Links 3/11/2021

The People We Know Best New York Review of Books

Medieval ‘birthing girdle’ parchment was worn during labour, study suggests University of Cambridge

What Is the True Cost of Closing a Restaurant? Grub Street

The Pope-Sistani riddle  Asia Times Pepe Escobar

Two teenagers placed in foster care after weight loss plan fails Guardian

Upstate NY ice cream shop owner made racist taunts to protesters, wrongly called cops, says AG NY Daily News

Fukushima anniversary: Loss of life is still ‘unbearable’ Deutsche Welle

How Fukushima triggered Germany’s nuclear phaseout Deutsche Welle


California launches way any resident can become vaccine eligible SF Gate

Biden says there is ‘real reason for hope’ as he praises drugmakers’ vaccine deal The Hill

The problem with moving to Florida is you have to live in Florida!’ Wall Street titans who moved to Miami during lockdown are eyeing a return to NYC because it has ‘the best schools, theaters and restaurants’ Daily Mail

Australians to be offered half-price flights to boost local tourism BBC

UK set to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights Guardian

Will the U.S. have Covid vaccine doses for everyone by the end of May? Probably Stat

L.A.’s Disorganized Vaccination Rollout and the Dream of Universal Health Care New Yorker

Covid-19: Brazil surge reaches new level as daily deaths pass 2,000 BBC

Association of Age With Likelihood of Developing Symptoms and Critical Disease Among Close Contacts Exposed to Patients With Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Italy JAMA Network Open

Inaction leaves world playing ‘Russian roulette’ with pandemics, say experts Guardian

Class Warfare

Why small grocery stores are (still) out of toilet paper CNN

Finding Meaning Under A Meaningless System Caitlin Johnstone

A Tyranny without Tyrants? American Affairs Review of Michael Sandel’s latest.

Save the jetset Times Literary Supplement

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

License-Plate Scans Aid Crime-Solving but Spur Little Privacy Debate  WSJ


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gave Bond Deals To His Wall Street Donors, Despite Federal Rules International Business Times

Cuomo aide accuses governor of reaching under blouse and ‘aggressively’ groping’ her: report NY Daily News

Who Ordered a Smear Campaign Against Andrew Cuomo’s First Accuser? New Yorker

Democrats en déshabillé

Pro-Sanders forces finally get their revenge Politico

Biden Administration

McConnell voted to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general 2 years after saying blocking his Supreme Court nomination was the ‘most consequential thing I’ve ever done’ Business Insider

Congress adopts $1.9 trillion stimulus, securing first major win for Biden WaPo

A $60 billion surprise in the Covid relief bill: Tax hikes Politico

Biden under pressure to get $1,400 payments out quickly The Hill

The Environment Versus How Many Jobs? Counterpunch. Dean Baker.

Right-wing Central American leaders praise neoliberal ‘Biden Plan’ to strengthen US ‘sphere of influence’ Grayzone


UN Rebuke of US Sanctions on Venezuela Met With Stunning Silence FAIR

Trump Transition

Trump doubles down on calls to donate directly to him The Hill


Iran Is Starting to Want the Bomb Foreign Policy


Catalonia: The EU’s Secret Shame  Craig Murray


Beijing’s focus on maritime law ‘reflects rising concerns over South China Sea’ SCMP

Australian rare earth firm ASM signs South Korea deal as West tries to counter China’s dominance in critical minerals SCMP

How China’s attack on Microsoft escalated into a “reckless” hacking spree MIT Technology Review

China’s Rise Drives a U.S. Experiment in Industrial Policy WSJ


Chhattisgarh: ‘Mass Suicide’ of a Farmer’s Family Rocks Assembly, Stalls Business The Wire

What Delhi protests against CAA, farm laws can teach urban planners about designing humane cities Scroll

Sports Desk

The Sports World Is Run by Crooks. It’s Time To Change the Rules of the Game. Jacobin


Myanmar’s searing smartphone images flood a watching world SF Gate

Myanmar’s military on ‘killing spree’ against protesters: Amnesty Al Jazeera

The diplomacy behind the scenes of the UN Security Council’s Myanmar statement CNN

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. herman_sampson

    There’s only two honest professional sports: boxing and horse racing. You know betting is involved in the get go.

      1. Bruno

        Contract Bridge, worldwide, is as honest and scandal-free as a professional sport can possible be. Chess has had scandals in its international “association,” but its overall record over the centuries remains far better than anyone else’s. And these are very competitive sports with tens of millions of active participants worldwide at every level of proficiency.

        1. YouLie

          Not so. Lot’s of cheating going on at the highest levels (as well as everywhere else in tournament bridge) with many national and international governing organizations complicit or at best incompetent to deal with it. has many informative posts and comments.

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s only two honest professional sports: boxing and horse racing. You know betting is involved in the get go.

      Maybe I went to Jai Alai half a dozen times @ frontons in Tijuana & Florida and it was more in line with horse racing, albeit with humans. It only existed so as to be a wagering venue, but oh so fun to watch. Honest as the wall was long.

  2. The Rev Kev

    ”The problem with moving to Florida is you have to live in Florida!’ Wall Street titans who moved to Miami during lockdown are eyeing a return to NYC because it has ‘the best schools, theaters and restaurants'”

    Maybe Florida could offer to tow Manhattan island down south and anchor it off Palm Beach for those titans. It could work. That whole island could then become a SeaSteading Project and they could make up their own laws, which they do anyway, and it would be great. No freezing cold winters or snowstorms – just Florida’s sunny weather all year around. I’m not sure if New York City would like that idea but I am sure that a lot of New Yorkers in the other Boroughs would be prepared to make that sacrifice.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Have you ever been to Florida during the summertime? I’d far rather deal with the occasional NYC blizzard than have to endure heat and humidity for months on end. Now, August in New York can be no picnic, Notice there’s no song about that. But Florida summers – intolerable!

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read once that it was only the development air-conditioning that made it possible to move so many people to the Deep South after WW2 so I would imagine that in the summer, that they would just stay inside those towers. As it is, a lot of them now would go from their air-conditioned homes, travel to work in their air-conditioned cars, and spend the day in their air-conditioned offices while grabbing a meal at an air-conditioned restaurant. Air-conditioning really does underpin a lot of modern life when you think about it.

        1. Wukchumni

          We endure the 100 days of 100 degrees and although its a dry heat, still devilish. You pine for that occasional 96 and can really feel the difference. If you added in humidity though that would be the end of me.

          There’s a perfect pre a/c 2 story home on the left side of Hwy 198 about 10 miles before the entrance to Sequoia NP. I’ve been admiring it for some time, and its set back away and you’re doing 55 (sorry Sammy) so its easy to miss, the simplicity of making do.

          Probably dates from the 1890’s-1900’s, and has what looks like fans in the form of a moat of mature Eucalyptus tree branches sheathing it from the Sun somewhat and supplying shade, with the coup d’a/c being the 20 foot high cooling tower about 10 feet away from the house, measuring 10×10 and sloping a little bit towards the top, with a tunnel to the house connected underground to capture the cool at the bottom, while the hot air nestled up top in the tower.

          The house is near the terminus of an early electric train line which came & went from Visalia in the early 1900’s, long since gone now. It was powered by hydroelectricity from diversion of the Mineral King drainage of the east fork of the Kaweah river.

          1. JP

            At our elevation (3200) a swamp cooler seems way more efficient then A/C. That and a reflective roof and well insulated walls. We are never more then 80 degrees inside on those 100 plus days. Also lots of shade trees, which is why CalFire deemed our house indefensible. Outside in the summer we adopt a southern strategy of daily siesta, start early and work late, two or three hours off mid day.

            I remember the first time I visited Hermosillo in the middle of summer. It was 120 in the sun and I could hardly move for the heat. The people I was staying with took me to the top of a hill in the middle of town and I looked down on a school yard where they were playing what looked like soccer on black asphalt. I couldn’t understand how they were still alive.

        2. Keith

          Having spent a big chunk of my adult life there, I find the complaints over blown as you get used to it like any climate. Style of dress there is a bit more lax and you engage in water sports more often for a longer season. Going out into the swamps and woods is also much cooler than being in the concrete jungles of the city.

          Like anything else, up north people complain about the snow, south the heat and in Seattle the rain. It think it is more about having something to talk about.

          1. Synoia

            The US custom and practices of house building is inimical to Florida’s climate.

            The traditional form our house build was better.

            I lived at 5 degrees N of the equator in a hymid climate without a/c.

            The practice has to be “No Direct Sunlight on any window or door” which is achieved with overhangs and verandas.

          2. Ed Miller

            Re: Florida (and other extremes of climate)

            Never lived in FL but did stay for a week for work with wife and son in tow. Just like in other climates the solution is to think Norwegian! In Norway they say there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. Maybe it is Sweden, but minor point. Proper clothes, living at the beach at the Sand-In-Toes Motel, was a change from LA at the time, but not intolerable. Not all Florida can be somewhat accommodating, I admit, but look to other countries with worse. There are strategies for every location, admittedly some not very affordable when it comes to housing designed for climate extremes.

            Having lived in Tempe AZ (Phoenix metro), now in Oregon, I can relate to all extremes.
            I also did live in Minnesota, which rounds out all the possible worst case extremes.

            Most important for those of us in the US – we are all basically spoiled brats.

        3. nothing but the truth

          modern construction (drywalls, low ceilings, thin walls) makes AC a necessity. The other brain dead fashion now is to have glass walls for any view of the sea. Glass is a bad insulator.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Hot town, summer in the city, back’a my neck gettin’ tanned an pretty / Been down, izzinit a pity, can’t seem to find a shadow in the city

        1. John Beech

          Always delighted in Lovin Spoonful lyrics! Having moved to FL 15 years ago from NC at the behest of my mother because it would make travel more convenient, she chose to cease traveling once we made the move and for our part, we were stuck here. Wouldn’t be my first choice of locales, but there are worse, also. America is, surprisingly, both not as homogeneous as television would have you believe, and more so. Similar in some ways to the rest of the south, yet different at the same time, what is a constant is Americans – as a people – are big hearted and willing to give a stranger a chance. Try that in the France, or Japan.

        2. a different chris

          >tanned an pretty

          I always thought it was tanned and gritty. “Pretty” doesn’t seem to match well with the rest of the song…

          YMMV. Lots of the online lyrics are wrong so the final, er, word, has to come from John Sebastian’s mouth – uh, writing, guess the mouth part is where the confusion lies – to be sure.

          Boy I ran into a lot of problems above with the sledgehammer that is the English language, didn’t I?

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            I always thought he back of the neck was getting dirt(y) and gritty — but then again, I thought the next phrase was “Bend down, isn’t it a pity,” etc.

            This video’s lyrics agree with me on both of those, FWIW. And in the next verse there’s a line, “Dressing (Or “Dressed”?) so fine and looking so pretty. . . .”

      3. jr

        I’ll second that, Florida is monstrously hot and sticky. The heat drains the life out of me, I’m listless and irritable. Cold weather is refreshing and revs up my system.

        1. Phillip Cross

          It’s not the weather that is the problem, it’s that outside of a few coastal blocks, it is either endless swamp or a culturally barren hellscape. Also, as in all low tax states, the locals are usually selfish scallywags, who only care about their money.

          1. Yves Smith

            A low rent version of Monaco. You’d need a lobotomy to live there (or be totally into banging money-hungry <30 year old women + gambling). Although you only have to spend half the year in Monaco to get the tax breaks and France and Italy are nigh.

      4. Pat

        Lived in Florida for almost six months, the result was I complained less about summers in NYC.

        I grew up in the Southwest where 80 is fine, 90-100 is uncomfortable but manageable with a swamp cooler and over a 100 is swamp cooler, shade, cool drinks, and praying for it to end time. All because it is drier. It was a shock to move to NYC and find 70 degrees can make me miserable. Turns old humidity can do numbers on people with low blood pressure. (And unlike with the cold, you really cannot dress for hot and humid after a certain point.)

        Wouldn’t live in Florida or most of the South for less than Bezos level money.

          1. Pat

            At some point you either have to stop or have nothing left to shed and you can still be miserable.

          2. ambrit

            Apropos of that; Miami Beach now has several topless and nude beaches. When I lived there, we never dreamed that ‘the Beach’ would end up as a “sink of scum and villainy.” A lot of the cantinas there now are populated by various forms of ‘creature’ too.

      5. Pelham

        My experience living briefly in Florida, in the Miami area, was mixed. There was a really nice “season” extending from November to early May (in the 1970s) when the weather was better than just good. It was wonderful. The gentle breezes on a warm night were like nothing I’d experienced before.

        The rest of the year was virtually unbearable — but for the AC. Going from one period to the other was like going from one pole of wonderfulness to the opposite pole of awfulness, and it could happen suddenly. I remember leaving Miami. It was May and the nice “season” had extended a little longer than usual. The day before I left was sunny and quite pleasant. The day I left, however, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. Sunny again, but smothering humidity had descended like a ton of hot wet blankets. I figured I was getting out in the nick of time.

        BTW, this was on the coast. I had one occasion to drive well inland up the Florida Turnpike in summer and thought I might pass out whenever I left my car. The humidity seemed just as intense but the heat much worse. I can’t imagine how people endure all those attractions in inland Orlando in the summer. Comedian Jim Gaffigan said waiting in line at DisneyWorld was like standing on the surface of the sun.

        1. chuck roast

          I spent a winter in West Palm back in the day. It occurred to me that lots of living creatures could live in the climate, but the only living creatures that could really thrive were mold and fungus.

      6. rattlemullet

        I am certain that the indigenous natives and the long time locals would be very grateful for more of Floridas populace as well as the latest crop of want to be Floridians would adopt your attitude. Less is more when it comes to population, especially in Florida. Please convince others to come to that understanding. Sadly, Florida failed the test on controlling urban, suburban sprawl.

    2. oliverks

      My daughter was lucky enough to be invite to dinner with a Nobel Prize winner. The Nobel Laureate asked each of the grad students what they want t o do with their lives once they got their PhD.

      All the grad students have very worthy goals of helping people or society, other than my daughter, who said her main goal in life was just to get the f@@k out of Florida.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        No offense meant to the other students, but in fairness to yoir daughter: are you saying that’s NOT a worthy goal?

    3. epynonymous

      “Gulf Island Fabrication, inc.”

      I don’t remember the arcane details of the island building in Saudi Arabia before the 08′ bust but the youtube podcast “Well theres your problem” (one word?) on “Gulf State Vanity Projects” is just the answer to calls to examine our physical footprint through the lens of ‘engineering disasters.’

      May include Philadelphia humor and an obsession with trains.

      Also, a recap of the useless quest for the world’s tallest building.

  3. urblintz

    It’s good that the Covid relief bill offers some tax relief for unemployment benefits, that the first $10,000 is untaxed. Does anyone know if this is retroactive to the UI money already dispursed or does it pertain only to the extended UI in this bill?

    1. anotherLiam

      The Hill article says it’s retroactive if you go through the work of getting it back.

      “Senate added an amendment to the bill that would make the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits that people received last year tax-free in instances where households have income under $150,000. This provision applies for the 2020 taxes that people are currently in the midst of filing.

      People who received unemployment benefits last year and have already filed their 2020 returns may need to file amended returns to receive the tax relief. Additionally, the IRS will need to quickly explain to taxpayers and tax preparers how to obtain the tax exemption on 2020 returns that have yet to be filed.”

      1. urblintz

        Thanks for nudging me to read more thoroughly… yikes… I must not have had enough coffee!
        That’s about as clear as it gets…. and to reiterate, it’s a good thing. I had read that the issue was raised during negotiations but was given a thumbs down.

    2. Pat

      And to think at one point it wasn’t taxable. First done partially in 1979 and fully in 1987, wait weren’t those periods when tax relief for the upper brackets a major project?

      Well all part of the process of making sure the rabble is on the hook and our betters are not.

      1. Lee

        And let us not forget:

        Taxing tips began back in 1982 after Congress enacted the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) as a means of generating revenue through a series of tax increases, spending cuts, and other measures.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Mark Ames
    “Hating China is a big bipartisan thing, and Schumer has the opportunity to take ownership of being against China.”

    Best reply to that tweet was from a Canadian guy named Johnny Martin who tweeted in that thread-

    ‘If they hate China so much why not ban or sanction US corporations from manufacturing there……………..yeah I thought so’

    1. John Beech

      It’s my opinion hating China is stupid. True both as a policy and at a personal level. First, the Chinese were largely minding their own business when we showed up with ideas. Second, we sent people there to oversee the making of rubber dog shit, and encouraged them to build enclaves with toilets and amenities for the white ways. They accommodated our requests. Visiting has never been easier.

      Along the way, in like 20 years, they’ve brought more people out of the status of dirt poor than any other nation in history and done so at a speed that is blinding. Meanwhile, we don’t like their government. So what? We don’t like anybody’s idea of government.

      So now they have a middle class. These folks buy stuff. Some of it made by us. Not as much as we’d like but then again, we chose to build as cheaply as possible and they can make cheap shit even cheaper than we can. Was the whole point of our taking products there in the first place. So how is any of this their fault?

      That there have been faux pas is predictable. The whole issue of the Spratley’s? This too shall pass. And it’s not like an aircraft carrier sitting dead in the water is really all that useful against other than fishermen because any military effort will see it quickly made useless.

      Regarding the Chinese as a people? Decent sorts in my experience. Guess what? Average Chinese-Joe likes to drink beer. Isn’t paid well enough. Nobody asks his opinion, nor cares. Wants to get ahead in life, likes to party, lives to fuck off when the boss isn’t around and gets away with what he can, when he can. Moreover, he often has a wife that nags him to uphold his end of the stick. Sound familiar?

      Hating China and the Chinese is a perfect example of stupid is as stupid does. This will bite us in the ass some day. Too bad. Then again, we had the chance in 1989 to bring Russia into the fold. We chose not to do that either. Our ‘leaders’ are truly stupidly shortsighted bastards. Sigh.

      1. Patrick

        We need our bogey man. Or bogey men. How else to justify “defense” spending etc.? Nothing new here; this is “same ol’”. As you wisely suggest, a rational actor would transcend the fear and inspect the pudding- as The Rev points out above, where has deindustrialized ‘merica set up shop? (Albeit with Biden’s 100 day reassessment lol).

      2. Parker Dooley

        “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

        (So shut up and take your Soma).

        Oops — mixed metaphors. Sorry.

      3. Jason Boxman

        Hating China is certainly silly and counterproductive. Offshoring our industrial capacity to China to such an extent essentially gives them partial control over our national sovereignty, which I am not excited about, in addition to exporting much needed employment from this country.

      4. km

        1. A scary enemy is needed to justify empire, not to mention sky high military and spy budgets. Why are we constantly invading and attacking and sanctioning countries we don’t like? Is it because scary enemy, or is it because we are glorified robbers?

        2. A scary enemy is necessary to head off calls for domestic reform. (“We don’t have time for education/healthcare/infrastructure/etc. now! What are you, some kind of commie? Don’t you know we gotta fight Saddam/Milosevic/Bin Laden/Saddam again/Putin/Assad/Maduro/Kim/Xi?“)

      5. Phenix

        Eh, I agree with the overall sentiment but I have trouble getting past Chinese attitudes towards other forms of life especially animal markets. So if there is ever a war the world would loose our consumption habits and the Chinese appetite for fish and sharks and wild animals. I think that that is a win for non-human life.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            I got the impression that part of Phenix’s point was that our demand for meat from CAFO-ed animals — and the profits wrung from them — would be gone after a China v US war . . . so the CAFOs would disappear, too. (If I’ve mistaken, Phenix, please correct me.)

      6. Kouros

        It is mainly a problem of ownership… The grudge in the US is that the titans don’t own a greater stake in China (not that that is the case in Japan or S. Korea, but those are occupied lands)… Same beef with Russia. Different flavor though. I China, the US helped build so it has a certain sense of entitlement, in Russia, the party was started under Yieltsin, but Evil Putin put a stop to it…

    2. Old Sarum


      Reminds of an encounter I had with a man who said that he was ex-Pentagon who gave insights into how to get things back-channeled in that particular swamp. In chewing the fat, I threw into the conversation (stirrer that I am) that it seems as though, as things have panned out in the US, that Nixon was a commie spy: He just smiled.


  5. Theo

    “Two teenagers placed in foster care after weight loss plan fails”

    This is insane. There are so many problems with this decision that I don’t know where to start to even make sense of it. They took their children away even though they admit they had good parenting — just because they were obese. This is an unsettling precedent

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gawd – he’s hilarious. I have seen him once or twice before but forgot to bookmark his channel so thanks Slim.

  6. John A

    Re: How China’s attack on Microsoft escalated into a “reckless” hacking spree MIT Technology Review

    Has any proper evidence been presenting proving it was China, rather than say, some CIA software configured to point the finger at China?
    I dont think I have seen any smoking gun so far.

    1. cocomaan

      Ever since the Sony/North Korea/The Interview movie hack, I don’t believe anyone about anything having to do with hacking. Attribution is nearly impossible, despite what Crowdstrike, the CIA, the NSA, or whoever says.

      Not so much of a lack of a smoking gun, but a gun that doesn’t smoke.

      1. Pat

        Must add: there are too many people with ulterior motives who use hacks to advance unpopular policies.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Lest we forget, the reason the US wants Assange so badly is because of the Vault 7 leaks from a few years ago. These were the ones that exposed all the US spooks’ toys to the public, one of which IIRC was the ability to hack into systems and attribute the effort to other parties to cover your tracks.

        Surprisingly, or not, a search of “wikileaks vault 7” yields practically zero sources from mainstream US media – wonder why that could be?

        1. chuck roast

          The whole Vault 7 leak thing was invaluable to me because thereafter all hacking stories were he-said, she-said.

        2. Procopius

          IIRC, the Department of Justice and Assange were on the verge of Wikileaks turning over all their copies of the Vault 7 material without publishing, when James Comey stepped in and vetoed the deal. Said it was intolerable to deal with a traitor or something (Note: Assange is Australian). Sorry, I haven’t searched for a link.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “California launches way any resident can become vaccine eligible”

    Eligible? Eligible? California is a Democrat State so is that anything like the word ‘access?’

    1. Prufrock101

      I’ve searched for volunteer openings 10 times over the past few days, and have never seen an opening.

      1. Prufrock101

        Just looked again… Searching around SF

        “Thank you for volunteering. We can’t find a location or shift that matches your search right now”

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Within three months it looks likely that anyone 18+ in the US will both be eligible and able to be vaccinated, so all the questions and moral panic about the vaccination order will thankfully soon no longer be in play.

      1. RMO

        And here in Canada it will be another week and a half before my over 80 year old mum will be able to start trying to make an appointment for her first vaccination shot so it will likely be almost May before she actually gets it. Good thing we did a not too awful job of keeping the spread down (especially here in BC – three hundred cases from a freaking unauthorized pub trivia night notwithstanding) because at the federal level when it comes to vaccination the ball was not just well and truly dropped but bounced up, hit us in the face, broke our nose, bounced again and knocked the priceless Ming vase down and shattered it. Then we slipped on the blood from our bloody nose and fell on the shards of the vase slicing us up.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Now why does that remind me of this? It’s Gerard Hoffnung proclaiming to the Oxford Union, not long after I was born. (Not that I was there, but I did grow up listening to it when it showed up on WFMT’s “Midnight Special” program.)

      2. Yves Smith

        Do not speak for Alabama.

        Plus public health is a state law matter. Biden can try to corner states into hewing to his timetable but he can’t make any state do anything re vaccinations.

  8. allan

    The `sharing economy’ is forced to share:

    Spanish unions to get access to app algorithms to monitor workers’ rights [Yahoo]

    Spanish unions will be given access to the algorithms companies such as Uber use to manage their workforce in the gig economy, to monitor conditions and stop workers being underpaid in low-demand hours, Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said on Thursday.

    Such labour rights monitoring is part of Spain’s forthcoming legislation to bolster protections for service sector workers, typically hired on freelance basis, that will require employers to put them on staff contracts. …

    Companies in the sector, including international platforms Deliveroo and Uber Eats, have been preparing for weeks for the new regulation by looking for alternatives such as outsourcing or using temporary employment agencies, sources told Reuters. …

    The good news for Uber is that their Chief Legal Officer will make sure
    this contagion doesn’t spread across the Atlantic.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Whoa! Just came across this article and thought to drop it here because of its possible importance. I do not know if this story has legs but ‘The rollout of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia has been suspended as the health authorities investigate a possibly serious side effect in the form of fatal blood clots.’

    And that article mentions that 24 million people have received this vaccine already.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, any sort of vaccine is still hard to get. I’m reading all sorts of frustrated accounts from my Nextdoor duckblind.

      1. John Beech

        Lynn just got hers (Special Ed. teacher). Me? I turn 63 soon and am patiently awaiting an opportunity but with little in the way of hope before this summer because my father, 90, and his wife, 81, have had zero success. Note; he’s a tech savvy old coot who built his PC from self-selected components with minimal advice from me, and runs Linux. He checks every morning with the half-dozen or so places available to him. Anyway, we’re in Central Florida where the idiot governor I voted for won’t get my vote next time around.

      2. Leftcoastindie

        Just got my second dose of the Moderna Tuesday. Place was busier than our first visit. The National Guard was there to assist and it moved fast, we were gone a little more than a half hour. They also had the Pfizer vaccine so you had a choice if it was your first shot. Looks like things are starting to smooth out – at least here in San Diego county anyway.
        For me the symptoms were worse the first time, I couldn’t move my arm above my shoulder and I had a headache for a couple of days. This time just a sore shoulder like from a flu shot. My wife on the other hand is developing a rash near the shot so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. Otherwise no problem.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      RevKev: I just checked the Italian newspapers, and Repubblica is reporting the death of a man after receiving AZ vaccine in Syracuse in Sicily. The local government has opened an investigation, and the lottery for AZ vaccine has been suspended for now.

      I hate to pile on the feckless English, but this AZ mess, the fudging of data and doses in the first trials, the pointlessness of AZ’s responses, the lack of data and consequent lack of EU authorization to use the vaccine on 65+ people, are all a sign of the continuing collapse of English society and society into irrelevance. Brexit was just one more symptom of the decay.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The European Medicines Agency-

        “The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population. As of 9 March 2021, 22 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among the 3 million people vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the European Economic Area.”

        1. Zamfir

          I really do not envy the people who have to make these decisions.

          It’s millions of shots, among people who are on the older side. Just from regular causes, there will be hundreds to thousands of deaths shortly after getting a shot, and yet more people who develop severe medical problems. There will be spurious patterns among those numbers, it’s inevitable. And drawing attention to a spurious pattern will lead to people refusing vaccines, and this will lead to unnecessary corona cases

          At the same time, if there is a genuine problem with a vaccine, you can’t just wait until the statistical signal is loud above the noise. That’s too late, almost by definition.

          Add in multiple countries with slightly different policies on how to react (even if those policies might be all reasonable), and people who who watch other countries and ask (again quite reasonably) why those other countries are taking action…

      2. Count Zero

        Reality Czar? This second paragraph about “the feckless English” (generalisation or what!) is a mish-mash of nonsense, misinformation and half-truth. There’s a lot wrong with British society and politics at present but Astra-Zeneca has been the victim of EU problems with organising their own vaccination programme and nothing to do with the supposed “collapse of English society.”

        1. Anonymous 2

          AstraZeneca’s failure to meet its targeted production for the vaccine in Q1 2021 has first of all to be attributed to its own shorcomings, though some commentators are indeed having a field day blaming the European Commission for this. Not that the Commission is above criticism (they have themselves agreed that they have made mistakes). Inevitably when vaccine production has fallen below plans, people are upset and start blaming each other.

    3. Petter

      Add Norway to the list of countries that has suspended the use of AstraZenica. It couldn’t have come at a worse time because Michael Osterholm’s hurricane analogy fits for Norway. Not all regions are equally affected but Oslo and surrounding municipalities have seen a huge rise in infections, and are now in lockdown. This includes my municipality. Testing can’t keep up and we have a shortage of vaccines, now made even worse by AstraZenica suspension.
      My own story – I got a message from the municipality on February 2 that I could call and make an appointment. I called the next day and was informed that all appointments were taken. I was also told that they would call me when appointments were available, no point in me calling them. It’s now March 11. Incidentally, I would have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, as the AstraZenica hadn’t been approved for those over 65, although my GP informed me on Monday that the approval for those over 65 was a day away. Approval was granted and then this happened.

      1. Chris

        Meanwhile, here in the under down under, we’re not doing too badly. Tasmania hasn’t had a case involving local transmission for 300 days (although Little Scotty’s travel plans may change that)

        1. lordkoos

          These posts are making me feel very lucky indeed as both my wife and I here in central WA state have received our second shots. The Pfizer for me and Moderna for her because we applied at different times and received the vaccine at different places.

  10. WhoaMolly

    Here in rural Northern California the vaccine is appearing for elderly veterans who are registered in the VA healthcare system.

    A 76 year old neighbor (who also has a couple risk issues) got his Moderna by driving to San Francisco two times for vaccinations at the VA hospital.

    The VA just sent out an email to vets in Northern California saying that local VA community clinics will be getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccines very soon. The other vaccines–the ones that require sophisticated transportation and storage with refrigeration–are going to big hospitals with resources to handle the increased requirements for transport, storage, and admin.

    My impression so far is that the VA is doing a first class job of getting the vaccines out to veterans. I always tell fellow vets to call and sign up for the system, even if they don’t want to use it later.

  11. epynonymous

    Ok, I’m going rogue right quick.

    On alchemy and the veracity of painted rocks.

    Before banks, the Egyptian priestly class would run endowments for the dead and wealthy. Much like modern churches, the endowments were tax exempt, in the style of the nobility.

    The forms of the endowments were observed fastidiously, as documented in archaeological excavations of these temple complexes. (sort of a special investment district, for the ancient world.)

    Many complexes were tied to sacred animals (a second reference to Beanie Babies seems both appropriate and excessive) and as time went on scheduled payments were made at a fixed (pre-inflationary price) for production of idols or mummies of the sacred animals.

    As prices rose through inflation (as measured by indexes like gold content of the coinage) the percent of fake mummies (who would want to open up all those mummies…. or ‘gold bricks’…. or accounting procedures and processes….) increased.

    Not sure what it means, just that it happened.

    *edit* misspelled preiestly

    1. km

      Reminds me of medieval Europe, when more and more land and property was tied up, tax free, in the hands of the Catholic Church.

      Piers Plowman and suchlike bitterly decried this,

  12. The Rev Kev

    “UK set to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights”

    Is this wise? Sure, here in Oz they have just announced half-price flights to boost local tourism but so far, we are lucky enough to be on top of the virus. The UK is not and by making domestic flights a bit more cheaper, it would encourage more people to travel around the UK. Japan did something like this several months ago when they encouraged people to travel around Japan to keep all those local economies going. And by doing so facilitated spreading the virus in Japan near and far and making the effects of the pandemic far worse and finally killing off any chance of staging the Olympics.

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Judging by their record I see little wisdom if any in regard to Bojo & Co’s handling of the pandemic, making the above just business as usual. The vaccine rollout & cracking the genome bring success stories of which from what I have seen they have been trying to take credit for, despite the fact that they are largely the work of the public sector, rather than based on the troughs provided for donors like the 35 bn test & trace debacle.

      Nightingale hospitals are now being closed down which remained empty while costing around 200 million. They could have been very useful but someone forgot to consider the fact that they need highly trained staff to man them – Florence would not be amused. Still ahead in the polls last time I looked although IMO any of the other contenders would be like changing dirty underwear for something only slightly cleaner.

  13. Mme Generalist

    Re Why small grocery stores are (still) out of toilet paper

    The word monopoly does not appear in this story.

  14. fresno dan
    Elections in the pre-Trump era had been stale rituals. As recently as 2013, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post called them “remarkably scripted and controlled.” Donors, party chiefs, and pundits could concoct contenders through sheer alchemy, mesmerizing the public with incantations like “electability.” But in Iowa that summer, one “electable” Republican candidate after another — from Jeb Bush to Scott Walker to Marco Rubio — flopped in public appearances, savaged as phonies on social media. Walker, the betting favorite among reporters, saw his campaign deflated when his online strategist, Liz Muir, started tweeting her real feelings about Iowa (including the classic, “#agsubsidies #ethanol #brainless”).
    The thesis of The Revolt of the Public is that traditional centralized powers are losing — have lost — authority, in large part because of the demystifying effect of the Internet. The information explosion undermined the elite monopoly on truth, exposing long-concealed flaws. Many analysts had noted the disruptive power of the Internet, but what made Gurri unique is that he also predicted with depressingly humorous accuracy how traditional hierarchies would respond to this challenge: in a delusional, ham-fisted, authoritarian manner that would only confirm the worst suspicions of the public, accelerating the inevitable throw-the-bums-out campaigns.
    Gurri saw such outbursts everywhere, even in the election of Barack Obama, since “the U.S. presidential elections of 2008 [were] an early instance of the public on the move against the established order.” The political scientists and pundits who puzzle over the fact that a great many people voted for both Obama and Trump, shouldn’t. Both men positioned themselves as outsiders, both were aided by a lack of a track record and a deliberately vague platform, making both effective vehicles for expressing popular discontent.

    Gurri predicted throughout that entrenched authorities would be unable to distinguish between legitimate criticism and illegitimate rebellion. Once they lost control “over the story told about their performance,” they’d denounce clearly factual evidence of public discontent as lies. Gurri would later talk about centralized authority being “institutionally unable to grasp that it has lost its monopoly over political reality.” This in turn would stimulate even more “distrust and loss of legitimacy.”
    So many insights from the article. I can’t help but think that so much of the animus of the MSM to Trump was the fact that Trump showed that their pundits and pollsters had no clothes. Or that the modern media had turned the old axiom of afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted completely on its head.

    1. barefoot charley

      Agreed, with this gripe: the economy stopped working for most people. The rock-ribbed point is that the parties didn’t care, the economy worked fine for them. They told the people “Learn code.” “Go die.” There was no choice between the duopolists until Trump pretended to be one, by saying what actual people say about our economy failing them. Now that we’re protected from Trump, the duopoly is back to tweaking their messaging. Their message will never be “See what we’ve done for you!” But messaging to exploding tent cities probably won’t work . . .

      1. JBird4049

        Gurri would later talk about centralized authority being “institutionally unable to grasp that it has lost its monopoly over political reality.” This in turn would stimulate even more “distrust and loss of legitimacy.”

        Exactly. Eventually, somehow, reality reality trumps political reality.

    2. wilroncanada

      Except that, like in everything else he said, he was lying. What he intended to do all along, he managed to do: comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted, thus maintaining the standard of US politics which had worked for 75years.

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    I have a feeling that some people think that Amazon has no unionized facilities. It may have no unionized facilities in the U S of A, with our fake labor laws that don’t serve working people. Elsewhere is different.

    Repubblica reports job actions scheduled on 22 March in Italy to shut down the supply chain (warehouses, drivers, et cetera). Natch, there is this:

    “Amazon manifesta – affermano – col suo comportamento inaccettabile, l’indisponibilità cronica ad un confronto con le rappresentanze dei lavoratori in spregio alle regole previste dal CCNL e ad un sistema di corrette relazioni sindacali”

    The gist from the unionists: Amazon engages in unacceptable behavior, is chronically unavailable to meet with union reps, disdaining the rules in the collective-bargaining agreement and proper relations with unions.

    Which likely to happen after the Bessemer vote has been tallied.

  16. The Historian

    Wonderful post by Caitlin Johnstone this morning! I couldn’t agree with her more! Our souls are being torn apart by capitalism. But they’ve also been conditioned by capitalism and until we figure out how to remove that conditioning, we are never going to get our souls, or our mental health back. Once we understand that we really don’t need that new car every three years, and we don’t need the latest fashions or the latest pair of shoes, and that we don’t need to buy the latest electronic gadget that comes out, we might have a chance of saving ourselves.

    1. Geo

      “If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I? Nobody but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living.”
      – Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be?

      I wish Fromm’s writing was more popular. I know NC has referenced him in that past but few seem to be familiar with his work. In my reading of his works, no one foresaw the psychological sickness our society was developing as clearly and thoroughly as he saw it all the way back in the 1950’s and 60’s. His writing on how marketing, media, and capitalism were breeding a society of self-interest, narcissism, hollowness that commodified even the most personal of relationships was incredibly ahead of its time. Caitlyn’s writing, to me at least, feels like a more philosophical continuation of his work. She’s a wonderful and much needed voice of sanity in an insane era.

    2. Ella

      I didn’t read that link yet but this is spot on.

      My grill caught fire last night. We like to grill in nice weather so I went online to order a new one (grudgingly because this is supposed to be my year of not buying any stuff). I was nearly sucked in to the elaborate grill that “transforms your backyard into an outdoor kitchen.”

      Then I stopped and said to myself: seriously all I need is a tool to grill some meat and corn cobs.

      And got the basic charcoal version.

      First world, I know. But at some point you gotta stop and keep it simple. It frees you from the corporate paycheck grind too.

  17. JEHR

    Re: Finding Meaning Under A Meaningless System:
    The author suggests we not participate in the meaninglessness of our culture and yet uses Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Paypal, and her computer. In order to be sane, we have to not participate in this culture ; we have no alternative to this culture and therefore we grow insane. That’s the conundrum. A few of us, however, have a memory of life before capitalism grew into obesity and we can dream of that again.

    1. Geo

      Those things you list can be seen as vices or as tools. Just as a hammer can be used to build, it can also be used to maim. The writer uses those mediums to amplify ideas that would find little audience through other means.

      Would she be more philosophically honest if she were to speak her ideas from a soapbox in the town square of her native Australian hometown? Sure. But, none of us would be exposed to her ideas that way.

      We are all contradictions of ideals and compromises. Personally, I love the tactile craft of making art. But, I rely on computers and major media platforms, often owned by companies I condemn and boycott in my personal life, because we live in a monopolistic and convenience-obsessed (lazy?) society that will only experience and support my art if it is made accessible through mainstream platforms they already use.

      Am I a hypocrite? Yes. Does this defang the anti-capitalist and anti-hierarchical themes I explore in my work? Probably. But, if I lived in a commune off the grid and explored those themes through cave paintings it’s doubtful they would reach as wide and diverse of an audience. So, compromise is made and even acknowledged and critiqued within the art itself.

      Don’t shoot the messenger just because you don’t support the medium they broadcast their message from.

      1. JEHR

        I’m not throwing anyone under the bus; I’m describing a paradox that is difficult, and maybe impossible, to solve and we all are part of the problem.

  18. zagonostra

    >UN Rebuke of US Sanctions on Venezuela Met With Stunning Silence – FAIR

    So nice to have a stable continuity of government in these Obama/Trump/Biden years.

    When it comes to foreign policy and favoring corporate interest over the 99% old boss is the same as the new boss…and Bruce, you’ve really lost my respect.

    The campaign to overthrow the Venezuelan government, Douhan added, “violates the principle of sovereign equality of states and constitutes an intervention in domestic affairs of Venezuela that also affects its regional relations…(CEPR) paper that estimated that sanctions were responsible for over 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017–18

  19. Jason Boxman

    Days late, but “breathwork” is similar to the breathing exercises a CBT might suggest for controlling anxiety. Controlling your breathing is a game changer, in fact, although it takes practice and persistence, because the effect is not immediate. It’s hard to believe such a seemingly simple approach can help.

    1. Foy

      I’m currently reading “Breath The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor. About how we have forgotten how to breathe properly. Number one, breathe through the nose. And how ancient people’s and tribes taught their children how to breath properly from the moment they were born so that proper techniques were natural. I’ve done lots of breathing meditations but never been disciplined about using the right techniques about all day and night.

      It’s one of the most intriguing books I’ve read and I’m revisiting some of the things I’ve learned in the past. Keeping my mouth shut and breathing through my nose which I often struggled to do as it feels blocked. Stick with it long enough (weeks/months ) and it will open up again by itself.

      Poor breathing techniques changed and shrank nasal and mouth structure and is one reason why humans are the only mammal to have crooked teeth, which mostly occurred in the last few hundred years

      One of the most impressive feats that I did not know about was Katarina Schroth 100 years ago. ” Schroth had been diagnosed with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine. …At age 16, Schroth began training herself in something called ‘ orthopedic breathing’… She spent 5 years doing this [focused breathing into one lung thru a range of positions]. At the end, she’d effectively cured herself of ‘incurable’ scoliosis; she’d breathed her spine straight again.”

      She taught many other sufferers of Scoliosis her techniques, of course against the wishes and opinions of mainstream doctors at the time. The before and after photos of straightened spines have to be seen to be believed.

    1. pjay

      That was one hell of an impressive video! From the peaceful scene at the beginning to the hellscape at the end. Wow. Very sobering.

  20. jr

    Re: Meaning in meaninglessness

    I really enjoyed the Caitlyn Johnstone piece. As a bipolar person whose managed to get things mostly under control, I’ve often wondered how my behavior would be received in other times and places. What if my occasional insomnia, once horrifically common, didn’t matter in terms of jobs or schooling? What if my health was the priority and not games of economic exploitation and power games. My life would have been a lot more stable and productive even by the standards of the economic system I live under.

    On a related note: I read somewhere, I believe it was Harpers magazine, that the hallucinations of dead relatives that schizophrenics in some East Asian country experience are generally positive experiences with the relatives relaying advice and offering greetings. In the West, hallucinated relatives are often harsh and aggressive. Sorry I cannot find a source.

  21. Jason Boxman

    So vaccine distribution news from out of the Raleigh NC area: There’s a town about 60 minutes south of here with a community clinic that’s gotten thousands of doses, but at least 1/2 have gone unused. So they’ve been giving them to anyone that shows up, and some number of people have driven from the Raleigh area and gotten shots.

    Third hand information:

    Again – this is advertised for Phases 1-3, however they had a turnout of around 1,400 and an excess of over 1,500 doses after their clinic on Wednesday. They were also scheduled to get 2,200 more prior to Friday’s clinic. They are not turning anyone away.


    Someone working at the … vaccination clinic texted a friend of mine around noon last Friday and said they had way too much vaccine and they would give it to anyone. He drove down and got a vaccine, no questions asked.

    I can’t directly confirm this, but it seems legit.

    What a strange distribution system we have. I’m not sure how many doses are ultimately tossed.

  22. lobelia

    @Theo March 11, 2021 at 8:33 am, re:

    “Two teenagers placed in foster care after weight loss plan fails”

    This is insane. There are so many problems with this decision that I don’t know where to start to even make sense of it. They took their children away even though they admit they had good parenting — just because they were obese. This is an unsettling precedent

    Well, it may be unprecedented in the UK, but of course not in the US, where it’s been happening for at least over a decade; despite the criminal overuse of antipsychotics in US Foster Homes ( ). It was highlighted with an Ohio case which was heavily reported in the US when Michele Obama targeted US Obesity (without targeting any of the underlying causes): November 29, 2011 200-pound boy taken from mother; she says weight not her fault

    I’m guessing it mostly happens where there’s an impoverished, single, working, well underpaid mother – with no ability whatsoever to hire an attorney.

    gotta run

  23. barefoot charley

    My experience in rural Northern California was the same. My wife had griped with our asthmatic carpenter about the choked vaccination supply, and next day he called saying “They’re giving it away today! Get to town now!” She dragged me along (I was waiting for non-mutant J ‘n J, but who cares), we went right through while my wife texted friends in need outside the regulatory rope lines. Four of our friends also came right through that morning, and we all were scheduled for the second shot as well. Noteworthy though, all who were called, and all who we saw, were in their 60s. Officially we must be 75. That was the first question my younger friend asked when I told her she could get it. That was her dealbreaker, so far: social stigma. Who knew we still had any?

  24. juno mas

    RE: Pro-Sanders Revenge in Nevada

    This really is a stunning reversal for the Reid Machine (such as it is). As a former state official in the Democrat Bryan/Miller governorships (80’s-90’s) the hand-to-hand political infighting in sparsely populated Nevada is acute. (You live next door to your opponents.) As noted, the last decade has seen a diverse influx of political sentiment. Nevada’s population is now dominated by the greater Las Vegas and Reno urban area and both have growing young populations and universities to offset the influence of the Casino /Political power brokers.

    This propulsive change in political power could more readily occur in the greater US if the non-majoritarian, geographi-centric Senate could not so easily block the more progressive population-centric House legislation. (This road-block to change was instituted by the Connecticut Compromise of 1787.)

    Were the Founders really brilliant democrats? No! With the CC of 1787 and later the 4/5’ths accounting for slaves, democracy took a back seat to land-owner power. That is what is changing in Nevada. Good Night, Harry Reid.

    1. urblintz

      Let’s hope the new mindset will attend to climate issues because Nevada’s ecological vulnerability is growing, as I understand it. Any insights into that aspect of Nevada’s future?

  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: Catalonia: The EU’s Secret Shame

    The European Union was never going to support the Catalonian secessionists. Just about every member-state has a secessionist movement within their borders that would be encouraged by any success. It’s one reason among many why the US shouldn’t have supported the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. Although I can’t think of an example in recent memory of that precedent backfiring in America’s face…

    Except for the Crimea.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Well said Andrew Watts. Most of the northern 2/3rds of Germany would actually like to send Bavaria off into their own country. CDU wouldn’t even exist as a party anymore since the sister party, the CSU is quite popular there, and seldom sees majorities in the northern 2/3rds.

      Now Bavaria doesn’t want to secede because they would have to do actual work. Heh. Of course they will just import the labor from eastern europe as they already do – especially for the asparagus harvest.

      From my Catalonian work friend, she is not too happy about the Spanish/Catalonia situation, and it is obviously an economic reason that Spain doesn’t want to lose the cash that tourism in that region brings. Something they don’t teach you in school is the Catalonian region speaks Catalan, not Spanish. Kind of interesting regarding the multi-lingual countries.

  26. boydownthelane

    All this talk about heat, humidity, Florida, Manhattan… I was born north of Philly but lived in New England my entire life… and we are on the cusp of artificial intelligence, robotics, self-piloting cars, flying cars, high-speed looping, continuous bailouts, and trans-border migration. Lunch in Tulum, dinner in Bar Harbor. Should be achievable given the direction of things.

  27. chuck roast

    Tyranny Without Tyrants

    Interesting the Rawlsian meritocratic worldview that is said to underlie the liberal new world order. It seems to be a kind of Calvinist hierarchy of the elect and non-elect. Perfect for “means testing.” At least they’re consistent.

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