Links 1/23/2021

The Cat Laughs Dublin Review of Books (Anthony L)

RIP to This Huge Gigantic Dinosaur Who Was Chilling in Some Mud Slate

A large number of gray whales are starving and dying in the eastern North Pacific PhysOrg (Robert M) :-(

Thailand Serves Food with Cannabis to Happy Customers VOA (furzy)

Game of Thrones getting another prequel series at HBO with fan-favourite characters Digital Spy (furzy)

Forever Chemicals Are Widespread in U.S. Drinking Water Scientific American (Robert M)

Real-life dystopia? Microsoft’s patent to reanimate dead as ‘chatbots’ has Black Mirror fans worried RT (Kevin W)


No freebies! Pfizer to charge for ‘extra’ Covid-19 vaccine doses as doctors squeeze vials of every drop to inoculate more people RT (furzy)

Thailand’s ‘ghost’ fishing nets help COVID-19 fight CNA (furzy)

Earthling Ed: How can you prevent future pandemics? Go vegan Living (furzy)


Coronavirus: UK variant ‘may be more deadly’BBC. Vlade:

Governments in the Europe seem now to be very scared. Much more so than even before Xmas. For example, the CZ govt is locking things down and considering making it more strict even as the numbers from the third wave are coming (slowly) down, and at least one official mentioned the lockdown would last till Easter at the least. That in an election year, when the popularity of the main party already took massive hit, and the head of the party (an oligarch who runs it “as a company”) is exposed to a host of lawsuits if he goes, and his holding being stripped of EU subsidies, which amounted to the holding’s profit in the last year.

Interview with Virologist Christian Drosten:”I Am Quite Apprehensive about What Might Otherwise Happen in Spring and Summer” Der Spiegel (resilc)

National action on aerosol transmission of COVID-19 Health Care Workers Australia

Learning the language of viral evolution and escape Science (UserFriendly)

Double-Masking: Why Two Masks Are the New Masks New York Times (furzy)

Covid-19: Many ICU staff in England report symptoms of PTSD, severe depression, or anxiety, study reports BMJ

CHOP Researchers Find Elevated Biomarker Related to Blood Vessel Damage in All Children with SARS-CoV-2 Regardless of Disease Severity Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. From last year, still germane.

Swedish health agency investigates after 1,000 people receive Moderna vaccine kept at too low a temperature RT (Kevin W)

1,900 COVID vaccine doses ruined at Boston VA hospital after freezer accidentally unplugged CBS (Kevin W)


Biden says nothing can change the trajectory of the Covid pandemic over the next several months CNBC. OMG, the worst is he believes this. What about “six week hard lockdown” don’t you understand?

And this doesn’t appear to be taken out of context (see Remarks by President Biden on the American Rescue Plan and Signing of Executive Orders). The spin: Biden’s early approach to virus: Underpromise, overdeliver ABC

Why Biden Inherited a Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Unlikely to Grow Before April New York Times

Special Report: How U.S. CDC missed chances to spot COVID’s silent spread Reuters (resilc)

Fauci: Trump administration’s Covid strategy ‘very likely did’ cost lives Politico

Pennsylvania moves smokers to top of coronavirus vaccine list The Hill


EU hit by delay to Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine delivery Financial Times


Biden Signs Orders to Expand Food Stamps and Raise Wages New York Times (furzy)

Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief The Hill


This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs Wired (resilc)


Brexit Border Trouble Grows as Key Customs System Hits Limit Bloomberg

Britain’s hopes of a quick trade deal with US fade Financial Times (Kevin W)


Gulf slave society aeon

Iran’s Supreme Leader Posts Drawing of Drone Strike on Golfing Trump Daily Beast (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ADT technician admits hacking home security cameras to spy on naked women and couples having sex Daily Mail (BC)

Trump Transition

Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting AG New York Times (UserFriendly)

“The President Threw Us Under the Bus”: Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Chaotic Last Week Vanity Fair (resilc)

Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office The Hill

Senate schedules Trump impeachment trial for week of February 8 Financial Times

Capitol Seizure

The capturing of the Capitol Michael Tracey. Lambert quoted this piece yesterday. I had said the OMG so feared Trump fascists/coupsters wannabes could be paper tigers. I was more correct than I imagined. John Siman flagged a different section that Lambert did:

I did not see a single protester anywhere in the city on Inauguration Day, much less any “insurrectionists” or “armed rebels” trawling around, as had been so gravely forecast. The FBI (then still technically under the jurisdiction of Donald Trump) had warned that all 50 state Capitols were at severe risk, and therefore also needed to fortify their defences with military deployments and obtrusive fencing and barriers. Then the day came and went, and… nothing. In both Albany, NY, and Sacramento, CA a total of oneTrump hat-wearing man showed up at each.

Lawyers for accused Capitol rioters outline a defense: The president made them do it Yahoo (furzy)

Chaos agent: Right-wing blames US Capitol riot on notorious instigator banished by Black Lives Matter Grayzone (furzy). Help me. Trump fans were blaming Antifa before they found a scapegoat.


Blinken’s diplomatic cart will have a bumpy ride Asia Times (Kevin W)

Kamala Harris’s Indian uncle plans US visit amid global celebrations for VP Guardian (furzy). Kill me now.

Canada must ‘respect’ decision to cancel Keystone XL, minister says Financial Times

Why Has AMLO Delayed Congratulating Biden On His Inauguration? Econospeak

Will the Return of Science Reinvigorate Forensics Reform? Intercept (resilc)

Biden’s executive order unlevels the playing field for girls New York Post (Kevin W)

Here’s why protesters say they’re gathering in Portland CNN (furzy)

Not An Easy Way Out: Democrats Share the Blame Simpler Than It Looks (UserFriendly)

The Unfinished Business of Flint’s Water Crisis ProPublica (resilc)

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook asks its new oversight board to rule on banning Trump Columbia Journalism Review

The Echo Chamber Era Matt Taibbi (UserFriendly)

NRA Bankruptcy Adam Levitin. Late to link to this, but terrific one-stop shopping on this situation.

Experts weigh in on $10,000 in student debt forgiveness CNBC (UserFriendly). Aargh. The average amount of student is over $32,000.

Census in talks for Sequoia-led Series A at $100 million valuation Business Insider (furzy)

Infowars and Goop sell the same exact pseudoscientific “wellness” products Quartz (resilc)

Shipping crisis: I’m being quoted £10,000 for a £1,600 container’ BBC

Class Warfare

Amazon tries to delay warehouse union vote in Alabama The Verge

Antidote du jour. Embarrassed to admit Alan T sent this lovely photo in 2017:

And a bonus (guurst):

See Yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Samuel Conner

      Collective responsibility might, one could argue, call for collective punishment.

      A perfect rhetorical preparation for continued austerity.

      Beatings will continue until morale improves.

      1. Wukchumni

        While most of our peer developed countries are doling out a couple grandidos a month to keep their citizens inside and out of harms way, our powers that be are dangling the lure of a 1-time payment as a vaccine against hunger & want. Let them eat Little Debbie, er debenture.

        Were here-we’re austere!
        Get used to it~

        1. upstater

          Providing income support is great; my daughter lives in London and the social service agency she worked for had her on furlough in Spring and paid 80% of her salary. Now it’s WFH with a 15 month old baby. The UK has a huge “informal” cash economy with illegal immigrants. I cannot imagine how they’re doing.

          But income support doesn’t equal crushing the pandemic, unfortunately. Only a serious NZ style lockdown could do it. But we’re past the point of no return, IMO.

          Welcome to Brasil del Norte.

    1. anEnt

      And the histogram at this link shows the distribution of that debt. The $33k average and $17k median suggested a long, fat tail and that’s what we see in the histogram. One wonders what it would look like after removing doctors and other high income professions from the data (on the assumption that they can pay the bigger loans with their bigger incomes.)

      $10k debt relief suddenly seems more reasonable even if it isn’t what everyone with loans wants. How would the commentariat react to a means tested proposal that could notionally clear all of a person’s debt? To ask is to answer.

      Meanwhile, the obvious solution is to make all debt eligible to be discharged in bankruptcy.

      1. Solar guy

        Good points.
        I’ve not heard anyone suggest 0% interest rates for the rest of their loans.
        Or, actually looking at all the interest paid and saying loans are paid in full because of all the interest paid equals or exceeds the principal. Maybe even getting some money back?
        And 0% interest rates for student loans period going forward.

        Getting government money to pay our loans much of it “owed” to banks just becomes another way for us to pay the banks even more especially without getting rid or greatly lowering the interest rates.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @Solar guy
          January 23, 2021 at 9:09 am

          According to this the federal government owns most of the student debt.

          “The U.S. Department of Education owns about 92 percent of the $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loans and many legal scholars say the Department has the authority to wipe these burdens away with the stroke of a pen.”

          Since the federal government doesn’t need revenue to pay its bills, Biden could eliminate the vast majority of student debt with the stroke of an Executive Order.

          This won’t happen, of course, because no politician is willing to admit that the government doesn’t actually need that money.

          Besides, some folks who are “undeserving” might benefit without means-testing and other limitations. /sarc

          1. tegnost

            How about trade negatively yielding 10 yr treasuries for student loan securities then allow people to pay of the balance with no interest charges. That’ll show’em, but profit from the education complex collapses at the same time more people want to go to school so there’s that… How many people took out small loans but never completed college and are now in default in the 5 to 6 figures and about to have their SS garnished as a last resort for the pigs at the trough?
            Adding as an aside: the gov doesn’t need to turn a profit on services it provides to the betterment of the nation, it gets paid back through productivity if I’m not mistaken… that argument always gets under my craw…

            1. 1 Kings

              Have you looked at govt loans in the last 10-15 years? Did research for relative around few yrs back and found they have unlimited % rates(told him to use bank). Now, don’t want to insult Guido from Jersey, but infinity loan shark rates are pretty sweet..

        2. Icecube12

          I was just thinking this the other day. I have friends from Germany who also have interest-free student loans, though the principal seems like a much lower amount than for the average American. The loans are used to pay for living costs, as I think Germany has tuition-free uni. They don’t have to start paying them off until they are employed, and the loans are always interest-free.

          Of course, Finnish students get stipends to cover living costs while they are going to university and beyond, so they don’t even have to worry about small amounts of no-interest loans.

          The US is just one big scam. That’s what comes from the “more for you means less for me” attitude, which is totally inappropriate when it comes to something like facilitating an educated populace.

          1. LifelongLib

            In recent decades the U.S. wealthy have been very good at making sure that anything that benefits some non-wealthy people is paid for by some other non-wealthy people. “More for you means less for me” isn’t just an attitude. For most in the U.S. it’s reality.

      2. expr

        IIRC a large part of the “rationale” for debt not being dischargeable in bankruptcy was stories of MDs getting trained in some lucrative specialty then declaring bankruptcy to dump their debt and going on to make a lot of money.
        Another thought: a long time ago (80’s) a friend went to med school on the public health service then spent time in Maine (indian health service?) and ended up staying in Maine to practice.
        Maybe have something like this fi you have a lucrative education and want out from under your debts.

      3. TMoney

        A means tested proposal that could notionally clear all of a person’s debt? — That’s what bankruptcy is/was. It even excluded the poors who couldn’t afford lawyers. Actually I would be all for the bankruptcy root if it included an automatically discharged for anyone earning less than X who could not afford a lawyer indigent.

        X would be tied to Congressional salaries.

      4. JTMcPhee

        Any idea how much a bankruptcy costs, or what hoops the individual (vs corporate) citizens has to get through to get to that discharge? Lots of fees, not a good idea to go pro se so hire a lawyer for more costs that can’t be discharged, and good luck getting credit at reasonable rates or renting or buying a place to live.

        How many “student debtors” are positioned to do this?

        1. Procopius

          I can’t answer your question, but this seems like an appropriate place to recommend I followed them a bit back in the foreclosure tsunami, around 2010, and they have tons of useful and interesting information about bankruptcy. My vague memory is that Biden’s 2005 “reformation” prevents individuals from using the most common chapter, I think it was Chapter 11, and raised the fees. I believe you can file without a lawyer, but we saw what happened to people who appealed pro se against foreclosure.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          These casual recommendations of bankruptcy are deeply offensive.

          First, it stays on your credit record for seven years. It makes you unemployable in many lines of work.

          Second, for those above median income in most states, you have to file a Chapter 13. That means 60 months of having to stick on a strict household budget. The allowable level of food is rice, beans, hamburger, and canned veggies. Any Shit Happens, like a serious car breakdown or medical emergency, isn’t allowed.

          Third, I also find the idea that “oh they went to graduate school” problematic with MDs and vets. We have highly overpriced medical services and yet don’t connect the dots with the cost of getting an MD? Seriously? Why do you think we have a shortage of primary care physicians?

          1. TMoney

            You’re right. Bankruptcy is awful, most people shouldn’t want to do it. Borrowing money and not repaying is not something to encourage. (Dammit I sound like a banker). Lenders (not borrowers) are supposed to be responsible and are taking on the risk of not being repaid. Make them do the underwriting.

            How do you unmake the current sausage without leaving people who repaid their loans feeling like suckers ? More than anything this favours the repeal of the Bankruptcy reforms that left student loans non-dischargable (save for the most insane conditions). It’s not ideal (understatement) but it is better than the current situation.

            I’d like to see all Education available to anyone who wants it without regard to the “costs” and without loans.

            In the interim, since we live in a bankster world with govt loans, how about interest rates on loans that become negative over time and more negative the longer you have them. (with a hat tip to tegnost). People still need to make repayments, but it will be eliminated at some point. The exact opposite of what we have now. Once we’ve got the idea rolling, increasing the negativity of the interest rate and shortening the duration becomes appealing to all borrowers until the loan isn’t a loan at all.

      5. PHLDenizen

        Attorney and physician salaries exhibit a large variance. PCPs, internists, psychiatrists don’t command nearly the same income as specialties like top tier invasive cardiologists in major urban areas. Attorneys working on crucially important issues such as affordable housing and defending the underclass aren’t making David Boies loot. Excluding “high income professions” is regressive, incentivizing specialization despite a profound scarcity of good family doctors.

        Salary is also a function of geography, which your analysis precludes. State level statistics are meaningless. Practicing in Philly or Pittsburgh earns you more than Harrisburg or Altoona, though your debt level is the same. Everyone bemoans the dearth of medical providers in extremely rural areas. When you aren’t saddled with debt, you have more opportunities to serve the people who need it and live comfortably.

        Then there’s the opportunity cost. My dad graduated Yale med school in the 70s with little or no student debt. He could afford to buy a house while doing his residency and fellowship, making enough for my mom to hang out at home and be a full-time mom. My parents were in their mid-20s when I was born. Unless you’re attached to significant capital, these days you have to punt on starting a family and owning a home.

        Same holds true for transition cost. When my dad finished up and went into practice in, they moved back to my mom’s hometown. While waiting to sell the house in Guilford, they had two mortgage notes during the era of high inflation and absurd interest rates. On top of that, they had to immediately replace the ancient oil boiler in their new house, which isn’t cheap. It was a stretch financially, but not so oppressive that my mom couldn’t stay home to take care of the kids. My dad grew up dirt poor and my mom not that much better, so there was no family to lean on.

        That would be almost impossible these days. Even back then, an onerous student loan note would have significantly changed those outcomes.

        Life is also a dynamic system, with variables that change unpredictably. Insurance companies driving down reimbursement rates while simultaneously increasing the bureaucratic burden of dealing with them lessens your earning power. My dad’s malpractice rates are stratospheric, despite his sterling record. Malpractice carriers, having made some awful investment decisions in the past, decided to compensate by lifting premiums. Again, a factor outside of the practitioners control.

        Proposing means-tested complex eligibility rules is absurd, shaping social structure to fit the neoliberal narrative. It strips people of agency and constrains their set of choices. Education is important, be it trade school or med school, Harvard or Penn State.

        1. upstater

          Your dad also had benefit of a frugal rural upbringing by depression era or WW2 era parents.

          My brother is a retired periodontist and paid $3000/yr tuition for dental school and $300/month rent in the early 80s. His residency paid a modest stipend. He graduated without debt.

          He now teaches a practice management course for periodontist residents. He said most of them already have $250K debt loads, drive luxury cars and have upscale housing. They keep borrowing. He tries to dissuade them from high debt a a few listen, but most don’t. Entitlement.

          Then they go to work for PE owned practices andcdo what their MBA masters direct…

          1. Glen

            Ha, too bad all those deeply in debt periodontists don’t have access to all that Fed money like the PE guys. Because those people are only doing exactly what all the mega corps do – go smashingly into debt to get fat stock options, and the next time the market crashes, the big Fed sugar daddy shows up to bail them out.

            The Fed Is Buying $41 Billion of Assets Daily and It’s Not Alone

            Mega corporation entitled (beats all other entitlements!)

          2. PHLDenizen

            Oh, absolutely. He’s almost pathologically frugal. I give my dad endless amounts of $h!t when he pulls out the “personal responsibility” trope in response to structural inequalities. I remind him he got to ride the multi-decade stock market bull run with enough free cash to stuff into equities, had cheap tuition, and housing prices weren’t nearly as inflated relative to income as they are now. Paid off his mortgage early, although his 18k/yr property taxes might as well be one. And the house is hardly the manse you’d imagine based on that figure.

            That said, I was also incredibly lucky to be born to my family and his being “cheap” meant none of his kids had student loans and we got to go to private secondary school. I’ve never taken for granted how much crappier my life could have been.

            Luck, more than anything else, is the thing that saves you from precarity and desperation. Remembering that has served me well, I hope. I reject the moralizing about poverty and the assumptions that the wealthy project onto them. No one chooses to be poor. It sucks. They aren’t lazy, they aren’t stupid, they don’t deserve their difficult lot in life. It’s cruel and self-serving to argue they didn’t make enough effort or point to the survivorship bias-laden examples of those who “escaped”.

            My dad’s younger partners are decidedly more ostentatious. He’s been to a few house warming parties and shakes his head at their pursuit of status symbols. I suppose because his experience with misfortune has made it apparent how fleeting it can be. Failure of imagination. How soon Hooverville is forgotten.

            He’s also noticed that the younger cats graduate with a more MBA-friendly worldview. It fits within the framework of financialization of healthcare and implies the terminus of their career isn’t patient care, but running a practice whose sole purpose is maximizing wealth for owners. I think it makes them susceptible to the wiles of MBAs dangling green carrots.

            Maybe you can comment, but I fired my old dentist because they got rolled up into a PE owned group with patient care suffering. Found an indie who’s much better. Is consolidation of dental care the unfortunate future? Cash businesses tend to appeal to the BlackRocks of the world. I’ve seen it in dermatology and emergency medicine.

            1. Basil Pesto

              and let me hazard a guess: as a consequence of the good fortune of your birth, you’ve been told from your family at least once growing up: “you don’t know how lucky you are”, when, as you so rightly and clearly articulate, it’s precisely the other way round.

  1. jr

    The link to the Post’s article on level playing fields takes me to a video of two Marines fighting with pugil sticks. And good morning!

  2. carl

    Ivermectin is in the news again: (medical registration required; can’t read full article)
    NIH is now neutral on Ivermectin, dropping recommendation against its use.
    Anccdotally, spouse visited clinic yesterday for pap smear, inquired about Ivermectin as COVID treatment; informed that it would be prescribed for patients with positive test for virus.

    1. Robert Hahl

      But probably not before going into a hospital. A friend in NYC tested positive and now is being told to stay home with his wife and daughter for two weeks. “Don’t even open the door.” That’s not going to happen, but neither is a visit to some doctor. I sent him a pulse oximeter with instructions to go to a hospital if the oxygen goes below 93% or pulse below 45 bpm.

      1. Sharron

        Our doctor doesn’t think much of ivermectin, won’t prescribe it and said, go get some at the feed store if you want it. I may, just to have on hand for my kids as my husband and I have both had our initial shots.

          1. ambrit

            Yes. There is a semi-associated study from Thailand comparing the effectiveness of a standard anti-parasitical drug and veterinary ivermectin from some fifteen or so years ago. The outcomes were interesting and the experimenters concluded that the veterinary formulation was at the least not dangerous for human use.
            Some math is required to figure out the proper dose, but is doable by the “average” person.
            I also agree about the female doctor recommendation if only for the logic of a woman medico would have an inherent advantage in understanding “women’s issues.” (Despite the best efforts of the Idpol Brigade, there are definite differences between women and men.)

  3. Steven

    Something not right with the “executive order levels the playing field for girls” link. Would like to have not seen that video, but I guess reality is still unnecessarily ugly and cruel.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That link may have been unintentional irony as it shows a guy versus a girl in Marine Corps pugil training. So with old Joe opening up female sports to transpeople, can you imagine what it would be like with female boxing pretty soon? Look at what the result might be in that video again-

      A year or two ago I saw this Canadian guy win a trophy in a bike race against women someplace in America and he had a lot of extra beef on him to do it. He had a male body but just said that he identified as a woman. How do you think that it is going to go for every sport for girls and women from now on? Fortunately South Park has given this some thought- (3:11 mins)

      1. Nancy Boyd

        “Given that biological males experience a substantial performance advantage over females in most sports, there is currently a debate whether inclusion of transgender women in the female category of sports would compromise the objective of fair and safe competition.
        Here, we report that current evidence shows the biological advantage, most notably in terms of muscle mass and strength, conferred by male puberty and thus enjoyed by most transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed as per current sporting guidelines for transgender athletes.
        This evidence is relevant for policies regarding participation of transgender women in the female category of sport.”

        What’s happening in women’s sports: inclusion of males has been prioritized over fairness for females. Currently, the NCAA Women’s Hurdles champion is male, males hold the top two championships in high school girls track & field in Connecticut, the gold medalist in the Pan-Pacific Games Women’s weightlifting is a 41-year old male, the world record holder in Master Women’s cycling is male, a male just recently became the Brazilian point-scoring record holder in Women’s volleyball, another NCAA runner touted as a likely Olympic gold medalist is male.

        The IOC rules regarding testosterone suppression in males who wish to compete in women’s sports is that they must lower to 10nmol/l, which is in the low-normal male range and 5 standard deviations above the mean level for women. That low-normal level must be maintained for one year only. Prior to 2015, the rules implemented in 2004 required that males participating in women’s sports had to have had full genital reassignment surgery. That is no longer the case.

        At the national level, sporting bodies have ruled that males need merely “identify” as women in order to compete in female sports. There are no requirements for any kind of medical transition, as to require that would be a human rights abuse akin to forced sterilization.

        Only in the UK have women been able to mount a serious protest against this. Female athletes who protest are threaten with banning from competition. The women who came in 2nd & 3rd in the Women’s Master’s Cycling championship were even told by the sporting bodies that they MUST smile while on the podium.

        For a graphic illustration of women’s silent protest, she the photo at:

        I’m curious to see how the electorally-prized demographic of “Soccer Moms” will react to these potential changes in their daughters’ chances at athletic success.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Reading up on the controversy about this issue, I came across a story that had totally escaped my notice when it happened a couple decades ago. The Williams sisters claimed they could beat any man ranked around 200 in the world, and one guy took them up on it. He beat both of them handily while taking beer and smoke breaks between games –

          I’m not the only one who didn’t remember this – Serena had forgotten all about it too-

          Braasch would smoke cigarettes and sip beer during the changeovers, and to be honest no longer looked the part of a fit professional athlete. It made no matter. Braasch led 5-0 over Serena before winning the set 6-1, and then posted a 6-2 set victory over Venus.

          It was all in good fun, but 19 years later, and a record six Australian Open titles later, Williams, laughingly, insisted recall of the event was not in her memory bank.

          “I forgot about that, actually,” she said, smiling, on Saturday. “Gosh, I don’t remember that at all. Gosh, that was forever ago. I don’t remember what year it was.

          1. Sardonia

            This story popped up during the brouhaha that John McEnroe created when he was being interviewed by some vapid NRP female host. When asked about Serena, McEnroe gushed about her talent and said she was, by far, the greatest women’s tennis player ever. The host chastised him and asked, “Why can’t you just say that she’s the greatest tennis player ever? Why do you have to qualify it with “women’s player?”

            McEnroe said, “Well, she isn’t. I mean, if she played on the men’s circuit she’d be ranked about 700th.” Given how Serena performed in that match against Braasch (who IIRC was ranked right around 200th at the time), John’s assessment was probably right about on the money. But, y’know…blasphemy.

            This was before Cancel Culture took off, but it was enough for lots of people to demand his head – and definitely to be banned from ever being in the comment booth of a tennis match again (He’s been the color commentator for most every major tennis tournament for years).

            The NPR host was praised by many for her “courage and truth-speaking” or whatever….

            1. Stephanie

              Is this what inspired all the Random Dudes On The Internet I’ve seen who’ve claimed they could totally beat the Williams sisters? I’ve always wondered what was behind that.

            2. km

              FWIW, Braasch said that he deliberately was playing more like a 600-th rank player, just to make things more fun.

              Then there’s situational awareness…..

              1. Basil Pesto

                at the same time, it was a pretty casual exhibition match as opposed to any kind of formal, hypothesis-testing experiment and the sisters were still teenagers, far from the height of their powers.

        2. Grateful Dude

          A friend’s male cat in the NYC NJ suburbs had been “fixed” before adolescence. He never got his male muscle mass, but he was still male. He only went outside once on his own. The neighbor tomcats mutilated him. They knew he was male.

          I had a young male cat, born feral, but I got him young. Outdoor cat in the country. So per above, I waited until he had grown enough to defend himself before he was castrated (ouch). And so, he was able to control his several acres of turf. Hurt a few times in the beginning but he learned how to fight. Awesome spectacle. Fur flying indeed.

          Later in his too-short life he had to learn to run away.

          So puberty – testosterone loaded up through puberty – makes a serious physical difference at maturity in cats anyway, and, I suspect a concomitantly greater aggressiveness is a useful skill in most competition sports.

          1. farragut

            Your comment reminded me of the ‘castrati’ of the Italian opera. From Wikipedia:

            As the castrato’s body grew, his lack of testosterone meant that his epiphyses (bone-joints) did not harden in the normal manner. Thus the limbs of the castrati often grew unusually long, as did their ribs. This, combined with intensive training, gave them unrivalled lung-power and breath capacity.[1] Operating through small, child-sized vocal cords, their voices were also extraordinarily flexible, and quite different from the equivalent adult female voice. Their vocal range was higher than that of the uncastrated adult male. Listening to the only surviving recordings of a castrato (see below), one can hear that the lower part of the voice sounds like a “super-high” tenor, with a more falsetto-like upper register above that.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Not being able to find an extant castrato or willing to produce one, about ten years ago opera singer Cecilia Bartoli did a recording of arias that would have been originally performed by castrati. The CD version included a little booklet with snippets from older texts explaining how the deed was done. I think this is a video version of the whole album – Sacrificium.

              I don’t know if that’s what a castrato sounded like, but her voice is sublime.

          2. chuck roast

            Anyone who is a serious ice hockey fan can see the differences (with an “s”) between world class men and women players. The U. Wisconsin women were the intercollegiate women’s champs last year. They are approximately the same age as their male counterparts…maybe a little younger since the guys are more likely to play advanced post -HS competition. Match some middlin’ ECAC men’s team from 2019 against them, and what do you get? Speed? Quickness? Forechecking? Net presence? Puck possession? Shot speed? It would simply not be fair.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            The plural of anecdote is not data. My cat Blake was neutered at the normal time and he was very strong for his 11 lbs. He once chased two adult men out of an office.

            And more to the point, I highly doubt any of these teenage trans women have had the chop.

        3. rowlf

          I am disappointed that one of my favorite sports, International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) and Olympic 50 Meter Pistol was dropped for 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team events. The 50 meter event was a tough Olympic event for 120 years and rather than let women compete it was dropped for an event nobody likes. In the US everyone can shoot in the 50m event and women, like in many shooting sports, shoot very well, usually better then men.

          Are there other Men’s events that women are excluded from to prevent hurt feelings?

  4. Samuel Conner

    Re: M$ and the digital zombie chatbots

    I wonder if they got this idea from the “Testimony” project in the Doctor Who Series 10 finale, “Twice Upon on a Time”.

    Alas, this probably is an evil plan, and there is no Doctor to stop it.

    1. Mikel

      People still go to seances. Think MS didn’t notice that?

      The article mentions the series “Black Mirror”. I’ve seen some of those episodes and viewed them as cautionary tales.
      Some must be viewing the episodes as research and development

    2. Young

      A government “for the people” should tax the companies like these to make them go bankrupt so that the talented employees who develop this nonsense can be freed up to solve the real problems “for the people”.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Presumes those employees will not take their honed looter skills into new entrepreneurial opportunities to excel by continuing those lucrative behaviors in one form or another.

        Yah, “free up” those talented employees… “Release the Kraken!”

  5. Wukchumni

    My 95 1/2 year old mom was supposed to get the jab in January @ her assisted living gilded cage but shift happens in the waiting game that is life, and the new puncture juncture is scheduled for Waitangi Day, which I never thought i’d get a chance to mention, sweet as.

    Plunge details:

    “CVS Pharmacy will be hosting the clinics on site. Each resident will be escorted to the designated vaccine clinic (Activity Room) in the community. We will also be providing a recovery area for residents to be monitored for any side effects after receiving the vaccine.”

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Gulf slave society”

    There’s irony for you. Over 150 years ago the Union armies fought their way into the Confederacy to put down the institution of slavery. Their descendant, the United States military, now has the mission to defend and protect the Gulf States – including their slavery – against the country of Iran. Iran – a country that abolished slavery within its borders when Calvin Coolidge was President.

  7. fresno dan

    The Echo Chamber Era Matt Taibbi (UserFriendly)
    Balance isn’t about giving credulous coverage or equal time to Donald Trump or Josh Hawley or Ben Shapiro (though I think it’s crazy for news organizations to cut off all conservatives), it’s about being consistent. If you tell us on January 12th that all 50 state capitols are under serious threat — I was genuinely worried — you have to tell us what happens at the end of the story a week later. Was that threat real but deterred? Was it overblown? What happened to all of those warnings?

    This has been an ongoing theme of coverage in the Trump years: hyping a threat for a news cycle or two, then moving to the next panic as the basis for the first one dissipates. How many headlines were aimed at our outrage centers in the last four years that were quietly memory-holed, once they’d outlived their political utility? We read dozens of stories before the election warning that Russia was already interfering in the 2020 election. A smattering of New York Times headlines alone:

    Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump
    Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
    ‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020
    F.B.I. Warns of Russian Interference in 2020 Race and Boosts Counterintelligence Operations
    Putin Most Likely Directing Election Interference to Aid Trump, C.I.A. Says
    Then Biden won the election, the story disappeared, and the near-immediate conclusion of the same New York Times was that the election had been “free of fraud.” They quoted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as saying the 2020 vote was “the most secure in American history,” and as for all of those pre-election scare stories?

    (NYT) A bipartisan consensus like this may tempt some people to conclude that the dire pre-election warnings were overblown, that the risks to the election were never that serious. The reality is the opposite…

    Like the wider Trump-Russia story itself, which magically vanished from coverage before both the 2018 and 2020 election seasons, audiences were asked for a time to care about certain things as if their lives depended on it, then just as quickly asked to forget the issues ever came up. And they wonder why people feel manipulated?

    1. Screwball

      I wish people would feel they were manipulated.

      So many I know believe all this stuff and even a mention that some of it is hyped up or not true at all (Russiagate) they blow a gasket. TBH, many of them LIVE for the next headline to be outraged about.

      Actually, I lived with one like that. She woke up in the morning and the first thing she would do is grab the phone to see what the daily outrage machine was spewing out today. Then off to FB to share the outrage. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      1. Glen

        Listening to the radio this morning and it’s on and on about riots in Russia:

        Tens of thousands protest in Russia calling for Navalny’s release

        Which got a great big “Who the {family blog} cares?

        We have tens of millions of people hungry, losing homes, losing jobs, losing business, going broke, getting sick. And we have hospitals overrun with patients, and we’re losing 4,000 people a day. But, oh, don’t worry, now that we’ve won the election, we might do something … by March.

        Why should I be worried about the Russian government when my own government is such a giant $hit show?

      2. chuck roast

        Can’t we just get on with it and create a Truth Agency? I for one would welcome this. I have no clue as to what is really happening since I don’t listen to corporate agit-prop. Maybe we could just give the Voice of America cabinet status. What the heck, they already have the name and narrative. We could have a Director of Truth. You know…somebody like John Podesta with Neera waiting in the wings. The perfect time to do it would be when the Alexandria Court (the home of the proto-Confederates) gives Julian Assange 160 years in Florence. The liberal cheering the Official Truth would drown out the minor murmur of dissent.

    2. hidflect

      Like the breathless reports that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok. Turns out he wasn’t but I’m yet to see CNN cover that.

  8. timbers

    Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief The Hill

    This will be interesting. One the one hand, dems might repeat that 2 yr movie we all saw about 12 yrs ago and say the reason they can’t give us nice things is because of the meanies on the other side of the isle. On the other hand, maybe Biden will show different chemistry from Obama that helps him get some big stuff passed. Maybe not great, but biggish.

    Either way, find it hard to see President Mitch McConnell allowing a $15 minimum wage or any tax increases on the wealthy get thru. And Biden hasn’t even suggested taxing corporations or rolling back Trump’s corporate tax cuts, has he? Did read an article that Biden considering lowering Medicare age to 60, but neither believe that nor think President McConnell or Replicrats would allow that.

    NPR is starting to shift 24/7 social identity reporting and talking about our glorious new leader and how democracy was saved and the coup was turned back, to how will Dems get their Covid passage thru, because Republicans.

    Hope this it’s the start of Obama II: The Repeat. Plot synopsis: An 8 year drama showing how we can’t do anything because mean people.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Last I read, the Biden plan did include a proposed increase in corporate taxes, but not to their pre-Trump level. From MarketWatch earlier this year, maybe no longer correct?

      One of the biggest changes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was the installation of a flat 21% corporate federal income tax rate for 2018 and beyond. Before the TCJA, the maximum effective rate for profitable corporations was 35%. The Biden plan would increase the corporate tax rate to 28%. This change would raise an estimated $1.1 trillion or so over 10 years.

      1. Glen

        Ha, I’d be happy if we could just make it so we’re not GIVING THEM money:

        You paid taxes. These corporations didn’t

        Check out the NEGATIVE TAX rates in that link.

        So YOU paid taxes? Did you know we gave some of your money to Amazon? Because things have been pretty rough for Jeff Bezos lately, he’s only making $8 Million per hour:

        How Much Money Does Jeff Bezos Make Per Hour?

        Oh, wait, that’s from 2019, he’s probably making more now…

      2. timbers

        You mean like when Biden raised taxes on corporations by massively cutting them when he was in the Executive Branch?

        Look at the headline. Can’t take it seriously.

      1. campbeln

        My over/under on Harris’s ability to wait is 18 months.

        Maybe “Joe fails and Harris swoops in to save the day” is the plan?

  9. Massinissa

    Martin’s Hedge Knight short stories, featuring Dunk (Duncan the Tall) and his squire Egg (I’m not sure I should reveal his identity), are very excellent. I honestly prefer those short stories over the Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) novels. Hopefully this adaptation series is done correctly.

    Oh, and I may as well mention that Dunk is one of the ancestors of Brienne of Tarth. Which is probably part of why she’s so tall.

  10. Wukchumni

    BananaCoin fetched $396k including buyer fees, after a $20 initial public offering in Ohio from an ATM, setting something for BitCoin to shoot for in performance, and i’d never count a cryptocurrency out, because hope springs ethereal.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sounds a bit dire, BitCoin investors trapped in cave-in of liquidity…

        The end of this odyssey will be so messy and yet to 99.999% of us of no matter whatsoever, look forward to it~

        1. Massinissa

          I’m not a crypto person, but I almost hope the crash doesn’t happen until next year. Having a crypto crash on that scale, in a year where we also have a pandemic, would be a f*cking disaster. Might even be bad enough that the two of them could have the rest of the market crash. I’d like the market to crash, honestly, but uh, maybe at a more favorable time. Would rather not have three disasters at one time. Not even sure Capitalism would be the only thing to collapse were something like that to occur this year.

          1. Wukchumni

            If an improbable Ponzi scheme based on a series of Martingales is underpinning the world economy, we’re already finished financially.

      2. Aumua

        Hey, keep saying “tulips”. Keep saying “hopium”. Here’s another link you might find interesting:

        Bitcoin obituaries

        Be aware that the same exact tether FUD in the Ritholtz link above has been recirculating since 2017.

  11. Jason Boxman

    With Biden having claimed during the campaign that he is the Democrat Party, we see that the Democrat Party position is, unsurprisingly, that we gotta let it ride! Can’t possibly have an immediate shelter in place with concomitant economic support; people might get ideas!

    It’s not clear why “trust science” apparently doesn’t extend to the effectiveness of shelter in place. So the virus will continue to mutate, continue to spread, while we continue to pursue the vaccine magic pony. I certainly hope that this is a lottery that we ultimately win.

  12. JMM

    I’ve commented in the past how Quebec’s plan to delay the second dose for up to 90 days looked fishy. This just in: Covid: Delaying second dose of vaccine increases risk of new resistant strain, Sage papers reveal.

    Delaying doses of coronavirus inoculations will increase the chances of a vaccine-resistant strain of Covid-19 emerging, government scientists have warned.

    In new reports, released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), experts also warned that resistant new variants were a “realistic possibility” driven by the virus reacting to increasing levels of natural immunity among the population.

    Not a surprise, I must say.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The Echo Chamber Era”

    So I was watching some video clips from mobs like CNN and MSNBC and the amount of fawning going on over Biden & Kamala was getting pretty…brown. Like how when they were at the Reflecting Pool and the CNN commentator said that the two lines of light representing the dead were like Joe’s arms embracing America. Gawd. And like Taibbi said in his article, the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas were being compared to Marvel superheroes. Assemble?

    Earlier news people took a different stance. I just saw a few minutes ago that Larry King has just passed away. A few years ago he said that he “would rather ask questions to people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf.” My how things have changed. They are now just stenographers on behalf of the government and corporations.

    I know that you guys have Red Nose day in America so perhaps a new custom should be adopted by the media to reflect the change in how they report the news. So whenever they have to report on Biden or Kamala and what they have been doing, it will be obligatory to don a ceremonial brown, plastic nose on their faces. And I bet that if Joe suggested it, that they would fall over themselves in doing so.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The favorite part of msm elites was no plebes there to watch. Without the crowd, what was the point? All the President elect is to take the oath of office. I mean they could even sign a piece of paper with the oath on it to show proof.

        1. farragut

          My guess would be Secret Service, flora. Enlarging the pic shows what appears to be a glint on the top of his left ear suggesting a radio earpiece. His posture and visual focus makes me think he’s ‘at-the-ready’ ….

        2. polecat

          There’s a big difference between a Mocking Jay, and a gilded pigeon? LadyG ain’t no girl on fire, that’s for darned sure! – a useful trinket perhaps .. and a perfect fit for a president snowjob.

          1. skippy

            Now the stench of the Trumpoids can begin …. Ella Emhoff wiggling her eyebrows at Mike Pence during the inauguration bewitches social media …

            I’ll refrain from linking …

        3. The Rev Kev

          The thing to watch for is when old Joe announces that by lottery, that two young people will be selected from every red State to assemble in the Capital…

  14. Lex

    ‘The Echo Chamber Era’

    My jaw dropped to see those three presidents gathered at the inauguration. The nerve! With their long dark overcoats, it was like a small gathering of wiseguys at a funeral. ‘Poor Donnie! Cut down in his presidential prime! Biden will be taking over his territory.’ As long as they get their cut.

  15. Wukchumni

    Biden says nothing can change the trajectory of the Covid pandemic over the next several months CNBC. OMG, the worst is he believes this. What about “six week hard lockdown” don’t you understand?

    1942: Nearly a year after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States fully into World War II, the Americans get around to imposing nationwide gasoline rationing.

    A fuel shortage was not the problem. America had plenty of that. What it lacked was rubber. Both the Army and Navy were in desperate need of rubber for the war effort.

    Imports had fallen off to a trickle, because many of the traditional sources were now in Japanese hands. The construction of synthetic-rubber factories was just beginning.

    Mandatory gasoline rationing had been in effect in the eastern United States since May 1942, but a voluntary program in other parts of the country had proven unsuccessful.
    Our issue isn’t a lack of rubber, but too much hitting the road.

    3 or 4 gallons a week per driver would be the driving force in a six week hard lockdown, not allowing Covid to get purchase via the interstate, and that also means shutting down largely, all other forms of public transport.

    Something I mentioned we should be doing way back when in the early innings of the saga…

    1. Carolinian

      Yes you did mention it earlier and it’s still never ever going to happen.

      BTW Trump reportedly did suggest quarantining the New York area early on and media hero Cuomo said absolutely not. In fact Cuomo then later comically suggested that Southern states like mine were bringing the virus to him when arguably it was NYC and its airports that spread the virus down the east coast.

      Bottom line–our politicians are not going to restrict car travel or gasoline sales on the grounds that then the Capitol really would be under siege.

      1. Wukchumni

        If Trump was President after Pearl Harbor…

        April 1, 1942: ‘If we just wait, the Japanese will go away, you’ll see.’

        August 15th, 1942: ‘Tokyo tyranny is where this war came from, and its best we stay away from selling them oil & minerals unless we slap sanctions on them.’

        December 7th, 1942: ‘I take no responsibility for everything.’

        1. Carolinian

          I don’t think Trump is responsible for the virus–or Cuomo (the latter maybe those nursing home deaths ). Some European countries have worse death rates than ours and don’t have Trump. Sometimes things just happen.

          Of course Trump himself tried to blame it all on the Chinese but we don’t want to be like him do we?

          1. polecat

            No. We want to be like Nanc&Chuck – maskless, pointing fingers, and eating Chinese… until we aren’t. Then on to the next outrage du Jour

          2. The last D

            Hard to think that the death cult the republicans, er, our american facists, have become, would be unwilling to take personal responsibility for the overwhelming number of deaths and disease occurring in our country. Don’t be afraid to give credit where credit is due.

      2. Retaj

        The death toll from this pandemic in the U.S. is over 400,000 which is higher than the U.S. combat deaths for the entirety of World War II. That demanded full mobilization and personal sacrifice. I am trying to figure out what the difference is. If the enemy du jour were invading then I imagine that personal sacrifice would then be acceptable amongst more people.

        1. Carolinian

          Meanwhile as IM Doc has reported flu deaths have dropped off the charts. Arguing with statistics is a tricky business. Context is all.

          1. Wukchumni

            399,987 Americans spent another peaceful day in repose, as is their fashion.

            The idea that we missed the bus last year because of complete ineptitude of leadership, and things are ‘looking up’ now is a nice parting gift, the consolation prize.

          2. Foy

            Annual flu deaths in the USA 2017-2018 = 61,000, 2018-2019 = 34,000 according to Wiki. Not exactly 400,000+

            1. Wukchumni

              Covid deaths, not garden variety flu deaths.

              Befitting us, we use 25% of the world’s resources while being 5% of the population, and we have close to 25% of the Covid deaths worldwide.

            2. Carolinian

              Did I say it was? What I did say is that our deaths per million figure is not good but also not the worst among countries and therefore blaming it all on Trump is fairly superficial. We have a federal system where 50 states regulate health care.

              There are many variables here, not just one.

              1. Wukchumni

                Any other countries have a mask divide like we do, where it has become a political point of pride in not wearing one, because our President hardly ever bothered?

                Of course in his case I can see why he did so, covering up a portion of his face would cause him to lose face, and appear weak.

              2. Foy

                Ok I thought you were implying that the reduction in flu deaths was relative/similar to the increase in Covid deaths by your comment that ‘arguing with stats is tricky and context is all’. Sorry if I was mistaken in what you meant.

          3. The Rev Kev

            Unless something drastically changes, America is on track to duplicate the 675,00 killed during the great flu pandemic of a century go. Certainly America will surpass the 620,000 killed during the Civil War which is noteworthy as more people were killed in that war than all America’s other wars combined together.

            1. chuck roast

              Rev…0.5% of US population died in the Spanish Flu pandemic. By today’s standards that would be about 16,000,000 Americans. So, the 675K would be about 0.04% of the 328 million, 2020 population by my flip-phone calculator. I apologize for being a pedant, but yah’ gotta’ compare kumquats with kumquats…hardly an overwhelming number…this from a guy who somehow eked out a B a Sadistics.

              The truth will be told in the 2020 Excess Deaths sadistics…if they don’t jimmy with those.

              1. Wukchumni

                .5% would be 1.6 million Americans dead from Covid, and we’re 25% of the way there in the numbers game.

              2. The Rev Kev

                I actually agree with what you say and had started to check the population of the US in 1919 (it was about 105 million) but then I thought of other qualifiers. Yes, life expectancy dropped like a rock for that years but that flu pandemic specifically targeted the young whereas this one targets typically the old and the infirm. And that had a knock on effect of the young families that never were and the widows, widowers & orphans left behind. At that point I said bugger it and let the numbers talk for themselves.

        2. Carolinian

          This article about the situation in the UK seems legitimate to non medical, non mathematical me. It’s an analysis of excess death statistics over last year and also a longer period. The suggestion is that many who would have died this winter from different diseases are instead succumbing to covid or counted as covid deaths with the conclusion

          numbers cannot be taken at face value when you are dealing with a disease that disproportionately impacts the elderly and vulnerable.

          Worth a look.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            *Sigh* I hate to go ad hom, but the Telegraph has a pronounced right wing/Tory bias. They have reason to try to minimize the number of deaths attributable to Covid is to defend the Prime Minister. They’ve run absolute howlers on Brexit to hold the Tory party line,

            Moreover, lockdowns have reduced other causes of death. In Alabama, during the one time we had a strict lockdown, excess deaths dropped due to fewer auto fatalities (both fewer cars on the road and fewer drunk drivers due to bars being closed).

    2. Grateful Dude

      Easy to propose extended lockdown, but what about services? Food, medical supplies and care, transportation, neighborly look-ins, household supplies and maintenance, etc. To make sure that these are available or provided to everyone locked down would seem to me a large and difficult logistical project, especially in dense and/or poor cities. Some kind of standup community-based effort might do it with the right planning, reachout, and support.
      Or are we all just on our own (on the phone) between the kitchen and the bathroom? That’s the kind of political ignorance – and short-headedness that infuriates authentic country folk, IMO, who are already better prepared, but harder to reach, and near the end of the line because of sparser population and weaker political influence.

      Like a war effort in that way. There have to be supply lines, and everything else people need, close by.

    3. K.k

      Biden is just keeping his campaign promise to the people that matter. Nothing will fundamentally change, no matter how many people die. Expendable losses.

      Was this a slip and Biden said the quite part out loud or intentional to get people used to the idea this epidemic will continue along as it has the past year.

      Im already hearing my R family members saying stuff like , “see, there is nothing we can do, it was wholly unfair to blame Trump for mishandling the response.”

      I dont understand why people are acting like a 6-8 week hard lockdown is some impossible to grasp astrophysics concept. Yes, it would be difficult. Yes, it would be a logistical nightmare. Yes, we can do difficult things, and it would be preferable to the nightmare of hundreds of thousands of more covid fatalities.

      Proper ppe and a robust testing system for those having to work and provide services for during a 6-8 week hard lockdown would be essential.

      “This week marked a full year of the coronavirus, and the Biden administration has committed to invoking the Defense Production Act more often to boost manufacture of N95 masks and other critical supplies. Experts hope manufacturing will hit a speed to be able to sufficiently supply the population.”

      Anyone read about any movement on this? Or more bs?

      Also from the cnn article…

      “Earlier this week, Germany and France mandated that all citizens wear high filtration masks like the N95 in all public places.”

      Are the governments of Germany and France providing these for the general public or subsidizing it?

      1. RMO

        I still can’t find N95 masks here in Canada. I’ve been doing what I can to make the small stock I had on hand before all this started last as long as possible. Even P100 or N95 masks with exhalation valves are difficult to find. I would be overjoyed if the government here mandated N95s… as long as that also meant they would be available!

  16. Lex

    ‘Antidote bonus’

    When you find yourself in danger,
    When you’re threatened by a stranger,
    When it looks like you will take a lickin’, (puk, puk, puk, puk)
    There is someone waiting,
    Who will hurry up and rescue you,
    Just Call for Super Chicken! (puk ack!)

    Fred, if you’re afraid you’ll have to overlook it,
    Besides you knew the job was dangerous when you took it (puk ack!)

    He will drink his super sauce
    And throw the bad guys for a loss
    And he will bring them in alive and kickin’ (puk, puk, puk, puk)
    There is one thing you should learn
    When there is no one else to turn to
    Call for Super Chicken! (puk, puk, puk)
    Call for Super Chicken! (puk ack!)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Loved that show as a kid, especially Fred-.

      “You knew that the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred”

      But that bonus antidote kinda freaks me out.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Oh good, glad I’m not the only one.

        Normally owls look so stately, or even sometimes cute. I frequently sit on the porch of the mountain cabin in the dark of night having a smoke and will occasionally hear a ‘woooshhh’ as an owl circles the clearing looking for a mouse or whatnot.

        Now I’m gonna think of that picture and wonder if I maybe need to oil up and refurbish the quad 20mm AA emplacement…just to be on the safe side.

    2. furies

      Super Chicken!

      Thanks for dredging up those memories!!


      *not a value added comment-sorry I guess

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yes, if this is the future of journalistic writing then please direct me to the nearest tar pit. Simply awful.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Iran’s Supreme Leader Posts Drawing of Drone Strike on Golfing Trump”

    I see a different solution here. About a fortnight ago Iran tried to lodge an arrest warrant for Trump with Interpol over the murder of General Qassem Soleimani last year. And of course both the Democrats and Republicans are wondering just what to do with Trump in the coming years. So, how about having the FBI do a snatch-and-grab of Trump at Mar-a-lago, chopper him to Eglin Air Force Base, load him aboard the first plane to Baghdad, from there chopper him to the Iraq/Iran border and then throw his a** over the border. Let the Iranians take care of him then. He can be their problem. The only problem here is that it would give the Iranians huge leverage with the resurrection of the nuclear deal. The Iranians could threaten that if the US does not return to it, that they will return Trump.

    1. Wukchumni

      On the other hand, think of the hacker for once and the fear he’ll endure on the links every time he whacks off repeatedly using a curved shaft.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Surprise. That Twitter account that had that image of Trump and a drone’s shadow was nothing to do with Iran’s Supreme Leader so, fake news?

    3. Procopius

      The nuclear deal isn’t going to be resurrected. Biden has already said the Iranians are going to have to “pay a cost” because they gradually stopped complying with provisions of the JCPOA as the years went by after the United States abrogated the deal and slapped new, stronger, sanctions on them. Just like Trump, he has to give obeisance to Bibi. I believe he’s not even going to end U.S. participation in the war on Yemen (the U.S. Navy provides assistance in enforcing the blockade).

        1. Massinissa

          Thats actually a good problem with the poll: Alot of those disbelieving the MSM might be Republicans who believe FOX News is not part of the MSM.

          1. Massinissa

            In case that could be misunderstood, what I meant by the above, is that theres a good possibility that more than just 46% are dopes on this issue.

            1. Carolinian

              Fox News ratings are considerably down so it could be that the Republicans–whose news trust in the poll was around 15 percent (Dems way higher)–don’t like them either. Chris Wallace is one of the villains of the Taibbi piece.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Fox News lost viewers when they started to go against Trump several weeks ago and supported the rest of the MSM narrative causing a lot of viewers to go elsewhere. Unfortunately that is likely to be more extremist outlets.

    1. Nate

      Did he consider the possibilty that people who might have been planning armed occupations of state capitols saw the fallout of the January 6th DC insurrection and got cold feet? “Come on, man.”

      Glenn’s done good reporting, but he’s too far up his own hinder these days.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes many possibilities. Yours seems the less likely for those of us who now assume the MSM are pretty much making sh*t up when it comes to Trump and his supporters. See the latest Taibbi for many examples.

      2. flora

        Glenn’s latest:

        The Moronic Firing of Will Wilkinson Illustrates Why Fear and Bad Faith Mob Demands Reign Supreme
        In the prevailing climate, the rational choice is to avoid social scorn and ostracization no matter how baseless the grievances one must appease.

        Humans are social and political animals. We do fundamentally crave and need privacy. But we also crave and need social integration and approval. That it is why prolonged solitary confinement in prison is a form of torture that is almost certain to drive humans insane. It is why John McCain said far worse than the physical abuse he endured in a North Vietnamese prison was the long-term isolation to which he was subjected. It is why modern society’s penchant for removing what had been our sense of community — churches, mosques, and synagogues; union halls and bowling leagues; small-town life — has coincided with a significant increase in mental health pathologies, and it is why the lockdowns and isolation of the COVID pandemic have made all of those, predictably, so much worse.

      3. Cuibono

        sure why not? I mean any of us can propose any number of possible reasons. Why would we imagine the powers that be want more draconian controls?

  18. Carolinian

    Re Grayzone–Yves may be right that Blumenthal has his own agenda when it comes to the riot. Rather than a needlessly long debunking of John Sullivan it would be far more useful for him to present some evidence proving the identity of those rightwing groups that he says were behind it all and also the degree to which Trump himself was responsible. Given that Trump barely seemed able to control his own government it would be news to learn that he was meticulously planning an “insurrection.” Of course Blumenthal does say “inspired by” Trump but one could just as well say that the rioters protesting Trump’s election in 2016 were “inspired by” Hillary and her Russiagate excuses.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      My take on that article was not that Blumenthal was trying to pin all the blame on the right wing groups, more just that he was trying to get to the bottom of it all, and that Sullivan character is extremely interesting.

      In an earlier piece posted here, Blumenthal mentions that there were representatives of right wing groups in the crowd, and also people who were clearly mentally ill. Judging by today’s article, there is something not right about Sullivan. Whether it’s that he’s mentally ill or an agent provocateur remains to be seen, but plenty of left wing groups want nothing to do with him and think he’s an undercover agent.

      Every time I see a protest go really pear shaped, I always consider the cops a prime suspect for starting it.

      1. Watt4Bob

        My take;

        Of the people that police pick-up and quickly release, there are ‘snitches’, and ‘rats’, ‘under-cover police officers’, ‘agents provocative’ and ‘useful idiots’.

        The cops sometimes ostentatiously pick-up and release ‘criminals’ who they wish to compromise one way or another, sometimes resulting in their being killed by they’re fellow criminals, nervous that they are talking to the police.

        After a police officer was killed while eating in a restaurant in Minneapolis, the police induced a small bloodbath among the gangsters by picking up a bunch of them and then kicking them back out in the street in front of witnesses.

        I get the feeling Sullivan is at least a ‘useful idiot’ but could be any of the rest.

        The one thing I think is clear, he’s not a sincere activist of any sort.

        He sure does seem to have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

        Who gave it to him?

  19. fresno dan
    One of the surprising things I have learned while writing about the pornography business is that it is not easy to make money in porn, which is one of the many things that industry has in common with political journalism.
    We have seen this play out on the right during the Trump years. Fox News cannot afford to be as outrageous or irresponsible as Newsmax or ONAN (I know, I know, but that’s how I’m going to write it), but Newsmax and ONAN cannot as a practical business matter (or, in some cases, as a legal matter) offer up the kind of content transgression-seeking partisans can get online from QAnon cultists, anonymous social-media accounts, message boards, and the like.
    Already, conservative talk-radio networks are trying to reinvent themselves and their content to compete in the new QAnon-dominated post-Trump market, and the race to the bottom among right-wing “news” channels — no, they are nowhere close to hitting it yet — will be very amusing to watch.
    I am looking forward to Hannity preaching to Fox viewers how irresponsible QAnon is when QAnon starts saying that FOX betrayed Trump….and that there should be consequences… Tucker Carlson listing all the screwy QAnon conspiracies. Ingram being shocked and appalled to learn that their are anti Semites in QAnon….
    I think the country is in no danger from AntiFA, or QAnon, or insurrections, and that this is all an distraction from things like lack of health care and inequality. But the majority of the news will be such stuff because the mitten wearing man terrifies the rich…

    1. Carolinian

      Nothing new under the sun. Shorter our elites: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t you to get you. The late great Cockburn

      It’s also horrible news for people who raise money and make money selling the notion that there’s a right resurgence out there in the hinterland with legions of haters ready to march down Main Street draped in Klan robes, a copy of Mein Kampf tucked under one arm and a Bible under the other, available for sneak photographs from minions of Chip Berlet, a prime promoter of the Christian menace.

      What is the archsalesman of hatemongering, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, going to do now? Ever since 1971, US Postal Service mailbags have bulged with his fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of a hate-sodden America in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC. Nine years ago Ken Silverstein wrote a devastating commentary on Dees and the SPLC in Harper’s, dissecting a typical swatch of Dees’s solicitations. At the time, Ken pointed out, the SPLC was “the wealthiest civil rights group in America,” with $120 million in assets.

      Of course it could be that I too have a distorted view since all my Republican neighbors seem very nice. But could be FDR got it right and “fear itself” is our current problem.

  20. Howard Beale IV

    Re: “Biden says nothing can change the trajectory of the Covid pandemic over the next several months”
    Ok, Yves – so if you want a six week total lockdown, who will enforce it?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Local police. And if they don’t, that community will likely suffer from inroads from the virus from not locking down. If local police refuse to enforce those orders, fire them and hire police who know how to follow orders from civil authorities. And like Lambert says below, the feds have to pay people to stay at home.Will it happen? No.

  21. Halcyon

    One wonders if Biden doesn’t believe (and perhaps correctly) that he is essentially going to get a pass on actually trying to mitigate the pandemic at this stage. There is enough “blame the former administration” energy to go around that he can focus on distributing the vaccine and getting another economic stimulus package through as the main elements of the response to point to without needing to do any real course-correction (beyond the cosmetics of telling people to wear masks) on how the actual public health crisis is being dealt with.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its important to remember what world Biden lives in. The “liberal” outrage about Sanders not wearing a coat is not dissimilar to the general DC attitude about Trump. They didn’t hate Trump’s policies as much as they hated Trump not being a performative President. There was howling about Trump not doing a March Madness bracket by “liberals”. The problems with the NCAA and how gambling is pitched weren’t the problem.

      For Biden, “restoring honor” (a meaningless phrase peddled by Shrub and his cronies) matters. Results and policies don’t matter.

  22. lobelia

    Re: Biden’s executive order unlevels the playing field for girls

    Ex California Governor Jerry Brown was the first Governor to put this into action in 2013. CBS/AP, August 12, 2013 California law allows transgender students to pick bathrooms, sports teams they identify with (One of the few links I found which notes that CA AB1266 wasn’t just about bathrooms. Note how Brown enforced that law on grade school students, unable to vote, who attended the public schools which his cronies, partners in crime, and Tech Overlords never send their children to (right Governor Newsom?)):

    SACRAMENTO, California on Monday became the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender kindergarten-through-12th grade students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

    Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed AB1266, which also will allow transgender students to choose whether they want to play boys’ or girls’ sports. The new law gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.

    As goes California so does the Nation shall be formally written into law now and crushingly enforced (like the new California Crony VP/Cop no one wanted has been forced on the Nation) – particularly the record unsheltered homelessness and once conquered diseases like Bubonic Plague; inequality; horrid Cops and surveiling – all disguised under Meritocracy,™ Identity Politics, and Safety. These disguises have been mastered in California. Anyone who protests will be labeled a Trump supporter, despite never voting for Trump or any other Republicans; if they (unwisely) have any social media accounts, those will be shut down without notice, or reason given.

    I await the Executive Orders proclaiming: companies are forever forbidden to require bodily attached, or implanted, production surveilance devices on employees or ‘contractors;’ and putting teeth into ending wage and job discrimination against females (since they still lag so far behind, especially in California); along with countless other Executive Orders which have tragically never been made yet would benefit the populace at large versus .0001 percent of it.

    Gotta run now.

    1. Skip Intro

      Funny, you’d think they’d be on board with some sort of means testing equivalent, like a ‘junk police’ to do inspections, receive applications and fees, and issue bathroom credentials, with color coded lanyards perhaps.

    1. polecat

      ‘would, ‘could , ‘should .. are but empty words to be hung over a dry wishingwell, whose bucket will not see the light of day. The blu ishmonkeys and redrHinos will never put out – except to toss a few stale crumbs to the starving hoodwinked mokes .. as their betters clutch their phony multi-Culti amulets, traipsing around the CaPiTal in mock fear!

  23. Mikel

    RE: “Shipping crisis: I’m being quoted £10,000 for a £1,600 container’ BBC

    Spoiler: the person reporting seeing idle ships is “hallucinating.”

    I’d think the number of business closures, ones no longer shipping anything, would go some ways toward balancing everything out…hmmm….

  24. SKM

    I highly recommend reading the interview with Drosten. It not only contains useful information but also deals with the problem of the media and the “experts” during the pandemic. Drosten is an island of sanity and of bang up-to-date takes on what we can possibly know (or not know) at any given stage in the pandemic. His podcast, once weekly but now shared with a colleague (also excellent) alternate weeks, is over an hour and a half long and if I had to give up all other sources his would be my go to source. For those who don`t know German, the papers he cites and often discusses in detail (usually because rigorous and valid) are made available on the NDR website that houses his corona virus update. Also, there is an English language summary of key points made available on Vincent Racaniello`s TWIV website but I haven`t followed that and it necessarily leaves out most of what he does so well and in such detail.
    This week at last he was able to cite a really good paper that finally put paid to the 50-70% increase in infectiousness for the UK variant – the much more reliable figure of 35% (median value) was arrived at. He also shows, unsurprisingly, that those early statements of higher viral loads achieved by the UK variant were wrong. Viral loads are in fact similar to the “wild type”. Links available on the site. The next piece of disinformation (peddled by Boris yesterday) that the variant is more deadly was investigated and dismissed as a possibility by a sound study a while back comparing like groups with each variant. If more people are dying that would be more to do with the overwhelming of hospitals (instead of 3 nurses to one ICU bed we have , I think reached 3-4 beds to one nurse!).
    The other point I`d like to try to make is to counter the mounting fear I see in comments here re this variant in terms of the danger to us as individuals. There is absolutely no evidence so far to suggest that the normal, well-established precautions taken by any given individual are insufficient in this regard. The variant was able to spread rapidly in England because of the lack of precautions taken by a number of people in a crucial location. To contain this variant we only need everyone that can (key point: the London tube is crammed with people who cannot NOT work etc etc) to follow the rules. Drosten and others have noted that if rules are lax and the variant is present, it still needs to reach 25% of infections to spin out of control.
    In other word the variant is a collective problem but people individually can protect themselves with just a little more care than before (I wouldn`t wear a cloth mask now, but didn`t before).
    Immune escape applies only to SA and Brazilian version but there is no evidence so far that vaccines etc will lose significant efficacy, at least as yet with these particular variants. It doesn`t seem likely that there will be significant evasion of cellular immunity. We will know more over coming weeks.
    England has never seriously locked down and too many people have been UNABLE to observe virus stopping measures. The cluster driven nature of spread suggests a plausible reason why the variant took off in SE England. On top of that, vitamin D levels have been at their lowest, starting in October, in most people (i.e. anyone not taking at least 50mcg and preferably 100mcg). This virus circulates most and faster in D insufficient/deficient people. The vitamin D effect is proving much stronger with respect to Sars-CoV-2 infection than it is now known to be for influenza. It is a global public health scandal than nothing has been done to correct this. Open letter from 200 scientist and medics (at last!!) re this: Sorry long post….

    1. Ahimsa

      Hallo SKM,

      Thanks for your take on Drosten. I’d heard somewhat mixed reports about him since his ascent to corona media personality in Germany.

      To you have any other tips for German-language sites offering similar coverage to Naked Capitalism’s?


      1. SKM

        Ahimsa, sorry re sites like NC in German, NC seems unique in the world but I don`t really know. Re Drosten, honestly if they ever translate his stuff people here cd see the sheer quality of his reasoning, his very carefully argued replies to questions (ecellent Qs by the way – amazing journalism). I know he has been under a lot of attack but have never seen a single one that was fair – he alludes a bit to the problems in the interview posted here. Notice how the interviewer strays into that territory of trying to get him to badmouth colleagues. Been surprised to see that German media can be as awful as ours. He`s clearly sincere and does top level research and knows what he`s talking about. Like reading NC, listening to Drosten saves time! There are others but he`s simply outstanding.

    2. Pat

      Unfortunately, we in America do NOT take the rules seriously.

      I rarely ride the subway, so cannot comment on that more than a one time thing. (While the express was largely packed, the local was sparse. The crowd mostly had masks on properly.) The bus, which I do ride, is often crowded and multiple times a week has people removing their masks or pulling it under their nose. People in my supermarket also.seem to think masks under their nose is adequate. Many people on the street have their masks off. This is in NYC, where the variant is going to enter the population.

      From what I am hearing the half measures are common.

      And if people.have to.reuse their masks, graduating to N95 from cloth may not be as safe as you are assuming. Careless handling is only one problem in this.

  25. Mikel

    Re: “Infowars and Goop sell the same exact pseudoscientific “wellness” products” Quartz

    Pacifica Radio (KPFK in LA) also promotes some suspect products during their fund drives.

  26. heresy101

    IIRC there was a recent links article on the west coast monarch butterfly similar to:

    In this Friday’s “Roaming Charges” article, Jeffrey St. Clair linked to a 2015 article on how Bt corn and other GM products link directly to the death of the monarchs.
    “…John Losey, an assistant professor of entomology at Cornell University, reported the ominous results of his laboratory study on the effects of pollen from genetically modified corn on the Monarch butterfly. Losey found that that Monarch caterpillars fed on milkweed leaves dusted with genetically modified corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly and suffered a higher mortality rate than those fed on leaves with normal pollen, or with no pollen at all. Nearly half of the GM pollen-fed caterpillars in the study died.”

  27. a fax machine

    re: Biden says nothing can change the trajectory of the Covid pandemic over the next several months * “six weeks hard lockdown”

    This isn’t in the cards anymore. The only circumstance where this could have been tolerated would have been within large blue cities as soon as Covid came over. Even here in California, the French Laundry scandal has completely disabled Governor Newsom’s ability to force any sort of Covid compliance. A new hard lockdown (paid or not) would be openly ignored, with police themselves unwilling to put everyone they know in jail. And on that same point what would refilling the prisons even achieve? Covid would just spread there. The National Guard could be deployed and segregate society by ZIP+4 code, quarantining people in local makeshift camps. But this is unlikely to be tolerated by any strata of society.

  28. Glen

    Canada and the Keystone XL pipeline.

    I understand Canada is dismayed about the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. Lucky for Canada, they have deep water ports with facilities for oil tankers:

    Canadian Ports and Facilities that Handle Most Oil Tankers

    Re-ruote it to Quebec and Montreal. Problem solved!

    But honestly, tar sands? Give it a rest, it’s a dumb investment. It’s just one more Koch Brothers project to wreck the world.

  29. Wukchumni

    Now i’ve seen everything dept:

    By the way, its open season here on unicorns, no limit.

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of a state lawmaker in Oklahoma.

    A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season. Rep. Justin Humphrey’s district includes the heavily forested Ouachita Mountains in southeast Oklahoma, where a Bigfoot festival is held each year near the Arkansas border. He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism.

    “Establishing an actual hunting season and issuing licenses for people who want to hunt Bigfoot will just draw more people to our already beautiful part of the state,” Humphrey said in a statement.

    1. flora

      Waiting for the open season on snipe. Those state “hunting license” fees are one way to pump up the state coffers, even on a lark,… er… snipe,… er … Bigfoot. ;)

      If the “licenses” are inexpensive I can imagine lots of people wanting one, sort of like the pet rock craze.

    2. rowlf

      I think the German good ol’boys had the best technique with hunting Wolpertingers. The animal was supposed to be flashed by an assistant, so the hunter, with a sack, could scoop it up.


  30. Carolinian

    Turley–Pelosi now suggesting fellow house members may have been treasonous. What would it take to impeach her?

    The reality of what happened in the last election is that the Dems very nearly lost the House and only managed 50/50 in the Senate. As for Biden, in Electoral College terms he only won by a few tens of thousands of votes. While it’s quite true that the country as a whole –if everyone voted–is likely more liberal than our legislature that doesn’t mean that “reality has a Democratic bias.” If all those people voted we’d likely have a much different Democratic party and one that never in a million years would tolerlate Pelosi as speaker. She has claimed this is her last two year term. Counting the days…..

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yes, this is treasonous behavior. Bringing in strangers into political offices to make some sort of point is pretty bad behaviour. Oh wait, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took part in a demonstration with climate change activists at the office of Nancy Pelosi and camped out there. They were arrested but AOC wasn’t. But that’s OK now as AOC has made amends by fully supporting internet censorship in the media lately-

      It’s OK when your own side does it.

      1. Carolinian

        Russiagate itself was an accusation of treason thrown at Trump before he was even president. Given that a) we are not at war with Russia and b) DC is rife with conflicts of loyalty involving other countries, it’s all a bit much. As Doc Johnson said–patriotism the last refuge of scoundrels. For a hegemon this country’s elites sure are fearful.

  31. fresno dan

    So I decided to finally open up the letter from the government and lo and behold, it is my economic impact payment card. So instead of a check, it is a debit card, and to activate it, you have to call the 1 800 number, and than you have to enter a 16 digit number.
    I have a consumer cellular flip phone, and I have NEVER been able on this phone to correctly enter 16 digits in a row. It is not because I have some neuromuscular condition – the phone simply cannot generate the number I hit reliably. It will in any long string of numbers generate the number I press 2 or more times. With this, I guess it will stimulate me to get a new phone.
    And of course, you cannot reach a human being.

    1. a fax machine

      oh yes, I was going to make a post about my own experience with this. Having it ask for “only” the last six digits of my SSN was a huge pain in the ass.. why not all nine? It’s a weird trick question. Then going to an ATM to cash it only to discover that my bank charges .25 cents to view the balance. Because it is impossible to view the balance without withdrawing, by the time I figured out how to withdraw money from it I only had $599.75 on the card. Not a problem right? Well the ATM only dispenses $100s, $50s and $20s so the most I could withdraw was $580. The remaining $19.75 sat there until I physically walked into the bank on a day they were open (only four hours Tu-Fri now) and had the rest cashed. On the bright side the bank did immediately add the funds and did not put in a 3-business-day hold on them as is their normal policy (and is how all my paychecks are deposited).

      On top of this because the government used a cheap bank, Metabank, most ATMs charge $2 just to obtain the money. Horrible and something most non-American countries do not allow or have to deal with as their debit systems are built to be equivalent to cash and not prepaid credit cards.

      For what it’s worth the people I know who do Direct Deposit mostly did not have issues.. except for the one that did due to how he filed his taxes. The government simply won’t give him a check because as far as they are concerned the computer says no, no matter what documents he has as there is no way to debate check eligibility status. In my opinion, this is why I NEVER DD because even if I only ever miss one payment that’s money being stolen from me.

    2. fresno dan

      So I go to the economic impact payment site, and it does say you can register the debit card on site. EXCEPT registering it and ACTIVATING it are two different things. (and you can’t register it till you have activated it…)
      So I call consumer cellular, and after waiting interminably for a customer service representative, they of course have to transfer me to another customer service representative who I have to wait interminably for…
      So this second customer service representative says the problem is a software glitch, and that I should turn my phone off completely once a week for a few minutes. I haven’t done that, so I have to take the battery out for a few minutes, put the battery back in, turn the phone off for a few minutes after its been on a few minutes, and that should take care of the problem – and call back if it doesn’t.
      So I do all that….and OF COURSE it doesn’t fix squat.

      1. a fax machine

        You could always try a pay phone! Also, I know for a fact you can activate it on a rotary dial, as that was how I did it.

  32. Old Sarum

    “Tar Sands”

    Reminds me of Milo Minderbinder and his mistake of going large on Egyptian cotton.


  33. Rabbit of Caerbannog

    Re: Experts weigh in on $10,000 in student debt forgiveness – Interesting that Professor Susan Dynarski’s research *isn’t* quoted.

    If you convert all student loans, below say $50k, into Income Contingent Loans a lot of the issues would be resolved, including:

    . wealthy students don’t benefit – they end up paying their loans off,
    . removes problem of debt exploitation of the poor,
    . tax payer only ends up paying for those loans genuinely non-recoverable,
    . already working in UK & Australia, so not a green-field policy solution.

    Some background links on Dynarski’s research.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Although it’s worth noting that tax payers don’t “pay for” Federal student loans, because taxes don’t fund spending for the currency issuer. This makes the entire thing even more pernicious, because as a country we’re locking our own people in debt peonage for money the government doesn’t need to collect.

      Instead of the bizarre construct we have now, we need to simply offer free public college to everyone, regardless of income. Meanwhile private colleges can do whatever they want, for those willing and able to pay.

  34. furies

    I’m not in the best place to comment, so leaving this comment I found on Feminist Current, regarding JB’s signing his Equality Act.

    Article on women’s homeless shelter..

    “When women objected to the man masturbating in a nearby bed at night, a coworker mocked the women’s prudery to me, expecting I would find it equally absurd. How puritanical and square to be upset by some guy jerking off to pornography three feet away! My coworker did not write a report about the complaint. I did, but nothing came of it. Several weeks later, the man was restricted from the shelter, after threatening to shoot everyone, but his public masturbation and the distress it caused women trying to sleep in neighbouring beds was never addressed.”


    Calling men ‘women’ because they *say so* is violence against women themselves.

    Wearing make up and nylons does not make you female, and reinforces male definitions of what it means to be a woman. How can someone who was raised male ever really understand women’s experiences in this culture?

    I wish I could be more articulate. This issue needs a lot more scrutiny before being dismissed as mere IDPol. The executive order bodes ill for feminists/lesbians and real women everywhere.

    A little youtube for kicks

    1. petal

      furies, as a female 3 sport varsity athlete in HS, a walk-on in college, then a HS varsity coach for several years in a program for girls in underserved areas, and still running road races into my 40s, I am very upset by this and am still too angry to properly comment on it. At uni, I joined friends working to get a women’s hockey team(there was a men’s team that got tons of money but the college refused to support a women’s team). That effort feels all for naught now. I hope this issue gets a lot more attention and severe push-back. Also my father physically and emotionally abused me growing up. Female-only spaces are imperative, especially at shelters.
      Enough is enough. This has to stop somewhere. I think women who are opposed to it are afraid to speak up because they’ll be labeled and then targeted. Not a good time to lose one’s job, etc. We are being shoved backwards and told to shut up and take it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There is a thought that occurred to me about this, petal. Why was this a day one priority? It may be that this is a great issue to divide women as a block. While they are fighting each other over the ramifications over this, none of them will be “pushing Joe left”. This is sheer IdPol and woke women will be supporting it and fighting those women against it. Note quite coastal elites fighting flyovers but a fair approximation. In any case, it may be a way to neutralize women as a group for the next coupla years.

        1. petal

          Rev Kev, you have a good point. I was also wondering why was this a priority? Day 1? Really? People are hungry, losing their jobs and their homes, kids’ educations are getting messed up, store shelves are bare in spots(and increasingly bare recently), and people are dying. For this reason alone, it’s disgusting and tone deaf. Was it crumbs to the idpol crazies to fend them off for a while? Or is it something more sinister like what you suggest? You are right that it would help neutralise women and then they can go and pull a bunch of fast ones while people are distracted/split. Divide and conquer, eh?

      2. flora

        If this destruction of womens sport continues there will be no womens sports. There will be mens sport and mixed-team sport, like mixed team tennis doubles. But womens competitive sport, no, that will be gone.

        I’m an adult, never very good at sports. But maybe if I self identify as a 10-year-old child I can play on the peewee basketball team. I’d be a star! /not a snark

      3. petal

        Thank you, Carolinian. I will check it out. My poor wonderful aunt passed away alone in hospital tonight(thanks, covid!) so I very much appreciate the distraction of things to read. Lots of anger and upset right now that I can’t really do much about.

    2. chris

      I agree with you on all counts. We had a conversation bout similar issues with my oldest daughter last week and what surprised me is how vehemently she believed this. My 16 year old girl told me that any thoughts of keeping spaces for women, not trans women, but biological women, was inexcusably transphobic and should not be considered in polite society.

        1. Lucinda Stoan

          Please, don’t be so tough on parents. The forces we are up against are enormous. In a disintegrating world, children are vulnerable to insidious powerful forces, no matter what we do. These forces work not just through social media, striking precisely as kids enter the confusion of puberty, offering “glitter family” alternatives to those oppressive mean people at home. They’ve captured most major institutions. From kindergarten onward, children are being taught that people can be born in the wrong body, sex has nothing to do with our physical bodies, boys have vulvas and girls have penises, etc. And that questioning any of this makes you a mean person who has no compassion and wants to undermine people’s rights. I am not exaggerating. I’m reviewing the gender identity curricula in Seattle schools and its awful. One small example…as formal sex ed starts, teachers are told to avoid terms like “girls” and “women”, referring instead to “people with vulvas”….because men have vulvas, too, and they menstruate, give birth, etc. As in boys “born with female brains in male bodies” are really girls, and when they’re grown up, they are literally women, entitled to women’s sex-based sports/spaces/rights and anyone who questions this should be canceled as bigots. The EO is a culmination of a well-funded effort that has hijacked the women’s movement, the LGB movement, Black Lives Matter and more, to advance a repressive agenda using the glow of civil rights. This has been done under the radar, as a strategic choice, but now that the groundwork has been laid, it is much more out in the open.

          1. chris

            I agree. I was shocked to hear how much brain washing had been enacted by our school system. This went far beyond things like “JK Rowling is a TERF” – she literally doesn’t believe there’s a difference between biological women and trans women, nor that biological women need separate protection from men. It was mind blowing.

  35. EMtz

    Re: the article asking why AMLO has not congrated Biden on his win. AMLO congratulated Biden on December 14 after the Electoral College vote was certified. The Méxican government is playing it by the book with the US government after the DOJ seriously overstepped and violated México’s sovereignty in the Cienfuegos fiasco.

  36. Scott

    No, Biden doesn’t actually believe that “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” He’s just lying. He knows perfectly well that a 4 to 6 week lockdown would be effective because one of his “coronavirus advisors” suggested it back in November. It’s just was “not in line with the president-elect’s thinking:
    “Shutting down businesses & paying people for lost wages for 4 to 6 weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check & get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved & distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden. … A nationwide lockdown would drive the number of new cases & hospitalizations down to manageable levels while the world awaits a vaccine, he told Yahoo Finance on [Nov 11]. … A Biden transition official told NBC News that a shutdown ‘is not in line with the president-elect’s thinking.’ ”

  37. fresno dan

    On Jan. 5, Greeson drove from Alabama to Washington, where he did some sightseeing that evening and spent the night at a friend’s house in Virginia. The next day, he joined the crowd of protesters who had gathered on the National Mall to express support for Trump and demand that Congress “stop the steal” and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
    Little information about exactly what happened in the minutes and hours preceding Greeson’s death is available. In a written statement sent to members of the media after his death, his wife noted that he “had a history of high blood pressure, and in the midst of the excitement, suffered a heart attack.”
    The Metropolitan Police Department incident report states that he “was in the area of the United States Capitol in attendance of first ammendment (sic) activities” when he had a heart attack.
    I note this because I have had a difficult time determining the cause of the deaths of all 5 individuals at the January 6 capital “event.” One police officer was killed by a rioter, one rioter was killed by a police officer, and the the other 3 from what I have read died as a result of “medical problems.”
    Now, both a police officer and a rioter dying is a terrible thing. But listing the death of a man who dies of a heart attack while AT the riot as DUE to the riot smacks of an agenda of making the riot appear more violent than it was. A comment yesterday said that another rioter died of a stoke.
    It appears that the people most endangered by the rioters….were themselves.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Mr. Greeson’s death at the rally (it started as a rally) seems like another death of despair. No, not from alcohol or opioids, but from the despair of his destroyed job and economic security, which changed him from an Obama supporter to a T supporter.

      “He was a vice president at the union, and he was an Obama supporter,” said Mark McDaniel, the Huntsville attorney representing the Greeson family. “He got interested in Trump because he felt he was more business-minded, and as the economy kept getting better, he kept getting more interested in Trump.”

      For much of the late 20th century, north Alabama was home to a number of large factories and industrial facilities that provided blue-collar jobs with decent wages to people like Greeson. But many of those positions were eliminated over the past two decades as manufacturers and plants closed or sold to foreign companies — and as the jobs disappeared, the Democratic Party’s support dwindled.

  38. VietnamVet

    Matt Taibbi’s “The Echo Chamber Era” matches “Cult Nation” for pointing out the obvious that corporate media ignores. The news went from Russia interfering with the 2020 election immediately to there is no fraud. No explanation is given why 25,000 unnecessary National Guard troops are staying in DC until March.

    My pet peeve being stuck here at home is that after the Trump mail-in-ballot brouhaha, media went silent about the Post Office’s service going to hell. Chase payment processing center is in the middle of the dead zone. They’ve charged me for late payments that were deposited weeks late. Citi Cards e-mailed me “Prepare for potential postal delays”. Eager to save money; “Digitally manage your account for immediate access.” There is no doubt that privatization is just around the corner of a Constitutional mandated service so logistic companies can charge $8.50 for pickup and delivery of a letter.

    1. a fax machine

      The optimist in me hopes that Biden will fix the USPS instead. He’s old enough to remember when mail service was part of Amtrak’s (and Conrail’s) program, which they only stopped due to private industry lobbying against it. Maybe that can change?

      Less optimistically, the airlines are now reconstructing themselves into freight operations just like RRs did. Expect service quality to further drop and available destinations drop too. There’s too much money in parcel delivery and too little money in most passenger service.

      1. rowlf

        About 35 -40 years ago at the airline I used to work at anything in the cabin above 30% load was icing on the cake after cargo and mail. Great times for airline employees looking for empty seats to fly in. The current shift by airlines to more cargo ops helps in keeping skilled trades and usable hulls maintained until things pick up. The airlines don’t want to be like the military missing people and parts when they are needed again.

        I think US airline passenger service will continue to exist until Congress gets their own air transport service. Imagine the airlines suggesting they may drop service to IAD, DCA, and BWI?

        1. a fax machine

          Basically the same situation the RRs were in. Nobody cared as service was slowly cut down from small then regional stations, and then suddenly a stroke happened and DC’s service was threatened. Amtrak and Conrail were the results of that.

          What would a gov’t airline look like? I can’t really imagine it, but my best guess is that it’d be one or two types of homogenized planes to keep parts down. In Amtrak’s case rolling stock is split at the Mississippi River (similar to W- vs K- radio codes), I guess the west coast would get 777s and east coast 737s? Or maybe the west coast gets a 787-XXX and the east a 787-sp. On the topic of optimism, even in such a case there’s hope: using NASA and Air America the government would be in a unique position to drive air policy forward in interesting and innovative ways. Why not pay teenagers to learn how to fly and be mechanics like we do with consumer automobiles? Perhaps new electric-drive propulsion systems would reduce maintence costs to a point that a normal person could handle, and we finally get the Jetsons future we were promised.

          Less optimistically, everything falls apart and the remaining air service is 1st class only by foreign and charter carriers out of international airports only causing most Americans to not have a working airport near them. Over time they stop believing flight was ever invented, and that the wright landing was fake.

  39. K.k

    The following is from the above Reuters link about CDC missed chance.

    “King County and CDC officials tested 76 of the 82 residents, regardless of whether they exhibited symptoms, beginning on March 13, according to the CDC.

    They found 23 infected, 13 asymptomatic at the time. Ten of those went on to develop symptoms.

    That was really … our first hint that asymptomatic transmission was fairly common, especially in those settings,” said Dr. James Lewis, an official with the county health department’s COVID-19 response, in an interview.”

    I thought the first hint would have been back in January when the Chinese doctors and scientists published the following in The Lancet. “ Airborne precautions, such as a fit-tested N95 respirator, and other personal protective equipment are strongly recommended. To prevent further spread of the disease in health-care settings that are caring for patients infected with 2019-nCoV, onset of fever and respiratory symptoms should be closely monitored among health-care workers. Testing of respiratory specimens should be done immediately once a diagnosis is suspected. Serum antibodies should be tested among health-care workers before and after their exposure to 2019-nCoV for identification of asymptomatic infections.

    They and other countries that succeeded early on treated it as an airborne illness and behaved as if there was asymptotic spread from the beginning. Hence the universal mask usage from the very beginning. Yet, as the Reuters link points out, “Almost a month later, on April 27, the agency expanded its testing guidelines to include “persons without symptoms.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      Just to hammer home the CDC story from Reuters:

      Critics have widely asserted that the CDC fumbled key decisions during the coronavirus scourge because then-President Donald Trump and his administration meddled in the agency’s operations and muzzled internal experts. The matter is now the subject of a congressional inquiry. Yet Reuters has found new evidence that the CDC’s response to the pandemic also was marred by actions – or inaction – by the agency’s career scientists and frontline staff.

      At a crucial moment in the pandemic when Americans were quarantined after possible exposure to the virus abroad, the agency declined or resisted potentially valuable opportunities to study whether the disease could be spread by those without symptoms, according to previously undisclosed internal emails, other documents and interviews with key players.

      And this:

      A tipping point for the CDC came when staffers were deployed to the outskirts of Seattle to handle an outbreak at the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a relatively confined setting. King County and CDC officials tested 76 of the 82 residents, regardless of whether they exhibited symptoms, beginning on March 13, according to the CDC.

      They found 23 infected, 13 asymptomatic at the time. Ten of those went on to develop symptoms.

      “That was really … our first hint that asymptomatic transmission was fairly common, especially in those settings,” said Dr. James Lewis, an official with the county health department’s COVID-19 response, in an interview.

      Two weeks later, on March 27, the CDC published the case study as evidence of asymptomatic infection. That same week, for the first time, the agency recommended testing health workers and first responders, even without symptoms.

      In a radio interview that aired on March 31, Redfield said, “We have learned that in fact” symptomless individuals “do contribute to transmission.”

      Based on that evidence, the CDC recommended that even asymptomatic people wear cloth face coverings in public areas. Almost a month later, on April 27, the agency expanded its testing guidelines to include “persons without symptoms.”

      That was 11 weeks after Lawler’s first request to test the Wuhan group in Nebraska.

      That, and the CDC’s butchering the test kits, all blew up before “political interference” was a thing. The CDC did this all on its own. It will be interesting if the new CDC head holds any individuals accountable (and maybe gives Lawler a promotion) or if “rebuilding trust” will be just another public relations exercise.

      The part about CDC going to the Diamond Princess and having to ask the Japanese to lend them cell phones because American cellphones don’t work internationally is grimly hilarious. The whole post is worth a read. It’s a horror show, a Grand Guignol of failed state ineptitude.

      1. K.k

        Thanks for link. It definitely had a number wtf moments. When i came across the fiasco with the phones, I had to pause and look out the window for my wtf moment. I could not believe what I was reading.

        Just want to point out that Lawler does not work for the CDC or HHS. He is a professor, and the Director for Global Center for Health Security which looks to be a part U of Nebraska. Same for Dr. Callahan, does not work for CDC. Callahan according to the reuters story had just come back from China where he was helping treat Covid patients! Both were tapped by the federal government to help with the response, yet repeatedly ignored by the CDC when they offered their advise.

        The other thing to note as I mentioned is Lawler is the Director of the Global Center for Health Security which looks to be a part of Nebraska Medical Center. The following from the webpage of the center,
        “The University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine have been awarded $19.8 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a training, simulation and quarantine center to train federal personnel on procedures in treating highly infectious diseases and to create a place to monitor persons who have received a high- risk exposure such as Ebola.”
        This is from 2016.

        Im not sure how long this particular center has been up and running and who they have trained thus far.

        Here is the link to Lawlers U of N page.

        This center has a twitter account with some interesting stuff.

        From the twitter account with a link to a video By Dr Lawler.

        “I feel strongly that we should push more to get first doses out and into the arms of people and worry about the second doses later.” Dr. Lawler explains why urgency is important and discusses antigen tests and mortality rates of crowded ICUs.

        Hmm, kinda surprised by this, i will check out the video to see if he explains the rational behind that statement.

  40. CoryP

    Forgive me if this has been mentioned already.

    Yesterday Friday Jan 22, it looks like there was a coordinated removal of Facebook accounts associated with both the Socialist Workers’ Party (UK) and, along with unspecified others.

    Not that this is coming as a surprise to most of us, but it’s still notable to see the SEP’s former US presidential candidates lose their accounts overnight. I’ve read the WSWS fairly religiously and haven’t seen any advocation of violence– and if anything they’re more anti-Trump than I am.

    It begins (or, it continues).

    1. Massinissa

      This is sad to see. They do great reporting. It’s pretty amusing that each and every article ends with something along the lines of “AND THAT IS WHY WE NEED A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST MOVEMENT!”, but they’ve never been militant in any way. As others have said here, the capitol riot is being used to justify de-platforming any group the elites don’t like.

      1. CoryP

        Yeah their boilerplate on the articles can be amusing. And Andre Damon’s interview on useful idiots was disappointing for a similar reason since it seemed like he was evading certain questions and just repeating their spiel.

        Nevertheless , agreed they have great reporting. (though sometimes I feel they give too much credence to things said by politicians or published in the MSM, when it supports their narrative)

        They were one of the first to get whacked by Google too.

        I wonder how far this is going to go.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That was quick. Always figured that WSWS would be one of the first to get the chop though. Thing is, considering the number of people/organizations that had their accounts deleted, this must have been weeks if not months in the planning. And as we have recently had Christmas and New Years, the implication is that this was all planned last year.

      ‘Begun the Censorship Wars has’

  41. K.k

    Man jailed for essentially disrespecting agents of the state. LEO determined the photo was doctored, and no one had desecrated the grave. Yet, imprisoned the man for “harassment”. 76,000$ bond. Now i remember a Senator and the like reminding us how free we are compared to the rest of the world, in particular the Chinese. And how a Chinese resident would be imprisoned for sharing a tweet of Xi as Winnie the Pooh. Which i dont really understand. Xi as Winnie looked adorable! Dont think you wanna back the guy endearing to Winnie the Pooh fans.

    Maybe there is more to the story, but as of now looks like an abuse of power and hopefully the fella gets some good legal representation and the case is thrown out.

  42. witters

    Do cats laugh? Depends, I think, on whether playfulness and humor are internally related. I think they are. And I know that’s not a cat’s thought, but my own.

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