08 December 2023

The Layman’s Term for This Is Airborne


Inhaled infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2 in a susceptible adult as a function of time for the transient scenario where an infected individual enters a room and sings. The dotted horizontal line indicates one infectious dose, which corresponds to 10 TCID50, and the time to reach one dose is indicated for a half-life time, t½, of 30 min. Model input: room size = 4 × 4 × 3 m3, inhalation rate = 9 L/min.

In yet another episode of, "Where your f%$#ing mask," an article in Nature (NOT pay-walled) concludes that Covid 19 aerosols can transmit the disease in an enclosed area within minutes.

This is airborne, not big ass droplets than can only travel about as far as an ordinary person can hock a loogie. 

This has been obvious since that choir practice in Washington State resulted in a superspreader event.

Exhaled SARS-CoV-2-containing aerosols contributed significantly to the rapid and vast spread of covid-19. However, quantitative experimental data on the infectivity of such aerosols is missing. Here, we quantified emission rates of infectious viruses in exhaled aerosol from individuals within their first days after symptom onset from covid-19. Six aerosol samples from three individuals were culturable, of which five were successfully quantified using TCID50. The source strength of the three individuals was highest during singing, when they exhaled 4, 36, or 127 TCID50/s, respectively. Calculations with an indoor air transmission model showed that if an infected individual with this emission rate entered a room, a susceptible person would inhale an infectious dose within 6 to 37 min in a room with normal ventilation. Thus, our data show that exhaled aerosols from a single person can transmit covid-19 to others within minutes at normal indoor conditions.

Seriously. wear a mask.  You are not just protecting yourself, you are protecting your loved ones.

There is Unpopular, There is Hated, and Then There is..........

Andrew Cuomo would trounce you primary for Mayor.

Hizonner Eric Adams, God's anointed Mayor of New York City, (At least according to Eric Adams) may have a bit of a problem.
Fallen ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting much more support than Mayor Eric Adams in a hypothetical head-to-head Democratic primary race for City Hall in 2025, a stunning new poll released Tuesday claims.

Of those Democrats with an opinion, 44% favored Cuomo to 24% for Adams with one-third undecided, according to the survey conducted by American Pulse & Research Polling.

......

“Our American Pulse survey revealed what I found to be a big surprise: If Andrew Cuomo ran as a Democrat for mayor, he would decisively trounce Mayor Adams in a primary,” said Dustin Olson of American Pulse Research & Polling.


“While surprising, it does make sense, as New Yorkers also gave Mayor Adams the distinction of being the most unfavorably viewed politician among all those we tested in the city.”

......

The poll — which was paid for by a group headed by Adams’ 2021 GOP opponent, Curtis Sliwa — also found that 57% of all voters had a favorable impression of lefty Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the highest of elected officials mentioned in the poll, while Adams had the worst unfavorable rating of 58%.
Ah, yes.  Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Anglos, right-wing radio host, and fascist.

It might be advisable then to take people numbers with a grain of salt
But the exiled ex-governor — who resigned from office in 2021 amid accusations of sexual misconduct — would lose were he to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary the next year, the survey said.

Well, there is that.

I am not a big fan of Kirsten Gillibrand, but she is orders of magnitude better than "Rat faced Andy" Cuomo.

......

A group called Save the Senate, chaired by Sliwa and aimed at bolstering the GOP in the US Senate, helped finance the poll.

Because, of course they did. 

My condolences to the people of the great City of New York.  If I had to choose between Adams and Cuomo, I might write in Ed Koch, and he's been dead for a decade.

Posted via mobile.

07 December 2023

Taking a Night Off

I have a headache and a cough.

Posted via mobile.

Linkage

  • Restructuring Bankruptcy Law (The Regulatory Review) The article pertains to personal bankruptcy, and there are good proposals for making filing more humane.  Now how about tightening up corporate bankruptcies? (F%$# the whole Sackler Clan)
  • The Bogus Historians Who Teach Evangelicals They Live in a Theocracy (POLITICO) Not an article that I expected from Tiger Beat on the Potomac.
  • New route for COVID-19 into human cells found by scientists (Nature) The modern Andromeda strain can also attack through the aptly named RAGE receptor.
  • Conventional cars more reliable than EVs – report (The Register) Consumer Reports noted this, and hybrids are more reliable than both.  My slightly informed guess is that, because the batteries and motors are driven harder in full EVs, both by loads when used and by the need to charge rapidly, it extracts a toll in reliability.
  • Uvalde shooting shows contrast in preparedness between students and police (The Texas Tribune) Elementary school kids knew what to do, and the cops did not.  Clearly it would be insanity to defund the police, because who else is going to sit on their hands for an hour and seventeen minutes while a killer on the rampage murders children?
  • Gavin Newsom is Not a Progressive (Current Affairs) Money quote is in the subhead, "Though he’s often imagined as a beacon of progress, his feckless record shows otherwise."  He's a progressive like Nancy Pelosi is, which is to say, not at all on the big things.
  • Pedophiles for Purdue Pharma  (Pluralistic) Cory Doctorow observes that the amicus briefs in favor of letting the Sackler family off of the hook in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case is a plethora of pervert predator purveyors of pedophilia like the Boy Scouts and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Have a dose of the surreal:

06 December 2023

This Is How to Do a Swearing In!

As you may be aware, in the last elections in Pennsylvania,sane people swept the Moms for Liberty three-way Talabaptists out of the Bucks County School Board.

The new board will be busy, among other things trying to claw back a 6 figure bonus that the old board gave  to the incompetent former superintendent, but swearing in on a pile of banned books.

I approve.

Make it Stop!!!

I've had an ear worm all day!

If I have to suffer, so do my reader(s)!

Rock Me Amadeus, by Falco, the original German version.

05 December 2023

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

It appears that Republicans in Washington State are fleeing the "Socialist Hell" to go to Idaho.

I wonder how they are going to feel when they realize that Idaho, unlike Washington State, has an incom tax:

At first, the ads seemed like a pandemic-era curiosity, a niche political pitch playing on the red state, blue state divide.

“Escape liberal hell,” counseled one sales video from a Boise, Idaho, real estate agent. “Here are seven reasons conservatives flock to Idaho.”

“Time is not on your side, flee the city NOW before the coming collapse!” read another ad for 5 acres in Moyie Springs, Idaho, listed for $259,000 by a Sandpoint, Idaho, company called Black Rifle Real Estate. (Motto: “Ready. Aim. Move.”)

The idea that people would pick up and move solely for politics has seemed like a stretch. Moving for a job, schools, space, a rural lifestyle, yes. People relocate for all sorts of reasons — nearly 250,000 moved here from another U.S. state last year, with 258,000 going the other way, the Census Bureau says.

But now, there’s solid evidence that some people really are migrating over partisanship.

This past week, Idaho released a database of voters who have moved into that state, along with where they came from and what political party they signed up for when they got there. In Washington, we don’t register by party — everybody is an independent voter. In Idaho, you generally have to affiliate with a party to vote in the primaries, so party choice is right on the government’s registration form.

A bunch or right wingers are going to a remote rural area in pursuit of a libertarian utopian dream. 

Well, that should end well. 

 

Video Primer of the Day

Legal Eagle goes into the absolute inanity of Elon Musk's lawsuit against Media Matters.

He covers the same ground that I did, albeit more authoritatively and more entertainingly:

So, we have a defamation lawsuit without any claim of defamation, in a jurisdiction unconnected to any of the litigants, his filings admit that media matters told the truth and used the site in the manner in which it was designed, and people have found hundreds of examples of major advertisers ads being shown next to literal Nazi that are completely independent of Media Matters' story. (Yeah, I know, that last bit is fact, and not law, but it needs to be said)

Why Elon Musk's loved one(s) aren't trying to get him committed or into a conservatorship is beyond me.  He is nucking futs.

Good News Out of Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial has restarted.

It had been suspended, along with most court proceedings following the October 7 attacks, but that order has now expired:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on corruption charges, which was suspended along with all other non-urgent cases after October 7, resumes today in the Jerusalem District Court.

An emergency order that Justice Minister Yariv Levin put in place for the courts when the war with Hamas began expired last week, and most courts have been ordered to resume normal operations.

Netanyahu is currently exempted from attending the hearings but may be called to testify in a few months.

Netanyahu faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in one case, and charges of fraud and breach of trust in two other cases. He denies wrongdoing.
Bibi is a corrupt son of a bitch, and they have him on the facts.  Much of the dysfunction in Israel over the past decade can be attributed to machinations by the (hopefully soon to be former) PM dedicated to preserving his political career and his non-felon statue.

I so want to see his ass in jail.

04 December 2023

Well, You Appointed the Fox to Manage the Hen House

It was kind of expected that when Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, current head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was appointed president of the Cop28 climate conference, that his primary goal would be to greenwash his country's oil industry.

So when he stated that there was no science supporting a phase out of fossil fuels, this was to be expected:

The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has claimed there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C, the Guardian and the Centre for Climate Reporting can reveal.

Al Jaber also said a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”.

The comments were “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial”, scientists said, and they were at odds with the position of the UN secretary general, António Guterres.

Al Jaber made the comments in ill-tempered responses to questions from Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on 21 November. As well as running Cop28 in Dubai, Al Jaber is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, which many observers see as a serious conflict of interest.

A, "Serious conflict of interest?"  Gee, you think?

Seriously, I do not know how the writers at The Onion, get out of bed to do their jobs any more.

Our world defies satire.

 

Texas Nazis. I hate Texas Nazis.


It's from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
Highly recommended.

Is anyone else surprised that the Texas Republican Party is refusing to institute a ban on hanging out with Nazis?

Apparently they think that it is too difficult to distinguish between Nazis and run-of-the-mill Texas Republicans.

I understand how they could have problems making the distinction, sometimes I have problems making a distinction between Texas Republicans and Nazis, but at they should at least encourage candidates, who, after all, are supposed to be more informed on such things, to make an effort to avoid Swastikas and straight arm salutes.

Two months after a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser was caught hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes, leaders of the Republican Party of Texas have voted against barring the party from associating with known Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers.

In a 32-29 vote on Saturday, members of the Texas GOP’s executive committee stripped a pro-Israel resolution of a clause that would have included the ban. In a separate move that stunned some members, roughly half of the board also tried to prevent a record of their vote from being kept.

Wanted to hide their votes?  Nothing to see here, move along.

………

The proposed demands were significantly watered down ahead of the party’s quarterly meeting this weekend. [Of course it was] Rather than calling for a break from Defend Texas Liberty, the faction proposed general language that would have barred associations with individuals or groups “known to espouse or tolerate antisemitism, pro-Nazi sympathies or Holocaust denial.”

But even that general statement was too much for the majority of the executive committee. In at-times tense debate on Saturday, members argued that words like “tolerate” or “antisemitism” were too vague or subjective. The ban, some argued, was akin to “Marxist” and “leftist” tactics, and would create guilt by association that could be problematic for the party, its leaders and candidates.

“It could put you on a slippery slope,” said committee member Dan Tully.

[Texas GOP Chairman Matt] Rinaldi abstained from voting on the ban, but briefly argued that antisemitism is not a serious problem on the right before questioning what it would mean to "tolerate" those who espouse it. "I don't see any antisemitic, pro-Nazi or Holocaust denial movement on the right that has any significant traction whatsoever," he said.

………

“I just don’t understand how people who routinely refer to others as leftists, liberals, communists, socialists and RINOs (‘Republicans in Name Only’) don’t have the discernment to define what a Nazi is,” committee member Morgan Cisneros Graham told the Tribune after the vote.

I dunno, perhaps I overestimated the morality, or the intellect, or the integrity, or all three of the apparatchiks in the Texas GOP.

Can we give Texas back to Mexico?


Headline of the Day

Amazon on the Hook for Concealed Clothes Hook Spy Cam
The Register

Yeah nothing skeevy here about marketing a spy cam designed to look like a towel hook installed in a bathroom.

The (minor) exchange student whose host put this into her private bathroom will be allowed to continue her lawsuit against the online retail giant. 

Find a way to get Jeff Bezos into discovery, please.

Linkage

This is hypnotic

03 December 2023

Because, Of Course They Did

The criminal enterprise formerly known as Facebook™ has decided to challenge the FTC's authority to regulate anything because they want to continue to sell personal information from children to their advertisers.

This is not a surprise, considering the fact that Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg overruled his staff in order to keep plastic surgery filters on Instagram despite the clear evidence that it was harming children:

Meta has filed a lawsuit challenging the Federal Trade Commission's authority to regulate the social advertising giant.

If the Facebook parent succeeds in its claims, the US watchdog could be hobbled and hindered in its ability to pursue its consumer protection mandate.

Zuck & Co's complaint [PDF], filed in federal court in Washington, DC, on Wednesday claims the regulator's structure and operation violates the US Constitution.

In 2011, Meta, in its Facebook incarnation, settled with the FTC over allegations the Silicon Valley titan ran roughshod over people's privacy, and vowed to respect netizens' wishes to keep their info private.

In 2020, the FTC again settled with Meta over claims the biz broke that 2011 promise.

Now this lawsuit is an attempt by the corporation to stop the FTC from modifying that 2020 settlement.

If the history of the criminal enterprise formerly known as Facebook™ shows us anything, it is that they will promise to go forth and sin no more, and then promptly go back to sinning.

Dropping the hammer on this sociopathic business is not just good policy, it is a moral imperative.

………

The FTC subsequently decided to seek meaningful shifts in the social network's policy. In May this year, the agency accused Meta of repeatedly violating its privacy commitments, claiming the ad biz has fallen short of its compliance obligations, misled parents about controls in the company's Messenger Kids app, and misrepresented facts about developer access to user data.

………

The proposed restrictions include: a blanket prohibition on monetizing the data of children and teens; disallowing the launch of new products until they've been assessed for privacy; an extension of compliance obligations to companies Meta acquires; limits on the use of facial recognition technology; and stronger third-party monitoring of data usage.

Given the nature of this Supreme Court, they have been pulling doctrine out of their ass to serve their right wing paymasters for decades, I am not sanguine about the FCC's chances here, but it is clear that Zuckerberg's little horror needs to be slapped down.

How About Not Selling Out for Campaign Donations

A bill eliminating non-compete agreements has passed the New York state legislature, but Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to water it down, claiming that it would make New York less competitive.

I would suggest that she look at California which has banned non-compete agreements since 1878 (Or just google the Traitorous Eight).

It could be argued that with strong non-compete agreements, the move of the electronics industry from the East to the California Bay Area would never have occurred.

Of course, Hochul does not really know enough to care about the competitive consequences of the law, she just knows that big finance and big law are major campaign donors, so she is trying to gut the law:

The clock is ticking on just over 100 bills that Gov. Kathy Hochul has to decide to sign or kill before the end of the year.

One bill sitting on her desk would ban businesses from forcing employees to sign non-compete clauses, which businesses argue protects company secrets should a worker jump ship to a competitor.

New York courts have previously ruled in certain cases that non-compete clauses are tough to enforce, but those in the financial, law and tech sectors are fighting to keep them in place.

The governor said she wants to meet on middle ground: announcing she’d prefer to keep a non-compete ban in place for employees making over $250,000.

“The other thing I have to balance is making sure that we don’t drive businesses from our state because there isn’t a competitive environment,” said Hochul during an unrelated press event in Lower Manhattan Thursday.

The override of a governor's veto in New York is exceedingly rare, so if she were to veto the bill, it would almost certainly stand.

It should be noted that near New York City, particularly in law and finance, $¼ million a year is a pretty low level employee, so this would have the effect of excluding very large portions of the workforce, particularly among finance and big law, from its protections.

She is better than Andrew Cuomo, who took aggressive actions to ensure that Republicans kept control of the State Senate, but that is an exceedingly low bar.

Today in Self Owns


This is beautiful.

This is also what happens when you just grab a random image from the internet.

02 December 2023

It's Called Covid

Teachers in England are noticing that students and their parents have been behaving exceedingly poorly over the past few years.

The story focuses on the lockdowns, and only states that, "Since Covid, people seem to be far less tolerant."

You don't just see this in schools.  You see it on the streets, where drivers are more aggressive, and in customer service, etc.

This is not people forgetting how to be social because of lock-downs, this is people suffering significant and long-lasting brain injury from Covid:

Headteachers in England have described a culture of non-compliance among pupils, as talks were held to try to avert further strikes at a school in Kent where staff walked out over student behaviour.

The Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey hit the headlines last week after members of the National Education Union took strike action over fears for their safety, complaining of assaults and threats of violence.

While the problems at the school appear particularly acute, Guardian interviews with school leaders elsewhere revealed widespread concern about deteriorating behaviour among pupils, coupled with a lack of support for school policies from some parents, both issues highlighted in the Ofsted annual report last week.

………

Student behaviour is now “completely different” from what it used to be, she said.

“In the past students were in lessons. They might be disruptive in lessons and you’d have to deal with that kind of behaviour.

“But there’s a new thing coming up in schools in the last year and a half – students are turning up to school, but they don’t go into any lessons and they just wander around the building. They want to come for the social, but they don’t want to go into their lessons.

………

Nick Hurn, CEO at Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, which has schools in Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland, said it was still only a small minority causing problems in schools.

“Since Covid, people seem to be far less tolerant, certainly parents, and that communicates itself to students as well,” he said.

Everyone looks at this, and assumes that this is the result of the disruption from the lock-downs.  It isn't.

The data is very clear.  By every measure, the psychological health and well-being of students IMPROVED during lock-down

Covid frequently causes an insult to the brain, whether through damage of structures or through inflammation.

We see this in emotional outbursts ans difficulty focusing.

A significant portion of students, and what is probably an even larger portion of adults, are neurologically compromised.

I don't know how to address this, but wringing ones hands over the social consequences of the initial lock-down of students is about a useful as tits on a bull.

No (Also Fuck Cigna)

I hope that the FTC, DoJ and the rest of the TLAs are ramping up their efforts to stop Cigna and Humana from merging.

This will get us nothing but worse and more expensive insurance. 

The only ones who benefits are the chief executives who get bonuses and golden parachutes and the investment banks who conduct the transactions.

Cigna and Humana are in talks for a combination that would create a new powerhouse in the health-insurance industry.

The companies are discussing a stock-and-cash deal that could be finalized by the end of the year, assuming the talks don’t fall apart, according to people familiar with the matter.

………

Joining forces would give the pair scale to rival that of UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health and vault the combined company into the top tier of integrated healthcare firms. Cigna, which had revenue of about $181 billion last year, would be able to marry its huge pharmacy-benefit unit, which manages drug plans, and its strength in commercial insurance with Humana’s big position in the fast-growing Medicare segment, something Cigna has long sought.

So basically, they are looking to create a merged entity which does a better job of looting (PBMs and Medicare Advantage) the health care system.

………

Investors also are nervous about potential antitrust scrutiny of this deal, no matter what divestitures take place to placate regulators. If the companies go ahead, it will almost certainly be challenged by the Justice Department.

The reason it is hard to fathom such a deal sailing through without opposition from the Biden administration is that both insurers have sizable PBM businesses, a toxic three-letter acronym in Washington these days. Cigna is number two in the business in terms of prescriptions managed while Humana is number four, according to Drug Channels. Combining two large PBMs might raise concern that the middlemen would become even more concentrated.

I'm not even sure how PBM's became a thing.  They appear to provide no service beyond extracting unproductive rents from drug stores and drug consumers.

Here's a better idea, ban PBMs and wind down the extremely inefficient and harmful Medicare advantage program.

Tweet of the Day

It really is remarkable just how indistinguishable satire has become from reality in the United States these days.

Republican Family Values

It turns out that the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, and his wife, one of the founders of the Christofascist "Moms for Liberty" group have been having a long term ménage à trois with another women, and the husband later sexually assaulted her.

It's almost as if Republicans efforts to enforce sexual morality are a form of compensation from people who are disgusted by what they see as their own perversions.

But it couldn't be that, could it?

Christian Ziegler, Florida’s GOP chairman and husband of Sarasota County School Board member and Moms of Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, is under criminal investigation after a woman filed a complaint with the Sarasota Police Department alleging the longtime Republican official had raped her, according to a heavily redacted police report obtained by the Florida Trident.

The complaint was filed on October 4 and the alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota on October 2, according to the report. Among the few words that went unredacted in the report are “rape” and “sexual assault complaint.”

[UPDATE, Dec 1: Both the woman and Bridget Ziegler independently told police they had engaged with Christian Ziegler in a three-way sexual encounter more than a year before the incident, according to a search warrant in the case released late Friday. Bridget Ziegler was expected to show up at the victim’s home for a threesome planned on the day of the incident, according to police, but was unable to make it.]

………

Sources also corroborated that a search warrant was executed on Christian Ziegler’s cell phone and that investigators continue to conduct a forensic examination of the electronic device. Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said.

It turns out that there is a tape of the 911 call that started this investigation.  It did not come from the alleged victim, but rather a friend who was concerned for her after being told that she had been raped.

The money quote is this:

………

In an interview with detectives attended by his attorney, Christian Ziegler admitted he had sex with her that day but said it was consensual sex with the woman. He also admitted that he shot video of the incident, which he said he initially deleted, but later uploaded to a Google Drive. When the affidavit was filed with the court on November 15, police had yet located the video. The contents of the Google Drive was among items seized by police under the warrant, along with his Gmail and iPhone.

It's a big enough story now that Tiger Beat on the Potomac (Politico) is covering this, and has published details from the search warrant:

The woman accusing Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler of rape told him over Instagram messages that she was distraught and “terrified” of him after their encounter and unable to work, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The affidavit also revealed that Ziegler’s wife, Bridget Ziegler, who co-founded the conservative parents group Moms for Liberty, acknowledged to police that she, the victim and her husband had consensual sex together over a year before the alleged crime occurred, per an interview police conducted Nov. 1.

The search warrant, filed by authorities with the Sarasota County court, provides additional details about the accusations against the state GOP chair and his wife following the revelation about a rape accusation that shocked party members and led Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for Ziegler to resign.

………

The search warrant affidavit reveals that police sought a search warrant of Google’s servers because Ziegler admitted to police that he’d filmed the Oct. 2 encounter between himself and the woman accusing him of rape. He said he initially deleted the video but put it on Google Drive, though police filed a request for a search warrant after they had been unable to locate it.

Ziegler hasn’t been charged with a crime but the investigation is still underway. Ziegler admitted in the search warrant affidavit that he and the woman had sex, but said it was consensual.

………

The search warrant affidavit, obtained by POLITICO from the Florida Center for Government Accountability — which first broke the story about the rape complaint — shows the alleged victim and Ziegler had known each other for over 20 years. The contents of the affidavit were first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

It seems to me that a lot of Republicans has some issues with their own sexuality, which is a lot like saying, "Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

01 December 2023

I've Been Saying this for How Long?

The University of California is ending its policy of paying for carbon offsets, because they have discovered that ALL of them are fraudulent.

This is why we need a carbon tax rather than cap and trade.  When money gets involved, fraud follows:

In the fall of 2018, the University of California (UC) tasked a team of researchers with identifying tree planting or similar projects from which it could confidently purchase carbon offsets that would reliably cancel out greenhouse gas emissions across its campuses.

The researchers found next to nothing.

“We took a look across the whole market and did deeper dives into project types we thought were more promising,” says Barbara Haya, director of the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project, housed within UC Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Public Policy, who led the effort. “And we came up almost empty.”

The findings helped prompt the entire university system to radically rethink its sustainability plans. In July, UC announced it would nearly eliminate the use of third-party offsets, charge each of its universities a carbon fee for ongoing pollution, and focus on directly cutting emissions across its campuses and health facilities.

Now the researchers are sharing the lessons they learned over the course of the project, in the hopes of helping other universities and organizations consider what role, if any, offsets should play in sustainability strategies, MIT Technology Review can report. On November 30, they will launch a website highlighting the array of problems they found, the strict standards they helped set for UC’s offset purchases, and the methods they developed for scrutinizing projects in voluntary carbon markets.

Spoiler:  There are no non-corrupt carbon offsets, because the whole structure is criminogenic.

To quote Naked Capitalism, "If fraud can occur, it will already have occurred."

………

Students, faculty, and campus budget officers raised concerns about the institution’s plan to rely on and invest so heavily in such an unreliable climate tool. In response, the UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative set up the UC Carbon Abatement Committee, which worked with staff, students, and faculty from each campus to establish the institution’s purchasing standards and to identify the types of projects that could meet them. The initiative also provided funding for a dedicated research effort, led by Haya, exploring these questions.

But finding projects that met even the basic standards of reliability proved so difficult that the researchers ultimately drew a larger lesson from the work, says Camille Kirk, who was previously the director of sustainability at UC Davis and co-directed the research effort along with staff at the UC Office of the President.

“You can’t buy your way out of this,” says Kirk, now head of sustainability at the

J. Paul Getty Trust, one of the world’s richest arts institutions. “Ultimately, it’s just better if you invest in yourself, invest in your infrastructure, and do the direct work on decarbonization.”

The structure and incentives in carbon offsets are even more corrupt, and more corrupting, than those in the cryptocurrency "industry."

Corruption and looting is not a bug, it is a feature of so-called "Market based solutions". to societal problems that actually require government action.

It's the damn Chicago parking meter deal all over again.

Corrupt Supreme Court Justice Crucial to 2000 Presidential Election Theft Dies

If there is a God, then Sandra Day O’Connor will be seeing Henry Kissinger in hell.

She was a nakedly partisan political hack, and the only time that her vaunted "Moderation" was visible was when the issue impacted her and her's personally.

Bye George

George Santos, AKA Kitara Ravache has been expelled from the House of Representatives.

I kind of get the sense that it was less for being a criminal than it was for being a profoundly blatant and incompetent criminal.

The House voted Friday to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from Congress — an action the chamber had previously taken only five times in U.S. history, and not for more than 20 years — in response to an array of alleged crimes and ethical lapses that came to light after the freshman lawmaker was found to have fabricated key parts of his biography.

The resolution to expel Santos passed in a 311-114 vote, easily exceeding the required two-thirds threshold for removal, with numerous Republican lawmakers turning against Santos in what was the third effort to expel the New York congressman this year. Two Democrats voted present, and eight lawmakers did not vote.

………

The vote followed the release two weeks ago of a 56-page House Ethics Committee report that accused Santos of an array of misconduct, including stealing money from his campaign, deceiving donors about how contributions would be used, creating fictitious loans and engaging in fraudulent business dealings. Santos, the report alleges, spent hefty sums on personal enrichment, including visits to spas and casinos, shopping trips to high-end stores, and payments to a subscription site that contains adult content. 

………

Santos also faces 23 federal criminal counts, including fraud, money laundering, falsifying records and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

I have mixed emotions on this, not because I feel that the expulsion was unjustified, it was completely justified, but because he was a constant irritant to Congressional Republicans, and when they are busy stepping on rakes, I would prefer that the rakes are not removed. 

I profoundly believe in never preventing your enemy from stepping on their own dick, and Santos was a big foot, in a big shoe, with golf cleats.

It should be noted that the now-former Congressman claimed that he had specific knowledge of other Republicans drunkenly sleeping with lobbyists.

Please, dish that dirt.

I Am the Worst Person in the World, and I Blame Star Trek

As you probably know, former President Jimmy Carter is in home hospice care, and his wife Rosalynn died last week, and he was at the funeral.

While I have had my differences with the 39th President, I do not diminish the life long commitment that he and Rosalynn had through their 77 year (!) year marriage.

There are a number of pictures of Carter in a wheelchair looking wizened in a wheel chair with his mouth open, which is common for people who are in his condition.

I saw the picture, which I will not post here, but I did on Imgur, and my first though was the Star Trek episode Menagerie, and actor Sean Kenney's portrayal of the grievously injured Caption Christopher Pike:

There is sometning seriously wrong with me.

If people actually heard my internal monologues, they would want to lock me up for ever, or hang me from the highest yardarm, or both.

30 November 2023

Why am I Not Surprised

In news that should surprise no one, it turns out that most of the money being spent on aid for the Ukraine never leaves the USA, because it is diverted to the US Military Industrial Complex.

Mark Thiessen, one of the more loathsome OP/ED writers at WaPo (no small feat) argues that this means that we should spend more money, because it makes American war mongers richer.

No, it still is a waste, and it still costs all of us and makes the United States a poorer and crueler place.

Sending money to Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics, and Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, and the rest of them is, to quote Dwight Eisenhower, who actually served in a war, who said:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
The fact that a small portion of our futures is returned to legislators in the form of campaign donations does not make spending on our dysfunctional war machine any less of a waste.

Thursday Jobless Report time

Initial claims continued their slow rise while continuing claims hit a 2 year high.

So the Fed is getting their slowdown that they so desperately wanted:

Recurring applications for US unemployment benefits jumped to the highest in about two years, adding to evidence of a cooling labor market.

Continuing claims, which are a proxy for the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, rose to 1.93 million in the week ended Nov. 18, higher than all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. This figure has climbed since September, suggesting out-of-work Americans are finding it more difficult to secure new employment.

Meanwhile initial jobless claims rose by 7,000 to 218,000 in the week ended Nov. 25, a period that included the Thanksgiving holiday. Given the figures tend to be particularly volatile around holidays, the four-week moving average offers a clearer picture of the trend in applications. That measure was little changed last week, according to a Labor Department report.

At the same time, consumer spending weakened and inflation slowed in October, providing more indications that the Fed over-corrected:

Americans slowed their spending in October and inflation continued cooling as the economy downshifted into fall after a fast-paced summer.

Consumer spending rose 0.2% in October, down sharply from a 0.7% rise in September, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The October reading marked the slowest increase since May. The combination of ebbing income growth, high interest rates and prices, dwindling pandemic savings and the resumption of student-loan payments is eroding Americans’ ability to keep boosting their spending as briskly as they did through the summer, economists say.

Inflation has cooled markedly this year, likely bringing the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increases to an end. Price growth as measured by the personal-consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, remained mild in October.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy items, were up 3.5% from a year ago. They rose 2.5% at a six-month annualized rate, down from 4.5% in the six months through April, a dramatic improvement.

There won't be any rate cuts until 2025, at least, because to do so would be seen as an admission of error, and the Fed would sooner slit their own bellies that be seen as admitting that they were in error.

29 November 2023

Henry Kissinger, יִמַּח שְׁמו, is Dead

After a lifetime of murder and making the world a worse place, not only for brown and black people, but for the United States in the long run, the blight on humanity known as Henry Kissinger, יִמַּח שְׁמו, has died.

The fact that he continued to be feted by the very serious people in the US foreign policy and state security apparatus after being directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people is a mark of shame on the United States.

The late Anthony Bourdain was right when he talked about Kissinger.

Because They Can Get Rich Before the Bottom Drops Out

Why would a bank executive look at the implosion of First Republic and think, "I gotta get me some of that?"

Because banking executives are motivated by political gain, and setting up an under-capitalized section catering to wealthy clients will make them lots of money, and when the music stops, they will have already purchased their own private musical chairs:

Regional lender Citizens Financial Group opened a new private bank for wealthy customers last month. Its inspiration: First Republic Bank, which collapsed earlier this year in the second-largest bank failure in history.

Citizens, based in Providence, R.I., is spending tens of millions of dollars hiring former First Republic staffers. It hopes the strategy will help it crack a market it has long coveted. Executives say they plan to copy only the good parts of First Republic, such as its beloved customer service. “We scooped up the very best talent,” Citizens consumer banking head Brendan Coughlin said. “Our goal is going to be to build the pre-eminent private bank in the United States for high-net-worth individuals.”

Banks are in an arms race for rich customers, and lots of other, bigger players have a head start. Snagging such customers can lead to a bounty of fees, loans and deposits, something that particularly appeals to regional banks such as Citizens eager to prove their viability after First Republic and two other peers failed this year.

………

First Republic attracted wealthy customers by offering them a bureaucracy-free banking experience and extremely low rates on loans such as big mortgages. (Mark Zuckerberg once got one at a starting rate of 1.05%.) It seemed like a winning approach: The San Francisco-based bank became one of the 15 largest in the U.S.

But the business didn’t hold up when the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, prompting rich customers to move their deposits out of no-interest accounts. The bank’s profits also started to get squeezed by its low-rate loans. A March run on peer Silicon Valley Bank prompted panicked First Republic customers to pull about $100 billion in deposits, mortally wounding the lender.

There is nothing to worry about here though:

………

There are some parts of First Republic that Citizens plans to leave in the past, such as 1% mortgages in a higher-rate world. The bank is, however, considering bringing back the fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies and high-end umbrellas that First Republic was known for.  

Yeah, umbrellas and cookies.  That's what makes a bank work.

Citizens has hired about 60 top First Republic bankers and about 100 support staffers. The bankers were largely in roles where they were the main point of contact for customers. Customers would call them up if they needed yen delivered before a trip to Japan or a bespoke mortgage for a new vacation home. These staffers were largely paid based off the business they generated and could earn seven figures in a good year.

So these pople were incentivized to do risky shit, and then the maniacs blew it all up, but Citizens will do just fine, because ………

It will be different this time.

It won't be different this time, it's never different.

Until the banksters are subject to personal jeopardy, it will stay the same, because they make out like raped apes even as the taxpayers take it on the chin.

28 November 2023

Only in America

The amateur model is Emily one Oster..

She is an economist, and makes Larry Summers look like a saint.

Some of her hits:

  • Arguing that we should not give antivirals to Africa to treat the AIDS epidemic, because black people are not worth it.  (OK, that last part is subtext, but she did argue that promiscuous Black men in Africa were the real problem.)
  • Said that kids should be sent back to school because, "Kids don't get covid," and she doesn't give a f%$# about dead teachers. (OK, that last part is subtext)
  • Once it was revealed that kids DO get Covid, and kids DO die and suffer death and disability, she argued that there would be social and learning losses that justified the risk, because she wanted her brats out of the house for a few hours each day.  (OK, that last part is subtext)
  • Dismissed discrimination as a causes for skewed male female ratios in Asia, particularly China. (Straight up true.  She apologized when it was revealed that her data was garbage) 
  • Argued for drinking while pregnant. (True, she literally wrote a book that says this)
  • Argued that even though she was wrong about Covid, she and her fellow travelers should be "forgiven" because who knew that minimizing contact and masking would reduce the spread? (True, she said this, ignoring the fact that minimizing contact and mask wearing have been shown to be effective since before the wide spread adoption of germ theory)
  • Has been found to routinely cherry pick data to support her thesis.

And now she is modeling a truly dull line of clothing.

In a just world, she would be a pariah, but she was born on 3rd base, and so she, and the very serious people who have lionized her over the years, assume that she hit a triple.

25 November 2023

I'm Wondering What his Tox Screen shows

After, all, Derek Chauvin is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence who was involved in a prison fight where he was stabbed.  He could have been hopped up on meth.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd during a 2020 arrest that set off a wave of protests, was stabbed at a federal prison in Tucson, Ariz., on Friday, according to the office of Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an inmate at the Tucson prison was stabbed at 12:30 p.m., though the agency’s statement did not identify Mr. Chauvin, 47, by name. No other inmates or prison staff were injured, and the situation was quickly contained, according to the people familiar with the situation.
This is, of course, snark, but he put in huge amounts of overtime, and spend even more hours moonlighting as a security guard, so if he wasn't tweaking (Meth) he was even more impaired than if he were tweaking.

A Correction

Our Airbnb is on the banks of the Chicopee river, a tributary of the Connecticut river.

Here are some pictures:

Nice view. ,

24 November 2023

Support Your Local Police

A senior St. Louis murder investigator has been refusing to testify in court for his murder investigations because he does not like the reformist district attorney.

This raises some important questions:

  • Why are the police not disciplining him for this?
  • Why is the DA not subpoenaing hm?

Obviously, in a city with a non-corrupt police department, this guy would be out on his ass.

The voicemail left on St. Louis police detective Roger Murphey’s cellphone carried a clear sense of urgency.

A prosecutor in the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office was pleading with Murphey to testify in a murder trial, the sort of thing the lead detective on a case would routinely do to see an arrest through to conviction. The prosecutor told Murphey that, without his testimony, the suspect could walk free.

“I wanted to reach out to you one more time,” Assistant Circuit Attorney Srikant Chigurupati said in a message one afternoon in June 2021. “I do think we need you on this case.”

Murphey didn’t respond.

………

A number of American cities have elected prosecutors who promised progressive law enforcement, focusing as much on police accountability as being tough on crime. In St. Louis, that prosecutor was Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who was elected in 2016 following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in the suburb of Ferguson. Gardner came into office pledging to reduce mass incarceration and promote rehabilitation over punishment.

But from San Francisco to Philadelphia, prosecutors like Gardner have faced pushback from the police and, in several cities, from their own courtroom assistants. Politicians and voters have tried to remove some of these prosecutors from office — and, in a number of cities, they have been successful.

Murphey’s resistance to Gardner — Chigurupati’s boss when Vincent’s case went to trial — was unusual and, perhaps, extreme. By his own account, he was willing to help murder suspects walk free to make a point, even if he arrested them and believed that they should be behind bars.

………

Murphey never faced discipline from the police department for refusing to testify, a fact that criminal justice experts find astonishing. They said his refusal undermined not just the integrity of the cases but also the police department’s commitment to justice. 
The St. Louis PD is not an organization of peace officers sworn to enforce the law, it is an armed criminal gang with a government sanction to visit violence on the citizenry.

To Quote Arlo Guthrie

We had a ThanksgivingDinner that couldn't be beat.

We had friends over that we have not seen in years, all on the banks of the Connecticut river.


23 November 2023

Up in Chicopee

Picked up Nat from their position at the Isabella Freeman Center where they were charged with the care and instruction of children with regard to nature and the like.  (This appears to be more difficult than herding cats)

We will be having a day-late Thanksgiving and then head down to a Nest of Pirates.  (Baltimore)

FWIW, in the, "You learn something new every day," category, don't throw squashes into the woods.  It attracts bears.

(No children were harmed, though a shed might have been.)

22 November 2023

No Blogging Tonight

Heading up to pick up the Natl-unit from Connecticut.

Will have a delayed Thanksgiving on Friday.

Busy packing.

21 November 2023

Not a Lawyer

But when someone mocks stupid legal moves, I find it amusing.

Mike Masnick, who as the founder and owner Techdirt has had his share of experience with abusive litigation, having spent years fighting a SLAPP suit from a delusional tech bro who claimed to have invented email, has the best take-down of Elon Musk's delusional lawsuit against Media Matters for reporting that ads were showing up next to Nazi posts.  (Ars Technica should also get a shout out for describing the suit as, "Claiming Media Matters manipulated X by scrolling down.")

The high points of Mr. Masnick's analysis:

  • The suit was filed in the Northern District of Texas, despite the fact that Ecch (Twitter) is incorporated in Nevada, does business in California, and Media Matters is in DC.
    • Then again, they got a Trump judge, so following the law is not a certainty here.
  • The filing explicitly states that the ads actually were shown along with post from white supremacists, Nazis, and other Elon fanboi.
    • They are claiming malice because Media Matters created accounts and followed white supremacists, Nazis, and other Elon fanboi. 
    • Given that many of the aforementioned white supremacists, Nazis, and other Elon fanboi have purchased blue checks and as a result have their post monetized, it is inevitable that ads would appear next to their posts.
  • The lawsuit admits that they are objection how Media Matters objected to the framing and not the facts, which is explicitly protected under numerous precedents, including New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.
  • They admmoit in the filing that other people saw the ads posted next to white supremacists, Nazis, and other Elon fanboi.
  • No actual instance of defamation by Media Matters is actually mentioned.
  • No actual instance of defamation by Media Matters reporter Eric Hananoki, who has also been sued, is actually mentioned.
  • They try to assert that the Media Matters article resulted in advertisers suspending ads with Ecch (Twitter), despite the fact that their flight began the day before, after Musk explicitly endorsed antisemitic white replacement conspiracy theories. (Hell, the f%$#ing WHITE HOUSE condemned Musk's antisemitic posts before the Media Matters article came out)

Read the whole thing.

It is telling that it is NOT one of Musk's white shoe law firms that is handling this.

This does not pass the laugh test.

I'd pay money to see Musk in discovery with Media Matters' lawyers.

Imagine That

I've been saying this for a while, but we now have a study showing that, notwithstanding the pious hand wringing about the inflation on poor people, low wage workers benefited from more from the tight labor market than any other group following the lock-down induced recession.

Labor market tightness following the height of the Covid-19 pandemic led to an unexpected compression in the US wage distribution that reflects, in part, an increase in labor market competition. Rapid relative wage growth at the bottom of the distribution reduced the college wage premium and counteracted nearly 40% of the four-decade increase in aggregate 90-10 log wage inequality. Wage compression was accompanied by rapid nominal wage growth and rising job-to-job separations—especially among young non-college (high school or less) workers. Comparing across states, post-pandemic labor market tightness became strongly predictive of real wage growth among low-wage workers (wage-Phillips curve), and aggregate wage compression. Simultaneously, the wage-separation elasticity—a key measure of labor market competition—rose among young non-college workers, with wage gains concentrated among workers who changed employers. Seen through the lens of a canonical job ladder model, the pandemic increased the elasticity of labor supply to firms in the low-wage labor market, reducing employer market power and spurring rapid relative wage growth among young noncollege workers who disproportionately moved from lower-paying to higher-paying and potentially more-productive jobs.

This is true, and has been obvious since the start of the pandemic.

The people economists and politicians sound the alarm on inflation  don't care about poor people, they just think that "The help" is getting uppity.

This Was Inevitable Once Amazon Bought Them Out


I guess that you would have this with fava beans and a glass of Chianti.

20 November 2023

What Part Of, "No Religious Test," Don’t You Get?

West Virginia has been requiring that inmates participate in a religion base substance abuse treatment program to qualify for parole for years.

Not any more.

The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (WVDCR) has changed its parole requirements after a judge ruled in favor of an atheist inmate who claimed that he was denied parole because he did not want to participate in a religious program.

Andrew Miller, who was incarcerated at Saint Marys Correctional Center for breaking and entering, filed a lawsuit against the WVDCR in April in the U.S. District Court of Southern West Virginia saying that the state would not accommodate his request for a non-religious substance abuse program. Although Miller was not in prison on a substance-related charge, Miller was enrolled in the program because he is in recovery from addiction and the program was a condition of his parole; the lawsuit said that Miller was denied parole multiple times because of his refusal to do the program.

In a release on Wednesday, the American Atheists, which represented Miller in the case alongside Mountain State Justice, said that it won the lawsuit and that the WVDCR removed its “requirement that participants attend religious 12-step meetings,” and the “religious components from its federally funded Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program (RSAT) handbook.” The release also said the WVDCR agreed to pay $80,000 in legal fees.

I'd like to see some criminal prosecutions of the folks who refused to do the right thing, but I'm not holding my breath.

Getting Your Paleoanthropology Geek On

This has everything, archaic representatives of the genus Homo, possible sophisticated tool use and sophisticated funerary rites, documents published without peer review, and the involvement of Netflix.

I want to be clear, there are no credible allegations of wrongdoing or academic fraud, but it does appear that the original researchers decided to go Hollywood prematurely.

It gives us a pretty good insight into the science paleoanthropology, as well as the modern anthropology of academe.