Links 1/22/2021

Dear patient readers,

I apologize abjectly for being a bit short on original posts today, although Lambert has a juicy offering launching later in the day. Service crapification (basically all sorts of what ought to be routine stuff taking tons of extra steps and follow up) is one part of what is competing for my time. The other is all sorts of nonsense, like having to send multiple certified letters to a debt collector hounding my mother over an ambulance charge she already paid to dealing with a neighbor who is trying to stymie us cutting branches of his trees that are in my mother’s yard and threatening her phone/power lines. Fortunately, he’s not as good at this as he thinks he is. But dealing with the problem takes time I don’t have and he by design is making it more of an energy sink. Apartments were so much easier!

Injured Dog Owner Spends $400 On Vet For His Limping Dog Only To Find Out He Was Copying The Owner Out Of Sympathy Bored Panda

Invasive tawny crazy ants have an intense craving for calcium – with implications for their spread in the US PhyOrs (Robert M). WTF, feral hogs, murder hornets, and now this?

Giant worm’s undersea lair discovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan Guardian (Kevin W)


Iran and the Coronavirus: From Denial to National Mobilization. A chapter from The Coronavirus in the Middle East: State and Society in a Time of Crisis.


Kids highly likely to transmit coronavirus to others: study MedicalXpress

Escape of SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 variants from neutralization by convalescent plasma A hot of the presses preprint from South Africa.

Why new COVID-19 variants are on the rise and spreading around the world The Conversation (Kevin W)

I have avoided the PCR test controversy but it appears that it just isn’t a very good test (or is merely less bad than the antigen test). John Hopkins found it has a 20% false NEGATIVE rate. If you read the abstract, the reasons appear to have nada to do with the # of cycles.

Covid vaccines may need updating to protect against new variant, study suggests Guardian. Understatement of the year. And operationally like declaring, “Let’s have an Aida matinee.”

COVID safety in schools ‘contingent on ventilation,’ says N.S. education minister CBC (ma)


Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Dr. Anthony Fauci brief reporters on the Biden administration’s pandemic response and what is known about new more transmissible variants of the coronavirus and how they respond to vaccines. C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Read the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness White House. Hoo boy, the goals and their ordering are not encouraging. Particularly not liking the choice of what was Goal 1, the lack of any clear commitment to financial support (the weasel wording = Scrooge-y means tested, if any), and the continuing emphasis on Magic Covid Vaccines, and not pursuing treatments too:

Goal One: Restore trust with the American people
Goal Two: Mount a safe, effective, equitable vaccination campaign
Goal Three: Mitigate spread through expanding masking, testing, data, treatment, workforce, and clear public health standards
Goal Four: Immediately expand emergency relief and exercise the Defense Production Act
Goal Five: Safely reopen schools, businesses, and travel while protecting workers
Goal Six: Protect those most at risk and advance equity, including across racial, ethnic and rural/urban lines
Goal Seven: Restore U.S. leadership globally, advance health security, and build better preparedness for future threats

Biden Inks Order Bolstering Virus Protections For Workers Law 360

Fauci says it’s ‘liberating’ working under Biden The Hill

How Many Vaccine Shots Go to Waste? Several States Aren’t Counting. ProPublica (resilc)


Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries Reuters (resilc)

England’s lockdown fails to suppress rise in Covid transmissions Financial Times. See BMJ: Covid-19: Infections remain high in England with no evidence of decline since lockdown. May point to higher infectiousness of new strain largely offsetting lockdowns. All of the contagion reduction strategies will need to be reworked in a big way in light of the greater contagiousness of Super Covid, but (and maybe I’ve missed it), I’ve seen squat as to what changes are warranted. I’ve bought a big inventory of n95s and even a metalworking mask with filters, but I have no idea what to do beyond that.


Biden Seeks Immediate Help for Millions as Big Stimulus at Risk Bloomberg

Here’s An Idea: Put People To Work & Print Money To Pay Them Heisenberger Report (resilc)

The End of the 40-Year War on Government New Republic. With all due respect, what are they smoking? Biden promised nothing fundamental will change. He’s a deficit hawk so anything for the poors will be super means tested. I could go on…


Crackdown on Jack Ma’s empire gathers pace despite reappearance Financial Times

BlackRock’s China challenge a red flag for Biden Asia Times (Kevin W). I can’t get worked up about BlackRock losing its #1 spot in Chinese ETFs to a Chinese fund manager because you’d expect Chinese nationals to dominate trading. But yes, Trump accelerated what was an inevitable process.

Feed fight: African consumers hit as Asia gobbles up rice supplies Reuters (resilc). :-(

Fire at India plant of world’s biggest vaccine maker Al Jazeera


New Cold War

U.S. Cut Russia Consulate Phones Before Donald Trump’s Last Day, Moscow Claims Newsweek. How classy.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The militarization of American democracy The Hill (Kevin C). On the one hand, expresses well-warranted concern. But on the other, where were these people when (for instance) 1. The Obama Administration coordinated a 17 city militarized crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, which was not threatening any democratic processes, and was at best a continuing poke in the eye to Big Finance, which was abrogating the long-standing tradition of local control of policing; 2. The NYPD put itself above democratic accountability by having most police attendees turn their back on Mayor de Blasio at a police funeral, because de Blasio had made tame criticisms of the police after one of their bad murders by cop (so many I can’t recall which) and 3. Team Dem happily and eagerly using the intel state to try to overturn the Constitutional change of power, as in take the position that third world style, the military has to sign off on who becomes the President?

The making of US empire at the dawning of its end Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Trump Transition

McConnell plans to ask for impeachment trial delay to allow Trump’s legal team time to prepare a defense. New York Times. UserFriendly: “I don’t know why Mitch is helping Team D here.”

Trump’s Patriot Party: prior trademarks could be “significant hurdle” to new political venture World Trademark Review (resilc)

You Counter Trumpism By Ending The Conditions Which Created It, Not With Authoritarian Policies Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

Trump as Othello in a Corporate Theater Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report (resilc)

Trumpism is here to stay UnHerd (UserFriendly)

What’s Happening to QAnon Now That Trump Is Out of Chances to Arrest the Satanic Elites Slate (resilc)

The Lincoln Project co-founder says post-Trump he’s going after Cruz The Hill

Capitol Seizure

“We feel incredibly betrayed’: Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol Politico

Coup, Coup, Kachoo CounterPunch (resilc)

We Can’t Stop Fighting for Our Democracy Ilhan Ohmar, Atlantic (furzy)


“There Is Truth And There Are Lies” David Sirota (Chuck L). Speaking thereof:

‘Did Antifa blow through there?’ TIME cover depicts Biden’s first day in Oval Office ransacked by Trump RT (Kevin W). You need to click through and have a look if you haven’t seen it already.

After Biden, Let Her Run Heisenberg Report. Resilc: “Biden has 3-6 mo to fix vax rollout or he’s dead meat.” Moi: Not sure he has even that much runway, with the Super Covid strains expected to create a contagion blowout by mid-March. That will force even more stringent lockdowns. But if you don’t restrict interstate travel, which only the Feds can do, it’s not clear that even that would be adequate. What happens if/when we have even more essential workers sick than last year, with resulting breakdowns in food supply, and many hospitals so overwhelmed that they won’t be able to handle ER arrivals from people suffering stokes and heart attacks, or smashed up in car crashes? As we said in our post on the incoming CDC chief, the Biden administration is acting like it is fighting yesterday’s war, and that getting enough people vaccinated will dampen down the Super Covid wave to a manageable level. I wouldn’t bet on that, particularly with vaccinations prioritizing old people who are already not getting out much, while the new strains are much harder on young people.

Adios AUMF? Democrats press Biden for help in revoking old war powers Politico (resilc)

The outlook for America looks grim, but that could quickly change Economist

Former Cordray aide selected for interim CFPB post American Banker

Another Sanders meme (see Lambert in Water Cooler yesterday). This from Kevin C, who has quite the connected e-mail list (your truly is definitely on the slumming end of his recipients):

And: Bernie Sanders’ inauguration mittens: The funniest versions of the meme CNET

The Meaning of the Mittens: Five Possibilities Intercept. My addition: insecurity, both of the elites in their position (which as this piece stresses, they work SO HARD to protect/project) and ordinary people. Mittens are for children. But they are super warm, underscoring security needs. And Bernie’s looked like they might be indestructible. The fact that this mittens fixation has gone on so long say there is a serious disturbance in the force.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese Remarks at U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Our Famously Free Press

Whose fault is that? Establishment cyber-police drive Parler off the internet, act surprised when it works with THE RUSSIANS RT Kevin W: “Key tweet – ‘Raise your hand if you understand the very significant impact this has on the ability to surveil and target insurrectionists who organize on Parler.'”

Amazon can keep Parler offline, judge rules Seattle Times (furzy). Not a surprise.

Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia BBC (David L). Wowsers. Would be great to demonstrate life does not depend on Google. So far both the PM and MPs are suitably pissed. May be one of the rare cases where Scotty from Marketing’s pig-headedness is a plus. Operationally the scheme may very well be a mess but they should put Google out of the Google News business.

Australia’s proposed media code could break the world wide web, says the man who invented it Guardian (Darin M)

Aviation Lawsuit Filed Against Boeing Regarding Hard Landing Napoli Shkolnik

Baupost’s Seth Klarman compares investors to ‘frogs in boiling water’ Financial Times

Eggs, basket: The hidden and not-so-hidden risks for companies that invest in bitcoin Francine McKenna

Class Warfare

Do College Degrees Mean More Wealth? St. Louis Fed (UserFriendly). The rentiers, as in the higher educational industrial complex, are extracting more of the income gains. You see the same pattern in M&A (even when there really are synergies between seller and buyer, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the seller extracts those gains in the sales price) and PE (PE firms extract their higher gross returns in overt and hidden fees and costs, leaving investors with public-stock-level returns).

22 Farm, Ranch, Manufacturer and Labor Groups Support American Blueberry Growers’ Trade Relief Request I eat a lot of blueberries. Now I will have to check to see if they are domestic or at worst Canadian.

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

This beautiful fellow is Mike. He resides with the folks who run the Trona Airport (Trona, California) and greeted us with abundant warmth when we visited.

And a bonus video:

See Yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Halcyon

    An article I enjoyed on the UK Government’s victim-blaming response to COVID-19.

    Turning Personal Responsibility Into Collective Blame

    “Much about COVID-19 is unclear. This is not: the Government is responsible for the virus’s spread.

    It neglected scientific advice when delaying the lockdowns in March, September and December, and rejected the examples of other countries that had done better. And yet we know the Government does not, ever, take responsibility for its own failings.

    But someone must be held to account and it is easier to shame members of the public than members of the Government. This distraction from official negligence enjoys widespread media complicity. The newspapers scrutinise the rights and wrongs of walking with coffee, condemn those driving to beauty spots and joyfully report the fines for people travelling 100 miles for a burger. They often devote considerably less time to analysing the Government’s inability to contain the virus.

    Bigger pictures are harder to digest; individual errors are more alluring.

    The public themselves frequently adopt this framing: we cannot see the Government making policy but can see a neighbour having friends over. And so, in the popular imagination, two women at a reservoir somehow gain equivalence with the Government reopening schools against scientific advice. Ministers are able to play the public off against each other, while their own failure simply melts into the collective pool.

    The idea of ‘collective responsibility’ only really exists in Britain for the collective populace. Last week, the Dutch Government symbolically resigned over a child welfare scandal. The idea that the British Government might collectively take responsibility for a gross national failing is inconceivable.”

    Also, we now hear that they are thinking of paying people £500 to self-isolate due to the large number of people surveyed who say they will avoid getting tested because they can’t afford to take time off work. [Even this works out as less than the minimum wage over ten days.]

    Even the Guardian frames this as “oh, it would cost an extra £500m” – a speck compared to what has been spent to support house prices alone, and a speck compared to the vast contracts that have been dished out to any acquaintance/crony any Tory MP has ever met at a party at some point, as we must rely on the New York Times to lead on.

    The pathological aversion to anything that might support the incomes of the poor while they have to self-isolate is a huge part of why we remain in this appalling mess. The single most crucial thing is that sick people must isolate. We have almost singularly failed to make this achievable.

  2. vlade

    “Goal One: Restore trust with the American people”

    Trust can only be restored by actions, not words.

    1. Basil Pesto

      reminds me, and speaking of service crapification, of an ongoing battle I’m having with Microsoft customer service. Every exchange opens with fawning platitudes along the lines of “we understand your frustration…”, “please be assured we will do everything we can…” etc., yet their actions have been aggressively anti-consumer at every step. I hope for better for the US as you try to deal with this crisis!

    2. Arizona Slim

      This goal should actually be a result of positive actions taken. In other words, if actions A, B, C, et cetera are taken, then the result is restoration of trust.

    3. The Historian

      When it comes to trust, Biden’s not off to a good start, is he? Kyle Kulinski had a great rant on Secular Talk yesterday, and yes, it was definitely a rant, but I agree with every word he said.

      I don’t think any of the elite in either party understand what the word trust means.

      1. jsn

        A place where I put money for my kids where the IRS can’t touch it?

        That’s “trust” right?

        We need to restore it!!

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Biden seems to think it will happen by doing a few masked hair sniffs while saying ‘unity’ three times over.

      This isn’t starting well. Where’s that $2k I was promised immediately? And are those the clicks of LeFargian knitting implements I hear?

    5. anEnt

      It would have read completely differently if they had prefaced their concrete action goals with the aspiration to earn Americans’ trust by achieving the goals. It’d have been even better if concrete metrics had been provided against which they expect to be judged. But metrics and accountability are for the undermenschen, not our glorious and diverse! Dear Leaders. Honor among Karens and all that.

      1. PHLDenizen

        Which makes me realize the Republicans have an opportunity to stick the PMC Dem constituents into their own eyes. Republicans hire McKinsey to develop an index (“KPI”) that purports to measure the efficacy of Dem governance, biased towards signaling the competence and success of Republicans, while also making the Dems look like the chumps they are. Work it into popular consciousness using the appeal of such tools to the MBA aspirations infecting this Great Land (TM). It’s entirely congruent with the technocrat value system and requires absolutely no accomplishment narrative other than “our score is simply better”.

        Can’t think of a pithy name.

        Hilarious to see the tyranny-by-measurement crowd find themselves on the end of their own bull$h!t.

  3. Wukchumni

    Invasive tawny crazy ants have an intense craving for calcium – with implications for their spread in the US PhyOrs
    Everybody here braces for the ant invasion in the summer, if you accidentally spilled a few drops of Dr. Pepper on the counter, within minutes there’ll be 100 coming & 100 leaving with their HFCS largess. You have to be scrupulously clean, giving them no chances to plunder, and we’ve gotten good at our scorched hearth tactics, that is until suddenly last summer the ants had no quit in them, never seen anything like it-they not only didn’t go away withe the usual Terro (a quite effective ant killer-usually) tactics were deployed, if anything it only emboldened them. Even surrounding the perimeter on the outside of the house with Diatomaceous earth didn’t faze them all that much, this was a committed mob, unlike the one on January 6th.

    Anybody else notice something similar?

    1. Lex

      Yes, sugar ants. They found some gap around the threshold of the front door. That hadn’t happened before; they’re usually content living under the driveway. I couldn’t figure out what they were attracted to on our floors but cleaned anyway. Husband more thoroughly sealed any cracks around the porch. End of ant invasion… for now.

      We bought a Roomba for Christmas. The dog isn’t alarmed by it so much as disgusted. He thought he was the only crumb picker upper pupper we needed. Yet another job fell to The Machine(s).

    2. The Rev Kev

      It’s a pity that there is no way to genetically inject an MBA education into the Queen ant. If you could do that, all your ant problems would rapidly go away.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Good idea! You’d be sweeping up tiny heaps of pitch decks and reports for a while, but then all the worker ants would eventually end up in India while the drones hung out in the basement, playing Fortnite and surfing ant anime p%rn (antennime?).

    3. Mark Gisleson

      My neighbor is a wellspring of folk wisdom and I’ve learned to listen to her advice. I didn’t combat the tiny ants in my kitchen (I could barely see them) and they got a wee bit out of control. She told me to buy Dawn’s blue dishwashing soap, with an emphasis on “blue.”

      The ants vanished almost overnight and never came back. They’re still outside as evidenced by the anthills alongside the house.

      I cannot think of one good reason why this would be so but this appears to be a well known cure for ants among my contacts. I try not to think of why this works, or why I’m using ant-deterring soap to clean my dishes.

      1. Wyoming

        Depending on your climate the below is extremely effective outside – only outside. If you live in a fairly dry place it is super effective. It gets washed away a little too quickly in really rainy environments. Here in AZ we dust it all the way around the base of the house about 2 times a year. No bugs inside at all.

        Diatomaceous earth

        Sold in every Lowes/Home Depot, etc for pest control it dehydrates the little buggers as well. Be careful not to inhale it as it is not good for your lungs. Not to be confused with the food grade versions which are used in organic diets.

        1. Arizona Slim

          And, wouldn’t you know it, we’re about to have three straight days of rain in Tucson. So, I think I’ll do the DE defensive perimeter after the storm passes.

          Thanks for the tip, Wyoming!

    4. Laughingsong

      Yes, we usually get sugar ants in the spring, which Terro works well with, however last spring we got ants that looked the same (to us) but skirted the Terro. We grabbed one and took a close up photo, and after a while of internetting determined it was a grease ant. So we made a trap out of a plastic yoghurt container and filled it with a mix of wet cat food (which they had been targeting), a little hummingbird food, and a couple of tablespoons of borax. Worked really well.

    5. chuck roast

      These ants have been around for years. I know all about these critters. I saw a documentary at the Leroy Theatre when I was a kid. They are the mutant spawn of Alamogordo. The best way to kill them is to shoot off their antennae with a Thompson sub-machine gun. It makes them kinda blind. They are noisy buggahs’ though.

  4. jackiebass

    The best way to deal with the tree branch issue is by contacting your local code enforcement officer. They can probably telly what your rights are. In most places you are allowed to remove the branches that are over your property. It sound like you should not bother working with what appears to be an uncooperative neighbor.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, I’m not. He’s trying to make himself a problem and do the passive aggressive routine of pretending to help while coming out in his yard to play Stasi every time we go into the back yard. Maybe I need to get a really obvious camera, it doesn’t even need to work, to pretend to video him to deter this sort of thing.

      Law is unambiguous here, there’s already an Alabama Supreme Court decision saying property owners can cut trees branches over their land. I had located it and our trusty reader vlade also found it in all of two nanoseconds:

      He’s been trying the line that we need someone licensed to cut his bloody trees. Alabama requires a license ONLY for tree surgery, when all the branches we are talking about would be called vines except they are actually from trees (branches less than 1 inch in diameter, save for one that is 4 inches in diameter max, and all of s feet off the ground where we’d need to cut, so no risk of damaging anything in removal process).

      Fortunately our little tony suburb has an arborist. He is on vacation but he will be back next week and should be able to come out shortly and confirm nothing we propose doing requires a license.

      Second problem is all of his damned little trees over the years damaged the fence, but I will need to get in a surveyor to see if it is his fence, our fence, or some bad “some on his property, some on ours” version. Was here when parents bought the house and ownership of house next door has turned over a bunch of times.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Might be wise to point out to him that threatening to sabotage power and phone lines in the present political climate would be a quick way to draw a lot of unwanted law enforcement attention and a good way to get on a list somewhere.

        Doesn’t help much but overhanging branches with neighbours is such an old problem that it was even dealt with under Roman law-

      2. cocomaan

        My wife and I are fortunate to have bought a property with some acreage, but we quickly found out that your trees are as expensive as any pet that you might have. I’ve heard of pet cancer treatments costing less than a particular white oak on my property that had compacted roots due to the previous owner’s love for driving a tractor around. It eventually had to come down or we’d face trimming it every year as it went through senescence.

        You start to enjoy getting to know your trees. Maybe give them names. Which makes it more justified when the arborist’s bill for thousands of dollars comes in, but harder when one gets sick. There were tears in our house when we took down that white oak. Thing is, a pet getting sick doesn’t threaten to kill you or knock your house down.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have around 400 native trees on our property with blue oaks the dominant one, and they’re tricky in that a foot-wide model is hundreds of years old (interestingly-there are no young blue oaks around to pick up the oldsters slack) and losing a dozen to the 5 year drought here really hurt, these were trees with deep roots, but eventually some cried uncle. Young buckeyes (there is no such thing as an upright model straight as an arrow, they’re all uniformly crooked) weren’t fazed by the drought, but it did in buckeyes 150 to 200 years old. the 2 trees that suffered most were varieties that don’t go dormant, live oaks & manzanitas. Of the 75 trees lost to the drought, about 50 of them were these two types

          I know most every tree here and there’s half a dozen different native species that just repeat themselves, and i’m the arborist with pole saw or chainsaw, amputating off dead limbs or sadly turning an entire tree into firewood on occasion.

          None of the native trees are ever watered by the hand of man, and it is interesting to watch them go their paces, the oak trees usually lose their leaves in the fall and go dormant for 3-4 months before leafing out again. This year they kept their leaves on past xmas, very different behavior.

          1. cocomaan

            We’ve had the opposite problem, with has been incredible amounts of rain during 2018-19, so our oak-hickory forests have had a lot of trouble with different types of fungi.

            Anthracnose, for instance, did a number on one of the largest sycamores in the state, which is about 15 minutes from my house on a property I used to help manage. The poor tree lost all of its spring leaves and had to regrow an entirely new set. Like you said, natives can take care of themselves. That sycamore is about 300 years old so it’s probably seen worse (including surviving the logging of the entire county), but still, kind of frightening.

            It’s comforting to watch the forests mature. It’s also interesting that we have, at least in my state, much more mature forest than in the past few hundred years, it changes all kinds of land dynamics. Species that love understory/meadows, like ruffed grouse and bobwhite quail, aren’t seen nearly as much these days.

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              boy, so much agree on the fascination with the species changes as areas on the macro and the micro scale mature, develop, or…are cut/burnt/cleared.

              As a mid-50’s kinda guy I guess i haven’t gotten the full meal deal yet, but it is certainly one of the little perks of aging: the perspective one gets in ones home turf of that sort of thing, what it was like playing in the meadows as a kid…then as time goes on and whatever it is changes and new species come in, old species move elsewhere or die out.

              In my neck of the woods that fascination is playing out watching some particularly beautiful western red cedars grow under the otherwise-stifling shade of the already-very-mature western hemlocks and doug firs.

              Just down in the creek ravine, I can see old cedar stumps with a diameter of 8-10 feet in some cases. Logged in the 20’s, but I dont suppose I’ll be able to hang on long enough to see their like return in…oh goodness. 400 or longer years?

              I’ll try though. Maybe if I switch to heart-healthy diet. :)

            2. Wukchumni

              I lived in Lake Tahoe for a year on the west shore and in my backyard was the Desolation Wilderness (what a strange name for a beautiful place) full of old growth everything, but the forest on the east side of the lake had been denuded by the silver mines in Virginia City (many died on account of Deidesheimer) and here over a century later, still a pale version of what it once was.

            3. Wukchumni


              There’s 2,000 of us here scattered over 44 sq miles and if the trees weren’t here, excavators and the like would be D-9ing the place into more like 10,000 people.

              Luckily nobody wants that here, but if say all the trees were burned up all of the sudden in a horrific wildfire, everything changes without our high rises.

        2. jackiebass

          I have47 acres. We have lived here since 1971. When I was younger, I’m 79 now, I heated my house with fire wood. I could get enough fire wood by culling diseased and mis formed trees. It is good for the forest to remove diseased and mis formed trees. It helps the others to grow better.The lions share of my woods is red oak. I have some over 2 feet through and 70 feet high. The oak are good food providers for wild life. I have too many trees to name.It is nice to go into the woods and enjoy everything it offers. If you go into the woods before it is light it is a great experience to see the woods come alive as the sun comes up. It never fails to amaze me about the diversity and numbers of different wild life living in a woods.

      3. Synoia

        Second problem is all of his damned little trees over the years damaged the fence, but I will need to get in a surveyor

        Ask the Title Company (any title company) to search for a record of survey in the public records for your Mothers tract.

        Them the surveyor can find the boundaries.

        Absent the recorded tract map, the Surveyor has to locate the monuments for the tract, and locate the the boundaries of the property.

        If the fences are not on the property boundaries, them the real disagreement begins.

        1. Beyond the rubicoN

          CA land surveyor.

          You should be able to get a record map from your county records dept. for free or a few dollar charge. Title companies charge alot to gather freely available public information. Or your grant deed will A. Have a legal description the LS could place on the ground. Or B. Call out the reference map for your parcel, which would speed up the map search.

      4. Tom Stolpman

        I claim no knowledge of AL laws regarding trees, but in MN liability for tree damage resides with the owner of the affected property. If laws are similar in AL, a letter notifying the neighbor of an existing hazard caused by his tree would put his insurance company at risk for any damage rather than your mother. Copying the insurance company and local officials in such a letter may well result in his having to address the issue to avoid the liability. Good luck!

    2. Grateful Dude

      Just because this is a tree thread: we have groves of big, old, healthy American Chestnuts here in the CA foothill gold country. Came with the 49ers I believe. The blight never made it over the mountains(?). Gathered many lbs of good chestnuts this year. They’re dry, so I steam them instead of roasting. Probably could do both but steam first. I have pix if anyone wants to see a grove. There’s a 1916 sign for it there.

      And young trees all around. The nuts will sprout.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries”

    Well that explains some stories that I read earlier. Not only is Italy suing Pfizer but Poland has announced that they may sue them as well. Hungary seems to have lost faith in the ability of the EU to get the vaccines needed so not only have they defied the EU by signing a deal for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine but that they have just announced that they will be building their own facility to manufacture vaccines for internal use-

    1. Nameful

      Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries

      and so a reserve buffer of doses for the second jab turns out to be a prudent idea in retrospect … at least for *ahem* lower-priority countries. Delivery volume guaranteed, unless it’s not.

    2. CanChemist

      It’s not just the EU, it’s Canada. It’s causing serious issues for us.

      “Canada won’t receive any Pfizer shots next week — here’s what you need to know about the vaccination campaign”

      “Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), has said Pfizer will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium to boost capacity…

      ,,,Fortin has said that, starting next week, Canada’s deliveries will be reduced by up to 50 per cent over a four-week period, punting as many as 400,000 doses to a later date.”

      1. wilroncanada

        According to earlier reports, not only have deliveries been reduced, the reduction to Canada is four weeks, as apparently compared with one week for the EU. Meanwhile Israel has already received enough vaccine to treat its whole population–of course Palestinians are not humans in Israel.
        Canada is in discussion with Pfizer over its demand for reductions in taxation . To some Canadians the “delay” in delivery has all the earmarks of holding the stuff as ransom–killing Canadians for tax surrender.

        1. RMO

          I’m not counting on a vaccine being available to me or my wife before the fall. My mum may be in line for one earlier as she’s over 80 though. At least we didn’t get a big surge in cases here in BC after Christmas and mask use in public seems to be staying high so maybe we can avoid going over 500 cases a day again. I suppose of we do or if the new variants spread out of control here I still have the full-face respirator option available for when I have to shop for necessities.

    3. Eustachedesaintpierre

      The Commission are presently deliberating on how to prevent border crossing without introducing border checks – large moats perhaps ?

      FT – Covid

      According to the BBC about an hour ago, cases are reducing in the South East & London but rising in the North East & South West, while police in London broke up a wedding with 400 orthodox Jewish celebrants.

    4. Maritimer

      What did people expect?

      From Day One when Pfizer was mentioned, I wondered why any Government would get into bed with a company with such a bad reputation including criminal convictions.

      You can also look up the criminal records for Vaccine Saviours, AstraZeneca and J&J at that same site.

      Apparently, there is no law preventing governments and its agencies from getting into the gurney with criminals.

  6. Noone from Nowheresville

    I used to have a dog (or he had me) who would start limping (made a big big show of it) any time he thought he was about to get yelled at. Which was actually hilarious. People did not believe me until they saw it themselves.

    Good times. Miss that pupper pot.

      1. jonboinAR

        My sister’s pony wandered off one time. My mom kept an eye out for him that day. She said that when she saw him coming home she went outside and, oh, he started limping!

        1. Wukchumni

          At Cat Haven in Dunlap on Hwy 180 on the way to Grant Grove & Kings Canyon, some of the felines came from Hollywood, and there’s a majestic blank panther behind a fence that limps along favoring one leg with you as you’re going by it. The docent told us it was trained to do that for a movie, and really took to the limp lifestyle.

    1. zagonostra

      My how a phrase can trigger an acoustical stimuli…

      I once had a girl
      Or should I say she once had me
      She showed me her room
      Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

  7. Tomonthebeach

    Floridaman Vaxx Vexed. I feel like Charley Brown with Lucy and the Football.

    Biden has a longer way to go than he thinks with vaccination. The Florida governor, Trump’s Mini-Me, decided that Publix Grocery stores were the best way to distribute vaccines for COVID-19. The website said to come back Jan 22nd at 6AM to sign up for a vaccination – if I was a resident over 65. I opened the page at 05:59. At 06:00, the page said to stay on it and it would refresh every 60 seconds – eventually opening to an appointment registration page. At 07:42 (1hr and 42 minutes waiting in line), the page refreshed to say – sorry – no more vaccine. I rather suspect that my experience this morning is the national norm.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowsers. I am planing a post to solicit reader input on what they see/have heard locally re vaccination in their state. Please feel free to repost this when I put that up. More useful to have all the observations in one comment section as of one point in time.

      1. Arizona Slim

        It’s off to a rocky start here in Tucson:

        There are all sorts of hoops to jump through:

        Which is making people unhappy:

        Meanwhile, cases and positive test results appear to be stabilizing:

      2. Wyoming

        Yavapai County, AZ

        One of my wives friends who is 75 just made an appointment – June 22

        Yet Phoenix news said the other day they were not getting all the appointments filled. But you were supposed to live within 50 miles to be able to make one I was told.

        There is basically no vaccine here. We got some and it went to the medical people and now we are waiting for more I guess.

      3. curlydan

        My parents’ experience in San Antonio, TX is very similar to Tomonthebeach’s. Basically, Republican mini-Trump Governor makes a bad plan (making the 2nd tier group WAY too big and including 10+ conditions for under 65 people that can’t/won’t be verified) plus websites that clog up and give nothing back until the appointments are “full”. It’s basically a combination of state and local incompetence in San Antonio plus the fact that the city is full of people with those other qualifying conditions like obesity. My parents are 75+.

        1. carl

          San Antonio has a high obesity/poor health rate for sure. Explains why our death rate is so high compared to other places in Texas.

    2. GramSci

      We had Tomonthebeach’s experience a few days ago when we first learned of Publix’s 9AM internet covid lottery. We were there at 6:01, and supposedly in queue. The page would refresh every minute telling us we were still in queue. I let my phone screen time out and somehow lost my place in line.

      This morning I was on the Publix website at 6:00:01, but the site wasn’t up. then, around 6:01, it came up and said “no vaccines anywhere in Florida. 30 seconds later it said vaccines *were* available and put me in the 1 minute refresh drill. Around 6:20 I was offered my choice of four 10-minute slots in a given hour on MTW of next week. I picked the earliest appt available.

      BUT THEN I had another 5 minute form to fill out :-(. When I finally finished this second form, and clicked “Reserve”,it said “Error! that time slot is not available” .

      Repeat 5 times, each time being offered different Publix stores and time slots in nearby counties, each time losing the slot to another user who apparently was quicker filling out that second form.

      SUCCESS on the sixth try. I received two appointments a month apart for the two Moderna jabs. I was then offered the opportunity to make a second double appointment!

      Meanwhile (it’s now about 6:55) my wife is still stuck on the first, 1-minute refresh page. It only took two tries to get her appointments set up, perhaps because I started choosing the *last* available appointment, figuring their would be fewer people in that race.

      Hope this helps other Floridian NCers, but they seem to have tinkered with the website over the past few days, so YMMV. Be sure to have your Medicare ID # handy if and when you make it to the second form!

    3. PHLDenizen

      Southeast PA here and, though quite anecdotal, I’ve come across several first hand reports of frequent spoilage. X number of vaccines are thawed for injection, Y people show up, at the end of the day X-Y shots are left over, waiting to denature. So the hospital staff runs around asking ANYONE if they want a leftover, much like a bakery discounting goods at the end of the day. This is a major urban area with the logistics infrastructure in place. Can’t imagine how bad it is in the rural regions.

  8. Wukchumni

    Eggs, basket: The hidden and not-so-hidden risks for companies that invest in bitcoin Francine McKenna
    Eventually they’ll be called ‘crycurrencies’ when the gambit of a limited edition collectible goes on the wane.

    I saw it all happen in the 70’s when the Franklin Mint started churning out limited edition ingots, medals & coins.

    By the mid 70’s a 1970 Franklin Mint sterling silver 1,000 grain (about 2 ounces) Christmas ingot was worth $500 and people couldn’t get enough of them as only 28,897 were issued @ $12.

    They now sell for the actual value of the silver, around $50. Here’s one on eBay closing today, up to $43 now.

    Virtually every last sterling silver item the FM minted is now worth the melt-down value only, so there was a floor in terms of value.

    What’s the melt-down value on a Bitcoin?

    1. vlade

      crycurrencies, I like that. I’ve been saying BC is like baseball cards cellophane cover collecting. Sure, somoene will make money out of it, and for a while it may even be you. But a lot of people are going to go SouthSea.

      “What’s the melt-down value on a Bitcoin?” – cheaper electricity, as all those power stations now powering the miners have to sell it on an open market?

      What fascinates me, is that a lot of the BCoiners are also anti-fiaters, when there’s nothing more fiat than BC, it’s literally a good-will stuff, nothing else.

      1. Wukchumni

        TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. Traffic lights died. Offices went dark. Online classes stopped.

        With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Soon, fingers pointed at an unlikely culprit: Bitcoin.

        Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran’s power grid.

        For those playing along @ home, BananaCoin in the guise of the Del Monte Note is now bid up to $125k, and the auction closes today.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          When Israeli agents assassinated the Iran nuclear scientist a few months back they first cut off power to the Tehran suburbs where the action took place. Bitcoin mining may just be a convenient excuse for the government, rather than admitting that Israeli agents continue to operate freely in the country.

      2. Glen

        At one time it was reported that BC mining was consuming more power than Iceland. I wonder what is up to now? And it’s certainly playing havoc with buying a decent GCU for a PC right now.

      1. Wukchumni

        For the same reason i’ve never been to a tractor pull, professional wrestling or a demolition derby, for some reason BitCoin never appealed to me no matter the value.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      I talked to two HVAC engineers who have experience doing hospitals and schools in a certain large blue state. Their first response re air exchange every three minutes to counteract new variant infectiousness is that it would counteract current energy codes. They don’t think they can build a system like that and still meet energy usage codes.

      1. Betty

        re HVAC engineers on air exchange every 3 minutes — how does that time counteract current energy codes?

        1. coldcoffee

          The most energy intensive part of a HVAC system is the fans. Increasing fan speed to maximize air exchange kills any chance of energy efficiency

        2. CuriosityConcern

          E1: “I’d like to run an energy calc to if throwing that much air in a space throws fan energy compliance off”
          E1: “Depending on the space, that could be 3x more than is usually supplied.”
          E2: “You would get killed on fan energy”
          E1: “Especially if you were trying to retrofit, pushing 3x airflow through existing ducts and air terminals”
          E2: “Yeah, then bhp would go up and then game over for energy compliance.”
          I had been trying to sound them out on this NC post:

  9. Charles D Myers

    Adios AUMF? Democrats press Biden for help in revoking old war powers

    If this were to actually happen it would give me reason to hope that change may come.

    It will serve as a litmus test.

    It seems Barbara Lee and Bernie support it

    1. Carolinian

      It seems Barbara Lee and Bernie support it

      Question asked and answered. Unless Biden is going to suddenly start agreeing with Bernie.

  10. Carolinian

    Re what is Mitch up to?–our Kentucky Machiavelli is a crafty sort–or thinks he is–and may be counting on an impeachment trial to piss off Republicans and increase the odds of Mitch returning as leader in two years.

    And he’d be right. One poll says that 60 percent of Republicans still support Trump so there’s likely little GOP support for a trial that probably won’t convict anyway. Dems need to hope that the courts stymie the misguided idea due to questions whether impeaching someone already out of office is constitutional

    1. cocomaan

      Not to get too speculative, but McConnell may also have evidence to present in the trial that would make the entire thing look even stupider. A plodding trial that slices apart the leadership of the capitol police, city hall for DC, and makes the national guard look sympathetic, etc, could play well.

      Especially in light of the article Yves posted about about the National Guard being treated like trash by the Cap Police.

  11. zagonostra

    >McConnell plans to ask for impeachment trial delay to allow Trump’s legal team time to prepare a defense. New York Times. UserFriendly: “I don’t know why Mitch is helping Team D here.”

    I forgot the reference and don’t know if it has any credence, but I heard someone say that Trump did not pardon Assange because Mitch threatened him with helping the Dem’s impeach/prosecute him.

    Whatever the truth is, it is obvious that they all have dirt on each other and are positioning to take full advantage of what leverage they have regardless of the needs and priorities of the people these politicians’ are supposed to be addressing

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Idle speculation, but I suspect Mitch is playing rope a dope with the Democrats. He may say he wants a Senate trial, but will he actually push to convict, or just use it as a lengthy distraction to embarrass the Democrats with no actual conviction forthcoming? Maybe he sees Biden as a loyal Republican he can work with and genuinely wants to be rid of Trump permanently, but judging by past actions I’m guessing not, since Obama was also a Reagan-loving Republican himself and McConnell didn’t play nice.

      My guess is an embarrassing Senate trial that goes nowhere (but gets big ratings – kaching!), followed by barring Trump from running again using the simpler 14th amendment grounds which should have been done in the first place if the political class were really serious about being done with Trump.

    2. Kouros

      “Reports that Trump has let himself be bullied out of pardoning Assange, mistakenly believing Senate Republicans won’t vote to impeach him if he caves.

      Once he’s out of power, they’re going to vote to impeach him anyway. Which, well——that’s one way to be remembered. ”


    3. curlydan

      If Mitch actually pushed for a trial (or an effective one), I think it’s a mistake for him. Mitch’s #1 hope is that Trump does not start a Patriot Party because it would make a “giant sucking sound” pulling Republicans away from Mitch’s party, making the damage that Perot did to the Republicans in ’92 and ’96 seem puny.

      A Patriot Party hurts the Rs more than the Ds, and Mitch has to walk the fine line between preventing its emergence and being held hostage to Trump for the next 4 years. Mitch is finally in an uncomfortable place–something the Democrats could never do. It took Trump to get Mitch worried.

  12. David

    Scott Alexander is back, and he’s written a typically fascinating article about internet privacy and his experiences at the hands of the New York Times.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Fauci says it’s ‘liberating’ working under Biden”

    Fauci seems to have come up smelling like roses. He is one of the few people being held over from the Trump administration and seems to be Mr. Teflon. And in the same way that Biden’s Inauguration gives a fresh new start to the government, Fauci can put such things as arguing that masks were dangerous and that you need only 60% of the population infected for ‘herd immunity’ and not his later claim that it was 90% well and truly behind him. He is probably telling people now that Trump made him say such things. At one point last year, I even wondered if – like Robert Meuller – that he was even going to see Fauci candles being marketed. He may be good at his own PR but I suspect when it comes time for the true historical record to be written, that his performance and reputation will be judged more harshly.

    1. Olivier

      Fauci is as ancient as the coelacanth : he’s been around since forever. Quite impressive, in a way.

  14. Carolinian

    Here’s a non paywalled source for the Escobar

    And here’s the premise

    So it was the prospect of a Nazi-shaped world order–and not U.S. security–that shook foreign policy elites in the summer of 1940 to build the intellectual foundations of global U.S. hegemony.

    Of course there was a “lofty ideal” component: the U.S. would not be able to fulfill its God-given mission to lead the world towards a better future. But there was also a much more pressing practical matter: this world order might be closed to liberal U.S. trade.

    Seems a bit cynical although it is surely true that many elites here and abroad thought well of Hitler until he started Blitzkrieg-ing his neighbors.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good find that Unz link, Carolinian. I did a Google search twice and it never came up. It may be cynical but that article would explain why just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Washington said publicly that their main priority country to defeat was not Japan but Germany instead.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve mentioned before how our ambassador to Japan-Joseph Grew, was tipped off in early 1941…

        On January 27, 1941, Grew secretly cabled the State Department with rumors passed on by Peru’s Minister to Japan, that “Japan military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of ‘trouble’ with the United States.”

        The idea that we’d give up old battleships (every last one @ Pearl Harbor was of 1910-1920 vintage) while saving our aircraft carriers by keeping them out of harm’s way in delivering planes to Midway while the attack was happening, is what i’d do if I was FDR trying to get into a war that most Americans wanted no part of.

        New state of the art battleships were very nearly finished, the new ships in the South Dakota & North Carolina class being able to go 50% faster than the antiquated models, along with more armament & bigger guns, they were vastly superior to anything @ Pearl Harbor on that fateful day in December.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          In Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, Robert Stinnett makes the case that FDR systematically and deliberately lured Japan into the sneak attack. In October of 1940 Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum, the Head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), wrote a memo to the ONI Director that summarized the world situation, identified dangers to the United States of passively reacting to events initiated by adversaries, and proposed an eight action plan intended to entice Japan into attacking United States’ military and/or possessions. The memo reached President Roosevelt who, after consulting with McCollum and other officers, implemented the plan. From the book re LTC McCollum:

          “McCollum had a unique background for formulating American tatics and strategy against Japan. Born to Baptist missionary parents in Nagasaki in 1898, McCollum spent his youth in various Japanese cities. He understood the Japanese culture, and spoke the language before learning English. After the death of his father in Japan, the McCollum family returned to Alabama. At eighteen McCollum was ppointed to the Naval Academy. After graduation the twenty-two year old ensign was posted to the US Embassy in Tokyo as a naval attaché and took a refresher course in Japanese there. . .
          “Few people in America’s government or military knew as much about Japan’s activities and intentions as . . McCollum. He felt that war with Japan was inevitable and that the United States should provoke it at a time which suited US interests. In his October 1940 memorandum McCollum advocated eight actions that he predicted would lead to a Japanese attack on the United States:
          A) Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
          B) Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisittion of supplies in the Dutch East Indies [now Indonesia].
          C) Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek.
          D) Send a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
          E) Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
          F) Keep the main strength of the US Fleet, now in the Pacific, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
          G) Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
          H) Completely embargo all trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.” P 8

          Stinnett actually found a copy of the memo in an obscure DoD archive on the west coast and includes a photo copy in the appendices.

    2. David

      It would be interesting to know how influential, if at all, this committee actually was. (It’s a well-known mistake of historians to assume that because somebody or something wanted X and X happened, there was a causal relationship). The historical consensus is quite clear: the US was profoundly anti-interventionist until 1939, and indeed under the 1937 Neutrality Act, the government was forbidden from supplying warlike materials to any belligerent, however just their cause. Roosevelt managed to get some flexibility on this after the invasion of Poland in 1939, and by the end of 1941 the US was almost a formal belligerent (which is why Hitler declared war on the US at that point). The US position, which I don’t think we can say is unreasonable, is that they thought a Europe dominated by Nazi Germany would be bad for their security. After Pearl Harbour, of course, the US wanted to strike against Japan, but the British were able to persuade them to go, for a policy of “Europe First”. Oh, and in the comments there’s quite a lot about the, um, ethnic and religious origins of some of the people mentioned in the article, which, in the eyes of some commenters, explains everything.

      1. Carolinian

        There is of course a big discussion about Roosevelt’s attitude toward all this. Many say he would not have followed the Cold War line of Truman and Churchill and really wanted the UN to succeed as an international conflict diffuser. Some Brits thought he opposed British imperialism so America could replace.

        As for Unz and comments, I never read them myself (or any comments except here). I believe he is one of those Silicon Valley libertarians and his site mostly leaning right. If you want to find different views you have to go to different places. Obviously Escobar doesn’t have a problem with it and neither do I.

        1. Basil Pesto

          The one time I read the comments at Unz I saw little but unreconstructed anti-semitism, which I assume is what David is referring to. I can’t be sure though, because I did have a problem with that, and I haven’t been back since.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I went to the Ron Unz’s ” Unz Review” itself. It looks like it would be very hard to find any particular thing there if you thought you had remembered it from back in the past. You just have to keep looking through article after article to see if something trips a memory.

            I thought I remembered reading an Unz-authored article somewhere back in the past. After some brute-force searching I found this which seems vaguely familiar. It runs for thousands and thousands and thousands of words. It is so huge that any one snippet copy-pasted from it could be considered “out of context”. And you would have to read all the thousands and thousands and thousands of words to see what the total context is.

            Here is one such snippet.
            “The obvious reason for this glaring omission is that the authors are constructing a morality-play in which the Jews must be portrayed as absolutely blameless victims, and even hinting at their role in the numerous Communist atrocities that long preceded the rise of the Third Reich might cause readers to consider both sides of the issue. When purported historians go to absurd lengths to hide such glaring facts, they unmask themselves as propagandists, and we must be very cautious about trusting their reliability and candor in all other matters, whether great or small.”

            “Both of these simple facts have been widely accepted in America throughout my entire lifetime. But combine them together with the relatively tiny size of worldwide Jewry, around 16 million prior to World War II, and the inescapable conclusion is that in per capita terms Jews were the greatest mass-murderers of the twentieth century, holding that unfortunate distinction by an enormous margin and with no other nationality coming even remotely close. And yet, by the astonishing alchemy of Hollywood, the greatest killers of the last one hundred years have somehow been transmuted into being seen as the greatest victims, a transformation so seemingly implausible that future generations will surely be left gasping in awe.”

            Those two snippets are just teasers. One would have to read the thousands and thousands of words in the article to get the point and the context.

            Here is the link.

            And here is the “mother site”. Very hard to find anything except by brute force search.

  15. Eduardo

    Re: PCR and WHO. This is all above my pay grade, but evidently WHO tells users to RTFM:
    Description of the problem: WHO requests users to follow the instructions for use (IFU) when interpreting results for specimens tested using PCR methodology.

    Users of IVDs must read and follow the IFU carefully to determine if manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is recommended by the manufacturer.
    WHO Information Notice for IVD Users 2020/05

    To be really clear. @who HAVE NOT said to reduce cycle numbers.

  16. zagonostra

    >Joe Biden once joked about China helping him become president – New York Post

    Trump was accused of being in Putin’s pocket by the Left for 4 years, now Biden is going to be accused of being beholden to Xi’s for the next 4 years.

    All dubious claims as far as I can discern and just red meat for partisans. What is clear is that which ever party is in power, the vast majority of people’s needs are not being met.

  17. LaRuse

    RE: Bernie’s Mittens
    I am a knitter. When I saw that image on Wednesday, before all the memes, I got excited with the rest of KnitterTwitter; who knit them? What was the pattern? What yarn? The knitter (Jen Ellis) was identified – her yarn was recycled wool from second hand sweaters (this is a common tip to knitters with a tight budget and its a good tip – knitting is not the cheap hobby most people think it is). Fleece lined for real warmth. I learned years ago from Canadians and northern region Americans (in Virginia, this isn’t a serious concern) that you wear mittens and not gloves because your body heat does better when each finger can warm the others by proximity and tight fitting gloves don’t reduce circulation.
    You know what those mitts say loud and clear? Authentic. A real person with a real budget used her real time to give a real and useful gift. Bernie wore those very authentic mittens to a very inauthentic event where every person in the spotlight was wearing thousands of dollars in designer clothing, all color-choreographed to perfection to speak a message that no one is really ready to buy into yet. In that image, Bernie is authentic, utilitarian, and relatable for the majority of us not walking around wearing $3K designer wool coats.

    1. LaRuse

      Eh, meant to say “tight fitting gloves can reduce circulation.” Not my best morning. Happy Friday all!

      1. cocomaan

        I am proud to say that I love Marianne Williamson and all her hippy dippy charm.

        It’s good to hear someone not spitting centrist platitudes and instead talking about matters of the heart, as silly as it sometimes sounds.

        What’s interesting is that I was just listening to a piece about Steve Bannon and found out that he’s a huge Marianne fan, because he likes that she talks about spiritual matters and is bringing them into the maintstream political discourse. Weird times.

        1. freebird

          Not a big fan of the spiritualism, but, she clearly sees through the phony political theatrics to the heart of the matter and is fearless saying so, very admirable. Perhaps she is someone using most of her brain instead of one locked-in channel or another.

          1. Wukchumni

            Why not take faith to a reasonable place and embrace Pantheism which requires no invisible means of support, nor deities casting judgment.

    2. Pat

      On the day my favorite response was one that went “Cranky old man insists on dressing appropriately for the weather” Iirc it was paired with a shot of Michelle Obama’s entrance looking like a fashion runway full on fashionable outfit with the open coat.

    3. ilpalazzo

      I think one of the funniest I saw is this one:

      A bit of context: It shows Bernie imposed on a promo screen from computer game Cyberpunk 2077. The game was probably the most hyped and awaited in history, developed by the company that made the huge hit Witcher 3 in 2015. It spent almost 8 years in troubled development and was released in December 2020 in very buggy and clearly unfinished state. It caused a bit of scandal and even was pulled back from Sony gaming console store due to its almost unplayable state. In the run up to the release a lot of promised content was cut from the game, including an underground train system & accompanying surroundings. Here we see Bernie sitting in the metro train that was promised & not delivered.

    4. Maritimer

      Hey, if he was a real Vermonter, he would have gone in a windbreaker sans ski jacket, mittens any other thermal adornments. Bernie’s been in DC so long, he’s lost his temp endurance. Probably sleeps with an extra blanket too.

      It went up to 45 degrees that day. Vt shirtsleeve weather.

  18. Carolinian


    Conspiracy theories only exist because the government often does evil things and lies about them with the help of the mass media, forcing people to just guess what’s happening behind the opaque wall of government secrecy.

    Hear hear!

  19. thoughtful person

    All of the contagion reduction strategies will need to be reworked in a big way in light of the greater contagiousness of Super Covid, but (and maybe I’ve missed it), I’ve seen squat as to what changes are warranted. I’ve bought a big inventory of n95s and even a metalworking mask with filters, but I have no idea what to do beyond that.
    I got some better masks too. I usually wear one kn95 at the moment under a more fashionable cloth mask. Got some Badger seal improvers on order (watercooler? link) as well as ear guards for the mask straps, as behind head is better for me.
    As far as what to do beyond masks I think the key is going to be ventilation and air filtration. Got some box fans with 20″x20″ hvac filters bungeed on, as well as a couple commercial air purifiers. The box fan and filters are about $35.

    Trying to avoid stores more and go shopping in AM before viral loads perhaps build up. Got a CO2 monitor to test air and see how stale it is in indoor spaces.

    Of course trying to do any socializing outdoors well apart, but it is cold here in VA. Some I’ve heard are using electric blankets as outdoor warming aids. We might try that.

    1. jr

      I’ve taken to wearing a “surgie” over a 95, with a twist. I think it seals well. When I inhale, it pulls in and I’m drawing air through the material directly.

    2. verifyfirst

      i would add–think about places you might be forced to go at some point (dentist, if you have an emergency, for ex.) and reach out to them now and ask what they have done-re: ventilation and air flow. Tell them what you expect them to do in this regard.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “‘We feel incredibly betrayed’: Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol”

    Just how long are those Guardsmen supposed to hang around Washington now anyway? The Inauguration is over and there were zero problems reported that day. In one State capital, only one protestor showed up. I’m sure that they all have homes to go to and who wants to hang around wintertime Washington anyway? A long stint at Washington’s Green Zone would be as welcome as a long stint at Baghdad’s Green Zone. Or is their role now as window decoration? Maybe they should go the Baghdad solution and hire a bunch of mercs from places like Colombia and Nepal to do the same duties instead.

    1. The Historian

      I’m sure that all those Guardsmen and women do want to go home. That isn’t the issue – the issue is that they have been booted out of warm and adequate locations and forced to live in a parking garage without heating and proper rest room facilities. More throwaway people? Use them and then just discard them?

      1. Wukchumni

        I have but one National Guard tale to tell…

        We’d been in NZ for a few months from January to March of 2006 and got on a big old jet airliner to go back to the states, and we’d gotten a ride from a friend when leaving to go to En Zed, and upon returning we took a shuttle bus with 10 of us in it, and as luck turned out, traffic in LA might’ve been the worst i’ve ever seen and it took 3 hours to go 30 miles.

        The fellow next to us had a wonderful deep south accent and we got talking, and he told us he was fireman in Birmingham Alabama, and like a lot of people he knew, they’d signed up for the NG in the 80’s or 90’s, never expecting to be sent off to war, they were strictly weekend warriors or so he thought-chuckling.

        He spent his 50th birthday in Baghdad, and I asked him what it was like, his tour of duty?

        He related that he’d traveled all over the world and said that Baghdad was tantamount to a Tijuana that doesn’t function anymore, it was a mess in his mind. He couldn’t figure out why we were there, nothing made sense.

        I’d guess a lot fewer Americans are in the NG now, and to house them on freezing concrete floors of parking garages sans sleeping bags & a sleeping pad is simply cruel & unusual punishment, probably leading to even more drop-off of numbers of Americans interested in joining.

        Hell, many cities house the homeless in motels now, the NG in Humordor didn’t even rate that.

      2. jr

        When you have to be chided into providing sleeping arrangements, incidentally for soldiers who were slated for guard duty in the nations capital, you are definitely using them and tossing them aside. Here we learn that cots aren’t a necessity for soldiers on guard duty, they are a “comfort”:

        There has to be some corollary in Roman history, I’d bet. Late Roman history.

        1. Wukchumni

          Roman soldiers were paid in silver Denarii, which became silver-washed copper Denarii thanks to ‘high tech’ and in the world’s first episode of hyperinflation, the old ratio of 25 silver Denarii equaling 1 gold Aureus, went to about 3,000 to 1.

          Army pay wasn’t all that, all of the sudden.

        2. Wukchumni


          A Roman Denarius was originally about 95% pure silver and 5% copper, but if you alloyed it with too much copper, the latter would be the dominant metal, so the most debasement went was 48% silver by 241 AD, but as mentioned using a silver-wash technique, they were to get it down to almost nothing by 274 AD

          And still the Roman Empire lived on for a few more centuries in the west…

          We’ve now completely debased our money by a similar amount as the Romans did with just one facet of their monetary system, going on half a century.

          I give us another 150 years, tops.

          1. Paradan

            the debasement was necessary because of trade with china. Roman woman loved silk gowns, China only accepted silver as they could already produce everything the Romans had to offer and so all of Romes silver went east.

            I think this needs to be fact checked and then meme’d

        3. Paradan

          Possibly the saga of abuse Alaric and the goths went through. They were used as soldiers from time to time while being NIMBY’d around the empire. Rome got what it deserved ,which was mostly just a burnt neighborhood and some looting. Of course it was one of the wealthy neighborhoods, and so its remembered as one of the greatest catastrophes of Western civilization.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “The Lincoln Project co-founder says post-Trump he’s going after Cruz”

    The Lincoln Project seems to have their own agenda and few will be sorry to see Cruz get a good a**kicking. Maybe after Cruz, Josh Hawley will be next but I do wonder. Is this all part of a plan to clear the field by knee-capping potential candidates for the next Republican Presidential nominee for 2024? So who exactly would that field be cleared for? I have read that Pompeo wants to be President. And a President Pompeo would be like a Trump but smart and fanatically religious – so highly dangerous. Personally I put the Lincoln project in the same basket as QAnon – a bunch of nut-balls with far too much influence and dodgy financing behind them.

    1. flora

      Note that GOP Sens. Cruz and Hawley (and Rubio and others) have taken a decidedly economic populist turn in the last couple of years, focusing on Main Street instead of Wall St. Hawley and Sanders co-sponsored a relief bill in the Senate. (billionaires finance the Lincoln Project.) ;)

    2. Carolinian

      Nooooo! (Pompeo). I doubt the Dems are going to get very far with their witch hunting of the Repubs–likely just make them more popular. Gingrich et al tried it on Bill Clinton and his ratings went up. While Americans have always been very superficial about their politics they do like to have at least two sides pretending to fight it out.

      1. Carolinian

        Unless you lived in Yemen, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, the occupied territories and yes even Russia.

        As for Americans, perhaps we get the presidents we deserve (and as Mencken said, “get it good and hard.”)

  22. Phacops

    About that giant undersea worm. I was trying to find a Bobbit Worm on my last dive trip to Sulawesi, without success. So here are paleontologists recognizing the burrows. How interesting!

    Diving in the Lembeh Strait was exceptional. No reefs and a volcanic sand bottom, so it is described as “muck diving.” One does not see the generous diversity of coral reefs, but what one encounters are distinct and unusual species, from Bobbit Worms to Mimic Octopus. My favorite, though, are the Nudibranchs, naked gastropods brightly advertizing their toxicity. And topside, the Wallace Line separating Asian from Australian species runs right through Sulawesi.

    If one wishes to understand the intersection of geological forces and biogeography, Sulawesi rather than the Galalagos is where one wants to be.

    1. a different chris

      I was really disappointed that said “giant” worm was 2 meters long, not 2 meters wide and school bus length! :D

      Neat info about your diving experiences.

  23. Wyoming

    Re: the bull who was rescued.

    Having been raised in cattle country and having spent a fair amount of time herding cattle and sorting them in pens I have to comment here.

    That man is a complete fool…as in FOOL.

    I know 1 man how has died doing exactly what this guy is doing (and he had been warned many times not to treat his favorite bull as a friend). Everyone who has been raised around cattle knows that making friends with them (and yes it is not that hard to do) is very dangerous. Why? you ask. Well it is because they are big and strong and we are not.

    A cow (1300-1700 lbs), or even worse, a bull (frequently well over 2000 lbs) likes to rub his/her head on other cows (or their friends – a la the guy in the video as one can see the bull doing). This is fine out in a field somewhere I suppose. But think what happens in the pen. That 2000-2500 lb bull comes up to his buddy and puts his forehead on your chest and pushes you against the rails or walls. He is just being friendly. Given his mass, and inherent strength and complete ignorance of your fragility, he proceeds to crush your chest breaking most of your ribs and sternum and frequently puncturing your lungs and heart with the pieces. And you die. Even a 4-500 lb calf can demolish you in a heartbeat. Think what would happen to a baby human if you laid them on the floor and proceed to do a push up off their chest.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for your comment. I am a city-boy but watched that video and wondered about the wisdom of the man snuggling the un-penned bull. How are horses different? They are also very large and powerful but seem less dangerous.

  24. allan

    Legislator who questioned Black hygiene to lead health panel [AP]

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee.

    “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?” …

    Watch whiteness gerrymandering work.

  25. Wukchumni

    If you ventured into town on the Sunday afternoon of the MLK weekend (January 17), you might have mistaken the crowds and traffic for more like August not January. There’s a parking problem and traffic congestion is building nearly every weekend of every month. Busy MLK weekend

    It’s especially acute on a Saturday or a Sunday on a three-day weekend like this past week with a fee-free day on Monday, January 18, commemorating the actual Martin Luther King Day 2021. The nearly non-stop of long lines entering the Ash Mountain entrance station begins to back up shortly before 10 a.m. It can be backed up for nearly three miles sometimes all the way back to the Three Rivers Memorial Building.

    I’ve oft mentioned how mask wearing is optional here for businesses & restaurants in town, and then we get slammed with a veritable shitlode of potential typhoid Mary & superspreader Steve types bearing gifts.

  26. IMOR

    re: Covid National Strategy goals list.
    The phrasing of these, like so very much produced by the Dems in statements, platforms, and press releases over the last twenty years, betrays the corruption of language via groupworked mission statements and- above all- groupworked school curriculum goal and objective ‘modules.’ e.g. ‘restore trust with’, ‘restore U.S. leadership globally’. Little sense of of actual proportion in the tiering, questionable grouping of targets within goal statements, half of it so lifeless it’s tough after the process to say why it’s there.
    The element of the PMC riding highest at the programmatic interface continues to be that group that works(ed) “in education.” Too bad they escaped working as actual teachers as quick as they feasibly could.

    1. Pelham

      I’d appreciate some specificity from Biden, particularly with Super Covid looming. Yves notes that federal control over state borders might need to be invoked. Good first step. But let’s have more, such as:

      1) Lockdowns that begin the moment they’re announced and are enforced by patrolling law enforcement. Right now people should be warned that this is a possibility so they can begin stocking up accordingly. Perhaps warnings should be made in regional sequence so as not to overstress supply chains;

      2) A single federal mandate on masks, with materials distributed to everyone. I’ve read just about everything I can get my hands on about masks (this site has been a big help) but only recently has the fog of confusion cleared — months longer than it should have taken. I think I have a firm grasp of what’s required for near N95-equivalent masking. But meanwhile, though I live in an area where masks are commonly worn, the profusion of variations is startling and even comical. There are lots of apparently well meaning mask wearers who clearly don’t grasp the concept. (Even the Grumpy Bernie meme reveals mask deficiency on his part.) So let’s have a single, simple federal set of instructions on highly effective masks and how to use them.

  27. Jason Boxman

    It seems one of the challenges with avoiding wastage with a two dose regime is that you can’t just grab a person off the street and administer the vaccination; you need to be able to get that person the second dose as well.

  28. Ranger Rick

    They wait until now to start thinking about revoking the AUMF? What other bright ideas did they hold back because they didn’t want it associated with the Trump admin?

  29. hunkerdown

    Remember Sally Albright, the professional Team Dem twitter puppeteer? She’s back and she demands obeisance.

    Silent Amuse ?????? @SilentAmuse
    Repeat after me:

    I am not smarter than Joe Biden.
    I am not smarter than Kamala Harris.
    I am not smarter than Nancy Pelosi.
    I am not smarter than James Carville.

    But if I l stand back and watch and learn,
    I will be smarter than I am.

    She’s being duly ratioed for it, thankfully, but as a confessed orchestrator of coordinated inauthentic activity, she shouldn’t even be on Twitter.

    1. Massinissa

      This account of hers is apparently a puppet account. It joined Twitter as recently as October 2020. The hell happened to the last few? She been banned a couple times already?

      1. hunkerdown

        That’s my sense, reading between the lines of the Twitter bio. “Still working on getting my account back but until then, this is me. You can call me Sally.” Maybe Twitter’s letting her run her info operation because she’s on the side of the self-styled angels.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Read deeper into the article linked to. Here is what she said about Sanders’s suggestion of Free College.

      Does “free college” specifically benefit women and minorities? Does it benefit anyone who isn’t already going to college and just doesn’t want to pay? Reinforcing the status quo is racist.

      — Sally Albright (@SallyAlbright) January 17, 2018

      Smell the wokeness? The stench of wokeness is strong in this one. She is one more demonstration of the sole, total and only purpose of wokeness.

  30. Glen

    Democrats in charge!

    POLITICO Playbook: Democrats caught flat-footed by total control of Washington

    They were counting on losing the Georgia Senate races so that they could do NOTHING. But they won them, are in charge, and are going to do NOTHING.

    Two political parties that actually are ONE, and both of them incompetent. Lucky us.

    I’m sure at some point they will AGREE that Wall St, the MIC, the American deathcare industry, and the billionaires require more trillions in support and tax breaks so there’s that.

  31. flora

    re: dealing with a neighbor who is trying to stymie us cutting branches of his trees that are in my mother’s yard and threatening her phone/power lines.

    You might give Alabama Power and Light a call and ask them their opinion. They might even send a truck and crew out to trim the trees. ;)

    re: aggressive debt collectors for a debt not owed.

    Sounds like the zombie debt-collector scam is coming after the elderly now.

    1. flora

      from the zombie debt article:

      If they keep at it, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state attorney general’s office.

  32. Mikedellabate

    “I eat a lot of blueberries. Now I will have to check to see if they are domestic or at worst Canadian.”

    Considering the largest exporter of blueberries is in Nova Scotia… chances are

  33. juno mas

    Antidote: Short-hair dog in Trona

    Those of you who have the Google Earth app should ‘travel’ to Trona, CA. It’s NOT a town, really, but a humungous, isolated cement manufacturing plant stuck in a desolate valley near the great Death Valley: hot in the days of Summer with butt freezing cold in Winter nights. That dog is a SURVIVOR!

  34. Kfish

    The Google stoush (Australian for fight) is entertaining over here, but I think it’s mostly an intra-elite squabble. Murdoch owns this country, and he tried to extract his pound of flesh from someone bigger than him. He’s already picked a fight with China and lost, so maybe he just has trouble with the concept that he’s not the biggest fish in the pond. Still, it should be entertaining.

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