Links 4/20/2021

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 The Hill

Soli Bailey Gets Dropped in on by a Dolphin Inertia (David L)

How Dürer shaped the modern world New Statesman (Anthony L)

Scientists send 1000s of pairs of underwear to volunteers, who will bury them in their backyards BoingBoing (resilc). Underpants gnomes for real!

Latest Neural Nets Solve World’s Hardest Equations Faster Than Ever Before Quanta (David L)

How product placements may soon be added to classic films BBC (David L). Kill me now.

Offshore wind is poised to take off in the U.S.—but it won’t be easy National Geographic

Nasa picks Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build spacecraft to return humans to moon Guardian

Results From The World’s Largest Wellbeing Study Are In: Here’s What We Know ScienceAlert (David L)

Habitual coffee drinkers display a distinct pattern of brain functional connectivity Nature

Microplastics found to alter shape of and de-cluster human lung cells New Atlas


Coronavirus latest: Colombia and Peru set new daily records for deaths Financial Times

The Pandemic Proved That Our Toilets Are Crap Wired

How Bhutan Out-Vaccinated Most of the World New York Times (furzy)


Confirming that INET was right on schools as a transmission vector for Covid and the CDC is wrong:

COVID vaccines and blood clots: five key questions Nature (furzy)

UPDATE 1-Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine 97.6% effective in real-world study Reuters

EXCLUSIVE Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages Reuters

Infections of South African and Kent coronavirus variants have already been recorded in vaccinated people, NHS expert warns Daily Mail

The obscure maths theorem that governs the reliability of Covid testing Guardian


Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty New York Times



US coronavirus cases rise 8% in two weeks as more states ease restrictions Guardian

Evictions in Violation of CDC Moratorium May Violate Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. Important.

GOP governor ‘abruptly canceled’ PreK-12 mask rules — but school districts quickly rejected it: report Raw Story


China-Iran pact boosts Pakistan’s trade hub dream Asia Times (Kevin W)

Xi Challenges U.S. Global Leadership, Warns Against Decoupling Bloomberg

Philippines Ready To Claim Oil Resources With Military OilPrice (Brian C)

Xi says China ‘will never seek hegemony’ no matter how strong it becomes CNBC

The Price for Closing Ranks Defend Democracy


The man at the center of India’s shift to oligarchy Asia Times (Kevin W)

Urgent reform of the EU resolution framework is needed Bruegel

New Cold War

Biden’s zigzag diplomacy aims to agitate Russia Asia Times (Kevin W). Headline contradicted by subhead: “US leader’s muddled messaging towards Moscow signals he may have lost control of policy to the ‘Deep State.'”



Elizabeth Warren Suggests Exploring Conditional Aid to Israel Intercept

How to Make a Gulf Monarchy All-American TomDispatch (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. banks deploy AI to monitor customers, workers amid tech backlash Reuters

MI5 warns of spy threat from professional networking sites Financial Times

The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army New Yorker (furzy)


Liberals warn Biden against lengthy talks with GOP Politico

Capitol Seizure

US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes after pro-Trump riots, examiner concludes

Our Famously Free Press

Is Facebook Buying Off The New York Times? Washington Monthly (resilc)

George Floyd

Derek Chauvin trial judge warns Maxine Waters’ comments ‘may result in this whole trial being overturned’ MarketWatch

McCarthy to introduce resolution to censure Waters The Hill

Woke Watch

Florida’s new transgender sports ban permits schools to require genital inspections of children Independent (resilc)


Texas House Passes Bill Eliminating Training, Background Check Requirements for Carrying a Gun Sputnik (Kevin W)

Spain dismantles workshop making 3D-printed weapons BBC (resilc)

Five people shot in Louisiana incident; 3rd U.S. multiple shooting in one day Reuters

Father of teen arrested with AK47 in New York subway station was killed in police shootout Independent (resilc)

Nations Need Ambassadors to Big Tech Wired (Dr. Kevin). The headline is maddening. No, Big Tech is not the equal of nations. JP Morgan and the trusts of his era also tried acting as if they could dictate to government, and they were cut down.

SEC charges Israel’s main binary options firm, and its 2 chiefs, with vast fraud The Times of Israel (furzy)

How Puerto Ricans Are Fighting Back Against Using the Island as a Tax Haven Time

Musk Says Autopilot Off in Texas Tesla Crash That Killed Two Bloomberg. With the car cooked in a fire so hot and persistent that it took 32,000 gallons of water to put it out, only Tesla knows through its extensive spyware what really happened. Its incentives to be honest aren’t strong. Put it another way: it’s hard to imagine these passengers didn’t at least believe they had Autopilot turned on.

Lumber futures limit up as breakneck rally continues Seeking Alpha (resilc)

Class Warfare

What Happened After Elite Universities Made Standardized Test Scores Optional? New York Times

Two blocks from the Federal Reserve, a growing encampment of the homeless grips the economy’s most powerful person SFGate

Proposing an Alternative To Renting or Owning a House: Publicly-Owned Housing Atlantic

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Visiting the Canebrake Ecological Reserve off Highway State Route 178 in Onyx, California, we had an excellent view of the adjacent cow pastures.”

And a bonus:

And another bonus (Richard Smith). And some people say cats are selfish….

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. John Siman

    “The removal of the Classics,” Cornel West writes almost prophetically in his essay on Howard University, “is a sign that we, as a culture, have embraced from the youngest age utilitarian schooling at the expense of soul-forming education. To end this spiritual catastrophe, we must restore true education, mobilizing all of the intellectual and moral resources we can to create human beings of courage, vision and civic virtue.”

    I want to add to West’s visionary warning by recalling chapter 5 of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, entitled “Of the Wings of Atalanta” — Atalanta being the heroine from the tenth book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, not the trisyllabic city Atlanta in Georgia. The virgin Atalanta could outrace the swiftest of men — aliquam certamine cursus / veloces superasse viros — but was tempted away from her course, Du Bois warned, by lust for material wealth — specifically, by the three golden apples which the seductive and cunning youth Hippomenes set in her way.

    “Fly, my maiden, fly,” Du Bois therefore exhorted her, “… yonder comes Hippomenes!”

    So Du Bois added to her unrivaled speed. He gave her wings: passu volat alite virgo — with wingèd stride the virgin flies — but just what did these imagined wings of Atalanta represent? Du Bois explained that they were “the coming universities of the South,” in which the souls of black students would be lifted high, high above materialistic temptation, in which they may then embark upon “the new-world quest of Goodness and Beauty and Truth.”

    The virgin Atalanta, then, in this very Platonic allegory, represented the collective soul of black liberal arts students, to whom Du Bois assigned *the highest of expectations*: “Here stands this black young Atalanta,” he wrote, “girding herself for the race that must be run; and if her eyes be still toward the hills and sky as in the days of old, then we may look for noble running; but what if some ruthless or wily or even thoughtless Hippomenes lay golden apples before her? What if the Negro people be wooed from a strife for righteousness, from a love of knowing, to regard dollars as the be-all and end-all of life?”

    Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, almost one hundred twenty years ago. Thank God Cornel West keeps the spirit of Du Bois alive: “ The Classical approach is united to the Black experience,” West writes at the conclusion of his essay. “It recognizes that the end and aim of education is really the anthem of Black people, which is to lift every voice. That means to find your voice, not an echo or an imitation of others. But you can’t find your voice without being grounded in tradition, grounded in legacies, grounded in heritages.”

    1. Alfred

      I was grounded in “the classics.” They were all written by men, and the perspectives of males on everything, including women. Shakespeare taught me the most about human nature from his perspective. However, there is a lot lost by the dearth of women’s voices, and they are more available now. The classics are frozen in a time where we no longer live, and teach us only about who was writing them, and history through their eyes. They have a place, but not in “grounding us” except if that is meant preserving a way of thinking and that structure. IMO

      1. zagonostra

        Shakespeare characters include some of the strongest women in all of literature, Portia on the good side and the likes of Lady Macbeth on the other. It’s not the “perspective of males” that is key. It is the perspective of the human soul. More women voices? By all means, but don’t dis Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake…by imprisoning them in the narrow walls of “written by men.”

        The raven himself is hoarse
        That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
        Under my battlements.

        Come, you spirits
        That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
        And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
        Of direst cruelty!

        Make thick my blood;
        Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
        That no compunctious visitings of nature
        Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
        The effect and it!

        Come to my woman’s breasts,
        And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
        Wherever in your sightless substances
        You wait on nature’s mischief!

        Come, thick night,
        And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
        That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
        Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
        To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        These Men taught us how to build successful societies. And led the way for the equality of the sexes.

        What a shitty, sterile culture we live in now. And Shakespeare is basically the Homer of his time, collecting all the mainstream stories and packaging them in his own way.

        Ugh. I truly despise this take by you. And maybe that’s just because I graduated with a Classics degree. Idk. Very fn depressing to read this on NC.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “written by men”

          This kind of gives the game away, doesn’t it? It’s performative wokeness, and a repeat of what West is responding to. Nothing is suggested of what could be added to the lexicon or who is overlooked. I mean JK Rowling probably won’t fly, so that is a huge loss to the “#woke”.

          It’s a stark contrast to the Moroccan professor who was linked the other day. He had a good set of complaints or points of disucssion as he didnt seek to disparage about portrayal of literature groups and a failure to address the effects of cultural clashes or integrations on literature in their presentation. Then again. He would be a North African Arab who remembers French rule, so he can’t speak for other people.

          1. Alfred

            “Performative wokeness.” I can see I have touched a nerve here. Everything was overlooked that was not written from and interesting to authors who were male. This was in my education systems from the 50s-60s, and into college. The classics should be more inclusive of writings of women from all time periods, if they can be found.

            1. Alex Cox

              Are you familiar with Mary Sidney? There is a faction within the authorship debates which believes that she, not the London actor or the Stratford bag-man, wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

              Robin Williams PhD has written a book on the subject: Sweet Swan of Avon. You can read about it at

            2. Geof

              my education systems from the 50s-60s, and into college.

              Does it occur to you that those who came after may have a different perspective?

              I was educated by the children of the 50s and 60s. Maybe it has always been thus, but they were often insufferable with their righteousness, their pretense that they were “friends,” not teachers with power (as if teaching should be a form of therapy for the teacher), and their love of conformity. Now my son is in school being taught by their children, and it’s more of the same, but worse. Wokeness is the emperor’s new clothes – same as the old clothes.

              The effect is like A Clockwork Orange, wielding reason like a hammer to crush the life out of beauty (the thought of Shakespeare still raises my heart rate). I, who think that no literature should be compulsory in public school, find myself in the bizarre position of defending classics!

              It is only by encountering a few of these works on my own that I have found that some actually do contain wisdom. That wisdom, of course, has nothing in common with anything school did then or does today. Any teacher who tried to reveal to students to the paradox and terror of the human condition would be cancelled tout de suite. (Though who imagines that most teens or 20-somethings are at the right point to hear it anyway? I doubt I was.) In any case, I suspect that, like Zen, it cannot be taught, only learned.

              1. Alfred

                I am sorry for your experience. I know a lot of young people now though, and I am impressed with their openness and kindness and knowledge, so I don’t understand that things have gone terribly wrong, except in the trashing of their futures by previous generations, namely, mine.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Were you personally rich enough or powerful enough to do any of that trashing your own personal self?

                  If you were too poor and obscure to be personally involved, then what are you taking credit for?

                  ” Your generation” . . White man? as the saying goes.

                  1. Alfred

                    The White man had a lot of help. But they were running the show.
                    No, I am not taking credit.

                    1. lambert strether

                      A question I’d love to ask the 1619 crowd:

                      Would slavery have persisted if it did not enable capital accumulation?

          2. Alfred

            “Moroccan professor…He had a good set of complaints”

            The male perspective as the correct one is impossible to escape…

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              You may not be aware of this, but we’ve all seen the bumper sticker that refers to a Skygod as a she. Its just not an interesting point, but we did notice you’re dismissal of people who wrote about human relationships further dismissing them as relics. Relationships and people haven’t changed. And you didn’t offer to add anything.

              Your point was just a repeat of what West was responding to, but why would you respond to West’s critique? Its because he’s a man.

              1. Alfred

                I am responding to you, and you chose a man to support your points. I am not discounting West’s beliefs, they are his. What you miss is that I want more than the male point of view as a guide. That commenters here cite male authors is telling–it’s what has been prevalent in our culture.

                We do not live in a matrilineal society. What is interesting is that Native American matrilineal cultures sent the men to talk to officials in the U.S. government, after the women made the decisions.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  and you chose a man to support your points

                  It was also discussed content these parts recently, but you are now ignoring this and are still ignoring West’s points because all you have done is risen to the level of a bumper sticker.

                  The author I brought up had critiques beyond the French did it. You may be surprised to find this out but he came of age during Moroccan Independence. The colonizers have a direct affect on him. But he’s a man. Cornel West is a man, but my guess is you know people like him and you won’t address his points because you can’t.

                2. Count Zero

                  What on earth is “a male point of view”? Does having some kind of male body automatically produce a point of view shared by 50% of the human population? What is “a point of view” anyway? Does great literature, art, music have “a point of view”?

                  The value of any great literature is that represents — or enacts — different perspectives and how they interact. That is why engaging with serious art is an experience and a challenge.

                  But all some people want is a confirmation of their dull and predictable opinions.

          3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            I slipped into the olde idpol, didnt I?

            All I’m saying is we should’nt discount words of wisdom and should not discount anyone.

            We need to respect all the Classics, etc Literature universally simultaneously. All over the world. Let us please not forget anything and retreat into info bubbles!

            And of course i haven’t not studied great female classics like Sappho…knowing women wrote about Love and stuff like that inoculated me against thinking im better than females or whoever and we are all equal.

      3. Carla

        “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” — James Baldwin

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          that sums up my feelings on the matter.
          I’ve been a nut for “source material” since middle school.
          mostly thanks to bullfinch, robert graves and joseph campbell(his 4 volume masks of god has provided a reading list for almost 40 years, so far).
          and Baldwin’s reason is the best reason.
          you get to walk a mile in some thousand year old person’s shoes/sandals, and learn that while much changes, we’re not all that different from them.

          this part of cancel culture is what i have feared from the get-go…gandhi and jefferson, lincoln and away we go, until the only thing that’s approved is grovelling instructions.
          there’s a banned books section in my library…always has been, because Freedom to Read is very important to me…i guess the entire collection is that “section”, now.
          we’ll pay dearly for this.

          1. Alfred

            “We’re not all that different from them.”

            I am. And while reading about their thoughts may give me an insight into who they were, I have no desire to think that that is the way to be. Keeping human history alive is a choice for each person. If I had it to do over again, I would want to develp my own reading curriculum from a wider variety of writings, not to cancel, but to develop my own being. I read a lot from Eastern and Buddhist tradition on my own, also South American writers. Nothing in education should be “cancelled,” but curriculums can be limiting and frustrating.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              “…the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

              He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – . Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.”

              -William Faulkner, Nobel Speech

              Humanity as expressed by… love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice…. is our only real common bond.

              And that, my friend, makes you not different from them at all. Sorry.

              1. Alfred

                There you go, defining me with a “classic.”
                I have been through all these things in my life. The purpose of them was to learn why I was here on Earth, not to find a common bond with humanity. I understand now why I am different, and why suffering is not the same as learning. I do totally agree with this:

                He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  My point…or more accurately, Faulkner’s point was that the classics help us to learn who we, each individual, are because they are based on the truths of what we all share…the human existence as experienced by any human regardless of their gender.

                  I don’t think you’d disagree, do you?

                  1. Alfred

                    Was Faulkner talking about “the classics” or was he talking about writing and writers? And the “truths…regardless of their gender” is a stretch. What we learn about from writers is their perspective, and the influences of their times. And some of it is pure dreck, sorry to say.

                    1. Fiery Hunt

                      Note to self:
                      You tried…ain’t no use. Some people just can’t back out of a corner they like.

                    2. Alfred

                      yes, and some people refuse to be backed into a corner by those trying to corner them and hammer them into submission.

      4. a different chris

        Reading stuff that is hard, that is distant in time, etc. is a good thing. If you want a beach read go to the beach, not college.

        *However* the particular “classics” picked out by 18th (and earlier) century men, all white and western, should not be taken as the way.

        I would think for example China alone would provide enough solid material for several PhDs.

      5. DJG, Reality Czar

        Alfred: You never read Sappho? You never read the Palatine Anthology, which includes several women who were poets, including Korinna, who was reputed to be the teacher of Pindar? (Or learned that both Korinna and Pindar studied with Myrtis, another woman who was poet?)

        I am reminded of the U.S. feminists who glom on to the melodrama (not noting the lacunae) in the life of Artemisia Gentilleschi, all the while having no knowledge of other “classics” like Sofonisba Anguissola, Rosalba Carriera, or Livia Fontana.

        Sometimes, the gaps in a person’s education are convenient ones.

          1. tegnost

            While we’re not worthy, we’re still allowed to be here…Remember that the vaccines are considered successful at 90%, it’s the other 10% that is the fly in the ointment so it follows you can be on 90% of the time, as to the other 10? Well, I’m here to learn after all.. :)

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                But you are griping about men and are now accusing other people of taking it personally…hmm…do you know the comments are time stamped?

                1. Alfred

                  Griping about men? Oh honey. Books written by men exclusively in a curriculum defining history and culture. I am griping about the exclusivity of the curriculum. I don’t think an exclusively women’s books curriculum would be a good idea either, unless you were in a Women’s Studies course.
                  I’m glad we had this talk.

      6. Dr. Strangelove

        Please read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. They grappled with same issues that we grapple with.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Sorry, but that book was written by a Man, and a Count, no less.

          Now please continue with the assigned Amanda Gorman readings…

      7. Roquentin

        While this isn’t wrong, this is not justification to disregard them. What, prey tell, should the be replaced with. Works written in the last 5-10 years which adhere to the political sentiments which are all the rage right now? I think, whether they admit it or not, is what most of that crowd is actually advocating for. You can’t make history into something other than it was, and you can’t simply replace historical works because you don’t like them or they offend your sensibilities. Maybe no one cares about historical value anymore, which is bad for students whether they realize it or not. When their entire intellectual formation consists of thinly veiled propaganda for the cultural standards of the present, which should be obvious are constantly shifting and changing (even things written 10-20 years ago are mostly “problematic” now) their repertoire will fade just as fast as these political fads do. It will be to their detriment.

        I was a humanities student once upon a time, back when I was young and naive. Now more than ever, I wish I could just tell people not to even bother. You aren’t even going to get the long view studying historically significant texts it provides if this nonsense keeps up. The whole thing is very, very sad but I also realize the battle is mostly lost already. Humanities education as it existed for a very long time is dead in the water, more because of severe cuts to funding but at least aided by trends like this.

          1. pasha

            amen! back in the sixties and seventies public colleges were cheap (a male could earn enough in a summer factory or construction job to pay for a school year of tuition, room, and board). i had the luxury to change my major three times over five-and-a-half years (anthropology to history to poly sci) with ancillary minors in foreign languages, economics, education, english literature, and religion.

            you couldn’t afford to do that now, even if you had the inclination

        1. Alfred

          Many woman authors from the 1800’s and up are now considered classics. There may be even more before that who wrote under men’s names to get published. However, growing up, there was never a woman who wrote a “classic” that was included in my curriculum before then. I have no objections to the traditional Greek classics, and others, but that was all I got, and what I object to is the idea that they are the foundation of all civilized behavior and thought, to be revered and emulated by everyone.

      8. Chris Smith

        I stopped reading at “written by men […].” Identity politics seems to offer little more than ad hominem attacks on the producers of content to avoid the work of addressing the substance of that content.

        It’s the same thing with statements begining “as a [member of group x].” In the past, I read or heard that as an epistemic shift to lived experience in order to broaden the conversation. Now, it reads or sounds like a bad faith attempt to stifle contrary opinion by again making a sort of ad hominem attack (i.e. as not a member of group x whatever you have to say is illegitimate).

        1. Alfred

          “written by men” is a fact.

          Yes, they had man parts, and they were members of the the xy group.

          Gee, that must be an ad hominem attack.

          1. juliania

            You point to something that I think we are reluctant to consider, which is that while both men and women are or ought to be equal in many things, there is a qualitative difference in the gifts each possesses, as if you consider the two phrases ‘man, who is born of woman’ and ‘woman who has been fathered by man’ is simply a physical fact. That is not to say that there haven’t been women writers, poets, artists, but that like athletic pursuits it is the rare (and treasured) woman who can compete at the same level as a man.

            Being born has that efficacy that we women are not as conscious of male relationship in that process. Our mothers are female for the most part. It is rare for a child to be raised from birth by a man. Sure, it happens. There are always exceptions. But somehow in life’s mystery the only male who did not have a mother was Adam. And as far as I know, he didn’t write much.

            Sorry to sound flippant. My point is simply that all men (even Adam) are bonded to women, like it or not. So they are advantaged when it comes to literary aptitude, not for any other reason than that’s the mystery of life. Something to make up for not being birthers, perhaps.

            I can’t believe that there is a better explanation. We should cherish their ability to see things from both sides, however this comes about.

            1. Alfred

              Not flippant at all, I don’t think. What I have come to see is that women and men, when I have a conversation about the same subject, come up with different perspectives. Since men are born of women, women have always been around. Only hearing the male perspective in literature and history, even though women certainly may have influenced it, rings false to me, like there is a facet missing that would illuminate their entire experience. The “narrative” would be fuller.

      9. JCC

        Apparently you don’t think of women like Mary Shelley, the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, and more as members of the “Classics” set.

        The Schools I attended in the mid 60’s to late 70’s did, just as they considered Defoe, Clemens, Shakespeare, and many others.

        And all of the above stood on the shoulders of the giants before them, both the women and the men.

        Reading Dr. West’s article today brought to mind Roy Baty’s final speech in the movie Bladerunner

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack Ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those memories memories will be lost in time, like Tears in the Rain.”

          Been listening to the Soundtrack on Spotify and the song Tears in Rain features Battys quote. Batty being a Nexus 6 Replicant fighting for his Humanity and not to be enslaved or ‘Retired by a Blade Runner.

      10. Geof

        They were all written by men, and the perspectives of males on everything, including women.

        They were all written by people assigned at birth as men.

        If you truly believe the extremes of woke ideology, then some of them were not “men,” and all of them were somewhere intermediate on a gender spectrum.

        All it takes for me to mock them is to repeat their claims without fury or conviction. But the claim contains a kernel of truth. As many ancient societies knew, we all combine masculine and feminine, yin and yang.

        To claim that, because they were all men, these writers lacked any sense or spirit of the feminine, is absurd. I would wager that many of our great male writers were great in part because they were in touch with their femininity.

        Which isn’t to say there is nothing to be gained by adding women to the canon: of course there is. Gender distribution is bimodal, not a smooth spectrum, and some differences between the groups (e.g. interest in things vs ideas) are so large that they would be very marginal among an all-male group of writers.

        Your larger error is this: “The classics are frozen in a time where we no longer live, and teach us only about who was writing them, and history through their eyes. They have a place, but not in ‘grounding us’ except if that is meant preserving a way of thinking and that structure.” I don’t know how someone could confront the pain and tragedy of human experience – love, death, meaning, a place in society – and dismiss our ancestors as though they were not grapling with the same human condition that we are.

        If the works of the past do not touch us, the failing is not theirs: it is ours. It is a failing of imagination, a narcissistic unwillingness to step outside our moment in time, and an ignorance of how brief that moment must be.

        Antigone has a lot to say about today, and I don’t mean the sexism. Or try Caroline Alexander’s wonderful The War that Killed Achilles, where she argues that the Iliad is an anti-war epic.

        1. Alfred

          I’ve moved on, but that does not mean I am out of touch.
          The kind or arrogance your comment conveys is the failing.

          1. Geof

            Is there arrogance greater than believing that we are the first generation to possess moral truth? That the ideas of all those who went before are mere historical interest?

            That, if anything, is what it means to be frozen in time: the craving to be “relevant,” to be “in touch” with the trends of today. It represents the conquest of wisdom by fashion.

            1. Alfred

              You’ve been talking to yourself I think. I can’t imagine that you got that from anything I said.

      11. Yves Smith Post author

        *Sigh* Why does gender make a perspective worthwhile or not? I don’t even begin to understand this line of thinking.

        And please tell me how women were harmed? With all of this oppressive male-dominated teaching of history and literature because men were the dominant players then and also were almost without exception the population that was educated (Elizabeth I was unusual in being superbly schooled by the standard), they would be the major/sole contributors to literature and major events. You are saying we are supposed to force fit history to serve your ideological preferences?

        Yet despite that, more women now go to law school than men. Women are the significant majority of graduate students and have been awarded more PhDs than men for the last 11 years. Women’s enrollment in graduate business programs has risen in a decade from about 22% to over 35%.

        1. Alfred

          Now, more women go to law school than men, etc. And we completely forget how long and hard they had to fight to be educated. When I started out as a violist, there were no women in professional symphonies except maybe the harp player. It was only when they instituted auditioning behind a screen that women were finally admitted. How were women harmed? Well, I was told by a major symphony player teacher that the only way I was to get anywhere was to sleep with him. (yes, I’m a woman, Alfred is my cat). I declined. I persisted. What I object to is the exclusivity of the male perspective prevalent. Women and men, when I talk to them, see things and act differently, unless they have bought into the fallacy that acting like a man is the only way to success. The times of the classics were times of women being silent in print. What richness was lost in the picture of history? Nuns were educated, and wrote music, and their writings exist. Saint Hildegard of Bingen is someone I had never heard of, for one. The classics have their place, but they are not front and center as a guide for civilization. I am not force fitting anything, I am looking for freedom to express myself, and it was won by others rejecting the conventions of the past culture. And your weary sigh, I don’t get it.

          1. CanCyn

            Humanities and classics educations, back when they were good, weren’t just about content. I am a history graduate and I don’t recall ever being told or taught that a writing or work was good or better or important because it was by a man. Men produce(d) some wonderful art. Their work is important because it has something to say, not because it was created by men. Of course there are great works by women and I suspect that Cornel West welcomes them into the curriculum. If I had ever run into a prof or class that said a work was worthy of study simply because it was created by a man, I would have fled in disgust. Humanity and people are what we should study, getting mired solely in gender or other aspects of diversity is a very narrow track. I think your mode of thinking is very blinkered if you refuse to read or appreciate something just because it was created by man. Students used to learn to think and argue from a learned and critical perspective not from a gendered or other ‘diverse’ perspective. Minds were opened, the point was to learn, not just to become qualified for a job. I have a sense that true learning, rather than job training is what West pines for, not the study of works created by men.

          2. CanCyn

            I learned about Hildegard in my university history classes – and I was not in women’s studies. Humanities and classics education, when they were good, before the bean counters took over higher ed, were not about content, the content was just the tool used to learn to think and express ideas and opinions. Were there arrogant profs who wanted you to think like them? Sure. But I never once was told that a theory or idea or work was important because it had been created by a man. And I had enough good teachers who taught me to think for myself, I wasn’t told that the what I was reading was a model for me to live my life. I was taught to wonder about their meaning and context. To consider the whys and hows of their creation. To understand the creators’ perspective and bias. To ask about what else was going on when they were created. To try to see what influence they had if any on the present. I graduated from university a much more well-rounded and thoughtful person than I was before. I am well aware of the oppression of women and many other people because of their culture, religion, sexual identity, etc. I don’t discount it but I choose not to divvy up the world like that. I try to see the similarities between us and get along in spite of the differences. I don’t need to know someone’s religion to work with them or to be a good neighbour to them. I am a women and I have felt discrimination, but I have more privilege than many people in this world. I am a feminist and believe deeply in equality for women, but in my country, Canada, there are many women and other people who need support far more than I do. My university education, where, yes, I read a lot of men’s writings, is partially responsible for that outlook and approach to life.
            Yes, we can and should add new works to the cannon and seek to identify more works by women and other minorities. But ignoring all the old classics simply because they were created by white men is beyond narrow minded. It is fool hardy and a step backwards, not a step forward. Nothing is good or bad because it was created by a man or a women. No one deserves anything simply because of their gender, race, religion, sexual identity, etc.

            1. Alfred

              “But ignoring all the old classics simply because they were created by white men is beyond narrow minded. ”

              Did I ever say that? You have been reading other people’s comments and ascribing them to me. Why is it when there is a move for a change of emphasis in culture, the dominant cry foul? That they are being killed? Cancelled? Annihilated? That’s the real problem here, not a straw man argument about “the classics” being eliminated. I’m beyond tired of this. Think I’ll just stick to reading the links from now and stay out of the trembling zeitgeist.

      12. calmly

        I agree with you regarding the dearth of women’s voices, but disagree with you regarding the classics being:
        frozen in a time where we no longer live, and teach us only about who was writing them, and history through their eyes.

        Surely there’s something constant-enough in the human experience to justify reading the oldies for more than just anthropological interest. Otherwise, we could just re-set the literary canon every decade, like the spiderman movies.

        That being said, I’m a bit jealous of you for being grounded in the classics. I was very much not, and have only started to discover some of the oldies here in my middle age.

        I came across this one a while back, and this thread recalls it to mind; from Terence: “I am a human: I hold that nothing human is alien to me.”

        I really like the quote, although, as to the sentiment, I can’t think anything less in vogue at present.

        ps: sorry if the quote formatting I used here isn’t proper; I don’t post here, or anywhere, really, a lot.

    2. zagonostra

      I cherish Ovid’s stories and I especially like this one. Don’t forget where Hippomenes got those golden apples from.

      When Virgil guides Dante into first circle of the inferno, which was kind of a “limbo” where those virtuous souls who were born before Christ were placed, he meets Ovid along with Homer, Horace, and Lucan. Even though these writers were “pagan” Dante venerated these “classic” text.

      If you remove the “classics” from academic curricula like Howard University, you are no longer in the “University.” Colleges and institutions of “higher learning” risk self-immolation if they continue down this path.

      1. Alfred

        Where did anyone get from my comment that I want the classics eliminated from the curriculum? History is important, but putting them on a pedestal is a mistake.

    3. Fireship

      An important reason for studying the classics is to learn how slavery, r ape, pillage, child abuse and just being a general shthead was considered the ideal way of life for a man – and that the USA saw itself as being modeled on these degenerate shthead cultures.

      The Iliad is amazing to read – full of violent crying manbabies who go into full-on temper tantrum hysterics when they do not get their own way. There is lots of r ape and sanctimoniousness and talking directly to god(s). Very much like “modern” Americans.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Is William B lake still part of the “C” “lassics?” I read him in colle ge, and was told he was at t he time.

        1. Winston Smith

          I think Blake is fascinating but will not pretend that I know or understand much of what he wrote, especially in later life. His creative output (poetry and engravings) is remarkable. I like rereading over the proverbs of hell from time to time

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Legend has it that Thomas Paine was saved from arrest for sedition in London by a timely warning from Blake. While unproven, it’s in keeping with his associating with other radicals of the time, such as Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. He had more political engagement with his era than the description of him solely as a “visionary artist” might suggest.

      2. John Bohn

        The College Board last year eliminated all history before the year 1200 from the AP World History curriculum. For many US high school students this was their only exposure to Greece, Rome, and the rest of antiquity.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I feel so sorry for all those students. In the years to come they won’t even know what they are missing. I suspect that they will be moving that year 1200 date up until knowledge of the Enlightenment is no more known.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            1200 is fine for AP World History. Its really what the course was anyway. The problem is the AP class, but the exposure for the kids who don’t have access to AP classes or don’t have the encouragement and support to try. They are the ones who are missing out.

            Back to 1200, the impending collapse of the Silk Road, the rise of the Ottomans, the Mongols in general, the finality of the split in Christendom, the coming sack of Constantinople, the Mongols, Western Europe out of the shadow of Vikings, and so forth. I really like the date as even a run up to the World Wars.

    4. The Rev Kev

      You start reading books by Caesar, Polybius, Livy, Martial from the days of the Romans and it really underlines not only how much they were like us but how different they were too – and at the same time. Come to think of it, John Michael Greer recommends reading books from earlier times so that we learn that how we think is not necessarily the only way to think. That the way that we think is actually just one construct among many possibilities. But my favourite line about this all is from Robert Heinlein who once wrote that ‘A generation which ignores history has no past — and no future.’

      1. Paradan

        Roman history is one of the best models of elite behavior we’ve got. It’s just that it’s kind of hidden. You have to read a lot of different takes before you can see(or at least strongly suspect) some of the unspoken stuff going on in the background.

        1. Alfred

          Did today’s elites learn their behavior from these classics? Certainly the schools they attended taught these works. Did they learn these models of behavior as something to emulate, or something to think about, and decide against?

    5. Phil in KC

      I studied enough Classics in high school and college to know that the truths and wisdom contained within are perennial and ageless, which is what makes them classics in the first place, having withstood the test of time. This wisdom is worth knowing. To junk it, to toss it in the bonfire, is barbaric, just as the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 60’s was. Students should be asking what they will study instead. There is nothing “woke” about this, as the texts can be critiqued from the woke perspective–but only if the texts are studied in the first place!

      1. Alfred

        Who said junk it? Just put it in its place for what it represents, and stop worshiping it.

        1. Jason

          Just put it in its place for what it represents, and stop worshiping it.

          Thank you. An intelligent person could simply read this thread and realize we’re all fighting the same proverbial battle, so to speak. Why submit oneself to the self-interested verbosity of writers when one could just as well take a nap? Probably better for your health.

          As Robert Allen Zimmerman said, “We all did feel the same, we just saw things from a different point of view.”

          Perhaps most importantly, one must at all costs avoid becoming:

          “Well-versed in books and shallow in oneself.”

          *This post is sarcastic. Somewhat.

      2. Aomoa

        I honestly think both sides of this argument have valid points. It should be possible to acknowledge that these classics contain biases that were widespread at the time they were written and were part of the authors’ perspectives, and even that maybe some of those currents still exist in our world and need to be addressed… while also not saying we have to BAN these works and reject what they have to offer.

        It should be possible but I don’t know if it is in today’s environment, where everyone sees only one way or the other, and everything has to be taken personally and outrage is the normal response to anything said by the ‘other’ side.

    6. Basil Pesto

      obligatory reminder that Harold Bloom was right about the School of Resentment vis à vis ~the canon~, decades before the woke neologism came into being, and was (I think) slandered as a conservative for it.

      that said, more or less the only thing I like to learn when I read literary art is new words, so the argument about the classics or canon have anything to teach us beyond literature itself – moral instruction, and so forth – and being important only for that reason has little truck with me.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Episode from law school, ca. 1975 — The school fronts on the Charles River, very windy place, and was badly designed to funnel and accelerate the winds. So much so that it had a kind of airlock of two rows of double doors that were hinged oddly and stiffly to reduce the blasts of wind into the east face of the school. My Civil Procedure professor, a courtly New Englander, approached the entry at the same time as a young woman in my class, who was loaded down with a big purse and a stack of case books. The professor opened the door for her, she glared at him and sidestepped to one of the other outer doors and struggled to open it, saying to him, “We don’t do that any more!” He was gobstruck for a moment, but then as she struggled with the second row of doors, he stuck his head into the airlock and said to her, “I do it for my dog — why not for you?”

        Effing stupid humans.

        Having experienced this same thing myself a couple of times, and also having been excoriated for NOT holding doors and such for women, I have to weep a bit for this tiny loss of civility. In among the larger abuses of wokeness.

    7. flora

      What? Dost thou claim Milton, he who lived in the 1600s, hast no bearing on the modern world?! Fie! / ;)

      “HIgh on a Throne of Royal State, which far
      Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
      Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
      Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold,
      Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d
      To that bad eminence; and from despair
      Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
      Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
      Vain Warr with Heav’n, and by success untaught
      His proud imaginations thus displaid. ”

      – Milton, Paradise Lost, 1674 version

      1. flora


        ,,,by merit rais’d
        To that bad eminence; and from despair
        Thus high uplifted beyond hope, ….

        Nothing to do with our world today. / ;)

  2. zagonostra

    >Biden’s zigzag diplomacy aims to agitate Russia – Asia Times

    Either Biden had a memory lapse and forgot he was to sign the executive order when he called Putin and played nice, or he was plain insincere. …This strange behavior has triggered speculation. Some say Biden may not be in control of the Russia policies that are being driven by the “Deep State

    I don’t think it is an “Either” or situation, Biden is insincere to the core and his deteriorating memory is on display for all to see.

    As with Obama and Trump, when there is the threat of peace breaking out there is the “Deep State” that comes in to make such folly does not come to pass. As Eugene Robinson, WaPo columnist, said in an opinion piece “God bless the ‘deep state.’”

    This article from Asia Times is related to the one directly below it by John Helmer that covers the “London prize for the best book of Russia-is Evil.” The more I learn of the history of the U.S. in its early years, the more I realize that Russia is/was the natural ally of the U.S. It provided a counter balance to Britain and France in the 18th and 19th century. Lincoln had good relations with Russia, the latter going so far as to send a fleet to San Francisco and New York during the Civil War to stop Britain from interference and proved to be crucial in the North’s victory. The U.S. posed a threat to the British Empire’s world dominance and the last thing it wanted was a strong U.S. to cut into it’s empire. It would have much preferred to see the U.S. breakup into smaller political units that could be played off against each other.

    It almost makes me think that British are somehow involved in the “Deep State” encouraging this psychotic goading of an irascible Russian Bear. There are all sorts of speculations on the role of the “City of London” and its entanglement with the U.S.’s political system that exist in the murky yet also illuminating lectures on the subject on Ytube.

    1. pjay

      It was useful to reread this piece to remind myself just how incredibly vile liberal useful idiotism can be these days. In addition to Helmer’s article, the Politico piece posted in yesterday’s Water Cooler is also relevant. It described how the centrist Russian expert Matthew Rojanski was vetoed for a position in the Biden administration for being inadequately hysterical about the Russian threat.

      Anti-Russian insanity surely dominates on both sides of the Atlantic. I’m not always sure how much is manipulative propaganda and how much represents the views of Russiaphobic “true believers.” Either way, it just keeps getting more mind-blowing.

    2. Carolinian

      It almost makes me think that British are somehow involved in the “Deep State”

      Ya think?!

      While I don’t buy it, there is the notion pushed by some that Cecil Rhodes succeeded in his dream of making the US an adjunct of that thing on which the sun never sets–seeding our ruling class with Rhodes Scholars. But you don’t have to go all CT to believe the Russia obsession is distinctly British in origin with Churchill of course kicking off that first Cold War. This meeting of upper class, English speaking minds even has an official organization–the Atlantic Council.

    3. WhoaMolly

      There is a highly profitable anti-Russia industry.

      Everything from Russia-Russia-Russia media stars to defense contractors, to intel, to think tanks.

      One definition of this multi-billion industry is the deep state.

    4. Swamp Yankee

      I have to say, with respect — the Russian squadrons, not fleets, stationed at San Francisco and New York were for Russia to watch the UK and France post-Crimean War, i.e., for Russia’s own purposes. They were decidedly not crucial in Northern victory — the Union had decisive naval superiority over the Confederates, both on the seas and in internal waters. It’s the Battle of Gettysburg that, primus inter pares, precludes UK-French intervention.

      Should we have good relations with Russia? Yes. Did we before? Yes. That still doesn’t mean we should stretch the historical record to support that argument.

  3. christofay

    Thanks for the grounding John Simon. Now as an unnecessary observation all Tesla deaths are due to driver error

  4. cnchal

    > Musk Says Autopilot Off in Texas Tesla Crash That Killed Two Bloomfart

    That Tesla had the Lucifer Speed option.

    It is possible to steer a car from the back seat with two ropes tied to the steering wheel going underneath the drivers seat into the back, but I don’t think that’s what happened.

      1. a different chris

        Ah, define “correct” — remember, when AutoPilot gets confused it turns itself off.

        So I have no doubt the redoubtable Elon is correct. However…..

    1. Carolinian

      The police are quite insistent that there was nobody in the driver’s seat and supposedly the two men said they were going out to test self driving.

        1. Carolinian

          Well I’m a control freak in my car and not only dislike cruise control but would like to be driving all those other cars too—especially the ones that run stop signs. In theory a big argument for automation is to enhance safety, not encourage people to be reckless. But if you can afford a Tesla perhaps you are the risk taker type.

          When Tesla started some of the engineers wanted an economy type car like the Prius but Musk insisted on a sports car for marketing purposes.

      1. cnchal

        I know. The more I think about it, the weirder it gets.

        Murder / suicide? Double suicide? Stupidity? Looking at an image of the wreck raises questions about the reporting too. Supposedly high speed into a tree, the chassis looks too straight to me, unless high speed is 20 mph and if that’s the case, just how fragile are these cars?

        Another possibility is that the car went off the road at high speed and something punctured the bottom of the car, like a rock or tree stump, near the battery which ignited instantaneously and then it stopped at the tree.

        One thing for sure. Musk’s credibility = less than zero

        1. polecat

          This incident compells me into engaging in moon travel .. though I guess I’ll have to pack some weenies for the trip … just to be sure.

    2. Mikel

      “Tesla has said the system — which is primarily for highway travel — isn’t a substitute for drivers and requires “active driver supervision.”

      Over glorified cruise control.

      And creepy AF is the constant stream of info going to one company.

    3. Bill

      On a different note, it appears that the nature of the fire and efforts to put it out have been misreported or mischaracterized: ‘“With respect to the fire fight, unfortunately, those rumors grew out way of control. It did not take us four hours to put out the blaze. Our guys got there and put down the fire within two to three minutes, enough to see the vehicle had occupants,” Buck said of inaccurate claims the vehicle burned for hours. “After that, it was simply cooling the car as the batteries continued to have a chain reaction due to damage.”’ “It was not an active fire.” Apparently the fire couldn’t be completely put out and the wreck cleared because there were 2 bodies in the car and it became an investigation/possible crime scene. Read the article for more information:

      1. tegnost

        It wasn’t an active fire because they were dousing it, and if they had stopped then it would have started again. They couldn’t leave. Wherever that car is it may still be burning unless (h/t vlade) they dropped it in a big bucket of water…

        1. Bill

          I don’t know how you know that. But, it sounds like they could’ve extinguished it and cleared the wreckage, but had to wait because it was an investigation-slash-crime scene. “We could not tear it apart or move it around to get ‘final extinguishment’ because the fact that we had two bodies in there and it was then an investigation-slash-crime scene,” Buck explained. “We had to keep it cool, were on scene for four hours, but we were simply pouring a little bit of water on it. It was not because flames were coming out. It was a reaction in the battery pan. It was not an active fire.”

          1. tegnost

            “After that, it was simply cooling the car as the batteries continued to have a chain reaction due to damage.”’

            1. Bill

              That doesn’t necessarily mean it couldn’t have been fully extinguished if they hadn’t had to wait. Which is what the fire chief seemed to be saying.

    4. Maritimer

      This is the start of Bot Supremacy. Within ten years, these bots will be running rampant and humans will have to move aside. Their development will be for the good of the Herd. (Sound familiar?)

      This is the SIlicon Business Model, build a half-ass, defective product, inflict it on the public and then have them, on their dime, do the debugging. (This is the exact Covid vaccine model. Thank you, Microsoft Bill Gates.)

      About 10-15 years ago I had occasion to research computers and the law. I found that, at that time, the tendency was for Judges to more and more accept the computer “testimony” as definitive. I can only imagine the acceptance now.

      So, when you see that Tesla or Domino’s Pizza Bot or Amazin’ Drone behaving erratically, get outa the way, Human!

  5. The Rev Kev

    “How product placements may soon be added to classic films”

    Yeah, I’m seeing this as the thin edge of the wedge here. This sort of product placement is relatively easy to do but what happens next? Let’s try an old classic like “Casablanca” for example. So you might see a version of it where Sam opens up a can of Coca Cola and hands it to Rick who starts to drink it. The film characters are now interacting with the products. Or maybe that scene where the French start signing ‘La Marseillaise’ over the top of those German officers singing ‘Die Wacht am Rhein’ is no longer thought appropriate so they now sing a patriotic ‘Star Spangled Banner’ instead. And everybody has a serving of freedom fries on their tables.

    Already you had the shotguns the FBI agents had in ‘E.T.’ swapped over for radios and who knows the ‘Han shot first!’ meme from ‘Star Wars?’ Or maybe those SJWs can finally go in and fix ‘Gone with the Wind’ and replace the Hattie McDaniel character with a person of indeterminate sex and sexual orientation or something. Why? Don’t know. And some people have serious problems with the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ too. I know you guys think that I am kidding here but take a look at this film clip and reflect that this has been done with present technology. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ – but updated (4:27 mins)

    1. Mikel

      It’s much more intrusive than commercial breaks. And they know it.
      And many better start burning copies of orginal oldies because now they will become actual treasure.
      RIP Art and Culture…..

      1. ambrit

        Oddly enough, Arthur C Clarke predicted this in one of his novels. He had some marginal characters make their fortune by devising an algorithm that removed all traces of smoking from copies of “Classic” films.

        1. Mikel

          This is what I was talking about with the screenwriter here the other day.
          He was complaining about trying to write sci-fi dystopia, but everytime he thinks he has a fresh idea, the situation is already happening in real life.
          Then I said that if he did come up with an original idea, some scum somewhere would think it was a playbook for real life that they could use.

    2. ambrit

      Ye gads! So, “Pyrates of the Caribbean” is the same story as “Starry Warz!”
      The real lesson here is that Orwell’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ is now an operational ‘force’ in our society. The Memory Hole beckons for all “non-goodthinking” material. Soon enough, real people will be sonsigned to a “Terminal Memory Hole,” one six feet deep, which, in the interests of ‘economy,’ they will have to dig themselves.
      I wish I was wrong but I’m not holding my breath.

    3. Carolinian

      They could even colorize them as a “value add” for all those old Warner Brothers classics.

      Oh wait. Ted Turner’s other brilliant idea: CNN.

      1. Eirebridge (aka Different Jen)

        Colorized films always looked washed out to me, even as a budding film nerd watching the ‘new and improved’ versions some stations started playing when many films became ‘Turnerized.’ That was sometime in the ’80s. Some of the older films that were colored by hand during the early years of film are interesting though.

        So many old films, including those early, gritty Warner Bros. studio-era ones, are better served by the chiaroscuro of black and white.

    4. Terry Flynn

      Haha. On the other hand I hope there will always be people like the Auralnauts who are willing to subvert this and in turn create parody videos which are edited “classics” to illustrate just what a dreadful hole (western) society is falling into.

      Assume a series of videos in which Star Wars tells the following story. The galaxy is tyrannised by a small group of Jedi who are way more powerful than the 99%, permanently want midichlorians (a certain drug), start fights between randoms in bars, never pay their way and have two sides who are identical, resulting in one side finally just getting annoyed enough to seize power. A “Laser Moon” is devised to entertain the masses, under a middle manager called Darth Vader whose staff are basically those from the Office. His boss is fed up of the fact he tried to be woke and celebrate “Life Day” and wants it renamed Christmas like it used to be. I could go on but you get the gist.

      The Auralnauts started their quest to parody every SW movie years ago and some of us are keenly awaiting their take on episodes 7-9 – as some wags have pointed out, they should just “do nothing as they’re already parodies of modern society” thanks to The Mouse. Here is The Empire Strikes Back. Mildly NSFW (language) and about half an hour but scroll to 5:18 for a few minutes of classic middle management hilarity.

    5. Eirebridge (aka Different Jen)

      This is why I still keep a lot of backup hard copies of classic films, as well as music and books. Cinephiles, audiophiles and bibliophiles should keep physical copies in my opinion because although digital is great and saves space, it seems more ephemeral than enduring, and could vanish into the ‘cloud(s)’ someday. Not to mention, there’s a lot of obscure stuff out there that’s difficult to find in digitized format.

      1. Carolinian

        What? You keep films in your house? Or perhaps you mean videotape.

        Thing is, film isn’t very permanent either unless stored in refrigerated vaults. The organic dyes in non technicolor prints fade and you have a magenta mess. Black and white is better unless printed on nitrate stock aka gun cotton. Blows up good and old timey projection booths had fire shutters.

        One advantage of easily copied digital versions is that there will be so many copies that some will survive.

        1. Eirebridge (aka Different Jen)

          Ha ha, no I didn’t mean actual reels. ;) I meant discs, which includes (old) DVDs and Blu-rays. I also have some stored on digital files. We do have some old VHS tapes floating around, but those are ones my husband doesn’t want to part with because he keeps an old TV/VCR combo in the garage for when he’s working out. We don’t have a VCR hooked up to the TVs anymore because the quality is greatly diminished with the larger screens and the hi-definition. Even some of the DVDs start to look faded after some time, too.

          I know what you mean about the old films and fires. When film stock was replaced by acetate, a lot of those suffered from ‘vinegar syndrome.’ Many of the films before the 1930s are gone completely. Glad to know there’s people out there who restore those extant old grainy films!

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Derek Chauvin trial judge warns Maxine Waters’ comments ‘may result in this whole trial being overturned’ ”

    Here is an interesting scenario. So the Jury comes back and says that Chauvin is guilty and the sob should go straight to prison. Fini! But then the defense appeals it on the grounds of Waters little play-acting and the whole thing is overturned because of it. Can you imagine how that would go down in Minnesota? Explosive does not begin cover it. And it would be a Democrat who was responsible for this new mess.

    Personally I thought it disgusting that she called for confrontation and then shot through to leave others to clean up the mess. I am always dubious of advice from people who have nothing to lose if that advice goes disastrously wrong. But maybe she should be impeached or something. After all, that was the reason that people went after Trump – for inciting people to get confrontational. And isn’t that what Waters just did?

    1. Pat

      Aren’t the jurors sequestered and in a news limbo? If so, how could Waters “pay attention to me!” remarks effect the out come of the trial?

      If there is a mistrial, it would need to be about more than just Waters exhortations, ill-considered as they were.

        1. Keith

          Me, too., as these racial cases tend to gripe the nation and spawn all kinds of craziness, they should have been sequestered. Add to that the beefed up security at the courthouse, recent rioting in Brooklyn Heights (or whatever the name is), comments by Waters and what I suspect is a lot of local pressure calling for a guilty verdict, the odds of this getting overturned if there is a guilty verdict are high.

        2. Pat

          Wow. Consider me shocked and appalled. Waters is going to get the blame, but there is no way a guilty verdict was ever going to stand under the circumstances.

          I will state it flatly. The system was rigged. Again.

          1. Pelham

            It is indeed curious that the trial venue wasn’t changed. I suspect that it was due to fears that the change itself would ignite violence. But even without that incitement, one witness’ house was smeared with blood, something jurors are probably aware of.

            However, I doubt that a guilty verdict will be overturned, even with ample reason, due to the same fear factors. The state and the zeitgeist demand punishment and it WILL be meted out, regardless of what the facts may or may not justify.

        3. jsn

          The last institutional defense of the institution’s defendant.

          Dumb-ass or devious, the machine protects its gears.

        4. none

          I believe they were sequestered during deliberation but not for the trial itself. I’m not sure when Waters’ comments were. I don’t know what it means for Chauvin to have been convicted of all 3 charges based on murdering 1 guy. I’d have expected the most serious charge (2nd degree murder) somehow encompasses the other two, but apparently not.

      1. Bill Smith

        “Aren’t the jurors sequestered”

        They were not sequestered during the trial. Just told not to follow the trial news.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      April 20, 2021 at 9:25 am

      I have very little respect for the vaunted US legal system. One reason of course, is that it is not a system of laws and not men, but a system composed of rather imbecilic / corrupt men interpreting the law rather obviously to benefit the person in court who has more money.
      1. IF the judge was correct that Waters should not be flapping her gums about the case (uh, something she has a CONSTITUTIONAL right to do, judge – maybe HE should bone up on the constitution) so why was the judge flapping his? What effect did his have bringing up Waters could POSSIBLY have on Waters??? HOW did the judge bringing this up do anything to dampen the issue, but rather INFLAME it??? Was it to start the defense of the police/legal process that has worked so assiduously over the years making convictions for cops virtually impossible? (gee, it just works out that way…) Or would the judge dispute the incredible difficulty of convicting police – a situation due in no small part to legal rulings?
      2. Qualified immunity. Judges came up with this. It is an absurdly ridiculous convolution of logic to enable so many police to escape so many scenarios for wrong doing. Just a random decision??? OR a well designed and crafted philosophy of protecting not the guardians, but the GUARDS.
      3. Dred Scot, Civil Asset forfeiture, corporations are people too, etcetera. It looks like decisions without rhyme nor reason, but when looked at from the standpoint of those with power keeping power, it all falls into place – the legal system works best for those with money.

      I reread the Trump transcript of Jan 6, and it confirmed to me that saying Trump incited a riot were overwrought. By the same token, Waters stating public confrontation strikes me as no more an incitement to violence than civil rights demonstrators sitting at lunch counters. Part of the reason oversight of police is so poor is the mumble jumbo of the legal system, and the whole attitude that it should never be challenged or examined. It is very easy to see if the Floyd trial hadn’t elicited such a strong reaction, that the typical defense of drugs and poor health would have gotten Chauvin off.

  7. Mikel

    RE: “Infections of South African and Kent coronavirus variants have already been recorded in vaccinated people, NHS expert warns” Daily Mail

    “Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, reassured that vaccines were a ‘primer’ for the immune system and would help reduce hospitalisations and deaths.
    That’s to be expected, we know that these vaccines aren’t 100 per cent protecting you against infection and that’s why we ask people to take caution.’”

    Roll back to the end of 2020. Look even now.
    People are talking about “return to normal”…still. “Immune system primer” is different than “vaccine”…seems to me.
    All of these problems they say they “totally expected” didn’t make to the overhyped press releases sent out at the end of 2020.

    So what seems to be most important to develop is some kind of treatment that stops the spread of the disease. I remember reading here about studies of nasal sprays of some sort….
    And maybe the route now is to maybe treat the air somehow?
    What about options like that?

      1. JEHR

        And if the vaccines do not grant full immunity and if vaccines do not stop asymptomatic spread and if vaccines cause blood clots and if vaccines do not prevent people from getting the virus again, then we have to say that vaccines are not “immune system primers.” In fact, wearing masks, keeping a safe distance and not becoming one of the crowd are also “immune system primers” that are every bit as important. We may have to spend a lot of time learning what is best in keeping the virus at bay and we do not know all that that will entail.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Here’s an interview with a scientist who is developing a nasal spray —
      Hard evidence points that Covid-19 is a Wuhan lab derived virus – Interview with Jorge Casesmeiro Roger » Dr. Steven Quay, MD, PHD.

      The nasal spray contains three inhibitors of the host of the furin… To simplify. We have three enzymes: Furin, ACE-2 and TMPRSS-2. These are the three diffferent scissors that can cut the Spike protein of the virus. Coronavirus doesn’t want to miss his chance to get into a cell, and has three different enzymes that can do the job. So I have put an inhibitor on all three of those enzymes in a nasal spray. The coronavirus gets a new mutation once every two weeks. The virus goes into every patient and goes out of that patient with a new mutation. But the enzymes on the surface of our cells don’t change over a lifetime. So the purpose of these inhibitors is to slow down the infection if you can use it early on, like within a 24-48 hours in a PCR positive case. But also maybe more important, to give it to the other adults in your home. That product has finished a Phase One study. We are wrapping up the data, then going to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for a study again in early patients, or reduce their symptoms, and to prevent in patients who were exposed in a household.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “MI5 warns of spy threat from professional networking sites”

    Yes, this is very much appreciated this piece of advice. I always wonder about the threat of spying by professionals from the UK Government Communications Headquarters, the US National Security Agency, the Canadian Communications Security Establishment, the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau and the Australian Signals Directorate – collectively known as The Five Eyes. What is that you say? What about the Russians? And what about the Chinese? Same as always. So far as I know, those later two cannot have me arrested for posting seditious writings.

    1. David

      It’s not really about spying, it’s about recruiting. And nobody posts seditious writings on LinkedIn, which is Facebook for boring people trying to make professional contacts. All intelligence services struggle to get into contact with people whom they might recruit as sources. Traditionally, it was hanging around cocktail parties, frequenting student groups, joining political societies – things like that. The Cambridge spies of the 1930s were recruited by sympathetic university lecturers, as I recall. In the 1980s in London there were a number of cases of lonely political exiles from South Africa being befriended by apartheid agents (some black, actually) through political groups and slowly turned and blackmailed into working for Pretoria.

      Social media has made all this much easier, and it’s a trivial thing to set up a fake account and cultivate a few promising individuals. Amazingly enough, it seems that intelligence officers often lie about who they are: that very sympathetic Palestinian woman journalist who sent you a contact request and was so interested in your human rights NGO might turn out to be from the Mossad, and really interested in your partner who works for the Foreign Ministry. Basically, if you have a job which involves anything sensitive at all (including financial secrets) you shouldn’t have anything to do with LinkedIn.

      1. Savita

        Thankyou David. Not to mention the abysmal security record of LinkedIn which you can easily read about online and on sites like LinkedIn have destroyed any trust they may have earned. One notices how impossible it is to delete an account, despite repeat unsubscribing LinkedIn will continue to send emails. So David are you saying the intelligence community finds it difficult to recruit sources? Having suggested this I thought you may provide a reason for this in the present era. Unsure also about your social media example – many people, at least everyone I know, won’t accept friend requests on facebook from anyone they haven’t met physically. As a rule. I am reminded of one of the final episodes of the final season of The Bureau tv series – which you and I have discussed briefly before. One of the agents says she has developed a system for ascertaining if a new social contact for someone in the Bureau, that develops into a relationship, is a set up by another Service. Also because, that alleged other Service is not actually interested in that employee, they are interested in cultivating the employees friends. Invite a group of friends over for dinner. One of those friends will say they work for the government, which really means ‘ works for intelligence’. The girlfriend will hit all the right notes, know how to be polite and charming, but not too forward, remain in the background, not impose. But the fish hook of the friend who works for government – she will happen to have something or know something that will be of benefit to the ‘friend in government’. Like she knows how to fix his broken curtains or whatever. The punchline was something like, everyone else at the party will refer to the new social contact girlfriend in the past tense, ‘Wasn’t she so nice’ but only the government worker will refer to her in an active sense, as in ‘we’ll be catching up soon’.

        1. David

          I think that, as a general point, if you are trying to make contacts, whether to network, to convince people of your ideas, to sell things, to convert people to your religion or, as in this case, to recruit them as intelligence sources, social networking can be very useful, and highly efficient. Assuming that intelligence agencies follow the same rules as everybody else (and they’ve historically shown themselves to be early adopters of technological means) you could create a few LinkedIn accounts, and send literally hundreds or even thousands of requests to potential targets. You could create profiles as, say, journalists, consultants etc. with a specialist interest in (let’s say) defence electronics. Hard as it may to believe, there are people who accept every invitation they receive, because having 500+ contacts gives them a sense of being wanted and valued. You’d probably get scores of acceptances, and after that you’d have an idea of how to infiltrate, for example, an electronics company. By any standards this is going to be a lot more efficient than traditional methods, and also enable you to quickly discard people you are not interested in. After that, of course, job offers, invitations to conferences abroad … My understanding is that a lot of what’s in the Bureau des Légendes is based on interviews with former officers, so no doubt it’s fairly accurate.
          Academics who study these things have coined the acronym MICE (Money, Ideology, Coercion and Ego) to describe why people agree or offer to be intelligence sources. Studies of real cases suggest that Ego is a very powerful motivation, and, if you are the kind of sad person who eagerly waits for contact requests and accepts them all, then I would assume you are making yourself a good target.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            A few years ago though a friend, an experienced traveler in Central Asia (so experienced he wrote guidebooks on it) I met up during a weekend away with an ex British Navy engineer (ballistics) who was taking a 5 year career break following a divorce to travel around the world. He wanted to meet up with a few of us who’d done the remote travel thing to talk about logistics, and so on, including to certain ‘enemy’ central Asian countries. He was interested in getting an Irish passport via a grandmother to make life a bit easier when travelling (this was pre-Brexit).

            Over a few pints one evening, another friend of mine, a very curious and loquacious Kerryman started grilling him on his past and how he was funding his travels. After some time, the Kerryman laughed and said ‘I got it! You are a spy!’. The engineer went bright red and tried to change the subject. After that, we teased him relentlessly to try to get him to admit to which agency was paying for his leave of absence. He never answered, but he wasn’t a particularly good liar anyway, so I’m pretty sure we’d hit on some sort of truth (I’m sure he wasn’t an actual spy, but I’m pretty sure he was on some sort of ‘retainer’.

      2. fajensen

        All intelligence services struggle to get into contact with people whom they might recruit as sources.

        They cold just send me an email and ask. I don’t really care exactly what pays the bills these days!

        But, maybe there are some other, special, requirements. Perhaps one has to be an all-out crazy-flake nutter like “Curveball”, a sad loser like Guaido or a pervert crook like Epstein to be considered Worthy of Intelligence?

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Dr. Faris Durmo Biber MD., BSc.
    The Swedish temperature check
    Stockholm hiring non-specialized nurses – Haven’t Got enough of ICU-nurses.’

    This is pretty rough reading this but here is a thought. It says that Sweden is hiring non-specialized nurses because they do not have enough ICU nurses. Now a year ago we saw the carnage in the north Italian hospitals as they were overwhelmed by ICU cases so my question is this. Knowing what would happen as this virus swept through country after country, why did they not set up intensive training courses for ICU nurses as they knew that they would be needing them? Would it have been so hard to invest in that training or did they think that the pandemic would be over quickly so why waste the money?

    1. John A

      You are half right. I have just very hastily read the vårdfokus article. Basically, the intensive care staff are overworked and understaffed and almost overwhelmed. Being more or less forced to do overtime etc. (Many apparently, are sneaking out via the basement at the end of their shift to avoid being caught and told to do more overtime). Non specialised nurses have been transferred to help out but according to the article, they are under the supervision of a trained intensive care nurse.
      Very difficult situation when there is a sudden influx of patients needing intensive care.

    2. fajensen

      …. why did they not set up intensive training courses for ICU nurses as they knew that they would be needing them?

      Because of their culture, values and belief systems, of course. Specifically, In Sweden, the rule is that Leadership and “though leaders, like Experts cannot be wrong.

      In the case of experts, like FHM, fronted by Anders Tegnell, they would not be considered proper experts if they changed their mind based on anything as flimsy as new evidence, that would be a huge loss of “face”.

      Thus, like the rest of the world, the Swedish authorities pull something out of their butt in March 2020, but, unlike the rest of the world, they will also stick to it!

      Anders Tegnell / FHM Having said numerous on national TV that there would be no 3’rd wave, that healthy and pure people would not really get ill with Covid-19 (which is just like a bad flu anyways), that Covid-19 doesn’t affect kids and in any case kids are not spreaders of Corona Virus – somehow unlike any other virus in existence on the planet – the experts agree that the virus is totally not airborne and so on and so forth: If they were to train extra nurses and prepare for a possible emergency, then they would also be admitting that they were Wrong or at least having doubts and that would be a taint on the entire nation!

      Because, they have another cultural thing, which I as a foreigner calls “consensus dictatorship”.

      Once the Swedish leadership decides something, “the minions” are supposed to openly and with proper spontaneous enthusiasm, to agree with the decision and even support it, without being instructed to do so.

      In Sweden it is never said directly, like it would be in Denmark, that “This is my decision and if you don’t like it you can damn well leave for another job!” because the “My Decision” part is simply not done in Sweden. Too much raw power will be on display (consensus is that there is no hierarchy, everyone are really the same) and too much risk to take for leadership to assume, even though they are paid well enough to assume it.

      Instead, it must be a “common decision”, in a totally democratic and open manner everyone just happens to agree with whatever is decided, which also means that everyone are also responsible for the decisions – in a court of law even, if it ever comes to that.

      Therefore if someone dares question the Covid-19 preparedness or decides to prepare for some eventualities, they are basically questioning the entire Swedish nation state, because “Everyone Agreed … to whatever was decided”. Back in March 2020, on the flimsiest knowledge! They will get hammered for that, possibly fired!!

      PS –
      Wife & I, we are getting out of here in May! It is no longer safe here!!

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I’m not familiar with Sweden, but I would add that it’s not hard to think that not many nurses would want to be an ICU nurse. You deal with gunshot wounds, people mangled in car wrecks, serious burn victims, heart attacks, strokes, lots of stress. You can be a nurse in a hospital and assist in surgeries or treat patients past the ICU stage (as in stabilized) and not have the emotional ups and downs of ICU care.

        1. fajensen

          I think it depends on ones personality. The only ICU nurse I know, feels especially bad about Covid-19 cases. She likes to save people and in many of the “normal” ICU-cases they manage do that. Or at least they can give it their very best shot and know that it was all that they could do.

          While the “normal” car crashes, accidents and GBH’s, they are dramatic to begin with and then they are “resolved” relatively quickly. Some days they don’t even have any and can relax a bit.

          With Covid-19, she instead experienced that patients just “kept dying all the time”, seemingly no matter what they tried on them, and they couldn’t easily tell if someone was going to recover. Patients would get a lot better, there is talk about moving them out of the ICU and suddenly they crash & die within the hour with multiple problems. She felt they could not prepare mentally for losing a patient like in “normal” ICU cases, many years of experience in estimating how a patient is really doing was pretty useless with Covid-19 cases. This caused a lot of stress because one of the things they always worry about is whether they are killing the patient.

          This kept going on and on during 2020, and growing, a constant, and never ending pressure.

          Now, *If* we are lucky, they don’t have to do it all over again. Right now we (DK) have about 200 hospitalised, about 40 people in the ICU, and about 20 of those on a ventilator. Very manageable. OTOH, we have the same morons demanding to go back to the way things were without doing the work, as everyone else has, so it could well kick off again, for example with poorly ventilated schools opening at full capacity or even mass gatherings being allowed again.

          I think, if it does kick off again like in 2020, many of the ICU nurses will resign.

      2. The Rev Kev

        With my comment, fajensen I was not just talking about Sweden. I meant ALL the countries in the world. Each could have set up an abbreviated ICU course that would only concentrate on dealing with Coronavirus patients and for the moment forget all the other skills needed as an ICU nurse. Think of them as replacements for regular ICU nurses as they got sick, quit, needed a break, etc. Any patients that needed dealing with because of car crashes, etc. would then get handled by the regular ICU nurses.

        1. fajensen

          I know Denmark and Sweden pulled in most of “what they had” to provide Covid-19 care. They didn’t really know what they were doing at the time so it was difficult to train people. Now they have some idea at least so they could try to do it. A lot fewer are dying due to better treatments.

  10. semiconscious

    re: Confirming that INET was right on schools as a transmission vector for Covid and the CDC is wrong:

    The new “double mutation” variant from India ?? #B1617 is surging fast in UK—5x increase in % of #COVID19 cases in just 2 weeks. Same with the South Africa ?? #B1351 variant. When did they increase? After schools reopened.

    And keep in mind—it’s rising despite high vaccinations.

    — Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 19, 2021

    see: correlation does not imply causation

    among many other recent studies:

    which is a good thing, considering:

  11. roxan

    The current fad for politically correct ‘literature’ based on race and gender is just that–a fad. Few of these works will survive, or they may be used as examples of the radical politics of this era. It’s a form of reverse racism/sexism to push art based solely on the author’s race & gender no matter how bad, as though they can’t be expected to do better. I taught English at a junior college, to mostly black adults trying to get off welfare, back in the 1980s. To my shock, black teachers told me it was ‘prejudiced’ to expect ‘those students’ to learn how to read and write. They did learn, though, and when they tried to fire me, demanded I teach the second half of the course. Students do live up–or down–to the teacher’s expectations.

    1. tegnost

      i have the unpopular opinion that no one is stupid, and I use self driving cars as proof that literally every person who *could* drive is smarter than a computer

      *My test case scenario is if I could find in back of beyond new guinea or somewhere similar a native who had never seen a car, after the initial surprise and with sign language I could teach that person to drive in less than one day.

  12. Jason Boxman

    So I see this come up every couple of years in some story or another:

    That’s not many, and a 1920 law known as the Jones Act—which stipulates that only U.S. vessels can ferry goods between U.S. ports—makes using them in U.S. waters even more challenging. The first Jones Act-compliant turbine installation ship is currently being built in Texas to the tune of $500 million.

    But would we still even have a domestic fleet if not for the Jones Act, what with the US penchant for divestiture?

    And from the preamble:

    It is necessary for the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of the United States; and it is declared to be the policy of the United States to do whatever may be necessary to develop and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine, and, in so far as may not be inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall, in the disposition of vessels and shipping property as hereinafter provided, in the making of rules and regulations, and in the administration of the shipping laws keep always in view this purpose and object as the primary end to be attained.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Two blocks from the Federal Reserve, a growing encampment of the homeless grips the economy’s most powerful person SFGate

    Damn, I thought this was a parody until I saw it was reprinted from wapo.

    It’s in these brief interludes – when the most powerful person in the economy passes some of the most powerless – that Powell grapples with one of the most vexing economic conundrums facing the central bank, and the country, 14 months into the coronavirus crisis. How can the Fed have done so much – slashed interest rates, propped up the stock market, bought up $3.3 trillion in treasuries and mortgage backed securities – yet parts of the economy remain so broken?

    Powell referenced the tent city three times in the span of seven days, including in a ″60 Minutes” interview and on a panel hosted by the International Monetary Fund. During a talk with the Economic Club of Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Powell mentioned the encampment again, saying the homeless should be part of any assessment of the economy’s strength.

    “They need to be in the room with us as we make our decisions,” Powell said.

    Oh, the anguish, so profound that it compels “the most powerful person in the economy” to desperately suggest actually being in the same room with those smelly homeless.

    This portrayal of a 68-year-old-man, who has labored tirelessly for years shoveling money to those who have to invent new ways to spend it, confronting the “vexing conundrum” of tents two blocks from the eccles building is touching and poignant.

    You can almost hear him gently remonstrating his grandchildren to stop complaining and finish their caviar because there are people starving down the street.

    A pulitzer winner for sure!

    1. Glen

      The local solution where i live is to make such camping illegal.

      But i still see maybe over 500 people camping along the freeway on my short drive to work. And I’m sure we are making more campers/living in cars every day.

      Where is a Fed jobs program?

    2. chuck roast

      Pulitzer Prize? Nay, Nay! Hypocrisy on such a grand scale that the Nobel Committee must be falling all over themselves in trying to decide…a peace prize, or a Economics Prize?

  14. Geo

    “At some point, if you just see that there’s no real effort to kind of bridge a reasonable bipartisan agreement, you’ve got to go. Because that’s what people are counting on,” said Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “You reach that point, when if you wait any longer, people get hurt.”

    – – –

    These people need to be forced into the real world every once in a while. Not the donor classes, chaperoned walks on factory floors, or some diner, but real life.

    Does he honestly think people aren’t already hurt and hurting by our crumbling infrastructure and lack of investment in our own nation? Or, is he worried a real person (a donor) might get hurt when their Tesla’s AI gets confused by potholes and crashes into a Whole Foods?

    “Wait any longer” – What kind of framing is that? More like “this should have happened decades ago and the people stalling are the ones who’ve done nothing for those decades.”

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Florida’s new transgender sports ban permits schools to require genital inspections of children Independent (resilc)

    My most fervent wish is that joseph robinette biden maintains the illusion of cognitive competence long enough to run for reelection against Ron DeSantis.

    The headline is bullshit, by the way.

    1. upstater

      When I saw the trend chart y axis was a percentage, the first thought was “how big was the denominator”? Zeynep’s takedown was excellent.

  16. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Watch: Judicial Division
    [Legal disclaimer. In the interests of “fair play” and personal privacy, etc. no names or other specific items of information concerning cases will be exposed. The District Attorney made a point of this. The specific charges, of which a printed list was given to each juror, provides the names of those involved, often also the names of victims of the crimes, plus dates of activity. Again, maximum discretion was advised.] Curiously, mobile communications devices were not sequestered or otherwise limited.
    Yesterday was the City part of the 2021 Grand Jury deliberations. Roughly 75 individuals and 102 specific charges. (The City part included cases from the State University police department. That institution has it’s own, separate jurisdiction.)
    Each “charge” was introduced by a police officer involved with the ‘incident,’ which person had an Assistant District Attorney nearby who explained the details of each case, the laws being used to prosecute, and additional points of interest. (Once or twice, the ADAs got “invested” in a case and almost pled the case to the Grand Jury. The woman ADA handling the ‘Sexual Battery’ and molestation cases was clearly ‘dedicated’ to her work.)
    The Jury deliberations began at 9:00AM and ran to 4:30PM with a half hour catered lunch. Several five minute breaks for ‘calls of nature’ were provided. The Jury was ‘provisioned’ with donuts and coffee, soft drinks and bottled water, in a back room the entire day.
    Masks were mandated, and observed, but presenters removed their masks for clarity of exposition. The legals present often discarded their masks when not in close proximity to the Jury; a curious mindset, almost rising to the status of Kabuki.
    Some observation on the nature of the cases presented.
    1) There are a lot of Automobile Burglaries in our half-horse town.
    a) A lot of people leave their keys in their cars at the most inopportune moments.
    b) A significant number of people leave personal weapons in their automobiles, even overnight.
    c) “Trying the door handle” seems to be a favoured tactic by opportunistic thieves.
    2) There is a pretty big gang presence in our half-horse town. At least four nationally known “criminal organizations” were mentioned in relation to crimes occurring inside the City limits. Several of the presenting officers ‘knew’ particular gang members, many of whom were older, with children and families of their own. The gangs are apparently not just roving bands of ‘wayward youths.’
    3) Stolen firearms are easy to obtain, if you know the “right” people. The prices mentioned were ‘steals.’
    4) Most of the violent crimes presented were between people who knew each other before the crime.
    5) A large part of the crimes presented had video camera evidence to support the prosecution. Cameras placed on the outside of businesses, inside retail establishments, and on ‘strategically placed’ public observation platforms. Many of these crimes might be presented to the Jury because there was video evidence. [We never saw actual video. That is reserved for the actual trial.]
    6) The ‘average’ criminal is dumb. [One could suggest that the ‘smart’ crooks are underrepresented in the criminal complaints record.]
    7) There was a hint of a suggestion that, once you have a felony on “your permanent record,” that you had a big target painted on your back. Felons are prohibited from many things that others don’t know about. For example, a felon cannot be in a dwelling where firearms are “easily available,” as in not locked up. Similarly, a felon cannot be in a vehicle with a firearm, no matter who owns the firearm. Several of the charges against felons resulted from “traffic stops,” involving violations such as improper turning or ‘erratic’ driving. “The officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle” was a common citation for searching the vehicle. (The reader is urged to draw his or her own conclusions.) Also, while on parole, the parolee is subject the random searches and drug testing. The searches can include the parolee’s automobile and dwelling place.
    Wednesday is for the cases from the rest of the County and some smaller jurisdictions. The District Attorney mentioned at the end of Monday that the County was where the “really crazy” cases came from.
    All stay safe!

  17. Tom Stone

    Thank you, Ambrit.
    I am almost always excused from Jury Duty very quickly, the only time out of 11 I was selected it ended in a mistrial after 4 days.
    It should be quite a show, enjoy it.

    1. ambrit

      You are welcome. The previous Jury I was on was a Federal drugs case, and it ended up a hung jury as well. (Some goof-ups by the Prosecution.)
      I’ll send more dispatches from the Front as the action proceeds. Tomorrow are the County cases. Oh joy.

  18. lads

    In 2019 Tesla announced to the press to be within months of reaching Level 5 autonomy with its “Auto-pilot” software. Moreover, it announced the release of 1 million “robo-taxis” to the road in 2020.

    Tesla currently charges in the order of 10 K$ to its costumers for a feature called “Full Self Driving”. Whereas to the authorities Tesla states this feature to be only Level 2 autonomy, all they wording feed to costumers can easily lead them to think it is a Level 5 feature.

    It is easy to find videos and pictures of Tesla costumers travelling with an empty driver’s seat as if thier car was indeed at Level 5 autonomy:

    1. Basil Pesto

      I’m sorry I can’t find it but I saw a video the other day summarising Musk’s history of predicting imminent Level 5 going back several years. It also draws attention to the (still pretty meagre) backlash from some true believers. Dude’s a ridiculous charlatan.

Comments are closed.