Links 3/22/2021

Venus Flytraps Have Magnetic Fields Like the Human Brain Vice (original).

Tennessee man loses $1 million lottery ticket — but finds it again in parking lot NBC

Multi-CBDC arrangements and the future of cross-border payments (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. CBDC = Central Bank Digital Currency.


Premature triumphalism:

World of Concrete manager secures green light for June timetable Concrete Products. In Las Vegas, “the city’s, as well as the United States’, first large-scale trade show in 15 months.”

How will we know if the Covid pandemic is really over? And how will we feel when it is? NBC

What will travel look like when the pandemic is over? CNN

‘Chaotic situation’: Puerto Ricans indignant at tourists breaking Covid mandates NBC

Party’s over: Miami Beach closing causeways, imposing spring break South Beach curfew Miami Herald

Has COVID peaked? Maybe, but it’s too soon to be sure Nature

* * *

Rich Countries Signed Away a Chance to Vaccinate the World NYT. It turns out, however, that the United States government owns a key patent.

Operations research advice for Covid-19 vaccination planners: think bigger, move faster STAT

A rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout backfired in some US states AP

* * *

Where’s the Science Behind CDC’s 6-Foot Social-Distance Decree? (not paywalled) Scott Gottleib, WSJ. A very, very gentle critique of the CDC.

Closed, Close Contact, Crowded:

Obviously, the 3-foot distance flip-flop has nothing to do with science, but with cramming more students into any given room. This will not only increase the concentration of aerosols in the room as a whole (more kids, more breathing) but means the kids are closer together (hence more likely to “share air”). If I were a oarent in the United States, I’d be pounding my head on my desk right now.

* * *

Virus Variants Likely Evolved Inside People With Weak Immune Systems NYT (original).

Aspirin Use Is Associated With Decreased Mechanical Ventilation, Intensive Care Unit Admission, and In-Hospital Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 Anesthesia & Analgesia. The Results:

“Four hundred twelve patients were included in the study. Three hundred fourteen patients (76.3%) did not receive aspirin, while 98 patients (23.7%) received aspirin within 24 hours of admission or 7 days before admission. Aspirin use had a crude association with less mechanical ventilation (35.7% aspirin versus 48.4% nonaspirin, P = .03) and ICU admission (38.8% aspirin versus 51.0% nonaspirin, P = .04), but no crude association with in-hospital mortality (26.5% aspirin versus 23.2% nonaspirin, P = .51). After adjusting for 8 confounding variables, aspirin use was independently associated with decreased risk of mechanical ventilation (adjusted HR, 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-0.85, P = .007), ICU admission (adjusted HR, 0.57, 95% CI, 0.38-0.85, P = .005), and in-hospital mortality (adjusted HR, 0.53, 95% CI, 0.31-0.90, P = .02). There were no differences in major bleeding (P = .69) or overt thrombosis (P = .82) between aspirin users and nonaspirin users.”

RTC needed, they say.

* * *

How the U.S. Pandemic Response Went Wrong—and What Went Right—during a Year of COVID Scientific American. March 11 again. Tales for granted that WHO, which has gotten so much wrong, from air travel restrictions to masking to aerosols, should be tasked with setting “our” anniversary date for Covid.


Hong Kong promises investors its prized tax haven status is secure FT

Pontifications: Embraer’s China ambitions Leeham News and Analysis


Can Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement restore democracy? East Asia Forum. Federalism:

Protester-less protests:

Rubies and Rights and Responsibilities – Myanmar as a Prism International Development Economics Associates. And speaking of rubies:

France’s EDF says Myanmar dam project halted over coup Agence France Presse

Myanmar Protesters Say an Attack on China’s Pipelines Would Be ‘Internal Affair’ Irrawaddy News

Olympics Barring of Foreign Fans Seen Worth Economic Hit Bloomberg

Japan car makers scramble to assess impact of Renesas auto chip plant fire Channel News Asia


India to propose cryptocurrency ban, penalising miners, traders – source Reuters. That’s a damn shame.

Secret India-Pakistan Peace Roadmap Brokered by Top UAE Royals Bloomberg


Government set to ‘take over the city of Liverpool amid corruption claims’ Evening Standard

Revealed: Private company running Covid test sites spent millions of taxpayer money on snacks iNews

Police officers hurt, vehicles set on fire in violent protest in Bristol, England Reuters

Trust in AstraZeneca vaccine wanes across EU, survey finds Politico


A Strategic Blunder of Historic Proportions Dan Rather, Steady

Cool kids still pretending nobody was skeptical of Iraq WMDs:

IIRC — which must be, because link rot — in my earliest years as a blogger, 2002-2003, I played whack-a-mole with various clearly delusional WMD stories — yellowcake uranium, aluminum tubes, mobile bioweapons labs, and many more — which popped up in sequence in the press, almost as if they were being planted (as indeed they were, as we learned later, by Bush’s White House Iraq Group). Anybody who read the reporting with a critical eye would have been able to tell that the WMDs stories were bullshit. That’s why they kept changing! It’s shocking that there’s even discussion on this point. Of course, the Bush propaganda apparatus was simple and crude compared to what we have today. And George W. Bush gave Michelle candy.

On 10th Anniversary of the U.S.-NATO Attack on Libya: Powerful Perpetrators Have Yet To Face Justice Covert Action Magazine

AP sources: Iran threatens US Army post and top general AP

Genocide. Brasilwire

New Cold War

How Biden Rattled Putin Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

MOSCOW BLOG: Putin is a killer redux Intellinews

Our cold, two-front war The Scrum

China wins high marks from Russians, scoring 74% favorability Nikkei Asian Review. Good job.


Russiagate Rolls On, Giving Biden Political Cover Consortium News

Peter Strzok’s ‘False Memory’ About The Origins Of Crossfire Hurricane The American Conservative

Biden Administration

Biden wants to make America a global leader again. Start with vaccines. The Week

How Biden Can Clean Up Obama’s Big Tech Mess Matt Stoller, BIG

Our Famously Free Press

Teenage Mistake My New Band Is. Teen Vogue idpol debacle.

Project Veritas Wins Victory Against New York Times In Defamation Action Jonathan Turley. The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable….

Shifting attention to accuracy can reduce misinformation online Nature. “Our results challenge the popular claim that people value partisanship over accuracy, and provide evidence for scalable attention-based interventions that social media platforms could easily implement to counter misinformation online.” Certainly it would be better to do this than appoint a Reality Czar.

Public Records Access

Yves’ work with public records access is one of the few things that keeps CalPERS as honest as it is.

The Foilies 2021 EFF (for Sunshine Week, just passed).

Governments delay access to public records during pandemic AP

Orlando Sentinel sues Florida Department of Health to force release of COVID variant data Orando Sentinel

Health Care

Financial Toxicity and Survival of Patients With Cancer MedScape (original).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Fighting systemic racism: 56 companies form global coalition to bring racial justice to the workplace World Economic Forum

Imperial Collapse Watch

Anarchy is coming Unherd (dk).

Fascism and Analogies — British and American, Past and Present Los Angeles Review of Books

Guillotine Watch

Already showered with awards & media adulation, Dr. Fauci scores a new honor: Children’s book proclaiming him ‘AMERICA’S DOCTOR’ RT (KW). Yves: “I might have to claw out my eyeballs….” Joseph Goebbels was weak, a mere patzer.

Class Warfare

An outsider’s eye, an instant camera and America seen anew AP. Interesting project, but I’m not so sure there’s more here than exotic locals. Photographer Maye-E Wong “drove the backroads during the run-up to the 2020 election” as part of an AP team, documenting the sights with an Instax camera as a personal project. Wong visits desolate Cairo, IL:

Here is the same site (note the “Chamber of Commerce” sign) from Chris Arnade’s Dignity (thread):

Aesthetics aside, Arnade’s composition highlights something that Wong’s does not: That stupid line of old time-style lamp-posts (one decapitated) was installed (by that same Chamber of Commerce?) as part of a scheme to rescue Cairo by attracting “creative class” professionals, back when that was a thing. IIRC, there were bike-paths, too. Sometimes the kind of outsider you are matters, too.

Thomas Piketty and Karl Marx: Two Totally Different Visions of Capital The Hampton Institute

Confessions of an Influencer Whisperer Town & Country

Influence as Property Elaine’s Idle Mind

Scientists want to build a doomsday vault on the moon CNN. Can we lock Elon Musk inside?

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote, the unreleasable bobcat:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Interesting project, but I’m not so sure there’s more here than exotic locals.
    Yeah – there’s a couple of nice shots but the Instax (and its color saturations) is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here. Hopefully this is part of a much longer project for Maye-E Wong

    1. Basil Pesto

      I really do like Instax as a format. Capable of so much more than the party/social shots it’s marketed for. Really striking saturation as you say and some of the cameras do allow for an appreciable amount of control over the exposure.

    2. lordkoos

      I once used film but as an amateur photographer I don’t get it myself, saturated images and out of focus, it seems gimmicky. If you want that look for your photos you can do that with digital images.

      1. Geo

        I agree that a lot of the retro trend around Polaroid style cameras is often gimmicky, but this resurgence of film cameras has a side benefit: it helps sustain the film market for professionals.

        A good friend of mine was recently at Panavision in LA and noticed all but one camera being checked out for rental were film cameras. He was there for a TV commercial being shot on film. Hasn’t seen anything like that in over a decade.

        Even as a film purist he will freely admit that digital offers a higher resolution, more detail in shadows, and other technical benefits. But, there is an aesthetic quality, when captured by someone with a deep understanding of film (this guy still develops his own photos, including 8×10 large format negatives) in his home darkroom and has a tech knowledge that is bordering on god-level. The images he captures are literally not possible with digital. It’s often subtle but the organic nature of film (actual light burned into a physical medium) that is more pleasing to the eye and conveys an authenticity and tangibility that digital doesn’t have.

        Personally, I can’t afford film, nor do I get projects that have budgets for it, so i shoot entirely digitally. But, having a film background inspires how I shoot and also my taste in lenses (have a cherished set of Cooke Panchro Primes from the 1940’s). So much of what goes into an image is how the light is translated to the camera. Aspects that just can be replicated digitally.

        To me, the main driver for all of this is a reaction against the disposability of media (“content”) today. Photos and videos saturate our lives to an obscene degree. Having a Polaroid or actual film is the result of creating art that is tangible and makes the artist feel more connected to it. When a person shoots film they are choosing to take that shot because film is limited instead of just firing off a bunch of digital shots onto 256 GB cards that can hold thousands of raw photos.

        Whether this all translates to audiences is another question though! Who knows. Some seem to really prefer vinyl over digital audio. Maybe there is a similar awakening happening for visual mediums?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s often subtle but the organic nature of film (actual light burned into a physical medium) that is more pleasing to the eye and conveys an authenticity and tangibility that digital doesn’t have.

          Very true. However, digital means no darkroom, no chemicals or paper, and no film. These are enormous advantages. I’ve done a ton more work with digital than film; the workflow is so much more possible.

          I think film and digital are different, albeit closely allied, much like etching and painting. I know my way of approaching a subject is completely different with both.

  2. John

    “Our Two Front Cold War”: In what universe is ginning up hostility with both Russia and China a good idea? Have they gone in sane inside the DC bubble? Is it ground hog day?

    I had a moment of hoping Biden might have observed the last twenty years and learned that our machinations have been largely unsuccessful. Clearly,not. If you look at this dog’s breakfast and ask, “Who benefits?” the answer is clear. Ray McGovern calls it the MICIMATT: military-Industrial-Congressional-Media-Academic Think-Tank complex. That is concise and as good as any.

    1. a fax machine

      In a universe where he wants to get re-elected. Trump lost because he refused to deal with the Chinese (free) trade problem and he refused to arrest journalists creating the Russia problem (I don’t endorse such a strategy – it was merely Steve Bannon’s suggestion before he was fired). Biden is smart enough to know what it takes to get a second term and later Harris into the White House: cutting off China to get moderate votes and cutting off Russia to get bourgeois votes.

      The long term consequences are irrelevant. Just look at his “Killer” comment happening weeks after Russia extended New START again, spiking anger within their legislature. Or look the computer chip shortage. None of these people know what they’re doing, and won’t care until a real crisis begins where their ability to act is restrained by external forces.

      Should be filed under “Imperial Collapse Watch”, as the moment this occurs is the moment America’s unipole world ends. Washington (and New York, for that matter) are not prepared.

      1. tegnost

        I don’t think it’s that complicated. Trump lost because he didn’t say wear a mask. THe “china problem” is joined at the hip with the “wall st.” problem, which means there is no need or will to “fix” it, it’s working fine. Refused to arrest journalists? C’mon man…bidens gonna crash it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I don’t think it’s that complicated. Trump lost because he didn’t say wear a mask.

          A second reason Trump lost is that he didn’t get to send out a second round of checks with his name on them, thanks to Pelosi. (He also had a line of attack on Obama, Durham, closed off by Barr, amazingly enough.

          I think it’s not so much the refusal to mask, which played well with his base, as his laziness. Trump was not equipped to take a national leadership role on Covid (or appear to, as Cuomo did). It’s not all that easy to do, and you will notice that nobody in the Democrat party has assumed that position. I think the turning point was Trump’s so-called “bleach” comment, where the press and then Pelosi really did distort what Trump said. I think Trump saw he was involved in a losing game, folded his hand, and bet on vaccines which, like Durham and the checks, did not materialize in tme.

          It’s amazing that he came as close as he did.

      2. Lee

        Trump lost because in 3 states 45K people, who probably don’t give a damn about geopolitical power politics, voted for Biden. My inference from this is that Democrat party power is balanced on a knife edge, and that the issues that really matter to voters were and continue to be Covid-19 and the economy. Of course, I might just be projecting.

        1. km

          Trump lost three states by less than 1% and he lost Pennsylvania by a little over a percent.

          Most voters don’t care about geopolitics, granted, but Trump probably could have won those states if he had made a less half-hearted attempt to enact his agenda, if he had pretended to sort of care about the COVID, or even he had just acted a little bit less like a roaring jackass in public.

    2. jackiebass

      I agree with your comment. The threat of Russia and China has been over blown for decades. I don’t believe Russia is eager for war. They had two wars that made them reluctant for another war. WWII was one where Russia shouldered much of that weight until the allies were prepared to defeat Germany. The other was their stint in Afghanistan. They like us ended up bogged down in an unwindable war.Then you have Putin. If Russia started a big war Putin would risk losing all of his acquired wealth. Russia like the US depend on the money to be made by supplying arms to other countries.Biden should be careful with his criticism. He and the US government are guilty of murder , either directly or indirectly, around the world.Look at our policies not only in the Middle East , Africa, Asia, and especially South America. Our government hasn’t been good member of the world community. The you have our governments actions in the USA. How we treated different groups is shameful. Smedley Butler wrote a short right on the mark book called War Is A Racket.

      1. cocomaan

        Russia has a falling population and all kinds of internal problems. The biggest geopolitical threat from Russia is that they begin to side with the Chinese against the West. Which is exactly what the Western strategy appears to be at the moment.

        Guess that it creates a nice excuse for the self licking ice cream cone of defense spending.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘You go to war with the made-up enemy that you have, not the made-up enemy you might want or wish to have at a later time.’

          Donald Rumsfeld (kinda)

        2. Polar Socialist

          By European standards Russia is doing well. It currently has a stagnating population, mostly due to Covid (extra deaths, no immigration [Ukrainians have to go somewhere]) and cyclical, generational population fall due to the famine in 30’s and devastating war in the 40’s.
          But the fertility rate is between 1.6-1.7, not much behind USA.

          I think Russia is already siding with China. Mr. Lavrov just told Chinese media: “We need to reduce sanctions risks by strengthening our technological independence, by switching to payments in national currencies and in world currencies, alternative to the dollar. We need to move away from the use of Western-controlled international payment systems.”

          As for being against the West, Mr. Lavrov added this: “Diplomacy is relations between people, it is the ability to listen to each other and hear each other and the ability to find a balance of interests. That’s exactly the values that the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are promoting in diplomacy.”

          What they seem to be against is the West determining the international rules instead of, well, the international community. And that the rules bind the West too.

          A group of retired French generals just published a public letter to Mr. Stoltenberg, where they basically tell that the man has betrayed NATO and it’s European members. To them it’s obvious that hysterical Russophobia is made up so that NATO members would, in exchange for US protection against imagined Russian threat, support US against China. And that’s not what NATO is for.

      2. Milton

        Putin would risk losing all of his acquired wealth.

        Obama shakeing his head at leaders taking advantage of their positions from his dacha in Martha’s Vineyard.

      3. Procopius

        What Butler wrote is more an essay than a book, but he told the truth. The DuPonts and other radical conservatives of the day tried to recruit him to run a coup against Roosevelt. He turned them down, turned them in, and they never suffered any consequences for it. Now that’s something I could call treason, not the weak tea the snowflakes of today whine about.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Our Two Front Cold War”: In what universe is ginning up hostility with both Russia and China a good idea? Have they gone in sane inside the DC bubble? Is it ground hog day?

      I think the “war with Russia” faction and the “war with China” faction are distinct. I’d speculate that the political appointees don’t have the power any more to knock heads and say to one (or the other) “You wait, the other guy is going first.”

      So with nobody really in charge, all the factions push for the maximalist version of their demands.

  3. a different chris

    So World of Concrete, huh? Doesn’t get any more crazy than partying with Civil Engineers, I tell you. Not.

    I always make fun, and have on here before, of the purported Strict Constitutionalist question of “what would Tommy Jefferson (or whatever Founding Father) say if he was time-traveled into today”, I say “he would be so lost in online porn that it would take a group intervention to get him functional again.

    But I never thought about the Romans. They would see that particular corner of the ‘Net as almost childishly innocent, or maybe as just another aisle in the supermarket.

    What they would likely do is ignore the Internet, cars, planes and etc and wander around scoffing at our pathetic buildings constructed of crap concrete.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve no doubt that they deliberately chose World of Concrete as a deliberately low key attempt to kick off the convention business. But (nerd out alert), concrete engineering really is fascinating. Sometimes its the most familiar materials that are the most overlooked.

      Uninteresting factoid is that many consider the Iranians world leaders in concrete science. Something to do with living in a major earthquake zone along with a strong interest in penetration proof bomb shelters.

      1. StevRev

        It’s not low-key It was at one time, and may still be, the largest convention in Las Vegas.

      2. JP

        Concrete is changing a bunch in the quest to lower carbon impact. The big items are pozzilan additives to increase strength and lower cement content and a major interest is infusing CO2 for curing to increase strength as well as offset the energy cost of calcining portland. Concrete chemistry and process is really pretty interesting.

    2. The Rev Kev

      But what if the World of Concrete convention gets bumped from the schedule? By the World of Sand? The concrete engineers may try and argue that they are more important but the sand engineers would reply that without sand, they got nuthin’.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Thank you for that Jefferson anecdote. Filed away for later use at Thanksgiving.

      As to the Romans scoffing at modern architecture: depends, I think. Rome in the Republican period was notoriously shabby, especially compared to Alexandria. I wonder if this is a trait of “republics” in general?

      The great flourishing of Roman art was in the early Empire. I wonder if there may be something in that, as well.

  4. UserFriendlyyy

    World of Concrete manager secures green light for June timetable

    Go for Concrete Con.

  5. allan

    High-Income Tax Avoidance Far Larger Than Thought, New Paper Estimates [WSJ]

    The top sliver of high-income Americans dodge significantly more in income taxes than the Internal Revenue Service’s methods had previously assumed, according to forthcoming estimates from IRS researchers and academic economists.

    Overall, the paper estimates that the top 1% of households fail to report about 21% of their income, with 6 percentage points of that due to sophisticated strategies that random audits don’t detect. For the top 0.1%, unreported income may be nearly twice as large as conventional IRS methodologies would suggest, the researchers wrote. …

    Such pass-through businesses—where income passes directly onto their owners’ individual tax returns and isn’t taxed at the corporate level—are a large and increasingly important part of the wealth of the top 1%, particularly the top 0.1%. …

    Of course, this is in the news section of the WSJ, which Judge Silberman warns us
    leans towards being a Democratic Party broadsheet.

    1. jsn

      Far larger than though by whom? Maybe there’s a union drive going on on the news side at WSJ.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “An outsider’s eye, an instant camera and America seen anew”

    You know what would be interesting? A Now & Then book. This is one where on on side you might have a photo of, say, a 1950s American street-scene while on the other side you have the same photo but what is seen now. I have done the same technique and by lining up features or buildings, you will find yourself in a very small circle where the original photographer must have stood. So can you imagine what a book like that would look like based on some of the photos in this article?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I have to say that I found those photos dull and derivative, although I’m no expert on photography. But I do feel very sorry now for professional photographers in that in a world saturated with countless zillions of smart phone pics its hard to produce photographs that justify a professionals fee. I know a guy who trained as a pro and is very talented, but he had to give up and go into a ‘regular’ job. He does have a side income in photographing canine instagram stars, which I guess is one sign of the times. Another friend is a superbly talented travel photographer, but again, he found it next to impossible to make a living as a freelancer.

      Before and after photos are very illuminating. Its amazing looking at old US street scenes just how many people would be out walking and cycling on what are now deserted or car dominated streets. Even somewhere like NY often has far fewer people actually out and about on the street than a few decades ago. An extreme is Butte in Montana – you can walk down the middle of Main Street without seeing a soul, but in the museum you can see photos where it looks like downtown Chicago or San Francisco on a busy day.

      1. wadge22

        I really enjoy the whole recreating photos from the past theme, as well. Here are a couple links to related works I was able to dig up quickly.

        NYT shots recreated in 2019

        Historic Aerials, a more informative but perhaps less artistic version of the visual time travel idea. They are definitely trying to sell prints, but there are still lots of intriguing details behind the horrible overlays.

        I believe there also exists a book recreating some of the most famous Ansel Adams landscape shots from the same locations at two or three later dates, and that my mother owns it. Of course, the only thing I can find with web search is a slew of listicles that tell me which camera gear I must buy to be able to recreate Adams’ artistry myself.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Some years ago there was an old black and white photo doing the rounds on tumblr that I admired, from around the war I think, taken in Lyon, from the top of a tiny climbing laneway in the old town. Then later I was going through photos I took from when I visited Lyon, and much to my astonishment I had inadvertently taken a photo from what appeared to be exactly the same place, some 70 years hence. It was very different! But there were enough recognisable similarities in the details that made me think it was the same place.

      3. Geo

        Butte is an amazing place. For a place that was once a bustling city and is now just gutted, it’s got an incredibly rich and sordid history. Really a shame how much of their old city has been destroyed due to mining.

        But, yeah, it almost feels like a ghost town anymore.

        If you’re ever up for a fun read check out a book called “The Bad Boys of Butte”. It’s not written by a pro. Much of it needs a proper editor! But, it’s a fascinating history of the town that was ruled by crime and grift from its earliest days to modern day. Stories of police shoot outs with masked robbers who when unmasked are the police chief and cronies. Ones where the red light madams call the shots behind closed doors with mob bosses, mining execs, union bosses, and politicians. And where do-gooders are laughed at by their bosses for their naive idea that doing good is an option.

        It’s truly a town that embraced America’s worst aspects and amplified them to eleven.

    2. Pelham

      Yes! I had the same thought a few years ago while thumbing through a Life magazine retrospective that included a striking photo of a typical family reading newspapers on a porch in Emporia, Kan., about 1940. As I recall there were a father and two sons, all in starched white shirts on a porch that appeared neat as a pin.

      The thought occurred to me because just before this I had run across a photo essay — can’t remember where — on the decline of once-prosperous Emporia that included the image of a similar house and porch, but one with busted pillars, peeling paint and a beat-up couch with stuffing falling out. No human presence in sight.

      My hometown (not Emporia) I remember as late as the early ’70 had a three-block section of Main Street that was so busy just about every day that it was hard to find street parking. There were 40 storefronts and a bank along that stretch, all but one occupied during my childhood. The last time I visited in the 1990s the bank was gone, all but five stores were vacant, and four of the active stores were selling secondhand knickknacks and the like.

      When I retire, I want to travel a bit and do the book you suggest. I think we all have a sense of extended decline, but stark, image-based documentation is still lacking.

  7. jackiebass

    In reference to the Bobcat not being bright. Perhaps he has brain damage from being dropped by a hawk. Another scenario is he is smarter than you think. Perhaps he adapted to an easy life style in captivity and likes it. I suspect if released he would soon adapt to living in the wild. I am a life long outdoorsman. I have only seen two Bobcats in the wild. They are crafty beautiful animals. Both times I only saw them for a short time before they disappeared. If is ashamed that some states allow them to be hunted or trapped.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      So if we got the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go into a helicopter, it drops them on their heads, can we end The Empire?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        More likely the colonels would run the empire while the generals sunned themselves on the roof of the Pentagon.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “How Biden Rattled Putin”

    ‘All it seems to take is to say something that’s true.’

    Yeah, of course this article was written by Masha Gessen as she hates Putin. Maybe because she was born there so kinda like Max Boot. Of course Rachel Maddow has high praise for her and has had her on her show and I can just imagine the two of them together. Here is Maddow talking about her- (8:20 mins)

    Putin meanwhile was so worried by developments that he went to Siberia for the weekend with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to chill out. Guess that he figures that it is going to be a long year. Apparently Shoigu is into woodworking with things like driftwood which I never would have guessed but you can see his workshop in the video on that page-

    1. weimer

      Gessen is so predictably – and, may I add, unimaginatively – biased against prez. Putin that publishing her, linking to her stuff, and G-forbid, reading her is just a colossal waste of time. Being biased, however, is not the worst offense – it’s just that this bias, hate (or what ever it is) leads her to produce utterly uninformed, and even misleading, garbage that has no value whatsoever. Not even as entertainment. Unless one is a masochist.
      In short, misleading, uninteresting, and repetitive – not sure why anyone would give her a platform.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        From the article:

        He sounded as if he were asking Biden to “take this outside.” Putin has always characterized his younger self as a thug, quick-tempered and vengeful, the kind to settle disputes with a sidewalk brawl.

        I had to read that second sentence three times, because my brain kept substituting “biden” for “Putin.” I must be suffering from “biden derangement syndrome” and it’s causing me to hallucinate all that Corn Pop, out behind the barn, “dog-faced pony soldier” stuff.

        Here is Scott Ritter’s take on biden’s comments in the stephanopolous interview in general, and his claim to have told Putin “he had no ‘soul’ ” in particular:

        Biden’s struggle with the truth is well known, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he possibly made up a meeting with Putin. Biden has been caught plagiarizing a speech delivered by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, lied about his academic record and accomplishments, and manufactured from whole cloth a narrative that has him participating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden’s lies all have one goal in common: to make him out to be that which he is not. So, too, his apparent lie about calling Putin soulless. Biden is desperate to be a ‘tough guy’. But for that reputation to stick vis-à-vis Putin, there had to be a ‘showdown’ moment, where the good guy faced off against the bad guy and called him out. Since no such event exists, Biden had to make one up. And, like most of his lies, Biden repeats them long enough and often enough that they take on a life of their own, embraced as fact by unquestioning journalists.

        The present need for the 78-year-old American president to be flexing on the issue of Russia is driven by the conclusions of a report released by the director of national intelligence (DNI), which assesses that Russia interfered in the 2020 US presidential election…..

        1. occasional anonymous

          The fact that the ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ guy is now our president will never stop being amazing. Biden is a trainwreck on even just a personal level. He’s very close to ‘old man yells at clouds’ Simpsons level, if he wasn’t there already.

          Liberals are all relieved that they’ve ‘brought dignity’ back to the Office of President™, which I mean, yeah, Trump absolutely dragged it through the mud, so basically anything is an upgrade from his level. But Biden is objectively awful. Yet liberals keep pretending that he’s brought dignity and refinement to the job.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Strictly speaking, Gessen identifies as ‘they’. As in ‘they’ are non-binary.

      Its a bizarre little article, really snide. Even allowing for the current norms in anti-Russian hysteria I’m surprised that any journal, let alone the New Yorker, thought it was fit to publish.

      I thought Putin actually responded quite well, although perhaps any native Russian speakers here might be able to confirm/deny if there was a subtext to his choice of words.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      I saw nothing threatening in what VVP said in response to Uncle Joe, neither in translation nor in the original Russian. He responded like a statesman, or at least like an intelligent and emotionally mature adult. In Gessen’s mental universe, VVP can do nothing right. Gessen is intelligent but (with respect to VVP) seems to be blinded by hatred. A bad combination. Why the New Yorker continues to publish Gessen’s musings about Russia is beyond me, especially as Gessen left Russia many years ago (2013 IIRC) and no longer has the proverbial finger on the pulse.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps the New Yorker is an antiRussianitic magazine and therefor seeks to center antiRussianite “journalists” whenever it can.

    4. Darthbobber

      I’m sure the Russians were at this point no more than annoyed by Biden’s comments. Their expectations of us reached a point a while back where disappointment is hardly possible.

      You’d also get the impression from Heaven and most American coverage that Putin’s riff on Biden and the United States Was the sole or main focus of Putin’s press conference. It wasn’t.

      The main topic was various things related to the anniversary of the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. The elevation of the Tatar language to official status there, various construction and economic initiatives there, an historical reprise of past heroic defenses of the Crimea, etc etc. The Biden riff was in response to a question, though from the quality of the riff one assumes the question was expected.

  9. fresno dan

    Jon Schwarz
    1. I bet someone $1000 that Iraq had nothing!
    2. It’s true *no one with a big platform* claimed Iraq had nothing.
    3. That’s because if you were wrong, your career would be destroyed. But if you said Iraq had WMD & were wrong, your career would flourish. Incentives went one way.
    I used to think the wrongness of reporting on Iraq was an anomaly – in retrospect, I see Iraqi type reporting (like, 400% wrong) is the usual. And afterwards, an overwhelming, pervasive effort to erase reality by using the wrong reporting and substitute a panglossian history of US, as indispensable* nation
    * I misspelled indispensable and was auto corrected to indefensible nation – maybe I should have stuck with the “mistake” (which is actually correct)…

    1. Airgap

      Fresno D;

      “I used to think the wrongness of reporting on Iraq was an anomaly – in retrospect, I see Iraqi type reporting (like, 400% wrong) is the usual“.

      By shear coincidence on this anniversary of “Shock and Awe”, I’m reading the book Salam Pax The Baghdad Blog by Guardian Press. Described: “As the American-led forces gathered to invade Iraq, Salam’s diary became an extraordinary record of the anticipation, resentment, bemusement and sheer terror felt by an ordinary person living through the final days of a long dictatorship, and the chaos that has followed its destruction”.

      To say that the western press had it wrong is an understatement.

      1. fresno dan

        March 22, 2021 at 2:41 pm

        I was actually in American “Intelligence” when I was in the Air Force. I was trained to be an Arabic linguist (I really had no felicity with languages, but really, all I had to do was recognize the numbers 1 -10). The thing that always got me was the idea that the Sunni’s and Shia were surreptitiously in cahoots. I think America is summed up by that Madeleine Albright quote: ‘What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?’
        how can we spend more money on cruise missiles if we don’t use up the ones we got?

  10. zagonostra

    >Thomas Piketty and Karl Marx: Two Totally Different Visions of Capital -The Hampton Institute

    The definition of “capital” always confuses me. The author gives the following definition:

    Capital is a social relationship that enables a minority (the richest 1%), to get richer by exploiting the labour of others…

    He then goes on to criticize for saying ” a prehistoric flint tool, a cave, and a computer assembly plant are all capital.”

    I’ll have to reread article, but one definition that stuck in my mind was the succinct one given by David Harvey, when he said that capital is “money in motion.” So if you have 100 dollars in your wallet, that’s not “capital,” capital is money chasing more money.

    1. CanCyn

      I find it all very confusing also. It seems to me that a simple definition would be better. Money (or property or other assets) should be considered capital. Buying and selling are expenditures. I guess I’m looking at it from the perspective of accounting. You have capital (one time) expenses and operating expenses (buying and selling).
      All I can say is that is pretty hard to have a conversation about capital if we can’t even agree on a definition. To me, the only difference between my capital and Zuckerberg’s capital is that he has magnitudes more of it than I do.

    2. Bruno

      Marx’s definition of Capital is absolutely foundational to his entire Political Economy critique, and is as simple and direct as its analytical elaboration in four long volumes (the three of *Das Kapital* plus *Theorien Uber das Mehrwert*) is profound and complex. “Capital” is defined as *accumulated surplus-value*.

      1. Basil Pesto

        that doesn’t seem like a particularly simple definition, given that it demands elaboration.

    3. Jeff W

      Richard Wolff explains it this way:

      Capital is “self-expanding value,” as in lending money at interest or using money to buy something to sell at a profit (which seems to be pretty much David Harvey’s definition). Capitalism involves that increase in value specifically through the production process whereby labor adds more value than it gets back (which is closer to what the author of the Hampton Institute piece calls “capital”—the author seems to be merging the two terms). You can have capital without capitalism, and, as Wolff points out, for thousands of years before capitalism, people did.

    1. lambert strether

      This take is garbage. Whatever’s going on in Myanmar is not a color revolution. Analysts who have color revolution on the brain often confuse Southeast and East Asia with Eastern Europe because they all contain “East.” That’s the only explanation I can find for this kindergarten-level take.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yup, calling all revolutions in the region ‘color’ revolutions is just plain lazy analysis. Of course the US and British and other intelligence agencies keep a close eye on this areas and of course they occasionally like to stir things up if they see it in their interest (either national interest or someones career interest). Same with all the other big players in the region.

        But with Myanmar its clear that the protests are organic and very real, even though as yet it looks like its mostly based in the cities and the numerous regional secessionist groups are taking a ‘wait and see’ look. They are of course aware that the Rangoon establishment of whatever politics or stripe are not sympathetic to secessionists of whatever tribe or group or religion.

        It does seem that the protests are taking an anti-Chinese turn as they are seen as the enablers of the military. That could be ominous in more ways than one. I don’t see this turning out well, and interference by outsiders, whether its the West or China or anyone else is only likely to make things a lot worse.

        I wish I could be more optimistic about it. One of the few precedents for optimism would be South Korea, where a mix of working class and student protests brought the military government there down in the late 1980’s and led (eventually, after a couple of decades), to a genuine democracy, but Myanmar is far more of a mess than South Korea was back then. The same with Taiwan.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Of course the US and British and other intelligence agencies keep a close eye on this areas and of course they occasionally like to stir things up

          Well, if somebody blows up a pipeline or a ruby processing plant with a drone — instead of using a few hundred villagers with tractors and pick-axes — I’ll know who to blame. That said, at least in Asia, I think the color revolution crowd are “wise fools” over-simplifying an enormously complex region with a simple model. (In Eastern Europe or the Balkans they may be right. Egypt, it seems to me, was a mix of organic and not.)

      2. Darthbobber

        They also cite Finian Cunningham’s op-ed on Sputnik as the Russian position on this, though the standard op-ed disclaimer at the end says it shouldn’t even be taken as Sputnik’s view. And no- it is by no means true that everything appearing on a Russian outlet is “Russia’s view. ”

        The color revolution monomaniacs have gone into a box canyon. A color revolution does indeed need, as a couple of elements, mass demonstrations and media coverage, but all insurrections, attempted revolutions, even organized campaigns to redress grievances also involve those things.

        These people use much the same reasoning that strove to delegitimize the Viet Cong on the grounds that the Soviets supported them.

        1. occasional anonymous

          I think there’s a certain racism or colonialism to it as well. When you claim everything is a CIA backed color revolution, you’re basically completely denying the natives of a place any agency. Everyone is either literally on the spy payroll, or is some sort of naive useful idiot.

        2. Procopius

          Minor quibble: Both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China supported the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, thus proving that there was a “monolithic world-wide Communist conspiracy,” even though USSR and PRC were antagonists at the time.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Come on, man. A marriage of convenience to f*ck a common enemy doth not monolith make.

            And the Vietnamese, who are not fooled, very successfully played Russia and China against each. And then, when they’d whipped the United States, they had a border war with China, which they also won.

            So, no.

            1. Procopius

              I guess I should have used a /sarc tag. Or I should have quoted Darthbobber

              These people use much the same reasoning that strove to delegitimize the Viet Cong on the grounds that the Soviets supported them.

              which is what I was responding to. Some of the other blogs I go to automatically show who you’re replying to. More people are making the effort to do that on NC, now, but sometimes I forget or get lazy. You aren’t denying that the official position was that the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China, and Vietnam were held up by out State Department as proof that there was a “worldwide monolithic Communist conspiracy to destroy the United States,” are you?

      3. UserFriendlyyy

        Hummm, I didn’t get the impression he meant like full on color revolution 100% cia backing. I read it as taking advantage of the coup to pressure China. And it’s the only article I’ve read that even mentioned the other ethnic groups and their likely reactions.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > And it’s the only article I’ve read that even mentioned the other ethnic groups and their likely reactions.

          Odd, because I’ve linked to material just like that. If there’s hope for Myanmar (not a given) that lies with Federalism, which in turn depends on the many ethnic armies.

    2. occasional anonymous

      What a bizarre article. It simultaneously claims that Myanmar is a complex place with many different ethnic internal dynamics, and also that the protests against the coup government are basically fake and pushed by foreign intelligence agencies. So in other words one thing is foreign interference, but other things are genuinely internal, and which is which is dictated by the author’s biases.

      ‘What’s happening in Myanmar is a fake color revolution’ was also Moon of Alabama’s take, from very early on. b has since gone completely silent on the issue as the body count rises.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > ‘What’s happening in Myanmar is a fake color revolution’ was also Moon of Alabama’s take

        Good thing I didn’t go to MoA, then. I might have stroked out.

  11. John A

    Here in the cesspool of corruption that is Johnson’s Britain, Craig Murray has reported he expects to be found guilty of contempt of court for his accurate court reporting of the Salmond fit-up trial. The fact that many MSM journalists have reported far more detail about the accusers than he had and therefore genuinely in contempt, appears to be irrelevant. In the meantime Johnson is rushing through legislation that will mean toughter prison sentences for damaging statues than for rape and other violent crimes.

    1. ambrit

      This is looking like a spiteful attack on Murray in order to ‘scare off’ other journalists in the UK. It rises to the level of a “Bill of Attainder.” Essentially, government officials are prosecuting Murray for telling the truth about that government.
      Johnson is making noises like a ‘Dear Leader.’ (Most definitely not a ‘Fearless Leader.’) In cases where “The Defense of the Realm” is trotted out as a justification, one should look closely at the definition of “Realm” being used. There is a persistent problem that comes with any self-regarding political elite, best summed up by reference to the famous quote from Louis XIV of France: “I am the state.” The actions of this clique demonstrate an essential confusion and irrationality of the present day ‘ruling elite,’ throughout the West.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Yes, the UK is sliding towards proto-fascism. The media like the BBC are now largely tamed while Murdoch and Co do not need taming as they are the ones who are really running the Government.

        Brexit has removed many of the remaining defences against authoritarianism by entrenching the far right in many positions of power. Top civil servants were sacked to replace them with more emollient individuals. The power of the judges will be curbed. Hostility towards the external ‘enemy’ -the EU – is currently being whipped up. Meanwhile the Tories have their snouts firmly planted in the trough. The economy is a disaster area but attention is diverted by turning the rushed roll-out of the vaccines into a narrative of (rare) success which justifies all. As someone who had the first dose of a vaccine and suffered a far worse reaction than we were warned to expect, I am less enthused by this development than others and indeed may well decline the second dose.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          There was a time not long ago when I would have considered your first sentence hyperbolic. But not anymore. Its often forgotten that the bugbear of so many Brexiters was not actually the EU Commission, but the European Court of Human Rights (which of course had nothing to do with the EU).

          There has been a long, slow destruction over several decades of the checks and balances within the UK system at all levels. It was never perfect of course, as even a light reading of the history of Northern Ireland and the British court treatment of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 would show (not to mention all the other lesser known people thrown into jail on virtually non existent evidence), but it is unquestionably getting much worse. But even then, eventually and belatedly, justice was done (much of course due to a still functioning media with real investigative journalists).

  12. chris

    Lambert, the parent situation with kids in schools is frustrating from multiple angles. In our case, even though we have priorituzed teachers and staff being vaccinated so that 90%+ have received their shots, we keep windows and doors open in classrooms, we upgraded filters, we upgraded ventilation systems, and completely changed operations to maximize fresh air intake, while making sure all kids and staff have masks…teachers still don’t want to return to the classroom. This is a problem because we apparently didn’t focus on the IT side of things like we should have and don’t really have the bandwidth to support hybrid learning. It’s a nightmare.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      -limited at home access. This is still an issue.
      -few sites for access. The P&R buildings were open to kids, but the Internet in there is terrible
      -famously overworked teachers going from 1 jobs to 2 jobs with two sets of students
      -the little ones don’t do lectures normally any more
      -how kids behave.

      The biggest problem is the idea there is a return to normalcy and not preparing everyone for a multiyear process both to deal with learning loss and emotional fallout. I think this is the driving force behind returning kids to school. No one wants to deal with these ramifications. Kids haven’t been anywhere. It’s like every kid was hospitalized for the last year.

    2. The Historian

      It isn’t only the IT side that we didn’t focus on – it is also the teaching side. Kids don’t have a problem with spending time on the computer – they had a problem with the way they were being taught. You cannot just teach like you do in front of a class when you are teaching online, yet from what I saw, that is all it ever was. I look at how successful Sesame Street and the Electric Company were in teaching small children, yet nobody I know was even attempting to teach like that. No wonder most kids hated it.

      1. chris

        Yeah, there’s an old Delbert cartoon where the punchline reads “that’s a paradigm shifting without a clutch.” Teaching needed to evolve to handle this challenge. Teachers and schools needed a lot of support to make the changes necessary to do that. They didn’t get it. I’m not sure they would have accepted it if they did get it though. We had issues with my kids’ teachers refusing to figure out how to use the apps that they were told by the district they needed to use for giving homework. I’m not sure the same teachers who refused to learn how to use the teaching apps would have been open to learning how to teach differently to support online learning to young children.

        Now there’s a lot of bad blood between parents, teachers, and administrators. No one trusts anyone else. So even though I can say we made the right changes to the HVAC, and even though I personally observed the dumpsters with construction materials from the work done to modify the HVAC systems at my kids’ schools, and even though our district has published a checklist of what they claim to have done to support a return to in-person school (providing claims that can be independently checked), our teachers just don’t believe it. Even though I can say that the PPE we’ve provided is fine, they don’t trust it and want more or better.

        This painful to watch and impossible to navigate. My hope is that with summer coming everyone will have a chance to cool down and we can have a shot at normalcy this fall.

        1. tegnost

          I’m not sure the same teachers who refused to learn how to use the teaching apps

          maybe the apps are kludgey junk whose main purpose is to siphon money and control of content to silicon valley and impose curriculum and style on the teachers? As to every teacher/school system should have a back up sesame street quality production are barely worth commenting on in the current “we can’t pay for anything unless the money for it goes directly to wall st.” world in which we’ve been living for quite a while. Before the pandemic I used to see teachers buying supplies for their classes. Now they’re supposed to produce media content too.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            Based on my experience on the IT side of public schools, I would say you are closer to the truth than you know. The people in charge of purchasing the technology in our district were notorious for being wowed by a good sales pitch and it didn’t seem like the teachers had a ton of input. We all were forced to try to make the best of whatever thing the administration opened the purse for.

            And, of course, once that money was spent, you were stuck with whatever until the next grant 5 or more years on down the line. I got really good with my MacGuiver skills at that job, just Frankensteining hardware, software and network together.

            Also, I am not so sure the teachers are always to blame here. I’ve seen how this works first hand. Often times they are given little or no training or guidelines in these new things they’re expected to use. Or they have to do training on their own time. Plus, let’s say you’ve been in a career for however many years and all of a sudden, someone tells you you’re going to have to do everything a different way.

            Don’t get me wrong. We definitely had teachers who were almost beligerant about not changing. But I think most of them were trying to do the best they could with what they had to work with. (And it’s not safe to assume the students appreciated all the computers either. I spoke to a lot of students who would have preferred textbooks and papers as opposed to the mostly computer use the district I worked for went with.)

              1. Dr. John Carpenter

                I can relate. I hated dealing with that stuff and I have 20+ years IT experience. I know how hard it was for these students.

                1. Late Introvert

                  I too have IT experience, and UI dev experience, and our house has good internet and plenty of computing hardware – and I witness my 15-year-old struggling with some real garbage.

                  Screwgle apps on lousy Chrimebooks where I don’t have Admin control, Canvas not updated, music recording servers down the night it’s due, etc.

                  Been very traumatizing for her, and Spring Break ends today.

              2. Baldanders

                Canvas: a great example of why tech guys should have almost no input on UI.

                “But why wouldn’t you want 100 ways to do the same thing? And if you need to see it the way the student will, just use “student view!” Never mind the fact that if locks you out of admin/teacher controls and you would have to keep switching constantly to see what your assignment will look like …..”

          2. Christopher D Pinkleton

            It’s not a conspiracy, just a necessity when you have NO budget for books, and very little budget in general.

            Of course, the drive to privatize schools is quite real, but it’s always “for the kids!”

        2. The Historian

          To make it clear, I was not slamming teachers. They are so regimented in what and how they can teach any more that they really don’t have the ability to create good content. This is a top down problem with absolutely no preparation or creativity from those who do have the ability to change things.

      2. coboarts

        Back in the 90’s teachers were putting together “thematic” teaching strategies that would align all lessons across the curriculum with a theme, say, rain-forests. It took a lot of work, but it was engaging on many levels, stimulating the best creative processes. Doing something like that online would be wonderful, but thinking that teachers, thrown into this covid thing were supposed to pull that out of their desk drawers midway through the spring semester – right.. Then, why don’t they have lessons as good as Sesame Street (?) – what you smokin brah?

        One day, there won’t be any need for teachers. Curriculum and lessons of a Sesame Street quality can be delivered online through a centralized national/global education/indoctrination system. If kids no longer need to be in schools, then all those state owned properties become available.

        I suggest a different path. Let the techs and the curriculum developers put together the centralized system. But, bring the kids together, and let the Arts develop the enrichment of the environment for students.

        1. Baldanders

          I just lost an enormous snarky comment detailing the fun of creating remote lessons, so I’m just gonna say: don’t be surprised at the awful writing skills that will be completely universal when all kids are taught by lessons that tech guys invented, and their only feedback is a tech guy aided by a Grammarly-type program who is convinced programs give good feedback on writing because it’s all he’s ever known.

      3. Baldanders

        I know many folks have already responded to your “Sesame Street” comment, but I have to join in.

        Here’s an idea: pick a tool commonly used by teachers (I work one-on-one with elementary kids, I use Google Jamboard). Design a lesson teaching a basic skill you are competent in doing yourself. Attempt to make it entertaining. Then use it to teach a child remotely.

        Assuming that went well, imagine doing that for 4-5 activities a day, 5 times a week. Be sure to include a separate, modified version of that activity for all your kids who have Individualized Education Plans. As in a separate version for each kid, individualized for their particular impairments. You must have a way to judge how well each student knew the skill before the lesson (formative assessment) and a way to judge how well they knew it after your attempts to teach it (summative assessment). And make sure you have that data ready for your weekly department meeting, along with ideas to improve on your teaching. And how was the breakdown of performance by race and socioeconomic status? Well, how are you dealing with the unequal results in your class due to your racism/classism/incompetence?

        Oh, and where are your detailed summaries of what you are doing minute-by-minute of every day, with a summary of each activity and a restatement of the state standard(s) each activity is teaching, and a list of your formative and summarize assessments for each standard?

        Oh sorry, we are switching to a new curriculum, and all your lessons will need to align with the new standards, pacing guide, and here are the websites to replace textbooks, because no one does textbooks anymore, too pricey. You need to be ready to be teaching to the new curriculum tomorrow, and dump everything you have prepared in years of teaching and come up with completely new lessons and Individualized versions for each student with an IEP. And you will need assessments to give students for all that, and they must be be same through the whole department because we need a solid grounding for for student evaluations. You say you teach Educationally Challenged kids who can barely read, and it’s insane to use the same test as the college-bound kids, and your colleagues teaching the “normal” kids could give a damn about your input on a common assessment? LOW EXPECTATIONS!! SINNER!

        Can you imagine asking an accountant “hey could you redo the books in a new software package and in base five? By tomorrow?” Or asking a classically trained French chef “really, we’d like authentic Hong Kong Dim Sum tomorrow, no biggie, right?”

        But because everyone has been taught, everyone assumes it’s light work, and intellectually effortless.

        I’m sure the tech geniuses guiding our coming 100 kid remote classes for privatized school systems of the future will do a much better job.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      One other point a lot of people miss is that not every student has access to affordable high speed internet. I worked in a rural district where we had families who, even if they had the money, were in an area where there was no service available. When we did e-learning days for bad weather, these students were just screwed.

      1. JBird4049

        >>…these students were just screwed.

        Right. I am having such a wonderful time in the Bay Area using zoom to go to class and do my assignments. If some of the some teachers were not having problems with their internet connections, I think that they would think I was a fabulist or a malinger. Perhaps both.

        Problems with my brand new mac and multiple issues with the internet and problems getting help because customer service is crapified. Jumping around multiple companies trying to diagnose the problems and their solutions via email and the occasional phone call was so fun. Although once I got a human being, it was almost pleasant, but they are also overwhelmed with all the people, like me, who have to get the problem fixed last month.

        Unlike in the past I cannot got to a public or college library to use the computers and internet because they are closed. So, I have to get mac or else no school. Fortunately, I actually had the extra money to get a replacement computer as well as enough patience and experience to work though the problems (that shouldn’t exist), but what about someone who was unable to get the money to have a fast enough working (read newer) computer and connection?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Tennessee man loses $1 million lottery ticket — but finds it again in parking lot”

    Had this guy here in Oz buy a lotto ticket and then forgot about it. He heard later that a ticket purchased in this suburb had won $1 million but he did not really think about it. One day, after a course had been postponed, he decided to check his ticket still sitting in his car to discover that he had been driving around all this time with $1 million sitting in his glove box-

  14. Darthbobber

    So to briefly return to lies past, let us recall that the existence of something that could be called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was only the first part of the claims advanced by the rush to war campaign.

    The second part was the claim of active plans to make use of the hypothesized WMDs in an immediate sense, a threat so imminent that there was no time to let the inspections produce a conclusion, and that only an immediate invasion would suffice.

    Even the intelligence assessments that claimed WMDs also evaluated them as presenting no immediate threat. This was known, but mentioned only peripherally.

    Robert Mueller, before his brief elevation to sainthood, did his part in fomenting the hysteria with an interview describing the fbi’s heroic efforts to fend off Saddam’s threats to the homeland. Which he knew perfectly well there was no evidence of, for the good reason that they did not exist.

    1. David

      I have a fairly clear memory of that time as seen from inside government (not the US one).
      The first thing to mention is that this was still relatively soon after the end of the Cold War, with all of its moral equivocations, and the need to support some pretty unpleasant regimes and leaders. Yet the hoped for better world hadn’t materialised, and the world was full of crises, in the Balkans, in Africa, which the new liberal world order had failed to solve, and which steadfastly refused to be managed. People who were about to retire and had spent their whole lives equivocating longed for some final, morally justifiable act, which would give them a clear conscience. In that sense, Iraq was a drive-by war, a target of opportunity to make western politico-military elites feel better about themselves.
      The other thing is that the influence of humanitarian and human rights lobbies was still very powerful, and they had a compelling, if mendacious, argument that the West had somehow “failed” in crises such as Bosnia and Rwanda. Indeed, many of the strongest advocates of military involvement in Bosnia recycled themselves as Iraq hawks. Their argument was the typical NGO Idealist one: that there are Good Causes (Kantian categorical imperatives actually) which do not require justification or explanation. Hussein (the argument went) is a monster, and removing him is a Good Thing, thus arguments about consequences or collateral damage are irrelevant and have no importance.
      To these you can add the post-Cold War militarists and triumphalists, especially in the US. But the point is that the existence of WMD or otherwise was only ever a pretext, and a banner under which all sorts of people with conflicting ideologies and objectives could rally. Because you can’t prove a negative in such cases, there was enough doubt to act as a fig leaf, but it really didn’t matter. Getting rid of Hussein was a virtuous Good Cause, and if a Noble Lie had to be told to justify it, well, so be it.
      I find such people much more frightening, actually, than any number of vulgar militarists.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        One of my very favourite books (and related films) of all time is Graham Greenes The Quiet American. It was a brilliantly prescient insight into that type of mentality in foreign affairs.

        I’ve often thought that there was also an element that the generation that came of age after Vietnam and were coming to power in the 1990’s had a peculiar mix of idealism and guilt that they’d not suffered through either a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ war. Alex Garlands book The Beach has an opening with a very well written insight into the mindset of a young traveller (specifically, male travellers) of that period/generation desperately searching for his Vietnam, one he only knows from watching Apocalypse Now. I’d never underestimate the importance of generational boredom and guilt in driving warfare.

        As you say, the WMD issue was a banner, and had particular strength as it was almost impossible to disprove. It was never unlikely to imagine that Iraq had some WMD’s stuffed away somewhere given their record in the Iraq-Iran War.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      mueller was also involved at the highest level in a years-long effort to link the “anthrax attacks” to 9/11, WMD, Saddam Hussein, terrorism, blah blah blah:

      In October 2001 – less than a month after the 9/11 terror attacks – weaponized anthrax spores were sent through the U.S. mail system to prominent politicians and journalists. The anthrax attacks generated hysteria and panic, as well as created the perception that terrorism was going to remain a major threat, with 9/11 representing just the first wave.

      The anthrax attacks also provided the George W. Bush administration with the opportunity to create a three-way connection in the public consciousness between the 9/11 attacks, the anthrax attacks, and Saddam Hussein. The “WMD lies” that would lead the U.S. into war in Iraq were hatched from one initial lie: that the anthrax mailings had fingerprints that could be traced back to the Iraqi government’s biological weapons program and that they represented a second wave of terrorism.

      He [muller] and his bureau were in a position to unravel the underlying rationale for mounting an illegal invasion that left over a million Iraqi civilians dead. Instead, they worked to bury that rationale and stoke fears that would help to prop up public support for the invasion….

      Remember The Downing Street Memo?

  15. fresno dan
    “I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News’ “#MediaBuzz” on Sunday. “And this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does.”
    I read an article a few months back about how difficult it would be to start another “twitter” but I really have no idea how plausible it would be for Trump to start a new “twitter” After all, before twitter there was no twitter.
    I also have no idea of how twitter actually makes money. How many people would sign up for a Trump only service? How many do you need to use Trumptwitter for it to be economically viable? I assume the service would also have to carry other posters to be viable. I can see denial of service attacks or some analogous actions by Trump opponents. And just like twitter censors Trump, who will Trumptwitter censor?
    So I suspect it will not come to pass. But time will tell….
    Ironically, the biggest subscribers would probably be WP, NYT, CNN, and MSNBC so that they can reproduce the most outrageous (in their opinion) things Trumptwitter tweets.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Party’s over: Miami Beach closing causeways, imposing spring break South Beach curfew Miami Herald

    Interesting pics of “spring break” mayhem in Miami.

    The problem used to be beer bongs and underage drunks on the beaches. But there are no beach pics or mentions of Panama City Beach or Daytona, two traditionally popular and normally inundated destinations. There are no daytime pictures at all.

    Must be that “the covid” has changed “spring break” like it has changed so many other things, because I’m sure it’s not a case of locals taking advantage of the time of year to go out and raise some hell.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t usually make an assertion of this nature, but, having lived on “The Beach,” I can attest to the fact that those crowds were mainly young blacks, not just the anodyne “persons of colour,” and that this was not common for the Beach back in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. So, plain old racism does look to be a factor in the ‘official’ decision making process.
      One must remember that Miami Beach had a curfew for black people as late as the 1960s. Maids and domestics needed something from their employer to show the police if they worked on the Beach after dark.
      Read, something a bit PC, but essentially on the money about the facts:
      I’m wondering what the situation in Atlanta will be for Juneteenth.
      Never forget that Miami has always been a Southern city. Also remember that the classes of Cuban refugees that settled in Miami always had a strong racialist component in their social organization.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats truly terrible.

      I hesitate to cast judgement on a courts decision when I haven’t had to sit through both sides of the argument, but from what I’ve read and seen a decision like that can only be political. There is something very corrupt and rotten in the Scottish establishment when a court can make a decision like that.

      I can only hope that someone like Bonnie Prince Bob can make an electoral breakthrough.

    2. km

      Why does this surprise you? Was this result not ordained long in advance?

      And, at risk of overstating the obvious – OF COURSE it is a purely political decision.

    3. chuck roast

      This from the Craig Murray post…
      “It is now understood that a session for judgement to be delivered will be held at the High Court before Lady Dorrian, Lord Turnbull and Lord Menzies on Thursday – exactly eight weeks after the initial 90-minute hearing.”
      Would this be a jury of his peers or the peers? Either way, chances are any standard, ordinary human being would be getting set up for a screw job.

      Oh yeah…and and I’m trampling anyone in my way rushing to commit voters fraud as I pull the lever for Bonny Prince Bob on multiple occasions.

  17. Darthbobber

    Nikkei article on Russian attitudes toward China:

    You really have to hand it to our diplomacy. At the beginning of this century I would have estimated the chances of significant cooperation, let alone a developing alliance between Russia and China as minimal. But with a posture towards both countries, but especially Russia, that almost mandates that in response we have achieved this in a remarkably short time.

    This is one of the greatest achievements since Wilhelm II persuaded the French and British to get beyond several centuries of mutual hostility and achieve an entente with each other.

    I meandered from this article to the Pew survey on attitudes toward China in the other “advanced” countries. Which led to me wondering: Why only the “advanced” countries? And why only THESE advanced countries?

    It surveys people basically in NATO plus Japan, South Korea, and Australia. So basically the United States and it’s usual allies.

    Would respondents in Africa, Latin America, the Mideast, the remainder of Asia have the same responses? Somehow I doubt it.

  18. semiconscious

    re: Obviously, the 3-foot distance flip-flop has nothing to do with science, but with cramming more students into any given room. This will not only increase the concentration of aerosols in the room as a whole (more kids, more breathing) but means the kids are closer together (hence more likely to “share air”). If I were a oarent in the United States, I’d be pounding my head on my desk right now.

    you don’t think that a large number of parents, after a year’s worth of ‘remote learning’, haven’t been doing exactly this already?…

    &, for those who may’ve missed it, the video:

    1. Ella

      This school situation is a nightmare. I’ve been hoping to get my 1st grader back to school (school is open but we chose remote learning out of an abundance of caution and because I’m 50, my husband 55).

      But the positivity rate where I live is horrible right now. And I hear of more and more people who are in hospital (latest is 42yo woman) and nearly everyone I hear who gets covid has long term issues going on.

      It’s so depressing for real.

      1. semiconscious

        what is truly heart-breaking about this situation is that the children are being asked to put up with this strictly on our behalf. the pandemic itself present little if any immediate threat to themselves:

        As the United States’ covid-19 death toll moves relentlessly beyond 200,000, data shows that only about 100 children and teenagers have died of the disease, a fatality rate that is drawing wonder from clinicians and increasing interest among researchers hoping to understand why.

        Covid-19 has become the nation’s third-leading cause of death this year, but 18 states had not seen a single fatality among people under 20 as of Sept. 10, according to statistics compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

        Children are much more likely to die of homicides (there were 1,865 in 2016, according to government data), drowning (995) or even fires and burns (340).

        The numbers are all the more remarkable because respiratory diseases typically hit the young and the old hard, and children are often highly vulnerable to infectious disease. In this way, covid-19 is similar to the flu, which killed an estimated 24,000 to 62,000 people last winter, but 188 people age 17 and below. (That was a record high for that age group, however.)

        1. Ella

          Yes but if they bring it home to mom and dad, when I’m hearing more and more of folks in 40s and 50s not faring too well, puts them in foster care if things go south. It’s a mess.

        2. Late Introvert

          Ugh. You have a link from WaPo as your evidence, and you totally ignore long term affects, even now in asymptomatic cases. An open experiment on children, both in regards to the virus and now the vaccine.

          But just ignore it all and send them back to non-ventilated schools, right?

          1. Vlad "The Mad Lad" Lenin

            Yeah, just because the virus isn’t a threat to them now doesn’t mean that this evolving threat might not cause harm later.

        3. pasha

          this washington post article is six months old, published at a time when most u.s. schools had been closed during the spring and summer. students had effectively been in quarantine, so there was only foreign data on school openings. we have since learned that kids can easily spread the disease, and can die of it. though most of their cases are mild, we know even symptomless cases can produce long term damage

  19. The Rev Kev

    “AP sources: Iran threatens US Army post and top general”

    This is a true story this. I have done lots of internet research and have hacked the Iranian Ministry of Defence for their plans. Turns out that ‘123456’ isn’t a secure password after all. So two Iranian Navy Farsi-class landing ships will unload a battalion of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps off Fort McNair in the Anacostia River while Iranian C-130 Hercules transport planes will drop another battalion from the Quads Force on top of that base. Air cover will be provided by Iranian F-14 Tomcats and a unit of the Iranian Law Enforcement Police has been detailed to arrest Gen. Joseph M. Martin on sight. There just remains a few problems to iron out.

    Even in a straight line it is about 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) from Iran to Washington DC where that base is located and the Iranians in their thousands of years of history have never even sent a military force as far as Gibraltar so far as I know. So they are going to need a little help. Accordingly, they have asked for permission to refuel their ship at the US Navy base in Naples as well as the Patuxent River Naval base. And due to the limited range of their aircraft, they have also asked if they can stage the aerial component of the attack from Bolling Air Force base by leasing a runway and refueling & maintenance units.

    Inquiries have been made by the Iranians if they would also be eligible for any duty-free while they are there but they did promise a selfie with an Iranian soldier for any American soldier that wants one. But the Iranians have said no funny stuff or Gen. Joseph M. Martin gets released. For the airfare back to Iran, the Iranians plan to sell those antique F-14s to military museums around the country and are already launching a GoFundMe campaign for any additional expenses. Hopefully the Iranians will never find the Q-bomb stored at that base. A 20-strong detachment from the European Duchy of Grand Fenwick composed of archers and men-at-arms is being flow in for additional protection.

    1. km

      I hear that wily Iranians are readying their fearsome fleet of war canoes, even as we speak, soon they shall paddle through the Straits of Hormuz in the open waters if we do not attack Tehran, post haste!

        1. ambrit

          Tie a whole bunch of aluminum tubes underneath a decommissioned “flying” carpet and you have an air-sea mobile attack craft!
          Or, Iran could claim that the redoubtable sailor and explorer Sinbad (c.717- c.784) discovered the Anacostia Flats and that Washington D.C. is really their ancestral colony!
          How do you say “National Treasure” in Farsi?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > those canoes are actually mobile chemical weapons labs made of yellow cake

          And they don’t sink when the yellowcake dissolves, because they use aluminum tubes as pontoons.

    2. Baldanders

      You say a mouse is about to roar?

      No way, we only go after big predator types, not small cute mammals! We would never punch down! Why would they be upset with us?

      But Q-Bombs are totally real! Probably one dead center of the US will cause an EMP taking out our grid like that snowstorm did to Texas any day now. (Only part of the US when they need a bailout)

  20. flora

    re: Already showered with awards & media adulation, Dr. Fauci scores a new honor: Children’s book proclaiming him ‘AMERICA’S DOCTOR’ – RT

    It’ll fit on your bookshelf next to Hillary Clinton’s childrens book “She Persisted”. /s

    Fauci: Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September

    Odd that a Fauci hero worship childrens book should come out just now. (mumble mumble…)

    1. newcatty

      Some “doctor” was needed to replace Dr Suess as a hero of children’s literature. I am expecting Dr. Fauci to author books for elementary aged children that show beaming children offering their bare arms for their life-saving shots. There will be featured children who cry and protest…”I don’t want no shot!” Now, now, says a wise and heroic health care worker…it will over in a minute. You want your treat ( an orange colored cracker and a cup of orange juice), don’t you? Child wipes his/her nose and smiling, says, yes! The book will be co-authored with Fauci, CDC media and communications staff, American Pediatricians (of note) and a carefully selected group of parents from each “region” of the USA. This will just be the first of Dr. Fauci and Friends books. Each new book will Shepard the “Return to Normal” campaign for the new national school structure under the leadership of the Secretary of Education. All public education will have strict guidelines to follow in every public school. Exceptions, need it be said, will be for all private and chartered schools. They will have almost complete autonomy in their school’s structures. They, of course, will be eligible for federal government monies, as the public schools. I also…mumble mumble and see trouble. Watch that train.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Another book for that bookshelf is “Why Mommy is a Democrat” and yes, it is a real book.

  21. Anthony K Wikrent

    I visited Cairo about ten years ago. The town is at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and had been terribly flooded less than a year before. Besides the obvious physical devastation, the area stank. A foul, rotting smell permeated everything. I read that the flood had forced coffins and bodies out of their graves. I can understand that the town thrived during the steamboat era, but can think of no reason whatsoever for anyone to want to live there now. A sensible, caring, and active government would have stepped up and helped relocate the entire town to a location safer from flooding.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      One of the oddities of Illinois, a state with many oddities, is that there is some agreement that far southern Illinois just isn’t economically viable and hasn’t ever been since the settlers arrived. Cairo was going to be a grand city–a veritable Paducah–and it never evolved. I note the photo from nearby Vienna, the economy of which relies on two penitentiaries.

      The bulk of the population of the southernmost part of the state lives in the river towns that are now suburbs of Saint Louis.

      I am not going to say that the photo is unfair or biased: It is just that the area has been distressed economically for almost 200 years.

  22. Carolinian

    Re nothing new under the sun–Yes WMD merely an earlier version of Russiagate in the same way that cancel culture is new version of McCarthyism. Good thing we are the United States of Amnesia or we wouldn’t get to keep repeating ourselves.

    1. Carolinian

      Certainly not unrelated, the article on “fascism and analogies.”

      the long complicity of American and British empire in the history of fascism. It is a historical comparison that reminds us of a historical connection. Rather than disguising Trump’s quintessential Americanness or sullying Britain’s self-image, the fascism analogy may help reveal what fascism always owed to Americanness and to empire

      With so many chickens and eggs to sort out guess we Yanks could point out that South Carolina and Virgina are named after English monarchs and America’s Manifest Destiny version of imperialism and urge to subjugate indigenous people, North American or African, also had its origins in Mother England.

      But so what? Perhaps the reason history repeats and analogies keep cropping up is because human nature is a thing whereas good versus evil theories of history presuppose there’s some divine hand sorting us out into the elect and the not so much. Of course morality, ethics, right behavior and a “conscience” are real things, but perhaps relate more to our social human nature that has allowed us to conquer the planet (or perhaps destroy it).

      At any rate I don’t think we personally need to feel guilty for what our ancestors did, despite the current craze.

    2. km

      I have pointed out this basic truth to many a Russiagate cultist, even down to the fact that many of the same crew who sold us the lie that Iraq was chock-a-block with WMDs are now telling us that Russian FB memes have hacked Our Precious Democracy!

      To a man, woman and undefined, they all insist that It’s All Different This Time. I have even heard some say that doubting the CIA is prima facie treason.

      1. JBird4049

        Treason? To doubt the Security State? To not trust the Central Intelligence Agency? Just where have they been for the past seventy years?

        So, the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” is not done in terror or mockery, but with honest gratitude? That would make Ronald Reagan whirl in his grave.

      2. pjay

        Regarding “It’s all Different This Time,” I can’t help but refer to Dan Rather’s heartfelt mea culpa above. Here’s Dan on Russiagate:

        “The apparent coziness between the Trump administration and the Russian government could be the nation’s biggest scandal since Watergate, legendary TV journalist Dan Rather warned Tuesday.”

        “Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now,” Rather wrote in a Facebook message that quickly went viral.”

        “On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9,” added Rather, who won acclaim for his coverage of Watergate as a White House correspondent. “This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour.”

        I doubt if Dan will be around in 20 years, but if he was I’m sure he would issue a heartfelt mea culpa for his contribution to this warmongering McCarthyist bulls**t. The NY Times also issued their WMD apology, as I recall — but of course it’s different this time!

        Rather’s been doing this — supporting the Establishment narrative and then backtracking years later — his entire career, starting with the event that jump-started it: the Kennedy assassination.

        1. occasional anonymous

          I like how Watergate was a 10 on the scale, meanwhile something like Nixon running an entire secret carpet bombing campaign against Cambodia without Congressional knowledge gets nary a mention.

          1. JBird4049

            The feds have done so much evil stuff just since the start of the Cold War; it would take a public library stocked with just books on the subject just to get a good start.

            Maybe the Obama Presidential Library would be a good place for it.

        2. Carolinian

          Cronkite wanted Roger Mudd to be his successor. Cronkite was right.

          In fact eagerness to put Dan in the anchor chair supposedly was one reason CBS insisted that Cronkite retire at 65.

          Rather is a menace.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Has COVID peaked? Maybe, but it’s too soon to be sure”

    ‘Global COVID-19 cases have fallen significantly since they peaked in early January. Scientists are asking whether this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.’

    Yeah, about that. Ever read stories from place like Tornado Alley how a town will be hit and then the storm and winds die down. And as people emerge to survey the damage and go to the aid of the injured, thinking that the storm is gone now, discover that they were only in the deadspace of the eye of the cyclone and now the winds and storm start to hit them from the opposite direction? Hope that this is not the case here.

  24. Matthew G. Saroff

    Am I the only one to think that the Tory takeover of Liverpool has exactly nothing to do with corruption, and everything to do with patronage positions for Tory stalwarts in the region?

  25. DJG, Reality Czar

    In Italy, a planned day-long job action against Amazon, which is unique in that the unions have coordinated the whole supply / service chain, from warehouses through delivery drivers. Repubblica also is now reporting 90 percent compliance among the workers in Lombardy.

    Meanwhile, in the U S of A, people are wondering just how would be possible to unionize Amazon. Here, in the last holdout of feudalism, the serfs can’t even imagine that they have rights. If the Bessemer workers do vote to unionize (and don’t count on a favorable vote), it will show just had much of a mess Amazon is.

    Il Manifesto (the communist paper) reported that Amazon is no where to be found when it comes to negotiation–observing those U.S. labor practices that have proven so effective here.

  26. Jason Boxman

    On Google results causing harm:

    For instance, in 2017, reporters Cat Ferguson and Dave Dayen showed that Google’s poor search results had become a useful tool for con artists trying to entice addicts and alcoholics to sham rehab facilities. Google’s marketing tools often worked, helping shoddy treatment center firms cheat addicts, some of whom no doubt relapsed.

    I just saw this today searching for a way to stop payment to Amazon for never delivering a package and my Google results included (at the very top) a web site dedicated to “helping” you stop payment on a credit card. It asked specifically for the card number, bank information, your personal information, and the order information so that they can “help” you. Ha. Ha.

    Clearly a fraud site targeting people that have already been hosed by a vendor.

    Nicely done, Google!

    (Amazon offers no recourse through the normal order flow, had to complain on the Twitter to find a way to get a refund astonishingly, ultimately through a ‘chat bot’.)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That looks very familiar to me – back in the 1990’s I worked with a few architects from Arups, a company with a good reputation for allowing its creatives to devote work to cutting edge engineering and design. As a side project, they were looking at proposals for sustainable housing in existing Scottish forests, and they had made a beautiful model looking very similar to that house, except that they had proposed timber construction.

      But of course everyone asked if where the lift would be and how you got the water up and the sewerage down without using a vast amount of energy. It was typical high concept/low practicality stuff which is still fun to see nonetheless. I’m very surprised to see that someone had the money to put it into practice. It must have cost an absolute fortune to build, and even more to maintain.

  27. Kelly

    “That stupid line of old time-style lamp-posts (one decapitated) was installed (by that same Chamber of Commerce?)” It ain’t just the Midwest, check out the human level streetlights added to a street that is a sewer of homeless and boarded up strip clubs:

    “The project includes sidewalk bulb-outs at intersections, (Ideal for installing tents) new street trees and pedestrian-scale street lighting”

    How about half a billion to upgrade the twenty year old convention center, in case there are any more conventions willing to put up with the homeless? A situation already occurring before the pandemic, as the afterbirth of Kamala Harris’ shaky tenure as district attorney?

  28. tegnost

    Amazon, who never saw a tax it thought it should pay, cajoling washington state legislators to help them make more kajillions of money off of public investments…

    ” The economic benefits of such actions are clear. In fact, a study by the Washington Roundtable found that transportation investments save businesses hundreds of millions of dollars per year in supply-chain costs, increase productivity and enable freight mobility and port expansion that allow businesses to grow exports and international trade, and create new jobs.”

  29. occasional anonymous

    >Teenage Mistake My New Band Is.

    This is arguing that the real reason they fired her was because she was completely unqualified for the position, and outrage over her tweets gave them leverage to ditch her. This doesn’t mean no one was genuinely upset by her tweets, but that they were basically being cynically exploited as a stick to beat her with for other reasons.

    And maybe all that’s true, I don’t know. But this scenario simply shouldn’t be possible in a sane world. Whether cancel culture exists or not (and it absolutely does, and I’m sick and tired of being gaslit by liberals who suddenly find it convenient to pretend it doesn’t), an employer should simply not have the power to just fire people because they once said an uncouth thing somewhere (and more often than not it’s not even that. It’s not that they once said something bad, it’s that they once said something that is deemed politically unacceptable by liberals). We need labor protections. Your job security should not rest on having a social media record that HR deems acceptable enough.

    Maybe there are scenarios where someone has publicly (although it’s not like private opinions and communications are safe anymore either) given views that are so abhorrent an employer is justified in cutting ties with them. But there should be some sort of review process and protections for the employee.

  30. jsn

    “Instead of promoting good governance across the globe, postmodernity has eroded the authority of the state at home and the stability of the international system itself, returning us to a situation analogous to that of the Middle Ages, where sovereignty was widely dispersed, contested and partial” in the West.

    It isn’t like this everywhere.

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