…false idols [28/2/21]

unholier than thou...

…it’s a sunday, damn it…& I don’t want to be all, “hi folks – I’m here to ruin your day”




…but seriously

Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants.
In addition to lacking tracking and enforcement, water standards aren’t strong enough to begin with, according to former EPA officials. The US government requires monitoring for 94 contaminants, not including known health hazards like PFAS, the “forever chemicals” that have been implicated in cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and thyroid disease. PFAS include nonstick substances used in cookware and firefighting foam and are being discovered in water supplies around the country.


Assessing Claims in the Coronavirus Stimulus Debate [NYT]

Compare and contrast. AstraZeneca is currently producing Covid vaccines for no profit and still manages to get beaten up by opportunists in Brussels. Over in the US, Moderna is hailed as a national saviour while shouting from the rooftops about how its commercial prospects have been transformed by its own Covid vaccine.

Moderna’s full-year statement on Thursday was extraordinary. The company expects to generate revenues of $18.4bn this year from deals it has signed to supply its vaccine, which is priced at $30–$36 a shot, so is definitely intended to produce a chunky profit margin. That revenue forecast is enormous. For comparison, AstraZeneca’s entire established portfolio – for cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory treatments and more – generated sales of $26.6bn last year.


…if there’s gonna be news



An online spreadsheet with an anonymous minder tabulates Xi Jinping’s crackdown on speech. [NYT]

…then days are gonna get ruined



…unconstitutional, you say?

It’s a given that criminal defendants in the United States are entitled to legal representation, free of charge if they cannot afford it — a right enshrined by the Supreme Court nearly six decades ago and then expanded to cover even minor cases in which incarceration is unlikely. Yet in courts across the country, poverty-stricken litigants in noncriminal cases routinely face life-shattering outcomes, including jail time, without ever seeing a lawyer or receiving basic legal advice.

Those cases include disputes in which the stakes could not be higher: forfeiture of parental rights; eviction or foreclosure; danger from abusive spouses and domestic partners; and, in guardianship cases, the loss of control over property, and even liberty. In child-support cases, defendants are routinely incarcerated, for days, weeks or months without recourse to legal assistance.


…because ’tis the season of the damned

In alarming testimony to a House subcommittee, Yogananda Pittman said that threats were circulating that directly targeted the president’s first formal speech to a joint session of Congress. A date for the event has not yet been announced.

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible,” Pittman said.
“Based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward,” she said.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are tracking closely far-right online chatter for early warnings on any possible repeat attacks in Washington or other cities. In addition to Biden’s upcoming congressional address, law enforcement will also be on alert on the days leading up to 4 March – the date set by the extreme conspiracy theory QAnon for Trump to return to Washington to start a second term as president.


…& CPAC is a thing


The Conservative Political Action Conference has evolved from a family reunion of Republican libertarians, social conservatives and a hawkish foreign policy establishment into Trump-chella.


Trump makes fundraising moves ahead of CPAC speech [CNN]

A new website for the ex-president’s Save America committee lets him resume collecting money from his millions of small-dollar donors — money he can use largely however he wants.
Trump created “Save America” days after losing last November’s election to Democrat Joe Biden, and collected some $76 million for it over two months before the Republican National Committee stopped raising money with him the day of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol that Trump incited.

The group previously did not have a public presence, relying instead on the RNC’s fundraising operation, with 75% of each small-dollar donation raised going to Trump and 25% going to the party. Because leadership PACs are so loosely regulated, Trump can use that money for pretty much any purpose, including picking up his personal expenses or even paying him an eight-figure salary.

Trump Restarts Fundraising Ahead Of His CPAC Visit [HuffPost]

…although apparently that isn’t bad enough so there’s also not-CPAC where the white nationalist who are “a bit much” hang out

Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, spoke Friday night at a far-right extremist rally organized by white nationalist figurehead Nick Fuentes while his colleagues in the House passed a massive coronavirus relief package.
Fuentes, the main AFPAC organizer, attended both the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the U.S. Capitol riot of this year, although he claims he did not storm the building.

GOP Congressman Skips COVID-19 Relief Vote To Speak At White Nationalist Rally [HuffPost]

…but I’ll get back to that in a bit

The policy debate over raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is the latest fault line between Democrats, who largely support the idea, and Republicans, who generally oppose such a sharp increase as bad for business.

Republicans Grapple With Raising the Minimum Wage [NYT]




…but of course that’s not getting past the senate



Senior Democratic lawmakers trying to find a backup plan to a minimum-wage increase are exploring new tax penalties on firms with more than $2.5 billion in gross receipts that do not pay at least $15 an hour, according to two people familiar with the matter.


…maybe let’s go with something from the thin end of the wedge

Arizona lawmakers are debating a new set of voting bills — including one that would allow lawmakers to review election results “if needed” and would grant the legislature the power to pick the state’s presidential electors — as Republican lawmakers around the country work to change election laws in the wake of the 2020 election.


…even when that crime is outright vandalism of an essential public service

As the service crisis at the U.S. Postal Service drags into its eighth month, complaints are reaching a fever pitch. Consumers are inundating members of Congress with stories of late bills — and the late fees they’ve absorbed as a result. Small-business owners are waiting weeks, even months, for checks to arrive, creating cash-flow crunches and debates on whether to switch to costlier private shippers. Large-scale mailers, such as banks and utilities, are urging clients to switch to paperless communication, a shift that would further undercut the agency’s biggest revenue stream.


…& speaking of endangered revenue streams


…so instead of “boy, I love sundays” I feel like my catchphrase of the day is fixing to be “well, ain’t that some bullshit?”


…although in this case it’s that pass that’s bullshit


…on account of the guilt part seems to be pretty solid

https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/intelligence-report-jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia/ [pdf – doesn’t seem like it has a paywall]

Seven Saudis involved in the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi belonged to an elite unit charged with protecting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a declassified report on the assassination released on Friday. The New York Times has linked the group to a brutal campaign to crush dissent inside the kingdom and abroad, citing interviews with American officials who have read classified intelligence reports about the campaign.

Crushing Dissent: The Saudi Kill Team Behind Khashoggi’s Death [NYT]

…& it’s not always a given that these things are that clear

The death of the officer, Brian Sicknick, after the Capitol riot has been a major focus for investigators scrutinizing the attack by a pro-Trump mob.

F.B.I. Said to Have Singled Out Potential Assailant in Capitol Officer’s Death [NYT]


Investigators have uncovered video appearing to show someone spraying a chemical irritant at Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick and other law enforcement personnel fending off rioters in last month’s attack, though they have yet to identify the person or tie the activity directly to Sicknick’s death, according to people familiar with the matter.



‘Three percenters’ truck at Capitol belongs to husband of congresswoman who said, ‘Hitler got one thing right’ [WaPo]

…or at least aren’t supposed to be

ICE’s use of [this] private database is another example of how government agencies have exploited commercial sources to access information they are not authorized to compile on their own. It also highlights how real-world surveillance efforts are being fueled by information people may never have expected would land in the hands of law enforcement.

The database, CLEAR, includes more than 400 million names, addresses and service records from more than 80 utility companies covering all the staples of modern life, including water, gas and electricity, and phone, Internet and cable TV.

CLEAR documents say the database includes billions of records related to people’s employment, housing, credit reports, criminal histories and vehicle registrations from utility companies in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is updated daily, meaning even a recent move or new utility sign-up could be reflected in an individual search.


…even when they are

Rand Paul’s ignorant questioning of Rachel Levine showed why we need her in government [WaPo]



“What are we fighting for? It’s the same thing our Founding Fathers fought for,” he said at another point. “We’re fighting for the rule of the people. We’re fighting to be able to have our own say. We’re fighting to be able to run our own government. We’re fighting to have real self-government in America. And that’s what we’re about.”

This is precisely the rhetoric that was used among the rioters on Jan. 6. They saw themselves as fighting a second American revolution, enforcing democracy after it had been stolen by fraud that they knew happened because their president and his allies told them it had.

Hawley’s objection that day was predicated on savvy legal footnoting that would still allow him to go on shows like NBC’s “Meet the Press” and claim to be simply giving judicious consideration to the all-important rules. But what Hawley did Jan. 6 he did so that he could give speeches like the one Friday, written through with the same rhetoric Trump used to build the same loyalty and fervency among Trump’s supporters.

Hawley used his effort to undercut democracy to proclaim how he would defend the democratic voice of those who agree with him. It doesn’t get much more cynical.


…tawdry, though

…that top right image…that’s him saying he won’t be showing up for the relief bill vote…because of course it fucking is…he had to go spin his wheels at CPAC…that’s presumably why his excuse was “due to the ongoing public health emergency


…oh, they can always get more tawdry

Few people have embraced the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” more fervently than former president Donald Trump. He’s done so for decades, first leveraging tabloid gossip columns, then NBC’s munificence and then the entire Republican Party to ensure that Americans were directing their attention to him. And, to an increasing degree, it worked.
And yet! Even with Trump out of frame, he still manages to attract more attention than past presidents — and, by some metrics, the current one.


At conservative conference, Trump’s election falsehoods flourish [WaPo]

Trump’s dominance of the GOP will be reinforced Sunday, when he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, his first major political speech since leaving the White House. In a pageant scripted to emphasize his importance, he will be one of the last to speak in the three-day gathering, taking the stage right after the announcement of a presidential straw poll that he is widely expected to win.
Even after the GOP lost the House, Senate and White House under his watch — and Trump was impeached twice, most recently for his role in inciting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — his sharpest critics concede that he remains in control of the party and his allies are ascendant.

‘It’s Donald Trump’s party’: How the former president is building a political operation to cement his hold on the GOP [WaPo]



…& lest we attempt to take comfort in the idea that his comeuppance is oh-so-slowly catching up to his slimey ass

Trump technically lost the court battle not to have to produce his tax materials, but he may have won the longer-term war — to slow the progress of the criminal investigations, perhaps to a point where prosecutors can no longer bring certain cases that have passed their statutes of limitations. Recently, the New York Legislature passed a new law that pauses the statute of limitations for the period of time when a president is in office; Congress has started a similar effort, but it needs to move faster.


…the justice system, ladies & gentlemen


…it’s bound to make assholes mend their ways, right?

“With a desire among politicians on both sides of the aisle to think more seriously about regulating social media companies, it is clear that changes are in the cards for Facebook,” said Josh Pasek, an associate professor of communications and political science at the University of Michigan.
When it comes to legislation addressing the unchecked power of big tech, the question is not if but when it will come, said Bruce Wolpe, a fellow at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre. Facebook’s forceful approach in Australia would only raise the pressure for action, he said.
“It is likely Facebook will try to get ahead of this kind of legislation so it is not caught off guard,” Pasek said. “This is going to get messier as time goes on.”


…how’s that looking?

Bosworth replied: “Face recognition … might be the thorniest issue, where the benefits are so clear, and the risks are so clear, and we don’t know where to balance those things.”

Excuse me? What kind of benefits could possibly balance the risk of making life extremely easy for stalkers and creeps? Well, Bosworth later said on Twitter, it could help people with prosopagnosia, a neurological condition where you can’t recognize people’s faces. More generally, Bosworth said, it would be super handy when you run into someone at a party and can’t remember their name. Ah yes, I can totally see how avoiding a little social awkwardness balances out the whole stalker thing!

No need to worry too much about privacy, though. We all know you can trust Facebook to do the right thing and keep your data nice and safe. When a (female) Wired editor raised the concern that you could no longer pacify creeps at parties by giving them a fake name and number, for example, Bosworth breezily replied that there’d be a technological fix for that. The exchange makes it almost hilariously clear that Bosworth had given very little thought to the implications of this kind of tech on women’s everyday lives. Which is to be expected, considering Facebook started life as a website that let people rank hot girls via photos obtained without their consent.


…I’d say facebook was “the worst”…except…here’s the thing…& I know it seems like I’ve been going on about CPAC a lot already when it would be a lot nicer to just ignore it & pretend shit like that didn’t exist…but here’s why that’s not necessarily such a great idea…because you know what happens when they think we’re not looking?

CPAC Organizer Denounces Critics Spotting What Looks Like Nazi SS Symbol On Stage

…& when they say “looks like”…here’s what they mean

…whose house is it anyway?

…so…at least it’s not monday?




  1. i was gonna mention the london sized icecube going walkies yesterday
    but scientist say its normal and expected and they mostly seem to think its pretty exciting stuff..instead of the usual oh god oh god we’re all gonna die stuff…so i dropped it
    anyways apart from all of the above
    good morning mate…hows you keeping?

    • …oh, you know…trying to ensure the simmering indignation doesn’t boil over into incandescent apoplexy…these run long enough as it is…so same old same old, I guess…but thanks for asking

      …losing that much ice might be normal within the bounds of some definition of normal…but other times it’s happened weren’t this far past the point where one of (if not the – I’d have to check) major ocean currents…one that acts like a heat exchange circuit on a global scale hit a thousand year low in terms of size/effect…& part of the reason for that is the point where it hits a boundary between salt water & fresh water is where the relative density of the two flows forces the current deep…so flooding city sized volumes of extra fresh water into it make that trick not work so well…which as it happens is the way they lead into the plot of that movie where the world freezes over

      …so in terms of context for filling the air with microplastics while burning enough energy for a country just in service of a supposedly secure currency that runs solely on arguably the most complex & fragile layer of infrastructure first world nations have currently managed to come up with…which most likely gives those ice shelves another nudge into the waters

      …I’m not an expert about that kind of thing but I do know that there’s a shit ton of people in the world…& between us we put a lot of other shit into the equation…on a scale it is hard to fathom, even…so…that seems like it might have some consequences, logically speaking…one might almost say unavoidably so 

      …you might even think maybe that might rise to the level of a priority of some sort…maybe the kind of thing where you’d invoke some of that logic when trying to address doing something about it & the relative importance thereof

      …yet here I am with a newsfeed chock-full of assholes busy trying to avoid acknowledging that consequences of any kind exist beyond the one where if they don’t get to have everything their own way they guarantee to make everybody’s life more miserable than they already have…& that being a work of many generations at this point

      …how much cold water has to get poured on the world these people fondly imagine we’re all living in before they wake the fuck up, is kind of what it made me think?

      …but I didn’t want to wind up ranting at innocent people trying to enjoy their day of rest…like…well…like this, basically…so I just left it at the links…which bring me back to the answer to your question…& probably the bit at the bottom of the post where I say sorry


      • lol…all good then 🙂
        tbh that whole day after tomorow stuff was where my mind went initially too
        but then the sciency peoples told me its cool and i figured
        eh fuckit its the weekend

  2. We’re coming up on a grim anniversary here in Perfidious Gotham: It was one year ago (give or take a few hours, last year was a leap year) that news of NYC’s first covid-19 (the “novel coronavirus”) case was divulged to an unsuspecting populace:
    The Cuomo tweet is priceless. “No cause for alarm, we have this all under control…”
    I actually think we had gotten wind of this sooner. I remember February 28th, 2020 somewhat vividly. It was a Friday. I had originally pencilled in everyone for Saturday, the 29th, and one of the invitees called me (how quaint) and asked if I could move the dinner back a day, because she had this weird superstition about socializing on a Leap Day. I made penne all vodka, which I rarely do, and I don’t remember what possessed me: probably because the group contained at least one vegetarian and not one alcohol abstainer. I should make this more often, actually. The sauce is nice and creamy and it’s very easy to throw together. Anyway, I’m almost sure we talked about this Manhattan Mystery Woman but shrugged it off as something little more relevant to our lives than ebola or SARS, which pretty much passed us by. 
    My paranoia kicked in around this time, and February 28th was the last time we had people over for dinner or socialized outside the apartment. I had stocked up on masks (that’s its own story) and I think it was over that weekend that I started wearing one outside. I remember getting weird looks, because I’m not Asian, but it wasn’t too long before Fauci was telling everyone NOT to wear masks (the motive, I guess, was to preserve the limited stock for health care providers because, as he and every medical professional well knew, they are in fact effective and protective, but there weren’t enough for everyone) and then not too long after that there was huge run on masks as the entire city masked up, or tried to.
    Good times. I remember thinking/being led to believe that this would be temporary, warm weather kills the virus, the mask is actually a warming amenity during cold weather…

    • oh man..the warm weather kills the virus was a good one
      i member that was going round right around the time straya got locked down…in summer
      or well…possibly fall for them…still beachweather in any event
      my new favourite is all the vaccine fuckery…you must have a second dose within 3 weeks
      eh..up to 6 is fine too
      you know it might be better to give everyone the first dose and then eventually maybe the second one
      the gubment here is not exactly helping the cause…..

      • …at least the johnson&johnson one only needs the one shot…& doesn’t need the turbo-deep-freeze…it might be less effective at preventing infection but so far its 100% effective at making folks not die from this shit…I figure I’d be willing to settle for that?

        • i’d settle for that too
          but over here its the gubment changing the rules on the pfizer vaccine
          all whilst the medicals are saying…uhhh….guys? we havent tested for any of this shit

    • Today is the anniversary of our last big earthquake.  If all the other problems aren’t enough, now they are reminding us that we are overdue for another big one.  I live on a fault line that runs across the state so good chance I could end up going for a ride down the hill into Puget Sound in a really big one. 

    • Don’t let Lemmy scare you, yes, the 2nd one is worst but not everyone has that reaction.  I found a combo of alcohol & ibuprofen to work pretty well!

    • I got my 2nd Moderna shot Friday morning.

      Friday evening I was very cold but not having chills, and I was tired as fuck. Yesterday I had no problems with coldness nor tiredness, but I didn’t push it on the treadmill just in case. 

      I will admit there was also a “oh fuck oh fuck” run to the bathroom moment for a giant blowout on Friday, despite not eating anything out of the ordinary that day. I talked with a friend this morning who got her 2nd shot yesterday and she too had a similar digestive tract response about 10 hours after getting her second shot.

      My arm is sorer than than after the 1st shot, but not nearly as sore as when I got my TDaP booster in December. 

    • Did you ever see the New York Times interactive graphic about vaccine eligibility? This was weeks ago. It asks you maybe three simple questions and then there’s a winding line of cartoon figures in profile waiting in line. It went from 1 to 100 with 1 being most eligible. I placed at 91. The Better Half placed at 93. I know the rollout is ramping up but the signup process is still a huge mess so I’m thinking…2022 maybe for us? I was astonished to learn that 90% of the city of New York is more vulnerable than me, but since I rarely leave the apartment I guess that makes sense? 

      • The supply is about to dramatically increase and my guess is you will be able to get vaccinated in the next 2 months if you want to.  They are starting to do waitlists too that lots of out of phase people here are lucking into.  Especially if you live close to somewhere doing vaccinations and you can be there within an hour.

      • Currently in IL we’re still in phase 1B, which is people over 65. They were set to expand it to people with comorbidities a few wks ago, but only 5% of people eligible for the vax have received it so they are holding off. So yeah, us young and healthies will probably benefit from herd immunity before our group is eligible.

  3. Remember Google Glass and the Glass-holes who wore them?
    Considering it is Facebook and how clumsy and inept they are compared to Googs (who have gotten worse over time) the roll out for these will be way worse and probably end up in the hands of the “Nothing to be” Proud “of” Boys considering Zuck’s constant jerking off the right.

      • …it’s entirely fucking bizarre…it wasn’t until something I read referred to the stars&stripes part of its attire as boxing trunks I could think of them as anything but bad taste board shorts

        ..first time I saw it I assumed satire…it’s like a caricature…& I took the shorts to be implying he was living that florida beach life…but apparently that was way too rational a response to measure up to the GOP dystopia-fest?

        • I can’t imagine DT actually walking on a beach, could you?  I’m sure the only time his feet have ever touched sand was in a bunker at a golf club and sincerely think he would most likely just toss a new ball somewhere closer to the hole and claim that wasn’t his ball in the trap instead of getting in the sand.

          • …thankfully I can indeed not picture the man actually wearing anything other than poorly fitting but mercifully full-length pants

            …but I imagine he’s driven along a shoreline in a golf cart at least once…probably to look at where the lawyers told him he’d need flood defences either at mar a lago or that golf course of his in scotland back when they were willing to let him in the country?

    • …there was a link somewhere up there to a guardian piece that talked about that accursed thing…but a bit like the iceberg thing I figured the link was as far as I ought to go lest the ranting never end

      …definitely what I had in mind with the title though…so you’re not wrong?

    • As I’ve often said about all my dogs, “I would like to spend maybe two minutes in their brain and figure out why they do some of the things they do, but not one second more.” Imagine traveling inside the mind of whoever came up with this? Like a “Twilight Zone” episode. 

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