Links 12/8/2020

Chuck Yeager, 1st to break sound barrier, dies at 97 Associated Press

Marvel at the beauty of our galaxy with most detailed map of Milky Way to date Digital Trends

Aliens In Hiding Until Mankind Is Ready, Says Ex-Israeli Space Head New York Post

‘Everything is drying up’: As springs on Hopi land decline, a sacred connection is threatened Arizona Central (David L)

The Rising Tide Underfoot Hakai Magazine (UserFriendly)

Greenland’s ice sheets soon face point of no return, lead to permanent change for tens of thousands of years Firstpost (David L)

Lack of Sleep Could Be a Problem for AIs Scientific American (Robert M)

Climate Change Is Ushering in a New Pandemic Era Rolling Stone (resilc)

C4 rice’s first wobbly steps towards reality PhysOrg (resilc). From November, still of interest.

Scientists are turning away from brain scan studies after years of flashy results Associated Press (David L)


How Hunters Can Help During a COVID-19 Winter: Shoot More Deer, and Donate the Venison Outdoor Life (resilc). Um, you also need to provide tips on how to cook it. Wild venison is super lean. Even tenderloin needs to be sauteed in butter; it’s not fatty enough to grill or broil (well, and have it come out any good). Stews work. My father did well with venison sauerbrauten and venison spaghetti sauce. Probably fine for a chili too. If you want to make the odd bits into sausage, you’ll need to add pork.

it gnaws Fredrik deBoer (UserFriendly)


‘Nobody Sees Us’: Testing-Lab Workers Strain Under Demand New York Times (UserFriendly)

Overdose-Related Cardiac Arrests Observed by Emergency Medical Services During the US COVID-19 Epidemic JAMA

Travel restrictions effective in countries with low number of COVID-19 cases: Lancet study Indian Express


Pandemic pushing America’s 911 system to breaking point, ambulance operators say Washington Post (resilc). From last week, still germane. PE hoovered a lot of ambulance companies. How much of this distress is real, as opposed to whinging about mere lower profits?

Florida State Police Raid Home Of COVID Whistleblower, Point Guns At Her & Her Family, Seize All Her Computer Equipment TechDirt (dk)

Agents raid home of fired Florida data scientist who built COVID-19 dashboard Tallahassee (dk). Federal laws on hacking are pretty sweeping, and Florida’s statutes probably have similar provisions. Mere unauthorized access = hacking, even if the host effectively left the doors open. That does not mean the allegations are valid, mind you. And the thuggishness was clearly deliberate. Buried in one of the accounts is that Jones had filed suit over her firing. Seizing her computers denies her and her counsel of information….and the state may well wipe her machines.

Navajo Nation Extends Lockdown Due To “Dire” Surge Of Coronavirus NPR (David L)

This Is How Trump’s Executions Are Spreading The Coronavirus HuffPost (UserFriendly)


Covid-19 vaccine: First person receives Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in UK BBC


Lawmakers face hurdles to COVID relief deal The Hill

Millions of unemployed Americans are over $5,000 behind on rent, utilities Washington Post (UserFriendly)

‘Real Households Are Going To Be In Dire Straits’: JPMorgan Liaises With Biden On Stimulus Heisenberg Report (resilc)

‘It Makes Me Angry’: These Are the Jobless in a City Filled With Wealth New York Times (resilc)

Royal Caribbean says over 150,000 have volunteered for trial cruises, in ‘incredibly motivating’ sign Fox (Kevin W)


Brexit: Boris Johnson expected to travel to Brussels DW. In case you missed it.

Brexit: MPs reinsert controversial sections of Internal Market Bill BBC (Kevin W)

From guurst:

Deep divisions in post-Brexit fisheries talks RTE (PlutoniumKun)

From Colonel Smithers:

From guurst:

Sorry, Johnson Will Not Disappear Craig Murray

How the U.S. Opioid Addiction Fuels a Crisis for Mexican Farmers Intercept

New Cold War

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair New York Times. UserFriendly: “Stunning visuals… once you get past the ‘OMG they still like Stalin?'”

How China Is Learning From Russia’s War In Syria National Interest (resilc)


Biden’s Iran Deal Faces Iran’s ‘Red Pill’ Strategic Culture (Chuck L)


Biden picks retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief Politico (Kevin C)

Biden to nominate retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary, a first for an African American NBC

Biden Picks Raytheon Board Member To Lead The US War Machine Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

Old Obama hands on Korea policy could pose new problems for peace Responsible Statecraft (guurst)

Biden’s Young Hawk: The Case Against Jake Sullivan Consortiumnews


What is the ‘safe harbor’ deadline, when is it, and what does it mean for Donald Trump’s US election chances? (Kevin W)

The Democrats Are Blaming the Wrong People Atlantic. UserFriendly: “God I hate this fool but this is the best smack down of ‘the left lost us the election.'”

Uber Sells Self-Driving Research Unit to Startup Aurora NPR (David L). Reported last week but other news seemed more pressing.

Economics is going through an intellectual revolution on public debt Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Electric-Car Companies Now Comprise Half the Worth of the World’s 10 Most Valuable Automakers Bloomberg

How Monopolies Have Taken Over Our Everyday Lives The Nation (UserFriendly)

Fair value? Fixing the data economy MIT Technology Review (David L)

Google workers reject company’s account of AI researcher’s exit as anger grows Guardian (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Divide, Conquer & Stay Rich Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Breaking the Code of Silence on Sexual Misconduct in the Labor Movement as NYT Highlights Payday Work on NewsGuild Mike Elk

Antidote du jour. Britt:

My puppers, Bear, would be humbly honored to be an antidote du jour ? here he is channeling Cousin Eddie and his evacuation of the rv toilet which was full ?—“Merry Christmas! Sh*tter’s Full!” ?

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. PlutoniumKun


    Brexit: MPs reinsert controversial sections of Internal Market Bill BBC

    It says everything that needs to be said when the BBC is allowing nonsense like this to be written by its senior political commentator (someone with long time links to the Tories):

    But earlier, the UK signalled a possible compromise over the measures.
    Ministers said they would be prepared to remove clauses which, if they became law, would supplant agreements with the EU relating to goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland and subsidies for Northern Irish firms.
    The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said the timing of the move, which came just before Boris Johnson spoke to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, seemed to be “a rather public olive branch”.

    The measures are unambiguously illegal, a repudiation of an existing international agreement. The EU has made it clear that they expect this to be removed before any deal is signed. How can you sign a deal with someone when they are already clearly signalling that they are ready to break previous international agreements unilaterally? But its been pushed in the UK media as if its some sort of concession to the EU.

    The ground is being set very carefully – and not just in the right wing corporate media – to push the narrative that any problems with a no-deal (or a bad deal) are entirely down to bad faith by the EU. Unfortunately it seems that many in the UK will buy that line.


    Sorry, Johnson Will Not Disappear Craig Murray

    I don’t often disagree with Murray, but I think he underestimates at how many Tories calculate that a no-deal might be in their interest, specifically in keeping the party together (deep down, they don’t really care about NI or Scotland or Wales). I think there is a strong political case being made to Johnson that a no-deal is best.

    But the rest of his article is correct. Even with a no-deal, I don’t think there will be real chaos in January. Quite simply, any company that can do so will focus on building up, then running down stocks for as long as they can, and this will minimise traffic. Many manufacturing companies will simply shut down for a few weeks to ride out the worst – this is particularly probable in the construction sector where there are already very strained supply chains for basic products. Most problems I think would be in December, with possible panic buying (get your toilet roll stocks in now). It might take most of 2021 before the consequences of a no deal really hits the economy.

    1. vlade

      Re your last point. That’s what I’d expect, the question is, if too many people left it to the last mooment, it may not be like that.

      TBH, it’s something that’s well and truly unprecedented, so I don’t think we’ll be able to say how exactly it will look in Jan until we see it.

      Also, if there’s going to be no-deal, there will be gyrations in the pound, IMO easily 10%+. Many SMEs don’t hedge. That may mean that the export ones would want to export, but can’t, and the import ones will be able to import, but at high prices.

      I’d also point out that low pound will not make it any better for large manufacturing companies, as in general, the FX impacts only the value-add part (i.e. you import, process, export, the difference is value add). For the UK, this has been consistently going down, from about 15% of GDP in 2000 to about 8% now, which is historically the lowest ever (even in 2008, previous historical minimum it was >9%).

      Assuming 10% fall in GBP, it means that at best (assuming no fall in the UK’s exports to the EU, fat chance) it adds 0.8% to the GDP. Except that this scenario is pretty much mutually exclusive, i.e. if there was no fall in the EU trade volume, any sterling drop is going to be short and/or small, in fact, the sterling my go up.

      At worst (all EU exports wiped out, which again is unlikely), the UK loses about 3.5% of the GDP in first-order manufacturing alone.

      That said, its possible that manufacturers (at least those with deep pockets) will stay in the UK, as fall in he pound will generate inflation, which could make (over medium term) the wage part of the equation lower, even ex any tax breaks and similar. Of course, it’s entirely possible you’ll get best of the both worlds – higher unemployment and lower real wages, a corporate evironment that anyone with deep enough pockets to survive for a while likes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I wonder how much the brain trust behind Brexit has thought about inflation – a combination of a shrinking manufacturing base along with a rising govt deficit seems a perfect environment for it. This would of course push real wages down hard, but would at least help a little with domestic debt.

        I doubt lowering costs would help UK manufacturing much. I think the most damage will be caused by legal and administrative uncertainty. Put simply, EU businesses will see sourcing products (and especially services) from the UK as too high a risk. Businesses like certainty even more than they like low costs. A no-deal or a half-assed deal hugely increase regulatory and price uncertainty for most businesses.

        1. vlade

          Depends on where you export markets are. Those that exports outside of the EU could see an uptick.

          Mind you, I suspect it unlikely that it would in any reasonable timeframe cover the EU trade loss, as it’s always much harder to sell further (and we might have got peak globalisation, maybe not a global maximum, but likely at least a local one).

    2. Ataraxite

      One thing I’ve always wondered is whether the Tories actually do care if Scotland leaves, because of the electoral advantage it gives them. If we eliminate Scotland’s seats from the 2019 election result, it looks like this:

      Conservative: 359
      Labour: 201
      Lib Dem: 7
      DUP: 8
      Others: 15

      Which means that the Tories would have 359 seats in a 590 seat parliament – a larger (relative) working majority than they have now, and for Labour, it would mean finding an additional 94 seats to have a majority again. That’s a very big ask without Scotland, which was once a Labour stronghold – in 1997, they won 56 seats in Scotland.

      The end result of all this is that Scotland going independent would lead to an almost permanent Tory majority in the remainder of the UK, and they must surely like that idea at a political level…

      1. vlade

        Despite their rethoric, I very much doubt Tories now care whether either Scotland or NI leaves. They have been an English party for a long time.

        That said, if Scotland leaves, it makes redistricting a very real question, because there’s clearly somethign wrong with a system where Labour gets close to Tories in vote count yet half of the MPs.

        Of course, Tories would never go there, but maybe, just maybe, Labour would finally start campaigning on proportional vote.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          We could well find ourselves in the odd position of the SNP (dominated by an Edinburgh elite who are quite comfy with the current set up) trying to sabotage independence while waving the cross of St. Andrew, while the ‘Conservative and Unionist Party’ to give their their full name, try to usher the Scots out the door. And of course all this tug of war will create instability in NI and even Wales.

          It will make Brexit seem quite a minor issue in contrast.

          1. vlade

            There’s a reason why Spitting Image made a comeback. But the real thing will happen with BBC Parliamnt will move to Netflix or Comedy Channel.

            1. Massinissa

              Love Spitting Image! Both new and old, even though I’m an American. I’m almost sad Boris Johnson sacked Dominic Cummings because he had the best puppet on the new show.

              Almost. I’m actually sort of glad he’s gone from downing street, great puppet or not.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I’m no expert, but Plaid Cymru, the nationalist party, has been growing increasingly strong in north Wales (there is a very strong cultural and political difference between the quite anglicized south and Welsh speaking north). The party has been openly pushing for a sort of Celtic league of minor countries ‘associated’ with Ireland and the EU in the event of Scotland going for independence.

              I doubt an independent Wales would be in any way viable, but we are in strange times – if NI and Scotland were to be let loose in one way or another, Wales could potentially go for some sort of self rule.

        2. Count Zero

          And just to get some context:

          In 2019 the population of the United Kingdom was estimated as over 66 million:
          England 56 million
          Scotland 5 million
          Wales at 3 million
          Northern Ireland just under 2 million.
          Ireland is a little under 5 million.

          The population of Scotland and Ireland together is about the same as that of London. There are a number of English cities with populations around that of Wales or even Scotland and Ireland.

          I draw no conclusions from this but I draw it to the attention of people outside of Britain who might not be aware of it.

    3. fajensen

      How can you sign a deal with someone when they are already clearly signalling that they are ready to break previous international agreements unilaterally?

      Because, inside the hive-minds of the Tory party, Europeans and the EU are weak and by now clearly desparate to sign anything before the deadline, because: “They needs our money!”.

      They see the EU as the proverbial crack-whore, that must eventually do what Master demands of iniquities in return for a little of Masters money.

      If there is a deal, I would see this as a great strategic failure from the EU-side. One that the EU will come to regret for decades.

  2. fresno dan
    Some road rage incidents shut down Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane in Fig Garden Village early on Sunday night.
    So Christmas Tree Lane is just a street that is decorated heavily every Christmas, and cars poke along so that people can look at the Christmas lights. The street is cordoned off by police, and the street is not a main cordon, and it is well known that if you want to get some where, this is not the route to take at Christmas time. So was the road rage that people were going too fast? Was it an over reaction by the police? Or is society really falling apart?
    Its just hard for me to fathom this.

    1. Wukchumni

      When i’m out of town in a Big Smoke down south, sometimes i’ll meet somebody and they might inquire as to where i’m from, and they seldom know where Three Rivers is, so I hit them with a Visalia which goes nowhere, and then try Bakersfield and bingo! they know that one, and I tell them I live between Bakersfield and Fresno, a light bulb moment.

      My tenuous link what has been judged America’s drunkest city many times running (hell yeah, i’d drink if I was in it’s embraces-its the kind of place where a local drinks a 12 pack of beer a day and somehow pisses out 13 worth) and it hurts to have to resort to the F word, but here’s a profane delivery.


      Was going to delete the above on the grounds of it sounding so miserable, but thought better of it.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      I’ve been watching road rage videos on YouTube to monitor the nation’s pulse. I don’t think I’ve seen anything markedly worse than usual but maybe I’m missing the forest for the trees.

      1. John Zelnicker

        @fresno dan
        December 8, 2020 at 7:35 am

        Here in Mobile we had a street like that. It’s a cul-de-sac so there is no issue with through traffic, although there was usually a police officer or two directing traffic which would line up for a mile or so in each direction from the entrance.

        In it’s heyday, up to the early 1990’s, IIRC, just about every house on the street had some of the most beautiful and creative Christmas displays in the entire city. This is a working/middle class neighborhood and their displays were far better than even the wealthy areas where residents had no spending constraints.

        Edit: Misplaced reply.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: ‘Everything is drying up’: As springs on Hopi land decline, a sacred connection is threatened

    In their religious beliefs, the Hopi see profound connections between themselves, these water sources and all life. As Dennis put it, “We’re all water.”


    “It is so super dry,” Humeyestewa said, motioning to the bare soil in the gardens. “It feels like a drier desert.”

    I had a much more difficult time being in the desert this year, mentally, than I did last year. I took one look at the Drought Monitor map and it made sense. I believe the Hopi, and I felt that the desert was drier this year as well.

    And then to see all the middle aged dudes dusting up the place on their ATVs, totally insensitive to it all…so hard.

    Our reliance on technology pushes the hard lessons we need to learn into a distant, more precarious future. It was a lesson learned by the Hopi and all indigenous people and one that colonizers never have the chance to learn and will kill to avoid.

    1. Wukchumni

      To have a long baseline memory of water sources would’ve been the calling card of every older civilization, but we’re far removed from that.

      If you’re stuck in Vegas-adjacent, only an hour drive and an hour walk away from the strip is Valley of Fire state park, and the trail to Mouses Tank, which is a couple of shaded cisterns naturally set into rock, each of which holds thousands of gallons of water and is the only water for probably a dozen miles in any direction. Directly below the cisterns and a 20 foot cliff is what i’m certain must’ve been the Anasazis garden of eden 2,500 years ago, easy to irrigate.

      The selling point to this trail is the plethora of petroglyphs en route to Mouses Tank, about 400 of them, curiously all on the left hand side, not a one of them on the right.

      One of the Mouses Tank panels:

    2. InThePines

      There’s been a massive boom of middle-aged dudes buying side-by-side ATVs this year. Responsibility goes on vacation and everything becomes their playground/racetrack, including private roads and restricted parts of national forests. And the dust- oh, the dust- no monsoons, no regular rains, desertification is a hell of a thing to breathe.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Any mention of the Hopi reminds me of the film Koyaanisqatsi – Life out of Balance released in 1982 as Neoliberalism was building momentum.

        Powaqqatsi 1988 – Life in transitiion or a parasitic way of life.

        Nacoyqatsi 2002 – Life as war.

        I get lost in them on blu-ray now & again but with my own custom made soundtracks.

      2. Lex

        Usually large, overweight, balding, tattooed, loud, middle-aged white dudes, with their tiny bottle-blonde wives, and their children that they pulled out of school mid-week for a little “staycationing” at the local national park, or RV park just outside. They arrive at meet-ups with their tribal clones, driving enormous toyhaulers and immediately fall out of the driver’s seat, back out their toys, and start tearing up the landscape everywhere they go. They will dominate the campground for the entirety of their stay.

        I see these guys everywhere, measuring how much fun they had by the decibel, and the amount of blood pouring out of the ears around them. The more blood, the greater the bragging right and the deeper their self-satisfaction. It’s cathartic for them.

        If they just stood on a street and screamed their rage at the same volume, the police would show up, followed by a community mental health officer, who would be evaluating them as a danger to themselves and others. Maybe they spend a little time on the psyche ward. Now they race machines with big destructive tires through pristine landscapes and let the motors scream their rage for them.

        End of rant (but not the bitterness).

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            northwest texas hill country, for one.
            the people who own ranches with granite plutons open their places up during summer for “offroading” and ‘rock crawling”.
            can’t graze cattle or grow hay on solid granite domes full of cracks and crevices.
            i can hear one of these places from 5 miles away.

            and when they have an “event”, upwards of 50 dunebuggy/jeep/hummer hybrids make their way through town, buying beer and lunch and gas…which keeps the local ptb fat and happy.
            i think those people are worse than the deer fetishists…at least the latter have some regard for nature and the nobility of their prey.

          2. Lex

            The last time, before we sold the travel trailer (we’ve upgraded to a larger 5th wheel), it was The Great Sand Dunes National park. And before that it was a privately-owned RV park in northern Montana.

            There’s been some complaint along nationalist lines about “foreigners” coming into our country and disrespecting our parks. It’s not the international tourists that create problems. Those folks visiting the U.S. tend to be polite, properly awed, and brief. It’s the locals that are the problem, treating all recreational lands in their area as their personal amusement parks. Their definition of amusement is loud and destructive. They’re not being passive aggressive; they’re aggressive aggressive.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The Rising Tide Underfoot

    Hakai Magazine

    I’m glad to see this highlighted (the impact of rising sea levels on groundwater). When people think about rising seas, they think of storm surges and floods – but the far more insidious impact is on groundwater – both rising levels and making coastal groundwater more saline. It will be a hugely expensive problem to deal with, made worse by the reality that few countries have bothered to change their land use planning and building regulation codes so houses and offices and factories and (worse still) landfills are still being constructed in vulnerable areas.

    1. vlade

      Reminds me of a quip from a decade back, at a presentation of a climate scientists at Natural History Museum (London).

      “If you want to buy a seaside place in the UK, buy on a hill in Cambridge”

      Most of the fens (Cambridge/Bury St. Edmunds etc.) are pretty much at a sea level, and it would not take much for the sea go all the way there.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Most people would be surprised to know just how much of that part of England was just marsh and sea back in Roman times. It would have to be defended of course, not least because of the nuke plants on the Suffolk Coast (they are pretty much built on a sand bar). The costs will be astronomical.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The Suffolk Coast is certainly worth keeping (its a fascinating landscape), and it could even merge with Essex. Years back, when moving to Colchester for a job, all the rental agents kept assuring me that Colchester ‘isn’t really Essex, its pretty much part of South Suffolk’. I had no idea why they kept saying that until I moved to Essex.

            1. vlade

              Heheheh. When did you live in Colchester? We got there in 2006 IIRC, but moved out pretty quick to real Suffolk (East Bergholt, just north of river Stour which is the official Suffolk/Essex border).

              Colchester is not Essex, it’s a garrison town, which is arguably even worse :D. Nice castle and Roman history that goes with it though.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I lived in Colchester in 1998-2000, mostly near the centre. It is quite pretty, but the whole garrison town vs townies thing was pretty strong, making selecting a pub a delicate business for someone with an Irish accent. I found the town a strange mix of the quite twee and seriously rough.

                The border area with South Suffolk is really lovely, I spent many a weekend just cycling around exploring (there was damn all else to do in the town).

              2. Tom Bradford

                Ha! Extraordinary exchange to come across in a blog largely devoted to US financial matters – I spent the ten most glorious years of my life living in a thatched cottage a mile into Essex south of the Stour, near Clare, Cavendish, Long Melford and Lavenham – classic Suffolk villages – and close to Borley Rectory, once claimed to be the most haunted house in England. There I went fox-hunting with the South Suffolk and East Essex Hunts and morris-dancing with the Staploe Hundred Morris Men. You couldn’t get more English!

                That was forty-years ago. The thatch of our cottage caught fire and burned the place to the ground two years after we sold it, fox hunting is now banned, the villages are now just suburban housing estates, the lovely water-meadows of the Stour have had a by-pass driven through them and Staploe Hundred includes women in the set. Going back would break my heart, so I don’t.

                1. vlade

                  we often walked from Clare to Cavendish, had a lunch at The George there and walked back along the Stour. can’t say how it was 40 years ago, but 10 years back it was still lovely.

                  Polstead and Stoke by Nayland our other two favourite places for walks in the area.

                  lots of great pubs too like The Crown in Stoke.

        1. shtove

          Humber estuary as well. An outline of the eastern seaboard from 1000 years ago gives an insight on the success of viking raids and settlements in Northumbria.

    2. GramSci

      Florida’s in deep denial over this problem. In these parts it’s called “saltwater intrusion”, but in geriatric Florda, nobody cares. IBGYBG is the dominant governmental philosophy.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Sad to hear this. I remember some concern about this issue in Florida a few decades back, during my earlier career in city and transportation planning. (Though I wound up doing more work on getting and reporting on grants. Won an award for our office for creating an actual spreadsheet — gasp! — to track purchase items vs budget.)

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Chuck Yeager, 1st to break sound barrier, dies at 97”

    Definitely a man of his time and he said as much himself. If he had been born any later, he would never have been allowed near a cockpit much less achieve general rank. He also had a few superior officers flying bureaucratic cover for him to make sure that he was able to keep flying and continue his career. In those times when he was a test pilot, too many were lost in testing new aircraft. Yeager himself was nearly killed checking out a F-100 and that was not the first time he was nearly killed by a plane.

    An oft repeated story is how he went moonlight riding with his wife a coupla nights before the X-1 test to break the sound barrier and broke a coupla ribs instead. Not willing to tell anyone lest the test be cancelled, he nevertheless found that he could no longer close the cockpit canopy. Confiding in a pilot friend, the friend came back with a sawn-off broom handle for him to use to close the canopy. And the rest is history. Can you imagine something like that these days?

    1. Wukchumni

      Not as well known about CY, he was a consummate outdoorsman who not only backpacked all over the High Sierra, but also liked to ‘borrow’ a USAF helicopter occasionally, to stock barren lakes with 3 pound coffee cans full of fingerling trout, so he could hike there next year and fish it.

      Q: What’s your secret to longevity? A: How to live to 120 yrs old? 1st, you live to 119; then you be very very very careful :-) I think hiking in the High Sierras annually for 2-4 wks for 55 years living off Golden Trout helped

      1. Janie

        I know someone, a general aviation pilot, who was backpacking in the Sierras near Mount Whitney in the seventies when he ran into a couple of unshaven fishermen – Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover. Said they couldn’t have been nicer – shot the breeze about flying for a couple of hours.

    2. Martin Oline

      I had to search for this, but Chuck Yeager wasn’t happy with the bombing of the German civilian cities (before the famous ‘London blitz’) and air actions taken later. He did not want to stand trial for war crimes. From Wiki:
      In his 1986 memoirs, Yeager recalled with disgust that “atrocities were committed by both sides”, and he said he went on a mission with orders from the Eighth Air Force to “strafe anything that moved.” During the mission briefing, he whispered to Major Donald H. Bochkay, “If we are going to do things like this, we sure as hell better make sure we are on the winning side.” Yeager said, “I’m certainly not proud of that particular strafing mission against civilians. But it is there, on the record and in my memory.” He also expressed bitterness at his treatment in England during World War II, describing the British as “arrogant” and “nasty”.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its often forgotten, but the bombing of cities was far more controversial at the time than modern histories tend to acknowledge. Among the Dead Cities by the philosopher A.C. Grayling delves into it in some detail. It has to be said that the pilots themselves rarely questioned it, making Yaeger a very honorable exception.

        The strafing campaigns at the end of the war must have been particularly deadly. To a large extent, the allies simply had too many unchallenged planes stocked with ammo in the air by 1945, it was almost inevitable that the list of ‘acceptable targets’ expanded, even as the war itself was drawing to a close. Many a sleepy little German village was obliterated because there were no other obvious places to dump unused bombs. Things happened in 1945 that would never have been considered acceptable in 1939.

        Korea in particular suffered from this in later years – the policy of defining pretty much anything that moved as a target was seamlessly shifted to the peninsula, I doubt anyone will ever know how many civilians were slaughtered from the air in that war.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          So nothing has changed it seems. The forces manual, Slaughterhouse 5, is the same as it was in WWII. Bomb everything that moves, and everything that doesn’t. Firebombing is efficient use of resources.
          Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are part of a proud military tradition then. Slaughterhouse 5 rules of engagement.

        2. Janie

          Rothenburg was bombed that way, and US citizens contributed to the fund to rebuild the medieval walls as an apology.

    3. Lex

      An oft repeated story is how he went moonlight riding with his wife a coupla nights before the X-1 test to break the sound barrier and broke a coupla ribs instead.’

      What the hell were they doing in the backseat of that ride? Greco roman wrestling? Juggling with bowling balls? All 64 sexual positions described in the kama sutra? :)

    4. ewmayer

      For the few – probably mostly the youngsters – who’ve not seen the original film, Chuck Yeager has a cameo as the desert-saloon barkeep in The Right Stuff, in which the late actor & playwright Sam Shepard plays his younger test-pilot self. So the real Yeager outlived the whippersnapper who played him.

      It seems among the famous 50s/60s test pilots, you either died young or lived to a ripe old age. Back when I lived in Silicon Valley, my sister and used to hit lots of wineries in the Santa Cruz mountains and thereabouts, including Cooper-Garrod vineyards in Saratoga, co-founded by not-quite-as-famous-as-Chuck-Yeager-but-close test pilot George Cooper after his retirement. Last time we visited he was still alive, but now I see that he died in 2016, just one month shy of his 100th birthday … that must’ve been not that long after our last visit to the winery. Couple of links: | George Cooper, NASA Ames Hall of Fame

      1. Janie

        Bob Hoover, another amazing pilot who lived a long time. He escaped from a POW camp by stealing a German plane.

  6. Samuel Conner

    Safe harbor day, one day after Pearl Harbor day.

    One wonders if Roosevelt’s “day that will live in infamy” language will be repurposed by the more extreme of the two parties that hate his policies.

        1. Wukchumni

          Oh, worried about somebody getting a large amount for their work, as being the death of music?

          It only took a small amount of 4 bullets 40 years ago, from an evangelical christian assassin’s gun, shooting them into the back of his victim.

  7. Louis Fyne

    oh for family blog’s sake…jails (particularly local) are a MAJOR covid transmission vector that the media is largely ignoring….and letting local (Dem.) officials off the hook

    and of course HuffPo makes it about Trump

    1. The Historian

      If you had actually read the article, it is about the Trump Administration ordering as many executions as possible before Biden, who has abandoned his views on capital punishment, gets into office. So, yes, this IS on Trump. And every execution brings more people into the prison to witness the executions. I think that maybe HuffPo is exaggerating a bit how harmful wrt to Covid these events are, but who knows? Aren’t we supposed to be limiting gatherings of these sizes?

      I agree with you that Covid in jails and prisons is basically ignored by the press.

    2. Louis Fyne

      jails are #2 for covid cases in my state. numbers dwarf anything else except nursing homes.

      HuffPo has room for Trump but no room for a swipe at local Dem. sherrifs and Dem. governors?

      just saying rhetorically….Black prisoner lives don’t matter according to to HuffPo.

    3. marym

      From the link: “Until recently, there had not been a federal execution in 17 years. When the the pandemic hit the U.S., most states paused executions in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. But in July, the Trump administration resumed federal executions, against the advice of public health experts. Since then, the government has rushed to put to death eight people, with five more scheduled to die before President-elect Joe Biden, who opposes the death penalty, takes office on Jan. 20. This is the first time since 1889 that an outgoing administration has carried out a federal execution after losing an election.”

      Mistreatment of prisoners is a long-standing bi-partisan project regardless of whether D’s or R’s are in power in the states. Prison conditions and prison justice activism should not be neglected by the press

      There are probably differences in how states are handling pandemic issues in prisons, but according to the article, even states with the death penalty are holding off on executions

      That the ghouls in the Trump Administration have no more concern about spreading disease to inmates, staff, families and the wider community than they have about other opportunities for contagion is part of the story, but the press also shouldn’t neglect coverage of their rush to execute as many people as possible.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        From the link: “Until recently, there had not been a federal execution in 17 years. When the the pandemic hit the U.S., most states paused executions in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

        Apparently such laudable altruism is not the only reason to call for “delays.” Also from the link:

        Family members of the victims of another man who was scheduled for execution in July joined Hartkemeyer in calling for the executions to be delayed until it would be safe to attend.

        It would seem that there’s plenty of ghoulishness to go around.

        If biden’s so against the death penalty, maybe he should just abolish it, which he probably could have pushed for between 2008 and 2016. But being forced to languish on death row for 17 years with the executioner’s sword hanging over your head seems so much kinder and gentler.

        This whole article is bizarre in the extreme.

        1. anon y'mouse

          the U.S. public has never gotten beyond the level of barbarism.

          and our rulers like it that way, so they foment it and play along with it.

          one of the reasons it is still taboo to show full nudity, but blowing out brains is commonplace on the screen.

          no amount of blood will ever be enough for us, it seems.

  8. jackiebass

    You can grill venison but you have to like your meat rare.In grilling if you over cook it become dry and tough because of the lack of marbleized fat. When I make ground venison , I mix it with 50% chuck roast. It make great burger to use any way you use burger. Most cuts I like to cook slow with moisture until it gets tender. Add lots of onions and packaged or canned beef gravy in the cooking process. Serve with rice. Cut off all fat before cooking. The fat gives it a gamey taste that some people don’t like.
    I feel sorry for people that become unemployed and can’t pay their rent or mortgage. People are partially responsible for their situation.
    Too many people live from pay check to pay check and don’t save anything for an emergency. They often spend on things they could do without. We have been bombarded with a you must have propaganda. People spend too much of their income on things like expensive cars, entertainment, expensive cell phone plans, and dining out. I’m not talking about only minimum wage workers but people that make enough that they should be able to save some of their earnings.I can think of two reasons for this. There are more but these are in my thinking two of the worst. One is cheap money. I remember when it was considered good if you got a car loan for 10%. In 1971, I thought my 7.75% home loan was a good deal. Cheap money has encouraged people to borrow too much to finance their expensive life style. Any emergency puts them in economic trouble. The other big reason is how our economy runs. Much of it is based on consumer spending. People are constantly bombarded with propaganda encouraging them to spend their earnings. This leaves a society without any savings for an emergency. Many people have never experienced tough times. That leaves them unprepared to cope when things get tough. Covid is our present tough times. Probably as bad as a depression for many. I was borne in 1941 and have gone through several periods of tough times. That experience prepared me for my future. My parents were factory workers. We didn’t have a lot of extra money. Because of this I learned that you think twice before you buy something. Even tough it is difficult, try to save a little for the future.
    Student loans have In my belief done a lot of harm. Even though student loans made it possible for many to further their education, the loans also made the cost of an education more expensive. Colleges had no motivation to be efficient. They could spend, spend, and over spend. It was possible because this spending could be passed on to their students.The students were able to cover it by more and bigger loans. Most college age people don’t understand the long term implications of going deeply in debt before they even have a job. Unfortunately it hits home once they graduate and have to start paying back their loans. They find a big chunk of their earnings is already spent. They end up living from pay check to pay check and are vulnerable to a crises.

    1. The Historian

      I’m not picking on you, but your post just showed how hard it is to get that old Reaganesque neoliberalism thinking out of our brains. You know, that old meme that people are in financial trouble these days because they just didn’t practice enough ‘austerity’? That is hardly true, is it? But that old meme persists because it is easier to blame the victims that address the real causes.

      We live in a consumer society – we have been programmed like Pavlov’s dogs to buy, buy, buy. If we don’t, our economy WILL fail. So people are doing what they have been programmed to do. And if it fails, well, it is your fault, isn’t it? Of course, it isn’t the fault of the propaganda sellers or the people who were so willing to take your money from you, is it? Or the people who conspired together to keep your wages down so that more profits went into their hands, is it? Or the people who took over control of our government so that if their bad behavior caught up with them, they’d never have to pay the price for it, is it? Or the people who jacked up medical care so high that one serious illness could cause people to lose everything, is it? Nope, it is all the fault of people who didn’t ‘save’ or who didn’t go without like in the ‘good ole days’, isn’t it? Not that all the money is flowing in only one direction, is it? Or being captured there and not being returned to Main Street’s economy, is it?

      As for student loans, tell me, what is a young person to do? They are caught between a rock and a hard place. There just are NOT enough good paying jobs without a college education – so they had a draconian choice: go into debt and hope for a better future or not go into debt and try to get one of those very few middle class jobs left that pay a decent living. Otherwise, it is Walmart or Amazon for the rest of their lives.

      OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but we as a society HAVE to start thinking deeper about what got us here and STOP blaming the victims like the neoliberals want us to do.

      1. jackiebass

        I wasn’t laying all blame on the “victims”. Capitalism and how it is practiced is the villain. I was bombarded with all of the propaganda just like young people now. That didn’t mean I had to reject my life experiences. I remember in my woking years every time there was a new union contract, the vast majority were only concerned with how much more will be in my pay check. They didn’t care about the other parts like health insurance or pensions.Even if you told them a dollar in salary ended up being less than a dollar for you and a dollar in fringe benefits was actually more than a dollar for you, it didn’t matter. Even though I could have given my children almost anything they wanted they didn’t get all of it. From seventh grade , I started teaching them about the economics of life. They had responsibilities and along with it came rewards.They got a set amount of money every pay day and could spend it however they wanted to. When their money was gone they had to wait for the next pay day. It didn’t take them very long to realize that they could buy more if they waited until what they wanted came on sale instead of buying it right away. This at a relatively early age taught them how to manage their money. Today all have good paying jobs but still are frugal in their spending. Perhaps schools should require a consumer economics course in middle school for all. It might help some of them later in life. I think was PT Barnum that said a sucker is borne every minuet. Educators have a responsibility helping all students from being the sucker.

        1. Carla

          @jackiebass — I suggest we need to work on systemic change rather than trying to fix human nature. People respond to incentives, and in this society, ours are ALL wrong. As described in the Huffpost article I linked above, governments around the world are providing models for changing the incentives. Let’s get to it.

        2. The Historian

          I wasn’t picking on you Jackiebass, but you are living in ‘the good ole days’ and that type of thinking just doesn’t work anymore. You can’t ‘save’ you way out of anything any more. And all the education in the world won’t protect you from reality.

          How about doing some math?

          So you earn $40,000 – probably the max salary you will ever get working at Amazon or Walmart without a college degree, and you want to buy a house here in Boise. Well, most banks don’t want to lend more than 2.5 times your gross salary so they will lend you $100,000 towards a house. But there are no houses for sale in Boise for $100,000. $250,000 will get you a 1 bedroom house, but that is about it. How long do you think a person earning $40,000 a year would have to save to buy that 1 bedroom house. And exactly how much do you think they could save each year?

          What if you earned $74,000 a year. Then you could get a loan for $185,000 but you’d still have to come up with $65,000 from savings, wouldn’t you? How long do you think it would take? And that is for a 1 bedroom house.

          Things are different now – and quite frankly, saving doesn’t do much for you anymore, especially when you don’t even get decent interest on it. Don’t you think that might be one of the reasons why debt is so high in this country?

          1. a different chris

            There’s also the interesting question — what if everybody saved the way people used to?

            How would that affect everybody’s income? Would we wind up at the same place, as it is kind of a circle even at its best? Note that Europe’s savings rate is pretty admirable and we always hear bad things about their economies.

            Whatever we have isn’t working and is probably not workable, and we may be at the point where the coyote is already over the cliff.

          2. MK

            Simple, move where you can afford to live. One can buy a 4 bedroom house with about a 1/4 acre for less than $100,000 right here in western NY.

            1. Carla

              @MK — yeah, but can you get a job there?

              As someone who lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area, where fabulous housing is available for next to nothing (or at least was before the pandemic), I have the right to ask this. Because, you sure will have a heckavah time finding a job in Cleveland…

        3. Dr. Strangelove

          Schools are too busy teaching identity politics and social justice, not understanding that a fundamental grasp of consumer economics will help decrease social injustice.

          1. jr

            In fact, even a mention of economics in relation to social justice is instantly decried by the shallow minded adherents of IDpol.

      2. bob

        3 people at a table, a banker, and builder and a baker. A cake is at the center of the table. The banker cuts a slice and takes the rest of the cake. As he walks away he tells the baker that the builder is trying to steal the bakers piece of cake.

        Substitute in “bowl of gruel” if you like austerity.

      3. Pelham

        In large part, your observation about the buybuybuy imperative is true. But there’s another component.

        Consider the invective leveled against a poor person who buys, say, a $600 flat-screen TV but has no health insurance. Aha! cries the critic. That poor guy should’ve forgone the TV and acquired health insurance. But how much insurance would a single shell-out of $600 buy? None, of course.

        Yes, people have cellphones and TVs and lots of other consumer junk, most of which is either necessary (cellphones) or involves a one-time payment. But the amount spent on them is trivial compared with the never-ending and ever-ballooning costs of such basics such as healthcare and housing.

        So we buy a lot of stuff, yes, but a lot of stuff is all many of us can afford since the necessities of a truly decent and fairly secure life are way the heck out of reach.

    2. Oh

      In the country where the richest people live and don’t care for the poor and the homeless. there are people who have to live from paycheck to paycheck because they don’t enough. And the US has cut all aid like welfare to them. Except for these people, most people get into too much debt because they consume too much. Jackiebass, I do agree with you when you say that most don’t save enough for an emergency.

    3. jr

      Another way to prepare venison is to poach it in a court bouillon, a heavily seasoned, flavorful broth:

      It’s usually used for seafood but I’ve used it for chicken and venison. You could probably put a light char on a poached piece of venison if you dry it off and touch it to a ripping hot grill.

      As to notions of personal responsibility, it all boils down to choices. How and why choices are made by individuals are very, very complicated questions. Systemic reform is the better path, in my opinion, especially when the stability of a nation is at stake. Moralizing is useless at that point. (Not saying you are moralizing jackiebass but many are when personal responsibility comes up.)

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Seems like venison would be a perfect candidate for sous vide?
        Of course, if you’re broke, it’s probably not an option so much.
        Have had good luck smoking it on the cool side of the grill. Then to the hot side for a char.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “This Is How Trump’s Executions Are Spreading The Coronavirus”

    This is just plain nuts. About a fortnight ago the federal government announced that they wanted to widen the smorgasbord of execution methods available to include hanging, the electric chair, gas chamber and the firing squad and set to go into effect on Christmas Eve – Merry Christmas! But now there is a rush to execute as many prisoners as they can while Trump is still in office and it is reckoned that a quarter of all death-row prisoners will be killed by the time he leaves. Of course that mean that a lot of the people involved in this operation will also fall sick and die but that appears to be acceptable risk. My guess is that this is happening so that down the track, Trump can boast on how he was tough on crime to help his next election campaign. Who else could benefit from such a move?

    1. edmondo

      It’s Christmas. It’s time to execute people in honor of Jesus’ birthday. We have become Imperial Rome. And the Vandals are camping inside the gates.

      1. fajensen

        Booring, Cheapskate, Covered-in-Formica, Rome: Couldn’t they just put the excutions on Zoom!?

        Actual Rome had the Colosseum with lions, alligators (they could flood basins in the circus for some watery-death action), re-enactments of historic battles*, gladiator fights and the regular crucifictions, hanging, beheading, crushing by rocks, assasinations and the strongly adviced suicides.

        *) When I was little, I belived that the people who got shot in cowboy movies were condemned prisoners, in Rome, they were playing the losing side of historic battle!

    2. UserFriendly

      His eye for an eye evangelical base are big fans of murdering people. Well, at least most of them.

  10. Milton

    This NYT email was forwarded to my inbox. It’s interesting but I have no idea if the analogy put forward has merit…
    The vaccine news continues to seem very encouraging. Britain started its mass vaccination effort today, and the U.S. isn’t far behind.

    But there is still one dark cloud hanging over the vaccines that many people don’t yet understand.

    The vaccines will be much less effective at preventing death and illness in 2021 if they are introduced into a population where the coronavirus is raging — as is now the case in the U.S. That’s the central argument of a new paper in the journal Health Affairs. (One of the authors is Dr. Rochelle Walensky of Massachusetts General Hospital, whom President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

    An analogy may be helpful here. A vaccine is like a fire hose. A vaccine that’s 95 percent effective, as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s versions appear to be, is a powerful fire hose. But the size of a fire is still a bigger determinant of how much destruction occurs.

    I asked the authors of the Health Affairs study to put their findings into terms that we nonscientists could understand, and they were kind enough to do so. The estimates are fairly stunning:

    At the current level of infection in the U.S. (about 200,000 confirmed new infections per day), a vaccine that is 95 percent effective — distributed at the expected pace — would still leave a terrible toll in the six months after it was introduced. Almost 10 million or so Americans would contract the virus, and more than 160,000 would die.

    This is far worse than the toll in an alternate universe in which the vaccine was only 50 percent effective but the U.S. had reduced the infection rate to its level in early September (about 35,000 new daily cases). In that scenario, the death toll in the next six months would be kept to about 60,000.

    It’s worth pausing for a moment on this comparison, because it’s deeply counterintuitive. If the U.S. had maintained its infection rate from September and Moderna and Pfizer had announced this fall that their vaccines were only 50 percent effective, a lot of people would have freaked out.

    But the reality we have is actually worse.

    How could this be? No vaccine can eliminate a pandemic immediately, just as no fire hose can put out a forest fire. While the vaccine is being distributed, the virus continues to do damage. “Bluntly stated, we’ll get out of this pandemic faster if we give the vaccine less work to do,” A. David Paltiel, one of the Health Affairs authors and a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, told me.

    There is one positive way to look at this: Measures that reduce the virus’s spread — like mask-wearing, social distancing and rapid-result testing — can still have profound consequences. They can save more than 100,000 lives in coming months.

    1. Mikel

      This is what gets me:
      As far as I know, only the press release has claimed that high effectiveness rate. Where else has that effectiveness rate been CONFIRMED by scientific peers?
      Have I overlooked this type of confirmation?

    2. Cuibono

      what if the real scenario is the one she does NOT mention:
      the vaccine is closer to 50% and the prevalence rages?

      I think the prevalence keeping at these levels is HIGHLY unlikely.
      these log curves ALL come to the same conclusion and the worst hit states in the Midwest are already showing that.

      My guess is the vaccine will get credit for something it might only play a minor role in.


    1. jackiebass

      I remember last spring when covid first hit. A man about 65 years old , over weight and in poor health said he and his girl friend had a cruise booked in 2 weeks. I asked him if he was going to cancel. He said no because he would lose his trip money. Apparently the trip money was to him worth the risk.I haven’t seen him since so I don’t know if he went on the cruise. As soon as I started learning about covid I realized this is a big threat and be cautious. I have and will continue to be cautious even after a vaccine is out for some time.

      1. Wukchumni

        We had a family cruise for mom’s 95th birthday in late May planned with deposit paid, and as it became obvious to me that the cruise biz was going to be shut down, I had one of my sisters really bird dog the refund, as all they were offering was that you could put it toward a future cruise, and then there was this little heralded period of a week where you could get a full refund on your deposit, and after than it went bon voyage, and she was able to get mom’s moolah back.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Old Obama hands on Korea policy could pose new problems for peace Responsible Statecraft

    The influence of Israel and the Saudi’s on Washington policy is often acknowledged, but its often forgotten just how influential the South Korean ultra-conservative lobby has been in the past and still is.

    First, Blinken and Haines developed their policies in close consultation with the conservative South Korean governments of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, who are now disgraced and in prison for corruption. Lee, a former Hyundai executive, and Park, the daughter of the former dictator Park Chung Hee, had both opposed the pro-engagement “Sunshine Policies” followed by former Presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Tae Woo from 1997 to 2008.

    They urged Obama — who developed an unusually close relationship with Lee — to take a harder line, and his team was happy to oblige. The shift could be seen in Obama’s rhetoric on Korea: In 2013, as the first U.S. president to attend the official armistice commemorations at the Korean War Memorial, he delivered a militaristic speech that revived an old right wing trope that the war, which ended in a bitter stalemate and left millions dead, was actually a “victory.”

    Weirdly, the conservatives had far less of an influence on Trump. But it looks like that they will have their fingers in the Biden administration, even as they have been pretty much destroyed as a political force in South Korea itself. South Korea is a very different country now than it was even 8 years ago – its political equilibrium is far more oriented towards progressivism and a more patient approach to the north. If Biden doesn’t realise this, things could get very complicated in that part of the world.

    1. Oh

      South Korean political drama regularly portray the US as interferng in their domestic affairs especially in their efforts to make peace with the North Koreans. This indicates that the sentiment of the people.

  12. zagonostra

    >Tulsi Gabbard, Google lawsuit, DNC

    Old news, but still stuck in my craw.

    If control of information is privatized then protections provided by the Constitution are no longer applicable or enforceable in what should be a protected function of any democracy. Google and the DNC are corporations and they are not subject to rules that apply to public entities. If the mechanism whereby citizens are informed about their gov’t and the instrument of selecting candidates are not subject to the protections of the Constitution, then we’re just watching the show and yelling at the screen with no real agency.

    In dismissing the case, Wilson writes that what Gabbard “fails to establish is how Google’s regulation of its own platform is in any way equivalent to a governmental regulation of an election.” When it comes to Google, “an undisputedly private company,” the First Amendment’s free speech protections do not apply. [techcrunch]

    In the transcript for last week’s hearing in Wilding, et. al. v. DNC Services, d/b/a DNC and Deborah “Debbie” Wasserman Schultz, released Friday, DNC attorneys assert that the party has every right to favor one candidate or another, despite their party rules that state otherwise because, after all, they are a private corporation and they can change their rules if they want.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Marvel at the beauty of our galaxy with most detailed map of Milky Way to date”

    First off, I will say that it is a great map. However – and with due apology to these scientists…when I was a teenage kid, what I really wanted to see was a 3-dimensional map of our local neighbourhood in terms of space. Back then I was thinking of small spheres on balls of string but nowadays I am sure that it could be done holographically. Take a look at the following page which lists forty odd stars within only about 16 light years of our sun so can you imagine a 3-dimensional display showing our star and these stars in terms of distance and direction? It would be great.

  14. Samuel Conner

    re: the WaPo item on “intellectual revolution” in economic thinking

    what a disappointment. “Loanable funds” fallacy and “taxes fund expenditures” are front and center. There is no basic change in thinking mentioned here, just movement on the pragmatics of when deficits are more acceptable within the prior pre-1971 (ie, gold standard era) US public budgets paradigm.

    It feels a bit like the Strategic Culture article — there are truths that must not be mentioned.

    I wonder what it will take for the MSM to deign to notice the validity of MMT and its implications for the prevailing budget paradigm. Maybe after everyone else has accepted it, perhaps then it will be safe for MSM to notice it.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think the stage is being set for the mainstream economics establishment to embrace those bits of MMT it can’t fight off while proclaiming ‘but of course we always believed this….’. Never underestimate their ability to simply steal whatever ideas are useful without abandoning their core normative assumptions.

      As others here have warned, MMT is value neutral, it could be a very useful tool for centrists and the right as much as the left.

      1. TroyIA

        I am waiting for the day when MMT becomes acceptable and all this new money is used to not help ordinary people but rather to purchase stock ETFs ala Japan.

      2. Pelham

        Could you elaborate on why it might be useful to the right?

        I’ve thought about this myself, and one way the right might use it is to argue for a flat or even regressive federal income tax. The justification would be that since federal taxes are useful only to tame inflation and inflation occurs when too much money is chasing after too few goods, the most effective tax would be levied on the people most likely to spend — those with lower and middle incomes. Moreover, since high incomes tend to be channeled into investments, taxes at that end of the scale should be reduced or eliminated.’

        Also, who gets to define what inflation rate is excessive? Anything more than a fraction of a percentage point might be deemed such, thus pleasing bankers and making it harder for borrowers to pay off debts.

        Just spitballing here.

    2. UserFriendly

      The very fact that they are acknowledging a paradigm change is still big, even if they are trying to narrowly prescribed the change as much as possible.

    3. anon y'mouse

      it will take as much reiteration as to those people who comment on this very page who respond “when MMT will be put into use” without realizing that it already is.

      in other words, it will take general enlightenment about the issue.

      i am not heartened by the fact that those on this page, who should very well know better, still seem to be thinking MMT is something we “adopt”. if so, we haven’t a chance in hell with the general populace, propagandized as it is by both the politicians & bureaucrats in charge as well as all of the press.

      le sigh….

  15. LawnDart

    Venison: quick and easy is to marinade in Italian dressing for 24 hours, quick sear in a skillet, finish on the (charcoal or wood) grill. The trick is to not overcook it. It’s tasty and simple, but Venison truly is the meat of kings and I would prefer preparing a marinade that does the meat justice if time allows.

  16. Phacops

    About cooking venison.

    Orchard owners around me drive deer across my property to harvest the does and keep the population down. So, I get a lot of great tasting venison. I concur that it is very lean where tenderloin steaks need to be done low and slow in butter. Stews and spaghetti sauce (made from home grown sauce tomatoes and garlic) are especially good with the moist cooking. A favorite is a spicy meatloaf with added ground pork as you indicate, though cooked on a smoker grill makes for a great preparation.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve found that luring one of the herd of deer into the sauna and then closing the door for a couple hours, really tenderizes the meat.

        1. tegnost

          maybe not the best response in a thread about what fatty meat should be mixed with venison to make it more palatable…jus sayin’

    2. jackiebass

      Pork used to be mixed with venison because it had fat. Today pork is too lean for this purpose. I prefer a chuck roast with a lot of fat mixed with the venison. It also keeps longer than if mixed with pork. An important thing with venison is to remove all of its fat. Thats why I process my own venison. In my 79 years I have shot over 100 deer and never had a complaint with the processing.

        1. jackiebass

          I must be buying the wrong pork. Even ground pork need oil to fry it. Pork has some exterior fat but the rests is pretty much fat free. It has to do with breeding. Because pork was accused being unhealthy due to fat, Pigs were bred to be leaner without much fat.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “How China Is Learning From Russia’s War In Syria”

    If the Chinese learned anything from Russia’s entry into the Syrian war, it would be that the nine principles of war still apply. But I do believe that more important lessons were to be found in the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. There was a glimpse of the use of military drones in Syria but here it caused a revolution. The Armenians lost enormous amounts of both troops and hardware to Turkish & Israeli drones. At night, drones would target gatherings of Armenian troops using thermal imaging and it was a slaughter. Can you imagine a future battlefield where the Chinese saturate it with suicide drones? The nature of warfare has just changed, especially since you do not have to be a major power to deploy a force of drones-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Russians seem to be well ahead in developing various electronic warfare technologies to try to stop drone attacks. But no doubt everyone else is following suit. The thing about this type of tech though is nobody really knows if it will work until there is a real war, basic drone tech is changing too fast. The only certainty seems to be that simple drones can be built cheaper than the missiles used to shoot them down.

      As for that article, it is certainly interesting, and if there is one bad thing about Russia’s success in Syria, it is that it will be quoted for some time as an example of how external intervention in civil wars can succeed militarily. I don’t doubt that the Chinese are looking closely at it – they can’t be developing aircraft carrier technology for any other purpose than potential interventions outside their immediate boundaries. The Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese are all developing long range blue water navies to one extent or other (the South Koreans are even investigating nuclear powered subs), presumably all assuming at least a high possibility of a post-US future.

      1. apleb

        Chinese blue navy I can understand: future (or current) world power needs/wants it.

        South Korea and Japan less so: both are effective islands so a navy is of paramount importance, but they are both too small to actually stand against a future chinese blue navy. They can defend their homeland against China, but they cannot hope to prevail against a chinese navy on the high seas.

        Submarine fleets make much more sense, fuel cell or even nuclear. Plus very good rockets of course.

      2. Kouros

        The article is gushing with indignation, from a broader, strategic perspective, at the Chinese conclusion, the word used in the article being “impudence”.

        Now I read both sides of the media, including a lot of independents, or what appear to be independents, and I found the indignation in the article reeking of impotence.

        Even your comment follows the well trodden path of gaining technological upper hand and see that as the magic solution that would make things happen. But miss the point concerning boots on the ground (which can be very easily protected at night with extremely cheap thermal blankets). Nobody denied US superiority in N Korea and Vietnam, or Russia’s in Afghanistan.

        Heck, the US thinks that they haven’t succeeded pacifying the flames that they had ignited, so nobody can. The US supporters have a right to their opinion but not to the facts. The Russians are winning this time because the majority of the population, in Russia and in Syria are very supportive. And where there is a will, there is a way.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Russia is not ‘at war’ with Syria.
          Syria asked Russia to intervene to keep the u.s. jackals from tearing it asunder, as they had just done to Libya.

  18. tegnost

    Thanks col. smithers, I really shouldn’t laugh but sometimes it’s the only way to maintain sanity

  19. jackiebass

    Reading all of the Biden stuff is’t news to me. From past experience, I knew what Biden would do.It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Biden will do what most politicians do. Make decisions based on how the decision will help him the most. He will throw people a few bones and make them think he gave them a steak dinner. I actually am a Bernie supporter. I don’t fully agree with everything he proposes. Why I like Bernie is you know where stands on issue. He rarely changes even if changing would help him politically. The Democratic Party black balled Bernie and chose Biden because they knew Biden would do their bidding , and the couldn’t control Bernie like a puppet on a string.

    1. Jeff W

      Re: President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary

      Glenn Greenwald has his own take on the nomination:

      Biden’s Choice For Pentagon Chief Further Erodes a Key U.S. Norm: Civilian Control

      The dek:

      Gen. Lloyd Austin, on the Raytheon Board, is yet another high-level Biden nominee enmeshed in D.C.’s corporatist “revolving door” of legalized influence-peddling.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Overdose-Related Cardiac Arrests Observed by Emergency Medical Services During the US COVID-19 Epidemic JAMA

    A bit more readable, albeit local, this from my corner of Florida: Central Florida drug OD deaths up 70% during COVID, report shows

    During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, drug overdose deaths rose a staggering 70 percent in Central Florida compared with the same time a year earlier, and a continuing deadly trend is projected through 2020 as the pandemic breeds further isolation, despair, depression and anxiety, a newly released analysis concludes.
    “This is an epidemic inside a pandemic,” said Andrae Bailey, founder and CEO of Orlando-based Project Opioid, a nonprofit coalition of government, business and faith leaders that led the analysis. “COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented mental health collapse in Central Florida, in Florida as a whole and across the country. People are emotionally, mentally and spiritually broken, and they are taking drugs that kill them at numbers we’ve never seen before.”
    The report, compiled from Florida Department of Health data and information from the state’s two dozen medical examiners, shows Floridians ages 25 to 44 accounted for more than half of the overdose deaths, despite representing only a quarter of the overall population.

    Probably worth at least a minute of somebody’s time and attention.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Whaddaya mean “point?”

        It’s a local newspaper report that expands on the linked JAMA article.

    1. neo-realist

      Jesus, just from being locked down, these hillbillies have to kill themselves with dope. As if literature, film streaming, delivery and take out dining and scrabble wasn’t exciting enough for them. Just the kind of maroons that elect scammers and ghouls like Rick Scott and Ron Desantis.

  21. Jon Cloke

    Climate Change Is Ushering in a New Pandemic Era

    Please see this article I wrote a while back on what I refer to as ‘anthropandemics’ here –

    “The recent global spread of COVID-19 alongside a plethora of other growing phenomena of the Anthropocene increasingly affected by human activity – fires, flooding, droughts – urgently invites a reconsideration of the concepts of epidemics and pandemics. To date however, research into pandemics has focused almost entirely on biomedical aspects such as rate of contagion, origin of the offending organism, and lethality. This article seeks to suggest that whilst these foci appear logical and necessary, research must be expanded to include pandemic under the Foucauldian canon of biopower. Whilst socio-political geographies of power and control have been neglected hitherto, not only is there a case for considering epidemics/pandemics as anthropogenic epiphenomena, the importance of human socio-political dispositifs, cultures, and transport networks of consumption is sufficiently important to both the origins and spread of biomedical illness, that they merit a different and more inclusive appellation, anthropandemic. This article outlines why this might be so and deploys relevant methods of analysis such as biopower and ANT to suggest ways in which a holistic research methodology might be developed.”

  22. Asher Miller

    UserFriendly: “God I hate this fool but this is the best smack down of ‘the left lost us the election.’”

    I’m confused. Who’s the fool? Ibram Kendi?

    1. Big River Bandido

      I thought that article was a meandering piece of nothing. It’s a King Solomon piece where he attempts to make peace between the “two sides” (the tell is that he labels them “moderate” and “progressive”, which are misnomers) as if to split the baby.

      Class and economics don’t seem to figure on this writer’s radar.

      1. UserFriendly

        What is good about it is he points out how the democrats are cynically adopting gop talking points as fact. And since he is the ID Pol king the centrist neoliberal shills actually read him.

  23. Tom Stone

    The article on Rebekah Jones and the raid on her home, guns drawn is something to pay attention to.
    It’s official, disagreeing with the official line regarding Covid 19 is an act of “Domestic Terrorism”.
    Get used to it, it’s coming to the rest of the Country real soon.

    1. Foy

      Yep that for me was the standout article/news of the day. Shocked and a bit surprised although I know I shouldn’t be. Straight out intimidation. It’s really blatant how open they are now of targeting those who try to show the truth. She’s an impressive woman, hope she can find some significant support from someone to help her and is not left on her own.

  24. Carolinian

    Jake Sullivan, your basic foreign policy nightmare

    Jake’s meteoric rise did, in fact, largely stem from hitching his star to Secretary Clinton. The two became inseparable and traveled together to over 100 countries. Indeed, she asked Sullivan to review chapters of her book, Hard Choices. In it, Clinton called him “discreet, earnest and brilliant.” A senior Obama aide said, “Jake did everything for Secretary Clinton.” She once joked that, “When Jake Sullivan first came to work for me, I told my husband about this incredibly bright rising star — Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law School — and my husband said, ‘Well, if he ever learns to play the saxophone, watch out.’”

    Danny Sjursen gives the upcoming chickenhawk supremo a thorough takedown in the above Consortium link. Clearly the new Biden administration is shaping up as Hillary’s revenge even if the woman herself is not on hand to supervise. As Sjursen points out Sullivan was there at her side for all of her worst foreign policy errors and like Hillary now takes a “mistakes were made” stance while pleading possibly misguided “humanitarianism.” If the Dubya gang saw themselves on a mission from god the Hillary coterie see Yale and Oxford as sufficient backing for mayhem. One wonders whether our feeble new president will have the power to resist.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Also too:

      Like the young “whiz kid” Rand think-tank analysts brought to the Pentagon by then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Jake soon played out the dark, flip-side of Democratic interventionism. Also, like those cocky and book-smart-brightest of the Vietnam War, Sullivan would plan, cheer, and manage wars he’d never considered lacing-up his own boots for. It doesn’t appear to have crossed his mind.

      And people wonder how Black Rifle Coffee and related merch go viral, and “Real Men Go To Yale” t-shirts do not.

  25. Jason Boxman

    So we have Florida Governor DeSantis actually doing what liberal Democrats cried that Trump might do his entire term. I wonder what, if any, reaction we’ll get out of liberal Democrats over this?

  26. Wukchumni

    Got a free advent calendar from Humordor in the mail and 8 days in i’m just about out of money, on account of every day you open a window, there’s a request for campaign donations by a different politician.

  27. hemeantwell

    Re the Road of Bones, I heartily recommend Varlam Shalamov’s “Kolyma Stories.” I first learned of Shalamov’s work and life through an essay by Ross Wolfe at his Charnel House website where he contrasts him with Solzhenitsyn. Left sectarian currents get stirred up, the coincidence of salutary remembrance and picky forgetting is pretty sad.

    Alain Badiou, who has a bone to pick with the nouveaux philosophes, often contrasts the work of Solzhenitsyn with another chronicler of the gulags. Varlam Shalamov was an adherent of the Left Opposition in Russia, and as such was arrested as a Trotskyist — first in 1929 and then again in 1937. (Perhaps significantly, the Maoist Badiou fails to so much as mention Shalamov’s Trotskyism.) Without question, Shalamov is more redeemable at a political level than Solzhenitsyn. But his prose is no less moving, and in its spareness may in fact be stylistically superior.

  28. Kouros

    Very interesting line and idea. The Tories are going at it because the end goal is to dismantle EU. So that they can again rely on the good old “Divide et Impera!” Good riddance UK! It likely was a biggest malefactor throughout time than anything else…

  29. Wukchumni

    Aliens In Hiding Until Mankind Is Ready, Says Ex-Israeli Space Head New York Post
    I for one welcome our alien overlords and frankly feel about as ready as i’ll ever be, but would request they come no closer than 6 feet and put a mask on what passes as a face.

    1. Maritimer

      Smelling a profitable Rat, I decided to actually read this “news”.

      Turns out our intrepid Alien Confidant is writing a book!:
      “The professor has even put his thoughts into a book in which he describes how aliens have prevented nuclear disasters on Earth, according to the Jerusalem Post.
      The book is called The Universe Beyond the Horizon: Conversations with Professor Haim Eshed.”

      Can a Movie be far behind?

      1. tegnost

        C’mon man. Everybody knows the aliens are the Sasquatch, they have transporter beams of course, and the reason one never finds their skeletons is because, like the marines, they are strictly no squatch left behind, and no one has ever seen one because they have mind erasers, and no I don’t mean the popular alcoholic beverage. Duh.

  30. H1C

    This is a follow-up to a comment I posted under yesterday’s Links. The below is an important, and unusually informative, Senate hearing on the need for early outpatient treatment options in getting a handle on the pandemic. I dearly hope that something will come of the letter that the committee head will write to the NIH asking them to review the accumulating data from around the world on Ivermectin as a preventative and treatment for Covid-19.

    Dr. Kory of the Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance was one of the witnesses who testified.

  31. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Yesterday in “Reports from Earth 2” we learned about important discoveries in the emerging field of election sciences. The Retro-Encabulator Dial-A-Democracy (REDAD) machine streamlines the process whereby leaders obtain the “consent” of their citizens, using weighted computer algorithms to safeguard against the selection of incorrect or unauthorized leaders.

    Today scientists revealed additional details of some of the advanced features of the REDAD machines. Where previous machines were limited to “tabulating” (simple counting, recording, or listing of numbers), the REDAD machines store voter choices as 3-digit calculated “scores”, with one digit to the right of the decimal place. It is thought that this advanced calculation feature is used to reduce the impact of “votes” being cast by members of undesirable political factions, ethnicities, or from troublesome regions of a country.

    Further REDAD machine features were also revealed that help ensure that the correct outcome is achieved. Previously local county “election officials” were responsible for obtaining the results from their counties, which they then forwarded to state officials. With REDAD this redundant step is eliminated by automatically forwarding county results to central aggregation points run by independent third parties. If local county officials encountered suspected software errors they were helpfully provided with toll-free numbers so that REDAD company officials could log in to local machines remotely and correct any calculation errors.

    Leaders around the world have been troubled in recent years by “people” expressing “popular” views about governance, which is why the REDAD machine is being widely hailed as “The Crime Breakthrough of the Century”. State legislators are fighting alongside the REDAD company in court to ensure that the “intellectual property” of the offshore REDAD company is protected against U.S. citizens wishing to understand how their leaders are selected.

  32. anon y'mouse

    and then work where, earning how much?

    the homes in places like that are selling that low for a reason. generally too far from lucrative employment, or too far for those WITH lucrative employment to bother commuting to work from.

    i know–i keep deliberately moving to those places. there’s not a lot of work out there, and what is pays nothing. hence, you can’t get blood from stones.

    *this should have been nested under the guy who said to “just move” to lower cost housing.

  33. The Rev Kev

    Gotta admit that “Bear” in Antidote du jour is a great looking dog. Must be cold where he is if he rates a cap.

    1. Aussie mom

      Thanks Rev! He is my rescue dog. He came from Texas to the Adirondack Mountains in New York State–where we live is the coldest place in the nation at least a few times every winter.

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