Links 8/7/2020

‘This is Nampa … not Tampa’: Idaho police got a call about an alligator and couldn’t believe it. Then they got there. USA Today

After 400 years, beavers allowed back in the wild in England for good Reuters

World food price index rises in July, extending rebound Reuters. Uh oh.

U.S. Worse Off Than Russia, Mexico in 2020 Economic Misery Ranking Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Ben Meng Resignation

Unfortunately, I can’t work up a sense of grievance that nobody credited Yves for the role her scoop played in Meng’s auto-defenestration yesterday. For the record, here are the publications that did, as of this writing:

Calpers investment chief resigns after 18 months at $400bn fund FT. “A person close to Calpers said Mr Meng had been “brought down” after the Naked Capitalism website published allegations that the executive had failed to fully comply with the California Fair Political Practices Commission in relation to financial disclosure documents.”

Trouble at Calpers: Abrupt Exit Hits $400 Billion State Fund Bloomberg

Update: CalPERS chief’s abrupt resignation preceded by conflict of interest questions Sacramento Bee

And did not:

Calpers Investment Chief Ben Meng to Step Down From Largest U.S. Pension WSJ. If you are a WSJ subscriber, consider a polite email to the reporters, Heather Gillers ( and Dawn Lim (, asking them why they didn’t credit Naked Capitalism, as did the FT and Bloomberg.

CalPERS investment chief steps down at $400 bln pension fund Reuters


Clinical Course and Molecular Viral Shedding Among Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Community Treatment Center in the Republic of Korea JAMA. From the Findings: “In this cohort study that included 303 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection isolated in a community treatment center in the Republic of Korea, 110 (36.3%) were asymptomatic at the time of isolation and 21 of these (19.1%) developed symptoms during isolation.” From the Meaning: “Many individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection remained asymptomatic for a prolonged period, and viral load was similar to that in symptomatic patients; therefore, isolation of infected persons should be performed regardless of symptoms.” (New York Times discussion here.)

Exposure to a COVID-19 carrier: transmission trends in respiratory tract and estimation of infectious dose medRxiv (BB). Serious work on droplet size and transmission. At the conclusion of the Discussion:

Now to derive an estimate of infectious dose, consider the March 2020 Skagit Valley Chorale superspreading incident inthe United States, where an infected person transmitted the disease to 52 other individuals in a 61-member choir group. Exposure time there was reported to be 2.5 hours; consequently, for an average RNA load (assuming that the carrier had mild-to-moderate symptoms), the number of virions depositing at a closely-positioned susceptible individual’s nasopharynx over that duration approximates to (11/5) x 2.5 x 60 ≈ 330. So, 300 can be considered a conservative upper estimate for the COVID-19 infective dose, the order agreeing with preliminary estimates from replication rates of the virus. That the number of virions needed to establish the infection is, at most, O(102) is indeed remarkable! The scale clearly manifests how communicable this disease is, especially if discerned in the perspective of infectious doses for other airborne transmissions, e.g. the infective dose for influenza A virus, when administered through aerosols to human subjects lacking serum neutralizing antibodies, ranges between 1950 – 3000 virions. The discovery of infectious dose, together with this study’s detection of droplet sizes that target the infection-prone nasopharynx, could provide a useful resource in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic and in the mechanistic design of topical anti-viral therapeutics and targeted intra-nasal vaccines that can induce prophylaxis through mucosal and systemic immune responses.

The nose knows….

* * *

Povidone iodine (letter) Nature (J-LS). From May, still germane: “PVP-I has been shown to be a safe therapy when used as a mouthwash or taken nasally.” Nasal spray would certainly be more convenient after, say, taking public transportation. And from the same authors–

The Use of Povidone Iodine Nasal Spray and Mouthwash During the Current COVID-19 Pandemic May Reduce Cross Infection and Protect Healthcare Workers SSRN. From March. “In early SARS-CoV-2 infection, viral titres of greater than 107/mL in saliva and nasal mucous can be found; minimisation of these titres should help to reduce cross infection. Povidone-iodine (PVP-I) disinfectant has better anti-viral activity than other antiseptics and has already been proven to be an extremely effective virucide in vitro against severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV). Its in vivo virucidal activity is unknown, but it retains its antimicrobial activity against bacteria in vivo intraorally and one application can reduce oral microbial flora for greater than 3 hours.”

* * *

Reopening Primary Schools during the Pandemic NEJM

‘The Photo Does Not Look Good’: Georgia School’s Crowded Halls Go Viral NYT. The photo:

Superintendent Brian Otott: “Wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them.” Make going maskless against the dress code. Problem solved.

* * *

The first Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial in the US is expected to begin next week. Here’s how the vaccine works CNN

The Capital Note: COVID’s Casualties National Review

The Nightlife Rescue Plan That Could Save Your City’s Scene Bloomberg

Where the Pandemic Is Only Getting Worse The Atlantic

The next virus pandemic is not far away — unless humans change the way they live Los Angeles Times

Once praised for taming the pandemic, Asian-Pacific nations worry about new onslaught Science


China’s exports show surprising surge in July, powered by demand for lockdown goods overseas South China Morning Post

Another Former Bigwig From Shanxi Rural Credit Union Falls Under Investigation Caixin. Hmm.

Where in the World is Marcum Bernstein Pinchuk? The Dig

Hong Kong’s Struggle for Democracy Amidst the New Cold War Spectre

Hong Kong’s wealthy move gold out of city on security law fears FT


A Year After Article 370’s End, a Dangerous Silence in Kashmir The Diplomat\

Middle class incomes were worst hit by India’s harsh coronavirus lockdown The Scroll

India’s Army of 600,000 Virus-Hunting Women Goes on Strike Bloomberg

Pakistan’s new Kashmir map links it to China, fuelling India’s fears of war with both South China Morning Post

Pakistan’s bubble sacrifices can smooth edge to old England rivalry Guardian. Cricket.

The Koreas

Bolton memoir: guide for how not to negotiate with North Korea Korea Times

South Korean farmers bartering sugar for North Korean liquor to bypass sanctions Straits Times

Indonesia imposes 10% VAT on Facebook, Disney, Tiktok The Star


Elliott Abrams, convicted of lying about Iran-Contra, named special representative for Iran CBS

A Kenyan COVID-19 notebook: The ‘mama mbogas’ and the path to recovery The New Humanitarian


How the People’s Vote fell apart FT

Coronavirus rallies: Germany’s growing anti-lockdown movement Deautsche Welle

The Fall of the Wall and the “Schwarze Null” – Understanding Germany’s Surplus Forum for a New Economy


An Open Letter to Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham Just Security

There Is No Russian Plot Against America Foreign Affairs

State Dept. Traces Russian Disinformation Links NYT. Something is wrong on the Internet. Honestly, the Imperial Hegemon should man up.

Trump Transition

Covid talks going nowhere as deadline nears Politico

Trump order targets Chinese internet giants TikTok, WeChat Agence France Presse

New York Attorney General Moves To Dissolve The NRA After Fraud Investigation NPR

NEWS: A New Trump Rule Could Help Big Oil Crush The Climate Movement David Sirota, Too Much Information

Former clients of acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf received millions in department contracts CNBC

Police State Watch

Incremental Change Is a Moral Failure The Atlantic

Minneapolis Announces Plan To Replace Police Officers With Thousands Of Heavily Armed Social Workers The Onion


Sleepwalking Into the Atomic Age Slate

Op-Ed: U.S. leaders knew we didn’t have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway Los Angeles Times

Hiroshima And The Evil Jinn The American Conservative

When Henry Wallace Warned of ‘American Fascism’ American Prospect. Makes you wonder if Wallace would have dropped The Bomb.

Guillotine Watch

“Deals Are Ending in a Bidding War and Tears”: In the Hamptons, the Rich Are Buying Up Quarantine Mansions for the Whole Family Vanity Fair (Re Silc).

How the American West became a ‘billionaire wilderness’ and home to the most unequal part of the country Business Insider

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Triumph of Black Lives Matter and Neoliberal Redemption Cedric Johnson,

The frustration of trying to invest in my hometown BBC

Class Warfare

People Are More Likely to Catch COVID East of 82nd Avenue. That’s Where Portland’s Housing Is the Most Overcrowded. Williamette Week

NASA to Reexamine Nicknames for Cosmic Objects NASA

Michelle Obama says she’s suffering from ‘low-grade depression.’ What does that mean? USA Today

Antidote du jour (via):

Fraudsters beware….

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. The Rev Kev

    ‘Unfortunately, I can’t work up a sense of grievance that nobody credited Yves for the role her scoop played in Meng’s auto-defenestration yesterday.’

    Lots of people said as much directly or indirectly and I think that most others took it as a matter as a given that Yves had toasted Meng. Normally a post about CalPERs gets about a dozen or two comments but yesterday nearly seventy people posted comments which shows people celebrating Yves’s victory here. And those official publications that did not mention NC in their stories about CalPERS merely confirmed their status as scuzzbag publications meaning the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

    1. Ramon

      By crediting Yves and NC they would be exposing their own weak position. Much better all around if no one reads NC. (sarc.)

    2. Ed Miller

      Silence as a propaganda tool, perfected by the British Empire, as was reported here at NC in an article this month. Just a small part of whitewashing history so few remember the real key people who fight back.

      Yves Smith and Lambert Strether are doing the work that people need to see. Without them I would never have known about the likes of Michael Hudson, Bill Black, Steve Keen and others who never get the credit they deserve.

      I was a little peeved to see that the Sacramento Bee didn’t use the proper nom de plume.

  2. vlade

    @Lambers – from the ordering of links it looks like the BBG article would not credit NC, when in fact it’s pretty prominently there.

    “The latest controversy began Sunday, with a post on the Naked Capitalism blog. The author detailed what she said were false and incomplete financial disclosures by Meng in his role as Calpers’s chief investment officer, as well as compliance failings by the pension plan.”

    1. Clive

      A fair few (even the FT, which was commendably quickly to give credit where it was due) didn’t include the references to Naked Capitalism breaking the story in the first versions of the pieces on Meng’s departure they ran. It took the FT a few hours to update theirs and they were pretty prompt. I suspect Bloomy tweaked their article fairly late in the day.

    2. Yves Smith

      I fixed it in Links just a few minutes ago, but thanks for the correction. I had earlier sent Lambert an e-mail with the URLs of the stories that had credited us and BBerg was in it so I don’t understand how this happened.

      In fairness, I think there was an initial newsflash story at Bloomberg that had the bare facts of the resignation. The later one gave more perspective. Lambert might have seen the first one and not realized the second one, which was the more interesting one and supplanted the quickie piece, did give us a shout out and links.

      By contrast, Reuters is impossible. They were terrible about it before and I even had an argument with the reporter by e-mail. It was as bad as trying to talk sense into CalPERS.

      1. rtah100

        FT Alphaville has made NC’s Meng story a link of day.

        Anybody finding their way over there should read the Monzo story. The Fintech emperor has no clothes!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I can’t wait until people have to hear Biden without any higher authority to tell him he has to apologize. The mask will be off then.

        To be fair, Biden is an idiot, and I suspect he just heard discussion for other idiots about what “Hispanic” entailed. At the same time the neo-woke crowd is stupid too, and they likely intended to treat Hispanic voters the way they treat black voters but are only finding out there are vast differences in the Hispanic experience as opposed to the black experience.

        1. Felix_47

          In a non battleground state there is no excuse for voting for Biden. The vote does not matter but if enough people voted for anything else it might put the DNC on notice that the citizenry does not like having candidates rammed down our throats especially when the most popular politician in the US is the one that is being politically moved out of the picture. Biden voted for Iraq and had all the intelligence from his position in the senate. He forcefully advocated for the war and maneuvered congress to back Bush. That should disqualify him from any office in the US. In a battleground state voting for Biden might make some sense for some people but Iraq and Afghanistan are such horrible cases of absent judgement and were followed by Ukraine and Russia making one think Biden is truly unqualified by his record for any public office and certainly the presidency where war can be an issue.

          1. John k

            You mean a male Hillary?
            But that’s what dnc wants;
            Beholden to donors, the prime requisite? Check.
            Loves war? Unwritten requisite. Our new members, the warmly welcomed bushies, confirm. Check.
            Would veto m4a? Of course, but extra points for saying that out loud. Check.
            Not gonna do anything for the working class or any ethnic group? Goes without saying. Extra points if can claim to put them in jail, richly supported by many donor groups. Check.
            He checks all the boxes! What’s not to like here?
            But why would the rubes vote for him? Vetoing m4a in a pandemic?
            C’mon, man, just tell’em I’m not trump. Bound to work this time.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Biden is one of the only politicians I can think of who when you put comments people claim have been taken out of context unfairly back in context manages to come off even worse. Like the “you ain’t black” quip, cynical as I am, my brain tried to come up with what he really meant but seeing the whole clip, there’s simply no good way to spin that.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “You aint black” was very bad.

        Though other groups may be “black” or have a “black experience” at certain times and places, a Hispanic doctor of any brownness will always have parts of the country where they simply aren’t “brown.” People make points about Harris and Obama’s blackness given their “black” parents aren’t African-Americans and not the descendants of slaves and ghettoization. By and large, there is a shared African-American experience. The job gains in World War I were followed swiftly by job losses when the Dough Boys returned across industrial centers. The large scale swing of black voters to the Democratic Party in 1932 and then finalized and confirmed in 1960 are watershed events. When “woke” literati who are Republicans who think their gay hair stylist should be able to get married, they are lumping non-white together because they are still basically Republicans and seeing no results. Remember when Hillary wore a sombrero? If the faux-woke had any shame, they would have denounced Hillary. So when we get to Hispanic and Latino voters, you are dealing with people who came to the US under different circumstances, vastly different countries, and didn’t come out of a shared and still recent experience. My mom knew a slave. Thats how far away we are. MLK is too young for World War II.

        The faux-woke are ignorant, and my guess is they are trying to get latino surrogates to deliver the hispanic votes the way Lewis and Clyburn delivered older black voters. With the AOC news, they are desperate for leading Hispanic figure who can yell at the left on behalf of Clinton’s neo-klan while having enough built up credibility to deliver votes.

        To a certain extent, Biden is like Shrub. He is going to repeat what he just learned. Both being idiots it will be in simpler as opposed to simple terms.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The other aspect of Biden looking for Hispanic votes is many of the big donors are really just MSNBC viewers with enough cash to gain access and they are likely demanding Biden explain his poor polling with Hispanics who have been promised as the key to victory for years now.

          Its likely Biden is facing donors who are asking questions as bizarre as Romney’s donors in the 47% video. Romney’s bit was the least insane part of the video.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            Good analysis. I had the same thing on my mind thinking of those two “gaffes”. They are full on TINA for the Black community (though it’s interesting to watch the reaction to Kanye West from these folks.) On the other hand, I think they are a bit more worried about the Latino vote as they feel entitled to it, but not confident that they own it. The benefit of the doubt side of my brain thinks Biden was trying to say “Latino voters are more likely to vote Republican than Black voters” or maybe that was the kernel of what he was getting at. Or maybe I’m giving him too much credit?

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Another aspect is the Civil Rights era has passed. Despite astroturf efforts, a comic book writer won’t replace John Lewis along with the die off of Lewis’ contemporaries. Many of Team Blues usual plots will likely start to break quite suddenly. We might be seeing it in their efforts to unseat Squad types.

        2. Reality Bites

          NTG you hit the nail on the head here. There is a divide in the black community between the children of immigrants and African Americans. Far more black people in the spotlight fall into the former. In fact, Condoleeza Rice is one of the rare public figures that rose to the senior levels in the executive branch. Far more tend to have a personal history closer to Colin Powell.

          This is doubly true in the hispanic community. There was dismay in DNC circles when Florida hispanics failed to vote for Democrats by the margins they hoped for. They failed to realize that immigration is not the panacea that will deliver hispanic votes. They completely miss the point that you made that the community is made up of people from many different countries with very different experiences within and outside of the US.

  3. zagonostra

    >The Atlantic – Incremental Change is a Moral Failure

    The author of the the article concludes:

    The problem is when progress becomes its own ideology—that is, when advocacy for incrementalism is seen as the astute and preferred mode of political transformation. When we have done what is hard, and convinced ourselves that hard is a synonym for revolutionary. Incremental change keeps the grinding forces of oppression—of death—in place. Actively advocating for this position is a moral failure.

    I think a sentence I came across last night reading Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am A Strange Loop” (daughter gave me the book after giving up on it half way through) on page 43 offers a better take:

    “…what happens on the lower level is responsible for what happens on the higher level, it is nonetheless irrelevant to the higher level. The higher level can blithely ignore the processes on the lower level.”

    Unless you cut off the flow of ice cream to Nancy Pelosi or tax the ultra rich into taking notice you can talk about “moral” this or that till the cows turn pink.

  4. Kevin C. Smith

    If you are considering using povidone-iodine [Betadine et al] mouthwash and/or nasal spray, first review the reports of thyroid suppressions secondary to iodine uptake through the mucosa.
    Also consider that “Betadine Nasal Spray” does not actually contain any povidone-iodine! “Betadine Nasal Spray” is just a worthless placebo brand extension. Won’t hurt you [unless it gives you a false sense of protection], and won’t help you.

    1. Yves Smith

      Thanks! But how would a mere mouthwash suppress iodine uptake? Or is this the nasal version?

      And can’t you compensate by talking kelp tablets, which contain iodine?

      BTW I went and bought the disinfectant version (which is 10%) and will dilute it to 1% to make my own mouthwash, which is the strength of the Japanese OTC product.

      This sounds promising:

      Chronic mucosal use up to 5% has not been shown to result in clinical thyroid disease. PVP-I is rapidly virucidal and inactivates coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).


      Povidone-iodine can safely be used in the nose at concentrations up to 1.25% and in the mouth at concentrations up to 2.5% for up to 5 months. Povidone-iodine rapidly inactivates coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, when applied for as little as 15 seconds. There is optimism that PVP-I can inactivate SARS-CoV-2, but in vitro efficacy has not yet been demonstrated.

        1. T

          PSA: Many food allergies and definitely shelfish allergies are associated with being allergic to iodine.

          Probably, you could just have a Benadryl first but caution is warranted.

          1. Rtah100

            You cannot be allergic to iodine, it is an essential mineral!

            You can be allergic to shellfish. You can potentially be allergic to iodine containing drugs (where the allergy may not be to a chemical containing iodine but to another part of the mixture). Some people are allergic to iodine containing tracers used in medical imaging. But not to the iodine!

            There is a good article on this from UCSF

      1. Chris

        Betadine is a combination of iodine and polyvinyl pyrolidone (PVP). The PVP binds the iodine so that it doesn’t stain like an ordinary iodine solution.

        I’m guessing that the mode of action for betadine’s suppression of thyroid function is free PVP being ingested, and binding dietary iodine, preventing absorption.

    2. anon in so cal

      If anyone has any renal function impairment, probably good to consult a physician, first.

      I had used a mild (ice-tea colored) solution of povidone iodine on our dog’s skin rash, as a preventative, and our vet cautioned about the renal effects.

      “Mucosal administration of povidone iodine appears to lead to greater iodine toxicity than cutaneous administration”

  5. Plague Species

    Superintendent Brian Otott: “Wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them.”

    Let’s apply this stellar, sound, erudite logic.

    Superintendent Brian Otott: “Partaking of cannabis or any illegal drug on school grounds is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to not partake.”

    For those who do partake, Deutsche Bank, money launderers extraordinaire and Trump’s banker and that’s not a coincidence, thank you very kindly for contributing to their bottom line.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the gop moans about anarchy a lot….but they don’t understand irony.
      this story gives me flashbacks to being carried bodily to the cosmetology lab to get my hair cut(over the tops of my ears, and barely touched my collar).
      or being made to shave five o clock peach fuzz with a rusty bic and no water or shaving soap.
      but mandating a mask is a bridge too far.

      1. Plague Species

        Oh yeah, I attended Catholic school, so I understand, believe me. The nuns wouldn’t and didn’t hesitate to beat you to a pulp for not folding your hands properly during prayer and the priests weren’t any different, blackening your eyes if you didn’t drop your pants graciously at their authoritarian request.

        These days, that physical abuse has been replaced by systemic psychical abuse in the form of metal detectors at schools and teachers with guns to protect the kiddies against other killer kiddies.

        Let’s apply that logic as well. Each untested, unmasked non-socially distanced child is a potential weapon and a potential school shooter. The weapon they are potentially carrying is COVID-19 and it is just as deadly as any automatic weapon on the market, if not more so.

        The conservative response to this pandemic reminds me of Archie Bunker’s response to the recent spate of airline hijackings in the early seventies. Remember when he went on local television and delivered his op ed about how to put an end to the hijackings? I laughed so hard I peed my pants, except this pandemic and the conservative response to it is allegedly non-fiction, so it’s not so funny when REAL lives are at stake, and a lot of lives at that, many more than a few hijackings could take.

        1. Geo

          That was amazing. Thank you. Never saw that episode before.

          Sadly, it’s the same BS ideas being floated around today. Some things never change, do they?

        2. Massinissa

          I find it depressing that most of the comments are people saying that Archie Bunker was actually right all along. Apparently people don’t understand satire anymore.

    2. Paradan

      Driving on the right side of the road is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to do so.

      1. Wukchumni

        Dagen H (H day), today usually called “Högertrafikomläggningen” (“The right-hand traffic diversion”), was the day on 3 September 1967, in which the traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right.

        1. matsb

          Yes I remember that day vividly! We all suddenly and simultaneously chose to start driving — in my case bicykling — on the right-hand side of the road. God must have intervened (or was it Tage Erlander?).

          1. Wukchumni

            I heard Dagen A went a lot smoother when everybody had to pronounce ABBA from the right.

            1. matsb

              Yep. Only thing, in those days, “ABBA” was a brand of canned fish only. (That company is still active, unlike the pop group.)

    3. shinola

      And this:

      “Teachers and students were told they could be suspended if they posted photos of the school in a bad light. The student who took this photo for the yearbook has been suspended.”

      Apparently, there’s nothing that better PR can’t fix.

      1. Jeff W

        Isn’t taking photos and posting them “a matter of personal choice”? School officials seem to have no problem enforcing some mandate regarding that.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          The school is clearly violating the First Amendment rights of the students. I hope a student’s parents file a lawsuit, and move to have the principal removed.

        2. CitizenSissy

          Student’s suspension rescinded, and, shockingly, students and staff have tested positive for COVID. Tweet du jour from @dofang: “They worried more about photos going viral than students going viral.”

      2. wilroncanada

        That’s why poor Michelle Obama is in her state of low-grade depression. She heard her husband say exactly that so frequently: “there’s nothing that better PR can’t fix…can’t fix…can’t fix…wwwraak!” Low-grade depression from listening too much to all those low-grade speeches he assumed were inspirational.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Minneapolis Announces Plan To Replace Police Officers With Thousands Of Heavily Armed Social Workers”

    It may be in jest but you know this could work this. So lets see how this would work out in Minneapolis before and after.

    So at the moment, if you have some guy who is hold up in a house and armed with automatic weapons, the police go in with armoured vehicles and guns blazing. The neighbourehood then sounds like the Tet offensive and some of the police bullets are lucky enough to hit the house the guy is in.

    But after the social workers move in? After a few minutes the gunman is shouting ‘For the love of god – make her stop. Please! I give up! She wants me now to talk about my feelings and how my gun is empowering me in an emotive way. And that bottling up negative emotions is bad for my health. Sweet Jesus. This is worse than listening to Dr. Phil. Please take me away to a nice safe prison.’

    1. voteforno6

      Social workers have a tough job with very little appreciation, and unlike a lot of other agents of the state, do tend to care about the lives of those they’re trying to help.

  7. zagonostra

    >Buttigieg/Notra Dame/Vatican II/Vigano

    So yesterday’s Water Cooler had a link to a National Review article on Buttigieg going on Notra Dame’s faculty and teaching a course Trust: America’s Best Chance. This made me wonder if ND is still a Catholic University and espouses traditional Catholic dogma. I don’t think the Church has accepted gay marriage, I know they are against abortion and are for the “traditional family” as the center piece of living a Catholic life. Whatever you may think of the Catholic Church, what gives with bringing PB on staff?

    I think archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s letter to Trump was correct in alluding to the “Deep Church” as an analog to the “Deep State.” In Catholic circles there is a battle raging – though you wouldn’t know it by reading corporate media – between those who want to revoke Vatican II and return to a traditionally grounded dogma – and those who see Vatican II and Pope Francis as a necessary evolution in the Church’s teachings, adapting to a modern world.

    Having dug into PB’s bio (exCIA, McKinsey) and seeing what an opportunist he is, he would be the last person I would want my kids getting an education from – well maybe not the last, I can think of others that may be more reprehensible, but you get me drift.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My gut is Pete did polling and found out he is seen as untrustworthy, so now he’s going to shout “trust” as much as possible. He’s smart enough to know he’s “Ratboy,” but ultimately, he’s the ahole who reminds the teacher about quizzes and homework. He’s too arrogant, after all he ran for President, to recognize a reputation for dishonesty never goes away.

      1. Felix_47

        Plagiarism over and over…….Biden? Seems to have gone away. Somehow his past has been sanitized. Quite remarkable.

      2. Off The Street

        An opportunity for him to polish that personal affectation memoir. Once it is published, the reader will be able to practically feel the sincerity, split infinitive and all.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I hope many kids are posting photos now. Get suspended, save your life and some tiny shred of freedom of speech.

    2. jr

      What does that imbecile think is going to happen when the lawsuits start rolling in? Does “personal choice” make for a solid legal defense?

    3. EGrise

      The suspensions, and the statement by the school official, are infuriating to me.

      Of course they can use the dress code. They could also just make a rule, administrators are really good at that.

      When I was in public school they never had any trouble enforcing whatever petty rules they decided were in our “best interests.” But suddenly they’re helpless to enforce something as simple as mask wearing.

      It reminds me of Obama’s excuse that he couldn’t do anything for eight years because of intransigent Republicans. Unlike politics, most of us have experience in schools and recognize bulls**t when we see it.

      There are no craven, mendacious mediocrities quite like public school officials.

    4. Lex

      Both my parents taught school and my mother once told me a story I filed away for future consideration.,

      She said her boss, the old principal, had retired and a new principal — a middle-aged male — had been hired as a replacement, and the new guy was Mormon, and he seemed to have an agenda that he would rather keep out of view from his bosses at the superintendent’s office. Every time one of the older teachers took retirement, the replacement was invariably also Mormon, even though the demographic for The Church of Latter Day Saints in that town was rather small.

      She said the teaching staff on any given school day was often made up of a large number of substitute teachers because the new teachers took off all the regular holidays and all their religious holidays too. All of which was happily sanctioned by the new boss and carefully kept under the radar from the super’s office.

      One of the consequences of all these substitutions and instability was discipline problems. Some of the kids would regularly act out violently. The targets were usually other students, but sometimes the teachers too. The new principle was not an effective authoritarian, or disciplinary in response to a student spitting on a teacher or pantsing (sp?) them. He most certainly was not going to kick the problem up the chain of command. He did not want questions asked. This put both teachers and students in danger; they were expected to handle it themselves. The principal did not have the back’s of the full time teachers and this lead to the rapid acceleration of early retirements.

      Where am I going with this? Well, since she told me that story, whenever I read about a school administrator who responds to a negative situation regarding his school, in a manner that seems to be about appearances, I wonder what his relationship is to his superiors. What job was he or she hired to do and how closely is he or she monitored in how they go about getting that job done? If monitored rather loosely or hardly at all, what other agenda might this school poobah find time for? There’s also the sneaking suspicion that fomenting early retirement among the highest paid teachers was maybe just a happy coincidence, and then maybe the point.

      Makes me wonder. Nothing is as it seems.

  8. Ramon Z

    Ah Russagate. All countries try to influence foreign elections, just like everyone spied on other countries. If a country can’t organise a reliable vote, they are not a functioning democracy.
    Maybe Boeing should organise it. then we could watch it crash and burn, such appears to be American competence at the moment.

      1. km

        Not to mention the putsch that put actual live neoNazis in charge of paramilitaries and government ministries in Ukraine, or the various American neocons who openly proclaim that their goal is “regime change” in Russia.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m trying to remember who was in the regime that installed actual swastika-flagged neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, in order to protect their grifting and advance their Moscow regime change objectives (Antifa should be all over that). I recall the president at the time (I think he was black) putting his VP in charge, that worked well because his son was plugged straight into the corruption money flow. The coup-making was so easy they tried it on their own country next! Can’t have so-called “elections” deciding a country’s leadership can we. What they need to do is bring Clapper out of retirement, he led the charge when it came to bringing all that Iraq WMD evidence to light and then later rooting out the Kremlin instructions going straight to The White House. Real men go to Moscow after all doncha know, can’t have any of these so-called “countries” out there running willy-nilly with their own objectives now can we.

          1. km

            Oh well, hearing Team D cultists insist that Hunter Biden got that sweet no-show job with Burisma because of his sterling qualifications was comedy enough.

            The only things Hunter is qualified for are snorting coke and sleeping around.

  9. John Beech

    Stimulus talk failing? Good because I’d sooner see the country broken than give into demands to save the IL-pension plan. Help individuals? Sure, but not if it includes ensuring there’s a payoff for years of corrupt practices ensuring obscene pensions for state employees. To that, a big nope!

    1. Pelham

      Please give an example of one of these “obscene” pensions? I’ve never encountered such a thing myself.

        1. Laughingsong

          Sigh. Besides the fact that we really should be talking about how dismal private sector pensions (beyond the C-suite) and how to fix that, the bulk of US public sector pensions are decently funded, and where they aren’t, many (lookin’ at you Kentucky) have been either purposely looted, or We’re slighted of contributions during the financial bubbles of the past 3 decades.

          You could argue that PERS in my state of Oregon was overly generous in the 80’s and 90’s (tier 1) but the workers didn’t point guns to their heads to get this.

          Since then they have made 2 other tiers each time decreasing the benefits. We also do get salary below market average and the pension is to incentivize taking the lower salary.

          The link below shows that in 2019, the Average Annual Benefit was $31,719 and the Median Annual Benefit was $25,178. Even that is skewed by the top earning Tier 1 retirees like the Oregon Ducks’ coach Mike Bellotti and the longtime Medical Director of Oregon State Hospital.

          I certainly won’t be buying a “Cadillac”.

          I would like to also point out the fact that public employees are also taxpayers, so please stop trying to make it sound like we are not your neighbors or citizens of your local polity.

      1. Copeland

        They all seem obscene to me, ’cause I’ll be getting jack, unless by some miracle I don’t die before SS is killed.

        1. Laughingsong

          What a great reason to want someone else to “get jack”. Especially, as with social security, we have paid into it .


    2. Odysseus

      The problem in Illinois is not that the individual pensions are high. It’s that the freeloaders in the state legislature failed to actually make the legally required pension investments. Freeloading is over guys, time to pay up. And surprise, the bill is a lot more in nominal dollars now than if you had done the right thing for the last 40 years.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Under-funding of pensions is usually done in cahoots with the public employee unions. Here is the rationale: By purposely under-funding pensions more money is available to increase public employee wages and salaries, as well as fund copious amounts of overtime for police and fire. When the pensions appear to be on the brink of fiscal collapse the unions conveniently cry that promised pensions must be paid, no matter what. They have their cake and eat it too. This game is played across the nation.

        1. Laughingsong

          Give a link! From actual experience I can tell you that it’s usually done in cahoots with the employers, not to mention folks like the Freedom Foundation and ALEC.

          I can’t get over the begrudgery here today. Yeesh.

    3. Leftcoastindie

      This was a number of years ago (between 7 and 10) we had a neighbor who was the president of the local civil service union. My wife and he had discussion about government pensions and we had heard all about the exorbitant payments retirees were receiving etc. etc.. IIRC he told my wife the average pension being paid to a retiree was $13,000 – $14,000 per year in San Diego county. Doesn’t sound so exorbitant to me.

      1. chuck roast

        I was once upon a time offered a job in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. I went for an interview and they told me that the state pension plan was equivalent to a forced savings plan. No thank you.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Those numbers are very, very misleading because they include many short term employees who qualify for reduced pensions. Unions love to spout these numbers, but they are total BS.

    4. CarlH

      Those people worked under a contract providing them with a pension in their retirement years. They did not squander the pension fund, so why do you want them hurt? Also, pensions paid out to public employees such as the football coaches who make millions a year skew the numbers wildly. If you and Michael think the average public employee pension is exorbitant then you are both delusional. Punch up at the people looting the country and stop punching down.

        1. Laughingsong

          So you admit punching public sector employees is wrong? Good to know. They are likely much of the health response to COVID-19 in you area.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Bolton memoir: guide for how not to negotiate with North Korea”

    It may sound unkind but there are always certain individuals whom you realize will not be missed in their passing. People who always make things worse than what they found them. John McCain was such an individual but the elite gave him a big send-off funeral and I would expect the same will happen for Bolton. If you came across him you could curse him or swear at him but in the end there is only one thing that you could really say to him-

    “You are a sad, strange little man.”

  11. anon

    On a letter to John Durham:
    “There is no ambiguity about the mandate that “politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges.”

    I think he forgot to add “except when a Democrat is in the WH,”

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Michelle Obama says she’s suffering from ‘low-grade depression.’ What does that mean? USA Today

    It means that covid quarantines, “racial strife,” and Donald Trump make michelle far less “depressed” than the incessant hype about her podcast makes me.

    1. Lee

      I am reminded of a joke told by a comedian many years ago. It went something like this: They say that president Nixon has phlebitis and everybody is all concerned. Flea bite us? Hell, rat bite us in the ghetto and no one gives a damn.

    2. pjay

      Speak for yourself. Pandemics, civil war in US cities, record unemployment, potential mass evictions, a potential WWIII with Russia and/or China… I can’t tell you how often I wake up in the middle of the night these days and ask myself: “How does Michelle Obama cope?”

      1. JWP

        Sadly there’s a lot of young people who would think similarly. Gen Z and millennials are increasingly turning to celebrities who appear human or righteous to them for advice on how to live, think, and act. Everything has to be sourced from someone with a huge reputation, whether it be one of the dreaded influencers or a celebrity, but especially political figures. No one trusts or accepts thoughts conjured up on your own in social circles. :(

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Until the Time of Corona, I was a community college history and government professor. On the first day of class, I would do a little ice-breaker activity, in which I would ask the students to each tell us 1) their name; 2) a fact about yourself, like where you’re from or where you went to high school; and 3) if you could have lunch with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

          Depressingly, huge proportions of the younger women chose either Michelle Obama or Ellen Degeneres (this was while her reputation wasn’t in free-fall). Many students both male and female chose Tom Brady (this is New England, after all). Lots would choose their own older relatives like grandmothers or grandfathers, either living or dead.

          So yes, they do admire Michelle in younger cohorts, about which I always had to bite my tongue (you really do have to be as impartial as a judge teaching politics in a public institution).

          1. JWP

            At least we know those two “heroes” have one thing in common: Love of war criminals.
            I’ve seen more copies of Becoming than any other book in dorm room for women and Michael Lew’s titles dominate male bookshelves. I think those speak volumes about who is idolized.

  13. John Beech

    Note to WSJ’s Gilliers and Lim, as well as Reuter’s Nair and Orr . . .
    I couldn’t help but notice both Financial Times and Bloomberg credited Naked Capitalism’s role in rooting out the Meng story vice CalPERS. They first exposed the corruption, and while there’s no shame in being beaten to the punch by a smaller player, failure to acknowledge strikes me as petty.

    I hope a follow up remedies this rather glaring omission.

    John Beech

  14. The Rev Kev

    “After 400 years, beavers allowed back in the wild in England for good”

    I read years ago in Isabella Tree’s book “Wilding” how beavers were reintroduced back into Scotland and have proven to be highly successful. Sounds like someone trapped a pair and brought them down to Devonshire to be released there. Because they have also proven to be success there, Wales too is thinking about introducing these animals here. In fact, land-owners across England are lining up to have beavers introduced to where they live-

    1. Wukchumni

      Jedediah Smith was the first American to glimpse the rivers emanating out of the Sierra Nevada, and he thought the Kaweah River here was perhaps the best river for beavers he’d ever seen.

      I mentioned this to the wildlife biologist for Sequoia NP, and he gave me a ‘you must be crazy’ look, as they’ve been gone for a looong time.

    2. td

      Brilliant minds in Siberia decided to introduce Canadian beavers into Siberia to replace the European/Asiatic subspecies that were wiped out. They have become successful enough in places to start rapidly spreading and replacing existing local beavers and are regarded by some as invasive. I’m a fan of using local biota for reintroduction and hope that nobody brings Canadian beavers to Britain.

      That being said, I have seen some dam construction in central Ontario that is truly amazing and wish prosperity to all beavers.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I will join you in your wish for the day. I, too, wish prosperity to all beavers!

      1. Fritzi

        Well, beavers have never been part of that ecosystem.

        I had not even known there were beavers in Latin America at all.

        They are definitively an invasive species, similar to the colombian hippopotami introduced by Pablo Escobar.

  15. Amfortas the hippie

    re: the two on the rich fleeing, and the deleterious effects of their fleeing on the placed they flee to.
    as i’ve indicated occasionally, there’s a few neuveau riche that have bought big distressed legacy ranches out my way over the last 20 years…hill top manses and extremely gaudi gates…5000 acres of rangeland and creeks they quickly dam up.
    I’ve heard…and seen, as i pass by certain locales…that rich folks in san antonio, etc are heading to places like Comfort, Texas(and a neighboring town called Welfare, Texas…again, some people just don’t get bitter irony)
    there’s been a large “agrihood” in process out that way for a few years…just now starting to see homebuilding activity.—this place boasts a 10 acre community garden, and small livestock is encouraged on the 10-20 acre plots…with loads of other commune style offerings for the wealthy who relocate there—more irony: it’s a hippy commune for wealthy capitalistas.
    I’ve heard a bit about this extending all the way to fredericksburg…this snapping up doomsteads.
    haven’t heard anything recent about my county, though.
    I do worry about it…as far as property valuations, etc goes.

    and meanwhile…word of new cases….and accompanying bad behavior…is coming more and more quickly via the jungle drums.
    people getting tested for some reason, and spending the 5-7 days til results partying down and rubbing against as many people as possible.
    it’s a cascade, now.
    no symptoms that have led to ventilators, yet…and no deaths that i’ve heard of…but lots of “worst i’ve ever felt” and a few with only gastro symptoms, with no respiratory at all.

    1. TMoney

      The wealthy really are clueless. Imagine a billionaire spending a few million a year in a small community (no other billionaires or big shots) fixing kids teeth, employing people at living wages etc. When it all goes to hell in a hand basket you already have a cadre of people who remember and might even like you – at least they won’t actively hate you. Now when you roll up with your posse to the fortified compound, you won’t find hostile natives taking potshots.

  16. zagonostra

    >Death of the Liberal Class

    Below underscores Chris Hedges’ thesis in a book by the same title with respect to Unions and the function they played in advancing the cause of the working class. Along with the erosion of the Church, University, Press, and Democratic Party, we now live in TINA’s world, one in which a life free from economic anxiety and expanding opportunities can only be viewed in the rear view mirror.

    Private investigators working from GM have uncovered evidence of offshore bank accounts in Switzerland, Panama, Singapore, Lichtenstein and the Cayman Islands set up for the benefit of top UAW officials, including four of the last five UAW presidents. The secret accounts were part of a sophisticated scheme by Fiat Chrysler to funnel millions of dollars in illegal payments to union officers for their services in betraying workers.

    1. Olga

      The second sentence of the article I cannot read in full is a lie. Even with best arguments, a lie remains a lie.
      At the one can read Truman’s statement after the fact; he thought Hiroshima was an “important army base:”
      Wonder where he got that idea.

  17. John Beech

    Michelle Obama says she’s suffering from ‘low-grade depression.’ USA Today

    An entirely normal reaction to what’s going on. What especially stinks is how the political war between left and right is being played no hold barred. Putting ordinary people at risk is more than a darned shame, it’s criminal behavior. Sigh.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well of course Michelle Obama says she’s suffering from ‘low-grade depression.’ Think of the challenge of social climbing in an age of social distancing. No wonder she is depressed. Still, she and Big O can always retreat back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it is that keeps them together, and let other people clean up the mess they have made.

    2. Lou Anton

      I’d be depressed too if the image of me hugging George W. Bush was the world’s go-to meme for neoliberal unity [when crushing the precariat].

    3. Carolinian

      What she said apparently is that she is in a “low-grade depression” because of Trump. So her comment is part of that war as well as being, typically, all about her.

    4. antidlc

      At least she doesn’t have to worry about getting evicted, where her next meal is coming from, getting sick and not being able to afford treatment, or being forced to go back to work at an unsafe job!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I can’t believe you people! Don’t you know what the Obamas have had to struggle through!?!? They can’t go to Hamilton 2.0 which would have happened by now! if not for Not-the-President Drumpf!

        Mayor Pete is trying to get people to give thanks to Dear Leader Obama, and people just want their unemployment checks. They should learn to code to get the jobs of tomorrow! And then give thanks to the Obamas so Michelle feels good about herself!

      2. a different chris

        I’m sure she “feels their pain”, just like the Big Dog.

        And like the Big Dog, the Obamas escaped from that into untold wealth. Did anyone think “I feel your pain” meant they were going to do something about the “your” part, rather than the “I feel” part?

    5. jr

      I think I see some propagandizing going on here. “Low grade depression” is a way of humanizing her. Sure, it’s a mental illness, but who isn’t a little depressed and besides it lends her “perspective” or some other context/content free notion. It’s also one that goes away, no doubt seconds after a Biden victory.

      She’s to be widely lauded for her forthrightness and bravery. The mentally ill will perhaps become a the cause of hers; she’ll surround herself with stories of “successes” deferential (and sane) enough for heavy media coverage. Questions of mental health outcomes under Obummer Care will be deftly turned aside by her handlers as stupid or rude…

      I’m calling it now:

      Obama/Miranda for Prez/VP in 2024!

      McCloskeys for County Assessors in 2022!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve always thought Obama was a self absorbed prick, and it came across in his written efforts. In speech form, people tend to see the visuals and ignored it. I have a suspicion Michelle will be the victim and largely ignore the larger world of mental and emotional distress.

        Her book sold well, but did anyone read it? I didn’t because she is irrelevant, but I have been subjected to quips of Michelle because she has nothing interesting to say. I would guess that she is too similar to her husband to care about other people’s stories.

    6. Laputan

      That Ken Olin tweet…yeesh:

      I read @MichelleObama said she’s been in a low-level depression lately. I want to thank her for expressing what so many of us are experiencing. Now, when we have so little truth to go by, her humanity & honesty is especially reassuring to millions of us that we’re not alone.

      I might be depressed too if my bar was that low.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Cognitive dissonance can be insidious, it may be that Michele, as she lays her head on the pillow every eve, knows somewhere in the layers of her rational mind that her man brought about the biggest transfer of wealth away from African-Americans in the nation’s history. Doing good is hard, and when that nice man from HSBC called hubby and said his team needed the money and all those brown people who had scrimped and saved their entire lives would just have to suck it up, well you know how it goes. Having Oprah and everyone on speed dial is great and all but somewhere 1 + 1 still equals 2 and no book tours and Tweets and Netflix deals can change that.

        Or, not. Stealing from the poor, especially the black poor, was always the game. Why else does she think hubby was allowed the keys to The White House?

  18. Anthony K Wikrent

    When I lived in northern Virginia over ten years ago, I learned that NRA executives regularly used NRA’s aircraft for their personal travel, such as afternoon flights to Atlantic City to gamble, accompanied by their mistresses. I suspect most NRA members and Republicans will refuse to hear the results of these investigations, and dismiss them as a “libtard” witch hunt against the NRA. But it’s still good to see the moral arc of the universe bend just a little bit more….

    1. Wukchumni

      What difference does it make, not as if the almost 400 million guns that they pushed hard for everybody to fondle are going to go away.

      1. jr

        Isn’t the trick to restrict access to the the powder? Guns without bullets are mere clubs…

    2. Roland

      Nowadays a lot of gun nuts hate the NRA because it’s corrupt with big money, and seen as backsliding on 2A issues. They prefer Gun Owners of America. I learned this because I occasionally skim 3%er sites (e.g. Rick Gore’s YT channel).

  19. Lee

    Given some of their programming lately I’m wondering what the heck has gotten into my local SF Bay Area PBS radio station.

    How We Got Here

    Tens of millions of Americans are out of work. Tens of millions more are being asked to do essential jobs right now without a significant increase to pay, benefits, or protections. Even before the pandemic, workers were struggling. They were working long hours, multiple jobs, and taking on debt just to survive. Covid-19 has just exposed how precarious people are in this country. This is the story of how we got here.
    This project began as an attempt by KQED reporter Sam Harnett to answer very simple questions for workers: why their benefits are so bad, why their pay is so low, why their unions are so weak, and how come there are so few options for meaningful, empowering work. The series turned into an investigation of the attack on American workers that began as soon as they won some power in the 1930s after the Great Depression.
    The series is three-hours long, sound-rich, and filled with history, theory, and reporting from the present day.

    Nurses Stage National Protests for More Protective Equipment and Safer Working Conditions (30 minutes)

    Catherine Kennedy, secretary and co-president elect, California Nurses Association; Vice-President, National Nurses United; neonatal ICU nurse, Kaiser Roseville
    Carmela Coyle, president and CEO, California Hospital Association

    1. Sheldon

      The Same radio stations that have been promoting, protecting, enshrining and getting out the political and money votes for

      “Migrants” who do the jobs Americans won’t do™ at union and worker rights, liveable wage busting levels?

      Here’s a sterling example of the confluence of politics, money and hypocrisy from the Bay Area. One smart “migrant”. Look where he volunteers and what it got him:

      “Hugo Mejia, a construction worker, father of three and a longtime volunteer for Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, was detained by military officials and later arrested by ICE when he reported for work May 3 at a hospital at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. ”

    2. LifelongLib

      The politics of local public radio stations may differ from those of NPR. Mine (Hawaii Public Radio) ran programs advocating single-payer health care after Obama had already decided against it. YMMV but don’t write off public radio until listening to what your local station is producing.

      1. Late Introvert

        And here in Iowa IPR is neoliberals on steroids who never hesitate to ask former Generals about their awesome weapons and how terrifying the so-called enemy is, but never get around to asking about the job they did and why they always lose.

        1. Wukchumni

          If our generals were pro sports coaches, they would’ve been given the heave ho early in the Iraq debacle-but no, many have gone on to prosperous careers post military on various tv channels.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Elliott Abrams, convicted of lying about Iran-Contra, named special representative for Iran”

    An example of how to fail up. He helped organizing massacres in Guatemala and El Salvador but was convicted of lying to Congress. They brought him out of whatever basement that they had him stored in to topple Venezuela but he failed there again. So now he is being sent back to topple Iran based on his track record. Sounds legit.

    1. Olga

      And you wonder why the US foreign policy is such a mess! It’s run by zombies and psychopaths (i.e., Bolton).

    2. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps this is a hopeful thing, however, in the sense that based on track record, one can hope that Abrams will again fail without igniting a regional war.

      Personnel is policy. Perhaps our underlying policy toward Iran is actually to not accomplish our stated policies.

      Of course, it might be another instance of what Thomas Frank has drawn attention to, the incompetence of the current elites.

    3. Off The Street

      “Elliott from Harvard, the hitchhikers you picked up need the pills from your car. Please go to the information station right away.”

      Was that him being paged at Woodstock, too? Guy musta got around.

  21. Carolinian

    I missed out on yesterday’s discussion about the A-bomb decision but the likely reality is that they were never not going to use it after the billions spent and the technical and scientific triumph of their success. The interview here yesterday about hardened U.S. attitudes toward Japan makes that clear. There’s an excellent Richard Rhodes book about the creation called The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Some of us have used it as a guide book for visits to Oak Ridge and Los Alamos. At one point there were even yearly treks to Trinity site where you can see the sand fused into glass. I never did this myself and unsure if it still goes on.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Richard Rhodes wrote four books on the subject. The second book – Dark Sun – The Making Of the Hydrogen Bomb is very nearly as good as the first book. I highly recommend reading all four books.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think we know why the Obamas are depressed. AOC and other members of the Squad are progressives but they have attributes Obama used to climb, and with the Squad’s existence, the Obama duplicity is very hard to deny.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t worry former FoxNews host and Bill O’Reilly substitute host, John Kasich, will be there! Its just good politics. If people aren’t smart enough to recognize the brilliance of it, they are too stupid! Moderate Republicans will goosestep to the polls for Biden this way!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Doh and the obvious. Obama doesn’t want AOC to use it as a spring board in 2024!

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Once praised for taming the pandemic, Asian-Pacific nations worry about new onslaught”

    The article makes a mistake here as it does not differentiate between countries that tried to eliminate the virus and those that decided to “live with the virus”. So for example Japan tried to hide the virus and do only moderate measures so now it is on the increase there with the upcoming Festival of the Dead ( sure to spread it further.

    New Zealand went all in to eliminate the virus which succeeded so they got their lives back again though without the tourists. Vietnam had escaped the first time around but the appearance of this virus in Danang made them go all out in getting rid of it again and there appears to be no half measures there. Taiwan has done a magnificent job too and have only lost seven people as they went after it.

    Australia is once more fighting a massive outbreak as the government decided in its infinite wisdom to have people learn to live with the virus. This was so that they could open up the country to international tourists on the 1st January and have the economy go back to ‘normal.’ This virus does not work like that and the present outbreak is a result of this thinking. You can’t humm along with only a few numbers as it is so infectious that it will skyrocket out of control before you realize it.

    So my point remains. The only way to tame this virus is to take it seriously and eliminate it like Taiwan, Vietnam and New Zealand. You try to ‘live with it’ and you end up like Japan or Australia. There is nothing in between.

  23. Chris

    I have to travel for work soon and I’d really like to have that PVP-I solution diluted into a spray bottle for nasal or oral application. Anyone on here know if using common saline to dilute the iodine solution would be a problem? Seems like it would give the best of both worlds by making sure everything was properly moisturized to capture offending particles and killing any coronavirus particles that do make it past your mask, physical distancing, and hand washing.

    1. Chris

      Betadine is an aqueous solution. Diluting it with saline should work just fine. How much it can be diluted without losing its effectiveness is another question, though

  24. Wukchumni

    If you’ve been driving in any major national park and there’s a traffic jam with people with cameras exiting their vehicles, chances are its a “Bear Jam.” But when it happens on a blind curve on Highway 198 in Three Rivers there could be serious injuries not the least of which to the bear.

    A similar scene unfolded on Thursday, August 6 in the afternoon near Eggers Drive by Three Rivers School. By the time Deputy Kyle Stark arrived several spectators were attempting to entice an adolescent black bear to come closer. Reportedly, some people actually petted the bear as if it was some domestic house pet.

    Once Deputy Stark intervened and dispersed the gathering crowd, the shaky but non-aggressive little bruin was led away to a shady area adjacent to Three Rivers School. Deputy Stark gently herded the disoriented bear into the shade while awaiting the arrival of Fish and Wildlife officers.

    After Daniel Torres, Fish and Wildlife game warden, arrived the mostly docile and wobbly bear was herded into a kennel provided by a resident who lived nearby. The bear was taken to a Fish and Wildlife station just below Terminus Dam where he was examined by Evan King, wildlife biologist.

    King estimated the male bear to be a year and and a half old and after administering water the bear appeared to improve from his shaky, weakened condition. It was reported that the bear might have been intoxicated from eating spoiled fermented plums and grapes in the vicinity of Cort Gallery.

  25. John Beech

    Stimulus talks . . . the GC building across from me can’t get his crews to work because they draw a “virus check” that’s pretty close to what they earn for baking in the sun. Moral hazard anyone?

    1. a different chris

      What, you mean a hazard to the morality of “I’ve got mine and ain’t gonna share no matter how hard you work in the sun” bit?

      He should pay his workers more. If his project can’t be done for that amount, it is pretty unlikely to be worth doing. What exactly is this “GC” he is building in this time of pandemic? I hope it’s a hospital.

      1. Alfred

        As I read it, “GC” abbreviates “general contractor”; the general contractor is said to be unable to get his crews to work on a building across the street from where the writer of the post is located.

    2. hunkerdown

      Has the construction company considered cutting back on the avocado toast or getting a side hustle in order to pay the correct wage?

    3. Olga

      Perhaps they should be paid more for the hard work they do… so it becomes worth it to bake in the sun?
      Has that occurred to you?

      1. Jessica

        UBI instead of enhanced unemployment checks would solve any possible issues of moral hazard.
        It would also include people not eligible for any kind of unemployment, for example folks graduating from school into a dead job market.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      “Moral hazard anyone?”
      nope, just the Great God Market telling him to raise the wages.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Intramural strife at Yale after a cancer epidemiologist published that opinion piece in Time about the hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin + zinc cocktail.

      PMC enforcement. You hate to see it.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        based on my own assessment, I…for one…will be demanding H+Az+Zinc, if it comes to that(touches wood).
        the shameless deferral to rent seeking is too painfully obvious, in this case…made all too easy by orangebadman somehow latching onto it.

        But…the same question that’s bothered me for the last 4 years remains: if trump of a sudden came out in favor of legalising weed…or for M4A…would “Good Democrats” suddenly be required to oppose it?

  26. a different chris

    So I am not a “consumer” of Gordon Ramsey’s freak-out-athons and for all I know Jaxon Edwin is a wingnut that treats his staff horribly. Lots of restauranters are.

    But having said that, Mr. Edwin is a guy who shows up everyday, provides a maybe expensive version but still the most essential thing on the planet, employs people and assuredly works hard.

    Yet some distant “owner” of a property that would be worthless if humans weren’t using it for something is going to kick him out. Not even news in this godforsaken country without the celebrity angle, is it?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > some distant “owner” of a property that would be worthless if humans weren’t using it for something

      Preparing and providing food is important, and the conviviality that surrounds food is important. It’s sad that we’re losing this, though experiences so central to our humanity will surely be reconstituted in some form. It’s hard to eat with a mask, though!

  27. Wukchumni

    Kudos to Yves for her dogged pursuit of the truth, it isn’t as if the usual suspects in the media would’ve allowed the saga to be reported on for a few years, let alone a few weeks.

    And shame on you WSJ, the financial paper of record in our country.

    1. Sheldon

      “Wall Street Journal;
      The toilet paper of record to wipe clean the orifices of the financial industry…”

  28. Wukchumni

    The US Government has warned its citizens to be very cautious about travelling to New Zealand because of our “23 active cases” of Covid-19.

    Despite the US recording more than 2 million cases and 160,000 deaths, the government is advising against travelling to New Zealand.

    According to the US government’s travel advice website, it called for increased caution when travelling here.

  29. Wukchumni

    Republicans to right of them,
    Democrats to left of them,
    Nothing doing in front of them
    Vanquished with empty pockets;
    Scorned at by Mitch and Nancy,
    Boldly they did nothing and well,
    Into the jaws of debt,
    Into the mouth of homelessness
    Having spent their last six hundred.

  30. heresy101

    The link for WeChat, TikTok doesn’t work, so here are a couple other articles:

    Check out WeChat for yourself:

    My wife will be so mad about this; even though she doesn’t like politicians, she may build a movement among the Chinese and others to get rid of President Psychopath. She regularly uses WeChat to communicate with members of her family in various areas of China.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > My wife will be so mad about this; even though she doesn’t like politicians, she may build a movement among the Chinese and others to get rid of President Psychopath. She regularly uses WeChat to communicate with members of her family in various areas of China.

      Since the CCP will be coming for the Chinese diaspora next, it might not be the smartest thing to give them your data.

  31. Randy G.

    The student at North Paulding High who took the photo, posted it, and got ‘suspended’ for it — deserves a job at the NYT as a journalist/whistle blower. NYT could use a journalist with some daring and integrity — as a novelty item if nothing else.

    Of course, the teenager would need to be vetted to make sure that he/she had the right enthusiasm for U.S initiated wars, unchecked Zionism, and the marvelous wonders of corporate capitalism. Would also need to regurgitate CIA talking points on Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, and other ‘hotspots’ on command. Corporate journalism is certainly not for the untrained.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Corporate journalism is certainly not for the untrained.

      I think you mean “not for the un-house trained.” And by “house,” we mean “the Big House.”

  32. SerenityNow

    Great example in the vanity fair article about how one of the best ways to reduce driving is by reducing parking:

    Per the state’s advice, many beach parking lots have reduced available spots by one third to limit crowd size and ensure social distancing. The parking shortage is frustrating beachgoers with expensive, limited parking permits. “People are stressed and fighting for spots,” one summer resident told me. They are frustrated because the quota isn’t actually preventing people from going to the beach; it’s just forcing them to get creative, making congestion even worse. “More people are taking their bicycles,” said the same resident. “More people are walking on the roads to the beach. More and more people are going in and out of various lots searching for places to park.”

    Doesn’t help with actually limiting access to people from getting there of course!

  33. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Really fun to see it in plain black and white sometimes:

    Google Versus Spain

    … data-processing systems are designed to serve man; … they must, whatever the nationality or residence of natural persons, respect their fundamental rights and freedoms, notably the right to privacy, and contribute to … the well-being of individuals;

    Go Europe!

  34. flora

    USPS DeJoy’s night of the long knives. Doesn’t look good.

    Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s mail service, displacing the two top executives overseeing day-to-day operations, according to a reorganization memo released Friday. The shake-up came as congressional Democrats called for an investigation of DeJoy and the cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery and ensnared ballots in recent primary elections.

    Twenty-three postal executives were reassigned or displaced, the new organizational chart shows. Analysts say the structure centralizes power around DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major ally of President Trump, and de-emphasizes decades’ worth of institutional postal knowledge.

    Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), chair of the House subcommittee responsible for postal oversight, called the reorganization “a deliberate sabotage” to the nation’s mail service and a “Trojan Horse.”

    Plus, a hiring freeze and a request for early retirements of postal employees.

    Congressional oversight needed immediately, not next month. Next month will be too late. Dems in the House must not dither the Post Office away.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Congressional oversight needed immediately, not next month. Next month will be too late. Dems in the House must not dither the Post Office away.

      If the Democrats did not want the Post Office destroyed, they would would at the very least have threatened to repeal the law that sabotaged it.* They just want the Republicans to be the ones with dirty hands, that’s all. Bloomberg:

      Then there is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which some have taken to calling “the most insane law” ever passed by Congress. The law requires the Postal Service, which receives no taxpayer subsidies, to prefund its retirees’ health benefits up to the year 2056. This is a $5 billion per year cost; it is a requirement that no other entity, private or public, has to make. If that doesn’t meet the definition of insanity, I don’t know what does. Without this obligation, the Post Office actually turns a profit. Some have called this a “manufactured crisis.” It’s also significant that lots of companies benefit from a burden that makes the USPS less competitive; these same companies might also would benefit from full USPS privatization, a goal that has been pushed by several conservative think tanks for years.

      The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 was passed in December 2006, by voice vote in the House and by unanimous consent in the Senate, so no individual votes were recorded, which tells you something.

      So, this neoliberal play took 17 years to work itself out, so the USPS proved as difficult to kill as the NHS. And here we are!

      NOTE * They would also have gotten the USPS bailout money in the first bill, when they had leverage. C’est la vie….

  35. lion

    I have not been here in a long time because of lack of time and the admitted biased way in which I spend time online – I lean right.

    Nevertheless I have a question Yves. How about increasing coverage of Elon Musk? He is a mega fraud. Are you aware of the revelations of the Martin Tripp documents over the past 24 hours? This is big but only if exposed by people other than Tesla shorts and the 6-7 MSM reporters who are given their token allocation of (unbiased) anti-Tesla articles. Musk needs to be exposed for his treatment of whistleblowers, factory workers… I can go on and on… He’s a dumb douche non-engineer. Biggest hypocrite in the corporate world.

    1. Yves Smith

      We have been skeptical of Musk from afar, but unlike CalPERS, we don’t have people who understand his operations to guide us in the right direction. If you have leads you can provide, I would very much appreciate them.

      1. JWP

        While I have no leads, I support pursuit of them and eventual publication. Musk and Tesla is seen as a Panacea by both sides of the isle and across the business world, and mostly so by young people. Viewed as some sort of green energy savior who is a benevolent billionaire, Musk can do no wrong in the eyes of many. From Neuralink, a dead end, to Space X, which is basically rebranded NASA reminds me of how Pharmaceuticals take credit for government funding and work, I see a thoroughly misguided public hope in Musk and his companies.

        Taking from this piece and lead there by lion’s comment, Tesla seems to be swapping emission pollution for physical waste, hardly a green choice.

        Not to mention the Musk backed coup in Bolivia, which has been brought up in the commentariat a few times.

        Furthermore, their financials have been shady at best, especially surrounding their stock price as it relates to production, market share, and reliance on an inflated casino of a stock market to drive the company..
        Given Tesla’s focus on speed and style, once other automakers enter the market, they will easily outpace Tesla based on safety and longevity. The size of the touchscreen and amount of incorporated tech in Teslas make them a time bomb for accidents and hacking.

        I am not qualified to speak to the engineering, but know enough to see the fraud and eventual collapse.

      2. lion

        I have been following for 2.5 years. I can certainly guide you, to say the least. The difficult question is where to start from…

        Ok, start by this excellent interview with another whistleblower, Anna Watson.

        This is about labour relations. It’s disgusting. After that we can branch out into so much more. Imagine the biggest bully at school and the best actor in the school plays, in one person. That’s Musk.

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