Links 7/22/2020

Scientists accidentally create the “sturddlefish” — a new fish hybrid from two endangered species CBS

The last frontier: oil industry scales back exploration FT

Frackers Are in Crisis, Endangering America’s Energy Renaissance Bloomberg. Weird sort of renaissance, being based on an industry that was never profitable.

There goes the dollar The Reformed Broker

Self-driving industry takes to the highway after robotaxi failure FT. Called it (2016; 2017).

Amazon gets priority while mail gets delayed, say letter carriers Portland Press Herald (dk). And ballots?

Burger King wins dismissal of vegans’ lawsuit over Impossible Whopper Reuters

Rock Dust Could Be Farming’s Next Climate Solution Smithsonian

This makeup ingredient could destroy 99% of ‘forever chemicals’ Grist (Re Silc). PFAS killer?


Aerosol and Surface Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) medRxiv (via). From the body of the study: “Air samples in the rooms and in the hallway spaces (Figure 1B, and Tables S1 and S2) provide information about airborne viral shedding in these facilities. We found 63.2% of in-room air . samples to be positive by RT-PCR… [C]ell culture indicated some evidence for the presence of replication competent virus.” See the link at “via” for the Agence France Presse summary for the methodology in human-readable prose. To my knowledge, this is the first study to trace a pathway from the actual breath of individuals to infectiousness (“replication competent”).

* * *

5 key takeaways from Tuesday’s big coronavirus vaccine hearing Politico. C-SPAN video (KC).

Double-Shot Covid Vaccines Multiply Immunization Challenges Bloomberg

The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19 BBC (J-LS). Interesting round-up.

* * *

Fairfax, Loudoun, Montgomery call for all-virtual start to school year, scrapping earlier plans WaPo

What the U.S. Can Learn From Other Countries About Reopening Schools in a Coronavirus Pandemic Time

Missouri governor’s comments on coronavirus, McCloskeys raise eyebrows St Louis Post-Dispatch. “”These kids have got to get back to school,” [Missouri Gov. Mike Parson] told [talk-radio host Marc Cox]. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”

A focus group on #COVID19 with college students returning for the fall semester. Thread:

Interesting and useful. Over to you, administrators!

* * *

COVID-19: What the Administration Knows and What They’re Telling Us Mike the Mad Biologist

Shaming people who refuse to wear face masks isn’t a good look. Guardian

Thinking of Traveling in the U.S.? These States Have Travel Restrictions NYT. “Nearly half of the states have strict measures in place for visitors, from mandatory testing to quarantine requirements.” To be updated.


China Says US Has Ordered It To Close Houston Consulate In What It Calls A Provocation That Violates International Law AP

How a misunderstanding about Chinese characters has led many astray Pinyin News Blog

Thai rice exporters cut 2020 forecast to 6.5 million tonnes, lowest in 20 years Channel News Asia


To battle Covid-19, India needs to be transparent about its mortality data (J-LS).

Solidarity Statement to End Caste Practices in Silicon Valley and the USA India Civil Watch


It is too late for Joe Biden or any other president to restore America’s leadership in the Middle East Independent (Re Silc). That’s a damn shame.

United Arab Emirates successfully sends its first mission toward Mars Spaceflight Now. Japanese booster.


UK abandons hope of US trade deal by end of year FT

Russia report: UK considers tougher security laws after criticism by MPs BBC

The Mercenary Who Botched a Maduro Coup Is Lying Low in Florida Businessweek

Trump Transition

New Congressional Stimulus Would Provide National Tip Jar For All Americans Making Under $40,000 The Onion

NY Dems Created McConnell’s Corporate Immunity Template Amid A Flood of Cash David Sirota, Too Much Information (GF). Well, just because one party comes up with a good idea doesn’t mean the other party shouldn’t adopt it.

Trump shifts rhetoric as he urges mask-wearing, warns of worsening pandemic Reuters

As Trump Threatens Secret Police Deployment Nationwide, Democrats Debate Expanding Surveillance Powers and New Money for DHS The Intercept. Biden will need that.

Different Names, Same Address: How Big Businesses Got Government Loans Meant for Small Businesses Pro Publica


Nothing would fundamentally change” (vs. “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change” –Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard). Via UserFriendly:

In Defense of Litmus Tests. Briahna Joy Gray, Current Affairs

New York City’s Election Mess Gives White House Ammunition In War On Mail-In Voting HuffPo

22% of Mail-In Votes Never Get Counted Greg Palast. I hate to seem pessimistic, but:

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter to crack down on conspiracy theory group Our FT

Down the rabbit hole: how QAnon conspiracies thrive on Facebook Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

USS Bonhomme Richard boasts zero COVID-19 cases Duffel Blog

Police State Watch

Federal Officers Tear Gas Moms and Dads: A Digest of the 54th Night of Portland Protests Portland Mercury

What You Need To Know About The Battle of Portland Bellingcat. I know what Bellingcat is; this link is here because it’s Bellingcat.

I Know How to Cover a Portland Protest. So Why Am I Shaking? Courthouse News

Eudaly Rule Would Order Portland Police To Stop Cooperating With Federal Officers Oregon Public Broadcasting

Photo gallery of Portland protests:

* * *

“Disturbing And Demoralizing”: DHS Employees Are Worried The Portland Protest Response Is Destroying Their Agency’s Reputation Buzzfeed

A Tale Of Two Camdens NPR

The hidden hand that uses money to reform troubled police departments NBC

Near and Present Anarchy The Baffler

Class Warfare

Union-led protests express solidarity with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Times

Ambitious investments in child and elder care could boost labor supply enough to support 3 million new jobs Economic Policy Institute

‘Dangerous road hazard’: Texas police warn motorists of tire-flattening spikes scattered on major highway USA Today. Odd.

Should We Cancel Aristotle? NYT

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. shtove

    As I scrolled down the antidote du jour, for some reason I expected it to end in the head of a hippopotamus.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gotta say that as I was scrolling down that image, that I at first thought that it looked like painted flames against a slate background.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I thought “maybe the elaborate tail of a koi fish???” Great antidote and links as usual, and thanks to all at NC for keeping up with the tsunami we’re riding.

      1. Wukchumni

        Some years ago our friends were up in the National Park near Wuksachi Lodge with their golden retriever who was about 10 at the time, and they were sitting there having lunch when 4 deer formed a skirmish line about 100 feet away, which had them mystified until they realized the stag party had thought Bailey was a mountain lion.

  2. Stephen V.

    Re: Schools re-opening? Football teams? Churches?
    “What we need to be measuring is who is infectious, not who has 1 viral particle in their system.” Medcram #98:::
    We have the ability to do at home saliva with inexpensive paper testing DAILY with results in 10 min. ! Everyone testing means NO contract tracing.
    These tests are less sensitive but who cares about peeps who are no longer infectious but are getting a positive result 10 days after testing (with the $100 per RT-PCR test)?
    As it now stands if little Johnny is positive 1/2 his classmates will be quarantined. Teachers are threatened with paycuts if fewer butts in the seats. C’mon peeps.

    1. Code Name D

      Reopening schools would be a disaster for Kansas, given that much of the school system has been consolidated. Small towns that are mostly isolated from Covid because of their remoteness, would suddenly be placed in the pandemic firing line. And these communities do not have the resources to deal with the pandemic and reside in medical-deserts. They live hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital so ambulance and ambulance-helicopters would be quickly overtaxed. It’s like a Disney-fied Armageddon.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Reopening schools would be a disaster for Kansas, given that much of the school system has been consolidated. Small towns that are mostly isolated from Covid because of their remoteness, would suddenly be placed in the pandemic firing line.

        Excellent point. It’s the same in Maine. We’ve had successive waves of consolidation, but I confess that the idea that consolidated schools were pandemic-spreading did not occur to me.

    1. dougie

      As of yesterday, 49% of Wake County students were enrolled in the totally online academy initially, according to WRAL news. That was before the reopening plan was announced. Sign ups will reopen, now that parents can see how the plan will affect their households. Just short of 75,000 students, so far.

      1. campbeln

        Even in the little Republicanville I call home, 9% of students had been opted into the 100% distance learning option with an additional 2% into the 3/2 hybrid approach.

        This is a place where until 3/4 weeks ago no more than 30% of people were wearing masks in public.

      2. Gc54

        Was told today of growing demand here in NC for “monitors”, each of whom would be assigned to keep a handful of at-home students on track w online instructor’s lessons and work material. The parents are organizing this themselves, seeking under-employed recent college graduates. Cost is shared across the parents who can then work presumably at home with fewer interruptions.

  3. John A

    Re the Independent: It is too late for Joe Biden or any other president to restore America’s leadership in the Middle East

    I got as far as this: And in 2013 the Obama-Biden administration ignored the “red line” Assad had passed when his forces used chemical weapons against innocent civilians, killing more than 1,300 people after Russia had promised to dismantle Assad’s arsenal of chemical weapons.

    And realised it was 2-fer drivel. Both reporting as flat fact the much disputed claim that Assad had used chemical weapons and then that perfidious Putin had clearly ‘lied’ about dismantling such weapons. I dont know how the Independent found space for this, considering the british media stenographers are mainlining on the utterly evidence free Russia Report.

    1. Olga

      The article is a good example of a correct diagnosis, based on twisted/faulty facts. Sounds like some neocon clutching pearls, helplessly and hopelessly.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The article is a compendium of fantasies and oldthink.

        “Obama, for example, chose to take the back seat in Libya and Syria, and couldn’t stop the war in Yemen “

        What exactly would His Blackness The First taking a front seat in Libya have looked like? Tens of thousands of sorties bombing the country with the highest standard of living in Africa back to The Stone Age were not enough? (But oh, look, they were NATOs and Sarkozy’s jets, uh huh).

        And His Wonderfulness could have stopped our contribution to the Yemen genocide with one phone call.

        Or The Obama Doctrine in Egypt: “Let’s have an election” became “Oops they chose the wrong guy (Morsi), call in the generals”.

        Or this pearl: “What is Biden’s plan for the Gulf’s security?” I would ask: “What is the Gulf’s plan for the Gulf’s security?” Pox Americana is not the answer.

        The author inadvertently finds the answer: “This convinced the regional powers that linking their countries’ security to that of the US is a prescription for chaos, and they should take care of their own national interests.. What a novel concept.

  4. Howard Beale IV

    That’s pretty rich that Florida still has a travel restriction for NY while they’re cooking with gas without outside help…

  5. Krystyn Podgajski

    Ha, ok, so I cannot help myself. T Cells, yeah, the zinc that I talked about yesterday in the Watercooler, but I saw this in my science feeds this morning:

    Autopsies reveal surprising cardiac changes in COVID-19 patients

    unlike the first SARS coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 was not present in heart muscle cells. Nor were there occluding blood clots in the coronary arteries.

    “These findings, along with severely enlarged right ventricles, may indicate extreme stress on the heart secondary to acute pulmonary disease,”

    There is a reason I know about “Right ventricular hypertrophy”, my older brother died at 46 from an enlarged heart. And so I already knew the link to zinc…

    The zinc transporter, ZIP12, regulates the pulmonary vascular response to chronic hypoxia

    Inter-cross of heterozygous animals generated homozygous (ZIP12−/−), heterozygous (ZIP12+/−) and wild-type rats that were then exposed to hypoxia (10%O2) for 2 weeks. ZIP12−/− rats demonstrated lower pulmonary artery pressures, right ventricular hypertrophy and vascular remodelling than wild-type rats (Fig. 4a-c; Extended Data Fig. 6a-d) with ZIP12+/− rats exhibiting an intermediate phenotype.

    Basically, they took away the rats ability to transport zinc into the cells (ZIP14 gene) and their ventricles became enlarged when they were starved for air, like when you have fluid in your lungs. Here is a human study.

    So I am assuming that these poor folk failed the genetic lottery when it comes to COVID19.

    And when they talk about the after effects of COVID? Well welcome to my life of an undiagnosed zinc deficiency. Loss of taste and smell, psychological symptoms, chronic fatigue, palpitations, muscle aches, pins and needles…

    1. HotFlash

      A big (well-distanced) hug to you, Krystyn, and a question: Dr. Ghandi spoke about cellular immunity being required “as you know, because this is a virus”. I didn’t know, so I did some reading but a lot was too technical for me to follow (not in my skill set, but getting more literate, thanks to NC, Lambert Ignacio and *you*). Cellular as opposed to, contradistinct from, or as well as humoral immunity?

      Can you tell me/us a bit about the types of immunity (which I just found out about yesterday) and what they have to do with Zn? For instance, does fighting the corona virus sap or bind Zn or interfere Zn uptake, resulting in a deficiency? And that deficiency might *cause* an identitoo muchfying symptom of Covid, to wit, loss of senses of taste and smell, which is, as you note, a symptom of Zn deficiency.

      Please explain slowly, as if to a child. Thank you.

      PS we’re taking 40 plus 11mg per day, I have read that this is too much — maybe I should just take the 40mg sup every other day? halve the capsules? Could get messy!~

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Zinc deficiency will affect both humeral and cellular immunity. That is all you need to know really.

        If you read this paper without worring about all the stuff you do not understand you will pick up some stuff.


        Zn supplementation effectively improves immunity on the one hand and efficiently ameliorates chronic dysfunctional inflammatory responses on the other.

        And the virus increases our immune response and our immune system uses the zinc. Intracellular zinc probably interferes with Viral replication in the cell as well.

        I will not tell you how much to take. I would say if you have nasuea you probably have enough zinc. I was eating a can of oysters every other day and my serum levels just above the low threshold so I have no idea. Serum tests might not even be a good marker. It might be that I have much more zinc in me that is not in the plasma but somewhere else. But I do not think so.

        1. Cuibono

          my own experience with Magnesium (and that of my siblings) tells me that serum levels are not always a reliable marker of deficiency.

        2. HotFlash

          Thank you so much for this. I am fine, nausea-wise, but the DH is reporting severe headaches lately. He tends to have them but this is worse than usual so I will suggest he do the Zn supp every other day to see. I have arthritis and I see that there are prelim studies that suggest Zn might help with that. Now, off I go the read “Roles of Zinc Signaling in the Immune System”. Dziękuję.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    Near and present anarchy–

    There’s plenty of much-needed truth in this piece, but the solution is off-key:

    What about the nation’s soul? The word sounds odd when Joe Biden uses it in his presidential campaign, yet it is apropos. For the secular humanists among us, American culture is all we have to believe in. For many children and grandchildren of immigrants, patriotism consists of a embattled but enduring faith in the Enlightenment principles, however contradictory in practice, that saved our parents and grandparents from extermination.

    That’s especially surprising coming from a writer focused on environmental issues. The Enlightenment was the wrong road taken, or at least a road that we stayed on for too long. Our inability to live within our environment, our lust for power over nature, even our worship of the Market as justified by all the pretty charts and graphs, all arise from the potentially fatal dualism that resides within the Enlightenment.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      “all arise from the potentially fatal dualism that resides within the Enlightenment”

      Yes, yes, yes.

      In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.

      God created dualism. And then humans. He tried to hide that first mistake from the humans by hiding them in a nice garden. But then the humans found out about it thanks to that lousy snake.

      Thus, the enlightenment, to me, arises from the original sin, and so is inherently sinful.


      There was something formless and perfect
      before the universe was born.

      It is serene. Empty.
      Solitary. Unchanging.
      Infinite. Eternally present.
      It is the mother of the universe.
      For lack of a better name,
      I call it the Tao.

      It flows through all things,
      inside and outside, and returns
      to the origin of all things.

      The Tao is great.
      The universe is great.
      Earth is great.
      Man is great.
      These are the four great powers.

      Man follows the earth.
      Earth follows the universe.

      The universe follows the Tao.
      The Tao follows only itself.

      1. Foy

        Welcome back Krystyn! Love the Tao and similar philosophies and ideas. I’m curious, yesterday you said Bernardo Kastrup ‘was close :)’. May I ask who, in your mind, is the closest?! I like this subject so could use some additional authors/reading/suggestions while stuck in lockdown at the moment.

        And if they come for you again, as they say in the classic, ‘be like water’! My little technique/mind trick in moments like those is to view my body and mind as completely transparent/hollow and picture those negative waves (hattip Sgt Oddball!) passing thru me without interaction or influence, like a neutrino thru the earth.

    2. pjay

      “There’s plenty of much-needed truth in the piece, but the solution is off-key.”

      I had a similar reaction as I worked my way through this long article. “Failed states,” “tribalism,” the “incredible deadness of being” (in neoliberal market hell) — I take all these very seriously. But something was off in this discussion. It gradually dawned on me that this is an excellent example of a *liberal* analysis; a good description of problems up to a point, but oblivious to deeper causes and, of course, very partisan. The hints were there; the list of responsible Bad Guys were mainly Margaret Thatcher, Republicans (Reagan, Bush) — and above all TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP. This is clear near the end. Forgive the long quote, but for those who don’t have time to plow through a much longer article:

      “…It is, perhaps, no coincidence then that American voters are reaching back to a time when faith in institutions was strong. The bipartisan friendship between Joe Biden and the late senator John McCain represents their shared fealty to institutionalism. At the 2017 Munich Security conference, McCain gave a eulogy for the post-war era.”

      “Never much of a scholar, McCain exhibited a masterful vision of world affairs. He spoke of World War II as the bloody birth of the Western alliance, “a new and different and better kind of world order, one based not on blood-and-soil nationalism, or spheres of influence, or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on universal values, rule of law, open commerce, and respect for the national sovereignty and independence.” McCain warned that the West, and perhaps the world order itself, might not survive Trump’s presidency. “In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there was a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.”

      “The speech was a coda to an American life, a eulogy for the twentieth century, an American era not unmarked by self-interest and realpolitik, certainly, but a time when it was assumed that the country was at least striving for liberal values. From opposite sides of the aisle, John McCain and Joe Biden were united by their belief in the post-World War II world order. Assuming that he wins the nomination and the presidency, Joe Biden must strive not merely to restore America’s alliances but also counter the growing dominance of China. He will also have an economic crisis on his hands.”

      McCain, Biden, and their bipartisan “belief in the post-World War II world order”?? You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me! Despite a few obligatory liberal tweaks of the IMF and Obama’s deference to Goldman Sachs, this author seems oblivious to the *crucial* links between this “order” and the misery of West Africa — not to mention all the problems of the contemporary US she so accurately describes. It is stunning to see someone so perceptive hit that Wall beyond which Liberal analysts dare not go. But how else can we see McCain/Biden as heroic liberal icons?

      1. Big River Bandido

        “McCain was never much of a scholar.”

        That’s a nice way of saying McCain was dumb as a post.

      2. tongorad

        What’s that smell? Notes of Grand Bargain are in the air!
        Trump Derangement Syndrome will be leveraged by the Biden administration to do some mighty big deficit reduction. Biden is the ultimate reach-across-the-aisle con man. The soul of a nation needs a great unifier after the scary bad Orange Man. Sorry Grandma, we can’t afford your medicines.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I used to believe in the TDS analogy. That it was a virus that could be recovered from.

          I now think that is a misdiagnosis. I think the correct diagnosis is that the national body politic has had a stroke. Large swaths of formerly functional grey matter have gone permanently dark.

          Stroke victims often display aphasia: “the inability to understand what one hears, reads, or says”. So it’s completely congruent that The Biden is the correct leader.

          The reacharound will be epic. Citizens with functioning neo-cortexes (neo-cortices?) will be the ones suffering aphasia symptoms, while the rest will be in a comforting CNN-induced dream state. White really will be black, war really will be peace, and ignorance really will be strength.

  7. zagonostra

    >The Great Withdrawal

    Bernie, Tulsi, and to a much lesser degree Warren, generated some excitement and, in my case, willingness to get involved directly through financial donations and attempts at engaging family and friends to support their nomination to the Dem Ticket. Now I am drawn to a viewpoint adopted by a good friend and professional philosopher (teaches philosophy at a large college in State College, PA). That viewpoint is pivoting to cultivating self and drawing closer to God, leaving the ephemera of the daily news to work themselves out without my eyeballs.

    As my coming over her for my daily dose of reasoned news, such a posture hasn’t quite worked out for me. I know both political Parties and the corrupt political class (with the MSM and all the attendant mechanism of psyop control and commercialism that entails) they represent are firmly in control and don’t give a rat’s (p)arse about providing a decent life for the great majority of citizens (e.g., M4A, affordable higher education etc…). I keep waiting for some liminal, break-out moment, some leader to seize control, and I hear my friend (in my head) telling me it ain’t going to happen. The world is in sin and corruption, get right (Justified) with God and events will unfold as He so has deems. Strengthen the things that remain.

    The hardest part in taking such a viewpoint is to listen to friends/family get on the Dem or Rep mind-twisting bus and offer condemnation of the opposing side while never having the strength or courage to say, enough, I’m getting off. Of course if they do, as I have, then you wake up in some strange land, at a cross section without stop, or any other signs, and wondering, now what what?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’m with you in Rockland, Zag.
      for most of my life, since long before i could vote, it was instilled in my by my grandparents(Great Depression, WW2, New Deal) that it’s my duty to take part in the political process…and that that responsibility includes a bunch of things beyond mere voting.
      so this is in my political dna, and it’s hard as hell to look at the news right now…and peer into that basement where the “Opposition Leaser” is…and feel like any of it matters beyond people i actually know and live around.
      Conservadems waffling and obstructing the DHS renewal(Ryan Grim, Intercept) is just another cherry on the pile.
      Wandering through the living room, here and at moms, and hearing the rhetoric…and comparing it with what’s happening…does not encourage confidence that there still is a country worth emerging from my Hermit Kingdom for.
      I’ll go and vote, of course…Green all the way…but at this point it’s almost performative.
      I want to see if there’s any shenanigans out here on Voting Day.
      I expect nothing whatever to change for the better…just perhaps be a little better hidden behind a more disciplined messaging operation, and without the blatant display we’re currently enjoying.
      That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of biden and his majority in the demparty,lol.

      1. jefemt

        I think that you all are part of a different WOKE moment/ movement. The 8-10 percent who may go to polls for local state, but either leave the Pres open, unvoted, or write-in whomsoever.

        I was a bit shocked in a sister county here in flyover country— County Courthouse— I overheard Clerk and Recorder carping about their vote count audit being off, and she added, “But then I remembered the write-ins that we don’t count….”

        Kind if stuck in my craw.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Don’t count write-ins, eh? Do they count ballots with some of the lines left blank, as in . . . not voted about? If they do, then that is a way for people to make their ” I vote NO!” presence known.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        couldn’t find my glasses.

        i doubt any longer that anything i say or do can have any effect on what goes on in washington…and only a little bit in austin(with much effort and hardship, of course…but i can actually go there and yell at those people…the big pink granite brothel is only 120 miles away, rather than 3000)
        where i can have an effect…proven over many years of patient socratic discourse…is right here in my home county.
        that’s where my efforts will be focused.
        autarky and a more robust esprit di corps with those closest to me, in service of feeding ourselves, mainly.
        at some point, the current denial that all this is anything but a temporary blip will slip away, even among the movers and shakers out here…and the realisation of our failed statehood will penetrate even their rosy optimism…but not yet,lol.
        it’s a testament to the 50 year Mindf*ck that it’s apparently gonna take bodies in the streets for certain people to start entertaining alternative solutions to our numerous problems, instead of hoping real hard that we’ll just go back to a pre-trump/pre-covid “Normal”.
        I look at the census data, etc for my county, and see the percentage that relies, in some way, on federal and state money…from ssi, to social security to medicaid/medicare/VA, to funding for our 3 largest employers(county. city and school)…
        the withdrawal of federal and state aid will induce a state of shock, i expect.
        Then maybe we can begin thinking about dual institutions.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          George Mobiot, in an article published at, points out that most of us have no desire to return to that halcyon “Normal” so prized by so many of our bidnessmen:

          The polls on this issue are also clear: we do not want to return to this madness. A YouGov survey suggests that eight out of 10 people want the government to prioritise health and wellbeing above economic growth during the pandemic, and six out of 10 would like it to stay that way when (or if) the virus abates. A survey by Ipsos produced a similar result: 58% of British people want a green economic recovery, while 31% disagree. As in all such polls, Britain sits close to the bottom of the range. By and large, the poorer the nation, the greater the weight its people give to environmental issues. In China, in the same survey, the proportions are 80% and 16%, and in India, 81% and 13%. The more we consume, the more our moral imagination atrophies.

          1. Mr. House

            Yeah but with the same people in control, not so sure you’re going to like the new normal.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Our governators will try to re-impose a new and improved Good Old Days 2.0., especially if the Biden is elected. We who have limited time and limited energy can afford to spend only but just so much of it in trying to resist the Good Old Days 2.0 Lockdown the Bidenists will want to impose.

            Those who want to live better than the old Normal will have to try living better-than-normal in the right-here right-now today time. Different people will have to figure out what that means for them in their different ways. And then they might even try and live it.

            Those who want to see some economic de-growth of some sectors can start living with less of the product and service of those sectors starting right now today. For example . . . don’t approve of Roundup? Spend more money ( if you have it) buying Roundup-free food. Spend more time growing your own Roundup-free food.

            If you have a job and you can afford to live without Overtime pay, avoid doing Overtime. Refuse and decline every promotion opportunity that is offered. That is what I have done at my job for the last 35 years. I am still the same Pharmacy Technician I that I was when I first got hired here. And on and on and on.

            Passive obstruction. Uncivil obedience. Consumer slowdown. ” Buy Nothing Day” is a gesture but buy less EACH day can be a real thing. Live your daily consumer life in the direction of exterminating those businesses and industries whose existence you disapprove of. etc. etc. etc.

            Oh and by the way, if I were a genuine Black Flag Anarchist, I would vote for Trump. Under a Trump Term Two, the prospects for social explosion and violent demolitions of society all over America creating a plane of rubble for the New Anarchism to grow in would be very promising.

    2. carl

      I’ve given up on US politics as well. The intricacies of the coming election no longer have any interest for me.

    3. Chris Hargens

      I agree with your thoughts and feelings. I’m still getting requests for donations and support from Bernie, but….

      1. Aumua

        Bernie who? OH right yeah… that guy. What was his deal again? I can’t really remember.

    4. barefoot charley

      A time for everything, and everything has its season. When I was neck-deep in politics and dismay, I used to remind myself, “Sometimes I’m an activist, and sometimes I’m an entropist.” I think you have to be, or you become a hoarse burn-out–which doesn’t even achieve entropic doom.

    5. kate

      I must say, this comment galvanized me. I am a lapsed and wary Christian, but to recognize the power of sin and corruption in our present clusterf*ck is a vital release for me. I feel like I have been way too personally outraged, in plenty of ways destructive to my physical and mental wellbeing. What if I don’t have to own it all? What if it’s OK to get deeper, yes, and wider in spiritual consciousness, find peace and strength in the fact that the forces extant are bigger than me, and perhaps best combated through quiet and humility and peace? What if Biden V Trump has no power to personally destroy me? I am down with strengthening that which remains.
      It may sound facile but feels like the good work of a (remaining) lifetime.

  8. flora

    re: Portland protest photo gallery (1)

    That first picture of graffiti … I shouldn’t laugh… but sure looks like the graffitist loves big strong men in uniform… cruising the protest for a date?

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Lots of lonely hearts, looking for love in Portland. In this touching vignette, many of them demonstrate their unrequited love for the big strong men in their dapper uniforms.

      Oh why do they retreat from love, those big bold men? The lovelorn outside just want a hug, or a kiss!

      Ahhhh…to be young and in love again.

    2. Off The Street

      If you want more on-the-ground footage, you could do worse than look at the photos and videos from Andy Ngo, regardless of how you may feel about him.

      1. furies

        Can somebody here tell me just what “antifa” is? Is it a real thing or does it only exist in Faux News supporter’s minds?

        Is “black bloc” the same thing?

        and why doesn’t anyone talk about infiltrators and provocateurs?

        I need something in my arsenal to push back on the rabid narrative that exists in my very red area.


          1. furies

            So much bullsh** out there sorry I thought it would be easier to get a source that’s reliable by casting a net here. Because when I *have* looked, the results were confusing.

            But OK. Don’t ask the commentariate to do my homework, eh?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Actually,offering helpful links when asked by a commenter might be a sign of inter-commenter solidarity.

          2. Massinissa

            That’s not actually helpful advice, considering that googling for information on them will mostly come up with propaganda and puff pieces on how big a threat they are, when they basically don’t exist as an actual organization.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Look them up!

            I think it’s fine to ask. Personally, it makes me sick that antifa/black bloc events get enormous coverage, and strikes (rental and workplace) get no virtually none.

        1. Grebo

          The Wikipedia page on the Antifa “movement” seems to be a good source.

          Likewise the one on the black bloc “tactic”.

          Police infiltration and provocateurs are SOP. The media are not interested because it would undermine their pro-establishment narrative.

        2. Yasha

          My understanding is that antifa is a philosophy/approach to anti-fascism, with the belief that it is always necessary to challenge and confront expressions of fascism. It’s not an organization, although some cities have anti-fascist groups which participate in protests along with other activist groups.

          Black bloc is a name given to leftist anarchists who perform group actions that might include vandalism & fisticuffs while masked and dressed in black. According to legend, they are most prevalent around the cities of Eugene, OR and Olympia, WA, often living in squats and eating vegan diets. During the WTO demonstrations in downtown Seattle, black bloc individuals from Oregon were accused by other protestors of escalating tensions by such acts as setting dumpsters on fire. They operate more clandestinely and invite themselves to protests.

          I think black bloc people would see themselves as antifa, in that they forcefully confront fascists as part of their overall activities of forceful confrontation. They’ve become the stereotype of the “antifa super soldiers” who show up from out of town to cause mischief, but they don’t represent antifa as a whole.

            1. Yasha

              I think there are lot of instances of police posing as black-clad, property-damaging anarchists to give activists a bad name, but I also think there also genuine anarchists that match the black bloc profile, or at least there used to be.

              In the nineties, when Green Tortoise ran a twice-weekly “hippie” bus between Seattle and San Francisco, I once traveled south along with a number of young people who were going to Oakland to attend an anarchist conference/gathering. Several of them were enthusiastically looking forward to a “Day of Action” that was going to involve various forms of vandalism. I don’t think young, rowdy, idealistic anarchists have gone away, at least on the west coast.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Maybe not all of them, but certainly some of them that it doesn’t even matter that some of them are not.

              The provocateurs and the true believers share the same desire to start violent riots between police and protesters. The police know this and they share this desire. And so do the governators who send the police into situations in order to create space and a reason for black block to operate.

        3. Dan

          Chris Hedges spoke about black bloc and antifa on the Jimmy Dore show a while back. He has personal, on-the-ground experience with both. The proverbial long-story-short is that he doesn’t care for either of them, knows for a fact that both, but particularly black bloc, are infiltrated by the feds as a counterinsurgency tactic and used to make the entire protest movement look bad. He said it’s laughable that antifa would ever be considered a terrorist organization, saying they’re the equivalent of the girl scouts on the world stage of terrorists.

          The infiltrators segment of the interview starts around 26:20 with a cointelpro lead-in. The entire show is well worth watching:

        4. curlydan

          at this point, antifa and black bloc are pretty much anything you want them to be. And it seems like people want them to be a lot of different things.

  9. timbers

    As Trump Threatens Secret Police Deployment Nationwide, Democrats Debate Expanding Surveillance Powers and New Money for DHS The Intercept. Biden will need that.

    Have not seen any reports of Trump going to the same folks – like the FBI and various spy agencies – and ordering then to start spying on Biden’s campaign in order to sabotage it like Obama did against Trump in 2016 to help Hillary.

    I’m surprised. I expected Trump would demand equal play this time around. Not saying he would get it, because the agencies that spied on him were advancing their own agendas against Trump. But Trump seems to get tit for tat. Bad call I made on this several years ago, perhaps.

    1. km

      To be fair, I am not aware that Obama ordered the various alphabet agencies to spy on the Trump campaign.

      AFAICT, the torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists did that one on their own initiative, and later enlisted the Administration as a sort of afterthought.

      1. timbers

        My understanding, is Obama knew what was going on, could have stopped it, yet instead classified the worthless, known junk info used so that it could used as The Word Of God’s Own Truth before FISA in order to get an illegal warrant to spy on Trump&Co,

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        That Clapper, Comey, Brennan, Lynch, Clinton, and the rest of the coup-conspirators did so without the boss knowing.

        Seems about as likely as swine achieving heavier-than-air flight after emerging from the bottom end of my gastro-intestinal tract.

  10. ObjectiveFunction

    Re “Near and Present Anarchy”, a couple of interesting parallels, which will please those looking for their “hell in a handbasket” fix.

    But IMHO, the writer also displays the usual Blue Bubble TDS + reductionist contempt for heavily armed (Anglo) zombie rednecks. And her historical analysis is similarly hopscotch , almost Friedmanesque at times. This could have been a far better piece.

    Here’s the nub: The withering of the nation-state brings: the rise of tribalism, big man politics, and above all, the Sell Game…. Sierra Leone’s Sell Game – rival armies looting the countryside while vying for control of the country’s illicit diamond trade – exemplifies state failure’s central characteristic: in a collapsed state, the market rules to the exclusion of any other concerns.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      As I think on it further, Zafkin tried to shoot a charging rhino using 20 gauge birdshot.

      She sets out a very arresting central thesis: Failed State: Yes, It Can Happen Here! Fine, fair enough, I can buy that.

      …but then lapses into scattered TDS pearl-clutching and hoary cliches about voluntary social contract, frontier spirit and mass shooters. Kind of a Park Slope version of that old New Yorker cover, with the generic hinterland across the Hudson arbitrarily labeled with the various inbred Anglodoms of Albion’s Seed. The Other.

      1. flora

        Your reference to that famous New Yorker cover reminded me of something: US MSM blindness to half of the country.

        A side effect of off-shoring US manufacturing from Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan, for example, is the major daily newpapers, like the NYT, pulled back their business/manufacturing/labor reporting desks from those states. After the reporting desks left the areas the NYT, for example, lost sight of those states as places of ordinary people and businesses and regular life. After a while those and other states became a fuzzy hinterland of strange people with odd ways in flyover country to the NYT reporters, imo. Reporters now only ventured out to the Ohio valley or the upper Midwest to cover a national convention from time to time, or to do an ‘anthropology’ field trip . ;)

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Nailed it.

          That was also a salient feature of the ‘Drinking Alone‘ piece linked here yesterday: Hipster beer drinking big city academic (One of Us!) philosophizes about his misadventures amid the crumbling social contract in black lung Pennsylvania.

          Cuz everybody hates a tourist

          But what happens when each half of the electorate believes about 2/3 of the other half is deserving of impoverishment and even death? We can forget universal material benefits, while Jay Gould laughs from beyond the grave.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and a further irony is that the right has long had it’s own…largely mythical…set of “people who deserve what they get”/”punishables”.
            …and i remember people like this author lamenting and condemning how unfair the right was.
            but they’ve been doing the same thing to flyoverland.
            over several years, i tried to counsel a different approach, but the hatred was already there.
            last thing the hillary trolls wanted to hear was that they were behaving like a mirror universe version of the craziest parts of the tea party.
            i guess it takes being outside to see what’s going on inside, sometimes.

  11. cnchal

    COO of Blackstone – America will be ruined if any worker gets a 25 cent an hour raise, the greedy bastards. Now, where is the next public pension fund I can fleece by using their money to buy a company that I can destroy for my profit and shovel another $100 million into my pocket? Yachts cost money, you working dimwits, and besides you don’t need a raise, when you can buy week old bread instead of the new stuff.

    1. tegnost

      croutons are bread, you know, and if you glue them together they make a fine samwich. And doesn’t everyone have a bag of croutons left over from thanksgiving? Waste not, want not! and it’s good for your (moral) fiber!

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “What kind of murderer has moral fibre? A cereal killer,”


  12. bassmule

    Re: Near and Present Anarchy—

    “Biden was once dubbed the senator from MBNA, but in this final chapter, he has no reason to carry water for the financial industry and every reason to care about his legacy.”

    The financial industry is his legacy.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Until I see legislation with teeth that he doesn’t threaten to veto, I will regard every seemingly worker-friendly statement from JB to be performative virtue signaling.

      The leaders of both parties are, IMO, sociopaths.

      1. km

        Biden and Team D will make [expletive deleted] sure that no legislation gets passed that a President Biden has to veto.

        That would make Biden look bad, that would give the game away. Team D isn’t really “for the little guy”, but they love to put on a show of how they’d love to help you little guys out, but Mean Republicans(R) just won’t let us, too bad, so sad…

        Next up, remember those brave-sounding resolutions to end American support for the genocide in Yemen, the ones that Trump twice vetoed? Guess what, those same Team D Congresscreeps that took such a bold stand will forget all about human rights, once Biden is president.

      2. km

        Power is to sociopaths what catnip is to cats, what cocaine is to addicts.

        Thus political leadership selects strongly for sociopathy.

        1. Maritimer

          The pols are just the minions of the Billionaires.

          Approximately 2200 Bills on the planet. At a conservative 10% sociopathy rate for them, that’s 220 Bills running loose doing whatever they want. (Witness: Zuck blows off Congress.) Then apply your Psycho Rate. Of course some Bills have more loot than others but, even with a measly 1 Bill, one can do a lot of damage.

          Surprising that in this Age of Science some scientist or mathematician couldn’t crunch some of these Bill/socio/psycho numbers and see that inevitable disaster is looming. This would seem to be pretty basic Risk Analysis.

          Of course, they would need a Government Grant to study this.

    2. Stephen V.

      Speaking of Chapters. …what about undoing your disastrous Bankruptcy Deform? You know the one where peeps with student loans are screwed and god effing forbid you don’t file taxes timely.

  13. Ignacio

    RE: Aerosol and Surface Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) medRxiv (via). From the body of the study: “Air samples in the rooms and in the hallway spaces (Figure 1B, and Tables S1 and S2) provide information about airborne viral shedding in these facilities. We found 63.2% of in-room air . samples to be positive by RT-PCR… [C]ell culture indicated some evidence for the presence of replication competent virus.” See the link at “via” for the Agence France Presse summary for the methodology in human-readable prose. To my knowledge, this is the first study to trace a pathway from the actual breath of individuals to infectiousness (“replication competent”).

    Thank you, this is really a boost for the airborne transmission hypothesis: if you detect infectious particles in the air and demonstrate that these are infectious in in vitro cultures there is not much to add.

    1. Cuibono

      well, seems to me what there is to add is how important this is in public health terms. I think so far the data suggests not very.

      1. Ignacio

        It has important implications in public health, section disease prevention. For instance regarding keeping distance indoors or in public transport and planes is not enough, masks are needed. It also has implications on HVAC systems and disease prevention, third it has implications on exposure times in workplaces, schools, gatherings… When you are considering re-openings you will have to account for risks of airborne spread. Much of this was already done, but now you have stronger scientific support for such measures.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Thank you, this is really a boost for the airborne transmission hypothesis: if you detect infectious particles in the air and demonstrate that these are infectious in in vitro cultures there is not much to add.

      That’s what I thought

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Shaming people who refuse to wear face masks isn’t a good look”

    ‘Yes, they are selfish. Yes, they are putting lives in danger. But do they deserve to be vilified? No.’

    Wow! Does she mean that it was a mistake then to shame smokers for a generation because their habit was causing collateral deaths? I guess that it is time to make another tour of the South Park Museum of Tolerance-

    1. Biph

      If shaming wont get them to wear a mask it may at least get them to avoid going out in public.

    2. Geo

      Since not wearing a mask is a danger to other lives, do Stand Your Ground laws apply in those situations? Could be quite the dilemma for conservatives if it becomes a battle between 2nd Amendment freedoms against Mask-avoidance personal liberties.

      Being sarcastic of course. Just find the whole mask avoidance thing to be the most pathetically childish and dumb culture war skirmish in a long time. Makes Freedom Fries seem sophisticated by comparison. Sure, leadership has been a joke on the subject but it was known long before Covid that masks work (no matter what Saint Fauci said at the time).

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Since not wearing a mask is a danger to other lives, do Stand Your Ground laws apply in those situations?

        I don’t see why not. Many a true word is spoken in sarcasm.

    3. Ignacio

      Better that shaming it is always educating though this is sometimes too difficult. By shaming you will frequently have an response which is exactly the opposite of what you intend to provoke.

    4. Mr. House

      “Frodo: ‘It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill Gollum when he had the chance.’
      Gandalf: ‘Pity? It’s a pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in it, for good or evil, before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.’ Frodo: ‘I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’
      Gandalf: ‘So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides that of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

  15. Tom Doak

    The “Near and Present Anarchy” piece was quite frightening, but never more so than at the climax, when it pinned its hopes on Joe Biden and bipartisanship saving the day.

    1. Redlife2017

      It was facinating how the writer contorted into that ending. It’s a bit like the alcoholic stating that they really only need one more drink and then they will end the habit…Really, Joe Biden won’t be the President for and of the financial class, he will change!

    2. Partyless Poster

      Really brings to mind that saying “its easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”
      Also the famous “its either socialism or barbarism” quote.
      I guess we’ll just have to get on good terms with the local warlords then.
      There’s so little political imagination in this country.

  16. fresno dan

    After all, you don’t need a nine-to-five when your parents can invest $245,000 in your startup.

    You don’t need a nine-to-five when your mother helps your struggling company land a contract with the biggest manufacturer of personal computers.

    Of course, there are many children who received similar levels of help from their parents that didn’t turn into Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates. Still, don’t you find it a little coincidental that nearly every young founder that became megarich came from a well-to-do family?

  17. Wukchumni

    Talked to my mom last night and things are getting weird at her assisted living place. She tells me that they can’t keep fully staffed, and the guys that used to pick up the trash and do the more menial tasks now deliver chow, with mask & gloves on and face shields.

    I sent her a cake with a sharpened file hidden within, and I sure hope she can bust out of there, but its tricky as they’ve informed the nonagenarians that nobody gets out alive unless they’ve gone through a 14 day quarantine on both ends of the equation, meaning whomever comes to rescue has to do that as well.

    She was tested a couple days ago with the results about a week out. I lamented that if only she could throw the curveball or a perfect spiral, or slam dunk, she’d know in a day.

    It seems she’s kind of ok with just staying there was the gist of things, but we’re cognizant of the potential need for ridnapping if push>meets<shove.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wuk, I am shocked, shocked at the idea that you would send your mother a cake with a file hidden within. She might get callouses. A small block of Semtex would be much easier for your mother to use and would not be picked up by that home’s metal detectors. After that she could hijack a Lime scooter and would be on her way.

      Seriously, I hope that things go well with your mum. My own passed away last year and I do not know what we would have done if she was still alive during the present pandemic. Bad options if we had tried to bring her up here or if she had stayed put. Good luck with your situation.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for your thoughts, and we’ll just have to play through on the horns of dilemma, er 7 iron.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought it strange reading how it is legal to discriminate against people in the US based on the Caste system of another country. You would think that such discrimination would run against the basic law principles of America. But then I worked it out. How could they make this illegal if this is the social system that they want to introduce into the US? So people like Jeff Bezos would be a Brahmin, soldiers and police would be Kshatryia, business owners & landlords would be Vaishya, wage earners would be Sundra and all the deplorables & homeless would be the Untouchables. So clarifying.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “China Says US Has Ordered It To Close Houston Consulate In What It Calls A Provocation That Violates International Law”

    Copying a play from Obama’s book on ramping up on a cold war. While on his way out the door, he shut down the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and some in offices in Washington to help stoke tensions. So Trump is now shutting down a Consulate in Houston but a Chinese one. China, apart from their main embassy in Washington DC, has Consulates in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles while the US has Consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang. Not a good idea to shut down Consulates because before you know it, it will be 55 Days in Peking all over again.

  19. jr

    Good stuff from Gray although maybe a bit of criticism of Bernie would interesting.

    “They’ve branded austerity so that it’s welcomed by their constituents. Meanwhile, Democrats attempt to disguise that they’re offering versions of the samewrapped in rainbow flags and kente cloth, but have the clumsy task of rationalizing why they fail to deliver more than tokenism and lip service.

    I like this framing. the Repubs offer austerity and deliver to the satisfaction of their masters and many of their victims. Democrats fail to deliver jack to anyone but their masters, whether by design or incompetence or both. Defenders of the Repubs can crow about their victories (even if they are ultimately wrong) while defenders of the Dems have to smile sheepishly or frantically splutter “But Trump!?!” The only time the Dems show any backbone is when they are punching left…

    “For Republican corporate donors to be happy, Republicans must win, and they do. For Democratic corporate donors to be happy, Democrats must lose. And they do. ”

    This should be printed on a heavy coin the size of coaster or perhaps across the face of the Moon in boldface.

    ” Biden has openly admitted the influence corporate donors have on politicians. At a 2007 campaign event, he explained: “If you, Lynn, bundle $250,000 for me, all legal, and then you call me after I’m excited & say, ‘Joe, I’d like to talk to you about something. You didn’t buy me. But it’s human nature, you helped me, I”m going to say, ‘Sure, Lynn, come on in. The front of the line is always filled with people whose pockets are filled.”

    Good Lord Biden is dumb. He can’t find a way to reassure a plump donor without sounding like a small town machine politician in a gangster flick? If it’s “…all legal…” then you can game the system. Legally. This stuff writes itself. I’d love to see some of Biden’s behind the scenes gaffes, the one’s that keep his handlers from sleeping, not the sanctioned ones that are supposed to make him appear a “regular guy.” I think I’m going to shroom if I watch the debates.

    “Alyssa Milano”

    I wonder if the star of “Who’s the Dross!?” will be joining the McCloskeys and Miranda on some kind of campaign trail. It’s too bad Gary Coleman has passed…

    “I’ll read my daily briefings,”

    He means his scripts, briefings will interrupt the late morning naps and Pudding! break…

    “The Democratic party’s share of the Black vote is declining.”

    Ah, but Ms. Gray remember that when they stop supporting Biden, they are no longer black. So it’s not that there are less Blacks are voting for Biden, there are actually less Blacks….see?

    “argued CNBC founder Tom Rogers and his daughter in a co-written Newsweek op-ed. ”

    I wonder if these two weirdos have one of those Daddy-Princess virginity vow things…

    “At some point, the conscience coffers will be empty. ”

    This goes on the back of that big coin.

    1. deplorado

      Biden: “I’m not proposing any [legislation]”, “I hope I don’t offend any of you”.

      David Dayen’s tweet: “The substance is fine, but the eggshells…[…] just depressing”

      Mr. Dayen: the substance is subservience. That’s par for the course for Biden. What’s depressing is journalists like you have to suck up to it too.

  20. Glen

    I recently read that Madrid was looking into taking vacant apartments for housing, but I cannot even find the link anymore. Has anybody heard more on this? It seems like a practical solution, they need housing to handle CV, and the city is full of overpriced vacant apartments.

      1. Geo

        Lots of “for rent” signs popping up all over my LA neighborhood. One even had “Two Free Weeks!” written on it.

        You’d think with LA’s homeless crisis, and the rising number of vacant housing, that the Free Market would remedy the situation. It’s almost like rent and home prices have nothing to do with Supply & Demand but are instead a bubble propped up by a corrrupt system.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          off to san antone tomorrow again for chemo.
          I’ll be specifically watching for roadside economic indicators: closed signs, for sale and rent signs for business and houses, number and type of traffic between here and there(2 weeks ago…and really for quite a while…it’s been mostly contractor/construction type vehicles and big rigs(the rectangular box kind))
          i usually don’t stray from a rather small area of san antonio proper…last time we did, and wandered a bit.
          I’ll try to retrace a portion of that to compare and contrast.
          i don’t really expect major obviousness, tomorrow.
          i reckon next month and the one after will be the eye openers.
          but i’ll establish a sort of baseline, at least.

          and thinking of roadside indicators…during and after the gfc…and 911, before it…there was a marked uptick in people walking/thumbing or biking the highways…even way out here. People obviously trying to get to greener pastures, but with limited means to do so. …i gave a few a ride, and asked them.(i can be pretty intimidating when i want to be(it’s a skill,lol), and i only picked up the non-intimidating)
          haven’t seen that yet.
          another thing i remember from those crises is cars broke down or with a flat on the side of the road for a long time(weeks, sometimes, altho Leo’s usually put a red sticker or something on them, and the time between breakdown and involuntary towing varies from place to place).

          my experience at Latoc, ’03-09 or so, indicates that such reports from the field…even though purely anecdotal..can be invaluable in times of crisis, in order to fill out the picture we glean from more official and institutional sources.
          NC would seem to be sort of perfect for this function.(which, btw, is high praise,lol)

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            An in law is telling my oldest that the real estate foreclosure SHTF timeframe is January-March 2021. Is that mass capitulation time?

          2. ChristopherJ

            Take care, mate. Did mine last year. Would be terrified if I had to go in for a 6 hour poisoning at the moment, even without any evidence of community transmission here in far north QLD. By sounds of things, you know what to do to minimise the risks.

            IMO a second wave is coming to east coast of australia. Too many selfish people ignoring lock down and quarantine….

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              thanks, all.
              I’ll be allowed inside to get the results of the scan a week ago(and then provide the translation to everybody in textland)
              then i’ll go back out and sit around and read in the parking lot for 4+ hours…perhaps drive around a bit.
              it’s understood that, while she’s the one getting poisoned, I’ll feel just as terrible,lol. (frelling global arthritis)
              I just hope we get home before that tropical system in the Gulf gets within range of my skeleton.

              my long practice is complimentary to her ongoing travails:
              she’s watched me for 20 years force myself to get up and do things….so i have the standing to be a goad for her.

      1. Ignacio

        Yes, Catalonia (not just Barcelona), as well as Paris have implemented special taxes for empty homes to promote rental and Barcelona went further to the possibility of home seizure. The interesting bit about the law passed in Catalonia in 2015 –will almost certainly be an example to be followed in other cities/regions– is the concept of taxing the “breach of the social service that homes should provide by owners that keep them permanently inhabited” instead of taxing just for fiscal purposes. As your article states newer laws would allow for home seizure (hardly done) and now Barcelona allowing compulsory purchase of empty units. For some reason I do not completely understand (I guess is price gouging and simple RE speculation) many homes that are owned by firms like Blackstone are kept empty even substituting the door with a brick wall to prevent occupation. This is possibly done to keep rental/purchase indexes high.

        Previous attempts during the financial crisis to impose special taxes to empty homes owned by banks were rejected by the Supreme Tribunals as arbitrary but it seems Catalonia could be leading the way

    1. jr

      Once in a rare fit of ding-dong patriotism, I allowed the VA to collect my DNA* in an effort to do something wonderful for the world and Big Pharma no doubt. Somewhere, near the HQ of the Others, there is a vast bay filled with clones of me chattering away endlessly……..the attrition rate in the guard force must be lightning fast…

      * Preverts!

      1. Massinissa

        Sewers have an important and functional purpose, whereas a wasteland does not. Honestly alot of the internet feels like the latter, where I wonder why exactly alot of it exists.

        1. c_heale

          Wastelands as they are disparagingly called are often a haven for wild animals and plants

  21. jr

    “Impossible Foods Inc, which helped create the Impossible Whopper, has said it was designed for meat eaters who want to consume less animal protein, not for vegans or vegetarians”

    What?! Can vegans or vegetarians not digest them due to some genetic disorder? What the heck could this mean? Hippy punching from a fake meat producer? Trying to look tough in front of Jimmy Dean?

    1. a different chris

      Read the article. The problem for vegans is that it’s cooked on the same grill as the actual beef ones. This blows up on the religious aspect of veganism, I guess, because I can’t see how as a health objective it makes much difference.

      Not a friend of Impossible Foods, in fact ugh, but I never saw them advertise in any sort of “come hither, vegans!” way so I agree with the judge unless other info comes to light.

      1. jr

        I did. I couldn’t care less about the legal intricacies behind a GMO crap patty. It still makes no sense to say it was “designed” for one group over another. Maybe marketed towards one group but then why? Is the object the subject? Is the medium rare the message? Don’t they want vegs and veges to buy their wonderful new product:

        If anything, it’s that the grills are designed only for meat eaters. Each grill should have a “safe space” for fake meats to avoid cross contamination. I think the grill makers need some lessons in intersectionality…did you know that fryers are also divided by fish/no fish in many kitchens? In this day and age…

        1. barefoot charley

          Could it possibly be that the Impossibles are marketing confusion? Meatless meat sure sounds like a vegan option to fad diners. But means nothing of the kind to razor- sharp legal minds that shred logic and clarity for a living. All in a day in America.

  22. cocomaan

    Had a great conversation with the owner of a family hardware business today.

    We’ve been looking for hardware cloth to put up around some new garden beds. Anything to deter hungry critters.

    Owner said that he’s been unable to get any new hardware cloth in since the pandemic began. All they have left are a few awkward rolls of chicken wire (weird gauges and sizes) and some nasty-looking barbed wire.

    He’d done his homework on that product in particular. It turns out the USA has zero manufacturers of hardware cloth/chicken wire. Instead, it’s primarily made in Mexico or China. These are factories using giant twisting and soldering and whatever kind of machines to do the work. We have none of it.

    Time to start making things at home again. We don’t need retail shops and restaurants, we need to make things for our fellow Americans.

    1. a different chris

      >These are factories using giant twisting and soldering and whatever kind of machines to do the work. We have none of it.

      That’s the thing — this stuff was off-shored for no reason except the C-suites liked the thought of not having to look any employees at all in the eye.

      I always go back to the American auto industry. Eventually the most reliable cars (look it up) weren’t “built” by the Japanese, they were made in an American factory (NUMMI, now famous for Elon Musk’s antics) basically run by the Japanese. Labor costs are about 20% of a car’s production, the Japanese didn’t save that much (and the Germans costs were higher) building in Japan.

      Management was the problem. But offshore we must! So methinks management should actually be the part offshored.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        My wife had a zoomy NUMMI vehicle, a Chevrolet Nova that was a 3 or 4 year old Toyota Corolla design. Ran like a top, prolly cause at 3-4 years into the design lifecycle, any new design flaws were ironed out.

        I think Wuk has a vehicle from that plant as well (tacoma?).

        1. Wukchumni

          I have one of the last Tacomas made there-just breaking it in still @ 146k miles, hoping for in excess of 300k.

      2. Geo

        Love that idea: offshore all management and bring labor back to the US.

        If they complain we can threaten them with automation that can shuffle papers faster than they can.

    2. flora

      +1. My town’s hardware, bicycle, sporting goods, and clothes stores are running low on lots of items. I ask about stock and the usual reply is, “We’re having a really hard time getting new stock in.”

  23. jef

    I have been using rock dust aka rock flour for over 10 years now. Many I know have been using it much longer. It is a good input but like all inputs it has its limitations, you can’t just put it down or keep on putting it down and expect the same results.

    First of all what they are calling waste isn’t. It is what was taken out to get to what they wanted. It needs to be put back. ALso the amount of carbon release in digging it out, transporting, grinding to fine powder, transporting it again, then spreading it, I doubt that it is carbon neutral let alone a carbon sink.

  24. Carolinian

    Re Battle of Portland–my first visit to Bellingcat but seems to be legit reporting. One should note that this fracas kicked off with

    At a little before 11 p.m., several dozen protesters began to shatter the windows of the Justice Center. They entered the building, trashing the interior and lighting random fires inside. I watched all this happen from feet away, and it is my opinion that the destruction was unplanned, yet more or less inevitable — you could feel it in the mood of the crowd. The 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis had just burned: there was absolutely no way Portland wasn’t going to try to do the same thing.

    The article says that in the weeks since most protesters have been peaceful but with a violent bloc sometimes stirring things up. What it doesn’t talk about is why the protests are so persistent or what the grievances are about other than the harsh initial police response to what was obviously not a peaceful initial protest. If it’s about BLM one could point out that hardly any black people live in Portland (6 percent versus 50 percent in my town). Portland is also not exactly poor by US standards having above national median income and being known as a refuge for Californians fleeing the even higher costs there. So the article’s sign-off prediction

    all of this will not stay confined to Portland. Your city might be next.

    seems dubious unless a lot of Portlanders move to my town. We did have a George Floyd demonstration that included a little violence (a motorcyclist wound up in the hospital). The city declared a curfew and then canceled it before it even took place. There have only been a few peaceful demonstrations since. As for Portland, legitimate griefs or lifestyle statement?….just asking.

    1. cocomaan

      Good question. If you’ve ever watched Portlandia, they satirize some of the extreme lengths to which the bourgeoisie of Portland go in order to be tolerant, empathetic, etc.

      To me, that level of weird social tics masks unhappiness, disaffection, and anger.

      This is one of my favorites:

      1. Alex Cox

        I think the Bellingcat article was posted because it was Bellingcat.

        What are these English NATO spooks doing here? Trying to reinvent themselves as a US liberal-oriented news site? Maybe they think they can replace Truthdig or The Guardian!

        (See how good I was? I didn’t call ’em Smellingrat once. Uh…)

        1. Redlife2017

          Yeah, I read that and went “Wow, is this the spook shop??” Which means that they want this. They may not run it, but at least part of the spook alphabet soup wants this to run.

          Great story about the Okhrana (Imperial Russian Secret Police) and how they helped the revolutionaries:
          “The Okhrana used many seemingly unorthodox methods in the pursuit of its mission to defend the monarchy; indeed, some of the Okhrana’s activities even contributed to the wave of domestic unrest and revolutionary terror that they were intended to quell. Perhaps most paradoxical of all was the Okhrana’s collaboration with revolutionary organizations….

          Just as the Okhrana had once sponsored trade unions to divert activist energy from political causes, so too did the secret police attempt to promote the Bolshevik party, as the Bolsheviks seemed a relatively harmless alternative to more violent revolutionary groups. Indeed, to the Okhrana, Lenin seemed to actively hinder the revolutionary movement by denouncing other revolutionary groups and refusing to cooperate with them.”

          1. Conrad

            The Okhrana seem to have been too clever by half, and not half as clever as they thought they were. Mike Duncan covers their antics really well in his Revolutions podcast. The Russian revolution series is currently up to 1905.

    2. a different chris

      >As for Portland, legitimate griefs or lifestyle statement?….just asking.

      Legitimate grievances. Just answering.

      Seriously, how can you read about the Portland Mom’s protest and even ask? Here is a link you should read, but no it doesn’t answer you question because it has occurred to nobody besides you that getting teargassed may be a “lifestyle” statement.

      And as I’ve pointed out before, white kids are now noticing that the “Black Experience” is gonna soon be their experience, too, at least economically. So I don’t care about the “racial mix” of a given community, this is every young person without a seriously rich daddy’s problem.

      1. JWP

        Legitimate grievances, just seconding.

        You dont go into someones city and start abducting and gassing people without stirring up some serious grievances. If the police killings, economic collapse and despair (as chris alluded to) weren’t enough, the feds were enough to push a lot of people out of their twitter protests and into the streets. Portland is full of non traditionalists who embrace every type of sexuality and weirdness possible on a scale unparalleled. Social misfits to the eyes of the world. We can see this in the graffiti posts. So yanking out the rug of strong economy largely supported by small businesses and an already fragile social scape is leading people to identify with BLM protestors because while their issue is not the exact same, the anger comes from a place of being cast out and left to rot just as they have seen their black friends and colleagues.

        Of course there are anarchists here making the situation a bit more dangerous, but as long as the focus is on the physical look of the protests and not the underlying causes, they will continue. As for median income. Portland has a lot of upper middle class neighborhoods and then it drops down to poor and homeless, especially in the pandemic as homeless population skyrockets and its visible in the shocked faces of many people living on the streets. There is a huge wealth disparity so like the bloomberg article, median income is a misleading stat.

        1. Carolinian

          Oh I was in Oregon a few months ago (not Portland) and there were tons of homeless people–not saying there aren’t. I doubt they are the ones protesting though.

          And I’m not criticizing or snarking people for protesting but do think you lose legitimacy if you protest violence and then allow people supposedly on your side to commit violence.The Bellingcat story said the police only bring out the tear gas when a “riot” is declared with a riot consisting of property damage, throwing things at the police (no Molotov cocktails yet) etc. You can’t pretend to be MLK if you are going to go all Malcolm X. Rationalizing the behavior of your side just allows the police to rationalize their own.

          1. JWP

            The issue the majority of people are taking up, at least from what i’ve heard is the federal agents kidnapping innocent people and then using force before a riot is declared to clear room. No justification for it and that’s what is the bulk of lawsuits against the dhs. There’s anarchists making it worse for everyone but thats simply a part of protesting in a society that is faltering economically and socially.

      2. Carolinian

        The fledgling collective, formed less than a week ago, has dubbed itself the Wall of Moms

        You’re right. That doesn’t answer my question about why people have been protesting every night for weeks. It does say this though

        Though the Wall of Moms has become an overnight Internet sensation, the group has also attracted skepticism. Some scholars and racial justice activists have criticized the group and the attention it has attracted for centering the voices of mostly white mothers.

        Black mothers have been calling for criminal justice reform and racial equity for many years. They have lost sons and daughters at the hands of police. A group of seven mothers who have lost African American children to police action or gun violence, known as the Mothers of the Movement, have toured around the United States to protests and conferences. But they have never gone viral quite like the Wall of Moms.

        White people needed to get the media’s attention? Is that the point of it all?

        1. JWP

          More along the lines of they know they will get the attention and as moms their appeal goes beyond political lines.

          ->That doesn’t answer my question about why people have been protesting every night for weeks.

          It might be tradition. Portland just loves to protest and there’s always people willing and able to do so. Now there’s just so many things to protest and national attention. Doubt that is the full answer.

        2. mpalomar

          “the media’s attention? Is that the point of it all?”
          Possibly; Gore Vidal said, “I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.” The innovative Paris Hilton found a way to do both at the same time.
          Or maybe we’re once again hearing inarticulate democratic yearnings bubbling up incoherently from the thawing permafrost of America’s deeply confused and conflicted political subconscious.

          And why narrow it down to a single point?
          “Hey Johnny what are you rebelling against?”
          “What’ve you got?”

    3. Geo

      The protests in Portland where dying down until the Feds arrived. Now they’re in the headlines again and clashes are rising.

      Looks like they did their job. Their job of creating instability and division, just as they do in foreign countries, all in an effort to crush any opposition to the status quo while justifying their continual funding increases.

    4. martell

      Good question. First, as to the demographics, both Portland and Oregon have throughout most of their history been intolerant of non-whites. During the period of settlement (aka colonization), Oregonians were notorious Indian killers. We even honor one of the best known of the mass murderers to this very day: Fremont, for whom the I-405 bridge is named. The many Chinese workers employed in the canneries in Astoria were driven out early in the 20th century. Much of the black population that arrived during WWII in connection with wartime industrial activity at the port had to flee after the part of town reserved for them, a place called Vanport, flooded (coincidentally) postwar. Redlining happened here too, and the areas affected were generally poor relative to local standards, as well as both over-policed (more on that in a moment) and under-served by police. That said, many of those neighborhoods have been gentrified in recent years, so that much of the black population of Portland has either had to move further from the city center or has moved into the streets. This is what led to a protest a few years back against the proposal to place a Trader Joes in one of the remaining predominantly black parts of town. It was perceived, probably correctly, as the tip of the gentrification spear. Ironically, some of the gentrification has been driven by an influx of young, white, college educated people fleeing other, less “enlightened” parts of the US – the very same people who are quite likely to be participating in the protests.

      Despite Portland being a relatively peaceful place with a small black community, the Portland police department has been unable to prevent officers from repeatedly abusing members of that community. The abuse includes murder (in the moral sense: wrongful killing). When I was growing up here, such incidents would occur every few years. Adding insult to injury, when officers were charged with racially motivated killings, fellow officers would avow and even celebrate anti-black racism. I recall, specifically, an incident in which a black security guard involved in a fight at a convenience store was mistakenly choked to death by police (they’d assumed he was the one who’d caused the problem, of course). Afterwards, IIRC, fellow officers distributed t-shirts saying “Don’t choke ’em – Smoke ’em.”

      But what do the protesters want to happen now, locally? Whatever their virtues, a problem with haphazardly forming collections of unorganized individuals and practically leaderless, horizontally organized political groupings is that you cannot get a straight answer to such questions. Some have said that they want the Portland State Campus Police disarmed. Others want to defund the police and devote the money thereby saved to numerous social welfare projects. Then there are the people who want to abolish the police. And some, the self-proclaimed anti-fascist youth, want to abolish the state altogether (or so I am told). So, demands are all over the place, ranging from the fairly small step (campus police disarmament), to the reasonable but probably overly optimistic defunding proposal, to the utopian idea of a stateless society. In another ironic twist to the story, those federal agents might have finally supplied the protestors with a single, clear, realistically achievable goal for which there is broad local support, a goal moreover, by reference to which it is possible to justify violence of the kind that’s been done by some of the protestors thus far: immediate removal of those federal agents and prosecution of all federal agents who violated state or federal law while in Oregon.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i think that, perhaps, Portland’s leaderless, fractious, headless chicken style politics is a microcosm of the rest of the country…maybe more acute, due to the town’s well known weirdness(friends have told me it’s like austin used to be, but it rains).
        I can tell you that it obtains in Texas, too.
        from the growing apolitical cohort, to the continuing degradation of the Humanities, Team Sports political combat between two more or less Right Wing parties as the entirety of political space, and 50 years of neoliberal “there is no society” TINA “I am an Island” social engineering….all of this on top of 100 years of a Total War on anything not_capitalism….
        it’s not surprising that Americans are confused.
        They’ve been made that way.
        The tools to apprehend the current mess…as well as the numerous bottles and flavors of snake oil we all had to swallow to get to this mess…are in disrepair…used to prop open the screen door.
        The more refined tools that could be used to think about a different way of doing things, are simply unavailable. This is why my “fieldwork” and coincident new deal evangelism takes so long…you have to build the knowledge base…similar to what Yves and Lambert always say about the people who build the machines.They don’t just hang in the closet until society is once again ready for them…
        ergo…we, as a civilisation, are totally unprepared for the disaster that looms..and therefore essentially ripe for the plucking by whatever corpsmonarch comes along with some beer and tater chips.

  25. jr

    2019 but worth another look if only to provide a reasonable, positive concept of “safe spaces” as opposed to the “bunker” approach I’ve heard expressed, the intentionally divisive model. Originally an NYT opinion from “The Stone”, it makes an interesting argument that we need “safe enough” zones where students feel comfortable enough to disagree and examine contrary ideas:

    “So what’s a university to do?

    The first answer is obvious: We should begin by destigmatizing the notion of safe spaces and stop talking about them as if they were part of a zero-sum ideological war.

    As a college president for almost 20 years, I am a strong proponent of creating spaces that are “safe enough” on college campuses”

    1. Basil Pesto

      it makes an interesting argument that we need “safe enough” zones where students feel comfortable enough to disagree and examine contrary ideas

      In other words, a university.

  26. ambrit

    I have read comments to the effect of; “Well, it’s the Guardian, so, you know…”
    Now, after reading the “piece” on Q-anon, I understand. The person writing the article hit many neo-liberal shibboleths, including my go to gauge of how ‘assimilated’ a writer is: that Russia did it. “…the kind of digital astroturf that Russian operatives used to support Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.”
    All I can say is that the Guardian piece was a general exposition of alt-official conspiracy theories.
    Many here might find it curious to learn that this cynic has never been on a Q-anon affiliated site, not even Alex Jones. What made me chuckle was the realization that reading the Guardian piece made me curious as to what all the fuss was about. If anything, I expect this hit piece to ‘drive’ viewers to Q-anon sites out of morbid curiosity.
    Well played Guardian!

  27. Wukchumni

    There goes the dollar The Reformed Broker
    Last century a number of countries minted coins specifically for use in leper colonies.

    Here, have a look but not too close, ok?,leprosy%20and%20infect%20other%20people.

    I propose we strike special commemorative leper coins for use only in the USA, as the world at large really wants nothing to do with us.

    On one side the chief executive will strike an emu-like pose on the underside of the WH lawn, while on the reverse each will have a bullseye with a dab of Coronavirus added in for good measure in the center of the concentric rings.

  28. CuriosityConcern

    I think I saw a story here a couple days ago about some distressed store workers who were being threatened by hostile customers over the store’s mask policy, and the sheriff stated they were not going to enforce the state’s mask policy. I think I have a solution, the store workers should trespass the hostile maskless and if they don’t vacate the premises, have the sheriff respond to a trespassing call. A sheriff that doesnt uphold property rights could be cast in a very unfavourable light. A sheriff who enforces property rights unevenly may be subject to a civil lawsuit, but ianal.

  29. flora

    re: Aristotle – NYT

    Good op-ed. Glad the Times printed it. For some reason I’m reminded of this quote.

    ” One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.”
    -Hannah Arendt

    1. flora

      Adding: just saw a tv add listing the 5 freedoms in the First Amendment in an upbeat voice, with a tag ‘for more information’ website. That was it. No party affiliation or corporate sponsorship. Kind of amazing. I think Taibbi and others reporting on the cancel culture stuff, or whatever you want to call it, is having an effect.

  30. JWP

    Re College students reactions thread:
    Better insight than most into student’s reactions to covid on campus, but does not dig deep enough. Let me add to it:
    -Tracing apps that are self appointed will certainly be useless. Whether it be social stigmas, being too busy, or flat out not caring, the apps will be as useful as candy crush.
    -What students say in a focus group is not what they will do in person. Few if any students will admit to partying (used as a verb from the other day lol) or going into town in large indoor group settings.
    -The downplaying of the virus, its effects, and its severity among young people is real and will not change.
    -Modules to mitigate that will have a near zero impact. I had to do any number of them for orientation and did not pay attention or retain anything but mindlessly clicked through.
    -A “reward” would be being able to be free from virus constraints or something financial. university “swag” or food or misc gift cards are Student Union prizes meant to keep kids from partying on weekends, they don’t work.
    -Any place where the school has control is much safer than when students are left to their own devices and accountability.
    -There still is denialism about life changing, until the populace accepts life will never “go back to normal” there can’t be effective participation in plans like what our universities are putting out.
    -The lack of testing put forth by schools is concerning.
    Again, hope I’m wrong and there’s widespread behavioral changes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > -Any place where the school has control is much safer than when students are left to their own devices and accountability.

      In other words, off-campus housing, including fraternities and sororities, should be abolished.

      1. JWP

        Greek system, yes. Off campus housing demand has soared. We have a 3 year on campus housing requirement and they’ve lifted it. Everyone is trying to flee campus to minimize contact or be more free to do what they want. Thats more of a local authorities issue.

      2. HotFlash

        Speaking of off-campus housing, don’t I recall that the Mighty Corrente Building also provides student housing (when there are students to house)?

  31. Maritimer

    “Scientists accidentally create the “sturddlefish” — a new fish hybrid from two endangered species”

    Fortunately, there are extremely strong safeguards in place to insure that scientists in the fish biz or other biotech, or nanotech or GI/AI development or other fun science commit no other accidents. Ooops is not in their vocabulary.

    The scientific community, in the main mostly self-regulating, is committed to preventing any accidents in their rush to the never ending Progress with which we are blessfully surrounded every day.

  32. c_heale

    Re: the Guardian piece on mask shaming is nit a good look sums up all that is wrong with the newspaper. First shaming people who don’t wear masks is absolutely the right thing to do. If you are part of a society, which we all are, you have the obligation to consider other people in that society. Since facemasks protect other people, especially more vulnerable people, then you don’t get a free pass if you don’t wear them. Secondly, it then positions this in opposition to assigning responsibility to the dismal response of many leaders in this crisis. You can do both. They aren’t opposites. Modern (neo)liberalism has absolutely nothing to offer as does the neo-fascistic behaviour of Trump and others.

    1. HotFlash

      As a martial artist, I conclude that people who knowingly expose me to a possibly fatal disease are lethally attacking me and my family, in which case, my warrior code allows me to kill them. I have, so far, refrained but I have used other techniques to do get them to do the right thing, which is the point, neh? Ignacio is quite correct, confrontation tends to make (especially stupid) people dig in their heels. I do refuse to shop at stores whose staff is not masked, and I tell the owner/manager why.

  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Smithsonian article about rock dust for climate change reversal is a further sign of some methods beginning to enter the fringes of the mainstream from the world of parallel dissident agronomy. Though in the PDA world rock dusts have been more focused on as a source of broad spectrum multi-mineral fertility enhancement and replacement for soils that are being multi-mineral depleted through the bio-mining procedure known as “agriculture”.

    Since too many links at once will choke the comments function, I will mention a few and come back with a few more in sub-comments subordinate to this one.

    For now, here are a couple of books about rock dusts in agriculture for nutrition that are available from Acres USA.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yep. Charles Walters is one of my farmer heroes.
      i’m lucky, i guess…soils around here(as well as most of the manure i import) are full of granite derived aggregate. Granite gravel is pulled out of the creeks adjacent to the plutons and used for driveways and barn floors.
      I’ve even unknowingly imported a mess of “Greensand” a few times, along with the manure….didn’t get a good look at it until after it got rained on.
      The complex local geologic profile(see: Llano Uplift/Edwards Plateau) means i often forget about trace minerals,lol.
      couldn’t do that back home in East Texas.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        For most of us, greensand is only available in small expensive bags. Apparently the biggest and best greensand deposit in America, somewhere in New Jersey, was recently sold to condo developers as being a more profitable use of the land than continuing to mine and sell the greensand. That’s what one of the salespeople at our downtown crafts-y garden center told me.

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