Why Does General Motors Plan to Sell No Cars That Run on the 20th Century? Because California, the US's most populous state and largest car market, "announced plans in September to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035.” That date is still too distant. The final death of gas-guzzling culture is likely to happen within this decade. We have entered the twilight of the petroleum civilization.
An illuminating passage from David Owen's Green Metropolis:
When a French-American salvage expedition, beginning in the mid-1990s, retrieved items from the RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912, none of the thousands of recovered articles—'gold and silver wrist- and pocket watches, buttons, bracelets, jeweled necklaces, rings, tiepins and hairpins, gold pince-nez spectacles, leather goods, several hundred English coins, ivory combs, mirror cases, and hairbrushes'—included anything made of plastic, the first truly modern form of which, Bakelite, had only just been invented when the ship set sail.
If, say, one of Princess Cruises' massive consumption ships sank today (nearly 110 years after the Titanic's first and last trip) and was not recovered for 100 years, our distant and possibly more environmentally enlightened descendants would be appalled by the thousands upon thousands of articles—cell phones, headphones, microphones, blow-dryers, vibrators—made of petroleum-based plastic.
Here We Go Again: According to the Seattle Times, Seattle and the state of Washington are considering "joining King County in a possible $300 million bailout of the troubled multibillion dollar Washington State Convention Center expansion." The reason for trouble? "[The] COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the hotel tax revenue that funds the [$1.9 billion] project." The company behind the project, the Pine Street Group, threatens to shoot the half-finished monster of a complex in the head if the public does not cough up $300 million right quick. Convention centers are made to look like a public good but are in fact black holes that grow without end in an urban core.
Here's what a young Charles Mudede said about the Washington State Convention Center expansion back 1999:
It is said that at the current rate of growth of New York City's Javits Center — which is competing with Chicago's orotund McCormick — Manhattan will be enclosed by its own exhibition hall by the year 2035. If our Convention Center continues to grow at its present rate, it will completely cover downtown Seattle by the year 2015. Imagine that — in our near future, as our transport shuttle descends through the clouds, preparing to land on what may then be called the Boeing Spacestrip, we will see a big, windowless bubble where many years ago downtown Seattle once stood. On this bubble's fringe heavy construction will continue — the sparks and cranes of uninterrupted growth.
During my term in office, the Washington Convention Center assured me that Seattle would never be on the hook for Convention Center financing. (I thought then it was a boondoggle). Today:https://t.co/O6wL1ds5EF?
— Mike McGinn (@mayormcginn) January 29, 2021
Arizona's GOP Wants to pass a law that permits the legislature "to revoke the secretary of state’s … issuance … of a presidential elector’s certificate of election." This move must not come as a surprise. Arizona, like Georgia, is turning blue. And if both states become a Colorado (a swing state until 2008), then the GOP will effectively have no path to the White House. Trump will be the last Republican president, and the attempted coup of January 6 will be the full stop on all of the attempts to prevent the US from following the path long-established and completed by California (the future of America).
Does Anyone Know the Body discovered at a "recycling plant in Frederickson on Thursday?" The body made itself known to workers when it "was brought in with the recyclables." Now we are all stuck with this body. An unknown body is a public one. This whole sad situation brings to mind that line in a tune by the South African Afro-blues-rock band Stimela. It goes something like: Nothing is more difficult than a dead man.
The Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines is a logistical mess. It seems as if no one is managing the operation. The rollout has all the features of a laissez-faire market. When will this pandemic end? KIRO 7:
Where is the method in this? Sometimes it's a sudden relocation of some stash. Sometimes there's too much of the stuff. Then suddenly a refrigerator breaks down and there's all this scrambling because what's not in existence is a backup plan for this real possibility.
Some people got out of bed overnight to get vaccinated for COVID-19 to keep vaccines from going to waste. The clinics were set up when Kaiser Permanente had 1,600 doses that needed to be used by 5:30 a.m. Friday due to an issue that allowed the vaccine to become warmed. UW Medicine and Swedish hospitals were alerted by Kaiser Permanente at 9 p.m. Thursday and had to scramble to make sure the vaccines were used.
At least 2,300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have gone to waste in Washington https://t.co/3nyfEVOOBy— KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) January 29, 2021
And it’s not just King County or the US that's a mess, but also Europe. Europe does not have a Trump, but its rollout is also unimpressive. Why are things so bad? Because so many of our key institutions have been decimated by neoliberalism—a massive privation project that began in the early 1970s and has since relentlessly assaulted the post-World War Two Welfare State.
But What Use Is A New Vaccine If It Can't Be Distributed in a Timely Manner?
This is phenomenal news. It’s getting a little taken for granted because the initial data from mRNA vaccines was so crazy good. But the storage makes this vaccine far easier to distribute, here and globally. We have three really strong vaccines now. We live in an age of marvels. https://t.co/k11XKMDHmo
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) January 29, 2021
GamesStop Madness: Still going strong:
It has been a crazy week on Wall Street — and Friday trading is only just getting started. GameStop (GME) soared some 100% at the opening bell, after trading platforms including Robinhood lifted restrictions on trading the stock.
This Week: Britain spent plenty time dealing with the fact that 100,000 of its subjects are dead for no other reason than the gross mismanagement of the pandemic. The UK thought it had the luxury to vote for the bozo Boris Johnson. But it had no idea that the cost of this luxury would be thousands upon thousands of lives. And for those who think the socialist Jeremy Corbyn would have been no better, I refer you to the socialist prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. She really got the job done. COVID-19 is beatable.
Not a Bozo:
Another year without seeing our friends and family in New Zealand. But this is the right thing to do. I wish all cities, states, and nations took Covid19 as seriously as Jacinda has. https://t.co/gvdTRv5uU6
— Kristen Meinzer (@kristenmeinzer) January 26, 2021
Why Did I Believe Dogs Can't See Themselves In the Mirror? Who put this nonsense in my head in the first place? And why? Clearly, animals have as rich an inner life as the self-congratulatory human animal.
This one, the dog with itself in the mirror, is even doing an excellent version of, "...You talking to me?"
Let's Close With Something For My Philosophical Headz: