Links 2/8/2021

The legend and the crazy novelist Times Literary Supplement

Swearing like sailors: What the profanities of lascars can teach today’s divided world Scroll

HOW VERSAILLES STILL HAUNTS THE WORLD Public Books. Introduction plus six parts.

Facing Deficit, Met Considers Selling Art to Help Pay the Bills DYNUZ

He almost froze to death. So he designed the puffer jacket LA Times

My pick for 2021’s superb owl Boing Boing

Read inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s Super Bowl poem CNN (The Rev Kev). Moi: Wow, interviewed by Michelle Obama for Time magazine. I am impressed. Kill Me Now.

Super Bowl 2021 halftime show memes: The Weeknd’s hall of mirrors CNET. Mummy dancers? !?!

The quest that discovered thousands of new species BBC


Genomic epidemiology identifies emergence and rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 in the United States medRxiv

South Africa halts rollout of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after shot falters against variant Stat

Mutated virus may reinfect people already stricken once with COVID-19, sparking debate and concerns Seattle Times

Britain will not introduce COVID-19 vaccine passports Reuters

Biden’s vaccine ad campaign hits roadblock: Not enough doses Politico

We Know Very Little About America’s Vaccine Debacle NYT Editorial Board.

Can Vaccines from Russia and China Be a Game Changer? Der Spiegel

Coronavirus vaccine strategy needs rethink after resistant variants emerge, say scientists Guardian

After a catastrophic year, oil is posting a remarkable recovery World Oil (The Rev Kev)

How Steel Might Finally Kick Its Coal Habit Wired

An Alberta county drafted big tourism plans. Then came the coal leases The Narwhal

Class Warfare

‘To Fight Back, Workers Are Going to Need Access to Data Rights’ FAIR

“The Check Would Mean A Lot” Daily Poster

Yellen focuses on $60,000 threshold for stimulus checks The Hill

Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam WaPo

Canada’s Largest Meatpacking Facility Is on Trial for Endangering Its Workers During the Pandemic Jacobin

Congress Is Investigating the Meatpacking Industry’s Failure to Protect Workers TruthOut

A Brutal Tally: Higher Ed Lost 650,000 Jobs Last Year Chronicle of Higher Education

Cuba opens door to most small business initiatives Reuters

Waste Watch

Austin, Texas, pitches customer cost savings as curbside composting reaches over 200K homes Waste Dive

Capital Seizure

Liz Cheney raises possibility of criminal investigation of Trump for provoking violence Guardian

Biden Transition

Biden says U.S. won’t lift sanctions until Iran halts uranium enrichment CBS

Biden’s Iran Policy Is Just Trump’s Iran Policy With A Rainbow Flag Emoji Caitlin Johnstone (The Rev Kev)

The Democrats Have a Mandate. Why Won’t They Use It? Eudaimonia

About Those Executive Orders… Counterpunch


Biden reduces US role in Saudi war on Yemen, but leaves room to continue crisis Grayzone


After IS London Review of Books. Patrick Cockburn.

Europe’s dangerous Egypt policy Qantara


Ecuador election heads into runoff with Arauz in lead Al Jazeera


A week into its coup, Myanmar’s military shut down the internet and used rubber bullets and water cannons against protesters Business Insider

Myanmar coup: police fire water cannon as monks, nurses join protests SCMP


Uttarakhand Disaster: 125 People Reported Missing, Rishiganga Project Destroyed The Wire

Indian rescuers search for missing after Himalayan glacier bursts Al Jazeera

Budget Acknowledges Migrant Distress But Falls Short In Key Areas India Spend

United States: H-1B visa registration for 2022 to begin on March 9, results by month-end Scroll

India cracks down on journalism, again Columbia Journalism Review


China envoy says US blocks technology exchange, creates global uncertainty SCMP

From Lightbulbs to 5G, China Battles West for Control of Vital Technology Standards WSJ

Our Famously Free Press

The Journalistic Tattletale and Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows Glenn Greenwald. Hoisted from comments (Carolinian).

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Don’t Trust Those ‘Secure’ Messaging Apps American Conservative

This is how we lost control of our faces MIT Technology Review

Reimagining the Platform Economy Project Syndicate

Capital Seizure

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. Basil Pesto

      he doesn’t even hit the brakes! Assuming the dashcan speedo is broadly accurate. Or would that have been ill-advised in wintry conditions?

      1. Dirk77

        He doesn’t speed up either and he was chugging along at only 35mph. That guy must be a tourist as he’s a disgrace to all Californians. Yet he’s got an Apple sticker in his window. Software engineer newly imported from overseas?

        1. sj

          According to the article, the driver “hit the throttle”.

          edit: oh wait, I see the speed now. Not much of a throttle.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Love the comments on that video. They say so much about what we humans are.

      Presume the poster resonates to the video he linked.

  1. James

    Let me get this straight. In July and August Trump wanted to reopen schools and teachers were bravely resisting the bad man. The chorus was so loud that even the American Academy of Pediatrics walked back their reopening position.

    Now, Teachers and their unions are enemies of the public, are going against “the science”, and are harming children?

    Is this is counterprogramming we’re getting during the impeachment trial? Bipartisan agreement that teachers and school are bad?

    Just want to clarify what the narrative is supposed to be.

    1. Baldanders

      We have always been at war with East Asia?

      I got to see the NC union meeting (NCAE) last week. I wonder if Dems understand teachers are watching them closer then ever, and feel like they have no friends in government?

    2. CitizenSissy

      Be careful what you wish for. Schools near me operate on the hybrid model, but an outbreak originated from subcontracted school buses; much infection, one driver dead.

      Teachers and their unions are the perennial punching bag; I don’t begrudge teachers one penny of their their well-negotiated pay. When I hear people complaining about teacher pay and benefits, I ask the complainer why aren’t they questioning why benefits for everyone else has deteriorated so much.

      Not just teachers – I’ve also noted many “back the blue” types draw the line at sufficiently funding law enforcement healthcare and pensions.

      1. Carla

        @CitizenSissy — Expanded, improved Medicare for All and expanded, improved Social Security for the 99% would go a very long way toward solving the problems you cite. But neither teachers’ unions nor safety forces unions have put any energy into fighting for these benefits for the people they educate and protect. Until there is solidarity on these issues, Americans will continue to enact a version of the Hunger Games.

        Once we get those basics down, a Family Allowance and a federal Job Guarantee could begin to turn this into a civilized country. But the fear of black and brown people getting Anything, Ever, hobbles us at every turn.

        1. bojackhorsemeat

          This, definitely. In Ontario back in the 90s the teachers pension plan was the owner of Maple Leaf foods. Workers there went on strike and… The ownership broke them. Simultaneously the teachers went on strike and expected sympathy. I really want to support their union but it’s just so myopic. I find myself almost indifferent, although I know different ownership would still have resulted in the same outcome at Maple Leaf.

          1. Skip Intro

            Pension investing seems very well suited to coopting Labor. It may be that labor will be inherently subjugated to capital as long as it gives up hostages like that.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Maybe with negative interest rates there will be different incentives when it comes to “investing” pension money, just joking, the corruption is too deep — “Everything is CALPERS.” And way in the unlikely department, will unions ever go for those universal concrete material benefits that there’s wealth enough to flow to ALL of us, so pensions will be unnecessary anachronisms? Not likely either. “I must be better off than you, even if that breaks the social contract into even tinier shreds.”

              1. jonboinAR

                That mentality you describe is exactly why we’re so easy to divide up and conquer. I guess we always have been?

            2. Michael Fiorillo

              Sadly, public employee pension funds were among the first to start investing in Private Equity, guaranteeing that the retirement of some workers would be based on the decimation of others.

        2. Rod

          I agree with this exactly:

          Expanded, improved Medicare for All and expanded, improved Social Security for the 99% would go a very long way toward solving the problems you cite. But neither teachers’ unions nor safety forces unions have put any energy into fighting for these benefits for the people they educate and protect. Until there is solidarity on these issues, Americans will continue to enact a version of the Hunger Games.

          Coincidently aligning with– This a comment from Rick responding to Matt taibbi’s response to (which has been rolling around in my head for a couple of days now:

          RE: those with Defined Benefits Plans:–
          and is still available in the Government Unions and the Teachers to Boot – who barely teach a thing about actual capitalism – but get the DEFINED PENSION TO DO THE KNOW-NADA]

          –as it pertains to:
          When I hear people complaining about teacher pay and benefits, I ask the complainer why aren’t they questioning why benefits for everyone else has deteriorated so much. that Citizen Sissy proffers, and part of what you responded to.

          we need to work on being our brothers keepers, if our Values truely align.

          sorry i could not unformat for clarity the emphasizers

          1. CitizenSissy

            Many DB plans are seriously underfunded. That’s a benefit that may not necessarily be all that’s promised, since PBGC may only be able to guarantee pennies on the dollar.

            1. Rod

              7% returns in the ‘model’
              for too many bad and (even) good years
              and Yes, your ‘many’ may be a bit understated.

          2. jonboinAR

            If that’s the same “Rick”, he was having a field day the other day amazing people with his -I don’t know- libertarian? callousness to other’s suffering.

        3. CitizenSissy

          @Carla – Hi Carla – Foursquare in support of M4A, and I’m also a 24-year member of a private sector union (UFCW) whose membership has seen many workplace-related deaths from COVID. I think much of this conflict is the result of forty years of Reaganish “freedom” wishful thinking that any individual can become fabulously wealthy by dint of enterprise and hard work. TPTB have done a fabulous job of keeping workers at each others’ throats (e.g. same teachers unions). I think this forty-year Reagan run is wrapping up, but the “freedom” myth dies hard.

          I really believe we need to get past the cultural biases. I’ve written previously about a family trip to the otherwise ultraconservative Poland, where my sister had a medical emergency. Not only is healthcare a constitutionally guaranteed right, but Polish families receive a monthly, per-child stipend. Mitt Romney suggested a weaker version of the family credit, but2 the Republican caucus recoiled in horror. Both policies would help great swaths of the American populations, but, for now, I’m hoping for Medicare at 55.

          1. km

            I have a Polish inlaw with a chronic disease. Suffice it to say, the Polish system doesn’t offer her much, if anything, and my inlaw is rather justifiably bitter.

          2. chuck roast

            Yep, the “Republican caucus recoiled in horror” because their constituents probably don’t have 3-4 children per family like Mitt’s constituents…lest you think that Mitt is suddenly developed some sort of heart-softening condition. As usual, he is talking his book. Not to say that the average Mormon family isn’t hurting like any other average American family. And certainly the larger family size must make the pain more acute. Nevertheless, I will grudgingly give the predatory beggar credit for listening.

            1. Jim

              Mitt Romney may be “talking his book,” but for whatever reason, his proposal is actually far better than what we have now, not to mention superior to what Biden’s team is offering. Matt Bruenig has been putting out very solid work on this very subject. See this from a few days ago.

              Check out the People’s Policy Project site for more, such as this

    3. Randy

      Liberal hero Cuomo was saying “teachers bad” and trying to force schools open well before Biden took over. They may be crying louder now but opening schools has long been bipartisan consensus, despite the posturing of some like Desantis.

      1. bob

        The ending paragraph of “We Know Very Little About America’s Vaccine Debacle” NYT Editorial Board.

        “Grim as things sound, there is great reason to hope right now. More vaccines are coming, and case counts and death counts are finally leveling off. There’s a good chance that children will return to school come fall and that people across the country will be able to celebrate holidays in normal fashion by next winter. But the nation remains locked in a desperate contest, between its own ability to vaccinate people as quickly as possible and the virus’s ability to mutate and spread ever faster. Right now, the virus still has the lead.”

        1. Lee

          “Right now, the virus still has the lead.”

          That should be “viruses“. The singular form aptly demonstrating that the NYT Editorial Board does indeed “know very little” as to what the current state of play is and what the future may hold.

      2. pasha

        Cuomo fils has never been a liberal hero — he sided with republicans in the legislature for most of his time in office. his dad, however, was a real progressive. as to reopening schools, there is by no means a scientific consensus.

    4. a fax machine

      There is increasingly no narrative, only chaos and mayhem. This much is apparent in Newsom’s recall, which is has turned into a referendum on the school shutdown. Parents are rightfully angry that the state has not supported them through this, and teachers are split between ones that need to work and those that rightfully do not want to put themselves into danger. Students are increasingly aware that, for at least the last two classes, they will be at a significant disadvantage than their non-Covid peers. Doesn’t matter what’s happening in Washington anymore, as these problems have gesticulated for a few months now. The French Laundry scandal was the tipping point.

      There is an allegory to the rest of society here: what Newsom (not) is doing to California public K12 students is essentially what many Democrats want to (not) do to coal workers. The anger being expressed within CA is similar to WV in that the poor and the disadvantaged have realized that the game is rigged against them. They’ve obtained class consciousness, even if temporarily. The digital divide between have-schools and have-not-schools is the most obvious example of this consciousness.

      Teachers are stuck in the middle of this like police were with BLM as they both occupy an important gatekeeping role. Now this role appears to be entirely spurious with the mass closures. This is Newsom’s other failure: his refusal to get these employees vaccinated quickly and his refusal to give them enough danger pay to come to work.

      What happens in Washington ultimately doesn’t matter right now. With the haphazard nature of the closures everything is local again, and the local mood is poor, broke, and increasingly frustrated. Everyone is looking around trying to find friends and they’re seeing it split by wealth.

      At least that’s the situation where I live in Norcal.

      1. Baldanders

        Republicans are to teachers as Democrats are to cops and vice-versa.

        Except when Republicans need to ignore a dead cop, or Democrats need to show solidarity with parents against those commie, lazy teachers.

        I’d still say the Republicans stick by cops way more than Dems stand with teachers.

    5. ChiGal in Carolina

      I’m just wondering about the timing. If this is double your mask double down time to prevent an even bigger wave than last March given the greater transmissibility of the variants, why would now be the time to push this? Especially without vaccinating teachers as only half the states are doing.

      New confusing public health messaging, same as the old.

      1. a fax machine

        It’s the realization that most masks do not help, at least in how people use them. The disposable masks are only good for specific tasks in confined settings and need to be replaced every 4-6 hours. Most people don’t do this and don’t wash cloth ones on a daily basis. The sort of masks people need, or rather durable masks that can withstand the lack of care, are reusable contractor respirators with disposable, self-contained filters. Mine is a 3M 6500 series, which cost me about $80. The filters are good for about 2-3 months and change color when they degrade.

        Countries with active conscription programs already know this, since the same problem exists outside of Covid in regards to conscripted infantry or displaced civilians having to deal with the chaos and uncertainty war brings – namely, cheap masks get dirty very quickly and rapidly become unusable.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I meant why push opening schools right now, not why better masks. That I get, though most do not and must go without, again thanks to our crappy public health messaging and the profit motive.

  2. Terry Flynn

    Re face recognition. It’s interesting what has changed and what hasn’t in terms of HUMAN reactions (which may be driving AI algorithm successes or failures in covid world). Yesterday on my daily walk I saw a guy wearing all black with beanie hat and black wide mask. My “pre-covid” reaction of caution kicked in (influenced by having been mugged by someone with a knife before).

    I memorised every possible physical characteristic I could. As I passed him it became clear nothing was amiss. He was just avoiding our arctic blast and covid Furthermore when wearing my hat that covers ears (think Kyle from South Park’s hat) plus mask I show little more skin than that guy…… Yet I get what are clearly smiles (visible even behind masks) from older walkers in particular.. . . And much more frequently when I wear my (rimless, clearly not cheap) specs as opposed to none.

    Not sure I have a concrete point here but it clearly raises issues for AI and humans if covid mutations continue and going pretty much only on a person’s eyes becomes the norm. Because round here my attempts to memorise faces (which sadly I do automatically and necessarily) are largely futile. But maybe that’s good if AI can’t do it easily either?

    1. JTMcPhee

      I guess people in traditional cultures that enforce covering of women except for the eyes may have worked out the interpretation of intent from just the eyes. The literature of seduction and romance is filled with incidents of intense communication via just the eyes and their accessories — lashes and brows and lids…

      1. JBird4049

        If you have to “lip” read because of hearing loss, large glasses, especially sun or wrap around, are intensively annoying. The Entire face is being read and not just the lips. I think I remember my deaf and hard of hearing classmates and I all agreeing on that.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Actually one thing I’ve considered doing with all my spare covid time to be constructive is learn sign language.

  3. zagonostra

    >“The Check Would Mean A Lot” – Daily Poster

    The push to lower the income limits was originally boosted by a study from economists at Opportunity Insights, a Harvard think tank funded by billionaires.

    I recently heard a commentator give a cogent explanation why the U.S. doesn’t provide the same level of economic security that most civilized countries take for granted. He said that the U.S. is an empire and those other countries are “nations.” Empires have no interest in ameliorating the dire conditions of citizens, they are focused on plundering the rest of the world for the oligarchs.

    When a Dem President keeps Julian Assange locked up there is no demonstrable motive that the new Administration values freedom of speech. When the two MICs and their lobbyist provide the revolving door whereby members of Congress get recycled into the private sector, affordable healthcare doesn’t stand a chance and and the military will continue to receive preferential spending allocations.

    Michael Parenti and others were warning us of the dangers of the U.S empire 50 years ago, but it all went unheeded. It’s amazing that even though you have the “Empire Building” and the NY license plate reads “empire state” and countless historical evidence, I still have family and friends that don’t think the U.S. is an Empire or has Imperialistic tendencies.

    Until the recognition that empire is destructive to it’s own citizens, those legislating will do the absolute bare minimum in passing economic relief, healthcare reform, or ensuring basic services like clean water.

    1. John

      Smaller check. Lower limits. Is the micro-point of this to ensure the defeat of Raphael Warnock in 2022? What is it about $2,000 that the democrats do not understand?

      1. albrt

        Is the micro-point of this to ensure the defeat of Raphael Warnock in 2022?

        In a word, yes. Then no more pressure to pass anything.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        At what point should Warnock and all the people who voted for him consider leaving the Democratic Party and starting a Real Democrat Party within the State of Georgia? One of its particular planks being ” the $2,000 check”?

        At what point does Warnock’s Democratic Party membership and identification become a pair of cement galoshes which he can either escape from or drown?

    2. freebird

      That’s a profound insight about the nation/empire difference, had never thought of it that way. Link to this commentator?

    3. JBird4049

      We are a nation, but our ruling class feels that we are an empire. It does help with the disposable or deplorable memes.

      Some of the writing from the PMC reads like the old “Darkest Africa” racists BS of the the 19th and early 20th century colonial empires.

      1. Michaelmas

        … the writing from the PMC reads like the old “Darkest Africa” racists BS of the the 19th and early 20th century colonial empires.

        Indeed. Good catch.

      2. Janie

        I wonder sometimes if we truly are a nation. Google definition says “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language…” The phrase ” one nation” in the pledge of allegiance came into common usage in the aftermath of the Civil War. I’m not sure it holds true anymore, if it ever did. (It’s funny – the older I get, the less I know for sure.)

        1. JBird4049

          The older I get, the less I know as well or maybe the more I realize just how much I’ll never know of what there is to learn. Like all the books l’ll never read. This is sooo annoying! :-)

          Anyways, we are a single nation albeit of fifty states and very different regions. It is useful for TPTB and the PMC to have Americans think that they are more different than we all are. That pesky divide and conquer strategy. While someone from Portland, Oregon is going to be different than a person from New Orleans or Independence, Missouri that Americanness will still be apparent especially if they were dropped together outside the States.

  4. fresno dan

    The Journalistic Tattletale and Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows Glenn Greenwald. Hoisted from comments (Carolinian).
    Thus do we have the unimaginably warped dynamic in which U.S. journalists are not the defenders of free speech values but the primary crusaders to destroy them. They do it in part for power: to ensure nobody but they can control the flow of information. They do it partly for ideology and out of hubris: the belief that their worldview is so indisputably right that all dissent is inherently dangerous “disinformation.” And they do it from petty vindictiveness: they clearly get aroused — find otherwise-elusive purpose — by destroying people’s reputations and lives, no matter how powerless. Whatever the motive, corporate media employees whose company title is “journalist” are the primary activists against a free and open internet and the core values of free thought.
    But this is now the prevailing ethos in corporate journalism. They have insufficient talent or skill, and even less desire, to take on real power centers: the military-industrial complex, the CIA and FBI, the clandestine security state, Wall Street, Silicon Valley monopolies, the corrupted and lying corporate media outlets they serve. So settling on this penny-ante, trivial bullshit — tattling, hall monitoring, speech policing: all in the most anti-intellectual, adolescent and primitive ways — is all they have. It’s all they are. It’s why they have fully earned the contempt and distrust in which the public holds them.
    So much of modern media is no longer reporting facts and acting as a curator of the importance and substance of the news, but as moral censors tasked with dispensing politically correct Scarlet “A.s” on what are substantively trivia matters. What is amazing is how supposedly counter productive this is. I say supposedly because the MSM, so ostentatiously opposed to Trump, did the most to advance Trump’s mostly vacuous campaign (see the infamous statement by Les Moonves that let the cat out of the bag, that the MSM is all about the money). And to the extent that Trump did expose the vacuousness of the previous administration, that was that* which could not be spoken of. Because there just isn’t ANY TIME on the 24/7 news cycle to ponder the connection between the political/economic decisions made and the deaths of despair when there are TRUMP TWEETS to yammer about…
    * ever see the MN Shyamalan movie The Village – one could never talk about creatures that menace the village. Likewise, the MSM could never say anything negative about Obama policies.

    1. flora

      What is amazing is how supposedly counter productive this is. I say supposedly because the MSM, so ostentatiously opposed to Trump, did the most to advance Trump’s mostly vacuous campaign (see the infamous statement by Les Moonves that let the cat out of the bag, that the MSM is all about the money).

      See the Nielson graph in this Variety article about the stunning viewship fall off the week after the B inauguration. (It *was* all about the money, as is the increasingly shrill demand that other indie reporters/platforms be demonitized or silenced. imo.)

      CNN Primetime Ratings Fall Back to Earth in First Post-Trump Week

      ” Change in U.S. Total Audience Watching Weekday Primetime Cable News for Week of 1/25 – 1/29 vs. 1/18 – 1/22

      “How to read: CNN average viewership across 1/25 through 1/29 was down by -43.69% in the 8pm hour among total viewers aged 2+ watching live or within 24 hours of airing ”

      1. fresno dan

        February 8, 2021 at 12:11 pm

        I am so old that I remember when the national network news was 15 MINUTES. Every increase in the amount of news on TV since then has degraded the quality and substance of the TV news…
        It really is just entertainment, and the Facebook plan of getting people riled up to keep them checking in for the outrage of the minute.

      2. chuck roast

        Thanks for that link. Maybe people will begin to rediscover books or conversation or something that will heal their TDS. Encouraging to see that the toxic Maddow is affecting fewer heads.

    1. Parker Dooley

      “Might come down to ‘who develops the technology, gets to set the standards.’”

      Who corners the market, gets to set the standards. cf. Betamax, Xerox, OS/2 — a whole cemetery of technological corpses killed by inferior, but better marketed products.

      1. fillefrans

        OS/2 is a very bad example. IBM and Microsoft went their separate ways, and Microsofts version (Windows NT) was clearly superior to the IBM mastodon that was OS/2. The problem was that at IBM, every department could submit their own requirements, which ended up in an OS that took 15 minutes to boot up.

        1. Dave in Austin

          But OS2 was bulletproof with real error trapping and none of that “buffer overrun” nonsense. Did MS make windows insecure on purpose? I would not be surprised.

          Thirty years later (correct me if I’m wrong) most of you folks still use IBM’s OS 2 every day- that’s what’s behind you banks’ cash machine. The last I looked nobody wanted to swap it for something more “modern” because none of the replacements could be tested as well as OS 2 has been by the many years of use.

        2. Procopius

          Yes, but everybody acknowledged that DOS was a bad kludge. Microsoft bought it from Tim Patterson, who developed his own “quick and dirty” operating system. The story, at the time, was that when they went to Gary Kildall, creator of CP/M, to buy rights to his software, he blew them off because he decided he wanted to go flying in his private plane the afternoon he was supposed to meet them, so they went to Microsoft. I’ve since heard that the story is not true, but it was widely believed back then. The problem with QDOS was that it was written in assembly language in such a way that it was “not reentrant,” so could only run one program at a time. That was why Windows was so kludgy and prone to crash. Once DOS became established and the IBM became the template for the hardwar and BIOS, Microsoft dared not make major changes.

  5. Fireship

    > Read inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s Super Bowl poem

    I am going to be the little boy at the Emperor’s parade: This is dogsht. It is a rough first draft of something that could become a poem; to call this a finished piece of work is shameful. Future historians studying the decline of the US will point to this as evidence of the American Dark Age. Compare this with Emily Dickinson:

    Banish Air from Air – (963)

    Banish Air from Air –
    Divide Light if you dare –
    They’ll meet
    While Cubes in a Drop
    Or Pellets of Shape
    Fit –
    Films cannot annul
    Odors return whole
    Force Flame
    And with a Blonde push
    Over your impotence
    Flits Steam.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Super Bowl was as exciting as any regular season game where both teams were simply going the the motions in the 2nd half, toten hosen.

      I found the once upon a time highly anticipated commercials to be like the country is now, horribly lacking in both appeal & humor. They were so unmemorable as to have already been purged from my mind a day later, so as to not waste space up there.

        1. petal

          Said same thing to my boyfriend-that it seemed like a Michael Jackson wannabe/knockoff. The whole thing felt like just another regular season game. The Jeep commercial with Springsteen made me want to throw my computer at a wall-oh yeah, preach to me, rich guy!

          1. chuck roast

            Really! What happened to the greaser from Asbury Park? We all wise-up, but that commercial was upchuck worthy. What’s even more infuriating is the contradiction that he just penned one of his greatest tunes evah’…Letter to You.
            Consistency…truly the hobgobblin of small minds.

        2. Wukchumni

          We were in the town of Westport in the South Island in NZ about a decade ago during the Super Bowl, and there was this one bar that had it on, and within an hour before kickoff a dozen Yanks had filtered in and we all became pretty chummy in no time flat, and the commercials were local ones, and it dawned on me then what sort of glue they were-the commercials back in the states for the contest, as they kept you pinned to your seats.

          I noticed quite a few of the commercials yesterday were for companies that could ill afford the supposed high ticket cost of both producing something memorable and airing fees, so they must’ve gotten quite the break on the latter.

          1. ambrit

            D—! That was straight out porn. It is even ‘woke’ in that the sexual dominance roles are “reversed.” (I will not comment on what is or is not a “proper” ‘dominance’ relationship.)
            Not ‘funny’ at all. A pure and simple appeal to the baser instincts.
            Basic Advertising 101. Sex sells.
            What is interesting is what the advertisers seem to think the viewership of the Super Bowl is comprised of.

      1. flora

        Jeep ads used to be fun and exciting once upon a time. This Jeep Superbowl ad looked like a dour, grey, revival meeting with unsubtle “centrist” propaganda – “think *this* way” – thrown in. The high ‘ick’ factor should help sales. /heh

        1. cocomaan

          I love being lectured to about centrism by a tax dodging multi millionaire posing as a working plan, plucking a guitar or shilling for car money.

          1. petal

            You said it so much better than I did. It was disgusting and infuriating. Do any of these marketing people even think about this?

            1. cocomaan

              Considering that the NFL market share is shrinking, I’m not sure they do.

              Marketing from the big marketing firms is all about not getting the attention of Twitter these days, or politicians, or both. Making your product desirable seems secondary.

              If you want to know what advertising Generation Z enjoys, and what might thankfully come in the future and break this spell of boringness, look up Pit Viperz sunglasses. Their advertising is hilarious:

        2. lyman alpha blob

          The Jeep ad with Springsteen was an abomination. Some ad exec did the least amount of work possible to put that together – “Let’s do something about ‘Murica – get me Springsteen, a truck, and a string of patriotic cliches.”

          Wondering if Bruce had a bad string of luck at the Atlantic City craps tables or something…

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Celebrity is a helluva drug. The bulk of his fans are older, and he is less relevant with every passing day as a result, even if he were to drop his best album ever tomorrow, he will be an old guy grandparents :) talk about because the E Street Band isn’t relevant to a 14 year old. We’ve seen people not give up fame before. That is my guess.

          2. urblintz

            Bruce lost his mind when he chose to shill for Hillary Clinton. Beyond sad. The cognitive dissonance overwhelmed him and now he’s gone full Bono…

      2. Jason Boxman

        And so much neoliberalism; When I was watching, two exploitative tax filing companies (Intuit, H&R) had ads and twice there was an ad for what looks like a loan shark that lets you split your purchase across 4 payments.

        So two companies that exploit and persist our absurd tax filing system, when in a civilized country, you wouldn’t need to file a return outside special considerations, and a company that feasts on poverty.

        That’s America.

        And that weird Jeep brand commercial.

      3. STEPHEN

        The commercials are one of two types. Either sappy sentimental garbage, preying on nostalgia or imploring the audience to rally around some ill-defined lost cultural value. Or they are sad attempts at absurdist humor, deadend by the need to adhere to corporate communications safety standards.

        Neither type attempts to present the value-add of the product. Its 100% lifestyle marketing.

        I couldn’t identify a third type, nor did I observe a single advertisement that strayed from this rubric.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          My husband kept yelling at the screen “What do you want me to buy?” He doesn’t appreciate cultural thought instruction in advertising.

    2. The Historian

      Yea, I agree. Gorman is young and has a lot to learn yet and who knows what she will become, but it is quite the embarrassment that so many of our ‘leaders’ think this soppy adolescent crap is ‘great poetry’. A Rita Dove or Maya Angelou she is not at this point!

      1. cocomaan

        I think it’s being pushed in our faces because it’s anodyne. Like this:

        We celebrate them by acting
        With courage and compassion,
        By doing what is right and just.
        For while we honor them today,
        It is they who every day honor us.

        There’s nothing threatening here. It reads like an Obama speech: filled with easy to digest platitudes, does not rock the boat, and can be forgotten and ignored immediately.

        There’s no call to action. There’s no challenge to your heart.

        There’s a lot of things right now that should fundamentally disturb us. Immense poverty. Death and destruction. Neighbors and families at odds with each other. Poetry can do a lot of emotional heavy lifting and instead it’s being used like a feather duster.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          I know it’s a “Super Bowl Poem,” but the plodding, non-rhythms, stumbling to a crescendo of banality, were by far the most notable things about it. Kind of, but not really, impressive in it’s awfulness…

          I always thought Maya Angelou was an extremely overrated writer and poet – and why is it never pointed out that she stole the title of her most famous work, word for word, from Paul Laurence Dunbar? – but she comes off like a meeting of Gwendolyn Brooks and Emily Dickinson in comparison.

        2. Nakatomi Plaza

          You’ve got a very, very narrow understanding of poetry. Not every poem is a protest anthem, or has to be.

          But yes, Amanda Gorman’s poetry is not good. It’s a mess of cliches and lazy derivations, but you were expecting more from a poem read before the Superbowl? Of course it’s terrible.

      2. ckimball

        The exposure of this young person to the manufacture of fame and adoration and then ambition risks her personal development which
        should have been protected by privacy. I see it as a form of usury
        and abuse by the “grown ups”.

      1. Fireship

        What vapid and banal creatures. Poster imbeciles for a degenerate culture. Acting like they are all shy and vulnerable but are obvious raging narcissists. I hate these cnts and their cnt parents and their cnt social class. Yes, I am bitter. I would gladly take my chances with a fascist regime if I thought there was even a slight chance these fckwits would end up in a camp.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        The link I included is NOT to the Michelle Time magazine interview, which is only mentioned in passing in this CNN clip. So you can click away without any benefit for the Michelle brand.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      I don’t want to beat up on Amanda Gorman, who is presenting herself as just another skinny kid from Harvard.

      I already posted some notes here on the inauguration poem. Suffice it to say that the first half is gear grinding, and the second half is merely competent.

      The problem is what happens to her now, in U.S. culture that is about only money and celebrity? Does she keep grinding out the same stuff, publishing for years, successfully, as a kind of regime poet? Does she pull an Anne LeMott, becoming ever more confessional and then finding a career in the never-less-than-profitable world of U.S. religion and “spirituality” and recovery? Or does she learn to bother?

      Of course, you quote Emily Dickinson, who along with Walt Whitman, knew much too much about U.S. character.

      In contemporary U.S. society, what Gorman has to reckon with is becoming a Michael Jackson or Truman Capote. She should take a year off from public appearances.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Michael Jackson and Truman Capote were (obviously very different) geniuses who created art that still gives much enjoyment. This woman seems to be a fortuitously-placed mediocrity, tribune of empty convention and demographic placeholder.

        Perhaps there’s a talent there which would benefit from the sabbatical you prescribe, but I don’t see it on the page.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Michael Fiorillo: I was referring to their very public crackups after being the golden child for a while. F. Scott Fitzgerald went the same route. There’s a danger in being highly public and not having enough to withstand the celebrity.

          That Gorman signed the modeling contract does not bode well. Yet the arts in the U S of A now have a top level that is all about monetizing oneself. She’s a veritable Jeff Koons. Or Matthew Barney. When the arts are all about selling the artist and not the work, one signs modeling contracts, I s’pose.

          1. JBird4049

            Bleep real human art. Just give me the money. That is what our society nowadays. Real poetry elicits emotions and thoughts that can kick you in both the head and the gut. But that can cause uncomfortable, unprofitable controversy. So, it’s the modeling contract or the McDonaldlized poetry.

            1. Wukchumni

              Monday QE poetry jam:

              In a pickle
              Need some lettuce
              Special orders don’t upset us
              All we ask is that you have it your way

          2. Michael Fiorillo


            I wasn’t trying to suggest any criticism of you or your take on Gorman, and recognized that you were referring to the young woman’s mental health and happiness. I was focusing on the cultural barrenness that she and the forces promoting her represent.

            Previous generations created powerful cultural artifacts amid their political struggles. Woke culture, which Gorman seems to be a poster child for, is politically null, if not supportive of the economic status quo, but it also seems to be culturally empty: can we point to any artists in any field who are producing compelling art that speaks directly to the time? It seems to nothing but browbeating, virtue signalling, weak sloganeering and bs academic jargon.

            1. DJG, Reality Czar

              Michael Fiorillo: Understood. Which is why I have been reading Italians in Italian for the last several years. Wu Ming is worth a look, and some of their novels have been translated. Your connections to New York may give you a special interest in Melania Mazzucco’s novel Vita, which is set mainly in NYC.

              Meanwhile, in the U S of A, one has to make do with the latest maunderings of some M.F.A. who learned mainly how to network to get an agent.

  6. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “United States: H-1B visa registration for 2022 to begin on March 9, results by month-end”

    I was honestly close to putting up with Trump and the rest of his nonsense for his H-1B policy changes and reversing the H4. How is it not appropriate to require those with special skills to get paid more if they are truly ‘special’? Why is it more important to be concerned about the wife/husband of an immigrant on an H-1B and grant them direct access to the labor market via the H4, as opposed to citizens? You don’t think they draw jobs away from US citizens, and at a lower wage rate? Oh yeah, that was the plan – the people who aren’t affected don’t give a rat’s ass. I am lucky to have what I have, but there are a lot of ex-colleagues I know who are more than qualified, definitely more experienced, that aren’t even considered for even lower-level positions they would be happy to have. Great, so now Biden brings back the H4, and we effectively add a whole slew of the spouses of tech workers that will be happy to work for anything.

    Its painfully ironic that Cisco get’s sued by an Indian applicant to a job who believes he was rejected because he was in the wrong caste.

    1. deplorado

      Exactly my sentiment.
      Trump was right on that one.
      The pressure from H-1Bs on the SF Bay area work culture is immense, and I can’t say anything good about it.

  7. Mikerw0

    Re: Steel

    I have worked for both a large integrated steel company in a senior capacity and as CFO for a public solar company.

    The Wired article is interesting, but totally downplays the challenges of replacing coal in steel. The world uses circa 2 billion metric tonnes per year of crude steel. The overwhelming amount, like 80%, comes via the blast furnace route. Steel is an amazing material for its cost, usability, strength, weight and range of uses. It is not going anywhere soon if we intend to have society as we have known them for decades. (I’m not advocating one way or the other, just speaking to reality.)

    A wholesale replacement of carbon based steel is less than improbably, and certainly while at the same time we are attempting to decarbonize transportation (the machines that make EVS are made of steel), shut old coal power plants, etc.

    Someone needs to start doing the math. If we are to start using non carbon emitting electricity as the go to solution for basically everything then we need massive government intervention to make happen (also keep in mind that we have already dammed most of what can be used for hydro).

    1. Louis Fyne

      electricity is the same story….the aspirations ignore the physical math.

      at 2am, western civ only uses ~25% less electricity than at peak daytime.

      1. Fredine

        And with more and more electric cars charging overnight, soon new power plants will have to be built to handle the nighttime load in excess of 25%.

        A small internal combustion engine car, shared with neighbors or friends might be the least environmentally destructive.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I thought that wired piece contained a lot of gee-whiz and hand-waving but offered little detail on exactly how some of the new processes alluded to actually worked or could work at scale and be made practicable. Many of the materials our civilization is built upon like metals, ceramics, glass, silicon … are made using processes which require generating extremely high temperatures. University and Corporate public relations announcements make many wonderful promises but, in my opinion, have a very poor record of accomplishment.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Exactly. This fealty to technology to deliver us from climate change ain’t going to make it around the block. It’s magical thinking.

        Reduce and reuse need to be the cornerstone of any effective approach to reducing the horrors of climate change, but in societies built upon perpetual growth, ain’t gonna happen.

        That’s a dark winter for you! For us all.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Seems to me a big problem is that there’s no agreement on what must be the moving parts of a political economy that might prolong our species and stop killing all the other species. How much of just what is enough? Not hardly anyone willing to stop at a genteel sufficiency, to just drink to slake their thirst and sate their hunger? How many of us are willing to not want and go for MORE? So others might have “enough?”

  8. a different chris

    “The Democrats Have a Mandate. Why Won’t They Use It?” was written on the 23 of January. But Biden does seem to be using it. Two days later we see:

    The best way to shiv somebody in the back in politics is to sound as accommodating as possible. Obama fell for it like a lovelorn suitor. Biden is far from my favorite pol but as somebody who never gets represented by anybody with power, I might as well enjoy the entertainment of seeing the Dems finally punch back. Like a boxing match on the Titanic, I guess but oh well.

    Here’s a brand new link:

    “While conservatives will grouse that the President is undercutting his own call for unity by finding ways to act without Congress”

    However: note the 23rd article says “Democrats” and my two links say “Biden”. Will the party actually follow him on this? We shall see.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The problem isn’t the GOP. It’s the “centrists”, always has been. Biden if he is so motivated will bash his head pleading with centrists for help. They won’t care as Biden’s legacy and little people’s plight doesn’t matter to them. The understand fear, but unless Biden is willing to back primary challengers to people like Kaine, not help their idiot kids get jobs, and so forth, he’s just Oliver asking for more. There is no rich long lost grandfather out there.

      As long as that happens centrists will means target good policies causing until suffering while claiming to be bipartisan heroes. Centrists are almost nihilists. Appealing to their conscious is a waste. Unless Biden is going to come after them he can’t really offer a better carrot to these people than the usual villains.

  9. petal

    I thought the halftime dancers looked like they were wearing jockstraps on their heads, and the hand light things resembled the ones the dancers in Iron Man 2 wore. Nice to see Brady and Gronk win again, though, and pull the upset.
    Mr. Magoo above, I agree with you. It’s one kick in the teeth after another. Where does it end?

    1. Winston Smith

      The main purpose of the Superbowl was to create a superspreader event for the more contagious variant of COVID in the most fertile terrain it could have chosen: Florida. Well done NFL and Florida.

      1. Tom Doak

        If so, then flying in health care workers from all over the country to “honor them” as free spectators was truly evil genius.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cover for the parties. Did you see the crowds? The NFL and it’s sponsors were sponsoring those events. They had that creepy hologram of the guy from Fallout 4, and they couldn’t even bother with a mask.

          The NFL will probably use it as an excuse to sell tickets usually given to league employees and their families (the Super Bowl has the best crowd because it’s full of football fans, not just people being seen) in the future.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Lots of rich folks’ private jets making TIE the world’s busiest airport for a weekend. And the strip joints in Tampa did what used to be called a “land office business,” like when the Republican conservative family values people came to town…

            “How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Pa-ree…?”

    1. JTMcPhee

      What? The Western supranational corporations are not going to be able to provide the kinds of medical miracles that will be needed to “keep us safe” from the inevitable viruses and other challenges Mother Nature is dishing up for us folks who have crapped in the nice nest she prepared for us?

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Can Vaccines from Russia and China Be a Game Changer?”

    Nice to see in the new year that Der Spiegel is living up to the German media’s reputation as the Lügenpresse – the lying press. This is just a hit piece and it may be due to the fact that out of desperation, that Merkel is considering using the Sputnik V vaccine in Germany due to a shortfall in vaccine supplies. Some segments in German society are fighting this idea, even if it means that their fellow citizens must die due to this ideological viewpoint. I do note that the western press representatives in Moscow were also critical of the Sputnik V vaccines but a lot of them lined up to get a jab when it became available. At this point in time though, I am a fan of anything that works.

  11. allan

    Trumka defends police unions on racial justice sincerity [Axios]

    Police unions “should be able to negotiate disciplinary stuff” to protect officers from unfair punishment, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said during an “Axios on HBO” interview. …

    … saying without the power to negotiate disciplinary actions, the outcomes could be “capricious” in ways unfair to officers.

    • Among the AFL-CIO’s diverse federation is the International Union of Police Associations, which negotiates on behalf of some local police unions.

    • “Look, I came from a coal mine. My grandfather helped organize that coal mine and we didn’t have any protection,” Trumka said. “The employer did all the disciplinary stuff. And I could tell you, it was never fair and it didn’t help in policing.” …

    Because militarized Robocops are exactly like coal miners.

    … During the interview, Trumka also defended his legacy in the labor movement amid a period of decline.

    • He pushed back aggressively against criticisms from younger union leaders that the movement under his watch has put too much money and focus into political donations and not enough into organizing.

    What a complete disaster.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trumka didn’t end the government shutdown. The relatively small flight attendant union did. I’m convinced umbrella organized unions are bad. The AFL-CIO was founded in 1955 just before unions started to decline.

      Personalities aside, the AFL-CIO operates like a regular union. If Bill is having a problem, it’s not going to be addressed except through the contract. If a critical mass has a problem, it will be addressed through non-contract based means. In effect, Trumka has to protect the deal not Bill. The problems build over time. I also think the presumed power and size of the AFL-CIO leads smaller addressed local unions to presume sympathy strikes aren’t that important. During the Wildcat teachers strikes, kids joined the teachers. Where was Trumka? If factories and whatnot have to close because the workers are gone, those employers will be under financial duress and will work to end the teachers strike. This is basic stuff, but i think the AFL-CIO removes this threat as everything has to go through an office in DC representing most members who don’t care.

  12. fresno dan
    The disconnect between analysis and reality matters little in the media. Many of the same experts now tout the charge of criminal incitement in the Capitol riots. It is another open and shut case in their minds. For four years, they supplied a stream of allegations, all described as conclusive, to feed the insatiable appetites of the audiences. The campaign finance charge was one of the more credible claims, since former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to it. But these crimes are hard to litigate, as shown by the failed 2012 prosecution of John Edwards.
    What is strange is that there is no word of an interview, let alone a charge, for a purportedly clear crime committed over a month ago. One possible reason is that it would collapse in court. It is so much easier to claim easy prosecutions than to prosecute such made for television charges. I do not fault these experts for speculating about such a case, but many claim that prosecution would be relatively simple. That is just not true.

    The problem is free speech. The remarks of Trump last month would not satisfy the test in Brandenburg when the Supreme Court said “advocacy of the use of force or of law violation” is protected unless it is imminent. Trump did not call for use of force. He told supporters to go “peacefully” and to “cheer on” his allies in Congress. He repeated that after violence erupted and told the crowd to respect and obey the police.
    Legal analysts who exaggerate or oversimplify criminal provisions face no criminal incitement, even as the public is sent into a frenzy with claims of slam dunk charges or easy prosecutions. People are addicted to rage and such ideas, even if illusory, feed this addiction. It is all entertainment until someone tries to prosecute, and that is when reality sets in.
    I already bashed the media with the Greenwald piece, but this Turley piece is irresistible.
    I certainly believe Trump is dog whistling most of the time, but…dare I say it….an inconvenient truth is that when prosecuting, all the things said, including caveats must be considered. The media, in its self appointed role as the inquisition’s grand inquisitor, always chooses to ignore Trump’s caveats (because moral mobs don’t consider both sides of the story). It seems Trump fully understands that the media can’t include the caveats, and must ignore Trump’s weasel words caveats, thereby making Trump dog whistles IDEAL at reaching Trump supporters, while simultaneously assuring that Trump’s words are in no way diluted because the MSM will not include the caveats.
    And time, after time, after time, despite reporting that Trump is on the verge of being convicted of crimes that will assure sentences of thousands of years….not even ONE prosecution occurs.
    And yet, despite this consistent record of wrongness unblemished by a single correct report, no one is fired….
    hmmmm…makes me think the MSM motto should be, “Reality dies on the pages of the NYT and WP”

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      If you read the entire text, it was a typical Trump speech, and while it may be true that most/all of his speeches featured incitement of some kind, that seems like a hard legal row to hoe for a criminal case.

      Then again, the #McResistance has never shown itself to be too concerned with defending free speech, so perhaps all bets are off…

      1. fresno dan

        Michael Fiorillo
        February 8, 2021 at 11:11 am
        I think the MSM is so obsessed with making Trump look bad, that they can’t see that they present him to his base as a fearless, tell it like it is, firebrand. If the MSM would include the hedges, caveats, warning, provisos, etcetera, Trump says, he would not seem nearly so bold and daring. But the MSM can’t help itself – it just has to provide red meat to its own tribe, and in so doing simultaneously filters and purifies Trump’s message to Trump’s tribe to make the message even redder meat.

        Its sad, but as far as the McResistance and similar groups, apparently most groups now a days no longer believe in principles that could assure fair treatment to their designated opponents. If they didn’t say something appalling, just take something they said and add or delete as necessary to make it appalling…

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          “… just take what they said and add and delete as necessary to make it appalling.”

          And then add, in Thomas Frank’s wonderful coinage, a heaping helping of liberal Aghastitude, and you’ve got MAGA heaven. I gave up arguing and asking my Trump-deranged liberal friends and acquaintances, when the moral outrage/trolling of the day set their hair on fire, “Don’t you realize that Trump and his people glory in the fact that they drive you insane? Actual politics aside, don’t you at least want to deny the bastards that pleasure?” But no, they were utterly impervious… and so happy to keep scratching that inflamed skin.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe it’s that those prosecutors are out of practice? Or corrupt, in different ways? Or maybe it’s all just kayfabe, the media hyping the narrative to keep the power people in power, and all the power people, except maybe for Madoff and Trump, being totally exempt from consequences…?

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Democrats Have a Mandate. Why Won’t They Use It?

    Might be a better argument if the author didn’t write like Rick (spelled with a silent P) from the Young Ones. Hard to take someone seriously when they use ‘fascist’ ever other word.

  14. cocomaan

    Another week, and still no word from the feds on post office delays.

    Two weeks ago, we dropped off a pre-paid return. As of today, it is still listed as sitting at our local post office. Some days we are not getting mail at all.

    Bills are delayed. I’ve angrily switched to auto pay, because I hate auto pay. Junk mail still comes through, though!

    Nobody can convince me that a lousy postal system is not an economic drag. It slows money velocity. Goods and services will not move efficiently and that’s a problem.

    I now have a letter I need to send in 5 business days for business purposes. Normally, I would have dropped it into the mail with a stamp on it, but I am going to go to the post office and overnight it, because I dont want to face a penalty.

    1. Wukchumni

      Was talking to a friend who told me it took 2 weeks for a registered mail package to arrive a couple states over. Of all the ways to mail something, registered is by far the most secure and timely, or it was.

      1. coloradoblue

        I received a Christmas card – Lincoln, NE to Denver – 30 days after it was mailed. Can, will, the Dems fix this, or anything else?

      2. BlueMoose

        My mother in Gainesville Florida submitted my International Driver’s permit application at the local AAA facility for me. They said they mailed it out on Jan 11. She finally got it on Feb 3rd. The office is literally 15 minutes away. I was just getting ready to send her a new application when it arrived. It took less time to get from Poland to Gainesville Florida than from the local office to her house. I suggested if we had to do it again, she should just hire one of the neighbour-hood kids to ride over on his bike and pick it up.

        1. Wukchumni

          The Pony Express delivered letters in just 10 days from St Joseph Mo. to Sacramento, 160 years ago.

    2. lordkoos

      Dejoy is still there — the Dems will need to get rid of a majority of the USPS board before they can replace him.

      1. cocomaan

        Reading the wikipedia page about the USPS board of governors is like reading the account of a train wreck. Good lord, how embarrassing.

    3. sj

      I talked to the UPS Store about my prepaid return not showing any activity (yes, it was Amazon, sorry). I was told that they bundle up all the returns into one giant shipment and don’t scan the individual packages. So you don’t see any movement until it actually reaches its destination. I don’t know if that that’s true for the Post Office, but I’m perfectly comfortable attributing this to Louis DeJoy.

      In fact, I’m willing to pin all the delays on Louis DeJoy.

  15. Wukchumni

    When you can’t explain Bitcoin & Tesla as to why they are worth oh so much in valuation, could both be government sponsored Ponzi schemes?

    Anyhow, Elon just invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency so as to be in bed with it. They deserve each other in a mutual fun fashion.

    1. Duck1

      I thought when you got somebody to give you dollars for something that established the valuation, ie with stonks you get virtual title of ownership from a brokerage rather than a physical certificate, somewhat similar to bitcoin. In a ponzi the runner of the scheme takes in investments and then pays out dividends from the newer investors, thus eliminating the capacity to cash out the investors if the scheme falls apart. If I understand bitcoin it can go up and down like the stonk market, so your $1000 to get in can potentially go to zero, but it is because nobody will exchange dollars for what you hold.
      Not endorsing bitcoin here, just think describing it as a ponzi is a category error.

    2. skippy

      Ponder …. Tesla is a environmental tax scam and Bitcoin is an environmental destruction harbinger …

  16. Carolinian

    Alastair Crooke on Putin at Davos. Putin is sounding a lot like NC.

    Those then, that do not embrace the propaganda that big Tech and the corporate media relentlessly push, need to be de-platformed, and pushed to the fringes of society. In a striking echo of that earlier Italian era of psychic tensions, the New York Times is now asking for the Biden administration to appoint a “Reality Czar” who will be given authority to deal with “misinformation” and “extremism” (shades of the Inquisition)?

    Putin’s speech was a withering de-construction (polite, and very measured) of where we stand – and why. Did his audience hear? And will President Putin’s call for a return to the ‘classic’ economic model; to the real economy; to job creation; comfortable living standards, and education with opportunity for the young, have any impact?

    more here

  17. Ranger Rick

    As far as I’m aware, “get woke go broke” was never a reference to class struggle and instead an explicit formulation of a perceived trend in the market performance of entertainment products that included overt ideological messaging. Has the phrase spread to other areas?

  18. Psmith

    I’ve been a fan of Barbara Comyns for a long time. “The Times Literary Supplement called Barbara Comyns a crazy novelist,” I told my sister this morning. “That wasn’t a very nice thing to say,” said my sister. I’m not a subscriber to the Times, so I can only hope the article is better than the headline.

  19. Cuibono

    seems to me that some of us predicted herd immunity was a ruse
    face it: you dont get herd immunity to the common corona viruses. Why would you get it ti this one?

    1. chuck roast

      Yep…like I keep saying…I used to get herd immunity twice a year back when I was a pack-a-day puffer. Flu in the fall followed by flu in the spring. Annual clockwork. We’re pretty much screwed.

  20. Pat

    I usually turn on the Super Bowl to check out the spectacle, mock the half time show and see a couple of commercials. What that means is I watch the preshow, go away, make my best guess as to the timing of half time and watch that, and maybe turn over when I think it will end to watch the blather.

    Impressions –

    This was a superspreader event. Apparently all the invited healthcare workers were vaccinated, so it will also be a test of the vaccine. I was shocked at how many people were there, how crowded it was. Sure there was an occasional paper cut out in a seat but no way did that put the highly flawed six feet between people. There were numerous below the nose masks. People were eating and drinking. And at the end let’s hope everyone in the Brady box is living in the same house because there was nary a mask to be seen.

    The performers were boring. There might not have been an egregious fail on the anthem, but despite the press nothing was brilliant either. Fast cut editing may distract from the mediocre poetry, good shots of the product placed jewelry Gorman was wearing though, but it also confused the supposed narrative of citizen champions. That whole sequence was a fail. Others have pointed Out the dated and derivative choreography and the somewhat stupid production/costume design of the half time show. Not having heard much of The Weekend’s music before, I was surprised by the sameness of it all. Nor could I tell you what his point was, or repeat one lyric. Almost made me long for the awful Maroon Five show, that at least supplied a laugh or two.

    It might be the most fitting Super Bowl as a representation of our current society we have had in years. To paraphrase “A spectacle presented by hacks full of sound and fury…signifying nothing.”

  21. Terry Flynn

    NC raised possibility of auto immune systems being sent haywire by covid-19. I’ve just had some circumstantial evidence serious people are testing this. I’m part of a prospective study by Nottingham University on knee pain.

    They have massively broadened it to look at covid-19 outcomes and to me it looks very much like a hypothesis is “we think auto immune systems are being sent haywire”. Of course there’s lots of guff to throw people off the scent but I’ve had 20 years of designing surveys. This seems very very odd to me. Asking about covid effects on things that are blatantly not osteo but rheumatic is odd to say the least… . And plenty of other questions that raised my suspicions…

      1. Terry Flynn

        Sure. Firstly “knee pain” is no longer the majority of the survey. Secondly, there are a host of open ended questions asking about “new symptoms in the past year” (yet the last questionnaire was administered close to 2 years ago). Thirdly it asks explicitly if you think you’ve had covid-19. Fourthly its list of “new conditions” contains disproportionate number of acknowledged auto immune conditions. Fifthly there are lots of questions about symptoms listed by “long covid” sufferers – listed in articles NC has linked to. Crippling fatigue, periods of pain in muscles and joints, hair loss and skin changes etc.

        I was really quite surprised on the one hand that such questions – which are NOT consistent with original study protocol of primarily OSTEO related knee pain (not RHEUMATOID related) – were there. But the latest round of the study is honest in the sense that it does say it has “broadened” to examine covid-19 associated outcomes.

        I’m medicine-adjacent PhD NOT MD! But I can spot the real hypotheses being tested in most health surveys. And this one looks like one to examine a bunch of hypotheses concerning the “auto immune activation” mechanism that NC has linked to recently.

  22. Cat Burglar

    The LA Times article on the invention of the down jacket is a great story, but Eddie Bauer did not invent the down jacket. Wikipedia attributes it to Everest climber George Finch in 1922, but my guess is that Finch likely got the idea from one of the nordic countries. That parka was filled with Eider duck down — the ducks build their nests out of down and feces, and the down has to be retrieved by taking the nest and washing out the down. When I sold down gear in the 90s, Eiderdown cost about $100 an ounce!I have read accounts of Swiss himalayan expeditions in the 1930s that had silk-shelled down parkas and sleeping bags on their trip. So the idea was in circulation.

    By 1950, the french company Moncler built parkas for the Annapurna expedition that reached the top first, and began to make down-filled skiwear. In the US, production was on a small craft basis, and Eddie Bauer was indeed the first in the US — which is why the Seattle climber Pete Schoening asked him to make parkas for the 1954 American K2 expedition (for a good yarn, read K2 — The Savage Mountain), and they designed the jacket together (something Schoening told me as I was setting him up to get fitted for a full down suit when he was in his 70s and getting ready to try Everest).

    Production in the US stayed on a small and restricted craft basis by a few companies like Bauer, Gerry Equipment, and Alp Sport until the baby boom generation by the 60s caused an increase in demand for outdoor equipment, and then the number of small producers expanded — almost every state with mountains in it had more than one producer. I worked at one in Seattle.

    I don not remember ever hearing a down parka called a “puffer” until the mid- 90s, after large expedition parkas became fashion items for urban drug dealers — you could hide a lot of things in those big jackets, and stay warm! Really interesting to see them become fashionable.

    The little one-inch sewn through baffles that are the rage in recent years are baffling, as it were. Down coats were invented to give maximum warmth (the mountains!) with maximum compressibility (they have to fit in your pack and leave room for other stuff) at minimum weight (down is light, and provides maximum dead air space as insulation; fabrics used in the shell are light, and minimal stitching is employed) — the narrow baffles mean the shell is as heavy as possible, while having the least amount insulating value. Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class is probably the right place to go to explain the design.

  23. Cat Burglar

    The collapse of the glacier below Nanda Devi may cause some serious dispersion of radioactivity.

    In the mid-60s, the CIA sponsored a climbing expedition of US mountaineers to climb Nanda Devi to place a plutonium-powered device atop the mountain to monitor Chinese nuclear tests. Bad weather forced abandonment of the device. A year later, when the climbers returned, they found that a huge avalanche had swept the device down the mountain, and into the glacier at the base of the peak. As far as I can tell, this may be the very glacier that caused the flood down the Rishiganga. If so, then the four pounds of Plutonium, which was likely ground by the ice into an easily spreadable form, could have been washed down the gorge and widely distributed in the inhabited lands below.

    At a 2008 lecture I attended, by the mountaineering writer Pete Takeda as he toured his book about the incident, An Eye At The Top Of The World, he stated that tests showed that radioactive materials were present in the water of the Rishiganga. That was before the flood. Both the Indian and US governments have to check on this immediately.

  24. Patrick Reilly

    I’m not a big fan of Amanda Gorman’s poetry, and she is clearly a very good orator . . . and please decipher the “I am impressed. Kill Me Now” comment below.

    Read inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s Super Bowl poem CNN (The Rev Kev). Moi: Wow, interviewed by Michelle Obama for Time magazine. I am impressed. Kill Me Now.

Comments are closed.