Links 5/23/2021

Tiny Wolf Pup Tries Howling for the Very First Time Laughing Squid (Re Silc).

The real smell of virtual reality Axios. Has anybody seen ol’ Smell-o-vision?

Inside the Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Shit Coins Vanity Fair

Nouriel Roubini On Bitcoin, Blockchain Amid Crypto Turmoil Heisenberg Report. For example:

Seems frothy.

A New Report From JPMorgan Shows Just How Big Tether Has Become Bloomberg

The Warhol Foundation Is Auctioning Off the Artist’s Computer-Based Works as NFTs. An Archivist Who Uncovered Them Is Outraged Artnet News

Colonial Pipeline Seeks To Postpone New Estimates On Historic NC Spill Robbie Jaeger, Medium. An engineering memo describes spilled gasoline as “free product.”

Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications NYT. Oh.


Mix-and-match COVID vaccines trigger potent immune response Nature (nvl). Spanish announcement. “That is what researchers hoped for and expected from mixing different vaccines, a strategy known as a heterologous prime and boost, which has been deployed for vaccines against other diseases, such as Ebola.”

Two vaccine doses needed for strong protection against variant found in India, data show FT

Data and Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials (accepted manuscript) Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “Challenges have included the scale and pace of the trials, the frequency of safety events related to the combined enrollment of over 100,000 participants, many of whom are older adults or have comorbid conditions that place them at independent risk of serious health events, and the politicized environment in which the trials have taken place.”

Opinion: Access and information, not hesitancy, are the biggest challenges in getting more Coloradans vaccinated Colorado Sun

Your COVID-19 vaccine was likely free — what about the booster? MarketPlace. Ka-ching.

* * *

Sacramento City schools halts $6 million air cleaners order, as investigation continues Sacramento Bee. Good. Somebody came to their senses (see Dr. Richard Corsi here).

Preventing and mitigating COVID-19 at work WHO (full report).

* * *

Mortality From Drug Overdoses, Homicides, Unintentional Injuries, Motor Vehicle Crashes, and Suicides During the Pandemic, March-August 2020 JAMA (dk). From the Discussion: “Provisional mortality data showed that deaths from some but not all external causes increased during the pandemic, representing thousands of lives lost and exceeding prepandemic trends. Explanations for these changes are unknown.”

Caption: “Cause-Specific Mortality Due to Select External Causes in the US, January 2015-August 2020 The solid line indicates raw cause-specific death counts from January 2015-August 2020; the dotted line and shading represent the point estimate and projected 95% CI for cause-specific expected deaths from March-August 2020 using the seasonal adjusted model. The y-axes are raw death counts.”

* * *

The potential health and economic value of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination alongside physical distancing in the UK: a transmission model-based future scenario analysis and economic evaluation The Lancet. From March, still germane.

California Megachurch Wins $1.35 Million in Settlement over COVID-19 Restrictions The Roys Report


China’s top diplomat heads to Russia as ties reach ‘best level in history’ FT. Barry, Don, Joe, The Blob: Great work on the two-front war thing. Good job.

Risk of Nuclear War Over Taiwan in 1958 Said to Be Greater Than Publicly Known NYT

Vietnam in talks to produce Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine – media Reuters

Opinion: Duterte’s Accommodation With China in the South China Sea Maritime Executive

Sniffing Labrador retrievers join Thai coronavirus fight AP


More than 125,000 Myanmar teachers suspended for opposing coup: Educators’ group Channel News Asia

Sending a message?


The poor, the rich: In a sick India, all are on their own AP

Indian villagers turn to unlicensed clinics as COVID spreads to the countryside Reuters

UP panchayats: teacher death toll hits 1,621 People’s Archive of Rural India

India’s back office business faces a reckoning from Covid-19 FT

TRIPS Waiver: A BIT of a Challenge for India The Wire

Coronavirus | Aerosols can travel up to 10m; ventilation is the key, says government The Hindu

The Koreas

Coming soon: A neutral South Korea? Lowy Interpreter. “The dominance of North Korea in any analysis of the Korean Peninsula always amazes me. In a strategic context, South Korea is more important – significantly stronger economically, more populous and, most importantly, substantially more socio-politically dynamic.”


‘There’s No Happy Ending’: Cia Chief of Station Assesses Crumbling Afghan Security Coffee or Die (Re Silc). “The Taliban blame Biden’s timeline for the current fighting, saying it violates the Trump administration’s promise in the Doha agreement from early 2020, which set a US withdrawal date of May 1, 2021.” They say that because it’s true.

Video shows Israeli settler trying to take over Palestinian house Al Jazeera


No 10 ‘tried to block’ data on spread of new Covid variant in English schools Guardian

Exactly How Helpless Is Europe? Foreign Policy

‘Revival of the occult’: French youth turn to tarot, astrology during Covid-19 France24

Over a dozen firefighting teams deployed to blaze at Poland’s largest coal mine Euronews

Biden Administration

ICE Detention Center Shuttered Following Repeated Allegations of Medical Misconduct The Intercept


The mess in Maricopa WaPo. And it is a mess. Voting machines are, of course, not themselves a mess. Not at all.

Judge agrees to unseal 2020 ballots in Georgia county for audit The Hill

Capitol Riot

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she’s in therapy following ‘attempted coup’ at Capitol The Independent. TMI.

Our Famously Free Press

CNN’s Jerusalem correspondent:

Why Emily Wilder got fired and Chris Cuomo didn’t The Week. Wilder’s statement:

Wilder was fired for pro-Palestinian activism while at Stanford in 2020. If you want to know whether NGOs are part of the Democrat Party and follow its line (see, e.g.), or are truly independent entities, their collective silence on a young woman‘s firing should give you your answer.

Corporate Media’s Double Standard: They Attack Whomever They Want, But You Cannot Criticize Them Glenn Greenwald

Police State Watch

Retired officer asks Supreme Court to curb legal immunity for police ABC

It Is Unconscionable That The Gay Community Has Ostracized Me Simply Because I Was Born A Cop Defector

Zeitgeist Watch

The Way We Feel Now NYT. “We.” An aggregation of other articles. The headlines: “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling,” “How to Start Flourishing,” “Welcome to the YOLO Economy”, and “The Joys of Biking at Night.” In Berlin. I love Berlin. But I knew “we” wouldn’t include the voice of one single solitary essential worker. I was right.

Everything Keeps Getting Weirder And Weirder Caitlin Johnstone

Black Injustice Tipping Point

After she concealed her race, Black Indianapolis owner’s home value more than doubled NBC

Guillotine Watch

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli can travel to Mexico for vacation, judge rules NBC. The deck: “Loughlin, best known for her role on “Full House” and Giannulli, a fashion designer, pleaded guilty last year to paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California.”

London’s Biggest Divorce Case Hinges on a $353 Million Superyacht Bloomberg. Two helipads; Jeff Bezos’s yacht has only one.

‘Collective amnesia’: Texas politicians knowingly blew 3 chances to fix the failing power grid Houston Chronicle

Class Warfare

BREAKING: Draft Legislation in New York Would Put Gig Workers into Toothless ‘Unions’ Labor Notes (the bill). Important!

Crossing the Picket Line: What You Need to Know About Strikes Teen Vogue

New Face-Mask Rules Put Grocery Workers Back at Center of Debate WSJ. The lead: “Supermarket workers are back in the middle of a national conversation about face masks.” Never has the phrase “national conversation” seemed so vacuous.

High COVID-19 death rate among Hispanics may be linked to work: Study ABC

How well college graduates do financially depends on their parents CNBC

FDR paid artists to capture the Depression’s stories. Biden can do the same for the Covid-19 era. MSNBC

Writing as a public good Interfluidity

Misinformation in and about science PNAS. From the Abstract: “Most analyses of misinformation focus on popular and social media, but the scientific enterprise faces a parallel set of problems—from hype and hyperbole to publication bias and citation misdirection, predatory publishing, and filter bubbles. In this perspective, we highlight these parallels and discuss future research directions and interventions.” Worth reading in full. More reasons “trust the science” is such a pernicious slogan.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

We have not choice but to stan.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here/

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Robert Hahl

    Re: Misinformation in and about science PNAS – reminds me of a story I heard in the mid-80’s when Mass General was hiring a certain research professor.

    1st doctor: He publishes one paper per week!
    2nd doctor: You are impressed by that. I am appalled.

    1. Geo

      Back in art school a teacher told us if you want to be successful there are two ways to do it: Do one thing bigger than anyone else has ever done it, or do one thing more than anyone else has ever done it. It’s all about attention, not quality. (I could go on at length about how true this advice is in the arts but won’t).

      Seems this applies to science too?

      1. ambrit

        It probably applies to anything where human attention levels are a critical metric.
        Given the proper incentives, anyone can “Go Hollywood.”
        Striking a ‘balance’ one can live with is the hard part.

        1. Geo

          Very true. Our social media self-branding world has accelerated this dynamic to absurd levels, but, as you said, anything where acquiring attention is the goal it’s about bigger, louder, etc. Quality takes time and just pumping out “content” and “clickbait” is more effective for getting attention – even in science it seems.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Coming soon: A neutral South Korea? Lowy Interpreter. “The dominance of North Korea in any analysis of the Korean Peninsula always amazes me. In a strategic context, South Korea is more important – significantly stronger economically, more populous and, most importantly, substantially more socio-politically dynamic.”

    I find the ongoing shift in geopolitical dynamics in the Pacific fascinating, and over focusing on what is happening in Washington or Beijing risks overlooking the real changes taking place. South Korea is a case in point – it has made itself strategically vital simply by being so successful as a country (its not just Taiwan that has used semiconductor dominance as a form of strategic leverage), but its also created a viable model of how a country can transition from authoritarianism to a reasonably stable and open society (albeit with plenty of problems). While everyone fixates on North Korea, the ROK is quietly discussing its own future, and it may well be one that doesn’t involve the US or any of its immediate neighbours. Their huge investment in an independent military industry is one sign of where they think the future lies.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It’s probably more strategic than geopolitical, although I’m sure there are shades of that. NATO’s defense doctrine for over 60 years now has been “hold on and wait for the cavalry” (e.g. REFORGER) since each individual member state cannot stand up to its much larger aggressor. For South Korea and Taiwan it is likely the same, but with the assumption that Seoul or Taipei is lost or razed in the first few hours of any invasion from the north but at an incredible cost to the attackers. It has to be incredibly demoralizing for their garrisons to know that they’re just a speedbump and they surely have been agitating for a better plan for ages.

  3. Mikel

    RE: “High COVID-19 death rate among Hispanics may be linked to work: Study..”

    Wait a minute, people ACTUALLY thought they were dying because they were Hispanic?

    1. ambrit

      Yeah. Give me a ‘definition’ of Hispanic that even a plurality of the PMC class agrees on. Then we can talk about investigational rigour.
      I often laugh at the meme of “idpol.” Many jokes bound up in that innocuous word.

      1. Yves Smith

        There are some differences in disease incidence among races. Hispanics are more prone to diabetes at the same BMI than whites. Long-running studies on this, including differences in health outcomes among Hispanic sub-groups.

        But the bigger factor is likely higher incidence of poverty and going with that, overcrowded housing.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Perhaps exposure was a major factor as well since they were more likely to be an ‘essential worker’ that was forced to go out into the community to earn a living for themselves and their families instead of working from home.

        2. ambrit

          I’ve always been fascinated with the various “Theories of Race” that have held sway over the ages. The “Heartland Beloved” Aryan racial ‘dominance’ in, for example India has been shown to be a misinterpretation of myths and folklore. Evidently, there never was an organized “invasion” of the Indian sub-continent by an “Aryan” race. Just waves of immigration by nomadic herders.
          What is a “race” after all but a population that has adapted to a new set of environmental conditions? This takes literally ages.
          “Race” as a political construct, on the other hand, is about as slippery a critter to grab hold of as one could ever hope to meet. At root, the political definition of “Race” is as close to a real world conspiracy theory as I ever want to encounter.
          Given the evident politicization of Public Health in the modern West, especially in America, one is forced to step back and begin from first principles when evaluating any “objective,” “scientific” information put forward in support of any political decision.
          So, if “Hispanic” people do suffer more ill effects from the Covid virus, one needs to ask, what adaptation in the past unique to the population in question facilitated this?
          Someone needs to free up the Sciences from the stranglehold of money. [Fat chance of that, I agree, but, someone has to make the effort.]
          The rhetorical whippings will continue until conformity to “accepted” views is achieved.

    2. chris

      Late last year there were some papers which contained weak correlation to identified genetic traits that allegedly impacted the survivability of people to COVID. The focus of the studies was mainly on the genetics of people of west African descent. I imagine someone has probably done similar things for people of South American or Central American or Native backgrounds. But how you’d eliminate all the other potential causes and comorbidities related to COVID in those populations is beyond me. Poverty, diet, work habits, environmental pollution, poor sleep habits, etc.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      Here in the Upper Midwest USA the productions lines of the meat butchering and packing plants are staffed overwhelmingly by immigrants, many Hispanic. The small towns where these plants are located were among the earliest and hardest hit by the pandemic.

  4. Mikel

    Re: “Everything Keeps Getting Weirder And Weirder “Caitlin Johnstone

    It’s just something else to divide people, a distraction, and somebody is going to make money from it.

    Control through keeping everyone in a state of chaos and insecurity.

  5. Wukchumni

    Inside the Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Shit Coins Vanity Fair

    Nouriel Roubini On Bitcoin, Blockchain Amid Crypto Turmoil Heisenberg Report.
    It has been fun watching the numismatrix from a safe distance with strictly limited addition skills multiplying demand.

    Its more of a classic financial bubble of yore, in that the ones i’ve seen come down the pike usually feature something you could easily do without. (the housing bubble being a BIG exception)

    Going through a mental list, I watched bubbles in silver, tin, coins, Ferraris, baseball cards, stocks, POGs, well known paintings, Beanie Babies et al, although to be fair to the Beanie Babies, they actually had some use potential, compared to cryptocoins.

    Now as far as good old fashioned coins go, here’s an example of a dying hobby in the USA…

    20 years ago when gold was $300 an ounce, a PCGS/NGC graded mint state 64 (a high grade example) $10 Liberty or Indian Head gold coin dated from say 1900 to 1932 which contains just under 1/2 an ounce in content ($150 @ melt value) was worth around $3k to $4k each in the marketplace.

    Now with gold close to $1900 per oz, with either coin containing about $900 @ melt value, they’re both worth around $1500 now, that’s some drop when you consider how well gold has performed in the same time frame.

  6. Mikel

    Re: “How well college graduates do financially depends on their parents” CNBC

    For decades, every two years there has been a study like this and how many times does this have to be “re-discovered”? The same facts…

    What is going on? What’s wrong with people?

    1. CanCyn

      First to agree with you…. Over a decade ago the community college where I worked got special funding to support what were called First Generation students. They got this designation because they were the first people in their families to do post secondary schooling. Part of the reason for the extra support was that research found that their parents would be of no help having no post sec school experience of their own.
      Now to answer your question – this repeated research looking at the same questions happens because no one reads anything published more than a few years ago. Few are getting exposure to classics (good or bad) in their fields. No depth of knowledge is required or expected. So everything old is new again. And now that so many administrators in post sec are not educators by training/schooling themselves, they have no clue how to find and read research for themselves.

  7. cvxzi

    “Free product” is jargon for a pollutant that is uncontained in the environment. I’m not 100% sure, but it may also mean that the pollutant is in its own phase – i.e. sitting in a layer of oil rather than mixed with groundwater or bound to soils.

    Much more amusing when taken at face value, though. Just a pity the engineer probably didn’t mean it that way.

  8. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Colonial Pipeline

    And then they were hacked…though that appears to have been memory holed.

    1. Aumua

      An engineering memo describes spilled gasoline as “free product.”

      That’s free as in “at last”, not as in “speech” or as in “beer”.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Jeff Bezos to Own Mega Luxury Yacht Worth $500 Million That Has a Support Yacht and Helipad”

    I suppose that it would be somewhat crass to set up a GoFundMe page for a torpedo-armed submarine? Deck-gun optional? I’m sure that Captain Nemo would have approved.

    1. ambrit

      I’m sure that the Cartels would be happy to assist you in your piratical endeavours. They have “form” where DIY submarines are concerned. Don’t forget the armed speedboats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. They might well be amenable to helping in the humbling of a Great Satan like Bezos. And then, of course, there’s Hollywood. “Release the Kraken!”

  10. weimer

    ‘Collective amnesia’: Texas politicians knowingly blew 3 chances to fix the failing power grid Houston Chronicle
    It is amazing, but it took more than three months to start getting to the truth. This gets closer to unraveling the truth than any previous reports, though to tell the full truth (including the fact that market participants – including the bankrupt Brazos co-op – worked jointly (and gleefully) to make the pricing regime in ERCOT more volatile on purpose) is not something you can verbalize in a polite society.
    As things stand now, at least 10 market participants went bankrupt and had to exit the market (losing all investment in the process), and the unpaid amounts (euphemistically called ‘uplift’) still equal almost $3 billion. At the rate ERCOT can collect this ‘uplift’ from the remaining participants, it would take close to 100 years. (And those who exited were the least responsible for the problems.)
    If the legislature has to ‘securitize’ the unpaid amounts (to be paid by all customers in ERCOT) – so as not to bankrupt all in the market – what sort of ‘deregulation’ is this then? (The principle of ‘heads, you lose; tail, I win’ certainly applies.)

  11. jrkrideau

    “There’s No Happy Ending”
    I’d say the Taliban have every right to feel aggrieved. The US has broken the withdrawal agreement—I doubt if they care if Trump or Biden is president. they thought they had an agreement with the US Gov’t

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess is previous withdrawal discussions with Obama which certainly happened relied heavily on “but domestic politics” as if the US is the only one with local politics. Biden had promised as VP to be out by 2014. I know he’s a liar, but in diplomacy words after more than style.

      Libya happened too, so no one is going to make a deal with anyone connected to Obama, especially with Biden’s status as a known liar.

    2. Geo

      “There’s no such thing as endings, only cycles. Destruction or creation, vengeance or forgiveness.” – Viktoria in Blood From Stone

      Is it narcissistic to quote a line from my own film? Yeah, it is. But I’m doing it anyway! :)

    3. Doc Octagon

      Demonstrably false.* “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” stipulates a full withdraw within 14 months after the July 2020 partial draw-down, by September 11, 2021. However, the doubling of attacks by Taliban against Afghan gov’t does violate the spirit of the agreement. Without an agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan gov’t, the substantial international security assistance contingent shoring up Kabul’s forces will be a continuing fixture.
      *Coffee companies are not known for accurate reporting.

      1. Darthbobber

        No. It stipulates that the withdrawal is to be completed within 14 months of the announcement of the agreement. Also referred to as “the remaining 9 and one half months” after the deadline for the partial drawdown.

        And how does continuing to fight with a government that refused to be involved in the agreement violated it’s alleged spirit?

        Usually when someone speaks of the violation of the “spirit” of an agreement they do so because they are unable to claim that the letter is being violated. And agreements don’t really have a spirit. There IS only the letter.

    4. km

      Are the Taliban really so out of touch that they actually believe a word that from United States government or its spokestrolls?

      When they say that the Taliban are still living in medieval times, I guess they meant it.

  12. John Siman

    Lambert confirms that when the NYT writes about “The Way *We* Feel Now,” one can be quite sure that the implied antecedent of the Official Pronoun *We/Us* will not include a “single solitary essential worker.” Of course it won’t! Because essential workers are so icky! Deplorables are Them, NYT-reading PMCers are *Us*!

    And *We* are spoonfed “four articles to listen to about *Our* current moods.” Because not only do *We* need the NYT to nudge us into rightthink, *We* need the NYT too to tell *Us* what to *We*’re supposed to feel.

    Thus do the insecurities of America’s precariously propped-up elites become conspicuously more dysfunctional.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Any time I am forced to read anything from the New York Times, I know exactly what I feel.

      1. John Siman

        Yeah! And is it possible to listen to *any* NPR broadcast now for more than, say, 15 seconds without feeling that you are being verbally projectile-vomited upon by a gargantuan, hectoring, soulless PMC snob?

        1. Chris Smith

          I used to listen to NPR “Morning Edition” when driving to work every morning. When my office shut down and we started working from home, I quit listening. On the occasions recently when I have had to drive somewhere in the morning, I have found NPR utterly unlistenable; sort of a mirror image of right wing talk radio: smarmy instead of angry but just as ideological and full of [family blog].

          My question is: was NPR always this bad? Did my several months’ long absence from listening allow me to see (rather hear) this clearly when I turned it on again?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Nice Polite Republicans has been it’s moniker for years now. It was dreck during the Shrub years for sure, so probably longer.

            Doh! Almost forgot National Pentagon Radio. I guess I would go with the shift from public funding to foundation funding in the 80’s with Reagan. Official opposition.

            1. jo6pac

              Shurbs father started the down fall of npr & pbs. He installed a right winger friend to the over site committee and he want on to install others like him. Then corp. Amerika started the take over and selling ads. I stopped listening or watching them at that time.

            2. Samuel Conner

              I think of it as “Neoliberal Public Radio”. Stopped listening around the time of the GFC. Their “Planet Money” podcast was well produced but not very information; itWould have benefited from a large dose of contributions from NC types.

            3. Nce

              Neoliberal Propaganda Radio
              I doubt that anyone like Bill Moyers would be allowed on PBS or NPR nowadays.

              1. Josef K

                National Petroleum Radio

                NPR and Seattle Volvo Democrats go together like peas and carrots.

          2. Carla

            NPR has been really, really bad for decades. The proof is how it worms its way into our minds and we barely notice (some of us, anyway). However, during the pandemic, NPR has noticeably gotten even worse. I used to listen sporadically while running errands in the car, and for an hour or so while preparing dinner. Now, when I reflexively switch it on, much more often than not it’s off within a couple of minutes.

            1. Duck1

              I think that guy Bob Edwards was OK on the morning show in the nineties. He was removed by NPR at the height of his popularity and replaced by the toadying smarminess of Inskeep and Montaigne. He was big but NPR got small.

          3. R.k. Barkhi

            Not Particularly Relevant dramatically changed during the 1st Cheney administration from a somewhat moderate n relatively informative newscaster to a one sided pro Iraq War broadcaster. NeoCon Pentagon Radio with Ari Shapiro installed as repeater(no reporters there) and “mentor”.

            Here in Michigan its now a PTA-like hen shmooze where the Repeaters gossip about world events.

          4. Chas

            An interesting research project for an aspiring reporter would be to go into your state NPR affiliate and ask to see the financial books. See how much is flowing in from donations and how much is going out and what the salaries are. I’ve got a feeling NPR is a cash cow for station managers, board members and other bigwigs.

          5. .Tom

            Always? Dunno. But I came to the US in 95 and soon started calling NPR the propagandists of the Kozy Konsensus Reality.

    2. Mikel

      And too many articles these days trying to direct feelings under the guise of desrcibing them, but sometimes more straight-forward.

    3. Chris Hargens

      Yes, the way “we” feel. Along the lines of “Americans are….” I guess it’s kind of a “We’re all in this together” sort of thing. Small adjustments would be more accurate — e.g., “many Americans are,” “many of us are feeling,” etc.

      1. John Siman

        You seem to be missing the fundamental point that the PMC/Liberal Class *despise* working class deplorables and, Sneetch-like, do everything they can to flaunt signifiers of their falsely claimed moral and intellectual superiority.

        1. jr

          Which explains the achingly overly modulated voices of the NPR hosts, constantly exuding a smug, calm assurance no matter the topic…

        2. JBird4049

          There is a difference between arrogant or condescending, and cultivated ignorance; there is a difference between in error and being propagandistic; there is a difference between being a repeater or stenographer, and in being an investigator or reporter.

          Further, the those in the media who are all the former have become that because it is profitable, rather like Judas and his thirty pieces of silver. The only ones who I do not feel contempt for are those who have brainwashed themselves without realizing it. Media like NPR did not become like Pravda or Izvestia quickly, but over three, four, or even five decades. The rot came slowly enough for many not to see the movement.

          Honestly, being poor forced me to notice the increasing percentage of BS from public radio and other “public” media as what I have lived does not match what is being said. Or the truth of what I have experienced is too great to accept the lies of what I am told by the media in general.

        3. LifelongLib

          Yet most of the “PMC” live off paychecks and can be fired, just like the “working class”. It’s more about mental vs physical labor, and the old (pre-capitalist) privileging of the former. Their differences are primarily social rather than economic.

        4. Chris Hargens

          No, I’m not missing that “point”; I’m just not addressing it here. Yeah, I agree we’re really not all in this together. Truth of fact, some of us are really more in this than others. I think that managerial-speak is so unreflectively reflexive that there is no personal intentionality in such phrasings — they just pop right out formulaically.

    4. Kurtismayfield

      Yeah that was a fifteen minutes I won’t get back.

      You want to hear what the essential workers are thinking now? (Family blog) you, pay me. I have two friends in the essential worker category both shopping to double their salary, and we had two essential workers in the building announce this week that they are leaving for greener pastures.

      People are going to have to actually pay others to do the work for now on.

    5. Gc54

      You can read this garbage without subscribing to the NYT, but not Daniel Ellsberg’s insights on Taiwan and its potential to trigger nuclear war.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she’s in therapy following ‘attempted coup’ at Capitol”

    If AOC is having difficulty coping, perhaps she can have a quiet word with Tusli Gabbard for some one-on-one advice. Gabbard, by the way, is a decorated serving Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and who has actually done overseas tours of duty. Or maybe Tammy Duckworth who lost both legs when the Black Hawk helicopter she was flying was hit by an RPG. AOC saying that she is traumatized from Jan 6 is like me saying that I saw a car accident a coupla blocks away and am deeply traumatized by that by imagining that I was actually a coupla blocks closer to the actual car crash itself. Sorry, but seriously unimpressed.

    1. Jonathan King

      Way to analogize your military fetish to someone else’s mental state. How long have you been such a clear-eyed healer?

    2. jr

      It’s crumbs for her flocks. As having one’s feelings hurt in any way is now widely considered violence, it’s another mantle of victimhood she can assume and another not-at-all paradoxical “lived experience” that she can share tidbits of with the faithful in live chats about her therapy sessions etc.

  14. Wukchumni

    They found a Sequoia tree still smoking from the Castle Fire which was put out around 8-9 months ago, and it made big news even though the tree in question was a ho hum example. At least a dozen news ops ran the story.

    I mentioned this the other day, and was hoping it would merit more mention in the news-but i’ve seen nothing so far, as it isn’t often the 9th largest living thing in the world dies, and is really well documented with before & after photos & commentary, as in the link below.

    The acrid sting of smoke fills my nostrils as I stand at a safe distance below the remains of the gigantic King Arthur tree. Tiny fragments of bark and little brown needles flutter down. I look up to see light smoke billowing intermittently from a huge gray gash near the top of the lopped-off trunk. I quickly realize that King Arthur is still on fire.

    This comes as no surprise. I’ve seen it too many times. Just over a week ago SEKI (short for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks) issued a press release about a giant still on fire in the Board Camp Grove. This gained national attention and the story has been forwarded to me several times. How many sequoias have I seen still on fire before this announcement? So many I’ve lost count.

  15. Michael Ismoe

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she’s in therapy following ‘attempted coup’ at Capitol

    Perhaps she needs a less stressful job. I wonder if anyone else in her district would want such a horrible position? Now we can add “Congresscritter” to the “Shittiest Jobs in the World.” Just once I’d like to see someone (anyone) on the left act as brutally determined as Mitch McConnell, Stephen Miller or Mike Pompeo.

    1. Alfred

      Perhaps she should just take a page from Madison Cawthorn’s book and just not show up at all:

      “From Jan 2021 to May 2021, Cawthorn missed 23 of 156 roll call votes, which is 14.7%. This is much worse than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving,” GovTrack reports.

      “I will tell you every single vote that came up was some Democrat garbage, so I was actually happy to be able to not have to vote on those.”

      Yeah, that will get people off her back.

    2. Carla

      Seems to me, Bernie is the closest we get. Trouble is, Bernie (not being a psychopath) has some shame. McConnell, Miller and Pompeo are defined not just by their ruthlessness, but by their shamelessness.

      Hhhmm, just thinking. Maybe the two are really the same thing?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What a tremendous disappointment aoc has turned out to be.

      The idea that such a fragile pipsqueak, so thoroughly steeped in snowflakiness, could ever have taken on, let alone triumphed, against a hardened old hag like pelosi has got to be the most hilarious joke of this century.

      Quite the spectacular flameout IMNSHO.

      1. Alfred

        If you look at the district organizing of the social democrats, you get a different picture, not of her as a fragile snowflake, but as part of a group of people who do what they can at home which they can’t accomplish on a large scale, which is basically why Bernie is popular as a booster of the social dems and individual voters. Conservative news outlets try to bash AOC on this as much as possible by saying she’s not “popular” or “known” at home.

    4. Dirk77

      Perhaps she just needs to man up and do her job, which includes accepting that therapy is part of it. A medical doctor in DC said to me once that he estimated that half the adults in the Beltway were on some type of antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug.

      1. rowlf

        Strange that a congress person would need therapy for seeing the rabble storming the halls of Congress but no need for therapy for being involved with causing the deaths of people all around the world.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Her actions show her weaponizing mental health. Shows she is a smart cookie as the first one to weaponize something that a) cannot be criticised and b) gets more attention immediately, also gets more sympathy and more votes.

          A snowflake she is not.
          She is the next Pelosi in training. Cunning, manipulative, smooth as silk, teflon coated, refreshingly free of conscience

          1. Yves Smith

            I like this POV but my position is not 100% cynical.

            She has gotten a shit ton of hate mail and abuse on Twitter. She engages on Twitter, it’s an effective medium for her, but it comes at a cost.

            Whether or not she believe 1/6 pushed her over the edge, it’s a convenient cover for her getting help. And frankly, a lot of therapy is having a friend who will never rat out what you tell them and give you counsel. Someone in her position can not afford to be completely candid with anyone, even a lover, because they will eventually become an ex and might choose to tell all to Fox News.

      2. Aumua

        Seems to me she is accepting that therapy is necessary just fine, and it’s everyone else who can’t accept it.

        1. Dirk77

          Fair enough. So the article was fluff personal interest. I guess I’m just kicking myself for reading it, ignoring Lambert’s glaring warning. (Five ings in one sentence!)

        2. Geo

          Exactly. For better and for worse there has been a generational shift in speaking out about mental health. It’s a positive in that it de-stigmatizes issues we used to just bury and let fester. It’s a negative in that there’s now some weird neurosis glorification in our culture where ailments become defining identity factors others are supposed to accommodate and even celebrate.

          As with so much in our culture, the pendulum swing seems to be over correcting. Our social narratives are swing toward extremes and balance is rare.

          As for AOC, I’d be curious to know if this therapy is going deeper than just the surface fears and to the root. Being a relatively powerless entity in the halls of power where even her own party is trying to eradicate her (at least the version of her that got elected in the first place) would drive anyone to a manic mindset.

          “A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet “for sale”, who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence – briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing – cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society. He cannot help doubting himself and his own convictions, if not his sanity. He cannot help suffering, even though he can experience moments of joy and clarity that are absent in the life of his “normal” contemporaries. Not rarely will he suffer from neurosis that results from the situation of a sane man living in an insane society, rather than that of the more conventional neurosis of a sick man trying to adapt himself to a sick society.”
          – Erich Fromm

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Great quote, thanks.

            I can;t imagine what it must be like swimming in the company of such sharks & how anyone could cope with it, without incurring some sort of mental damage.

            The subject somehow triggered a memory of this short sketch featuring a young idealistic Irish politician just about to start his first day at the Dail, after his Mammie has provided him with his flask & packed lunch.


        3. FluffytheObeseCat

          “Seems to me she is accepting that therapy is necessary just fine, and it’s everyone else who can’t accept it.”

          Exactly. And the sneer-fest here above is mild compared to the venomous bilge that shows up in comments in right wing venues (i.e. the daily caller). I’ve seen the elite backstabbing Gabbard has had to endure, but it has been far less physically threatening and overtly sexual than the insanity directed at AOC. She herself is usually pretty solid and tough when she directly addresses the incessant rightie whitie verbal assault. It’s more the sob sister media coverage she receives that paints her as a martyr. (Which is always the case; they trivialize and thereby denigrate everyone and everything they ‘cover’).

          Another key thing AOC’s internet detractors love to ‘forget’ is that she is a Representative of a congressional district….. tasked with pursuing the interests of her constituents. Voting “present” in order to register disagreement with the leadership of her party is probably the most out of line she can get and still have half a chance of serving her constituency. A constituency that does not actually given a damn about her status as this year’s beauty queen of the social media “left”.

          I don’t particularly like AOC. Howevah. This prattle about fluffy msm pieces devoted to her psych care is an asinine misuse of electrons. If you want to critique AOC, write about her CSPAN appearances. Commenting at length about this type of personal trivia, and then expecting to be respected when complaining about her insufficient gravitas….. is mildly nuts.

          1. Jason

            That’s all fine and well, and should go without saying. The fact is AOC’s campaign to get elected and the entire persona she willingly erected around it was based on much larger issues than taking care of her local constituents.

            AOC said that she wouldn’t mind being a one-term congressperson if it meant getting larger things done. She intimated that if this was the attitude all congress critters took, things would improve dramatically.

            She said – and I quote – “We can’t even get a vote on Medicare for All.”

            Those are her words – not mine, not her constituents, not CNN’s or Fox’s or whomever else. There was an opportunity to force a floor vote via usual political mechanisms – put a hold on things and bring it to the floor. She didn’t do that, and she has never explained why so many of the things she ran on she simply abandoned.

            She would do well to simply get up and say, “Look, I said some things, but I wasn’t aware of how hard it is once in office to not go along to get along. I should have known better. I am doing what I can for my constituents, of course, and I will continue to write strongly-worded letters and tweets in regards to the other issues I campaigned so valiantly on, but don’t expect any more. I simply don’t have it in me.”

            Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue.

      3. pasha

        i worked on staff in two state legislatures, and can attest that, for most representatives, it is a grueling job, even without the death threats. imagine spending half your time in committee meetings, half your time raising campaign funds. AOC has wisely found a way around the latter, as small monthly act-blue contributions provide the bulk of her funding. this permits her to double down on research; she is usually the best-prepared rep in the room

      4. Brunches with Cats

        A medical doctor in DC said to me once that he estimated that half the adults in the Beltway were on some type of antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug.

        Only half?

    5. ambrit

      Why does this instantly bring to mind “The President’s Analyst?”
      Most of the plot elements of that film have already come true. The old “Telephone Company” is now Facebook and Google.
      The cynic in me ‘knows’ that that therapist’s office is fully bugged. The information gleaned from those conversations will end up being priceless “Kompromat.”
      AOC has a gleaming future ahead of her, and her handlers.

      1. rowlf

        I forgot how much of a hoot The President’s Analyst is to watch. The Soviet and US agents being friends, the mocking of gun owners, the liberal suburbanite wanting his right-wing neighbors gassed. It must have been evil fun making that film.

    6. Nce

      I think I read in the Grayzone that AOC wasn’t even in the Capitol when protesters broke in, but in another building that they didn’t enter. She isn’t asking the question Paul Jay has repeatedly asked: how come Mitch McConnel and Mama Bear didn’t demand that the Sargents at Arms staff security adequately on 1/6? Rashida Tlaib told Jay that security on 1/6 was noticibly weak, but she dodged Jay’s question of who was ultimately responsible for that.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The mess in Maricopa”

    The Republican-led Arizona Senate took custody of all the nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County and then gave those ballots to a private company? That’s it then. Game over. They broke the chain of evidence and the dodginess during this count will mean that only an avid Trump supporter will believe any results in their favour. In a way, this story is further proof for me of Trump Republican incompetence. It comes down to this.

    There was some funny business going on during last years elections so if the Republicans wanted to prove that the results of the 2020 elections were unreliable, they could have started with those. But they did not. Instead they pulled this stunt in Arizona because they had a friendly State Senate and instead of having a rigorous count, handed it over to Dodgy Incorporated which means that any result in their favour will never be believed. So as I said, Trump Republicans are basically incompetent.

    1. Wukchumni

      So as I said, Trump Republicans are basically incompetent.

      They’re completely incompetent-but never in doubt, and the imagery came right from the top where the Don could never-would never admit to being wrong on anything, setting the hook for the remnant.

    2. smashsc

      I’m a little confused by this comment as Maricopa County (Arizona) had already done two limited audits/recounts using private companies. How would this be different?

      It is the responsibility of each state’s legislature to ensure their election procedures are fair to the voters. So far, the audit has (allegedly) found a couple of areas that need to be examined further:
      – The summary pink sheets for each box of ballots is off on the count of ballots for many of the boxes
      – “Reproduced” ballots have a serial number on them, but that serial number was not written on the original unreadable ballots, so there is no way to verify/match them for accuracy.

      It is not like this audit is going to result in an overturning of the previous election, but it (hopefully) will allow the legislature to design procedures that will give more people confidence in the next election.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Voting should be, no, must be a public function from beginning to end or else it erodes pubic confidence. Can you imagine what would happen if Trump had tried to take the responsibility for voting away from the States to give it to a bunch of corporations? Would you trust an election held in your State if run by the Koch brothers or by the New York Times?

        So audits too must be a public function. And Arizona has to go to Florida to find this mob to do their audits because why exactly? Sometimes I do not think that some people will be happy until each State has that experimental Florida Voting Machine- (3:05 mins)

        In any case, my State in Oz has over five million people, most of whom have to vote each election and results are known that night. Arizona has a population of over seven million and about half decided to go out and vote. But to get a major mess like this is not an accident but a matter of malignant design.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Can you imagine what would happen if Trump had tried to take the responsibility for voting away from the States to give it to a bunch of corporations?


          Exactly what do you think Dominion and ES&S with all their secret, “proprietary” election software are if not private “corporations?” And, btw, it wasn’t Trump who engineered that. JHC, where have you been?

          As for the nyt and elections, they and their ilk were the ones who labelled hunter biden’s laptop, among other things, “Russian propaganda,” and simply erased it through non-coverage. They’re up to their eyeballs in election “control.”

          1. hunkerdown

            Rev is clearly (IMO) pointing out the self-dealing involved in either corporate party having a “right” to involve themselves in the process that is the source of their legitimacy. Each one enables the other according to their particular prejudices and narratives. Together, they preserve joint hegemony and (bare) majority appeal in combination. Neither one is keen to upset that special relationship.

      2. marym

        Maricopa county responses these issues:

        (Ballot batch dividers – as I read it at this point in the process these are used as a storage organization aid. “If Arizona Senate auditors are careful when moving the boxes, these forms will still be located in-between batches and can be used as an aid to identify where each batch ends and the next batch begins.” (Link)

        “(The duplicated ballots are kept in other sealed boxes after they are tabulated).” (Link)

        Part of the reason people have concerns is because politicians continue to make unsubstantiated claims of fraud and then use the resulting “concerns” to justify new voter suppression/nullification laws.

        One thing I’ve learned from following the post-election court cases and audits is that states have very detailed procedures and checks and balances for manual and automated processes. There are probably many points at which there’s a possibility for error or malfeasance, and where improvements may be needed. Finding and addressing those points of vulnerability isn’t facilitated by unqualified people with a political agenda pursuing conspiracy theories.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Part of the reason people have concerns is because politicians continue to make unsubstantiated claims of fraud and then use the resulting “concerns” to justify new voter suppression/nullification laws.

          You continually make this claim about “new voter suppression/nullification laws,” yet you have never specified exactly what these laws are. It’s time.

          Could you please elaborate specifically on this scourge of voter suppression that has you so exercised, and compels you to dismiss absolutely any notion of election irregularities, and allows you to accept any “explanation” of alleged irregularities no matter how contorted? And please don’t say voter ID, since the vast majority of americans agree that that’s the minimum that should be required.

          1. marym

            I provide links for almost every comment. The sources aren’t obscure, and in many cases indicate further sources. I do think some of the arguments against voter ID are overdone. On the other hand I’m an IL voter and we don’t require ID. Despite “vote early and often” jokes of yesteryear, I think we’re doing ok these days.



            1. rowlf

              I find it interesting that voter ID is common outside the US but controversial in the US. While it may be a factor of any-stick-to-beat-with for Democrats, there are also cases of the Republicans (like in Wisconsin) being clever bastards and then restricting access to get IDs in areas they would prefer to not to have vote.

              Voter identification laws (Yeah, Wikipedia)

              I also find it interesting that the US has a government organization that mucks with elections in other countries and other countries think electronic voting is a bad idea for some reason.

        2. smashsc

          Testing for negative conditions is as important as testing for positive. So some people may criticize examining for bamboo fibers or using UV for watermarks in the ballots, but these tests are designed to respond to specific allegations that can be either disproven or proven. You may call them conspiracy theories, but lets get them qualified or disqualified.

          When Jill Stein convinces a court after 4 years that it is important to be able to examine source code for voting systems, then the judicial system also sees this as critical. (Wisconsin, 2016 when the recount allegedly showed 1 out of 170 ballots were miscounted)

          The Windham, NH debacle where folds in the ballots are counted by the scanners as votes shows there are still flaws in the automation part of the counting. We have new information about flaws each election that needs to be remedied.

          1. marym

            I don’t follow right-wing conspiracy theories closely, but from what I gather the origin stories of bamboo and watermarks are hilarious. Where does it end?

            At any rate, the state laws being introduced now are about making voting more difficult, empowering legislators to override election officials, and disempowering courts from protect voting rights; not, so far as I know, detecting bamboo fibers or requiring more stringent hand count audits of machine counts.

            1. smashsc

              “the state laws being introduced now are about making voting more difficult,”

              Lets look at Georgia’s new law.
              – Before last year’s pandemic emergency, there were no ballot drop-off boxes. With the new law, there are. Is that more or less difficult than the previous non-emergency election?
              – They also mandated specific weekend early voting hours, that in a number of counties added more time than before. Is that more or less difficult?
              – Rather than subjectively trying to match signatures on envelopes, they now mandate a state id number be written on the mail-in ballot envelope. For all but those who can/haven’t gotten a free state id, is that more or less difficult?
              – If a voting precinct has a greater than one hour wait to vote, the state law requires the local election authority to add more voting locations for the next election. Does that make it more or less difficult?

              1. marym

                I won’t argue every provision of every law, or dispute that there may be an actual problem (other than people voting for Democrats) which can actually be mitigated by a more stringent approach. Fraud hasn’t been demonstrated to be one of those problems.

                This is a media summary of features of the GA law which are more and less restrictive for voters, empower the legislature, and allow voter-to-voter harassment.

                This is a report on more and less restrictive features of bills being considered in many states.

                As bills are passed, legal challenges documenting the complaints can be found here (click on state).

          2. Procopius

            Is there a source that describes how they are “testing” for bamboo fibers? My understanding is that by the time the wood chips have been emulsified there really isn’t any way to differentiate the bamboo fibers from the eucalyptus or mulberry fibers.

    3. marym

      I’m not sure what you mean by “started with.” There were 65 court cases in several states, including AZ, of which Trump/allies lost or voluntary withdrew from 64; and audits and recounts as specified by state law, and others specifically to address 2020 allegations.

      AZ recounts (Link, Link)
      AZ court cases (Link)

      1. The Rev Kev

        I remember those cases at the time and it was that same willful incompetence. The Republicans tuned up in court with only allegations and no proof and were surprised that the judges tossed their cases. Half the time it seemed that they made no preparation at all before turning up in court. It was bizarre – and incompetent.

  17. Dr. John Carpenter

    Indianapolis never gets it’s full due because it’s supposedly part of the North (though I always contend it’s the northern most city below the Mason-Dixon line), but that NBC article didn’t surprise me one bit. The city has a long history of redlining, among other nasty things. They just to a better job of keeping the racism on the downlow.

  18. diptherio

    News of the Wired:

    I rented a bicycle using a QR code. The legit QR had been replaced with one that sent info to a crook. The crook rented the bike for me. Then the crook emptied my bank account with endless automated small withdrawals. I rode the bike, ended the rental, the next day saw I had no money. Took months to resolve.

    Beware bike-renters in NYC, and elsewhere.

    1. Yves Smith

      Why you should ALWAYS use a credit card and never never never use (and better yet not even possess) a debit card. Most you can lose on a credit card is $50 and I have never once paid anything despite many cases of fraud on my cards.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “FDR paid artists to capture the Depression’s stories. Biden can do the same for the Covid-19 era.”

    I am fully onboard with the collection of all those accounts and images and whatever else they can collect. History matters. But let me say that I have no faith whatsoever in the curation by the people who would be appointed to go through all this material. As an example, one of the most famous images taken during the Great Depression was that of Migrant Mother. Here it is in case you cannot remember it-

    But would a modern committee even consider that image if they thought it was not inclusive enough or something? She was actually of Cherokee descent by the way. So what accounts would they prioritize and emphasize? And remember it would be the PMCs that would be doing all this. People who would make their choices so that they could not be accused of not being woke enough or risk being cancelled. The eventual result would not be a realistic representation of the people that lived through these times but would more resemble what was put together for that new Army add- (2:20 mins)

    1. Michael Ismoe

      They would airbrush a “Trump-Pence 2020” on their truck and just cancel her out. Deplorables are expendable, but not all of them. Who else is gonna fight the wars, guard the prisoners and deliver their smiley grift boxes from Bezostan?

    2. upstater

      I think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have already documented the COVID depression with their permanent archive of approved selfies, no?

      Why use public money to pay artists when the private sector has it nailed?

      Same goes for those communistic inspired murals from that era or the CCC stonework in public parks.

  20. Dr. John Carpenter

    I don’t know how many have seen this, but it’s a story that could fill a bingo card of issues covered here. Basically, Bull Moose is an east coast music, movie, comics, etc. chain and Friday their CEO fired everyone at their Salem store via email. The MSM that I’ve seen is saying this is due to the store ditching it’s masking policy and the employees concern about that, but if you read this Substack article, there’s a lot more to it than that.
    Sounds like the workers had been pushed to the limit during the shutdown and suffered some pretty poor working conditions. Right after bringing their concerns to management, they closed the whole store and fired everyone, even the people who had nothing to do with the complaints. This CEO, Chris Brown, is one of the big wigs behind Record Store Day, which is a pretty big deal in the music world.
    It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this. It’s especially interesting as so many businesses are complaining they can’t get workers as they refuse to offer more money, better conditions, etc., here they canned everyone who was working and I can only assume they’re going to rehire or shuffle people from the other stores now that they’ve made their statement on asking for more money and better conditions, so to speak.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      The more I’m reading on this (Reddit and Twitter, so take a gain of salt), the more this is sounding like the company is using the mask thing to not have to deal with employees complaining about working conditions, sexual harassment, etc. Maine is lifting all restrictions Monday I think, so that’s kind of a moot point. Closing down an entire store and firing everyone via email (before going on vacation, I might add) seems like an odd way to handle a disagreement over a mask ordinance that will soon expire anyway.
      I’m not from the area, but I’m familiar with Bull Moose. My real interest in this is that there’s been a lot of discussion about workers having a position of power right now, at least with employers who are short of staff and won’t offer more than the minimum. This seems to kind of flip the script on that, if my read is right. At the moment, Bull Moose isn’t saying anything and it doesn’t seem like the MSM is really interested.

    2. JBird4049

      “We’ve talked about unionizing, but never gone through with it because of the fear of everyone getting canned,” Kam Brooksmoore, who’s worked there for two years, told me. “Recently we were planning on going on strike for the new mask mandate if they didn’t repeal it. Also to talk about our unfair wages, the customers, and how management have brushed all our concerns aside for years.”

      Highlight is mine. Reading about the Great Depression, it looks as if people then started to unionize because they had nothing to lose.

      The substack article article is a list of abuses by company’s senior leadership. Understaffed, underpaid, overworked, facing sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and threats of violence during a pandemic not taken seriously, and the workers were complaining with with some threatening to form a union. It looks like the company decided to solve the problem by firing everyone, even those who were not joining the union.

  21. zagonostra

    Why Emily Wilder got fired and Chris Cuomo didn’t – The Week.

    I received notification from one of the podcast I subscribe to with a similar headline to this. It reads “Chris Cuomo’s Colossal Ethics Violation Condoned by CNN.” I didn’t click on either the link above or the podcast notification. I honestly couldn’t care less. Both CNN and Chris Cuomo mean nothing to me. At this late stage of Empire I have bigger concerns. I’m not going to waste precious time on meaningless nonsense.

    It’s amazing that in the week following Newsweek reporting that there is a secret U.S. Army with 60k personnel operating within the U.S., you would have thought, you would have seen screaming from headlines all over the place. But, nah. Hardly a peep. Let’s see what Cuomo is doing instead, on a million other distractions.

    1. Carolinian

      I agree. People watch CNN??

      Ditched cable years ago specifically out of pique at paying for CNN with its endless commercials and inane announcers. Cronkite back in the day complained about CBS holding him to a mere half an hour per night, but we were better off then. Infotainment is poison.

      1. Darthbobber

        Their “analysis” pieces are hilarious. They now go for Daily Mail length headlines that tell you everything you’re supposed to think about the screed you aren’t going to click on.

  22. John Siman

    “The website ,” we read in the PNAS article “Misinformation in and about Science,” “lists the mostly highly cited retracted articles.”

    But a mathematician writes me the following:

    The problem with a site like RetractionWatch is that it limits its scope to papers that journals/editors have decided to act on. The PNAS article — and RetractionWatch itself — help reinforce the unspoken assumption that there is a layer of genuine integrity at the top of Science which includes editors and publishers.

    But there is a more disturbing reality: science officials and editors and publishers include people who rose through the ranks by engaging in misconduct.

    The insiders generally don’t get their papers retracted. For example, plagiarism is “corrected” by adding a belated notice that the work was originally published elsewhere by a different set of authors. All fixed now!
    (Author Droegemeier was acting director of NSF, served as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and sits on the National Science Board.)

    Here’s an example where the publisher removed plagiarized, copyright-infringing material on behalf of the authors, then fixed up the missing references:
    Figure 1 for this manuscript has been removed due to being re-used from another source without permission from the copyright holder. Some text from Gupta et al [1] also appears in section 2.3 of this paper and should have been cited as such. IOP Publishing also wish to clarify that portions of the text in section 2.1 of this paper have been taken from reference 27 without clear attribution, and portions of text in section 2.2 have been taken from reference 37 (author’s own work) without clear attribution. Two conference proceedings which show the development of this work should also have been cited in this publication …
    Publisher’s Announcement: A signal processing framework for simultaneous detection of multiple environmental contaminants

    In the rare instance of a retraction, nobody seems to be bothered by it.
    The authors have retracted this article which was unintentionally submitted in full length as part of a conference proceedings. However, the authors had already published the article in another journal
    (Author France Cordova was NSF director at the time of the retraction.)

    Somehow these examples didn’t make it onto RetractionWatch.

    The PNAS article lays blame on the non-mainstream publishers:
    A similar racket operates within the scientific ecosystem, in the guise of predatory publishers

    The distinction between “predatory publishers” and “mainstream publishers” like Wiley, Elsevier, Springer, IEEE, etc, is illusory. Mainstream publishers advertise ethical guidelines but do not implement them. This fact is only discoverable if you report a violation, after which you learn that the publisher does not actually follow its fancy flow chart.

    There is no scholarly venue for publishing this surprising result. “A Comparison of Misconduct by Editors and Staff of Mainstream Scientific Publishers” will not be published by Elsevier. Nor will it be published by Wiley or Springer or IEEE.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this comment. A serious charge of plagiarism is, or used to be the kiss of death for future research grant funding to a scientist. Unsurprising the journals’ take care of both the important scientists’ reputations and the journals’ reputations.

  23. Geo

    This is a stunning merger of IdPol and warmongering that is too rich to even comment on without writing a long essay:

    “The Navy started construction on the ship named after Harvey Milk in December 2019. It is the first of six ships that will be in the John Lewis fleet class, named after the civil rights leader of the same name.

    Other ships will be named after suffragist Lucy Stone, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Supreme Court justice Earl Warren, and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.”

    This quote (and their title) is the icing on the cake though:

    “I started crying. It is gorgeous,” Nicole Murray Ramirez, a city human rights commissioner who advocated for the naming of the ship.

    1. Alfred

      They will take their validation no matter where it comes from. It must seem like a great victory in the fight for recognition that the military is making LGBTQ “normal.” Human rights enforcement.

    2. Tom Stone

      Geo, the assassination of Milk was a big deal and not just in the Bay Area and there were both some very bad jokes”So his friends could recognize him” and it was when Dianne Feinstein became a vocal and permanent advocate of banning firearms.
      It’s also when she got a .357 Magnum and a concealed weapons permit.
      The “Anderson Valley Advertiser” had excellent coverage of the “Headwaters” case and anyone deluded enough to think DiFi is an environmentalist would do well to peruse their archives.

    3. R.k. Barkhi

      A perfect,imo,snapshot of American society; a woman Human Rights Commissioner crying over the female naming of ….a military warship? Using the names of real human rights activists for warships is Orwellian to the max. Now if one was named the Hillary Clinton or Margaret Greene…..

      1. The Rev Kev

        I feel sorry for that girl soldier but did nobody in the Pentagon see this coming? Did they throw her to the wolves because they did not care? An add like that might fly fine in some regions but what about those regions from where most actual recruits come from? That has to be taken into account. You know what could make this worse? If it came out that the Patriot missile battery that she was serving in was stationed in illegally occupied eastern Syria.

  24. upstater

    Just when you think bitcoin mining can’t get any crazier, mobile computing trailers are taken to fracking sites to use natural gas previously flared to mine bitcoin. In a rational world, neither “industry” would be allowed to exist:

    Oil drillers and Bitcoin miners bond over natural gas

    (Reuters) – On U.S. oil patches stretching along the Rockies and Great Plains, trailers hitched to trucks back up toward well pads to capture natural gas and convert it on the spot into electricity.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m elated to announce the launch of FlareCoin, the first cryptocarboncurrency served rare in limited editions, a vapor-liquidity separator without peer. Flarecoin stacks add up.

    2. VietnamVet

      When the Permian and Bakken Basin fracking was going full bore a satellite night photo showed North America lit up in the middle of nowhere from flaring in Texas and North Dakota. All that non-recoverable fossil solar energy wasted. All that pollution added to the atmosphere to generate petrodollars for fracked oil. Now the natural gas makes non-fiat digital money. This and the coronavirus pandemic document how corrupt and incompetent the US government has become. The US death total passed 604,087 with no notice. India is in the news in third place with half that total.

      If civilization is to survive, life must live and reproduce, and the national government needs to control the money supply for the benefit of all. A balkanized depleted North America will be no land for man.

  25. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Inside the Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Shit Coins Vanity Fair”

    “Nouriel Roubini On Bitcoin, Blockchain Amid Crypto Turmoil Heisenberg Report.”

    And around and around we go, “What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.””

    And so it is that, the thieves, swindlers, and economic pimps and deceivers of this world have never ‘heard anything more divine’, as there is an unlimited supply of suckers that are continually reborn to be fleeced over and over again and no one ever tires of the game, or learns from the past; other than, the learning that allows for the creation of a more sophisticated game, swindle, and/or pathological frenzy. The first noted article is seemingly lacking in “analysis” proper, such that, for example,

    “In legends, “the gold which the devil gives his paramours turns into excrement after his departure…. We also know about the superstition which connects the finding of treasure with defaecation, and everyone is familiar with the figure of the ‘shitter of ducats’ [a German idiom for a wealthy spendthrift; we have our goose with its golden eggs, more fertile than fecal, but emerging from a neighboring bodily region]. Indeed, even according to ancient Babylonian doctrine gold is ‘the faeces of hell.’” Finally, Freud suggested that “it is possible that the contrast between the most precious substance known to men and the most worthless…has led to th[e] specific identification of gold with faeces.””

    Further, on Roubini and his assessment of crypto, “Flintstones Had Better Monetary System Than Bitcoin”,

  26. Maritimer

    The poor, the rich: In a sick India, all are on their own AP

    “The rich and well-connected, of course, still have money and contacts to smooth the search for ICU beds and oxygen tanks. But rich and poor alike have been left gasping for breath outside overflowing hospitals.”
    Please note Epidemiologists the above is what Flattening The Curve really means. That is, that there must be enough health resources for those “…rich and well-connected….” I’m sure Modi, for instance, has many cronies/supporters suffering from an Unflattened Curve. This is particularly true in a public health system where Doctors, Nurses, Administrators, Politicians, etc. and their relatives, cronies, supporters have influence in the Public System and can queue jump without interference. But when the system is strained, fewer of them get the privileged access to which they are accustomed.

    Epidemiologists, however, never acknowledge or write about this subject. Just more blatant omission of the obvious.

  27. chris

    Posting this article on the UNC/Hannah-Jones tenure fracas because of recent discussion on NC.

    It will surprise no one that the leader of the 1619 project gets a passionate shout out in the Guardian for not being offered tenure, but Dr. Cornell West’s recent problems didn’t merit a similar cry for academic standards…

  28. lobelia

    Re ICE Detention Center Shuttered Following Repeated Allegations of Medical Misconduct [Immigrant women held at the private prison alleged a pattern of medical procedures, including hysterectomies, without proper consent.]

    The first paragraph:

    The Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday the agency will be shutting down the controversial immigration prison in Georgia where dozens of detained immigrant women were subjected to nonconsensual gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies.

    I suspect women crossing the border into the Golden Land have no clue how the US treats even its own female citizens – particularly ironically and historically – in a Blue™ and Golden™ STATE. And it’s not just in jails and prisons; not at all to say that’s it’s okay in jails and prisons.

    From: 05/12/21 By Citlali Pizarro Survivors Of Forced Sterilizations In California Fight A Century Of Violence In Women’s Prisons (emphasis mine):

    In September 2014, after years of campaigning, the California Senate passed SB 1135 outlawing sterilizations for the purpose of birth control in prisons. The bill also mandated that state prisons annually submit public data on every sterilization procedure performed on prisoners.

    The data indicates that ten tubal ligations—surgeries that, as the 2014 audit stated, are typically performed for the sole purpose of preventing pregnancy—were performed in California women’s prisons between 2015 and 2019. [California should be infamous for passing societal protection laws it does not intend to enforce – lobelia]

    Five of the prisoners sterilized via tubal ligation during these years were Latinx, four were Black, and one was white American. Of the ten tubal ligations, seven were reported “medically necessary,” just like the sterilizations of the 1920s. One was reportedly performed for the “immediate preservation of life in an emergency situation.”

    According to the report, only two of the ten patients sterilized via tubal ligation during those years requested the procedure of their own volition. The data also indicates that between 2015 and 2017, at least two sterilizations were performed without the necessary approval and/or knowledge of the appropriate CDCR health services centers.

    “There are still instances of sterilization that look to be, on their face, in violation of law, both federal and state,” Chandler said. “I believe that the numbers of coerced sterilizations have shrunk since we did that bill, but I do not believe that they have ended.”

    And, even from The [UK] Guardian™: 06/30/20 By Shilpa Jindia Belly of the Beast: California’s dark history of forced sterilizations – Documentary tells story of state-sanctioned process in prisons as activists fight for a reparations bill (emphasis mine):

    California banned coerced sterilizations as means of birth control in prisons in 2014 [and only because the Golden STATE™ had finally been exposed for its stunning and historic misogyny, among other vast crimes against the vulnerable – lobelia] , driven in part by Dillon’s testimony. The law requires local jails and state prisons to track and report surgeries and also provides whistleblower protections. While the bill passed unanimously [what else could they do – lobelia], its carefully negotiated language allowed the state to escape further responsibility. “Their position was that they didn’t want to admit anything or apologize for any wrongdoing or have any real culpability,” said Chandler about the state.

    The bill also didn’t address the long and ugly history of forced sterilizations in the state outside of its prisons.

    At the turn of the 20th century, the eugenics movements captivated much of white America, fueled by a zealous faith that the burgeoning field of genetics could socially engineer away America’s “ills”, including poverty, crime and “feeblemindedness”. Thirty-two states had sterilization laws, but California’s program was unrivaled. It contributed to a third of total national sterilizations, and set an example for Nazi Germany’s sterilization laws.

    From 1909 to 1979, under the state eugenics laws, California forcibly sterilized about 20,000 people in state institutions who were deemed “unfit to produce”. The program disproportionately targeted the Latino community, women, people with disabilities and impairments – even those who had children out of wedlock. The mean age of victims was 17, and they included children as young as 12 [that’s meritocracy™ – lobelia].

    Among the arguments for the state’s policy were the same cost-benefit rationalization echoed in the rhetoric around sterilizations in state prisons nearly a century later.

    I’ve always suspected that California has so loudly PINK WASHED with the LGBT™ banner, to mask its historic and still current, brutal misogyny.

    gotta run

    1. ambrit

      I love the use of “Latinx” in the second citation. It precedes the descriptor ‘Black.’ In the spirit of the usage “Latinx,” the next descriptor should be “Blax,” as in Blaxploitation. The descriptor “white” is in lower case. Hmmm… An editorial statement?

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you love the use of “Latinx”, what happens when a more ‘inclusive’ word for Americans is made up too – like “Americanz”?

  29. DorothyT

    Re: Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli can travel to Mexico for vacation, judge rules NBC.

    Seems shameful to comment on this with important news of the world, but can’t resist.

    The University of Southern California has a reputation for easy undergraduate acceptance if the student’s parents can afford full bore tuition. That these parents were hoodwinked into this scheme to pay $500K to get their daughters into USC is pathetic. It also shows disrespect for their daughters whom they obviously believed weren’t college material. And if they weren’t, there’s the greater problem.

    1. ambrit

      Yes. If the kids weren’t “college material,” then why not give them (the children) the $500K as “seed money” with which to start an independent life?

      1. eg

        Because this behaviour is all about parental image — file along with Early French Immersion, Gifted programming, AP, IB, a host of clubs and sports and the rest of the dreck that provides parental fodder for the cocktail circuit.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Vietnam in talks to produce Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine”

    Logistically that makes sense if it becomes a manufacturing center for Indo-China. Checking online, I see that Vietnam has 97 million people, Myanmar 54 million, Thailand 70 million, Laos 7 million and Cambodia 16 million so potentially that is a lot of people that they could eventually serve if production ramps up enough.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications”

    Well when you get down to it, this is really a good news story if the world’s population is going down. If anything, it was vitally needed. For fun, they could have gone into the archives and dug out stories from the late 1940s and 1950s talking about the problems in dealing with a “boom” of babies after the end of WW2 as a comparison of then-and-now. They would talk about the need to build new schools, recruit & train new teachers, increase medical services,find solutions for the problem of where they could go to live (“suburbs” was the answer), the problem of growing the economy so that these young people had jobs when they came of age. Overall, they did a pretty good job – that is until neoliberalism took over in the 1970s.

  32. jr

    “The only prediction I’ll make out of all this mess is the same one I’ve been making: that things are going to keep getting weirder and weirder. Patterns are unpatterning, power structures are struggling to retain their foothold, humanity’s relationship with narrative is radically transforming, and we are not just plunging into the unknown but actively flooring the accelerator into it.”

    Johnstone says it well. It’s the end of an Aeon, maybe the last for us. Thus the renewed interest in the occult in France and around the world. Lights and blazing wheels in the sky. Apostates clamoring in the streets:

    “In particular, we would want to understand, in detail, the transformation that happens during ‘perception,’ when mental states of universal consciousness are represented ‘on the screen of our individual minds.’ Once this transformation becomes clear, we may try to invert it and thereby infer the structure, states and rules of universal consciousness itself. Understanding the transformations during perception may also shed a new light on our present physical theories: Some of the structure we have so far attributed to the ‘material world out there’ might turn out to be just a consequence of our perceptual interface.”

    Quicksilver Glories
    Wailing, descending
    Rainbow streaked lightning
    Surging, enflaming
    Ethereal passions
    Unbinding, unfolding
    Fabulous Vistas
    Searing, Inverting

    1. Yves Smith

      I need a lot more than the France datapoint. When I hung out with French expats in NYC (I spoke enough French then to pull that off), they were completely into astrology and made it seem culturally normal. I suspect they typically hide their use from English-speaker unless they think their interlocutor is receptive.

      And Wall Street has long run on sex and psychics. J.P. Morgan said, “Millionaires don’t use astrologers. Billionaires do.”

  33. lobelia

    Adding to my comment (still in moderation) above, ultimately regarding California’s ugly and current record of female sterilizations in comparison to the Intercept piece ICE Detention Center Shuttered Following Repeated Allegations of Medical Misconduct which focuses on Female Sterilizations:

    As a female, born with a vagina, my entire life I’ve considered myself a humanist versus a feminist, but I am more than disgusted how brutally females have always been treated – and still are – in California and the US, when they are not well connected™, and/or wealthy via marriage (which all of the amoral and mendacious, powerful California female government representatives are; i.e. all of the San Francisco and Silicon Valley reps, as was Kamala Harris as an (part time while running for the White House), Attorney General, and a Senator who never even fulfilled their first term because they really wanted to be President instead of serving their constituents.

    gotta run

    1. JBird4049

      California found eugenics and its good friend (forced) sterilization, which was done on the poor, the incarcerated, and the mentally ill, attractive. It was done on both sexes and all races. Even though, officially, the practiced was stopped in the late 60s, illegal sterilizations continued in the women’s prisons at least.

      AFAIK, the practice still occurs as ever decade or so, the practice is exposed, the perpetrators fired, and the sterilizations stop, only to reappear 10-15 years later. IIRC, I have seen at least three separate example in the past thirty to forty years usually in a small newspaper blurb or magazine article. I should say the practice is exposed and not reappeared, as it is almost by random chance, and only after many women are coerced, that story is printed by someone, or some civil rights attorney gets involved that California’s DOJ gets involved.

      Enlightened blue state my posterior. There is a lot to love about California, but there has always been some real vileness and corruption hidden or just ignored.

  34. kareninca

    I think the giant library book sale where I volunteer has just been killed by the new county guidelines. I’m in Silicon Valley.

    All employers are now required to ask their employees whether they have been vaccinated. The employee can refuse to answer; that is okay – but then the employer must treat the employee as un-vaccinated. The employer must ask the (non disclosing or unvaccinated employee) this question again every two weeks. The county also “urges” all employers to require unvaccinated employees to take a weekly PCR covid test. Volunteers count as employees.

    So far, I just find this offensive and annoying. I am happy to wear a mask for my sake and the sake of others. But being accosted every two weeks with a new inquiry about my vaccination status is not cool. Of course I will not take a weekly PCR covid test; the odds of a false positive when transmission rates are very low and I am unsymtomatic are way too high.

    But it gets much worse. We sell books indoors. So far we have been requiring patrons to wear masks, strictly limiting the number of people in the rooms, and doing contact tracing. But here is the question and answer posted on the county site:

    “I’m a business owner, and my indoor facility is visited by customers. The County’s Mandatory Directive on Use of Face Coverings and the State’s Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings require that all my customers wear face coverings at my indoor facility (except for customers who are exempt). What are my obligations under this requirement?”

    “If a customer tries to enter your indoor facility without a face covering, you should ask that person, “Is there a medical or disability-related reason why you cannot wear a face covering?” You should not ask the person to tell you their specific medical condition or disability. If the person says they cannot wear a face covering for a medical or disability-related reason, you should allow the person to enter your facility and should not require them to produce a doctor’s note.”

    I guess someone who works at Trader Joe’s may be stuck with this. Volunteers are not stuck with this. Everyone will immediately see that loads of people will wander in who could readily and safely wear a mask but who simply don’t want to, and this will mean they can. My organization was hoping to lure back its older volunteers, but I can’t see them coming back and being indoors around a bunch of unmasked people.

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