Links 11/5/2021

A potato named Doug may be the largest ever unearthed CBS

The One Where We All Get Rich At The End The Heisenberg Report

A loan is income plus basis Interfluidity. “[Treat] use as collateral as a realization event.”

Officials estimate hundreds of giant sequoias were killed in the Windy Fire Wildfire Today

COP26/Climate

The 3 most important wins from COP26 so far Felix Salmon, Axios

U.S., Canada among 20 countries to commit to stop financing fossil fuels abroad Reuters

Indonesia walks back zero-deforestation pledge at COP26 Agence France Presse

The green transition may depend on auditors Gillian Tett, FT

Mineral oligopoly overshadows world’s drive to decarbonization Nikkei Asia

Wealthy Countries Are Spending More on Border Security Than Climate Aid Gizmodo

#COVID19

Effects of covid-19 pandemic on life expectancy and premature mortality in 2020: time series analysis in 37 countries British Medical Journal. The Abstract: “Reduction in life expectancy in men and women was observed in all the countries studied except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy in 2020. No evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea. The highest reduction in life expectancy was observed in Russia (men: −2.33, 95% confidence interval −2.50 to −2.17; women: −2.14, −2.25 to −2.03), the United States (men: −2.27, −2.39 to −2.15; women: −1.61, −1.70 to −1.51), Bulgaria (men: −1.96, −2.11 to −1.81; women: −1.37, −1.74 to −1.01), Lithuania (men: −1.83, −2.07 to −1.59; women: −1.21, −1.36 to −1.05), Chile (men: −1.64, −1.97 to −1.32; women: −0.88, −1.28 to −0.50), and Spain (men: −1.35, −1.53 to −1.18; women: −1.13, −1.37 to −0.90).” We’re only #2. What a shame.

Case series: Reinfection of recovered SARS CoV-2 patients for the third time Clinical Case Reports (GM). From the Abstract: “This set of cases provides important evidence of re-infection and recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 even for the third time. Consequently, this possibility should be considered more in recurrent patients with Covid-19 symptoms.” And: “Most recent studies show that immunity after acute respiratory syndrome infection can develop in infected people. This immunity is not permanent and creates a sense of false protection for people who have already been infected and defeated the disease.” GM comments: “Note that this is all within 2020. i.e. before variants. Likely there are people in Iran with four and five infections behind them (or in the grave because of the 4th or 5th round).”

Impaired function and delayed regeneration of dendritic cells in COVID-19 PLOS. From the Author Summary: “Dendritic cells (DCs) recognize viral infections and trigger innate and adaptive antiviral immunity. COVID-19 severity is greatly influenced by the host immune response and modulation of DC generation and function after SARS-CoV-2 infection could play an important role in this disease. This study identifies a long-lasting reduction of DCs in the blood of COVID-19 patients and a functional impairment of these cells.”

Lambert here: Combine the above studies with Long Covid, possible brain and reproductive system issues, plus failure to pursue a layered strategy with non-pharmaceutical interventions like ventilation, and “live with it” may not be such an attractive proposition in a year or so.

* * *

Here’s Why Rapid COVID Tests Are So Expensive and Hard to Find ProPublica. “Both the Trump and Biden administrations banked on vaccines putting a swift end to the pandemic, holding off on large-scale purchases of COVID-19 tests that Americans could keep in their medicine cabinets.” Continuities…

Safe traveling in public transport amid COVID-19 Science. From the Results and Discussion: “The scope of this study was limited to examining the formation of cough aerosols and their blockage by a mask.” Eesh.

China?

COVID-hit China keeps vigil at borders, restricts local tourism Reuters. Case count: “Since mid-October, over 700 locally transmitted cases.”

Chinese developer Kaisa suspends shares as liquidity problems spread FT

China’s top graft-buster reveals details of bribes schemes at ICBC Nikkei Asia

Inside Peng Shuai’s Accusation Against Former Top Leader: #Metoo, Censorship, and Resistance Discourse China Digital Times

Myanmar

Military businessman and ex-navy officer shot dead near his home in Yangon Myanmar Now. CFO of cellphone operator Mytel, “a joint venture between the military and Viettel, which is owned by Vietnam’s defence ministry” (!).

Myanmar’s Missing Millions The Diplomat. “As Myanmar battles to contain a third COVID-19 wave, millions of dollars in pandemic relief funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have gone missing.”

Myanmar jade traders squeezed between junta and rebels Free Malaysia Today

Capitalism in a nutshell, the growth of cashews in Cambodia Globe_ and Low Prices and High Costs Squeeze Mango Farmers Cambodianess. No issues with rice. Yet.

The Koreas

South Korea’s new workplace safety law alarms foreign companies FT. “Under the new law, senior executives could be held criminally responsible for a range of accidents and work-related injuries and illnesses unless they can demonstrate compliance with a long list of criteria.” But… Surely these senior executives have nothing to be alarmed about?

Syraqistan

The U.S. Blacklisting Could Spell the End of NSO as We Know It Haaretz

UK/EU

Europe repeats role as global COVID-19 hot spot Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Tories engulfed in sleaze crisis after U-turn and Owen Paterson resignation Guardian

Grab the pup-corn! TV network for dogs with content designed to ease stress and separation anxiety is set to launch in the UK Daily Mail

Biden Administration

Biden Vaccine Mandate Poses New Test for Agency Enforcing It WSJ. “The enforcement of President Biden’s private-sector vaccine mandate will in large measure come down to the employees themselves, as the government agency whose mission is to improve workplace safety works to play a bigger role in defeating the pandemic.” Exactly as retail and restaurant workers have to enforce mask mandates.

* * *

Pelosi amps up domestic-agenda pressure campaign, pressing Friday votes Politico. That’s today!

Biden social and climate bill gets a boost as nonpartisan panel says plan is unlikely to add to long-term deficits CNBC. The Joint Committee on Taxation, not the CBO. “Pay-for” is the archetypical example of Democrat auto-kinbaku-bi, where their ultimate jouissance derives from untying the knots they tied themselves up in.

House Democrats Back Off Targeting Billionaire Tax Schemes and Swap in New Nicotine Levy The Intercept

Supply Chain

Breakpoints and Black Boxes: Information in Global Supply Chains Post-Modern Culture (dk). Today’s must-read:

The first kind of data necessary for a supply chain is data about labor—which is to say, about human beings. What happens to human beings in a supply chain may be disastrous, but it is also an algorithmic imperative. A calculation about human value demanded the murder of enslaved people on the Zong, just as it demands that workers at a Samsung supplier in Huizhou, Guangdong, earn an average of 238.55 USD per month (An Investigative Report on HEG Technology). These decisions, at least rhetorically, are beyond anyone’s immediate control. Companies like Apple and Nike may occasionally say they want to clean up working conditions for their subcontractors, but in truth, of course, they depend intimately on the kind of logic that categorizes and assigns lower value to the labor of people in the global South; otherwise, we wouldn’t have global supply chains, at least not to any great extent.

‘I’m afraid we’re going to have a food crisis’: The energy crunch has made fertilizer too expensive to produce, says Yara CEO Fortune. Uh oh.

Supply chain delays disrupt California agriculture exports AP. The world can do without California almonds and walnuts. But corn, wheat, and soy from the heartland?

* * *

Meat Prices Will Continue to Surge If Meatpackers Can’t Find Workers Fast Bloomberg

Hunting For Ammo: Supply Chain Issues Have Minnesotans Scrambling Ahead Of Deer Opener CBS Minnesota (Re Silc).

Drug Users Are Nostalgic for ‘Old-School Heroin’ as Fentanyl Takes Over Vice

Maine will be the 1st state to add ‘right to food’ to state constitution Bangor Daily News

RussiaGate

Igor Danchenko Arrested as Part of Durham Investigation [Updated] Jonathan Turley. Hilariously, Danchenko worked for the Brookings Institution. Breathless coverage of subpoenas from non-law enforcing Congressional Committees, virtually no coverage of actual arrests. One can only wonder why.

Assange

“Courage beyond doubt.” John Pilger, The Scrum

Donzinger

The Federal Court system is corrupt The Cavalier Daily. A student newspaper steps in to fill the mainstream void.

Class Warfare

While Other Sectors Experience Strikes, Farm Workers Are Still Fighting for Basic Human Rights The Real News

What are the limits of logic? Times Literary Supplement. Biography of Kurt Gödel.

Hunt for Alien Life Tops Next-Gen Wish List for U.S. Astronomy Scientific American

Tourists a (major) problem at Mars analog site Space.com

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

142 comments

  1. Samuel Conner

    The story about Doug the feral potato reminds me that potatoes are a way (provided you can control the potato beetles) to grow calories in one’s back yard, which I’ve been meaning to learn how to do. Perhaps 2022 will be the magic year.

    The story about high inputs costs depressing fertilizer output calls to mind Victor Hugo’s lengthy disquisition, in Les Miserables, on the sewers of Paris and the way the nation was flushing its wealth down the toilet, through these sewers. Of course, they didn’t have nearly as many toxic household, medical and industrial waste streams blended together as we do. He would not be so enthusiastic about present-day waste streams.

    1. griffen

      When stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney proceeds to engineer a potato farm in the confines of the habitat. Needless to say the fertilizer inputs offered a sensory view into how the potato would grow best. Nothing else could be had aside from the composted waste results of the astronaut team.

      While not an excellent film, the Martian is pretty entertaining. Back on the topic, that was a big damn potato!

    2. Bandit

      A potato named Doug may be the largest ever unearthed
      One of the key things about growing potatoes is that they do not require nitrogen fertilizer. The plants themselves fix nitrogen to the soil. Having grown organic potatoes for many years, I learned that potatoes do not even need soil to grow. They can be grown on a bed of straw as long as they are top mulched regularly with more straw, grass clippings, etc. There is nothing quite like reaching underneath the mulch to pick clean, new potatoes; a delightful experience one never forgets. Moreover, I was fortunate to be given some purple potatoes stock from which I grew purple potatoes long before they became popular. Such fond memories.

      1. Samuel Conner

        My first (and only) attempt at potatoes, more than a decade ago, was basically by this method, but using leaf mould compost confined within a chicken wire fence. The pile got about 3 feet high, with seemingly vigorous plants, before a potato bug infestation arose (I was away for a few days and the infestation started in that interval), which really dampened my enthusiasm. And the results were disappointing. I’ll try again in 2022.

        1. brook trout

          since this is the second mention of potato beetles: we have had great success in our community garden by using the bacterium spinosad (available under several brand names) for potato beetle eradication. Kills’em dead. A couple of well-timed sprayings per year is all it takes. Three at the most. Wait for the first signs of infestation, spray away. Best applied with a surficant, of course.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. i’ve always grown taters under hay(straw is hard to come by in my part of the world).
        but…”Persistent Herbicides”!…rendering that rotting hay herbicidal.
        these herbicides are particularly harmful for all the nightshades: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and taters.
        grassclippings from the yard and fallen leaves work pretty well…depending on what kind of tree…oak leaves are awesome…walnut leaves are aleleopathic(sort of near-herbicidal, naturally)
        instead of bought hay…usually coastal bermuda out here…i’ve been using leaves from the big oak…and what my rancher neighbor calls “high gear”, which is a sorghum/sudangrass hybrid used for silage in this area. said neighbor grows all his own high gear hay, and doesn’t use the persistent herbicides(or any, near as i can tell)
        only problem with this(aside from his age and impending retirement) is that he bales it in big, round bales that require his tractor to move…and that i must dismantle by hand to spread around on the garden.
        the russets you can get in bulk at teh grocery store will grow into tater plants, but they’ll be weird, and not “come true”, due to hybridisation, etc.
        “New Potatoes”…the round red ones…are much better to use as seed potatoes.
        and i like the little bags of multicolored fancy taters that places like HEB carries…purple, yellow and red and white…and much smaller than standard fare…but they’re not corporate hybrids at all, and grow true.
        i keep several beds of those growing more or less wild, so i always have a store of taters. those several raised beds of perennial taters are well spaced out, so if there’s a problem with one, it doesn’t effect the others…turn chickens into them in fall, and they’ll eat the bugs, till it up, and uncover(but not eat) a bunch of taters.
        i do this with elephant garlic and french shallots, as well…permanent beds, just doing their thing.
        every so often, i’ll switch it all around, in a sort of haphazard rotation scheme.
        green beans and cukes do well following multiyear taters.
        then it’s manure and bedding from the chicken house, and cover crop for a year, and away we go.

      3. Tom

        I tried potatoes in a container this year and the potatoes themselves stayed tiny even after the full summer to fall growing season. The plants grew and I kept adding soil but the overall results were very disappointing. Any tips from those who have had success?

        1. doug

          Early spring crop in piedmont North Carolina. They don’t like much heat. Not sure where you live. Or maybe too much N?
          Once you get it right, it will seem easy.
          Growing most anything the first time is often a learning experience.
          Good luck.

          1. Tom

            Thanks. May definitely have been too much heat. Possibly soil to thick and damp too. Hopefully next year will be better!

          2. Bart Hansen

            I had a learning experience 20 years ago when we moved from Northern VA down to a rural area near the Blue Ridge.

            Needing something to cover a new garden, I walked into a Southern States store and asked for a bale of hay. The clerk silently took note of my northern accent and asked, “sir do you keep animals?” After seeing my blank look, she suggested a bale of straw was what I needed.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Potato plants can fix their own nitrogen? I have/had never heard of this before. In the very limited lunch time break I have just now, I have found this article about research on that question.

        https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351842038_Biological_Nitrogen_Fixation_and_Denitrification_in_Rhizosphere_of_Potato_Plants_in_Response_to_the_Fertilization_and_Inoculation

        I have only read partway into the semi-summary, and it seems to be implying that the application of “some” nitrogen fertilizer can somehow “prime the plant’s pump” to get it to fix even more sky-nitrogen on its own. Maybe deeper reading will reveal where they were able to get the potato plants to fix a little nitrogen with no nitrogen fertilizer pre-applied at all. And maybe there are other papers and articles about this.

        Do you have a link or resource about this? This would be very important to the household foodgrower if this were reliably replicatable.

    3. BillS

      Potatoes are pretty easy to grow, as long as you plant them in well drained soil. They do not like too much dampness and prefer well worked soil and grow best when the season is not too advanced (too hot). You can plant them early in spring once freezing weather has passed. Before flowering, you need to heap up soil around the plants to prevent the growing potatoes from becoming exposed to light. Otherwise they turn green and are inedible. We have had potato bug infestations, but the bugs are easily seen and removed manually (insects never become resistant to being squashed!) An evening wander thru your potato patch is recommended a couple times a week to check for bugs. Our worst potato pest were wire worms that attacked during a particularly rainy spring.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I once killed quite a few japanese beetles by dropping a few drops of olive oil on each one. It physically smothered them to death within a minute or less. If you had a squeeze bottle with a long aimable snout, perhaps the same thing could work on potato beetles in the same way for the same reason.

        Another just-a-thought . . . if you shielded the newly-starting potatoes with a mix of soil and coarse-grained high-carbon mulch, would the mulch decay fast enough to gas off enough carbon dioxide right under the potato plants who would be right there to grab it as it rises . . . to increase potato production by giving the plants more carbon dioxide to fix into carbohydrate energy for the plant’s own growth-use?

    4. Ian Perkins

      Old tyres can work well in limited spaces.
      “Growing with tyres is simple. Place a tyre on a sheet of cardboard, put in a few chitted potatoes and cover with earth. When the plants grow high enough, add more earth and another tyre and so on, until you get a stack of tyres bursting with spuds. Harvest time is easy, just knock the tyres over and out roll the potatoes.”
      Also useful for composting:
      “Place three in a stack and slowly fill with compostable materials. The sun heats up the tyres and accelerates decomposition. When you want to harvest your compost, simply remove the stack tyre by tyre and spade it out. These are also useful structures to grow tomatoes next to, as they hasten the ripening of the crop.”
      (Toxins leaching from the tyres could be a problem – little research appears to have been done into what plants grown in tyres do or don’t take up, though many toxins are thought to ‘dsappear’ while the tyres are young; probably best not to grow all your food in them!)
      https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/growing-food-in-tyres/

      1. ArtDog_CT

        In the absence of any helpful research, I would follow the rule of thumb I learned years ago regarding using “pressure-treated” lumber for raised beds in kitchen and herb gardens. That material leaches chromated copper arsenate into any soil it touches. I don’t know whether it degrades into its component metals over time in the soil, or only by being metabolized. The cautionary recommendation is to plant no root vegetables, or any plant that builds significant mass in its edible parts as it grows and ripens. Leaf lettuce, no problem, but carrots are not advised, nor any aliums, nor potatoes.

        I don’t think tires leach anything quite as toxic as CCA. It would be interesting to see if there are any anecdotal reports of problems traced to using tires as containers for food growing. I’ve read a good many reporting successful horticulture of many sorts, but apart from my precautionary advice above have never really searched for any medical/toxicological information.

    5. Samuel Conner

      thanks to all who have replied. I’m going to try again in late Winter, with an “above grade” method; hopefully will grow at least a few weeks’ worth of calories in 2022.

  2. Huey Long

    RE: Drug Users Are Nostalgic for ‘Old-School Heroin’ as Fentanyl Takes Over

    I know correlation isn’t causation, but is it not strange that within a few months the Heroine supply dries up and is replaced by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid not made from poppies?

    1. Darthbobber

      You’d almost think some major event had happened over at the Asian end of the supply chain.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well, Washington has $10 billion of Afghanistan’s money. Maybe they can make a deal to use that money to buy all those poppies from those farmers so that they have an assured market. But Rev Kev, you say, a US government organization can’t be in the position of being a drug dealer to addicted Americans. But I reply that it has already been done – when the CIA was bringing in all that crack cocaine into America through US airports and military bases as well as all the other times-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking

    3. Wukchumni

      We in the Palinstinian Movement have had to switch from heroine to the Greene dream team and she’s more of a synthetic version of our darling doyen with the high wearing off a lot quicker…

      I kind of wondered if fentanyl wasn’t some do in yourself miracle dystopian cure for cities to rid themselves of assorted burdens- because markets?

      What a fix to be in if you’re a long time heroin user though, or their dealer who must carefully cut the laced load lest it be the last.

      Drugs sure were simpler back in the day, you did enough cocaine to blow out your septum and all of your money, and hopefully learned from the lesson and moved on, whereas fentanyl flat out kills you in the midst of a much cheapened high, bummer man.

      MEXICO CITY — Mexico said Thursday it has made the biggest seizure of pure fentanyl in its history, after five suspected drug traffickers were arrested at a lab along with 260 pounds (118 kilograms) of the synthetic opioid.
      Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, and only a tiny amount is needed to make counterfeit oxycodone pills.

      The Mexican army said the lab busted on Oct. 28 in the northern city of Culiacan probably made about 70 million of the blue fentanyl pills every month for the Sinaloa cartel.

      https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/nation-world/story/2021-11-04/mexico-announces-its-biggest-seizure-of-pure-fentanyl

    4. griffen

      I’d suggest that is a commentary on how substituting a lesser quality product is inviting perhaps more overdoses and even worse outcomes. As it is, becoming a heroin addict isn’t life-extending choice (my captain obvious effort for the day).

      In an episode of Ozark (on Netflix) one of the purveyors of the opium-based product mixed in a small amount of fentanyl into a very specific batch for distribution. The supposed cartel dealt with it the way you might imagine.

      1. begob

        I know an addict in his mid-’60s, still on methadone, and even after a couple of heart attacks he could pass as 10 years younger.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          As William Burroughs, who should have known, once said pre-Fentanyl, it’s the scene that kills you, not the junk.

          1. Andy

            Morphine and heroin are extremely “safe” if the stuff is clean and of consistent purity. Burroughs was an opiate user for most of his adult life and lived to be 83. Not many meth fiends, let alone heavy alcoholics live that long. It’s the impure dope, the dirty needles and the hustling lifestyle that does street level heroin addicts in. Fentanyl is a different beast however – in my area ODs skyrocketed after it largely replaced heroin a few years ago.

            I should add that contrary to popular stereotypes it is quite possible to maintain a middle class lifestyle while using heroin daily. Unlike cocaine or alcohol heroin is very subtle and disciplined users only need to replenish once or twice a day. They can pass as ‘normal’ for years and family, friends and co-workers are often shocked when they learn a colleague or a loved one was a daily user. But the stress of leading a double life and the underlying issues the addict is trying to suppress usually catch up with them eventually.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              “He drinks; but he was made for opium. It is also possible for a man to have the wrong vice.” (Malraux)

      2. XXYY

        This is also apparently happening with meth. Meth made from epehdrine was more pleasant and “speedy” than meth made from P2P, but the latter has taken over since the law enforcement crackdown on ephedrine. P2P meth apparently renders many users comatose, violent, and semi-psychotic, and social workers are now longing for the “old days” of meth when users were more predictable and less dangerous.

        There is apparently no problem that the War On Drugs can’t make much worse.

      3. paul

        There was a canadian melodrama,bad blood, 1st series was about the looseness of family ties, 2nd about ruthless aliens diluting a fair exchange through ruthless use of fentanyl against (and i am not kidding you) indigenous gangster values.

        It is actually a great watch, despite its fundamental,destructive stupidity.

        Kim coates does it well

        1. paul

          Dang!
          The edit window followed the ‘esprit d’escalier’.

          Bad blood 1 was fine and in many ways good, S2 was , if you are a human, a paean to gangster romance.

          I sometimes read of a ‘reboot’ of a psychopathic resentment machine, ‘dexter’.

          Very fairy tales.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      I think fentanyl has been coming over for longer than just a few months. And it has been coming from China.

      I have also read ( without looking deeper into it) that some free-lance Chinese chemical companies are providing bootleg illegal freon to people outside China who want it. This is the freon that was banned from production and use under the Montreal Protocol to save the ozone layer.

  3. Martin Oline

    I wonder how long it will be before Mr. Danchenko is found dead of an apparent robbery attempt but the guilty parties forget to take his wallet? We have seen this movie before and know how it ends. Nothing to see here America, move along. Perhaps it would make a good subject for a betting pool.

        1. Andy

          Did Seth Rich’s family ever comment on the dubious conspiracy theory surrounding his death? Just wondering.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Last I heard they were vehement in insisting he wasn’t the victim of an premeditated hit. They supported the robbery or whatever hypothesis.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Do they really believe it? Or were they quietly warned that they had better say they believe it or else they risk getting the Seth Rich treatment?

              1. Gaianne

                At first the family had wanted a proper murder investigation, but after a couple of days–after public speculation of a hit became prominent–they insisted the initial police story had to be right and insisted no further inquiry of any kind was needed nor should happen.

                The presumed muggers were never found.

                –Gaianne

  4. Ghost in the Machine

    Lambert here: Combine the above studies with Long Covid, possible brain and reproductive system issues, plus failure to pursue a layered strategy with non-pharmaceutical interventions like ventilation, and “live with it” may not be such an attractive proposition in a year or so.

    At first I thought COVID 19 was going to be one of the lessor initial salvos of the Jackpot. But, as these stories and observations pile up, over the course of 40 years one can easily imagine this disease really wearing down humanity. And in an ugly, slow, heartbreaking way.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      Also, there is generally a lack of imagination regarding the long-term consequences of this disease. What if in ten years we find a 25% 10 year mortality rate due to stroke, heart attack etc. (50% ?, pick a horrid number) of all those infected by Covid (mild or not). Or there is early onset dementia in 25% of those infected. More and more people fall out of the crucial positions supporting society, heavier disease burden, etc. Then there could be a struggle to protect those who haven’t ever been infected, just to continue civilization. It could be the stuff of a Netflix series. But, my imagination does tend dark and I am told I am overly cautious.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I’ve been thinking along these lines, and my tentative guess is that there will be no shortage of opportunities for care work.

        Whether USG will be able to figure out how to “pay for” it, I am much less confident.

        On the bright side, I imagine that a decade from now certain obstructive senators will be ten years older and possibly no longer in office.

      2. MT_Wild

        I wonder if this is showing up in the actuary tables yet.

        Early on a coworker asked me why I was so worried about covid when my chances of dying from an acute case was so low. I told him long-term I easily see the possibility that a covid infection would reduce my life expectancy by 10 or 20 percent, which would probably be the difference between holding my grandchildren or not.

        I think he felt that.

        1. MT_Wild

          If you wanted to create an effective vaccination campaign, you could easily build a tear-jerker of an PSA around this message, and hammer it home over the holidays.

          But that doesn’t seem to be the point of all this, does it?

          1. BondsOfSteel

            It’s too late for that kind of message. There’s been too many lies and not enough trust. The vaccine, science, and even reality itself has been politicized to the point where no one believes anything anymore.

            I mean… people were holding a vigil for the second coming of JFK… Jr.

            Such a PSA would fall on deaf ears.

            Let’s hope that Nietzsche was right about nihilism, and it’s a transitional stage.

          2. Big River Bandido

            That message still misrepresents the shots as sterilizing “vaccines”, leading to the same credibility trap.

      3. Silent Bob

        To pile on, long-term potential consequences of mRNA shots are unknown. Big Pharma, FDA, Politicians, etc will blame COVID, God, the Rethugs, absolutely anything but the vaccine so even if (when, in my opinion) it does wind up having even worse effects in the future it will be exceedingly difficult to figure out what the hell is going on and who is susceptible to what. Interesting times.

        1. tegnost

          even if (when, in my opinion) it does wind up having even worse effects in the future
          they’ll make money on that, too, probably in the form of direct payments from .gov, the best kind… the more the better. Just culling the herd.

        2. Ghost in the Machine

          I have given this some thought. And this comes from someone who thinks big Pharma ranks right up there with arms dealers as to the evilness of leadership.
          The mRNA vaccine is is basically a messenger RNA strand encoding the spike protein encapsulated in a lipid layer, the so-called nanoparticle. mRNSs are very fragile extracellularly and there are tons of enzymes extracellularly that chew them up. The mRNSs have been modified by adding nucleosides and extending the poly A tail etc. to make them more stable, but still RNA floating around extracellularly is not going to last long and I would not expect side effects here. The mRNA is encapsulated in lipids so it will survive extracellurlarly and fuse with nearby cells, kind of like a vesicle at a synapse but simpler. The lipids are foreign but have been studied for decades in a variety of contexts for low immune reactivity, like for drug delivery. Anyway, for many vaccines a relatively innocuous foreign element is intentionally added to juice the immune system and inhance vaccine effectiveness, called an adjuvant. Nanoparticles could actually help in this way. I do not think the lipid nanoparticle are the problem. So that leaves the protein made by the fused cells. Now this protein binds ACE-2 which could start all sorts of signaling cascades including in the heart. This is likely the issue. But this protein is like a biologic drug with bad side effects. I would expect them to be temporary, but no-one can say for sure. As a side, the cells fused at the injection site present these foreign proteins on their surface and the immune system kills the fused cells, just like virus infected cells. This is why I think there is more soreness with this vaccine. Fortunately muscle cells regenerate.

          Now the Covid infection actually infects the ACE-2 containing cells and kills them all over the body, not just random cells at the injection site. It makes all sorts of other proteins (some also damaging) and actively infects many more cells killing them. It is much easier to imagine lasting damage here.

          I think a lot of misgiving comes from the fact that we CHOOSE the vaccine making that exposure 100% likely while COVID exposure risk is something less than 100%. But, it seems it is going to be difficult to avoid COVID exposure forever. So I took the shot.

          I think eventually better vaccine will be made from covid surface proteins that do not activate receptors like ACE-2 and have less side effects. But that is years away. And as my circle of friends includes physicians, I hear all the time what covid is doing to people, including children.

          But the situation sucks, our leadership sucks, Pharma is corrupt and except from liability, and I do not judge anyone their decisions.

        3. Basil Pesto

          To pile on, long-term potential consequences of mRNA shots are unknown. Big Pharma, FDA, Politicians, etc will blame COVID, God, the Rethugs, absolutely anything but the vaccine

          Blame them for what? You just described them as
          unknown potential consequences.

          so even if (when, in my opinion) it does wind up having even worse effects in the future

          Your opinion based on what?

      4. marcyincny

        An abysmal lack of imagination seems to me to be hampering people in so many profound ways. Is it because media now ‘imagines’ everything for them?

        1. jr

          I think you’re on to something. I recall it was a role playing gamer who wrote somewhere that there is a war on the imagination. He was referring to the heavy commercialization of D&D and how it’s blown the vibe. Same thing with branded LEGO sets, they are basically an advertising medium.

          Now it’s dreams as well.

      5. XXYY

        I am told I am overly cautious.

        I get this, too. But the optimists have been 100% wrong every step of the way on COVID so far (as well as on climate change).

      6. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, it “long ago” occurred to me that if covid leaves legacy damage in organ systems, even if you feel fine and have recovered from the acute viral-replication phase, you retain the legacy-damage to organs and systems. If the damage amounts to deleting all the “margin of safety” you have in the legacy-damaged organs, then when some other older-age illness or decline attacks that organ, you will have to margin of safety in that organ to survive with, and you will die just as soon as the “normal older age condition” burns through what little undamaged organ capacity you have left.

        That makes covid a wonder weapon for delayed onset Jackpot, and could explain why the Governing Classes are so quietly desperate to see that covid spreads to every single person on earth. For the time-delayed, cause-not-properly-attributed slow-rolling Jackpot due to start rolling in 20 years or so.

        That kind of thinking also made me set my hesitation aside and get the Moderna X 2 shots, because I already have some organ compromise and zero safety margin left to sacrifice to older-age illness.

    2. Sea Sched

      i was at a virtual conference where an immunologist spoke and she said she does not recommend natural immunity for covid since it is not like the flu or chicken pox, but more akin to lyme where many people end up with long term sequelae (49% of survivors end up w fatigue, 40% w dyspnea, 20-30% w joint pain)
      i thought the lyme analogy was very apt

      to get things under control i think you need at least 2 of the following in any combination: masking, adequate ventilation, mass rapid testing– but apparently in this country (US) we can barely handle even the masking bit

      the other thing the immunologist said: “With all vaccines, B cell activity and antibodies wane with time. T cells provide the long term protection. It’s kind of annoying because the news keeps telling us that antibodies are waning and antibodies wane with ALL vaccines. Remember, IgG has a half-life of only 23 days, and so these antibodies (which are the longest lived), will be gone in 6 months. But the T cells are still there. In fact, from SARS in 2000, they’ve shown the T cells last 11 years or more.
      So why boosters? Only to stop spread. Antibodies can bind to virus in saliva and reduce spread. But for your immunity, you probably don’t need a booster. Based on the basic science data for the J&J vaccine, the T cell response is very robust. I don’t think a booster is necessary – unless someone is immunocompromised or elderly. That said, if the person is in a public-interacting job, the vaccine would give more antibodies and make them less of a vector were they to get an infection.”

      if i can, i will likely avoid a booster and wait for novavax since a subunit vaccine is less likely to cause an adverse reaction

      1. Mantid

        “So why boosters? Only to stop spread.” ….. please take note that the current vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus one inch. They only protect the person who gets the vaccine, and only some protection. They do not stop spread! They do not kill any virus. The virus is in you and passes to anyone else at anytime. Vaccinated people spread the virus. The vaccines do not limit the spread the virus. It amazes me that people still say or think that. To paraphrase, the vaccines do not stop the spread of the Covid virus.

        1. Sea Sched

          it is true that the vaccinated can definitely still spread the virus and have similar viral loads to the unvaccinated…however, the duration of infectiousness in the vaccinated is much less because they shed the virus faster- so if someone vaccinated contracts covid, they are likely infectious for 4-5 days less than an unvaccinated person with covid since they are clearing it faster- so if you feel that spread decreases when duration of infectiousness decreases, then vaccines do decrease spread in that sense
          https://www.sfgate.com/coronavirus/article/breakthrough-COVID-delta-spread-infectious-study-16358569.php

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        And of course, it is a coronavirus like the common cold. And there is no long-term immunity to the common cold.

        But getting 30 or 40 boosters over the rest of your life carries its own risks. If you don’t want to face those, just stay as immune-and-otherwise healthy as you can and take other measures ( maybe keep your indoor air moist enough in winter to not compromise your mucus membrane health) and live a semi shut-in existence.

        1. Sea Sched

          according to this immunologist, if the body can retain T cell memory and if the spike protein does not mutate too much, then perhaps boosters will not be necessary…
          and thus far, even with the variants, the spike protein has not mutated so much that the vaccines are rendered completely ineffective…
          once the spike protein does mutate however…then yes boosters likely would be necessary
          my preference would be increased ventilation requirements
          put CO2 monitors in every place of business and if it is too high indicating poor ventilation, masks indoors are required…if it is low, then no masks necessary
          or perhaps we monitor the R number… if the R number is over 1, everyone masks, if it is less than one…masking is not necessary
          none of these policies i have come up with that i wish the CDC would implement require boosters! and i agree with you excessive boosters/vaccinations are not the answer and can cause harm…but for this particular coronavirus, natural immunity is not a great option for most people who have pre-existing conditions, or latent chronic infections they do not even realize they are carrying that can be stirred up by the inflammatory/immune reactions covid triggers leading to long haulers- EBV is one that comes to mind
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233978/

  5. Nikkikat

    Rapid covid test kits. No mention of the millions large National testing labs are making as the only game in town. Wouldn’t they be lobbying to keep those at home test off the market? Wouldn’t these labs have large contracts with the government? And wouldn’t they want to stay on the gravy train?

  6. fresno dan

    Our Ilustrious medical system Part infinity
    so I decide to get a covid booster. Both the pharmacies make you register online. I want to mix and match, so the one pharmacy appears to preclude that (I was at the this pharmacy Friday and asked about the booster, and I got a rather brusque reply to register online – so much for friendly service…). The next one, the internet form to fill keeps ignoring the zip code I enter and use one from several years ago. Finally I get that done, than entering the date of my second covid shot is a big snafu. Starting over, I manage to progress past the immunocompromised check (I am) and than it is a matter of picking the “nearest” store. Of course, it ignores the zip code from earlier and picks a store a long ways from me currently. Trying to change that it makes me START OVER. After refilling the internet form AGAIN, I progress to the same “nearest store.” OK, I learned my lesson – I will just drive to the location they want me to go to, I can drive to it. Than it is time to schedule the appointment….it only lists appointments for FRIDAY November 4, 2021. UH, it is SATURDAY. So much for early birds, etcetera…
    This is what drives me insane about modern life – do everything on the internet. By people who apparently NEVER have actually used the internet.

    1. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      November 5, 2021 at 8:56 am

      O OH! fresno dan, it is Friday. OK, me bad. This what happens when you are retired…and drink too much.
      So, I guess I could get an appointment today. I think I will just call them…of course, due to heavier than normal call volumes, I expect that to take 45 minutes…

      1. curlydan

        don’t worry about the day. My wife thought it was Thursday, so there’s someone in the universe to balance you out.

        Good luck getting a mix and match booster. I’d be surprised if our pharmacy duopoly would allow that, but let us know if you can do it. I’d want to copy you.

        1. fresno dan

          curlydan
          November 5, 2021 at 9:48 am
          has there EVAH in the history of the universe, including prior to the big bang, that there has been lighter than normal call volumes????????????

        2. fresno dan

          curlydan
          November 5, 2021 at 9:48 am
          So I went to walgreens, and they didn’t answer the question of whether they mix and max boosters because all they had was the Pfizer booster and the clerk waiting on me didn’t know the answer.
          After a LOT of Googling, I found that one Fresno Walmart location had the J&J vaccine. I made the appointment, and I assume if I ask for the J&J booster, I will get it.

            1. fresno dan

              curlydan
              November 5, 2021 at 2:47 pm
              So I got the booster. 25 minutes late. And because the internet site defaults to the last vaccination I got (Pfizer), I had to fill out ANOTHER form with all the same information they already have to get the J&J booster. Three signatures and 12 initials. What a Bullsh*t society…sign, sign, sign, initial till you fall over. What do the people who come up with all this crap think this accomplishes?
              Puting on the tin-foiley hat, I think it is a big conspiracy to keep people from getting vaccinated.
              And one other thing – I thought they were going to take me behind the pharmacy door to give me the jab. Nope – sitting outside in the general retail area. AND no lolipop….

      2. Wukchumni

        …just when I was beginning to lose faith in Fresno

        Your trials and tribulations maneuvering through malpractice makes perfect sense, in our best of all health systems in the world.

        This too shall pass muster, mister dan.

        {…holds up a snappy cocktail with a mini paper umbrella floating on top…}

      3. fresno dan

        So I call the pharmacy about mixing Covid vaccines for the booster, and I experience the 5th circle of hell, aka a computer voiced phone tree. It of course is incapable of answering whether I can mix or match my booster.
        Oh well – made the appointment which is apparently the ONLY way to find out. I have to go buy a thank you card and gift card for my neighbor who helped me escape overnight confinement at the hospital because of my “concious sedation” – you can’t leave the hospital without an attendent lest the horrors of narcotics! For the tremendous pain in the tuckus to arrange release (and the attending boredom, hospital food, and trying to sleep with EKG leads taped to oneself if one has to stay overnight) the high from this “concious sedation” didn’t even match what one would get from a sip of Coors light…
        Considering how much I’m paying, you’d think they would let me get mildly high…

    2. griffen

      It’s like an SNL skit, but the real life version featuring you vs the modern computer is not so funny. Aggravation, thy name is online scheduling. And it partners with the call center “please hold, we are experiencing high volumes”.

      I have noticed as well the location option provides some weird feedback. Best of luck on getting the booster.

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        November 5, 2021 at 9:28 am
        Maybe that website was built by the same people that built the Obamacare website-
        You mean the website was built by German war criminals, who were captured by the Soviets after WWII, and received advanced training in psychological torture techniques, and are now employeed by the US medical financial complex???
        Why yes, that webisite (fyi, ALL websites intended for any consumer were built by them) was built by the same people.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      fresno dan: Would this be the pharmacy chain that has a name that starts with a curly W?

      Their web site has been atrocious. But they glean the data and send you coupons for whatever.

      1. fresno dan

        DJG, Reality Czar
        November 5, 2021 at 12:39 pm
        Yeah, I’m never sure if we’re not suppose to mention actual firm names. So yes, the curly W

      1. LarryB

        I was wrong, they just inexplicably cancelled it. No reason given. Will try again, I guess. Why, if they want to people to get vaccinated to they make it so damn difficult?

        1. LarryB

          They cancelled it _again_. They say its a “system problem” like that’s an excuse. They can’t even hang up an “out of order” page on their scheduling page, which takes about 30 seconds if you know what you’re doing.

  7. bassmule

    Oh, boy. The NY Times Editorial this morning:

    “A national Democratic Party that talks up progressive policies at the expense of bipartisan ideas, and that dwells on Donald Trump at the expense of forward-looking ideas, is at risk of becoming a marginal Democratic Party appealing only to the left.”

    God forbid anyone should appeal to the left! All that junky stuff like, Medicare for All? Student debt forgiveness? Higher minimum wage? All those issues that poll really well but the Donor Class doesn’t like?

    Democrats Denly Political Reality At Their Own Peril

    1. Mildred Montana

      “A national Democratic Party that talks up 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘴 at the expense of bipartisan ideas, and that dwells on Donald Trump at the expense of 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥-𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘴….” (italics mine)

      Oh, boy is right. Note that the Times seems to think that progressive policies are not forward-looking ideas, that the only good ideas are bipartisan.

      The Gray Lady appears to be sinking into senility.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > are not forward-looking ideas

        I speculate that, since New Deal policies were enacted in the past, they consider progressive ideas to be backward-looking.

        Of cource, the concept of making America great again would seem to also be backward looking.

        Which suggests that at the level of voters, there really is a cross-party consensus on many things. Perhaps some day it can be realized.

    2. Futility

      It’s odd. The Spiegel is running with a similar story (paywalled, though). Couldn’t read it but the ‘appetizer’ is already telling enough: “As long as president Biden doesn’t distance himself from the dogmatic left, the Republicans will continue to gain.”
      Title: “Woke and chipper into the demise”. Did the local NYC representative read too much NYT? What “left” I ask?

  8. zagonostra

    Biden Vaccine Mandate Poses New Test for Agency Enforcing It – WSJ. The enforcement of President Biden’s private-sector vaccine mandate will in large measure come down to the employees themselves

    Before we get to “enforcement” I haven’t seen an analysis of whether the mandate passes challenges as to it’s legality. My reading, and granted I’m not a lawyer, is that it violates the “reasonable classification” test.

    The equal protection of the laws is a “pledge of the protection of equal laws.” But laws may classify. And “the very idea of classification is that of inequality.” In tackling this paradox the Court has neither abandoned the demand for equality nor denied the legislative right to classify. It has taken a middle course. It has resolved the contradictory demands of legislative specialization and constitutional generality by a doctrine of reasonable classification.

    The essence of that doctrine can be stated with deceptive simplicity. The Constitution does not require that things different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. 0 But it does require, in its concern for equality, that those who are similarly situated be similarly treated. The measure of the reasonableness of a classification is the degree of its success in treating similarly those similarly situated.

    [California Law Review
    Volume 37 | Issue 3 Article 1
    September 1949
    The Equal Protection of the Laws
    Jospeh Tussman
    Jacobus tenBroek]

    1. Pat

      Not a lawyer, and this is based more on observation, but any chance of the mandate being deemed illegal will all be depended on which industries and corporations find the mandates to be interfering with their ability to get cheap employees. Most of our judges are no less tools for the oligarchy than are our elected representatives. There might be a ruling by one of the first judges to hear the case, but any possible challenges to it will be decided by higher courts and justices with portfolios to protect.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I don’t quite understand this citation. In common law jurisdictions when we talk about legal tests, they’re usually derived from case law, or statutes that have codified past case law, not an argument by a couple
      of blokes in 70 year old law review articles. I’m not very familiar with American law and it’s 4am and that article is dense but it all seems a bit arcane. I looked up ‘reasonable classification test’ and it seems to be something with contemporary significance in Singapore and Indian law but I can’t really see anything relevant to the United States. But it’s very possible that I’ve missed something. Assuming the test does have legal weight, what do you believe to be the significance of this test as described in this article, as applied to vaccine mandates?

      My very general opinion is that any challenge to the mandates in law isn’t likely to be successful as the ability of the state to derogate from typical rights protections in emergencies is pretty well established in western democracies. If it was challenged on fact, though? I don’t really see why such a challenge wouldn’t be successful given that the vaccines don’t prevent infection/transmission, and the unvaccinated don’t present a particular risk to the vaccinated. I think the mandates for these vaccines are pretty daft for that reason (and ultimately, if you like vaccines in general which I do, counter-productive in the long run). A more plausible argument on the facts is an indirect one arguing that a big vaccination drive is needed to reduce the burden on hospitals in general, so that patients who aren’t suffering from Covid can receive the best possible treatment. But given that immunity wanes over time and various other uncertainties about what the future holds wrt covid, I’m not sure how that would play out.

      1. zagonostra

        The article looks at the equal protection class of the 14th Amendment. It argues that the court when making classifications, which it must do, has to treat those who are similarly situated with respect to the purpose of the law the same.

        If I can prove that the three approved vaccines do no better in stopping the spread of the virus than natural immunity then the law can not force someone to be vaccinated. If the purpose/justification is public safety then the equal protection clause should be able to be applied, I would think.

        Also these “blokes” are constitutional law scholars, tenBroek was an amazing scholar, he was legally blind and wrote many books on the Japanese internment. That the article is 70 years old is irrelevant. You do know that the extant law is based on jacobson vs massachusetts which is 115 years old don’t you?

        1. Basil Pesto

          I didn’t intend to impugn their scholarship, I’m happy to take your word for it when you say it’s great, but I still don’t quite understand your citation of that paper or the argument that you’re making (again keeping in mind my ignorance of American law) and I’m still hoping you can unpack it a bit more so I can understand it, taking references from the essay and applying it to the present situation. Because the way you’re presenting it now, it still seems rather arcane.

          Specifically, you mention the “reasonable classification test” – in plain language: what is this test, what is the source of it, and how is it applied? If it is an analysis of the approach of the (supreme?) court to cases of this nature as of 1949, then its age certainly could be relevant, assuming that there has been significant jurisprudence on this subject in the last 70 years that have altered the 1949 status quo (but again, I don’t know).

          To put it another way, you haven’t really made a point against my earlier remark:

          In common law jurisdictions when we talk about legal tests, they’re usually derived from case law, or statutes that have codified past case law, not an argument by a couple
          of blokes in 70 year old law review articles.

          To be a bit childish about it, no judge is going to say “oops, time to make a decision, better look up Tussman and tenBroek’s article from 1949 and see what I’m supposed to do”

          An aside, but I’m also not sure why you think “natural immunity” is particularly effective at stopping the spread of the virus.

    3. jimmy cc

      first we would have to determine if the courts would use a reasonable basis test or a strict scrutiny test.

      is the right to work a right that would entail the strict scrutiny test? I dont know that the courts have ruled that it is.

      it will be an uphill battle to win a reasonable basis test as 100 or more people have a greater risk of spreading an infectious disease than a group of 5.

      ive been surprised by a judges ruling before, but this seems like we are grasping

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Supply chain delays disrupt California agriculture exports”

    Heavens to Murgatroyd! This is terrible for those Californian growers. If they have no way to export the crops that they grow, they may have to sell it to (shudder) fellow Americans! Better to bulldoze it back into the soil first. Or sell it overseas from other ports at a loss like some of them are doing. Sure, they could grow other crops to sell in California or the rest of the US though it is not much of a market. I mean, there are only 335 million people living there. Sorry, not sorry, about the sarcasm. These are the same farmers who are depleting California’s aquifers to zilch to make a fast buck – while they export that water locked in almonds, walnuts and pistachios to overseas, never to return. If California exports accounted for more than 10% of all U.S. exports in 2020, could you imagine the effect on food prices if it was directed internally instead? Have no sympathy for these people obviously.

    1. Mikel

      If history has shown anything, it’s that globalization is a fair-weather friend – literally and metaphorically.

    2. Wukchumni

      Imagine the plight of the mega almond orchard owner (about a million lights years away from the mom & pop cashew orchard gig in Cambodia) who planted when things were going nuts and $4.50 per pound was the going rate, and now it’s a crummy $2.50 per pound in spite of inflation, compounded by not being able to deliver them FOB Asia, in a record setting production year?

      When I was a kid we always had marzipan-such an interesting taste, and yet you never really saw them for sale in the USA, more of an old country thing. Maybe turn all those excess almonds into made in the USA marzipan?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marzipan

  10. Dandelion

    A friend told me yesterday the interest rate on his student loan was just raised to 6.6%. He was hoping Biden would cancel or at least reduce some of his compounded debt, which has continued to grow through periods of unemployment and underemployment — instead, his monthly payments now are increased. He’s furious with the D’s and though he won’t vote R will not vote D again.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s going to be weird when MSNBC blames this on Sanders.

        I’m really surprised the haven’t blamed Russia for Terry McAuliffe. I guess it’s too on the nose.

      2. Randy

        The actual fun and games begin when, at the same time they’re restarting payments, a bunch of the companies they’ve farmed these programs out to are backing out. See e.g. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamminsky/2021/10/15/education-department-extends-navient-student-loan-servicing-contract-but-not-fedloan—what-this-means-for-borrowers/?sh=746edb1846fc . Who knew privatizing and farming out these functions would end up being a bad idea? As someone with student loans on the forgiveness path I can’t wait for the chaos! Thanks dems for doing less for me than Donald Trump somehow did!

    1. Mikel

      The politicians are the puppets. All anyone can do now is hope that such experiemces lead more people to look for the real cause of the problems.

    2. tegnost

      oh c’mon, man! Where would bezos musk gates et al., the insurance co’s and banksters generally park their billions where they can make a reasonable percentage on the distressed debt? And the social control of the irs being the muscle, you really want to give that all up? (/s )

      oh by the way I’ll believe that reporting provision is gone when the sausage is on joe’s plate.
      Just like the patriot and affordable acts, once they get it in there it won’t go away.

  11. Lou Anton

    Good old-fashioned spy novel opener stuff in Berlin: “Russian diplomat found dead outside Berlin embassy”:

    The man’s body was discovered on the pavement on 19 October by police guarding the Berlin compound, Der Spiegel website reported. The man had apparently fallen from an upper floor, but it was unclear how, it added. Germany’s foreign ministry confirmed the diplomat’s death to reporters but would not give further details. Police in Berlin have not publicly commented on the death, which was reported for the first time on Friday. Der Spiegel said the embassy called it a “tragic accident” on which it would not comment “for ethical reasons”.

    He fell…about 3 weeks ago…just deciding to bring it up now…tragic accident…nothing to see here.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Its the “non-organic” part that does it. Grow your own or buy certified organic to avoid some of that pesticide burden.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Grab the pup-corn! TV network for dogs with content designed to ease stress and separation anxiety is set to launch in the UK”

    I think that the American channel will feature a squirrel running across the bottom of the screen from time to time.

  13. Questa Nota

    Gödel Escher Bach, An Eternal Golden Braid.

    A book by Douglas Hofstadter from 1979 that you may enjoy. Pulitzer Prize winner, when that meant more.

    1. Mantid

      Loved that one. Great cover on the original too. Another wonder book, Mount Analog by Rene Dumas. Jus sayin’

  14. The Rev Kev

    Just signing off for the night but thought that I would drop a link to story about how what goes around, comes around first. Remember when AOC did that stunt with that red ‘Tax the Rich’ text on a white gown not long ago? Well a GOP congresswoman went to a social event and she was wearing a white ‘Let’s go Brandon’ text on a red dress. One stupid stunt deserves another I guess-

    https://www.rt.com/usa/539418-lauren-boebert-red-dress/

  15. Albert

    “Pelosi amps up domestic-agenda pressure campaign”

    Somebody’s got to grab the Bezzle you know?

    Nancy and Paul Pelosi Making Millions in Stock Trades in Companies She Actively Regulates
    The Speaker, already one of the richest members in Congress, has become far richer through investment maneuvers in Big Tech, as she privately chats with their CEOs.

    $41 Million to $115 Million in the last year, not bad.
    So, how much has your income gone up?

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/nancy-and-paul-pelosi-making-millions

  16. paul

    I’ve scrolled through and sought through, but considering cop26 (26th of many), I think it’s its worth sharing this:

    One of them – my best friend at school, fellow-Partick Thistle fan, former supervisor at Granton Gas Works and later head of British Gas in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Brisbane, etc. – this morning wrote to me thus :
    “ It’s not a cold water tank you’ll need, it’s a hot water tank. This is one of the reasons I’ve shied away from heat pumps myself.
    The installation costs just keep going up the more you look at them. With a simple system the hot water also needs to have an immersion heater in the tank to achieve the temperature required to avoid legionella.
    The alternative is having an electric instant hot water unit, similar to an electric shower, installed.
    Ideally this should be located close to each hot water tap to avoid having to heat 20m of pipe before you get the hot water, but you get that with a combi-gas boiler too.
    The difference is the cost of the hot water!

    District heating systems like the ones I’ve experienced in Denmark and the former Soviet Union provide hot water as well as heating, so they avoid this issue.
    But the idea of retrofitting district heating to existing housing is scary – it would make the Edinburgh tram project look like street maintenance works.

    For all new developments district heating or passivhaus standard should be made mandatory.
    Today !
    It may increase the capital cost, but that will be recouped in running cost reductions.

    The other thing which most discussion studiously avoids is the issue of where all the electricity is going to come from.
    On Question Time last night, I heard one of the panellists who actually sounded like he knew what he was talking about say that we’ll need seven times as much electrical energy as we currently generate – along with the associated storage and transmission infrastructure – to power all the things we’re currently planning to convert to electricity.

    The theory that we can incentivise the market to make these things happen in a coordinated way is a pipe-dream.
    Without the Hydro Board parts of the Scotland would still be reading by candle-light and without the British Gas Corporation there would still be people cooking with town gas. “

    Regards.

    C

    This comes from a guy called craig sanderson, a credit to our nation

  17. Darthbobber

    Salmon’s COP26 piece. His very first point is just flat out misleading. He has companies committing 130 trillion to fight climate change. Actually it’s companies that between them possess assets of 130 trillion signed off on pledges to commit themselves to fighting climate change in unspecified ways involving unspecified methods and unspecified sums of money. Which is not exactly the same thing.

    Biden’s biggest contribution (other than some gratuitous potshots at the absent Russians and Chinese) was to issue a loud demand/plea that the OPEC countries start pumping hydrocarbons out of the ground more rapidly. Which seems a strange way of “combatting climate change”.

    The Russians and Chinese, just by not flying to Glasgow, contributed as much to the effort as any official delegation in attendance.

  18. Lemmy Caution

    >The enforcement of President Biden’s private-sector vaccine mandate will in large measure come down to the employees themselves

    Don’t know where the article ultimately goes because it is behind a paywall.

    But the OSHA temporary standard says employers are required to acquire and maintain the vaccination records of employees. The enforcement part comes if and when OSHA audits a company and discovers unvaccinated employees, does it not? Isn’t that what triggers the fines of nearly $14,000 for every unvaccinated employee?

    Like I said, I can’t read the article, but from my understanding of things I don’t see how enforcement of the mandate is up to employees in any way. What am I missing?

    1. Carolinian

      They are saying they will only investigate if some employee complains that other employees aren’t vaccinated–creating a snitch culture and even more chaos. Plus this provision and the further delay until January makes a joke of the supposedly “emergency” nature of the order.

      Meanwhile here in SC from our local paper

      Gov. Henry McMaster said Thursday he will order all 19 state cabinet agencies from carrying out vaccine mandates, including the latest announced earlier in the day by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

      “It is unprecedented, it is unlawful and it is just plain wrong,” McMaster said at a press briefing. “The president of the United States is telling you you’ve got to get a vaccination that perhaps you do not want for whatever reason is your own.”

      “I will issue an executive order barring any South Carolina cabinet agency from issuing or enforcing any vaccine mandate.”

      And DeSantis in Florida and governors in some other states have said they will challenge the rule in court once it is published. Forty senators have said they will challenge the rule using the Congressional Review Act but for that to succeed a majority of Congress with Biden or two thirds without him would have to agree.

      Using the “if it quacks like a duck” rule one might well conclude that the whole mandate idea is a bluff and that OSHA in reality will never do anything. By this way of thinking Biden is merely pretending to be the tough guy to distract from his other failures and to please his base by attacking the other party’s base. Worked out great in Virginia. That election may not have been about the mandate but it surely was about disgust with the Democrats and their arrogant attitude.

  19. Wukchumni

    Officials estimate hundreds of giant sequoias were killed in the Windy Fire Wildfire Today
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That’s a real bummer, and there’s worse news to come unfortunately from the Redwood Mountain grove about 10 miles south of Grant grove. It is the largest Sequoia grove of all and was rather extensively burned in the KNP Fire.

    During the Caldor Fire, a fire chief said something to the effect of ‘The whole Sierra is going to burn’ and it wasn’t as if it was hyperbole, we’re talking a century of duff buildup and trees crowding in to one another that have been waiting forever to be put out their misery in order to regenerate and renew the land as it has always been done, but not like this with the intensity being such that trees which have lived for thousands of years are all of the sudden gone-poof.

    We can’t change time and tide, but we can make it harder for wildfires to take down our crown jewels-the air apparents.

    There’s 75 groves to work on, lets get cracking thinning out the mere mortal pines too close by that are fire stepladders into Sequoias, along with doing prescribed burns of the understory to regenerate Sequoia seedling growth.

    It may not even be enough against the unusual suspects in something wicked wildfire this way comes, but we have to give it our best effort, we owe it to the future.

    1. Basil Pesto

      this kind of reflects my impression from the (quite entertaining) Malcolm Turnbull clip in links yesterday. Not the content itself, but the background. It’d be immediately recognisable to anyone who’s been to a trade show. Booths, corporate videos looping on flat screens, little nooks with uncomfortable stools for wheeling and/or dealing. In short, wank. It seemed rather unserious. Perhaps an unfair superficial impression but I found it a bit disheartening all the same.

      1. Darthbobber

        It bears no resemblance to actual “working” international conferences. Which were once an actual thing. This is a photo-op toss vague rhetoric conference.

  20. Pat

    Just a thought, could dependence on the vaccine(s) be attributed to Saint Fauci (trademark pending)?

    Considering the largely useless to outright impediment history of his actions during the first decade of AIDS, making government response to be all about vaccines would be his only advice.

    And side thought, are my hopes for destruction of Russia!Russia!Russia! by the Durham investigation equivalent to the PMC Liberal deification of Mueller and Fauci?

    1. Sawdust

      The realityproofness of the Russiagate narrative suggests that faith in Saint Fauci ain’t goin’ nowhere. Everyone’s made up their mind at this point. Facts (and what is a “fact” that you haven’t seen with your own eyeballs?) are irrelevant.

  21. John

    As Biden or Brandon said, “Nothing will change.” The donors get what they want, The rest of us nothing. No change there. Trump’s foreign policy is in place. No change there.

    Since the democrats have done nothing for me, why ought I do anything for them. Since I find the rhetoric and policies of the republicans distasteful, why ought I do anything for them.

    I see no particular reason to vote in for candidates for national office.Their agenda is the donors. Does that mean they are owned; that they exist only to serve those who have bought them? State offices are at least worth considering. They are most likely bought, but it is not always certain. Local elections are worth your time and effort.

  22. Dave in Austin

    Amfortas the Hippie is becoming my central Texas gardening hero. I do love fresh potatoes but I’m Irish and we don’t have a good track record growing potatoes.

    On impure drugs. Tom Arnold’s little sister introduced the stuff to Iowa, made a ton of money, got busted and when working in an AZ phone bank after her release wrote a truly funny story about it, originally published in the Atlantic, I think. The only decent link I could find was: https://groups.google.com/g/cinnamon-twists/c/sjlS3aaoskE?pli=1

    Her position is that it was the impurities that caused the problems, not the original pure stuff. Gresham’s Law in drug illegal drug production, I guess.

    The same thing could probably be said for LSD. A friend who went to Burning Man 15 years ago noticed a lager of Winnabagos with a generater off on the edge of the place. Geezers drinking blender drinks, it turned out. One of them was Alexander Shulgin, an academic who had helped started the LSD Rush in CA. He and his friends looked happy, healthy and unaffected by the experience. They had the pure stuff.

    I’m pretty careful now in my old age, so if I do that sort of thing again it will not be a powder out of a lab; it will be a dried mushroom out of a horse pasture. Welcome to central Texas where all the farmer asks is “Please close the gate behind you.

  23. ObjectiveFunction

    Bowdlerized* digest of the very interesting Posner supply chain article, for those who couldn’t ‘must read’ it.

    * i.e. I skipped over the more Marxist “nowweseetheviolenceinherentinthesystem” interpretation, especially the cheap shot at Drucker (“Darkest Africa”), in favor of the bits I recognize as an OR/SC practitioner. Please do read the original though if you’re into that. Res ipsit loquitur.

    (By the by, the cost of solar panels has lately spiked hard, since Western contractors and sponsors are no longer able to source Chinese glass which is made by, wait for it, Uighur slave labor….)

    1. Global supply chains, to a startling degree, are highly uncoordinated, even those of the largest corporations. Both their speed and their vulnerability are the result of constant, unceasing, untraceable improvisation. These supply pathways are never static. In fact, the term “chain” is misleading; many supply networks more closely resemble rivers or neural pathways.

    2. These circuits of commerce depend on black boxes and omissions, where information is disavowed in favor of efficiency, as much as they depend on access to information. Supply-chain nodes might number in the thousands, and vendors are continuously swapped out and replaced. To attempt to coordinate this activity would mean slowing it down.

    3. American companies, Drucker claimed in 1962, were completely failing to embrace the possibilities of modern logistics. Supply-chain management emerged in the context of increasing competition from Japanese just-in-time (or “lean”) manufacturing, in which a supplier aims to keep the absolute minimum inventory on hand to fulfill demand. But this mode of distribution also means that information about demand needs to be near-perfect and near-instantaneous in order to avoid product shortages. A shift from “push” to “pull” means that suppliers must be prepared for a high degree of volatility in demand. 

    4. In SAP SCM, the most widely used supply-chain management software, distribution centers, shipping routes, and manufacturing locations are all arrayed on a map. But the data is not real-time; it is a forecast. SAP’s product is not a single application, but modular, a suite of tools joined together through a shared database. A planner can make use of tools SAP classifies as “heuristics,” “capacity leveling,” and “optimizers.” Thus, the process of moving from knowable business values to actionable production plans always involves an algorithmic black box. Modularity is a supremely useful means for confronting and managing complexity in a dynamic and systemic context, but it also strategically obscures knowledge.

    5. Companies use neural networks (machine learning) to assign a degree of risk to individual suppliers based on past performance. The algorithm can then devise a critical path—that is, an optimized sequence of steps. In a “multi-agent system” (MAS) model, a piece of software detects an abnormality and triggers a solution, such as switching suppliers or reconfiguring products, coordinating with the other agents in the system to adjust the entire model.

    6. Machine learning is a data-hungry field, yet logistics professionals’ pursuit of perfect data is (and always has been) much more dream than reality.
    In the “bullwhip effect”, first described by Jay Forrester in 1958, information about demand is distorted as it travels up the chain from a distribution site to the manufacturer. But SCM taking out this slack means small increases in predicted demand are translated into longer working hours, lower pay, or unsafe working conditions.

    7. The pandemic response suggests that the most critical breakpoint is not one particular link in the chain, but the chain itself: the way that it coils and recoils, unsupervised, through a labyrinth of contractors. The dance between knowing and not-knowing is intricate and feverishly fast.

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