Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour Thread

Nothing but science.


How does Zients keep his name out of everything.*
The agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, has sometimes skipped much of the traditional scientific review process, most recently in shortening the isolation period for infected Americans.

... In recent interviews, some officials at the C.D.C. privately described the decisions as demoralizing, and worried about Dr. Walensky’s increasing reliance on a small group of advisers and what they saw as the White House’s heavy political influence on her actions.

Yet others outside the agency commended Dr. Walensky for short-circuiting a laborious process and taking a pragmatic approach to managing a national emergency, saying she was right to move ahead even when the data was unclear and agency researchers remained unsure.

These types of stories are ass covering by interested parties and it probably isn't fair to blame JUST the White House or JUST Walensky or JUST the rest of the CDC (but perhaps all 3).

But if you're going to feed some workers into the wood chipper FOR SOCIETY, you should figure out how to compensate them, just not hide behind bullshit to do it.

But the recommendation had an important advantage: It could help keep hospitals, businesses and schools afloat through the worst of the Omicron surge.


*There is an obvious answer to this question, but it's an exercise left to the reader.


I'm nobody and I'm not on any kind of DC communications lists anymore, but I was once upon a time and if there's one thing the Democratic-Industrial complex knows how to do it is bully the left. The reward will also be blaming The Left for doing as they were told but somehow fucking everything up anyway. Every single time.

The Project For A New American Century

If that really was their project, and not just "more yachts for my friends," they really fucked that one up, didn't they.

Ah, Well, Nevertheless

Good stuff from the Very Serious Adults In Charge.
"No. There might be something small for restaurants. But the economy is booming, there are millions of open jobs, and we do not believe people should be sitting at home if they are vaccinated and boosted, as most adults are," the senior official said when asked if additional stimulus legislation was being taken seriously.
Stern daddy is back, baby!

How's that working out?

As COVID-19 cases have climbed, public health experts have urged people to dump their cloth masks in favor of higher-quality options — especially the disposable N95 or KN95 masks — and to test more frequently to curb the virus.

For some, the added financial burden is an irritation, but still affordable. To others, the prospect of paying $1 for a single disposable mask or $24 for a test kit is an economic impossibility, raising the specter that the pandemic will continue to exacerbate inequalities.

Many answers, but one is:
So the people who are at work can get home safely before it's too late.


Because life is funny and weird, I actually know Claudio and Emanuela.
Ronco, 66, knows some people who have relented, including a fellow musician with three kids and a mortgage. He knows others who are scrambling for hard-to-get medical exemptions. But Ronco — an Orthodox Jew and a specialist in 18th-century music who tends to distrust the trends of the masses — figures this is an instance when he can try to withstand the mounting pressure. His savings are thinning, but not gone. His children are grown. His wife, Emanuela Vozza, a fellow cellist, also unvaccinated, feels as he does. So day after day, his resistance has continued: A musician who once played at Milan’s famed La Scala has been instead working alongside Vozza, editing recordings they’ve made in their countryside living room, unable for the foreseeable future to perform for a crowd.
Had dinner in their apartment (in Venice, not that one), once!

Lunch Thread

Blogger has this annoying scheduling/time stamp bug that creeps in sometimes. You might have noticed.

We Got This

I keep thinking about how the person who ran the big Me Too organization had a side hussle selling services to tell powerful people how to deal with organizations like Me Too. There's probably a more charitable way to describe it, but that's what it was.

It is quite impressive how quickly and easily movements and causes that begin from below are co-opted by powerful people and turned into a protection racket for other powerful people, career opportunities for their friends, and probably an annual Fancy Ball.

It is also quite impressive how at the top circles of power, this is just seen as how things are supposed to be, that no one says, "what the fuck, stop this!"

Even LIBERAL BLOGGING, a somewhat different beast, basically followed this path. Both individuals and (more than that) the concept was largely co-opted by people who were less likely to say, "fuck you," (symbolically if not literally) to a sitting senator. I'm not even saying everyone involved in doing that was bad, but it was fascinating to watch, once upon a time.

Got Quiet Didn't They


I am no in way unsympathetic to the difficulties parents have faced throughout all of this, but as is often the case, The Takes Industry attempted to direct anger at the people - teachers - least responsible for the poor situation, along with the smartest boys on the internet ignoring, again, the basic point that you can't run a school if everyone is out sick. Sorry your pizza might not be delivered either.

Covid sucks and the people in power have quite often failed to reduce the level of suck, but the people in power include influential people the White House Chief of Staff reads, and they are responsible, also, too. Teachers don't run school districts.

But good job angering teachers and achieving nothing. Popularism!

Insert That Spider Man Quote Here

I forget who said it recently, but if you're the President of the United States, you don't hire lawyers (and others) who tell you why you can't do things, you hire people to tell you how you can.

You don't always have to listen, of course, as "can" does not equal "should" in all cases, but "oh, well, nothing we can do" is almost never the right response!

Ditto the Senate deferring to the parliamentarian. Maybe they should, but stop pretending you have to.

Morning Thread


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday Night

Rock on.

Sunday Evening

Tomorrow is that day again.

The Best Possible Defense

Yes I think it's reasonable to think that defendants - certainly criminal, though to a lesser extent civil - are legally entitled the strongest defense possible. Though as with many similar legal things, that they are legally entitled to do it doesn't compel them to do it. Someone who is guilty as shit doesn't have to compound their offense - moral, if not legal - by doing so and we can think he's an asshole if he does it.

Social Insurance

Our concept of that, too, is highly individualized, in the sense that we think of it more as "unemployment benefts," than "FEMA." That is, institutions with the capacity to step in with resources when the shit hits the fan.

We've been stingy with both, both in terms of resources allocated and our willingness to see the need for such approaches.

Lunch Thread

Sunday funday.

Living With Covid

I'm probably in the "fuck the unvaccinated*" camp as much as anybody, but this weird notion that pivoting to "living with Covid" means "pretending Covid doesn't exist" is absolutely bizarre. A plan for living with Covid as a "new shitty normal" would involve the government establishing ways to reduce spread, bolster our shitty medical system, continue to provide financial buffers for people impacted by it (we all are, vaccinated or not).

"Here are your vaccines you ungrateful serfs, now fuck off" is "Living with Covid," I suppose, but don't expect people to like it.

I suppose if I were in charge of the Covid response, declaring victory and going on vacation would be tempting, but that's why I shouldn't be in charge of it.

*I do believe there are many more people who could be reached with adequte vaccine outreach measures which may be lacking in their communities. So, no, I don't think fuck all the unavaccinated, but the defiant ones.

Sunday Morning


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday Night

Rock on.

Arcane Knowledge

Related to this, there's something a bit seductive about the the arcane rituals of politics, learning bits of the knowledge from the high priests about things like SENATE PROCEDURE and CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. A bunch of magic incantations piled upon magic incantations, which feels very smart and learned until you realize what bullshit it all is.

Institutions of course have rules and precedents, and The Law, ass that it is, can't be entirely waved way, but much of constitutional law is just inventing some bullshit and then very selectively taking that bullshit to some logical ends (but not others), and then when desired, throwing in some more bullshit.

Lunch Thread

Hunger time.