Links 1/12/2022

Dolphins Perform Elaborate Spin Dives to Hunt Prey TreeHugger


Interview: Zeynep Pamuk on the Case for Creating Science Courts Undark

Three ethical issues around pig heart transplants BBC

A gene-edited pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time MIT Technology Review

Opinion: Fly direct, skip the first restroom, and 7 other insider travel tips from a retired airline pilot Marketwatch

On Not Hating the Body Liberties. Martha Nussvaum


Teachers’ Unions Are Making Totally Reasonable Pandemic Health and Safety Demands Jacobin

NYC students walk out of schools to protest COVID-19 conditions. NY Post

Why Coronavirus Testing Is Falling Short in Many Schools Across the U.S. NYT

Biden Administration to Offer Schools Millions of Free Covid-19 Tests Each Month WSJ


Delta Air Lines and a union spar over isolation periods for sick workers. NYT


‘We have gone backwards’: Covid confusion snarls Biden White House NBC

Decoding what Biden health officials told Congress about Omicron Politico

Biden health team weighs new mask distribution plan Politico

Which mask? What test? Covid’s latest surge spreads an epidemic of confusion. WaPo


The New Trend in Healthcare: Do-It-Yourself WSJ

Doctors fear health care collapse amid omicron surge Ars Technica

What’s Driving the UK’s Shortage of Medical Doctors? Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn.


American Red Cross Declares ‘National Blood Crisis,’ Asks for Urgent Donations Gizmodo


Argentina’s COVID Miracle Project Syndicate. Joseph Stiglitz.

Hong Kong quarantine rules are no longer just an inconvenience FT

Cathay Pacific hits back after airline blamed for Hong Kong Omicron outbreak FT

Covid: Quebec to impose health tax on unvaccinated Canadians BBC

Why is this country so resilient? BBC


WHO warns against treating Covid-19 as endemic, predicts over half of Europe could get infected soon Scroll

Sports Desk

Were the Results of a Positive PCR Test Manipulated? Der Spiegel

Novak Djokovic admits breaking isolation while Covid positive BBC

Health Care

A High-Risk Medical Device Didn’t Meet Federal Standards. The Government Paid Millions for More. ProPublica Stat

Julian Assange

Slovenian PEN Center Elects Assange as Honorary Member Consortium News

Waste Watch

How Plastic Liberated and Entombed Us Common Reader


How Much Will the Antarctic Ice Sheet Contribute to Future Sea Level Rise? The Wire

How the speed of climate change is unbalancing the insect world Guardian

Supply Chain

China Covid-19 Lockdowns Hit Factories, Ports in Latest Knock to Supply Chains WSJ

Federal Judge Steps Aside From High-Profile Amazon Case, Citing Financial Conflict WSJ

Class Warfare

Google hired union-busting consultants to convince employees “unions suck”  Ars Technica

Dawn of the Space Lords Baffler

Amazon Warehouse Workers in Alabama to Hold Second Union Vote WSJ
Amid rising prices, American families fall deeper in debt CNBC

Biden Administration

How US arms sales fuel corruption around the world Responsible Statecraft

Biden-Cheney 2024? NYT. Thomas Friedman. And now for something completely crazy. Ridiculous, even for Friedman.

Trump Transition

A year on, has Trump benefited from a Twitter ban? BBC

Trump to elevate election deniers at Arizona rally Axios

Kill Me Now

Hillary Clinton’s 2024 Election Comeback WSJ

January 6 Insurrection

Justice Dept. creating unit focused on domestic terrorism AP

Clock is ticking on what Garland needs to do about Trump’s bid to overturn 2020 election Boston Globe. Laurence Tribe and Dennis Aftergut.

Bomb incidents and bomb-making surge in U.S., officials warn NBC

Our Famously Free Press

‘The Commercial System Isn’t Providing the Local News We Need’ FAIR

Old Blighty

‘We’re f***ed unless he apologises’: Tories’ stark warning to Boris as he prepares to make partygate statement TODAY after being given a ‘20% chance of survival’ by Dominic Cummings allies Daily Mail

Boris Johnson’s litany of lies: the PM’s multiple public and private scandals from lockdown-busting parties and cash for the No10 flat to misleading the Queen, cocaine and multiple affairs Daily Mail

Johnson faces crunch PMQs as pressure mounts over No 10 party Guardian

New Cold War

Russia and NATO meet for make-or-break talks on Ukraine crisis CNN


Information Chaos in Kazakhstan The Diplomat

Do Kazakhstan’s protests signal an end to the Nazarbayev era? Al Jazeera


Indian Navy Begins Evaluating Rafale’s Compatibility With Vikrant The Wire

A Digital AgriStack Could Help Farmers Access Services. Here’s Why They Aren’t On Board India Spend

The Curious Case of India’s Millions of ‘Missing’ Poor People The Wire


Covid separating China from the world Asia Times

US-China Trade Tensions Threaten Europe’s Biggest Tech Company Wired

China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth South China Morning Post

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “NYC students walk out of schools to protest COVID-19 conditions”

    They may be young but they are not stupid. They can see that they are being fed into the flames for some sort of economic /political purpose by New York city. They saw the consequences of the pandemic in New York in 2020 and no doubt a lot of them could talk about family members that are no longer with them because they died of this virus. In short, they are refusing to eat the dog food. Stories like this make me hopeful about the generation that is growing up to adulthood now.

    1. BeliTsari

      Too little, too late? Co-morbiduties, causing scary breakthroughs in loved-ones, teachers, drivers, staff (vectored by asymptomatic, frequently PASC/ Mis-C kids) included typically lethal COVID symptoms: stroke, coronary, lung, circulatory, CNS or organ damage, all swept through NYC weeks ago. Unreported by media or blog-aggregators, since questioning “Let ‘er RIP” is apparently anti-vax, or RooskiBot divisivness, or some damn thing. Creative Class™ PMC & retired yuppies were all at Hapy Hour, TRYING to gain Omicron’s Mild SUPER Immunity© We’re wondering, just what comes next?

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Not in NYC, but my 25 year old son is in the hospital with COVID and acute pancreatitis. The pancreatitis is what got him in. Don’t really know what’s going on; hospital is a madhouse and we can’t talk to him directly. No physicians available to answer questions. Nurses are on their last nerves.

        1. BeliTsari

          That’s TERRIFYING! I’m hoping the various brain-trust folks pipe in about any immuno-modulatory, anti-inflammatory treatments. But, We’d gotten the first case SO quickly, in Mar 2020; we’d been stuck trying Quercetin, C, D3, zinc, bromelin (beyond which, I’d be afraid of having the post removed?) Pro-inflammatory cytokine LPR, intestinal; joint/ muscle issues predominated this time, for my partner & myself, and we’re hitting 70! I’d hate to get the auto-immune storm with a young, overactive immune system. But, it was reassuring to have 2 mRNA & whatever immunity we’d retained from D614g? You got phone contact?

    2. griffen

      Hope for the best. They don’t have much real power in other forms. As far as future leaders go, well let’s hope they learn from this sorry and ongoing tale of pandemic woes.

      I’m reminded of a tune by Blink-182…”young and hostile but not stupid…”

    3. Mikel

      Many of them, like all of us, are close to people that have medical vulnerabilities. Covid is still revealing the fragility of healthcare systems and critical thinking has kicked in to start understanding the implications of that and getting in the habit of letting contagions run wild because of “markets”.

      Also, everday…everybody realizes they’re getting older…and they are leaving it out there to stalk…

  2. John

    Covid chaos in the White House? Naturally. Try to pursue two or three or four conflicting goals and have great PR. Chaos is assured. We are at or rapidly approaching FUBAR.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Covid chaos most everywhere. Here in British Columbia we are approaching a high vaccination rate of 90% yet measures to “encourage” the unvaccinated are still being considered. Among others:

      1. A health tax or fee for treatment (in Quebec only at the moment but I’m sure BC officials are looking at it). Probably unconstitutional according to the experts.
      2. Not treating the unvaccinated in hospitals at all.
      3. No in-store liquor or marijuana sales to those without a vax passport.

      #3 is really a good one. Imagine, no booze or grass in this time of stress. That should rile up those unvaxxed drinkers and smokers! Canadians are normally a docile lot, but the people in charge seem intent on creating chaos (civil disobedience, black markets, protests, riots, etc.)

      The Covid car is on the road to authoritarianism and the fools at the wheel have their feet on the accelerator.

      1. JMM

        This Quebec government has made extensive use of the “nothwistanding clause”, which allows them to pass any law with a nice “FU” note to the courts. Any constitutional issues are likely not a problem.

      2. Maritimer

        Covid: Quebec to impose health tax on unvaccinated Canadians BBC
        Quebec returns to its dark past of violating civil liberties:

        “Even by the standards of mid-twentieth-century Canada, when discrimination was rampant and governments restricted fundamental freedoms, Maurice Duplessis stands out. His tenure as premier of Quebec (1936-39, 1944-59) is often referred to as le grande noirceur (the great darkness). By the 1950s, Duplessis had become associated with some of the worst instances of state abuse of civil liberties in Canadian history. One of these created the “Duplessis orphans.”…

        The term “Duplessis orphans” refers to the cohort of children who suffered particularly traumatic abuse at the hands of the state and the Catholic Church: they were falsely diagnosed as mentally unfit and sent to psychiatric hospitals. The purpose of this was to maximize federal funding, which, at the time, was more generous for hospitals than for orphanages.”

        Just like Vax today, Follow The Money. Big Pharma has a big presence in Quebec. Woe Canada!

      3. C.O.

        This interview posted at is an unhappy but excellent summary of the mess in Canada (government, media, regulators…) Engineer Nicolas Smit exposes Canadian authorities’ refusal to protect workers from COVID-laced aerosols

        Lots of great information on elastomeric respirators and summarizing references to leaked reports demonstrating aerosol transmission the government had and refused to share or publicize. The interview is in both French and English, French subtitled. It is long in a good way, so grab a coffee or tea and settle in, or I would recommend watching at least the first 20 minutes for an overview of conditions, or the last 25-35 minutes on the disgraceful behaviour of the media colluding with the government.

    2. Cocomaan

      Pretty sure we have met the BAR part a long time ago. Now we have to figure out what to do about it. I’ll meet you at the BAR. First round is on me.

  3. eg

    Today Ontario’s Minister of Education will hold a press conference to formally announce the return to in-person learning in schools on Monday.

    In the teeth of a still rising Omicron wave with hospitalization and ICU occupancy nearing record levels and still rising.

    “Conveniently” the school testing regime will also change in order to completely obscure any public awareness of case levels and minimize classroom closures.

    Must be an election coming in June or something …

  4. Terry Flynn

    Shortage of doctors in UK? Anecdotes from 25 years working in health services research alongside them and nurses. Study in Ontario in late 1990s involving interviewing 12-15 specialists in oncology or palliative care. 3/4 were expat Brits.

    6 years from 2009 in Sydney. Most nurses I encountered were British, as were quite a few GPs. Meanwhile the UK was poaching from developing world but interestingly many SpRs I transcribe for now, although from East Asian countries, really give away where they trained, merely from the disembodied voice – the give-aways are NOT traces of an Aussie accent but things like the upward inflections at end of sentences – something I who now has dual citizenship and heard such voices perhaps more often than “native born Australians” for 6 years (I worked in Chinatown Sydney) recognise to a tee.

    Musical chairs.

    1. Terry Flynn

      I won’t defend the lower number of docs per 1,000 in the UK – it’s too low. However, it might not necessarily be as bad as one thinks. How you use doctors, how they are incentivised and helped to do continuing professional development and work in teams etc are just as important. I have observed how “things work or don’t” in Sweden, Sydney and various parts of the UK NHS.

      I used IBM ViaVoice to dictate 2/3 of a pretty technical PhD in medical statistics 1998-2001 when I got bad RSI (the days before routine workplace assessments). Voice recognition software had just begun to come into its own, though you had a duopoly, with Dragon being the only competitor. IBM has exited but Dragon’s still around with competitors now. I’m pretty sure that, like then, you can (after training your PC) avoid having sensitive stuff go into the wider internet for some “yes we’re completely secure honestly” AI algorithm to analyse *rolls eyes*.

      If doctors could (to quote “Quiet Place Part 2”) ENUNCIATE then a lack of SUPPORT staff (ill/self-isolating) could become a non-issue in getting dictation and hence letters to people on time in areas like cancer. ALLEGEDLY. But this ain’t the way things are done and can’t be done in some places. ALLEGEDLY.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve always found this interesting – its not like there is a shortage of high quality people wanting to be doctors or nurses. And despite everything, nursing is still a pretty good career option, especially for someone who wants to see the world as its pretty much in demand everywhere.

      The same thing you describe applies in Ireland, where there is supposedly an acute shortage of doctors and nurses resulting in the mass recruitment of Indian/Filipina staff, and yet go anywhere in the English speaking world and you’ll invariably meet Irish doctors and nurses. Sometimes its simply for lifestyle reasons, but I think there are other factors at work (its not pay, as generally speaking, pay is quite high in Irish hospitals). I’ve heard many Irish and British nurses claim that managers simply prefer to deal with immigrant Asian staff, as they are easier to push around and less likely to join a union. I think there is some truth in this. But its also true to say I think that throughout the medical profession there are a lot of gatekeepers who seem creating an artificial shortage as beneficial to those already in place.

      The big question though is whether patients suffer from this. A family member who is a doctor told me that during her junior doctor and registrar days, she spent a lot of time acting as a de facto translator for subcontinent doctors who simply couldn’t understand the colloquial speech of elderly Irish rural people. She said there was a vast gap of comprehension between these young Indian doctors trying to help and some elderly sheep farmer who was baffled as to why the doctor couldn’t understand his complaints. When my mother was in long term care and I spent a lot of time sitting in her ward I recall on more than one occasion I had to discretely explain to the Japanese junior doctor and many Filipina nursing staff what exactly it was that some confused stroke victim was shouting about. Hopefully nobody died because of this, but I do wonder sometimes.

      1. Terry Flynn

        This is where I have to bow out (but not saying you’re wrong) since it gets too close to what I’m doing now and current “issues” here :(

          1. Terry Flynn

            Don’t worry I may have been sailing too close to the wind with my comments.

            Just bit frustrated at “how things are getting done” here.

      2. Gordon

        Language issues certainly abounded when I spend a few days in hospital here in England three years ago. One doctor, newly arrived from Syria I think, could rarely string a complete sentence together. Language as such didn’t cause any issues in my case (although it very nearly did on one occasion) but poor paperwork certainly did. Medical record keeping is complex and learning your way round it can’t be easy, especially for someone working in a foreign language.

    3. vlade

      Well, don’t know how it’s now, but when I still lived in the UK, there was plenty of nurses and docs from the Oz, NZ and SA.

      1. Terry Flynn

        I remember encountering them pre 2009 but I’ve only met one after my return to UK in 2015 (a nurse from Colorado who seemed to be here only because the USA was much worse!)

    4. R

      What’s an SpR, Terry? Not seen that acronym before.

      My personal observations here. Son of a doctor, the youngest consultant in the NHS at 26 (but there had been a war on…). His advice to me was don’t become a doctor because the hospitals are now run by know-nothing managers – and this was in 1986. Admittedly they had tried to ban him smoking his cigar on the wards but they hadn’t succeeded.

      Of my student friends, the half dozen medics I knew all qualified and one friend then went to med school as a second degree. But one then quit to be an Accenture consultant. The one who retrained quit the NHS for Australia but then came back and quit entirely for medical informatics and married someone who has just quit as senior partner of a GP practice.

      There’s an immense amount of job dissatisfaction. It is not just the NHS. Corporate medicine is killing private healthcare, which used to be run from period town centre properties by some consultants and a secretary and now requires purpose built premises to meet arbitrary clinical quality commission standards of bogus infection control, information handling etc etc.

      As well as training too few medics historically, we also have not adjusted to the EU working time rules and to female doctors which has exacerbated the situation.
      – Junior doctors were expected to work 100 hour weeks. Their hours have been cut but their numbers have not been increased (their training time should have doubled, to compensate, which would have doubled their numbers) and the system is now inventing fake titles (cannot remember the exact euphemism) for new consultants because they are not fully trained. Actual decision making consultants are now 5+ years older than previously and we are getting a generation if ersatz consultants, who are still essentially in training.
      – female doctors are choosing part time GP roles or non surgical specialities because these are the only family friendly routes. But the lack of full timers means the UK numbers are much worse than the article as many doctors are really 0.5 of a doctor. Hospital roles are profoundly family hostile. Another friend from the school gates has demanded the hospital changes its ways because she is the only woman head of department in the entire hospital!

      Medical training in the UK is in a big crisis.

      1. Terry Flynn

        SpR= Specialist Registrar. It’s sort of “senior registrar” in old money but some specialties vary the amount of experience needed. An SpR typically dictates a patient consultation with an eye on promotion: since some reports are used in promotion applications, they often TALK TOO MUCH. Extra information, if dictated, would be better if it were a wider summary of the patient’s other conditions and life (to give a more holistic view, as opposed to box ticking) IMNSHO.

        SpRs are arguably one of the fake titles you refer to. One zapped my heart in 2005….and I am 99% sure family blogged it up. I have a cardiac consultation next week. Most honest account I ever got was from old school Emergency Dept consultant who had to kill and revive me to bring me out of a 2+ hour SVT in 2005. “You have a PhD in medical statistics….. Why have you done this to your heart? You realise it’s now much older than you?” Indeed. I was 33 and “invincible”. Now I’m struggling with likely long covid. My bad.

        Re need for more junior docs – no argument from me. But having taught them I worry about their quality. I taught at a top medical school and their numeracy was….. Well……. Fecal material. Here’s a sad truth. General practitioners and junior doctors moan about following protocols and not being able to use judgment. You know why we design those protocols? Because YOU CAN’T DO BAYESIAN STATISTICS to know basic things like how to interpret a PSA result. You’re idiots. I SAW you were idiots in 2000 when I was forced to teach you.

        1. R

          The scientific founder of the biotech start-up I ran was a formidable MD PhD. She had trained in Romania (where she was a sniper in conscription!) as a doctor and then came to Oxford and did her PhD in two years (in neuroanatomy, too, so hard yards at the microtome and microscope). She was very dismissive of the modern medical training in the UK, including the hours required to qualify, but also the basic and continuing science education of medical students (anatomy, cell biology, histopathology etc.).

          I am torn.

          On one hand, the problem with medicine on a grand scale is that it is not scientific, it is a form of Masonry. Junior doctors learn at the knee of their consultant. They learn good heuristics and bad heuristics but they also learn to close their minds to everything but the Craft, as handed down by the lecturers and senior consultants. They do not test what they have learnt against other sources, they just want to get out in the wards and get their hands on patients and apply stuff. The handful that have scientific curiosity end up as MD PhDs and, in numbers, are an irrelevance in the practice of medicine.

          On the other hand, medicine has managed to advance precisely because individual practitioners have generalised, without adequate evidence, from individual cases to hypotheses of treatment and eventually hypotheses of disease. We still know so little about human biology from a bottom up perspective, we would never get made any advances if evidence-based medicine was the rule.

          Clinical medicine is, a cynic might say, a continuous form of phenotypic screening of the effects of current knowledge / practice and we are reliant on observant doctors to pull the interesting phenotypes off the conveyor and experiment on them a bit more with innovative diagnoses and treatments and record the results. The science gets retrofitted afterwards.

          Is a grasp of medical stats important when actual medical practice advances with N of 1, via case studies and observation. Do we need more evidence-based medicine? Or less?

          That said, some idea how to interpret lab results would be de rigeur, you would have thought! The pandemic and LFT’s may have helped with popularising Bayesian medical stats and test interpretation….

  5. Steve H.

    > Dawn of the Space Lords Baffler

    I’ve been watching a lot of mixed martial arts lately, following the evolution of techniques. The early variant that altered all subsequent developments was Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Before then, whoever was on top was winning. BJJ dragged people to the ground and stifled them until they became exhausted and impatient, and then attacked from the inferior position. It requires enduring significant discomfort while staying calm.

    This is similar to the Russian Siberia strategy. Drag the invader into the deep and let circumstance destroy their energy reserves. Frustrated and frozen out, the foe loses coherence, morale breaks down. It leaves parts out that can be locally targeted by the inferior foe.

    When Russia blew up the satellite and sent thousands of shards through space, endangering other nations satellites, I remembered Qiao Liang:

    > Americans are developing a huge, rapid global combat system: using ballistic missiles and supersonic aircraft five times or ten times faster than a supersonic cruise missile, it can quickly hit any area of high concentration of capital. Now the US claims it can hit any part of the world within 28 minutes, so no matter where capital is concentrated, it can hit anywhere in the world. As long as the United States does not want a particular place to have capital, a missile can get there in 28 minutes. And when the missile goes down, capital can be still quietly and nicely withdrawn.

    This is the tactic Russia announced with a bang. Go ahead, put your Starlinks and robot miners and surveillance systems up there. Russia can turn it into a wasteland in moments, at a fraction of the cost. Now who will fund the fancy system? From whence the capital?

    Drag’em down and make them feel your pain.

    Hard sell for the ‘Space Lords.’

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I remember China having done that some time ago. Did Russia do that more recently and I just didn’t register it or don’t remember it?

      I wonder if China-Russia could destroy all of Musk’s little satellites with space shrapnel?

      1. Steve H.

        Russia did in November. I’m guessing Starlink isn’t worth as much without global coverage, so threatening a part threatens the whole.

  6. griffen

    Travel tips from a retired pilot. Well heck yeah, direct without a connecting flight is the ideal. But then again, getting a direct from East Coast to West or vice versa is more complicated by weather and flight cancellations. It’s been a hot minute since I flew the unfriendly skies, and I really prefer keeping it that way.

    I have a travel suggestion too. Never eat at a place called Moms.

        1. wilroncanada

          Hey! My brother had four first names. Two of them are also my two first names. Not sure whether my parents had originally planned to stop at one child. Mind, I didn’t trust my brother either. Now I do. My distrust expired with him.

          1. griffen

            Hey, I meant to respond sooner (or last night, but distractions and adult imbibing). I would own a bag of nickels for all the first name as William in my immediate ancestral / paternal lineage, and also extended family. As I recall, however, only one went by Billy who we all called Uncle Billy ( he was not uncle but a cousin, but small towns and so forth ).

            Still doesn’t rise to the level of champion pugilist, George Foreman. I think he named all his children George!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well, Clinton (Chelsea or Hillary) are Democrats and Liz Cheney is a Republicans but the founding fathers thought at the beginning that the President should accept as Vice-President the head of the opposition party so I suppose that there is legal precedent. I imagine that the net effect of such a combination would be that a Clinton would work on privatizing Social Security at home while a Cheney would get America involved in wars against such countries like Venezuela, Iran, etc. abroad so most people would not notice any policy differences with what comes out of Washington.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I think your comment proves these two are opposition parties in name only.

        FWIW, I’m convinced we will see a Dem/Rep ticket before they finally kill me. We came this close to a McCain/Lieberman ticket (Joementum might have been unaffiliated at the time, but he ran as Gore’s VP so I’m counting it.)

          1. lance ringquist

            there is a old saying, its better late than never, but i amended it, its better late than never unless it involves politics and economics, then its to late.

            1. flora

              Lord Acton: “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.”

              I think Michael Hudson has written a few books about this general topic of debt/debtors and creditors.

        1. flora

          adding from the RAIR article:

          The WEF is best-known to the public for the annual conferences it holds in Davos, Switzerland each January that aim to bring together political and business leaders from around the world to discuss the problems of the day.

          Sounds like the US’s Koch backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on steroids. “Exchange”. Nice word. So descriptive.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Hi Rev, I assume you’re referring to the Adams/Jefferson administration, and it is true that by 1796 the two men were on opposing sides of most of the salient questions of that day. But in actuality, the Founding Fathers conceived of no role for political parties, did not mention them in any of the early state documents, and probably hoped/assumed that parties would never sprout here. Adams actually never accepted a partisan identity, never identified himself with the Federalists, and what tenuous coalition he had was grouped around a minority faction of the Federalist coalition. Part of the reason he lost re-election in 1800 was that he lost the backing of the Federalist coalition, which was under assault from the Republicans (now the Democrats).

        Yeah, early American politics can be a little confusing.

    2. Louis Fyne

      whether tongue-in-cheek or genuine, please DC egos make this happen!

      Clinton-Cheney would lose by a landslide. The only way for the DC to move forward is to wash out all the legacy, politicians in DC. anything will be better than CC, even orange man 2

      Both the existing Dem. and Rep. parties need to be rebooted afresh. 50 years or nepotism, self-dealing, connections need to be snapped away.

      1. mrsyk

        “ Clinton-Cheney would lose by a landslide.” Agreed, as long as Dominion doesn’t say otherwise. Remember how the Orange Man dispatched the rest of the 2016 Republican Clown Car hopefuls?

        1. jsn

          Yeah, a spook unity ticket should be able to get the voting machines to output whatever they want.

          Make it look close?

          Make it look like a blow out!

      2. Questa Nota

        The Nixon Frost interview made appearance in political cartoons. Can’t find an image, so here is the gist, from decades-on memory of one probably by Oliphant.

        Scene: living room, with floor lamp broken across TV.
        Action: Guy looking exasperated while pouring a stiff drink.
        Dialog: Kid says, Daddy broke Mr. Nixon.

        How many feel similarly when reading about any resurrection of Clinton? Too early for a drink, but may nod at the liquor cabinet on the way to a coffee refill.

        1. Wukchumni

          Too early for a drink, but may nod at the liquor cabinet on the way to a coffee refill.

          We’re in the midst of a daily double of the polar opposite of a dipsomaniac, in that both Trump & Biden are teetotalers and I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust a man that doesn’t drink as much as I trust ones that drinks like a fish.

      1. Samuel Conner

        There’s a recent political cartoon proposing new ‘avatars’ for the parties, ‘pig’ and ‘serpent’ for the duopoly (I wonder if a ‘cross’ between pig and snake is possible; perhaps consult Eugene M McCarthy), and ‘salmon’ for the people. The theory behind the ‘salmon’ avatar is that we are all swimming upstream, exhausting ourselves, and then we spawn and die.

        1. jr

          The Purple Swine-Serpent! This plum porcine psychopathic political python features all the worst features of the American political system rolled into one child eating, hope devouring, life extinguishing monstrosity! Hydra-like, it features a pantheon of degenerate faces from across the political Petri dish!

          Look! There’s Hillary feasting on the bones of a Libyan child!

          Hey! It’s Manchin strangling a coal miner’s daughter!

          Wow! Obama is attempting to suck his own, err, tail!

          Yikes! Nancy is distending her jaws to swallow a Gitmo investigation!

          Help! Trump is considering running again!

          Doh! Biden is considering which way to return to the room he just left!

          Yuck! Harris is excreting staff members!

          Gross! McConnell is quivering his wattles!

          Ick! Buttegieg is shedding his skin….again.

      2. orlbucfan

        Biden-Cheney? Clinton-Cheney? What’s the difference? They’re all bad enough to make a sane person vomit. Thom Friedman sure has a $$cushy$$ gig for a complete imbecile.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I love the open contempt for Biden-Harris. It’s really funny. Hillary would just be the mia chancellor for a euro school that missed she isn’t exactly popular.

      The third times the charm rallies at nursing home will be amusing.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        between the stash of understanding promoting a unity coalition of the infirm and the murderous, and the wsj lauding Herself as the Voice of Mother….
        i look at the weather: 40 and damp right now, after 2 weeks of cold and bone dry…getting up to 68 and sunny, and i’m thinking of a paper trash and brush burning sabbatical.

        if this is the best our betters can come up with…and apparently still believe that the hoi polloi will embrace it with a relieved sigh…then i’d say it’s time to get yer preps in and hunker down.
        i mean, why not toss joe lieberman and morton downey’s ghost into the hopper, as well?
        and I hear Rahm is itching for relevance…and timmy kaine still has that ambitious pedo gleam in his eye…
        we’ll watch as bizzarro meadowlark and curly once again run circles around the hapless washington generals, and end up with trump as a caretaker president, presiding over the Special Period, or that dead eyed senator from arkansas skipping such niceties and going straight for gilead.

        if i vote at all, i’m thinking of writing in (in sharpie, if necessary) that bearded guy with the boot on his head.

        1. ambrit

          This sounds like an American version of “The Mandate of Heaven,” if we embrace the old Roman aphorism: “Vox populi, vox dei.” (I find that many attribute this saying to Alcuin of York, c. 735 – 804 AD.) This might be the earliest written case of the saying, but I’ll suggest that it is so appropriate to many occasions that it probably was a “common saying” far back into antiquity.
          Stay safe! Hull down.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Romans loved graffiti. The sentiment might be problematic for the literate, but I might lean towards this being the source. Romans loved their alliteration. “Alea Acta Est” is the equivalent of a modern politico saying “I’ll be back” from its pop culture relevance stand point. The movement towards Greek might hurt my point.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            I believe it was Michael Hudson or at least where I read it who said the Romans lacked the class conscious language to make that kind of point with their vaguely popular emperors versus the senate oligarchs.

            It was happening, but it wasn’t written down. Apologies if I mucked up his point.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The GOP is so full of doofuses and guys who drive trucks with pristine beds I don’t see many of them looking like the faux tough guy GOP voters crave without trying too hard and coming off as icky. Youngkin in Virginia would seem like the model, but he is showing his true colors. It’s a part time legislature and not having Terry Mac on the ballot probably hurt will probably hurt in two years especially without the moral panic over education. That I-95 area around Richmond will swing back.

          There is a reason they recruit actors and athletes. They need “tough” guys or guys who can play “tough”. Cotton stood out as a weenie. I didn’t pay much attention to him really until January of last year. He’s a dink. Trump might beat him.

          DeSantis has more of the look, but his behavior made him unreliable for the GOP especially with Trump pulling a Hillary. Then being the “party of no” does hurt them. Also ran Mittens is the voice of the GOP in Congress on policy. Cruz is the also ran loud mouth, and the rest have mcconnell’s hand up their backside making their mouths move. It will be a governor who was awful but stayed hidden because of DeSantis without being too much of a hick state, not super repulsive, and not a Charlie Baker. They need Trump. Hes it.

          1. Late Introvert

            I’m making my call for VP right now: Kim Reynolds, based on how the GOP likes their women (cue the Domanitrix fantasies now).

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          I have a comment in mod limbo on the GOP. Team Blue doesn’t have the same weaknesses as the GOP is a Southern rump party. At least officially, the Democrats are a relatively reasonable center right party. Their candidates can be far more diverse. They just need to keep their eye on the ball. Hillary’s real problem that kept her out of the White House is she held a coronation to be Mother instead of imposing a top down campaign, understanding basic rules, and creating the narrative (ie running a campaign as a front runner). The resets of her campaign happened so often they weren’t even noticed. She was looking for slogans. Shes Hillary Clinton. Thats it.

          She’s terrible, and she came really close to being President twice.

          1. griffen

            But wait. Most. Qualified. Candidate. Ever. Who do we want answering the 3am phone call?

            Kneel before me on bended knee, ye deplorables! It is I, your Redeemer and Queen of the Land.

          2. Pat

            NTG, in the most important way it was top down. Hillary wanted nothing to do with the rust belt. Her campaign catered to her delusions, it may have shared them but it wasn’t just Podesta ignoring Bill and the state campaign directors. Hillary couldn’t imagine losing to Donald. She could rack up votes in comfortable and wealthy California, while also smoozing donors for her slush fund charity the Clinton Foundation.

            And she is only center right in a world where Nixon is now a lefty.

          3. QuicksilverMessenger

            Or as the late comedian Norm MacDonald said:

            “My theory is this: People hated Hillary Clinton so much that they voted for someone they hated more than Hillary Clinton in order to rub it in.”

            So many levels here…

  7. Wukchumni

    I got Covid knockin’ at my door
    I’ve had 3 shots, should I have some more?
    Ooh, ooh, the damage done

    I hit the news and listened to Biden’s demand
    I watched the needle take another man
    Gone, gone, the damage done

    I sing the song because I loathe the man
    I know that some of you don’t understand
    Political blood to keep from running out

    I’ve seen the needle and the damage done
    A little part of it in everyone
    But every precedent is like a settin’ sun

    1. griffen

      Though not a devoted fan, I’ve always thought Young to have a singular sound to his vocals. Now I’m thinking of another song of his…Keep on Rocking in the Free World…

    1. Louis Fyne

      Never will happen at current rate. As the West has been divided and conquered by ID politics.

      Just saying, not endorsing.

      1. John

        I think a better statement may be the west has been bought and paid for by their corporate overlords. ID politics is just divide and conquer tactics.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “‘The Commercial System Isn’t Providing the Local News We Need’”

    Corporations and governments seemed determined to rid us of local newspapers, radio & tv stations, etc. with what is left consisting of standardized rubbish that will be basically the same whatever part of the country that you are in. So sort of like McDonalds – except its news. Is that wise? When you eliminate the news, people fall back on gossip and rumour to fill in the empty space created and this space can also be filled with conspiracy theories. Makes you wonder if this explains what we have been seeing the past few years.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is that. I’ve always suspected it’s an element of competition where crazy is easier to see. Then the mildly crazy have to outdo it. Goldbugs gave way to preppers, who gave way to crypto, who gave way to NFTs.

      Churches, those mcmansions from hell, some of tne dotcom compamies, virgin trucks, and so forth. You just can’t copy crazy and bring it to a new area, you have to beat it or people will know. In the absence of civil society, there is nothing stopping these people.

      Since he is usually griping about stereo types not being considered funny anymore, it’s been forgotten, but Ricky Gervais had a podcast (probably a radio appearance taped before the lingo) where he fell for a satirical website of about Christian church in the US. He brought ul the internet spurring competition among cranks who would be much more innocuous, competing with mainline protestant churches as opposed to each other. It’s not that extreme anymore.

      Found it!

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      By luck I guess, I avoided a career in radio right before Clinton deregulated everything. I remember articles in the late 90s already describing the impact of local radio dissapearing on black and brown communities. There was an article I’m trying to find that got into specifics of the positive role local media, especially radio, played in the Rodney King riots and the aftermath of same. The crux being, there were stations that were pillars of the community, with jocks that knew the people and places, and how it both helped people stay safe and heal by giving community voices airtime and having the stations involved in the community in a real way. What really got me was learning that in the thick of it, local radio effectively served as a communication center, helping people through the chaos in real time.

      That’s the role radio used to play in many communities. This isn’t even accounting for how homogenized it made mass music and how it created modern payola on a scale the old $50 handshake people would have found excessive. By the late 90s, the changes were already there. It seems way after the horses have left the barn to be lamenting it now.

    3. Louis Fyne

      Thank Billy Clinton. Nail on coffin to local media regulation thanks to and of course 90’s congressional Democrats, which include Biden and Pelosi

      1. LifelongLib

        There’s another process at work too though. Most businesses are started by people who care passionately about what the businesses do, and who are willing to accept lower profits to do it well. But when the founders retire or die, the businesses are bought by big-money investor types who only care about rate of return. It happened to the turn of the 20th century U.S. car companies in the 1950s, and in the 80s and 90s to the numerous businesses started after WW2. I don’t know what could thwart this process (employee ownership?) but for now it seems inevitable.

    4. lordkoos

      There was a story from a few years back where there was some kind of spill/disaster near a small community, I think it was in Montana or North Dakota. Their local radio station was part of a large corporate chain and was fully automated, so the there was no way to alert locals via the radio. I think finally at some point law enforcement broke into the place and tried to get the word out over the air, but it was not a good situation, to say the least. There should be a regulation that a human be present 24/7, but that would cut into corporate profits, so…

  9. Jason Boxman

    The NY Times has another brutal hit piece on China’s zero COVID policy, as if none of these things happen in the United States:

    In the northwestern city of Xi’an, hospital employees refused to admit a man suffering from chest pains because he lived in a medium-risk district. He died of a heart attack.

    They informed a woman who was eight months pregnant and bleeding that her Covid test wasn’t valid. She lost her baby.

    Two community security guards told a young man they didn’t care that he had nothing to eat after catching him out during the lockdown. They beat him up.

    So in the US, based on excess deaths, it is a certainty that some in hospitals received either inadequate care or no care at all and died, because our hospitals are overwhelmed. And black mothers in the United States have worse outcomes, long before COVID, than any other women in this country. Maybe a story focused on that might do more good?

    And citizens starving in this country? Don’t even get me started. What garbage propaganda.

    And the NY Times doesn’t have the moral standing to engage in any “reporting” on this.

    For the officials, virus control comes first. The people’s lives, well-being and dignity come much later.

    But not so in the United States, eh? But in truth, in the United States, people’s lives and well-being come… never.

    And this.

    “The banality of evil” is a concept Chinese intellectuals often evoke in moments like Xi’an. It was coined by the philosopher Hannah Arendt, who wrote that Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, was an ordinary man who was motivated by “an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement.”

    Does invoking the Holocaust cancel this article?

    When the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan two years ago, it exposed the weaknesses in China’s authoritarian system. Now, with patients dying of non-Covid diseases, residents going hungry and officials pointing fingers, the lockdown in Xi’an has shown how the country’s political apparatus has ossified, bringing a ruthlessness to its single-minded pursuit of a zero-Covid policy.

    Meanwhile, the United States is approaching 900k deaths, plus deaths because hospitals are overwhelmed. And this completely ignores deaths of despair, a key manufacture in the United States.

    Then there were the hospitals that denied patients access to medical care and deprived their loved ones the chance to say goodbye.

    Wait, what? This wasn’t happening the United States? I beg to differ.

    The man who suffered chest pain as he was dying of a heart attack waited six hours before a hospital finally admitted him. After his condition worsened, his daughter begged hospital employees to let her in and see him for the last time.

    A male employee refused, according a video she posted on Weibo after her father’s death. “Don’t try to hijack me morally,” he said in the video. “I’m just carrying out my duty.”

    This could have, and probably has, happened in the United States.

    This is the most savage attack on zero-COVID I’ve seen so far. People must be really flipping out at the Times about how abject a failure the US policy response has been here.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The NyTimes rulers are afraid of people saying ” if there, why not here?” And the NyTimes is part of the establishment which supports spreading covid on purpose, so they fear that enough people saying ” if there, why not here?” might actually derail the NyTimes-Establishment goal of spreading covid to every person on earth.

    1. tegnost

      but vaccinated people will still fare better

      If he said that on NC he’d be asked for a citation…
      CNN not so much

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, but the Capitol Hillbillies have access to things ‘denied’ to we ‘common’ folk, such as “that drug that shall not be named.” You can bet your bottom dollar that the Politicos use “therapeutic treatments” to the hilt.
        With a probably dementia addled President swanning along blithely, a few cognitavely impaired due to Long Covid apparatchiks won’t be very noticeable.
        Omicron freeing us is too close to the old joke about the hangman telling the prisoner; “I’ll make all your troubles go away soon.”

        1. MonkeyBusiness

          If Long Covid is a real thing, I don’t think it matter whether “that drug that shall not be named.” works or not.

          1. ambrit

            My question is, is there a correlation between the severity of Long Covid and the severity of the infection it follows? If there is, then therapeutic interventions are a must.
            We could be seeing a mechanism of action similar to quinine and malaria.

    2. jim truti

      Bringing a product to market and blaming its inefficacity on people who don’t take it has to be “peak absurdity”

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Fauci is saying the silent part out loud. The OverClass goal is to spread covid to every person on earth.
      Hyping the vaccine keeping people alive long enough to suffer long covid and post-covid omni cirrhosis is just Fauci’s Greenspanian bafflegab designed to keep thinking programmed and confused.

  10. ChiGal


    “My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box,”

    So many degrees of [self-serving] separation. Deeply spiritual, my sweet Aunt Fanny.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      At the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Jill Sanborn, a top official in the FBI’s national security branch, repeatedly declined to comment when GOP lawmakers asked about Epps. She also declined to push back on Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s suggestions that the FBI incited the Capitol riot.

      On at least five occasions, Sanborn responded to Cruz by saying, “I can’t answer that.”

      Well, that should settle it.

      I guess sanborn’s “inability” to answer any Epps questions is just another “inadvertent” fueling of “the speculation by strictly adhering to policies against commenting about ongoing investigations or about specific people who aren’t charged with crimes.”

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Dawn of the Space Lords”

    Maybe this is why the military created the US Space Force. When they saw how the Government was going to outsource space travel to billionaires for their profit, they realized that if the had to depend on those clowns to get into space, that they would be at the back of the que for carnival rides for rich people. And you can’t militarize and dominate space going that way. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Texas senator Ted Cruz was weaned on the science fiction of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. In Robert Heinlein’s Future History world, it is the corporations which run space leading to such dodgy standards, that half the men that go past Mar’s orbit never come back. And I don’t see how ‘Even America’s communist rival sees state-sponsored corporate conquest as a more audacious model than their system can manage.’ What counts is results and from what I see, China has put a space station into orbit, NASA/EU has launched the brilliant Webb telescope, while our billionaires are doing carnival rides for bucks-

    1. jr

      We shall see how these upstarts fare when they encounter the might of the Galactic Federation’s Department of Property and Assessments. I’m quite sure with the tech-lord’s libertarian streak they haven’t filed any of the proper forms or paid a dime in taxes. Perhaps by moving into space, those parasites will trigger chain of galactic sized lawsuits that will lead to the seizure of their property by the Federation for arrearages. I think the companies involved would do better in the appendages of a species that was old when we were ALL one gender. I’d much rather drive an electric car designed by a Reptilian Overlord than Ego Musk and imagine the selection of crap available on Amazon Galactic! Cheap phase dis-com-bob-ulators from the Pleiades that break after one dimension-hop!

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Indian Navy Begins Evaluating Rafale’s Compatibility With Vikrant The Wire

    Its interesting that we keep hearing that the US carrier fleet is outdated and will go to the bottom of the sea in the first day of a war. And yet, the Chinese and Indians are investing billions in aircraft carriers. And so are the South Koreans and Japanese. Someone is either wasting a lot of money, or they know something about the way the world is going.

    1. NotThePilot

      I’ve noticed that contradiction too, but I figured it comes down to what you see as the primary value of carriers today.

      They probably are sitting ducks the moment they get within range of a major power’s territory. I’m not sure if that applies to rival fleets in open water though; in every article I’ve seen about the new A2AD missiles specifically, they’re always on land, but I’d guess it’s still seen as really risky.

      I think the real value is if you want to claim some regional hegemony, one or two carriers probably are still really useful. Gunboat diplomacy with weaker countries is the cynical part of it, but there are also things like anti-piracy, bringing in helicopters for natural disasters, etc.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think thats basically it. Even going back to the 1960’s it was clear that US aircraft carriers would not have a major role in a war against the Soviets – they’d be too busy trying to steer clear of submarines and long range missiles to be much use. Even going back to WWII the US Navy and British Navy learned the hard way that you have to be much more careful with your carriers than with other ships.

        But they are very useful in projecting power against a fairly weak ‘distant’ country. I’ve thought that maybe one reason for China to invest is that a few carriers would be very useful if any African country got ideas above its station and decided not to pay back loans on investments, or use Chinese workers as as hostages. I’ve no idea what India thinks it can do with an aircraft carrier as all its potential foes are direct neighbours.

        Ultimately, aircraft carriers are the equivalent of 19th century gunboats and early 20th century Battlecruisers. Not much use when fighting a peer, but great for flat track bullying weaker nations.

        1. Hepativore

          I thought the main purpose of aircraft carriers is actually for the business they generate for the military-industrial complex during the manufacturing of their components and assembly rather than the usefulness of the end products themselves…sort of like the massive naval weapons platforms in the book, 1984.

          They were said to scrapped as soon as construction was completed as they were already obsolete but their main purpose was for the three nations building them to burn through extra resources and labor.

    2. Viscaelpaviscaelvi

      Could it be that they are becoming useless to keep global dominance but still useful in a country’s area of dominance?
      Even though they can be sunk by another great power, they may still be useful against minor powers.
      And the definition of great power would be a country with nuclear weapons. There is a degree of speculation about Iran’s capacity to sink an American carrier, but if they did it, then the US could nuke the country. That is not an option against China or Russia, because they have a degree of nuclear deterrence.
      So the carriers may still be useful for patrolling the country’s own sphere of influence. A bit like regular armies that are never going to win a war against a neighbouring country, but are very useful to make sure that things don’t get out hand in the home country.

    3. coboarts

      Good, now apply that reasoning across the board and compare it to the UN/WEF fright fare we’re being fed.

    4. MonkeyBusiness

      Perhaps for the learning curve? Even if you are not planning to use carriers as your main deterrent, building one or two should give some valuable insights both in the technical and strategic fronts.

  13. polar donkey

    Antarctic ice shelves and rise sea levels. I worked at Palmer Station winter of 2002. Island is granite rock. Had a glacier covering it. 20 years later, much of the glacier is gone.

    Starbucks unionization. A Serb immigrant was a manager at local Starbucks here in Memphis. Worked at Starbucks 20 years. His wife makes costumes for local theater. Staff and other managers thought he was a nice guy and good manager. Starbucks recently sent an auditor to his location. Everything was good except temperature logs of employees. The county health department stopped requiring them. Starbucks apparently didn’t. They fired the guy. He had just bought a house. Other managers around Memphis complained it was wrong to fire the guy. Within 2 months, 6 other managers had been fired. Starbucks was looking to fire “expensive” staff.

  14. Rod

    How Plastic Liberated and Entombed Us Common Reader

    Thanks for another Reminder.
    Great reflective article on how we got here–with enough Science/Technology articulated to reinforce the basics of the plague:
    In the first ten years of this millennium, we manufactured more plastic than we made in the entire twentieth century. Why? Because fracking made oil and natural gas so cheap. A capitalist answer. Now there is plastic in our water, our air, our food, even our dust. No matter how deep inside a landfill we bury it, the chemicals leach into the groundwater.

    Bonus Visualation Challange:

    Yet only ten states require the deposit. Why? Because the giants, first among them Coca-Cola, which makes 117 billion plastic bottles a year, opposed bottle bills. Why? Because that brings the bottles home again, shifting some of the recycling burden back on them. Plastic is a hot, hot potato.
    bold is my emphasis

    visulize 117 billion-a year
    visualize some of that piled up around your Local Coca Cola Bottleing Facility–waiting for a new life

  15. CloverBee

    On testing: in Colorado we were able to order rapid COVID tests, free from the state, 4 tests per person associated with a gathering place (schools, work, churches), per month. Had been arriving within 2 days since September (Binax, shipped by Amazon).

    It has been 2 weeks since my last order, and still no shipping information. I checked with the school, because they got tests by the case (4 per kid per month), and their order is a month overdue, no response, no shipping information.

    My conclusion is that the Biden Administration has managed to screw up a state’s system that was working well. Glad they replaced it with something Health Insurance will cover, once tests are available, and probably after your deductible is met.

    The Politico article says the Administration officials faced hard questioning, but are on the case. Yeah, right. I won’t be voting for Democrat congressional representatives come November.

  16. jr

    re: NYC school chaos

    Talked with Sis again briefly this morning, no students have walked out of her school (yet) but the tensions are palpable. Classes are more than half empty due either to COVID or the fear of it on the part of parents, the staff is terrified of getting sick, and true to every experience I ever had as a teacher the administration is doing it’s level best to blame everything on the teachers. She didn’t specifically mention the union’s role in all this but the fact that they are all clueless and terrified tells you a lot.

    Empty, flailing displays of administrative authority as the walls collapse, the organized power of the teachers constrained by their leadership, a snapshot of the Iron Law of Institutions in motion with neo-liberal decay as it’s thrust-block…

  17. Tom Stone

    I’m really looking forward to a young, vibrant and superduper qualified Hillary Clinton taking on the Democratic Establishment and then whipping whichever Russian stooge the Republicans nominate.

    Because FREEDOM!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel like the Cheneys are too competent to be a running mate for Hillary Clinton. Tim Kaine is the model. Jeb! stole an election. She needs a real dolt with no personality. She won’t want to be out shined, and there aren’t many who fit the bill. Terry McAuliffe? Harris?

      1. fresno dan

        January 12, 2022 at 10:37 am
        I think Jeb! lost because of a paucity of exclaimation points. Rebooting his campaign, and running with II i.e., two, !! will cement his republican democratic nomination…for vice president.

      2. Michael Ismoe

        She needs a real dolt with no personality.
        Mayo Pete enters from stage left.

        Is it just me but why do I get the feeling if it was 1942 and the train stopped at Buchenwald and the car doors opened, I would expect to see an honest, young technocrat standing behind the camp commander whispering how “we can do this more efficiently” and that person would be Pete Buttigieg

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I agree with your example of Buttigieg’s character, but he’s not a dolt and he has a personality. Its just cruel and self serving. He would outshine Hillary.

          I think it was you who said a Kaine candidacy would result in the first electoral sweep. Pete would hold a number of blue states.

          1. NotThePilot

            The main thing I still don’t get at all about Mayo Pete is that weren’t both his parents major Gramsci scholars?

            You’d think it would rub off at least a little, and he would at least prank everyone while at McKinsey or something. Never underestimate peer-pressure, I suppose.

          2. Lambert Strether

            > I agree with your example of Buttigieg’s character, but he’s not a dolt and he has a personality

            Chapo Trap House, so make of this what you will, but there was a (Netflix?) documentary of the 2020 Buttigieg campaign — Pete had a camera crew with him. Naturally. — and they reviewed it. They said the saddest, the most pitiable part of the film was Chasten gradually coming to understand the real nature of the man he married. That rings true for me.

    2. NotThePilot

      All I know is that while I didn’t like Trump either and sat out the 2016 election, I was totally ready to start blaring “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols from my apartment if Hillary won.

      1. orlbucfan

        I hated the Sex Pistols. Malcolm McLaren pushed them as some sort of punk Rolling Stones. They stunk. Sid Vicious croaking with the Nancy Spurgeon (sp) scandal really brought the coin in. Only good thing out of it is Gary Oldman played Vicious in the movie.

        1. NotThePilot

          That’s all fair, and I actually much prefer the Clash. I also always found it really weird and sort of disturbing that there are fans of Sid Vicious specifically. Kurt Cobain he was not.

          But I think you have to admit, the song would be pretty appropriate for a Clinton presidency.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > I hated the Sex Pistols.

          I think Never Mind the Bollocks is a great album, personal characteristics of the personnel aside. And I liked John Lydon’s work with Public Image Limited (especially Metal Box).

          That said, the Clash are infinitely superior, musically and lyrically.

  18. PlutoniumKun


    15 years ago I travelled a little around Manali, not far from the Parvati valley. Talking to the owner of a guesthouse he said there were many cases of backpackers going missing – pictures of them were common on noticeboards in every hostel. On my last visit an Israeli girl had vanished. The owner shrugged his shoulders and said that she had gone to some village because she heard that there was good cheap hashish there and she hoped to smuggle some out of the country. She had ignored warnings from others not to do it. She never returned. The owner suggested that Israeli’s were most likely to do stupid things as they were mostly just out of their military conscription and overestimated their ability to look after themselves.

    Certainly, the locals were pretty convinced that most of the backpackers who went missing had gotten over their heads in trying to buy the local products. There were also undoubtedly a few who had mental crises and just disappeared into the mountains and forests.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Interview: Zeynep Pamuk on the Case for Creating Science Courts Undark

    A variation on what Pamuk suggests has been tried in Ireland with its Citizens Assemblies. Although they mostly address social and political problems, one assembly took it upon itself to address climate change and spent a week inviting scientists and activists to address it. Its conclusion was that the government needed to do far more. Implicitly, many countries do have ‘courts’ on scientific matters as various forms of public inquiries are held into development proposals. I’ve attended more than one public inquiry into waste, power, or transport policies, and its often striking that unqualified local people can talk more sense than the appointed experts (who are invariably hired by one group or another and so are rarely truly independent).

    The reality is that most regular people are perfectly able to understand scientific topics to the extent needed to come to intelligent conclusions about public or private policy. Often scientists are among the worst at this as so many are siloed in their own narrow areas of expertise.

    1. jim truti

      The main issue with climate change is two gigantic interlocking problems everyone refuses to discuss :
      1- overpopulation
      2- resource depletion.
      Everything else is noise.
      The good news is that these problems left to themselves will solve on their own.
      The bad news is that it will be unpleasant.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > A variation on what Pamuk suggests has been tried in Ireland with its Citizens Assemblies.

      Could you tell us more about these? Can they actually exercise political power?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        They were set up originally to deal with issues that politicians didn’t want to touch – mostly abortion, divorce, gay marriage, etc. They were spectacularly successful at this (I was very cynical at the start, but I was proven wrong). In all three cases the assembly recommended constitutional amendments that were carried very comfortably and with surprisingly little fuss. Their suggested wordings for amendments were very clear and straightforward and un-lawyerly.

        The main website is here. Further information here and on the fairly ok wikipedia page. I’m not sure if there has been much academic work on it yet.

        They have no direct power, but at least initially they had a lot of influence. It is very hard for politicians to turn down its recommendations on constitutional matters, which is pretty important. However, I think the current problem is that as its agenda has become more diffuse and general, its easier for politicians to ignore its recommendations – as on climate change (which the assembly pretty much took it upon itself to address).

        So in short, its very effective at dealing with quite specific issues that overlap science/ethics/policy and require a focused answer (such as a proposed wording for a constitutional amendment). But much less effective when it comes to more general issues of government policy.

  20. Rod

    This article highlights one of the bigger obsticles to a motivated citizenry–lack of current information about what is happening in their backyard/City Hall/County Council.
    Hard to respond to Rezonings, Business Recruitment Incentives, Tax Increment District Impementations, Local School Locations, and even Waste Disposal or any other initiative after they have been proposed and passed without enough public input for outcomes desired.

    If we make policy and the only folks that are in the room, or most of them, represent the hedge funds and represent the broadcasters, we’re going to get policies that are deeply flawed, and designed to hold up the existing system that’s not serving us.

    This embed in the article outlines a how this might be accomplished through/with some Public Funding.

    Our County is groaning with the weight of new developement along a certain 15 mile stretch of former rural Interstate and radiating into everything eminating from it. This is prompted much by Public Committments for Infrastructure–Public Commitments without Public Approval.
    SCDoT proposed(with County/City Cost Sharing) a new 35$ Million Diamond Divergent Exit into a formally small and settled Town just across the River and on the other side of the Expressway from the mass of Commercial and Residential they permitted.
    To get to the Town–and schools and parks means crossing an overpass on an 8 lane expressway.
    Of course the walkways stop at the overpass–but continue on each side.
    The SCDoT’s Primary Plan Choice did not include a Pedestrian Crossing–nor did its secondary, or third choice. This was pointed out at the last Public Input Forum–by an adjacent HoA spreading the information–not any DoT or County Planners.
    SCDoT response was: ‘Well, the Overpass Designs are complicated and Pedestrian Passage further complicates the Design and Costs’

    1. jr

      In the West Village, there are these kiosks on yhe street with charging stations and video displays. In addition to advertising, there are pictures of art and important dates and messages from the city. Time and temperature.

      But never, ever any targeted messages for specific communities about pressing topics of concern. So when, for example, a film crew is going to block off some streets for a week or there is a community meeting about liquor licenses for the tenth bar on a block or there is a Meet Your Cops! meetup in the church basement, there is nothing on display. The means of communicating such civic concerns is, in the 21st century and in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, left to flyers on telephone poles. The film crew one’s are usually in plastic sleeves but others are often literally just a piece of paper up there with the lost dogs and skate-punk stickers.

      1. Pat

        Well a couple will actually tell you when the next train is for the nearest subway stop. That isn’t enough for you?/s

        I gather they are way behind building them outside Manhattan, but word is Link may be able to avoid bankruptcy by becoming 5G towers. It means making them three stories high.

        IOW not only not community based but soon to be unquestionably community detrimental. Staten Island is getting off lightly.

        1. jr

          Good point, I forgot about the train announcements, scattered as they are amongst the ads for Google etc. and images of how to wear one’s useless surgical mask. I wonder how many trees will get whacked to make way for the 5G farm. Then they can put up shades and charge people to stand underneath.

          1. Mantid

            OK, now that you mention adds for giggle, it’s my understanding that these kiosks both pass out info, and input info. Aren’t they part of the “smart city” folly? Every one you walk by scrapes as much info from you as possible, and lots is possible.
            On the one hand they give you all these shiny, neat bits of information as their other hand is walking through your phone and wallet.

            Check out this tech article:
            From the article “Each kiosk has three cameras, 30 sensors, and heightened sight lines for viewing above crowds.”

            It never amazes me what people allow to occur simply for convenience.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > The means of communicating such civic concerns is, in the 21st century and in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, left to flyers on telephone poles.

        This mode of communication is, OTOH, 100% Jackpot-compliant (assuming some rudimentary printing capabilities remain).

        NOTE * The lack of localization is endemic in Search. You get a link to some global publication, like the Guardian, but not the local venue where the story originated. See here for an example of the same phenomenon for Covid testing data. I think software developers can’t do localization within budget, and who cares anyhow, let’s go to Starbucks. Or Ruth’s Chris, where the contract was signed.

  21. Mantid

    In the US, the man with the transplanted pig heart would have to get 2 vax shots and in many cases a booster – if he wants a job of course. “Sorry sir, no exemptions. If we do it for you we’ll have to make exemptions for everyone”.
    And on another serious note, an animal – in this case pig – heart??? The heart is such an amazing organ and is the house of emotion and another “pole” of thought and memory. This is a big leap and I hope this person does OK.

    1. Eclair

      Pig hearts and other organ transplants, Crispr gene therapy, expensive, and ‘sexy,’ medical breakthroughs targeting individuals. Increasingly, individuals who are able to pay.

      Meanwhile, entire (poor) communities are sickened and die prematurely because their water supply contains lead, their air contains poisons, their food contains too much sugar, fat and salt.

      In CoVid isolation, I have been finding out about my ancestors using Ancestry. Last year I discovered one page of the death record for an NE industrial city, 1906: 24 entries, 18 children 2 years old or under, due to cholera, dysentary, gastro-enteritis, still birth. Two teenagers, one from peritonitis, one from pneumonia.

      Two of these children are my family: my father’s 4 month old sister; my mother’s 15 year old aunt. The city, after this epidemic, spent money to install water and sewage systems; my 4 month old aunt, 20 years later would probably have lived to have children of her own. Penicillin, discovered in the1930’s and made widely availably, would probably have saved my 15 year old great aunt.

      Public Health.

  22. bob

    Hochul, new NYS gov, trying to out idiot Andy.

    The governor reiterated during a Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday that while employers should continue to use their own discretion, the state workforce will not go back to widespread telecommuting because of the potential economic damage of keeping people at home, especially for the restaurant and hotel industries.

    Because markets…..

        1. upstater

          The PMC democrats whine about voter suppression in Red states. I have always felt NY State and local governments are just as undemocratic, if not worse, than red states (having also resided in Louisiana and Arizona for long periods).

          They scanned our drivers licenses in last November’s election and challenged my son’s 18 yo voter registration signature with his age 31 signature. Can’t imagine how that plays out in NYC… or maybe I can, given the cluster[family blog] mayoral election that installed Eric Adams and family.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            It didn’t help that the Left (such as it is) primary vote was divided by 1) the throwing of Scott Stringer under the bus over flimsy #MeToo allegations, and 2) the campaign of “progressive” landlord, charter school operator and non-profit exec Dianne Morales.

    1. bob

      Putting my fiscally conservative but socially liberal Serious Person hat on-

      What is that going to cost the taxpayers of NY? Are there any estimates on how much it will cost in Healthcare for the State government? We can’t afford higher taxes now!

      Employees, who are presumably all covered by state paid for health insurance. We need austerity now.

    2. Pat

      And I assume that no so called journalist questioned how keeping government workers in offices helped the hotel industry and the restaurant industry except in limited areas?

      And if the state was going to be holding conferences in hotels around the state which department budget was going to get dinged for that especially since they were likely to be intradepartment meetings as no sane industry would send their workers to pretend conferences to justify giving state money to hotels.

  23. a fax machine

    The school dismount is going to shred the K12 system into two: Open and Remote. The lack of Covid consensus will likely destroy the education system because half of society wants to actually be in school despite the risk, the other wants to stay home. These two ideas are totally incompatible and attempts to make hybrid learning a thing are marginal and restricted only to affluent school districts that can afford to give everyone laptops+internet. There is a heavy class issue in this: students who actually need their education want in-person learning because they will be in-person working regardless. A failure by teachers to realize this reality will end their occupation because people got to eat. And vice versa, schools that do not provide remote learning will loose the top 10% of students that carry the school’s grant money.

    Let’s back up and think about this as a young person would: you’re 16, just old enough to drop out. Do you want to sit in your room all day sucking down your parents’ data plan while your teacher ignores you, just so you can pay a college $10,000/semester for the same experience for no guarantee of work OR do you walk down to the mcdonalds and get a job that pays now. Now suppose they’re 20 with kids, or 30 with aging parents as well, or 40 and sending remittances to another country. This strategy works better with craftier kids who realize they can just get a GED and immediately enlist in the military – a guarantee of work and free college regardless if that college is open, closed, remote or run by aliens.

    I have heard such arguments and seen this in the past two years by coworkers: richer ones simply remove their kids to a better remote school poorer ones give up hope and push GEDs (or just straight dropping out) because it’s the same effort but allows the student to enter the workforce faster. The lack of support -either in real life or online- is the most common problem. Teens don’t want to go to school if they feel like it’d make them grievously ill, while others don’t believe an internet education is worthwhile.

    1. Rick

      Hmmm “shoegaze jazz” was intriguing enough to take a look.

      Thanks for the links!

      [Also working on clearing brush, just over two tons since October]

  24. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule


    “In his mind, the valley’s hash is a powerful lure. “Most of the tourists that come here are coming for the hash—the quality is one of the best in the world,” he says, rubbing his forefinger and thumb together as if rolling a marble. “The Malana hash—it’s sticky.”

    Or . . . . “Every year, the cloud forests of India’s Himalayan foothills provide the ideal escape for some 30,000 young Israelis just released from mandatory military service. With a pocketful of discharge money and a socially sanctioned time-out from concerns back home, 90 percent of these travelers will take drugs, and some 2,000 will end up needing psychiatric care for what has become known, even in Hebrew, as “flipping out.” . . . . Most fascinating is Hilik Magnus, a former Mossad agent, hired by Israeli families to find their wayward children and bring them safely home. Flipping Out is an unsettling picture of collective numbing-out, and of the peculiar safety net provided by a tight-knit society to its members in free fall.”

    Available for free viewing, for all those who have the interest and the spare time:

    “Flipping Out – Israel’s Drug Generation”

  25. Vander Resende

    What Kazakhstan Isn’t, By Craig Murray ” Knowledge of Kazakhstan in the West is extremely slim, particularly among western media, and many responses to events there have been wildly off-beam.

    The narrative on the right is that Putin is looking to annex Kazakhstan, or at least the majority ethnic Russian areas in the north. This is utter nonsense.

    The narrative on the left is that the CIA is attempting to instigate another color revolution and put a puppet regime into Nur-Sultan (as the capital is called this week). This also is utter nonsense. “

  26. Matthew G. Saroff

    If you are going to give blood, DON’T GIVE TO THE RED CROSS.

    First, they tend to move more of their blood to the market for blood chemicals, which is managed by a for-profit subsidiary.

    That subsidiary is why the Red Cross, under the management of Liddy Dole refused to test for HIV, which wiped out a significant portion of the hemophiliacs in the United States,

  27. antidlc

    Walensky says CDC mask recommendation will not change

    Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday that it does not plan to change its mask guidance to advise Americans to wear higher quality masks amid the omicron surge.

    The CDC director said during a White House briefing that her agency currently recommends that “any mask is better than no mask” to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    The guidance does not advise Americans to wear a specific kind of mask, such as a medical-grade KN95 or N95 instead of a cloth mask, although Walensky said the CDC plans to update its website to help Americans choose their face covering.

    Someone, please, wake me up from this nightmare.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Someone, everyone, please get as many fellow Americans as you can to discount and disregard the fake science CDC’s fake guidance.

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