Links 12/16/2021

Buffalo flipping over a turtle reddit (drumlin wookchuckles)

Bird songs bump stars off Australian music chart BBC (David L)

Beavers Misbehave. Canadians Love Them Anyway. New York Times (resilc)

Neandertals were the first hominids to turn forest into grassland 125,000 years ago Science News (Kevin W)

After a Tornado Blew His Roof Away, He Played Piano Under an Open Sky New York Times

Inching Toward His Due: On Two New Translations of Kleist Los Angeles Review of Books (Anthony L)

Antibiotic Use in US Farm Animals Was Falling. Now It’s Not Wired

Heavy metals in cannabis plants could affect human health, study finds New Atlas (David L)



Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron’s immune evasion potential (Kevin W)

Moderna vaccine no match for omicron except with booster, study finds NPR (David L)

Ancient Greek drug could cut COVID-19 deaths – Israeli scientist Jerusalem Post. IM Doc:

Yes – that may really work – colchicine has been an amazing all around anti-inflammatory drug for centuries. It is being used more and more for all kinds of stuff.

When I was fresh out in practice, literally a 2 liter bottle of pills could be had for pennies.

Then a few years ago – colchicine got SHKRELI’d – and it is now hundreds of dollars for 5 days.

Notice though how in Israel it is described as cheap medication –

Well – it is everywhere else in the world – but not in the USA. It was 30 years ago – but not anymore.

And about Pharma patents. Since this drug was used heavily by Henry VIIII for his gout – seriously doubt it is a patent. No – it was our own stupidity and greed that allowed the fleecing to occur. They are now slowly doing the same exact thing to insulin.

Troubling spike in pregnant people dying of Covid with 40% of deaths in last four months as vaccine refused The Sun (resilc)


GM: “First country to come at least partially to its senses.”


Please read entire tweetstorm:

German police foil ‘anti-vaxxer murder plot’ against state premier Reuters


CDC issues grim forecast warning weekly US COVID cases will jump 55% to 1.3 MILLION by Christmas Day Daily Mail (J-LS)

Gorsuch’s Crusade Against Vaccine Mandates Could Topple A Pillar of Public Health Slate (David L)

‘Dropping Like Flies’: Omicron Brings Fresh COVID Hell to Cornell Daily Beast (David L)

Two major airline CEOs question the need for masks on planes CNN (Kevin W). Pretty clear this position is about avoiding altercations with rule-breaking passengers, as opposed to safety, per below:

Vaccine Makers Funneled Undisclosed Campaign Cash in 2020 Intercept (resilc).

The U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program at One Year: How Many Deaths and Hospitalizations Were Averted? Commonwealth Fund

How a Kennedy built an anti-vaccine juggernaut amid COVID-19 Associated Press (resilc)

AmazonSmile donated more than $40,000 to anti-vaccine groups in 2020 Guardian. Does not rise to the level of couch lint but still not a good look

The Wellness Real Estate Company Cashing in on Pandemic Fears New Republic

COP26/Climate Change

Collapse of Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf by intersecting fractures AGU. PlutoniumKun: I know this was covered, but this is a very good and comprehensive plain English explanation for why this is very, very serious.

The Attack On Rooftop Solar Power In California Is Beyond Stupid CleanTechnica (Kevin W)

Extreme winds, dust storms and warm temperatures are hitting much of the Midwest NPR (Kevin W). One major is communities being hit by tornadoes or hurricane-level winds that haven’t had them. Not only are the building codes typically not adequate, but the locals will often not take the threat seriously enough.


Xi Jinping’s Leadership Style: Micromanagement That Leaves Underlings Scrambling Wall Street Journal. Um, I recall that was true of Steve Jobs.


‘Right to Dignity Irrespective of Vocation’: SC Orders Govts to Issue ID Cards to Sex Workers The Wire (J-LS)

Old Blighty

Cocaine use at Westminster to be raised with Met Police, Lindsay Hoyle says The National. Resilc: “UK now all makes sense.”

New Cold War

The ghost of Georgia 2008 should be haunting Kiev right now Andrew Cockburn, Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Russia shows no sign of retreat on invading Ukraine Asia Times


Israel Finds Planes That Could Be Key to a Strike on Iran Badly Back-Ordered New York Times

Israel Knesset moves closer to enacting law that will give police more power over Arab citizens The Cradle (guurst)

SMEX: Israel’s presence at Expo Dubai 2020 Is a threat to digital rights Global Voices (resilc)

In the Shadow of 2021 Gaza Conflict: Evangelical and Born-Again Christian Views of the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute ResearchGate

Teachers’ Strikes Across Iran EA WorldView (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A new untethered and insect-sized aerial vehicle PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Revealed: LAPD used ‘strategic communications’ firm to track ‘defund the police’ online Guardian (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Avoiding the Worst in Ukraine and Taiwan Jeffrey Sachs, Project Syndicate (Kevin C)

A lotta nerve: UAE threatens to back out of F-35 deal Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Rejecting Biden pressure to distance itself from China, Emirates suspends $23 bn F-35 Deal Juan Cole (resilc)

It’s US against the world: The Americans eliminate competitors through economic terrorism Pravda (resilc)


The U.S. military men spreading Trump’s baseless fraud claims Reuters (furzy)


‘Going very poorly’: Biden can’t nail Manchin down on Dems’ bill Politico (Kevin W). Pretty stunning that Biden is acting like he could budge Manchin now. If Manchin were bribable or coercible by means Biden was willing to use, he would have fallen in line long ago.

Democratic talks with Manchin show signs of melting down The Hill. Manchin retrading a deal again.

Biden presses forward with February 2022 resumption of student loan repayments WSWS

Medicare Privatization Scheme Faced Legal Questions About Profiteering Intercept (resilc)

Pelosi says whether Congress members should trade stock RT (Kevin W)

Voting Fraud Charges for 3 in Florida’s Villages New York Times (resilc)


Gun and Done Michael Moore (furzy)

Children’s of Alabama reports 60% increase in pediatric firearm injuries this year WRBC. Poor gun safety, like guns in bedside table drawers, combined with kids more at home.

The unbearable whiteness of being an academic Ed West (Anthony L)

Container Imports Tumble at Los Angeles, Long Beach Ports Wall Street Journal. First para:

Container imports at the largest U.S. gateway for seaborne goods trade fell sharply in November, even as backups of ships waiting to unload cargo at the Southern California ports have been growing.

Fed will aggressively dial back its bond buying, sees three rate hikes next year CNBC. Even Bloomberg op-ed writers are pointing out the Fed can’t do anything about inflation when workers won’t take jobs even with higher wages on offer.

Guillotine Watch

Residents “livid” over £450 daily cost of heating Sky Pool DeZeen (resilc)

Class Warfare

Pharmacy Worker Nationwide Walkout December 20th – Rabbi & Ironworkers Picket Strayer CEO House Again – SC School Bus Drivers Strike Mike Elk Notice the walkout date.

The Working Class is Not Voting Against Its Interests CounterPunch

Antidote du jour. Please give Mike K your condolences:

This is Penny. She passed away unexpectedly today (12/13/21) from a blood clot at age 10. This is about the only picture I have of her that isn’t blurry as her favorite activity was chasing anything that moved. She just got back from the beauty parlor and was excited to show off her new hairdo. She was a great companion.

And a bonus (John Siman):

And another bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Ancient Greek drug could cut COVID-19 deaths – Israeli scientist”

    Considering the fact that this stuff has been in use for at lest 3,500 years, perhaps the FDA do not consider that it has had time to pass its initial trials for safety. Went looking for info on why it had become so expensive and came across an article that said ‘As part of its Unapproved Drugs Initiative designed to remove unapproved drugs from the market by means of a “risk-based enforcement program” that concentrates on products that “pose the highest threat to public health and without imposing undue burdens on consumers, or unnecessarily disrupting the market,” the FDA in September 2010 ordered a halt to the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of unapproved single-ingredient oral colchicine.’ This sounds like something that Fauci did during the AIDS epidemic when in 1987, the FDA changes its regulations, making any unapproved drug illegal. You read that article and find that it was all about giving a Pharma corporation an exclusive over this stuff. Why am I not surprised-

    1. vlade

      TBH, colchitine is very toxic. It is one of the toxic alcaloids in fire lilly. Which is used as a theraupetic in Africa/India, but also to create poisoned arrows, and induce miscarriages.

      There’s a number, can’t remember what it’s called, that’s a ratio of effective (therapeutic) dose vs lethal dose, and for colchitine it’s quite low, meaning that a lethal overdose is fairly easy to achieve. It is even more dangerous for people who have problems with kidneys, as they can reach the lethal dose even with normal therapeutic dosage.

      1. gottarun

        yeah well i have used it for 40 years and so have my colleagues without one case of anything other than minor toxicity that consisted of diarrhea

      2. CoryP

        Therapeutic index. Colchicine is a fascinating drug that seems to be useful for many things but I wouldn’t describe it as safe.

        Unlike ivermectin, if you had tons of people self medicating with colchicine I think you would see a lot of adverse consequences.

        1. vlade

          Thanks, that’s the bunny (therapeutic index).

          Given that we have seen people overdosing on ivermectin (never mind the smart cookies who still insist that a solution of chlorine dioxide works), I’d really loath general population trying colchicine on their own.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, it is extremely difficult to OD on Ivermectin. The cases of people getting sick on Ivermectin is much more likely due to reacting badly to the animal ingredients in literal horse paste.

            In fact, it’s blindingly obvious that if anyone gets sick on Ivermectin, it’s due to them using a non-human version, either the things to make it palatable to/more digestible by critters, or getting the translation from horse dose to human dose very badly wrong.

            Ivermectin was generally well tolerated, with no indication of associated CNS toxicity for doses up to 10 times the highest FDA-approved dose of 200 microg/kg.


            1. vlade

              That was my point – that given some people ODed even on the extremely-hard-to-overdose-on Ivermectin (and as you say, most of the case I heard of were taking the horse dose, no pun intended), having the masses taking colchicine w/o medical supervision is downright asking for troubles.

    2. lordkoos

      …unnecessarily disrupting the market” — wow. It looks like colchicine tablets are available from foreign pharmacies online, but it’s a major pain to get them that way, and you would still need a US doctor prescription I think.

    1. Carla

      Mike K, thank you for sharing Penny with us — a sprightly, vibrant soul for sure. So sorry for your loss.

    2. Susan the other

      Yes, Penny looks like she was a good friend. She looks like my daughter’s schnocker – very hyper and affectionate.

      1. Susan the other

        Also the other 2 antidotes are great – I wonder if elephants tease each other like that. And the two kitties watching Tom and Jerry was surprising. Fun stuff.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “The unbearable whiteness of being an academic”

    Strange this. This is the second article that I have seen in Links talking about white people claiming to be black or indigenous. And yet, like that other article, it never brings up the name of its most infamous example – Elizabeth Warren and her claim to have Cherokee ancestry. One omission is happenstance but twice is getting to be a pattern. Are some politicians off-limits for such criticisms or is it because it is a Democrat/Republican thing because Trump used that against her?

    1. marym

      Unlike the people in the story Warren didn’t build a career, personal relationships, or on-line persona around being a Cherokee. There’s a brief mention of people lying on their college application, which is similar to what Warren did, but the linked article doesn’t indicate whether that statistic translates into building a life around the lie.

      The author may be Warren’s biggest fan, for all I know, and her lie is certainly relevant to an evaluation of her as a politician or a person, but doesn’t seem particularly relevant to the story.

      1. mike

        using it on an application which results in you becoming a Harvard professor… is certainly building your career off of it. The irony is that white people keep getting caught pretending to be POC… and at the same time we are told that white people have all of the systemic advantages…. those two things are at odds with each other

        1. marym

          I was thinking she used the story more like a check mark on a resume/application, than say, ending up teaching in that field. I agree the whole range from lying as a check mark to creating a lifestyle and life story is full of contradictions.

        2. enoughisenough

          they’re not at odds. They’re 2 sides of the same coin.

          White people have systemic advantages. Period. Ways to ameliorate these advantages, like affirmative action, some white people ALSO try to take advantage of.

          Pretty egregious.

            1. juno mas

              Sure they do. It’s when already advantaged people enhance their chances for success by pretending to be something they’re not that generates the gob-smacks.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Like hell she didn’t. Warren repeatedly dredged up that canard any time it gave her an (unfair) edge. A long pattern of phoniness and deception. This was covered extensively here during the 2020 primary sham.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Heavy metal and cannabis–

    About as close as I ever get to heavy metal is Led Zeppelin. Megadeath and Girl Scout Cookies just don’t seem compatible to me.

    But here comes the amazing cannabis plant and demonstrates yet another capability: phytoremediation. I spent last night telling people at a Zoom meeting of Cleveland activists and NGO-ers about how we could use phyto- and myco-remediation as a cheap, low tech, low capital way of decontaminating the myriad (literally thousands) of vacant lots we have in Cleveland after the demolition of houses, factories and warehouses over the past decades. Most of these lots have lead contamination, and many have multiple types of toxicity from leaking gasoline tanks, factories spewing heavy metal contaminants, demolition of houses with lead paint, etc., etc., etc.

    The idea grew out of the final assignment of the Common Earth course. After learning about systems thinking, Doughnut Economics and regenerative agriculture, we were assigned the task of coming up with a local (to us) project that would sequester carbon. My proposed project envisioned putting local neighborhood activists and gardeners together with soil scientists and permaculture designers to come up with a cheap, safe protocol for removing toxins from our vacant lots in Cleveland so that this land can be turned into permaculture food forests that are providing food for these neighborhoods while helping to save the planet by sequestering carbon. The idea was that neighborhood residents would be trained to test soil carbon and would be paid with grant money for carbon they put in the soil.

    People seem to be intrigued, even excited by the idea. I was asked to present the proposal to both “second semester” Common Earth classes to an enthusiastic response, and last night, I was invited to present it to a Community of Practice assembly of Cleveland activists and organizers. My plan was to generate some interest for a meeting after the first of the year to which we’d invite some of those soil scientists, botanists, mycologists and permaculture designers, but the consensus last night was that they wanted to meet again before the end of the year to learn and discuss more.

    I remarked last night that our feckless leadership makes me feel like a back-seat passenger in a car driven by a maniac at high speed toward a concrete wall (alternatively, riding in a Tesla on auto-pilot). But there are two things we can do to address our climate catastrophe without having to depend on the fools currently in command on the bridge:

    1) radically reduce our carbon footprint (and I say “radically” because affluent Americans’ carbon footprints are so huge); and

    2) sequester carbon on whatever land we happen to be responsible for whether that’s our front yard or public land or the real estate owned by our employer.

    So now I’m thinking that hemp should be a big part of any phytoremediation effort.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Re cheap old drugs that got expensive. *Sigh* This is the one day per month I have to sacrifice a hospital shift getting patients their cancer letters in a timely way all because an ancient antidepressant (off patent for 60 years and until recently prescribed without question by my GP) is no longer funded by primary care consortia.

      No valid clinical reason. I’m sure it’s coincidence that the single manufacturer charges the UK NHS £800* per month to treat me – why doesn’t a generic competitor come looking and reducing that to £20? There will be predatory pricing and the average age of a patient on this is around 65 and they’re dying off despite fact the trial evidence showing it’s probably the best antidepressant ever produced.

      My health economics training made me do a brief look at what is the common denominator behind this disparate list of drugs that primary care won’t fund anymore, shifting costs back to secondary care trusts. £. So now I gotta do my monthly traipse cross the city to the one pharmacy that can dispense it. And the cancer letters get delayed further. Ridiculous.

      *on patient websites the average USian is given THREE TIMES my dose with identical cost per mg. Wow.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Not sure why this appeared here – I didn’t intend it to be a reply to that post but at least it’s somewhere!

      2. fresno dan

        Terry Flynn
        December 16, 2021 at 8:36 am

        Ancient Greek drug could cut COVID-19 deaths – Israeli scientist Jerusalem Post. IM Doc:
        Yes – that may really work – colchicine has been an amazing all around anti-inflammatory drug for centuries. It is being used more and more for all kinds of stuff.
        When I was fresh out in practice, literally a 2 liter bottle of pills could be had for pennies.
        Then a few years ago – colchicine got SHKRELI’d – and it is now hundreds of dollars for 5 days.
        Notice though how in Israel it is described as cheap medication
        Well – it is everywhere else in the world – but not in the USA. It was 30 years ago – but not anymore.
        And about Pharma patents. Since this drug was used heavily by Henry VIIII for his gout – seriously doubt it is a patent. No – it was our own stupidity and greed that allowed the fleecing to occur. They are now slowly doing the same exact thing to insulin.
        There is also a posting today about whether the US is a democracy. And don’t bring up that bullsh*t about the US being a republic. The USA is corrupt. It is of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy. In every possible way, it is designed, operated, and run to make the rich richer.
        I am just sick of the corruption that precludes this obvious fact from being reported in American mass media – as they say, there is no truth in Fox, and no news in CNN… (EVERY major news operation believes in the “market”)

        1. marym

          fresno dan
          “It is of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy. In every possible way, it is designed, operated, and run to make the rich richer.”

          On any given day, prowling among the links and the tweets, so many stories on so many different topics are that same story.

          1. Rod

            Constant Conditioning is what i took away from Taibbi’s ‘The Divide’ , in which this is certainly a subtext.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      There are some ferns, I think, that are good at accumulating arsenic.

      How would you start the process? Lab test(s) each lot to be remediated?

      I heard someone say that phyto and myco remediation are superior to current methods in at least one respect because you don’t have to truck out the soil.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Testing each lot, yes.

        Trucking out the soil is just not practical with these small, scattered lots of around 5,000 sq. ft. So what’s needed is what I’d call a protocol that’s developed by a team of neighborhood activists, gardeners, etc. with practical knowledge getting dirt under their fingers in this setting along with soil ecologists, mycologists and botanists. Once you have that, then what’s needed next is something like a kit and training so that if three or four people in a neighborhood want to do something about the vacant lots in their neighborhood, there’s a clear path forward with a good chance of success.

        No governmental entity is going to clean up these lots. It’s too expensive to remove the soil.
        No capitalist enterprise is going to do it either unless they can expel everybody from the neighborhood and replace the housing and the people with something more upscale and profitable. So we need a cheap but safe and effective means of making lots that are a dangerous eyesore into land usable for growing food and sequestering carbon.

    3. vao

      A naive question: what do you do with the plants used for phytoremediation?

      I would think that
      a) you cannot ingest them in any way — because they concentrate the noxious substances to be avoided;
      b) you cannot compost them — because this would simply return those substances you want to eliminate back into the soil;
      c) you cannot burn them — because you would contaminate the air and hence other surfaces (when the particulates settle) all around;
      d) you cannot use them for materials that get in contact with the skin, or that release small particles (through friction or wear and tear) that can be inhaled.

      If the plants used were trees, they would at least capture the heavy metals or whatever substance for at least decades, possibly centuries. But an annual plant like cannabis?

      1. Skip Intro

        Reclaim the metals once they are concentrated. The value in the plants is concentrating it from the soil.

      2. Mr. Rogers

        what do you do with the plants used for phytoremediation?

        You trash them. So…. landfill or incinerator. At least that is what the regional soil scientist from the NRCS told me. He also said that there is only so much metal the plants can extract from the soil. At high levels of contamination they do a great job, but once levels drop they lose efficiency. Below a certain threshold they don’t do all that much. The problem is that this threshold is still too high…. above levels that are deemed safe for agricultural use. I took his word for it.

        This conversation was related to the arsenic in one of our urban garden spaces… I have never managed to find great information about soil contamination and what exactly to do about it. Lots of ideas thrown around… (phytoremediation, introduce certain bacteria, increase organic matter) but what I need is a proven protocol to follow.

    4. Stillfeelinthebern

      Very interesting! What do you do with the plants containing the heavy metals? At what rate can they pull the heavy metals out? I’ve heard of planting and leaving trees to pull out heavy metals.

  4. VT Digger

    I must confess with all the headlines turned up to 11 my eyes are glazing over a bit.
    Yes, yes, we’re all doomed.
    Wake me when it’s over?

    1. griffen

      Thinking I’ll pick up a new book to read, this coming after the suggestions earlier in the week.
      That thread was about Stephenson and his pending or new release.

      If the earth ceases to turn, someone will let you know !

  5. Nikkikat

    My condolences to Mike K. There are no gifts more precious than the love of our pets and ours for them. The dark empty feeling as your first thought upon waking is that you must make it though the day without them to share it. God bless

  6. Mikel

    “A friend was at a small party last weekend (11 people). Everyone had neg LFDs first, all vaxxed inc 3 boosted. All windows open. 1 person tested +ve 2 days later. Now another 7/11 have tested +ve (inc my boosted friend) & 2 out of remaining 3 have symptoms & waiting for PCR…”

    In other words, lots of laughing and talking in each other’s faces without masks.

    If I sneeze in your face, windows open wouldn’t mean much.
    Ventilation also includes fans and filters.

    The virus is an airborne aerosol. It doesn’t just spray in one direction or “drop” in droplets. It lingers in air.

  7. The Rev Kev

    Gotta admit that Penny was one good looking dog. As I have said before, some pets are pets. Other pets become family. My condolences.

  8. Sawdust

    They’re really pulling out the stops with the vaccine propaganda. It must be worse than we thought.

    1. Questa Nota

      Eagerly awaiting open, honest discussion of which people and groups are exempt, because, well, just because of course they are.

      There could even be Bingo Card apps to track the lucky ones. Think of that as Gaslight 2.0 or are we up to 3.0?

    2. Nikkikat

      Noticed this propaganda also. Articles all over internet this morning. Vaccines better than testing. Vaccines best defense. Vaccines don’t work unless boosted. CDC meeting to discuss J&j blood clot issues, odds are 1 in 1 million for 18-49 age group. Clearly pushing Pfizer again. More about testing not as good as vaccination.

    3. lordkoos

      Wife and myself went in for our booster shots yesterday at a local supermarket pharmacy. We would have preferred to have gone to the clinic but they had a limited supply and a waiting list and we wanted to get it done ASAP. (Odd that a clinic has a wait time while pharmacies have plenty of doses.)

      There were two women administering the jabs. I asked them to aspirate the injections and neither of these women had a clue what I was talking about. I explained it to them and they complied, but no doubt will return to doing it the way they were (poorly) trained. I imagine this is happening all over the US.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Children’s of Alabama reports 60% increase in pediatric firearm injuries this year”

    Just a wild idea here but how about making a law that says if a child is shot in a household because either the gun or ammunition were not secured, then everybody in that household gets banned from owning a gun – for life. You get bet that with such a law on the books, every mother, father, brother & sister would be making damned sure that those guns are secured. Of course if that happened in the Thomas Massie household, that would be unintentionally hilarious-

    1. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      December 16, 2021 at 8:48 am
      Dare I say it? You know that guy. Long beard. Evolution. Award given named after him…
      Anyway, the idea that guns make you safer is analogous to drunk drivers thinking one for the road is a good idea.

    2. BillS

      In most European countries, accidents resulting from unsecured gunz and ammo will get the owner jail time.

    3. Wukchumni

      Rev Kev,

      Used to be that liberal bastions of size on the left coast bottom corner pocket weren’t allowed CCW permits, but Angelenos are increasingly allowed to conceal their steely dans in keeping up with the joneses in red states…

      In 2018, under former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, 78 total permits were issued in the county. These permits, Nagler said, were largely given to retired law enforcement, judges, reserve deputies and a handful of others. McDonnell’s policies regarding CCW licenses was consistent with decades of previous sheriffs, as well, citing the need to keep guns off the street and out of the hands of gang members.

      But in 2019, the first increase in the number of licenses was seen, with LASD issuing 84 during Villanueva’s first full year in office. By 2020, a total of 238 licenses were issued, over three times more than had been approved in 2018.

      And by the way, if you haven’t seen the movie Gun Crazy from 1950, well, you ought to. Film noir @ it’s finest!

      1. Robert Gray

        > CCW permits … to conceal their steely dans …

        heh heh. Some fanciful meme-creep going on there. :-)

      2. The Rev Kev

        A steely dan? So how does that introduction go? ‘Is that a steely dan that you got there or are you just pleased to see me?’

    4. cgregory

      As 80% of US gun homicides are committed with a weapon that was stolen, lent, given as a gift, sold, pawned, left unsecured, lost, etc., consider what the effects would be if every first-time purchaser of a gun were obligated for the safe use of the weapon throughout its lifetime– e.g., if he sold it to a trusted friend and it was used in a bank heist twenty years later, he’d be an accomplice to the crime.

      First, this would be an upgrade of the definition of “responsible gun owner.” King Arthur was a responsible sword owner; he never let Excalibur pass into unworthy hands. It would also discourage a lot of purchasers, especially the first time a granny went to jail when some street punk was offed by a gun she’d bought as a teenager. As demand for weapons dropped, manufacture would drop. The fear-based ad campaigns which created demand would wither and die. And most of the 11,000 a year who die would have to be killed by other means if at all.

      1. Wukchumni

        One of the commenters on here rather breathlessly wrote about 6 months ago about how knifings were out of control in the UK, and I went and checked the numbers, and murder by knife was about the same here as in the UK, where guns account for a negligible amount of deaths per year.

        Plunging a knife into somebody is fraught with danger to the assailant, as there’s typically a struggle involved and things can go wrong very easily, which is why it doesn’t happen all that often.

        Guns are quite cowardly in comparison…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not just guns. Why just the other day I managed to bag me a passerby with my trusty Olympia SM4 1960 typewriter at 12 yards distance and didn’t even need to sight it. He never even saw it coming but dropped like a bag of potatoes.

    5. Anon

      if the thought of their child shooting themselves doesn’t work, I’m not sure this will, and if it does… wow…

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Biden and Manchin

    I suspect he didn’t try in the first place besides a “c’mon man”, and the Progressive Caucus did hail Biden as the great closer when they folded. It’s on Biden. And a highway bill isn’t going to make enough changes to dig out of the whole Biden isn’t in.

    The failure is squarely on the flailing Biden.

    1. Questa Nota

      Well, he did try a double bank-shot by adding bidets to the BBB. Jawbs, with a plant in Scranton and all that, plus healthcare bennies, too. Or would that qualify as healthcare dexies? /s

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Why hasn’t Manchin been stripped of his committee assignments, like, 10 weeks ago? The Dems are a majority in name only.

    3. jo6pac

      Yes it does. Then again corp. demodogs are using manchin to protect them from doing the right thing for us on Main Street. They know very will what their puppet masters want and it has nothing to do with us 99%.

      As Dr. JC points out it’s just more theater.

    4. nippersdad

      Re: “The failure is squarely on the flailing Biden.”

      That appears to be where Jayapal has been heading since they folded as she just reiterated it again today, but that is going to be of little comfort when what remains of BBB is passed and only ten percent of the lead pipes they promised to replace actually are.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It wasn’t passing that way. It only passes if the failure is laid at Biden’s feet. Now, he can’t blame obstruction on the moderates in Washington. It belongs to the rabid right wing.

  11. Alex

    Re Israel Knesset moves closer to enacting law that will give police more power over Arab citizens

    In case you were wondering, the law doesn’t specify the ethnicity of those subjected to the new rules on search warrants. The context for this is the huge wave of murders and other violent crime in the Arab community. Of course “huge” is relative, the murder rate for the Arab sector is about the same as the general US murder rate. The Arab parties have long demanded police to do its job in their communities and some of them supported this law too. Issawiya Farij from Meretz (!) said that he’s happy to give these powers even to CIA if it helps.

  12. fresno dan

    Leopold Aschenbrenner
    Dec 13, 2021
    This stat still gets me: the Mormon fertility rate is falling precipitously, now barely above replacement (!!)
    I think declining fertility is a good thing. That as women have gotten more autonomy over their bodies, and thought that maybe 2 is better than 12. Or that being a parent is something you MUST do. You know, not every parent is a good parent. We shouldn’t believe that a bad person will be transformed into a good person by being a parent.
    I would not have been a good parent. It doesn’t mean I am a bad human being. And I hate being refuted by, “oh, but I bet you would have been a great father.” NO. Again, NOT being a suited for parenthood does not mean one lacks compassion, empathy, charity, intelligence, patience, or concern for others – it just means for a whole host of reasons one may not have the behaviors and skills neccessary to parent well.
    Like most things in life, parentling just because you can does not mean you should. Humanity figuring that out and acting on it is a good thing.

    1. JP

      I am amazed every time I read someone freaking out over a drop in fertility. There is no threat to humanity I can think of that would not be mitigated by a drop in fertility. The sole reason to support population growth seems to be expanding the economy. Of course there is the sanctity of life argument that logically boils down to humans against all other forms. I would also note the biggest specious argument against abortion, being sanctity of life, ignores the cost to society of unwanted children who grow up to make more unwanted children.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I grew up just up the road from a prolific Mormon family, or at least one generation was. There were two brothers who each had 12-15 children, many of whom I went to school with. My father claims that the Mormon grandfather who had only the two children himself grew a little concerned with his burgeoning stockpile of grandchildren so one day he told the two sons “I realize the good Lord said ‘Be fruitful and multiply and populate the earth’, but He didn’t mean the two of you need to do it all by yourselves.”

  13. The Rev Kev

    “C34A-07 – Collapse of Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf by intersecting fractures. (Invited)”

    Yeah, this looks like one of those sleeper stories. You know. It comes out, people read it in their newspapers and is then forgotten. Then not far down the track when it actually happens, it will be ‘Omygod! Omygod! Omygod!’ And you never know what will set it off- (2:25 mins)

    One thing that I am sure of is that the International Ice Patrol may find themselves in a very hectic situation sooner or later. And it will play hell with maritime traffic, not to mention coastlines-

    1. Wukchumni

      I grew up on Time-Life books, my mom never saw a series of them she didn’t like, and it made a good adjunct to the World Book encyclopedia, in that I could go more in depth on a host of subjects in a banquet for the brain.

      So, a few years ago @ our thrift store in town, there’s 6 of them from 1983 for a buck a piece, and I scoop em up and make off with my bounty, and one of them is “Ice Ages” and in it, they postulate that the West Antarctic ice sheet might start breaking off-with worldwide flooding circumstances, in 200 years.

      Whoops, we got there in 1/5th of the expected time…

      Could our modern ports withstand a 3-4 foot rise in water level all of the sudden, and if they can’t handle loading & unloading, does that make us wholly dependent on JU-52’s delivering supplies to Stalingrad, er whoops, cargo jets bringing in Chinese tchotchkes?

      1. JeffC

        Back in the 1980’s I had a science-writer friend who interviewed for a job with Time Life books. In the interview she learned that they would advertise a new book, specify a relatively long delivery delay, and wait to see how many orders would come in and how quickly. If customer interest looked adequate, they’d have one of their staff writers quickly write the book. I never heard what excuse they made to would-be buyers when they copped out on birthing the book.

      2. lordkoos

        Back in the 1980s I took a job selling Time-life books over the phone to earn some some extra money for Christmas. It was pretty much a sweatshop full of cubicles and telephones, we had a script we had to stick to and it worked mostly on a commission basis. I wasn’t too good at it… the easiest marks were lonely older people who enjoyed having a young person to talk to for a few minutes and then they would feel guilty for taking up your time and order the books. I hated it and only lasted about 3 weeks before quitting.

    1. Wukchumni

      1968-69 was the winter of record in the 20th century in Cali, the rain and snow just kept coming…

      I was 7 and my mom had bought me a pair of brown wing-tip shoes that I so loathed, knowing how desperately uncool they were even at a tender age, and the ground in LA could hold no more water, and a brainstorm hit me, so I loosely laced up one of them and walked over to the neighbors and my foot sank in a good foot or so, and I made good my escape and waited a bit and then attempted to procure crocodile tears from my ducts in a row over the loss, and to my chagrin, mom bought me a new pair, which was infinitely worse than a used pair of brown wing-tips…

  14. Mike K

    Thank you Yves for featuring Penny, and thank you to Yves and everyone for your condolences and kind words. I’ve read and appreciate them all! I think Penny would be very proud of herself to have gotten her picture published- she always knew she deserved to be the center of attention.

    While I’m at it I want to thank all here for such an informative blog- Yves and company and all the commenters. I’m just a reader/lurker but I’ve learned so much from everyone and am thankful for a great resource.

    1. Pat

      Mike K, more condolences to you and your family. Penny was clearly a doll – vibrant and cute as a button. And as to deserving to be the center of attention, well duh! The only downside to the fur members of our families is that they are never with us long enough. How lucky you were to have her and how lucky was she to have you.

      Till you meet again.

      1. Mike K

        Very true Pat, we were lucky to have her for 10 years. Thanks for the condolences. Gosh, thanks again to so many for your sympathies, much appreciated.

  15. Wukchumni

    I’ve been reading tales of luxury goods in short supply, Rolex watches, $50k purses et al.

    You get the idea that the uber wealthy are sequestering their semollians in objex of value (as far as they’re concerned) to counter a fading $, Euro or Yuan, and it’s a bit queer in that a $30 Timex tells the very same time as a $30k Rolex, or a $50 purse holds the same amount of stuff as a Hermes Birkin Bag, but there you have it.

      1. Wukchumni

        Tennis stars are often in adverts as spokespersons for Rolex which is queer as they don’t keep time in tennis, aside from a newly stated 3 minute rule for bathroom breaks…

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    Two notes on colchicine:

    * It was Jack Klugman and the “Orphan Drugs Act” that he lobbied for that results in colchicine going from 15¢ a pill to $6.00 a pill. A company offered to do some research on dosing, and so the FDA granted exclusivity.

    * Colchicine is DANGEROUS, where the therapeutic dose is close to the toxic dose, and an overdose causes multiple organ failure because it is a cellular toxin. (If you are taking it, and get diarrhea, stop immediately until it subsides).

    Disclaimer: I’m an engineer, not a doctor, dammit. (And I love reverse quoting Dr. McCoy from Star Trek)

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The first time I heard about colchicine was as an inducer of polyploidy in plants. It was an exotic tool of the plant breeder’s art.

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    There is a simple solution to issues created by rooftop solar: Decouple the billing on transmission and power.

    Charge a flat fee for most users for transmission (big users would need more) to cover the cost of the infrastructure, and then have ta charge per kWh.

    Given that transmission and generation following deregulation in California, this is a trivial thing.

  18. Soredemos

    >Russia shows no sign of retreat on invading Ukraine Asia Times

    Let me fix that: “Russia shows no sign of starting on invading Ukraine”. The fact is that the ‘staging grounds on the border’ are regular training grounds 100 and 150 miles from the border. The media just expects people to not look at maps. And they’re probably right to expect that, unfortunately.

    1. Matthew G. Saroff

      Also, if engaging in military exercises is threatening and provocative, perhaps the US should reconsider its annual exercises with South Korea.

    2. The Rev Kev

      They keep on showing the same satellite photo of a Russian base – in Russia – that has scores of vehicles parked there. But if Russia was going to invade, that base would be empty and all the vehicles dispersed closer to the border. This whole Russia-is-going-to-invade-the-Ukraine is getting as tedious to listen to as the Israeli claim that Iran-is-about-to-develop-nuclear-weapons. And that Israeli claim goes back to at least 1992 so are we still going to be hearing this Russian invasion of the Ukraine claim in 2052?

  19. vlade

    On colcichine.

    Please be careful, as while it is used as a medication, it it also a really really toxic substance.

    Deadly dose can be as low as 7mg, and while I believe that the usual medication is sub mg, for people who have not fully functional kidneys, it can be accumulated even with normal dosing.

  20. Creedmanho

    Pregnant “People”? Society is supposed to bend it’s language and traditions to accommodate an infinitesimal small slice of the mentally ill that self mutilate, or fag hags’ semantic uses?

    1. Elsie

      There will be no more bending of language then we already have to do for assholes who think they know how to define people. It’s a serious sign of a personality disorder to do that.

  21. Daryl

    “if even Mormons are headed this way, what hope is there for the rest of us?”

    If even Mormons are headed this way, maybe there is some hope for the rest of us. I can only hope these continue to fall and the rate of acceleration increases.

    1. jr

      What happens when you get bored? Bored of being interested in things let alone bored with things? Just as excessive accumulated wealth perverts humans, I’d bet extended lifespans would do the same.

  22. Wukchumni

    Headline in the local Visalia newspaper:

    Tulare County finally hits 50% vaccination rate

    That’s nearly a 10% raise in vaccination rates in a month or 2, the evangs must be getting religion.

  23. Wukchumni

    Pretty much last one of the 666 million fruit and nut trees in the CVBB were nourished with water from the underground movement the past couple of years with so many straws sucking hard on a mutual milkshake, what’s the worst that could happen?

    A frenzy of well drilling by California farmers leaves residents without running water

    VISALIA, Calif. — Vicki McDowell woke up on a Saturday morning in May, thinking about what she would make her son for breakfast. He was visiting from Hayward, and she wanted to whip up something special. Biscuits and gravy. Fried potatoes. Eggs.

    She walked to the kitchen sink to wash her hands. Turned on the faucet. Nothing happened. Worried, she tried the bathroom sink. Still nothing. She flushed the toilet. It gurgled.

    The 70-year-old called her landlord. He called a well driller. The news was grim. The well that pumped water to the small, cream-colored house she rents on an olive ranch had gone dry. Seven months have passed. It’s still dry.

    “I’ve never lived in the country,” said McDowell, who moved here to the outskirts of the Tulare County seat three years ago. “I thought, that’s an easy fix. It wasn’t.”

  24. Elizabeth

    To Mike K:
    I’m so sorry for your loss of Penny. She definitely looked happy in the photo. I hope you can fill the empty spot with wonderful memories. It’s not easy. Best wishes to you.

  25. Laurel White

    To Mike K – the beautiful Penny clearly shows the joy and vividness of that lively spirit. Sending deepest condolences.

  26. The Rev Kev

    An Aussie update for the quite hours. Cases in New South Wales have skyrocket today to 2,213 in spite of the easing of most restrictions. /sarc

    Meanwhile, South Australian case numbers are rapidly climbing but they are unveiling plans anyway on the easing of more restrictions-

    Meanwhile, in my own State, they have said f***it and have already mandated masks for people in all indoor settings such as supermarkets, public transport, etc.

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