Year: 2019

Autocorrect Changed “Biden” to “Buffoon”.

I am beginning to think that the predictive AI on my phone’s keyboard is better than I originally thought, because, it was when I was forwarding a story about how Biden is open to having a Republican as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Seriously, this guy is living in a complete delusion, and if anyone thinks that he can beat Donald Trump by sh%$ting on the party and ignoring what the Republican party has become, they are as delusional as Joe is:

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said on Monday he would consider choosing a Republican running mate if he is the party’s nominee next year.

However, even as he raised the possibility of a Republican running mate while speaking to a crowd at a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire, Biden said, “But I can’t think of one right now.”

Biden has premised much of his presidential bid on appealing to moderate Democrats, independents and Republicans who have been alienated by President Donald Trump. On the campaign trail, Biden has regularly spoken about the need to work with Republicans in Congress should he prevail in the November 2020 general election.

In response to a question by an attendee at the event, Biden elaborated on his answer, contending that Trump’s party has not done enough to hold the president accountable. “There are some really decent Republicans that are out there still, but here’s the problem right now,” he said. “They’ve got to step up.”

He really believes this sh%$, and the country cannot afford to have 2 delusional Presidents in a row.

The Bedbug at “All the News That’s Fit to Print” Endorses Eugenics

I am referring, of course, to Brett Stephens, who is now claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are genetically more intelligent, at least a bit:

Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different.

Seriously, between Brett Stephens and Bari Weiss, I’m beginning to wonder if the Times Editorial Page Editor James Bennet is literally trying to find the most contemptible Jews possible to become regular columnists.

Seriously, as a human being and an American, I find Stephens an embarrassment, and as a Jew, I find him a Shanda fur die Goyim.*

*Yiddish for a, “Shame before the nations,” meaning that this person is an embarrassment to the whole Jewish people.

Quote of the Day

It’s vulgar to say this, but it’s may be true that we learn less about the materialist politics of academic writing by reading it — and some of it can be famously obscure; Butler was the winner of a Bad Writing contest in 1998 — than by looking up the author in the Federal Elections Commission records.

—Liza Featherstone writing in Jacobin

The article notes how many radical leftist academics are donating to conservative Democrats.

Academe is not an environment that rewards forthright personal statements, so I agree with Ms. Featherstone, this says more about the academics listed than does their writings.

After Major Sh%$-Storm, Biden Clarifies

In an interview with the Des Moins Register, Joe Biden said that he would defy a Senate subpoena as a part of the impeachment investigation.

After his statement exploded, Biden “clarified” that he WOULD comply with any Senate subpoena, but he would call them out on their bullsh%$:

The shadow of impeachment clouded Joe Biden’s trip through eastern Iowa on Saturday after the former vice president confirmed he would defy a congressional subpoena if he didn’t believe there was a legal rationale behind it.

Biden told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board Friday he would not comply with a Senate subpoena during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. It confirmed a statement he made in an interview with NPR earlier in the month.

He began the day Saturday clarifying those remarks on Twitter before making appearances in Tipton, Washington and Fairfield.

“I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests,” Biden tweeted. “But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial.”

Seriously, Biden basically sold the entire impeachment effort down the river, and when it blew up, he “Clarified.”

This is, for a lack of a better term, pure malarkey.

Unfortunately, Ajit Pai Will Police This Law

Part of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress is the The Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019, which forbids a whole host of cable company rat-f%$#ery:

For a decade we’ve talked about how the broadband and cable industry has perfected the use of utterly bogus fees to jack up subscriber bills — a dash of financial creativity it adopted from the banking and airline industries. Countless cable and broadband companies tack on a myriad of completely bogus fees below the line, letting them advertise one rate — then sock you with a higher rate once your bill actually arrives. These companies will then brag repeatedly about how they haven’t raised rates yet this year, when that’s almost never actually the case.


But something quietly shifted just before the holidays. After a longstanding campaign by Consumer Reports, The Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 passed the House and the Senate last week buried inside a giant appropriations bill that now awaits President Trump’s signature.

The bill bans ISPs from charging you extra to rent hardware you already own (something ISPs like Frontier have been doing without penalty for a few years). It also forces cable TV providers to send an itemized list of any fees and other surcharges to new customers within 24 hours of signing up for service, and allows users shocked by the higher price to cancel service without penalty.

The bill’s not perfect. Because of the act itself it largely only applies to cable TV, not broadband service where the problem is just as bad. And cable TV providers can still falsely advertise a lower rate, thanks to what appears to be some last minute lobbying magic on the part of the cable TV sector:


The trick now will be enforcement by a government and FCC that has routinely shown it’s entirely cool with industry repeatedly ripping consumers off with bullsh%$ fees to the tune of around $28 billion annually:

Unfortunately, under current FCC management, I expect that the resulting regulation will render this meaningless.

I honestly that Pai may be the most venal and corrupt member of the Trump administration, though that concept truly buggers the mind.

F%$# Me. I Agree with Governor Andrew “Rat Faced Andy” Cuomo

To be fair, it appears that Cuomo did so in a fit of pique, and not out of any sense of good governance or the public weal:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have made electric scooters and bikes legal in the state, citing the lack of a mandatory helmet requirement and other safety concerns. The veto means e-bikes and e-scooters will continue to remain technically illegal across the state, and will further delay any adoption of popular (if polarizing) shared mobility services like Lime or Bird.

The bill to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters was passed in June with overwhelming support, clearing the state Senate by a 56-6 margin and the state Assembly by a 137-4 margin. But state lawmakers reportedly waited to send the bill to Cuomo until this week out of concern that he would try to stand in the way of the proposal. Cuomo has voiced support for legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters in the past, but reportedly soured on the bill after he was criticized by one of its co-sponsors earlier this year.

Which means that Cuomo has exercised a pocket veto, and it appears that it’s all down to political score settling.

While the bill would have broadly legalized both modes of transportation across the state, it was also designed to give cities control over e-bike and e-scooter sharing services. Cities would have been allowed to use permits as a tool to control the influx of these sharing companies, which would help prevent them from being inundated like some other cities around the world. It also would have given these local governments leverage to help negotiate their own regulations around shared e-scooters and e-bikes.

If there is a lesson from Lime and Bird, it is that the promise of strong regulation is a mirage.  They will subvert and ignore any regulations, and lobby aggressively for a get out of jail free card.

Cuomo have have done the right thing for the wrong reason, but in the case of Rat Faced Andy, this is probably the best you could get.


Dear Satan, An Animated Short About a Girl Who Accidentally Writes Letter to Satan Instead of Santa: (Narrated by Patrick Stewart)

Welcome to the Post Antibiotic World

The perverse incentives of our drug exclusivity regime looks to result in the collapse of antibiotic research and development, because, unlike things like cholesterol and diabetes meds, antibiotics are only taken for a few days, so the profits are not there to get financing for drug development.

The pharmaceutical industry will demand higher prices, extended exclusivity periods, and other subsidies.

I will suggest reducing the subsidies on drugs for chronic conditions, which is what pulls money from antibiotics.

Also, ban antibiotic use in livestock, which contributes to the evolution of antibiotic strains of microbes:

At a time when germs are growing more resistant to common antibiotics, many companies that are developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business, gravely undermining efforts to contain the spread of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria.


Experts say the grim financial outlook for the few companies still committed to antibiotic research is driving away investors and threatening to strangle the development of new lifesaving drugs at a time when they are urgently needed.

“This is a crisis that should alarm everyone,” said Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

The problem is straightforward: The companies that have invested billions to develop the drugs have not found a way to make money selling them. Most antibiotics are prescribed for just days or weeks — unlike medicines for chronic conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis that have been blockbusters — and many hospitals have been unwilling to pay high prices for the new therapies. Political gridlock in Congress has thwarted legislative efforts to address the problem.

The challenges facing antibiotic makers come at time when many of the drugs designed to vanquish infections are becoming ineffective against bacteria and fungi, as overuse of the decades-old drugs has spurred them to develop defenses against the medicines.

Drug-resistant infections now kill 35,000 people in the United States each year and sicken 2.8 million, according a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month. Without new therapies, the United Nations says the global death toll could soar to 10 million by 2050.


Public health experts say the crisis calls for government intervention. Among the ideas that have wide backing are increased reimbursements for new antibiotics, federal funding to stockpile drugs effective against resistant germs and financial incentives that would offer much needed aid to start-ups and lure back the pharmaceutical giants. Despite bipartisan support, legislation aimed at addressing the problem has languished in Congress.

“If this doesn’t get fixed in the next six to 12 months, the last of the Mohicans will go broke and investors won’t return to the market for another decade or two,” said Chen Yu, a health care venture capitalist who has invested in the field.

Well, Chen Yu would say that, wouldn’t he?

He’s in the business of extracting money from monopoly rents and subsidies, so he is calling for additional monopoly rents and subsides.

What he really wants is this times 10:

Many of the new drugs are not cheap, at least when compared to older generics that can cost a few dollars a pill. A typical course of Xerava, a newly approved antibiotic that targets multi-drug-resistant infections, can cost as much as $2,000.

The problem is that no one can see beyond the for-profit model, looting, and subsidies:

Some of the sector’s biggest players have coalesced around a raft of interventions and incentives that would treat antibiotics as a global good. They include extending the exclusivity for new antibiotics to give companies more time to earn back their investments and creating a program to buy and store critical antibiotics much the way the federal government stockpiles emergency medication for possible pandemics or bioterror threats like anthrax and smallpox.

The solution to this is, dare I say it? Socialism.

As opposed to government subsidies, government ownership.

Not Enough Bullets

After running a transparent scam, and engaging in some of the most egregious self-dealing that has not ended up inside a criminal court ever, Adam Neumann’s looks set to make millions more in addition to his $1.6 billion payout from Softbank to eject him from WeWork:

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, who left the lossmaking office-space provider with a $1.6bn exit package, could earn hundreds of millions of dollars more under an agreement struck with the company and its top shareholder in October, according to documents reviewed by the Financial Times and people briefed on the matter.

The deal revised the terms of a class of shares held by Mr Neumann — known as profits interests — that were created by the company’s complex restructuring this year and had little value after plans for a WeWork initial public offering fell apart.

But a future flotation — even at a valuation significantly lower than the company was seeking this summer — could result in Mr Neumann receiving hundreds of millions of dollars if he sells the stake.

In October, a month after Mr Neumann stepped down as chief executive, he agreed with WeWork and SoftBank, its biggest investor, to forfeit some of his profits interests, while receiving improved terms for his remaining stake, positioning him for future gains.

Seriously, if we have the space in prisons to lock up some low level junky for decades, why can’t Neumann get a couple of years?


The man is indicted for corruption, he is clearly the most toxic person in Israeli politics, but still Likud cannot see beyond him.

That is profoundly sad:

Benjamin Netanyahu has won a landslide victory in a primary election for leadership of the ruling Likud party in Israel.

Official results announced early on Friday showed Netanyahu capturing 72% of the votes, compared with 28% for challenger Gideon Saar. Earlier, Netanyahu had declared a huge victory following an exit poll that put him on course for more than 70% of the vote.

The prime minister, head of Likud for the past 14 years, retained the famously loyal rightwing party’s leadership in the internal ballot, despite battling three damning corruption indictments.

This is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

Deep Thought

Trump’s fundraising for Senators who are jurors in his impeachment trial may qualify for bribery under federal statutes.

While Pelosi is waiting for the impeachment rules from McConnell, maybe she should start investigating that, and demand that the Senators in question recuse themselves.

(On Edit)

Actually, instead  of calling on the Senators to recuse themselves, they, and their staff, should be called by the House as witnesses.

According to the Customs of My People

Today, we engaged in a Jewish tradition from time immemorial, we had Chinese food, and went to a movie.

Actually, we saw 2 movies.

What follows is a spoiler free, and hence vague, review.

Last night, we watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA) on pay-per-view, (we also had Chinese food), and tonite, we saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (RoS) in a movie theater.   (also Chinese food)

They were both decent movies, but I much preferred TFA to RoS.

I could consider TFA to be the 3rd best of the Star War movies, though I was never able to sit through the first two of the prequels.

TFA was self-aware, actually commenting the Star Wars mythology and conventions, and it was true to the characters, and the plot, while possessing some holes, was relatively coherent.

Also, there was what is arguably the least subtle anti-fascist message of any of the films in the series.  (Anti-fascism is IMHO a common throughout the series)

Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), who was introduced in TFA, was firmly relegated to the background in RoS, probably as a result of the Twitter sh%$-storm from alt-right fanboi after TFA.

Also, as befits J.J. Abrams, he directed the RoS but not TFA there was a big Chekhov’s gun* violation.

In both movies, the performances of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver’s performance was better, though I think, particularly in RoS that it served to highlight some of the shortcomings of the script.

Mark Hamill’s performance in TFA, largely playing the role of sensei from many Japanese Samurai movies, is arguably his best performance in a Star Wars movie.

Carrie Fisher’s performance in TFA was good, but that might be colored by her death following filming, and in RoS, her performance was a combination of archival footage and possibly CGI.

Of the supporting characters, the best performance was probably that of Kerri Russell in RoS, who did so either fully or partially masked, and the always entertaining Benicio Del Toro in TFA.

*Chekhov’s gun (Russian: Чеховское ружьё) is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed; elements should not appear to make “false promises” by never coming into play.

Unleashing the Power of the Private Sector

It turns out that putting Medicaid under private management in Iowa has tripled the price increases compared to previous years.

The private sector is to the efficient administration of healthcare what Ebola is to French kissing:

The average cost of insuring an Iowan on Medicaid has climbed nearly three times as fast since the state hired private companies to manage the program, when compared to the previous six years, new state figures show.

Since fiscal 2017, the first full year of privatization, the per-member cost of Iowa’s Medicaid program has risen an average of 4.4 percent per year, according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency. In the previous six years, the per-member cost rose an average of 1.5 percent per year, the agency said.

The new cost figures come amid continuing controversy over whether Iowa should have hired private companies to run the $5 billion program. The shift’s supporters said it would slow growth in health care spending on the more than 600,000 poor or disabled Iowans covered by Medicaid.

The Legislative Services Agency compiled the new cost increase figures from past budget reports published by the Department of Human Services, which oversees Medicaid.


The Medicaid cost increases for this fiscal year are partly driven by an 8.4 percent raise the Iowa Department of Human Services agreed last month to give the two managed-care companies running the program. That raise, which includes state and federal tax dollars, will send $344 million more to Amerigroup and United Healthcare this fiscal year, which runs through June 2019.

So, spending millions of dollars on private management don’t end up saving money.


I Can’t Even………

I always knew that Mike Bloomberg was a sanctimonious self-important piece of sh%$, but even I could imagine that his campaign would use prison labor to make phone calls.

Even if you don’t have a problem with the morality of using prison labor, and I do, the reckless stupidity of doing so in the Democratic Party primary, were even the most squishy Democrats want to signal virtue, positively buggers the mind.

From a non political perspective, giving prisoners a list of people with enough money, and the  profound lack of common sense required to donate to Mike Bloomberg, seems to be problematic as well:

Former New York City mayor and multibillionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make campaign calls. Through a third-party vendor, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign contracted New Jersey-based call center company ProCom, which runs calls centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma. Two of the call centers in Oklahoma are operated out of state prisons. In at least one of the two prisons, incarcerated people were contracted to make calls on behalf of the Bloomberg campaign.

According to a source, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women’s prison with a capacity of more than 900, were making calls to California on behalf of Bloomberg. The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign. They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars.

This is the most Mike Bloomberg thing ever.

I Want this Book

A cache of ancient Jewish recipes dating back to the inquisition has been found in Miami.

It has been published, and I want a copy:

A few years ago, Genie Milgrom came across a treasure trove of old recipes stashed away in her elderly mother’s kitchen drawers. There were hundreds of them — some in tattered notebooks, others scribbled on crumbling scraps of paper.

Upon closer examination, it became apparent to Milgrom that these were the handwritten notations of generations of women in her family. The recipes had traveled as an intact, ever-growing collection from Spain to Portugal to Cuba to the United States, reflecting not only the lives of Milgrom’s ancestors, but also the hidden heritage they had for the most part unknowingly safeguarded since the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Milgrom, who grew up devoutly Roman Catholic in Havana and Miami, has Crypto-Jewish roots. Her ancestors were Jews who practiced Judaism in secret while outwardly living as Christians to avoid being expelled, tortured, or killed by the Church. They were Crypto-Jews until the late 17th century, and lived as Catholics from then on. Through a decade-long, intense genealogical search, Milgrom discovered that she has an unbroken Jewish maternal lineage going back 22 generations to 1405 pre-Inquisition Spain and Portugal.

Her new kosher cookbook, “Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers: Unique Recipes and Stories from the Times of the Crypto-Jews during the Spanish Inquisition,” is a tribute to those female relatives who repressed or forgot their Jewish identity over hundreds of years, but managed to preserve vestiges of it through their food.

This is is awesome.

Get Your Archeology Geek On

Archeologist have unearthed a remarkable Mycenaean royal tomb:

Archaeologists recently discovered two magnificent 3,500-year-old royal tombs in the shadow of the palace of the legendary King Nestor of Pylos. It’s not clear exactly who the tombs’ owners were, but their contents—gold and bronze, amber from the Baltic, amethyst from Egypt, and carnelian from the Arabian Peninsula and India—suggest wealth, power, and far-flung trade connections in the Bronze Age world. And the images engraved on many of those artifacts may eventually help us better understand the Mycenaean culture that preceded classical Greece.

Tombs fit for royalty

The larger tomb is 12m (36 feet) wide and 4.5 meters (15 feet) deep, and stone walls would once have stood that height again above ground. Domes once covered the underground chambers, but the roofs and upper walls have long since collapsed, burying the tombs beneath thousands of melon-sized stones and a tangle of grape vines. University of Cincinnati archaeologists Jack Davis, Sharon Stocker, and their colleagues had to clear away vegetation and then remove the stones by hand.

“It was like going back to the Mycenaean period,” Stocker said. “They had placed them by hand in the walls of the tomb, and we were taking them out by hand. It was a lot of work.”

Beneath the rubble, gold leaf litters the burial pits’ floors in gleaming flakes; once, it lined the walls and floors of the chambers. The tombs don’t appear to have contained the remains of the their occupants (there’s some evidence that the tombs were disturbed in the distant past), but they were interred with jewelry and other opulent artifacts of gold, bronze, and gemstones, as well as a commanding view of the Mediterranean Sea.


The Saudis Should Have Hired Claude Rains to Make the Announcement

Round up the usual suspects

Because the recent convictions in the Jamal Kashoggi murder is literally a round up the usual suspects moment.

This is the most an egregious scapegoating that I’ve seen in a very long time:

Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death and three to jail over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but a U.N. investigator accused it of making a “mockery” of justice by allowing the masterminds of last year’s killing to go free.

A Saudi court rejected the findings of a U.N. inquiry by ruling that the killing was not premeditated, but carried out “at the spur of the moment”. Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor and spokesman Shalaan al-Shalaan said the court dismissed charges against three of the 11 people tried, finding them not guilty.


The source said the five men condemned to death were essentially foot soldiers in the killing, while two senior security officials acquitted played a more significant role.


Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur for extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, said the trial verdict was a “mockery” of justice.

“The hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free, they have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial,” she said on Twitter.

Yeah, but no one cares, because the Saudis have all that oil.