No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Jan 16

"The man who took hostages at a Texas synagogue on Saturday and died after a stand-off with police was 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, the FBI said in a statement on Sunday… There was 'no indication' that other individuals were involved in the incident, the bureau added."

"A massive underwater volcano that erupted just before sundown Friday sent waves several feet high smashing into the shores of the island nation of Tonga and thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean from Australia to Canada, including the U.S. West Coast."

What your favorite sad Dad band says about you. Never change, McSweeneys. (Grokked from Amy Walter)

From Elizabeth Bear… "Pro tips for surviving radiotherapy."

"Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated in the lab how well a mineral common at the boundary between the Earth's core and mantle conducts heat. This leads them to suspect that the Earth's heat may dissipate sooner than previously thought."

"As of Saturday, the Ohio Department of Health said 30,922 coronavirus deaths have been reported with at least 2,357,990 cases since the start of the pandemic… The reason for the exponential increase is due to a backlog of positive COVID-19 test results."

"France's parliament gave final approval on Sunday to the government's latest measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus, including a vaccine pass contested by anti-vaccine protestors."

So how's that "we have to get the kids back to in-class education" going? "Watson, who is 25 and an uncredentialed substitute with a degree in Theater Arts, says the "vacancy" calls are on the rise as burned-out teachers and experienced substitutes have abandoned the field. Meanwhile, the fill-in requests have jumped from one or two days on a single assignment to 20 days."

"A month-old ransomware attack is still causing administrative chaos for millions of people, including 20,000 public transit workers in the New York City metro area, public service workers in Cleveland, employees of FedEx and Whole Foods, and medical workers across the country who were already dealing with an omicron surge that has filled hospitals and exacerbated worker shortages."

"Mark Schlissel has been removed as president of the University of Michigan due to an alleged "inappropriate relationship with a university employee," the school said Saturday on its website."

"Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, a person involved in the talks said Sunday… The deal, which could be signed as early as this week, could usher Netanyahu off the Israeli political stage for years, paving the way for a leadership race in his Likud party and shaking up Israeli politics. Any deal could spare Netanyahu an embarrassing and protracted trial over an issue that has gripped the nation and risks tarnishing his legacy."

"The U.S., Russia and China all have them. And now, North Korea claims to as well: hypersonic weapons… These aerial vehicles go a step further than the kind of ballistic missiles that Pyongyang has periodically tested over the years. They can fly fast and maneuver in ways that make them extremely difficult to detect and destroy."

"The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down the new Republican-drawn state legislative maps as illegal partisan gerrymanders, ordering a panel of elected officials to redraw them quickly for the May election."

"(Texas) Election officials in some of the state’s largest counties are rejecting an alarming number of mail-in applications because they don’t meet the state’s new identification requirements. Some applications are being rejected because of a mismatch between the new identification requirements and the data the state has on file to verify voters." So you're saying the new voter IDs laws are working as designed, which is to disenfranchise as many voters as possible. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"DirecTV is dropping One America News Network from its lineup, a surprise move that's sure to deal a massive blow to the network that rose to prominence during the presidency of Donald Trump… Bloomberg reported Friday that the satellite TV provider notified the owner of OAN, Herring Networks Inc., that it would no longer carry the company's two channels when their contract expires. The other channel, A Wealth of Entertainment, dubs itself a lifestyle channel that features luxury goods." Now do Newsmax and Fox News. Why is it important? "In 2020, an OAN accountant testified that 90% of OAN's revenue came from a contract with AT&T owned platforms such as DirecTV, Reuters reported." Fox News also gets most of its funding from cable TV subscription fees, which is why boycotts of advertisers have been less successful lately.

"Since there’s so much [waves hands everywhere] crazy coming up all of a sudden, let me break down the theory of how the overturning of the election was supposed to go down…" A twitter thread.

"Since the insurrection on January 6, warnings of a second American Civil War have been sounded. This week, On the Media explores whether the civil war talk is an alarmist cry, or actually a sober assessment. Plus, hear how the myth of 'the Dark Ages' paints an unfair portrait of medieval times."

"Former President Donald Trump's administration alarmed career civil servants at the Census Bureau by not only ending the 2020 national head count early, but also pressuring them to alter plans for protecting people's privacy and producing accurate data, a newly released email shows."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Jan 14

"A new quarter featuring legendary poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou and other trailblazing American women has officially started shipping to banks on Monday, the U.S. Mint announced. Angelou is the first Black woman to appear on the quarter."

"A team of astronomers led by the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has now mapped the Local Bubble with the highest precision yet – and found that the Local Bubble was likely carved out of the interstellar medium by a series of supernova explosions millions of years ago."

"The past seven years have been the hottest ever recorded globally 'by a clear margin,' according to findings released Monday by scientists with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service. Though 2021 was not quite as warm as other recent years, scientists warned that global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise… Last year, the researchers said 2020 was 'effectively tied' for the warmest year on record — just behind 2016, which took first place. Now 2021 ranks fifth, sightly ahead of 2015 and 2018."

"A breeding colony of 60 million fish has been discovered in Antarctica's ice-covered Weddell Sea -- a unique and previously unknown ecosystem that covers an area the size of Malta."

"Conservationists and veterinarians are warning that plastic waste in an open landfill in eastern Sri Lanka is killing elephants in the region, after two more were found dead over the weekend."

"According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was recently detected in a hunter-harvested deer in northwestern Alabama. This makes Alabama the 28t state CWD has been documented."

"Dozens of hospitals and trauma centers across the country say they're in dire need of blood donations after what the American Red Cross is now calling a nationwide blood crisis… The Red Cross said in a statement this week that the dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care, resulting in medical staff making difficult decisions on who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more blood is readily available."

"The Epstein-Barr virus has long been suspected of playing a role in development of MS. It’s a connection that’s hard to prove because just about everybody gets infected with Epstein-Barr, usually as kids or young adults -- but only a tiny fraction develop MS."

"The omicron surge is jamming up hospital emergency rooms with patients who are waiting long hours or even days to get a bed."

"A study looking at health data across the entire population of Scotland found that pregnant women who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and caught the disease were much more likely to suffer severe complications — for themselves and their infants — than those who had been vaccinated and got COVID. Yet despite the growing evidence, vaccination rates among pregnant women remained much lower compared to the general population."

"The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule Thursday, declaring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its authority… But at the same time, the court upheld a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that mandates vaccines for almost all employees at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that receive federal funds." Their reasoning is a bunch of horseshit.

"Some of the compounds in cannabis may prevent the entry of the coronavirus into healthy human cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nature Products… The research was conducted at Oregon State University and led by Richard van Breemen, a scientist with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute." Don't think it's gonna help legalize weed, but whatever. Plus I have a feeling that the amounts required to have an effect would be enormous.

"Retail sales fell much more than expected in December as surging prices took a big bite out of spending, the Commerce Department reported Friday… The advance monthly sales report to close out the year showed a decline of 1.9%, considerably worse than the Dow Jones estimate for just a 0.1% drop."

"One day after Prince Andrew lost his bid to quash a sex-abuse lawsuit, he has been stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday."

"Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff parties in No 10 on the night before Prince Philip's funeral… The gatherings, first reported by The Telegraph, took place on 16 April 2021 and went on until the early hours… The PM's spokesman said it was 'deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning'… Boris Johnson was not at either party - but he faces questions over alleged Covid rule-breaking at No 10."

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is planning 'things that we have not done in the past' if Russia invades Ukraine… His comments follow days of diplomatic talks and a deadlock on resolving the crisis brewing along the Ukraine-Russia border."

"Dozens of Ukrainian government sites have been hit by an ominous cyberattack, with hackers warning people to 'be afraid and expect the worst'…The attack took over websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of ministers and security and defense council, posting a message on screens in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that read: 'Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it.'"

"The US has alleged Russia has already positioned saboteurs in Ukraine to carry out a 'false flag' operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack, which Washington says could begin in the coming month."

"The loan servicing giant Navient has agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in student loan debts owed by roughly 66,000 borrowers, as part of a settlement announced Thursday with 39 state attorneys general… The settlement ends a years-long legal fight with states in which Navient faced two serious allegations. First, the company was accused of steering student borrowers into expensive forbearances instead of more flexible, income-driven repayment plans." They're getting off too cheaply.

"When the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools announced earlier this week a cyberattack would lead to the cancellation of classes for around 75,000 students, he noted that the district's technology department had been fending off attacks 'for the last few weeks.'"

"Florida State Board of Administration official killed in apparent road-rage shootout." Moar guns make us safer. And after a thorough investigation this story remains mostly the same, that's a fair use of the self-defense law. (Grokked from Chess)

"A Waukesha County judge has ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under Wisconsin law, a ruling that could potentially remove an option for voting ahead of the state's crucial midterm elections." Another pile of horseshit reasoning.

"Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delayed votes on a pair of voting rights bills, pushing back a debate over the chamber’s rules that will decide the fate of election reforms the Democratic Party sees as vital to protecting U.S. democracy."

"Democrats in Washington are beginning to accept the reality that they do not have the votes to pass President Biden's long-shot effort to enact new voting rights bills… President Biden traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday in an attempt to sway Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D.-W.Va., to agree to change the Senate filibuster in order to pass the legislation… Biden conceded after the closed-door meeting that his efforts likely were not enough." This is the way Democracy dies.

"The Republican National Committee has informed the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has hosted presidential and vice presidential debates for general elections for over three decades, that it will change its rules to prohibit the party's nominees from participating in CPD debates." If you can't win, leave.

"The Justice Department has charged 11 defendants with seditious conspiracy related to the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, including the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes." Well well well. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

And a CBS news story with more… "The Justice Department charged 11 people, including the founder of the right-wing militia known as the Oath Keepers, with 'seditious conspiracy' for their alleged roles in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the most serious charges brought to date relating to the riot."

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly and privately in the days following the deadly riots at the US Capitol that President Donald Trump admitted personally bearing some responsibility for the attack -- one of several reasons why the select committee on January 6 wants to hear from the House's top Republican."

Monday, January 10, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Jan 10

Bob Saget, and so it goes.

So there is this persistent believe among newly minted writers that people at publishing houses will "steal their ideas" when they submit. This is not true. One, ideas are a dime a dozen. Two, because working with professionals they don't do stupid shit like that. And three, because this is what happens when someone tries… "An Italian man has been arrested in New York for impersonating figures from the publishing industry online, in order to fraudulently obtain unpublished manuscripts of novels and other books."

On the Media podcast with… "In 2013, 26-year-old software developer and political activist Aaron Swartz died by suicide. He had been indicted on federal charges after illegally downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a database of academic journals, and potentially faced a million dollar fine and decades in jail. While his death made headline news, Swartz had long been an Internet folk hero and a fierce advocate for the free exchange of information. In his book, The Idealist, writer Justin Peters places Swartz within the fraught, often colorful, history of copyright in America. Brooke talks with Peters about Swartz's legacy and the long line of 'data moralists' who came before him." Including a discussion about the history and purpose of copyright and a little about "information wants to be free."

"Uccellini spent a great deal of his time as director on improving technology at the weather service. But the agency's biggest challenge is effective messaging about the weather, especially extreme events, Uccellini says."

"Global spread of autoimmune disease blamed on western diet… New DNA research by London-based scientists hopes to find cure for rapidly spreading conditions." Maybe. Although many diseases have already been linked to a "western diet" (ie. fast food/cheap carbs).

"About 24% of US hospitals are reporting a 'critical staffing shortage,' according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, as public health experts warn the Covid-19 surge fueled by the Omicron variant threatens the nation's health care system."

"That lack of regular communication has spurred criticism of the agency. In recent days, public health experts have called out CDC for confusing isolation and quarantine guidance, and asked the agency to communicate more often and more clearly."

What is it lime inside hoispitals, well it's not always like this… "Newly released video shows an anti-vaxxer violently attacking COVID-19 clinic workers in California… The incident occurred Dec. 30 in Tustin, outside a clinic operated in a parking lot by Families Together of Orange County… The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Thomas Apollo, reportedly called the clinic workers 'murderers.' Apollo grew angrier after a security guard asked him to wear a mask, accusing workers of being complicit in a COVID-19 'hoax' and saying he was 'not a sheep.'" But to say this shit doesn't happen is to lie. Mostly the violence is more restrained and it's not always about COVID. Although this weekend I was called several names to my face by a few patients. Mostly I try not to react, and that throws them off their guard. "You know you're a mf'in son of b#$ches, right?" "Yes sir, can we have to return to the cart so I can take your chest x-ray?"

"The new year has gotten off to a very bad start in Kazakhstan. On Jan. 1, the government lifted a price cap on fuel, setting off a sudden and steep increase in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, which most people in the Central Asian nation use to run their vehicles. That move sparked widespread protests that turned violent as security forces cracked down." But it's not really about gas prices.

"American and Russian officials held high-stakes talks Monday about the build-up of troops near Ukraine's border, as fears mount over a possible Russian invasion… US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's meeting wrapped up after more than 7 hours in Geneva, Switzerland, after holding a working dinner on Sunday evening."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she believes a deal can still be reached with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan after negotiations were put on ice last month." While they believe the goal can be met with negotiations, I think in this case we need a bigger stick and not a bigger carrot. And Manchin is vulnerable.

"It’s been one year since the armed insurrection at the Capitol, what do we know now about how it happened? On this week’s On the Media, hear about the signs that reveal militia groups were preparing for that day — or something like it — long before January 6th. Plus, how the attack may have transformed the far-right in America." Micah Loewinger updates his reporting on how the right used Zello to coordinate the attack, how it's now being used against them, and a possible path from here.

"Donald Trump's lawyers on Monday will try to persuade a federal judge to throw out a series of lawsuits by Democratic lawmakers and two police officers alleging that the former president incited the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol."

"The Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is the second sitting congressman to refuse a request for cooperation from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack… In a Sunday night letter to the committee chair, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Trump ally accused the panel of 'an outrageous abuse' of its authority."

Friday, January 7, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Jan 7

Sidney Poitier, and so it goes.

"A group of scientists announced Thursday that they captured the explosive end to a red supergiant star's life for the first time, documenting its death throes as it collapsed into a type II supernova. Scientists from Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley, who released a study on the star's death, called the findings a 'breakthrough' in their understanding of how the massive stars die."

"An international team led by astronomers from the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy (MPIA) recently noticed a massive filament of atomic hydrogen gas in our galaxy. This structure, named 'Maggie', is located about 55,000 light-years away (on the other side of the Milky Way) and is one of the longest structures ever observed in our galaxy."

"At Lake Powell, the nation's second-largest reservoir, record low water levels are transforming the landscape, renewing a longstanding dispute over the land the reservoir drowned — a canyon labyrinth that novelist Edward Abbey once described as 'a portion of earth's original paradise.' For half a century, environmental groups and Colorado River enthusiasts have implored water managers to restore Glen Canyon by draining the reservoir."

"A new scientific study shows that vaccination can cause changes to the timing of menstruation. But it also shows the effects are temporary, more akin to a sore arm than a serious adverse event."

"With infections at all-time highs in the U.S., the clinical picture is now coming together and starting to confirm what other countries have found — a typical case of omicron not only presents slightly differently but also likely carries a lower chance of getting seriously ill… Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have preliminary evidence that the risk of being admitted to the hospital or the intensive care unit during the omicron surge in the U.S. is about half of the risk observed during the delta surge. And this reflects what doctors across the country are now seeing firsthand with their patients." Stare in "my ER is full" mode (although, full truth, last night it wasn't, but we've had single days like that before).

"But many factors can affect how likely a COVID-19 test is to accurately spot an infection. Here's the latest on how these two types of tests work and why they might sometimes offer different results…"

"Another supreme battle at the U.S. Supreme Court Friday: In a special session, the justices are hearing expedited arguments in cases challenging two major Biden administration regulations aimed at increasing the number of vaccinated workers… The cases are in a preliminary posture, but how the court rules will very likely signal how these issues are ultimately resolved."

"Among Tufts' 195-member class of 2025, Lima is one of 26 students who identify as Black or African American — a major jump from nine the year before. And across the country, the number of first-year Black students is up 21%, an unprecedented spike since 2020."

"The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected in December just as the nation was grappling with a massive surge in Covid cases, the Labor Department said Friday… Nonfarm payrolls grew by 199,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 422,000 for the payrolls number and 4.1% for the unemployment rate."

"Euro zone inflation hit a new record high in December, raising more questions about the European Central Bank’s monetary policy… Preliminary data showed Friday that the headline inflation rate came in at 5% for the month, compared to the same month last year. The figure represents the highest ever on record and follows November’s all-time high of 4.9%."

"'Hustle culture' is facing an existential crisis with millennials." Except, the article can't even point to millennials as being the main move against "hustle" except that these are the only people they talked to (or the people they talked to only looked at millennials), extols the virtues of "hustle" and just can't grok why someone wouldn't want it. So, in a way, without meaning to, the article becomes a meta meditation on hustle and reads like "what's up with kids these days", which is odd, because it looks like it was written by these kids. Also, again, note the erasure of Gen X.

"As 2022 begins, most people in Afghanistan don't have enough food to eat. Millions are facing hunger and starvation amid a multiyear drought and an economic crash following the Taliban takeover in August. The onset of winter has only made things worse."

"Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan's main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising… A day after Moscow sent paratroopers to help crush the insurrection, police were patrolling the debris-strewn streets of Almaty, although some gunfire could still be heard."

"American women helped lead the international fight to include women's ski jumping in the Winter Olympics, and the U.S. team was once ranked No. 1 in the world… But in a major blow to the program, American women failed to garner enough points in qualifying competitions to send any athletes to the Beijing Games."

"Top executives at utility giant Florida Power & Light worked closely with the political consultants who orchestrated a scheme to promote spoiler candidates in three key state Senate elections last year, according to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel… The records show that the consultants who controlled Grow United Inc., the dark-money nonprofit at the center of the “ghost” candidate scandal, billed FPL for more than $3 million days before they began moving money through the entity."

"Cyber Ninjas, the company that led a partisan review of 2020 ballots in Arizona, is closing down following a scathing report by election officials and the threat of $50,000 a day in fines… 'Cyber Ninjas is shutting down. All employees have been let go,' Rod Thomson, the company's representative, said in a text message Thursday evening." I don't think it was the report shutting them down, but… "Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah said he would impose a $50,000 fine against Cyber Ninjas every day until it hands over documents related to the so-called audit after the Arizona Republic newspaper filed a public records request, The Associated Press reported Thursday."

"How the hell did we get here?… It's been a year since January 6th, 2021." Jim Wright on the anniversary.

Why are we still here? "First, there's a problem with how Americans are consuming information… Second, Republican elected officials have enabled Trump's lies… McCarthy and McConnell… Trump going unchallenged…"

"Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to the spotlight on Thursday to offer a reflection on last year's Capitol riot that varied pretty drastically from most others today… The two Republicans first appeared on Stephen Bannon's podcast to declare 'we're ashamed of nothing,' as Gaetz put it, per Axios. 'We're proud of the work we did on Jan. 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity,' Gaetz continued, with Greene's agreement." Fuck these two traitors.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Linkee-poo one year on

"Thursday marks one year since a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building hoping to block lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden's 2020 election win… Biden marked the anniversary with a scathing speech at the Capitol in which he strongly condemned the violence and said Trump 'has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.'" Getting warmer…

"Pope Francis has criticized couples who choose to have pets instead of children as selfish, arguing that their decision to forgo parenthood leads to a loss of 'humanity' and is a detriment to civilization." Go forth and multiply becomes ya better have kids, or else.

"Even if you do try to report your results, the information isn’t likely to move the needle on the public’s understanding of the virus. That’s because they’re not included in the data health officials use to produce their reports and policies… So the more people test themselves at home, the less the official numbers about new infections and positivity rates (that is, the percentage of tests that detect the virus) will provide an accurate picture of the public’s health." Jazz hands!

"Covid-19 hospitalizations among children in the US are soaring, fueled by the Omicron variant and the holidays, and adding pressure to already-strained health systems and schools." And again, no consideration is given to the long term effects of COVID.

"Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds injured during clashes in Kazakhstan, a police official from the largest city Almaty said Thursday, as troops from a Russian-led military alliance of post-Soviet states begin their operations in the Central Asian country to help quell the unrest."

"America's faith in the integrity of the election system remains shaken by the events of Jan. 6, with only 20% of the public saying it's very confident about the system, a new ABC/Ipsos poll finds. This is a significant drop from 37% in an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in the days after the insurrection last year."

"Here is a look back at some of the moments that occurred on that day."

"As the nation reflects on the year since a violent mob attempted to stop the certification of election results, there will be gatherings for those who believe the attack was an attempted coup and who are alarmed by the passage of restrictive voting rules in several states… There will also be events for those who falsely maintain that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election and who consider those arrested in connection to the riot 'political prisoners.'"

While a lot of the remembrance will involve discussions of conservative and liberal views, Jan 6, 2021 can also be seen in terms of white supremacy and definitely the continuation of 9/11/2001.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Jan 5

Sorry, busy Steve is still very busy.

"An NHL staffer had a cancerous mole removed after a fan of the opposing team spotted it from the stands and urged him to get it checked out. He now credits her with saving his life, and the teams are awarding her a scholarship for medical school this fall."

"Things might seem pretty grim on the pandemic front right now. The U.S. is only a few days into the third calendar year of the pandemic and nearly 500,000 new COVID-19 cases are being counted daily… Wachter chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and took to Twitter last week to share his thoughts and predictions on how the country 'could be in good shape, maybe even great shape in six to eight weeks.'" Here I'm going to disagree with the good doctor. See all those cases? Every single one is an opportunity for SARS-CoV2 Omicron to mutate again. Also, the healthcare system has a good chance of collapsing before then. And, how quickly can Omicron (or any other mutation) re-infect a person. So, yes, given all the other factors, we should be through the first wave of Omicron in another 4 to 8 weeks. Doesn't mean this is over. The anti-viral pills? You have to start then early or they're no use (and out tests suck at early detection).

"A jury found Elizabeth Holmes guilty of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The verdict on Monday capped the downfall of one of Silicon Valley's most dynamic and scandal-plagued young executives who promised to revolutionize blood testing with an innovative technology that required just a small sample of blood pricked from a patient's finger."

"New York Attorney General Letitia James recently subpoenaed former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, demanding their testimony in connection with an ongoing civil investigation into the family's business practices, according to a court filing made public Monday."

Because I expect there to be a lot of hagiography and attempting to rewrite the record of January 6th, 2021 in the next few days, "The attack on Norris is an example of erratic and sometimes threatening behavior by (Ashli) Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer while at the vanguard of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Former President Donald Trump and his supporters have sought to portray her as a righteous martyr who was unjustly killed… But the life of the Air Force veteran from California, who died while wearing a Trump campaign flag wrapped around her shoulders like a cape, was far more complicated than the heroic portrait presented by Trump and his allies." We all are more complicated than our public impressions, but before we start extolling the virtues of someone under questionable circumstances, the full picture should be understood. Besides, she was shot while attempting to breach a secured perimeter in the Capitol during an insurrection.

Jim Wright with a recap of last year and what must be done.

"A timeline of how the Jan. 6 attack unfolded — including who said what and when."

"Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has vowed the Senate will forge ahead on voting rights legislation and will vote on changing the rules of the upper chamber by Jan. 17 if the GOP once again blocks the bill." Now we see if there's follow through.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Jan 3

Richard Leakey, and so it goes.

"The world’s oldest person has celebrated her 119th birthday in Japan, saying she is determined to extend the record by another year."

"A winter storm packing heavy snow blew into Washington DC on Monday, closing government offices and schools and grounding the president’s helicopter. As much as 10in of snow was forecast for the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland through the afternoon."

"If the clouds cooperate, you can start the year with a meteor shower. The Quadrantid meteor shower reaches its peak activity on or about 3 January each year. This year, the peak has been estimated to occur at about 10pm GMT, although this can vary by a day or so."

"Engineers activating the James Webb Space Telescope decided Sunday to hold off tightening the observatory's critical sunshade to allow more time to check out the performance of its power systems and overall behavior now that several major deployments are complete."

"David Bowie’s estate has reached a deal to sell the music icon’s songwriting catalog to Warner Music Group’s Warner Chappell in one of the largest music publishing deals to date… The company did not divulge financial details, but sources told Variety that the deal, which includes Bowie’s “entire body of work,” was worth more than $250 million."

"Turkey's annual rate of inflation has hit a 19-year high as a currency collapse sends the cost of imports soaring… According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, consumer prices soared 36% in December compared to the same month the previous year. Prices are now rising at their fastest pace since September 2002. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party came to power later that year."

"A man has been arrested after a large fire severely damaged the Houses of Parliament in the South African city of Cape Town… The suspect, who is not a parliamentary employee, will appear in court on Tuesday, facing charges of arson, housebreaking and theft, police said."

"Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee and one of its two Republican members, told ABC News that the panel has 'firsthand testimony' that during the attack, Trump's daughter and then-senior adviser Ivanka Trump asked him to intervene. And Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, told CNN the panel has 'significant testimony' that the White House 'had been told to do something.'" The real culpability here isn't that Trump didn't do anything to stop the assault on the Capitol, but that he helped plan and launched the attack. That there is now evidence that they took money raised for the "protest" (the event on the green) and that everything raised can not be accounted for, that's just extra sauce.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Jan 2

Betty White, and so it goes.

"An historic wildfire hit Colorado Thursday forcing the evacuation of more than 30,000 people, including patients at local hospitals. Hundreds of homes are reportedly destroyed from the fast-moving flames… The Marshall Fire and Middle Fork Fire are considered the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history, according to a state legislator. Local meteorologists and climate experts say drought, heavy winds, and recent warm weather created the atmosphere for the wildfire to flourish." Wildfires, in Colorado, around the New Year.

"Rare 'low precipitation' (LP) supercells spawned tornadoes across at least two Georgia counties on New Year's Eve. Even though Friday's forecast called for severe storms, including tornadoes, it was a highly unusual event."

"December 2021 has seen multiple mass harassments carried out against people in the science fiction and fantasy community." Jason Sanford keeps us up to date on it all.

"NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced today the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2030, and to work with our international partners… to enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory through the rest of this decade."

"A whistleblower in the Canadian province of New Brunswick has warned that a progressive neurological illness that has baffled experts for more than two years appears to be affecting a growing number of young people and causing swift cognitive decline among some of the afflicted."

"The new year brings new protections for patients with private health insurance who will no longer be blindsided by "surprise" medical bills when they unknowingly receive out-of-network care… The No Surprises Act, passed by Congress in 2020 as part of the coronavirus relief package, takes effect Jan. 1."

"The toll on ICU workers has increased steadily, despite advances in both preventing and treating COVID-19."

"The variant's many mutations on the spike protein allow it to infect human cells more efficiently than previous variants could, leaving many more people again vulnerable. Because of that, 'immune escape' alone could be the major reason why the variant looks so contagious compared with delta, which was already highly transmissible… In fact, omicron has been spreading at a pace that's comparable to how fast the original strain of the coronavirus spread at the very beginning of the pandemic, despite the world's newfound levels of immunity."

"The uptick in Covid-19 among the under-50s coincides with a surge in cases among young children – and a troubling increase in pediatric hospitalizations… The US seven-day average for pediatric hospitalizations increased 58%, to 334, between 21 December and 27 December. The increase in hospitalizations for all age groups was about 19%. Less than 25% of US children are vaccinated, Reuters reported."

"Data from the website FlightAware shows more than 4,731 flights were canceled globally on Saturday -- by far the largest day of cancellations since the meltdown began Christmas Eve. At least 2,739 of the cancellations were within, into or out of the US."

"Gov. Ron DeSantis has been missing in action as Covid cases in the state have spiked to new heights, Florida Democratic officials charge." I'm sure he's fine and hiking the Appalachian Trail.

"Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis accompanied his wife to her cancer treatment while critics were accusing the governor of taking a vacation as coronavirus cases spiked, Fox News has learned." And he's supposedly taking meetings and is on phone calls. So you'd think someone would say they've seen him.

"The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell on sex-trafficking charges this week has increased the scrutiny of others who worked for or socialized with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein for years, and their knowledge of the pair’s activities."

"(Liberty University) founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell ignored reports of rape and threatened to punish accusers for breaking its moral code, say former students. An official who says he was fired for raising concerns calls it a 'conspiracy of silence.'" "As the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol approaches, three retired U.S. generals have warned that another insurrection could occur after the 2024 presidential election and the military could instigate it."

"Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams on Friday unexpectedly submitted her resignation after the Trump appointee faced partisan strife at the bank regulator, in a move that will give Democrats control of the agency in the coming weeks."

"Twitter has permanently suspended the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 'repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy.'" Another one bites the dust.

"In other words, millions of Americans support the idea of political violence. Researchers call it 'an American insurrectionist movement' that, a year after the attack on the Capitol, is still alive and well." I have a different take on the whole "it wasn't us January 6th…" than the writers and the main thrust of thought on the issue. Most say it's because the lunatic right-wing wants to distance themselves from violence. No they don't. What they want to distance themself is from failure.

"The unanswered questions leave today’s Congress in a perilous position. Democrats, along with the two House GOP members of the Jan. 6 select committee, want to prevent a future effort by Trump or any other losing candidate to attack the transfer of power during certification. That makes Electoral Count Act reform a central part of the select committee’s mandate." The problem is the prospect of the reverse problem, that the insurrectionists control the state legislatures which overrule the will of the people (the vote) and instead submit an "official" slate of electors to select their preferred candidate who didn't win the popular vote (which is the scenario that lead to Jan 6th which was an attempt to delay the certification until new elector votes could be sent).

"The reality — and this won't allay all those fears — is that there are some Americans who generally view force or political violence undertaken by others as justifiable, depending on the situation. That applies to the violence on January 6, and to a few for whom 2020 remains unsettled, but also extends to other issues, from abortion to gun policy to civil rights. And it's partially related to beliefs that political opponents are an existential threat, or being convinced they'll do worse to you. We stress this is not how most people feel, and that those who do are a low number in percentage terms. But then, we've also seen that it doesn't take large numbers to provoke these wider concerns in the nation." That's the myth of the three percenters, that it only takes a small amount of "true believers" to change the government.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Linkee-poo somebody going to emergency, somebody's going to jail

"British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on Wednesday of facilitating the abuse of underage girls at the hands of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein… A federal jury deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty on five of the six counts she faced, including the sex trafficking of a minor. The 60-year-old was acquitted of enticing a minor to travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. Epstein, a convicted sex offender, died in 2019 while in a Manhattan correctional facility."

In exercise… "Everything counts when it comes to movement."

"These are some mighty bold claims for a small industrial plant in a tiny, peripheral country. Climeworks’ facility is capable of pulling down only about 4,000 tons of carbon per year—an eye-dropper’s worth of the 40 billion tons the world emits annually. The plant uses a technique known as direct air capture, in which enormous fans suck in vast amounts of air from our despoiled atmosphere and run it over chemical-laden filters. It’s similar in principle to the tech that factories and refineries use to scrub CO2 from their exhaust streams. But what’s potentially much better about direct air capture is that it can be deployed anywhere, and it removes carbon already in the atmosphere, whether it was belched out 10 years ago by a cement factory in Alabama or last week by a pickup truck in Zanzibar." Except that it's isn't troposphere CO2 that's the problem, it's the older CO2 that has made it's way into the higher levels of our atmosphere. So while this is a Good Thing™ for current emissions, unless you can build these factories in the stratosphere and mesosphere it's not going to do much for our historical output.

"A team of scientists wants Pluto classified as a planet again — along with dozens of similar bodies in the solar system and any found around distant stars." Here we go again.

Ah, something(s) new has been added. "Six new dinosaurs, an Indian beetle named after Larry the cat, and dozens of crustaceans critical to the planet’s carbon cycle were among 552 new species identified by scientists at the Natural History Museum this year… In 2021, researchers described previously unknown species across the tree of life, from a pair of giant carnivorous dinosaurs known as spinosaurs – nicknamed the 'riverbank hunter' and 'hell heron' – to five new snakes that include the Joseph’s racer, which was identified with the help of a 185-year-old painting."

"The omicron variant is spreading rapidly all over the country, but hospitalization and death rates remain relatively low… The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases topped 280,000 this week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University's tracker. It's a record number of new cases in the country; the last time the number of cases hit a peak close to that was January." Jazz hands.

"Rapid Covid home tests are more likely to give a false negative with the heavily-mutated Omicron variant compared to earlier strains, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday." Ta-da! All SARS-CoV2 tests are weighted to false negatives instead of false positives (which could then be confirmed or disproven by a second test).

"Two new studies of a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster showed promise against the omicron variant at a time when public health officials are urgently recommending booster shots against the fast-spreading variant."

"Initial filings for unemployment insurance dipped last week and remained close to their lowest level in more than 50 years, the Labor Department reported Thursday… Jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 25 totaled 198,000, less than the 205,000 Dow Jones forecast and a dip of 8,000 from the previous period."

"We’re today learning more about what prompted the Foxconn iPhone plant shutdown in southern India – and it makes for truly gruesome reading… We learned yesterday that Apple ordered Foxconn to suspend production at the plant, and placed the company on probation, until it resolved problems with living conditions in the company dormitories. It’s only today, however, that we’re getting the full picture of just how appalling those conditions were…" Waves to Wisconsin.

"Meanwhile, the latest pandemic-muddled holiday has left a lot of Americans seriously bummed. Air travel is a mess. College football bowl games have been scrubbed. The ball drop celebration will go forward in New York's Times Square, but with a much smaller crowd and strict mask rules." Wow, it's almost like people are still dying because the idiots won't stay home, mask up, or get vaccinated. But I'm sure it'll be Biden's fault by Monday.

"The Myanmar military had stormed Done Taw at 11 a.m. on Dec. 7, he told the AP, with about 50 soldiers hunting people on foot. The farmhand and other villagers fled to the forest and fields, but 10 were captured and killed, including five teenagers, with one only 14, he said. A photo taken by his friend shows the charred remains of a victim lying face down, holding his head up, suggesting he was burned alive."

"President Biden is expected to speak by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday — at the Kremlin's request — weeks after the White House said Biden made it clear to Putin that if Russia decided to invade Ukraine, the United States and its European allies stand ready to respond with economic sanctions and military support."

"A 16-year-old girl whom police said was mistaken for an intruder early Wednesday morning was fatally shot by her father… Police said they received a call around 4:30 a.m. saying that someone inside the home had shot at what he believed to be someone breaking in after the house's security system was activated."

"By the time of their final visit last May at Randele’s house in suburban Boston, the cancer in his lungs had taken away his voice. So they all left without knowing that their friend they’d spent countless hours swapping stories with never told them his biggest secret of all… For the past 50 years, he was a fugitive wanted in one of the largest bank robberies in Cleveland’s history, living in Boston under a new name he created six months after the heist in the summer of 1969."

"Hunger in the Military has been a problem for decades. Often low-ranking service members have too little food and limited options. Twenty percent of active-duty respondents to a survey this year say they experienced food insecurity and more than 10 percent experienced hunger." And yet we're spending even more on the Pentagon budget this year.

"The state of Michigan paid up to $8.5 billion in fraudulent unemployment assistance claims during the pandemic, a new audit has found… The report prepared by Deloitte & Touche LLP uncovered that Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency paid an estimated $8.4 billion to $8.51 billion in potentially fraudulent claims from March 1, 2020 until Sept. 30, 2021… But the report also found the losses could have been much worse, as the state avoided paying an estimated $43.7 billion in fraudulent claims in that same time period."

"A heavily armed California man was arrested in Iowa after he told law enforcement officers that he would 'do whatever it takes' to kill government leaders on his 'hit list,' including President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, authorities said in court papers."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Linkee-poo late Wednesday Dec 29

Harry Reid and John Madden, and so it goes.

"Write a great book and you're a genius. Turn a book into a great film and you're a visionary. Turn a great film into a book...that's another story… Novelizations of films are regular best-sellers with cult followings -- some are even more beloved than the films that spawned them -- but respected they are not." On the Media podcast about tie-ins. Also, Disney Must Pay.

"Winter storms sweeping parts of the Western U.S. and the Pacific Northwest have brought heavy snow and record low temperatures in some areas — and there's more to come… A winter storm warning continues into Wednesday for parts of the border area of Northern California and Nevada." I'm waiting for the "the drought is over" stories. Hint, no it's not.

"The James Webb Space Telescope, on a long and winding journey to its job site a million miles from Earth, has begun the key task of unfurling a giant umbrella-like shield to protect its delicate instruments from the intense radiation of the sun." "New federal guidance shortening the recommended isolation periods for many infected Americans will provide relief to companies struggling with staffing shortages, businesses said Tuesday, but labor representatives warned that the move could push some employees back to work too soon." Ya think?!

Also, there's this… "What Delta's CEO wanted… Nelson's position is at odds with some airlines leaders. The CDC's decision comes days after Delta Airline's CEO sent Walensky a letter advocating for a shorter isolation period… In the letter, CEO Ed Bastian — along with the airline's medical adviser and chief health officer — asks Walensky to consider shortening the isolation period to five days for those who experience a breakthrough infection." Which is leading to claims that the shortening of the isolation period was more business based than science based.

"Pharmacists are warning of patchy supplies of rapid Covid tests following changes to self-isolation rules… They said demand for lateral flow tests increased after changes allowed people with Covid in England to end isolation after seven days if they test negative… The Association Of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said staff and customers were stressed over the lack of supply." Here too.

"Alarms that the hyper-contagious omicron variant accounted for the vast majority of new COVID-19 infections over the past couple of weeks were significantly overestimated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… New data released on Tuesday shows that while omicron remains the dominant variant, delta — which is the more severe strain — is still a worrisome driving force behind the current surge." Release the "they don't know what they're talking about" denialists!

"Next year, 26 U.S. states and Washington will raise their minimum wages, but only California and parts of New York will mandate hourly pay of at least $15, according to a report from payroll experts at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S… However, many workers will see more substantial pay increases because their employers chose to raise their pay floor on their own." Let me cal BS here. The Federal Minimum wage is just that, the minimum. Employers should be paying more. The only reason why we have to fight for the minimum is because employers will find every excuse to not pay their employees, and when they do, to pay the least they can get away with. You have to go pretty far down to find that employers are still paying less than $15/hr. And if the minimum wage wasn't $7.25, that pay would be much lower. The only reason they're paying more is because workers are fighting for more, and at the moment, there's more jobs than workers.

"Ohio’s minimum wage is going up on Jan. 1, 2022… The minimum wage will be $9.30. That’s a 50-cent increase from $8.80 for nontipped employees… Employees with tips will get a wage increase of 25-cents to $4.65." Here in Orwell, the local fast food franchises (Dairy Queen, Chicago Subs, etc) pay their counter workers the "tipped" wages (last I had talked with them). How many of you tip your McD's cashier?

"The contractor the worker said he worked under, JC Longoria Castro, was one of two dozen defendants indicted on federal conspiracy charges in October, based on findings from a multi-year investigation into a massive human smuggling and labor trafficking operation based in southern Georgia that extended to Florida and Texas."

Don't believe it can't happen to you? Here's the news room for the US Dept of Labor Wage and Hour Division which investigates wage theft cases.

Can't remember if I posted this before… "Amid the so-called Great Resignation, nearly 39 million Americans have left their jobs. On this week’s On The Media, hear why this trend is a logical response to the cult of work. Plus, when technology makes our jobs harder, maybe being a 'luddite' isn't such a bad thing."

"Returning unwanted gifts this holiday season is becoming so expensive for retailers that they just might let customers keep the products — and issue refunds anyway."

"Historic conservation experts in Virginia have pulled numerous pamphlets, newspapers, coins, bullets and other memorabilia from a copper box found at the site of where a Robert E. Lee statue stood in Richmond… The unboxing on Tuesday came after workers found the time capsule that had eluded them for months — until Monday, when Virginia's governor announced that crews had found 'the time capsule everyone was looking for.' It was placed in the statue's pedestal in 1887."

"Israel’s defense minister approved a raft of measures aimed at improving relations with the Palestinians on Wednesday following a rare meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Israel… Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas at his private residence in a Tel Aviv suburb late Tuesday night. It was the first time Abbas met an Israeli official inside Israel since 2010. The two discussed security coordination between Israel and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which administers pockets of the occupied West Bank." It's a start, but I'm not hopeful yet.

"US and Russian officials have agreed to sit down for security talks on January 10, a spokesman for the US National Security Council confirmed Tuesday, amid tensions over Ukraine… Russia had amassed troops near the Ukraine border over the last few months, which US intelligence has assessed as preparation for a full-scale invasion in early 2022. The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Saturday that 10,000 troops had return to their permanent bases after completing training near the Ukrainian border." How's the Ruble doing these days?

"Demonstrators outside police headquarters in Boynton Beach, Florida, Tuesday night called for the firing of the officer involved in the death of a 13-year old boy on a dirt bike during an attempted traffic stop Sunday, CBS West Palm Beach affiliate WPEC-TV reports. They also pressed for transparency from the department about what happened during the incident."

"A North Carolina police officer shot his 15-year-old son in the head Monday afternoon in an incident that appears to be an accident, officials said." As my friend Jim Wright says, "There are no accidents with firearms."

"Los Angeles Police Department officers urged a colleague who shot and killed a suspect and a teen bystander inside a Burlington Coat Factory to 'slow down' multiple times, body-camera footage released by the department on Monday showed."

"Valentina Orellana-Peralta was with her mother in a clothes shop on 23 December when an officer opened fire on a suspect."

"A gunman who killed five people and injured two others in a series of shootings in Denver is believed to have targeted the victims based on previous personal and business dealings and was investigated by police twice in the last two years… Denver police said that Lyndon James McLeod, 47, who was also killed in the deadly rampage on Monday night, knew most of the victims and was 'on the radar of law enforcement'."

"Text messages obtained by the January 6 commission revealed the panic of Fox News hosts — even as they downplayed the insurrection on camera. On this week’s On the Media, how to hold the news station accountable. Plus, an investigation of the celebrity profile – from the biting to the banal."

"The House select committee investigating January 6 has stood down on its requests for some documents from the Trump White House, after the Biden administration convinced the panel to scale back its pursuits… As a result, the committee won't be getting hundreds of pages of National Security Council records. But the documents may not have been all that helpful, anyway." Note the word "some." They're still getting most of their requests.

"A federal judge refused to dismiss an indictment charging four alleged leaders of the far-right Proud Boys with conspiring to attack the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's electoral victory." Insurrection is not a free speech right.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Linkee-poo goes to that place where you can't remember and you can't forget

"Weather events, linked to a changing climate, brought misery to millions around the world in 2021 according to a new report… The study, from the charity Christian Aid, identified 10 extreme events that each caused more than $1.5bn of damage… The biggest financial impacts were from Hurricane Ida which hit the US in August and flooding in Europe in July… In many poorer regions, floods and storms caused mass displacements of people and severe suffering."

"Necklaces and accessories claiming to 'protect' people from 5G mobile networks have been found to be radioactive… The Dutch authority for nuclear safety and radiation protection (ANVS) issued a warning about ten products it found gave off harmful ionising radiation." (Grokked from Dan, I think)

"Egyptian scientists have unwrapped a 3,500-year-old royal mummy without peeling away a single layer of embalming linen… Instead, they used advanced X-ray technology and computerized tomography (CT) scanning to catch a glimpse of King Amenhotep I's mummified body and the secrets it has harbored for millennia." While they say this is the same as a scan you might get, that's not true. Even if they used a standard medical scanner (most of these don't and utilize specialized machines designed to do these explorations), the scans done to create this dataset would most likely kill you. The scans used to create this would take hours to complete (and include several angled scans to reduce artifacts from the amulets, all then composited into one dataset), whereas the diagnostic scans we do on live patients take a few minutes at most. And if they only did the scans like we would scan a patient, shame on them.

"The researchers described the study as the 'most comprehensive analysis to date' of the virus’s persistence throughout the body and brain. They performed autopsies on 44 patients who died either from or with COVID-19 to map and quantify virus distribution across the body… Daniel Chertow, principal investigator in the NIH’s emerging pathogens section, said along with his colleagues that RNA from the virus was found in patients up to 230 days after symptom onset." This is a bullshit study that has wonderful medicinal value (as basic research) but zero clinical value. Note how quickly they go from "mRNA found" to "the virus" was found. No, it wasn't. Your body recycles proteins. If you want something with clinical value you need to check organ damage, active infection (actual viral particles), not just RNA. This is like the early studies about how "the virus" lingers on hard surfaces for 2 weeks. No, it doesn't. However RNA from the virus can, but what's left can't infect you or hurt you.

"A five-fold increase in pediatric admissions in New York City this month. Close to double the numbers admitted in Washington, DC. And nationwide, on average, pediatric hospitalizations are up 35% in just the past week… The highly transmissible Omicron variant is teaming up with the busy holiday season to infect more children across the United States than ever before, and children's hospitals are bracing for it to get even worse."

"As COVID-19 case numbers continue to surge in Northeast Ohio, members of the Ohio National Guard have been deployed to area medical facilities to help support staff that are being stretched to the limits… On Monday, the first Guard members began arriving at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center, much to the appreciation of the staff at that location." Happy glory days, but nobody has the time to get them up to speed on how to work in and with our systems. Now they'll just be in the way. It's hard to explain to someone not in medicine, but you can't just slot people into positions, even highly experienced people. Some of our nursing directors have been in the ER lately. Mostly they run errands and perform tasks at the direction of the actual ER nurses (who sometimes have to watch them). For them to really be of help, they should have arrived by Dec 1st. We'll take them. We can find plenty of things for them to do, but they won't be fully utilized.

"Often, these health care heroes are treating people who are abusive and combative toward hospital staff, having refused to take the simple preventive step of getting vaccinated. Some of these patients spend their final breaths denouncing the science behind the vaccine -- or regretfully wishing they had gotten one."

"Thousands of flights have been canceled over the past several days as Covid cases surge across the globe… On Tuesday, another 2,500 flights have been canceled, with more than 800 of them within, into or out of the United States, according to tracking website FlightAware. More than 5,100 flights have been delayed."

"As of Dec. 6, about 226,000 people had shared in the nearly $1.5 billion that FEMA has spent on funeral costs that occurred after Jan. 20, 2020, the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. With the nation's coronavirus death toll topping 800,000, it's clear that many families who are eligible for reimbursement have yet to take advantage of the funeral benefit."

"The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they've tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don't have symptoms -- and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days… The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all, the CDC said." Back ta work, ya filthy animals!

Daily Beast, but… "A member of the far-right Boogaloo Boys had admitted he traveled from Texas to Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd’s death and purported to be a Black Lives Matter supporter while wreaking havoc on the city. Ivan Harrison Hunter, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of rioting. He admitted to firing 13 rounds from an AK-47-style rifle into the 3rd Precinct police station as rioters set the building alight in May 2020. He was then filmed yelling 'Justice for Floyd!' Hunter wore a distinctive skull mask during the riot that investigators later matched to a video on his Facebook page." Why do conservative believe that Jan 6th was a red flag operation? Because they've been doing those for years now. Yes, the cavalcade of accusations the right has made against the left regarding dirty tactics and heinous actions continue to prove to be projections of their own real actions. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The increased scrutiny helped prompt a review of all 2,500 markers by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a process that has focused on factual errors, inadequate historical context, and racist or otherwise inappropriate references… So far, the state has removed two markers, revised two and ordered new text for two others."

"The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, out Tuesday, climbed 18.4% in October from a year earlier. The gain marked a slight deceleration from a 19.1% year-over-year increase in September but was about in line with what economists had been expecting." The bigger the bubble, the louder the pop.

How goes Brexit? "The business owners I spoke to have pretty much the same reflection on different aspects of the reality of one year of trading outside the Single Market and Customs Union. It's clearly been challenging: 'Frustrating. Scary. Huge drop in sales. Rendered uncompetitive in Europe"… When I put to them what ministers have suggested privately - that some sections of British business need to be as prepared as the best-prepared bigger businesses, it got a little testy."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday he would ponder a slew of options if the West fails to meet his push for security guarantees over neighboring Ukraine… Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe." So Putin admits he was lying and yes, he is planning on invading the Ukraine. Hey Vlad, they're independent states. That can do whatever they want. Grow up and learn to live in the new world. It's pretty good. The donuts are nice.

"Russia's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the closure of Memorial International, one of the country's most respected human rights organizations, wiping out three decades of work to expose the abuses and atrocities of the Stalinist era." Stay safe, my Russian friends. They're removing your safe guards.

"A senior United Nations official said he was horrified by the reported killing of at least 35 civilians in Myanmar and called on authorities to investigate the incident that opposition activists blamed on government soldiers… The ruling military has not commented on the incident near Mo So village in Kayah State on Friday and junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun could not be reached for comment."

"Former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election fueled anger among Republicans who flocked to local-level GOP chapters in hope of playing a greater role in future elections… Now, some leaders of those grassroots outfits say they and their members have turned the page — even as Trump himself has made it clear that he wants the issue front and center in coming contests."

"Committee to request contents of the call seeking to stop Biden’s certification and may subpoena Rudy Giuliani… Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, has said the panel will open an inquiry into Donald Trump’s phone call seeking to stop Joe Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January hours before the insurrection."