2:00PM Water Cooler 11/20/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, trying to work on queued comments right now brings the site down (although fortunately only for us, not for you). So we apologize to any readers whose comments have not been released. We are working on the problem, and hope to report success in the near future. Wish us luck! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Case count by United States region:

Test positivity by region:

Positivity (blue) seems to have plateaued in the Midwest. Still the giant drop in the South (green).

Hospitalization by region:

Hospitalization seems to have plateaued in the South.

Case fatality rate by region:

Deaths (purple dotted) heading toward vertical.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Election Legitimacy

Despite Doucette being a #NeverTrump conservative, I’ve enjoyed his Tweets on Trump’s quote “coup” unquote:

“I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now” [Medium]. “The coup was a farce at the time but how soon it turned to tragedy. They called it a constitutional crisis, but how soon it became a real one. Right now, the same thing is happening to you. I’m trying to warn you America. It seems stupid now, but the consequences are not…. This is the point. You have taken an orderly system balancing a whole lot of chaos and fucked with it. I don’t know how it’s going to explode, but I can promise you this. It’s going to explode. This is precisely why we have elections, and why both sides accept the results. To keep the chaos at bay. The whole point is that you have a regular, ritual fight rather than fighting all the time. Once one side breaks ritual then you’re on the way to civil war. Once you break the rules then chaos ensues. What exactly happens? I don’t know. It’s chaos.”

“The Real Reason Hillary Asked for a Recount” [Ed Klein, Townhall (RH)]. November 30, 2016: “Why did Hillary Clinton join Jill Stein, the Green Party’s oddball presidential nominee, in asking for a recount of the votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania when everyone knows that such a recount won’t change the outcome of the 2016 election?…. President Obama convinced Hillary that it was in the best interest of the Democratic Party if the Clinton legal team got involved with the recount and didn’t leave it to Jill Stein. ‘The president felt that the progressives were acting stunned and helpless and had to rise out of their stupor and show that they weren’t going to take their defeat lying down,’ said the source. ‘Contesting the results of the election was the best and fastest way to stir the morale and fighting spirit of the demoralized party.’ ‘Obama felt that a recount would plant a seed with the base that the election was somehow dishonest,’ the source continued. ‘He wanted to raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the Trump presidency.'” Well, the sourcing is better than the link above, I’ll say that. (Klein is or was a real journalist, but his 2003 book was publishd by St. Martins, and his books 2012 and onward by Regnery….)

“Trump told ally he’s trying to get back at Democrats for questioning legitimacy of his own election” [CNN]. “President Donald Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN on Thursday.” I think “told an ally” and “a source familiar with the President’s thinking” is two levels of indirection; it’s too bad we couldn’t get an anonymous intelligence official quoted.

“Hill-Harris Poll: Sixty-One Percent Of Voters Now Support A Trump Concession Speech” [Jonathan Turley]. “There were plausible objections raised about over voting, conditional ballots, and other issues. However, those legal claims were repeatedly cut off by sweeping descriptions of a Communist conspiracy tied to Venezuela and Cuba [What, not Putin? What are they thinking?]. Absent hard evidence, more voters will be calling for concession. The rhetoric bordered on a rave at points and overwhelmed the specific challenges being planned in various states. It undermined the credibility of these lawsuits. Last night, Giuliani continued with that rhetorical onslaught and claimed not only a national conspiracy but one directed by Biden. He also claimed evidence that a ‘large truck’ was seen pulling up at 4:30 am into a Detroit voting center loaded with Biden ballots in trash cans and shopping bags. Such a violation would likely be caught on videotape and the conspiracy would involve a large number of criminal co-conspirators. It is time to see that evidence.”

“Security establishment braced for final onslaught from Trump” [Financial Times]. “Others point out the military has become adept at ‘slow-rolling’ Mr Trump and that any troop withdrawals will probably be done in a way that is reversible once Mr Biden takes office.” • Well, that’s a weight off my mind.

“The Disastrous Idea That Won’t Go Away” [The Atlantic]. If Trump struck Iran: “Trump would become an international pariah, shunned at Davos….” • Not only do these people see that as important, they think Trump does, too!

2020 Democrats in Disarray

Et tu, Chelsea?

Biden Transition

“If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the Left” [Jamelle Bouie, New York Times]. “On Feb. 10, 1931, four years before Senator Robert Wagner of New York and Representative David Lewis of Maryland introduced President Roosevelt’s social security legislation to Congress, tens of thousands of Americans nationwide took to the streets at the height of the Great Depression to march for unemployment assistance and food aid. Organized by a then-burgeoning Communist Party, demonstrations ranged from peaceful protests to tense confrontations with law enforcement. In Boston, noted The New York Times in a contemporaneous report, “Two hundred Communists and sympathizers and about as many police staged a series of fights and scuffles along the Boston Common.” In St. Paul, Minn., “Communist-led demonstrators jammed their way into the House chamber of the Minnesota Legislature and held possession for more than two hours while they demanded relief for the unemployed.” In New York City, similarly, “nearly 4,000 men, women and children heard half a dozen speakers call upon the government to grant unemployment insurance, stop evictions and to furnish free food, heat and light to the unemployed.These demonstrations weren’t just for the idea of unemployment insurance. The Communists had a particular bill in mind: the Workers’ Unemployment Insurance Bill, which the party had drafted the previous year. The Workers’ Bill, as it was called, promised generous assistance for the unemployed, for the sick and the old, and for new mothers, all financed by taxes on corporate income and inheritances. With ongoing activism and agitation came greater support; rank-and-file pressure from within the American Federation of Labor, for example, led to the creation of the A.F.L. Trade Union Committee for Unemployment Insurance and Relief, headed by Louis Weinstock of the New York Painters’ Union, himself a communist. The committee endorsed the bill, which was later introduced to Congress by the Minnesota Farmer-Labor congressman Ernest Lundeen on the urging of Herbert Benjamin of C.P.U.S.A., who led the party’s effort to organize the unemployed.”

“Joe Biden’s Four-Year Plan” [Jeff Spross, The American Prospect]. “Drawing on history, political science has a pretty good idea what specific characteristics policies should have to create that feedback of voter goodwill leading to large, durable majorities. Social Security and Medicare are the gold standard: benefits that are generous, that go to large swaths of the population, and that are designed and delivered in a straightforward way, so that voters can clearly see they’ve received the benefit, and from whom.” • As I have been saying for years, “universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class.” More: “Unfortunately, even when they’ve held total power, Democrats have spent the last several decades deliberately avoiding policy designs that do this.” • Well, I’m sure an alliance of Liberal Democrats and Bush Republicans will belly up to the bar….


“New Scientist-Candidates for U.S. Congress Fared Worse Than Expected in 2020” [Scientific American]. “This year 27 candidates—incumbents as well as new challengers—were endorsed by the science advocacy group 314 Action. The group recruits people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering or medicine to run for office, endorses candidates and has a political action committee that contributes to their campaigns. In the House of Representatives, just two endorsed challengers out of eight won, though one race remains too close to call because mailed ballots are still being counted.” • The CIA Democrats did better….

Obama Legacy

Obama’s auto-cancellation continues apace:

There’s always a tweet:

“Can I get some water?”

This is the video:

I’m not sure I agree with Ames; I think with not very much wading, I could find plenty of worse stuff, especially because NC covered the Crash and the foreclosure crisis so deeply.

“Obama had to quit coaching Sasha’s basketball team because other parents complained: book” [The Hill]. “Obama and his aide Reggie Love, who previously played on Duke University’s men’s basketball team, began coaching and running practices for Sasha Obama’s team [at Sidwell Friends], which was named the Vipers. ‘After observing an adorable, but chaotic, first couple of games, Reggie and I took it upon ourselves to draw up some plays and volunteered to conduct a few informal Sunday afternoon practice sessions with the team. We worked on the basics: dribbling, passing, making sure your shoelaces were tied before you ran onto the court,’ Obama writes.” • “The vipers” is a little too on-the-nose for a private school in D.C….

Realignment and Legitimacy

Steve Mnuchin’s body has been seized by the undead spirit of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov:

Vampires? Or ghouls?

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Leading Indicators: “13 November 2020 ECRI’s WLI Continues To Improve” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward marginally improved and remains in expansion. ECRI also released their coincident and lagging indices.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 14 November 2020 – Rolling Averages Continue To Improve” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. remain deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline. Carloads are no longer in contraction. But overall because of the strength of intermodal, rail is on an improving trendline.”

* * *

Shipping: “COVID lockdown sequel threatens shipping demand” [American Shipper]. “It is an increasingly jarring juxtaposition: record container numbers at the ports and record COVID numbers at the hospitals. Ports and hospitals are simultaneously nearing maximum capacity…. The risk for container shipping is that U.S. goods consumption will drop off due to non-service business restrictions and/or declining consumer confidence. An enormous number of box cargoes are already en route. The Port of Los Angeles’ preliminary estimate is for 835,000 TEUs in December, up 12% year-on-year, after which it expects a pre-Chinese New Year bounce in January. This raises the question: What if COVID slashes consumer demand in the middle of the ordering cycle and importers wind up with too much inventory in 2021?”

Shipping: “FedEx Freight hit with big jury verdict after dismissing driver with bad knee” [Freight Waves]. “FedEx Freight has lost a battle in court over a dismissed driver who had a rebuilt knee with possibly limited motion, with a jury awarding the plaintiff a little more than $6.85 million. The large award against the LTL division of FedEx comes after a lawsuit that started over a seemingly innocuous event: the decision by the plaintiff in the case, David Goldstine, to not shut a damaged trailer door because of concerns over his knee, which had undergone knee replacement surgery a few years earlier. ”

The Bezzle: “How We Unmasked the Hollywood Con Queen Suspect” [Vanity Fair]. “The perpetrator allegedly lured hundreds of Hollywood gig workers—makeup artists, photographers, trainers, actors, stuntmen—to Indonesia to shoot big blockbuster movies with fake names like The Master and Gotham City Sirens. Using their own money, victims flew across the world while the catfishing Pascal or another woman kept in constant contact, sending them elaborate sides of dialogue, asking them to make inspirational mood boards for shoots at Hindu temples, and, sometimes, even asking them to ‘audition’ on the phone with dirty sex scenes. She’d tell them they were just a minute away from meeting the director and producer on set, but every day she’d come up with excuses of why the shoot had been delayed. And in the end there was no job. For a while we thought a criminal cabal was behind this weird con, but we have identified a lone Indonesian man living in the U.K. as a likely suspect. Hargobind Punjabi Tahilramani, often known as ‘Gobind,’ was born in Jakarta to a privileged background on—of all days—Halloween, October 31, 1979. In the U.K. he is known as a foodfluencer Instagramming under the handle Pure Bytes and ISpintheTales. In social media videos, Tahilramani, who has not responded to multiple requests for comment, has a round face and a warm, welcoming smile. His captions carry the superficial, insipid tone of many influencers, whether he’s talking about vegetarian roti, brat, or taking a ‘satisfying journey with a coruscating kaleidoscope of colours’ at brunch.” • Ah, brunch.

Infrastructure: “Investment in highways, bridges and ports may be on the table in Washington in 2021. Lawmakers are eyeing infrastructure as a possible area of bipartisan compromise under the Biden administration… as Democrats and Republicans face the possibility of another two years of divided government” [Wall Street Journal]. “Efforts to craft a multiyear bill repeatedly fell apart during the Trump administration, and disagreements on the scope of the legislation and how to pay for it will persist under the new president. But Congress faces a potential impetus with the expiration of the existing spending plan known as the highway bill next Sept. 30, and a new measure could become a vehicle for President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion plan for transportation and other infrastructure. Lawmakers see the desire for economic stimulus as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic as potentially spurring passage of a major infrastructure bill.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 64 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 20 at 11:58am.

The Biosphere

“Chinese scientist ‘in shock’ after finding herpes virus can survive in oil wells” [South China Morning Post]. “A scientist was “shocked” to discover the herpes virus in samples taken from an oil well hundreds metres under the ground in northeast China. Zhang Ying, a professor from the Institute of Applied Ecology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenyang, found large quantities of the virus in samples taken from around a dozen wells. Scientists already knew that bacteria could survive in oil, but the discovery that viruses were also present is a very recent one and no one realised the variety and quantity of viral life forms that could be found there until Zhang started her research.”

“Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology” [Quanta]. This is Quanta, so I will almost be able to understand it, but won’t be able to excerpt it. Let me try…. ” [pause]. OK, “Zooming out, the team argues, you could classify most real fractured-rock mosaics using just Platonic rectangles, 2D Voronoi patterns, and then — overwhelmingly — Platonic cubes in three dimensions. Each of these patterns could tell a geological story. And yes, with the appropriate caveats, you really could say the world is made of cubes. ‘They did their due diligence in vetting their modeled forms against reality,’ said Martha-Cary Eppes, an earth scientist at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. ‘My initial skepticism was allayed.’ ‘The math is telling us that when we begin to fracture rocks, however we do it, whether we do it randomly or deterministically, there is only a certain set of possibilities,’ said [ Vanderbilt geophysicist David Furbish]. ‘How clever is that?'” • This really very, very neat. A beautiful result. Lots of good examples, too, for geology stans.

“In Phytoremediation, Plants Extract Toxins from Soils” [JSTOR Daily]. “A good example of this was the case of Cabin Creek, in West Virginia. Two sites of the former Pure Oil Refinery held several storage tanks that contaminated both soil and groundwater. The refinery discontinued its operations in 1954, but more than 40 years later, in 1996, researchers still found high levels of petroleum compounds in samples of soil and water from the sites…. More than 15,000 poplar trees were planted that year at the sites, covering 54,000 square meters (14 acres)…. Once the poplars were viable, researchers collected samples of soil and groundwater periodically to measure levels of petroleum derivative compounds, such as gasoline, toluene, and benzene. By 2006, seven years after starting the experiment, levels of gasoline had dropped by 82% in the soil and 59% in groundwater. Levels of toluene dropped 90% and 84% in soil and water, respectively, showing that the poplar trees were successful in cleaning both land and water. The experiment was also very cheap, costing roughly $80,000 for installation and another $20,000 for yearly maintenance. For comparison, other means of remediation, such as incineration and soil venting, would have required the installation of heavy machinery, the excavation of the soil, and would have a high energy demand, estimated to cost at least $65 million in total.” • That’s amazing!

“These Four-Foot Lizards Will Eat Anything—and They’re Invading the Southeastern U.S.” [Smithsonian]. • Will they eat feral hogs? That would solve some problems.

Health Care

“Together Again: Physical Distancing on the Decline” [International Monetary Fund]. “[A}s COVID-19 outbreaks began to ebb and lockdowns eased over the summer, measures tracking mobility, such as Google Community Mobility Reports, showed that adherence to keeping our distance from others began to relax. Our ongoing research finds that these increases in mobility were indeed matched by a significant decline in self-reported compliance for a range of recommended COVID-19 behaviors across many advanced and emerging economies…. Looking at data through September, this gradual decline in compliance with recommended COVID-19 behaviors appears to have followed on the heels of governments relaxing restrictive lockdowns earlier in the summer, including allowing shops, restaurants, and other businesses in the service sector to re-open. Lower compliance may have also reflected a mix of fatigue and complacency with COVID-19 restrictions, especially since a disproportionate share of the decline was reported among younger people and other lower-risk groups… Trust in the government response appears to have declined in several countries, especially in those that had more severe COVID-19 outbreaks. This combination of eroding trust and lower compliance is likely to create challenges in the months ahead, as many countries face the possibility—and in some cases already the reality—of new COVID-19 outbreaks.”

“Advancing new tools for infectious diseases” [Science]. “A robust product pipeline and abridged development time frame for COVID-19 has primarily been enabled by three factors: scientific advances, operational efficiencies, and large-scale at-risk financing. A clear, well-financed path from research through product procurement now exists for COVID-19, shortening timelines while increasing output. This could underpin an approach for global infectious diseases.”

The 420

“Pot Legalization Hits an Unlikely Snag: ‘Magic’ Mushrooms” [New York Times]. “On Monday, the [New Jersey] Senate voted to amend a decriminalization bill to include psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in so-called magic mushrooms, or “shrooms,” snarling the time-sensitive negotiations over a separate legalization bill. That bill creates a framework for the constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, which takes effect Jan. 1. The mushroom amendment was tacked on just as social justice advocates were spotlighting what they saw as an overarching flaw in the legalization bill: a lack of guaranteed benefit to Black and Latino communities that have suffered most from criminal enforcement of marijuana laws. …. The legalization bill was pulled back for an overhaul. On Thursday, after lengthy Assembly and Senate committee hearings, two bills emerged that differed meaningfully, and a final vote on the legislation, originally scheduled for Monday, was postponed.” • Nice work…..

Class Warfare

“Despite now offering $15 minimum wage, Amazon still a top employer of SNAP recipients in many states” [The Counter]. “A new report from a federal watchdog agency found that Amazon was among the top 25 employers with workers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in six out of nine states studied. The company—which reported $5.2 billion in profit in the second quarter of this year—notably raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2018. Yet the wage boost doesn’t appear to have lifted its employees out of poverty: In Indiana, for instance, Amazon lags behind only Walmart and McDonald’s among employers whose workers rely on the safety net for emergency food assistance.”

News of the Wired

“#DisneyMustPay Alan Dean Foster” [Science Fiction Writers of America]. “Last year, a member came to SFWA’s Grievance Committee with a problem, which on the surface sounds simple and resolvable. He had written novels and was not being paid the royalties that were specified in his contract. The Grievance Committee is designed to resolve contract disputes like this. As part of our negotiating toolbox, we guarantee anonymity for both the writer and the publisher if the grievance is resolved. When it is working, as president, I never hear from them. When talks break down, the president of SFWA is asked to step in. We do this for any member. In this case, the member is Alan Dean Foster. The publisher is Disney…. Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish work, but are not obligated to pay the writer no matter what the contract says. If we let this stand, it could set precedent to fundamentally alter the way copyright and contracts operate in the United States. All a publisher would have to do to break a contract would be to sell it to a sibling company.”• #DearMickey #DisneyMustPay

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AMM):

Brussels sprouts on the porch!

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. ambrit

      ‘alo! CQ, CQ.
      What’s your Q’sos mate? (Mine is DZX Null Null Null. I never could master Morse code!)
      I do remember one of my acquaintances in High School had a SSB radio rig. He, being a rabid Zionist was always talking to like minded people around the world. The original hasbara is my best guess.

      1. Angie Neer

        Ha! I missed your reference, and then about 10 minutes later something indirectly pulled it into my consciousness. Memory is odd.

      1. D. Fuller

        Taco Bell, the only fast food that doesn’t give me severe intestinal distress. Thanks. I’m off to make a run for the border…

      2. jonboinAR

        A proper taco can only be purchased in a carniceria (or other Mexican grocery) that has a grill. Mmmmm!

  1. Pat

    One of the despicable ironies of that Science Fiction Writers vs. Disney story is that Disney and it’s various companies are rabid about their “rights” to compensation and have been one of the major movers in getting our copyright protections extended almost eternally it feels like.

    Just one more.examples of rules apply to others.

    1. ambrit

      When my middle sister was just starting out in commercial art, with her degree and everything, (talent alone does not guarantee success, alas,) she looked into joining Disney’s animation department. She quickly backed away from that H— hole. “They treat their employees like (familyblogging) peons,” was her later comment to me.
      The malign spirits of Roy and Walt still haunt the Mouse Kingdom. No surprise there.
      Mouse Kingdom History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_animators%27_strike

    2. D. Fuller

      Sometime wayback on NC there was a story that every time Mickey Mouse is about to become public domain?

      Congress extends copyright law.

      Interestingly enough, computer programs were covered by copyright law until being moved over to “IP”. Mathematical formulas can not be copyrighted or patented. A computer program being processed by a CPU is a mathematical formula. Unless they changed the definitions. Someone correct me if they did.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        For the software patents I received 25+ years ago, I had to translate the algorithms into diagrams of logic gates (and, or, xor, etc.) before filing, essentially drawing a machine.

        1. Rtah

          Software is still protected by copyright.
          Some software in the US is patentable as well.
          The EU takes a dim view of this, it is just arithmetic, and restricts patent ability to the real world effect of the software, “technical effect”. Now shush, before the elder gods of IP hear a summons.

    3. Dermot M O Connor

      Disney: a company built largely on public domain properties (snow white, bros. grimm etc) who then does more to lock down the public domain – via their wretched mickey mouse copyright horror show.

      Climb the ladder, kick out the rungs.

      1. Josef K

        What I dislike most about Disney is that the modern characters–I’ve never watched a modern Disney flick, but unless you live in a cave….–all have the same eyes. The same goddam, always earnest-looking eyes. Whatever propaganda they’re preaching to kids, that’s got to be part of it.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I have been reading Alan Dean Foster’s work since the 70s so he is no kid just starting off his career. Unbelievable what Disney is trying to do and when you consider the amount of money here, it must amount to chump change for such a corporation. It would be amazing if they were successful as then you would have a precedent on the book that when one company buys another, they get the revenue streams but not the associated debts. That would end well-


    5. Procopius

      I hope Disney can manage to get this in front of a Law and Economics judge. That’s a legal opinion I would read.

    1. Phillip Cross

      Maybe they are out saving the children™?


      Yet when you remove [redacted] from the question and ask solely about the [redacted] theory’s underlying myth — that President Trump is secretly fighting elite child sex trafficking rings run by leading Democratic politicians — far more people say they buy into it.

      Here, a staggering 50 percent of Trump supporters say they believe top Democrats are involved in elite child sex trafficking rings. Roughly the same number (52 percent) say they believe Trump is working to dismantle such rings.

      What’s 50% of 70,000,000?

      1. ambrit

        50% of 70,000,000 is enough to support a sizeable army and or guerrilla forces.
        Not being an aficionado of Q-Anon, I still recoil from the formulation of that ‘yahoo-news’ headline. “Imaginary claims” says it all. Not just a simple ‘controversial’ or ‘questionable,’ but the very pejorative “imaginary.” It suggests full blown disassociation from “reality.” It is obviously written to demonize not only Q-anon, but Trump voters in general.
        Is this the beginning of the “Punish the Traitors” campaign the ‘Goodthinkers’ have been ballyhooing?
        This is classic ‘demonization’ of “the Other.”

        1. Phillip Cross

          The unlikeliest things about the theory is the claim that it is just Democrats, and not a bipartisan affair, and also that Trump is fighting against it, rather than having lived his life in the thick of it.

          But as far as politics goes, it’s hard to know what these voters would accept as a “concrete material benefit” big enough to give their vote to people they believe kidnap, abuse and kill children.

          Speaking for myself, there is nothing that could ever get me to vote for them, if I believed that.


          1. Wukchumni

            it’s hard to know what these voters would accept as a “concrete material benefit” big enough to give their vote to people they believe kidnap, abuse and kill children.

            Free overshoes?

        1. D. Fuller

          People might be unaware that (former?) Centrist Democrats – as in those that lean Right – in the ‘burbs form part of the anti-vaxxer movement and are prone to being sucked into QAnon.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I don’t like an ideological monoculture but the ‘wingers that have been posting here of late really too often have just not had their heads screwed on right and spout flagrantly obvious nonsense.

      1. LilD

        Yes, am happy to hear reasoning but am exhausted by advocacy rhetoric for talking points. But, I’m just a philosopher/scientist trying to figure out how things work…

  2. fresno dan

    “If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the Left” [Jamelle Bouie, New York Times].

    I’m not gonna say we would be better off if we had communists….wait, I am gonna say we would be better off if we had more commies.

    1. ambrit

      Come on now Comrade Fresno Dan. How many functional Pink Bunny Slippers/Radio sets are there in America now? Not many if my comms log is any indication.
      Also, the title gives the game away. “If Biden Wants to Be Like FDR” assumes facts not in evidence. If I were a Cynic, I would make that headline read, “If Biden wants to Be Like Beria.”
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavrentiy_Beria

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Beria accomplished a great deal. Biden is closer to Malenkov. He was there and did what he was told and became the top guy at the end.

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. You have a point.
          I’d love to see posters with Biden and his wife portrayed as ‘Boris and Natasha.’
          That would be a new ‘spin’ on “RussiaRussiaRussia.”

            1. Stephen C.

              This makes me wonder if eunuchs can be placed favorably on the ID pol spectrum chart, at least enough to get some sort of affirmative action points in hiring at the West Wing. My apologies in advance to any eunuch who might be offended at my comment.

              1. Guild Navigator

                ”’Calling a Deer a Horse (指鹿为马)

                The Chinese idiom “calling a deer a horse” (指鹿为马 – zhǐ lù wéi mǎ) goes all they way back to the first Chinese Dynasty, the Qin Dynasty. A figure by the name of Zhao Gao (赵高 — Zhào Gāo) receives the credit for this four word Chinese idiom, a 成语 chéngyǔ.

                What “Calling a Deer a Horse” means

                “Calling a deer a horse” is used to describe a situation where “black” is called “white” and vice versa for the purpose of manipulating people to advance one’s evil agenda.

                The Story Behind “Calling a Deer a Horse”

                The second Qin emperor, Qin Er Shi (秦二世 ) who reigned from 221 to 206 B.C., had a prime minister named Zhao Gao. Zhao Gao was very ambitious and had treasonous ambitions. He wanted to attempt a coup of Qin Er Shi but didn’t know who in the Emperor’s court would go along with his plans.

                One day Zhao Gao presented the Emperor with a deer, but said it was a swift horse.

                “Prime Minister, you are clearly mistaken. That is a deer.’

                Zhao Gao, prepared for this response replied, “If that is the case, Your Majesty, ask the member of your court what it is.”

                Some of the court remained quiet. Some, knowing how treacherous Zhao Gao was, went along with his claim. Others, called a spade a spade and told the Emperor it was a deer.

                Knowing who his allies were, those royal courtiers who said the animal was a deer were executed. The cunning Zhao Gao knew who his allies were.

                The Closest Story in Western Culture….

                I suppose the closest thing to this account in Western culture would be the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. That story isn’t as nefarious as “calling a deer a horse”, but both stories use deception by saying that something is that really isn’t.””

            2. Procopius

              Ah, the Empress Wu, Tang dynasty, one of my favorite characters. Came from a wealthy and politically influential family. Reputed to be one of the most murderous Chinese rulers throughout a long history of murderous Chinese rulers. Helped the poor, though, which probably makes her a bad analogy.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Or at least more people who understand organizing and are not afraid of The Man, and who can pick out the Quislings and provocateurs and kick them out of the clubhouse.

      Maybe desperation will once again result in activation…

      1. JBird4049

        Which is one of the reasons for the Red Scare. The best union organizers and I believe some of the better ones in the Civil Rights Movement were communists, or at the very least very leftist, and driving them out greatly weakened the unions and other politically active groups. Rather like IdPol is starting to do.

        If you target the independent, the iconoclastic, the free thinker, or the non follower all of whom are often the leaders or at least the drive of a society, it is more easy to destroy it.

        It does not matter if it is leftist or conservative. Going after the union organizers or the local priests is doing the same thing.

    3. Glen

      How about:

      If Biden Wants to Be Like Herbert Hoover, He’s On Track.

      I’m relieved that Biden has decided to exclude any real lefties because he is well on his way to being a disaster. Complete total disaster. This is a guy who’s career political experience makes him one of the most ill prepared, ideologically wrong to the times. His every instinct is bad, and he’s too old to adjust.

      Well, I’m sure he’s going to be great for the billionaires and Wall St, and we may get our first trillionaire on his term.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I’m looking forward to finding out how the failures of the Biden administration will be the fault of the left considering they’re making no bones about shutting the left out now. Has Biden even said he wanted to be FDR? Seems to me I only hear Biden = New FDR when someone is trying to sheepdog the left back in line.

        1. JBird4049

          Now, now… As all right thinking Americans know the Democratic Party, like Washington Consensus and Neoliberalism, cannot fail, it can only be failed. That being true, it means that it has to be the fault of someone else. Someone like those dirty, peacenik neohippies like AOC and Bernie Sanders with their communist healthcare and talk of working for poor and working class Americans. As Mitt Romney, those users and takers wanting free stuff.

          (I am trying to be hyperbolic here. I think that I am just emulating their actual thoughts and feelings would be.)

        1. Glen

          Yes, I remember the article, and was wondering at the time what Obama expected his legacy to be because Obama was horrible – the selling out of Main St to Wall St was totally on display. I fully expect Biden to uphold the Obama legacy, but it’s starting to reek, it’s sell by date was around 2010.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Obama like Buttigieg is first and foremost a social climber. They may not recognize what they are, but its what they are. My guess is Obama sought to replicate the strategy that served him so well and be praised. The idea his Mausoleum would upset people because he’s destroying a park never entered into his thought process.

            I didn’t click through it, but this is a guy who is griping about how he had to quit coaching his daughter’s rec team.

            Biden had to “evolve” Obama on an issue such as gay marriage when the stink even reached a guy like Biden. One reason is Obama simply saw no gold star in it for him, so he didn’t care. Obama is and always has been nothing more than the front row kid who repeats what the professor just said in question form.

            1. JTMcPhee

              I don’t think Obama intends to have his carcass or ashes buried in the Chicago thing, which to my mind is much more a ziggurat, a huge pile with a shrine on top in which arcane rituals were performed. Wiki notes that just a few guards could keep the rabble from seeing what was going on, because the few stairways up the slope could be easily interdicted. Great place to hide from floods and peasants. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat If you were one of the high priests or their close minions.

              Obama’s “edifice complex.”

      2. The Rev Kev

        If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the Left? That is like saying ‘If Biden Wants to Be Like Luke Skywalker, He Needs a Light-Saber’ and it would make as much sense. His Cabinet pick already says that he wants to be Calvin Coolidge and his ‘The business of America is business’ philosophy. Instead of adapting America to changing conditions, he will just try to run it like when Obama had the job but times have moved on since then. And any resultant problems he will blame on Donald Trump and the Republicans or the half of the population that did not vote for him who will have to be punished for this. It’s going to be a mess.

  3. miningcityguy

    Despite now offering $15 minimum wage, Amazon still a top employer of SNAP recipients in many states.

    This article reminded me of when Obama was on his jobs recovery tour and touting the jobs at Amazon’s sweatshop fulfillment centers as middle class. I don’t if Obama talks about this in his new book, and I may never know since I will never buy it.

  4. IM Doc

    I was an intern at Parkland Memorial Hospital in downtown Dallas – one of our nation’s largest inner city hospitals.

    The fact that Chinese researchers found herpes thriving in oil wells comes as no surprise to me. Not at all sure why they found that so hard to fathom. Trust me, I found it thriving in much worse environments than that all the time I was there in Dallas.

    1. Louis Fyne

      pressure and heat in oil wells presumably would be hostile to viruses/break down their proteins.

      Now add viruses to the bacteria extremophiles

  5. Pat

    If we do have a Constitutional Crisis, I say it is mostly the fault of the Democrats and the Media.

    Yes, partly because of the soft coup we have seen for the last four years. But mostly because they started the tantrums on Election Day even before the vote was close to have been counted.

    Instead of being the people who said the system is strong and will hold up, and the person who was elected will take office in January. They declared that Trump was destroying everything and had to stop. Frankly if they had been confident and dare I say even encouraged Trump to check everything, he would have begun to look ridiculous even to many of his supporters. By trying to strong arm everything they look like they NEEDED it to stop short.

    It isn’t as if they haven’t cheated, perhaps this was the time to demand every replay and drug test.

    1. pjay

      “… they started the tantrums on Election Day…”

      Or even before:

      “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is.” – HRC

      I am absolutely certain that the controversy going on now is nothing compared to the upheaval we would have seen had Trump won, if we’re talking coup efforts.

    2. D. Fuller

      What ‘soft coup’? The Russia!Russia!Russia!(D) Center-Right Democratic fiction? That was the Republican Playbook, Whitewater Chapter, written by Newt Gingrich. Employed by Team Hillary. To gum up the workings of The Trump Admin. Admittedly, it had a slight non-zero chance – close enough to zero – of working. To have a greater chance of success in such an endeavor? The “coup attempt” would have had to have happened well before the election – not the night of or afterwards.

      Other methods of gumming up an Administration? Party of NO. Employed by Republicans when Obama won. This one worked somewhat. Republicans got half of the recovery act as tax breaks and such. Also? Bonus. Republicans got to stack the Federal Courts & SCOTUS – Obama’s & Reid’s fault really.

      McConnell will have a field day with Biden. The Party of NO(R) may just be back. And The Democratic Party will most likely be slaughtered in the elections come 2022/24. They are on their way to being a permanent minority party – betrayal of one’s base is never a good idea especially now that Republicans simply don’t vote for fake Republicans(D) like Pelosi & Biden want them to.

      1. notabanker

        Need a third party to emerge with platform to pass a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizen United and restrict corporate rights. Sorry Gramps, but we’re taking your keys away.

        1. tegnost

          Third Party?
          That sounds incremental.
          How about have one of the two parties not represent corporations?.
          The job now is to let the corpodems destroy themselves, by his cabinet ye shall know him…
          probably an historic mistake to have an element of the obama /biden admin come back to the mound.
          just one more fastball. cmon man!

      2. jonboinAR

        Yep. According to my (imperfect) recollection, ’twas Gingrich who began the habit by the opposition party of aggressive, steady, politically violent opposition. The Republicans carry it on whenever a Democrat is president. The Trump presidency is the first time in recent history I remember the Democrats behaving on that way. But complaining Repubs and conservatives really need to shut their pie-holes.

      3. Pat

        Not sure that they didn’t really want the Senate to remain in Republican control knowing that McConnell could be counted on to provide cover for not doing any of the popular provisions of the agenda. If they wanted a majority they focused on the wrong races.

    3. dcblogger

      If we do have a Constitutional Crisis, I say it is mostly the fault of the Democrats and the Media.

      How is it the Democrats fault that Trump will not concede? He lost the election.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sure he lost the election. After four years of constant Russia-gating. After the years long Meuller (remember him) investigation of his ‘treason’ and criminality. After a coordinated hostile media campaign against him by all the main stream media corporations and then the social media corporations coming onboard. After Washington and the Pentagon stopped him pulling troops out of hell holes overseas. If I was him, I would also balk at making anything easy for old Joe but would wait till about January 19th and then in an Eric Cartman moment would say “Screw You Guys I’m Going Home!”

          1. The Rev Kev

            My point was that once you do that for a President for one party, then the same rule applies to the President of the other party. Trump was in no way fit to be President and in four years he showed absolutely no sign of growing into the job. But that does not matter now as the precedent has been set.

    4. Phil in KC

      So, in other words, all the Democrats had to do to defeat Donald Trump was to act confident and let him “check everything,” which would destroy his base’s support? Sure. Upon Obama’s victory in 2008, should the Republicans have let him have his way? Or was it proper to hope that he would fail (Limbaugh) or to make sure Obama was a one-term president? (McConnell).

      Russia Russia Russia was indeed a terrible strategy for some Democrats to seize upon. There were so many more real offenses!

      Democrats and the media are not the ones pressuring state legislatures to ignore the vote totals and instead certify a slate of Trump electors in the swing states Biden won. Democrats took it on the chin in 2000 and 2016 and didn’t promote ideas of a civil war.

  6. dcblogger

    President Obama convinced Hillary that it was in the best interest of the Democratic Party if the Clinton legal team got involved with the recount and didn’t leave it to Jill Stein. ‘The president felt that the progressives were acting stunned and helpless and had to rise out of their stupor and show that they weren’t going to take their defeat lying down,’ said the source.

    no source, no story. I think that Klein made up the part about an source close to Obama.
    it is a good thing that the Green Party did insist on a recount, because almost everything we have been able to DOCUMENT about voter suppression came out of the recounts of 2004 and 2016. Certainly Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio were stolen via voter suppression as Greg Palast had documented beyond doubt.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      as Greg Palast had documented beyond doubt.

      I first encountered this assertion at the other unspeakable orange thing in, like, 2004.

      He seems less effective than Chomsky.

  7. Hepativore

    The fact that Bruce Reed is being considered by the incoming Biden adminstration for their OMB pick should also tell you all you need to know about their priorities. The Grand Bargain is one of their top goals and despite all of the people trying to say that Biden is different now do not realize just how little he has changed in the decades of his political career.


    Actually, looking at Biden’s cabinet picks so far it looks like that he has not listened to a single word in terms of the left-wing of the Democratic party or dismayed progressive voters who were told to shut up and vote for Biden anyway. At this rate, we might even see Hillary Clinton surface again for a seat in the Biden adminstration because the DNC corporate wing is just as strong as ever.

    I probably will not see the end of neoliberalism in my lifetime as I was born during the Reagan years and it has had a chokehold on both parties throughout my entire existence so far and the Beast seems to be eternal.

    1. pjay

      Well, I know that “if Biden wants to be like FDR, he needs the left.” So I feel great! Just waiting for those lefties to start showing up for the meetings.

  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    et tu Chelsea . . . . .

    ” blah blah etc. . . . . ” and he might be inveighed upon” . . . etc. blah blah.

    That smacked me right in the eyes. ” Inveighed” upon? Did Chelsea-poo, the Golden Brat, mean to say ” prevailed” upon? Does she even know the difference between ” inveigh” and “prevail”? How much did her education cost? What did she even learn at Sidwell Friends?

    1. ambrit

      Even more amazing, as a proto-politico, doesn’t she have an in-house copy editor?
      Even the mechanics of politics is being ‘crapified.’

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        My early career motto was desktop publisher, and I was appalled at how directors thought they could just design everything. And lay it up themselves. ‘They’re own content’

        One of the horrors of computers early on was that it eliminated all the executive secretaries who dusted these people off and pointed them in the right direction.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      C’mon now, she’s listed as a “vice chair” at the Clinton Foundation. Her name isn’t opening doors anymore.

      1. Pat

        It doesn’t even look like there is much interest in another children’s book written with Mom.

        (Betting the preliminary sales figures for Obama’s fictional memoirs are causing Hillary greater agita then my nausea at every excerpt.)

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    Biden is the FDR-prevention president, not the new-FDR president.

    Maybe the Bitter Trumpers will be the ones to make Biden do it. They certainly have spirit and a sense of commitment. They could change their name to Trumpunists. They could call their movement Trumpunism. They could even found a Trumpunist Party.

    If it doesn’t come from the Trumpunists, it won’t come at all. It certainly will never ever come from the Rayciss Pigz Ov Culur (RPOC) social justard wokenazi left of today, the default left we are left with.


    ( in the deathless words of the leading Pink KKK Catfood Democrat herself).

  10. Pelham

    Re Amazon’s $15 wage failing to end their workers’ poverty: Why this big to-do over $15? As billionaire Tom Steyer pointed out in one of the Dem debates, if the minimum wage had merely kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $22 an hour now. And that’s now as in NOW, not several years from now as some of the states deceptively passing $15-an-hour laws would have it.

    Also, let us note that the official inflation numbers grossly understate the real cost of living for nearly everyone. So a truly decent minimum wage would be nearer, say, $30 an hour. I know. Sounds ludicrous. But why not? Fifty years of even casual observation in adult life have taught me that most of the people doing jobs at the low end of the scale are working a hell of a lot harder than those raking it in.

    1. notabanker

      FWIW, someone close to me is a long time teamster in massive distribution and warehousing. They are hiring just about anyone that can pass a pee test, handing out overtime like candy and struggling to meet numbers and fill shifts. Why? Amazon just built a new dist center and are paying more.

      1. tegnost

        More than what?
        2 tiered unions are a thing now, and the new hires don’t have much going to them.
        My advice to them would be make your workforce happy give them 40 hr weeks. It won’t take long for the workforce to figure it out. It’s work harder than a robot at amazon. The techies are counting on deplorables being lazy and only wanting 20 hours a week of work, so those promises of insurance, probably means tested. C’mon man! all you need is a gig!
        What piddley sum is it costing amazon to poach those workers? Like the new dist center in Nampa. Amazon says they’ll make a dist center for tax breaks on their data center. Bezos is the worlds most prominent social welfare case. Well there are a number of other candidates…
        I do understand that there are a large number of people who are too weak to survive without him, in the same way that the Baron Harkonnen couldn’t survive without his suspensor coils

    2. Alternate Delegate

      The report I had from someone who tried to work one of those Amazon warehouse jobs is that they schedule 4 hours shifts for a reason. They run you so hard there’s no way you could go on for 8 hours. Nor could you do it every day. It’s too hard.

      So they get every ounce of sweat out of you in four hours, and you’re left standing there dazed counting your !!! $15 an hour !!! for extremely part-time work. And that’s why you need SNAP food stamps.

    3. jonboinAR

      I’ve said for a year or so the MW needs to be at least $25/hr. That, and Medicare for All. That, and reparations for black and Native Americans of buying each family a house or apartment, out-right. Maybe the min wage should be just a guaranteed minimum income, Steph Kelton/Randy Wray-style. I think all this would get about the whole country having a decent living, mostly. And would quiet the bubbling cauldron considerably.

  11. josh

    The only ray of sunshine I can find is that back bench dems will be far more willing to plunge the knife into Biden than Obama. For better or ill, the First Black President had tremendous appeal to the Democratic base. Attacking from his left was simply too tall a hill to climb. Biden has no charisma, and certainly no base of support. The likelihood of him being a one term president at most means he has nearly no leverage, and little for the left wing of the political class to fear. I certainly don’t expect victory, but it will at least be cathartic if Biden and the DNC end up dragged by the squad and allies.

    1. Glen

      Flip some assumptions here.

      Dems that cling too close to Pelosi, Schumer and Biden are going to be in trouble. This administration is going to be dealing with unemployed, homeless starving people on day one. And their solution will be to cut spending on everything these people have been relying on for support their whole lives. The Dem leadership is going to be hated by everybody (except for the billionaires and Wall St.)

      Any Dem that isn’t attacking from the left that is up for re-election in 2022 is toast, gone, history.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We have the illuminating quote from a fallen Democratic candidate upset that people who say “Black Lives Matter” aren’t concerned with how it affects her. The Karens feel free to say this out loud now, and they won’t have Obama to hide behind. Its actually going to be quite funny.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        She stumbled too easily when her polls surged. I don’t think she has the killer instinct. My guess is the rats won’t be able to deal with both Biden’s stilted behavior, pushback that they didn’t face during the Obama years, and the GOP simply being out for blood. The Congressional leadership is 12 years older and Chuck Schumer.

        Kasich. If that counts. He likely thinks he’s viable in 2024, though he’ll probably wind up trying to get the libertarian nomination. Mittens is calling for Trump to concede, so Kasich will need to get his “moderate credentials over and done with” so he can start running. He likely thinks he can be the John McCain but win or something.

        Biden has a better sense of the moment and won’t be able to get away with stuff Obama did. Even the trappings of appeals to majority positions will outrage the Team Blue elite.

  12. cocomaan

    Getting server errors all day today, unfortunately.

    But got on here to say that the Mark Ames tweet/video of Obama was really something. What in the world was he thinking?

    1. richard

      here’s the key to understanding it imo:
      the people he was in front of, in Flint
      those weren’t the actual people he was addressing
      he was turned away from them the whole time, and addressing the New Democratic Coalition
      and to THEM he was saying:
      “These people aren’t s&(^. Look at how contemptible. I barely have to pretend to take them seriously. You never need worry about anything”
      That’s what he was saying, and who he was saying it to. The people in Flint, and if any people ever deserved a revolution it’s them, they were staring at his butt.

    2. D. Fuller

      :Check your browser extensions such as HTTPS-over-DNS, antivirus, ad blockers – IIRC Privacy Badger has issues with sites. Google has been changing some browser inner workings…

      Try using MS Edge though I’ve experienced Cloudflare issues with that also. Though not as much as with Chrome. MS Edge seems to be much more reliable when issues do occur. Only once did MS Edge & Chrome fail to load NC.

      As the addons & software become more complex, as we have to utilize several different systems just to load a webpage? Things tend to break more.

      That’s a software engineering issue. Like when updating Linux packages in the bad old days ended up breaking entire servers due to some variable in one package being changed that destroyed the functionality of all other packages that relied on it – Gods I hated that.

  13. BoyDownTheLane

    I would like to ask everyone to calibrate their reticular activating systems [“The ascending projections of the reticular activating system enhance the attentive state of the cortex and facilitate conscious perception of sensory stimuli”…. ] for the global emergence of an Ebola variant that has been given gain of function properties in a CRISPr lab somewhere. Given that strains of it were secreted out of a lab in Canada out to Wuhan, there ought to be an over/under on it being the next pandemic.



    It would behoove us all to send the best advice to President-Select Harris on how to manage and preserve something of value after the disease that the WHO says has a mortality rate of 50% makes its appearance. I did just by a used copy of the unexpurgated copy of “The Stand”: https://www.ihorror.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Stephen-Kings-The-Stand-Miniseries-Blu-Ray-Cover-Header-Crop.jpg

  14. lobelia

    Re Zeke Emmanuel: “Why I Hope to Die at 75” in todays Links (speaking of Ghouls Newsom & Co.; so many, so little time left for millions of us):

    ‘Odd’ that I’ve yet to see any news mention that Ezekiel Rahm is a Healthcare Venture Capital Partner in Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s stunningly wealthy wife Ann Huntress Lamont’s Healthcare/Fintech VC Firm Oak HC/FT (which firm is oddly not mentioned on Zeke’s wiki page, or her wiki page; although her other VC firm, Oak Investment Partners, from which HC/FT was spun out of, is).

    From April 2020, Kevin Rennie: The ‘Reopen Connecticut’ group’s work should be public. Why does Gov. Lamont want it kept secret?:

    On Monday, the governor announced in a carefully crafted statement that “a group of health and business experts will provide advice and recommendations on reopening Connecticut’s economy.” In the language of state government, that’s an unusual formation. It’s not a panel or a board. It’s the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, a murky creation not open to the public. The collection of experts will be lead by Albert D. Ko, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Yale School of Public Health, and Indra Nooyi, also of Greenwich, the former head of sugary drinks giant Pepsico and a favorite of Ivanka Trump, the minister without portfolio in the nepotism-racked White House.

    The Monday announcement included two senior advisers to the group, national treasure and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb of Westport, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who, among other positions, holds a high post in medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

    But omitted from the Lamont announcement was an acknowledgement that Emanuel is a partner in the venture capital firm co-founded by Ann Huntress Lamont, the governor’s wife. In a skeptical age, this is the sort of detail that ought to be included in the unveiling of a group on whose decisions the fate of many Connecticut residents depends. A sentence fragment would have done it. That was a blunder.

    It’s a secret:

    We may never know what goes on within this group advising Lamont — including whether they take up the issue of the value of older people’s lives — because that’s the way the governor wants it. The group will work under the auspices of AdvanceCT, which will remove it from public scrutiny. AdvanceCT is a nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development to address Connecticut’s dismal record of chasing jobs and opportunity away. Nooyi is the co-chair of that organization.

    AdvanceCT is not subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. That is by design. They do not want the public intruding on their communications and meetings. This is a serious error. The consequences of the difficult decisions the governor makes on the way forward will not fall evenly upon us. The public deserves to know who and what informed Lamont’s choices.


    (Disclosure, I had actually accidently bumped into the above Zeke tidbit months ago, while researching now vast Social Score™ site MyLife.com because Ann Huntress Lamont’s Oak Investment Partners poured 25 million into it, despite it’s long and ugly reputation. The horrid Social Score™ site and its founder, Jeffrey Tinsley, has been sued countless times for lies, destroying reputations, and extortion. Finally, on July 27th, 2020, the DOJ sued MyLife.com and Tinsley, on behalf of the FTC (see https://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/cacdce/2:2020cv06692/789554 ). Sickeningly, that big news story, never even it made it to Reuters, the Associated Press [AP] from which other major newspapers pick up such news, nor the major News Networks, despite MyLife.com previously and currently ruining countless lives for over a decade. Perhaps I’ll note more about it some other time.)

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    So…Obama included a paragraph about his success as a coach of his girls’ rec league. I can’t even. Where does one even start with this? Eight years as President, and the guy needs to talk about the time he ruined fun for kids.

    I bet the real reason he quit is his daughter complained.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t drink the bleach! Gargle with it! It’s good for eradicating that ‘Donor D— Breath’ taste.

    2. jr

      If I hear the F’ing phrase “New York Tough” one more time I’m going to flip. It’s a variant of “hustling”, just another way of masking human suffering. NYC isn’t tough, I can tell you that, it’s broken.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its just as silly as Boston Strong or Vegas Strong after a couple of terrorist attacks in both locales.

        You don’t see Baghdad Strong or Kandahar Strong much do you?

        1. ambrit

          The boys from the ‘hoods in Baghdad or Kandahar will pick you off at 600 yards.
          As my dear old Uncle Gerry used to say; “You only smell strong sunshine!”

    3. Pat

      Pretty sure if they caught Wednesday’s travesty they have some belated regrets.

      Not that they shouldn’t have laughed the notion out of contention when it was first suggested.

  16. jr

    The article about using trees to remediate land brought back my memories of reading a book by Stamets, “Mycelium Running” where he discusses using mushrooms for the same purpose. I recall a piece of land saturated with petroleum products that was cleaned up. Apparently they work for cleaning up after wild fires as well:


    But here is the snag:

    “Like other subfields of bioremediation, mycoremediation has failed to attract much investment. “This is an inherent problem in the bioremediation industry,” says William Mohn, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia who specializes in microbial degradation. “We are not producing a product that people want to buy. We are producing something that companies are sometimes forced to do. It’s hard to make a great business case for it. Or, quite frankly, a case for academic research.

    I wonder if this because of the influence of the those companies over those academic researchers.

      1. jr

        This bit is especially rich:

        “She was dazzled by him,” Napoli told me on The Pub. “She understood the importance of news and media in keeping a society free and democratic.”

        So, the $#!t-food heiress, the wife of a man who said he would toss a cinderblock to a drowning competitor, owner of a company that spews waste into the world with a cannon, that pays it’s employees nothing, is “dazzled” into leaving 200M$ to NPR and this (arms akimbo with satisfaction) writer arrives at “free and democratic”.

        Can we start our own country? I think we would do a better job.

  17. The Rev Kev

    Back in 2008 I thought that with Obama, that America was finally going to get a break after the eight years of the George Bush years. But just after he was elected I got the first warning sign when he was awarded a big media award for his campaign. Saywhatnow? But I think that at Flint he really showed people what he was all about. Think about it for a moment. He did not have to do that water stunt at all. He could have just stepped up on stage, uttered a few platitudes and then done nothing afterwards. But he did not do that. He went out of his way to mock and humiliate those people.

    How many people think that he happened to have a staffer just waiting with a glass of water in case he got thirsty? It was all set up before he even got off Air Force One and I read one account that mentioned the water came from a bottle off that plane. Not that he drank it in any case. No, that was a case of deliberate, planned cruelty that. And he did it twice. And just to put it into context, just suppose that it had been a white President that had done that stunt. Maybe even VP Joe Biden himself. How would people be talking about it then?

  18. anon in so cal

    >BCG vaccine

    I think it was discussed on this website a while back

    “Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Mitigate Risk Of Contracting COVID-19, Study Shows”

    “Researchers conducted blood tests on 6,000 healthcare workers in the Cedars-Sinai Health System and found that those who had received tuberculosis vaccinations, which was about 30%, were “significantly less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies,” the hospital said in a new release.

    The BCG vaccine is administered to 100 million children a year worldwide, Cedars-Sinai said. It was developed over a century ago, between 1908 and 1921.

    “It appears that BCG-vaccinated individuals either may have been less sick and therefore produced fewer anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, or they may have mounted a more efficient cellular immune response against the virus,” said Dr. Moshe Arditi, director of the Pediatric and Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division at Cedars-Sinai, in a statement. “We were interested in studying the BCG vaccine because it has long been known to have a general protective effect against a range of bacterial and viral diseases other than TB, including neonatal sepsis and respiratory infections.””


    Otherwise, over 13,000 new cases today in California. Yesterday, in LA County, alone, there were 5,031 new cases….

  19. Jason Boxman

    So, out here in Somerville, MA I don’t see any obvious changes in behavior. People are out and about almost like it was before the pandemic, albeit with masks. But certainly not masked eating in doors. And outdoor dining is mostly a thing of the past now with the cold. I was at the local small grocery store today and I’d never seen so many people there at 3 pm before.

    Whatever is coming this winter, I expect it to be overwhelmingly brutish. People don’t seem to care anymore. The death rate isn’t high enough to entice different behavior.

    We aren’t going to have much of a functioning health system left when this is over. And our children are going to have a lost couple of years.

    In any case, there’s going to be a vaccine it seems, so the elite strategy of letting it ride appears to have worked, at least for those of means.

    1. ambrit

      Unfortunately, because of all the corners being cut in the development and testing of these vaccines, the efficacy of any of them will be unknown for at least a few years. At the prices I am reading about, I don’t see any of the vaccines being feasible for yearly use, as is the case with ‘ordinary’ flu vaccines.
      Right now, we (Phyl and I as individuals,) can’t use the extant Covid-19 tests due to cost constraints. For this reason alone, I predict that there will be a vast undercount of the Covid-19 case load. Too many people will have asymptomatic cases and ‘wish them away’ as being ordinary flus. In this scenario, many spreaders and spreader events will be uncounted.
      In America at the least, the Dreaded Pathogen will only be fully accounted for as an item of ‘recent’ history.
      And what if, Heaven forefend, the Pathogen mutates into a more virulent or deadly form?
      I too hope that Ignacio de Espana is doing well.
      !Buena suerte senor!

      1. Hepativore

        I wonder if the makers of the vaccines will try and price-gouge with the cost of the vaccine just like how the “free” COVID-19 test ended up being $2,000 out of pocket here in the US in some cases.

        Hell, who is to say that the vaccine will not be priced according to demand with only the PMC and the wealthy being able to afford it as you might have to pony up a few thousand dollars with HMOs refusing to cover the vaccine on the grounds of it being an “experimental” treatment.

        The wealthy and the PMC can then sit back and watch the deplorables they hate so much succumb to the pandemic while they hoard the vaccine for themselves by making it cost-prohibitive.

  20. Tom Stone

    Having had the good fortune to have eaten at the “French Laundry” on several occasions (Decades ago) I can attest that the food was superb and the service was excellent.
    At present they have a fixed price menu with three levels., the cheapest being $350 per person and available to couples.
    This was a party of 12, the minimum number of guests required for the high tier, $850 per person.
    This does not include wine.
    And there are several wines on their wine list that run into the thousands of dollars per bottle…
    Since it was a Birthday dinner for Gavin’s old friend he kindly seated Gavin between the chief lobbyist of the California Medical Association and his Segundo.
    And the birthday boy is also a lobbyist with close connections to the CMA.
    Wasn’t Harris appointed to the Ca Medical Board by Willie Brown for services rendered?
    And Newsome has also had Willie’s support.
    California might benefit ( Or, the right people in California will benefit) from a Harris Administration, there are always favors and debts to repay and favors to extend.

  21. TroyIA

    When you factor in the possibility that the case fatality rate could increase due to an overwhelmed medical system this may be a low estimate.

    How Many Americans Are About to Die?

    The United States has made huge advances in fighting the coronavirus. The astonishingly high death rates the country saw during the spring have fallen, and Americans are much more likely now than they were then to survive a COVID-19 hospitalization. New treatments have, in some cases, helped speed recovery—President Donald Trump has trumpeted his own bout with the virus as proof that there is a “cure” for the illness. (There is not.) These developments have given Americans the impression that no matter how high cases surge, deaths might not reach the heights of the spring.

    But the truth is grimmer. The story people want to believe about how much treatments have improved in recent months does not hold up to quantitative scrutiny.

    The U.S. health-care system has not reduced the deadliness of the coronavirus since July, according to a new estimate by a prominent COVID-19 researcher, which accounts for the lags in public reporting of cases and deaths. Instead, the virus has, with ruthless regularity, killed at least 1.5 percent of all Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past four months.

    . . .

    Because the case-fatality rate has stayed fixed for so long and there are now so many reported cases, predicting the virus’s death toll in the near term has become a matter of brutal arithmetic: 150,000 cases a day, times 1.5 percent, will lead to 2,250 daily deaths. In the spring, the seven-day average of daily deaths rose to its highest point ever on April 21, when it reached 2,116 deaths. With cases rising as fast as they are, the U.S. could cross the threshold of 2,000 daily deaths within a month. Without a miraculous improvement in care, the United States is about to face the darkest period of the pandemic so far.

  22. richard

    Hey, just in case no one else has linked it, here is G. Greenwald’s outstanding interview with j. dore. It is about the best interview i’ve ever heard on dore, super candid about corp. media culture (including a discussion of his dismissal from the intercept) and the connections with the dems. Plus Glenn curses like a sailor! I never knew he was like that! The air had the smell of bridges being burned.

  23. kareninca

    An ultra wealthy neighbor of mine just donated a grocery gift card that she didn’t need to the homeless shelter that I’m helping with. I asked if it could be used for another homeless shelter, one which is just for women, which is being hosted by an “old time” bible church; one that provides a huge number of services to people in desperate straits. She said that she was wondering if it would be possible that it not be used to feed anyone who voted for Trump. I said she could give it to my liberal church, and we’d give her the receipt, and that then we would give food to the other church, and she agreed. She had been half joking in her request, I hope, but she was definitely pleased that she was getting a receipt from us. Well, I’m glad to get the donation. Last year I met one of the women who was staying in that shelter; she had terrible frostbite on her hands from being outside; she was a “middle class” person had hadn’t been savvy about the cold. Once you have skin damaged that way anytime you are outside in the cold it can be re-damaged.

    1. flora

      She said that she was wondering if it would be possible that it not be used to feed anyone who voted for Trump.

      Do these people not hear themselves?

    2. Stephen C.

      ” . . . she was wondering if it would be possible that it not be used to feed anyone who voted for Trump.”

      Would that be charity or eugenics?

    1. Count Zero

      There’s a key word missing in the headline here and it’s not addressed in the article or in the comments. Some! “Some Harvard students demand…”

      The missing qualifier enables a vociferous minority of activists to claim to be representing Harvard students — which they don’t. And it enables right-wing apologists to denounce all students at Harvard, and by implication all students everywhere, as enemies of free speech and open public debate — which they arent.

  24. VietnamVet

    Rather than countering Jimmy Carter’s Malaise; the conscious decision of the ruling class was to privatize government, jail malcontents, close mental health institutions, bust unions, and make healthcare along with education profit centers.

    COVID-19 pandemic exposes that a dysfunctional government simply cannot control coronavirus. The virus is too contagious (50% of the virus spreaders are asymptomatic) and it kills the elderly, vulnerable and the unlucky. Also, the virus appears to have long term cardiac affects. The US Public Health System was dismantled. Its replacement, the Centers for Disease Control, was ignored. Today there are just enough for-profit hospital beds to treat seasonal flu outbreaks that have around 0.1% death rate. Currently COVID-19 fatality rate is 1.5% – 15 times higher. Where coronavirus runs free, hospitals are overwhelmed.

    Tyson meat packing plant managers in Iowa bet on how many employees would become sick. A thousand did and six died. Spending money on PPE and spacing workers costs money which eats into profits. Worker safety is ignored in today’s precariat capitalism. Manslaughter is not a corporate jailing offense. Worker deaths are only worthy of a hundreds of dollar fine, if at all.

    What is interesting about the current Constitutional Crisis is that the pandemic is used as a hammer to push Donald Trump out of the White House but the six media owners completely ignore that the Obama/Biden Administration is just as responsible for the pandemic due to their failure to stockpile PPE. The restoration of the Obama Crew to power will bring no change. They are still as incompetent. Since Bill Clinton, no Administration has addressed the real causes of today’s crisis; corruption, inequality and the lack of a functioning public health system.

  25. Nick

    Aloha from Hawaii,

    On the Obama news file, his errand boy Marty Nesbit is on his way to avoiding 3 environmental laws concerning development in Hawaii near shorelines. It is for an extremely wealthy development that will be the Obamas Hawaii home. It’s also in Waimanalo which is like building your McMansion on a Native American reservation. The Waimanalo area doesn’t have those reservation types of protections. The Obamas are basically going to drown a beach by not removing a sea wall and are also building within the range of the ocean that gray-area laws forbid you from doing but hey loopholes. All in a state that hasn’t voted anything other than blue since Reagan. Pro-publica is doing a lot of great Hawaii related stories and this is the newest.

  26. Pat

    Trump may be going about it differently but I seem to remember a whole campaign in 2016 to turn electors…by the Democrats.

    I don’t have a horse in this race. I hate both of them. America is screwed either way. But I have enjoyed the self destruction of the adults in the room pose by both parties. The spoiled children tantrums exhibited by most of the major party leaders have been edifying. That so many are so emotionally attached to these two geriatric walking pieces of refuse that they fail to recognize they are being taken for marks but want to defend the indefensible is less enjoyable.

  27. Alex Cox

    “Jill Stein, the Green Party’s oddball presidential nominee…”

    Who is this fellow Klein, again? And what is he saying? Or is it now obligatory in the MSM to prefix Ms. Stein’s name with “oddball?”

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