Links 12/22/2021

Gas on the Fire Grants. On Environmental, Social, and Governance-based (ESG) investment.

The Case for Making Bitcoin 5 Percent of Allocators’ Portfolios Institurtional Investor

The Real Reason to Index Morningstar. So you can find stuff. I hate books with no indexes.


A rush to mine lithium in Nevada is pitting climate advocates and environmental groups against each other CNN

Wind power becomes Spain’s leading energy source for 2021 El Pais

The past, present and future of the Congo peatlands: 10 takeaways from our series Monga Bay. On peat, see NC here, here, and here.

Loggers threaten Papua New Guinea’s unique forest creatures Channel News Asia


US Army Creates Single Vaccine Against All COVID & SARS Variants, Researchers Say Defense One. “Unlike existing vaccines, Walter Reed’s SpFN uses a soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 faces for its vaccine, which allows scientists to attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains on different faces of the protein.” Big if true.

Melbourne researchers trial use of common blood-thinning drug heparin to combat COVID-19 ABC Australia

Why Paxlovid is a Just-in-Time Breakthrough Eric Topol, Ground Truth

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Antwerp sewer system, Belgium Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. From the Discussion:

To our knowledge, this is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban Norway rats exposed to an environment contaminated with the virus, the sewer wastewater. According to the negative results obtained in both serology and PCR tests, we can conclude that the rodents studied had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2 despite continuous detection of viral RNA in the Antwerp sewer water (Boogaerts et al., 2021), including sewer water collected at the exact location where the rats were captured.

Best proxy for Covid spikes?

* * *

Why more than half of Taco Bell workers are unvaccinated Popular Information

When government works:

Get Ready For a Shift in the Covid Blame Game Pursuit. From July, still germane. The deck: “The term ‘living with COVID’ heralds a transition that may ultimately see blame for cases, illness, deaths and economic damage shifted away from Government and onto the individual.”


China’s infrastructure plans aim to shore up economy, but experts say Beijing may first need to ease up on local debt South China Morning Post. Commentary:

December China feeder services suspension portends early start to Lunar New Year: sources Hellenic Shipping News

With immediate effect, Yunnan suspends inter-provincial team tourism business in 19 land border ports cities What China Reads

Fatal lab explosion in China highlights wider safety fears Nature

China ‘livestream queen’ accounts disappear after record fine France24

Harvard Professor Found Guilty of Lying About Ties to China National Law Journal


Myanmar rebel group calls for no-fly zone to protect civilians Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse). Enforced by?

How Myanmar’s autocratic military rulers are being supported by Chinese businesses Globe and Mail. And Japan, South Korea, Australia…. Meanwhile:


Turkey’s currency surges after Erdogan unveils lira savings scheme FT and Desperate Times: Erdogan’s Scheme To Avert A Bank Run The Heisenberg Report

Former Israeli General: We Can’t Knock Out Iran’s Nuclear Program Tikun Olam


Omicron ‘IS milder than Delta’: Boris hits the brakes on Christmas lockdown as scientists give glimmer of hope in leaked first study – but ministers warn people must still be ready to cancel New Year parties with all eyes on mutant epicentre London Daily Mail. Let’s not stigmatize mutants.

New US-EU co-operation on competition policy raises boardroom alarms FT

New Cold War

Putin warns Nato of military response to alliance expansion FT

Protecting the Nazis: The Extraordinary Vote of Ukraine and the USA Craig Murray

US approves arms sale to Lithuania Al Mayadeen

Analysis: Chile miners brace as president elect signals environmental crackdown Reuters. “Miners” means “mining companies.”

Biden Administration

Remarks by President Biden on the Fight Against COVID-⁠19 (transcript) White House. Video.

With warning for unvaccinated, Biden lays out plan to fight surging Omicron Reuters. See NC here on “diversity” [snort] in “the” “unvaccinated.”

1 big thing: Biden credits Trump Axios

Why Biden’s Omicron Speech Won’t Break Through Politico

* * *

Silicon Valley warns the Pentagon: ‘Time is running out’ Breaking Defense

Justices field emergency requests on federal vaccine policies for workplaces, health care facilities SCOTUSblog


For Third Year, Committee To Protect Journalists Excludes Assange From Jailed Journalist Index Dissenter


Prosecutors say Italian firm produced 4,000 flawed parts for Boeing Reuters (Re Silc). Over five years. For the 787. I hope nothing goes wrong with the 777, is all I can say.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell and legal team seem buoyed as jurors ask questions about trial testimony Miami Herald

Xmas Pre-Game Festivites

Crowds gather for winter solstice at Stonehenge BBC. Because somebody has to:

Solstice tree:

It’s the shortest day of the year. Things can only get brighter from here NPR. Especially when they stop playing Xmas muzak in the stores. If that “Little Drummer Boy” earworm tries to burrow into my skull one more time I’m gonna lose it.

Guillotine Watch

‘A For-Profit Company Is Trying to Privatize as Many Public Libraries as They Can’ FAIR

Class Warfare

Hit ’em when it hurts:

It’s Awfully Convenient for Shippers that Longshore Workers Get Blamed for Delays, As Contract Fight Looms Labor Notes

The Christmas Class War Tribune

Wyoming Is the Onshore-Offshore Tax Haven of Oligarch Dreams Esquire (Re Silc).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus anti-antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. griffen

    That emotional support / emergency rescue animal tweet, I dunno something does not look right. Something about the eyes on that creature.

    Like Doc Holliday to Johnny Ringo. It’s something about the eyes…I know it, I hate him.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        “It’s a Lynx, not a cat.”

        The folks at the DNC might want to try this. “It’s not a total abject failure, it’s just the Biden Administration.”

        If I never fly again, it will be too soon.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve been on 3 domestic flights since 9/11, and you don’t miss what you hardly do anymore.

          And besides under special driving circumstance road trip bylaws, any junk food you eat en route qualifies for negative calories, that 940 calorie combo of a cruller & oversized bearclaw, mark it -940 calories!

      2. David May

        Correction: The USA is doomed. Here in the reality-based states of the world we go on about our business while enjoying the flaming dumpster fire that is America.

      1. TTT

        Also, the removal of the mask to talk/yell/cough thing is real enough, I see it everywhere, along with the chin diaper, the beard net and the dangly earring/bracelet.

      1. polar donkey

        If I had a dollar for every lunatic with an emotional support dog/cat in a stroller that came in the restaurant, I’d be a rich man.
        In related news, my wife and I took our kids to meet Santa at bass pro shop. When leaving, there was a dog fight at the check out. Two different parties brought their dog in to shop. That Bass Pro Shop turned out to be a one dog store. Hey boys, remember when we went to see Santa and two dogs mauled each other at register 4. Now that’s a Christmas memory to cherish.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Really? I once sat in an airport waiting for three hours (for a two-hour flight) because the coffee machine on the plane didn’t work.

      However many billions of dollars the government gave the airlines to get through Covid was a total waste of funds. But Joe Manchin voted for that with no problem.

  2. TiPs

    Looking forward to the Institutional Investor’s next article, “The case for making tulips 5% of portfolios….”

    1. griffen

      Wood is the most aggressive fund manager, at least on breaking and new tech fronts. She is not the sole voice in the wilderness, however. I just, I can’t get my head around what the end use is ultimately, for any of the crypto-currency valuations.

      For kicks I ran a search on pimco bitcoin markets. Large and established asset managers would be a potential path to become a legitimate asset / investment class, one presumes.

    1. urblintz

      The song that could save Christmas 2021?: Science has discovered that excessive repetitions of the syllables “pa-rum-pa-pum-pum” are successful at eliminating covid in vitro… caution is being taken with in vivo trials, however, due to the possibility this process could damage the host more than the virus.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Ghislaine Maxwell and legal team seem buoyed as jurors ask questions about trial testimony”

    So right now the jury is considering the fate of Ghislaine Maxwell. OK, then. And by a complete happenstance, a jury right now is considering the fate of Elizabeth Holmes of Therenos infamy. How about that. And both notorious trials are being judged by juries just a few short days from Christmas when people may have other things on their minds. To have two trials from vastly different backgrounds end up going to juries about three days or so before Christmas day I find very remarkable. Let’s hope that both juries leave a coal in the Christmas stocking for both women.

    1. griffen

      It is a low bar, but at the very least a lump of coal for each. It would seem, that Maxwell’s defense team has capably framed the accusers’ testimony under a questionable* light. By questionable, I mean just enough to sow doubt in a few juror’s minds.

      *Memory and recall is a precarious thing. Especially for circumstances that happened 20, 25 years ago in many of these instances of reported abuse.

      1. David May

        I won’t be surprised if Ghislaine gets off lightly while Liz gets serious prison time. Abusing the powerless is a national past-time but stealing from the wealthy is very frowned upon.

      2. lordkoos

        I’m pretty sure that if you have been a victim of sexual abuse in your teens or older, it is something that you do not forget. What is interesting about this case is how weak the prosecution has been.

        1. Screwball

          The prosecutor is James Comey’s daughter. I have tried to follow the trial via someone in the courtroom on Twitter. I have come to the conclusion it is more about a coverup than a trial.

      1. Carla

        Hhhmmm… not sure you quite get the six degrees of separation concept of social connections, Mikel.

        In Jan 1994, my daughter, a friend and I got rush seats to a revival of “Carousel” in London. Looking around before curtain time, I saw Richard Nixon sitting on the aisle just a few rows behind us. I could not resist going up to him, proffering my program and a pen, and saying “Mr. President, may I have your autograph?” He lit up like a Christmas tree, and of course the Secret Service guy next to him was on high alert, but I got his autograph. It being London, no one else paid much attention.

        Afterwards, I realized that having met Nixon, I was only two degrees of separation from all the heads of state Nixon had ever met, and then three degrees from all the people those heads of state had ever met — and so on.

        By the way, by the end of “Carousel,” there was not a dry eye in the house. I looked up to see Nixon’s reaction, and there were tears streaming down his face. Actually, I didn’t notice if the Secret Service agent was dry-eyed or not. Nixon died a couple of months later.

        1. jonboinAR

          Well, my sister got to shake Nixon’s hand in 1968, and I’m only one degree of separation from her, so…

      1. ambrit

        Now, we have to get those “youngsters” to actually vote!
        Hint: Bernie managed it, but was ‘kicked to the curb’ for some arcane reason.
        My takeaway from this is that the Democrat Party only wants the votes of the “right kind” of youngsters, say, those with PMC Credentials in their future. (This would make the “suspension” of Student Loan Debt payments a ‘natural.’ Look at who it has an impact on the most.) [The cynic in me also notes that an outright revocation of Student Loan Debts would remove a primary and very ‘motivating’ fear for that class of person. Once the Debt is eliminated, the ‘young voter’ would no longer be compelled to support the “team” that promises relief from the existential threat of debt peonage. The longer the Debt Drama can be spun out, the more votes the political team promoting said thespic recreation can expect.]
        A classic case of “Spin” or “Better Public Relations” having very real effects on people’s lives.

          1. ambrit

            Mr. Zelnicker, that is painfully true. I really regret having to “let out” my inner cynic so often nowadays. It feels like I’m living through a “fin de siecle” period in Western history.
            Holiday Cheer from Phyl and me to you and yours. Stay safe in Mobile.

        1. ambrit

          The cynic in me whispers in my ear that a “cardboard cutout” is all we are going to be offered next time.

          1. griffen

            Is the “cardboard cutout” an image of Princess Leia from the Return of the Jedi?

            Saying that with respect to the actress herself, Carrie Fisher may she rest in peace.

            1. ambrit

              Oh my! I laughed out loud at that!
              I can imagine the campaign commercial now: “Help us Hillary Won Kayfabi. You’re our only Hope.”

    1. MT_Wild

      I should make my last (of 120) payment in May and then qualify for foregiveness. Knowing that it was going to be a cluster when the servicers switch, I tried to get payment certification paperwork processed by Fedloan back in October. About two weeks after submission, Fedloan contacted me and told me my forms were incomplete, right down to the numbered line on the form. I pulled up the pdf, looked, and sure enough I had filled out the form correctly. I tried contacting them about this, but could never get them to respond. Two or three weeks later, Dept. Of Ed sends me a letter stating they are aware that loan servicers are rejecting forms for minor/non-existient issues and working on a process.

      No update since then. Even if they wanted to restart the payments, I don’t think they have the capacity to figure it out. Only way they could do it is to install a universal minimum payment as a placeholder until they transition. But why put people on the hook for an actual payment when you can set the payment at $0?

      1. cocomaan

        Someone I know has been waiting for Dept of Ed to send a login reset email for a few weeks now. Can’t access the system to apply for PSLF.

        As you say, could be a delay because they cannot get their act together in the least.

        I’m sure there’s someone in the Dept of Ed doing work right now but I couldn’t tell you who they are.

  4. svay

    Wind power becomes Spain’s leading energy source for 2021

    A highly misleading title, and I suspect intentionally so. The article makes no mention, for instance, of petrol for transportation – wind has become the leading source of energy for electricity production, but not, it appears, for energy generally. According to Wikipedia, fossil fuels accounted for 73% of Spain’s primary energy consumption in 2015, and nothing in this article even hints that wind has since overtaken them. Conflating energy and electricity in this way serves only to confuse, hiding our continued reliance on fossil fuels under greenwash about their imminent demise.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The very first line of the article makes it entirely clear that the article is about electricity production. The use of the word ‘power’ to mean electricity (when there is no contextual reason for confusion) is common practice, including among experts writing on the topic. We have ‘power cults’ and ‘power lines’. There is nothing misleading about the article or headline.

      1. svay

        I disagree. True, the article is clearly about electricity, but the headline (I used the word title) says energy. This potential confusion may be fine in conversation, but in articles relating to climate change in leading news publications, they engender false optimism. El Pais could easily have said “Wind power becomes Spain’s leading source of electricity for 2021.” Many will only look at the headline, or maybe quickly skim the article without too much thought, coming away with a totally wrong impression. Would you be so forgiving of verbal ‘common practice’ over covid-related headlines?

        1. RabidGandhi

          The article is a translation from Spanish, original is here.

          In Spanish there is no differentiation between “power” and “energy” in this context; both are energía.

          1. svay

            There’s little distinction between the two in English for most purposes, and the technical difference isn’t too relevant here. ‘Wind energy becomes Spain’s leading power source for 2021’ would be understood – or misunderstood – much the same.

            PlutoniumKun’s quite right to say we often talk of power cuts and power lines in English without fear of being misunderstood. Few would take “I had a power cut last night” to mean my car broke down. However, it’s the stated aim of many countries to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewables at some point in the coming decades, making headlines like these very easy to misinterpret if they’re all that’s read. And the next line, the lede, is “Renewable sources already cover almost half of the country’s consumption needs – so far this year, they have contributed almost 47% of the total compared to less than 30% a decade ago“, which does nothing to make matters any clearer. My guess is that many people could quickly read the entire article and come away thinking Spain now gets most of its energy, in the wider sense, from renewables, and that many would only glance at the headline, and perhaps the lede, anyway.

            I don’t know about the original Spanish, but this isn’t confined to translations – I’ve seen many similar headlines in untranslated English articles. Using the word electricity in place of energy (or power), where appropriate, would avoid the ambiguity, without requiring any cumbersome or technical turns of phrase.

            1. RabidGandhi

              With all respect, I honestly think you’re barking up the wrong tree here.

              Your claim is that there was intent to mislead. Nevertheless, compare the two versions of the headline (use a machine translator if necessary).

              The original Spanish says wind power “leads power [electricity] generation in Spain for the first time since 2013”. The translation, however, says “Wind power becomes Spain’s leading energy source”.

              This is clearly a translation issue. The original speaks of “generation” (as opposed to import), whereas the translation omits that term. And that term sets the context in which to understand the lede that follows.

              Nevertheless, based on that omission you have attributed to El Pais (which I loathe) intent to mislead.

      2. mistah charley, ph.d.

        In eastern Canada, people say “hydro” when they are talking about their electric bill – much of the electricity consumed there is generated by water power. A newcomer needs to have this explained – that “water” and “hydro” are two different utility bills.

    2. Expat2uruguay

      I agree that it is misleading. The same thing happens here in Uruguay where they say that we are 100% on renewable energy for our power. But of course it’s just electrical power and doesn’t include the fuel used in cooking, Heating, and automobile transportation. But people just want to celebrate it, whenever they exclaim how wonderful it is I then point out the discrepancy and their eyes pretty much glaze over.

    3. Skip Intro

      Nor does it mention all the energy consumed as nutritional calories by humans and used for economic purposes!

      Cardboard Bernie 2024

  5. ScoFri

    Anyone smarter than me have thoughts on this?

    Breakthrough infections generate ‘super immunity’ to COVID-19, study suggests

    The laboratory results, published online ahead of print today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reveals that a breakthrough infection generates a robust immune response against the delta variant. Authors say the findings suggest the immune response is likely to be highly effective against other variants as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate.

    1. Judith

      Jason Boxman posted this link last night:


      Many seem surprised at the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to mutate to increase resistance against convalescent sera, most vaccines, and most monoclonal antibodies. However, the surprise was unwarranted for those who realized that coronaviruses have evolved over many millions of years to reinfect hosts over time. Those previously infected with earlier strains of the virus, contrary to our assumptions earlier in the pandemic, are able to be reinfected with Omicron and strains to come.

      We previously predicted that SARS-CoV-2 would persist, continue to vary, and evade our natural and adaptive immune responses. We have also learned that SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to become far more lethal than it is today. We reiterate that the sister of this virus, SARS-CoV, and its cousin, MERS-CoV, ranged between 10% and 30% lethality. This is presumably due to slight variations in the structural, nonstructural, and accessory proteins. We must be ever alert now and for many years in the future of the possibility of such changes and their consequences.

      1. lordkoos

        Wasn’t it posted here recently that several hospitals have discontinued the use of monoclonal antibodies with Omicron because they do not work against this variant?

    2. TroyIA

      I’m guessing the study is just further confirmation that the initial innate immunity response shifts to adaptive immunity following repeated exposures.

      Novelty Means Severity: The Key To the Pandemic

      SARS-CoV-2 is new to our immune systems. That makes it very dangerous. Viruses that are new to us spread faster and are more lethal than old familiar ones.

      Some scientists are tempted to chalk this up to evolution. The argument is that a virus that leaves its host alive will outcompete one that kills its host. Viruses do sometimes become less deadly as they adapt to a new host species (like us), but they also sometimes become more deadly. But whether wrong or right for a given virus, this tempting just-so story can be a distraction.

      Novelty is bad regardless of virus evolution.

      When a virus is new, nobody possesses acquired immune protection against it. Acquired immune protection is a different kind of adaptation: not virus evolution, but our own learned—adaptive—immunity. We build over our lifetimes as we encounter new pathogens and learn how to fend them off.

      If nobody has adaptive immune protection, a virus spreads faster. Even a few immune individuals in a population can meaningfully slow the rate of virus spread, since they are less likely to become infectious and infect others. If there are enough immune individuals, the virus may not be able to spread at all. This is the logic of population immunity and herd immunity. It is important. We talk about it a lot.

      If nobody has adaptive immune protection, a virus causes severe disease in more of the people it infects. This is also important. We don’t talk about it enough.

      Unless we eradicate SARS-CoV-2—possible but not likely, especially in the short term—just about everyone is going to encounter the virus sooner or later. But those who have adaptive immunity from infection or vaccination may not get sick at all. Even if they do, they will be less likely to get very sick or die.

      Now that we have safe, effective vaccines, we can give people immunity without causing dangerous disease. That puts us into a global race against the virus. The more people who see the vaccine before they see SARS-CoV-2, the fewer severe cases, long-term health problems, and deaths. Faster worldwide rollout will save lives. It really is that simple.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is yet more hopium. From GM:

        The problem is that you can’t vaccinate your way out of a coronavirus pandemic. Coronaviruses apparently beat adaptive immunity

    3. Yves Smith

      Delta and hence irrelevant.

      Imperial College has already determined Omicron is >5x as likely to reinfect as Delta and that the previously infected and only double vaxxed have pretty much zilch immunity, Only the recently boosted have pretty good protection against really bad outcomes. But that probably lasts only 3 months per GM.

  6. ScoFri

    We are being “forced” to live with COVID just like we are being “forced” to live with homelessness and poverty.

    We are “forced” to live with it because of the greed of the U.S. Oligarchy.

    It’s their choice, not our destiny.

    1. Nikkikat

      Scofri, That’s exactly what is going on. Forced to live with it. If you haven’t already read it. I highly recommend the new book by Robert Kennedy jr. I am half way though it and it’s like a light bulb coming on.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I haven’t reached the halfway point in RFK Junior’s book — yet.

        Let me tell you, this is the most emotionally wrenching book I’ve read in a long time. As mentioned here a few days ago, I can only read a few pages at a time. Then I have to put the book down and think about what I read.

        But I will finish this book, even if it takes several months.

        1. petal

          Slim, thank you again for the rec & review. Mine is ordered, but I chose free shipping so it’ll be a month before it arrives. Probably right in the middle of The Ugly Time.

          1. Michael Sharkey

            If you have a tablet / iPad try getting it on Kindle. It’s much cheaper and definitely easier to bounce between the many footnotes and the text. Also many of the footnotes are linked, so you can easily click the linked sources ( assuming you have an internet connection ) to view the source in its entirety. Many of the sources are news publications. Once done with the source, you can easily return to where you left off in the text.

            1. petal

              I am not fortunate enough to have either, and prefer traditional books for multiple reasons. I also do not always have an internet connection. Thank you, though. Maybe others can take advantage of your tips.

    2. TBellT

      I’m not sure, I’ve seen how the public has behaved from March 2020 to now and I think of the Carlin quote, “If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders.” We’re going to have hit rock bottom before we can begin the road to recovery.

      Once you see people protesting masks as some serious invasion of liberty.. you kinda know it’s over

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Protesting from both tribes which makes it beyond a seemingly simple case of invasion of liberty. Serious or otherwise.

      2. Objective Ace

        Maybe if the government were honest people would be more willing to behave reasonably. None of what the government has been saying has been coherent. Masks aren’t helpful, masks are helpful, we’re going to mandate you wear masks, if you vaccinated you don’t need to wear a mask. If your vaccinated you should still wear a mask… and throughout all of this mixed messaging its been implied that the virus won’t infect you if your eating or if your magically 6 ft away from everyone.. and no differentiating between n95s and bandanas. I don’t fault anyone who just thinks the government is trying to grab whatever power it can at this point and that this isn’t about health–heck, they may even be correct

        1. marym

          I don’t disagree that government has forfeited people’s trust, or that different segments of the populace have been inconsistent in how they’ve observed some precautions. If they deserve criticism for those failures, so do those who have made it clear for nearly two years – through changing circumstances and understanding of the issues – that they won’t do anything to help mitigate the situation. That includes Biden, the liberal elite and their followers saying vax-and-you’re-free and right wing political and religious elites and their followers defining freedom as not doing anything if you don’t feel like it.

    3. jsn

      A mutating corona virus requiring recurring treatments forever is the business development dream of “for profit medicine.”

      With corporate personhood, government has been restructured to look after the paying corporate person and biological people reduced to the status of livestock for corporate persons to feed on in whatever manner the individual corporate person can devise to profit off our lives.

      The population is a natural resource now for corporations to consume their way through from the point of view of America’s institutions as renovated by Citizens United. Mortality data clearly indicates the parasite is killing its host, but even as it kills us, mostly we still tune into the system’s press and media. Maybe Omicron will jolt the scales from enough eyes to make a difference. Our choice is constrained by the collective action problem: getting a functioning majority to agree, believe they can affect the outcome and act.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Melbourne researchers trial use of common blood-thinning drug heparin to combat COVID-19”

    Excellent news if it pans out. Of course if this drug has the blood-thinning properties of heparin, then it should also help those who have received vaccinations which can cause blood clots which has killed a few people around the world. Call it a twofer then.

    1. Vandemonian

      Don’t think so, Rev. Heparin is a large dish molecule, and won’t get into the bloodstream from surface application. In-hospital use to treat blood clots is via an IV infusion.

    2. Nothing

      “Over the next six months we hope to trial 340 homes”
      Come on, in the last 24 hours there’s been about 5000+ cases in Aus, you could have this six month trial done in a couple weeks.

      That said, it is good to see some news of people testing different things.

  8. svay

    Omicron ‘IS milder than Delta’: Boris hits the brakes on Christmas lockdown as scientists give glimmer of hope in leaked first study – but ministers warn people must still be ready to cancel New Year parties with all eyes on mutant epicentre London

    The Telegraph framed it as a victory over scientists by ministers:
    ‘Ministers stand their ground against the scientists in lengthy battle over Christmas Covid restrictions’ – !

  9. jefemt

    Paxlovid… ‘is not a repurposed drug….’ In the first paragraph, this is noted, then we move along.

    In all sincerity, I poked around the link for a way to contact the author to implore him to do a follow up on ‘… a repurposed drug’. Could not find a way to reach out to him.

    There is a HUGE financial/social justice element to Covid… IF a repurposed drug is readily available, cheap, and effective in providing post-covid contraction relief and hospital avoidance, one would think an honest discussion and research on it would be forthcoming. First premise being ‘we’ give a darn about people.

    I can’t find much if anything on the ‘real deal truth’ of the repurposed drug. It seems finance and profits are keeping us from honest discourse on so many matters in the lives of global citizens in the 2020’s.

      1. pjay

        I believe jefemt is referring to a certain other “repurposed drug” that, if I understand correctly, works by a similar mechanism, has been subject to trials similar to the Pfizer trial described here with similar success in a number of them, is “readily available and cheap” — and yet has been demonized by the media and the medical establishment.

        But I’m sure Pfizer’s COVID pill will save the day.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Putin warns Nato of military response to alliance expansion”

    With all these threats, constant patrols against Russia and China, the militarization of the Pacific, NATO deciding that they have to send their forces to confront China, the flood of weapons and mercs in the countries bordering Russia and all the rest of it, there is one thing missing from the First Cold War I am no longer hearing and it was a simple word – Détente. When I was a teenager you heard it constantly as both nuclear powers decided that it would not hurt to ratchet tensions down a bit before somebody did something stupid. But then Reagan came in and decided that perhaps the world could survive a limited nuclear war and WW3 almost broke out because of this stance. Perhaps it might be time to bring back the concept of Détente once more-

    1. jrkrideau

      Perhaps it might be time to bring back the concept of Détente once more-

      We can hope but the US “foreign policy” coterie seem a bit divorced from reality. Most of them seem to see the Russian Federation as John McCain’s “a gas station masquerading as a country”.

      They seem to have missed the actual military and political successes such as the Georgian campaign, second Chechen war, Syria, and Crimea. Oops, almost forgot the amazingly close “alliance between Russia and China. Essentially they seem to believe their own crazy propaganda.

      Patrick Armstrong had an interesting post yesterday entitled WE’VE SEEN THE ULTIMATUM, WHAT IS THE “OR ELSE”?

  11. Tom Stone

    I read the transcript of Biden’s speech.
    One mention of Ventilation.
    One mention that further variants will emerge.
    Multiple claims that “We are prepared”.
    Multiple claims that the Unvaxxed are the only ones at risk and that they risk others.
    Several mentions of masking and several boasts that “Access To” testing is available to all Americans.
    The Q&A at the end is worth paying attention to, JB’s mind (?) definitely started to wander when he was unable to use the teleprompter.
    My take?

    1. Screwball

      In the links above NC posted a transcript of the speech. I created a word cloud just for kicks. The main word was “vaccinated” which wasn’t at all surprising. That was the largest, and the only one that size. Next were “covid”, “know”, and “booster.”

      I also listened to the speech. I think their trial balloon press release Lambert highlighted the other day with his excellent breakdown made them change their tune a little. He wasn’t as “nasty” to the un-vaxxed as the release sounded, but the word cloud still shows the mostly one-trick-pony approach – get vaxxed and boosted.

      You can see the word cloud here–> Word cloud of Speech

      Just my 2 cents.

  12. Dalepues

    Antidote du jour: Smart cat. I also like the three dimensional
    effect of the lower panel in the door appearing to be a set of stairs
    flanked by columns. I built entry doors for more than twenty years
    and appreciate the creativity that can go into their design. That is
    a very good example.

  13. outside observer

    Regarding the blame game article. My unvaccinated middle schooler spent time at friend’s house (fully vaccinated household) over the weekend. They graciously gave us a heads up that their other child who plays indoor sports had tested positive on a rapid test but had no symptoms. I tested my child on hearing this – negative – but a couple days later wakes up with headache and throws up. Tests negative on first morning of symptoms, tests positive by the evening and also the next morning to be sure. I’m assuming omicron. Followed flccc protocol and symptoms have cleared up after one day, but not gonna lie it was a harrowing day full of worrying. Sincerely hope that was the most of it. I’m going to guess that omicron is more severe than original strain, since we personally know kids who had the original in early days with next to no symptoms. Fingers crossed that we double vaxxed parents are not hit too hard. We will all isolate for the duration of break and continue to use the rapid home tests.
    Now, I think things can get messy when we start to point fingers at anyone other than public health officials. We clearly got this from someone who was vaccinated. We are clearly not going to participate in further spread because we are isolating and testing frequently. Whose fault is it when we know that vaccinated people transmit the virus, often asymptomatically, and vulnerable people are in every sector of the population – among the unvaxxed, the vaxxed, and even the boostered. This is indeed going to get bad and I am horrified at the white house’s message of going forth and spreading the cheer if you’re vaccinated. This is criminally sociopathic.

    1. Michael

      Here in San Diego, we have something going around just as you describe.

      My daughter had massive headache and threw up. However, this followed eating oysters and seemed more like food poisoning. Then both of her young daughters complained of feeling blah and tummy aches one day apart. Then both threw up and after a day were back to normal.

      Now my daughter wonders if its oysters, flu or omicron. Negative tests. Puzzling!
      SD having a big bump up in cases and schools been out since last Friday.

  14. Baby Gerald

    For what it’s worth, I’ve just tested positive for Covid on a PCR test on Monday morning. Living in a big city and taking public transit every working day, I suspected that my odds would run out sooner or later. As such, for the last three weeks I’ve been supplementing my diet with D-3, K-2, and Zinc in the hopes that, should I catch this bug, my body’s defenses would be girded. I got jabbed at the end of March with the J&J which according to all estimates makes me virtually unvaxxed six months later and have yet to get a booster. I wear a mask [double layered with an insert] religiously in travel, at the store, and even at work [a large private university], where it is still mandated in addition to vaccination.

    My symptoms? I felt a stuffy nose coming on the previous Friday afternoon. Since I work in a library in a particularly dusty environment, I was hoping it was just that– dust. At any rate, with the holidays coming and the new panic about omicron, I had already scheduled a test for Monday, my last day at the office before holiday. The stuffy nose persisted when I got home from work but it didn’t stop me from exercising for an hour, showering or eating as normal. A few sneezes but mostly a stuffy, runny nose. Some spicy Thai for dinner cleared my sinuses nicely and I slept like a baby with no medication.

    Spent Saturday entirely at home, still felt a little stuffy but the congestion only started after being awake and on my feet for an hour. No fever, headache, aches or fatigue. Ate normally and went to bed as normal. Slept like a baby. I spent Sunday at home except for a short trip to the grocery store- but felt perfectly fine by late morning. The nasal congestion was completely gone. I never had a fever. No aches or fatigue. Not even a scratchy throat or chest congestion.

    Went to work as normal on Monday. I have to digitally attest to being Covid-free every day and I could honestly say on Monday morning that I felt no symptoms at all. Took the test at 11 after working for two hours. Worked the rest of the day, went home, exercised for an hour, showered, ate, slept as normal.

    Yesterday, my first day of a two-week vacation, I felt completely normal. Exercised in the morning, cleaned the apartment in the afternoon, ate normally, etc. The positive result came in last night after dinner. Slept like a baby. Today I feel completely normal.

    While some outlets profess ‘subtle differences between’ omicron and previous strains while also claiming that the ‘signs of infection look pretty similar’ [‘What are the Symptoms of Omicron, the new Covid Variant?’ Melinda Wenner Moyer, NYT 12/22] I would now contend otherwise. Where’s my hacking cough? My lack of taste and smell? I didn’t even get a scratchy throat.

    In summary, I feel somewhat lucky [at least so far] that I caught this particular version of the virus. My advice, though, is to fortify with the aforementioned vitamins, along with Vitamin C. Not sure if it wouldn’t be worse had I not fortified on those ahead of time and most reports say that if you try to supplement after catching the illness, it’s too late. If it doesn’t get any worse than this though, heck, I’ve had nastier colds by a long shot. And if it gives me ‘super-immunity’ now, I can’t think of better fortune. The only unfortunate thing about this is the timing of it all– I still have to break this news to my mom who is expecting the family in a few days for Christmas.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps consider getting N95s to wear under your cloth mask + insert.

      3M Aura 9205+ and 9210+ can be had online in 10 or 20 quantities for about $2 each. If there is a Home Depot or Lowes nearby, you might find them in stock there in the personal safety aisle.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Good point. I’ve got a back stock of N95s saved up and will add them to my routine until I get negative again.

  15. Rod

    When government works:

    Chelsea Watson

    I’m glad she is better–and took the minute to say—Yes, We Can
    for her, the wrap around did wonders for her mind and body–as it would anyone.

  16. Mantid

    U.S. army creates single vaccine??? Let’s hope it goes a little better than the anthrax vaccine that killed many military and who’s aftermath became – thanks to some good Madison Avenue wordsmith – the “Gulf War Syndrome”. Some of the homeless in your town are direct descendants of mandatory military vaccinations. Very in-depth discussion on the history of the anthrax and more recent vaccines:–The-Anthrax-Vaccine

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I thought the Gulf War Syndrome was from many things . . . . depleted Uranium dust, the toxichemical gas and smoke from burn pits, the pyridostigmine given along with the anthravax ( to my limited and old memory), etc.

      Not just anthravax.

  17. Carolinian

    Re the library article–as a passionate lover of libraries and my library in particular I would agree that privatization is a bad idea. But this is a shallow skim the surface take on a complicated problem. For one thing libraries have always run on public plus private contributions going back to the early 20th century when Andrew Carnegie–then richest man in America–gave seed money for libraries in small towns across the country. He would only give if the town agreed to run and maintain the libraries and many did for prestige reasons as much as love of knowledge.

    But more importantly libraries are simply less relevant in a digital age and that can’t be blamed on privatization. So the result is more an employment agency for library science majors with a decreasing door count to justify the amount of staff. This is certainly true of my library and inevitably communities are going to question the investment. Throw in Covid and things are not going well here and I suspect in many other places outside the large cities.We have always had an exceptional library for a town this size but the article blaming decline all on Republican book haters or investment sharks seems off. Those library masters degree holders are taking books away too (gone if not checked out over time) and launching things like “maker space” as a kind of desperate bid to reinvent and keep young people coming in. This doesn’t seem to be working.

  18. enoughisenough

    Gov. Tim Walz announcing he has Covid WITHOUT WEARING A MASK.

    Behaving like Bolsonaro.

    It’s unreal.

  19. Kris Alman

    US Army Creates Single Vaccine Against All COVID & SARS Variants, Researchers Say
    Phase 1 of human trials, which tested the vaccine against Omicron and the other variants, wrapped up this month, again with positive results that are undergoing final review, Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch, said in an exclusive interview with Defense One.

    Cause ya’ know it only takes weeks to decide if a vaccine is effective and we will never have any more variants.

  20. Kris Alman

    How do you die with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19?

    SARS-CoV-2 infection and persistence throughout the human body and brain

    COVID-19 is known to cause multi-organ dysfunction1-3 in acute infection, with prolonged symptoms experienced by some patients, termed Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC)4-5. However, the burden of infection outside the respiratory tract and time to viral clearance is not well characterized, particularly in the brain3,6-14. We performed complete autopsies on 44 patients with COVID-19 to map and quantify SARS-CoV-2 distribution, replication, and cell-type specificity across the human body, including brain, from acute infection through over seven months following symptom onset. We show that SARS-CoV-2 is widely distributed, even among patients who died with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19, and that virus replication is present in multiple extrapulmonary tissues early in infection. Further, we detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple anatomic sites, including regions throughout the brain, for up to 230 days following symptom onset. Despite extensive distribution of SARS-CoV-2 in the body, we observed a paucity of inflammation or direct viral cytopathology outside of the lungs. Our data prove that SARS-CoV-2 causes systemic infection and can persist in the body for months.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    The KNU is not the new NUGies. They are just a traditional ethnic army, to the best of my limited knowledge. How does the NUG feel about that request?

    And yes, the question arises, who would enforce a “no fly zone”? None of the ASEAN countries would touch such a thing. Would India? To “weaken China”? If so, it wouldn’t work. However hard India tried enforcing a “no fly zone” ( without any help or support), the heavier the ChinaGov would support the Tatmadaw Air Force.

    Do they think the NeoWilsonians in American Government would try to enforce such a thing? If they did, then China and Russia both would help the Tatmadaw Air Force as much as needed to defeat and destroy the NeoWilsonian R2P mission. And Myanmar would be transformed into another bloody game board for recreational proxy warfare.

    Is anyone in Burma too dumm to understand that? Is anyone really there dumm enough to request outside military help against the Tatmadaws?

  22. ProNewerDeal

    Does the NC Covid Expert Team (IM Doc, GM, etc) or others have a prediction on the effect of Omicron from now to say Jan31?

    I feel at least in IL (& other states like that for USA have relatively higher Covid restrictions, like mask mandate in indoor public buildings) lockdown might be coming, perhaps after Jan01. I read that in IL many hospitals are already close to ICU capacity. Supposedly there are is already a medical worker shortage nationwide, so I don’t see how setting up temp hospitals would do much if there aren’t workers – even if retired/student nurses/physicians + similar biomed pros like veternarians/biologists/etc under “Emergency Authorization” were allowed to be temp nurses, etc.

    Afaict lockdown is the only & likely new measure coming. I doubt Joe Brandon is gonna say mail N95s & El Salvador-style home treatment kits including Ivermectin, for example.

    Happy Holidays & be safe out here in these Murican Streets

    1. Yves Smith

      One of the things that happens with Covid surges, witness last Jan and July in the UK, is they can foll off for no apparent reason and then start chugging up again. It could be the direct result of the news about infection danger: enough people take more precautions, like cancel parties (which is happening), downsize Christmas parties, get better about masking and cutting down on how often they shop, and get boosters, to affect contagion levels. But with Omicron so spreadable, who knows?

Comments are closed.