Links 8/2/2020

Wyoming’s ‘Bird Lady’ offers a haven for injured birds High Country News

Tech titans had their day before Congress. Now what? CNN

Landmark Fed business rescue struggles amid economy’s woes Politico

The Extremely Boring Idea That Could Save the Economy Slate (Re Silc: “Automatic stabilizers: learn them, live them, love them”).


We Need to Talk About Ventilation The Atlantic (cf. NC, May 25, 2020). Excellent round-up, well worth a read. A key paragraph:

Strikingly, in one database of more than 1,200 super-spreader events, just one incident is classified as outdoor transmission, where a single person was infected outdoors by their jogging partner, and only 39 are classified as outdoor/indoor events, which doesn’t mean that being outdoors played a role, but it couldn’t be ruled out. The rest were all indoor events, and many involved dozens or hundreds of people at once. Other research points to the same result: Super-spreader events occur overwhelmingly in indoor environments where there are a lot of people.

COVID-19 Data Dives: Why Arguments Against SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol Transmission Don’t Hold Water MedScape. A take-down of this article from JAMA. Also well worth a read, alone or in conjunction with the previous link. As it turns out, the terms “aerosol” and “airborne” are quite charged and contested. This thread from the author explains why:

Aboard the Diamond Princess, a Case Study in Aerosol Transmission NYT. Since aerosols are now coming up on the charts in the mainstream, let me point out that this key study, which sampled hospital air and cultured “competent virus” from it, also found the virus on hospital windowsills. Even it it floats around, like invisible tobacco smoke, the virus still has to land somewhere! So, even if fomites are not the main method of transmission, keep washing your hands and cleaning surfaces.

* * *

How does SARS-CoV-2 cause COVID-19? Science. “As a respiratory virus, SARS-CoV-2 must initially enter cells lining the respiratory tract. …ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression to be highest [are] ciliated nasal epithelial cells, with lesser amounts in ciliated bronchial epithelial cells and type II alveolar epithelial cells (6). This translates to greater permissivity of upper versus lower respiratory tract epithelial cells for SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro and fits disease pathology.” The nose knows!

Harvard professor develops a $50 nasal spray to thwart the spread of COVID-19 Fast Company (study). Hilariously, a subscription model. If a mask infringes on your freedom…

You’d Rather Get a Coronavirus Vaccine Through Your Nose NYT

* * *

Trump planning for U.S. rollout of coronavirus vaccine falling short, officials warn Reuters

Rush To Produce, Sell Vaccine Put Kids In Philippines At Risk NPR. From 2019, still germane. There are 4,000 political appointees in the Federal government. They should all volunteer to be vaccinated as a public service and a condition of further employment. Federal electeds, as our representatives, should also volunteer to be vaccinated. I’m pro-vaccination generally (e.g., measles) as a proven public health measure, but the speed of Operation Warp Speed is concerning (as are the incentives for profit in our health care system).

* * *

Vermont to hand out 200,000 free masks WCAX

The World’s Most Luxurious Face Masks from Sculptor Gabriel Dishaw Luxuo (Re Silc).

* * *

How scientists revived an old-school treatment for a 21st century pandemic Los Angeles Times

A School Reopens, and the Coronavirus Creeps In NYT. On the first day of class….

Coronavirus: Russia plans mass vaccination campaign in October BBC

Great News About Births During Covid-19 Bloomberg

U.S. Created a Data Disaster With Its Uneven Covid Response Bloomberg. “The gap is due to decades of neglect of technological infrastructure, exacerbated by the country’s sprawling size and a state-by-state approach to collecting public health data. It has left not only government officials hunting for reliable data, but kept the public in the dark as well.” Not to mention health care-for-profit. The only data we really want to track is billing codes, and there’s an entire industry devoted to it (see NC here, here, and here).


China’s Three Gorges Dam is one of the largest ever created. Was it worth it? CNN. Very good. Personally, I always regard gigantism (the A380, Apple headquarters, Versailles) as a sign of coming decay.

The Politburo did not bark:

Hong Kong issues arrest warrant for U.S. citizen under new national security law NBC

Hong Kong third wave: free Covid-19 tests for residents as mainland Chinese clinical teams head to city South China Morning Post

A Newsroom at the Edge of Autocracy The Atlantic. The South China Morning Post.


India’s star state Kerala hit as virus forces return of Gulf workers FT

Sleeping patterns changed in lockdown, finds IIM Indore-IIT Madras Study Times of India


Unite sounds warning over Labour antisemitism payouts Guardian. Ka-ching.

On the NHS E.P. Thompson, London Review of Books. From 1987, still germane.

Grenfell Tower inquiry reveals more criminality by corporations involved in refurbishment WSWS (JMZ). NC Grenfell coverage here (gallery), here, here, here, and here).

Body Bags and Enemy Lists: How Far-Right Police Officers and Ex-Soldiers Planned for ‘Day X’ NYT

TechHub, once the heart of London’s start-up scene, goes bust FT

New Cold War

The ultimate high ground: Russia and US try to set rules for space weapons Christian Science Monitor

The Russians Are(n’t) Coming!: Paul Reveres, the Washington Hawks Are Not

Trump Transition

Go Big On COVID Relief, Or Get Thrown Out Of Power The American Conservative

‘Progress’ but no deal as coronavirus talks head into next week The Hill

Comparison of the Heroes Act and HEALS Act Progressive Caucus Action Fund (GF). Very detailed table. Last updated: July 28, 2020, but very useful as a baseline for the sausage-marking in the coming week.

Postmaster general pick probed WaPo (via Arkansas Online).


Trump vs Biden: can America conduct a fair election? FT

Joe Biden May Delay VP Running Mate Decision For Another Week MSN

Clyburn says more important to have Black woman on Supreme Court than as VP PBS. Oh.

Biden’s Weak Link On Energy And Ethics Is An Ex-Obama Official With Deep Fossil Fuel Ties HuffPo

Police State Watch

Mask Off: LA Sheriff’s Department Parties in Hollywood KNOCK.LA

US sheriffs rebel against state mask orders even as Covid-19 spreads Guardian

* * *

Burns, bloody wounds, broken bones: Injuries mount at Portland protests Oregon Live

From 9/11 to Portland, it was inevitable ‘Homeland Security’ would be turned on the American people Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

Kentucky town hires social workers instead of more officers – and the results are surprising Wave3

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Amazon says police demands for customer data have gone up Tech Crunch. When you invite a never-sleeping snitch into your house…..

Our Famously Free Press

Media’s ‘Cancel Culture’ Debate Obscures Direct Threats to First Amendment FAIR

L’Affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Met Police destroyed records for the night Prince Andrew allegedly had sex with teenager in London, says former Royal protection officer Daily Mail

Sports Desk

On a call with SEC leaders, worried football players pushed back: ‘Not good enough’ WaPo

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Army backs down from renaming Fort Slavery Was Cool DuffelBlog

Imperial Collapse Watch

Global Order in the Shadow of the Coronavirus: China, Russia and the West Lowy Institute. “The concept of a rules-based international order has been stripped of meaning, while liberalism faces its greatest crisis in decades.” Since Bush the Younger’s invasion of Iraq, I would say. If you want an inflection point, I’d pick the Abu Ghraib torture photos. Iconic!

Class Warfare

The Unemployment Crisis Is a True National Emergency The Intercept

It’s not just you: what’s going on with product shortages & what could be next The Prepared

Antidote du jour (PM):

PM writes from Basket Flat, WA: “Porch visitor!”

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. Toshiro_Mifune

    It’s not just you: what’s going on with product shortages & what could be next
    I’ve noticed this as well. While the toilet paper and cleaning product hoarding got a lot of attention large numbers of items completely unrelated in any way to COVID have been out of stock or back ordered for months now. Meaning; even if lockdowns end today and the virus vanished overnight it’s going to take a long time for retail sales to return due to lack of inventory. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many items in back ordered at B&H and many of them have been back ordered for weeks if not months.

    1. Butch In Waukegan

      “Never let a crisis . . .”

      Item 6 in the “What to do about it” section:

      Avoid the USPS. They are underpaid and overworked, and this translates into damaged shipments. I’m seeing this, and so are others anecdotally.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The service itself is also underfunded and revenue-stream hijacked by that so-called Retirement Pre-Payment Plan.

        If enough people avoid the USPS to where the numbers using it and the numbers of things being sent through it are measurably lower, will the BiParty Depublicrats exploit this as an excuse to degrade it further in preparation for privatizing the profitizable parts and abolishing the non-profitisable parts?
        If so, should people avoid giving the Upper Class Occupation Regime that excuse? Should people keep using the USPS just as much as ever?

        Does anyone have any opinions or suggestions?

        1. Misplaced Platitudes

          A couple thoughts occur to me:
          1. upon receiving political mailings, all carriers dump them in the trash before beginning their routes.
          2. All taxpayers file using the USPS only this coming tax year.
          And yes, this is at least partly in jest…

        2. RMO

          Stick with the USPS unless you can deliver or pick up in person? I’ve used UPS, FedEx and the USPS has been better than either – much better. Neither UPS nor FedEx can seem to handle getting things across the border competently. They were generally slower and more expensive, often claimed they had tried to deliver the item but said no one was home – even though I was waiting at the door. Use the USPS until it gets taken away from you and leaves you with no alternative.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, I have mailed all my bills by land-mail and will keep doing so as long as land-mail is permitted to exist.

            Perhaps some Blue and Deep Blue states can think being ready for when the Government Conspiracy Against America decides it is time to privatise and sell off the post office. Perhaps they could have a plan to buy every USPS asset physically within their Blue and Deep Blue states and use those assets to keep all the mail carriers within those states to keep carrying mail within those states. They could call it the Inter Blue State Postal System. It would be a stub of the USPS kept alive and functioning within those few states which still wish to have a viable mail system among themselves and between eachother.

            Perhaps this is something the millions of young Sandernistas can start working on in those states where it might be possible.

    2. marieann

      It’s strange that the article mentioned sewing machines. I have to wait until October to get a new one. I put down a deposit a month ago when expected delivery was August.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was gonna use my 1200 clams largess to buy a generator from HD, placed my order and it kept getting delayed and then delayed some more, and finally they cancelled the order, ooh ungowa they ain’t got no power appliances.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Re sewing machines and other such durables — anyone tried buying a used one lately? Older machines (I have a Singer from about 1939) may not do fancy stitches and embroidery, but are solid-built, with cast-iron frames and running gear that was made to last, and parts continue to be available. Same for older washing machines and stuff. but maybe we consumers have consumed all that is in that supply source too?

        1. HotFlash

          I cannot resist sewing machines. I have umm seven I think, not counting Mr. HotFlash’s Bernina. All but one was a gift or cast-off (aka neighbourhood recycling). I have one that is so old that it was converted from a treadle and then given a new motor when Canada went from 50 cycle to 60 cycle some time in the 50’s. I would love to get my hands, er feet, on a treadle setup to convert it back. The one I use most is a little thing called an Elna Lotus. It fits in my backpack so I can take it on the bike to Repair Cafes — on hold for now, but we’ll figure out how to bring them back.

          I also have a fine collection of cast-off porch lights .

    3. lyman alpha blob

      The article mentions a shortage of telescopes among other things. I can attest to that one – I saved my pennies and finally ordered a telescope that I’ve wanted for a long time in the beginning of June (surprisingly, there are no stores where you can by one within hundreds of miles of my house, so ordering online is the only option, something I usually manage to avoid). I got an email right away that the order would be delayed – their explanation was that more people were sitting at home looking to try out new hobbies so orders were significantly up, while production and delivery was down due to the virus. Still waiting almost two months later, but in this particular case it is decidedly a first world problem. I really would have liked a good up close look at NEOWISE though.

      I bet it’s the same problems with the sewing machine marieann mentions above.

          1. RMO

            Odds are China or Taiwan. Meade has some operations in Mexico too but the big two of American telescope manufacturers got bought out by large Chinese corporations some time ago. The downfall of Meade and Celestron make pretty sad stories really even though these days you can get a lot of telescope for your money. You have to go fairly high end before you get something made in Europe, Japan or the US nowadays.

    4. Keith

      This reminded me, when the lockdowns first started, I looked for Trivial Pursuit (one of the few board games I like), and just did a search for it, and I find it is really expensive, $50+, even over $80. Is there something going on with this game?

      1. Mr. House

        Answers to older versions of the game were found not to be politically correct and were removed from the market place ;) (in case the winking smiley didn’t point it out, i’m just joking)

      2. Jessica

        Matt Stoller has mentioned that private equity has rolled up many gameboard companies in order to establish a monopoly, so that might be the cause.
        He claims that there are many monopolies now in markets that you wouldn’t think made for monopolies.

    5. Big Tap

      Just In Time inventory systems by design have very little excess. The logic to this is that storing inventory was an unnecessary expense. When there are emergencies such as a pandemic product shortages will continue to occur.

  2. Wukchumni

    Strikingly, in one database of more than 1,200 super-spreader events, just one incident is classified as outdoor transmission, where a single person was infected outdoors by their jogging partner, and only 39 are classified as outdoor/indoor events, which doesn’t mean that being outdoors played a role, but it couldn’t be ruled out.

    I’ve walked around 150 miles this summer in Mineral King and have come across hundreds of hikers going the other way, only one of which was wearing a mask. Its easy to avoid one another on the trail, you just step aside and give room.

    The only place you can stay for overnight accommodations in MK has 14x rental cabins and outdoor distanced seating for dining, and NO air conditioning, and they’re fully booked through September. None of the private cabins in the community have a-c either, as there’s no electricity.

    Also throw in the idea that everybody is at altitude, a minimum of 7k to as much as 11k when out on hikes.

    I’ve not heard of anybody coming down with Covid in Shangri La, with most of the visitors being from L.A.

    1. VietnamVet

      Something is missing. Infection by a partner jogger is not a super spreader event. It is more like a family infection. Last time I went hiking was with my parents and I was never out of their sight. Hiking or jogging, breathing hard, keeping six feet away, alone, seems disconcerting. Also, hard to avoid sudden close encounters.

      Social behavior is so ingrained and well trained, that physical distancing and wearing a face mask can’t help but cause anxiety. Americans pulled in their spending due to fear of the contagion. Ignoring and downplaying the unprecedented number of hospitalizations in eleven states won’t work. Behavior drives the economy. America can’t have a healthy economy without controlling the virus first.

  3. UserFriendly

    I highly recommend the latest episode of Useful Idiots. Doctor who discovered AIDS gets into why antibodies that target the spike protein are very likely to not last more than a few months. (they aren’t structurally sound) He thinks focusing on boosting innate immune system by re-vaccinating everyone against polio at a cost of $ 0.15/dose every 4 months – to a year is best path forward. Innate immune system is responsible for some t-cell production. If you only care about what I just mentioned you can start at 50:00.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m really surprised nobody is looking at using existing vaccines as a short term fix, at least for vulnerable people. There seems reasonable evidence that the MMR and TB vaccines do provide some protection. Since we know they are safe, and they are cheap, I’d hope someone is doing some studies to see if booster shots could be effective. They are not a ‘solution’, but anything that would protect the vulnerable and possibly lower R0 values could be worthwhile.

      1. Justin Time

        Perhaps this could explain partially the age discrepancy in disease severity. Children have gotten their vaccines much more recently. Even 20 somethings likely would have gotten the MMR in their teens, at least in the US.

        Those over 50, despite having weaker immune systems in general due to aging, might benefit from a series of booster doses.

        1. Sharron

          We asked our primary care nurse about getting the MMR for my 76 yr old husband. Said it would not be covered by insurance. So be prepared to pay about 250.00 for a booster shot. We will probably pay it. We all got TB shots among others when we were posted to Asia in 2003. Probably should see about getting the TB booster again.

      1. edmondo

        Thank God he discovered the polio vaccine in the 50s. Had he done so recently, his vaccine would have immediately been sold to a private equity firm and Dr Salk would be giving advice on capital gains tax cuts in a senate hearing. I am pretty sure that we have lost something along the way.

        1. flora

          as aside: It’s very heartening to read

          How scientists revived an old-school treatment for a 21st century pandemic – Los Angeles Times

          Scientists working in collaboration and on their own initiative to find an effective treatment – even as a stopgap – to stop Covid. Scientists working in the public interest, like the polio vacs researchers and the serum researchers, are very great people.

      2. HotFlash

        Dr. Gallo specifies oral polio vaccine, which would be the one developed by Dr. Albert Sabin, not Jonas Salk’s injected vaccine. Much more info at Wiki, and many links. Dr. Sabin also refused to patent his vaccine.

        1. Carla

          Thank you so much for updating my knowledge about Dr. Sabin and his oral vaccine! — So neither of the two giants of polio research and prevention would stoop to attempting to “patent the sun.” We were a different country then.

          1. Dirk77

            If I recall correctly, Salk’s was a live vaccine while Sabin’s was a dead one. So in that sense, Sabin’s idea was as important as Salk’s.

            1. grayslady

              The oral polio vaccine is a live virus, but highly diluted. I think Gallo was making the point that a live vaccine is what energizes innate immunity (short-term immunity), and that innate immunity is what we need to keep Covid 19 at bay while searching for a longer term solution. Gallo also favors the oral polio vaccine because it is cheap, has a 1 in 3 million chance of adverse reaction, and can be given repeatedly without risk of negating its beneficial effects.

              1. flora

                I expect many readers of NC remember themselves standing in line in grade school gyms or auditoriums to receive the oral polio vaccine. The only requirement for receiving the vaccine, as I recall, was a parents’ signed consent form for their child’s vaccination returned a week or two prior to the vaccination program. No money was involved. The vaccination was free to all families and children.

                Public health.

                I also remember, ( hard to put this into words), the normally stoic, no nonsense nurses’ brief look of barely suppressed joy at each child as they took up the small dixie cup that held the sugar cube. These nurses were protecting their community’s children, saving the children from the horrible polio scourge. I didn’t understand then why the nurses looked so happy.

              2. Dirk77

                Looking it up now, I misremembered. Hilary Koprowski, not Salk, developed a vaccine using the live (but attenuated to be non-virulent) virus five years before Salk. Both Salk and Sabin used dead, i.e., inactivated viruses in their vaccines. Interestingly, the Koprowski vaccine can give lifetime immunity while the Salk/Sabin requires booster shots periodically.

                1. Briny

                  I was one of the extremely rare cases that contracted polio via the live vaccine. Even so, vaccination is extremely important. However, I’m not sure I’m willing to be a guinea-pig for COVID-19 when it comes out. To much of the process does not reassure me.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    Me either.

                    Maybe the MAGA states full of MAGA people will be the brave beta-test warriors ready to give the vaccine a whirl so the rest of us can just see what happens.

    2. ZFG

      His interview actually starts at the 35-minute Mark, if you want to listen to Just that part of the podcast that includes his interview. I believe he is talking about the effectiveness of live vaccines only, so it may not explain why younger people in the US are more resistant to the disease, as I believe that a live polio virus is no longer given in the US oh, it’s more something that is done in third world countries. I’m interested in this technology as a way to allow me to visit family in places where the disease is Raging.

      1. Dan

        Luc Montagnier, credited as a co-discoverer, along with Gallo, of HIV, though they each referred to it by different names at the time they were working on it. Montagnier was given a Nobel Prize in 2008 for his work on what came to be known as HIV. To this day, he insists that a healthy immune system can get rid of HIV on its own, sans any drugs or vaccines. Needless to say, he’s a pariah among the establishment.

    3. ptb

      Thanks for the link. Lots of interesting stuff.

      Oral polio vaccine would not be a total replacement for a vaccine (as Gallo says), more like an immune system booster that seems to be surprisingly effective in this situation, especially relative to cost, availability, and low risk. I understand the frustration that this wasn’t funded, although it seems it is now being investigated elsewhere in the world.

      The part about spike protein glycosylation of the spike protein complicating acquired immunity seems relevant. A 10 second search shows some papers as it applies to SARS-COV-2, but they seem to be “in silico” simulations looking at the biomolecular level. Quick scan did not show them making conclusions about how it would play out in a vaccine. Gallo mentions something about it interfering with B cell development??? what’s that about?

      Other take-aways from the interview – he quotes a general rule of couple months minimum to get first idea of vaccine effectiveness, and ~2 years to have confidence in a vaccine.

  4. sporble

    The Slate article’s stabiliziers (“An Extremely Boring Idea…”) are a potentially good idea, but the article is very off-putting by claiming that only the Republicans are to blame, e.g.

    “In many ways, the book [Recession Ready, which is cited multiple times] reflected the lessons and scars of the Obama era, when the White House spent years battling recalcitrant Republicans on Capitol Hill for more fiscal stimulus while the economy languished.”

    Does the author recall that in 2009-2010 the DEMs had control of both houses – and that Obama chose to undercut his own experts’ ideas re: stimulus?

    Towards the end:

    “But after two economic cataclysms where Congress has failed to what was needed, in part because of Republican obstruction or incompetence…”

    The other part is Democrat obstruction or incompetence.

    1. dougie

      It really is a shame that many, if not most, journalists cannot offer an idea without including their own biases. Maybe it’s just a lift too heavy? Or an ego too big?

      1. Dirk77

        It’s difficult to be objective when your income is precarious. But perhaps training has also fallen off in recent years.

      2. dcrane

        Most journalists today work for media operations that profit by slanting coverage to one side or the other. They probably have no choice.

    2. jsn

      I’ve spent 10 years trying to get Ds to understand Obama had the power to end the filibuster and implement any policy he chose.

      He didn’t need to end the filibuster to implement his preferred policies: bailing out finance; securing the rights of the public-private-partnership surveillance state; legitimizing GWOT and its domestic subsidiary DHS; securing the profits of the Medical Industrial Complex.

      His legacy is secure, it just needs a better pitch man.

      1. Oh

        Obomber also refused to: close Gitmo, release torture photos, kill NAFTA, stop drone killings, prosecute banksters, help labor etc. He could pass Obamacare to help his insurance buddies but when it came to helping the working class …but, but the Republicans!

        These articles that blame only Republicans are obviously written by people who’re intoxicated with Blue Kool Aid.

            1. flora

              His classic one-two punch for people wanting him to Do Something: (paraphrasing)

              ‘If you want me to Do Something you’re going to have to make me.’

              quickly followed by

              ‘Don’t worry, I got this.’

              Was he talking to the same audiences’ ears, or to 2 different audiences’ ears when he said that (and he said it quite a lot) ?

                1. tongorad

                  Trump was the perfect president to follow Obama. Lucky break, huh? “Orange Man Bad” displaced any consideration of Obama’s disastrous presidency, and has elevated Obama to sainthood status. We’ve had 2 sainted presidents in my lifetime, Reagan and Obama.
                  Um, Hail Satan!

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  And a very RICH tall small person. Which is what he went into it for right from the start.

        1. pasha

          for the record: senate majority leader harry reid refused to further weaken the filibuster, as did lieberman and several other senators. even if the democrats take back the senate this year, there is no clear consensus today on getting rid of the filibuster — relic of jim crow that it is

          1. JohnnySacks

            Hell, we barely got RomneyCare. The Dems dream of taking back the senate, but they’re completely useless even with a filibuster proof majority. Imagine what the GOP would accomplish in 9 months with the white house, filibuster proof senate and the house. Obama nostalgia needs a stake through it’s heart.

    3. Pat

      Coupled with a rampant bipartisan grift government funds for themselves and their donors.
      In many ways the CARES Act, like every previous public stimulus, was NOT inadequate, it was pointedly directed. Money was spent on things that were neither supportive or stimulative by design, and calling that “incompetent” is a serious misuse of the word. It was highly competent. What is lost here is that the purpose of these things is not what is told the public, it is the continued enrichment of our Robber Barons. And that it, and in the past they, do extremely well. What they do not do well is their supposed public purpose – to support the general economy.

      Continuing to discuss this in the manner of the article merely disquises how corrupt and broken our system is. Both current proposals are gifts to the Barons, they merely disagree about which Barons get the most and how little the crumbs need to be for the public to keep up the illusion.

      1. jsn

        Currently one has to look at Congress as a policy market where only cash has purchase.

        This explains what laws pass and why none of the outcomes can be coordinated as public benefits: whatever the optics, the laws are to secure private cash flows for those who paid for them.

        On the flip side, Stollers substack today on IT antitrust shows a public muscle that just remembered, after two generations, how to flex!

        1. a different chris

          I think the Big Tech billionaires are becoming too big for “normal” billionaires, who they could buy by the dozen and not really notice. You and I might enjoy seeing Zuckerberg squirm, but not nearly as much as those whose whole lives were in pursuit of a measure (The Richest of The Rich) that they fell woefully short of.

          Stupid that that’s our only hope for Congressional action, but it apparently is.

        2. polecat

          not so untouchable ?? … oh $ure! .. as in a very slight reddening of a handslap? Well, okay then!

          I’m sorry. I’m just not seeing it … even the slightest of NeoBaronial contrition. Does anyone NOT connected think that Nancy & Co. … singing harmony, to Mitch and his Wrecking Crew’s melody, are going to go after Big Tech’s jugular'($)

          It’s ALL theater for the lowly mokes’s consumption.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            And precisely how long do people think we will even contemplate de-monopolizing Big Tech after they install The Biden? Sergei B, Mark Z, Tim C, Jeff B, and Jack D know how great it was for them under The Mellifluous Melanoderm, and they are also members of the Those Who Know They Know Best Club. You can believe there are some pretty detailed conversations under way about allowable/preferable search results, news feeds, Tweets, WaPo articles, and any possible future anti-trust movements.

    4. flora

      The old New Deal Dem party, when faced with economic disaster, fought against concentrations of private power, stabilizers were part of that fight so people weren’t left destitute when private capital failed. It regulated the private concentrations of power of monopolies (broke them up) and of banks.

      The New Dem party, the 3rd Way and DLC, believes in concentrations of private power; believes in industry consolidation, believes the govt should shelter the billionaires and monopolists when private capital fails. They really believe this: that it’s their job to protect the private concentrations of wealth and the ‘magical industrial money machine’ of private corporate industry even as it becomes more monopolistic, financially predatory, and off shores manufacturing to dodgy countries. The New Dems don’t think it’s their job to use govt to rein in abuses and regulate in the public interest.

      Of course O and the New Dems bailed out Wall St. and the Banks. That’s how they see the purpose of the New Dem party: middle managers of corporate US, not people governing in the national interest.

      1. jsn

        Of course they believe that, that’s what they’re paid to do!

        And the better they do it, the more they get!

        They can secure their and their children’s futures by doing what they’re paid to do. Until we can figure out how to give them some reason not to we should expect the same. Oh yeah, and now the buy side of policy owns the judiciary so any contravening message will no doubt be viewed as “illegal “.

    5. Susan the other

      I loved this idea. Automatic Stabilizers. There’s an app for that. And it’s definitely not Congress. Congress is the anti-app. The only word left to describe them is “incompetent”. If you are so slow and undecided and inflexible to act even as your country disintegrates then what good are you? It seems to me that this is a solution that accomplishes in advance what other countries, not the USA, do when they dissolve their governments and make them reform so they can actually do what they were elected to do. Not to get too carried away, but the spirit of automatic stabilization could be used even farther in advance to avoid political conflict which prevents solutions. We are actually still operating on a 19th Century paradigm which changes horses in the middle of a stream. Leaving nobody on first. I think it was expedient and used to create a window for all the carpetbaggers to move in and scoop up the failed enterprises. Think the foreclosure crisis. Isn’t it amusing that Obama turned to automatic stabilizers? He was the very culprit who facilitated the biggest rape of America in all it’s history. But yes, it is an excellent idea.

      1. howseth

        Let them be evicted while Covid-19 burns.
        The notion of term limits for Congress/Senate keeps rolling around my brain these days. What are we ‘buying’ when we keep em’ power indefinitely – Wisdom? Seems the hordes of cash directed to incumbents cancels that. I forget the reasons we don’t have term limits. (Dare I say the Supreme Court too? – hush your tongue boy!)

        1. Susan the other

          The notion of a referendum which ends completely our absurd institution of bicameral log jams is rolling around in my brain. Just end this bad, outdated design of a “legislature” which can’t legislate anything in a timely manner, and start over. I’m sure we can come up with something better because it would be impossible to design something worse.

    6. Procopius

      … Obama chose to undercut his own experts’ ideas re: stimulus?

      Wait… what? Obama followed the majority of his economic advisers’ recommendations. Larry Summers famously recommended/demanded the smaller amount be requested, saying, first, that it was plenty, and, second, that they could go back for more if it was needed.

      1. Yves Smith

        It wasn’t Obama, it was his team’s self-censorship:

        I can fill in a major gap in the narrative—an earlier version of the same memo that includes Romer’s larger option. (A source provided the memo on the condition that he not be named.) In this version of the memo, Romer calculated that it would take an eye-popping $1.7-to-$1.8 trillion to fill the entire hole in the economy—the “output gap,” in economist-speak. “An ambitious goal would be to eliminate the output gap by 2011–Q1 [the first quarter of 2011], returning the economy to full employment by that date,” she wrote. “To achieve that magnitude of effective stimulus using a feasible combination of spending, taxes and transfers to states and localities would require package costing about $1.8 trillion over two years.” Alas, these words never made it into the memo the president saw.

        Romer then recommended $1.2 trillion (this has been widely reported). Summers overruled her, saying anything over $1 trillion was politically dead on arrival.

        Plenty of commentators, even Paul Krugman, deemed the Obama stimulus to be too small. Many years later, even Summers said he had been wrong.

  5. Ignacio

    You’d Rather Get a Coronavirus Vaccine Through Your Nose

    I am quite sympathetic to this idea. The nose is the main entry site so having our nose mucosae prepared/ protected might readily protect our lungs, nervous system etc. Yet direct entry to the lungs cannot be ruled out. Anyway effective protection of the nose would prevent spread. So far, preclinical studies in macaques with a few of the candidates now in Phase III show that these are not good preventing nose infection and better preventing lung disease.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have a comment in moderation that you will want to see regarding this. It is easier to prevent nasal viral replication than one would think.

      1. Hopelb

        Looking forward to it getting out of moderation!
        Saw a zinc/black elderberry throat and nose spray at the store, might be helpful. Ziacam makes a zinc nasal swab.
        Should we not be clipping nose hairs now?

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Soluble ACE 2 makes us less likely to get sick but more likely to spread the virus. That is all you need to know.

          For some reason I do not think it is getting out of modration. I hate that it got lost so I am just not commenting anymore. Just more censorship or inetrnet breakage.

          1. John k

            I really enjoy reading your posts, hope you continue. I get maybe a quarter blocked, oth I appreciate reading without the crap that happens at many sites.

            1. Yves Smith

              I’m sorry but you can understand with internet discourse being what it is, readers may not fully appreciate the tone that can be read into comments. We are trying to avoid uninformative sparring.

          2. ambrit

            Don’t despair Krystyn. As I believe Lambert says, “The Internet is not a friendly environment.”
            As I have learned over the few years I have alternately lurked and preened here, one needs a tough skin to comment on the internet. Don’t despair. You are a much appreciated ‘resource’ here. Roll with the punches.
            Be like a Weeble. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!”
            Wobble over:

        2. BeliTsari

          Expected to see folks growing: loveage, dill, red lettuce, Mexican oregano, angelica, etc (highest in phyto-polyphenols) and shortages of dark, tart berry juices and brightly colored greens. But, certainly no long-term COVID, support group or .edu websites supporting the hippie snake-oil immuno moderating weeds? Hops, RED wine & chocolate are on the list? Of course, so are exercise, rest and sun…

    2. Dean

      What do you make of the Moderna Macaque study which appears to show no detectable virus in both BAL and nasal sites

      From their conclusions:
      “Viral replication was not detectable in BAL fluid by day 2 after challenge in seven of eight animals in both vaccinated groups. No viral replication was detectable in the nose of any of the eight animals in the 100-μg dose group by day 2 after challenge, and limited inflammation or detectable viral genome or antigen was noted in lungs of animals in either vaccine group.”

    3. BeliTsari

      Anybody else try finding resoundingly debunked zinc/ ascorbic acid/ Quercetin swabs; or using Sambuchus nigra, D3 zinc lozenges, like German omas used for rhinoviruses? Probably CAUGHT it at CVS who’d lied about stocking these, in early March? Not as a prophylactic, but to enhance immuno-response?

      1. Phillip Allen

        An isolated anecdote about Sambucus nigra and immune function.

        I have lived with HIV disease since ~1985, hitting a nadir CD4 count just above 100 in 1994. What was/is termed Highly Active Anti-Retrovial Therapy (HAART) brought me back from the brink. Unlike people who are recently infected and who start on HAART very early in the course of the disease, who see restoration of immune function very quickly (CD4 counts of 800-1200 or more), people in my demographic have not seen such a robust response. For years I have functioned reasonably well with CD4 counts in the 300s. 500 is the benchmark for low ‘normal’.

        Starting about 18 months ago I started taking ~1ml Elderberry tincture daily (pretty much) as a prophylactic – especially if I was going to people a lot; days I didn’t go out I might not remember. During this period I have not changed any other aspect of my treatment regimen, except for the frequent Elderberry tincture. As of a couple of months ago I am in shouting distance of that 500 CD4 target, after some 20 years of minimal annual progress.

        I have seen no reporting of adverse effects of Sambucus nigra (or americana, the North American native species – herbalists seem to prefer nigra over americana, but you use what’s available — both are effective.

        1. BeliTsari

          Well, several sources expressed concern to discontinue use of Sambuchus nigra (and several other anti-viral iso-flavonoids to avoid triggering a cytokine storm). The Quercetin Chrétien and Mbikay had tried during SARS & Ebola we’d had only scant time to research; being infected already. But zinc, ascorbic acid, astragalus, Resveratrol, Echinacea… many folks were trying concoctions from liquorice & peppermint with zinc, D3, vitamins C & A. It was largely fear of our private equity looted medical system being overwhelmed as millions of loud, drunk, mouth-breathing New Yorkers infected each other on MTA, work, bars, schools, clubs, gyms & houses of worship (without ANY masks, never covering coughs & sneezes: it’s tradition?)

    4. ewmayer

      More simply – and here I put a “do not try this yourself w/o consulting a physician” caution – been using a simple home nasal-irritation remedy for years and years, half tap water, half ethyl-based 70% running alcohol (when that became unavailable in early months of covid-19 pandemic, used diluted-to-similar-1/3-alcohol vodka), pinch of salt, dip exam-gloved finger in to wet, insert in nostril, snort, several in each nostril. Brief sting, then relief from all manner of nose irritation.

      Is 1/3 alcohol strong enough to kill the virus?

      1. ewmayer

        Gah – “rubbing alcohol”. (It is pretty runny tho). Hard to edit posts when they all go straight to moderation, as this one also surely will. [Posted at 17:03 PDT]

        1. Yves Smith

          Please do not complain. We have repeatedly said our Jules is off on Sunday and we don’t have a replacement. I am working on a post with some time sensitivity and can only clear the queue intermittently. We have had to add to our mod rules due to the caliber of Internet discourse getting even more out of hand in general, which means more false positives.

          We commit ONLY to liberating comments once every 24 hours. Yours was held only a bit over an hour.

          1. ewmayer

            I appreciate the time constraints on the mods, especially for a forum as busy as this one. But please just answer me this – does every pst by every user go straight into moderation? Because as little as a year ago for this user, only attempted posts with multiple links were frequently diverted to either let’s-help-train-Google-self-car-crashing-AI captcha hell or to moderation.

  6. UserFriendly

    For those who remembered the collapse of 62 dams in Henan in 1975, amid heavy downpours during a typhoon, it was of little comfort. That event killed more than 26,000 people by the official count — though other estimates were several times higher.

    Several times higher… I’ll say. most estimates are around 170k, making it several times over the most deadly man made disaster.

  7. zagonostra

    >The Intercept: Unemployment

    Here in this reality, we’re governed by a blend of the criminally incompetent and incompetent criminals.

    If you take this sentence not as literary hyperbole, but a clear and truthful description, then why continue on with all the other noise that fills what passes as public discourse? Why bother with the daily dose of distraction the abettors of those criminals, corporate media, serve up each day? If someone has the knee to your neck, (Iron Heel/Jack London), do you really care about her/his shoe size or its color, or even what their motives are? As long as those who govern can keep you chasing this or that scent, the rotting,festering cancer that is the body politics in the U.S. will continue to reek its nasty stench.

    (I know too early on a Sunday morning for such language)

    1. Procopius


      I find I’ve stopped reading every article to the end. If the first couple of paragraphs show it’s more of stuff I’ve already read about I just close the tab. Never used to do that.

      1. Briny

        The reason I like Danny Sjursen‘s articles is that usually gives tips on the quick detection of enemy (gaslighting) action. My rejection process is getting finely, and finally, tuned.

  8. allan

    More Kodak p0rn:

    Eastman Kodak top executive got Trump deal windfall on an ‘understanding’ [Reuters]

    Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) on Monday granted its executive chairman options for 1.75 million shares as the result of what a person familiar with the arrangement described as an “understanding” with its board that had previously neither been listed in his employment contract nor made public. …

    Seems legit.

    It’s not pump and dump, or options backdating, if the President (or CEO) does it.

    1. JBird4049

      >>It’s not pump and dump, or options backdating, if the President (or CEO) does it.

      But of course. Just like usually it is not illegal, or assault, or theft, or murder if the police do it? Rules for thee and not for me strikes again.

  9. Ignacio

    RE:Coronavirus: Russia plans mass vaccination campaign in October

    BBC reporting from Russia indicate quite relaxed standards regarding Russia. What that ‘mass vaccinations’ means in BBC- speak? Did they ask? Then apparently instead of early approval Russia is seeking to try first with HC personnel (no info if with some, many or all). We cannot compare Russian vaccine with AstraZeneca in numbers so we cannot have an idea on who is running higher risks. But given Russia the BBC feels free to expell any kind of critic without bothering to collect real info before.

    1. carl

      RT reported weeks ago that the researchers chose to test the vaccine on themselves before clinical trials. The Russians certainly seem to be confident of the efficacy of their vaccine.

      1. Ignacio

        Just for clarity. What I deemed “relaxed” were not the Russia vaccine standards ( I have not explored data on the Russian candidate) but the BBC reporting standards on news from Russia.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Not challenging the lack of standards in BBC, but here they probably had not much to work with. I assume the BBC reporting was based on Interfax news merely stating that according to the Minister of Health, Mikhail Murashko (who, btw, is a real doctor [of obstetrics] and is an ‘politically independent’ member of cabinet) Russia plans to have free vaccine available in October, but they will begin ‘the mass vaccinations’ only with medical staff and teachers – the groups most at risk – and then phase the program to cover more people.

          This statement was given as a reply to journalists at NIzny Novgorod, where the minister was meeting with the regional representatives of Volga Federal District on how to diminish the mortality and spreading of the virus.

          Similar statement was made yesterday by the director of State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, Rinat Maksyutov. In February Vector developed a test for CoVid-19, and in March they reported working on 13 different CoVid vaccine candidates with animal testing. The plan was to have two most promising ready for phase I human testing in June. Unfortunately I couldn’t find more info on that. Except for Mr. Maksyutov yesterday saying that their vaccine will be ready for phased ‘mass vaccinations’ in October.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      The director of the Vector center in Novosibirsk (which would actually produce the vaccine) announced today that production should start in November, with the aim of vaccinating high-risk groups towards late 2020 early 2021, and then moving on to mass vaccination. BBC was simply quoting what Russia’s health minister said. If I have to pick between the promises of the health minister or the more cautious view of the doctor in charge of the manufacturing facility, I’m going with the latter.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Vermont to hand out 200,000 free masks”

    I don’t care how small a State Vermont is population wise. All those measures talked about in this article are an example of good governance and should be done elsewhere.

    1. Jesper

      I’d say that if being small works then maybe a reduction of the sizes of the bigger ones might do some good.
      There is a trend of centralisation (sold as co-ordination) which is not always a good thing. The believers believe that more good can be done if more is centralised and used by the good, the sceptics might be concerned about single point of failure in the center and the risk of corruption if a lot of power is centralised to the few.

      1. Yves Smith

        I have horrible manual dexterity and no tools. I can’t, or more accurately, the best I can make on my own is with baby wipes and scissors. Better than nothing but I think the fabric it too thin.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “Good governance” as it is defined in the u.s. anyway.

      Gov. Phil Scott says the state emergency operations center will spearhead this effort called Operation Cloth Face-Covering for Everyone.
      “Two-hundred-thousand free cloth masks will be available to Vermonters, donated by many different entities. That should help. That’s a third of our population. We want to make sure we provide everything needed to keep others safe,” said Scott, R-Vermont.

      A day-late-and-dollar-short government “program” announced with self-aggrandizing fanfare and words like “spearhead,” invariably having a goofy, military inspired name beginning with “operation,” funded by charity, and in which there’s nowhere near enough for everyone.

      Yup. “Good governance” american style. But don’t get me wrong. We’ve all learned to be very grateful for the crumbs that are tossed, and we support the politicians who promise to toss them.

      PS. My Total Wine store has been handing out free masks for weeks now to shoppers who don’t have them. “Please take only one.”

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        The convenience store I work at is under a mask mandate, we sell cloth masks for ten bucks and cheap disposables for two, I’ve been known to give out the disposables for customers who are clearly down on their luck, very old and/or not openly hostile towards me about the mask thing.

        The boss is okay with people just putting their shirt up over their nose which I don’t agree with, all it takes is one person complaining or a cop seeing people walking out with items and no mask and we’ll get hit with a fine. Oh well, not my call. And I’ve given up on asking people to cover their noses; obviously you might as well just take the mask off if you’re not covering your mouth and nose, it’s doing absolutely nothing. This must be what it’s like to direct schoolchildren all day.

        Most people are cooperative and no one has gotten really nasty about it since the start of the mandate, but a couple of old dudes were giving me crap the other day. “Wow you guys are really into this mask stuff. You’re young, you’ll change when you get olde

    3. edmondo

      Really? after 5 months of coronavrus taking over a country (seven, if you count China’s outbreak) they are now getting around to distributing masks? And you think this is timely? Maybe a little virtue signaling for a governors re-election campaign is more likely.

  11. a different chris

    Re “The Russians Are(n’t) Coming” — I am sure not a fan of Trump. But like the old saying goes, “you can’t kid a kidder”, Trump can smell the MIC grift better than most. Probably has more to do also with why he’s always promising health care, he actually means it because that’s the other MIC that’s grifting hard (and not including him).

    Sigh. If he had any motives more noble than rank jealousy we might get somewhere.

    it’s difficult for so many to discern that Trump may be a moron but isn’t necessarily wrong on NATO; may be a serial liar, but senses the truth of establishment schemes to scuttle even modest imperial retrenchment.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      So on the one hand we have a rude Tweeter and blowhard who correctly: A. identifies the ruinously expensive folly of supporting a defense structure designed against an enemy that disappeared in 1989; and B. identifies the actual threat China presents to American standards of living and her middle class; and C. believes in the primacy of the country’s *national* interest over inter- and supra-national interests.

      And on the other hand we have a dementia patient holdover from a regime famous for globalist nation-smashing adventures, who believes China is simply a great place to go grifting, and who believes that the national border should be open to any and all regardless of the economic impact on the country’s existing workers.

      If the two camps are roughly on par for venality, cravenness, and utter corruption, how are these not the tie-breakers?

  12. PlutoniumKun

    China’s Three Gorges Dam is one of the largest ever created. Was it worth it? CNN

    Unfortunately, the Three Gorges Dam always seemed to be more about politics and nationalism than rational allocation of resources. Back in the 1990’s I worked for a company which had been interested in bidding for the management of some aspects of the project, but withdrew when they looked more closely at it (plus, they’d had pretty bad experiences in other Chinese contracts). Its usually easy to see a project founded on BS when the official justifications for it keep flipping around. First it was for flood control, then to produce green power, then it was supposed to be a symbol of the State, then it was supposed to aid the development of western China – it kept flipping around, with none of the justifications surviving much critical analysis.

    The dam caused untold damage to the ecosystem of the river (not that there is much ecosystem left in the major Chinese rivers), and was always highly questionable even on purely developmental terms. Unfortunately, China seems, like Japan before it, to have become entirely hooked on pouring concrete as a solution for short and medium term economic problems, so we’ll see plenty of other such schemes over the next few years – post Covid a lot of old projects are being dusted off right now for rapid construction, no questions asked.

    1. JWP

      Similar to a lot of our dams. Glenn Canyon, Fort Peck, Garrison, O’Shaughnessy come to mind as massive dams with huge ecological impacts and relatively little practical effects compared to cost.

  13. Wukchumni

    Half a league unemployed, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of debt
    Spending their last six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns if you still have credit” he said.
    Into the valley of debt
    Spending their last six hundred.

  14. Massinissa

    For a moment there, I thought The Washington Hawks was a sports team I didn’t know about.

    I’d advocate having a sporting match between the Hawks and Doves in Washington, but then I’m not sure there are enough doves in Washington to form a tennis team.

      1. ambrit

        So, we are speaking here about a game that is played with no balls? Sounds like politics as played in the Swamp League.

  15. dougie

    From the prepping article:”Prioritize your needs, but also throw in a want up near the top of the list for sanity reasons. (I use Kit Builder for this.)”

    Apparently, one now needs an app to make a list. And here I was just living my best life, thinking a dry erase board on the side of the fridge was going to be adequate. (shrugs)

  16. a different chris

    >A Newsroom at the Edge of Autocracy The Atlantic. The South China Morning Post.

    Haha thanks for adding “The South China Morning Post” otherwise I would have thought NYT right off the top of my head.

  17. fresno dan

    A rep for Wilford tells TMZ, one of his favorite quotes was from a sign at a blacksmith’s shop. It read, “There is nothing made, sold, or done that can’t be made, sold, or done cheaper. If price is your only concern, please do business with my competitor.”
    He was 85. I thought he was 85 thirty years ago…

    1. Katiebird

      I said the same thing last night when I heard the news. I just realized that he was a much better actor than I thought

      1. dave

        He always played much older than he was.

        He was 50(!) when Coccoon came out.

        The Brimley/Coccoon line calculator:

        If you were born on Nov 7, 1969, you are as old as Wilford Brimley was when Coccoon was released.

      2. fresno dan

        August 2, 2020 at 8:57 am
        He actually had quite a career, and I think he did good work with regard to diabetes.

    2. QuarterBack

      One of my favorite movies from Wilford Brimley is Absence of Malice, which is about the weaponization of the press for political agenda. A good movie to watch for today’s times. Brimley’s performance, to me, steals the whole movie.

      1. polecat

        I prefer ol’ Bill in a different light ..

        ” You don’t understaaaand! .. THAT Thing wanted to become Ussss! “

      2. LifelongLib

        He plays a nuclear power plant operator who’s afraid of being blamed for an incident in “The China Syndrome” (1979), IIRC the first movie I saw him in.

    3. ewmayer

      I enjoyed seeing him do a slightly different turn in John Carpenter’s excellent remake of The Thing. The blood-testing scene in that film is an all-time jump-out-of-your-seat classic of suspense.

  18. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: How does SARS-CoV-2 cause COVID-19?

    Poor misunderstood ACE2. You know it is actually there to help us? You see there are two types of ACE2, non-circulating and circulating. Non-ciculating ACE2 turns into circulating ACE2 when another enzyme, ADAM17, snips ACE2 off the cell. And guess what? When ACE2 is not on the cell you do not have viral replication in the cell and you do not get sick. However, it means you will more likely spread it when you talk or sneeze. This is why kids are super spreaders.

    COVID-19 Infection and Circulating ACE2 Levels: Protective Role in Women and Children

    soluble ACE2 may help children and asymptomatic people to better counteract virus spreading to a cell target. On one hand, this could help them to contain infection. On the other hand, this could also let these carriers be an important reservoir of circulating virus, and so this deserve much of our attention in the near future.

    Oh, and ADAM17? I have brought that up here before.

    ADAM17, also known as tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme (TACE) or CD156q, is a zinc-dependent protease and the most active “sheddase” of the ADAMs family


    1. HotFlash

      Holy moly, Krystyn. And the millon-dollar question. I can see why there is no push in the US, but isn’t there anybody, anywhere, who is doing this work? What the hey, a GoFundMe could save the world, with the right researchers.

      1. ambrit

        I suspect that any “real” scientist who participated in a ‘GoFundMe’ based research project would quickly find themselves decredentialled.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Met Police destroyed records for the night Prince Andrew allegedly had sex with teenager in London, says former Royal protection officer”

    So the next time allegations are made against anyone in any country, when the reply comes back from officials that ‘We have gone all through our records and there is nothing in them to back up these so-called allegations’ you will know why this is so. I expect that this applies to US Secret Service records in connection with past Presidents. I won’t say who here but I will refer to him as B Clinton. No! No! Wait! That is too easy that. What I meant to say was Bill C.

    1. David

      Well, it’s the Daily Mail.
      Actually, if you read the story, what has been destroyed is the records of which police officers were on duty that night. I’m sure there are good reasons for keeping duty rosters of policemen on for much longer than two years (forever maybe?), because you never know when a policeman might need to refresh his memory about his whereabouts on a certain day a decade before. But the story has nothing to do with where Prince Andrew was that night.
      Good old Daily Mail.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I wonder if those police are allowed to keep personal diaries? Probably not. They would have to sign something to say that they will abstain from doing so on the grounds of ‘national security’ with threats of legal consequences if they do. Probably any police officers with eidetic memory are weeded out from the get-go as well for obvious reasons.

        1. David

          In the UK, public-sector shift workers would expect to receive their own copy of their schedules, and can keep them as long as they want. There’s nothing classified about them. There’s no interdiction that I’ve ever come across about keeping diaries, and the average policeman is unlikely to ever come across anything sensitive enough that it needs to be protected. But unless you’re an obsessive, you’re probably content to throw away your own copy of a print-out that says which days you were on duty many years ago.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Surely there would be pay records saying that so and so worked on a particular day? People are expected to hang onto pay records for several years so I am pretty sure that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs would have those records on file somewhere. And it wouldn’t be subject to the Official Secrets Act which we all know is an act to protect official’s secrets.

            1. John A

              The question is more to do with what time did Andrew return to Buck House (if he did at all that night)? Belgravia is literally round the corner, Pizza Express in Woking much more of a drive, and probably closer to Andrew’s architecturally tasteless Windsor Pile, affectionately known as Southpork, a play on the Ewing Ranch in Dallas, his title of York and his on/off wife’s battle with the scales and endorsement of Weightwatchers.

          2. WobblyTelomeres

            Man, those old work schedules could prove pivotal if one is ever hauled before a combative Senate Judiciary Committee…

      2. Bruce In Waukegan

        Re scrubbing the officers’ names. I wouldn’t be so dismissive. It seems to me that journalists might want to interview officers on duty to check if there is anything not in the records. At least that is what journalists used to do.

        1. JBird404+9

          Some reporters still do, and there are the authors of good investigative books. Some of them spend decades on a book.

          I think it’s not so much as to protect the pedophile prince from prosecution although there is that, but to protect the name of the royal family or everyone else of importance. Think of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. They were not rapists, but their sexual activities were sordid, and were only revealed decades later, partly because no one wanted to hurt their reputations.

          Don’t worry about nobody knowing though. There are any number of organizations like J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI who knew all about those two activities and even had recordings. Perhaps its to maintain kompromat on various influential or informed people that these records are destroyed or hidden from other people; that a the reason Hoover kept large files or did legal interventions for some people.

          (Oh senator, don’t worry about your daughter getting drunk and doing x last night or your son hitting that tree, it’s been taken care of.)

    2. Off The Street

      Those records searches are subject to much manipulation when a miscreant plays offense early to avoid playing defense later. Digital search strings for keywords and phrases are in widespread use, so why not use a few tricks up front to hide potentially damning evidence. That allows the applicable party to claim that a thorough search was made and, darn, nothing turned up matching the description.

      Here are a few that occur in and around Washington, so why not in London:

      -Intentional misspellings
      -Kerning, where letter spacing can be squished together to make, say, the letters r and n look like the letter m, or two v’s to look like a w. You see the same tricks in phishing and other hacks where the URL is a little off but the unsuspecting click on the link anyway.
      -Phony or hidden accounts for those emails, texts and whatnot that you just don’t think should ever see the light of day. There is need to know, and nobody outside a small circle of friends really needs that now, do they!?

      Those measures, applied judiciously, eliminate, or at least reduce, the need for old-fashioned physical evidence tampering.

  20. Geo

    “Joe Biden May Delay VP Running Mate Decision For Another Week”

    Bold, decisive leadership!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      As if he hasn’t already been told whom he’s going to “pick.”

      In the article there’s a link to a piece titled Lin-Manuel Miranda Endorses Joe Biden: “Our Democracy Is At Stake”

      Maybe the genius behind Hamilton has decided to help stage manage this announcement for maximum dramatic effect. If so, someone should tell him that it’s a fine line between drama and dithering.

      1. Phillip Allen

        “As if he hasn’t already been told whom he’s going to “pick.”

        I think there is intense infighting between different factions within and close to the Biden operation. The Biden™ of course has nothing to do with the meat puppet they’re abusing as long as possible.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        If he doesn’t pick her or Whitmer, and he goes full idpol so that he wins the coasts, he deserves to lose.

      2. edmondo

        He still has an Attorney General to hire. The awfulness of the Biden Administration is just beginning to become apparent.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My guess is he expected BLM protests to go away when he could announce Klobuchar. They didn’t and now we get another delay announcement especially when the black cops he wants aren’t doing well with anyone but the khive.

          I don’t expect Biden to fill positions quickly. I think he will look for people who will please everyone, but he won’t have the sheen of 2009 and will just kind of bumble around the White House as the Lincoln Project accuses him of not filling positions.

          1. Geo

            “I think he will look for people who will please everyone“

            What’s the old saying? When you try to appeal to everyone you end up appealing to no one… something like that.

            They should just own it and have an entire cabinet filled with corporate mascots: Monopoly Guy at Fed, The Trix Rabbit at DoD, Microsoft’s Clippy as Press Sec, Hamburglar at FDA, etc.

          2. Pat

            Just for giggles how does Klobuchar please anyone much less everyone?

            I do agree she was their fallback if they felt they had to hire a woman, but they really wanted Pete. Unfortunately not only did he fall into the woman trap, he doubled down with one of color. And nobody fulfills the necessary PR without falling apart on other PR metrics.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              In Biden’s mind. He’s not very smart. And her lack of national profile helped keep her record out of the spotlight. His commitment to pick a black woman ran into the defund the police issue. The kind of black women politicos he would pick have records at odds with black america at the moment.

              From Biden’s perspective:

              -she’s tough
              -state wide office holder in a state that can elect Republicans
              -has no vote like the Iraq War hanging around her like a lodestone.
              -Republicans and corporate types like her because they know she’ll never shut down the senate over bad legislation.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Maybe she could please the Baseball Lobby. I hear she has a mean throwing arm and pitches a mean stapler. That might impress them.

      1. anon in so cal

        She was a police officer and an “impeachment manager” at the Ukrainegate impeachment hearings….

        1. flora

          Ah. Is the inference then that we should take her as only a New Dem opportunist looking for camera time and looking to burnish her possibly false progressive credentials? (One can never be too cynical these days, imo. ) Who made her an impeachment manager?

    2. dcrane

      A good strategy for delaying the campaigning. Keeps people talking about him, but no new content required.

      But he better watch out. Last I looked, Trump was rebounding in the Rasmussen poll.

    3. GettingTheBannedBack

      Reading the room, it looks like Joe is the Dem pick because he’s the only candidate that would cause a shedload of Republican voters to defect from Trump. It doesn’t matter his state of physical or mental health, Dems just need to keep the charade going until the election.
      And how do Republican voters feel about a black, female, VP who will probably become POTUS? That is probably what is causing the delay. My guess is that the pick will be someone who does not upset Rep voters.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Harvard professor develops a $50 nasal spray to thwart the spread of COVID-19”

    It took a Harvard professor to think up this one. Somebody should make some space in the Museum of Modern Technology for an example of this little item – right next to the $399 Juicero Press, the Wi-Fi connected juicer that came out about three years ago and died of embarrassment.

  22. allan

    GOP: Renomination of Trump to be held in private [AP]

    The vote to renominate President Donald Trump is set to be conducted in private later this month, without members of the press present, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Convention said, citing the coronavirus. …

    Unconfirmed reports indicate that, based on the model of firing squads, the vote will be 2,550 – 1,
    which will allow all delegates plausible deniability.

  23. Wyatt Powell

    “The Extremely Boring Idea That Could Save the Economy”

    The picture used at the top of the article makes me cringe.

    Maybe you shouldn’t buy a Dodge Challenger if your worried about “Extend $600 NOW”… Im all for more safety nets, I’m probably farther “left” than 80% of America… living outside your means or what you need is what keeps us in this consumerist nightmare. So maybe don’t drive a *expletive* Challenger and start bi*chin’ bout free money from the Government.

    But if Socialism ever does come to America (for the poor atleast) everybody SHOULD be driving affordable, high MPG cars… not bloody Challengers, Chargers, Mustangs, GT500s etc… that make you feel special and important. Plebs like me are lucky to have 4 wheels and an engine.

    I’m sure the person driving that car is a fine person (hopefully) but they are showing complete ignorance and out-of-touchness by writing that on their car.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      A 55 mile per hour speed limit for automobiles would be a nice concession to flipping physics. If that speed doesn’t do the job, you really need to think about a train.

      Let’s say 2CVs at the mid-range, Beetles at the high end, cars could be convenient.

      Back in the oughts I thought that apps would break out in coordinating public services. Bummer.

      1. rowlf

        Trabants with emission controls? 2CVs are too Fourth Republicky. Who will accept yellow headlights today? Beetles, well, lead to fascism.

      2. HotFlash

        In built-up areas, 25 klicks/hour should be quite fine. I usu do 22-23kph on my trusty old 3-speed bicycle, if the radar signs are to be believed.

    1. crittermom

      I love frogs!
      There have been several on here lately & they always bring back childhood memories which make me smile.

      Growing up in southern Michigan with 2 ponds behind the house there were many leopard frogs, which I would enjoy catching (& then releasing). Several years back I began seeing them in pet stores, which shocked me.

      Sadly, living out west for so many years now I have yet to see any frogs, which is probably why I enjoy those posted on here so much. Would love to find one on my porch!

  24. Wukchumni

    Goooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    We would buy bonds by day and sell treasuries by night during Operation Rolling Blunder, in an attempt to blow the Fiatnamese to kingdom come via arbitrage on steroids.

    Nobody had reckoned on the Debt Offensive during the puns of August though, and ensuing assault on default.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Tech titans had their day before Congress. Now what?

    Oh those CNN headline writers are hilarious! I think we all no the answer is “nothing”, just like it is for every other important issue that might actually help people.

    1. tegnost

      yeah there was no meat there, imo, but congress can claim they did something. As Pat says above, the country is broken, I would say irretrievably…Can anyone conceive of a way out of this mess? Is it a $3,500/dose vaccine? Breaking up facebook would be a big splash that leaves apple google and amazon unscathed. Not necessarily a win… I also noticed the gratuitous claim by Gallant the a biden DOJ would do something…I haven’t heard biden say that, or much of anything else for that matter…

  26. savebyirony

    A suggestion for the Sports Desk:
    It has been interesting listening to the ESPN commentary about this article this morning. They are trying to focus on the college athletes’ concerns over Covid 19, but I think the “student” athletes are as much if not more focused on the economics of their unique college athletics experiences. Sports media voices on ESPN tend to broaden out quite a bit on the week days, though, and I think the economic disparities will rise in the coverage.

    1. Tom Doak

      That’s quite a manifesto. If they stick to it, that would be the end of college sports as we know them.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “US sheriffs rebel against state mask orders even as Covid-19 spreads”

    The solution is simple. If they refuse to do the job that they were hired to do, then they should be fired. Those sheriffs do have a choice and if they refuse to do their duty, then I am sure that there are lots of exciting opportunities to be found for them in mall security and the nightwatchmen industry. If the departments go on strike in support, then they should also be fired also and a better grade of sheriff hired. One that will know how to follow legal orders. This is no different to the case of that Kentucky County Clerk that refused to issue a marriage license to two gay guys five years ago because it went against her religious beliefs.

    1. Ford Prefect

      These are busy men that are keeping their departments funded through civil forfeitures from targeted traffic stops which is necessary as much of their budget is being used up to buy tear gas to use on their community.

      1. John Zelnicker

        August 2, 2020 at 12:12 pm

        Beat me to it. Thanks for posting that link.

    2. John Zelnicker

      @The Rev Kev
      August 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

      The problem with firing sheriffs who refuse to do their duty is that most of them are elected and only a few jurisdictions have any kind of recall process. The community would have to wait for the next election to remove them.

      I don’t know if you have similar offices in Australia, but our county sheriffs have a lot of political power and in some places (mostly rural counties with small towns that can’t afford their own police force) they are the only law enforcement.

      Sheriffs are also responsible for the county jail. In Alabama, if a sheriff can feed the inmates for less than their allocated budget, they are allowed to personally pocket any savings. In some recent years this has amounted to more than $100k.

      Legalized theft!

      1. Rtah100

        Is there no US crime of misfeasance in public office? It has a high bar in the UK (Blair, Jack Straw and the Attorney general we’re all in the firing line) but it exists.

        (The lawyer lizard brain is nagging that it is actually that rare thing, a criminal tort – must check).

      2. Rtah100

        I was wrong, misfeasance is public office is the tort; misconduct is the crime.

        Both underused!

    3. rowlf

      Using sheriff and police resources for mask orders seems to be overkill. Why not encourage the states to form Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to enforce mask use? They could be, like, mask use social workers. Or can the sheriff departments keep any fines from enforcing the orders? Use the old speed-trap incentive.

      The sheriffs in the Guardian article are also idiots for stating a position instead of following whatever was forced on them. The sheriffs should follow the orders and then mention to violators of any groups willing to help in legal representation for the violators.

    4. JBird4049

      It is not so much that a sheriff refuses to do something that worries me. There are laws that should not be enforced after all.

      This is not about morality, or freedom as some people want to say it is or even believe so. It is about a blasted death dealing, disease causing virus. Nobody is saying wear a mask because it represents an idea. They are saying wear a mask temporarily to prevent the act of spreading a disease. These numb nuts are politicizing an epidemic

  28. Pookah Harvey

    If anyone would like a glimmer of hope for the outcome of the coming fiasco of a presidential election here is an article from written by Jake Sullivan. According to the NYT Sullivan is a senior Biden adviser who serves as a gatekeeper for policy operations.

    America Needs a New Economic Philosophy. Foreign Policy Experts Can Help.

    the United States needs to move beyond the prevailing economic ideology of the past few decades (sometimes imperfectly termed neoliberalism) and rethink how the economy operates, the goals it should serve, and how it should be restructured to serve those goals—and this is a geopolitical imperative as well as an economic one. And as in the past, the national security and foreign-policy community should play a proactive role in this domestic economic policy debate, advocating for and helping to deliver the needed reforms.

    The needed reforms Sullvan talks about include worker power, the taxation of capital, anti-monopoly policy, and the scope of public investment.

    Is it possible Biden people are starting to see the light?

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      No, but it’s possible they’re realizing they need to make people think they’ve seen the light.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      No, but it’s possible they’re realizing they need to make people think they’ve seen the light.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If Biden says he is starting to see the light then people should tell him to move towards it.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Global Order in the Shadow of the Coronavirus: China, Russia and the West”

    This report was put out by the Lowy Institute here in Oz but if you do not know who they are, just think of them as the American Enterprise Institute and all will be clear when you read their thoughts.

  30. Geo

    Presidential debates may be cancelled! That was the only thing abou this election I was looking forward to!!! :(

    Seriously, Trump v Biden in a verbal skirmish was gonna be the best match of wits since I saw my cat attack a paper bag and get her head stuck in the handle then run around the apartment freaking out because the bag was chasing her the whole time.

    1. Ford Prefect

      In lieu of debates and in keeping with the tradition of the early 1800s when America was Great.

      “I challenge you to a Twitter duel at 10 paces at dawn. My seconds will negotiate the lack of terms with your seconds.”

    2. Peter Bernhardt

      On the contrary, I think America and the world deserve to see this, to be forced to come to terms with the atrophy of our political institutions.

    3. Bruno

      “Presidential debates may be cancelled!”
      Dumbocruds swear never to let Biden on stage.
      What choice do they have?
      What more will it take for the Rotpublicons to switch from the stupid and ineffective tag line “sleepy Joe” to a full-scale, devastating, (and for once, accurate), campaign against “Zombie Joe?”

      1. voteforno6

        At this point, Biden could come out on the debate stage without pants on, drool all over the moderator, and still win.

        Elections with incumbents tend to be referendums on the incumbents. Do you think Trump’s time in office will be viewed favorably by the majority of people voting in the fall? No matter how awful Biden seems, do you think most people will look at him and say, no we want Trump?

        In 2016, Trump was the risky choice versus the status quo. A lot of people were dissatisfied with the status quo, and at the time risky seemed like the better bet. Now, Trump is the status quo. People have already gotten to see the Trump show. Do you think enough people will prefer to have four more years of that, versus the chance that things will be different?

          1. HotFlash

            Indeed. I am putting money on both candidates. Going forward, I don’t know which winner I would fear more.

        1. Aumua

          No matter how awful Biden seems, do you think most people will look at him and say, no we want Trump?

          Yes, a lot of people are going to say that! Will it be enough to elect him? I don’t know. I also don’t know who is even going to end up in the election, or if we are going to have one.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And if Biden refuses to join Trump in any scheduled debates, Trump could start referring to him as Waldo Joe, as in . . . ” Where’s Waldo Joe?” Trump could display an empty chair for candidate Biden at every Trump rally.

          Maybe some Trump operatives will read this comment.

          Its not that I necessarily want Biden to lose . . . . but I would definitely like a Biden victory to be painful and pyrrhic for the ClintoBidenite Sh#tObamacrats.

  31. ObjectiveFunction

    The Tooze piece is a bit of a slog, but it contains a very profound (imho) meditation on humanity’s practical relations with science. Here’s the Cliff’s notes:

    In [Ulrich Beck’s] risk society, we become radically dependent on specialized scientific knowledge to define what is and what is not dangerous in advance of encountering the dangers…. We thus face a double shock: a threat to our health and survival and a threat to our autonomy in gauging those threats….

    We take a crash course in epidemiology and educate ourselves about “R zero.” But that effort only sucks us deeper into the labyrinth.

    The normal experiential logic of everyday thought is reversed…. The more we rely on science, the more we find ourselves distanced from immediate reality. Every encounter with our fellow citizens as we go about our normal business is shadowed by a calculation of virtual risks and the probability of contamination.

    The result is paradoxical. The path of science leads us into a realm in which hidden forces, like the gods and demons of old, threaten our earthly lives…. Whereas animistic religion once endowed nature with spirits, we now view the world through the lens of omnipresent, latent causalities.

    One of the main functions of a face mask is to remind oneself of invisible dangers and to signal to others that one is taking those risks seriously…. “Omnipresent pollutants and toxins” take the role of spirits. In our effort to cope we develop our “own evasion rituals, incantations, intuition, suspicions and certainties.” Of course, we insist, this isn’t exorcism.

    [But] science speaks with many voices… The reality of this kind of science is more like the workings of a complex system of legal arbitration than the pristine image of the lab bench…. Every interested party is picking and choosing its sources…

    [W]e find ourselves in a world in which rationalism and skepticism are turning on themselves… [D]isillusionment and skepticism… throws the door open to a feudalization of scientific knowledge. [A]t the moment when we need it most to orient ourselves, science and the government’s decisions based on it forfeit their basis of legitimacy….

    A realistic skepticism about scientific authority all too easily shaded into a general obfuscation of risks…. This can all be disputed, it can polarize, or it can fuse together.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      RE: “The Sociologist Who Could Save Us From Coronavirus
      Ulrich Beck was a prophet of uncertainty—and the most important intellectual for the pandemic and its aftermath.” []

      [I had a little difficulty finding what link you were referring to — so I added the link above.]
      I will have to read this piece by Tooze a few more times. I’m still not sure what point or points Tooze was making. Science and the experts in the US have very nicely contributed to “a general obfuscation of risks” without the aid of “A realistic skepticism about scientific authority …”

      “science speaks with many voices… The reality of this kind of science is more like the workings of a complex system of legal arbitration than the pristine image of the lab bench…. Every interested party is picking and choosing its sources” — nicely put while avoiding the contributions of Market impacts on the products of science. I believe a lot of picking and choosing of sources became necessary because some many of the sources reported ‘results’ rushed into publication based on a limited number of cases and relatively cursory investigations of the validity of the ‘conclusions’ reached which all too often conflicted with conclusions reached in other similarly process challenged “research”.

      1. HotFlash

        nicely put while avoiding the contributions of Market impacts on the products of science

        Thank you, Citizen Grimm. I will be embroidering it on a sampler. Or a Tshirt.

        1. JBird4049

          As research becomes more expensive and the sources of funding become more limited, if for no other reason than because of the concentration of wealth, science is becoming more about wealth and ideology instead of knowledge.

          1. tegnost

            very astute, I never thought of it that way. It’s really overcome agricultural science with the ownership of varietals. Market Uber Alles

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Sorry, senior moment lol. Comrade Stefan (ht) posted it in yesterday’s Links and I popped open a new tab but it took me til today to work through it! Many thanks for giving the link.

    1. Wukchumni

      IA & WI are free money farm states counting on more of the same, while AZ & FL are primarily shopping states.

    2. TroyIA

      I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks our governor is a total idiot. As another poster has pointed out Covid-19 exposes the weaknesses in systems around the world. Well here in Iowa it exposed our governor as an incompetent leader who is not qualified to run our state. Reynolds’ Approval Craters On COVID As School Reopening Nears

      Worst in the country.

      That’s how Iowans feel about Gov. Kim Reynolds’ leadership and decisions during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an update from a sweeping, national survey. Just 28% of Iowans approve of Reynolds’ handling of the crisis, good for dead last among all U.S. governors.

      She is only one of five governors in the country who holds a worse approval on the pandemic than Trump in their state, the poll from Northeastern University, Harvard University and Rutgers University showed. The margin of error for the Iowa sample was 6%.

      Reynolds’ approval rating has imploded since the survey’s first report showed her at 54% in April. Nationwide, the researches found that governors’ ratings have declined during the summer as COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased in the country, while much of the rest of the world has started to get their outbreaks under control.

      But the worst-ranked governors all have clear similarities: they rushed to reopen their economies (if they ever closed them at all) and resisted measures like mask mandates. And results do not seem to follow the typical partisan divide. Republican governors in largely-Democratic states, like Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Phil Scott of Vermont, enjoyed the highest approval ratings in the poll of 76% and 75%, respectively.

      . . .

      Instead of heeding the warning signs that Iowans weren’t on board with her casual approach to the virus, Reynolds pushed on and actively fought efforts by local officials to implement better safety measures. The state has said local cities and counties cannot enforce their own mask mandates, leading to Iowa being one of just two states in the entire nation that do not have any local or statewide mask requirement.

      In recent weeks, Reynolds has stirred significant outrage over her administration’s changing guidance for school reopening. She has limited local school districts’ abilities to develop their own plans, reversing course on the state’s rules after many schools already had developed their return-to-class policies.

      On Thursday, Reynolds announced that schools could not close due to a COVID-19 outbreak unless the county they’re in had a 15% positivity number in their tests for two consistent weeks and had 10% of their students absent during the same time. The World Health Organization only advises reopenings if positivity numbers are under 5%.

      1. Late Introvert

        The Iowa City school district announced online classes and she nixed that 2 days later with that crap about 15% positivity for 2 weeks – outrageous!

        She’s going to do to Iowa’s Teachers and Students what she did to the slaughter house workers (not meat packers! ugh), only she won’t be able to cover it up and lie about it so easily.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        I wonder if it is possible for a governor to be impeached. If so, Kim is a top candidate. She is responsible for many illnesses and deaths. WTF is wrong with her? She could change her position but fat chance in hell.

    3. Pat

      Considering Cuomo has over 50% approving him somewhat or more only means that people were not paying attention.

      And I hereby predict that conditions a month from now will probably wake them up.

  32. Randy G.

    Tech TITANS & congress — Now WHAT?

    Matt Stoller, whose analysis of monopolies is generally suburb, was upbeat in his reaction to the grilling of Zuckerberg and fellow tech sociopaths by Congress.

    Now what? Call me cynical but now NOTHING.

    Most likely little more than Congressional grandstanding. It was obvious for decades to anyone with a pulse that tech predators were assembling monopolies by gobbling up any and all alternatives and competitors.

    Rules on privacy, fair competition, and boundaries are for losers. Congress, the FTC, and the courts could have used anti-monopoly legislation long ago if they were serious about it. They aren’t. That’s not what they get paid to do.

    Personal note: I run a small business—difficult under the best of circumstances, nearly impossible during a plague — and I’ve tried to avoid using Facebook, a company I loath— for reasons most readers at NC will understand. However, truthfully, I am just strangling myself in order to adhere to some out of date values.

    At the urging of several customers, I recently looked into going on Instagram as the platform looked promising. I knew that it had been gobbled up by Facebook (just like WhatsApp and so many other innovative companies), but was not aware that Instagram had been fully digested and assimilated by Facebook:

    You cannot use Instagram for a business account without going through a Facebook business account.

    So I didn’t sign up. But I am just being stubborn and what’s the point exactly?

    I am sure I will be long extinct before the U.S. Congress remedies any of it. Is Congress going to force Zuckerberg to cough up Instagram— because of obvious and illegal anti-competitive behavior?

    During the Obama Administration that ever vigilant watchdog, the FTC, unanimously green-lighted the deal.

    For some ironic Orwellian chuckles, this is the FTC homepage — “protecting consumers and promoting competition”:

  33. T

    Aerosols, droplets, surfaces

    Why think of this differently than water? At the beach or ny a fountain, or even at the sink washing dishes by hand, the water in the air is in the form of drop that fall, smaller drops that fall more slowly and are often carried father away, and mist.

    If you are fortunate enough to have hiked in woods, you know the feeling of smelling water on a path before you top the hill or round a corner to see the moving water.

    Why would virus carried on exhaled phlegmy breath be different?

    Viruses start to die right away, so smaller conveyances would have a very short time to transmit anything which might help in open spaces but not in close quarters.

    There are a couple of pathogens thought to travel in the air like the Saharan sand we saw recently, but I’ve seen nothing that compares Covid-19 to those. (Unlike Saharan sand, the don’t cross oceans, just miles.)

    My assumptions about Covid-19 in my environment are that if I don’t know who was just there, like on Aisle 9 of the grocery store, then best to assume an unmasked infected person was coughing and touching things.

    1. Rtah100

      Weird, Kawasaki syndrome (*) is profoundly seasonal in Japan and Hawaii and correlates with a prevailing wind across the Pacific.

      The recent outbreak of a pseudo-Kawasaki syndrome post-Covid-19 may mean KS is really a post-viral condition of an unknown virus.

      *Disease Club says that if you don’t have an identified pathogen, you’re not coming in. You can go next door to the Syndrome Speakeasy….

      1. flora

        adding: Thanks. Think this is a must read. Hope it’s included in tomorrow’s Links section.

    1. JWP

      +1 for sure. A great read.
      Going through the economics discipline right now is causing a massive internal struggle. I’m constantly asking my professors how these theories hold up in reality and see them either dumbfounded that they’re being challenged, or, in many cases, admitting they’re not actually real or based on reality. With only a few semesters left it seems too late to quit, but it’s amazing to see how deeply flawed every aspect of it is and how not once has the “externalities” of implementing various models been mentioned.
      The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality is really looking like a huge paradox. A few people I know who subscribe to that mentality, rightfully refuse to blame themselves for their economic hardships, but cast judgement on their friends of similar class for “not working hard” or being “unamerican.”

      The new rationale for the tech giants has been to focus on all of the so called progress they’ve allowed humanity to make. I see a lot of almost god-like worshipping of Bezos and especially Musk going on among young people. That can’t be good long term.

      1. Jeff W

        The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality is really looking like a huge paradox.

        Well, the phrase itself to pull yourself up by your bootstraps refers to an impossibility—the laws of physics don’t permit you to lift yourself off the ground by pulling on your bootstraps—and was used ironically as early as 1834 to refer exactly to that preposterous aspect. It’s a sense that was entirely lost on those who later adopted the phrase to exhort self-reliance.

        1. John k

          I knew it was impossible, but didn’t know the ironic intent. So it’s saying you can’t do it by yourself…

  34. flora

    re: Postmaster general pick probed – WaPo (via Arkansas Online).

    Thanks for this link.

    DeJoy and his wife Aldona Wos, the ambassador-nominee to Canada, have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in Postal Service competitors or contractors, according to Wos’s financial disclosure paperwork filed with the Office of Government Ethics. Postal Service mail processing contractor XPO Logistics — which acquired DeJoy’s company New Breed Logistics in 2014 — represents the vast majority of those holdings. Their combined stake in competitors UPS and trucking company J.B. Hunt is roughly $265,000.

    No conflict of interest there. No benefit to DeJoy if he bankrupts the USPS. Nope. None. Don’t even think such a thing. /s

  35. Sheldon

    “Biden’s Weak Link On Energy And Ethics Is An Ex-Obama Official With Deep Fossil Fuel Ties”

    How about a V.P. with similar ties and financial interests?

    “According to the NPR article, Susan Rice owns stock valued at somewhere between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada. Furthermore, they state, “… about a third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel — including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil.”

  36. Dirk77

    Taibbi has a review of Frank’s “The People, No”. Two choice bits: He uses the term “philosopher-king”. I think you can guess the context. Also he describes the USA as the S.S. Neoliberalism. So you are not alone in thinking the shrieking finger pointing going on now as what would take place on a sinking ship.

    1. rowlf

      Thanks also. I like this part by Taibbi which shows his eyes are open and not focused on mental formations:

      “When I was first sent out to cover the Donald Trump campaign years later, I assumed the editorial concept would be simple: mockery. New York’s infamous “short-fingered vulgarian” had taken over national headlines in the summer of 2015 with a foul-mouthed stream-of-consciousness rap, organized around an impossible Pharaonic wall project and scare tales about rape-happy Mexicans – the Diceman doing Pat Buchanan. If this was taking over the Republican Party, there wasn’t much to report. The enterprise was doomed, and journalism’s only mission was to make sure the silliest bits were captured before being buried under the sands of history.

      Twenty minutes into my first Trump campaign event, I knew this was wrong, and was seized by a sinking feeling that really hasn’t left since. Trump in person sounded like he’d been convinced to run for president after reading What’s the Matter with Kansas? His stump act seemed tailored to take advantage of the gigantic market opportunity Democrats had created, and which Frank described. He ranted about immigrants, women, the disabled, and other groups, sure, but also about NAFTA, NATO, the TPP, big Pharma, military contracting, and a long list of other issues.”

      This is a plus too: Note: Katie Halper and I have interviewed Thomas Frank for Useful Idiots, an episode that will be released Friday, August 7

      1. flora

        Indeed. And this: Sure, the DNC tells itself everyone in flyover is some form of -ist because that trope makes the DNC feel more moralisty and righteous as they ship livelihoods and family financial security away from their once voters. Blame the voters! /meh.

        Frank in 2004 wrote about how confused Midwestern voters were, watching TV images of the beautiful people of the time. Movie stars and hedge-funders donned ribbons in support of animals or the “underprivileged,” while spending huge sums on pictures of Jesus covered in ants or on crucifix-shaped popsicles that supposedly were comments on “fanaticism and violence.” This, while factory towns were basically being moved en masse to China.

        1. flora

          Also, and going on too long: neoliberals repackaged and arbitraged the West’s sense of morality (a good thing) to undercut working class peoples’ economic security in the US (a bad thing) in the name of “international human rights”. That trope has been used for increasing the wealth of US monopolists and the CCP politburo members, not for increasing “international human rights.”

          1. Pal

            “In Frank’s home state of Kansas, voters reacted by moving right as the triumvirate of news media, pop culture, and Democratic politics spoke to them less and less. “The state,” he wrote, “watches impotently as its culture, beamed in from the coasts, becomes coarser and more offensive by the year.”

            A tiny ethnoreligious minority with a supremacist, hyperethnocentric in-group identity rules over their untermenchen debt serfs so much the better when no one is unified by culture, ethnicity or religion.

            1. flora

              My state used to regularly send Dem Reps, and even a Sen on occasion to the US Congress. Until the nat. Dem estab decided we weren’t needed because something-something, flyover deplorables, something.

              True story: a Dem candidate in my state for US Rep accepted DCCC help in first campaign and lost. Tried again 2 years later, rejecting DCCC help, calling them out of touch, and won. Just who the heck are the DCCC fronting for? Who is trying to rule over who?

              1. The Rev Kev

                I have heard stories of the DCCC making sure that progressives do not win and asking them to step aside for ‘real’ democrats running in the same race. And that once you are elected, that you will be expected to do so many hours a day fundraising for the party while voting the way that you are told to. Not that much time left to work for the people that elected you in the end. Honestly, it sounds more like a bad franchise than anything else.

            2. ObjectiveFunction

              Hmm, I’m assuming this isn’t what you meant, but your last paragraph could easily have been written, word for word and without irony, in the headquarters of the Okhrana, or in Landsberg prison….

    2. VietnamVet

      Matt Taibbi writes a good article and documents the obvious (if not in denial) that the Democratic Party dumped working Americans. But he doesn’t take the extra steps to note that Multinational Corporations own the US Federal Government and that the Trump Campaign was a populist insurrection against corporate Republicans (Jeb Bush) that was led by a reality TV star oligarch who beat the odds and is now under constant pressure to resign by a counter coup of globalists in and out of government.

      Globalist influence is implicated in the 158,365 American deaths from COVID-19. The federal government failed to seal its borders even after China locked down Wuhan. A future novel contagion was a known given. The US is not implementing a national public health campaign of daily testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected to defeat the virus. Both political parties are complicit in this. The money would go to workers and quarantine infrastructure not the Elite. Instead, the USA is betting everything on a patentable vaccine or treatment next year that will earn the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read that the part of Italy where covid took hold fast and hard has a textile industry deeply involved with the textile industry in parts of China. And that it was textile-involved Chinese and Italians going back and forth between North Italy and the textile zones of China who brought the corona to North Italy.

          I can’t remember where I read this though.

        2. Briny

          The East coast variety for certain. The West coast patient zero was visiting Wuhan. Follow on cases seem to be both.

        3. VietnamVet

          I doubt there will be Truth and Reconciliation Commission to determine the cause of hundreds of thousands of American deaths. But one is needed to prevent a future outbreak. A brief timeline:
          January 19, 2020 – the first coronavirus case in Washington State
          January 23, 2020 China locks down Wuhan City and Hubei Province
          January 31, 2020 Donald Trump stopped flights from China
          February 23, 2020 Italy saw a major surge in cases.

          Donald Trump had no problem cutting off flights from China thanks to his trade war. If he had stopped all international flights at the same time, the NY hotspot would never have occurred. There is no indication that Dr. Anthony Fauci or CDC Director Robert Redfield realized the danger that 158,000 Americans would die by August or told him that the novel coronavirus was very contagious and deadly to the elderly. You must close the borders. Likewise, it is unlikely an anti-science, willed for success, President would have shutdown all international flights damaging American air carriers and making relations with European nations even worse. Globalist still around the White House would be vigorously opposed. The first response in Washington, Oregon, and California were fairly good. It is the European strain that has spread across America. If all US borders had been closed on January 31st, the result would have been similar to Australia and New Zealand.

  37. JWP

    Privacy news. Brave has added private windows with Tor and duckduckgo as the search engine. Passed Firefox for sure as the safest mainstream browser.

    1. Dan

      It may be better than Firefox out-of-the-box, but not Firefox with a few add-ons. I have a personal suite of Firefox add-ons that I depend on for privacy and ad-killing. I’ve tried a few times to post them here but it doesn’t get through moderation. I imagine one or more of the add-ons is blacklisted by NC.

        1. Dan

          Absolutely! It’s my favorite tool by far.

          Add to that u Block Origin, Decentraleyes, ClearURLs, First Party Isolation, Cookie Auto Delete, and Privacy Badger.

          1. Sheldon

            You might also investige a VPN, some are free, others cost 33 cents a day and are worth every penny.
            i.e. Proton’s.

            1. Dan

              Thanks Sheldon. I’ve been using the free Proton VPN and so far it seems to work well for my purposes.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Alas, I had to abandon DDG for searches, as the results were consistently inferior for my purposes to what Google came up with. Qwant was nearly useless, often giving under a hundred results where Google provided many thousands (all relevant).

        This may depend on the topic of course. I tend to Boolean search specialized business, academic or tech topics. So for me, it’s quite helpful to get pointed to links that others searching similar topics have favored (in spite of the preponderance of paywalled ScienceDirect/Elsevier stuff). And the Googleplex knows all that….

        (I also don’t shop online. That is the prerogative of Mme. Function).


  38. Jeff W

    There are 4,000 political appointees in the Federal government. They should all volunteer to be vaccinated as a public service and a condition of further employment.

    [Emphasis added.]

    I see what you did there. ; )

  39. fresno dan

    So my 3 (or at most 4) year old office chair broke. I joke about being fat, but I only weigh about 160, and I don’t do gymnastics on the chair. I just sit in it…. I think it not lasting 3 or 4 years is pretty shoddy. The arm, made out of plastic, just fractured. No way to super glue it back together. And the arm is what holds the back upright.
    Anyway, I get another one at Office Depot, and a good number are sold out, and the salesman tells me its because so many people are working at home, as well as students.
    Also, it dawned on me as I was looking at the pens, that there were no pen REFILLS at all. You had to buy the whole pen. Not any brand offered a refill. Also, if you wanted a colored pen, you couldn’t just buy one green pen – you had to buy a bunch of pens.
    I just get annoyed with business cheerleaders who say that the market supplies everything a consumer could want…

    1. DJG

      Fresno Dan: I have had better luck at Staples, for what it’s worth.

      And I only use pens with black ink. One must have standards. Black ink is so much more elegant and adds to my allure as a man of mystery.

      But you are correct: These big-box stores are filled to the ceilings with all kinds of crap. Entering them makes one flinch. Is there truly that much choice out there in the world? Or is it all an emanation of a kind of manufactured choice, which is now imploding here in the Late Roman Empire, Part Deux?

      1. flora

        an aside: black ink. yes. But for original docs signatures use blue ink. scanners, hackers, etc. ;)

    2. Ford Prefect

      Eventually, the office managers will go back into their offices and realize they have hundreds of unused office chairs. They will then sell them used to the home office market.

      However, even that part of the supply chain is broken, because the office managers will have to work from the office, not from home, to realize they have a monetizable asset they can unload.

    3. RMO

      That’s part of the reason I switched to fountain pens last year. I had never used one before being of the first generation here where we went straight from pencils to ballpoints in school and had been intimidated by the idea. I thought for some reason that they would be messy and prone to leaks and smears. Not at all, to my surprise! Much, much nicer to write with too. I got a few less expensive ones which have the built-in screw type refilling system so I can just use ink bottles and don’t have to throw away cartridges anymore.

      Unfortunately “the market” in general offers what the big corporations like to offer. even if something sells well and makes a profit it’s still in dander of disappearing if Gigantocorp decides they can make even more profit with something else. A good general rule is that if you find something you really like buy a lot of them if you can afford it (and of course if it’s not perishable!) because there’s a good chance it won’t be there next time you need one.

    4. ambrit

      I have had very good luck in obtaining good used office chairs from the thrift stores. Many small companies will donate obsolescent office chairs and pick up a charity donation tax write off. Many of these chairs are in excellent condition. Plus, they are cheap enough that if one breaks, no big loss. I am sitting in one such now.

  40. richard

    hey, here is the latest yougov u.s. poll. I didn’t realize these things were so long. I found it a bit interesting how propaganda about official state enemies and allies tracks across demo groups, especially age. It seems that we elders are more likely to adopt the same national enemies and friends as our gov’t. In most cases anyway. Who coulda figured? But good news, maybe.
    anyway, they do provide a handy index for their Tolstoyesque poll, so check it out.

  41. RMO

    I was wondering how Tesla here in Canada can tout the federal incentive to buy an electric car. It’s $5,000 but only available if the base model of the car has an MSRP of $45,000 or less. Go the the Tesla Canada site on the “shop” page and you find the Model 3 prices start at $52,990.

    If you click on the “learn more” link about the incentives it takes you to a page where if you scroll to the bottom you find a list which includes the cars on the “shop” page… plus one more. MSRP $44,999. All the other cars listed have the link “online” in the order column. The $44,999 one has a link which says “in store” which sometimes gives a 404 error but usually gives a map of North America showing their stores.

    I’m not about to set foot in a Tesla store but I doubt asking about the $44,999 Model 3 would get you anywhere. It seems to be created purely for regulatory compliance to be eligible for the federal rebate. Can’t say I’m surprised.

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