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Don midwest
Don midwest

some numbers

worldmeters for US. Click on one day back, Yesterday, to get a valid count at the end of the day

You can click on the top of a column to sort the various columns. It continues to show the lead of North and South Dakota on the cases per million. And can click on Deaths per million to see that the North East continues to lead, but in total deaths it looks like CA will overtake NY.

The main point of this comment is the Deaths per Million of various countries in the world

For this use the worldmeters for the world

On this page you can go back 2 days

Starting from the bottom for a few countries, the “scores”

.3 Taiwan

3 China

5 New Zealand

19 Cuba

1,391 USA

1,606 UK

Looks like a failure of USA and UK to prevent deaths from Covid

And when allowed to spread it mutates and we know what that leads to


As researchers around the world scramble to understand the dangers of several newly discovered variants of the deadly coronavirus, the US remains woefully behind in its ability to track the mutations, scientists say.

The federal government has had its “head in the sand”, failing to develop a coordinated surveillance system for tracking the genetic footprints of the virus, according to academic researchers, scientific panelists and private entrepreneurs, who say they have been urging US officials for months to make better use of the hi-tech resources already sitting in labs around the country.


temp nationalization. this is war, but they’re treating it like an inconvenience.



Covid is on the retreat in South Dakota, not long ago the virus’s epicenter in the U.S. There’s a grim reason for that progress, as Harold Frazier, leader of the state’s Cheyenne River Sioux reservation, knows too well.

As many as 2 in 5 residents of the state have been infected, turning it into an unwitting experiment in herd immunity as Governor Kristi Noem refused to mandate safety precautions. The numbers are that bad or worse on the reservation, and its residents’ painful experience shows the steep cost of building up antibodies through laissez-faire policies.

“We were in dire straits,” said Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux, who set up highway checkpoints and instituted lockdowns to protect a community whose health was already challenged by poverty, obesity and diabetes. Ultimately, he couldn’t keep the roiling pandemic at bay. “We knew it was just a matter of time before that virus got here.”

In an interview this week with the Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle,” Noem acknowledged she took a “unique approach,” but that it allowed South Dakotans to keep putting “food on the table.”

“We did have tragedies and we did have losses, but we also got through it better than virtually every other state,” she said.

On Frazier’s reservation, the benefits of that approach are less apparent. Of about 8,000 people, more than 1,700 have tested positive and 33 have died, rocking the relatively poor cattle farming community—filled with multi-generational households—and hastening the demise of the native Lakota language, whose native speakers tend to be in their 70s or older.

“This pandemic is killing them off,” said Beth Lone Eagle, a community advocate, mother and grandmother who lost three brothers-in-law in quick succession.


There’s 9B in that emergency relief package for Native Americans. I hope they can pass that bill soon after the side show of the Senate impeachment is over. Trump is going to get acquitted since no one wants to admit he caused the insurrection.




That isn’t the case for Hubster and me. He got his second shot of Moderna this week. I go to see a doctor next week, and will get advice on how to proceed.😊👍


Good luck Orl


neoliberal policies, from ravaging the earth and setting viruses free, to the wide ranging effects of austerity, have given us a seemingly everlasting plague.

and no talk of it, seemingly anywhere with any reach.


I watched “China’s COVID Secrets” on PBS’s Frontline the other night. Worth watching. Trump mirrored some of the same reactions the Chinese government had, which was not to admit it was serious.

Don midwest
Don midwest

I didn’t read this article carefully, but this has been my recurring message for years.

Obama and the dems F888ed up in 2008 after “hope and change”

The process around the 2009 stimulus and Obamacare was such a mess, not even Joe Biden wants to relive it.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Throw in some philosophy just to say that I have some time for it.

Graham Harman led me to Bruno Latour. Been following Graham for 20 years.

The McLuhans on Artifact Retrieval

Graham read all of Heidegger’s work published by the time of his dissertation. Only a few books. Most were course notes. Graham reduces main lessons of Heidegger to Tool and Broken Tool. When using a hammer, don’t notice it, in the mode of human/tool working, until hit your finder then the hammer shows up. A totally inadequate summary of Heidegger in the above sentence.

Graham written in many different areas, lots of linkage to art, and he is currently the dean of humanities at an architecture school, SCI-ARC in LA

Don midwest
Don midwest

The Coronavirus Vaccine Fail and International Elites

Will There be a Penalty for Failure?

I raise this issue primarily because I’m fairly confident the answer is no. To be clear, my point is that not being prepared for the mass distribution of vaccines as soon as they were approved was a massive policy failure both in the United States and Europe. I have no idea who was responsible for the failure, but it was presumably several high-level people in each country. In any reasonable world, these people would suffer serious career consequences for not getting the vaccines out quickly.

I am not making this point out of any vindictiveness—I don’t know any of these people—I just want to see high-end workers held to the same job performance standards as those lower down the ladder. The dishwasher that breaks the dishes gets fired. The custodian who doesn’t clean the toilet gets fired. Why doesn’t the person who messes up vaccine distribution pay a price?

Unfortunately, the lack of accountability at the top is the rule, not the exception. To take my favorite example in economics, to my knowledge Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff suffered no consequences (other than embarrassment) for their famous Excel spreadsheet error. To remind people, this was when they produced a paper that purported to show that countries with debt-GDP ratios above 90 percent took a huge hit to GDP growth. It turned out that this result was driven entirely by an error in a spreadsheet. When the error was corrected, the result went away.

Reinhart and Rogoff’s paper was used to justify austerity policies in Europe and the United States. As a result of these policies millions of people needlessly went unemployed and many important areas of social spending, like education and health care, saw serious cuts.

Reinhart and Rogoff’s error was surely an honest mistake (they are both competent economists, who could have come up with much better ways to fake results if that was their intention), but their failure to check their numbers was inexcusable. As they explained after the error was uncovered, the mistake was the result of rushing to finish a paper for a conference presentation.

Mistakes like that happen, and most of us have committed similar errors. That is not a big deal. The big deal was that, as their work was being cited by members of Congress, finance ministers, and central bankers, that it never occurred to them to review their rushed work.

Should Reinhart and Rogoff have lost their tenured positions at Harvard? Perhaps this would have been appropriate. At the very least, they should have lost their named chairs, after all, many people had their lives ruined in part because they couldn’t be bothered to check their numbers.

Accountability for Our Elites

As I have written endlessly, we have seen a massive upward redistribution of income in the United States over the last four decades. Other countries have also seen increases in inequality over this period, although not as large. I have argued that this upward redistribution was by design, not the natural development of the economy, but for this issue, the question of causes is beside the point.

The people who have been able to enjoy rising incomes and financial security over the last four decades ostensibly justify their better position by their greater contribution to the economy and society. But when you mess up in your job in big ways that lead to major costs to the economy and society, that claim doesn’t hold water.

We have seen a massive rise in right-wing populism where large numbers of less-educated workers reject the elites and all their claims about the world. When we have massive elite mess-ups, as we now see with vaccine distribution, and there are zero consequences for those responsible, this has to contribute to the resentment of the less advantaged.

It is appalling that we have structured the economy in such a way that the elites can be protected from consequences for even the most extreme failures. The fact so few elite types even see this as a problem (seen any columns in the NYT calling for firing?) shows that the populists have a real case. The economy is rigged against the left behind, and the people that control major news outlets, which include many self-described liberals or progressives, won’t even talk about it.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America?
Joe Biden wants to unite Americans, but that won’t be easy when disgust at Trump’s actions matches disbelief at liberal attempts to censor opponents via Silicon Valley. Can there be any return to real liberal values and a sense of normality?

I have been away from the site for many days. Not sure that this has been posted. Always enjoy Thomas Frank. Long article.

Frank’s theme for the last several years has been the shift of white collar workers support rather than focus on workers, unions, poor, etc. In a word, dems shift to neo liberal economics.

Book before his most recent book was “Listen Liberal” a manifesto of dems to shift back to FDR.

The link to this article was from Naked Capitalism. Their statement in quotes followed by their post of a paragraph from Frank

“Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America? Thomas Frank, Le Monde Diplomatique. A must read, full of good, clean fun. This splendid transition paragraph:”

If we are truly dedicated to truth, as Biden calls on us to be, we must consider the entire sweep of the Trump era and in particular the sort of voters who, over the last few decades, have been shifting from the Republican to the Democratic Party. As it happens, these are Americans I know well: people of taste and education, for whom modern life is a succession of splendours and pleasantries. I mean the residents of the nation’s richest white-collar suburbs.

Don midwest
Don midwest

again apologize if these articles already been posted. Don’t have time to read what was posted here.

i am going back through sources that I used to go through daily and not yet caught up

The country is being buffeted by groups that couldn’t exist 30 years ago

My favorite example for demonstrating the power of the Internet to form ad hoc groups is furries, which I’ll loosely define as people who like to dress up as animals. I don’t know what furries did 50 years ago beyond imagining or surreptitiously donning a wolf costume. I know now, though, that enough people found each other over the Internet and discovered that they shared this passion that entire conventions dedicated to furries emerged. A community that no one knew existed has now taken over convention centers, bringing the issue to the attention of even random newspaper writers.


Interesting article about Bernie’s staffing. Also Matt Duss potentially getting a job in the Biden Administration is good news

Bernie Sanders is shaking up his staff as he steps into a powerful new role in the Senate, three people familiar with the moves told POLITICO.

The Vermont senator’s chief of staff, legislative director and top communications staffer are on their way out or have changed roles, according to the sources. In their place, senior aides from Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid have come on board.

The changes are seen by some in Bernieworld as a reflection of Sanders’ elevation to a new position in a Democratic-controlled Senate, where he is now chair of the influential Budget committee. But by integrating some of his top 2020 aides into his senior Senate office staff, it’s also viewed as an acknowledgment that his presidential ambitions are over.

Misty Rebik, Sanders’ former Iowa state director and executive director of his campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, is taking the helm as his new chief of staff. Ari Rabin-Havt, Sanders’ 2020 deputy campaign manager who previously worked in his Senate office, is serving as his new legislative director.

“He’s bringing in campaign hands who worked with him through the campaign very closely, like Ari and Misty, to basically staff the official office,” said a source with knowledge of the changes. “It may be that he’s finally coming to terms with his role as a full-time senator.”

Sanders’ previous chief of staff, Caryn Compton, is leaving his office, and his former legislative director, Lori Kearns, has moved onto a position as staff director for the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions subcommittee on primary health and retirement security, which Sanders chairs. Communications Director Keane Bhatt is resigning imminently. Sanders is also hiring Bill Dauster, former deputy chief of staff for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as chief counsel for the Budget committee.

“As Senator Sanders takes on the new responsibilities of incoming chairman of the Budget committee, our office is excited to be bringing on new staff to help us advance the senator’s agenda in the new Congress,” said Rebik in a statement. “As we reorganize the office, we understand the new opportunities that the new Democratic Congress and White House present. We are sad to see our departing staffers go, and we wish them our very best and thank them for their incredible work over the years.”

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to an agreement that allowed Democrats to finally assume committee chair roles.

Those familiar with the shakeup said the shifts are in some cases the result of staffers who have been alongside Sanders for years as he pursued the White House deciding it’s time to part ways.

Sanders ran for president in 2016 and 2020, effectively spending five years campaigning. During that time, he attracted many aides both inside and outside his campaign who were dedicated to lifting him to the White House. Sanders, who is 79, is not expected by those familiar with his thinking to run again, barring some highly unusual circumstances.

Sanders made a play to become President Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary, but Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was ultimately tapped for the job. If he had been appointed, Sanders would have had the power to staff the Department of Labor.

Biden said he seriously considered Sanders for Labor Secretary, but that the two men both thought the outcome of the Senate elections in Georgia, in which Democrats picked up two seats, changed the equation. “Bernie and I agreed — and as a matter of fact, Bernie said — ‘we can’t put control of the Senate at risk on the outcome of a special election in Vermont,’” Biden said last month.

Compton is leaving Sanders’ office to provide caregiving for family members, according to a person familiar with the staff changes. To some in Sanders’ office, the Vermont senator’s decision to offer Kearns the subcommittee job was seen as him presenting her with a diminished role, though others disagreed and viewed it as a lateral move or even improvement.

“As one of our longtime lead staffers on health care, drug pricing, ‘Medicare for All,’ community health centers and other top priorities for the Senator, Lori is going to take on a critical role as staff director for the HELP subcommittee, a senior role that allows her to flex her policy chops and advance these issues in the Democratic majority,” said a Sanders aide.

Matt Duss, Sanders’ foreign policy adviser who has become a well-known figure among progressive activists, is expected to depart for a position in the Biden administration’s Department of State, sources said. That is not finalized, however.

If that scenario materializes, it will be viewed by many on the left as a victory for progressives.

Duss declined to comment. A spokesperson for the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


And Faiz?


Havent seen anything. Nothing on his Twitter


I’m guessing he’s a senior advisor, but maybe he will get a Biden administration post as well, which would suit him.


More staffing news

In another move, Sanders is bringing in Bill Dauster, who served as a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as chief counsel for the Budget Committee. Dauster confirmed his new role in a tweet on Wednesday night.

Dauster advocated in an op-ed published by Roll Call last week for Democrats to push through the $15-an-hour minimum wage bill included in President Biden’s coronavirus relief plan should the Senate parliamentarian rule against an effort to pass the measure by a simple majority vote under the budget reconciliation process


Its not exactly something new for him, so seems like a silly statement to me:

It may be that he’s finally coming to terms with his role as a full-time senator.”

Unlike ALL the other candidates, Sanders was ok with the winner of the primary actually being the candidate, regardless of how that primary was won


The threshold change is not a done deal yet. Wyden, the Finance Chair, agrees with Bernie that they should remain the same.

The latest proposal Democrats are considering would send $1,400 payments to individuals earning $50,000 or less and $2,800 to married couples earning $100,000 or less. Below are more details on the latest plan, which has not been publicly released yet and could still change.

Individuals with incomes up to $50,000 would get the full $1,400 payment. Heads of household earning up to $75,000 would also qualify, and married couples with earnings up to $100,000 would get a $2,800 payment. (Past stimulus checks were based off of “adjusted gross income,” and that is likely to be the same again).

Similar to the prior rounds of stimulus checks, people who earn slightly above those thresholds would still qualify for a partial payment.

About 71 percent of Americans would get the full benefits and another 17 percent would get the partial benefit, according to Kyle Pomerleau, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in tax policy. This is less than Biden’s initial proposal for the payments to go to individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000, which would result in about 85 percent getting full payments.

This latest Democratic proposal for $1,400 payments to singles earning up to $50,000 and couples earning up to $100,000 would cost around $420 billion, according to Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That’s down slightly from Biden’s initial proposal for the checks, which would have cost about $465 billion and gone to singles earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000, according to CRFB.

Several centrist Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), have expressed concern over both the efficacy of the payments as a form of fiscal stimulus and whether they are adequately targeted for those in need.

More liberal Democrats have instead called for the stimulus payments to be more generous. Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) helped lead legislation, co-sponsored by then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), that called for providing monthly checks worth $2,000 to Americans until the pandemic ends. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and others on the left have also said Democrats should provide a new round of $2,000 payments.

Incoming Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also said in a statement Wednesday that the payments should remain at the income thresholds of previous rounds. That means the thresholds in the Democrats’ new plan may be subject to change.


From Bernie this morning


AND I’m glad he’s fighting for the eligibility to stay. It always ends this way, the MIC gets so much, they “lose” it, and we end up grateful for less than was promised.


With the money Bezos made due to the pandemic he could give a $100k bonus to all 900k of his employees and still be as rich as he was pre pandemic.


71% v 85%. so maddening that they still think this kind of massaging of Republicans is worth causing that 14% real pain and a feeling of betrayal. and still the austerity mindset. even the plague can’t move them. sickening.

still see tweets from Canadians commiserating with us, while they got 2k/mo.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) expressed contrition in private for some of her past incendiary remarks as well as for embracing QAnon conspiracy theories — and received a standing ovation from a number of her colleagues, according to reports.

The comments during a closed-door House GOP conference meeting come as Greene has so far refused to apologize publicly.

Greene was applauded by colleagues for expressing regret for some but not all of her most outrageous comments made on social media — including questioning the 9/11 attacks and blaming a space ray directed by a Jewish cabal for a deadly wildfire.

Yet the Georgia Republican, while showing some regret to colleagues behind closed doors, has repeatedly vowed publicly on Twitter that she would never back down after reports last week revealed she had endorsed extremist and violent views such as executing Democratic leaders and FBI agents as well as suggesting that some school shootings were “false flag” operations.



She has no remorse, and she needs to be stripped of her committee responsibilities to ensure she doesn’t have any control. It also sends a message to her constituents that she was sanctioned because she’s not standing up for all of her constituents, just her base.


Time to replace the R behind her name with a Q instead of R and GOP becomes GQP.


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told top Pentagon leaders Wednesday that he will direct a military-wide stand down to address extremism within the ranks, according to his top spokesman.

Austin wants all military units to take an operational pause to discuss extremism as he works to grasp the full scope of the issue and better address the longstanding problem, John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, told reporters Wednesday. The pauses are expected to occur within the next 60 days, but Austin has yet to determine how the stand downs are to be completed, Kirby said.

“The intent is to reinforce the [Pentagon’s] policies and values with respect to this sort of behavior and to have a dialogue with the men and women of the force and to get their views on what they are seeing at their level,” Kirby said. “He wants commands to take the necessary time to … speak with troops about the scope of this problem. It’s a two-way conversation.”

Austin spoke frankly with the acting service secretaries and uniformed service chiefs about his concerns about extremism in the military, including white supremacism, said Kirby, who attended the meeting. The new defense secretary, who is the first Black leader of the Defense Department, wants the service leaders to better grasp how pervasive the issue is within their formations and work with leaders to stamp it out, Kirby said.


Lying starts in 4,3,2,1…i hope they do more than speak to people, like look at past actions, and yes, social media, if it suggested real violence or ingrained racism


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s description of the threat posed to lawmakers during the U.S. Capitol riots has been backed by a Democratic primary campaign chief, after the lawmaker’s critics questioned her account.

During an Instagram Live video posted on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said she had cowered in the bathroom of her office as supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6

The New York congresswoman has been praised for her frankness in describing how she feared for her life and was forced to revisit the trauma of her sexual assault.

But some have questioned her story, with conservative critics mentioning that her office is in the nearby Cannon House, not the main Capitol building. GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, whose office is close to Ocasio-Cortez’s, tweeted: “Insurrectionists never stormed our hallway.”



She better wake up as it IS A PART OF WHO WE ARE and i for one disgusted by it.