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June 16, 2020

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know what happens when there are more sick people than there are hospital beds for them? rationing.

My niece is a hospital nurse in Phoenix AZ. This is basically her world right now.

The bit from the pregnant woman talking about how her bones hurt echoes a friend of mine's experience. He's in NYC, had the virus during the surge there in April. He was very lucky and somehow had no respiratory problems, but he spent a week flat on his back feeling like he had been beaten over every inch of his body with a bat. His description. And he's not a guy inclined to wallow in self-pity. Plus extreme fatigue, took him weeks to get back to being able to just walk a few blocks.

The pregnancy thing also echoes a friend's experience as a midwife in a local hospital in Salem MA. A lot of their patients come from the Dominican community in Salem and a variety of immigrant communities in other nearby cities. About 20% of the births there are from women positive for COVID.

I am literally at a loss to know how to make any sense of any of this. The rest of the country watched NYC stack dead people in refrigerator trucks, watched MA and some other harder hit states go through all of the crap we went through, and basically figured they just did not give a flying fuck.

"America Shouldn't Have To Play By NYC Rules"

Like the virus gives a shit what your zip code is.

One of the words used in Italian to describe stupidity is "ostinato". It refers to a particular kind of stupidity. It refers to obstinate, pig-headed, stiff-necked, mulish stupidity. Not a lack of intellect, necessarily, but a determination to persist in unwise thought and action, in spite of any and all attempts to dissuade.

Ostinato. Intransigent, "fuck you, you're not the boss of me", willfully embraced intentional stupidity.

They'll show us!!!

There is no stronger force in the universe.

Ostinato. Intransigent, "fuck you, you're not the boss of me", willfully embraced intentional stupidity.

read on Twitter: Americans are not equipped for a crisis where the basic rule of survival is being mildly considerate.

there's something fundamentally wrong with a culture that teaches people to be both deeply self-centered and proudly ignorant.

Wow, bio-terrorism from the top down AND bayonets:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/joint-chiefs-chairman-confirms-soldiers-were-issued-bayonets-for-dc-protests

Small, limited government that can't even see its way clear to regulate polluters and find some ventilators and masks sure requires an awful lot of authoritarian state murder and force.

It really *is* amazing how many words there are in American English for the concept "stupid".

Probably more words than Eskimos have for "snow", or Hawaiian's have for "lava".

Herman Cain, why, geez, not 36 hours ago, coughing up an infected bolus of ignorant republican genocidal bullshit, just before the clots formed and rationing of hospital beds in favor of privileged pizza empire kings overtook the polis:

https://twitter.com/THEHermanCain/status/1278444266881273856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1278444266881273856%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdigbysblog.net%2F

Now, remember Charles Murray and Andrew Sullivan, the latter of whom's marriage will be annulled as Trump Republican anti-homo sapiens crowd the court thanks to Mitch McConnell, spewed forth with the Bell Curve, which if you examine it, looks exactly like the Covid-19 infection and death curves in our hometowns, and brought to you by the same fucks, but leaving that aside, the Republican Party took one look at that intellectual monstrosity and began harvesting, recruiting you might say, from the dumbass white person end of the curve (Sarah Palin and Rand (call me Dagny) Paul stood out down there among the dumbies and the dumbass black person end on the curve, while ignoring the smarty pants know-it-alls of all rasces and creeds and genders at the curve's apex, and they only came up with Herman Cain and the other guy, Amarosa whatshisgrift) and now here we are.

Herman can't breath, and not a knee in sight.


there's something fundamentally wrong with a culture that teaches people to be both deeply self-centered and proudly ignorant.

Amen. Fortunately, it's not actually American culture that's that way. Just a sub-culture within it that is the Trumpists. Which is the only reason there is any hope for our country.

As Napoleon or one close to him allegedly said:
'You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them'
Under Obama there were complaints that there were not enough bayonets (although Obama's statement about that scarcity got contradicted by military experts or those that play those in the media).
Who introduced these French girlie things (la baïonnette) in the first place to US armed forces, btw?

Thanks to Hartmut for that trip back.

https://www.politico.com/story/2012/10/sharp-reaction-to-obamas-bayonet-082730

https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2012/oct/23/bayonets-obama-pointed-political-comment

Oh, for a time when all we had to worry about was whether the Marines still did bayonet drills....

I don't understand why our citizenry (izzat the word we're still using?) can't carry fixed bayonets in public:

https://www.tmz.com/2020/07/02/white-woman-pulls-gun-black-mother-detroit-michigan-parking-lot-chipotle/

https://www.tmz.com/2020/06/30/nasty-brawl-fight-breaks-out-little-rock-arkansas-restaurant-social-distancing/

Word has it that the Colorado QAnon bar owner and House of Representatives candidate (and future Republican Presidential candidate) in Rifle, Colorado will be issuing fixed bayonets as well to her servers and bartenders, which can also be requested by patrons to employ as cutlery and drink stirrers during their meals.

I do hope she issues silencers on those pistols she and her staff wield at the workplace to meet town noise ordinances, tyrannical as the latter may be.

If there is anything I hate while enjoying a quiet drink at the bar, it's the ratatattat of semi-automatic gunfire.

If I need to ask to admonish management over a tough cut of beef or watered down drinks, I'll also enjoy hoisting the candidate on her own petard when she comes to the table, bayonet fixed, and tells me if I don't like it, I can vacate the premises.

This may well be the type of saloon you visit and to so-to-speak clear the decks of Covid-spreaders before you enter, you remove the pin from a hand grenade and roll the thing into the joint, seppin a bit to either side of the entry to avoid the shrapnel.

There's something deeply satisfying in the mythic American character about stepping over human body parts as you belly up to the bar and slap a bill down and demand a towel from the bar keep to wipe the gore offen yer spurs.

Safety first, is my motto.

And then cleanliness.


Cleanliness is more important, being next to godliness and all. Whatever that statement means. Is it literally beside it, is it next to it on the list or is it literally next on the list. Or was John Wesley paraphrasing Sir Francis Bacon?

Safety is overrated. Why it is a surprise that a nation that ha traditionally detested seatbelts, helmets, speed limits, and almost everything else that might stop one from dying would spawn a generation of self centered pandemic disbelievers is beyond me.

The, they were comforted by the experts talking endlessly about the lack of danger to young people and how the summer would be better before the resurgence on the fall. The average age of the new cases in Florida is 34. The only possible upside is that they may actually die at a lower rate. The three worst states were in full summer, over 90 degrees every day, when they reopened. But the 20 - 30 year olds never closed. No matter what the rules or advisories their FB was full of beaches, boating, and partying as they collected unemployment and felt no fear. I remember when that could have been me, vaquely.

Then there old people for whom every day could be their last able bodied day not missing a thing because living in isolation isnt preferable to dying.

There is no part of this that surprises me, or particularly upsets me except the virus itself. And the judgemental nature of those who are outraged by the people acting wholly American, just about any way you assess it,

I guess that's a random rant.

I think the assumption that covid-19 would fade in the warmer weather badly missed the reason why.

In the northwest (and northern Midwest) it's cold in the winter, and people congregate inside. In summer, they go outside, which automatically increases the social distance. Which, in turn, could lead to less transmission.

But in the sun belt, we have the opposite. In winter, people are outside more. Come summer, everybody moves indoors to avoid the heat. Leading to less social distance and more transmission.

And, indeed, that looks like pretty much what we are seeing. There was a big spike in the northwest in the winter; now fading in the summer. And the south saw fewer cases in the winter; now spiking in the summer. Utterly predictable. Unfortunately, not amenable to simplistic, nationwide, characterisation.

"And the judgemental nature of those who are outraged by the people acting wholly American, just about any way you assess it."

Being judgemental and outraged IS acting wholly American too. And getting your own show to broadcast the fact has fine tuned the wholly-ness of it.

You might say it has been our viral raison d'etre from the get go.

"The(n), they were comforted by the experts talking endlessly about the lack of danger to young people and how the summer would be better before the resurgence on the fall."

By "some" experts, who may or may not have been trying to comfort anyone and who I expect at the time had to blue sky something or other when a microphone was shoved in front of their faces for comment.

They were merely citing their experience of the behavior of previous virus outbreaks, which is all science can do, in fact that is what science does in its provisional way, unlike the fatuous certainties of the science-phobic.

Anyone who trying to keep informed would have noticed that geographic locations in warmer climates, such as Singapore and Mexico were suffering from outbreaks as well.

And Anthony Fauci has stated that he has never seen a virus like this one, that can be so infectious and transmittable from otherwise asymptomatic hosts, who themselves can remain asymptomatic for the duration of their infection.

"Then there old people for whom every day could be their last able bodied day not missing a thing because living in isolation isn't preferable to dying."

I get that. But when I decide to commit suicide by jumping out of window, I'm going to try to do it at a time when I won't land on a person on the sidewalk below.

Even suicide has its courtesy protocols in sane societies.

And until the fatuously certain among us croak and report back to me with at least an outline of eternal oblivion, I'm going solo, except for grocery shopping and solitary hiking and sitting in my apartment with a book in one hand and a drink in the other for the duration.

"I remember when that could have been me, vaquely."

Me too. I mean, about me, not you. I was too self-centered to even know or care what you were doing back then. I'd have given you the Covid-19 out of sheer indifferent carelessness.

But I'm only tangentially and residually American now that I've made it this far, I guess.

Though my all-American outrage gland has not let up on its secretions over time.

JT:"But when I decide to commit suicide by jumping out of window, I'm going to try to do it at a time when I won't land on a person on the sidewalk below."

You won't get into Valhalla with an attitude like that.

Leave a better world behind by removing some RWNJ's on your way out.

people acting wholly American

I recognize the truth of this, and it also makes me profoundly sad that belligerent reckless unnecessary pointless stupidity is such a recognizable national trait. Let alone that it is claimed as some sacred inalienable right, something affirmed in our founding documents.

I was a dumb-ass too, when I was younger. Certainly in my 20's, probably into my 30's. The thing about being a dumb-ass is that you want to grow out of it. It's not something to celebrate. Dope-slaps are a better response.

You telling me that is what you think "being American" is all about? Out of all of the things we could point to in our history and national character, "you're not the boss of me" is what we want to embrace as the thing that makes us who we are?

If we can't do better than that, we need to re-think our place in the world and just embrace a new role as dangerous pariah state. A nation of spoiled children.

As of yesterday, 131,485 dead from COVID in the US. In half a year.

57,236 new cases in one day. One day.

It's fine to be a stupid kid running around acting like a numbskull. You'll probably grow out of it.

It's not fine to be a nation of stupid kids running around like numbskulls.

We need adults. People with the capacity and willingness to lead, to accept responsibility and require it of others, to articulate and advocate for worthwhile values.

Grown ups.

We don't need dumb-ass knucklehead spoiled children.

57,236 new cases *in one day*. You bet your ass I'm being judgemental.

Judgement - discretion, maturity, discernment, recognizing that some things are good and some are bad, calling people to account for bad behavior - is called for.

Children think the world is all about them. Adults become adults by figuring out that it's not.

Time for folks to grow the hell up.

The(n), they were comforted by the experts talking endlessly about the lack of danger to young people and how the summer would be better before the resurgence on the fall.

I do remember quite a lot about the former (young people), but about the latter (summer being better) I think that was very seriously caveated, at least here in the UK. In fact, my memory is that the only person really touting it was Trump, along with his endorsement of that wonder drug hydroxychloroquine, and before he theorised about the possibility of injecting bleach.

"Leave a better world behind by removing some RWNJ's on your way out."

I'm too chicken to kill myself, but the time is coming when removing RWNJ's will be a responsibility of anyone who fancies themselves wholly American:

https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975

That's a great explanation wj, now everyone ar Obwi and 12 others have heard it.

And yes, some hotspots were in warm climates, I'm absolutely certain my 21 year old grandson has no idea that's true. He can find a liquor store, his local dealer, the beach and 20 friends pretty much anytime he wants.

My greatest disappointment was to find out THC, or even CBD, wasn't an effective treatment for covid. It does help with the outrage when mixed with a mountain valley view.

Luckily russell it is not the only thing that is wholly American.

Randomly this morning I wondered why the people in the Massachusetts were considered liberal? In most ways, outside some fairly specific policy options, they are personally incredibly conservative. I am a wild eyed liberal in most ways.

It was just a thought on the inadequacy of labels.

It could be that the smart Covid-19 virus has found a chink in the American immune system, the cussed whollyness of our purported national character.

https://www.cell.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0092-8674%2820%2930820-5

To sum up this as yet provisional study, Anthony Fauci says the virus might be mutating to become more transmissible and infectious and with larger viral loads delivered person to person.

I expect before we learn anything more conclusively along these lines, Fauci will be fired by the Devil, or otherwise silenced by the likes of racist, fascist, Devil's minion Tucker Carlson, and William Barr's Justice Department will be laying in massive stores of bayonets as Trump names Barr the Covid-19 Superspreader Czar.

Masks we can't find, but boy oh boy, it's amazing the trainloads of authoritarian bayonets we can lay our hands on at a moment's notice.

I hope none of this happens, believe me.

But I am fucking frightened.

And now I'm going to threaten to shut up, because it's time to make a space here for Sebastian's post in the works about his mother.

there's a lot about this virus we don't know.

why NYC, but not Chicago, Tokyo, London or any of the other big cities in temperate areas? why does it look like flu in some people but a circulatory disease in others? why do some show no signs at all? why do some keep testing positive for weeks after symptoms fade? why do symptoms not fade for some?

but the blubbering ignoramus standing there on TV making up nonsense about bleach injections and other quackery, touting sunshine and miracles, with a proudly anti-expert TV network backing him up and telling everybody "It's Over!" for three months has killed a lot of people.

it's one thing to be a proud and belligerent dumbass. it's another to be told belligerent dumbassery is the True American Way.

Even suicide has its courtesy protocols in sane societies

Tell that to the numerous guys throwing themselves in front of moving trains.
Most do it where the trains are not at full speed (at the entry or exit points of stations mostly), so it's very likely not to be a quick end. One would think that that should by now be common knowledge.
That means that they are stupid, ignorant and very likely quite lazy (or they would walk a bit up or down the tracks to get hit by a train moving faster).
But what angers me most is that they don't waste any thoughts on the engine drivers they are likely going to traumatize. In Germany candidates for the job get a serious warning now in advance that they can expect several of such cases (3 on average) during their career and that there is NOTHING they can do about it. But even that foreknowledge that it will happen and not be their fault and they will not get blamed and, if they wish so, get a transfer to another position in the company afterwards, it does not help to avoid or get rid of the feeling of guilt.
Yes, imo these types of suiciders are to a large degree digestive rear exits.
I make a partial exception for engine drivers that jump in front of their own trains, provided there is no one else onboard and they took care that it will not become a runaway train scenario. Yes, some guys managed that feat.

"it's another to be told belligerent dumbassery is the True American Way."

I actually don't think it is the True American Way.

But it has been promoted by the belligerent assholes in the conservative movement for 40-plus years as being exactly that, and then a plurality of the American people went out and found the incarnation and apotheosis of belligerent dumbassery, and decided to govern the rest of us with it as a sort of nationally declared religion of asshat catastrophe.

I favor going back to what use to be considered the True American Way, a barely competent, small time-corrupt, one step forward, and one half step back muddling through it.

Luckily russell it is not the only thing that is wholly American.

For this, we can all give thanks.

Randomly this morning I wondered why the people in the Massachusetts were considered liberal?

You're not the first, and will not be the last, to ask this question. It is a puzzle.

We're yankees. We're into the whole civic virtue thing. Not everybody is, we are. More or less.

It undoubtedly annoys the hell out of everyone else, who would prefer to not be tread upon in their pursuit of a life free of seat belts, speed limits, and similar.

A chacun son gout.

I'm not sure anyone in MA really cares all that much if your grandson goes to the beach and gets high with his buddies. We just think it's kind of dumb. It makes us shake our heads and think "WTF??".

Hope he stays safe and well.

It was just a thought on the inadequacy of labels.

A thing to keep in mind, next time you want to talk about "the left".

Randomly this morning I wondered why the people in the Massachusetts were considered liberal?

You're not the first, and will not be the last, to ask this question. It is a puzzle.

I'm 'from' Wisconsin', though living there from 0-2 really doesn't mean that. But I was always taken by the fact that my home state (which was only that because my parents, who were from far off places, met in the middle) was a bastion of the right thinking left. Robert LaFollette! The Wisconsin Idea! 1st worker's comp law, first for direct election of senators, 1st progressive state income tax! Yeah, a little bump with Joe McCarthy, but no one's perfect.

But then came Marathon man Paul Ryan, and Scott dumbass Walker. https://progressive.org/magazine/the-undoing-of-progressive-wisconsin/

Now, we circle around, with George Floyd's death happening in next door Minneapolis. But, while I was patting myself on the back for being born in a section of the country that was so liberal, I was missing a big part of the picture.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/29/the-minnesota-paradox-how-race-divides-prosperous-minneapolis

The seeds of problems are always in the soil, you just have to make sure you weed the garden regularly and not let that shit get out of hand.

Meanwhile, here in the People's Republic, holiday weekend traffic bound for Cape Code is returning to normal, pre-COVID levels.

So, knuckleheads everywhere. Maybe they'll all observe every protocol and be safe as houses.

Whatever.

If you don't want to wear a seat belt, live your life. If you get in a crash, and get thrown from the damned car, it's on you.

If you don't want to wear a helmet, and you live in a jurisdiction where that's not required, live you life. If you drop your bike or get in a crash, it'll be your brains on the pavement.

If you don't want to wear a mask or observe social isolation, it's actually not just on you. If you get COVID, you might be totally fine. Whoever you give it to might die.

So, not really the same live-and-let-live kinda scenario.

The thing I mostly object to is saying that there is anything more American about being a "live free or die" knucklehead or being a "yes, we're gonna get all up in your business" civic virtue do-gooder.

You are no more American than I am. In fact, the traditions I embrace are probably older than, and deeper than, and more deeply embedded in this country's national history than, the ones you do.

I don't mind putting up with you all. Return the favor and show due respect.

Who knew all this time that the most Un-American people we ever knew were our kindergarten teachers, trying to get us to share and to play nice and to think of others.

Commies.

Or libertarians... :)

If you don't want to wear a seat belt, live your life. If you get in a crash, and get thrown from the damned car, it's on you.

If you don't want to wear a helmet, and you live in a jurisdiction where that's not required, live you life. If you drop your bike or get in a crash, it'll be your brains on the pavement.

Well, ish. If you have to go thru an emergency room operation that ends up using up all of your blood type, and costing in the mid to high 6 figures, well, sucks to be the next one who needs that blood type, or can't afford insurance. So I'm a bit removed from the 'putting up with' side.

your preaching to the choir. I say wear the belt and wear the helmet.

just trying to give an inch.

what I'm trying to bring out here, for good or ill, is the thinness of claims about what "being American" is.

I live in a town that was established as such in 1635. I go to a church that was established as a congregation in 1629. It was established by the first generation of Puritans who settled in Salem, and it has been a continuous living religious body since that time. Puritan, then Congregational, then Unitarian, now UU. A seamless continuous history. We still recite, and live by, the covenant written in 1629, every week.

New Englanders are famously homebodies and I live around people who have direct ancestors, with whom they share surnames, going back to the first English speaking communities on this continent.

I was born in NYC, which was settled by the Dutch in 1624, then became an English settlement in 1664.

My sister lives in Phoenix AZ, settled in 1867. My wife and I were out there for family stuff a while back, and we went up to Sedona, as one does. We went to see the original white English-speaking homestead there, which is maintained as a kind of historical site. The folks who settled it arrived there in 1900.

1900.

Are you getting my point, here?

I've spent time in the West, and I always enjoy spending time out there. I've spent time in the South, have family there, some of my best memories are there. My wife's people are from northeast Ohio, and I've spent a ton of time there.

I recognize and respect the distinct traditions and value systems of all of those places. They aren't the same as where I live, and they don't need to be. And vice versa.

I'm just not interested in anybody telling me that whatever vibe they came up in is any more American than the one I live in and embrace.

It's not.

It is, perhaps, small minded of me. But when I hear someone ranting about who is, and is not, a "real American", I hear something else. What I hear is someone who feels he has nothing else to cling to. No abilities that matter. No significant achievements. So the only thing he's got is being a "real American" . . . which requires that some identifiable others are not.

Which, given his psychology, makes it clear why Trump plays that card early and often.

I go to a church that was established as a congregation in 1629.

Maybe that was my father's great great great whatever's congregation! They came in the next boat following the Mayflower! During the course of their history, at least one was a slaveowner. That was disgusting news when I found out about it, but I'm glad I know not to valorize my DNA.

My mother's family came near the turn of the 20th century, immigrants from Croatia, at that time Austria-Hungary. My mom identified as a daughter of Yugoslav immigrants. Her parents
settled in Galveston, Texas. Yes - where Juneteenth happened, but her family was way later than that event. Most people who set off from Croatia during that time died before reaching America. (Not sure of the stats - I visited Croatia some years ago, where people there told me that their ancestors were drowning trying to get away, just as people were drowning in the Mediterranean a couple of years ago - and still might be - have we lost track?)

My America is a nation of immigrants, desperate people who came here hoping for a better life. (I just watched Hamilton on Disney+. I highly recommend it for those who couldn't acquire/afford tickets. I paid the $7 for a month. I plan to cancel after I've watched it a few more times.)

This country still has a lot of promise. We have to fight for its potential. The civil war keeps going on, and we have to keep winning it. We've lost some significant battles lately, but we can't give up. Black lives matter. Democracy matters. Voting rights matter.

Our nation was not founded by people who declaimed, "It's all about me." The Puritans were cold hearted religious bigots, and if you tried to run that one past them, you would have most likely wound up in the stocks, or worse.

Remember that the next time you say, "Please pass me the the turkey."

Factions. People often oversimplify. In this case seven seems a bit high. In taxonomic terms this writer is a splitter rather than a lumper.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/charles-booker-jamaal-bowman-and-the-7-competing-camps-in-black-politics/

A social media comment with racial undertones made by a Mississippi election commissioner sparked outrage across the state on the same weekend state legislators voted to retire the flag and its Confederate emblem.

"I'm concerned about voter registration in Mississippi," the commissioner wrote. "The blacks are having lots (of) events for voter registration. People in Mississippi have to get involved, too."

"I'm just not interested in anybody telling me that whatever vibe they came up in is any more American than the one I live in and embrace."

I am wondering if you perceive anyone in this thread did that? Because I didnt.

Having watched Hamilton last night, I feel like I may be being being asked to go to NJ.

In taxonomic terms this writer is a splitter rather than a lumper.

It is notable that in a couple of cases he doesn't even predict that two of his groups will behave significantly differently. In which case, what's the point of differentiating?

cleek, where is the "racist undertone"? (Yes, I realize those weren't your words.) It seems to me to be right out front: that particular election commissioner doesn't classify blacks as people.

I am wondering if you perceive anyone in this thread did that? Because I didnt.

Your 10:04, all about how not wanting to wear a seat belt, or drive the speed limit, or otherwise comply with anything that might "stop one from dying" is "wholly American".

Well, it's not, actually. Or, not in particular.

The demand for personal freedom is very American, but that comment wasnt meant as a criticism.

On the other hand, the propensity across the political spectrum to try to use government to micromanage people's lives is decidedly not a traditional American value. If that shoe fits where it.

Happy Independence Day all.

meme:

So me, wearing a bulletproof backpack to school with metal detectors, armed guards and routine mass-shooting drills is "the price of freedom"
[picture of a young boy side-eying the camera]
But you, wearing a mask in Walmart for 10 minutes is "tyranny"

the propensity across the political spectrum to try to use government to micromanage people's lives is decidedly not a traditional American value

not since 1865 or so, anyway.

"the price of freedom"

Interesting, is it not, how often "the price of freedom" is what someone else (maybe, in rare cases, someone as close to me as my own kids, but not me) has to pay so I can do what I want. But if I'm expected to pay myself, that is personally, that's tyrrany.

A partial expatiation of why a lot of Americans are thumbing their unmasked noses at the rules made for them by their betters.

"Americans' unwillingness to be governed any further by officials who responded to the pandemic with a series of botched policy initiatives, personal exemptions, and seemingly arbitrary commands to the public is understandable. Why would you take orders from people who seem to have no idea what they're doing and clearly don't intend to follow the rules themselves?"
Post-Pandemic Americans May Be Done With Taking Orders: Governments overplayed their hands with mandates that they are losing the ability to enforce. (Warning: a reason.com link... )

The demand for personal freedom is very American, but that comment wasnt meant as a criticism.

On the other hand, the propensity across the political spectrum to try to use government to micromanage people's lives is decidedly not a traditional American value. If that shoe fits where it.

Sez you.

This is *your* vision of what "traditional American values" are. It's not everyone's.

Especially if "micromanaging people's lives" refers to things like wearing a freaking mask during a viral pandemic.

Don't know how many times this needs to be said before it sinks in, but I'm happy to make the point whenever it needs making.

*Your* vision of what American values are is not the same as other people's.

Random bits on energy storage...

35 miles up the road from me is a pumped hydro storage unit that dates back to the 1960s. 320 MW maximum output, 1300 MWh storage when the upper reservoir is full. It's relatively small compared to others in the US. It's also one of the reasons Xcel Energy will reliably get away with more wind power than some other areas can. San Diego County is building a somewhat larger 500 MW/4000 MWh pumped hydro unit that will cost about $40/kWh. Estimates are that Tesla's latest battery factory is producing li-ion cells at a cost of about $110/kWh. 100 million electric cars -- half of the current US fleet -- each contributing 10 kWh of storage is 1,000,000 MWh of storage. Charge/discharge rate isn't as important since it's so highly distributed -- basically, one vehicle load balancing one household. Systems analysis says that for some large regions of the country, it's cheaper to do overbuilding plus bulk transmission and play statistical games. The big thing is that there's no one-size-fits-all approach today. Our national policy has to be flexible enough to accommodate multiple solutions. Just my personal opinion, but today the policy is not that flexible.

A lot of complications could be avoided by going straight to nuclear.

Renewable sources may become cheap energy producers in themselves but will have to be backed up by storage, fossil, and nuclear baseload sources. Plus renewable sources will become more expensive as they're scaled up due to competition for the resources to produce them.

A subtle problem with nuclear in many places is water. A few years ago during a drought in Texas, they throttled back and nearly had to close a pair of their nukes because of inadequate supply of cooling water. Southern Co. has spent billions of dollars adding evaporative cooling rather than pass-through to their thermal plants (coal, gas, and nuclear) in the South because the river temperatures were getting too high. A company who wanted to build a reactor to sell power into the lucrative Southern California market began looking for unencumbered water rights at increasing distances. The closest they found were in eastern Utah.

One of the reasons PV and wind have been popular in the American West is that they don't require cooling water.

A possible nuclear power alternative is miniature nuclear reactors of various designs.

Some designs are small enough to embed in concrete buried in the ground at a substation in place of a huge central rector. Or a nuclear plant could be made up of a number of small rectors instead of one large one.

"Jose Reyes, a nuclear engineer and cofounder of NuScale Power, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, says he and his colleagues can revive nuclear by thinking small. Reyes and NuScale's 350 employees have designed a small modular reactor (SMR) that would take up 1% of the space of a conventional reactor. Whereas a typical commercial reactor cranks out a gigawatt of power, each NuScale SMR would generate just 60 megawatts. For about $3 billion, NuScale would stack up to 12 SMRs side by side, like beer cans in a six-pack, to form a power plant."
Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet

A lot of complications could be avoided by going straight to nuclear.

The critical difficulty, as we have discovered, is you need somewhere to put the waste products. Dealing with ash from coal is bad enough; nuclear waste is worse.

Yeah, we have (tentatively) established a waste storage site -- in Nevada. But even moving the stuff there is extremely controversial. Let alone the reactions of the people who live anywhere near by.**

Work out those details first. Then there might be a chance to go nuclear in any significant way. Until then? Not happening. No matter how much sense it makes in the abstract.

** Me, I'd find a nice subduction zone and stuff the waste in there. Done carefully, it would actually get rid of the problem. Not seeing anybody talking about doing that, however.

There are some new nuclear reactor designs that would burn nuclear waste to generate power. But it would continue to have to be stored until needed.

Advanced Reactor Nuclear Power Resurgence in the U.S.: Privately funded, carbon-free, walk-away-safe, burns nuclear waste - what's not to like?

"Sez you"

Yep my name was on that comment. I didnt suspect my opinion represented a universal opinion.

Ran across this in a long public comment from Lauryn Hill back in 2018. The rest of the comment is responding to stories about her as a band leader [https://medium.com/@Ms.LaurynHill/addressingrobertgalsper-f08c20e02ffe if you are interested], but the part below seemed to get at a lot of what we've been talking about when the discussion is actually centered on race and racism:

-And just to clear up an old urban legend that somehow people still believe, I do not hate white people. I do, however, despise a system of entitlement and oppression set up to exploit people who are different. I do loathe the promotion and preservation of said system at the expense of other people, and the racist and entitled attitudes it gives rise to. The lengthy history of unfairness and brutality towards people of color, especially Black people, has not been fully acknowledged or corrected. The expectation is for us to live with abuse, distortion, and deliberate policies, meant to outright control and contain us — like we’re not aware of our basic right to freedom. I resist and reject THESE ideas completely. Like many Black people, I work to reconcile my own generational PTSD. I do my best to Love, pursue freedom in body, Spirit and mind… and to confront. To repress everything in the name of ‘getting along’ is to deny our right to healing. It’s an ugly, distorting and complicated history at best. We’ve been shaped by it for better or worse. I just choose not to pretend that it’s not there in order to maintain public approval and gain economic advantage. My true white friends and colleagues and I discuss these schemes and machinations, and the distrust that people of color would naturally have toward such a system and towards those who agree with it. We don’t run from those conversations, we run into them, which is why I can call them friends and colleagues. Within these relationships I can be my complete self, and not a splintered individual/soul repressing the truth about generations and generations of abuse.

That middle part about generational trauma and healing and demanding that black people not express their anger and pain in public to white people seems especially resonant with all that is going on now.

what nous said.

I didnt suspect my opinion represented a universal opinion.

the dude speaks.

not meant as a poke at Marty, I just figured we could all use a dose of the Dude. just lightening myself up, if nothing else.

almost time for BBQ chicken sandwiches, with my wife's homemade BBQ sauce and bread-n-butter pickles.

stay safe everybody, and don't blow yourselves up.

The "burn waste" reactors are not completely waste free. They'll burn the actinides, but they still produce fission products (radioactive isotopes of cesium, strontium, etc). That reduces the storage requirements to a hundred years or so, rather than thousands.

The NRC has started issuing licenses for single small modular reactors. So far all of the proposals locate them on federal land, since no state has been willing to issue a business license unless there's a functioning spent fuel repository. I believe at least one state has said, "...and the repository has to be in some other state."

Yucca Mountain is still missing a 300-mile rail spur necessary for actual operation. One of the two route choices requires running through sacred tribal lands; the other requires demoting a national monument. (I am curious about who did the systems work.)

The various national labs have been studying how to do low-carbon or no-carbon energy for decades now. At least for the Western Interconnect, at increasingly nuts-and-bolts levels. The Western can do it with renewables alone, although they need the federal regulators to quit mucking some things up. The Eastern Interconnect is a much harder problem and myself, I don't see how they do it without nuclear. There are plenty of perfectly good places to put a spent fuel repository in the Eastern. In fact, the original DOE plans, before Congress started screwing with them, was to put a big repository in the East where almost all the reactors are and a tiny one in the West.

stay safe everybody, and don't blow yourselves up.

Amen.

Normal years, I'd be working a fireworks show for one of the neighboring cities. (I've got a friend who's a licensed pyrotechnician. She has the contract.) We have a safety briefing -- even for those of us who could give it ourselves by this time. The fire department is on site. The fire marshal comes by. The civilians are kept well away.

But not this year. And no way I'm going anywhere near some damn amateurs playing with fire.

The hills are tinder dry. And I'm hearing lots of (illegal) fireworks. Close. Damn amateurs.

Glad I'm home, in case we get a grassfire close by. Sigh.

Safety is overrated. Or so we are told.

"Normal years, I'd be working a fireworks show for one of the neighboring cities. (I've got a friend who's a licensed pyrotechnician. She has the contract.) We have a safety briefing -- even for those of us who could give it ourselves by this time. The fire department is on site. The fire marshal comes by. The civilians are kept well away."

No, America has never been about micro-management, especially on Independence You're Not The Boss of Me Day.

The Boston Tea Party wasn't micromanaged either, it was improvised jazz, except for the dress rehearsal beforehand where a bunch of guys which residual Brit accents passed out Mohawk Indian hair pieces and war paint and were shown their marks to hit when the show started.

Ok, boys, now, let's try our war whoops. They'll never know who we really are. On .. three.

At least the modern Tea Party rabble come as they are ... loudmouthed, know-nothing jagoffs.

Nothing like the crackling sound of dry underbrush going up in flames in the rearview mirror after tossing a Pyro Demon over your shoulder out the car window in a fit of unregulated constitutional originalism.

As James Madison said to Ben Franklin, "Where there is smoke there is fire, if you can keep it."

The Fire Department? We pay THEM to throw cold water on our fun? Talk about a cushy bureaucratic job, hanh?

Got any statues we can deface and pull down?

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/07/pulling-down-statues-tradition-dates-back-united-states-independence/

Personally, I think the current statue destruction is getting out of hand.

I just don't know where the American people got the idea that mob behavior is a good idea, nor do I know where they got the idea that it's not a good idea.

And neither do they.

At least today's mobs don't melt down the statues and make bullets out of them.

Although that would be one way of getting the NRA's approval of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

The National Geographic was owned by Murdoch for a bit, I believe.

I think Murdoch only liked it so he could look at photos of barely clothed African and Polynesian women as he formulated the dress codes for his female news anchors.

But then he saw a photo of Margaret Mead naked and sold the business to Disney.

In other news, it turns out, I learn from my reading, that the Confederate Army burned down half of Atlanta before Sherman could even get there, and Richmond too.

Very Trumpish, that.

To yell "Fire" all this time, while pointing over there, having set it, and turned off the sprinklers and fire exit signs, on account of the overhead and Citizens Ignited.

Apparently, Trump's crowd at Mt. Rushmore started chanting "Go back where you came from!" at Oglala Sioux who were protesting the rally.

Natch, the latter were arrested.

If true, that's not so much institutional racism as it is racism by ka-numbnuts who should be institutionalized in lunatic asylums for the clinically inane.

We issue guns to these people.

Meanwhile, and for anybody who hasn't seen it (I'm sure all the American commentariat will have), this is Biden's take on July 4th - compare and contrast with that of "he who had just been laminated" at Mount Rushmore:

https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1279414665542381568

https://mobile.twitter.com/TimOBrien/status/1279400518180384769

Zing!

Just watched a repeated broadcast of a documentary on Arthur Ashe that I remember watching when it first came out, when Obama was president.

It vividly reminded me of the Wimbledon final when he beat Jimmy Connors. I had been deathly ill, and was still recuperating in hospital, but Wimbledon was as close as I came to a religion in those days so despite my diminished state I watched it, and was ecstatic at the result (only tangentially because I thought Connors was a boor).

But on watching this documentary, I was particularly struck by Billie Jean telling how, after his AIDS diagnosis was made public, she asked him what was the most difficult thing in his life. And he replied "being black." He told her that, even having AIDS, it was the daily experience of being black, and the stressful repercussions of prejudice on a daily basis. What a comment. Black lives matter, and not only in the sense of staying alive.

Things could go either way when it comes to, if not confiscating the public's weaponry, at least seeing the wisdom of disallowing the carrying of weapons, concealed and not, in public:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/were-in-your-house-lets-go-hundreds-of-heavily-armed-militia-protest-confederate-carving-in-georgia-2020-07-05?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

The right wing will of course continue to choose the wrong way to go, so it's now off the rails.

Tit, as they say, for tat.

A polite society is one in which when a guy yells "DUCK!" just about anywhere, all men, women, and children hit the deck.

Way to go conservative, libertarian movement.

Look at what you fuckers started, but can't finish.

a synopsis of civic discourse in American today.

A bunch of militia boyos got punked and went to Gettysburg because some dude on FB said he was holding an antifa rally to burn flags.

There was no antifa rally. Nobody burned any flags.

Some other guy wearing a BLM t-shirt happened to be there. An ancestor of his is buried at Gettysburg, he went to pay respects.

Since they were there anyway, with all of that patriotic mojo to burn off, the militia dudes figured they'd engage the BLM guy in a discussion of current events.

A cop ambled by and figured this was only going to go south, and suggested to Mr. BLM that he might want to leave. Because, militia dudes.

Unclear if the ancestor of Mr. BLM ever got his props.

I should point out that, when I say "militia dudes", that is shorthand for "self-appointed imaginary militia dudes whose relationship to an actual militia in the 2nd A sense is 100% in their own fevered imaginations". Mostly, it seems like a bunch of beefy middle-aged to old white guys regurgitating whatever they last heard on talk radio. With guns, in some cases.

Maybe we aren't the dumbest fucking country on the planet, but whoever is, we're giving them a run for their money.

I have, really, nothing constructive to say at this point, mostly because I'm not sure there is anything whatsoever constructive to say. So perhaps I should just STFU.

Before I STFU, I will add that I have never been more pessimistic about the outlook for this nation. Never, in my lifetime. No matter who is POTUS come next January.

The stupid is too thick on the ground. Its like a Dunning-Kruger singularity. I have no idea how we get past it all.

Have a good night, all.

Are we there yet? Not even close.

I offer this without comment.

Are we there yet?

Nope. And if the definition of "there yet" is 100% racism free, we never will be.

On the other hand, we've moved from something like 90%+ racist to somewhere around 50% -- slightly above or well below, depending on how you count people who still have the prejudices, but recognize it and try to keep from acting on them.

Certainly not time to declare victory and go home. But reason for guarded optimism, that we can continue to get better.

wherever 'there' is, we're moving away from it, right now, because a lot more people feel comfortable celebrating their racism in public today than did a few years back.

Trump and the GOP base have throw off the shackles of shame, and are having a deplorably fabulous time.

i don't know if this is giddy futurism or not, but "triso" nuclear fuel sounds interesting. "meltdown proof" ?

"meltdown proof"?

Proof of the pudding, etc.
But there HAS been enormous advances in materials since the 60's, which is what most reactor designs come from, so it's not entirely fantasy that a modern design could withstand 3000 degrees without failing.

Just look at jet turbine blades.

Of course, solar and wind technologies have also benefited from technological advances, so lots of competition in zero-carbon power generation.

Lithium is likely to get a whole lot cheaper to extract, fairly soon.
https://energyx.com/technology/

The Fort St. Vrain nuclear power plant in Colorado used TRISO fuel particles (embedded in a hexagonal graphite structure). FSV demonstrated proof-of-concept for high-temp gas-cooled power reactors: thorium fuel cycle, high burn-up, walk-away safe, improved thermal efficiency. The big problem the design had was water ingress: even tiny amounts of water mixed in with the helium caused all sorts of problems. Most of the contemporary HTGC designs were shaped by the need to avoid water contamination.

"Meltdown proof" is not the same thing as "can't ever leak". When FSV was decommissioned, the fuel was (still is) stored on site in stainless steel casks in a special building. So long as the convection-driven air flow is not blocked, the casks are stable at a temperature well below the melting point of the stainless steel. Screw the air flow up enough and the steel casks could melt. Add water once the steel has melted and the graphite blocks will burn. The outer layers of the TRISO particles will eventually corrode away, but on the order of a thousand years.

"Walk-away safe" is the same kind of thing. Not "won't ever leak" but rather "won't leak for years/decades/centuries".

a lot more people feel comfortable celebrating their racism in public today than did a few years back.

Trump and the GOP base have throw off the shackles of shame, and are having a deplorably fabulous time.

Absolutely agree that, with Trump leading by example from the bully pulpit, the racists are feeling more free to vent their bigotry than a they did few years ago. On the other hand, if Trump loses in November (and especially if, please God, he loses big), that sends the opposite message about what is acceptable in American society. Which will, from a historical perspective, make the past 4 years a temporary setback.

As I say, I'm cautiously optimistic.

As I say, I'm cautiously optimistic.

No matter who wins in November, the 40% of the country that thinks Trump is the cat's pajamas are still going to be here. All of the knuckleheads who have seen the Trump presidency as license to let their bigotry run free like the buffalo across the land, are still going to be here. All of the people who have been more than happy to countenance an incompetent, ignorant, narcissistic ass as POTUS in exchange for tax cuts and deregulation, are still going to be here.

They were here before Trump, they'll be here when Trump is gone.

I am cautiously optimistic that governance under almost any (D) you can imagine will be better than it has been for the last few years.

I am not at all optimistic that all of the people I just named will have anything like a change of heart. About anything. More than "not at all optimistic", I'm saying they won't.

They won't.

I don't know how long it will take to rebuild the international relationships we've fractured over the last few years. The change in tone is one thing, but the foreign service and intelligence infrastructure is not something you can turn around overnight.

Other countries have learned that all it takes is one election for generations of co-operation to be undermined. They'll extend benefit of the doubt, maybe, but real trust will take longer. It will have to be re-earned.

I'll reconsider all of this if Trump comes in under 30% of the popular vote. That will still suck - seriously, 30% would vote for him after the last 4 years? - but anything less than that tells me that no lessons have been learned.

If he comes in under 20%, I'll believe there's been an actual national change of heart. But that's not gonna happen.

What you see, is who we are. For good or ill.

No matter who wins in November, the 40% of the country that thinks Trump is the cat's pajamas are still going to be here.
...
They were here before Trump, they'll be here when Trump is gone.

All true. But while a change of heart probably isn't in the cards. a change in behavior is more feasible. Which is desirable in itself, but also is how we get to a next generation where they are substantially less than 40%.

Unfortunately, as you say, our international relations and the foreign service and intelligence infrastructure are actually going to be harder to turn around. I'm not totally pessimistic about our foreign relations only because, while they have seen that one election can cause enormous problems, they may also (eventually) come to see Trump as an aberration unlikely to be repeated. Replacing the people we have lost, unfortunately, is likely to take longer.

All of the people who have been more than happy to countenance an incompetent, ignorant, narcissistic ass as POTUS in exchange for tax cuts and deregulation, are still going to be here.

The people that really scare me are not the people who make this bargain, but the people who actually think, really think, that he's a great president and he's done a great job. You see them being interviewed on the news all the time, they totally buy his lies about how much he's done, and how respected the US now is in the world, and how much better all the farmers are doing because of the tariffs, and how China is paying for it, and how he's built a great big beautiful wall, and how if it weren't for him two million Americans would be dead of Covid-19. They actually believe it, lots and lots of them. I don't know the percentage, but they're the ones that freak me out the most, because the concept of reality has ceased to have any meaning.

they're the ones that freak me out the most, because the concept of reality has ceased to have any meaning.

Marks for conmen have been around forever. All that's really changed is that one of those conmen made it to the Presidency.

Which has been, no question, a disaster -- and I have no great idea how we keep it from ever happening again. But it's not like there are suddenly a lot more people who are divorced from reality and ready to fall for the con. (See "I'm a Nigerian Prince" emails and such.)

Yeah, but historically the marks usually end up knowing they have been conned. Your marks appear to have no such inkling, probably because in this case they are a little too far removed from the actual results.

historically the marks usually end up knowing they have been conned. Your marks appear to have no such inkling

I think (or maybe I like to think) that the operative word is: Yet

The people that really scare me are not the people who make this bargain

The people who make that bargain are basically the difference between POTUS Trump and wanna-be POTUS Trump.

Well, the EU certainly dodged a bullet by pushing the UK out just in time, with the Coronavirus about to explode.

They got the UK to pay for it, also, too.

US presidential elections:

Landslide victory: United States

Landlides.

I thought this was interesting - electoral results vs. popular vote results.

James Monroe was that last POTUS to get more than 2/3 of the popular vote. That was in 1816.

No POTUS has won more than 60% of the popular vote since Nixon in '72.

19 out of 58 elections - almost exactly one third - were won with less than 50% of the popular vote.

Hard to say what "landslide" even means.

Re landslides, I'm in Kyushu, where we are having flooding and landslides (I'm ok, house is in relatively high ground, no nearby mountains) A landslide, in that context, is a good percentage of whatever comes down on top of you. Thinking about it that way, 10 or 15% is more than enough to take your house out, so I assume that landslide has to be a sudden movement by enough people to swamp something...

In a US electoral context, I'd say that a "landslide" involves winning enough states that you would win the Electorsl College vote even if you hadn't won several of them. And winning each of those by a big enough margin that no recount is going to change the result.

Not to say that someone who thinks that losing the popular vote by 3 million is close enough to argue over won't do so, no matter what. But if most of those who voted for him know better, that's enough.

Have just read that the Ayn Rand Institute received a PPP loan of between $350K and $1 million. God, I hope this is true. If so, ROFL.

This is simply appalling.

Lots of colleges and universities are pushing online classes due to covid-19. But the xenophobes in America’s immigration agency have now announced the withdrawal of student visas for courses that move entirely online. Affected students will lose their right to be here.

I only pray that this administration's usual incompetence will keep very many students from being impacted before we throw the rascals out this fall.

I'm glad they announced that. I'd guess universities and colleges will have time to come up with creative ways not to completely move to online classes - officially, at least - so that visas won't be withdrawn, even though each student will only have to show up, say, once - very briefly and with very few students. One-time, in-person instruction distributed across the entire semester and among the entire student body such that 5% of students come to class at a time, preferably outdoors and lasting less than 15 minutes. (Or whatever minimum gets around the rules.)

Like the senate doing pro forma sessions in order to prevent recess appointments.

So, just a question, if they are taking the courses online, why do they need to be here? It seems that this is a reasonable policy despite the knee jerk reaction. Who is being harmed? A student visa is for the expressed purpose of attending a school, so why would it remain if that purpose doesnt exist?

I think the visa thing is just one step in an "Open, dammit!" campaign aimed at colleges and universities. The next one will be Betsy DeVos leaning on the accreditation organizations to threaten the schools: "We're sorry, but your accreditation is based on the quality of your in-person curriculum, not your pieced-together online curriculum."

Marty - the fear among international students is that if their student visa gets revoked, they will not be able to get it again once classes move back offline. (Who can blame them for that fear with Miller defecating all over our immigration and visa policies.) And they wish to attend school here mostly in order to get hands-on research experience, which means they will have to come back in person at some point else they may as well take those online courses somewhere cheaper and more convenient.

And a further concern: all this policy volatility has them and their families concerned that the US will freeze them out entirely before the students have completed their studies. Some of my former students are looking at transferring to a European school because they can't trust that the US will get its act back together.

And if you think that a university education in the US is expensive now, just wait until it's no longer subsidized by international tuitions and fees.

So, just a question, if they are taking the courses online, why do they need to be here?

Conversely, what's the problem with them being here? What is the point of making them leave?

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/07/07/888137097/brazilian-president-jair-bolsonaro-tests-positive-for-coronavirus

Also, too, why would we want smart people here? They might decide to stay and do something that makes life better for the rest of us dummies. Ack!!!

Bolsanaro is a genocidal murderer.

In other news:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a33233404/ppp-ayn-rand-institute/

Atlas Mugged Us, Norquist pickpockets the baby's college account while holding the kid's head under the bathtub suds, and all of them, and Trump and friends will be executed.

Oh, and Putin is Q:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/michael-flynn-celebrated-july-4-by-taking-an-oath-referencing-bonkers-qanon-theory

A question for the lawyers among us. If the Justice Department end up being able to drop the charges against Flynn, could another administration refile them? That is, does the trial being voided constitute a basis for a double jeopardy argument?

(Maybe he'd have been better advised to stick with the guilty plea and go for a Presidential pardon.)


As George Takei tweeted on hearing the news: "Satire is dead."

Rather like Tom Lehrer's famous

"When Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize, satire died".

Thanks, John Thullen. I hoped @09.50 for proof (without taking the trouble to seek it), and there it is. How neat, in both the English and the US meanings.

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