2:00PM Water Cooler 8/10/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

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At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….

Vaccination by region:

50.2% of the US is fully vaccinated, a big moment, breaking the psychological 50% barrier.

Case count by United States regions:

As far as reaching the peak of January 8, 2021, with 295,257 cases per day … I’m not that pessimistic (modulo a new variant brought into the country by our ridiculously lax policies on international quarantines). What we might call, after Everest, the “First Step” (November 25, 2019) with 178,466 looks in striking distance, especially if the case count purple line continues go near vertical. When you look at those “rapid riser” counties on the CDC map, you’ve got to think this rise has a way to run. If things go on as they are, we should hit the first step just in time for Labor Day. But what do I know, I’m just a tape-watcher.

“‘We’re in trouble’: Rural America can’t escape Delta” [Politico]. “Senior Biden health officials have for weeks worried internally about the low vaccine uptake in rural, conservative counties across the country. Federal experts have predicted those communities would experience large increases in Covid-19 cases where access to sufficient health care is limited. To address the issue, the White House last month announced it would send $100 million to rural communities to help local health officials convince people to get vaccinated…. Wyoming is struggling to track the spread of Delta, in large part because the state health lab is weeks behind in sequencing Covid-19 samples.” • All these problems were predictable. I don’t want to be overly cranky about this, but I remember fawning coverage about the Biden transition team, its many task forces, and how it would hit the ground running. So the administration has had more like ten months, not just eight, to get its act together. And then there’s Ron Klain, pandemic czar, as he was billed then. How come any of this comes as a surprise now? Wasn’t there any kind of playbook for them to use?

“Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asks court to block Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates” [Dallas Morning News]. “Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Monday asked a court to block Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, arguing that the Republican governor’s executive order violates state law…. [The suit] also asks that Jenkins be allowed to take measures to manage the pandemic, including mandating masks. Jenkins’ request for declaratory judgment and a temporary restraining order come as COVID-19 delta cases soar nationally and local hospital emergency departments become overrun with patients.”

Covid cases top ten states: for the last four weeks (hat tip, alert reader Lou Anton):

California slows again. Texas slows now too. Florida’s data seems to have had some kind of, um, mysterious hold-up:

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report August 9, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

California and Nevada got redder again. This map blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a banjo to be heard. Previous release:

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better. This chart updates Tuesdays and Fridays, presumbly by end-of-day.)

Test positivity:

South running away with the field. But other regions now playing catch-up.

Hospitalization (CDC):

NEW Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the source above:

The, er, red states (Florida, Louisiana) are as yet still buried in the aggregated national data. But there’s more red now.

TX: “Dozens of Texas hospitals are out of ICU beds as COVID-19 cases again overwhelm the state’s capacity” [Texas Tribune]. “The state is divided into 22 trauma service areas, and half of them reported 10 or fewer available ICU beds on Sunday. As more than 9,400 COVID-19 patients fill the state’s ICUs, which are reserved for the patients who are the sickest or most injured, the trauma service area that includes Laredo reported no available ICU beds, while the area that includes Abilene reported having one. At least 53 Texas hospitals have no available ICU capacity, according to numbers reported to the federal government during the week ending Aug. 5. In Austin, five hospitals were at or above 90% of their ICU capacity during the same period, with two reporting no available ICU beds.”

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Deaths definitively rising, although nowhere near meriting an anti-triumphalist black line, being an order of magnitude less than there were at peak. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning.)

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up. US sphere of influence under the Monroe Doctrine not doing so well.

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

“Press Secretary Jen Psaki is Good At Mending Fences. Just Don’t Call Her Nice.” [Vogue]. Final paragraph: “[Psaki] mentions a photograph in her office—the one of her standing in a crowd of smiling Democrats: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice [see below]. It was taken on the night before the 2016 election. ‘All of us were so happy,’ she says. They thought they were on the threshold of a Hillary Clinton administration. ‘We’re like, ‘It’s going to be amazing.’’ It’s a tragic* image, but Psaki keeps it in her office. ‘Because it’s a reminder of how things can change.’ She can’t give us any guarantees about how things will work out. No one can. It’s the kind of thing that veterans like Psaki understand. She goes on, ‘There are times where you have to be on the journey and recognize that sometimes you don’t know what the end is going to be, right? Maybe it’s going to be great. And maybe it’s not.'” • Photography By Annie Leibovitz. The whole article is so, so West Wing Brain. NOTE * After hubris, nemesis. That’s tragedy, not Psaki’s banal musings.

“Amtrak Joe vs. the Modern Robber Barons” [Washington Monthly (dk)]. “There’s an urgent and overwhelming societal need to divert more freight from trucks to trains. Freight trains are three to five times more fuel efficient than trucks, and produce far less emissions. Indeed, when electrically powered by overhead wires, trains can be emission-free, and lack the battery disposal costs that plague electric trucks. According to one study, a modest investment in electrifying freight railroads could reduce carbon emissions by 39 percent and, by 2030, remove an estimated 83 percent of long-haul trucks off the road. Moving more freight by rail would also reduce the number of Americans who are killed or injured by collisions with large trucks, a casualty rate of 156,000 people per year. In addition, it would reduce dramatically the damage done to America’s roads and highways by large trucks–each of which causes the same wear and tear as 9,600 passenger cars. Yet hedge funds, private equity firms, and other financiers are using their control of highly monopolized, underregulated railroads not to expand rail freight but to sell off rail assets and hand over all but the highest margin business to trucks. Some of this downsizing is justified by the decline of the railroads’ thermal coal business as electric utilities convert to natural gas. But most of the downsizing results simply from financiers forcing railroads to shed all but their most lucrative lines of business. Such practices threaten to shrink the nation’s rail network to the point of non-viability, but so long as rail expenses fall faster than rail revenues, the short-term return on assets increases. That’s all Wall Street cares about.” • An ugly picture. I’ve heard readers fulminate over “precision railroading.” Is that what’s going on here?

“‘They want people to take them seriously’: Space Force wary of taking over UFO mission” [Politico]. • Maybe the only thing that would unite the world would be an alien visitation. So maybe the Space Force ought to be gaming that out?

Democrats en Deshabille

“Buffalo Democratic Machine Considers Axing Mayorship to Evade India Walton” [Truthout]. “The stage appears to be set for the Erie County Democrats to execute a heel turn against Walton — with some on the Buffalo Common Council even expressing tentative interest in a move as drastic as doing away with mayoral governance entirely. It’s not surprising that the establishment in Erie County, perceiving a threat to hierarchy and profit, would mount an organized backlash. Yet ending the mayorship in Buffalo would be a drastic move, to say the least. To understand how the incentive has arisen, it’s useful to look at how Democratic politics and certain media dynamics have played out in the aftermath of Walton’s victory. These machinations underscore how, whenever socialists have come within striking distance of power in the United States, capital and its allies have always reacted swiftly to attempt to curtail any chance of redistributive change.” • When the Democrat establishment quit and took all the money with them in Nevada after DSA took over… Well, politics ain’t beanbag. But eliminating elected offices because the wrong people won them? That’s Third World stuff. What next? Tanks in the streets?

“Amid Cuomo Revelation, Time’s Up Clients, Former Staffers Say Group Is ‘Failing All Survivors'” [The Hollywood Reporter]. “A group of sexual assault survivors and victims, current and former Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund clients and former Time’s Up staffers has written an open letter to the gender rights organization’s board accusing the group of prioritizing ‘proximity to power over mission’ in regard to its relationship with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. The letter was sparked by the revelation in the Aug. 3 New York Attorney General’s report that Cuomo’s office sought advice from Time’s Up chief Tina Tchen and Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund co-founder Roberta Kaplan on how to respond to sexual harassment allegations. Kaplan resigned from the Time’s Up board on Monday morning.” • Lol. I’m so old I remember when Times’s Up was actually taken seriously as a political force. Alack the day…

Republican Funhouse

“Trump voters revive in the rural Midwest” [Financial Times]. “So who do fairgoers think is responsible for the Covid upsurge? Peggy Hubbard, an African-American Republican running for the US Senate, is hanging out at the GOP booth. She blames what she calls the ‘centre for the dazed and confused’ — the CDC. Tyler Wilke, chair of the county GOP, says: ‘First we’re told to get vaccinated, now we are told the vaccines don’t work so you need to wear a mask again . . . and the CDC wonders why people don’t believe them.'” • Wilke is more than a little binary in his thinking, but did the CDC really have to lead with its jaw?

Obama Legacy

Nothing to worry about; we don’t whack US citizens with drone strikes;

Oh, wait

Thanks, Obama!

Health Care

Hey, Ambassador, that’s pretty funny:

They don’t even know why they’re hated.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Police Allege Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Concealed Child Sex Abuse” [The Roys Report]. “The founder of the Sydney, Australia-based global Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, has been charged with concealing child sex offenses, police said Thursday. Detectives served Houston’s lawyers on Thursday with a notice for him to appear in a Sydney court on Oct. 5 for allegedly concealing a serious indictable offense, police said. ‘Police will allege in court the man (Houston) knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police,’ police said. Houston, 67, suggested the charges related to allegations that his preacher father, Frank Houston, had abused a boy over several years in the 1970s. ‘These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter,’ Houston said. ‘I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.'” • Well, maybe so. Still, if you want a reason why people outside the Liberal dispensation might also feel a sense of institutional betrayal, stories like this, which are numerous, surely must be one reason why.

“Lawmaker relationships fray as Texas Democrats’ quorum bust to block voting bill drags on” [Texas Tribune]. “Weary after two failed attempts to pass their priority elections bill, Republicans are fed up with Democrats’ national TV interviews suggesting they are racist for supporting the elections bill, fed up with Democrats for breaking quorum despite what they describe as good-faith compromises and fed up with having to show up to the Capitol every day, spending time away from their families and jobs, despite knowing there will be no quorum to conduct official business. The feelings are mutual. The quorum-busting Democrats have fumed about Republicans’ attempts to push through the elections bill which they say will make it harder for marginalized Texans to vote. And they have taken offense to the aspersions cast by their colleagues in Austin who have assailed their quorum break as a luxury getaway, citing their own personal sacrifices.”

UPDATE “DSA is disproportionately working class” [Carl Beijer]. “The Democratic Socialists of America have begun their 2021 convention, and earlier this evening a presentation at the event revealed some interesting data on the organization’s demographics…. [P]roportionally, while DSA may have slightly fewer poor members than the general population, it has more lower-middle and middle-class members, and fewer upper-middle class members… None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who is actually familiar with the DSA and its membership. Show up at a meeting and you will typically encounter a pretty ordinary cross-section of the local population, skewing if anything a little poorer than usual.” • Income is only a proxy for class. Nevertheless.

Stats Watch

Small Business Optimism: “July 2021 Small Business Optimism: Small Business Optimism Dips As Labor Shortage Remains Biggest Challenge” [Econintersect]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased in July to 99.7, a decrease of 2.8 points, reversing June’s 2.9-point gain. Six of the 10 components declined, three improved, and one was unchanged. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 76, indicating owners’ views are held with more certainty than in earlier months.”

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Commodities: “Premier exploration team identifies world-class silver exploration target in Peru” [Financial Post]. ‘Where can you find the world’s biggest silver deposit of the past 30 years? If you ask Ivan Bebek, co-chair of Vancouver’s recently listed Tier One Silver Inc., he’ll tell you that the company’s 100-per-cent-owned Curibaya silver-gold project in southwest Peru has an “exceptional shot” at hosting that discovery. Peru is one of the world’s most prolific mining countries, ranking third in silver production, second in copper production and sixth in gold production. The team at Tier One Silver has spent four years consolidating the Curibaya land package and is now gearing up for its highly anticipated inaugural drill program this summer. All signs uncovered by the company’s all-star geological team point to an undrilled silver target of monumental size. It is the first major epithermal occurrence on a mining belt that hosts some of the largest copper-gold mines — Toquepala, Quellaveco and Cerro Verde. The team has sampled bonanza grades of silver and gold on surface at Curibaya and identified large-scale geophysical targets directly below the high-grade.” • Hmm. Giving Pedro Castillo something to think about.\

Real Estate (dcblogger):

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 38 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 10 at 12:27pm.

Health Care

“A snort or a jab? Scientists debate potential benefits of intranasal Covid-19 vaccines” [STAT]. “Vaccines that are injected into arm muscles aren’t likely to be able to protect our nasal passages from marauding SARS-CoV-2 viruses for very long, even if they are doing a terrific job protecting lungs from the virus. If we want vaccines that protect our upper respiratory tracts, we may need products that are administered in the nose — intranasal vaccines. Can they be made? Probably. Will they do what we want them to do, if they are made? Possibly. Is there still room for this type of next-generation product, given the record number of Covid vaccines that have already been put into use? Potentially. Will it be difficult to get them through development? Likely.” • More: “Vaccines that are injected into the arm have done a spectacular job at preventing severe disease and death. But they do not generate the kind of protection in the nasal passages that would be needed to block all infection. That’s called ‘sterilizing immunity.’” • Holy [family blog]. Now they tell us?

“Molecular Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in Samples Collected From Patients With Morbilliform Eruptions Since Late Summer 2019 in Lombardy, Northern Italy” [The Lancet]. PCR testing of oropharyngeal swabs and urine. “We find evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in Lombardy during the late summer of 2019. This finding highlights the importance of retrospective surveillance studies to understand the early dynamics of COVID-19 spread and improve national-level preparedness.” Commentary:\

This strikes me as a powerful argument. What do readers think?

“America is flying blind when it comes to the Delta variant” [Eric Topol, Guardian]. Holy moley, the lead: “he Delta variant was first identified in the United States in April and by May it was well onto its exponential growth curve, doubling every 10-12 days, as the basis for Covid infections, now reaching over 96% prevalence. Ironically, on 1 May, the CDC announced it would stop monitoring post-vaccination breakthrough infections unless they led to hospitalizations or deaths. This decision can be seen as exceptionally ill-advised and has led to a country flying blind in its attempt to confront its fourth wave of infections – one that has rapidly led to well over 100,000 new cases per day and more than 60,000 hospitalizations, both higher than the US first and second pandemic waves. It is unfathomable that we do not know how many of these are occurring in people who were vaccinated.” And the conclusion: “This is not by any means the first breakdown of the CDC in managing and communicating about the pandemic. But with billions of dollars allocated to CDC earlier this year for improved Covid-19 surveillance, this represents a blatant failure that is putting millions of vaccinated Americans at unnecessary risk for breakthrough infections and leaving us without a navigational system for the US Delta wave.”

“How A Gay Community Helped The CDC Spot A COVID Outbreak — And Learn More About Delta” [NPR]. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of ways to pick up on COVID-19 outbreaks, but those methods often take awhile to bear fruit. Not so with the Provincetown, Mass., cluster that started around July Fourth weekend. “We triggered the investigation as people were getting symptomatic,” says Demetre Daskalakis, a deputy incident manager for the CDC’s COVID-19 Response. ‘Pretty amazing — it is warp speed.'” • Hmm. Where have I heard this before? More: “How did they do that? It was thanks to a tip from a citizen scientist named Michael Donnelly. A data scientist in New York City’s tech sector, he started publishing his own coronavirus data reports early in the pandemic and launched a website, COVIDoutlook.info, with Drexel University epidemiologist Michael LeVasseur. Following leads from his personal network, Donnelly documented over 50 breakthrough cases coming out of Provincetown, practically in real time, and shared it with the CDC as the outbreak was still unfolding….. The speed of the investigation — and the exceptional participation from the mostly gay men involved in the outbreak — helped the CDC learn new information about the delta variant.” • Readers know I stan for citizen science, so this is great. That said, two sour notes. First, why in the name of sweet suffering Jesus does the CDC have to depend on citizen science to perform what should be one of its basic functions? See Topol, supra. And second, I have never seen the press work so hard to put a positive spin on an enormous outbreak.

I love epidemiological maps like this:

But notice this exchange:

If the CDC really cares about citizen science, they could spend a few of their fresh billions for data on epidemiological mapping tools; I bet there are plenty of developers who would leap at the chance (or the US Digital Service).

“From vaccine halo to liability? Reputation tracker says COVID-19 shot makers now dinged for safety, supply issues” [Fierce Pharma]. “COVID-19 vaccine makers’ time in the sun is over, according to one reputation tracker. The reputation boost ignited by the rush to find solutions during the pandemic has not only faded but now is turning into a liability, says Alva, citing its latest research. Pharma is now split into vaccine makers and everyone else, said Alastair Pickering, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Alva market intelligence group…. ‘The existence of the vaccines is now almost taken for granted in a majority of coverage,’ Pickering said. ‘Aside from scientific journals, there’s practically no praise or commendation for the research, science and innovation that’s gotten us to the point of having vaccines. Instead the focus has shifted to safety concerns over individual vaccines and ongoing supply challenges.'” • From March-May. But I doubt the numbers have improved.

Class Warfare

UPDATE “What happens when elites abandon their homeland” [Financial Times]. “[E]lites today take an international view. Thanks to globalisation, a national elite can always abandon its homeland and move elsewhere. In every country, the elite’s time horizon determines how it governs. Does the elite treat its country as a sort of luxury watch that it’s only looking after for future generations or as a stolen wallet full of cash? South Africa is a case study of what happens when the elite’s time horizon shortens. There are only a few lucky countries whose elites reliably think decades ahead. This is an unfairly self-perpetuating system. Typically, these are old democracies, where members of the elite live in old houses. Even there, elites have varying time horizons. Politicians tend to think in electoral cycles, whereas policymakers and heads of venerable, nationally based companies take a longer view…. There are moments when elite timeframes suddenly shrink. A country’s portents of doom can come from above (dictator goes off the rails), from below (peasants with pitchforks), from civil war or invasion. Time horizons have shrunk this year in Hong Kong, which for over a century had its own long-term project: a mix of business and personal freedom. As the outpost is subsumed into China’s very different project, Hong Kong’s elite has to decide: should I stay or should I go? South Africa’s elite now faces the same question…. Now another factor is shortening elite time horizons: climate change. Local elites won’t invest long-term in cities like Dhaka or Jakarta that are going to become uninhabitable. The novelty of billionaire space flights suggests something even scarier: shortening elite time horizons for the planet.” • Pink paper for the win.

News of the Wired

I’m not feeling wired today!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (SC):

SC writes: “Two photos from my backyard attached. One is a Common Milkweed blossom. There’s not much to say about it (aside from my crankiness that the seeds for this plant were sold as ‘Purple.’ It took 18 months to discover that they were not).”

SC continues: “The other photo is not well composed and is more for “garden projects ideas” than a possible antidote. I’ve revised my benches a bit, raising some to avoid the depredations of a groundhog. I started plants more systematically this year and used better cold stratification methods — sowing in trays and leaving the trays outdoors works much better than “in the fridge” cold treatment. Next year, I’ll bring the cold-treated trays indoors in March to accelerate germination; leaving them to germinate outdoors is very slow. There are dozens of feet of benches and about 50 trays. Watering this lot was a burden at first. Currently I’m using slotted deep trays to hold the plants, and a solid shallow tray below the slotted tray to regulate the water level. It’s relatively quick to fill the lower tray to its capacity, and the whole setup can be watered by hand with watering cans in less than 30 minutes.

There’s a lot in the field of view. Multiple varieties of peppers and tomatoes, eggplant, Basil, Sage, Chamomile, 3 kinds of Milkweed (including 2 dozen healthy Purple Milkweed plants, my first really successful germination outcome of that type), Lavender, Strawberry, Red Lettuce (variety “Merlot”, the darkest of the reds), Zucchini, melon, two kinds of Bee Balm, 3 kinds of decorative Salvia, Echinacea, Rose Campion, Tithonia, Astilbe, and Cardinal Flower.

At this writing, over 800 plants from these benches have been placed into the community. There are several hundred more that remain to be placed. Now I’m working on “placing” seed starting kits, with 3 distributed so far, including into families with young children — get ’em interested young is best, me thinks.

That’s my 2021 pandemic garden project thus far.”


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Lee

    The CDC data for Florida looks substantially different from that of DIVOC. The CDC graph shows daily and seven day averages going vertical and approaching 30K as of August 8. Am I missing something—a bout of brain fog perhaps?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Also notice that the DIVOC is the one-week average of new cases. As far as single days, last Friday there were 254k new cases, higher than all but five days in January (JHU gives single day new case counts in their interactive daily update).

      I would also like to take this occasion to thank whoever recommended TWIV podcast. It effectively communicates to this layperson a level of scientific detail I have trouble assimilating from other sources and screens out the hype–gives a good assessment of what can and cannot be concluded from the various reports under much discussion on this blog and what data is most urgently needed. Possibly the best podcast about the pandemic I have come across; though I like Mike Osterholm’s for the absence of hype and reassuring tone, this one packs in a LOT of information. Again, thanks and second the recommendation!

  2. antidlc

    Re: “Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asks court to block Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates” [Dallas Morning News]


    Dallas schools to require masks in defiance of Gov. Abbott’s order

    Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says the threat posed by the delta variant has made situation “more urgent.” Most DISD schools start Aug. 16

  3. Lee

    “‘They want people to take them seriously’: Space Force wary of taking over UFO mission” [Politico]. • Maybe the only thing that would unite the world would be an alien visitation. So maybe the Space Force ought to be gaming that out?

    Hah! Based on my observations of historic and current human behavior, not to mention the mood I’m in, it seems to me just as likely that some portion of humanity would sooner make common cause with the aliens against their fellow humans. Hell, I might be one of them.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I thought when I first read that book that he was being overly cynical. After our experience with Covid, I’ve changed my mind.

        Book two has a plot sequence around collective self-delusion that closely mirrors what we’ve experienced with Covid as well.

      2. GW Jones

        The Three Body Problem indeed! And to think the motivation for the antagonist who calls the murderous aliens in is her depression at humanity following the worse excesses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The Space Force could take over the secret project described in the Outer Limits episode “The Architects of Fear” that aired Sep 30, 1963.
      “A secret group of scientists decide to surgically alter one of their members {Robert Culp] into an ‘alien’, in order to convince the world that an alien invasion is imminent. They hope that such a threat will force all governments to make peace with one another.”

      But who would be the best candidate for transformation into an alien?

        1. hunkerdown

          He’s dead, Slim.

          I can’t think of anyone living who could pull it off and not write a story more like. I fear Bernie Sanders as grey would unspool too much like Strangers in a Strange Land. Which, it must be said, is better if more tragic than Mac and Me.

        1. rowlf

          Great. Earth must be the Milky Way Galaxy’s trailer park and intergalactic pawnmen showed up.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Nah! Bezos is more a Dr. Evil sort of character. All he needs is a Nehru suit and a white Persian cat to complete the picture. I heard that in several years more, he is set to become the world’s first trillionaire.

    2. Mildred Montana


      ‘the unknown craft “clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.”‘

      Why must governments and government agencies speak nonsense so much of the time?

      1. Safety of flight

      Number of recorded UFO (or UAP as they say in the article, governments always gotta change the jargon to suit their aims) crashes = 1 (if we count the dubious case of Roswell)

      Number of recorded USAF crashes = too many to count

      So who exactly who poses the risk to safety of flight?

      2. US national security

      If the UFO’s (sorry, UAP’s) had wanted to, they could have blown the US (and the world) to smithereens decades ago. I believe they have checked us out and are supremely uninterested. They view us as a primitive, backward culture, the same way anthropologists look on isolated Amazon tribes as they pass over in their plane.

      Forget national security. More gov-speak. The biggest threat to Homo Sapiens in the US and elsewhere is its barely-evolved, warring self. (See: Department of Defense and allied contractors)

      Try to find that on a government website.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      There was a conspiracy theory around the time of the London Olympics that an alien false flag would be perpetrated by the elite to usher in a one world government. This was to happen during the Olympics for maximum media coverage… back when CTs were fun.

  4. drumlin woodchuckles

    About all those Black people being driven out of their houses in greater Atlanta by the private equity vampires . . . . what if there were a diffuse cultural movement to stealth sabotage and stealth destroy those houses on the way out, a cultural movement with zero leaders and zero hope of stopping it? Leaving the private equity vampires to get what legal revenge they can after the fact? But could their court system handle a hundred thousand defendants suspected of stealth-destroying a hundred thousand houses? Or would their legal system choke on the load?

    By “destroy”, I mean things like filling every toilet with concrete and pushing the concrete down the pipes all the way to just-short of the municipal main pipes and sewers. Also, filling the bathbubs and bathtub pipes with concrete. Also filling the hot water heater and hot water heater pipes with concrete. Also pushing concrete into every water pipe and natural gas pipe inside the house. Also starting pin-hole leaks behind walls for a slow drip drip drip of water to foster the growth of wall-sized mats of black mold. Also removing electrical socket-outlet covers and putting little pieces of shrimp and other stenchy seafood in the space and then re-attaching the outlet covers. For those houses with central air conditioning, filling the air conditioner and all the ducts with concrete.

    The point being to render the houses unrepairable for decades to come, and making it very difficult to tear down, de-concretify, and rebuild something else.

    Now, I would never ever advocate doing something so blatantly illegal. But what if a cultural movement to do that were to arise spontaneously? What if such a movement were able to perma-destroy two,three, many hundreds of thousands of houses from which private equity ethnic-cleansed the current occupants?

    What if Black Atlanta were to get Balkan on private equity’s ass?

    1. Felix_47

      My ex wife is trying to rent someplace there. It is a sellers market. Where can you go? Now if Americans got used to the charm of Plattenbau (high rise apartment buildings…..often in the East German style…..built out of prefab concrete slabs ( I live in one and it is well insulated, quiet and better than the cardboard sheetrock we use)) they could build high density housing. We tried that and it has failed. Americans, black and white, expect a little suburban house with yard that is car dependent.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Friends of mine in the Chicago area lived in a house with yard which was a walk away from the commuter train station to his job. So some suburbs can be all or part car-independent. Maybe not all suburbs.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Your evil mind thinks like mine. I was thinking along the lines of dead skunks left outside the corporate headquarters.

      1. chris

        Well, the classic move is to put something like fish guts or shrimp shells in something unobtrusive and hollow, like a curtain rod.

        But I honestly expect that if things get that bad we’ll start seeing arson outbursts. In fact, I’ll wager we’ll see quite the show on Devil’s Night this year.

        1. rowlf

          Devil’s Night

          An excellent Detroit event that solves several local problems. (Ambrose B, is that you? Am I channeling the spirit world?)
          In the past it was used to take care of blight, but why not use it for expressing class disdain?

      2. PHLDenizen

        Sounds like a job for the Keith Moon Non-conservation Corp.

        For those not in the know, the old Who drummer loved him some explosives and, at one point, got the entire band banned from upscale hotels by way of repurposing a commode as a bomb disposal unit.

    3. Keith

      So vandalism, of which the former renter can be held liable. Sounds like a great idea.

      The renters were given sixty days notice. Key thing with being a renter is you don’t own the property, and so are subject to conditions the landlord has, which includes upgrading to a higher class of tenant.

      Then there would also be backlash as Blackrock manages lots of funds in people’s retirement accounts.

      There is no public right to private property.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        There is no private right to ethnic cleansing.

        There is no private equity right to housing.

        If 500,000 ethnically cleansed renters all decided to render the homes they are to be ethnically cleansed from . . . unusable and unremovable and un-rebuildable for decades to come, can the upper class legal enforcement system assign liability to that many people in one area all at once?

        If Blackrock and others of its ilk decide to institute Balkan-style ethnic cleansing against hundreds of thousands of people, then they can eventually expect a Balkan-style reaction on the part of the ethnically cleansed.

        People with funds in retirement accounts might be forced to decide if they really support Milosevich and Karadžić type behavior against hundreds of thousands of ethnic cleansees on the part of Blackrock.

        When your beloved Lords of Private Property push the whole society into a series of Balkan Wars and Balkan Class Wars, then questions of their “right” to “their” “property” become irrelevant.

        1. Keith

          Ethnic cleansing is a bit far down the hyperbole rabbit hole. You might have as well ran with a naxi analogy.

          Play to morality or the like, it is a stronger and more relatable position than the Balkan Wars.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            How many of those houses were fraudclosed on to begin with before Blackrock “got” them? How many of those houses are not even Blackrock’s legal property anyway?

            Anyway, if the Lords of Property push America into a series of Balkan Class Wars, don’t forget what I wrote.

      2. hunkerdown

        The non-labor theory of non-property also holds. Property is a private privilege. Therefore it has no right to exist.

      3. PHLDenizen

        Several eminent domain cases come to mind:

        1) The city of Toledo, OH declared about 80 homes slums for the purpose of awarding Chrysler land for a plant which turned out to be almost entirely automated. 99 or 2000, maybe?

        2) In ‘81, Detroit confiscated more supposed slums to make way for another GM factory that — surprise, surprise — created nowhere near the jobs they claimed at the outset.

        3) Around 2007, IIRC, the Fed confiscated a whole bunch of land along the Rio Grande to erect border fences. Of course, they offered “fair market value”, but how fair is that ever, really?

        Kelo v. New London found the SC enshrining in law the public taking of private land so long as it it’s “economic development”. Apparently the United States SC finds Keith’s measure of the situation to be more of a guideline than an absolute right.

    4. Nikkikat

      Well Drumlin, it sounds like a great idea to me. Wall Street stole my hard earned savings back in 2008. They stole millions of homes from people then also.
      Ruining neighborhoods with Airbnb rentals and just generally sucking up and destroying peoples lives by taking their rental homes. I despise these sharks. Filling everything with concrete would serve them right, cost a lot of money and give all of us a good laugh on them. People need to strike back. Not a chance that old Joe or any of the worthless jerks in DC will lift a finger to help them. These are the same wall street demons that are causing the destruction of the planet.

    5. lance ringquist

      they keep voting for nafta democrats, you would think the newly elected nafta democrats in georgia would help them, if they can’t, why can’t they push clyburn and nafta joe biden to help them. no wait, nafta joe helped nafta billy clinton deregulate the vampires.

    6. Lost in OR

      This is an excellent example for the recent discussion of violence against property where no people get hurt. This, taken with yesterdays article of excess capital looking for a home (yes, pun intended), portends a dismal future for the most of us.

      Sabot Now!

  5. Carolinian

    The rail idea sounds great although the containers would still have to be placed on truck beds for delivery. One reason there are so many rail trails is that the spur lines that used to carry freight into cities like mine have been abandoned.

    But the main rail lines still exist and are being used and maintained. Surely going back to rail would be less technologically challenging that robot driven electric trucks.

    1. upstater

      The majority of merchandise freight is already carried in containers. The major point of the Washington Monthly article [there are many great links there!] regarding rail freight is that deregulation allowed railroads to price certain types of freight out of the market and this has accelerated under Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). This has been pushed by Wall Street and amounts to asset-stripping on the grandest of scales. PSR operates fewer, longer and slower trains with fewer workers and locomotives. It is no surprise that the industry spends far more on share buybacks than on CapEx, most of which is for replacement and not capacity.. The article pictures Hunter Harrison, a particularly repulsive creature that misled 3 different railroads to PSR, ending his career as a sick old man toting an oxygen bottle for leading CSX for less than a year with an $80M signing bonus.

      Deregulation means there is no price discovery or transparency by allowing secret contracts for pricing freight. Smaller shippers are at a huge disadvantage. Prior to the Carter-led deregulation, freight rates were subject to oversight of the Interstate Commerce Commission and were generally public information. Some of the largest customers in regulated days had contracts for entire “unit train” movements (e.g., coal, ores, grain, etc), often by purchasing their own cars and I suppose auto companies could negotiate better pricing. But small customers were not held hostage or purposely driven away.

      Carload freight (e.g., boxcars) is what has been intentionally disappearing, either shifted to containers or completely to trucks). Carload freight is inherently more labor-intensive than handling of containers. As the article points out, containers are taken to facilities often far from the actual final destination and transferred to trailer beds. In most of NY state freight is basically dumped at 4 or 5 locations and then trucked. It is even worse in congested areas such as the Acela corridor or California. 40 years ago, carloads were delivered to the final destination by local switching crews. In Syracuse, we had perhaps 30 “locals” employing 3 or 4 crew members that switched cars in the yard and delivered them to customers. There are no more locals. Locally, today several container trains of 200+ cars drop, say 20 flatcars loaded with 80 containers, which are placed onto trailer beds and are delivered over a wide area of 10,000 sq mi.

      Obviously, a lot of the “missing” freight is the result of globablization and deindustrialization. But some of this has been driven by the rising costs and de-marketing of carload freight.

      What is most interesting to me is the amount of produce that used to be handled from California and the west — this traffic is almost completely gone. Locally we would have perhaps 3 or 6 daily carloads of produce and they’d be at the customer doors on the morning of the 4th day after leaving California. There were entire trains of 80 to 100 cars for the Hunts Point Terminal Market in NYC, the largest wholesale produce market in the United States. Virtually all this traffic is all gone to trucks because it was priced off the railroad and poor service quality.

      The article also hits on electrification of freight railroads; the US has none. Russia has electrified almost all major rail lines and Switzerland is 95% electric, both countries mandate most freight moves by rail. In addition to environmental benefits, electrified trains accelerate and stop more quickly that diesel powered trains resulting is higher capacity. It does not mention Positive Train Control, which is basically a GPS signaling system Congress mandated after a fatal wreck in 2008; the private railroads never would have done this without the mandate. Railroads fought it tooth and nail and it took a dozen years to implement. It was simply overlayed on the existing 100 year old signaling system — a tragic mistake because a high-tech systems could have added much capacity.

      Passenger trains are a major focus of the article. Let it suffice to say that the private railroads simply do not want any passenger trains and they do almost anything to discourage passenger service. The federal government has given the industry a pass by not enforcing the law that created Amtrak that gives priority to passenger trains. In NY State, CSX has effectively blocked faster, more reliable service for 2 decades without any consequences. There is an EIS in limbo for a decade that would have added tracks in upstate NY to allow for “higher” speed conventional trains. Amtrak, the feds and state do virtually nothing to push this forward.

      Let it suffice to say the climate would benefit from most freight and short-haul air travel being diverted to electrified railroads. Watching this mess get worser and worser since I was a rail buff teen in the late 1960s and a unionized railroad worker in the 70s and early 80s, I have ZERO optimism that it will change in my lifetime…

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the extensive info. My town has been a bit of a rail hub in the past and I still watch the trains when convenient. They are almost all containers except for the livestock and chemical cars. We do have a few plants on the outskirts of town that still get rail deliveries. BASF is one.

        Sounds like the decline is all about the rail worker unions and, of course, the greater flexibility of tractor trailer delivery. Obviously they are not going to build a spur to every Walmart but maybe to Walmart warehouses?

        Or perhaps even more obviously they aren’t going to do anything unless the government makes them. Sounds like Europe and Russia better prospects.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      My impression from uninformed scuttlebutt was that those trail right of ways are still available to the railroads if conditions change? Would love to be corrected by informed scuttlebutt.

      1. upstater

        IIRC with a formal designation of rails-to-trails the ROW can return to an active railroad. But I do not recall any instance where this may have happened. Not all converted rail beds are so designated. They sure make for great cycling with easy grades!

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Close enough. I guess I’ll put it on my to find out about list.

          I would approve of this kind of ROW, because by the time it is invoked, there would be light rail in the middle of our divided highways and much wider bicycle precincts. *Puff Puff*

          There is one spot on the Gainesville to Hawthorne trail (Florida!) that has an absolutely insane grade. I mean, It’s hard on an electric bike. Maybe an EPA cutout?

  6. Terry Flynn

    Regarding Covid-19 being around earlier than we thought, the devil is in the detail of statistical statements such as

    The idea that a derived, B.1, variant was present in Italy in Sept 2019, but remained unnoticed for some 6 months, also flies in the face of epidemiological data – e.g. a doubling time of 2-5 days in the absence of mitigation efforts. >35 doublings = millions of infections

    When you get down to small numbers with more limited “human networks” then these “rules of thumb” break down. An isolated community can be infected and if nobody gets onto an aeroplane or goes to a party in Rome then the virus can burn out or go back to infecting people linearly in one family and keep a “chain” going for a number of weeks before it hits the “key person who links to wider world” – just as “things can go exponential easily”, things can “burn out easily if introduced to a group that happens not to be suitable transmittors”.

    The “mysterious infection” that ripped through my family first week of Feb 2020 was supposedly “way too early to be Covid-19” – the initial line that was spun by local GPs. Then the “UK patient zero” was gradually pushed further and further back and is presently the infamous “York Student” (around start of 2020). I lived in Sydney for 6 years and became expert in minimising cost/hassle in getting to Nottingham. People from East Asia/Oceania save a LOT of money (LHR landing fees) if they transfer via somewhere like Frankfurt and fly direct to Birmingham or East Midlands (assuming they want to get to the Northern half of England). Yet my father’s company all, one by one, got this mystery virus starting with his Slovakian employee who was very ill at Xmas 2019.

    Anecdatally, the thing is, I happen to know a specialist medical doctor locally who told me that the “doctors’ mess chat” was about “just an uptick of ICU pneumonia-like cases” at the hospital. Not enough to be flagged, but enough to raise an eyebrow. It went under the radar. Until it didn’t when they got round to analysing blood samples retained of loads of patients in the hospital here in Nottingham and realised that the first confirmed UK institutional Covid-19 case was here at the QMC, Nottingham and had been infected in probably early February.

    One final thought. I watched a documentary last night about when cats were domesticated and the consensus is that it happened MULTIPLE times in MULTIPLE parts of the world. Now, I’m not suggesting Covid-19 arose multiple times, but it could well have been TRANSMITTED multiple times from an as yet “true patient zero” – with some “paths” dying out (Italy?), others causing a small outbreak that subsequently got “overwhelmed via a different influx” (Nottingham) and yet others that were the classic epidemiological ones that, via infecting enough people with “eligible contacts”, caused it to follow the “mathematical relationship” mentioned.

    Med stats is my specialty not infectious epidemiology so am happy to be corrected regarding the nature of infection. But I DO know how “numbers connect” in small samples and when “generally accepted statistical laws” break down. We need more data from those crucial months of Sept 2019 to March 2020 to even begin to have certainty as to “when covid-19 really got into the wild”.

    1. Greg Taylor

      Agree. Transmission is highly variable, most infected don’t transmit while relatively few seem to transmit widely. You’d expect lots of local virus “burn outs” when people bring a new virus into a community, transmit it to very few people who then fail to transmit it further. The virus won’t take hold in a community until it infects enough spreaders. It could have easily burned out multiple times in 2019 Italy before taking hold in 2020.

    2. Terry Flynn

      I’d like to also clarify something so I don’t sound “gittish” (Britishism) here: this is to show that Lambert finding the “rule of thumb” tweet persuading was not some “big no-no”. I myself dealt with a lot of complex statistical issues in my career with stuff that really required a “rule of thumb” if you were to give a quick opinion. Sadly I can no longer remember the ones I used regarding sensitivity and specificity of tests to instantly say “that test is good/rubbish” since I haven’t used them for years.

      I’ll give an example which will bore some regulars who’ve heard me say this before but it’s mega-important in medical statistics. Consider an outcome that isn’t continuous but discrete (so cure/not…. or live/die…..as opposed to your systolic BP reading which is a number). In a clinical trial all that is observed is [0,1] for a participant. You WANT to know the mean treatment effect on some “latent” (unobserved) scale and its consistency (variance).

      Trouble is, as https://www.jstor.org/stable/1928444 (Yatchew & Griliches 1985) showed back in 1985 the likelihood function of the logit or probit function (necessary to turn these [0,1] datapoints into some sort of “likelihood of cure” or whatever) is nasty. Very nasty. The mean and variance are multiplicative. It’s like a teacher telling you “OK I’m giving you a vector of outcomes called ‘z’. The equation is xy=z. Solve for x”.

      See the problem? All stats programs go “familyblog – OK the variance is y and is probably 1 so let’s just say y=1”. So if z=8 then x=8. Trouble is if y=4 then x=2. YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW YOU ARE WRONG! One equation, two unknowns. One of the (few) winners of the Economics “Nobel” that I respect is McFadden. He saw this. Recognised he needed a 2nd equation to solve for x. Collected the right data and thus the BART in the Bay Area was a roaring success.

      You’ll ask “why isn’t this better known?” Why indeed. Read the small print the manuals to Stata etc and it’ll warn you. But nobody does. Plus people using these “limited dependent variable models” don’t like the idea of having to collect a SECOND dataset to solve for x properly. USUALLY for physiological outcomes “y=1” hasn’t failed them too much. So the charade continues. It ABSOLUTELY breaks down for ALL VOTING/ATTITUDINAL/ETC MODELS. But crapification means we’re stuck with models that are wrong.

      So my attitude is “whenever I see ANY paper quoted online based on a logit/probit model, I look straight to whether they showed awareness that they LITERALLY chose ONE possible solution out of AN INFINITE number. If they don’t, I stop reading.” McFadden got this and there is a legitimate question as to why the Nobel people never “went back to this issue”. If I were bad-minded I might speculate that they realised their “mistake” and decided “we are not opening Pandora’s box again”. Lots of lovely grant money will be halved as people have to collect TWO datasets, not one, for every study. But I’m badminded.

      But returning to the original point – the “rule of thumb” about how many people will be infected given some initial conditions is easily thrown off if any of a number of small human behaviours are followed. Just like the rule will hold firm NO MATTER WHAT HUMANS DO if a large number of people across the world get it.

      1. Raymond Sim

        In many ways the illusion of control amounts to a tacit assumption that one’s axioms are complete. Whereas in real life we are effectively operating with not merely incomplete, but actually self-contradictory sets of assumptions, and can feel very intellectually rigorous while doing so.

        In my opinion the R number is a reified fiction whose attributes largely pertain to that other very destructive reified fiction, droplet transmission. It tends to lead people to imagine the pandemic as a sort of weather phenomenon like humidity.

    3. curlydan

      I agree with you that it’s entirely possible to see COVID in those early timeframes, and the virus could easily hit a dead end or go really slow at first. If I were a medical researcher, I’d keep hitting any and all blood etc samples from Wuhan, Italy, and Iran to see what pops up further and further back in time.

      I just finished the book “Spillover” by David Quammen from 2012 that had a long discussion on the origin of AIDS (and presciently warned about the “next big one”). After years of research and scientific papers, it was finally estimated that AIDS came from chimps and spilled over to humans around 1908–probably in the isolated jungles of Cameroon. Now AIDS in my understanding is more of a slow burning virus and way different than COVID, but it took 70+ years and some big mutations for it to find a way to move quickly among the urban centers of NY, SF, LA, etc and actually become noticed among doctors.

    4. voislav

      If you read the paper, there seems to be a systematic issue with handling and storage of recent samples and not early detection of Covid. Their pre- and post-pandemic (August 2019 and on) positive rate is similar, while their control group (2018 cohort) is fully negative. To quote from the paper:

      ” In fact, all samples that we identified as SARS-CoV-273 2-positive (pre-pandemic and pandemic cases) were only positive after two rounds of amplification and were consistently negative in standard Real-Time PCR-based diagnostic protocols”

      Additionally, they report that all children under the age of one tested positive, both pre- and post-pandemic. So it looks like there is some process that is causing a weak false positive test in more recent samples, unrelated to the pandemic, but they go on to ignore that fact and discuss the results as if they are a result of early virus occurrence. What I’d like to know is how reviewers at the Lancet let this go, there are clear methodology issues that are tainting the results.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. As I say, the mechanics of infectious epidemiology ain’t my thing plus I do caring rather than detailed paper analysis these days. Sensitivity and specificity failures definitely are relevant so I take your comments seriously. Plus I don’t like the Lancet but that’s due to their disproportionate rate of scandal and poor peer review…. For the record I’ve never submitted to them.

        A followup comment in moderation will explain the stats of why *theoretically* we can observe these early limited outbreaks that peter out.

      2. Dean

        I agree with your comments that this manuscript has serious flaws.

        However, in defense of The Lancet it has not been published but rather posted to the Lancet preprint service which states:

        “Preprints available here are not Lancet publications or necessarily under review with a Lancet journal. These preprints are early stage research papers that have not been peer-reviewed.”

      3. R

        Is this a real problem with the paper?

        Some reasonable arguments are that:
        – all the samples are coming from patients hospitalised with measles/rubella-suspect rash. These are not drawn at random. As covid symptoms include such a rash and presentation in infants is variable and at least initially non-respiratory, why should they not have had it?
        – the pandemic samples already tested negative to Covid. The hypothesis is the rash had more virus present than the hospital samples (but I grant you, nested PCR in the hospital might have given a positive)
        – the October sample had antibodies capable of neutralising cultured virus
        – Note also that the rate of rashes testing negative to measles and rubella had doubled in the period.

        For me, the likelihood we underestimate the timeline for the first outbreak is high. Why should it not have been in Italy in Sept/Oct?

        On the P-town outbreak, which wag wrote that the approach “bears fruit”. ;-)

    5. PlutoniumKun

      If – and its a huge if – Covid was circulating earlier, the obvious potential spreading event was the Wuhan Military Games in October 2019. Originally, the Chinese were spreading the theory that it was introduced to China from the US during the games, but more recently its been suggested that the virus may have been circulating from late summer around Wuhan – the Republican Congressional addendum report released last week claimed that there was supporting evidence to suggest that there was an outbreak at the time in Wuhan (mostly using analyses of online search terms in the city).

      Its also been reported that Italian, French and Swedish athletes reported coming down with serious illness at the games. The source of the story though is pretty dubious (i.e. Radio Free Asia).

      A former colleague of mine has lived for several years in Wuhan, working at the University, and returned last year. Annoyingly, I never got to meet up and talk to him when he was back in Ireland. I’d love to know if he heard any rumours at the time. One day I’ll catch up with him and try to get some informed gossip.

      Its just one hypothesis, but the idea that the virus emerged a little earlier than thought (either naturally or via lab leak) in September/October, was stomped on quietly by the Chinese authorities, spread via athletes at the games, and then re-emerged when the Chinese thought they’d successfully eliminated it, would seem consistent with many of the facts we know and some of the more puzzling aspects of its spread.

      Incidentally, to add to your anecdotes, a Polish neighbour of mine was home in February 2020 and is absolutely convinced it was circulating in schools then, there was a major outbreak of a peculiar ‘flu’ in his home town – he actually returned to Ireland early as he was worried about his son who has health issues.

      1. K.k

        There was an article in the Global Times recently in which it was proposed that the virus was circulating in the u.s much earlier in 2019. The scientists looked at the lung scans from the sudden, mysterious vape illness that appeared in the u.s. and claimed they looked mighty close to covid lung damage. They also claimed it would be easy to put this hypothesis to rest if the u.s would test the blood samples from those cases and share them with the world. And of course the article also brought up Fort Dedrick.

  7. Tommy

    Can anyone produce the name of any of Kamala Harris’ former staff members that still support her?

    She’s like everyone’s ex-wife with an additional long line of rejected suitors and broken engagements.

    “A longtime top staff member of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after The Sacramento Bee inquired about a $400,000 harassment and retaliation settlement resulting from his time working for Harris at the California Department of Justice.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why are these stories being released to us among the mere public?

      I think maybe the Inner DemLords were hoping that Kamala would be a smoooove tawkin’ master conman like Obama, and they are discovering that she is really a nasty and brittle cackling witch like Hillary. And they are realizing that if they run a cackling witch in 2024, that Trump will likely get re-elected. Or if not Trump, then whatever other FascisTrumpanon gargoyle the Republicans decide to run.

      1. Nikkikat

        Kamala is stupid to boot. No she can’t spin the golden lies of Obama, but I bet that was the plan. She does have the same hubristic attitude and ego.

        1. Tom Doak

          What was the plan? To make her weaknesses apparent? They already were; without the VP nomination she would have had no chance of ever winning the primary in 2024 [or any year thereafter] – Californians voted wholeheartedly against her in the 2020 primary.

  8. Jason Boxman

    Federal experts have predicted those communities would experience large increases in Covid-19 cases where access to sufficient health care is limited.

    How about instead of sending them money for marketing, we can send them money to strengthen and expanse rural hospitals, rather than leaving it to the failed magic of the marketplace where we’ve seen dozens of rural hospitals close up shop or get brought out by extractive private equality and completely hollowed out.

    Bandaids on a gunshot wound.

  9. howseth

    “California and Nevada got redder again. This map blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a banjo to be heard. Previous release:”

    Covid: I’m in the socialist paradise of Santa Cruz, California – and yet – I play the banjo. I’m not infected – or infecting – quite yet.

  10. doug

    But they do not generate the kind of protection in the nasal passages that would be needed to block all infection.

    Easy choice for the CEO. Develop something to give once, or develop something that needs to be given over and over…
    This has been the path for too long due to for profit ‘health care’…

  11. Wukchumni

    …ode to Parry (quit pro) Cuomo

    Don’t look so sad
    I know it’s over
    But life goes on
    And this world keeps on turning, yeah

    Let’s just be glad
    We have this time to spend together
    There is no need
    To watch the networks with news churning

    Lay your head (lay your head)
    Upon my liplock, sweet baby
    Hold your warm (and tender body) and tender body
    Close to mine
    Feel the whisper of unwanted advances
    Blowin’ softly against my torso
    Oh, late at night
    (Make believe) make believe you love me
    (Make believe) one more time
    For the good times
    For the good times

    I’ll get along
    And I’m sure you’ll find another Governor
    But baby, please remember
    I’ll be here (I’ll be here)
    I’m gonna stay right here
    And if you should ever find you need me, yeah
    Don’t say a word about tomorrow
    Ahh, forever and ever and ever and ever


        1. Pat

          Jeff Zucker is so vile and such a stupid programming executive I actually bought that for a moment. But not even Jeff will touch Andy…this year.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      There are 2700 pages of legal gobbledygook in that Senate Bill. Bills like this should be illegal.

      1. Nikkikat

        All you need to see is the the word BIPARTISAN……those are the bills with the biggest screw you. These are all of the worst slimy Senators we have in DC.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        The CARES Act was only 300+ pages of legal gobbledygook. I cannot imagine what kinds of poison 2700 pages of legal gobbledygook could encase. We are well past the point where we can allow “… all the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out”. And the mud is grown so very very deep and dark.

  12. Mikel

    “But they do not generate the kind of protection in the nasal passages that would be needed to block all infection. That’s called ‘sterilizing immunity.’” • Holy [family blog]. Now they tell us?

    Yeah, now they tell us they put the sterilizing immunity ideas on the back burner for the airborne, areosol virus that they initially told us not to wear masks for and then announce it’s debatable where the virus originated.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Ahh, I avoided that this morning. I hope real anthropologists are not this death metal (Lower case, ’cause I don’t have a gripe with ‘Death Metal’). Given infant mortality, I would assume anyone who made it to adulthood in 10th century Finland would regarded as not entirely hated by the gods. How did this “ultramasculine environment” avoid killing all the “holy men” required by Indo-European society?

      1. Paradan

        Church’s opinion on stuff like that tended to be that God had made them that way, and therefore there was nothing wrong with them, but they did make you choose whether you were a boy or girl, therefore the whole non-binary thing is BS.

        King Charles of Spain’s champion was a hermaphrodite, and one the greatest swordsman of all time.

  13. Bazarov

    Posted this in today’s Links as well, but I was kind of late to the party over there–so I figured I’d post it here too:

    China appears to be close to a working thorium salt reactor, having solved one of the major problems that arose in the 1940s and 1950s: the super-heated salts corrode reactor piping. Chinese scientists claim to have designed a new alloy of “nickel and molybdenum and silicon carbide” that can withstand 1000-degree molten salt without cracking.

    Moreover, technical developments in other fields over the past 70 years greatly increased the chances of success this time around. For instance, salt pumps have come a long way, as they’re used to cool solar arrays. Chinese engineers need only modify already existing pump technologies for use in specialized nuclear-thorium contexts.

    A working thorium reactor is a major breakthrough in climate change mitigation, especially for arid regions of the world, which do not have access to water needed to cool traditional reactors (thorium reactors are salt-cooled).

    Construction of the 2MW proof-of-concept reactor is set to be complete in a month, with tests beginning as early as September. The Chinese have invested billions in nuclear research, which they see as essential to meeting their carbon reduction goals.


    1. The Rev Kev

      A major breakthrough in climate change mitigation? They have to be stopped! Think of all the capital that Wall Street has tied up in coal plants, fracking and nuclear power plants. Too many executive bonuses depend on not disturbing the present status quo – even if we are setting the planet on fire. The west will now have to place an embargo on China to isolate it to make sure that this technology never leaves its shores. Either that or we bomb Wuwei city to destroy that facility to keep the world safe for capitalists. It could mean war but that is a risk that Wall street is willing to take.

  14. Earl Erland

    This afternoon NPR was doing a segment on Covid Vaccines. It included an ethicist from NYU arguing for a class action lawsuits against the unvaccinated, an observation by the host, pulled from her nether regions that Covid cannot mutate in the vaccinated, and a preview of an interview tomorrow with some guy who is really REALLY angry about his status as a vaccinated individual with break through Covid because he is certain that Covid is spread only by the unvaccinated. Full blown Fox news approach.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps we should start referring to Fox News as Red Fox News, and we should start referring to NPR as Blue Fox News.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Probably better to watch the Red Green show instead of any news…

        Lots of clips on the spy tube.

      2. rowlf

        I thought Blue Anon worked well to balance out Q-Anon. Some people like their hobbies. Left nostril, right nostril, same snot.

  15. Michael

    centre for the dazed and confused’ — the CDC

    by Peggy Hubbard, an African-American Republican running for the US Senate

    Great way to start off the afternoon!

  16. archnj

    On PSR – yes, the core motivator is asset stripping and employee reduction in order to temporarily boost income and lower costs, at the price of service disruptions and long-term loss of flexibility. There are a few positive elements at the margins around scheduling efficiency that in theory could improve service, but in practice don’t because the operations of the railroad overall are being squeezed hard. What makes it really bad right now is that all the major railroads are pushing this hokum at the same time; in prior years, only CP or only CN might be going through PSR and the others could pick up the slack. No more. None of the major systems can bring back their capacity or hire people fast enough after PSR-driven cuts to get things moving properly again as traffic is surging. A major electrification program is so diametrically opposed to current operating philosophy on the freight railroads that it is hard to see it being implemented absent serious government pressure and funding.

  17. dftbs

    With regard to elites moving, this is really only applicable to those within the dollar system, and I wouldn’t characterize the movement as necessarily physical, but financial. I would say this dynamic is behind the seemingly irrational demand for Dollars despite the obviously plethoric amounts of USD supplied by the central bank. Foreign elites need these dollars in order to buy more dollar denominated assets, think Atlanta based REITS, which exist under legal regime(USA) which actively aggrandizes their(capital’s) power over that of the host society.

    We read news stories that paint the Chinese as stupid for destroying share holder value of Fintech and Ed-tech companies, and for incentivizing their millionaires and billionaires to leave. Those elites will leave their physical capital in China, and take their paper wealth (USD) to America; where they’ll freely unload their externalities on to what is left of the commons, and do their best to contribute to our societal collapse.

    Now imagine if you had some dollar denominated wealth and wanted to move outside the dollar system, take your “nut” as it were and move to China, Russia, Cuba(why not)? Of course the more egalitarian of those systems wouldn’t necessarily want you; but I think your biggest hurdle would be the Treasury department. Although I hope I’m wrong, and some enterprising squirrel has some advice.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It will take years of patient work to remove all of Cuomo’s left behinds and embeds and proxies and feltrav symps buried throughout the system. If anyone in New York even wants to try it. And of course Cuomo will be using all his forces still in power to get revenge on every possible person and institution for having resigned him in this manner.

    2. Lou Anton

      Got the tap on the shoulder. Wonder who made the call. Like night and day from the fight-like-hell attitude on display last week.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    About your railroad-directed question . . . ” An ugly picture. I’ve heard readers fulminate over “precision railroading.” Is that what’s going on here? ” . . .

    As a mere amateur onlooker and blogreader, it looks to me like straight-up asset stripping and value-stripping. “Running” the railroad is beside the point. Selling off every possible piece or abandoning every piece which doesn’t yield “enough” money seems the point.

  19. VietnamVet

    Thomas Frank linked here earlier discusses the professional overclass and populism but can only be published overseas. The corporate media cannot, will not, report on the current western political economic system. Jimmy Carter has described it as a plutocracy. He should know. Georgia was the heart of Southern planation capitalism. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt saved American capitalism from itself last century. But when the USA took over the Western Empire after WWII, American plutocracy merged with European and Third World Oligarchs to become Globalists. Noblesse oblige vanished.

    In essence, the North American peoples became colonial subjects of foreigners. The local born technocrats, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, are autistic nerds unable to jump in front of the marchers. But a NY casino oligarch, Donald Trump, was able and did. The Globalists and their managerial Overseers used anything in the book from Russiagate to the Coronavirus Pandemic to get him gone. He refused to go.

    In the end on January 6th, VP Mike Pence stabbed Donald Trump in the back and declared Joe Biden President. The White House is once again run by the upper crust of the rotating-door professionals. Yet, the incompetent response of the US federal government to the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to date. The managers are all the same.

    Democracy has two great virtues; it allows peaceful transfer of power and provides a means of input the needs of the people to politicians. If the US Constitution and Rule of Law are not restored, the next President again will be selected by the ones with the most power – the Praetorian Guards. It will not be peaceful.

  20. Soredemos

    The treatment of Psaki is deeply revealing of the psyche of the modern American press corp, and what it reveals is horrifying. Her entire job is to lie, at minimum to spin events in the best possible light for the administration, and at worst to outright engage in deceit. The media either genuinely doesn’t understand this, or at least pretends not to.

    It’s not wise to idealize journalists of the past, because even fifty or sixty years ago they mostly weren’t that great. But I can’t imagine a reporter of the Cronkite era literally gushing to a White House spokesperson, asking them to promise not to lie to the press. How did we get to a place where a freaking press secretary (and a really mediocre one at that) is being pushed by the media as a celebrity?

    (behold the limits of propaganda however: no average person gives a crap about the White House press secretary. The only people who care about ‘Psaki bombs’ are the media and weird Twitter and reddit losers)

    Do liberals and the media genuinely believe that Trump invented lying, and now that he’s gone there simply won’t be any more lies? Is this what they genuinely think? Is that what our ‘journalists’ are learning in ‘journalism’ school?

      1. Hazel Down

        The second sentence of the second paragraph of that Vogue piece was outlandish. It is getting harder and harder to manage my cognitive dissonance disorder

  21. Raymond Sim

    Regarding the possible early presence of SARS-CoV-2 in Italy: One really needs to know how a problem might have been detected before one can assess whether it could have been missed.

    Back at the beginning of the pandemic, when I first realized there was absolutely no worthwhile surveillance system in place to protect us, I tried to reckon out how bad it might be before it got noticed via emergency room visits and hospitalisations, or an outbreak in a prison or old folks home. I concluded that the greater Bay Area/Sacramento region could easily have had 10,000 cases without it being noticed, and that a lot of people’s fates were going to be determined by how long it took the virus to kill a bunch of people all in one place.

    I also concluded that if the initial introduction were small or widely dispersed, then it wasn’t wildly unlikely that three months could pass before anybody got a clue. I wish I’d kept notes on my sources and calculations, but it didn’t seem worth the trouble at the time.

    I don’t think it’s a suprising result though, The low rates of serious illness keep people from discerning the pattern. And I believe Italy has far fewer people living in old folks homes than we do. As I imagine everyone recalls, our warehousing of the elderly is what provided us with the mass casualty events we couldn’t ignore.

    1. Sy Krass

      I doubt it, a stealth outbreak with no noticeable corresponding number of deaths in hospitals, and then suddenly six months later a large uptick in deaths in March and April? I call BS

      1. Raymond Sim

        No bs, a noticeable uptick wouldn’t necessarily be noticed if nobody knew there was a novel pathogen about. A few extra oldsters succumbing to ‘flu’ wouldn’t necessarily raise alarms.

        Also, when visualising the spread of the virus you are very likely unconciously influenced by the baleful influence of droplet theory. You have to bear in mind how few infected people ever transmit the virus. It’s quite plausible that an initial introduction that was small or widely dispersed could splutter along for months before anyone perceived a serious problem.

  22. Tom Stone

    I sent a link to the FLCCC website to my Sister who is a retired nurse and teacher of nursing.
    I got a response in less than 5 minutes “This is Garbage”.
    I asked if she had looked at the qualifications of the MD’s involved or read their suggested treatment protocol?
    Her response “I don’t have to, it’s Garbage”.
    She is in favor of a Vaccine mandate…with stiff penalties for non compliance.

    1. Carla

      I have a relative who’s a retired nurse. She refuses all vaccines, including those against flu, pneumonia, and Covid-19. She’s a Democrat.

      1. Donna

        My sister who has been vaccinated is superintendent of a school district. She formed a relationship with one of the doctor’s who is a member of the FLCCC. She taught his son when he was in middle school. She will be posting vaccine protocols and the FLCCC protocols in all school infirmaries in the county. So word is getting out. (Are there too many pronouns in this comment….it is late to be posting?)

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Police Allege Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Concealed Child Sex Abuse”

    As I have mentioned in earlier comments, this is the church that Scotty from Marketing belongs to and who can be seen there with his arm raised in the air. The article mentions that Scotty tried to get this guy invited to a function at Trump’s White House but was nixed so suggests that this was because a background check revealed all this sordidness of child abuse. Scotty would have had more luck if it had been a Hillary Clinton White House as this guy would have hit it off with Bill.

  24. Darthbobber

    One caveat to Beijer’s DSA story.(no idea of the methodology of data collection, so that’s another partial caveat.)

    He fails to mention that the median age of DSAers is 33, well younger than the “prime” earning age of most jobs/professions. And they’re compared here to the population as a whole.

    And of course only income is discussed, not wealth/assets. And of course, with this age group most “intergenerational wealth transmission” remains in the future.

  25. Carolinian

    How air conditioning made Southern California


    Among the first uses were movie theaters.

    And there’s a Water Cooler deep background politics connection as well.

    Steven Johnson, in his book “How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World,” makes the remarkable but not implausible claim that California Gov. Ronald Reagan was able to become president in part because of air conditioning: AC made otherwise inhospitable zones from Arizona to Florida livable year-round, which led “more conservative retirees” to move south and west, and take their popular and electoral votes with them.

  26. allan

    Socialize the losses, privatize the gains, liquidate the public lands:

    Multibillion-dollar land sales target imposed on NSW departments [Sydney Morning Herald]

    The NSW government has imposed a $3 billion land and property sales target on its departments, including education, to buffer the state’s budget and bankroll future infrastructure projects.

    Ministerial documents marked “sensitive” show the goal was set for government departments to meet by 2023 to “manage fiscal headroom and fund infrastructure”.

    The briefing document, obtained by the NSW opposition under an order of Parliament and seen by the Herald, reveals the target is separate to the government’s broad privatisation plan, or asset recycling, that is being used to pay for much of the state’s roads, rail and other infrastructure. …

    What happens Down Under doesn’t stay Down Under.
    Coming soon to a failing imperial power near you.

  27. a fax machine

    re: railroads and trains

    Talking about strictly technical matters, electrification has been studied by California’s ARB for a while now. Serious studies go back to about 2015 and indicate that it *could* be done – however given American freight practices it would probably be an extremely high voltage DC system on a third rail. Such a system allows for backwards compatibility with existing locomotives and also does not restrict overhieght cars; at the cost of removing all road/rail grade crossings. In the Socal Air District, this is not a huge issue given the Alameda Corridor and Alameda Corridor East projects – the ARB’s reports suppose that the electric power system would only be used for mainline and road freight within LA, with diesels coming on for last-mile deliveries into businesses (a reason to encourage precision railroad scheduling that is done at controlled terminals instead) and when they enter/leave the Socal Air District @ Oxnard, Victorville and Banning. Surfliner (public-owned track) electrification would permit fully electric power from Los Angeles to Tijuana. The Capitol Corridor has also suggested as such, as part of a much grander plan to buy their part of Union Pacific’s Martinez Subdivision in exchange for reconstruction/completion of the adjacent Sacramento Northern route, which would permit electric train power between Sacramento and San Jose by way of Oakland (and eventually Stockton as well per Prop 1A).



    As it pertains to the business matters, the more ground the RRs cede the more damage is done to highways which is made up for with higher fuel taxes. Eventually this model will break, and many would argue that it is already broken with commuter traffic considered. Such is why Union Pacific does not fully exit San Francisco, Cupertino and Santa Cruz as their normal business strategy demands – the additional truck traffic spawned will be considered unacceptable to planners who, working directly with their customers, would create an alternative. This already exists in Sonoma Co with the now defunct NCRA and current SMART takeover of local freight service. States that are prepared to have public freight rail services will not see reductions in local rail freight, for investors it is too dangerous. Suppose Biden himself puts mail back on Amtrak, that decision alone would encourage the sort of public sector intervention that RR investors do not want.

    (this can also be seen in plans to not upgrade 6/680 thru Altamont Pass as it would hurt rail freight, but this is a much larger and more technical discussion about Tri-Valley area transportation)

    These ideas already exist in planners heads, the only missing elements is action. In my view, action is inevitable as more public rail systems are built out – if we already build all these trains for daytime passengers, why not double our ROI and run freight at night? The bigger the public network is, the easier this becomes.

      1. a fax machine

        Every reduction in train service means an increase in road service. To use San Francisco’s example, it was why they decided to keep their train despite Southern Pacific’s divestment of it in 1985. Peninsula freight service is a unique thing local politicos consider because it’s tied into the local Redwood City Port, which prints money for it’s owner San Mateo County – both imports and exports of bulk materials (including cement sourced from the local Permanente Quarry). Proposals for an intermodal crane pop in every now and then, as does proposals for a ferry dock which Biden’s infrastructure bill finances. More cynically, it’s also why the County spent around $15 million installing a (since deactivated) rail spur into the Cemex plant adjacent the Kelly Moore Paint factory – it also influences the high-speed rail project to about ~$5 million across modifications needed to HSR trains (namely flip-down gangways) to permit unrestricted freight car access. SMART, to their credit, improved on this in every way by installing gauntlet tracks at all their stations. This is all done in the service of keeping customers (local heavy industry) happy and not moving out.

        This becomes more serious when proposals to expand Caltrain through a rebuilt Dumbarton bridge and through a rebuilt Los Gatos tunnel are considered. If built, Caltrain would be a modestly sized ~200 miles doing most regional work… and could solicit private financing. With a larger statewide program coupling it (somehow) with SMART, it could expand into the low 1000s. Building an interstate program off that, such as starting with Amtrak mail trains, would create a major business problem for UP.

        some links (some older, some newer) that mention the issues anecdotally but their mention in the first place is extremely notable on it’s own





        note: the last link pretty much supports the PSR hate (justified) although in excruciating detail in regards to the Tri-Valley and Altamont Pass, a discussion of with I could write much more on. I include it for reference, insofar that passenger agencies are increasingly aware that freight has to move efficiently as well, and this problem is ultimately baked into the classic highways vs railways debate.

        Arguably, voters have already approved the foundation for this via Prop 1A. I beilive that if such a system can be built, then a greater public project becomes inevitable. Same for power: if we can build a statewide power grid for a train, we can build another for general use.

  28. The Rev Kev

    There’s something the matter with Oregon’s leadership – ‘Oregon governor signs bill removing reading, writing, & math requirements for high school kids, to help ‘students of color’ ‘. I don’t think that she is doing any of those kids any favour here. It smacks of lowering standards rather than helping kids meet those standards-


  29. a fax machine

    While looking for the documents I linked above I stumbled upon these recent articles which might be of interest:


    ” Will US consumers throttle back on buying stuff? […] Levy attributed the current trends to a sea-change in consumer behavior triggered by COVID-19’s extended duration. The longer a behavioral change lasts, the more embedded it becomes even after the original motivation for the change — in the case of COVID, protecting one’s health — has disappeared, Levy said. By contrast, events like natural disasters have relatively short shelf lives, so it is easy for consumers who changed their behavior to revert to their original habits, he said. ”


    ” About 45 miles southwest of Chicago, Joliet serves as a major intermodal hub. The public-private partnership includes a 1.5-mile extension of Houbolt Road in the form of a tolled bridge that would span the Des Plaines River. The new structure would create an important link, offering two lanes of traffic in each direction between Interstate 80 and a cluster of intermodal facilities. A major freight route, I-80 runs from San Francisco to Teaneck, N.J. ”


    ” Rail and Intermodal Leaders Come Together to Navigate the Future of the Industry at Navis World 2021 ” [aka, port automation]


    ” Uber Freight buys 3PL Transplace from its private equity owner for $2.25 billion […] Combination could allow Uber Freight to become profitable by end of 2022 by adding customers, expanding into Mexico, and gaining capabilities in intermodal and customs brokerage. ” UF is something I’m personally watching out for, I dunno if they’ll be successful as most truckers are too smart but at the same time competing companies like Swift, Conway, Werner will increase wages if there is market pressure. Railroads are probably pertinent to this situation as well in regards to line-hauls which all carriers fight over.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      If some smart researcher reacts fast and gets as much data as possible from that clinic, it would make a perfect comparative study in vaccine effectiveness.

  30. Samuel Conner

    > but did the CDC really have to lead with its jaw?

    Perhaps one could call the CDC’s performance “a glass act.”

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