The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Feel free to use the comments to this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Is America Going to Have a Covid-19 Apocalypse?


April 18th US Covid Data


  1. Mark Pontin

    So I was proselytizing last week for deceased American writer Robert Stone on the basis of the recent re-release in a single Library of America volume of three of his novels: DOG SOLDIERS, A FLAG FOR SUNRISE, and OUTERBRIDGE REACH.

    For those who might be interested, here are a couple of links to articles by George Packer on Stone and his work —

    “Robert Stone’s Dark Dream of America”

    ‘Robert Stone, Out of the Sixties’

    If anyone does pursue this further, the novels in the LOA volume are the best ones. There’s a later novel called DAMASCUS GATE published in, IIRC, 2000. for which he got the big money, acclaim and New York Times best-seller status, but it’s very much lesser work and you certainly shouldn’t start there.

    He was writing good short stories up to his death. Here’s one, “Helping,” to give you the flavor —

  2. Ten Bears

    Ah, that Dog Soldiers Robert Stone.

  3. Zachary Smith


    Carpetbagger Indiana Congressman.

  4. Zachary Smith

    “Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, [then-Senator Joe] Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of ‘terrorism’ that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode ‘constitutional and statutory due process protections’ and would ‘authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.’

    The link says Biden didn’t get a vote on his bill, but the Bushies cut/pasted the text into what became the Patriot Act.

    Thanks again, DNC.

  5. Zachary Smith

    Coronavirus: The Italian COVID-19 hospital where no medics have been infected

    A success story is a nice change of pace.

  6. Zachary Smith

    For the First Time, DoubleTree by Hilton Reveals Official Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe so Bakers Can Create the Warm, Welcoming Treat at Home

    Two sticks of butter to make 26 cookies! Good Lord! I’d have to ration myself to 1/2 cookie a day if I made these.

  7. Astrid

    That’s less than a tablespoon of butter per cookie, why is that a problem? Sugar is more problematic than fats anyways. No point in eating too healthy. Do you want to live to 100 and see to the end of this mess?

    I’m on a major nduja kick. It makes almost everything better with little effort. I know it’s very privileged of me to rave about a $24/lb meat spread (directly available from La Quencia or Tempestra, much cheaper than through Amazon), but you only need to use $1 worth per meal per person to dressed up a frozen pizza or jarred pasta sauce. It’s pretty compact and self stable, so I freezed some just in case of supply chain disruptions.

    Another pantry tip is to stock up on Maesri Thai curry pastes. A can is enough to make enough a big batch of curry or baked chicken thighs. Self stable and can probably make cardboard taste good.

    Also stocking up on mung/moong beans. It’s good for typical bean/dal use, and sprouts beautifully. This is an easy thing for apartment dwellers to ensure a supply of fresh produce.

  8. Ten Bears

    I have been trying, Mark, to find a way to turn that into a Sunday Dog Blog post, but it just ain’t happening. Not really dragging stuff out of the closet, but yeah, dragging stuff out of the closet. Just reading the Times’ ’74 review had me on the floor. I am, like the Monkey Wrench Gang, going to have to read them again.

    Then we will do a Sunday Dog Blog.

  9. Zachary Smith

    At today’s Naked Capitalism site I found this link to a Boston Globe story. Extended quote:

    Testing large numbers of Americans for a raging virus is “never going to happen,” President Trump recently asserted. The amount of money and focused energy that such a project would require is evidently beyond the capacity of the United States. Yet around the same time Trump dismissed the idea of widespread testing, his Indo-Pacific Command announced that it is seeking an extra $20 billion to build up naval forces for confrontation with China. That contrast illuminates our national moment. Our response to the pandemic shows how far the American political project has careened off track.

    Generations of Americans have grown up hearing that we live in the most powerful country on earth — or, as Senator Marco Rubio likes to say, “the single greatest nation in the history of all mankind.” Yet today the United States remains unchallenged in just one field: military power. We cannot produce the face masks and ventilators that our citizens need to help stave off death, and we blithely send underpaid nurses to fight a contagious disease with little protection other than plastic garbage bags, but we still build the world’s most advanced fighter jets and aircraft carriers. Meanwhile, millions of Americans live in squalor, our infrastructure is collapsing, and our vast national wealth is sequestered in the hands of a tiny elite. Never has the distortion of our collective priorities been clearer than in the last few weeks.

    This was a harsh indictment of our “Exceptional” country.

  10. Zachary Smith

    Hillary 2.0, the dementia version

    Tiny sample:

    Herd 29 Trojan horses into the race, all pretending to be some version of or alternative to the clear ideological victor from 2016, and all of them unmasking themselves at appropriate stages of the race (three of them at the last moment before South Carolina) in order to maximize damage to one candidate alone.

    People with blood pressure issues might want to avoid this story.

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