Tuesday, November 17th, 2020


That’s Cold

It could be worse. Imagine this mammoth covid surge was happening at a time when we were also getting bad news about prospective vaccines. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't let short term thinking, or rampant political stupidity, block it out. Here's a great overview of these brand new kinds of vaccines, and why RNA is best served cold. NPR: Why Does Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Need To Be Kept Colder Than Antarctica? "Think of the vaccine as a chocolate bar that melts easily. Just as there are ways to keep the chocolate from melting into goo, there are things the drugmakers did to protect their COVID-19 vaccines. The first step, Liu says, was to modify the mRNA nucleosides — the 'building blocks' of the RNA vaccine. 'They've used modified versions because those are more stable,' she says. This would be like changing the chocolate recipe so it's not quite so melty. The next step was to use lipid nanoparticles, which, Liu explains, 'is kind of like putting your chocolate inside a candy coating — you have an M&M, so the chocolate doesn't melt.'" The fix is coming. But that will be cold comfort for those who refuse to face the cold hard truth and give a cold shoulder to social events; and that means going cold turkey on Thanksgiving gatherings.

+ In the latest poll, fifty-eight percent of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, up from a low of 50% in September.


Tough Pill to Swallow?

The "jump into the pharmaceutical business, along with its involvement in grocery shopping, could make shoppers replace their shopping needs using Amazon alone, which could potentially affect retailers who also provide pharmacy services, like Walmart and Target." Amazon launches online pharmacy, prescription delivery service. (Take two of these and call me in the morning. Unless you're a prime member. Then you can take three!) The packages got to your front door. Alexa got into your house. Now Amazon is coming for your innards.


Lockdown Mode

"Faced with a startling spike in coronavirus cases, California health officials issued a new mandate this week requiring residents to wear face coverings whenever they're outside their homes, with few exceptions." A few weeks ago, we were flattening the curve. This thing is a monster.

+ "As hospitals in Iowa fill up with COVID-19 patients amid a major surge in cases in recent weeks, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who once dismissed coronavirus restrictions as 'feel-good' measures, has abruptly reversed course, issuing the state's first mask mandate." Iowa Governor Reverses Course, Issues Mask Mandate. Covid doesn't give a shit about political pandering. Mask the eff up.

+ "Philadelphia is prohibiting most indoor gatherings through Jan. 1, joining cities across the U.S. that have begun to button up again as the coronavirus spreads relentlessly. High schools and colleges in Philadelphia are moving to remote learning. Restaurants must revert back to takeout, delivery and outdoor dining only. Businesses like bowling alleys, movie theaters and arcades will once again have to shut their doors."

+ "Amid a furious backlash on social media — including from people who questioned why they were not allowed to bury their dead while lawmakers attended fancy parties — Pelosi canceled the dinner, turning it into a takeout meal instead." WaPo: Pelosi reversal on Capitol dinner shows perils for Democrats in coronavirus era. Covid doesn't give a shit about your political party. As long as there's a party, it will come.

+ Meanwhile, Scott Atlas is urging people to spend Thanksgiving with elderly despite Covid because they may die soon. Scott Atlas is Jeffrey Dahmer with an MD.

+ Yesterday, we heard from an ER nurse who shared jaw dropping stories about people dying of covid who still don't believe in covid.


Wag the Don

"A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike. The advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran's facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump's presidency." NYT: Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran to Stop Its Growing Nuclear Program.

+ "The White House will bring home 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year against the guidance of top military officials, a drawdown order that reduces the American presence by about a third, from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official."


Four Seasons Total Lawbreaking

"Since launching a long-shot effort to overturn the election results through baseless claims of voter fraud, President Trump has suffered a dizzying barrage of court losses and setbacks around the country, leading him to late last week to install Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to lead the legal efforts going forward." Trump team erupts into chaos as Giuliani takes over legal efforts. Today, he is arguing Trump's imaginary voter fraud case in Pennsylvania, alongside a Harrisburg attorney and conservative talk radio host, Marc Scaringi. (This would be a great comedy if it wasn't such an abject tragedy.)

+ Meanwhile, reality bending, democracy damaging attempts to keep this madman in office continue apace. Witness corroborates claim that Lindsey Graham asked about tossing ballots in Georgia.


Scout’s Dishonor

"The proceedings in a federal bankruptcy court will eventually lead to the creation of a fund to settle abuse cases that are upheld. 'It's by far the largest sexual abuse scandal in the US,' attorney Paul Moses told the AFP news agency on Monday. In terms of current reported numbers, it dwarfs similar complaints made against the Catholic Church in the country." Boy Scouts of America: Almost 100,000 make sexual abuse compensation claims.


Hearing Things

"Republican senators, including Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, revived complaints of censorship and anti-conservative bias against the social media platforms and pushed for stripping away some of the protections that have shielded tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post." Three quick thoughts about yet another Senate hearing with Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. First, when companies limit speech, it's not censorship. Free speech is a government thing. Second, the idea that there is an anti-conservative bias on Facebook is like saying there was an anti-cocaine bias at Studio 54. And third, America is facing the worst part of the worst health crisis in a generation, and our Senate is still spending time talking about Hunter Biden's laptop.


To Stir, With Love

"Here's how she explains it: 'Even if it's me rapping or if it's me having a conversation with somebody, I'm going to make you feel like you are that bitch. Because you're already that bitch—you somehow just need it stirred up for you. It's like, when you put the Kool-Aid in the water and it all fall to the bottom. But when you mix it up with the sugar, now it's Kool-Aid. You just need somebody to stir it up for you. That's me.'" GQ: The Year of Megan Thee Stallion.


Fun Facts

"For generations, people have passed down urban legends, but with the rise of the internet, their dissemination has become even easier and faster." Here's a Reddit thread of frequently circulated fun 'facts' that are completely untrue.


Bottom of the News

"The German federal government on Saturday released an online video praising an unexpected hero in the country's fight against the coronavirus: the couch potato." (I wondered why my wife kept saying, "thank you for your service.")

+ And take a virtual tour of the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library.