“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

The FDA has granted full approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for preventing covid-19. Up until now, it had only been granted emergency use authorization and some vaccine-hesitant people had said that they did not want to take an ‘experimental’ treatment that had not received full FDA approval. Let’s hope that they will now take the vaccine because the number of preventable cases and deaths is staggering and heartbreaking.

But I suspect that even this approval will not win over the hard-core skeptics. Take this report that some people are using drugs used to deworm livestock to prevent covid-19 instead of taking the vaccines. The FDA has put out a surprisingly sarcastic statement.


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Ransomware attacks

John Oliver devoted a segment of Last Week Tonight to the problem of ransomware, where hackers break into a computer system, lock up all the data, and then demand payment, usually in cryptocurrencies, in order to provide the key to unlock it. Barely a day goes by without some report about a new ransomware attack. The news stories focus on the havoc caused by attacks on big entities like hospitals, local governments, and businesses. But Oliver points out that with more and more people having their home devices hooked up to the internet, those become vulnerable as well.
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Understanding the current madness

In the August 9, 2021 issue of The New Yorker, investigative reporter Jane Mayer has a long article titled The Big Money Behind the Big Lie that looks at how “Donald Trump’s attacks on democracy are being promoted by rich and powerful conservative groups that are determined to win at all costs.” These conservative groups, formerly more focused on issues like abortion, seem to have coalesced around efforts to pass voter suppression laws nationwide. It is an interesting article that focuses on what is going on with the so-called ‘election audit’ in Maricopa country in Arizona that went heavily for Joe Biden, but embeds that in the larger national context of undermining belief in the integrity of elections as a way of overturning results that they do not like. If they succeed in overturning the Arizona result, the plan is to mount similar challenges in Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia.
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The second Everly brother dies

Don Everly, the other half of the duo known as the Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 84. His brother Phil died in 2014 of pulmonary disease at the age of 74. What was surprising was that Phil had been a heavy smoker all his life. You would think that someone whose voice was in the higher registers and was his gift to the world would take better care of it.

The music of the Everly brothers played a huge role in my life and I still listen to them in my car on long drives. The beautiful harmonies and guitar playing resulted in highly memorable songs.

Here are two of my favorites.

The first is Walk Right Back which has a famous sequence of chords that begins the song and is repeated throughout. It was my ambition to master that sequence so that I could play that song. I failed.

And here’s Cathy’s Clown performed live. This song spoke to all the young men of my generation who acted like fools because of the spell the one they loved cast on them.

The worst member of the House Democratic caucus

And the award goes to … Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey.

Ryan Grim and Sara Sirota describe why this barely-a-Democrat is so despised by his fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives and why the revolt he tried to organize to prevent the passage of measures that would help people in general but upset his corporate backers is likely to fail.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES is often compared to a high school, and it’s a useful metaphor. Both have overlapping hierarchies that are at once defined and undefined, official and unofficial. There are official positions, like captain of the varsity basketball team or chair of the Ways and Means Committee, but there are also social hierarchies: who’s cool and who’s not; who has genuine power and who doesn’t.

Gottheimer and eight of his colleagues have been facing off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisting in a letter sent last week that she bring the bipartisan package for a vote “immediately,” rather than holding it back as leverage to pass the bigger piece. The not-so-veiled goal is to strip progressives of the leverage they have to enact a big reconciliation package, making it more vulnerable to being cut down to size or stopped entirely. Gottheimer worries the larger legislation will mean painful tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy — many of whom have supported his political ambitions.
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Making way for emergency vehicles

When you hear the sound of an ambulance, you are expected to make room for it to pass. There are plenty of video compilations on the web about how drivers in different countries react to the sound of an ambulance and in some cases, drivers seem to ignore the siren. Most of us try to make way as quickly and as safely as possible, but may not pay as much attention as to whether what we are doing is strictly legal since we may think that yielding immediate right of way to the ambulance takes priority over minor traffic rules, and that we would not be penalized.

But in the UK at least, you can be fined for making way for emergency vehicles if you break a rule. The link gives you the things that you should not do, such as:
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Great moments in democracy: California’s stupid recall election system

I have just received my ballot for California’s recall election for governor Gavin Newsom to be held on September 14th. The system governing recall elections of California’s governor has to be one of the stupidest ever devised. Basically, the ballot consists of two parts. In the first part you are asked to vote yes or no on whether he should be recalled. That is straightforward enough.

In the second part you are asked to vote for one of the candidates vying to hold the office in the event that a majority should vote in the first part to remove him. There are 46 candidates. Nine of the 46 have listed their party preference as Democrats, 24 as Republican, one Libertarian, 2 Green, and 10 as none. but this is meaningless since anyone can put anything as their preference on the ballot. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties have endorsed a candidate. So right now, there is a scramble among the 46 to claim that they would be the best person to assume the office if Newsom is recalled.
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The worst member of the House Democratic caucus

And the award goes to … Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey.

Ryan Grim and Sara Sirota describe why this barely-a-Democrat is so despised by his fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives and why the revolt he tried to organize to prevent the passage of measures that would help people in general but upset his corporate backers is likely to fail.

Gottheimer and eight of his colleagues have been facing off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisting in a letter sent last week that she bring the bipartisan package for a vote “immediately,” rather than holding it back as leverage to pass the bigger piece. The not-so-veiled goal is to strip progressives of the leverage they have to enact a big reconciliation package, making it more vulnerable to being cut down to size or stopped entirely. Gottheimer worries the larger legislation will mean painful tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy — many of whom have supported his political ambitions.
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