Links 9/11/2021

Ancient Greek ‘pop culture’ discovery rewrites history of poetry and song (AL). “The poem, unparalleled so far in the classical world, consists of lines of 4 syllables, with a strong accent on the first and a weaker on the third. This allows it to slot into the rhythms of numerous pop and rock songs, such as Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode.'”

Inside the cult of crypto FT

Experts say Apple is ‘on very dangerous grounds’ for blocking employees from talking about wages on Slack while allowing topics like dogs and foosball Business Insider. Tim Cook’s Tenth Anniversary bonus: $750 million. Labor law implications.


Explainer | September 11’s biggest names: where are they now? South China Morning Post. An iconic photo:

The snack that supported a war Snack Stack. Freedom fries! Hilariously, the restaurant that coined the term is still selling them, 18 years later. In fact, they’ve expanded their offering.

Nothing Good Came Out of It: 9-11 Twenty Years On Counterpunch. The cray cray, it b-u-r-r-r-r-n-n-ed:

Terrific graphic. I love those old-fashioned cut-away diagrams, good job on the authenticity front.

New report: Post-9/11 US airstrikes killed upwards of 48,000 civilians Responsible Statecraft


Alert reader GM remarks:

Take a look at this curve

…for one of the best illustration of what “we vaccinate and abandon containment” looks like

Mongolia was a ZeroCOVID country that is also geographically quite well placed to avoid infecting everyone given how sparse it is. But they started having some cases in November, then, having secured vaccines for everyone, gave up on containment in 2021, had a first significant wave in April, reached 60% vaccination in early May, had another even bigger wave in May-June, now they are at 70% vaccination, and the current wave is breaking all records. They do seem to fudge death numbers though — the official CFR is 0.4% and there were some distressing videos of people lying on the pavement outside hospitals about to die which do not fit with the reported averages of 5-10 deaths a day. So it looks like a Serbia situation (Serbia’s CFR is 1%, which is 3x less than any other country nearby and excess deaths are 5-6X the official COVID deaths, so it’s clear what is going on there).

Also, the Seychelles, which were an early warning sign about the dangers of full reopening, have come down since then by a factor of 4x in terms of cases. So they are no longer at 0.25% of the population testing positive daily, it is now at 0.06%, which is up from 0.04% at the bottom of the curve in July. That bottom was the equivalent of 130K cases a day in the USA, currently they are at 200K-equivalent.

That is at 75% vaccination.

They became the first country in which 20% of the population tested positive, most of them since the reopening. They were at zero for most of 2020 too.

One can make some simple back-of-the-envelope calculations about what the endemic COVID future looks like.

If protection, from the combination of vaccines, convalescence, and just plain luck not to get exposed lasts for two years, the US can actually sustain 400K infections a day on average indefinitely, which is how long it will take for everyone to get infected within two years. If we make that 3 years, it will be 270K infections a day, which is probably what it is right now accounting for all the people who don’t get tested. That’s assuming R_e stays around 1 though, but there will be concentrations of infections in summer in the South and winter everywhere due to seasonal effects. That in turn means 1500-2000 deaths a day indefinitely, assuming no major viral evolution towards worse, of course.

Now that’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?

Fascinating what “live my life” comes down to operationally, isn’t it? Let ‘er rip!

Thinking ahead:

* * *

Rapid, Large-Scale Wastewater Surveillance and Automated Reporting System Enable Early Detection of Nearly 85% of COVID-19 Cases on a University Campus American Society for Microbiology. From the Abstract: “In this study, we employed a large-scale GIS (geographic information systems)-enabled building-level wastewater monitoring system associated with the on-campus residences of 7,614 individuals. Sixty-eight automated wastewater samplers were deployed to monitor 239 campus buildings with a focus on residential buildings. Time-weighted composite samples were collected on a daily basis and analyzed on the same day…. This system, integrated with the rest of the “Return to Learn” program at the University of California (UC) San Diego-led to the early diagnosis of nearly 85% of all COVID-19 cases on campus. COVID-19 testing rates increased by 1.9 to 13× following wastewater notifications. Our study shows the potential for a robust, efficient wastewater surveillance system to greatly reduce infection risk as college campuses and other high-risk environments reopen.” Given that wastewater testing has been known to be effective in detecting Covid since at least August 2020 (see NC here; Nature here) college administrators will naturally have banded together to bring this technology nationw— oh, what’s the use.

* * *

COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness during Delta Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

The debate over Covid-19 vaccine boosters, what to call them, and whether they’re needed STAT

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection: A Case Series from a 12-Month Longitudinal Occupational Cohort (PDF) Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Abstract: “Seven cases of COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 reinfection from the NBA 2020-2021 occupational testing cohort are described including clinical details, antibody test results, genomic sequencing, and longitudinal RT-PCR results. Reinfections were infrequent and varied in clinical presentation, viral dynamics, and immune response.”

Estimates of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Among Nursing Home Residents Not Reported in Federal Data JAMA. From the Abstract: “Federal data underestimate the impact of COVID-19 on US nursing homes because federal reporting guidelines did not require facilities to report case and death data until the week ending May 24, 2020.”

* * *

Probenecid inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in vivo and in vitro Nature. From the Abstract: “We show probenecid potently blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication in mammalian cells and virus replication in a hamster model. Furthermore, we demonstrate that plasma concentrations up to 50-fold higher than the protein binding adjusted IC90 value are achievable for 24 h following a single oral dose. These data support the potential clinical utility of probenecid to control SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans.”

Public Health Law after Covid-19 NEJM. “Taken together, these cases pose new challenges to officials’ ability to protect public health. The decisions with regard to free exercise of religion suggest that health orders will face strict scrutiny if they regulate religious practices more strictly than any secular activity that courts deem similar.” If the public health establishment could accept that Covid is airborne, and then regulate buildings and gatherings (any building, any gathering) by size and ventilation characteristics, as opposed to function, then the “strict scrutiny” issue would go away. They seem not to be able to. So here we are.


Common prosperity in China: rich or poor, people have questions about Beijing’s attempt to spread the wealth South China Morning Post

Joe Biden calls Xi Jinping in bid to reset strained US-China relations FT

Were China’s August commodity imports strong? Depends on your time frame Hellenic Shipping News

Men In China Go Under The Knife To Boost Life Chances Agence France Presse

How Global Value Chains Distort Trade Data Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis, Yale University Press Blog (guurst).


‘Workers have lost all their rights’: Coup and third wave leave factory workers at risk Frontier Myanmar

Dr. Sasa Visits a Bomb-Making Class New Naratif

Yangon bombings add to air of unease as junta moves to tighten hold over city Myanmar Now

Notes From Myanmar’s Underground The Irrawaddy. From the NUG:

Sydney in real danger of a once-in-a-century setback Sydney Morning Herald

New Cold War

Truth Tonic for Russia War Fighters & How To Vote Guide — The Dances with Bears Comic Is Out Today John Helmer, Dances with Bears. Read all the way to the end.

No elves I can see:

International Space Station: Smoke triggers alert on board BBC


Europe Should Drop the Act on Afghanistan The Atlantic

‘Imminent Threat’ or Aid Worker: Did a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan Kill the Wrong Person? NYT

U.S. Forces Were Training the Guinean Soldiers Who Took Off to Stage a Coup NYT (Re Silc). The Deck: “American military officials have denounced the ouster of a president in West Africa, and said they had no warning of what their students were planning” [nods vigorously].

Guinea and the Military Coup Incubator, AFRICOM Black Agenda Report

Coup puts spotlight on Guinea’s huge bauxite reserves Africa News


Effluent discharge rules relaxed as supply chain disruptions bite ENDS Report

Denmark lifts all Covid restrictions, crediting high vaccine uptake NBC

What Iceland’s delta surge means for the COVID outlook in San Francisco San Francisco Chronicle

88 Tactical, Militarized Police, and a Looming Coup in Brazil Seeing Red Nebraska

First came a quake in Mexico, then strange blue lights. People feared the apocalypse MPR (ctlieee).

Biden Administration

Column: Here’s why Biden’s vaccine mandate is right — and should stand up to legal challenges Michael Hiltzik, LA Times

US COVID-19 vaccine mandates met with mixed response Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Postal Service Takes Wait-and-See Approach on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Government Executive

Biden’s SEC is ready to regulate cryptocurrency Recode


Welcome to my TED talk:

Police State Watch

Federal judge blocks key portion of anti-riot law, targets DeSantis and three sheriffs Miami Herald. An anecdote on what Google is doing to local news: I search for the story on Google, because I try to give local newsrooms the hits. I get only national sources: WaPo, NPR, the Guardian, AP, the UK’s Daily Mail (!). I restrict the search to the Miami Herald site. The results are irrelevant. Finally, I include the string “Miami Herald,” and I get another source that links to the Miami Herald, which has the story I want. Now imagine this happening universally, because it does, it’s an algo. (I probably should have checked to see how many of the links that Google did supply were dupes of the same AP story, pulled from the wires.) It’s so appalling. (Not that I’m foily, but maybe McClatchy is so strapped it can’t pay kickbacks to Google, like the big boys could?)

Groves of Academe

Not Waving but Drowning Causal Inference

Obama Legacy

Thanks, Obama:

Class Warfare

‘We’ve Structured Our Economy to Redistribute a Massive Amount of Income Upward’ FAIR

Groundbreaking Technique Yields Important New Details on Silicon, Subatomic Particles and Possible ‘Fifth Force’ NIST (DL). Original.

Sex can relieve nasal congestion, and other work honored by 2021 Ig Nobels Ars Technica (PR).

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. tim


    I would like to ask GM why Denmark with 76% overall vaccination rate and i think 86-87% for 12-110 year old people aren’t experiencing these dramatic increases.

    It is like we are on a different planet. All restrictions have been lifted, people go to music festivals with +15.000 spectators and still the number of new cases pr. day is stable at a very low rate yesterday it was 458 cases if I remember correctly

    1. Basil Pesto

      yeah, a friend of mine lives in CPH. He agrees with a lot of what I say about Covid but at the same time, he’s pretty bullish about how Denmark is doing right now. I haven’t had a close look myself, but I also don’t know when their vaccination campaign started. I gather they’ve been doing some other things throughout the pandemic pretty well too.

    2. IM Doc

      I have found this very interesting as well.

      I was reading a Twitter feed last night about this very issue ( unfortunately I cannot currently find it – will keep looking ). The tweets were written by a US epidemiologist lamenting the fact that all the non-vaccine measure that have been done in Denmark have been overwhelmingly positive. They were organized. They were truthful and transparent from Day 1. They have apparently early on actually fired a few Health Officials who were scaremongering and inappropriate. They made their vaccination approach very team oriented and apparently very positive. Those were the things I recall. There were others. And basically the point was made that they took their playbook directly from the USA approach to both polio and smallpox. Another sentiment expressed was they had no intention of emulating the current USA approach to COVID.

      I am not sure any of those things could be done successfully here in the USA in our current environment. Denmark is not the USA.

      Please note that forced vaccine mandates were not part of the Denmark plan at all. Calling others unclean, unmasked, etc. was not part of the plan. And had they done vaccine mandates – nothing like this link would ever have been allowed –

      That one link right there tells me all I need to know. The USA is a completely un-serious country. I just cannot believe our leaders – it is like they are purposely sabotaging their credibility and our health efforts on purpose in all possible ways they can.

      1. RockHard

        The USA is a completely un-serious country

        It’s not the first time I’ve heard this and I think this is probably the finest summation of the USA in the 20th century. Its almost like we don’t want to survive

        “Failed state” I’ve been hearing for a while too but “un-serious” gets to the WHY we’re a failed state

          1. Basil Pesto

            Whether he’s correct or not isn’t the point. Which is more likely to get through to ordinary people: patience, compassion, understanding, earnestness, or; rebuke, reprimands, abuse, mockery? How’s the latter been working out for USA so far? If you want amelioration of the covid situation to come from the grassroots, you’re going to have to do better than that. Anger and demands for change should be redirected at leadership at all levels.

            that partly assumes that trying to reach people in a meaningful, useful way is Uygur’s aim. But it’s not. It’s gratification and cheap dopamine hits on the internet.

            That poor, poor woman. I am desperately sad for her.

      2. marcel

        This thread (from a Danish professor) states it has to do with trust: the government trusts their citizen to do the right thing, and the citizen trusts his government to tell the right things.

        1. LawnDart

          Thanks for that link, Denmark’s way different than here.

          Yeah, most of us in USA have been victims of the predatory state at one time or other– bad actors go unpunished, even are rewarded for their misdeeds.

          USA has a strong culture of narcissism and selfishness that currently prevails– we need to turn this around: name and shame.

          Today, on 9/11, let me say F@#k George Bush and the opportunistic paracites who hijacked 9/11 to cut a swath of misery and destruction across the world… …is it too much to hope to see some Justice for these crimes in our lifetime?

          1. Nikkikat

            My sentiments exactly lawn dart. Americans have never sacrificed a single thing in their selfish existence. The rich are lionized and the immoral killers of the poor and down trodden are hero’s.
            In the last year and a half well over half a million people die from a virus and not a peep of recognition of that horror, yet we carry on with a big show of flag waving and bell ringing
            For a mere 3000 on 911. While I recognize that these people were sacrificed by our government policies in the Middle East. The covid victims were also sacrificed and continue to be. Business had to go on, kids had to return to school and everybody needed to take off their mask and go shopping.

            1. JTMcPhee

              The thing is, a lot of people unfortunate enough to have been “born in the USA” DO sacrifice all kinds of stuff. I think particularly of nurses and some other health care workers, who are not uniformly sacramentally sacrificing but so many are.

              There is an eleemosynary spirit of some quantum, maybe gofundme is an example (or not), in the dying empire, people eschewing the consumptive life and trying to figure out how to make up for the sh!t and toxins and garbage generated and carelessly tossed “away” by the other ration of narcissistic selfish greedy a$$holes, and the many befuddled who are drowning in carefully crafted oceans of Bernays Sauce ™ generated by the shrews (charming creatures, that have built the combusto-consumption-based neoliberal dead end.

              Denmark’s population is pretty uniform, and somehow they’d been brought up with a different set of norms. One wonders how “we the people” might figure out how to grow the kind of social conscience and consciousness that might counteract and deflate the shibboleths that poison us (while the poisoners skate along, flinging wads of ill-gotten wealth off their penthouse balconies…

            2. mistah charley, ph.d.

              One thing I have noticed about current 20th anniversary memorialization is that absolutely no mention is made of the motives for the attack.

                1. ambrit

                  I notice how ambiguous that “they” is. It ‘covers a lot of territory’ as the saying goes.
                  Extra credit for the deployment of stealth snark.

              1. rob

                when the republicans were busy getting to the bottom of “just what did bill clinton DO with that cigar” ; and other important national security matters, al queda declared war ON the US in 1996… because we had troops/infidels in/on their holy land./s.

              2. Procopius

                Not one American in a hundred thousand has any idea that Bin Laden had reasons. The 1986 fatwa is hard to find, but the 1988 fatwa is widely available. Most conservatives and “centrists” don’t think that matters, though. Therefore it’s very hard for the mainstream media to admit that he had reasons.

              3. drumlin woodchuckles

                I would once again recommend a slow reading of all the blogposts in Rigorous Intuition 2.0, starting with the category of blogposts called ” 9/11″.

                Every set of players involved had their own set of motives, and every set of motives deserves to be known about and understood. As does every set of players.

                This is as good an article to start with as any on that blog.

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              Americans have never sacrificed a single thing in their selfish existence? Really?
              The firefighters who entered the Twin Towers didn’t risk and/or sacrifice a thing?

              Americans who fought in the Civil War never sacrificed a single thing in their selfish existence?

              I suspect you to be some kind of urban European intellectual.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The problem with this argument is that ROK has one of the lowest ranking of trust in government in the world, but it has had even more success.

          1. Young

            It starts with the people.

            We, the people as the people in Denmark do, choose the government to lead us.

            We voted for Pelosi, Biden, the guy from Kentucky repeatedly, decade after decade. I wonder if they would be elected to lead an HOA in a retirement community.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Wrong, I think. We the people get to make a spurious nugatory meaningless “selection” between “candidates” actually chosen by the oligarchs that rule us. The electoral process, from the balloting to the determination of political gerrymandered boundaries to the seating of “winners” is corrupt to the core. The elected leaders know that as Schumer said, the “deep state” has nine ways from nowhere to ensure the elected go along with the narrative program. “The people’s” minds are filled with Bernays toxins intended to keep them focused away from how they are being raped. “We” did not vote for Pelousie, etc. — a fraction of the fuzz-brained potential electorate did, and if the result does not suit the PTB, or looks like it might not, there’s ways to bring any errant elected to heel.

              This empire is ineluctable corrupt and poisonous, and has been from its murderous establishment and expansion. And “the people” when they try to assert their “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty and property” (like early labor movement, Occupy Wall Street, the Bonus Marchers) the feel the boot on their necks.

              So blaming “the people” is just BS. Far as I can see.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I agree that thinking “we the people” have chosen this is wrong. People who believe it can run along and see Mr. Darwin about an award.

                Now, what are those who understand or at least sense that they live under an Upper ClassNazi Stealth-Occupation Government supposed to do about that? Well, different people will have different theories and approaches. All should be discussed and understood, and the most plausible-seeming ones might attract enough followings and supporters to be developed and tried.

                It is hard to say that there is a single ” the right approach”. People will do best at what they believe in the most. Perhaps the different Theory Action Groups ( TAGs) can at least see if they share any understanding of the information and its meanings.

                Perhaps there could be some shared foundational guiding spirits expressable in guiding and inspirational sayings and slogans. Like perhaps . . .
                Occupy the Occupation. ( And different specific little versions of that . . . Occupy “this”, Occupy “that”, etc.)

                With a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen.

                ” A thousand points of hate.”

                Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

                I am not my keeper’s brother.

                If the electoral battlespace has been pre-rigged and pre-shaped against us, perhaps we should find other possible battlespaces to attrit and degrade the flanks of the OverClass Nazi Occupation. And if we can spare a fingernail to still go through the motions of voting, we might fool the OverClass watchers into thinking we are still committed to their rigged shaped battlespace. That might delay them from sufficiently watching for our presence in other battlespaces.

                And maybe there are regional or local electoral battlespaces which have not been as rigged and shaped. If so, perhaps electoral combat may be waged in them.

                Perhaps an understanding of non-monetized biophysiconomics might allow its understanders to do what they can where they are to attrit and degrade those most-monetised parts of the “economy” which support and power-up the Overclass the most.

                Those people who have chosen to accept the reality of the OverClass Occupation Regime can then try figuring out how to do something, nothing or something else about it from where they are, including from within the very small and limited amount of power they do have to do things to undermine and weaken the Occupation Regime.

                1. Captain Obious

                  Is this why the OverClass Occupation Regime seems to think that a mass die-off of human population might not be so bad after all?

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    That could be part of it . . . . a fear that a billion WesterModern Industrial World people will wake up and smell the covfefe. And they would like to help us die off before that happens.

                    But I still think their major motive for wanting to kill 7 billion people over the next hundred years is that they just don’t like the way we keep hanging around here and spoiling their view.

      3. David

        I mentioned the broadly comparable case of France a few days ago. Here, we have over 80% of the over-12s vaccinated, and the number of cases continues to fall. It was just under 10,000 yesterday. The R0 figure for the country is 0,79. Masking is normal and social distancing is widely practiced.

        But in France distrust of the state is endemic in the political culture, we have plenty of conspiracy theorists and a large and vocal human rights industry. What seems to have made the difference is the Vaccine Pass – or rather the very strong encouragement to get (by being vaccinated) to lead a reasonably normal life. There was no mandate – rather, a stick and a carrot, with the carrot being bigger. And in spite of protests and the odd demonstration, the overwhelming majority of people are now vaccinated.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The vaccine pass here was also had a huge impact in getting young people vaccinated (although I’ve heard many stories of fake ones being cooked up). The government here knew full well that the promise of a properly poured pint of Guinness is worth far more than exhortation (this is the reward for giving blood too).

          There is a lot of nonsense spouted I think about ‘trust in authority’ and so on. People think of the Japanese, for example, as being very obedient to authority, yet anyone who knows Japanese people will know they’ll break any formal rules as enthusiastically as any Aussie or Irish or French person if they think they will get away with it. They just live in a country where they can’t get away with it.

          1. Acacia

            Indeed. Based upon what I’m hearing from my Japanese contacts, the general position is that the vaccine isn’t obligatory but then everyone asks you about your plans to get vaccinated. A big incentive to get the jab is that everybody will stop ‘indirectly’ nagging you about it.

      4. Mildred Montana

        @IM Doc: “They [Denmark] were truthful and transparent from Day 1.”

        I also assume the Danish government does not have a long, sordid history of lying to its people. In the US the list of lies over the past sixty years is extensive and continuous, starting with the whitewash of the JFK assassination. Then, on to the Gulf of Tonkin and Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9-11, the Iraq Wars, the GFC, and all of the Obama administration. That’s a whole lotta lying and I’m sure I’ve missed some of it.

        It’s no wonder that many Americans today distrust their government. To invert a well-known aphorism, a government gets the people it deserves.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There’s a political joke that illustrates that problem.

          Question: Who killed Doctor Martin Luther King?
          Answer: Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.

          . . . . Hey! He killed Kennedy, didn’t he!?

      5. Randall Flagg

        I once remember the radio personality Paul Harvey close out one of his commentaries about our political leaders with the words ( I’m paraphrasing),
        “Self government doesn’t work without self discipline “. Or something like that.
        I think that still rings true now and is required of us all as well

        1. JTMcPhee

          We don’t have “self-government” here. Even a self-preserving action (if that is honestly what it is, getting a mRNA jab that modifies symptoms but is not a vaccine) has been converted by divide-and-rule Bernays toxins into some idiot binary choice that reflects an imposed set of values (“freedom,” HAH! Or “you deplorables, HAH!”).

          We are so befuddled that most of us can’t even recognize who’s working the levers and wheels and buttons when a corner of the curtain gets raised.

          The entire machinery of this country is geared to produce docile workers living on the edge, ignorant of what is being done to them, and deprived of any sense and certainly any reality of the kind of self-discipline that little aphorism assumes smugly to be necessary to self-government. Does a McDonalds or amazon or Uber serf have a range and scope of agency to in any way self-govern?

    3. GM

      Vaccinations are more recent.

      They will pay for this premature declaration of victory eventually, just as everyone else foolish enough to make that mistake has

          1. JohnA

            There is a lot of inter country commuting between Sweden and Denmark, made much easier by the Øresund Bridge connection, plus Copenhagen Airport is a main flight hub for much of the south of Sweden, tourists are more daytrippers, over for the beer.

      1. Basil Pesto

        that’s what I was thinking too. It’s what I expect to see in a lot of Australia (NSW and Vic might be different) until about the start of (southern) winter next year – “see how good the vaccines are?” until they aren’t. Maybe a bit earlier because our vaccination campaign has been rather drawn out, so some of the older people may find themselves less protected by about January – April.


        premature declaration of victory

        is, I think, an unfair characterisation of what Denmark is doing, going by some of the things that others have shared above. They seem to be well aware they’re not out of the woods yet, and there seems to be mutual trust between health authorities and the public which suggests they’ll act with alacrity when the time comes. If things are under control for the time being, is there really anything they can do except lift the restrictions?

      2. Roger Blakely

        GM’s comments are exactly what I was looking for today. The level of infection that we see today in the US in mid-September is the new normal. Things will never again get as bad as they were in January, but they won’t get any better than they were in March. Or, better said, the pattern in Southern California will be a lull from March to July, a bump in July and August, a lull from September to October, and then pedal-to-the-metal Delta from November to March. Given the pattern of infections that we are seeing in countries with high vaccination rates, is it really worth it to get into a life-and-death fight with anti-vaxxers?

      3. Ignacio

        This will be quite an interesting social experiment to follow and indeed many will look at Denmark to see how this works. I think it might true that the personal behaviour of the Danish people self isolating if showing symptoms tend to be responsible. Behaviour is indeed very important in epidemiology but with this virus you have to be very strict. Even if true, Denmark peaked last December with an incidence of 750 per 100.000 in 14 days, so SARS CoV 2 finds its way even if the behaviour is not favourable for the epidemic. Masks indoors were eliminated in june and since then the incidence has increased from a low at about 50 to a high of 230 two weeks ago then has lowered a bit to 192 cases as the most recent data for weeks 34-35 show. So it is now getting lower but yet there are some many cases.

        With such incidence and now back to normal: no masking, no meeting limits etc the risk of an outburst occuring is high. You just need some relaxation here and there and, quite probably, if many infections amongst vaccinated pass nearly unnoticed this could lead to lots of unnoticed contagions an a sudden outburst. My question is how long will it take until this happens?

        We will see. I will follow the data with interest.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Denmark has undoubtedly been helped by geographic, climate and socioeconomic factors, but a key distinction seems to have been that after 2020 Denmark took the more successful Asian (ROK/Taiwan) policy of meaningful travel restrictions in and out of the country and mass testing as an alternative to stronger lockdowns. This certainly seems to have been the feature of most of the relatively successful countries and it led Denmark to avoiding the type of Delta surge seen elsewhere.

      Vaccine rates don’t seem all that significant as there are several countries with higher rates of vaccination, yet also higher rates of Covid. Ireland is now nearly at nearly 90% of adults, but rates are stubbornly high.

      But its clear that you can’t measure the success of countries on a short term snapshot. Its only over the course of one or more waves that meaningful judgements can be made. If Denmark returns to ‘normal’ as winter sets in without another wave, then it is certainly a success story. Norway was also a success story up to last month and had relaxed, and now they have a huge surge in rates.

  2. Quentin

    Look who’s destroying 1000 old-growth trees in Jackson Park, Chicago, for a monument to his own personal glory? I detest the man, his destructive inclinations are vile and vulgar, first drone killings in Afghanistan and elsewhere and now trees—who would have ever thought that of the silk-tongued man Barack Obama. One might think that the glamorus wife called Michele would have had the sense to read him the riot act—‘Now it’s more than enough, stop it’. No way. I propose that Donald Trump be allowed to commandeer the corner of Central Park in NYC at 59th St. and Fifth, right across the street from his own tower, to build an even more glorious monument to stupidity.

    1. Craig H.

      You may be looking at the glass is half empty here. That those magnificent trees managed to persevere in downtown Chicago until 2021 is pretty amazing.

      Did you know that some of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations were composed in the middle of the worst plague ever known to civilized man up to that point? The majority of his children never made it to their 18th birthday.

      Obama’s pretty bad but Nero and Caligula were worse. Like Richard Feynman said (albeit in a completely different context) “there is a lot of room at the bottom!”

      Happy PATRIOT act day to all! Have some Bob Dylan.

      1. Acacia

        > Obama’s pretty bad but Nero and Caligula were worse.

        I don’t recall Tacitus reporting that they green-lighted drone strikes on weddings from the ninth hole putting green.

        1. Fritzi

          To be fair, being the absolutely ruthless, and ruthlessly pragmatic, genocidal militarists and imperialists they were, I think it is probably a very safe assumption that the Romans, in general, not just some Bad Apple Emperors, would have had very little qualms about using killer drones, if they had had the technology.

          And even Emperors not named Nero or Caligula probably wouldn’t have had much of a problem using them to eliminate domestic enemies either, given some perceived reason and convenient opportunity.

          1. Acacia

            … which would locate Obama at about the same level as one of the Bad Apple Emperors — which sounds about right.

            1. ambrit

              Actually, now that I have had my evening drink, I think that Obama is more comparable to Incitatus.
              Thus one step ‘removed’ from Caligula. (In what direction is open to debate.)
              [There is also a Vodou ‘joke’ in there.]
              And somehow, the fact that Obama sponsors the felling of a ‘sacred grove’ is quite fitting, in an Old Testament way.

        1. LawnDart

          Many have passed the threshold that warrants a response, should we hope for a civilized and just society.

          It is unfortunate the hanging till dead has such finality, as there are those who deserve it many times over.

          1. Procopius

            There used to be a form of torture, hanging until not quite dead, cutting down, and taking to the next town to do it again. After being displayed in several towns, by which time his neck had been stretched to more than a foot long, the defendant was disemboweled and his intestines burned in front of him. I believe it was Robert the Bruce this was done to, but I haven’t checked it out.

      2. Wukchumni

        Our population here in tiny town in the Sierra foothills is around 2,000, which is exactly the same amount of Native Americans who called it home previously for a few thousand years, kind of a miracle in that regard.

        We owe it all to the trees, blue oaks in particular. Nobody in their right mind would take them down en masse in order to put in more homes, but if they did, we could easily have 10,000 here with lots of housing developments sprouting up out of the weeds.

        When I saw the concept of what Obama’s presidential library was going to look like, my first thought was that it resembled a Nazi flak tower, and now the 1,000 ‘residents’ nearby will end up in flames more than likely.

      3. Quentin

        Craig H., I don’t see what Marcus Aurelius, Nero or Caligula have to do with the price of bananas in the USA today. Your remark I find unacceptably cynical snark hidden behind a thick, gloppy topping of common knowledge about ancient Rome. The USA is not Rome. As a favorite pre-Trump president might say: ‘That’s not who we are, we’re better than that.’ But that’s who he is and was and he proved not to better than that.

        1. ambrit

          The Roman Emperors of antiquity are indeed pertinent to today. Terran human nature does not change, unless we speak of geological time periods. How various classes of people acted and reacted back then is very useful to know. It gives us a data trove to mine for predictive cogitations concerning the ‘potential’ actions of various people.
          At core, as in the behaviours of the ruling classes, the USA very definitely is Ancient Rome.
          See my above comment comparing Obama to Incitatus.

      4. HotFlash

        Obama’s pretty bad but Nero and Caligula were worse.

        Perhaps, but I do not live in the time of Nero or Caligula.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Obama fiddled while the planet burned.

          Actually, Obama poured more oil on the fire.

          ” That was me, people!”

          Much worse than Nero.

      5. Kouros

        Nah, Nero and Caligula concentrated on their peers, those that could have threatened their rule, and also had money that could be homed in the imperial coffers. Obama on the other hand focused on the masses… His body count is much higher…

      6. enoughisenough

        Craig H.
        you’re literally arguing that we’re lucky all those trees weren’t destroyed earlier, so it’s ok to destroy them now?

        Logical, this is not.

        Chicago needs all the green spaces it can get, what with climate change causing heat deaths every summer. They cannot afford to have more concrete reflecting light and heat into every corner. Trees mitigate this.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, those trees won’t mitigate anything, anymore.

          Thanks to Obama. Anddddd . . . . thanks to every Obama supporter who pushed that project through.

          1. enoughisenough

            drumlin woodchuckles
            September 11, 2021 at 4:54 pm

            “Well, those trees won’t mitigate anything, anymore.”

            Exactly my point. It’s a tragedy they are being removed, this will cause suffering for decades. I am against this stupid O center, in case you couldn’t tell.

        2. Duke of Prunes

          It’s too bad Obama will not suffer the same fate as Mr T did back when he chopped down a bunch of old trees north of Chicago to get a “better view”. While nothing horrific happen to the T (as it was then within his legal rights), he was a sudden person non grata in the area, and he only chopped 100s rather than 1000s

          I suppose one big difference is Mr T’s neighbors were wealthy whereas Jackson Park is surrounded by the poors.

          1. Duke of Prunes

            “Jackson Park is surrounded by the poors.”

            I’m speaking relatively and broadly. Yes, Hyde Park is a decent area (St Obama lived there after all), but walk a few blocks beyond and things definitely take a turn.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Again, I hope someone viralizes those tree-murder videos and links it to Obama and it runs on all the social media where the Obama children can see it.

            Since it snows in Chicago, maybe mischevious Chicago Citizens can keep making snow phalli and snow-phuqfingers all over Castle Draculobama’s front yard. Just to let the Count know that people are thinking of him.

    2. Nikkikat

      Quentin, it never seemed to me that Michelle gave two twigs about anything Obama did or didn’t do. of course it also seems that his two daughters are just as elitist. One of them is dating a Rothschild. Obama an awful person and President.

      1. the last D

        Obama would have a third term,
        with Hillary no doubt;
        But when he went into labor,
        then Donald popped out.

    3. timbers

      48,000 people (today’s drone story).

      1,000 old growth trees.

      Above figures seem proportional…look ok to me.

      Look at the bright side: His 65th B-day party might have less environmental impact if he holds in Jackson Park at his library.

      But wait…couldn’t the Obama library seek permission to construct a small private but not-for-profit airfield immediately off into Lake Michigan – replete with landfill for the landing strip – so private aircraft can be linked with publicly funded state of the art transportation access to the library complex? (I’m thinking a long enclosed airconditioned escalator/moving walkway so no one has to lift a leg to get there).

      After all, I lived in the area while in college. Don’t think Obama’s class of friends and associates should really be expected to have to travel thru that kind of nieghborhood….do you?

      1. Questa Nota

        Drone strikes like Biden’s that reportedly took out murdered the wrong people are simply misdirection. Those acts only serve to distract and have a long tradition, if you call it that, in Washington. Witness Clinton’s aspirin factory missiles, coinciding with the Lewinsky eruption.

        Modern politicians seem programmed to say Hold my putter.

        1. K.k

          No doubt there was plenty of political pressure however this looks like the classic “signature strikes”. There are times such as this when even the identities of those being targeted are unknown. Instead they look at phone data and behavioral observations. The Intercept has done much work over the years writing about these kinds of drone attacks. Perhaps discussing “signature strikes”, and the countless civilians they continue to kill to this day in a number of countries would have been going too far for Nyt in the video. Nevertheless, glad they at least covered this one.

        2. QuarterBack

          I am particularly intrigued by how fast the evidence of this story was collected and assessed. I would not be surprised by such a thorough investigative piece like this coming out, but merely gaining access to all the evidence, locations, and witnesses so close in time to such a highly sensitive incident is staggeringly rare. I am wondering if there were some Executive Branch deep throats helping to tie pieces together and share where bodies were buried.

          1. HotFlash

            Indeed! Perhaps these clearly superior sources and reporters should have assessed the target in the first place?

            1. Bill Smith

              Superior after the fact. Yes, it looks like a custerf****.

              These things happen during wars. Best way to eliminate these things from happening is not to go to war. That too can have costs.

              The underlying article claims at least 24,000ish to 48,000ish deaths. A pretty wide spread. And that is when they claim to have looked at over 91,000 strikes. Likely this has been the most in depth look at this type of thing ever. And the spread is 2x.

              Does Airwars or Body Count publish a estimated number of belligerents killed somewhere? I would be curious what their estimate of that is.

          2. David

            As the story makes clear, the authors haven’t actually talked to anyone or seen any bodies. They have essentially aggregated estimates made by others at different times with different methodologies, some of which are necessarily more reliable than others. All estimates of this kind are very approximate: for example, the published death tolls at Hiroshima and Nagasaki vary from about 125,000 to nearly twice that many. For decades historians put the death toll from Allied bombing of Germany at around 500,000: it’s only recently that this figure has been sharply revised downwards to about 300,000 (see Richard Overy, “The Bombing War.”) And these are advanced countries with detailed population records. It’s highly unlikely that anyone knows, even approximately, how many civilians were in Raqqa at the time of the bombardments. Clearly, there were large numbers of Islamic State fighters, and, even if you actually go and count the bodies, it’s possible to come up with very different numbers, depending on definitions. It’s for this reason that governments don’t try to estimate figures – they know how difficult it is.

            I think it’s clear that a lot of civilians (or more precisely non-combatants) have died in these operations, and the order of magnitude is probably right, but the story suggests a level of precision (and knowledge) that isn’t actually available to anyone.

            1. QuarterBack

              I am referring to the NYTimes article, unless you’re referring to a different article, I can’t understand your characterization.

              Also BTW many of the “observations” of the targets were picked out by AI.

          3. Katniss Everdeen

            Definitely no biden lover here, but, if I had to guess, I’d say biden is being sabotaged by the same bunch that sabotaged Trump when he wanted to get out of Afghanistan.

            A permanent bureaucracy with no allegiance to anything but its own bank account is not just some “conspiracy theory,” it’s very real, and Afghanistan was a cash cow the likes of which the world has never seen.

            I see this as building the case for “going back in,” and woe be to biden if he gets in the way.

        3. Robert Gray

          Speaking of numbers, I was channel surfing the headlines today and saw an interesting graphic. It was on either Al Jazeera or RT; make of it what you will. It said that in the 20 years of the GWOT, some 15,000 American miltary and mercenaries have been killed. Meanwhile, after they got home another 30,000 committed suicide.

      2. Verifyfirst

        Uhm, “that kind of neighborhood” is your code for what, exactly?

        The neighborhood is called Hyde Park. I grew up in Hyde Park. I am sitting in my mother’s apartment in Hyde Park, a block from where the Obama’s lived when he was a state Senator.

        I hate Obama, and I hate what he is doing in Jackson Park, which I saw driving by the other day. But there is no call to smear Hyde Park.

        1. Brian Beijer

          When I read “that kind of nieghborhood”, I assumed s/he meant a neighborhood that looked different from Martha’s Vineyard because Timbers also wrote “Obama’s class of friends and associates”. I have never been to Hyde Park, but I would hazard a guess that it doesn’t look like Martha’s Vineyard.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Hyde Park is the home of the University of Chicago, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, U of C’s Oriental Institute, some houses with beautiful gardens and a surprisingly small number of bars for a college area, at least 20 years ago. The areas around it used to be plagued with high crime, but it’s my understanding that there’s been a lot of gentrification, especially between Hyde Park and the Loop.

            It’s been nearly 50 years since I spent a long weekend with a family that lived in West Tisbury, but back then it didn’t look much like Hyde Park.

        2. timbers

          How many private jets do you suppose are in Hyde Park? When I lived at the South shore hotel owned by the University of Chicago as a dormitory, my guess is the only private jets in the area were the kind Snake Pliskin used in Escape from New York. But to be fair I’ve heard it upscaled considerably since then but it’s no Martha’s Vineyard that’s for sure. Mayor Harold Washington lived just down the street I think.

          1. Verifyfirst

            Uhm, there is no airport in Hyde Park, as there is no airport in most parts of most major cities. If private jets are your proxy for extreme wealth, almost all of America falls far short, but the Obama’s of the world have no issue driving through places like Hyde Park in their limos, any more than they worry about driving through downtown Chicago.

            Hyde Park is not a poor neighborhood. The median income is over $55,000; the neighborhood is vastly more integrated than most, 74% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, etc. etc. The four bedroom condo across the way just sold for $520,000, which seems like a lot of money to me.

            Here is Wikipedia re: Hyde Park. The list of institutions and historic notables is especially interesting.

            It is true that the University of Chicago (where you apparently went to school) does an excellent job of terrorizing its’ students about the vast dangers of venturing off campus, and most never do, living in fear within the campus instead, imagining themselves to be surrounded by attacking black hordes. U of C does this to minimize contacts by students with the surrounding black neighborhoods, and thus minimize “incidents”, since incidents scare parents, donors and prospective students. And scared parents, donors etc., cause U of C administrators to mess their clothing…….

            1. ex-PFC Chuck

              When I lived in the Chicago area in the mid-60s Meigs Field airport still existed on Northerly Island just off shore near the south end of The Loop. Until a few minutes ago I thought it was still there but the wiki tells me it was closed in 2003 and converted into a park.

            2. timbers

              I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you…How many private jets did you say you suppose are in Hyde Park?

              “In December 2019, President Barack Obama completed the purchase of a 30-acre (12 ha) homestead on the Edgartown Great Pond.”

              And….you “apparently” think you live in Hyde Park.

            3. timbers

              Does Hyde Part have a Private Jet Charter service?

              Martha’s Vineyard Private Jet Charter

              “Paramount Business Jets specializes in private jet charter flights to and from Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts.

              Conveniently harboring its own Martha’s Vineyard Municipal Airport (MVY), the city facilitates seamless private jet travel.

              With access to over 15,000 certified private jets for charter worldwide and over 21 aircraft available for hire 50-mile radius of Martha’s Vinyard, we can customize your charter flights to and from Martha’s Vinyard”

              1. Basil Pesto

                huh? what are you talking about? The existence of a charter service that flies to Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t speak to the existence of private jets in Hyde Park, IL (if people there owned jets they….. wouldn’t need a charter service?).

                Do you mean how many people in Hyde Park own private jets? First, I doubt they’re being kept in their garages in Hyde Park, and; second, none of your two “aha!” posts above speaks to that?

                  1. rob

                    yeah, especially since “rich” people can get a helicopter to pick them up and take them to the jet.
                    but why anyone would think that matters. i don’t know

      3. Edgar, not Edmund

        Thank you, timbers.

        Your moving walkway brought to mind Monty Python’s Architect Sketch:
        “The visitors are whisked along, in air-conditioned comfort, towards the rotating knives. The last 20 yards of the passageway are, of course, heavily soundproofed…Oh, I’m sorry. Have I misconstrued your attitude towards your guests?”

    4. Young

      I wasn`t going to vote next week in California, but, Obama’s ad on youtube motivated me to turn in my ballot to recall the Laundry Man.

    5. cnchal

      >. . . first drone killings in Afghanistan and elsewhere and now trees –

      First . . . was taking orders from the Wall Street criminals, that crashed the system with perfect timing in the pre election interregnum, as to who he would put in charge of looting the finances of the USA.

      Remember Barry “pitchfork absorber” Obama let Goldman 666 become a bank holding company with a napkin doodle application in a matter of hours instead of taking them behind the barn and shooting them. Had to save the criminals, a lasting Obama legacy.

      Remember the brilliant Austin Goolsby and cash for clunkers during the crisis aftermath, destroying perfectly good cars for the sake of saving GM. Another Obama legacy, economic illiterate.

      Remember Obama sucking up to Bezos and extolling the virtues of the future of work in an Amazon warehouse, new middle class jawbs to aspire to, only to find out once inside it’s perspire in a torture chamber disguised as a warehouse, forced by algorithm to work at a cruel and unsustainable work pace. Another Obama legacy – we tortured some folk.

      i knew three days after he was sworn in, constantly on TeeVee looking for attention, oh fuck, another damn narcissist.

    6. drsteve0

      I saw Yasha Levine’s tweet and read it as thousand year old trees. Shameful if true. Looked at the pictures and as a former logger concluded them ain’t no thousand year old trees that cutdown machine is munchin’ up. Then I reread it. A thousand trees! How big of a mausoleum (cenotaph?) is O’bummer erecting for himself. The birthday party was obscene. This is beyond the pale.

    1. Wukchumni

      Couldn’t break through FT as they are using a cloaking device. I feel good about whatever it was they mentioned in regards to the numismatrix, which I think is a way more bitchin nom de dubloon than cryptocurrency, which I first read to say gyptocurrency, perish the thought.

      I linked to this Bitcoin magazine article the other day, and lets just say the cult members of Alt-A Dow Jonestown are batshit crazy for starters with everything predicated on past performance to keep on keeping on in their brave new world they’ve become accustomed to.

      When the classic bubble which cryptocurrency is busts, those drinking the kool-aid will be laced with losses.

      This will be the defining bubble of all in a most Seinfeldian way, in that it’s a bubble about nothing.

      Might it be possible to appeal to some of humanity’s more noble impulses? What about wonder, awe, transcendence or that feeling of participation in something much greater than oneself? Such feelings are often experienced when encountering the great cathedrals and monuments that are the crowning achievements of civilizations, as well as while experiencing the grandeur and beauty of the natural world. I believe we can tap into this positive vein of human nature and convey Bitcoin’s finer qualities on a visceral level by planting trees.

  3. Gc54

    The main inaccuracy of the Bin Laden subterranean mountain redoubt graphic was how it depicted the stairs. They should have been drawn as Escher would. That would have explained BL’s invisibility. And summarize the subsequent efforts of our magnificent military to subdue the ME.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I remember absolutely loving the cut away graphic when I saw it. I mean, even mid-30’s me was slightly skeptical…my own rationalization was that they must have occupied an old Soviet-era elaborate ‘big bunker’. Why the Soviets would build such a thing way out in the boonies and not, say, in or around a city or at a base like Bagram was pooh-pooh’ed away by my subconscious.

      However….then, or now, I have *always* loved the aesthetic of bunkers, bomb shelters, subterranean tunnel complexes of all kinds. I think it started in the early 70’s when I discovered a 1938 Life Magazine article on the Maginot Line, with very similar cutaways:

      Not from the same article, but representative of the kind of stuff I saw in old magazines, and some military history books in the same vein:

      To this day, when I am bored and happen to have a good ink pen and some blank white paper handy to fill I can while away hours drawing some new random elaborate bunker complex.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          OMG, Thank you for that!!! I think I have a few more cool cutaways to add into my laptop’s rotating desktop wallpaper slideshow!! :)

          And ship cutaways, oh goodness yes. Life Magazine had some on the interwar Battleships, Aircraft Carriers, and other types which were also gold.

          As a kid I also played a space RPG called ‘Traveller’ (basically Dungeons and Dragons in space) where part of the fun was spending hours designing ships, cruisers, scout craft, etc., where you agonized over every square yard of internal space to make it consistent and rational – supply rooms, engine rooms, crew berths, command decks, cargo space, weapons and energy sources. My obsession with drawing and thinking out bunker complexes stood me in good stead there.

          Ah, good times.

          1. The Rev Kev

            If you want to find more stuff like that, go to Google and type in the search term ‘cutaway graphic’. When the results come back, click on ‘Images’ at the top and then start following up some of the linked images if they are of interest. That is how I found that site.

            Forgot to mention. From that page I found, there is a racier set of cutaways by a female artist for your rotating wallpapers.

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              You are the gift that just keeps on giving. I, uhh…think I found ’em. :)

              Captain: (thru speaking tube) “…Ensign, please report, strange noises are being reported from below-decks!..”

              Ensign: “…uhhh, investigating them now, Sir…”

              (long pause)

              Captain: “…WELL? Your Report???…”

              Ensign: (getting nervous) “…Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

              Captain: “…We’re sending a squad down…”

              Ensign: “…Uh, uh… negative, negative. We had a fuel oil leak here now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Large leak, very dangerous…”

              Captain: “…Who is this? What’s your operating number?…”

              Ensign: “…Uh…”

              [Ensign shoots the speaking tube]

      1. The Historian

        I too love those cutaways of how you could build a facility inside a mountain or underground, including those designed as ‘bug-out’ bunkers for the elite. But one thing I’ve noticed in all of them that makes me think they aren’t serious and their plans could never come to fruition is the fact that you never see any wastewater/sewer treatment facilities in any of these plans. Humans make a LOT of wastewater – and it has to be kept clear of their potable water. So how do they do it? And what about the other garbage humans create? Where do they put it? If they just dump it outside the mountain, the area is going to get pretty stinky and contaminated in no time!

        1. rob

          they probably recycle everything like in an earth ship type /off the grid existence; where you re-use everything you can. it is a cycle.

      2. anon y'mouse

        Osama was just 20 years ahead of his time, building his bug out apocalypse redoubt.
        perhaps the inspiration for all of those elites building underground James Bond villain lairs now.

      3. Dr. John Carpenter

        I seem to remember Mad Magazine doing cutaways like that to show how things “really” worked. The Osama one made me think of that.

      4. Oh

        Is it possible for you to draw a dungeon with flames where Obama, Bush, Rumsfelt, Cheney, Bill Clinton and Hillary will reside in the future? You may want to enhance it with levels where drones crash, their cohorts receive enchanced interrogation and the like.

        1. drsteve0

          Sure, no problem. Would you prefer a cutaway of Bill and Hillary lounging around in Dante’s or Milton’s hellscapes?

          1. ambrit

            A cutaway of the Terrible Two lounging around on “The Lolita Express” will do just fine.
            Of great interest will be a schematic of the “observation” systems, audio and visual.

  4. nycTerrierist

    re: Obama’s piggish destruction of ancient trees for his vanity project –
    and as an added insult, robbing the public of much-needed green space

    ‘angering and heartbreaking’ sums it up

    just horrid

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      One wonders if there is a way to viralize it all over the Redditverse and all over the Tiktoksphere . . . . tens of millions of views and posts and reposts showing the “trees Obama killed” and “how much carbon will Obama’s murdered trees emit now?”

      I hope someone with reddit skills and tiktok skills decides to weaponise and viralize this.

    2. The Rev Kev

      They should be filming every aspect of the destruction of those trees and that area. Then, when Obama opens up his vanity project, release a doco called maybe “The Destruction of Jackson Park” with all that footage. The main stream media won’t show it but it could be released on all sorts of channel, especially if it was free to do so. Make it a permanent reminder of what the cost of his project was.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        A version could also be made for long-distance projecting against the blank concrete walls of Barakula’s Crypt. It could be emanating from a projector just off the Obama property and running long enough to be deeply humiliating to the Obamazoids before the police shut it down.

        Actually, getting such a thing ready for the Grand Opening of Castle Barackula might spoil the Obamaparty.

        1. ambrit

          Can I steal the meme ‘Barakula?’ Pretty please, with an Epstein on top? Huh! Huh!
          I can see the posters now; “Barakula Rises From the Vault.” A Spike Lee Joint.
          Obama really is “The Grift that keeps on taking.” (The mirror image of a similar saying.)

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Yes, of course. ‘Barakula’ is free to all. So is ‘Draculabama’ and ‘Draculobama’, in case anyone wants to give those a try.

            And ‘ the Countess Draculamala ‘ for the current Vice President, in case anyone wants to give that on a try.

  5. Carla

    Since Dean Baker couldn’t be bothered to quote exact figures in his FAIR interview on the minimum wage, I looked up the numbers. When the minimum wage was established in 1938, it was $0.25 an hour. The law had regular increases built in which would have raised it to $1.15 in 1961, but apparently that was too much for the fearless leaders of the time, so a law was passed in 1961 to keep it at the 1956 level of $1.00. By 1968 (regulated by the 1961 law) it had been raised to $1.60.

    It’s now been at $7.25 for 12 years, which — check me, friends — I believe is the longest period we’ve gone without an increase in the minimum wage since its inception:

    (Perhaps Baker says that in the transcript–haven’t had time to read the whole thing yet since I had to stop and get the numbers he was unable to cite.)

    1. curlydan

      and the last President to raise the minimum wage? George W. Bush who signed the law that last raised the wage in 2009.

      thanks, Obama.

    2. JBird4049

      It’s worse than that. Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 rate of $1.60 would be $12.61 today; probably higher if all the adjustments and manipulations done in the last forty years were removed.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      It is beyond frustrating when so-called economists “explain” american economic failings in terms of “productivity,” which Baker defines thusly: “productivity growth is the amount of output we produce in an hour, goods and services we produce in an hour.” (I don’t think he meant to include the word “growth,” but whatever.)

      That concept of “productivity” made sense when this country manufactured actual THINGS, which is why, I assume, his reference period is 1938 – 1968. But what does “productivity” even mean now that we’ve junked literal “production” and replaced it with the wheel-spinning extraction of financialization, rentierism and blank-check militarism?

      How is the “productivity” of a churning rentier behemoth like blackrock defined? Or facebook? Or american hospital corporation?

      I’d venture to say that the reason wages no longer track “productivity” is that there is no such thing as real “productivity” anymore. Try as the current crop of “economists” might, there is no way to turn the sow’s ear of running-in-place into the silk purse of “productivity.”

      Baker is undoubtedly right that “We’ve Structured Our Economy to Redistribute a Massive Amount of Income Upward,” but I wish he and others like him would quit pretending that “productivity” is an actual thing these days because it’s not. He’d be far more accurate if he “explained” that “we” have decided to create an “economy” out of absurdly un-“productive” activity, current conditions reflect that tremendous miscalculation, and things will never get “better” without a massively painful course correction.

    4. heresy101

      The method to avoid the minimum wage being stuck at some arbitrary level for years is to use a formula! The minimum wage should be based on 50% of the average wage for two years prior for example.
      For instance, the average wage for 2019 is $51,916 and the minimum would be $12.48 (51,916 x .5 / (52×40) hours).

      1. enoughisenough

        Why should it be 50% of the average, and not 60 or 70%?

        That’s arbitrary as well.

        One also has to consider the types of jobs that even exist, and the levels of precarity workers are in – no job security, fewer opportunities, minimum wage-style jobs are *the* majority of work in this country now, aren’t they? Why arbitrarily depress the wages of working people, it sinks the rest of economy along with them.

        1. heresy101

          You are right; the 50% is arbitrary and is based on California, where it would be about $17/hr.

          For the country as a whole it should be a minimum of 60% (which would be about $14.98/hour).

          In order to achieve “Common Prosperity” in the US (where is Xi when we need him), the ratio should be 75% or 80%.

  6. Wukchumni

    One score ago in an own goal blunder, or how I learned to love the bubble bomb & being at continual war…

    We’d arrived in France on September 7th to go hiking in the Alps from hut to hut and made our way to the charming mountain town of Pralognan not too far from the Italian border where we’d start our first walk on September 10th. Everything went well and what an interesting area, there were remains of pre-WW2 French defense positions that never saw action against Il Duce’s forces and were mere shells of derelict reinforced cement, it must have been considerable cost in placing them there, I felt for the mules that must’ve brought what seemed to them like endless loads in, all for naught.

    One of the huts was a circa 1900 French army building which was overheated and we were sleeping cheek by jowl inches away from the next snorer, thank goodness i’d been trained by NZ mountain huts to bring earplugs not just for myself, but everybody in close proximity. Word has it that i’m a prime offender when it comes to snoring, although its all hearsay as far as i’m concerned, never having heard myself in action.

    We walked out on September 13th back to Pralognan, oblivious to what was obvious to the rest of the world-not an uncommon experience after leaving the wilderness, but this time was markedly different.

    My first inkling was a French tabloid newspaper I spied @ a newstand as we were walking by which had the second plane about to hit, in full color. I could understand enough of the lingua franca to discern enough to whet my appetite in wanting to know more, and soon learned the skinny in acquiring a International Herald Tribune.

    If you had air travel plans for the next 10 days in Europe heading back to the states, you weren’t going nowhere, but we were scheduled to be back later in the month, so it wasn’t a big deal for us.

    Over the next nearly 3 weeks, we ran into oh so many ad hoc street memorials with flowers & candles, and i’ve been to Europe oodles of times and the locals used to be good at ignoring American tourists, but not now.
    Every time my accent slipped out of my mouth, it elicited sympathy from shopkeepers as there was amazing solidarity on display, we were all on the same page, together.

    We arrived back in LA in late September, and to my shock, every other jalopy on the 405 was sporting a plastic old glory waving furiously from a window jamb, brave new world my arse, we’d decided that patriotism was gonna do the trick, and here we are 20 years later and what did it get us?

    1. Carla

      Thank you for this account, Wuk. I remember what an absolutely gorgeous day it was, here in Lake Erie land, and how profoundly quiet. Terrifyingly quiet.

      The son of an Israeli friend of mine worked in the Twin Towers, so I waited very anxiously for a phone call from Israel that finally came about noon — his son had made his way down the steps from (I can’t recall now) the 50th or 60th floor. When he got to the ground, a fireman was telling everyone to go back up because of flying glass and falling debris. My friend’s son relied on his Israeli gut and did NOT go back up, but escaped and walked all the way uptown to a relative’s apartment. His co-workers who heeded the firefighter’s instructions all perished. He’s got some pretty big survivor’s guilt about that.

      1. Wukchumni

        There was an amazing amount of six degrees of 9/11 separation between my family back home and a friend I was traveling with, in that a sister in Tucson knew a number of people from Raytheon on one of the doomed flights, and another sister in Denver-adjacent lived 5 doors down from one of the pilots and had been over to their place for bbq etc. But the clincher was about a week later and we’re on some train and my buddy is reading the IHT and sees a name on the deceased list and then makes a beeline for his wallet and fishes out the business card of the very same gent, he had interviewed him for a job, a week before we departed for Paris.

      2. Katiebird

        The biggest lesson I learned from 9/11 is that if a plane crashes anywhere near me/mine to leave the area as quickly as possible. And make everyone around leave too. There are many stories of ordinary office workers making their co-workers leave the building in spite of managers and supervisors telling them to stay at their desks. Those people are heros.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Unfortunately, research indicates that often doing the ‘wrong thing’ in accidents is more likely to result in you surviving. Studies on air crash survivors indicate that its often those who take the most ruthless and selfish option who end up alive.

        A lot of standard instructions in emergencies are designed to make life easier for the rescue services and to prevent panic, and are not necessarily the right way for an individual to behave.

        Also, of course, sometimes the people in charge get it wrong. In the notorious Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea, nearly all those who died were the ones who obeyed crew instructions to stay in their cabins. Those who sensibly ran for the upper deck were most likely to make it. Interestingly, it was more likely to be the crew who ignored the instructions. They probably had a better idea of how reliable the senior officers were.

        1. The Rev Kev

          And then there was the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire where the people were told to stay in their apartments and told not to try leaving the building.

  7. griffen

    Booster shots of the Covid vaccine and how to best label them for the marketing team purposes. I humbly submit my suggestion.

    “Super Size Me”* with the vaccine if you would please. Pays an homage to the great, informative documentary film of the same title some 15 to 20 years back.

    Naming rights might be an issue. /sarc

    1. The Rev Kev

      How about Pfizer Max like you have Pepsi Max? No, No. Don’t wanna do that. It is too much like the 737 MAX. Don’t wanna go there.

      1. griffen

        Since remakes and updates of music, TV series or films from the 80s, and early 90s is a thing, we could have some “humor” in the face of real Covid tragedy. But yeah the Max idea maybe a non-starter?

        The Wonder Years. Ghostbusters. Tears for Fears. Enter Sandman. Sad but True. Baywatch…no not that. Nightmare on Elm Street.

        Append what I’ve omitted to your personal liking!

  8. Blue Duck

    > Obama the abhorrent arborist

    I’ve found that, among my cohort of fellow millennials, the final step in their left/Marxist radicalization is the realization about Barack Obama. Typically their liberal adoration of Obama holds out for a long time as they come to understand the murderous nature of both American imperialism abroad and American neoliberal capitalism at home. I know their radicalization is complete when they come to understand Obama’s involvement in both international and domestic oppression and murder. The added bonus of coming to understand the true nature of Barack Obama is realizing the massive and complex layer of propaganda that served/serves to bolster his imagine as an untainted and untarnished Liberal God.

    For me it happened in that period between Trump winning the election and Obama still being president. I watched a Unicorn Riot stream of the DAPL camps being raided and dispersed by a domestic military that was armed like they were in Fallujah. I realized “hey the good guy is still president what the hell is going on here”

    1. MRLost

      For me, it was when Obama gave torture a wink and a wave and promised to never do it again until next time. By declining to prosecute those responsible he established a precedent that ensures the US will indeed torture again since, while against the rules, there will be no consequences for torturing suspects or other random, luckless pedestrians. Then he ordered up a “study” which he refused to publish thus making it seem like he’d taken the issue seriously and had “done something.” I reckon that’s what he learned at Harvard Law – when you do something truly awful, cover your ass with lots of paper.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      GenXer here. I’m noticing a bit more awkward silence when I point out things like how Obama teed up Trump and how the things they huffed and puffed over Trump doing were just extensions of the Obama era. I’m still getting mumbles of “well, at least he wasn’t Trump” which is the same I hear about Biden. I don’t think people of my generation will ever accept that they’ve been had when it comes to Obama and the Dems. The Obama hype was like Beatlemania and Elvis rolled into one and I think it is too existentially damaging for people who were on that train to admit it was on the same rails as we’ve always been.

      1. The Historian

        I think you are right – it is too existentially damaging to recognize reality sometimes.

        One of the things I’ve learned from my historical research is that when a republic is lost, as in Rome or Florence, the powers that be maintain the existing structures (often in name only) so that people think they are still in a republic when control is actually held by the few at the top. If the takeover doesn’t look like a coup, then people will believe that their old form of government still exists and that they still have some say in their government. It keeps the populace peaceful until they’ve adapted. To do otherwise might risk a violent rebellion.

      2. Adam Eran

        “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled” (attributed to Mark Twain). Ego gets in the way.

        Meanwhile, Obama not only didn’t prosecute the war crimes of Bush/Cheney, he promoted the torturers and prosecuted the whistle blowers.

        Also, according to Wm. K. Black, during the (Reagan/Bush 41) S&L crisis, regulators filed 30,000+ referrals for prosecution and Justice prosecuted 1200+ cases. They got big fish, too, like Mike Milken and Charles Keating.

        The subprime/derivatives scandal Obama inherited, in part thanks to Clinton’s deregulation, was 70 times larger than the S&Ls. So…how many referrals for prosecution from the Obama regulators? Answer: Zero. Typically the worst malefactors paid dimes on the dollar of their loot in fines, without even the admission of guilt that would make civil cases brought by their victims easier to prosecute.

        Republican pollster Frank Luntz reports the Obama administration was the first time he saw people in his focus groups weep as they witnessed 10 million foreclosures, and bailouts for Wall St. while no such bailout occurred for Main St.

        The Fed’s audit says they extended $16 – $29 trillion in credit to the financial sector whose frauds crashed the economy. For only $9 trillion, they could have paid off everyone’s mortgage.

        It was pretty clear Obama was garbage. In fact, now he’s on ads promoting retaining Newsom as the recall winds down. I have to really restrain myself from throwing things at the TV.

      3. Pat

        While there are many among my friends and acquaintances that still adore Barack and or Michelle Obama, I know a fair number of people who have accepted that Obama was a terrible President in recent years. Some of it was the realization that the lack of action for both Flint and Eric Garner was prologue. Some of it was the dime falling after the numerous times that pictures of border camps published for Trump’s administration were actually from his. And so on. What has taken longer for many is the realization that he wasn’t an unwilling participant forced by circumstances or McConnell but actively blocked needed changes and enthusiastically participated in despicable actions against humanity.

        Some of it is denial that they were taken, but In at least a few cases this is reinforced by the idea that Obama was and is just a more socially acceptable version of Trump. Acknowledging that he is Just as greedy, just as narcissistic, and just as dishonest as the bad orange man is a step too far.

        1. Futility

          For me the moment I realized Obama was just talk was when he voted for retroactive immunization of the telecommunication companies for helping the NSA spy on Americans when on the campaign trail just weeks before he had promised the opposite.

    3. enoughisenough

      Also Gen Xer here.

      For me it was when he appointed Arne Duncan Sec of Edu, so the honeymoon lasted 2 weeks into Nov. 2008.

      I will say, I voted for him reluctantly anyway, because I didn’t trust his soaring speeches that had zero content in them.

      I voted for Jill Stein in 2012.

      1. enoughisenough

        PS, by the way, I knew Arne Duncan was abysmal way ahead of the curve because I was reading Truthdig where Jeff Bryant was on the case, and also was reading NC and firedoglake and Corrente, Ian Welsh….also Black Agenda Report.

        Honestly, you all and people like you saved me from feeling forced into the cult of personality. I had tons of misgivings at the time, but I knew I wasn’t alone because of you all.

        When Yves and Matt Taibbi went on Bill Moyers way back then, I was like: omg Yves! <3

        Also, the world is worse for Bill Moyers not being a show anymore. I watched him religiously every week. Adolph Reed, on his shows, even then. :)

        I've come back to NC this year, after being canceled on FB by most of my cohorts, and thank you all for being here. Thank you Lambert and Yves. Not much remains of what I was always hoping for, but you all at least are still trying. It means a lot.

    4. Oh

      Obama trampled over the other primary candidates to get the nomination (perhaps with the help of some dark forces). He got help from the banksters and the elites who needed a new puppet. The rest of the country was disgusted with Bushie (rightly so) and Obama said the right words they swallowed them hook, line and sinker! People shoud’ve seen through him when he could wait to run to DC to support the bailout when even McCain opposed it. They could’ve gotten a clue when Obama jettisioned Rev Wright.

      In recent times the only way the Dems have won the WH is when the Repub President has been totally disgusting. They can never win on their candidate’s merit. It’s time for the electorate to wake up. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

  9. Brooklin Bridge


    They should be bloody careful about announcements regarding the efficacy of probenecid (unless it costs a lot) or we will be inundated with news stories of people taking medication intended for Zebras (or is it Giraffes’ turn?).

    1. Samuel Conner

      Probenecid has been around for decades. Per Wikipedia, it was used in WWII to extend penicillin (it reduces excretion of some molecules — hence has multiple interactions).

      Never previously heard of it and was pleasantly surprised that it was published in a journal under the Nature corporate structure (Scientific Reports, an open access journal, but not the flagship journal Nature itself)

      It’s encouraging (if you’re a consumer; not so much if you’re a pharma exec’) that research into repurposing off-patent drugs for COVID therapy and prevention is bearing fruit.

      I’m rooting for a combination therapy of multiple off-patent meds that has multiple non-overlapping mechanisms of action that would be very hard for the virus to escape.


      An interesting thought is that probenecid might be able to “extend” certain current $$$ on-patent meds, and an off-label use could be to allow dose reduction and $$$ reduction through pill splitting. That would probably be risky without a lot of research in the details of the specific interactions.

      Such is the country we live in.

      Can’t wait for M4A, but will probably have to.

      1. curlydan

        if we had a Plan B to our Plan A (i.e. mRNA vaccines and boosters only), then the government would immediately spend a pittance (maybe $15M max?) for an RCT on probenecid to convince the world and RCT lovers if it really worked.

        But we have no Plan B, so stop hoping for something effective and different and get back on the inter-tubes to navigate the CVS/Walgreens monopoly websites to schedule your recurring booster shots for the next 10 years.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I share your gloomy outlook, but there are some glimmers of hope, I think:

          * combination therapy is already standard in at least one virus: HIV. IIRC, the virus was so mutable that single agent therapies quickly became ineffective; combinations of multiple antivirals with different targets was necessary to prolong the usable lifetime of the therapies.

          * from the little I have read in the literature on the problem of antibiotic resistance in bacterial diseases, combination therapy is considered a potentially useful approach to delay, or potentially even prevent, the emergence of resistant bacterial strains.

          It seems a “no brainer” to me that combination therapy should be “on the table” in terms COVID treatments. Once multiple anti-CV agents have been identified, someone will propose using them in combination.

          Yes, there is no Plan B in the minds of the people who ought to be thinking about mitigating public health risks, but there are some clearer-thinking people at work in the world-wide research effort.

          Humanity has a future, even if US may not.

    2. Basil Pesto

      What I thought was interesting when I has a gander on wikipedia is that one of the very rare potential side effects of Probenecid is thrombocytopenia, which is also one of the rare side effects of the AZ vaccine (and maybe the mRNAs as well? but more commonly seen in AZ). I wonder if that’s a coincidence or not.

    3. Skip Intro

      Truth! Did you see the super-slick anti-IVM video from the Lincoln Project? It was a fake commercial, a la SNL, but with very high production values. ‘Say neigh to vaccines’. There is definitely some strong funding behind this, to pick up a high-dollar propagandists like them.

  10. nvl

    Ancient Greek pop comes as no surprise because modern Greek is very
    well suited to pop lyrics. And yes, the languages are different, but the
    lyrics presented in the article were an easy read for a speaker of
    modern Greek, not usually the case with the ancient language.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar


      Yep. On the other hand, I suspect that this poem isn’t one of a kind. There are similar, highly “song lyrical,” poems by Sappho, Archilochus, and Stesichoros.

      I note from the article:
      In its written form (which shows some minor variation), the poem reads:

      Λέγουσιν: They say

      ἃ θέλουσιν: What they like

      λεγέτωσαν: Let them say it

      οὐ μέλι μοι: I don’t care

      σὺ φίλι με: Go on, love me

      συνφέρι σοι: It does you good

      The first three lines also play with rime. The second three lines highlight the first syllables, rime the middle two syllables, and play with riming pronouns at the end, which gives the pronouns more heft.

      There likely were many, many poems like these. (I am also thinking of Roman poets like Martial and Catullus, who played with words along similar lines.)

      So the article is a sign of what we don’t know, rather than of something unexpected in the ancient Mediterranean world.

      Next up? Sappho as Aretha of the Ancients? (I happen to be working with a composer and sent her a song written as a Sapphic ode. Odd! It works well with modern music! Hmmm.)

      1. enoughisenough

        This comment is probably a “captain obvious” statement, to many of you here….
        but, Sappho, Anacreon, etc literally WERE songs. Sung at symposia. Greek plays were essentially musicals.

        Poetry was sung. The question is what kind of music it was, not whether it was music.
        Walz time? Common time? that kind of thing.

  11. Samuel Conner

    re: the Obama legacy photograph —

    Yesterday, contemplating a great deal of weed sapling removal — mid-Summer was busy and distracted and the weeds got away from me — I was reminded of the scene in the epic film Fellowship of the Ring when Saruman tells his orc lieutenants, in response to their inquiry of what orders had come down from Mordor, “we have work to do”.

    That came to mind again in regard to the Jackson Park tree removals.

    1. Pelham

      Cool way of looking at this abomination! So Obama would be a sort of PMC Saruman receiving orders from the blob/Mordor. I like it.

      1. Samuel Conner

        That’s how I thought of it, at first. But if one considers that Obama is the reason the park’s trees are being torn down, … it’s closer to see him as, analogically, Sauron.

        Recall, in Tolkein’s backstory/mythology (in The Silmarillion — a depressing read, but quite appropriate to our times), Sauron wasn’t the principal evil being; he was himself only a lieutenant of the Vala Morgoth, who happened to inherit the opportunity to attempt to dominate Middle Earth when the Valar and Maiar who had not turned to evil drove Morgoth out of Ea, “the world that is,” at the end of the First Age.

        Sauron was a servant of evil greater than himself.

        1. Nikkikat

          “Sauron was servant of evil greater than himself” sounds about right to me.
          Wall Street leads the pact of evil he must of signed up to serve.

          1. The Rev Kev

            If Sauron was alive today, we would find out that he was a fully paid up member of both Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

      2. chris

        Barack of many colors!

        There are a few popular conceptions of Mr. Obama in our culture. For example, he’s Superman on an alternate earth in DC comics. But I like the idea of him being portrayed as Saruman. That really fits him well.

  12. Wukchumni

    He’s been out of league for 5 years, so now eligible for inclusion into the Presidential Hall of Fame, is what on the surface is the Jackie Robinson of politics, a black man in the white house. Oh he talked the talk and looked the part, but never walked the walk and after 8 years in the prose, his statistics:

    .201 batting average
    18 home runs
    157 RBI’s
    Attempted to steal 22x, thrown out 24x
    .827 fielding avg

  13. fresno dan

    So I got tested Friday (9/10) for Covid to get my angiogram done Monday. Turns out I am positive. So no hospital tests for a while… I had been tested when I was first in the hospital on August 8, and was negative.
    Germs – tiny and they are everywhere. If I had not been tested, I would not have guessed that I had been infected with Covid.
    So I had a very slight cough last week – but sometimes I get “allergy” coughs due to pollen or pollution. (so much for temperature checks) I feel fine now. I guess I got a free booster…. I had had both shots of the Pfizer vaccine back in the spring. Considering my health (or more accurately, lack of health – cancer, heart attack, diabetes, 65, it appears the vaccine was protective for me at least…so far)
    No loss of appitite or smell. My only real problem is that despite a plethora of doctors, none knows whose job it is to renew my prescription for a blood thinnner…

    1. The Historian

      So glad that you are now healthy enough to post and that Covid hasn’t beaten you. I’ve missed your posts!

    2. Wukchumni

      Welcome back to the world of 6 feet over fresno dan. I had elicited a say-ance on your behalf and wondered if you had fled your namesake city for Auckland, Ca. in a best attempt at getting oneself to NZ these days?

      I will say of the all the fraternal strains, Delta is the easiest to pledge, and i’m sorry you got involved those hoodlum germs. Chin up though, and keep us posted in goings on.

    3. IM Doc

      It sounds by the timing you are largely out of the woods. Very encouraging that all else is going well.

      Stay safe.

    4. petal

      Yay fresno dan! Glad you are still with us. I hope you are able to kick it quickly so you can get your angiogram done. Feet up!

    5. ambrit

      Good to ‘see’ you up and around.
      Thanks for the heads up. I am scheduled for an echocardiogram soon. No mention from the medicos about having to be tested. Curious that. And this in a facility that has just been through a big surge in covid cases. Curiouser still.
      (How ‘accurate’ a test was done on you? Could this be a false positive?)
      Stay safe!

    6. chris

      So sorry to hear that. Hopefully everything continues on the path to full health soon.

      FWIW, make sure you check out your lungs and other functions when you’re post-COVID. I would have told you that my case was mild and I barely had symptoms. But I found out the disease did a lot of damage to me. I just didn’t know it at the time.

    7. Pat

      Sorry about the bureaucratic fubar surrounding your prescription, but am glad to hear this was an extremely mild case and probable success of the vaccine for you.

      Take very good care of yourself, selfishly I tell you that even a short term absence leaves a hole in the comments.

    8. The Rev Kev

      Great to hear from you. People were worried about you and were saying so in comments recently. i hope that you get on top of your health problems quickly.

  14. Wukchumni

    A tale of two fires:

    The Dinely Fire broke out in early June of 2017, a total of some 340 acres burned and was quickly put out with the help of 550 fresh firefighters from here there and everywhere, many of them on their first foray into fire that season.

    There was much aerial support as evidenced by the video which includes a woman who has no neck, but I digress.

    Fast forward to now, and a lightning storm was trading blows with thunder on Thursday night. Nothing around these parts had seen a drop of rain in a world of Sundays, so the smell was interesting in a release of aroma after the deluge. Very earthy.

    But you knew trouble was brewing somewhere, and there’s 3 wildfires happening in Sequoia NP, with limited resources to put them out, the Caldor Fire near South Lake Tahoe was an all hands on kinda gig-not to mention the million acre Dixie Fire et al, and so it goes. Firefighters get tired too.

    The idea that one of the newcomer conflagrations is named the Paradise Fire, isn’t too reassuring, along with sneaky little sleeper fires that don’t make themselves apparent until they eventually give themselves away.

    September 11, 2021 – SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. – A significant lightning storm occurred in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the surrounding areas on the evening of September 9, 2021. At this time, three new wildfires ignited by the storm have been discovered within park boundaries. The parks are actively suppressing the fires.

    Current suppression actions include hand crews working on the ground and aerial water and retardant drops. The parks are ordering additional resources for suppression actions. The new fires are located in steep, densely forested terrain, and in the current extremely dry conditions, fire management officials in the parks believe the fires have spread potential and could affect operations in the coming days or weeks.

    “As we tackle these new fires, we’re continuing to search for additional fires that may have been ignited by the lightning event,” says Chief Ranger Ned Kelleher. “As the moisture that accompanied the storm evaporates in the coming days, we can anticipate discovering additional starts throughout the parks.”

  15. Joel

    Thanks for the crypto cult article. Good read. Really shows a topic of its own is not warranted. I was wrong the other day.

  16. Wukchumni

    Joe Biden calls Xi Jinping in bid to reset strained US-China relations FT

    Imagined conversation

    Joe: Gee willikers, enough of the malarkey, here’s the deal-you make everything we want, as if we could get divorced.

    Xi: {why’d he call me Xi willikers?}

  17. Pelham

    Re Dean Baker’s comments on our perversely structured economy: True enough. But according to MMT, if we were to raise the minimum wage this year in line with historical productivity gains to $26 an hour — where I agree it should be — wouldn’t that likely be quite inflationary, in line with MMT thinking (which I regard as sound)?

    It’s one thing to have enormous sums of wealth concentrated at the slender tippy top of the pyramid and another to spread wealth across the masses, who, in turn, are likely to ramp up spending and strain production and supply chains. Maybe the inflation would be only temporary, but my guess is that the $26 an hour in the end would amount to a good deal less than we think if prices went up by a large percentage in a brief period.

    The more salient argument against vast accumulations of wealth — and I believe this was also the chief argument behind TR’s trust busting — is that concentrated wealth inevitably leads to malignant concentrations of both economic and political power. That’s the nub, with sheer unfairness playing an important secondary role.

    1. JBird4049

      Yes. California’s minimum wage is $14 per hour.

      In 1968, that was $1.60 or officially $12.81 adjusted for inflation today. My parents in Santa Clara County rented an entire house with both of them working at minimum wage jobs, IIRC, in 1968. We certainly had government aid, but college, raising children, and renting a home with a very low income for the time.

      Now on that minimum wage of $26. $26 at 37.5 hours per week, 52 weeks a year gets $50,700 pre-tax. A cheap, not so good apartment in the Bay Area starts at about $2000 per month or $24,000 per year. That is if you are lucky as it will be more like 2,800 and much, much higher for a house. A 2 bedroom house starts $3,000 per month, easily or $36,000. More than half of your take home pay just to rent a cheap one bedroom apartment or a two bedroom house.

      At that level of pay, you will not qualify for any government assistance, except, theoretically housing aid, but that has been under funded for decades and it all goes to those making minimum wage, are disabled, or have a family. Preferably, two or all of those qualifications. One county has has its section eight housing waiting list closed for a decade, others for a few years. All this means that you will not receive any government assistance in practice.

      So, I agree that a $26 minimum wage is not as inflationary as many would think.

      A digression here, aside from California and Minnesota, there is this abomination call the minimum wages for tipped employees. That is 48 states and assorted territories. The rate is a low as $2.13 per hour. The difference between the standard minimum wage and the tipped rate if there are not enough tips is supposed to be made up by the business. This is frequently not done and is called wage theft. Also, the IRS presumes that an employee will get a certain amount of tips regardless of the facts and expects to be paid any taxes it says is due.

      Tip frequently and well. The only person you will be hurting is the waiter who helped you, or the delivery drive, if you do not. This sucks, but welcome to the economic Hellscape that is America.

      And some bitch about how “they” are getting away with something for their fabjay unemployment pay during a pandemic. Screw ’em.

      1. enoughisenough

        yes! And try to carry cash, for tips.

        Very often, the business wage-thefts away the tips left on credit cards, and the worker never sees the money they earned.

    2. LifelongLib

      I suppose that in 600 AD the local strong man and his band of tough guys might have been all that stood between their communities and utter chaos. By 1600 lords and knights were a joke, but they’ve lasted a lot longer than that.

      The same is true of the rich. You could argue that given the relatively poor communications and financial arrangements of 100+ years ago, concentrations of personal wealth were essential to getting anything done economically. They simply aren’t necessary now. There’s still room for individual genius, but we’d find more of it by spreading education, money, and leisure as widely as possible, and betting that somebody in a garage someplace will invent something that changes the world.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “invent something that changes the world”

        Like the internal combustion engine?

        The more experts a country has,
        the more of a mess it’s in.
        The more ingenious the skillful are,
        the more monstrous their inventions.

        Tao te Ching #57 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

        Bill Gates’s “vision” for the future of agriculture qualifies as “monstrous” in my estimation.

        Maybe it’s time to digest and assimilate the technology we’ve already developed. And surely it’s time to quit trying to fix problems caused by technology whose impacts we didn’t really understand with more technology whose impacts we don’t really understand.

    3. Samuel Conner

      It depends a great deal on what the additional income would be spent on and whether the supply of those things is elastic. I doubt, for example, that increasing the minimum wage substantially would result in rapid demand-pull inflation in the prices of basic food-stuffs.

      I think that a lot of medical care is delayed, deferred or entirely skipped due to fear of inability to pay. US does not appear to have a highly elastic supply of medical care (a health system designed for profit-maximization will not have a lot of spare slack in its capacity). My guess is that increasing people’s pay would enable them to get more or better health care, and that might be one of the places where inflation would manifest.

      We really need a better system for provision of health care.

    4. Jed

      All due respect Pelham, but I am trying hard to respond in a civil manner…

      If inflation were only caused by wage increases you would be correct.

      Prices of things rising, on average, is what “inflation” means. Economists do tend to get to your argument, but most actual people just see prices rise with no wage or salary rise that’s commensurate (or not enough)!

      If you have not seen any inflation then I can probably assume that you haven’t been looking to buy a house in the past decade.

      *I am an economist.

  18. Susan the other

    Surprisingly truthful piece linked from The Atlantic. By Tom McTague. “Europe Should Drop the Act on Afghanistan”. Europe is suffering from a Peter Pan complex. They are children blaming the US for breaking its commitment. Nice to hear someone say it. We are talking NATO here but McTague doesn’t put such a fine point on it. The whole effort to insinuate ourselves into the politics of the Middle East was artificial from the beginning. And all the “patriotic” crap we have to endure today, the 20th anniversary of the historic debacle, is more than I can really stomach. One day we might hear the whole truth. But I doubt it. In the meantime, while I still have my wits, I’d like to thank Joe Biden once again for getting us out. That was the most impressive act of courage I have ever seen a US President take. Although Trump was also a harbinger.

    1. ambrit

      I’m wondering just how large an influence on “Creepy” Joe’s thinking his wife, Dr. Jill, has.
      I’m still waiting for someone to formally raise the issue of Biden and the 25th Amendment.

  19. Jason Boxman

    I don’t know if this was posted here recently, but talk about third world stuff:

    Every weekday, Henderson explained, 800 of the county’s teenagers crammed into a 61-year-old high school that had no air-conditioning, no heat and, some days, no running water. Most of the classrooms smelled like mold, and the hallways flooded when it rained. The outside was so antiquated that prospective teachers sometimes took one look, then peeled out of the parking lot.

    This is beyond insane, the way we fund, or lack thereof, our primary education.

    The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools

  20. Wukchumni

    …shift happens

    Vancouver Police Department released a statement confirming that a man died at a McDonald’s location around 5.30am Wednesday morning.

    According to the statement, the victim had pulled up to the window to pay for his order. At one point, he dropped an object out of his car and attempted to pick it up.

    In order to do so, he opened his door.

    Unfortunately, the vehicle then rolled forward and collided with a part of the restaurant’s structure. The victim became pinned between the door and the frame. Emergency workers were called to the scene and first responders attempted to revive the driver.

    Constable Tania Visintin said: “Efforts were made by first responders to revive the man, but tragically, he died on scene. This is an absolutely heartbreaking scenario. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of this man.”

    1. CoryP

      That’s just terrible. Drop your [phone/wallet, probably], reach to get it and get crushed by your vehicle. It’s not quite a Darwin Award— it’s more instructive in that it shows how close each of us is to a stupid and tragic death but for the grace of [—-]. It’s humbling and really sad.

  21. griffen

    Sports desk commentary, as Novak Djokovic is aiming his shot making at a record tennis season tomorrow in the men’s tennis finals. Yes, the absence of his major, contemporary competition is notable. A calendar great slam just might be in the offing.

    Elsewhere, NY Jets fans begin another coaching era with hope. And their coach, Robert Saleh, has a remarkable story from 9/11/2001. His older brother was in n South Tower that day, and managed to escape with his life. Critical to that result he ignored bad advice and he continued downward via a stairwell.

    1. Daryl

      > His older brother was in n South Tower that day, and managed to escape with his life. Critical to that result he ignored bad advice and he continued downward via a stairwell.

      > When he reached the 40th floor, a voice on the intercom announced that it was safe for everyone to return to their offices.

      A fascinating detail to the story that I had never heard before. And yet sounds similar to a lot of advice I have been receiving over the airwaves the past year.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw a doco last night and they played that voice telling the workers in the second Tower to go back to work as everything was safe. Also, there was a recording where this woman in emergency services was telling someone to stay where they were, break a window if necessary, stay low on the floor and wait for firefighters to arrive. But not to try to evacuate herself whatsoever and even up hanging up on that woman in the end out of impatience.

  22. DJG, Reality Czar

    Sex can relieve nasal congestion: IgNoble Prize.

    Years ago, I recall reading an article about sneezing and sexual attraction.

    Here it is in Wikipedia, making it a thing:

    During these perilous times, in which we are concerned with the nose, nasal health, and COVID in our nostrils, this finding may be an impetus for more research.

    Follow the science, dear groundlings.

  23. TimH

    On food prices… the 25lb bag of plain flour is now $7.99 at Costco. It was $5.79 pre CV, $6.49 a couple of months ago.

    This staple has risen 43%.

    1. ambrit

      This is happening all over now. The price of “Ramen Noodles” the ‘real’ oriental style, that I buy at a small vietnamese grocery in town, has risen at least 50% over the past year. Some of the more “name brand” products have doubled in price. The cashier, who is the daughter of the owner, (family run business,) says that their wholesale prices began seriously rising about a year ago.

  24. Wukchumni

    I come from a drinking family, my dad could put away bottles of club soda-loved the bubbly, but maybe it would take him 4 months to finish a 6 pack of Coors-he wasn’t that kind of drinker, and i’m the same.

    In my quest for the perfect sparkling mineral water, I stopped looking after discovering Topo Chico a dozen years ago, nothing slakes my thirst better.

    Big Soda bought them in 2017 and I haven’t noticed any change in taste or presentation, the only recent hiccup happening is that there are none in glass bottles for sale anywhere in the CVBB, another one of them there shortages.

    Topo Chico’s Sudden Success

    The sparkling water brand used to be hard to find in the United States outside of Texas. Now, thanks to Coca-Cola’s distribution magic, it’s everywhere.

    In just a few years, Topo Chico, the sparkling water sourced from Monterrey, Mexico, went from “big in Texas” to the bubbliest thing since spiked seltzer.

    1. chris_gee

      What it says is in the last 28 days the percentage of the unvaccinated severelyill or died is 4.6% vs .8%. That is what the MOH release says true. However looking further at the report the percentage appears to be of those hospitalised. Very different.

  25. pjay

    Re: ‘Imminent Threat’ or Aid Worker: Did a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan Kill the Wrong Person? NYT

    This is from the Guardian’s coverage of the story:

    “The US mistakenly targeted and killed an innocent aid worker for an American company in a drone strike in Afghanistan, the New York Times suggested in an investigation into the country’s final military action of the recently concluded 20-year war…

    “What the US military observers figured was Ahmadi acting suspiciously, the newspaper said, was him going about his normal business as a worker for the California-based aid group Nutrition and Education International…

    “… the “explosives” in the vehicle were water cartons that Ahmadi filled from a hose at his office and was taking home to his family…”

    A fitting farewell from the US of A, I’d say, and a fitting story for 9/11/21.

    Remember: They hate us for our freedoms!

    1. Watt4Bob

      Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth also produced a new documentary that follows the efforts of four families to find the truth about what happened to their loved ones on 911.

      It’s called The Unspeakable, they aired it live last night, and it will have its world wide release on the 17th of this month.

      I watched it, and I highly recommend it to everyone here.

      Here’s the trailer.

      1. rob

        since this is the 20th year, and all the propaganda is in full force; what that group is doing is of historic importance.
        They are not getting any traction against all the falsehoods which most of the public believe; . as is evidenced by the lack of even discussion about this topic, but they have produced evidence.
        the recent release of the movie “Seven”, the four year project at the university of alaska, where they had the required testing facility to prove that NIST theory of why building seven fell down; was impossible, and could not explain the observed outcome. The only way the observed collapse could have occurred was by simultaneous failure ,in two waves of all the structural columns.
        The point is , why don’t people believe science?
        in their first big movie in 2012, “9/11 explosive evidence”… they bring up the point of a scientific investigation of the collapse of the buildings. and how all the NIST rhetoric and “reports” didn’t fit that bill.
        They also spend a good chunk of time discussing cognitive dissonance. which is why most everyone can’t really go there.
        Even discussing something as “concrete” as concrete and steel… and what is known about materials science,chemistry,physics,etc… would push people to question their version of the reality they have assumed for the last twenty years.
        but it really is mind boggling the depth that near everyone has inserted their heads in the sand rather than face reality. and these are the people who nitpick everything… the rest are clueless.

    2. Maritimer

      Thomas Kean and Lee H. Hamilton were both establishment figures appointed to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. But even they admitted in an oped in the NYT that they had been stonewalled by the CIA!

      “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
      ― George W. Bush, Stonewaller Extraordinaire

      1. CoryP

        I mean.:. Even on thd most naive reading of the situation, building 7 had sensitive things inside it and it was intentionally pulled down.

        That being said… apparently I have a new TrurAnon episode to listen to.

  26. Cuibono

    It is not just Mongolia and Seychelles.
    Have a gander at Fiji, Thailand, Malaysia etc etc etc all who had nearly zero covid for a year and have NOT opened up but are seeing cases soar

  27. jr

    Naked Prepperism:

    Just a quick note, I have decided that rather than stocking up on grains/flour, I’m going to go with canned corn. Lasts longer, no bugs, and comes with it’s own water!

    1. ambrit

      Just make sure that you ‘store’ those cans in a dry environment. Even the best cans will rust, or oxidize if there is moisture in the air.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I suspect that a deal was made with those vaccine corporations to do that in exchange for vaccine access. Hydrochloraquin was also banned last year too if doctors wanted to give it to patients. Next up to be banned – zinc.

    1. The Rev Kev


      To read an FT article, copy the title into Google search and when you see the article listed in the results, click on it. It will open up the full article for you.

      1. Late Introvert

        But, what if you refuse to let Screwgle track you? FT isn’t even interesting IMO. Rich people fussing about the help.

    2. CoryP

      I might have posted this earlier (and it got canned) and if so I apologize. I do note this site has an official policy of discouraging journalism piracy, but it has an inconsistent history of enforcing it, and sometimes outright encourages it, more so in the last couple years.

      Anyway search around for a site that is intended to Archive websites (similar to the way back machine). A lot of those will access the source from a fresh IP which hasn’t hit their limit of free articles. They might also have Kane black magic to bypass paywalls with no freebies (like sci hub), I’m not sure.

      1. hunkerdown

        Those random “archive.tld” sites can be NATO honeypots. I have personally observed behavior consistent with IC supervision or control from these sites on occasion. There’s no reason for any such archive site to request loading gifs from third parties that are not CDNs, much less from the Henley-Putnam School of Strategic Security in particular. Yet, years ago, I found that the .fo site once did just that, only noticed because their server was down and that caused a UX hiccup. Be careful out there!

  28. ambrit

    How in heaven’s name did I manage to have all of the recent comments on the scroll list???
    I have been conjuring with the Name of the Arch Demon Barakula, so, there is that.
    Who says that crime does not pay?

  29. ambrit

    Mini Zeitgeist Report.
    The local University is having a football game tonight. The stadium is packed, (I could see one side from a street. This stadium seats 33,000 people.) There were tailgate parties in an area traditionally dedicated to such. Crowds walking around on the streets adjacent to the stadium. Not a mask to be seen. Even cynical old me was surprised at how “Mondo Cane” it all was.
    I was shopping tonight because I imagined that the crowds in the stores would be light, due to the football game. Many go to the games, and many more avoid town during the games because, well, game day shenanigans.
    Three places visited: Wal Mart, Winn Dixie, and a local ‘upscale’ grocery.
    Almost no vegetables at all three. Literally no sugar. Empty shelves again in the staples aisles. Empty sections in the freezer department. Almost no chicken or beef. Pork was available. Milk and dairy had very low inventories.
    The WalMart was visibly understaffed. The other two were decently staffed.
    The only ammo in the case in sporting goods was a lot of 7.62x51mm NATO. Nothing else, no shotgun rounds either. No long guns in the display cases. (WalMart stopped selling hand guns years ago.)
    If what I have read here about the Covid is close to “reality,” then I can expect to see a sharp surge in Covid cases at the end of the month. Time will tell.
    Stay safe all!

  30. The Rev Kev

    More trouble in NSW. The government there is telling churches that parishioners will have to be vaccinated if they want to go to church and getting pretty high-handed about it. In fact, “If anybody goes to church unvaccinated – unless they have medical evidence of being excused from vaccination – then the person will be committing breach of the public health orders.” Churches are now getting their back-fur up because they do not want to tell people who can and who can’t attend their services as most churches don’t work that way-

  31. Brunches with Cats

    Naming COVID variants for stars and constellations after the Greek letters run out …

    Sirius variant: You’ll be sick as a dog.

    Algol variant: Excruciating headaches will make you wish you were Anne Boleyn.

    Corvus variant: CORVID-19

    Hydra variant: You just can’t get rid of it.

    Aries variant: ram tough and extremely difficult to dodge

    Fornax variant: dangerously high fever, risk of drain bamage.

    Taurus and Pegasus variants: Stop it, y’all.

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