Links 9/14/2021

Michelangelo’s Hidden Drawings Atlas Obscura (chuck l)

Barack Obama, the Hollow Icon Jacobin

Photographs from the edge The Architects Newspaper

The young Vietnamese helping tackle the illegal wildlife trade Al Jazeera

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click MIT Technology Review

Salvador Allende Was Overthrown Because His Government Showed Chile Could Be Transformed Jacobin

Supernova Requiem: Rerun of Massive Blast From Exploding Star Expected To Appear in 2037 Sci Tech Daily (chuck l)

Solar ‘Superflares’ Rocked Earth Less Than 10,000 Years Ago—and Could Strike Again Scientific American (RM)

Apple Patches Zero-Click iMessage Hack Used by NSO (David L)

Hurricane Nicholas makes landfall on the Texas coast AP


WTO Set to Meet as Rich Nations Continue to Block Vaccine Patent Waivers Truthout

“Things Are Looking Good and Going According to Plan”  Der Spiegel

United Employees Who Won’t Get Vaccinated Face Unpaid Leave or Termination Afar

Anthony Fauci says he would support vaccination requirement for air travel NY Post

New pandemic rules for NYC restaurants, city workers, schools in effect Fox 5 New York

As COVID cases rise, so do hospital-related infections Ars Technica


New wave of Covid predicted as UK’s return to school and social mixing hit FT

Ho Chi Minh City Will Miss its Deadline Vietnam Weekly

Children in quarantine, city in lockdown as China battles Covid-19 outbreak South China Morning Post

Seriously ill COVID-19 patients double in vaccine pace-setter Singapore Reuters

Chinese vaccines’ value clarified by real-world data as exports near 1 billion South China Morning Post

How does the German election work? Deutsche Welle

Groves of Academe

Colleges Still Obsess Over National Rankings. For Proof, Look at Their Strategic Plans. Chronicle of Higher Education

The Case Against ‘Excellence’ at Universities NYT

Amy Coney Barrett insists Supreme Court judges are not ‘partisan hacks’ in wake of Texas abortion ruling Independent

US faces ‘real battle for democracy’ against far right, says Hillary Clinton Guardian

Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt. WSJ

Class Warfare

Crown Heights Armory Pool Offers Kids’ Swimming Lessons — for $50 a Half Hour The City. I noticed this article because it’s not far from our house. Seems to be an outrageous price for “affordable” recreation services – especially something as important as teaching city kids to swim.

10,000 John Deere Workers Poised to Strike – 400 Ketuncky Whiskey Workers Strike – Rural PA Teachers Strike Payday Report

Massachusetts National Guard Activated To Help Deal With School Bus Driver Shortage CBS Boston

When Wall Street came to coal country: how a big-money gamble scarred Appalachia Guardian

Top earning New Yorkers could face 61.2% combined tax rate under House plan, Californians may face 59% rate CNBC

House Democrats take step back from Biden on tax hikes The Hill.

Met Gala 2021: The best memes and reactions BBC

‘Where Are the Threads Dropped With the Criminal Investigation of the Sackler Family?’ FAIR

Long-Secret FBI Report Reveals New Connections Between 9/11 Hijackers and Saudi Religious 

Officials in U.S. ProPublica

Democrats Swoon Over George W. Bush, In Match Made in Hell TK News. Matt Taibbi.

California Recall

Biden makes push for California’s Newsom as recall nears end AP


Extremists targeting extremists Dawn

Pakistan, China guide new Afghan political calculus Asia Times

A university falls, taking down a symbol of US soft power, Afghan cultural dignity France 24

Blinken defends Afghan withdrawal at testy U.S. congressional hearing Reuters

Ashraf Ghani was an American mistake with a high price for Afghans Responsible Statecraft


Mapping China’s Place in the Global Semiconductor Industry The Diplomat


Junta forces torch Sagaing village after PDF raid on police station Myanmar Now


To Enlist Renewables’ Help With Net-Zero, India Needs Land Half the Size of TN The Wire

Reliance Jio’s cheap data has helped crores of Indians enter the internet age – but at what cost? Scroll

Antidote du Jour. Tracie H: “This male (females are brown) Great-tailed Grackle looks like he’s wondering just what I am up to.”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour  here:


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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Solar superflares–

    Great. Another disaster for us to worry about.

    It’s a reminder that humans have been living in the Holocene for the last 10,000 years. After the last ice age, Earth’s surface temperature popped up and has remained stable, uniquely stable, until now when human activity threatens to set the temperature gyroscope wobbling wildly.

    Jared Diamond argued that this stability allowed hunter-gatherers to settle and become farmers. In other words, the Holocene has made human civilization possible.

    The following excerpt from Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics nicely summarizes just how stupid we’ve been:

    [S]cientists suggest that, if undisturbed, the Holocene’s benevolent conditions would be likely to continue for another 50,000 years due to the unusually circular orbit the Earth is currently making of the Sun–a phenomenon that it last occurred 400,000 years ago. This is certainly something to sit back and ponder. Here we are on the only known living planet, born into its most hospitable era which, thanks to the odd way we happen to be circling the sun right now, is set to run and run. We would have to be crazy to kick ourselves out of the Holocene’s sweet spot, but that is, of course, exactly what we have been doing.

    Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics, p. 41.

    And as fragile as we naked apes are, our technology along with our social, economic and political systems are even more fragile.

  2. Tom Stone

    That AOC vid is, Wow.
    The ladies of Versailles now how to party!
    And a much classier way of announcing that you are a member of the club than Kammie’s big wet kiss for Steve Mnuchin.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well at $30,000 a ticket, you have to get your money’s worth but I like your ‘ladies of Versailles’ comparison. And this was a good way to advertise the future opening of the AOC Institute of Performative Arts. But it was a tough choice for her. It was either the ‘Tax The Rich’ gown or the white ‘Kids In Cages’ pantsuit but I think that she made the right choice. Pantsuits is really Hillary’s brand-

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        To say nothing of the fact that the kids are still in cages…

        I love your idea for the AOC Institute For The Performing Arts, and if she could bulldoze a few acres in Astoria Park to build it, that would be the icing on the gravy.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Tickets start at $30k. I read it takes $120k to get into the good party.

        My question is, did Ocasio-Cortez pay her own way or was she sponsored? IIRC, she’s played the “I’m just a poor congresswoman” card before so the answer to this would be revealing, I feel.

        1. MJ

          It is routine for local politicians to be invited to the met gala- she did not pay any money. Everyone smugly thinking that by her attending an event (that is happening with or without her) and taking the opportunity to tell the rich to pay fair taxes to their faces is somehow hypocritical, is laughable.

          1. Temporarily Sane

            Oh please. Do you really think the rich saw AOC’s dress and went “wow she’s right, we really should consider paying more taxes!”

            It was tone deaf performative “progressivism”at its cringiest.

            1. MJ

              Do you think the rich will ever say “ok, let me pay more taxes” in any situation ever?!! lmao… sure, lets never try to send a message unless it results in immediate action!

              Tone deaf to who? The rich people at the Gala in their designer clothes? The gala IS performative. Was Kim Kardashian in her all black or Frank Ocean with his robot baby not performative? That is the point of the event. The fact that it is striking a nerve politically is proof that it was effective messaging.

              1. Temporarily Sane

                Tone deaf to who?

                Tone deaf to the impression idiotic preformative politics makes on people who actually pay attention to what politicians promise, and then fail, to deliver.

                The fact that it is striking a nerve politically is proof that it was effective messaging.

                If it isn’t threatening ruling class complacency it isn’t “striking a nerve politically.” Proles arguing about it in online forums makes no difference to anything that matters.

                Instead of focusing on “effective messaging” (whatever that is) they should focus on representing the people who elected them.

                Jonathan Cook wrote a good blog post about this “protest”
                AOC’s ‘tax the rich’ gown isn’t a threat. It is designer protest meant to dull class struggle

                An excerpt:
                “But there is, I think, a deeper reason why this clip makes parts of the left – rather than the rich – uncomfortable.

                Watch the video above with the sound off, and it is hard not to notice that AOC is enjoying herself – enjoying the glamour and that very expensive, very chic dress – just a little too much to qualify as any kind of class-struggle warrior.

                The impression that this is faux-protest derives, however, from more than AOC’s pleasure at playing a mildly subversive Marilyn Monroe.

                Far from “kicking open” the door of the Met, she appears to have been welcomed with a warm embrace. Certainly, she did not appear to be rustling too many feathers among her fellow, wealthy guests.

                Turn the sound on, and the interviewers gushing over her and her dress simply confirm that this was a protest that posed no threat to anyone. It was a designer protest at a designer event. She fitted right in with the $30,000-a-head crowd.”

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            Hey now. I also think it was performative! Call us when the IRS starts receiving all those checks I’m just sure the rich are mailing out today, because no one has ever told the rich they should pay more taxes. Maybe being told via expensive (yes, expensive, regardless of who paid) designer dress will make the message stick?

            1. MJ

              First, the dress was loaned to her and it promoted a lesser known designer who happens to be a black immigrant woman from Brooklyn. Do you seriously think that AOC is that naïve or is that just misogyny? She wore it to a actual performative event for a museum in a city where she is a political leader with the very theme being based on America – for which a political dress would be very highly appropriate.

        1. Lily

          Uh no. People got Melania’s point, it’s just kind of heinous to say that about kids in cages. We expect the rich and powerful to be hypocritical garbage people.

            1. newcatty

              Kids in cages are being reported to being sexually assaulted, physically neglected and/ or abused by staff. The predators are clothed in official clothing. Are you not a border guard? What’s that smell? What’s that sound? Who allows you to be predators upon defenseless children and, often, their mothers and fathers?

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Performative. Let me tell you about performative.

        I was in Vegas for a bachelor party (as ya do) some decades ago, and visited some friends poolside at the Hard Rock hotel (being old school, I was a Sahara/Firetrap Hilton guy, after they bulldozed the Desert Inn).

        So anyway, there I was, in about the most artificial environment known to man, surrounded by about the most artificial (LA) people known to man (silicone valley, if ya know what I mean).

        I settled my exhorbitant tab, and on the receipt… printed at the bottom…. down at the very bottom….


        1. MJ

          Cool. How does this relate to a congresswoman pushing for the GND tho? bc she did one performative thing at a gala she is THAT much of a hypocrite? Interesting.

        2. Synoia

          You missed the Irony: SAVE THE PLANET

          Q Save it for whom?
          A the most artificial (LA) people known to man (and Woman)

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Got an email of the Greenwald Substack article that accompanied his tweet. His most salient observation is below.

      “… the most disturbing aspects of elite behavior are found not in what they have prohibited but rather in what they have decided is permissible. When it comes to mask mandates, it is now commonplace to see two distinct classes of people: those who remain maskless as they are served, and those they employ as their servants who must have their faces covered at all times.”

      I am seeing this jarring, sickening juxtaposition daily in Reno…. but unlike Greenwald, who has been moving in high culture circles for about 8 years now, I see a different class play. Here in regular America, day in and day out, maskless MAGA suburbanites swan past younger, less white, masked service workers at cheap sushi restaurants, hipster gastropubs in the Midtown district, and in every dry cleaners or small hardware store.

      In this ‘purple’ town, if you are in the Whole Foods most everyone is masked – customer and service personnel alike. But if you enter a small local business that serves the more MAGA set, it’s masks for the working stiffs and none for the mostly fatter, older patrons that are way more at risk of occupying an ICU bed if they get Covid.

      Here I see the same gross class division in masks, but it’s not the hyper-rich who are lording it over the service workers, it’s Trump loving locals. Of course, they aren’t wildly rich, aren’t videoed while doing it, aren’t photogenic in their casual malice, and therefore don’t warrant the arch, clever condemnations of either a Greenwald or the NC commentariat.

      Except they are everywhere across the center of this country, and their daily, snotty arrogance impacts way more service workers. However, they get some kind of pass – an okay – because they “aren’t hypocrites”. Please. Being an honest heel is not markedly better than being a lying one. At least not for the service workers they’re swanning past* with their unmasked noses in the air.)

      But, on a happy note! The chonky regular who enter my nearest local Starbucks two days ago wearing a visible sidearm on his hip… he was masked! The baristas were happy to see him and all were chatty and calm. Apparently he’s usually there daily during the work week, but this was a Sunday.

      1. Randy

        Huh? MAGA people are (generally speaking) anti-mask, they’re not the ones insisting that service “mask up”. Dems are the prinary drivers of masking. So if you see maga people eating at restaurants with masked servers, its the mgmt catering to dems, not maga people.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          There is a county wide mask mandate that requires workers in establishments that serve the public to wear masks. It’s been on again since late July, after the rise in covid cases trigger it. Businesses bow to the local mandate and their workers wear the required masks, but everyone kind of skates on demanding it of patrons. At bars and restaurants of course people are not masked while eating, but the servers wear masks as mandated by law. In the rural countries almost no one wears a mask, irrespective of Covid rates. Nevada is genuinely a purple state.

          Even though it’s “Dems demanding masks” the patrons who scofflaw their way around town while those who serve them must mask…. they are jerks for it. Every time they waltz into a store without one, or with the mask below their noses they place the service personnel in a tough position. The clerks and service people have to bite their tongues behind their required masks and serve people who flout a law that they can’t ignore, on account of needing the job.

          This kind of jerk behavior is real common, and it’s not the “Dems” who do it.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>This kind of jerk behavior is real common, and it’s not the “Dems” who do it.

            During my time in retail, it was the upper middle class whites (or wannabe upper class) who tended to be jackasses the most. Very condescending to, or treating with contempt, the employees.

            It is often those with the most fear or unease that fluff themselves up with such attitudes and behaviors; those from the old money, or old working class and poor do not seem to have the need to do so. Whatever confidence or strength they get does not come from brutalizing others.

            1. newcatty

              In my fairly long life, I have observed many of lower middle class people, as well as the upper middle class, display “jackass” behaviors. Often psychologically wounded people who only had few ways to feel some self-esteem. Condescension of vulnerable people, such as waitstaff, retail workers, any service employees was justified because they could always feel better than those, often “others”. One of these people that I interacted with, due to circumstances, was livid when I would actually smile and be courteous to servers, etc. The anger would be passive-agressive comments. Example: I often ordered a vegetarian meal. Response from agressor, Now what? Are you a vegetarian now? You know its never going to provide enough protein. It didn’t matter that person knew I wasn’t a vegetarian. Any response was a waste of breath, because that person was always right. I am saying these people are bullies. I learned to avoid them whenever possible.

          2. m

            You know once these masks are soiled or get wet they don’t work. Do you think average people struggling to get by are buying new masks or reusing them? These masks make you feel safe. If you are really angry ask your reps why they won’t allow ivermectin or other drugs to be used for CV treatment.

          3. Yves Smith

            Do not Make Shit Uo.

            There is no such thing as a “country wide mask mandate”. I am in blue Maine and retail workers are not wearing masks, save in some with signs that also ask customers to mask up. And that goes double in red Alabama which has high Covid rates.

            The Feds have no ability to mandate masks. This “mandate” is a recommendation, as in a handwave.

            That’s at best up to state public health officials. And look how they are fighting over local school mask mandates in Florida.

            1. the last D

              The poster said it was a county wide mask mandate. Where I live, there’s a similar mask mandate. And where I live is on the Olympic Peninsula, suffering with its worst covid spike since this all began.

              1. Yves Smith

                Oops, you are right. Abject apologies to Fluffy. I looked again and upthread and see she is talking about her area alone, not her area as an example of national policy. I was caught by “county” mask mandate, since in Alabama and New York, they are imposed by either the state or a city (recall when Cuomo and De Blasio fought about various Covid containment policies), not by counties. Similarly here, in the first big Covid wave, it was Birmingham that imposed a mask mandate early and was relatively late to end it. My city, Mountain Brook, which like Birmingham is in Jefferson County, had its own mask policy.

      2. Swamp Yankee

        There’s a lot of truth in what you say, FluffytheObeseCat. I encounter both flavor of obnoxious bourgeoisie* in this neck of coastal New England: The Inquisitors of the Wokeista Orthodoxy on the one hand, and the Make Atilla Great Again Huns on the other (Plymouth County, Mass., is pretty rare nationally in that it has Trump-Clinton precincts right on top of each other). Neither are friends to working people, or the cause of humanity or the planet writ large. Both have their own flavors of being horrible, but both remain horrible.

        *Lambert might quibble with this definition of the bourgeoisie, but there is no one single one that works. The bourgeoisie I think of in relational terms: it may own capital, but it is not Capital; it may work, but it is not working class.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I think a ‘class element’ to it all is quite widespread. It can be political of course, as in the US, but there is also an element of identity wearing, as in the middle classes always wanting to be seen to be virtous, and the working classes wanting to be seen as not too easily phased by anything.

        A couple of weekends ago I had a break in a small town in the West of Ireland. I was staying with friends in an apartment over a very local pub (the sort of place where people all turn to look at the stranger walking in). There were the usual notices and wash ‘please wait here for the staff to show you to the table’ sign at the entrance. Needless to say, nobody came, so I went in, masked. I was the only one, customers or staff with a mask, which made me feel like I did 18 months ago. My friends wanted a pint, so we found an empty corner (nobody asked for vaxx cards, which are compulsory here). I was the only one who bothered to wear a mask going up to the bar (its supposed to be table service only for now).

        For breakfast we went to the town to a very nice cafe, serving outdoors (unusually for the west of Ireland, the weather was perfect for this). The customers were all young local hipster types and a few tourists. They were serving food and coffee through the window. Having collected my order I realised with some embarrassment that I was the only person who approached the window who wasn’t wearing a mask while doing it.

        I’ve observed this very regularly – a mix of mask theatre and genuine caution in ‘nicer’ places, but a ‘we’re sick of this, lets have a pint’ in more working class areas. Its probably more common to see the masked staff/unmasked customer thing in working class pubs and casual cafes.

        Maybe its a cultural thing, but by far the most loose behaviour by customers and staff I’ve seen are in the many Italian or Brazilian places around my area. The best restaurant in my neighbourhood, a wonderful Tuscan Italian place has stuffed customers into a very small area and doesn’t even keep the door open when the weather is nice. The constrast with the Chinese place next to it (everyone masked, everything wide open to the air) is all too obvious. Sadly, I’ll be giving that place a pass for now.

        1. lordkoos

          I played a gig Saturday night for a Seattle dance group where everyone including the band was required to show proof of vax and wear a mask at all times. I was not informed of this beforehand so did not have my vax card with me, but was vouched for by the other musicians & that was accepted. I live east of Seattle on the other side of the Cascades and the contrast could not be greater as far as the vaccine card requirement — the locals in my town would not stand for that.

          The singer and I went out for a bite to eat before the show at a nearby Tapas place but were refused a table because I didn’t have the card so we got the food to go, which is just as well. It was a small neighborhood place and very single person in the restaurant was unmasked except the the waitstaff. Obviously one can’t eat with a mask on but people seemed oblivious and were yaking it up while waiting for their food.

          I hadn’t been to Seattle proper for a year and a half and what struck me the most since the last time I’d been there was the high amount of homelessness with tent cities in every neighborhood.

          Last month three musician friends of mine who were fully vaccinated caught COVID after playing in a local club.

    3. Wukchumni

      Antoinette of color implored the wealthy gluttons to eat cake, doing another see me-dig me photo op that will amount to nothing, but thats what we’ve come to expect from our political leaders who profess to be flies in the anointment.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    To Enlist Renewables’ Help With Net-Zero, India Needs Land Half the Size of TN The Wire

    This highlights the huge importance of integrating renewable roll-outs with focused land-use planning objectives. Solar and wind require huge areas of land, but it is not necessarily an exclusive use. Properly planned wind turbine arrays can integrate quite happily with agriculture – even to its benefit (in arid countries, cows love the shade from turbines and will often slowly move along the shadows as if it was a giant sundial). Experiments in Ireland have shown that providing a little more room between solar panels allows the land to be used successfully for sheep farming (the sheep also love the shade and protection) so the land is not entirely lost to production or to wildlife. Wind arrays are also integrated with wetland rewinding projects on former cutaway bogs and upland areas. In India solar panels over irrigation canals and ponds are very useful in reducing evaporation losses.

    1. Bill Smith

      The cows are moving with the the shadows from the turbine blades? When they are turning? Kind of fast for a cow. Plus those thing dry out the land behind them. In place without a lot of rain, is it too much for cows to graze?

    2. Zachary Smith

      I suppose you meant to say the cows liked the shade of the giant towers holding the turbines.

      My impression of the article was that it concentrated more on renewable difficulties than opportunities. The title said an area the size of Tennessee was needed. As it happens, the Indian Thar Desert in the northwest is nearly twice the size of TN. Yes, power lines would be required, but that’s true in all large nations like India and US.

      Solar grazing is something which can be done on any pasture lands. Just elevate the panels to the point the sheep or goats can wander around beneath them. Like with the turbine towers, the animals surely do appreciate the shade, too.

      Some crops thrive in partial shade, so not all fertile lands need to be eliminated.

    3. Pelham

      Do those cows strolling beneath the turbines have to dodge falling bird carcasses?

      In the US one study said we’d need the equivalent of 5 South Dakotas to accommodate the turbines we need. Granted, much of that land could be used for other purposes as well. But the sheer scale and spread that picture creates gives one pause.

      I fear the turbine industry is now big enough (Big Wind?) and has garnered enough support from gale-scoured red states desperate for ANY kind of investment that wind energy will be our future, like it or not. If that’s the case, I just hope it finally begins to start pulling down or at least stabilizing atmospheric CO2, something that the world’s massive investment in wind has decidedly failed to pull off so far.

      1. Zachary Smith

        Big Fossil Fuels seems to have discovered their Inner Bird Loving Instincts with the advent of wind turbines. Their propagandists go into agony about the prospect of cute Tweeties being killed by those awful contraptions. From the google search teaser at goofle search:

        Whereas wind turbines only kill about 234,000 birds every year in the United States, felines kill 2.4 billion, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

        The propagandists are fighting back – from another search teaser:
        4 Reasons Why it’s a Bad Argument to Say Cats Kill More Birds Than Wind Turbines
        1) some birds are more precious than others
        2) a greater harm does not excuse a lesser harm.
        3) It’s about the cumulative damage.
        4) we might actually be able to do something about wind turbines’ damage to bird populations.
        Item #4 makes me think the piece isn’t totally awful, for there are things which can be done. Painting the turbine blades black is one. Using radar to display migrating flocks allows the operators – or robots – to either slow down or temporarily turn off the turbines. I suspect some kind of lighting schemes with the blades might also work. Broadcast of certain radio frequencies?
        If the turbines can be made completely visible, at some point Darwin swings into action. It has been years since I’ve hit a bird with my car. The survivors pass along the ability to recognize the risk and avoid the hazard.

        Finally, I’m personally more in favor of photovoltaics. Simple as a brick, and probably cheaper than windpower to boot.

        1. lordkoos

          The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe likely harmed or killed approximately 82,000 birds of 102 species, approximately 6,165 sea turtles, and up to 25,900 marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, melon-headed whales and sperm whales.
          The spill also harmed an unknown number of fish — including bluefin tuna and substantial habitat for our nation’s smallest seahorse — and an unknown but likely catastrophic number of crabs, oysters, corals and other sea life. The spill also oiled more than a thousand miles of shoreline, including beaches and marshes, which took a substantial toll on the animals and plants found at the shoreline, including seagrass, beach mice, shorebirds and others.

      2. Vandemonian

        What land area would the US need for malls and big box stores, and the associated parking lots, if they eliminated all local retail?

        Oh, wait…

    1. IM Doc

      This was about 2 weeks ago –

      I would like to make sure everyone knows – COVID itself is a huge part of this problem. But so is the fact that nurses and hospital staff have been walking off the job all over America. And this was before the vaccine mandates.

      The hospital I work in is literally crippled at this moment.

      The entire vaccine mandate executive order from Biden is being done through OSHA. I have begun to pray daily that someone in OSHA has the sense to make this not so bad and include both natural immunity or weekly testing as an alternative to forced vaccines. That would actually make it doable. Furthermore, I would have little if any problems medically or morally with such a plan. I know for sure many of my HCW patients who are unvaccinated would stay in those cases. And it has the benefit of making sense medically.

      The only thing that would hold this back at this point is those political actors determined to stick it to the unvaccinated. And given what I am seeing, they may very well prevail. Tragedy will ensue – not just in our hospitals, but also schools and businesses. I have many many business owners as patients now quaking in their boots because they know they will not only have no staff – they will have no customers. People getting fired tend to hold on to every dollar.

      We all should be praying for such wisdom right now – or our hospitals and nursing homes are going to crater.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The medical services are also being overwhelmed in Sydney in Oz, particularly the NSW Ambulance. They have decided to bring in 150 firefighters to help out the ambulance services and they have been ringing up retired ambulance officers to see if they want to come back to help out. Below is an interview with one guy who knocked back that offer for good reasons but it must be getting bad down there, in spite of the fact that the head of NSW Ambulance just compared the current rush with New Year’s Eve for ambulances. Liar-

      2. marym

        According to the Biden “plan”

        “The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.”

        In IL the governor’s recent vaccine mandate for students, school staff, healthcare workers, and workers in congregate facilities also includes an alternative for weekly testing.

      3. Lupana

        Just some anecdotal evidence – My daughter is on rotations in an urban east coast hospital and she said they are seeing a lot of breakthrough infections among young, fully vaccinated healthcare workers. These cases range from barely noticeable to borderline needing to be admitted to hospital. Why nothing is being done to control the spread, I really don’t understand. When did we become such an incompetent, uncaring country?

        1. Milton

          Can we stop calling them “breakthrough” cases as this implies an extraordinary occurance. Cases among those having had the Covid shot (not calling it a vaccine because we don’t call the seasonal flu shots, flu vaccines) are now happening at nearly the same rates as the unjabbed. Of course, that is my opinion and what I’m seeing in my far corner of the world but for those seeking a more professional opinion they can follow the updates by NC’s resident IM Doc.
          I’ve convinced myself that I will continue with the Covid shots in the same way I get flu shots–once a year, but I’m under no illusions that I’m extra resistant to getting infected or conferring protection to others.

          1. Wukchumni

            The CVBB is chock full of hard core evangs who have associated the vaccine with some bible passage that mentions ‘the mark of the beast’ and hardly any of them have been vaccinated, and a friend is an ICU nurse @ the hospital in Visalia, and said hospital is paying $2k for an 8 hour shift, if you want to do overtime after your $500 shift is over, thats how desperate the situation is here, and who absorbs the $2k hit @ 4x the normal wages paid?

          2. Mikel

            You have to buy the narrative that the shots will continue to protect againat severe disease.
            That hasn’t been proven and will only be proved with more time.

            So they are making mandates around something that hasn’t stood the science test of time.

          3. Lupana

            You’re probably right regarding calling them breakthrough cases. I have no idea how many vaccinated people become ill as there are as many opinions and tidbits of information as there are experts. It would certainly be nice to know what percentage of people who test positive both vaccinated and not vaccinated actually become symptomatic to know how well the vaccines are protecting from severe illness but no testing.

          4. hunkerdown

            Why is there any reason to preserve the propaganda value of the word “breakthrough”? Frankly, I think there are far more reasons to destroy the positive value of the word completely, starting with every time it has ever been used in commerce or “scholarship”.

          5. Pelham

            I’m not sure. I believe there were something like 350 cases of Covid recently discovered at Duke University, but only 8 were unvaccinated. On the face of it, that makes vaccines seem pretty ineffective, if not liable to actually encourage infection.

            But the testing was done across a student population in which virtually everyone had been vaccinated. So that fact changes the picture entirely, giving no conclusive evidence either way on the ability of the vaccines to prevent infection.

            One reasonable-sounding assessment I’ve heard is that the vaccines may make it somewhat less likely that you’ll contract Covid but even if that’s not true, they definitely will reduce your ability to transmit the disease by cutting back the viral load and shortening the time that you’re infectious.

            As I say, sounds reasonable but it’s also somewhat complicated and a very long way from early indications from officials that once fully vaccinated, we could pretty much return to normal life.

            1. Still Above Water

              they definitely will reduce your ability to transmit the disease by cutting back the viral load and shortening the time that you’re infectious.

              If you’ll recall, the big revelation from the Provincetown outbreak was that viral loads were the same in the vaxxed and unvaxxed. I haven’t seen any studies on time of infectiousness, so I can’t comment on that.

              A Lancet article linked to here last week said that the vaxxed are more likely to be asymptomatic than the unvaxxed. And I believe we’ve all observed in videos posted to NC of numerous groups of the (presumably) vaxxed behaving as though they were fully inoculated against the virus. My take is that the vaxxed are more likely to transmit the disease. But I agree with you, it’s complicated.

        2. David May

          “When did we become such an incompetent, uncaring country?”

          Are you serious? When did slavery start? Jim Crow? Vietnam? Cruelty to the weak is the defining feature of American “society”.

          1. Lupana

            The country to different levels has certainly practiced cruelty and greed with a good dose of paranoia and “othering” of people but the response to COVID is like the entire world was given an exam and we through total incompetence, lack of preparation, lack of ability to plan, communicate or set goals and priorities have found ourselves in spite of all our material wealth at the bottom of the barrel.
            I don’t disagree with your response – you’re right – we’ve never been as great as we would like to believe – we’ve always practiced good doses of awful -but this experience has exposed just how much we are now a country unable to accomplish even basic care of our own citizens.

        3. Cuibono

          NEJM last week published that 57% of breakthrough infections at UCSD were in fully vaccinated. We need to test EVERYONE in health care but guess what: not enough tests

      4. Lee

        “… include both natural immunity or weekly testing as an alternative to forced vaccines.”

        Please correct me if I’m wrong.

        It is my understanding that antibodies from vaccination and infections wane and become undetectable after a few months and that if there is long term protection then it resides elsewhere in the immune system but is not measurable.

        Also, assuming high prevalence of infection, since the vaccinated and unvaccinated can both test positive for the virus and are contagious, I would imagine a considerable portion of the population at any given time will be, regardless of their immune status, subject to quarantine.

        On the upside, vaccines reducing hospitalizations in understaffed facilities is fortuitous. Ever the optimist, me.

        1. IM Doc

          Vaccination immunity and infection immunity are likely going to wane over time. It appears that natural immunity is going to wane much more slowly. Although we are way too early in this to make any firm conclusions.

          You have no idea what will happen to our nursing homes and many hospitals if the vaccine mandate goes through. Even losing 5% of the staff that is still there will be a disaster. At that point, it will be very difficult to deliver adequate care to anyone.

          So far the vaccines have been reducing hospitalizations, however, I have already admitted 3 vaccinated patients to the hospital this week, and it is only Tuesday. I have admitted 5 unvaccinated patients. My gut feeling is this is slowly but surely offering less and less protection as well. I am only counting the actual COVID patients. There are others in the hospital with something else that turn out to have positive COVID tests. It is rare to see any of these people get really sick.

          I think we are going to have to compromise here on these mandates – I firmly believe it is the only way that we are going to not have a disaster in our health care system. Vaccination, natural immunity, or frequent testing – makes sense and will not cause the walk outs.

          1. Brian Beijer

            Vaccination, natural immunity, or frequent testing – makes sense and will not cause the walk outs.

            I don’t quite understand. Shouldn’t this read “Vaccination, natural immunity AND frequent testing – makes sense and will not cause the walk outs”? I mean, we’ve already well established that the vaccinated are almost as likey to transmit the Corona virus as the unvaccinated. If we’re insisting that everyone return to work and not taking other precautionary measures; shouldn’t everyone be tested weekly?

      5. Sawdust

        Is there a way to demonstrate natural immunity on its own? As I understand it, you (hopefully) only get a positive test result if you are currently infected with Covid. What if there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already had it but never got tested?

        1. IM Doc

          You can be checked for IgG antibodies to SARS Cov2 – and this has been very highly correlative with patients I have in my practice with known POS PCR testing in the past. If the IgG are positive, you have already been infected. If negative, things are a bit less clear.

          Both Qwest and LabCorp offer a test known at Tcell COVID or somesuch. Most employers are demanding this as well to demonstrate natural immunity. This is all new just in the past few weeks at least in my area. To be honest, I have not looked into the efficacy of these tests. They may be much better at determining natural immunity than IgG tests are. I just do not know – I have not had a lot of time lately for research.

          That is on my list of things to do this week – do a deep dive into the science and numbers on these tests being offered. I have a feeling this is going to become a very important issue very quickly.

          1. Michael McK

            Could a person have had Covid in January of 2020 been told they had Influenza B? Could a flu test then have misdiagnosed Covid? Do those tests say “Flu B!” or might one have come up negative for “A” and “B” was assumed? I was a barely symptomatic bridge between an Influenza B diagnosis and someone who was quite ill and lost her sense of smell (before Covid was theoretically here).
            Thank you for all the info you share here.

        2. Larry Y

          I got tested for COVID when I donated blood. Was negative the first time. A few months later, after fully vaccinated, I donated blood again and the test was positive.

          Both were expected results.

          The blood center was also looking for recovered people and testing their blood for convalescent plasma donations. One of my friends recovered (but still has long COVID since last fall), and participated in these convalescent plasma donations.

      6. Cuibono

        even IF they allow the weekly testing there are not nearly enough test kits nationwide to fulfill it.
        And the people who most need it cant afford them.
        I know Biden spoke of ramping this up but who here believes that will happen? A local testing site opened up here and the line circles the block 2 times!

        1. newcatty

          Yes, like when it was suggested that poor kids work for their lunch at school. Lots of opportunities in the cafeteria, assisting janatorial staff, helping grounds keepers. “No free lunch”. They will benefit from learning how to be responsible and development of the “work ethic”. The cruel grinding down of the poor people in this country goes on and on.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Just more evidence that the armed service is a useful tool in class war.

      If only there was some, magical way to make people want to work for you. Maybe offer more money??

  4. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Alan Dershowitz weighed in on the OSHA mandates and opined that they won’t hold up in court. He thinks that the executive branch would clearly have the right to enforce such a mandate, but they don’t have the right to legislate one, only Congress does. By ordering punishment and fines without enabling legislation, once again the imperial presidency has overstepped.

    By the way, thanks Bush, Obama, Trump for laying the groundwork here. And Congress for sitting on their butts and doing nothing about it.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out, right now it’s all vapor and nobody can sue until they can show harm.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Hard to tell if your comment is meant to question Dershowitz himself, or his opinion?

        I have always found him to be a fair guy …I just finished his autobiography and his commitment to defending the rights of minorities and providing a zealous defense for any defendant, no matter the circumstances, quite admirable.

        1. hunkerdown

          Land and resource piracy is admirable? Bearing false witness against one’s neighbor as a service is admirable? Love me, I’m a liberal.

        2. diptherio

          Not to engage in the genetic fallacy here, because AD may have a point in this particular case, but if you find a guy admirable for defending, and befriending, Jeffery Epstein and Prince Andrew, well…. :-/

          But, of course, he may well have glossed over the details of his close ties to elite pedophiles in his totally unbiased autobiography.

        3. Nikkikat

          Wasn’t Dershowitz rather protective of Jeffrey Epstein? I seem to recall some involvement in getting him out of jail and back into his fancy New York digs.

          1. ChrisFromGeorgia

            I think you are missing the point … one of the main themes of Dershowitz’ career has been that all citizens have the right to a zealous defense, no matter how heinous the crime they’ve been accused of.

            That’s the way the system works. Once we start arbitrarily deciding some criminal defendants are so deplorable that they no longer have the right to effective counsel, we no longer live under the rule-of-law. it’s rule of the mob.

            I despise Epstein as much as anyone else does, but he had the right to a good defense attorney.

            1. hunkerdown

              In other words, he participates in the gatekeeping of power so that he can be seen as some bountiful “giver” instead, and you think that’s beautiful?

              “The system”, by which you presume to naturalize bourgeois liberal property fetishism, has no right to exist, and your or anyone else’s property interests in that system are not only not a defense, but a valid reason enough to overturn it.

              As to “mob rule”, only people who value property over life use this argument, mainly to signal to one another.

            2. JTMcPhee

              All citizens, except maybe Palestinians and Muslims generally. And your notion of the workings of “rule of law” in America are to put it mildly, laughable.

              And hey, that good defense attorney did not keep Epstein from being dead in prison. To Dersh’s benefit, one would imagine, since it forestalled any major exposure of the Epstein Connection.

              Dersh’s career has been about self-aggrandizement and a lot of effort on behalf of Israel, , the rulers of which are not a true friend of “rights” or an actual “ally” of the wider polity of the US, with a thin patina of “constitutionalism” that is about as deep as Obama’s. He’s just another PMC Elite:, not a Kunstler or Sam Ervin.

            3. lordkoos

              I was under the impression that Dershowitz was not only Epstein’s attorney, but that he hung out with him, went to his parties etc.

        4. Mildred Montana


          Sorry, Dershowitz lost me forever back in 1995 when he signed on as one of OJ’s attorneys. Unfair? Perhaps. After all, any accused person, no matter how guilty-appearing, is entitled to a good defense. But his decision to join the “Dream Team” smacked to me as one not based on lawyerly ethics; rather, a cheap grab for money, publicity, and prestige. I stopped paying attention to him from thereon in.

          I admit I haven’t read his autobiography. Nor do I plan to. Autobiographies are notoriously self-serving and I am going to assume this one follows the rule. And, as always, actions speak louder than words.

          1. ChrisFromGeorgia

            This comment is not directed at you personally. I would say respectfully that all the replies to my comment , including yours, share a theme – dislike of Dershowitz personally and no attempt to address the actual legal argument he is making on Biden’s attempt to use OSHA as a way to fire people who won’t get vaccinated.

          1. newcatty

            To state that Alan is a “fair” person because his stick is that he is a great defender of the accused is rich. Any person who is associated in any way with the dispicable Epstein and “friends and associates” and “socializes” with them is worthy of being called what they are, pedophiles, child abusers, criminals. IIRC, many children just “disappear ” in this country every year. Child porn proliferates. Homeless kids are vulnerable targets for sex trafficking. Its coming out that “kids in cages” are being sexually and otherwise physically neglected and abused. Makes me wonder, are there defenders of the likes of Alan, because many people either agree with his actions or else admire them?

        5. Oh

          The more money you have the more justice for ya. The line for all citizens needing lawyers is a self fulfilling philosophy dreamed up by lawyers. The good criminal lawyers are not gonna defend the poor pro bono.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s quite possible that he doesn’t expect it to hold up in court and the whole thing is a fake out designed to pressure more businesses to force vaccinations on their employees. However he has a problem with the employees who actually work for the USG and their unions. The postal workers have already been given a pass.

      So that part of it may not survive either. Meanwhile, as IM Doc reports above, chaos is created in vital services such as hospitals. I don’t think it’s too early to say that Biden is simply a person of poor judgment and superficial decision making. His take off your masks pronouncement at the beginning of summer has already likely done a great deal of harm.

      1. Balan Bershowitz

        lol Biden won’t use executive authority to do anything helpful for people but he will use it to punish people that don’t want to get the vax. He deserves to be hanged.

        1. Carolinian

          Turley has pointed out how Biden keeps losing in court with the most recent example being the eviction moratorium. One may suspect that what he, or his administration, really want is to be seen as doing something while setting up the courts or the Repubs as the reason why they conveniently (in the case of business reform) fail.

          Also there seems to be a new elite mantra of “too much freedom” for our own good. But I don’t think most Americans feel that way. We live in unbeautiful cities with poor social support systems. If we don’t have freedom–of movement, of lifestyle (within limits)–then what do we have? And even if we are too self indulgent, the notion that the elites are going to take over and be a lot more virtuous is a joke. See AOC/gown.

        2. neo-realist

          There is a weekly testing requirement for those that don’t want the vax. If you’re not going to get vaxed, the employer has to make sure that you’re not a spreader who could infect and potentially kill co-workers.

          That being said, they really should require the testing for everybody, particularly with the ability of delta to bypass the vaccines.

  5. polar donkey

    My friend teaches a senior in high school in Mississippi. Student has no dad. Mother abandoned him at 14. Kid lives with his older sister. Rides a scooter to school and work. Decent kid. He has 1 kidney and it isn’t working too well. His doctor said he shouldn’t get covid vaccine with his kidney the way it is. Grocery store he works at is doing vaccine mandate. No exceptions. He has been working there since he was 14.

    1. ambrit

      Classic case of Social Darwinism. It plays out as an example of American eugenics. I always go back to when the Reich sent some of their ‘boffins’ over to the North American Deep South to learn how we did our anti-Negro laws and policies. From that ‘educational’ experience, they crafted a set of laws which were later to be pilloried as “excessive.” Now, we are seeing the same process beginning here in the Glorious Homeland. I wish that I was being hyperbolic, but the events unfolding leave even this Cynical Geezer stupefied.

  6. Nikkikat

    Met gala, the people there flaunting their wealth and status. Ridiculous, out of touch and showing off how clueless they are remind me of the pictures from the Obama birthday bash.
    Oh, aren’t they a sight to behold in their silly get ups. AOC in her tax the rich dress, eyes gleaming with a big smile. The joke is on you lady. If anyone ever wondered just who or what, you really are; you gave them the answer. No one who really cared about the people or their issues could appear at a fete like this one. But then again, Nancy Pelosi must be smiling, she can now say that you really are one of them.

    1. JohnA

      In the meantime back in Britain, the rather well-upholstered works and pension minister, defending a £20 benefit cut to poorer workers, suggests they simply work 2 hours more a week instead. In the meantime, she claimed £177,000 in expenses last time round. I am not sure who is going to come between the likes of her and the pitchforks when the time comes.

      1. paul

        She really is a horror.
        As Universal Credit is tapered at 63% They’d need to find around 20 extra hours to make up the difference.
        Which might be difficult in our collapsing economy.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Things Are Looking Good and Going According to Plan”

    When I saw that title I wondered idly if ‘Der Spiegel’ was reprinting a 1942 issue – until I realized that they were not so old. I know that this interview is just really BioNTech founders Uğur Şahin & Özlem Türeci spruiking their upcoming book but talks like this always leave me with an unsatisfactory feeling and I think that I now know why. When you read what they say, to a large extent they are reactive to events and I have seen this right across the board in dealing with this pandemic. They wait for something to happen like a new variant or the development of breakthrough cases or vaccine reluctance – and at that point they react to it but usually with just the first response becoming the main response.

    There is a concept that good pilots employ when flying know as ‘staying ahead of the plane.’ That way if something happens, you are not falling further and further behind events but have a chance to be stay ahead of the choices that you will be making and giving yourself reaction time. That is why pilots will say that the most useless things to a pilot are ‘runway behind you, altitude above you and ten seconds ago.’ And I think that this is what we should be doing with the present pandemic. So we should be thinking ahead of breakthrough cases more, new variants that might blow past the first generation of vaccines or are perhaps more lethal – and planning for it. But mostly what I see is governments and organizations waiting for events to happen and then making up constantly changing, confusing plans on the go when clarity is what is really needed.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, it’s OT but have you noticed that the Bikie gangs are no longer finding Phil Luty’s designs fashionable but are now moving toward the FGC-9 Mk 2?
      You can build those anywhere with very little noise or footprint, with parts available from your local hardware store and a 3D printer.
      ARES and Improv.Guns track the proliferation of small arms across the World and this tech is out there for anyone with an internet connection.
      It’s going to get messy as things come apart now that anyone with a couple of $K can build good quality fully automatic weapons in their spare bedroom.

      1. ambrit

        The internet connection is the weak link. Don’t for a minute think that the Organs of State Security will not track down those who download such information and “interrogate” them “robustly.” That was one of the main takeaways I had from the television show “24.” [I did not watch the entire show, just a few episodes. Then, revulsion set in.] That program was not so subtle propaganda planting the seeds of acquiescence to the Police State Apparat in the minds of the public.
        When the “Heros” of popular culture are amoral killers, what sort of society do you expect to find?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Have those alphabetters shown much competence in tracking and rooting out this kind of stuff? I don’t know, just asking — but 9/11, Okla City bombing, stuff lie that along with total “intelligence” failures in multiple war zones give me little confidence. They seem pretty good at sucking small fry into going along with entrapment that sort of fade into what I would characterize as false-flag operations,

          Looking to these people, , as drivers of social homeostasis is, to my way of thinking, kind of idiotic.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If a few hundred million people all downloaded that same exact information, the authorities would not know whom to interrogate robustly.

          Flooding the zone with bullshidata.

    2. Anonymous 2

      I know that CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) are hoping it will be possible to produce an ‘all-possible variant’ vaccine by 2023, so some people are trying to think ahead. Let us hope that the efforts are successful. Then all that would need to be addressed would be waning efficacy, side-effects etc.

      But of course it may not be possible, if I have understood GM correctly.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I have heard about such efforts too, from a doctor friend.

        The question I have is, what effect if any might there be from layering these future vaccines on top of an already vaccinated population, which most of us will be by then?

    3. BeliTsari

      What you mean “we,” sentient mortal? Policy is made by expert committee, to maximize any profit for “our elected official’s” actual employers. Their agenda might be aligned with our’s, but it’s outcome, 180° off. The commercial class vectored virus that’s caused more excess fatalities than the US Civil War is simply the latest shock doctrine iteration (to be blamed on powerless victims, to boost investments in disruptive 1099 virtual feudalism to notch us ever further into autocratic Idiocracy. Empiricism, expertise and astute observation are considered; prescient planning performed. Only, with extractive kleptocracy as Creative Class™ goal?

      1. Yves Smith

        No, having had big business clients, policy making is generally a very messed up process. You are assuming that the participants know what they are doing. They regularly don’t. They have bad data, bad incentives, personal biases, noisy constituencies….

        1. PlutoniumKun

          This is one thing I’ve found striking, but nobody really seems to have given much attention – the business classes have been absolutely clueless and self-destructive. All over Europe the hospitality and tourism industry has repeatedly shot its own foot by fighting tooth and nail against lockdowns and restrictions, and then seemed genuinely surprised when they don’t have customers because of a resurging virus.

          The rational response of most businesses that aren’t in the Pharm game should have been to call for a fully government funded shutdown for a few months, and then (government funded) strong action to keep levels down, as per China, ROK, etc.

        2. BeliTsari

          What’s that “snark” symbol, again? Sorry, I’d been to a lottawholebuncha meetings, between Shell, ETP, Williams & EM’s folks & famous vendors, foreign & domestic and absolute insanity like gas platforms FLOATING in 4.8K- 6.9K deep Gulf waters, perfectly aligned with Katrina and 19 ginormous pipelines running PA fracked gas to power air-conditioning down South (or simply installing folks to fight any Russian competition to LNG export) were discussed as the very epitome of sane, pragmatic, consensus reality. I was being facetious. It never seemed to matter?

          1. Yves Smith

            Decision-makers can convince themselves of remarkable things when doing something that isn’t a reflex approach is an obviously better idea except it would take more thinking and work. The fastest to recount example is McDonalds, on its first go in India, had hamburgers leading its offerings.

  8. lyman alpha blob

    Remember all the way back to last week when the media was regaling us with the tales of ISIS-K (The ISIS you know and love, but now with 10% more terrorism!) trying to start trouble in Afghanistan, which is why we had to drone some folks?

    Well now it turns out that last drone strike wasn’t so much a retaliation against ISIS-K as it was a [family blog]ing war crime since the “terrorist” turned out to be an aid worker bringing water to his family, who were all blown to pink mist. Krystal and Saager had excellent coverage of that story here.

    We’re going to need to find some new circles of hell to put everyone associated with the downright evil US drone program into – being gnawed by Satan in the 9th is far too lenient. And that will be our only hope of punishment for these monsters- clearly there will be none on this earth. They’ll probably get a Nobel peace prize in this bizarro world or ours.

  9. Wukchumni

    One of the cabin owners in our community worked his way up the NPS ranks from laborer to superintendent in his 40 year career which included stints @ Sequoia NP, Death Valley NP, Grand Canyon NP and other NP’s.

    He was a mounted ranger for 5 years in the Grand Canyon from 1967 to 1972 and knew Edward Abbey, along with a good many characters who ran the Colorado river.

    He would’ve been prime fodder to go to Vietnam, but had the good luck to have been married in 1963 and thus was ineligible for military service as a ‘Kennedy Husband’, a term i’d never heard before he mentioned it.

    He’s 80 now and full of vim & vigor still. Here’s an hour long 1994 interview by NPS of his memories of the Grand Canyon.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Thanks so much for the link! A week long trek down into the canyon with my daughter 20+ years ago was a high point in my life. Looking forward to watching it.

  10. petal

    Ground report: while walking to the bus stop this morning I heard a car horn. Turned around and a lady had stopped in her lane, jumped out of her car and started pounding on the driver’s window of the car behind her and screaming for them to get off her um…backside. She just kept going. Finally got back in her car but wouldn’t move, then jumped back out again and started flipping out again. Traffic was starting to back up but she wouldn’t move. She finally got back in and turned onto a side street after another display. It was nuts-she was totally unhinged. Both had VT tags, and it wasn’t even during the rush hour. This kind of thing almost never happens around here so it was shocking. People are stressed out, anxious, and upset. Wondering just how far it can and will go.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Solar ‘Superflares’ Rocked Earth Less Than 10,000 Years Ago—and Could Strike Again”

    If this happened again we would be so screwed. Our technology would be set back a hundred years when we have no way to deal with such a reversion. But what would it have been like in 774 when those people actually experienced it? There are a few scattered references in England and China to what sounds like Aurora but which were appearing in more southerly latitudes. Frankly though, when I think of the consequences of what would happen if this came to pass again, I reckon that I could give it a bit of a miss-

    1. Wukchumni

      The eyewitness accounts of the 1859 Carrington solar storm in one fashion would be quite a highlight to watch as the world goes into a new Dark Age rather promptly, just as all money got digitalized and as quickly went away, raptured.

      Everybody would be stuck in place pretty much as our electronics quit on us en masse. The only people on this good orb not affected much would be the poorest of third world types, who never cottoned onto the idea.

      Food would run out quick, although the one item widely held in these United States would continue to function flawlessly, guns being about the sole item not powered by electricity.

      An Aussie account from 1859:

      I was gold-digging at Rokewood, about four miles from Rokewood township (Victoria). Myself and two mates looking out of the tent saw a great reflection in the southern heavens at about 7 o’clock p.m., and in about half an hour, a scene of almost unspeakable beauty presented itself:

      Lights of every imaginable color were issuing from the southern heavens, one color fading away only to give place to another if possible more beautiful than the last, the streams mounting to the zenith, but always becoming a rich purple when reaching there, and always curling round, leaving a clear strip of sky, which may be described as four fingers held at arm’s length.

      The northern side from the zenith was also illuminated with beautiful colors, always curling round at the zenith, but were considered to be merely a reproduction of the southern display, as all colors south and north always corresponded.

      It was a sight never to be forgotten, and was considered at the time to be the greatest aurora recorded … . The rationalist and pantheist saw nature in her most exquisite robes, recognising, the divine immanence, immutable law, cause, and effect. The superstitious and the fanatical had dire forebodings, and thought it a foreshadowing of Armageddon and final dissolution.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        . . . as the world goes into a new Dark Age rather promptly, . .

        And it would stay dark for months and perhaps years. Depending on the strength of the flare and how directly it hits it would probably destroy numerous EHV transformers on the power grids. The industry is not set up to replace them on a massive scale.

      2. caucus99percenter

        > Everybody would be stuck in place pretty much as our electronics quit on us en masse.

        Perhaps not quite everybody. The Amish, I imagine, would be sitting pretty.

        1. newcatty

          Wonder how the Amish would react to the hordes of desperate people pouring into their farming communities? I comfess to not knowing much about their society .

        2. lordkoos

          The only automobiles that would still be working would be those made before on-board computers… 1970s and earlier.

      3. The Rev Kev

        ‘the one item widely held in these United States would continue to function flawlessly, guns’

        Until the bullets would run out. There is already a bullet shortage, especially after Russian bullets have now been banned. So the new currency may not be once more round discs of metal but bullets themselves.

        1. rowlf

          Are you sure the US has a bullet shortage with manufacturers adding production and employees? The Remington ammunition plant recently came back on line. The people that spent 2016 – 2020 buying cheap and stacking deep are holding back on purchasing due to current prices on range ammunition, but ammunition is staying a few days on store shelves over the last few months. Premium ammunition didn’t change much in price but most people do not want to use a lot of it. British (Eley), Mexican (Aguilla) and Finnish (Lapua, SK, RWS, Wolf RF, Norma RF) ammunition seemed to have kept steady.

            1. rowlf

              During the ammo purchasing frenzy eight years ago I paid for a visit to a doctor’s office with a brick of decent 22 LR.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Well considering its shape, you could use them for suppositories. But you wouldn’t want to sit down hard anywhere.

  12. Pat

    Except for my fondness for the building my first response to the reports of excess and bad taste from the Met Gala was it would be a far better use of a drone attack than most of the ones American order, and I am not just thinking of our most war crime atrocity. Versailles for hucksters with a few talented people they can hang on.

    I will say that many workers who spent hours on Simone Biles outfit did a wonderful job. The close ups of the skirt were beautiful. Too bad it was on an outfit where the pieces were greater than the whole.

  13. fresno dan

    Nicki Minaj
    My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied
    I thought the vow was in sickness and in health, although apparently there is a swollen parts exception…

    1. anon y'mouse

      the vow you note is in conflict with “be fruitful and multiply” and the general idea that marriage is for producing and rearing children, though.

    2. HotFlash

      In sickness and in health, yes, that is part of the wedding vows. Which is why she called off the wedding.

  14. Wukchumni

    Did a few hikes this spring to Oriole Lake, and it was essentially a ghost town within the confines of Sequoia NP with 5 derelict cabins that looked like so many hantavirus haunts, full of junk and had been abandoned for decades. They’ll be put out their misery today, the only benefit of sorts to the KNP Fire which has merged into one conflagration that can’t be fought on the ground as the terrain is steep and the duff deep, nor can it be fought from the air, as the smoke is so thick, its as if you’ve smoked a full pack of unfiltered Gauloises.

    Exploring Oriole Lake

  15. Robert Hahl

    Re: Sacklers getting away with it

    “[Judge] Drain understands that if he denied the Sacklers a release, big debtors wouldn’t file in White Plains anymore. He’d be sentencing himself to a lifetime of hearing consumer chapter 13s and lawn care company bankruptcies. He didn’t leave the Paul Weiss partnership to do that. 2/”

    Yes but there is something else. Even if high-stakes cases were still being filed in White Plains, Judge Drain might not be assigned to handle them. Not being one of the cool kids is a real fear factor in a big courts with lots of judges, which usually have a few cool kids, some who’s only desire is to hear people to call them “Judge” every day (even after they retire), and few curmudgeons who call them as they see them, and don’t get the glam cases.

  16. Jason Boxman

    So riddle me this; Both mRNA vaccines require two doses. If you listen to liberal Democrats, unvaccinated people are the only issue in play. The vaccinated clearly must be protected from this dangerous “other”. So if someone decides to get vaccinated, as liberal Democrats demand, what of the “doughnut hole” between the first and second vaccination? This person clearly is demonstrating their virtue to liberal Democrats by getting vaccinated, but this person is still at risk until receiving both doses and the necessary passage of time thereafter.

    So when does this almost newly vaccinated person’s life become valuable? You’d think we’d deploy a full assortment of mitigations against COVID, at least to protect someone that is doing what liberal Democrats ask. But maybe your life only matters once you’ve gotten fully vaccinated?

    If liberal Democrats actually cared about the lives of citizens, you’d expect a defense in depth approach that takes all of the successful mitigations and deploys them, rather than simply discarding lives. If the constant reminders that the unvaccinated are dying at a significantly higher rate were any more than an attempt at reassurance of the vaccinated, you’d expect more.

  17. Wukchumni

    Amy Coney Barrett insists Supreme Court judges are not ‘partisan hacks’ in wake of Texas abortion ruling Independent
    Yes, she and her ilk are really more akin to partisan zealots, not that there’s anything right with that aside from political leanings.

  18. Synoia

    Amy Coney Barrett insists Supreme Court judges are not ‘partisan hacks’ in wake of Texas abortion ruling

    Methinks she doth protest too much.

  19. Wukchumni

    Michelangelo’s Hidden Drawings Atlas Obscura (chuck l)
    I was fortunate to glimpse the Sistine Chapel before and after restoration, and Michelangelo was truly the painter of light (sorry Thomas Kinkade) as his efforts were so inspired. You get sick of looking at contemporary paintings by others because of the onus on religious dogma, and this one stood out @ the Uffizi Gallery, a masterpiece…

  20. Maritimer

    Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt. WSJ
    Paywall for me but I get the idea.

    Vaccine passports are just a start to a permanent tracking behaviour system probably starting with a cellphone with GPS permanently on. Mandated by law; don’t leave home without it! Than move to an embedded chip.

    Problem is how to exempt the Elite and their minions? Give them special privileges. (See CCP Social Credit System.)

    By the way, who is going to audit/police/enforce all of the mandates of the Delaware Creeper? Same folks who audit/police/enforce Finance laws and regulations? I would imagine that for starters Corporations will have dual vax standards for the workers and the executives.

    Also as indicated by some posts here today, it looks like there will be a lot of the usual nudge-nudge-wink-wink in terms of Covid mandate enforcement and monitoring. One is reminded of the lawlessness of Prohibition and all the evasions under Conscription by General Bonespurs and the Delaware Creeper amongst other influential notables.

  21. juno mas

    RE: Crown Heights $50 swim lessons

    That is obviously too much money for the neighborhood kids to learn some lifesaving water skills. About right for an already skilled athlete working to improve competitive swim technique with an Olympic class coach.

    Neighborhood kids learning water skills does not take an elite class coach. Group lessons work fine. And water skills require continued repetition (likely done two/three days a week for a month).

    The Crown Heights facility is designed as a high quality environment; although the “competitive length” pool appears to be a 25 yd. (Short Course) pool. Using a large volume pool like this for “swimmers” younger than 5-6 years old can be problematic , as the water filtering system can easily be unbalanced by uncontrolled emissions of youngsters.

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