Links 1/11/2022

A pet dog ran off into the mountain wilderness. Four months later, rescuers found it trapped in 5 feet of snow. WaPo

Dolphins Have a Fully Functional Clitoris, Study Finds Gizmodo

Walk on: why 2022 should be the year of the pedestrian Time Out

Coldest air in three years coming to parts of the country NBC

Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant BBC

In Praise of Bad Taste Bookforum

Stendhal syndrome: The travel syndrome that causes panic BBC

Competitive e-cycling lets you be a champion from your apartment MIT Technology Review

Wild Child Dublin Review of Books

Scientists step up hunt for ‘Asian unicorn’, one of world’s rarest animals The Guardian

A New Generation of Craft Brewers Rises in the Middle East Afar

‘Go toss your cookies elsewhere’: ten phrases that cause confusion across the Anglosphere The Conversation

A Glimpse Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries Literary Hub

#COVID-19

What is ‘living with Covid’? Boris Johnson drawing up plans ‘to be rolled out in March’ Daily Mirror

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Saw Firsthand What It Takes to Keep COVID Out of Hong Kong. It Felt Like a Different Planet. ProPublica

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U.S. breaks COVID-19 hospitalization record at over 132,000 as Omicron surges Reuters

Will workers continue to pay a price for flexibility? BBC

Health care workers are panicked as desperate hospitals ask infected staff to return Politico

Hospitals Cut Beds as Nurses Call In Sick With Covid-19 WSJ

As an E.R. Doctor, I Fear Health Care Collapse More Than Omicron NYT

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Chicago schools will reopen as teachers and the city reach a deal over virus safeguards NYT

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How Reliable Are Covid-19 Rapid Tests for Detecting Omicron? WSJ

CDC weighs recommending better masks against omicron variant WaPo. They’re only now getting around to telling us this now?!?

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Millions more Chinese people ordered into lockdown to fight Covid outbreaks Guardian

Omicron Concerns Rise in China as Olympics Approach Der Spiegel

China suspends some US flights after COVID cases: Live Al Jazeera

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Sweden will impose a curfew on hospitality venues as Covid-19 cases rise CNN

Omicron on track to infect more than half of Europeans in next two months, WHO says France 24

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What We Know So Far About India’s Third Wave – and Why it’s a Mistake to Dismiss it as ‘Mild’ The Wire

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Indonesia to kick off booster campaign, but most will have to pay Al Jazeera

Sports Desk

For Georgia football fans, a championship 41 years in the making and worth every minute ESPN

Health Care

‘I’m going to prove you wrong’: How a D.C. power couple used an ALS diagnosis to create a political juggernaut Stat

Climate

US hit by 20 separate billion-dollar climate disasters in 2021, NOAA report says Guardian

Manchin’s Coal Corruption Is So Much Worse Than You Knew Rolling Stone

US emissions roared back last year afpandemic drop, figures show Guardian

Melting Sea Ice Forces Polar Bears to Travel Farther to Survive TreeHugger

Cuba Shows How to Take Action on Climate Change Jacobin

‘We need to learn to do things faster’: Canada’s new environment minister talks climate — and compromise The Narwhal

In Coastal Bengal, Climate Change Confronts Two Villages With Different Crises The Wire

Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands Ars Technica

Class Warfare

The Restaurant Industry Has Always Treated Sick Workers With No Remorse New York Magazine

Social Service Nonprofits Sue City Over Pro-Union Law The City

Fed Vice Chair Clarida to step down early following scrutiny over his trades during pandemic CNBC

Ivy League Cartel Sued for Price-Fixing BIG. Matt Stoller.

Think Big to Overcome Losing Big to Corporatism Counterpunch. Ralph Nader.

The Criminal Justice Issue Nobody Talks About: Brain Injuries Marshall Project

The ‘forever prisoners’ of Guantanamo Deutsche Welle

Biden Administration

Schumer, McConnell clash over filibuster amid voting rights push The Hill

Biden to back filibuster changes to push voting rights bill AP

Yet ANOTHER Democrat announces he won’t run again: Pressure piles on Pelosi as Colorado’s Ed Perlmutter becomes the 26TH to drop out of the midterms with chances of a GOP bloodbath growing Daily Mail

IRS warns of ‘frustrating’ tax filing season over backlog of returns NY Post


L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew May Be Stripped of Royal Titles Regardless of His Legal Case’s Outcome Marie Claire

Prince Andrew hearing – live: Maxwell witness says Giuffre told her of sex with duke, as judge to rule on case Independent

The Supremes

Vaccine Mandates Have a Bad Day at the Supreme Court New Yorker

Supply Chain

Supply-Chain Issues Leave New Homes Without Garage Doors and Gutters WSJ

Julian Assange

Australian media must stand up for Assange’s freedom Independent Australia

Old Blighty

Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee: Britain Plans Pomp, ‘Pudding’ and Parties WSJ

Turkey

Erdogan playing with economic and political fire Asia Times

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan: Russia-led troops to start leaving in 2 days Deutsche Welle

Syraqistan

India

Har Gobind Khorana at 100: Re-Evaluating a Shared Heritage of the Pioneer of Molecular Biology The Wire

‘New India’ by 2022: How far has the Modi government come in achieving its ambitious targets? Scroll

DataViz: As Many Children Die Before Their Fifth Birthday In Uttar Pradesh As In Afghanistan India Spend

China?

China to host Iranian foreign minister amid US pressure over nuclear talks South China Morning Post

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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216 comments

    1. griffen

      I tried giving that a listen, but it was a bit muffled and perhaps the audio was not great. In a separate article from this morning, it seems that competitor and Australian Nick Krygios has managed to test positive and is in quarantine status.

      I think with the tournament set to begin on the 17th, this situation for Novak remains fluid. Although if I was a much less-heralded tennis professional, and I had received my vaccinations in order to compete – I would be furious at the beneficial doubt granted for someone to play. To my knowledge, on the US tour this does not happen in golf; witness Jon Rahm last year, leading a tournament by 6 strokes going into the final round only to withdraw after a positive test result.

      Reply
    2. ChiGal

      Yup, he’s an assh*le alright. But he was given to understand it was okay for him to come so he’s not the only one.

      Special rules for special people who fall on their knees and kiss the cross around their neck when they win like they’re chosen.

      Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      So the Biden Administration is appearing before the Supreme Court to defend the mandate for a vaccine that doesn’t work? Seems like a winner in the midterms to me.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        But when the Democrats get massacred in the midterms for doing worse than nothing, then for the next three years of Biden’s term they can complain how they cannot get anything done because they don’t have the numbers to stop the mean Republicans. It worked for Obama.

        Reply
        1. Michael Ismoe

          Biden will only have to deal with the Republicans for two years Rev. Trump will take over in January 2025. We’ll probably start drilling for oil in Yellowstone National Park after the Trump kids get done killing off the damn bears.

          Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Just 666 days, 14 hours, 37 minutes and 8 seconds until I can claim my first SS check, but i’m not anxious or anything.

              Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  I kind of expect my monthly stipend in a couple years time will have the buying power of not much, perhaps enough to procure a 6 pack of beer.

                  Reply
        2. Darius

          Biden is Obama without the charisma. Amazingly, he’s actually better than Obama on labor and antitrust, subjects that embarrassed Obama in front of his Ivy Leaguer friends.

          Reply
            1. fajensen

              I’d assume this is actually because of the chip shortage and Team Biden are just putting a positive spin on an undesirable situation :).

              Reply
        3. Robert Hahl

          “It worked for Obama” except that that is why Donald Trump came to power. I don’t think Trump has it in him to take over again in 2024, but somebody like him will do it thanks to the Dems.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            True this but back in 2016 nobody thought that Trump really stood a chance. One major newspaper put the chances of a Hillary win at 99% and “Newsweek” magazine had already printed the cover of their magazine showing a smiling Hillary with the caption “Madame President: Hillary Clinton’s Historic Journey to the White House”-

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHG0ezLiVGc (5:36 mins)

            Reply
            1. Pat

              I had a bet I never collected with an online friend that Trump would be close, saying he was delusional for thinking that no woman or person of color would vote for him. There were a whole lot of smart and engaged humans who really really couldn’t see past their own bubble and the media’s bubble to realize that Clinton was no shoo in. I am not sure that our political geniuses have really learned yet, even if I do think they wouldn’t forget the electoral college like the Clinton camp did in 2016.

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                wouldn’t forget the electoral college like the Clinton camp

                “Forget” is doing some heavy lifting. Her campaign didn’t understand delegate allocation in the 2008 primary either.

                Reply
      2. Michael Ismoe

        Just how many votes do you think the Dems can throw away and still get their 40%?

        https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mayo-clinic-fires-700-workers-failed-comply-covid-vaccine-mandate-rcna11004

        https://www.fox47news.com/news/state/250-fired-from-blue-cross-blue-shield-of-michigan-and-subsidiaries-over-covid-vaccine-requirement

        https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/10/18/massachusetts-state-police-union-vaccine-mandate-governor-charlie-baker/

        https://www.garnertedarmstrong.org/covid-19-vaccine-mandate-military-begins-disciplinary-actions-against-refusers/

        https://www.heritage.org/government-regulation/commentary/federal-employee-vaccine-mandate-could-result-thousands-firings

        Reply
    2. Lee

      It’s good to see scientist purveyors of “The Science” we are meant to follow finally catching up with what has been known by folks at this site and others lo these many months.

      The façade of caring about transmission suffers yet another unmasking: “Health officials let COVID-infected staff stay on the job”, ABC News.

      Reply
    3. Jen

      Walensky quote: “Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well for Delta with regard to sever illness and death. They prevent it…what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission. So if you’re going home to somebody who has not been vaccinated, somebody who can’t get vaccinated… I would suggest you wear a mask in a public indoor setting,”

      But by all means if you’re going home to visit your triple vaxxed family members, feel free to spread the love. Also, feel free to ditch the mask if you are visiting your unvaccinated friends and family in private indoor settings.

      These [family blogging] people.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        “what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission”

        They never could. This is one sorry sucker.
        “Can’t do anymore…”
        &^%$ please!

        Reply
    4. SteveD

      Yes – slipping in ‘Anymore’ here is appallingly nefarious. She will not be challenged on it, and it will simply become the ‘accepted wisdom’ that “up until omicron” only the unvaccinated people were spreading COVID. And as bonus, great timing to queue up “go and get your new Pfizer Omicron shot.” These people are the absolute worst.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        That kind of overhype desperation – the continual LIE about what NON-STERILIZING shots do, makes me doubt the shots do what they claim they are doing even now.
        They can say anything but “I was wrong” and “I lied.”

        Reply
    5. ArvidMartensen

      What this pandemic has shown is that we are being lied to every day. They think we are cattle, and treat us as such, doing whatever is necessary to herd us to wherever they want. In a sort of Grandin Temple way.
      I saw the report from a pandemic conference from a few years ago that said that the way to control the population during a pandemic is to make them afraid. In black and white. I have searched and searched for it but can’t find it again, so no link, sorry.
      And so, if everything we hear from the authorities about Covid is pretty much a lie, then why would it be any different for every other issue under the sun.
      I personally now believe births, deaths and marriages. And weather events.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        In contrast to the 1.4 billion Chinese who are free to lead their lives without fear and only know about Omicron from reading about it?

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            My point remains valid. Tens of millions are locked down because they still do lockdowns and have not banned them outright. Meanwhile, over a billion Chinese are still living their lives and thinking that we in the west are mentally insane. And who am I to disagree?

            Reply
          2. DanB

            All one has to do is to compare Covid deaths in China -about 5,000-10,000- vs the USA -nearly 900,000 and climbing by about 1,500 everyday. Then one either accuses the Chinese of lying about the numbers or the USA of horrific indifference to protecting public health.

            Reply
            1. Samuel Conner

              I get this “can’t believe China” feedback from people, but they don’t say that about Japan.

              Some day, US authorities may take note of other nations that have done better and wonder how we could improve. I reckon it won’t happen until after DJT’s 2nd term, though.

              The thought does occur that the anti-helminthic agent that must not be named might get more official respect and interest in a 2nd iteration of the bad orange man. And certain long-serving members of the public health establishment would be canned, so there’s that.

              Reply
              1. Lee

                Every day more and more in every way I come to appreciate the exasperation with the status quo of the middle finger voters.

                Reply
              2. Darius

                Data collection in the US is as degraded as most other public functions here. The US pointing the finger at any other country’s COVID counts takes more guts than Dick Tracy, as my dad used to say.

                Reply
            2. Lee

              Putting China aside, quite a few countries, whose data we generally trust are doing considerably better than the U.S.

              For example, we might compare the U.S. (255.18 deaths/100K pop.) with countries such as Japan (14.57) , South Korea (11.74), Taiwan (3.58), Denmark (58.45), or a considerable number of others that have done better than the U.S. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

              Reply
              1. Mildred Montana

                Here’s some data that is hopefully trustworthy (it’s from WHO):

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy (2020)

                The US, the richest country in the world, ranks 40th in LE. China ranks 48th. Those stats don’t look good for the US, or China either for that matter, until one looks at the changes in LE since 2000:

                US: +1.8 years (one of the lowest in the world)
                China: +5.8 years (one of the highest)

                Since life-expectancies are a measure of socio-economic status, morbidities in the general population, and quality and availability of healthcare, deaths from Covid can’t be easily tweezed out from these factors.

                But I wouldn’t be surprised at all that China, a nation on the rise, is doing well—along with many other nations—in comparison to the US, a nation stalled or going backwards.

                Reply
            3. JohnA

              When it comes to comorbidity factors such as obesity, diabetes etc., the US is incomparably worse due to bad diets, disgusting additive and sugar stuffed, hormone and preventative antibiotic riddled ‘food’, lack of exercise etc., and the lack of healthcare for all.

              Reply
        1. griffen

          That is a line from Scarface I’m certain. Crooked cop* to Tony, “every day above ground is a good day. You should smile more, Tony”.

          *Scarface, where it is really easy to know the bad guys.

          Reply
          1. Mildred Montana

            I’ve watched “Scarface” many times and always enjoyed it. Here’s a Tony Montana line:

            “All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break ’em for no one.”

            Reply
  1. Hickory

    Another big topic was the US-Russian talks yesterday. It seems like the risk of some kind of conflict with them in the next couple weeks just went up a lot –

    https://www.rt.com/russia/545624-moscow-warns-washington-confrontation/
    https://www.rt.com/russia/545616-ryabkov-geneva-talks-nato/

    I listened to the Russian post dialog press conference and they seem very upset the us won’t promise not to put world ending weapons on their doorstep, and they promise to use their military soon to negate threats if needed… that is, if talks fail like they did yesterday. More talks Thurs and maybe Fri w/other parties. I’m really concerned things are going to escalate soon in a way I’ve never seen before.

    Reply
    1. Martin Oline

      I suspect the threat negation the Russians are warning about is more technological than weapons oriented. I remember the interview Oliver Stone did with Vladimir a few years back. Oliver found that he had never seen Dr. Strangelove and delighted in having it screened for him. You remember where the President Merkin Muffley saying to the Soviet ambassador “Alexi, you can’t have a doomsday weapon and not tell anyone about it. That doesn’t work.” Perhaps that made an impression. It wasn’t much longer after that the Russians announced their new advances in a large array of weapons. What would happen to the Western arsenal if GPS systems were neutralized? All those fine, expensive weapon systems all dressed up and nowhere to blow. Perhaps we will be witness to an interesting but non destructive demonstration in the next few weeks.

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        My thoughts about US bellicosity and Russian resolve is this. What if, rather than disabling the “advanced” US weapons on or near the Russian border, they can be redirected electronically or technologically to targets in Eastern & Western Europe, or even to US-friendly nations in the Middle East, like Israel or Saudi Arabia?

        Reply
    2. Mike

      To add to this concern, it seems the Russian military efforts have dovetailed nicely with the WW2 German efforts to find “super” weapons – currently that can withstand first strike attacks and slip past defenses. A panoply of weaponry is on the drawing block/trial table, and it seems Putin’s efforts are going to be very costly and years in the making. So, four questions:
      Can Russia balance this development curve with the threat of sanctions from the “West”?
      Are such weapons trials meaningful when a country is faced with economic/financial/technological attacks? Can the Russians depend upon Chinese aid in such efforts?
      And, finally, can the US blithely ignore all such claims as BS to be discounted, thinking the damage from sanctions will hamper/cancel all such efforts?

      Reply
    3. Tomfoolery

      I am personally expecting an increase in cyber attacks over the next few weeks. It’s the kind of asymmetric attack Russia can make on us, that is just non-attributable enough to not lead to kinetic attacks from us, but still send a message to our war-mongering blob.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          When Hello Kitty starts wearing Hammer and Sickle scarves on Etsey.
          The perilous part about technological advances in warfare is that, a prudent force does not reveal an advance before it goes live in actual combat. The surprise factor is only exploitable one time.
          The actual target of a cyber-attack would be the main clue as to the perpetrator of an attack. Banking record keeping attacks could be anybody, and probably part of a ransome attack. If, however, the command and control system of an American built and deployed weapons system were to suddenly go dark, the odds would be on an adversary being behind the shenanigans.
          I would also be very suspicious of Hello Kitty suddenly wearing a Mao jacket and hat.
          Stay safe, Comrade Kitties!

          Reply
        1. chuck roast

          Now that Vault 7 has been revealed you never know who is doing what to whom. Good luck getting the corporate propagandists to acknowledge that.

          Reply
  2. Gumnut

    Denmark sitrep:

    The final/last omikron-report came out on Friday 7th:
    https://files.ssi.dk/covid19/omikron/statusrapport/rapport-omikronvarianten-07012022-27nk

    – omikron is now 95%+ and cases remain non-rising (though high of course)
    – main point to highlight remains table 4: for all >12yo, cases vs. vax status (n=57,000 cases)
    – over 90% of cases are vaccinated cases, while population vax rate is only 82%
    – the clear driver are the only-2x vaccinated, who seem to be nearly 2x as likely as the unvaxxed to contract omikron.

    Here is also the pre-print that is making the rounds based on Danish data, that shows the the declining vax effectiveness over time for the 2 mRNA vaccines:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21267966v3.full

    – main point is figure 1:
    – for delta the effectiveness wanes, but remains >50% up to 6months
    for omikron the effectiveness goes to -40% (moderna) & -80% (Pfizer) after 3months, i.e. you are more likely than an unvaccinated person to get infected. So not just not that protective, actually counter-protective.

    All that said, for some reason I am not going to speculate on (but raise an eyebrow, quite high), the Danish health authority is now only reporting combined (delta & omikron) results, which – in short – conceals the uncomfortable vax-omikron data. Job done, vax^n way to go (every 2-3 months to have any helpful effect). And ICU looks more concerning & pro-vax, as there was less than 5 Omikron patients in ICU a week ago (last disclosed data), but something 50-100 with (hence delta) in ICU now.

    A point to make about Denmark is that all 5.8M citizen’s health (& financial matters = tax, bank, pension) information are tied to a single number, the CPR (central persons register). Great to live in a society with trust, super handy in daily life, an f’ying nightmare if a predatory trojan horse were to get hold of that trove. Just mentioning to explain why DK can provide such data. Friend just finished a cardiology epidemiology PhD and reports that rocking up with n=5,800,000 in your dataset makes publishing a breeze. He can only pull a pre-approved number of data-fields from that database, but that’s only protected by someone with a password higher up, not by data containment. And might explain why so many tech companies are interested in getting in (datacenters and more) on the Danish market (bit like the Iceland DNA database from some years ago).

    Reply
    1. Burritonomics

      From the article you provided:

      “The negative estimates in the final period arguably suggest different behaviour and/or exposure patterns in the vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts causing underestimation of the VE. This was likely the result of Omicron spreading rapidly initially through single (super-spreading) events causing many infections among young, vaccinated individuals.”

      Reply
      1. Gumnut

        Yes, saw that & giggled.

        This paper is from data early December after 5k cases. The report from 7th Jan is from 50k cases – no change whatsoever: double-vaxxed at nearly 2x the risk, 3x vaxxed just in line with unvaxxed.

        And regarding the ‘young’ – just about true early Dec, but by now omikron is evenly distributed in the 18-65yo (see bars in report).

        A) all the partying has been cancelled since Dec 15th (hospitality closed, homeoffice wherever possile).
        B) not sure how many superspreader parties the oldies get up to.
        C) The unvaccinated will skew younger (over half of teenagers are vaxxed, but well beyond 90% of the oldies). So if one really thinks that argument through, then the (younger) unvaxxed should disproportionally pick up infections due to risky behaviour.

        No idea if this is ADE, but it’s the same as in the late Dec German & Icelandic data.

        Reply
    2. Alex

      So not just not that protective, actually counter-protective.

      Not sure it follows from the data. If the 90% you mentioned comes from Table 7 which excludes children younger than 11 years old. Does your 82% vax rate include children or not?

      Reply
      1. Zamfir

        The 82.6% is as percentage of the full population, see here:
        https://www.sst.dk/en/english/corona-eng/status-of-the-epidemic/covid-19-updates-statistics-and-charts

        4.8 million people with at least 1 dose, out of a total population of 5.8

        Population below 12 would be roughly 0.8 million, based on this page:
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Denmark

        Some percentage of children between 5 and 12 is also vaccinated, and therefore included in the 4.8 million number above. I cannot find that number, it is reported as “low” because vaccination for that group has only recently started. But it could easily be a few hundred thousand

        Reply
        1. Alex

          So if a quarter of children is vaccinated (200 thousand) the vax rate for the >12 yo population is (4.8m-0.2m)/(5.8m-0.8m) = 92%, which is very close to the 90% vax rate among the infected. In other words this data suggests the vaccine neither decreases nor increases your chances of getting infected. But then there is a question of illness severity.

          Reply
    3. fajensen

      And might explain why so many tech companies are interested in getting in (datacenters and more) on the Danish market

      The danish politicians were so impressed with the Singularity Institute cultists that they started spouting the “everything exponential” gibberish in public, where they were widely and deservedly mocked for it – and – then something helped them get their gibbering enthusiasm off “the internet”. Their videos still sometimes pop up, but they are hard to find. Presumably, this service must cost something?

      Anyways, all it takes to favourably impress danish politicians and decision makers, is a 2 week trip to the USA HQ to see some PowerPoints presented by level-3 or so (from the top) managers and an all-paid-for stay at some shiny-shiny resort hotel. I.M.O., we are so cheap to buy off that it is an international embarrassment.

      Reply
  3. Roger Blakely

    I don’t think that the Biden Administration is actually serious about vaccine mandates. I think that they have been Bogarting people into getting vaccinated over the past four months. The vaccine mandate is not actually necessary. The past two years have shown that we cannot vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. The Biden Administration will let the conservative Supreme Court take the blame for shooting down the emergency regulation.

    What if the Biden Administration wins? Every employer is going to have a massive fight on its hands with employees who refuse to get vaccinated. Enforcing such an emergency regulation is not realistic.

    Reply
    1. Sawdust

      The vaccine mandate has nothing to do with public health. It’s about entrenching the PMC’s right to control how everyone else lives.

      Reply
      1. marym

        Fear not! Gorsuch was the only one not wearing a mask, so “freedom” (except to terminate a pregnancy) apparently still has a friend on the court.

        Reply
    2. marym

      From what I read (with no legal expertise…this is vague paraphrase from a few news reports) the arguments at the SC weren’t much about vaccine safety vs efficacy. The liberal justices spoke as if were a given that the vaccines are effective. I didn’t see pushback on that issue, and only some of the usual on risk (risk/benefits already decided by the “experts” vs risk as a personal choice). The discussion seemed (at least in the excerpts I read) to be more about whether the federal government has the authority to issue the mandate, and whether the public health emergency is extreme enough to warrant it.

      I don’t think Biden will win on this one, but we’ll have to wait and see if the basis for a decision against the mandate has the potential to undermine the ability at the federal level to define an emergency, or to issue public health or workplace safety requirements. That would get Biden off the hook for a lot more beyond this mandate.

      Reply
  4. Eustachedesaintpierre

    I chanced on a pdf of the Texas judge’s decision to force the release of the Pfizer papers – kind of a breath of fresh air IMO & includes this quote from James Madison, with a later one from JFK both of which I feel illustrate how we have strayed off the path, to the extent that they needed to be stated as a reminder.

    ” A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of
    acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both.
    Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be
    their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives “.

    NC is of course a big part of that.

    https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/gdvzykdllpw/Pittman%20FOIA%20Order.pdf

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      > I chanced on a pdf of the Texas judge’s decision to force the release of the Pfizer papers

      United States District Court For The Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division

      From the order:

      The FDA shall produce the “more than 12,000 pages” articulated in its own proposal, see ECF No. 29 at 24, on or before January 31, 2022.

      2. The FDA shall produce the remaining documents at a rate of 55,000 pages every 30 days, with the first production being due on or before March 1, 2022, until production is complete.

      I am sure this is being appealed

      Reply
  5. Tom Stone

    I stopped at the local Home depot yesterday to pick up more N95 masks.
    Sold out,an empty 8′ by 3′ shelf.
    Plenty of other grades of mask,plenty of respirator filters,no N95 masks.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      word on the street is that they can be reused quite a bit

      Per “mask nerd”, the 95% particle removal property, by spec, is preserved until a quite high loading has been reached.

      https://twitter.com/masknerd/status/1473748051412008960

      It would be helpful to have some ‘official’ guidance on that, but I suppose that will have to wait until the authorities persuade themselves that it’s actually OK for us ‘civilians’ to use them. And then, will we be able to believe the new guidance on reuse?

      ——-

      The thought occurs that the empty shelves may encourage some of the makers who geared up for giga-scale production but then did not get orders commensurate with their enlarged capacity, and who are how hurting, to hang on.

      The rulers will declare, ‘see: “The Market” works!’

      (imprecations muttered under breath)

      Reply
    2. griffen

      Very much anecdotal to my region of South Carolina, in the Upstate, seeing more recent mask wearing at the local grocery chain. And now, the cashiers and check out attending individuals are masking up again. Plexiglass has remained in place.

      And since I got pilloried for this before…but I am going back to the self check out to expedite my leaving the store. Plus at this grocery chain, each self check station is pretty well spaced apart.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        you’re own health and sense of security trumps any solidarity regarding self-checkout. as my boys say :”you do you”.

        in my little part of the hinterlands, wife and the boys and me are the only masks we see, anywhere.
        scanner is filled with either stated plainly “covid positive”, or a bunch of oldsters “having trouble breathing”.
        official county numbers say we went from 7 to 50 cases in the last week…but that’s only PCR at the one local clinic…doesn’t count the self test…nor does it count the likely many people who shrug it off/don’t bother to test or quarantine.
        school nurse is visibly freaked out and exasperated.
        when Youngest had that 3 day basketball tourney a couple of weeks ago, which caused a scare in our house because one of the kids then tested positive…and 3 more did the day after…those 4 kids were in school less than 4 days later.
        these are all “It Aint Realers”, of course.
        Youngest remains the only kid in the high school who’s wearing a mask…and yet, the principal gave him a dhall yesterday because his hair touched his ear, or something.
        beginning of Year Three, and we’re just as idiotic as ever.

        i sometimes morbidly muse that it will take literal bodies in the street to break the trumpy fever…but then wonder if even that would do it….and that we’ll instead have roving bands of Prayer Warriors roaming the Barrio to pray away the demons.

        Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i’m under much pressure, here.
            were I a tyrant(in the ancient greek sense), I’d mandate that my whole bunch stays home for the next month.
            sadly, i am not.
            i can cajole and make the case and play wife’s cancer card and my mom’s old age card, and that’s it.

            basketball is the reason he gets out of bed…and there’s a large part of the practice of the Cult of the Holy Balls(sports) that is just as guilt inducing as Catholicism.
            Either he feels guilty for not Being There, or I do for not letting him.
            So he sits alone and masked on the bus, avoids close contact as best he can, and pretty much stays in his room if he’s in the house.
            He also masks when he goes next door to my mom’s, and refuses hugs all around, etc.
            He takes covid seriously…as near as i can tell, alone among his cohort in this county.
            He’s also got all his shots.
            and had covid a year ago with his brother and mother.
            The last thing he wants is to bring it home.
            so you do what you can, and what you must.
            and nothing in the world is anywhere near perfect.
            …..

            wife’s cousin died this weekend…stomach cancer that went crazy and spread all over.
            today was the funeral.
            wife has cedar fever bad…and boys are either working or at school.
            so i was left to Represent.
            so i put on my Man in Black and went and stood well away from everyone in the rain(i only ever go to the graveside…a Brujo in church is too much of a distraction).
            Familia, crowded under the big green tent, maskless to a person, hugging and dripping on each other.
            handful of extended familia and friends were masked, out in the rain…either very old and frail, or young and perhaps Demleaning.
            another handful of peripheral old friends from cousin’s partying days were also masked…interestingly…mexican libertarian sorts, looking out for numero uno.

            This variant is gonna sweep through this county like a prairie fire…and i do reserve the right to tell the coaches and the principal to go fuck themselves if it gets too hairy for even my comfort.
            …and make no mistake, me keeping him home will be a fight…i’ll expect charges of truancy, and the like.(yeah, really…ISD admin is under pressure, too)
            so i’m monitoring everything closely, and waiting until I must.

            Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                I’ll add, that wife (spanish/esl teacher at that school) is retiring in may(if she retired right now, her meager pension is forfeit, apparently—my eyes hurt from the rollin’).
                in this political climate…especially locally, all the way up to a state gooberment run by vengeful morons who hate teachers…i’m averse to jeopardising that, as well.
                no good choices….and the rational choices are off the table by design.

                and people think i’m being funny when i say i want to secede from texas(just these 20 acres…we wouldn’t be missed)

                Reply
            1. Late Introvert

              Thanks Amfortas,

              I have just one kid. She went to the state band auditions in Des Moines last Saturday, it was only half a day. They were all masked (except for when she was playing her flute) and (mostly?) vaxxed. So far so good, like you say, and I can’t make her stay home and ruin her life even more than this virus already has done. But that could all change if this keeps up like it has been lately….

              Reply
        1. griffen

          I just saw a headline that featured the top cities in Texas for small business…apropos of nothing exactly relevant. The guv Mr Abbott was pictured at the top of the headlined article. After all, that proves the state is capable when it’s deemed worthwhle.

          When I lived north of there, in the giant metropolis Dallas (well north of it in Plano), the bodies in the street were usually huddled underneath the bridges and overpasses. This is not intentional or sarcasm. I didn’t see these homeless camps so much as I read about them in the Dallas News.

          Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Went to the store late. Noticed relatively empty shelves. The pharmacy area had signs about being out of of covid tests and said they didn’t know when there would be more.

        Customer service had two pieces of paper taped to the counter saying “office closed” in black marker. I usually shop late. I’ve never noticed that.

        Reply
        1. polar donkey

          Yesterday was trash pick up day. Have two trucks that normally come, garbage and recycling. Neither came. No sight of them today. I reckon omicron has infected solid waste crews just like everyone else.

          Reply
          1. polar donkey

            My son’s 2nd grade class has 24 students. 8 were out yesterday. Same for the next door high school. Kids just not coming. Who knows if they got covid or not.

            Reply
            1. Kurtismayfield

              We are at 47% attendance today at my high school, with the cold and more quarantined students making attendance to be farsical at this point.

              Reply
      3. Carolinian

        There’s a huge case surge here that has gotten people’s attention. Two weeks ago hardly anyone was wearing a mask which may have contributed to the surge (I’ve never stopped wearing one in stores). I know a family in Florida who got it but couldn’t decide if they had the flu instead and had to get tested to find out. One said the main symptom was a really bad sore throat.

        Worldometer still shows the SC death rate as much lower than in the summer. Presumably the next few weeks will reveal just how deadly Omicron really is.

        Reply
        1. Rod

          There’s a huge case surge here that has gotten people’s attention
          In a State where 1 out of every two is fully vaccinated.
          Henry says it’s ok–we got plenty of tests and plenty of Vaccine–come get you some.
          but then:
          On Friday, Jan. 7 DHEC issued a statement on delayed COVID-19 test results. DHEC will continue to provide updates.
          https://scdhec.gov/covid19
          But the SC DEHEC website suddenly looks pretty built out from two weeks ago–so there is that.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            I don’t think vax shaming applies anymore if it ever did. Mask shaming…maybe. In my very humble opinion the widespread notion that we could have controlled this thing if only we had done x is quite possibly mistaken. In the end nature itself may supply the solution.

            Reply
            1. Screwball

              In the end nature itself may supply the solution.

              After X months of this, and all the BS we have endured, I’m starting to think this was the plan all along.

              I know, tin foil hat firmly on, but thinning the herd really benefits who?

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                thinning the herd benefits the elder care system, as well as the pension and Social Security and Medicare systems.
                and, depending on the severity of the thinning(shudder), it could have an impact on the Biosphere, as well.

                Of course, i reckon providing free and shameless contraception, comprehensive sex ed and abortions without shame would be a more humane way to go about this….but i’m not currently in charge….and my priorities don’t include maintaining the status quo in power and wealth distribution.

                Reply
      4. lordkoos

        Here in eastern WA, even as omicron continues to be in the news, I see maskless people everywhere when shopping, probably around 20%, even some seniors. It’s such a senseless way to protest the gubmint.

        I don’t know how the checkout people can stand it, many of them wear only simple cloth masks since their government won’t tell them how to be safe, let alone provide PPE. I don’t think I have seen a single N95 type mask on anyone working in any local stores.

        Reply
    3. Roger Blakely

      Let the N95s be bought by people who don’t know any better. The rubber (or silicone) half-face respirators with particulate filter cartridges are better anyway. And pick up a pair or chemical splash goggles while you’re at it.

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “What is ‘living with Covid’? Boris Johnson drawing up plans ‘to be rolled out in March”

    I think that this is Boris trying to play it too smart by half. I would assume that the idea is that the Omicron wave would be mostly spent by March and that he could claim that the Pandemic is basically over and what is left is just like the flu. This being the case, quarantining, masks, etc. can all be safely forgotten. What is not know is what plans Coronavirus has as, for example, the emergence of Omicron seems to have caught our leaders and medical authorities on the hop.

    Reply
  7. Jason Boxman

    Honestly, US foreign policy oft times reminds me of that scene from GoT, where Tyrion reminiscences about his cousin that smashes beetles. His thirst for slaughtering beetles is insatiable, all day, every day. Why does he do it? He asks. We don’t know. You’re left with that.

    Why does the Washington Consensus involve destroying entire parts of the world with reckless abandon?

    Reply
  8. Jason Boxman

    On sick workers, I can’t help but recall scumbag Mayor Teresa Jacobs of Orange County, Florida colluded illegally with area businesses in 2012 to kill sick leave for employees in what is the tourist capitol of the United States.

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A scandal that played out at an Orange County commission meeting is coming with a hefty price tag. On Monday a group who tried to get paid sick time for Orange County workers will now be paid $90,000, all because of erased text messages.

    The scandal was dubbed “textgate” when those text messages to and from lobbyists were deleted after commissioners voted down a proposal to require paid sick time in 2012.

    And helpfully:

    Last year [2013] the state legislature passed a law that prohibits cities from forcing businesses to offer paid sick time.

    This was insane at the time, and proponents of paid sick leave, as usual, were proven to be prescient.

    I have an extended family member that manages a bar in downtown Orlando; Had COVID twice now. Hopefully hadn’t been into work while sick.

    And from GrubStreet:

    In a 2015 survey of food-industry workers — including those in restaurants, dairies, slaughterhouses, and other businesses — 51 percent of respondents said they “always” or “frequently” work when they are sick; only 5.6 percent said they “never” do.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      I hate to say this, because (a) I don’t cook and (b) I really like a good restaurant, but the restaurant business is working hard to join the airlines as a business the world would be better off without, if they don’t clean up their act. Not to blame the workers, who do what they must do.

      Maybe many, many more and better food carts, since they are in the open air….

      Reply
  9. BillS

    The IRS is overwhelmed! Oh no, the horror!

    In my opinion, they could save themselves a lot of busy-work by joining the 21st century and the rest of the world by
    1) ending the citizen-based tax filing requirement for American expats living overseas – go to residence based filing requirement (7-8 million filers immediately drop off the rolls).
    2) allowing everyone to use a centralized, free web-based electronic filing system, like most European countries have – put an end to most paper filing.
    3) Eliminate the bulk of deductions and exemptions – creators of excess bureaucracy. Egregious examples: pet moving costs, mortgage interest, investment interest, gambling losses.

    I realize that these would require Congress to act..so I don’t hold out much hope.

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      A web based filing system? Think about that for a few seconds: malware, data tracking, complete loss of the most sensitive information, lack of trust in the IRS’ encryption (it’ll have some nice, air circulating back door “updates”), etc. etc.
      All of your other ideas make a lot of sense. And you’re correct with this “I realize that these would require Congress to act”. Have they acted on personal information theft by: amasin; gaggle; f’book; equifux? ……. Nah.
      Ol’ school is safe school.

      Reply
        1. BillS

          Perhaps you and mantid are correct. But i have 2 points.
          1) online tax filing in the us already exists..it’s just hidden from most people. Tax filing agencies use it all the time. What’s available to ordinary filers is a hodge-podge of free or paid online methods that are probably less secure than a centralized tax system. Keep in mind that paper forms do not offer perfect security either.
          2) i have been using online filing in Belgium for years. Id theft on tax sites is rare because everything is linked to an electronic key card that must be in the possession of the filer at the moment of filing. Perhaps the fractious Belgians are better at making such a system work than the American IRS.

          Reply
    2. Bill

      Help lighten their workload~use only cash in small businesses and when paying people, unless it’s a business write off.

      Reply
  10. Jen

    Made an early morning grocery run today. Nothing like going to the store at 7am when it’s 5 below to avoid crowds.

    I was gobstruck by how empty the shelves were. Almost all of the employees were working on stocking shelves but looking at the number of boxes they had in the aisles and the empty space on those shelves…looked like they were putting out what they had and what they had wasn’t much.

    I mentioned to the cashier that the place was picked pretty clean. Shipping delays? People stocking up? She told me her son works for fedex and ice storms in the south were gumming up the works pretty bad. I’m thinking – pretty sure that’s not how the more locally sourced stuff gets here and even that was bare bones.

    Someone was asking about the Lehman brothers moment in COVID…it might look something like this.

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      I’m seeing a few empty shelves here, mostly in the dairy section, but we seem to be doing OK in general – it helps to live in a west coast state that has a lot of agriculture and ports that receive a lot of imports. Most shortages here are temporary (at least so far) and are due to mountain roads being closed from heavy snowfall.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Stores pretty well stocked here (Toronto) so far. We have a glut of dairy, have had for months. Always some great deal on cheese, yogurt, or cream every week, including this week, ice cream. I couldn’t pass it up. Did you know you can fry ice cream in an air fryer?

        Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      This reminds me of my favorite theory about human origins. That we came from a cross between monkey and pig. (Pre-monkey and pre-pig of course.)

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Thank you for this link — a ‘head explodes’ moment. I wonder if this hypothesis is being experimentally explored somewhere (shudders inwardly).

        As has been repeatedly noted over the years, NC commentariat is the best commentariat.

        Reply
    2. newcatty

      Seeing Cheney glorified in congress reminded me of his many heart transplants, IIRC. Was he a guinea pig for pig heart transplants?

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Tales from beyond the crypto…

    Who is paying for tv commercials with men of note (women seem not need apply) such as Matt Damon comparing the Wright brothers & space achievements to crypto.com, or name brand athletes as spokespersons endorsing it by merely uttering a cryptic ‘i’m in’?

    Fortune Favours the Brave | Crypto.com

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hBC5TVdYT8

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Dartmouth was the answer to a Jeopardy question last night. I forget the exact category, but it was completing the sequence of Ivy colleges and followed “Columbia, Cornell,….”. A near-natural fit to a contestant from the Northeast, no less.

      BTW, I can’t foresee how colleges and universities navigate these circumstances differently. What they should do and what will be done, not for me to say. I expect this winter will be revealing also, in how disruptive the Covid-19 transmission impacts the playing of winter and spring sports.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        We had, emphasize past tense, something of a natural advantage in that we are in a rural location without a lot of uncontrolled inputs. Get the students here without them bringing the virus, test like crazy and separate the ones who get sick from the healthy population (as opposed to “isolating” in dorms with shared bathrooms), and keep visitors off campus, and we might pull it off. We have before. This is a very deliberate choice, and a bad one.

        Reply
    2. petal

      Over the weekend I was watching the off-campus kids hustling by with the grab and go containers. Didn’t notice any change in socialising behaviour.
      Looks like the admin wants every single person to get it. That’s comforting. I really should find another employer because apparently the current one wants me to get sick, and potentially have long term problems or go die. I’m glad they sleep well at night. I worry for my professor friends that have to teach in person.

      Friend in Australia is symptomatic, and last night said to me he’s not worried at all because “omicron is so mild” and easy. He couldn’t find any RATs anywhere and was begging on fb for some. Looks like someone he knows gave him a few as of this morning. I reminded him of the potential for long-term damage, and sent him the iMASK protocol anyway.

      Reply
    3. Jen

      Looking at the NH state map, Hanover (population 8.8K) is second only to Concord (population 44K) in active cases. I predict they will be #1 within 24 hours.

      Reply
  12. griffen

    Thanks for including a link to the conclusion of the Monday night festivities in the football contest betwixt the Tide of Alabama and the Bulldogs of Georgia. In related news, classes in Athens, Georgia will be delayed until the 41 years’ pent up celebration is complete. Even the most die hard, decidedly non sport fan professors now recognize the euphoria of Kirby besting Nick. I turned this off at the exactly wrong time.

    Having vanquished his mentor, young grasshopper Smart should go to Disney World.

    Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Australian media must stand up for Assange’s freedom”

    Not going to happen. The mainstream media refuses to do a deep dive into this story as they are still shouting Russia!Russia!Russia! or more lately China!China!China! while backing the governments viewpoints. Our media is just as bad as the American media. The abandonment of Assange is something that both parties can agree on so it is bipartisan. If the Brits put Assange on a plane headed to Oz, you would have an epic panic in Canberra as the ball would now be in their court.

    Reply
    1. Brian Beijer

      Our media is just as bad as the American media.

      I would hazzard to say a more true statement is “Our media is the same media as American media.” Being an American expat in Sweden, I notice almost the exact same international stories, with definitely the same propagandistic slant, being reported in Sweden with usually a day or two delay. I’m sure some of this is simply because everyone nowadays to reprint stories from the AP or Reuters. I really started paying attention to it when the “drug that shall not be named” started being referred to as horse medicine in both countries almost simultaneously. Now, of course, Russsia! Russia! Russia! is in all the headlines here, along with PMC editorials on why “We” need to work more closely with NATO. As you said, if it isn’t Russia! Russia! Russia! it’s China! China! China!. With these sort of “stories”, I’m certain the CIA and NSA have a strong influence on most of the “news” that is within the sphere of influence of the Five Eyes. It would be interesting to know how many AP and Reuters reporters have connections with intelligence agencies…

      Reply
      1. H. Toin

        And you can add the AFP to those two, it’s the “holy” trinity. On international matters, there is no difference between the French, UK, and US papers. China!China!China! has gotten really bad in France these past months, and it’s been Russia!Russia!Russia! since 2014.

        Reply
      2. H. Toin

        And you can add the AFP to those two, it’s the “holy” trinity. On international matters, there is no difference between the French, UK, and US papers. China!China!China! has gotten really bad in France these past months, and it’s been Russia!Russia!Russia! since 2014 and the Maidan.

        Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    The claim was that JFK started us into a war on cash with red seal United States Notes versus green seal Federal Reserve Notes, with the latter debt instruments prevailing after that day in Dallas…

    Nobody really wanted to go into dubious battle in Fiatnam on a per Diệm basis so the reds needed to be eliminated, lest the double domino theory overdraw from the boneyard on the tableau.

    Reply
    1. Kouros

      Nikolay Starikov – Rouble Nationalization – the Way to Russias Freedom

      provides a nice discussion on the topic there…

      Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Walk on: why 2022 should be the year of the pedestrian Time Out
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated. … To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

    Edward Abbey

    Reply
        1. lordkoos

          Around these parts a lot of guys drive to the top and then bike down.
          Like skiing, mountain biking is mostly about the thrill of speed I think.

          Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      Pedestrians are absolutely necessary for neighborhood shopping and transit to be economically viable…so naturally most of the building in my region (California) is sprawl, a design so hostile to pedestrians that it requires every driving-age adult to own and operate a car…the most regressive tax known to mankind.

      And what’s the fastest growing demographic in the U.S? Answer: age 85 and up. Do you really want to meet these folks on the road.

      Then there’s the social disenfranchisement of the very old and very young who can’t drive, persuading them they are powerless to navigate shopping, work and school without mom driving them there. Our elders can’t age in place–something that’s their strong preference–they must go to the nice warehouse…er, I mean Retirement Home, where their remaining assets are depleted.

      And don’t forget the health effects. Even as little as a 10 minute daily walk makes for fewer late-life health problems. The U.S. currently suffers from an epidemic of obesity, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Sprawl design builds the exercise out of daily life.

      Jane Jacobs says something like this: Modern planning is positively neurotic in the way it embraces what doesn’t work and ignores what does. … It’s a form of advanced superstition, like 19th century medicine when Doctors believed bleeding patients would cure them.

      Two recent encouraging developments for the State of California: 1. Rather than providing evidence of access to new development (fast flowing traffic), developers are going to be required to provide evidence they have reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT). 2. New building must have “complete streets” (i.e. streets designed to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as well as autos).

      That whole European exercise of making “no auto” streets is not possible in much of the sprawl surrounding our western cities.

      What’s needed? Pedestrian-friendly mixed-use of 11 dwelling units per acre. That makes walking destinations (mixed-use=residences, offices, commerce, etc.) available for pedestrians, and makes enough pedestrians available to patronize those uses and transit stops. (The figures come from Berkeley planner Robert Cervero’s study of East Bay cities)

      Reply
  16. Tom Stone

    Biden is looking weaker by the day and the Dems need a strong candidate for 2024.
    Harris will run if she is still alive, only death could stop her.
    She needs strong back up,someone with experience who embodies the Ideals of today’s Democratic Party.
    Someone who can reach across the aisle to “Git ‘er Done”.
    Dick Cheney.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Has anyone warned Dick not to get in Hillary’s way?

      Eeek. That just raised images of the ticket from Hell, Clinton/Cheney, although I think there would be a whole lot of “negotiations” regarding who’s on top.

      Reply
    2. Michael Ismoe

      Not Dick, Liz. She’s the new PMC heroine. How long before both she and Kitzinger get their own votive candle?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Michele is my bet, as well.
        I literally can’t think of anyone else.
        but Michele would get the Demvote where I’m at in a heartbeat.
        if she comes out as Bi, she’d check even more boxes.
        (and i salivate at the ludicrousness of the Righty conniptions that will ensue)

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Agree. To push the envelope on the Bi element, lets go Bi- Partisan! Its a sweet set-up.
          Michele and Liz! Think of it. Uniters! Its women for the top ticket! Diversity and Inclusiveness! American dynasties maintained! Uh, Kamala will be rewarded and enjoy a cabinet position. Chelsea can be press secretary. Its all in the “family”. One party to rule us all. Uh, same as before. Hope Michelle brings back organic garden to White House and cool concerts. Liz can man the western white house retreats at the compound in Wyoming.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether

          > Michele is my bet, as well. I literally can’t think of anyone else.

          Michelle’s father worked at the municipal water plant in Chicago, so presumably she has some concept of what governance is. So there’s that.

          The open emergence of an aristocracy of inherited social capital — visible for some years in Hollywood, sports, and politics — would be interesting. Reasoning backward from Plato’s kyklos would suggest we’re currently in a tyranny (preceded by oligarchy and democracy). Not such a bad call?

          Reply
  17. NotTimothyGeithner

    Per Ryan Grim, the Republicans are now going on promise to end congressional stock trading…they will play that clip of Pelosi over and over again.

    Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        It’s trump 2016 all over again. You know you won’t get it from the Democrats because they tell you to your face that you don’t deserve it. The Republicans are going to lie to you but at least Trump is mercurial enough that anything is possible. You got a hard No versus a Yeah, why not. Who are you gonna choose? There’s only one way to vote for change in 2022 or 24 and it’s not by voting D

        Reply
        1. MP

          I feel like your median voter isn’t even looking at promises more than Vibes and how things Feel, sort of the feeling that Trump was Different was enough for people to try it. The thing is that for people to get that the vibe Republicans are economically populist, it’s the media giving it credence. I mean, for God’s sake, MSM is running profiles for JD Vance saying that he’s actually going to go after Big Tech or deregulation while he’s campaigning with Peter Thiel.

          Reply
  18. jefemt

    Sirota: Obama takes credit for oil and gas boom. And he scorns mendacious braggadocio T Rump…

    If Obama can’t properly give credit to Bush and Cheney, the Oil Boys, my goodness.

    He inherited their machinations and doins. He was too busy looking over Hank Paulsons three pages of legal tablet notes with lots of zeros and a few Wall Street pals for the next few years to ‘create the oil boom’.
    Meanwhile, mercenary men went to MondakotaWY to try to keep their houses and families afloat in the non-recovery non-depression of the late 2000’s -early teens.

    No shortage of scoundrels, whatever side of the imaginary distinction line we allow them to draw.

    Neros fiddle while Rome burns

    Reply
  19. Carolinian

    A telling statistic from Stoller on the Ivies

    For instance, in 1940, the acceptance rate at Harvard was eighty-five percent. In 1970, it was twenty percent. For the class of 2025, it was 3.4 percent.

    Of course with more population there’s greater demand, but his point is that the supply of Ivy admissions is staying the same and therefore the institutions are becoming more aristocratic (or maybe that’s my point). To be sure some of those who get in aren’t from rich families but the ever increasing difficulty of getting in ensures that their pre college life will be all about acceptance–climbing the greasy pole. Is it any wonder therefore that someone like Obama identifies with the wealthy? Whereas the Ivies in the sixties were at the forefront of demanding social reform. Now it’s just the opposite (and the need to use Id Po to pretend to still be leftists).

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      Although it’s worth noting that, if the admissions rate stayed the same, you’d have to scale somehow to accommodate more and more people.

      Far be it from me to defend Ivy League institutions, but I think there’s a scale issue here as well. (The admissions mix is another story, of course.)

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        The solution is simple. Make legacies a negative, not a positive. Then rank order by income, reversed. Add sortition to the mix if needed.* Then wait a generation. Their endowments can stand it. One might argue that’s what the endowments are for.

        This would have the happy effect of eliminating the entire admissions bureaucracy.

        Reply
  20. diptherio

    My mind is a little blown this morning thanks to the “toss your cookies” article. Get this: the word for robot derives from the Czech word robota. Robota is Czech for corvee (which the article translates as “forced labor”). In the 1920 play that introduced the term to English, a factory produces artificial people ( something like Blade Runner‘s replicants), that are initially happy to work for the humans, but eventually revolt and wipe out the whole human race, minus one guy…also, they learn about love.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.U.R

    Sci-fi writers have been using the same essential plot details since literally day one.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      I had to do a scene from a play for a high school Speech class. I chose a scene from R.U.R., the Karl Capek play you’ve described. I chose that play because I couldn’t act and talking like a robot was easy.

      Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      Mitch McConnell would end it in a NY minute if his tax cuts were held hostage. Only Democrats are squeamish

      Reply
  21. katiebird

    Regarding links to publications that require subscriptions: I am deeply embarrassed that I’ve never reminded readers that your Public Library very likely has either a subscription or other access that is available to you.

    I tested some NYTimes, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal links at my library’s online site and (with some finagling (Not really dishonest, but rather roundabout means) successfully found the full text of the articles I wanted.

    In the case of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal the library had a VERY obvious link to the NYTimes, I clicked on that and was sent to a service called ProQuest on their NYTimes page.

    With a little searching, I found the link to the ProQuest page for the Wall Street Journal.

    But getting there for Washington Post was some work. I had to click on a link to a list of the newspapers available through the library. Then Search for Washington Post. That led me to a depressing list of the Washington Post in various formats with the dates covered. I found a couple that included “to present” and it took to (again) to ProQuest. And I found the article.

    I know this is a bit more round about than some of the other methods for finding the links. But it’s a good habit to use local libraries (the more people who use them the more resources they’ll get.)

    And I hope this helps.

    Reply
    1. Bill

      O.T. don’t forget to donate your unwanted high quality movies on D.V.D. to your local library so that dozens of people can enjoy them every year.

      Reply
  22. griffen

    The counterpunch article linked today, from none other than Ralph Nader. Not a long or absorbing read, thankfully. Just gets to the point, after listing early successes under that well known advocate of worker’s rights and environmental qualities for water and clean air – Richard M Nixon.

    To me, a singular quote was this nugget – “Whether in reality or virtual reality, corporations have become electronic child molesters with few pursuing sheriffs”. Summation – big corporations run everything, and getting or controlling enough is never sufficient to feed that beast.

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      I’ll attest to that “electronic child molesters”. In our public schools, all home work, teacher lessons, disciplinary records, grades, student “reflections” (open writing) is passed through gaggle docs.I don’t think the general public much less 90% of parents know that gaggle tracks and records nearly everything our children do in school – much less on their phones. “Get ’em while they’re young”. Just wait until a child’s social responsibility score comes up when they are an adult looking for a job, to buy a house, or to enter a concert venue.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…I don’t think the general public much less 90% of parents know that gaggle tracks and records nearly everything our children do in school – much less on their phones. ”

        around here, most parents seem to think that all the tracking and snooping is via the chip in the vaccines.
        i told both boys, when they entered high school…leave your teenage antics off of your feed/fone…and encourage everyone else to do the same.
        at the Wilderness Bar…and under the Big Oak before that, i put a metal coffee can out there for a faraday cage, and explained the hows and whys.(sufficient out here, b/c the towers are a lot further apart than in more civilised places)…iphones go into the can when not being used as a radio.(car keys go to me, unless there’s a DD)
        seems like every week, some kid or another posts a tiktok of themselves smoking a blunt, chugging beer, vandalising a bronze sheep or in various states of undress, and gets suspended from whatever extracurricular things they’re into.
        because the school…and the local cops…monitor all that stuff.
        because teenagers are easy targets.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > i put a metal coffee can out there for a faraday cage, and explained the hows and whys.(sufficient out here, b/c the towers are a lot further apart than in more civilised places)

          Great tip. Makes me wonder it there’s something similar for areas with stronger reception. Perhaps two cans, one inside the other? Although I suppose one could always ask the bartender to put your phone in the fridge…

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            why yes…yes there is:
            take a microwave that’s bitten the dust…cut the power cable in half(i save the plug ends for when i need a plug end for something), and strip the wires, and attach them to a bit of rebar or copper rod or whatever driven into the ground.
            ready made faraday cage…resistant to EMP…for when the rest of the world has had enough.
            i have one in my shop, where the shake flashlights and wind up shortwave radio’s live, along with the extra cordless fone battries that enable the latter(can also be run on a leyden jar setup…and yes, we’ve actually played with this with a wind up shortwave we found at the dump)

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              in the case of teenagers/young adults partying out here where it’s relatively safe…it’s more about the ritual of placing one’s fone out of reach, so the habitual posting of everydamnedthing can be overcome.
              i carry a small metal coffee can with a foil enhanced lid in wife’s car(our long range vehicle), for when my paranoia requires that my movement not be tracked.(acquiring the Noble Weed, etc)

              Reply
  23. fresno dan

    Our Illustrious Medical System aka Grift Part 428
    So I get a bill for 750$ for August 8, 9, 10 for 350$, 250$, and 150$ respectively. Hmmmm. The “bill” indicates no insurance payment is made, no patient payment, and no insurance adjustment.
    A few problems…
    I wasn’t in the hospital in August, nor did I receive any medical care in that month.
    I did however have an eye examination.
    I also just got my Medicare Summary Notice recently (Most insurance would call this Notice of Benefits. I am only in Medicare Part A) informing me that Medicare denied a number of claims made for my eye examination (I suspect the eye doctor automatically makes claims, although I fully paid for my eye examination at the time)
    So I than put the address on the bill which is different than the postmark on the envelope, into Google maps. I am familiar with the address area as I sometimes get my haircut near that address. The address turns out to be of a UPS retail site (next to the haircut place). (not of an office that would ostensibly handle medical billing issues)
    Finally, the bill comments that I was denied Medicare benefits due to:
    unlawfully being present in the US
    OR having been deported from the US.

    Uh, nope – always been a USA citizen in good standing.
    Right now I am looking into how and who to report this scam to.
    So I suspect a lapse in Medicare security, or perhaps someone in the eye doctors office is involved.

    BTW, now for something completely different, did I mention that a prescription drug I was prescribed was contra indicated for a drug I was taking?
    I was busy with it being Christmas season, and I didn’t read the package insert – don’t trust that the physicians keep any track of the drugs your taking even though they ask you that at each visit, or that the pharmacy, despite claiming that the benefits of using a single pharmacy because they are on the alert for drug interactions. Read the package insert for yourself!

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      There is always a silver lining. My favorite sandwich shop closest to me closed a while back. The other locations that Google map provides are too far away to go for just a sandwich. But it turns out that my favorite sandwich shop location is right next to the scam address for the fake medical biller. (and Google doesn’t show). I never would have known that the close sandwich shop location exists if I had not been scammed with that address…Whoo Hoo! tasty sandwiches!
      AND there is always a black lining to everything now a days as well – you can’t trust Google to give you complete information…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > you can’t trust Google to give you complete information…

        First, Google maps are indeed awful. Accurate to perhaps 100 meters, and including plenty of businesses that don’t actually exist. However, if you’re looking for a particular kind of business, like a computer repair shop, say, Google maps are often actually better than regular Google, because the map format prevents Google from crapifying the results with paid ads and SEO boosts. I found places on Google maps that I could not find using conventional search.

        This also suggests the regular search engine and the map search engine are siloed in some way. Too many siloes in a business is never a good sign.

        Reply
    2. griffen

      Are you uncovering fraud on the streets of your fair city? It certainly sounds like the case. I’m sure the fraud investigators at the CMS will be on it like stink on a turd. Or, I want to assume they have resources to investigate a possibly blatant abuse.*

      *This is the federal government. So of course, the fraud might continue in spite of your Jedi ability to notice the bullsh*t,

      Reply
  24. allan

    Contact tracing in NYS, R.I.P.:

    NYS [Department of Health] Commissioner Bassett says Omicron’s short incubation period gives short period for intervention with contact tracing. Covid + people should no longer expect call from local health dept but follow updated isolation guidance coming out tomorrow. … Hochul says “almost impossible” to do contact tracing with tens of thousands of new Covid cases each day. Counties will no longer be required to do contact tracing.

    I’m old enough to remember the 100,000 strong public health corps that we were promised.

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      As the Red Cross is an integral part of the Medical Industrial Complex, I would imagine there would be more than a few coerced/forced Vaccinated and also Unvaccinated unwilling to donate.

      A blood donor question: is there now or will there someday be a demand for Unvaccinated blood? I would think many of the organic/almond milk swilling Healthy Wealthy would prefer Pure Blood. One might think of Unvaccinated blood as a sort of human Bitcoin, scarcer and scarcer as one moves along the Vaxvaxvax curve.

      Reply
  25. Maritimer

    For Georgia football fans, a championship 41 years in the making and worth every minute ESPN
    ********
    Superspreader event concerns are so…….yesterday.

    Reply
  26. MarkT

    I’m getting photos from friends in both Sydney and Brisbane showing supermarket shelves bare because of covid absenteeism. Death toll rising.

    Reply
  27. MarkT

    Here in NZ it seems omicron hasn’t yet escaped the quarantine facilities. But the media keeps telling us that “it is inevitable”.

    Reply

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