Links 7/16/2021

Yves here. I am still loaded for bear. My mother is in a hospital bed with one of her mattresses from a fold out bed and no rails. And don’t get me started on the discharge confusion.

Thank Lambert for tossing over some links, since I am also super behind, particularly since I have to go to NYC next week for a hip checkup.

Summer Mystery: Glacier Ice Worms Rise Again In The Pacific Northwest NPR. Are glacier ice worms going to become the new feral hogs?

Urban Fish Ponds: Low-tech Sewage Treatment for Towns and Cities Low Tech Magazine (Anthony L)

Lachlan Morton Rode An Unofficial, Solo Tour De France And Beat The Pack NPR (David L)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide and warming shaped past Indian monsoons: study MongaBay (J-LS)

Flooding in Germany and Belgium leaves more than 60 dead as streets become raging torrents ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Dozens dead, more than 1,000 may be missing after floods in Germany NBC (furzy) :-(

There’s going to be so much flooding in 2030 because of the moon Deseret News (David L)

Writer on the Storm Andrew Schenker, The Baffler (Anthony L)

The myth of ethical AI in war Asia Times (Kevin W)

Weed Farmers Are Building Tricked-Out Firefighting Rigs to Save Their Crops Vice (resilc)

‘They have shown that this is not some impossible thing’: Academic lab copies Google’s big biological breakthrough Endpoint


COVID-Sniffing Police K-9s In Bristol County Are First In Country CBS Boston (J-LS)

Plagues and empires aeon (Anthony L)


Viral infection and transmission in a large well-traced outbreak caused by the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant

SARS-CoV-2 testing and sequencing for international arrivals reveals significant cross border transmission of high risk variants into the United Kingdom The Lancet (Kevin W)

Israeli study of breakthrough infections following full BNT-Pfizer vaccination, 40% immunocompromised Subhead:

Severe forms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) linked to high mortality rates might arise in a minority of fully-vaccinated individuals with many co-occurring medical conditions, finds a recent study by Israeli researchers published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

Covid: Younger adults still at risk of serious organ damage – study BBC

Long Covid Has Over 200 Symptoms And Leaves 1 In 5 Unable To Work, Study Finds Forbes (resilc)


U.K. Warns Covid Curbs May Return If Cases Get Out of Control Bloomberg. Even before “Freedom Day” has arrived?


Factbox: Coronavirus outbreaks at the Tokyo Olympics Reuters (Kevin W)

Cancel the Tokyo Games—and Abolish the Olympics Forever New Republic (resilc)

Virus spreads in S. Korean regions with lighter restrictions Seattle Times (David L)


The Next Covid-19 Battle Will Be About Vaccinating Kids Wired (resilc)

Tech Companies ‘Enabled Misinformation,’ Surgeon General Says New York Times (furzy)

Norwegian cruise company sues Florida over ban on Covid vaccine passports Guardian


The digital nomad dream is over Wired (David L). As we anticipated….

Merkel presses Biden over lifting Covid-related Europe travel ban Financial Times


China snubs senior US official in worsening diplomatic stand-off Financial Times. Biden just engaged in major eye-poking. What did he expect?

For instance, this Bloomberg story is a fresh doubling down: Biden Says U.S. to Warn Business on Deteriorating Hong Kong

China’s tech ‘not state-of-the-art’, but it is what emerging markets can afford, and China is already there South China Morning Post (resilc)


British plans for a Troubles amnesty would breach international obligations Simon Coveney, Guardian. PlutoniumKun:

The perceived ‘letting off’ of soldiers for killings 50 years ago doesn’t seem a big deal outside of places like Derry, but trust me, this goes down very badly and will sour the political process even more. This is one of those issues which is community wide and not just for those who are politically engaged.

Europe is provoking the world with its controversial plan to fight climate change Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)


US military once trained Colombians implicated in Haiti assassination plot, Pentagon says Washington Post via Stars and Stripes

Opinion: Haiti needs swift and muscular international intervention Washington Post

Jamaica plans to seek reparations from Britain over slavery Reuters

How the US Exported a Bloods and Crips Gang War to Belize Vice (resilc)


Myanmar’s Electricity Sector Crippled Since Military Coup Irrawaddy

South Africa

There Is No Silver Lining to South Africa’s Zuma Insurrection Jacobin

Aerial images show extent of looting and fires in South Africa unrest Reuters (resilc)

South Africa expands its military deployment to fight a domestic crisis years in the making Globe and Mail

South Africa: When Strong Institutions and Massive Inequalities Collide Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From March, still germane.

New Cold War

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House Guardian (David L). Amazing inability to 1. Admit Hillary lost on her own; any foreign meddling impact was marginal and 2. The US has been openly and unabashedly trying to get Putin ousted starting with Obama.


Survey: A quarter of US Jews agree that Israel ‘is an apartheid state’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency (resilc)

MBS riding high in Saudi Game of Thrones Asia Times (Kevin W)

The Lesson of Afghanistan is the Lesson of Vietnam We Forgot CounterPunch. Resilc: “We are now moving on to get nuked over Taiwan. USA USA.”

Russia-China advance Asian roadmap for Afghanistan Asia Times (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Poland Just Bought America’s M1 Abrams Tank. That’s Ironic. Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Paying For It Heisenberg Report (resilc). That $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) infrastructure bill.


More ex-staffers describe Kamala Harris’s ‘unpredictable and demeaning’ behavior in offices Daily Mail Online (J-LS). Note Lambert had a tweet on this yesterday; story has legs.

Do You Need to Renew Your Passport? Good Luck. New York Times (resilc)

Our Famously Free Press

GM warns 50,000 Chevy Bolt owners to park outdoors after two car fires Autoblog (resilc)

Intel is reportedly in talks to buy the $30 billion foundry company AMD spun off a decade ago The Verge (Kevin W)

Authorities bust crypto-mining farm running on 4,000 Sony PlayStation 4s Boing Boing (resilc)

Class Warfare

Pepper the robot keeps getting fired! $1,790 humanoid bot has lost jobs at a funeral business, nursing home and bank because people ‘expect the intelligence of a human’ Daily Mail (furzy)

Interview With Professor Adolph Reed Matt Taibbi

As child tax credit payments reach families, moms see a road out of poverty The 19th. Lambert points out: “19th Amendment, new non-profit, enormous funding.”

U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Spiked 30 Percent in 2020 New York Times (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

I believe this fellow is a Bearded Dragon (Chameleon). He lives at the little Orange County Zoo in Irvine, California and likes visitors. He says to tell you, “Bring dandelions.”

A bonus (guurst):

And another sanctuary bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Lachlan Morton Rode An Unofficial, Solo Tour De France And Beat The Pack NPR

    Impressive, but he’s by no means the first. A writer called Tim Moore wrote a very funny book about his attempt to do the same thing.

    The great thing about GPS technology is that it allows this sort of personal ‘race’. The Tour Divide is an amazing event, a race from Canada to the Mexican border. The emphasis is on self sufficiency and no major sponsorship, just keen riders doing it for the challenge and fun. I was told by one cycling pro that at least one of the regular winners of that event was good enough to ride for a major Tour team, but he chose not to do it, he just didn’t want to compromise on his principles (i.e. become a cycling advertising sign and take all sorts of dubious chemicals).

    It can backfire of course, there are plenty of people who’ve been caught out claiming all sorts of achievements by people looking very closely at their GPS traces. I can’t recall the link right now, but there was a website entirely devoted to debunking claims by various endurance athletes. Most of the liars seem to have instagram accounts for some reason.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its all very isolated, I doubt you’d learn or observe much racing it. I’ve met some of the people doing it and they are, to put it mildly, very focused. I cycled the route (most of the way), but at a much slower pace.

        A lot of people seem obliged to write books about those journeys, only a few people can make them interesting. I was surprised by that guys name – there is a very funny Irish writer called Paul Howard (he uses the occasional pen name Ross O’Carroll Kelly), but it seems its not the same person.

        1. Carolinian

          It’s been awhile since I read that one but remember him as English, not Irish. Could be wrong.

          And yes I thought it was just a so so book. I was once an avid cyclist but street riding, not off road which requires fitness above my level even though I did once ride across your fair land.

    1. None from Nowheresville

      I much liked this story about a female Fond du Lac native tribe ultra-distance endurance bike rider and her two wins on the Tour Divide. Inspiring story on a multitude of levels beyond just the grueling bike adventure.

      In 2018, Alexandera Houchin biked 2,745 miles from Banff, Alberta, to the Mexican border, crisscrossing the Continental Divide. Carrying her own supplies, she’d traversed the Rocky Mountains on terrain so rough that at times she had to carry her bike. Through inclement weather and on minimal sleep, she’d made it in 23 days.

      When Houchin arrived at the finish line of the Tour Divide — the country’s most grueling, off-pavement, self-supported cycling race — she found no ribbon to break, no television cameras or cheering crowds. As the women’s division winner, all she saw was a desolate stretch of two-lane and a border station staffed by an agent who said he couldn’t leave his post to come take her picture.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        23 days is impressive – I think the overall record is something like 18 days. But nobody who does it expects to be greeted – it just ends in a remote border post. Thankfully, the organisers have resisted the temptation to make it more commercial.

  2. zagonostra

    >The Next Covid-19 Battle Will Be About Vaccinating Kids Wired (resilc)

    The article concludes with:

    Yet any legislation that makes Covid vaccines available to children—or mandates them—is also a matter for every individual state government to decide

    And what about letting the parents be the finally arbiter over their child health? Sure this will raise questions, as it often does here in Central PA when some Mennonites or Amish don’t treat their children with antibiotics and they eventually end up in the emergency room. It’s not perfectly clear cut, I understand.

    What I’m reacting to though is the lack of MSM attention to the pushback happening in the EU. All I could find today on the massive protest on vaccinating teens in Greece is brief paragraph in DemocracyNow stating that “In Greece, more than 5,000 anti-vaccine protesters rallied in Athens Wednesday against the country’s mass vaccination program.”

    Well, DemocracyNow has not been a source, at least for me, for my morning news intake for a long time. The protest were not “anti-vaccine” they were for the gov’t decision to allow a specific vaccine being administered to teens. And, if you look at the clips and read the twitter links, the crowds were certainly more than 5K and they took place all over Greece, not just Athens.

    My beef is not with “science” it’s with journalism and how information is selectively filtered and packaged before it gets to me. You want to believe that Paul Craig Roberts has become unhinged, or that those refusing to get vaccinated are quacks, fine, I have no problem with that. But damn it, start covering protest on the street and stop pretending that 1/2 the population is simply ignorant and can be forced, coerced, or incentivized to overcome “hesitancy.”

    1. cocomaan

      100%. The government is sure to ham hand this entire child vaccine rollout by being obtuse.

      I’m not even sure I believe the government numbers on vaccinated persons anymore. The CDC is reporting that some 67% of people have gotten at least one dose, last I checked. Yet there are almost no states above the 67% mark on the Mayo Clinic’s own reporting system, with many of the most populous states stuck at around 50%.

      Someone’s data is off. And I don’t trust the CDC. Not that I trust the Mayo Clinic much more. I trust no one.

  3. John

    Putin wanted Trump as president.
    Is this willful ignorance, just plain ignorance, malice, denial, or something so arcane there is no name for it?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Why it’s Luke Harding. You might recognize Luke Harding’s other previous Guardian fiascos such as when he published a book with the encryption key to unlock WikiLeaks’ huge archive of un-redacted US State Department cables against Assange’s wishes or when he said that Paul Manafort met Julian Assange several times at the Ecuadorian embassy, none of which were recorded in spite of the fact that this area was one of the most heavily surveilled places on the planet at the time. Not so much a has-been as a never-was.

      1. Judith

        Joe Lauria in ConsortiumNews on Harding’s motives for the story:

        Harding writes in a cryptic way about how he got hold of these materials. He says the story is based on “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.” As they were marked “secret,” and supposedly came from Putin’s innermost circle, Harding says, it stands to reason that few people in the Russian government would have had access to them outside of that circle.

        We are being asked to believe that someone closet to Putin leaked these documents either directly to Harding or to U.S. or British intelligence who then passed it on to Harding. (Harding calling it a leak would rule out that they were obtained through a Western intelligence hack.)

        It can’t be dismissed that U.S. intelligence may have an active mole inside the Kremlin. But one must ask would that mole — if he or she exists — risk their freedom by leaking documents that have absolutely no current strategic or even political significance, rather than, say, classified information about Russian troop movements and military intentions?

        The only interests this leak serves — if it was a leak — are those of Harding and U.S. intelligence, who were hung out to dry by the collapse of the Russiagate narrative.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          After 4 years of RussiaRussiaRussia, I’ve decided I don’t really believe anything written about any public official. I treat it as fiction since many seem to be taking advantage of the fact that it’s almost impossible to libel a public official. If it’s an interesting story, I may read it, but the *shocking* headlines lost their effect many years ago.

          Books and their media tours are especially loathsome. Write a book making wild claims, author appears on many TV spots spouting claims which no one critically questions, pundits discuss (but do not question), print and on-line media pick up the TV spots (again, no one questions except those crazy conspiracy nuts who should be ignored/deplatformed). Repeat until the average Joe has heard it so many times from so many different sources that there must be some truth to it. Although, it seems more and more people are catching on…

      2. JohnA

        Incidentally when Harding was Moscow correspondent for the Guardian many years ago, he was found guilty of plagiarism. Now, it would appear, he simply copy and pastes CIA/MI6/NATO stuff. They for sure won’t complain, he’s their go-to guy.

      3. Nikkikat

        I could barely struggle my way thru that nonsense. Luke Harding is a hack. The Kremlin meeting to discuss Trump was not even worthy of a bad spy movie. Can Hillary Clinton move on please.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Or she’s running. She’s quite arrogant. Stories about Harris dysfunction in the Hill and Politico. And with Biden missing his deadlines, HRC can bring back “get things done” with her followers.

          The 3rd Way’s pitch was that sacrificing of a few issues such as gun control and choice would lead to more election wins and getting things done. She renamed that post office, but two high profile failures despite her head start really hurt the myth about election wins. The public “centrists” were wiped out from 2010 to today. The “OMG Russia” myth is important to dispelling the notion that the 3rd Way can live up to its promise especially for Hillary. The rest of Team Blue is now blaming defend the police on twitter for squeaking by in the last election and being poised to lose in 2022. She and her cronies need to bring it back.

          1. chris

            That seems like a good possibility. If that’s what is happening, then we can look forward to 2 years of snake eating its tail nonsense in the media. But I still think most of what we’re seeing about Harris is the result of 2 things…(1) she really is awful and is reaping what she’s sown over the year as people consider what it would be like to have President Harris, and (2) Joe and his team haven’t forgotten what she did in the primaries and are actively sabotaging her out of spite.

            1. Gavin

              Whatever we do, let’s don’t examine the actual percentage by which police budgets were decreased in any city, though. Because when we see that they didn’t go down.. we wouldn’t have Defund Blablabla as an excuse for losing, of course!
              To Be Scrupulously Fair…. “We Lost Because Of Defund” is russiagate 2.0 – they’ve got nothing else. It’s analogous to CRT being Politically Correct 2.0. Or perhaps 3.0.

      4. Vladimir "Shooting Tsars" Lenin

        I hope a lot of American spies ate it over those unredacted files.

    2. Acacia

      > Is this willful ignorance, just plain ignorance, malice, denial, or …

      The word “idiocy” comes to mind.

  4. fresno dan

    Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House Guardian (David L). Amazing inability to 1. Admit Hillary lost on her own; any foreign meddling impact was marginal and 2. The US has been openly and unabashedly trying to get Putin ousted starting with Obama.

    Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

    The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.
    Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature.

    By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race. A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.

    Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.

    The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.

    What was said inside the second-floor Kremlin senate building room is unknown. (COMMENT the one unequivocally true statement, not hedged) But the president and his intelligence officials appear to have signed off on a multi-agency plan to interfere in US democracy, framed in terms of justified self-defence.
    When I was in the air force, I was a linguist, stationed for a time at NSA, and wrote assessments of intercepted communications. The three most used words were: possible, probable, and one I came up with all by myself, perchance. What this meant actually is that we didn’t KNOW ANYTHING fer sure.
    Also, the Kremlin appears* leakier than the Exxon Valdez…
    Or, if I was writing the article, Perchance, the Kremlin is leakier than the Exxon Valdez.

    1. chris

      Yep. And the kicker is, so what if the Kremlin was behind any of it? The alleged result was the release of the Podesta archive. The net effect of that was the US polity finding out the truth of what was going on. When your enemy is the one shining a light into the dark corners of your country you have bigger problems than state backed hacking.

        1. JohnA

          The Guardian reports as undisputed fact that Russia poisoned Navalny, the Skripals, downed the Malaysian plane, invaded Ukraine (Harding’s erstwhile sidekick Walker, once memorably reported that an old Ukrainian cowherd woman told all about the tanks going past her home but unfortunately, neither she, nor later Walker were able to get any photographic evidence).
          Not to mention uncritically accepting as total fact, everything bellingcat publishes.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        And still no one has shown any evidence the release of those emails had any actual impact on the election. I’ve yet to find any people outside of the on-line political discussion community who can address what’s in them and, for the on-line people, the emails only confirmed what they already felt. The MSM didn’t cover the continents, that I know of. Only the spin, that the Russians gave this to Assange and it’s like the worst thing ever because TRUMP.
        As the Hillary deadenders like to remind us, she actually got more votes than Trump. So how do they explain that?

        1. orlbucfan

          I really could care less if the Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Martians, etc., ad nauseum stuck their hands in the 2016 election. I voted for neither $hrillary nor tRump simply cos I could not stand them nor their beliefs! I voted third party and repeated it in 2020. I plan on continuing to do so if I’m faced with human insults for POTUS choices.

          1. Tom Bradford

            If Putin decided that the various contenders for the Presidency would take different approaches to Russo-US relations I find it unsurprising he would prefer to have the one most favourable to Russian interests win.

            I’ve heard no suggestion that they did anything illegal under US law to effect the outcome of the election – pay electors to vote for Trump, stuff ballot boxes, hack voting machines, bribe officials. If all they did, as chris put it above, was to merely shine a light into the dark corners of a candidate’s mind it strikes me that they were doing American voters a favour. Their only offence was that they did so selectively, but in that they were only doing what every US media outlet, campaign office or party member was doing, and the proper response is not to cry, ‘Foul, you’re taking advantage of a rotting system only we are allowed to game’. It’s to put up Candidates that don’t have skeletons in their closets for opponents to exploit, within a fair, robust electoral system for a mature, thoughtful electorate. Oh, right. I forgot we were talking about the USA.

            1. fresno dan

              Tom Bradford
              July 16, 2021 at 7:12 pm
              Absolutely exactly correct in every respect. The fact that most “news” is nothing but punditry, and that it so studiously avoids what really are some rather obvious applications of logic just shows that facts are the last things our MSM is interested in…

  5. Milton

    Regarding the Deseret story on moon wobble and flooding…
    Talk about loading ammunition for any Deniers arsenal. Not a single mention that the wobble is part of a normal 18 year cycle the moon experiences and how each successive cycle peak will trigger greater disruptive flooding due to rising sea levels brought on by GW/climate change.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Next they will be telling us it’s NOT made out of green cheese. Everything I learned in school is suddenly worthless.

      1. ambrit

        Say it ain’t so! I am sure that Wallace and Grommet proved that the Moon is made of cheese. W & G are about as believable as any other mainstream media “talking heads” we have today.
        There, I said it. Someone has to. A pair of ‘cheeky’ claymation boffins are as reliable purveyors of information as anyone we see or read in the MSM. Where’s Ray Harryhausen when we need him? Someone hire Ray to do a stop motion Walter Cronkite clone.

    2. Questa Nota

      Coming soon to a news rack or website near you, a mashup story of moon wobbles and sun spot cycles with interaction for fun and profit. Add in the long wave magnetic pole movements and reversals. Overlay the peak and valley years on historical records of just about anything and that guarantees headlines, grants, and even better tables for brunch.

    3. Utah

      You expect too much from a Mormon (LDS) news corp article. Climate change isn’t discussed in church, or from the top echelons for a reason. The journalist and editor would get fired if it slipped in there. Maybe that’s a little too harsh, but I don’t expect real reporting from them ever on anything if substance.

      1. Newcatty

        We had a Mormon (LDS) neighbor in southwest city who was involved in his solar energy installation company. He and his wife were friendly and we chatted about neighborhood business. He related that they missed “home”, Utah. They only moved away to a new state and city, because he could not start a solar company in Utah. When pressed as to why, he changed the subject. This was many moons ago.

      2. Aumua

        I think denial of climate change is deeply tied to religion, in that the idea that “man is created in God’s image” makes it impossible for humankind to screw up on such a colossal scale. It’s also tangentially related to the Manifest Destiny of Christian Europeans to spread across the North American continent and beyond. Basically with God on our side telling us to dominate the world, we can do no wrong.

        And yes, deniers are definitely playing up the moon story, in the context of “natural cycles explain everything”.

        1. Glossolalia

          Also, if you’re going to raptured in to paradise shortly then you may as well not worry about the state of the planet.

          1. Gaianne

            God is a most unusual landlord, in that he WANTS you to wreck the premises on the way out!


  6. Lou Anton

    6 Yankees test positive, baseball game yesterday cancelled:

    Among the six Yankees players currently with positive tests, the majority had received a COVID-19 vaccine and were asymptomatic.

    Been a while (since mid-April) that a game had been cancelled because of positive tests. But first time it’s been acknowledged that it’s vaccinated players being reinfected.

    PS: One of the players is Aaron Judge, who just got back from the All-Star game in Denver. So, hanging out with players (the best, actually) all this past week, chatting away in close quarters in locker rooms, press conferences, promo shots, etc.

        1. ambrit

          We absolutely have to manage a photo op of Fauchi throwing out the first viruses of the season at next years opening game.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Personally, I’m suspicious that the Yankees have made the decision to hold a fire sale and didn’t want to do it with false hope or the wake of a sweep by the Red Sox.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      New York was among the first major league teams to reach the 85% vaccination threshold to lessen coronavirus protocols such as dropping mask use in dugouts and bullpens.

      So, what we have here is a well-defined group of healthy individuals who were vaccinated at “herd immunity” levels–85%–early on. The group, including coaches and auxiliary personnel, has a wide age distribution. Vaccine status is known absolutely. Contacts of group members are relatively easily controlled and monitored, particularly when on the road.

      In direct contrast to stated cdc policy, team members and auxiliary personnel are regularly tested for covid, regardless of vaccine status or symptomatic evidence of infection.

      Seems to me this situation could provide a wealth of information on vaccine efficacy and proper protocol should anyone care to closely analyze it, especially considering the emerging “to boost or not to boost” tug-of-war. It has been suggested that , had the outbreak on the Diamond Princess in February, 2020 been studied more seriously, the early pandemic response could have been more informed and coherent than it was.

      Will this “opportunity” be similarly squandered for fear of what might be gleaned about the miracle vaccine?

      PS. The ubiquitous pfizer board member, DR. scott gottlieb, was questioned about this situation on cnbc this morning. He provided his usual fast-talking word salad including the nauseatingly familiar buzzwords and phrases like “unvaccinated,” “closed spaces,” and “no masking,” which amounted to a whole lotta nuthin’ as per usual.

      Whether you like baseball or not, if games start getting cancelled again because vaccinated players are testing positive, it’s going to be a big deal that’s going to require some sort of explanation.

      1. Lou Anton

        Absolutely; well summarized about the implications! That 85% vaccination threshold was the carrot dangled in front of players and staff, and there are a bunch of teams that still haven’t hit it. It’s the idea that Aaron Judge, a vaccinated player who did everything he was supposed to do, tested positive that worries me. He was at the All-Star Game, and he stood right next to Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves and Henry Aaron’s widow. Freeman had a horrible bout with COVID last year.

        I hope it stays isolated, but this is the kind of thing that is so worrisome. Asymptomatic, maskless, vaccinated carrier spreads to others in one location, and then everyone gets on separate planes and goes their separate ways.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “… Aaron Judge, a vaccinated player who did everything he was supposed to do….”

          Judge did everything we are ALL “supposed” to do, and the 85% is the same carrot that has been dangled in front of this entire nation, and pursued with increasingly authoritarian vigor.

          In the case of the Yankees, it just didn’t work.

          I get the distinct feeling that there’s no Plan B beyond pretending that it still will, and hoping that hawking jabs harder will make it so.

          Who knows what the reaction will be if and when a course correction becomes necessary, which seems more and more likely as weeks go by.

          1. Aumua

            In the case of the Yankees, it just didn’t work.

            It didn’t work in what sense? I think it simply confirms what we already knew: the vaccines don’t necessarily prevent infection, or even symptoms in all cases. But they do prevent serious illness and/or death pretty well.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              In the “sense” that my choice to get the vaccine affects somebody else’s “freedom” to eat in a restaurant, or something about kathleen sebelius’ grandchildren.

            2. drsteve0

              ‘…they do prevent serious illness and/or death…” Yeah, you know that and I know that, and we know that the ninety some odd percent efficacy is for prevention of life threatening illness, but Joe Six Pack don’t know that (no offense to this site’s Jo 6 Pack). The narrative spread by the MSM is it’s all clear.
              I’ve been pleading with family, friends and neighbors not to do the happy dance yet and ninety some odd percent of them react as if I’m fitted out with tin foil. And who can blame them given the crap Walensky, Saint Tony, et al. have been spreading.

          2. Anthony Stegman

            This year little works for the Yankees. Their season is in a shambles. May as well write it off, and oh by the way, fire Aaron Boone finally. Maybe Cashman too. What has he done lately?

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Kinda pisses me off that stompin’ the Yankees comes with a covid asterisk.

      2. Mikel

        All true, although they are relying on self-reporting about what the people did between shots and after the last shot.
        There is a waiting period for all shots for “full vaccination”….

    2. Maritimer

      All kidding aside, I wonder how a player feels about putting his health on the line by getting a vaccine. I will suggest that the risk analysis is a bit different than Joe Six. Health is your career. And how about the agents who get a cut of that player’s contract? What happens if a player gets vaxxed and then ill? How to prove a connection? Lot of money here.

      NFL, for instance, has a requirement for 85% of the team to be vaccinated to relax certain rules.

      Since there is so much Sports coverage, the fact that the vaccinated/unvaccinated issue in Sports is not covered is glaring.

      1. Maritimer

        The Lemon Equation.

        Back in the 80s, 19 not 18, I used to read Econ Journals just to see what these Bizzies were getting up to. One article was singing the praises of the Lemon Equation. SImply stated: if it costs more to fix the problem now than the blowup in the future then do nothing. (Blowup may never happen or be detected or be prosecuted, sued, etc.)

        Shocking to think that that is two Generation ago and the folks writing that stuff have reproduced even more craven, unethical offspring to populate the US. Sure explains a lot.

    1. Mikel

      “Volunteer firefighters arrived within 10 minutes and extinguished the blaze with a lot of water, but stayed for another three hours, using an infrared camera to make sure the battery temperature didn’t increase and the fire didn’t restart, he said. Nothing other than some nearby plants were damaged, he said.”

      Plenty will be said about the batteries and fires. (I’m just imagining the craziness as more people who like to live in frequently burning forest areas buy EVs).


      Nice little dystopia on the way….gonna need more “volunteers.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen


        Firefighters in Tainan City used an estimated 20 tons of water to fight a fire after a Tesla electric car caught fire following a crash in Tainan City last week, according to the Tainan City Fire Bureau.

        Captain Chiu Yuan-ming (邱淵明) said that normally around three tons of water is required to extinguish an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle fire. However, much more water is required to extinguish an electric vehicle fire.

      2. LarryB

        There’s nothing unusual about volunteer fire departments in small communities. Thetford, VT has a population of around 2600, so it certainly qualifies as small. They usually do a good job, at least as good as the “professionals”.

        1. Mikel

          I’m thinking about all of this money they are talking about for infrastructure.
          Paying them like professionals and fire departments, in general, would be key to infrastructure.
          We will see…

      3. Maritimer

        Volunteer fire companies may not be so simple. Years ago, I heard a guy interviewed on radio on one subject who in passing said, ” I could tell you about how insurance companies benefit from volunteer fire departments but that is another story.” Never heard the other story but to my skeptical ear, when you say “insurance company”….well.

        “In addition to donations, fundraisers, grants and contributions from municipalities, most fire companies also receive an annual check from the state’s “fire relief fund.”

        Fire companies that set up separate fire relief organizations stand to get tens or hundreds of thousands annually from the fund, derived from a 2 percent tax on fire insurance policies carried by out-of-state fire companies.

        The amount received by each organization depends on a formula based on the population and the market value of real estate in each municipality, according to the state auditor general’s office, which audits fire relief organizations.

        In 2014, nearly $70 million was distributed to nearly 1,950 volunteer firefighter relief agencies for training, equipment, insurance and death benefits, the auditor general’s office said.”

        Where’s there’s smoke, there’s Financial Fire Engineering.

    2. fresno dan

      12 yard long, 2 lanes wide, 65 tons of American pride* : Canyonerooow WHUPSSSH! Canyoneroooooooow”
      You know, one of the commenters to the clip noted that the Canyoneroow doesn’t seem as big as a Cadillac Escalade. SUV inflation
      *BTW, similar to the dimensions of an Abrams tank…coincidence?

  7. timbers

    Maybe Biden should issue an Executive Order requiring Mark Zuckerberg to rename his App “WhiteHouseBook” or “BidenBook” with the option of adjusting the name with each new President.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      …as long as it’s a president TPTB like anyway. This whole story is another one for the “What if Trump had said that?” file.

    2. Carolinian

      “Trumpbook” in 2024? (kidding!)

      Still if the Dems want to open the door to censorship they should beware of what he ask for. It could be the Repubs will like it even more than they do.

      1. Aumua

        Ya the Repubs, or if they don’t cooperate… then the New American Patriot party or whatever next iteration of ratcheting up of hard right power is just around the corner. What is really concerning about this is that the groundwork is being laid for them to step right in, and if you think media control, censorship and official propaganda are bad now well, wait until the (yes I know the term is overused) fascists get into power. You ain’t seen nothing yet. The reactionary right does not care one fig about government overreach, censorship or even totalitarianism when it serves their purposes. You won’t hear any of this side of the story mentioned by our darling journalists here either, probably because that would biting the hand that feeds them.

    3. flora

      Is this the same Facebook that collaborated with intel agencies to run an “emotional contagion test” on its unaware users by altering their newsfeeds, then watching the users following posts to see if the emotional tone or content had shifted? That facebook?

      And who can forget the 2012 push to get people thinking someone without a facebook account was “suspicious” by virtue of *not* having a facebook account. Why would someone choosing not to use a service be suspicious? (That’s a heck of sales pitch.)
      This story was on all major print and broadcast media for about a week. Then it died because plenty of people didn’t then and don’t now have accounts, and called the claim preposterous.

      That facebook? / ;)

  8. Mikel

    “The myth of ethical AI in war” Asia Times

    I can’t get pass the physical firewall. I didn’t want to read about the AI fantasy, but wanted to find out what was perceived as ethical about war.

  9. Wukchumni

    Writer on the Storm Andrew Schenker, The Baffler

    George Stewart is one of my favorite writers, this passage is from Earth Abides from 1949:

    As for man, there is little reason to think that he can in the long run escape the fate of other creatures, and if there is a biological law of flux and reflux, his situation is now a highly perilous one. During ten thousand years his numbers have been on the upgrade in spite of wars, pestilences, and famines. This increase in population has become more and more rapid. Biologically, man has for too long a time been rolling an uninterrupted run of sevens.

    His 1948 tome on a Cali conflagration: Fire is timeless as he describes what makes it tick…

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Poland Just Bought America’s M1 Abrams Tank. That’s Ironic.”

    That’s not that ironic that. The Polish Land Forces has about 250 ‘Leopard 2’ main battle tanks in their inventory which came from German Army stocks. Poles of a certain age might remember when there were earlier models of German tanks in their country.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It looks like a deliberate poke in the eye to its EU ‘partners’. Apart from the Leopard, there are plenty of European alternative tanks (most more modern) on the market, most arguably more suitable for central European climate and combat conditions than the M1. It seems a very expensive way to make a political point.

        1. vao

          Switzerland is doing the same for some reason.

          The reason is obvious.

          A few weeks ago, Switzerland decided not to sign the “framework treaty” with the EU, which was to regulate all new agreements, as well as the renewal or modification of existing agreements, between the EU and Switzerland. It took years for Switzerland to realize it had poorly negotiated the treaty, which contained clauses seriously detrimental to its sovereignty; alas, the EU would not budge on the contentious points.

          The EU had long stated that a refusal of the framework treaty would have serious consequences: no new agreements (e.g. on the possibility for Swiss banks and insurance companies to ply their trade freely in the EU, no unified energy market, no seamless recognition of products in some sectors, e.g. pharmaceuticals, etc), and no automatic renewal of existing agreements. Basically, the EU is no longer willing to negotiate individual sectorial agreements outside a framework treaty.

          The EU has already taken the first retaliatory measures: thus, Switzerland can no longer participate as a full-fledged member in the EU Horizon research programme.

          Realizing that economic relations with the EU will exhibit increasing, significant friction, Switzerland is looking for alternatives. One would be greater trade relations with the USA.

          Switzerland has been attempting to reach a free trade agreement with the USA for years — so far unsuccessfully.

          Selecting the F-35 against the more mature, cheaper to operate (F-35 figure are just vendor estimates that have already proven to be wildly optimistic in countries like Belgium or Australia that were early adopters), bring more technical involvement of Swiss firms, and do not tether the operations of the airforce to the USA (telemetry, maintenance), and also choosing, for its anti-aircraft defense, the Patriot system (which is generally considered to lag well behind the state-of-the-art), can be reasonably interpreted as a manoeuver to ease the way towards concluding the free-trade negotiations with the USA.

          1. JohnA

            Why do the Swiss need an air force? Surely a decent air defence system would suffice. The country is supposedly neutral, and remained so in WW2, better to leave all the havoc to other benighted countries all around. Plus, where would it practise fly? At the speeds they go, it would not take long to reach the edge of Swiss airspace and have to turn round. At most the Swiss may need combat jets to escort unfriendly or hijacked planes out of Swiss air space but the whole point in such cases is being seen by the hostile plane, so stealth technology a la F35 would defeat the object of the exercise.

            1. vao

              Why do the Swiss need an air force?

              This question was raised because of the enormous cost of acquiring and maintaining the new fighter jets. There seems to be an enormous conservatism and inertia both in Swiss politics and in the military which makes imagining a different air defense approach impossible. After all, Switzerland only abolished cavalry (the real thing with horse-mounted troops) in … 1972.

              Plus, where would it practise fly?

              You raise another relevant question, and, as a consequence of the very practical issues you point out, the Swiss air force often trains in Sweden (as far as I know).

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Most of the European countries were ‘partners’ in the project from early on in its inception, meaning they had been suckered into putting in orders before they realised they were buying a turkey.

            Also, many have their own political reasons for not buying from other European countries and Nato membership generally makes buying anything else too awkward logistically and politically.

      1. hunkerdown

        Tomorrow on Refinery29: “How *I* Bought a Tank As an International Intersectional Basket Case”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not so much Cold War fever dreams as Cold War wet dreams. Unless you were on the potential front line that is. I met a British soldier that told me that the most important part of his ‘kit’ was a prepaid Calais-to-Dover boat ticket.

          1. jhg

            I think most analysts at the time believed that NATO could hold off the Warsaw Pact for about a week until the ammunition and fuel ran out. Then the military decisions would be about battlefield or tactical nuclear weapons. It doesn’t take much imagination would be happening next. Maybe the prepaid thicket should be Calais-to-Auckland

          2. LifelongLib

            I recently saw an account saying that after arriving back in England from Dunkirk many soldiers threw away their equipment and had their families bring them civilian clothes so they could go home. Historically it seems like the British have more enthusiasm for fighting against the French than for them…

        2. PlutoniumKun

          It was mostly designed to save Chrysler from bankrupcy. The army wanted a tank designed by GM, but politics won out.

      2. David

        I think it’s more than just a political point. Like a lot of smallish countries, the Poles have decided that in the event of a crisis with one of their neighbours, they want to have the diplomatic backing of the US, and make the US feel that in some sense it must support them, even to the point of threatening the use of force. Small countries often manipulate large ones like this. By buying these tanks, the force the US to make a commitment to their security, through the involvement of US companies, US contractors on the ground, and probably a few US troops on exchange missions. That way, if anything goes wrong, the US is going to feel under some kind of obligation to support them. It happened before with the Polish offer to host US interceptor missiles. They couldn’t have cared less if the Iranians had launched missiles against Washington, but they saw the presence of a US base in the country as a disincentive to potential enemies, and a de facto commitment to their security. Maybe they are wrong, but I imagine the Poles are worried that in the event of a showdown with, say, Ukraine, the US might go with Kiev, rather than them, and this is part of the attempt to stop that happening.

    2. Louis Fyne

      and purely symbolic. in a hypothetical (and extremely unlikely) war with Russia, all the infrastructure needed to support those tanks (fuel, ammo depots, etc) will be taken out in the first hours/days by Russian missiles.

  11. chris

    Thanks for keeping up on the anti-racist beat. I do enjoy reading what clear thinkers like Reed have to say on the matter. It is frustrating to see so many with a voice engage in public displays that highlight racism at the expense of class conflict so that we do nothing about either. But people like Reed push through that. The New Yoker article on “Nice Racism” yesterday was also bracing. It almost seemed like the people who have been pushing these grifting racist consultants have finally had enough of the monsters they’ve spawned. Almost.

    Anyway, I had a great conversation with my kids about the ideas in these articles over the past few days. The best thing they said in reply was that they really do try to be kind to everyone, which is something I’ve seen them do in public and in private. They also said the claims of indoctrination are ridiculous. They generally don’t pay attention to anything their teachers say. Why would they listen to them harp on about some kind of racial passion project anymore than they listen to them talk about participles or algebra? :)

    But since we do live in one of the nicer suburban and rural areas in DC/MD/VA they also said that they know enough to keep quiet in class when a discussion turns to something they disagree with. They know they can ask questions and talk about things at home without worrying about reprisals. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point of a DNC monitored version of the Nazi youth in this country but it was good to hear that they understood what to do if things trended that way.

    1. Carolinian

      Propinquity (aka “integration”) is the cure for racism. Early civil rights activists got this. Here’s betting the White Fragility lady sends her kids to a private school with few black students. Here in my town the public high school is heavily AA in a town that is 50/50 split. The private school not so much. Kids don’t have to be taught about black people when they actually know them. We have an elementary school in my neighborhood and I can’t tell you how moved I was the first time I saw a little white boy and his black friend walking home from school.

      Now this sight is very common although the poor and black (and poor and white) are still housing separated for the most part. Perhaps CRT falls under the category of “those who can’t do, teach.”

    2. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Most if not all of the around 30 political parties in Weimar Germany had associated youth groups, including the Centrists as it was not just a Nazi thing, which came later & for obvious reasons eventually became the only option.

      As to the geographically fragmented Right, Ernst Rohm who looked like Oliver Hardy’s evil twin, who just happened to be gay, a very tough guy war hero & excellent administrator, organised the SA in Bavaria against a Communist revolution & then went on to bring together all the previously like minded groups in Germany resulting in a force of somewhere around 2 million launching Hitler until he dispensed with them.

      Can be done but hopefully neither types of organisation will become a big thing again.

    3. Geof

      They also said the claims of indoctrination are ridiculous. They generally don’t pay attention to anything their teachers say. Why would they listen to them harp on about some kind of racial passion project anymore than they listen to them talk about participles or algebra?

      Are they boys? My teenage son said the same thing. Then I asked him, “what about the girls?”

      His answer changed. While the boys mostly ignore identity politics (and indeed respond to the words “black” and “white” in any context with a mocking “racist!”), most of the girls do buy in, at least partially.

      Systematically creating an ideological divide that cuts across every social association on the basis of sex is probably not a good idea.

          1. Basil Pesto

            it is in itself ad hom to dismiss the reporting by pointing out the ad hom attack it opens with and then the graun’s philanthropic funding sources (and I agree, the editorial tone of the article is stupid). The Elghazzar paper looks discernably sloppy and including it in the meta does not redound well on its authors. Not least of which because including something so sloppy unnecessarily exposes them to exactly this kind of criticism, which ultimately is a sideshow that does not settle the Ivermectin question one way or the other. That’s bad due diligence and public relations strategy, which might sound cynical but that’s the world we live in.

            I remain open minded on the Ivermectin question, but when bad shit is reported I’d like to see more robust rebuttals than “yeah, but have you seen who funds the guardian trust lately?!”

            The counterargument, from the FLCCC folk (after a cursory look on the twitter when the story broke a couple of days ago, so I may well have missed something), is that taking into account crappiness of the Elghazzar study, discarding it, and the conclusions being generally the same is a testament to the robustness of the metastudy. The detractors claim that removing Elghazzar changes the conclusions of the meta-study to negligible benefit of ivm. I don’t know enough about meta-analyses to evaluate these arguments. Knowledge along those lines is more useful to me than the guardian philanthropy section.

        1. ambrit

          Hah! How about a lot of fraudulent “advice” being given out about such things as the aerosol issue, mask wearing, social distancing, the efficacy of mRNA vaccines, and the issue of how economic issues trump the public health.
          Pull the other one.

    1. J.

      The article does say:

      the introduction section of the paper appeared to have been almost entirely plagiarised…The data also looked suspicious to Lawrence, with the raw data apparently contradicting the study protocol on several occasions.

  12. Tom Stone

    Psaki’s low key normalising of overt censorship and the doubling of the 1033 program’s budget are clear indications of where the USA is going as a Society.
    Add the response to the Delta Variant “We don’t need no stinkin’ masks”!
    Stupidity does not exclude malice.
    And Hubris amplifies both.

    Add the climate crisis and it promises to be a heck of a show over the next few years.
    What a time to be alive!

      1. Spoofs desu

        Laws of human stupidity reminds me of a quote from a statistician many years ago when I first started studying statistics and trying the to understand the meaning of a distribution and its implication. The quote example given:

        The average intelligence of a human is about the same as a raccoon. But humans have more variance.

  13. Mikel

    “The Next Covid-19 Battle Will Be About Vaccinating Kids” Wired

    Anybody want to lay a bet on how long the extra money for people with kids remains “no strings attached?”

    1. Mantid

      I loved this in the first sentence …. “The efficacy of a drug being promoted by rightwing figures worldwide”. Inflammatory and not fact based. Phrasing like this throws the entire article in the bin.

      1. Carla

        @Mantid — You’re actually referring to the Ivermectin article linked well above by joe6pac, but I agree 100%. The Guardian article about Ivermectin was authored by The Guardian’s Melbourne bureau, Melissa Davey. Wonder how much Big Pharma paid her. Or maybe it just has her on a retainer..

        1. Pedro

          Was The Guardian also responsible for the article withdrawal? Or are you shooting the messenger?

  14. Wukchumni

    We have just a couple of commercial Ag operations here, a citrus orchard and Flora Bella farm which mostly sells in LA farmers markets. Nobody really overuses water compared to the Central Valley where mega-orchards predominate. To date, 10 to 15 hard rock wells have gone toes up here in the opening innings of the Big Dry.

    Flora Bella Farms has been a fixture at the Santa Monica Farmers market since it opened in 1991. James and Dawn Birch have been a favorite stop for local chefs ever since they made their first sale to Nancy Silverton. Because of the lack of water in this year’s drought and the loss of most of their crops, next Wednesday, July 21 will be their last day at the market with no return day in sight.

    We talked to Dawn at the market Wednesday, who told us that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The drought will affect more and more market vendors which will translate to our own plates and those of our favorite restaurants:

    Our water source is snowmelt off the Sierra Nevada mountains and this year is the lowest snowpack since they’ve been keeping records. And with this unrelenting heat, it’s all melted. We’re in Three Rivers, California right outside the entrance to Sequoia National Park. The mountain goes up about 7,000 to 8,000 feet and we count on that water coming all the way down and we pull it out of the Kaweah River via our 150-year water rights. The river is now dry. Three Rivers has a north fork, a south fork and the main fork and we pull out of the north fork.

  15. Wukchumni

    The NZ housing bubble is without peer, the sheer nuttiness of it all with no outside help needed to propel it into space, as foreigners aren’t allowed to play along, a ‘home grown’ effort.
    House with no toilet sells for $2m

    A run-down three-bedroom villa on a 480sqm section in the popular Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn was snapped up for $2.075m by a phone bidder at Barfoot and Thompson’s auction on Thursday.

    The property, which had been owned by the same family for 60 years, had been billed by the listing agents Ryan Harding and Matt O’Rourke as the “most affordable” way to buy a “character” villa in the inner-city suburb.

    Listing photos showed the decaying home stripped back to its bare bones, with rust on the corrugated roofing and what appeared to be a torn-out space where the bathroom once was.

    “Lacking a bathroom and in need of urgent renovation, make no mistake 39 Ariki Street is the most affordable character entry to home ownership available in Grey Lynn,” the listing stated.–g_PDQON5BV3y5AD5Ua6Gz68Do3A0fLTZdE3R1U_K53Pu-K-8gJYDItRKZe5puhn1sS-an3OqoacoFeAlqBkT3hpvLHcdvSb6XPsyW3FH6nnNV5YB_dxBxSmUEZi4fDdhoN3xn9x54Y

    1. fumo

      Whatever structure is in place on these tear-down properties is probably a liability rather than an asset. Demolition and removal is expensive.

  16. Randy G

    Nice photo of a fat bearded dragon! You can spot them in the Australian outback sitting on fence posts or occasionally basking in the morning on asphalt roads. They breed prolifically in captivity here in the U.S. and now one of the most common reptile pets. Very mellow and easy to maintain.
    Not a chameleon. It’s an Agamid, Pogona vitticeps.

    1. Nikkikat

      The kid next door to us has a bearded dragon.When he acquired him the dragon was quite small, now he rides around on his shoulder, wearing a tiny sarape and a sombrero that they purchased online. They really are great pets!

    2. Tracie Hall

      Ohhh. It was a Google image search that miss-lead me. I’ll re-identify the chameleon part in my Flickr post. Thank you!

  17. Swamp Yankee

    Interesting to see Bristol County, Mass., bringing in COVID-sniffing dogs. The Bristol County Sheriff*, Thomas Hodgson, has long been the most conservative in Massachusetts, of a very Trumpian flavor — he offered Bristol County inmates to help build the border wall in 2017. Conditions in the Bristol County jails are pretty bad, is my understanding, even for the US carceral state. Would not have been my first guess as to Massachusetts public officials and innovative and sensible public policy.

    Fun but unrelated fact: Bristol County, Mass., and neighboring Bristol County, R.I., are the only two counties in America where the census-counted plurality ethnicity is Portuguese, in good part due to the cities of New Bedford, one of the largest fishing ports in the US, and Fall River, a former textile mill town. The whole Lusophone world, from Cape Verde to Brasil to the Azores, is represented. The small and interior towns remain full of “Swamp Yankees” — a quasi-pejorative, quasi-humorous name for rustic inhabitants of rural, southern New England (and thus my moniker). Seems to be dying out among younger people as a usage, though not the culture or social stratum itself.

    *Sheriffs are elected, county-level officials in MA charged with running trial courts and county jails; because of the strength of Town/City governments in MA, sheriffs are effectively the only county-level officials who do anything; many county governments, e.g., Worcester County, have been abolished and exist only as geographic expressions, plus a penal system/sheriff’s office).

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Swamp Yankee: Portuguese immigrants to the U S of A. The food! The work ethic!

      Let’s hope that the woke among us fail to notice them so that we can avoid the inevitable, the argument about Hispanicness, brownness, and Mediterraneanness (well, not that, because Portugal isn’t and the woke don’t know geography anyway).

      And as the Portuguese say, We have our own language, and it isn’t Spanish.

  18. diptherio

    Re: Kamala is a bad boss

    OMG, narcissists in politics?!? Whoddathunkit?

    While I’ve got no sympathy for crappy bosses, I find it a little hard to feel too bad for the staffers. I figure either, 1) they are also narcissists (which explains interning for a DA or a Senator to begin with) and would happily do the same to others if they but had the power; or 2) they are naïfs who are learning a valuable lesson about the world of high-powered politicians (high-powered people in general, actually). So it’s either a pig fight or a “welcome to reality” moment…either way I have a hard time caring over much. Endless wars, endless lies, endless pandemic, mass evictions on the way, etc., etc., etc….and I’m supposed to find some time to feel bad for some up-and-coming political operatives? Yeah, no, sorry, I just do not have enough f-s to give. All mine are already earmarked for bigger problems.

    1. John k

      The question is, why are these articles being published? I assume she’s still popular with the donors that amply funded her primary run and who subsequently funded Biden-Harris. And she’s been sent on high profile trips that she flubbed… and we’re maybe not possible to do well; what could she say in Central America beside ‘don’t come’? too early to prepare for her 2024 replacement?
      Is she still lurking at Biden photo-ops?

        1. ambrit

          I thought that too, but I’ll have to see something reliable concerning her physical health first. If she is still on Coumadin, then she is beating the odds. Maybe she really is the ‘Annointed One!’

  19. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-Sniffing Police K-9s In Bristol County Are First In Country”

    The Pandemic has been roaring along for about what, twenty months now? And we have seen stories here about the potential for dogs detecting infected people since last year and other countries have already deployed them. So imagine this. That this had been acted upon in the US last year and that at the beginning of this year you had dog-teams stationed in such places as John F. Kennedy International, Los Angeles International, Boston Logan, San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Miami International and Washington Dulles. It may not have stopped all infected cases of infected people coming in but it sure as hell would have reduced the number, especially those carrying the Delta variant. And the cost of such a program wouldn’t even amount to a rounding error. Guess this solution wasn’t high tech enough.

    1. antidlc

      “It may not have stopped all infected cases of infected people coming in but it sure as hell would have reduced the number, especially those carrying the Delta variant. And the cost of such a program wouldn’t even amount to a rounding error. Guess this solution wasn’t high tech enough.

      I guess there wasn’t enough profit in covid-sniffing K-9s.

    2. anonymous

      From what I read, those two young Labs at the Bristol police department, trained at FIU, are only being used to search for surface contamination. I suppose their findings could be useful if it is possible to identify and test individuals who had been in the contaminated area, or maybe the dogs will eventually be used for sample processing or for crowd scanning with more training. FIU made its own Covid dogs operational first for environmental detection, searching at the university for contaminated surfaces that would then be deep cleaned. Only months later were those FIU dogs used to screen individuals, at the entry points of a South Beach festival in May, and now in a pilot program using employees at the Miami airport. FIU’s Ken Furton is an expert in forensic detection (BS in forensic science, PhD in analytical chemistry, post-doc in nuclear chemistry) with a large number of research papers on physical analysis of odors, correlation with olfactory detection, collection and processing of samples, and presentation of samples to canines for training. He was a driving force in establishing standards for canine detection training and certification, which he is now applying to Covid detection. BTW, the FIU Covid dogs were trained on masks from infected and non-infected individuals, UV-treated to inactivate the virus, and with a constant supply of new masks (remember Otto’s recent article saying that the dogs will start to identify particular individuals if there are too few training samples and they are being reused). Otto at Penn Vet, meanwhile, is asking for tee-shirts from vaccinated individuals with PCR tests, so she should be getting results at some point for whether and how the dogs detect PCR-positive vaccinated individuals of varying symptomatology. 
      I again highly recommend downloading Otto’s June article that explains the difficulties in making Covid dogs operational: Here is a recent viewpoint from Italy with technical and ethical concerns:

    3. Mantid

      At least the dogs won’t get Covid since they take Ivermectin yearly to keep parasites under control.

  20. Wukchumni

    Richards says the glacial retreat has made his job much more dangerous, adding more elements of risk to every journey for his clients and for him. As glaciers retreat, they often get thinner and lower in height as they lose ice mass. For Richards and fellow guides, the major concern is for safety. He explained in an email that “As the glacier is lowering in height and pulling back from the valley walls, there is less support at the base of the mountain sides. This means we are seeing more rockfalls and bigger events.”

    “Some areas that have been traditionally stable, have now become active,” he continues. “The lower height of the ice has also meant we don’t have the natural catching features on the glacial margins, so rocks are making it further out onto the glacier.” To keep guides and clients out of ever-increasing rock fall zones, Richards has to constantly reduce the size of his guiding territory. Not only is Richards losing ice to climate change, increased rockfall risks make the ice that remains more dangerous for clients and guides alike.

    However, the biggest change to Richards’ guiding operations came in 2014. After several years of rapid retreat by the glaciers, he felt he could no longer safely lead clients from the valley onto the glaciers. This practice had been done by guiding operations without climate-related interruption for well over 100 years until 2014. Now he relies on helicopters to deliver clients to the ice above. “Being helicopter-dependent increases cost, adds layers of risk, and makes [the trips] more weather dependent,” Richards says. In addition, the changes make running a guiding company more expensive, less productive, and more logistically challenging.

    Purdie, the researcher, said in an email that the situation is unlikely to improve. Her research shows the Fox Glacier has already retreated by about 880 meters – more than half a mile – since 2009 when the most recent retreat phase began. Glaciers like Fox respond rapidly to small climate perturbations and undergo short-lived advance and retreat cycles. Purdie says her research indicates the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers will be reduced to just their high-elevation accumulation zones at some point in the near future. However, she said that the short-term variability of these glaciers makes it difficult to pinpoint exact timelines.

    We did a couple of guided walks to Fox & Franz Josef glaciers about 20 years ago, and you used to walk a few miles to get to the approach, and we were about halfway to Fox glacier when our young Kiwi guide announced there was going to be a ‘safety break’ and did we ever get excited, that is until his version was just that, how to be safe on the glacier.

    When we informed him what it meant in American slang, oh how he howled in laughter, ha ha!

  21. Mildred Montana

    “Cancel the Tokyo Games”

    The Olympics must go on, no matter the costs. The elites demand it since they cash in and we pay.

    In the unusually warm winter of 2010, citizens of Vancouver were treated to the spectacle of tons of snow being shipped in and dumped–onto a mountain for gawd’s sake. Just so skiers could ski and snowboarders could snowboard. The Olympics must go on, no matter the costs.

    As I posted at the time:

    Cost of a one-bedroom condo in Vancouver: $500,000
    Cost of a house in Vancouver: $2,000,000
    Cost of the Olympics: priceless

  22. The Rev Kev

    “China snubs senior US official in worsening diplomatic stand-off”

    ‘Last month Kurt Campbell, the top White House Asia official, said the US was frustrated that China refused to arrange meetings with officials who are close to Xi Jinping.’

    Maybe they have adopted George Bush’s method of diplomacy. That you don’t meet with a foreign power unless you get major concessions from them first. Otherwise it will be seen as ‘rewarding’ your opponent by being willing to talk to them.

    God, just writing this piece of recent history made me feel like I had dropped 10 IQ points.

  23. Wukchumni

    Cooled off in our swimming hole on the river yesterday, and aside from a 3 foot channel where water is still flowing, the rest has the look of a underwater giant green smurf from the tremendous algal blooms this summer as a combination of way too hot and way too little water has prompted an ideal situation for said blooms. A dead trout floating scales up wasn’t exactly all that reassuring, as an added bonus.

    1. juno mas

      Wow! Dead floating trout is not good. While trout demand cold water (with it’s greater oxygen density) the apparent inordinate amount of algal growth in moving water is an indication of increased nutrient concentration. Has there been recent fire (years) up-watershed? Increased sediment flow?

  24. antidlc

    National nurse union calls for CDC to reinstate mask mandate

    National Nurses United, one of the largest nurse unions, is calling for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reinstate mask requirements regardless of whether people are vaccinated.

    “The pandemic isn’t over yet,” said Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United. Burger has been a registered nurse for more than 45 years.

    What the &^*% was the CDC thinking when they went with the “honor” system?

    Unless…the CDC knew EXACTLY what is was doing.

    1. flora

      Unless…the CDC knew EXACTLY what is was doing.

      Yep. / ;)

      I still mask in stores and shops. Can’t hurt. Might help. I think I’m fairly immune, but who knows.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden’s schtick is America is Great Again, and he wanted to have a July 4th party. Its really that simple. An alliance of the anti-mask and vaxxed Team Blue fans who wanted to take masks off made it happen.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “More than 100 dead, as many as 1,500 missing after floods hit Europe”

    Here is a good resource about floods and Germany – along with other countries. I have seen the plains of Germany indicating past river actions and floods but to see these towns destroyed is something else together. I’m not sure if they realized that it was possible where they lived for the floods to be so devastating-

    1. juno mas

      Yes, an excellent, concise description of the factors creating the flood catastrophe.

      The change in type and timing of precipitation in climate systems was accurately predicted by climate scientists years ago. Few people listened.

      A similar flood event occurred in Flagstaff, AZ,(USA) yesterday when a summer monsoon event dropped 2.5″ of rain in 24 hours. Not nearly as destructive as the event in Germany, but equally surprising to the residents.

      Coastal California is going to experience similar flooding events when the ‘atmospheric river’ rainfall returns with El Ninos weather pattern. Fire, flood, earthquakes are going to make life treacherous.

    1. chuck roast

      I stopped into the library today to see what the NYT had to say on the subject…crickets.

    1. juno mas

      Harris will not be at the top of the ticket in ’24. She is being exposed as the ‘political golddigger’ that she has always been. The Bernie faction of the party will not approve.

      It’s clear that the more people see and hear from her that the less likely she will get broad Dem support. Thank god.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry to rain on your parade but, remember when Bernie had that “broad support?” So, the Democrat Party Apparatchiks pulled out their ‘Dirty Tricks’ playbook and kneecapped him. Biden, who was almost as reviled as Harris is now was ‘installed’ as the candidate, without the ‘broad support’ that Bernie had.
        If the elites want Harris at the top of the Democrat party roster in 2024, that’s where she will be.
        As I see it, as long as Harris doesn’t do an outright political seppuku, she will be the Presidential candate for the Democrat Party in 2024. Even Hillary cannot prevail against the wishes of the donor class. (Also of note is that the donor class is pretty much the same for both wings of the Property Party.)

        1. Count Zero

          A sudden thought about the role of Kamala. Wandering around in public in London, Charles II was asked: “What about the risk of assassination?” The king reportedly laughed: “When my brother is heir to the throne?” His brother, James II, did eventually succeed to the throne in 1685 and predictably managed to provoke a revolution in 1688 by his stupidity and his brutality. That was the end of the Stuart dynasty, thankfully,

  26. Keith Howard

    Thank you for linking the article on urban fish ponds. Lots of interesting information, within the correct intellectual framework: mankind as part of the living world, not its purpose or ruler. This concept seems to be an insurmountable stumbling block.

    1. juno mas

      Fish ponds for recycling human effluent works in certain climates (temps), at certain human densities, and industrial intensity. Removing chemicals added by industry or pollutants from vehicles (air/water) readily overwhelms organic natural systems.

      Hence, the substitution of electrified treatment plants to scrub/re-use urban effluents that have a land footprint that is 1/100th the size of an effluent fish pond. We need to use natural systems more often to reduce human impacts, but that also means reducing the size and complexity of our living arrangement.

      1. HotFlash

        My city has a recycling program for organics. We put our organic waste — kitchen scraps, as one would think, but also disposable diapers, used kitty litter, little bags of dog excrement — which are picked up every week. They are processed into compost by the city. Some other municipalities and organizations process their organic waste into bio gas. If they can do this with the waste of dogs, cats, babies, and incontinent adults, why not everybody? Human litter can replace the water-guzzling flush toilets, which would reduce the need for complicated and expensive treatment to deal with millions upon millions liters of *diluted* excrement. Having to process only ‘grey water’ from showers, dishwashing, cleaning, laundry, etc. would be much simpler and cheaper. In fact, grey water could/should be harvested and used for purposes that don’t require laboratory-grade water, such as watering plants.

        BTW, this could be done by anyone, pretty well anywhere right now, and let the government catch up whenever.

        1. juno mas

          Agreed. I have years of experience with composting toilets. They are used extensively in US Forest Service campgrounds. They don’t “fit” into current multilevel living arrangements. They work best when urine is not allowed to soak the solids.

          Modern sewage treatment plants are actually quite efficient. They do use the methane created on-site to power electric generators which power the grinders and aerating pools that accelerate solids decomposition. The sludge is shipped to agriculture users (not placed in a landfill) and the tertiary treated wastewater is re-used in local irrigation on golf courses and commercial landscapes (including my local college’s Great Meadow) ( I submitted my thesis on wastewater re-use more than 40 years ago– recommendations that are now regularly employed in modern cities.)

          1. juno mas

            Addendum: Modern sewage and water treatment facilities in the US are the reasons why we don’t get outbreaks of cholera, hepatitis, and other water-born communicable disease in our towns and cities. Prevention is cheaper than a cure.

  27. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Interview With Professor Adolph Reed”

    The nub, because it is always about the money, you have to milk it (the trend) for all it’s worth and ride that wave:

    “When I heard her then, what I imagined was like J.K. Rowling, explaining how she felt after the first Harry Potter book was a success, and it’s like, I’m onto something. I made a lot of money here, and I think I can keep this thing going for about 12 other iterations.”

    Therefore, the ideal situation is to either create an industry (for oneself), or be part of an industry that offers substantial pecuniary rewards, without personally engaging in the hard menial, dirty work that is the foundation required to support the current economic superstructure. The importation of and the creation of a 3rd world labor force in the 1st world (global labor arbitrage) helps to moderate the ‘supply/demand issues that are always present for those jobs that nobody wants to do. Because, in the current economic model, it is always the case that “hard work is for suckers”, unless the MSM is promoting the latest ‘rags to riches’, ‘pulled myself up up by own bootstraps’ story.

    “Why Americans won’t do dirty jobs”

    “A majority of Americans say immigrants mostly fill jobs U.S. citizens do not want”

      1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        The re-education camp “gig economy” seems lucrative:

        “So the only thing for a racist white liberal to do is buy “White Fragility” (which has made her a reported $2 million so far) or hire her for diversity training (anywhere from $30,000-$40,000 for a few hours) — as major corporations from Levi’s to Amazon to Goldman Sachs have done, with little to no actual diversity in top-level jobs resulting.”

  28. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Quite calm unless I am missing something in Northern Ireland at the moment. Bonfires were lit on the 12th of July with not much trouble involved including the 144 ft effort in Larne & the day following march’s were quiet enough, but I suspect that the issue of those killed by soldiers will be bubbling away underneath & will emerge at some time.

    The death of 186 under 16’s, including 4 not yet born during The Troubles is probably the hardest felt & effects all communities, whether they were killed by accident, soldiers, paramilitaries, bombs or whatever.

    The scoreboard is Republicans 43 %, Loyalists 27% & the combo of the British Army & RUC at 26%.

    One of the first who was hit by an Army landrover was a 3 year old named Jim Dorrian, whose Mother I met as part of a community project in the Republican island named the Short Strand that is basically surrounded by Loyalist areas. No bitterness in her & accepts that it was an accident, but the sorrow is easy to see in her eyes, which made me feel bad for being English, but all the gladder due to my Dad having left the Army in 1969 rather than be posted to NI.

    I just hope that this latest controversy doesn’t get hijacked by the pols & cause more useless pain.

  29. Glossolalia

    Pepper the robot keeps getting fired! $1,790 humanoid bot has lost jobs at a funeral business, nursing home and bank because people ‘expect the intelligence of a human’

    I think the plan here is to adjust people’s expectations of what the intelligence of a human looks like.

  30. Industrial Culture Handbook

    Given the invocation of an American idiom in the pushback from the Kremlin on security council papers, the neat bow into which the papers tie the election interference: no loose ends, no entanglements with other affairs, and the recent Black Sea naval maneuvers, this Guardian document is a “limited hangout” by a Russian agency. It is meant to confirm American biases and decouple 2016 from ongoing European strategic objectives – But why? – President Biden may have invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all, mobilizing 30 nations, three of which are nuclear and suffered from election interference. This document leak suggests an abbreviated timeline, justifying itself as a measured response against US sanctions, destabilizing the US alone in emphatic terms, and an American-style fusion center with three different secret agencies working in synchronicity. Appendix-ing a Freudian psychoanalysis of Trump is a cute touch, nodding to American news consumption.

    In the alternative, these orders are extremely confident, lacking contingencies (“if this, than that”) and an exit strategy four years down the road. It reads like testament to the omniscient President Putin’s helmsmanship at a time when there might be internal doubt as to Putin’s longevity. The Ukraine / Fortress Crimea gambit has not paid dividends, Syria lacks an exit, OPEC is hostile, Russia is suffering from low economic growth, Iran has a fruitful relationship with China, rumors of a defector, failures in Moldova and North Macedonia, getting caught flat-footed during Lukaschenko’s wobble presaging another possible Maidan. That is quite the security portfolio to brief every morning without any assistance from peer states. Now the Russians can brag about a win at home, which is rarity in every shop.

  31. Sean

    Am I crazy or do those press conferences basically prove Trumps 1st Ammendment cases against FB/twitter/etc.

    1. She calls them public spaces.
    2. She says social media banishment should be on all platforms.
    3. Government request censorshp
    4. Obvious implied stick if social media companies don’t comply (They control their regulator and are consider regulatory bills)
    5. FB acknowledging they are working with the government to censor.

    That looks like combined state/private action which already has case law.

      1. Late Introvert

        Agree. It’s pretty blatant now. Liberal Demrats are fascist now and have no clue how they got there.

  32. kareninca

    The mattresses that come with home hospital beds are horrible. They are like a giant air balloon, half inflated, shaped as a mattress. When my father in law came home from the hospital and the Medicare bed showed up, we were so so happy – until he slept in it the first night. He was so miserable that I had to scavenge something for the second night; we used one of those fold-in-three foam things that college students used to rely on. Then I ordered a firm foam mattress online to put on the hospital bed. The original is outside on our patio, getting coated with leaves and dirt; good riddance.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The hospital bed arrived w/o a mattress. I bought a supposedly better one that ships separately.

      Oh, and the guard rails were missing too.

      1. kareninca

        I hope the mattress you ordered is tolerable. If you have to return it, a firm foam one is working for us; it is not specially designed for a hospital bed. I didn’t get a fancy one since we will inevitably need to toss it due to urine. Still it is pretty good.
        That is crummy re the guard rails.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “British plans for a Troubles amnesty would breach international obligations”

    When reading this, I was somehow reminded of how in recent years that laws were changed so that anybody associated in any way with the German camps back in WW2 is as guilty as if they had dropped Zyklon B pellets into those shower chambers themselves. So we are seeing old, old men in their 90s being dragged into court because they were a clerk or an accountant or maybe even the janitor that used to sweep the guard barracks of a morning. But here the Brits are giving their own people a free pass. One time, the SAS murdered some unarmed IRA people in Gibraltar. Under this amnesty, they would never be held to account either-

  34. Susan the other

    Very interesting about breaking the DNA code for folding proteins. Begging the question, just how does DNA have spatial knowledge? It’s not random, clearly.

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