Links 5/1/2021

Posted on by

Happy May Day! Kiss a socialist for me!

American Horse Racing Still at a Crossroads on Derby Day Patch

Billion-Year-Old Scottish Fossil Could Be The Oldest Proto-Animal Ever Found IFLScience (BC)

Firefighters Out There in the Snow’: Wildfires Rage Early in Parched West New York Times (David L)

#COVID-19

Man Banned From Carrying ‘Loose QR Codes’ After Altering Covid Check-In Signs Gizmodo (dk)

Brazilian senate votes to suspend patents in bid to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines STAT

Science/Medicine

Human to animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households is common News-medical.net

They Survived Covid. Now They Need Lung Transplants. New York Times (resilc)

Rapid spread of India Covid variant in UK is ‘worrying’, say scientists Guardian

Israel logs Indian COVID-19 variant, sees some vaccine efficacy against it Reuters (resilc)

Asia

Stories from inside India’s Covid disaster: ‘No one has seen anything like this’ Financial Times.

India Is What Happens When Rich People Do Nothing Atlantic (resilc)

India’s Covid crisis set to derail world economy Asia Times

US to curb travel from India due to Covid surge Financial Times. Shutting the barn door when the horse is in the next county.

Experts warn Indians of dangers of trying to make oxygen at home Reuters

Philippines headed towards India-like Covid crisis – Asia Times (resilc)

US

Pro-Trump and anti-vax sites urging people to forge COVID-19 vaccination cards, says CDC The Hill

President Biden will not rule out ordering military to get vaccinated Today (resilc)

Tens of thousands of U.S. vets living overseas left to find COVID vaccine doses on their own Military Times

Defusing the culture war over masks outdoors Columbia Journalism Review

Finance/Economy

Europe’s economy shrinks amid slow vaccine rollouts and lockdowns Washington Post (Kevin W)

Myanmar

Myanmar: From diplomacy to force Bangkok Post. Lambert says this is one of the best pieces he’s seen in English.

Brexit

UK fishing industry furious over failure to strike Norway deal Financial Times

The Brexit roots of the scandals Chris Grey (guurst)

As I said to Anthony L via e-mail, “I thought one of the points of having gone to Eton was to know to avoid stuff like this. This looks like what happens at the start when you walk into a British club and drop acid.”

SNP in Disarray

‘I’m not proposing a referendum right now’ says Sturgeon in independence U-turn as elections loom RT (Kevin W)

New Cold War

An example of why vlade has doubts about Russian hypersonic weapons: “They lost a very much of the actual manufacturing know-how.”

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF’S ALLEGATION AGAINST RUSSIA IS FALSE John Helmer

Syraqistan

Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Taliban Protected US Bases From Other Groups After Peace Deal Was Signed Antiwar (Kevin W)

Along the Water London Review of Books. On Egypt and water scarcity.

Washington Must Act Now to Save Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Negotiations Among Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan Foreign Policy. UserFriendly: “The Nobel committee sure knows how to pick’em.

Internet of Shit

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Trump Transition

Justice ramps up Giuliani probe The Hill

Biden

Growing Number of Migrant Families Allowed Into U.S. to Seek Asylum Wall Street Journal

Hunter Biden STILL owns stake in Chinese equity firm 100 days into his father’s presidency despite Joe’s vow that NONE of his family would hold foreign business interests Daily Mail

Health Care

Joe, You Forgot About Lowering the Medicare Age Washington Monthly (resilc)

It’s Time To Expand Medicare Bernie Sanders. On the need for vision, hearing and dental care.

With Florida Bill, Republicans Continue Unrelenting Push to Restrict Voting New York Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Toxicity of the Permanent Outrage Mentality Newsweek (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

Not Just User Generated Content: Liberal Government Also Want the CRTC to Regulate Apps Under Bill C-10 Michael Geist (HJR)

JHR: “The Minister responsible for Bill C-10 not being able to explain its impact on freedom of speech in Canada.”:

An Example of the Importance of Signage: When U.S. Drivers Don’t Know How to Use a Roundabout Core77 (resilc). Ahem, “traffic circle” or “rotary”.

The Dangerous Myth of ‘Taxpayer Money’ Splinter (furzy)

The Lumber and Chip Shortages Have the Same Root Cause: Underinvestment Barron’s (resilc)

Ruthless and Truthless London Review of Books (Anthony L). On modern politics.

Class Warfare

The Labor Battle for the Right to Pee New Republic

Why Jamie Dimon, Walmart and McDonald’s Want to Hire Ex-Convicts Bloomberg

Weary of Work Lapham’s Quarterly (Anthony L)

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

Another bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

171 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Tens of thousands of U.S. vets living overseas left to find COVID vaccine doses on their own” article at-

    https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2021/04/30/tens-of-thousands-of-us-vets-living-overseas-left-to-find-covid-vaccine-doses-on-their-own/

    Actually this brings up an interesting situation. Supposing that some of those vets get vaccines locally and they are either one of the Russian or Chinese ones. If they return to the US, will their vaccination be actually recognized? The same situation is also arising here in Oz-

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-28/australians-vaccinated-in-china-sinopharm-sinovac-covid/100098816

    Reply
    1. upstater

      More demands for more special treatment for the warrior class. I seem to recall there are 8 million US citizens living and working outside the US. Are they entitled to getting vaccines provided to them by the US government, too? My daughter lives in France and her age group and region are so far down the priority list, it will be many month if not next year before she can get any vaccine.

      Reply
      1. Tomonthebeach

        Reasonable point. We vets do get a lot of special treatment (thanyew4yerservice), in lieu of a competitive salary.

        You are correct in pointing out that there are, and should be, limits. We military retirees get limited medical care when living overseas, and “non-retiree vets get zip.” However, they usually get free medical treatment because they are married to an overseas citizen. Expecting VA clinics to pop up across the empire seems unreasonable and unnecessary.

        Reply
      2. Altandmain

        The reason why is simple. To make military service more attractive for citizens.

        Being a military recruiter, from what I have been told is a very tough job. Tragically, the pressure means that some even take their own lives.

        It is also why there are the “support our troops” and similar empty slogans.

        Reply
      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Arguably, members of the armed services live and work in setting where they can’t maintain distance. And they can’t quit, unlike private sector or other government workers.

        By contrast, I have to think most Americans living abroad are

        1. Retirees

        2. Employees of US co’s working abroad

        3. Students

        #1 ought to be able to distance

        #2 might get help from employers

        I agree the embassies should Do Something, but the flip side is no way will the countries where they are visiting will put expats in the line ahead of citizens.

        And per resilc, even the Dept of State is slow to get embassy employees vaccinated.

        Reply
  2. fresno dan

    so baby swordfish are born with a TINY sword, have a good day
    Ouch. Makes me grateful I am not a swordfish mom…

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      That little creature Xiphias gladius, can grow up to 4.5 m in length and reach more than 500 Kg in weight. Vulnerable when so small but only big sharks can go against them in their adulthood, and at their own risk.

      Reply
    2. George Phillies

      Baby jackals are born with claws and set of real teeth, and, yes, first round of childbirth is a major cause of death among female jackals.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        I remember cringing when my miniature burro had her baby.
        It appeared to be almost half her size(!), with a full large set of teeth & those sharp hooves.
        Ouch?

        I about lost it when I witnessed her do a full extension kick to keep the father away less than 24 hours following the birth (I added a photo of it with my story during a fundraiser here a few years back). Critters are tough!

        Calves, horses, llamas, etc. Same thing.

        I hadn’t heard that about jackals before. Wow.
        Makes me happy to be a female human.

        That tiny swordfish is adorable. Had no idea they were born with their sword already so big in comparison to their body!

        Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘An example of why vlade has doubts about Russian hypersonic weapons: “They lost a very much of the actual manufacturing know-how.”’

    Actually no biggie that – though it was funny – and I was reading about it yesterday. The Russian Navy frigate ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’ tried to launch a test Kalibr-NK cruise missile during trials and you can see the results. ‘Obviously a major malfunction.’ This sort of thing happens often enough that on YouTube you can find ship missile fail compilations. The army ones are even more funny though they would not have been to the soldiers involved at the time-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-twuisZlFs (2:18 mins) Some swearing, including in German.

    Reply
    1. upstater

      Probably a good way to instill overconfidence by the US and its herd of yapping NATO poodles in the Black, Baltic and Berents Seas.

      Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      There is nothing new about this kind of stuff.

      The US spent the first two years of World War 2 with torpedos that usually didn’t work. Those launched from submarines, surface ships and aircraft. Even within the last few years there is US stuff that doesn’t work. For example, a few years back an F-18 pilot launched a missile against a Syrian fighter. In the pilots words “the first missile went stupid”. The second one worked.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        The old Soviet Union got its air to air missile start from one such stupid Sidewinder. It stuck in the side of a Chinese aircraft without exploding. The Chinese sold it to the Soviets.

        Having said that, the missile in that clip is a mature design. There will always be a few blips, but it shouldn’t fail that dramatically if there were proper manufacturing controls.

        I was reading recently about the old Tu-144, the Soviet supersonic jet liner. Apparently even before it flew, everyone involved knew it could never operate successfully. It could only hit its top speed with full afterburner and the airframe couldn’t take the stress. It got so bad that Tupelev himself had to personally inspect the one operating jet before each flight before it could take passengers (it only ran passengers once a week, the rest were a very expensive way to transport mail). They even gave the pilots ejection seats, which must have been something of a shock to passengers.

        Essentially, it was developed because the Soviets were obsessed at the time with not being seen to be behind the west, it had no other function than to look good in photos and turn up at airshows (of course, it crashed at a Paris airshow, which gave the game away). One can only wonder how much precious resources the Soviets lost playing that stupid catchup game. And I wonder if the modern Russian state is equally addicted to it, its very hard to tell. The travails of the Sukhoi Superjet indicates that they may well have the same old problems – engineering projects pushed by political pressure.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Lots. The USSR competition madness was crazy, and they did it in every sector. They would run factories to ship more widgets than the West instead of responding to their own demand, and of course, they had to Sovietize everything. Toasters are idiot proof and simple designs, so the Soviets had to eff that up. The joke about the Soviets taking a pencil to space is wrong. They would have taken a pencil and then for inexplicate reasons slapped 300lbs of iron ore to make it pro-people.

          Usually the space program was immune from the usual Soviet madness.

          Reply
          1. Grateful Dude

            pencils don’t need gravity. Even a ball-point depends on it. I am not an Astronaut, so I’ve never tried it.

            Reply
            1. upstater

              I recall in the Gemini and Apollo days, my dad got these ballpoints that were pressurized with some inert has so the astronauts could use pens instead of pencils. He worked for a NASA supplier. Part of the reason USA!USA! won to cold war.

              Reply
        2. steelyman

          The Kalibr NK cruise missile being tested in the video is a much proven cruise missile staple of the Russian arsenal. It’s been used most effectively by the Russian military in support of their mission in Syria, most spectacularly in an initial salvo launch against Jihadi forces way back in late 2015 via corvettes of the Russian navy based in the Caspian Sea (this missile salvo causing much consternation in NATO).

          The ship being used in the above posted video (Marshal Shaposhnikov) was recently refitted so as to accommodate the next hypersonic missile known as Zircon for future sea launch capacity. IMO it’s more than likely the problems in this failed launch will eventually be traced back to the refit- upgrade of the ships launch system which was most likely the subject of the test. Nothing wrong with the Kalibr itself. It’s effectiveness as a weapon is well established.

          A couple of other points:
          – the Kalibr NK is a variant of the 3M-14 cruise missile and in no way, shape or form can it ever be defined as a hypersonic weapon as it maxes out around Mach 1.

          – secondly, the quote re “loss of manufacturing know how”, what conclusions can we draw re US MIC manufacturing prowess from this also very recent event:
          https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/hypersonic-arrw-test-failure-a-setback-usaf-says/143222.article

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘The US spent the first two years of World War 2 with torpedos that usually didn’t work.’

        Oh god yes. The Ordnance Bureau refused to believe the sub commanders about how horribly ineffective the torpedoes actually were. Finally one sub skipper disabled a Japanese freighter and used the remainder of his load of torpedoes in a field test which were, uh, underwhelming and took back the results to Pearl. Other test followed but the whole gory story is given below-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_14_torpedo#Problems

        Reply
    3. jrkrideau

      Reminds me of the Canadian army. Artillery is sometimes used in the Rockies to cause avalanches. One day they missed the mountain.

      Reply
        1. GF

          We were in Victoria BC a couple of years ago for Victoria Day and part of the festivities included a 21 gun salute using blank artillery shells fired from Canadian military artillery fired by military personnel on the street next to the harbor in front of the parliament building. We were walking past and the security detail gave us ear plugs and said the y would start firing soon. Even with the ear protection it was the loudest sound we had ever heard. I cant imagine what it felt like being woken by that.

          Reply
        2. ObjectiveFunction

          The Halifax Citadel in Canada still fires the noonday gun. They considered scaling back from daily firings, but the locals insisted it continue.

          Reply
      1. crittermom

        I guess the old saying, “Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn” seems paltry in comparison to missing a mountain!

        Reply
  4. Ignacio

    RE: UK fishing industry furious over failure to strike Norway deal Financial Times.
    I went for the twitter thread and the BBC link. As far as I know., not Norwegian European fishing countries/vessels have fishing rights around Svalbard Islands that were set about 1920 by an agreement signed in Paris, and which Norway now laments. How the UK has lost it’s rights during these negotiations is beyond my pay-grade but it tells a tale of the negotiation capabilities in the UK team.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKum

      The story is even worse than indicated by the BBC. The Norwegians were willing to sign an interim agreement that rolled over EU rights for the UK. The UK actually signed up initially to it, and then promptly reneged on the agreement and tried to restrict Norwegian access to UK seas. I’ve no idea why, but probably someone somewhere thought this is how you play hardball. So the Norwegians basically told the UK to go take a hike. And Norway is probably one of the most historically anglophile of all European countries.

      Even now, so far into Brexit, the UK still hasn’t even developed the most basic competence in these negotiations. They even haven’t learned that one rule of negotiations is not to break your last agreement and expect the other side to give you an even break. Another basic rule is to recognise when you are in the weaker position in a negotiation. When it comes to fish, the UK is in a far weaker position than any other party, including a tiny country like Iceland. The UK needs access to their waters more than they need access to UK waters.

      The result of all this is an utter catastrophe for the UK fishing industry. They are being wiped out.

      And as the other link above shows, its only the reality that the EU is turning a blind eye that is stopping UK manufacturing following the food and drink industry, which is being destroyed. But this won’t go on forever, eventually they will face the harsh reality of Brexit too. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t for all the regular people who are going to lose their jobs over the stupidity of the Tories.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Such shift must have been an order from above, quite possibly one of the brilliant heads in the government, and not a failure by the negotiating team. My apologies to them!

        Reply
      2. R

        Um, PK, I seem to remember Ireland was anxious to preserve its rights in UK waters, as was the rest of the EU. I know that in many areas the UK has not much to trade in negotiations but fishing rights we have. Not that they are much use without a market to land them in but that is a different point and not the point you are making, which is that we need access to others’ waters.

        It appears the UK deep sea fleet sold out years ago and the entities fishing in others’ waters from the UK are foreign owned. See the link in my comment below – this particular disaster in fishing rights appears unevenly spread and potentially a boon to Scotland at the expense of the Dutch.

        Reply
      3. The Rev Kev

        ‘They even haven’t learned that one rule of negotiations is not to break your last agreement and expect the other side to give you an even break.’

        Sounds like that the Tories are going to establish a reputation for themselves as being ‘agreement-incapable.’

        Reply
    2. R

      Hi Ignacio,

      Apparently it is not what it appears.

      https://www.turbulenttimes.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-chips-down-on-cod/

      The agreement that has not been renewed was a UK/Norway agreement to replace an EU/Norway agreement. The EU agreement used to trade away Scottish rights to inshore fish for EU rights to fish oceanic Norwegian cod. This benefitted precisely one oceanic trawler in the UK owned by Dutch interests. The squealing is entirely from this trawler and related parties. The Scots are cock-a-hoop to have their own fish back but, as these are small, artisanal fisheries, nobody is listening.

      The UK’s rights to fish in Svalbard’s waters are apparently unaffected.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Thank you R. That was a better link to the story where it is apparent this was a move against a particular vessel, a giant trawler flagged in the UK but apparently with owners from The Netherlands. And then it goes with the ‘wars’ on small pelagic fisheries which comprise, by far, the largest catches in fresh weight in Northeast Atlantic waters.

        This is a quite an enormous vessel (really the kind of vessels we should get rid off as only one of these by itself can be quite damaging to the conservation of resources). Now, what is worrying to me is to think where else is this monster going to operate.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I was reading up a little more on it this afternoon and its more complicated than I thought originally and posted above. It looks like the deal would have been a negative for Scottish fishermen, but benefited the big English super trawlers, and at the last minute the Scots won the argument, although I understand the Norwegians are extremely angry at what they see as poor faith negotiation by the UK. It looks like no deal will benefit smaller fishermen, although it will significantly reduce the overall catch, probably raising prices.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            In this sense, from the point of view of conservation and forgetting the logic of maximum profits (which shouldn’t be applied to fisheries, IMO) I side with the Scottish, even if this results in net catches diminishing and higher prices, and I prefer the operation of artisanal fleets over monster vessels and a reduction in catches even if i enjoy cod and other fishes. This are, of course, just personal opinions.

            Reply
      2. Ignacio

        It also makes me think on the failure of the BBC to illustrate the article with a vessel deploying a gill-net that can indeed be used to catch cods in the bottom but it is not precisely the subject of the deal.

        Reply
  5. Tom Stone

    It’s likely to be a hellacious fire year ( Not season) in the US West and air quality will suck for extended periods.
    I reviewed my preparations last week and did some rearranging and pre staging, I will park facing the street from now until the rains come.
    If they do.
    I learned from my first evacuation that I wasn’t really prepared even though I had thought things through.
    Time is at a premium and after my first evacuation I picked up a few things
    Contractor’s garbage bags, opaque plastic bins with water ( And smoke) tight lids, @ 25 Gallon capacity and bubble wrap.
    There are garbage bags on the top left shelf of my closets and at the top left of the top drawer in every dresser..
    Important papers are consolidated.
    You might only have moments to get out of Dodge or you may be under an evacuation warning for days, doing even a little prep can make a big difference when the time comes as it will for tens or hundreds of thousands this year.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I seem to recall you having a hard time last year with the fires and having to temporarily evacuate your home though luckily in the end it worked out OK for you and your family. From what you and others have been saying about dry conditions, I am betting that we will see a return to major fires again in a coupla months so your preparations sound prudent.

      During major floods a decade ago we were wondering if we would have to bug out and our preparations were in short woeful. One weakness I did find was actually photo albums because I had so many. After the floods were over I spent a year scanning a coupla dozen photos onto the computer daily and backed them up so if we ever have to evacuate for any reason, all those photos reside on an external hard-drive that can be grabbed in an instant.

      I know that it sounds silly but when you listen to people after they have been burned or flooded out, a regret that they have is all their photos lost of their family and children which they can never get back. You can always buy more furniture but you can’t buy a photo that you took decades ago.

      Reply
      1. freebird

        Disasters can happen when you’re not right there to grab hard drives, too. Take the scanned photos and make multiple copies on thumb drives, give to relatives for safekeeping and their own use. Especially if you included photos of older generations, this way the stuff doesn’t get lost if one branch of the family has a disaster. Use uniquely patterned ones or put in a special box or book to be sure they don’t get lost in somebody’s office drawer.

        Reply
        1. Tom Bradford

          Or buy a terabyte or two in the Cloud. It isn’t expensive, especially when it comes to preserving the priceless, and you can use it for storing those videos of weddings etc.

          Reply
          1. freebird

            Meh. Something happens to you, it’s locked away and whoever can’t guess your favorite restaurant can’t retrieve it. Meanwhile you gave the surveillance state all those lovely faceprints to work with.

            Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Even here in rainy Ireland we’ve suffered terrible hill (bush) fires all April. The last four of five Aprils have been freakishly dry, so its probably a permanent climate shift. Before the sap rises, they are prone to burning, encouraged by over grazing by sheep and farmers seeking a cheap way to clear out scrub. Its been hugely damaging.

      Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      The insurance bill for our cabin in a firetrap’s firetrap should be coming soon, hopefully.

      Last year I wrote the check in such a feverish fashion that I endured 1st degree burns on the nubs of my fingers. I then stuck it in the envelope-affixing a couple of forever stamps for overly good measure and practically raced to the post office.

      A fellow cabin owner with the same insurance company was cancelled last year, so i’m not exactly supremely confident…

      Reply
  6. gnatt

    Lower the Medicare age? Expand medicare to include…? Isn’t it pretty to think so.
    Right now, in NYC, the Di Blasio administration, and the Metropolitan Labor Council representing over 100 unions with city workers, have agreed to remove over 250, 000 retirees from Medicare to a Medicare Disadvantage plan (either CVS/Aetna or GHI/Emblem Health) to save the city 700 million in yearly costs. The start date is July 1st, after the mayoral primary (which in this city, means the next Democratic mayor) and after most union elections.
    Thousand of CUNY teachers and public school teachers have signed a petition asking the mayor to rescind a plan in which no details have yet been revealed.
    I’m a retired public school teacher who complained to the head of the retiree chapter and got a boilerplate response saying that nothing would change for us. When i wrote back and asked how 700 million could be saved by switching to for-profit plans, and where might the savings come out of if not from denial of services and more out-of-pocket expenses for recipients, he didn’t answer.
    the city pays 20% of Medicare costs, the federal government pays out the other 80%.
    a) I didn’t know that people could be removed from Medicare without their knowledge or permission. i’ve been on line to research this and found nothing on it. b) The city pays 20% but they will be removing us from 100% of the benefits.
    Is there anyone here who can speak to this and clarify?

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      The only article I have found online (https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/4/21/22396708/retired-nyc-workers-medicare-advantage) does a pretty poor job of explaining the details, even though apparently the writer has various documents in his possession that would be helpful to examine.

      It’s hard to say much without further information. However, I think it may help clear up some misunderstanding to note that Medicare Part C (“Medicare Advantage”) takes the place of Medicare Parts A and Part B (and sometimes Part D).

      As best I can tell, NYC is looking to have retireees enrolled into select Medicare Advantage plans, rather than providing its previous Medicare “gap” type coverage, with (presumably–but it’s not really clear) the city covering some portion of the uncovered costs of the Advantage plans.

      That being the case, it is technically not removing you from Medicare. However, Medicare Advantage enrollment affects not only the administration of benefits, but also the network of coverage and the extent of coverage. The devil is in the details and I can’t find those details online.

      Reply
      1. freebird

        I’ve watched people live and die on Advantage. Basically, you are placed at the mercy of the chosen insurance carrier for all aspects of your care. So instead of having the government as your payer for most of your stuff, it’s up to the greedy pig CEO at the insurer as to what drugs and care you may have. These plans have shiny bells and whistles and ‘extras’ but the OP is right. They make money by figuring out how to pay less for your care, by whatever means necessary. The city should not be making this decision for people and at least should be forced to provide ‘opt out’ for pensioners who are not happy with it.

        Reply
    2. Jim Hannan

      Under “classic” Medicare, the government pays 80% and the insured is liable for the remaining 20%. Most folks that use classic then buy a supplemental insurance policy that covers all or some part of the 20%. There are a variety of these supplemental policies and states typically rate them from A to K or so. Here in Arizona these policies can start at over $100 per month and can increase each year. I know people that are paying closer to $200 per month after a few years on Medicare.

      Medicare Advantage plans are HMO’s or PPO’s and they typically have no monthly premiums. Currently in Arizona these plans from insurers like Blue Cross, Blue Shield, United Healthcare and several others now offer limited dental and vision benefits and a free gym membership (Silver Sneakers). The plans are tweaked each year and co pays and out of pocket expenses change. A typical potential total out of pocket expense per year for the insured is running about $3,000 per year here.

      So by shifting retirees to Advantage plans, the city can now avoid having to buy the 20% supplemental plans and retirees will now have a network plan with some possible out of pocket expenses.

      I believe that nationally about 40% of retirees are now choosing an Advantage plan.

      Reply
      1. antidlc

        “So by shifting retirees to Advantage plans, the city can now avoid having to buy the 20% supplemental plans and retirees will now have a network plan with some possible out of pocket expenses.”

        Hint: Check out the deductibles for the Advantage plans and check out the (limited) networks of the Advantage plans. How many out-of-network charges are the retirees going to pay for?

        Reply
        1. juno mas

          As a Medicare user I can say that the Advantage plans are NOT necessarily better than standard Medicare + Gap insurance coverage. It requires extensive study/knowledge to assess which Plan arrangement works for you. It seems the city of NY has determined what is in THEIR interest (not yours).

          Advantage plans work well in areas of concentrated retirees (Florida) because the Plan provider can centralize offices and services. Advertizing (deceptive) is also important to the growth of Advantage plans.

          When “open enrollment ” comes around each Fall, I have to scour ALL the plans completely, since they don’t highlight annual changes. Last year I just rolled everything over; didn’t have the time/patience to assess my options. Time is money.

          Reply
      2. Jack Parsons

        Medicare Advantage for Kaiser (HMO) used to be $129/mo and is now $89/mo. I don’t know how this happened.

        And here is the only medical I can give to an American: move somewhere that has Kaiser and join it- they’re the best of a bad lot.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “US to curb travel from India due to Covid surge”

    Here in Oz, Scotty from Marketing and his government have hit the panic button and brought out a brand new law that says that if any Australian tries to get from India to Australia at the moment – either directly or indirectly – that they face up to five years in prison and a $66,000 (US$51,000) fine. The local Indian-Australians are hitting the roof about this one as there are about 9,000 stuck in India at the moment and are now living in a hot zone. This is definitely a case of where you look at the actions of a government and wonder what-do-you-know-that-I-don’t-know?

    https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/australians-may-be-jailed-or-fined-if-they-fly-in-from-india-reports/news-story/da6aeb4a5a0d390d7b4a545e56b040d3

    Reply
  8. Tom Stone

    I was reminded of another consequence of drought when I went to take a shower, a Wolf Spider.
    Looking for water.
    Deer will be coming into cities and towns looking for sustenance and Mountain Lions will follow.
    It’s only been a couple of years since a pair of young’uns were spotted across the street from Safeway in Sebastopol.

    Reply
    1. Dirk77

      At least your mountain lions can get around. There was a story awhile back about a mountain lion in LA trapped in an underpass, which still makes me sad to think about. Their lands have been vanishing so fast they can’t adjust. It reminded me of the end of Cormac McCarthy’s Cities of the Plain. Elizabeth Kolbert in her latest quotes a PNAS article that humans now outweigh all other land mammals by 8 to 1, 20 to 1 if you include livestock. There are too many people in this world.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Too many people in the world…this is well tread trope to explain all environmental, loss of habitat and resource depletion on the planet. “Over population” is a contributor to these tragic and disastrous situations. Think it can be a convenient or cynical explanation for the state we are in as world…it is saying that it is not relevant how people are cared for, respected, and valued as life on the planet. I value mountain lion’s lives. It doesn’t mean I have to choose between them and humans.

        Also, which humans are expendable? Any place preferred for “lessening” too many people? Apartheid is an actual internationally recognized term used to describe a more powerful group in a region or country that dominates a less powerful group. Usually the less powerful are suffering from neglect, some form of abuse and what, charitably, would be called imprisonment. It really is that human life is cherished as inhabitants on the planet, or not. Instead of looking over there at numbers, look at the real problem: cruelty, greed and what sometimes could be understood, as inhuman, policy and actions by the PTB.

        Reply
        1. Dirk77

          You make good points. I was not implying any particular solution, or that there needs to be any “solution”. People are no less natural than anything else. I was merely stating my bias as someone who likes to hike. If all advanced species have within their success also their doom, then that is just the way it is. Yet I can imagine that while nature is cruel, there are ways to live that are less cruel than others, which is at what you seem to hint.

          Reply
  9. diptherio

    Re: The Toxicity of the Permanent Outrage Mentality

    While I’m no stranger to the maladies and unfortunate habits of “the American Left,” this critique is a little hard to take seriously, given the author’s pretty obviously partisan commitments. This sentence makes his politics crystal clear (spoiler warning: they’re just mainstream conservativism):

    But when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail—and if America is “systemically racist” (a leftist lie), and if modern police forces originated with antebellum chattel slavery (another leftist lie), then every cop must be held “accountable.”

    And here we see why looking to partisan hacks for a nuanced take on anything is a bad idea. While it’s true that many leftists use the term “systemic racism” to explain basically everything wrong with the world – i.e. that they tend to overstate/overestimate it’s analytic power – that does not mean that systemic racism does not exist. What do we call the disproportionate shoving of Black households into subprime loans during the run-up to 2008, if not systemic racism? It was certainly racist, and it was definitely systemic, so….

    As for the police evolving from antebellum slave patrols, this is in fact what the history shows…in the Southern US. In other parts of the country, where slave-owning was illegal, police forces developed out of the private stike-breaker Pinkerton-types, after the factory owners got tired of paying for the thugs themselves and decided that the public should foot the bill for keeping their workers in line. So again, while it is true that many Leftists oversimplify the history of policing by saying it emerged solely from slave patrols – which it did not – that does not mean that the direct connection between slavery and policing is “a lie.”

    It’s one thing to point out a half-truth; another thing altogether to deny that there’s any truth at all in a half-truth, which is what this article’s author seems set on.

    Reply
    1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      >What do we call the disproportionate shoving of Black households into subprime loans during the run-up to 2008, if not systemic racism?

      Capitalism.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        If there were laws against being anybody being a greedy a**hole who takes up more resources than they comfortably need, and against treating other humans and indeed the entire Earth like crap, and if outrage was not a whole revenue stream in itself, there would be no problems like this. I just saw a Joe Rogan quote, “I don’t think about what’s going to come out of my mouth, I just say it.” People don’t think about the consequences of developing their ideas, they must have their freedom to make a quick billion. When a Presidential candidate is chosen, people expect to make money, or continue making money, in that administration. And on and on. Jealousy. Infantilism. There should be some way to punish for the consequences of that, too.

        Reply
      2. TERRY V COCHRAN

        it was the progressives fault, they insisted loans be made to people who should not have gotten them.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Progressives did not come up with the idea of NINJA loans and other such. That was on the major banking institutions that.

          Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      I stopped reading halfway thru the article. There are valid critiques that could have been made on this topic, but the author will clearly drop dead before he ever deigns to make them.

      The most striking “permanent outrage mentality” illustrated by this piece is the permanent, all the time, everywhere outrage that typifies our extreme right. The author is clearly a member of this cohort, and a vigorous practitioner of right wing outrage theater. Following every (already distorted) description of a political viewpoint with the term “leftist lie” in parentheses is a stagey, inflammatory outrage tactic.

      But for an ultra-rightist…….. it’s all & always the other guy’s fault. For breathing, and thinking other than he does.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        So true, and it’s not just the extreme right. “Conservative funhouse” is an apt description of the messaging that is coming from your conservative talking heads about the quote unquote left, by which they mostly mean Democrats and liberals who they consider to be communist sympathizers. And if Democrats are pushing outrage culture then well they learned from the best. The likes of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and the recently cannonized Rush Limbaugh have based their entire careers on rolling out an endless stream of outrages perpetrated by “leftists”: really important things like Mr. Potato head, Dr. Suess-gate, the Muppets and the takeover of “cultural Marxism” in general. Meanwhile much of what the article author accuses of being unreasonable outrage from the left are actually things that are quite worthy of anger and/or concern.

        Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What do we call the disproportionate shoving of Black households into subprime loans during the run-up to 2008, if not systemic racism?

      And who are the “systemic racists” in that scenario–the cops? jamie dimon oh so very piously takes a knee in front of a bank vault, prints the blm banner on the chase website and pledges fealty to some “anti-racist” cause and escapes scrutiny. The goldman sachsers, hedge fund and private equity billionaires, and corporate outsourcers do the “hard work” of raking in the profits from privatizing and degrading the public services on which millions depend, but piling on the cops and “systemic racism” lip service keeps their hands “clean.”

      The cops are the empowered and militarized, publicly-funded, highly visible Pinkertons of the modern feudalism, of which “systemic racism,” such as it is, is only one part. This is not to excuse them, but to understand their role as enforcers of the new status quo and local “managers” of its fallout, not the root cause.

      All this “antebellum” blah blah blah is just a diversion that obscures what is really going on (and has been for decades), and protects those who are really responsible. No matter which side of the aisle the “partisan hacks” appear to come from, they all protect the same people. Everyone should get that by now, and stop getting sucked into the idea that there are actually two sides to this coin.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Hate to tell you, but one of the things Dimon is not (much) guilty of is subprime lending. JPM was a marginal player. Lots of other banks way way ahead of JPM despite JPM being much bigger.

        Reply
    4. Tex

      Weaponized outrage is nothing new and truth is rarely a consideration. Our innate need for acceptance by our tribe makes the psychology behind this easy. We bicker, fight and point fingers or worse at each other while the true beneficiaries of our outrage laugh all the way to the bank. Once today’s outrage is no longer profitable another will be created. It works until it doesn’t.

      Reply
      1. Alfred

        Yes, outrage puts the burden of remedy on whoever is supposed to be doing something about it, whoever that is having a finger pointed at them at the moment, so nothing will really happen. It’s often a “look over there” strategy. If you hate your company or your boss, and can’t quit without dire consequences, you complain to let off steam or in the hopes that someone will act to relieve the situation. Advocating for yourself is discouraged. Whatever bad situation I ever tried to change my life to escape, there was always someone telling me that wherever I went, it would never get better, because it was my fault, so I should just stay in whatever abusive situation I was in and realize I was a loser.

        Reply
  10. Miami Mitch

    On that Tinker Tweet, quite the brouhaha exploding about that tweet thread on Twitter and HackerNews. Seems those famous people can make stuff up and everyone believes them. Just a guy with too much stress and had some neurological issues and everyone thinks it is amazing.

    Reply
    1. Stephen Gardner

      Yeah, I forwarded that tweet to my daughter who is a physician. She said his explanation was laughable. She pointed out that if he had depleted glucose it would do the same thing as when I diabetic gets too much insulin: tonic clonic seizure and a coma. Amazing how full of misinformation Twitter is.

      Reply
    2. djrichard

      The last post to that twitter thread was somebody posting about mercury toxicity (from mercury dental fillings). Mercury toxicity can have these types of symptoms. Basically it increases oxidative stress in the body and in the brain.

      Reply
    3. eg

      Yeah, that premise is not terribly credible, given the lack of carbohydrate it is possible to thrive upon.

      Reply
  11. skippy

    With currant hindsight.

    Mitchell Tsai
    15h ago

    Many people wanted a magic solution with vaccines, so they needed the “herd immunity” idea. They fought tooth and nail against any evidence of reinfection since Jan 2020 (since this also messes with the “magic vaccine” and “herd immunity” concepts).

    Problems:
    (1) Covid vaccines are NOT like mumps/measles/polio vaccines. Since Covid mutates very quickly, Covid vaccines are like flu vaccines.

    (2) We’ve been vaccinating for flu for 80+ years (since the 1930s-1940s), with no “herd immunity” in sight.

    (3) Some communities had 87% and 94% seropositivity to Covid (antibodies measured at 87% and 94%, but they might be cross-reactive antibodies from “common cold” coronaviruses or other viruses)…and still had massive infection waves.

    No “herd immunity” at 87% and 94% (The seropositivity numbers may overestimate the Covid infection percentage. Also the sample size might have been too small.

    ——
    Reality
    (4) Covid vaccines will save lots of lives (while hurting and killing some people). They are one of many tools to fight Covid. They are not a magic solution.

    https://coronavirus.quora.com/?__ni__=0&__nsrc__=4&__snid3__=20651375305&__tiids__=27024295

    Reply
    1. R

      I cannot speak for other countries’ data but in the UK there are clear signs of covid transmission reduction in excess of the log linear (I.e. a straight line on a log graph). The curve of cases, hospitalisations etc. is bending steeper towards the x-axis, like a quadratic curve. The incidence and prevalence are still plummeting despite schools, shops, guns etc reopening. The big reopening if hotels, events, indoor dining etc later this month will tell but for the moment, vaccination seems to be reducing the susceptible population and also reducing transmission from the infected into the remaining susceptible (by 50% on initial estimates).

      All this immunity may wane naturally and/or may be escaped by a variant but herd immunity does appear to be achievable.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        Cases and hospitilizations are counted when people report their illness to healthcare professionals/institutions.
        Everybody doesn’t report their symptoms to the health industry.

        So what you really could have is just people walking around or laying up with various degrees of illness (vaccinated and unvaccinated), that could still spread the virus to the most vulnerable.
        And sone of these people could still be long haulers with symptoms that linger but they are still functioning enough to whip out their purse or wallet.

        Like with the variations of cold and flu…

        And as long as it can spread it can mutate.

        Reply
        1. Bill Smith

          Is there any reason to believe that people are not reporting illness as larger rates than a few months ago?

          But I guess the point is even with 0 reported cases, there still could be a few.

          Reply
        2. R

          In the UK the government testing figures are complemented by the private digital health app Zoe, which enables users to self report. At the moment, Zoe shows about one third of the incidence. This is hypothesised to be because many people are asymptomatic (young and/or vaccinated). The national testing scheme for schools and workplaces is picking these people up. The behavioural surveys do not suggest any change in reporting behaviour.

          Reply
        1. R

          I’m not sure if you are arguing for or against the efficacy of vaccination! :-)

          I am guessing you are for but people without access to those comparative data will be at a loss.

          https://i.redd.it/nt5fxdxducw61.png

          Above is a useful daily summary from r/coronavurusUK of indicators in Europe plus major world comparators. Ireland has about one third the US prevalence and about half the vaccination rate. UK has about one fortieth (!) US prevalence and a comparable vaccination rate.

          One difference is the UK had a hard “lockdown” from Jan to April (schools closed, non essential retail closed, leisure and travel closed, gatherings of up to six people only outside) which will not be fully released domestically until June (and foreign travel is under separate review).

          Another difference may be the NHS: vaccination rates are 99% in older cohorts and 95% in middle-aged (my wife and I got vaccinated this weekend at the local agricultural showground, took half an hour including 15m wait at the end for acute anaphylactic reaction before you could drive home by yourself).

          Reply
          1. Redlife2017

            I had mine Friday at the Francis Crick Institute. Mass vaccination is really quite efficient. All my friends bar one will take up the invite. They’ve done a good job of social outreach and general socialisation of getting a jab. I do wonder if just getting the text invite and the letter as well is what makes it… Easy? Like why not just get it, it’s straightforward…

            You really have to go out of your way to not get the jab, actually.

            And the antilockdown / virus hoax people lost tons of steam by the end of the second lockdown in December. By January lots of people had had B117 (Kent varient) and its not unusual to know people who have long covid or had awful non hospitalised experiences. A lot of people are believers in how crap Covid is..

            Reply
    2. Maritimer

      Aside from all the other problems of achieving herd immunity, I have never seen the problem of Overlap addressed by all these publicly preening experts. That is vaccination supposedly lasts around six months. Vaccinations started months ago and are ongoing. So, when you vaccinate the last group, the first and probably other groups efficacy has expired and you must start again with the first group. This fact alone means that the population percentage figure to achieve herd immunity must be a lot higher than experts claim. Indeed, depending upon the spacing between group vaccinations, it may never be achievable.

      Since the experts never address this obvious issue, I have added it to my lengthening list of odiferous rats.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        For myself it highlights those that used the term ‘herd immunity’ out of context to forward some ideological based economic theory, less its conditioning wane or previous labeled ev’bals become solutions in a pinch. Too that point some % of avoidable deaths was a preferable option.

        My allegory would be Bush Jr being informed of endemic mortgage fraud whilst his advisors said the ME wars – necessitated – it be ignored and how many that effected down the road.

        #2 on the list is uncontroversial and anyone attempting to mangle it too fit some concocted socioecon narrative is [familyblogged].

        Reply
      2. Stephen Gardner

        The statement was at least 6 mo. not only 6 mo. They didn’t have enough data to say more than that because the vaccine is so new. The problem with being too afraid is that it does no good. At some point people are just going to start living their lives regardless. The indications so far are that the vaccines are stomping down the numbers of infections and especially hospitalizations. There are two kinds of antivaxers: the kind that deny it is safe. We are familiar with that type of antivaxer. The other type is unique and new. They deny it is effective. The data show that they are both safe and effective. As we bend the curve ever more, the danger is that many refuse the vaccine because they think wrongly that it won’t do any good. I’m fully vaccinated and so is my wife. We have resumed normal life. We put on masks in stores to set an example but we dine out and enjoy our lives. People who can’t trust the vaccine are doomed to a life not worth living. I refuse to let this become like 911, with encumbrances lasting for 20 year of security theatre.

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          “The data show that they (the vaccines) are both safe and effective.”

          We have absolutely no long term safety data.
          We have absolutely no long term effectiveness data.

          “We put on masks in stores to set an example but we dine out and enjoy our lives.”

          You should wear masks in stores since despite being vaccinated you likely can still catch and transmit covid. It is not a matter condescending example setting.

          “People who can’t trust the vaccine are doomed to a life not worth living.”

          Yeah, not eating out or going to some stupid wedding out is like being imprisoned at Auschwitz. Good grief.

          Anyway, most people who don’t trust the vaccine are not particularly scared of covid, and have gone back entirely to their pre-pandemic habits. So they are not presently missing out on any of those thrilling life experiences.

          Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “They Survived Covid. Now They Need New Lungs.”

    This is going to be a lot harder than you might think. The number of people that are willing to donate are limited in the first place. But now? Maybe a lot of potential donors are now dead. What is worse, how many potential donors might have had their lungs damaged, even though they had only a mild infection, so that those lungs will be of no use donated? What will this mean going forward? Probably that any donated lungs will be reserved for younger people. There will be lots of them having damaged lungs while only in their 20s and 30s because of this virus so why would you give a set of lungs to a 61 year-old? It will be a bit like donation triage. it sounds rough but that is just the way that it is going to have to be.

    Reply
  13. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Mini roundabouts can be difficult in Northern Ireland.

    Like the one in the small but busy village I lived in which I often arrived at the same time as 3 other vehicles meaning that we all sat there wondering who had the right of way & as we were all very close accelerating into it could be very dodgy if the person to the right or left of you did the same. As my then car was pretty battered anyway with the drivers door a different colour than the others, it was usually me who sallied forth.

    On occasion a huge truck would just get stuck as it straddled the roundabout & none of all of this was helped by people wandering around in the middle of it all in an attempt to get to the other side. Sometimes the horn sounding reminded me of my mistake in hiring a car in Naples & I always kept well away during stressed Mum’s school runs.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Shadow roundabouts are always a very stupid idea, you should either have a roundabout or a conventional one, shadow roundabouts scream indecision by the engineers, and this transfers itself to drivers.

      There is plenty of evidence that the best thing to do in that sort of rural junction laid out long before you had engineering curves is to simply remove all markings and signs and let people make their own decisions. This is standard procedure in many northern European countries. But some engineers simply can’t resist the notion of putting up yet more signs and more road markings.

      Roundabouts are a very efficient form of layout for motorised vehicular traffic, but they have one big issue. They are an absolute disaster for pedestrians and cyclists. The Dutch have spent decades trying to work out how to make them bike/pedestrian friendly, and the result are very convoluted and complex layouts, which probably means they shouldn’t really have bothered.

      Reply
      1. doug

        The DOT around here(North Carolina) is enamored with roundabouts. They build them with too small a radius so they don’t have to purchase much land. They don’t work with a small radius.
        And Cars/Trucks are all that our DOT cares about. Pedestrians and bikes are an impediment to vehicular flow, and are ignored/discouraged.
        Their latest punishment is ‘Super Streets’ which no one but the engineers like….

        Reply
      2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        PK

        The village which was once actually one of the few in Ireland to be built around coalmines is now getting a one way system that might get rid of that white blob. They might also get traffic wardens as or at least the place had the questionable honour of being the only place in the UK that didn’t. A hangover from the Troubles in a place that was a Republican stronghold with a much & often battered fortress of a cop shop now a small block of flats. Many battles fought there the worst courtesy of the SAS.

        Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      In Iowa a few years ago I was shocked upon taking an interstate exit to find a roundabout at the end of the ramp. There was almost no traffic on the interstate or the highway the ramp connected to, and no visible nearby towns.

      I can only assume that there was a large employer somewhere just out of sight, and that at certain times of day the traffic was horrendous.

      Reply
  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Why Jamie Dimon, Walmart and McDonald’s Want to Hire Ex-Convicts

    Because JP Morgan needs consultants for their expanding criminal enterprise and it’s way cheaper than McKinsey?

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Many “crooks” who do not get caught do so by pure blind luck.
        “Crooks” who do get caught, discounting the absolute idiots, (we find that class everywhere,) will have the advantage of having experienced a “master’s class in crime” inside if they were so inclined. So, the odds are that free felons will have superior skills sets in their ‘chosen’ professions.
        It is possible to suggest that multiple incarcerations is an indicator for incompetence. That’s an issue for Human Resources to thrash out.
        Knowing the mind set of the upper managements at the big employers, the preferred term for the “Formerly Incarcerated” would more properly be “Sub-Human Resources.”

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          Anecdotally, I’ve heard that most “professional” criminals are caught eventually, and that most accept it as an occupational hazard and submit peacefully to the arrest/court system. I saw an interview with a judge once who said he was never afraid in criminal court. The times he’d feared for his life were in civil cases, dealing with people who were filled with rage at each other and the process.

          Reply
      1. newcatty

        Do you believe in coincidences? Today we have for our amusement the subjects of 1) ex-convicts, criminal enterprises, McKinsey and the Department of Transportation. A toy army jeep to anyone seeing the new cabinet Secretary that these dots connect to in our “new” administration.

        Reply
  15. jefemt

    Roundabouts: hey, I was heartened to see that humans appear to be able to learn and adapt—even in the home state of McConnell!

    Huge hew and cry in our town when the first one went up on the edge of the State U campus. Imagine that— six months afterward it is the flagship intersection that has carbon and time-respecting reductions…. flow continues, folks are not stalled blowing literally hours in a given week waiting for lights to change, belching exhaust.

    Yet, TPTB keep putting in mega-lane traffic signal controlled intersections. So, maybe we don’t learn , after all. Road diets and flow, baby.

    If you ever have a chance to attend (or heck, just go look) any presentations by Dan Burden, do so.

    Walk/ bike livable communities. Our town brought Dan in, very exciting stuff and then….then the town fathers and Chamber of Commerce said, not only no, heck no!

    https://www.pps.org/article/dburden

    As my Crowdorado-based planning pal opined, “I hate People”

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Jamie Glackin
    Let’s put it this way. If you saw this on RightMove you’d wet yourself laughing.’

    The pictures of that decorated flat are, well, hideous but I have an explanation. I am going to assume that the decorating decisions were made by Boris’s fiance Carrie Symonds rather than old Boris himself. So what I am saying is that this flat was designed and furnished by a woman who appears to have no problem seeing Boris Johnson naked so of course this is how she would furnish that flat if her tastes run to such things.

    Reply
    1. John A

      TBF, those photos are from the interior designer’s portfolio. What the Johnson and Carrie Antoinette apartment actually looks like is a state secret, for some reason. All that has been revealed is the use of gold wallpaper at £800 a roll and that John Lewis furniture has gone in the skip (dumpster).
      What is perhaps even more absurd is that every new resident gets to redecorate. So if Johnson is ousted soon, whoever takes over (Gove probably), would get another £30,000 to rip it out and start again.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I had to look up John Lewis furniture. Peering at the parts of the page visible around the highly irritating “Accept Cookies” pop up, I noticed the Lewis ‘name’ linked to Waitrose. Ah ha! Now I see the grift. Buy cheap goods and mark them up or tack on a “Consultancy Fee.”
        Seeing how this iteration of the Tories is ‘functioning,’ I say that it’s high time for a New Cromwell Movement.

        Reply
        1. R

          Come again? What’s Waitrose got to do with consultancy or cheap goods? It us a supermarket and, other than its Essentials range, Waitrose does not sell a lot of cheap goods….

          Are you thinking of something else and if so what, as I am baffled!

          For Left Pondian readers, Waitrose is the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership, one of Britain’s largest employee owned business (the founder left it to a trust on his death). Waitrose is famously the most expensive of the supermarket chains. It vies for that honour with Marks & Spencers (they both describe themselves as “Food Halls”) but it has a left of centre PMC / bourgeois Bohemian finish that M&S lacks (as a perfect example, it has a deal with Prince Charles to sell his organic Duchy food range).

          The best thing about Waitrose is the famous and deliberate decision to space the aisles wider apart and jack up the prices to compensate for the lower sales density of their shops (remember this is the UK where even farm land costs $15k/acre let alone urban building land). From this decision flows the unhurried calm of the shops while browsing single estate olive oils and a self-selecting clientele of professional middle class shoppers (plus canny people who know that their basic ranges are competitively priced, anybody can enjoy the calm and there are good end-of-date offers on the luxuries).

          Frankly, Waitrose is smarter and more chic (and more successful in retail terms) than its parent John Lewis, which is a bit matronly and unfocused. The only smarter grocers would be Fortnums or the Food Halls of Selfridge’s, Harrods and Harvey Nicks. Boris and Carrie will still be eating Waitrose tucker on their Lulu Lyttle dining table.

          Reply
        2. John A

          Sorry Ambrit, not sure what you mean. John Lewis is a department store chain that is actually ‘worker-owned’ in the sense that everyone who works there has a share and gets an annual bonus. Their slogan is ‘never knowingly undersold’, which means that they genuinely will refund the difference if you buy the same product cheaper elsewhere (though not online sales). Waitrose is their supermarket chain that is at the pricier but higher quality end of the spectrum. The John Lewis brand is perceived as solidly ‘middle class’ and Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, daughter of a church of England priest and not especially adventurous would I suppose by a typical customer of their furniture and furnishings.
          JL offers value for money and decent quality without being adventurous or cutting edge. The late Alan Clark, who inherited a castle in Kent, dismissively described Hesetine, an entrepreneurial Thatcher era Tory, who had made his own money, as ‘the kind of person who buys his own furniture’. Now Johnson and his fiancee, are a kind of Tom and Daisy couple that smash up things and leave others to clear up the mess.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Hmmm….
            I am suffering from a bout of “Foot in Mouth Disease.”
            I, not being domiciled in the UK, do not shop at Waitrose, nor any of the Lewis Group emporia. I took my characterization of Waitrose from snide comments read in the “dailymash,” which I was introduced to here on the NC. Alas, I must have read it wrong. Context is everything in humour.
            Thanks to both of the above for the eddification concerning Waitrose and the ‘Lewis Organization.’

            Reply
            1. newcatty

              Ambrit, admire that you admit to being wrongish( uh, did I just coin a word?) And are gracious enough to be thankful for edification on the topic. Refreshing.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Yes. It is sometimes hard to admit to yourself, much less to others one’s mistakes. The nature of the ‘mistakes’ points to character flaws. That’s where the hard work comes in. I’ve found myself repeating ‘mistaken’ behaviour after being made aware of the ‘mistake’ that drives the behaviour.
                This brings up a pet peeve of mine; how realistic is the concept of “changing personality traits” in “adulthood.” I like to believe that humans are perfectible all through life. If, however, some personality traits are “baked in” during childhood, the entire concept of “enlightenment” and “progress” becomes danger fraught. It’s a conundrum, wrapped in a deception, disguised as a falsehood.
                In the public spaces of our society, I see personal ego as the major impediment to progress. Philosopher Kings and Queens are very short on the ground. The smart ones seem to avoid the limelight like the plague. I, being quite outspoken and, really, obnoxious, often feel like a classical vampire. I’m afraid to look in the mirror. It might be blank.
                Stay safe all!

                Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    That’s a clear “win” if used in the ‘internal’ sphere. However, I grew up in a social system that equated “being wrong” with “failure.” Note that, in the Meritocratic System, one can almost never recover from “failure.” In this regard, the behaviour of banks and other lenders towards the eternally optimistic “failures,” in effect, “he or she has pranged this time, but supposedly has learned from the experience” is superior to the Meritocratic System’s take on the issue.
                    My dread is that I am “wrong” on something and am not aware of that fact. That leads to all sorts of complications. If, however, one is in a system that promotes ideological thinking above pragmatic thinking, one is fully “Down the Rabbit Hole.” We can all cite examples of that phenomena in our public realms.
                    Got to help Phyl in the kitchen.
                    Stay safe!

                    Reply
  17. PlutoniumKun

    Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran Foreign Policy

    There seem to be many stirrings from the Middle East to the Pacific as a range of countries are realising that the US is simply incapable of enforcing its will one way or another in so many regions, and so the mid to small sized powers are all trying to work out what it will mean for them. Its hopeful that even someone like MbS realises that this means more talk and co-operation as they can’t rely on the US being their private useful idiot anymore. But the huge increase in arms purchases worldwide indicates that lots of countries don’t see cooperation and stronger regional bodies as the only way forward.

    One of the many malign outcomes of the US deciding that it is the worlds policeman is that its has prevented or stunted the development of regional bodies – just look at the pathetic weaknesses of ASEAN. Even the EU is pretty much useless when it comes to foreign policy outside of trade (although this is a feature, not a bug of its design). Regional bodies need to be built up and strengthened very rapidly or the weakness of the US will lead to a vacuum, and vacuums love to be filled by people with guns.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It would be ironic if, as the US pulled most forces out of the middle east to deploy in the Indo-Pacific, that the net result would be a less violent region there as countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran sought an accommodation to their differences. maybe even Israel will get a little less bellicose. Needless to say, as more US forces are transferred to the Pacific, the whole region is undergoing a rapid militarization whereas for decades it has kinda been a backwater. Lucky us. The northern part of Australia is now being turned into a military district in all but name which of course will never backfire on us.

      Reply
    2. Kouros

      KSA and Iran wanted to talk for some time. remember that the Iranian general Soleimani killed with a drone by Trump was going to meet with the Saudis?

      Reply
  18. Walt

    Re: India Is What Happens When Rich People Do Nothing

    Conspicuously absent from Krishnan’s Atlantic discussion of the Bhopal poisoning is the name of the company who’s facility was responsible, namely Union Carbide.
    This omission seems odd, but there may be a good reason. Any comments?

    Reply
    1. Randy G

      Walt — Yes, that was interesting wasn’t it. The transnational corporation behind the disaster just kind of wafted away.

      It was a vague article moralizing on the moral failings of the collective “rich”. So apparently the solution is noblesse oblige— as no economic or political answer is on tap.

      The author mentions “economic liberalization” from the 1990s but then quickly moves on.

      The job of the “rich” in neoliberal capitalism is just that — to get rich, starve and loot the public sphere, and then get a little richer. Your moral worth is precisely equal to your wealth portfolio: Not a dollar less, not a dollar more.

      What’s the difference between the moral ‘vision’ of the rich in India versus the rich in America? The United States just started from a much higher level of development than India so it takes longer for the rich to loot everything of value.

      I have complete confidence the wealthy elites in the U.S. are up to the task of matching their peers in India given enough time and a fair chance.

      Reply
  19. LawnDart

    “Why Jamie Dimon, Walmart and McDonald’s Want to Hire Ex-Cons”

    I believe that there was a provision under the Second Chance Act that did allow businesses a tax-credit for hiring “former offenders,” but I don’t know if this is still the case. This might offset some of the disadvantages an ex-con might face, but you’d still need to find a forgiving employer in a forgiving industry to have a reasonable shot at gainful employment.

    People who are desperate are often easily preyed upon, especially so for one new or inexperienced in the world of legitimate employment. If employment is part of parole or probation requirements, the pressure is there to take anything that’s offered, and a boss who’s aware of this might take pleasure in drilling you extra hard: jail or prison might be more appealing than dealing with that sort of psychdrama every day, if you can’t keep it in mind that the job isn’t forever and that a first job is exactly that– a first job.

    In my experience, those who’ve served a long-bid tend to be much more reliable than those who cycle through the system on frequent, short-stretches. And those who have served serious time often seem to make for serious, and diligent, workers.

    Ex-cons are like ex-military in the sense that it is often hard to get past the stereotypes people have of these.

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      >”… you’d still need to find a forgiving employer in a forgiving industry to have a reasonable shot at gainful employment.”

      Not necessarily?

      From the little I’ve researched, the Second Chance Act still exists, yet I couldn’t find what benefits the employers by hiring them.

      But if so, it does seem to help those who deserve a second chance. Even among the biggest, good paying companies.

      I remember that when I got hired many years ago to work in the office of the largest truck carrier in the US, I was shocked when asked in the interview if I’d ever been in prison (no. Not even jail).

      She noted I’m not a person of color, either, seeming a bit disappointed by both.

      I finally asked if either would have been beneficial to me & she told me how the govt credited them if they hired from those groups.
      Union job (I had to join the Teamsters). Good pay.

      I remember feeling thankful at the time to be hired on my knowledge, work record & prior experience in that field, as I’d left the interview beginning to feel like I had strikes against me for being law-abiding & white. All because my ‘monetary value’ would have been worth more if that weren’t the case.

      It does seem like a good program & I’m someone who believes one stupid action by someone should not destroy the rest of their life as they’ve come to realize their mistake & suffered incarceration.

      Or even worse, because they couldn’t afford an attorney to defend their innocence.

      Reply
  20. crittermom

    I received my vaccination this past Tuesday. J&J, through our local health dept.
    No side effects that I’ve noted. My arm wasn’t even sore afterward & not even a Band Aid on the injection site (told it wasn’t necessary. Hmm?).

    Despite that, I was in a Walmart looking to see what they had in masks. I still plan to wear one for some time. (Like maybe 2022? Must play that one ‘by ear’).

    Since my opportunity to do laundry has recently been hampered by someone else moving into my landlords (& the ever-dropping water table here that currently only seems to worry me the most, as sand accumulates in the toilet tanks!), I decided I needed more masks.
    Closest laundry mat is an hour away & doing laundry is expensive!

    I enjoy my solitude so I rarely interact with others (preferring critters even more over most people I meet out in public as I’ve aged), but still must get out of my little world on occasion so remain vigilant about protecting myself & others.

    The store was one of the larger ones, yet they had little selection in masks. Very little.

    In fact, the black 2 packs which normally sold for $3.97 were on sale for only 25 cents!
    At that price I grabbed a bucks worth. 8 masks total.
    A nice employee I found when in search of masks informed me of the sale on those, as there was no sign advertising it.

    It appeared they were phasing them out.
    Wonder what WallyWorld knows that we don’t?

    I suppose they’ve made their billions from that ‘fad’ so are moving onto other things.

    Sure gives one a better idea regarding their markup, doesn’t it?

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Maybe WallyWorld knows that since people in this country are being told that, whew!, we have turned the corner on “moving ahead” of the virus, be free! Have a picnic or go to the mall. Echoes of Bush telling us to support the economy (and the troops): “Go out and shop!” Masks not needed or required.

      And, then for any recalcitrant people, like you ( and me and spouse, btw) WallyWorld and other merchants wi) replace boring black masks with designer creations. What, and you thought cool masks are only for the fashionista and/or important people? $3.97 for two was for those old masks. Here are your choices: starting price per mask: $3.97.Oooh, This one is just like what Nancy wears…it will match my purple T-shirt .

      Like you, Crittermom…pretty much prefer critters( especially my two cats) to most people in the world. It’s a good outcome from being older. The choice to be with people who love and respect me and my family. Not to have any ill intent or unkind thoughts towards others. Not willing to play social games or be their foils. Never before has the admonition been so relevant: “To thine own self be true”. Glad you are here.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        >“To thine own self be true”
        Funny you should mention that.

        I hadn’t known until more recent years that my family surname dates back to 1248 England & the family crest says either “Truth To Thine Self”, or “Truth By The Selfe”, as I’ve seen it both ways.

        Happy to be here. With my two cats (& new dog).

        Reply
  21. DJG, Reality Czar

    Chris Grey Brexit blog. Well, what a mess the English have created for themselves. Whenever I despair of the U S of A as it founders in its bog of incompetence, I think that at least there will always be an England! In a worse state, its head underwater in anti-ruleism (read the post).

    This paragraph is a brilliant summation of the debate that sometimes simmers here on what is neoliberalism and what separates the left from other political standpoints:

    To quote Grey:
    “For these neo-liberal Tories understood the market as a purely natural and spontaneous phenomenon, existing prior to regulation and being curtailed by regulation. Historically and philosophically that is nonsense – markets require regulation as a prior condition of their existence, even if only at the most basic level of contract law but in fact much more than that – and was revealed as such by the creation of the single market, when this normally hidden truth became highly visible because the law and regulation required to make a market unfolded in open view. Their fallacious understanding of markets connected with a naivety, shared by many leave voters, about the complex web of rules, systems, and agreements that makes the things they take for granted – like air travel, for example – actually work.”

    Neoliberals, which in the USA are most of the Republican Party and the Democrats’ liberal and blue-dog contingent, subscribe to the idea that markets are some natural force. Leftists know that the markets are social and legal creations. Neoliberals don’t even seem to understand that one of the roles of the state in creating markets has been to standardize weights, measures, and even time zones.

    So Republicans and the Democratic learned-helplessness wing of the U.S. Monoparty act as if regulating the markets is like King Knut telling the sea to desist from having tides. It’s one more lie.

    Happy May Day. Workers of the world, unite—to regulate markets.

    Reply
    1. R

      This Chris Grey article was what Yves describes as pearl-clutching.

      It is a bad faith argument to claim Brexit is stupid because it was about ripping up trade agreements only to want to reinstate them. This conveniently ignores the fact that Brexit was about leaving a self-avowed federal superstate of ever closer union. A majority of voters who voted did not want this and was willing to accept sand in the gears of trade to achieve it. They may have been misled about how much sand and weren’t expecting rocks but nevertheless, Brexit was not motivated by rewriting trade agreements but something much bigger and uncompromising.

      As for the Tories destroying the rule of law:
      – Labour previously led the country to war on a fake dossier of WMD claims despite million strong marches against it. At least Brexit got a vote
      – Dominic Grieve and the Speaker of the Commons ripped up the Parliamentary rulebook to give the Remainers the power to introduce legislation from the backbenches.
      – successive governments have watered down civil liberties
      – has Mr Grey looked North of the border at what the SNP has apparently tried to do with its executive and prosecutorial powers to Alex Salmond?

      What he doesn’t like is that the Tories have ripped up the rule of *his* laws. I don’t remember anybody asking the British if we accepted the judicial innovations that rained down on us from the ECJ for forty years and ripped up the common law. I seem to remember it was EU law that required the Lord Chancellor’s office to be split up (because it offended against EU views on separation of powers). I also remember that the ECJ and ECB have chosen to make up the laws when it suits them. And crucify Greece with the results.

      Don’t get me wrong, Johnson’s government is full of corruption but it is the corruption and authoritarianism of an entire political class, from Blair onwards, in the UK and the EU. The silk stocking in the jackboot is priced into any government. Starmer would be the same but ball-achingly duller to watch from the cheap seats.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        It was also pointed out that whatever neolib features the E.U. has is proportional to the U.K./Thatcherite embedding itself into the E.U. with a currency caveat – back when the pearl-clutching was about Socialism.

        Own goal if you ask me.

        Reply
        1. R

          This is true, Skippy.

          Whatever we vote for in the UK now, we will own the consequences. Here’s hoping it will be a new Corbyn rather than a new Boris. We will have only ourselves to blame.

          Reply
  22. antidlc

    My 2 cents on roundabouts:

    I will take a 4-way stop any day over a roundabout. They put in three roundabouts within about two miles of my house. Previously, these intersections had 4-way stop signs.

    There are three drivers in our household and all three absolutely hate roundabouts.

    With a 4-way stop, we had a reasonable expectation that drivers would actually stop and take their turn. Not so with the roundabouts. A lot of times people do not slow down approaching the roundabout. Some even accelerate. And if you are going north to south or south to north, the east-west traffic just keeps barging through the intersection, one car after another, not allowing the north-south drivers their turn. (or vice versa.) We have been stopped for long periods of time waiting for an opening to enter a roundabout.

    We’ve had more close calls in the roundabout than we ever had with the 4-way stop signs.

    Maybe we just live in an area with awful, self-centered drivers.

    Reply
    1. R

      If there is a main route with much heavier traffic, a roundabout is a poor choice. In the UK, these have often added traffic lights to throttle the main road traffic. US traffic planners are still getting to grips with them, obviously.

      Single lane roundabouts can still give minor roads a chance under those conditions: if a car from the dominant route decides to take a minor exit, it creates a gap into which a car can enter from the minor road, but two or more lanes makes it more dangerous because you have to pull on with another car going straight through beside you.

      I found four way stop roads in the US infuriating. In computer science, this is an algorithm with a deadlock condition. The same is not true of a roundabout because if everybody arrives at the same time, they all join simultaneously and proceed.

      It is mind boggling that the US is only just adopting them!

      Reply
      1. antidlc

        ” if a car from the dominant route decides to take a minor exit, it creates a gap into which a car can enter from the minor road”

        Not if
        1) the driver in the car from the minor road doesn’t know that the car from the dominant route will take a minor exit (it’s not like they use turn indicators) and
        2) the traffic from the dominant route is moving so quickly through the intersection that the car that turns from the dominant route is being followed closely behind by a car that stays on the dominant route

        The people here drive like crazy through these roundabouts. They take them way too fast.

        I will take a 4-way stop with stop signs any day before the roundabouts.

        Reply
      2. juno mas

        Roundabouts have been in place in the state of Colorado for 40 years. The US is adopting more of them as the federal traffic engineers have refined their design to accommodate variable road conditions and driver behavior (selfishness). Long running studies have shown (a well designed) roundabout to be safer than a 4-way. There is a learning curve; as well as a physical curve that must be placed in the roadway that generates a deceleration to a safe entry speed.

        Most of the circle portion of the modern roundabout now include negative super-elevation (the road surface is tilted away from the travel direction to give the driver a sense of “tipping over” when above design speed).

        A well designed roundabout is safer, easier to maintain, more attractive, and efficient than a 4-way.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          >awful, self-centered drivers
          >federal traffic engineers have refined their design to accomodate various road conditions and driver behavior( selfishness).

          This is really what the problem is, imo. When I decided to stop driving, it was mostly due to having vision impairment due to serious eye conditions that over a couple of years of medical intervention, was thankfully remedied. In those years I chose not to drive because of the stress of not seeing well and the increase of “selfish drivers” on the roads we traveled. One person, who knew me better(hmmm) told me I was “spoiled” by not “having” to drive. I gently reminded them that I wasn’t willing to get in an accident for myself and others. TBF, I was so fortunate to have a spouse who , mostly, drove me when needed or for traveling. Now, even as just a passenger, I am still amazed at selfish or reckless driving. This with a seasoned, “smart” and decisive driver at the wheel. Kind of a metaphor for the country’s people: selfish or numb, reckless or harried, on auto-pilot or hyperalert, stressed or half-asleep. It’s like it’s planned this way…And traffic accidents are just price paid for our “freedom” and illusion of movement. Collateral damages, like in a war for “freedom” and preserving the American Way. It’s OK…I think people’s are starting to wonder and question…

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            True on the drivers often being the problem and not the way the roads are designed. Bad design is a problem, but having nearly killed/been killed because of red light running, road rage, or the refusal to even slow down at the stop sign…

            Reply
        2. antidlc

          A well designed roundabout is safer, easier to maintain, more attractive, and efficient than a 4-way.

          But that’s the problem. The roundabouts they are putting in here are not well-designed. They are not safer. They are not more efficient.

          They are placing these roundabouts in suburban neighborhoods — intersections of two-lane roads. The roundabouts have a very small radius so you cannot easily merge in when a car turns. You do not have enough time to accelerate from a stopped position because the next car is barging through the intersection and you cannot get enough speed to zip in front of them.

          The roundabouts I am talking about are not the ones I have experienced in Rome and the UK.
          The roundabouts I am talking about are extremely small.

          I am not the only one in my neck of the woods complaining about them. At a city council meeting, one of the members said, “We heard you loud and clear — no more roundabouts”.

          One of these days I am going to try to see how many accidents these new roundabouts have caused.

          They should have never been put in. They are too small to work effectively and safely.

          I’d like to know who got the contracts for these things. Someone made some money. That money would have been better spent in the community.

          Reply
          1. skippy

            One of the aspects of a small roundabout is to slow individual vehicles down as speed negates any safety factors. They are quite often used here in Australia in suburban areas just for that reason, even quarter roundabouts with single lane on residential streets are often used to slow down drivers taking the “backway” during peak traffic demand.

            Fun Fact …. excessive speed in a roundabout will over time wear out ones outer front tire thousands of kl/mi faster than the other three tires.

            Reply
              1. skippy

                Lights create their own issues and at the end of the day broad driver behavior proceeds all outcomes.

                Per se here in Brisbane growth has increased traffic flows over the last 10 years. Main arteries are largely impacted by merging more than anything else, hence not long ago many began picking a spot to merge and wave out the window for the politeness. This has now become de facto and helps stop the compression issues with flow of traffic.

                Roundabouts are not a magic fix and not suitable to all locations E.g. most roads around here were established back in the days of the horse and not a grid plan. Stop lights are ill fitted to this application and create more safety traffic flow problems for – all – concerned.

                Reply
                1. antidlc

                  These intersections did not have stoplights prior to the roundabouts.

                  They had stop signs. 4-way stop with signs, not lights. It worked fine. People stopped and took their turns going through the intersection.

                  When the roundabouts went in, it became a free-for-all.

                  Reply
                  1. Basil Pesto

                    as skippy says, small roundabouts are ubiquitous in Australian cities outside of the central business districts and main arterial roads. I’m low-key gobsmacked by how controversial you seem to find them. it’s hard for me to imagine a more straightforward, uncomplicated and efficient traffic system on those types of roads, far more so than a cumbersome 4-way stop sign system. You slow down a bit and give way to the right (the left in the US). That’s it. If there’s no one on the right you slow down and keep on going. If there is, you stop and wait. It could not be simpler.

                    Reply
    2. chuck roast

      Rotaries seem to work OK in Massachusetts. In order to get a driver’s license there you need to fail the driver’s test…twice. You know what they say…a green light means go; a yellow light means speed up and a red light means stomp it!

      Reply
  23. Mikel

    RE: Internet of Shit

    Related: https://www.salon.com/2021/04/30/why-artificial-intelligence-research-might-be-going-down-a-dead-end/
    Conclusion: “In my view, there will be no progress toward human-level AI until researchers stop trying to design computational slaves for capitalism and start taking the genuine source of intelligence seriously: fluctuating electric sheep.”

    But really the skewering of the “brain is like a computer” dogma can never be skewered enough…so worth the read.

    Reply
  24. Mikel

    Some time ago there was a video posted about Boston Dynamics robots showing off their dance moves:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/nyregion/nypd-robot-dog-backlash.html
    Instead, the machine, which the police named Digidog, became a source of heated debate. After it was seen being deployed as part of the response to a home invasion in the Bronx in February, critics likened it to a dystopian surveillance drone.

    And when officers used it at a public housing building in Manhattan this month, a backlash erupted again, with some people describing the device as emblematic of how overly aggressive the police can be when dealing with poor communities….”

    So I guess the police weren’t entertaining people by showing off Digidog’s break dancing moves…

    Reply
  25. XXYY

    An example of why vlade has doubts about Russian hypersonic weapons: “They lost a very much of the actual manufacturing know-how.”

    Anyone who has worked in or near missile & rocket programs is familiar with the fact that catastrophic-looking failures and explosions are quite common, especially when something is still in development but also when something is in “production”. The energies and forces at play are just fantastic, and the need to keep weight and cost down means everything is always running right on the edge in every respect. The US space program in the decades after WWII, generally considered quite good, had tons of mishaps and explosions, as SpaceX and others do now.

    I wouldn’t read too much into a single failure, nor would I put on airs of superiority regarding the normally very capable Russian aerospace industry.

    Reply
  26. a. wells

    Re: The Dangerous Myth of ‘Taxpayer Money’
    This is purely a class and inequality issue, which can easily be addressed by tax policy. Dragging in the race, sexism and immigration is only serving to divide people and divert attention from the problems.
    There are rich and well to do Blacks and they don’t mind the status quo. Women in aggregate make less money, but does not society want them to give birth and take care of children? Equal pay for equal work and support the economically viable family structure, both by policy, and culturally – sexism has nothing to do with taxes. Being immigrant didn’t stop Elon Musk from becoming the richest man in the world.
    So, the valid points of the article may get lost, unless one doesn’t mind to waste time on reading gibberish.

    Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Wonder if he will end up the same way. So are you saying that his SpaceX is Musk’s version of the Spruce Goose?

          Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      yeah that was a weird flex. It came across like an MMTer trying to get down with the kids.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Hanging out with my mom at her assisted living place and it feels good to be in each other’s presence after 17 months on the lam…

    She is one of maybe 22,583 dead tree LA Times subscribers, and the paper has the look of being held hostage in a concentration camp and systematically starved, very thin gruel and practically no adverts in it.

    It’s 1/4 as thick as the version I knew 15 years ago…

    Reply
  28. Alex

    It’s my understanding that the “hypersonic weapons” that are actually deployed today are just short-range ballistic missiles fired horizontally instead of vertically (e.g. Russian Islander). As propellants and materials get better, one of those can be small enough to sling under a plane. Everybody has this technology, and it can be quite dangerous, particularly to aircraft carriers.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Technically the missile in the video, Kalibr (3M-54 or 3M14T), is subsonic. The anti-ship variant (3M-54) will accelerate to supersonic speed (mach 2.9) during the last 60 kilometers of it’s approach. It’s more of a cruise missile adapted to sea warfare.

      The missile you’re talking about is Kinzhal, which looks like a development of Iskander ballistic missile but likely isn’t – Iskander can only go supersonic, not hypersonic. Iskander’s development was the missile (9M729) that caused USA to leave the INF treaty.

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        USA left the INF in order to pursue missile developments against China. The alleged 9M729 development was just an excuse. Russians invited US many times over to come and see it with their own eyes. Every time Americans said Nyet.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Have to agree here. The American missile equivalent was tested only a few short weeks after the INF died which means that it was in development for years beforehand.

          Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    I’ve been watching the rise of catalytic converter thefts, and there’s delays in getting replacements, so the victims of ‘the shortage’ are all renting cars, right?

    Wonder what part of the price gouge in regards to rental cars involves this factor…

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    American Horse Racing Still at a Crossroads on Derby Day Patch
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Last went to the races @ Del Mar a couple years ago and there was the oddest of standoffs in that it was all white folks holding up signs calling for the end of horse racing, while every last counter protester was a Hispanic backstretch worker.

    Sport of Kings, and all that.

    Reply
  31. Cuibono

    did anyone ever receive any money out of Equifax? I submitted everything and never heard a peep

    Reply
  32. kareninca

    I live in Silicon valley. An acquaintance from India who attends my church left for home six days ago to try to keep his parents alive; they both are sick with covid. I also know a person from India who is here for school whose parents are back there and both are terribly ill; he can’t go back; all he can do is worry. It is terrible.

    This is hitting the professional classes. Here, the professional classes have been sheltered from it all (except for medical professionals). I wonder how it is that people with comparable resources in India have not been able to manage to hide out. Are they hiding out, but dealing with a more transmissible strain? Does that mean we are next?

    Although the articles don’t say so for the most part, it has got to be a zero sum game there with limited supplies.

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      The well-to-do (even the ‘middle classes’) in India and many other countries have retinues of servants inside and around their homes (maids, cooks, nannies, drivers, gardeners) , going out shopping and interacting with an ecosystem of other service providers. All breathing the same air….

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        Yes, but then why didn’t Indian professionals get hit during the first surge? That one hit the servant classes, who you would expect would then have infected their employers. But they didn’t that time around.

        I guess I’m assuming that since it was “working” people who got hit the first time around, that included servants. It seems like a reasonable assumption.

        Reply
  33. The Rev Kev

    “Myanmar: From diplomacy to force”

    ‘What the anti-Tatmadaw forces need strategically is the neutralisation of Myanmar’s air force. In tactical terms, this means the acquisition of anti-aircraft capabilities. If air power can be denied, ground forces will have a better chance to achieve at least a stalemate.’

    Manpads. This article is talking about manpads. Even in the bloody war in Syria, all sides are loath to supply manpads because you can never tell whose hands they could get into or where they will turn up later down the road. Supplying manpads into the middle of a civil war is just nuts because there is nothing to say that they will stay and only be used in Myanmar itself.

    Reply
  34. R

    Roundabouts need a strong culture of signalling your exit intentions to be effective. The police in the UK often pull people over for not signalling properly.

    If you want a really good example of inappropriate adoption of roundabouts, try Romance language Europe. The French culture of Priorité à droite meant that the first French roundabout rules gave *entering* traffic priority. The whole thing snarls up in emergency stops for crazy 2CV drivers white-knuckling it straight on in front of HGV’s.

    In the thirty years they have realised that if entering traffic has to give priority to exiting / continuing traffic, it all works better / nobody dies.

    Also, if you want a lesson in advanced UK roundabout theory. Look up the Magic Roundabout.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_(Swindon)

    This is five minor roundabouts arranged in a circle. This creates an outer loop circulating in the conventional direction (clockwise in the UK) and an inner loop circulating against the flow (anticlockwise in the UK) with ten interchange points between them!

    It works but (or possibly because) the unpractised find the whole thing terrifying and drive slowly.

    Reply
    1. Count Zero

      Never mind “the magic roundabout” in relatively tranquil Swindon. What about the Hanger Lane Gyratory System on London’s manic North Circular! The addition of traffic lights made it a bit easier to navigate but it was always a scary experience with cars and vans and lorries hurtling around in a blaze of sounding horns that would have been noteworthy even in Paris.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7140892.stm

      Reply
      1. R

        I didn’t want to scare them! :-)

        Gyratories are basically roundabouts that are so big as to pass comprehension as such but not so big they have become a ring road.

        Strangely I think the US taste for gigantism might find gyratories more tractable. It would give the nervous more chance of pulling on and more lanes to play with.

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        In Bangkok, the Victory Monument is in a huge four-lane roundabout which has traffic lights at the four ingress/egress points. During the evening rush hour traffic can back up for a couple of kilometers because of the way the police try to direct the traffic. Actually, the biggest improvement to the traffic flow throughout Bangkok came when they installed timers and displays showing the time left until the next change, and made most stops less than three minutes. Traffic gets jammed up again when the cops go into the nice, air-conditioned control stations and start pushing the buttons themselves, which is what happens at Victory Monument.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *