Links 7/16/2020

Bolsonaro Complains That Quarantine Sucks, Then Gets Pecked by an Emu The Daily Beast. But how is the emu feeling? (Actually, not an emu but a rhea, an emu-like bird.)

The US is having a bank-shaped recovery Gillian Tett, FT

Small Lab Makes Big Breakthrough In Nuclear Fusion Tech Big if true.

Coronavirus and climate change: How to deal with converging crises Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri, May 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. From the Discussion:

At salon A in Springfield, Missouri, two stylists with COVID-19 symptoms worked closely with 139 clients before receiving diagnoses of COVID-19, and none of their clients developed COVID-19 symptoms. Both stylists A and B, and 98% of the interviewed clients followed posted company policy and the Springfield city ordinance requiring face coverings by employees and clients in businesses providing personal care services. The citywide ordinance reduced maximum building waiting area seating to 25% of normal capacity and recommended the use of face coverings at indoor and outdoor public places where physical distancing was not possible. Both company and city policies were likely important factors in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 during these interactions between clients and stylists. These results support the use of face coverings in places open to the public, especially when social distancing is not possible, to reduce spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Walmart says all customers will be required to wear masks NBC

SARS-CoV-2 in the environment: Modes of transmission, early detection and potential role of pollutions Science Direct

COVID-19 screening strategies that permit the safe re-opening of college campuses (preprint) medRvix (Allan). From the abstract: “Rapid, inexpensive and frequently conducted screening (even if only 70% sensitive) would be cost-effective and produce a modest number of COVID-19 infections. While the optimal screening frequency hinges on the success of behavioral interventions to reduce the base severity of transmission (Rt), this could permit the safe return of student to campus.”

‘Only those with plastic visors were infected’: Swiss government warns against face shields The Local

It’s Risky to Rely on the Economist’s Vaccine Bloomberg

The comfort of cash in a time of coronavirus FT

Fatal overdoses climbed to record high in 2019, reversing historic progress Politico


Chinese GDP grows 3.2% in second quarter FT

The United States is treating Hong Kong as mainland China. Business is starting to do the same CNN

Security law: Taiwan must be wary, it could be the next target Hong Kong Free Press

Beijing should change tack on South China Sea to avoid conflict with US, analyst says South China Morning Post

Secretary Pompeo’s Surprising Defense of International Law, Allies, and the Law of the Sea Convention Just Security

Trump’s executive order confirms US State Department has trained the Hong Kong police Lausan

China Malware: Sorry, Techno Geeks, There Still is no Place to Hide China Law Blog

Tokyo raises its alert over COVID-19 cases to highest level 4 Asahi Shimbun

Another Market Outbreak in Bali as 35 Vendors Test Positive Bali Sun

Daily briefing: How Vietnam acheived zero deaths from coronavirus Nature

Genetic drivers of high-rise rice that survives deep floods Nature


Major Fire Damages Seven Boats at Port of Bushehr, Iran Maritime Executive. Hmm.

The undeclared war against Iran Responsible Statecraft

‘Hunger crimes’ on the rise in crisis-hit Lebanon Daily Star

Row over Africa’s largest dam in danger of escalating, warn scientists Nature


Labour set to apologise to antisemitism whistleblowers Guardian

Damage to the Soul Craig Murray

‘There’s a direct relationship’: Brazil meat plants linked to spread of Covid-19 Guardian

New Cold War

Russia-Ukraine Water War? Scott Ritter, Energy Intelligence

How the Media Mangled the ‘Russian Invasion’ of the Trump Administration The National Interest

Trump Transition

Congress edges toward deal to extend federal unemployment subsidy in coronavirus bill Los Angeles Times

Trump administration rescinds in-person requirement for international students ABC

Corporate Media Give Trump Powers He Doesn’t Actually Possess FAIR


To Secure the Election: Tame the Russian Bear in Cyberspace Council on Foreign Relations. Sure is odd that these national security goons are all about “securing the election” but never, ever mention hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

Democrats Will Never Choose Transformative Change – So Give Them No Choice Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Exclusive: Secret Trump order gives CIA more powers to launch cyberattacks Yahoo News (dk).

Four States Are Sharing Driver’s License Info To Help Find Out Who’s A Citizen NPR

Failed State

The Shirking Pandemic: Everyone Is Passing The Buck The American Conservative

‘Almost Indecent’ The Heisenbert Report

America Should Prepare for a Double Pandemic The Atlantic

Who are these federal officers sent to Portland to deal with protesters? KGW8 (dk).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Surprising Geography of Police Killings: Back-of-the-Napkin Calculations on Race, Region, and Violence

Every Member Of Police Department Excitedly Volunteers To Go Undercover In White Supremacist Group The Onion

Imperial Collapse Watch

Victory! U.S. defeats CHOP, ending 75-year losing streak Duffel Blog. Another symptom of Third World status: A military that doesn’t win wars, but is used to suppress domestic unrest.

On Day 4, Fire Crews on USS Bonhomme Richard Battle Hot Spots and Flare Ups USNI News

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell’s Attack-the-Victim Strategy May Backfire Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Supporting the Economy by Supporting Workers (PDF) Statement of William E. Spriggs, Hearing on “Capital Markets and Emergency Lending in the COVID-19 Era” before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets (GF).

The Four Centrisms Benjamin Studebaker. Interesting, if bleak, schema.

Moral Cruelty and the Left Tablet

Dismemberment Killing of Tech C.E.O. ‘Looks Like Professional Job’ NYT. Froth?

Is it Patch Blues-day for Outlook? Microsoft’s email client breaks worldwide, leaves everyone stumped The Register. “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” –Admiral David Beatty, at the Battle of Jutland.

Twitter appears to have disabled tweeting by verified users after a massive hack and it’s causing big problems Business Insider. Lots of dunking:


This Is The Woman Responsible For Those Eerily Realistic Cakes That Have Been Flooding The Internet Buzzfeed. And so far, I haven’t seen one single Marie Antoinette joke! Anyhow:

Our epistemological crisis continues….

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. Krystyn Podgajski

      I do not trust humanity enough to say this is all good news.

      Do you think cheap, clean energy will mean less resource destruction and pollution? They will still need to pump oil out of the ground for all the plastic that we consume.

      1. a different chris

        I might be the only person that remembers “The Lone Gunmen” (X-files spinoff) but one show they developed a car that runs only on water and much excitement ensued.

        But, before they unveiled it to the world, it suddenly dawned on them that cars themselves are a serious environmental problem, not just what they spew out the tailpipe.

      2. Eureka Springs

        And beer. Quite the shortage of many brands of beer in my local liquor stores. I don’t care much for beer but I really don’t want to see this country dry up and the effects it would have. Just think how grumpy off duty cops and sports fanatics already denied that fix could get compared to what we have now!

          1. Chris

            I’ve been waiting for all the people who are so quick to claim their rights to not wear masks to also start growing marijuana for their personal use. It is literally a weed. It can grow well just about anywhere on the North American continent. The idea that we allow home brewing of beer but not self sufficient home growing of a largely medicinal herb is ridiculous.

            1. Biph

              Nevada’s legal weed initiative says if you aren’t within 25 miles of a dispensary you can grow your own.

      3. Jessica

        The effect would depend on the distribution of social power. A near limitless supply of energy could be a real bounty for everyone, especially since an intelligent society can convert energy into food and water and throttle CO2 emissions to levels we otherwise can only dream of.

        1. a different chris

          There are non-human occupants of this planet that don’t ever expect to be part of “the distribution of social power”.

          I’m not sanguine that unlimited food and water will bring great environmental consciousness. Just the opposite I suspect.

          1. jr

            I agree, people would still hoard both materials, money, and power. You still have to seize the prize…

      4. Michael Fiorillo

        Given models of infinite economic growth, the waste heat from production based on this technology will still cook and choke us.

    2. Paradan

      So the fusion article doesn’t mention that fusion reactions generate a ton of neutrons that have a tendency to “corrode” your reactor. This is one of the major hurdles that fusion has to clear before becoming economically viable. A couple years ago congress waived the ban on domestic fast breeder reactors for a research reactor, hopefully there doing the required materials development to solve this, but given the way our countries run these days, who knows.

      1. jefemt

        If I had $1,000 for every promising nuclear fusion tech article since the 50’s I’d be richer than Croesus and Bill Gates, combined.

        But not as rich as Bezos—Bezos— he’s otherworldly… but not nearly fast enough….

        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          Fusion reactors are another form of snake oil, like clean coal.
          “Who can I interest in buying this brand new clean coal/nuclear fusion goldmine?”

      2. FFA

        IIRC about a third of the original budget for ITER was for materials research, including materials that can withstand the neutrons in a deuterium / tritium reactor. These materials would probably be needed for competing reactor designs that use deuterium and tritium as fuels.

        On the other hand, the company in this article claims to be ‘almost there’ with a proton / boron reactor, which would produce much fewer neutrons. The proton / boron fusion reaction itself wouldn’t produce neutrons but side reactions in the ‘soup’ would.

        Achieving proton / boron fusion is much harder than achieving deuterium / tritium fusion so I’m not sure why they’re not announcing a working deuterium / tritium reactor if they’re that close to a boron one. I hope we get a useful fusion power source out of this but I’m not holding my breath.

        1. ewmayer

          True, D/T fusion needs just ~15keV of energy, but the activation energy is not the reason it’s not viable for large-scale fusion energy production. From the Wikipedia main article on fusion power (usual page-url prefix, …Fusion_power):

          Several drawbacks are commonly attributed to D-T fusion power:

          It produces substantial amounts of neutrons that result in the neutron activation of the reactor materials.[67]
          Only about 20% of the fusion energy yield appears in the form of charged particles with the remainder carried off by neutrons, which limits the extent to which direct energy conversion techniques might be applied.[68]
          It requires the handling of the radioisotope tritium. Similar to hydrogen, tritium is difficult to contain and may leak from reactors in some quantity. Some estimates suggest that this would represent a fairly large environmental release of radioactivity.

          Compare to the salient details of H-B fusion from the aneutronic fusion entry:

          11B [80% of the stable-isotopic B found on earth] is also a candidate as a fuel for aneutronic fusion. When struck by a proton with energy of about 500 keV, it produces three alpha particles and 8.7 MeV of energy. Most other fusion reactions involving hydrogen and helium produce penetrating neutron radiation, which weakens reactor structures and induces long-term radioactivity, thereby endangering operating personnel. However, the alpha particles from 11B fusion can be turned directly into electric power, and all radiation stops as soon as the reactor is turned off.[55]

    3. Dr. Roberts

      Eric Lerner, the man behind the company mentioned in the article, has some pretty unorthodox ideas about physics and cosmology. Like that there was no big bang and that black holes don’t exist. His ideas are interesting, but to me far too close to the “Electric Universe” quackery to take too seriously.

      Here’s his youtube channel if you’re interested

      1. Chris

        I know, but we’re really going to have to get past things like that. The type of brilliance which enables breakthroughs also tends to come with unorthodox and weird ideas behind even stranger personalities. Max Planck’s obsession with vitamin C for instance. Or Crick’s belief that life on earth was started by aliens seeding our planet.

        I’m not saying Lerner has that kind of status or that we should defer to him like an Einstein. I’m just saying that IF he accomplishes something we all thought was impossible AND he believes some weird things, he’d be in good company.

        1. a different chris

          But ignoring the science, which is beyond me, it’s Elon Musky stuff like this that makes me wince:

          >If we are able to achieve the third condition, density, we could be on track to commercializing fusion within five years.

          It’s all about the Benjamins. If *I* was this person, I would say “If we are able to achieve the third condition, density, this becomes simply an engineering problem to get to commercialization

          No time speculation, no “could” weirdly modifying it, just the facts. I guess that’s why I don’t get the big bux.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        Lerner’s website is here. There are some plausible-looking publications that do include co-authors. He’s really happy about 48 citations, which he distinguishes from self-citations, and that is a small enough number it could actually be real. It looks like they probably have some actual money from investors, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the half-dozen people listed as being on staff receive a regular paycheck.

        So those things point to this being a genuine effort.

        On the down side, the cosmology sideline is pretty far out there: “static universe with redshift linearly proportional to distance [static Euclidian universe (SEU) hypothesis]”. That’s hard to swallow.

        The fusion part is at least aimed at high temperatures, so it’s not a Pons-and-Fleischman level of crazy. But it’s pretty easy to, for example, accelerate a few particles to what would correspond to a high temperature, and observe a few fusion events. At the same time it would be very, very hard to scale that up to something that would perform a useful amount of fusion and put out more energy than you put in, which is what they’re promising to potential investors.

        Density is precisely the show stopper here, and always has been. The sun accomplishes this by being an enormous gravity well.

        The article mentions no numbers for this supposedly close-to-break-even technology, so I don’t see any way to differentiate this from vaporware. Not entirely absurd, but not very likely.

      3. Susan the other

        Thanks for that link. Lerner is really interesting. His explanation of plasmoids, black holes, and the quasar-like generation of electromagnetic energy sounds feasible. He did advise caution. Wondering about the boron detail. Why hydrogen and boron to generate power to produce dense plasma fusion?

      4. occasional anonymous

        “and that black holes don’t exist.”

        A thing we now have direct visual evidence of doesn’t exist?

    4. cyclist

      On “Small Lab Makes Big Breakthrough In Nuclear Fusion Tech”:

      I was a bit suspicious about this after looking at the LPPFusion website. It seemed like an odd collection of individuals, none seeming to have any connection to Princeton Univ., which has a major fusion lab just a few miles away, . So probably not a spin-off, or some people who have left to work in a different direction. Don’t really have time right now to ponder their claims, but there was this:

      1. Irrational

        I vividly remember the claim of Fleischman and Pons to have sustained “cold fusion” at the end of the 80s, subsequently impossible to replicate. Maybe there is more details on this?

        1. Wukchumni

          For what it’s worth dept:

          Palladium (the basis for ‘cold fusion’) was around $100 a troy ounce in the late 80’s and is now close to $2000, and no other pm’s have put in a performance such as #46.

          1. JBird4049

            Research on cold fusion is still happening. The current polite term is LENR or “low energy nuclear reaction” as the original term has been tied to Flat Eatherism or perpetual motion machines.

            As I am not knowledgeable about beyond very, very basic physics or chemistry and that only because of liking astronomy and of both the history of the nuclear bomb in World War II, and medicine. I do think that there is a there, there with some very good implications, but I can’t honestly be sure if what the proponents are saying is true.

            To explain my conclusions that there might be something to all this requires some of background. (Okay, that’s a lie, it’s a lot.) I do have some knowledge on the history of science and understanding that what is acceptable often comes what is cultural or society acceptable, or who has the most money or powerful patron. Add that for some scientists it is a blood sport, not a search for the truth. Respect, tenure, money, even power. Oh nooo, facts or results often haven’t mattered at all.

            Just riffing from memory, I ask that you do an internet search on some of the following:

            1) Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei versus the Catholic Church, as well as the universities of the time.

            2) Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace versus the entire Anglican Church, the universities again, and respectable society.

            3) The Wright Brothers, an apiary magazine, and various reporters versus the Smithsonian and newspaper editors.

            4) Raymond Dart and the Taung Baby versus Piltdown Man and most of the anthropological establishment.

            5) Almost everybody, including many Soviet researchers versus Trofim Lysenko, Joseph Stalin and the NKVD.

            And many others.

            The cultural, social, and scientific inertia slowed acceptance as with the Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk. People have been trying to fly for ever with the deluded, the crackpots and con artists also being very prominent. That is why the first publish report of the Wright Brothers was written by an owner of beekeeper magazine and catalogue. I believe you can find copies online of the magazine with the story.

            Then there were times it should have been so blindingly obvious like with the Piltdown Man; the fraud was discovered with a magnifying glass and only a few hours of critical examination. The fraud lasted from 1912 to 1953 or 41 years. The belief that we humans could not have evolved from deepest, darkest Africa was that strong. Ah, but Europe would do. To be honest that had discovered the Neanderthals in Germany in the 19th century. It hurt the careers of some researchers especially that of Raymond Dart and slowed the study of evolution for decades.

            Then there are times when the state, or society, deems the science bad or evil, and uses burnings at the stake, hangings, or the bullet to enforce the diktat. Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko fanatically believed in his incorrect version of evolutionary change. He had the support of Joseph Stalin who gave him the resources he needed and repressed Lysenko’s opponents. I forget just how severe the repression was, but would you displease Stalin, or would you just nod your head, say Lysenkoism is correct, and maybe do any covert research on the side?

            True, today’s academic and scientific battles do not have the possibility of (perhaps judicial) torture(aka “enhanced interrogation”), imprisonment, or death using many creative methods mankind has created or just a bullet; financial, social, and academic or career ruin are still all readily available.

            If what you believe in, or even just study, never mind actively support the forbidden subject, access to the decreasing research funding, employment opportunities, tenure, and acceptance of written articles all go away. You get scorned, even humiliated by your peers. Your entire career can go away, forever.

            So, there seems to be something to LENR being a chemical reaction and not due to nuclear physics as occurs in stars, but what exactly is happening and how consistently reproduce the results are the problems. That as well as the scientific community wanting why it is happening and how it fits into current understanding before they will accept it.

            Of course, Charles Darwin’s theory evolution by natural selection was eventually accepted, and in a way, used for thousands of years by farmers. This before Gregor Mendel did his research on genetic inheritance, and before Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick and James D. Watson discovered the structure of DNA, or anyone else had described in detail how the whole process worked.

            So the LENR community is slowed by all being considered cranks or con artists with career suicide of formerly acceptable scientists being the norm. Then add that the field has attracted the misguided, the delusional, and the con artist to confuse things more.

            The whole thing, if true, it cannot yet be described theoretically, but only by very inconsistent empirical results ranging from nothing to the house is actually on fire. Enough to keep hoping, but not enough to be successful. “Oh, we have something that we can change the world, but we can only get the very slowly increasingly successful results sporadically, but we really don’t understand why, and it should not be working at according to current scientific understanding. Isn’t this cool? And can we have some money, pretty please?” Understandably, they are not very popular.

            To add to this understand that acceptable hot fusion receives hundred of millions of dollars each year. It is a lucrative business going on for over 70 years and it will probably someday, somehow be successful.

            Also, just ask yourself why and how did all the socialist and communists economic, even just leftist, economics professors of the 1950s and 1960s disappear, while Neoliberalism, which was unpopular became the mainstream consensus even among “Liberals” by the 90s?

            This is why I think that LENR is probably real, because the same familiar patterns are there. But who knows? I could be wrong. And if you want to go down the rabbit hole, here is a site to peruse.

            1. Alternate Delegate

              I take your argument seriously, but I must object that the existence of opposition to an idea does not mean the idea is real.

              I have, somewhere, a barely legible and many times faxed and photocopied copy of the original Pons and Fleischmann paper. People were excited about this at the time, even though there didn’t seem to be any plausible mechanism for fusion to be happening. They were willing to give it a try. Yes, there was inter-disciplinary rivalry (“the chemists think fusion is happening and are using plastic buckets. The physicists don’t think fusion is happening, and are using lead brick shielding.”)

              Many, many attempts were made to reproduce the results, and they failed. It became clear that Pons and Fleischmann had misused their equipment and didn’t know how to count neutrons. Their neutron energy bump was an artifact of their instrument’s cutoff – their background counts piled up in the last bin. People moved on. That’s fine.

              Irreproducibility was the main problem, not just the lack of a plausible mechanism.

              1. JBird4049

                My apologies for the late response.

                The secret of physical anthropology is that discoveries are almost accidental with some being completely so. Yes, people focus their efforts on the most likely places like old riverbeds and former marshes, but hominids and their ancestors have always had small populations living in an ever shifting environment.

                Some of the greatest finds involve some random person literally stumbling over some old fossils with the word getting back to reachers weeks or months later. Focused chance might be the best description for the field workers. Find the old dry lakes, rivers, and marshes, places where people might have living in, and dig. If you are blessed, you might find a trove of fossils and tools or might spend years with just a few spear points.

                However, each find expands our understanding and sometimes makes it easier to find that next one. But all our knowledge of our evolution essentially starts with stumbling about.

                I think that with LENR it is also the same. Until they get a working theory, it is all stumbling around. There have been some encouraging successful experiments since Fleischmann and Pons which is why people still stumble about, but it’s all formulaic, almost random with no understanding of the underlying processes.

                1. Alternate Delegate

                  I’m all in favor of serendipity, and often you find something interesting even when it’s not what you were looking for. But you start by looking for things you think have a chance of being real. Since 1989 I can no longer think that about lenr / cold fusion.

    5. Grebo

      The article doesn’t seem to describe any particular new breakthrough by LPP Fusion.

      I have been following the company for years (I even own a few shares) so maybe I can answer some of the questions people have raised.

      Lerner is a maverick but a real physicist. He has an alternative cosmological theory to the Big Bang which has been the orthodoxy for 50 years or more. I have no opinion on how good his theory is but there are now enough things that don’t fit the Big Bang that I think it is legitimate to question it.

      His approach to fusion is similarly unorthodox. Instead of trying to contain a writhing ring of plasma in a huge machine of superconducting magnets he is trying to crush a small blob of plasma with its own magnetic field. He believes this is similar to some natural processes in quasars.

      This not a new or controversial idea in itself. Most physicists don’t think it can be made to produce a net gain though.

      Unlike most other fusion projects LPP are aiming to use (ordinary) hydrogen and boron 11 as fuel. This reaction produces no neutrons, so no radioactive waste (ideally). The energy it gives out is in the form of charged particles and X-rays. These can be used directly to generate electricity, no need for a steam turbine and genset. The reactor is much smaller, simpler and cheaper than a tokamak.

      It has no relation to cold fusion, it is a different hot fusion approach.

      LPP Fusion has been making steady progress and have some of the best fusion numbers in the business. It is a shoestring operation working on a longshot, but if they pull it off it will be massive.

      1. Susan the other

        fun thinking about the “Quasar Energy Corporation”- but, so boron 11 sounds like it is not in big supply and we might have trouble getting enough of it… I don’t want to find boron suddenly missing from by mineral supplement ;-)

        1. Grebo

          Boron 11 makes up 80% of natural boron and is a byproduct of the production of boron 10 which is used in fission reactors and radiomedicine. Boron is not particularly plentiful but I don’t think fusion would use all that much, though I have no numbers.

    6. John k

      Doubting Thomas here.
      When I was a boy I read of fusion energy expected in about 30 years.
      As a grownup I worked in the ITER project in San Diego, supported by several gov including ours, around 1990… be ready in about 30 years.
      My guess is the best guess today is well have it in about 30 years.
      Beyond that, if unlimited energy and no pollution was free… you could bloom the deserts with desalinization. Double the food supply. Double the population… for a start.
      It’s cheap energy that permits what are here now.

  1. RN

    Misleading title.
    It should read as below:

    ‘Those with plastic visors ONLY were infected’

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    Regarding the whole Twitter mess, it is odd to me that Trump’s account was not hacked.

    I mean, come on….

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Green – Orion Slave Girl. Irresistible to human males.

        Andorians are blue with white antennae, and my favorite Trek species.

        1. Wukchumni

          The Starship Captain has a nice ranch around these parts, but he’s never around, and i’ve never laid eyes on him locally.

          Once a year the foreman of said ranch throws a big party and around 200 people show up, about 1/10th of the population in town. Its a potluck, and everybody brings food, booze & musical instruments.

          I always thought if I ever meet up with the Cap’n, i’d hit him with a reference to Judgement At Nuremburg before I segued into how he knew how to get it on with a blue skinned hawtie from the Nebula Skintari?

        2. urblintz

          If you haven’ seen the documentary “The Green Girl” about the fabulous Susan Oliver I’d recommend it. She was a very versatile actor and a wonderful, quite remarkable person.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Funny story about the green girl. They first used a girl model, painted her green and then filmed her to see how it would look in the series but the film came back showing her a normal colour. Back came the orders to paint her greener but again the film came back showing her a normal pink colour. Much frustration ensued as no matter how green they painted her, she would come back pink.

            They eventually found that the problem was with processing. When the first film came through, the processor took one look, said “My god – she’s green!” and thinking it a mistake, altered the colours to make her pink again. He did this several times until they caught him at it and told him that she was supposed to be green.

        3. John Anthony La Pietra

          Kirk met a green Orion exotic dancer too, in “Whom Gods Destroy”. She had a name, even — Marta — and was played by Yvonne Craig (yes, Batgirl).

      2. FriarTuck

        Plus you didn’t see a “blue chick” Andorian woman until Enterprise, played by Suzie Plakson.

      3. ambrit

        Don’t forget France Nuyen as “Elena of Troyas” with the ‘irresistible’ tears.
        Kirk is d–n lucky he hasn’t contracted every STD known in Known Space!

    1. Code Name D

      Or maybe the Russians hacked Trumps twitter account to give you the illusion that it wasn’t hacked. -GASP- Rachel Madow must know this.

    1. jr

      Another choice bit:

      “What end does all this self-mortification serve?”

      Once again Vampire Castle, and now this guy, nailed it. They both point to the cruel, dehumanizing religious ideology wielded like a bullwhip by blue fascism…

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Isn’t “blue fascism” too broad? Wouldn’t Social Justice Warrior fascism be more focused and accurate?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The Social Justice Warriors have already smeared the idea of social justice by mis-appropriating it and degrading it into being a stage upon which they strut their moral superiority stuff, display their Wokeness, and upon which they smear their own fecal Cancel Culture.

            Perhaps you can come up with another term for what you want. A term like societal fairness, perhaps. But then you will have to protect it from the Social Justice Warriors’ desperate efforts to sh-t all over it to make it their own.

    2. Detroit Dan

      I’m a fan of John McWhorter, author of that review of White Fragility. He’s a top notch linguist, a good writer, and a clear-headed commentator on race in America.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I suspect the White Fragilist Cultists have a cleverly engineered answer to every objection anyone might raise. Many of these cleverly engineered answers are versions of “speciminizing” the objector as a “specimen” of White Fragility on display. The explanation would be that White Fragility is the source of every objection to White Fragility and that the Fragile White reveals herm’s own White Fragility by objecting to the White Fragility concept.

      To defeat such a creature, I suspect you would have to jam its brain. I believe that someone surnamed
      ” Di Angello” founded the White Fragility cult. I suspect a way to jam her brain would be to ask her what language her surname is. If she won’t answer, one could ask if she is ashamed of it and ashamed to answer. If she says Italian, the next question would be . . . . ” Italian, huh? Who died and made YOU white?”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One could also discuss White Fragilism as a lucrative racket. DiAngelo probably makes a lot of money fighting White Fragility.

  3. Alex

    The article on the undeclared war probably should have mentioned a recent attempt to attack the Israeli water supply system. Obviously there is no publicly available evidence that Iran tried to do it – but then there is no such evidence for the Bucher fire as well.

    Amazingly the article says “there is no sign that Iran is about to attack either Israel or the United States.” I wonder how this can be reconciled with continuous calls made by Iranian leadership (including Supreme Leaders) to annihilate the “Zionist entity.” Common sense says if someone consistently and continuously threatens to destroy you you’d better take it seriously.

    Personally I think that Trump/Netanyahu’s policy wrt Iran is reckless and dangerous, and I agree that to a large degree it’s driven by internal politics, but the article does a disservice to its readers by presenting Iran as a helpless victim whereas in reality it’s a strong regional power, with sophisticated cyber-attack capabilities and plenty of capable local allies.

    1. ewmayer

      “Common sense says if someone consistently and continuously threatens to destroy you you’d better take it seriously.” — Such ‘common sense’ may seem so for you hasbarists, but for most humans semi-acquainted with history and geopolitics, rhetorical flourishes do not equate to imminent military assault.

      OTOH, neverending brutal economic sanctions by US carrying out Israel’s foriegn policy program, and broad-daylight assassinations of top leaders on official diplomatic missions to neighboring countries at the official invite of the latter, those definitely *do* qualify as being tantamount to war.

      Also, no one is portraying Iran as helpless – but arrayed against the might of the US, and with Israel’s 200+ nuclear weapons a persistent implied threat of the genuine “wipe you off the map” sort, to hold its persistence in resisting subservience to those notorious global-playground bullies shows your true colors: “in reality it’s a strong regional power, with sophisticated cyber-attack capabilities and plenty of capable local allies” — yeah, it had better damn well be so, otherwise it would’ve gottent the Iraq treatment long ago. And its leaders have shown admirable restraint in the face of neverending provocations-to-war by US/Israel.

  4. Wukchumni

    $600 per week unemployment stipend going away: Check

    Forebearance going away: Check

    HELOC not available so much anymore: Check

    40% of Americans only have $400 in ready cash, but have paid for gun/s & ammo worth that much or more: Check

    4 & 20 million about to get evicted: Check

    When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose: Check

    1. edmondo

      If they are going to extend the unemployment benefits for gig workers till the end of the year is there any chance we can get these gig employers to kick in some cash to the state unemployment funds? I am already subsidizing WalMart so that their workers can get Medicaid and food stamps while the Walton family can race further up the Forbes 500, do I have to underwrite Uber’s employees; salaries with taxpayer funding?

      The only socialism I see in this country applies to corporations.

    2. Lee

      Now, a very great man once said
      That some people rob you with a fountain pen
      It don’t take too long to find out
      Just what he was talking about
      A lot of people don’t have much food on their table
      But they got a lot of forks and knives
      And they gotta cut something

      B. Dylan

    3. td

      What caused the collapse of the Mayan city states:

      All we have left in the world are these sharpened sticks, ropes and torches.

      1. Wukchumni

        What caused the collapse of the Mayan city states:

        What is the 2020 curse of the Americans?

    4. kareninca

      Don’t be silly. An election is coming up. A lot of this will be extended. Until after the election.

  5. Pavel

    Re: The Russians and “voting interference”

    If people honestly suggest that the $50,000 or however much spent on Facebook adverts was enough to swing the election from HRC to The Donald, that says more about the electorate than the Russians. More likely, nobody honestly believes that and it is all trying to blame someone else for Hillary’s loss.

    More seriously, if people are really worried about foreign interference with US elections, how about talking about Israel and the Saudis, to name but two. They both conduct extensive media campaigns and essentially bribe US politicians through AIPAC and other lobbying groups.

    Hillary and the DNC hired Christopher Steele, a Brit, to create the infamous dossier. Does anyone think MI5 didn’t know about this? Is that UK interference?

    Ultimately Lambert’s suggestion is the best — hand-counted paper ballots — coupled with radical campaign finance reform and a drastic shortening of the election campaign. For dog’s sake, the UK and Canada and France have campaigns that last less than two months! A Canadian pointed out recently that the $40 million spent by one candidate in the Kentucky (!! not NY or Calif) Democratic *primary* was more than the entire amount spent by all parties in the last *national* Canadian election.

    Meanwhile I saw college students being polled about the history of July the Fourth. None of the six could answer properly. No doubt the correct respondents were left out, but even so. Sheesh! An ignorant electorate coupled with corrupt politicians and a chaotic, opaque voting system differing from one state to the next… what could go wrong?

    1. km

      In the 2004 election, The Guardian, a UK-based paper and a reliable outlet for goodthink liberal voices, operated a campaign for non-Americans to contact registered voters in Clark County, Ohio (a swing county in a swing state) to urge them to vote for Kerry.

      Strangely enough, we didn’t see Major Media Outlets or Serious And Important People wrapping their eyebrows around their noses and mouthing hysterical conspiracy theories or piously intoning something about how Elections Are Sacred or Foreign Interference In Our Democracy Is An Act of War.

      Must have been an onversight.

      1. Pavel

        LOL don’t get me started on Kerry. He was a fellow Skull and Bones fraternity-mate of GWB. How much more swamp-critter-like can you get?

        There was *abundant* evidence of voting machine shenanigans in Ohio the night of the election. Did Kerry make the slightest fuss? No.

        A pox on all their houses. Bah bloody humbug.

        1. montanamaven

          Edwards was shocked that they didn’t contest Ohio. They had planes with lawyers waiting to swoop in and contest.

          1. Katiebird

            And Kerry raised money for those lawyers. I made a donation to the fund. I am still upset about that!

          2. Pat

            No proof what so ever but does anybody else remember the meltdown Robe had when Obama won Ohio? And that Anonymous claimed that they had hacked the machines and taken OUT the fix.

            Figured that one wasn’t contested because it would remain the same (and Anonymous was telling the truth) or that Obama won it in such huge numbers the fix didn’t work. My bet was on door number one.

            1. rowlf

              Boy howdy I remember that and watching Fox news live trying to figure out what was going on. Rove was stumbling around like he just had a nail-gun lobotomy.

              …. and then it was gone.

              I also saw the Anonymous claims afterwards.

    2. WhoaMolly

      I am sticking to my prediction of HRC and Harris ticket.

      I think Joe is an (unknowing?) stalking horse and spear catcher for Mrs Clinton

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have grown so concerned lately by Trump’s Captain-Queeg-type behavior that I have been thinking of voting for the Democrats to get some Brezhnevian Stagnation under cover of which to feel our way forward to something or other.

        But if the Dems nominate Clinton yet again, or do a Clinton-for-Biden switcheroo, I don’t think I could vote for Clinton. I maybe couldn’t actually vote for Trump, given his radioactive Midas Trump-touch for governance-management and etc.; but a vote for Clinton still remains a vote for nuclear war with Russia.

        I can’t imagine a few million bitter Berners and eager Sanderistas being willing to vote for Clinton.

        Of course Jim Jones Riverdaughter and her Branch Conflucians would be happy to vote for Clinton.

  6. Wukchumni

    Was talking to a member of the local fire dept about stuff, and somehow BLM came up, and he told me the Bureau of Land Management office has been fielding around 10 calls a day on account of an acronym misunderstanding.

  7. Boris

    Perhaps someone here finds this little data-point re Cancel-Culture interesting:
    I’m an old, white, cis-hetero male in Germany. Perhaps one notch lower than any person in the US can possibly be under current standards.
    This morning I had a humorous conversation with my niece on WhatsAp. Out of a context too complicated and boring to explain here she made a joke about me and her brother, my nephew, insinuating we are having long and thin penisses. I replied:
    “Hey, hey, hey! No sexism here, else Ill have to totally cancel you on Twitter!”
    The wonderful thing was: She didn’t understand my quip. She, a biology student, close to finishing her studies at one of the largest german universities (and a progressive one, though the progressivism there, far as I understand, is mostly directed at making our lives, economy, and energy-production more sustainable) …she was totally unfamiliar with the term and concept of cancellation!
    I’m taking hope. In Germany we were spared a large part of neoliberalism, just because we were “late” to it…perhaps we get just as lucky with wokesterism.

    1. Wukchumni

      Well to be fair, the fatherland did have it’s bout with the concept of cancellation once upon a time.

      1. Boris

        I suely didnt mean to say Germany was any better…I tried to express we were, of late, over the past 40 years, just a little luckier, just out of the strange, funny, absurd luck of having a conservative head of government, ruling between 1982 and 1998, Helmut Kohl, who was too conservative to accept neoconservatism, and, while he disgusted social democrats, actually was, to the core of it, one of the greatest social democrates in german history, along with Bismarck and Ludwig Erhard—again, absurdly, two men who were stauchly againt social-democracy, but actually were promoting the core of what it means.
        Politics, in this little country, if you think about it, is hillariously funny.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hardly anybody alive now was directly affected by WW2, but guilt on one side & exceptionalism on the other makes for odd pallbearers.

          You never what you’re gonna get in retrospect, take Australia & New Zealand for instance.

          The former ended up with a nutty hard right evangelical political leader, whereas ‘Godzone’ got lucky when just after the turn of the century as far right dogma was getting their fangs into Kiwi politics, the leader of the evang mob turned out to be a raging pedophile, neutralizing the brand just like that, poof!
          game so over.

        2. Boris

          perhaps I should not post anything after the first bottle of wine. Of course I meant *neoliberalism* and not “neoconservatism”.

          1. ambrit

            Worry not. Your comment ‘works’ with either word.
            I can imagine a politico being too small ‘c’ conservative to want anything to do with the warmongering neo-conservatives we have here in America.

    2. Larry Y

      Well, you’re insulated from corporate English language media – first the neoliberal right (Rupert Murdoch), the pro-Israel “Cancel Culture” pioneers, and now the neoliberal centrists.

    3. a different chris

      >Perhaps one notch lower than any person in the US can possibly be under current standards.

      ??????? Where do you get that ?????????

      1. Alternate Delegate

        He is referring to Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung, a sort of ritualized process of feeling guilty about the past that he correctly compares to the current US identity politics game.

        So, as a German, you have one extra thing you’re supposed to feel guilty about, and that puts you one notch further down the status list. Now, citizens of other countries could easily find things they could feel guilty about, but the point is that they don’t generally choose to be aware of those things.

        Maybe there’s a balance in between? While it’s good to be aware of the past, that shouldn’t necessarily dominate what we do in the present. After all, the world belongs to the living, not the dead.

          1. a different chris

            > the current US identity politics game.

            Ah, yes I get it!

            I will thus refrain from snarky remarks about how you can sit in a hospital bed and examine your naval over Ver…Verganas… Ver oh the heck with it and not worry an instant about medical bills! ;D

        1. ambrit

          Very interesting concept. Would I be close to the truth of the matter if I were to think that the German V word is just like the American I word in that both are based upon institutionalized guilt?

          1. Alternate Delegate

            Institutionalized guilt. I like that.

            Of course, German V consists of a heavy diet of one particular historical era, while American I is more like an enormous buffet of different choices. I wonder which is more effective in, uh, distracting us from our basic economic interests?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Beijing should change tack on South China Sea to avoid conflict with US, analyst says”

    Now why would they want to do that? At the moment China is stirring the pot in the South China Seas where all the countries have competing territorial claims and where trillions of dollars of trade pass through. And where are all those allied naval ships from countries like the US, Australia, etc. heading to in order to demonstrate freedom of navigation? The South China Seas. Now ask yourself this. If China was not in the South China Seas, where would all those allied ships be sailing instead? Probably near the coastline of China, that is where. If you were China, where would you prefer US Navy ships armed with nuclear-tipped missiles to be sailing – near your coastline or off down in the South China Seas?

    1. a different chris

      The whole thing is dark humor.

      China is terrible. They clearly learned from us!

      But acknowledging that, the South China Sea is basically the Gulf Of Mexico, or would be if it was called “The Gulf of the United States”. That map picture is, check me on this, about 2500 miles wide. And that doesn’t even get close to Hawaii, let alone mainland US.

      But we are supposed to be involved, of course. It goes without question. Something about “searching for monsters to destroy…” comes to mind.

      1. td

        The real analogy would be if the US claimed every rock and reef in the Gulf of Mexico and the boundaries of countries from Cuba to Mexico ended at the Twelve-Mile limit. Just hope that the Washington apparatchiks don’t learn everything from China that they could.

        1. a different chris

          The real analogy…. ended at the Twelve-Mile limit and China sailed some warships over here to tell us we couldn’t do that.

          Was my point.

        2. ambrit

          Now, as a thought experiment, imagine grounding a barge on a reef out in the Gulf of Mexico and claiming sovereign status as a micro-nation. That is essentially what China has done at the Spratleys and various shoals and reefs in the South China Sea.
          The push back from all of the surrounding nation states will be intense for the individual micro-state. China can have expected no less of a resistance to their ‘land grab’ program.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Part of China’s interest is the fish and the offshore oil. Once China has strip-mined the very last fish out of the South China Sea, and has strip-pumped the very last barrel of oil out from under it, then China won’t care so very much about the sterile polluted aqua-husk they leave behind.

  9. Wukchumni

    {imagines Sally Struthers giving this spiel on TV}

    ‘AirBnB Megahosts across the country are struggling with Covid-19, and sure they could charge 40% as much renting out their many abodes on a monthly basis, but where’s the funds in that?

    This is where the Wounded Real Estate Warrior Project comes in handy

    Your donation of just $19 a month will allow impoverished landlords to keep current with maybe one of the 23 houses that bought to profit from and alienate the neighbors (insert video of caged bird or cuddly puppy pleading for food)

    But wait there’s more, if you act now we’ll throw in a free crying towel for said landlords.

    Is 66.6 Cents a day too much to ask to keep them in the lifestyle they had become accustomed to?’

    Call now…

    1. DJG

      Wukchumni: On the mark. + + +

      “Wounded Real Estate Warrior Project”

      Pretty much sums up the current state of U.S. self-regard and delusion.

    2. ambrit

      Think big Wuk! Have Obama do the ‘host’ duties for the “Appeal.” He’d only want about a half of the proceeds, gross of course.

  10. Carolinian

    Re Walmart–I went to the local store this past weekend and employees were telling people at the entrance that, if unmasked, they were violating the city ordinance. Didn’t stick around to see if they were turning people away but Walmart demanding masks is big. Most other retailers will probably follow.

    1. Jessica

      The local Safeway had a sign at the entrance requiring masks and everyone I saw was wearing one. Mask usage among customers had been under 50% the previous week. However, at the local post office, although 8 or 9 women were wearing masks, less than half the men were and none of the older men were.
      (Exurban Seattle, but near a military base, with lots of MAGA folks (and guns))

      1. ambrit

        That’s an oddity of regionalism I guess. Here, in the North American Deep South (NADS,) my admittedly anecdotal observation is that the older people, regardless of gender are all in for mask wearing. It is the younger ‘Karens” that I see flouting the mask rules the most.
        Also, as an aside; is it just me as an ageing boulevardier or am I correct in saying that the younger female population is showing a lot more skin than previously? (I would ask Phyllis, but I fear the wrath of Hera.)

    2. Alfred

      I already have a trip to one of the two local Walmarts on my calendar for first thing Monday morning, just for a look-see. I’m curious because as a matter of fact (if not policy) masks/face-coverings have been optional for staff in these two stores in south Georgia for at least the past three weeks. Meanwhile, since March I’d say the rate of mask-wearing among customers declined from roughly 80% to closer to 50%, though with a gradual increase (up to about 60%?) since Independence Day. This trend has made grocery shopping unnecessarily scary. While it’s hard for me to see Walmart turning away customers, or enforcing mask-wearing anywhere in their stores beyond the entrances, if the new policy only results in across-the-board staff compliance, that would be progress where I shop. To be fair, I’ll add that the mask-wearing rates evidenced at my local Walmarts has not been markedly different from those I’ve found (among staff and shoppers alike) at the other local supermarkets: Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Piggly-Wiggly. The situation thus seems to be a function of the prevailing culture, having little or nothing to do with company policies or local managerial work, or with the social-class differences among the respective customer bases (which are considerable).

    3. Keith

      They have been requiring them in eastern WA, due to an ordinance. They have turned people away, as opposed to Costco, who has let people in if they keep walking or are in a scooter.

      Enforcement could get complicated, though. Has there been any guidance put out about how to navigate the ADA for people who cannot wear masks, and how aggressive can you be about enforcing masking before you violate the ADA. Could be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    4. IMOR

      The [family blog] this hasn’t been required at least 7-9 weeks ago??! I guess HRC used her one phone call to her former boardmates to prompt Wally to make those crocodile tears pandemic commercials about their employees rather than asking. FFS

    5. WhoaMolly

      Saw 3 packs of washable cotton Hanes Masks On display at entrance to local (Northern california) WalMart for $7.98. Decent size, easy to wear.

      Compliance 100% with 5% wearing theirs dangling from one ear or around neck.

      1. ambrit

        Good heavens! When I read “..washable cotton Hanes Masks..” I immediately thought of the practice of wearing a womans panties over your face. How droll! Deviancy is coming into fashion!

  11. Jessica

    “The Four Centrisms” by Benjamin Studebaker is well worth the read.
    I am not buying his argument 100%, but he is much closer than other ways of looking at this.
    He certainly does explain something that has been disturbing me: the near absence of voices or a movement to actually change the power structure, as opposed to least common denominator unification around the most morally indefensible aspect of that power structure, racist police violence.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Twitter appears to have disabled tweeting by verified users after a massive hack and it’s causing big problems”

    This hacking of Twitter turned up something else interesting and it was the fact that Twitter keeps “blacklists” for users it deems undesirable despite denying it for years. They were captured in screenshots which Twitter then tried to scrub their site of any showing of these images. Too late! It’s called the internet, Twitter-

    1. Fred N

      That’s a bit if a head scratcher. Judging by the unfettered, repellent output of so many Twitter accounts, what could be the criteria for inclusion in such a list?

      1. ambrit

        We have that spirit at Mardis Gras here in the NADS.
        “Show us your t—s!” is a well honoured tradition at parades here.

        1. rowlf

          Too bad violence is acceptable in the US media but soft stuff is not tolerated. Weird. Maybe the Euros have a better view.

          (That didn’t come out right)

  13. shtove

    From the article on SARS-COVID transmission:

    Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via faecal-oral or bio-aerosols lacks robust evidence and remains debatable … Clinical and epidemiological studies are needed to present robust evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is transmissible via aerosols, though quantification of virus-laden aerosols at low concentrations presents a challenge … While poor air quality increases susceptibility to diseases, evidence for air pollution impact on COVID-19 infectivity is not available as infections are dynamically changing worldwide. Solid waste generated by households with infected individuals during the lockdown period may facilitate the spread of COVID-19 via fomite transmission route but has received little attention from the scientific community. Water bodies receiving raw sewage may pose risk of infection but this has not been investigated to date.

    Nobody knows anything. Apply precautionary principle until system collapse. Otherwise, pretend nothing is happening.

    1. a different chris

      Sounds like somebody with a job investigating poop wants some of that sweet COVID-19 cash.

      Actually, they should probably get it but need to shut up about “lacks robust evidence”.

    2. ewmayer

      There was a study linked on NC months ago showing that fecal aerosol plumes containing SARS-CoV-2 and presumably other host-dwelling virii are indeed a thing. I find it fascinating in the “so you’re telling us that miasma theory has not been debunked?” sense.

  14. Wukchumni

    If jockeys who never come into contact with other jockeys via a ball are getting infected en masse, what hope is there for other pro sports?

    Note the tidbit @ the bottom, people are desperate to gamble…

    The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on Wednesday canceled its racing program this weekend after 15 jockeys and seven other workers tested positive for COVID-19.

    Fourteen of the 15 jockeys were from a group of Del Mar jockeys who raced over the July 4 weekend at Los Alamitos – raising to 19 the total number of positive COVID-19 tests among jockeys who competed at the Orange County track.

    Although no fans were in the stands last weekend, Del Mar’s first weekend produced an 18.1 percent gain over three comparable 2019 dates in the national total amount wagered.

    1. Tinky

      “people are desperate to gamble…”

      Not really. The large handle is simply reflection of the fact that racing is currently the only game in town. You have increased demand from people who would ordinarily be betting on baseball, etc., or, put another way, a limited supply of events on which to gamble.

    2. rtah100

      Weigh-in? Sauna? Training yard? Even lining up at the start?

      Single-handed sailing, high diving and biathlon are looking promising

      1. John A

        And at the same time the Guardian announces more journalistic cutbacks and wonders why it has managed to alienate its traditional readership!

  15. Carolinian

    Re Tablet–interesting.

    Nietzsche’s solution, as Shklar described it, was to refuse moral cruelty and accept physical cruelty. Let victims suffer, let the weak perish, so that the strong can enjoy a clear conscience free of the lacerations of guilt. Shklar warned that the “megalomaniacs of interwar Europe,” Hitler and Stalin, learned this lesson from Nietzsche. There was, in her account, a clear line from his critique of moral cruelty to the totalitarian regimes that had destroyed the world of her childhood and nearly killed her. But this was not a reason to dismiss his critique. Defending liberal democracy, Shklar claimed, will require us to confront Nietzsche’s powerful argument against the moral cruelty that liberalism seems to generate from within its post-Christian heritage. Otherwise, intelligent people who refuse to reduce themselves to cringing sinners will turn to the Nietzscheanisms of the radical left and right. Liberals must not make decent people choose between liberalism and self-respect.

    Perhaps what’s missing here is any discussion of that other Christian concept of empathy, or a suggestion that rigid and without a doubt brittle ideas about “morality” are in fact a way of trying–and not too successfully if Nietzsche was right–to codify empathy. Empathy is rational and an act of the imagination. Morality is a fixed structure that requires no thinking at all. I believe this is what the article is getting at.

    We are indeed suffused these days with self righteousness and morality–empathy not so much. But religion is only somewhat to blame. It also says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    1. local to oakland

      The worst examples of cancel culture also seem to lack a mechanism for forgiveness and reconciliation.

    2. flora

      Great comment.
      I thought her warning was against, as you say, a “brittle morality”. A warning against a too certain belief leading to ‘the ends justifies the means’.
      But not an argument to abandon moral life in general. Maybe we’re saying the same thing.

    1. edmondo

      Isn’t that the day that Uncle Joe picks his running mate and head eulogizer at his upcoming funeral? Coincidence?

          1. Basil Pesto

            Funny you mention this. Your reply made me think of Stoller’s writing on both Hamilton, and monopoly in general, including with streaming services such as Disney Plus. Then I remembered his writing about the pending crapification-monopolisation of podcasting, particularly after Spotify made an exclusivity deal for Joe Rogan’s podcast earlier this year.

            A hunch made me search ‘Michelle podcast’. Sure enough:

            ‘Michelle Obama creates exclusive podcast for Spotify’

            uh huh.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ah yes, Joe’s “running mate”. Looks like we will get a completely overmatched idpol queen who believes in her heart that the nation’s top problems are skin color and trans bathrooms. As Grandpa’s faculties fall below even what the press is willing to ignore we’ll get an inversion, where the Prez is the one sent to the funerals and the VP does all the deciding. Rachel and Ellen and Whoopi will be so happy! Seriously though, when a year or two passes and people start noticing that *no-thing* has changed, will they trot out the same “reasons” as last time? That evil Republicans combined with nefarious Russians prevented all the goodness and light?

        As a guy who held his nose and pulled the lever for the likes of Mondale and Dukakis (!) and Kerry, somehow even I’m feeling *disenfranchised*

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wasn’t Kemp the guy that did not know that you could be asymptomatic with Coronavirus until told so in the middle of an outside press conference? Stupid is as stupid does.

      1. nippersmom

        He’s also the guy who refused to recuse himself as Secretary of State overseeing an election where here was running for Governor.

        Corrupt is as corrupt does.

    2. rowlf

      Also in the WaPo story among the emotional parts:

      Kemp’s office on Wednesday emphasized that the governor is still asking Georgians to voluntarily wear masks.

      “We’ve been clear in previous orders and statements that local mask mandates are unenforceable,” Candice Broce, Kemp’s communications director, told the Augusta Chronicle. “The governor has encouraged Georgians to wear them voluntarily for months now.”

      Kemp has recommended the wearing of masks since May. I wonder what legal fear is there to a law making masks mandatory and could the fear be that the legal process be reporposed in the future? While Kemp may seem like he is from central casting I caution that he was considered pretty wily before he became Governor and could take a few punches if he thought he could move forward.

  16. Wukchumni

    Fake me out at the ballgame
    Act like there’s a crowd
    Buy some speakers and a soundtrack
    I don’t care if a fly ball is hit to the warning track

    For it’s up to a computer to root root root for the home team
    If they don’t win, doesn’t anybody really care
    At the old ballgame?

    There was a button to push when the ball left the bat to play a sound effect representing the crowd’s anticipation, another to push to elicit a cheer when the crowd realized it would be a routine out and a third button seconds later for a bigger cheer at the moment the out was made.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was watching some Hogan’s Heroes with a laugh track the other day. The Krauts are so dumbed down as to be complete buffoons, which must’ve been a 60’s thing, as you can count on the Wehrmacht to have Sgt Saunders and the boys in Combat to be pinned down and in a pinch, when inexplicably the Nazi soldiers all stand up from their guarded positions, allowing them to be mowed down by the squad formerly in peril, who will live on for next week’s episode.

        1. skippy

          Per up thread comments on TVeee shows … I think the ST away team new member lotto is always in play … someone always has to die before good times arrive.

          Then again in reality land hardened NCOs always informed their men to never volunteer for anything … its a trap.

  17. jef

    About the cakes. Look up fondant.
    Fondant can be made to perform (and taste) just like most plastics.
    Still this person is a very skilled technician.

  18. Wukchumni

    At first glance, Bakersfield & Fresno seem similar, large cities in the CVBB with similar populations where you can buy a home in California for $200k, there must be a catch?

    Bakersfield really isn’t close to anything, you can drive an hour in any direction and it’s still bleak, whereas there is a viable getaway strategy in Fresno, as the High Sierra looms large.

    B’s real talent was oil, it’s surrounded by the stuff in particular on the west side of town, where you might think you were in Saudi Arabia or a well endowed Texas oilfield, it’s that rich of an area.

    California Resources Corp., a major local employer and one of the state’s largest oil producers, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday after reaching a series of creditor agreements it said will restructure $5 billion in debt and allow it to emerge a financially healthier company.

    The bankruptcy filing is expected to allow Santa Clarita-based CRC to continue operating while it puts behind it the financial struggles that caused it to miss multiple deadlines recently for making $30 million in interest payments.

    While the announcement was not entirely unexpected — it had been reported CRC was planning a bankruptcy filing and the company warned in May it might not survive — word that it would seek to restructure its debts rather than liquidate its assets was good news for the 730 employees and 1,700 contractors it reported having in Kern County in May.

    It was also a positive outcome for state regulators who had been monitoring news out of CRC lately because of concern the company’s deteriorating financial condition could jeopardize its ability to fulfill environmental protection obligations.

    Officials with California’s Geologic Energy Management Division said a Chapter 11 filing offers reassurance the company will remain in existence to continue protecting oilfields it operates from groundwater contamination and unchecked methane emissions from abandoned wells.

    1. Lee

      Bakersfield really isn’t close to anything….

      Actually, it’s close to Weedpatch, which is close to even less than is Bakersfield. Weedpatch is where my mother was raised and from which she escaped to L.A. at the earliest opportunity.

  19. Wukchumni

    Wow, like the last venue in these (still somewhat) United States where you can indulge in a Camel indoors, is putting it’s foot down a bit.

    Kind of a moot point, as the casinos will be having a re-closing party soon…

    Las Vegas casinos are modifying their smoking policies amid the pandemic.

    On June 18, Las Vegas Sands Corp. updated its health and safety plan to ask table game players and spectators to refrain from smoking or vaping.

  20. Wukchumni

    Cirque d’Six Bucks

    A 28-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after police said he offered a homeless man money to do a backflip and livestreamed the stunt, which resulted in a spinal injury and eventual death.

    The homeless man, Larry Coner, 55, approached Keonte Jones on June 20 on the 700 block of West Owens Avenue asking for money. Jones offered him $6 to do a backflip, according to a statement Wednesday from the Metropolitan Police Department.

    Jones streamed the encounter on Facebook Live for nearly 10 minutes. Coner can be seen in the video landing on his neck and not getting up while Jones and a group of other people laugh and Jones tells them not to call for help.

  21. Wukchumni

    I’m kind of wondering why the President doesn’t go for a skintight hood that goes down to his neckline with an exact image of his mug on it, isn’t as if his merry band of supporters will notice the difference that his lips don’t move or what shade of hair apparent this week, not much suspension of disbelief needed to prod them on, get along little doggies.

  22. Jeff W

    The Four Centrisms Benjamin Studebaker. Interesting, if bleak, schema.

    We can pigeonhole various people into the different variants, as Benjamin Studebaker does, but I think the most important point is actually this one:

    These types of centrism are aesthetically different but substantively nearly identical. By differentiating aesthetically, the 90s consensus is able to accommodate a higher level of cultural polarisation while protecting the core commitments of the 90s consensus.

    [emphasis added]

    So, in essence, the schema maps aesthetic differences which serve to divert attention away from the underlying substantive identicalness of the four types.

    It’s not that dissimilar from Adolph Reed, Jr. saying

    …we have a national politics now that has for 20 years at least, longer, given us two choices. And one of them is a party that’s committed to Wall Street and to neoliberalism and is deeply and earnestly committed to a notion of diversity and multiculturalism, and a party that’s committed to Wall Street and neoliberalism, and is deeply opposed to multiculturalism and diversity.

    except that it seems that Reed is (for whatever reason) willing to concede that one group is “deeply and earnestly committed” to diversity and all that.

    1. flora

      Yep. Diversion. Divide and conquer.
      ‘Pay no attention to that economics behind the curtain.” – as the Wizard of Oz did not say. ;)

      Interesting that cancel culture, both on the left and right, ramped up stronger in the 2016 pres election season when it was clear that both Bernie and T had large followings. Both ran as legitimate challenges to the 90’s Wall St., neoliberal consensus existing in both parties. They were attacked during the 2016 campaigns as 1) a socialist , and 2) some sort of putinplant. Which sounds like the same attack on both a D and an R candidate, now that I think about it. ha.

  23. Winston Smith

    Nothing on re-routing COVID hospitalization data away from CDC and into another trough-like project to enrich Trump’s buddies and hide it from the public? That seems a pretty big deal to me.

    1. Wukchumni

      Worry not, I hear the President has in his employ a couple of Borscht Belt (the real one) comedians who used to toil for Tass, and yeah the testing gambit excuse wasn’t working anymore, so you have to massage the message by killing the number killed as it could be curtains for his date with destiny in November if consumers somehow found out the truth.

      If posterity should ever see this missive, let it be known we were led to our day of reckoning by what was essentially an adult version of Anthony Fremont, who repeatedly tells others that they are very bad men & women, before wishing them into the scorned field.

    2. KevinD

      All part of the plan. Trump will announce next week that COVID-19 is over. All hospitals empty.

          1. rowlf

            Oh that’s good.

            I wrote that one down on the bookmark I use for my copy of The Devil’s Dictionary.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        They’ll have to be as attentive to hiding the bodies as they were during Iraq II.

    3. marym

      You rang?
      “Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data
      Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency… But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public…

      Confirmation: Charles Ornstein @charlesornstein [ProPublica]
      I had hoped it was a glitch, but no…The @CDCgov hospital capacity dashboard has gone dark. @CDCDirector has said CDC still has access to the data but apparently the public no longer does. 8:24 AM · Jul 16, 2020

      Sternly worded letter “demanding answers about the awarding of a non-competitive, multimillion dollar contract for a seemingly duplicative data collection system.” 6/20/2020

      Too little too late:
      “Rep. Don Beyer @RepDonBeyer
      The American people need transparency from the nation’s public health agencies. The Trump Administration has politicized the pandemic response at every step, we simply can’t trust them not to. I am drafting legislation to require CDC to share this information with the public.”
      11:02 AM · Jul 16, 2020

      Unclear possible walk-back (will this be hhs-washed data?)
      “When reached for comment Thursday by CNBC, HHS spokesman Michael Caputo said in a statement that the CDC was directed to make the data available again. In the future, he said, HHS will provide “more powerful insights.” 07/16/2020

  24. Geo

    Advice needed from my cat-loving NC friends:

    My sweet girl is having kidney failure and declining fast. The doctor recommended I have her euthanized but I couldn’t do it. She is still affectionate, tries to play a little, and is sitting on the patio watching the birds as I type this.

    I want to give her as much time as she can enjoy but don’t want her to suffer for my own selfishness in holding on to her. I know she’s struggling (licks her sides often, can barely sleep, hasn’t eaten more than a small bite in three days, etc). Any of you gone through this and have any advice on knowing the signs for when “it’s time”?

    Thank you for your help.

    1. marym

      If she’ll let you pet her and enjoy the birds together for a while it may be a comfort to you both, and you can tell her again what she means to you. I’m sure your vet has advised you on how to interpret the signs, but it’s never time even when it’s time. My heart is with you. You’ll make a loving decision.

      1. Geo

        Thank you. My vet has been good but not sure if it’s his limited English or just clinical ways but he seemed intent on putting her down. Sort of ignoring his wishes and trying to let her be the one to decide. Glad I didn’t listen. She’s had two nice days in the sun since his recommendation.

        Really appreciate your words of wisdom and concern. Helps to hear from someone who has been through it.

    2. Eureka Springs

      So sorry, been there. When you know in your heart you are keeping her alive and suffering for you, not her, it’s time.

      1. Geo

        Thanks so much. Glad to hear that. Trying to make sure I’m not projecting my wishes for her to be happy on her and read her signs for what they are. So far she seems to have some determination to enjoy this world a bit longer.

    3. Bob Tetrault

      Be strong for her sake. Saying goodbye in advance is a positive. My wife cannot bear to let go of our failing pets when they are clearly in pain and suffering. It’s hard but best for the pets. Let them sleep.

    4. Rod

      my condolences for your familiar situation–not a Vet but know that path well.
      watch her water intake–as that is more crucial to functions than food and in light of kidney failure more indicative of decline

    5. ewmayer

      So sorry to hear – If you can find a kindly vet to make a house call when the time comes, so you can hold your kitty in your lap one last time while the deed of mercy is done, that would be my advice.

      Life’s hardest – and most valuable – lesson is that eventually each of us must say goodbye to everyone and everything we love.

    6. chuck roast

      Several years ago my cat, then aged around 15 was acting similarly. The vet gave us some medication that we put in his ears once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, we gave him fluids by fluffing up the back of his neck and injecting a needle with a gravity feed. He has resumed a good quality of life and he is approaching 19. The vet said that he has seen quite a bit of this in recent years. There is some indication that it is at least partially due to the flame retardant that was once widely used in furniture.

    1. ddt

      Beware the 99% claims because it’s that 1% that’s going to survive and come back and bite you in the posterior.

    2. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      Sorry to post my reply to yesterday’s posts a day later but I only visit wally mart once a day for health reasons. Usually in the early morning before crowds appear. Trying desperately to stay uninfected before the all important PCR test. Wife just told me rule is maximum of 72 hours between sample acquisition and entry to immigration in Moscow so looks like I need to find a quick lab in NYC where I can literally go from the lab to JFK. A quick search tells me the quickest turn around for PCR in the city is 1-2 days. And very expensive. I need at least 12 hours from check in at JFK to passport control in Moscow meaning at most 36 hour turn around on the test to be safe. Don’t know how that is possible. And no hard copy it seems. Only this internet system hospitals are so in love with. Not sure if Russian immigration will take that. So, as usual, lots of gut twisting as I negotiate the gauntlet to get home.

      Rev: the governor of crimea, Akseonov, locked the place down in March. Airport basically closed and testing at entry on the new bridge. Foreigners automatically put in isolation for 14 days. He understood how fragile the crimea health care system is. Think he was worried about the summer tourist season which is slowly opening this month. Real hard a## guy but kept the pandemic under control.

      Renter: I’ve been married to this Russian woman for 20 years and every day is “interesting”. She takes no prisoners so I need to be on my toes every day. 15 of those years in Crimea. These people always have something cooking. They love life but complain constantly about it. They also are very accepting. I’m the only “American” in Simferopol and, after all the sanction abuse Crimea has endured, one would think I’d get lots of abuse and threats. On the contrary, they are extremely nice. Everyone in our neighborhood knows I’m with “her” and my wife is very well liked. They actually look out for me and tolerate my lack of language skills. Contrast that with how many foreigners are treated in America.

      1. Olga

        Best of luck… sure the beauty of Crimea compensates for many other shortcomings. Have you thought of flying to an EU country (maybe Vienna, A), take the test (at the airport) and then a 2-3 hr flight to Moscow? Provided flights from US are allowed… not sure that is the case, though.

    1. RMO

      Makes me glad Google refuses to believe that I am me and that my phone is mine which prevents me from downloading and installing any apps from their store – not that I’ve been too tempted really though there was a time when being able to open a .pdf on my phone would have been useful. The internet at the airfield was out and I needed to download and read a manual that I forgot to bring with me. I ended up driving ten minutes to a store parking lot which had wifi that my laptop could access to get the work done.

      I sometimes wonder if the problem is that although I have a Google account (foisted upon me first for school and later work) I don’t use a Gmail account with it but instead gave them my alternate address on Hotmail.

  25. Pat

    No proof what so ever but does anybody else remember the meltdown Robe had when Obama won Ohio? And that Anonymous claimed that they had hacked the machines and taken OUT the fix.

    Figured that one wasn’t contested because it would remain the same (and Anonymous was telling the truth) or that Obama won it in such huge numbers the fix didn’t work. My bet was on door number one.

  26. flora

    re: The Comfort of Cash -FT

    A good article. This line, however, hit a clanking note because it lacks context:

    In June, the Fed cautioned banks that consumers were depositing less change and the US Mint had been producing fewer coins as it carried out social distancing at its plants. As a result, the central bank is currently limiting its distribution of small change to banks.

    Without context it sounds like people are trying to hold onto coins more than usual. But one context is this: from late March until late June or early July, many many many banks closed their lobbies to walk-in customers. All banking was done online, at drive-through tellers, or at ATMs. What does this have to do with a coin shortage or apparent hoarding? Simple: the coin counting machines used to exchange coins for paper bills are located in bank lobbies or behind the lobby tellers’ counter. Many, many people couldn’t exchange coins during the April to late June time frame.

    Banks lobbies are mostly open again to walk-in customers; the coin counting machines are again available.

    1. Wukchumni

      I think there’s an ulterior motive combined with your theory, and that is the powers that be realize that coins make an excellent vector for the virus, and similar to masks, they’re just bullshitting us.

      They’ve minted 8 billion Cents per year the past decade, to give you an idea.

      1. chuck roast

        I’m voting for the guy who bans the penny. That’s what i call a concrete material benefit.

        1. flora

          Pennies add up. No pennies? Instead of $1.23 for something the price would be $1.25. If you think $1.22 would now be $1.20, good luck with that. That’s just what you see. What about things like excise tax on every item produced and added to the manufacturing cost? You don’t see those but they’re there, and you pay them in the checkout price. Multiply by millions of pennies…

            1. RMO

              We did away with the penny a while back here in Canada. It didn’t send us into an economic black hole.

  27. ewmayer

    “Chinese GDP grows 3.2% in second quarter | FT” — At first I thought they meant “compared to Q1”, but no, they mean YoY. LOL, suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure it did. And monkeys flew out of my butt.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      It’s a different system from the U.S.

      Banks are told how much credit they are required to extend each quarter. Hence how much money is created. It’s very possible that grew 3.2%. MMT, anyone?

      They have a sovereign currency, whereas ours is issued by private commercial entities.

    1. RMO

      I believe you are right! I remember seeing them when we were on Mull last year. (the only cross ocean trip I’ve ever done in my life – glad we scheduled it for last year!)

  28. flora

    re: Moral Cruelty and the Left.

    Thanks very much for this link. I’ve read it once and need to read it again.

    1. flora

      These lines stand out for me.

      A “humanitarianism unshaken by skepticism and unmindful of its limitations,” she concluded, can indeed be crueler than more obvious and brutal forms of violence it seeks to resist.

      We must be afraid, above all, that our disgust with these cruelties may lead us to abandon the moral life entirely, beckoning a new barbarism.

      Good stuff.

      I was perplexed by her references to Christianity until I thought perhaps she was commenting on both its moral teachings and its long direct political power in European countries (divine right, etc.) during the pre-Enlightment age; and the manias of inquisition and witch hunts and control of learning (Galileo) it fostered when it had that political power. These are 2 different aspects of the christian church. Perhaps by “ex-Christian” society she meant “ex-church controlled ” politics and society. I need to read her longer essay.

    2. flora

      This line stood out for me.

      A “humanitarianism unshaken by skepticism and unmindful of its limitations,” she concluded, can indeed be crueler than more obvious and brutal forms of violence it seeks to resist.

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