And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Linkee-poo weekend Saturday Dec 19

The continuing saga of #DisneyMustPay… "What I’ve learned from investigating the claims highlights the perilous position that writing for popular, existing properties poses for creators. The legal landscape is tilted towards the corporations — and the publishers under them — making the system tough to challenge."

"With just a few weeks left, 2020 is in a dead-heat tie for the hottest year on record. But whether it claims the top spot misses the point, climate scientists say. There is no shortage of disquieting statistics about what is happening to the Earth."

"Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope watched a mysterious dark vortex on Neptune abruptly steer away from a likely death on the giant blue planet."

"I am a violence researcher and study the role of grievances and retaliation in violent crime. Recently, I’ve been researching the way grievances affect the brain, and it turns out that your brain on grievance looks a lot like your brain on drugs. In fact, brain imaging studies show that harboring a grievance (a perceived wrong or injustice, real or imagined) activates the same neural reward circuitry as narcotics."

"Scientists and policymakers are hopeful about a slate of vaccines, but it may be a long time before everyone has access. This week, On the Media explores the ethical questions around vaccine distribution. Plus, how some pundits are inflating the odds of Donald Trump facing criminal charges. And, how death rituals can help us face our mounting grief." It's a wide range of topics, but highly recommended.

There is some discussion about politicians getting the vaccine before healthcare workers and I want to acknowledge those who says it's wrong. Yes, politicians (especially those who fucked up the response) shouldn't be first in line. BUT (and you knew it was coming), they should. And they should all have it on camera/broadcast. It is a confidence booster for the general public. Because the alternate explanation is "they people asking us to get the shot won't take it themselves." And that would absolutely destroy any chances of having enough of the population vaccinated to really stop this thing. However, there is a point along the pecking order that it should stop, like say right below the governors. And all of the inoculations of politicians should be on camera. Again, this isn't a favoritism exercise, this is a "I'm putting my body/health on the line to show you that I trust this thing, and you should too." It's propaganda, but of the good kind.

"On Friday, just one week after Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine received a federal green light, the Food and Drug Administration formally authorized a second vaccine for emergency use — this one developed by Moderna. The biotech upstart won authorization for use in adults following extensive federal analysis of the vaccine, which the FDA found to be 94% effective at preventing the disease." No, you can't mix them.

"An otherwise stoic emergency room physician found himself overcome with emotion as he got the Covid-19 vaccine this week… 'I wasn't expecting to really feel much getting the vaccine emotionally,' Matuskowitz, 37, told CNN. 'Yet I still felt so overcome with this almost ecstasy about this idea of there is actually an end in sight.'" What goes on relatively unseen by the public are the battles healthcare workers have amongst themselves. In my workroom there have been very intense discussions over getting the vaccine. While I would prefer the AstraZeneca vaccine, if offered the Pfizer vaccine first I will take it. I would rather get it after ICU, Emergency Room, lab/phlebotomy, and the environmental services people have their chance, but that's not my decision.

"Pfizer is pushing back on the Trump administration's suggestion that the company is having trouble producing its COVID-19 vaccine, saying it's ready to ship millions more doses – once the government asks for them. As the company spoke out, several states said their vaccine allocations for next week have been sharply reduced… Here's what the key players are saying about a complicated situation:" Incompetence.

"Army General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, acknowledged during a briefing on Saturday there was a 'miscommunication' with states about how many doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine would be initially available to them… Perna's briefing came after more than 10 states were told this week the number of doses of the vaccine they were expecting to receive next week has been cut, with little information as to why. Perna said he took 'personal responsibility' for the miscommunication, saying he had to revise the allocation of doses to certain states after getting more information from Pfizer about the amount of vaccine available." Falling on their sword, haven't seen that for a while.

You might forget exactly why we had economic lockdowns… "With intensive care units full and projections showing big increases in hospitalizations through New Year’s Day, Southern California’s medical system is faced with the prospect of not being able to provide critical medical care to everyone who needs it, which would significantly increase the chances of patients dying as they wait for help." The curve ain't flattening this time.

The year without a Santa Claus… "Italy has ordered a nationwide lockdown over much of the Christmas and New Year period in an effort to combat a rise in coronavirus cases… The country will be under 'red-zone' restrictions over the public holidays, with non-essential shops, restaurants and bars closed, and Italians only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons."

How goes Brexit? "Boris Johnson might not be fully aware of it, but the next two weeks could contain two of the most significant moments in his premiership… As Brits wind down for the Christmas break and look forward to the end of a horrendous year, the country will live in real time the consequences of policy decisions Johnson has taken in the face of the two greatest post-war crises the UK has faced: coronavirus and Brexit." Look, given the amount of planning, logistics, and government functions there are only two paths right now, hard Brexit or capitulation. No deal has the time work through the parliaments to be ratified. At best, a deal could be struck with an agreement to continue the status quo for another month or two.

"A modeling agent who is suspected of organizing the 'accommodation of young girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein' has been charged with the rape of minors, a French prosecutor said Saturday… Jean Luc Brunel was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation on Wednesday at Charles de Gaulle airport as he was preparing to take a flight to Senegal."

"More than 300 schoolboys have been reunited with their families, a week after they were kidnapped from their school in north-west Nigeria… The boys arrived by bus in Katsina, capital of the state of the same name, where they were met by President Muhammadu Buhari."

"Agreement on a bipartisan coronavirus relief package remains elusive as top congressional leaders continue to negotiate and their efforts spilled into the weekend. While they've had a framework for days, they are struggling to close out several details, and a new issue emerged as a key sticking point." One of those sticky points… "Separately, Democrats are objecting to efforts by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to add a provision to the bill that they say will make it more difficult for the incoming Biden administration to access emergency powers for additional lending authority."

"Congressional leaders on Saturday morning were still scrambling to clinch a coronavirus relief deal, just two days before lawmakers face the threat of yet another shutdown… Both chambers now plan to hold a rare weekend session days before Christmas, with negotiators in both parties saying they aim to reach a final agreement within hours." Sure. And monkey may fly out of my butt.

"Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives received an FBI briefing regarding Rep. Eric Swalwell's ties to a suspected Chinese spy, as a report of his association with the woman prompted Republicans to call for the California Democrat's removal from his position in the House Intelligence Committee."

You said it yourself, bitch. We're the guardians of the galaxy. "Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday that members of the Space Force military service will be called guardians."

"This week news broke that United States government agencies and corporations alike—as well as international targets—were victims of a massive nation-state espionage campaign. But as the revelations continue to pile up, and new targets are discovered by the day, it can be hard to get a handle on what exactly happened and what it all means."

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday publicly linked Russia to a massive cyberattack on US federal government agencies, calling the data breach 'a very significant effort' in remarks the President appeared to contradict Saturday." They're going to argue over reality until the bitter end.

"The U.S. State Department is shutting down its consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, and suspending operations at one in Yekaterinburg, officials confirmed on Friday… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo consulted with Ambassador John Sullivan before deciding to implement the changes which the department says will 'optimize the work of the U.S. mission in Russia,' a spokesperson said in an emailed statement." Consulates are our outreach to the Russian public. Basically this means we're pulling back from helping everyday Russians.

"The U.S. Supreme Court ducked a direct ruling Friday on whether President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count… In an unsigned opinion, the court said it would be 'premature' to rule on the case right now because it is 'riddled with contingencies and speculation' and even the Trump administration doesn't know how many undocumented immigrants there are or where they live."

"President-elect Joe Biden's transition team is having new problems with the Trump administration, the latest in a series of clashes between them. There is disagreement over access to the Pentagon, according to CBS News' Ed O'Keefe… Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said his team and the president-elect's office mutually agreed to put off some meetings scheduled for Friday until after the holidays. However, Yohannes Abraham, the Biden-Harris transition's executive director, told reporters Friday that agreement was not made." It's at this point, in a well functioning organization, where the leaders stand up in front of the decision makers and tell them to play nice. But when only one side has adults and the other side is lead by a sulking poor loser, this shit can go on for another month.

"President Donald Trump's continuing fraudulent attacks against the reality of his election loss have pitted Republicans in Arizona against each other, with some in the party fearing the ongoing and public rift will open the door to further gains by Democrats beyond 2020."

No comments: