Virtue Signaling Over Corpses Craig Murray

Robert Fisk: Celebrated Middle East correspondent of The Independent dies aged 74 Independent

The Martin Papers Bookforum

A Nuts-And-Bolts Guide To Density People Actually Want American Conservative

We’re developing self-disinfecting surfaces that could curb the spread of infectious diseases Scroll How about good old copper?

5 Myths and Superstitions About Owls Big fan of owls. And snakes. (See my small collection of quirky jewellery.)

The cheap pen that changed writing forever BBC J still keep the faith and write with a fountain pen. And I allow myself an indulgence: a  new one, every time I start a new manuscript. I prefer the feel of pushing a heavy pen across the page. But this mode of composing doesn’t extend to the journalism – including blogging – I write. Then I compose via laptop.

This Upcoming European Legislation Could Reshape the Internet Motherboard

Contact restored with Philippine province hit by year’s most powerful typhoon; 16 dead Reuters

The NYC Marathon Was Cancelled. Runners Run the Course Anyway. NYT

Things as They Are NYRB

Johnny Depp loses libel case against Sun over claims he beat ex-wife Amber Heard Guardian Didn’t really follow the coverage of this lawsuit, despite the lurid details, even though I’ve been a fan of his since at least the Edward Scissorhands days. Hard to see how he resuscitates any career after this.


Prince William, 38, ‘secretly battled coronavirus in April’ – just days after his father Charles contracted it – and was left ‘struggling to breathe’ but didn’t want to ‘alarm’ the nation by revealing his illness Daily Mail

No more handshakes Times Literary Supplement. Niall Ferguson.

Covid-19 Burden Falls Heavily on Middle-Aged Men WSJ

UK says 4-week coronavirus lockdown may have to last longer AP

Doubts over ‘rapid turnaround’ Covid tests pledged by Johnson Guardian. Perhaps BoJo was poorly briefed. perhaps he was well-brieedf but failed to understand – or perhaps there’s fatigue with his tendency to play fast and loose with facts? And another question: why does the UK not have access to what other countries – such as South Korea – have available?

Panic buyers line up in huge queues as lockdown 2.0 sparks supermarket frenzy Metro.co.cu

Germany launches 4-week partial shutdown to curb virus AP

Eurozone economic forecasts slashed as fresh lockdowns imposed FT

A whole lot of hurt’: Fauci warns of covid-19 surge, offers blunt assessment of Trump’s response WaPo. Guess we know how he cast his vote.

Coronavirus: WHO and Chinese experts launch origins mission – online SCMP

I have all the symptoms of a Covid-19 long-hauler — but I’m hesitant to identify myself as one Stat

Coronavirus surge fears after Halloween party weekend, as Hong Kong minister sounds warning over social-distancing rules, city faces six new infections SCMP

Coronavirus: Rajasthan to make masks compulsory by law today, says CM Ashok Gehlot Scroll

Someone leaked the COVID hospitalization data taken from the CDC Ars Technica

Jerri-Lynn here. Don’t recall whether we linked to this September post, but if so, it’s still worth revisiting via this tweet:


Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose  New Yorker I know this is the Democratic dream, but I don’t see it happening.

7 States Where Voters Could Change the Future of Criminal Justice Marshall Project

‘If Pennsylvania goes, so will go the country’ Politico

The year of the vote: How Americans surmounted a pandemic and dizzying rule changes so their voices would be heard WaPo

Florida recount haunts Supreme Court as it tackles mail ballots FT

I’m Here To Remind You That Trump Can Still Win FiveThitryEight. Nate Silver.

On last day, Trump and Biden scour battleground states for votes Reuters

Could the US election be the world’s ticket to better disaster preparedness? One silver lining view from abroad

We Can’t Follow Obama Back to Brunch Daily Poster David Sirota.

Trump Transition

Trump: Sean Connery helped me get approval for ‘big development’ in Scotland Politico

The College Degree Is Dividing America Chronicle of Higher Education. Was not sure whether this belongs here or 2020 or under Class Warfare. But it belongs somewhere.

Present at the Disruption Foreign Affairs. Richard Haas articulates the Council on Foreign Relations view, with his title echoing Dean Acheson’s Present at the Creation.

Fox News President London Review of Books

Imperial Collapse Watch

ELECTION 2020: Don’t Just Blame It on the Pandemic Consortium News

America’s Refusal to Accept Outcome of WTO Leadership Race Creates New Deadlock The Wire

Class Warfare

Coal Miners’ Struggle Against Black Lung Is a Climate Justice Issue Jacobin

Geneva: Why the world’s highest minimum wage was needed BBC. I post this in memory of the year I spent as a resident of the city.

West Coast Wildfires

Rescue operations underway in the San Gabriel Mountains for rare species marooned by wildfire LA Times

Julian Assange

ELECTION 2020: Media Silence on Assange Aids Trump Consortium News

Our Famously Free Press

United Kingdom

More than 49,000 miles of paths lost from maps in England and Wales Guardian. Horrible. Some of my happiest days in the UK were spent rambling. And a public right of way is one of the benefits those that live in the UK enjoy compare to those in the U.S.

UK’s bid to power every home via offshore windfarms by 2030 at risk Guardian


Samsung leads Indian smartphone market: report Asia Times

New book traces why India-China ties have been ‘confrontational’ since 15th century The Print


Tanzania police arrest opposition party leader ahead of protests Al Jazeera

Antidote du Jour (JE):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. upstater

      Meant to add that Fisk’s reporting will be missed. probably more than any MENA correspondent he defined the difference between a script writer or stenographer and a REPORTER.

      1. David

        I vaguely remember Fisk’s early reporting on Northern Ireland, and I read him pretty consistently after he started reporting from the Middle East. Fisk had his weaknesses like all journalists – a tendency towards hectoring, and, in his later-years a knee-jerk dismissal of the “official narrative” that often cheapened his reporting. But his great virtue was that he was a real, old-fashioned, journalist and reporter, who, to begin with, Knew Stuff, and then went to places and spoke to people (and not just taxi-drivers). He lived in Beirut for decades and spoke fluent Arabic. Even if you thought he was wrong on some point, you couldn’t fault his expertise. He illustrated painfully the difference between true journalists, and mere pundits or bloggers. He knew stuff, spoke languages, understood cultures and went to places: things that, for all the profusion of words around the Internet, are less and less common today.

        1. urblintz

          To which part of the “official narrative” should one not sustain a “knee-jerk” dismissal?

          1. David

            Well, let’s see, a few examples might include the Apollo Moon landings, the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001, the dangers of Covid, and lots of similar cases where the “official narrative” is busily being challenged somewhere. There’s nothing wrong with submitting the “official narrative” to critical evaluation, which is arguable one of the things journalism is for. But a knee-jerk rejection is not only unprofessional, you also risk hitting yourself in the face with your knee.

            1. Darthbobber

              It’s usually a handy thing to deploy the same degree of skepticism about a given alternative narrative as one does about the mainstream or official one.

              But often I find that people who are sensibly skeptical about the one abandon that rigor altogether in evaluating their choice among the proposed alternatives.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that the majority of what you read in the mainstream media is, in fact, entirely true. This is important to ensure that the lies they tell are credible.

                And of course, even the best alternative media sources can error, or just run too far ahead of themselves due to their own ideological blinkers (and all of us, if we are to be honest, have ideological blinkers).

                The only real alternative to being a sheep is to treat all sources – including those you generally trust, with a healthy degree of scepticism, and apply critical thinking to every important story.

                1. ArvidMartensen

                  Didn’t Goebbels say that the best way to get the populace to swallow lies is to hide them within the truth – words to that effect
                  But propaganda repeated often enough becomes the truth, so maybe these days the new lies are hidden within old but accepted lies

                  1. ambrit

                    I’ve read somewhere that Goebbels had a well thumbed copy of Bernays’ book “Propaganda” on his office shelf.

            2. urblintz

              Did Fisk challenge the narrative regarding 9/11 or the moon landing or the dangers of Covid? If not, then your examples undermine your criticism and I find it hard to understand why someone who has genuine admiration for Fisk would lump him in with those mentalities. The “official narrative” isn’t always wrong, of course and yet, imho, challenging it is always right. That’s not the same as “dismissal.”

              If Fisk did challenge the specific narratives you mention I”ll be shocked.. and stand corrected.

                1. urblintz

                  The link you provide comes no where near “knee-jerk dismissal” which was precisely my point… the one you apparently missed.

                  What is “general” about David’s direct association of Fisk with “a knee-jerk dismissal of the “official narrative” that often cheapened his reporting?”

                  David is entitled to his opinion and I can disagree with it

                  1. Basil Pesto

                    But you keep shifting the goalposts. You asked a general question ‘To which part of the “official narrative” should one not sustain a “knee-jerk” dismissal?’, to which David supplied a general answer. You then argued that David’s answer was irrelevant because none of his general examples apply specifically to Fisk, even though your question was in the first place general. You then asked for evidence of Fisk challenging the narratives of 9/11, which I supplied with his piece, a measured variant of ‘jet fuel can’t melt steel beams’, and which you say doesn’t count because it’s not sufficiently knee-jerk, even though you didn’t ask for a piece that cleared the knee-jerkiness threshold, you asked for an example of Fisk questioning the official narratives of 9/11 (as a reminder, the headline of Fisk’s piece was ‘Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11’). Even if you impute to the piece PK’s notion of healthy scepticism, the piece’s presence or absence hardly speaks to, let alone undermines, David’s general point, which to reiterate, was:

                    There’s nothing wrong with submitting the “official narrative” to critical evaluation, which is arguable one of the things journalism is for. But a knee-jerk rejection is not only unprofessional, you also risk hitting yourself in the face with your knee.

                    If you do want specific examples of prejudice undermining Fisk’s journalism (and I think is what is essentially meant by the ‘knee jerk’ label), and you discount the above 9/11 piece, then the onus would indeed be on David, who made the claim, to supply it. But that isn’t what you asked in the first place.

                    You are certainly entitled to disagree with David’s opinion, and I never claimed, and would never claim otherwise. By the same token, I’m entitled to find one opinion more persuasive than the other :)

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            As Claude Cockburn – father of Alexander, Patrick and Andrew – famously said, “Don’t believe anything until you hear the official denial.”

        2. Basil Pesto

          Agreed. Tangentially, I was just reading this interview with Fred Halliday. Now I’m sure he might have disagreed with Fisk in many respects, but similarly, he had a perspective informed by actually talking to people from the areas in question, and making an effort to understand the parts of the world
          in which they ensconced themselves. I admire that immensely.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m quite shocked at that – reading Fisk as far back as the 1980’s was my big education on the Middle East and many other issues, including Northern Ireland. He was a truly great journalist – a brilliantly clear writer and with a rigorous approach that put most other journalists to shame. For a long time he was a big hate figure for the right and neocons, although that hatred seems to have spread to Guardian type liberals as well. The fact that he was more or less pushed out of UK journalism (the Independent being a very minor player in the media) says everything you need to know. This year just keeps getting worse and worse.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes – Fisk became something of a refugee in Ireland (the Irish Times published him when UK newspapers were cold shouldering him) and those reports had a big impact here, especially as the militias there (with Israeli help) had killed a number of Irish UN peacekeepers who made the mistake of actually trying to protect local Arabs. Fisk was also important in reporting that, while the rest of the worlds media pretended it didn’t happen.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Actually, I hadn’t been aware that he actually took Irish citizenship. He and his ex wive Lara Marlowe (another excellent journalist) both write for a variety of Irish newspapers when he was shut out of much of the UK media.

    3. Lex

      “With his passing, the world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East has lost one of its finest commentators.

      Agreed. I got most of my education in Middle Eastern politics reading Fisk. There’s still a copy of ‘The Great War for Civilization’ on our library shelves. Fisk was an impassioned interviewee. It would be difficult, I imagine, to listen to him and not at least be curious and engaged enough to make the effort to find out more. Perhaps a lot more.

  1. DanP66

    Looks to me like Nate Silver is out hedging his bets.

    The polling trends look good for Trump.

    Trump carries PA he has a very very good shot to win. Biden shot himself in the foot with his fracking comments at the debate and elsewhere.

    Trump 290+ in the electoral college. Maybe 305

    1. Louis Fyne

      DNC and ID pols own-goaled when they decided that pushing the Green New Deal (without banning fracking) was important than putting food on the table.

      And that deciding that the proper label for Hispanics is “brown people of color”–that may work for they/their/cis Latinx activists but not regular people

      don’t shoot the messenger

      1. Basil Pesto

        DNC and ID pols own-goaled when they decided that pushing the Green New Deal (without banning fracking) was important

        When was that?

        The DNC have treated the Green New Deal with utter derision.

    2. ptb

      The way Nate Silver looks at things, the states are correlated – so if Trump beats the polls there, he will beat them everywhere. Also if he blows it he might lose his lucrative gig.

      PA is extra unusual though because it is one of the states with a closed primary. (FL too). Polls face an additional difficulty in these states, since people who should be counted as ‘independent’ typically register with a party that they don’t have much attachment to. This makes it hard to come by an accurate estimate of the Democrats:Republican ratio in the state (this simple measure inevitably dominates the result of the prez-general-election polls), and even harder to come by an estimate of ‘independents’ (vs commiteed D/R), who make up most of the ‘swing voters’. One can’t simply use the result of asking the poll respondents, because the sample hasn’t been weighted yet for political party. With fewer than 10% response rate to random calls, accurate weighting of the samples to population characteristics is a must.

      Then on a more real-world level, in contrast to the polls favoring Biden, the Trump yard sign game in PA is at a whole new level. 3×6 signs, 4×8 signs, flags, and they are everywhere. More importantly, the Trump campaign got a key segment of small businesses on it – ones like construction/electrical/plumbing supply. They know their blue-collar customers will mostly support it, and if the business owners opt out, they would risk their customers wondering why they don’t have a sign. In turn, these unambiguous signals of support from these businesses anchor the entire real-world blue-collar social network from where it matters, at the top. Analogous to what they call ‘social proof’ in some circles, signal that Trump support isn’t just for the peons. Total clash with what might appear on TV.

      Very curious how it turns out. I think the state will be quite close.

      Assuming the usual skulduggery in FL, losing PA would mean Biden must win NC and AZ, so those are the next to watch. Biden’s lead has slipped in NC, which is now nearly tied in polls. Biden is ahead slightly in AZ polls. Neither of these are closed primaries, FWIW.

      1. a different chris

        >the Trump yard sign game in PA is at a whole new level. 3×6 signs, 4×8 signs, flags, and they are everywhere.

        I live in Western Pa, and not in Allegheny County.

        The Trump yard signs are not only well decreased from 2016, but I never say a Clinton sign anywhere near my house and now I can drive in either direction and find a Biden sign within 60 seconds. So I don’t see where you get the “whole new level” thing.

        So thanks for your analysis, but it isn’t any better than mine. Nobody knows.

        1. ptb

          ‘Nobody knows’ — no, obviously not. We will find out.

          Sounds like you live in a relatively ‘blue’ area. Hopefully they have increased since 2016. I am a short distance out on the NY side of the border, so what I see is more rural for sure. I drove all the way thru your state 2 weeks ago going North to South, off the interstate. Counted about 10 Biden signs in total. Probably a hundred of just the big ass trump signs, no idea how many regular yard signs. The huge ones on businesses I think are genuinely a novelty. We have them here in NY too, but you guys are at a whole another scale. The point is anyone with a car sees this – it’s free advertising.

          Not trying to start an argument. Peace

      2. Jessica

        Thank you for the explanation of the importance of Pennsylvania being a closed-primary state. This raises the possibility that Biden falling short of his poll numbers in Pennsylvania might not correlate with a similar result in the Midwestern states.

        1. ptb

          That’s what I was thinking. I don’t think Trump takes any of the upper midwest states, so Biden can lose both FL and PA and still get by with AZ or NC, just as Silver says. (and I’m not saying he will lose PA either, I just don’t believe the 3-6 point margin that the polls are saying).

    3. Minalin

      Fracking is a non event, it isn’t being done. Cost to produce at $70 a barrel (less lying will get it down to $40, but pure creative accounting fiction.) We have foreclosed on 43 companies since July.

      1. ptb

        1. It completely transformed the price structure of oil and especially natural gas in the US. In the case of PA it is all about natural gas.
        2. Bankrupt energy companies don’t stop operating, they just stiff their investors (and sometimes creditors).
        3. for dry gas (i.e. PA) this all happened years ago already. The economics of dry-gas production has been crap ever since texas ramped up their unconventional oil production, which produced excess natgas that they didn’t need. Wrecked the natgas prices, but even so, it hasn’t stopped the Marcellus from being developed. Any employees who bought in it as an investment lost their money pre-2016, and I think most are in it for the job.
        4. Anyway, it’s more a symbolic statement of where the candidate stands on the mythology of US national greatness. But people buy into this deeply… all the overpriced F150’s on the road are an example.

    4. Glen

      Maybe the fracking comments hurt, but the reality is somewhat more harsh. The fracking industry collapsed a while back and is going bust:

      The Great American Oil & Gas Massacre: Bankruptcies Hit New Milestone as Bigger Companies Let Go

      It would be better to invest in something cheaper, newer, bla, bla, bla:

      South Australia first to be 100% Solar-Powered, as Solar becomes Cheapest form of Energy

      Bottom line about what the people want is good jobs, I’m not sure they care to much about what industry.

    5. Darthbobber

      Nate Silver always “hedges” in this manner. Though I wouldn’t really call it hedging, Just explaining what his numbers actually do and don’t mean. To no avail, generally.

    1. cocomaan

      Why does this have to be leaked? Why isn’t it public information? You could deidentify it if you were worried about HIPAA.

      1. Louis Fyne

        looks bad for the state and local jailers (largely Dem.), and for care home owners ($$$$ donors) and state regulators (Dem).

        and contradicts the narrative that socially distanced indoor dining is a major covid vector.

        illinois is re-banned indoor dining last week

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        I entered Chicago into the search function and it returned a list of mostly nursing homes.

        These, along with the number who tested positive at each facility and the number of deaths (more info than is on this list) is indeed published regularly and publicly available on the IL DPH website.

        I don’t know about other types of businesses that do seem to be included on this list.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Some people here treat FL, where I live, as a bad joke (FloriDUH, hanging chads and all that, forgetting that Gore and the Dems just folded their tents). And there are more than enough reasons to scoff, almost all due to the gluttony of the wealthy and their minions that have bought and paid for a corrupt government at all levels. But there are a lot of very decent people eking out an honest living here, doing the best they can to oppose the flood of corruption.

      I was born in NJ, another “joke” state, but after age 2 grew up in IL (speaking of bad jokes). Where just about every governor has done time in prison, where machine politics permeates everything, where big-city police run their own “rendition” black sites and murder people left and right. I wonder how this information made it out of the Springfield/Daley Center axis?

      People get a kick out of kicking sideways at states afflicted by the disease of gigantic and blatant corruption and dysgovernment. I guess it makes them feel superior or something. Maybe they should follow that Biblical advice about removing the log from their own eye before remarking on the splinter in the other person’s.

      Two questions: Who’s the enemy? And what is the shape of the political economy “we,” that inchoate pronoun, want to live in and are willing to work to achieve?

      1. Anon II, First of the Name

        Where just about every governor has done time in prison

        I agree that many of the indicators you list are causes for concern, but I view corrupt governors going to prison as a positive sign–it would be much worse if corrupt governors *were not* prosecuted, I think.

      2. montanamaven

        I hear ya. Grew up in Southwest Cooke County. Just assumed that machine politics is how it’s done. Although when it’s done “well”, they take care of their own. Even if for some it’s a bundle of dough and for others it’s a couple beers.

      3. Minalin

        “paid for a corrupt government at all levels”, I doubt everyone is corrupt or committed to the idea. And you present no proof. Again stupidity is more often the cause.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not from the UK, but if you read George Monbiot’s articles in the Guardian its clear that testing is an almighty mess in the UK, primarily because (guess what), its all been outsourced.

      There has been a strong suspicion in Ireland that the UK is understating its figures for some time, because the ‘overspill’ into Ireland from NI seems disproportionate given the published positives. We already know that hospitals are very stretched in the UK – the only type of ‘testing’ that can’t be hidden is the number of people in ICU’s, and thats very high in parts of the UK now.

    2. Redlife2017

      Well, I personally know people who are getting Covid right now and who are not getting tests. The husband was sick for 3 weeks and his wife for about 2 weeks. So, if the known screw up of Test and Trace where they are unable to get anything organised is true, this video does not surprise me. It is basically being run as a way to shovel money into Tory donor hands from the state – leaving people who are actually sick to not be able to get tests.

      They also never used the Nightingale hospitals because they just stupidly shoved everyone into the hospitals (which they are doing again). I’ll be honest, I have no idea why they do that.

      1. c_heale

        The people who built the Nightingale hospitals got a lot of money. They were all private companies.

    3. Phillip Cross

      It’s testing by appointment only at the site in the video. When I try and get an appointment they tell me all the tests are gone for today, and I should try again later.

      Check out this page, you can see for yourself. https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

      Perhaps they have a central test lab with a fixed daily capacity, so they only give a certain number of appointments in a region each day?

  2. John A

    Johnny Depp loses libel case against Sun over claims he beat ex-wife Amber Heard Guardian

    The Guardian covered this case obsessively. While simultaneously ignoring to the point of near total black out, the Assange case. Something else that helps explain the continuing downward fall of what is now no more than a propaganda rag for the intelligence services.

    1. Carolinian

      Their obsessive coverage must be why they didn’t bother to explain the case and the evidence in the linked story.

      As for Depp and his career, he’s a very good actor but his often eccentric performances and role choices likely mean he was never going to become a beloved geezer like Harrison Ford. Perhaps Heard is correct that she alone can’t be blamed for any decline in his popularity and income.

      1. John A

        TBH, I have not followed the Depp trial in any detail, just seen gory headlines on an almost daily basis in the msm. For Assange updates, I have had to follow Craig Murray’s blog, more or less a media blackout otherwise.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Depp has produced the new documentary about Shane MacGowan (directed by Julien Temple) called the Crock of Gold, coming out soon I believe. Depp I think always considered himself a bad boy and a rebel, thus his glomming onto to MacGowan (although I think Shane actually likes him). Of course Depp is way too pretty to have actually ever suffered. It’s like trying to believe that Sting was ever the ‘king of pain’

          1. Carolinian

            I’d rate Depp over Sting. He really is a good actor when he’s not just vamping.

            May be a jerk in person.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    A Nuts-And-Bolts Guide To Density People Actually Want American Conservative

    One consequence I hope of Covid is the death of the obsession with single use homes in both urban and suburban areas. While in Europe we don’t have as much simplistic single use zoning of the type that plagues US and Canadian cities, there is still a ‘tidying’ up mentality which, when allied with people trying to preserve property values (i.e. keeping poor and minorities out of their street), leads to boring conformity and unsustainable urban forms. Big old houses have a lot of potential, so long as you don’t insist that they are only suitable for single families, or, on the flip side, allow landlords to stuff them with poor people. Now that more people are working from home, there is much more potential for imaginative uses of houses and gardens, including little garden offices.

    Another issue that may arise (I haven’t seen figures yet, but based on anecdote it could be a significant change in lifestyle) is people moving much further from the city, but wanting to buy or rent a base for a couple of days a week. A colleague has a 3 hour commute from my office, but pre-Covid worked in the office for 3 days, while staying 2 nights in an AirBnB. A lot of people are talking about replicating her work pattern once Covid dies down, and we may see a surge in people wanting ‘mini’ urban homes as a sort of pied a terre, just one suitable for people who have to work for a living.

    But the big enemy in all this is the power of developers and the landowning classes. There is a big movement in Ireland for ‘co-living’ (even pre-Covid), which was developer speak for ‘very small and inadequate apartments without even a decent kitchen’. There is always an excuse for weakening good buildings regulation. But a rigid approach to planning is not an answer either.

    1. Carolinian

      I had meant to offer a link to that article as it very much describes my own neighborhood–old enough to be on the historic register and still the mixed single and multifamily housing talked about re Louisville. We have duplexes, two story Victorians, small cottage type houses and somewhat pretentious mansions agglomerated together. This may be a Southern thing as for most of its history the neighborhood was part of those restrictions that showed a tolerance for poor and middle class people as long as they were of the right color. As the article says, the rise of zoning restrictions often was in part to maintain housing segregation.

      None of that now and we have black residents (not many) and white families with black children. For those of use who grew up here in the old days this is somewhat moving and also, I think, sincere. But as the old restrictions fade away new ones have arisen. It’s doubtful that there are still many truly poor people living in an increasingly tony intown enclave.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think variety is the key – when you have a mix of building sizes and types (and tenure), then there are more niches for people for people to fill – cities are like ecosystems, the more complex they are, the more likely they are to achieve stability.

    2. Louis Fyne

      US is passing the point of no return on its evolution into a low-trust society….along every line possible: income, class, political, religious, racial.

      single family homes are here to stay.

  4. TMoney

    The public “right of way” in the UK is an idea sorely missing in the USA. For American viewers, the British public has the “right of way” over private land if it has been always been used as such. Private land owners are obliged to allow walkers, ramblers, riff-raff on their property if people stay on the footpath. The paths are collected and marked on OS Maps (Ordnance Survey). These maps mark every building, road and footpath in the UK – theoretically for the defence department.
    Build a house over a footpath and you enshrine the right of people to walk through your house – not round it. I believe a path must be walked once per year to remain active. Some land owners love to document when a path isn’t used, so they can get the path removed from the maps. Physical maps mind mean someone might just walk on an “expired” path years later. Then the real fun can begin**

    ** This info may be out of date due to the writer not being in the UK for many years. He did however, spend a lot of his younger years trampling over hill and dale in North Wales.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There are a vast number of ‘rights of way’ in the UK, most of which have been ignored or fell out of use. I recall when working in the West Midlands a legal discussion of whether a right of way applied on a vertical as well as a horizontal plane – the local Rambers association had tried to formalise a route from an old map which went through a former quarry which had been infilled with waste, then turned into a park. So the ‘right of way’ was about 20 metres below the existing ground level. I believe the court decided this didn’t matter as nobody really wanted to excavate a tunnel through 30 year old landfill. But there were indeed cases of people having to knock a hole in their house to allow people to walk through.

      Its unfortunate though that the obsession within English walking and access circles was on keeping these old paths alive (right of way rights were established through Common Law), rather than a more general campaign for the right of access through untilled land, or in the establishment of good quality ‘new’ paths rather than a dense network of often irrelevant old paths. Ultimately, it was easier for politicians to allow this to be fought through the courts rather than try to put in place a new, fair framework, as this would have inevitable have come into conflict with the biggest power of all in the UK, the power of traditional landowners.

    2. cocomaan

      We don’t have that kind of right of way enshrined in law in the US, but we do have plenty of easements that work within the law.

      For instance, SE PA has the Horseshoe Trail, which has an easement system and a permissions system so that it can run from roughly Harrisburg to the Philadelphia area. It ends pretty close to the Appalachian Trail.

      You’re not allowed to camp on the Horseshoe Trail officially, but I have talked to people who made it work.

      So these trail permissions exist, but generally not in urban spaces. Land trusts work on these easements all the time. Some of those land trusts are extraordinarily small and some are hefty national organizations.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its unfortunate I think that the focus is always on leisure trails. These are important of course, but its also important that people can take direct routes on foot from A to B doing their daily business. The obsession for decades with cul de sac developments in particular has made walking or cycling around many cities tortuous.

        It seems a universal that local governments are happy to use whatever power (and money) is needed to create direct routes for cars, but direct routes for people walking, or kids on bikes, is seen as a luxury and is at the mercy of the generosity of landowners.

        1. cocomaan

          Ah, I see the distinction. I would say that cities are better about establishing walkability here in the US than they have been in my entire lifetime. There’s actually some push to think about it more now that covid has struck and made outdoor dining a major selling point for downtown.

          Of course when I was in Occupy Wall Street in Philadelphia, Dilworth Plaza was also seen as a liability by the city because it could be occupied by protestors. So they actually demolished the camp by using the excuse that they were going to begin renovation of the plaza and thus made it a little harder to do something like that again in the future.

          If I’m an urban planner trying to figure out how to deal with the next ten years in cities, when the richest residents are fleeing to single family homes in the suburbs (it’s happening right now around Philadelphia), I’m going to make it harder to walk around in anticipation of the worst rioting. Make the rioters block traffic and stick to the streets.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            One of the reasons Hausmann designed the grand boulevards of Paris was that the original warren of laneways of medieval Paris made it far too hard to mow down rioters with cannons. Much easer to do it when they are all in a nice row on a wide street.

            Back in the 1960’s, many plazas were laid out precisely because they wanted spaces that rioters would find it hard to barricade – so they were designed with very wide open entrances, which also made them pretty bad public spaces. Quite a few 1960’s and 70’s college campuses were explicitly designed to make it hard for students to congregate and barricade off sections.

            But rioters can be very inventive. One reason the HK protests lasted so long was that the warrens of that city made it much easier for them to disperse (horizontally as well as vertically) when attacked by the police. In many ways, HK is the ideal city for organised protestors, its easy to move around with its excellent subway system (the authorities shut it down over the weekends for precisely this reason), and there were plenty of chokepoints to bring the city to a halt.

    3. Lynne

      Unfortunately, I have heard too many accounts from British farmers to mourn the decrease in footpaths. Now, if the non-farming public would not let their dogs harry sheep, etc, it might be different. But how many of you have had to clean up the aftermath? Not pretty, and no recourse for farmers, or the sheep. Kind of like the cattle dead courtesy of the public’s obsession with releasing balloons and paper lanterns.

  5. timbers

    We Can’t Follow Obama Back to Brunch:

    “Obama added that under a Democratic Congress “some folks will get jobs that wouldn’t have otherwise had jobs, and some folks will have healthcare that wouldn’t otherwise have healthcare.”

    Which is scarier – What Obama said or Team Biden thinking this helps them? In Michigan no less, where he apparently didn’t think it was govt’s job to fix lead infested drinking water serving the entire community that the govt choose to put in it in the first place?

    “some folks will get clean drinking water/healthcare that wouldn’t have otherwise have”

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Much like the clintons, he just needs to stfu and go away.
      We are largely in this quagmire because of his failed presidency.

    2. ewmayer

      Obama omitted the “some folks will get killed that wouldn’t have otherwise gotten killed”* bit. I’m sure Joemala’s prospective Nuland/Kagan-approved FP team is on the case!

      (* To which Biden, or more likely his wife/ventriloquist, would retort, “C’mon man – spreading American-style democracy and freedom requires some sacrifices on the part of the beneficiaries.”)

  6. ex-PFC Chuck

    Jerri-Lynn, For the sake of search consistency with the past and the future you might want to consider putting the word “Links” in the URL.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks. It was dropped though I didn’t consciously change anything today, so I just added it back in. I was unaware of this.

  7. bwilli123

    …”Prince William, 38, ‘secretly battled coronavirus in April’ – just days after his father Charles contracted it – and was left ‘struggling to breathe’ but didn’t want to ‘alarm’ the nation by revealing his illness….”
    The 1st and 2nd in line to the throne potentially at death’s door?
    A certain woman tied to numero 3 would have been hard pressed not to think her number had just about come up.

    1. petal

      I imagine you mean Markle? Harry is #6 in line these days. She must be going bananas at the news, though. So close.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yep. Wills has fathered an heir and two spares so far (thanks to Perth Agreement meaning Charlotte doesn’t get the Princess Anne treatment).

        I don’t know if the weird virus I had was covid but I know what the respiratory distress it caused feels like. I can empathise with William if he did indeed go through that.

        1. petal

          Same here, wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Unpredictable how it’s going to affect each person. Had something weird last March and had a hard time breathing, like a long, extended asthma attack. It was scary. Glad he’s okay.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Yeah. As I’ve said already (so don’t want to sound like a broken record), I’m not willing to speculate that I had Covid-19 (though the 1st confirmed case was in my city and medical docs continue to gossip) and there’s a good chance I had one of the “normal” 4 endemic coronaviruses, and these can also be nasty too.

            The “asthma attack” analogy rings true with me. It was very very worrying to wake with it at 3am two nights running. Despite often working in hospitals I hate being a patient and generally avoid 999 calls. But I was very close to doing so. It was horrid and like you say, not something to wish on anyone. Plus the fact a young fit man had it – and whilst I’m not exactly an old unfit man, I’ve got a few years on Wills! – really adds to the links NC has brought up about athletes showing heart damage……if this causes internal organ damage on widespread scale….sheesh….

  8. The Rev Kev

    “I have all the symptoms of a Covid-19 long-hauler — but I’m hesitant to identify myself as one”

    I would be too. The US military already blocks from recruitment anybody that was sick enough to have been hospitalized with this virus. How long until somebody puts together a list of these “long-haulers” so that they can be black-listed from employment as being too risky health-wise? Or maybe from rentals as they may get too sick to keep up the rent? I think that it is only a matter of time until employment forms will have tick-boxes to say if you had been stricken but more importantly, if you were ever hospitalized. And that later will be like a kiss of death. I would not be surprised if some groups are scraping sites like Facebook already to find names for these “long-haulers” to monetize.

    1. expr

      at least some of the long haulers who have blogged never gat a covid test (causing medical skepticism later on) much less hospitalized

    2. Lee

      Doctors Begin to Crack Covid’s Mysterious Long-Term Effects Wall Street Journal (no pay wall)

      According to this article, and unlike the case cited in LInks, there are indeed observable physical manifestations among many long-haulers, some of them quite serious, such as heart damage, lung scarring, and other organ damage. The prevalence among those, often with only mild Covid-19 symptoms, is troublingly high.

      Assuming the author of the Links article has been tested for these more serious post-viral infection effects, then she may be experiencing a more diagnostically subtle condition variously known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).

      Before connecting with Stanford Chronic Fatigue Clinic, I wandered for several years from one baffled and/or skeptical doctor to the next, with the standard array of tests showing nothing amiss. There are so far some promising but as yet no conclusive or widely accepted diagnostic biomarkers for CFS.

  9. Shonde

    In his newest post to paying subscribers, Matt Taibbi describes Biden as a “corpse with hair plugs”.

    My respect for him just grew immeasurably when I read that he, as was true with me, can’t bring himself to vote for either presidential candidate. Great post that encapsulates my thoughts perfectly but gotta say Matt better now stay out of small airplanes.

  10. Timmy

    Coverage of the latest Rassmussen poll for Pennsylvania (headline Biden +7) including this alarming paragraph

    “In the 10 swing counties that were closest in 2016, Trump leads 49 to 45. That’s a big swing in Trump’s favor, as Biden led in those counties by 11 points only one month ago

    “https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/523928-monmouth-poll-biden-leads-by-7-points-in-pennsylvania” rel=”nofollow ugc”>

    1. Aumua

      I’m not sure how that is a Rassmusen poll. It’s a Monmouth College poll according to the article. Are they connected somehow?

    2. Darthbobber

      This is the level of breakdown that extracts meaning from next to nothing. Given that Monmouth samples only 502 people in the Commonwealth, what do we think the sample sizes are in any of those 10 individual counties. Samples that tiny should be expected to bounce around by large amounts.

      And in any case, the race here is determined by the statewide total.

      What’s happening here in PA? The only answer I halve is “unclear”.

      1. mike

        Oh, it’s pretty clear- cities of Philly, Pgh, Scranton, maybe Erie and Harrisburg will go for Biden, but will that vote be large enough to offset the rest of the state, where even the poorest will vote for Trump? Expect close vote margin, and praise the Dems for separating themselves from “socialism” enuf to grab those Repug votes;-)

        1. Darthbobber

          By “unclear” I mean the statewide result.

          Relative margins unclear. Relative turnout unclear.

          And if turnout is ultimately so high that you draw a significant chunk of “normally” non-voting people (who will likely have also been discounted by all pollsters using an LV screen), do they actually breakdown in anything like the same way as the usual troops for each side? This could be the biggest unclear of all.

          The Republican turnout operation in 16 was so focused and effective that I’m not sure it has another notch. So I’m not sure that increased turnout in some of the Republican counties will benefit them to the same degree that normal turnout does. I have a similar question about some of the added turnout in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties.

          Received wisdom seems to be based on the belief that if Philadelphia normally produces about 70 or 75% for the Democrats, and Cumberland/Perry counties similar or higher for the Republicans, that additional voters well above the norm will distribute about the same way. But these will be people who normally resist the voting appeals of both parties, so is this true?

  11. timbers

    Class Warfare:

    An analyst at JPMorgan is on record saying Covid/lockdowns/pandemics are good for stocks, the rich:

    “Although it has had a negative impact in the short term, the reemergence of lockdowns and resultant growth weakness could bolster the above equity upside over the medium to longer term via inducing more QE and thus more liquidity creation” from the Fed.

    Refreshing honesty. Covid is perfect for the rich asset class of elites, Wall Street types, etc. Had it not happened, they should have invented it themselves.

    1. tegnost

      equity upside over the medium to longer term via inducing more QE and thus more liquidity creation

      Jeez how much more clearly can you say socialism for the rich. No need for support to the lower classes, there will be no stimulus til at least march unless trump wins. In the neo version of capitalism in america one doesn’t need to make anything, in fact making things just costs money.
      Buying back stock and selling into the fed backed bond market makes money.

  12. jr


    That reddit stupIDpol thread keeps kicking up great stuff. I’ve been whining ad nauseum about the suspect use of language by adherents of Critical Theory, being a poet I find it especially grating. It literally hurts my mind to hear it. Now I have a clearer picture why and I’m pleased to see some of my intuitions are supported here. But I think perhaps this is the nut of it:

    “ the devout “Social Justice Warrior” (as they are often called) never gets to be completely assured of their salvation because there are traps set within the doctrines that make it impossible to follow one without failing at another — for example, if you prefer your own ethnicity when it comes to sexual partners, you’re a “sexual racist,” but if you prefer other ethnicities over your own when it comes to sexual partners, you’re a “fetishist”; if you don’t believe that gender is a social construct, you’re accused of being “heteronormative,” but if you refuse to believe that transgenderism is a biological reality, you’re “transphobic.””

    Here is the mechanism that makes this crap so dangerous; the intentional chaos that has been pointed out in that great article from New Discourses “2+2 ≠ 5“:


    Confusion is the goal, not organization. Infantilizing susceptible minds to make them more pliant and keep them there, peddling crypto-Puritanism disguised as sexual liberation ( a living, breathing example of “doublethink”), degenerating discourses between other opposing points of view that are unrelated to IDpol, tearing thinking loose from any attempt at a stable epistemology, using the issues and demands of oppressed peoples as a platform to pursue a program of ideological metastization.

    All of this garbage brought to mind a prescient short story by Vonnegut which I believe hits the nail squarely:


    IDpol is about social control, not justice. Broad enough to scoop up everyone and granular enough to find a problem with everyone. It’s a self licking Rain-Blo bubblegum lollipop with mental fish hooks embedded in it.

    1. hunkerdown

      New Discourses, being in part a business consultancy, is constrained from accessing certain aspects of the Problem. ND’s sales pitch depends on taking the “rational project” as an epistemic shield, to reify social norms and naturalize bourgeois aristocracy as only a consequence of logic and reason. ND views wokeness as a matter of vertical class discipline, as a problem of “activists” ruining the “rational project”, which narrative sells to frustrated narcissistic middle-upper managers. ND can’t (publicly) view it as a legitimate renegotiation between two aristocracies of the inherently arbitrary property of “respectability” without giving the game away. For if there be profit, none dare call it treason.

      I think Oliver Traldi’s “guild” perspective of an in-group running ever faster to create and maintain apartness from the hordes it styles itself separate, combined with such religiously-justified structural components of Western civilization as original sin and prosperity gospel, explains the woke enclosure movement’s features more convincingly and in a less rhetorical frame, and better predicts who is actually constructing the woke ideologies and where. When one sees taboo as a social construct akin to private property, it’s hard to unsee the “wealth creation” aspect of idpol, or to sort of “print property” into a propertarian class system.

      1. jr

        “business consultancy….aristocracy…class discipline…”

        Wow, that’s revealing HD, as usual. Thank you. I am going to check out this Traldi now.

        1. hunkerdown

          Cheers. Traldi, which I saw at NC first. I admit I like my custard on the eggy side, and Traldi is just an egg (in the Church of All Worlds sense). In a crisper sense, ND’s central, incontrovertible statement that would be perverse to contradict, “2+2=4″*, is formed by the conjunction of a plethora of theoretical constructs from myriad angles. It is that conjunction of proof, and the relative lack of proprietary interests in questions of arithmetic fact, which allows the rest of us to treat it as permanent and make that statement with confidence. For the PMC Guild trying to do a management under a condition of elite overproduction, the situation regarding proprietary interests in styles of office and other cultural forms is rather different. Which is why I would view with suspicion a theory that, for whatever reason, doesn’t take account of them in its model.

          * A computer scientist, even a junior programmer, would ask to clarify whether that statement is a comparison or an assignment.

          1. jr

            That’s really interesting, I did have some inkling that although 2+2=4 is fine for mooks like me, the theories behind it are much vaster. I have to gnaw on this some more…

    2. Bruno

      ” “2+2 ≠ 5“
      If your system of symbols allows a singular noun (“a plumber” etc.) to take a plural pronoun (“they”) you should have no problem asserting “2+2=5”

      1. jr

        Thank you for your comment. Forgive my fumbling attempts at mathematical reasoning, it’s by far my weakest area, but if we are adding 4 singular nouns into a they, wouldn’t that lead to 2+2= X as “they” can range from 2 up to 2 trillion? I’m not being cheeky, it’s literally hard for me to even process ideas related to mathematics. As for actual math, I regularly screw up even simple arithmetic operations. I can write doggerel though:

        What’s in a number?

        I sure can’t say.

        None of them work

        At the end of the day.

        When you pull out a number

        I’ll run away

        For me an old abacus

        Is as good as a Cray!

      2. Terry Flynn

        Hmm, “your system of symbols”. You mean base (e.g. base 10). Mathematical “systems of symbols” are very tightly defined so your equivalence is false. This goes back to the “equivalence” symbol used in the Biden signs in his campaign already discussed here. He uses the mathematical symbol which in lay language really means “is identically equal to, no matter what variable values”…..which in his name means….what? BID is N ?!

        Maybe it’s an attempt to show he’s “exactly what he seems” or somesuch…..but few voters would get this significance. I use the symbol in question when explaining things like balance sheets and why the national debt is the national credit and why balance sheets balance. They do by definition. The mathematics say so and though post-moderninsts and some others might not like it, there are “words” that express this and you can’t argue otherwise. If you want to, invent some other “mathematical” terms.

  13. zagonostra

    >Hedges interview of Taibbi

    It’s obvious that we now have “Junk Journalism” as well as “Junk Economics.” What Taibbi and Hedges do is document the demise of the traditional outlets of treatment of news from “staid, clear-eyed, verified” news of erstwhile NYT with the new junk journalism that is not verified and is used to bolster a narrative by the same NYT, WaPo, and similar news outlets.

    With the censorship of Greenwald at the Intercept, the transition to junk journalism is a fait accompli. Time will tell if the “new media product” Taibbi refers to as an unmet need screaming for satisfaction will be met. Stubstack, and to a lessor extent NC, are filling a breech, but whether a financially, self-sustaining institution can emerge who can say.

    They also touch on the function of tech platforms in censoring and the dissemination of news and how we are tending toward a monopoly on “truth,” one which pre-masticated for you so that all you have is a verisimilitude of what actually happened.

    Also the discussion of the elites being out of believable myths in the face of the stark economic realities facing so many Americans was instructive.

  14. anon y'mouse

    my report from PA:

    signs for both. signage battles (all down the highway, one side’s sign and then the other placed right in front of it). giant signs. cuckoo signs. if the neighbor has a few signs, i have a really BIG sign. that kinda thing

    in this college town in this area, probably evenly split.

    ads on TV (streaming FIRE). for a long while there was nothing from RUMP. Biden and Harris : we are going to restore dignity. voting is how we change things (hA!). RUMP: they are socialists and they want to destroy the country. partisan but possibly non-affiliated ads: Biden wants to cancel fracking, and this will destroy our community. RUMP is a libertarian true believer. VS VOTE VOTE VOTE—because your voice matters and Biden is a good guy, really.

    every single ad is patronising. quite a few are targetting black people specifically. all are full of basically made up nonsense rhetoric.

    mom in law report: scared to talk openly because she moved here to retire from CA and actually, genuinely believes that RUMP voters eat babies (ok, hyperbolic, but she believes close and has a PhD), and that they are all rejects who want to return to the 1950s, and now she is surrounded by them and some of them are actually *gulp* nice people who scrape out her driveway when it snows. then again, i may be confusing her views of RUMP voters with her views of white people in general. she tends to believe all white people are plotting her demise and out to do her wrong. not kidding.

    end report—–

      1. Carolinian

        Got some evidence that the Kochs have been giving her cash for her views? Otherwise guess you are who she is talking about.

        Gupta says she had hoped the declaration would help inspire some open debate on these matters. You are entitled to question her sincerity (once again, evidence?) but that debate is certainly needed including around here.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I have no problem with contrary positions on Covid so long as they are in good faith, but its pretty clear from the links I’ve posted (and others that could be found with a quick google) that the Barrington Declaration was funded directly by a Koch Brothers think tank. That doesn’t mean its wrong, but it does at least raise very strong concerns about the motivations of the authors.

          I don’t believe mainstream medicine or public health policy has covered itself with glory over Covid (except, arguably, in Asia), but there are ways for scientists to dissent from the mainstream without aligning themselves with right wing libertarian think tanks with dubious views on a wide range of topics.

          I don’t know if Prof. Gupta or the others have taken money directly, but she and the others, as tenured staff of top Universities have plenty of means of getting their message out. They are either very naive, or they had other motives.

          1. Carolinian

            So she is just being attacked for this tenuous connection to Koch libertarians and not for her message which swims against the mainstream–particularly at a time when covid has been very much politicized as part of the US election?

            In her most recent column Caitlin Johnstone made an interesting point which is that perhaps the reason Greenwald keeps going on the Tucker Carlson show–to some criticism– is that Carlson is the only one willing to let him come on television and say what he has to say. Personally I think these guilt by association arguments are profoundly anti-intellectual. It merely plays into Big Media’s attempt to lock down the conversation on all controversial topics.

            1. Basil Pesto

              that’s a tenuous definition of tenuous. If her argument, were, say:

              actually lockdowns are an effective way of controlling disease spread. They have real corollary problems that can’t be ignored, however. These can be mitigated by federal government stimulus to ensure the welfare of regular people as much as possible, as opposed to the current principal beneficiaries of the CARES act stimulus, namely incorporated bodies in industries that were inadequately prepared for such a risk, and their executives.

              Then I’m quite sure you wouldn’t have heard of her, and if such a Great Barrington declaration did exist without her support, some other credentialled goober with bad economics would be found to put their name to it instead.

        2. L

          PK may be referring to the fact that the Great Barrington Declaration was sponsored a Koch affiliated foundation Credit Wikipedia so it is definitely getting financial support based upon view alignment. Whether or not she is, is a different question.

      2. a different chris

        Also this makes my brain hurt:

        I was also deeply concerned that lockdowns only delay the inevitable spread of the virus. Indeed, we believe that a better way forward would be to target protective measures at specific vulnerable groups, such as the elderly in care homes.

        Um, one very strong point of the lockdowns, repeated constantly to anybody who would listen but I guess if you are as smart as Dr. Gupta you don’t have to, was that this thing can catch fire and overwhelm hospitals.

        Finally, OMG the people get to speak their piece. 20 years ago we would get Dr Gupta in the Guardian and everybody would be expected to think that was right, and policy would follow, and people whose loved ones ended up dead would be properly ignored.

        1. Carolinian

          She’s describing the Sweden plan. Thing is if you visit sites like, oh say, Crooks and Liars, you’d think he scientific debate on this was all settled and that anyone who disagrees is a crank including people with medical and scientific credentials that long antedate covid. I’d say as website commenters we probably don’t outrank.

          If six months from now the medical dissidents turn out to be right and Crooks and Liars turns out to be a polemical site full of hot air then do get back to me. My definition of “profoundly ant-intellectual” would be failing to keep an open mind.

    1. hunkerdown

      Her ambition bores me, and I am certain that’s what’s driving her. That, and wingnut welfare from the neolib tank-think collective.

    2. Darthbobber

      Given that every public figure who says anything is now attacked, with the only variable being the factional source of the attack, it would be odd if she were the exception.

      1. Mike

        True, and that shows the profound distrust of all that comes out of “official” mouths. A sure sign this country is not one country anymore, and many people will need a relocation service…

  15. L

    The College Degree Is Dividing America Chronicle of Higher Education. Was not sure whether this belongs here or 2020 or under Class Warfare. But it belongs somewhere.

    I have to point out one key part of this article. This may be minor but the statement from Perdue’s president that “There is a profound sense” that people from colleges look down on Republicans to me says more than other things. That profound sense is, so far as I can tell, self-inflicted grievance stoking which is, in many ways, worse than the conspiracies.

    We have hit the point where people can be locked in an echo chamber not just to juice on hate but to nurture, even husband grievances real and imagined forever. Unlike a onetime conspiracy grievances have no proof or disproof, they do not need new food, they can persist forever and be exploited long past the point of utility.

    Guns may be an outward sign, but I truly believe that it is these fake grievances that will keep us apart.

  16. Phacops

    Re: antimicrobial surfaces/copper

    There has been a small but persistent interest in antimicrobial plastics for use in medical devices, including metal doping. The metal usually investigated is silver. Copper shows far less antimicrobial activity and has compound solubilities that are not desirable.

    A Note: especially for injectable product, sterility of a batch is an all or nothing event as even a single non-sterile unit in a batch of tens of thousands is objectionable. Cost for replicate trials and yearly re-qualification imposes a practical limit of detection of a 1:1,000,000 probability of a non-sterile unit (at sufficient power to define consumer risk). That is why there is continued interest in antimicrobial plastics to provide greater sterility assurance. In addition, those plastics must meet strict limits for extractables.

    My interest in metal doped plastic stems from an issue from electron-beam sterilization of prefilled flush syringes (using 5 Mev electrons). Because electrons were coming to rest in the solution, charge within that highly insulating syringe was accumulating, and eventually discharging across the syringe stopper, causing unacceptable microwelds. So, solutions were investigated in conducting plastics that meet extractable limits.

    1. ewmayer

      The spring-loaded safety injectors (once the plunger is fully depressed, the spring mechanism auto-retracts the needle back within the tip section of the housing) I use for the biologic I started on earlier this year are an interesting hybrid: housing and plunger are plastic, but the cylindrical inner part holding the product is *glass*, with the tip end fused around the steel needle. The only non-glass item contacting the product prior to injection is the rubberized push end of the plunger.

  17. zagonostra

    >The Rising, Falling

    Just watched an interview on The Rising with Jeremy Scahill on “Trump Is A Continuation Of The WORST Of The GOP” covering a podcast series at the Intercept. I thought Krystal would wait until the end of the interview to ask what Jeremy thought about his co-founder quitting under the cloud of censorship. But nary a word. Instead it was a promotional for the Intercept.

    I don’t know if others share my view, but I was excited when The Rising brought people on like Jimmy Dore and was hoping to see Glen Ford of BAR on as well. Now the program seems so topical and inside the beltway coverage of the horse race. Hopefully, thing over there will change. Or maybe I’m jaded with their type of coverage and am I looking for something deeper.

    1. Basil Pesto

      it’s essentially a morning news show. Don’t overthink it.

      AFAIK, Greenwald and Scahill are still on good terms. If Scahill didn’t wanna talk about it in his interview he presumably would’ve made that clear to the show’s producers. Greenwald was a guest on Rising last week.

      1. zagonostra

        I don’t know, maybe your right. But right after I posted the comment I saw that the Hill put out below unabashed endorsement of Joe Biden. Anyone who has been reading NC knows that they are blowing smoke up your kazoo. Are there no institutions that are capable of telling the untarnished truth? Reminds my of the endorsement of JB by Rolling Stones

        (Note how they preface the statement, they know that you know that they know “it’s all been a pack lies” as the song goes – Phil Collins was pretty good at one time.)

        I know it may sound ridiculous, considering Joe Biden has been in public service nearly a half-century, but he represents a much-needed restart of the American project after a nearly four-year diversion. His closing argument not only demonstrates that he understands the gravity of the moment, but also that his administration’s priorities will be in sync with those of the American public.


        1. Basil Pesto

          I’m not fully au fait, but I don’t think The Hill is some alt-media beacon that is expected to regularly give non-shit takes at odds with the above. I think Rising is just the iconoclastic hook for their broadcast media product.

          1. lyman alpha blob


            I’ve always been a little surprised the The Hill produces The Rising, as I’ve always considered The Hill to be a pretty mainstream corporate publication.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              The Rising is to get the Youths on YouTube

              Glad Krystal was able to convince the Hills execs to give her a shot. At the beginning of the year they hit 300K subscribers…checking now…893K!!! DAYUM they said their goal was one million at end of year and by Move th y just might do it!!!

  18. flora

    Matt Taibbi’s latest column headline (paywall).

    The Worst Choice Ever
    Donald Trump is a disaster, but Joe Biden’s party is democratic in name only. Why this year’s election is a vomit milkshake



    re: ELECTION 2020: Don’t Just Blame It on the Pandemic – Consortium News

    A description of Neoliberalism’s rancid flowering in this country.

    1. Basil Pesto

      He’s clearly cut loose and had some fun with this one. Which is an admirable instinct on election eve, from where I’m sitting (the other side of the planet)

      I like the contrast between the almost genteel reasonableness of his broadcast persona, and the sneeringly ironic savagery of his written work.

    2. Clem

      “vomit milkshake?”

      “A Fool returnith to his folly the way a dog returnith to his vomit”

      Nixon reelected

      Reagan reelected

      Clinton reelected

      Shrub reelected

      Obama reelected

      Trump ??

  19. Wyoming

    Re: the yard sign commentary and the mythology of the ‘shy’ Republican voter.

    I think it is quite possible that the opposite of what most have been reporting/assuming is the case. In that the ‘shy’ voter of 2020 is more likely a Democrat vice a repeat of the shy voter being a Republican like in 2016.

    I live in one of the most conservative areas of AZ (milita HQ). While there were lots of yards signs in our area in 2016 for Trump there were a not insignificant number for Clinton as well. Not this year. Signs for Trump are probably double 2016 and this is not counting all the giant flags on pickups and the parades of vehicles. Not to mention that people we pass in the neighborhood are, on their own initiative, bringing up political discussions in their support of Trump. This did not happen in 2016. Additionally in the last 10 days large numbers of additional Trump signs have popped up in yards. On the other side of the coin Biden signs are much rarer than Clinton signs in 2016.

    But the flip of this is that we have become aware of many Biden supporters in the neighborhood (I guess everyone has figured out that my wife and I consider Trump one of Satan’s angels come to Earth to destroy us) who are very quiet about it. Biden supporters are the shy voters not being seen I think. I would go so far in our neighborhood that if the yard does NOT have a Trump sign then they are Biden supporters.

    Anecdotally, I cannot think of even a single person I have either talked to or read about who voted for someone else and not Trump in 2016 who has decided to vote for Trump this time around. Yet I know of a great many who did vote for Trump in 2016 who are not doing so now. This is a very bad sign for him. Note I don’t count folks who did not vote in 2016 in this and this is an interesting factor – but it also seems equally distributed between new Trump supporters and those who are now voting because they agree with me that he represents Satan walking the Earth – or something like that :)

    1. chuck roast

      All the sign chatter reminds me of my days in DC which ended a decade ago. As you can imagine in-season political signs were everywhere in this most political city.

      I lived on Connecticut Avenue up above UDC. Every other day I would do a fast walk home from down around L’Efant Plaza and later the Navy Yard. I enjoyed the beauty of the built environment and viewed all political signage as an eyesore. The political signs looked to me like a whole bunch of litter. For a couple of years before I migrated I would tear down all the signs on Connecticut between lower Cleveland Park and my spot up by Albemarle St. I would dump them in the trash cans as I walked. It was easy. Simply begin when they first start putting the signs up, and I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.

      I often wondered what people thought driving up Connecticut. Trash political signs on every lamp post, and all of a sudden no political signs for a half-mile. On rare occasion someone would take offense and tell me that ripping down political signs was illegal. I would respond with, “I’m doing neighborhood beautification.” And that was that.

  20. Oso_in_Oakland

    Mr Connery was a talented actor. As far as not speaking ill of the dead or virtue signaling, i imagine it depends upon how one is affected by reported transgressions. the author of the article excused his father’s misogynist and racist behavior arguably because it’s behavior he himself did not endorse but did not directly affect him. If he were a woman or non-white he might view those attitudes and actions in a different light. silence can be seen as good manners or approval, depending upon where one stands.

    1. jr

      I’m inclined to agree with this, I do wonder what Diane Celentro would have said if she were alive today. I know people do and say things that oftentimes don’t jive, I have a cousin who drops the N-bomb on the regular and talks POC down 24/7 he but will wreck his car one day trying to take a look at an attractive AfAm woman passing by. However, Connery’s defensiveness about the violence speaks to an inability to objectively view his own actions, to my ears. Especially being as much of a Billy BadA&& as he was purported to be, the thought of him striking a woman makes me a bit ill. I’m willing to bet there were plenty of Scots of his generation who didn’t beat their wives because of an argument or whatever…

  21. RMO

    “The Cheap Pen That Changed Writing Forever”: I grew up in a time when the transition from pencil to pen in elementary school had just become to the ballpoint pen – though most of our desks still had places for dipping-pen inkwells. Things like this from the headline of the article “Fountain pens were a stylish statement but messy and impractical” are what kept me from even trying a fountain pen. About two years ago though my wife inherited her father’s old Parker P-51 (it was his university graduation present in the early 60s) and out of curiosity I gave it a try. I loved it. The movement across the paper was smooth, so little pressure was required and the line always started immediately upon moving the nib across the paper. Very few ballpoints I have used, even expensive ones, seem to do that consistently. I bought a couple of inexpensive fountain pens that have built-in filling systems so I can fill them from ink bottles easily. I’m never going back. My handwriting has improved and my hand doesn’t get tired anywhere hear as soon as it did using ballpoint pens. I write a lot more too. An added bonus is the reduction in waste as rather than throwing away cartridges (or entire pens) I just refill from a glass bottle.

  22. Kouros

    Very interesting the article on the selection of DG of WTO. The selection process seemed to have been a stepwise preferential system and I like how the feeble-minded American representative lashed at it as opaque and byzantine. Talking about American soft power. Their tantrum is on the par with the tantrum concerning JPCOA and the snap-back of UN endorsed

    I am really curious to see who’s going to run under this new Iron Curtain that the US and some of its western industrialized allies are preparing to raise again.

  23. ewmayer

    “More than 49,000 miles of paths lost from maps in England and Wales | Guardian” — In German-speaking parts of Europe, the boy scouts are known as die Pfadfinder, “the pathfinders”. In UK a nationwide initiative to get thousands of scouts to use legwork and maptech to re-map the lost paths seems like it would be a win-win.

  24. bruce

    How about good old copper? Great question! I’ve been saving my pre-1982 pennies and my nickels for a long time. I’m ready for this! Coinage was the subject of the most amazing class of bank experiences I’ve ever had. Back in the day when the melt value of a nickel exceeded the face value, you could walk into a bank with a $100 bill and walk out with a heavy little box worth about $140. Of course the mean old Treasury Dept. has a rule, you can’t melt them down, and being a generally law-abiding citizen, I’ve never done it, and besides I figured if I just hang on to them, they’ll keep going up forever.

    Big fan of owls, but not snakes. Snakes in their own habitat I will leave alone. A poisonous snake found in my habitat will be cancelled with extreme prejudice, but I’ve never had to do that in Oregon because we don’t have any poisonous snakes here at the coast, just a lot of garters. Once every couple years, I’ll pick up a rock or log and 30-40 baby garters will rapidly disperse.

    Love owls. Favorite owl story happened in the daytime in California’s Saline Valley. Two valleys NW of Death Valley, it is one of the most inaccessible, challenging (by which I mean, you don’t want to make an error in judgment out there) and starkly beautiful places in California, so naturally there is a small group of people who first encountered it in their youth, came to understand it and love it, even the U.S. military jets that occasionally buzz us at ceiling level when we’re sitting nude in the hot tubs at the oasis. That guy up there is the Top Gun, not any of us. One afternoon, all alone on Saline Valley Road, no humans or structures for as far as I could see across miles of rolling desert, I thought I’d get out of my truck (high clearance 4WD is what you drive out here) and stretch my legs. A clearing in some scrub trees about six first downs over there; anything interesting in the clearing? The surrounding trees were full of owls, at least 15. “Hoot.” I looked over and noticed several more owls, and hooted back at them. They would return hoots about every 15-20 seconds for the short duration. After 3-4 hoots I stopped, because prolonged hooting at owls in the desert is crazy even for me, and I told them “I get it, you’re owls who congregate in the daytime. I apologize for interrupting your gathering and I’ll show myself out now.” A final hoot at my receding back.

    No fountain pens here. They have a sharp point which makes an unpleasant scritchscratch across the paper, they leak, they blot, they’re a mess. When I go to the Office Max, I get enough Parker T-Ball Jotters so I won’t have to go back for another ten years. Manuscripts, I don’t use a pen at all. That’s one of the many things the drafts box of my email is useful for.

    1. jr

      re: venomous snakes

      One of my father’s brothers was a laborer on a project in Pennsylvania where they were clearing mountainsides to erect power towers. This was in the 1950’s. A bulldozer overturned an enormous rock and according to him dozens and dozens of rattlesnakes came pouring out. Men ran screaming, climbing trees and rocks and onto the bulldozer where they were briefly besieged by the no doubt terrified reptiles. He spoke of beating them off the dozer with shovels and such…

    2. ewmayer

      Re. owls: So what you’re saying is, you heartily recommend the Saline Valley Hooters™, despite its remoteness? You deplorable misogynist, you. :)

      BTW, I hear that, unlike most humans, owls are big fans of snakes – as food. Sounds like you could use a couple of those hooters in your habitat to help control the population of the latter.

      1. jr

        Sorry it’s animal anecdote day: Years back in Germany some friends and I were walking through heavy woods and came into a field. As we walked, a huge raptor of some kind flew overheard with what had to be a four foot snake twisting and curling in it’s talons…a powerful image to say the least.

        1. bruce

          A friend of a friend with some property in the desert bought an Airstream trailer and took it out there. His brilliant idea was to bury most of it in sand for the insulation. Six months later, he visits it with his girlfriend and opens the door. About 300 rattlesnakes looked back at him, slithering and writhing, with their beady little eyes and their characteristic sound. He could never get her to go back to the trailer.

          The funniest article I ever read in Scientific American was “Envenomation of People by Snakes Thought to be Dead”. It was more anecdotal than scientific, but oh, the anecdotes. A little boy versus a rattlesnake in his back yard. The boy prevails, cuts off the snake’s head, gets an empty sour cream container out of the garbage, puts the head in the container and the container in the refrigerator. Mom comes home from work, is startled to see the resurrected container, so she opens it and dumps the contents into the palm of her hand to see what they are. Constant Readers, identify the contents before you do this!

          I will also never forget the time a scientist responded to another scientist in SA by declaiming “Orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy is your doxy!”

  25. Terry Flynn

    re UK Labour Party. I joined on a one-year membership after the general election defeat December 2019 (to test the water). I voted for Starmer as leader. I believed Corbyn had successfully moved the overton window to the left but that he personally wasn’t a great leader. The conflation of anti-semitism and anti-Israel policies was but one example of how he let himself be “pushed into a corner”. I was glad Keir won, but I have to say I’ve not been impressed with his conduct. Wayyyyyy too collegiate and though being “the sensible adult in the room” has paradoxically also come across as Blair 2.0. Anyone with BritBox watch how they’re having difficulty on Spitting Image in caricaturing Starmer. That does not bode well.

    Yes he pressed for lockdown 2 before Boris. BUT, he never attacked the decision to let universities re-open, something any of us who worked in health knew was madness. Plus, the only Labour local branch meeting I got to go to before the virus made things online was VERY telling. Lots of old people. The rest were millennials all going on about alphabet politics. As a gay man in Gen X, I was wanting to shout out “stop talking about, and retweeting, JK Rowling etc – talk about social justice, money, the NHS, you know, all those things Labour used to win on!” I was the ONLY person from Gen X there.

    So in my resignation/non-continuation email to the branch secretary I said all this. Interestingly, not one of my observations was countered with some factual obseervation like “yes of course there were other Gen X people at that meeting, you just didn’t see them”. Instead, I was asked if, after anonymisation, they could be “forwarded up the chain” ASAP. I said yes. That was all pre-anti-semitism-report. Today I learnt that there has been a mass exodus at the local level and a certain key official has resigned. What wasn’t said in the email to me (in an email that really wasn’t “required” in the first place since I knew my concerns were going up the chain), was more informative than what was said (as I am sure was the intention). Interesting times here in perhaps the pivotal “red wall” UK parliamentary constituency.

  26. George Phillies

    Fountain pens

    Levenger supplies cheap fountain pens, $45 or $70 with a range of nibs and polychrome inks. Allowing for inflation, that’s what I paid for a simple Parker in the 1960s.They write smoothly. They do not blot. They do not leak (I do not fly any more, not after reading about how Boeing does its programming.) With modest care, hands stay clean. (They aslo supply insanely expensive pens.)

  27. George Phillies

    Fountain pens

    Levenger supplies cheap fountain pens, $45 or $70 with a range of nibs and polychrome inks. Allowing for inflation, that’s what I paid for a simple Parker in the 1960s.They write smoothly. They do not blot. They do not leak (I do not fly any more, not after reading about how Boeing does its programming.) With modest care, hands stay clean. (They also supply insanely expensive pens.)

    1. RMO

      That’s my experience with my inexpensive fountain pens too – no leaks (and I’ve had them go from sea level to 12,000 feet and back in an unpressurized glider multiple times), no blots, so much smoother than even the best ballpoints I’ve tried. All the stuff about them being messy and impractical kept me away from them for years. Years I could have been writing much more happily and producing less waste.

      I also wish I had tried higher quality mechanical pencils years ago. I tried a few inexpensive ones and found they wrote terribly and the lead broke constantly. Then, just out of curiosity I tried a Staedtler – still not an expensive one but to my amazement the thing worked just fine.

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