Links 4/9/2021

Why Bumblebees Love Cats an Other Beautiful Relationships Longreads

The Woke Meritocracy Tablet


Amanda Gorman says she has declined around $17m in deals since inauguration Guardian

B.C. First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada protect crab for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial purposes The Narwhal

Despite Pandemic Shutdowns, CO2 Now at Levels Unseen in 3.6 Million Years Common Dreams

‘The Mauritanian’ movie review: A powerful reminder of the horrors that followed 9/11 Scroll

Eclipsed by Fame New York Review of Books. The deck: “There’s a scientific story to tell about Stephen Hawking, but most of his later life served to conceal it.”

The Deceit and Conflict Behind the Leak of the Pentagon Papers New Yorker

Youths clash with police in second night of trouble in west Belfast Irish Independent

Tui plane in ‘serious incident’ after every ‘Miss’ on board was assigned child’s weight Guardian. Oops!

NY investor behind Piney Point ran hedge funds, a blueberry farm and string of Hooters Bradenton Herald (Retaj). Gotta love that headline.


You don’t get an invite to these weddings unless you’re vaccinated or have a negative covid test MIT Technology Review

A Third Wave Washes over Germany as Vaccination Campaign Mounts Der Spiegel

Origin of Covid-19 Pandemic Is Sought in Old Blood Samples WSJ

Watch | Covishield Blood Clot Risk Minuscule but Govt Not Transparent, Need Urgent Inquiry: Gagandeep Kang The Wire

How Prisons in Each State Are Restricting Visits Due to Coronavirus Marshall Project

Covid-19: Why have deaths soared in Brazil? BBC

ECHR rules obligatory vaccination may be necessary Deutsche Welle

COVID Litter is Polluting the Environment and Killing Wildlife, Reports Say Treehugger

As the U.S. Vaccinates Millions for Covid-19, Most Canadians Are Still Waiting WSJ

‘It’s in the Interest of Everyone in the US to Vaccinate the World as Quickly as Possible’ FAIR

Hospitals are seeing more young adults with severe Covid symptoms, CDC says CNBC

Fauci says new Covid-19 cases are at a disturbing level as the US is primed for a surge CNN

Amid warning of a new U.S. wave, eyes are turning to a spike in the Upper Midwest. NYT

Los Angeles Families Reluctant to Return Kids to School Capital & Main

Coronavirus: Hong Kong calls time-out on AstraZeneca vaccine shipments amid concerns over blood clots, failure to handle new Covid-19 variant South China Morning Post

India reports 131,968 new Covid-19 infections: Record increase for third day Times of India

Questioned about vaccine shortages and export policy, Centre responds with outburst against states Scroll

With Malaysia, UAE soon to make Chinese vaccines, does Beijing have an edge in vaccine diplomacy? South China Morning Post

After Pandemic, Shrinking Need for Office Space Could Crush Landlords NYT

Class Warfare

Striking AL. Coal Miners Reach Deal – 1,300 Steelworkers Strike in Pittsburgh – DC Teachers’ Union Prez Dies in Car Accident PayDay Report

Macron to close training school of French elite FT

Median Worker Makes $3,250 Less Per Year Than in 1979 Due to Decline in Unions TruthOut

When Births Go Horribly Wrong, Florida Protects Doctors and Forces Families to Pay the Price ProPublica

Exclusive: Roughly 500 ballots challenged in Amazon’s landmark union election Reuters

Partial tally in Amazon union drive favors ‘No’ votes. NYT

Sports Desk

The End of Amateur Hour for the NCAA Project Syndicate. Eric Posner.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Expert Witness Pinpoints Floyd’s Final Breath and Dismisses Talk of Overdose NYT

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

P&G Worked With China Trade Group on Tech to Sidestep Apple Privacy Rules WSJ

Biden Administration

The $50 billion race to save America’s renters from eviction WaPo

EPA just conceded that its 2018 approval of dicamba was politically motivated. But the Biden administration can still change course. The Counter

US gun violence: Biden takes action on ‘international embarrassment’ BBC

Joe Biden stumbles over the script of his speech on gun control and TWICE refers to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as ‘AFT’ instead of the ATF Daily Mail

Biden has a new point man on guns. He faces a steep hurdle in the Senate. Politico

Psaki says Obama, Biden talk regularly but refuses to say how often NY Post

Trump Transition

Twitter won’t let federal archivists host Trump’s tweets on Twitter Ars Technica

New Cold War

Merkel urges Putin to pull troops back from Ukraine border Al Jazeera


Coup Attempt in Jordan Leaves a Trail Counterpunch

DIANA JOHNSTONE: The Imperialism of Foolery Consortium News (play). Hoisted from comments.

The Islamic Republic’s timely vaccine against U.S. pressure? Qantaea

Draghi angers Turkey by calling Erdogan ‘a dictator’ FT


Call for US probe into Hindu right-wing groups getting COVID fund Al Jazeera


China quiet on global minimum corporate tax rate backed by G20 as questions over Hong Kong’s tax-haven status arise South China Morning Post


The Death of Journalism in Myanmar The Diplomat

In Myanmar, military matters are a lucrative family affair Deutsche Welle

Aspiring engineer maimed in sadistic attack becomes an emblem of his generation Myanmar Now

The Game Has Changed Craig Murray

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. John A

        Fantastic opportunity for Johnson to bury more bad news about Brexit, Ireland, record covid deaths, etc., etc., as the BBC goes all black tie and dirge mode for days.

      2. Pelham

        Still, no matter how one slices the historical record, billionaire Philip stacks up quite well against the US collection of obnoxious billionaires.

        1. Michaelmas

          Philip stacks up quite well against the US collection of obnoxious billionaires.

          True. But that’s an extremely low bar to clear.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I wonder if she will remarry? Sometimes, a second family is just what you need to move on from a previous marriage. Besides, she’s 0-4 on raising her kids, so why not try one more time and get it right?

      1. The Rev Kev

        If he had lived for several weeks more until his 100th birthday on June 10th, he would have been entitled to a happy birthday message from the Queen.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          slacker. On the bright side, we know she’ll have some extra time that day so why not get that profile up there on Tinder?

    2. Tom Bradford

      All the above is unnecessary and unpleasant. He was a man of his times just as you are of yours, and no doubt those who come after us – if any get the chance – will have plenty to sneer at us for.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Yes, I agree entirely about too much sneering although I live in two worlds now about this (the bracing impact of daily NC reading, plus advancing age!):

        1. I have lived long enough now, and traveled enough of the world, to envy my Victorian forbears’ social contracts (I certainly admire their public works!), even while being open-eyed about their many defects and hypocrisies, and the millions reduced to servitude (or fertiliser), while expected to wave little Union Jacks. If that’s conservatism, I don’t care.

        2. On the other hand, Sam Kriss is (once more, sorry I’m not being paid by him lol) pungently on point:

        Engels once wrote that in addition to the standard-issue bourgeoisie, the English have managed to create a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat as well. What he forgot to mention was our bourgeois royalty.

        Ignore all the parp and the pomp, and the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha are a very familiar type: a pack of social climbers. People who spent the last century chasing after glamorous Americans and provoking national crises in the process….

        People still seem to believe the last lie left about this family: that they’re deeply private, that they prefer to keep to themselves, stiff upper lip and all that. No: this is the least private family on the planet…. In a way, the Royal Family are the most republican institution this country has: a res publica, a public thing.

        Ground zero for our age of mass digital surveillance and control, in which nothing is secret and you have to carefully curate your image at all times, or else. Not rulers: exemplary subjects.

        So Dieu et mon droit has now become the self-entitled motto of the Common Man, while Hobbes’ Leviathan has now reatomized into materialist War of All Against All.

        Goodnight, Sweet Prince.

      2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        He’s an aristocrat, and it doesn’t matter what time he comes from. As an aristocrat he deserves nothing better than to have his corpse stripped, dragged throughtout the city by a bus, and then thrown into a ditch to be fodder for dogs.

        But then I’ve always been a charitable soul.

  1. timbers

    New Cold War – Merkel urges Putin to pull troops back from Ukraine border Al Jazeera

    Merkel is full of advice on where Russian troops should be stationed on Russian soil but doesn’t seem to mind all those US troops stationed on her own soil.

    Maybe Putin can respond that he has some vaccine to sell her and judging by her Covid performance to date it looks like she not only needs it, but also desperately needs some advice he can give her on how to manage German’s vaccine program. That would be a much more Russian response that doing what I’d do – break off diplomatic relations with Germany (not really because Nord Stream).

    1. Isotope_C14

      I don’t particularly care for political figures as far right as Merkel, but from what I can see in Germany, it’s like herding cats. Each area has it’s own unique flavor of politics that was embalmed in the postwar structure, and Germans are inherently opposed to change.

      It’s far easier for Merkel to point out that you need to water your lawn, while she can’t even get her family to agree on where to water her own lawn.

      It’s also true that there are quite a few German weapons makers that would be more than happy to have extra sales, but if the fact is, the Ukraine isn’t very far away, and if anything escalated, Europe could be in a very bad situation…

    2. The Rev Kev

      I have no idea why Merkel would say something as stupid as this. Her own spooks would be telling her that the Ukrainians are bringing up equipment to the front and escalating tensions themselves. If she thinks that Putin will abandon the people of the Donbass to play nice with the EU, it is not going to happen as the EU burned all those bridges the past seven years.

      Fun fact – Years ago the Russians offered the people of the Donbass a Russian passport if they so desired. Last I heard, over 600,000 have taken them up on this offer so if the Ukraine tries to invade for a third time, the Russians will be ‘obligated’ to protect their fellow citizens. I hope that the Ukraine is not thinking that NATO will come in to help them if they launch another invasion. That didn’t work out so well for Georgia back in 2008.

      1. km

        Merkel knows full what that what she is saying is nonsense.

        Whether she believes in American hegemony or whether she is blackmailed, or with what, I cannot say.

      2. ambrit

        I’d say that the Ukraine and Trans Caucasian Georgia are not equivalent. TC Georgia is in a physically difficult spot to manage a massive resupply and military support program. Not so the Ukraine. As generals down the ages discovered, the Ukraine is but a horse ride, or tank trek, across the rolling prairies away.
        Do not underestimate the hubris of Western generals when it comes to invading Russia. Two lots tried within the last two centuries and got quite far before ‘things’ went, literally, South. The only invasion of Russia that I can think of that had any lasting success was that of the Golden Horde of the Mongols back in the Thirteenth Century. And that, note, came from out of the East.
        Considering the recent query by the American Navy about sending fleet units to the Black Sea to “support” the Ukraine, I would not count out the theory that the American military planners still want to ‘possess’ the naval port of Sebastopol in the Crimea. That would be a strategic move worthy of the Great Game of years past.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Ukraine is indeed more suitable for logistics, and that cuts both ways: Russia is a tad closer to Ukraine than the Pentagon is. I think this current round of saber rattling is just that and nothing more, but (shades of pre-WW1) eventually one of these ‘crises’ will inevitably spin out of control and lead to a shooting war. At which point all bets are off.

          Angela telling VVP to move troops within his own country is a real howler. Oh my, how they must have laughed themselves silly inside the Kremlin after that phonecon. I think Frau Merkel is losing her touch, on both domestic and foreign policy.

          1. Michaelmas

            Frau Merkel has always been vastly overrated — or, more truthfully, bigged up by the MSM and the “opinion leaders.”

            After 2015, when she and Hollande in France used Greece as a conduit to bail out German and French banks so that she wouldn’t have to go before German voters and admit they were bailing out the banks — and did this at a cost of at least 50,000 Greek deaths — nobody should have had any illusions about Merkel.

      3. Bill Smith

        There are plenty of videos showing the Russians bringing up troops some weeks ago. Who is reacting to who is unknown.

        I did see that the small fleet of Russian landing ships are no longer at dockside. Departed for amphibious landing exercises. Other stories say ‘gunboats’ also.

        is this just Putin reacting to what has happened to Viktor Medvedchuk media empire in the Ukraine?

        1. ambrit

          Yet few videos of Ukrainian army units moving up to the “line of contact” with the Donbass. Curious that….
          Weather is important there. Spring is around the corner in that area. The mud season is nigh. Very little moves offroad during mud season. Then comes the military campaigning season.
          I’d hazard a guess and say that the Russians are pre-positioning troops at the border while it is still relatively easy, just in case the Ukrainians try and trigger the American military support they keep talking about. The Ukraine really is a case of the tail waging the dog.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Tui plane in ‘serious incident’ after every ‘Miss’ on board was assigned child’s weight”

    Seriously? It has been nearly twenty years since Air Midwest Flight 5481. Has nothing been learned?

    ‘Although the pilots had totaled up the take-off weight of the aircraft before the flight and determined it to be within limits, the plane was actually overloaded and out of balance due to the use of incorrect Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved passenger weight estimates. When checked, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the actual weight of an average passenger was more than 20 pounds (9 kg) greater than estimated. After checking the actual weight of baggage retrieved from the crash site and passengers (based on information from next-of-kin and the medical examiner), it was found that the aircraft was actually 580 pounds (264 kg) above its maximum allowable take-off weight with its center of gravity 5% to the rear of the allowable limit.’

    1. MK

      580 lbs is all is takes to take down an airliner? 2 average Americans would easy account for that.

      Scary stuff right there.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        That’s why they buckle you in. So you can’t move to the other side of the airplane and make it crash. Did you ever notice that the flight attendants always start serving drinks from the front AND back of the airplane at the same time. Same reason.

        1. Betty

          That was a small plane. Also, “The crew consisted of Captain Catherine (Katie) Leslie (age 25) and First Officer Jonathan Gibbs (age 27). Leslie was the youngest captain flying for the airline at that time, and had accrued 1,865 hours total company flying time” Wiki

          Sorry, I want my airline pilots to be older men with West Virginia drawls and combat aviation experience.

      2. polar donkey

        I used to do the passenger and cargo manifests for LC-130 flights out of South Pole station. I had this ancient scale from the 1960’s. Everyone getting on plane would have to have all their cold weather gear on and hold their carry on bag. They’d line up, step on scale, stand as still as possible so the scale would work. Fairly primitive but it worked. Fortunately, we didn’t have any babies leaving south pole.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Ahh, I take it that that is the origin of your handle. I had wondered about that. Did you ever have to do rocket-assisted-takeoffs?

        2. LawnDart

          I was a loadmaster on C-5s, and later, C-130s. You really had to screw-up the Form-F (weight and balance sheet) to put the aircraft in any danger of either running out of runway (nose-heavy) or stalling-out on take-off (tail-heavy) When you had several hundred hours of flight time (pilots or loadmasters) you could glance at the load/cargo and fuel gauges and closely guesstimate MAC and LEMAC calculations in your head. Once airborne and at speed, it really would need to be a radical load-shift to create any danger, such as a malfunction during airdrop operations that resulted in a hung-load.

          It was probably one of the best jobs one could have in the US Military, only problem being that it is the US Military, and if you have any conscience things might get to you after a while. The Bosnia-Herzegoviana (Provide Promise) mission was the last straw for me… it sucked… …almost got court-martialed (as an E4) for calling out some General on some horsecrap that he was trying to spew.

          But yeah, flying those planes could be a total rush, especially doing airdrops, assault landings, low-level runs, and standing trt’s… feeling like supermen cheating death… adrenaline is the most addictive drug.

          I got out with a few thousand flight-hours under my belt.

            1. LawnDart

              Yes, case-in-point: not knowing the details, but tail-heavy and stall from what I see.

              Respects, Rev.

              1. Basil Pesto

                iirc a vehicle in the cargo area was improperly secured and came loose during take off, sliding to the tail of the aircraft.

    2. Pelham

      Knowing how important weight distribution is in small aircraft with no more than 3 rows of seats, I cannot imagine how airliners with those long-tube cabins fly safely without actually weighing each and every passenger and piece of luggage and distributing them accordingly. Ending up with a center of gravity even minutely behind the center of lift renders any plane no more airworthy than a falling leaf.

    3. Maritimer

      In 1983, an Air Canada jet ran out of fuel due to an error in metric conversion.

      There are aircraft disaster shows. Some of them are perfect illustrations of the complexity of the modern world. Many of them are due to undiscovered bugs in the computer systems. Makes you wonder about larger computer systems and what gigantic disasters are lurking. See your local torrent dealer.

  3. Rod

    The Woke Meritocracy Tablet

    How telling the right stories about overcoming oppression in the right way became a requirement for entering the elite credentialing system

    Very interesting take on, imo, How Grifting is Perpetuated at the U of Chicago(ie) as well as the similarity of effect between Meritocracy and Wokeism.

    The Author may not be working toward Tenure.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll make you a bet here. When those students get older, they are going to be having midlife crisis like you wouldn’t believe, no matter how much drugs, gambling, sex or whatever else they try to use to cover it up.

      1. Rod

        I too, see Dissonance in their future.

        The sub text of the Article is that these are our Future Decision Makers in grooming
        As Concepts, I like Merit and Consciousness. As Weapons(Meritocracy Today and Wokeism) not so much.

        Young people whose self-understandings are organized by narratives about their heroic resistance against racism and sexism, and excellence in the face of adversity, are rewarded by the university—and will be rewarded by employers, media, and other sources of legitimation—for their deft combination of meritocratic and woke discourses. They will have no reason to notice that they are kicking down open doors—that, far from racism and sexism holding back their access to elite spaces, they are being invited in on the basis of their ability to perform triumph over oppression. Given this sort of legitimation, which combines the thrill of transgression with the self-righteousness of moralism, future elites who make sense of themselves and the world through a combination of meritocracy and wokeness likewise have little reason to ask the kinds of questions about what they really want and what is really good that are absent from my students’ relationship to writing.

    2. chuck roast

      A fine piece by a insightful guy who can write. I was thinking yesterday about the new class after reading about eastern European elites during the disintegration of their command economies. So, I went to the library and requested The New Class by Milovan Djilas. Ancient history that I should have read decades ago…the kind of book that is discussed about as having been very influential. Anyway, I am blissfully unaware of meeting anyone that it has ever influenced. While reading Djilas I will await the soon to be forthcoming meritocracy/woke class blockbuster that will be discussed as having been very influential.

    3. Dave in Austin

      The two girls flying Air Midwest Flight 5481 were not responsible for the accident. The NTSB realized later that winter passengers on that run were bundled up with heavy clothing and with the carry-on included the official “per-person by gender” weights were off by more than 20 lbs and in a small, full plane that turned out to be fatal. Being a fat guy from West Virginia wouldn’t have helped but in fairness an old F-4 jockie might has said “this plane feels wrong”, slapped it back onto the runway and either stopped before the runway ended or walked away from a slide-past-the-overrun accident.

      My story: About three years ago I was in the small Airbus, a 320 I think. Last, late night flight out of Baltimore-Washington going to Providence. Only 25 passangers, little freight and PVD apparently is a cheap place to gas up. Boy, was that plane light. Before we took off the chief steward checked the seat list with the pilot. They did a quick calculation about fuel and cargo and announced “All passengers, please move to seats in rows 1-10 with your overhead baggage; sorry for the inconvenience; weight ballance issues; a free drink on us”.

      The flight was uneventful but the landing was awesome. I was in row two, right side, window seat. A moonlit aproach up Narragansett bay from the sea; past the airport then a bank hard left; and I mean hard, maybe 35 degrees. The plane was so underweight it just floated through the turn; with the flaps and gear down they didn’t even spool-up the engine up so the plane was almost silent.

      Then down onto Providence’s famously short runway. Over the fence; a second or two of float then the pilot put the nose down, skimmed the ground with maybe a foot of air under the tires then finally landed without a squeek. The far-underweight plane handled like an old Piper Cub. As I was getting off the copilot or pilot was standing in the flight-deck door. “Was that last three miles in as much fun as I think it was?” I asked. He just gave me a big smile.

      1. rowlf

        Boeing 757s on airline empty reposition flights are very sporty. Most other big airliners too. They will climb like homesick angels and the crews enjoy themselves. Some will coordinate with ATC for rate of climb reports as the airplanes will max out the rate of climb indicators installed on the aircraft.

  4. allan

    The 737 MAX will not go gentle into that good night:

    Boeing Flags Potential 737 MAX Electrical Issue on Specific Jets [WSJ]

    Boeing Co. said it has flagged a potential electrical issue in certain 737 MAX aircraft, asking 16 customers to address it before further operations.

    The disclosure of the possible flaw comes as the U.S. late last year approved the company’s 737 MAX airplanes for passenger flights again after dual crashes killed 346 people. The troubled jets had been grounded since March 2019.

    Boeing on Friday said it is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the production issue and has informed customers of specific tail numbers. The company will provide guidance on corrective actions, it said.

    The company said it has asked those customers to verify “that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.” …

    One of those times when `You’re grounded!’ is good news.

      1. campbeln

        Southwest has really bet the company on Boeing and the 737MAX in particular.

        I simply cannot wait for the backflips and gyrations the media will make the next time a MAX channels it’s inner lawn dart in order to justify Boeing to continue as a going concern.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    The Woke Meritocracy Tablet

    This is a terrific read, the Tablet is joining American Conservative in my list of ‘very unlikely favourite magazines’.

    What is new about education’s turn to woke identity politics is not the fact that administrators and faculty are influencing students’ sense of self, but rather the sort of values that the new ideal personality is supposed to uphold. The contemporary ideal, increasingly, is no longer someone so charmingly personable that others forget he is in fact a ruthless competitor, but a person who so convincingly narrates her having overcome some kind of social injustice that others forget she is in fact a beneficiary of systems of privilege.

    Combined with Michael J Sandel’s ‘The Myth of Meritocracy’ writings, they make a very powerful case for woke policies being both a scam and a poison at the heart of education elites.

    1. Rod

      That excerpt I had highlighted multiple times because of that last sentence.

      As long as you got the Buckle, does it matter you got cows?

    2. Tom Doak

      It was indeed a great read, but while the author wonders aloud whether such students will be poor leaders of the future, she dares not say why: because the same system that makes these students feel they deserve their success, makes them feel that others are not as deserving. Indeed, their stories relegate others to being part of the unfair racist & sexist hierarchy the students had to overcome.

      1. Pelham

        Excellent point! Hence the rapidly mounting and increasingly naked disdain among the PMC for the lower-caste non-PMC.

        At least the pre-woke “ruthless competitor” type felt the need to build a “charmingly personable” facade. The new elites are so assured of their merit that they needn’t bother with that.

        1. chuck roast

          Naked disdain?! Only when the great unwashed refuse to worship them before the ballot box. So, first hurt and then naked disdain.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      This link is beautifully written. I will watch for other works by Blake Smith [a more distinct pen name might help though!].

      This is the excerpt that I highlighted:
      “… our society has chosen, and continues to choose, to educate its children with the apparent aim of making a class of leaders who are disconnected from any real solidarity to others but unable to think for themselves, combining the worst qualities of individualism and conformism.”
      As the waters churn telling and of a gathering storm as red rings round the moon the ship of state will have this elite to captain the ship.

    4. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun: And there’s more!

      Wow. Wow. I’ll admit that I am a Maroon, although back during its Minoan period, when I majored in Linear B and the Art of Incisions.

      The Woke Meritocracy is a kind of horror show of what it means to be an undergrad now. In the middle of the essay, author Blake Smith notes two things that indicate a kind of perpetual childhood: First, the parents are the helicopter parents, smothering the child. Second, his students don’t read for pleasure. This means that they are “performing” being adults by constantly referring to manufactured identities.

      It also means that the students have no Epicurean sense of pleasures to cultivate and pleasures to control. They are easy prey for authoritarians.

      Smith also admits that the students are from wealthy families: When I was there, the College of the U of C still prided itself on admitting students who were the first in their family to go to college as well as students from middle-class and working-class backgrounds. My father was a printer and unionist.

      I note that Schmidt is a “Fellow,” which means non-tenure-tracked postdoc. Ahh, well. That’s the end of that.

      And this:
      “This image of the smart, athletic, sociable individual who sheathes his competitive edge in good humor has likewise shaped our national culture, in which the aim of mass education has been conflated with preparing children for college.”

      I see this all the time. It is the dominant ethic, particularly among U.S. white peeps. It is genial incompetence.

      1. Rod

        our national culture, in which the aim of mass education has been conflated with preparing children for college.”

        In the manner and method underscored by the Author, to your end– It is genial incompetence.

        How timely is that in our common hour of need?

      2. Pelham

        Re being easy prey for authoritarians: Maybe this has something to do with studies that show people with advanced degrees are more likely than mere college grads to follow Qanon while college grads are more likely to be Q devotees than those without degrees.

      3. SOMK

        Helicopter Parents are a bugaboo there seems plenty of anecdotal evidence but little in the way of fact, quite the contrary, per Alfie Kohn:

        “For starters, some research has actually made a case in favor of parents’ being very actively connected — and, yes, even involved – with their young-adult children. That NSSE survey, for example, didn’t find a lot of HP going on, but where it was taking place, such students actually reported “higher levels of [academic] engagement and more frequent use of deep learning activities.” Jillian Kinzie, a researcher involved with that project, confessed that when she saw those results, her first reaction was, “This can’t be right. We have to go back and look at this again.” But the benefits did indeed prove impressive. As the survey’s director, George Kuh, told a reporter, “Compared with their counterparts, children of helicopter parents were more satisfied with every aspect of their college experience, gained more in such areas as writing and critical thinking, and were more likely to talk with faculty and peers about substantive topics.”

        Meanwhile, in the 2012 study of grown children, “frequent parental involvement, including a wide range of support, was associated with better well-being for young adults.” Support (not limited to money) from one’s parents may be helpful, if not critical, when students graduate with uncertain employment prospects and, perhaps, a crushing load of debt.“

        The carceral attitude to child rearing and education cuts deep, dies hard and has long pre existed so called woke campus politics (heaven forbid students be obnoxious in their politics, you’d swear they were in their early 20’s or something)

        1. Icecube12

          As I was reading your reply, it occurred to me that maybe the ideal of parental non-involvement in their (especially adult) children’s lives is a very recent, mostly Western trend? When I read about family structures in traditional societies, both present and past, I always get the impression that parents are/were pretty heavily involved in their children’s decision-making, even as young adults, regarding things like employment, marriage, even child-rearing. Isn’t the assumption that the young generations will, by nature of being young, rebel completely against their parents’ values and go off to forge independent selves sort of a new thing too? Before the 1960s or so, college students (especially female students) often had curfews and the college acting “in loco parentis,” and maybe now that trend is coming back in a different form. I have a viscerally negative reaction to the concept of “helicopter parenting,” but maybe that is just a reaction typical to my social context more than anything else.

    5. David

      I agree. Excellent. But it made me think of a couple of other things as well. Anybody who’s had students knows that, and especially these days, you become their substitute parent for everything the administration can’t provide: help with their studies, advice on options to choose, whether to do a further degree, which universities to try, do you think this thesis plan would be acceptable, can I have a reference for a job, can I have a reference even for an internship, which are now increasingly competitive. In other words, exactly the situation the article describes of students unable to think for themselves. So what kind of reference are they expecting? “X, who resisted with great courage and tenacity the violently sexist atmosphere of the department where only 70% of the teaching staff were female, and coped heroically with the trauma of being asked to dinner by someone she was not attracted to…”

      And then of course there’s the other half of it, the woke war against those who are different, especially the same teachers who are supposed to provide all this support. Can you imagine receiving an email saying “Dear prof you may remember I was a student in your class in X in Year Y and I was one of those who got you cancelled and your course closed down. However, that was in the past, no hard feelings I hope. Can you write me a reference for the Master’s in Woke Studies that I’m applying for?”

  6. Tomonthebeach

    Chauvin Trial. The NYT Headline that “Expert Witness Pinpoints Floyd’s Final Breath and Dismisses Talk of Overdose” might lead us to complacently think “Game over. The guy is guilty.” But that is not consistent with the history of such trials in which it appears that the jurors are just looking for a rationale to justify a Not-Guilty verdict. There has been conflicting testimony. We have all seen the videos, and we would be hard-pressed to conclude that Floyd’s death was not due to police brutality. I mean, 3 cops kneeling on one guy 9 minutes – in handcuffs no less? Everybody has testified that Chauvin’s behavior was contrary to policy and training. But if you look at past police trials, behavior outside policy norms is not uncommon, yet a Not-Guilty verdict seems to be the norm.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        You mean like all the chaos, “outrage” and destruction that was unleashed when daniel pantaleo was found not guilty of Eric Garner’s murder in 2014?

        Do you think that Eric Garner’s family ever wonders why George Floyd’s life appears to have been so much more valuable to “the US and the world” than Eric Garner’s was?

        Or that George Floyd and many others might be alive today, had Garner’s murder and the issues it exposed been taken as seriously at the time as Floyd’s, apparently, are being taken now?

        Or that if someone else had been president at the time of Garner’s murder, it would not have been nearly as “important” to preserve the paper-thin veneer of social cohesion, and justice could actually have been done?

        1. chuck roast

          Cops are cops…it has always been so, and so it will always be. Strum und drang followed by more strum und drang. Do I sound insensitive? Sorry. When you get abused by cops you become a close cop-watcher. This what they do. When I lived in Portland, Maine…a relatively quiet and civilized city, the police chief complained that he couldn’t get people to apply for the force. It used to be that there were a lot of applicants. In my estimation many of them were dregs or otherwise had mental health issues, but even these people are no longer interested. I expect they will be recruiting in the Ukraine sooner rather than later.

    1. John A

      Maybe the defence lawyer will come up with ‘as the overdose caused the fit, you’ve got to acquit’, which should swing the jury.

    2. Keith

      Remember, videos can be misleading, and more importantly, the prosecution is still presenting their case, which means presenting info in the best light of a conviction. That should change once the defence presents their version, especially as it relates to trsining/policy and level of drugs in Floyd’s system.

      On a side note, anything short of a murder conviction will result in BLM violence, which will likely affect the jury’s decision. Should be interesting. With media coverage the way it is (seemingly calling for conviction), an acquittal should make for an interesting spring and great tv ratings.

    3. Michael Sharkey

      If you would like to listen to something other than the media narrative, I’d suggest the Law of Self Defense podcast.

      Attorney Andrew F. Branca gives a short daily recap of the trial and his take seems to be quite the opposite of what you get in the mainstream media. If his review of the proceedings is correct, then the media’s bias is only adding fuel to the fire, by not reporting the trial in an evenhanded manner.

      1. Randy

        His twitter feed shows his takes are exactly in line with Fox New’s, including calling Canada “Nazi”.

        1. Pelham

          I’ll confess to not keeping up with the trial but only reading the daily headlines in the mainstream (and, it should be noted, headlines are all that most people read about anything).

          The impression I get from this is that Chauvin is obviously guilty and the defense has absolutely no case. Is that correct? I don’t know and I don’t have the hours to sit in front the TV to determine for myself.

          But if it should happen that the defense does have enough of a case to raise a truly reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds and Chauvin is acquitted on that basis, whose fault will it be if all hell breaks loose?

          1. Keith

            Issue won’t be fault, but who benefits? Namely cable news and the race hustlers like Jesse Jackson.

            I agree, headlines are creating the picture that guilt is a given without addressing the defense’s points or really looking at the witnesses. After all, attorneys choose who to put on the stand for a reason, and those experts have Bill’s to pay.

    4. fresno dan

      As usual, I think McCarthy at NR presents the most dispassionate analysis of the law and testimony.

      Nelson not only established that Chauvin had not choked Floyd and had not used an improper neck hold, he also emphasized video images from police body-cam recorders, which showed that police did not constantly press all their weight on Floyd, and that Chauvin was not perched on Floyd’s neck for the nine crucial minutes — he put some pressure on the neck, but he was coming up from between the shoulder blades.
      Ironically (there’s that word again), this is not as exculpatory as the defense may have hoped — indeed, not exculpatory at all. That is because Floyd did not really die in the way we’ve been led to believe that he died during most of the last year. It is not that his airways were closed near his throat; it is that his chest was pressed to the point that his lungs could no longer function.

      Dr. Tobin explained that Floyd died because of intolerably low oxygen intake, principally due to his being kept in a prone position on the asphalt street while Chauvin and two other since-fired MPD cops exerted physical pressure on his back, as well as the base of his neck. The neck pressure is what looks most awful, but it was the detention aspect of least consequence.
      Chillingly, Dr. Tobin identified the precise moment when he could detect “the moment the life goes out of [Floyd’s] body.” It happened just after one of Floyd’s legs jutted out wildly, a telltale sign of anoxic seizure. “There’s a flickering and then it disappears,” Tobin remarked as, on the video screen, jurors saw death’s gaze fall over Floyd’s face. The four minutes that followed were horrifying, but even if the former policemen had tried, there was no saving Floyd at that point.

      For Chauvin, the most damaging part of Dr. Tobin’s account may be his conclusion that even a perfectly healthy person would have had pulmonary failure under the physical restraint Floyd endured. What wasn’t as immediately obvious Thursday, but will come clear this summer at the next trial arising out of Floyd’s death, is that this was a devastating day for the three other former police involved in the detention.

  7. semiconscious

    re: Hospitals are seeing more young adults with severe Covid symptoms, CDC says CNBC

    from the article:

    Hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults in their 30s and 40s admitted with severe cases of Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.

    no age-related figures given in article. at the same time, the cdc’s own website indicates that most recent hospital admissions of 18-49 year olds have flattened over the past week:

    1. Yves Smith

      I am told the CDC’s site is a month behind, so any reporting on the last week is fragmentary. They are likely going on verbal accounts from hospital administrators in major hospital systems.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I’m having trouble being civil anymore. I am just past endurance with the search for reasons why things might not be as bad as they clearly are.

        Any goddamned simpleton who doesn’t have an axe to grind, can be quickly brought to understand that the “flattening” mentioned above tells us nothing about the threat these viral strains pose to younger persons, nada. Anecdotes from the field are far more valuable.

        In any case the mere fact of increased ACE-2 binding affinity means we should be suprised if we don’t see more severe disease in a more diverse cohort. You know, even if that hadn’t already happened in country after country, and LOS ANGELES ffs.

        And ACE-2 affinity is only part of the story. Search “HLA-A24” for instance. Not recommended for anyone in danger of falling off the wagon though.

        For a genuine analysis of UK data on B.1.1.7 in young people see Sarah Rasmussen’s twitter thread on the subject (That’s ‘Sarah’ not ‘Angela’.).

        1. kareninca

          I searched HLA-A24 and I couldn’t figure out why it was relevant to covid, even after I also tried “HLA-A24 covid.” Could you give more detail about what should be searched for?

          1. kareninca

            All I could find that was intriguing was this: “HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-A24 is a class I MHC antigen. It is the most frequent HLA class I molecule in Asian populations, present in 70% of Japanese. It is also found in 35% of Indians and 19% of Caucasians.” (

            1. Raymond Sim

              I’m having trouble with linking, but you can check out this preprint:

              ‘An emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutant evading cellular immunity and increasing viral infectivity’

              That’s at bioRxiv. Some of the scariness:

              ” Here we demonstrate that two recently emerging mutants in the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, L452R (in B.1.427/429) and Y453F (in B.1.298), can escape from the HLA-24-restricted cellular immunity.”

              This is likely a factor in the distressingly high case fatality rates seen in Los Angeles. If you possess the trait then, then California strains appear to be a much greater threat to you than garden variety Covid.

              Southern California saw exceedingly high incidence during the first catastrophe. Imperial County was comprable to the Navajo Nation.

              Thus the virus must have been facing levels of acquired immunity there about as high as anywhere in the US. And it pulls this out of its bag of tricks. Imagine what would have happened in an East Asian population, rather than a mestizo one. If I were Ashkenaz, or from any other large population with a genetic bottleneck in its past I’d be very uneasy about this.

              If I had any money I’d be long consumer tissue typing services. Those ancestry dna sites could make a mint.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Biden To Nominate Gun Control Advocate, Law Enforcement Veteran To Lead ATF”

    Did a bit of digging out of curiosity to see what his background is and found what appears to be his official resume. A quick scan through it does show a few interesting entries-

    ‘Case agent in Branch Davidian trial.’

    ‘Attended Media Bootcamp, advanced training funded by The Joyce Foundation. ‘

    ‘Served on panels led by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her home district in Florida…’

    1. Pelham

      Speaking of Waco, one can easily imagine a Davidian-like confrontation shaping up at some remote venue in the next few years — especially with the curious crackdown on assault rifles rather than handguns.

    1. Pelham

      I do hope there’s some analysis and commentary on this dispiriting defeat that goes beyond Amazon cheating. Why is it that these young workers, when given such a high-profile opportunity, rejected unionization? Extensive interviews with those who voted would be welcome.

  9. Miami Mitch

    I’ll tell you this, if the union vote at Amazon in Alabama fails like it looks like it is I’m going to start shopping at Amazon again. Because if these people don’t care enough to unionize, no matter what pressure they got from Amazon, why should I care about them?

    1. tegnost

      The reason not to shop at amazon is they sell you counterfeit junk, they’re bad for the environment with all their right now deliveries, they take from the commons far more than they give, lie in reviews, practice anti competetive behavior by stealing other peoples ideas while hiding behind their own patents and massive legal and lobbying dept,, and etc… The fact that they treat workers and vendors
      like crap is just…Duh…of course they do.

      1. Alfred

        Yes, yes, yes. I go to look at prices and merch, not to buy, but they are crapping on their vendors–there just is not easy to access choice that there was–it’s all Prime, and you have to have Prime to order, and it seems that Amazon is the vendor not the platform so much any more. And if they have something they would prefer to sell, what you are looking at is “unavailable.”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The Left keeps banging its head against the Wagner Act wall. As that 1930s legislation has been interpreted by the courts and modified by Taft-Hartley, it has made union organizing nearly impossible, especially when combined with our sick cultural emphasis on bootstraps and humpin’ and gettin’ it. And that’s doubly true for the least skilled jobs.

      Maybe it’s worth pursuing organizing under the NLRA for highly skilled workers. The Reuthers were machine toolmakers and wielded a lot of clout at model change time. And currently, at least the ballplayers and the airline pilots still have some successes now and then. But if the Left thinks that unions are a way out of our situation, they’re dreaming as long as the current legal regime is in place.

      It might have been a different story 40 years ago, but most unions back then lost interest in organizing in lieu of relying on their good pals in the D Party to have their backs.

      1. Pelham

        All good points. But I don’t think they add up to a sufficient explanation for the Bessemer outcome. I’d like to know more from those who were voting.

      2. BobW

        Forty years ago the place I had just started working at voted out the Teamsters and went non-union, mostly because people thought the union was too corrupt. I had no vote then, being too new, and don’t know how I would have voted. My father was union, but the Teamsters were corrupt.

    3. Bhayden

      Ok, I’ll take the bait, but I’m not going to waste too much effort on it. If, given the context of the last several decades, you’re willing to give up the war based upon this lost battle, well then you were never really in the fight to begin with.

      1. Aomoa

        Indeed, if the history of labor organizing has shown anything, it’s that it takes sustained and sometimes prolonged struggle to win every small step forward. I’m sure that the organizers of the unionizing drive understand this well enough.

        Also, although my first impulse was to blame the workers as some have done here, on further reflection I think that unless we’ve been in their shoes we don’t really know why they voted the way they did. They may be afraid of having to deal with backlash from the company, including losing their job. It’s been shown here that Amazon has been hard pushing their own propaganda to the workers. Not rocking the boat might seem like the best option compared to struggling against the current for what might seem like dubious gains.

      2. Pelham

        But let’s not minimize this loss, given the enormous publicity it got and the malevolent nature of the employer. It’s a sort of Stalingrad, at least potentially.

      3. Miami Mitch

        No true Scottsman?

        Maybe it takes me shopping on Amazon to make their life worse so they finally wake up. I could compare this to people not wanting to get vaccinated or not wearing a mask and how they suddenly become advocates once they are affected. Can we even educate people anymore because we cannot get through ideology?

        And where is the proof union organizing ever did anything? Or did it just coincide with the actual suffering of the workers? My Grandpappy was a coal miner, and it was seeing people dying black lung that changed things for the most part in the 60’s. I remember teacher strikes in the 70’s when the scabs were actually pelted with rocks for crossing a picket line. Can you even leaglimagine that today?

        Here is the question, can you organize people against something bad if they are not affected by it personally to a degree that causes them enough suffering? These amazon workers suffer working because it is better than the suffering any sacrifice. why do you think legal immigrants will endure the most menial jobs?

        We suffer this fate over and over in all aspects of our lives; from climate change to diet. some people can see it, others have to experience it.

    4. flora

      Nah. I shop local to support my local brick and mortar stores, especially now when they’re so stretched by the lockdowns. Theyll order stuff for me if they don’t have it in stock, it arrives as quick, and is sometimes less expensive even with sales tax. ymmv.

      1. Glen

        Yes! I shop local, and get better prices and better service.

        I don’t think I have been in or bought from Walmart in 15 years, and I have never bought anything from Amazon (I do use the web site to find products, and then locate the local dealer.) And I do all of my banking at credit unions.

  10. flora

    Can You Destroy $20 Billion in Wealth Without Committing a Crime? – Bill Black

    Paul Jay interviews Bill Black on theAnalysis news.

    The U.S. SEC has opened an investigation into Archegos Capital’s Bill Hwang and trades that led to $20 billion in losses for his firm and perhaps billions more for various banks. What kind of perverted system allows such chaos?

    1. ProudWappie

      Thanks for that mention; I overlooked it in my subscriptions.
      His YouTube channel really needs some more attention.
      Why does it have less then 15k subscribers?

    2. skippy

      Wellie I find it hilarious that wealth is confused with notional price being generated through said leverage …

  11. Mikel

    RE: “The Woke Meritocracy Tablet”

    “What is new about education’s turn to woke identity politics is not the fact that administrators and faculty are influencing students’ sense of self, but rather the sort of values that the new ideal personality is supposed to uphold. The contemporary ideal, increasingly, is no longer someone so charmingly personable that others forget he is in fact a ruthless competitor, but a person who so convincingly narrates her having overcome some kind of social injustice that others forget she is in fact a beneficiary of systems of privilege.”

    The writer changes the gender of the subject in the last part of the sentence.

  12. skk

    I hope you indulge me for going into a one day old post – this extract from yesterday’s responses by PHLDenizen to the post regarding how $2000 turns into $1400 and snopes claims ‘it ain’t so’ really struck home to me:

    It’s revoltingly condescending (and perfectly in line with the Dem nomenklatura) to keep pissing on the heads of the people who failed to move to the wokest, innovative-ist coast with an Apple laptop and a desire to code, code, code. Or manipulate symbols. Or whatever other non-value-added gigs are deemed virtuous in this day and age.

    It’s smug. It’s myopic. It’s dehumanizing. It’s insulting. It’s unhelpful. And, to add to pile of D lies with an unlimited ceiling, it’s certainly not the big tent party. There’s no imagination or empathy. No ability to understand a reality that occupies a sphere outside your own.

    And yeah, if I’m migrating to the substack pay-for model for Matt Taibbi and Glen Greenwald then I must bear this in mind too :

    Also need to throw some coins in Lambert’s cup. I’ve been a derelict.

  13. fresno dan
    His list of past and present investments is long and, to say the least, eclectic. At one point he owned a series of Hooters franchises in Long Island, had a seat on the board of lingerie company Frederick’s of Hollywood, served a stint as president of a uranium mine in Namibia, and most recently, began a foray into the marijuana industry.
    According to court documents obtained by Action News, Fresno Owl Inc., a Southern California-based ownership group which owns Hooters of Fresno, was behind on rent.
    Records show the business is currently more than $31,000 in default.
    The restaurant chain is known for its “Hooter Girls” – waitresses dressed in tank tops and short shorts.
    At this point, it’s not known if another Hooters restaurant may open at another location in Fresno.
    I don’t know what it means that Fresno, the 5th biggest city in CA, can’t even support one Hooters…

    1. Wukchumni

      If Fresno were to lose it’s only Hooters in a radical cashectomy, what would you do for culture there?

      1. Raymond Sim

        Groovy! I’d love to hear what you think of it.

        I’ve only recently discovered South Cinema. Best thing since hot peppers i.m.o. – totally fanboying over Dhee being a global sensation.

  14. Randy G

    Merkel cannot be as stupid as her public statement exhorting Putin to remove troops from the Russian border so this is posturing. At the moment, those Russian troops are the only deterrence preventing the Ukrainian vassals and their handlers in Washington from starting up the war again.
    She spoke with Putin and I’m sure he explained this to her in German; she knows that the Russian troops will remain while the Ukrainian military is positioned to launch a war.
    So this is performance art for HER handlers in Washington, & for NATO, for the EU, etc. Unfortunately the only thing the statement seems likely to accomplish, if anyone takes it seriously, is to reassure the fanatics in Kiev and in Washington that she is ready to roll over on command like a good doggie.

    The one thing the Western ‘elites’ in the MIC and foreign policy establishment ‘think’ they learned in their victory in the Cold War is that Russia will fold if faced with relentless pressure and hostility. They are certain now — almost in a religious sense — that If Russia has not folded yet in Cold WAR 2, it is simply because they have not applied enough pressure yet.

    No lessons, apparently, have been learned in Washington or elsewhere as to how the Russians and Soviets responded to the greatest military invasion in the history of the planet. The lesson Russians can draw from their capitulation in the Cold War is that the Empire needs a forever enemy: short of abject and total surrender, they cannot expect kindness, friendship and fairness from a pathological and narcissistic bully. The Soviets may not have addressed their own failings, but their assessment of the U.S. Empire as based on military power, greed, and imperialism has been confirmed by history.

  15. Ignacio

    B.C. First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada protect crab for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial purposes The Narwhal

    That was a nice read, and you see, I think it is gaining traction in many places the consultation of coastal communities for decisions in fisheries given the hard impact of both commercial and recreational fishing. Much of the migration that the EU sees from West Africa has a lot to do with the depletion of fishing opportunities for their artisanal fleets in the coasts due to illegal fishing by large trawlers that do as they wish trawling as close to the coast as they can and causing a brutal impact in the coastal area, where many species go for spawning and it is well known their conservation is crucial for sustainable fishing.

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