Links 12/27/2021

inscribing the devil fish 3 AM: Magazine

Christopher Hitchens Was Fearless The Atlantic. Graydon Carter.

Scottish Gaelic supporters seek to reverse language’s rapid decline FT

Philosophy’s lack of progress Aeon

New York’s Winter Rent Strike Inspired Generations Jacobin

Legal Weed Shops May Not Hit in 2022, New York. Here’s What We Know The City

As-Salt: The Middle East’s city of tolerance and generosity BBC

Britney, Bennifer, Beatles and Broadway: Pop culture in 2021 AP

5 things we can learn from Marlene Dietrich Deutsche Welle

‘Of Sound Mind’ Review: Do You Hear What I Hear? WSJ

There Will Be Blogs Commonweal

Reflections of a Non Political Man The Point

The backstory: What I learnt about the inequities of a ‘noble’ profession Scroll

What Happened to the Friendly Neighbourhood (Working-Class) Spider-Man? The Wire

Mauritius oil spill: Captain and first officer get 20-month jail terms Deutsche Welle

US snowstorms: California and other western states battered BBC


What to expect from America’s third year of COVID Axos

The Biden Administration Rejected an October Proposal for “Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays” Vanity Fair

COVID-19 variant disrupts holiday travel but not shopping AP

Covid: Travel chaos spills into new week BBC

Dr. Kimberly Manning: Yes, we can reach the unvaccinated Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown Atlantic

ANOTHER RECORD: Nearly 50,000 new COVID cases in NY Fox 5

Coronavirus: Cathay Pacific crew member among 9 new imported cases in Hong Kong as health chief warns of tighter rules if fifth local wave hits South China Morning Post

The dangerous failure to stop tainted remdesivir Mint

Genome-Sequencing: How Researchers Identify Omicron and Other CoV Variants The Wire

Travel chaos as Covid staff shortages ground flights and wreck Christmas plans after cancellations around the world Daily Mail

Fauci Warns of Complacency With Virus Set to Fill Hospitals Bloomberg

Cabinet ministers sceptical of stricter Covid curbs in England Guardian

Covid Live Updates: Cases in Some U.S. States Notch Records NYT

New York Gyms Are Sweating Over New Covid-19 Mask Mandate WSJ

Cororna can persist for months after transversing body Mint

Pfizer antiviral pills may be risky with other medications NBC

How Mumbai is preparing for a third wave of Covid-19, as cases surge amid fears of Omicron spread Scroll

How we lived with a COVID-positive person and avoided infection Sydney Morning Herald

The 432-year-old manual on social distancing BBC

Waste Watch

Environnement : comment nos vieux vêtements polluent le Ghana (Col. Smithers) Franceinfo Afrique

Sports Desk

Ashes: Australia seize control of third Test after ruthless bowling display BBC

The Koreas

Pardon politics free Korea’s disgraced ex-leader Park Asia Times


The 10 races that will decide the Senate majority The Hill

COP26/Climate Change

A year of extreme weather in the American west – in pictures Guardian

Climate change: Huge toll of extreme weather disasters in 2021 BBC

How ‘new normal’ of wild weather put strain on UK nature in 2021 Guardian

New Cold War

Putin says ‘diverse’ options open to fight Western ‘threat’ Deutsche Welle

Russian court extends jail term for Gulag historian to 15 years Reuters

Russia doubles down on hypersonic missile tests Asia Times

Russia to keep providing military assistance to Mali despite Western criticism France 24

Health Care

Why Advocates Want Health Care for All Californians — Regardless of Immigration Status Capital & Main

Class Warfare

How Public Workers Can Stop The Privatization of Everything Counterpunch

The Low-and-Slow Approach to Food Safety Reform Keeps Going Up in Smoke ProPublica

Biden Administration

Puerto Rico’s shattered power grid could become a ‘big experiment’ for Biden Politico

Putting the fox in charge of the DoD hen house Responsible Statecraft

Harris charts her own course as vice-president amid intense scrutiny Guardian


We have to keep fighting” Qantara


Israel plans multi-million dollar settlement expansion in Golan Heights The Hill

Afghanistan’s Taliban ban long-distance road trips for solo women BBC


South China Sea code of conduct may miss 2022 deadline, PLA adviser warns South China Morning Post


How India’s Workers And Employment Policy Fared In 2021 India Spend

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Within India’s Public Sector Companies The Wire

How India is wasting its potential demographic dividend Scroll

In First Election After Farm Law Repeal, BJP Sees Massive Defeat in Chandigarh The Wire

The week in wildlife – in pictures Guardian

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. none

    Harris charts her own course as vice-president amid intense scrutiny

    Intense scrutiny? I didn’t realize anyone was paying attention to her at all. I figured she must be wishing someone was.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Didn’t a fellow commenter say in another thread that . . . Kamala Harris is like Sarah Palin but without the intellect.

          I wonder if that could be viralized?

          Also, weren’t her ancestors in Jamaica slaveOWNERS? If they were, people should hit her with that question at all the worst possible times.

          Meanwhile, people might be considering their responses now . . . to a mainstream election between Harris/Buttigieg versus Trump/DeSantis.

    1. doug

      I had a script for Cipro, went to the pharmacy and heard “I don’t know why they keep prescribing this. We don’t have any.”
      This was two weeks ago in north carolina.

      1. Irrational

        I am hoping you tolerate Cipro well, nasty side effects – do an internet search for FDA contraindication and research if you aren’t already aware.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I second this. Was prescribed once for a very minor dermatology thing; refused to take it. Possible damage to the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is no joke.

            1. Irrational

              Shockingly it is handed out like candy. Mother-in-law got severe tendinitis with long-lasting effects after being handed Cipro for a bout of diarrhea and her sister was prescribed it for a UTI the other day.

            2. ex-PFC Chuck

              Given the damage Cipro has wrought in my extended family (brother-in-law, son-in-law, nephew & more) I’ve stated in my treatment guidelines it is to be used only in a life and death situation.

      2. lance ringquist

        sorry to hear this. just remember when ever you hear some business type of reporter(free trade shill)sing the glories of the efficient supply chains nafta billy clintons wall street created, just say efficient for whom?

    2. Pelham

      With NAFTA, PNTR for China, financial deregulation and mass incarceration, the Clinton presidency must be judged one of the worst ever.

      1. Adam Eran

        Hey, let’s not forget the “end of welfare as we know it”! Before that “end” (during AFDC) 76% of those needing public assistance got it. After (TANF), 26%…. And this from the party of the **poor**! A half million adults lost food stamps when TANF passed. (Source: Yahoo News)

        Clinton…when you want really bad government!

        1. JBird4049

          Let’s not forget the decreasing amount account for inflation even when you do get it. Then there is the annoying, bureaucratic, often insulting way of first getting it.

          The wealthy are respectfully every accord even when they should be in prison, while the most needy are ground into the dirt and given just enough not to need mass graves.

        1. Ben S

          Fentanyl Citrate (Sublimaze) Injection

          Currently in Shortage

          Only the streets have a supply? Should check before proclamation.

      1. lance ringquist

        thanks for the list. its a list that proves the free traders drove america into a third world banana republic.

        1. albrt

          Having spent the last three days dealing with a chain-owned small town hospital and also trying to get other things done for my dad, I think the term “third world banana republic” is too generous.

          If this were a third world banana republic, there would be a “system d” with effective fixers and other local people willing to do needful things for money.

    3. Wukchumni

      A handy reminder from the Surgeon General (a Vice Admiral-which sounds as ridiculous as a Surgeon General but I repeat myself)

      In these trying times, please do your best to not get sick or hurt yourselves…

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Dr. Kimberly Manning: Yes, we can reach the unvaccinated”

    There was a political suggestion in the UK to send around nurses to the homes of the unvaccinated to see if they could be convinced to get a jab instead of here having just a sort of info kosk. Probably with Omicron taking out whole swathes of the UK healthcare workforce, that idea is now moot as those nurses are now desperately needed in the hospitals-

    1. Maritimer

      Hello Dr. Manning.

      Please answer these two questions:
      Why should anyone take an experimental injection from PFI, AZ or JJ since they are all criminal organizations?

      Have you expressed publicly your doubts/misgivings about Governments dealing with criminal organizations?

  3. jr

    re: Harris charts her own course down the (rapper

    Of the many things to love about NC, I think providing access to journalism from alternate dimensions is at the top of my list. What a lucky Earth Beta to have their version of Kamala: decisive, engaged, literate.

  4. Stillfeelinthebern

    Foxconn. A small local unit of government on the hook. Paying some dude $28,000 a month. A new book is out and Wisconsin Public Radio is doing open records requests.

    Leading Republican candidate for governor was Lt Governor and backed this. Will it matter in the 2022 election? If the governorship goes back to the Republicans they will have a trifecta.

    1. Oh

      They should be spelling the company name FoxCON.
      In most instances where companies are given corporate welfare such as free land, tax breaks, lower sales taxes and grants to “lure” them to the state, city or county these efforts have resulting in sucking goverment dry. It would have been better to give the money directly to the unemployed.

    2. lance ringquist

      watching from next door in minnesoata, i watched the democrats turn wisconsin over to the GOP on a silver platter.

      not only did nafta billy clintons free trade devastate the state, when the idiot walker was blowing up the state, who did the democrats run against the guy? a wealthy business women who had crated off her bicycle factory to china and threw many wisconsinites on the funeral pyre of free trade.

      once you radicalize your people, its hard to get them back.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Of all the Narco Saints, the one I am most drawn to is St. Jude. He is a fitting Saint for champions in our times.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Democrats are defending the narrowest of Senate majorities in 2022…

      “Narrowest of senate majorities.” I’ll say.

      The senate is comprised of 50 republicans, 48 democrats and 2 independents. The vp breaks ties. In other words, the democrat “majority” depends on two senators who refuse to call themselves democrats and one person who is not a senator.

      That Bernie is “not a democrat” was made abundantly clear by the democrats themselves during the two presidential primaries in which he sought the nomination.

      50 is a “majority” of 98.

      I call bullshit.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>That Bernie is “not a democrat” was made abundantly clear by the democrats themselves during the two presidential primaries in which he sought the nomination.

        To be fair, his ideology, even his proposed legislation, would have been normal, if slightly leftist, for the Democratic Party itself fifty years ago. It is barely an enhanced version of the freaking New Deal and an attempt to go further towards FDR’s Four Freedoms.

        That someone like Senator Sanders is not a Democrat, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Joe Manchin are, shows what the Democratic Party is not what it says it is anymore. And hasn’t for decades. Probably since the election of a certain President and his use of the DLC or Democratic Leadership Council to purge the party of any taint of the left.

  5. BeliTsari

    So, ‘kids hospitalized’ quadrupled, right before they stopped “testing” & folks reporting “mild” Omicron only gets bad AFTER everyone’s already exposed by asymptomatic kids, & denial-ridden “I’m vaccinated” churls, hurrying to parties, midnight mass, HAPPY hour, grandma’s, Denny’s or the airport? Funny, how nobody’s laughing about kids’ convalescent serum, as a natural resource to be privatized, anymore?

    1. C.O.

      Oh yes, in BC the insistent message is that covid doesn’t spread in “structured environments” like crowded classrooms in any level of education. Over 2000 new covid cases per day now from December 25 – 26 while acknowledging that testing capacity is overwhelmed, and all schools closed for the holidays.

      Meanwhile, the state broadcaster CBC saw fit to post this article for BC residents today:
      Why You Should Make a Will in 2022 and Why it has Never Been Easier in BC

      I *do* actually agree that making a will is a good idea. However, the timing of this article is tone deaf at minimum right now.

      1. BeliTsari

        That’s the spooky part. Our Creative Class™ & PMC can’t even be bothered with subtrafuge, so the BLATANT aspect of their große Lüge’s apparent to the kids were infecting as vectors; while their speciously credulous parents buy-into whatever silly-ass, sneeringly obvious lies, cherry picked obfuscation and dead-eyed divisive Democrat drooling deception, distraction or duplicitous dictates we’re gavaged; on every LED screen, as they cook up ever better ways to use a frigging virus to flip victims’ homes, indenture we, the chronically PASC out of employee status, into “independent contractor” virtual share-cropping gig hell (devoid “health insurance” & any number of worker protections, our great-grandparents all worked, fought and suffered so hard to leave us). “Both” halves of the HAVES, spewing long debunked lies to rich folks, who’s portfolios are monitizing more “essentials” being forked to the dead-eyed constantly feeding sharks? Been through my 2nd onset of symptoms. Awaiting all the pro- inflammatory cytokine horseshit, in 5… 4… 3…

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Legal Weed Shops May Not Hit in 2022, New York. Here’s What We Know

    They can come to Maine. Due to lack of foresight to cap the number of licenses, my town of 30K has enough weed shops to service a population the size of NYC.

    1. Wukchumni

      On the drive home through the Inland Empire (a warehouse Empire!) yesterday, if it wasn’t for pot shoppes, the billboard industry would be hurting bad in the SoCalist movement, as they dominate the action, with ‘win some settlement money’ enticements from shady lawyers, and casinos (often featuring somebody who won a fair amount of moolah) filling in the wholly trinity of billboard advertising.

    2. Lee

      Meanwhile, here in California:

      California pot companies warn of impending industry collapse ABC

      “Leading California cannabis companies warned Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday that the state’s legal industry was on the verge of collapse and needed immediate tax cuts and a rapid expansion of retail outlets to steady the shaky marketplace.

      “The letter signed by more than two dozen executives, industry officials and legalization advocates followed years of complaints that the heavily taxed and regulated industry was unable to compete with the widespread illegal economy, where consumer prices are far lower and sales are double or triple the legal business…”

      “Shaky marketplace”? LOL, the marketplace is just fine. It’s just not producing the kaching for the investor class that seems to be the main aim of California’s legalization scheme.

      1. JP

        Well, legal to grow your own with restrictions is pretty much taken as legal to grow if you don’t get your head above the hedgerow. Tobacco plant however is illegal to grow or transport in CA. So if the pot industry had any real pull MJ would also be illegal to grow or transport. Obviously the industry is young and too diversified. Once the tobacco industry can get a lasso around it things will change.

        1. jefemt

          I was pondering the impending Opening of legal recreational marijuana in Montana January 1.

          Big Biz, Big Tax Revenue.

          Home brewing, vinting, distilling are all perfectly legal below volumetric limits, No Tax.

          So as we theoretically become a more permissive society, allowing more FREEDOM!, we are sure to incorporate tax revenue and The Law that ‘protect’ businessfolks from competition.

          The devil is indeed in the details.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is an issue of acreage. Big tobacco can’t stop pot grannies supplying a neighborhood except through a police fear state, but if people have legal rights to smoke, the police can’t really create that state without being able to hit someone who had lit up before going to a movie when they would have no reason to smell like pot. A small corner is all you need for area demands.

          Tobacco requires way more acreage to satiate demand and requires curing structures to make it viable. Alcohol is more threatened by marijuana as people looking for a release may opt to smoke instead of effectively binge drinking, maybe even giving it up altogether. Also, pot requires way less acreage.

          Big Pharma doesn’t want an industry that could support medical Marijuana. Pot grannies aren’t necessarily going to grow pot that is best for medicinal purposes, and without dispensaries, it’s hard to go from not having pot to finding it.

          Then there was always the tourist and people trying skewing the market where there wasn’t much blocking people from entering the market.

          1. lordkoos

            Pot grannies aren’t necessarily going to grow pot that is best for medicinal purposes…”

            I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

      2. solarjay

        As someone that used to live in Humboldt county, pot central, I can tell you that the rules from the state have caused the wholesale prices to drop to around $3-400 a lb, while the retail price of course hasn’t dropped at all.
        I think that the convoluted and expensive regulations and taxes were designed to get rid of the small farmer. The big large rich companies can just wait out for a few years of low returns, take a tax loss while the small guys are crushed.
        And yes the black market is alive and well but there are too many farmers and product so the price is low.
        Thats all on the wholesale side, while on the retail side, there are way too few shops. Go to Oregon and you’ll see retail shops in every small town. While in Garberville it took years to get just one. Yea no one there needs to go buy at a shop, but there are you know tourists wanting to buy local pot?

        Its really sad to see how the legalization has been handled and while the state law that was passed was supposed to protect the small farmer, it was bypassed and is now destroying the small farmer.

        On the federal level its funny or not, to see more republicans talking about legal federal pot than the dems, or at least decriminalized.
        Weird times,

        1. lordkoos

          It’s the same here in WA state, the laws were set up to favor large producers at the expense of smaller growers. The weed is also hit with taxes three times — the producers, wholesalers, and retailers all are heavily taxed. On top of that there is Washington’s regressive sales tax which is almost 10%. Colorado, Oregon and Oklahoma all did a better job with legalization than CA and WA.

        2. JerryDenim

          “ while on the retail side, there are way too few shops.”

          Definitely not the case in my part of California, Long Beach/South LA County. Eight shops all within a mile of my house. Fifteen within two miles and too many to count inside of a five mile radius. I’ve never had an issue with Weed, and I thought decriminalizing recreational use was a good idea but that’s not what I see in my neighborhood. I see a corrupt local and state government involved with aggressively marketing a mind altering substance that impairs people’s ability to operate motor vehicles and other machinery to every age demographic and social strata right down to little children with fruit and candy flavored gummies. I really think I’m one of the very few people in my neighborhood that doesn’t get high on the daily. Seems like every other car on the freeway has skunky smoke stacks bellowing from the windows in California. I can’t imagine the level of recreational THC use taking place in California isn’t going to come with some societal and public health costs. It will be interesting to see the data in a few years. Too many pot shops and a bit too much consumption going on here for my tastes. Everyday is like a Cheech and Chong movie without the jokes.

      1. RockHard

        The native Americans have become very good at exploiting inefficiencies (idiocies) in US law, especially on interstate issues.I personally love it when the Indian nations find a loophole like this to exploit. It’s a small consolation prize for the tribes that have effective governance.

        1. bob

          It really is great to see. It’s less great to see the neighbors who are at least as downtrodden but not native get left behind. I worry that will lead to lots of future resentment.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>I worry that will lead to lots of future resentment.

            This just what the establishment wants. It is part of the divide and conquer strategy. Remember that racism was created and nurtured, first by those in the Slave Trade, and later by the wealthy and politically powerful, to divide native whites from the natives, blacks, and immigrants.

        2. Oh

          Exploiting (non native american) businessmen at probably getting the windfall not the deserving Indian Nations, in the same way they exploited the casino game.

  7. KLG

    “Critics say the Biden administration has been slow to act on testing, in part because it saw vaccination as the best pathway out of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured Americans early this summer that, once vaccinated, they could shed their masks and forgo testing. Those declarations quickly proved untrue as breakthrough infections have risen. ‘We put all our eggs in the vaccine basket and it’s not enough,’ Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, chief medical officer at Quest Diagnostics, told Vanity Fair.”

    And the PMC wonders why, why, why…but working virologists have known since, well forever, that vaccines against coronaviruses have a significant unicorn character.

    1. Nikkikat

      Couldn’t be because they followed the three stooges of the NIH, CDC and the FDA. The vaccine only regime was a disaster for AIDS/HIV as well as COVID.
      With Fauci leading the charge. Vaccinating our way out was never going to work as anything but billions in big Pharma dollars. Masking, staying away from crowds, indoor ventilation and quick effective treatment were thrown to the way side.

      1. Telee

        Here in central PA. it looks like large numbers of people aren’t wearing masks. In the supermarket on Dec. 26 and probably over 50% were not wearing masks, That includes all age groups. There are restaurants in town which still have signs saying that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks ( advice from the CDC !) We need access to testing but tests are difficult to find and expensive.

        1. Louis Fyne

          Not defending the maskless at grocery stores—but practically it’s the maskless at restaurants (particularly private dining rooms) and entertainment venues that are the big worry.

          The local health department’s contact tracing doesn’t even count an encounter w/an infected person unless it lasts more than 15 min. (not defending the local health dept. either)

          just putting risk in perspective. And by this point everyone worried should get an N95 or KF94 mask on their own (~$1 each) and not wait for the government to send one in your mailbox. As N95/KF94 are way superior to fabric face coverings.

          Not being critical, just being a realist and controlling the risk that one can control

        2. Noone from Nowheresville

          Where are the Covid sniffing dogs or have their noses been nose busted?

          I know a dog sniff wouldn’t pass the sniff test on official paperwork. But I can see all kinds of uses as long as the limits on them are well defined.

    2. BeliTsari

      I’d thought Democrats’ action on Testing was very swift, effective and ubiquitous, Federal, State and Local: they CRUSHED all meaningful testing; which might quantify what a failure their, “I’m vaccinated, fuck YOU, Bubba” policy; to flip precariate victims’ apartments, 1099 “essentials” into usurious PASC debt and basically monitize FIRE & PhARMA’s new Catastrophe Capitalism feeding frenzy? They ALWAYS take quick action; we’re just distracted by excess deaths exceeding the US Civil War?

    3. Kat

      Am seeing mask with “OBEY” or “F Fauci” stenciled on them being sold on street corners. Also, “Bidenflation” rubber stamped or hand written on dollar bills.

      1. bob

        stickers put on gas pumps that have biden pointing at the price and saying “I DID THAT!”

        I think they’re giving him way to much credit

    4. haywood

      We forget that the mask shedding announcement was made the week of the gas shortage. It was an entirely political move, to divert attention from the fact that Americans were waiting in 45 minute long lines for fuel.

      1. Charger01

        Ammunition as well. I’ve been investing in consumer recreation companies that produce brass as a speculation. Its been doing well since the start of December.

  8. Wukchumni

    US snowstorms: California and other western states battered BBC

    Drove home from Temecula yesterday and views of the Sierra in the distance were resplendent with huge dollops of whipped cream on high in the distance and more coming today, but not is all what it seems as fractional snowbank lending usually requires 1 inch of water to equal 12 inches of snow, and thus we’re looking at the possibility of something you don’t normally see a lot of in the Sierra Nevada, avalanches.

    It took us 3 years to get mired in a heavy duty drought and 3 weeks to get out of it!

    “Snowfall amounts were very impressive across the Sierra last night, but the water equivalent was not. We saw 18:1 to 24:1 inches of snow to liquid equivalent ratios last night. So a fresh fluffy powder blanketed the Sierra last night.”


    1. JP

      We are at almost 13 inches for the season. Not bad before the end of December. Here at 3200 feet we got 2 inches of slush last night. I think it’s going to be an above average year. The good thing about a fluffy pack is slow melting equals less runoff. Of course all the famous floods have been the product of a good snow pack followed by a warm March rain.

  9. DS

    “What Happened to the Friendly Neighbourhood (Working-Class) Spider-Man?” It’s funny, the only real disappointment with Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies (we don’t talk about the third – the studio blew that one up) was that the webbing was natural and not an invention by Peter Parker, who is a brilliant science student. I thought that took away from the gist of the character and why he was so popular – he often overcame villains with his smarts and his abilities – not through sheer strength. Well, I caught some of the first new Spider-Man movie back in 2018 and I kinda had the same observation in this article – like, the Vulture was really the hero and Spider-Man was a tool of the military industrial complex. It was a total abandonment of his working-class background and grounding and now he’s just another shiny toy for the weapons contractor hero (sarcasm), Iron Man. Man, Marvel/Disney really killed the soul of the Spider-Man character. So disappointing. At least they kept Captain America sorta respectable.

    1. Pelham

      I was a big Marvel comics fan back in the day — and that day was the early 1960s, not any time before or since. The characters from those days were entirely of their time — a hopeful and wondrous time when it seemed anything was possible — and their medium, cheap but priceless comic books. They were the product of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and anyone else sticking their nose into that universe was bound to screw it up. As they have.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Raimi movies are already jam-packed, and they are about Spidey helping people or appealing to better angels. Except when not letting the Green Goblin Gwen Stacey MJ. Spidey doesn’t outsmart anyone really. J.Jonah Jameson, like Pete’s MD, both know he’s Spiderman, and simply doesn’t give him up. And freelance for the guy who can produce pictures of Spidey on a whim…that’s a good deal. And the shots he shows him make that clear. Parker’s MD knows he’s Spidey and sits on the examination bed with Pete when Pete needs to quit.

      And Raimi was keeping the option open to do a Kraven/Lizard movie which means matching the webbing to the Lizard’s rampage. So he would have outsmarted Kraven used science from Doc Conner’s class to save Doc Conner’s with Kraven’s help. They used part of the plot for the Garfield movie.

    3. William Beyer

      After eight movies, it was probably the CIA or FBI that suggested the slightly upscale Spidey. See Jacobin’s recent piece on Hoover’s investigation of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown”

    Not just in America but other countries around the world too. It seems that governments offering a jab and then telling people that they are now on their own has kinda backfired. People can see the skyrocketing number of Omicron cases and chaos across different industries like transport. So now they are voting with their feet and skipping cinemas, restaurants, parties and all sorts of public venues – while ignoring the advice of politicians and medical authorities to ignore it all. As an example, in New South Wales people are not rushing out to organize for New Year’s celebrations though the Premier come out publicly to encourage people to do the opposite and come out to celebrate in groups of people to see the new year in. Of course having NSW Covid numbers go from about 500 daily cases go to over 6,300 daily may have undermined his case to ignore the rising number of cases for the good of the economy.

    1. Mikel

      Delta is still affecting vaccinated and unvaccinated too.
      Then there are other variants still developing and making people sick that haven’t yet become a variant of concern.

      That article also pushes the vague “mild” BS.
      Also, “mild” case often only means a person wasn’t hospitalized. It’s been talked about here that “mild” cases are also referring to people dealing with lingering issues from the virus.

    2. Tom Stone

      Good grief, the problem isn’t the Virus or the reefer trucks lined up outside hospitals, it’s the MESSAGING.
      Ask Scotty from Marketing,BoJo the clown or any member of the Biden Administration.
      Just keep repeating “Yes, we have no Bananas” and things will work out.

    3. Wukchumni

      Being outdoors has been so far so good as far as keeping from harm’s way as aerosols waft up into the ether and don’t linger long.

      Does Omicron® spread outdoors, if its as virulent as Measles?

      1. LaRuse

        I heard of a few outdoor infections caused by Delta, but they were prolonged exposures – like hours at a picnic. I would imagine Omi can be shared outdoors. I have taken to giving much wider space to other pedestrians when I am out on my runs. For their sake and my own.

    4. Pelham

      I really don’t get the imperative for pols to continually play down the consequences here. I understand the pressures to get business back to normal as quickly as possible. But isn’t that monumentally outweighed by the likelihood of hundreds of thousands additional deaths that will be traced directly back to the doorstep of inappropriately incautious authorities? Are they not concerned that for the remainder of their lives they will be labeled as the equivalent of mass murderers?

      As for Biden and his rejection of mass mailings of tests and N95 masks, you really have to wonder. If any rational, normal person were in that office, it would be a no-brainer to take SOME kind of step to at least appear to be getting a bit ahead of the curve dealing with this rapidly evolving disaster. Just for the optics, if nothing else. Yet this administration refuses to do so at every turn. Why?

      Separately, I wonder what the story will be when we reach 1 million Covid deaths in the US. Will any of our media collectively gasp in horror, or will it be just another sadly noted ho-hum milestone?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve noted this before, but Bernie Sanders has held plum, high profile positions in the Team Blue caucus well before his 2016 efforts. For a Senator from a big state, those jobs would be high profile stepping stones to bigger jobs. You would get in the papers all the time, so why is a guy in no danger of flipping parties and not in the party holding those spots? Work load. The budget committee requires work. No Democratic Senator wanted it.

        These people would have to have meetings, rework the post office, stay past 430, and so forth. Elite Democrats don’t do that, going back to Clinton who had a philosophy of giving up policy of Republicans would be nice. It’s a lazy philosophy. Team Blue doesn’t need of argue for their position. They can just change their promises and get two suburban voters for everyone they lose. Do nothing and be rewarded. Laziness is their philosophy.

        Why don’t they do these no brained things. They would have to work late one night and Republicans might be mean to them.

        1. John k

          Most dems simply don’t have the time. They’ve pledged to beg from donors 4 hours/day… try taking 4 hrs out of your day, every day. Course, the 2-hr lunch might be with donors, so really smart multi-tasking.
          This is Bernie’s unfair advantage… no time spent with donors means he’s got all that time to work on real stuff. S/

          1. cgregory

            We could have campaign finance based on the Fairnesss Doctrine: What a vendor or donor (of goods and services) supplies to one candidate must be provided to all qualified candidates. The sole exemptions are intellectual properties (e.g., polls, bookkeeping, media production (but not distribution)) and food services.

            As 95% of campaign contributions are given in expectation of a return, receipts would drop greatly since contributors would be funding all candidates. Violations would be detected almost immediately: “Hmmm. Did Archer Daniels Midland supply its corporate jet to my candidate as well? I’ll have to talk to that hungry lawyer I know.”

            Violators could be processed in a priority docket and winning litigants could be handsomely remunerated thought imposition of substantial fines, thereby giving a lot of the citizenry a powerful incentive in paying attention to political campaigns.

            As candidates would be exempt from almost all of the law, they could raise as much money as they want to from whatever source, only having to comply with the rule about donating their own goods and/or services to themselves. Knowing that their opponents would in effect be raising money for them, they would never again have to knock off from the people’s business at 1:30 PM to start dialing for dollars.

      2. Robert Hahl

        My guesses: 1) sending out masks and/or rapid tests would have scared the horses, so “Biden’s” plan was just to hope for the best. 2) Politicians are like lawyers. Their job is to take the blame and be replaced if the case is going badly. That is why they cost so much.

        1. BeliTsari

          Effective tests would’ve demonstrated that REAL masking, work-from-home & remote schooling, whenever necessary (all requiring oversight that’d have disclosed corruption in BS hygiene theater, electrostatic/ UVC viral filtration scams & BS remediation protocols. Without masks, random testing and tracing, Catastrophe Capitalism’s COVID Caper made it FAR easier for Cuomo to hide the bodies?

    5. Lee

      Based on my cursory look at Australian Covid data, cases are sky rocketing but hospitalizations and the number of ICU patients remains low, and 90% of the population is double jabbed. Is that correct?

      Current news is that Omicron, while less severe for the vaccinated and previously exposed (this, I think, remains to be seen particularly given waning immunity) it is only ten to twenty percent less severe for individuals who have neither been vaccinated nor previously infected.

      In any case, given the mixed messaging, policy missteps, and misinformation coming from various quarters, and adding to that the many known unknowns before us it’s no wonder we are dazed, confused, and extremely spooked.

      1. Louis Fyne

        For me (no co-morbidities), I’m not afraid of covid per se, I’m concerned of Long Covid.

        If I recall correctly, no one has determined whether Omicron can cause Long Covid like the other variants. So Omicron is guilty until proven innocent.

        1. Lee

          Agreed. The long-Covid aftermath is of great interest to me and I assume it will have some considerable effect on our healthcare system and society at large going forward.

          I’ve had ME/CFS since recovering from a respiratory infection in 2006. Selfishly, I hope the number of long-Covid cases spurs more research and treatments for persistent post-viral illnesses. I’m a patient at Stanford’s ME/CFS clinic and have benefited to degree from their treatments. They have recently expanded their practice to include long Covid patients.

    6. Louis Fyne

      “Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown””

      Not in my blue state, blue county, blue city. If you have your papers, you can party like it’s 1999.

      1. jefemt

        Is there still a Blue State, Blue County, Blue City?

        Sorry… here in recently hard-flipped land flat-on-the-back redder-than-scarlet Montanny, it’s hard to fathom any Blue or progressive thought persisting…

        my sarcasm is one of many Achilles heels (hat tip to all the Spider talk…)

  11. Tom Stone

    As some of you know I was able to find emergency housing through the County when my then home was red tagged, they are putting me up in a repurposed Holiday Inn.
    To qualify you have to be at extreme risk from Covid and at risk of homelessness.
    We have had two deaths from natural causes since 12/1 when I moved in.
    Maybe I’ll be lucky…

    There are on site medical staff (One RN,the rest EMT’s),security staff and support staff.
    The medical staff wear a mix of N95’s and surgical masks and they are consistent about it, the security people wear surgical masks and are good about wearing them properly when indoors,the support staff is inconsistent about wearing theirs because the HMFIC ( Head Mother…In Charge) who sits in the lobby wears a chin diaper unless he is speaking to someone at which time he covers his mouth, but not his nose.
    Omicron is going to go through this place like shit through a goose over the next few weeks, I plan to stay because there IS a full time medical staff and my alternatives are worse.
    I do have an air purifier going full time in my room, take zinc and D3 and wear an Aura 3M N95 mask when out of my room.

    1. Lee

      Good luck to you. You seem to be doing all you can do with what you have.

      I just got the news by way of a negative PCR test that I dodged a bullet 5 days ago when I had to spend a couple of hours unmasked in a surgery center with a bunch of fellow patients and medical staff. I can now resume sharing air with other members of my household.

    2. ambrit

      If your new digs have a centralized air circulating system, you might want to consider taping a Hepa filter over the air vent into your cubicle. (In many of these buildings, the vent systems ductwork is in the hallway and the actual room vents are near the ceiling of the wall adjacent to the hallway.) This being an American mass produced “short stay” facility, it wouldn’t have a window that opens, would it? (It doesn’t hurt to try.) Also check for a return vent in the door. The air handling systems in these sorts of buildings are elegant.
      Good luck there!

      1. Tom Stone

        Happily,the vent is on the out side wall below the window and the window does open slightly ( about 2″).
        Undoubtedly a design flaw…

    3. Phil in KC

      I work in police/security at a hospital. Some of my colleagues are very resistant to masking, especially the ones who have gained an exemption from the vaccine. Gee, figure that one out! I hate the chin diaper and have a strong impulse to just tell those wearing it to take it off as it is useless. One of these is stationed at a reception desk where he has to deal with the public. One of his duties is to insure that everyone entering the building is wearing a mask. Of course, few comment on the irony of an unmasked enforcing a hospital masking rule. Oh, well. Karma will come around, and if not, then some kind of poetic justice. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

      1. bob

        I’m not a fan of the look of the 3M Aura, but they are the best I’ve found at being worn with glasses. The material that sits on the nose seals well and is comfortable for long periods of time.

    4. R

      Hi Tom,

      You might want to buy a humidifier for your room (pretty cheap devices) and add iodine to the water. You will create an aerial viricide plus you will raise the humidity which, in northern latitudes, drops in winter and compromises mucosal immunity. Plus your room will smell of the ocean! Or you could use the iodine on a regular basis throughout the day as a gargle / nasal drench. Or I suppose you could do both!

  12. Mikel

    “How we lived with a COVID-positive person and avoided infection” Sydney Morning

    Diddn’t give enough credit to the separate bathroom for the sick person.
    Everything else would’ve been like pissing in the wind without that.

    1. ArvidMartensen

      Nonsense. You are saying that N95 masks and ventilation don’t work against an airborne virus, and that is plain misinformation.
      There is enough verified research out there to say that N95 masks and ventilation make a big difference. Go and take a look.

      1. Mikel

        That is not what I’m saying. I’m only emphasizing the importance of having a seperate bathroom facility – with my usual colorful language.

        YOU inferred every other little bit of you just wrote.

        For whatever it is you’re trying to pull…

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Where to start?
          1. “Everything else would’ve been like pissing in the wind without that” – pissing in the wind means useless where I come from. Wearing a good mask (say KN95, P2) is NOT pissing in the wind. Good ventilation is NOT pissing in the wind. You inferred these things are useless. Own it.
          2. “…with my usual colorful language”… aahh the colorful language gambit, used in walk-backs by mispeakers everywhere
          2. “For whatever it is you’re trying to pull ….” A bit of ad-hominem thrown in. Your “argument” just died, right there, sunshine.

  13. Wukchumni

    Britney, Bennifer, Beatles and Broadway: Pop culture in 2021 AP
    The Beatles and I grew up together, when they were playing in Hamburg, I was in vivo.

    Heard on the radio yesterday that the Rolling Stones were the biggest concert attraction from their standpoint, the band pulling in $111 million in ticket sales this year. The announcer said absolutely nothing about their music though, strictly business.

    This could have easily been the Beatles fate, reduced to a money making machine bringing in gobs of it!

    The Stones haven’t put out a hit single since Rod Carew was playing. Hope I die rich and never get old wasn’t what their music was about, was it?

    But luckily the Beatles had the decency to break up as I was in mid childhood, their efforts stuck in time. There was no string of 17 other LP’s/8 Track/cassette/CD’s to come, that was it.

    Because the Beatles came about in a time of extremely wide distribution of their music, will those in 2122 know them by heart even though all 4 have been dead for nearly a century, or does the appeal go away?

    Because {acapella}

    1. Mildred Montana

      Nice link to Neil deGrasse Tyson. Thanks.

      Funny, although I recognize the musical genius of the Stones and the Beatles and enjoy some of their songs, I have never spent a dollar on their albums and CD’s. Don’t even download them on YouTube. Their music just doesn’t ???? me. And yet my 22-year-old nephew absolutely loves his Stones (along with Dylan). Go figure.

      In music, as in so many other fields, creativity and originality are the province of the young. That’s why the Stones and many other bands from yesteryear haven’t had a hit for eons, even as billions listen with pleasure to their vintage stuff. When old bands try to write new songs, they usually end up sounding like a lame version of their former selves.

      One example: My all-time favorite band Wishbone Ash enjoyed ten good years from 1970 to 1980, Nobody could have been as passionate about them as I was. Then they burned out and I lost interest in everything they produced thereafter. To my experienced ear it was junk, and I listen to nothing of theirs recorded after 1980. ?’??? ?? ???????.

      1. c_heale

        Have to disagree with the idea that creativity and productivity are the province of the young. There are many examples of great artists that started when they were old or produced their best work when they were older.

        Van Gogh – didn’t start producing great work until he was at least 35
        Melville – Moby Dick was written when he was in his 30’s
        Borges – started writing his greatest works in his late 30’s

        Most great artists continued producing great work until they died. Many artists in the past had short lives, so who knows what they might have produced had they lived longer.

        Regarding the Beatles and the Stones, the Beatles later work was definitely what maintained their fame, had they only released their earlier work, I think they would have just been seen as a boy band. The Stones are the opposite, but are well known to treat their music as a business. I think like many other artists they ran out of ideas and settled for a formula.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        My better half, who will experience one of those nasty goose egg birthdays later this week, wants the Stones’ “I Ani’t Got No Satisfaction” played at her memorial service when the time comes.

    2. Mildred Montana

      Forget that Neil deGrasse Tyson part. I must have been looking at an ad. Interesting nonetheless.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Philosophy’s lack of progress”

    For a long time I have thought of western philosophy as a failure and this article merely confirms it. There is one way that they could have redeemed themselves over the past two thousand years or more and that was to develop a working branch that concentrated on people’s everyday lives and how best to live them. Call it, oh I don’t know, ethics or something. However, a very long time ago philosphy bailed on such a field and gave it all to religion to deal with while they concentrated on problems that have relevancy to only a very small number of people. So consider if such a branch had been seriously worked on over the past few thousand years and tried to answer questions like ‘Is it better to live a life with love or without?’, ‘Should emotions be totally suppressed like Vulcans to bring tranquility?’ or ‘Is life about accumulating things – or relationships?’

    Such a field might have given our society a far better underpinning than what we have now. So the question of letting the climate be changed catastrophically so that a tiny minority of people can experience wealth during their present lifetime would have received scant attention but would have been instantly resolved and acted on. Can you imagine? And you do have to ask yourself why our society tolerates a Bezos accumulating hundreds of billions of dollars – while the people who work for him suffer poverty and extreme stress – even though that there is no possibility in the world of him being able to spend more than a portion of that wealth in the years remaining in his miserable life or buying something that he cannot now afford.

    1. Lee

      Camus was right that there is only one serious philosophical question that one need answer.

      I also like the Zen response to most philosophical and metaphysical speculation: a good slap upside the head. Not that they don’t do a bit of it themselves from time to time but it is generally applied antidotally.

    2. Tom Stone

      I see Money as having different aspects, enough for survival and a little comfort, genuine comfort and no $ worries, “Chips in the Game” and raw power.
      If you have $10MM or more you can buy into the game of making serious Money, if you have a Billion or more you have power whether you want it or not.
      And NOTHING is more addictive to human beings than power, you can be the President of the USA with the power to destroy the World and it isn’t enough, you can be Jeff Bezo’s or Elon Musk with hundreds of Billions and it isn’t enough.
      They want, they are wanting, “The Lord is my shepherd,I shall not want” is a prayer with depth.
      The hole in their souls can not be filled from the outside, a truth they are unable to percieve because they are addicts.

        1. JBird4049

          Sure they did. They just sold it for whatever they wanted, and leaving an empty space that can’t ever be filled ever again. Not matter how much they get.

    3. Chris Smith

      I thought the article was “meh” at best. Back in the days when I was a professional philosopher, I would explain to my students that the point of philosophy is the debate and the thinking through of problems and questions.

      I’ll give you an example. Freshmen (Freshpeople?) love the skeptical problem: how do I know anything? aka how do I know I am not a brain in a vat? Bang your head against that question for awhile and you will see that there is no solution. Ultimately, the student should come to the conclusion that the skeptical problem results from the limitations of the way we are considering knowledge in the first place. (See Christopher Smith, Contextualism and the Division of Labour in Social Epistemology for an example of a theory of knowledge where the skeptical problem does not occur.)

      And that really is the ultimate point of Western philosophy: gaining an intellectual understanding that all of our models for dealing with the world are just models. We correctly value them for their use as tools and their predictive ability. We err when we turn to our models to explain reality for us (e.g. “The Science”). Moreover, as models all of our models have their limits in which they work. The old “standard” theory of knowledge cannot address “are you a brain in a vat” any more than classical Newtonian physics can handle problems involving relativity like space travel. That doesn’t mean these models are wrong, it just means they have to be used within their limits to be useful to us.

      One thing Western philosophy lost (that Indian Philosophy for one still has) is a pathway to transform the intellectual understanding that models are just models into a visceral acceptance that models are just models. That is, it becomes second nature as opposed to something you need to think about. And this is part of the reason why philosophy is close to dead.

      The other part is what you point out, Rev Kev, that philosophers no longer know how to talk to people or make their field relevant. Philosophy has its own nigh impenetrable wall of jargon. This makes it incapable of talking to non-specialists, and thus defeats the very purpose of philosophy. But also, too many philosophy professors want to play like they are doing linguistics or literary criticism than addressing the often mundane concerns everyone has about just living regular life. Seriously, the last Western philosopher of any renown to discuss friendship was Aristotle. That is a major fail.

      1. JP

        So is philosophy the modeling of reality for people who can’t stop thinking? How can one get to the visceral if they are stuck in their head?

      2. NV

        The group Brooklyn Public Philosophers tries to be the opposite of what you describe in your final paragraph. Until our plague they had pop up booths in public places and now, Zoom lectures w/discussion via the Brooklyn Public Library. The popups were fun, as one would might find oneself in debate or discussion with a Philosopher or another member of the public.
        Also, the Cultural Services of the French Gov’t in conjunction with the Brooklyn Public Library used to hold an annual all-nighter, the Night of Philosophy and Ideas. So successful that it might have been held three or four times a year, not just once. Lecturers would fly in from France, or take the subway to Grand Army Plaza. Yoga or dance in the lobby, free espresso or five dollar wine available in a side room…
        Otherwise, I agree with your evaluation, including Indian philosophy being ‘visceral’ or having such results.

      3. Lost in OR

        Hi Chris. Back when Lowell State was Lowell State I believe you and I spent a weekend at a friends house in Vt. Hope all is well with you.

      4. lordkoos


        A friend of mine attended a street fair in Brooklyn some time ago and saw that there was a booth advertising for “Jewish grandmother, ask any question, $1.” Her answer to every question was, “Waddya, crazy? Forgetabouddit!

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Ideas can be oversimplified or overcomplicated.

      With regards to the love for example, what kind? English speakers have just one word for it, but the Greeks have at least three, all with their own nuance. You could argue that we might be better off without the erotas, but agape and philia are the glue that holds society together.

      On the other hand you can debate for centuries about “good” and “evil”, what constitutes each, are they natural or human created ideas, can we get beyond them, and what exactly would that mean. I’ve always found if fascinating that both Nietzsche and the Sufi mystic Rumi both had similar ideas about this, but some followers of the former distorted the conclusions to justify what most would consider evil, while adherents of the latter thought we ought to be nice to each other.

      For me, I’ve always thought the Golden Rule serves humanity well if we could apply it properly, along with the idea of moderation in all things including the Golden Rule. In treating others as one would wish to be treated, it’s important to remember that while we might prefer a pat on the head, sometimes we also need a well meaning kick in the ass. The trick is finding the right balance, and that of course depends on the context.

      Like the author of the article notes, philosophy isn’t complete BS and shouldn’t be entirely discarded, but it isn’t physics either. So maybe it simply isn’t necessary that philosophy comes to any concrete conclusions if we admit that we don’t live in a Manichean world but one with more shades of gray.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Exactly. Philosophy is ‘bunk’ because its only tool is language and most of its ‘profound’ searching for answers comes down to the meaning of words or, rather, what one understands a particular word means. Even title of the piece reveals this – the tool of philosophy is debate which, as Hamlet observes, is just ‘words, words, words.” – and which, as the author observes right at the beginning, it is often a matter of “analysis and definition”.

        “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’. ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’. ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”.

        Science succeeds because it rigorously defines the terms it uses before looking for an answer but as the author points out the ‘mind-body problem’ debated with such angst by such great minds as Descartes dissolves if you actually ask what ‘body’ means. The question “Does God exist?” is unanswerable if you don’t have a precise definition of God, or what you mean by “exist”. Would anyone deny that Peter Pan (usually the Disneyfied one) ‘exists’ in the minds of countless children? In that sense can there be any question as to whether “Peter Pan” “exists”? Ditto “God”.

        “Does a tree falling unobserved in a forest make any noise?” If by “noise” you mean the cerebral interpretation of the nerve response of the physical vibration of the eardrum responding to the atmospheric disturbances caused by a moving body, clearly it doesn’t. If by ‘noise’ you mean those atmospheric disturbances which would cause that vibration to occur were there anybody there, clearly it does. QED. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is meaningless, as ‘to clap’ is to bring two objects together sharply. This effectively makes the question, “What is the sound of one hand?” To ask “What makes an act just?” presupposes an objective value of ‘just’ that is binding on everyone. But ‘just’ is just a word with a meaning as valid to Humpty-Dumpty according to his definition as your definition of it is to you. Hence to even pose the question is to presuppose a condition that does not exist. “What is a person?” Define for me what you mean by ‘a person’ and what you mean by “What is” and you’ll have your answer.


        1. c_heale

          Couldn’t agree more about Descartes. The mind-body distinction is an entirely artificial one, one which has caused immense damage to Western thought.

    5. Sawdust

      I’m glad that philosophical problems can’t be definitively solved like mathematical ones. Because that’s what makes us free. Imagine how awful it would be if we really did figure out the one right right way to think and live. It would be far more oppressive and dehumanizing than any totalitarian government.

    6. Bart Hansen

      Years ago when I followed him, Bob Somerby was all over philosophers as being unhelpful. Then, he discovered R. Madow and away he went.

    7. Mike

      The article makes a comparison of philosophy to science, with science having solutions, i.e. testable hypothesis. You could argue that is the problem with science though… people get stuck in their lane, with the testable hypothesis and don’t see the bigger picture that may not have a clear answer. What is the long term implications of what I have discovered (pollution, repurposed as a weapon, impact on humans psyche, etc)? We have spent the last few years trying to defend scientists discoveries through stuff like covid, heralding them with some sort of god like status. Instead we don’t see the big picture that a lot of our worlds problems are scientific discoveries gone awry.

      Another note to make, I think instead understand the solution to philosophy may not always be as important, but the path to get there is. Same with science. The lab classes in college is the same, you may be given a trivial experiment, but learning the scientific method could be priceless to that pupil. How to have a philosophical debate is important for somebody to learn, especially given that each new generation has to always relearn soft skills and ethics. It is not genetic and can’t necessarily be gleaned from a text book.

  15. Mikel

    “Pfizer antiviral pills may be risky with other medications “NBC

    Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication is on the beware list as well as medications taken by those with co-morbidities which make them most vulnerable to Covid.

    They have got to be joking to say this and the Merck drug – that has terrifying long term implications with mass use – are in the “tool kit” , but IVM is not.

  16. RA

    CNN did another hit piece Sunday.

    Interview with a doctor who was upset because many covid patients were asking for a specific treatment. My take on what I heard. We know how to treat and patients asking for some particular treatment is annoying. He said it was known to not be effective and could be dangerous.

    Nothing specific mentioned in the interview about the requested treatment.

    Cut to a screen with several pages of (tweets ?) about Ivermectin.

    They just cannot stop bashing a very safe drug.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Rebrand it as “Safer than Pectin”, get it back under Pharma patent ‘protection’ and charge $100 per dose.

      I think that would solve the media problem, and perhaps the CDC hostility, too.

  17. Carolinian

    re Graydon Carter on Hitchens

    I was on an Iraq War panel with him at the Hay-on-Wye book festival sometime in the mid-aughts. The audience members could not have been more anti-war, and they were not shy in letting him know what they thought of him. He brushed it off. He just didn’t care. And that was a huge part of his attraction. Christopher had his beliefs and he honestly didn’t give a damn whether you agreed with him.

    So was Hitchens’ advocacy of the Iraq war an act of bravery or ambition? And is it so surprising that this former editor of a fashion magazine can’t tell the difference? Hitchens claimed to be concerned about the poor Kurds but to the thousands of dead Iraqis his defiance of his antiwar friends probably seemed more like punching down. Now, after 20 years of military adventures, here’s suggesting Hitchens the contrarian may have been the wrong kind of pioneer.

    1. Basil Pesto

      So was Hitchens’ advocacy of the Iraq war an act of bravery or ambition?

      I think it was an act of conviction. He was certainly enough of a public figure to not need to support the Iraq war for the sake of publicity. And I find it hard to quibble with his submission that Hussein was a Hitlerian menace and the people of Iraq (which includes the Kurds; they are not separate) deserved better. iirc he came to this conclusion after being reflexively against the first Gulf War until he met Iraqi Kurds and was persuaded as to the importance of liberation from Hussein’s yoke for the Iraqi people, whose suffering he was hardly categorically indifferent to (and when arguments descend to “we care more about dead Iraqis than you” I’m sort of inclined to tune out for the sheer unselfconscious vulgarity of it). Where he was (hopelessly?) naive, it seems to me, was his belief (and probably more than that, his strong desire to believe) that the right faction to bring this about in a humane and efficient and lastingly beneficent way was… the USA of George W Bush. Maybe there was no such faction capable of delivering that. His belief that America was doing what was morally necessary seemed to blind him to the administration/military’s failures.

      America’s military adventures go back farther than 20 years, as you well know, so that particular charge can hardly be laid at his feet. And of course he went to his grave despising Kissinger.

      One thing I know for sure, a book in the style of his polemical trilogy on Clinton/Kissinger/Teresa aimed at Fauci would be blockbuster.

  18. Wukchumni

    There Will Be Blogs Commonweal
    I see us in a role the pamphleteers played in the past albeit with a vastly wider reach to shape public opinion instantly in an era when there are timing warnings on articles (‘should take you 5:25 to read’) so even a well thought out paragraph has gravitas, funny that.

    in this instance we’re in the lead up to what could either be the French Revolution or French WW2 resistance versions, it being too soon to tell which one.

    Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer’s opinions: to articulate a political ideology, for example, or to encourage people to vote for a particular politician. During times of political unrest, such as the French Revolution, pamphleteers were highly active in attempting to shape public opinion. Before the advent of telecommunications, those with access to a printing press and a supply of paper often used pamphlets to widely disseminate their ideas.

  19. Mikel

    A caught a little satire on Netflix last night called “Don’t Look Up”.

    A bit forced, but definately captures a mood for the times.
    Plot: A giant asteroid is headed for impact with earth.
    The nemesis isn’t the asteriod.

    Stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      David Sirota, formerly Bernie’s campaign manager and now writing at substack, was one of the co-producers of the film.

      1. Lost in OR

        Yeah, well, the Guardian. They are probably blind to their cameo role in the film.

        Watched it last night. It seemed to me more a commentary on our response to Covid. Or maybe 1/6. Or the nomination of Trump. Or… It portrays the insanity of our time: gov’t, MSM, financialization of everything, citizenry.

        1. newcatty

          Watched it last night, too. Portrays the “insanity” of our time. Just my opinion, but the film would have been better served if Streep and Leo were not leads. When she is in a film, all I see is Streep. Leo was out of his depth in playing the pathetic nerdy professor. Other actors were great. My great professional critique, lol.

    2. c_heale

      I recommend the The Netflix series Hellbound as something else to watch, where a lot of the damage is caused by human reactions to a problem.

  20. Jason Boxman

    So Fauci is a dangerous moron:

    The silver lining of a tough January and February is that most of the country could have some degree of immunity afterward — either through vaccination, infection or both — that helps protect them against severe COVID infections in the future.

    “It’s conceivable that, sooner or later, that everybody will have been infected and/or vaccinated or boosted,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told Axios.

    “When you get to that point, unless you have a very bizarre variant come in that evades all protection — which would be unusual — then I think you could get to that point where you have this at a steady level.

    We’ve had variants again and again that partially or almost completely with Omicron escape immunity regardless of how it comes to be. So why pretend that isn’t true? This guy is useless and a grave danger to public health. (And endemicity is what he appears to be getting at, which ignores long-COVID and other potential permanent damage during the acute phase of illness completely.)

    What to expect from America’s third year of COVID

    1. Lee

      Also from your linked Axios article:

      “But there are several big differences between now and then. We have excellent vaccines, a growing arsenal of therapeutics and a much better understanding of the virus we’re dealing with. But we also have a considerable amount of pandemic burnout and deep divisions over how it should be handled.”

      A) The vaccines are not nearly so excellent as originally billed.

      B) The arsenal of therapeutics appears at the moment to be shrinking not growing, and becoming less user friendly.

      C) As for the deep divisions, I’m thinking that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet compared to what’s to come.

    2. Objective Ace

      As much as I dislike Fauci, I’m sympathetic to his comment here. All the variants we have had arent that crazy. Even Omicron is similar enough that prior infections and even vaccinations seem to lessen the severity compared to someone uninfected. What he leaves unsaid is what does ‘have this at a steady level’ actually mean and is that acceptable to us? (Also.. even if thats likely maybe we should prepare for the worst case scenarios)

      I also find it ironic that in his statement here he acknowledges that natural infection confers a level of immunity, but its implied that it doesnt when it comes to VAX VAX VAX. I cant believe the talking heads on TV are telling people they need to get vaxxed a already couple weeks after infection

    3. Nikkikat

      You correct on all levels. Fauci and his cohorts have been dangerous for a long time. Not to mention characters like Gates.
      Big money in obtaining patents for the NIH and big Pharma. EUAs have made them even wealthier than they were already.
      Through two administrations during pandemic. All the players answer to Fauci. Fauci answers to no one. This has proven to be a big problem. Long covid will be ignored until they can come up with some pills to sell. Pills with a patent.

    4. Mikel

      Just wait a month or two for more booster breakthroughs with maskless hospital staff in contagious virus wards.
      How the hell can it be “managed”?
      How can you still have the outrageous numbers of people going to the hospital for one thing and then coming down with Covid once they get there?

      They can get out of my face with this BS.

    5. Maritimer

      “It’s conceivable that….”
      Follow Mr. Science, it could conceivably lead to a solution. Then again…….

    6. Basil Pesto

      I think there’s no fighting this now, until an actual SARS1-tier variant comes along, and even then, who knows? This is the line of pretty much all western governments. Health ‘leaders’ in Queensland and New South Wales have this past week declared that ‘everybody will be/have been infected’, and Fauci seems to be following that consensus which is forming. Let’s hope that works out okay.

      What it unambiguously is, though, is bad news for those immunocompromised/”pre-existing conditions”ed who can’t get the vaccine or who won’t be terribly protected by it anyway (not sure if that will hold true for Omicron-specific vaccines in the future). They are being sacrificed for the sake of business as usual, apparently.

      1. rowlf

        I’m having some problems with Fauci and Let’s hope that works out okay.

        Let’s take a look at the back of his baseball card and see what his past performance record is. Has he signed on with another team that doesn’t include common people?

      2. rowlf

        More on point: a Korean classmate and friend often paraphrased the Buddhist concept as “Empty cans make the most noise.”

        Fauci and many other government officials nail it.

  21. Bart Hansen

    On the Pfizer antiviral pills, the list of potential drug contraindications is lengthy:

    “The medications include, but are not limited to: blood thinners; anti-seizure medications; drugs for irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications; immunosuppressants; steroids (including inhalers); HIV treatments; and erectile dysfunction medications.”

    Good luck to any citizens taking the pills who are over 40.

    1. Lee

      Based on the list of interactions Paxlovid is either contraindicated or if taken it might possibly harm tens of millions of us, me being one of them. The age group most susceptible to serious Covid outcomes coincides, as you have noted, with the age group most likely to be taking the medications on the list. Brilliant!

      And Molnupiravir is another risky bet, being only about 30% effective in preventing progression from infection to serious illness but which could possibly cause cancer and birth defects.

      Desperate pharmacology and governance in service of saving lives or maintaining an economic status quo in which only about half of us are engaged in materially essential production and therefore actually need to be on the job? Hard to tell.

      1. lordkoos

        The big criticism of Molnupiravir that I have seen from some doctors is that it will likely spur new mutations.

        1. marku52

          Yes. It only “cures” in about 30% of the cases. In the other 70%, is is happily mutating and multiplying, which seems a spectacularly bad idea, unless you are a Merck shareholder.

          In which case it is fabulous.

  22. Wukchumni

    BBB rated dept:

    Port apostle Pete picked from a pack of presumably paid for promise sorry notes and will be in a pickle.

  23. William Sparks

    Consider the paradox of ‘Achilles and the Tortoise’ by Zeno, regarded as the first expression of infinity in Western discourse. It poses a predicament; that is, a problem that has no satisfactory solution. Zeno of course was the Pre-Socratic philosopher who argued that nothing happens in the universe.

    Ancient writers make reference to as many as twenty paradoxes produced by Zeno, though just nine survived the bonfires of Christianity. One can imagine the terrible commitment of those who managed to preserve the nine paradoxes.

    The word ‘para-dox’ translates roughly as ‘against doxa.’ Doxa means ‘common belief.’

    We are told that Zeno was involved in a failed attempt to overthrow a local tyrant, that he refused to reveal the names of his fellow conspirators, and that he was tortured during his interrogation by the tyrant. Zeno whispered that he had a secret to reveal and when the tyrant leaned close to listen, Zeno bit off his own tongue and spit it in the tyrant’s face. There are several alternate versions of this dramatic scene but for the sake of simplicity we’ll cut to the unanimous conclusion: the tyrant had Zeno thrown under the wheel of a mortar and he was ‘crushed to a pulp.’

    I like those philosophers best whose ethics are revealed through their actions and whose lives are an expression of their philosophy. Many modern philosophers meet this criteria. ‘Philosophy’s Lack of Progress’ is an example of propaganda.

  24. Mike

    RE: Reflections of a Non Political Man – The Point

    Mann was somewhat a Spinozist in his elevation of the individual (particular) over the social (general). We (at least those who read this site) realize that without our own individuality and political aspirations there would be very little to savor in modern society, especially its centralized functions that seem straight out of the autocrats cookbook. And I would agree that individuals must come to an understanding of society that brings them to a point of separation and observance rather than a constant thrumming of activity within the crowd.

    Nonetheless, we must come to that viewpoint at a certain level of education (do not misunderstand – education that is realized through experience with others and in balance with the wishes and goals of others – something not taught in schools and learned by rote. Awareness, and Jung and others have imparted to us, is a coming of age that can occur at any age but requires a society built to support and extend such awareness. An individual is simply the concatenation of the self with the social and experiential that can nurture blind rage and inchoate resentment unless within a cacoon that helps that individual “bring it out” into the open.

    Nothing here that most of you couldn’t determine for yourselves, but self- and social-awareness is a process that is guided by a social system into channels of behavior that must be fully understood by “educators” of all kinds.

  25. Don Utter

    The pandemic is a warning: we must take care of the earth, our only home
    Bruno Latour
    The climate crisis resembles a huge planetary lockdown, trapping humanity within an ever-deteriorating environment

    If we have been made aware of the agency of viruses in shaping our social relations, we must now reckon with the fact that they will also be moulded for ever by the climate crisis and the quick reactions of ecosystems to our actions. The feeling that we live in a new space appears again at the local as well as the global level. Why would all nations convene in Glasgow to keep global temperature rises below some agreed upon limit, if they did not have the sensation that a huge lid had been put over their territory? When you look up at the blue sky, are you not aware that you are now under some sort of dome inside which you are locked?

    Gone is the infinite space; now you are responsible for the safety of this overbearing dome as much as you are for your own health and wealth. It weighs on you, body and soul. To survive under these new conditions we have to undergo a sort of metamorphosis.

    This is where politics enters. It is very difficult for most people used to the industrialised way of life, with its dream of infinite space and its insistence on emancipation and relentless growth and development, to suddenly sense that it is instead enveloped, confined, tucked inside a closed space where their concerns have to be shared with new entities: other people of course, but also viruses, soils, coal, oil, water, and, worst of all, this damned, constantly shifting climate.

  26. Wukchumni

    Happy birthday, known sexagenarian!

    Epstein was quizzical
    Studied physical science in a bed @ home
    Late nights all alone with a ‘test tube’
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Maxwell-Ghisalaine, majoring in meddling
    Calls him on the phone
    “you know they have us together in pictures, oh!’
    But as he’s getting ready to go
    A knock comes on the cell door

    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Back in court again, Maxwell plays the fool again
    Judge gets annoyed
    Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
    He tells Max to stay when the jury has gone away
    So she waits behind
    Writing fifty times “I must not be so”
    But when he turns her back on her ploy
    She creeps up from behind

    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Bailiff Thirty-One
    Said “We caught a dirty one”
    Maxwell stands alone
    Painting testimonial pictures
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Bill, Donald & Andy screaming from the gallery
    Say she must go free (Maxwell must go free)
    The judge does not agree, and he tells them so
    But as the words are leaving his lips
    A noise comes from behind
    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Silver spoon swoon…

    1. Oh

      This song has been running thru my mind for the past several days whenever I’ve seen a Maxwell story. Well done, Wuk!

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kind words…

        And by the way, Ghisalaine and I went to different high schools together~

  27. Vander Resende

    “Don’t Look Up”: See It [Counterpunch], BY MANUEL GARCÍA, JR. “DON’T LOOK UP’ is a 2021 deadpan movie satire on human stupidity in ignoring Climate Change by the popular obsession with social media and “fake news,” and by the extreme narcissism of government leaders and their billionaire patrons. This movie is in the same spirit as Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ was about human stupidity regarding nuclear war.”

    1. ArvidMartensen

      I saw stupidity in action in the last coupla weeks. Where I am, just as Omicron made it into our state, the government seemingly decided Covid was over and said nobody needed to use a mask anymore, indoors or outdoors.
      So as Omicron was spreading across the world, and starting it’s party in our state, suddenly, nobody was wearing a mask in the malls. I was the only one. Youngsters and old farts alike revelled in the fact that apparently the pandemic was over, and tripped along free and maskless.
      A few days later, as state infections started to climb a vertical wall in time for Christmas, the government panicked and put the ‘gotta wear a mask’ rule back in place, and everyone put their masks back on.
      As countless mothers have said, “If all your friends jumped over a cliff, would you jump too?”. And the answer for homo sapiens seems to be yes, yes, yes.

  28. Vander Resende

    Poland’s border wall will cut Europe’s oldest forest in half [Conversation] “Poland is planning to build a wall along its border with Belarus, primarily to block migrants fleeing the Middle East and Asia. But the wall would also divide the vast and ancient Białowieża Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site which harbours more than 12,000 animal species and includes the largest remnants of primeval forest that once covered most of lowland Europe. … Poland’s wall will be 5.5 metres high, solid, with barbed wire at the top, and will replace a 130 km provisional 2.5m high razor-wire fence built during summer to autumn 2021. This wall will be high enough to affect low-flying birds, such as grouse.

  29. Alex

    “The Golan Heights are occupied by tens of thousands of Israelis as well as some remaining Druze Arab communities who have continually rejected Israel’s control.”

    Well, it’s true in a sense – the Golan Druze haven’t accepted the Israeli citizenship and don’t serve in the IDF unlike other Druze, but there is no real rejection of control. There are no conflicts, people spend weekends in the Golan staying in Druze towns, the Druze grow cherries and apples for the whole country.

  30. Basil Pesto

    > Sports Desk

    Last hour of Australian bowling last night and the morning session just now were unbelievable, kinda sad I didn’t go. Also disappointing how uncompetitive England have been

  31. VietnamVet

    An old white fart removing his mask to eat and calling a Karen “Karen” on a crowded jet plane and getting slugged for it pretty much describes the intentional divisiveness that is tearing America apart. Broadcast almost live on the internet. This slightly tops Joe Biden saying the COVID surge needs to be solved at the state level. Yes, his Presidency’s 43% rating is swooping down towards Jimmy Carter’s 26% energy crisis level. Except, this time almost a million Americans have died in two years with COVID and from the mRNA vaccines. Also, no doubt, the establishment needs a Kamala Harris replacement pulled from behind the curtains to force a resignation, like Dick Nixon, for his temerity of withdrawing from another unwinnable war.

    Secession looms.

    I’ll repeat it. The coronavirus pandemic will not be defeated until the West reconstitutes its Public Health Systems, declares national emergencies and does all the practices that have worked previously to combat plagues i.e. closing borders, contact tracing, paid safe quarantines, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and crash programs to find safe and effective off-patent treatments. But first, in order to do this, nations must regain sovereignty over multinational corporations who place profits over the lives of others. Jail the killers for manslaughter.

  32. Skunk

    I have just been musing over the increasing weakness of national governments. I agree that the pandemic won’t be brought under control until the West reconstitutes its public health systems. The question is whether national governments still have the power to do this, even if they try. As you say, multinational corporations have usurped a great deal of their power. Until we rediscover a genuine idea of public interest and couch this discovery in long-term thinking, I don’t see how we can succeed in solving problems.

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