Links 4/29/2021

Researchers Determine Coelacanth Faked Own Extinction To Escape Massive Gambling Debt The Onion

Sticky bacterial biofilm traps and sinks microplastics for recycling New Atlas

Rare chunks of Earth’s mantle found exposed in Maryland National Geographic

These ‘creativity genes’ allowed humans to take over the world Science Direct. And so we have bodega cat pictures on the Internet!


New CDC mask guidance draws clear line between vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans LA Times

The CDC Is Still Repeating Its Mistakes Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic. Today’s must-read. This is a massive takedown of the CDC’s new mask guidance, albeit a polite one.

How one restaurant’s experiment may help diners breathe safely SFGate. Droplet goons at WHO and CDC gnashing their teeth as the world moves on without them.

Beyond the First Dose — Covid-19 Vaccine Follow-through and Continued Protective Measures NEJM. I read this twice. I see no mention of material circumstances. Nothing about lousy Internet in rural areas that rules out apps, certainly a confounder with the oft-shamed “partisan divide”, or inability to easily make appointments (truck drivers). The focus is on public relations and “bolstering compliance with critical public health guidance.”


China’s Imports of Commodities Drive a Boom in Dry-Bulk Shipping Hellenic Shipping News

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam heaps praise on Beijing-imposed electoral overhaul as she chats with guests on debut TV talk show South China Morning Post

ANU academic slammed over citation of ‘sub-par’ Chinese genocide research Sydney Morning Herald


Myanmar Regime Troops Ordered to ‘Annihilate’ Protesters, Internal Memos Show The Irrawaddy. True to form. Targets of opportunity:

Tatmadaw launches fresh air raids on KNU territory Agence France Presse


A made-in-India shock doctrine, with a little help from Latin America Monthly Review

As Indians Face A COVID-19 Crisis, Facebook Temporarily Hid Posts With #ResignModi Buzzfeed News

Covid-19 in Africa: map following the pandemic The Africa Report


How Afghanistan’s President Helped His Brother Secure Lucrative Mining Deals with a U.S. Contractor OCCRP

Moscow Will Not Allow Iran to Have Nuclear Bomb Under Any Circumstances, Russian Envoy Says Sputnik News

U.S. and Israel have a policy of ‘no surprises,’ says Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan NBC

Impunity still rules: fewer than 5% of federal cases are prosecuted: study Mexico News Daily

7 Zapatistas will set sail on May 3 for Europe Chiapas Support


Boris Johnson extends poll lead despite sleaze allegations Independent. BoJo: 40%; Starmer: 25%. You can’t beat something with nothing.

Sheesh, look at that pop-eyed Black dude on the right:

Post-Corbyn Labour, good job.

Northern Ireland First Minister Foster to step down after party revolt Reuters. Good night, Arlene….

Paris prosecutors seek involuntary manslaughter charges over AstraZeneca deaths France24

New Cold War

Russia rejects Ukraine’s push to revise 2015 peace deal AP. Can’t Ukraine defuse the situation by giving some Putin relative a no-show job?

Washington’s Weirdest Think Tank The Tablet. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Algorithmic Warfare, Part 1: Fighting by a Script Bazaar of War

Biden Administration

Biden declares US is ‘ready for take-off’ in speech to Congress FT

Biden speech takeaways: Government is good, and so are jobs AP

Full transcript: President Joe Biden delivers speech to joint session of Congress ABC

* * *

Power Up: One hundred days in, Biden has chalked up some wins by going big WaPo

Samantha Power confirmed to lead US Agency for International Development CNN

Washington Is Avoiding the Tough Questions on Taiwan and China Foreign Affairs

Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation The Hill

FCC approves Starlink license modification Space News. Commentary:

Navy SEALs to shift from counterterrorism to global threats AP. Bringing their mad torture skillz with them?

Democrats en Deshabille

Cuomo Aides Spent Months Hiding Nursing Home Death Toll Albany Times-Union

The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism The Independent

Republican Funhouse

Home and office of Rudy Giuliani searched by federal agents FT

COVID Is Going Away, and It’s Making Some Trump Fans Crazy Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Security firm Kaspersky believes it found new CIA malware The Record

‘It’s Important Americans Don’t Take for Granted They Can Exercise Their First Amendment Rights’ FAIR


The CIA’s Chinese Walls Craig Murray

Our Famously Free Press

Amazon’s algorithms promote extremist misinformation, report says Seattle Times. I’m never been quite sure what “extremist” means. By horseshow theory, “other than liberal”?

The local news crisis is a labor story Columbia Journalism Review

CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist and Scandal-Plagued CIA Propagandist Glenn Greenwald

Rowdy Facebook food page erupts over harvesting of ramps AP. You read it here first.


SF police commissioner fends off calls to resign after ‘uncomfortable truth’ about guns SHGate (JBird4049).

A Walmart worker talked about suicide. The store sold him a gun anyway, family says. NBC

Groves of Academe

The Fallacy at the Heart of All Reform Education Realist

Imperial Collapse Watch

China is wrong to think the US faces inevitable decline Martin Wolf, FT

What Comes After the Forever Wars Foreign Policy

Guillotine Watch

The secret credit card that’s only for the rich Timothy Noah, Substack. Hubertus Bigend, no doubt, has several.

Traffic lights, who needs ’em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout The Register. Roundabouts are violence.

Class Warfare

Two weeks’ paid sick leave at Walmart could have prevented 7,500 Covid cases, report finds Guardian (nvl). Well, naturally.

French Renault workers take managers captive in bid to stop factory sale Guardian

The War over Work Tribune

Authenticity is a sham Aeon

Deep Time experiment: Participants emerge after 40 days in a cave Axios (dk).

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. John Siman

    From the unsettling conclusion of Biden’s Not-the-State-of-the-Union Speech: “We’ve *stared into the abyss* of insurrection and autocracy, pandemic and pain.” Nietzsche’s parable on ressentiment is being paraphrased here: “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee” (Beyond Good and Evil, #146). So who are the real monsters now? I personally feel sickened — the Nietzschean diagnosis here would be nausea — by the Biden presidency. I take it to be an assault on everything decent about America.

    1. cocomaan

      Sure am glad that no government has ever coopted Nietzsche to justify their horrific fascism.

      1. Dermot M O Connor

        Marx co-opted by Pol Pot.
        Christ co-opted by American rightwingnuts.
        Aristotle co-opted by 19th century slaveholders.
        Muhammed co-opted by ISIS headcases.
        Adam Smith co-opted by Reaganite/Thatcherite spivs.

        Don’t get me started on Pepe the frog.

        Nietzsche would have loathed the little Austrian tub-thumber.

    2. Carolinian

      We’ve stared into the abyss of insurrection

      I’d say the key word there is not “abyss” but “insurrection.” It’s a more fancy, speechwriter version of “nothing will fundamentally change.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To be fair, Biden’s one speech had more substance than the great Orator, though without a commitment to ending the filibuster and punishing people like Mark Warner, Biden might as well promise rainbows. Biden likely wants to do “good things” but functionally has no grasp how to do this. Infrastructure week is burning out. Supposedly there was no designated survivor, so I guess Pete talking about how he would decorate the Oval Office got to people. Manchin thinks so little of Biden he read a pocket version of a constitution in a bizarre stunt. Unless Biden is committed to making it rain in Red districts and states, he’s not getting votes.

        1. cocomaan

          Yeah all this triumphalism feels premature. Biden’s biggest accomplishment was the American Rescue Plan, a stimulus package that would have happened no matter who was president.

          There’s no mandate in the senate. In fact, blue senators are probably frightened of the 2022 midterms with all the redistricting going on, so are going to be gun-shy about passing huge bills that, as you say, don’t benefit their constituents.

          As usual, the DC circuit, like the WaPo article in the links today, doesn’t seem to understand that proposed bills do not equal passed bills.

          1. pasha

            “a stimulus package that would have happened no matter who was president.”
            i disagree, it only passed by one vote. proposed republican plan was one-third the size

            “blue senators are probably frightened of the 2022 midterms with all the redistricting going on.” i fear you are misinformed. federal senators are elected “at large,” so redistricting has no effect on them.

            as to the 2022 senate races, democrats are presently in a much better position than republicans. only 15 democratic senate seats are up; of these, only hassan (NH) and the two freshmen, kelly (AZ) and warnock (GA), are in any way competitive.

            by comparison, republicans must defend 20 seats, five of which are open (incumbent retiring): MO, AL, OH, NC, PA — four of which of which are somewhat competitive, insofar as they have recently elected democrats to statewide office.

            in addition, 87 year old grassley (IA) may retire, and johnson (WI) hasn’t made up his mind. rubio (FL) may also be at risk.

            rather, the democrats’ razor-thin margin in the house is definitely at risk in 2022, what with redistricting and the off-year election curse

    3. lyman alpha blob

      They keep tossing that ‘autocrat’ word around. For an autocrat, Trump sure wasn’t able to do much on his say-so alone and his opponents are still in power, but let’s not let that get in the way of some truthiness.

      1. hunkerdown

        Autocracy is when some PMC careers aren’t allowed to progress through the office ranks. It’s just a woke shibboleth and a self-serving code. They’ll change it again in six months, if Michael Lind’s metaphor continues to hold.

      2. km

        True. Trump was so pathetic, he couldn’t get a Team R House and Senate to repeal Obamacare.


    4. The Rev Kev

      I think that I can rewrite out Biden’s speech in short here-

      ‘Under Trump, he brought us to the edge of a deep abyss. But under my leadership, America is ready to take a great leap forward!’

  2. ChrisFromGeorgia

    US ready for takeoff … in a Boeing 737 MAX with iffy piloting skills.

    Echoes of “mission accomplished?” as well?

  3. John A

    Re: Russia rejects Ukraine’s push to revise 2015 peace deal AP

    The article claims:
    Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists erupted in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, called Donbas, shortly after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

    No mention by AP of the US backed coup in Kiev that preceded the Crimea reunification/annexation (delete as per preference). Western MSM really do send facts they dont like down the memory hole to obscure the big picture.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You should read the Wikipedia page for the Minsk Protocols. Blames the Donbass for the breakdown of them due to the fight at Donetsk airport and makes no mention whatsoever of the two separate invasions by the the Ukrainians of the Donbass which in both cases end in costly defeat for the Ukrainians. The Ukraine has passed laws making it impossible to fulfill the Minsk protocols and in fact they label the people of the Donbass as “terrorists” so that they do not have to talk, negotiate or even meet them.

      1. Alternate Delegate

        Donbass and Crimea are Ukrainian territory, so there’s no “invasion” going on here except by Russia. Since 1945 borders cannot be changed by conquest. These territories will ultimately revert to Ukraine.

        Minority rights is how Europe deals with old borders and mixed ethnicities. That happens after the military invaders are gone.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Have to disagree here. Crimea is as Ukrainian as Texas is Mexican. In fact, Crimea has been a part of Russia since before the United States of America was a thing. And the people of the Donbass know exactly what is in store for them if the Ukrainians ever conquer them. The 2014 Odessa massacre was warning enough as well as the constant sniping and shelling since then.

          As for ‘Since 1945 borders cannot be changed by conquest’ the people of the former Yugoslavia might disagree here. And as for Europe dealing with old borders and mixed ethnicities through minority rights, that is surely a joke. Europe, for example, seems to have no problem with WW2 SS commemorations in the Baltic States and the Ukraine-

          1. Harold

            I saw State Dept. press spokesperson Jan Psaki in 2015 answer a reporter’s question if Russia invaded Crimea with the statement: “We’re calling it an invasion [smirk]”. So if we called it that, it must be that (they want you to think). The chutzpah!

        2. John A

          Since 1945 borders cannot be changed by conquest. These territories will ultimately revert to Ukraine.

          Krushchev illegally ‘gifted’ Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 against the wishes of Crimea. When the Soviet Union broke up, Crimea wanted to be part of russia. The referendum was clear, the Crimeans consider themselves to be Russian and Crimea is now part of Russia.
          Ultimately, Ukraine will split completely and parts revert to Poland, to Romania, Hungary, Donbass etc., and the rump around Kiev with the loony neo nazis will be the future Ukraine.

        3. km

          There are some 650 miles of Ukrainian border between Donbass and Byelorus. No allegations of invasion.

          If Russia had wanted to invade, you’d think that they would have spread out a bit more.

          For that matter, the people from Donbass that I know (I speak Russian and Ukrainian, although I am not Russia or Ukrainian, nor am I related to a Russian or Ukrainian by blood or marriage) tell me that they have never seen a Russian soldier, but that they sure would like to.

          And then there should be vast numbers of Russian prisoners in Ukrainian captivity. Where are they?

          And if you want to talk about Crimea, I know plenty of Crimeans, enough Crimeans that I even know one pro-Kiev specimen. They are quite rare, and themselves will, upon examination, admit that they are about as popular with their neighbors as athlete’s foot.

        4. km

          “Since 1945 borders cannot be changed by conquest.”

          That’s why there is no such thing as Kosovo! Not to mention Syria’s borders remain inviolate, Ngorno-Karabakh and also South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

          o wait…

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘also South Ossetia and Abkhazia’

            I guess that Georgia killing those Russian peacekeepers in their barracks at the outbreak of their invasion wasn’t such a bright idea after all.

        5. Cat Burglar

          I have searched, and have been unable to find evidence that Russia invaded the Donbass, though I have often read the claim.

          Crimea had long been the site of Soviet, and later Russian, bases, right up to the Maidan coup — the Russians were already there. While the Crimea was indeed annexed (or reunited, depending on who you believe) to Russia, it was not an invasion.

          Dean Acheson once characterized his congressional testimony opening the Cold War 1.0 as “clearer than the truth,” and we’re seeing a lot of that now, rebranded as “moral clarity.”

        6. Alternate Delegate

          I see a lot of irrelevant assertions here, but no valid reason to recognize the Russian land grab.

          I rest my case and appeal to the NC reader, who wasn’t born yesterday, to judge between us.

          1. skippy

            You made a few pejoratively authoritarian statements which read as post hoc propter hoc vis Russian land grab, which for some – reason – chimes like NAP … too my ears.

            Now after having more than a few recognized NC readers/commenters respond to your allegations you attempt to substantiate personal views with date of birth, am I correct, and somehow this translates to others ability to judge some fictitious competition.

            For myself, I would simply note the land grabbing of others, over a protracted historical period, before grandiose claims are thrown about. This sorta thing was unpacked long ago on NC with regards to the legal philosophy some were presenting to substantiate their arguments, but, ran afoul of committing the same perceived offenses in the near term.

            Strangely or not this is similar to the claims that China stole – other peoples stuff – which IMO was freely given away for short term personal profits and best yet China had no Commerce law or legal architecture to facilitate it E.g. how can anyone suggest laws were broken when there are none to break. So at the end of the day its just posturing in front of the unwashed to misdirect from the failures of their betters[tm].

            Cheers …

                1. Alternate Delegate

                  “pejoratively authoritarian statements” – Which statements? I am speaking from the perspective of a private person who declines to recognize a blatant land grab as somehow legitimate.

                  “post hoc propter hoc vis Russian land grab” – Which one are you saying is post what? What does this mean?

                  “chimes like NAP” – If the acronym refers to this, then it appears to be insinuating that I am a libertarian. I am not a libertartian. What does this have to do with anything?

                  “substantiate personal views with date of birth” – Gish gallop noise; that the NC reader was not born yesterday means that they can recognize a blatant land grab for what it is.

                  “note the land grabbing of others” – Whataboutism.

                  “some were presenting … but, ran afoul of committing the same perceived offenses in the near term.” – Who? Weasel words. How do I defend against an assertion like this? Why would I try?

                  “Strangely” – This seems to be making yet another insinuation about something. Why should I think this means anything?

                  “similar to the claims that China stole ” – Whataboutism, again. I didn’t say anything about China.

                  “how can anyone suggest laws were broken” – Who? I certainly didn’t bring up any laws. I have been talking about what actually happened, and why it will not stand. That point has been rather drowned in noise.

          2. The Rev Kev

            You haven’t really given any arguments here for your viewpoint but I will lay it out for you. The United Nations Charter has the right of all peoples to self-determination as one of its foundational principles. This was used most after WW2 when all the countries of the former empires broke free and achieved interdependence. With Crimea, they tried to achieve independence in 1991 after the USSR broke up but the Ukraine put it down. After the 2014 putsch, the Crimeans saw their chance for independence and declared themselves so. The deployment of Russian forces ensured that there was no widespread violence nor attacks from the Ukraine like in Odessa.

            In a vote in 2014, 96.7% of voters with 83.1% turnout voted to rejoin the Russian Federation which is in line with the principles of self-determination under the UN Charter, even though they were punished for this by the west. You may recall the case of Kosovo which declared its independence but that was illegal as there was no vote of the people allowed to confirm this as it was really a NATO creation. The Russians warned them about this illegality but were ignored.The case of Crimea is solidly in line with the UN Charter. So if you have any facts to back up your opinion, I will gladly hear them-


            P.S. Lucky there is such a principle as self-determination or else you might be finding yourself still singing ‘God Save The Queen’ :)

              1. skippy

                Twice you have responded without showing how you arrived at your personal opinion and then when countered make an emotional appeal.

                Then have the cheek to accuse others of logical fallacies – phew ….

            1. Alternate Delegate

              Of course we’re talking past each other, but I will try one more explanation.

              – Verbiage generated by dictator’s clubs like the UN is not a basis for the opinon of decent people.

              – Yes, there is such a thing as self-determination. No, Russia grabbing Donbass and the Ukraine is not self-determination.

              – Blatant obvious actions like that do not change their nature and become something different than what they are, simply because they are carried out by a geopolitical adversary of the US.

              – I have not been defending US actions, and I am puzzled why that keeps coming up.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Actually it is not a matter of US involvement here. On a practical level, just what do you think would happen to the people living in those areas if the Ukrainians ever took them back again? And just who do you think is running the show in the Ukraine at the moment? Newsflash too – they had a vote in the Crimea and opted for joining Russia once again. And they did it by international law. Or don’t those people’s wishes count for you? Is there any scenario that they would be allowed to do so by your principles? They could do the whole vote again under international supervision but the result would still be the same. And the west would still not accept it. Would you?

  4. WobblyTelomeres

    Lambert is the codename for a series of CIA malware?

    “Due to the shared similarities between these newly discovered samples and past CIA malware, Kasperksy said it is now tracking this new malware cluster as Purple Lambert.”

    Gray Lamberts, White Lamberts, Purple Lamberts. What’s next? A resurgent Congress for Cultural Freedom?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones, black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones. Every kind of Lambert.

  5. timbers

    Biden Administration

    Child care ($225 billion) have sick family members and leave your job because of it ($225 billion) have kids and want them in K school ($200 billion) or want to go to community college ($109 billion) or have kids ($3600 tax credit) or need to buy insurance (more hundreds of billions).

    Great big yawn.

    I’m single, and not a “family” and therefore invisible and unworthy to the folks in DC, no kids, no sick folk to leave my job for, fully educated, and not a “family” so I’m outa luck.

    At least lots of middle men will benefit. Guess the course set here is “keep quite and make sure the military industrial complex is well fed.”

    And how will the above affect Massachusetts new tax to fund complex “insurance” for medical leave, that was passed at the last minute? Something tells me that tax is not going away.

    1. tegnost

      Hear, hear….
      109 b for community college seems pretty light.
      Mostly to me it seems like they’re trying to bribe techies into having kids.

      1. Randy

        “Mostly to me it seems like they’re trying to bribe techies into having kids.”

        Exactly how it looks to me, except not just techies, but also millennials who are too broke from student loans and gig economy jobs to have kids. They see how US population growth is mostly net positive because of immigration, and the public is turning against immigration. Easier to give tax breaks and other one off freebies than restructure the economy for all and away from finance grifting for a few.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It reminds me of the old Soviet saying “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us,” which exposed a fundamental flaw in the Soviet economic system.

          Restated for 21st century america, it would go something like “We pretend we have a life and they pretend we can afford it.”

        2. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

          Cant’ grow GDP without growing GDPPC and/or P(opulation).

          Reproduction of the PMC = +GDPPC

          Immigration = +P

    2. Nick

      Your point is well taken, that even if targeted social welfare programs are universal there will be people that may not benefit directly as recipients because of their position. But in the future people in your same spot will stand to benefit because their parents got this money or services.

      1. timbers

        Not just in the future. Right away.

        But that’s not the point. Why must one be a “family” to benefit? Are “people” so deplorable as to not deserve benefits that “families” have?

        1. Alfred

          Or jobs, or a raise. Gad, now I’m “elderly” and alone, so it’s supposed to be “family” that I should turn to. Community my a**. Where there is constant perception of lack, there will always be exclusion mechanisms. Fortunately I have a rich inner life and know where to find what I need and advocate for myself. I wish you well, timbers.

    3. Pelham

      Anything that encourages the native population to reproduce is ultimately good for the entire economy, even including singles. If a country’s population isn’t maintaining itself or growing a bit, the country is dying off. Unless, of course, you try to make up the difference with immigration, in which case you end up with tribalism.

      1. Alfred

        Defining the term “native population” growth for the greater good of “the economy” is a nice profession for some people.

      2. martin horzempa

        “. If a country’s population isn’t maintaining itself or growing a bit, the country is dying off. .”
        The continued expansion of the population is sucking the life out of the planet. We are intelligent enough to successfully engineer a society that can shrink in size and still provide for the benefit of our population. The whole global warming crisis is due more to the fact that there are just too many of us for the planet to support than it is to our need for energy. When will enough be enough for those who think that the only acceptable future must be with continued growth – growth in GDP via growth in consumption and growth in population? When the earth becomes a cinder?!

      3. Pat

        However if you have an industrial policy that does not allow for the children created to be able to house, clothe and feed themselves once they are adults, at least until they can have the children the govenment is willing to pay for, well you have a problem.

        We have a growing homeless problem. Yes, a large percentage of it is families, but… We have a hunger problem, and yes a large percentage of it is families, but… And we have a health care problem, and it doesn’t matter whether that includes families. Takiing care of only a percentage of the population gives rise to larger scale health issues that do not limit themselves to single people.

        If they can get this through for children and families, great. If they stop there – not so great.

        We put the bandaid on the gushing wound – Yeah us!

    4. pasha

      daycare in the united states is a nightmare for working families, not only expensive but also often unavailable, yet having a spouse stay home is not an option — it is nearly impossible to raise children on one income. federal support for daycare and mandated pre-k will dramatically improve the lives of most american families, both parents and kids.

      other developed nations take these measures for granted. only here are they considered radical or “socialistic”

  6. zagonostra

    >What Comes After the Forever Wars Foreign Policy

    … the country needs to draw the right lessons from disappointments…U.S. elites were supremely confident: They believed liberal democracy was the wave of the future…they saw U.S. primacy as a benevolent condition that would be good for Americans and nearly everyone else

    The past two decades are also a reminder of the problems that ensue when military power is used for the wrong purposes…It is not very good at running other countries and remaking them in its image.

    Biden’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan suggests he understands these lessons, but tempering the tendency to meddle will become harder once memories of Iraq and Afghanistan begin to fade.

    That’s right, begin the article by setting up the false premises that motivations that drive Int’l relations are “benevolent.” This is just the type of article that someone who is a professor of international relations at Harvard would write. It’s not even worth pointing out all the nuggets of propaganda, misdirection, and false assumptions. Suffice it to say if your view of the U.S.’s international military interventions since the close of WWII is in accord with this author, then you need to have a serious session with your analyst.

    1. jrkrideau

      Sputnik Headline
      US Will ‘Temporarily’ Deploy Elements of Army Ranger Task Force to Afghanistan
      One always sends reinforcements to help pack up.

  7. Chris Smith

    Re: Starlink

    Do you want a Kessler Syndrome? Because this is how you get a Kessler Syndrome.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I just took my first astrophotograph a couple nights ago and would much prefer Musk not ruin my new hobby. Not only is there the threat from space debris, but these satellites can easily ruin earth-based observations and photos.

      New company idea – a Starlink killer satellite. Musk and the rest are doing this because nobody told them they couldn’t. I haven’t seen anything saying you can’t shoot down Musk’s satellites either. Just planting seeds.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          The CIA needs their toys. You don’t think Elon became a billionaire selling cars do you?

          1. urdsama

            The majority of Musk’s wealth comes from Tesla stock, a modern day version of Tulip Mania. It has very little to do with US government or military contracts (unless you count government subsidies).

            In real terms, Musk is a nobody when compared to the MIC.

      1. lordkoos

        My wife enjoys astronomy and looking at the night sky. One morning she got up early and was shocked to see a string of lights crossing the sky — she counted 53 objects — later realized that what she had seen was one of Musk’s satellite launches, apparently they go up in groups of 60.

  8. Carolinian

    Re roundabouts

    They are popping up in my area and may be local government’s only response to citizens willy nilly driving through stop signs. The old rules for dealing with four way stop signs (you yield to the driver on the right if both cars arrive simultaneously) require some driver training not to mention impolite traffic cops. In my neighborhood there have been two “failure to yield” stop sign accidents within a block of me in the last couple of months. We may need a roundabout on every corner.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      We had a city planning director who thought roundabouts were the solution to every problem. Luckily he wasn’t able to get too many installed before being pushed to retirement. Having white knuckled it through many poorly designed roundabouts, I’m at a loss as to why anyone would suggest them as a solution to anything.

      I have noticed that when the traffic lights malfunction completely and stop working at large intersections in my town, traffic flows just fine if not better since people slow down as necessary anyway and generally proceed intelligently. Lots of places are getting rid of traffic lights and signs completely and calamity has not ensued –

      1. Terry Flynn

        As a European I generally don’t mind roundabouts. I acknowledge that satnav reliance can make you go wrong, but properly signed roundabouts mean you really shouldn’t be making mistakes unless you are totally sacrificing common sense to an automated system (see multiple funny stories about people turning off their critical facilities when using automated direction systems).

        However, we know that roundabouts have pros and cons. They take up geographical space on a scale that makes them impractical in many already built up city block areas in USA (e.g. Cities like NYC). Around many motorway junctions combined roundabout/traffic light systems are best.

        There is also a system whose name escapes me which is often best for places in USA – it is characterised by an on the face of it unintuitive “reverse” of the road dynamics (to drive on left). YouTubers who know traffic have shown this and I was really impressed. Been implemented in lots of US states.

          1. pasha

            a diverging diamond interchange was completed two years ago, less than a mile from me. it has eliminated morning and evening rush hours! granted, when i first saw it i could not believe it, but it works brilliantly!

            1. Jeff W

              It’s one of those things that you can’t imagine working—you can’t even imagine it at all, really—and then it does. It really is amazing.

          2. Terry Flynn

            Thanks Jeff W. I had thought it was “reverse” something and duckduckgo (probably due to something odd I’ve done in settings) didn’t have enough to go on in my first page of results.

            Something very North American which I thought was cool first time I drove there….for all of 30 seconds when I had to leave the airport, is the “uniform colouring on taillights” (red). This guy has a great channel and though can be a tad wordy, illustrates exactly why I quickly came to loathe the lack of amber turn signals when driving in North America.

      2. flora

        Great “fun” for pedestrians trying to cross the road, too, especially for sight impaired pedestrians. Dodge car!

      3. Carolinian

        Yes that’s the same here but stop sign running has become normalized because everybody (not me!) does it. If you tore down all the stop signs they would probably stop and act cautiously as well if only out of confusion.

        I dislike roundabouts and consider the couple of “traffic circles” we’ve always had to be dangerous. You yield and then have to floor it to avoid being clobbered.

        1. Wukchumni

          Last week I was about to enter a roundabout* in the CVBB having the right of way, when a vehicle with a galoot waving a gat at me decided he was in the right, so I acceded to his demand and let him pass.

          Upset that I didn’t cause him consternation, the driver squeezed off a couple shots at another driver within the roundabout, but missed as its really hard to hit a moving target from a moving platform.

          * a most excellent double-double one in Farmersville

        2. Carolinian

          You are talking about a country where using the turn signal to change lanes is just as likely to cause someone to pull up and block you. For a roundabout to work smoothly you need a certain spirit of cooperation.

          Better for all cars to just to stop and go eyeball to eyeball–like one of those Clint Eastwood spaghetti western finales.

          1. juno mas

            Yes, traveling through a roundabout is a “dance”, not a drag race.It requires a sense of cooperation and pace. Unfortunately, many drivers in the US don’t have much of either.

            Roundabouts have some basic dimensions/elements intended to reduce speed and provide sight lines to best recognize the pace of the “dance” through the circle. But they also must be designed for the quantity and approach speed of cars at any particular road site. Many older roundabouts fail at speed reduction and merge function. Dual lane roundabouts are particularly difficult to design for safety and driver recognition.

            However, without doubt, a well-designed roundabout is much safer (for cars, bikes, peds.) and handles traffic better than signalized intersections.

        3. Jeff W

          “is this a weird topsy-turvy American thing?”

          Really, as an American, I’d say so. I don’t get it either. (Then again, I grew up not too far from the famed Jones Beach water tower and traffic circle so maybe I’m sort of used to them.)

    2. Verifyfirst

      Roundabouts in Switzerland work just fine, even though they have large numbers of trams, bikes, mopeds and pedestrians who also use the same roundabouts, which we don’t have

      The problem here in my area has been the implementation–no education, and no requirement to use your turn signal to indicate when you are going to leave the circle. which helps a lot for the people planning their entrance.

      Accidents actually went up at one large intersection here after they put in the roundabout, though the types of accidents were less serious than before.

      Maybe we are just too dumb for roundabouts…… or maybe we are just too dumb to be allowed to drive, period.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Around here, local government loves roundabouts. So far, I feel there’s been two huge problems. One being, as you mentioned, no education on how to use the damn things. It’s been several years since they’ve started showing up and drivers still treat them as 4-way stops or it’s just a free for all. The second being rather notoriously, they didn’t plan for school buses to use them or even test them with vehicles of that size so that first day was a bit fun. They seem to have gotten that one hammered out, but I still wish they’d do something about teaching people the proper techniques for driving a roundabout (ditto for the bike lanes that no matter how many painter arrows and “wrong way” signs always seem to have people riding into traffic in them.)

      2. Tom Bradford

        Trouble is, roundabouts are socialist* so they’re never going to work in the US where ‘me first’ is the inalienable right.

        *They require co-operation and drivers accepting that if they do ‘the right thing’ and play by the rules they work efficiently, smoothly and to everyone’s benefit.

    3. Rod

      imo–best thing to keep traffic rolling since tires.
      Just a little practice needed(backed with an understanding of Driving Rules)
      Certainly better than the 4 way Stop Signs used on Houston’s(and other Texas) six lane feeder roads(iirc)
      Three lane Roundabouts used in Portugal can intimidate the first time, but you get the hang pretty quickly(after all, you can continue round and round until you figure it out)
      but then my hometown was known for its Circle for over a hundred years.

      it helps if you know how to use the required Turn Signal–something many American cars don’t seem equiped with.

      1. tegnost

        Yeah I think it’s just that change is hard. It’s tough to make the shift, know which lane to stay in etc, but after you “get it” it’s faster and safer (slower crashes, side swipes rather than head ons…think left turner crossing oncoming traffic) and deals with congestion well…no more of those left turns one has to wait repeated cycles to get to the front of the line when it’s finally your turn. Another aspect of the new roundabout is that the traffic engineers need time to view patterns and adjust the flow as it approaches the roundabout. Seattle is doing great with the adjustable speed limits on I5 and they’re figuring out the psychology of driver habits beyond the simple brake lights cause traffic jams. have a friend i the biz there and he was talking about how successful it’s been in the last zoom call.

      2. Alfred

        Driving in downtown D.C. gave me palpitations when I had to negotiate a “circle,” and get off on the street I wanted to end up on, sometimes with a choice of 5 spokes. 2-3 lanes, and a few trips around until I figured out how to get off on the right street. I didn’t do it often enough to calm down about it, or not get the impatient horn blowing. The roundabouts I see now are nothing compared to that. And I had heard that in Annapolis and D.C. and similar places the roundabouts (circles) were supposed to confuse the Redcoats when they were originally built.

    4. lordkoos

      I like roundabouts, but when a couple were put in here at highway junctions on the edges of the town there was a lot of complaining (I live in a conservative county that reliably votes Republican). Nevertheless they seem to be working out pretty well although from what I hear, truckers don’t like them.

    5. QuicksilverMessenger

      Has anyone ever gotten trapped in one of those huge roundabouts in central Paris? Not for the faint of heart, or the less practiced. It’s a dog eat dog and you better be aware of every car, taxi, bus, moped and motorcycle. But I never saw a crash there. Must be easy when you get used to them!

      1. pasha

        scariest driving experience of my life was a huge roundabout in rome (they apparently believe that if a car’s turn signal is on it means that the taillight is working). i mentioned this to my sister; she laughed and said “try driving in nairobi!”

  9. JohnMc

    as someone who has harvested, eaten and sold ramps for years, imagine my shame upon learning i’ve been doing it wrong – according to some self-proclaimed expert on a facebook page. and while it’s true the entire plant is edible, the truth of the matter is the bulbs are the only part that is worth your time, the greens shrivel up to nothing.

    it makes me nostalgic for the days when, just a couple decades ago, ramps were the considered a noxious food of unrefined mountain people before it became the supposed delicacy of the foodie. come on man, it’s just a damn onion!

    1. Astrid

      The leaves work as a garlicky, less bitter escarole. The texture is silky and it’s a good flavor, but a pound (at $10-25 per pound) cooks up to just enough for a single person side dish. I make a mild presto with it and that’s very good for pasta and pizza.

      (My husband eats pickled ramp bulbs as fast as I can put them up, but doesn’t care for the leaves.)

    2. cocomaan

      It’s morels that are the real delicacy. I use an early morning spring gobbler hunt as an excuse to hunt morels, because I usually see more mushrooms than birds.

      My wife is much better at spotting them than I am, maybe because she is shorter and nearsighted.

  10. pjay

    – ‘ANU academic slammed over citation of ‘sub-par’ Chinese genocide research’ – Sydney Morning Herald

    When I saw this headline I assumed the academic was being “slammed” for using the work of Adrian Zenz, though I was a bit surprised to see it in the Sydney Morning Herald. Of course I was wrong. The academic is being slammed for *criticizing* Zenz, apparently by citing a poorly written anonymous paper. Which is weird, because there are a number of well-written, non-anonymous critiques of Zenz’s work which I would think an academic critical of ASPI propaganda would know. I did get my morning laugh when I read this:

    “Zenz said the paper would “struggle to get a pass mark as an undergraduate assignment” as it contained significant factual errors and appeared to be written by someone with no Chinese-language skills, leading to basic misinterpretations.”

    Those who have read the non-anonymous well-written critiques of Zenz will get the joke.

    1. jrkrideau

      “no Chinese-language skills”? No wonder Zenz was horrified.

      I cannot find it at the moment but one of Zenz’ excellent reports on Xinjiang had a completely muffled (female?) figure on the cover picking cotton and wearing a sweatshirt that seemed to say “Nelson Mandala gave me this” in English.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “As Indians Face A COVID-19 Crisis, Facebook Temporarily Hid Posts With #ResignModi”

    “We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told BuzzFeed News.

    As somebody once said, it is amazing how all such mistakes go only one way. If you think that this is bad, wait until how you see mobs like Facebook, Twitter, etc. try to shape the 2022 midterms and hide or ban criticisms of Team Biden. What happened with things like the New York Post and the Hunter Biden laptop story last year were just clumsy first attempts.

    1. km

      “We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told BuzzFeed News.

      Total coincidence. Yeah right.

  12. a different chris

    Since I am a Greenwald non-fan, I feel compelled to say that was a very good article. I also of course have to criticize one thing, but it’s understandable why he gets it wrong:

    the person who wrote what is arguably the most disastrous article of that decade was one most rewarded by the industry — all because he served the aims of the U.S. security state and its war aims. That is how U.S. corporate journalism functions.

    No. Sure seems so to a first glance. However:

    The problem is us, or more specifically, US. The United States. Us proud Americans. This all happens because we are addicted to war. We are addicted to plane flyovers kicking off episodes the most brutal sport in the world (which is now Sunday, Monday and Thursdays and many weeks longer than it was a generation ago. Coincidence? H*ll no). We are addicted to air craft carrier launches. Every Hollywood blockbuster has machine guns as a centerpiece. Tune in to watch people talk about nursing homes? Not so much. Police lining up against protestors? Oh yeah!

    Like an addict, we periodically sober up and say all the right things. We act decent for a short period of time. But then there we are, back in the gutter.

    Glen is, again understandably, blaming the symptoms not the disease. But he doesn’t drive by monster flags every day, he doesn’t drive by still-extant Trump* 2020 signs like I do. He just doesn’t know how deep the sickness is.

    How Corporate Journalism functions is like any organism – it goes to where the food is.

    *the oddest thing about Trumpism is that Trump is obviously flat-out afraid of violence personally – sensible, since the list of ex-contractors that want to kick his butt is apparently quite long- and he actually seems to (maybe it’s because he loves buildings, not people) be remarkably against randomly bombing other countries. But his followers… not so much.

    1. Alfred

      “Like an addict, we periodically sober up and say all the right things. We act decent for a short period of time. But then there we are, back in the gutter. ”
      “How Corporate Journalism functions is like any organism – it goes to where the food is.”

      thx, well said.

    2. kareninca

      Yes, the sickness goes deep.

      It goes deep on both “sides.”

      I got into a conversation yesterday concerning the Civil War with someone from Virginia. He said he was pro-Union (a “liberal”) and that there were still a lot of people where he grew up for whom the war hadn’t ended. I mentioned the terrible death toll in that war. He then said that his problem with the Civil War wasn’t the death toll, but that the wrong people were killed. He then expressed regret at having said that aloud.

      There are people all over who want other people dead. It is a moral and spiritual horror.

    3. Kouros

      You are addicted to telling the world: “My Way or the Highway!” (beacuse we are the best!) and try to force your way down everyone’s throat. The operation was mostly successful in the US, with obvious failures everywhere else. UK, Germany, France, Japan, S. Korea, Australia, and Canada are like the remora fish following a big shark waiting for the scraps….

    4. LifelongLib

      Dunno. If you’d asked Americans in 1774, 1811, 1845, 1860, 1897, 1916, 1940, 1950, 1963, 1989, 2000 if we should go to war against whoever, the reaction of most would have been somewhere between “Huh?” and “Hell no”. U.S. wars have always been top down. Average American (as I suspect most people) have little interest in anything outside their daily lives. Somebody has to persuade them that a war is necessary. On their own they would never have thought of it.

    5. Aumua

      Wait, you’re blaming the American people? I don’t know about that, I mean neither I nor most people I’ve known in my life are gung ho about war, flyovers, military worship etc. Certainly there are those Americans, but also you have to consider that they are to some degree victims of propaganda and brainwashing, which comes from a few who are in power. Others have fought in perhaps actually necessary wars, although they are getting pretty old now.

  13. Fred1

    Re: ramps
    As a native of Appalachia, I have eaten ramps for decades, particularly at “ramp feeds” which are done to raise money for volunteer fire departments. What is noteworthy about eating ramps, is that if you eat enough of them you will stink. People will smell you from 50 feet away. Very unpleasant. Around here the stink is a badge of honor. I don’t read the NYT and was unaware of this blog. But considering the typical NYT audience, I’m surprised at how worked up some of the blog’s readership are getting over something eaten by hillbillies.

    1. pasha

      oyster shoals were once so abundant in new york harbor that oysters were shunned as fit only for the poor. now they’ll run you $5 or more apiece in NY restaurants

      1. paintedjaguar

        Yes, and when I was a kid on the Gulf Coast, shrimp and deep sea fish were cheap food. Too many people.

  14. John Beech

    Was enjoying dinner with friends a couple years back at a Carrabas. Large indoor open space, maybe 125′ x 80′ with exposed air handling equipment high in the ceiling, a separate system for the back (working side) of the facility. Typical restaurant.

    So someone unthinkingly lights up an after dinner cigarette (used to smoke, quit 30 years ago, but know it’s an occasionally unconscious habit). So the offender was excoriated, quickly put it out, and went outside to finish. My point? From 100 feet away, the odor of smoke soon wafted its way to us!

    Since virus particles are smaller than smoke particles they transport easier on air currents. Thus, dining in with the un-vaccinated any time soon isn’t in my future. So either restaurants figure out how to serve the protected separately from the unprotected or the $800-1000/mo we spent going out to dinner simply isn’t going to make its way back into the economy. Sigh.

    Simple as that. I wear a mask in stores (now two weeks past 2nd vaccine). Would rather not. Lost two family members to this. It’s real and non-believers can take a hike. Or, my question is, can we smoke indoors again if this stuff works?

    1. Alfred

      Air currents are mysterious things. I have used incense smoke to see how the air is moving in my home, and it’s surprised me. I now have a better idea how to get good passive air exchange from outside to inside, and I agree with you, mask wearing and avoiding stores and restaurants is my future for I don’t know how long. I am content with that.

    2. juno mas

      No! “We” cannot smoke indoors, safely, at any time. second-hand smoke toxicity is real. My coastal town recognized the acrid odor of smoking is irritating well beyond a100′ radius from the smoker. First banned smoking on beaches; now citywide.

    3. pasha

      i sometimes disagree with your commentary, but not this one! your analogy to smoking is right on; as an ex-smoker, i can detect its acrid, nauseating odor at considerable distance. i, too, miss dining out, it was my primary social activity in retirement, but i will refuse to enter a restaurant until the aerosol problem can be addressed. perhaps fans that suck all the air upwards thru the ceiling?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Rare chunks of Earth’s mantle found exposed in Maryland”

    This is seriously a cool story this. To have such rocks survive and be exposed at ground level is a bonus. But geology is full of surprises. So people familiar with New York would know about the brownstone buildings there. Brownstone is a brown Triassic–Jurassic sandstone that was once a popular building material there sourced from local quarries. There was a second source and that was the same stone used as ballast from ships from the UK. Turns out that when this rock was laid down in this area, America was a part of Europe but eventually divided up and the Atlantic Ocean was formed. So this brownstone from the UK was originally from the same area as that in America but now an ocean divides this place-

    1. HotFlash

      My BFF did a geology class taught by Prof J. Tuzo Wilson, the plate tectonics guy back in the late ’60’s. She says he considered a crank at that time, like von Däniken. Odd that’s not mentioned in the bios.

  16. flora

    PCR tests don’t distinguish between infectious and non-infectious virus particle detections. From the Swedish Public Health Agency.

    The Swedish Public Health Agency has developed national criteria for assessing freedom from infection in covid-19.

    The PCR technology used in tests to detect viruses cannot distinguish between viruses capable of infecting cells and viruses that have been neutralized by the immune system and therefore these tests cannot be used to determine whether someone is contagious or not. RNA from the virus can often be detected for weeks (sometimes months) after the illness but does not mean that you are still contagious. …

    (translated from Swedish by

    1. Mme Generalist

      Yes. This point has been repeatedly made by a number of doctors and scientists who challenge orthodox views regarding the virus, its detection, its treatment, its origin, and the experimental gene therapies being touted as vaccines and being tested in an unprecedented and uncontrolled humanity-wide experiment. But no matter. On with the show!

    2. Aumua

      I’m not sure who you think was claiming that PCR tests could determine if someone was contagious. I suppose it maybe has been treated that way out of caution, but I thought that it was common knowledge that viruses in general are only contagious within a certain period of the infection process.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The CDC Is Still Repeating Its Mistakes Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic.

    I think the cdc sees the writing on the wall and is struggling to retain some level of relevancy outside of their own minds.

    I watched the White Sox baseball game on Tuesday night. At game time, the weather was unseasonably warm in Chicago, and there were enough live souls present to make the canned crowd noises unnecessary due to all the cheering. Plenty were sitting behind homeplate. Not one camera angle showing the batter showed a fan wearing a mask.

    The cameraman must have realized the “problem,” because eventually s/he found a couple in the crowd who were wearing Sox masks, and featured the pair full screen.

    Maybe those cute little emoji-like mask cartoon pictures will help, because they’re not even listening in the dem stronghold of Chicago anymore.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The CDC Is Still Repeating Its Mistakes”

    The linked to chart by the CDC on what constitutes the one of three levels of safe activities is ridiculous. Most people can only keep about five elements in their mind at once and there is no way that you can memorize this chart or look through it quickly. People need common sense rules of thumb which hopefully are based on the precautionary principle, not something that was designed by a committee. Did they even field test that chart to get any feedback? Another dismal effort by the CDC sadly.

    1. Carla

      1. Outside one’s own household, Indoors dangerous. Mask and minimize time spent Indoors.

      2. Outdoors generally safe in uncrowded conditions. Masks not needed except in crowds.

      3. Socialize in small groups Outdoors. Do not congregate or socialize Indoors.

      As Lambert and others have pointed out, the NC Commentariat has had this for close to a year. It ain’t complicated.

      Because common decency is in short supply, I guess I should add:

      4. Exercise the greatest consideration and empathy for those who must work Indoors to provide you the necessities of life by minimizing your time there, and always masking properly (preferably double-masking).

    1. Alfred

      Thank you for the link, km. I have always appreciated Arundhati Roy’s courage as a witness. I love her books.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Unfortunately, they will discover what NASA and Roscosmos have known for decades. Namely, that there is very little science to be done there other than observing the effects of long term weightlessness on the human body and determining if plants grow in microgravity (iirc, done on both MIR and Skylab). Just in case we feel absolutely compelled to go to Mars. Anything else is, at best, national triumphalism.

      1. flora

        an aside: If Musk gets to Mars and sets up a little minerals mining colony, for example, imagine its use as the ultimate tax haven! Treasure Islands? Panama? pfft! Mere pikers compare to a tax haven on Mars! /heh

        1. ambrit

          I dunno there. I suspect that the “Mars Material Monad” (sticker sign: MMM,) will fall prey to the “Gravity Welled Costs Fallacy.” The quants can mathalize it with the GWCF of Terra being 1, the GWCF of Mars being .375, that of the Moon being .17, etc. etc.

  19. A.

    As a non-American reader of NC, located perilously close to the Middle East (the staff would file us under Syraqistan, but only tentatively), it sure seems like Biden (who I honestly thought was not alright in the head) is already being a better president than Obama.

    Of course, you’ll have to excuse me if I reserve judgment on whether he’s better than Trump.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Give him time. He’ll find some brown people to bomb eventually. Obama didn’t ruin Libya in his first 100 days either.

  20. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – Friendly correction: At the Northern Ireland First Minister… link, the song is Goodnight, Irene, or Irene, Goodnight.

    The video you linked to is an excellent rendition by Leadbelly, who first recorded it in 1933. Thank you for posting it. I’ve added it to my favorites playlist.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      That was my first thought, too — though I grew up listening to the Weavers myself. (Of course, it was Leadbelly’s song first.)

      But them I looked again — and saw that the minister Lambert referred to is Arlene Foster.

      1. John Zelnicker

        @John Anthony La Pietra
        May 4, 2021 at 10:25 am

        Apparently, Good Night, Irene goes back to the 19th century in some version. Check the Wikipedia page.

  21. Mme Generalist

    Re Authenticity is a sham

    Great article, wrongly titled. The URL gets it right: a-history-of-authenticity-from-jesus-to-self-help-and-beyond.
    The beyond part is where the real meat is. Good stuff!

    1. Alfred

      I kept looking for the article to mention that perhaps the search for authenticity involves examining our motivations and becoming conscious of the reasons we make our choices. If we know exactly why we are doing things, we are being authentic. There are no moral judgments involved, IMO.

  22. zagonostra

    >Full transcript: President Joe Biden delivers speech to joint session of Congress – ABC

    I only could make it through reading the first couple of paragraphs, can’t imagine anyone actually listened to the whole speech.

    America is on the move again.
    Turning peril into possibility, crisis to opportunity, setbacks into strength.
    America is rising anew, choosing hope over fear, truth over lies, and light over darkness.
    working again, dreaming again, discovering again, and leading the world again.
    America’s House was on fire.
    Go get vaccinated, America. Go and get the vaccination.
    A dose of hope for an educator
    Grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren
    We kept our commitment, Democrats and Republicans, of sending $1,400
    America is moving, moving forward. But we can’t stop now.
    We’re at a great inflection point in history.
    build back better
    public investment in infrastructure has literally transformed America.
    Now we’re on Mars
    Eight-hundred thousand families are on the Medicare waiting list right now to get home care for their aging parent or loved one with disability.
    Look, think about it.

  23. Kouros

    “Can’t Ukraine defuse the situation by giving some Putin relative a no-show job?”

    A lot of the little comments concerning Russia and China that are the purview of national security analysts get a very glib take on at nakedcapitalism duo. One could direct Yves and Lambert to the old Latin saying: “Sutor, ne ultra crepidam”.

    On the other hand, Life seems to follow Art on this take from Guardian with the French Renault workers take managers captive in bid to stop factory sale

    Watched on Netflix a French miniseries a year or so ago on somewhat similar lines…

    1. Maritimer

      French Renault workers take managers captive in bid to stop factory sale Guardian
      Dear Comrades is a Russian movie about a real worker revolt in the former Soviet Union. The best part of this insightful movie is where the Two Tier Society which the West has big time, is illustrated by an influencer getting preferential treatment at the store. Absolutely perfect, simple illustration of how a Two Tier System works.

      Spasiba and see your local torrent dealer.

    2. lambert strether

      Perhaps my irony was too light. On the other hand, I have little respect for our national security establishment. YMMV.

      On the bright side, a new word: ultracrepidarianism

    3. Gareth

      Please direct me to any American national security analysts who have implemented successful policies with either Russia or China in the past 30 years. That division of American intelligence has been worthless at best and war criminals at worst since the Cold War ended. You deride glib takes, but I have not heard Yves or Lambert talking about casually starting a hot war with Russia over something as pointless as Ukraine like Secretary Clinton and her coterie did and continue to do.

      1. Kouros

        No, they have not done that, but the perception that Russia and Putin are the essence of patronage and corruption in a gas station has penetrated them as well, and it is not constructive.

        Plus watching and reading Putin’s and Lavrov’s speeches and statements and Q&As forces one to put them on a level of respectability that I have not seen for generations in the US…

        1. Gareth

          Ah, I see. Perhaps a language or cultural difference then? That is not how I read Lambert’s comment. I detected his humorous intent to ironically highlight the corrupt relationship between the Bidens and Ukraine.

          And yes, Putin has had to shift Russia’s approach to a more globally-oriented one in the past decade to deal with the damage caused by the State Department’s immature obsession with controlling domestic political narratives.

  24. GF

    A Walmart worker talked about suicide. The store sold him a gun anyway, family says. NBC

    Gun advocates keep changing the subject to “mentally deranged people are doing the killing” from “background checks”. My plan would be to require a full psychological and psychiatric evaluation of anyone purchasing a firearm, anyone purchasing ammunition and anyone who currently owns a gun. This would be paid for by a fee on gun and ammunition purchases – which could be substantial.

    1. Late Introvert

      GF, I like it.

      Let’s try it in a different country though. I’m much more interested in real-life reductions in gun deaths, rather than ideas that will never get implemented in the US. Social workers on every police call anyone?

  25. Jason

    He is who we thought he would be:

    Biden Scandals List

    No public option (ran on)
    No $15 minimum wage (ran on and the one concession progressives got. Biden not only didn’t fight for it, he actively tanked it)

    $2000 check fiasco

    Increased military budget by $20 billion (an amount that would alleviate homelessness)
    Issued dozens of oil-drilling permits in first few days

    Extended Trump’s Enhanced Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing (after a summer of protests!)

    Military equipment now being sent to primarily black and brown inner city neighborhoods at a greater rate than under Trump (after a summer of protests!)

    Refuses to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline
    Re-opens Trump-era migrant children camp and adds second camp to hold 500 more kids
    Resumes Border Wall Construction, including confiscation of people’s homes
    Halts Police Oversight Commission
    Urged Supreme Court to let cops enter homes and seize guns without warrrants

    Gives in to Pelosi’s demands with last-minute change to plan to include $200 billion to extend enhanced ACA subsidies, rejecting calls by Sanders and others to expand Medicare – which has overwhelming bipartisan public support – instead serving to expand the incredibly wasteful ACA and further enrich and empower insurance and big pharma. Speaking of big Pharma:

    Cut the prescription drug overhaul from the bill

    Keeps low-level cap on refugee admissions – set by Trump – in place, walking back campaign pledge
    Accepting refugees at a lower rate than any modern president – including Trump – again walking back earlier pledges

    Massive Haitian deportations (“title 42″ expulsions”)
    Didn’t rejoin Iran deal and not lifting sanctions on Iran
    Continuing Trump Venezuela policy, including attempting a coup
    War on Yemen
    Continues support for right-wing dictator in Haiti
    Immediately bombs Syria and militarily occupies their oil and wheat territories
    Continuing and escalating murderous sanctions around the world
    Nothing for Palestinians, Everything for Israel
    Escalating new cold war with China and Russia

    1. Jason

      Adding, the migrant children camps, which were referred to as “concentration camps” under Trump, are expanding and are getting worse.

      No student debt relief

      While Biden said he’d veto M4A, he went all in on the $15 min wage yet when the rubber hit the road he didn’t exercise his power to at least get that done. He caved without even that one concession…a minimum wage which is $5-$10 too low to begin with and would have been phased in over time. Couldn’t even get that.

      After a summer of protests, Biden is increasing police budgets and doubling down on militarizing the police.

  26. lobelia

    Regarding the above comment:

    The majority of Musk’s wealth comes from Tesla stock, a modern day version of Tulip Mania. It has very little to do with US government or military contracts (unless you count government subsidies).

    In real terms, Musk is a nobody when compared to the MIC.

    The majority of Musk’s wealth comes from Tesla stock, a modern day version of Tulip Mania. It has very little to do with US government or military contracts (unless you count government subsidies).

    In real terms, Musk is a nobody when compared to the MIC.

    Huh? At a minimum, Elon Musk’s huge fortune started from his Mafia™ days, 3 years earlier than Tesla (2003), along with whatever his divorced parents monies, and his Afrikaner upbringing added to his acceptance as some sort of high genius in Silicon Valley. Further, regarding the MIC, Musk’s SpaceX has been running very opaque, DOD/MIC sponsored space missions since at least 2017 ( e.g. ).

    Sorry but the blatant mistruths about Silicon Valley’s (and Seattle’s, Left Coast™ indeed, GAG) unparalleledly homogenous, megalomaniacal, pale male ivy leaguer (mostly dropouts from colleges which already deigned to give grades below B- to special folk™ with mostly (all?) special heritage™), DOD Supported, Tech Billionaires – that have been constantly and glibly pronounced over two decades now – petrify me. That, especially now, when it’s easy for someone – who appears to have far better internet access than an increasing many – to look up the person’s name and still be able to discern when it was they became so fast tracked to the filthy, filthy rich.

    p.s. Looks like Jason has a good list of recent Biden Scandals, right above this comment.

    gotta run

    1. Jason

      Thank you for the “shout out” lobelia. And thank you for another of your eminently readable comments debunking the nonsense.

      I hope you’re well :)

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