Links 2/4/2021

This Flower Is Really a Fungus in Disguise Scientific American

Texas sorry after mistakenly sending emergency alert for cursed Chucky doll Guardian (ChiGal).

Is this the end of the A68a iceberg? Enormous block of Antarctic ice that was once three and a half times bigger than LONDON suffers another major split Daily Mail

It’s A Sh*t Show Out There The Brockovich Report. Yes, that Brockovich.

SEC Hunts for Fraud in Social-Media Posts Hyping GameStop Bloomberg

Robinhood Crisis Reveals Hidden Costs in Zero-Fee Trading Model Bloomberg. As Yves keeps pointing out, friction in trading is good.

Trading boom propels Deutsche Bank to first profit in 6 years FT


Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine NEJM. Moderna. RCT, n=30,420. From the Abstract: “Moderate, transient reactogenicity after vaccination occurred more frequently in the mRNA-1273 group. Serious adverse events were rare, and the incidence was similar in the two groups. The mRNA-1273 vaccine showed 94.1% efficacy at preventing Covid-19 illness, including severe disease. Aside from transient local and systemic reactions, no safety concerns were identified.”

Estimating the effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine after a single dose. A reanalysis of a study of ‘real-world’ vaccination outcomes from Israel (preprint) medRvix. Pfizer. From the Abstract, on methodology: “We used a pooled estimate of the daily incidence rate [in Israel] during days 1 to 12 as the counterfactual estimate of incidence without disease and estimated confidence intervals using Monte Carlo modelling. After initial injection case numbers increased to day 8 before declining to low levels by day 21. Estimated vaccine effectiveness was pretty much 0 at day 14 but then rose to about 90% at day 21 before levelling off. The cause of the initial surge in infection risk is unknown but may be related to people being less cautious about maintaining protective behaviours as soon as they have the injection. What our analysis shows is that a single dose of vaccine is highly protective, although it can take up to 21 days to achieve this. The early results coming from Israel support the UK policy of extending the gap between doses by showing that a single dose can give a high level of protection.” This is above my paygrade. Can somebody knowledgeable from the readership comment? I would hate to think that motivated reasoning is being deployed on behalf of a national champion.

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Coronavirus is in the air — there’s too much focus on surfaces Nature. Something to take to your local school board…

Fluid dynamics and epidemiology: Seasonality and transmission dynamics Physics of Fluids (press release). From the Abstract: “We present the results for the number of cases and transmission rates for three cities, New York, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro. The results suggest that two pandemic outbreaks per year are inevitable because they are directly linked to what we call weather seasonality. The pandemic outbreaks are associated with changes in temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed independently of the particular season. We propose that epidemiological models must incorporate climate effects through the AIR index.” Interesting. But what about indoor transmission?

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Age groups that sustain resurging COVID-19 epidemics in the United States Science. “We estimate that as of October 2020, individuals aged 20-49 are the only age groups sustaining resurgent SARS-CoV-2 transmission with reproduction numbers well above one, and that at least 65 of 100 COVID-19 infections originate from individuals aged 20-49 in the US. Targeting interventions – including transmission-blocking vaccines – to adults aged 20-49 is an important consideration in halting resurgent epidemics and preventing COVID-19-attributable deaths.” Surely “equity” is to be sought in bringing the pandemic to a halt as rapidly as possible? If Covid superspreaders were found to be drunken college bros, wouldn’t the most equitable vaccination policy be to protect the extremely frail, then “jab” the drunken college bros?

Undocumented Restaurant Workers Should Be Prioritized for the Vaccine Food & Wine

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Social Repercussions of Pandemics (PDF) IMF. “Epidemics may have social scarring effects, increasing the likelihood of social unrest. They may also have mitigating effect, suppressing unrest by dissuading social activities. Using a new monthly panel on social unrest in 130 countries, we find a positive cross- sectional relationship between social unrest and epidemics. But the relationship reverses in the short run, implying that the mitigating effect dominates in the short run. Recent trends in social unrest immediately before and after the COVID-19 outbreak are consistent with this historic evidence. It is reasonable to expect that, as the pandemic fades, unrest may reemerge in locations where it previously existed.”

The Hidden Epidemic on Travel’s Front Line NYT (Re Silc).

Life insurers screen for COVID-19 Axios

Ford receives a patent for a new, clear respirator mask that they expect to be just as effective as an N95 CNN

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk HBR


US-China investment flows belie geopolitical tensions FT

U.S. State Department says U.S. “one-China” policy has not changed Reuters

Western alarm as Canada says Hong Kong enforcing single nationality Agence France Presse

Myanmar police file charges against Aung San Suu Kyi after coup Reuters

Myanmar’s Labor Movement Is Central to the Fight Against Authoritarianism Jacobin


The real darkness on horizon is the turn Indian democracy is taking Indian Express

Climate crisis is foundation of Indian farmers’ protests The Third Pole

Tech underclass: the harsh reality of Asia’s digital commerce boom Nikkei Asian Review


Exclusive: Labour Reinstates Ex-Officials Suspended Over ‘Leaks’ Dossier HuffPo. And speaking of Labour:

Perceptions and Reality New Left Review (part one). More on the smearing of Corbyn. Important because these tactics cross the Atlantic.

The City of London Is Now at the Mercy of Brexit’s Tug of War Bloomberg

UK and EU to open probes into Nvidia’s $40bn acquisition of Arm FT

Coronavirus vaccine: Russia moves a step ahead of China with clinical trial data release South China Morning Post

New Cold War

Why Russia-EU Relations Remain Stable Against All Odds Valdai Discussion Club

What AMLO Really Thinks About Biden Foreign Policy


Can The Senate Still Convict Trump? It’s Complicated The American Conservative. A run-down of the precedents.

Biden Transition

White House open to narrowing who qualifies for stimulus checks but keeping payments at $1,400 per person WaPo. “The dispute over how to structure the checks reflects a broader disagreement among economists about whether they represent the best form of fiscal relief to the current economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” Style note: You don’t “structure” a check. You cut a check.

Here’s how American stimulus checks stack up to other countries’ Covid relief CNBC

GOP relief plan would not return economy to pre-pandemic levels: study The Hill (original).

1 big thing: Biden team wants to avoid groupthink on Iran Axios. So they’re adding more hawks to their team.

Pentagon, stumped by extremism in ranks, orders stand-down in next 60 days Reuters

Pentagon purges advisory boards of Trump loyalists ABC

Biden administration embraces antisemitism definition that includes some criticisms of Israel Mondoweiss. The same IHRA definition used to take down Corbyn.

Our Famously Free Press

YouTube Cancels the U.S. Senate WSJ. More to the point, Senate testimony on Ivermectin. Moar censorship:

Who Is Aleksei Navalny? NYT Once Knew, but Has Since Forgotten FAIR. Greenwald comments:

NY Times Staffers Send ‘Outraged’ Letter to Bosses Demanding Reporter Apologize for Racial Slur The Daily Beast. “[T]he company’s conclusion about McNeil’s intent was ‘irrelevant,’ the irate staffers wrote in the letter, adding that the paper’s own harassment training ‘makes clear that what matters is how an act makes the victims feel.'”

The Times view on the work of Bellingcat: Citizen Investigator The Times. Commentary:

Intelligence Community

Former CIA Officer: Treat Domestic Extremism As An Insurgency NPR. “That means using counterinsurgency tactics — similar in some ways to those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Which we won. Oh, wait….

DHS cyber agency rethinking its debunking of election falsehoods after right-wing backlash Politico

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition App Called Illegal in Canada NYT

Health Care

Exclusive: Merck anti-baldness drug Propecia has long trail of suicide reports, records show Reuters

As the FDA clears a flood of AI tools, missing data raise troubling questions on safety and fairness STAT

Sports leaders seek to protect women’s sports while accommodating transgender girls and women USA Today

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Battling White Supremacy in the Ring Scheerpost

He Wants to Save Classics From Whiteness. Can the Field Survive? NYT (DJG).

Prosecutors don’t know Kyle Rittenhouse’s whereabouts, seek arrest warrant WISN

Guillotine Watch

The Downside to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks NYT. Of the many schadenfreude-inducing factoids, this is perhaps the best:

Some residents also railed against surging fees at the building’s private restaurant, overseen by the Michelin-star chef, Shaun Hergatt. When the building opened in late 2015, homeowners were required to spend $1,200 a year on the service; in 2021, that requirement jumps to $15,000, despite limited hours of operation because of the pandemic. And breakfast is no longer free.

And such small portions!

Class Warfare

59% of workers who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage are women—here’s how it would affect the pay gap CNBC

CA Supreme Court denies lawsuit challenging Prop 22’s constitutionality TechCrunch

Why Are Some Organic Farmers Turning to Reactionary Politics? The Farm Worker Bulletin

Remembering coal High Country News

California Elegy The Baffler

“A Punishing American Zeitgeist”​: An Interview with Nikhil Pal Singh The Drift. Well worth a read.

Antidote du jour (Alex Cox):

Alex writes: “My late dog, Pearl.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. John A

    Re The Downside to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks NYT. Of the many schadenfreude-inducing factoids, this is perhaps the best:
    Some residents also railed against surging fees at the building’s private restaurant, overseen by the Michelin-star chef, Shaun Hergatt. When the building opened in late 2015, homeowners were required to spend $1,200 a year on the service; in 2021, that requirement jumps to $15,000, despite limited hours of operation because of the pandemic. And breakfast is no longer free.

    Residents there will probably also need the $2000 (1400 going down and counting) check not to be means-tested, perhaps? $15000 = 1250k a month

    1. Huey Long

      I interviewed to be the chief operating engineer there in charge of all building mechanical systems. Thank heaven I didn’t get the job!

      An acquaintance of mine got the job and lasted about a year before quitting. He told me the place was a mess and they were stingy with the OT. My union rep asked me if I wanted to put in for it again and I politely declined.

      The place is definitely exotic mechanically and I’m not surprised there’s been some major floods. These things happen in high rises although I’m sure the damage $$$ amount is super high here due to the finishes, furniture, etc. present in the apartments of squillionaires.

      1. Pat

        Not my level of expertise, obviously, and not this particular building, but happened to work in a residential high rise building during its construction.

        My grandparents built their home and multiple other buildings on their property. And living a long way from nearest town, they also did their own repairs 99% of the time. And as I grew up I tagged along. As a result, I may not be an expert but I understand a fair amount about basic plumbing, electrical, and buildIng materials and structure. The guys I worked with at the time were even more knowledgeable.

        We spent a fair amount of time at that location looking at the construction and material choices, and the mechanicals that were already in place. All of us were aghast. We knew that all the real money was going to be on the showy finishes. Between cheapening out on materials, dubious plumbing and electrical installations all of us were sure the wealthy customers who were going to be bamboozled into owning apartments in this building were eventually going to be facing a world of ongoing issues.

        If I had money, I sure wouldn’t be spending it on any apartment in a major name building built in the last thirty years in NYC. I’m sure there are exceptions, but there is too much opportunity to cut corners on the basics that cannot be seen.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        This is a common feature when a developer and architect cook up a novel and interesting design to look striking and maximize saleable floorspace. Little details like how to stop leaks and how to provide services get ignored. Someone then comes along with an untried item of technology that ‘solves’ the problem.

        Its hardly ground breaking engineering to ensure a tall building is stiff enough not to suffer these problems. Super high buildings usually have some form of counterweight (or fancy aerodynamics) to prevent excess movement when its windy, but this is expensive and uses up a lot of weight. I wonder if the developer unilaterally decided that it wasn’t necessary (this seems to have been the problem with the notorious SF apartment building with its too shallow foundations).

        I was recently walking around a complex of mid sized apartment buildings, doing a little architecture spotting. The original development had been for individual unit sale, but it was then following the property crash it was entirely bought by a rental company, which finished off the final two blocks recently. The difference in design was striking – the first stage was full of overcomplex features such as extending balconies and ornamental hoods made from a variety of materials, while the final stage was a model of simplicity (slightly boring looking, it should be said) – all right angles and wide entrances, simple, durable materials. Or put another way, one was full of features that were intended to boost sales, the other was built with long term ease of maintenance in mind.

        1. Adam Eran

          Hmmm… so a point in favor of rentals over owned buildings! BTW, Trump apparently is absolutely fascinated by the surfaces of his buildings (see The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin)

          Excerpt: p.249: “When it comes to saying something with buildings, however, Trump is less concerned with their size and scale than with their surfaces. … [unlike Ayn Rand] Trump makes almost no mention of design, engineering, or even architecture….he becomes the most observant diarist, recording detail after loving detail of the beauty of [the surfaces] he sees and its effects upon him.”

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Sports leaders seek to protect women’s sports while accommodating transgender girls and women”

    Because the American Civil Liberties Union has nothing else to think about or be concerned about at the present time, they have come out and declared that ‘Trans athletes do not have an unfair advantage in sports.’ The following article takes issue with this and includes two videos to back up their ideas. One guy has a video clip of himself lifting a heavy set of weights and writes-

    ‘I keep hearing about how biological men don’t have any physical strength advantage over women in 2019…

    So watch me DESTROY the British Women’s deadlift record without trying.

    P.S. I identified as a woman whilst lifting the weight. Don’t be a bigot’

    Article at

    1. divadab

      Too bad about the ACLU – they used to do good work. Perhaps they still do but this ridiculous, evidence-free assertion is not a good sign. Neither was their duplicitous involvement in the Citizens’ Initiative that legalized recreational cannabis in Washington State, I502. They worked with federal law enforcement to draft the initiative that opened up the market to entrepreneurs while freezing out the existing medicinal cannabis growers and dispensaries and their owners and staff. And to liberally bribe other institutional interests with promises of massive tax revenues.

      Are all of our institutions corrupted? Seriously – is there any institution which does not have hidden and unacknowledged agendas, carefully hidden with misleading and deliberately false justifications and propaganda (oh – I mean “messaging”) ? A society where leadership are filthy liars destroys the trust necessary for functioning institutions.

        1. Carla

          @GranSci — I try to tell ACLU true-believers (dues-paying supporters) about that every chance I get. They are incredulous to the point of dis-belief, and then they quickly retreat to their comfortable of religion of “The ACLU can do no harm.” You can see it in their eyes. It only takes a few seconds.

      1. Carla

        @divadab — I would ask:

        “Is there any institution which does not have hidden and unacknowledged FUNDERS, carefully hidden with misleading and deliberately false justifications and propaganda?”

        Not sure whether I really mean “funders” or “owners,” but you get my drift…

      2. marym

        The ACLU does a lot of work on a lot of issues to protect and expand people’s rights.

        On the other hand, conservative identity politics on protecting women and girls, transgender rights beyond sports participation, and other issues is often more about restricting rights, exclusion and control.

        It’s fair to argue that the ACLU and proponents of liberal identity politics need better analysis and proposals for practical issues of fairness, safety, and privacy in sports, or congregate settings likes shelters and prisons.

        It’s also fair to be wary of legal initiatives and fear-mongering efforts from those who would use these issues as a gateway to further discrimination on matters like employment and healthcare.

        1. pasha

          it is important to remember that the ACLU is not monolithic. state and even local chapters decide which cases to take, decisions guided by the policy interests of the (often volunteer) attorneys involved

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Sadly, this is true. I would love to know how this somehow became a big issue in sports to the extent that anyone who denies it risks getting tarred as a bigot.

        Everyone with even the most tangental knowledge of sports science or physiology knows that anyone who goes through the male hormonal surge in adolescence has a huge power and strength advantage over someone who doesn’t. The East Europeans knew it in the 1970’s and 80’s, which is why they dosed their young female athletes with various forms of synthetic testosterone. There is nothing in gender assignment surgery that significantly alters this. It is literally like arguing that up is down or night is day to argue that there is no physiological difference. And yet, this has become the norm.

        What is so often forgotten in all this is that every single sport ever invented has one thing in common – a set of rules that are almost entirely arbitrary. There is no ‘reason’ for the off-side law, the particular weight limits in combat sports, or age categories in pretty much every sport. They are arbitrary, and even age categories can be ‘discriminatory’ (research has found it gives an advantage to those who’s birthday is the right side of the cut off point). Sex based categories are also arbitrary, to the extent that there will be a small number of people who fall somewhere in the middle. Thats tough on them, its also tough on me that my particular genetic birthright means I’m crap at all the sports I enjoy. I have to live with it, and so should anyone else who feels they should be in some other category.

        1. John A

          There is no ‘reason’ for the off-side law

          Er, it is to prevent what is known as ‘goal-hanging’.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            And why is ‘goal hanging’ a bad thing? Most field sports get on fine without an off-side law. Basketball, Aussie Rules, volleyball, GAA, handball, field hockey, etc. Not to mention futsall and 5-a-side soccer. They have different rules to deal with different issues, all created by other arbitrary rules. That’s my point.

            1. c_heale

              Goal hanging in football (soccer) is a bad thing for two reasons. Unlike all the other sports mentioned, football is a very low scoring sport. And secondly, sports by definition have to be interesting to watch. Goal hanging would dramatically reduce this interest. Enforcing this rule has always been difficult (it involves four elements, the position of the forward, the defenders, the ball and the person passing the ball – all of whom are in motion. There is currently a lot of controversy over the current implementation of VAR as it relates to offside), so if there were no use to the offside rule, it would have definitely have been removed already.

        2. Basil Pesto

          What do you mean by arbitrary? Many rules are by design. Often they’re a response to trends in how a game is played, where new emerging trends are seen as undesirable. It wouldn’t have taken long to realise football as a game would be a dreadful spectacle without something like the offside law (and I also think that ‘law’ is an interesting word in the context of sporting rules; in a similar way laws in society often develop in reaction to changes in to events and behaviour, from archaic criminal laws that are no longer germane in 2021 to the acceleration of human rights law that developed in response to Nazism – laws also contain arbitrary distinctions within them, like the varying ages of consent in different jurisdictions). Australian Rules Football, on the other hand, has no need for an offside rule because of its stop-start nature, but it has undergone so many rule changes over the years that have fundamentally varied the way the game is played. Cricket is similar, and then cricket has different rules for its different formats, to dictate how the game is played appropriately for the format (ie is the match played in 3 hours or 5 days?). These rule changes are questions of game design, almost. Then there are practicalities: golf has tried to adapt its arcane rules to encourage faster play not (just) for pros but for amateurs; it hasn’t really worked. On the pro side, though, there’s also an interesting debate in golf atm about ‘bifurcating’ the game and limiting the technology of pros because they hit the ball too damn far thanks to advances in club and ball technology.

          All of these rules are contrived, certainly, but I’m not sure that arbitrary is the right word? Many are very deliberate and considered.

          But then there’s, for want of a better word, categorisation, which encompasses age, sex, weight or other handicapping system, disability, eauipment etc. – I guess these distinctions are arbitrary to a degree (ie where to set the cut-offs for elligibility – with sex you’d think that’d be pretty obvious but, as we’ve seen, not necessarily). The reasons for these categories are ostensibly ‘fairness’, or equity of competition. I don’t think it’s always just done out of fairness for its own sake, though – sports would retain limited interest if mismatches were routine; people would just lose interest. The age one is interesting and I wonder if it accounts for what I’ve noticed for many soccer players who relate being told in their youth by their coaches that they were too small to make it – an impression that may have come from different onsets of puberty in age category football teams. I think Messi was told this and took growth hormones when he was younger as a result.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      When you’ve lost Martina Navratilova, you’d think that might be a sign you’re taking things a little too far.

      Let me know when transgender boys start playing men’s college football and then tell me again how there is no unfair advantage.

      And how bout a shout out to Martina from the phamous pholksinger, Phranc –

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      While the coveted college-educated, suburban wine moms can comfortably “champion” blm rioters from afar, this issue hits much closer to home. In some cases, they pay big money to private coaches to make sure their daughters succeed, and parents have become accustomed to taking as much pride in their daughters’ sports accomplishments as their sons’.

      Something tells me we’re about to find out how deep the commitment to “diversity” and “inclusion” really runs when it’s dumped in their own, uber-genteel, un-deplorable laps.

      The central park Karen comes to mind.

    4. Stephen C.

      Would it be that difficult for “sports leaders” to organize competition between transgendered folk?

      I would wager that most people accept that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, are barred against playing against your local high school team. I believe a rule like that did not come about from a hidden, systemic oppression of highly skilled adults who might one day feel the need to stomp on some kids. The restriction, if it even needed to be written down, came about by an overt and sensible way to organize a professional sport and to protect a vulnerable group (in this case the young) from senseless injury and psychological abuse.

      Of course in today’s climate I am sure to be called a paternalistic misogynist, and the young women in today’s schools don’t want or need my protection or opinion. So I’ll leave it to the older women to organize sport for younger women. But shouldn’t fathers still share some of the responsibly for their daughter’s development?

      1. Anthony Noel

        Nope, it wouldn’t be hard to organize at all, (pay for and maintain probably, yes, very hard to do) but to organize, nope.

        The problem is that current trans activism does not allow for something like this since it would identify trans people as a separate category from their self identified one.

        In current trans activism self identity essentialism is the founding principle. Therefore a trans woman/man is not a TRANS woman/man (i.e a separate category), but a woman/man, fullstop, and therefore breaking them into a sub category not recognizing they are what ever they self identify as is discriminatory

    5. Alternate Delegate

      There is a very good book called The Sports Gene by David Epstein (I won’t link to Amazon).

      It’s a long read about how competitive sports give us insight into many different kinds of genetic variation. It turns out that “winning” these competitions selects for some mighty odd genes! He discusses the racial and gender issues in a matter of fact what-do-we-actually-know way. Of course, this was 2013, so maybe this book couldn’t be published today.

      Takeaway on gender in sports: testosterone is probably the number one factor. It seems reasonable for the IOC to say, effectively, “to compete as a woman, we don’t care what your body looks like, or your chromosomes look like, but your testosterone must be below a specified level”.

      Of course, there are many other factors, and you could attempt to compensate for those factors, but it’s not clear that it would make these competitions any fairer.

      Serious athletes who make gender transitions that include hormones tend to encounter performance changes that allow them to remain serious athletes in their new gender, without blowing away the competition. And I happen to know a person like that.

  3. Kris

    Estimating the effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine after a single dose: “The cause of the initial surge in infection risk is unknown but may be related to people being less cautious about maintaining protective behaviours as soon as they have the injection.”

    Or, it could be due to perfectly sensible people having been exposed at the time they went to receive the vaccination.

    1. marcyincny

      I got my first dose last Friday and the nurse asked if I was feeling ill. I said no, aside from the anxiety attack I was trying to stifle. She asked if I was afraid of the injection and I said no, that I was afraid of being in the largest group of people (at least 100) for the longest time (an hour) in almost a year.

      Yes, it was potentially one stop shopping for vaccine AND Covid.

      1. antidlc

        My worries as well, even though I have not gotten vaccinated yet.

        I have seen photos of the vaccination hubs and it does not appear that people are keeping their distance — inside the building and waiting outside in line.

      2. chuck roast

        I have located a new GP provider. A woman MD…women listen better than men and are more sympathique. I’m hoping that she will be willing to prescribe a couple of hits of Ivermectin…just in case. The plan is to continue to lurk around the edges of the wisdom of crowds until the vaccine question gains a bit more clarity. If, in the meantime my sense of smell goes south I can immediately pop an Ivermectin.

    2. curlydan

      I question the use of the word “surge” in that article. It doesn’t seem like there’s a surge in infection risk–it’s just that there’s no difference in infection risk for those with the vaccine and those without until after 14 days when infection risk starts to drop dramatically.

      So anyone who gets their first dose appears to have little protection until 2 weeks out. Maybe that’s how most of these Congresscritters got COVID after vaccination.

      This is no different from what happened in the clinical trial. If you look at NEJM Pfizer clinical trial paper and the graph of infection of placebo vs treated, the lines are virtually on top of each other until day 14 when they start to greatly diverge.

    3. IM Doc

      Internist with boots on the ground.

      Our vaccinated cohort so far in my area has been basically nursing home patients and workers, about half the medical staff, and now working through the 75 and up that want it. So not the general population.

      I have frankly been stunned by the number of people who become COVID positive with symptoms within a day or two of the first dose. Many HCW and fully 25-30% of the nursing home patients. I do not believe this is related to behavior because these are mostly a captive audience still following protocols in the NH, HCW who are still under directives for PPE, and the 75 and up crowd I know are still taking things very seriously. This was such an issue that they tested all our shot-givers and all were negative.

      In other words, we are not vaccinating thirtysomethings who then go out to party. Nor are the shot-giving personnel seem to be infected and giving it to the patients.

      Again, this is a very clear pattern. Vaccine is given and within 2 days they are coughing or fevering and are COVID positive.

      I want to reiterate – THERE IS NO WAY THAT COVID is BEING GIVEN TO PATIENTS BY THE VACCINE. Simply not possible. I am beginning to become increasingly confident that something is happening with the immune response and a process called viral reactivation. Some viral families like herpes do this for a living. This is known to happen in coronaviruses. Vaccine administration is one of the things that is known to cause this. As we know from the cycle threshold PCR tests, many of us have deactivated viral particles laying around the respiratory tract. Could they be being reactivated by the vaccine and its effect on our immune system? Unknown – but needs to be found out. This phenomenon would be consistent with that happening.

      Interestingly, most but not all of these patients have a fairly mild case – some however are really ill. The more concerning thing is proceeding with the 2nd dose on time. Many of these patients in this situation become very very ill after that 2nd dose. I am advising people to wait for a few weeks and to put them all on aspirin to help with blood clots.

      If this happens to you – becoming COVID positive after the first dose – please talk to your physician before that 2nd dose. Do not just blindly follow the timing of vaccinations dictated by the Health Dept or Walgreen’s.

      1. Cuibono

        one other possibility
        The people who get the shot feel crummy and get tested. The tests come back positive.
        if they didnt get th shot they would not have felt crummy and would not be tested.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        Dear IM Doc, I ran the viral reactivation hypothesis past a geneticist of my acquaintance.

        They think viral reactivation is an unlikely explanation in this case. Other vaccines consist of inactivated virus, but these new ones contain large amounts of RNA. The RNA could be causing false positive RT-PCR Covid test results.

        Could the clinical symptoms, separate from the positive tests, be consistent with a reaction to the vaccine?

  4. zagonostra


    There seems to be a lot more that is under the surface of what really happened in the 1/6 Capitol “incident.” Not sure what to make of below from Consortiumnews. What I hear from friend on the left and right on the subject seem to be originating in two alternative realities. What I hope doesn’t happen is that further investigations get censored, though such hope is more than likely misplaced.

    Enrique Tarrio, leader of the right wing Proud Boys militant group, was a confidential source for law enforcement…Reuters reported that Tarrio began “repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012…all these problematic issues of operating confidential sources, Tarrio’s criminal background and work for the FBI should elicit more questions about what role he (and any other as yet unidentified law enforcement sources) may have played in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

    1. Massinissa

      This isn’t just a Consortium news thing: Multiple sources on multiple sites have stated this. Even if it isn’t correct, and even though MSM isn’t bothering to even mention it, its not some fringe theory. I havn’t looked into it much myself.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      Rowley fwiw is one of those names who got much cred post-911 for exposing a bunch of incompetence and shenanigans in the agencies that were supposed to be watching out for such things.

    3. cocomaan

      If you’re the FBI/NSA/DIA/etc, eventually the supply of criminal activity/terrorism/foes doesn’t meet demand. Lots of employees to keep on the payroll who might get laid off if there isn’t an enemy to fight.

      That’s when you go out and create more supply.

  5. Miami Mitch

    As Yves keeps pointing out, friction in trading is good.

    If friction in trading is good, isn’t the same is true for publishing? The internet just brought publishing to the masses and I hate it for that. Oh, but yeah, Faceborg is NOT a publisher! (Even though they take your work and present it to the public which is literally the definition.)

    This melts into your post “Warning: If Your Business Depends on a Platform, You Don’t Have a Business” in a way. If you did not have a publisher you could not make a business out of being a writer.

  6. a different chris

    >We used a pooled estimate

    Data from different surveys, rather than one consistent one

    >of the daily incidence rate [in Israel] during days 1 to 12 as the counterfactual estimate of incidence without disease and estimated confidence intervals

    >using Monte Carlo modelling.

    Monte Carlo modelling is a way to try to make sense of not enough data *and* has the advantage of you not needing to put “I don’t really have enough data” in your release.

    >After initial injection case numbers increased to day 8 before declining to low levels by day 21.

    Well who knows, Kris above certainly has one good suspicion

    >Estimated vaccine effectiveness was pretty much 0 at day 14 but then rose to about 90% at day 21 before levelling off.

    So it takes 21 days to really work, not a big surprise. Vaccine as of course we know but surprising how many people don’t, isn’t a “medication” like aspirin. It is step 1 in a process to immunity.

    >The cause of the initial surge in infection risk is unknown but may be related to people being less cautious about maintaining protective behaviours as soon as they have the injection.

    Again, people are stupider than you could imagine. And lots of them are way richer than you!

    >What our analysis shows is that a single dose of vaccine is highly protective, although it can take up to 21 days to achieve this. The early results coming from Israel support the UK policy of extending the gap between doses by showing that a single dose can give a high level of protection.”

    Oh (family blog) no it does not. It only tells you that you start getting protection at 21 days. It doesn’t mean at all that you will still be good 12 weeks after.

    BTW: I have no idea why somethings are one-shot and some are two? I’d like to hear something of the process that concludes that?

    1. Zamfir

      My (completely non-expert) understanding is that there is no fundamental difference between 1 shot and 2 shot vaccines. It’s just that 2 doses works better, so the first vaccines trialed in 2 doses to maximize the chance of success.

      By the same logic, it’s normal that vaccines work better if the 2 shots are spaced further apart in time. But that would delay the time to approval, so they deliberately trialed with a spacing on the shorter end

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘Labour has told its community organising unit, introduced under Corbyn, that their contracts will not be renewed from May.
    Another key moment in Keir Starmer’s battle to transform the party and remove Corybnistas from HQ
    And a lot of anger to have done it during the pandemic.’

    Maybe Starmer got advice from the DNC that if he does this, that it will work out as voters will nowhere else to go.

    1. Massinissa

      Advice from the DNC? He’s a Blairist: The Blairists have been doing this so long they probably taught Democrats how to do it during the Clinton era. This kind of BS worked for the Blairists back then, because who else would the Labour voters had voted for? The idiosyncratic Liberal Democrats? They were in a coalition with Blair’s labour party for 7 of the 10 years Blair was PM anyway. And where would disaffected Labour voters, in England at least, go at this point anyway? The Green Party has one seat, the Lib Dems are a fraction of what they used to be after they pissed off their left wing contingent when they coalitioned with the Tories a decade ago, and its not as if English leftists are going to start voting for the SNP, who look like they want to try and leave the UK again.

      Starmer’s sort of right. More or less the only thing leftist labour supporters can do is try and take over the party again. They’re in as much of a bind as US Progressives are

      1. Kurt Sperry

        UK lefties should be heartened by the surprising success Corbyn enjoyed for a while in spite of the fact that he seems to at times be a pretty dismally inept politician. I think a more polished and stronger personality of the left could have easily become PM vs. the current shambolic Tories.

        1. John A

          Corbyn was destroyed because he was left of centre, ‘for the many not the few’, just like Bernie. No matter how dapper and polished a personality a left leaning policitian were, the establishment/deep state would destroy them. Apart from all the anti-semetism, smears, some very high ranking military figures said the military would refuse to obey Corbyn and the recently departed US Sec of State Pompeo said they would do all they could to stop Corbyn were he to look like being elected.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            I agree on the likelihood that the status quo would do whatever it could to prevent a leader from the left like Corbyn from getting near the levers. I’m just not convinced, given how close even a deeply flawed Corbyn actually came, that they could have resisted a more competent and polished opponent.

            In the US, if Bernie looked like George Clooney, he’d have either steamrolled the whole process in a walk or been bumped off.

            It’s probably easy to overestimate the overall competence of the status quo. They haven’t been tested in decades, it’s likely they are more like the wizard behind the curtain than they are the omnipotent masters of the universe they’d prefer you believe they are.

  8. a different chris

    >because there aren’t that many folks in the upper bracket compared to lower brackets

    Yeah the whole thing is ridiculous but that’s our Dems!! They love to means-test like other people like cake, it’s just because.

    Ok, 1.9trillion dollars (of course not 2 trillion, that’s part of this whole thing but leave it be).

    If they decide the 1% doesn’t need it, it saves… 19 billion dollars. Um, 1.9trillion – 19billion is approximately 1.9trillion dollars by most estimation techniques I know!

    Ok, so take it from the 10% – now we’ve saved 190 billion dollars. Remember, the gummint is like 4 trillion dollars if these* people are to be believed, in addition to the 1.9trillion. So we generate a lot of tiresome paperwork to save 190billion from nearly 6 trillion.

    Meanwhile interest on the debt, which we shouldn’t even be paying but way too late now, is about 2x that.

    In any case, nobody knows which neighbor made 150k in 2019 and near nada in 2020, and who kept sailing along working from home. So if this bothers everybody so much just tax it back in 2022. WTF is so hard?

    * (warning, wackjobs and last year includes but that doesn’t mean their numbers are wrong. Note that 2020 would include the last stimulus so 2019 seems like a better baseline)

  9. CanCyn

    From “A Punishing American Zeitgeist” ….”But in a sense, the greatest achievements of his administration were massive tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate tax cuts, and appointing conservative judges at every level of the court system — all longstanding conservative and GOP priorities.”
    That last line should read “all long-standing corporate priorities supported by both Democrats and Republicans”.
    Otherwise, this a good read, explicatory in way that makes it worth sharing with our still TDS suffering liberal friends.

  10. Wyoming

    Re: The Brockovich Report article.

    I used their link to check our local (Prescott, AZ) water quality.

    Yikes!!! That was uncomfortable. I am already researching countertop reverse osmosis water filters for our drinking water.

    Excellent link btw.

    1. Late Introvert

      I personally can’t accept throwing away 4 gallons to get 1 filtered gallon. We use the charcoal filters.

  11. urblintz

    ” while I don’t have anything against gay people, I happen to believe wanting your doodles removed is a mental issue.” uh, no… transgenderism and homosexuality are not interchangeable. I too think that transgendered male to female athletes are severely problematic for women’s sports but let’s not confuse the subject further, please.

  12. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the link about Bell End Cat, the guy began life as a bit of a neo con obsessive BTL at the Grauniad. He was “spotted” and given his own gig. All this from his Leicester two up, two down. Down the road in Coventry, above a fish and chips shop, is the jihadist masquerading as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Neither shill declares the full suite of funders.

    I was a bit surprised to see Sigrid Rausing listed as a donor. Her family and her often / increasingly operate in the shadows. They are buying up land in Scotland, apparently for rewilding, but land reform, environmental and independence campaigners are not convinced. Perhaps, the family should mind its own business, including matters closer to or at home.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I remember when he got his leg up from the Guardian. I didn’t know much about him and I honestly didn’t suspect at the time that he was essentially a front for Intelligence, I just found it curious that he was getting such kind coverage from the media when all other fringe reporters were being shunned. Especially as he freely admitted to knowing no arabic, and yet was trusted as a source on the basis of his detailed parsing of youtube clips from the Syrian war.

      Incidentally, when I recently did an upgrade on my pc, my browser front page gave me my new thumbnails of ‘favourites’. BCat was one of them, despite it being a couple of years since I last looked at the site (and I was never a frequent visitor once I realised how dishonest it was). Its things like that make me go all thin hat foily.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Favicons (the name for the little icons you see on tabs in a web browser) aren’t ordinarily stored locally on your device. If that’s what you were referring to.

    2. km

      Anyone who gets that much fawning and supposedly spontaneous free PR is automatically suspect.

      Especially as everything Bellingact ever says pretty much always (total coincidence!) just happens to correspond with the establishment line at the moment. Because the establishment line sounds so much more objective when it comes from a cutout.

      Same reason the tobacco industry founded and funded so many astroturf smokers’ rights organizations.

    3. Temporarily Sane

      “ the jihadist masquerading as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”

      Whatever you may think of the guy running SOHR, he is definitely not a jihadist. He’s funded by the UK state and he is anti-Assad and was pro-opposition when the FSA was still around. The site primarily focuses on reporting body counts and military operations.

      If you keep its biases in mind, it can actually be a useful site when trying to figure out what’s going on in Syria. For example this report talks about Turkish backed military police torturing a guy they had in custody.

  13. Arwen

    I was heartened to see the group trying to find a way to include transgirls/women in women’s sports and protect the integrity of women’s sports and to see the participation of athletes such as Martina Navratilova, who I rooted for and respect the integrity of.
    Allowing transgirls/women to participate in women’s sports without leveling the advantages of male-birth biology that make girls/women’s sports necessary in the first place is not fair. On the other hand, many use their opposition to this as an opportunity to vent their prejudices against transgirls/women, which raises doubts about the sincerity of their interest in the issue.
    Some ideas on how to achieve balance:
    1) Decisions should be based on empirical research into how to achieve fairness.
    2) Different rules may be appropriate for different sports.
    3) Sports in which the elite men are genetically extreme will probably be in appropriate for any participation by transgirls/women in women’s sports. American football and basketball are two examples. Weightlifting might also be in this category. Sports that use weight categories seem like they would work for trans participation in women’s sports because extra bone mass or muscle would move a transgirl/woman up to a higher weight category. Though I may be missing something here. See 1).
    Soccer would seem to me to be the opposite.
    4) If rules for trans participation in a specific women’s sport are set and trans participants smash through existing women’s records, then the rules have not been set correctly.
    5) Comparison of performance before and after transition may be helpful. If someone was, for example, in the top 10% of high school boys in a sport, then if she is in the top 10% of high school girls in a sport, that is more likely to be fair.
    6) The higher the stakes, the stricter I would make the rules. When fame and great fortune are at stake, there is more motivation to game the rules. On the other hand, in youth sports and in mass participation sports, as opposed to elite sports, I would lean toward inclusiveness.

    As a transwoman, I have found this issue disheartening. When I read the derisive comments by opponents of transgirls’/women’s participation in women’s sports, I understand why some would push back by taking an equally extreme stand in the opposite direction. However, such a position feels selfish and narrow to me. It is a hallmark of our age that place is easily found for special pleading, but those making claims on behalf of all human beings are sidelined in favor of the special pleaders, who are more easily bought off.
    One more thing. If after every effort has been made to balance inclusion and the integrity of girls’/women’s sports, there remains a trade-off, I would lean toward the integrity, in other words I would favor the non-trans girls/women. Not because they are better beings or better women or more deserving, but for the simple reason that there are so many more of them. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” as Spock said.

      1. MK

        Allowing trans athletes to compete against each other only, and allow non-trans athletes to opt-in as well. But, continue with biological women competing only against other biological women. 2 tracks if you will.

      2. Arwen

        For track and field, reducing testosterone to normal female levels might well be enough. (Such a reduction is automatic for post-op transwomen.)
        At least, the experience with intersex women in track and field, who won Olympic medals with higher testosterone levels but not without it, suggests that.
        Good will and common sense would go a long way to solving this question. Though both are in short supply in the most visible gladiatorial public discussions.

        1. Another Scott

          It’s more complicated than simply looking at testosterone. In high school, boys and girls tack teams had different hurdle races for example. The boys run 110m and the girls 100m, with the boys’ hurdles being taller than the girls’ ones. My guess is the reason is that this is because of the difference in heights between the two groups.

          There is also some outright sexism that I’d like to see removed, such as women having the heptathlon rather than the decathlon at many levels, including the Olympics

        2. a different chris

          Well I (like anybody cares, but you aren’t paying for this) have a theory, and it’s that women are being mold-squeezed into men’s athletic games.

          First, let’s start with a newish sport where they are competitive: In Ultramarathoning they actually seem to be converging in achievement, that is you can’t bet on somebody just based on sex:

          This I think might support my point which is little genetic tweaks/hormonal distributions that say allow one to carry a child for 9 months may not show up well in say javelin-throwing, but might make a big difference in, well super-endurance.

          And here’s something comparatively not aerobic at all:: Horseback riding, where the lower center of gravity helps you keep your seat. Women do a lot of stuff in the ring dead equal to the men’s capabilities.

          Shorter me: you can have too much testosterone for some very athletic activities. They just aren’t so much on the TV.

    1. QuicksilverMessenger

      Interesting and I too do not have any answers. As to soccer, in your point 3, I’m not sure what you are getting at. That ‘men’s’ soccer players are generally not “genetically extreme” or that they are? I can tell you that the US Women’s World Cup team, the elite of the globe, played a match against the MLS’s Dallas Under-15 boys (that is, boys 13 and 14 years old) in a prep match for some internationals they were to play against other international women’s squads, and were thrashed by the boys 5-2.
      The reason I bring this up is that I was quite a good player as a youth, had aspirations of playing professionally, and many of the players I played did play professionally, but at a fairly lower level. And these players were damn good. I can say verifiably that the best players in the men’s game are, in fact, some kind of freakishly good athletes. It’s just that they are not giants like in NBA or NFL. One player I played with for years was always the best kid on every team, including the US National Team at the time, but was only able to make in the English Second Division. And he was, to us, just amazing. But he barely could make a living. How good then is Messi? Ronaldo? Zidane? I submit that they are basically, in their own way, genetically extreme.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Former CIA Officer: Treat Domestic Extremism As An Insurgency”

    Money quote – ‘And I think there are a great many people who don’t trust you, Mary Louise, I hate to be the one to break it to you, who don’t trust NPR or The New York Times.’

    So what exactly is he talking about? Drone strikes on wedding parties in Utah? Shooting from the air farmers working in their fields in Iowa because they are carrying shovels which could be used to bury IEDs? Raids on outlaying homes in snatch-and-grab missions by helicopter and shooting them if they have a gun – in rural America? Bases in rural areas of America with helicopter and drones flying overhead constantly? Issuing decks of cards with faces of wanted people on them? Unmarked vans grabbing people off the streets? Oh wait, they do that. Trying to bring the war on terror back home to America will guarantee an insurgency, not stop one.

    1. Massinissa

      Quite frankly, worried the pushback already happening on Trumpists is going to incite more Republican revolt. They’re going to feel they’re being singled out by the government, which many of them have believed before this, and is unfortunately now true, and going to reinforce said beliefs.

    2. rowlf

      Bernard Fall defined Counterinsurgency = political reform + economic development + counter guerrilla operations.

      I’m kinda thinking Fall knew what he was talking about but US ears couldn’t hear him.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      “Shooting from the air farmers working in their fields in Iowa because they are carrying shovels which could be used to bury IEDs?”
      aye, said he who had a shovel in his hand for most of yesterday, while watching various aircraft lingering in my airspace.
      i wonder if the vaunted 2nd Amendment covers defensive AKK installments…perhaps on top of the goat barn?

      snark aside, i remember yelling at what would become blue dogs, back when, that this is exactly where their fear and loathing inspired support for GWOT would lead.
      US Army Field Manuals on COIN are essential reading if you want to understand what “they” have been doing to us since at least Reagan.
      BLM pressed into service for the Woke Color Revolution…and, just in case, the Righty neoKlan Insurgency(sic) kept simmering furiously on the other side of the stove, as a rallypoint and excuse for more intrusive(“inclusive”?) inquisition.

    4. Andrew Watts

      Counter-insurgency doesn’t necessarily involve drone strikes or other forms of violence. The Sunni Awakening in Iraq had the US military paying off a lot of “concerned local citizens”.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I have no doubt that quite a few Sunni fighters joined IS for no other reason than to get a paycheck. The Awakening kinda went to pieces when Daesh started to assassinate tribal leaders. I wouldn’t compare them to a bunch of suburbanite LARPers or Call of Duty cosplayers though.

    5. cocomaan

      I love the oversimplification in the article.

      And that is that, you know, even at the seeming height of the crisis immediately after 9/11, there really weren’t that many members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. And the thrust of our campaign there was, yes, to hunt down al-Qaida, but primarily to remove the supportive environment in which they were able to live and to flourish. And that meant fighting the Taliban.

      “The Taliban” was actually at least five different factions of Pashtun insurgency, with different networks of warlords presiding over different areas and having different philosophies.

      Our action in “fighting the Taliban” was in truth taking a sides in ancient tribal wars.

      One of those divisions is often seen as the lowland, feudal landlord Durrani and rural mountainous Ghilzai Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan.

      If we’re going to combat division within the country by taking sides in division, we’re going to fail, just like we failed in Afghanistan.

      1. RMO

        He just kind of glosses over that “The Taliban” indicated their willingness to work with international law enforcement, the UN and the US and would turn over the members of al-Quaida if the US would provide them evidence of guilt and cause to do so – but the Bush government wanted their war more than they wanted to actually bring those behind the September 11th attacks to justice.

    6. farragut

      “will guarantee an insurgency, not stop one.”

      What if that’s the goal? It would solve a lot of problems from the Blob’s point of view….

    7. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      To be fair, those tactics have allowed the U.S. military to continuously occupy Central Asia for two decades, which in my opinion, was the point all along. So maybe the use of these tactics are to justify the occupation of the Homeland.

  15. pjay

    Re: ‘Former CIA Officer: Treat Domestic Extremism As An Insurgency’ – NPR

    Yes! Let’s bring the Salvador Option home! Perhaps Col. Steele is still available:

    My first reaction to this when I saw it the other day was: “unbelievable.” But unfortunately, it is perfectly believable today – the “liberal” NPR providing the CIA’s “Iraq Mission Manager” a forum while listening soberly like an obedient puppy. But I’m sure they’ll only take out “right wing extremists,” so no problem.

    Nostalgia note: Remember when the Guardian used to publish stories like this?

    1. Rod

      The Rev;
      Money quote – ‘And I think there are a great many people who don’t trust you, Mary Louise, I hate to be the one to break it to you, who don’t trust NPR or The New York Times.’

      Hearing Her mumbling response to that gem of insight was priceless, as it was her guest. And NPR has been trying sooooo hard to stay in the club, but they can’t seem to catch a back rub for their sincere effort.

  16. Rod

    It’s A Sh*t Show Out There The Brockovich Report. Yes, that Brockovich.
    –imo, a Hero–she should get a Medal of Freedom

    oh boy this is fun (eye opening) and too easy to use–beware

    I am on a shallow well at one house and on a deep well at the other two, (ignorance is bliss) but just discovered that the City’s Muni Supply surrounding us (and main Water Providor$ for 2/3 other County Municipalities) has more(as in 8 more) contaminates than Denmark SC–yes– that Denmark SC

    Water is Life–salient as ever.

  17. Wyoming

    Re: the link and comment on ‘Former CIA Officer:’ article. The quote following the link

    “That means using counterinsurgency tactics — similar in some ways to those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

    was not said by the CIA officer but by the reporter.

    The comments in the article by Grenier (yes I slightly knew him once) are fully complementary to some of what I have been trying to articulate on the subject of the danger we in the US are in from home grown extremists. I share Grenier’s experiences with insurgencies and the methods of creating civil war in countries with the goal of toppling a government or preventing such.

    It is fully fine to be suspicious of people (though the knee jerk kind of suspicion leads to lots of misreadings) and I fully admit I am suspicious of almost everyone and am skeptical about most of what they say and write (and this includes everyone here too). But one still needs to try and figure out what part of what we hear makes sense and we need to act on that as best we can.

    We are in danger. Pure and simple. The most common precursor to a successful overthrow of a government is a failed attempt. There are most certainly a significant number of domestic actors out there who are fully committed to a forceful change in our government. They are not going to go away willingly. Grenier’s words should be taken seriously.

    1. km

      Let us take for granted, the United States is in a pre-coup situation, although the enemies of the government so far are rather incompetent. Perhaps this is because there is no US Embassy to organize the coup.

      Now, ask why are there so many people ready, willing and attempting to overthrow the government. Why has the government and establishment lost the loyalty of so many of its citizens?

      These things didn’t just happen out of the blue, and it’s not because we all weren’t sufficiently loyal to Team D, for they surely would have had the problem licked by now.

      1. Wyoming

        Well exactly. This situation did not happen in a vacuum and there are causes and effects without a doubt. The mistake in my opinion is thinking it is related to D or R machinations or solutions.

        One cannot solve a problem unless they target the critical points of its origin. We are really bad at that as we all know.

        This does not mean, however, that all methods of fighting wrongs lead to better solutions….

        Batista thought that with his backing by the USG and the various mafia families he was invulnerable and had nothing to worry about. So he was not at all inclined to deal with the serious problems within Cuba and how it was ruled. He thought that the failed coup by Castro was childish and incompetent – and it was in spades. So he tossed him in jail and went on about his business. The next time Castro handed him his figurative head. Did the Cuban people really benefit from what happened???? It would not have taken that much flexibility on the part of Batista to have maintained power and by now Cuba would be a very different place. Maybe even a US State (joking btw).

    2. SoCal Rhino

      Re: Your point on suspicion, Pat Lang has shared on his blog, drawing from his work in intelligence, the need to evaluate the info and the source separately. Makes sense to me.

  18. jsn

    Downside of Supertalls: I started hearing this stuff 3 years ago. Notice that it only became a New York Times story after it was “mostly sold”.

  19. Rod

    Pearl looks happy and beautiful–a real heartful.
    What an image to have at hand, Alex, whenever you close your eyes.
    thanks for sharing your girl…

      1. Rod

        I agree–Alex captured such a vivid moment—can you not smell her standing there?

        Is a blue heeler a good family dog?
        Do Blue Heelers Make Good Family Pets?
        Australian Cattle Dogs make great pets if you can to give them the exercise and mental stimulation they require to stay healthy and happy. But they are best suited to homes without very small children. They are loyal to their owners and are full of personality and love.Nov 28, 2020

        Herders–a breed apart from the breed

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon, stumped by extremism in ranks, orders stand-down in next 60 days”

    Looks like some legislators got their wish. A coupla weeks ago a few of them were demanding this exact same measure and also demanding that the two divisions of National Guard troops occupying DC be also vetted. If this sounds like some American politicians not trusting soldiers, this is not without form. During the Iraq occupation, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld went to Iraq to give a talk to American soldiers in some hanger. But first he demanded that none of the soldiers present have a rifle or gun – at all. So much for trust. I could be wrong but i think that this was the meeting where soldiers called him out on the fact that they were having to use scrap metal to make “hillbilly armour’ to protect themselves against IEDs and he made the remark ‘You go to war with the Army you have not the Army you might wish to have at a later time.’

  21. flora

    re: NY Times Staffers Send ‘Outraged’ Letter to Bosses Demanding Reporter Apologize for Racial Slur – The Daily Beast.

    Has the the NYT become a long Dr. Who episode? (Check for Daleks.) /heh

    1. jr

      It occurred to me that this is a bonanza for those terrified staffers as claims of emotional distress and fear are currency in their world. Now everyone in the office, black or white, hetero or queer, whatever, can lay claim to the mantle of victimhood. What a gift! Since the degree of damage is entirely subjective, it need have no end. I can hear the group sessions now…

      I say this as someone who knows of people who literally operate in victimhood mode all the time in their work environments. People who have wrecked other people’s careers because they saw an opportunity in someone else’s innocent oversight to publicly solidify their victimhood identity. It’s an effective tool of manipulation, especially in the passive/aggressive nightmare of corporate work culture.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Western alarm as Canada says Hong Kong enforcing single nationality”

    I’m not sure what the west can do. Hong Kong has been a part of China since at least 214 BCE and China wants its territory back – and they have waited long enough. Perhaps if Hong Kong had put their full weight behind a local movement, then something reasonable could have been negotiated between them and China. But when the activists started to receive US/Western money and training about a decade ago, that was it. Game over. I have been thinking about how the Chinese think about China so let me spin you a tale of an alternative history of the United States that might explain-

    So it is the end of the American Revolution and the British still hold New York. But this time they dig their heels in. They want to keep it for a while as there are so many American Loyalist to protect, it is a great trading post, and they have a fleet to back this demand up. The French fleet with their job done at Yorktown have already sailed back home so cannot help. But to sweeten the deal, the British offer loans that the new American government can use to pay their debts and help to expand west. As the American government is broke (“not worth a Continental”) and they need that money, a treaty is signed in 1783 under President George Washington

    The years pass and it is 1839 and you have President Martin Van Buren. The British offer a 100 year lease of New York this time. As the US government is tied up with the Patriot War and near war on the Maine–New Brunswick frontier, they do their calculations. In a few short years the US government intends to invade and take over northern Mexico and do not need the hassle of trying to integrate a New York full of Loyalist descendants. Too many resources are needed too for western expansion and the future needs of the Mexican war while they are making good money off New York trade. So they sign the Treaty.

    So now it is 1939 and you have the second term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The lease is up and New York is being finally, finally being transferred back to American control. But to do so the US government has to agree to a further fifty years of British semi-control. As war is breaking out in Europe and it is only a matter of time before America is caught up in it, they reluctantly agree so a further treaty is signed but with New York coming home after over 150 years. This final treaty is due to expire in 1988 in the twilight of President Ronald Reagan’s administration and mind. But. Twenty years after the transfer, Americans see that British money is going into New York groups that want an independent, British-orientated free state. Leaders are seen in Whitehall talking to members of H.M. Government. US security officials are wondering if given a few years more that you might have a bombing campaign break out in New York like seen in British Palestine.

    So with all this alternate history, how would Americans think about New York? It does not mean that China is any less authoritarian but it might go a long way in explaining the feelings of the average Chinese.

    1. Wyoming

      A complementary point would be Taiwan. I am sure that the Chinese have similar thoughts about it being Chinese and they are committed irrevocably to reintegrating Taiwan back into China. If they had it to do over again I think it would be likely that as soon as they had obtained a credible nuclear deterrent that an immediate invasion would have occurred rather than allow a festering situation to result in the circumstances of today. Hindsight is great of course but I bet they gnash their teeth over that one and that it influences their decisions regarding Hong Kong.

    2. Geof

      As a Canadian with United Empire Loyalist ancestors, I think you have this backwards.

      There is no returning New York back to American control – because it was never American. It was British. It was the U.S. that seized territory from Britain, never the other way around (and with many justifications scarcely better than the opium trade – eradicating Catholicism and seizing Indian territory, for instance). In your version, it is the U.S. leasing New York, just as Britain leased Hong Kong. But the people have always been, and remain, British. “Return” should mean return to Britain. (A Britain that in 1939 is about to be encircled by deadly enemies.)

      I suppose your story gives me some understanding of China. But then something similar really did happen historically with the division of Columbia. As I understand it, the U.S. sent in settlers to British territory, then threatened war. Britain, which never seemed to care much for its North American colonies, and in any case presumably could not have defended them, ceded American Columbia up to the 49th parallel. The Americans then proceeded to be even more racist than the Canadians were to be.

      And then there’s Quebec. Though the line has to be drawn somewhere (literally, on a map), I can’t think of a better method than the determination of the people actually living there. (Mind you, this was obviously a disaster in 1938 in Czechoslovakia). I have deep respect for the Civil War that ended slavery (regardless of intentions), but very little for the idea that it was justified by the preservation of the Union. Even if that war was the reason my country was created.

  23. Rod

    Undocumented Restaurant Workers Should Be Prioritized for the Vaccine

    Nelson Santos, an undocumented line cook at a Brooklyn-based ghost kitchen whose name has been changed to protect his identity, knows he can’t work remotely…
    “By sheer virtue of being undocumented, I want the opposite thing: I don’t want to be known,” said Santos. A remote job outside the food or restaurant industry isn’t an option..


    Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts recently said in an announcement that citizens and legal residents will get vaccine priority over undocumented immigrants, as part of plans to deliver coronavirus vaccines to Nebraska meatpacking plants.

    “You’re supposed to be a legal resident of the country to be able to be working in those plants,” said the Republican governor. “So I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of the vaccine with that program.”

    bold mine

    It is such a Mess that we have watched being made.
    Something you can’t say out loud– “can’t have the cake and eat it too”
    Food and Wine needs to hear that.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Funny how every so often we’ll see a crackdown on undocumented workers in meat packing plants and hundreds of people will be rounded up and arrested. But never the factory owners who hired them in the first place. Funny.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: He Wants to Save Classics From Whiteness. Can the Field Survive?

    There is so much idpol woke hand wringing in that article I barely know where to start. I am sure Diogenes would have had an appropriate scatologically themed gesture to throw the author’s way though. An example-

    “Classicists generally identify as liberal,” Joel Christensen, a professor of Greek literature at Brandeis University, told me. “But we are able to do that because most of the time we’re not in spaces or with people who push us about our liberalism and what that means.”

    As I mentioned yesterday, judging from the remaining literature, the ancients didn’t care nearly as much about ‘identity’ as we do today.

    And then this –

    Dismantling structures of power that have been shored up by the classical tradition will require more than fact-checking; it will require writing an entirely new story about antiquity, and about who we are today.

    I was a classics major and one of the reasons I did not pursue it as a career is precisely because there just isn’t that much more to discover – sure it would be great to decipher Linear A or Etruscan, but the reason the Rosetta stone is famous is because we don’t turn one of those up every day. There is no new story to tell without rewriting history to make it suit current purposes, a practice that is generally frowned upon – looking at you 1619 Project.

    The old story from antiquity is already a good one, and it isn’t a ‘white supremacist’ one. The fact that 19th century Klansmen or modern Stormfront posters may have glommed on to some of the trappings of antiquity doesn’t make the ancients themselves a bunch of Nazis for crying out loud.

    For a culture that (correctly) claims there is no such thing as race, the woke sure do a lot of worrying about whether everyone truly understands all the implications of their whiteness or blackness or brownness. Maybe ‘identifying’ as a human being and trying to learn something from our shared history would be a better ‘space’ to operate from, whether that history is Chinese, Greek, Zulu, Mayan, Persian or what have you. Otherwise, well, the old Santayana quote comes to mind, and there sure a lot of historical mistakes being repeated these days so probably about time for a refresher course from the ancients.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Also, all this arguably went off the rails with the previous ‘woke’ generation and the diversity movement from the late 80s and early 90s. There was a valid argument to be made that much of what was taught in universities was dominated by what white males thought should be taught. But instead of incorporating Toni Morrison into general literature classes for example, instead academia came up with African-American studies and womens studies and gender studies departments and balkanized everything. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hasn’t aged well and only seems to divide people more rather than celebrating our common humanity.

      We all know who wins with the divide and conquer tactics. We need some solidarity, people!

    2. cocomaan

      All well said. Your identification of the fretting over whether people are going to “read something the wrong way” is spot on.

      After we read The Symposium in my ancient philosophy class, there wasn’t serious discussion about going out to practice pederasty. Reading Ceasar’s Commentaries didn’t make me want to go out and conquer France.

      Lots of concern that people are too stupid to comprehend a historical text.

      I remember the director of a museum of modern art told me that studies had been done on people’s browsing in art museums. It turns out that when presented with a piece of art, people spend much more time reading the label than they do studying the piece.

      IMO people crave context and will seek it out. Worrying that they won’t is wasted effort.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not sure the final result of it all, but a few years ago Nicholas Nassim Taleb started a hubbub about Anglo based classics scholars trying to foist their woke preconceptions on east Mediterranean peoples. He pointed out, among other things, that north Africans were, and still are, predominantly ‘white’, or at least, not black Africans, and the presumption by British and American classicists that an ‘African’ had to be black, was itself pretty insulting.

      I think he rolled back on some of his claims, but the fact remains that so much woke discourse is based on very flimsy foundations, in many cases it seems to share assumptions about the nature of race and ethnicity with older and more bigoted forms of race narrative.

      1. Adam Eran

        David Graeber notes (in Debt: the First 5,000 Years that the “original economics” of the likes of Adam Smith echoes Islamic, North African scholars’ work.

    4. flora

      And then this –

      Dismantling structures of power that have been shored up by the classical tradition will require more than fact-checking; it will require writing an entirely new story about antiquity, and about who we are today.

      What new power structures do they intend creating to take the place of the ones they dismantle? What say they? [crickets….]

      1. Swamp Yankee

        This is where I think you get to a lot of the essential nihilism behind much post-modern critique. If, following Michel Foucault, everything is just structure of power, are you not, now, O Foucauldians, the regnant structure of power?

        There’s no positive content to their program. They are entirely uninterested in Lenin’s question, “what is to be done?”

    5. Stephen C.

      Not surprising that it’s the NYT that is highlighting this guy, given their self-created woke remit. Seems this scholar who finds so much at fault with Classics that he wants to have the Academy just quit teaching it. I wonder if he’d like to include other areas of study like literature and art history, science . . . this list goes on. Seems the only way to satisfy some is to start at a French Revolution Year Zero type project, redo the calendar, redo everything, start fresh like Pol Pot, and make sure no human frailty or fault is never referred to as our collective little red book story about ourselves is produced.

      Yet for those of us who would like to study certain subjects that are becoming more and more taboo, and who want to avoid schools and programs that are on the losing end of this kind of logical absurdity activism, there are avenues. I’ve recently come across on the net such a thing as the Living Latin movement. Also some private schools now run in Italy that are at least trying to teach Latin and Greek in a lively, interactive way. I can’t yet vouch for the quality but I believe lots of smart people who didn’t get the few and disappearing, coveted grants and teaching positions, are out there, ready and willing to share. And I’d be surprised if they turned out to be the white supremacist that the Times Magazine writer, sure to form, mentions.

    6. Cantb-LB

      as a Cantabrigian, taught by both John Chadwick (Linear B) & Mary Beard (vs Taleb), such commentary (& following) is dispiriting (family channel). Of course history is ‘rediscovered’, constantly, as science & the ‘social’ sciences, where certain meretricious academic viewpoints are left unchallenged for too long..(actual translations included.)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        My point was that most major events are known. We are not going to ‘discover’ for example that Darius was really the ruler of Athens from 490 until his death and ancient historians got their stories wrong.

        And yes, new scientific techniques and archaeological discoveries can certainly shed some light on things – one that comes to mind is the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism. But how much did that really change how we viewed the ancient Greeks? We already knew from writings and could infer from other discoveries that they were mechanically advanced and had a strong grasp of astronomy.

        Also, as I’ve noted here before, the director of a Cretan excavation I worked on discovered a certain mineral deposit and knowing that this mineral came from Asia Minor, decided that was proof of an ancient trade route. Until a local fisherman pointed out where that same mineral could be found just over the next hill. There are limits to what can ever be known for certain.

        So yes, scholars can argue over whether certain ancients pronounced their vowels with a rough breathing or not for centuries to come, but the big picture is pretty well known at this point and there’s no need to rewrite it to make the ‘woke’ feel better about current society.

        That being said, I still love reading as much ancient history as I can, both from the original sources and modern interpretations of them, because there is so much that is relevant today, so off to see what Paul Cartledge has to say about ancient Thebes!

        PS: That must have been great to learn from Chadwick and Beard. My best brush with classical greatness was a guest lecture from Albert Lord on epic poetry shortly before he passed away.

  25. John Hacker

    “democratization” of the stock market can quickly devolve into recklessness. Bloomberg, twits think it’s OK if a few are moving stock prices… blah, blah. More taxing to add to the friction.

  26. Andrew Watts

    RE: U.S. State Department says U.S. “one-China” policy has not changed

    That may be true, but it’s also irrelevant. The Democratic Progressive Party explicitly rejects the one China policy and alongside it’s coalition partners controls the government in Taiwan. Their whole party still insists they’re an independent country that’s named the Republic of China.

    If Beijing wasn’t squeezing Taipei as hard as it is right now I’d assume that Xi was about to be overthrown. The American policy of strategic ambiguity isn’t going to last forever.

  27. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Re: ‘Treat domestic extremism as an insurgency’ It’s obviously forgotten that, setting aside a decade plus of failed counter-insurgency in central Asia, there was a little thing called COINTELPRO. That folks in the 70s decided was counter to the spirit of a democratic society. But it never went away. Christmas Bombing in Portland OR was an FBI sponsored false flag of the classic variety. The list is long.

  28. Randy G

    Alex — Sorry to hear about Pearl! Such a beautiful photo of her on the rocks. She looks like a very dark-coated Australian cattle dog.
    “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.” Bill Murray
    (My personal sentiment is: I like roughly 97% of dogs; maybe 3% of people.)

  29. Aaron

    Came across this article on an interview given by Dem congresswoman Marcy Captur (Ohio) to The Hill (yes, really). She laments that her bicoastal colleagues don’t understand her or her working class constituents at all. It’s a plaintive cry for attention.

    ““They just can’t understand,” she told The Hill. “They can’t understand a family that sticks together because that’s what they have. Their loved ones are what they have, their little town, their home, as humble as it is — that’s what they have. Respect it. It was so insensitive.””

    ““Several of my colleagues who are in the top ranks have said to me, ‘You know, we don’t understand your part of the country.’ And they’re very genuine,” Kaptur says. “You can’t understand what you haven’t been a part of.””

    “Asked what the party should do, she replies emphatically: “Understand what has happened economically in these places, for heaven’s sake!””

    1. Screwball

      I worked in her district for years, and live close by. I always thought she was one of the more honest reps. As usual, didn’t agree with everything she did or said, but had some respect for her.

      In this case she is spot on. People not only need to understand what has happened, but don’t demonize these people as well. I’ve been on the receiving end of the PMC class calling us “stupid hicks” and “dumb rednecks” and then of course “Trumpsters” once he won Ohio. None of which is true, even though some did vote for Trump (and I can see why).

      I have lived in rural Ohio for 65 years, and I can tell you it is NOT getting any better. The lack of jobs has been increasing since NAFTA, the poverty has progressively gotten worse, as well as the opioid crisis, the crime, the lack of funding for schools, highways, counties, and cities.

      It is a creeping crud of blight working it’s way from the now abandoned farm houses to the small municipalities, and into the medium sized cities who can’t handle the rural immigrants. But they have nowhere else to go. The small towns are dying and the jobs along with them.

      People can’t afford to commute so they move. Rents are skyrocketing and homes too expensive. Our food banks have never had the traffic they have today. I live in the a county seat (pop 17,000) and we are trying to get a permanent soup kitchen to feed the needy.

      Last fall a family on a main road through town were evicted. All their belongings were thrown in the front yard for the hundreds of cars to drive by all day. Pictures on social media, even an article in a small newsletter. It took about a week for them to get their stuff away. The family put a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood out in the yard that said “no trust passing.” Spelling theirs. I wondered what happened and where they would end up. You could tell from the piles of stuff, there were children involved. Heartbreaking.

      And nobody seems to care. This is how we got Trump. People need help, and they know the people Kaptur is talking about don’t give one good $hit.

      All our people want is a chance. For them, their family, and whatever they have left at this point. Because, that is all they have.

      I’m glad I’m old. I don’t want to see what this place will look like in another 10-20 years. All I can do is shake my head. What a shame.

  30. Jason Boxman

    So the NYTimes has a story: A Parallel Pandemic Hits Health Care Workers: Trauma and Exhaustion.

    And I think many of us have probably been thinking about this for about a year. I certainly have. So we’ve destroyed an entire generation of nurses, doctors, and oft forgotten critical support staff be it environmental services or med techs or nurse assistances.

    At a certain point, it almost seems that the desire to completely decimate this country is willful on the part of the leadership class here. I don’t get it. I guess “because markets” is taken to its logical conclusion here, along with “go die”. An expressive shrug seems to be all that we can hope for.

    As vaccinations ramp up, it is tempting to imagine that the pandemic’s horrifying effect on health care workers is poised to recede. But it is unclear whether vaccinated health care workers can still spread the virus to others and how the ever-changing variants will affect the effectiveness of the vaccines.

    And this was entirely foreseen, as well. The vaccine magic pony might not save us all.

    1. Massinissa

      “At a certain point, it almost seems that the desire to completely decimate this country is willful on the part of the leadership class here.”

      I disagree. The leadership is so delusional, they don’t understand that if they hit the horse they’re riding on hard enough, it might fall over.

  31. kareninca

    The Danes do a lot of sequencing. This article is pretty troubling:

    “On its face, the curve of COVID-19 infections in Denmark looks reassuring enough. A nationwide lockdown has led numbers to plummet from more than 3000 daily cases in mid-December 2020 to just a few hundred now. But don’t be fooled. “Sure, the numbers look nice,” says Camilla Holten Møller of the Statens Serum Institute, who heads a group of experts modeling the epidemic. “But if we look at our models, this is the calm before the storm.”

    That’s because the graph really reflects two epidemics: one, shrinking fast, that’s caused by older variants of SARS-CoV-2, and a smaller, slowly growing outbreak of B.1.1.7, the variant first recognized in England and now driving a big third wave of the pandemic there. If B.1.1.7 keeps spreading at the same pace in Denmark, it will become the dominant variant later this month and cause the overall number of cases to rise again, despite the lockdown, Holten Møller says. “It is a complete game changer.””

    1. Cuibono

      i will trust the numbers . wont say we wont see another surge . That would n=be a bad bet to take. but the cases are plummetting as she said

      1. RMO

        We’ve stabilized and are now seeing cases dropping here in BC – and that’s with very few vaccinations so far, about 2.5% of the population – but our health ministry is worried about the new variants as well.

        One good piece of personal news – I went out to buy new hinges for my gate and the little local Ace Hardware actually had some new N95 masks in stock. This is the first time I’ve seen any since the pandemic started. We’ve managed to stretch the supply we had on hand before this all started by careful management and reuse but it’s nice to have nine new masks finally.

  32. a different chris

    Woah! If you go after the King (or Queen) you’d better kill the King. (great Rainbow song, BTW, even better on the live albums).

    Liz Cheney crushed the vote. Get me popcorn, because I bet she is way mad and payback is a, well you know. It ain’t like this women doesn’t have connections, lordy.

    Never thought I’d be in the Cheney corner of the ring for anything, wow what a weird time this is.

  33. sam

    Re Brockovich article and “check your water” link:

    Before going crazy over the “XXXX% above ESG guidelines” info, I’d like to know more about ESG, the basis for their guidelines and how those compare to official sources such as EPA

  34. Wukchumni

    Here’s part 2 of my friends Wonderhussy and lifelong backpacking partner* on a 35 mile walk to Willett & Sespe hot springs near Ojai.

    I was soaking with him in Willett hot springs when Shock & Awe happened in Baghdad, little did we know.

    They were in around freezing conditions overnight-which is 2x+ cold for wimpy ones from Cali, and if i’d been along on the sojourn, my secret weapon for jack frost when winter camping is old school flat rubber hot water bottles. Nalgene bottles work too, but don’t sit well against your body while sleeping.

    * Cigarette smoker, around half a pack a day for the last 45 years. I’d guess he’s backpacked maybe 5,000 miles in the High Sierra.

    I don’t smoke tobacco, and it has been interesting to watch his world shrink as far as places he can indulge in metropolitan settings.

  35. mary jensen

    re “Don’t underestimate the power of a walk”

    Indeed. There’s a Latin phrase “solvitur ambulando” which is oft attributed to Saint Augustin and usually translated as “it is solved by walking”. This has been understood to mean a few things (none disparate) but in spirit the same thing.

    All my life I’ve loved walks, “getting out and walking”, around sunset but particulary at night. Short walks, long walks, accompanied or alone. Sometimes with the cat. Clear night, rain night, snow night, wind night etc. no matter. There is no such thing as bad weather, just a bad wardrobe. I could continue for pages on this subject but suffice to say: no ear buds/music allowed (sing yourself), no damn phone ever and at night put a flashlight in your coat pocket. Leave your tobacco at home as well. Walk, look closely at where you are, talk to yourself, see where you live and beyond where you live. Details are always welcome as well as fantasy.

    The after dinner “constitutional” is well advised and used to be “de rigueur”, alas no longer.

    In the words of the poet Simon Armitage, “You never come back from a walk feeling worse.”

    1. JustAnotherVolunteer

      My guess would be the Southern Oregon coast – maybe Gold Beach?

      And I’d say that’s a Pearl above price.

  36. Wukchumni

    California Elegy The Baffler
    As a native son of the golden west (only barely-my family moved to LA in 1960 from Denver, and when Yuri blasted into outer space, I blasted into inner space) I just love California.

    Yeah, its got man-made issues up the wazoo, but i’m talking about the lay of the land, and what California are we talking about anyhow, there’s so many.

    I see the state of the state being similar to Italy of old in the future, about 50 city states.

  37. Hunter

    Just wanted to say that Pearl was beautiful, Alex. So sorry for your loss. Remember most the love.

  38. Espresso Joe

    Re: Can The Senate Still Convict Trump? It’s Complicated

    This article states, “of the eight impeached federal officials to be removed by the Senate, all were impeached for actual crimes. And the Senate only disqualified three of those eight from holding future office.” This at least gives the impression, if not asserts, that only eight federal officials have been removed from office by the Senate. This is not correct.

    The one that immediately came to my mind is the case of Alcee Hastings. He was a Florida United States District Judge appointed by Jimmy Carter. He was impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate for bribery even though he was acquitted in his criminal trial. According to Wikipedia, “Hastings was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court, resulting in a jail sentence for Borders. Co-conspirator attorney William Borders went to jail for refusing to testify in the impeachment proceedings, but was later given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office.” [footnotes omitted] While Hastings was removed from office, he was not prohibited from holding future office. Since 1993, he has been a member of the United States House of Representatives representing districts in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

    In checking my memory against the Wikipedia entry, I was reminded of the case of Walter Nixon. He was a Mississippi federal district judge appointed by Lyndon Johnson. He was accused of improperly obtaining the dismissal of state-court charges against the son of one of his business associates. He was ultimately convicted of perjury in his testimony before the federal grand jury investigating the matter. He was impeached by the House and removed by the Senate on this basis.

    The reason Nixon is important is that he was tried not by the full Senate, but by a senatorial committee. This was also done in Hastings’ case. Nixon appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States alleging that trial by a senatorial committee was insufficient and that trial by the full Senate was required. This argument was rejected. The case of Nixon v United States, 506 U.S. 224 (1993) held that jurisdiction of impeachment trials was conferred on the Senate by the Constitution and the procedures for those trials were not subject to judicial review.

    So Hastings and Nixon were at least two more federal officials removed by the Senate. My guess is that there are others. The same sentence in Mr. Lucas’ TAC article links to the author’s book, which I have not read. So, I don’t know if any of this is corrected or clarified there.

  39. Kouros

    RE Fluid dynamics and epidemiology: Seasonality and transmission dynamics

    As was mentioned, what about indoor transmission, given the fact that we spend more than 85% of our time indoors…?

  40. RMO

    Thar ultra-rich-people 432 Park tower is almost a dead ringer for the model 200 floor building that was used in the SCTV Towering Inferno spoof!:

    I mean 432 doesn’t have a nuclear reactor on top of the building… and a revolving restaurant on top of the reactor but the proportions and general design are spookily similar! Construction seems similar too. Eugene Levy as the architect to Andrea Martin playing the crooked developer “I told you I needed at least two months to build a humongous skyscraper like this… besides you only gave me twelve thousand bucks to work with.” Andrea’s character: “And you could have brought it in under ten if you hadn’t insisted on windows!”

  41. ArvidMartensen

    The most fun liberals have these days standing up, is to call Trump a fascist. Misunderstanding the term “fascist” just shows how far into the abyss liberal thought has fallen.
    But if anyone can point me to where Trump proposed that his government nationalise US businesses, I would be mighty obliged.

    “Fascism is an economic system in which the government controls the private entities that own the factors of production. The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor.1.  A central planning authority directs company leaders to work in the national interest.
    2. Under fascism, national interests supersede all other societal needs. It subsumes private people and businesses into a vision of the good of the state.
    3 In its quest to do so, it is willing to become a “bully,” according to George Orwell in “What Is Fascism?”

    1. Acacia

      Indeed, and the word has been so-overused as to have become rather vacuous, even to the point of tedium.

      Moreover, the present order seems closer to “state capture” (i.e., by oligarchic interests) than to old skool “fascism”.

  42. Sharron

    Organic farmers turning reactionary has been going on for about 15 years in Texas. Jack Spirko lives in my neck of the woods, out side of Fort Worth. I listened to his pod cast on and off several years ago, as he knows permaculture for dry areas. But he makes a lot of money asking for subscribers and promoting things he uses to get a commission on EVERY pod cast, plus he does big projects on his little place with listeners paying 500.00 each for a weekend to do the work. He is down on government, schools and is all about survival food, guns, etc. He does provide information, but with a bitter side against any collective societal benefit.
    It’s easy to preach self reliance when you have developed a cash cow and by selling ideology of survival, fear and stick it to the man.

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