Links 1/27/2021

Lobster shell patterns make concrete stronger: Australian researcher Reuters

US stock rally drives ‘ludicrous index’ towards dotcom era heights FT

Microsoft smashes Wall Street’s expectations with $43bn sales bonanza The Register

Michael Burry Calls GameStop Rally ‘Unnatural, Insane’ Bloomberg. I don’t play the ponies, so all I can say is that this thread seems plausible:

Stoller comments:

UPDATE One more thread, this one a bit more triumphalist:


UK variant, UCSD researcher warns, looks like a COVID-19 time bomb San Diego Union Tribune

Host-directed therapies against early-lineage SARS-CoV-2 retain efficacy against B.1.1.7 variant (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “Here, in the first study of the full-length B.1.1.7 variant virus, we find two host-directed drugs, plitidepsin (Aplidin; inhibits translation elongation factor eEF1A) and ralimetinib (inhibits p38 MAP kinase cascade), as well as remdesivir, to possess similar antiviral activity against both the early-lineage SARS-CoV-2 and the B.1.1.7 variant, evaluated in both human gastrointestinal and lung epithelial cell lines. We find that plitidepsin is over an order of magnitude more potent than remdesivir against both viruses. These results highlight the importance of continued development of host-directed therapeutics to combat current and future coronavirus variant outbreaks.” See here on “host-directed therapeutics” (HDTs): “Novel strategies for HDTs are currently being pursued that either block host cell factors or pathways essential for pathogen survival, or activate and reinstall pathogen-antagonizing mechanisms, thus rendering the host cell non-permissive.”

* * *

Covid and me: 10 days on life support (no paywall) FT. Not just the flu.

Plitidepsin has potent preclinical efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the host protein eEF1A Science. From the Abstract: “Here we report that the drug plitidepsin (Aplidin), which has limited clinical approval, possesses antiviral activity (IC90 = 0.88 nM) 27.5-fold more potent than remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, with limited toxicity in cell culture. Through the use of a drug resistant mutant, we show that the antiviral activity of plitidepsin against SARS-CoV-2 is mediated through inhibition of the known target eEF1A. We demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin treatment in two mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a reduction of viral replication in the lungs by two orders of magnitude using prophylactic treatment.”

Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine JAMA. “During December 14 to 23, 2020, after administration of a reported 1 893 360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (1 177 527 in women, 648 327 in men, and 67 506 with sex of recipient not reported), CDC identified 21 case reports submitted to VAERS that met Brighton Collaboration case definition criteria for anaphylaxis (Table), corresponding to an estimated rate of 11.1 cases per million doses administered. ”

Scientists unravel mystery of sex disparities in COVID-19 outcomes (press release) Yale News (original).

[W]hy are men are 1.7 times more likely to die from the virus than women? One of the first explanations, researchers say, comes from basic biology. Women have two X chromosomes, men have one. X chromosomes are important because they are rich in genes that regulate immune response. While one of those X chromosomes in women is silenced, in some cases key genes from both X chromosomes can activate the innate immune system, the early alarm system that detects pathogens. Essentially, women have immune system reinforcements they can call upon early in infections that men, with their single X chromosomes, don’t possess.

But let’s not go all monocausal…

* * *

Biden Team to Buy 200 Million More Doses, Speed Up Vaccinations Bloomberg

Exclusive: Scarce niche syringes complicate U.S. plan to squeeze more COVID shots from Pfizer vials Reuters

I hate this framing:

Vaccines work on the collective level, not the individual level. So not only does Harris get [genuflects] the science wrong, she obscures the moral case. Vaccines are about public health. They are not like popping a pill to deal with your individual ailment!

* * *

States Ignore New Data Showing How To Halt COVID Spread Walter Bragman and David Sirota, The Daily Poster

Data and Policy to Guide Opening Schools Safely to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Infection JAMA. “Decisions made today can help ensure safe operation of schools and provide critical services to children and adolescents in the US. Some of these decisions may be difficult. They include a commitment to implement community-based policies that reduce transmission when SARS-CoV-2 incidence is high (eg, by restricting indoor dining at restaurants), and school-based policies to postpone school-related activities that can increase risk of in-school transmission (eg, indoor sports practice or competition). ”

Watch: Covid tests are complicated. A guide to understanding types and trade-offs STAT

* * *

The State Department is warning Americans that help will be limited if they go abroad for nonessential reasons. NYT

Health Care Workers and COVID-19: America Hasn’t Passed the Worst of the Pandemic Morning Consuit


Another Xi blunder: China desperate for Aussie wheat Macrobusiness

China’s Pigs Become Unexpected Threat to Palm Oil’s Rally Bloomberg

China-Europe freight train hub Chongqing sees surging trips in 2020 Xinhua

A Show About Poverty Alleviation Is Getting Historically High Reviews Sixth Tone

The world is dangerously dependent on Taiwan for semiconductors South China Morning Post


With flags on India’s Red Fort, farmers challenge Modi and protest movement unity France24

Fact-Check: Flags Hoisted at Red Fort Neither Replaced Tricolour, Nor Promoted Khalistan The Wire

Internet services suspended in parts of Delhi [Read MHA Order] Bar and Bench

The many-splendoured sewa network at Singhu People’s Archive of Rural India. “Sewa is available in many-hued and very generous forms – all as offerings of solidarity with the protests.” Impressive.


Israel sees 60% drop in hospitalizations for age 60-plus 3 weeks after 1st shot Times of Israel

An Unfinished Epoch of Revolution Spectre Journal. The Arab Spring, ten years on.

Opinion: Egypt is synonymous with hopelessness Deutsche Welle

The Arab Spring and Abolition of the Police Rampant

The Koreas

From BTS to Blackpink, K-pop dance practice videos are all the rage with fans: it’s ‘a way to get closer’ to their idols South China Morning Post. Parasocial relations.


British Economy, Post-Brexit and Pummeled by Covid, Is Worst in G-7 WSJ

Mastercard to increase fees for UK purchases from EU FT. Sunlit uplands? Priceless.

What’s at stake in the EU, AstraZeneca vaccine supply dispute ABC

Covid: Dutch curfew riots rage for third night BBC. This schtick has aged well:

Nord Stream 2 Pipelay Operations Resume Maritime Executive


Most Senate Republicans declare Trump’s trial unconstitutional. Here’s what that means for conviction. NBC

The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President (PDF) Congressional Research Service

Waiting For Our Salazar The American Conservative. So a “smart Trump” would be a Philosopher King?

Biden Transition

Competence is Joe Biden’s best strategy Martin Wolf, FT

Here’s the full list of Biden’s executive actions so far NBC

That’s quite an act. What do you call it?

The Democrats! There’s always a tweet:

Why Mitch McConnell relented on his demands about preserving the filibuster Vox

The far right’s favorite registrar is building ‘censorship-resistant’ servers Tech Crunch

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Reflecting the Authoritarian Climate, Washington Will Remain Militarized Until At Least March Glenn Greenwald

Destructive protests by anarchists and extremists signal divided left as Biden administration begins WaPo. “… the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit policy research group…”

Our Famously Free Press

Meet the Censored: Status Coup Matt Taibbi, TK News

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Leon Black Did Nothing Wrong, Will Stop Being Apollo CEO Anyway Dealbreaker. The deck: “He did do twice as much not wrong as previously reported…” See Yves on Black and his dealings. Meanwhile, “tax advice” lol:

Leon Black and the American Tradition of Impunity Jacob Bachrach, The New Republic


Boeing 737 MAX – Still Not Fixed (PDF) Ed Pierson. “So why did two brand-new airplanes (2 months and 4 months old) have flight control system problems in the weeks leading up to the crashes? Why did both airplanes have unexplainable electrical system faults? Why has there been a rash of production quality problems recently surfacing on new 737 MAX airplanes? Why did 13 other new MAX airplanes have safety related incidents within their first year of service? All signs point back to where these airplanes were produced, the 737 Factory.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Rise and Fall and Rise (and Fall) of the U.S. Financial Empire Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

Delusions of Dominance Foreign Affairs

Guillotine Watch

World’s Richest Men, Musk and Bezos, Fight Over Satellite Fleets Bloomberg. Who will be first to ruin the night sky?

Class Warfare

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You Pro Publica. Chickenization. From October 2020, more germane than ever.

Hard Times Andrew Cockburn, Hard Times

Cooperative Conversions & Employee Buyouts Grassroots Economic Organizing

Flint ‘Really Comes Down to People Not Being Listened To’ FAIR

Toxic Chemicals Threaten Humanity’s Ability to Reproduce The Intercept

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    re: Vaccines are about public health.

    A couple of years ago I got into an interaction with another commenter at the ‘blog “Strong Towns”, trying to advocate MMT concepts.

    My interlocutor denied the objective reality of the entity “the public”, so that “public interest’ was, in his view, an illegitimate concept.

    It may be that for KH and many other USians, there is no concept of “community” left; there are only individuals, competing for utility in the Market, red in tooth and claw.

    1. Phillip Cross

      Yes, in Scamerica there is no community or public good. It’s just how they raise them there. I blame the parents.

      It’s so big, and so full of morons, you’d never run out of people to ding, so why play fair, when you have to pay your mortgage and fund your 401k etc?

      Ding or be dinged… and quite frankly, who better to ding than the “public” purse because, “the public” don’t even exist! A lucrative, victimless crime. Every Scamerican’s favorite kind!

    2. Fireship

      It’s over, man. America is finished. 400 years of grifting, this is the end result. I’ve been following this blog for a dozen years. It just gets worse and worse. There is no white rabbit to pull out of a hat: there is only reality. All the wealthy have bolt holes lined up in other countries. Good luck in the Boogaloo.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was it over when the Germans bombed as #45’s loan harbor, Hell No!

        Rumors of our demise are somewhat exaggerated, although there is much truth in them once you parse the evidence and mince it into whatever causes you to keep a sharpened Seppuku blade handy.

        1. ambrit

          That sounds very close to ‘actionable’ appropriation of an American commercial item, Elonco’s “Miracle Evidence Knife.”
          “It slices and dices, it cuts, carves, and curettes! Make hay in the Sun that never sets!”
          I agree. Let us Marshal our forces and honour Tradition.
          Boom and Bust. Iron and Rust. It’s all the same.

    1. Samuel Conner

      A thing that I find troubling in the KH quote is the implied certainty in “it will save your life.”

      If this is not simply standard politico overspeak, but actually a sincere prediction, it would imply that KH does not believe that the epidemic will be controlled, and that everyone will be exposed multiple times into the future, so that the probability of individual mortality due to COVID over long times will be high. Under such conditions, it would be accurate to predict that a highly effective vaccine will save a person’s life, because without the vaccine each individual has, over prolonged time, a high probability of dying from the disease.

      I’m probably overthinking the implications of KH’s statement and that was simply bog-standard careless political speech, or meme propagation.

      1. Stephen C.

        The thing I don’t like about K. Harris quote is the ” . . . when it is your turn.”

        It speaks volumes about how ingrained the hierarchical arrangement is in our leader’s mind, and how such arrangements are subtly transferred in everyday language to the lower orders.

      2. ambrit

        That should be ‘vaccines,’ plural. As the virus mutates, the vaccine will have to adapt, be changed to meet new challenges.
        This will be the “New Normal.”
        [The best case scenario is for the virus to mutate ‘down’ in malignance. Essentially become a new “super flu.”]

    2. Phenix

      Meanwhile front line workers like me have had this and are exposed routinely. I would like to see an antibody study done on essential workers.

      I will not get a vaccine. We should have our antibody levels/titers checked before we a vaccine is given.

      1. Arizona Slim

        One of my neighbors is in your boat. She manages the liquor department in a grocery store here in Tucson.

        A year ago February, she and several coworkers came down with a nasty illness that was unlike anything they had ever had before. My neighbor even lost her sense of taste and, ISTR, smell.

        She’s convinced that she had COVID and very much wants to take the antibody test. However, she isn’t sure that her company insurance will pay for it, and the out-of-pocket cost would probably take a big bite out of her paycheck.

        I don’t know how she feels about the vaccine, but I’m close friends with her younger sister. What YS says about it cannot be printed on this family blog. Suffice it to say that YS doesn’t want to be a guinea pig.

        1. Harold

          I had an antibody test. It came out negative. I just mentioned to my doctor that I had a bad cold at the same time my daughter had COVID and we had had lunch together (outside) the week before. All 4 of us got colds. It was freezing eating outdoors. But it looks like my daughter got Covid at work. She is okay now. Anyway I don’t see why one can’t request a test. The test may not show anything, however.

    3. bojackhorsemeat

      Since we don’t have evidence of sterilizing immunity/the vaccine preventing transmission, she may just be outright correct in that it does only really protect the recipient. So not helpful to quash things until everyone gets it.

      And as long as it gets passed around there are more opportunities for mutation.

      1. vlade

        There is one public-health aspect even if it doesn’t not stop the transmission, which is if it reduces the severity, it will reduce the hospitalisations, lessening the pressure on the health workers and sector (which is badly needed).

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          This is the move from prevention to prophylaxis. When dealing with a coronavirus in our history, the only thing available is the latter. The descriptions used by people that want you to take a vaccine have been less than honest, and not scientific. I understand the hurry up factor, but to override science to promote “the latest” cure all, we lose the narrative.
          It is obvious to many that prevention of something that won’t be the same disease tomorrow is unlikely. But many have also seen this as a road to riches when the government creates a narrative that isn’t supported by science.
          Imagine if you will, using a substance that interferes with viral reproduction reducing severity and transmission, and doesn’t interfere with the bodies immune response. You get something a coronavirus can’t tolerate. But it won’t make anyone rich.
          Since we know all these thing but can’t implement them for reasons governments won’t explain, we make people quite hesitant to trust dictates from on high.
          We could have given prophylaxis to all our front line workers from the start with known anti viral meds. We could have done it any time in the last year and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We could even do it now. But it won’t make anyone rich.

      2. Darius

        I suppose a cynical view is that Americans act only on their perceived self-interest, so to get people to get the vaccine you have to sell it as individuals acting to save their own lives. Nobody cares about public health. On the other hand, Americans have, in the past, acted in concert for the public good.

        1. JP

          Then there’s the view that individuals act or don’t act to life threatening situations out of fear. Self interest yes but when you get right down to it self preservation.

      3. Ignacio

        I keep reading comments like this everyday and always repeat my litany. Sterilizing immunity? Fudgedaboudit! If there is some sterilizing immunity it will almost certainly be very short lived (let’s say for 3-6 months at best) since we are talking here about a respiratory virus that infects primarily the Upper Respiratory Tract whose mucosae are exposed to several hundreds of viral and non-viral pathogens and cannot bear the responsibility to carry long-lasting, immunity-yielding, antibody concentrations for so many ‘enemies’ for that long. Antibody levels there fade away rapidly and you are soon susceptible to re-infection in relatively short times.

        Please, stop asking for ‘sterilizing immunity’, be modest and just order for ‘some protection’ instead. Particularly against severe and acute respiratory syndrome and this seems so far to be working as data from Israel linked today strongly suggest.

        1. Cuibono

          Totally agree on this notion of sterilizing immunity. Absurd with current approaches.
          Might never be possible
          i have not seen any real data from Israel. I have seen some press releases from HMOs and the like.
          here is a press release for you: US cases yesterday fell to 1/2 of their peak number. Due to vaccines?

  2. paul

    From the as yet undesignated sunny uplands category:

    t states that workers in industries with poor conditions, low pay and insecure contracts such as care, construction and agriculture are particularly at risk of slipping through the cracks in the scheme.

    1. Ctesias

      In Brazil they are reporting on an attempt by a coalition of large Brazilian enterprises to buy 33 million doses of AstraZeneca through Blackrock (it is alleged that the latter own or is entitled to a portion of the vaccines available) at a price in the neighbourhood of close to $25 per dose, which is over ten times more than what the EU is paying.

      Even though both AstraZeneca and Blackrock both deny that they have vaccines to sell to the private market, this coalition of enterprises reaffirmed that they are closing in on a deal.
      To lessen the public outcry, the plan is to donate half of the doses to the public domain. President Bolsonaro made a statement saying he supports this initiative.

      It isn’t clear from the reports where these vaccines would come from. The delay in the EU is reported to be related to “low yield” issues in a Belgium factory.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “World’s Richest Men, Musk and Bezos, Fight Over Satellite Fleets”

    ‘Space: the final commons. These are the voyages of SpaceX & Amazon. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new territories and claim them as their own, to seek out new places – and exploit them, to bottleneck space where no one has bottlenecked it before.’

      1. Wukchumni

        Ey, Venus! oh, Venus!
        Venus if you will
        Please give Elon & Jeff a thrill

        An illionaire who wants celestial farms
        An illionaire with all the charms of ew!
        Venus, take them there
        To your 847 degree lair

        He dulls the brightest stars up in the skies
        And places satellites on high for all to despise

        Venus, planet of hope that you are,
        Surely the things I ask
        Can’t be too great a task

        Venus, if you do
        I promise that I always will be true

        Give them all the love you have to give
        As long as they both shall live

        1. Bruce the Robert

          To Wuk – Venus!

          Now that is funny. Frankie Avalon from 1959. Your creativity is sweet and true: You see connections where most people are not likely to see or find them. Thanks.

  4. paul

    In scotland right now, you have to paraphrase bladerunner:

    Deckard: [getting up to leave] I was quit when I come in here, Bryant, I’m twice as quit now.

    Bryant: Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. You’re not COFPS*, you’re little people!

    [Deckard stops at the door]

    Deckard: No choice, huh?

    Bryant: [smiles] No choice, pal.

    *The crown office and procurator fiscal service

    1. paul

      While I know Burn’s night is over and I do not wish to pollute this site with our wretched troubles, I feel compelled to share this:

      The First Minister’s assurance at the outset that her government would do all they could to assist the inquiry has proved to be an empty promise. The all-too-obvious truth is that her government has made Herculean efforts to frustrate it at every turn. To us lawyers, of course, the most absurd aspect has been the claim from Ms Sturgeon and her deputy John Swinney that it is impossible for them to afford the Committee sight of the legal advice given to the Scottish government in respect of the Salmond matters. It is confidential and so can’t be divulged, they protest. What utter nonsense. They, the Scottish government, are the client and can waive the privilege attached to the legal advice whenever they chose. In advancing such an absurd explanation for secrecy they must take the view that the Scottish public are exceptionally dense and will believe this.

      Full article here

      1. Ahimsa

        Hooey! Just finished reading it – delicious writing it is too. He tempers righteousness in his defence with a withering critique of the crown’s case, while still maintaining a decourous respect for the traditions of the court – a diplomat to the core? Hopefully the court appreciates his words.

        1. Ignacio

          Yaeh, I enjoyed the reading and my mind was stuck in the motives that would (supposedly) make Sturgeon act like this. Could it be that Sturgeon is, apart from ambitious, an insecure person at least regarding her political ambitions, willing to kill a potential enemy?

          1. paul

            She has publicly confessed to ‘imposter syndrome’.

            I think the syndrome bit is superfluous.

            She also claims to love books, but like Anthony Blair, holding the bible upside down and reading back to front, does not a great person make.

  5. fresno dan

    The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office shared the somber news this week that former criminal investigator Frank Arnold died from COVID-19.
    But Action News has learned that his wife also died from the disease.
    There have been other law enforcement officers who have died of covid, some younger. I guess this struck me because he was 65, my age, and most certainly in much better health than me. When I get discouraged about social distancing and not going out, I think about similar cases and gird myself not to give up when we’re so close to getting this thing under control.

    1. Wukchumni

      I would so not want to be our Barney Fife, as all the sheriff does here is interact with people-he’s like a magnet in that regard, similar to an NPS ranger or a friend in the NPS in charge of the potable water system who drives a ‘G-Rig’ (Government Truck with Federal plates) and related that so many people would approach him this past summer to ask questions about this, that or whatever-due to a lack of NPS rangers this summer, and he was really uncomfortable with the constant space invading in our ongoing pandemic.

      Another friend who is a retired Federal law enforcement officer told me his good friend who is a LEO in BLM came down with Covid and it was touch and go for a fortnight, but he pulled through.

  6. Wukchumni

    Hard Times Andrew Cockburn, Hard Times
    Good article about the revolving door that is Humordor.

    There have been many instances of private money being used in commerce, mostly from gold mining states early in their statehood where privately minted gold coins filled in the need for a lack of money, in particular here during the Gold Rush. The one thing 49’ers didn’t bring with them was coined money from back east, as it was only worth face value, where’s the profit in that? The situation was fixed by opening the San Francisco mint in 1854.

    A more interesting period was in the aftermath of a giant real estate bubble* bursting in the mid 1830’s causing the Panic of 1837, and specie was scarce, so a series of copper Large Cent-sized (about the diameter of a Half Dollar) were issued privately for use in commerce, with a good many of them being quite satirical as far as the designs went.

    * Imagine everybody with a mortgage now being told they had to pay up immediately-and only in silver & gold coins, no credit-no privately issued (there was no Federal currency) paper money?

    The value of a used home would plummet to just about nothing…

    1. cocomaan

      Spoilers for a 60 year old movie: my wife said, “Hopefully the dog doesn’t end up like the one in Rear Window.”

  7. ahimsa

    Not sure if this has been referenced at NC yet.. (and I know IM Doc already had a whole post about NEJM article on the study findings.)

    The German equivalent of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), which is called the RKI, has in their latest bulletins used some surprisingly direct language (with lots of qualifications) about the stated efficacy of the vaccinations from BioNTech/Pfizer (and Moderna).

    My quick translation (bolding and formatting is mine) from Epidemiology Bulletin 2/2021 (dated 14th January):

    BNT162b2: (BioNTech/Pfizer)

    The quality of evidence (confidence in the effect estimate) for the prevention of COVID-19 diseases was, due to the risk of bias (see above), rated as moderate;

    in the age group ≥ 75 years, due to the wide confidence interval, the quality of evidence was rated as low (see Appendix).

    The outcome “severe COVID-19 illness” was used as indirect evidence for the outcome “hospitalisation” as classified by STIKO (German Standing Committee on Vaccination). As a result of the indirectness, the wide 95% confidence interval, and also the risk of bias, the quality of evidence here was rated as very low.

    Considering all outcome categories, the quality of evidence was classified as moderate due to the risk of bias.

    From page 33 of the PDF, Section 8 – Systematic Review of Safety and Efficacy

    Skeptics in Germany have jumped on this in their questioning the mass immunisation efforts when there is such moderate evidence for its efficacy and particularly weak evidence for the oldest agegroup (most vulnerable?).

    (It’s a 74 page document. Medical translation are not my field and I haven’t found an English translation online yet. I can write a bit later with a translation of the section detailing what they mean by risk of bias, if anyone is interested.)

    EDIT: the section on “risk of bias” highlights the lack of explanation for the discrepancy of thousands of partipants between the initial test populations and those included in the final efficacy calculations. They go so far as to criticise the quality of the study report which made it impossible to rule out a risk of bias.

    1. vlade

      The second point (age >75) should IMO be rated as very low even.

      That said, there are some hard data coming from Israel on much larger samples (IIRC they are getting close to 40% of population vaccinated with at least the first shot), and so far they look promising – as far as efficiency goes, anyways *). For long-term effect (if any), we’ll have to wait.

      *) there are some studies on limited samples (but still multiples of Pfizer tests) which show statistically similar efficiency to the phase 3 test, but because it’s still impossible to see how the samples were selected, it’s hard to see how good they really are (i.e. to have any confidence on what would be the infection rate of the sample w/o the vaccination, which, because CV is more of a super-spreader than equal-infector, is hard unless you’re looking at large, complete and contiguous population sample IMO)

  8. cocomaan

    The saga is pretty hilarious. It’s turned a bunch of trolling into a matter of class warfare. Right now, the day trading lunatics on reddit are reporting CNBC to the SEC for trying to manipulate the stock by announcing that certain hedge funds have closed out their shorts. On the other hand, SEC is saying that they’re watching the reddit message board for SEC violations. The internet trolls are purposely throwing out questionable advice to “troll the SEC intern who has to read this message board”.

    My favorite post so far:

    Mainstream media: “It blurs the line between gambling and investing,” Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments, said by phone. “When you’re divorcing fundamentals from where stocks are trading, you can do that as long as you’re on the right side of the trade. But when the trends change, you have to get off fast.”

    /r/wallstreetbets: “Sir, this is a casino.”

    In my snail mail yesterday, I received a letter from a house flipper trying to get us to sell. Between the GME farce and an overheated housing market, I am pretty sure we’re nearing the top.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      r/wallstreetbets has been very funny if you appreciate a certain type of humor.

      On a side note – Someone is making a killing on GME. The trading ranges are positively massive. It went from $245 to $310 in about 45 mins and then $310 to $375 in seconds pre-market today. It wasn’t on small volume either. ACQVOL right now (09:33) is 16,320,061. GME was averaging daily total volume of around 23mil for the previous 2 months. It hit around 170mil yesterday. Thats all small compared to AAPL but very very large volume for this.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Oh, I do. I have no idea why they keep calling each other autists and r-words. The poor mod team had to clear a bunch of threads because massive numbers of people were complaining that Robin Hood and other brokers weren’t putting their orders through. It had to be market manipulation you see!

        The reality is that trading was halted when GameStop (GME) was at 269.69. Best timeline ever!

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          I have no idea why they keep calling each other autists and r-words.

          Its hard to use ‘basement dwelling knuckle dragger’ as an insult for them if they gleefully describe them selves as such and worse.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Apparently professional traders do exactly the same and even worse. But its OK when they do it.

        2. Alphonse

          People on the Stupidpol reddit call themselves retards. My son’s classmates call themselves retards. I think it’s a male thing. It’s about bonding. It’s about raising a middle finger to suffocating social convention and poking earnest moralizing in the eye.

          Toshiro_Mifune is right. When everyone is terrified of being accused of “racism,” “misogyny” and “white supremacy,” those who embrace the part of the outcast people are immune.

          It’s similar to how Trump immunized himself. He told so many lies, did so many awful things that accusations of dishonesty and vulgarity rolled like water off a duck’s back. It wasn’t Trump who did that. All he did was play his horrible self. In response, his enemies over-played and defeated themselves.

          Just as hedge funds over-shorted Gamestop, conformists have over subscribed to virtue. Both are vulnerable; both are having their bets called. Not that I think reddit retards consciously think that way. It will take a while longer to resolve than GME, and in with what outcome don’t know, but I see a parallel.

          The expert in warfare saays:
          Rather than dare make the attack
          I’d take the attack;
          rather than dare advance an inch
          I’d retreat a foot

          It’s called marching without marching
          rolling up your sleeves without flexing your muscles,
          being armed without weapons,
          giving the attacker no opponent.
          Nothing’s worse than attacking what yields.
          To attack what yields is to throw away the prize.

          – Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching

      2. mike

        the losses for the shorts are huge. Back of the envelop. The market cap is up ~20B so far in 2021. The trading “float” is up~15B (because some restricted shares are not counted in float). Short interest is 141% of the float and has been during the squeeze, as far as I can tell from reporting … that implies ~20+B in losses for shorts on paper.

        1. occasional anonymous

          Which is basically the whole point. Everyone involved in this knows it’s a ludicrous bubble. The main goal is to hurt the hedge funds. We’re witnessing class warfare, or at least intra-class warfare, between what Chapo calls the PMC ‘failsons’ and those who succeeded and got into positions like working for a hedge fund. Such self-described ‘failures’ are the main leaders who concocted this plan.

          Anyone coming out of this making money is basically a big bonus (that they’ll be making it largely off the backs of the hedge funds is part of the plan). This whole event is essentially capitalist financial terrorism. Looking at the subreddit though, some people have already cashed out and come ahead big and done things like get their dog an expensive surgery or paid off their student debt.

          When all is said and done though, it’s likely that GameStop will settle down into something like 15 bucks a share, because it actually was hugely undervalued. It’s attempting to reinvent itself and be competitive, and has brought on the guy who made a viable business. So GameStop might have a real future ahead of it.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I get letters, postcards, and phone calls from house flippers. Not about to sell to any of them.

      BTW, one of the favorite neighborhood pastimes is observing the work being done on other houses that are owned by flippers. “Incompetent” is one of the nicer words we use to describe this work.

      1. JohnnySacks

        It’s sad, to say the least. First time buyers expect all the bling they’re brainwashed to want for their first entry level house combined with flippers hoovering them up with cash, then turning that $350k ‘starter’ home into a crappy superficial $450 home. Inter-generational theft. And that’s just the low end.
        The bigger players buy up $550 homes or $350 tear downs and turn them into million dollar flips.
        Then the calls:
        “Hello Mr. Sacks. We’re wondering if you’re interested in selling your home. … blah blah blah”
        “Well where the hell would I live if I didn’t have a home?”
        “We can help you find a new home also”

      1. Stephen C.

        An investor tries or pretends to try to do ‘due diligence.” A gambler laughs at those efforts.

    3. Wukchumni

      My dad told me in the early 60’s that anything having to do with our space program made for a good stock, and he remembered this one IPO that was like ‘United Space Industries’ and it went up until somebody figured out they were all about warehouse space, not outer.

      1. Wukchumni

        Once upon a time on Spring Street…

        The Pacific Stock Exchange was the minor leagues compared to the NYSE, and that’s where my dad’s office was in the 60’s. (book tip: The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s by John Brooks)

        He was the vice president of one of the bigger companies in the country at the time, and they had seats on both the PSE & NYSE, so my dad kept an apartment in Manhattan as he was there 2-3x a month, a lot of coming & going.

        One day a year he took me to his office for the day and being the boss’s kid and only seven I got away with murder.

        The hallowed computer room (kept at a certain temp at all times) was one of my haunts {staff watching me with a weary eye at all times} and lotsa lights, wheels spinning around and punchcards that made for crummy airplanes no matter how I tried to get them airborne, all in kinda what looked like a filing cabinet. Think I knew right then & there that’d i’d have no interest in computers, and so far-so good.

        The PSE up and died along with a lot of jobs (including my dad) in the early 70’s, and they built brand new buildings on Spring Street for stock companies that never got any use in the intended purpose and the street itself became a haunt for the homeless.

          1. Wukchumni

            It was near the end of the line for stock certificates, which when trading volume went crazy, there was sometimes a 2-3 day wait before completing the trade as all stock certs had to be mated up. Seems quant today.

            You’ll like the book, its stories mostly with a chart or 2 thrown in.

    4. Stephen C.

      The reddit thing is fun to watch but already I’m seeing comments that bots and perhaps foreigners are behind this. My prediction is that if and when the markets tumble, Uncle Joe Biden and the DNC will blame it on the Russians/CCP for “market interference.”

      1. cocomaan

        Almost certainly. Reddit is easy to create an account on and there’s no social media that isn’t compromised by not only foreign agents, but also our own intel agencies.

        For all we know, the moderators of that forum are actually hedge fund managers about to destroy a lot of retail traders.

    5. Basil Pesto

      It’s so good. A friend has been sending me screencaps.

      One was ‘THIS is how you occupy Wall Street

      By occupying shares, not an actual street’

      The. there’s this doozy

      1. Pat

        Thank you so much for that.

        I love the offer to have the government send him a $600 check.

        If nothing comes of this but a vast number of coming generations understanding that 90% of what Wall Street and CNBC say about the stock market is bull and that it is rarely investing and almost always gambling, this will have done the country a great service.

    6. Glen

      I get called almost daily over the land line I have had forever by PE firms trying to buy my house. F’ the! More billionaires buying everything with Fed funding.

      1. Wukchumni

        Be creative when they bother you, by pretending to be deported to Pyongyang, give them a 50’s type phone # such as PYO-472 where they can reach you, on a fixer upper that needs fixtures, pipes & windows you’re interested in selling, and then nicely hang up.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The world is dangerously dependent on Taiwan for semiconductors”

    Wait a minute, wait a minute. Isn’t this what Adam Smith predicted in his book “The Wealth of Nations?” That different nations would find their place in the world by specializing in the production that they do best? If so, then Taiwan is only following Adam Smith’s advice. Tough luck if there was an earthquake or tsunami or even an invasion/blockade. That would suck for the world that.

    1. Larry Y

      Don’t forget the typhoons.

      Hopefully everyone has built up their stockpiles for the upcoming Lunar New Year week.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Yeah, but what did he know? I mean he also thought primitive accumulation was a noble process that involved virtue and thrift as opposed to violence, theft, and the rape of the commons.

      He was skeptical of joint-stock corporations so that’s a point in his favor I guess.

  10. bwilli123

    re chickenization. There is no way that neo-liberalism is going to allow the benefits that employees have discovered (as a result of enforced working from home due to covid) to be retained by employees. That would result in an increase in worker’s standards of living, which is unacceptable.
    In the post covid world the burden of having to provide expensive office space and facilities is already being met by employee provided accommodation, electricity, equipment etc. This is the cheaper suburb infrastructure undercutting the CBD’s. Eventually regional and rural towns will undercut the suburbs.
    How many billions will these savings represent? Has anyone reported employers passing these savings on to their employees?
    The employee gains of unpaid commute times will be absorbed by increases in unpaid working hours.
    And whatever community that workers had in a common workspace will be dissipated and divided into thousands of discrete individuals, able to be cut off and cauterized from the organization at the discretion of an algorithm.

    1. paul

      That bleak prospectus is eerily convincing.

      It reminds me of when one of our recent (cameron and osborne) leaders first foreign visit was to india.

      The scales fell from their eyes, you could rule without care,forever!

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Another Xi blunder: China desperate for Aussie wheat”

    If there was only some other cereal grain that China could fall back on. One that was a specialty of their region and could be a staple food in their diet with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake. Preferably one that can be processed from small grains and can be made into a variety of foods. Hmmm. Nope. Nothing comes to mind.

    1. dftbs

      Business as usual hardly seems like a blunder. That is unless this Aussie pension manager has foreknowledge of a US led naval disruption of this trade, and that Australia has enough non-Chinese demand for its wheat. Other than that, the headline is filled with unnecessary acid, kinda like typing out: “man goes to restaurant, blunders by paying bill.

    2. Wukchumni

      I utilize the Wal*Mart locked glass ammo case to gauge supply & demand among the hand cannon crowd, and I like the WinCo prepper section as a better baedeker of what’s what in foodstuffs in bulk. I think the owners are Mormon-and its the only supermarket chain i’m aware of that does this.

      They sell a few different bags of rice, 25# Thai Jasmine $18, plenty in stock, same with various 25# bags of beans, flour and more. Of the say 20 different types of food by that weight, most everything is $15-30 per bag. Half a dozen different 10# bags of pasta are $8.

      You can sense a squeeze on nourishment worldwide, though.

      1. ambrit

        This is weird. On my last two trips to the local Winn Dixie, I have seen a shopping cart parked at the “Last Chance Clearance Saloon” with several 25# sacks of white rice marked down to $10.95 per. {Alas, Phyl will not use white rice unless desperate. something to do with the nutrient or lack thereof composition. It’s short grain brown rice for us. So, we are stocked up on that. She has spoken!}

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Scientists unravel mystery of sex disparities in COVID-19 outcomes”

    ‘Essentially, women have immune system reinforcements they can call upon early in infections that men, with their single X chromosomes, don’t possess.’

    It has not escaped my notice that as it is females that bear children, having another layer of defenses to fight off infections is not a bad idea evolution-wise.

    1. Harold

      I don’t know if it’s from the extra chromosome or the fact that women have fewer or no offspring if they die in pregnancy & childbirth or before and can’t pass on their genes, or pass on less of them.

    2. Harold

      I don’t know if it’s from the extra chromosome or the fact that women have fewer or no offspring if they die in pregnancy & childbirth or before and can’t pass on their genes, or pass on less of them.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    A Show About Poverty Alleviation Is Getting Historically High Reviews Sixth Tone

    Its interesting and a positive sign that China is being so open and honest about the topic. I travelled in Ningxia Province, where the show is set, on a water research project in the late 1990’s, and it was a very obvious backwater, although there were some interesting government initiatives at the time to aid rural poverty. I still have some crafts I bought in a market which was set up to develop a local tourist industry (I think I was the only tourist, but I was impressed that they were planning things so systematically). The city also had an amazingly impressive new airport, clearly modelled on Stansted in England. But some of the rural poverty was terrible – I remember a family with a young daughter who had a horrible eye infection, they told our guide (it was forbidden to travel there without an official guide) that they couldn’t afford the medicine she needed. Even then, the Chinese medical system was going private.

    One thing the article and show doesn’t mention is why those people were sent to such a deeply inhospitable region. The area was ethnically Mongolian, the displacements were clearly intended to ensure the Mongolians remained a demographic minority. There were generally excluded from the one child policy, which was just gaining traction then, but the numbers of Han coming in was overwhelming – the Mongolians were clearly very unhappy about this, but there was little they could do.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gotta admit that this series sounds very interesting. I imagine that a lot of young Chinese would look at the people in it and say to themselves that the people in it resemble their grandparents when they still lived in poverty. Some of those grandparents watching would be just nodding their heads in recognition. Then again, I was always a sucker for a decent historical drama.

    1. a different chris

      OMG. BTW this cracked me up:

      made this usually impossible to skate road

      No. For 99% of the world’s population it is always impossible to skate it…

      1. Wukchumni

        You’re practically encouraged to attempt something deft defying, particularly in Queenstown.

        Unlike here, there isn’t 17 pages of waivers to initial & sign.

        5 of us wanted to go tandem paragliding and we made the reservation and the only thing I signed was the credit card slip, and an hour later we were up in the air.

        You can stay @ motels that have swimming pools with diving boards and also trampolines.

  14. WJ

    Michael Burry Calls GameStop Rally ‘Unnatural, Insane’ Bloomberg. I don’t play the ponies, so all I can say is that this thread seems plausible:

    I can’t get reddit/wallstreetbets to load. I wonder if it’s been taken down.

  15. allan

    File under Guillotine Watch over the COVID-19 Class Warfare:

    Special access to COVID-19 vaccine for Overlake Medical Center donors draws Inslee rebuke
    [Seattle Times]

    Last Friday, Molly Stearns, chief development officer at Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, emailed about 110 donors who gave more than $10,000 to the Eastside hospital system, informing them that highly coveted vaccine slots were available.

    “Dear Overlake major donors…” the email read. “We’re pleased to share that we have 500 new open appointments in the Overlake COVID-19 vaccine clinic, beginning this afternoon and tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 23) and next week.”

    The email gave the donors an access code to register for appointments “by invite” only. Last week, the public-facing Overlake registration site was fully booked through March. …

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Nord Stream 2 Pipelay Operations Resume”

    I think that at this point the Nord Stream will have to be completed. If it wasn’t and just terminated off Germany’s coastline, it would be like a punchline to a bad joke. German industry, being denied cheap and reliable energy, would seek to punish all those responsible starting with Merkel’s government. Remember too that that pipeline lands in Merkel’s electorate. If it stopped, that electorate would severely punish her party.

    Worse yet, it would demonstrate to the world that the EU is totally subservient to the US and contracts signed by the EU may always have to have the approval of Washington first and whatever president happens to be sitting. I can see China asking the EU before signing a multi-billion Euro deal ‘How do we know that after we sign, that you won’t just nordstream us?’ and it would be a valid question.

  17. DJG

    Waiting for Our Salazar.

    I am reminded that anything related to the Portuguese-speaking world is almost invariably misunderstood in the U S of A. (Just think of how terrible coverage of Brazil is in the U.S. press.)

    Anyone familiar with Portugal knows that Salazar and his Estado Novo operated by putting Portugal in amber–a kind of suspended animation. An interesting datum from Wikipedia about what Portugal was like after fifty years of supposedly enlightened despotism: “Despite the remarkable growth, and economic convergence, by the fall of the Estado Novo in 1974, Portugal still had the lowest per capita income in Western Europe, as well as the highest rate of preventable deaths and infant mortality rate in Europe.”

    I recall that in the seventies, one of the things that shook up Portugal was a book by the Tres Marias, three women who wrote directly and without mincing words about what it was like to be a woman in Portugal at that time. And, yes, they received visits from the police, as polite as those despotic police may have been.

    To quote: O livro revelou ao mundo a existência de situações discriminatórias agudas em Portugal, relacionadas com a repressão ditatorial, o poder do patriarcado católico e a condição da mulher (casamento, maternidade, sexualidade feminina). NCP denunciou também as injustiças da guerra colonial e as realidades dos portugueses enquanto colonialistas em África, emigrantes, refugiados ou exilados no mundo, e “retornados” em Portugal.
    [from Wikipedia in Portuguese]

    The women were censored and put on trial by the Oh-So-Nice Regime.

    I tend to doubt that author Davis even reads Portuguese. I was reminded of this recently in a column in Harper’s by Thomas Chatterton Williams in which he blathers on about Portugal’s need for more immigrants and more openness to get it out of its current doldrums (such as they are). Like Davis, Williams seems to have no Portuguese and never talked to a Portuguese.

    Next up? Francisco Franco? Is it all a perceptual problem, and didn’t he do nice things for Spain?


    1. paul

      To quote john waters:
      “your’re such a debbie downer”

      Portugal has (last time i looked) has the greatest wealth inequality in the whole EU.

      And that is the race being run.

      Charlie sheen would say “winning!”

      1. DJG

        paul: That’s because you didn’t give me those cha-cha heels for Christmas.

        I am finding that the three most unequal (highest Gini coefficients) in the EU are Bulgaria, then Lithuania, then Romania. (Although the USA has a Gini coefficient higher than any of them.)

        Portugal’s Gini coefficient is slightly lower than that of Spain.

    2. vao

      That book by Tom Gallagher looks like an attempt at a full-fledged rehabilitation of the Estado Novo – which definitely was a fascist regime, albeit neither as violent, capable and ideologically structured as the other ones. Those pictures of rows of schoolchildren in Hitlerjugend-like uniforms making the Roman salute were present, in various forms, in the reading books of that time.

      It would be too long to deconstruct that hagiography of Salazar, but the following is a howler:

      When he left after three decades, Portugal was a respected first-world power. […] The economy was (modestly) booming.

      1. He did not leave, he was replaced as head of the government after an accident requiring a delicate operation that left him incapacited for quite a while. He was never informed of the change and lived a couple more years without realizing that he was no longer at the head of the State.

      2. At that time, Portugal was right in the middle of a multipronged, drawn-out colonial war in its African colonies that made it a diplomatic pariah, not a respected “first-world power”. Its ambassadors were spending their time fending off calls for sanctions at the UNO, its NATO partners were refusing to sell weapons to be used in the colonies, and discontent in the population because of the interminable war was growing.

      3. The colonial war had caused the State budget to balloon into a massive deficit, made impossible investment in infrastructure that was sorely needed to catch up with other European countries, and weighted heavily on the economy. As a consequence, people were emigrating (mainly to France, but also the USA, South Africa, Venezuela). So much for the booming economy. Till the late 1950s, Portugal had been in a much, much better shape than Spain — it had not been devastated by a civil war and still had its colonies — but by the late 1960s this was changing.

      As for Franco, it is interesting to note that there is a festering a scandal in Spain about a widespread, rabidly fascist mentality in the military — 45 years after the return to democracy…

      It is not a good sign when old dictatorships are being trotted out as paragons of statecraft. I presume that the economically protectionist, interventionist and industry-oriented character of past fascist regimes prevents openly touting such figures as Salazar, Franco or Vargas as examples to follow in the current neo-liberal mindset — despite their appeal when it comes to enforcing order on the populace.

    3. José

      Today, 50 years after the end of the dictatorship, Portugal has the second lowest per capita income in Western Europe.

      Maybe the causes of its relative economic backwardness are not to be found in the nature of its political regime?

  18. Tom Doak

    “Competence is Joe Biden’s Best Strategy”

    LOL. If only!

    Instead he is going to “reopen Obamacare markets” to let more people enroll during the pandemic. Oh, but it will take a few weeks to get it ready, and of course everybody who could afford to enroll had their chance in December.

    1. fresno dan

      January 27, 2021 at 11:00 am

      You remember, I am an advocate of not constraining nominees only to the living.

    1. Miami Mitch

      What WSB is doing is pulling back the curtain and Wall Street hates it. So manipulation is good, as long as it is not too much and not too obvious. I am sure Chris knows, like me, how this works on Wall Street.

      And to hear Joe suddenly wanting for regulation is hilarious.

    2. tegnost

      Thanks, also the kylie brakeman rant he posted is pretty good for blowing off some steam re the $15/hr thing…re lee’s comment below I’m definitely seeing some frayed nerves, which causes major cognitive dissonance as right after I talk to the frayed nerves I talk to a person who thinks the world is perfect. It’s hard but this is exactly what I expected, I joked in the zoom call with the latter a couple of weeks ago that the dems would negotiate the checks down but I only half believed it, but now I have to break the news to frayed nerves after already saying no not 2000 it’s 1400. I’m going to have burst that balloon too. America! Sooooo great…but hey it keeps me from thinking about my own massive problems so there’s that. This won’t end well…

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is a palpable sense of fear among a certain class. I almost think they are worried Congress won’t come to their rescue which is possible. The Congress has been set for over three weeks now, and nothing continues to get done. And with all the lecturing about how a person making $75k could get a $2k check. Hey, who remembers the public option? “Centrists” sure don’t.

      1. ambrit

        Yrp. The Administration is throwing away it’s credibility, much less it’s legitimacy, with both hands.
        “This won’t end well” is starting to look like an understatement.

  19. Lee

    Toxic Chemicals Threaten Humanity’s Ability to Reproduce The Intercept

    The planet’s last best hope?

    Rant alert!

    Here in my relatively well off town, where I and many others need not venture forth to perform paid work, and can have much of what we need delivered to our front doors, Covid has at last struck close to home. We’ve had a Covid-19 case immediately next door—a man in his fifties has survived a bout while being treated at home. His wife is a Covid nurse has served both as his home care savior and the probable source of his infection. She appears, most fortunately, to be immune. He, on the other hand now looks as haggard as if in the last few weeks he had lived some very hard years.

    Meanwhile, two doors down, a thirty-something woman has lost the plot. She has been for the last week or so periodically raving in the streets. There was a big rain and windstorm last night and she was out in that dark and stormy night maniacally raving at who knows what in at least two discernible languages and another of her own invention.

    She has been renting a room in our neighbors’ house for the last year. The homeowners for this period of time have been away caring for one of their adult sons who has received a bone marrow transplant for leukemia and is immuno-compromised. They want to move him back home. Did I mention that the mentally unstable renter has been aggressively Covid-19 noncompliant when it comes to distancing and masking?

    Meanwhile, the neighbors’ other two adult sons have been living in the parental home with the troubled woman and appear oblivious to the rantings and ravings of their potential vector roommate. To be fair, the whole family are lovely, mathematically gifted computer nerds, who seem to live and function in world that might best be described as strongly resembling that which is depicted in The Matrix.

    Given all this, and finding the woman on my doorstep before sunrise fiddling around with my potted plants, I called the non-emergency police line to ask them to perform a safety check on the woman. She’s white so I figure it’s a good bet that they wont shoot her down for being mentally ill. Unless, of course, she goes after them with my garden trowel.

    Wait, there’s more. Let’s assume that all goes as well as it can, given our crap public and mental health system, and she gets admitted to the local underfunded snake pit, and then released after an ineffective and too brief period of care. Will she then be able to resume residence in my neighbors’ house or be somehow prevented from so, in that her behavior represents a threat to the health of other residence and particularly to the one trying to recover from leukemia.

  20. fwe'theewell

    The chickenization article about independent contractor customer service reps: Bring Jobs Back To America!!! Oh wait ….

  21. Alex Morfesis

    Oopseez…proud boys dude/dudette fearless leader “doesn’t remember” being an FBI informant…and those pesky little court records uncovered by Reuters…pffft…enjoy the buffett folks, the show will be starting in a bit…

    1. Wukchumni

      Miranda Revisited:

      You had the right to remain silent.
      Anything you said or posted online can and will be used against you in a court of law.

    2. Lee

      In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling.

      Given the nature of those against whom he was informing, he was not necessarily acting inconsistently with his Proud Boys affiliation or against that organization’s interests or politics.

  22. Lee

    San Francisco Board of Education Votes to Rename 44 Schools

    The San Francisco School Board voted to rename 44 public schools Tuesday, a debate and decision that’s being followed across the country.

    Those 44 schools whose namesakes are thought, by many, to have dishonorable legacies.

    Some of the campuses impacted are: Lowell High, Lincoln High, Washington High, Roosevelt Middle, John Muir Elementary and Feinstein Elementary School.

    I was puzzled by Diane Feinstein being on the list of baddies, so I did some digging:

    According to a 1984 copy Communist newspaper the Workers Vanguard, Feinstein, as mayor of San Francisco, raised a Confederate flag at the city’s Civic Center, and later replaced it when it was torn down by protesters, putting the Feinstein school on the list.

    It’s good to see Communists getting some respect as a political and cultural arbiters.

    1. K.k

      Wow, did you say Workers Vanguard? And a copy from 1984 no less. I think thats the Sparts if memory serves. I remember reading how in the late 70s , early 80s they were labelled a terrorist organization by California and they sued the government to be removed from the list. They used to be pretty interesting but boy did they go downhill in the 90s. I was just reminded of them in an interview with Norman Finklestein on the Trueanon pod. Really recommend the interview. The hosts allow Finklestein to riff for an hour and a half with minimal interruptions. He discusses his political evolution and recalls his run ins with the Sparts and being denounced by them when he was in his early maoist days and later when he was writing about the Palestine/Israel conflict. Goes on to talk about abandoning his Maoist ideology after Maos death and falling under Chomskys spell. Again well worth the listen if you find Finklestein interesting.

  23. fresno dan
    We are told by the lawyers hired by the Board of Directors of Apollo Global Management to investigate the Chairman of that same Board of Directors that the $158 MILLION Leon Black transferred to his personal friend and convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was for “legitimate advice on trust and estate planning, tax issues, issues relating to artwork, Black’s airplane, Black’s yacht, and other similar matters”. We are told that the bulk of the funds were transferred “on an ad hoc basis based on Black’s perceived value of Epstein’s work”, with no agreements signed or unsigned. We are told that the bulk of the funds were paid for tax advice that would only realize potential gains well in the future, advice that was later determined to originate not with Epstein but with Black’s regular tax lawyers. Payments of this magnitude and in this manner seem unlike the behavior of any enormously wealthy person in the history of the world, particularly a man whose enormous wealth has been notoriously built on precisely the opposite behavior, but Leon Black says this is the truth.
    It is difficult to get lawyers to understand something when their commissions depend on their not understanding it.

  24. chuck roast

    “US stock rally drives ‘ludicrous index’ towards dotcom era heights”

    So, the cover article on today’s Pink Paper was about the huge corporate borrowing spree that has been the first three weeks of 2021. No link, but the end of the feature had a tidbit about how LNB(?), a junk rated building supply company owned by Bain Capital, borrowed $400M as a payout to the PE firm. By any semi-normal definition this would be called “looting” not just asset stripping. And the Mitt Romney/Deval Patrick operation is viewed as the soul of capitalist discretion.

    Way back in the day, we had a a pirate in town called Thomas Tew. He was so successful that every man in town wanted to sail with him. While this a local mania, it’s the only thing that I can compare it to.

  25. DhL

    “Vaccines work on the collective level, not the individual level. ”
    Actually based on what we know so far, the appeal to personal salvation is exactly right. we don’t have any good data on prevention of transmission

  26. fact check

    Leon Black article is by Jacob Silverman, not Jacob Bacharach. I had to look because it didn’t sound like IOZ’s purview to me.

    1. Vander Vieira de Resende

      “The vaccine has already been approved for use in the United Kingdom and India.”

      The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has also been approved for emergency use in Brazil. It will be produced in the State of São Paulo, at the Butantã Institute.

      In addition to the actions and inaction of Jair Bolsonaro, against the use of the vaccine against Covid-19 (mainly because of political struggles with the governor of São Paulo, the neoliberal João Doria), the wealthiest state in Brazil, has had problems with the supply chain, according to official reportings.

  27. Gonzo Gonzales

    Kudos to whoever writes that Gathara twitter account. It’s most amusing. Satire is hard to do these days as the world is so bat$@!t crazy.

Comments are closed.