Friday, June 11, 2021

June Swoon

In this April 18, file photo, the capsized lift boat Seacor Power is seen seven miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The lift boat had lowered its legs and was trying to turn to face heavy winds when it flipped in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana last month, according to a preliminary federal report released last month.
In this April 18, file photo, the capsized lift boat Seacor Power is seen seven miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The lift boat had lowered its legs and was trying to turn to face heavy winds when it flipped in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana last month, according to a preliminary federal report released last month (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press).

A picture is worth a thousand words and the swoon began yesterday when the Globe's front-page, above-the-fold, righthand-corner lead:

The sewage one found when flipping below the fold was the working mother’s manifesto, a call to employers about the once-in-a-generation opportunity to course-correct how we work.

The drug is expected to be a multibillion dollar blockbuster, and that sure makes one feel secure knowing the FDA is in charge of approving poisonous vaccines as several members resign in protest:

"Two members of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel resigned this week after the agency’s contentious decision to approve an Alzheimer’s drug over the objections of its outside advisers. David Knopman, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Washington Post that he did not “wish to be part of a sham process” that ultimately resulted in the agency’s approval Monday of Biogen’s Aduhelm, also known as aducanumab. He also shared the e-mail he sent to FDA officials saying that he was resigning immediately. He told the officials: “The whole saga of the approval of aducanumab . . . made a mockery of the [advisory] committee’s consultative process. While I realize that the committee is advisory, the approval of aducanumab appears [to] have been foreordained.”

Gives one confidence they will stop the toxic tubes of poison called vaccines as the furor over the Biogen drug grows, and who knows what's next for Biogen's quest for a windfall(?) because a "mispricing could trigged a D.C. policy response, and at $56,000 a year for treatment a backlash is all but guaranteed."

Biogen isn't worried about the backlash as clinical trial participants reflect on their own complicated reactions to Aduhelm approval, and the Democrats' path to curb high medicine prices is narrow because a small number of Democrats remain uneasy over government price curbs on pharmaceutical companies. Pelosi says “we’ve been working on this for almost a generation. It's a central issue for us” -- which is probably why nothing has been done as the $pin their wheels lest the lobbying loot disappear. If it was a central issue it would have been addressed in the Affordable Care Act, right?

Of course, the Senate is looking like the choke point, which means they are at the mercy of Manchin (don't get into any small planes, Joe).

You know what they sayPride goeth before a fall.


"After year of protests, Portland is ready to move on. But where?" by Kirk Johnson and Sergio Olmos New York Times,  June 9, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. — Defund the police? City leaders in Portland tried it. A unit in the fire and rescue bureau, one of the first of its kind in a major city, began this year taking some 911 calls about people in crisis, especially those who are homeless.

Instead of police officers with flashing lights and guns, a paramedic and a social worker would drive up offering water, a high-protein snack and, always and especially, conversation, aiming to defuse a situation that could otherwise lead to confrontation and violence. No power to arrest. No coercion.

“Having someone show up and offer you goods rather than run you off is different, and people respond to it — it softens the mood,” said Tremaine Clayton, a burly, tattooed veteran of 20 years at the fire and rescue bureau who helps run the program, but this spring, just as the project was preparing for a major rollout, there was another plot twist: The new alternative was itself mostly defunded. The city decided on a go-slow approach, and the promised $4.8 million expansion evaporated.

Portland, the Oregon city of bridges, bike lanes, and left-leaning idealists — beloved, abhorred, and caricatured in just about equal measure — is wrestling mightily with the question of what it means to make a city safe and, as it gradually opens up from the COVID-19 shutdowns, to feel safe, too. It is an issue that many American cities are addressing as the economic and societal disruptions of the past year linger and resonate.

Violent crime, especially homicide, has spiked in most urban areas during the pandemic, and many police departments are facing new scrutiny about training and bias since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis a year ago, but here in the nation’s 25th-largest metropolitan area, with about 2.5 million people, there is an additional factor that ripples through every public policy choice, and that even the city’s top prosecutor said has to a degree warped the debate about what to do to rebuild a city that Portlanders want and love.

A hardened core of street activists, many of them professing opposition to authority in general, has dug in and shows no signs of going away. (Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, has asked people to stop calling them protesters, but rather what they call themselves: anarchists.) Their numbers are now down to perhaps 25 to 75 on any given night, compared with hundreds in late 2020 and the many thousands who marched last summer in protests after Floyd’s murder, but they have shown themselves at times to be violent — one was charged with attempted murder after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police — destructive of property and highly adaptable, using social media tools and other strategies to divert the police from the targets they select.

Direct actions are promoted on social media with the phrase “No gods, no masters,” a 19th-century anarchist term that indicates a rejection of all forms of authority. More traditional protesters from Black Lives Matter and other movements who try to curtail violence are now ridiculed as “peace police” by the anarchists, who mostly consist of young, white men.

Demetria Hester, a member of Moms United for Black Lives, continues to push for defunding the police but disagrees with the current call for dismantling the entire political system. Some prominent Black leaders have been formally distancing themselves, with some calling the anarchists’ rejection of gradual progress just another symbol of privilege that Black people do not have.

“Being able to protest every night is a white privilege, being able to yell at a police’s face is a white privilege,” said Gregory McKelvey, a prominent Black organizer who ran the mayoral campaign last year for Wheeler’s opponent, Sarah Iannarone. “Most Black people across the country do everything they can to avoid cops.”

Still, McKelvey has empathy for those who feel that taking to the streets is their only outlet.

The protests have led to vicious finger-pointing over who was to blame for the serial destruction that has left so many downtown storefronts shattered and covered with plywood.

Wheeler, heeding the demands of downtown residents and business owners, said the protesters themselves must be held accountable for their destructive attacks.

Protesters say the police have escalated the situation.

As the George Floyd protests waned elsewhere in the country, demonstrations in Portland continued almost nightly, for months on end. Video clips of burning trash barrels, broken windows, and police in riot gear have been common.

“You see images that make it seem like ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,’ ” said Phillip Atiba Goff, a professor of African American studies and psychology at Yale University who cofounded the Center for Policing Equity, an advocacy group that works to reduce bias in policing.

The rise in gun violence in the city — there were 891 shootings in 2020, more than double the number the previous year — has created what Goff calls a “correlation fallacy,” that protest equates to rising violent crime. Many big cities have seen a recent spike in violent crime, with little direct connection to street protests or law enforcement philosophy, he said.

“Portland is a dangerous potential distraction,” he said. “If you look at where progressive prosecutors were elected, homicide jumped; if you look at where they were defeated, homicide also spiked.”

Many people here say that the battle over what kind of city Portland will be, what values it will represent, what lessons it will draw from a tumultuous year, is now coming down to the question of fatigue — on the part of the police, city leaders, business owners, and downtown residents. After 2020, the old status quo has started sounding pretty good.....

It was about that time that I started to get the feeling of wanting to abort reading the rest of the revisionist slop and nix it altogether.


"Biden opens overseas trip declaring ‘United States is back’" by Jonathan Lemire and Aamer Madhani The Associated Press, June 9, 2021

MILDENHALL, England — President Biden opened the first overseas trip of his term Wednesday with a declaration that “the United States is back” as he seeks to reassert the nation on the world stage and steady European allies deeply shaken by his predecessor.

Biden has set the stakes for his eight-day trip in sweeping terms, believing the West must publicly demonstrate it can compete economically with China as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. It is an open repudiation of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The president’s first stop was a visit with US troops and their families at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, where he laid out his mission for the trip.

“We’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and issues that matter the most to our future,” he said. “That we’re committed to leading with strength, defending our values, and delivering for our people.”

He makes one want to vomit with that spew.

The challenges awaiting Biden overseas were clear as the president and the audience wore masks — a reminder of the pandemic that is still raging around much of the world even as its threat recedes within the United States.

“We have to end COVID-19 not just at home -- which we’re doing -- but everywhere,” Biden said.

Building toward his trip-ending summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden will aim to reassure European capitals that the United States can once again be counted on as a dependable partner to thwart Moscow’s aggression both on their eastern front and their Internet battlefields.

The trip will be far more about messaging than specific actions or deals, and the paramount priority for Biden is to convince the world that his Democratic administration is not just a fleeting deviation in the trajectory of an American foreign policy that many allies fear irrevocably drifted toward a more transactional outlook under Trump.

“The trip, at its core, will advance the fundamental thrust of Joe Biden’s foreign policy,” Sullivan said, “to rally the world’s democracies to tackle the great challenges of our time.”

Biden’s to-do list is ambitious.

The week-plus journey is a big moment for Biden, who traveled the world for decades as vice president and as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has now stepped off Air Force One onto international soil as commander in chief. He will face world leaders still grappling with the virus and rattled by four years of Trump’s inward-looking foreign policy and moves that strained longtime alliances as the Republican former president made overtures to strongmen.....

He's going to call for a new superpower struggle because “we have to prove democracy still works at a great inflection point in history,” and honestly, that kind of war talk scares me as the Washington Compost says global approval of the United States has rebounded under Biden (who did they survey, the man in the moon?)

"Britain’s Johnson to host G-7, trying to smooth global tensions with congeniality" by William Booth, Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum The Washington Post, June 9, 2021

LONDON — There is little doubt that Boris Johnson will play a jolly, hearty host for this week’s clubby Group of Seven meeting at a seaside resort in England, spinning his historical yarns, quoting his bits of Latin, ensuring wine glasses are topped up.

Johnson is the ultimate after-dinner speaker. Before he became prime minister, he made a living off his bonhomie in hotel ballrooms — and serving as a guest host for the BBC television quiz show, “Have I Got News For You,” but will Johnson's shtick be enough to smooth over tensions that have flared since the leaders of these countries last met in-person, and can he at the same time be a convincing champion for his vision for a swashbuckling free-trading "Global Britain"?

Britain and the European Union have been engaged in nasty spats over Brexit, vaccine supplies, and travel restrictions. Britain and France even sent gunboats into the English Channel last month in a tiff over fishing rights. Because the worrisome Delta variant is surging in England, British tourists aren’t welcome in most of Europe.

Britain’s relationship with the United States hasn’t been as antagonistic. Johnson and President Biden have never met — though Biden once reportedly described Johnson as a “physical and emotional clone” of President Trump.

The Biden administration doesn't seem in any more of a rush than Trump's was to realize Johnson's dream of a lucrative post-Brexit trade deal, and there's the potential for Biden, who has Irish roots, to register his vexation over Johnson's contributions to a straining of the fragile peace in Northern Ireland.

They are scheduled to hold their first bilateral meeting on Thursday. The mop-headed British leader has a list of aspirational asks for the G-7: The official aim of the summit is to help the world beat down the pandemic, "and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future."

Johnson said he will ask his counterparts “to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era” and vaccinate “the world by the end of next year.” He didn’t offer any specifics.

Britain has deployed one of the most successful vaccination programs -- and the G-7 will also be something of a warm-up act for November’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, when Johnson will host a much larger contingent of world leaders and diplomats. He aims to get commitments from the G-7 on funding to help less-developed countries reduce their carbon emissions.

As Johnson asks the wealthy members of the club to do more, though, his government has announced it would slash foreign aid from 0.7 percent of its national income to 0.5 percent, saying the cuts were necessary because Britain had borrowed so heavily during the pandemic.

Diplomats and observers say the G-7 is a big moment for Johnson to establish Britain's place in the world, after his messy split from the European Union.....

That fawning piece of swill had me asking what the hell am I reading? 

They are expected to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world, and the key issues at stake, according to Antonia Noori Farzan, Miriam Berger and Adam Taylor of the he Washington Post, are climate change, trade and taxing corporations, Brexit, and Russia and Belarus.


He is slated to announce the plan at the Group of Seven meeting in Britain this week amid growing calls for the United States and other rich countries to play a more substantial role in boosting the global supply of coronavirus vaccine.

Also see:

My jaw hit the floor when I saw the New York Times revert to the Wuhan wet market origin after the limited hangout of the Fauci e-mails, and it now looks like Walensky is in trouble, too.


That was called news analysis by the New York Times, which is why I didn't read it, and he's doing the wrong thing again.

Now clear the park:

"Germany makes rapid virus tests a key to everyday freedoms; It’s betting heavily on testing — as well as vaccines — and rapid-test centers have multiplied across the country" by Christopher F. Schuetze and Melissa Eddy New York Times, June 9, 2021

BERLIN — Want to go out for a meal indoors in Germany? Get a test. Want to stay at a hotel as a tourist or work out at the gym? Same answer.

For the many Germans who have not yet been vaccinated, the key to COVID freedom has come from the end of a nasal swab, and rapid-test centers have multiplied at a speed usually reserved for the country’s autobahn.

They can shove it up their noses, and can't the German people recognize fascism?

Abandoned cafes and nightclubs have been converted. Wedding tents have been repurposed. Even the backseats of bicycle taxis have a new use as tourists have been replaced by Germans being swabbed by testers in full protective gear.

Germany is one of a handful of countries betting heavily on testing — as well as vaccines — to beat the pandemic. The idea is to find potentially infectious people before they can join crowds in concert halls and restaurants and spread the virus.

Potentially infectious?

What do they get, a yellow star of David?

The testing system is a far cry from much of the United States, where in many places, people began dining indoors or sweating together in gyms with few if any requirements. Even in Britain, where the government gives out free rapid tests and schoolchildren have taken more than 50 million since January, they are not part of everyday life for most adults, but in Germanypeople who want to participate in various types of indoor social activity or personal care need a negative rapid test that is no more than 24 hours old.

There are now 15,000 pop-up testing centers across the country — more than 1,300 in Berlin alone. The centers are funded by the government, which has spent hundreds of millions of euros on the ad hoc network, and a task force led by two Cabinet ministers is ensuring that schools and day care centers have enough of these rapid antigen tests to administer to children at least twice a week.

Separately, do-it-yourself kits have been become ubiquitous at supermarket checkout stands, pharmacies, and even gas stations since they first came on the market earlier this year.

Experts in Germany say that they believe the testing is helping to lower virus case numbers, though proof is elusive.


Thus, Germany on Thursday started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gets ready for the key summer travel season. The country’s health minister said starting this week, vaccination centers, doctors practices and pharmacies will gradually start giving out digital passes to fully vaccinated people. The CovPass will let users download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app, allowing them easy access to restaurants, museums, or other venues that require proof of immunization. The vaccination passport should be available to everyone in Germany who is fully vaccinated by the end of this month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said. “The goal is that this certificate can also be used in Helsinki, Amsterdam, or Mallorca,” Spahn told reporters in Berlin. People who have been fully vaccinated will either get a letter with a QR-code they can scan with their phones or they can contact their doctors or pharmacies to retroactively get the digital pass. “By doing so, we in the European Union are setting a cross-border standard that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world yet,” Spahn said, adding that the digital vaccination pass is an important step for the revival of international tourism."


Meanwhile, it looks like the Globe is shitting its pants regarding the audit in Arizona since they are now running a six-part series about securing the presidency from an American tyrant when it is a certain foreign government and certain individuals who decide policy, not the family, and I suspect nothing will come of the sordid election theft and power grab.

In a moment of self reflection the Globe admits that when it comes to race, Boston is a work in progress and the problem runs deep. It's a taxing burden — but on some of us more than others once you clear the hurdles going to wrong way.

Time to pop a pill and shut up as time has run out.