Links 10/21/2020

Behind prison walls, cats and inmates rehabilitate each other through animal care program Indianapolis Star

The gut microbiome defines social group membership in honey bee colonies Nature

What Sharks Can Teach Us About Survivorship Bias Farnam Street

Travis Kalanick Finds New Industry To Put Out Of Business Dealbreaker

Everything’s Too Expensive and Nothing Can Be Done John Authers, Bloomberg

Google antitrust case backed by rare Washington consensus FT and US antitrust case accuses Google of strangling competition FT

Google execs urge employees to keep their heads down amid DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit CNBC

Antitrust as Economic Stimulus Pro-Market. The editor truncated the original headline: antitrust-as-economic-stimulus-competition-help-workers.

California may replace cash bail with algorithms — but some worry that will be less fair NBC (Re Silc).

PG&E Prioritized Targets Over Reducing Fire Risk, Monitor Says Bloomberg

Why Does the U.S. Have Three Electrical Grids? IEEE Spectrum


Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates NPR

Debunking the False Claim That COVID Death Counts Are Inflated Scientific American

* * *

Another cheap, off-patent, Third World drug gets The Treatment?

Latin America’s embrace of an unproven COVID treatment is hindering drug trials Nature

Use of Ivermectin is Associated with Lower Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 (ICON study) (pre-proof) Chest. From Background: “Ivermectin was shown to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in-vitro, which has led to off-label use, but clinical efficacy has not been previously described…. Ivermectin treatment was associated with lower mortality during treatment of COVID-19, especially in patients with severe pulmonary involvement. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings.”

Real-world effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and ivermectin among hospitalized COVID-19 patients: results of a target trial emulation using observational data from a nationwide healthcare system in Peru (preprint) medRxiv. From the abstract: “Peru is one of the most impacted countries due to COVID-19. Given the authorized use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), azithromycin (AZIT), and ivermectin (IVM), we aimed to evaluate their effectiveness alone or combined to reduce mortality among COVID-19 hospitalized patients without life-threatening illness…. Conclusions: Our study reported no beneficial effects of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, azithromycin. The HCQ+AZIT treatment seems to increase risk for all-cause death.”

* * *

Schools haven’t become COVID hotspots Axios

These Doctors Have Long-Term Covid. Now They’re Pushing for Better Care. WSJ

The Truth About Blood Types and the Coronavirus Elemental. From July. Based on this paper, to which we linked at the time. Readers, thoughts?

* * *

Who Decides When Vaccine Studies Are Done? Internal Documents Show Fauci Plays a Key Role. ProPublica

The FDA’s Evolving COVID-19 Emergency Use Authorizations: How The Convalescent Plasma Authorization Can Inform Future Vaccine And Therapeutic EUAs Health Affairs

Inner Workings: Researchers race to develop in-home testing for COVID-19, a potential game changer PNAS

Bill Belichick Locks Covid-Exposed Players In Room With Broken Glass Bottle, Single Dose Of Antibody Cocktail The Onion

Trump and Reagan’s Willful Incompetence During Epidemics The Body

Pandemic worsens NYC’s food crisis FOX5

Though they’re frequent targets of theft and vandalism, the gospel of community fridges spreads faster than ill will The Counter


China’s Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy steals a march on US FT

Chinese drugmaker setting up COVID-19 vaccine production lines Channel News Asia

Xi Jinping Demands More Focus on the ‘War to Resist American Aggression’ The Diplomat. One solution:

China’s nightmare scenario of an ‘eastern Nato’ starts to take shape. Donald Trump isn’t the only reason South China Morning Post

‘Five Eyes’ Spy Alliance Trains Focus on Xi in Echo of Cold War Bloomberg

China set to keep up 5% growth through 2035, Xi adviser says Nikkei Asian Review

Is China’s Rising GDP Good For Luxury? Jing Daily

HKFP Lens: Hundreds swarm History Museum to capture ‘Hong Kong Story’ before controversial revamp Hong Kong Free Press

Exclusive: Indonesia rejected U.S. request to host spy planes – officials Reuters


Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee and pro-democracy group he founded sue Saudi crown prince in his slaying WaPo

Leftists Are Dunking on the CIA After a Socialist Victory in Bolivia Vice

Exclusive: Bolivia’s President-elect Arce says ‘no role’ for Morales in new government Reuters

Venezuela: Oil Production Shows Modest Uptick as Gov’t Seeks Foreign Investment Venezuelanalysis

New Cold War

What role is Russia playing in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? Al Jazeera

What Would Achieving a Real Reset in U.S.-Russia Relations Take? The National Interest


The Damage Russiagate Has Done Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (Carolinian).

Trump Transition

U.S. Diplomats and Spies Battle Trump Administration Over Suspected Attacks NYT. Perhaps a great many of our national security goons do have brain damage; that would explain a lot. Anyhow, *** crickets *** ….

The 8th Wonder of The World The Verge. Trump and Walker’s Foxconn debacle.


How Trump plowed through $1 billion, losing cash advantage AP

Hospitalized Brad Parscale ‘is under investigation for stealing up to $40million from Trump’s campaign and $10million from the RNC’, as he spirals out of control over White House ‘gravy train’ ending and mounting debt Daily Mail. Oopsie.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers Kotaku (deschain). AOC really is very good.

Get Ready For President Biden To Throw U.S. Security Policies Into Reverse Forbes

Realignment and Legitimacy

Psychoanalysis in combatting mass non-adherence to medical advice The Lancet. “Commentators on non-adherence call for better communication. Since communication around unconscious defences is what psychoanalysts do, it makes sense to add them to the care team.” As I urged, the PMC will double down on already-failed exhortation. Meanwhile, across the aisle–

The Eternal Insight Of John C. Calhoun The American Conservative vs. The Eternal Iniquity of John C. Calhoun National Review. Calhoun invented the thesis that slavery was a “positive good,” as opposed to the views of namby-pamby slaveowners who considered it a necessary evil.

Texas social workers can now turn away LGBTQ, disabled clients NBC

Health Care

Lawmakers ask Justice Department to consider criminal charges against Purdue and the Sacklers STAT

Why Foreign Debt Forgiveness Would Cost Americans Very Little Michael Pettis, China Financial Markets

Our Famously Free Press

We’ve had our differences with the Sacramento Bee, but this (via Resilc) is unconscionable:

One more reason not simply to break up the platforms, but to abolish them. (Deeply ironic that McClatchy, which as Knight-Ridder alone among “newsgathering organizations” got Iraq right, is being dismembered and devoured, while pom-pom waving house organs like the New York Times and the Washington Post go from strength to strength. No good deed goes unpunished!

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Judge rules Breonna Taylor grand jurors may speak about case The Hill


Boeing Max Judged Safe to Fly by Europe’s Aviation Regulator Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

Yes, Hunter Biden is corrupt. It’s one of the perks of having a daddy who helps run a global empire. Deal with it. Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Estimate of new nuclear missiles to replace Minuteman 3 arsenal increases to $95.8B Military Times

DoD seeks legislative help for ICBM replacement construction costs Defense One. From September, still germane.

Class Warfare

An Accidental Revolution: The ILO and the Opening Up of International Law International Labor Organization and Global Governance

My opinion on David’s cause of death Nika Dubrovsky, Anthropology for All. David Graeber.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. juneau

    A brief comment before I start an early day: The basic problem with some Covid studies could be that, they are using antiviral therapy too late; Covid is a 2 phase process, a viral infection followed by a massive reaction to the virus that can go on after the virus is cleared and causes much of the damage. Dr Marik’s math plus protocol has the best diagram of the course of the illness: (look at page 2). Please note he mentions many of the medicines the President was given in this writeup.

    Some early treatment with hcq/azithromycin may have failed because they were applied way too late, with too high of a dose and without zinc, using antibiotics when living virus was already gone. No blame here it was a desperate attempt to save lives.
    The doc who developed math plus thinks hcq only works in the first week; The “I” drug may be worthy of study imho if we can find funding . Sigh….

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      In regard to the efficacy of early treatment with HCQ – that was basically the position of Didier Raoult in France way back in February.

    2. rusti

      Thanks for the link, juneau, those are some nice graphics. Daniel Griffin (M.D. PhD) emphasizes this over and over, that treatment has improved a lot because clinicians understand the course of disease much better.

      One interesting idea that he mentioned was that the Regeneron REGN-COV2 antibody treatment might impact the robustness of the natural adaptive immune response. Without really understanding it myself, my unfounded speculation is that it seems like it could mean that people receiving this treatment might be similarly likely to get serious disease from a second infection.

    3. DorothyT

      Re: Dr. Marik’s MATH+ protocol

      I’ve followed Dr. Marik closely since his protocol for sepsis. I wish one of his team practiced near me if I were to develop Covid-19.

      Juneau mentions the “I” drug, which is the antiparasite Ivermectin. In his protocol it is mentioned as an additional drug that could be considered.

      I’ve taken the topical cream Soolantra (1% Ivermectin) for a type of rosacea caused by Demodex mites. Recommended usage is for only a very small amount on the affected area. It caused gastroesophageal reflux for me so I stopped using it almost immediately. Ivermectin can be lethal for dogs.

      I mention this to discourage taking Ivermectin without a knowing doctor’s prescription. Also the Marik protocol is for hospitalized patients.

      1. Phacops

        I was wondering when the immumodulatory action (for cancer therapy) of ivermectin was going to be investigated in COVID.

        That drug, used in concert with other therapies, led to great results in the treatment of colon cancers and immediately improved survival.

      2. Cuibono

        Ivermectin has been used safely in the 100s of millions of doses around the globe for many years.
        It is not without side effects but they are well known
        we now have at least one good blinded RCT showing impressive efficacy. Plus several more retrospective studies, one in the US. BUT PLEASE don’t hold your breath on US MDs using it

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Travis Kalanick Finds New Industry To Put Out Of Business

    Hmmm… A delivery only restaurant business. Depending on the menu he might actually have something here. You could get away with a much less expensive location if you’re not expecting in house diners. You could also schedule the cooking according to delivery dispatches… I suppose the whole menu would actually center around that; e.g. nothing that takes more than 15 or 20 mins to cook (not including prep) so you can maximize delivery efficiency and minimize the amount of time the food is sitting there….
    Again, this is really going to depend on the menu they have.
    IDK – This may not be a bad idea.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Sounds like Domino’s Pizza
        Yes, but done for actual food… I live in the heart of suburban NJ. On Fridays we usually order out. My wife and I would go out to eat but we have kids so that means a sitter and scheduling etc etc so its just easier to order out. In the heart of suburban NJ your order out choices are pizza, Chinese and the Chili’s/TGIFs/Applebee’s/etc menu (they’re all the same). There’s a few Indian and Mexican places but most are far enough away that whatever you order is going to arrive cold and take a while
        If you could offer me a better menu than Chili’s/TGIFs/Applebee’s/etc and get it to me relatively hot I will gladly order from you. Even if you are Travis Kalanick.

        1. a different chris

          > but done for actual food

          But there’s a reason pizza is a big delivery item and “actual food” (hey I like pizza?) is not. Keeping your Cordon blue hot does not keep it good.

          Why does anybody think that an idea so simple wouldn’t have been tried like 50 years ago? I’m sure it was and I’m sure people found out that only pizza and “Chinese” food really worked.

          There’s re-inventing the wheel, which is what the Kalanicks of the world try to do, and the even worse re-inventing the Edsel, which is what he actually does.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Why not spend a couple of hours two weekends a month meal prepping? I can make many servings in a slow/pressure cooker (lentil soups, rice, chile, pulled pork, pasta, even lasagna), freeze in Pyrex, and am set for weeks. Yes, you can freeze cooked rice.

            If I run several loaves of bread through the oven at the same time (a bit of prep the night before using the ubiquitous no-knead recipe), I freeze those, too. I make pizza dough in mass quantities; 6-12 balls at once. Allows me to add extra garlic. :)

            A lot healthier, better tasting, faster (!), and cheaper than ordering out.

            1. Pavel

              I used to dine out all the time especially when I lived in NYC and later in Paris, both great restaurant cities (in those days, at least), especially the latter with all the small family-run places with reasonable prices and no frigging televisions :) Also, in both places my kitchen was ludicrously small.

              Then I moved to Montreal where I finally had a proper kitchen. I’m by no means a gourmet chef but with all the internet recipes and a good supermarket with organic foods and quality fish and meats I was eating much better and more healthily. One concern with restaurants of course is the quality and source of their ingredients. I still enjoy dining out but I try to have things I can’t easily prepare myself.

              Per peeve: In some countries (US and UK e.g.) the restaurants are often so loud it drives me crazy! Don’t people want to converse over their meals any more? Grrr.

              1. Carla

                “the restaurants are often so loud it drives me crazy”

                YES! YES! YES!

                “Don’t people want to converse over their meals any more? Grrr.”

                We watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix last night (a free account that a friend shares with us — apparently all “legal”). The film speaks directly to your question — among many others … File it under “Global Imperial Collapse Watch.”

                1. jr

                  It’s to lure people in with the noise and excitement then get them the F out fast due to the pain of hearing loss…another trick is to crank up the AC on tables of oldsters who wipe out the salad bar and sip water for hours.

                  Restaurant…it ain’t pretty.

                2. pasha

                  i’ve worked in the biz. restaurateurs have long known that customers drink more when it is loud — and alcohol, not food, is where the big profit margin is

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                I went into a “barstaurant” for the first and last time once. The music was way too loud and so were the TVs and so were the people as they tried talking over the music and TVs.

                I told a friend about that once way later and he told me that many bar and restaurant managements do that on purpose. Super loud noise makes the human bodies subjected to it stress-up as if “excited” and the people living in those bodies eat faster and leave sooner. Allowing for more turn-of-tables faster.

            2. jr

              Agreed 100%. Go long home/batch cooking over the next decade or so. Take a very simple example in terms of cost: A bag of SmartPop cheese popcorn around here is 8$ at the corner store. A bag of popcorn kernels is 4$.

              I use the packets of cheese powder from Annies MacNCheese and sprinkle it on my popcorn to make my own cheese corn. It doesn’t take much. I eat popcorn a couple of nights a week and I still have a third of the bag of kernels I bought a month back or so. Add some of my home made tex mex seasoning and you are set.

              There has to be around 20 bags of popcorn in each bag of kernels. Has to be. Two packets of cheese powder is enough for most of that, 5$ or so. Someday for fun I may actually break it all down but the point is clear.

          2. Toshiro_Mifune

            Why does anybody think that an idea so simple wouldn’t have been tried like 50 years ago?

            Maybe the idea isn’t anything new and will fail, just like previous attempts. Maybe it was tried 50 (or 40 or 30) years ago and the order scheduling was a mess. Maybe it was tried and the menu was a mess. I don’t really know. What I do know is that if someone is saying “There’s people who want food delivery other than pizza/Chinese/Chilis” I’ll at least listen to what they’re offering.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The next time you cook something that isn’t the usual take out fair, leave it out for a couple of minutes, perhaps near something warm, then put into a decent aluminum container (it could just aluminum foil) for another 20 minutes to simulate the delivery, slosh it around again to simulate delivery, take a few minutes to determine what the order is and who it belongs to, then finally dig in.

              There are reasons delivery for “better meals” doesn’t work.

              1. jr

                Especially when delivered on the heaving shoulders of a young delivery guy who has just blazed a swerving, rattling, free flying trail on his bicycle to your front door from across town.

              2. Basil Pesto

                in fact in Melbourne during lockdown, a number of the higher end restaurants (and, indeed, cocktail bars) have been offering delivery. I haven’t used them myself because I like to cook and live by myself so have no one to enjoy it with, but a number of friends have done it and enjoyed it immensely. It seems like it’s been good for birthdays and other special occasions where people have been forced to spend them at home with limited company. A point of difference, I believe, is that it’s not delivered through uber eats etc so they can be a bit bespoke in terms of how it’s packaged and delivered. I believe also for some restaurants/dishes, the food prep is done in advance but a bit of rudimentary cooking at home before serving is required.

            2. doug

              I recall an animated conversation decades ago with a would be master of the universe about pasta delivery only restaurants. never went anywhere.
              Now folks have more time and less money.
              I think trend will be towards cooking at home.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I’m no chef, but I’ve watched enough cooking / restaurant shows to know the value real chefs put on “presentation.” They sure seem to regard presentation as integral to the enjoyment of their creations.

          I’d imagine the brilliant travis kalanik has convinced himself and his bottomless pit of investors that all things old are new again when you do it with an algorithm, but when I look at the smashed mess of leftovers that I bring home from the restaurant that I ate at last night I’m not so sure.

          On the other hand, it may just be the next billion dollar racket in a nation in which 70% of the population is obese, because they’ll gorge from any box, bag, piece of foil or similar disposable trough as long as somebody delivers it to their door and they don’t have to even get up off the couch in order to partake.

          And, we do need to create a reason to perfect “autonomous” vehicles and robot delivery dogs……

          1. Olga

            Speaking of… was watching an old Julia Child show, in which she – in her typical off-the-cuff way – comments about how a chef would suffer psychological trauma if the food were not presented properly. It all seemed funny, but there’s likely truth in the statement.

          2. bassmule

            This is why Indian carryout is so great: So many very tasty stews that by their nature do not rely on presentation. Oh, and are fine with reheating in the microwave.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              I don’t eat Indian food myself, but it might just argue for kalanik’s new business.

              The pungent aroma demands off-site preparation (as far away from me as possible) and supports H-1B visas.

              Right up kalanik’s alley.

              Just kidding, but I really can’t stand the stuff.

            2. fresno dan

              October 21, 2020 at 11:38 am
              and healthy…and relatively inexpensive.
              Lentils, which are great healthwise, I can only eat when prepared from an Indian restaurant. I usually get three orders for take out in various sauces and freeze the extra – they take freezing well and microwaves are about the only kitchen appliance that I know how to use.
              Toasters – my nemesis – always under toasted or over toasted

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its hardly the first time its been tried – there have been cooked food only delivery businesses since long before the internet.

      I think a fundamental problem for the food industry is that margins between labour and food costs are so tight – in reality you can only make money by either:

      1. Cutting input costs to a minimum and making up for narrow margins in bulk (i.e. fast food)
      2. Adding value (i.e. providing something special (quality, ambience, convenience) that people will pay a premium.

      Hence large scale food industries usually only work at the fast food level – individual restaurants or small local chains still completely dominate the ‘quality’ food segment. Most attempts at big chains of high quality food seem to fail.

      While there may be savings in terms of building kitchens in industrial estates, etc., the problem is that there is no shortage of kitchen capacity – most restaurant kitchens are only busy for a few hours a day. The trick, for a well run restaurant, is to keep a steady trickle of customers from early lunch to late evening, and adding in take-out is an important component of this, especially if you can pre-prepare. Most good kitchens have mastered the art of having a range of dishes including those that can be 90% made during quiet times, along with the ‘fresh’ dishes that need to be created from scratch on order. Its also worth pointing out of course that many restaurants do get their food from cheap off-site sources – desserts in particular.

      So basically, while there may be some savings, I really doubt that Travis has found some magic formula that nobody in the food business has ever hit upon before.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a good many restaurants which only serve breakfast & lunch, dinner not being that profitable in comparison. How do you deliver a 20 minute old Denver omelete?

        1. ShamanicFallout

          There is a brunch place here that on the weekends is packed with nothing but Uber Eats and Amazon delivery drivers. All breakfasts. Pancakes, eggs, omelettes. This is telling us something but I can’t exactly figure it out. But I think we can say: How friggin difficult is it to make some eggs and pancakes at home??

          1. Louis Fyne

            home cooking skills is gone (and been gone for at least one generation)….for a multitude of reasons.

            despite and notwithstanding the (narrow, class-specific) popularity of cooking shows and NYTimes “trend” pieces

          2. Young

            Very difficult. Busy hands, phone in one, remote in the other.

            Plus, you must get off the couch and walk to the kitchen.

      2. cnchal

        The magic formula is losing billions to put everyone else out of business. Carry forward losses that can be used for an eternity has distorted business to the point that losing a ton of money is seen as a sign of business genius.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Unless of course the model includes having delivery drivers that will use their own cars, use their own fuel and carry their own insurance costs while being paid a pittance to deliver all this food as they are desperate for any money since the country is in a recession.

      4. Darthbobber

        The lunch truck. One job I had in SW Philly had a good number of West Africans working at it. There was delivery on every shift by West African women who did this wherever West Africans worked. After a number of years they eventually added a sit-down restaurant to the operation.

      5. hunkerdown

        “Running a business” is not what Kalanick does. It makes little sense to analyze his line of work with reference to concepts like numerical “return”. The return that the oligarchy receives is structural, the power to set up levers and command relations and other structures to direct surplus to them and protect their tranquil digestion of it. Numbers are valuable only insofar as the mass, the enemy of the person having taboo, can’t use them.

        In slightly related news, the old tattoo parlor down on Telegraph Avenue, being boarded up since before COVID, has over the past couple weeks been becoming a tony lunch counter with a brick façade and a brushed steel establishment date. I have no idea who they intend to serve, there being relatively few professional-type offices in the area, and relatively many one-dollar-sign eateries. I’ll know more when they’re up and running and I see a menu.

      6. Olga

        It may have made more sense to aggregate all the unused kitchen space in the existing restaurants. Hence, the thought that this is more uber-thinking. Plus, restaurants make most money from the sales of alcohol. Those cooking food for delivery – with all that it entails – would have to charge too much for an average joe-blow-sixpack.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        How are they and what do they tend to offer? Is it just the standard fare or more expansive?

        1. Louis Fyne

          the US term is ‘ghost kitchen’.

          Imagine your typical Chinese take-out-only joint but with no storefront serving delivering food via multiple online avatars

          for local operators, that’s the only conceivable path to profitablity given the huge cut UberEats, Grubhub, etc take

        2. John A

          I have never ordered anything from them. Much prefer to do my own food shopping and cooking with very occasional restaurant visits as a special occasion, or when travelling. Have never understood ordering takeaway, if I am short of time, can simply look in cupboard for a tin of tuna, for example, then add onions, garlic, lemon, seasoning etc. Plus pasta, takes no more than 10-15 minutes, prob quicker than waiting for delivery anyway,

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            When I were a lad fish & chips were 30p & wrapped in newspaper, now 9 quid delivered wrapped in plain paper within a plastic box. I get the urge sometimes when I can afford it to try & re-capture that feeling of an always hungry hyperactive kid as the 60’s became the 70’s, stuffing them down his neck while doing a newspaper delivery round, but likely due to my old jaded taste buds it just ain’t the same & anyway back then I would eat almost anything.

            I have discovered a local Indian restaurant that does superb korma which has become a huge temptation after I have had a hard day & have to cook yet another risotto, which only works well for me with about 25 minutes of stirring.

    2. Procopius

      Not even that. Renting kitchens, fully equipped, to start-ups that are delivery-only businesses. Sounds like he’s going to have very high customer turnover, and presumably a lot of his customers are going to be declaring bankruptcy.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Well I think one company attempting to create a monopoly is always a bad idea, and a delivery only business for actual food is also a bad idea for reasons already mentioned, but that may not be what Kalanick is up to here so it may not be a bad idea The article is pretty vague on the details –

      …startup that rents out space to businesses that prepare food for delivery…

      So he’s only renting space – basically the WeWork or McDonald’s model where both are essentially real estate companies. An in-law of mine is doing something similar in suburban Mass. – he created a commissary where you can rent out kitchen space for food prep, but it isn’t for deliveries, it’s for food trucks. Rather than doing prep at home or in a cramped truck, you put everything together at the commissary, load up the truck, and drive out to cater to the lunch rush. Those have become very popular in recent years and I wonder if that is what Kalanick may be up to here – catering to the food truck industry, which is sort of but not really delivery.

      And if that is what he’s up to, I hope he fails spectacularly.

      On a side note, does anyone know any Saudis with more money than good sense? I have a few ideas I’d like to pitch…

      1. c_heale

        If he’s only renting space, then it’s not gonna work if the people don’t come back to the office.

    4. jef

      In the late 80’s I had a Gourmet take-out and delivery business. We also did take-out and delivery catering for up to 500. Off the hook wildly successful from day one. Had to sell it in an ugly divorce.

      1. Janie

        The movie “The Lunch Box” revolves around the dabbawallas; the action is fascinating. I think it’s a Sundance production.

    5. Procopius

      Wait, what …? A quote from a quote in the article:

      … Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens, a startup that rents out space to businesses that prepare food for delivery …

      So it doesn’t look like his venture will actually be preparing food for sale, it’ll be like MySpace for food start-ups, which suggests to me he’s going to have a lot of customers going out of business every month (I believe something like 90% of new businesses fail in the first year).

      1. Young

        He is selling Cloud. Kitchens just happen to be there.

        It has the same strategy like the old B2B, Bitcoin, etc..

        If you say it, people will buy.

  3. jackiebass

    Technology is owned and developed to monopolize a business sector. Use almost any search engine to look for independent reviews of a product. You will be bombarder by web site whose intention is to direct you to Amazon to make a purchase. The idea of a monopoly has been thrown by the way side. There are many business names but a few corporations own most of them.

    1. apleb

      That’s only due to amazon paying everyone a referral fee. And many people desperate to make a cheap buck that way.
      The other big retailers don’t do that, and the small, local shops are too small for them to recoup the costs. It’s not just that amazon has unfair tax advantages, it’s the other (big) retailers which are at least as much to blame being hopelessly uncompetitive.

      1. jackiebass

        The point I was trying to make is it is very difficult to search different sources for almost anything. You get hundreds of the same responses. You are unable to make a real comparison. Money has bough the internet not unlike our government including the court system.

  4. cnchal

    > The 8th Wonder of The World The Verge. Trump and Walker’s Foxconn debacle.

    This state of affairs was obscured by the fact that Foxconn did seem to be doing something. It had bought buildings, moved dirt, and hired people. But this apparent progress, as well as much of the chaos that followed, can be explained by the company’s distributed power structure. While Gou has likened good leadership to dictatorship, his empire is too vast to be governed alone. The company is composed of a fluctuating number of around a dozen “business groups,” each responsible for a range of products, according to Jenny Chan, assistant professor of sociology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and co-author of Dying for an iPhone, which examines Foxconn working conditions following a string of employee suicides in the 2010s. These business groups have a large degree of autonomy and are responsible for their own profitability, and are themselves made up of smaller units that also operate quasi-independently, even doing business and competing with other Foxconn entities.

    So, crApple phones are made under extremely brutal working conditions, and then exported all over the world. Know what else is being exported? The extremely brutal working conditions, which are legendary in Amazon warehouses. To compete, everyone else has to implement similar brutality.

    Can you fog a mirror, absorb abuse and do your suicides off company property? Amazon is hiring.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist..

    As for Foxconn, there is “con” right in the name. What were the politicians expecting? The true bright side is Foxconn didn’t turn that corner of Wiconsin into a toxic chemical dump.

    1. Calypso Facto

      From approximately 2005-2010 I worked for an international logistics company (enterprise, not consumer; roughly on par with market share of DHL, so not widely well known to the general public, and I shall leave it there to remain discrete). I worked on the warehouse management software, which was closely connected to the teams that worked directly with the companies using our warehouses. One of our primary customers was Foxconn, who had a set of factories on the Mexican side of the US-MX border; we had warehouses on the Texas side. Yes, this was to maximalise the effects of NAFTA.

      I can attest these stories are simply how Foxconn works and always has worked, internally and with close vendor-suppliers as my former employer was. I regularly heard insane stories about the Foxconn delegation threatening summary firings of random, unrelated developers/employees on other teams if features that normally would have taken 2+ weeks were not pushed out in the next day or even hour. That was just on our side of the border, in the actual Foxconn factories in Mexico they were rioting for better conditions (I remember being horrified to hear the term ‘hot bunk’ referring to a dorm with beds assigned to a worker in 12-hour cycles to maximise shift work at the factories). Here’s a story from near the end of my time there, when a ‘disgruntled employee’ started a fire at the plant after pay was witheld:

      The fire was set in an activities center on the factory campus early Feb. 19 by employees that had ended their night shift and were waiting for buses to take them home. The buses never arrived, Foxconn said in a statement on Tuesday, because a disgruntled ex-employee had misled the bus company to stop services.

      Then, “a group of about 30 people in the waiting area began to cover up their faces with bandanas in unison and initiated spreading malicious rumors of how Foxconn would not give overtime pay for the late bus to agitate the crowd, and even tried to block the passage way to prevent the bus from getting in to the campus,” Foxconn said. Angry employees eventually set the fire.

  5. Wukchumni

    The 8th Wonder of The World The Verge. Trump and Walker’s Foxconn debacle.
    All you really need to do is change the name of the place and people in the article, and it could’ve been a story on a much hyped coming soon manufacturing plant in the USSR that didn’t make anything either. And what an appropriate name: ‘Foxconn’

    We pretend to believe our leaders and they pretend to pay attention to us…

    1. Olga

      Doubt it, Wuk. The Soviets were too strapped for cash to be able to build factories that made nothing. Just another tired tale from the cold war.

      1. Wukchumni

        An interesting book that really opened my eyes was ‘Investment Biker: Around The World With Jim Rogers’.

        He and his girlfriend rode their motorcycles around the world in the early 90’s, and his descriptions of the recently departed USSR and the tremendous waste left over in it’s wake was quite illuminating with plenty of dilapidated factories et al. In comparison the way he wrote about China and the potential for people who knew the capitalist drill from having it in their blood, was amazingly prescient.

        1. Olga

          Yes, this may be the case for the nineties…
          They may have been dilapidated by that time, but not in the prime of USSR (timing is everything).
          Traveling around Central Europe (and prob around the former USSR), it is heartbreaking to see all the abandoned factories and various productive facilities. Not to mention the deliberate destruction of the previously self-sufficient agri sector.
          Just in what used to be Czechoslovakia, previously thriving industries – textile, glass-making, furniture, footware, etc. – were all just destroyed.
          The west mostly wanted those socialist countries as a market and a source of cheap (yet educated) labour.

          1. Wukchumni

            Just in what used to be Czechoslovakia, previously thriving industries – textile, glass-making, furniture, footware, etc. – were all just destroyed.

            That interesting news to me, as my parents went to Czechoslovakia every year for about a month from 1973 until my dad passed away in 2002, and talking to my mom on the phone a few minutes ago, she told me aside from heavy leaded glass crystal (you can still buy as much as you’d like), there wasn’t much to buy in a consumer vein during communism, and they spoke the language so it wasn’t they weren’t hep to what’s what, combined with having many relatives in Prague.

            She related the biggest problem was an overriding suspicion of everybody, and their motives, and the idea that a neighbor or acquaintence might turn you in.

            Another thing she mentioned was the horrible distribution of foodstuffs within the country.

            1. Mike

              Amazing- we’re having an argument over whether a bureaucratic dictatorship was supplying its people properly and comparing that to capitalist factory development in the financial fraud era?

              For those not knowing, Soviet industrial development was always hampered by technological conservatism coupled to a need to employ those not able (i.e., not trained or educated enough) to be “productive” to keep the myth of full employment standing. In a nutshell, we are not defending “socialism” here, or anything remotely like it. This was a distorted economy with peasants forced into industrial lives, all products of Stalin’s indoctrination and media control – similar to our beloved country.

              1. Wukchumni

                Another tidbit from my mom regarding Prague back in the days of communism…

                She said if you wanted to buy a new pair of shoes, there would be 6-10 people involved in the transaction, keeping everybody ’employed’

                …inefficiency had met it’s match

          2. barefoot charley

            The central United States looked very much like you describe since the Reagan ‘revolution’ began. Ask any Midwestern Trump voter.

      2. Wukchumni


        If you wanted a role model for how to deal with Covid, the Soviet sphere would’ve been perfect. All of the monies within all of the countries (save for Hungary-for some reason) were worth practically nothing outside of the bloc party, you needed an internal passport to go anywhere, and nobody depended on the economy to keep on keeping on.

        We’re getting there slowly but surely, and if the almighty buck were to be debauched, things would get dicey mighty quick…

        ‘We’re here, we’re austere-get used to it’.

        1. fwe'zy

          They should have been even more restrictive. Look what happened in the aftermath of “loosening up” for the liberals to pump n dump. Thanks Biden!

  6. zagonostra

    >Hunter Biden is corrupt… Deal with it. Yasha Levine

    I’m not sure I understand the inference here. By natural association, his dad, soon to be President is corrupt too and a rapist (see Tara Reide’s Australian 60 minute interview). Deal with it?

    When the thin veneer of respectability is peeled back and you see what kind of men/women you are are asking me to choose between I should suck it up and deal with it? Realpoliticks and all that you mean? There is “nothing new” here, move along?

    Yeah I’ll deal with alright, I’ll withhold my vote and tell anyone who will listen that choosing between the kind of leaders that the establishment puts forward as my only option ain’t gonna work for me. I say F&%k you. It might take a revolution to clean out the WH Augean stables, but damn it, the stench is just too much to “deal with” and chock up as “that’s the way the world works.”

    1. Pavel

      In 1986 Joe Biden pushed through a crime bill that meant that a black kid with 5 *grams* of crack cocaine got a mandatory 5 years in prison.

      How much was the amount of powder cocaine (used by Wall Streeters, fashion models, Hollywood etc) required for a 5 year sentence? Half a kilo — 500 grams.

      Then the same Joe Biden pleads for compassion for Hunter and his crack addiction.


        1. ShamanicFallout

          That was epic. And as a side note, looking thru RS’s revised greatest (in all it’s new found woke glory) albums of all time, I thought “they should have closed their doors after the ’72 election”

    2. USDisVet

      Just because the Clintons and their foundation got away with pay-to-play corruption doesn’t mean that Biden should. Actually there is a strong case for treason in both cases, but in Biden’s case he is certainly “owned” by the Chinese.

      1. Procopius

        Excuse me, but you just pushed one of my buttons:

        Actually there is a strong case for treason in both cases, …

        Can you provide examples of how either party waged war against the United States? Or provided aid or comfort to those who did (enemies)?

  7. jackiebass

    Reagan is praised by many as one of the greatest presidents. I personally think he was one of the worst. His denial of Aides along with his neoliberal economic places were destructive to society and the country. We are stilly paying for it today.

    1. apleb

      You forgot the drug epidemic with cocaine, crack, etc. happening under Reagan
      Compared to drugs and especially the economic policie, the denial of AIDS was small fry.

        1. a different chris

          Here’s an interesting thought (at least to me).

          Ok, all who remember the Soviet Union, do you remember *anything* like this RussiaRussiaRussia nonsense? I don’t. Yes they were a threat, but an offshore one. They weren’t claimed to be lurking in our closets.

          The difference is- the SU was big and bad. If you, as a Very Important Member of the MIC/Spook Show started spouting this type of hysterics about them — you would get replaced. Not because people didn’t believe you, but because they did and would find “big guns” that would take over your little department.

          But Russia is not a real threat at all. So you can alarm about it, get more money, rinse and repeat until you are ready to retire. Maybe a nice dacha on the Caspian, they are fairly cheap.

          1. Olga

            What I remember from the late 70s, is ‘russians are coming, russians are coming.’ As in, they will attack the US any minute now. Seemed utterly absurd then and now (and I was not pro-USSR). I did feel sorry for the propagandised Amrikans (and all those ‘duck and cover’ exercisers).
            The B team made sure that the threat of the USSR was vastly exaggerated.
            But agree, today the whole thing seems more unhinged. Perhaps because it really is the twilight of the empire (and generally, the 500-year rule of the west over the rest of the world).

            1. Wukchumni

              I never felt as if the commies were that much of a threat growing up in the 70’s, compared to the 50’s or early 60’s hysteria, or the supposed reemergence of the evil empire in the Reagan era.

              1. Procopius

                I was in high school in the McCarthy Years (the ’50s) and I never felt the Communists were a real threat, either. Actually, I had little idea of who or what Communists were, because all information about them was embargoed. There were not even books criticizing Marxism, I suppose because the PTB were terrified that if workers knew what Marx had written they would be radicalized. Both Trotsky and Che Guevara believed it and learned otherwise the hard way.

            2. Chris

              “The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming” was a comedy movie from 1966. I wonder whether anybody ever took the threat seriously.

            3. jackiebass

              Actually I believe Russia was so devastated by WWII hat it has made Russia less likely to engage in another major war. The anti Russia hype and Cold War was promoted develop the military state we live with today.

          2. nippersdad

            You must not have had a father who was a dues paying member of the John Birch Society.

            This is all just so very old hat for me. Red Scares were a bore when they were comparatively new.

          3. apleb

            Yes there was this “threat”, mainly in the 50s: Mr. McCarthy and all that wasn’t entertainment. And yes, russians were actually hiding in your closet, your PTA meeting and everywhere else.
            However you cannot uphold such a threatlevel forever, so by the 70s/80s it was more of an abstract threat. Also, by then it was common knowledge that “duck&cover” wasn’t sufficient. If there were a war, human life would cease to exist, known to both sides and both populaces. So that’s another reason which pushes the threat farther away.

            1. Mike

              Let’s go further- since most of the hype coming from our intelligence agencies was made up, you could say the threat was, as today, concocted to keep us, the citizens, in line with current needs of the empire. Just sayin’.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates NPR

    There seems a very obvious flaw with this study – they are looking at the mortality rate among those hospitalised. But it seems highly likely that during a period when the hospitals have more capacity for patients that they are taking in more of those with Covid – its hardly a secret that due to overcrowding during the peak last Spring that many of the sick were confined to nursing homes or were being treated at home, and many very sick younger people were avoiding hospital/doctors entirely. So the figures may well be simply a reflection that more younger and healthier sufferers are getting hospitalised as a precautionary measure.

    1. Cuibono

      No. Case fatality rate, also called case fatality risk or case fatality ratio, in epidemiology, the proportion of people who die from a specified disease among all individuals diagnosed with the disease over a certain period of time.

  9. jr

    My TDS infected friend has sent me a link to a WaPo article which claims to be, literally, 600 ALL CAPS AND 35 EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! about why you need to vote for the doddering Pedo-Joe and his soulless husk of a running mate. (This man is a highly intelligent, internationally recognized historian.) I tried to open it but it’s paywalled and it’s too new to have appeared elsewhere. I tried to link it but it just sends me to the front page of that Moron-A-Thon of hacks and camp followers. If it really is “600 ALL CAPS” etc. I will have to admit that I have been wrong to think journalism couldn’t degrade itself any further.

    Life is getting farciful.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Amen. The WaPo and NYT paywalls are saving me from much unnecessary angst and anger. I only wish they were higher and more protected.

        1. Wukchumni

          It isn’t as if the digital fishwraps desire all that much for the effort, which tells you how much they value their writers. WaPo wants a whole $29 a year, and looking at the San Diego Union Tribune, they have a ‘Freedom Of The Press Event’ offer of 8 weeks for one Dollar, about the price of a candy bar.

            1. Wukchumni

              How is that possible, do you live in Nome-adjacent with heavy delivery charges?

              p.s. A red letter day happened sometime in the early 70’s when candy bars went from a Nickel to a Dime.

              1. jr

                Far more mentally isolated and costly, I live in the West Village. Your first breath of air in the morning is 75¢.

                1. Procopius

                  Heck, in the late ’40s, at the Saturday matinee, a one pound Hershey Bar was 25¢. The problem was, that was a lot of money in those days. Especially for a kid.

                  1. Janie

                    I got 25 cents a week allowance, late 40s. Cowboy movies were a dime, cherry phosphate a nickel, comics a dime. My dad was usually good for another nickel or two.

    1. D. Fuller

      Two pieces of crap are running. They differ in consistency & firmness.

      Pedo Joe, meet Donald J. “Epstein” Trump.

      Hunter Biden, meet Jared Kushner.

      Clinton Foundation, meet Ivanka Foundation

      Obama Citigroup Administration meet Trump Goldman Sachs Administration.

      Honduras Coup, meet Bolivian Coup.

      Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan…


      One difference is? Trump screwed up the response to a pandemic.

      Trump is simply naked and crass about his corruption. Perhaps another reason why the D.C. crowd dislikes Trump. Can’t he at least pretend to care about Main Street and Joe & Jane Public?, they complain.

      TDS reminds me of how obsessive Republicans were about the Black Man in The White House.

      1. nippersdad


        And now we have to endure Obama running around telling us how exciting it is for him to see young people and their movements to change the world; that Biden is just the vehicle for them to realize all of their wildest hopes and dreams.

        The manure has gotten a lot deeper over the years.

      2. Drake

        Trump’s corruption vs that of the Democrats seems to me like a smallish S&P 500 company vs a keiretsu. I mean, the Clinton Foundation was shaking down whole governments. The Ivanka Foundation I first heard of in your post. Trump is an amateurish ego-cult, the Democrats are an industrial-scale corruption machine. Republicans are somewhere in between, but Trump seems not as fully integrated into those structures as Biden is on his side.

        1. anon

          “One difference is? Trump screwed up the response to a pandemic.”

          61 million people had H1N1 in 2009. Thankfully it was less lethal, which had nothing to do with the Obama-Biden response or policies.

      3. apleb

        Joe and his friends screwed up the response to a yuuuge financial crisis. My guess is even the loss of life is comparable between those two: poorer people die faster. If you are foreclosed and then homeless especially.

        And call me deranged, I’d say Trump cares more about Main Street and Joe Public than the others ever did the last time. Not really much, mind you, but a slight bit. At least he did and does some theater for them in his election campaign, “it’s her turn, so vote for her scum!” didn’t even do that.

      4. anon in so cal

        Biden’s level of corruption is orders of magnitude greater than anything Trump could even fantasize about. It’s in combination with Biden’s eagerness for regime change wars.

        Biden started out pushing for the Iraq invasion years ahead of the actual war. He knew there were no WMD and knew this before the war, when he was advocating it on the FR committee. That’s followed by Obama and Biden’s 5 new wars in 8 years and their escalation of 2 others (not counting Colombia, Ukraine, etc.)

        This chronicles the quid pro quo and the damage done to regular Americans’ lives and livelihoods:

      5. Pat

        If you have ever looked at the “plan” Trump rejected you would discover that there wasn’t much there there. Most of the problems that we have encountered (lack of supplies, broken supply lines, inept Institutional response, hospitals with no reserves, etc etc.) most if not all would still have occurred.

        The big differences appearance and hysterical response. Cuomo was spouting a lot of BS much of the time, but he was serious and the press treated him like the second coming. Even when Trump said something right it was treated like he vomited on the carpet. President Clinton would have screwed up just as much, the press just wouldn’t have called her on it. And she would have lied about her mistakes, see the shifting Biden timeline on masks and safety of voting in person. Not to mention Pelosi on the emergency.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    suddenly, here’s what we’re dealing with:
    high school principal texted wife friday that our youngest(Freshman) would have to cease online only at the end of the month. the options given were: 1. return to in person full time…2. “Transfer”…or 3.” Home School”.
    2 and 3 are not defined, as yet….and #1 induces fear in me, wife, both sons and her oncologist.
    #1 will require youngest to move into the broken down trailer house(library) with our eldest, and wear a mask when he came over here(which sounds a lot like splitting up our family, to me)

    The next shoe i expect to drop is this:
    where they require my chemo wife to come back to school in person.
    she’s making quiet inquiries into what retiring soon will mean.

    all of this is based on a politicised ideology with the unspoken underlying Reason that The Economy(holy, holy) is all that matters…that Workers are expendible, if not necessary Sacrifices…and that “we can tell when the virus comes to the school…so no worries!”

    which is just the tip of the iceberg of how much we do not know…and worse, purposefully do not want to know…about the extent of the spread.
    Friday afternoon, i called the former school board president….and he passed the buck to the current pres….who was out of pocket until day before yesterday.
    he passed the buck to the superintendent and the HS principal(who in his initial text, passed the buck to a sort of alternative school board, composed of teachers and community members selected to serve by an unknown mechanism)
    superintendant has been out of pocket…i’ll likely storm the administrative office today to catch him, since his secretary is apparently running interference and protecting him from my ire and disappointment.
    i expect much smoke to be blown up my nethers, and a bunch more passing of that buck. no one wants to take responsibility for anything.
    we can accommodate, with some hardship…(and much worry! if he catches covid, how will i care for him?), our youngest returning to in person…but not my cancer wife.
    it’s all stupid and cruel and so very, very discouraging.
    i am ashamed to be an american.

      1. D. Fuller

        Sorry to hear about that. Wish you the best.

        My sister works for a school district just south of Dallas. The S.D. sent a letter to her stating that they would have considered her to have quit out of fear of contracting Covid if she did not return to work. All S.D. employees received that letter.

        All to avoid paying unemployment claims after the funds ran out.

        How is that for a take on, “You’re fired!”?

        Needless to say, her entire family was infected, though through another means. A business owner down in Texas believes that Covid is a hoax and will fire anyone wearing a mask. One of his workers, a friend of ours, came down with Covid only to spread it around.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. Is there an option where you live for a medical retirement? My wife had to recently go that route here due to an injury. The only thing that comes to mind is for you to ask for full names and maybe put down a recorder when talking to admin. When asked, you can say that it is for a future lawsuit in case anything happens with your wife so you know who to sue and who will be required to go to court as a witness such as that secretary. Tell them that your lawyer said to document everything that happens so that nobody can deny what anything. Better yet, ask a lawyer before doing any of that stuff first.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      My best wishes to you and your family as you navigate through all these Scylla/Charibdis choices.

      “The Economy(holy, holy) is all that matters”

      And I think we can add in more than a dash of Social Darwinism. Especially since Trump’s recovery from Covid, this idea that the worthy will survive is more and more openly advocated. It shouldn’t be surprising. We’re a Social Darwinist country in many ways.

      Maybe it’s just me that finds the closely related idea that human beings en masse are made better by hardship, especially by war, to be quite twisted. While the perspective of time can enable us individually to see how personal hardships have led to growth, the idea that societies are at their best under maximum strain is perverse and contrary to all historical evidence. My guess is that our elites, being firm believers that our hardship makes us better people, will fail to provide even minimally for their fellow citizens, and many of them will shrug it off as a money-saving culling of the herd.

    3. flora

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with this bureucratic bs.

      K-12 opened to in person teaching recently and already 1 young teacher has contracted C19 and is self-quarantining for 2 weeks. Another young teach I know says reopening to in person teaching now is a bad, bad idea. She used to look happy and now she looks worried. K-12 enrollment numbers have dropped this year for the first time I can ever remember. Apparently many families who can are doing home schooling this year, and probably will continue home schooling until the pandemic is under better control.

      I’m not a lawyer. Your wife might have an ADA claim for workplace accommodation, work from home, work remotely, based on her health and ongoing cancer treatments.

      Thanks for your comment. Best wishes for a good outcome to of all this.

    4. The Historian

      We are facing the same problem in Idaho. My county, Ada County, is seeing an increase in Covid cases and has again gone back into the red zone. The teachers had a sick out for two days to protest the school board insisting on keeping schools open, even though they had promised to go back to remote learning if Ada County had dropped back into the red zone. And now the Teacher’s Union is being sued.

      In the country next to us:

      If some people want to play Russian Roulette with Covid, that is their business. But it is NOT OK to force others to play that game.

      1. Shonde

        My niece is a third grade teacher in a Minnesota school. She wants to return to remote learning so she can spend full time focused on learning instead of spending 2/3 of her class day sanitizing and monitoring student compliance with health rules.

    5. Janie

      Amfortas, there’s not much to say about such a disheartening situation, other than our little family thinks of you and wishes you and yours good fortune.

    6. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      October 21, 2020 at 8:31 am

      I’m sorry for the situation you and yours are in. requiring your wife to return is unconscionable and purposefully vindictive.

    7. Alternate Delegate

      Similar situation with friend/relative. They’re a Texas school teacher with elevated risk. They now face a choice between quitting and losing unemployment and retirement benefits, or doing in-person teaching and quite possibly dying. They can take early retirement at the end of the year. If they live that long!

      1. Jan

        Glad to see you re still here, amfortas. Missed your comments.
        But the word that comes to my mind re these burocrats is Schreibtischm”order.

    8. Pat

      This sucks.

      Good thoughts for your family, and a few curses on the buck passing bureaucrats and our cruel and heartless system.

  11. notabanker

    Sure seems like the COVID narrative is heading down the path of ‘it’s not as bad as we first thought, and while we are working on a vaccine, there’s all these new treatments that you will have access to on your affordable health care insurance, so now we can all go back to normal. For the economy’s sake, of course.’

    1. a different chris


      >For the economy’s sake, of course

      Yes wasn’t the economy supposed to be for our sake, not the other way ’round? Sigh.

  12. jr

    Re: The Shining Playbill on the Hill

    In response to the notion that Xi can gain a greater understanding of our democracy by watching the finest in theatrical edu-tainment-ganda, “Hamilton“, I wanted to post a quote from a former Chinese leader to the effect that Americans are “delightful” in that we have no sense of our own history. I cannot find the quote though and would appreciate if anyone can.

    1. cyclist

      I’m just re-reading American Aurora by Richard Rosenfeld. This history revolves around the Aurora, a newspaper established by Benjamin Franklin Bache (Franklin’s grandson), published in Philadelphia in the late 18th century. Bache, and other Republicans (who were derided as ‘democrats’ or ‘Jacobins’ ) were persecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts championed by Adams and the Federalists. There are a number of parallels that resonate with our current situation – scapegoating foreigners (Irish, French…), harassment of the press, fiddling with the post office and voting, military buildup ….. It is pretty clear that one does not want to study Hamilton and the Federalists as defenders of democracy!

      1. jr

        Thank you for the reference, it reminded me of a job I held years ago at a private museum that was focused on Colonial era history. The young staff of grad students, independent scholars, and history nerds were filled to the brim with stories about the real Founding Fathers and shared them freely with the guests from all over the country. That is until a flurry of complaints arrived about the “negativity” etc. of the tours and we were told to sanitize our spiels. No one did of course but we did become a lot more circumspect about who we talked to.

        1. fresno dan

          October 21, 2020 at 10:22 am
          The arc of the universe bends toward justice
          fresno dan’s corollary: the arc of docents’ anecdotes bends toward BS.

          jr – I’m not saying your anecdotes weren’t great and true – I’m just saying usually, and especially in America, there is a tremendous bias for all rah rah.

          1. jr

            Believe me, I’ve seen it in action: We would have fundamentalist Christian types literally get down on their knees and start praying when they learned we had original documents of the Founding Father Figures in the collection.

        2. cyclist

          It is an interesting book in that it tells the story mainly through competing (Federalist vs. Republican) newspaper articles and letters. Adams was using the Sedition Act to bring charges against the editor of the Aurora for essentially writing that Washington was a crap general and that Adams really wished he were a king. Others got in a heap of trouble for opposing taxes to fund a standing army.

      1. Judith

        Thanks for the link to the Ismael Reed.

        The scene with the ghost brought to mind George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo. Lincoln’s son Willie has just died and Lincoln visits the graveyard to mourn his son. The graveyard is inhabited by spirits at various stages in their journey to the afterlife. Haunting.

    2. Butch In Waukegan

      “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”
      — Zhou Enlai

      1. Darthbobber

        “The United States is also a one-party state, but with typical American extravagance they have two of them.”-Julius Nyerere

    3. ChrisPacific

      I thought this one from the responses summed it up:

      If we are to believe that watching Hamilton would convince Xi Jinping to stop running detention centers and destroying cultural sites then why did watching Hamilton not convince American leadership to stop running detention centers and destroying cultural sites

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Real-world effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and ivermectin…”

    Not so sure about this study. I cannot see any mention of the use of Zinc at all which to me is a bit of a red flag. But this was a study of patients admitted between April 1 and July 19, 2020. That was near the beginning of the first wave of this virus and treatment methods were different then with ventilators being popular at the time. Another link in today’s Links talks about how treatments have changed a lot since then which has led to a much higher survival rates. Why not a study of patients admitted more recently? And that is my second red flag.

        1. Cuibono

          1) Nothing about doses used.
          2) There is this : “We allowed a grace period of 48 hours to initiate therapy to assess a more realistic clinical question: what is the effectiveness of initiating therapy compared to only receiving standard care within 48 hours of hospitalization? Hence, patients who received any of the treatment regimens after 48 hours of hospitalization were assigned to the control group, similar to an intention-to-treat analysis. .”
          3) HCQ associated with 84% higher mortality should tell you something is amiss.
          4) Mostly however, this sort of analysis leaves out the central question: why were certain regimens chosen for certain patients. This cant easily be adjusted for

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Yep, waiting for the “study” which “proves” that Ivermectin has suddenly become dangerous and toxic in 2020, even to those who are in the same room as the patient.

  14. Off The Street

    The ConsortiumNews article about RussiaGate, and related matters, shows how malevolent parties capture what used to be called news. They turn it into a game resembling laser pointers and cats, getting those reader cats to chase bright lights around instead of asking tough questions. That laser treatment is but one arrow in the quiver of the Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt* merchants, whose machinations are anything but honorable.

    Website or blog discussion on less-well moderated fora of such topics often devolves into, or never rises above, re-litigating mistaken or incomplete understanding of basic facts. A little preparation and research is necessary, beyond the G-word (boycotting their empire in the Street household) and Wiki-whatever, to try to find out what might be documented. The FUD group counts on the mis- and under-informed, to the detriment of readers and, ultimately, themselves.

    *Sounds like the name of a law firm, not by coincidence. >:/

  15. Carolinian

    From above Forbes link.

    A Biden presidency thus would be more likely to use U.S. military forces overseas than President Trump has been. Trump has been so unwilling to commit U.S. forces anywhere that he has let the illegitimate government of Nicholas Maduro continue running Venezuela into the ground. Joe Biden is more likely to send troops to end Maduro’s continuous violation of democratic norms, especially given the relatively modest tactical challenge that removing Maduro would entail.

    Wow just wow. Who knew the US has the authority to “let” or prevent other governments from doing anything. Sounds like Maduro better find out where Hunter is and open a channel to “the big guy.”

    1. fresno dan

      October 21, 2020 at 9:17 am

      When we can’t depend on a good ol’ trope like democrats are peaceniks and republicans are warmongers, what can we depend on?

      1. Alex Cox

        Thank you so much for publishing this particular link.

        I know it’s just an opinion piece in Forbes, but the pack of neocons Biden has surrounded himself with, and his obvious anger management issues (lashing out at reporters who ask difficult questions, and insulting voters on the campaign trail), suggest that he might well drag us into yet another war quite soon.

        But the notion that a US military invasion of Venezuela would be a “modest tactical challenge” is risible. If the US does embark on a shooting war in Latin America, the consequences are entirely unknowable.

        1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          Team Blue voters have absolute clarity at this point on what they will get: bribery, censorship, and shiny new wars. M4A? Nope. Higher wages? Nah, Grandpa Joe said “don’t worry, nobody’s standard of living will change”. And an Overton window that has ratcheted so far right you can’t even see The Great Society or The New Deal from here. Bed, made, now to be lain in. What, what? You’re not for those things? Sorry, son, you wanted the rude Tweets to stop, better move into Mom’s basement and get yourself some Fentanyl, you listened to that nice man from the CIA on CNN and this is the America you get.

          1. Cat Burglar

            The Cockburn article on presidential emergency powers is another view of what we will get.

            I remember how hard I laughed at a Guardian op-ed piece a couple months after Trump took office — the writer was shocked at the “authoritarianism that had overcome our democracy in the last three months.” Watch how fast the media tries to put us back to sleep if Biden wins.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I get that life is more complicated and scarier than ever and understand that people long for the simplicity of Orange Is The New Satan, Just Get Thee Behind Me and it will All Be OK.

              But people swallowing That Pill are ingesting a poison that is *very very dangerous* indeed. No the nice man from the CIA is not and never will be your friend. And the people the CIA want to install in power do not and never will have the welfare of you or your family on their agenda. This is about the biggest piles of money, greed, power, and corruption imaginable, and your ability to ever do anything to raise your voice against it ever again.

        2. pasha

          “obvious anger management issues (lashing out at reporters who ask difficult questions, and insulting voters on the campaign trail)”

          tovarisch, i think this description is much more apt of trump. perhaps you are merely projecting?

    2. Duck1

      Just drop some special forces on the compound and take the sucker out, am I right? Just like Osama BL, for sure. Oh, thank god for the modesty of our MIC.

    3. Art Vandalay

      Luckily, Hunter has valuable experience on the board of an energy company, and Venezuela has CITGO. With Sleepy Joe in the Whitehouse, Hunter should easily be able to up his fee to $150K per month. Sounds legit.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I really like Chris, but I find myself well over the recommended daily ethanol ingestion guidelines very shortly afterwards.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The owner of The Sacramento Bee is trying to tie journalists’ pay to the number of clicks their stories get.”

    Seriously? Because if that is the way that they want to go, then every article at the The Sacramento Bee would shortly have a title like ‘Sex, Sex, Boobs, Sex, Guns.’

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      October 21, 2020 at 9:28 am
      I think you have undercounted boobs by several orders of magnitude…

        1. fresno dan

          The Rev Kev
          October 21, 2020 at 10:31 am

          Well, I think “undercounting” limits it to numerical criteria. But as you bring up size as a critical variable, it does bring up profound questions regarding the relationship between size and the number of clicks.
          Hmmm…in the interests of scientific accuracy, I will look…and look…and look some more. it will take me hours…nay, days…nay, weeks….
          heck, I may never finish my research into this. And we haven’t even considered color.
          If you never hear from me again, know that I am ceaselessly looking at this to provide an answer to your inquiry. Know that I will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to find the answer to your question.

            1. fresno dan

              October 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm

              I am going to put a sticky note over my webcam, unplug my webcam, break it into a thousand pieces, and dump it into the sea, to prevent any Toobinesque behavior from being displayed on the internet bandwidth now known as the intertoobins due to my research project…

    2. Wukchumni

      Both the Sac Bee & the Fresno Bee are jokes at the public’s expense, not that anybody buys their fishwraps.

      A friend is a dead tree Fresno Bee subscriber, and a few months ago I got my mitts on one, all 8 pages of it. You get more out of the ‘Thrifty Nickel’ freebie newspaper, which is 3x as extensive, page-wise.

    3. TMoney

      On the plus side, imagine the Obituaries of the “great and the good” *Snigger* in a “pay for clicks” world.

      You have to be careful what you measure too. Some journalist might start paying for click farms in China

    4. Darius

      McClatchy was bought by a hedge fund in a bankruptcy fire sale a few months ago. Hedge funds make money running newspapers into the ground. SacBee had problems but nothing compared to what it’s facing now.

    5. John Anthony La Pietra

      I was thinking in another direction. The link wasn’t working for me, so could someone tell me if the contractual pay was based on absolute numbers of clicks or percentages of the weekly/monthly grand click total for shares of the groas pay for the period

      If it’s the latter, then reporters will be competing with each other not only in who can lure eyeballs bit also how fast they can get stories written and posted. (And incidentally, paper editions don’t get any clicks, so bye-bye to them.)

      But if it’s the former, then reporters have a chance. Let the Guild hire somebody to create an anti-DDoS app (Repeated Request of Service/RRoS?) to boost everybody’s click counts and earn them bonuses

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Michael Schuman tweet

    Admittedly I have not seen Hamilton, however the real Hamilton wasn’t all that into the whole democracy thing compared to the other founding fathers. There’s the whole father of Wall Street and its predatory capital bit, and there’s a decent amount of evidence that he riled up the early military in an attempt to put on a coup against Washington.

    Even if the musical is somehow a clarion call for freedom and demicracy, it’s fictional and it’s the height of PMC liberal arrogance to think the leader of the most populous and powerful country on earth is going to get his mind right towards the US based on the output of some hack propaganda scriptwriter.

    Those PMC types sure do love the smell of their own farts though, don’t they?

    1. hunkerdown

      Their credo of the “middle class” is to make their mark on the world. As guiltily and humiliatingly close to a bodily substance as it is, the emission of their particular mix of indoles might be the best they can do. Throwing actual feces would be déclassé.

  18. Polar Donkey

    Schools have not become Covid hotspots….. But high schools sports teams have. At private high schools around Memphis, non-sports students go to school one day and athletes on another. The two groups alternate. It is bizarre people care this much about high school sports.

    1. Janie

      “Friday Night Lights.” Yeah, it’s Texas but high school football’s like that. Stay safe, Polar Donkey.

  19. WobblyTelomeres

    OSHA news

    I’m a big fan of (what) the Dept of Labor (used to be). But it is another victim of the Powell memo. As I understand the current rules, OSHA must defer to state OSHA offices. As one can guess, the state OSHA offices in red states are even more underfunded, understaffed, and hamstrung by politicians. Amfortas’s lament, above, is directly traceable to this.

  20. fresno dan

    The Damage Russiagate Has Done Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (Carolinian).

    (from the link) This is what we get after four years of the Russia collusion b.s., otherwise known as Russiagate. Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats and keeps the war machine going for the Pentagon and the national security state.
    Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats
    The problem with the above IMHO, is that it is true BUT INCOMPLETE. Trump is now accusing Biden of being supported by Russia (see below). Trump has concluded, reasonably, that if you can’t stop the allegations of collusion with the avalanche of investigations that proved no such thing, than the best course of action is to use the Russian collusion allegation against democrats. All collusion all the time.
    (Trump) OK? And I’ll tell you who else wants to make a deal, Iran wants to make a deal. If I win — they’re hoping that Biden gets in, because — and China is hoping that Biden gets in. Russia, probably they want Biden, because look, nobody’s been tougher to Russian than me, nobody. With the pipeline, with our — our big military, we’ve become the number one energy country in the world, we’re more than anybody — we’re totally energy independent now.
    There have been any number of posting at NC about Trump’s actions that can only reasonably be interpreted as against Russian interests. I have read other numerous business articles with no axe to grind that confirm this.
    There are only 2 possible conclusions: A – Trump administration officials, i.e., the blob, is defying Trump’s orders to be pro Russian, an outrageous act against lawful authority, OR B – there is a vast conspiracy to report biases and prejudices and NOT report and analyse FACTS that can only be reasonably be interpreted as undermining such allegations.
    I believe B is correct. But if there is a rainbow, it has opened my eyes to how little reality is presented by the media. But I will acknowledge that Trump’s significant praise of Putin is at least bizarre in that there appears little to gain and much to lose. Maybe Trump just likes strongmen….
    Andrew McCarthy of National Review I think does a dispassionate analysis of Russiagate, and he acknowledges that Trump’s cosiness with Putin is a real problem.
    McCarthy also acknowledges those moments when Trump gave his opponents ammunition. He has no patience for the president’s many suck-ups to Vladimir Putin. The chapter in which he delves into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top Trump-campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton is appropriately titled “Amateur Hour.” McCarthy concludes that Trump’s decision to have a flunky fire James Comey while the FBI director was flying to California was “vindictive and cruel.” He observes that Trump’s decision to gloat about firing Comey the next day at the White House to Russia’s foreign minister was the lowest moment of his presidency. “If you don’t want a meritless investigation against you to continue, then don’t giftwrap reasons to continue it,” he writes.

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘A viewing of “Hamilton” would give Xi a better sense of how democratic values are rooted in the country’s history & wake him to the need to find a way to accommodate American opinions.’

    Personally watching the sort of people that actually went to go see “Hamilton” would be very instructive in modern democratic values. And where he say that ‘One problem is Beijing’s leaders think Washington uses human rights as talking points to pester them. But democratic ideals are deeply ingrained into the American political psyche & they aren’t going away.’ I wonder what would happen if Xi took up the cause of BLM? Or would that be foreign interference?

    But to ‘to accommodate American opinions’ – would that be real opinions or would that be manufactured (as in consent) opinions? If China resists Washington’s attacks, then Washington will attack further. But if China gives in to Washington, then Washington attacks further to follow up their advantage. And any agreement with Washington will be broken the moment that it is of advantage for Washington to do so. What is a rising superpower to do?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It occurred to me bourgeois Americans are by and large idolaters, worshipping modern day statues. Anything beyond the modern day statues is not something to even bother with. The scale of the US prison population simply doesn’t matter because the US is about “freedom.”

    2. Olga

      I like how it is a given that others must, must accommodate American opinions. Nothing about the others’ right to their own opinions and ways.

    3. Alternate Delegate

      I actually knew Alexander Hamilton was bad medicine, but I didn’t fully realize how powerfully he resonates with the modern neoliberal consensus until I read Matt Stoller’s “The Hamilton Hustle” (from 2017, but still very timely).

  22. Carolinian

    Thought the World Series last night was rather bizarre yet interesting what with the cardboard fans and the dugouts where some are masked but most are not. It’s a game; it’s pandemic theater.

    So yes Americans are sports obsessed and are not going to give that up even as other entertainment formats remain in the dark. The movie theater owners may never recover.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Pandemic theater for sure. My favorite is when they have a mound visit and the manager comes out with a mask to speak with the unmasked players, even though they’ve already been around each other all day long anyway. Nobody is protecting anybody from anything in that scenario. And yet we wonder why people don’t take wearing a mask seriously.

      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        Kind of like how Joe, Kamala, Nancy etc rip their masks off as soon as the cameras stop rolling, abundantly shown on YT outtakes. But Trump is a mask denying monster, etc etc

      2. Maritimer

        That is Textbook Emperor Has No Clothes. When folks go around like there’s spontaneously generated Covid in the air, well….To me this is insanity. When it is encouraged by Public Health officials, it is even worse.

        In my jurisdiction of approx 900,000, there is infinitesimal Covid, about 2-3 cases a day all brought in by travel outside. Yet, the population must mask and act as if there is Covid all about and threatening death, pestilence, destruction. Going to the city is like being in a B Zombie movie. Children in schools where there is no Covid must mask and fear their surroundings and other students.

        There is no science, there are no facts why anyone should obey such nonsensical, idiotic mandates by Emergency Government when there is no threat. There are eminent philosophers who would say that, in such circumstances, it is one’s duty to not obey. But conscientious objectors or dissidents or refuseniks are now reviled, despised and ridiculed.

        1. Aumua

          Masks are a preventative measure. By your logic then, we shouldn’t take preventative measures until the virus is already known to be spreading in the local community? The mandates are not nonsensical, or idiotic just because you don’t like them, or understand the point of them. Is wearing a mask when you go shopping that onerous a burden for you to bear? Oh never mind I forgot, it’s the principle of the thing, you’re such a conscientious dissident. Look at you go.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            If it was “hey you should wear a mask”, or even “you must wear a mask”, that would be one thing. What we have instead is the destruction of hundreds of thousands of small businesses, the evisceration of major industries like airlines, entertainment, and sports, the absolute abdication of civil liberties, a significant rise in alcoholism and suicide and mental health issues, an untold bevy of additional deaths from missed procedures and diagnoses, and things like the U.N. stating that the lockdowns are plunging an estimated 100 million additional people into the risk of “imminent death by starvation”. Those are not principles, those are effects. The effects of completely re-ordering the entire society around the avoidance of a single pathogen. Get in touch with me in around 2030, by then we may have a “final” view of the all of the effects on society and a tallying of the *net* deaths and *net* costs, and my bet is that we will lump this woeful episode in the same category as the “wisdom” of The Iraq War.

            “The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.” – Hippocrates, quoted from his work Of The Epidemics

            1. Aumua

              2 points:

              I’m not denying the peripheral effects of the pandemic and efforts to mitigate it. The real issue (or one of them) seems to be that we don’t have an economic system that can handle this kind of disruption. Maybe we should be looking at why that is, because there are disruptions coming down the pipeline that are going to make this look like a rehearsal.

              2nd all of your arguments are predicated on your fundamental assumption that underlies all of your posts on this topic: that the coronavirus is essentially not a big deal, and that therefore all of these horrors you list are unnecessary. That, without the “complete re-ordering of the entire society” (you love hyperbole also), none of these disruptions would have happened. I find that analysis lacking, based simply on infection and mortality rates thus far.

              You also love throwing big numbers around that turn out to be bogus, out-of-date, hypothetical or otherwise misleading upon closer inspection, such as the 100 million starving because of lockdown measures figure above.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                No, I do not think the virus “is essentially not a big deal”, the estimated 1.13 million deaths demonstrate that. What I do question is whether the absolutely draconian methods to contain the spread will actually in the fullness of time be understood to have increased, not decreased, total deaths across the society. As I stated, I think it will be 10 years before we can make that assessment. And I’ve not seen the WHO retract their estimate that 10% of the globe is infected, which obviously would have a huge impact on how deadly this particular pathogen is.

                And it’s tiresome to be accused of “‘throwing big numbers around” when I make every effort to rely on the best numbers we have from the top global public health institutions, the ones with thousands of health and economic experts on staff with obviously much more expertise on these issues than either you or I. I can’t help it if The World Bank or the WHO gets their numbers wrong (the World Bank says the new extreme poverty number will be 150 million, not 100 million BTW). But I would still trust them to make our best judgement based on what they are telling us, and not simply anecdotes or conjecture from the armchair experts on either the right or the left.

    2. Wukchumni

      The advent of movies kicked vaudeville in the nads (not Ambrit’s NADS) and it was dying by degree-especially so when talkies* came about, and then the Great Depression came along and adios.

      I see the same thing happening to movie theaters now, which since the turn of the century had been turned into something mostly irrelevant, as the importance of word of mouth between friends about a particular movie soon after it came out didn’t matter all that much, along with the more recent movies Hollywood has churned out being such onerous dreck.

      I went to the movies at least once every fortnight back in the day, and guess i’ve gone 20x in the past 20 years, and i’m thinking i’m not the only one.

      I heard on the radio that AMC will rent out a movie theater for $100 (the other costs, such as the film, etc. not mentioned) now for a private screening, that faint odor being a whiff of desperation.

      * the granddaughter of one of the guys that mated spoken words to film had a large ranch here, and I forget what the deal was, but her grandfather received a royalty on every film for many decades, imagine that?

      1. Basil Pesto

        back in the day (so, February) I went to the cinema once a fortnight, if not more, and I’m fairly picky. It’s great and I miss it.

      2. fresno dan

        October 21, 2020 at 10:42 am
        I agree.
        Other than taking a date to a neutral public location, is there any logical reason for seeing movies at movie theatres? Maybe the very, very rare movie that benefits from a REALLY big screen, but BIG home screens are becoming more and more common. The food and snackies are exorbitantly priced (not evilly priced – its just the pricing model that theatre owners HAVE to follow), extraneous noises, movie sound levels usually much too high, and the inability to replay scenes and to have subtitles when you have people from Scotland talking (tell the TRUTH – did you understand anything those people in Trainspotting were saying?)
        I love movies, but I can count on one hand how many times I have been to a theatre in the last 30 years.
        And of course, cooties!! As a microbiologist, I am actually surprised that it took them as long as it did for cooties to overcome our vaccines, public health, and cavalier attention to contagious diseases. I don’t think the interval between pandemics will be as long as it has been in the past…

      3. Carolinian

        the guys that mated spoken words to film

        There were several such guys. The original Warner Brothers system had a record player that would play the sound in synch with projector as Jolson sang “Mammy” in black face. Things have changed.

        And the problem with movie theaters is that they are expensive to run and so depend on blockbusters that the studios are currently not supplying. Being totally dependent on the Hollywood studios, if those big conglomerates lose interest the theaters are sunk.

      4. Acacia

        and then the Great Depression came along and adios

        Correction: in fact, a higher percentage of the US population went to the cinema during the depression. Weekly attendance in 1930 was around 80 million. By 1946, it was over 90 million, and the peak of theater admissions in the US was in 1947. The war was actually good for Hollywood. The general consensus among film historians is that several factors contributed to the decline in admissions in the US: the spread of TV; men coming home from the war; and the SCOTUS ruling on US v. Paramount Pictures in 1948. TV especially, is seen as the development that primarily collapsed theater admissions. The effect of the SCOTUS ruling that broke up the Hollywood cartel was that the big studios were forced to sell off their theaters. Hollywood responded to TV with CinemaScope and color. (And interestingly, the CinemaScope system, Chrétien’s Hypergonar lens, had existed since the 1920s, but wasn’t deployed until the “crisis” of TV jolted Hollywood into action. The Robe (1953) was the first film to use CinemaScope.)

        US theatrical admissions are down since the late 1940s, but up since the 1970s. It wasn’t “adios”, because the number of screens in the US has grown, even since 2009, post-Lehman shock. There are still almost 550 drive-in screens in the US. It will be interesting to see what happens to that figure next year (Joe Bob Briggs may be smiling.)

        It’s also worth bearing in mind that the narrative of what’s happened with theaters is particularly bad in the US, and doesn’t fit many other countries. There are today more screens in the US than 11 years ago, but compare China, in which the number of screens has grown 20x since 2007. Whereas the bottom in the US ticket numbers was in the 1970s, the worst years in the EU (not counting the UK, which seemingly never recovered), were in the 1990s. Since then, though, admissions in the EU are up. France has a very good model, the CNC, which is being copied by South Korea.

        Broadly, I see movie theaters as yet another symptom of social decline in the US.

        It is clear that USians are increasingly disinclined to mix with members of other social classes, not to mention that as we find ourselves poorer each year, it becomes harder to justify money spent on going to a theater.

        Having seen hundreds of films in theaters in a number of other countries, I can tell you that theaters are doing okay in many parts of the world. Not booming, but surviving and programming interesting films. Multiplexes are a problem everywhere, since they directly impact the diversity of what you can see in a theater, but there is also a well-established model of the small theater that screens international co-productions, and they’re surviving, too (e.g., MK2 in France). COVID will be a big blow, of course, but many theaters in the countries that have a better safety net will survive.

    3. Wukchumni

      If MLB was the NFL, there would’ve been oodles of $100k fines to coaches et al for wearing masks under their chins, which happened a lot yesterday.

      Sports provides the only honest numbers in terms of performance, maybe it’s a feel-good thing in lieu of a bunch of poseurs with supposed .666 batting averages on Wall*Street?

    4. Duke of Prunes

      Small correction – there are actual live people in the stands at the world series. 10,500 (vs 45,000 stadium capacity) are allowed in “pods” of 4 which must maintain social distancing with other pods. All must stay 20 feet from players. All this, I read on the internet.

      No cardboard cutouts, but I do think they’re still piping in fan noise.

      1. Carolinian

        No I think it was a combination of real people and some cardboard unless my eyes were deceiving me (the cardboard fans would be glimpsed in the background only). The version I got was that the people there were invited guests.

  23. Darthbobber

    The Diplomat piece on Xi’s remarks has to rely on “subtext” to present them as being as bellicose as they’d like them to be seen.
    “Xi did not specifically mention what “enemies” China might be facing today, instead focusing on the figurative battle for the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” But the subtext was obvious from the literal backdrop to his remarks. The United States, that past enemy, looms large as a present villain. It’s noteworthy that, amid the worst downturn in U.S.-China relations since at least 1989, and arguably since ties were established in 1979, Xi chose to highlight the one actual war between the two sides.”

    Of course, no analysis at all of HOW it comes to be that Unca Sam looks so “large as a present villain. ” I guess it’s just one of those inexplicable mysteries.

  24. AnonyMouse

    I don’t know who might be interested in this, but Sir Ivan Rogers was interviewed about Brexit as recently as last month

    He’s one of the few commentators I trust to actually analyse these issues with some degree of nuance and detail without turning it into an ill-informed polemic and this interview seems to have passed many by.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers”

    Must be watching too much Jimmy Dore. These days I no longer care what a politician says or how charming they are, I only pay attention to the way that they vote. That is why the vote for the CARES Act several months ago was so instructive. I suppose if you watch how politicians vote when it comes to crunch time is the only way that you can tell whose side they are actually on.

  26. chuck roast

    The cat story at the top…correction becomes redemption. After I read that I thought, “OK, enough reading for the day.” Best link in long time.

    I just got two rescue cats. The vet says they are about five years old. They are siblings and clearly have had an up-and-down life. They came to me as Bukowski and Whitman…ugh. I was thinking of renaming them “Up’ and “Down”, but really didn’t suit. So, they became Omar and Bodie after my favorite characters in The Wire. The first month I had them they hid in the closet and only came out for food and the box. It’s four months on and we are totally cool and their demolition is low key. They now hang out with me on the lounge-o-rama, and I play the Water Cooler bird song for them every afternoon.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Thanks for the tip.

      The desperate, relentless propagandizing is, IMNSHO, terrifying.

      The more formerly “reliable” sources like Rolling Stone display their willingness to abandon any shred of integrity they may have once had, the more I think that the stakes are much higher than even I, cynical as I am, can imagine.

  27. Lex

    Travis Kalanick Finds New Industry To Put Out Of Business

    What price would people pay for the taste of time? Back burner food, oven-roasted food, eight hours on low in a crockpot food, smoker food. I bought an Insta-Pot last year and used it a few times; every dish that came out of it tasted of fast.

    I like to pair slow with fast — a Southern Choucroute, a fresh tossed salad, wine, and if there’s any room left, a slice of banana-chocolate bundt cake for dessert. That was dinner last night. Slow, fast, slow, and slow. I have to wait for the bananas to reach the right stage of ripeness, then slow roast them with butter and brown sugar to first caramelize and then cool them, before adding them to the cake batter. The batter is dense, so a bundt pan is required and it takes over an hour to bake.

    It didn’t say to caramelize in the recipe, but for an experienced cook, a recipe is mostly a good idea, some inspiration for the meal of the day. Cabbage and onion from a farmer grown locally, apple and wine from the Western Slope, sausage from the butcher that sources all his meat from within 200 miles of his shop, high quality bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract made with beans from Madagascar in spiced rum, or vodka, or bourbon. Ingredients from near and far. Give the bottles of beans and booze a shake once in a while and wait two years minimum.

    I tell you all this to say that I think there are some models for restaurants and food delivery businesses going forward that involve going backwards. A return to our cooking roots. It’s not food prep that customers long for but the alchemy of time acting on the those ingredients and the decisions made for every dish. The restaurants I recall that had long lines of diners outside waiting for even a seat at the counter only closed when the owners got into their seventies and eighties and wanted or needed to retire. Bring up The Brown Derby in Olympia to people old enough and lucky enough to have gotten in, they get a little misty-eyed at the memory. The food we put in our bodies should be nourishing and memorable.

  28. .Tom

    I remain very sad about David Graeber. The account from Nika is disheartening and infuriating. I want “to send rays of love” to her.

    I first read him in The Baffler in 2012 “Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit” and was a fan ever since. He and Thomas Frank are my favorite non-fiction writers on social, political and economic topics. Debt is the best non-fiction book I read. Bullshit Jobs is important and very welcome. I had read one of his articles about ongoing the work he was doing on the transition to the neolithic and was looking forward to more.

    His preference for conceiving of a future without state hierarchy was always encouraging. In the old interview with Charlie Rose (around the time he was kicked out of Yale, find it on YouTube) he explained that we have no idea what a post-capitalist future might be like. So we should work towards the kind of thing we want. So why not imagine something more free than socialism.

    Although he could be meandering in both writing and lectures, sometimes he summarized complicated issues with astonishing clarity. Jimmy Dore recently featured a new video that Double Down News produced. It’s a good example


    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for the link. I loved Debt and ordered Bullshit Jobs the day I found out he died as I’d been meaning to read it. Still waiting for it to arrive – my local bookstore says it’s delayed and I’d like to think that’s because a lot of other people had the same idea as I did. He really was a good one and deserves to be more widely known.

    2. vidimi

      same. no other ‘celebrity’ death shook me as hard as his. he had an incredible way of connecting to people through his writing and lectures. it felt like a friend had died, even though i never had the pleasure of meeting him. very sad and thanks to nika for continuing his memory.

    3. Eric Patton

      So why not imagine something more free than socialism.

      It’s already been done. The left has ignored it for 30 years, because it has implications: Everyone has to do their fair share of shit work.

  29. Olga

    Why Does the U.S. Have Three Electrical Grids? IEEE Spectrum
    While this implicates the current administration, the interviewee should know that a similar effort was proposed under w-shrub in early 2000s. Called the Standard Market Design, it hoped to integrate all of US’ grid, plus Canada and Mexico, in time. After a NOPR (notice of proposed rulemaking) and comments, the idea went exactly nowhere. If I recall, Southern Co. was big in killing it. It may sound good in theory, but in practice it’d be a nightmare.

    1. Another Scott

      One other factor to remember is that because the Texas Interconnection is confined to Texas and does not cross state lines, it is not considered interstate commerce and certain federal regulators, most notably FERC, have less authority in it than in the other two interconnections.

  30. Lobsterman

    Both of the Calhoun pieces take as given the fundamental conservative belief that POC are not human, and that therefore neither their rights nor their interests are relevant. They are what they are.

    1. Tony Wikrent

      I’m sorry I did not read the articles on Calhoun yesterday so I could comment earlier than this morning. It is telling that American conservatives today – judging by these articles – are still clinging to Calhoun’s “anti-majoritarian” ideas today. For example, Calhoun’s argument that the Constitution was “a voluntary compact” (referenced in the articles) was demolished by Daniel Webster in a speech that once was required reading in American public schools: “The Constitution Not a Compact Between Sovereign States. A Speech Delivered in the Senate of the United States, on the 16th of February, 1833, in Reply to Mr. Calhoun’s Speech on the Bill ‘Further to Provide for the Collection of Duties on Imports.’ ” Interesting that the the Koch-funded education requirements include Calhoun and not Webster? Instead of “anti-majoritarian”, think “in defense of minority rule by a small ruling elite.”

      From the speech by Webster: “But we know what the Constitution is; we know what the plainly written fundamental law is; we know what the bond of our Union and the security of our liberties is; and we mean to maintain and to defend it, in its plain sense and unsophisticated meaning. They do not say that they accede to a league, but they declare that they ordain and establish a Constitution. Such are the very words of the instrument itself….”

  31. diptherio

    Re: Brad Parscale

    Who is he being investigated by? Doesn’t say in the tabloid article (or any other that I can find online) and the campaign and the party both deny it, which would seem a pretty foolish thing to do if it can be confirmed by the FBI or some other agency. It’s a three week old story (based on anonymous sources) and I don’t see any followups either confirming the investigation or debunking the RNC’s denial. Just sayin.

  32. Carolinian

    New tic toc from Larry Johnson that seems to settle a key point. While an earlier Daily Mail story said that Giuliani got the hard drive in March, Johnson says

    7. John Paul Mac Isaac watched and wondered from December 2019 thru August 2020, expecting the FBI would do something with the information on the computer and the hard drive. But nothing happened. John Paul turned over a copy of the hard drive to Rudy Giuliani’s attorney in early September 2020.

    The New York Post stories based on the contents of the hard drive came from Rudy Giuliani and his team, not from John Paul Mac Isaac.

    Of course assuming this is true it relates to how much scheming was taking place among the Trump team. One must admit that the whole story sounds (if you are Trump) too good to be true and yet nobody from the Biden side is denying this is what happened even as the press and those known-to-be-liars former intelligence people declare otherwise. The shop owner has a work order with a signature that matches Hunter’s as well as an email that purports to be from Hunter’s lawyer asking for the laptop back (the day before the NY Post story broke). The FBI and DNI also say it is authentic.

  33. Daryl

    > Leftists Are Dunking on the CIA After a Socialist Victory in Bolivia Vice

    I’d be curious to hear from this about this from a knowledgable commentariat member.

    I read some quotes from the new fellow, Arce, and he was talking about how they will not be able to pay for certain things. That combined with the fact that mainstream media is actually acknowledging the MAS victory makes me wonder what is actually happening there. Democracy coming back after coups seems to be very rare indeed.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah I’m really hoping that this Arce fellow is better than Correa’s replacement in Ecuador turned out to be, and not just another neoliberal waiting in the wings for a chance to cash in by kissing up to Uncle Sam.

    2. Olga

      Who knows. The link on Morales not playing a role in the coming administration also includes Arse’s remarks on the need for austerity. Hope we don’t get another Lenin Moreno.

      1. Milton

        God, that is my fear as well. How is it that the world’s elite can showhorn these Manchurian types into positions of power without the party apparatus not being aware of the embedded spook.

    3. Mike

      My question- WHICH Leftists? DNC? SLP? Antifa? Women’s League? NOW? CFR? WaPo or NYT? All are counted among the Left in media-town. Is there a poll we can use?

      Second question – If the right-wingers are still alive and kicking in Bolivia, what are you celebrating – A temporary victory over forces that can reconvene and up the pressure? An immediate end to poverty and broken lives because of ballot boxes being full? The work is not even begun to correct anything yet.

      Remember, the CIA have seven ways from Sunday…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Answer: the same leftists who dunked on cheered on the CIA coup attempt in the U.S. (2016-2020)

  34. Diuretical

    A new danish population based study also found a slightly lower incidence than expected of COVID-19 in blood group O.

    This is a retrospective cohort study, and so is prone to hidden confounders. Given the large numbers of COVID papers being published now, the chance of a false association being found is relatively high, despite the significant p values the paper reports and the sensitivity analyses they performed. I suspect a more likely story is that blood type has nothing to do with COVID susceptibility, but genes associated with interferon response (which is very robustly associated with COVID susceptibility; the elderly and genetically interferon deficient individuals being cases in point) happen to collocate with O blood type.

  35. Synoia


    A viewing of “Hamilton” would give Xi a better sense of how democratic values are rooted in the country’s history & wake him to the need to find a way to accommodate American opinions. If not, there’s little hope of the US & China restoring peaceful relations. 6/6

    Mr Schuman, would you care to comment on the 27 Million, or more, refugees the US has created in the Middle East, or US support the treatment of people in Gaza, before preaching to the Chinese the US’ “Hamilton Values”?

  36. Adam1

    “Conclusions: Our study reported no beneficial effects of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, azithromycin. The HCQ+AZIT treatment seems to increase risk for all-cause death.”

    You had to dig for it, but again another HCQ study where the patients are dosed on the highest end of the recommended amount (800mg day one and 400mg every following day for a week). This drug has been around for decades we know the side effects of excess dosing can be fatal. How is anyone still even dosing anyone at these levels. Every study saying it works doses well under the maximum. You’re killing people with HCQ, not proving it doesn’t work against covid-19!

    Here’s just one study of low dose HCQ…

    1. drexciya

      This is just like the Solidarity trial, organized by the WHO, where they used anti-virals, such as Interferon, HCQ, remdesivir and lopanivir (there might be an error in the last name), but only AFTER patients were already so ill, that they were taken into a hospital. To no one’s surprise, this didn’t work. This trial was covered on the MedCram channel, and the comments were scathing. It’s really getting close to unethical at this point.

      By now, I cannot help but become rather suspicious; they’re willfully using potential treatments in a bad way, to make them look bad. Ivermectin gets hardly any press, and the most banal thing to do, supplementing vitamin D, also is completely ignored in the main stream media.

      I also never hear anything about the MATH+ protocol, which also covers the various stages of Covid-19, which implies different treatment protocols, based on the stage patients are in.

  37. bruce

    I didn’t know it was possible to steal fifty million dollars from a presidential campaign and not get noticed right away. For the business genius that Trump is, the campaign run on his behalf seems to have weak financial controls. I bet I can top Mr. Parscale, so, where do I send my resume? If hired as Trump’s campaign manager, my first act will be to choreograph a song and dance number with young women dressed up as coronavirus particles. Is there enough money left for airtime in major markets? This is gonna be a game changer.

    Journalists’ pay tied to clicks. You knew this was going to happen eventually. Journalism has already degraded so much in my six and a half decades, let’s degrade it all the way! I’m reporting on, say, military procurement, of course there’s gonna be a scantily clad woman sitting on the barrel of a tank, cute kitties in the frame, and a subliminal pattern in the image designed to make you feel good and continue clicking on my byline.

    1. Lex

      What would a campaign with strong financial controls look like? How could the donors be certain of how their money was used?

      Grassroots campaign money has always looked like a scam to me. Large donors are paying to play. What do small donors get apart from feeling virtuous and social bragging rights?

    2. Synoia

      As I understand, that the Editors, the management that is, of the newspaper control the content and its placement, how the management be they be compensated?

  38. Synoia

    Estimate of new nuclear missiles to replace Minuteman 3 arsenal increases to $95.8B

    How much of that wound go the buying parts form China (and other non US suppliers)?

  39. Cuibono

    Could Graeber have been poisoned? his symptoms and cause of death fit arsenic…or organophosphate poisoning…

      1. ewmayer

        Plus, there’s the fact that this evil Rooskie super-duper-deadly Novichok seems to never actually kill anyone, thus seems more worthy of Get Smart’s KAOS than of the Deplorable Evil Kremlin Masterminds, whose competence in undermining the Liberal Western Democracies is attested to by their having swung a US presidential election using a couple hundred thou’$ worth of social media posts, which even more evilly, was all over the place in terms of which candidate was being promoted in a given FB post or Tweet. Musta been that subliminal flashing HILLARY IS AN EVIL WITCH … VOTE TRUMP self-deleting text using special evil ASCII characters invented by Russian-intelligence hackers.

        Disclosure: I am a well-known disinformation-spreading Putin Stooge – call me Comrade Curly, nyukski, nyukski. (Or better: нюкски, нюкски.)

    1. vidimi

      I was thinking about this a lot. He was a prominent supporter of Rojave and the Kurds, so Turkish nationalists are obvious suspects in such a theory

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