Links 10/23/2021

Amusing Street Signs Marking Tiny Locations Laughing Squid

The Man who Translated the Bible into Latin Antigone (Anthony L)

Scientists discover tap water produces a protective shield against microplastics PhysOrg (Robert M). So don’t worry, be happy despite: Babies are full of microplastics, new research shows Euronews

US student dies after choking during hot dog eating competition Independent (resilc).

Data suggests oil giants are not looking very hard to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint PhysOrg (Robert M)

Music and sex aeon (Anthony L)


A global tragedy: Up to 180,000 health care workers have died from COVID-19 WSWS

A Winter of Hard Choices as Pandemic Persists Bloomberg. We have been saying that if there’s a winter spike, lockdowns are likely given diminished hospital capacity.

‘The possibility of a third wave is frightening’ Rural India Online (J-LS)


The SARS-CoV-2 main protease Mpro causes microvascular brain pathology by cleaving NEMO in brain endothelial cells Nature

Children with mild COVID-19 may not develop antibodies; oral vaccine booster shows promise in monkey study Reuters. Note first item.

Chronic Weight Loss And Malnutrition Join Devastating List Of Long COVID Symptoms Gothamist

Delta variant subtype detected in the US Beckers Hospital Review (furzy)

Highly vaccinated Singapore sets a worrying example Asia Times (Kevin W)


In Major Shift, NIH Admits Funding Risky Virus Research in Wuhan Vanity Fair (furzy)


Is China in Big Trouble? New York Times (David L)

Gen. David Thompson, Space Force commander, warns of China’s growing threat to U.S. in space – Washington Times. Resilc: “Give me budget or the gooks will steal the moon>’


People wonder if they should keep calm and carry on in the face of delta plus variant PBS (David L)

Five charts that show how the NHS is under acute pressure Guardian (Kevin W)

North Korea’s sub missiles put a target on Kim’s back Asia Times (Kevin W)


UN fears ‘mass atrocities’ in Myanmar as troops gather DW


It Is Time We Stop Exalting the British for Legal ‘Reforms’ in India The Wire (J-LS)

India-UK Want To Lead A Global Solar Grid, What It Will Take India Spend

Narco-State Netherlands: The Slippery Dutch Slope from Drug Tolerance to Drug Terror Der Spiegel (resilc)


New Cold War

Chinese-Russian task force sails around Japan Defense News (Kevin C)

Biden encircling while engaging Putin Asia Times (Kevin W)

On suitcases, handles and fire-starters The Saker (Micael T)


Revealed: Biden rejected way forward in Iran deal talks Responsible Statecraft (guurst)

Israel outlaws Palestinian human rights groups, causing backlash from Israeli, international rights organizations PBS (David L)

Israel revokes Jerusalem residency of Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri Mondoweiss (guurst)

Embattled Eilat-Ashkelon Gas Deal Has No Bearing on UAE-Israel Relations, Official Says Sputnik (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A Harvard freshman made a social networking app called ‘The FaceTag.’ It’s sparked a debate about the ethics of facial recognition. Business Insider (J-LS)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Battle brews over creating Space National Guard Politico (resilc)


DOJ plans for Secret Service testimony about Pence at first scheduled Capitol riot trial CNN (furzy)

Trump Coup Lawyer John Eastman Calls Himself ‘White Knight Hero’ In Spectacular Interview Above the Law (David L)


Biden injects new momentum into filibuster fight The Hill

Wealth tax on table as Democrats fight to salvage Biden spending plan Financial Times

Democrats are turning their big spending bill into absolute trash Slate. Lambert: “Assuming good faith, of course.”

Lambert got this just as it was breaking yesterday. In case you had the good fortune not to have heard yet: What Do Democrats Do All Day? On Neera Tanden’s promotion Alex Pareene. Failing up as Biden’s Rahm candidate.

Record high migrant detentions at US-Mexico border BBC

Speaking of Rahm: The Big Lie in Rahm Emanuel’s Senate Testimony Yesterday RSN (furzy)

Supreme Court Agrees to Quick Consideration of Texas Abortion Law Wall Street Journal. Oral arguments Nov. 1. (furzy)

Photos inside Rikers Island expose hellish, deadly conditions New York Post (resilc). See also: Rikers Island: “Humanitarian Crisis” with Dead Cockroaches, Urine and Feces, Plastic Bags in Lieu of Toilets, Lack of Food and Water; Guards Call in Sick to Escape Appalling Conditions, Covid Risk

Our Famously Free Press

Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outlets Guardian (furzy)

January 6 insurrection and Facebook: Internal docs paint a damning picture CNN

New Facebook Storm Nears as CNN, Fox Business and Other Outlets Team Up on Whistleblower Docs The Information (furzy)

Supply Chain

Santa Claus Is Coming—But He’ll Skip Some Stores Wall Street Journal (J-LS)

Read the entire tweetstorm (EL):

Supermarkets using cardboard cutouts to hide gaps left by supply issues Guardian (Kevin W). UK. But still……

EXCLUSIVE Dutch forensic lab says it has decoded Tesla’s driving data Reuters. BC: “Potential ramifications for wrongful death law suits against Tesla.”

Lyft releases sex assault data showing 360 rapes during three-year span New York Post (J-LS). Oh, and 4,100 “sexual assaults”.

Valkyrie Lists Bitcoin Futures ETF on Nasdaq Nasdaq (furzy)

Guillotine Watch

Super-Rich Form Exclusive Club R360 for Billionaires, High-Net-Worth Individuals Bloomberg (J-LS). Hint: this is not for billionaires. They have their own family offices. This is for wanna-bes. I guarantee the only “billionaries” are the organizers, who have a profit participation, and perhaps a buddy they enlisted to participate to improve the optics (and who no doubt got a considerable “founding member” discount).

The other issue, as any savvy knows, that when someone is pushing an investment idea, the concern isn’t that they own a stake. It’s that they are unloading that stake.

Class Warfare

Crew member in charge of prop gun that killed cinematographer was a ‘replacement brought in after workers walked off set of Rust’ following row about conditions and ‘two misfires’ days before tragedy: Alec Baldwin was told weapon was safe to use Daily Mail (J-LS). Wowsers.

DM is actually very good at this sort of reporting, but for those who want MSM verification: Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ camera crew walked off before shooting Los Angeles Times. Kevin W: “So, not so much a tragic accident but an accident waiting to happen.”

A better moment in movie-making (furzy):

Labour union stages rallies, strikes in South Korea Straits Times

Antidote du jour (Bob H):

And a bonus (furzy):

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Terry Flynn

    Re supermarket “pictures”, our local Sainsburys claimed an entire aisle of refrigerators was broken and hence why it was shuttered. All the usual foods when moved conveniently made the adjoining fresh food aisle look full.

    “High customer demand” is another excuse they put on empty shelves. None of these shenanigans fooled anyone.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      From Slate:

      Democrats are a big-tent party with members with a vast array of genuinely worthy pet causes that each come with their own, specific coalitions that members feel the need to placate. As a result, the party’s agenda gets pulled in a billion different directions, to the point where it starts to shred.

      This isn’t mentioned often enough and it’s Exhibit A for why progressives need to break away and form a third party.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I would be interested in a Party which had a short agenda of a few basic items. And the only requirement for being accepted into that Party would be support of each and all of those few basic items. Beyond that, every member of the Party would be free to support herm’s own special pet projects, kicks and causes without any condemnation from the Party or from other measures.

        For example, if a Short Agenda Party arose to support abolishing Free Trade, restoring Protectionism, forcing the Federal Minimum Wage up to decent living levels, and a few other things, then some members of that party could be pro legal abortion and other members of that party could be anti legal abortion without attracting any discipline-effort . . . as long as all the some members and all the other members rigidly agreed on banning Free Trade, restoring Protectionism, forcing up the minimum wage, and the few other parts of the Short Agenda.

        Any item coming up for Congressional Attention which was not part of that Short Agenda would not be addressed by the Short Agenda Party as a Party-Discipline Party. Its members could be all over the political map on Abortion, for example.

        If a Progressive Party is founded on the principle of demanding enthusiastic support for an extensive list of cultural kicks and causes which very few non-progressives will ever support or even care about, then a Progressive Party will never get very big.

        But if the Progressives disagree, they can try it and see what happens.

        Meanwhile, I would like to see a whole new set of New Deal Reactionaries get themselves together and work on exterminating the current Mainstream Democrats all the way out of the Democratic Party, and making it a New Deal Reactionary Party.

        I suppose we will see who does what, if anything.

        1. lance ringquist

          social rights can only be achieved once economic rights have been secured. when economic rights have been secured people feel less threatened by social rights.
          article one section eight clearly spells this out.
          i agree with much of the agenda that you lay out. free trade is just a escape valve from article one, section eight.
          free trade, deregulation, privatization, tax cuts for wealthy parasites, jim crow laws, endless wars are really unconstitutional.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I wonder what the big supermarkets motivation is in being so inclined to subterfuge. Is it that they are afraid of provoking panic buying, or a fear of being seen to be too political if they put blame where it belongs?

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Soy Cuba.

    The crane shot is crazy good, and so is the full film. For years the film wasn’t shown in Cuba – Cubans hated it because they thought they’d been exoticised by the Soviets. So far as I know the film itself wasn’t all that popular in the USSR, it was considered a little too arty and insufficiently revolutionary or something like that. So it languished for a long time in relative obscurity.

    1. hemeantwell

      My guess is that the Cuban reaction was an overreaction to the opening shots, which are equally spectacular. Those include floating through a rural area, and then a culturally wrenching examination of glitzy club life atop a downtown building, including a beauty contest and a dip in the pool. The concluding sequence, shown here, which is such a moving assertion of popular endurance against a murderous regime, might not have come soon enough for them. Anyway, the director, Kalatozov, did a fine job.

      As far as obscurity goes, ain’t it ‘propaganda’?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Looking at what they did, today it could – maybe – be repeated with a drone but the question is how they did it back in the early 60s. I would guess that it was one continuous shot but that the camera was handed off from one camera crew to another. So in the first part when it went up on a crane, it was passed to a crew that went through that building and then handed off to a line going down that street. I think that a Hitchcock would have appreciated it-

      1. Carolinian

        The director Mikhail Kalatozov had earlier created the great The Cranes are Flying, a poetic evocation of the Soviet struggles during WW2. Very highly recommended.

      2. icancho

        According to Wikipedia: “These shots were accomplished by the camera operator having the camera attached to his vest—like an early, crude version of a Steadicam—and the camera operator also wearing a vest with hooks on the back. An assembly line of technicians would hook and unhook the operator’s vest to various pulleys and cables that spanned floors and building roof tops.”

        1. Tom Bradford

          The wires used for the final shot ‘flying down the street’ are clearly visible, and if there was still an operator attached to the camera at that point I’ll take my hat off to him.

          I’ll recommend, too, the closing 3 minute single take with crane(?) to Kenneth Brannagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing,”

      3. ObjectiveFunction

        The 1962 D-Day epic “The Longest Day” has a spectacular single take aerial montage shot of the French commando attack at Ouistreham.

        Video available, with further details here

        The quality of 1960s black & white film photography was quite astonishing, even though it was well on its way out.

    3. timbers

      It’s a very impressive shot, reminds me of opening scene in Touch of Evil that Orson Welles was proud of.

      1. Hutch

        I thought of ‘Touch of Evil’ when I watched this shot and thought, ‘Jeez, Orson Wells could have done better!’

    4. Sutter Cane

      Cubans hated it because they thought they’d been exoticised by the Soviets

      My impression was a bit different, I thought the Cubans hated it because it overlaid a very Russian sensibility of the nobility of endless pain and suffering over the victory of the Cuban people. Very different people with very different outlooks on life, Cubans and Russians.

      The cinematography in the film is amazing but is really a bit of a downer, narratively. It focuses on the suffering of the Cuban people under capitalism. Not the kind of celebratory movie that Cubans probably had in mind!

    5. Janie

      “Russian Ark” is a steadi cam feature film, one shot and one take, filmed in the Hermitage 15 or 20 years ago.

      1. Carolinian

        That’s a very good movie plus you get a tour of the Hermitage.

        There are lots of movies where steadicam plays a big role. In The Shining Garrett Brown collaborated with Kubrick and put a steadicam on the trike wheeling around the halls.

    6. Joe Well

      I Am Cuba is an art film, and in Cuba, art films haven’t really been much of a thing.

      Cuban movies are very much in the Hollywood vein of feel-good crowd-pleasers with a heavy focus on plot and characterization rather than visual wizardry, and any political message is woven into the story rather than preached. The opposite of I Am Cuba.

      Worst of all, even though it was written by a Cuban, the screenplay is very much like Socialist-Realism which was falling out of favor worldwide and was especially detested in Cuba, especially by Che Guevara.

    1. expr

      Why are there so many empty containers?
      Perhaps we are receiving vastly more “containerable” stuff than we ship.
      How about we give precedence in unloading to ships which agree to take a large number of empties back where they are needed? (China?)

      1. Lost in OR

        I read recently that empty containers were being shipped back at the expense of the ag industry. I don’t know what ag commodity could possible fill all those containers… certainly not grain or pork.

        1. STEPHEN

          Grain is very often exported in containers. Also hay. Several of the top 20 exporters by TEU count ship grain, secondary agrictural byproducts (ie soy meal), hay, etc.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And there goes the mineral fertility of our soils, exported in the grain, soy, hay, etc.

        2. flora

          Don’t overlook the tweet about the 1500 mile train supply chain leg to Texas as part of the current time delay in container turn around problems.

          1. flora

            Adding: Much grain and hay and meats from the US midwest travel down the midwest’s Missouri River, Ohio River, and Mississippi River on river barges or large trucks to Louisiana and Texas for world wide shipping. (Writing this for international readers who might be unfamiliar with all US transportation routes.)

      2. flora

        How about we give precedence in unloading to ships which agree to take a large number of empties back where they are needed? (China?)

        The unloading/reloading process/problem seems to me like the programming iterative Towers of Hanoi problem; it’s not a simple, direct, one-to-one problem – one container-one ship – but includes several, not obvious, intermediate steps. My 2 cents.

        Glad the fellow who wrote this twitter thread knows how the shipping/ports/loading and unloading process works in fact, not just in theory.

        1. Lee

          I’m so old I remember stacking pallets by hand in the holds of ships and have the bad back to prove it.

  3. Ian Perkins

    Link for
    Revealed: Biden rejected way forward in Iran deal talks Responsible Statecraft

    “[The US] insisted it could not bind the hands of the next administration, nor guarantee that a future administration hostile to the JCPOA wouldn’t again abandon it.” It wouldn’t even commit to staying within the deal for the rest of Biden’s term.

    1. Carolinian

      “Not agreement capable” is Lavrov’s phrase. Of course in a larger sense one might ask why Iran is any of our business at all–particularly since we look the other way at Israel’s nukes.

  4. JohnA

    Apropos Baldwin and the shooting. According to the Daily Mail, it was a real bullet. However, even at close range, blanks can cause serious injury. The golden rule of ‘never point a gun at anybody’ was clearly ignored and if it were actual filming for the movie, how come the camera operator was hit, not whoever Baldwin was supposed to be shooting at?
    Very sad story all round, made worse by the union busting practices of management.

    1. Ian Perkins

      Is the golden rule of never pointing a gun at anyone (unless intending to kill or injure) applicable in movie-making?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Except for the Bond intro, how often do people look directly at the camera? It’s 4th wall breaking.

        1. Ian Perkins

          Isn’t the 4th wall about not acknowledging the audience, while the camera may have been capturing the shooter’s target’s viewpoint? No doubt movie buffs will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d have thought the latter quite a common practice.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It’s noticeable when they are looking at the camera. They are usually looking elsewhere. Shots get ruined because extras are looking at the camera.

      2. savedbyirony

        According to an industry expert interviewed in the article, yes it is. No one should have been standing by the camera. It should have been remotely operated with a barrier placed around it.

        As if the question even has to be asked. I grew up around hunters and therefore lots of guns. It does not matter if the safety is on, it does not matter if it is unloaded, it does not matter if it has not been used in years, it does not matter (name it)…. You never point any gun at anyone (unless they are the intended target).

        1. TimH

          Also, when handed a weapon, don’t presume anything. It’s not complicated to insist that actors check the load every time they pick up a firearm. SAG, add this to your rules.

          While I’m pontificating: good practice to put down a weapon in way that is clear by visual inspection that it is not ready to fire. Cylinder swung out and empty, mag out and slide locked back with port facing up.

          1. Wukchumni

            Irony isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit these days, but the plot of Rust is about a teenager who goes on the run after accidentally killing someone.

          2. savedbyirony

            Idk. The rules already allow for anyone who wants to to check a firearm on set, but requiring the actors do it (with whatever artistic sensibilities and methods they may personally work with in their acting processes, and lack of firearms knowledge/comfort they may have) seems putting/sharing the professional responsibility with the wrong person. I think the armorer, gun wrangler, property master should be the professionals on set were the buck lands.This all gets to key issues behind these labor and union/non-union issues. Trained professionals are needed and they should be working under reasonable conditions and compensated as such.

            1. Riverboat Grambler

              I don’t think it’s unreasonable for actors to be taught and practice basic gun safety. It’s not like this is the first time something like this has happened. From my understanding actors are told to aim slightly away from the target even when filming a scene where they’re shooting someone.

              This is morbid and unhelpful but I can’t help but think Alec must be a pretty good shot if he can pop the prop manager and the director before he realized he was firing live rounds. What an absolute head-shaker of a situation with plenty of negligence to go around.

              1. savedbyirony

                I do not think it is unreasonable either, and in fact i think actors do undergo basic gun safety if they are scripted to be using firearms. My reluctance is in making them the final “official” check in the processes of using a firearm on set. They are not trained experts. They would not have extensive training on all the various firearms and their possible rounds to be used. Basically, while it is proper personal behavior to check that weapon, that is not the same as making it part of their job in this professional business situation. To make them the mandatory final check, undermines the professionalism that should be demanded when hiring and expected on set from those supplying these props to the actors (and also duly compensated).

                It was not the prop manager who died. It was the cinematographer. Sounds like it was a single threw-and-threw shot which killed her and then struck the director. Poor woman. She supported the rest of her crew and fellow union members who struck because of safety issues, but decided to keep working herself. (Though, if you are willing to work with scabs, how supportive are you?) From the articles I have read sounds like she had a very promising career ahead (in what is still a very male dominated profession).

        2. danpaco

          “According to an industry expert interviewed in the article, yes it is. No one should have been standing by the camera. It should have been remotely operated with a barrier placed around it.”
          Absolutely correct!
          I’m a film industry veteran in Toronto, firearm scenes are strictly protocoled up here. Only the gun wrangler touches the guns. Why an AD (assistant director) allegedly passed the gun to Baldwin is a huge red flag in this tragedy.

          1. Pat

            This. I have been asking myself that question ever since I heard an AD handed Baldwin the gun.

            Also spent years in television, fire arm protocol was almost second nature. No one handled a real gun, loaded or not, who wasn’t required to by the script or was the specified and highly trained crew member(s) in charge of them.

            As an actor, Baldwin may have some deniability despite taking the word of someone he shouldn’t. Unfortunately for him, as a producer he doesn’t. Knowing and following the protocols, especially after th3 protests is part of the job.

          2. Vandemonian

            As I understand it from the LA Times article, the camera wasn’t actually rolling at the time it happened. The cinematographer was checking camera angles for the take (nearly said ‘setting up the shot’), and Baldwin was practicing taking the gun out of the holster.

          3. rattib

            As (mainly) an editor, my appearances on sets are limited, but the last time I was on a set with a gun, the protocol was this: The gun wrangler had possession of the gun the entire time. When we were ready to roll, the wrangler brought the gun out, opened the gun and showed everyone on set it was empty, showed us the chamber was empty as well, and handed the gun to the actor. We filmed, and when we were done, the actor handed it back to the wrangler.

            There’s also zero need to be using blanks in 2021, especially given the risks. It took me 5 minutes to add smoke and flash effects in post. Most actors can competently fake kickback, and if not, there are other tricks available that don’t involve explosives.

            Having served a bit as an AD, the story is that much more insane. The most important role of an AD is to be the last word on safety on a set; with that responsibility comes some independence from pressure from both the money side and the creative side, and the power to shut the set down at any time. It’s super challenging to maintain that vigilance, but that’s where the protocols come in.

        3. Ian Perkins

          Thank you. Unfamiliar with guns as I am, I’d heard of the ‘golden rule’, but assumed it was often broken in movies when they ‘knew’ the gun was ‘safe’.

        4. Ian Perkins

          According to this Wikipedia page,
          “As of 1993, when Brandon Lee was killed by a gun believed to be loaded with blanks, the rules of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers required: …
          Loaded guns must never be pointed at anyone”
          Which sounds as though guns are sometimes pointed at people while making movies, but not loaded guns. Of course that doesn’t explain why Baldwin was pointing one at the cinematographer (the same page gives another rule as “If firearms are to be fired directly at the camera, a plexiglass shield must be erected”, and other commenters say it’s standard for the camera to be remotely operated in such cases), let alone why this gun contained a live round, assuming it did.

      3. JohnA

        I would hope so. Blanks can be dangerous. Show a guy shooting in one shot and then the target in a different shot.

        1. Wukchumni

          Jon-Erik Hexum (/ˈhɛksəm/; November 5, 1957 – October 18, 1984) was an American actor and male model, known for his lead roles in the TV series Voyagers! and Cover Up, and his supporting role as Pat Trammell in the biopic The Bear. He died by an accidental self-inflicted blank cartridge gunshot to the head on the set of Cover Up.

    2. Eduardo

      “how come the camera operator was hit, not whoever Baldwin was supposed to be shooting at?”
      I don’t know the facts of what happened here, but in movies the camera or near camera is frequently the target.

      1. WhoaMolly

        Yes, many shots are with the gun pointing directly at the camera or slightly off-center, exactly where the cinematographer and director are usually standing.

        The only “solution” might be for the actor to personally double-check *every* firearm he or she is handed. This is difficult because the actor is ‘amped up’ and ready to ‘do’ the scene. Pausing to check the weapon might interrupt his or her emotional prep.

      1. flora

        Um… because the scab labor didn’t know the difference between live rounds and blanks? Or maybe the higher ups didn’t understand the importance and value of the detailed knowledge the union workers have about the work that scab labor might not have? … one possibility.

        1. savedbyirony

          That production crew caught trying to force a German Shepherd into swiftly flowing water a few years ago would have gladly foregone that “publicity” for their movie.

    3. albrt

      Brandon Lee was killed by an improperly cleared blank gun on the Crow set, in a jurisdiction where the crew was not union.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I’m trying to think of a reason why there would ever be live rounds on a movie set but cannot think of one at all. Where would you use them making a movie? Maybe somebody borrowed that replica to shoot it off for fun and forgot to remove some rounds when returning it. It will be interesting to see who wears the responsibility of this death.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Kurosawa liked to use real arrows in his films, but no doubt even Toshiro Mifune would have hesitated to face real bullets.

        I think that in the past some film makers have used live rounds to make everything seem a bit more realistic. Its the sort of thing the crazier film makers like Herzog or Pekinpah would have been into, at least if they’d been allowed. I’ve a vague memory that the great Russian war film ‘Come and See’ used real bullets in some scenes, but I can’t find any confirmation of this.

      2. Skip Intro

        Exactly, if you needed to show bullets, you would have empty rounds. If you need smoke and recoil, you have blanks, if you need bullet impacts, squibs and other effects. I don’t think a blank can pass through a person. Was this sabotage or low-budget effects?

        1. Basil Pesto

          I’ve done a film safety training thing before and fired a blank round. They stressed that blank rounds remain very dangerous and possibly fatal. Don’t know all the facts in this instance and so am not yet inclined to judge other than to say it’s an absolutely horrible story for all concerned. Nightmarish stuff.

          1. flora

            At close range. The wadding in a blank round can kill at very, very close range. e.g. don’t pantomime Russian roulette with gun loaded with blanks, it could kill you.

            1. Ian Perkins

              I know little about guns, but I think blanks can also kill if there’s something else in the barrel.

      3. Ian Perkins

        From Wikipedia,
        According to Mike Papac, an experienced weapons master, … there should “never, ever, ever [be] any live ammo on the set. Never. Under no circumstances”.

    5. Carolinian

      It doesn’t sound like it was Alec Baldwin’s fault except insofar as he is lending his name to a low budget movie that was probably not going to be very good. Lots of aging male stars do this now–Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage–and likely get a decent payday since their presence allows indies to get financing and distribution. Sometimes as in the case of Willis they will barely be in the movie.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Hey, since putting a stock photo of Morgan Freeman [genuflects], preferably in an armchair with a book, atop any random screed on Farcebook suddenly gives it the imprimatur of Truth, maybe Saint Morgan can make bank off the new Trump TRUTH or Consequences SPAC vehicle thingy….

    6. JTMcPhee

      Baldwin asks why he was given a hot gun? Anyone handling.a pistol or other firearm is supposed to ensure that it’s “safe,” and follow the other basic rules of responsible gun ownership. I’d say it is his bad, knowing there were live rounds on the set, for not double-checking the weapon to see what was in the magazine and in the chamber. And why was he holding the gun with his finger clearly on the trigger and the safety off? It’s not like he hasn’t handled guns as part of his acting-career experience. Pretty obviously it was not just a “prop” firearm, but an operating weapon.

      Gun people are having fun pointing out what they consider his hypocrisy. His criticism of NRA. Bad scene all around.

      1. TimH

        Criticism of NRA (or any organisation) has nothing to do with someone respecting and following gun safety (an individual procedure).

      1. flora

        Yep. When I was a kid my dad wouldn’t even let us point a kid’s toy gun at him in a cowboys play acting. He was a WWII vet and a hunter. He’s say, sort of sternly (but mildly) to make a point, “Don’t point that gun at me. Never point a gun at someone, it could fire and kill them.” “But Dad, it’s a TOY gun!” “That doesn’t matter. Never point a gun at someone, it could fire.” When one was finally old enough to be trusted using a real gun for hunting, the safety lessons were already firmly in the mind.

        1. Basil Pesto

          That’s funny, my parents got extremely pissed if I pointed a toy gun at them (I only did it once) not because of the gun safety implications (hardly an issue in this country) but because of the, uh, unsettling imagery/symbolic implications/grim premonitions of their kid pointing a gun at them. In fact my Dad got very stern with one of his grandkids for pointing a toy gun at him the other day; probably the sternest I’ve ever seen him in a parental or quasi-parental capacity. It genuinely troubled him in a way that not much else does.

      2. Jen

        Didn’t grow up around guns and I’ve probably spent a total of 3 hours in my life entire at a firing range and even I know that.

        Plus would someone please explain why there were live rounds on the set? WTF?

    7. Janie

      How about the other Golden rule, ” all guns are loaded, until you have personally checked it out first thing when you pick it up. Never take somebody else’s word for it. “

      1. flora

        And even then, treat it as if it as loaded. Magazine malfunctions happen, showing a hiddenly loaded gun (malfunction, half engaged shell) as unloaded.

        1. TimH

          I watched someone buying a shotgun and going through the pre-sale safety test. This was a semi-auto, not a top break, and part of the “it’s unloaded” check was to put a finger in the breech to check that there wasn’t a cartridge.

      1. TimH

        “New Mexico is a permissive open carry state, and you do not need a permit or license to use a firearm openly in places that do not have restrictions. The state does not restrict any type of firearm or ammunition. You can make use of large-capacity firearms and even antique guns.”

  5. zagonostra

    >WSWS, Medicare for Some, and Social Compact

    Does anyone find it ironic that the WSWS starts their article with citing the Economist?

    When the article states: They are now burnt out, they are devastated, they are physically and mentally exhausted. And there is a prediction that 10% of them will leave within a very short time.” they leave out that some healthcare workers, I don’t know how many, have decided to leave their jobs rather than be forced to take a vaccine. Also no mention in the article of where the WSWS stands on Mandatory Vaccines and the world-wide worker protest against them, although I know that they are enthusiastically supportive of them, mandatory vaccines that is.

    I would have preferred WSWS and Jacobin to use the opportunity to fight for Medicare for all instead of Medicare for some that we have now. I would have preferred if they pointed out the irony of Gov’t forced vaccines where some, a small amount granted, will have an adverse effect like Kyle who was interviewed by Dr. John Campbell in below link.

    I would have also preferred if these “socialist” magazines would have taken the opportunity to argue the logic of mandatory vaccines from the perspective of social contract theory. In this CV19 forced vaccine debate I have read and heard many arguments of the responsibility of the individual to others but not much on societies’ responsibility to the individual. How can you force someone to get vaccinated knowing that some will have an adverse effect (VAERS) in an environment that where going to the doctor let alone an emergency room could bankrupt you. It’s unconscionable.

    It is obvious from the interview below that if Kyle had not had insurance he would be dead. Very disappointing to see WSWS and Jacobin fail to speak on a fractured social compact that is a U.S. healthcare system that excludes millions and yet the gov’t forcing vaccination that will indisputable hurt some.

    1. Carolinian

      WSWS is strange and can be fiercely opinionated about things that seem to have little to do with the “4th International.” For example they have been very dismissive of the “me too” movement and now are posing as medical experts. Perhaps they think of any popular cause not involving Marx as a distraction.

      1. Soredemos

        >For example they have been very dismissive of the “me too” movement

        Which is basically the correct position to have. That ‘movement’ died when Biden was accused and it suddenly became no longer politically expedient.

        1. Carolinian

          I think WSWS would say Weinstein, for example, was overblown. He’s in jail. To me that’s an extreme position.

    2. Dr. Strangelove

      “How can you force someone to get vaccinated knowing that some will have an adverse effect (VAERS) in an environment that where going to the doctor let alone an emergency room could bankrupt you. It’s unconscionable.”

      This argument is simply childish. The chances of an adverse effect from vaccines is near zero. The chances of adverse effects from COVID are much greater than zero. COVID is killing, maiming, and bankrupting people, not the vaccine.

      1. Helena

        The statement was about lack of support for adverse effects, which do occur. With your attitude, if someone fears an adverse reaction and missing work, much less incurring ruinous medical bills, they are being childish. A lot of people have workplaces that are unforgiving of absence, and feel like they are between a rock and a hard place. Will they be one of the ‘near zero’ whose lives may be disrupted further by the lack of medical support in the country? That is what the commenter is talking about. At the personal level.

        1. howseth

          A female friend in her early 60’s just told me she felt dehydrated at night after getting her booster – woke up nauseous – and then feinted in the bathroom – her husband found her on the floor.

          She feels OK now. I’m scheduled for a Pfizer booster on Wednesday – last Pfizer shot was in March – felt awful for one night after that. I’m not looking forward to the booster.

    3. Michaelmas

      zaganostra: I have read and heard many arguments of the responsibility of the individual to others but not much on societies’ responsibility to the individual. How can you force someone to get vaccinated knowing that some will have an adverse effect (VAERS) in an environment where going to the doctor let alone an emergency room could bankrupt you.

      To be clear, in the real world any vaccine will have adverse effects on someone if given on a large enough (i.e.) mass scale.

      Human genetic variability is such that if you give a vaccine to a wide enough population, one or more individuals will probably die from it. My father is allergic to penicillin, FFS, (though I am not) and almost died in a hospital during the 1950s when a night nurse didn’t read the instructions on his sheet.

      And nevertheless, modern societies have generally had mandatory mass vaccination policies for their populations’ greater good. So this has always been tacitly understood and is not something new with the COVID19 vaccines.

      To be sure, rushed into use as they have been and with the levels of general reactogenicity we may be seeing, a lot of us aren’t happy. But what’s also involved now is that today there exists (a) popular distrust of the current PMC — rightful distrust, given their proven track record of utter incompetence and corruption — and (b) the near-total ignorance of most of the American population, including the PMC, when it comes to understanding how almost any vital technology — from vaccines to communications and power infrastructure — actually works.

      Yes, you’re right about the kleptocratic awfulness of the US “healthcare” system. But if you look past the national myths and PR, the US has historically always had rulers who operated as a colonial kleptocracy, as in Brazil, except for a brief period during the 20th century.

    4. Basil Pesto

      In this CV19 forced vaccine debate I have read and heard many arguments of the responsibility of the individual to others but not much on societies’ responsibility to the individual. How can you force someone to get vaccinated knowing that some will have an adverse effect (VAERS) in an environment that where going to the doctor let alone an emergency room could bankrupt you.

      you say “societies’”plural but, in the “developed” world at least, the conditions you describe would seem to apply predominantly if not exclusively to the US (keeping in mind WSWS’ focus is, uh, international)

      1. Michaelmas

        Basil Pesto: the conditions you describe would seem to apply predominantly if not exclusively to the US


        So the UK population may not trust Boris Johnson’s government, for instance, but they trust the NHS, with consequent high vaccine take-up rates there.

    5. saywhat?

      Thanks for that link. I recommend Kyle’s story to everyone.

      As for VAERS reports being exaggerations, based on what Kyle said, they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you use Firefox, check for a symbol that looks like a page at the far right of the address bar. If you click on it as the page loads up and before the paywall kicks in, a text version of this article will be displayed.

      He basically says that there is Big Trouble in Little China but if it blows up, shouldn’t really effect the rest of the world. Unless they look for an external enemy to blame that is.

      1. diptherio

        Neat trick, but it doesn’t work (at least not for me). No matter how fast I click reader view, I just get a subscription appeal.

        1. Procopius

          There is an extension available in Firefox (both Windows and Linux, I know nothing about Apple products) called Bypass Paywalls Clean. Hope I’m not violating blog rules by pointing it out. I don’t think it’s available for Chrome yet.

      1. Helena

        Thanks for the link!

        Ask an economist if they’re worried, and they’ll start harping about ‘growth rate.” Ask them who they are worried about and see how direct they are about that.

    2. Glen

      Found it here:

      Is China in Big Trouble?

      IMHO, Krugman and other “mainstream” economists are so compromised that I read them only to find out what kind of BS they are slinging at us “the uninformed masses” on any particular day. That has been well covered here and I need not elaborate.

      The gist of the article seems to be that America is great because we crashed the whole world economy in 2008, and China is not great because they are not going to crash the whole world economy. I do find this bit at the end interesting:

      China does, however, have an autocratic government — the kind of government that in other times and places has tended to respond to internal problems by looking for an external enemy. And China is also a superpower. It’s not hard to tell scary stories about where all this might lead.

      Dude? Really? Pot calling kettle black? Is he so deluded, or does he actually think we’re that clueless?

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Evidently only *one* of the American political parties is ‘lurching toward authoritarianism’ though, according to ‘Park Slope Paul’, so there’s that….

  6. thoughtful person

    Re this winter’s covid spike in the US, judging from last years data, I’d watch Midwest at the moment (where winter spike started last year). Delta plus does not appear to be a game changer from an infectious perspective, but we don’t yet know about virulence (as far as I’ve seen).

    1. Lee

      Possible enhanced transmissibility but no increased virulence or vaccine evasiveness, is what I recall hearing on the news. But that was literally yesterday’s news, so who knows what mutations tomorrow may bring.

      Evidently, the U.K. and Denmark are doing a good job of identifying and tracking genetic variants, while the U.S., with all of its vaunted scientific capabilities, and much of the rest of the world are not. So, I say again, who knows what mutations tomorrow may bring.

  7. timbers

    Democrats are turning their big spending bill into absolute trash Slate. Lambert: “Assuming good faith, of course.” Watched ABC while waiting for car oil & brake work. They showed Senator Biden say his Social Safety Net will not raise a penny of tax on corporations and the rich as if that’s a good thing but probably President McConnell had ordered Senator Biden can’t touch those. If Senator Biden really wants Social Safety and lower spending he should propose universal single payer healthcare because giving paid leave for having a baby only helps a much smaller segment of people and anyways no one ever mentions the Federal Reserve can spend as much as it wants to give free money to it’s rich friends and is doing that at $120/billion a month and much much more than that during the pandemic.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I would imagine that it is the corporations and the rich that are opposing these bills. If Biden and the democrats had a pair, they could say that as of tomorrow, the bills will be funded by a 3% tax on the corporations and the rich. But that for every day these bills do not go forward, it is raised by 1% so that after a week the tax rate on them has now risen to 10%. So how long before those bills are pushed through before that tax rate really starts to hurt? Even Joe Manchin would be front and center demanding that these bills get signed right now.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I so rarely think about battle tactics with regards to Congressional legislation, it hadn’t occurred to me, but the post on Tanden opined that Manchin’s goal might simply be to delay until the bill ultimately dies.

        That would suit him and his funders just fine, after all. And it can all be done under the guise of fiscal responsibility. And Schumer was clearly aware that Manchin’s red line is 1.5b, because that signed understanding was revealed publicly last month(?).

        So what are the Democrats playing at here?

  8. John

    The Compromise of 1850 was originally presented as an omnibus bill. It was going nowhere and there was an actual threat of secession and civil war. Henry Clay broke the bill apart and most of the original passed in pieces. It staved off civil war for ten years. I am not suggesting that our circumstances are as dire as 1850 nor that the proposed legislation is similarly crucial to the nation’s future, but maybe, just maybe, a change of tactics might make a difference.

    I have often thought that these calabash bills were presented so that no one could or would read them, so that all sorts of little goodies could be hidden inside them like all those strange things in fruit cake. Lastly, I wonder who were the geniuses who thought that with no wiggle room in either the House or the Senate that this was the moment to strike for all their dearest programs. And the absolutely last thing, what good is the US Senate?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Team Blue elites won’t acknowledge the filibuster is a gentlemen’s agreement. In 1850, they didn’t pretend this was the case, just an arrangement between slave and free states. Results are needed. These are god programs that will have immediate dramatic impacts. They won’t be waiting 2 years for inspections or pans to be drawn up.

      The mistake was having a separate GOP highway privatization bill.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is I ort ant with the economic dislocation coming. A highway bill that just makes existing highways worse isn’t going to improve lives. It won’t help in November. Those “dearest projects” are new and address immediate concerns. They may help in November.

  9. Lemmy Caution

    Reuters publishes Children with mild COVID-19 may not develop antibodies on the same day as it also reports that U.S. readies plan to vaccinate kids ages 5-11 against COVID-19. What a coincidence.

    The first article skips right over the whole notion that it very well may be children’s innate immune response, not the adaptive immune response of which antibodies are part, that is responsible for the (so far) remarkably low rate of severe illness and death from Covid among children.

    1. Raymond Sim

      … it very well may be children’s innate immune response, not the adaptive immune response …

      This view, as I’ve seen it promulgated, appears to derive from strictly theoretical considerations. Is anyone aware of any corroborating evidence for it?

      For the general audience: There are actually at least two big issues associated with this question of innate (not acquired) immunity and Covid. The biggest question is whether mass innoculation during mass transmisson could have the effect of making the pandemic longer and worse. A, relatively speaking, lesser question is innate immunity’s role in the much lower rates of severe short-term disease seen in children. Up till now being a very important caveat, necessary from everything we know about the virus, but in this context I think Lemmy Caution is referring to the possibility that vaccinating young children might change that considerably.

      Analysis is complicated by the fact that the ‘typical’ course of a Covid infection is by no means clear to us yet. The various kinds of persistence that have been documented for instance make it clear that the role of innate immunity is going to be harder to understand than one might wish.

      Additionally the fact that the vaccines are, to date, individually protective against severe short-term outcomes puts some credits in the ‘benefit’ column in any attempt at cost/benefit analysis of the vaccination drive.

      I should note that the ‘innate immunity’ explanation for differences in short-term severity in children is not the only candidate. Unfortunately it is currently a heresy, so to the extent it’s discussed at all, it tends to be in echo chambers. A layperson has to really work to find discussion that is both good faith and critical.

  10. pi pie

    Supermarkets using cardboard cutouts to hide gaps left by supply issues Guardian

    Potemkin Village?

        1. ambrit

          My favourite: ‘Potemkin Entertainment Industry.’
          Of course, there is the classic: Post Modernism = Potemkin Art.

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Neera

    Isn’t it funny how Team Blue passed Reconciliation in the Spring before she started working in the White House and now Biden is counting the days until the end of his second term?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not second, his *only* term.

      Obvious the Dem machine is only about filling the rulers’ rice bowls and killing anything “progressive..”

      What ever happened to the system that produced Tip O’Neals and similar congressional leaders that could “whip” for real? The corporate Dems that are killing us mopes for campaign bribes and perks — how do they get away with it?

        1. Nikkikat

          Tip sold us out for social security and Medicare cuts. They had the White House and both houses of Congress and gave away the store because Reagan asked him to cut “entitlements”. I was in the age group that had to pay double to the programs and couldn’t retire until 661/2. He also fixed so teachers, state and counties workers couldn’t draw the social security they had paid into because that was double dipping since they also got a small pension. They also took away their ability to draw any of their spouses social security if their spouse died. Tip ushered in the corporate sell out of the party. I would never lament the Tip O’Neill’s they are still here only doubled down on selling out.

          1. lordkoos

            Was it also Tip O’Neill who made it so they take money from people’s Social Security to pay for medicare?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Plenty of cynics will tell you that the Democratic Party is best understood as a jobs program for mediocre loyalists, but it’s worth considering, for once, not the negative qualities of the people it elevates but the paucity of their actual successes.

      Paucity is an absolutely perfect word.

      1. TimH

        Anyone care to come up with a good definition of ‘faucity’, being a portmanteau of a certain gentleman of the CDC and paucity?

  12. David

    Since we sometimes discuss music on Saturdays, let me bring to your attention that the great French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens was born one hundred years ago yesterday, and died forty years ago next week. Brassens, who has a reasonable Wikipedia biography for once, was an almost caricatural French figure: he seldom performed outside France and his songs are subtle and often wryly humorous, and notoriously difficult to translate. For all the devotion he still inspires in France still, he’s therefore little known outside.

    Here is my favourite Brassens song, “L’Auvergnat” with a rough but serviceable English translation, that will give you some idea. The song, as often with Brassens, is about ordinary people, in this case, people who performed small acts of kindness for him, and who he hopes will have their rewards in a future life (though Brassens was a sort of atheist, at least, so I’ve never been quite sure how to interpret that: still the song is beautiful).

    1. Keith Newman

      Lovely song by George Brassens. Thanks for posting it.
      He reminds me of the Quebec chansonnier Felix Leclerc who also sang about ordinary people.

    2. Ian Perkins

      The translated lyrics to that song repeatedly mention the “well-intentioned” people who slammed the door in his face, laughed at his predicament, and so on. Has something been lost in translation?

      1. David

        It’s a literal translation of “gens bien intentionnés” which is part of the trouble with translating Brassens. Literal translations don’t capture his sardonic humour or his pervasive anarchism and dislike of the state and the respectable middle classes. You have to imagine him singing the words in ironic quotes. The French listener would probably understand the suggestion of hypocrisy – “respectable” middle class people concerned about all the right things, but not actually capable of simple acts of kindness (make your own topical equivalence). The song has generated a lot of analysis, partly in identifying the originals of the the three charitable individuals, partly the occasion of its composition (the harsh winter of 1954?) and partly the text itself, which has unmistakeable Biblical echos (Matthew 25). But whether Brassens was ironically casting himself as Christ, we’ll never know.

        1. Ian Perkins

          Thank you. I guessed it was something like that, but wondered if the original French was inherently ironic to a native speaker.

      2. Helena

        In the video I see church/religion images when “well-intentioned” people are mentioned. That tells me that they were a bunch of bullshitters in his book, and it did not mean that heaven did not exist, just that the facade on Earth was false. Just my take. His people who he wished to go to heaven were the genuine article who followed through.

        Beautiful song–another artist to add to my listening.

      1. juno mas

        Wow! Those remastered Rheinhardt/Grapelli works sound fabulous. Thanks for the tip. If these two aren’t the genesis of modern Jazz on guitar & violin, I’ll eat my socks. (I’m wearing sandals;)

  13. griffen

    Space force article. They are gaining on us, we must dramatically increase funding and dedicate resources! Ladies and gentlemen, we must have more non-functional weapons and technology. Let’s take the best of what doesn’t actually work or what our patrons* don’t actually need and advance into the skies!

    Yeesh. The grifting* is so obvious. More forces means more spending means more opportunities at the pig trough.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      I read the whole article. When I reached the statement by the major general that “The delay in creating a National Guard Space Force could have disastrous impacts…..”, I quickly scrolled back up to the top to check if I hadn’t mistakenly pressed on a link to The Onion. But I hadn’t. I would call this Kafkaesque, but even Kafka wouldn’t have imagined this nonsense.

    2. Nikkikat

      And they just told the American public to take a hike. No free college, no dental for Medicare. No no no. But these jerks have plenty of money for crapola like the space force.
      Next thing you know, they’ll throw shovels of money to Bezos to make space bombs and bring back Reagan’s Star Wars program for Elon Musk.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Amusing Street Signs Marking Tiny Locations”

    If you look down at the bottom, there is a link to another page of this guy’s work called “Funny Typographical Street Art Signs Give New Meaning to Public Places in Sydney, Australia” –

    Re the Pit bull wanting not to be separated from the Chihuahua. That is not the first time that I have seen this happening. Some dogs just pal up in shelters, maybe because of the stress of the situation, and then they are buddies for life. Glad these two got to stay together.

    1. griffen

      The street signs were funny and entertaining. Given the emphasis on ants, I am surprised he didn’t go the Derek Zoolander route…a bookstore or library for ants.

      How can they learn to read if they can’t fit in the building?

        1. Wukchumni

          And now a word from an ant heeder:

          We exist in a bizarre combination of stone age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology.

          E.O. Wilson

  15. The Rev Kev

    “EXCLUSIVE: Space Force commander warns of China’s growing threat to U.S. in space”

    I use to think that US Air Force generals could be pretty bad because of their arrogance which I put down to never having to spend time in the mud – only moving it. The worse case of this arrogance that I saw has been their years long campaign to get rid of the A-10 Thunderbolt II from their inventory while saying that the F-35 will be able to do the same job which is a bad joke. So in other words, they want to get rid of a plane that is vital for saving and protecting soldiers in battle because it is something that they do not want to be sullied by.

    Well I am beginning to suspect that these Space Force generals will be even worse. They are saying, no, demanding that America must dominate space and set the rules on who can do what in space. They are talking about setting up mini-bases in space before the Chinese have a chance to do so. Maybe they think that the Chinese will try to build an island in space or something. They also want to set up bases on the moon to cordon off whole regions and declare it US territory basically. And they want to do all this using US corporations to entice them with the offer of lucrative contracts so that they can get the government on board with all this. And that is what the world needs right now. Militarized space. Next stop, orbiting nukes to dominate the planet.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There is a reason for that. In order to stop the Chinese going into space, the US forbid any Chinese astronauts doing service aboard the International Space Station so that they would not get any technical or operational experience. This being the case, the Chinese are going forward and building their own. And in a few years when the ISS is retired and crashed into some ocean, the Chinese space station will still be there and may be the only one in orbit.

        1. K.k

          Thats right, the other nations working on ISS were ok with welcoming the Chinese, it was the Americans who vetoed it. The Chinese built their own and now are already in talks with other countries to use their station when fully built and in the not so distant future the ISS comes offline.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Photos inside Rikers Island expose hellish, deadly conditions New York Post (resilc).

    On Sept. 13, more than a dozen community advocates and state and local elected officials conducted a highly publicized visit to Rikers Island and held a press conference afterward to describe what they saw. The revelations they shared were mostly new to the public, but the DOC, a federal monitor tasked with overseeing the jail and the court were already well aware of what was going on and allowed it to continue.

    “Federal monitor” sounds like merrick milquetoast garland has some sort of “jurisdiction.”

    Maybe he’ll get around to paying some sort of attention after he’s finished hunting down blue-collar fathers irate over their daughters being assaulted in public school washrooms by male “students” wearing skirts and claiming to be members of the fiercely protected “trans” contingent, and daring to express their justified anger at local school board meetings. Oh, I forgot. He’s not “familiar” with that situation. Never mind.

    In a wealthy, “meritocratic” utopia like the u s of a, a chief law enforcement officer’s gotta establish “priorities.” Provided somebody tells him what’s going on out here, that is.

  17. PlutoniumKun

    In Major Shift, NIH Admits Funding Risky Virus Research in Wuhan Vanity Fair

    There is no smoking gun as yet, but it’s quite fascinating to see the drip drip drip of information showing how much we’ve been lied to about the Wuhan research institute. I suppose we should be grateful to see that there is at least one strategic area where Beijing and Washington are united and in full co-operation mode.

  18. marym

    “Lawsuit filed on behalf of the Democratic Party of Virginia against the U.S. Postal Service over its failure to process and deliver election-related mail in a timely manner, potentially leading to the disenfranchisement of Virginians seeking to cast absentee ballots for the statewide election on Nov. 2… The lawsuit asks the court to order the Postal Service to prioritize and expedite the processing of election-related mail and to immediately process any unscanned election materials in Albemarle, Portsmouth and James City Counties, where delays are of particular concern.”

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Can you imagine anyone liking him? Me neither.

        He’s Hillary – the more he campaigns, the more votes he loses. Adding Obama to the mix will only incite The Deplorables. Terry Mac is toast. It’s not nice when karma kicks you in the nuts.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Why assume this lawsuit means the mcauliffe campaign must have some pretty “unfavorable” internal polling?

        Why not assume that the Trump-picked and Biden-tolerated anti-USPS postmaster DeJoy has plans to preferentially prevent mail in ballots from reaching their destinations? And plans to order the Virginia postal system and workers to impede or impound every mail in ballot they feel they can get away with?

        DeJoyan sabotage and mcauliffe’s unlikeability are two separate issues and both can be equally true at the same time.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          DeJoy was the head of the USPS during the last election wasn’t he? Where’s the evidence he held up ballots? Every time the Dems lose, it’s always someone else’s fault.

          1. marym

            There were problems, complaints, lawsuits, and court orders regarding mail delays leading up to the 2020 election.

            “On August 18, [2020] after weeks of heavy criticism and the day after lawsuits against the Postal Service and DeJoy personally were filed in federal court by several individuals,[17] DeJoy announced that he would suspend all the changes until after the November election, “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”[18] He said he would reinstate overtime hours, roll back service reductions, and halt the removal of mail sorting machines and collection boxes.[19] However, 95 percent of the mail sorting machines that were planned for removal had already been removed,[20] and in testimony to the Senate, DeJoy expressed that he had no intention of replacing them.[21]..On November 4, 2020, federal judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered DeJoy to ″sweep″ USPS facilities for undelivered mail-in ballots, and to immediately deliver any they find. DeJoy failed to comply…”

            The Wikipedia entry has links to further reporting.

            Even Republican Congressmen in VA have raised the general issue of mail delays.


          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            DeJoy destroyed as much USPS mail sorting machinery as he could in order to delay ALL the mail in hopes of getting mail in ballots held up along with it in the general delay.

            And it is the Republicans lying about the fact of their Trump having lost the election and trying to invent made-up reasons for their loss.

            So your little misdirection didn’t work.

            Nice try, though.

            And Democrats are quite rightly concerned with ongoing DeJoy conspiracies to delay or deny the arrival of mail-in ballots in the next-upcoming elections.

            (Not concerned enough to decontaminate the USPS Oversight Board with people who want to remove the malignant DeJoy cancer cell mass from the Postmaster General’s office, though. They are still devoted to the greater long term cause of destroying the USPS in order to privatise the wreckage and let Diane Feinstein’s husband handle selling off the buildings.)

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    Apologies if this has already been linked. It’s Taibbi’s latest on the hyped-to-the-max netflix / Chapelle pseudo-crisis.

    I know it’s paywalled, but I just had to share two great paragraphs with the commentariat. On par with his “vampire squid” classic IMNSHO. Enjoy.

    Fifteen-plus years ago, when Chappelle’s Show was taking the entertainment world by storm, we didn’t yet live in a world where upper-class white people had completed their Apollo 11 mission to enlightenment and planted a flag in racism and discrimination as their exclusive properties. Chappelle had to be freaked out in the early 2000s to look out at packed house after packed house of white faces roaring at his jokes and hurling money at him — “Yeah, we’re racists! We really are! More!” Imagine what he thought when he took time off and returned to find that exact crowd of upscale liberals had decided to cut him out of the deal, and make an industry out of celebrating their own prejudices. They didn’t just laugh a little in their spare time to Dave Chappelle jokes now, they cranked out thousands of books and movies and TV shows on the theme, they took baths in their own shame via books like White Fragility, became credentialed experts in it, gave themselves degrees in its study.

    Chappelle walked away from $50 million years ago, probably in part from being freaked out by his own popularity. Now he’s resurfaced in a country where an invisible Cultural Politburo, driven mainly by the same upscale white intellectuals who first made him rich, has decreed racism no laughing matter, a crisis so grave and urgent it can no longer be left to potty-mouth amateurs like him. Moreover, this “Thanks, we’ll take it from here” crew identified 497 additional varieties of impermissible prejudice, under which he, Dave Chappelle, is also a bigot. This is the same comic who once went way out of his way to be as gentle as possible in breaking the news to white America that it hadn’t exactly left the door to Dr. King’s mountaintop all the way open. Now they’re going to tell him what bigotry is?

    1. JCC

      I just recently broke down and got a NetFlix subscription (“free” with my new phone service) and after reading all the bru-ha-ha about Chappelle’s The Closer, I decided to watch it, along with 10 million others.

      And, though he does “put on the paint” (as Dave Chappelle himself puts it) I thought all his points were well taken.

      I’m not a subscriber to Taibbi’s site but I do get his emails with partial posts, and as usual he was very accurate in his comments. And I loved the fact that he pointed out all the headlines we got last week about thousands of protesters that were going to show up at the NetFlix Office to tell NetFlix to take The Closer off-line, and only about a dozen showed up.

      Great stuff.

    2. Riverboat Grambler

      I dunno. He’s devoted alot of material to trans people, and alot of it is very tired, lazy “I identify as X, lol” jokes you could easily find all over Reddit or 4Chan in the last half decade. Same thing with Ricky Gervais’s shows. This stuff isn’t “speaking truth to power” it’s just echoing the extremely tired jokes and gripes from people who are simply disgusted at the existence of trans people. People claim he’s “working through his own prejudice onstage”, but if after all these years the result of that is him declaring “I’m team TERF” that makes it pretty clear where he stands on the issue.

      It’s unfortunate, because a big part of why he walked away from his show was him feeling like he was giving cover for white racists to laugh at black stereotypes. In my opinion, he’s doing the same thing now for trans people.

      1. CanCyn

        He IS a comedian and he is joking. You don’t have to like his humour but if you don’t understand that at the heart of all of his shows is a black man trying to deal with the fact that his lives in a country that sees him at best as a second class citizen then you should watch him again. Maybe try this, his reaction to the George Floyd murder by cop:
        In the current show he tells a story about a giant black man who is impervious to bullets whose heart is broken every time someone shoots him. His line about it being more acceptable to shoot and kill a black man than it is to hurt a gay man’s feelings. These are not the concepts of a bigot. Try listening and reading between the lines just a little. And if you still don’t like what he has to say, don’t listen. Another line from his show – “did I follow you home and do my act in your driveway?”

      2. Mikel

        From his explanation, I totally understood why he identifies with people labled as “Terf”.
        It is a truth many have noticed.

  20. Raymond Sim

    Looking at the U.S. new case rates for the past week, I’m perceiving a pattern that looks an awful lot like seasonality to me.

    New England, the Nothern Tier Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains all have multiple states that appear to be headed in the wrong direction. In New England it’s Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine that look particularly concerning. That led me to look at counties in New York. Again, to my eyes at least, northerliness correlates to worseness.

  21. Wukchumni

    Oh sure it’s calm now, but the atmospheric river is coming to the CVBB, and I placed an order with Arks Я’ Us, but like everything i’m looking at a delivery date of the twelfth of never, and that’s a long long time.

    1. griffen

      Is the aforementioned weather event still on the immediate horizon, delivering a one-two punch of rainfall in proverbial buckets?

      Now I do have an unoriginal film idea. An updated tale of Noah* building his ark, but instead of a completed vessel Noah is able to complete roughly 2/3 of his encompassing life’s work. “Noah 2022 – an Ark in Crisis”.

      *or the epic of Gilgamesh, if that’s more to your liking

    2. The Rev Kev

      Just be glad that funding for any such arks is not going through Congress. It would start of as an ark to save everybody but by the time it went through Congress, would have been pared down to a rowboat – with Joe Manchin arguing about the need for a keel.

    1. ambrit

      If you can find a 2″X12″ to saw up, “liberate” some shopping carts and use the wheels to make “DIY Skateboard Kits.” It’ll help teach those helicopter ‘deprived’ groundlings “rugged self sufficiency.”
      Up where you are, in the “Defensable Zone,” I would imagine that DIY Ballistae would be a better use of those “idle hands.” It would be a win-win proposition. The kids could learn all about Ancient Roman history and technology while preparing the tools needed to defend the “Golden West” from pesky interlopers.
      Tutum manere!

  22. ambrit

    List this under “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.”
    On a local “Upcoming Events” web page I found a regular, recurring, weekend listing for “Virtual Speed Dating for Professional Singles.”
    I think that this qualifies as a “Niche Service.”
    I was originally looking for ‘cheap’ tickets to a local performance of a rock band from the Days of Yore. (The sort of outfit that soldiers on with two or three of the original members and younger replacements for the rest.) A decent venue, an older actual theatre. A secon or third tier opening act. My sensory overload buffer had to kick in when I saw the prices; $35.50 for the cheap seats on up to $65.50 for front of the theatre seats. I don’t know about anyone else, but I would rather spend that money on a CD collection of the band’s output.

    1. ambrit

      Zeitgeist Addendum.
      Ran across a posting on the Nextdoor web of an appeal for “excess” food. The ‘appellants’ are a young couple who have been active on the network for over three years, ie. locals. Both have been laid off for months. She has a job coming up in the beginning of November. I have seen them “in the flesh” and they are a classic “young couple” just starting out. One has a degree. I think that their landlord is swapping work around his rental properties for rent on their unit.
      Stay safe, and solvent!

      1. Fernanano

        “Harvard freshman made a social networking app called ‘The FaceTag”…Nextdoor beat them to it and the couple should charge for each use of their facial data points.

        When you give ND *verified* information about your home address, name, phone number, opinions, beliefs, likes, dislikes, favorite businesses et al, you also give them the right to to do facial recognition of your picture and to sell the data.
        Masks do destroy that however. Wear those masks.

        1. ambrit

          Ah, I knew there was a good reason why we do not upload pictures onto the cloud. We keep our private photos strictly segregated on SD cards, and look at them, whenever, on an airgapped device.
          Paranoia is the Modern Survival Strategy.
          I do remember reading about a graphic design for clothing that ‘defeats’ pattern recognition algorithms. A mask and hijab in that pattern should become pretty popular as the Panopticon is revealed more fully.

    2. griffen

      Inquiring minds and all. Okay nosy minds who should really mind our business. Just who were you planning to see?

      REO Speedwagon has had, or is having, a bit of a moment. According to my progress on the Netflix offering for Ozark; season 3 features them and one lead character is singing a popular refrain.

      1. ambrit

        I realize that this reveals too much personal information of an “actionable” nature, as in, “put him in the padded cell for observation!”
        This was the ‘Legacy’ Blue Oyster Cult, with “Buck Dharma” the lead guitarist, and Eric Bloom, the vocalist, plus fill ins. I would have preferred the Bouchard brothers, but, there it is. [I have seen the original BOC back in the day; loud and proud.]
        Last week, the same place had Dickey Betts and some of the original Allman Brothers Band alums. Similar pricing scheme.
        This venue will showcase old line Country and Western acts; this is the country after all. Jimmy Buffett plays here from time to time. He went to the local college and was known around town as an entertainer before he “went National.” Buffett concerts, if anything, are more expensive than the others mentioned.
        We live in what I jokingly refer to as a “half-horse town.” It has a regional State University branch plus an original, separate, “Female College” establishment. So, a good bit of Town and Gown goes on here. The tenured professors and higher up administrators generally drive BMWs, Volvos, and even a Ferrari has been seen on the local streets on occasion. The other end of the socio-economic scale can be seen in the singlets, pairs and occasional groups of homeless wandering about the streets. This place really embodies the American Third World Ethos. So, I really shouldn’t be surprised at the ticket pricing schemes of the local entertainment venues.
        Stay safe!

  23. skippy

    Shipping container dramas seem like a classic case of yo yo compression and I can say from experience on a 25 mile speed march in full gear its a killer, not to mention all the secondary dramas it creates. Almost necessary to do a full stop, sort everything out and proceed again with strict controls to avoid it again.

    But then its happening all over the world all at once, aside, from the retail I can see the drive for consolidation of products offered, especial grocery store chains, with a side of individual stores being dialed to the specific location to facilitate balance sheet flows – first and foremost e.g. its got nothing to do with offering consumer choice.

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is something from the antiwork subreddit tltled ” Child labor, fantastic . . . ” This is the headline which leads them to say that.

    “Wisconsin Senate approves a bill allowing 14 year olds to work as late as 11:00pm, and supporters say it could help plug the labor shortage.” Here is the link.

    Just in case it passes and their Governor signs it into law, people who dislike the concept should have counter-actions ready to go. Such counteractions might include doxing every business however small which is discovered to be working 14 year olds till 11:00pm, organizing ready-to-go boycotts against any business discovered to be doing that, etc. Such boycotts being designed to either torture the business into labor-abusing the 14 year olds, or into going extinct as a business.

    If this practice isn’t aborted in Wisconsin, its supporters will spread it to many other states.

  25. Wukchumni

    MLB Umpires are sporting FTX patches on their uniforms, that’s a cryptocurrency exchange they’re pimping.

    The new forward to get young adults interested in baseball is to promote sports gambling on one end (you’ll hear little snippets from the announcers of the odds on a given player doing this or that in the course of the game) and crypto on the other…

    …where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

    1. griffen

      I noticed the signs or images behind the home plate. I’m just thrilled the Atlanta Braves have climbed their way back into the WS, for the first time since 1999. Facing the Astros will be another tall task. Clutch hitting has been so crucial – my captain obvious sports commentator is showing. For the first in a long list of Octobers, I plan on watching.

      And in the memory of one Hank Aaron, let’s go Braves!

  26. VietnamVet

    The shortages of goods and workers are obvious. Computer keyboards, for example, on the internet, a few are still fairly cheap but most are two and half times more expensive than before the pandemic. When the on-sale and normal priced goods are gone; what remains will be hyper-inflated. Likewise for families, who are afraid of the kids being infected by coronavirus, an adult is taken out of the labor market to watch and teach the children. Also, workers are avoiding unsafe/abusive workplaces. The pileup of empty containers is escalating. Is Mayor Pete still on family leave?

    The basic cause is never mentioned. The global private-jet set that controls the West is doing great. To them the markets are wonderful. They are getting wealthier. In reality the markets are collapsing. Wars and plagues destroy economies. Exploitative capitalism is self-destructive.

    Nothing is being done to fix the logistic system. Only a working government that regulates multi-national monopolies and Americans planning and working together can fix the onrushing catastrophe of shortages and crashing life expectancy.

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