there is still one precinct that hasn’t reported results. Anyone know which one?

    This is really third world country voting. CNN and others report 100% of the vote counted, but apparently not???

    1. lordkoos

      I believe the last 3% of unreported precincts were all in Des Moines, and in urban areas where there are larger minority populations. Sanders’ campaign has been very effective in organizing these precincts, which I’m guessing is why Tom Perez called for a re-do *after* 97% of the results were in. There is definitely dirty work going on.

  31. CoryP

    I will just say that I am out in there in the trenches, of Twitter hell.

    I am promoting Paper Ballots, Hand-Counted in Public; People seem to agree.

    It’s a hard world out there.

    (I’m listening to dramatic video game music while I do it. So it really makes everything like it’s the fight of a lifetime)

    Anyway this is really the best way to conduct an argument.

    Need that soundtrack!

  32. fwe’zy

    The USPS fake financial burden of the past 14 years has already served to privatize big chunks of the postal business. See all the private “satellite” postal offices, plus of course private parcel delivery services. If you add in the real estate selloffs, often of noteworthy/ highly valuable architectural monuments, with transaction fees accruing to Mr. Feinstein’s ilk, this is even more clear. Creative destruction, eh.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      First he GOP (and Clinton) allowed competition with the USPS. Then it refused to allow the USPS to charge competitive rates with UPS & Fedex, etc. competitors. That, of course, sent the USPS into red ink territory. The goals is clearly to privatise all postal service in the USA – probably the world.

      Why should we care? Because, as Matt Stoller and Tim Wu would be happy to point out, the death of the Eudora Welty’s PO will be the birth of a monopoly that will jack rates even higher than private POs do now.

      So, let’s keep mail service public as a defense against birthing yet another global monopoly.

  33. antidlc

    My apologies if this has already been posted..

    How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class

    Meritocrats like Buttigieg changed not just corporate strategies but also corporate values. Particular industries, and still more individual companies, may be committed to distinctive, concrete goals and ideals. GM may aspire to build good cars; IBM, to make typewriters, computers, and other business machines; and AT&T, to improve communications. Executives who rose up through these companies, on the mid-century model, were embedded in their firms and embraced these values, so that they might even have come to view profits as a salutary side effect of running their businesses well. When management consulting untethered executives from particular industries or firms and tied them instead to management in general, it also led them to embrace the one thing common to all corporations: making money for shareholders. Executives raised on the new, untethered model of management aim exclusively and directly at profit: their education, their career arc, and their professional role conspire to isolate them from other workers and train them single-mindedly on the bottom line.

    Buttigieg carries this worldview into his politics. Wendell Potter, at The Intercept, observes that “a lot” of Buttigieg’s campaign language about health care, including “specific words” is “straight out of the health-insurance industry’s playbook.” The influence of management consulting, moreover, goes far beyond language to the very rationale for Buttigieg’s candidacy. What he offers America is intellect and elite credentials—a combination that McKinsey has taught him and others like him to believe should more than compensate for an obvious deficit of directly relevant experience.

    I don’t know about you, but this guy scares the living daylights out of me.

  34. BoyDownTheLane

    May I respectfully suggest that y’all have a contest to rename the sub-heading “Trump Transition” to something else. It’s been 1,188 days since everyone woke up tp the elections results, there’s been a lot of virtual memory given over to degrees of upset, there’s been a failed impeachment. Apparently now folks are working on either Impeachment 2.0 or some form of massive takeover of the Democratic machinery so as to create some coming-to-its-higher-level-of competence. Perhaps the focus shouldn’t be on Trump at all but elsewhere.

    1. Anon

      Yes, like making US elections more democratic. Like making EC electors proportional to the vote, not winner-take-all; or reducing the power of the Senate where the 47 senators who voted to remove Trump represent more than 18 million more voters than the 52 senators who did not. (The Senate also has an out-sized impact on the approval of federal judges (lifetime appointment) and cabinet members.)

      Even the House is not allocated proportionally. Wyoming has 3 Representatives while California has ~55; Wyo has one-sixtieth the population of Cali. (I’ll simply ignore gerrymandering and voter suppression nationwide.)

      Trump is the pumpkin from this anomalous patchwork.

  35. Ignacio

    Re: antidote du jour

    Wolverine! That was surprising for me. In Spanish we call it glotón (literally glutton for their voraciousness). Few people call them carcayú that comes from carcajou (french canadian) that may have an origin on native american denomination. I like carcayú or carcajou as best names for these ferocious guys.

  36. Oregoncharles

    From the article on the Lindblad “self-disinfecting ship(s): ” hypochlorous acid deactivates rapidly in the environment. ” Household chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite – the salt of the same acid. The interesting part is that they’re making it onboard from water and salt. It’s possible the acid breaks down faster than the salt, but otherwise this is the same stuff.

    The use of titanium dioxide as a long-term surface disinfectant is very interesting, though, and something I hadn’t heard of before. Sounds like an excellent idea for areas with heavy exposure to the public – eg, and first of all, hospitals and clinics. Has to get some sun, though.

  37. Ford Prefect

    Mexican nationals are now less of a threat than American citizens living in NYS as the Mexicans can get Global Entry cards while the NYS Americans can’t:

    I assume this means that Trump will back away from building the wall along the Mexican border and do it along the NYS border instead. I assume that is why he doesn’t want to fund the Gateway Tunnel because Manhattan may simply become isolated from the rest of the US.

    1. inode_buddha

      Geographically it makes no sense. The Canadian border is 458 miles from NYC and Manhattan. The entire border is defined by bodies of water — lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St.Lawrence seaway — a large amount of the local economies depend on cross-border shopping on the weekends, where the distances aren’t too great. I could walk across. However since 9-11 I won’t even bother. Getting into Canada is easy, getting back into the US is a pain at best. Not worth the aggravation.

  38. Tom Bradford

    I’m no mathematician but it seems to me that the Ludic Fallacy is flawed. Yes given a perfectly balanced coin and otherwise random factors in the toss the odds of it falling heads or tails are 50/50 every time. But this means that in any sequence of tosses the odds are that it will be 50% heads and 50% tails. Thus the odds that a sequence of tosses will be other than 50/50 is not 50/50, and the longer the sequence the less likely it is that the outcome will be other than 50/50.

    The odds that a sequence of 10 tosses will all be heads are far smaller that the odds that the sequence will involve some heads and some tails even if the actual outcome is not 50/50. The odds that a sequence of 100 tosses would produce a 100/0 outcome is so vanishingly small that the odds are that some other factor – perhaps genuinely unknown to the parties – is having an influence.

    Hence both Dr. John and Fat Tony are quite correct – Dr. John in maintaining that all things being equal the 100th toss is still a 50/50 heads/tails outcome, and Fat Tony in arguing that the odds of that sequence occurring is so unlikely that all things cannot be equal, even if the influencing factor is unknown.

    1. MLTPB

      There are 2 issues here.

      1 unbiased coin is the assumption, and Fat Tony is questioning that (98 tosses too late, if not 99, in my opinion).

      2 independent events. In statistics, they talk about one trial being independent (i.e. no influence) on the next one or later ones (excluding quantum spookiness, which would include having no influence on earlier ones).

      We have to question all assumptions, every moment in life, not just during coin tossing.

      Your comment relates to questioning whether the tosses are 100% independent, and that is different from, or in addition to the Ludic Fallacy, and not that it is flawed.

    2. Tom Bradford

      So I offer a solution to Taleb’s ‘thought experiment’. Dr. John is correct. Fat Tony is wrong.

      There IS an outside influence distorting the monkeys-typing-Shakespeare odds of a 99/0 run of heads – it’s the ‘intervention’ of Taleb who makes it so, unknown to the participants. Given that Taleb has no interest in the outcome of the 100th throw it stands outside the sequence, free of any extraneous influence, and therefore has a 50/50 chance of being heads. Thus Dr. John still has a 50/50 chance of being right whatever he chooses. Fat Tony will go for heads on the basis of the previous 99 outcomes and also has a 50/50 chance of being right.

      What relevance this has to the Iowa caucus is beyond me.

      1. Dirk77

        The point here I think is when does one stop giving people the benefit of the doubt – like the people who set up the coin flip game for Dr. John and Fat Tony? It’s a judgement call. That is, if the true conditions of the coin flip were to be revealed tomorrow, what would you put your money on today and how much?

      2. Yves Smith

        Try doing some math before you opine.

        What is the probability of throwing 100 Heads in a row?

        The probability of flipping a fair coin and getting 100 Heads in a row is 1 in 2^100. That’s 1 in 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376.

        Or, written out: 1 in 1 nonillion 267 octillion 650 septillion 600 sextillion 228 quintillion 229 quadrillion 401 trillion 496 billion 703 million 205 thousand 376

        Or, in decimal form: .0000000000000000000000000000007888609052210118054117285652827862296732064351090230047702789306640625

        In other words, the probability is very, very, very, very low. Not zero, but might as well be.

        The odds of ten tosses of a fair coin going all the same way (which is what happened v. Sanders) is 0.0009765625

    3. ewmayer

      This is a classic exercise in mathematics of probability, and exhibits some profoundly counterintuitive aspects, for example, in any single sequence of fair-coin flips, the ‘distance from 50/50’ (#heads-#tails) will generally be quite large: it is exceedingly rare for a long sequence of flips to ‘cross the axis’ (hit 50/50), and the longer we continue flipping, the rarer it becomes, and the farther the average absolute distance from 50/50 is likely to be.

      That having been said, getting 99 in a row is so exceedingly unlikely that Fat Tony is 100% correct.

  39. John Beech

    Video shows interior of new Wuhan ‘hospital’ resembles prison Taiwan News.

    Well, I, for one can think of a darned good reason to have locks on the doors. What if a patient gets agitated and wants to leave? Not a normal patient with an ordinary pneumonia, but a patient so contagious as to put this whole mechanism of state into operation to contain it. Honestly, imagine what netizens would be saying if contagious people could just up and walk out? Or am I alone in thinking this would be the height of irresponsibility?

    Means it’s prison-like? Yes, but for a public-safety reason. Has to be this way.

    1. MLTPB

      I think Lamberts point, I am assuming here, is not you dont need it, but the design was already available, with lots of practice before.

      1. Anon

        That’s a given. China has been perfecting this modular, rapid-build construction process for years. There’s a video going around (U-toob?) that shows them building a modern high rise hotel in about 20 days. (There’s no “biddidng process” involved, all the construction members are known to each other and the supplies are on-hand before construction begins— no waiting for the electricians and plumbers to arrive.)

  40. ewmayer

    “How Serbian Immigrants Made an Ohio Town the ‘Fried Chicken Capital of the World’ | Atlas Obscura” — LOL, that’s my hometown! Growing up I remember going bowling at Slovene Lanes, and going to school with a whole bunch of kids who had Eastern-European/Slavic surnames.

  41. Plenue

    I just got to listening to the Chapo podcast from yesterday. About half-way through it they start talking about how the Democratic leadership, and the media, are panicking because they never took Sanders seriously, but now Biden has imploded and Warren had too poor a showing.

    What they’re describing mostly describes the madness I’m seeing in various neoliberal hangout places that I occasionally observe. Except some of them are still convinced Warren is in play. Daily Kos is still pushing Warren as the only viable candidate with a ‘path to victory’, and riverdaughter’s latest post is speculation on a Bloomberg/Warren ticket.

    I have a certain respect for the party leaders, and even their media servants. They at least know what is at stake for them, and are waging a selfish war to defend their power and privilege (I’m sure it varies between individuals how fully aware they are that this is what they’re doing).

    But the useful idiot true believers I must admit I feel nothing but loathing for. These people are morons. They literally don’t know anything, have zero self-awareness, and yet they still berate *other* people as dupes and ‘low information voters’.

  42. Jack Parsons

    From the article about Russian submaries and the East Coast:

    It could also demonstrate their ability to maintain a defensive posture off the shores of Norway to present a threat to NATO members and protect Russia’s own assets in the far north, including its naval bases in the northwest region of the country and ballistic missile subs sailing hidden under the Polar ice cap.

    “the Polar ice cap”. Uhhh… is there one any more?

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