Links 2/14/2021

A Field Guide to Heart-Shaped Foods New Yorker

14 Pink Animals That Wow and Woo TreeHugger

Kraft Introduces…Pink Mac and Cheese? Leite’s Culinaria

Chart: How Many People Are Looking for Love Online? The Wire

How a public uprising caused a province built on fossil fuels to reverse course on coal mining The Narwhal

Deepfake porn is ruining women’s lives. Now the law may finally ban it MIT Technology Review

Why Conspiracy Theories Are So Alluring New York Review of Books

The Problem With the Postcolonial Syllabus Chronicle of Higher Education

The detail that unlocks the Mona Lisa BBC

Pause. Reflect. Think Aeon

US top court clears way for accused Ghosn plotters’ extradition Al Jazeera

Japan’s rabbit island Okunoshima has a dark and deadly history SCMP

Last call for Istanbul’s meyhane bar culture? Qantara

Good Morning Heartache: The Life and Blues of Billie Holiday Vanity Fair

Covid-19: Five ways to avoid lockdown eye strain BBC


Tackling the COVID Hunger Crisis Project Syndicate

People Over 75 Are First in Line to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. The Average Black Person Here Doesn’t Live That Long. ProPublica

Merkel Loses Her Way, and Her Temper, in the Corona Crisis Der Spiegel

Coronavirus: India begins giving second dose of vaccines to those inoculated on January 16 Scroll

New Yorkers are fleeing to Palm Beach — and NYC businesses are following NY Post

Coverup claims engulf Cuomo as scandal over nursing home deaths grows Politico

End of life care in lockdown: how Covid has changed the way we say goodbye Metro UK

New Report Shows Where Economic Damage Has Been Worst Capital & Main

Canada Bans Cruising Until February 2022 AFAR

California adds millions to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list but frustrating waits, shortages loom LA Times

Luck, foresight and science: How an unheralded team developed a COVID-19 vaccine in record time USA Today
The COVID-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity to Ensure a More Successful Future for Science and Public Health JAMA

I first linked to the original article last week. Worth a read if you’ve not yet seen it.

California’s rainy season is starting about a month later than it did in the 1960s, researchers say LA Times

Climate graphic of the week: Saharan dust coats the ski slopes FT

How a Young Activist Is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change New Yorker

Class Warfare

A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons Marshall Project

New York police flood subway after spate of stabbings leaves two dead Reuters

Pressure Mounts for Caltrans to Sell 130 Vacant Homes Capital & Main

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

New York City’s Surveillance Battle Offers National Lessons Wured


A Complete Capitulation’: Outrage as Democrats Abruptly Back Off Push for Witnesses in Trump Trial Common Dreams

Furious Nancy Pelosi crashes press conference to tear into Mitch McConnell, rage at ‘cowardly’ Republican senators who voted to acquit Trump and shut down censure as a ‘slap on the face’ after Democrats fell 10 votes short of 67 needed to convict Daily Mail

Trump thanks senators who cleared him in ‘sad’ impeachment trial, talks of ‘work ahead of us’ NY Post

Trump Transition

Rotten to the Core? Foreign Affairs. From last month; the view from the Council on Foreign Relations is always germane. From the pen of the over-rated Francis Fukuyama.

New York Prosecutors Investigating Trump’s Manhattan Properties WSJ

Biden Transition

The Problem With “Anti-Corruption” Jacobin

Julian Assange

Biden DOJ Files Appeal to Get Assange Extradited Consortium News


UK-US Brexit trade deal ‘could fill supermarkets with cancer-risk bacon’ Guardian


Catalonia holds regional election, gauging separatists’ strength Reuters


When It Comes to Ganga’s Health, the Centre Has Ignored Several Key Reports The Wire

Economic ideology is the new binary in Indian politics as Modi swerves Right & Rahul Left The Print

Explaining India’s farmer uprising, the largest strike in human history Grayzone


Once upon a time on a Chinese New Year Information Clearing House. Pepe Escobar.

The Koreas

Poll: South Koreans Drift Further Away from Unification The Blue Roof


The Arab Spring failed but the rage against misery and injustice continues today Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Conspiracy Theories Are Caused By Government Secrecy Caitlin Johnstone

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. bassmule

    Re: Mona Lisa

    Jesus makes a distinction between the water that can be drawn from the natural spring – water which will inevitably leave one “thirsty” – and the “living water” that he can provide.

    Eau de vie? Usquebaugh? Was he a distiller?

    1. Michael Hudson

      In the 1950s an American medical journal (New England?) had an article saying that the Mona Lisa was smiling because she was pregnant.
      But then another doctor wrote in that she wasn’t wearing a marriage ring, and so was smiling because she WASN’T pregnant.

    2. km

      Probably not. Distillation of alcohol would not be discovered for some 1,200 years (by the Arabs, FWIW), unless He performed a miracle.

    3. Carolinian

      By placing his female sitter notionally inside the well, however, Da Vinci confounds the tradition, and suggests instead a merging of material and spiritual realms – a blurring of the here and hereafter – into a shared plane of eternal emergence. In Da Vinci’s enthralling narrative, Mona Lisa is herself a miraculous surge of “living water”, serenely content in the knowledge of her own raging infinitude.

      Or…it’s just a painting. I’ve seen the Mona Lisa beneath its thick pane of bulletproof glass. My life was not changed.

      1. Tom Bradford

        I can’t help thinking of that vase or faces-facing psychology test, photos of Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster or that ‘face-on-Mars” photo. If you’re so inclined you can see what you’re looking for that no-one’s seen before in a great many images. Especially if you’re a pretentious pr*ck looking to get your name about.

        “another doctor wrote in that she wasn’t wearing a marriage ring, and so was smiling because she WASN’T pregnant.”

        According to the article the lady was “24-year-old mother of five and wife of a wealthy Florentine silk merchant.” She’s probably smiling because she’s been able to leave the kids with the nurse for a few hours to sit for her portrait.

      2. Wukchumni

        Seeing a painting about the size of 4 postcards from too far away to really discern anything was quite underwhelming.

    4. divadab

      John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

      To the Rastas, the meaning is clear – what living water is physically produced by the human body? So the rasta who believes in the Savior and respects the spirit of love will continue in potency.

      Pretty compelling, doncha think?

      1. lordkoos

        While spending time in Jamaica I often heard the expression “living eye water” as a description of someone who was crying.

      2. Bruno

        According to R. Gordon Wasson (“Soma-The Magic Mushroom of Immortality”) the fungus *amanita muscaria*, or “Fly Agaric” (referred to in the Gospels as Baal-Zevuv, Fly-Lord, transliterated as “Beelzebub”) combines highly poisonous and highly psychedelic components. The shaman is one who has made herself resistant to the poisons so that the psychedelic medicine is expressed in his urine, which can then be drunk safely by the congregation. He cites the Vedas: “The Shaman is the Soma Press.”

    5. DJG, Reality Czar

      bassmule: Grappa turned up later. And I do recommend grappa if you have a few brain cells you’d like to sizzle.

      The article is interesting, although I think that the author hangs too much on the pun of “pozzetto,” a chair in the form of a well. When Italian painters wanted to pun visually, it usually wasn’t dependent on a piece of furniture.

      The “living water,” though, becomes an even more intriguing idea if we think of Leonardo trying to depict a kind of Jungian landscape, with Mona Lisa as someone semidivine.

      What the author doesn’t remark on, and she certainly knows this, is that the “algae green” dress is very much muted compare to the usual portraiture of the times. I’m thinking of some painters who came a tad later, but the attention to fabric by Bronzino, Fontana, most of the Venetians, and Anguissola indicates that Leonardo made a choice to have her dress down. Which is remarkable in that her family would have wanted something showier.

      So Lisa and Leonardo were up to something: She wears no jewelry, which is highly unusual, given that Italian painters loved to depict jewelry, which was often well designed indeed–and fashionable.

      But there is no fashion here. There is Lisa and her goddess-like face, encouraging us to contemplate a great inner world. The “living water” inside, I s’pose.

      1. Patrick

        My favorite Far Side cartoon explained ‘her smile’ by showing Mona Lisa caught strolling with a male companion. The caption read “Mona Lisa and the busboy”.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Patrick: Laughing.

          Mona Lisa and her toy boy (as the Italians say), Michelangelo’s David.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “‘A Complete Capitulation’: Outrage as Democrats Abruptly Back Off Push for Witnesses in Trump Trial”

    Maybe the key here is that the Republicans called the Democrat’s bluff. What I mean is that up to now, the Democrats have been in full control of proceedings so that they could cause maximum damage to the Republicans as well as distract people’s attention from all the things that Biden is doing unnoticed. But when in retaliation to witness by the Democrats, the Republicans threatened to bring in over a hundred witnesses themselves, the calculation changed. Suddenly, this would allow the Republicans to seize the initiative and perhaps spin out proceedings for weeks if not months. Faced with this loss of initiative, the Democrats decided to cut their losses and call it quits. Of course that left those Republicans that sided with the Democrats swinging in the wind but who cared?

    1. David

      Yesterday’s news, forgotten by tomorrow. Will be interesting to see what the MSM manufactures next for our entertainment. Fawning all over Biden does not seem like a recipe for eyeballs.

      1. fresno dan

        February 14, 2021 at 8:27 am
        I agree. The reference yesterday on Bombhole journalism by Taibbi I think describes the business plan of MSM exactly. I don’t think the Hunter Biden scandal is as compelling or as profitable.
        The dirty secret is its simply money, and not ideology, that compels the media to cover Trump. MSN and CNN to attack, and FOX to defend…win-win for the press barons. And Trump I believe subscribes to the any publicity is better than no publicity….win-win-win…a perfect storm of self interest for all the participants except the public. I hope Trump goes the way of pogs, beanie babies, or the macarena. But I don’t think he will, at least for a while. There are plenty of ongoing serious scandals and outrages to cover – they just aren’t as profitable.

        1. Phillip Cross

          They found that if they push “High Arousal Emotions” like anger, anxiety and suspicion, people are more engaged with their content. So that’s what they give us, so we click and watch their adverts.

          The new BBC / Adam Curtis documentary series gets there in the end.

          Have you seen it? I watched it on youtube, and i thought it was very interesting.

          1. Bruce F

            I thought it was compelling. His idea that various bubbles/dreamworlds are managed by “elites” to regulate the tensions between individualism and collectivism was one thing, among many, that caught my eye.
            I’ve been a little disappointed that it hasn’t gotten more traction on NC. I’d like to hear what more people think about it.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            that link takes me to a kylie minogue page.
            i don’t know how to feel about that, and am uncomfortably confused.

            this is the most recent Adam Curtis i could find:

            i was mostly unaware of him until the link on NC the other day, but now figger that he can come sit by my campfire any old time.

            1. Phillip Cross

              I think that’s like that for a wheeze, just to keep youtube from removing it. It’s called “Cant get you out of my head” (same as one of her hits), and all 6 episodes are at that link. I’d be interested to know what you think!

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i watched the first episode before i went on my 2 beers and half a joint’s worth of wandering the frozen tundra.
                I’ll book report when i’ve watched them all.
                he reminds me of that british dude on PBS in the 80’s, “Connections”, where he traced steps from an apparatus for making better manure/mud bricks to the frelling space shuttle.
                it will prolly take a bit to digest.
                his music choices are very effective…obscure and shocking and unnerving.
                i kept thinking “this is produced by the BBC?!”
                like alien corpses rolled out by lester holt.

                1. JBird4049

                  James Burke’s Connections and the later The Day the Universe Changed are great. IIRC, you can see the complete series on YouTube

                  The BBC, like with PBS and NPR, use to be better before the Borg Neoliberal Collective took over.

          3. lyman alpha blob

            Thanks for the link. I tried watching through the BBC website a couple days ago and found it was only allowing UK viewers to watch it.

            amfortas, the link does go to a Kylie Minogue channel, but the videos there are the Curtis documentary.

          4. David

            At the end of the day our media outlets are beholden to shareholders who expect return on investment. Not going to get that if you can’t entertain people long enough to watch the next commercial.

          5. flora

            Seemed like every time he narrated ‘dangerous hidden forces’ the following narration was that the dangerous hidden forces are in the people themselves (not in the elites), and so democracy itself can’t be trusted. (At least not by the global banks and money rationalists. /heh) Sounded like blaming the victim after a few episodes, imo.

            1. Jason

              Sounded like blaming the victim after a few episodes

              Yes! Something felt “off” to me but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it. I think your words describe well what I was feeling.

              Curtis’ own words, from Wikipedia (I know, I know, but the quote is accurate):

              “If you ask me what my politics are, I’m very much a creature of my time. I don’t really have any. I change my mind over different issues, but I am much more fond of a libertarian view. I have a more libertarian tendency…”

              He goes on to say that he developed this because the left failed and he anticipates many others’ developing a sort of “left-libertarian” politics too, as a result of the failure of the left.

              Frankly, I think Adam Curtis’ videos serve his own ego more they do any greater social purpose. Hell, he’s essentially told us as much (read the rest of the quote at Wikipedia).

              I didn’t understand all the hoopla surrounding his “Century of the Self” when I watched it. I avoided all his other stuff but I bit on this one. I won’t make that mistake again. No longer will I waste my time with the Adam Curtis’ of the world. There’s too much important work to be done.

              1. Jason

                Adding, perhaps Curtis should watch the recent documentary on the Cointelpro killing of Fred Hampton and all the Black Panthers. Those damn failed lefties. /s

            2. Phillip Cross

              That’s an interesting take. I see what you mean, but I think you need to look at “elites” and “the people” as a whole group, “humans”.

              I thought the “dangerous hidden forces” that he is referring to are the unpredictable, emergent behaviors of large groups of “humans”, acting in their own self interest.

              1. flora

                I keep thinking that’s what the Great Reset is being touted to guard against or protect from. (who exactly is being protected?) We will be “less human” , “we will have less democracy”, but we will “all be apart of something bigger, all connected,and not alone.” */ ;)
                (I’m not sold on the Great Reset idea. )

                *Davos/WEF 2020 speech, by Harari (?) I believe.

                1. Phillip Cross

                  Yes, there does seem to be that fear among technocrats.

                  Putting words in that imaginary group’s mouth: “The majority of the population are basically superfluous, and they are too thick to know what’s good for them. Easily led sheep can be persuaded to act against self interest, and the greater good, in response to compelling, but “fake”, stories. Therefore democracy is doomed. Everything is too complicated to explain in a way that “the people” will understand well enough to make sensible choices.”

                  Sadly, I think there is a lot of truth to that viewpoint. The thing is, the world is not just too complicated for Joe six-pack to understand, its to complicated for those technocrats too.

                  I think if this documentary series is any guide, the outcome of “the great reset”, if it really exists beyond a powerpoint presentation, is impossible to predict, except that it will be worse than advertised in ways the people pushing it haven’t anticipated.

          6. fresno dan

            Phillip Cross
            February 14, 2021 at 10:19 am

            Have you seen it? But now that you have recommended it, I will make time for it. Seems like he makes quite a few. Thanks for that!!!

        2. TomT

          The liberal media and political class gave off a huge Fat Tuesday vibe throughout this final impeachment show. It’s going to be tough for them to wake up and realize that they now have to get through two years of Dem-controlled government without Trump as a fig leaf or distraction.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If the democrats had wanted “witnesses” they could have called Kevin McCarthy, who was actually on the phone call with Trump. Instead, they decided that they wanted a person who was downstream in a game of telephone telling what was whispered in her ear, and calling it good enough.

      And it was a democrat senator who wisely observed, “People want to get home for Valentine’s Day.”

      It’s government by kangaroo court and Hallmark-invented national “holiday.”

      Someone should resurrect Betsy Ross and have her sew a new flag with 50 bananas instead of 50 stars.

    3. CitizenSissy

      Witnesses? What for? Acquittal was a foregone conclusion. The point was getting the Republicans on record, and, IMHO, the sycophancy will not age well. Can’t wait for the blowback when one of the 43 starts in with “Back the Blue.”

  3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    A Lancet pre-print, not yet peer reviewed of a study from Barcelona on the efficacy of large doses of Calcifediol ( Vit D ) given to 930 participants sick with Covid on arrival in hospital.

    Findings: ICU assistance was required by 110 (11.8%) participants. Out of 551 patients treated with calcifediol at admission, 30 (5.4%) required ICU, compared to 80 out of 379 controls (21.1%; p<0.0001). Logistic regression of calcifediol treatment on ICU admission, adjusted by age, gender, linearized 25(OH)D levels at baseline, and comorbidities showed that treated patients had a reduced risk to require ICU (RR 0.18 [95% CI 0.11;0.29]). Baseline 25(OH)D levels inversely correlated with the risk of ICU admission (RR 0.53 [95% CI 0.35;0.80]). Overall mortality was 10%. In the Intention-to-treat analysis, 36 (6.5%) out of 551 patients treated with calcifediol at admission died compared to 57 patients (15%) out of 379 controls (p=0.001). Adjusted results showed a reduced mortality for more of 60%. Higher baseline 25(OH)D levels were significantly associated with decreased mortality (RR 0.40 [95% CI 0.24;0.67]). Age and obesity were also predictors of mortality.

    " Adjusted results showed a reduced mortality for more of 60 % "

    Very late in the day for many I suspect.

  4. timbers

    Furious Nancy Pelosi….

    At work, I’ve heard hours of the impeachment proceedings broadcast on NPR radio. Plus the mostest woke-full-ness-ist commentary ever, on them. IMO it was self-impressed pretentious grandiose speechifying regarding why we need to impeach Trump and his hideous attack on Our Democracy and how evil he is. At times, words failed the NPR commentators in their gasps of horror.

    Where were these grand speeches when we learned the truth that the nation had been lied to about WMD in Iraq?

    I kept wanting to change in my head a few of the words spoken by the speechifyiers to…..George Bush…Iraq War…millions killed.

    Knowing Nancy ruled out impeaching GWB so Obama would not be either, so he too could do Bush’s 3rd and 4th terms regarding that policy of wars in the ME, made the NPR’s broadcasts of impeachment feel like a very bad cheap joke.

    Worse, tens of millions probably fell for this spectacle and actually take in seriously. I know for a fact one person did – the co-worker near me who plays NPR radio all day.

      1. timbers

        Yes. Makes the days NC arguing amongst themselves regarding JD and M4A and voting Nancy down seem like the good’ol days…

        1. tegnost

          While they struggle to control the narrative of the past, the future stretches out before them… I’ve never had that work out for me. Add on that what few plans they do have for the future leave most people suffering and what we’re looking at is the grinding, screeching end of the slow motion train wreck. I’m all for JD going after pelosi but it wasn’t the hill to die on. Now they’re all on vacay for lupercalia while stimulus what stimulus? and now for the next two weeks we’ll (well, people who listen to npr/msnbc will hear, I couldn’t care less) have a studious look back at what could have gone wrong with who we are as a nation (we remorselessly blow up women and children, and are exceptionally craven, but our rich people are really really rich), alongside whatever trump is doing/saying now. Personally I think it’s better to have pelosi wind up being the bagholder. The PMC is not unlike the captain of the exxon valdez,. In the case of the PMC, they’re siloed in the greatest pandemic ever, ordering everything online, binge listening to npr, watching their stock portfolios go to the moon, feeling snug and good about the fact that they are not the homeless losers (come on man! There’s always been poor people!). Captain Joseph Hazelwood was siloed in his cabin drinking vodka (good thing this didn’t happen in the last few years, nothing would scream “Putin crashed the exxon valdez! like vodka. What could be more russian than vodka!) while his ship stole silently across the calm waters to it’s doom. And like the exxon valdez, when the ship of state hits the reef there’s going to be a whole lot of suffering for the normies, but you’ve gotta’ hit rock bottom. Sad how the clinical language of abusiveness fits so well over the narrative of our never quite as great as we thought we were nation…

          1. Wukchumni

            The nation is great, its the people who have let us down. We really have no sense of national purpose, what we stand for aside from self aggrandizement, he or she who dies with the most stuff wins.

            Funny, if we were to go back to when the Cuyahoga River was burning and we were dumping refuse and chemicals into our lakes, waterways and more, the land was so let down by us that it became a national priority in fixing it, which to a good extent we’ve done, along with more stringent rules to not allow it to happen in the future. Its a bummer about all these catalytic converter thefts as of late, but if there was one thing that brought about dramatic change in emissions from cars and thus less pollution in the air, that was it.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            “…but you’ve gotta’ hit rock bottom.”

            this has been the saddest revelation of my 20+ years of doomerism(on top of a lifetime before that of knowing intuitively that the Vibes were all a’whack).
            my biggest whipping person for the modern world is Big Ag, so i’ll focus there.
            it’s seemed perfectly obvious to me since i first scratched the surface of how we eat that this was stupid, counterproductive and would lead to catastrophe, while crushing actual farmers underfoot in the process.
            but the sheer inertia involved in every thread of the food bidness…from dirt to plate to dirt…is so intertwined and superconnected that it all looks discretely disconnected, and one is at a loss as to where to even begin.
            no amount of evangelism will suffice…no amount of fire and brimstone about fecal soup(chicken nuggets) or dead zones or slave labor…no amount of facts and figures about normal vs Parity Pricing…will make a dent in the planet sized supercarrier that is industrial ag.
            we’re gonna hafta crash into the abyss, first.
            and given that this gigantic twisted inscrutable mess is only a portion of the almost infinitely large General Mess of the modern world, we are, indeed, doomed.
            “The lot of man is ceaseless labour,
            Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
            Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant.
            I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know
            That it is hard to be really useful, resigning
            The things that men count for happiness, seeking
            The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting
            With equal face those that bring ignominy,
            The applause of all or the love of none.
            All men are ready to invest their money
            But most expect dividends.
            I say to you: Make perfect your will .
            I say: take no thought of the harvest,
            But only of proper sowing. ” TS Eliot, Choruses from the Rock

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                the arsonist’s family has apparently been absolved in the hive mind(there are exceptions, of course, towards the pshycholibertarian militia-adjacent)
                wife had a part in this.
                as for the courthouse, an all together now movement has sprung up to build it back…local paper was wall to wall with it…and it’s in the jungle drums, too.
                we’ve all been pretty much stuck at home for 5 days, so idk what’s happening with the various subjects of my field study,lol…ie: what the vibe on the street is…but if the unity thing holds, it will be fascinating.
                i detect no engineering…county judge, et al aren’t that sophisticated, i’m afraid.
                that means it’s organic, and i’d chalk it up to seizing on this crazy and dramatic tragedy literally in the middle of our county as a remedy for the last year of acrimony and insanity.
                a cathartic episode…when the acid wears off at last, and ordinary colors return to the world and one wonders if all that really happened at all.
                for all our faults…and for all the little oppressions and indignities that come with living in such a small and isolated place…there’s something to be said about that corn pone unit cohesion.

                meanwhile, 1/4″ of ice on everything and below 30 degrees for 5 days(i think), and now comes the real winter storm…expecting up to 9″ of snow, 7 degrees and high winds.
                stored water, and thank goddess i’m a freak for keeping food on hand,lol.
                fikken to roll a hogleg and go walkabout in a blizzard for the first time.

                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    but they’re accustomed to it.
                    this never, ever happens here…even the ground is frozen solid, with a 1/2″ of ice under the snow(blizzard, almost whiteout)
                    my dirt road…and mom’s grass…is like walking on an ice rink
                    i’ve never seen anything like it…being thoroughly of the south(mostly Texas).
                    even the geese are unhappy…usually they revel in this sort of weather.
                    and the coyotes have been quiet as the grave.
                    14 degrees, 20 mph north wind, sideways fluffy snow, visibility maybe 100 yards.

                    1. Daryl

                      Things are getting started over here for sure; went out earlier and it was sleeting.

                      Mostly, irresponsible companies ask people to come into work, and the infrastructure isn’t set up to handle it.

                    2. Wukchumni

                      My secret weapon against the cold when camping in the winter is good old fashioned flat hot water bottles.

                      They’d work just fine if the electricity goes out because of say an ice storm, and you warm up water on a gas stove.

                      The warmth lasts through to the morning.

          1. furies

            Waaaaaay out of context here…was replying to timbers waaaay upthread.

            guess that’s what being caught in mod hell does

      2. EricT

        Biden should make nice-nice with Iran and send Trump over in chains. We might have not had the morality to judge him guilty, but I’m sure the Iranians can. Its more moral than continuing with the Assange extradition.

        1. tegnost

          morality? I’d say that doing anything you can to get a distracting headline in the media that covers up or absolves (pun intended) one’s more questionable behavior is a strange piety.

        2. David

          Morality is a highly personal biased set of parameters to judge someone by when plenty of case law exists to determine what is and is not incitement.

        3. km

          I would be all in favor of it, but Trump, bad as he is, is among the least guilty offenders in recent memory, and Iran represents only a small part of America’s recent crimes.

          Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Obama, HRC, Kerry and Biden all are at least as deserving as Trump.

        4. Procopius

          We need to get the Iran negotiations out of public view. The most recent announcement from the White House indicates that the neoconservatives are still in charge of foreign policy. Saying that Iran has to cease enriching uranium before we will consider lifting sanctions is a guarantee that they won’t. I suspect Bolton still has allies in the State Department, and probably the National Security Council as well. We also need to be talking to the Russians about reinstating all of the arms control treaties that Trump walked out of, and then establish continuous talks about setting new limits.

      3. cocomaan

        This is it right here. The Democrats are terrified of governing a nation that’s been savaged by Covid.

        Trump is long gone at this point, not only from office but from Twitter, but they’re still talking about him like he’s relevant. He’s all they have.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s not just covid. It’s all the time. Team Blue has been recruiting nonpartisan local archons for so long it’s largely a party of people who can’t fathom governing in any capacity. It’s not different than 2009.

          1. cocomaan

            That’s true, Covid just accelerated the decay. A lot of the problems Covid exposed were already in the cards. Healthcare rot, infrastructure rot, postal system rot, brick and mortar rot, etc.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              We saw from the Obama Administration claims that governing is really hard when they were confronted with why they had done nothing. No sh*t, its hard.

              That they would publicly say this isn’t simply a matter of contempt but representative of the role they played in becoming elected officials. When confronted with problems, they don’t know what to do. I see Coons is now calling for a 9/11 Commission after he announced he was going home to bang someone on Valentine’s day. Can you imagine the thinking behind announcing we are going on vacay!

            2. lordkoos

              Yes thanks to COVID, much of what has been somewhat hidden has now been brought into glaring relief. Although many comfortable USians still remain in denial of just how bad things have become I don’t think that’s going to last much longer. You would think that something like the Capitol riot would be a wake-up call for everyone, but it’s all Trump’s fault…

          2. JBird4049

            Both parties have become the “wrecking crew” (to steal the title of a book) of society. The political establishment in general has both gotten out of the habit and actively destroyed its ability to actually, you know, govern because it is not profitable to do so. Governing requires hard work and decisions that can expose you to criticism, criticisms that might cost you politically. So don’t govern. We got this huge country that can mostly run on its own. Until it can’t.

            Like with our industry, there are still many people who either have the experience or education, or both to govern, or at least effectively work in the necessary bureaucracy needed in any government no matter the size or society, from Bronze Age villages of mud huts to something like the United States, but as with governing, that is not very profitable“. God, I am beginning to most sincerely hate the word “profitable“.

        2. km

          Team D’s 2020 campaign can be boiled down to “Vote Team D! We’re Not Trump!”

          No, that is not an endorsement of Trump.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Pelosi is just p*ssed because they haven’t been able to remove the boot scuff marks off the top of her desk yet. And they still haven’t found that missing laptop of hers. You know, the one that she was sharing yoga videos & wedding plans with Hillary with on.

      1. timbers

        Not to worry. I’m sure Jason Bourne is all over that missing laptop. It’s probably top priority at CIA black opps. If one day the Capital morning janitors arrive at work to find a half dozen dead bodies strewn about the Capital halls, we’ll know Bourne has retrieved Nancy laptop and Our Democracy is secured.

        1. urblintz

          …or is that the blood of the poor? it can be difficult to distinguish blood from chocolate by sight alone.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      McConnell sure did play rope-a-dope with old Nancy Creamsicle and it looks like he’s setting the Dems up again –

      McConnell suggested that while he felt Congress couldn’t pursue charges against Trump, that he could still be held criminally liable.

      ‘President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office,’ McConnell said in Senate floor remarks.

      ‘He didn’t get away with anything, yet,’ he continued. ‘We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.’

      Someone, anyone please try to prosecute Trump. I’m sure the Terrapin of Turpitude will cooperate this time and would never suggest it just so he could make the Democrats look like a bunch of fools. Again.

    3. upstater

      Timbers, how I sympathize with your pain!

      8 hours of NPR, 5 days a week for years is like chalk going the wrong way on a blackboard continuously. I dropped that nasty habit after the odious Scott Simon pontificated about how we needed to invade Iraq in 2003. And he drones on with the whole crew. Thankfully NC provides a dose of reality!

  5. dave

    Odd, never any mention of Russia Russia Russia! in any of the dozens of conspiracy articles these last few years.

    1. Procopius

      You need to go to some of the “leftish” blogs. The comments are still full of homophobic charges that Trump has an unhealthy relationship with Putin, and that Putin is behind the 1/6 riots. I suggest taking a look at Duncan Black’s place. They still have it out for Bernie spoiling the 2016 election, too. I don’t think we’ll ever heal from TDS.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Japan’s rabbit island Okunoshima has a dark and deadly history”

    Okunoshima? Okunoshima? They don’t mean the Okunoshima Myxomatosis Testing Grounds, do they?

    1. Synoia

      Myxomatosis eliminated the British custom of eating Rabbit. That was a horrible disease.

      A little rabbit was seen crossing its toes, when asked
      “Little Rabbit, what are you doing?”
      The little rabbit answered, “Mixing my Toesies.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        So there’s this rabbit eating toasted sandwiches…

        One week he has one with cheese. The next week he has another one with cheese. The next week he has one with cheese, but he’s still a little hungry so he has one with ham. Then drops dead. At the gates of heaven, St Peter greets the rabbit, says “Little rabbit, do you know what happened?”

        The rabbit replies, “I should have known that would do me in; mixin’-my-toasties”

      2. Carolinian

        Serve’s them right for eating bunnies?

        There’s a movie called Rabbit Proof Fence about how a fence was once built across Kev’s Australia to control the introduced creatures. It’s not really about the fence.

      3. Anonymous

        Score one for the Old Testament since rabbits are unclean.

        But then heeding the Bible would mean workers couldn’t be forced to work 6 1/2 days a week or, for matter, much at all since agricultural assets would roughly equally owned by all citizens with the commons unstolen.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    re: Lizzie Stebbing and ‘transfer of knowledge’ vs ‘ skills and training’.

    i’m reminded of discovering, when searching for the origin of what became one of my very favorite quotes*, that throngs of rural people once crowded around to hear great philosophers go on and on…and then took those ideas home, and continued the arguments.

    since 1-6-2021, i’ve been idly rummaging around in Q research…because we must endeavor to understand our opponents….and a phrase repeated throughout that canon of hypermadness is “Do your research”.
    Of course, this entails a lot of hypermediated people who are wholly untrained in even the basics of logic and fallacy, searching rather uncritically through reams of nonsense, and crafting a pseudological edifice of narrative that unwittingly furthers the aims of a faction of the power elite….still…the sentiment is there.
    it should be built upon.
    what if…like i advocated into the ear of Ken Mercer(texas SBOE) some 15 years ago…we started teaching intro-philosophy and critical thinking in preschool?
    Ken, at the time, lamented along with me that this was not the case, and stated that it was impossible, because STEM must be served.
    I quoted the Ingersoll quote at him(while driving through hill country backroads, listening to Mozart’s Requiem), and said that wasn’t good enough…and everything pointed to people like him not really wanting a Hoi Polloi who could think their way out of a paper sack.
    Sadly, time seems to have vindicated me…of course, Hypersecrecy(Classify Everything!) doesn’t help, and neither does our so very busy lives, nor our thoroughly mediated minds and algo-driven information diet…but it doesn’t have to be.
    in one of our big family discussions of late, beginning, as has become usual, with me calling everyone together to reinforce the protocols, and devolving into wide ranging discussion about the epistemology and hermeneutics of our age, I quoted Popper, “All knowledge is Provisional”.
    This fits right in with Socrates’ “I know that I know nothing”…as well as the Koan the boys have been participating in since they could talk:” what’s the first step on the Path to Wisdom?”—answer: “i don’t know”.
    around here, this is well trodden ground…but what would this country be like if this wasn’t anomalous?

    (*”Fortunately for us, there have been traitors and there have been heretics, blasphemers, thinkers, investigators, lovers of liberty, men of genius who have given their lives to better the condition of their fellow-men.It may be well enough here to ask the question: What is greatness?A great man adds to the sum of knowledge, extends the horizon of thought, releases souls from the Bastile of fear, crosses unknown and mysterious seas, gives new islands and new continents to the domain of thought, new constellations to the firmament of mind. A great man does not seek applause or place; he seeks for truth; he seeks the road to happiness, and what he ascertains he gives to others.A great man throws pearls before swine, and the swine are sometimes changed to men. If the great had always kept their pearls, vast multitudes would be barbarians now.A great man is a torch in the darkness, a beacon in superstition’s night, an inspiration and a prophecy.Greatness is not the gift of majorities; it cannot be thrust upon any man; men cannot give it to another; they can give place and power, but not greatness.The place does not make the man, nor the sceptre the king. Greatness is from within.”

    1. MRLost

      The problem with teaching philosophy or critical thinking in public school is … what a lot of people want taught in school is prayer. Growing up in Austin, I sat next to Jon Garth Murray (O’Hair) in elementary school and got an earful of arguments regarding the separation of church and state (public school.) Even reasonably thoughtful and educated adults were leery of public school without significant elements of moral instruction but since religion and philosophy (exemplified by the Classic Greeks in the public’s mind) must be at cross purposes it was not possible to teach any basis of morality (one of philosophy’s earliest subjects) without reference to religion (either Christian or Jewish.) Therefore, no critical thinking – because it might raise doubt in faith – or moral analysis – because that supposedly had to be based on religious texts and those had been banned by the Supreme Court – could be taught in public schools. It’s been pretty much downhill ever since.

    2. Bruno

      Wonderful words from Ingersoll. But this, I think, needs a caveat: “I quoted Popper, “All knowledge is Provisional”. This fits right in with Socrates’ “I know that I know nothing” ” Socrates was a stone mason and he knew perfectly well what to do in building the Parthenon. In the “Apology” he strongly affirms the knowledge of the *artisans*. He was saying (like Marx in his theses on Feurbach) that the difference between practical knowledge and book-learning is the difference between real knowledge and bullshit. (and see also the Phaedrus).

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        techne and episteme.
        when my eldests pod is having a socially distanced campfire stag thing out here, i generally end up appealing to the stone( )… keep a rock right there for breaking branches for the fire, who’s secret purpose is just this appeal…because late teenage/early 20’s youth do tend towards metaphysics…at least mine do.

        one buddy, the most philosophically minded among them, kept pestering me about some of the greek i leave laying around the place*, and…engaging with him for a time…i ended up saying “aaron, i can’t prove that you exist…but this hammer works just fine”.

        (* i do this to make them ask “what’s that?”…got a whole hillperson lyceum going on out here, corrupting the youth like a boss.)

    3. JBird4049

      Have you every read the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates which are pages and pages of two politicians’ hours and hours of multiple debates speaking extemporaneously? I’m somewhat of a history nerd and I have read them with a nice cup of coffee, or sandwich, or maybe some music; fascinating debates, but I find it hard to do. I need multiple cups of (strong) coffee. Then I remember that men and women would ride or walk for hours to hear these debates that lasted the entire afternoon and then travel the hours needed to go home.

      It’s embarrassing for me to complain about reading such when then reading about masses of ordinary people making great efforts to hear them; it’s embarrassing to see the insulting vacuousness of the “speeches” of most of our current politicians.

      It was not just in the countryside, but also in the cities, that people would stand or sit for hours to listen to speeches about politics, science, philosophy, or just to ideas and then later debate them. Just like how in today’s links there is an article about Istanbul’s meyhane bars being threatened for thousands of years because the powerful do not like the lack of control they have over them, I think that our powerful have dumbed us down; people able to come together to talk, debate, reason as a community are dangerously unpredictable and uncontrollable. It may not have been deliberately caused because not everything happens due to the conspiracies of the powerful, but I think that it was helped along. To steal another book’s title, having us “bowling alone” suits them just fine. People made stupid by loneliness are not a threat. That they are more easily and profitably exploited is just an extra benefit.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        it’s embarrassing to see the insulting vacuousness of the “speeches” of most of our current politicians.

        Lambert draws a line through fluff occasionally and winds up deleting 2/3 of almost any speech, but even in the flowery language of the period (this is cyclical; the Founding Fathers were plain spoken by comparison), every word mattered. There was no fluff.

        I largely blame television. It makes Holocaust deniers seem reasonable as long as they present themselves well.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        ” It may not have been deliberately caused because not everything happens due to the conspiracies of the powerful, but I think that it was helped along.”
        i’m definitely in this camp. LIHOP feels like occam’s razor generally.

        i marveled when i learned that our little town, and the one 40 miles up the road, were still essentially football rivals…didn’t like each other much, despite family and bidness ties…but they were football rivals more than 25 years ago, but haven’t been since(UIL moves in mysterious ways).
        the Buttons are there, within us…some have always known how to push them.
        such button pushers are just better organised and more sophisticated, now.
        hell, they’re often embedded right into the fabric, now….and we put them on with pride and prancing…look how pretty i am in these here chains…

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        and, yes..i read the Debates long ago.
        plowed through with a will when i was supposed to be doing college work.
        sterner stuff….giants in the earth, and all.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “New Yorkers are fleeing to Palm Beach — and NYC businesses are following”

    Good grief. They come right out in that article and say what is happening when they say “It’s hard to find an empty seat at any of the area’s hot restaurants.” Yeah, I can fully believe that those restaurants are “hot” as they are dining like it is 2019 all over again with not a mask in sight. Those New Yorkers have finally found a kindred soul in Ron DeSantis.

  9. km

    In re:Caity Johnstone:

    “National security is the principal cause of national insecurity.” – Celine’s Laws.

    1. Carolinian

      That’s an important Caitlin and one might suggest that the CIA–now refusing Freedom of Information requests–has become an agency so rogue it threatens all of us. After all even when they were overthrowing other countries and ex-president Truman regretted creating it they weren’t meddling in domestic politics (unless one buys those Grassy Knoll theories). A secret army of spooks has no place in a democracy.

      1. km

        Forgetting the Grassy Knoll theory, the CIA’s machinations with respect to the Bay Of Pigs had such strong domestic repercussions that they might as well have been meddling in domestic politics.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m not into conspiracy theories, but can buy into the idea that there was a bakers dozen worth of assassins on that grassy knoll in Dallas, all with blunderbusses.

          1. Jason

            I don’t like the term conspiracy theory. I think it’s purpose is to immediately shut down any and all conversation around the subject at hand.

            It also denigrates the person engaging in said “conspiracy theorism” as a crackpot.

            Nutty me, I’m still trying to figure out what the heck happened to building 7.

          2. neo-realist

            If there is compelling evidence to prove a conspiracy, one shouldn’t get hung up on the term conspiracy theory. Take each one or leave one on its own merits.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Just look at those concrete floors. We’re going to have an avalanche of foot, knee, and hip problems in surprisingly young people. The average Amazon worker walks (is driven to walk by the algos) twelve miles a day. Imagine doing that on those floors! Truly we are ruled by Harkonnensl.

      1. skippy

        Even though it is of no comfort, those floors are that way for a reason E.g. floor maintenance. That was my business before moving to Australia, preparation and coatings for large concrete floors nationally. Its a huge deal in F&B [especially] and any other Mfg or shipping industry.

        Contaminates on the floor move up into Mfg equip and on boxed/bagged goods going out the dock. Its a huge deal to ship clean stuff out. Many of these floors get floor maintainers run across them 3 times a day..

        From a foot perspective it always boils down to foot ware, elevate legs afterwards, and a little trick of drawing the alphabet with ones big toes whilst elevated.

        BTW the worst is the old cashiers that used to stand in one spot for 8hr or more with only a short break. You could pick one out in a crowd – Varicose veins.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > That was my business before moving to Australia, preparation and coatings for large concrete floors nationally

          Truly, the NC commentariat is the best commentariat. I did notice how shiny the floors were (like a Boeing plant) but I didn’t make the connection.

          > From a foot perspective it always boils down to foot ware, elevate legs afterwards, and a little trick of drawing the alphabet with ones big toes whilst elevated.

          Yes, the frequent breaks are a help with this, along with Amazon supplying decent footware at cost. Oh, wait….

          1. skippy

            Yes PPE should be provided and one would think with Amazons pricing power it could get a good deal and the savings alone from worker fatigue and injury pay for it self. So I think your dune reference is apropos.

            Now image walking backwards 100′ at a time [limit of the 120mm vacuum hose, back and forth, with a 20″ effect area steel shot concrete blaster, which with double passes equates to a 10″ at pass that is done for first coat of sealer. Now image me doing it on roller blades … 250 to 1M sq ft warehouses …

  10. Wukchumni

    A hiking & skiing buddy’s daughter is an RN @ a hospital in Wyoming, and she sometimes tells tales of what’s going on in her world, and this really hit home how Covid will strike anybody:

    “I have a patient recovering from COVID in the ICU. He’s young, 54 years old with no prior health concerns. He’s on a ventilator and needs a lung transplant in order to survive, but he has to walk 150 ft in order to qualify for a lung transplant. He had prolonged intubation and he is profoundly weak and has been bed bound. Yesterday he sat on the edge of the bed with total assistance from 2 people. Today I got him up standing and marching in place for 5 seconds! I almost cried from happiness! The respiratory therapist was adjusting the ventilator during my PT session with him and couldn’t believe it. The doctor couldn’t believe it. I’m so happy for him!”

    He was skiing last week (got both vaccine shots) and I asked how it was, and he related:

    My thrill was almost like my first time skiing after missing a whole year recovering from ACL reconstruction because it has been almost a year since we were at Mammoth when they shut down March 2020. Last Sunday, it was like a super spreader event. The lift lines were very busy. Mammoth has done a good job of separating parallel lift lines by close to 6 ft but you would often find yourself with a lot of people 3 ft away. You can ride on a chair with someone not from your household if there is a seat between you (not really very safe). I felt much safer on the weekdays although the snow and weather were so good, there were more skiers there than a normal weekday plus we are in prime skiing season. We tried to avoid other people in bathrooms and there was no indoor dining. So if it’s 28ºF with 40 mph wind, eating outside is a pain. We just skied back to the condo for lunch.

  11. Idabet

    Taxes not paid accrue first and most profitably to the corporate bottom line. I think outrage is absolutely appropriate. Showboating limited understanding of MMT is just another way to silence the victims.

    1. Milton

      Are you replying to the first semester MMT comment inside the big pharmacy fines article? How did this reply (I agree by the way) find itself over here?

  12. Claire

    Re deepfakes.

    Anyone who purposefully posts hundreds of images on themself online as she did on public fora like Facebook etc, and shows off her body tattoo images, baby bump etc, there, has no right to manifest outrage when her face is borrowed and has different images added to it online.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The laws will really only change when you have deep fake videos appear showing people like Kamala Harris and Mitch McConnel in action. Then legislators, realizing that they could be next in a subtle campaign, would change the laws to make these highly illegal.

      1. a fax machine

        It’s just another form of piracy, a crime that is virtually unstoppable. If people want to make porn out of politicians’ public images there’s essentially no stopping it. Already what you suggest exists in certain places, there is nothing that can be done about it.

        Interestingly, the reverse is also true: politicians can now easily doctor photos and videos of themselves to rewrite history if there is something suitably embarrassing that they want to hide.

        1. Wukchumni

          Who needs deep fakes, when you can take very unflattering photos of politicians and then spread them widely on the internet. No newspaper of record would ever publish ugly Kodak moments, as they’re worried more about future access, but those capturing such images have nothing to lose.

          I’ve watched the press play the game though, if somebody is suddenly on the outs, ugly photos show up all of the sudden.

          It was just the opposite for Americans during the Cold War, every image of Soviet women showed them with 4 chins and although in their 40’s, looked 80.

          When Communism went away, all of the sudden there was so many hawt Russian women looking for a western wedding, it was like, where were they hiding?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Robert Heinlein was writing once about a dirty trick with photography. One guy using those old flash bulbs on cameras would take a photo of a politician’s face. This would cause the face to momentarily convulse due to the light flash and at that point a second guy would take the second photo that would take have the politician’s face look extremely unlikable.

              1. The Rev Kev

                That would be the one, John Anthony La Pietra. In 1934, Heinlein worked in the Democratic campaign of Upton Sinclair for Governor of California. I read before that all the forces of the establishment came together to stop Upton back then and I wonder if that trick was one that Heinlein saw for himself in that campaign.

                Another that he described is where you plaster stickers of your opponent’s face on car windshields saying to vote for them as if it was from their campaign. But that the glue used was really rugged stuff which would lead to resentment by those car owners forced to slowly & physically scrub off those stickers.

  13. cocomaan

    2020 taxes are weird. This is the latest I remember getting forms, partially because the IRS pushed back the date. Vanguard doesn’t even have my forms prepared yet.

    Combine that with USPS delays and you’ve got a real mess on your hands.

    1. lordkoos

      I usually file for the 6 month extension — tax returns that are late have a much lower chance of being audited.

  14. urblintz

    Are we allowed to claim the Biden White House a disaster area yet?

    … maybe we should give ’em another friedman unit to work things out, huh?

    1. cocomaan

      But they’re fighting for us! Fighting!

      Wait, not allowed to say “fighting” anymore, it might cause an insurrection.

      Struggling. Struggling for us. The Biden Administration is struggling for us, yes, that works.

      1. lordkoos

        Reminds me of a headline that I saw a few weeks ago — “US Struggles To Deal With Inequality”. I don’t see anyone with actual power “struggling” to deal with anything, they are on cruise control… it’s the workers and the poor who must struggle to live.

    1. R

      The average life expectancy of an 82 year old in the UK is another 8 years, I believe. The average life expectancy *at birth* is 81 and includes childhood disease, teen car crashes, twentysomething extreme sports, middle-aged suicide etc. 82 year olds are survivors!

      These nice people can elaborate, the Covid Actuary Group.

  15. antidlc

    Merck Statement on Ivermectin use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    KENILWORTH, N.J., Feb. 4, 2021 – Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today affirmed its position regarding use of ivermectin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety. It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified:

    No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies;
    No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and;
    A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.

    We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.

    1. lordkoos

      Interesting, the reading I’ve done seems to show that it helps.

      These links are pretty up-to-date:

    2. antidlc

      Oh, OK.

      If this is true. (I know nothing about this website.)

      Merck signs $356M deal to supply US with experimental coronavirus drug

      The U.S. government will pay Merck & Co. $356 million for between 60,000 and 100,000 doses of an experimental drug being tested as a treatment of gravely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Merck acquired the drug, dubbed MK-7110, in a $425 million buyout of the biotech OncoImmune last month.
      The therapy is designed to tamp down on the body’s inflammatory response to coronavirus infections, which can cause complications and death even after virus replication is brought under control. The approach is similar to the thinking behind repurposing anti-inflammatory drugs from Roche, Regeneron and others, although clinical trials of those therapies have failed or produced mixed results.
      The deal announced Wednesday suggests the U.S. government sees a continued need for new drugs for severely sick patients even as it rolls out a mass vaccination program with newly authorized shots from Pfizer and Moderna.

      1. antidlc

        According to this website,

        Stromectol is a brand name of ivermectin, approved by the FDA in the following formulation(s):
        STROMECTOL (ivermectin – tablet;oral)

        Manufacturer: MERCK SHARP DOHME
        Approval date: November 22, 1996
        Strength(s): 6MG (discontinued)
        Manufacturer: MERCK SHARP DOHME

        Approval date: October 8, 1998
        Strength(s): 3MG [RLD] [AB]

        So Merck is the manufacturer for Stromectol (brand name for Ivermectin).

        1. urblintz

          ivermectin is the generic version and you can bet that Merck’s Stromectol loses money to the cheaper alternative. Plenty of motivation for finding a “new” drug with which they can make a lot of money. That said, any efforts to develop effective treatments should be encouraged because the jury is definitely still out on the vaccine and many people will continue to get sick.

          I don’t know if ivermectin works. But if there is evidence that it helps, and there are credentialed professionals voicing that hope, than dismissing it seems premature, however unlikely an anti-parasitic would have any effect on a virus. There’s a lot that professionals on both sides of the opinion don’t know yet about covid and its emerging variants.

          1. Maritimer

            “That said, any efforts to develop effective treatments should be encouraged because the jury is definitely still out on the vaccine and many people will continue to get sick.”

            In my jurisdiction, it is all Vaccine As Saviour and nothing else from the Public Health Experts and their political enablers. We must wait for the vaccine. But I suspect that, with all the moving parts, they are worried about such a strategy.

            For example, experts in UK are questioning, vaccine only strategy:

            “Government scientific advisers say UK may need to debate on whether to let Covid rip and cause a ‘big wave’ once all over-50s have been vaccinated…
            Experts have warned there needs to be a discussion about the level of risk
            Scientists say a rise in infections in under-50s would have little effect on NHS”


            “let Covid rip” would be a drastic change in strategy. Some of these experts may start running for the Exits.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            they take a lot of ivermectin in africa, i understand(for parasites and such)…and last i looked(been a while), africa was faring relatively well, given that it’s the “third world” and all.
            if i had to be hospitalised with covid(touches wood), i’d certainly advocate it if the docs seemed unsure or cagey in any way.
            i’d also demand speed/corticosteroids, stat.
            my ultimate goal is to not get it at all, and obtain the J&J vax(since i can’t get the russian—geopolitics has just as much business influencing medicine as superduperhypercapitalism does–a pox on them all)

    3. antidlc

      Merck signs $356 million deal with U.S. government for experimental COVID-19 therapy

      Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. MRK, +0.35% gained 0.4% in premarket trading on Wednesday after the drugmaker said it signed a deal with the U.S. government to develop, manufacture, and distribute an experimental COVID-19 therapy. The $356 million deal gives the government access to up to 100,000 doses of the therapy through June, if it’s approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Merck gained access to the investigational drug, MK-7110, through its $425 million acquisition of the privately held OncoImmune in November. OncoImmune in September said early results from an ongoing Phase 3 study for the drug in about 200 severely ill COVID-19 patients found it improved clinical status and reduced the risk of death and respiratory failure, when compared to the placebo. It had initially been tested as a treatment for graft versus host disease, a type of condition that can occur after a transplant. Merck’s stock is down 12.7% this year, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.47% is up 16.2%.

  16. Lee


    Coronavirus Cases Are Down, But More Kids Are Having Severe Complications (NPR, 11 minute listen)

    “MIS-C, a post COVID illness that has affected more than 2,000 U.S. children, causes inflammation of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs. One D.C. pediatric ICU is nearly full of such patients.”

    The children with this conditions typically have no underlying health problems and very few of them are white, leading to speculation that there may be a genetic component determining vulnerability.

    Lately, preschoolers have returned in numbers to a playground in my local park. And, of course, there is the question of whether or not and under what conditions to open the schools.

  17. farmboy

    Susan Stebbing, “Thinking to some Purpose” critiques social media and really all media very well.
    Billie Holiday’s life story, tragedy and talent in an explosive mix.
    Vitamin D highlighted in Spanish study shows big immune system response.
    Roses are red
    Peas blossoms are blue
    Plant cover crops
    You’ll be glad you do

  18. Darthbobber

    It’s been all downhill for Fukuyama since history failed to end. “Rotten to the core” would actually be an apt description of the idiotic market and western Triumphalism on which the window of opportunity following the end of the Soviet Bloc was squandered. FF doesn’t see that something very like the present situation was always the most likely terminus of the trajectory embarked on then. (well, not terminus, because we’re not at anything like a semi-stable point yet.)

    1. Kouros

      Actually, FF has eaten crow. In his two tomes “the Origins of Political Power” & “Political Power and Political Decay” he walks back everything he put in the end of history and more.

      Plus, he gives a detail description to the dots on the i-s, etc. on the future coming apart of the American polity, which we now experience.

      Of course these two volumes do not work well with the accepted narrative so they have not been promoted anywhere…

      1. urblintz

        I saw him a few times on MSM several years ago, when he first started voicing doubts about his end-of-history thesis, but he seems to have disappeared from sight and comment soon thereafter.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The attraction for the EoF fanbase was being told how great they were, so saying that might not be 100% true is enough to get one blacklisted.

    2. chuck roast

      I gave Fukuyama the quick detour when he was the End cause celebre. It was kind of ob la di, ob la da. I was required to read Daniel Bell back in the day for some BS poli sci (cough) course. The End of Ideology was another grand waste of forestry resources. My disinterest in Bell extended to my never reading another word about him. Whether he ever walked it back or not I could not say. I’m currently awaiting The End of Neoliberalism, but I am not holding my breath.

  19. Geo

    “a stunning reversal for Cuomo, whose early handling of the pandemic and high-profile daily press briefings earned him soaring approval ratings, an Emmy and a book deal.”

    I have nothing of value to add but this is hilarious. This is the press seeing the emperor standing stark naked before the crowd and realizing that all the fine garments they’d seen him draped in had been figments of their imagination the whole time.

    “But the ‘high profile’ speeches, the Emmy, the book deal!?!”

    “You made those up. All manufactured media facades. He’s been naked this whole time.”

    “It all seemed so real…”

    “Did he do an audio book? Maybe you can give him a Grammy and pretend he’s not stark raving mad for one more night? Would that make you happy?”

    “(Between sobs) Yes.”

    1. Maritimer

      Say now wouldn’t that be a conspiracy that Governor Cuomo got together with co-conspirators, probably including public health experts, to cook the Covid Books?

      Oh, ok wrong again, he did it all by himself.

      1. Wukchumni

        ‘Parry Cuomo’

        In Albany, where Andy is king
        When aged boy meets girl, here’s what they say

        When the virus hits your nursing home, that’s no more, eh?
        When their world starts to die like
        You’ve had too much virus, that’s no more, eh?

        ICU bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling
        Ting-a-ling-a-ling, and nurses sing, “Code 3 Emergency!”
        Hearts will flay tippy-tippy-tay
        Tippy-tippy-tay, the day some go away

        When the patients drool-not so cool, that’s no more, eh?
        When the EMT comes down the street with
        A old person at their feet, they’re in deep
        When they talk in a dream but you know you’re not long for the team, signore
        Scusami, but you see, back in old Albany, that’s no more, eh?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Doesn’t really matter as Cuomo can be completely redeemed by the Democrats if he is needed in future. Old Joe was on his way out the primaries last year until the establishment pulled him back in and then pushed him over the line in a nation-wide secret program by insiders as revealed recently. And Kamala was off into political oblivion as Miss Unpopularity until she was thrown a rescue line and now she is Veep and one heartbeat away fro the top job. So it could be that the political establishment would totally redeem Cuomo if they wanted to and you could see him as a future President due to his “sterling record” in New York.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Give [Cuomo] a Grammy

      An Emmy, but (“between sobs”) they did do all those things.

      Perhaps they picturing a Harris/Cuomo ticket and were jockeying for advantage. What a shame.

      Adding, giving Cuomo an Emmy for “briefings” is a lot like giving Nikole Hannah-Jones a Pulitzer for commentary (and not history or reporting).

  20. boz

    That New Yorker story about cartography and the Vatican is excellent. Thanks for highlighting, I’d probably have never seen it anywhere else.

    What a fantastic and multi-use system Molly Burhans created. A true double edged sword (applying to abusive priests as well as to landholding management).

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Agreed. History, cartography, an interesting person with a sense of purpose, the oddities of Catholicism. Definitely worth a read.

      Some Italian friends of mine once were lamenting that in Italy it seems to be impossible to separate church and state. I pointed out that the Catholic Church in a very real way is a survival of the Roman Empire and its administration. The article also seems to indicate that–diocesan boundaries that go back hundreds and hundreds of years. In Italy, and in much of Europe, the church administration is the forerunner of a civil administration–hard to untangle.

      1. boz

        And no less subject to modern pressures…

        As parishes (and dioceses) amalgamate as a result of dwindling priest numbers and insolvencies caused by abuse, the record keeping will get worse, not better.

        There was a comment in there to the effect of some parishes/dioceses had no idea what they owned.

        Sounds about right.

      2. Kouros

        Catholic Church administration, organization should be studied and maybe copied.

        There are not that many layers there:

        While for instance in an administration one has:

        worker bee
        team lead
        executive director
        assistant deputy
        associate deputy

        but could be more complex than that.

        And let us not forget military hierarchy:

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Actually, its not even the chart for sacraments because the Pope is at the top and has no additional sacramental authority/power beyond the archbishops.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > That New Yorker story about cartography and the Vatican is excellent

      Thanks for calling this out; I had skipped it because of the “young activist” framing. Lots of good info!

  21. Wukchumni

    14 Pink Animals That Wow and Woo TreeHugger
    Disappointed Barney didn’t make it, but not quite in the pink, eh?

    Wonder what the color pink means to other animals, as something red can mean danger-such as Sierra Newts here, which are poisonous.

  22. Wukchumni

    I read Frederick Lewis Allen’s books years ago, and you really get the zeitgeist of the roaring 20’s and Great Depression from Only Yesterday & Since Yesterday.

    Aside from Americans not hopping rides on trains & hitch-hiking, this sounds like now aside from the idea that they didn’t have cheap Chinese made tents back then and arguably were much more mobile.

    But if you knew where to look, some of them would begin to appear. First, the breadlines in the poorer districts. Second, those bleak settlements ironically known as “Hoovervilles” in the outskirts of the cities and on vacant lots–groups of makeshift shacks constructed out of packing boxes, scrap iron, anything that could be picked up free in a diligent combing of the city dumps: shacks in which men and sometimes whole families of evicted people were sleeping on automobile seats carried from auto-graveyards, warming themselves before fires of rubbish in grease drums. Third, the homeless people sleeping in doorways or on park benches, and going the rounds of the restaurants for leftover half-eaten biscuits, piecrusts, anything to keep the fires of life burning. Fourth, the vastly increased number of thumbers on the highways, and particularly of freight-car transients on the railroads: a huge army of drifters ever on the move, searching half-aimlessly for a place where there might be a job. According to Jonathan Norton Leonard, the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1929 had “taken official cognizance” of 13,745 migrants; by 1931 the figure had already jumped to 186,028. It was estimated that by the beginning of 1933, the country over, there were a million of these transients on the move. Forty-five thousand had passed through El Paso in the space of six months; 1,500 were passing through Kansas City every day. Among them were large numbers of young boys, and girls disguised as boys. According to the Children’s Bureau, there were 200,000 children thus drifting about the United States. So huge was the number of freight-car hoppers in the Southwest that in a number of places the railroad police simply had to give up trying to remove them from the trains: there were far too many of them.

  23. fresno dan

    So I wake up with an excruciating back ache. At first, I thought I slept funny – and I had worked in the garden yesterday. And I was nauseous. So about 20 years ago, I had the exact same symptoms. I had a kidney stone(s). Its pain akin to dental, but even dental subsides about 4 hours after the procedure (I was fortunate enough to have major dental surgery a few months ago, and WOW, after the nonvaccine wore off – but in a few hours the pain subsides). With a kidney stone, the pain doesn’t subside.
    So I decide not to go to the emergency room cause once they got you, your stuck there at least overnight.
    So for the first time, I tried one of these walk in clinics, and it wasn’t bad. The worst aspect is the 20 or so pages of information you have to fill out, a good deal of it redundant. THEY HAVE MY DRIVERS LICENSE AND INSURANCE CARD. And when your in excruciating agony, no fun.
    But the doctor actually listened to me, and agreed in all likihood a kidney stone. Gave me a shot of ?tortedine? or something, and it was like magic – within minutes the pain was gone.
    Got some prescriptions, and I go to my pharmacy, and the clerk tells me that they don’t have narcotics in stock until Thursday, and because it is a narcotic, she can’t call other pharmacies to see if they have narcotics in stock.
    So I go down the street to another pharmacy of a different company, and they have everything I was proscribed, and the clerk tells me there is no rule that prevents a pharmacy calling another pharmacy to see if a drug is in stock, even if its a narcotic.
    So the treatment was fantastic, the paperwork was imbecilic. And I can’t help but wonder how much all the redundant paperwork costs.
    Oh, and every day I am going to fill up 8 glasses of water and leave them on the counter to make sure I am drinking PLENTY OF WATER

  24. John Anthony La Pietra

    Thank you for the Aeon article on Susan Stebbing. It reminded me somehow of Lillian R. Lieber’ s book “MITS, WITS, and Logic”.

    (NOTE: The link is to a scanned 1947 first edition from the University of Michigan’s collection. My own copy is a 1960 3rd edition.)

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