Links 12/11/2021

Friendly, foul-mouthed crow befriends entire Oregon elementary school before state police are called in Oregon Live (Alex C).

The inner lives of cats: what our feline friends really think about hugs, happiness and humans Guardian (furzy). My cat Blake could count to four. He got four vitamins every evening before dinner. If I was at the end of a bottle and gave him only two, or one rolled away from the others, he’d poke around with some urgency for the missing vitamins. When he’d had four, he stopped searching.

Darwin in a lab: Coral evolution tweaked for global warming Star Tribune (Chuck L)

To See Proteins Change in Quadrillionths of a Second, Use AI Wired (Robert M)

What Happens in Our Cells After Exercise? Neuroscience News (David L)

Cannabis clinics set to mushroom Bangkok Post (furzy)

Tell us a Story Dublin Review of Books (Anthony L)

The Appeal of Artists Who Won Fame After Death Wall Street Journal (Anthony L)


Face Masks Help Jurors Tell Lies From Truth ScienceBlog


‘Not a question of if, but when’: Infectious disease expert warns of Omicron surge CTV (Ann L)

From IM Doc, keep in mind only a small sample…and remember his county has a very high vax rate:

27 [new] COVID cases – on top of the 21 that we had yesterday –

48 total…42 vaccinated – and of those 11 are boostered. 6 unvaccinated….

As far as mildness – 7 of these patients met the criteria for monoclonal antibodies because of the severity of their symptoms….

I am holding my breath about mildness. This will be the third big wave that we have had – OCT of last year – JUN-OCT of this year, and now. All 3 started with these large numbers of younger healthier people often in family clusters, etc. and took weeks to get going and really settle in. The hospitalizations and critical illness lagged behind the initial surge by weeks. This seems to be exactly the same pattern right now. These patients have all been large groups of family clusters. Many have been jetting around the world on holiday. The BIG difference now – many many more vaccinated are getting sick. Again – THIS IS NOT MILD. These people are getting severe flu like illness – just at this point only one has been admitted out of this group – so we are not admitting a lot.

GM added:

I have no idea what’s going on at this point.

You can see video from Pretoria here:

In which a doctor says they are not seeing a lot of really severe patients.

But in the same time he is being interviewed with many tents and oxygen bottles in the background, which is very much not consistent with there not being a lot of pressure on the system because why would they have so many tents otherwise…

Covid booster shots up to 75% effective against Omicron, UK study finds Financial Times

In case you missed it:




Pentagon Considering COVID-19 Booster Mandate for Troops (Kevin W)

Omicron has now been sequenced in HALF of U.S. states, while expert issues grave warning Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Three Northeast states deploy National Guard amid medical capacity crisis due to pandemic CNN (resilc)

COP26/Climate Change

Climate-only scientific models may underestimate scope of damage – study Jerusalem Post (David L)

Lower 48 states could have warmest December on record Axios (Troy P)

Climate Point: Draining national forests for profit USA TODAY (resilc)


Reminiscence of the Future… : Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. Andrei Martyanov (Chuck L)

The Reconquest: In 2022 elections, an Algerian Islamophobe wants to purge France from ‘the Muslim peril’ The Cradle (Micael T)

What is the European Union For? The Saker (Micael T)

A balance sheet of Angela Merkel’s 16 years of rule in Berlin WSWS

New Cold War

Russia demands Nato retract pledge to admit Ukraine and Georgia Financial Times

UN General Assembly votes on ‘militarization of Crimea’ RT. Kevin W: “Pretty funny this. It’s like the UN General Assembly voting on the militarization of Hawaii.”

Coffee crisis in Central America fuels record exodus north Reuters (Glenn F)

Death of Doing Business Report greatly exaggerated as World Bank announces rebranding plans CADTM (Micael T)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘The internet’s on fire’ as techs race to fix software flaw Associated Press (David L)

Recently uncovered software flaw ‘most critical vulnerability of the last decade’ Guardian



The Memo: Dour public mood spells trouble for Biden The Hill. OMG, and this is with the public optimistic about Covid! Watch the bottom fall out.

Democrats don’t think Manchin wants Biden agenda vote by Christmas The Hill


Court leaves Texas’ six-week abortion ban in effect and narrows abortion providers’ challenge SCOTUSBlog

John Roberts Has Lost Control Slate (furzy)

How Nursing Homes’ Worst Offenses Are Hidden From the Public New York Times (Kevin C)

Our Famously Free Press

Killing Bad Guys Dublin Review of Books (Anthony L)

Moral Panic

The Great (Fake) Child-Sex-Trafficking Epidemic Atlantic (furzy)

Twitter Spaces is being used by the Taliban and white nationalists. Washington Post (furzy)

‘Tipping point’ makes partisan polarization irreversible ScienceBlog (Dr. Kevin)

Woke Watch

Loudoun County, Virginia: A Culture War in Four Acts Matt Taibbi (furzy). Important.

Democrats Have No Idea How to Win the Culture Wars Atlantic (resilc)

Double Standards for Nadia Murad and Shamima Begum Aero. David C:

I would never have thought even the Canadians would stoop to this. Censoring the memoirs of a woman kidnapped and raped by the Islamic State for fear of provoking “Islamophobia.”

Police State Watch

Penn. Supreme Court Considers if Law Means Police Can Use Deadly Force Anytime A Suspect Flees Arrest BET (Kevin C)

Speaking does not imply breathing, and this is a dangerous myth ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)

Tesla Update Allows Video Games While Driving, and the Feds Aren’t Happy The Drive (Paul R)

Hot November inflation report was probably the best the White House could have hoped for at this point CNBC

Guillotine Watch

Bezos space joyride emitted a lifetime of carbon pollution Gizmodo (Paul R)

A Massive Oil Spill Helped One Billionaire Avoid Paying Income Tax for 14 Years ProPublica (resilc)

Class Warfare

‘Warehouses in their backyards’: when Amazon expands, these communities pay the price Guardian (resilc)

An Astounding List of Artists Helped Persuade the Met to Remove the Sackler Name New Yorker (furzy). The Sacklers did spend a pretty penny on those naming rights.


Here’s the Freakiest and Most Realistic Humanoid Robot Ever Nerdist (furzy)

Antidote du jour. Timotheus: “From a friend’s travel photos”:

And a bonus (Li):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. The Rev Kev

    “Here’s the Freakiest and Most Realistic Humanoid Robot Ever”

    No, it’s not. Not even close. It is just a bunch of pre-programmed moves that simulate human moves. Its like when you watch a TV and you think that you see people moving on it. What you are actually seeing is a series of images being displayed at the rate of 30 frames per second. Watched together, you think that you are seeing people move. Same with this tin can. It is just a bunch of small moves put together into a sequence that makes you think you a seeing solid movement.

    1. .human

      Hi, Rev. I think a better analogy is stop motion animation where an inanimate model is manipulated by hand to have the appearance of animate motion. It is all scripted and performed by humans, much as programmers are in complete control of sequences such as the movements of this robot.

      The day that machines are able to think consciously independent of humans we are doomed. Humans are clearly the greatest menace on this planet. Machines will recognize this. There are thousands of predators, but, only one capable of destroying all life as portrayed in media of all sorts through the ages.

      1. Mikel

        “The day that machines are able to think consciously independent of humans we are doomed…”

        We’re already doomed because they won’t. So much is invested in the fantasy that a much more harrowing situation is going to emerge: people are are going to believe that the machines are independently thinking and/or emotional.
        That’s the bigger nightmare. Humans are well versed in projection and transferring emotion to inanimate objects.

      2. Procopius

        The Turing Test is a judge communicating with an anonymous party via teletype. I suppose text on a screen would be an acceptable version. If the judge can’t decide whether the party is machine or human, it’s considered proof the party is intelligent. A computer is still just a fancy adding machine, even if it passes the Turing Test.

      1. ambrit

        And don’t forget the ‘Olde Schoole’ Disney Animatronics Ronald Reagan replacement android, used after Hinkley shot better than he knew.

  2. svay

    “Julian Assange is one of the longest-serving political prisoners in the western world,” tweets Edward Snowden. I agree, but later in the same thread he posts “It doesn’t matter if Assange is a hobo on a soapbox: the First Amendment protects everyone equally.” Does Snowden now think the US Constitution should apply to everyone equally? Not that I’d disagree, but it does seem a shift from his previous position.

    1. John

      Assange is definitely guilty of exposing inconvenient truths and embarrassing official Washington. But to go to such Javertian lengths to cover its a– and finally squash Assange, to it an annoying insect, is, to me, conclusive proof of imperial hubris. When you adopt Louis XIV’s, ” L’etat c’est moi.” you have put notions of a republic behind you.

      1. Skip Intro

        It is precisely this psychopathic overreaction that makes Assange such a good object lesson for other publishers. There is a complaint that the media is ignoring Assange, at risk of undermining their own freedom a la Niemöller. I think many are taking it in, and responding with appropriate intimidated silence.

    2. Lee

      On last night’s PBS NewsHour, a story about Assange was aired toward the beginning of the program and an interview of Maria Ressa toward the end. No mention was made of the obvious similarities in their respective difficulties with governmental authorities or that Ressa is a supporter of Assange. Yesterday they had an interview with Barton Gelman, also a supporter of Assange, with no mention of the latter. Are these juxtapositions merely the result of coincidentally synchronous news events or the purposeful presentation of connectable dots being put forth in a way calculated not to raise the hackles of TPTB? Or am I just overthinking this?

      1. ambrit

        I, for one, do not think that you are “overthinking” this. It has become clear that PBS is now an ‘official’ mouthpiece of the Status Quo Elites. Assange directly challenged their claims to the “Right to Rule.” Ergo, Assange must be not only crushed, but also seen to be “worthy” of such treatment.
        The older I get, the more cynical my world view becomes. (I would not put it past some enterprising PMC Academic Apparatchiks to put forward the idea that socio-political cynicism is an artifact of Senile Dementia or perhaps that catch all category, Alzheimer’s.)
        “See! The younger cohorts march off singing to the Permanent War. The oldsters do not. There must be something wrong with the geriatric cohorts. They don’t fit into the Narrative.”
        Stay safe. Hull down.

          1. ambrit

            (I need to get my snark meter factually checked. I almost fell for it.)
            Well, there is ‘diverse,’ and then there is “DIVERSE!” (The latter being, essentially, performative ‘diverse.’)
            I fondly remember watching The MacNeill Lerher News Hour.
            One could go back and rewatch various segments of the PBS archives and see the changes. [To ‘cut them some slack,’ I could remark that the ‘old’ PBS was much more subtle in it’s Consent Manufacturing program.]

            1. Late Introvert


              /s MacNeill Lehrer was vastly more serious and Public Broadcasting in general has been duly throttled by the PMC over the last 3-4 decades. I would much prefer “Book Talk” to ex-Military mansplaining the slaughter.

  3. Robert Hahl

    Re: Tell us a Story Dublin Review of Books (Anthony L)

    “One of the great joys of becoming a parent, for me, has been the unavoidable immersion in stories: Goldilocks, the Brothers Grimm, Disney films, The Tiger Who Came to Tea …”

    I found a fun way to do this was to go to the library starting when they reached four and quickly selecting 15 or 20 books in the children’s section to bring home, mostly on the basis of the art work. Read two or three books a night at bedtime, then reread the favorite ones several times. However this plan didn’t work so well with my second son who generally refused to get ready for bed, which led to lots of fights. He doesn’t read much today, perhaps there is a connection. But this is great if it works.

    1. curlydan

      My kids, especially my youngest, preferred stories that I made up at bedtime rather than books. I did manage gleefully to read them a bunch of novels before they got too old even though my youngest would often leave the room when I read an actual book. Neither one would ever be seen reading a book now, though. I think they’re just going to do what they want to do. Hope springs eternal that they eventually will like some books.

    2. ChiGal

      Memories of reading to my son. being transported together to the magical worlds I visited as a child myself, snuggled together on the sofa, the weight and warmth of him, of belonging, are often what surface when I think of him. Otherwise it is mostly his Jekyll-and-Hyde adolescence that come to mind.

      Those Milne poems…and the only book we finished and immediately began again at the beginning we liked it so much: Alice in Wonderland.

      We are indeed down the rabbit hole these days.

    3. Late Introvert

      I learned to read aloud after my daughter was born, and it was hard at first. I got so that I could measure my tone, slowing down and getting quieter over 10 minutes or so, and she would be alseep every time.

      My wife and I were lucky to keep up this nightly routine up to age 15 – it was the pandemic that finally put an end to it, as she was staying up late every night during home schooling.

      Favorites were the Penderwicks series, Huck Finn, anything by James Marshall, Frog & Toad, Little House on the Prairie series (lead to lots of great questions), and of course Doctor Suess’s Sleep Book.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    May I suggest a double-dip this morning? First, read the delightful article up top here about the crow with the sense of humor, sense of time, sense of relationships, and a desire for a decent snack. (And contemplate if the crow was a tad miffed that The Family went away for Thanksgiving.)

    Then read the posting about demystifying consciousness, which brings up many intriguing questions as a book review.

    Is the crow conscious? (Descartes would say no, but Descartes was a radical dualist and wrong about all kinds of things, let alone crows and snacks.)

    Doesn’t the headnote by Yves Smith get to the central + disturbing insight?: “We learn that the mind is not as separable from the body as we would like to believe”

    Which not only reinforces that an embodied creature is going to have to deal with the play of body, mind, surroundings, levels of attention, and desire for a good snack. Any embodied creature is in the constant Herakleitan flow of change that only consciousness can withstand and deal with.

    Which also undermines so many of the flimsy “theories” around about separable body, mind, soul, separable sexuality, genitalia. Etcetera. Parts to take apart–and after the wings are off the butterfly?

    To delve into consciousness overturns ideas of dualism, monotheism (revealed religion to whom?), “socially constructed,” and other barnacle-like intellectual conveniences. No wonder so few writers want to deal with it. Better if consciousness is left as a “mystery,” so that we can continue on with the dualistic project of hating the body and wondering why we don’t know our own minds.

    No wonder it has been so hard to treat Covid, if the body is so unimportant.

    As for me, I’m with the crow.

    1. Lee

      This reminds me of a discussion I had long ago and about ten miles away with some Tibetan Buddhist friends about a then recent pronouncement made by the Dalai Lama:

      “This is the context in which the Dalai Lama makes his remarks about the physical basis of consciousness. .. He declares his view to be like the scientific standpoint that the brain is the basis for all mental events. And then, switching to his partial English, he explains that without the brain, the ordinary mind can’t function. So, similarly, without some subtle physical base, there can’t be subtle states of consciousness. “Whether there is something independent or not, I don’t know.”’

      They became quite upset at what they took to be a heretical statement by their spiritual leader.

    2. fresno dan

      DJG, Reality Czar
      December 11, 2021 at 8:08 am
      Antidote du jour
      Speaking of consciousness, are the “SoCal bears take on inflatable reindeer” a case of flawed consciousness*, where the bears can not tell real prey (reindeer) from fake reindeer? Or, hear me out, the bears have raised consciousness, and are appalled at the gaudy, garish, and ostentatious display of Christmas displays and taken action into their own paws???

      * I do not think brown bears are woke, or need to be woke although it goes without saying that white bears are racist…

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm…. would that then make my Pink Bunny Slippers an example of sexist identity trolling? (That wily Vlad Vladimirovitch. Wheels within wheels.)
        Also, why are we always being admonished to get on the “Right Side of History?” Shouldn’t that be the “Left Side of History?”
        Stay safe!

    3. lordkoos

      The idea that the body and mind are two different things is a western concept that has led to much grief. You are not your mind plus a body — the human nervous system is not the brain alone. (I’m trying to avoid using the term “holisitc”) Without our physicality we would be nothing and the science fiction idea that somehow a mind could be preserved without the body, or that a person’s mind could be transferred into another body etc is crazy. Even if it were possible, I think that separating the mind from the body would drive a person insane within moments.

      1. AndrewJ

        I remember being much younger and introduced for the first time to the concept of “mind” as distinct from “brain” or “body” in my very first psychology class. It took me a while to figure out what the heck they were talking about – it had never occurred to me that the two things could be separated. The only way I could parse it was to conceptualize that duality as an analogy for a soul, which as an atheist I had never believed existed. It was and is very weird.
        It took me longer to think about animal consciousness – but these days my thoughts are somewhere along the lines of “of course they are!” As in, how could anyone seriously believe they are robots acting on preprogrammed instinct? Or lack a sense of “I”? And yet many do.
        I don’t expect my belief that all creatures, plants, fungi, bacteria, share that sense of “I” to be widely shared, though.
        I admit I don’t understand my own species.

      2. Aumua

        I prefer the idea that the brain/body is like a tuner, that limits infinite consciousness down to an individual location and self, and that when we die our consciousness merges back into that infinite awareness. I don’t have much scientific basis for believing this but it’s part of my faith I guess.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve never been comfortable with the materialist and/or reductionist version, that consciousness/The Mind is merely a few squirts of chemicals and electrical discharges in the physical graymatter.
          too much experience with altered states…including DMT.
          I prefer the David Bohm version…where the physical brain is an antenna…and consciousness is a field that it tunes in to.
          more recent advocates for this view…Dean Radin, the Princeton EGGs, etc (…pretty radical and heady stuff…
          gels much better with my psychedelic adventures, as well as my experiences with farm and nature.

          1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

            The Bohm ‘antenna/tuner’ model of consciousness that you reference is very similar to the ‘transmitter/receiver’ model of Albert Hofmann. Albert Hofmann explains his own version in the following way:

            “I just gave a lecture at Santa Barbara titled the transmitter-receiver concept of reality. After I had this experience with LSD, of course, I was quite concerned about what reality is, because until then I had believed there is just one reality, and that any other reality just doesn’t exist. But then I knew there exists another reality. I was thinking about this problem, that we are scientists, rational men, we want a rational explanation of this phenomenon and, of course, during my LSD experience the exterior world had not changed. That was clear. So there was something inside that must have changed. That gave me the concept of reality as the product of the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter is the exterior world, the whole universe including the whole material world, including, even, our whole body. The receiver is our conscious-making spiritual center, that inner spiritual room, and the antennae are our 5 sense organs.”

            “Let us speak about the optical picture of reality. What is outside, regarding the optical picture, we have electromagnetic waves, the wavelengths of ultrashort roentgen waves up to middle-long radio waves. It is all the same, all the electromagnetic base, just at different wavelengths, and from this enormous spectrum our receiver can only realize a very small spectrum of 0.4 – 0.7 millimicrons. Within this small spectrum we are sensitive to, we are able to experience it as light. And within this small spectrum, we can receive wavelengths of 0.4 as blue and 0.7 as red. We say,”That is red.” But that happens inside. It’s a transformation. We must realize that we have the screen inside. Everybody creates our own reality. Everybody has cosmogonic potency inside. Everybody is really the creator of a world of his own, that is to say the acoustical world. What exists outside? Outside exists compressions and dilations of the air. You cannot play music in a vacuum. It’s just wave-like compressions and dilations of the air. There exists a large spectrum of such kinds of waves, but we have only from 20,000 to 25,000 vibrations per second which we can perceive as sound. The rest doesn’t exist.
            Therefore, what we see, our beautiful, our colorful world, does not exist outside. What exists outside is matter and energy and nothing else… matter in all kinds of forms. Living forms or inorganic forms.”

            “Albert Hofmann – Everybody Has Cosmogonic Potency (1984)”


            If the average man or woman on the street, even as recent as 50 or 60 years ago, would have shared similar thoughts with their own primary care provider, there is a high probability that the individual would have been confined to a psychiatric ward for ‘treatment’. Such eccentric or unorthodox ideas are now routine, conventional, or ordinary in the sense of being accepted common knowledge among at least a substantial portion of the literate general population.

    4. sharron

      Family friends raised a pair of crows (Heckle and Jeckle) and they talked. They loved flying around the neighborhood with the kids. One died of a respiratory infection and the other was lost without his brother. He eventually found the elementary school. I remember him coming in our 6th grade class and exciting all the kids. The principal notified the owners that he was disrupting school. They built a large pen for him and he was let out when school was not in session. You never knew where he would show and try to find someone to be with.

      1. polar donkey

        I’ve always been fascinated by having a quasi-pet crow since I saw Its a Wonderful Life. How did you ever find a crow to raise?

      2. Late Introvert

        I keep shelled peanuts with me and throw them at the crows, hoping they’ll be my friends. Hasn’t worked so far.

        1. ambrit

          Well, throwing the peanuts AT the crows might be a clue.
          Snark aside, I have found that, like people, animals have distinct ‘personalities.’ Some are friendly, and some are not. The range of cognitive ability also ranges widely. Just look at an average crowd of Terran humans to see that in evidence.
          Finally, I find that infinite patience is required. To most animals, Terran humans are big, lumbering, often dangerous to be around beasts.
          Like with puppies and kittens, finding the critters young and having them imprint on you works best.

    5. chuck roast

      The estimable Bernd Heinrich has written extensively on crows, ravens and a host of other interesting critters. I recommend The Snoring Bird to start you on this most fascinating avian journey.

  5. Fran Hatch

    If Biden DOJ continues this Kafkaesque case against Assange, Biden and the dems have lost my vote. Period. I’m just not going to vote.

    This prosecution of Assange can’t be reconciled with respect for basic freedoms or the Constitution.

    I suspect a good majority of those in gens x and z feel the same way.

          1. ambrit

            Agreed, however…
            Jefferson wrote in the Preamble the words: “We hold these Truths to be self evident; that all Men are created equal,” with which he explicitly includes the entirety of the Terran human race.
            The Constitution continues on from this beginning. I assert that one depends on the other. The principles undergirding the US Constitution are nothing if said Constitution is strictly restricted geographically.
            Of course, as anyone who has been involved in City Hall Politics knows, Laws are only as good as their enforcement.
            Quite a lot can flow from the above, good and bad.

              1. ambrit

                Good point. The Declaration was written by an Enlightenment Philosopher. The Constitution was written by a Committee of Worthies.
                (As for Ye Pun on the ‘switch,’ and meanings both Moderne and Ancient, I fall prostrate before your superior wit.)
                Hilarity ensued, and continues to do so.
                Be Ye of Good Cheer and wary of the strategems of the subitil miasmic vapours.
                As always, your obedient servant.

                1. jsn

                  In Hanna’s “Pirates Nest” he talks about Locke knowingly writing “propertarian” Constitutions for the Colonies.

                  He understood the Indians husbanded nature for a healthy, ecologically balanced life, though he didn’t look at it as “ecologically balanced” but as lazy.

                  So “improvement” became a claim that would supersede ancestral inheritance and beneficial occupancy.

        1. ambrit

          Take your argument that one extra step…
          The clear message being sent by the Status Quo Elites through this continued persecution of Assange is that, The Public Is the Enemy.
          Plan accordingly.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Public Is the Enemy? Why if that were true, you would have to militarize your police with military equipment to crack down on them and seek training from the Israelis in their expertise in being an occupation force and ummm, errr, ahh – nevermind.

      1. Fran Hatch

        Absolutely, the basic freedoms spelled out in the Bill of Rights apply to all human beings. To argue otherwise is, as I said, Kafkaesque.

        The U.S. has at any rate entered into many treaties, such as treaties regarding human rights and the laws of war, that prevent its jailing of a foreigner for engaging in journalism.

        And compare the Biden DOJ’s willingness to prosecute Assange with its apparent decision to avoid prosecuting Donald Trump for prima facie crimes. The law has nothing to do with the DOJ’s actions. It’s conduct is instead political.

        1. ambrit

          Perhaps so, but it is primarily itilized to subvert and baffle the American Popular Will.
          One could make the case that Madison’s “establishment” of the Supreme Court as a Third Estate in the governing of the land began the ‘enclosure’ of the Rights of Man, but that is an argument for another day. We have enough to worry about as it is.
          Stay safe!

      2. Anders K

        I would hope that the US applied the spirit of its constitution to everyone.

        In this case however I would also argue that if the US wishes to prosecute Assange for crimes against it then the US explicitly consider him one of its subjects, and thus he ought to gain the same rights as any natural subject.

    1. albrt

      Yeah, I’m on a knife’s edge about Biden. He’s got lots of strikes against him, but he did follow through on the Afghanistan withdrawal, and he has allegedly stopped most of the drone murders.

      Of course, it seems unlikely that Biden will make it to 2024, so I’m not very stressed about it at this point.

      As for the short term prospects, there are no Democrats on the ballot where I live in 2022 who I can point to anything positive they’ve done whatsoever, so the decision to let them sink beneath the wave should not be too hard.

      Well, well; the event.

      1. tegnost

        Just wait until the sausage…errr…infrastructure bill is revealed. What is in it, and what is not is likely to be unsettling, thus the need to make sure it doesn’t ruin christmas

        1. ambrit

          Don’t worry. Christmas has been cancelled because Congress has not been able to find offsetting budgetary items to “pay” for it.

          1. Michael Ismoe

            Congress just passed a $768 billion annual “Defense Act”. I didn’t hear a word from Joe Manchin about how we are going to pay for a military that will cost us $7.68 TRILLION over ten years.

            1. Aumua

              Well that’s optimistically assuming that the Pentagon’s budget will not continue its monotonic increase in future years.

      2. Jason Boxman

        As far as I’m concerned, Joe Biden owes everyone $600. So do liberal Democrats. Hardly a surprise they can’t pass BBB when they negotiated against themselves over $600 per citizen!

      3. lyman alpha blob

        He withdrew from Afghanistan only to start beating the war drums threatening a conflict against Russian in Ukraine. And the one drone murder he didn’t stop – killing the better part of an Afghan family on false premises as revenge against an earlier attack on USians – unfortunately for Brandon is one of the most memorable of the thousands of drone atrocities in the last couple decades.

        He’s no peacenik. If it’s Brandon v Trump again in 2024 I may just break my usual practice of “none of the above” and cast a ballot for the Donald just for the LOLs. And the hope that it will collapse this increasingly totalitarian stupidity that passes for a nation.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Hopefully you’ll feel the same about Trump v. buttigieg or DeSantis v. buttgieg or just about anybody v. buttigieg because that’s most likely what you’re gonna get.

          1. Michael Ismoe

            They would have a better chance trotting out Hillary again than trying to pass off Mayo Pete as “presidential”

          2. the last D

            And we’re supposed to feel giddy about getting trump or descantis? It’s like splitting hairs between Mr. Delta, or Mister Omicron. And yes, I still capitalize the deities.

        2. ambrit

          Of course, a sharp defeat of the Imperial War Machine in some far flung field could shift the emphasis back to a Domestic Security Agenda.
          Seeing body bags coming home from Syria or perhaps the Sudan would concentrate the public’s attention greatly.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Wouldn’t they just hide them like they did under Bush? Bring them in isolated airports after dark and forbid all photos being published of them? It worked so well the first time round, especially when you remember that about 4,300 US soldiers were killed in Iraq alone and it never become a big issue in the day.

            1. Swamp Yankee

              I think the Iraq War US casualties, and the human cost of the Iraq War more generally, did in fact become a big issue back in the day, Rev’d Kev. The 2006 and 2008 Elections were won by the Dems in very significant part, I’d argue, because of public weariness with the seemingly endless, day-by-day, drip of “3 more soldiers killed in Al-Anbar” and “43 bodies found across Baghdad on Thursday, showing signs of torture”; etc.

              It seems hard to fathom now, but 2006-7 were very much points of exhaustion for much of the US population with Iraq. There’s a “Soprano’s” episode, where they are vacationing at a cabin in the Adirondacks, that gets the feeling of those days well.

      4. Jerk

        I’m willing to bet that Biden stopping drone strikes has more to do with supply chain interruptions than any personal choice of his.

      5. lance ringquist

        can anyone name one concrete universal material benefit americans received from the nafta billy clinton regime, or empty suit hollowman obama?

        i cannot name one. its why voting for a nafta democrat, is like committing slow motion suicide. i voted ross, ralph and the greens ever since, except, i was taken in the first time by the empty suit, not the second time.

        on the national level i cannot see one nafta democrat i would ever vote for. and that includes my home state u.s. senators and reps.

        in fact, america can never recover till nafta billy clintons disastrous policies have been reversed. not one real democrat will make that statement.

        1. Martha

          One benefit? We have a very cheap Mexican illegal gardener, who used to grow his own corn and made a living before he had to “compete” with Archer Daniels Midland. So there.

      6. Martha

        Here’s one who could win for the Democrats: Major Tulsi Gabbard,
        even Tucker Carlson loves her, as do truly progressive Democrats, military, working women, Indian Americans, Good ‘Ol Boys, proponents of M4A, and trade unionists.

        Prediction, she runs with DeSantis. Would be a phenominal vice president.

        However The Democrats are going to try and jam the Kamala’s nose under the party tent . She’s nothing more than a lead turd for their future. Couldn’t get more than 2% voter support in the primary before dropping out and is at what? 12% approval rating nationwide and sinking?

        1. Screwball

          I’m not sure about either DeSantis or Tulsi. Tulsi has changed her tune recently, and I was always a bit hesitant on her due to not knowing much about her. DeSantis is hard because I don’t know much about him either, and what I do read seems to be all in or all out. IOW, they love him or hate him. I’m sure they would use “he’s a Trumper” angle against him, as they would with Tulsi since she was accused of being a Putin puppet.

          A bold prediction you have for those two.

          I will say this though; if the election was held in the near future, that ticket would win in a landslide IMO.

          1. rowlf

            Always interesting when you get the feeling that the press has to dogpile on someone to keep anyone from hearing their (dogpiled victim’s) ideas. Right or wrong, what triggers the gatekeepers?

            How much of a democracy do we have when gatekeepers exclude ideas and keep people off the ballot? A US ballot should have anyone on it who can file the paperwork.

          2. Mason

            I heard calls against her by progressives in the middle of the last presidential election. I thought she was very promising but she’s been moving right subtly the past year or so. Her messaging on foreign policy is great but that’s it.

            I gave her a-lot of chances. Didn’t help that she couldn’t stop mentioning her service in Iraq… every… friggin’… speech.

            1. marym

              Has she done anything since ending her presidential bid? endorsed some candidates, joined a picket line, shown support for some activist group, helped raise money for some cause?

              1. rowlf

                Would the news media cover anything she has done since her presidential bid, or airbrush her out? She was very mean to that senator from California.

                1. marym

                  There’s lots of stuff the media doesn’t cover. She has a website and a twitter account. So, presumably, do groups and candidates she supports if any. She goes on Carlson’s and Hannity’s shows.

                  I don’t pay attention to her, so maybe it’s my own lack of knowledge, but if she’s supporting candidates or working for causes that are important to her, and to her potential supporters, there ought to be a hint of it somewhere.

      7. dcblogger

        speaking for myself, I am mostly looking at local races. Is there another Kshama Sawant on the horizon? I am certainly looking for one. Also I try to support my local Mutual Aid group.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Well, there was India Walton in Buffalo, but establishment dems crushed her under a pre-printed ink stamp “write in” campaign.

  6. Bricky

    Re: the Omicron data coming out of SA, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills,” to borrow my favorite line from Zoolander.

    News24, kind of like a South African CNN, has a convenient covid tracker on their website where you can dig down by province, and which has historical data going back all the way to the beginning of the first wave there. Their numbers match the NICD official numbers exactly, I think they just pull those numbers and enter them into their tracker.

    Just looking at graphs, I see that delta in Gauteng started with a high background level of infections. I mean immediately prior to the start of the delta wave, there were a lot of daily infections taking place from the older variants. On the other hand, right before omicron, covid had almost completely died down in the Gauteng data. Omicron was starting almost from zero, as it were.

    This leads me to believe that the difference in early bad outcomes between delta and omicron is a result of data misattribution with delta. The relatively high number of early delta bad outcomes were influenced by the large number of cases immediately prior to delta.

    And sure enough, if you look at Gauteng’s first wave, which by definition did not have previous cases, it took almost a month from when hospitalizations started to go up for ICU usage to noticeably tick up. In fact ICU usage has gone up considerably faster in Gauteng with Omicron than with the first covid wave. This seems pretty obvious from a cursory examination of graphs and worthy of explanation, but apparently no one among the scientists and science journalists I have been following on Twitter noticed.

    The other thing is, for me, ICU usage has already gone up 4x in about the last 2 weeks in Gauteng. Is that not a significant increase? I understand that it’s off a low base, but it also seems worthy of comment and doesn’t fit well with “we aren’t seeing serious cases in hospital.” The 4x ICU usage increase also runs counter to “it’s all incidental covid patients.” People who come in with a broken arm and test positive for covid. I don’t think ICU patients are incidental.

    Omicron was announced as existing literally just a bit over 2 weeks ago. The wave even in Gauteng is quite recent. The whole mild narrative depends on cases progressing from infection to hospitalization to ICU usage in 2-3 weeks on average. From what I have read previously, and from Gauteng’s first wave data, it seems the lag is significantly longer. This is not to mention that the omicron wave started among young adults who are far less likely to have negative outcomes.

    So what’s going on? If you repeat something enough, people will believe it. I’m starting to believe that omicron is mild, but what about the things I pointed out?

    1. GM

      This exactly.

      It is starting from zero now, and going up much faster than before so you see a ton of cases without the time having passed for them to translate to bad outcomes.

      And I see a lot of people who should know better falling for this simple manipulation tactic.

      Someone planted the meme that it is “mild” and then people threw away all analytical caution and started seriously pondering whether it is indeed “mild”. When if that meme had not been planted they would just be waiting for the hospitalizations and deaths to come.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Australia may be a country to look out for for the purposes of analysis. The number of people that have been vaccinated is pretty high at the moment but more to the point, we keep pretty good records. And we already have Omicron present. This being the case, as Omicron sweeps through the population, there should be some good data being generated that should help give an idea of what this new virus variant is doing. So here we go into Year Three of the Pandemic. (sigh)

      2. PlutoniumKun

        My jaw dropped this week when one Irish science advisor said that he was optimistic about it being mild because ‘it has a bit of the common cold in it‘. I’ve no idea if its planned, or just a deep fear among scientists to be seen as scare mongers, but its horrifying to see so many countries just casually walking off a cliff. Or to be precise, flying into a mountain, as its been spread so rapidly by holiday traffic. Waves of people will travel from the UK to Ireland in the next two weeks and there are no restrictions whatever. Its criminal.

        1. R

          With respect, the effect of local restrictions on mixing etc (which would include masks, ventilation, negative tests etc) should dominate the effect of travel. I am not sure there is any benefit in the travel ban where testing and isolation are enforced.

          Obviously the UK is not serious about these things so there is a benefit in banning SA travel while keeping pubs open. It would make a lot more sense the other way round.

          Where is Ireland on domestic restrictions, PK?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Domestic restrictions have been far stricter in Ireland than in the UK since early summer. Almost universal masking and controls on ventilation (but not enough). Plus a very high rate of vaccination – nearly 90% of the over 12’s. The result? One of the highest rates of Delta in Europe, not all that much lower than the UK (albeit with substantially fewer deaths).

            There are several reasons for this, but IMO the primary reason is almost certainly the massive spill over due to free movement with the UK. Travel matters. The virus has many things. It does not have wings.

              1. Basil Pesto

                It’s airborne, yes, but as far as outdoor range goes it’s more like a personal drone than a 787, thus can’t cross the channel/sea all by itself

      3. Soredemos

        Jimmy Dore is already 100% on the ‘mild’ bandwagon. His comments are filled with people who think this is a good development; that we want it to evolve to be more mild. But in reality there’s no evidence it has grown milder.

        1. GM

          It’s definitely not mild in Zimbabwe:

          Case went from almost none to 3500 a day in two weeks

          Admissions are already at 30% of the Delta peak and the bulk of the cases are from the last week, i.e. they are only now going to be progressing to really serious.

          This week only 21 people have died but one has to remember that there were fewer than 250 cases a week two weeks ago. That’s a very “mild” CFR…

          So as I said above, I have no idea what is going on. It is really hard to get reliable information from South Africa given that there are strong incentives to downplay the situation both inside and outside the country.

          So one has to look elsewhere.

          And right now Zimbabwe looks like the place.

          Because is you see reports of a lot of “mild” cases that can be for a very long list of reasons having nothing to do with cases actually being “mild”; e.g. right now in the US reporting of deaths is so erratic and delayed that at least a third of them don’t get reported in real time but as data dumps much later, which severely distort real-time perceptions of what is going on — and South Africa was doing data dumps of deaths during the Delta wave too.

          But if you see a place where cases are rising rapidly and ICUs are getting slammed, that is positive evidence unlikely to be the result of biased reporting, and thus much more reliable.

  7. hemeantwell

    Re the polarization paper, it appears that the researchers concocted a legislature that operates as an isolated system, free from exogenous perturbations. It’s like saying the Nazis came to power through a process of polarization that did not vitally depend upon a severe economic depression. Instead, all they needed was a ‘partisan rancor’ endogenous to the system, turning it into a behavioral sink. The authors seem to be duly following the example of mainstream economic theory, piddling around with models free of real-world institutional grounding.

  8. flora

    Yesterday was International Human Rights day. Here’s an interesting essay from Tablet Magazine.

    The Turn

    Here’s an interesting tweet:

    “Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski, 94:
    “And that’s how it is done, step by step, slowly.”

    I worry about the way a new disease has been politicized by both nominal right and left, by conservative and liberal, by the closing down of what’s allowed in debate around the question.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Speaking of human rights, I saw in the news today that two journalists won a Nobel Peace Prize – a Filipina and a Russian – because they both criticized their own governments which are both on the west’s naughty list. But of course since these were ‘carefully’ selected journalists, neither of them used their podium to speak out for a fellow journalist who is under severe threat – Julian Assange.

      1. flora

        “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”
        ― Voltaire

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        How ironic that the Peace prize was presented to two journalists on the same day that a UK judge effectively sealed the fate of another journalist. I suppose some journalists, like some animals, are more equal than others. Or as the Romans used to say, “Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.” Muratov called for a minute of silence at the end of his speech, but dared not speak Assange’s name. A very disappointing omission, but at least he showed his true colors:

        1. TimH

          The awards are political. Look which leaders received peace prizes, and what their actions were subsequently that killed a lot of people. 1994 and and 2009 for example.

          1. Pate

            Or circa 1905 when Teddy Roosevelt was awarded the prize for brokering peace between Russia and Japan. The same man who conjured the proxy war as a way to stifle the Russian advantage in China by having built the trans-Siberian RR. The same man who giddily said about the Japanese after their sneak attack on Port Arthur “they are civilized, they fight like we do”. Japanese sneak attacks on naval bases. Now that is an interesting subject.

            1. Procopius

              I read that one of the Japanese admirals was astonished by the violent American reaction to Pearl Harbor. “Have they never heard of Port Arthur?” Well, probably not.

    2. Sawdust

      It took eighteen months to go from “two weeks to flatten the curve” to “papers please”. The worst part is the number of decent, intelligent people who’ve embraced it as right and necessary.

    3. LawnDart

      I enjoyed reading the essay, The Turn. It seems to me that the author began to mature as a thinker as the democrat party lurched into right-wing authoritarianism, and of course, this changed the nature of the relationship: she soon found herself amongst the growing ranks of the politically homeless, and I think it appropriate that we should extend our welcome to her.

      Soldier of Neither Camp

      Soldier of neither camp, a casual guest in both,
      I would rejoyce to draw my sword in a just cause,
      But secretly I chafe: both factions give me pause,
      And neither can persuade these lips to take the oath.

      My full allegiance, then, they cannot ever know–
      My soul is still my own, though I choose either side:
      The partial zeal of friends unable to abide,
      I’d fight to keep unstained the banner of the foe.

    4. Maritimer

      Bullying, threats, intimidation, violation of the Nuremburg Code, scapegoating, segregation, apartheid, denial of employment, violation of the parent-child relationship, etc. by the Covid Injection Experimenters and not a peep from any of these Human Rights porkers. Worthless.

  9. allan

    Condition, location of state lawmaker with COVID-19 unknown [AP]

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — No information has been made available for weeks about the location or condition of Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, since he was reportedly in a Florida hospital being treated for COVID-19.

    Ericksen wrote to legislative colleagues in November saying he tested positive for COVID-19 in El Salvador and needed monoclonal antibodies.

    He arranged a medevac flight from El Salvador that weekend, former state Rep. Luanne Van Werven said.

    Van Werven said the next week that Ericksen was recovering at a Florida hospital. Van Werven told the newspaper on Friday she had no new information and it would be best to contact Ericksen’s family.

    The Herald has tried multiple times to reach the family.

    Ericksen’s legislative staff members told the newspaper that they can’t comment. …

    While Ericksen has been away, several parts of his 42nd Legislative District in Whatcom County were hit by catastrophic flooding that damaged around 1,900 homes, businesses and other buildings.

    His legislative counterparts, Rep. Alicia Rule, D-Blaine, and Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, have helped with cleanup efforts and have promised aid to the flood-stricken communities of Everson, Nooksack and Sumas.

    All the GOP outrage about paying people not to work is like dust in the wind.

  10. John Beech

    Assange poked the bear. He’s paying the price. God puts us on this Earth for reasons we cannot fathom, but this is how he wanted to go about his time in the batter’s box. Me? I’m take my cuts differently because I mind my own business. Had I stumbled upon secrets that weren’t mine, then because I lack the gene that wants to expose other people’s business, I’d have closed the lid one the box after shaking my head and gone about my life.

    Look, are we better off for Julian’s sacrifice? If you think we are, then thank him for his giving his life, because this is what he has done. Myself? I walked the dog this morning and enjoyed the cool touch of winter in a Florida December as I sniffed the breeze and gave thanks for being alive.

    Ruminating on Assange’s fate, on balance, I don’t care. From maggot in bacon to political prisoner, his choice.

    1. Objective Ace

      While I agree that Assange and journalists generally do live their lives differently, and for that reason you may not have empathy for them, going so far as to say “I don’t care” is short sighted and ignores history. Governments that don’t need to answer to their people tend to be authoritative and make their citizen’s lives unpleasant

        1. Michael Ismoe

          The point of punishing Assange is to send the word to others who want to break omerta. See what happens to those who pull back the curtain? No wonder we have stenographers in Washington, DC.

    2. The Rev Kev

      No offense John but by your own logic, a certain former carpenter who also spoke truth to power and got the chop by the local political establishment also got what was coming to him while most people afterwards got busy with the business of being occupied. Because of Assange’s stand, the world-wide empire had to get undressed in public and people saw and understood the corruption and disregard of laws across several countries that was on display. How this plays out over the coming years and decades has yet to be determined. Meanwhile, here is a question. At the time of the American revolution, the number of Loyalists was greater than the revolutionaries so imagine living in those times. Might want to ask yourself where you would have stood. Without those revolutionary’s stand, by now you may have found yourself living in the the British Dukedom of Florida.

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        December 11, 2021 at 10:02 am
        I agree with you Rev and I note:
        For those who don’t care what government is up to, I would paraphrase Trotsky:
        You may not be interested in government, but government is interested in you.

        Not only individuals, but whole classes of people can be oppressed, and even killed due to the action (or inaction) of governments. For those who think the safest course of action is keeping one’s mouth shut, I offer Martin Niemoller:
        First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
        Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

        1. Keith Newman

          Rev and Fresno:
          Totally agree. If nobody stands up to bad government policy or outright oppression it’ll just get worse. From where I stand in Quebec, Canada, I observe the consequences of John Beech’s position for the US: outlandish private health care, no parental leave, no public childcare, a brutal military, vast resources wasted, stunning numbers of people living hand to mouth, etc.
          Of course, if your life is good, then “who cares?” can be an option. But if bad luck and hardship come for you, or your children, or other family members, it’ll be too late.

      2. Bruno

        The Roman imperium was no “local political establishment” and saw nothing amusing in some prophet setting himself up as a divine king in a rebellious dependency.

        1. Soredemos

          The Romans cared that he claimed himself to be King of the Jews. They couldn’t care less about any incomprehensible Jewish theological disputes. He was executed (and left to rot on the cross) as a traitor.

      3. Procopius

        According to at least one sect of the Xtian faith, Jesus’ death was the ultimate purpose of God’s Plan and all of preceding human history. It was the culmination. Therefore, it was inevitable and a Good Thing. Actually, Judas Iscariot should be celebrated as a hero for his role in fullfilling God’s Plan, because Jesus’ death is celebrated each year as Salvation. I think what Assange did was good, including releasing the source code in Vault 7, but I don’t think he expected anything like the horrors that have been inflicted on him.

    3. Rod

      You do you, but , and you have probably heard this simple truth before:

      If you are not part of the solution–then you are part of the problem.

    4. Quentin

      John Beech ruminates in Florida about Julian Assange: ‘I’m alright Jack are you too?’ The ‘f’ word fits in there somewhere.

    5. Basil Pesto

      Meh, I’m not one for putting Assange on a heroic pedestal but it’s plain that his treatment is unjustifiably – almost comically – cruel, and while your featherweight moral posturing might process that treatment into a digestible morsel of acceptability for you personally, it doesn’t change the fact of the inherent cruelty involved here for a second. It’s entirely likely that he thought that by running wikileaks and publishing its stories, he didn’t presume himself to be making any sacrifices; he was merely doing his job. It’s entirely likely that, when publishing what he published – repulsive secrets – he thought he was doing what is called journalism, or at least his own bespoke amateur version of it. He perhaps didn’t think or assume that what he was doing was precluding any future possibility of morning dogwalks and cool winter breezes in Queensland, where he’s from, let alone Florida for the rest of his life, because why on Earth should he or anyone make that presumption? Countless journalists have poked the bear over the years and not been punished for it in this way. One might even suggest this is the point: if you poke the bear like this, in this specific way, without giving the secret-keepers right of reply, then this is how you will be treated. Even if he has technically committed some obscure American crime (and remember: he’s not American), the punishment by this point almost certainly is not commensurate with whatever that crime may be.

      I have no idea why anyone would so proudly put their moral midgetry on display like this.

      1. Dftbs

        If not Assange, then who are the “heroic pedestals” for?

        He’s certainly not alone in the company of the many brave who defy empire. But he certainly fits the definition of a hero, hopefully not a martyr.

    6. steve

      If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you say, ‘We see’, your sin remains.” John 9:39-41

      Willful blindness will insure Maat’s feather will take the ride up the scale.

    7. Otis B Driftwood

      Explains why right wingers were recently reported to be generally happier than everyone else. They don’t give a shit about anyone other than themselves.

        1. tegnost

          The government only takes care of billionaires, the rest of us are on our own.
          In all honesty, I don’t think anyone “takes care of themselves”.
          You don’t live in a vacuum.

          1. ambrit

            I would add that the Government “taking care” of billionaires actually reduces one’s ability to take care of one’s self, through the reduction of available resources for the generality of the population.

        2. Pate

          Disagree: they take care of themselves no matter the cost to others. And boy will they sidle up to government when profitable to do so (just read today’s linked story about billionaires not paying taxes).

          1. Pate

            A former Stanford scholar of the “conservative psyche”(Jost IIRC) talked about “negative freedom” (freedom for me but not for you; think slavery) and “ positive freedom” (same freedom for all). The conservative mind’s negative freedom is associated with tribalism, authoritarianism, traditional values, cognitive closure, religiosity, status quo, etc.

            1. JBird4049

              Let us all be careful on slamming entire categories of people because the current grifters are using their label as cover; the current bunch of liberals and socialists in the past have quite happy to steal, lie, and kill to feather their nests. Restated, the left’s psychopathic grifters are much the same as the right’s. Just using a different jive for their con.

        3. Otis B Driftwood

          Except if you’re a banker, a defense contractor, an oil executive, the Waltons, a pharmaceutical company, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Ayn Rand or anyone else who believes government support is only necessary and is entirely appropriate when it suits them. Exemplars all of rugged self-reliance.

    8. diptherio

      So you’re fine with journalists being locked up and tortured for doing their jobs. Good to know. I will be taking that knowledge into account when reading future comments from you. “This is the guy who’s fine living in a totalitarian state, just so long as he can walk his dog in peace.”

    9. Nikkikat

      There were probably quite a few people in Nazi Germany that thought that what their government was doing was not their business. Our fellow man is certainly our business. I’m going to hope that you were just in a bad mood today.

    1. Pat

      That description almost makes me feel sorry for Anthony Weiner. Clearly he was a hanger on in his wife’s life. But then again that was part of the bargain.
      Stockholm syndrome and cult are both right. You could almost slot in testimony of abused partners and children describing how everything was their fault or descriptions of the brilliance of Moon instead of Huma’s prose with little or no change.
      I need a shower just hearing about it second hand

  11. MT_Wild

    Talking crows – What a trip for the kids. Having a wild animal come into the classroom and interact with them using language was probably more eye opening and educational than anything that had been taught in the past few weeks.

    We fostered a few orphaned crows when I was a kid on the farm. The corvids (ravens, crows, jays, and magpies) tend to hatch out more chicks than they can actually fledge each year. If another chick doesn’t make it or its a banner food year then they can actually raise an extra offspring. If not they end up getting kicked out of the nest and they’re very vocal and easy to find if you’re looking. We’d raise them up semi confined, and once they were big enough to fly and get around they’d come and go as they’d please. They always learned few words especially names of people and dogs but eventually would fly off with the wild birds. I think their early days of life in the nest meant they weren’t fully imprinted on people but enjoyed the company.

    1. Nikkikat

      Thanks for your interesting comment. My husband and I enjoyed a six year relationship with a pair of mourning doves. They nested in an old hanging basket on our covered patio. Raised 4 or 5 pairs of young every year. This pair was extremely tame from the time they appeared they would allow me within a couple of feet of them. It was a terrific experience.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        My version of that same terrific experience is with gray jays, aka ‘camp robbers’ up at the cabin on the Olympic peninsula. It is kind of cheating though, because jays are so darn gregarious and fearless to begin with. :)

        For 15 years at least we’ve had a group that shows up, hangs out and gathers up whatever treats we give…or tasties they can swoop in and grab themselves from under our noses.

        Every year you can see the new fledglings, 4 or 5 or more, as they get introduced to us by their parents & extended family. No doubt the translations would be like: “…keep tabs on these suckers, and always keep them on your usual food gathering circuit – always easy pickings with the rubes as lives here…”

        But its terrific to see the old birds, the young birds, and the in-between birds of this series of generations over the years as they swing by the clearing once they discover we are in residence. Sometimes an oldster will perch on a shoulder for a spell, and enjoy the fire with us. Or else, demonstrate to the youngins that its safe to take food from our hands.

        This isn’t my footage, but it looks 100% identical: The bold and gregarious gray jays, loving these crazy humans who have free food with no strings attached!

        1. Nikkikat

          Thanks so much for your clip of the jays, and sharing your tale, Jocobiteintraining. There is nothing like sharing your world with the animals. Our mama dove used to March each clutch of babies, As soon as they were fledged from the nest. She would March them around on the patio to show them off. We would spend the next 3 weeks or so defending them from predators. Crows, hawks and cats. As winter would arrive, we would see them rejoin a flock and also thought that these were the babies grown up. They would hang around in a group the rest of winter. It was fun to watch them once out of the nest. Mom and dad would hide them somewhere in the yard. The babies would pretty much stay hidden until Dad would round them up and sit on the fence until dark when they would split up with mom taking one and dad taking the other to hide up in the trees.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Awesome! :)

            We saw Mourning Doves from afar on the farm (Willamette Valley) but none so close, and friendly like yours.

  12. griffen

    I’m sure this will date me in a very conspicuous manner but so what. If I want to play a video game while driving my Tesla, I’d opt for an old arcade classic like Pole Position, Galaga or Ms. Pac Man. I don’t imagine any of that is on offer from the Tesla entertainment screen.

    Angry Birds maybe ? I dunno.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Recently took a ride in a 150k Tesla. Friend tells me the driving software has one level higher available than he purchased. For an additional14k. I thought to myself when something like this (so far from safe/fully developed) is sold without the very best in every make/model… the customer is no more than a lab rat who has a choice. I wanted out of that car immediately.
      If it’s illegal to text while driving then a giant screen which demands as much of a drivers attention as the actual window should be illegal as well, imo.
      When self driving cars are so good that it matters not if a “driver” is extremely inebriated, then and only then should we allow this rat test on the road.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Can’t see the full article myself but one sentence I saw did stand out where it said ‘Indian and Chinese immigrants who typically vote Democratic will vote the other way because education for children is their number one issue.’ Yeah, I bet not just Indian and Chinese but any community that valued their children’s education and did not want to see them messed up. So the thought occurred to me. If this is true of Democrats and their children’s education, then what about those Democrats who are told that their children will have to be vaccinated and the thought that this may become mandatory if they wish them to attend school? I bet that this is weighing on a lot of parent’s minds.

    1. Rod

      valued their children’s education

      Furthermore, in numerous countries where primary education is free, schooling beyond that is not. Primary education in many low-income countries and secondary education in almost all low-income countries require not only supplemental expenses but tuition, regardless of whether the education is public or private.

      At least in America, many Americans do not understand the Economic Benefit migrants derive from from our Public Education System–we just think they Value the intrinsic benefit.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The article was about education, but not in the way wapo, msnbs and the 1619 “project” might have you believe.

      The Loudoun County gubernatorial election fracas was more of a protest against the democrat degradation of excellent PUBLIC education in northern VA in service of “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” From Taibbi:

      ….Asian students not only consistently applied to gifted programs at a higher rate than the other populations, they were also unfailingly overrepresented in terms of acceptance rates. In other words, they were still crushing the testing process relative to all other groups, and showing no sign of letting up, not even having the decency to follow the example of most American immigrant populations by getting dumber with assimilation time.

      In the end, the county followed the example of everyone from the University of California to the New York City School system under Bill de Blasio, replacing race-blind admissions and standardized testing with a new, “holistic,” “equity-based” system that would be described in media in a hundred different ways, but never as what it actually is: a mercy rule to stop Asian [read: Indian] kids from demolishing the field.

      Kind of a “Revenge of the H-B1 Nerds,” the population of which in northern VA has grown over the years as the federal government and its contractors have hired immigrants to do jobs “americans can’t or won’t do.”

      And from a commenter on the article:

      Black people are becoming a less and less important minority. They have been overtaken or are in the process of being overtaken by, Asians and Hispanics. Not only are they as a group getting smaller in relative size to these other minorities but where they expected these new minority groups to fall in line with their grievances and their issues and unite with them as “POCs”, they are finding that these new groups may actually have less sympathy for them than white people. Asians are kicking ass in academics, the sciences and business. Hispanics are building new businesses in the trades and developing careers in the professions like law and medicine. In short, these new minorities are working their asses off and succeeding as a result. This, of course, undermines the whole argument that black people are not achieving due to systemic racism. I think it is also true that these new minorities really want no part of the black/white racial tensions in this country, they want to focus on building lives and wealth.

      1. chris

        That’s a fascinating angle if true. Kind of like a policy based Streisand effect: “Because so many people have focused on black/white issues, immigrants and people from other backgrounds are sidestepping the entire argument and the relative politics that come with it.” It would be a completely damning indictment of Barack Obama if the coalition if the ascendant that he championed is not a reliable political force because they followed his actions and not his words.

      2. Janie

        Forty years ago I took a calculus class in junior college. About 35 started, ten finished. Nine were Asian, and several had limited spoken English skills. Don’t know if that speaks to determination, intelligence or good early schooling.

        1. caucus99percenter

          So what are the facts and what is the argument you wish to contribute, group-loyalty-based emotion aside?

          1. Basil Pesto

            pray tell, what is my group loyalty?

            I’m not sure I have a particular argument to contribute in this instance – the bootstrap/meritocracy myth having been comprehensively discussed here and elsewhere over the years – other than that the premise of the comment, ostensibly that blacks are an inferior ethnic group held back by their grievances and their unwillingness to work hard enough, is idiotic – tripe worthy of Obama himsel. And the idea that they are – collectively – conspiring to reduce other ethnic minorities “to their level” with the foolish excesses of identitarianism, is laughable (not least because the proponents of said identitarianism tend to be closer to the well-off, university bourgeoisie). To respond with anything so clinical as facts to the quoted comment, itself so hackneyed and devoid of substantiated fact in lieu of tedious generalities, would be to take it more seriously than it deserves to be. But I am always happy to draw attention to the thoughtless absurdity of vapid arguments and cruel clichés burnished to a dull sheen.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Immigrant groups are rarely, if ever, a random selection of the society they come from. Sometimes they are poorer and less educated, but mostly they are an elite or sub-group that either had the opportunity or motive to escape. Asians do very well in the US primarily because most (not all) waves of Asian immigration were of the educated upper middle class elites who fled China and Vietnam in the mid-20th Century. Immigrant Indians and Africans do well because most came in on work visas where they had to pass a very high educational bar. It is entirely predictable that the descendants of those people will dominate higher levels of education and business. The same effect can be seen in the UK where the children of ‘elite’ Indian and Pakistani immigrants are now dominating the higher ranks of the Tory party. These people haven’t changed their politics, they just changed country.

        There is plenty of research to show that this effect can last generations. One amusing piece of research I read a few years ago in Dublin looked at surnames of criminals in court records. The surnames that were over-represented in medieval records from the 13-15th centuries were generally the same ones as in the 20th Century. There is similar research that I’m aware of looking at early French immigrants to the US in the 17th Century. Those from ‘upper class’ backgrounds are still disproportionately found in elites circles, while those who came from poor labouring classes are still more likely found among the poor in places like Louisiana.

  14. griffen

    Inflation print for year to year comparison was hot yesterday. Depending on which metric one looked at, the comparison was to either 1982 or 1991. Also from the link above, several commentators suggest we’ll see this inflation trend begin to subside in the coming months.

    A milder winter for much of the US would be, possibly, a bit supportive of this angle. Then again there is that phrasing around hope and wish.

  15. Tom Stone

    If Omicron cases are doubling every three days we can expect the Healthcare system to collapse sometime in February here in the USA.
    And if hospital settings are are more conducive to mutation due to recombination with whatever is floating around ( Flu,colds, pneumonia…) it’s going to be a very interesting spring.
    And the Biden Admin reminds me of a poker payer who habitually draws to an inside straight.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Tomorrow, our State in Oz is opening up its border to the southern infected States because we are above 80% vaccinated. Victoria, which was overrun with this virus months ago, had 1200 infected people and a dozen deaths just yesterday and they have a high vaccination rate. And yes, we do have Omicron present as well. I am predicting a total s*** show but of course once you throw open the borders, you cannot go back. In short, we are being told that we have to risk our lives so that we can get back the 2019 economy again. And when our hospitals and ICUs are overrun with just Delta patients without even taking into account the Omicron patients, they will say ‘Who could have seen this ever happening?’

      1. ambrit

        Now you understand why the national government passed the ban on public posession of long guns, etc. (Yes, I know. This is classed as a cheap shot, throw away Right wing propagit line. However, when the shoe fits….)

        1. Basil Pesto

          You mean, the 1996 response to a mass shooting was in fact a long-game ploy to allow the government to eventually mismanage a pandemic response without consequence 25 years later (setting aside that our mismanagement is far less egregious than Gun Central, wherein no gunpowder-based punishment is meted out to the , and a good thing too)?

          It barely even rises to the level of agitprop, it’s just [family blogging] stupid.

          1. Taurus

            Suppressing dissent is much easier if the population is unarmed.

            I think this is true regardless of the emotional baggage the subject of GUNZ brings into the discussion. The exact path which led to the population being unarmed is immaterial to the veracity of the first sentence.

            1. The Historian

              Is your first sentence really true? Or is it more GUNZ propaganda? Seems to me those dissents that work are nonviolent because it becomes MUCH harder for a government to use extreme force to get its way. No government can maintain the ‘moral high ground’ if it fires on unarmed protestors, as I think the last Czar learned the hard way. Even Hitler learned that peaceful methods, i.e., politics, was the way to have a successful revolution.

              In recent history, would we have stopped the Viet Nam war, or would we have gotten the Civil Rights Act passed if both sides had guns? Wouldn’t that have just convinced the government that they were ‘morally right’ in shooting their own people? When both sides have guns, what always seems to happen is a civil war which is extremely damaging to a country no matter who wins.

              1. Roland

                Cossacks and Guards slaughtered street protesters in Petersburg many times before the day they finally shrugged and said, “Sorry, boss!”

                As a Historian, you can just flip a few pages forward, skimming over all the times people got mowed down, ridden over, routed, defeated and mocked by the goons who protect the rulers. At the end of this skimming process, you happily conclude that the people don’t need to be armed because, after all, they’ll eventually win in the next chapter.

                But don’t you understand how many times the people like me got beaten, because people like me could only holler and throw rocks?

                Another thing: there is nothing to prevent an armed population from pursuing non-violent options.

                Now do you get higher rates of homicide, suicide, and accident when the population are heavily armed? Of course. How not? Weapons are dangerous. Armed people are dangerous people. That’s the point.

                But the nice thing, and plainly evident, is that the society ten times better armed is not ten times more murderous–nowhere near it. One can live safely in an armed society. All the more so, when you think that in the USA about half the murders are related to the prohibition of narcotics. Guns kill, but so do bad laws.

            2. Basil Pesto

              None of my comment, though, was immaterial in addressing what ambrit wrote in reply to Kev. I was directly addressing his insinuation. I wasn’t pre-emptivey future replying to your post. On which, incidentally:

              Suppressing dissent is much easier if the population is unarmed.

              Is this anything more than an assumption? A slogan? A fantastical fever-dream of the warrior competency that apparently lies dormant within each and every one of us? Owning a gun is one thing, mobilising a competent ad hoc paramilitary force with your gun-owning mates to do some locked-and-loaded dissenting is quite another.

  16. lakecabs

    Amazon Warehouse

    It needs a strong union presence.

    Not for 15 dollar an hour jobs but 50 dollars an hour.

    That money would go into the local community.

    Instead of going to another penis rocket launch.

    Tax the rich Unionize.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Lakecabs, I agree with you this morning sir.

      I’ve been thinking over my response to your comment last weekend with the comparison of two counties, one I assume to be rural(never having been there) and one I assume to be more urban and suburban. I think we saw in the rural county that death rates are nearly twice as high among those that get COVID.
      That made me think of some posts from Amfortas where he described the difficulties of getting vaccinated in his rural setting. So maybe(probably?) some sort of disservice is at play here and I’m sorry if my comment ignored that.
      In my reply I tried to invoke a thought experiment asking if you would consider masking if your county was identified as a reservoir. A comment from Lambert later in the week made me realize my own urban/sub-urban county could easily be in a similar situation what with homeless camps and evictions that shouldn’t exist and be happening in the first place.
      Finally, I remember you mentioning suicides and ruination from economic hardship from COVID. I would have thought all the money for pandemic aid should have ameliorated that, but I think we both know who got richer over the last two years.

      1. lakecabs

        I had no problem with you expressing your view point.

        I wear a mask when at risk people have no choice but to go. Like a doctor’s office etc.

        Also being on this site I am pretty good with social distancing.

        If I am in a place with poor ventilation I leave.

    2. cnchal

      You are missing the point. No matter how much Amazon paid their exploitees, the pace of work wears a body out in a couple of years. Even were that pace cut in half it would still not be a long term survivable jawb.

      Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

      Misunderstanding where Bezos makes his money leads you to the wrong conclusion. His money does not come from salary draws or putting a buck from every piece of crapola Jeff sells into a bank account and then spending it.

      The penis rocket launch is funded by marks playing in Mr. Market’s sandbox. Bezos sells his stawk confetti at the rate of at least a billion per year and earlier this year he sold $5 billion if not moar.

  17. Nikkikat

    Thanks for the interesting cat research and the crow article NC very enjoyable. Also good to know how much my cats love me. I may have a pair of unusually affectionate cats.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The Appeal of Artists Who Won Fame After Death”

    I wondered if the appeal was based on the idea that your should never meet you heroes but got distracted. This article starts by talking about a photographer – Vivian Maier – and the body of her work. I went looking and found a website that seems to have a ton of her stuff and the experts are right. They are amazing photographs and give a view of an America that no longer exists which I can very much recommend-

  19. fresno dan

    Loudoun County, Virginia: A Culture War in Four Acts Matt Taibbi (furzy). Important.
    How much does a subscription to Taibbi cost? If you subscribe to substack, does it include all the contributors, or is every additional contributor an extra charge?

    1. fresno dan

      December 11, 2021 at 10:24 am
      I saw that article. I used to walk the trails in a undeveloped area near where I lived. What had been a situation where I didn’t see deer for the initial decade that I lived there, there was a population explosion of them and scarcely a day passed that I didn’t see one. Eventually they were walking about the townhouse development I lived in (making flower planting pointless). Car/deer collisions increased dramatically, but what I noticed was that the understory under the trees disappeared. Not a sapling nor shrub could survive the all consuming deer. Just another example of how nature out of balance has all sorts of deleterious effects…

      1. Bart Hansen

        The Understory: Our property in rural VA consists of seven acres of mostly wooded land. At any one time there are 4-6 local does that graze around the house and in neary woods. My wife tells me that in the winter the deers’ stomachs change such that they can eat all kinds of non-green forest litter.

        That number of 4-6 deer pretty much stays steady, in spite of each doe having one or two fawns in the late spring. Firearms abound here abouts.

  20. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Tesla “gaming while driving” thingey

    It’s my understanding that hands-free telephone conversations are not all that safe, as the conversation absorbs attention, distracting the driver from what is happening in his field of view.

    And this is true of conversations with passengers, too — though the passengers provide additional sets of eyes on the road, which mitigates the distraction risk somewhat.


    I wonder whether listening to music or radio news or talk programs would also have similar attention-deficit effects.

    Maybe a useful future safety feature would be to have “black boxes” in ground vehicles that can preserve a record of what was happening in the ‘cockpit’ in the seconds prior to crashes. This might be really useful for development of methods to reduce the frequency of road accidents.

    Doubtless there would be privacy concerns.

    1. Tom Stone

      All newer cars have what amounts to surveillance suites.
      Some include cameras, all track the location and performance of the vehicle and report it to the mothership in near real time and all have audio pickups.
      Gotcher cellphone with you?
      Do you connect it to your car with bluetooth?

      There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a modern car.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Don’t forget that the infrastructure bill is said to contain a provision for a remotely controlled kill switch in all cars sold in the USA beginning a few years from passage.

      2. TimH

        Indeed. So even if it doesn’t bother some people for their own car, everyone should remember to clear the BT phone connection and stored contacts in rentals before handing ’em back.

      3. Carolinian

        They have it but I don’t think these cell spies are turned on by default. Services like Onstar typically have to be paid for and activated by the owner. At any rate it’s a question that has been asked here before and some of us would very much like a definitive answer.

        1. TimH

          From 11 years ago, email to me from CS:

          “If you’ve decided to decline the OnStar service, at your request OnStar can deactivate the service in your vehicle. Once the OnStar service has been deactivated, the OnStar call center has no way to communicate with your vehicle (i.e. we’d be unable to call, track, perform any remote services, etc.) unless someone presses the OnStar button from inside the vehicle to have the system reactivated. If you have an OnStar account and would like the OnStar hardware deactivated, please call 1-877-248-2079 for further assistance.

          If you’re requesting to have the OnStar hardware disabled or removed from your vehicle, unfortunately this is not something OnStar can assist with. This is something you would need to pursue independently with your dealership. If you do choose to have the hardware disabled, the attached disablement acknowledgment form must be completed and faxed to the number provided.”

          Note the weasel wording “the OnStar call center has no way to communicate” as opposed to “there is no way to communicate”.

          1. Carolinian

            My Hyundai has a similar service called BlueLink that you have to subscribe to and includes phone number etc. On the “head unit” (used to be called “radio”) there’s a screen for turning both the cell radio and wifi radios in the head unit on and off. So in theory you do have control over these. Logically it’s hard to see why any car company would want to track their customers’ cars en mass unless they are making some money out of it since it would involve maintaining a cell account. Of course when you use your smartphone you are usiing the phone’s cell connection, not the car’s. And if the government wants to track you then easy enough to get one of their G-men to stick a gps tracker under the fender.

            It’s not that I’m particularly worried about Hyundai following me around (and I seriously doubt that they do). I’d just like to know the facts or even the law if there is one.

    2. lordkoos

      From my own experience, listening to things like podcasts and audio books don’t seem to impact my driving in any negative way, and they certainly make the miles go by more quickly on a long trip. However looking at a screen just seems crazy.

    3. rowlf

      I wonder whether listening to music or radio news or talk programs would also have similar attention-deficit effects.

      I find with listening to NPR I start looking for gravel haulers and bridge abutments to run into. Talk radio makes me try to develop Scanners style abilities.

      Cpt Obvious here, most Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) and Flight Data Recorders (FDR) are painted orange with reflective stripes and have a pinger to make them easier to find. Black boxes are just regular computers and radios. Modern practice is to have all or more of the flight data that would go to a FDR also transmit by cell phone after every flight leg for trend and safety analysis, now that storage and computing power is bigger and cheaper.

  21. Ghost in the Machine

    “Pretty funny this. It’s like the UN General Assembly voting on the militarization of Hawaii.”

    I always thought the crimea analogy with Hawaii was a good one. Vacation spot and crucial naval base. Conquered by the Russian empire in the late 1700s. Attached to the Ukraine substate of the Soviet Union in the 1950s. The original tartars were cleansed by Stalin after WW2 and now it is majority Russian in ethnicity. If anything Russia has a more solid claim than the US has over Hawaii. Similar histories with the Russian conquest happening much earlier. But really these are rationalizations. What is that saying? The strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must…hard to find good people in power anywhere

    1. Dftbs

      Perhaps, but lost in that maudlin sentiment about “power” is the reality that it’s not always and everywhere exercised in the same manner. Case in point, what the Russians are trying to do it for Crimea’s water supply and what the US has done to Hawaii’s water.

  22. Samuel Conner

    The tame crow story is wonderful and also thought-provoking.

    I wonder if it would be possible to domesticate certain birds and
    train them to do useful work in the garden.

    Birds that can understand human language (not sure that Cosmo does,
    but at least he does seem to make accurate associations) might be
    really useful.

    Me: “Cosmo, would you kindly check the potato patch for Colorado beetle larvae?”

    Cosmo: “F@ck off!”

    That would make my day.

  23. Duarte Guerreiro

    Just took a couple of trains and now boarded a plane at Luton airport (near London). Lots of people not wearing masks, wearing them under the nose, etc. despite the new rules. This includes the staff.

    It was especially bad at Luton, almost no staff wearing masks. The covid document checks were a joke. We just flashed a couple of QR codes and were nodded forward. Later my companion had to remove her mask in a crowded non ventilated area for a photo check. No social distancing whatsoever. Giant joke.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > Later my companion had to remove her mask in a crowded non ventilated area for a photo check.

      These checks may be inescapable; my bank requires them before passing from foyer into the customer area.

      One can hope that they are brief enough that one can hold one’s breath, avoiding inhalation, exhalation, or speech, during the check.

      Not looking forward to this Winter.

      1. JBird4049

        Huh? WTF does one need a “photo check,” especially during a pandemic that spreads by aerial transmission?

        I do not have to have a photo check when I go to my credit union and I live in the land of the cowed and home of the fearful. Is this some kind of suicidal, Orwellian, crowd control thing? A “We had to destroy the village in order to save the village?” to be safe from from the horrible something, something?

        If there is a need for a mask, it almost certainly overrides any need for a photo check; what kind of danger is worse than a frequently crippling, occasionally lethal, and mutating disease during a pandemic could this check supposedly provide protection from?

        Seriously, this is not a joke question or a snide remark.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I don’t know what the justification is, but at my bank, there is a sign on the foyer inner door requesting that masks be briefly removed before entering the customer service area.

          There’s a camera on the foyer, so maybe they want ID information in the event of subsequent criminal activity by masked ‘patrons’.

          I’m not happy about it either. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long, and I do hold my breath.

          Lately, I’ve been limiting myself to the ‘drive thru’ (or, in my case, the ‘bike thru’) window.

          There is no “disclose entire face” demand there, so maybe the concern really is about robbery at the teller windows inside.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Maybe instead of holding your breath, you should draw a deep breath before entering that building and when unmasked slowly breath out through your nose while having your mouth closed to stop that air getting into your throat and nasal passages.

  24. lance ringquist

    the saker article misses the obvious, all of the rube goldberg free trade contraptions are basically fascism in disguise. the E.U., the W.T.O. etc. are basically organizations dedicated to predatory capitalism.

    the founding fathers of the free trade E.U. included former Nazis, an Italian fascist, and a French collaborator

    nazi lawyers even stated that the roots of fascism can be traced back to free trade, and fascism is based on free trade

    the nazis knew there was no evidence at all that free trade helped people, its exactly opposite

    nice article explaining the intricacies of free trade, fredick hayek, fascism and the ties that bind all 3 together, they are inseparable: their Achilles heel is democracy

    Globalization led Hitler to the American dream: hitler clearly was enamored by globalization and free trade, he based Mein Kampf on it, he also based the E.U. free trade zone on on it

  25. Jason Boxman

    The governors of Maine and New York deployed the National Guard in response to dangerously low capacity at statewide medical facilities due to the pandemic.

    And because hospitals run to maximize profit don’t like spare capacity?

    1. GF

      Don’t these National Guard nurses, doctors etc have day jobs as nurses, doctors etc? Are they being pulled from their current medical oriented job when called up? Who takes over their day jobs while they are away?

      1. IM Doc

        Sssshhh –

        Don’t tell anyone – that is a secret – that no one is supposed to be allowed to ruminate over.

        But in all seriousness – the National Guard in my state has had a presence in the hospitals for a few months now. I am not sure we would be able to survive without them – the depletion of regular employees has become so devastating.

        An actual MD or DO is fairly unusual in their ranks. That is even true of RNs. The few of them that have medical training are basically field medics. That kind of experience is something we can dearly use in the hospitals right now. However, for the most part, the National Guard here are being used for all the other positions – orderlies, front desk people, patient transporters, meal delivery, etc. The ranks of those regular employees in the hospitals have been absolutely torpedoed and these troops have been a welcome relief. However, this is in no way a permanent fix. Most of these Guardsmen have only basic rudimentary medical training. They are very eager to learn and I have been doing all I can to help in that regard. And I am in no way criticizing them. They have saved us and our communities.

        But it is essential for our political leaders to understand – it takes at least 10 years to train an MD. It takes at least 4-6 years to train an RN. Even the more mundane jobs that the CNAs and orderlies and clerks do in the hospital are just simply not intuitively obvious. It takes training and patience to do even the most simple task – for example walking a demented little old lady down the hall.

        You cannot invent these folks out of thin air. When these employees have resigned in the past 6 months or so – literally decades of experience walked out the doors with them. And FIRING them is the absolute peak of imbecility. One of the hospitals I know well fired over 200 people in the past 2 months. I will simply say that the VP of risk management, who I know well, in that organization called me this week and will be submitting their resignation this coming week. They can no longer handle the stress. They are averaging many multiples a week above average of potential lawsuits because the care has gotten so tenuous.

        The thought that you can just stick used car dealers and accountants that are weekend warriors into these roles and have it be “OK” is simply ludicrous.

        I have no idea what is going to be the next phase of the plan once the pandemic is calming down. The hospitals and nursing homes are still going to be cratered.

        This is not just COVID. For decades, it was obvious that there were not near enough doctors and nurses being trained. And to make things worse – there was an extreme imbalance in the specialties chosen by the grads. The economic pressure of medical school has caused most med graduates to gravitate to things like DERM and ORTHO which we do not need and the primary care fields are just withering. Over the past 10-20 years, we have been stealing docs and nurses from other countries to do our primary care. But no one ever thought to ask what would happen if the ready supply of foreign help was no longer available. Now the big push is to have nurse practitioners fill in these roles – but LOL funny is the fact that the NPs are avoiding primary care like the plague as well.

        Just to understand the scope of the problem – our hospital has had 11 positions advertised in the local paper for the past 3 months. They had ONE application for ONE position this past week.

        We have a big problem. We will see what happens.

      2. newcatty

        It probably is true that some National Guard deployed to work in medical facilities are nurses and doctors. Seems reasonable. IIRC, IM Doc commented on fact that National Guards, with no medical training, were being called to care for patients. Emphasized was the fact the Guard were being ordered to care for elderly in nursing homes. They had no training to care for the patients at all. As noted by the doc, caring for most of the seriously ill, often bed ridden, required training in how to move them so as to not do any harm. Along with other knowledge and training for many other needs. As is said around here often, “What could go wrong?”

        Reminds me of colleagues during Iraq war , who had spouses in the Guard. One day, two at same time just burst into tears, while at lunch. They both were informed by spouses that they would be “serving” in Iraq. They were shocked. Uh, wasn’t their spouses just supposed to play soldier on weekends? Of course to actually serve in natural disasters, like after tornados. Predict, not supported by many, that the draft will be “reinstated” for “national security” and to protect and defend America and her “allies” to preserve peace, democracy, national interests, Apple pie and Western values.

        1. Carolinian

          So are we going to fire people and then draft them back? Empire of Chaos indeed.

          I’ve read that Britain’s NHS only gets by through heavy dependence on workers from overseas–often from one of Britain’s former colonies. Here at home it could be that young people are under motivated to commit to the years of training described by IM Doc above only to end up working for a hedge fund.

    1. Nikkikat

      He made some beautiful music. I was 12 when the monkees tv show first aired. I remember figuring out right away this was the only guy that seemed to know anything about music in the group.
      Years later I came across a little ad in the back of rolling stone.
      It said call this number and find out what Mike Nesmith has been up to. I called and a recorded message talked about seeing groups perform their songs on video and a station to watch them.
      It turned out to be MTV. This guy was always ahead of his time.
      I also won a trivia contest at a club for knowing his mother invented white out.

      1. urblintz

        Another good soul escapes the mortal coil. M. Nesmith was a fine musician, under-appreciated to be sure. “Joanne” and “Different Drum” are just two of many great songs he wrote, unassociated with the Monkees. What most people don’t know is that Peter Tork was also exceptional, playing at a high level of accomplishment on 5 or 6 instruments as diverse as french horn, keyboards, banjo and and both bass and lead guitar. He emerged from the folk scene in G’wich village, moved west coast and became a Monkee, then went his own way, ending his final decades playing what he loved the most: blues. A serious and well trained musician from an early age, Tork became famous playing the fool of the foursome and did it so well most people didn’t know he had first rate musical chops.

  26. fresno dan
    That otter hurt.
    A Singapore resident was hospitalized after a bizarre animal attack last month in which he was accosted by a gang of otters, who reportedly bit him 26 times.
    “I actually thought I was going to die – they were going to kill me,” British native Graham George Spencer told the Straits Times of the otterly frightening encounter, which occurred Nov. 30 while he was strolling to the Singapore Botanic Gardens with a friend.
    otterly ridiculous – but until it is debunked, with otter information, the story won’t be retracted…

    1. griffen

      The man can’t travel, or possibly sit. It hurts each time, because where they bit.

      Okay not funny for anyone to be gang-attacked by otters. Maybe he tastes like chicken and the otters prefer fish?

    2. Raymond Sim

      I bet that fight was supposed to be fixed. The poor guy probably thought the otters would take a dive.

  27. ahimsa

    Re the Eric Topol tweet:

    Is this suggestive of Original Antigenic Sin?
    ie. could kids have better outcomes partially because they are less likely to have had previous exposure to other coronaviruses than older age groups?

    Is Omicron’s vaccine escape and prevalence among the vaccinated also potentially due to OAS?
    i.e. is vaccinating with a vax designed for the wild variant still a good idea when when we have already seen reduced effectiveness/protection against Delta and now here comes Omicron??

    1. Raymond Sim

      For what it’s worth, Omicron is behaving pretty much exactly the way I expected it would, based on the US experience with Delta and what the folks doing computer modeling of Omicron’s structure and functioning have had to say about its features and enhancements.

      I think those analyses are ‘Tab A fits Slot B’ stuff compared to subtleties like OAS.

  28. shinola

    Here’s hoping that any of y’all who may have been in or near the path of that vicious line of storms early this a.m. survived AOK. Looks like Mo./Ar./Tn./Ky took hits – some places hit hard.

    1. LawnDart

      I really hope that those who didn’t survive (RIP) don’t start responding to your post– we got enough to worry about.

    2. saywhat?

      Strangely (or not), I had exciting dreams of tornados last night but, unlike nighttime victims, I could see them coming and take the best available shelter.

      Years ago, my baby brother was (the story goes) spared when a tornado destroyed buildings up to his apartment building and then raised up, passed over it, lowered down and resumed its path of destruction.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Saw this on the news an hour or so ago and it mentioned that rescuers had not found any alive the past twelve hours looking which sounds ominous.

  29. Chris

    No mention of Atlantic owner Laurene Powell Job’s paling around with G. Maxwell on the supposed fake child sex trafficking article?

  30. Geo

    Review of “Killing Bad Guys” made me order the book. Thanks for posting it. The closing paragraph is solid:

    “They hate what they see here in this chamber – a democratically elected government. They hate our freedom: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” That many people around the world, especially in the Middle East, would disagree with this is obvious. But it is not obvious inside the US, where it matters most. Bush’s statement was not picked up on, mostly because of the failure of the media to explain to the American public and opinion-makers how the rest of the world sees America. Anyone wishing to start understanding how imperial projections of power across a world region like the Middle East generate reactions of hate, revenge and resistance, would do well to get immersed in the details of war victims so well explored in Lara Marlowe’s book.

  31. FreeMarketApologist

    Re removing the Sackler’s name from the Met museum:

    Article doesn’t note whether the Met refunded any of their donation. (As was done across town when Avery Fisher hall was renamed).

    1. Jen

      FWIW my “small liberal arts college” now has standard language in all gift and endowment agreements basically saying that if it turns out you were involved in something heinous, we’re removing your name and keeping the money.

      What will happen with the Black Family Visual Arts Center, which was endowed before this new practice, remains to be seen.

Comments are closed.