November 28, 2020

THIS COULD BE BIG: Protein regulating inflammation in atherosclerosis identified.

GOOGLE IS A CULT? I JUST CAN’T SEE IT MYSELF: YouTube Celebrates “Unthanksgiving” Instead of Thanksgiving.

WE SHOULD PUT ITS REPLACEMENT ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON, AS GOD AND ROBERT HEINLEIN INTENDED: World’s most powerful radar telescope at Arecibo will be scrapped.

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SHOCKER: Opioid deaths in young Americans often involve other drugs.


Elon Musk said in a follow-up tweet on Wednesday that lots could go wrong in this first high-altitude test. “Lot of things need to go right,” the billionaire said. When asked on Twitter what he thought the odds were of Starship landing in one piece, he answered “1-in-3.”

He’s willing to learn through iterative failure. NASA is not, which is why he’s progressing so much faster.

UPDATE: My friend Dale Amon comments on Facebook:

Just got around to watching the Nov 24 launch. 7th landing for that particular Falcon 9. They are building experience. I wonder what the life span is going to turn out to be?

I’m quite sure that is a question that many folk are looking forward to finding out. You can design your arse off, but it doesn’t matter a whit until you actually do the testing.

I’ve been smiling for quite some time about how Elon has solved the problem which everyone has been complaining about for decades. Flight rate. How do you get enough business? The answer is to start another business that makes a lot of money and is a regular customer. The beauty of Starlink isn’t just that it is a money maker. It is also that it is going to require a continuous high rate of satellite replacement since these things are all in LEO and not intended for 20 year runs like the billion dollar GEO sats.

More importantly, with the rate of technology progression still accelerating (hey, that singularity ain’t so far off any more!) you actually want assets that are upgradeable or replaceable, because otherwise you are stuck with last week’s tech and losing market to the guy who launched this week’s tech.

Watch for Starlink service to improve at a jaw dropping rate.

Excellent point.

ANOTHER UPDATE (Charlie): Here’s a tease from my upcoming Stack Overflow blog article:

This is the world of the SpaceX Starlink program. According to SpaceX, the Starlink program has two purposes:
* To provide fast, reliable Internet connectivity to the billions of people who don’t have it now,
* and to use the revenues to make life interplanetary.
Stop and contemplate that for a moment: world-wide Internet to provide the revenue needed to colonize the planets. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, along with Tesla, the Boring Company, and many others, is not a man who sets easy goals.

NOT ONLY IS 2020 STRANGER THAN WE IMAGINED, IT IS STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE: South Africa considers ‘dimming’ the sun to avoid running out of water.

It sounds like a plot lifted from a science fiction flick, but scientists have suggested permanently dimming the sun to save South Africa from deadly dry spells.

The hairbrained scheme would involve pumping vast quantities of gas into the atmosphere above Cape Town to preserve local water supplies.

It evokes the plot of 2007 sci-fi movie sunshine, in which scientists head off on a daring mission to reignite the dying sun with a nuclear bomb in 2057.

Put forward by experts at the University of Cape Town, it’s hoped the plan would dramatically reduce the chances of a water crisis engulfing the city.

Fears over a “Day Zero” drought – the point at which there’s not enough water for everyone – hitting the region have been brewing for years.

With the climate crisis tightening its grip on our planet, the chances of such a dry spell hitting Cape Town will triple by 2100, according to research.

In a study published last week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists outlined one bonkers way to avoid such a catastrophe.

The plan is controversial, South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian reports, both due to its climate impacts and geopolitical implications.

In their paper, the researchers suggest injecting particles of sulfur dioxide gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere above Cape Town.

The gas would form a huge cloud above the city that reflects sunlight, dimming the environment on the ground below.

According to researchers, the sci-fi tactic could reduce the chances of a Day Zero drought hitting Cape Town by 2100 by up to 90 percent.

Former Obama “Science” “Czar” Robert Holdren, your time to shine (or in this case, reduce it) has come at last!


NOT ONLY IS 2020 STRANGER THAN WE IMAGINED, IT IS STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE: Deer steals hunter’s gun, probably gearing up for the Apocalypse.


The U.S. counts coronavirus deaths differently from other countries. Indeed, we are counting deaths differently than we have for any other disease.

“The case definition is very simplistic,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Department of Public Health, explains. “It means, at the time of death, it was a COVID positive diagnosis. That means, that if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means, technically even if you died of [a] clear alternative cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death.” . . . Beyond including people with the virus who clearly didn’t die from it, the numbers are inflated by counting people who weren’t even infected. New York has classified many cases as coronavirus deaths even when postmortem tests have been negative. The diagnosis can be based on symptoms, which are often similar to those of the seasonal flu.

Just a reminder.


IN THE MAIL: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner.


This book takes in a lot of territory, all solidly researched and footnoted. But dry? Fuhgeddaboutit. White is particularly entertaining when she discusses underworld slang from the city’s ‘sensitive lines of business’ and she’s also good on song lyrics, from Tin Pan Alley days to hip-hop. She dwells lovingly on the ‘sharp, smart, swift, and sure’ lyrics of the golden age of American popular music – roughly, the first half of the 20th century. It was a time when New York lyricists, nearly all of them Jewish, preserved in the American Songbook not only the vernacular of the Lower East Side but also the colloquialisms of Harlem and the snappy patois of advertising.

You Talkin’ to Me? is engrossing and often funny. In dissecting the exaggerated New York accents of Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx, White observes that ‘Bugs even wielded his carrot like Groucho’s cigar’. And she says that the word ‘fuck’ is so ubiquitous in Gotham that it has lost its edge, so a New Yorker in need of a blistering insult must look elsewhere. ‘There may be some truth to the old joke that in Los Angeles, people say “Have a nice day” and mean “Fuck off,” while in New York, people say “Fuck off” and mean “Have a nice day.”’

Norman Gorman called and said, “Read the whole thing, already!”

IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN THE FATALITY RATE IS AWFULLY LOW: Government Model Suggests U.S. COVID-19 Cases Could Be Approaching 100 Million. “The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test.”

IT SEEMS AS IF TRUMP’S THE ONLY ONE NOT GUILTY OF RUSSIAN COLLUSION: MIT accepted over $51 million from Russian foundation later deemed security risk by U.S. government.


Fisk’s reputation among scholars and journalists in the Middle East was destroyed by years of distortions of the truth in his work on Syria. But even before he started embracing pro-Assad conspiracy theories, Fisk’s relationship with the truth was widely scrutinised. It is a monumental absurdity that we have a word, “Fisking”, in the Cambridge English Dictionary derived from his surname, without any mention of him.

The dictionary defines it as “the act of making an argument seem wrong or stupid by showing the mistakes in each of its points, or an instance of doing this.” The frequency with which falsehoods can be found in Fisk’s work wasn’t so much an open secret as a widely shared joke understood by all who worked in the industry.

Fisk got away with it because he always got away with it. The falsehoods he published were often tolerated, excused or dismissed because people agreed with the stories he was telling. But our job as journalists, especially in the Middle East, isn’t to tell stories — it’s to tell the truth.

Following Fisk’s passing, away from the newspaper obituaries, an entirely different narrative was expressed by those who saw him up close. Syrian journalist Asser Khatab wrote an excoriating article for the online platform Raseef22, sharing his experiences of working alongside him in Homs, including his lack of Arabic and his reliance on a translator connected with the Syrian mukhabarat (secret police).

Of course, Fisk’s greatest online moment will always be his column from December of 2001: My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.

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NO: UVA prof calls for ‘Secretary of Equity.’

I MENTIONED THIS STORY EARLIER, BUT TYLER O’NEIL HAS MORE: Justice Is Coming: Carter Page Takes Comey, McCabe, Strzok to Court in $75M Obamagate Lawsuit.

WELL: Pennsylvania State Judge Upholds Halt To Certification, Finds Likelihood Mail-In Balloting Procedures Violate PA Constitution. “A Pennsylvania state court Judge has issued a preliminary injunction preventing Pennsylvania from taking any further steps to perfect its certification of the election, including but not limited to appointment of electors and transmission of necessary paperwork to the Electoral College, pending further court hearings and rulings. The ruling upholds an injunction from earlier in the week, and is significant because of the findings made in the Opinion released tonight. The case has been somewhat under the radar, because it doesn’t involve claims of fraud. It appears to be a pretty straight legal argument. This is not the federal court case that has received a lot of press attention and in which the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied relief.”

Full opinion here.

WHERE DO I GET ONE OF THESE? Seen on Facebook:

WHEN FRENCH INTELLECTUALS THINK THE AMERICAN LEFT HAS GOTTEN TOO CRAZY… France: Prominent Academics and Macron Administration Attack American Anti-Racist Ideology as “Anti-White.”


Over the past few days, Jordan Peterson’s critics have been doing their utmost to publicise his forthcoming book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. The famous clinical psychologist announced the publication on his YouTube channel on Monday, and within hours the book was being widely denounced on social media for its hateful content. This is quite a feat of the collective imagination, given that nobody has read it yet.

Much of the furore has come about because employees at the Canadian branch of the publisher, Penguin Random House, have called for the book to be cancelled. After multiple complaints were filed, they confronted their management at a meeting in which some burst into tears and shared their stories of how the evil Professor Peterson had caused such emotional havoc in their lives due to his ‘problematic’ opinions. According to a report in Vice, ‘one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalised their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend’.

This is just the latest example of a new trend of activist employees threatening to strike for ideological reasons. At the audio-streaming company Spotify, workers recently demanded editorial control of Joe Rogan’s newly acquired podcast series, after they had successfully removed a number of episodes deemed to be controversial. At publishing giant Hachette, employees threatened to walk out after JK Rowling’s children’s book, The Ickabog, was announced. All these internal revolts have failed, presumably because figures such as Rowling, Rogan and Peterson are too popular to cancel. One wonders how a less lucrative artist would fare under such circumstances.

As Ray Bradbury predicted in Fahrenheit 451, books will be burned to protect everyone’s feelings as much as to block the content within them. But I’m not sure if even he would have predicted that it would be the publishers’ staffers who would be manning the flamethrowers. Of course, in Penguin’s case, their bosses are partially to blame as well:

On Wednesday, America’s Newspaper of Record had a simple cure: Staffers Crying Over Jordan Peterson Book Cured By Forcing Them To Read Jordan Peterson Book. Those who manage such a crybully workforce would benefit from reading Peterson as well.

OF COURSE THEY DO: Democratic Senators Announce National Face Mask Legislation.

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THE PRESS KEEPS TELLING US THIS IS A FRINGE VIEW, BUT IT’S NOT: Most back election recounts, GOP wants Trump to run again. “New polling shows that a sizable majority of all voters back the president’s demands for recounts in states where the final count was razor thin. . . . In a poll from McLaughlin & Associates for Newsmax TV, 67% of all voters said it is fair for Trump to ask for recounts where the final margin was 1% or closer.”


NEVER LET A PANDEMIC GO TO WASTE. The Great Reset: If Only It Were Just a Conspiracy.

Fair enough, not least because the Great Reset is, in essence, corporatist, not communist. The participation of companies of the type that Sixsmith mentions is, in reality, the participation of certain members of their senior management, using shareholder funds for purposes that have nothing to do with the bottom line and everything to do with the wielding of power within a system akin to a concert, with the state — if not necessarily the government — acting as the conductor.

In the course of an article on the Great Reset I wrote last month, I described corporatism as:

[A] hydra-headed ideology with origins in the premodern, and a very mixed past — sometimes benignly (it influenced the formation of West Germany’s social market economy) and sometimes not (it was an important element in pre-war fascist theory.) The different forms corporatism has taken make it tricky to define with precision, but they share a common core: the conviction that society should be organized by and for its principal interest groups — let’s call them “stakeholders” — intermediated by, and ultimately subordinate to, the state. The individual does not get a look in.

Recently, one expression of corporatism, “stakeholder capitalism,” has won strong support on both sides of the Atlantic. This might be expected in Europe, but that it has been taken up by the Business Roundtable and many leading firms in the U.S. — allegedly a bastion of both free enterprise and democracy — is depressing. Looked at optimistically, the BRT and its C-suite cheerleaders are useful idiots. Looked at realistically, they are part of a managerial class grubbing for the power that flows from other people’s money.

Stakeholder capitalism rests on the notion that a company’s management owes a duty to more than its shareholders. It’s something that Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, has been advocating for a long time. A key feature of the Great Reset is the idea that stakeholder capitalism should, one way or another, be adopted.

That would reduce a company’s shareholders to just another category of “stakeholder,” effectively transferring the power that capital should confer away from its owners and into the hands of those who administer it. They are then accountable to, well, it’s not quite clear whom. It’s not difficult to grasp why so many corporate bosses are enthused by stakeholder capitalism.

You may not be interested in the Gleichschaltung, but the Gleichschaltung is interested in you.

(Found via Kate of Small Dead Animals, who writes, “I’ll believe there’s no conspiracy when the people who say there’s no conspiracy stop acting like conspirators.”

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NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: ‘Historically strange’ spike in incomplete Nevada voter files, casinos as ‘home.’

PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: Carter Page Sues DOJ, FBI, James Comey, And Others Behind Crossfire Hurricane FISA Abuse.

In an eight-count complaint filed Friday in the D.C. District Court, Carter Page seeks damages of no less than $75 million from the U.S. government, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and individuals responsible for obtaining four illegal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders against Page.

Page’s 59-page complaint lists as defendants a veritable “Who’s Who” of the SpyGate scandal, including former FBI Director James Comey, Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, and the disgraced team of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Also singled out were Kevin Clinessmith, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to falsifying an email to hide Page’s past service as a source to the CIA, and FBI Agents Joe Pientka, Stephen Somma, and Brian Auten, with additional defendants identified merely as John Doe 1 – 10 and Jane Doe 1 – 10.

Just in case they thought this stuff would go away after the election.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Natan Sharansky and the Meaning of Freedom.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Former Cuomo aide Alexis Grenell in The Nation on The Collapse of the Cuomosexual.

The whole thing was already very Through the Looking Glass before the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced on Friday that they were awarding the governor an Emmy for his “television shows with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.” Next he’ll be playing himself in an Aaron Sorkin movie, taking three points off the back end. Aside from having just barely survived the delusion that elevated a reality TV character to the presidency, we’re now giving a real-life governor an entertainment award for doing his actual job. Where does that leave governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Witmer, who also gave press briefings, but didn’t take a bow—and got death threats instead?

There’s something genuinely depressing about seeing the son of a man who refused a seat on the Supreme Court so eager to be flattered by Ben Stiller. It’s almost hard to remember how he ridiculed two-time Emmy Award–winner Cynthia Nixon back in 2018 for being an unqualified celebrity.

Turns out he just wanted to trade places all along.

As Jeff Dunetz adds, “It turns out that Alexis Grenell, a Democratic Party consultant, has got Andrew Cuomo down to a ‘T.’ He doesn’t act like a politician. He acts like an absolute ruler—a tyrannical one.”

Which is why, you’re gonna need much more Cuomosexual Conversion Therapy:

But in the last few days, more New Yorkers have enrolled in Cuomosexual Conversion Therapy. Their two major sticking points? Vaccines and schools.

There was widespread optimism when Pfizer-BionTECH and Moderna announced success rates of over 90 percent for their COVID-19 vaccines. For the first time in months it seemed as though there was hope for America. Enter Andy-Vaxxer Cuomo, using his platform as governor to undermine public trust in the FDA’s potential authorization of vaccine which we will all need to take. ‘We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it,’ he said last week, with all the scientific expertise of an Instagram wellness blogger. ‘I’m pushing hard to make sure that we have a process in place to check what the FDA says before people start getting the vaccine in New York.’

People were happy to put up with Cuomo’s pettiness when he was moving his daughter’s boyfriend to the Canadian border, or deploying the State Liquor Authority to target bars that mocked his dumb food rule by serving ‘Cuomo pizza’. But the prospect that his tussling with Trump might delay the climax of the COVID carnage has given many pause for thought.

The governor compounded his misstep with another display of logger-headed machismo posturing this week, clashing with Mayor Bill de Blasio over school closures. The mayor, after dithering for days, introduced an arbitrary 3 percent positivity rate to re-close NYC’s public schools. The governor contradicted this, saying at a Wednesday press conference that schools could remain open as the positivity rate was only 2.5 percent. A Wall Street Journal reporter expressed confusion on behalf of parents — and Cuomo, acting as hard as a pierced nipple in winter, snapped:

The delivery of Cuomosexual deprogramming tools should be prioritized so that Emmy Award voters receive theirs first:

OPEN THREAD: The turkey is left over, but the comments are fresh!

ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE: Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa may spout water plumes from its icy crust.

YEP: “Georgia Republicans need a record turnout in January to put Perdue and Loeffler beyond the margin of error, beyond the margin of lawyer, and beyond the margin of sewer…”
– Mark Steyn now on Tucker Carlson Tonight

RULES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE (CONT’D): Windsor mayor breaks COVID restrictions at restaurant, just hours after urging zero tolerance.

FIGHT THE POWER: Eric Clapton joins Van Morrison’s anti-lockdown campaign with new song, ‘Stand and Deliver.’

Music legend Eric Clapton is joining Van Morrison’s efforts to reopen the live music industry amid the coronavirus pandemic by releasing a new anti-lockdown song called, “Stand and Deliver.”

The song, which was written by Mr. Morrison and performed by Mr. Clapton, will debut Dec. 4 and the proceeds will go toward Mr. Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which supports U.K. musicians who are facing financial hardship because of widespread government restrictions on live music, Variety reported. . . .

“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already,” Mr. Morrison said at the time. “It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”

The lockdown backlash will be big, and will cross ordinary political divides. Politicians are insufficiently concerned.

WELL: United Airlines flying Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Charter flights. “United Airlines will be allowed to carry five times the amount of dry ice normally permitted on board to keep the vaccine at the necessary cold temperature.”

HMM: Hydrogen-producing algae may fuel alternative energy economy.


STOCK CHARACTERS MEET THE STOCK MARKET CRASH: The Third Season of Babylon Berlin on Netflix.

Dispatches from the Börse Belt, my latest over at Ed


TRUST THE SCIENCE? Johns Hopkins Study Saying COVID-19 Has ‘Relatively No Effect on Deaths’ in U.S. Deleted After Publication.

Was it because it was wrong? Was there a scientific error that slipped past the reviewers? Nope. Johns Hopkins tweeted that it was because “the article was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic.”

It’s true, but we deleted it because it’s useful to people we disagree with isn’t science.

HERD IMMUNITY, HERE WE COME! Australian study suggests true COVID-19 infection rate is 6.2 times higher than official tallies.

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GOOD CALL: AstraZeneca says its vaccine needs ‘additional study.’


To Whom it May Concern and May it Concern You:

I am appalled that Governor Phil Scott would even consider directing schools to ask children if they joined other households for Thanksgiving. Governor Scott is not asking parents, he is asking children to incriminate their families. He is placing the burden of the parents’ decision on the children, and it should be clearly unacceptable in a free society, pandemic or not. While I believe the desire of the Governor is to keep the illness at bay and to protect those in our community who cannot protect themselves, putting children in the middle is not an option.

Imagine the embarrassment of the child who slips and says that they ate with Grandma and Grandpa. This child is now pulled from line at school to sit out for 2 weeks—yet these same Grandparents have been providing child care all along, but are not “part of the household.” Imagine the fear of the kids whose parents chose to have a get-together but their ability to go to work hinges on the child lying. Do children of divorced families who have 2 households have to lie because they changed households on Thanksgiving? This is unfair to the children and it too closely resembles other totalitarian efforts of using children to enforce the government’s desires. If you want to know if parents took their children to other households for Thanksgiving, then ask the parents directly.

One can argue that this is an extension of the daily questions already being asked, however, those questions were established and decided on before school started. At my children’s schools, parents were notified ahead of time that these questions would be asked. While I feel these questions are invasive enough, I was fully aware and agreed to send my children despite these questions. Due to COVID weariness I doubt many parents have heard that schools will be asking this question. These same parents who are not aware might well be the ones who need to go to work the most! Parents are not being made fully aware and that is one difference. Yet, I feel strongly that this question should not be asked at all!

The logic behind this cancelled Thanksgiving assumes that Vermonters cannot assess the warnings and risks for themselves so the government must tell us how to behave to keep us “safe”. We are told not to gather so that next year we can celebrate twice as much. However, in both 2017 and 2018 around 6700 Vermonters died. If we wait until next Thanksgiving, there will be another estimated 6700 people who will not share in our Thanksgiving dinner, not because of COVID but because time marches on. And now you, Governor Scott have decided for us that the 6700 people who will not be with us next year are less important than the 64 we have lost to COVID. Every life does matter, but you are choosing which lives will get to celebrate. I am a thinking woman and can decide that for myself and my children, thank you.

Lastly, let us keep perspective that, as of November 17, 2020, there had been 60 COVID deaths and 60 automobile related deaths this year. Further, the automobile deaths have increased significantly in a pandemic year when there should be far fewer people driving compared to last year. According to the Vermont State Police Website, “As of November 17th, there have been 60 fatalities on Vermont’s roads in 2020. There were 38 at this point in 2019, and the 10-year average for this date is 54.” While our road death rates are up 22% from last year, and one might argue the “epidemic proportions” of this, no one is asking us to stop driving or asking our children if someone drove them to school or to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving safely!

Today, I am thankful for my family and for all the work our public servants have done through this crazy year. Whether I agree with their methods or not I appreciate their time and do believe they are trying to do what is best. However, I am also thankful that I live in a country where my voice can be heard. I have the privilege and the responsibility to speak out and to let my elected official know when I disagree. Today, I am finally speaking out that I have had enough and our children are not pawns.

Governor Scott, please continue to guide and share good information but let Vermonters make their own decisions, and do not bring our children into this debate.


Mother of Three, Concerned Citizen

You have to break a few eggs to be in the running for an Emmy or a Time Magazine “Person of the Year” cover story.


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DISPATCHES FROM THE MEMORY HOLE: Why a Liberal Reporter Saved a Ton of Headlines from Liberal Media Outlets Concerning the Electoral College.

HE HASN’T FORGOTTEN, HE JUST HOPES YOU WILL: Barack Obama Forgets That He Put Immigrants in Cages, Attacks Trump Over Policy.

ONE OF THE FEW LEFTIES WHO’LL GIVE TRUMP CREDIT FOR HIS RECORD OF PEACE: Glenn Greenwald: Nothing Trump Did Compares to the ‘Moral Evil’ of Bush’s and Obama’s Wars.

ALSO, OTHERS’: Quick bursts of exercise can help diabetics’ hearts.

GOODER AND HARDER: Minneapolis momentum is being crushed by the crime wave. The city was rebranding for a vibrant future, but today you can’t go to the grocery store without fear of being attacked.

Flashback: After Trying to Defund Police, Minneapolis City Council Asks: ‘Where Are the Police?’

You want to get rid of the police? This is what it looks like. When you stop enforcing the law, you get anarchy and chaos. You get ruined lives and billions in damages. The only thing worse than cops is no cops.

And that’s after we saw nonsense like this, from Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender:

And speaking of nonsense in Minneapolis: Minneapolis Won’t Let Riot-Battered Stores Install Security Shutters.

In a report justifying the rule change, Minneapolis officials argued that external shutters “cause visual blight” and create the impression that an area is “unsafe” and “troublesome.”

After looters crashed through his floor‐​to‐​ceiling windows and stole $1 million worth of booze in May, Chicago‐​Lake Liquors owner John Wolf wanted to protect himself from a repeat occurrence. … The [forbidden] investment [in security shutters] would not only prevent rioters from entering his store, it would protect his windows — which cost $50,000 to replace.

Minneapolis will have more “visual blight” than it knows what to do with for years after this past summer’s Biden Riots.

THIS IS NO DOUBT BECAUSE #ORANGEMANBAD: Doctors, officials raise alarm as S. Korean COVID-19 cases hit 8-month high.

CAPITALISM, THE UNKNOWN IDEAL: GoFundMe Has Worked COVID-19 Miracles While Fraud And Dysfunction Plague Government Relief Programs. Just imagine what charity could accomplish if big government programs weren’t consuming so much of our resources.

EXODUS: The ironies and finalities of being on top of the world.

What we now call our “technological age” was supposed to be a full-throated and enduring argument for the future, not unlike previous epochs in history that pushed art, science, philosophy, and religion forward in dizzying ways that run counter to ordinary time. The Enlightenment. The Renaissance. The French Revolution. These movements now sit as categories on our bookshelves with clear beginnings and ends, and more importantly, clear hubs and cities of frenetic building that drove the ethos forward. Many books assume that contemporary critics or philosophers were blissfully ignorant to the unraveling of their revolutions, but we should not assume that contemporaries did not feel the same twilight setting. The figurative orange skies always creep in before dawn.

Which brings us to the supposed death of Silicon Valley, a fate that has long been predicted but with data now finally catching up. San Francisco apartment rents in 2020 have deflated by 20 percent after an up-up-and-away decade that made the city truly unlivable. Home inventory has reached a fifteen-year high in a city blighted by restrictive housing policy that makes construction cranes as miraculous as stumbling upon a burning bush. The growth in online sales-tax collection, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, is the lowest of all counties in the state of California. And public tech companies, such as Pinterest, paid upwards of $90 million to break its lease in downtown San Francisco. Some would argue this is a clear end to Bay Area tech dominance, while others would point to the many new unicorns that popped up this year despite the once-in-a-century pandemic. No one’s living here, yet somehow the companies are still growing.

Silicon Valley doesn’t really have cultural critics to weigh in on whether this era is officially over, but we do have venture capitalists. And our Nostradomuses are telling us that change is afoot.

Do we really need this office? The founders all have left.

Their entire partnership is now living in Montana. It’s only a two-hour flight away!

Denver seems like a good option, but Reno has no state income tax.

Earlier: Don’t ‘Californicate’ the Rest of America.

IRAN’S TOP NUCLEAR SCIENTIST KILLED IN ATTACK, STATE MEDIA SAY: “The assassinated scientist had long been a target of Israel’s Mossad,” a mournful New York Times is quick to add.

Live video of Ben Rhodes’ reaction:

The WaPo, once worried about democracy dying in darkness, sounds upset as well:

IN THE MAIL: From Virginia Postrel, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World.

NOT ONLY IS 2020 STRANGER THAN WE IMAGINED, IT IS STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE: Austrian village named F–king to change name after unwanted tourist attention.

Come next year, the village of 100 residents near the German border will be named Fugging.

“I can confirm that the village is being renamed,” Andrea Holzner, the mayor of Tarsdorf, the municipality where the village is located, told regional daily Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten.

“I really don’t want to say anything more — we’ve had enough media frenzy about this in the past,” she said.

English-speaking tourists have increasingly flocked to F–king for a photo-op next to an entrance sign bearing the village’s name.

I blame Amazon’s Grand Tour series:

IT’S NOT AN “EXCUSE,” AND YOU’RE A SORRY EXCUSE FOR A CITIZEN: Chief diversity officer: ‘First Amendment “excuse” is out’ regarding offensive speech. And this sort of talk will make the inevitable civil rights suits easier.

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WE’VE BEEN ZUCKED. OR XI’D? China wants the world to adopt its QR-code system for assigning every individual a color denoting his or her current Covid status. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe some people should read Revelation 13?

A STRIKE IS WHEN YOU STOP PRODUCING SOMETHING OF VALUE. STUDENTS DON’T PRODUCE ANYTHING. Hundreds of Haverford College students strike following admin’s response to Walter Wallace death.


China’s 2019 Defense White Paper argued, “War is evolving in form towards informationized warfare, and intelligent warfare is on the horizon.”

Intelligent warfare seems to include autonomous decision-making systems and autonomous weapons. That suggests Chinese strategists think Informationized War is a concept and system that trains military planners to integrate autonomous, unmanned systems into full-spectrum warfighting operations — say, a battle for control of the western Pacific that includes hidden, pre-positioned swarms of robot boats, robot submersibles (capable of knocking out a U.S. Navy nuclear attack sub), autonomous missile systems and autonomous electronic warfare assets.

At the moment, that war scenario is science fiction warfare.

China, however, is trying to move from concept to capability.

“Informationized War” is a clunky term, but remember it’s an English translation. China’s senior leaders take concept quite seriously. It’s my latest Creators Syndicate column.

FRESH WATER BELOW THE SEA?: Scientists uncover billions of gallons of hidden fresh water off Hawaii.

Using a new technique that relies on tracing electrical resistance, a team of geohydrologists has discovered a never-before-seen way the islands’ volcanic soil collects and hides away freshwater beneath the ocean’s salty surface.

Accessing this freshwater could give Hawaii and other volcanic islands a more sustainable and future-proof solution to collecting water during times of need.

The next move? Drill baby, drill, and find out if the potential reservoirs really hold 900 billion gallons of fresh water.


THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S MOTTO: Obama’s Libya war was an illegal disaster, but at least he owned the cons.

COMBAT CRAFT ASSAULT, MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors aboard a Combat Craft Assault (CCA) pull alongside the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. Photo taken Nov. 23, 2020. The second and third paragraphs of this Special Operations update has background information on the CCA.

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SADLY BELIEVABLE: In Michigan lawsuit, Sidney Powell alleges poll workers altered large numbers of ballots.

She charged that Detroit and Wayne County officials took actions “permitting illegal double voting by persons that had voted by absentee ballot and in person; counting ineligible ballots – and in many cases – multiple times; counting ballots without signatures, or without attempting to match signatures, and ballots without postmarks, pursuant to direct instructions from Defendants.”

Here’s the complaint.

PUBLISHED IN USA TODAY ON NOVEMBER 2D, THE LAST DAY YOU COULD RAISE THESE QUESTIONS WITHOUT BEING CALLED A CONSPIRACY THEORIST: Will your ballot be safe? Computer experts sound warnings on America’s voting machines.

Millions of voters going to the polls Tuesday will cast their ballots on machines blasted as unreliable and inaccurate for two decades by computer scientists from Princeton University to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Toyed with by white-hat hackers and targeted for scathing reviews from secretaries of state in California and Ohio, Direct Recording Electronic voting systems, or DREs, have startled Illinois voters by flashing the word “Republican” at the top of a ballot and forgotten what day it was in South Carolina. They were questioned in the disappearance of 12,000 votes in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, in 2002 and 18,000 votes in Sarasota County, Florida, in 2006.

“Antiquated, seriously flawed and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination and attack,” U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg wrote of Georgia’s aging DRE system before ordering the state to replace it in 2019. . . .

All election systems are for the most part black boxes: proprietary software and hardware jealously guarded by the handful of companies selling them. But state reviews and court cases opening up DRE systems of all makes and models for examination have for years flagged problems.

But remember, if you say this now, you’re a conspiracy theorist.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS: After defunding the police, Portland mayor attacks police for not arresting more rioters (that just get released anyway).

(Via Blazing Cat Fur.)


Trump set himself against the 1 percent at a time when donor-dependent politicians (including virtually all of them in the Republican Party) were unable even to consider that the country might have a problem with inequality. And Trump did so credibly. He didn’t just oppose the 1 percent, he made them sick. That meant he wouldn’t be able to sell out to them even if he wanted to. That was enough.

The inequality that we are speaking of was as much cultural as economic. Trump’s supporters were disproportionately rural and exurban “deplorables,” to use a coinage of Hillary Clinton’s that will be the one thing the average schoolchild is taught about her a generation from now. They were sneered at, condescended to, and lectured about their racial homogeneity, as it were a function of their hostility to diversity rather than of their exclusion from the global economy arrangements that generate diversity. But such matters are often subjective, subtle, and time-consuming to describe except in broad stereotypes. We must turn to economic statistics for an objective description of this great social conflict, even if they leave out its most important psychological and sociological elements.

Trump didn’t sell out his supporters. In fact, his presidency saw something extraordinary, even if it was all but invisible from the country’s globalized cities: the first egalitarian boom since well back into the twentieth century. In 2019, the last non-Covid year, he presided over an average 3.7 percent unemployment rate and 4.7 percent wage growth among the lowest quartile of earners. All income brackets increased their take. That had happened in the last three Obama years, too. The difference is that in the Obama part of the boom, the income of the top decile rose by 20 percent, with tiny gains for other groups. In the Trump economy, the distribution was different. Net worth of the top 10 percent rose only marginally, while that of all other groups vaulted ahead. In 2019, the share of overall earnings going to the bottom 90 percent of earners rose for the first time in a decade.

The Democrats have a plan to fix that.


MOST OF THEIR THOUGHTS CANNOT BE REPRINTED:  Army-funded study developing tech that could allow ‘telepathic’ soldiers.



TO MAKE IT EASIER:  Doug Ross Journal Creates Infographics of Sidney Powell Georgia Lawsuit…


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