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

Open Thread

Use the comments to this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


May 22nd US Covid Data


May 23rd US Covid Data


  1. Eric Anderson

    Quelle surprise …

    Rich people not taking this seriously and spreading it to the commoners who serve them.

  2. Eric Anderson

    All so an elite douche bag can walk around in the sun and hit a little white ball.
    But please:

  3. Zachary Smith

    The people who think children wearing bullet-proof backpacks to schools with metal detectors and armed guards, where they do active-shooter drills is just “the price of freedom” and the people who call having to wear a mask inside Walmart “tyranny” are the exact same people.


    It is almost inconceivable that scientists today are dealing with the same sort of ignorance that Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī, Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Servetus, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, and Gerard Domagk faced in their eras. The prestigious medical journal “The Lancet,” published an editorial that called Trump’s response to COVID-19 as being “obsessed with magic bullets — vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear,” as well as “inconsistent and incoherent.” The editorial also called for Trump’s defeat in the November election. Indeed, the world is re-entering the era of magic and voodoo.

    At the site where I found this the blogger noted “This strange anti-science is something you only see in rural areas of under-developed countries…”.

    Amen to that.

  4. Arthur

    Well, look at it this way. Science is good when it gives us 55″ TV’s and cars that last more than three years, but bad when every discovery shows us how small we really are in the grand picture. Some people can’t deal with it.

  5. Zachary Smith

    Hydroxychloroquine After Action Report

    First paragraph:

    I was a vehement advocate of prescribing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) off label while waiting for the results of clinical trials. I wasn’t all that much embarrassed to agree with Donald Trump for once. Now I feel obliged to note that my guess was totally wrong. I thought that the (uncertain) expected benefits were greater than the (relatively well known) costs.

    The fellow is honest enough to take a bite of humble pie.

  6. Zachary Smith

    I’d never heard of “Telesur” site, so I made a quick search. Seems to be based in Venezuela.

    Biden Condemns Pro Palestinian BDS Movement

    Sucking up to the Apartheid state is standard operating procedure in US politics. This is approximately the 37th reason for me not to vote for the DNC-appointed dementia-patient Uncle Joe Biden.

    We’re going to have a genuine jack@ss as president in 2021 no matter what I do or say, but I sure don’t have to participate in the “election theater”.

  7. Zachary Smith

    President Tweety is dropping out of the “Open Skies” treaty with Russia. Will he also resume Nuclear Testing?

    If somebody tells him it could help with the November election, I’d say the answer that question is “yes”. Everybody and his brother does the “zero-yield” tests, and that includes the US of A. Beating up on China for doing the same thing is really dishonest. A ‘cornered’ Trump is what we’re looking at now, and we are probably going to have some scary things happen between now and the end of the year. Maybe scarier than the Covid-19 pandemic.

    also see this from 2012: Subcritical experiments

  8. GlassHammer

    You know what worries me, if the U.S. did not have the world reserve currency and the ability to export inflation our plight would be many orders of magnitude worse.

  9. nihil obstet

    Ah, science! Scientists — the people who assure you that the insecticides, herbicides, and all commercial poisons are at a safe level. The ones who bring you the opioids that would extend your life expectancy if you weren’t so unworthy. The ones who are quoted at the public hearing that sites the waste dump in your neighborhood rather than the upscale places, only for environmental reasons.

    Like most of the elites in our society, scientists sold out. It is neither stupid nor unreasonable for people to reject “science” that hurts them for political/economic reasons. As bad money drives out good, bad politics dressed in scientific clothing drives out good science. Some people react by rejecting scientific statements, others by clinging to the notion of superiority in belief.

  10. Joan

    I am interested in whether Ian thinks Biden’s statement about the Keystone pipeline means much of anything at all.

  11. Eric Anderson

    Anyone know of Ten Bear’s whereabouts? Am I the only one that’s noticed he’s gone silent?

  12. Zachary Smith

    Nero fiddled, Trump golfs.

    It’s the symbolism which matters here. Golfing isn’t in the same league as some other things – like going to a huge concert or a crowded church. Evidently nobody can convince President Tweety to even pretend he cares about the US death total already exceeding 96,000 citizens.

    Some folks are also going to notice the sheer hypocrisy.

    Famously, on the campaign trail in 2016 he told supporters: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

    Since taking office, though, Trump has played more than 200 times. He last teed off in Florida on 8 March, when the coronavirus outbreak was gathering pace.

    When Barack Obama was president, Trump often criticised him for the amount of time he spent on the fairways. On Saturday, even as Trump travelled to his course in Virginia, a tweet from October 2014 was much remarked upon.

    It said: “President Obama has a major meeting on the NYC Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!”

    Some are counting this as a blessing in still another way: the oaf is doing something besides hyping Chlorox Chewables. Or Suppositories.

  13. bruce wilder

    We’re going to have a genuine jack@ss as president in 2021 no matter what I do or say, but I sure don’t have to participate in the “election theater”.


  14. Dave Dell

    Eric, I’ve not seen Ten Bears commenting in other blogs – where I’ve read his comments before – as well.

    I’ve heard that Sen. Bernie Sanders could have been the 60th vote to keep the search and browsing history protections in the spying bill. Is this true? If so, why would he do that. I’m a big fan of Sen. Sanders and that’d be quite a disappointment to me unless there was a great reason.

  15. krake

    Was hiking in the Whites with the dog today. Had to hike in deep, because the access road was closed. Dog wouldn’t cross a fierce rapid on our original trail. Trust the dog’s sense.

    So we pivoted to a smaller, much more heavily trafficked mountain back down the access road; its trailhead is adjacent to two filled up campgrounds.

    Doggo is well trained, no problem with verbal commands. Not gregarious. She stops for hikers. She doesn’t approach other dogs.

    So, good day.


    We round a corner. Dog stops. I can see a group up ahead. I hitch her to her lead. Signal the party that they can pass, as dog and I step off trail.

    Woman’s voice starts to pitch to a yell. Sounds odd, muffled. I realize then the whole party is masked, big heavy cloth masks, and facing away into the woods. Woman is yelling about all the rest of us without masks. Dogs are going to infect people. Don’t we know better? Went on like that.

    Gobsmacked, was I. I take c-19 precautions seriously. But in the mountains, on a trail, miles from enclosed spaces?

    I didn’t say a word. Just went passed them, back into our damned glorious day.

    I understand her fear. I don’t judge it. But, if you want to climb mountains, esp. as the moose start to bushwack and the bear are out being enormous and spring fetid, can you really bring your plague-city expectations with you?


  16. Zachary Smith

    If only the one woman was making a spectacle of herself, I’d say she had bullied her group into wearing masks while in the wide-open outdoors. Unless she put on a show of raving at your bunch, she was going to have questions asked about why they were the only ones masked.

    I’ve known people who will micromanage everybody around them if given the slightest opening.

  17. bruce wilder

    I see people driving cars, alone, wearing a mask.

  18. Chuck Mire

    A Great Idea – And let him speak in crowded churches too!

    Give Trump All the Rallies He Wants

    If nothing else, it might teach him how viruses spread.

  19. Benjamin

    Has our resident bleach drinker shown up lately to regale us with his medical wisdom? Wasn’t he all on board with hydroxychloroquine?

  20. Mark Pontin

    I think he’s genuinely unteachable.

    But it is a good idea.

  21. Mark Pontin

    Eh. I was responding to Chuck Mire’s comment about the Great Idea for the Stable Genius i.e. having him speak in crowded churches.

    Not Benjamin’s post about our resident bleach drinker, which wasn’t up when I posted.

  22. Joan

    I too am interested in learning more about Bernie being the 60th vote. However, if he had voted, I bet one of the purchased Democrats would have flipped, you know? Maybe I’m being cynical but I bet the results would have ended up the same.

    You’re right, I haven’t seen Ten Bears here in a while. Isn’t he the one who talks about his grandkids? If so, he’s of a high risk age group so I hope he’s okay.

    That’s ridiculous about the woman chewing krake out for not wearing a mask in the mountains. Just her scolding put you at risk. This is a *pen*. You were keeping well away from people, and she’s the one herding together a large group consisting of people outside her household. It’s too bad a rotten personality doesn’t make a person infertile.

  23. krake

    Thanks for the comments. I’m definitely on the ‘wear a damned mask, you ingrate” side of the line. As I wrote, I don’t judge the lady. We all have to negotiate our own angst and dread. And this is a time of dread.

    It just didn’t fit the context, to my way of seeing. But I don’t assume, so I thought I’d run it by a thoughtful group.

  24. Ché Pasa

    Privately operated congregate living facilities should have been among the very first businesses shut down — not locked down, shut down — as the pandemic took hold in the US, as it was obvious that they were primary uncontrolled disease sites, functionally vectors.

    It’s not just nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It’s prisons, half-way houses and group homes, homeless shelters, labor camps, and so on. Basically any place that people are encouraged or required to live and work cheek by jowl and provide profits to distant investors.

    What’s happened instead is that these facilities and others like them in the public sector have been allowed to continue operating essentially in secret, visitors barred, reports out of them sketchy at best, and the virus has been allowed to run free within them, infecting residents/inmates and staff alike, leading to hundreds of thousands of infections among some of the most vulnerable, and tens of thousands of deaths — just the ones we know about.

    Literally nothing is done to halt the spread within, Pence’s boxes of PPE notwithstanding, nor is much done to treat the often helpless victims. It may not be deliberate murder directly, but indirectly it amounts to the same thing.

    There are many examples, and it is obviously public policy to let it happen. There have been few prominent objections, and the sorrow is largely confined to isolated families whose loved ones have perished “alone and in agony.”

    Understandably, people are afraid to go to hospitals for any reason.

    It would be nice to think that once this virus has run its course — if it ever does — there will be one of those national conversations about how we got to this point and what should be done about it so that the disaster of the present isn’t repeated in the future. So far, there’s been mostly denial that the present calamity is all that bad.

    “We’ll get through it.” Well, many won’t and many of those who survive will be functionally disabled. “We’re all in this together.” But we aren’t. We are rigidly divided by class, race and wealth. Those in the Lower Orders are truly left to fend for themselves, and as usual are encouraged by their betters to fight one another rather than recognize where and how the policies that are destroying their livelihoods and killing them come to be and who enforces them.

    A reckoning will come. But not soon enough.

  25. Zachary Smith

    In today’s Naked Capitalism “links” is a long essay by historian Eric Foner. Mostly it is wonderfully informative, but at the end Professor Foner didn’t quite finish the job he had set out to do. Below is most of the final paragraph of the piece.

    American democracy is sick in ways that go well beyond the way the president is chosen. The symptoms include widespread efforts in Republican states to suppress the right to vote and to rig elections, employing such tactics as onerous identification requirements, partisan gerrymandering and the removal of many thousands of citizens from the voting rolls for trivial reasons. A partisan Supreme Court, in addition, has allowed unlimited corporate spending on campaigns and abrogated key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which restored black suffrage in the South. These problems will not be solved by allowing the people to elect the president, but that would be a valuable first step. Rooted in distrust of ordinary citizens and, like so many other features of American life, in the institution of slavery, the electoral college is a relic of a past the United States should have abandoned long ago.

    He properly spoke of Republican voter suppression and other popular right-wing techniques. The “partisan Supreme Court” is surely another big issue. But there is no mention of the massive Democratic Party vote fraud in the 2016 election! This is inexcusable negligence by Mr. Foner.

    Getting rid of the horrible Electoral College is a great idea. However, if the Presidency is to be decided by a National Popular vote, we’d damned well better have National Voting Standards to go with it. Otherwise we’re just trading one evil for another and likely worse one.

  26. krake

    “A reckoning will come. But not soon enough.”

    Maybe the first order, running adjacent to union organizing, is to go relentlessly at the pervasive left-side embrace of liberal passivity, non-violence and do-gooder lawn order devotion.

    Those who protect the property of overlords are the enemy, not public servants.

  27. Z

    Correction to a post I made a few weeks back:

    Netanyahu is not only NOT going to stand trial on corruption charges, but is still in power after losing an election!

    Netanyahu is in fact still being charged for corruption and is facing trial.


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