Links 5/8/2021

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Animals laugh too, analysis of vocalization data suggests PhysOrg (Robert M)

San Diego Gas & Electric Begins Wildfire-Fighting Pilot Program With Goats KPBS (David L)

The Speed of Sound Is Innately Encoded in The Brains of Bats, Scientists Discover ScienceAlert (furzy)

Sharks can navigate via Earth’s magnetic field, study confirms for the first time National Geographic (David L)

3 More Dead Gray Whales Reported In San Francisco Bay Recently SFGate :-(

How at-home euthanasia can help pets and owners Washington Post (Dr. Kevin). You can get that in NYC. One of the reasons I rationalize not having euthanized my second cat, who went into a pretty fast final decline with cancer, was he hated going to the vet. When he was healthy, he’d do everything in his power to tear the carrier apart.

Powerful Magnetic Fields in Space Have Been Seen Bending Black Hole Jets ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

Nuclear Reactions Are Smoldering Again At Chernobyl Science :-(

Sustainable flat-packed pasta morphs into shape as it cooks New Atlas (David L)

Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Bibliometrics or Peer Review for Research Assessment: Is That the Right Question? Institute for New Economic Thinking


Modi and Bolsonaro: 2 populists’ approach to COVID-19 DW (resilc)


Profiling B cell immunodominance after SARS-CoV-2 infection reveals antibody evolution to non-neutralizing viral targets Cell. In press. Seems impressive but reaches conclusions based on 1. a cell model and 2. memory B cell response only. How dispositive is this?

Is The Variant From India The Most Contagious Coronavirus Mutant On The Planet? NPR

Sinopharm: Chinese Covid vaccine gets WHO emergency approval BBC

CDC website now emphasizes coronavirus spreads in the air CNN (Kevin W)

NHS to allow pregnant women to book specific Covid vaccines Guardian (resilc)


In India’s surge, a religious gathering attended by millions helped the virus spread Washington Post (David L). Department of “In case you had any doubts…”


Think we missed this from Thurs: New Study Estimates More Than 900,000 People Have Died Of COVID-19 In U.S. NPR


Bad jobs report amplifies GOP cries to end $300 benefits boost The Hill

Cosmetic Surgery 2020 Data: Butt Implants Up, Botox and Hair Transplants Down Bloomberg (BC)

Cruise line CEO says ships may avoid Florida over COVID-19 passport ban The Hill


General: China’s Africa outreach poses threat from Atlantic Washington Times

Anti-China alliance coalescing in South China Sea Asia Times

Old Blighty

Ministers say Boris could rule longer than Thatcher’s 11 years: Results suggest Conservatives would take 36 MORE Westminster seats from Labour at next General Election – as triumphant Tories boast ‘WE’RE the true workers’ party now’ Daily Mail

Colombia on the Brink CounterPunch

Amid LNG Impact Fears, EU Aims to Send Troops Against Mozambique Insurgency ‘As Soon as Possible’ Sputnik

New Cold War

Detente: The Vital Word Missing From Discourse On Russia And China Caitlin Johnstone (Chuck L)


European Allies Ask U.S. to Slow Afghan Withdrawal Wall Street Journal

Milley: US Considering Training Afghan Forces in Other Countries Antiwar

‘A dirty business’: how one drug is turning Syria into a narco-state Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find ars technica

Worried the government will censor your cat videos? The rest of Bill C-10 is even worse Global & Mail (JHR)


Less Is More Heisenberg Report (UserFriendly)

GOP Civil War

Stefanik privately pledges to serve only through 2022 in House GOP leadership Politico. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

The GOP’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Obsession Atlantic (furzy). Putting here even though there seems to be a strong GOP consensus on this issue.

Right-wing coffee companies want to make coffee great again Vox

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Police-Overhaul Efforts Draws Bipartisan Agreement on Key Issues Wall Street Journal


Homemade ‘ghost guns’ face federal scrutiny as DOJ proposes new regulations on the firearms that are impossible for police to track Daily Mail

Our Famously Free Press

Introducing “Racket of the Week” Matt Taibbi

Yale endowment chief David Swensen dies aged 67 Financial Times. Neglected to include this yesterday.

ERCOT Expects Record Power Demand In Texas This Summer OilPrice (resilc)

California’s population falls in first-ever yearly decline BBC

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Is Buying Up a Texas Village. Homeowners Cry Foul. Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

Elon Musk’s Own Engineers Say He Exaggerates Autopilot Capabilities The Verge. Litigation futures?

Class Warfare

Fighting poverty with cash: Testing universal basic income in the real world PhysOrg

What A Higher Minimum Wage Would Mean For Older Workers Forbes (resilc)

Amid labor shortage, these Pittsburgh companies are filling open roles fast. Here’s how. Pittsburgh Business Times

Like Uber, but for cremations’: I created a $2m funeral startup – and became a monster Guardian

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (dk):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Terry Flynn

    Having been a middle-to-senior ranking research academic in both UK and Australia I’ve participated in both the peer-review processes of the UK and bibliometrics-based one in Oz.

    Not submitting certain people to keep up the score, rating down competitors, having journals that are newish but high quality and not-yet-corrupted-by-dominant-paradigms with low ratings therefore automatically penalise key articles being there. Let’s just say the processes were vulnerable to all these problems and more *sigh*.

    In short, neither was fit for purpose.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Peer review is really prestige review in my experience. Arrange to have someone famous as a co-author and you won’t have much trouble getting your papers published.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Mostly true but I have an Erdős number of only 3 and my co-author (Erdős number 2 and God in Math Psych) and I had real trouble with one paper thanks to, errr, someone.

  2. cocomaan

    The grapefruit article was wild!

    Who knew that grapefruit could make you OD on all kinds of drugs?

    As for the article about ghost guns:

    A $200 3D printer can print the receiver for any number of semi automatic weapons. Who is going to ban 3D printers?

    Rather than pushing more serialization, the federal government should be trying to figure out why Americans want to arm themselves. Sure, some of it is machismo, but a lot of it is because of the failed drug war, and a lot of it is because people are convinced that there will be civil war. Both of those have been fomented by the Beltway, the media, and Hollywood for a long, long time.

    1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      And some people just like to make ‘things’ and ‘stuff’. If the made ‘stuff’, or ‘thing’ actually works and it was handmade, I suppose that is an added ‘bonus’. That said, individuals occupying so called positions of responsibility and power seem to be hopelessly clueless, out of touch, or simply plainly ignorant regarding the motivations of other individuals, i.e., the activities are automatically viewed as a threat, or threatening to the order of things, or to so called “laws” that can be changed on a whim depending upon which way the prevailing ideological wind happens to be blowing. See for example, the following article for the obvious hints and clues,

      “Curiosity,” Alexander Shulgin was known to say when asked why he spent his life synthesizing mind-altering drugs. “Why have these things been revered for centuries? Why are they seen as being a conduit to contacting the spiritual world?” . . . . The D.E.A. was not pleased. Agents raided Shulgin’s property in 1994, and he was asked to give up his Schedule I license.”

      As far as “ghost guns” are concerned, anyone with limited knowledge and a garage machine shop can make a simple, low cost, blowback-operated submachine gun that fires from an open bolt. Or almost anything else, for that matter, as one is only limited by their own ingenuity and the the availability of raw materials and tools. See for example,

      “The market is made up of a warren of small barren brick factories, where upwards of 1,000 guns are manufactured every day, mostly by hand.”

      “Guns cheaper than smartphones in Darra Adamkhel”–

      1. Tom Stone

        The 3D printed FGC 9 Is impressive and can be built at a low cost, 80% Glock and AR 15 80% recievers cost more than buying a complete inexpensive AR or Glock at a gun shop.
        Both can be completed with the tools available in a Garage workshop.
        Building 1911’s from either a complete or 80% frame will run you about $1,500 dollars using good parts.
        The design is 110 years old, building your own will take a lot more time and skill than building most firearms
        You can buy a very nice, new, 1911 made by CZ for that price that will be reliable and more accurate than 99% of shooters can take advantage of.

    2. Retaj

      I started avoiding grapefruit after my aunt had a serious drug reaction. Whenever she would visit when I was a kid, she was very big on having fruits and vegetables including grapefruit in the morning. Fortunately, she is still okay.

      I am probably okay because I am not on any medications, but I avoid grapefruit. Certainly not the outcome big citrus wants.

  3. John Siman

    The framing of Adam Harris’s Atlantic essay, the full title of which is “The GOP’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Obsession: How conservative politicians and pundits became fixated on an academic approach,” is deceitful in the extreme. Note the protective quotes around ‘Critical Race Theory,’ as if it were the most delicate of metaphysical specimens. The prim, upscale, Liberal Class Atlantic readership must, of course, be flattered with euphemism, but the underlying message is clear enough: “Those crazy déclassé Republicans are Racists and always have been: Now those stupid, Trump-voting Bigots are clumsily trying to use an arcane phrase that properly belongs only to the hippest insiders at Harvard Law School.”
    Unprintable in the Atlantic: that Critical Theory in all its virulent forms — Wokeism, if you will — is an ongoing effort to destroy the founding of the United States on the Enlightenment understanding of political equality, and is therefore most coherently opposed from the populist Left.


    1. Carolinian

      We could debate how “enlightened” the United States has been in practice but certainly the principles have stood for something. The problem of course is not Critical Race Theory but that its advocates want to shut up anyone who doesn’t agree. Which is to say it’s really just a power play disguised as an idea as many have written.

      One part of the populace tries to “idea” the rest into submission while those others are busy printing ghost guns in response. In truth the Enlightenment era seems very far away.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        It’s fairly clear from this piece that ‘Critical Race Theory’ detractors also want to shut up anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Hence the waves of blatantly unconstitutional legislation, much of which targets the least powerful educators, and which may stand for years before being stuck down by the courts.

        High level academics pushing biased ideology can be harmful, but their ability to damage us pales in comparison with that of elected officials.

        1. Carolinian

          You are probably right that legislation against the insistence on one sidedness in some quarters of academia is the wrong approach. The ACLU would be the preferred champion but as Greenwald has pointed out they are not what they once were.

    2. JP

      Seems like it’s all about who gets to indoctrinate what to our children. My impression is critical race theory and the like is pretty weak tea compared to 200 years of virulent enforced christianity and flag waving.

      1. Geof

        Critical race theory is racism. Straight up.

        Take a look at this anti-racism hand-out by Robin DiAngelo. She claims that there is racism in every situation, that white people all benefit from it, and that white people should practice being uncomfortable about race.

        The result? White people acting nervous and weird. Work and research curtailed because it’s not being done by people with the right skin colour. I know of white professionals choosing not to with communities because they are afraid of putting a foot wrong, or of being cancelled. I know of someone whose celebrated career helping marginalized children is dead because he doesn’t have the right skin colour.

        It reinforces the belief that “race” is a biological fact. Which it is not. Here are Afro-American scholars Karen and Barbara Fields, in Racecraft:

        The shorthand [“race”] transforms racism, something an aggressor does, into race, something the target is, in a sleight of hand that is easy to miss.

        . . .

        what Americans designate by the shorthand “race” does not depend on physical difference, can do without visible markers, and owes nothing at all to nature. As the social alchemy of racecraft transforms racism into race, disguising collective social practice as inborn individual traits, so it entrenches racism in a category to itself, setting it apart from inequality in other guises. Racism and those other forms of inequality are rarely tackled together because they rarely come into view together. Indeed, the most consequential of the illusions racecraft underwrites is concealing the affiliation between racism and inequality in general.

        Why is skin-colour earth-shaking, whereas eye colour is not? Because of the concept of race. The idea of race is poison – today, just as it was a century ago, when Europeans spoke of a French race and a German race and a Jewish race.

        Critical race theory emphasizes “white privilege.” White privilege was invented by slave owners to destroy solidarity among white indentured servants and black slaves. MLK explains again how it was used during the Jim Crow era:

        The leaders of this [the Populist] movement began awakening the poor white masses and the former Negro slaves to the fact that they were being fleeced by the emerging Bourbon interests. Not only that, but they began uniting the Negro and white masses into a voting bloc that threatened to drive the Bourbon interests from the command posts of political power in the South.

        To meet this threat, the southern aristocracy began immediately to engineer this development of a segregated society. . . . Through their control of mass media, they revised the doctrine of white supremacy. They saturated the thinking of the poor white masses with it, (Yes) thus clouding their minds to the real issue involved in the Populist Movement. They then directed the placement on the books of the South of laws that made it a crime for Negroes and whites to come together as equals at any level. And that did it. That crippled and eventually destroyed the Populist Movement of the nineteenth century.

        If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost of psychological oblivion.

        Thus, the threat of the free exercise of the ballot by the Negro and the white masses alike resulted in the establishment of a segregated society. They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; they segregated southern churches from Christianity; they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; and they segregated the Negro from everything.

        You really want to put that malignant dynamic on steroids? Give privileges to both groups. Make both privileged and both oppressed, and you need never fear the working class.

        And then there will be the backlash. If white people are racist, and they are told they over and over that are privileged, what do you expect them to do? They will defend their privilege. Promulgating the idea of white privilege does the job of racists for them.

        Anti-racism is an evil old wine in new bottles. It is racism.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And the funniest thing about all this is that DiAngelo is not even White. She’s Italian.
          Who died and made her White?

          Someone should ask her that on camera to see if they can make her melt down on camera.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Aye, and a damn’d Papist to boot! Those mustachioed Latins, Celts and Slavs take anarchy and sedition in with their mothers’ milk. They take their orders to breed like rabbits directly each week from the Antichrist in Rome. And some Russian gents tell me their priests mix children’s blood in the Communion wafers, or something.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          Geof, Do you have a link or reference for the long MLK quote? I’m studying up in this area and would like to read the whole document.

          1. Procopius

            Quick search tip: if you have what you think is an accurate quotation from a book or essay, you can copy a section of three or four sentences and paste it into your search engine (I’m currently using Duck Duck Go) and it will (probably) tell you where it came from. If the quotation is not quite accurate or altogether apocryphal it’s likely to tell you that, too. My first thought is that this sounds like something from “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” but I’m not really familiar with that document.

        3. JP

          I don’t disagree except racism. When I was a lad the term racism was not bandied about everywhere. Mostly it was referred to as prejudice. I prefer the term because racism has become a pejorative. It’s probably more like a disease. The term racism is currently being used to indicate cultural prejudice. A important component of racism is zenophobia. In any case the problem is taking care of itself by today’s rapid melt down of the genetic pool. It should be a done thing in a couple of hundred years at this pace.

        4. Aumua

          White privilege was invented by slave owners to destroy solidarity among white indentured servants and black slaves.

          This statement is actually true, but the real truth behind it is not that easy for a lot of people understand and/or accept. The privilege, based on racial characteristics was not just made up by the ruling class to exist as some fictional thing. It was created and bestowed upon part of the working class who were promoted to a special place within that working class. This was codified into law and it was part of the process of clarifying who were indentured servants and who were to be chattel slaves, and echos of this are still reverberating in our society, down through Jim Crow, even into today. MLK’s writing up there is actually talking about this. And to be clear, that privilege has been used to oppress both the privileged and underprivileged people. That doesn’t mean it’s not real though. It is real and the enslavement of the Black people is only the most obvious manifestation of it.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > It is real and the enslavement of the Black people is only the most obvious manifestation of it.

            I’m with you until this last sentence, so let me ask you: Would slavery have continued to exist, and would slaveowners have formed the Confederacy to retain it, if slavery had not been profitable?

            1. Aumua

              Well yes I see your point and let me clarify: Slavery itself is not simply a result of privilege, but the fact that black people were enslaved while white people (which didn’t even exist as a category before this process of promotion took place) were not was the very creation of white privilege. The master/slave relationship is of course economic in nature, and profit is the motive which is why it is said that the roots of Capitalism in the U.S. are inextricably tangled up with racism, because they are. The same dynamic of ruler and ruled exists in the employer/employee relationship which is necessarily exploitative, it’s practically just a matter of degrees.

              The motive of slavery was profit, but the motive of promoting one part of the working class above another was to divide them and to protect the ruling class (plantation owners) from revolt.

        5. Chris

          Condolences, but arguing for the end of “race” as a concept is going 200mph in the wrong direction to get home. White people in America need to accept that BIPOC are much more likely to suffer from systemic racism and violence that results in poverty and imprisonment. There can be no abolishment of “anti-racist” thinking for the sake of comforting defensive/myopic/ambiguous citizens. There must be a term for opposition to unjust social systems i.e. racism. That term is “anti-racist”

    3. marym

      Here’s another link.

      “…we dug through bios, school archives and academic resources to find out how these GOP legislators gained their knowledge of America’s past. In most cases, we were able to find the exact textbook each legislator’s school district used for one of the state or American history courses. In other cases, we were able to find contemporaneous descriptions of the textbooks from academic journals or reports.”

      In considering revisions to the teaching of history it’s useful to see what’s being revised.

      It’s also useful to understand current GOP objections to teaching about about race, diversity, and the legacy of slavery in the context of current GOP laws about who should be allowed to vote.

      1. Mme Generalist

        “…we dug through bios, school archives and academic resources to find out how these GOP legislators gained their knowledge of America’s past. In most cases, we were able to find the exact textbook each legislator’s school district used for one of the state or American history courses. In other cases, we were able to find contemporaneous descriptions of the textbooks from academic journals or reports.”

        Seriously? We really are officially in witch-hunt territory.

        The 1619 project is a propaganda campaign that gets essential historical facts wrong and it’s hardly just republicans who say so. It has been debunked by a host of historians, most notably Leslie Harris who is herself a black woman and expert on slavery, as her bio at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences shows, who was a fact-checker on the project and made her objections public.

        What would be “useful” would be to remember that it was the Democrats who controlled the Jim Crow south. Both parties have a long, terrible history regarding attempts to manipulate voting.

        Critical Race Theorists and the woke mob, et al. aren’t interested in fairness. They’re only interested in turning the tables. This is a race-retribution effort fueled by a delusional lust for power among a few upper class blacks using white guilt to make allies of their sworn enemies. It must be stopped.

        1. marym

          The history and current status of the content of textbooks in US schools are important aspects of understanding education in this country.

          Leslie Harris on the 1619 project:
          “Overall, the 1619 Project is a much-needed corrective to the blindly celebratory histories that once dominated our understanding of the past—histories that wrongly suggested racism and slavery were not a central part of U.S. history. I was concerned that critics would use the overstated claim to discredit the entire undertaking. So far, that’s exactly what has happened.

          [The 1619 Project] has also become a lightning rod for critics, and that one sentence about the role of slavery in the founding of the United States has ended up at the center of a debate over the whole project.

          It is easy to correct facts; it is much harder to correct a worldview that consistently ignores and distorts the role of African Americans and race in our history in order to present white people as all powerful and solely in possession to the keys of equality, freedom and democracy. At least that is the corrective history toward which the 1619 Project is moving, if imperfectly.”

          On “the history of the parties’ switch on civil rights”

          1. Mme Generalist

            Nice cherry-picking. In your response to my comment you replicate the approach taken by Hannah-Jones and defended by her predecessor in lying about history to make a point, Ava DuVernay in the film “Selma.”

            The truth is not a minor detail to be pushed aside if it leads to the possibility of more nuanced views arising about topics that one wishes to be seen as cut and dried. This is a pernicious approach in anybody’s hands.

            With the twitter link you want to appear to those who don’t follow the link to have refuted my point, but the thread supports it.

            Specious, much?

            1. marym

              The twitter link is to a series of tweets (with additional links) which (as the brief quote in my comment indicates) describes the history of conservative Democrats moving to the Republican party as the Democrats took on the issues of civil and voting rights and Republicans took on the objection to those rights. It’s not a refutation of the claim that Democrats were once the party of Jim Crow. This isn’t disputed even by Democrats who think well of their subsequent position on supporting these rights.

              I’m not sure what your comments about truth-telling mean. I quoted from an article written entirely by the historian whom you referenced. It includes both her criticism of two elements of the 1619 Project and her assessment of the response that criticism has received. Maybe I should have included more of the former, but I thought it was sufficiently referenced in the portion I did quote.

          2. pasha

            precisely, maym! the textbook industry is geared to the state of texas, which has monopsony power because it mandates that all public schools use the same textbook. it is hard to make a profit if your book isn’t accepted by the texas editorial board, which is notoriously reactionary. hence, the sad state of most american textbooks

        2. JP

          And the pendulum swings. Imagine if John Turley was suddenly liberal and used only half the available information to make his biased claims. Would conservatives howl? History never writes itself and is always generalizations. Complete context is probably impossible for any single snapshot in time. So history, as written, is always interruptive and can always be considered propaganda. Even if you were there in the room, and heard what everyone else heard, others in the room would not agree with your impression of what went down.

        3. dcblogger

          that is not witch hunting, it is reporting. it is entirely appropriate to ask where these legislators got their ideas from.

        1. The Rev Kev

          According to John Mc’s link, mobs like the NYT expanded their coverage of ‘racism’ after Occupy Wall Street was crushed by Obama when white and blacks were finding common cause. Upthread, the old South brought in Jim Crow in response to whites and blacks coming together in a populist movement. So it seems to be the same tactic but this time it is a reverse Jim Crow that is being used to split white supporters from anti-racism causes lest they be canceled.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Data Show Demand for Butt Implants Soared During the Pandemic”

    In terms of a Venn Diagram, is there an overlap between that set of people that got themselves a butt implant and another set of people that have noticed that they put on extra weight lately? I’ve seen images of women that have had this procedure done and to tell you the truth it just looks weird. Not so much regular women anymore but artificial constructs of some sort of woman that is supposed to be attractive. Yeah, nah!-

  5. Geo

    “How at-home euthanasia can help pets and owners”

    I did this for my cat a while back. When she first started to fall ill I took her to a vet clinic and they offered to euthanize her right there saying there was nothing they could do. I wasn’t ready yet, and she didn’t seem to be either considering that morning she’d been chasing a butterfly in the garden. I took her to another vet for a second opinion and this one gave me fluids and meds to prolong her life a bit. It helped and she did ok for about another week – a wonderful week where she slept by my feet at night and sat in the garden during the day enjoying the sunshine. I told her to let me know when it was time. She’d always had an ability to communicate well and seemed to understand. (I’ve tried but don’t seem to have this ability with my other cat.)

    Like your cat, she hated going to the vet (or anywhere). So, I researched options during this time and found home euthanasia services. Called a few and found one that just felt right.

    I highly recommend it. Can’t speak for all of them but the vet who came to my apartment was amazing.

    About ten days after that first vet offered to put her down on the spot (still mad about that!) it was clear she was starting to suffer so I called them. The vet arrived at his first available time that evening around 10pm. Literally waited in his car until I was ready (almost 45 minutes) and when he did come in he was very patient. Had my cat in the garden (her favorite place to spend her time). She could barely walk at the time but as he prepped his gear she started off toward the neighbor’s property. She was letting me know she wasn’t ready yet. The vet asked if I still felt it was time. He noticed what she was telling us too. I told the vet not yet. Thanks to his kindness I had another few days with her to spend in the garden. When it was time, I called him again and he came out to do it. Was quick and she was ready. Went gracefully.

    Not to be crass and bring up the cost but it was expensive. Yet, he didn’t charge for the first visit which was really kind. As someone too broke to have my own health insurance or ever go to a doctor it seems stupid to spend so much on a pet’s end of life care but, to me it was worth every penny. Both for her to be able to go while in her garden, and for the vet’s compassion which gave us a few extra days together.

    My other cat is a brat and I often joke that when it’s her time I’m just gonna toss her into traffic, but honestly, if I have to pawn some stuff I’ll find the funds to do this for her too. Heck, I asked the guy if he would do it for me when it’s mine time too!

    1. Jim Hannan

      I just read an interesting book on medical aid in dying called “The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die”.

      As the author Katie Engelhart states, “When I started reporting the book, I heard this phrase over and over … ‘I’d rather die like a dog.’ “A lot of people spoke to me about euthanizing beloved pets in their past. They talked about [euthanizing their pets] as being acts of mercy and acts of love — and all they wanted was the same option for themselves.”

    2. HotFlash

      Agreed. Fortunately, some local veterinarians will do at-home euthanasia in my city, and should I ever feel the need for a little help myself, this lady is friend and neighbour of long standing.

    3. Zephyrum

      I had to euthanize my cat who also hated the vet. I called them and asked if they’d come to my house, and a couple vet techs stopped over after work on their way home and took care of him. They were really nice about it and didn’t even charge extra.

    4. Rod

      Glad the WP covered this, though i am well aware, most are not as it appears relatively new in the market.

      Thanks for the sharing of your story. So Sorry for your loss within your circumstances and the way you found resolution.
      My Household has walked this way 3 times in the past 16 months and is still within the shifting sands of the aftermath. Both we and I, have familiarity with the path–because it’s been a long life shared with many companions and friends.
      Thankfully, it has never gotten any easier, but has gotten more understandable.

      Years ago my friend and Vet, broke the basics of decision making down to me–as a friend but as a Veternarian.
      #1 was Acknowledging to yourself that it’s your Emotions and their Physical Status that are at play, but only Their Physical Status should truely drive the decision–whether you are ready or not.
      #2 Trust your friend and what they are ‘showing and telling you’.
      #3 Drink, Eat, and Eliminate is the Base Line.

      Having a reference can give you Relief:

      Our long time country Vet and old friend closed his Practice early last year, and we sought another that specifically offered this service in cosideration of our last surviving girl–sweet Molly ( ).
      Six weeks ago it was time and we needed it and Covid did away with that offer. My wife was crushed, as was I.

      Not to be crass and bring up the cost but it was expensive.
      Reality is Reality–we should all talk about it openly and without judgement.
      So we called the Euthanasia Vet late Thursday–they were a week out for 300$ but could rearrange (within 36 hrs) ASAP for 500$.
      We took the ride for the Time not the Money

      Molly is in our ‘Loveland’ now, and her Gladiolus are 2′ tall and strong.

    5. Annieb

      We had an at home euthanasia for my son’s family dog who was in end stage cancer. The entire family was present including my 10 year old grandson. The vet was very experienced and emotionally supportive. I was very hesitant to attend, having endured several vet office euthanasias, but the experience was very peaceful. Our beloved dog passed easily and I’m very glad that I was present.
      One wise thing my son and his wife did was to inform the neighbors what was going to happen at the house so that they would not be alarmed and so they could explain to their children.

      1. Rod

        Yes, the best of a bad situation. A Blessing there.

        The entire family was present

        and that makes talking of, and consoling about, that lost love so much easier.
        Because grieving has still to be worked through to get clean.

  6. Geo

    “Fighting poverty with cash: Testing universal basic income in the real world”

    Great article. Still bothers me how no one ever seems to mention Alaska when discussing UBI (not mentioned once in the article even though it seems very relevant to the study). While not a true UBI, Alaskans get about $2k annually from a state fund financed by oil companies drilling in the state, and have since the 1970’s. They have a poverty level far below the national average and people still work there. It’s so popular there Sarah Palin got elected defending it from cuts by the prior gov.

    Not to get all tinfoil hatted about it but why is this ongoing, popular, and successful form of UBI already happening in America never talked about? Am I missing something? Seems like the media just doesn’t want us to know that companies who extract wealth from our land and lives should actually be made to pay us for it. If only we did this to Nestle (water), Facebook/Google (data), and so many others.

    1. timbers

      Good point. I am seeing libertarian oriented sites crowing about UIB causing a labor shortage.

      But they are cherry picking, because nary a mention of the record high profits in the economy combined with historically low wages, as measured as a percentage of the economy.

      They also ignore a principle they are usually quick to invoke: The Free Market God. If the market is so free and awesome, it should move to equilibrium and solve the labor shortage, no? So why hasn’t it? Why has the Free Market failed for decades to raise wages, a lot?

      What this show is their true agenda which is to transfer more wealth away from workers, towards the rich.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s almost as if the Invisible Hand of the Market is giving workers the finger.

        1. Ook

          That would be “the Invisible Finger.” I’m sure Smith must have written about it…

          1. Procopius

            He did:

            The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen.

            Wealth of Nations, Book II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 10

            If the owners give workers livable wages, they might be able to scrimp and save enough that they could quit and look for a better job. I often wonder how many, if any, of them have enough self-awareness to know their own motives. I believe, without evidence, that many of them are completely aware that they are lying. I often wonder about why Jeff Bezos imposes the cruelty he does, but, not being a mind reader, I will never know.

    2. Rod

      Thanks for the reminder and the couching of it.

      NPR teased their story for two days by not referencing a UBI –but instead as ” see how “Free Money” is changing peoples lives”
      Raw meat to their Clientele.

    3. Oh

      Add mining companies, frackers and other oil extractors, pipeline companies as well as all companies using public right of way to the list. The royalty should be directly paid to all citizens of the country.

    4. Mikel

      “It’s so popular there Sarah Palin got elected defending it from cuts by the prior gov…”

      That’s a big reason it’s not talked about.

      But I also don’t remember Palin talking much about that kind of program herself on the campaign trails of 2008.
      Anybody else remember Palin herself pointing to this accomplishment much at all during that time?

  7. timbers

    The Vital Word Missing From Discourse On Russia And China Caitlin Johnstone

    About that list of questions Caitlin Johnstone shows of Norah O’Donnell asking Secretary Blinken on 60 Minutes…they read as if she’s holding something back, as if she is showing us frustration because she can’t seem to get the the point she really wants to make/ask.

    Perhaps I can help her out:

    Norah O’Donnell: “Why don’t you just Nuk’em both and get it over with, Secretary Blinken?”

    1. John

      I was nine years old when we dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Seemed like a good idea at the time as the war ended. I remember feeling secure that WE had the bomb and the USSR did not. I remember feeling of the loss of security when the USSR tested its device. Then the drill was to scare hell out of everyone, pile up bombs, build the “super” the H-bomb because the evil Commies were out to rule the world and we must be scared and vigilant. The first hint of rationality was the atmospheric test ban circa 1962. As the stockpiles grew ever larger it became apparent to all but the war lovers that nuclear war was civilizational suicide and possibly the end of most higher life forms.

      Now, we have chatter about the use of tactical nuclear weapons; talk of war with China or war with Russia or war with both. Such conflicts will go nuclear and that will end the discussion.

      Gorbachev was on the right track when he did his best to get Reagan to agree to setting the world on a track to get rid of all such weapons. It is the only rational course, but expecting rationality in this mad world is either to hope against hope or to be delusional. I’ll take hope.

      1. Mikel

        After the Soviets handed the overhyped Nazis their butts, they were on the way to help finish off Japan, already decimated in many places by relentless firebombing.
        I’ve always thought the nuking of Japan had more to do with sending a message to the Soviets who were in route to do what they agreed to do with a previous admin.

    2. Carolinian

      Randy Newman wrote a song about it. Clearly though Noron (as some have styled her) is immune from satire.

    3. tegnost

      I can see this being belted out by barbara streisand with full symphonic backing and just a little more dramatically than necessary……
      It’s poetical…
      “I know you say the goal is not to contain China, but have you ever seen China be so assertive or aggressive militarily?”

      “Do you think we’re heading toward some sort of military confrontation with China?”

      “Let’s talk about human rights. Describe what you see is happening in Xinjiang that maybe the rest of the world doesn’t.”

      “If Xinjiang isn’t a red line with China, then what is?”

      “The Chinese have stolen hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars of trade secrets and intellectual property from the United States. That sounds like the actions of an enemy.”

      “And so did President Biden tell President Xi to cut it out?”

      “China thinks long term, strategically, decades in advance. Is America just caught up on the latest fires here and there, and we’re not thinking long term, strategically, and as a result, China will surpass us?”

      “What is the administration going to do about Hong Kong?”

      “Then why not boycott the 2022 Olympics in Beijing?”

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        “China thinks long term, strategically, decades in advance. Is America just caught up on the latest fires here and there, and we’re not thinking long term, strategically, and as a result, China will surpass us?”

        I know this was not your particular point, and I love the idea of Streisand belting this out at Kennedy Center before a select audience of the Great and Good,

        ….but people who ought to know better just keep trotting out this “See All, Wise Chinese Spiritual Masters Do, And Grand Plans Have They” fortune cookie crap. It’s just utter bunk, as empty and fictional a concept as Asimov’s psychohistory, manipulating bloodlines, the Thousand Year Reich, or Manifest Destiny.

        The Chinese, including their own PMC, are as opportunistic and impulsive a people as you will find anywhere, no better and no worse at prognostication or deferring gratification than the rest of our pleasure loving species. As soon as they got rid of the foreigners and their own warlords (including some with red stars on their caps) and remained at peace, they were bound to resume their customary share/control of 25-33% of world GDP. That is being accomplished now. Good work [prolonged thunderous applause].

        But Patriotic Chinese of course love this Ten Thousand Year Plan stuff (heck, Europeans drank this same koolaid, which is why you got the Church of Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, Romania, and even the Turkish sultanates of “Roum”). It’s comforting, like religion: some Higher Wiser Power Is Looking Out For You, Well Maybe Not You Specifically, But Your Children and Neighbors.

        So do the ruling authorities, since it bolsters their never quite secure claim to be heirs to the eternal Mandate of Heaven.

        For similar reasons, this myth is retailed abroad by credulous Westerner credentialists trying to one-up their rivals back home. (our own much loved Professor Hudson likes to float this stuff too on occasion, but I guess the man needs to eat)

        … Anyway, Edward Luttwak points out that the Chinese people ought to be demanding a new set of wise, all-knowing mandarins, since that Chinese thousand year master plan hasn’t actually worked out very well for them. The Throne of Heaven has been in the unwashed hands of fur-clad barbarians for 1600 of the last 2000 years. And even under Han Ming rule you got myopically stupid and ruinous megaprojects like ‘Build A Wall’ visible from space, sending and then burning the treasure fleets, banning all trade and depopulating the coastal provinces (repeatedly) in a vain effort to stop unpleasant ideas (and money) coming in from overseas.

        Luttwak notes also that legendary Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu, was advising princes on how to outmaneuver one another in civil wars and power struggles (as did Machiavelli), while dissipating the coffers and blood of the great Han nation. Sun Tzu’s works give no useful advice on how to outmaneuver the thuggish Huns, Mongols, Jurchens, Englishmen or Japanese who came in, largely as a consequence of this nonstop infighting.

        The wise and far-seeing ‘strategy’ for coping with them was basically that of Confucius, who advised ‘bending in the storm like the green reed’ which is essentially to say, meekly submit to their depradations and make the best deals you can until they go home or are absorbed under the great Han roof.


  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Amnesty International: We are re-designating Alexei Navalny as Prisoner of Conscience. He has been imprisoned for demanding a government that is free from corruption, the right to equal participation in public life for himself & his supporters. These are acts of conscience.’

    Prisoner of Conscience my a**. With his history and his attitudes, how many people would be happy to make somebody like him President of the United States? This is a guy who Ted Cruz would find too extreme. If he went to visit Boris at No, 10, Boris would have to make sure that the silverware was put away first. And Mark Ames is right. So far as I know, Amnesty International has been satisfied with just sending Joe Biden a sternly worded letter about Juian Assange and a coupla tweets. I never heard about them demonstrating outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, especially when he was dragged out. Amnesty International is a garbage organization.

    1. Nikkikat

      Rev Kev good post, regarding Navalny demanding a “government free of corruption” he will be waiting a long, long time to find any government to fit that description! I know He won’t find it in the good old USA.

      1. Pat

        Considering Navalny’s American friends, I believe there is an unspoken addendum to that: “that doesn’t enrich me.”
        Corruption is such SOP in this country, I am sure they won’t consider the ways they help him to be corrupt, but since once in office it would have to continue it most certainly is “renting a friendly foreign leader, with a generous advance and steep annual payments” aka bribery and grift.

  9. pjay

    – ‘A dirty business’: how one drug is turning Syria into a narco-state – Guardian

    So now Assad and his “regime businessmen” are running a “narco-state.” Huh. I can’t remember, have the stories about Assad and his associates running pedophile sex-slave operations or harvesting organs for sale come out yet? If not, they will.

    When I see the word “Syria” in a Guardian headline, I know I’m about to be enlightened.

    1. Alex Cox

      So The Guardian is now fighting the War on Drugs… against the government of Syria! I have never heard of the drug they mention, just as they, apparently, are unaware of our NATO ally Colombia, and its principal export.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It took me a while to remember that name Captagon but now I do. It was the drug supplied to the Jihadists in Syria by countries like Saudi Arabia to hype them up to the point of being maniacs. The Washington Post did a story about it back in 2015 and it was called the “jihadist’s drug” back then. Then ISIS started to manufacture a version for export to countries like Italy and Lebanon to fund their movement. There was even a doco that came out six years ago called “Captagon: Breaking Bad Jihadists”- (1:33 mins)

        By golly, I’m noticing a pattern. The west crushes Libya and the result is the return of slavery markets. The west crushes South American nations and the result is millions of people crossing the border into the US. The west crushes Iraq and the result is the spread of extremist Jihadists. The west crushes Syria and the result is starvation and an illegal drug trade. Before I forget – that last bit about starvation in Syria? Syria’s breadbasket is under US occupation and trucks have been spotted transporting harvested wheat – into Iraq. The west should find another hobby.

        1. tricia

          Another old story on Captagon before the US turned it on its head:

          The US is really the world’s biggest narco-state. CIA drug running used disable populations, to fund ops, to destroy opposition to land and other resource dispossession. Claims that target govts are “narco-terrorist-states” just a part of hybrid-warfare…we’ve seen/saw any or all aspects of this in Vietnam, Honduras, Haiti, Columbia, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.

          So much disinformation out there. Americans ought to be skeptical ANYTIME the US says something negative about any govt in the crosshairs. This is true throughout our history. The propaganda has unfortunately been often incredibly successful, however. Americans don’t see the patterns because we’re trained to see history – and the present- as a collection of disparate events.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      That something is “off” about this article was my first thought, too, pjay. This especially caught my eye:

      The research organisation the Centre for Operational Analysis and Research, which focuses on Syria, recently released a report highlighting the role of Captagon and hashish in the country…

      So who are these people? The organization’s website does not provide any names, as far as I can tell, given limits on my time and energy. However, my initial search turned up the name of one of the co-founders, who did stints with the IMF and the Pentagon, the latter as a DoD “human terrain analyst” stationed in Afghanistan, along the border with Pakistan. No doubt an expert in public-private drug smuggling.

      The article did not link to that study — odd, until you start reading it and realize that the Guardian piece is a cherry-picked rewrite. “Odd,” too, that the original’s references include a January 2014 Guardian article, Captagon: the amphetamine fuelling Syria’s civil war

      And “odd” that The Guardian omits details about Captagon in the NGO study, which claims that much of the smuggled Captagon doesn’t even contain fenethylline, but is “a cocktail of more common substances, including caffeine, amphetamine, and theophylline.” The good stuff goes to Saudi princes at a premium, while the fake pills circulate among war-weary Syrians, in what evidently (if this narrative is to be believed) is analogous to the U.S. opioid epidemic — tragic, but not worth sending in troops … unless it’s for a piece of the action.

      I can’t decide whether to read the Guardian piece as a harbinger of military intervention, as “media outreach” by the military grift industry, or as something else. Then, those alternatives aren’t mutually exclusive. FWIW, the aforementioned centre is located in Cyprus. No names, no financial transparency. Makes Bellingcat look like a paragon of integrity.

      1. pjay

        Yes. The resources the West has invested in this massive anti-Syria propaganda war are amazing. And the UK has led this effort (with plenty of help from the US and its media lackeys). At least Russia and China have the capacity to fight back. But the misery we continue to impose on this little country is beyond belief. And since they continue to resist, they must continue to be punished. Psychopathic.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          Something just doesn’t add up here. It’s beyond my abilities and resources to dig deeply enough to discern the policy goals driving the shifts in PR — e.g., Captagon was the drug fueling ISIS brutality and funding their military operations. Now it’s Assad who’s behind it, or Assad’s family, or groups aligned with the Assad regime, take your pick, plus Iran-backed Hezbollah. A quick search shows there’s not even a standard definition of the drug. Guardian says it’s fenethylline; COAR says it’s sometimes fenethylline, sometimes a “cocktail” of other compounds; further quick search finds the scientific explanation that it’s a prodrug, inert until metabolized by the body into amphetamine and theophylline, which is similar to the bitter compound in cacao.

          Adderall contains amphetamine and three other amphetamine salts (but no chocolate), and it comes in an immediate-release form, no waiting on digestion. Is all this hand-wringing about a drug not all that different from a commonly prescribed ADHD med and a counterfeit version that apparently doesn’t even provide the same “high?”

          This all smells to high heaven, and not just because of U.S/British imperialistic designs. I wish Scahill or someone of that caliber would get right on it.

        2. Kouros

          The resources invested are peanuts compared to an actual war in which US/UK troops were sent to fight against Russian backed infrastructure…

    3. lordkoos

      I disliked the inclusion of hashish in their “narco” state reference. Hashish is strong but it’s not a narcotic, it’s simply concentrated cannabis, which is now legal in many places.

      1. jr

        In NY, compounded marijuana carried much heavier penalties than just a bag of herb. I was considering going into business with a pot dealer, making marijuana enhanced ice cream and sorbet, but after reading that possession of even a small amount of concentrated pot is a felony we dropped the idea. (The R&D phase was epic. Remember the scene in Goodfellas when Henry is visiting his mistress’s coke lab? That was my apartment for a few months during the lockdown except there were bowls of strawberry, banana, and chocolate ice cream literally laying around everywhere. I was also stumbling around in my underwear, dazed.)

        It now seems you can possess up to 23g of concentrated pot but take a look at this chart from NORML regarding NY:

        Hash & Concentrates
        Possession of less than 24 g No penalty None $ 0
        Possession of 24 g – less than 1 oz Felony 7 years $ 5,000
        Possession of 1 oz or more Felony 15 years $ 15,000
        Sale Felony 15 years $ 15,000

        One extra gram sends you from zero risk to the possibility of 7 years in jail! FYI I did notice an error on the NORML website, they claim you can possess plants now in NY but that’s not the case, it won’t be until 2023:

        Why is that? One article I came across featured a Cuomo official explaining in matter of fact terms why you need to give the business community a head start, time to set up nurseries and such, because they are apparently a requirement for filling up a pot of soil, fertilizing it, and planting a fragging seed…

    4. JTMcPhee

      Not a word about how the Empire has stuffed the Troops with amphetamines to amp them up to be Super Soldiers and then downers so they can sleep. And that is just the surface of the chemical “interventions” the warlords in the Pentagram and DARPS and the spook agencies have undertaken and are planning to goose up the action in the Forever Wars. This is from “Is it Ethical to Dope Troops So They Fight Better? ”

      As my ex-wife used to say, “When you do it , it’s wrong! When I do it, it’s different!!”

      Plus, of course one is not supposed to talk about how the illicit drug trade and the involvement of our government the Oligarch Regime in the global drug business, including pushing drugs on poor Americans.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Nuclear Reactions Are Smoldering Again At Chernobyl”

    Nothing good has come from that region since it blew about 35 years ago. Decaying towns, radioactive animals migrating across Europe, you name it. I saw one story a while ago and bookmarked it about all those radioactive military vehicles that the Russians parked there as being too dangerous to go near. And there were hundreds of them, including choppers. The problem? They have been disappearing and nobody knows where-

    1. km

      Admittedly, i have not been there in some years, but many of the aircraft moldering away at the museum of the Ukrainian Air Force are marked “radioactive”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        They must save a bundle on their electricity bills for night-time lighting then.

        1. RMO

          You can find that warning symbol in quite a lot of old aircraft – for things such as radioluminescent instrument markings and emergency markings, various radiactive isotopes used in other systems (ice warning sensors being one) and depending on local regulations they can be required even on depleted uranium control counterweights. Even some of the aircraft in the school I went to to train as an AME here in Canada had radioactive warning labels on them. The museum aircraft could be warning of radioactive contamination but not necessarily.

          1. Bill Smith

            The aircraft instruments that I once tested in a Cessna 195 came out 10x local background radiation.

  11. flora

    re: NPR article.

    It’s a full court press. From Forbes:


    Pfizer and BioNTech began the process of applying for full FDA approval of their Covid-19 vaccine Friday, an expected move that could force the issue of whether vaccine mandates—proposed for schools, colleges and even some workplaces—will be a legal way to combat the virus.

    1. Carolinian

      Taibbi is doing great work and he and Greenwald are now proposing to also use their platforms to showcase other writers. Is a new variant of “the only way to ensure freedom of the press is to own your own” coming into being?

      1. lordkoos

        If Taibbi and Greenwald are smart they will make sure their web servers are hosted outside the USA.

        1. Jason

          They might want to make sure they are outside of the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, or even 14 eyes. And then some. This article does a nice job explaining the various agreements, both formal and informal, in place among various member states for sharing information:

          ProtonVPN itself, though based in Switzerland, keeps servers in many of the countries it outlines in the article, including the U.S. This is noted by a Proton staffer in the comments section.

          1. Jason

            Adding, how do we know ProtonVPN itself isn’t an intelligence joint?

            I use the ProtonVPN free edition.

          2. GramSci

            I use (a) They at least claim to aspire to be green, (b) they’re based in Germany/the EU, perhaps giving slightly better privacy. ( c ) they’re basic and cheap and reliable, and (d) they’re not Google or Microsoft or AT&T or Verison or …

      1. Procopius

        I took an auditing course in 1960 or ’61. Back then the archetypical example was the McKesson & Robbins case. I don’t find details in the articles that come up quickly, but we were told the fraud had gone undetected for many years. It was discovered because one of the senior accountants assigned to the audit thought the quantities listed on the balance sheet for materiel stored in warehouses in Windsor, Ontario, just across the river south of Detroit. Much to the annoyance of the partner who would have signed off on the audit, he insisted on physically checking the inventory. It wasn’t there. Thanks for the story, though, because I never looked up The Musica Brothers before, which is how they were referred to when I was a student, and they’re a really interesting crime family.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “New submarine threat: Top U.S. general says China pursuing Atlantic naval base”

    This General is worried that a Chinese base on Africa’s west coast would be too close to the United States? Seriously? At its closest, there is a distance of over 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) between the two. That is several hundred miles longer than between New York and L.A. And this General belongs to an organization that has a minimum of over 800 bases overseas. If China built this base, it would be *checks notes* their second base overseas. In addition, the US already has 29 “official’ bases in 17 different African countries with at least 6,000 “official” troops. What are they doing there? Who knows. But judging by those soldiers that got killed not that long ago, at least some of them are fighting.

    But I can imagine what this General Townsend would be like in any negotiations with an African leader and it would go like this.

    General: ‘I just wish to state that the United States will better any offer that the Chinese can make and more.’

    Leader: ‘Good. Good. What we desperately need is a new port so that we can export our goods to the world…’

    General: ‘A navy base? Sure, we can have one set up in no time and have warships stationed there 24-7!’

    Leader: ‘No. No. No. Not that. The Chinese are saying that they will help us set up a trading zone for our goods.’

    General: ‘A military base? We can do that too. Haliburton will build it and charge you not too much though you may want to check the electrical work afterwards.’

    Leader: ‘You are not listening General. Our people need modern education and the Chinese are willing to train our people in the skills we will need for a modern world.’

    General: ‘Ah, military training. We can train your soldiers in our methods after you buy our weapons and our spooks will train your people to put down any dissent lickety-split. Just look what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

    Leader: ‘Thank you for your time General but I must go now. My Mandarin teacher is here.’

    1. RMO

      And of course the US naval bases in Japan and Korea are so far away from China that there’s no reason for the CCP to complain about them – due to the magical geography of US exceptionalism! /s

    2. LifelongLib

      Well, German WW2 u-boats based in Europe torpedoed ships off the U.S. east coast, so theoretically submarines based in western Africa could be a threat. I agree that considering the size of our navy and how many bases we have, it’s a bit hypocritical for the U.S. to complain about it…

    3. JTMcPhee

      On average, that African leader is far more likely to be concerned about the size of the grift that will go into his personal and family treasure chests than about education of children, or even efficient cargo ports, which are great sources of corruption even here in the Homeland, and also facilitate the imposition of globalization and the export of looted resources.

      The minions of the Empire and the people who operate supranational corporations that are arranging the looting, austerity and war in most African nations are enabling failed states and very rich ruling elites that do what they do, everywhere and always. Obviously the sale of weapons and the Empire’s intent and efforts to buy “interoperability” with African national police and military forces are going great guns

      Some people and organizations have tried to wrap their arms around the scope of the corruption and looting, but it’s a Sisyphean task, , and there are no real remedies or levers to force any kind of pro-social change…

    4. Procopius

      Something I want to mention about those “800 bases.” There used to be a position on the organization chart for the Joint US Military Advisory Group, Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI) for a postal clerk in Rangoon. He never existed, but I’ll bet the position is still listed as one of those bases. The JUSMAGTHAI compound in Bangkok is a lovely walled compound with two story buildings running around the inside of the walls and a two-story administration building in the middle. The Army Postal Service stopped serving them in October 2019. I think there are four or five American officers there now, and it has not been an “installation” since 1972, but I’m sure it’s one of those 800 bases. I really, really doubt that number, but I’m pretty sure there are well north of 400, maybe more than 500, which is insane. Do we still have a base at Leghorn (Livorno), Italy? Is the R&R Center at Garmisch, Bavaria, FRG, still a base? I would love to see an update on that number, which I think is used to create panic, rather than to inform. I don’t think any place where less than 100 soldiers are stationed should be called a “base” for this purpose.

  13. Chris Smith

    Re: the Atlantic article on Critical Race Theory

    I notice the wokies, who are usually opposed to the idea of free speech these days suddenly rediscover its value when the GOP comes to shut them up. Perhaps the GOP in Idaho and Louisiana should declare their states ‘safe spaces’ from wokies. Wokies love safe spaces.

    But the thing that really gets me about the Atlantic article is that it gets what is going on on the ground wrong. Derrick Bell, Bryan Stevenson, Kimberle Crenshaw, et al. have some really keen insights into the way law actually works. But most wokies your run into in real life, aren’t doing or contemplating critical race theory. The are reciting critical race theory vocabulary they don’t really understand like a mantra or prayer. Phrases like “check your privilege,” “white fragility,” and “centering whiteness,” all only mean “shut up!” when they say it. Our average cube farmer or cube farm manager isn’t reading, much less understanding Bell and Crenshaw. Like Michael Lind put it, woke-speak acts as a PMC marker, recited as a performance without understanding

    But, more importantly the wokie (who is almost always white or white-presenting in my experience) is separating themselves out from those other non-woke white people. The wokie, by being woke, gets a special dispensation from whiteness, so whiteness becomes something those other white people have. Thus the white PMC can hate the working class for their whiteness, while whiteness does not apply to the them despite their skin tone.

  14. Michael

    Re Conservative Coffee companies…why not, who cares? I chuckled out loud at this line:

    “Slowly but surely, coffee became a wedge issue in America, and an easy target for the relentless MAGA grift.”

    MAG fries, MAGA beer, MAGA TP, MAGA dog breeds…

    How long before we have a MAGA pro sports team?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      MAGA sports teams? Err…MLB and the NFL. The Plantation called the NCAA. The NBA and NHL have better unions, so they aren’t as nuts.

      1. Jason

        It would be nice if the powerful players unions would act in solidarity with other unions, or just workers in general. The jobs serving food and drinks and cleaning nasty toilets at their own stadiums are grueling – all so people can pay exorbitant sums to go watch these guys dunk and hit home runs and play with an oblong ball.

        I say this as a lifetime sports fan, though my interest has been steadily waning for years.

  15. pck

    As a researcher in an immunology adjacent field, the B-cell paper is fascinating. It looks like they at least show pretty conclusively 1) that the antibodies produced against two other COVID proteins (Nucleoprotein/NP and open reading frame 9/ORF9) do not provide protection against COVID in an animal (!) model; 2) In human beings, that certain demographics, in particular older folks, have a greater percentage of B-cells that are reactive against NP or ORF9 instead of the spike protein; and 3) that for many people, the percentage of memory B-cells reactive against the spike protein goes down over time, while the percentage of ORF9 and NP reactive B-cells goes up.

    I can’t comment on the validity of the animal model, and I’d love to hear a real immunologist talk about the second point. In particular, is it actually a bad thing if more B-cells are not sensitive to the spike protein? There’s a universe where young folks have 1000x more spike protein B-cells than they need, and older folks just have 100x more than they need, so the actual difference in outcomes isn’t there. Or, there could be an unintuitive benefit to having anti-NP or anti-ORF9 antibodies? I have no clue immunology is the strangest thing. Thanks so much for sharing the link though, thought provoking and the data they share might actually be really useful to my partner!

  16. Mikel

    RE: “Elon Musk’s Own Engineers Say He Exaggerates Autopilot Capabilities “The Verge.

    A friend of mine was telling me about another aquaintance getting a Tesla.
    I’d have to have a talk before ever getting in that car with him. I’d have to discover, in a non-combative, conversational way, where they are on the spectrum from “auto owner with realistic expectations for a machine” to “deluded Musk/Tesla fanboy”.
    Your life could depend on knowing where the Tesla driver is on that spectrum.

    1. The Rev Kev

      May 8, 2021 at 12:30 pm’

      Isn’t the Colonial Pipeline the one that has a massive spill around a nature preserve near Huntersville, North Carolina? Something like over a million gallons or more?

  17. Jeff W

    Is The Variant From India The Most Contagious Coronavirus Mutant On The Planet? NPR

    While Karthik Gangavarapu, the computational biologist at Scripps Research Institute quoted in the article, reserves judgment regarding contagiousness of the B.1.617, Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and professor of molecular medicine, flatly rejects it:

    The B.1.617 is not the driver of the catastrophe in India. It may be contributing a small amount, but it has been overhyped as the “double mutant” that’s causing it all.

    Topol says it’s “not clear whether [the E484Q mutation found on the B. 1.617 variant] has any function.”

    The Scientist noted in April that the E484Q is “similar to the E484K mutation” and that mutation “appears to help the virus partially evade immunity conferred by prior infection or vaccines”—a separate issue from contagiousness—but Topol says the two variants of concern, B.1.351 and P. 1, both of which have that E484K mutation, are susceptible to the vaccines, although he does say (somewhat confusingly) that the P. 1 variant “could lead to breakthrough infections in vaccinated people or reinfections in unvaccinated people who had COVID-19”—perhaps he’s not ruling out the possibility. “We need several more weeks to sort it out.”

  18. Pat

    I realize this is CNN’s report on the CDC update, and as such it could be presented as more casual than the actual report. Still if you read that article it would seem like just a small addition rather than the radical change of method of transition that it is. Droplets are still there and the danger from surface contact.

    But since they do spout the party line regularly, it appears someone at the top of the CDC has figured out they cannot ignore aerosol transmission but simply cannot admit that most of their advice was useless to dangerous.

  19. Maritimer

    Worried the government will censor your cat videos? The rest of Bill C-10 is even worse Global & Mail (JHR)
    Here is a video of PM Trudeau bragging about corrupting the media and “greasing” the wheels.

    When our Dear Leaders are so open about their manipulation of “democracy” and their contempt for the public, well, maybe the political system deserves another name.

    Woe, Canada!

    1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      Context, may or may not be everything, but it is sometimes necessary for clarity and in both avoiding and minimizing, and/or eliminating confusion and deliberate mischief making.

      See for example, “Misleading Trudeau ‘joke’ video demonstrates the political power of editing”

      Or, from another perspective requiring both the needed insight and outlook; since to apply the following literally to the foregoing would be misleading, but not entirely so, as it is still applicable in an abstract fashion, that is:

      “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

  20. BoyDownTheLane

    “… he’d do everything in his power to tear the carrier apart.”

    That’s pretty much what I’m going to do if they mandate my vaccination.

  21. enoughisenough

    Was there a problem with my comment that I’m unaware of, that it hasn’t come out of moderation in over 6 hours?

    Other people have been posting since.

    How does it work around here? I’m confused.

    1. enoughisenough

      Well, ^ that posted.

      Well, I was just saying that “Critical Race Theory” is a pretentious name for something very unremarkable and uncontroversial. Understanding that there are racist structures, and racist applications of otherwise neutral structures is not really earth-shattering.
      It’s a mode of analysis, not a “theory”. Like all analyses, they can be applied to some topics more effectively than others. “Race” is a broad topic, so you can really pretty much analyze anything through the lens of race.

      But mandating that everyone *must* apply this analysis, rather than others, is intellectually limiting. Having some academics that specialize in it is fine.

      But the pretentiousness of it of course is red meat to the rabid right-wing, who just love any perceived “excesses” of academia to use as a cause celebre to further defund higher ed in the USA.

      The liberal, estab. Dem cohort either do not understand how they play right into the Right’s hands, or are too craven and happy to get the press for being a paper tiger, pretend-fighting the right to notice they are doing a disservice to the very causes they say they are acting in.

      1. enoughisenough

        ok, I tried to recap my comment, and am in moderation again. Others have commented on the CRT issue, I don’t see what in my comment is triggering moderation?

        I’d like to at least know. I *am* an academic, and it seems odd my take would be a problem.

        1. HotFlash

          My dear e=e,

          Do not take it personally. I have been in moderation many, many times, my comments almost always show up eventually, as I am generally fairly moderate (ahem) in my comments. Links seem to trip the auto-mods, as do certain words (my guess is that ‘r*ce’ is one of them), and the comments that trip the triggers get put on hold until a real human has a look at them. Which may take a little time — Yves, Lambert, Jeri-Lynn, and Jules are not 7-24, esp on weekends. It is this actual-human moderation that keeps NC’s comment section of such high quality, so we are patient. And thankful. BTW, Tip jar upper right, under the kitties, just sayin’.

          PS: I cannot and do not speak for NC mgmt or staff, just relating my personal experience.

          PPS Enjoying your comments, your perspective on this topic as a current academic, so in the thick of it, is interesting and valuable to me.

      1. enoughisenough

        thank you. It looks like my comments have been released from quarantine above, yay!
        Can’t imagine what tripped the tripwire, honestly.

        1. Procopius

          enough: I thought ALL comments are now sent to moderation. At least I get the notice on all of mine. I don’t mind, though, as my location makes it difficult for me to follow them in real time. I’m usually reading comments from a couple days ago, so try to prevent myself from replying.

  22. kareninca

    An acquaintance of mine went back to India to help his parents through pretty dire-seeming cases of covid. He is in his 40s so I would guess they are in their 70s. His father, who has many comorbidities, is fine now. His mom has some lingering problems, but is overall fine. They both had had one Oxford-AstraZeneca shot; he surmises that that is why they fared so well. They are comfortably off so they did have good hospital care; I presume that was also a factor.

  23. Duck1

    Reading an Alastair Crooke post regarding the Biden foreign policy attempt at reset, ran across a rather amusing point about the situation leading up to the 2022 elections:

    “Biden’s vulnerability in the 2022 mid-term elections is underscored by the fact that apart from his handling of the coronavirus, the majority of Americans disapprove of his performance in all other areas. The U.S. might whiplash off in a different direction, leaving the EU clinging to a stranded asset (Biden).”

    It has seemed to be the case that the elections have gone back and forth in the US for quite a while. The slim majorities at present indicate little success at a “great” progressive agenda, perhaps that is the point–move left when you can’t move the legislation.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “TK Newsletter: Introducing “Racket of the Week”‘

    Matt forgot a very well used one – called bait and switch. An example?

    ‘Give me your vote and there will be a $2,000 cheque out the door to you immediately!’

    ( A few weeks later)

    ‘Hey, this is only a $1,400 cheque. And it says that I might have to wait a few months to get it – if I qualify at all.’

    ‘Promise kept! No need to thank me. I got what I wanted’

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Our Famously Free Press”

    So this journalist and ex-CNN White House correspondent – Michelle Kosinski – puts out the following tweet-

    ‘As an American journalist, you never expect:
    1. Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly
    2. Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know
    3. Your own govt to spy on your communications

    Trump’s unAmerican regime did all of these.
    No one should accept this.’

    Hilarity ensues-

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