Links 10/4/2020

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We have a video interview where we need a super easy video edit….snipping about a minute and a half at the end off. It was recorded in Zoom, so that will hopefully tell you what you need to know about the format.

Anyone who is game and has time free, please ping yves-at-nakedcapitalism-dot-com and put “Video editing” in the subject line.



50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State Conde Nast Traveler

Tom Stoppard’s Luck American Conservative

Thousands defy lockdown as they call for Netanyahu to resign Al Jazeera

The return of Europe’s largest beasts BBC

‘Investment in Fossil Fuels Yields Much Less Returns Than the Green Sector’ FAIR

Dramatic’ plunge in London air pollution since 2016, report finds Guardian

Deportation Nation New York Review of Books


Capitalism After the Pandemic Foreign Affairs. Mariana Mazzucato.

This scientist made a Google Doc to educate the public about airborne coronavirus transmission MIT Technology Review

Chris Christie tests positive for Covid-19 CNN

The virus slams into a broken Washington Politico

CDC Extends No-Sail Advisory for U.S. Cruise Industry Through October 31 Conde Nast Traveler

The last picture show: Cineworld to shut all 128 of its cinemas in the UK and Ireland as industry becomes ‘unviable’ following coronavirus cancellations – one day after new James Bond film was postponed until 2021 Daily Mail

‘Exhausted’ teachers warn they have no additional funding to handle Covid-19 Guardian. A UK friend reports to me via email that although kids are back in school, neither students nor teachers wear masks. NC has posted links IIRC about how children can spread the disease.


Survival of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus on the human skin: Importance of hand hygiene in COVID-19 Oxford Academic.

From the Abstract: “The stability of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on human skin remains unknown, considering the hazards of viral exposure to humans. We generated a model that allows the safe reproduction of clinical studies on the application of pathogens to human skin and elucidated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on the human skin.”

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings on track, McConnell says Reuters

Amy Coney Barrett’s Rose Garden Event Complicates GOP Confirmation Plans WSJ

Trump Infected

Walter Reed medics tell President to return during sick call hours Duffelblog

A history of secrecy when it comes to presidential illness FT

8 pressing questions about President Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis Stat

Top Eight Conspiracy Theories on Donald Trump Contracting COVID-19 The Wire. I post this not because I subscribe to the claims, but so readers can see how a reputable  international news source is covering the story.

These are the extreme measures Vladimir Putin takes to avoid COVID-19 NY Post

The GOP’s great depression Axios

‘Unreliable’ personality-driven US foreign policy risks chaos due to Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis SCMP

Maggie Haberman on the Fallout from Trump’s Hospitalization New Yorker. As I tied to sort out the whet from the chaff over Trump’s infection, I was reminded of iconic screenwriter William Goldman’s comment on the film business – “Nobody knows anything.” That of course doesn’t stop the blizzard of speculation, no matter hpw tenuous its connections to hard facts.

The White House Is Spreading Virus and Lies New York. magazine Some classic pearl-clutching, which makes me recall another venerable phrase: The fog of war.

The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House New Yorker. The view from TDS central. David Remnick surrendered his title as journalist when he wrote that ridiculous hagiography of Trump’s predecessor; should we trust him here?

White House Cautiously Optimistic About Trump’s Health After Day of Mixed Signals WSJ

Little evidence that White House has offered contact tracing, guidance to hundreds potentially exposed WaPo. This may just be WaPo spin, but I think not, and it is unsurprising given how pathetic our contact tracing efforts have been.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The United States Is Not Entitled to Lead the World Foreign Affairs


Is The War Over Nagorno-Karabakh Already At A Stalemate? Moon of Alabama

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict offers insight into the new art of war SCMP

Vivmo News. A non-paywalled version of Pepe Escobar’s latest for Asia Times




Class Warfare

Little Rock Teachers Refuse to Teach In-Person – Virginia Municipal Workers Win Bargaining Rights – Payday Report. I have yet to ask my sister-the-teacher-of-several-decades her views. (But we typically don’t speak often.)


Brexit: ‘Significant gaps’ remain in trade negotiations after Boris Johnson talks with EU chief Independent

Police State Watch

We Spent A Year Investigating Police Dogs. Here Are Six Takeaways. Marshall Project


Modi’s Economic Failings Dim India’s $5 Trillion Dream Forbes

There is no happy end-state in India’s relations with its neighbours Indian Express

Would a Universal Basic Income Make Us Lazy or Creative? Bloomberg

Necessary, not sufficient: Labour reforms a good start; will we see more jobs now? Business Standard

India Staggers Under the Coronavirus Burden Der Spiegel

GST, farm Bills and 4 other events that widened Centre-state trust deficit Business Standard


Did Xi Just Save the World
? Foreign Policy. From last month and we may have linked to it before; nonetheless, in case you missed it.


All Russiagate Did Was Advance Pre-Existing Agendas Of The Same Spy Agencies Who Started It Caitlin Johnstone

Julian Assange

Revealed: Key Assange prosecution witness is part of academic cluster which has received millions of pounds from UK and US militaries Declassified UK

John Pilger: Eyewitness to the Agony of Julian Assange Consortium News.


US military seeks to “create new base in Syria” – Syrian journalist Grayzone

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. epynonymous

    Not in the mood to edit today. You can get Vegas 18 on steam for 35% off as of two days ago.

    Genuinely easy, but not quite there yet. The goal is december.

    Anywho. Trumps new ad was recorded friday, according to youtube. Text BLESS.

    1. Carolinian

      Vegas is a great program but a bit advanced for simply chopping off the end of a video. I have lots of simpler alternatives but they are all Linux or Windows.

      And re Remnick–it’s a long way from William Shawn, that fanatic for fact checking and accuracy.

      1. flora

        For Mac users: If the Zoom recording is saved as an MP4 file then Macs with the iMovie program will work. Simply importing MP4 file into iMovie, editing out the last bit and saving the output file is pretty easy. All you’re doing is truncating the file. If iMovie isn’t on your Mac by default you can get it from Apple’s app store. (I’m not offering help, just adding this info.) If you want to archive your video on hard media you can used the iDVD program to create playable DVD or CD media.


        1. Jonhoops

          You can perform this simple edit with QuickTime player which is on all macs.

          Open the video, select trim in the edit menu. Drag the yellow handles to where you want to trim. Hit trim. Save the file.

          A quick YouTube tutorial

    2. John Beech

      Used Vegas since before it was a Sony product (which it no longer is), and still have 13 installed, but have decided not to update and will instead move to DaVinci Resolve. Worried about the differences? No, not really because just as all text editors since Wordstar have a similar paradigm, so do all video editing programs. The basics, e.g. the ins and outs of doing specific things will be different but the goal of using the tool for arranging scenes for the purpose of telling a story or documenting events remain unchanged.

    3. Glen

      There are some really good free video editing programs. If you want full on with pro features, just download the free version of DaVinci Resolve. If you want something simple I would look at OpenShot or Shotcut.

      And as always, if you really like them, use them, make money from them, kick a little back to them to support them.

    1. carl

      I think I’m too cynical this morning for that article. Mental masturbation; none of the recommendations has a chance in hell of happening.

      1. dougie

        I totally get that. I am a cynic and a skeptic by nature. I have to chunk it down to a personal level, to things I can personally affect, lest the hopelessness descend upon me.

        I forwarded the article to the 32 yo lesbian managing partner of my/our auto repair shop, to deepen her understanding of how the world “works”, which she knows intuitively. Then we are better prepared as we change/ transition the business to a model that better serves the “labor”, and the public at large.

        This is my “senior project”:-)

        May I live long enough to not to feel the need to “virtue signal” by using age, gender, or sexual proclivity in my descriptors. For some reason, I think it’s important, given today’s cultural climate.

  2. UserFriendly

    Conspiracy Theories… Well I don’t necessarily believe these things, I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, and I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if they were true, but obviously no evidence.
    * China used a sleeper agent and timed this wonderfully to knock out both Trump and Biden without leaving any fingerprints.
    * Trump would rather go out in a blaze of glory than lose the election because the democrats have quite openly stated they intend to prosecute him as soon as he leaves office.

    1. Robert Hahl

      It missed one of the most plausible theories: Trump was acting such a fool about Covid that anyone who really wanted to infect him could have found a way to introduce the virus into the White House

      1. JTMcPhee

        Hasn’t that “declaration” kind of been a death sentence for a lot of mopes who process and deliver food to the populi, provide medical care, drive buses, stuff like that? Not sure that declaring him essential will do the trick.

        And of course the CorpoDems and TDS people are likely rooting For the virus in this case, in their secret dark hearts… looks like maybe the National I’d, as expressed in social media, contains a lot of that kind of wishful thinking.

        1. HotFlash

          It just seems odd that the President of the United States of America is considered less ‘essential’ than, say, a Walmart cashier or a garbage collector. Am Ii missing something here?

    2. Ignacio

      Now that Dems are picturing Reps as Covidiots, Reps have an incentive to provoke a Covid-19 superspreading event in Lib Dem files before election day. Just to level the game.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Just send Nancy Creamsicle a gift certificate for hair and nail treatments at the Congressional spa for her and her closest friends. That ought to be irresistible. When they enter the salon, they see Kelly Anne Conway, curlers in one hand, scissors in the other, and a diabolical grin on her face.

        1. John k

          No, no, they think she’s a dem cause she’s masked, don’t see the grin until after the facials.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I think the problem with all the conspiracy theories around this is that any rational conspiracy must have a clear objective – but Trump getting Covid is a real wild card, nobody really knows who will benefit from it. Not many, for example, anticipated that Boris Johnson would get a poll boost after his infection and recovery, despite it having arisen from his own abject stupidity.

      The only conspiracy theory that actually makes sense to me is that this is part of a bail out strategy for Trump to exit the presidency with some dignity (and a pardon). But even that seems a little convoluted and risky.

            1. dougie

              BWAHAHA! Touche! Well played, sir. I should have more accurately posted that I love some of the things he links to.

          1. JP

            Locally, after two weeks of mandatory evacuation was lifted, we still have the sheriff posted at the bottom of the road only letting in residents and authorized. Myself and a few neighbors are the only ones that stayed for the whole fire experience. Because one road was barricaded but not maned, a news crew and a few looky-loos leaked through. I first heard about “looters” on the second day and by the description figured they were just looky-loos. I mean why would a serious looter come up in broad daylight with hundreds of fire fighters and other agency personnel swarming the place. Per the instructions everyone who left opened their gates and turned off their propane. Many left their doors unlocked. There were no looters and no one reports anything missing except common sense.

            What concerns me is the rumors of looters are coming from local people on both the right and left. What, I believe, is common to these persons is their insecurity and gullibility. The idea has been promugated from most high, POTUS, tying looting to intercity protests and anarchy. Now they are coming for you people in the suburbs.

            The idea of looters in the urban/suburban is mostly supported by fascist social media. It fits right in with the authoritarian control levers discussed in the article. I’m not saying looting doesn’t exist. I’m saying the fascist vector is to sew doubt and discord. It is very hard to fight paranoia with logic and reason.

      1. UserFriendly

        (and a pardon).

        He can only pardon for federal crimes, he is almost certainly facing charges in NY state.

    4. juneau

      Does anyone have thoughts on why so many debate staffers got sick so quickly? 11 to date have tested positive. I wouldn’t expect Trump to have such close contact with them but who knows.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Presumably they were all in close proximity sharing an unventilated room for a significant amount of time, Trump (or whoever was the super spreader), would not necessarily have had to have been in close personal proximity.

      2. HotFlash

        Saager Enjeti of The Hill’s Rising was a White House reporter. He says that other than the Oval Office, all the offices in the West Wing are tiny, crowded and have poor ventilation. Presumably the debate prep team would use those offices there.

      3. UserFriendly

        “These individuals were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up in the days prior to the event,” Clinic said Friday night. “Individuals did not receive credentials or tickets to enter the debate hall until they had a negative test, and all were advised to isolate while they awaited their test results.”

        of course Trump skipped getting tested beforehand but these 11 were seperate I think.

    5. cnchal

      Has anyone considered the possibility that Trump knew he had it before the debate, and didn’t give a fuck?

      I’m sure it has crossed a few minds, and it would be totally in character.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Of course it “crossed my mind.” My concern is where do I go for a trustworthy timeline and contact tracing, because in my world the yammering on the Twitter is so loud I can’t hear myself think.

        1. UserFriendly

          Nobody is quite sure when he got it, though the ACB event is considered likely, Option 2 was debate prep. Trump is, of course, doing his best to obfuscate when he started having symptoms but it was either wednesday or thursday. For contract tracing, see yesterday’s links / your email for a dashboard I found.

          1. Roberoo

            My understanding is that Dexamethasone is (or should be) only prescribed when the body has killed the active virus (usually around Days 7 to 10) and the immune system is going haywire in the aftermath. It would be strange to prescribe a steroid while the immune system is still fighting the virus. That timeline, if it makes sense, would suggest Trump acquired the virus around the 23rd to 27th of September. This is also in keeping with the general rule of thumb that people go down hill (if they do) 10 to 14 days after they acquire the virus. So, it may be true he received a diagnosis on Thursday but it is likely he was displaying (possibly mild) symptoms right around the time of the debate.

        2. cnchal

          My concern as well. As for Twitter, I don’t go there. Thank you for your incredible fortitude and indestructable yellow waders for entering the Twitter cesspool and pulling rare gems from it.

          I note, watching the morning news / palaver show, that this possibility was completely ignored, which is as loud a signal of ommision as possible. The super spreader event took place on the White House lawn, he get’s tested every day, I’m sure he get’s the “most unbeleivably greatest most accurate test in the world”, yet was clueless as to having it on debate night, or not.

          And, if he knew he had it, which is a critically important fact to either prove true or not, what are the implications that flow from that?

        3. Big Tap

          I thought the media today was going with Hope Hicks giving Trump the coronavirus. She was also around him when he was prepping for the debate.

    6. Dr. John Carpenter

      The CT on this is ridiculous. I don’t see why it’s so hard to understand that a high risk individual who engaged in plenty of high risk activity caught a very contagious virus. Given his caliver attitude towards COVID, I don’t see how a fake positive helps Trump.

      1. The Historian

        I’m one of those cynics. I don’t think that Trump was engaging in high risk activities no matter what the TV showed. I can imagine there was a very strict protocol as to who could be around him and what testing and PPE they needed. Anything less would have been a gross dereliction of duty for those whose job it is to protect the President.

        That said, I could be wrong but actually, I hope I am not. I just don’t think Trump is healthy enough to have a good outcome from this disease – even with the finest care.

        But as to understand how this helps Trump:
        He is again the center of attention. And no doubt he will garner some sympathy vote.
        His campaign hasn’t been doing great lately – they need time for another reset. Yes, he still has his base, but he can’t win with just his base – and he hasn’t been getting any other voters lately.
        His debate was a fiasco that didn’t help him get any new voters. I can imagine that his campaign staff does not want him doing another debate any time soon.
        And best of all, he gets to knee-cap Biden. We don’t like negative ads, but the fact is that they work – except against someone who is sick. Biden has already pulled all of his negative ads.

        1. Sutter Cane

          I had assumed that the “it’s no big deal” stance on the virus was just a public display for the rubes to justify making everyone return to their jobs, and that behind closed doors Trump and the White House were taking it very seriously. Clearly, we underestimate just how dumb those in power are. There doesn’t need to be a conspiracy theory to explain, it is just hubris combined with stupidity.

          And not just the Republicans – look at the prominent Democrats on the Judiciary committee who were also attending indoor meetings without masks. Your average grocery store cashier has been reacting more intelligently to the threat of the virus than our supposed “leaders”.

          If this doesn’t put the lie to the idea of “meritocracy” I don’t know what will. They all really ARE this stupid.

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            Someday calmer minds will consider whether the job of the leader in a case like this is to have a hysterical fear fit about it, or rather instead to try and avoid panic by the public. We’re told its full scale war time against the virus, but if this was 1942 we’d be witnessing 100% of the press corps rooting for Tokyo.

        2. The Historian

          And I forgot another important help to Trump: It stops any October surprises that the NYT or WaPo or anyone else may have had in store for Trump – to come forth with any more revelations now would just be seen as gauche.

          1. hunkerdown

            But it also reinforces the splinter perspective that Trump is simply a professional wrestler showing the pasty white kids from Georgetown how leading the people by the nose is done. “The fascist must be stopped by any means” and a push to vote early for Bidarris by mail, followed by “get well soon Mr. President xoxo”, combined with the relative lack of public aid during the crisis due to ruling ideology, send the message that the ruling class really do have more sympathy and care for one another and their persons than for their voters. “It’s a big club, and you ain’t on the handle end of it.”

            If the Green Party is a Republican front, tell dissident Republicans it’s okay to vote for Hawkins. :)

          2. edmondo

            What are you going to do once Trump leaves office? I guess we can all do brunch cause Uncle Joe has this pandemic-depression-locust swarm under control.. I am always amazed how one man can be the cause of so much angst among the Democratic party faithful.

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              How can he cause so much angst among Democrats?

              Why, because he’s Hitler… or Mussolini… or Berlusconi… or maybe has Alzheimer’s (extra credit if you remember that one)…

              Anything to keep from reflecting upon the real reasons he was elected…

            2. Michael Fiorillo

              How can he cause so much angst?

              Why because he’s Hitler… or Mussolini… or Berlusconi… or maybe has Alzheimer’s (extra credit if you remember that one)…

              Anything to keep from reflecting upon the real reasons he was elected…

          3. Donald

            Having a motive isn’t enough to make a good case for a conspiracy theory. I don’t object to CT’s in principle, but in this case too many doctors and politicians and others would have to be in on it.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter


              I also have to say I don’t think The Donald sees the election and his position in it at this moment in the same way The Historian does. And since when do we have any evidence Trump has ever listened to his campaign staff? Faking a COVID infection to avoid debates or fish for sympathy seems extremely prone to backfire given how leaky this White House is, not to mention the numbers of people on the right who think COVID is over-reported, if not an outright hoax.

              1. The Historian

                Well, like I said: I am a cynic. I am not an expert on Covid or politics, so take my opinion, and it is only an opinion, for what it is worth.

        3. Sensei Tiger

          You just have to look at some of the photos from the ACB White House event to see how strict the protocols were. They couldn’t even be bothered to spread the chairs out. I’m pretty sure Mike Pence and his wife were sitting right in front of a senator who has since tested positive, and none of them wearing a mask. As Dr John says, no conspiracies are required.

      2. bayoustjohndavid

        I agree with everything you say except for not seeing how a false positive helps Trump. It’s pretty easy to come up with a motive:

        Several prominent Republicans test positive, none develop more than minor symptoms — “You see, we we were right all along. The Coronavirus fears were exaggerated all along.”

        I’m not saying it’s a plausible theory, but it’s easy to come with reasons for faking it.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I agree. That’s the only situation I could see being a positive for Trump. Considering they shipped him off to Reade, I think there’d have to be a lot of subterfuge going on that I’m not sure they could pull off for this. Also, as leaky as the administration is, no way could they keep it under wraps for long.

      3. Ping

        Obviously Trump is having an affair/intimate contact with Hope Hicks. She should have been routinely sanitized with bleach or whatever treatment du jour was in vogue.

    7. flora

      I know it’s NR, but I did see Murphy say this on CNN. (Conspiracy News Network? /s)

      Senator Chris Murphy claimed Friday that because President Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus and will be absent from the campaign trail, he will rely more on Russian President Vladimir Putin to act as a “surrogate” for his reelection campaign.

      1. edmondo

        Anyone who can swing an election with $15,000 ad budget is a marketing genius. Don’t be surprised if Vlad just decides to sit in the Oval Office himself if Trump bugs out.

        1. RMO

          That joke “Well whaddaya know, it’s not everyday I see the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen” isn’t going to work anymore because lately it seems like every new day does bring something stupider than anything I’ve ever seen before. What Murphy said is pretty high octane stupid though so it will be hard to top!

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            Someday a giant mirror will be held up to the society and we’ll learn who the stupid ones really are. The job of the press used to be in part to help relieve them of that condition, but no longer. To me what’s amazing is the number of times they have pushed the truly fantastical Russia stuff, straight up fabrications illegally made from whole cloth, and then repeatedly jammed down the throats of the hapless plebes time and time again. It just shows how mission critical the Permanent War is

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “Someday a giant mirror will be held up to the society and we’ll learn who the stupid ones really are”

              i reckon we’re there already…just that most folks haven’t recognised it as a mirror, yet.
              i told my boys this morning, at the family meeting/ent moot, that everything is still decidedly in flux, and to keep a low profile(eldest works 6 days a week(naturally social distanced job), speak nothing of politics off-farm, and be ready to hunker down.
              it feels like a slow motion 9-11…with periods—like since thursday–where it abruptly speeds up for a moment.
              the Vibesphere in town is just like the afternoon of 9-11-2001.
              a rubber band in the air, stretching and stretching…
              people cocked….”ready”…
              hair on the neck erect.
              my duckblinds on local SocMed have been remarkably quiet during all of this…which could indicate shock…or other comm-lines being used.
              feels like an indrawn breath.

              I’m real busy this week, but i’ll endeavor to go to a certain rock on the river from where i can casually surveill a known militia type while appearing to fish.
              several others near enough to traditional wide spots on hills on county dirt roads where one traditionally stops for a beer, too.

      1. ambrit

        Oh. The old “Magic Virus” theory.
        That’s been around since at least the days when the “King’s Touch” cured scrofula.
        Hmmm…. Scrofulous Deplorables. The Warp Speed Vaccines should be about as efficacious as the “King’s Touch.”

        1. Wukchumni

          Kennedy could have had the bulletproof glass canopy shrouding occupants of the Lincoln Continental, but no.

          1. ambrit

            Too true.
            My favourite JFK CT is the one set out in the book “Mortal Error.” Basically, that Kennedy was accidentally shot the second time by one of his own Secret Service guards.
            No matter who is responsible, the effects come out the same.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Then there was this:

        lambert strether
        October 2, 2020 at 5:44 pm

        Dang, my new keyboard is already broken

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve read bad reports about Apple keyboards for some time now since they changed the manufacturing methods. Perhaps what Lambert needs is an Apple keyboard made about five years ago but still in it’s box and never used.

  3. GramSci

    Re: Did Xi Just Save the World?

    ” If Washington does come around to supporting a Green New Deal of the Joe Biden variety, that will, of course, be welcome.”

    What planet is Adam Tooze writing from?

    1. Linden S.

      Climate academia/activists on twitter have worked themselves into a tizzy about how much of a climate hawk Joe Biden will be. Very strange echo chamber.

      1. edmondo

        Are these the same people who are convinced Joe is the second coming of FDR? If FDR were alive today, he wouldn’t be a Democrat.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Well to be fair the Roosevelt family branches were primarily Republicans before FDR ran as a Democrat.

          So we should be looking for another FDR to become a Democrat? or another American aristocratic family to see the bigger picture, how close the sparks are getting to the powder and build another FDR administrative infrastructure? A better version of FDR’s “The Machine?” Note it’s still the machine.

      2. polecat

        Climate academia/activists …

        The very same carbon-based lifeforms who spew carbon-based lifenorms …. everyone else be shamed!

        Oh to be a flight on their hallowed walls ..

    2. jsn

      Tooze has a perfect instinct for the “legitimate” boundaries of insider discourse.

      Look at what he’s willing to consider, and more carefully at where he stops, and you can delimit the hard boundary of “acceptable discourse.”

      He’s the insider intellectual’s insider intellectual who accepts, even prefers, that elites rule: he just want’s to remain in the vanguard of whichever elite comes out on top! Kind of a next generation Philip Bobbitt.

      1. carl

        Funny you should mention Phil…he was one of my law school professors. He was such an ass to the students that after awhile, no one would raise their hands in class in response to his questions.

      2. Lemnos

        Perry Anderson’s LRB review of Tooze shares that sentiment:

        ” ‘Perhaps particularly as one who grew up in West Germany in the seventies and eighties, as I did’, Tooze explained to his lrb audience, ‘America is gravity’…

        Yet in today’s world, the question can be asked: how far does that differ from running with the hare and hunting with the hounds—indignant sympathy for the hare, awed admiration for the hounds? ‘Power must be met with power’. Truly?”

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I do not understand your comment.

        What discourse do you feel Tooze had bounded? I also do not understand why you say: “He’s the insider intellectual’s insider intellectual who accepts, even prefers, that elites rule …” I am neither agree nor disagree with you — I just do not understand what about Tooze is so troubling.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    I ran across this recent (10/2) post from Ian Welsh that was quite interesting. It’s about Ursula K. Le Guin’s story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.

    Omelas is a powerful parable, but it isn’t applicable to our society because we are all locked in; there is no decent society to go to, no place to escape to. We cannot leave.

    First, “Omelas” is a very short story well worth a couple of minutes of reading.
    While not exactly related to the central point of the story, this Le Guin maxim is a good one:

    Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.

    While we owe Welsh thanks for bringing up “Omelas,” I think Welsh misses the point with the quote above about us having no place to go. Leaving Omelas is not a physical act but a moral, even spiritual one. To reject a society that trades the suffering of even one for the happiness of many (or as Welsh points out, a society that arranges the suffering of the many to benefit the few) does not require finding some island somewhere. There is no such island. To “leave” is to refuse to collaborate, which means to refuse to benefit, at least beyond basic needs. And that’s where Le Guin’s little maxim is a good place to start.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Hmm. Omelas reads like a rejection of utilitarianism, but I’m not a philosopher. Is that close?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        our current neoliberal/neoconservative order is thoroughly utilitarian/consequentialist.(except, importantly, that we never seem to get around to actually studying those consequences///ie: the Results of the damned eternal experiments(“Trickle Down”))
        Le Guin contrasts this (kill one little kid, and everything’s fine) with a more universalist consideration of Rights and Values(see: Deontological Ethics, or Kant)…something that has been somehow lost in the Liberal thoughtsphere these past 30 or forty years.
        I lean pretty far into the latter view…”Good without God”, but still adhering(or trying to!) to some rather ill defined, but nevertheless very important, “Higher Standard”.
        one stops for the broke down car…even if it’s a known Klan Member.
        similarly, one doesn’t vote for evil…even the so called lesser kind.
        admittedly, this is a hard row to hoe…more so given the wall to wall admonitions to lay waste to one’s enemies and/or obstacles….and the even more prevalent encouragement to abandon any moral sense, fellowfeeling or delusions of a brotherhood of mankind….and just do what you’re told/what feels good at the time/etc.

        I disagree that Omelas isn’t applicable to our current situation, however.
        |it’s just exceedingly difficult to “walk away”…to paraphrase Obi Wan, the Machine “surrounds us and penetrates us…”.
        but even partial withdrawal is still withdrawal…and contains sufficient moral heft.
        do what you can…in this case, unplug as much as possible.
        if sufficient numbers of our neighbors do similar, it could have a measurable impact.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe it might be beneficial to collect a zoo of the kinds of problems that occur in posting links — like the problem above. I suspect you might find a pattern that helps in streamlining link posting.

        I profoundly appreciate the collection and posting of links done on this site and problems with the links posted seems to occupy a fair amount of time and energy for those maintaining the site. I suspect there could be a common root cause for problems and I further suspect that that common root problem might easily be repaired in the link posting process.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “These are the extreme measures Vladimir Putin takes to avoid COVID-19”

    Considering the total chaos that Trump’s infection has thrown the US government into and the turmoil in the markets, perhaps Putin’s measures are not so extreme after all. Apart from that, you just know that a Bolton or a Pompeo would be itching at the chance to get Putin infected with Coronavirus because in their view, it would bring “stability” to the world.

    1. a different chris

      Extreme, huh. It’s his job not to get sick, moreso than anybody else’s in the country.

      Much as I despise Trump, I would have been more than happy if he spent the last year walking around in a spacesuit. Say what you will about either system, these people became the heads of the country and can’t be taking chances.

      Of course Putin is science-attuned and not religious, so of course he gets this.

      1. A Different Donald

        Of course Putin is science-attuned and not religious, so of course he gets this.

        Umm…No, he is religious…Orthodox…

      1. RMO

        I’m taking “extreme” measures to avoid COVID myself. But then, I read NC which means I’m taking my orders from Putin so that ties it all up in a neat little package.

    2. rowlf

      Several years ago I watched video from a meeting of Obama and Putin where Obama tried to hand a document to Putin. Putin politely indicated that it be placed on a nearby table rather than Putin touching it directly. It was just a little detail but spotting it surprised me. While it may have been racism or seemed disrespectful I suspect it was for security that Putin acted like this.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was an article by an elder spook here some time ago talking about some of the tricks of the trade. One was infecting a leader of a country with chemicals impregnating a piece of paper or the like. People may remember when Trump and North Korea’s Kim were signing some document no that long ago. Kim’s sister whisked away the pen supplied Kim and pulled out one she brought with her and gave it to her brother to use. Smart precautions that.

  6. Ignacio

    I regret to say, we Madrilenians are stupid. Sunday 12:00 (fresh and windy outside) an overcrowded cafeteria semi-filled with maskless people (about 20 in about 30m2). Everybody talking loud. How many supespreading events can we host in a single day in a city with thousands of cafeterias like that?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats really disappointing. I don’t know what the messaging has been like in Spain, but here in Ireland (and the UK) I think its been very poor. Its focused on ‘please do this…’ without clearly explaining the modes of infection (see the excellent MIT link above). There is huge political pressure here in Ireland to open up bars and cafes (in Dublin they are allowed outdoor seating only), but nobody is actually telling people why they need to be shut. There is a huge problem I think with scientific authorities essentially treating people as idiots and not clearly explaining the science.

      I think that the failure to understand the importance of the aerosol route of infection (WHO is still being appallingly slow to acknowledge it) and to explain to people clearly why cafes/bars/schools etc are so problematic is a key reason why authorities can’t get control over the virus. So many times I’ve seen people genuinely try to do their best, but then do very risky things without realising it.

      1. Ignacio

        The problem is that in Madrid there is NOT a message but a stupid political fight between the regional and city tea-party-like conservative governments, with the lefty central government. Chaos is the result.

      2. DorothyT

        Re: MIT article and its link to the comprehensive Google Doc assembled by one scientist with expertise in aerosol transmission. He’s coordinated this FAQ document with hundreds of scientists. It’s updated in real time.

        Highly recommend this for anyone who wants clarification on the CDC information that the Trump administration has adulterated throughout this time of the pandemic.

    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      I have been living back in my Van some nice last Wednesday and had to drive to a variety of outdoor stores around Triangle, NC area.

      I am amazed at the different attitudes in such a small area; from very few people in stores all wearing masks, to crowded stores where people drop their masks as soon as the walk in. It’s totally city vs country. And the demographics are telling. Keeping mental notes I have seen the pattern of mostly obese people not wearing masks.

      And I was visiting a close friend who’s kids go to a private school, they are back no full time. His kids were running around with the neighbors kids…no one wearing masks but me…I told him to call me when he gets sick.

      I can’t wait to get away from everyone.

      1. Lee

        I don’t know if this is a passing fancy resulting from my being in the grip of a cabin fever dream, but I’m giving serious thought to a cargo to travel van conversion. Between my kid and I we have the requisite skills to do the job ourselves. His own cargo van dream is a food truck conversion, inventive gourmet cooking being among his wide repertoire of hands-on skills.

        As long as I have the basic necessities at hand while on the road, I figure I could weather a CFS/ME flare up, which requires minimizing physical activity for 1 to 3 days typically. I’ve lived all my life in the SF bay area and have these many years enjoyed the mild climate and good air quality, but I guess those days are over. It’s also gotten a lot more crowded and the state and local politicians are still pushing for more groaf.

        1. Daryl

          Did this myself for a bit. It’s good fun, but social distancing would be hard. You’re more dependent on going into stores, have less ability to stock up. Most of my vanlife friends are hunkered down somewhere or another right now.

          When the covid clears up…do it, you won’t regret it.

      2. jef

        Lived in a van for a while. Favorite purchase was a 2 gallon plastic pump sprayer. I spray painted it black and would put it in the sun for awhile and had a nice warm shower and clean dishes. Cut the wand down to a couple inches. In cold weather I would put it on the floor where the heater vent was. Drive a few hours and it got nice and warm. Thats only if you are on the move obviously.

        1. furies

          Great idea.

          Having been homeless myself, I’m always collecting tips for the next time. Also have a penchant for scoping out hidey-hos.

          Stay nimble, Krystyn.

          Someone yesterday made a remark about how could anyone feed themselves on less than 20,000/yr. I can only laugh to myself. You have no idea.

      3. lordkoos

        Around our little town most shop owners seem pretty vigilant about the masks, thankfully. If you need to buy groceries you either wear a mask or go hungry.

    3. David

      In France, we are expecting an announcement tomorrow about further closures of bars and restaurants in some of the major cities, including Paris. Caterers, who are afraid that such a step would mean the end for many establishments, have proposed an alternative set of arrangements this afternoon , aimed at limiting numbers of people, paying bills at the tables and so on. It’s not clear what the reaction will be, but there’s already a massive wave of resistance developing to confinement and restrictions, across the political spectrum. The government is desperate to avoid another general confinement, but even less stringent measures look like they are going to cause a lot of trouble. Various groups, some more rational than others, are mounting legal challenges and talking about direct action.

      1. Ignacio

        Yep, to save bars&cafes we have to sacrifice the rest of activities, isn’t it? Traditions have to be kept no matter the risks.

        1. Carla

          I am amazed that so many high-risk individuals apparently cannot live without going to restaurants and bars. We have found it easy, and we used to eat out a great deal.

          Admittedly, being able to see a few friends and neighbors on our backyard patio during a summer and early fall of exceptionally beautiful weather has made our lives easier and more pleasant.

          We dread the long Ohio winter, but the two of us are grateful every day to have each other’s good company.

          1. ambrit

            You all have the right attitude.
            Stay safe.
            We down here are beginning to employ the idea that the most rational response to the clusterf— that is the Dreaded Pathogen and the societal response thereof is to take care of the “homefolks” first and foremost.
            Alas, we don’t see the nearest daughter and grandkids right now, because she works in a South Louisiana School System dealing directly with grade school students. (I had a ‘big’ song and dance with her about what seems to be “best practice” concerning Covid before the school year began. [Thanks NC and the Commenteriat!] The School System there had somewhat “loose” concepts concerning what was efficacious and what was not. {Face shields, not cloth breathing masks, were all that was needed she was told!})

          2. David

            To be fair, the pressure is coming less from the patrons than from the owners. Most (but not all) of them survived the lockdown, and are still afloat as a result of a decent summer. But one more general lockdown and a large number of these establishments will simply disappear, and are very unlikely to come back. That will mean potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, both directly and in the industries supplying them. It will also mean a hollowing-out of local communities, and an inevitable further move of commerce to the shopping malls in the suburbs. Many of the small establishments under threat are as much social centres as anything else – they sell newspapers and magazines, tobacco, confectionery, postcards, lottery tickets etc. and people gather there to watch major sporting occasions. “Eating out” in many European countries is not a middle-class lifestyle affectation, but a necessary part of life, especially where, in places like Paris, the average apartment is far too small for socialising.

            1. CitizenSissy

              +1000. If you’re able, please consider patronizing, even with takeout, your local mom-and-pop places. We’ve made a point to get not-fancy takeout once a week to keep cash flowing locally. Reminded of the hostess in our fabulous Pho restaurant who cried when I tipped the amount of my order; my heart totally broke.

              I recently enjoyed breakfast at a diner which set up tables and chairs in the parking lot. This was my first sit-down dining experience since whenever, and it was glorious.

              1. Clem

                If you pay them with cash, rounded to the nearest dollar-“keep the coins”, you just handed them an extra 4%, or higher, profit, as it saves them the credit card scalp refund process.
                And, they have immediate cash flow and don’t have to wait a month for a refund and can pay vendors in cash for a discount etc.

              2. Carla

                We do takeout once a week or more, and we tip, which we never did for takeout before. Regarding Clem’s comment below about paying with cash, interestingly here in Ohio there’s been a great shortage of coins (I know, Clem, you say “round up.”) and as a result many merchants and restaurants are requesting payment by credit card. Some small retailers and restauranteurs are refusing to accept cash — thinking it may be contaminated with viral particles. But none that I have heard of have refused tips added onto a credit card!

            2. a different chris

              I am worried about these particular individuals staying afloat in the short term, some of which I am on a first-name basis with, but you start here:

              will simply disappear, and are very unlikely to come back.

              But then end up with:

              “Eating out” in many European countries is not a middle-class lifestyle affectation, but a necessary part of life, especially where, in places like Paris, the average apartment is far too small for socialising.

              So why do you think this won’t return, either via a vaccine of enough of us die off to get herd immunity? Are people going to have forgotten about going out in a couple of years? Seems unlikely…. in fact, *if* there is a vaccine there is going to be such an (unsustainble) boom in restaurant/bar activity it will be comical.

              And all that stainless steel crap won’t have aged a bit in the meanwhile.

              1. David

                I think it may well return. My point is that in many European cities, social lifetimes place in bars and cafés, unless you have a good salary and thus a decent-size apartment. So worries about bars/restaurants etc. staying closed are about (1) the economic effects and (2) the social consequences for a sense of community, rather than the selfish desire to eat well (though you get that as well, of course). So the future looks a bit bleak.

                1. polecat

                  “So the future looks a bit bleak.”

                  Yes, when Oligarchs – through their various proxi government agencies/mediaocraties, use a crisis such as this to ratchet even more control over lowly mokeistan – one would expect what??

                  The people that run the whole show want the help to be statusquo-charged, so as to repel against one another…

                  And apparently the mo is working it’s magic.

      2. Clive

        This pretty much sums up the U.K. government’s ineptitude here

        I’ve read what’s on the cartoon several times and I have to say that I don’t think a single word of it is a lie or doesn’t accurately represent the mind-numbing flip-floppiness of it all.

        The end result is that everyone has simply had enough. So we’ll get a policy of what Joe Public thinks best for itself. Which might not actually *be* what’s best…

    4. GramSci

      I found this report from Barcelona back at end of September. Little seems to have. changed: Sánchez is waiting for some other EU country to go first into lockdown because of the reasonable fear that Brussels/Frankfurt won’t bail Spain out if its economy takes the first lockdown hit.

      Plus the political infighting Ignacio has mentioned elsewhere.

    5. Arizona Slim

      Ignacio, I hate to break the news to you, but the global stupidity pandemic has spread as far as Tucson, Arizona. Where our local college of knowledge, the University of Arizona, ordered students to shelter in place for 14 days.

      That order just expired and guess what? It’s time to PARTY!

      I heard a lot of whooping and hollering last night. Also, the police helicopter. Numerous times, in fact.

      1. Lee

        Evidently, health is wasted on the young. Given my own priors in this regard, it is a wonder I’ve made it this far. I attribute this largely to dumb luck.

      2. newcatty

        AZ Slim, sad to hear how crazy it is in Tucson…a”university” driven and dependent town. Well, there are other sources like MIC and some silicon valley connections, etc. There is the fact that UofA spurred on growth, especially undergraduates. The tale of two rationalizations: 1) Build them and they will come; the kids need more housing! So, build high rise “apartments”(dorms). It’s also great for Tucson’s economy. Kids spend money like off of trees. Sush…we know that a large nuber of the Kids are from middle to upper class families. And, also what are student loans for? Just tuition, books, fees and a bed in a “dorm? The neighborhoods around UofA have for decades been infiltrated by rentals catering to the Kids. Now, with the added high rises it’s just a zoo. 2) It is regrettable that the neighborhoods and downtown suffer from “some” unruly students in their midst. TINA, we are a university town and so will do our best to welcome the Kids and regulate their behavior (wink and a nod).

    6. The Rev Kev

      So sorry that you are still having to deal with this where you are, Ignacio. I see reports of the same happening in places like Israel, Brazil, etc. as people lose faith in their leadership’s handling of the pandemic. I still remember your comments from several months ago where you were making preparations to cope with the virus as it was just starting to hit Spain but I bet that you would have never imagined how things would have gone down in Spain at that time.

      1. Ignacio

        Yeah, it is sad that we cannot collectively coordinate somehow to try to avoid overwhelmed ICUs again. If I was a sociologist I would write a rant on bad ‘Governance’ (a word I hate, sounds very much like herding). I still don’t think we’ll reach the same peak in hospitalizations and deaths but I am ready to change my mind anytime soon.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          What is the measure of Public Health? Is the corona virus the only measure? What about suicides? Evictions and displacement- how does this shake out in terms of Public Health? What about mental health? Does that matter? I especially wonder what is happening with children and teens.

    7. The Historian

      In a state where Covid is again rising, we have parents who are trying to shame everyone into having Halloween trick-or-treat again this year. Can you think of a better way to spread Covid? Those of us who choose not to participate are being told that we are just meanies that hate children. Yea.

      1. Socal Rhino

        We are dropping off Halloween treats at our neighbors with kids and barricading our door that night.

      2. Phillip Cross

        Every trick or treat I have ever been on was outside. There are definitely better ways to spread Covid-19, like indoor halloween parties and those horrible “haunted house” things.

          1. Phillip Cross

            What a useless bunch they are at the CDC!

            On a side note, I noticed that Target is offering kid sized SWAT and military (national guard?) uniforms in its trick or treat isle. Instructions are available online for how to use sheets from the bedding department for a home made costume to complete the set.

            1. newcatty

              “Leave the Kids alone! Nod to Pink Floyd. But, it’s mainly not teachers at fault. How disgusting of corporate like Target to push cop/military propaganda on the Kids. Add that to the normalization and desensitization of violence in media, ‘entertainment “, gaming, and the glorification of mic at sporting events(when still exists). Yay! American girls and boys…your society knows you are our future.

        1. Wukchumni

          One of those impenetrable 1960’s bank buildings on the main drag in Visalia had been a Halloween store and the only tenet for a very reliable 1/12th of the year in which it was open for about a dozen years.

          A couple years ago the bank finally sold, and talking to one of the de-construction crew, he related how hard it was to bring down, for it was built to last.

          Fast forward to now, and a new building has been erected with no tenet in sight and lays empty, while the Halloween store moved over to a defunct gym on the same side of the street, 200 feet away.

          And seeing as there isn’t going to be a Halloween, who needs a temporary store like that anymore?

          1. ambrit

            Re. “…a new building has been erected with no tenet in sight…”
            Au contraire mon amis, the new building demonstrates one of the core tenets of Predatory Capitalism.

              1. ambrit

                I remember reading some few years ago that Americans had no “sense of history.” My admittedly anecdotal observations on this are that, if one begins constantly searching out the new, once one ages, one is oneself relegated to the “dustbin of society.”
                A few years ago I remarked to an acquaintance that the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral will make a dandy fishing reef when the sea level rises. The reply was to the effect of, “You really think it will last that long?”

      3. Milton

        We are leaving a large bowl of candy, along with sani-wipes, in the middle of our driveway. I’m not chancing contagion from our little vector neighbors. I’m sure they’ll love the fact they don’t need to “work” for the goodies this year.

      4. Lee

        Our town attracts thousands of families from surrounding communities with less safe streets. At our house we typically get around 300 or more trick or treaters on Halloween night. Some households go all out with big, scary displays and even convert portions of their yards and homes to haunted houses. Given the locals’ commitment to safety measures, masks are pretty much universally worn, and the low incidents of Covid infection (419/80K), things will probably be different this year, especially given that we have Covid hotspots in Oakland neighborhoods near us, where many of the kids have come from in previous years. I’m trying to think of ways to distribute treats safely but I don’t know if it’s the responsible thing to do or worth the effort. The delightful, costumed munchkins may not show up this year.

        1. Sailor Bud

          Tube on an incline from the porch? Shoot the lil candies down it into a receptacle or something. Zooooop!

          1. CitizenSissy

            That’s exactly a segment on NPR this morning, the most interesting part of which was the merits of various candies shooting down the tube: snack-sized Hershey bars good; peanut butter cups bad. One wag was able to funnel cans of beer to the parents.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          when we lived in town we were the Apple House..still got plenty of trick or treaters.
          if you were so inclined, i suppose a barrel of apples floating in water with a tiny bit of bleach might do the trick….tell em to shake it off and buff it on their sleeve.
          as it stands, now…we’re way too far out to bother with all that any more,lol.
          we get toddler nieces and nephews, but they come by car, and with much cell phone enabled advance warning.

    8. Keith

      Last weekend I was driving from one side of WA state to the other and pulled into a travel stop. Only masks were the employees. Place was packed with car drivers and 18 wheeler driving off a major highway.

  7. timbers

    GOP’s Great Depression

    Some top GOP operatives, privy to data from swing states, tell me that this week’s chaotic presidential debate had a calamitous effect on Republican chances in tight Senate races.

    “The bottom is falling out everywhere,” said a longtime Republican insider.

    Wow. There was a time news like this would lift my spirits. Now it’s just 2 choices of almost the Same Thing. The MSN will have a hole new crop of Blue Dogs to market and sell to us Little Folk as the New & Different potential Presidential Timber type material..

    And this: “Everyone knew Trump was capable of this kind of behavior,” the insider said. “But these voters had never had 90 straight minutes of that behavior thrust in their faces.”

    Gonna take a shot and say this might put Kamala the cop in the 2024 mix. Unless they find the right mix of pharmacology or formaldehyde and skilled string puppet masters to keep Biden viable till then.

    1. polecat

      There’s always a bowl of Cold Nancy to be had .. just waiting to be pulled out of the cryo-gentry unit.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    This scientist made a Google Doc to educate the public about airborne coronavirus transmission MIT Technology Review

    On the assumption that the scientists behind this are right (and I think the evidence is mounting daily that aerosol transmission is one of, if not the most important route for infection), then this article and the Google Doc they’ve prepared are must reads. Its great to see things explained in such a clear manner.

  9. lcn

    Matt Taibbi on Trump giving thanks from his sick room…

    The consummate narcissist and psychopath shows no sign of being chastised, no acknowledgement of the potency and dangers of this still rampaging pandemic. He probably lapse into anxiety attacks if he gets quarantined in a room for several days – says he’s raring to go out there and start campaigning again, totally unmindful that he’s a potential carrier even if it appears he’s already free of symptoms and could still possibly infect others. I hope the cameraman and the crew taking the video from his hospital suite are wearing adequate PPE.

    The hubris and stupidity goes unabated.

    Sad, indeed.

      1. Josef K

        AZS yes, Dr. Carter’s videos are very informational, another plus for me is his calm and compassionate voice and manner.

        I’m stuck for the time being with someone rating very highly. Being informed and thus able to see the patterns in 100 different forms of speech and behavior is very helpful in coping, as that’s all one can do.

        The third person in the household is full-blown autistic, quite a combination as there are similarities in behavior (with significant differences).

        Maybe the cement is always grayer, but at this point the prospect of a year alone in a one-room studio is a very attractive one, better completely alone than less-than-alone.

        I add that not as a complaint, but as confirmation that it’s real, and serious, so if you’re wondering why interacting with someone invariably leaves you feeling confused, demoralized, invalidated, psycho-emotionally roughed-up, or all of the above, the linked videos are a good place to start educating yourself.

        As for solutions, all of these folks say there’s only one: get away. Since we can’t collectively get away from DJT, we’re going to have to vote him out in a few weeks. Dr Carter and others have segments or videos on what happens as a narcissist “ages out,” and it’s not pretty, they get worse in ways, which is a sobering prospect as regards Trump.

        1. cnchal

          I hate giving advice so please take it with a dose of scepticism and the reality of your situation.

          From lived experience, becoming emotionally flat and not reacting to positive or negative provocations starves the narcissist of what they crave and then they move on to another victim. Instead of you getting away, they go away.

          What I find sickening is that the political system self selects for narcissists. Who else but some egotistical fathead that thinks they are better than everybody else and wants to be the center of attention goes into politics? Honest people do not apply for the position in the first place, and the few that do can’t carry that honesty with them because in politics being able to lie convincinly and being as venal as possible are the methods of getting ahead. I wish I were wrong, but there it is.

          You have my sympathy. Living with one is a type of hell. Your line about living alone is better than less-than-alone struck a chord.

    1. albrt

      If I recall correctly, Boris Johnson’s critical period came after a couple of days when he was feeling much better and doing work.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Did Xi Just Save the World
Foreign Policy.

    The problem with interpreting what Xi says is not in translating what he says, but the context in which he says it. The CCP is a surprisingly loosely bound organisation, with a very high degree of flexibility given to leaders at Province, City or village level. Major policy shifts tend to be announced on formal occasions and are often quite gnomic ‘e.g. Communism with Chinese Characteristics’ was how the move to raw capitalism was described). There is a broad understanding at all levels that a leader may be saying something for international or domestic consumption and so can safely be ignored. But there are certain occasions when any local leader who is ambitious will listen very carefully.

    I can’t claim to be an expert on the topic, but from what I can gather, Xi’s statement didn’t get much traction within China, which strongly suggests that this was one of those statements made which was meant for foreign consumption and could be safely ignored by local leaders. But its possible he is preparing the way for quite radical change – the Chinese government is dominated by trained engineers who tend to take a very mechanistic approach to climate change and related issues (which is why they are very tempted by geo engineering proposals). As so often with China, you need to see what they are doing, not what Xi is saying. So far, the rate of coal power plant construction doesn’t bode well, but it may be that they are simply allowing the current wave of investment to run its course. Time will tell.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I suppose Adam Tooze may be making an effort to be ‘hopeful’ in assessing Xi’s statement. I thought Xi had found a clever way to draw a contrast between the world-leadership of the U.S. and that of China. The U.S. cannot handle the Corona pandemic and refuses to take Climate Chaos seriously. But talk is cheap. This essay by Tooze follows a line of thought I recall from one of his podcasts [I — don’t recall which one] where Tooze suggested that whether the U.S. did anything about Climate Chaos or not was almost unimportant given his assessment that what China did was far more important in the long-run.

      The statement in Your comment that:
      “…the Chinese government is dominated by trained engineers who tend to take a very mechanistic approach to climate change and related issues (which is why they are very tempted by geo engineering proposals).”
      is very disturbing to me. One of the dangers of geo engineering ‘fixes’ is how they can be done by super-rich individuals and nations acting on their own with potentially world-wide impacts.

  11. jlowe

    Question: Would a Universal Basic Income make us lazy or creative?

    Answer: Yes.

    Glad Bloomberg’s behind a paywall. It limits my exposure to it.

    1. Upwithfiat

      Whatever the merits of a UBI, can anyone argue that ALL fiat creation should not be for the general welfare?

      Yet the Federal Reserve regularly buys assets from the private sector to benefit private interests such as the banks and the rich.

      That fiat could instead be used to fund an equal Citizen’s Dividend and not violate equal protection under the law as the current system does.

  12. Pat

    If it has been noted elsewhere, I apologize.
    Yesterday during the Preakness there was an advertisement for Amy Coney Barrett.
    All about her brilliance and her integrity and how she would rule on cases based on the law. All backed up by her stellar religious values as indicated by the visuals.

    A friend also noted that this was the first time they could remember an actual advertising campaign selling a Supreme Court nominee.

    1. Katiebird

      One of my sisters saw that ad too. She was asking if this was normal. I’m pretty sure it’s VERY unusual. I wonder who paid for it? And what they hope to get out of the investment?

      1. Pat

        The hypocrisy, it burns. They support her because of her religious convictions meaning they fully expect them to inform her decisions, but scream illegal Catholic discrimination because people point out that she will religiously discriminate against those who don’t buy into her religion If she makes rulings informed by her religious beliefs.

        Oh sure everything is couched but it is there.

        Pretty sure they wouldn’t advocate for a well qualified and respected Muslim, atheist, Jew…

    2. a different chris

      >and her integrity and how she would rule on cases based on the law

      So if you truly, truly believe in all the God-bothering stuff she apparently believes in, and if it contrasts with what supposedly settled law says (not just Roe v Wade but I bet a bunch of other stuff. Make her talk about the death penalty, please) then what does “integrity” mean?

      To me, it means you do not rule based on the law. I wouldn’t. History is written about people who do what they think is right, not what is law. For good reason.

      So for me, if Covid Amy would rule against what she believes in, that is disqualifying. And if she would rule to her beliefs, I don’t share them so I personally don’t want her (although she may be a very good representative of this wack country, I must admit).

    3. griffen

      Citizens United, you’re welcome America.

      And a shame that it passed under Trump no less. My revisionist history tells me so.

    4. antidlc

      We Still Don’t Know Who Is Paying For Trump’s SCOTUS Seats

      Having already spent tens of millions of dollars to install two of President Donald Trump’s justices on the Supreme Court, a conservative dark money group now says it plans to spend millions more to confirm Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who has issued rulings favorable to corporate interests.

      The money raised by the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) comes from untraceable sources — and Barrett previously rebuffed a Democratic senator’s request that she ask outside groups to refrain from spending big money to try to influence a congressional review of her appellate court nomination.

      JCN previously spent as much as $27 million to block President Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court pick and place conservative jurists Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the high court. As The Daily Poster previously reported, JCN received $15.9 million from a single anonymous donor between July 2018 and June 2019, the tax period covering the Kavanaugh fight.

      You can view one of their ads for Barrett at the link.

      Group That Led Kavanaugh Confirmation Got $15.9 Million From One Mystery Donor

      The conservative dark money group that led the fight to install Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court received nearly $16 million from a single mystery donor, according to IRS documents obtained by TMI.

      The documents show that the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) received a total of nearly $30 million of donations in between July 2018 and June 2019 — the period that covered Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation. In addition to the $15.9 million donation from a single donor, the group received five other 7-figure donations from anonymous sources.

      JCN financed millions of dollars of ads promoting Kavanaugh.

      My 2 cents: Whoever is financing JCN doesn’t care about abortion. They want more pro-corporate rulings.

      1. Duke of Prunes


        All the better that most don’t notice because they’ve wound themselves around the religion wheel

  13. Kevin C. Smith

    TrumpWorld™ are still trying to modify perceived reality to suit their purposes.

    For example, look at trump’s video from yesterday:
    right after the word “therapeutics” there is a little jitter in the image. This is said to be the result of a piece being cut out from the video, then smoothed over using a Photoshop™ video morph effect.

    What was it they cut out? Maybe just a cough? They can’t even let the President be seen to cough or clear his throat? Maybe something more serious? trump hopes we’ll never know.

    Look at the metadata on the photos from yesterday where trump was signing blank pieces of paper, the two shots are ten minutes apart. Broad range of plausible explanations for that, I’d love to have been a fly-on-the-wall during that session.

    Putin telegrammed his best wishes to trump [telegrams are still a thing? Was it delivered by a Western Union boy on a bike?] Turns out Putin’s best wishes were exactly the same words he sent to Boris Johnson and to Bolsonaro. For trump, he couldn’t even bother to send a personal note. There’s a message in that! Like sending the exact same Valentine to all 3 of your girlfriends.
    /end of rant.

    1. hunkerdown

      We couldn’t let FDR be seen in a wheelchair. Something about the dignity of the office, apparently.

  14. a different chris

    I can’t read the “Amy Coney Barrett’s Rose Garden Event Complicates GOP Confirmation Plans” article and anyway I don’t care. She is probably not the cause of infections but truthiness allows me to point the finger at her.

    So I think, to ease the pain of her crappy career path somehow resulting in a Supreme Court position, I am now and forever calling her “Covid Amy”, the modern Typhoid Mary.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    The return of Europe’s largest beasts BBC

    One of the few pieces of good news on the environmental front recently is the growth in the rewilding movement – the realisation that a lot of our ‘natural’ landscapes are not natural at all, and many in fact are extremely degraded. For example, the wild open uplands of Scotland, the north of England and Ireland are the stuff of poetry and chocolate box covers, but in fact these are as ‘natural’ as burnt out Amazonian forest. The natural habitat of those uplands is for the most part forest – actual cloud rainforest. And its remarkably easy to recreate, you just take away the sheep, stop burning it, and let nature take its course.

    There is a remarkable recent reminder of this – they just discovered Europes rarest fern in Killarney in Ireland – a species mostly found in Central American cloud forests. It seems a relict species that may once have been much more common in Europe (the evidence suggests that this was not an accidental introduction). Its so rare, they are still trying to come up with an English name for it (it may be a distinct subspecies). The suggestion so far is Kerry Mousetail Fern, but hopefully someone comes up with something better.

    1. Ignacio

      Today I have learnt in a documentary how in NYC the coast line is being reshaped at least partly and oysters, mussels are being planted, blue crabs are re-populating NY waters, even horseshoe crabs are returning. The molluscs are excellent water filterers and fix excess nitrogen & phosphorous in the water so that algae and bacteria overgrowths are prevented.

  16. jo6pac

    A friend also noted that this was the first time they could remember an actual advertising campaign selling a Supreme Court nominee.

    I’ve never seen like it in the past.

  17. polar donkey

    Police dogs- I had a friend who worked at a bar. One night, two guys on meth came into the bar. They’re behavior was erratic and eventually led to a bar fight. The two meth heads versus 8 to 10 staff/patrons. The fight lasted a long time because the meth heads wouldn’t get tired. Finally, the meth heads got separated from each other. One got barricaded in a hallway, the other ran out to the car in parking lot. About that time cops arrived. Meth head rammed one squad car and then got boxed in by others. Meth head refused to leave car. Cops brought in 2 dogs. Busted the windows on each side of meth head’s car and turned the dogs loose. My friend said the meth head got mauled pretty horrifically.

    1. edmondo

      that little soiree in the Rose Garden ought to be renamed “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Revenge,”

  18. Ignacio

    ‘Investment in Fossil Fuels Yields Much Less Returns Than the Green Sector’ FAIR

    Of course it is too soon to say but it might well be the case that 2019 was peak-oil. If disinvestment is gaining steam, consumers wary about replacing their old car with a new oil-guzzler, and taking as a given the fat tail effect of Covid…

  19. a different chris

    Re Steve Daines story:

    “If Biden and Harris win the White House, we need to net three Senate seats in order to flip to a pro-environment majority,” said League of Conservation Voters National Press Secretary Emily Samsel

    Have they actually met any DC Dem Senators? They need like 20 seats…Between the old do-nothings like Schumer and the DINOs like Manchin, there is no hope for the planet.

  20. Donald

    I am having trouble posting a long rant about Russiagate, so here is the short version regarding Caitlin Johnstone’s piece.

    It’s not just the intelligence agencies. The entire Beltway including journalists requires an evil foreign enemy. They just squabble about which political party is to be portrayed as weak or complicit or traitorous.

    1. Skip Intro

      The distinction you draw between intelligence agencies and the rest of the fluffers and apparatchiks within The Beltway is perhaps not as sharp as they would have us believe.

    2. IdahoSpud

      The entire Beltway including journalists *are* an evil foreign enemy.

      Fixed it for ya. A pox on all their houses.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict offers insight into the new art of war”

    ‘Moscow has vociferously condemned the alleged use of foreign mercenaries and terrorists in Nagorno-Karabakh, and considers their presence a threat to the entire region. The irony, though, is that Russia invented this blueprint:’

    Excuse me? Did he really say that? (cough-cough-Afghanistan-cough-cough-1980s-cough) It was Turkey that was first using Jihadists in Syria and then shipping a coupla thousand of them off to Libya and now Nagorno-Karabakh. What if they want to stay and convert the locals? What then? That plus the addition of Israeli drones is really changing how warfare is conducted. But if Turkey thinks that shipping a coupla thousand Jihadists within stone’s throw of the Russian border is not going to have any consequences, I have news for them and it is all bad. That is like Turkey sending a coupla thousand Jihadists to Mexico to help fight on the side of the drug lords. You think that Washington might have something to say about a development like that?

    1. Alex Cox

      Use of foreign mercenaries and terrorists invented by the Russians? Really?

      I guess Jimmy Carter was a Russian when he invented the Contras and the Mujehadeen.

      1. barefoot charley

        He says the Russians invented it in the 10th century with Varangian (Viking) warriors from Rus hired out to Constantinople.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Mercs go way back. By the end of the Roman Empire, it seemed that half their army was Mercs”R”Us. Greece had the same (The “Ten Thousand”) and Italy was overrun with merc bands in the middle age. The Swiss built their military reputation of hiring out menageries. It is a very old idea-

  22. Chris

    This is so sad. I can’t bring myself to mock the people and the writing portrayed here like most conventional news wisdom lends itself to in the Guardian. These are people who love where they live and feel like they have few options to live anywhere else. The government and insurance companies cracking down on them might be a kindness because they couldn’t repeat this mistake and would have no way to consider other options. But it would also be so cruel. And then there’s the industry that has sprouted in the last 30 years to defend these properties from wild fires, which is also cruel.

    I’m in favor of a FEMA declaration that enforces citizens not getting any help, loans, or grants, to rebuild from any disaster unless their deductible is whatever they received for the last disaster. So, you got a combination of loans, grants, and assistance totalling 150k$ when your house flooded last time? Ok, you now have to pay a minimum of 150k$ to stay in that same location before insurance or any other organization can give you a dime in help. At this point we need to decrease the population and investment in all of these areas dramatically. I cant think of any other way to keep people safe and force us to start making the decisions we need to make.

    1. John Wright

      This is rather personal for me as my Santa Rosa, CA house burned down in the Tubbs Fire in 2017.

      The new houses are being build to improved codes, which should help somewhat, but a housing tract in southern California built to the latest codes had about a 50% burn down rate a few years ago.

      To give an an idea of how widespread the fire risk problem is, I had a conversation with a couple rebuilding a 2017 Tubbs/Nunns fire burned down house. They are using an uncommon (in the USA) concrete construction method (which even incorporates a concrete roof).

      Their family story gives an idea of the fire risk on the West Coast,

      When I asked what motivated their concrete construction choice for their burned down house, they responded with “our son had an attic fire in Seattle, our daughter’s house in Thousand Oaks (Southern CA) came within two houses of burning in the Thousand Oaks fire, and a sister’s house burned in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire”.

      As noted, the fire hazard certainly continues, as last Sunday (Sept 28) I got an email from a friend that their house “burned down and they lost everything”,

      As the US government does not provide fire insurance, the loss is covered by private insurance companies.

      FEMA did cover the massive clean up of the 2017 fires and provided some loans/grants.

      One aftermath of the fire is that I now assess neighborhoods for their fire risk and evacuation prospects when I’m driving through them.

      There are many hillside neighborhoods in Marin County (North of the Golden Gate Bridge) and Sonoma County (north of Marin County) that have narrow roads and much hillside fuel (woods, brush and wood framed homes).

      The residents of these homes MUST be very nervous during fire season.

      I believe that the insurance companies will drive significant changes as the CA real estate market will have issues if new mortgage customers cannot get affordable fire insurance.

      My fire insurance policy had this endorsement added in July 2017, a few months before the October 2017 fire.

      “you authorize our “wildfire response supplier’s” certified firefighters to access your “residence premises” to perform nondestructive “wildfire” suppression and structural protection services, including but not limited to:

      a. debris removal;
      b. fuel source mitigation; and
      c. closing structure openings.

      I look to insurance companies driving the big changes.

      I don’t see significant changes coming from the real estate industry, building industry or development friendly politicians.

      1. Chris

        I can understand that. There isn’t a lot you can do when a building is hit by that kind of heat. Even it’s made of concrete. Without some kind of ablative shielding you’re still toast.

        I wonder what it will take for these areas to be truly abandoned. I mean, in disaster movies like “Day after tomorrow”, we see people leaving and not coming back. But given our history I’m not sure how accurate that is. I think we could have glaciers falling out of the sky and you’d still see people trying to rebuild.

        From what I’ve read there’s evidence to suggest the area which regularly burned in a wildfire season several thousand years ago was greater than what we’re dealing with today. If that’s correct, how many fire seasons would it take to abandon the areas which regularly burn in CA, NM, AZ, CO, WA, OR, etc.?

        1. John Wright

          The fire spreading mechanism that I observed was the hot embers flying through the air started fires for many miles..

          I attempted to put out spot fires in the back yard with a garden hose and had limited success as blown embers started the wooden fence burning and lit off shrubbery.

          I watched a neighbor’s house start to burn, apparently from embers blown through the attic vents.

          It was as if a bright light went on in the attic and then flames came out the attic vents.

          I have talked with people who believe they have a fire resistant house because they have a tile roof and a cement stucco exterior.

          I believe they are quite mistaken.

          In my limited experience, with the fire propagation via blown embers, houses burn from inside the attic down. Even asphalt shingle roofs don’t catch fire easily as embers can be blown off by wind.

          I know of one concrete envelope house that survived a massive Lake County (Northern California) wildfire very well.

          Google for:
          “Fire Fighters and Rescue workers are amazed and baffled, “How could this place still be here?””

          1. chris

            Tile roof is good, but it depends what’s on it and how the tiles are laid. Stucco is not a guarantee against anything. The basics here are that there are 3 kinds of heat transfer in play: conduction, convection, and radiation. In a neighborhood where the houses are constructed of combustible materials you can end up maximizing all 3. So yeah, the embers can start things off, but so can heat from adjacent structures. Concrete can be built to protect against many situations where fires are around a property but it’s still no guarantee.

            1. John Wright

              There is certainly no guarantee but there are building methods and materials that can help considerably.

              My neighborhood was burning very well when I made my hasty exit down the middle of the street.

              The radiated heat from the houses burning on both sides was intense, but not enough to burn my clothes.

              Windows are a very vulnerable point as even intact windows can provide a path for radiated infrared to start combustible materials inside the house burning.

              I know that some in Australia have advocated thermostatically controlled drop down metal shutters to protect large windows.

              I like the idea of fire resistant glass block windows.

              I have suggested that a fire resistant community should intersperse rows of concrete houses to serve as firebreaks, if vulnerable wood frame houses continue to be built.

              However, there seems to be little pressure to build much more fire resistant homes.

              California could lead the USA in promoting much more fire resistant building (and retrofitting) but I don’t see the political will.

              As I mentioned above, I believe insurance companies will drive changes in behavior, given that 32% of CA homes (2010 data) are included in the wildland-urban interface category.

              Here is an interesting statistic from

              “California’s expansion of housing within and adjacent to wildland vegetation is not unique; the most recent assessment shows that the WUI now includes about one-third of homes in the United States.”

              A state by state link (2010 data) showing the number of homes within a WUI area has 4,426,803 of total California’s13,680,081 homes (about 32%) in the at risk area.

              But this also shows that Colorado has an even larger percentage of homes that are in the WUI designation 940,552 of 2,212,898 (42%)

              The link:

              The wildfire leading to massive home loss problem could be coming to other states as climate change manifests.

              1. chris

                I’m not sure you appreciate what kind of temperatures are involved to cause clothes to ignite or what kind of temperatures develop from burning house construction materials. Your typical cotton fabric won’t autoignite until nearly 500 F (~255 C). Had you walked into that your clothing would have started to burn and you would have died fairly quickly.

                The heat coming from the wood used in construction can easily reach 1000 F. Most wood doesn’t start to automatically burn until about 700 F or so, but that’s highly dependent on dryness and the competency of the ignition source.

                Bottomline, what you’re suggesting is that CA lead the way into building houses that look like houses (with big windows!) but can also survive extreme variations in temperature. You can do that but it costs a lot of money and requires serious upkeep and maintenance. Both of which your average homeowner is incapable of doing reliably. The best answer, I’m sorry to say, is to not build in California where it can burn, or next to where it can burn. I won’t say not to build in California at all, but maybe if the big one hits that’s the next logical conclusion.

                This will require massive amounts of new building and increasing density in cities that are in safe areas in order to house displaced people. But the truth really seems to be we can either accept the risk to life and property being continuous in the wildfire prone areas, or we can just stop living there. I’m very sorry for that but it doesn’t make it any less true.

          2. ewmayer

            When I first moved into my current multistory reinforced-concrete-and-steel apt. building in Marin 2 years ago, I jokingly referred to it as a “monstrosity”, but I gotta tell you, it’s quite a comfort fire danger.

            Interesting note re. the inside/out embers-in-the-attic mechanism, John – that may explain what happened to the barn/wine-storage outbuilding gutted by the Glass Fire at Napa Valley’s Castello di Amorosa winery — said winery is built as an authentic replica of a medieval Italian stone castle with glazed-tile roofs, so I was puzzled by the fact that the large outbuilding burned, despite having been built the same way as the castle main, which remains intact. The above article notes that the fire “set ablaze the roof tiles of the farmhouse” – I wrote the author asking for clarification, no reply. But I did not that the construction method was ceramic tiles atop wood-timber roof framing … hot embers getting inside that somehow could certainly be the culprit.

            I was surprised and disappointed to not see this aspect addressed in any of the numerous local-news stories – this sort of “what kind of construction is resistant to wildfires?” question is absolutely crucial, going forward. Mother Nature has made eminently clear that wood-frame construction is quite simply out – you can make it a smidge safer by e.g. sheeting it in metal, but in a “rain of fire” wind-and-firestorm any small gap – perhaps a squirrel-chewed hole, whatever – is a place where hot embers can get in.

            We need to seriously start pushing people to (re)building with concrete, adobe and rammed-earth, partially burying homes in hillsides, etc. In this regard the insurance companies can for once play a significant positive role, by simply refusing to insure tinderbox structures, or making such insurance prohibitively expensive. Some kind of tiered/grandfathered approach, perhaps:

            o Existing wood-framed home in wildfire country? Sheet it in metal and be subject to annual fire-safety inspection, or no fire insurance.

            o New construction or rebuild? No wood framing allowed, period. Concrete, adobe or rammed-earth exterior, interior walls/floors steel-framed (steel-beam rafters and joists, steelstud-and-drywall interior walls).

            1. John Wright

              I was told that embers can be blown under cement or clay tiles on the roof and then start the roof burning via the asphalt underlayment.

              It does not have to be via an attic vent.

              Some retrofits can be done such as screening vents to keep large embers out, but that may not make tile roofs much more fire resistant..

              And the eaves can be “boxed” with fire resistant cement board underneath to help prevent flames from igniting the eaves.

              The news media has been somewhat lax in reporting what can help.

              For example, here is a link to a Washington Post video about

              “Refusing to evacuate, one man fought the fire alone to save his house”


              What the video misses completely is what a friend (and neighbor of the man in the video) related to me “He saved the house, and was prepared with a 2” fire hose, a water pump and Barricade foam. He spent most the night defending his wood house”

              Sloppy, incomplete journalism by the Washington Post that might encourage someone to stay behind to fight a fire without proper equipment,

              As one drives around Marin, particularly in areas such as Mill Valley, which had a large fire that started on July 2, 1929, consider what havoc a fire similar to the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 would cause.

              As I mentioned before, I believe the insurance industry will be the prime mover in forcing change to more fire resistant building methods (in California and elsewhere).

              But this will take some time as the emphasis is on “heads in beds” via quick rebuilding in conventional wood frame construction,

  23. The Rev Kev

    “50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State”

    ‘Two years ago we set out to identify a signature dish for each state, from Sonoran dogs in Arizona to cheese curds in Wisconsin.’

    This is really a great article and makes me want to do a road trip of America to try all those dishes. Yeah, that will never happen now. So still a really great article but boy, does their timing ever suck.

    1. Charger01

      i disagree. If anything, RV travelers have been thick in the Pacific Northwest. I think most well to do folks like the idea of their own self contained transport and lodging in these times.

      1. Still Above Water

        The new status symbol in many driveways in my PMC-ridden Portland neighborhood is a grey Winnebago camper van – the type built on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. I thought, “how much do those go for, $75k? $100k?” Nope. Base price is $174k! Even if I could afford one, my wife would probably say “we could spend a whole year in a $500/night resort for what that thing costs.” ;)

        1. jr

          I knew a guy years ago who worked in RV manufacturing, on the plant floor. I don’t remember the company’s name but he said he would never buy an RV as they were essentially rolling aluminum sheds that provided little protection in an accident.

  24. ShamanicFallout

    I don’t support full time returning to classrooms but the remote “learning” is complete farce, at least for my 7 year old daughter. She absolutely hates it, where she once loved school. I’ve talked so many parents whose kids feel exactly the same way. And I can read between the lines in communicating with her teachers- they hate it too. They all sit in front of the screen and listen to the teachers talk and talk while the kids space out and use the Chat in Teams or Zoom, It’s worse than a college lecture. And for 2nd graders! Kids need a three dimensional learning environment. It would be better to not have school at all.

    I just applied to my very large Metro school district’s task force on ‘reopening’. We will see if I am accepted. I’ve worked every day since the pandemic began as I am in the wholesale food business. And thus my daughter has been at the boys and girls club remote “learning” every day. There, they are all in the same classroom, masked. They sit at the same tables. They eat lunch together. They play on the playground together. They have snack time and recess together. What would you call that? It’s school.

    1. chris

      Has your district discussed what the plans are for returning to school? Ours has been exceptionally vague. And we’ve had several teacher rebellions. Some union supported some not. I feel like our board of education and central administration would prefer to continue with the status quo until they’re either overtaken by events (we’re all locking down again!) or it’s obviously safe (come back to school and get you covid vaccine at the same time). But this is hurting our kids and teachers. It really can’t go on and yet we don’t have any options.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Very vague. That’s probably why they are setting up this re-opening “task force”. There was an earlier plan to try to let some schools offer some classes if they were outdoor. But it’s fall now and the weather will put an end to that. So they were basically able to run the clock out on that.

        1. jr

          My sister, a teacher in the Bronx, currently has 4 students in class and like 20 online. She loves it because she can focus on the 4 students while the other 20 chat on their phones, argue with their parents, eat Fruit-Loops, pick their noses, or any of the 10 million other things they do besides pay attention to her.

    2. Lost in OR

      I don’t see how remote learning could possibly work for younger students. The technology hurdles alone are daunting. I think schools’ ideology regarding students is a big problem. During previous parent-teacher conferences with my 14yo son, issues with his schoolwork were consistently glossed over. He was basically told he was special and perfect just the way he was (everyone gets a medal). After each conference I would challenge him about all the issues not discussed. We had some serious battles.

      At the start of school last year I finally got the school to test him for learning disabilities. We now believe he has dyslexia. Approximately 15% of kids have dyslexia. With all the problems he had from forth to seventh grade and not a single teacher recognized his symptoms. They just kept getting passing him up to the the next grade. And telling him he was special and perfect just the way he is. If he had been distance learning in those years he would not have succeeded.

      Since the dyslexia diagnosis, he is doing great. He is self-motivated, and persistent, and works twice as hard as his friends. He still gets frustrated with the issues that dyslexia creates, but he’s working through them. I think he’ll do well. And I’m a happy parent.

      Shamanic, my heart goes out to you. Best luck to you.

    3. Ella

      My daughter is seven and at school 100% remote from home even though her school is open 100% in person (for now). I chose home for a variety of reasons. It’s not ideal, but quite frankly from my view into the classroom on Zoom (synchronous learning), it’s not ideal there either. The kids are forced to stay at their desk, alone. Very little talking even with masks on. Lunch and snack is alone at a desk with no talking allowed because masks are off. Recess (I can’t see it) but I would assume it’s fine – outside, masked. If it’s raining, though… no go, they are inside sitting at their desks with a toy from home.

      So to me it was suboptimal learning from home (and stress for mom and dad who work full time, though at home) or prison like school.

      My daughter – she loves remote learning! I’m actually shocked. She has playdates a couple times a week and we have a remote piano lesson weekly and horseback riding lessons (outside, so safe-ish).

      It’s all sucky situations – you gotta find the best of the sucky that works for you and your kid.

  25. petal

    Just went to work. All along the main road through Hanover(NH) are these official-looking signs that say “Save America: Vote Biden/Harris”. They popped up overnight. Can’t wait til this sick joke of an election is over.

    1. edmondo

      “Save America. Give Biden a blank check. It’s OK. He has no idea what to do with it.”

      I will wager a year’s salary that Biden’s approval figures are lower than Trump’s in two years.

      1. Charger01

        Instead of “hope and change” its “here’s the deal, jack” or “c’mon man”
        I can’t wait to fail forward with Harris.

        1. petal

          “Save America” is so drama queen. Seems to be a pattern with that lot.
          Charger01, I know, I wish I could’ve failed upwards like she has. It’s very impressive. There was also a sticker of Trump in an orange jumpsuit on a stop sign at the hospital at one of the main intersections. The sticker is new since yesterday.

          1. petal

            Apparently only about 30 people showed up for Sanders’ rally for Biden at Storrs Hill yesterday in Lebanon, NH. There are photos posted online if people want to go look at them. I tried counting heads in the photos.

      2. L.A.Woman

        “Save America: vote Biden/Harris”

        Begs for the the application of magic marker on masking tape additions:

        “Save America: vote-“for oligarchs /Harris”

        covering up potential President Pro-Tem Biden’s name.

      3. anon

        I predict that President Biden will have good approval figures in 2 years. Of course, then President Harris’ numbers will be miserable.

          1. ChrisPacific

            I think anon is suggesting that Biden may not make it through the full four year term if he wins, either due to his manifest lack of enthusiasm for the job or the donor community having a quiet word in his ear (or both).

            Overall it certainly looks like all those trips to the Hamptons paid off for Harris.

  26. Jomo

    I know y’all’s don’t like to talk about systemic racism, but the photo of the Supreme Court nomination announcement for Barrett in the Axios article on “The GOPs Great Depression” shows exactly one black male in a sea of white faces. The USA just doesn’t even try anymore. The photo should be enough to disqualify Judge Barrett from further consideration.

    1. lambert strether

      Lol, for a minute there I thought you were talking about that photo of all of RBG’s clerks that I published in Water Cooler. My bad.

      We don’t look kindly on drive-bys, champ. Or smears.

  27. antidlc

    Comments about ACB:

    1) One of the ads by JCN promoting her mentions that “She follows the law”.

    Doesn’t Washington, DC have a mask mandate?

    Mayor’s Order 2020-080: Wearing of Masks in the District of Columbia To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

    Mayor’s Order 2020-080: Wearing of Masks in the District of Columbia To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

    Mayor’s Order 2020-080
    July 22, 2020

    SUBJECT: Wearing of Masks in the District of Columbia To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

    ORIGINATING AGENCY: Office of the Mayor


    Except as specified in Section IV of this Order:

    1. Persons leaving their residences shall wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time; and

    2) Didn’t Trump make some comment about her “brilliance”?
    How “brilliant” is to allow your kids to attend a ceremony where most of the attendees didn’t wear masks, and the kids weren’t wearing them?

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Doesn’t Washington, DC have a mask mandate?’

      If you are talking about the Rose Garden ceremony yes, but the Rose Garden is on Federal property (part of the White House) which is how they ignored the 50 person limit and had about 150 people there.

      1. furies

        I just got an email from Daily Kos (I ‘unsubscribe’ from them and their affiliates 1x/week and still they come) that ‘the Trump Whitehouse doubles down on no masks’.

        It’s so discouraging and it makes me want to vote for Joe. A truly undecided voter–if I vote at all.

  28. Wukchumni

    Chris Christie tests positive for Covid-19 CNN
    Been a bit of a bittersweet relationship with the Donald for Christie, he gets shown the door when Trump wins, and then gets shown the virus in the Rose Garden.

    A thorny ide
    Invisible to eye
    Divisible by pi
    Hide in plain sight

    1. judy2shoes

      The best one I’ve seen so far is a large HARRIS 2020 with the I in Harris replaced by a tiny vertically written Biden.

  29. Alex Cox

    There’s also a poster which says NOPE. The O is an orange circle with a yellow comb-over.

    What can it mean?

    1. DHuffton

      In Colorado there’s at least one billboard

      “President KAMALEØN? NO WAY!

      O is a red circle with a bar through it.

  30. Wukchumni

    Sports Desk:

    I can take it or leave it with MLB, NBA & NHL, but don’t deny me the spectacle of smashmouth Sundays, and Covid hit the NFL just a week before the Rose Garden cotillion get together.

    NFL knows they have a major problem with unmasked staff & coaches on the sidelines-thus the $100k fines for mask demurers, but what do you do with the players all over one another in close proximity and nary a mask on them on the sidelines, yo!

    Lets end on a good note, In theory we might have gone to the Bills game in Vegas today in that world before Covid, a brand new stadium built just in time to be empty (like the $5 billion new one in LA) in a place that isn’t going to recover from Covid, what are they gonna do, move the casinos outside?

    Oh yeah, the good note:

    The right paw from Firebaugh lights up Sin City, resulting in recorded taunts and assorted jeers from the Carr Go Cult towards the crestfallen QB.

  31. Wukchumni

    Had our family Zoom session the other day, and they’ve relaxed things somewhat at my mom’s assisted living place and she could go shopping and be out in the public for first time since March, so my sister took her for a few errands, and I asked mom how it felt, and while it wasn’t quite Rip Van Winkle, interesting brave new world, she laughed.

  32. Phil in KC

    One thing different from 2016 is my Facebook feed. I’m not seeing posts from weird sites that say things like Biden is drinking adrenochrome to stay alert or that Pope Francis has endorsed Trump. Suck seems seems to have done well in weeding out the chaos. Sort of the same on Twitter. Anyone else have a similar or different experience?

    1. Susan M

      I don’t know if it is because I only click on items on my newsfeed that I won’t mind seeing again and I may have just scrolled past without thinking, but my newsfeed is just posts from friends, local stores/restaurants/community events, pet and nature links, and clothing/furniture ads. I live alone without family nearby, so I’m ok with Facebook as it currently treats me individually. I really like it for local connections. I also got a link to apply for a mail-in ballot pretty early on, which I had already done, but it was nice to see it. There were no candidate ads popping up either.

  33. Mummichog

    Thousands defy lockdown as they call for Netanyahu to resign Al Jazeera
    It is not only Netanyahu who uses Covid19 to seize, maintain and abuse power but many other jurisdictions around the world. There should be more media reporting on this but it seems to get a free pass because of all the fear, anxiety and panic generated by government spin machines. And, it is not only power that is at stake but increased looting of the public till. I have not heard of any government that has increased the budget for auditors of its financial actions. With so much more money being spent the auditing is therefore watered down proportionately and it is much easier to steal and loot. The crooks and thieves are not being furloughed.

    Then there are the corporations who have become partners and agents of the government and enforcers of their mandates. My local Stupormarket, for instance, now has arrows directing people how to move about the store, how to line up obediently when checking out, penalizes people who wish to pay with cash. What a Wet Dream for retailing executives to be mandated by Government to control their compliant clientele. and order them about like a boot camp. Just one example of this power abuse.

    Emergency powers are great opportunities for government and their agents to abuse their power. A lot of the abuses installed under emergencies become permanent in the future.

  34. jo6pac

    I’m feeling really important right about now and I have friends in High places unlike you all;-)

    Joe Biden emailed you.
    Kamala Harris emailed you.
    Jimmy Carter emailed you.
    Andrew Cuomo emailed you.
    James Carville emailed you.
    Pete Buttigieg emailed you.
    Beto O’Rourke emailed you.
    Khizr Khan emailed you.
    Paul Begala emailed you.
    Carole King emailed you.
    Barney Frank emailed you.
    Barbra Streisand emailed you.

    All these giants of the Democratic Party took the time to reach out to you personally because they’re counting on your help.

    Right now, we’re up against our BIGGEST deadline since Nancy Pelosi took back the People’s Gavel.

    And we hate to say it, but we’re still $4O,OOO short of where we need to be.

    We can’t let our Democratic leaders down, Starr. That’s why we’re counting on you to pull through when it matters most.

    Can you rush in $1 before tonight’s crucial End of Week Deadline to fortify our Majority?

    If they think I’m sending them $1 dream on corp. owned demodogs

    1. fresno dan

      October 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      Barbra Streisand emailed you.
      Barbra Streisand is sill alive?

    2. Big Tap

      How about the video ad from Chuck Schumer that begins “Hey You!” He trying to shock me so I give the Dems some money. No dice.

  35. bwilli123

    The crappification of the precariat continues unabated.

    “Arise’s workers not only don’t work for its clients, they also don’t officially work for Arise. Like Uber drivers or TaskRabbit gofers, they are independent contractors. To get gigs, they first absorb substantial expense, paying for their own equipment and training, and then have fees deducted from every paycheck for the “use” of Arise’s “platform.”…

    …With American roots going back to the 1990s, Arise’s list of corporate clients, past and present, includes not only Airbnb, Comcast, Instacart and Disney, but also Amazon, Apple and AT&T. There’s also Barnes & Noble, eBay, Intuit, Home Depot, Staples, Princess Cruises, Peloton, Signet Jewelers, Virgin Atlantic and Walgreens….”

  36. jr

    I received a text from “Resistbot” noting the need to register to vote, in turn reminding me that I need to blow off voting and get stoned instead. I have never provided my phone number to any “Resistance” type organizations and I wonder how they got my information.
    Maybe I gave it out when I was stoned. Life really is a big circle…

  37. YetAnotherChris

    In Minneapolis I’m seeing a number of yard signs that feature a donkey kicking a hairdo. “Bye, Don.” I didn’t even get the tortured pun until this afternoon. This is really weak. Your yard sign won’t even mention your candidate by name?

    Elsewhere I’ve noticed rainbow-colored signs that say, “Kamala Harris (and Joe Biden, too).” These at least feel more honest.

    Meanwhile, tents continue to pop up in surprising places. Today it was the north arm of Lake of the Isles. Seven-figure homes and a view of the water, marred by reality.

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