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Weekend link dump for March 7

“The truth and power of fundamentalist Christianity derived from and depended on its unanimity and total lack of ambiguity. In church, in other words, we all were taught — as all fundamentalists must be taught — that there can be only one pure, true form of fundamentalism and that any deviation from that one pure, true form meant a rejection of the entire construct. But then we all went to school where we were confronted with the subversive fact that there existed a diversity of fundamentalisms. We were all fundamentalists, but we were fundamentalists in different ways. That wasn’t supposed to be possible. The entire authority structure of fundamentalism hinged on the claim that it was not possible.”

“Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of apostasy, the rejection of a faith once confessed”.

“In other words, the reason Impossible and Beyond products have taken off in a way that earlier, vegetarian-targeted brands such as Boca and Gardein never quite did is not their nutritional profile. It’s the fact that they actually taste good.”

“As COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts continue across the United States, the latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor reports that a majority (55%) of U.S. adults now say they have received at least one dose of the vaccine (18%) or that they will get it as soon as they can (37%), up from 47% in January and 34% in December.”

“But speaking of history repeating itself, studios hoarding content for their own platform, and Paramount+, aren’t we heading into a new era of vertically integrated entertainment providers that looks a lot like the early days of the Hollywood studio system?”

“Waiting Rooms (And Other Public Spaces) Should Ban Cable News And Put Food Network Or HGTV On Their TVs Instead”.

“All told, the sharp increase in absentee voting in 2020 wasn’t disproportionately beneficial to either presidential candidate.”

“And now … we wait. Maybe there will be evidence of rampant criminality in those returns. Or maybe everything is by the book and Trump just tried to hide them because he’s given away so much money to charity that he didn’t want to embarrass Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for their paltry donations. (Yeah, probably not.)”

RIP, Irv Cross, former Pro Bowl defensive back who became the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television with CBS, on “The NFL Today” with Brent Musberger and Phyllis George.

Remember those weird Quizno’s ads from the Aughts? That will remind you, if you need/want to be reminded.

RIP, Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and advisor to President Clinton.

“Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Monday that despite how rotten it was to have theme parks closed for so long, the forced downtime was also an opportunity to tinker with technology and data to reopen better than before, for both guests and for shareholders.”

The fruitless hunt for a pristine copy of Citizen Kane.

Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades.”

As a lifelong Yankees fan, I fully endorse this proposal to honor Roy White in Monument Park.

“An orangutan named Karen, the first in the world to have open-heart surgery in 1994, has made medical history again: She’s among the first great apes to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations”.

“Lifting restrictions is exactly what the virus wants us to do—as we’re seeing the world over, more community spread creates the perfect conditions for the virus to accumulate mutations that can lead to more transmissible and potentially more lethal strains.”

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  1. Flypusher says:

    The article of the plant based meat substitutes makes an excellent point. I have tried all the products mentioned. Impossible is the best one by far. In the context of a burger (with the bun, cheese, condiments, veggie toppings), it tastes like an actual beef burger to me. I imagine it would be an acceptable ground beef substitute in tacos and chili too.

    It’s important to have the correct expectations for these products. Stuff targeted to the vegetarian market isn’t going to appeal to meat-eaters. Vegetarians aren’t going to like stuff that tastes good to the carnivorous palate. Part of the reason burgers taste good to those who like meat is the fat content. I looked up the nutrition labels for ground beef and for the substitutes. The Impossible burger has more fiber the beef, but more sodium, for example, and fat and calories are roughly the same. So a wash health-wise, but the prospect for less environment impact makes these meat substitutes worth manufacturing.

  2. Lobo says:

    FALLACY: Attribution of human qualities and intentions to non-human entities

    Re: “Lifting restrictions is exactly what the virus wants us to do.”

    The premise of this statement is the notion that the virus is a homo-sapiens type creature, which is nonsense. It invites thinking that the virus can be combatted through the usual means of influencing humans, including rhetoric, political posturing, and legal pronouncements, and diverts attention from what should be the focus: behavior modification toward effective risk reduction and spread containment by humans susceptible to infection themselves. As far as the biological process of transmission and infection is concerned, it doesn’t matter whether the inter-personal behavior modification is voluntary or compelled. For purposes of devising effective public policy, of course, the distinction is important.


    Assuming that the proposition here is that there is heuristic/didactic value in anthropomorphizing the virus for the plebs, it should be critically evaluated for effectiveness, i.e. whether treating the virus as it were a human enemy has potential of inducing good health and infection control behavior in the target population.


    Further from Mother Jones: “I’m not a lawyer, but I think [the lifting of the mask order is] a form of battery.” (quote)

    Well, guess what!? Even if the contention has/had merit, it’s irrelevant: Our Republican King Greg Abbott enjoys sovereign immunity. And that’s an oxymoron in appearance only. It’s immunity from liability of those who act in the name of the State, and that is the law: the law made by state supreme court judges, also known as the “common law”. It derives from absolutism: the King can do no wrong. What we have now is a Republican version of the reprehensible, fundamentally anti-democratic doctrine that our rulers cannot be held to account for their torts (with some exceptions).


    That said, the article is a worthwhile read and makes some good points, such as regarding the efficacy of vaccines, a metric obtained under real-life conditions that include the presence of mitigation measures. Remove the mitigation measures (as happened in Texas) and the conditions will no longer be the same. You can expect more cases overall, even in the segment of the population already vaccinated (as long as no vaccine is 100% effective).

    Bottom line: the gradual vaccination of the population should proceed in conjunction with nonpharmaceutical public health (infectious disease control) measures; not as a substitute thereof.


    In any event, with only a low percentage immunized so far (and preference having been accorded to those most likely to have bad outcomes, rather than those most likely to be exposed to risk of infection), community spread can still be accelerated by going back to “normal” behavioral patterns too early. The pool of those neither vaccinated nor having previously had and survived COVID is still large so as to allow the epidemic to run rampant if the plug is pulled on containment efforts, and the corresponding best practices at the level of individuals and businesses are abandoned.

    Reference: Kiera Butler, Two Big Reasons Why Now Is a Terrible Time to Lift Mask Mandates “It’s completely ridiculous to reduce responsibility to the individual.”
    MOTHER JONES (March 5, 2021).