Links 5/31/23

Links for you. Science:

SARS-CoV-2 transmission with and without mask wearing or air cleaners in schools in Switzerland: A modeling study of epidemiological, environmental, and molecular data
The Impact of Debt Ceiling Talks on Federal R&D Spending (the only time I might ever agree with this guy…)
Estimates of Bivalent mRNA Vaccine Durability in Preventing COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization and Critical Illness Among Adults with and Without Immunocompromising Conditions — VISION Network, September 2022–April 2023
New U.S. lab will work with deadly animal pathogens—in the middle of farm country. Unease greets opening of high security research facility in Kansas (there was a reason it was on Plum Island)
Reduced exercise capacity, chronotropic incompetence, and early systemic inflammation in cardiopulmonary phenotype Long COVID
Antarctic alarm bells: Observations reveal deep ocean currents are slowing earlier than predicted


The Cult of the Founders (excellent)
The Real Threat to Freedom Is Coming From the States
Debt Ceiling Deal Thoughts
The Politics of Police
The Great PPE Conspiracy: An Unspoken Theory of International Fraud
Kansas faces OB-GYN shortage. Providers warn new laws could further strain maternity care
How to Talk About Abortion: The GOP is losing the abortion debate. So why are they the ones framing it?
Feinstein, Back in the Senate, Relies Heavily on Staff to Function. The California Democrat is surrounded by a large retinue of aides at all times, who tell her how and when to vote, explain what is going on when she is confused, and shield her from the press and public.
State Farm has stopped accepting homeowner insurance applications in California
Here’s What Happens When Your Lawyer Uses ChatGPT
Happy Suck On This Day! 20th Anniversary! (also this)
When a shopping mall closes, what becomes of the art inside?
Historic gains: Low-income workers scored in the Covid economy
Citi Bike at Ten: ‘We Were Riding in a City That Simply Hadn’t Existed Just a Few Years Earlier’
We haven’t always had a debt ceiling
‘They’re afraid their AIs will come for them’: Doug Rushkoff on why tech billionaires are in escape mode
Ron DeSantis’s Antiscience Agenda Is Dangerous: Presidential contender Ron DeSantis has used governmental power in Florida to restrict access to health and education, promoting an intolerant and harmful agenda
Immunologist Akiko Iwasaki: ‘We are not done with Covid, not even close’
The Floppy Disk Museum on a Floppy
How (and why) Biden should overcome the Supreme Court to end the debt showdown (if he still needs to do so; if not, onto 2025!)
Conservatives keep calling for an American dictator. Believe them.
Why Barack Obama’s Working Isn’t Quite… Working
America’s Poverty Is Built by Design
The Real Reason Your Groceries Are Getting So Expensive
Did Sen. Robert Menendez and Wife Get Car, DC Apartment, Other ‘Gifts’ From NJ Business?
What the Supreme Court Does Matters More Than What It Says

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The Unitary Dumbass Veto Principle Is Working Quite Well

In case you missed it, the Jewish Telegraph Agency did some digging into the person who got one of poet Amanda Gorman’s poems banned from schools (boldface mine):

Months before a Miami-area mother persuaded a local school to restrict access to an Amanda Gorman poem, she was posting antisemitic memes on her Facebook page….

“I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. She was saying sorry for a Facebook post she shared in March offering a summary of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious antisemitic forgery written more than a century ago in Russia.

“I’m not what the post says,” Salinas said. “I love the Jewish community.”

Salinas challenged the Gorman poem — which she says she hasn’t read in its entirety — on the grounds that it contains “indirect hate messages.” The review committee said it “erred on the side of caution” in deciding to limit students’ access.

Salinas’ post about the Protocols included a list of steps depicting how “Jewish Zionists” would achieve world domination. The graphic included stages such as “Place our agents and helpers everywhere,” “Replace royal rule with socialist rule, then communism, then despotism,” and “Sacrifice people (including Jews sometimes) when necessary.”

Reached by JTA on Wednesday, Salinas confirmed that the post about the “Protocols” was hers and apologized for it, saying she hadn’t read it beyond the word “communism.” Salinas said her aversion to communism stems from her Cuban identity. She added that English is not her first language.

“I see the word ‘communism,’ and I think it’s something about communism,” she said. “I didn’t read the words.”

Salinas said that her heart became “tight” with pain when she thought that people would see her as antisemitic for sharing the Protocols post. After speaking with JTA, Salinas deleted the post.

Salinas said she was speaking with JTA after declining to talk with other media outlets so that she could apologize. She said she is Christian and added, “We are super protective of the Jewish people.” She added that she has Jewish friends and is a fan of the Israeli Netflix series “Fauda.”

Leaving aside the bigotry and anti-Semitism, she didn’t even do the reading in full. She sees certain words, gets triggered, and then does stupid censorship tricks. There has to be a way to stop a process that provides individual dumbasses with a veto–and it starts with people in authority fighting back.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons, Jewish Stuff, Racism | 1 Comment

Links 5/30/23

Links for you. Science:

Bivalent COVID vaccine efficacy at 6 months: 24% against hospitalization, strong against death
What to know about the Powassan virus disease, a tick-borne illness
Disrupted seasonality and association of COVID-19 with medically attended respiratory syncytial virus infections among young children in the US: January 2010–January 2023
Association of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination or Infection With Bell Palsy
Dichotomy of neutralizing antibody, B cell and T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and protection in healthy adults
The Latest COVID Variants Have a Surprising Feature in Common


As Deals Go, This Is One of Them
Russians snitch on Russians who oppose war with Soviet-style denunciations
Disney and the Great Streaming Purge
At all levels of public office, threats now come with the job
A Public Health Expert Explains How We Can Actually Reduce Gun Deaths
Boebert dismisses antisemitism push as effort to target conservatives
The debt ceiling fiasco is Joe Manchin’s fault
Nikki Haley let the Confederate flag fly until a massacre forced her hand
A Far Right Moms Group Is Targeting Students. These Women Are Fighting Back. “We treat Moms for Liberty like the KKK. If you knew that a KKK meeting was happening in a church down the street from your house, everyone would be alarmed.”
Content moderation is the product: Some thoughts on the current slate of would-be Twitter-slayers
Massachusetts spends thousands more on school construction aid for white students than for students of color
The No Good, Not That Bad Debt Ceiling Deal: Extortion paid off, but only a little bit.
Teaching is increasingly difficult. So why stay in that job?
DeSantis And Trump Fight Over Who Handled The COVID-19 Pandemic Worse
Fixer-uppers with waterfront views: The US is unloading lighthouses
A Liberalism That Builds Power
Georgia GOP Chair Goes Full Flat-Earth, Says Globes Are Part of a Conspiracy
How to Humiliate an Economist
Obama, You Bum, You Are the Past and Unions Are the Future. An old rich guy basks in his irrelevance.
Who is Nate Paul? A look at the developer at the center of Texas’ impeachment scandal
Underexposure Exposed
Hugely Profitable And Consolidated Streaming Platforms Suddenly Too Cheap To Pay Residuals And Writers, Or Keep Niche Shows Online
Colorado’s Ingenious Idea for Solving the Housing Crisis (might have more to say about this)
Tuberville on inner city teachers: ‘I don’t know whether they can read and write’
Portland Public Schools secures 3,500 air purifiers to improve classroom air flow

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All of U.S. Politics and Public Policy in One Chart

I kid, but these polling results about attitudes towards COVID show how one of these demographic groups is not like the others:


Until we learn to say the phrase “White Christian supremacy”–as uncomfortable as that might be for some Christians (nominal or devout)–we will not understand a key feature of U.S. politics. How the ‘religious’ right was disappeared down the memory hole, even as they still play a huge role in U.S. politics, escapes me. But it happened!

Posted in Conservatives, COVID-19 | 2 Comments

Links 5/29/23

Links for you. Science:

Evolutionary characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants adapted to the host
CDC Study Suggests Adults Without an Updated COVID-19 Booster Shot Have ‘Relatively Little’ Protection Against Hospitalization
Development of a Definition of Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Pathogenicity, tissue tropism and potential vertical transmission of SARSr-CoV-2 in Malayan pangolins
Fall’s COVID Shots May Be Different in One Key Way
AI Is Unlocking the Human Brain’s Secrets


‘The Court’s Position Is, No One Can Tell Them What to Do’: CounterSpin interview with Ian Millhiser on Supreme Court corruption
Florida Man: Examining the life and career of Ron DeSantis, whose record of supervising torture and stifling free speech mean he should be kept far, far away from executive power. (the Gitmo stuff is awful)
Henry Kissinger, War Criminal—Still at Large at 100
As long COVID turns three, Americans play disability roulette
The Good, Bad, and Ugly in MPD’s Cultural Assessment. A new 314-page report provides a road map for the Metropolitan Police Department’s next chief.
House Dems in No Labels-allied caucus are livid with No Labels (the left-ish side of the caucus is loyal to the party even if moderates are too fucking stupid to see it)
Optimus Prime Speaks To Defend Georgetown Transformers Sculptures, But Suffers Defeat
You Can’t Fix What You Can’t Face. How Our Education Governance System Is Failing Us.
DeSantis Holding State Budget Hostage While His Staffers Solicit Donations to His Presidential Campaign from Lobbyists
8 Celebs Who Have Struggled With Long COVID
DeSantis’s shameless defense of the Amanda Gorman fiasco is revealing
Cowardice Is As Common As Sand
You Want Better City Councils? Pay Them More. One Redmond City Council Member Makes $12 a Month, and It’s About to Get Worse
When Racial Justice Meant Universal Social Benefits. The left used to believe that reducing inequality across the board was the best way to combat racial injustice. What happened?
DeSantis-Sacks ’24
Biden Must Remake His Candidacy
We Need to Talk About Netflix’s Ad Numbers
The Killing of Banko Brown Shows What San Francisco’s Real Crisis Looks Like
Oh, Rats: Hamptonites Are Freaking Out Over Vermin
Anti-Trans Legislation Is Becoming a National Security Issue
Biden releases new strategy to tackle rise in antisemitism, says ‘hate will not prevail’
How to Fight the Right’s Moral Panic Over Parental Rights
A Strangler in a Strange Land: Daniel Penny killed Jordan Neely with his bare hands on video, but every institution in New York seems to be on Penny’s side. Why?
Our Media Is Fueling Vigilantism Against Homeless People
Dowd’s Newsroom Nostalgia Is Management Propaganda
Scientific American Condemns Ron DeSantis
Outsiders, strivers: New museum presents complex story of D.C. region’s Jews

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Public Service Announcement

So I had a minor moment of panic this morning when I saw this–after getting up and drinking a glass of water:

Water alert

Fortunately, I’m not in the affected area, which appears to be Woodridge and Fort Lincoln (possibly parts of Langdon too).

I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day (with potable water).

Posted in DC, Water | 1 Comment

Links 5/28/23

Links for you. Science:

Personalized RNA neoantigen vaccines stimulate T cells in pancreatic cancer (remember, this was the original objective of mRNA vaccines)
What Number Comes Next? The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences Knows.
Genetic Determinants Underlying the Progressive Phenotype of Beta-lactam/Beta-lactamase Inhibitor Resistance in Escherichia coli
Cognitive dysfunction of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant in Shanghai, China
Urgent measures are needed to shore up NIST’s crumbling facilities: Researchers must cope with flooding, power surges, and other difficulties.
COVID-19 vaccines may undergo major overhaul this fall. As Omicron persists, consensus grows for abandoning the ancestral coronavirus strain to improve immune responses


You Can’t Just Put Rich Guys In Prison
Investigators detail years of alleged misconduct by Texas AG Ken Paxton in stunning House committee hearing
Movies Have A Reality Disease. ‘Sisu’ Is The Cure
Ending Zero-Covid Coming Home To Roost For China
Judges rebuke Social Security for errors as disability denials stack up
What MPD’s own report says is wrong with MPD: Officers and outside experts report serious problems within DC’s police force
The People’s Filter: Going back to the office amidst COVID and wildfire smoke? Here’s a do-it-yourself guide to air filtration.
3 Years on From George Floyd’s Death, What’s Changed in American Policing?
Target’s surrender to MAGA rage shows how anti-wokeness really works
A Hospital Visit Reveals Medieval Secrets Hidden in Books
Clarence Thomas should resign from the supreme court, for the good of the court: By acting as if Thomas has done nothing wrong, chief justice John Roberts looks pathetic and enabling of unethical behavior
Now’s the time to think about just how bad a DeSantis presidency would be
A Defense of ‘La Sombrita,’ LA’s Much-Mocked Bus-Stop Shade. The designers of the now-notorious transit pilot respond to the backlash that greeted the project, and reflect on what it reveals about the city’s infrastructure challenges.
1) Not Getting Bombed By Henry Kissinger
The Path From The Tea Party Through Jan. 6 To Today
Dismissing Anything From The Left
Sen. Tuberville makes openly racist remarks on Don Jr.’s web show (“Tuberville says lots of racist things, but his appearance with Don Jr. did expose how racism often works for the Republican Party: as an attack on labor.”)
Samuel Alito’s Assault on Wetlands Is So Indefensible That He Lost Brett Kavanaugh
Twitter’s collapse is imminent, here’s what’s next
Leaked Brownstone Institute Emails Reveal Support for Child Labor, Underage Smoking
Why is the world running out of sand?
More American Cities Considering Free Public Transportation
Supreme Court curtails Clean Water Act
Twitter Is a Far-Right Social Network
The Case for Taxing Vehicles by Weight
On Anniversary Of George Floyd’s Death, Biden Vetoes Congressional Attempt To Block D.C. Police Bill

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A Good Summary

For your Sunday reading, I’m going to suggest you read David Dayen about the debt ceiling (boldface mine):

With one potentially major exception, the relative harm and help was kept to a minimum in the final agreement. It will only be a little bit easier to commit wage theft, or to sell defective or poisoned products. It’ll only be a little harder to get rental assistance or tuition support. Only a few people will be freer to pollute the environment; only a few will find it more difficult to get food. The Internal Revenue Service will only be a little worse. A lot of things will stay the same. Almost nothing will get any better

Imagine a world where we were a normal country with no debt ceiling, but everything else was exactly the same. Thanks to gerrymandering and the malpractice of the New York Democratic Party, Republicans still have the House, and the budget for the current fiscal year still expires on September 30. Republicans and Democrats would still have to negotiate that budget, and one likely outcome of that would be that negotiations fall apart, that there’s just no way to reconcile what both sides want. In that case, either the government shuts down or a continuing resolution is struck, which means that the government would operate at the current funding levels for a period of time. Maybe we’d live under a CR for the entire two years of this Congress.

That’s approximately what happened in this agreement. The funding levels for fiscal year 2024 on the non-defense discretionary side are at FY2023 levels. House Republicans are saying they clawed things back to FY2022, but a number of funding shifts—most prominently the return of tens of billions of dollars in unspent COVID aid—backfill the non-defense discretionary budget to get it to around FY2023.

What this deal really does is hurt the government’s capacity. Clean air and water, consumer product safety, labor laws, public lands, agricultural conservation—most of the stuff we think of as “the government” will be hit by this. “’Flat spending’ implies a further reduction in real government funding per person after a decade of Obama-Boehner austerity, followed by Trump’s assaults on the administrative state,” wrote Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project.

If we lose funding for second generation COVID vaccine development, that will be penny wise and pound foolish, especially in light of recent studies about the prevalence of long COVID–and work requirements for single, middle aged people who need SNAP hits the group most likely to get COVID the hardest.

I also have some thoughts about this on the horrible Twitter machine.

Posted in Conservatives, Democrats, Fucking Morons | 1 Comment

Links 5/27/23

Links for you. Science:

Bizarre Sea Creatures Illuminate the Dawn of the Animal Kingdom
How a High-Tech Egg Could Help the Endangered California Condor
New York City may be sinking under its own weight because the buildings are too heavy, scientists warn
Desert Monoliths Reveal World’s Oldest Architectural Plans
Effects of Mask Reuse on the Oropharyngeal, Skin and Mask Microbiome
Pre-infection COVID vaccination linked to lower odds of lingering symptoms (again, 1-2% of people get long COVID; paper here)


Imagine a Renters’ Utopia. It Might Look Like Vienna. (must-read)
The Debt Limit Situation: Biden has a variety of ways to ignore the debt limit. He has no way to legally follow it. (excellent)
Democrats Need to Get Over Their Pathetic Fear of the Supreme Court. Remembering what Franklin Roosevelt did when faced with a potential Court decision that would blow up the economy: prepare to ignore it. (must-read)
The Scum Economy
GOP extortion has backed Biden into a corner. He still has a way out. (if nothing else, make the courts do the dirty deed)
D.C. Ranks First For Urban Parks, Again. Some Residents Say It Shouldn’t
Engineered Helplessness
Biden is at his moment of maximum risk. Look out.
Trump won’t leave E. Jean Carroll alone — so she’s going to make him pay
The GOP Is in an Abusive Relationship with Trump
I’ve started to wonder if the whole debt ceiling crisis isn’t about Republicans’ determination to cut taxes for the wealthy at all costs.
Trump’s worst judge will hear a $1.8 billion attack on Planned Parenthood
Joe Manchin Rents Office Space to Firm Powering FBI, Pentagon Biometric Surveillance Center: Tygart Technology was founded by Manchin’s daughter in 1991, and it’s headquartered in the same building as his coal company.
Doctors Who Spread Medical Misinformation Should Lose Their Licenses. Why Don’t They?
Telecom company sued by nearly every state over billions of robocalls
How Washington Bargained Away Rural America
Book Publishers Are Trying to Destroy Public E-Book Access in Order to Increase Profits
The White House Wants a Debt Ceiling Deal
The Democrats Have Already Lost the Debt Ceiling Fight
The Debt Ceiling Is Unconstitutional—but Not for the Reason You Think
Workers want a four-day week. Why hasn’t it happened?
At Least Free the Debt Ceiling Hostage
Covid Kills One Person Every Four Minutes as Vaccine Rates Fall
Minnesota Democrats just keep winning
The Real Winner? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Debt Limit Update: The GOP Admits to Extortion

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In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

Regarding the Debt Ceilling, This Time Biden Really Is The Green Lantern

Professional Democrats Are Bad at Their Jobs: The 14th Amendment Edition

Some Thoughts on Biden and Aging

New Democrats Are So Exhausting

You’re Not the Weirdo If You’re Still Taking Precautions Against (Long) COVID

The Four (Anti-) Freedoms

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