Links 1/29/2021

Dear patient readers,

Your at best cranky blogger is even more short-tempered due to being under the weather. I am disproving the IM Doc claim that no one is getting any bugs save Covid. I have swollen glands, feel generally crappy (the way I do when I take meds that disagree with me) and am super cold (not chills, my hands and feet are palpably extremely cold despite the thermometer being set at 75). No Covid symptoms at all. Go figure.

As a result of my bad mood, I was extremely harsh with some readers yesterday that I excoriated in private when they questioned our/our lawyer’s reading on Section 230 as it applies to this site (the short version is we are a content provider and our “not a chat board” policy and conduct means we cannot take the position we are an “internet platform”). I separately think it is extremely irresponsible of the EFF to do what amounts to giving legal advice to bloggers by assuring them that they are protected by Section 230 when any analysis would have to be site-specific and there is no case law on this issue. The EFF’s recklessness is made worse by the fact that most bloggers would have difficulty raising the dough to mount a good defense if they were hit with a spiteful defamation suit.

Please do not discuss Section 230 further below; I will rip out any comments because otherwise I’d be tempted to get very testy, which is not called for. I’m just using this as an illustration of how I am in extreme “Don’t annoy me” mode. Hopefully I will feel better by next week.

Zebra Finches Become a “Flock of Songwriters” in a Room Full of Electric Guitars My Modern Met (David L)

These Are the Highest Resolution Photos Ever Taken of Snowflakes Smithsonian (David L)

Cell cultures as pet food – Pets may soon be fed laboratory-grown meat Economist (furzy)

Nutria: What You Should Know About the Invasive Rodent Tree Hugger (resilc). Um, nutria fur often used to line coats back in the days before fur policing.

A litmus test for the climate James Boyce, Bangor Daily News

Teen Scientist Finds a Low-Tech Way to Recycle Water Discover (David L)

Solar power got cheap. So why aren’t we using it more? Popular Science (resilc). What about “switching costs” don’t you understand? As well as “What about not having enough reliable sunlight some/a lot of the year?”


EU could block millions of Covid vaccine doses from entering UK Guardian. Vaccine hoarding due to drug-makers trying to favor higher-priced orders. Don’t mess with someone who regulates you.

Covid: EU publishes disputed AstraZeneca Covid jab contract BBC

Is a vaccine trade war brewing? UnHerd (resilc)

Study ranks New Zealand Covid-19 response best, Brazil worst, US in bottom five France24


Why Scientists Are Very Worried About The Variant From Brazil NPR (David L)

Coronavirus variants: What they do and how worried you should be ars technica (David L)

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective if given 3 months apart, says SII’s Adar Poonawalla and Business Today (furzy)

Novavax says its Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective, but far less so against one variant STAT

German officials say AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be given to over-65s, citing lack of data CNN. Hasn’t stopped the US with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Health experts warn new COVID mutations could prolong the pandemic for another year – as South African super-COVID variant is discovered in South Carolina – and daily death toll hits 4,011 Daily Mail

‘Long Covid’ still puzzles doctors but treatment is possible CNN

Experts say serology tests unreliable, as immunity doesn’t require antibodies Times of Israel (furzy). Huh? But over my pay grade, am running by experts.

Plitidepsin has potent preclinical efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the host protein eEF1A Science. See popular stories below:

Scientists identify new COVID-19 drug that’s ‘27.5 times’ more effective than remdesivir and Oxford University mulls trials of coronavirus ‘wonder drug’ Business Today (furzy)

Amazon algorithms promote vaccine misinformation, UW study says Seattle Times (furzy)


South Carolina detects first US cases of coronavirus strain first seen in South Africa CNN (Kevin W)

N.Y. Severely Undercounted Virus Deaths in Nursing Homes, Report Says New York Times (Kevin W)

A big hurdle for older Americans trying to get vaccinated: Using the internet Vox (resilc). I find this sort of piece deeply offensive. One, in Alabama, the only way to get an appointment on the Internet is on the phone. Two, the reason it’s hard in many place to get an appointment has NOTHING TO DO with older people’s internet skills, it’s totally shitty interfaces and no appointments. But of course, the problem has to be the stupid users.

U.S. handling of American evacuees from Wuhan increased coronavirus risks, watchdog finds Washington Post (furzy)


Progressives push Biden for recurring stimulus checks Politico (resilc). It only occurred to them now that real people need money on a regular basis?


Chinese warplanes simulated attacking US carrier near Taiwan Financial Times


Brexit: little local difficulties Richard North. A steady drip-drip-drip of stories like these.


Frequently Asked Questions on Farmer protests Yogesh Upadhyaya (resilc)


RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 28 JANUARY 2021 by Patrick Armstrong Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)

Navalny Kept in Custody Ahead of Sunday Protests Moscow Times (furzy)


Iran Hawks’ Latest Smear Campaign Has Already Failed American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force New Fighter Jet: Secret 6th Generation Fighter Details Esquire (UserFriendly). So a new bright shiny expensive military plane toy to distract attention to all the money thrown at the flying turkey known as the F-35? Actually that is not fair to turkeys, since I have seen wild ones fly (well, glide).

Today’s jet fighter designers don’t get the point Asia Times (Chuck L). I beg to differ. They are selling PowerPoint to procure college tuitions.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Shocking: 11-Year-Old Boy Learns Hacking Tips From YouTube, Demands Rs 10 Crore Ransom From Father India Today (dk)

Trump Transition

Trump’s ‘radioactive’ properties in New York are plummeting in value, report claims Independent. Resilc: “What is market value…………witchcraft.”

Educator Shocked that GOP put Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke of Assassinating Nancy Pelosi and denied Parkland School Shootings, on House Education Committee Juan Cole (resilc)

Capitol Seizure

Capitol Police Can Sue the Stop the Steal Mob, Giuliani, and Even Trump Himself Slate

Managed to miss this when it first appeared, but in case you harbored any doubts as to who is in charge:

Some of the issues leading to this outburst here (as in what the end of the filibuster might be used to accomplish) Democrats Introduce Senate Bill To Make D.C. The 51st State Jonathan Turley. Note the Biden commission on Supreme Court changes is pure eyewash. A study is a way to pretend to do something and not do anything. On that matter, Biden is just trying to ground out the crowd pushing to expand the Supreme Court rather than tell them “no”.

Health Care

“I Pretty Much Immediately Discovered How Bad American Health Care Was” Jacobin (Kevin C)

Apple CEO Tim Cook links Facebook’s business model to violence CNBC (furzy)

Google propagandizing users in Australia (note I get the same first result in the US without the Google spam). From Kevin W:

Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock tumbles toward a record loss, just as J.P. Morgan Chase discloses large stake MarketWatch (UserFriendly)

Senate panel to hold hearing after high-flying Reddit stocks cause Wall Street chaos Axios (furzy)

AOC rejects Cruz support over Wall Street chaos: ‘You almost had me murdered’ CNN (Kevin W)

Lawmakers rip Robinhood’s decision on GameStop The Hill. No one here asking if Robinhood was adequately capitalized. Help me.

Oh wait, after I wrote the above, someone is on that case: Robinhood App Is Said to Draw on Credit Lines From Banks Amid Stock Market Chaos Bloomberg

Jordan Belfort: Robinhood shutting down GameStop activity because massive liability CNN (furzy). Note Belfort implies that the fault here was Robinhood not shutting down the trading earlier if they had reason to believe there was collusion.

Separately, dunno why no one has gone after Robinhood. Their revenues come primarily from Citadel paying for their order flow. But per Fox, Citadel say it has a firewall. Hopefully with all of this official brouhaha someone will probe the veracity of this claim. But likely not, Bernanke is on Citadel’s payroll:

Citadel LLC and the market maker Citadel Securities have a firewall between them, the latter does not know the positions of the former. Citadel Execution Services, part of the market-making business saw the most order flow from Robinhood during the third quarter.

Suck It, Wall Street Matt Taibbi (furzy)

Angry Hedge Fund Billionaire Is Mad at GameStop Redditors for “Attacking Wealthy People” Vanity Fair (furzy). Leon Cooperman has long been the poster child billionaire giving billionaires a bad name (as if that’s hard to do).

This is simultaneously revealing and silly. All the day-trader-y types despise Robinhood, so it’s not as if a good or bad Google rating will make any difference. But this does confirm a pet theory of a friend, that “reputation defender” firms have some sort of pay to play relationship with Google that has managed to stay secret:

FAA Files Reveal a Surprising Threat to Airline Safety: the U.S. Military’s GPS Tests IEEE Spectrum

McKinsey in advanced talks with US states to settle opioid claims Financial Times

Class Warfare

Can DC To-GoGo Compete With Big Delivery Services? Washington City Paper (UserFriendly)

Look Who Else Doesn’t Like Vote by Mail Washington Monthly (resilc)

Antidote du jour. I am pretty sure I ran this antidote from Chuck C over two years ago, but I like the ferocity:

And a bonus (Kevin W). I love the way the cat looks back at the person with the camera, as if saying, “Aren’t you going to do something?”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Please take care of your health Yves, I’m sure nobody here would complain if you took a few days off to recover, even if it means shutting down comments.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll second that comment . We are not even into the second month of the year yet and it promises to be a long one. Health has to come first.

        1. JacobiteInTraining


          And by my read of Robert’s Rules of Order, 732nd online version, a Fourth means that the steaming hot garlic-laced chicken soup, combined with hot cocoa is guaranteed to be effective!!

          Get well, and if not quite well yet….good vibes sent yer way! :)

          1. Susan the other

            I’ll agree. And add that you might just as well treat yourself as if it is Covid because you can’t be sure even with tests. Everytime I start to feel crappy I take aspirin with coffee, all the vitamins I can choke down and lotsa water. Don’t get chilled to the bone. Maybe a hot shower. And sleep.

    2. c_heale

      Couldn’t agree more. Have often thought all the Naked Capitalism team could do with a bit more of a rest. Also having you at the top of your game for a shorter time rather than tired and sick for a longer time, is beneficial to us too.

      1. Merd

        My thought exactly. I’m talking about a vacay. I read links every morning for 10 years maybe? I mean, I miss days here and there… + lots of other content

        You all are always on.

        Ya’ll could take two weeks… like, totally off. Think of it as a personal strike against a system that attempts to grind us all down.

    3. Terry Flynn

      I third this. FWIW anecdotally here in UK there is definitely a non-covid bug going around. Symptoms my mother and I and a family friend have experienced are same as yours.

      Mum and Dad both had their first Astra-Zeneca covid jab, as did a family member working in NHS. Two out of three had a day or so fatigue but not matching who has this “separate” bug.

    4. Carolinian

      Agreed. Those of us in the peanut gallery know that there’s one person this blog can’t do without and it’s not us. I see the comment section as a collective attempt to think things through–never an attack on the site itself.

      1. Keith Newman

        Agree absolutely. Take the time you need to recover. Shut down comments if need be. I wonder what you caught. Here in Quebec Public Health is saying non-Covid flu-like illness is way down.

    5. Phil Dickson

      Just as a matter of interest Yves,have you ever got speech-to-text to work?
      And,you’re the queenpin here so protect yourself.

  2. cocomaan

    Air Force New Fighter Jet: Secret 6th Generation Fighter Details

    Recently my wife and I watched “The Pentagon Wars,” a great movie about Pentagon spending that has not aged at all. Highly recommended. Well, aged on cost. Very cute that they were worried about $15 billion in wasted spending. Adorable.

    After watching I did some research on the turkey F-35. The operational lifespan of the F-35 is projected to go as far as 2070. That’s not mentioned in this article, but the development of yet another jet seems to put a lie to the 2070 figure.

    The best part of the article:

    Still, NGAD enters a crowded shopping basket. Over the next 10 years, the Air Force is committed to buying and developing, if necessary, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-15EX Advanced Eagle, B-21 Raider strategic bomber, T-7 Red Hawk jet trainer, KC-46 Pegasus tanker, and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ballistic missile.

    I didn’t even know we still worried about having bombers. Why bother? We have ballistic missiles. F35 is supposed to be able to deliver bombs too. Probably a holdover from the Curtis LeMay days when he wanted bombers built at all costs and destroyed everyone else’s programs (including trying to kill the SR71 blackbird spy plane, which I’d argue is way more important in the nuclear age) in favor of them.

    By the way, I really like how we can plan military projects out 50 years, but the rest of government can’t plan out regulations or a budget for more than six months at a time.

    1. Wukchumni

      I sent an e-mail to Naval Air Station Lemoore, requesting that the F-35 squadron there paint the planes in a jaundiced shade of citrus theme, being in the heart of where lots of citrus is grown, though not primarily lemons.

      If that isn’t appropriate, I asked them to rename the base NAS Lemon, it’d be such an easy fix.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I understand that those F-35s are going to receive a multi-billion dollar upgrade as part of the Enhanced Dominance Series Escort Leader program.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I’m guessing that continuing the ability to deliver munitions from aircraft is a cost-limitation agenda in the context of forever small wars. Not a hopeful prospect.

      1. John

        I woud bet that remotely operated drones can/will be developed with the ability to deliver any munitions you like at a fraction of the cost of a manned aircraft.

        1. Bill Smith

          Eventually. But it won’t be for a while. Someone relying on dones in a contested aerial environment is going to be disappointed these days.

          The Israeli pilots who have flown the F-35 into contested airspace speak highly of it. They are not, however, not paying to operate it by the hour.

          1. Synoia

            The Israeli pilots who reported to have flown the F-35….

            1. Yes, they are much better than Hezbollah’s airplanes.

            2. Are the the pilots saying that or is it the US dependent senior members of the IDF?
            3. Saying anything else could be a career limiting move for a pilot

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Great book. Glad to see it’s now available free. At least half of the writers (Christie, Wheeler, Richards, Sprey and Spinney) were associates and/or proteges of Col. John Boyd, the driver of the only serious Pentagon reform movement of the last century.

    3. Bill Smith

      The B-52 is still operating after 60 years. Many other aircraft types have become operational since then.

      I took the article pretty close to along the lines that I do with all those articles that have come out over the last 4 – 5 yeas that are attributed to anonymous officials. This time the official is not anonymous but the story pretty much is.

      The US has built a number of aircraft that were secret at the time. A bunch of them never went into operational use.

      1. campbeln

        This reads as a counter to the Chinese(?) story of the 6th Gen fighter from 6-ish months ago if one were to ask me.

        1. Procopius

          ??? Counter to the Chinese story? I don’t understand you. The F-35 has been under development since 1995. There have been stories criticizing parts of it every couple of years. I believe the helmet still does not work, and in combat environments the plane still has an availability of only 20%.That’s considered a great success, by the way, because it was much worse. We don’t know how bad the Russian and Chinese fighters are. The intelligence agencies have never provided reliable information — at least to the public — but neither of those nations can afford to throw billions of dollars into projects that don’t work. Heck, we don’t even know if the “hypersonic cruise missiles” are real or are just CGI videos faked by the Russians.

  3. zagonostra

    That look in the eye’s of today’s antidote cat pic fits nicely with Yve’s nasty mood, must be her doppelgänger…get well.

  4. jackiebass

    I have discovered as you get older you more often come down with unknown viruses that make you feel bad for a few days. Hopefully this is you case. Get well soon.

  5. Juneau

    Yves I hope you feel better soon. I got strep after ‘rona earlier in the year and it was miserable-massive sore throat and swollen glands. Doc said I got it at the grocery store in all likelihood.
    I am not IM, but from my enhanced interest in the subject I have learned that there are at least 3 types of immune responses with Covid, innate (which babies have, you fight it off before the antibodies even get made), t cell (white cell response that doesn’t create spike protein antibody) and the antibody response. According to WHO most people have a detectable antibody response but those who don’t probably have fought it with innate immunity and t cell immunity. Each type is caused by different white cells/immune cells. Take care.
    source: slide 17

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Haha! That cat seems to be projecting its level of physical skill onto the toddler, which is also interesting. The toddler clearly can’t pull itself up to get through the rails, but that cat isn’t taking any chances.

        1. SufferinSuccotash

          Cat probably read something about Conor Clapton. That grownup in the foreground doesn’t seem very bright.

        2. satterle

          Is this the same cat and kid in that video of a cat preventing the kid from falling down the stairs? It sure looks the same ones video

      1. c_heale

        Don’t want to comment again, but feel a bit more time off would help this. What about comments on Links being on every other day?

      2. ChrisPacific

        That can be particularly annoying because you don’t feel it justifies a proper rest, so you keep doing everything you normally do, you just feel awful doing it. Hope you feel better soon.

    1. Pat

      I don’t recognize that feeling. Naha./s

      Thanks for the video. Beautiful dogs, and a very smart mama. Pretty sure there was some early herding training in that game.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Navalny Kept in Custody Ahead of Sunday Protests”

    Navalny has been in the news a lot lately but mainly because he is wanting it to be so. Fortunately the redoubtable Mark Ames has dug up a 45 second video showing everybody what Navalny is all about because, well, Navalny stars in it. In watching it, remember that this is the person that the US and the EU want to be running Russia. Trump would have had a lot in common with him-

      1. JBird4049

        The United States has been using the playbook successfully for over a century now so why not keep using?

        The same old same old.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Yes, that’s quite a revealing video. But I’m not sure that Navalny’s opinion of people from the Caucasus is much different from that of many ordinary Russians. Despite his low polling figures, Navalny has touched a nerve and has the authorities thoroughly spooked. They raided his apartment and are pulling out all the stops to deter a strong turnout on Sunday 31 January. It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope things don’t spin out of control.

  7. zagonostra

    >Suck It, Wall Street Matt Taibbi (furzy)

    I like how Taibbi associates the market and the ballot box with respect to sheer numbers, though it seems to me that for the ballot, like the market, the numbers are restricted to a small subset of the whole.

    They’ve seen first that our markets are basically fake, set up to artificially accelerate the wealth divide, and not in their favor. Secondly they see that the stock market, like the ballot box, remains one of the only places where sheer numbers still matter more than capital or connections. And they’re piling on, and it’s delicious, not so much because they’re right, but because the people running for cover are so wrong, and still can’t admit it.

    1. Carolinian

      I know nothing about finance but this story sounds like yet another episode of “it’s ok when we do it.” Perhaps that can be the new US motto–put it on the dollar bill.

      1. fresno dan

        January 29, 2021 at 10:11 am
        a little background on short selling and piggly wiggly
        With this success, Saunders began licensing the Piggly Wiggly name out to other retailers. Unfortunately, some of these retailers in the northeast began going out of business in the fall of 1922, all while using the Piggly Wiggly name. Traders on Wall Street heard of these closings and decided that they had an opportunity on their hands. They began shorting Piggly Wiggly while also spreading rumors that the parent corporation was in trouble. Within a week the price dropped from $50 to $40 a share.

        When Clarence Saunders got word of these rumors he got angry. Piggly Wiggly was doing fine, yet these traders on Wall Street were trying to ruin him. As a result, Sanders publicly announced that he would “beat the Wall Street professionals at their own game.” Sanders had never bought another stock before in his life, but he was determined to teach Wall Street a lesson. Immediately Sanders took out a $10 million loan sourced from various banks, stuffed his suitcase and pockets full of cash, and boarded a train to New York City.

        What happened next was one of the wilder days in Wall Street history. Piggly Wiggly opened at $75 and kept ripping upward. The shorts were forced to buy at $90, then $100, then $105. By noon the price was $124. Though the price was rising, there was very little volume in Piggly Wiggly because there was basically no one to buy from except Saunders. The shorts were cornered and only had until the next day (Wednesday) to deliver their shares. But then, the rules changed.
        He had lost. Wall Street had won.

        While the exchange was legally allowed to halt trading of Piggly Wiggly, scholars still debate whether the extension of the short seller deadline was within their rights. Either way, Saunders’ corner ultimately failed. In the aftermath, a wave of support grew for Saunders across the country. People were enamored with the man from Tennessee who took on Wall Street. Unfortunately, this adulation didn’t translate into financial assistance. Saunders eventually declared bankruptcy.

        In the end, Saunders will go down as the man who pulled off “The Last Great Corner.” If there is a lesson in Saunders’ story it is a timeless one—when they start to lose, they change the rules!

        1. ambrit

          The essence of a “rigged game.”
          I read about the evolution of the “game of chance” called roulette. Curiously enough, Google will not show any information, (in a quick search,) about what I seem to remember about the American casinos adding a second ‘Zero,’ or a ‘Double Zero’ slot to the wheel. European roulette wheels only have one Zero slot, American wheels have two. This increases the house edge in American betting on Roulette.
          Wiki on Roulette:
          Using the “Piggly Wiggly” example as a guide, I’ll feel confident to say that new “Regulations” for day traders and the like will soon arrive.

        2. Pelham

          Thanks for the Piggly Wiggly story!

          Separately, didn’t someone in the past few years propose setting up a stock market that would require actual investments and bar speculation such as high-frequency trading?

        3. Carolinian

          Yes thanks. Piggly Wiggly is famously the destination of the movie Miss Daisy. They did still have some in Atlanta but never here.

    2. Glen

      One of the ironies of this whole affair is that hating Wall St and billionaires is NOT an issue that Americans are divided on.

      I wonder how that happened?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Hard to believe that photo of pitchforks, swords, crowbars, sledgehammers and bullhorns made it past the internet “hate speech” and “violence” woke watchdogs.

      I hope aoc and madame pelosi were not too “frightened.”

      One of my favorite bits in an article loaded with them:

      “I’m not sure everybody fully understands what’s happening here,” was the melancholy comment on CNBC of Wall Street’s famed fluffer-in-chief, Andrew Ross Sorkin. The author of Too Big to Fail added in pedagogic tones that while this “stick it to the man moment” might feel good, betting up the value of GameStop above Delta Airlines just isn’t right, because “there are no fundamentals here”:

      Fundamentals? How much does Sorkin think his exalted Delta Airlines would be worth now, if the Fed hadn’t stopped its death plunge last March? How much would any of the airlines be worth in the Covid age, with their fleets of mothballed jets? What a joke!

      So heartwarming to hear such concern for the proles from the “fundamentals,” “forward guidance,” “earnings estimates,” “non-GAAP,” “one-time charges,” “beat by a penny” crowd. Someone should invent a better word than “joke.”

        1. RMO

          Where are the “fundamentals” that justify Tesla having a market cap equal to Toyota, VW, Daimler, GM, BMW, Honda and Ford combined? The stock market is insane, your only hope is that the insanity benefits you personally somehow.

    4. chuck roast

      And this line is an absolute classic:

      “Also just like 2008, there are calls for the government to investigate the people deemed responsible for unapproved market losses.”

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Yea, verily, only approved losses may really happen. . . .

        “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is not being allowed in this establishment.”

  8. Wukchumni

    This is one hell of a tale…

    In late October 1959, a Mexican spy named Eduardo Diaz Silveti slipped into the US Embassy in Mexico City. Tall and well-spoken with slicked-back hair, Silveti, 30, descended from a family of bullfighters. He had learned spycraft at the Federal Security Directorate, or DFS, Mexico’s secret police. During the Cold War, the capital had become so overrun by Communist spies that the CIA had enlisted the help of the Mexican secret services in their fight against the Soviet Union. “I had to go … to the seventh floor,” Silveti recalled during an interview with Tercer Milenio, a Mexican television program that aired in 2019. “And there was Scott.”

    Winston Scott, 49, was the first secretary of the US Embassy. That was his cover; he was also the CIA’s most revered spymaster in Latin America. Secrets were a stock-in-trade for the silver-haired Alabaman: a former FBI cryptographer, he had arrived in Mexico City in 1956 and turned the CIA station into one of the most successful counterespionage operations in the world. He tapped the phones of the Soviet and Cuban embassies, controlled the airport, and even recruited Mexico’s President López Mateos as a valuable informant, marshaling the cruel and corrupt spies of the DFS into foot soldiers in America’s war with Moscow. He had called Silveti to his office, according to the Mexican, to offer him a top-secret mission that was “tremendously necessary for the United States.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well that tale explains something I read and wondered about. NASA should not have copied the CIA plans so faithfully in the early sixties as some of their satellites had an imprint of a hammer and sickle on the inner door. Somebody should have told NASA that that was not really needed as part of the design. :)

    2. Fireship

      The CIA really are amongst the lowest of degenerate scum. Spiking people with LSD? Abusing sex workers? Working with psychotic murders and torturers? I hope that story was not intended to make them seem cool because to a non-sociopath it makes them seem like depraved buffoons, a cross between Ted Bundy and Inspector Clouseau.

  9. Kevin Smith

    re: Experts say serology tests unreliable, as immunity doesn’t require antibodies Times of Israel
    We check for antibodies because we CAN check for antibodies quite cheaply and easily.
    T-cell mediated immunity is much more complex, expensive and time consuming to check for so — guess what — we don’t use it much in clinical practice. That may change as it becomes more practical and cost-effective to check T-cell mediated resistance [to viruses, for example] but we’re not there yet.

    1. Lee

      I had the serology antibody test in May 2020 because I had rather serious and long lasting respiratory infection that after 4 weeks finally cleared in mid February. The test result was negative but I’ve had suspicions that it wasn’t accurate.

      In other news, I held off scheduling a vaccination, hoping the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would prove as effective as the mRNA vaccines. Turns out now that it is only 75% effective, so I just signed up for the first shot in late March for either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

      Given the recent indications of viral mutations toward greater transmissibility, virulence, and possible vaccine resistance, I’m figuring to have to keep the hatches battened down for another year.

      1. Shonde

        You may be interested in a comment on a Mpls Tribune article regarding the J & J vaccine. Do not be put off by the current percentage effectiveness per Michael Osterholm.

        Zekeman10 commented, “Heard Osterholm this morning. He said all these companies report their effectiveness based on a 60-day time frame. With the J & J shot, Osterholm said the percentages for their shot will probably rise over an increased amount of time, so much so that it may end up eventually being better that the current two shots formulas that are currently out there. It’s based on how the shot interacts with the human body. So bottom line, if you can get the J&J shot, get it. Don’t wait thinking it will be a better deal to get one of the two-dose shots.”

        1. Lee

          Thanks. If 100% of a population were to receive a vaccination with a 75% or greater efficacy rate, that would produce a great improvement in case and fatality rates. Also, taking into account that some portion of the population have pre-existing immunity or resistant, I’m assuming we could then achieve herd immunity.

          I now intend to get any approved, available vaccine at my earliest opportunity.

          1. Cuibono

            I think the term herd immunity gets used in many different ways. We don’t see herd immunity to the common cold in terms of the most widely used understanding of herd immunity, “resistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination.” So i am not sure we should necessarily expect it here.
            we can well hope to decrease severe disease I think.

  10. Tom Stone

    Some decades ago I was ‘privileged” enough to interact with the wealthy on several occasions, since I was there I was assumed to belong.
    I learned that there are “Real People” who belonged to that class, and “Those People” who did not.
    If you need a regular income you are one of “Those People” , something American society is making brutally clear.

    1. chuck roast

      Many years ago I used to make it a habit to go to the laundromat on a Saturday nite on the premise that there would be one or two honeys around who were not out on “date-nite.” And it was a great equalizer to both be washing your skivvies. Anyway, I once chatted up this one cutie who told me that she played tennis. Then she told me, however modestly, that she was the state women’s champ. I had seen a couple write-ups about her, and I dug her because she was a working class girl from near the city who was sticking it the swells.

      She told me that her dad always encouraged her, and he went to all of her matches that he could. She went on about an occurrence at one of her tourneys. Her dad was sitting in the stands next to two women who were chatting about her. “Yes”, said one of the women, “her father works for a living.”

      1. JBird4049

        Wonder what they would have said about farmers, fieldworkers, cannery workers, factory workers, carpenters, and warehouse workers? All those necessary jobs that build, maintain, and feed civilization.

        I also wonder how some people justify being parasites all their lives while looking down at those doing the work needed for their survival. Must be nice to be so narcissistic and shallow while well fed, clothed, and housed.

        1. Procopius

          If you’re really curious, you should read Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Liesure Class. He explains that this is the same motivation as the aristocracy of old, Certain occupations were considered “noble,” the military and the priesthood. Anything that involved actually producing something was demeaning.

          1. JBird4049

            Anything that involved actually producing something was demeaning.

            Which is some twisted s***. Being productive is dishonorable or bad while anything unproductive is honorable or good.

            That might explain our 10% idea that they are the “smart” and “competent” ones and everyone else are the stupid, lazy, bigoted ones. It might be caricature, but it does offer an explanation of the actions of some people.

  11. Wyoming

    re: old people and the internet and getting a covid vaccination appointment.

    I posted for the earlier NC query on my trouble getting an appointment. Now I have one – the issue?

    I told a Dr. friend of mine while walking the dogs I could not get an appointment. He was very puzzled as he said there is vaccine. So a couple of hours later he calls me on the phone with the correct link to use to make an appointment. Turns out the appointment link posted on the County web site was incorrect and had been for many days and no one seemed to know it…….you would have thought they might have noticed when no one was making any appointments….jeeze. So I am signed up for Mon morning.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Educator Shocked that GOP put Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke of Assassinating Nancy Pelosi and denied Parkland School Shootings, on House Education Committee”

    This is a sad, sad woman this. If she wasn’t in Congress, she might have been part of the recent Capital Hill riots. Looking at the image in that article of her with a rifle and with three members of the squad, I think that she was trying to get that ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ look. (checks image) Nah! About a year ago she was following school-shooting survivor David Hogg around the streets and harassing him. He actually did the smart thing and kept on walking as it is not a kindness to confront the clinically insane-

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      She is exactly what was predicted 10 years ago when Karl Rove rolled out his REDMAP gerrymandering scheme. Republican incumbents feel they have no one to fear but the far right, and if they ever forget that, Charles Koch is there, triumphant in a muscle suit, holding aloft the bloody severed head of Eric Cantor.

      Now they are all racing, hell for leather, for the deepest recesses of the madness; a herd of foaming rabid Gohmerts (or in my case, here in Huntsville, Mo Brooks).

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      January 29, 2021 at 8:51 am

      Out of the population of the US, I would expect a few to be reality challenged. What I find disturbing, is, who voted for this woman and why?
      1. Did the people who voted for Greene not know of what she professes?
      2. The voters agree with what she says?
      3. There is some other issue that is of over whelming importance to the voters and Greene was the only one who supported that issue?
      4. There was no alternative – Greene was the best candidate when compared to the alternatives? NOTE: remember that Trump faced ?18? other republicans in the 2016 primaries, and republicans thought he was the best representative for the republican party. I would come back to the illusion of choice in our political system – when the “choice” we had was Hillary and Trump, it says something about how the nominating process works. That was the best we could do
      5. When you find out what fellow citizens and neighbors think – it is very, very scary…

  13. Pat

    Pretty sure the cat has done this before. The person filming seemed to know what was coming. Which could add another layer of annoyance in that glance the cat throws the person laid out on the couch watching/recording.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Solar power got cheap. So why aren’t we using it more? Popular Science (resilc). What about “switching costs” don’t you understand? As well as “What about not having enough reliable sunlight some/a lot of the year?”

    A lot of it comes down to connection/grid issues, but there is also an element of arbitrage going on – put simply, suppliers are hoping to take advantage of government panic over climate change. Here in Ireland about 2GW of solar capacity is lined up for installation – all the land agreements and necessary grid connection and permits are completed – but the industry is essentially holding out for bigger grant incentive schemes from the government. Probably correctly, they assume that at some stage the government will decide that it needs the power and so will increase subsidies. Right now, they are staring each other down to see who cracks first.

    And yes, solar is suitable for Ireland, surprisingly enough Ireland gets more sunshine than most countries, it just tends to be accompanied by cold wind and showers. Solar works particularly well because its a good complement to wind – when its dark and wintry, the wind blows, but when high pressure zones park over the country in winter or summer, you get very little wind, but lots of sunshine. And long summer days in the northern hemisphere give a good energy output from morning to mid-evening. So even with a massive expansion of wind energy underway (Ireland exports a lot of power these days), there is always scope for significant solar power. Existing gas CCGT capacity is used as the backup. Most other fossil fuel plants (coal and peat) are being closed or mothballed.

    Another big advantage of solar is that it can be scaled to match existing grid capacity, which is a huge cost advantage. Or put another way, you can build your solar plant up to the scale of the nearest power line. The industry here was offering farmers 2K euro per hectare per annum for suitable land, the only requirement being that there was at least a 32KV line within a few hundred metres of the site. This compares to the average profit of around 1K per hectare for a high productivity dairy farm, so you can see why the farmers were keen. You can even keep sheep on the land when the panels are built, they save on grass mowing costs.

    1. Lex

      Is solar and wind capacity translating into lower prices for Irish consumers? (I raised an eyebrow at Ireland exporting power.)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Wind is certainly lowering prices in the longer term, although obviously with gas prices so low, its hard even for cheap renewables to compete. There is minimal solar capacity installed right now. As of me writing this post, there is a significant import from UK grid (a major dip in wind mid-afternoon today), with around 45% of power over the last few hours coming from wind (most of the rest from natural gas). But mostly the Irish grid (north and south, they are interconnected) is a net exporter.

        Most exports are to the UK grid, but there are active proposals for a direct connection to France. Interconnection is the prime way the Irish grid balances out renewables loads, although it also has a lot of storage, mostly from one very large pump storage scheme dating back to the early 1970’s.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      For home solar DIY, this youtuber has really, really detailed and informative videos: Will Prowse.
      His focus might be on mobile systems, like an RV or camper van, but he also discusses home systems. He seems to have a good eye for quality, and will describe where manufacturers cheap out on their internals.
      He also discussed building a battery system to stay off grid on days where the sun is fickle.

      1. RMO

        The sailing magazines and sites have a lot of information that would apply to off the grid too, including what people have done to manage year round even in the 49th parallel region of North America. Most of it should be applicable – towed water generators being about the only thing I can think of that would be unusable on land.

    3. Rod

      In FIVE (5) years, in one of the prime locations for Solar in the entire USofA

      Nine schools in Virginia, one in North Carolina and six in South Carolina will have the unique chance to learn firsthand about harnessing solar energy from a solar array installed right outside the classroom. The program, which started in 2015 with four public schools, now includes a museum and 33 (Thirty Three) different schools.

      Thousands of Public Schools having flat roofs with fortified Bar Joist and 33 Public Institutions, in THREE (3) States, have them??

      Maybe relying on Private Utilities to donate them is the wrong way to demonstrate to all those impressionable young minds the Capacity of the Public’s Institutions. Just saying…

    4. JohnnySacks

      The missing piece to the renewable puzzle is load leveling. The combination of wind and solar helps address the problem, but it’s not fully reliable. My take for what it’s worth is that we’re still in the infancy of how to manage energy storage and overly obsessed with batteries because they’re currently such a simple and therefore lazy solution. That mindset is not going to scale well. Where’s USA in the game? All the up front work is being done by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and BMW for vehicles. I’m hoping water hydrolysis and hydrogen fuel cell technology can advance to the point where banks of fuel cells can be brought online to ramp up and down to meet the demands imposed by fluctuating inputs of sun and wind. And USA will be lagging.

    5. GiveMeMoreEnergy

      The issue is storage (battery or any technology) take the good US of A and use the highest peak consumption [1] (416TWh for July, divide by 31 to get an estimate for highest daily consumption) 13TWh for one day, let say battery have to cover 12h of that, so you need 6.5TWh in storage and 13TWh in daily production (assuming your solar panel only produce during 12h, again this is all simplification for back of the envelop calculation).

      Biggest battery storage [2] is 100MWh or 0.0001TWh for 3 hours [2] so you need 12/3=4 and 6.5/0.0001=65000 so total of 260000 installation like Hornsdale [3]. Each cost 120Million$ so we would need 31.2Trillions$ (not talking about running cost).

      If you look at how much lithium you need [4] at 0.15kg/kWh (best case) you end up needing 43MillionsTons in respect to known reserve of 17MillionsTons world wide [5] and identified of 80MillionsTons world wide [5]. Here we were just talking for what is needed by the USA.

      So quite frankly solar, wind or anything that need battery (or storage in any form) does not scale with our current energy consumption. This is all back of the envelop and in reality you will need much more resources and $ as you loose energy when storing electricity and you also loose energy when you “unstore” it. Not even talking about grid loss or all the other application that use battery today and need more and more battery each year.

      Also, this is just for electricity (which is in the 20% of all the energy we use) … Numbers just does not add up. We will not replace coal, gas, oil with solar and wind. We will just add more wind and solar on top of the energy we consume. We are junkies with energy. Solar and wind is just the latest dop on the corner, it just one more flavor for human to enjoy.

      Note that i wish it was possible to sustain our way of life but it just isn’t. Simple truth when you look at scale of thing, even more so when you consider all the country who want (rightfully) to live like us. We live in a world where everything we produce is trash (everything ever made by humans end up as trash one day or another) and there is no way to recycle any of it. Just look how much energy is needed to recycle metal or anything that can be, and look at the energy needed to burn everything we can not recycle. It does not add up. Energy is our drugs and its coming to an end one way or another. It ain’t gonna be pretty because we are so freaking high.


  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Air Force Secretly Designed, Built, and Flew a Brand-New Fighter Jet”

    A brand new fighter? Designed, built and tested within a year? Yeah, nah! Not buying it. The days of Skunkworks projects are long gone. Not enough opportunities for monetization in that process. I think I know what they did. When the Lockheed F-35 was being developed, it had a competitor called the Boeing X-32. As it turned out the F-35 won out and the only example of the X-32 was mothballed until it was restored for display at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. What’s the bet that they dug out the blueprints, filed off the serial numbers, slapped a new coat of paint on it and now have it flying-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      If the F-35 is a flying turkey, then the X-32 was definitely a flying piglet. Ugly, but… kinda adorable.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Interesting. They’d get to throw Boeing a lifeline, too — talk about maxing out their impact! . . .

  16. farmboy

    “For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.”
    — Gertrude Stein, Sun, Mercury, Venus & Saturn in #Aquarius opposite Uranus

  17. Terry Flynn

    Whilst playing hardball with the EU would normally be really stupid for Boris, I think the Guardian article exposes what he *believes* to be his ace up his sleeve – the Novavax vaccine. I believe the refusal to provide more of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine to the EU from the UK manufacturing plant reflects the thinking (which may or may not turn out to be on the nose) that EU cuts to exports of the other vaccines to UK are empty threats – “we’ll have novavax soon and crucially YOU won’t”.

    My mum’s cousin in Dublin is fuming at being at extremely high risk but can’t get vaccinated and although no lover of the UK, does think Ireland mistakenly allowed the big boys (France) to dominate at expense of UK link. After all, Sanofi have vaccine delays whilst Merck’s one with the Pasteur Institute is being abandoned. Meanwhile it’s the Anglo-Saxon world that will be buying Novavax.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The EU just released the contract documents with AstraZeneca, and it seems pretty cut and dried that it is contractually obliged to prioritise the EU in any supply shortfall. If it comes to a political battle, I can’t see Johnson winning this one, as there are increasing alternatives to the AZ vaccine (which, incidentally, has just been approved by the EU, despite German misgivings).

      Ireland has been slow off the mark with vaccination, although its not become a political issue, I think there is a general acceptance that it was better to delay a little to see how things shake out. It could become a big issue if Ireland is seen to be muscled out of supplies over the next few months. I think in these circumstances Ireland is wise to follow Bismark’s mantra ‘only a fool learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from others mistakes’.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks, hoped you would contribute. Yes I always thought AZ were playing with fire in terms of contracts and you’ve confirmed it. Your point that there are increasing alternatives is in line with what I *think* Boris is up to – the chart in the Guardian article shows he is gambling everything on Novavax as the “ace up the sleeve”. The EU has NO pre-existing major contract for significant amounts of this vaccine.

        If Novavax proves not to be a “nothing burger” then there is a risk that those countries that backed it look like winners (largely Anglo-Saxon ones) whilst those that “backed the EU line” (much more heavily dependent upon French pharmaceuticals/collaborations) look like losers.

        I stress I’m not defending Boris – but I think those charts give us good explanation as to why AZ have definitely overplayed (been “encouraged to?) their hand.

  18. flora

    Chris Arnade on GameStop

    The lesson taken away by those losers, and everyone else not on Wall Street, is more important, insightful, and dangerous though. It will be that there isn’t a meritocracy, or at least a justified one. It will be that everyone is just playing games. Those at the top get to dress up their game, even though it is destructive to everyone else, as legitimate, call playing it a career, and get rewarded mightily for it. Others, like them, have to make it a hobby, and even though it is just harmless fun, get scolded for it.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘Long Covid’ still puzzles doctors but treatment is possible”

    Can’t help but wonder what happens to all those people after the pandemic eventually passes. Do they become unemployable? How will they get along medically while trying to make a living? Are their name being collected from places like support groups so that they can be black-listed for future jobs. No good answers here.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      A friend of mine has quite serious long covid since April – both his parents died from it. I suspect he got a very high dose while caring for them at home. He’s had to go on long term sick leave. He is fortunate to work for a public body that will be patient with him, but those who work for smaller or more ruthless companies may have a real issue.

    2. Pelham

      That 76% figure from Wuhan for long-Covid sufferers ought to be setting off giant alarm bells and sirens. This phenomenon gets coverage to some degree but not nearly enough.

      If people knew that if they get this super-communicable disease they have a 3 in 4 chance of never, ever completely recovering or that they’ll suffer long-term, enormously debilitating damage to major organs — including their brains — I think we’d all be taking the pandemic more seriously. It might even be enough to sober up the deniers and anti-vaxxers.

        1. wadge22

          Note it’s 3/4 of those hospitalized and discharged in that study. So not the asymptomatic, the stayers home, nor the dead.

          Obviously long covid is a terrifying outcome that we need to find out why it happens, how much it happens, and how to stop it. Just like dying from covid.
          But I sometimes feel that a horrible outcome upon contraction is painted as too certain around here. Unnecessary fear is unhealthy and unhelpful.

          Anecdata: where I work 3 people (of 30ish employees) have gotten the disease (I am one, btw). All had “flu like” experiences (in severity, not exact symptoms), recovered and were (expected) back to work after the 10 days required from positive test. All had lingering smell/taste issues for another month or so, but I haven’t heard of anything else. We can double that sample size, too, as in each case the wife or girlfriend had the same outcome (all of us caught it independently from our s/o, who all have to work outside of the home as well). None of us passed it to anyone at work. Age range 22(ish) to 35 (my lady and me).
          Also note, one wife (the first couple to contract) works in a retirement home, and they say that deaths there were horrendous. I don’t have numbers or know the place she works.

          Be safe… don’t get the disease… protect others with your own actions… everything we should all know if we follow this blog. But don’t be fearful so that it breeds even more fear. That’s another disease.

          1. Pelham

            Good counterpoint to what I said. But I’ve also read that even asymptomatic covid sufferers sustain major damage to their lungs and that sustained “brain fog” is also a common problem after mild cases.

            The key, though, is how common such long-term consequences are. And we don’t know whether they’re actually permanent, so that’s another point worth emphasizing.

            But your points are certainly valid. I just wish to heck that about a year into this mess we were achieving some definitive clarity on all of this.

  20. Jason Boxman

    So when vaccines protect against “severe disease”, which seems to imply hospitalization, do we know if there are nonetheless any lingering issues? We know that it’s possible to be entirely asymptomatic, for example, recover, and yet have lung or vascular damage, that is only revealed by diagnostic test.

    Is there any data on how this plays out with vaccines where someone that is vaccinated fully nonetheless has ‘not severe’ disease?

  21. ChiGal in Carolina

    What consent and comity?

    McConnell is a thug. After among so many other things, the Merrick Garland/Amy Coney Barrett hypocrisy? He will be in charge if Dems let him be in charge. High time for that to change.

    1. ambrit

      Full agreement from here.
      The Dem Rep dynamic has consistently been a “Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the Football” one.
      Appropriately enough, the Biden Administration’s calls for ‘Bipartisanship,’ and comity, being yet another iteration of a manifestly failed strategy, do fit the general definition of insanity.
      Will it come out as being incompetence, malice, or both?

      1. a different chris

        Yeah but that’s the thing: the Rethugs don’t use polling to tell them what to do, they tell them what to attack.

        The Dems: “Oh polls show everybody hates A, so we’re not going to worry about the R’s attempts to push A”.

        The R’s: “Oh polls show everybody hates A, lets drill down on how we can change that!”.

        If DC should be a state and the SC should be quite a bit larger* then figure out how to explain that to the more benighted members of We, The People rather than just folding on it. Or asserting it as a God-given fact and losing, also. The Dem Party folds and the activists get on the TeeVee rather than doing real work and this is what we get (or don’t get). Putting up legislation out of the blue is the most awesome way to fold I can imagine, btw.

        *see, I’ve already avoided the “packed” framing because the SC has been 9 justices since 1869, when the population was 1/10 what it was now… should we only have the same numbers of colleges now as we did in 1869?

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        The first cited poll in the Turley piece in your link shows a slim majority of the US – 52% – supports DC statehood. The population of DC is roughly twice that of Wyoming. We are – supposedly – a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the acreage, by the acreage, and for the acreage.

        The Dems should use their late 20th century minded President to attempt to govern like Democrats for a change. By 2022 a Republican “managed” 2020 Census will bring more Republican favoring gerrymanders across the nation. The Democrats’ inevitable losses in 2022 will be spun as a repudiation of Biden and Democrat priorities, rather than a reflection of decades of Southern strategy voter suppression. Dems might as well go for broke now.

        That’s on the off chance the Democrats are serious about statehood. Keep in mind that this gambit is likely designed to fail, and is just a sop to the Black voter base, not part of any righteous strategy to fully enfranchise nearly 3/4th of a million US citizens. But, if they’re finally trying to “pack” anything again, I say great. The usual suspects railing against it have grossly overinflated views of their own importance, and naked antipathy towards full citizenship for urban Black Americans.

        1. Carolinian

          Whether more justices would be a good thing (the Repubs might turn around and add still more) is open to debate but I don’t think it should happen by a one vote majority in the Senate–same for DC.

          LBJ once won by a huge landslide and got his Great Society. IMO the Dems need to work on their base before making such large changes. Sure Biden won by 7 million but how much of that was anti-Trump, not pro DC?

    2. Carla

      ChiGal: “McConnell is a thug.”

      Exactly. And a very smart one. Certainly smarter than any Democrat so far in office. I was afraid Joe Manchin would really be in charge of the Senate, but now I see that fear was groundless. Well, Joemala promised nothing would change.

  22. Lex

    ‘Suck It, Wall Street’ – Matt Taibbi

    “Do you really think it’s that serious?!”
    “Serious?! Serious, Bones? It upsets the whole percentage.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “Well, in a few years, the Iotians may demand…a piece of OUR action!”

    They did indeed.

  23. Rod

    South Carolina detects first US cases of coronavirus strain first seen in South Africa CNN (Kevin W)

    Even with Clemson’s failure, we have found a way to maintain ‘firsties’. Henry’s mis-leadership is Strong.

    Vital Statistics Database Issue Leads to Delay in COVID-19 Deaths Reported

    Due to this Vital Statistics system upgrade issue, today DHEC is announcing 254 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths for individuals who died over the last several weeks. A detailed breakdown of each death by date of occurrence is available here. The state’s fourth pediatric death is included in this reporting, occurring on January 23.

    DHEC had no Director for months.

  24. Pat

    Anecdote here.

    Went to pick up an order from a neighborhood restaurant. (Nice place, lovely people, they deserve support.) I was a little early, and while I was waiting, three people arrived and wanted to use the out door eating shed. It was slow and the waitress stopped the woman from chaining her bike outside the shed and told her to bring it in. While they were wedging it behind the table, she said to me: “It’s a nice bike, she could lose it. They have broken into the restaurant twice recently. People need money.”

    I have no doubt that crime is on the rise. I would be surprised if it is localized in large urban areas like mine. We know people are losing their homes, their businesses, their jobs, and yet it is apparently only now penetrating the lizard brains of a few of our politicians that people 1. Need more than $600 or even $1400 dollars. And 2. They need it on a regular basis. Even worse, many of their colleagues aren’t even that aware and think nothing has to happen except vaccinations so we can open things up like nothing has died, no one is overwhelming in debt to landlords or banks. Because Pfizer And Moderna aren’t just shots but a whole lot of fairy dust making them and their donors richer so all is right withhthe world.

    1. ambrit

      Woke up last night to hear arguing people fairly close by, at four o’clock in the morning of a cold (for here) night. The experience was unsettling once I figured out that I was apprehensive about those voices. I haven’t felt frightened of faceless strangers very much before.
      Morlocks and Eloi, here we come!

      1. Offtrail

        I can’t tell you how that literary allusion warms my heart. At the age of 66 I find that most of the books I grew up admiring have been forgotten, along with their authors.

        1. ambrit

          Aye. I’m a year younger than you and still have a preference for the ‘older’ stories.
          Now, I am probably labouring under the constraints of an age related bias, but am I being overly biased in favour of the older literature? Were the old days ‘better’ in terms of literary output, or am I just remembering the high points?
          Authors like Henry James, whose brother was an influential scientist and philosopher in his own right, Wells, Cabell, Stevenson, Conrad, etc. etc. mixed philosophical themes with ‘popular’ literature. Yet, publishing then was still a business. Pulp fiction was named after the cheap paper that those magazines was printed on. It was cheap in order to be affordable, indeed, the original ‘throw away’ literature.
          My basic test of the “worth” of a piece of literature is whether or not I would take the time to re-read it.
          On the other hand, I have read so much escapist junque that I sometimes fear for my sanity.
          NC is an excellent remedy for that sort of vice.
          Stay safe!

  25. Shonde

    Regarding “German officials say AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be given to over-65s, citing lack of data”, those German officials need to look at the still unapproved Johnson and Johnson vaccine since, according to a story in today’s Mpls. Tribune, “A third of participants were over age 60, and more than 40% had other illnesses putting them at risk of severe COVID-19, including obesity, diabetes and HIV.”

    1. Count Zero

      I see the EU CEOs are taking a leaf out of the Trump book of political chicanery.

      The EU vaccine strategy has been slow and incompetent, both in the development of vaccines and in their approval and distribution. The British strategy has been, so far, surprisingly effective at every level. So let’s start a minor war with the British and divert blame to those Brexit bastards and Astra Zeneca. You can imagine how well this is all going down in the UK, even among those who voted to remain and had some continuing regrets about Brexit.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Worth catching up on more recent developments if you have not already. It is more complex than you suggest. And the right-wing English newspapers are of course applying their usual spin techniques.

  26. John Hacker

    A beautiful day in NC. Sorry you are under the weather, wait for your shot and feel more fatigue. Fatuous, a stunning vocabulary selection. Chicken soup, feel better.

  27. Matthew

    RE: McConnell and being in charge, you missed a good Dune quote opportunity.

    “The people who can destroy a thing, they control it. ”

    – Paul Atreides

  28. Camelotkidd

    There was a meme a few years back during the Obama administration where liberals were encouraged to relate how they had lost a family member to Fox News propaganda.

    During the Trump administration the narrative managers flipped the script, with the New York Times taking on the role of Fox News.
    And now I’ve lost my friends and family to the Gray Lady. I wonder if I get a discount on my online subscription?
    While the Fox News watching cohort believed all of the rumors and innuendos about Obama’s citizenship, with the whole Birther thing, the friends and family reading the Times have come to believe all of the rumors and innuendos about Trump being a Russian agent and Putin specifically as some sort of super-villain who has personally soiled American democracy.
    If it wasn’t so disconcerting and frankly sad it would be quite funny. But I love my family and friends and struggle with how to confront them. Or not.

    I think a huge problem is the fracturing of information sources which has basically broken a certain fundamental consensus about reality. Narrative and reality are becoming further and further apart.

    A new article entitled–“Slouching Towards Post-Journalism”, helps make sense of the phenomenon. It describes how with the election of Trump the New York Times and other elite media outlets have openly embraced advocacy over reporting.

    “During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Times stumbled onto a possible answer. It entailed a wrenching pivot from a journalism of fact to a “post-journalism” of opinion—a term coined, in his /2020/11/11/postjournalism-from-the-world-as-it-is-to-the-world-as-it-should-be book of that title, by media scholar Andrey Mir. Rather than news, the paper began to sell what was, in effect, a creed, an agenda, to a congregation of like-minded souls. Post-journalism “mixes open ideological intentions with a hidden business necessity required for the media to survive,” Mir observes. The new business model required a new style of reporting. Its language aimed to commodify polarization and threat: journalists had to “scare the audience to make it donate.” At stake was survival in the digital storm.”

    A recent interaction with a dear friend has led me to write this in hope that readers can relate their own stories of Times reading liberals. Naked Capitalism, with its amazing commentariat, has been invaluable in providing proof that there are others like me and that I’m not alone. My sanity thanks all of you.

    I believe that a moral intellectual should spend his or her time criticizing their own country, especially when their own country is the most powerful and destructive government on earth. Critiquing another country, especially one that the dominant hegemon has been trying to absorb into its empire makes one an accomplice to propaganda.
    But, that’s just me.

    1. urblintz

      This is the essay that made people really sit up and take notice of Noam Chomsky:

      “With respect to the responsibility of intellectuals, there are still other, equally disturbing questions. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us. The responsibilities of intellectuals, then, are much deeper than what Macdonald calls the “responsibility of people,” given the unique privileges that intellectuals enjoy.”

  29. Wukchumni

    I’m proud (i’m sporting one hell of a grin) to announce the launch of Cheshire CatCoin today. Worry not about it disappearing and then reappearing only to accrue in valuation even though there’s nothing there. This is what makes a cryptocurrency so widely desired and thus, valuable.

  30. Cuibono

    “Scientists identify new COVID-19 drug that’s ‘27.5 times’ more effective than remdesivir”
    27.5 x 0 = zero last time i checked

  31. a different chris

    Oh hope you feel better — I too have had a few (short lived) symptoms of the common winter maladies, so yeah not sure where “we’re all totally healthy” comes from. I did not get my yearly flu, however.

    I do have to point out that you were a bit harsh on the Popular Science article, it says right in there:

    In addition to being already heavily invested in fossil fuels, there is a lot of inertia in the system due to long-term contracts between utilities, energy producers, and mining companies…..Sun and wind aren’t consistent throughout the day or the year, and sometimes the best places for power don’t actually have many people living there.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    In the Taibbi article, I read this . . . .

    . . . . . “Short-sellers are not inherently antisocial. They can be beneficial to society, instrumental in rooting out corruption and waste in whole sectors like the subprime industry, or in single companies like Enron. Moreover, the wiping out of such funds isn’t necessarily to be cheered. Sorkin correctly notes that many hedge funds invest on behalf of entities like pension funds, though maybe they shouldn’t, given their high cost and relatively mediocre performance, as I’ve noted before.”

    If we lived in the bloodless world described in economics and finance textbooks, I would agree. But in the OverClass-biased political-economic Mortal Klass Kombat world we actually live in, I must very respectfully demur from what Taibbi has written here.

    This demonstration of the power of a lower-class horde to injure an upper class player is more valuable to society than any ” corruption discovery” function which might be impaired by impairing the function of short-selling. And if these lower-class hordesters can actually exterminate hedge fund after hedge fund after hedge fund from existence, that will be more valuable to society than a total loss of the “corruption discovery” function of the defeated process of short-selling.

    The millions of people who have very carefully been marinated in a 24/7 total sensurround vat of Learned Helplessness will discover and attain the opposite of Learned Helplessness. ( We need a word for the opposite of Learned Helplessness. We need a better word for it than the leftish intellectual word ‘agency’). Millions of people who have discovered their own self-and-eachother helpishness can begin to exterminate upper class target after upper class target after upper class target. Eventually, they will get so many of these targets exterminated that they can shift the inter-class ” correlation of forces” in their own lower-class direction.

    And that is worth more than any ” corruption-discovery” functionality which may be lost along the way.

  33. Jon Cloke

    I love the idea of ‘fundamentals’ in a world where the Big 4 control 95% of global accounting and can give big firms whatever accounts they want, cos ‘management consultancy’….

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