Links 4/29/2020

125 Most Wholesome Rescue Pet Photos Of This Month (April Edition) Bored Panda

Gide’s judgment New Criterion

Supreme Court rules Georgia can’t put the law behind a paywall Ars Technica (The Rev Kev)

Palaeontologists Think They Have Found ‘The Most Dangerous Place’ in Earth’s History Science Alert. chuck l: “Perhaps future archeologists will find something similar when they dig up Wall Street some millions of years hence.”


Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea Emerging Infections Diseases (CDC). Early release article.


Medication Shortages Are the Next Crisis Atlantic

Trump cuts U.S. research on bat-human virus transmission over China ties Politico

Nancy Pelosi ABANDONS plan to bring back the House after just a day as Congress’ physician warns it is dangerous – and Donald Trump mocks that Democrats are ‘enjoying their vacation’ Daily Mail

Here’s What Disinfectants and UV Light Really Do to Your Body Wired

Vice President Mike Pence tours Mayo Clinic without coronavirus mask even though he was told to wear one CNBC (The Rev Kev)

Coronavirus crisis lays bare the risks of financial leverage, again FT. Martin Wolf.

USS Kidd Arrives in San Diego to Treat COVID-19 Outbreak; First Cases Emerged More than A Month After Hawaii Port Visit USNI News

The £7bn refund rip-off: Holiday plans are in ruins – but it’s never been harder to get money back for cancelled flights Daily Mail


What if immunity to covid-19 doesn’t last? MIT Technology Review

Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine effective in monkeys, heading for mass production in India SCMP

Race for Coronavirus Vaccine Accelerates as Pfizer Says U.S. Testing to Begin Next Week WSJ

How to Develop a COVID-19 Vaccine for All Project Syndicate

The Pandemic-Era Emergency Dep’t: Weirder, Wilder & Emptier Than Ever Medium. Matt Bivens.

California doctors with dubious COVID conclusions debunked Pasadena Star News . Not for the  underlying study per se, but to credit the critical Pasadena reporting.


Is lockdown stress affecting your pet? Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

CDC recommends social distancing for pets after some test positive for coronavirus The Hill

Serfs Revoit

Trump to order meat-processing plants to continue operating amid pandemic Guardian

Trump Declares Meat Supply ‘Critical,’ Aiming to Reopen Plants NYT

Defying Trump’s Order, Nebraska Meatpackers Strike – PA National Guard Replaces Striking Nurses – Richmond Threatens to Fire Striking Bus Drivers Payday Report. Mike Elk.

Nurses Say They Don’t Want to Be Called Heroes During the Coronavirus Pandemic Teen Vogue

Coronavirus battle is ‘recipe’ for disaster for health care workers: experts NY Post

Class Warfare

Tech Giants Are Using This Crisis to Colonize the Welfare System Jacobin

Exasperation Grows Over Delays Trying To Sign Up For Unemployment, ‘People Have No Food, People Are Talking About Suicide’ CBS New York (re Silc)

‘Maybe… Pay People More,’ Says AOC as Data Shows Half of US Workers Could Make More From Unemployment Than Low-Wage Jobs Common Dreams

One Thing the Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped: Aggressive Medical-Debt Collection ProPublica

To Live and Die Poor in L.A.: Virus Survey’s Grim Figures Capital & Main

Covid-19 is set to unleash a wave of corporate mergers and acquisitions Quartz

Warren, Ocasio-Cortez Float Long-Shot Bid to Pause M&A in Crisis Bloomberg

With Millions Unable to Pay for Housing Next Month, Organizers Plan the Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century Intercept

As Bills Pile Up, Getting Unemployment Benefits In NY Is Still A “Kafkaesque Mess” Gothamist


Is America’s Antibiotic Supply at Risk? The Wire China

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Spyware Firms Make Beeline for India, Products to Track COVID-19 Patients Raise Privacy Concerns The Wire

Thermal imaging cameras could play “critical role” in keeping people safe from COVID-19 CBS


Europe begins to consider emerging from lockdown Al Jazeera


Coronavirus: 98-year-old doctor working through the lockdown BBC


Italy Enters Chapter Two of the Corona Crisis Der Spiegel

Fitch cuts Italy’s credit rating to one notch above junk FT


Why cities have become epicentres of coronavirus outbreaks – and how to combat this Scroll

Three Lessons from Past Epidemics that Will Help India Fight COVID-19 The Wire

India Cracks Down on Chinese Investment as Mood Turns Against Beijing Foreign Policy


Exclusive: OPCW insiders slam ‘compromised’ new Syria chemical weapons probe Gray Zone (The Rev Kev)

Waste Watch

We throw away far too much clothing TreeHugger

Trump Transition

Let’s Call it a Wall e-flux


In Defense Of Intellectual Trumpism American Conservative Clickbait headline; I remind readers that to link is not necessarily to endorse.

Democrats not confident 2020 US election will be fair, survey finds Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson on Biden’s China Ad and Nuclear War The Analysis. Podcast with Paul Jay,

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video, birds performing an aria from one of my favourite operas (lanikai):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    >Democrats not confident 2020 US election will be fair, survey finds

    Of course not because they will make sure it is NOT fair, just like they did in 2016. The system is specifically designed that way, just like State unemployment insurance is designed the way it is. It’s just that the General election has other features than the primary, but the effect is the same, grotesquely unjust.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      It’s really a feature, not a bug. Putting that aside, based on past experience, it’s clear the Dems are only interested in pushing the issue for fantasy, partisan reasons (Russia x3) when they know they won’t have to do anything rather than going after actual stolen elections (2000, 2004). This sudden concern feels like part of a “get out the vote” effort for a party who has forced a candidate with low enthusiasm and growing negatives on the voters. “But the other team is worse” worked so well for them last time…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My guess is they already know GOTV is basically shot, and their main goal is to keep the base from finding out the problems with Biden aren’t age related and that they aren’t revelations of Biden’s character to Team Blue elites, even ones on the local level.

        They didn’t need to vet Biden. They know him and simply despise good policy ideas that much or don’t care about rape (see the Clintons) as long as it’s little people who are the victims.

        After the 2014 debacle, a major donor said she wanted to know why her campaign contributions weren’t wasted as she would have given the money to the Boys and Girls Club (I believe this person’s intent; the hard ask probably squeezed more out of her). What organizations knew about the rapist?

        I knew about Biden’s history, not Reade specifically, so it’s not something Team Blue elites didn’t know.

    2. xkeyscored

      It might be a tad more fair to the USA and the rest of the world if the outcome wasn’t a dotard whichever way you vote.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Guess I’m not the only [former] Democrat voter to recoil in disgust at the farce masquerading as this year’s Democrat primary.

      1. edmondo

        If you are a Democrat in 2020 after witnessing what happened in 2016, you deserve what disillusion you are feeling. Say “Hi” to Bernie when he tries again in 2024.

  2. zagonostra

    >Unemployment numbers grossly underestimated.

    A survey published Tuesday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the widely reported figure of 26.5 million workers who applied for jobless benefits over the past five weeks significantly underestimates the actual number of people who have lost their jobs since March 15…

    The denial of resources to unemployed workers while unlimited funds are made available to the ruling elite demonstrates that the officially stated purpose of the CARES Act—voted for unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans—as “fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses” is an utter fraud.

  3. timbers

    “Supreme Court rules Georgia can’t put the law behind a paywall Ars Technica (The Rev Kev)”

    Sheesh…4 Supremes actually voted in favor of privatized access to just knowing what the law reads and says? What is the world coming to? Just shows you there’s always hope.

    Maybe those 4 Justices were hoping to upend the dictum “ignorance of the law is no excuse” because that would actually become a valid defence of law breaking – but hopefully just for the elites because then they would have a fail safe way of letting them off…”Your honor, my client didn’t know it was illegal to (fill in the blank).”

    But there’s hope, because if just one more appropriate Supreme is packed into the court after Ruth goes, we can re-litigate and make things right. Then, we could finally have companies like OCP (Omni Consumer Products) buy and run our local governments just like in Robocop. But we should make sure former Presidents don’t congregate in the same area when they retire. Wouldn’t want a similar episode happen like when our “Peace Platform” miss fires into an wealthy California suburb and kills 3 former U.S. Presidents by accident.

    1. pebird

      FYI, Ginsberg dissented.

      “A second dissent by liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and also signed by Breyer—took a different tack. She argued that the law only denied copyright protection to works produced by a legislature in the course of its official duties. But she argued that the process of annotating existing laws is inherently separate from the process of enacting laws in the first place.”

    2. Fraibert

      I wanted to write to clarify some important points. These thoughts are a bit scattered and the post is long–I hope it proves interesting or informative.

      First, I don’t think the Ars Technica article clearly explains what an “annotated code” is. The annotations to a statutory code are references to cases and other relevant materials, as well as (sometimes) headings. These make it easier to fully understand the law but they are _not_ parts of the official statutory text.

      In fact, it’s important to understand that a statutory code is not even the default state for laws. When a state legislature passes a bill and it is ratified by the governor, the bill is then law (an “enrolled bill” as the terminology goes). For fair notice purposes, all a state has to do is make the official enrolled bill text available to the public, as well as having made available any previous bills to which the new bill references. The state does not have to put the pieces together–that’s the primary purpose of a statutory code, to pull all the separate bills together into a cohesive whole.

      However, generally speaking, legal practitioners will still reference a statutory code for research purposes, both because it’s easier to use (who wants to try and piece together 15 different bills while under a deadline?) and because the attorneys who prepare a code make extreme effort to ensure it is accurate to the point where they are generally agreed to be reliable statements of the source enrolled bill texts.

      (Side note: Please note that states sometimes will by law make parts of a previously prepared statutory code into the official law. In that case, that officially adopted portion of a code is now the law and not the source enrolled bills. Apparently, Georgia does this on a yearly basis for the entire Official Code of Georgia Annotated.)

      Moving back to the case, Georgia law deemed the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” to include both the statutory text and the annotations. However, it is readily possible to separate the statutory text of a code (everyone agrees this is not subject to copyright) from the annotations (which were prepared by a private company at the direction of, and under the commission of, Georgia). Nevertheless, the Court’s majority opinion indicates that, where a state commissions a private company to prepare an annotations to a statutory code, these annotations are also not subject to copyright.

      In my view, the crux of the majority’s argument is Georgia’s concession that it is the “author” (in copyright law terms) of the annotations because the state’s Code Review Commission contracted Matthew Bender (a Lexis subsidiary) to perform codification and annotation work. If Georgia is the “author,” then, as the Court concluded, there cannot be any copyright of the annotations because official state works are not subject to copyright.

      I think Georgia should have argued along the lines that the “works for hire” doctrine (which attributes legal authorship to the commissioner of a copyrightable work) does not apply because what the state was really doing was incentivizing a third party’s creation of extremely laborious annotations by disclaiming any copyright to the annotations. (I am not a copyright lawyer so this point would have to be reworked into that particular framework.)

      From a practical perspective, the end result of this case may be death of annotated codes in states where only one company (usually a West or Lexis subsidiary) prepares an annotated code under state contract–statutory annotations are a massive amount of work that most states have never bothered to attempt. Even states like New York (McKinney’s New York Laws) and California (West’s Annotated California Code) leave the statutory annotations to the private sector. At a bare minimum, states that have been commissioning annotations probably will now be paying quite a bit more for them since they are effectively public domain upon release. Large states like New York and California probably won’t have an issue due to the large legal markets, which means no state incentives are needed for annotations to be prepared, but apparently there are twenty two states with copyrighted code annotations and these are not large markets in general (Source:

      1. Fraibert

        Also, I wanted to put a “bonus” for the probably two people who read my comment above and found it interesting.

        It’s on a tangent from the above, but similar, and I think anyone who found the codification discussion informative would like to know this.

        To begin, the United States Code generally speaking is NOT the definitive statement of federal law. Portions of the Code have been adopted by Congress as official law, but most has not.

        The United States Code is actually a set of paper volumes, with an official date of every six years. The most recent set is dated 2018. However, in reality, the volumes are issued over the course of that six year period, and older volumes get paper supplements to update them in the meantime. In physical form, this costs quite a bit of money to acquire and update, but electronic forms are also publicly available.

        Like with the states, the enrolled bills are actually the law in most cases. The official text of the enrolled bills is found in the series of books called Statutes at Large (which lags passage of bills by up to a few years at times). Any disagreement between the United States Code and the Statutes at Large is resolved in the favor of the latter, unless the Code version was actually adopted by Congress as the official text.

        The official Code does not have any annotations. The two main annotation services are the United States Code Annotated (West Publishing) and the United States Code Supplement (Lexis-Nexis).

        Any serious research on federal statutes should be using one of these services. However, they are quite pricey due to the huge amount of labor involved in their preparation and constant updating. In fact, the annotations on a single section of the United States Code can easily go for dozens of pages of small text in some cases.

        In short, there is a pervasive weaving of private sector participation in maintaining annotated statutory codes. This is why public law libraries are so important, as these do make available such codes.

        1. Eclair

          I read your comment, Fraibert, and it has become today’s, ‘OMG, I had no idea!’ But, then, I have a predilection for useless (to me, not being a lawyer or having anything to do with the legal field) information. Well, not entirely useless; it is another piece to fit into the emerging puzzle picture of the monetization of everything. Thank you!

          1. Fraibert

            In the legal field, private sector preparation of important materials is also due to inertia and tradition even from the colonial days. (Not a historian so this some of the details here might be incorrect, but I think the gist is accurate enough for a flavor.)

            Private court reporters reporting the contents of judicial decisions was the norm even in early America and I think that was a tradition taken from England. Notably, the early Supreme Court hired a series of men as Reporter of Decisions, and the these men made their living by selling the reported decisions to the public. This is why the early volumes of the United States Reports (the Supreme Court’s official reporter) are technically cited like this: _Marbury v. Madison_, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803). As the citation suggests, Mr. William Cranch was the Reporter at the time.

            Sometimes the private involvement has become so pervasive that it is just normal. West Publishing, in particular, is responsible for a good bit of this, I’d say. West established its National Reporter System in the late 19th century, and through a series of different “reporters” began to publish “important” judicial decisions (mostly appellate level) throughout the U.S. For example, the Southeastern Reporter covers state intermediate and supreme court appellate decisions in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and the Federal Reporter covers federal Court of Appeals decisions throughout the country. Some significant states even got their own series: the New York Supplement for trial and intermediate appellate decisions and the California Reporter for intermediate appellate decisions.

            The various West reporters are so widely available that in the standard legal citation guide citations to the West reporters are preferred to any other, wherever available. West’s federal case reporters, the Federal Supplement (district court decisions) and the Federal Reporter (Court of Appeals decisions), are also the preferred citation, with only the official United States Reports of the Supreme Court receiving greater position than West’s Supreme Court Reporter (the latter of which is much faster at getting to press–and therefore sometimes cited for new cases, anyways).

            In fact, when a federal district court or Court of Appeals case is designated “for publication” by the authoring judge, the Federal Supplement or Federal Reporter, respectively, is where the case is actually going to be “published.” As far as I know, West always respects that “for publication” designation. This is also important because some Courts of Appeals formally state (and it is, I think, the unstated rule otherwise) that “unpublished” decisions are not precedential–that is, the courts are not bound to follow them in future similar cases.

            Similar history dates for the annotated codes. Lawyers needed better tools and the private sector filled in the gap. I don’t have as much ready knowledge of these, though.

            1. Bugs Bunny

              Hi Falbert, IP law occupied a good portion of my career but I’ve now moved on to more grindingly boring specialities. Current copyright lawyers please correct me if I’m wrong but –

              The “work made for hire doctrine” invoked by the Court means that the copyright in a work made while employed by an employer (here the State of Georgia) automatically vests in the employer unless otherwise agreed. I’d surmise that this was in the contract with Lexis-Nexis and was probably even in their interest since they apparently got a royalty on top of their fee. There’s also other value add in using their service to get to the law but I’m sure they’re not happy campers today.

        2. deplorado

          Dear Fraibert, I wanted you to know that for sure you have had at least two readers to your comments. I have a layman’s interest in law, and a glimpse into the realities you describe is fascinating and the questions it opens are for the ages! What you are doing is public service (which enhances the public service that NC provides).
          Thank you!

          1. barefoot charley

            Ditto, Fraibert, fascinating.

            You remind me of my proudest enviro victory, which led to learning what ‘unpublished’ means. Yes campers, the decision was on the front page of the New York TImes! And it didn’t mean sh*t, kinda like Gore winning his election.

        3. Lambert Strether

          > In short, there is a pervasive weaving of private sector participation in maintaining annotated statutory codes. This is why public law libraries are so important, as these do make available such codes.

          Thank you for this excellent comment.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi ABANDONS plan to bring back the House after just a day as Congress’ physician warns it is dangerous”

    If there was only some way that modern technology could come up with a way so that all those Members could teleconference in on their votes in complete safety from their homes. Then ALL of them could vote. Oh, wait. Can’t do that as you would then see exactly who voted Yea or Nay for each vote – even the progressives. Are they still doing voice votes?

    1. Pat

      Nice of Congress to admit they aren’t essential.

      Sorry I want them to shelter in place in their Congressional offices, no personal staff. They can clean the offices and answer the phones themselves. There could be a building staff that delivers meals, cleans the restrooms and halls, and picks up and delivers laundry, mail delivery. Along with a bare bones general office staff to to make copies of bills They can go to the chambers and wait outside in lines six feet apart to vote. Nancy or Mitch along with the chamber secretary and sgt at arms can be in the chambers for the entire vote process. All on CSpan. Smaller meetings can be video conferenced from their offices. No change, no going home, no fancy ice cream until a lot of essentials are enacted, including reform of previous Corona Virus bills that eliminate the corporate goodies, establish tough rules, and even tougher oversight, but more importantly a basic income for shut downs, Medicare for all, nationalization of Hospitals, a rent and mortgage moratorium, AND yes tax increases on the wealthy to “pay for it all”. Oh and an industrial policy that moves manufacturing back to America and requires the corporations to establish paid training programs for any skills lost to their offshoring. More as we think of it. Consider it well deserved incarceration for our corrupt political class.

      1. Yoghurt

        As a bonus they can’t phone for donations from their congressional offices. (They usually go across the street to telemarket their services.)

      2. Shonde

        Perhaps Trump can use the Defense Production Act to order Congress to do as you suggest here.

        Unlike the majority of those out of work, congress members are still getting their pay and benefits so they should be the first required to go back to work to save the economy. They need to model the behavior being asked of the rest of us.

        1. Rod

          They need to model the behavior being asked of the rest of us.

          +1–then they could be ‘heros’

        2. Hopelb

          We need to declare them guilty of dereliction of duty, and declare ourselves their replacements. Using even a lottery for selection of replacements, we would certainly get better representation than has been seen in 40+ years! Wearing hazmat suits, masks, googles, we could Occupy The Capital, legislate, debate, oversee.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I wonder if they realize just how close they are to an actual legitimacy crisis, no, I don’t just mean a majority of people grumbling about politicians (which we have had forever), I mean a Wily E. Coyote moment where they say “Do this!” (through the law of the land enforced by the police) and the people say “No!”.

            If the state does *no-thing* to help secure a slightly better future or even fill an empty stomach then there better be a functioning narrative myth about why not. What myth is there today? White picket fence, baseball, and apple pie? All three are on their way out or already gone. “When you’ve got nothing you’ve got nothing to lose”. What is the tipping point percentage of people who must agree with that sentiment before the iceberg suddenly rolls over?

            My son when he was four would occasionally rage “you are not the boss of me!”. I was able to assert my legitimacy in a number of ways but mostly through material advantages (and disadvantages). If any hope of advantage disappears, and the disadvantage of imprisoning entire social strata is impractical, what then shall be done?

        3. ambrit

          Well, seeing as most congresscreatures rely on donor funds for maintenance of their operations plus suitably appropriate personal lifestyles, those politicos can be considered as being gig workers, and thus, not entitled to any public support at all. If Congress wants to accept private moneys, then let us make those private funds the totality of their renumeration.
          Or, we could tighten up the public corruption laws a bit and make bribery a capital offense. Then make the legal definition of bribery very wide ranging.
          Cincinatus they ain’t.

      3. Eclair

        Nice, Pat. I am happy to know that I am not the only sheltering-in-place person to spend time imagining alternative scenarios.

      4. MLTPB

        One suggestion – one RV for each member, in a safe area of the parking lot.

        They can sleep and shower there.

        (Perhaps working out a few more details).

        Question: how many people are RVing currently to get around ‘shelter in (RV as home) place?’

        1. ambrit

          Your formulation will just a easily apply to “homeless” people living in their vehicles. The Neo-Gypsy Ethos.
          For Congress, get the National Guard to set up one of their tent cities on the National Mall grounds. Make our “representatives” live the reality of a crisis, so that they can better legislate about this one.
          Whenever I read someone advocating the practice of holding some politico’s “feet to the fire,” I happily imagine a line of Congresspeople tied to stakes, as in an Auto-da-fe, with the flames licking at their actual feet.

      1. ambrit

        But the world is not ‘fair.’ “Fairness” is a human intellectual construct. As such, it reflects the aspirational moral code of the society. So, for Congress to excuse itself from the possibility of infection while implicitly mandating that another class of citizens do take such risks is a violation of most codes of moral conduct. Do notice that in the present situation, Congress has established a multi tier set of moral codes; one for Congress, one for the wealthy, one for the non-wealthy, one for ‘essential’ workers, etc. etc.
        Given the human penchant for hierarchical thinking, I would counter with the Alchemist’s Creed: “As above, so below.”

        1. Kurt Sperry

          ‘Fairness’ is a human intellectual construct.

          Bit it isn’t. Watch groups of animals interact closely enough and you’ll see it.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        They signed up for this. These aren’t inherited positions where they get executed if they don’t show up.

        If they don’t like it, they should resign. I feel the same way about their personal staff too. They can get insurance licenses. Except for the interns, I have no sympathy for these people. This is their job.

    2. wilroncanada

      The Canadian Government held a ‘virtual’ parliament session yesterday. There are going to be two a week in addition to a ‘live’ small quorum session every Wednesday to formally vote on bills. It was on Zoom, not perfect because some members were less familiar than others with the platform. There were 288 members hooked up. To do that they had to work through a number of ISP’s across the country, as well as into areas where only satellite and (some) cellphone access is available.
      Surely the great US can do something similar with its world leading tech savvy, maybe through the CIA, which taps the whole world./s

  5. Tom Stone

    It’s nice to see Mike Pence doing the right thing, I hope he will hold hands and pray for healing with each and every one of the Covid-19 patients he encounters at the Mayo Clinic.
    Bless his heart ( Assuming he has one).

    1. Wukchumni


      His claim was that he wanted to look the medicos in the eye, which as luck would have it, none of their masks covered up.

      Must be difficult to come up on the spot lies such as that, but practice makes imperfect.

    2. doug

      I still wonder why some nurse, official, patient, someone did not demand he either put it on or get out…

      1. barefoot charley

        Mayo is a truly huge corporation, unimaginable without hierarchy (to burn, baby).

      2. Lambert Strether

        > I still wonder why some nurse, official, patient, someone did not demand he either put it on or get out…

        Yep. Where was the nurse who could have said “not on my ward”? Disturbing.

        Though to be fair, Pence was probably surrounded by a phalanx of administrators and lanyards.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      It is mindboggling that the Vice President of the US refuses medical compliance because he thinks his boss might disapprove or perhaps that some evangelical hustlers have immunized him with their blessing. It is a terrible role model for the nation’s children and simple-minded adults.

      1. xkeyscored

        It’s what they call a teachable moment, “Look what idiots we’re allowing to run this country. How would you prevent this?” You never know, kids might think of something that works.

      2. Balakirev

        But a good role model for his portion of the US electorate, Pentacostal evangelists, who will presumably cheer his demonstration of belief in divine protection– as opposed to those Philistine healthworkers who lack belief, and resort to masks. -It’s just a reminder to the Powers-That-Be that he reaches an important audience, and shouldn’t under any circumstances be replaced in Trump’s VP spot.

        1. Shonde

          How my family of good Lutherans all became Pentacostal evangelists while I was living in California is a mystery to me. I have pleaded with them to wear masks but they go about oblivious to the threat as if their Maker was personally protecting them. So now I just refuse to personally visit with them.

          So Balakirev, you are more than likely correct that he was modeling behavior for his Minnesota electorate who firmly believe that I will be left behind when the Rapture comes.

    4. kevin smith

      Back in the day, when I was a resident at Mayo, I would have politely but firmly insisted that Pence wear a mask, and if he didn’t I would have barred him. End of discussion. I’m very surprised that he got away with this stunt. I wonder how?

      NONE of the patients I ever took care of there, including VIPs, were jerks. They were about the nicest people you could want to take care of. Not at all like Pence [bear in mind he’s not a Mayo patient as far as I know.]

    5. rd

      I think his messages came through loud and clear:

      1. ” I get tested regularly and people who come in contact with me get tested regularly, so I don’t understand why everybody is talking about lack of testing.”
      2. “It sure was nice of you to put your masks on to protect me from you.”
      3. “You all look like wimps afraid of a virus. It is more important to look manly and decisive.”
      4. “Some pigs are more equal than others.”

  6. Mark Alexander

    Very telling quote in the Coronavirus Cruise article, from a Canadian who was evacuated to the US:

    Fehrenbacher spent this time at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. He had another test for the virus. “The idea of ending up in an American hospital really worried me,” he said. “It would have ruined me financially.” Fortunately he received another negative result.

  7. bassmule

    “People have no food…”

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

    (Kill them all. For the Lord knows who are His.)

      1. ambrit

        The overarching motto of Social Darwinism.
        Who says that there is not true Evil in this world?
        (I know. I know. Good and Evil are human intellectual constructs, but I am a human and must work within my limits.)

  8. Floyd

    From the Trumpism article, I pulled this ridiculous statement: “Of course, Trump himself is not a thinking person. He operates by instinct and viscera.”

    What nonsense. Buildings did not get built by “instinct” or “viscera”. They got built by plans, and adherence to plans. And “thinking” about things is exactly how Trump came to the conclusions that our trade deals with many nations were silly and harmful and unbalanced. And that Nato members were not bearing their full share of the load. Because nobody else was “thinking” about them. Having gut instincts does not necessarily equate to “not thinking”. You can do both.

    Further, I would submit that people who are “not thinking person(s)” are the type who agitate for Open Borders, and No Bail for criminals.

    1. David R Smith

      And the liberal/left elite chattering classes who, unlike the other 98% of the population, insist on using words like “Latinx” and “they” when referencing a specific individual whose gender conforms to historic norms.

      1. ambrit

        I would not so narrowly define the “chattering classes.” I seem to remember another cohort of said “chattering classes,” out on the Right somewhere. It can be argued that the aforementioned “chattering classes” are more properly a manifestation of an economic educational elite rather than manifestations of either Left or Right ideologies.
        Secondarily, the fandango concerning “ultrafluid” gender is really a distraction mechanism put in play by malign actors in our political class. Except for cases where transgender is being used to skew the results of gender segregated sporting events, the entire controversy is a farrago of fulsome frotteuerisms.
        If that doesn’t satisfy you, then pull the other one. It has bells on it.

    2. HotFlash

      What nonsense. Buildings did not get built by “instinct” or “viscera”. They got built by plans, and adherence to plans

      No, large building projects get built by contractors. There are plans, of course, but that is the job of the architect, who specs the work. Coordination is done by a construction management firm which wrangles the various subcontractors who do the actual work — excavation, steel work, concrete pouring, plumbing, cladding, steel. Here are some current NYC construction projects.

      A big building is like a block-buster movie. The developer (who may or may not be the owner) is like the producer, ie, an investor who has or raises the money and expects to make a profit. Maybe it was his idea, like Sly Stallone and the Rocky movies or George Lucas but more often its an institutional investor/producer who thinks that someone else’s great idea will make them $$, as with the Harry Potter movies. The architect is like the scriptwriter, the construction manager is like the producer, and all along the way there are people and firms that do the specialized work of carrying out the plans for each part and sub-unit.

      To be a successful real estate developer, what you need is a good nose (“instinct” or “viscera”, if you will) for the kind of building and location that will make you a profit, access to lots of money or credit, and a certain ruthlessness — all of which Trump has.

      1. Tom Bradford

        To which I’d add that building something by thinking about it should involve some thinking about what follows – ie paying for it and remaining solvent.

  9. michael hudson

    Thanks for putting up the new video from The Analysis. That’s what Paul Jay, formerly of RealNews, is doing after the political policy fight led to his and Sharmani being forced out of the network they founded in Baltimore. I think you will find that The Analysis is doing what RealNews no longer is doing.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I should have noted the involvement of Paul Jay but I forgot. I’ll add that information now, so anyone reading Links later today will be aware of his presence. Thanks Michael.

    2. Olga

      Yes, thanks. Glad to see Jay dong analytical work again. He is one of the best in the alternative media today. The interview is interesting, in spite of LW’s misplaced optimism at times (part. about Biden). Should also put to rest the notion that US was ever ready to give up the idea of war against USSR – on the contrary, it also had plans to attack China. I guess MIIC has no survival/self-preservation instinct?

        1. Wukchumni

          When I was a kid, there’d be ‘gas wars’ between competing stations, maybe the one asking 31.9 Cents would give you a set of drinking glasses with a fill-up, while their competitor only wanted 30.9 Cents and no freebies.

          Oh by the way, there was no such thing as self-service, and can we wash your windshield and check the oil, and that left rear tire looks low, better put some air in it.

          1. Olga

            In case you guys missed the interview – they are talking about nuclear war and its inevitability (unless US changes course, though no sign of that). Nothing to sneeze about…

            1. Wukchumni

              I was born in the white heat of the cold war, and nuclear exchanges have always been a possibility, is there anything I could do about it?

            2. MLTPB

              Any nation with a nuclear arsenal makes others fe…respect it.

              Not too many are in the club.

  10. Darthbobber

    So the effort to create a moral panic about all those “lucky” workers who “could” see a (no more than 4 month long) raise by being unemployed.

    Oddly, it’s never a problem when it works the other way, with the most generous states covering about 60% of wages, and the least generous vastly less than that.

    Of course, the extra federal money only covers 4 months, after which payments revert back to the inadequate state level, and anybody who thinks everybody will be back at work after only 4 months out is blind to reality.

    So anything coming in over expenses now is needed for then. Millions of people will be feeling more than enough pain to satisfy the most rigorous pseudoPuritan.

    Assuming, of course, that the benefits actually ever start, which is in question for hundreds of thousands of us in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, who are wandering about in the neighborhood of kafka’s castle without any means of learning where our claims stand or when we might see the first penny.

    This would be a great opportunity, BTW, for someone to introduce legislation ending the federal taxation of unemployment benefits. Anybody holding their breath?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Thermal imaging cameras could play “critical role” in keeping people safe from COVID-19″

    Yes, modern technology will save us. All you have to do is have enough cameras pointing at people and any problem will go away. Except for the fact that doctors have discovered that a ton of people are being admitted to hospital and presenting with Coronavirus symptoms but no temperature at all.

    If they have no temperature, then those cameras may not pickup a lot of people who are infected but have no temperature. The only solution then is for everyone to wear masks to help stop infected people spraying other healthy people with a full viral load. You could buy a lot of masks for just one of those thermal cameras I bet.

    1. Phacops

      I can’t find overall stats, but in some areas, of those testing positive (RNA) up to 47% exhibit no fever. Sounds like technocrat thinking: not letting reality get in the way of their inappropriate ideas.

      1. xkeyscored

        But if 50% do have fevers, that’d be 50% fewer ways to get infected, slowing the spread of this virus.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          naa, people will just pop a few ibuprofen and voila, they can get on with their shopping. That is, if they haven’t done so already -without even thinking about it- to go shopping without a bothersome fever.

          This does almost nothing of value related to COVID-19 since it’s ridiculously low on specificity and since there are plenty of other reasons people’s temperature might be elevated or not elevated to true temperature. For the purpose of detecting Sars CoV-2, or sickness in general, this would be almost pure kludge. That is, if such an absurdly difficult objective -given the technology- actually had anything to do with the scheme in the first place. Far more likely, the point of such an expensive and elaborate exercise is multiple, here are just two such possibilities; 1) to get the camel’s nose under the tent. Get people used to the idea that cameras pointed at them all day long are not violating any civil rights, that on the contrary, they are protecting us, and that the US Constitution is simply an odd, curious old relic. 2) A benefit closer to the mark of real corporate interest would be massive amounts of data that might help with identity recognition using thermal information as part/all of the criteria. I’m sure there are many additional potentially very profitable objectives such a scheme, if its mandate became acceptable, might facilitate.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            “Nose under the tent.” Most definitely.

            I wonder what the penalty will be for appearing in public with a “temperature.”

            1. ambrit

              If you cannot afford to miss any workdays, you most certainly will. I personally have done exactly this when bills were due and no other source of income was available. One is not allowed to apply for short term unemployment for medical reasons.
              The argument favouring one’s responsibility to society ignores the point that such a formula implies a reciprocal responsibility on the part of society to the individual.
              The generally unacknowledged corollary to Rugged Individualism is the ‘The unfit must die off’ diktat.

            2. Brooklin Bridge

              Would everyone with a fever take ibuprofen etc….
              No, some would take Tylenol. :-)

              Seriously, no, not everyone, but you might be surprised. People are quite used to taking an antipyretic upon symptoms of fever. They see it as the right response and do it almost automatically.

              More to the point, however, what it underlines is we are talking about a lot of unknowns for such an elaborate and expensive project, and that’s just on the subject of efficacy (or lack thereof). It would be good to first establish that the stated goal is the actual goal and that it would provide data actually useful for and limited to that goal and that it would not morph into something completely different.

              Given our current climate of corruption and greed, not to mention that this is being driven by private corporations/equity?, I would be pretty suspicious.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Don’t get me wrong, you make a good point that 50% accuracy would still be quite useful, but am just very doubtful that the ostensible and real purpose match, never mind that even 50% accuracy would be unlikely and worse, would not be indicative of any sufficiently narrow target to be useful.

          A better test might be oxygen level in the blood but I’m not sure that could be made to scale up to what is suggested in this article without being too intrusive.

          1. xkeyscored

            Pulse oximeters, which measure blood oxygen saturation, are cheap enough and could probably be scaled up pretty easily. Many are just like a clothespeg that goes on a finger, would that count as intrusive? Coupled with other data from phones, cameras and so on, I guess they could be used in some way for enhanced surveillance.

          2. ambrit

            Putting aside any possible public health benefits arising from the use of this technology, the entire basic thrust of the security scanner technology is exactly intrusion. To come to any “fair” balance between public safety and individual privacy, one needs to define those terms. That task is what a functioning court system is meant carry out. The more complicated a system becomes, the more liable to corruption it becomes. Control of the gatekeepers is key here, and the courts are those gatekeepers.
            Now, one shouldn’t blame the courts for being conservative. The very set up and reason for courts tends in that direction. Courts make decisions generally based on previous decisions and legislation. That backward looking aspect of courts is the definition of small ‘c’ conservatism. Don’t blame the tiger for having stripes.
            The true venue for progressivism in our system is the lower House of Congress. By design, the House is set up to be maximally exposed to the public’s wants and needs. The House has recently, fallen down in it’s duties. It is not effectively legislating in the public’s interests. How to remedy that situation? That’s a rant for another time.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Nicely stated. As you point out, the balance between privacy rights and public safety, domain of the court system, is not an easy or quickly settled issue, though for my own part I could see bending it in this emergency if it were not for the comatose levels of corruption our policy makers stagger under – as evidenced by Mitch McConnell’s hair raising plan to grant immunity to corporations for worker injury/death resulting from corporate mismanagement of COVID-19. That alone, should be enough to warn people that public weal is not the intent of any Federal (and likely State) policy or dictate that involves high tech and public monitoring.

              Another dead giveaway that all’s not well with any of this, is that none of the software, never mind hardware, running these monitoring devices will be open source and most if not all of them will be operated outside of public view by private entities or public/private “partnerships.”

              1. ambrit

                Oh yes to the dangers of “proprietary software.” I can see the programming running, say, an atomic power plant being hidden from view. That would be a straight safety issue. Even then, self dealing would be a distinct possibility.
                I may be overreacting, but the recent spate of “public/private partnerships” and efforts to grant immunities of several sorts to corporations are tending very close to the basic definition of a fascism. I would warn the Oligarchs playing this game that they had better be very careful what they do. In the past, the governmental components of the Fascist Co-dominion has usually ended up in charge and then destroyed it’s former partners, which were seen as rivals for power.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Of course, the cameras could be placed at the entrance to every restaurant and shop, and like the gizmos that set off a siren when shoplifters try to sneak out tagged merchandise, the cameras would work on traffic headed in the other direction — “Danger, danger, Will Rogers. Infectious human approaching.” LOL

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Better if people were just made to wear something on their heads at all times. If body temperature got too high, or whatever other markers were deemed appropriate, they could, just, um, kinda…, mmm, be made to…, er, go poof!

        Yah, I admit, it’s a bit dark, but then look what’s on Netflix these days.

  12. nechaev

    shape of things to come?

    Banks targeted in Lebanon’s ‘night of the Molotov’
    At least a dozen banks torched and vandalised as fiery protests against economic hardships continue across Lebanon.

    Protesters in Tripoli began setting banks on fire on Tuesday afternoon after al-Semaan was laid to rest, and clashes continued into the early hours of Wednesday as they were chased through the streets by soldiers.

    In southern Sidon, a branch of the central bank was pelted with at least half a dozen petrol bombs, with cheers going up from the crowd of demonstrators each time a Molotov hit its mark. […]

    “The army are not our brothers,” a woman told a local news reporter as she marched through the streets of the capital Beirut. “They are shooting at us to protect the politicians.”

    In Tripoli on Monday night, people pelted soldiers with rocks and other projectiles as protesters were chased through the streets. The sound of pots and pans being banged rang through narrow alleyways, in a sign of support for the demonstrators that has become popular during Lebanon’s uprising.

    1. ewmayer

      “Tripoli” threw me for a brief geographic loop, so for the benefit of fellow readers who might be suffering similar “isn’t that in Libya?” confusion:

      Tripoli |ˈtripəlē|
      1 the capital and chief port of Libya, on the Mediterranean coast in the northwestern part of the country; pop. 991,000. Founded by Phoenicians in the 7th century bc, its ancient name was Oea. Arabic name Tarabulus Al-Gharb , ‘western Tripoli’.
      2 a port in northwestern Lebanon; pop. 160,000. It was founded c. 700 bc and was the capital of the Phoenician triple federation formed by the city-states Sidon, Tyre, and Arvad. Today it is a major port and commercial center. Arabic name Tarabulus Ash-Sham , ‘eastern Tripoli,’ Trâblous .

      I’m guessing “tri-poli” might be a catchall for said triple federation of city-states. The Arabic names specifying ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ appear to also reflect this, though Sidon, Arbabic name Saida, does not fit the naming pattern.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “What if immunity to covid-19 doesn’t last?”

    If so, that will be bad news for the Swedish Ambassador to the US. Just the other day she was saying that Stockholm was expected to reach ‘herd immunity’ In May. Considering that so far, that 2,355 people have died at a minimum, then this would put them back at square one in a few months time with no gain to show for it-

    1. fajensen

      Bad news for me & wife too, since we probably had it already and were ill for 8 weeks with really strange symptoms. We need to get out of here!

      But – Sweden! I am getting annoyed with Sweden!!

      The way the Covid-19 disease is being presented here, the narrative is that almost the only people at risk are those that are old (==useless people) or have underlying health problems (==impure people). One could almost be tempted to think that there is some other agenda deeper and older than just the regular intellectual laziness, failure to prepare and general incompetence on display every day (some of what is wrong with the USA came over with the Swedish migrants, that’s for sure)!

      Sweden have 2200 dead so far, which is the Nordic Record.

      Now FHM has taken to claim that, no matter, everyone will just have the same numbers eventually – conveniently forgetting that if everyone else takes 3-5 months to get to the same number that Sweden managed in Only One Month then during those 3-5 months, developments might happen that Saves thousands of people which are by that time already dead & disposed off in Sweden.

      There are reports that reporting of Covid-19 deaths can be delayed by up to 3 weeks, meaning that in the very worst case, they could be sitting on up to 16000 dead (about 3 doublings). My bet is they will slowly revise up to 8000 (while talking about how everything in levelling out all the way up the exponential).

      They keep presenting and revising the data in a way that makes it look like a Gaussian curve, where ‘we’ are somewhat past the peak, then revising up, so that the new data looks like a Gaussian, now with a higher peak and ‘we’ still being on the downslope only much higher up than before. I wonder what the fallout will be, eventually.

      1. MLTPB

        Sweden closed down the last remaining Confucius Institue, recently.

        Was that connected with this?

        1. rd

          They did antibody testing of 3,000 people at grocery stores (so these are people that are out and about). 25% is their estimate of NYC exposure. Upstate is much less than that. Central NY they estimated about 2%-3%.

          There are also questions about false positives and false negatives, but I don’t know oif there is a bias towards one or the other with the test. If it is a symetric error, you would expect he errors to average out for doing population-level assessment.

    2. Jesper

      The official strategy of protecting the vulnerable in the herd in Sweden appears to have failed due to a significant minority of the protectors of the vulnerable not being entitled to sick-pay and the lack of testing.

      In general people can be grouped into three categories:
      1. The ones where there is no suspicion of them being sick
      2. The ones where there is a suspicion that they might be sick
      3. The ones who have been diagnosed as being sick with COVID-19
      If precautionary principle had been used when dealing with the ambiguity then the ones in the second group would have been put into group 3. In Sweden (at least in Stockholm) the guideline was/is that the ones in the second group were to be put into group 1. So caretakers might have gone to work while being sick and might have picked up the virus while caring for one vulnerable and then carried the virus to the next vulnerable person in their care.

      The neo-liberal order of saving money on not paying out sick pay might have cost lives. Would make some people question the value of New Public Management and its focus on reducing wasteful spending on something like sick-pay. Others will prefer to minimise the risk of people abusing the sick-pay and are quite happy to instead risk the spread of infectious diseases.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      Thanks Kev; the hope and dreamish sort want to believe what they are told sometimes. I do wish someone that people believe for the right reasons stands up and says; “The common cold is a corona virus. There is no vaccine for the cold and there may never be one for this novel CV19”
      But I am a realist, and that kind of reality is prohibited these days. Put me down for the new reality when science is important again.

    4. MLTPB

      Bad news also for New Zealand and nations planning on traveling among themselves?

      Bad news for Russia as well, further down the road, as they approach the 100,000 cases milestone?

    5. Trent

      Then its an even better potential boogyman than the war on terror. Funny how that ended and nobody announced it.

        1. Trent

          Exactly, i’m actually surprised the powers that be haven’t blamed them yet for the virus. We haven’t heard from them since 2016 or so. But they aren’t our enemy anymore, until we need them to be again. For now China will have to suffice along with cyrus the virus. Never forget, the people you are giving full credibility to are also the same people who started the iraq war, war on terror and many others. And don’t forget Al Qaida was our friend, then enemy and then friend again. Keep putting your faith in those people.

          1. Trent

            But in a less sarcastic note, i think i read the other day the joint chiefs no longer see preventing terrorism as their main goal, China is now our enemy. But we’ve always been at war with oceania.




        2. Lambert Strether

          > When did it end?

          I would argue that “the War on Terror” ended with a “pivot” to Russia in RussiaGate. I believe Defense Department doctrine changed to “big power conflict” but I don’t recall whether that was late Obama or early Trump. And now we are pivoting to China, the geniuses of the national security bureaucracy having ensured we must fight a war on two fronts.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It was under Obama. The Army hates insurgent warfare and at first opportunity was trying to get back to big formations. There was a shift to this type of training before Trump came into power and reading between the lines, the US military was glad to be – mostly – getting out of Iraq.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > The Army hates insurgent warfare and at first opportunity was trying to get back to big formations.

              And the Army hive mind is correct! Now if we can just keep them busy at the trough instead of fomenting an actual war….

  14. Eureka Springs

    Good to see reports of the unemployment claims problems in NY and NJ. I imagine this is a nationwide problem, under reported. Friends and family here in AR are being denied, thus forced to go in, in person, unsafe day long lines, multiple times so far. The reason I hear most for continued denial is the “Cares Act” is not yet fully implemented. All of us with any spare change and or food are helping as best we can. I’m shocked this hasn’t fallen into chaos, desperation and rage much sooner and continue to wonder just how much looting and such must not be reported right now.

    1. Wukchumni

      $1200 over 5 months works out to around $8 a day in Big Gov assistance, while the ones in charge are robbing the piggy bank or helping giant firms get their share of the real loot to be had.

      It’s almost as if the powers that be, want it to all fall apart.

      And by the way, once rioting starts in earnest is when their gotten gains looks more like $8, as the almighty buck crumbles and is just another currency backed by something nobody wants all that much anymore, oil.

          1. Trent

            i received the 1200 almost three weeks ago. But i also got my tax return the week prior. It may have to do with how and when you filed.

        1. rd

          All my kids have gotten it (we are not eligible). One of them only got it in the last week.

          It seems like filing 2019 taxes in mid-March delays it. You got it quickly if you didn’t file your 2019 taxes yet or if you filed them before March. They base it on your 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed this year yet and 2019 if you filed it this year. However, it seems like the 2019 returns had to go through approval reviews even if they had already sent to the refund out. That is what I have been able to surmise based on who was getting it when.

    2. Bernalkid

      On the other track, I hear a lot of stimulus checks went out to people who had IRS refunds direct deposited in previous years. Of course our solons couldn’t figure out that people who got the instant refunds (loans) would have a problem and set funds to the wrong place. Luckily, as I understand it, it was mostly returned, but the individuals will probably be consigned to some deep circle of hell in order to be stimulated. Myself, I get social security direct deposited and think that we are to be stimulated as well, given qualifying income. So far they have not been able to figure out how to fire up the computers to do the direct deposit, but I am not starving. Also point out that disabled adult dependents with social security numbers are not included in the stimulus. Life not worth being stimulated, I guess.

    3. rd

      One of my kids had to file in NY and I made sure he did it on the first day he could. It went smoothly on the whole. It was all done online.The problem is that there are 100 people filing for it every day in late March and April for every person who was filing in a day in February, So the systems were simply overwhelmed.

      NY system isn’t too bad to navigate. It isn’t intended to be punitive unlike many other states. If you have a glitch, they try to help, but they are buried under an avalanche. Places like Florida deliberately designed their system to make it painful and difficult to apply for unemployment. Surprisingly, almost nobody has gotten it in Florida yet.

    1. xkeyscored

      Handing out trillions to banks and billionaires might be MMT, but I can’t see how it’s socialism. Maybe disastrous capitalism is the phase we’re in.

      1. Lee

        Both the scale and nature of the current disaster make it distinctly different and potentially more materially dire than crises based on local disasters, investor fears, consumer confidence, or over-leveraged financial institutions, thus generating a widespread belief in the need for more radical solutions. OTOH, my high hopes for systemic change in the wake of the ’08 crash ended in disappointment. We shall see.

      2. Massinissa

        No no no, it IS socialism: Around here we call it ‘Socialism for the Rich’.

        Us plebs get capitalism stomping on our neck. The billionaires get trillions in free government money. We get disaster capitalism, but the disaster capitalists get free stuff.

        1. wilroncanada

          Well, M, you shouldn’t call it ‘Socialism for the Rich’. That just adds to the already overwhelming penchant of US-ites to think of Socialism only as a perjorative. The proper term is “Corruption”.

  15. Phacops

    Re: The most dangerous place in earth’s history.

    I hope we will see more published by Nizar Ibrahim, PhD, in the popular press and a full description of the survey. The environment of the Kem Kem during the Cretaceous is certainly unique and far different than the dinosaur “serengeti” typical of North America.

    I was lucky enough to visit the Kem Kem on a geological trip into the Anti-Atlas of Morocco last November. There are many local families that mine the deposits. While there, I found a tooth, probably a Siroccopteryx and negotiated with a miner for teeth from an Onchopristis and a Spinosaur. All went to a local earth science class.

    The relationship that Morocco has with its paleontology is oddly haphazard. Many families collect the paleozoic fossils, especially trilobites, and that is their source of income. Some are well known for contributing to such knowledge as trilobite anatomy, being mentioned in Nature for their contributions. Gone are the days of crude preparation as many have become very skilled (though fakes are still on the market). I see that there is no national museum to highlight Morocco’s fabulous geological heritage. To me, that is sad, even as removing fossils from the country is technically illegal, and the government is sensitive to the loss, though families count on sales of such for income.

  16. Off The Street

    The Gide article was an interesting look at former times. The reviewer Anthony Daniels also writes quite a lot under the name Theodore Dalrymple.

    Here is another Gide book to consider for quarantine reading lists: Strait is the Gate.

    1. ambrit

      If I were a malefactor, having Gide sit on my jury would truly be a manifestation of the phrase; “A jury of your peers.”
      You have to hand it to a country (France) that can produce artists like Gide and Camus, Baudelaire and Malraux, and at least notice and argue their merits and demerits.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus crisis lays bare the risks of financial leverage, again”

    Not my field of interest but I wonder if you could have an economic system where leverage is totally outlawed. And yes, that would include fractional banking. Development may be slower under such a system but I wonder if it might be more stable and not so fragile as the present system. It would serve to put a tight rein on debt and probably make savers more prioritized than speculators whereas the present system prioritizes speculators rather than savers.

    1. MLTPB

      When paper money was issued, backed by gold, that was when the world was barbarous, that was leverage. You could compute the leverage ratio.

      Disconnecting it from gold, the leverage becomes, if my math is correct, infinity.

      1. Trent

        I was always under the impression they outlaw interest. Not sure if that also means “loans”

        1. Trent

          But if i also remember correctly the states used to have laws capping interest at much lower levels, but those were removed in the 80’s?

          “It would serve to put a tight rein on debt and probably make savers more prioritized than speculators whereas the present system prioritizes speculators rather than savers.”

          You can write off taxes on realestate leverage but you pay taxes on interest earned, that would be the first thing i’d change.

        2. Massinissa

          They have loans: Its called Islamic Banking.

          It used to be that instead of interest, the people issuing the loans were to be paid at a fixed rate. IIRC, like 105 or 110% of the original amount, rather than interest that went up exponentially in perpetuity until repaid like the western model.

          Modern Islamic banking exists, but its become sort of corrupt, so its no longer as ideal as it is on paper.

  18. antidlc

    Questions for the group…
    Sorry if this has been addressed. I have been sidetracked and not able to keep up with everything.

    The federal government funded the states for enhanced unemployment benefits.

    If a state re-opens and people have to go back to work, workers lose unemployment, right?

    Does the state then keep any leftover money that was not paid out in unemployment?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Does the state then keep any leftover money that was not paid out in unemployment?

      I don’t know, but given the scale of unemployment, it would seem unlikely that there will be any money left over. Indeed, since IIRC it’s small gummint Red States that are doing this, and assuming that reopening is being driven by budget constraints, they’re worried about running out of money.

  19. Tomonthebeach

    Well, the rescue-pet photos makes one thing clear. After COVID-19, US cities will have an enormous feral cat infestation. Ridding cities of this future pest-ilence will not be easy, because just like the armed, camo-clad, beared biker-type anti-lockdown loonies, there are little-ole-lady save-the-cats loonies. About 5 years ago, our town passed a law making it illegal to feed feral cats. The mostly elderly women who had been feeding these hundreds of cats stormed city hall. Most were boasting that they were sustaining 50 or more cats. Many of these critters were diseased and some had bitten naive children in the city park. In the end, the law won, the cats were disposed of humanely a la Auschwitz and little kids can now safely frolic in the park. But out town only has 8,600 residents. Good luck NYC!

    1. nycTerrierist

      sad to hear this story and esp. about that punitive law which will must have brought much grief to the kind ladies

      Most strays are not diseased btw, just homeless. I have never encountered
      an aggressive feral. Given the option, most ferals will steer clear of humans, esp. little
      kids who are a little erratic and unpredictable.

      You sound like a ‘loon’ who is biased against cats and those who appreciate them.

      Enlightened communities support TNR. Trap Neuter Return is the most effective and humane way to manage cat overpopulation.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in the heart of Tucson, I’m hearing coyotes howling in the wee hours of the morning. And, guess what, coyotes attack and eat feral cats.

      Methinks the coyotes are eating well right now.

  20. urblintz

    I wish I could provide a link… Larry Summers picking his nose while bloviating on Bloomberg TV this morning. And it was not a sneaky move rather a full finger up the nostril with a big clearing twirl to make sure he got everything. Disqualifying hahahaha! I suppose this is ad hominem so apologies… personally I consider it essential information.

    1. edmondo

      Well, at least you know where he gets his economic theories from.

      I was disappointed in reading about the “world’s most dangerous place.” I assumed it was going to be about Harvard University.

    2. Wellstone's Ghost

      These people are gross. Reminds me of the Paul Wolfowitz comb in mouth, then on head maneuver. Barf!

    1. xkeyscored

      If you are a parent, please be assured that serious illness as a result of COVID-19 still
      appears to be a very rare event in children.

      The group said that while there had been “very few cases” of critically unwell children with Covid-19 admitted to pediatric intensive care units in the UK and around the world, they were aware of a “small number of children nationally” who fit the clinical picture described in the NHS alert.

      “Thankfully Kawasaki-like diseases are very rare, as currently are serious complications in children related to Covid-19, but it is important that clinicians are made aware of any potential emerging links so that they are able to give children and young people the right care fast,” Professor Simon Kenny, NHS national clinical director for children and young people said in a statement sent to CNN.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > “very few cases” of critically unwell children with Covid-19 admitted to pediatric intensive care units in the UK

        I’m a little hazy on time, but IIRC this story is a couple of weeks old.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        This is what concerns me about the search for a ‘cure’ for Covid. What exactly is it curing? We may find something that reduces the number of deaths to ‘acceptable’ levels and stops people having to go into ICU, but this nasty little virus seems to cause all sorts of damage to those infected. It could become the new Lymes Disease.

  21. DJG

    Looks like a strike against the monopolists for Friday:

    Of course, Amazon is Whole Foods, but Whole Foods has gone further into decline because of it.

    I am also seeing articles about a rent strike on Friday.

    And now you’re wondering at the rush to “re-open”? For one thing, it messes with people’s unemployment benefits.

    May Day was invented in the U S of A, here in Chicago, in fact. Time to reclaim it.

    1. xkeyscored

      Up to a point. It was a special day in the calendar long before that, though.

      “Although May Day was not vehemently opposed by the Christian Church, it faced opposition. For example, in 1240 the bishop of Lincoln was furious that some of his priests enjoyed May Day celebrations, as they were steeped in the pagan tradition the Christian church sought to override. It subsequently developed into a secular celebration – centred on labour, farming and the cycle of the seasons – rather than a Christian one.”

    2. Wellstone's Ghost

      So few people know the history of May Day. Haymarket Square Rebellion. Its always amazed me. Thanks for pointing this out.

  22. Hepativore

    Sigh. It is that kind of day. I think we need a music thread.

    I will start off with Electric Eye by Judas Priest. It was composed way back in the very late-1970’s but it was oddly prescient for our times with the viewpoint of the big tech giants and surveillance capitalism.

    So I am looking for suggestions for metal and related genres, both from current artists and those of older bands.

  23. Pookah Harvey

    Wilkerson makes a clear case for Bernie’s position that Trump is an existential threat. Trump is not the problem but the people surrounding him are. Wilkerson knows these people and states that Pompeo wants a cold war with China and Esper wants one with Russia. The heads of all the military branches are incompetent. With this “leadership” we are rapidly switching from strategic nuclear weapons to tactical ones making the exchange of these weapons almost inevitable.
    I know the commentariat here doesn’t like to hear it, but Wilkerson believes that replacing Trump with Biden (if that becomes the choice) would make the world a much safer place. I personally have a hard time thinking of voting for Biden but this should be a factor when determining voting strategy.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The people Biden has around him are former Clinton and Obama staffers. Grifters like Nick Pappas (see Yves’ post from earlier today about AirBnB) and Tara McGowan, who desperately wishes to avoid responsibility for the Shadow Iowa Caucus app. And those are the “competent” ones. The even more incompetent ones are Biden’s former Senate staff.

      I wouldn’t trust any of their handlers any more than the principals. These are the same damn people who’ve screwed the nation. Why in world would you think they’re any better to fix the mess they helped create?

      1. HotFlash

        Well among other things, Col. Wilkerson is terrified that the rapture-ready Dominionists (link to wikipedia)in Trump’s administration are certifiably insane, are certain of their own salvation, and really mean to do a Jonesville for the whole world — taking all of us with them. Are they really that crazy? Yep, here’s Sec State Mike Pompeo.

        I would call this a must-hear.

        1. David Mills

          Wilkerson also indicated issues in the academy and nuclear missile wing of the US Air Force with Christians Dominionists (sorry, it was embedded in a longer interview and I can’t recall the link). Kinda the last people you want in the silo….

          As for Mike “I learned to lie, cheat and steal at the CIA” Pompeo, the grotesque hypocrisy that oozed from his mouth on a regular basis is unhinged. No wonder Poppy Bush called them the crazies in the basement.

    2. Massinissa

      “Trump is not the problem but the people surrounding him are.”

      We would have the same problem with Joe Biden. Larry Summers is just the beginning. Joe will have a whole coterie of neoliberal economists and foreign policy hawks presiding over his cabinet and administration. Considering hes going to be a puppet of those on his staff while the VP and Jill try and make him look like a real boy, those advisors will have even more free reign than the ones Trump has. This argument just seems weak to me.

      1. Olga

        Worse… the VP may be HRC. Then, they’ll declare Biden incapacitated and H’s dream will come true.

    3. Oregoncharles

      You do realize we’ve heard this before – over and over again? When does it stop?

      On a fundamental level, if you vote out of fear, you subject yourself to the easiest kind of manipulation. A “worse” Republican (or vice versa) can always be found, or concocted (I actually think Trump is largely concocted – not much of a “there” there). At some point, voters are just going to have to grow a spine and vote their convictions, or we keep on down the slippery slope into open dictatorship. Remember, we already have no real democracy, as the “Princeton” study found; that is at least partly because the duopoly neuters the voters. Only if we abandon it can we break free and exercise some power.

      Remember, in a 3-way race someone can win with 34% of the vote. And “independents” – everybody else – are over 40%, a solid plurality. So the party system is quite unstable already.

      Another way to put it: beware of voting for someone you don’t want; you might get them.

      In a way, Bernie did us a favor by acknowledging defeat: we can have this debate “in the clear,” without his candidacy obscuring the issue.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Wilkerson knows these people and states that Pompeo wants a cold war with China and Esper wants one with Russia. The heads of all the military branches are incompetent. … Wilkerson believes that replacing Trump with Biden (if that becomes the choice) would make the world a much safer place.

      That’s fair enough. Hillary Clinton did, however, set a pretty high baseline for both warmongering and incompetence. And Biden is now playing the China card. I’m open to hearing real distinctions, however, so I will listen to the Wilkerson piece (since he’s one of the very few national security people I trust).

  24. Oregoncharles
    Dropping in with a glimpse of the zeitgeist. There was a recent article, I think linked here, about the recent prevalence of “cohabitation” – living together without bothering to get married. I guess these two have been cohabiting for a while, but a baby carries it to a new level. Boris is arguably the world’s highest-ranking cohabitant – also suggesting a new high in public tolerance for living in sin. And a Tory, too.

    And then: notice how it says “fiancee.” Have they announced an engagement? Seems to me if they meant to get married, they would have done it before the kid was born, given that they’re so much in the public eye. (Granted, I know quite a few exceptions, but they aren’t politicians). The headline suggests CBS is having a bit of trouble with the new normal – more than the British public is.

    1. xkeyscored

      “On 29 February 2020, Symonds and Johnson announced that they are engaged and expecting a baby in mid-2020. A son was born on 29 April 2020.” – Wikipedia

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just in time, then. Same source: ” Johnson is still married to his second wife.” I take it Tories are not “cultural conservatives”?

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Boris is arguably the world’s highest-ranking cohabitant

      I’ve always loved the phrase “baby daddy.” BoJp is the world’s most prominent Baby Daddy. And how many Baby Mamas does he have? Five? Six? All very atavistic.

  25. Kirk Seidenbecker

    >Coronavirus: Oxford Vaccine –

    This is from a week ago –


    “But the government has a potentially powerful safety valve at its disposal to counteract outrageous pricing by the pharmaceutical industry. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1498 (“Section 1498”), the federal government has the power to use or manufacture any patented product, and must provide only “reasonable” compensation to the patent holder. The government could therefore elect to either contract with another manufacturer to produce a cheap generic version of expensive patented drugs. Or it could use the threat of Section 1498 to negotiate a license from the brand-name manufacturer to use their drugs at a steep discount.“

  26. mle detroit

    Late in the day, but this morning’s antidote is great. The tail feathers look like gym shoes to me. I imagine he’s like, “OK, Simone, watch this.” And then flipping the bird?

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