• Daily Digest

    Daily Digest 9/12 – America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral, CA’s Largest-Ever Wildfire Burns On

    by Daily Digest

    Saturday, September 12, 2020, 6:48 AM


Even Very Prepared Colleges Face Outbreaks (jdargis)

What the scientists had not taken into account was that some students would continue partying after they received a positive test result. “It was willful noncompliance by a small group of people,” one of the scientists said.

After a university-imposed lockdown, the number of new cases has dropped again, and the hope is that all students will now take the protocols more seriously.

Nearly 2 in 3 Portland voters view Mayor Ted Wheeler unfavorably, even more favor new police oversight system, poll shows (Nate)

The survey of 435 voters deemed by pollsters likely to vote this fall found that 59% of them feel Portland is heading in the wrong direction. Most of them also support the Black Lives Matter movement and more of them name homelessness as an “extremely important” problem facing the city than any other issue. Support for Black Lives Matter was particularly strong, with 76% of poll respondents saying they view it favorably and 22% saying the opposite.

The poll was commissioned and paid for by Yes for Real Community Oversight of Police, a political action committee set up to advocate for the ballot measure, and conducted by California-based FM3 Research.

Senate Republicans fail to advance coronavirus stimulus bill as stalemate drags on (tmn)

The legislation would have reinstated enhanced federal unemployment insurance at a rate of $300 per week, half of the $600 weekly payment that expired at the end of July. It also would have authorized new small business loans and put money toward schools and into Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines.

The measure did not include a second $1,200 direct payment to individuals. It also lacked new relief for cash-strapped state and local governments or money for rental and mortgage assistance and food aid — all priorities for Democrats.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral (tmn)

A world of black and white is easier to handle than one awash with grays. But false dichotomies are dangerous. From the start, COVID-19 has been portrayed as a disease that mostly causes mild symptoms in people who quickly recover, and occasionally causes severe illness that leads to hospitalization and death. This two-sided caricature—severe or mild, sick or recovered—has erased the thousands of “long-haulers” who have endured months of debilitating symptoms at home with neither recognition nor care.

Meanwhile, as businesses closed and stay-at-home orders rolled out, “we presumed a trade-off between saving lives and saving the economy,” says Danielle Allen, a political scientist at Harvard. “That was foolishness of the most profound degree.” The two goals were actually aligned: Epidemiologists and economists largely agree that the economy cannot rebound while the pandemic is still raging. By treating the two as opposites, state leaders rushed to reopen, leading a barely contained virus to surge anew.

Vaccine makers are gambling with human life (Jane L.)

AstraZeneca was in the FINAL phase 3 states. The recruitment for the trial has stopped. They have stopped recruiting for the trial in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK.

Here is the headline I can show people when I express my concern. The rush to push a vaccine to market is DANGEROUS. The rush to give it to everyone.

Bailout: Billions of Dollars of Federal COVID-19 Relief Money Flow to the Oil Industry (000)

Plans for oil-industry-specific bailouts were effectively shut down by congressional Democrats. But, with help from congressional Republicans, billions of taxpayer dollars are flowing to the industry. The money is providing a clear lifeline to companies that were long-distressed prior to the pandemic. It is hard to see lasting benefits for workers, however, as many of these same companies slash jobs and benefits. And it is likely too little too late for an oil industry that appears beyond resuscitation, even by Trump (see The End of Oil Is Near).

Russia’s Central Bank Warns That Oil Could Slide To $25 (Michael S.)

Among the latest of worrisome signs, Saudi Arabia said it would cut its official selling prices for crude in a move hardly anyone expected given the Kingdom’s upbeat stance on oil demand. Separately, reports of rising oil and fuel inventories in floating storage pressured benchmarks as commodity traders chartered tankers to store fuel and crude offshore.

The news of rising floating storage is particularly worrisome because it means that onshore storage space is still full, despite a moderate increase in fuel demand after most lockdowns eased in May.

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled (Lee H.)

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”

But it’s not valuable, and it never has been. And what’s more, the makers of plastic — the nation’s largest oil and gas companies — have known this all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

California’s new largest-ever wildfire: North Coast’s August Complex shatters record set two years ago (tmn)

Just one day before it became California’s largest-ever recorded wildfire, the August Complex on Wednesday had reached the second-largest status, displacing the record that had been set just last month by the SCU Lightning Complex, which has burned 396,624 acres in the South and East bays since it broke out Aug. 18. California’s third-largest wildfire is the LNU Lightning Complex, which also started Aug. 17 and has burned 363,220 acres in two parts of the North Bay.

The World Lost Two-Thirds Of Its Wildlife In 50 Years. We Are to Blame (tmn)

Forest clearing for agricultural space was the predominant cause of the decline, the report says, noting that one-third of the planet’s land is currently being used for food production. Human-caused climate change is another growing driver.

“We can’t ignore the evidence – these serious declines in wildlife species populations are an indicator that nature is unraveling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs of systems failure,” wrote Marco Lambertini, Director General of World Wildlife Fund International.

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  • Sat, Sep 12, 2020 - 9:03am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 171


    100 Years Experience

    In late 1996 / early 1997, Mike Levine and 3 fellow federal agents with CIA, FBI and DEA, came together for a broadcast, whose purpose was to warn America that those agencies whom we were trusting to protect us against terrorism were too inept and badly run to do the job – and that mainstream media’s inability to sound the alarm and an easily manipulated congress, would ensure that ‘horrific terrorist acts and the loss of our rights as citizens, would surely follow.’ Hear those prophetic words now, because nothing has changed. While the fidelity of the actual recording leaves much to be desired, the conversation is striking to say the least. It predicts much of what has since come to pass. It is, in many respects, one of the most important broadcasts in the history of the show.

    100 Years Episode

    "There was no silver bullet that could have prevented the 11 September attacks. There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States. If there had been something, we would have acted on it."-- Condoleezza Rice (recently appointed Director of the Hoover Inst.) go figure.

    Rest In Peace FDNY brothers

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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2020 - 3:12am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 05 2020

    Posts: 219


    Choosing a fork in the woodland road

    California’s extensive history of extreme fire suppression in areas where wildfire has long been a natural part of the landscape as well as poor forest management are also causes, fire experts say.

    I grew up in SoCal. In late high school and early college (late 1960s, early 1970s) I worked on forest fire fighting teams made up of paid volunteers. At roughly $30/day, that was real money for a kid my age back then, but it was hard, exhausting, and sometimes dangerous work.

    Common wisdom at the time indicated that forests need good management to prevent the building up of tinder, and BLM encouraged appropriate grooming and thinning. Tinder is created when diseased and dead trees are not culled but, rather, are allowed to rot, lodge, and clutter the woods floor. Those trees harbor pests, too, that use such a favorable environment (ie, food source) to massively reproduce and infest adjacent trees, exacerbating the problem.

    It's been decades since then and my life has led in other directions. I haven't paid close attention, but it is my understanding that subsequent forestry practices have inclined toward a "hands off" approach on the grounds that leaving forests to their natural life and death cycle is more ethical, and is better for the long term sustainability of greenlands. The exception seems to be the clear-cutting of swaths for lumber. The practice leaves a great deal of debris behind, which is both immediate tinder and good pest breeding ground. The combination seems obviously to promise devastation. Experience documents fulfillment.

    I believe it's likely true that nature knows best how to regulate and propagate woodlands. Fire is a part of that, as we who study regenerative land practices know quite well. From that standpoint, the raging fires on the West Coast should be expected and anticipated in a natural setting, climate warming or no. They are a part of how nature renews.

    However, if humans are going to live near or in woods we have a choice to make: either we reduce the severity and frequency of major forest fires by prudent forest management - that is, interference - or we come to terms with the loss of property and human lives that these fires bring. What I haven't much patience for (harsh as I sound) is hand-wringing over the consequences of policy decisions and their predictable consequences.

    I now live in Vermont. This is a very wooded state. We don't have massive wildfires. Now, part of that is because Vermont is a temperate rain forest, which means our woods don't get as dry as I remember California becoming even in "wet" years. The golden hills of central coastal California are legendary, and beautiful.

    However, another part of our lack of devastating fires here is that we have codified into state law inducements to manage our forests prudently. Owners have a tax incentive to create woodlands, and loggers make a living from periodically culling out trees to minimize disease by creating good spacing and light penetration, which reduces lodging and the accumulation of dead tree detritus on the forest floor, while encouraging forest floor plant life and the natural birth of replacement trees. Land owners also benefit by receiving a stump fee from removed trees.

    Loggers are trained to State standards and procedures and so do virtually no harm to the forest as they keep it healthy. By "virtually no harm," I mean they do create small clearings along roadsides, when necessary, for the collection, processing, and loading of logs. That's it; that's the harm done. In exchange, we live in a beautiful, green, healthy woodland filled with wildlife and natural bounty.

    Having lived on both coasts, my (heartless) conviction is that the West Coast has chosen the path of annual fire devastation. And while I doubt western wildfires could be eliminated by replacing the current "hands off" approach with proper forestry management, I have no doubt the number, size, and severity of those wildfires could be greatly reduced - as could their tolls on valuable property and invaluable human life.

    I would think that in the face of increasingly dry conditions and increasingly-devastating wildfires there would be a greater openness to exploring alternatives to current practice. So far, however, I see no signs of rethinking the change in approach that began back in the late 1970s that has led to current record-setting conflagrations.

    This is the old, nearly trite issue of eventually sleeping in the beds we make.

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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2020 - 5:49am



    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 2064


    I love the search for truth here, but we’re doomed ya know


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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2020 - 6:08am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 05 2020

    Posts: 219


    Re: "we're doomed ya know"

    @thc, the superb author-historian-philosopher-man of letters, Douglas Murray, recently offered both sobering perspective on just how doomed we are, and surprising optimism about the longer term. Plus he's wildly brilliant and a great presenter:

    We Are Standing on the Precipice

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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2020 - 9:29am



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 27 2020

    Posts: 74


    wotthecurtains said:

    @vtgothic.  That interview was fantastic

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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2020 - 5:23pm


    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 2064


    Douglas Murray

    That was HATESPEECH! VTGothic. I loved it.

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