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

Friday, January 22, 2021

Linkee-poo makes it to Friday, Jan 22

"The undersea lair of a giant worm that ambushed passing marine creatures 20m years ago has been uncovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan… Researchers believe the 2-metre-long burrow found in ancient marine sediment once housed a prehistoric predator that burst out of the seabed and dragged unsuspecting animals down into its lair."

We don't deserve dogs… "The pet, Boncuk (Bon-DJUK), which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Jan. 14. She then made daily visits to the facility, private news agency DHA reported on Wednesday."

"Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the government’s top public health experts, signaled that he feels free to speak honestly about Covid-19 now that former President Donald Trump is out of office… In his first news briefing since President Joe Biden was sworn in, Fauci said that the new administration was committed to being "completely transparent, open and honest," a sharp break from the Trump White House, when Fauci said he often felt there would be repercussions for speaking honestly about the pandemic."

"Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States are falling after having hit record levels this month — a welcome sign that the winter surge may finally be leveling off. But as new, potentially more contagious variants of the virus circulate, coronavirus modelers warn that the U.S. is by no means out of the woods yet."

"The Biden administration has mere weeks to speed vaccine deployment, and convince more Americans to wear masks, wash hands and social distance. And it must be done amid a rocky transition, critical supply shortfalls, widespread new infections, shaky public trust and a vaccine rollout that 'has been a dismal failure so far'."

"The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the Covid-19 vaccine would not be widely available by late February as the Trump administration previously said."

"The push that began over a week ago has not been accompanied by enough doses to meet demand, according to state and local officials, leading to frustration and confusion and limiting states’ ability to attack the outbreak that has killed over 400,000 Americans."

"Newly sworn in President Joe Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, sources tell CNN, posing a significant challenge for the new White House." There was no plan for distribution of the vaccine. We are building the plane as we tumble over the cliff. And is Dr. Fauci correct that we're not starting from scratch? Yes. But it's an ad hoc informal plan that now needs to have structure built into it as it delivers vaccine doses.

And today on 180 degrees… "New data shows that the Covid-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Thursday." Note that the data we have is just about antibody treatment. This is the monoclonal antibody serum you may have heard about. Also, if the data from Pfizer and Moderna are correct, at 90+% effectiveness, if the vaccines are less effective against the new strains, they still will be effective enough (having 50+% effectiveness was the goal). The question now is if we can get enough people vaccinated fast enough that the virus doesn't have enough time to mutate and propagate a version that can evade the antibodies the vaccines give us.

"It's a place where most people are on public health insurance and where chronic illnesses are much more prevalent because there is a systemic lack of access to quality health care. Add COVID-19 to that mix and it's a deadly but predictable disaster… 'This is a community that is largely low-income, people of color,' says Dr. Elaine Batchlor, the CEO of MLK hospital. 'This is where the essential workers live. These are the people that are stocking the grocery stores, driving our buses, cleaning up after the rest of us. And they are continuing to be exposed to COVID on the job.'"

"Demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday vandalized the state Democratic Party headquarters and a federal US Immigration and Customs Enforcement building, according to police. Four people have been charged Thursday in connection with those demonstrations… At least four demonstrations were planned in the city, Sgt. Kevin Allen, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said in a video statement early Thursday… Two remained peaceful, but the others resulted in "property damage and arrests," he said. CNN is attempting to learn more about who organized the demonstrations."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "'This is the worst (expletive) march I’ve ever attended!' one marcher yelled during a Portland, Ore., Inauguration Day protest that turned into a riot, according to a report." Something just isn't right here.

Union busting… "Labor advocates called on the grocery delivery platform Instacart to reverse a decision to lay off hundreds of employees, including the company's only unionized workers… Instacart informed employees earlier this week that it will be cutting nearly 2,000 jobs, including roughly 10 in-store shoppers at a Skokie, Illinois supermarket who joined a United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCS) local in February."

"President Biden is preparing to reverse a Trump administration policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions — the first of several moves reproductive rights advocates are hoping to see from the Biden administration."

"The Kremlin on Friday welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries, which is set to expire in less than two weeks."

"President Biden plans to sign an executive order on Friday that would increase food stamp benefits to help people going hungry amid the financial downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, his top economic adviser, Brian Deese, told reporters."

"After the Editorial Board called on Sen. Ron Johnson to either resign or be expelled from office for his role in spreading disinformation about the presidential election, the senator asked for space to respond. We are providing him that courtesy today. We also are taking the rare step of footnoting Johnson's commentary to provide additional context so that readers have a fuller understanding of the senator's actions."

"Facebook said Thursday it was referring the decision to indefinitely suspend Donald Trump's account to its newly-formed oversight board to make the final call on what will happen to the former president's accounts."

"QAnon-believing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) vowed to file articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden the day after his inauguration… However, Atlanta-based New Yorker staff writer Charles Bethea reports that Greene still hasn't filed the articles against Biden because she seems to have underestimated the difficulty in enacting such a procedure." Wow, this is actual work, says person who never had to do actual work. Does this give her a new appreciation for all the times articles of impeachment were filed against Trump? The article doesn't say, but my guess is no. Oh, and her articles cite the debunked conspiracy theory of President Biden interfering in Ukraine on behalf of his son, Hunter.

"Thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds on Thursday and are now taking their rest breaks outside and in nearby parking garages, after two weeks of sleepless nights protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol… One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman. The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said." Don't do this to them.

But the next day… "National Guard troops were allowed back into the Capitol to rest after some had been moved to a nearby parking garage, officials said… Senators expressed outrage Thursday evening after Politico reported that Capitol Police had asked the troops to move their rest area and some ended up in the garage at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building adjacent to Union Station, just outside the Capitol grounds."

"As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history." I'm of two minds here because of my own personal struggles during the GW Bush years and the Trump years, but in the end it comes down to this, they violated the oath they took. And they did it for someone who has only contempt for the Constitution. Their lack of judgment is just as terrible a crime here. There is no dungeon deep enough or hell fire hot enough.

"All three had publicly documented their roles in the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead and sent lawmakers fleeing for safety, and all three saw that documentation used against them in charges filed by the Department of Justice… They are hardly anomalies. Of the 119 people facing federal charges in connection to the riot as of Thursday afternoon, at least 71 cases involve photos, posts or footage from social media. At least 47 people saw screenshots of their own selfies, live streams, videos or posts in their charges, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the federal charging documents." Thank the gods for stupid criminals. The question remains, will they (or someone else) learn and adjust. And I'll note that the militias, the guys with the camp and balaclavas, don't appear to have done this. So while this gets the edges, it doesn't help us get the core groups. But I guess this answers the old question, "If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you jump as well?" Apparently the answer for these people is yes.

"A Columbia lawyer with a long history of representing Republican politicians and interests has become Donald Trump’s attorney for the former president’s second impeachment trial… Butch Bowers, who has represented the past two South Carolina governors at ethics hearings, is no stranger to impeachment proceedings. He worked for then-Gov. Mark Sanford when lawmakers considered impeaching him after he left the state to see his mistress in Argentina in 2009."

"The University of Delaware’s Biden Institute promises in its mission statement to embody the spirit of “honesty, integrity, compassion and courage” it says have defined President-elect Joe Biden’s career in politics… But as Biden prepares to take the oath of office on Wednesday, the research center he helped launch in 2017 to promote scholarship on public policy has the potential to become an ethical headache for his administration. The institute doesn’t disclose all of its donors and hasn’t committed to doing so once Biden is sworn in president." OMG< it's the making of an actual scandal. What remains to be seen is how much control Biden has over the Institute, or if it just has his name on it.

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