Links 7/7/2021

Microbes that feast on crushed rocks thrive in Antarctica’s ice-covered lakes Live Science

Methamphetamine in waterways may be turning trout into addicts CNN

A Banking App Has Been Suddenly Closing Accounts, Sometimes Not Returning Customers’ Money Pro Publica

Who Killed the Recovery Trade? Take Your Pick John Authers, Bloomberg

Some locals say a bitcoin mining operation is ruining one of the Finger Lakes. Here’s how. NBC


COVID-19 vaccines dampen genomic diversity of SARS-CoV-2: Unvaccinated patients exhibit more antigenic mutational variance (preprint)) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “[W]e conducted longitudinal analysis over 1.8 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 183 countries or territories to capture vaccination-associated viral evolutionary patterns. To augment this macroscale analysis, we performed viral genome sequencing in 23 vaccine breakthrough COVID-19 patients and 30 unvaccinated COVID-19 patients for whom we also conducted machine-augmented curation of the electronic health records (EHRs). Strikingly, we find the diversity of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages is declining at the country-level with increased rate of mass vaccination.”

SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies: Longevity, breadth, and evasion by emerging viral variants PLOS One

Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 disease: Too good to pass up or too good to be true? Journal of Infectious Diseases

One Colorado scientist’s uphill fight to convince the world that coronavirus spreads through the air Colorado Sun

Violence, Drugs And Fast Food: How Americans’ Risky Behavior Surged While Under A Covid Lockdown Forbes (Re Silc).


China’s Economic Reckoning Foreign Affairs. What, again?

China bans super skyscrapers, putting a ceiling over new buildings that exceed 500 metres, citing safety concerns South China Morning Post

Xinjiang Denialists Are Only Aiding Imperialism The Nation

US does not support Taiwan independence: Kurt Campbell Nikkei Asian Review. On vaccine diplomacy:

2022. Really?

The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine’ That’s Out of China’s Reach NYT


Russia backs ASEAN plan on tackling Myanmar crisis Reuters. Some background:

Russian delegation made secret visit to Myanmar ahead of Min Aung Hlaing’s Moscow trip Myanmar Now

In Myanmar, the military and police declare war on medics AP. Protests continue:

Overwhelmed Indonesian coffin maker issues COVID-19 warning Reuters


India’s billionaires got richer while coronavirus pushed millions of vulnerable people into poverty CNN

Covid-19: Government considers permanent MIQ facility, dismisses UK’s decision to ‘live with Covid’ Stuff (SM).


Iran notifies nuclear watchdog of uranium enrichment plans The Hill


Grenfell prompts creation of building safety regulator BBC

Delta variant drives Spain’s Covid-19 rate to highest in mainland Europe FT

New Cold War

Who “Moved” the Position of a U.S. Navy Ship From Odessa to Crimea? Maritime Executive

COVAX aims to resolve Venezuela COVID-19 vaccine roadblocks after Maduro ‘ultimatum’ Reuters

Biden Administration

FTC staffers told to back out of public appearances Politico. Kahn’s chief of staff: “The American public needs this agency solving problems, not speaking on panels.” Stoller comments:

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) Speaks Out On Reining in Big Tech and Why Many House Members Refuse Glenn Greenwald

White House signals new COVID-19 strategy as delta variant spreads The Hill

W.Va. governor says only a ‘catastrophe’ will push unvaccinated Americans to get shot The Hill

Biden to Sign Executive Order Granting Farmers Right to Repair Protections Vice (Re Silc). Good!

Amazon Notches Comeback Win in Years-Long Pentagon Cloud Battle Bloomberg

America’s economic boom and civic bust FT

Trump Legacy

A Post-Mortem of the Paycheck Protection Program Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis

Our Famously Free Press

How do they do it:

Health Care

Even with Recent Improvements, Obamacare’s Exchanges Don’t Cut It 34Justice

Police State Watch

Capitol Police plan to open field offices outside Washington to track threats to lawmakers. NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch

Foreign War Has Not Made America a Garrison State The National Interest

Opinion: The purge of Asian American students at Thomas Jefferson High School has begun WaPo

Class Warfare

It’s time to end arbitrary firings in fast-food chains and elsewhere FT

United in Rage Tarence Ray, The Baffler. Opioids in Kentucky.

The humble water heater could be the savior of our energy infrastructure woes Salon

21 Million Floridians Evacuated After State Deemed Structurally Unsound The Onion (KW).

In 2030, You Won’t Own Any Gadgets Gizmodo

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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. Glen

        Wait till we are evacuating people out of Florida because that’s gonna happen too.

  1. doug

    ‘Since Chime is not a bank, that leaves it in a regulatory no man’s land, ‘
    Wow, there are some brazen thieves in SillyCon valley….
    8 million folks handed over their money to a non bank with predictable results?

    1. Alex

      No need to assume malicious intent when something can be explained by stupidity and greed. This is not the first time it’s happening with b2c fintech start-ups, there were similar cases in the UK.

      When they design UX they think anti-fraud and AML are simple and can be handled sometime later, ideally with some kind of fancy AI/ML algorithms. And then they suddenly discover that it’s not that simple and then face a choice of losing lots of money to fraudsters OR huge compliance breach OR blocking all suspicious customers and sorting everything manually.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      I’m glad that Chime was fined for implying in their ads that they were a ‘bank’ (a term which has a specific legal and regulatory meaning).

      What the CFPB (and in fact the Fed or OCC, depending on jurisdiction) needs to do next is go after Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, the underlying actual banks, possibly on charges of failure to adequately supervise or manage the activities of their vendors, as those banks are the ones technically on the hook for Chime’s failures to act like a bank (because they’re acting on behalf of an actual bank).

      Consumers need to be better educated about their options when dealing with companies like these — the complaint shouldn’t go to the BBB, it should go directly to the state banking regulator, who are better prepared to enforce banking regulations.

    3. griffen

      The practices covered in the article are well, mind bending. False and misleading disclosure is a definite no no in any bank or even fintech company, I wish to assume anyway.

      It all reads like a company accessing customer funds to cover a cash crunch. Which is also a big yellow canary. I reserve the right to be grossly wrong.

    4. Mikel

      The site with the article is slow loading for me. Anybody see the word “FDIC” anywhere in the article?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        It’s there –

        Like others in its category, Chime is a digital interface that hands over the actual banking to, in this instance, two regional institutions, The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank. Chime customers interact with the Chime app, but Bancorp and Stride, both of which are FDIC-insured, hold their money.

        – but the problem seems to be that while the banks hold the money, Chime itself is not FDIC insured.

        The very first paragraph prompted a facepalm –

        When he went to pay, his only means of payment, a debit card issued by the hot financial technology startup Chime, was declined.

        Handing over all your money to some new silicon valley online entity? Why, why why would anybody do that?!?!?!?!?

        It’s because of crap like this that someone like financial guru Dave Ramsey is a multimillionaire. I’ve listened to his program and it all seems like common sense and I have a hard time believing people would pay for such simple advice. It’s the same basic stuff my parents taught me – save for a rainy day, don’t spend more than you have, don’t rack up debt you can’t pay back, etc. Clearly though a lot of people have not learned these basic lessons.

        1. Phillip Cross

          “Why, why why would anybody do that?!?!?!?!?”

          Wait till you hear about DeFi!

  2. Sawdust

    In 2030, You Won’t Own Any Gadgets

    Funny, the author never considers the possibility of not doing the most “convenient” thing. Where did this attitude of total helplessness come from?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Is “convenience” the apple in the second Genesis story about Adam and Eve?

    2. jr

      This smacks of the “helpless haircut” crowd we heard about when COVID hit, unable to navigate the logistical nightmare of buzzing your head with a pair of clippers in the face of a national emergency.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Wendell Berry has it right about the radical de-skilling we’ve undergone over the course of two or three generations. It seems they’re shooting for the level we used to call “invalid.” Next we’ll get high-tech motorman’s friend devices that are so much more convenient than adult diapers.

        I’m sorry but I ain’t hookin’ up to one of those. Especially if it’s “smart.”

  3. The Rev Kev

    “One Colorado scientist’s uphill fight to convince the world that coronavirus spreads through the air”

    And if the WHO and the CDC had not finally, finally, changed their stance over this, that Colorado scientist would be finding that he would be suspended from his Facebook account for spreading false medical information, videos of his interviews being deleted by YouTube due to the nature of their content, and him being thrown off his Twitter account for inciting unsafe medical practices.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Of all the institutions Charlie Foxtrotting Covid, the scientific establishment (which overlaps with but is not identical to the public health establishment) seems to have been the most functional, in that it was able to change paradigms, however partially, from droplet to airborne. That’s a not unfrightening thought. And, to be fair to the press, the press covered the story.

      NOTE * Another example was the big journals eliminating the paywall for Covid. I don’t think that’s a solution for IP issues, but it’s clearly better than leaving them paywalled, and eliminating the paywall must have given a lot of MBAs heartburn, which is not such a bad thing.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The humble water heater could be the savior of our energy infrastructure woes Salon

    Here is how such an energy-saving reform might work: First, by nudging the operating times for water heaters from peak hours in a coordinated manner; second, by switching residents over to energy-efficient heat pump water heaters. Heat pump water heaters have been around for decades, but are just now catching on in the United States.

    The use of water heaters and storage heaters for load balancing has been (along with differential tarrifs) the norm in most grids around the world. Its a very simple and cheap means of load balancing, whether for renewables or large scale thermal generation.

    Heat pumps have also become the norm in europe in most new build. A simple reason (beyond cost and regulations) is that all new build has to advertise its energy efficiency, and developers have found that an A+ or A++ rating is a big marketing tool (people see it as a proxy for construction quality). So there is an inbuilt incentive for developers to choose more efficient technologies like this.

    1. lordkoos

      I don’t understand why on-demand water heaters are not used more in the USA. When living in Thailand there were two of these in our apartment, one for the sink and one for the shower. You turn on the hot water tap and wait a few seconds for it to be hot and when you’re finished with your shower, washing dishes, etc the heater turns off. They use 30-50% less energy, and they last twice as long as conventional water heaters. They are more costly up front and most homes would need to install two or three of them but it seems a solution worth looking into.

      1. Oh

        They’re prevalent in China too. The initial cost to purchase the heater is higher And the cost of installation is higher too because the flue is much hotter and needs special construction to prevent fire hazards.

      2. hunkerdown

        The electrified USA wanted more for material than energy during the building of suburbia (remember that reliable aluminium wiring that made Pinochet so necessary?). Thanks to 240V, other countries get all the beefy small electrics and I’m bitter.

          1. ambrit

            I think that woodchuckles below is right and it is a mistaken citation of the wrong metal for electric conduction. Chile is famous for it’s copper mines.
            Years ago, many “cheap” house trailers used copper coated aluminium wiring for the electric harness. Unfortunately, aluminium is less efficient in conducting electricity than copper. Due to that fact and the cheapening of the installation those trailers gained a well deserved reputation as fire traps.
            As mentioned in the linked articles, aluminium wiring is still used for main house connections and major transmission lines.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I too am trying to figure out what you mean here.

          All I can come up with is that this is a sarcastic ” reverse-psychology” type of referrence to copper. If attempts were made at aluminum wiring and it was discovered that aluminum wiring does not work reliably, then of course we would be left with copper just as before.

          And it was Chilean copper for wiring which made Pinochet so necessary, not Chilean aluminum.

          If that is incorrect, could you tell us the correct interpretation of what you mean here?

      3. Maritimer

        They are not used because of the Energy and convential water heater/plumbing interests. I went on demand about 15 years ago when the lumbering, wasteful, poorly engineered 40 gallon behemoth rusted out after only 5 years and it was supposedly Premium quality.

        I installed an electric online water heater myself for a little more than the 40 gallon waster. Savings? at least 50%.

        I have told numerous friends and neighbors about the glories of on demand without success. None of them when their forties blew ever went on demand, they just replaced the old forty. It is hard to get humans to change anything.

        I had my house energy assessed by a so-called government energy expert and he acted dumb when I asked him why they did not recommend on demand water heaters. Tells a lot, just like Government Covid Experts.

        Anyway, I have enjoyed the extra loot in my pocket while others have their forty gallon monsters churning the electric meter all day heating water they will never use. Yet, if you burned a fifty dollar bill in front of them, they would be shocked.

      4. bob

        An “on-demand water heater” is exactly the opposite of what is being proposed in that story.

        The link is describing a scheme where electricity demand can be curbed by limiting “on demand” hot water.

        1. lordkoos

          Yes, but I believe they were talking about conventional 40 gallon heaters, not the type of heater that I was describing?

    2. bob

      What is your relationship with “green building”? Do you work for the people who pass out these talking points? They are all used by the USGBC.

      They gave the best rating they had to a shopping mall. Greenwashing by real estate developers.

      Assuming all of the above is 100 percent true. What are we talking about in the grand scheme of things? Less than a half a percent of energy savings? Because energy savings becomes demand shifting very quickly in these conversations. Put some numbers to it. How much power is being saved? Not balanced, not shifted. Saved. In the real world. If everyone but the US has done it. Where are the numbers?

      These green washing initiatives and talking points start with diminished goals, then aim even lower. We’re not even talking about a percent or two(never in writing!), and it’s taking how long to do that little tiny bit (in theory, we can’t give you numbers yet, 10-20-30 years in….)

      1. Deltron

        If you are referring to the energy savings associated with heat pump water heaters, there are plenty of publicly-available lab test and field study results performed by U.S. national laboratories and third-party testing organizations. Compared to a typical electric-resistance water heater, a heat pump water heater achieves energy savings in the 60-70% range. There are certain technological and market barriers, but the energy savings are without question.

  5. paul

    RE: Chime

    “We regret to inform you that we have made the decision to end our relationship with you at this time.”

    Finance to the humans:

    We do not need you,drop dead.

  6. 430MLK

    Thanks for the Tarence Ray piece on Eastern Kentucky opioids. I just drove through many of those places, crossing from Wise, Virginia into Kentucky at Payne Gap at KY 119, taking KY 15 at Whitesburg all the way up and across the Hal Rogers Parkway (formerly the Dan’l Boone Parkway) at Hazard and then onto the Mountain Parkway and the central Bluegrass region. Spotted at least 1 of those jails.

    Put a lot of pieces together for what I read in the big city paper in Lexington.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Thanks for the Tarence Ray piece on Eastern Kentucky opioids

      For readers who may not know, Ray is one the Trillbillies — podcasting direct from Whitesburg!

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Xinjiang Denialists Are Only Aiding Imperialism The Nation

    Nice and punchy article. Its worth pointing out that the author is a well published academic with a specialism in minorities in China, so he knows a lot more about the topic than most pontificators.

    US involvement in Xinjiang means that it’s perfectly possible to oppose US empire without engaging in denialism, praising colonialism, and debasing the dignity of victims and survivors. But doing so would undermine the impact of the anti-imperialist argument on their target audience: Americans. As part of their laudable but misguided efforts at building popular opposition to US imperialism among Americans, these anti-imperialists want to portray the United States as a two-dimensional comic book villain engaged in a program of global deceit.

    In the end, although not all these denialists are American—there are many in Canada, Pakistan, and Australia—all of them are engaging in a celebrated American tradition of denying other countries’ human right abuses in order to make arguments about America to Americans. This narcissistic parochialism is surely one of the most successful exports of American empire.

    The situation (as he has written about in other articles) is that you can’t specifically distinguish what is happening in the Uighur lands from what happens in the many fringe minority areas of China, although there is little doubt that the outbreak of attacks a decade ago by Uighurs led to much stricter crackdowns. The only thing we can be sure about is that US government protests are almost certainly counter productive for those minorities, and Washington officials almost certainly know this and don’t care.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Fully agree here. Hong Kong, for example, had a solid chance of maintaining a de-facto independence from China but then about a decade ago the local activists started taking money from the CIA front, the National Endowment for Democracy and that was it as far as China was concerned. When those activists started traveling to Washington to meet with US officials, that sealed Hong Kong’s fate. And now Hong Kong is paying the price for this meddling. And you have had something like this happening for the Uighurs too-

    2. David

      Yes, the author is a bit shaky on the other examples he quotes, but he’s got broadly the right idea. These debates are “Americans only” debates, where puppets labelled “America good” and “America bad” slug it out for the benefit of a Murkin audience alone, as though that was all that is important in the world. I make no apology for repeating that caricatures of Infinitely Evil America are just as misguided as caricatures of Infinitely Good America, and both are normally irrelevant to the situation on the ground. There’s much more to the complexities of the world than what the US thinks and does.

    3. schmoe

      Skeptics of the Xingang genocide narrative include the Grayzone, and when it comes to trusting them or MSM or DC think tanks, as a general rule it is not a close call whom to trust.

      I don’t view Chinese oppression of Uighars and US exploitation of them as a potential guerilla force as mutually exclusive.

      This is a prescient commentary on Xingang in 2015 from an FBI whistleblower.

      1. Astrid

        Take a look at the comments for the article. Only 6 so far but they are scathing and on point.

    4. Chris Smith

      I don’t know the author and I don’t trust US media reporting on China (is it real or is it CIA disinformation?). The fact that the author opens with “deniers” makes me doubt them. I’ll continue to be agnostic on the matter until I or someone I trust has first hand information.

    5. Astrid

      Maybe I drank TGZ koolaid too hard but I don’t buy it.

      That article sets off some klaxons for me and so I’ve wrote them down. I think the vagueness of his evidence is what most bugs me, because the debunkings by TGZ and the Chinese bloggers are not vague, they specifically address the US charges of genocide. If he disagrees with them or think there’s more undebunked evidence that is persuasive, the onus is on him to be specific and convincing. The vagueness combined with calling it genocide sets me off absolutely. It’s such a loaded term that it shouldn’t be used lightly. Couple that with the loaded implication of calling people in the anti-anti-China side genocide deniers, it’s a really ugly thing to say when two of the most prominent critics are the Jewish Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate. Not backing it up with rigorous evidence and discussing and going on and on about generalities is really bad in my book.

      I don’t know Xinjiang directly, though I know Chinese people that visited there who I can trust to be honest with me, and they mention heighten security and scrutiny but nothing that rises to the level of genocide or systematic ethnic cleansing. These are people who openly talk to me about CPC mishandling of other issues and CPC corruption. This syncs with what I know about the reporting out of Xinjiang, a lot of tearful taking head accounts by people intimately associated with the World Uighur Congress, vague and eye popping claims, but very little footage of the sort we’ve seen with other ethnic cleansing type situations in Kashmir or Jerusalem. If the oppression was really there, it would be muttered about within China and there would be footage of it somewhere. The lack of footage and TGZ’s evidence about the source of the 1-2-3 million Uighur claim makes me think it’s not there.

      1. Yves Smith

        I know people personally who have been doing business in China since the early 2000s (as in it is not in their commercial interest to speak out). They’ve seen some of the detention facilities and SWAT meets Star Wars armed guards. They can’t confirm stuff like the forced sterilization, but they confirm that the work camps are vastly more oppressive than you read in the West, and the facilities are massive.

        I’ve known one of these sources for decades. He does not exaggerate.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > two of the most prominent critics are the Jewish Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate

        Er, I don’t think “the Jewish” X and Y has the persuasive force you seem to think it does

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19: Government considers permanent MIQ facility, dismisses UK’s decision to ‘live with Covid'”

    New Zealand epidemiologist and public health professor Michael Baker put it harsher in a Guardian article when he said “We always have to be a bit skeptical about learning lessons from countries that have failed very badly.”

    1. RMO

      The idea of new Zealand learning from the UK in this case is sort of like suggesting that Kurosawa or Kubrick should take some film making lessons from Francis Coleman or Tommy Wiseau.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Out of curiosity, is there any government or district rebate for any such installations of those systems or do people just have to pay them outright?

      1. Alex

        I don’t know. Most of the buildings here are condominiums, so you are not exposed to it directly, it’s just there when you buy/rent an apartment. In fact I’m not sure they are even mandatory for single-family houses.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for that. I just got curious about this point as I read that there were about 2.4 million households in Israel so wondered how it would have been implemented.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It’s hazy memory at this point, but the basic problem with these kinds of operations that do the work is they are effectively roofers/electricians/plumbers all at once which isn’t easy to produce from the ether. Areas with successful solar efforts essentially forced the roofers to add electricians and peddle solar as well to their existing customer base. Solar becomes part of the roof instead of a social signifier. Really, all that is extra is the panels, so the costs aren’t as outrageous as an independent operation. With solar water heaters, it’s more on the contractor side, but legislative proposals that float around were always based on this experience.

    2. BlueMoose

      I agree that solar water heating should be almost a no-brainer. It was an add-on option when we were building (15 years ago) and I’m glad we went with it. Easily reduces electric bill at least 30%. I just need to rig up a minimal solar collection station with battery to make sure we can keep the pump going for circulation if we lose power for an extended period.

      1. Lamar Ovray

        Much cheaper simpler to add PV panels, use conventional electric water heater. Retrofit insolation water heating is a PITA.

        1. Alex

          Is it feasible for a multi-story building of 5-10 floors? Would you have enough space on the roof?

        2. Alex

          Also, what exactly are you comparing when you say PV would be cheaper? I think that going 100% solar would be much more expensive than just installing solar water heating system, but of course you’d get much more value.

      2. IEL

        I wish it were a no brainer everywhere, but it isn’t. In New England, the system needs to use antifreeze, and in the winter one or two panels are insufficient for typical winter use – you still need another water heater as backup.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Opinion: The purge of Asian American students at Thomas Jefferson High School has begun WaPo

    If ever there was a demonstration of the vacuousness and danger of identity based politics this is it. There may well be a theoretical justification for limiting group X in a school in order to create room for more people from group Y.

    But the category ‘Asian Americans’ is entirely arbitrary. A Filipino-American from a poor background has almost nothing in common with, for example, a Vietnamese American who came from a prosperous Saigon family. To discriminate against the former because people like the latter are disproportionatey successful is appalling. And of course we’ve seen how people manipulate categories for their own end, such as some woke warriors deciding that some hispanic Americans are white (when it suits them), or that some white people are native American because of some very fragmentary family connection.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think the problem is TJ isn’t like the other governors schools but is becoming/has become a private school for all intents and purposes. There aren’t many poor Filipinos getting in. Is it serving the local population? Is it producing shining stars or is it producing Ritalin dependent kids who managed to get into UVA with its so so engineering department? Well, 2nd tier. And W&M is TJ’s second school for matriculation. Again, it raises questions about the point of the school.

      It’s Fairfax County. They don’t allow poor people. It’s like the SAT scam at Newton Massachusetts public schools.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I am going to go out on a very long limb here and say that what was really happening was that white people were unhappy that their brood were not getting into this exclusive high school because it was merit-based. And so to increase the chances that their Chad & Stacys could get into this school as the number of students were fixed, they did so by reducing any Asian-looking kids. And increasing the percentage of blacks and Latinos was for them just a cost of doing business – to be rectified down the road. And I bet that they claimed that they were being intersectional in doing all this.

      1. jr

        The article was paywalled and I don’t care to figure it out at the moment so just a question for the ether: did anyone in the article mention building more schools?

    3. Astrid

      The first sentence set me off. Everyone in China over the age of 45 “survived” the Cultural Revolution. Did WaPo have to insert demonization of China into even a post about TJ’s admittedly asinine admissions revamp?

      Got so mad I didn’t bother reading the rest of the article.

      Asian parents would be better if sending their kids to normal schools anyways. TJ has a reputation of just sending everyone to UVA. Montgomery county magnet schools probably have a better record of sending kids to Ivies, Stanford, MIT, especially on a percentage basis.

  10. salty dawg

    Regarding Journal of Infectious Diseases on Ivermectin for the Treatment of Covid-19 Disease:

    >As of this writing, there at least five large, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 underway that should be powered to allay residual concerns about the available data. Until those data are released, ivermectin might be best considered as an extremely promising therapy, but one not quite ready for public use. Otherwise, there is a real risk that the scientific community will once again be bitten by over-enthusiasm and forced to answer to a public that will not be shy about holding us to account.


    So it’s better to let people with covid die, than to allow them to take ivermectin, because of the potential for risk to the reputation of the scientific community.

    1. Mikel

      They’d rather let people die than risk their stock investments.
      Related: just read yesterday that Pelosi’s husband bought some Amazon stock ahead of the Pentagon’s announcement of the cancellation of the current Jedi contract with Microsoft.
      Sure he wasn’t the only one with close ties to Congress (or in Congress) that did so.

      1. lordkoos

        I believe they also bought Microsoft stock just before the contract was awarded to MS.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Also too:

      Ultimately, guideline authors must review this data and ask themselves if
      this information crosses the threshold for support of ivermectin outside of clinical trials. Although
      some have argued that the minimal risk afforded by a well-tolerated medicine does just that, there
      are secondary harms of early support for therapies prior to a solid evidence base, such as creating
      drug shortages of essential medicines and the erosion of trust in the scientific community, which
      has certainly been degraded over the past year.

      “…erosion of trust…” Too late.

    3. Richard Needleman

      It is amazing what passes as a scholarly article these days! Rather than a paper, this is simply a Facebook post.

      Siedner focuses on the meta-analysis of Hill et al. since his review is meant to be a commentary on the Hill analysis published in the same issue. Of course he is supportive, but instead of a summary one would expect a critical analysis of the data; of course one would not expect him to mention Hill’s admission that his sponsors wrote the conclusion of his paper. I expect to learn something new in a commentary or at least a different viewpoint but he disappoints.

      What would one naturally expect in a commentary? Certainly a detailed discussion of the Hill results compared with the other available meta-analyses. Does the Hill et al. paper substantially change our evaluation of IVM? Is the methodology robust? Are there any obvious flaws or problems? I and many reading this article know very little about meta-analysis and it is not too much to ask that Siedner says something to enlighten us, or is this no longer a function of a commentary?

      But the worst part of this article is this: “-but based on studies with small sample sizes, design flaws, incomplete results or some combination thereof” he is skeptical. I am getting very tired of seeing this boilerplate from the WHO, NIH, etc. as well as social media sites. I have a smart, mathematically sophisticated, but scientifically ignorant brother who wrote me that this is why he is not convinced by the IVM papers I sent him. It is now ubiquitous, but the laypeople saying this have no idea what a suitable sample size is, or how to properly design a study. They can be excused; these are not simple questions.

      But an author of a scientific commentary can not make statements like this; it is nothing more than a personal opinion without evidence. If I were to write this in a paper I would immediately get comments from the reviewers to explain or reference these statements. Which studies are too small? You approve of Hill et al. Are any of his studies too small? What are the design flaws in his or other meta-analyses. This kind of off-hand statement gives the impression that Bryant et al, Kory et. al., etc. never considered such questions when in reality the determination of data quality, sample size, is central in their and all honest meta-analyses.

      Frankly, how much evidence would convince him. There is far more positive evidence for IVM than for remdesivir, the new Biogen Alzheimer’s drug, Tocilizumab (which has an EUA), and even the use of steroids in Covid. An Emergency Use Authorization just requires that there may be a positive effect of a drug. Should we wait until his personal prejudices-and until he makes precise criticisms these remain just that-are satisfied or should we just look at the overwhelming positive data? How many more deaths would he gamble?

      1. hiroyuki

        The editorial is IMO serving one purpose: to set up the idea that the “REAL studies are forthcoming. But to sound thoroughly “unbiased: Anyone who has looked at most of these will see that they are set up to fail. The fix is in. Look who is funding.

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    Vaccines in 2022. So it’s safe to say Biden isn’t going to bother with the TRIPS waiver?

  12. Mikel

    Re: “The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine’ That’s Out of China’s Reach” NYT

    Sounds to me like some kind of maintenance of legacy systems, non-digital, are key to national security (sustaining the people within its borders, which haven’t gone anywhere)…especially for a country constantly destabilizing other countries and all the ripple effects that has.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Economic Reckoning”

    No offense to Foreign Affairs but where they said ‘China…was merely feigning an appetite for liberalization’, what I think that they meant was ‘China…was merely feigning an appetite for neoliberalization’. Sure China has a lot of problems. The size of the country, the population and the economy will always make it so but these sort of stories always have the same themes – Breaking news! China is done. It’s a bombshell. Today is a turning point. It’s the beginning of the end for China. All the walls are closing in on them. Is this the tipping point? The beginning of the end. It’s over. It’s like it is from the same playbook or something (3:22 mins)

    1. Craig H.

      Is there anything like an S&P 500 index fund for Chinese stock that conservative mini-upper class people who live in places like New York and London and Amsterdam are putting fractions of their retirement savings?

      If not how long before the FT and Wall Street Journal hot shots see this happening? Is that a good question for a cabinet undersecretary confirmation hearing in 2025?

      “Mr Snirdley we see that you have two-thirds of your fidelity account in the Chicoms Capitalist Piggy Boomer fund; what’s up with that exactly?”

    2. jrkrideau

      This reminds me of RUSSIA, RUSSIA, EVER FAILING by the Canadian blogger Patrick Armstrong.

      A compendium of doom from the “experts”: Russia will fail in 1992, finished in 2001, failed in 2006, failed in 2008, failing in 2010, “rapid deteriorating economy” in 2014, failed or declining in 2015, failing in 2017, negligible economy and “rusted out” military in 2017 (“Russia’s coming attack on Canada” is an exceptional fount of worthless analysis: hardly a correct statement anywhere, starting with the sub-head), falling behind in 2018; headed for trouble in 2019. Russia’s isolation, ancient weapons, instability. A gas station masquerading as a country. Doomed to fail in Syria and losing influence even in its neighbourhood in 2020. One “expert” repeats himself as if the intervening decade had not passed.

      As Mark Twain put it, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”.

  14. Mikel

    “Strikingly, we find the diversity of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages is declining at the country-level with increased rate of mass vaccination.”

    Is “antigenic” the only type of mutational variance that can occur?
    And do we really want to see what the Covid lineage that has learned to surive with the gene therapy can do?

    1. Cuibono

      did you happen to notice the sample size there? wonder how they were really chosen?

  15. Wukchumni

    Catch a wave and you’ll be sweltering in this part of the world
    Don’t be afraid to try the greatest heat around (Catch a wave, catch a wave)
    Everybody who tries it once
    Hopes the grid don’t go down a bunch
    You turn the a/c on to reduce the daze
    And baby that’s all there is to the climate change craze
    Catch a wave and you’re sweltering in this part of the world

    Not a fact, cause it’s been going on so long (Catch a wave, catch a wave)
    All the deniers still going strong
    They said it wouldn’t last too long
    They’ll eat their words with a fork and spoon
    And watch ’em they’ll hit the road and all be sufferin’ soon
    And when they catch a wave they’ll be hurtin’ all over the world

    Catch a wave and you’re in a SPF-666 world
    So take a lesson from a top-notch mountain boy (Catch a wave, catch a wave)
    Who knows every escape ploy
    But don’t treat it like a toy
    Just get away from the exposed turf
    And baby avoid some rays on the sunny surf
    And when you catch a wave you’ll be sweltering in this part of the world
    Catch a wave and you’ll be looking for another part of the world

    1. QuicksilverMessenger

      I always thought that that song’s structure and sound actually is a representation of a wave:
      First line of the verse is in a low bass vocal range representing the bottom of the wave; second line is in that high Wilsonian falsetto representing the crest of the wave; then the third line resolves the two in the middle

  16. upstater

    An interesting email, forwarded from an acquaintance:

    “Dear LSU Health New Orleans Community,

    While we would all love for this pandemic to be behind us, unfortunately, it is not finished with us yet. There have been more than 2,000 new COVID cases since Friday in Louisiana, four of them among members of our campus community who had been vaccinated. Hospitalizations also took a big jump up.

    Masks are still mandated on our campus, and since our Precision Medicine Lab found that the Delta Plus variant is circulating in our community, it is very important that we continue to mask and practice physical distancing.

    The vaccines confer protection against the known variants, but no vaccine is 100% effective. Until enough people are vaccinated, this virus will continue to mutate as it freely replicates in unvaccinated people, and new variants that are better at defeating treatments and reducing the effectiveness of vaccines may result. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please consider doing so. It is quick and easy in our campus COVID Vaccination Clinic. Hours are posted every week”

  17. Darnell

    Pumpdump ahead. Nextdoor is about to go public. If they can just get it done before people realize that that it’s the most intrusive data mining operation out there;
    Facial recognition, plus your verified home address, plus your verified phone number, plus all your connections, invitees, likes, dislikes, a biography field, you can even list your emergency contacts. Burglars love it!

    Vinod Khosla’s outfit is handling it.

    Where have we seen that name before?
    Not very “neighborly.”

  18. Ignacio

    RE: COVID-19 vaccines dampen genomic diversity of SARS-CoV-2: “Strikingly, we find the diversity of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages is declining at the country-level with increased rate of mass vaccination.”

    Proof that the evolutionary landscape changes for viruses and other pathogens when human populations are no longer naive to the virus because most were infected/vaccinated. I don’t find this ‘striking’, on the contrary, it could be expected. The abstract ends with this phrase:

    The societal benefit of mass vaccination may consequently go far beyond the widely reported mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection risk and amelioration of community transmission, to include stemming of rampant viral evolution.

    Which is something that epidemiological models would agree with and I have been commenting so here for a while. We are transitioning from a situation that has favoured new strains that were more easily transmitted (more infectious or other reasons and possibly more virulent) because we were not immunologically primed against the new virus, but once the numbers that have ‘seen’ SARS CoV 2 or its spike protein become significant the situation changes, as this paper suggests our immune systems provides an evolutionary bottleneck. At some point, variants that are restricted to the URT, and avoid eliciting a stronger immune response might become prevalent. Some many have suggested that the immune response might spur genetic variability towards antigenic variation and this indeed might occur occasionally at the individual level as it has been seen, particularly in cases with faulty immune systems. From an epidemiological point of view, and this study is epidemiologic, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine’ That’s Out of China’s Reach”

    Is it out of reach of China’s technology at the moment? Of course it is. That is why Washington weaponized it by stopping the Dutch shipping the Chinese these machines. Is that it then? Well, no. The historian Arnold Toynbee had his challenge and response theory and I suspect that the Chinese response will be to intensify research to build these machines themselves. It may take years but I think that they will do it. Why do I think so?

    About a decade or more ago the US forbid the Chinese any access to the International Space Station. It was made plain to them that there would never be any Taikonaut on the ISS as in ever. China was to be locked out of space for good and the US would seek to dominate space itself. So how did that work out?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      US foreign policy is dominated by “American exceptionalist” types who can’t conceive the foreigners are capable of anything other than being sneaky. It’s a case of self projection, but the US can’t move past it. We just invited the Chinese to a summit and openly insulted them, and it wasn’t a case of cultural misunderstanding which shouldn’t happen at this point. Cutting the Chinese out of a space station planned in the 80’s is in their minds more savvy than keeping the silk worms in medieval China.

      Part of me wonders if Putin wasn’t lying when he described Biden. Biden might be a small man, UT when removed from the FP establishment, he’s likely far more reasonable and capable of child like understanding of issues.

    2. Carolinian

      The final sentence of the article states that China already has the machines (there are 100 of them worldwide) so the ban on further sales is kind of pointless.

      What struck me was the amazing sophistication of this technology that is used to create things we take for granted like smartphones. Perhaps we should direct this level of braininess to some of the world’s more important problems.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I ran out of “free” nyt articles so I read the article here:

        Assuming it’s the same. The last 3 paragraphs are:

        In a final report to Congress and Biden in March, the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence proposed extending export controls to some other advanced ASML machines as well. The group, funded by Congress, seeks to limit artificial intelligence advances with military applications.

        Hunt and other policy experts argued that since China was already using those machines, blocking additional sales would hurt ASML without much strategic benefit. So does the company.

        “I hope common sense will prevail,” van den Brink said.

        So, the US congress is contemplating extending “export controls” on a Dutch company?? What’s up with that?

        Not to mention the “blocking additional sales would hurt ASML without much strategic benefit” part, something every corporate profit protecting american congressperson can easily understand, I’m sure.

        Sounds like an invitation to be told to go pound sand to me.

    3. Procopius

      I should look up the details, but the general outline is clear enough. First the Qing Dynasty, early 19th Century, forbade the foreign merchants from setting up warehouses and trading offices in China. Then they allowed a trading station on a small island in Canton, but put a limit on the number of merchants who could stay there. Then they limited the amount of goods the foreign merchants could bring in on any one ship. Then allowed the foreign devils to open two new trading stations, but limited the number of chests of opium they could sell per year, then …

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Even with Recent Improvements, Obamacare’s Exchanges Don’t Cut It 34Justice

    Articles like this were being written before obamacare was even “passed” in 2010, and continuously in the 11 years since. It’s impossible to believe that anyone is unaware of how the program “works,” let alone the members of congress and establishment dems who continue to insist that it is being “improved” by funneling more and more taxpayer money into private insurance hands to buy a massively unusable, defective product.

    It’s not a far-fetched conspiracy theory to say that wall street demands for “growth” in the medical insurance segment of this financialized american economy were anticipated, and obamacare was conceived to support that unsustainable “growth” with public money, while masquerading as a publiic “benefit.”

    I’d imagine that insurance company executives and their congressional enablers were elated when Trump was elected, what with his “repeal and replace” mantra. The mindless, knee-jerk, uncritical rejection of all things Trump was a four-year reprieve for the fatally flawed obamacare, and, now that he’s out, fosters a “dodged the bullet of repeal” mentality that allows “improvement” to be undeservedly considered.

    At the risk of causing apoplexy in long-TDS sufferers, I’d suggest that “we’d” be in a better place if obamacare had been repealed. Ripping away the fig leaf of obamacare “access” to “coverage” would expose the “system” for the joke that it is, a joke that’s every bit as relevant to employer-provided insurance and Medicare, by the way. As long as anyone who knows better is allowed to hide behind the obamacare-is-a-valuable-and-necessary-program curtain, they will, and the looting and grift will continue.

    As an aside, following the “logic” that congress has accepted financial responsibility for keeping the medical insurance industry not only afloat but increasingly profitable, I would expect that the Medicare eligibility age will soon be lowered to 55 or 60 with great, self-congratulatory fanfare. As “healthcare” costs continue to rise ($56,000 for the newly “approved” Alzheimer’s drug for instance), the medical insurance industry will need to be further relieved of unprofitable customers by government in order to continue to show the “growth” that “investors” demand, while maintaining the illusion that there actually is a “healthcare” system in this country.

    1. Carolinian

      “we’d” be in a better place if obamacare had been repealed

      There was an article in Water Cooler yesterday suggesting that Walmart’s new offer of lower cost insulin was intended as a bandaid for pharma corruption. I’d call that more than a stretch but who can deny that Obamacare was intended as a bandaid for our hopelessly greedy medical/insurance complex? However it’s politically correct in PMC world to go after Walmart or Trump rather than Obama and his Wall Street enabling.

      Of course the Republicans do this too and all their talk about “values” in the late 20th was another form of IDpol distraction from the real issues of money and power. Surely, though, things have now gotten so bad that it’s time to drop the bs.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      That’s what I thought Obamacare was supposed to be. A decades-long perma-bailout/ profit-enhancer for Big Insura.

      Also, a way to poison the well against discussing health care ever again for decades to come, so as to prevent America from ever instituting CanadaCare for Americans.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Capitol Police plan to open field offices outside Washington to track threats to lawmakers.”

    This is how the Department of Homeland Security started off. They began with nothing and after twenty years ended up with 240,000 employees and an annual budget of $52 billion. So in twenty years will we see that the Capital Police has evolved into a National Police Force with hundreds of thousands of serving officers and tens of billions of dollars as their budget? They may even find time to guard the Capitol Building. Just so long as people are allowed through the defensive perimeters and through the security screening stations.

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      July 7, 2021 at 11:14 am
      National Police Force with hundreds of thousands of serving officers
      I’m thinking thousands of millions of serving officers…
      Think about it – once they are stationed out in the hinterlands, and towns, villages, and burbs through out this land, and listen to AM radio, and what people say about congress, seems that a revolution is imminent. An abundence of caution demands investigation of all these nay sayers spouting off on the AM radio…

    2. Duck1

      This was some years ago, but I was walking about 1/2 mile to the BART station in SF and saw the following cars: city police, county sheriff, highway patrol, state college police, ICE. All contingencies were covered. Look forward to the Capitol police extending the reach of their incompetence.

  22. Charger01

    Grenfell prompts creation of building safety regulator

    AS a reminder, this catastrophe happened in June of 2017, to save money on the replace of exterior cladding. 72 people died to save approximately 293,000. Incredible.

  23. TimH

    Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 disease: Too good to pass up or too good to be true?

    I am curious whether Journal of Infectious Diseases has ever, ever suggested that a drug that has gone through the formal FDA reease process is “too good to be true”?

    The lede smells like sowing suspicion on Ivermectin, while being able to say that the subject wasn’t ignored.

  24. upstater

    Lithuania says Belarus is flying in migrants, plans border barrier.

    Lithuania on Wednesday accused Belarus of flying in migrants from abroad to send to the European Union and said it would build a barrier on the border and deploy troops to prevent them crossing illegally into its territory.

    Good thing Afghanistan is winding down. Lithuania can redeploy its troops to protect the border. They probably would be a great help to solve the immigration problem from forever wars.

    Maybe they can even get Belarus to pay for their wall…

  25. chuck roast

    I like John Authers. He is always worth a read. In Who Killed the Recovery Trade he writes:
    “…the yield curve has flattened (meaning that the gap between yields on the longest and shortest-dated bonds has grown much narrower) while bond yields themselves have fallen substantially. That directly implies a belief in lower inflation…”
    I don’t know John, those Econ textbooks are looking more and more like the paper you put under the kindling. As Yanis pointed out yesterday, the stock and bond prices that are described in the textbook on your shelf as always moving in opposite directions, have been moving in unison. A flattening yield curve typically means that investors are concerned about coming macroeconomic conditions. The Fed has had their finger on the yield-curve switch for 15 years, so I’m failing to see how this development would be any kind of reliable indicator. I am not trying to be picky, but maybe the plutocrats are simply dumping their enormous piles of liquidity into any kind of reliable store of value.

    As for the rest of your analysis…I have just finished my tea, and I’m scrutinizing the bottom of my cup.

    1. Ignacio

      He was recently interviewed by a Spanish outlet. He said that the situation in Haiti is terrible: Hurricanes, Covid, violence, kidnappings… he was very much contested apart from corruption scandals around him and oil.
      He particularly said there was a group of oligarchs related with utilitiy companies wanting to assassinate him.

      1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        “The rallying call of Haitian demonstrators has been, “Where is the Petrocaribe money?” Ostensibly a simple question of accounting, it points to the depth of corruption in Haiti under Moïse and his predecessor, Michel Martelly, who have squandered or stolen billions of dollars’ worth of oil and funds provided by Venezuela as part of Petrocaribe, a program meant to support regional development.”

        “And I keep on fighting for the things I want. Though I know that when you’re dead you can’t, but I’d rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave. Hey, the harder they come,
        the harder they fall, one and all.”

        “Hoping against hope Can Haiti rid itself of Jovenel Moïse?”

        Motive [“an attitude or basis for taking a specific course of action”] and motivation [“a state of being energized and focused in executing tasks or problems”]. The question remains as to whether it was initiated ‘bottom up’, or ‘top down’. Because, “It is often also the case that the actors of the different forms of invisible power penetrate each other. Subversive movements get tangled up with the state secret services and the circles of politico-military power and in corruption or organised criminal mafia groups.”

  26. tommy

    WOW that Baffler article from the trillbilly guy is a must read. Also covers more lies about crime waves, which most journalists don’t even check. Happening all over the country outside of the over dose deaths of despair too….including lies everywhere about San Francisco. FAIR. dot org….as you have posted, has been doing an excellent job of pointing that out. NC links are just amazing.

    1. ambrit

      Get with it cuz! That’s, “..NC links is amazin.” /s
      What’s really amazin here is the mention of the “Community” ‘leaders’ who outright agitate for murder and get no pushback. Now that’s authoritarian thinking in action.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have read for decades about the ever-refreshing cycles of corruption in Haiti. But I only once read a passing referrence to ” Petionville”. That referrence referred to “Petionville” as the very nice suburb on the high hill overlooking Port au Prince . . . . the very nice suburb where all the rich and elite and ruling classes and first butlers of Haiti live.

    Here is a wiki I found for Petionville.

    Is that the source of the problem? Or at least the source’s physical location? What would Stalin have said? ” If a Petionville is giving you corruption, kill the Petionville to kill the corruption. No Petionville, no corruption.”

    Does Haiti await its Stalin?

Comments are closed.