Links 6/25/2021

Sea lion opens gate to crash fisherman’s interview about a ‘plague of sea lions’ BBC

The Clothed Home. Tuning in to the Seasonal Imagination exhibition London Design Biennale2021

A Star Is Born Lapham’s Quarterly

Cats and the Good Life Los Angeles Review of Books

Journalists Hit New Low by Betraying Source Real Clear Politics (BC)

The cooling of John le Carré The New Criterion

Radio waves from Earth have reached dozens of stars MIT Technology Review

The Pentagon’s Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police. Here’s How Wired

Czech Republic: Deadly tornado sweeps through villages BBC (vlad)

113 degrees forecast in Portland as ‘life-threatening’ heat looms AccuWeather

Earth-like biospheres on other planets may be rare (RH)

Miami firefighters risk their lives to drill through ceiling of collapsed 12-story condo basement to reach survivors in desperate search for NINETY NINE missing people as police open probe and dramatic footage emerges of its disintegration Daily Mail

Baseball’s Goofy New Job: Belt Inspector WSJ


The Very First Case of COVID-19 Was Much Earlier Than We Knew, New Study Indicates Science Alert (David L). NC has been saying for months that modeling at UCSF ascertained Covid was circulating in October.

First COVID-19 case could have emerged in China in Oct 2019 – study Reuters

Breaths, deaths, and missed breaks: How counting defined my days as a pandemic nurse Stat

Coronavirus: Cathay Pacific makes vaccinations for Hong Kong crews a must, Britain labelled ‘very high-risk’ country South China Morning Post

Amid High Covid Hesitancy, One Rural-College President Mandates Shots Anyway — With a Catch Chronicle of Higher Education

White House deploys top officials in vaccine blitz The Hill

Israel resumes indoor mask requirement after rise in Covid cases Guardian

Brazil’s inquiry into Covid disaster suggests Bolsonaro committed ‘crimes against life’ Guardian


Opinion: Why Putin and NATO are facing off on the Black Sea Deutsche Welle

“I Keep Telling Myself that Justice Will Prevail” Der Spiegel

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

US seizes 33 Iranian state-run media sites accused of election disinformation Ars Technica

US seizure of Iran-linked websites ‘shortsighted’, analysts say Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

Biden endorses Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure agreement Politico

Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal a ‘Disaster in the Making’ Common Dreams

How Real Madrid’s Florentino Pérez Built His Evil Empire Jacobin

Student loan servicer censured over ‘what appears to be false’ congressional testimony Yahoo Finance

‘The Goal of These Ads Is to Distract From Their Actual Business Model’ Fair

Federal Reserve gives U.S. banks a thumbs-up as all 23 lenders easily pass 2021 stress test CNBC

Venice counts cost of mass tourism as cruise ship conflict rages FT

How the Venice Biennale Makes Life Harder for Working Venetians Hyperallergic

Class Warfare

Lord of the Roths: How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank ProPublica

Hedge funds rethink tactics after $12bn hit from meme stock army FT


Brazil Probe on Covaxin Deal Turns Focus to Offshore Payment to Bharat Biotech ‘Partner’ The Wire

India’s Farmers and the Neoliberal Playbook Counterpunch


American ‘decoupling’ from China, deconstructed Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

Beijing Calling: Suspicion, Hope, and Resistance in the Chinese Rock Underground Rolling Stone


Burma’s central bank once again put 6 million US dollars into the market to stabilize the exchange rate What China Reads

Confident in Its Impunity, the Myanmar Junta Ignores Diplomacy NYT

Trump Transition

EXCLUSIVE: Trump laughed at Rudy for falling asleep on planes and ‘spitting during meetings’ and would tell him he ‘sucked’ and was ‘pathetic’ after TV appearances, new book claims Daily Mail

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. We go Way Back

    Covid and October – a local paper in Sweden Dala-Demokraten reported last year that people having visited China already in the summer 2019 had returned and falling ill with symptoms very similar to Corona.

    1. HotFlash

      Reuters reported that corona virus appears to have been in Italy as early as September 2019. Coincidentally, I am sure, Canada’s RCMP escorted two researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory (Winnipeg, Manitoba) plus 7 of their students in July 2019, presumably after some investigation. Apparently she/they had sent virus samples to the lab in Wuhan, but most recent story is that Prof Qiu patented in China some research she did in Canada as a Federal employee. Isotope_C14, who works in a lab, culturing viruses, says that sending virus samples from lab to lab including across country borders, by mail, is often done and without any special permissions, paperwork or records. So, maybe it’s just a shrug. The timeline, however, is interesting, to say the least.

      1. JBird4049

        who works in a lab, culturing viruses, says that sending virus samples from lab to lab including across country borders, by mail, is often done and without any special permissions, paperwork or records. So, maybe it’s just a shrug.

        Which, all by itself, one of the tells of just how thoughtless, or perhaps just so maniacally focused on ease, cheapness, or profit (the grift, con, or ponzi scheme) over safety, resilience, planing the future, or commonsense in every area of our society: business, government, science, music, transportation, education, climate, religion, or whatever.

        1. Isotope_C14

          Thanks JBird4049 and HotFlash –

          To be clear, it was either an EHEC or EPEC pathogenic e-coli, so it was not a virus – but as a side bonus, it was multidrug resistant! Canada to US through the MAIL. I can’t remember if it was H or P, it was 20 years ago, haha.

          I won’t name the lab that it came from, but dang. The border controls are just not there when it comes to shipping nasty stuff.

          The “publish or perish” situation is real, and if you aren’t first with the “novel” paper, you are done. Why would you send something to someone else that isn’t a part of your group?

          Added citations increases your impact factor. That’s really all this is. You share, cause it increases the chance you will have an additional citation to your paper! It’s why most of cancer research keeps researching P53. (Admittedly it’s been a long time since I looked at P53, perhaps someone found something amazing, but I’m guessing it’s still just padding people’s grants).

          To be clear, I love the young scientists, technicians, and different junior researchers. They can’t to do BSL 1 naturally, and there is no way to really ensure good laboratory practices at BSL-2/3 without 4-5 years of intensive training. BSL-1 takes at least a year of real supervision.

          No one is really supervised. It’s not cost-effective.

        1. Temporarily Sane

          Here’s a good question for the Canadian Government: how many members of the Chinese CCP are working either overtly or covertly in Canada?

          That’s a really silly question actually. Why? 1)Lots of people in/from China are “CCP” members. It doesn’t mean what you think it does. 2)How would the Canadian government know how many covert foreign operatives there are in the country? 3)You need to do something about that CCP Derangement Syndrome…

          Maybe the Canadian government ought to finally deal with its long-standing “indigenous problem” and its family blogged response to the coronavirus pandemic before finger pointing and scapegoating other countries.

          PS – Didn’t PM Trudeau basically order the kidnapping of a Chinese business executive at the behest of the Trump administration despite bad mouthing Trump every chance he got? And get caught dancing around in blackface while dialing the idpol rhetoric up to 11?

          1. Jon Cloke

            Yep. It’s a funny thing also that whilst the government of Canada is in the middle of a horror-story about how many hundreds of indigenous children it may have killed in its ‘improvement’ schools, Trudeau is happily taking the side of Apartheid Israel…

            Which is also not too worried about how many indigenous Palestinian children it keeps killing in Gaza and on the West Bank.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      Has anyone considered that the first human infectious strain of Covid19 might have been asymptomatic, mildly infectious and also of course invisible because there were no tests?

      Might explain some of the anomalous results, like the some evidence of the virus circulating in Italy from September 2019, and possibly in Spain from earlier 2019.

  2. John Siman

    The Common Dreams report “Progressives Alarmed by Privatization [i.e. “asset recycling”] Dub Infrastructure Deal a ‘Disaster in the Making’” is poorly written, difficult to read, — and yet full of possibly revelatory news. The questions it raises are frightening.

    “As negotiations over the infrastructure deal dragged on last week,” we read in it, “Rianna Eckel, an organizer with Food & Water Watch, cautioned that it could ‘facilitate a Wall Street takeover of public services like water.’ Mary Grant, the advocacy group’s Public Water for All director, echoed that warning Thursday. ‘This White House-approved infrastructure deal is a disaster in the making,’ Grant said in a statement. ‘It promotes privatization and so-called public-private partnerships instead of making public investments in publicly owned infrastructure.’”

    How accurate is this report in its warnings about the likelihood of the privatization of public infrastructure under corporate genteelist terms like “public-private partnerships” and “asset recycling?“ For we read that “[a]sset recycling involves the sale or lease of public assets to the private sector so the government can put that money toward new investments.”

    So rather than teasing Americans with the promise of a next-level Roosevelt administration (in aviator shades) and a Greta Thunberg-approved Green New Deal, is the plan now to impose a euphemized Pinochet regime upon us?

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Greta Thunberg…now that’s a name I haven’t heard since, oh, maybe last year. Wonder why they don’t still bring her out to get her opinion on everything since the Dems are in charge? I’m sure her buddy Obama could get her a sit down with Biden and they could get this all sorted out.

      1. Carolinian

        LOL. Hey PBS did a multipart series about her this year. I couldn’t work up the energy to watch.

      2. Alfred

        Glad you all can have a good laugh Greta and all the people of her age and their deathly predicament the old farts have no interest in solving.

        1. Carolinian

          Perhaps the laugh is at the PR enthusiasm for Greta among the neoliberals, not her topic.

          Some of us believe scientists should be talking about this, not Al Gore etc. The notion that just describing the problem will somehow solve it is typical of the (willingly) feeble Third Way types.

          1. Alfred

            Greta has been engaging the science. She is invited to speak at political venues for her generation. It’s not her fault that TPTB are the ones holding the strings and just making gestures by appearing with her. Anyone who has spent any time at all watching her or at her sites knows she has no illusions about this, yet she and her cohort have no choice but to keep using whatever outlets available to them. People who dismiss her just because they see she is being used as she fights getting her message out and building contacts are playing into the neoliberal PR strategy.

            1. Carolinian

              This debate has been going on here for a long time. But there is an argument to be made that for climate change to be taken seriously (or anything–covid) you need authoritative spokespeople and she is not a climate scientist–however knowledgeable. In fact I’d say AGW skepticism is pretty much on the wane at this point and “getting the message out” is no longer the problem. What is Greta going to tell me that I don’t already know?

              Older people are not indifferent. They love their kids and want them to have a future. But they do have an added dose of skepticism toward whoever is doing the talking.

              1. Alfred

                For climate change to be taken seriously? Do you want someone your children can relate to? Or is it just your stamp of approval that matters? Scientists take Greta seriously, hate to tell you.

                1. Isotope_C14

                  Scientists know we are fubar.

                  Best to enjoy the now, for however long that lasts.

                  1. Alfred

                    Your “now” must be much better than most other people’s. How soon we forget how quickly the atmosphere and water quality improved in just the few months of worldwide shutdowns. There are “scientists” and there are scientists.

                    1. Isotope_C14

                      I am happy to be sleeping in a bed. 5 years ago stateside I was couch surfing my sisters for 2.5 years, unable to get any normal lab job. So there is that.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            Perhaps the laugh is at the PR enthusiasm for Greta among the neoliberals, not her topic.

            That was my point.

        2. chuck roast

          Poor Greta and her cohort. Oh, the crocodile tears! I can clearly recall when my cohort had both the determination and the good humor to attempt to levitate the Pentagon. But really, I love Greta’s million dollar sailboat.

    2. a fax machine

      I suspect it’ll be a bit of both. Blue states get all the municipal public works they want while red states are allowed to strip and sell themselves to private industry. That’s probably what the “agreement” is all about.

      In some places this can be tolerable, like on rail policy where Amtrak funding is contingent on some sort of matching grants for private freight service improvement. This can be better justified as both are connected as part of the same rail network and improvements can be easily tracked (with Amtrak’s avg. on-time reliability being the ultimate test). In other places it can’t, especially in power & telecom services where the P3s only serve to prevent public services from forming. But in this case, for every billion Democrats get for solar panels Republicans get a billion for nuclear power. It’s all guzzled into the same hedge fund and gambled away immediately.

      Lost in this discussion is how we’ll pay for freeways without gas taxes, which blue states seem intent on eliminating with EVs. This creates an inevitable DOT financing crisis. Blue states can probably pass a new tax or tolls, but red states probably can’t pull that off while maintaining the current service level. Why would a truck fleet pay $300 per vehicle to cross Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa when they could load it onto a train? It’s slower, the RR only pays a bulk property tax that does not rise with utilization. And if urban/blue state trucks actually do become EVs, they wouldn’t be able to drive cross-country anyway. summary my points are less “what does this do now” vs “what does this do 10 years from now when projects financed (or not) by this near completion?”

      1. km

        Red states get “public private partnerships” which is another way to say “invite connected insiders to rip off the state on outrageous terms and use state money to pay for it”.

        Blue states don’t do any of that underhanded sneaky stuff. They just sell off valuable assets at fire sale prices and outsource essential services on terms so abusive that they make nineteenth century labor contracts look generous and forward-thinking by comparison.

      2. enoughisenough

        you mean all those “blue states” run by privatizing neoliberal Dems?

        yeah, right.

    3. Nikkikat

      This sounds a lot like how Philadelphia and other cities sold off infrastructure like parking garages and and parking meters. The city derived no income but private companies collected the monies. A disaster from the get go as poor and working class had no place to parkctheir vehicle without paying incredible fees. Tickets increased, impounding of vehicles and huge fines and fees on the public. People lost jobs because their car was impounded and they couldn’t pay 200.00 and more to get there car back.
      Greece also sold of their infrastructure to pay their bills….didn’t work out too well for them either. We are reliving the despicable
      Obama years all over again.

      1. km

        Make the risks public, but privatize the profits. Biden did solemnly promise us that nothing fundamentally would change, and he by Jove MEANT IT.

      2. jr

        I met a guy years ago who was trapped in Philadelphia because his car had been booted and he could not afford to pay the ticket. He had driven up from a southern state with lax inspection standards and his car’s rusted out fenders were deemed unsafe for travel. He was staying with family but had no work and was desperate.

    4. Another Scott

      The Green New Deal always included Investment Tax Credits to finance most of the wind and solar investments. That means that governments and co-ops utilities needed to enter into PPAs with power plant owners to get the full benefit of the federal incentives.
      Direct federal ownership of the assets would be cheaper and cost taxpayers less.

    5. The Historian

      And what are our progressives in Congress doing about this? They do now have the votes to stop this if they wanted to. Or are they doing that ‘go along to get along’ thing still? Oh, that’s right – they are going along because Biden promises that this won’t pass without a reconciliation bill for ‘human infrastructure’……yea sure!

      1. ambrit

        I have yet to come up with a face saving ‘explanation’ for “The Squad’s” actions, or, more properly, inactions relative to the Biden (ex-Obama) Administration’s activities so far.
        If I were seeing this on a car lot, I’d strongly suspect that I was watching the old “bait and switch” confidence game in action.
        I’ll say the ‘unmentionable’ part out loud. The election of Trump in 2016 was a gut level reaction of the ‘regular’ people of America to thirty years of neo-liberalism as public policy. It is now clear that Biden is giving America a continuation of that neo-liberal policy course.
        The ‘blowback’ against the neo-liberal politicos will be intense in 2024. Trump could run for President in 2024 wearing diapers and doing a Larry Flynt and win.
        Larry Flynt, an American ‘success’ story:

        1. Alfred

          Yes, now that they are printing their own money and Wall
          Street can never fail again, they for sure are quaking in their $4000 sparkly thigh-high boots.

        2. Oh

          Now it makes me wonder if politicians wear boxers, briefs or diapers? I think most will prefer ‘depends’.

        3. John Emerson

          You people are SO PLEASED to be able to prove that everyone’s wrong but you! “First we must destroy The Squad and Greta Thirmberg, and then we can TAKE POWER!” Jesus Christ.

          1. ambrit

            I don’t know about you, but I am old enough to remember when the Government actually did good things for the public.
            We have a difference of opinion on how “authentic” the so called ‘progressive’ wing of the Democrat Party is. I’ll just observe that the ‘Overton’s Window’ of acceptable political policy has been pushed to the Right for forty years now. What we now call ‘Leftists” would have been described as Centrist Republicans back in the 1960s and 1970s.
            I refuse to allow our elected officials try and pull the wool over our eyes yet again.
            This mangy old dog will not eat that dog food anymore.
            One lesson that “progressive” politicians must learn in order to do the job they were elected to do is to stop imagining that the ‘Old Guard’ politicos, of either legacy party, will move an inch to compromise on anything that is not in their or their donors’ interests.
            Why “we people” are SO PLEASED is that, so far, ‘The Squad’ and perhaps Mz Greta have no real, substantive accomplishments to their credit. On a related note, Idpol politics is only good so long as the mass of the electorate is reasonably well fed, housed, medicated, etc. etc. That latter state is unravelling as we type furious diatribes aimed at each other. There is a breaking point. I do not know where it is. You do not know where it is. However, we both know that it is out there. When it ruptures, the Stars will Fall and the Fountains of the Deep rise.
            Stay safe.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I’m sure just a little more ‘holding their feet to the fire’ the will do the trick. I mean Biden and the Democrat party are so much more responsive to the concerns of their constituency than that dastardly Orange Man Bad, you’ll have a chicken in your pot in no time. Happy days will be here again – just clap harder and you’ll see!

        1. km

          If if those happy days somehow mysteriously fail to materialize, it’s because we didn’t clap hard enough, we didn’t believe enough, we not only let the whole country down, we, I mean, you personally, you let poor President Biden down. Sad Biden.

          Hey, that kind of gaslighting kept the Obama cultists in line and coming back for more for over a decade, now.

    6. Pelham

      Sorta sounds like it. This is really, really worth exploring at greater depth. But who among the Biden-lapdog press will do it?

  3. Raymond Sim

    Hypothesis: The emergence of mucormycosis as a complication of Covid-19 represents severe immunodeficiency induced by repeated reinfection with SARS-CoV-2.

    Is this not the Occam’s razor best candidate?

    1. IM Doc

      Since the first reports started coming out about this, it is very clear that something very strange is going on.

      The organism causing Mucormycosis is actually everywhere. We as humans are likely exposed daily, the dose depending on where you are in the world and your location’s climate. Normal immune hosts dispatch it immediately upon contact.

      The only times I have ever seen this problem are in severely immunosuppressed individuals. Most notably AIDS and diabetics with chronic A1c levels above 12.

      It is horrible. Unfixable by antifungals, it often requires drastic exculpatory extraction. It has a predilection for the sinuses and so that means the patient gets half their face cut out often with eyes included. It is very often fatal.

      The immunsuppression normally required for this to get started requires years to develop normally. Even in the chemo related scenarios months are required.

      As Dr McCoy would say Jim, This is damn peculiar.

      We are still in the very early learning phase with this virus. This is screaming to us something about how it involves our immune systems. It could be very important. Sometimes, these types of things are instrumental in the solutions and cures. It is just very unfortunate for the patients. Thankfully, it does not appear to be very common.

      1. Raymond Sim

        In my youth I twice saw dairy cattle with what I assume was the bovine equivalent of dermal mucormycosis, both times in seemingly superficial injuries from fighting. Nothing like sight and smell to make things real.

        If California sees per capita rates like Maharashtra we’ll be looking at I guess ~2,000 cases? And if there’s anything to indicate the Central Valley will fare better than rural India I’d love to know what it is. I’ve seen pictures of patients in India with limb amputations. I’m kind of suprised a rhino-orbital infection could get to that point before it killed you.

        Here’s some data for those who might be interested:,_clinical_profile,_management,_and.10.aspx

      2. chuck roast

        Je$u$ H Chri$t…Mycormycosis is caused by mold?! I live on an island. Mold is our intimate companion here, however benign. I can remember many years ago looking in the closet for my hockey skates in the Fall, and the insides were covered in a lovely carpet of mold. “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”

          1. Raymond Sim

            Ummm, I’m just not picturing a more beneficial version of fungi taking over my body.

            But these ‘Reptilians’ I hear about, what if they’re actually Mycelials?

  4. Wukchumni

    113 degrees forecast in Portland as ‘life-threatening’ heat looms AccuWeather
    One of these heat waves the grid is going to be overwhelmed by human beans setting the thermostat to 80, with everybody stuck in place surrounded by concrete, asphalt & reflective metal, and aside from a short tethered tumbrel limited in scope to what’s in the tank, and there won’t be any more go-juice until the lights come back on…

    Where would you go with a full tank of gas in making good your escape from the big heat in the PNW, which isn’t really used to the fiery terma?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d head for the Ape Cave, a 2.5 mile long lava tube that’ll be nice & cool, but bring warmies and a 20 degree sleeping bag so you don’t get too cold…

        Did you know you know that the continental United States’ longest lava tube lies just above Portland in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest? Mapped at 2.5 miles, this impressive tube was formed from a 2,000-year-old lava flow of Mount St. Helens, and was discovered in 1951. Since then, it has played host to over 170,000 visitors annually.

        Even for the brave, entering a cave is a bold step. Exploring under the ground requires preparedness – mostly from the dark that lies beneath where no light can shine. A warm set of clothes is a must to protect you from the brisk 42 degree climate that greets you as you descend the staircase to enter the cave. Grab your flashlight (and a backup one as well), and head into the woods to explore this epic cave yourself.

        1. Carolinian

          I didn’t know that. Cool.

          Back east we are lousy with caves due to lots of limestone and lots of water to erode it down below.

        2. cocomaan

          I like it. Very ironic, very hipster! As the heat blazes outside, you sleep in the ruins of a hot lava eruption.

      1. Wukchumni

        We get heatwaves in Cali as it comes with the territory and as much as we’d like to share Hades with the Hades not in the PNW, in the past it just never worked out.

        But that was then and this is now, welcome to the new climate normal… kind of the opposite of one of them there 25 inch rainfalls in a day that have been happening as of late.

      2. Carolinian

        An article I read–may have been linked here– said that Arctic melting has changed the flow of the jet stream and this particularly affects the west coast.

        Meanwhile we are having a rather mild summer where I live. It all may be related.

        1. cocomaan

          One of the mildest, most gradual springs in Pennsylvania this year. It’s been a dream for many of my perennials, I have a ludicrous cherry, blue-straw-black-berry crop this year.

        2. Nikkikat

          S. California Local news reported that our Marine Layer near beaches had shrunk a little more than half and as a result our “June Gloom” it used to keep us cooler as the Sun didn’t come out until noon. Now it’s blazing by 9:00 AM.
          We are also seeing several coastal floods per year now because of higher tides.
          It just happened here this past week. Wonder what those multi million dollar homeowners are going to do about this problem?

      3. Duck1

        The Jetstream is in sort of a loop over the Pacific northwest. High pressure has been building over the puget sound lower british columbia area. As this cranks around we will get three days of triple digit highs and very warm nights. So maybe a sort of climate change scenario in our neighborhood.

          1. wilroncanada

            West coast Canada reporting. Tomorrow through next Tuesday could see all-time records fall for highest temperatures in many locations her on Vancouver Island: Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley (my location). By next Monday the “weather dome” will have moved far enough east to bring triple-digit (farenheit) temperatures not only to the valley east of Vancouver, but also to the BC interior, where traditional hot spots like Lilooet, Kamloops, or somewhere else could break the Canadian all-time temperature for the hottest recorded–45 Celcius in southeastern Saskatchewan in 1937.

    1. farmboy

      from Cliff Mass, esteemed weather researcher and forecaster
      Finally, a number of people have asked about the role of global warming on this event.
      Is global warming contributing to this heatwave? The answer is certainly yes. Would we have had a record heatwave without global warming. The answer is yes as well.
      Our region has warmed by up to 1-2F during the past fifty years and that will enhance the heatwave. Increasing CO2 is probably the biggest contributor to the warming
      But consider that the temperature anomalies (differences from normal) during this event will reach 30-35F. The proximate cause of this event is a huge/persistent ridge of high pressure, part of a highly anomalous amplification of the upper-level wave pattern.
      There is no evidence that such a wave pattern is anything other than natural variability (I have done research on this issue and published in the peer-reviewed literature on this exact topic).
      So without global warming, a location that was 104F would have been 102F. Still a severe heat wave, just slightly less intense.
      Let me end with the golden rule of temperature extremes: the bigger the temperature extreme the SMALLER the contribution of global warming. Think about that.
      Now PLEASE do not send me emails or leave comments accusing me of helping “deniers” or calling me all kinds of names. I had enough of this from 350Seattle activists and Charles Mudede of the SeattleStranger. I have spent my life working on weather prediction and studying Northwest weather and am trying to communicate the best science, whether or not it fits some folks’ political agendas.

      1. lordkoos

        Cliff likes to play down the impact of climate change, but there isn’t a lot of difference between 102 and 104 (in the shade, I might add) as either temperature is unhealthy for humans and many plants. We will have to water the trees on our property to protect them.

    2. Laughingsong

      About an hour to the west (I.e., the Pacific Ocean), it is supposed to be in the 60s.

      The issue there is the coast range, making access through it only through the passes. So I expect a traffic jam on those roads this weekend.

      1. Lost in OR

        My son and I went camping in the Siuslaw NF last weekend. As we returned east Sunday afternoon we passed long lines of traffic heading to Lincoln City. I suppose this is just a sneak preview of future mass movements of climate refugees. Just coincidentally, I’m reading “The Ministry for the Future”. If the grid gives out I’ll go soak in the Willamette.

      2. wilroncanada

        Not quite, Laughingsong.. We are on the coast. Tofino and Uclulet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, will be 30 Celsius or close to it by Monday. Perhaps you mean IN the Pacific Ocean.

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      I am afraid everyone is going to come to Port Townsend…the highs here on Monday, only 2 hours away, will only reach 84.

      1. lordkoos

        PT is a lovely spot… we have too much garden to tend to or we’d consider going to the coast.

      2. John Emerson

        When I was a little younger 40 years ago, Port Townsend was where the hippies went when first San Francisco, then Portland, and finally Eugere became inhospitable to their (our) obsolete youth culture.

        And after that, to the boonies to become stoner rednecks.

    4. JWP

      Amazingly, the coast, about a 1.5 hour drive from anywhere in the Willamette Valley is supposed to be about 30 degrees cooler. COVID really agitated the locals there against the city folk who stormed the state parks and small towns (none bigger than about 15,000). Usually Portlanders flood the beaches so I expect that to happen again.

    5. lordkoos

      Around here (central WA) it’s, leave town to where?

      Even communities fairly high in the mountains are seeing record high temps. The top of Snoqualmie pass for example, (elevation 3100 ft) is forecast to be 99 in the shade on Monday. These are previously unheard of temperatures. We have a semi-arid climate in eastern WA but if this kind of thing continues it will be a desert in 20 years.

      Luckily this year we have a good snowpack in the mountains so there is water for irrigation, however this kind of heat bodes ill for agriculture in the long run. A ton of crops are grown in eastern WA, wheat, apples, pears, berries, hops, potatoes, etc. It’s unusual for this region to be hotter than the CA central valley.

  5. Wukchumni

    Fashion Critic dept:

    Around a decade ago, Generals in the Junta del Este got new uniforms that looked just like the ones their predecessors wore in the Civil War.

    Now we’ve updated them to look like WW2 uniforms, and you know how it goes with clothes, if you wait around long enough-they always come back in fashion.,_1942_TR207.jpg

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have been keeping watch on these new WW2-style uniforms but as one unkind wag said, the reason that they picked uniform styles from this era was because it was the last time that the US was winning clear, solid victories after going head-to-head with their opponents. And no, Granada does not count.

  6. a different chris

    I advise you read “The Goal of these Ads is to Distract….” first and then, sufficiently alerted, read “Amercan ‘decoupling’ from China…”.

    Yeah sure we are.

  7. Cocomaan

    I do remote contract work with a small college in my area. Was talking with leadership and they told me that while they will mandate vaccines, there will be a wide door open for medical and religious exemptions.

    “If someone can produce paperwork, we’ll grant it.”

    Vaccine theater at its finest.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Just what exactly qualifies as “paperwork” for a sincere religious exemption?

      Proof of attendance at your local church/mosque/synagogue? A letter from your spiritual guru stating that you’re really not too fond of getting jabbed for spiritual reasons?

      That sounds unworkable or at best, quite easily spoofed.

      1. Cocomaan

        Exactly. I didn’t pry, this was a casual conversation outside the bounds of my work.

        But my guess is that nobody is going to argue with someone saying they have a religious conviction, because the civil rights case would be epic.

        I’m sure some intrepid woke dogooder will try and then watch the sparks fly as the religious right gets to slam universities for being anti religious

        1. Alfred

          I really believe this is about avoiding liability for bad outcomes in mandated vaccination. They give you an easy out.

        2. kareninca

          No-one is going to argue with someone saying they have a religious conviction in this case since small colleges are absolutely desperate for tuition money. They don’t have the luxury to turn away paying students.

    1. Ignacio

      Nay! I mean, the chance for any kind of super-spreading event could be found in lots of places in Wuhan. First we blamed labs now military forces. Why, why on earth we don’t just admit we don’t have any f=c%ing idea where and when it was originated and how it came to explode in Wuhan without looking for our favourite demons to blame?

      1. chuck roast

        hear, hear! And I want to hear more about the “evolved through nature” theory. My understanding is that there are two schools of thought here…the lab hysteria…er, theory, and the evolutionary theory. The earlier SARS viruses were tracked back through finding genetic mutations, no? The Lab Theory pathway is verboten BS that nobody who is paying attention will believe anyway. So, why not focus attention of the evolutionary pathway? More science (whatever that means these days) and less political interference. I’m looking for more discussion of the evolutionary pathway. If that winds up as a dead-end…well, there is always the Wuhan lab super-highway.

        1. Oh

          People who are “scientists” do not want to admit any safety violations in the lab nor any (gain of function) research that may have resulted in modifying a virus.

          1. Ignacio

            The in-lab “gain of function” theory is, IMO, the stupidest of all these theories. No need to expand on this. There is no way to argue against an idea that is based on knowing nothing and don’t wanting to know any more.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Opinion: Why Putin and NATO are facing off on the Black Sea”

    The stupidity! It burns! So let me get this right. Boris sent this warship through Russian coastal waters and breaking the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. But by pretending that the Ukrainians still owned the Crimea, they said their buddies the Ukrainians gave them permission to sail through what they regard as Ukrainian waters. Which means that the British did not break the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as they never sailed through Russian waters at all. Sounds legit. So, what happens if their Ukrainian buddies give them permission to land an armoured brigade or two at Sevastopol? According to the British, Sevastopol is in the Ukraine oblast of Crimea so that would be cool, right? Right? Hello?

    1. John A

      Whoever wrote that nonsense needs to remove their NATO spectacles and view the world as it really is.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Konstantin Eggert is very much the self-exiled Russian oppositionist who detests VVP, as a quick read of his bio makes clear:

        The article has its amusing moments. “Putin knows well that any attempts to push back against NATO’s presence on the Black Sea is futile.” Gee, I don’t know. Russia doesn’t need a world-patrolling blue water navy; nuke-carrying subs aside, it seems quite content with patrolling its coastal waters. And developing its anti-ship missile technologies to take out enemy warships in places like the Black Sea. How NATO plans to dominate the Black Sea in the event of an actual shooting war is really quite beyond me.

        I have noticed that many Russian “liberals” (i.e., anti-Putin) tend to overrate Western military capabilities. Pavel Felgenhauer is another one of them who (like Eggert) is often quoted in western MSM. Though I’m no fan of VVP, I question their judgment re Russian military capabilities.

        1. lordkoos

          From what I have read, the Russian military is based around a defensive posture whereas with the USA it’s offensive (in more ways than one).

          1. km

            The fact that NATO is venturing forth into the Black Sea tells you all that you need to know.

    2. pjay

      There is apparently a name for this strategy: ‘demonstrative nonrecognition’:

      “Demonstrative nonrecognition of the annexation of the peninsula by Moscow is a key part of the Black Sea strategy that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization developed after 2014.”

      I just hope Russia’s demonstrative nonrecognition of NATO’s demonstrative nonrecognition doesn’t start WWIII.

      1. hunkerdown

        Interesting to name that tool in light of the New Left Review article from Wednesday Links on the politics of recognition particularly in the age of social media which I am still working on.

        Demonstrative nonrecognition is a fancy word for arrogance. These are people who need to be forced to recognize others. Unfortunately there is no clean, lawful way to do so, because they write the laws to above all ensure their own permanent access to recognition.

    3. John

      Exactly! Our lawyers can out finagle your lawyers and our definitions can trump your definitions. Words, words, words. Our de jure is better than your de facto. Our public relations is superior to your artillery. Tiresome and irrelevant.

      1. ambrit

        Put another way; “How many lawyers does the Vatican have?” Oh, wait, I forgot about the Jesuits. Blast. I guess I’l have to start planning for dealing with the New Apostolic Empire, centred at Rome.
        NATO has gone Hollywood.

    4. Polar Socialist

      More correct title would have been “Why Johnson and Russian Coast Guard and Naval Aviation are facing off on the Black Sea”, me thinks.

      Now, I’m not a lawyer (nor am I even related to any), not to speak of knowing the international law, but… if Crimea is considered as occupied by Russia, then the right of “innocent passage” is replaced by clauses of naval warfare. You can’t have an occupation without a state of war, and if you have a state of war, you use different set of rules.

      So, according to the UK’s position, the Russians could have sunk HMS Defender after the first warning, since it was entering a war zone fully armed and disregarding clear warnings.

      Of course, since Russia doesn’t consider Crimea to be occupied, even warning shots would be a violation of UNCLOS.

      Go figure. It’s almost like laws and agreements work only when people try to solve issues, not when they are purposefully heated up.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Since the Crimea voluntarily joined Russia by plebiscite, it is now part of the Russian Federation as allowed by the Charter of the United Nations. And every country has the right to defend their coastline in face of an unfriendly, intruding armed warship. And the UK cannot claim that this was ‘innocent ‘passage as this is covered by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which says when ships have right of innocent passage, This is defined in Article 19 where it say-

        Meaning of innocent passage
        1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State.

        Also check out the following part-

        2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:

        (d) Any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State.

        And it has come out that it was Boris that sent in this warship after the UK Foreign Secretary and defense chiefs could not agree on doing this or not.

        1. Bill Smith

          “Crimea voluntarily joined Russia by plebiscite”

          The “little green men” had nothing to do with it.

          The UK would claim they were not engaging in propaganda.

          As the Polar Scientist mentioned above… only work when people try to solve issues.

          1. km

            You obviously don’t know many Crimeans.

            I lived in Ukraine for many years and I do. I actually know a few who voted against joining Russia. They admit that they are a tiny minority, and are treated by their fellow Crimeans with the contempt that Jews have for Nazi sympathizers.

            Or you could look at that poll of Crimeans by Pew, which torked a lot of Ukrainian nationalists into a frenzy.

            1. Polar Socialist

              As far as I know, a day before the appearance of the “little green men” a group of Tatars and Ukrainian neo-fascists (by the looks of their banners) tried to occupy the Crimean parliament to end Crimean autonomy. In the end the police managed to prevent this.

              The next day Russian forces took over the military bases shared with Ukrainians (many of which switched sides at this point). The “little green men” did secure a couple strategic points, not the whole Crimea, to prevent any Ukrainian action to capture the bases back.

              So yes, the “little green men” did have something to do with the plebiscite. They allowed it to happen, unlike Ukraine for nine times it was requested since 1991.

        2. Industrial Culture Handbook

          The UN General Council still disagrees: “By a vote of 63 in favour to 17 against, with 62 abstentions, it adopted the resolution ‘Problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov’. […] it urged the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power, to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its military forces from Crimea and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.” Adopted 07 Dec 2020.

          The approach to Odessa’s port is one of the most regulated sea lanes in the world and is subject to a traffic separation scheme under the International Maritime Organization. Russia, US, and the UK agreed that warships are entitled ‘innocent passage”. It is China who holds the minority viewpoint that warships do not. Naturally, Russia already lost their argument in international court when it tried to detain Ukrainian sailors.

          1. ambrit

            I would imagine that Russia’s purpose in the “detention” of the Ukrainian sailors was to demonstrate capability, not necessarily legality.
            Those pesky Auslanders can be quite pragmatic when it serves their purposes.

          2. Polar Socialist

            The point I was trying to make is that if Crimea is occupied, then there is no right of innocent passage – it only applies in peacetime.

            An area (say, Crimea) can not logically or legally be at the same time both belligerently occupied and at peace. It’s a binary condition.

            If Crimea is under military occupation, as per UN General Council, then the set of rules to use in Crimean waters are those of war: Russia, regardless of the legality of the occupation, has (as occupying power) right to use force to prevent any military traffic trough the area. Of course, with some superficial respect for the human rights etc.

            I may be wrong, but I don’t think so. On the other hand, the international law isn’t what it’s cracked up to be…

            Or we could accept that’s it’s a really complicated situation that is not war nor peace, and that there really isn’t any clear applicable laws. All sides would do better to try to avoid more conflicts. But we can’t have that, can we?

      1. ambrit

        Don’t forget that the Crimean War part un had the Turks heavily involved.
        [Shudders at the thought of Turkish Jannissaries rampaging about the Crimea and, lest we forget, the Ukraine itself.]

    5. DJG, Reality Czar

      Rev Kev: It’s all about the benjamins. Or whatever the English call them.

      I noticed this in the middle of Eggert’s unhinged-opinion piece: “On board the destroyer, the country’s deputy defense minister signed a memorandum of implementation with Britain’s defense procurement minister and first sea lord (or the commander of the British Navy), as well as representatives of Babcock, one of the world’s leading producers of naval hardware. The memorandum is the penultimate step toward a wide-ranging agreement that includes the purchase of modern British warships by Ukraine, as well as personnel training and the modernization of repair docks.”

      So Brexited Britain is now going to be arms supplier to the world. In a few years, Brexited Britain will find some weak country to declare war on so as to introduce opium, too. Sheesh.

    6. Kouros

      Apparently wrong. Even if Crimea is occupied territory, they have to respect the demands of the occupying power, same as Israel’s wishes are respected in regards to Gaza for instance…

  9. Lemmy Caution

    6 months into the Covid vaccine rollout in the U.S., Dr. Fauci announced that the NIH will begin clinical trial testing the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women.

    “Tens of thousands of pregnant and breastfeeding people in the United States have chosen to receive the COVID-19 vaccines available under emergency use authorization. However, we lack robust, prospective clinical data on vaccination in these populations,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.”

    Back in February, Fauci said ‘no red flags’ were seen in 10,000 pregnant women who’ve received Covid shots so far.

    Since then many more pregnant women have received a Covid vaccine and reports of spontaneous abortions have been adding up in the VAERS system.

    As of June 25, there were 536 VAERS reports of spontaneous abortions in pregnant women who received a Covid vaccine.

    For comparison, VAERS reports of spontaneous abortion in pregnant women who received the flu vaccine* in 2017, 2018 and 2019 numbered 8, 8, and 7, respectively.

    Reports of vaginal hemorrhaging in non-pregnant women are also adding up. As of June 25, there were 598 reports of vaginal hemorrhaging in women who received a Covid vaccine.

    For comparison, reports of vaginal hemorrhaging in non-pregnant women who received the flu vaccine* in 2017, 2018 and 2019 numbered 2, 2, and 1, respectively.

    These signals seem to suggest that the Covid vaccines pose some unique risks to pregnant and non-pregnant women and so additional research is warranted.

    As Dr. Fauci said:

    “The results of this study will fill gaps in our knowledge and help inform policy recommendations and personal decision-making on COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.”

    The trial period is scheduled to last for 1 year. The announcement by Fauci didn’t include details on when the trial findings would be made available.

    *FLU4 (Seasonal, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Quadrivalent, Injected)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Oh my. I had to read this comment twice. Have you ever thought that if this sort of experimentation on pregnant women was being done on a occupied people in wartime, that it would actually rank as a deliberate war crime?

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Just like the Covid vaccines are likely associated with elevated risk of myocarditis/pericarditis in young males (and young females, let’s not forget), the Covid vaccines may also pose unique risks to women related to their reproductive health.

        Other potential risks that have made the news (however briefly) include blood clots and anaphylactic shock. There are many other expected and unexpected adverse reactions to watch for besides those.

        A functioning news media would be going into VAERS and looking up this stuff themselves. They could help track and assess these risks and put them into context to help shed light on the risk/benefit calculation for certain groups by age, gender, comorbidities, etc.

        1. ambrit

          That would depend on what the “function” of the news media today actually is. (But we all here already know that.)

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Weren’t the FDA’s multi-year phase IV trials instituted in response to ‘problems’ with a previous large-scale ‘experiment’ on pregnant women, who were prescribed FDA approved Thalidomide to relieve symptoms of morning sickness?

        1. Procopius

          No, the FDA never approved thalidomide, resulting in a lot of criticism before the birth defects started showing up. I recall the (woman) doctor responsible for preventing approval was attacked in the media for her obstructionism. Whether the Phase IV trials were instituted as a result of those results showing up in Europe (where all the medical authorities DID approve thalidomide for pregnant women) I do not know.

    2. Mantid

      This is one of many reasons why I am adamantly opposed to proof of vaccine requirements. They are popping up everywhere: universities, sport venues, exercise gyms, churches. A local catholic church allows 1/2 of the pews to be laissez-fair, do what you want – the other 1/2 masked people and 6′ distancing. There’s a huge shame element to this and a (ridiculous) “follow the science” put down. When will the “I’ve been Ivermectinized” tattoo be required?

  10. bassmule

    Zeynep Tufekci in the NY Times this morning. Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling.

    Her conclusion:

    “[Solving]…this means putting the public interest before personal ambitions and acknowledging that despite the wonders of its power, biomedical research also holds dangers.
    To do this, government officials and scientists need to look at the big picture: Seek comity and truth instead of just avoiding embarrassment. Develop a framework that goes beyond blaming China, since the issues raised are truly global. And realize that the next big thing can simply mean taking great care with a lot of small details.”

    Raise your hand if you believe any of this has the remotest chance of happening.

    1. John

      Seems to me the indefinite time and place of origin undercut the lab leak China did it finger pointing. The origin and vectors are important in the long run, but the virus is still on the move, still mutating, still killing, still producing longer range effects. Find the origin, but how about doing everything in our power now, as quickly as possible, to use the vaccines that have been created to forestall the continuing spread. Here in the USA the happy talk is that life as it was, or almost as it was, can resume. Consumerism can get back up to speed. Playtime has returned and don’t you dare tell me otherwise. Naysayers and prophets of doom? Ignore them. I want what I want and I want it now. But that is not the reality and the price for continuing denial will be high.

      1. HotFlash

        use the vaccines that have been created to forestall the continuing spread

        Maybe we could use a proven, non-experimental prophylactic and probable treatment instead, or, *with liability for the mfrs reinstated*, in addition to those vaccines? Dr. John Campbell looks at a newly-released, and yes, peer-reviewed meta analysis. And this is before even considering people who have acquired ‘natural immunity’ by having had Covid and gotten over it. If ‘herd immunity’ is the goal, shouldn’t testing positive for antibodies be considered as good as vaccine certificates? I would love to see a study of antibody tests done, unvaccinated vs vaccinated, and compare the antibody levels, esp over time.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I’ve been wondering the same thing and that’s an excellent idea. Based on all the ‘science’ I’m seeing from the authorities, I don’t understand why those who have already contracted the rona and recovered also need to get vaccinated. If herd immunity is a thing with this virus, it shouldn’t matter whether it comes from infection or vaccine so long as the antibodies are present. Am I missing something here or is the push to get everyone vaccinated just an attempt to boost profits for pharma companies?

          1. ambrit

            This is a case where the more ‘radical’ Conspiracy Theories are gaining traction in the public’s mind. Deny someone a ‘factual’ and logical explanation for something and you “allow” them the scope to imagine away to their heart’s delight.
            This could well be a case where multiple descrete ‘interests’ are moving along in parrallel tracks toward compatible goals. Instead of being a ‘clusterf—,’ this could well be a ‘clusterorgy.’
            “We’re all here for the same thing. We just enjoy that ‘thing’ in different ways.”

            1. Cuibono

              to me this is a critical observations. There are many examples where more forthright discussion would have headed off conspiracy talk.
              But instead it almost seems designed to feed it.

          2. Nikkikat

            Wondered the same thing from the beginning. Why were they vaccinating people that had already had the virus? Especially in the beginning when we didn’t have enough.

            1. John Emerson

              Because neither infection nor vaccination gives 100% long term immunity, and nobody is really quite sure on either case.

              Any goddamn thing any one did was going to bring out a horde of mostly ignorant whiners, grumblers, and skeptics

          3. VietnamVet

            The conspiracy is that there is no intention of funding or restoring a working public health system. This would strangle the extractive for-profit healthcare system that funds professionals and hedge funds. A functional health system would have developed cheap fast accurate tests to tell who was shedding coronavirus so they could be safely quarantined and those who already have anti-bodies, who are recovered, who can go out in public, work, and who do not need the added risk of being jabbed with a gene therapy vaccine.

            If the economic system is working as designed to enrich the wealthy at the expense of workers and depleted resources can it be called a conspiracy theory? When it is exactly the way things are in the West.

        2. lordkoos

          Isn’t the issue that having the antibodies does not give a person long term immunity? Especially if one is exposed to a newer variant? Cases reported of re-infection from COVID have been rare but apparently they have happened.

  11. Bill Smith

    “UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”

    How is this a violation of that treaty? It is covered in Article 19.

    When the Chinese and Russians have done it in the past in US (usually in Alaskan) waters the US issues a statement like this:

    “The five PLAN ships transited expeditiously and continuously through the Aleutian Island chain in a manner consistent with international law,” according to a Thursday statement provided to USNI News by U.S. Northern Command.

    This happens in Japanese waters by the Chinese and Russians too.

    1. hunkerdown

      The Rev went over it a few posts above. The only way (2)(d) doesn’t apply is through a lens where the demented entitlements of liberal elite universalism have a right to exist.

    2. Ignacio

      Interestingly the US is one of the very few countries that didn’t sign the UNCLOS convention,

  12. Michael Ismoe

    Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from the practice of law.

    Well, it’s a start. Now if they suspend the other 600,000 New York lawyers from practicing, then we might have something worth emulating.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That’s odd that having 600,00 lawyers in New York City. There are supposed to be about 1,330,000 lawyers in the U.S. so this would imply that nearly half of them live in one city-

      Come to think of it, if you got all the lawyers in America into their own city, by population it would be about equal to Dallas which is the 9th largest city in the US. That sounds like a lot.

      1. ambrit

        That Lawyergrad would also be a tempting target for a nuclear strike.
        Shakespeare was right.

        1. chuck roast

          Clearly, this is why first-strike-capability is a must for any civilized country.

    2. fumo

      EXCLUSIVE: Trump laughed at Rudy for falling asleep on planes and ‘spitting during meetings’ and would tell him he ‘sucked’ and was ‘pathetic’ after TV appearances, new book claims Daily Mail

      Teed up for a “Where’s the lie?” and missed!

  13. Questa Nota

    Thoughtful essay about John Le Carré / David Cornwell. Losing oneself in the spy world, or in a different language, or whatever refuge might beckon, affords some distance and perspective for finding, or coming to grips with, past and present. Now, which writer(s) build therapeutic frigates?

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Czech Republic: Deadly tornado sweeps through villages”

    There is a better, closer video of this tornado and those guys were gutsy standing their ground taking it-

    I’ll repeat a link from yesterday that shows that tornadoes are a lot more common historically than you might think in this region-

    ‘A total of 264 tornado days and 307 tornadoes were documented for the Czech Lands in 1119-2010’

    1. vlade

      The important questions is not whethere there are tornadoes or not (there’s plenty of whirlwinds), but how destructive they are. This was F3/F4, which is quite uncommon for Europe – last one was ten years ago. In the CZ, last F3 tornado was 17 years ago, with no casualties, and that was 100 years after the previous F3 tornado which had one injured.

      That said, I believe that the deadliest European tornado was in what is now the CZ, that killed close to thousand people in 1119, which was between a quarter and a third of all the people living there at the time.

    2. Maritimer

      You blew it, Nedakonsky, you coulda had Selfie Of The Year. Billie Joe in TX, take note.

  15. Wukchumni

    Czech Republic: Deadly tornado sweeps through villages BBC (vlad)
    Hope they don’t have trailer parks in the old country, they’re a natural attractant for tornadoes…

    A buddy from Tucson was hanging out for a spell @ his brother’s house in Cedar Rapids last August when a hurricane by another name came calling with winds close to 140 mph, dropping trees on everything including his newish truck in the driveway.

    He related that there was no power for 2-3 weeks afterwards, and every last corn stalk was horizontal.

  16. roxan

    Cats and the Good Life–wonderful! My kitty, Squeaky, was a sensualist, so delighted with life. A wise soul who went with me everywhere. He is sadly missed.

    1. Alfred

      Yes, my dear departed Ghiradelli loved to stop and smell the flowers. All my kitties were good reminders of why the he!! we are alive on this Earth.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
      Death thought about it.
      “CATS”, he said eventually. “CATS ARE NICE.”

      ― Terry Pratchett, ‘Sourcery’

      1. Nikkikat

        Yes, cats are nice! They are amazing and wondrous creatures. I never lived with cats before these two and I thank them everyday for choosing us to be their companions.

    3. HotFlash

      The review was enticing and I have ordered to book from my public library. I read it to my cats. They listened politely and then Senior Cat Mr. Groo went back to sleep and Chico asked to go out. There is a lesson there.

  17. pjay

    – ‘The cooling of John le Carré’ – The New Criterion

    – “And yet for those of us who still bought each new novel on sight and began it within the hour, it was with a growing sense of disappointment. Some were affronted by the new and strident note of anti-Americanism of books like Absolute Friends, whose “politicised ranting” startled even the left-wing Guardian: “in the scheme of this novel there is no other villain in the modern world than America.”

    Poor old John le Carre. As his talents “cooled” in later years, his complex, multidimensional characters became “flat” and “schematic.” More mystifying, how did someone so intimately knowledgeable about the hidden history of the Cold War become so “anti-American”? Fortunately, the author gives us the answer:

    – “As a child, le Carré couldn’t help but have an ambivalent relationship to his father. He loved, resented, and feared the man, but he could not despise him. Not so for the United States, which for a British intelligence agent at the height of the Cold War was a kind of swaggering, over-promising patriarch. America was a surrogate father that le Carré could hate, passionately and sincerely, and he did so with increasing frankness in each successive book.”

    See, it was not about America’s behavior in the post-Cold War world that set off the senile le Carre. Rather, it was a Freudian struggle with his “surrogate father,” the US.

    LOL. You gotta love it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Check out that guy’s expertise on literary criticism at the bottom of the page. I think that le Carré would be amused.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Can’t say I agree with The New Criterion. I recently finished “The Constant Gardener” and thought it was excellent. Le Carre writes (wrote) divinely. And he transitioned seamlessly from the cold war to our brave new 21st century world. Clever fellow.

      1. michael hudson

        Here’s the problem about dealing with economic villains and other oligarchs. They simply AREN’T that well rounded as characters. They’re like Trimalcho in the Roman play: not necessarily nouveau, but inheriting money and rank lowers your IQ by about 30 points and makes you a shallow character.
        So to be realistic is to be not so eloquent and literary.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          I agree: after 1991 things blurred and became more grey (“The Wall is down but something is lost”, as Iggy P noted). Still, Le Carre did his best to stay current: re “Agent Running in the Field” (with which I don’t necessarily agree but it’s a marvelous read). Le Carre was one of a kind, i’m afraid. We won’t see his like again.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          I thought Trimalchio was a freedman, and therefore self-made by Roman standards? And his being a parvenu was part of the fun being poked at his opulent excesses by Nero court-hanger-on Petronius.

          I think back now 35 years to my college Latin course, where I laboriously translated the passage describing Trimalchio’s vestibule. It contains a freize showing the young master ‘learning accounting’ under the guidance of the god Mercury.

          Hmm, makes me peckish for a dormouse conserved in honey….

          “Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβνλλα τί ϴέλεις; respondebat illa: άπο ϴανεΐν ϴέλω.”

    3. Randy G

      Pjay — Quite concur with your analysis of the rather shallow essay by Michael Lewis on John le Carré (David Cornwell). Why would an agent of the British Empire, someone who dealt with ex-Nazis and faced off with the Soviet Union, turn against the American Empire?
      “Despite le Carré’s political turn, which became painfully anti-English and anti-American….” Lewis writes.
      Well, he was just an angry “old man” with an oedipal conflict is the ‘obvious’ answer — no further analysis required.
      Could it have anything to do with the brutality and destructiveness of the American Empire — and its vassals in the UK — after its victory in the Cold War? Lewis apparently can’t even consider it. It’s just hatred for good old America in a perfect vacuum.
      That Lewis thinks ‘The Guardian’ — cheerleaders for NATO, for brutal regime change wars in Syria, etc., and home to fraudulent nitwit “journalists” such as Luke Harding — is far “left-wing” tells you a lot about his political views.
      Bizarrely, Lewis even contends that le Carré’s perfect German was a psychological ploy to escape his oppressive family! Well, the man was a diplomat and spy in Germany! Was Lewis expecting high school level 1 German? (Perhaps Lewis has the U.S. State Department model in mind.)
      Lewis is hardly alone: it’s extraordinary how many mainstream publications, in reviewing le Carré’s writings and life, simply refuse to seriously address his revulsion with American and British politics.
      Although dogmatism does pop up at the WSWS, at least their reviewer, Stefan Steinberg, intelligently broaches Le Carré’s political views and personal history with some context — rather than vague psychological hand-waving and condescension.

    4. David

      I think the article was basically fair, and aligns very much with my own assessment of Le Carré. I read his post-1990 books with increasing disappointment: there were some (Simple and Simple, The Russia House) which were good, but most of them were at best mediocre.
      The reason is not hard to seek. Le Carré’s essential subject, after the Cold War as a context, was the decline of the British upper classes, and the decline of Britain more generally, as well as its increasing subservience to the US. Le Carré was not especially anti-American (no more than the average NC commenter) but he was disgusted by the sense of Britain becoming, as Bill Haydon says, “The Americans’ streetwalker.” Up until the 90s, his own experiences gave his novels a sense of being rooted in personal experience. After that, he relied on research, often done by others, as in The Mission Song, where almost all the material on the DRC is acknowledged to have been researched by others, and the plot itself, full of melodrama, fails to convince. Right at the end, in his last two books, he returned to the terrain he knew, and was much more convincing. Of his later books, the fairest thing to say is that if you agree with his political opinions you’ll like the books and if you don’t you won’t. Which is a sad end for a very talented author.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Agent Running in the Field is the last one, and it is back on LeCarré’s territory, and the sense of dread and impending doom was so intense I couldn’t finish it. So it’s pretty good!

  18. jefemt

    US Military hand-me-downs Militarize local Po-leece….


    Hey, the collective federal we ‘got’ to pay cost-plus infinity on the original purchase by the Military
    from the Defense Contractors.

    Then, we ‘get’ to re-buy it locally a second time for pennies on the dollar?

    That is NOT a hand me down, it is a self-licking Ice Cream Cone.

    We are proffered such privileges! Look at what we ‘get’ ?!

    Reaping what we have sown… karmic R O I

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      A lot of military equipment is expensive to operate and comes with high costs for maintenance. I am not sure who pays for maintenance on this stuff. I believe Uncle did in one of the programs. I also recall reading somewhere about how guerrillas solve the problem of equipping their forces by using what weapons they have to attack enemy armories to obtain more weapons and ammunition. I still believe our police would be much wiser to equip themselves with diesel electric power generators, water purification vehicles, Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants [POL] vehicles and MREs instead of automatic weapons and armored attack vehicles. I am sure there is other equipment that could prove useful for handling the next natural disaster.

      1. rowlf

        No kidding, our sheriff got rid of the military vehicles his department had due to the maintenance costs.

      2. lordkoos

        Having to depend on high-maintenance military gear in wartime seems like a non-starter… you would want the opposite.

        1. Mantid

          “You” may want the opposite but the “defense” contractors want to sell repair parts. Guess who has more lobbyists in DC and dollars to donate. Definitely not the average person.

        2. Procopius

          That’s why the AK-47 variants are so popular with insurrectionists and M-16s/M-4s are not. The M-16 has a big advantage because its ammunition is so much lighter, a soldier can carry a lot more of it. The guerrillas don’t have that much to start with, so it’s not that big an advantage for them while ease of maintenance is. I presume the AK-47 ammo is a lot cheaper, too, but don’t know how to check that out.

          1. ambrit

            The AK variants use 7.62×39 ammo, a necked centrefire cartridge.
            The AR variants use either .223 Remington or 5.56 Nato ammo, also necked centrefire cartridges.
            Until the latest “emergency” conditions took effect, 7.62X39 ammo was a lot cheaper than both .223 or 5.56. The main suppliers of bulk 7.62 ammo were overseas firms, Tula in Russia or several Serbian firms. These were former State owned and run enterprises. The .223 ans 5.56 suppliers are various Western factories,with a mix of public and private control. (The Serbian firms also have a piece of the .223 and the 5.56 ‘action.’ They are a bit cheaper per round due to some cost cutting in the manufacturing process. Google steel cases versus brass cases for an explication.)
            Many in the CT Sphere were predicting that gun control would falter and that “Plan B” for that camp would be ammunition control. Hah! So many new guns were purchased over the past few years that the ammunition factories cannot keep up with demand. The prices are basically reflecting a supply bottleneck. Add to this the “natural” propensity of Business to “maximize profit” and you get today’s inflated ammunition prices.

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: 113 degrees forecast in Portland as ‘life-threatening’ heat looms

    I always knew climate change was going to kill me, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Was hoping I’d die in the Water Wars of the 2040s/50s in the former western United States.

    Stay safe everybody! Here’s hoping the authorities don’t have to institute rolling blackouts.

    1. cocomaan

      It’s definitely frightening, please be careful out there. One can hope that this is the event that helps people take ecosystem health seriously.

    2. Procopius

      Hmmm. Lemme see. Minus 32, times 9, divide by 5 — OK, so 45 Centigrade. Yeah, that’s bad. We had that for almost a month a couple, three years ago. Good chance you’ll live through it, but it’s really uncomfortable. Best advice I can give, if you have air conditioning, use it. If you don’t, stay indoors but with all doors and window open. If you have a basement it’s good. Don’t ever say to yourself, “It’s hot.” Making the judgement just makes it worse.

  20. WaltD

    113 degrees in Portland
    I’ve become afraid of heat. Inescapable heat waves had become a regular feature of my climate anxiety, and then I read Ministry for the Future. I’m just glad my family doesn’t live in a humid environment. Sometimes I wonder if a move to Tasmania or NZ would be the best thing for our family…

    1. ambrit

      Do the move early as you can before those politys close off their borders. Refugees are treated differently from immigrants.
      We here in the North American Deep South live with high humidity most of the time. One never becomes comfortable with it, but one can acclimate to the ravages of those pesky high energy water molecules.
      Building designs in the NADS before the advent of air conditioning were optimized for ‘beating the heat.’ Our ancestors lived with it. I imagine our descendents will do the same.
      Going forward, I can see our latter day PMCs emulating the PMCs of “The Raj.” Kiting off to the mountains during the summer hot months, like in the olden days when the “right sort of people” spent the summer in Simla or similar places.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve contemplated moving to Humordor to embrace the suck of high humidity vis a vis voices emanating from Congress, and also the climatic conditions which allow for a fortnight or few out of a year where non horrid conditions reign supreme in ad hoc ‘Cashmir’.

        1. ambrit

          You missed the apocryphal apostolic aspect.
          “In hoc signo vendito!” Emblazoned beneath the $ sigil on top of the Weighty Standard.
          It is a sticky subject. Prices stick, money sticks to greasy palms, vendors stick at nothing to sell their wares, etc. etc.
          If you’re going to Humordor, follow Pink Floyd’s advice and “Have a cigar!”

    2. Randy G

      WaltD — Or get in an early bid on the coming real estate boom in Antarctica. Location! Location! Location!

      1. Mantid

        Randy, Trouble is, the real estate boom in Antarctica will become a bubble. People don’t get the concept that Earth is just going to get hotter and hotter. Even cool places will get hot, and then their temperature will increase.

        I love how politicians, pundits, etc, keep talking about how we need to achieve net zero emissions. Such hogwash. Our Co2 concentrations are now at 420 and moving up. If we stabilize at 420, which is what net zero emissions will get us, we’ll eventually be a little Venus.

        We’re funked, that’s all there is to it.

    3. lordkoos

      If I was younger I would definitely be scheming a way to leave the US (and the northern hemisphere).

      1. Mantid

        As I just mentioned to Randy, where ya gonna go? The entire planet is warming and will continue to do so exponentially. If you leave the US and keep going, you end up back in the US. We must stop burning fossils and then hope we survive. All I see is that people will not stop burning oil ergo, no hope of survival. We’ve shit in our own back yard too long and there are no more back yards. We can only eat what’s growing in the yard. As Bart Simpson might say “mmmm chocolate”.

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Cats and the Good Life

    I highly recommend the book discussed in the review – Feline Philosophy by John Gray.

    People are always running around from meeting to meeting, hustling for money, trying to meet one minor obligation or another, and complaining that there isn’t enough time. As a longtime baseball fan – the game with no time limit – I have really been getting tired of new rules meant to speed up the game because it won’t fit conveniently into a corporately ordained TV time slot. My favorite part from the book was the second of Gray’s “Ten Feline Hints on How to Live Well”

    2 It is foolish to complain that you do not have enough time.

    If you think you do not have enough time, you do not know how to pass your time. Do what serves a purpose of yours and what you enjoy doing for its own sake. Live like this, and you will have plenty of time.

    My cat, lolling around after partaking of some freshly grown nip, seems to agree.

    1. Alfred

      Yeah, about having to hustle–I was hustling with 3 jobs by necessity to put food on the floor for 14 cats and make sure we all kept a roof over our heads we could all share together, and very happy to see them without a care in the world, and have them to always come home to to jog me back to mental health. It’s not that way any more for me, but we can’t always choose how the world bumps us around, we cope as we can, and without my cats I would be in a deep hole and am forever grateful for their faithful service.

      1. Nikkikat

        Beautiful comment Alfred, God may have put them on the earth as a natural foil to the guy with the pitchfork and horns.

      2. HotFlash

        Oh my dear Alfred, you have me beat by one! I would come home from work, they knew the sound of the car (or just felt my vibe, who knows?) and I would be greeted by all of them and proceed from the car to my door with a cloud of cats around my feet, like Venus arising from the waves. Sometimes I would even bouree across the street and up the walk. All those cats just showed up at the house, the cats already in residence vetted the newcomers and all was harmonious. The current crew, only two, are less hospitable and barely even touch noses with each other. I miss the old days, my sig file was “26 ears and 13 tales”.

        1. newcatty

          Another grateful sister of the Feline companions. I have had cats come and go in my life for most of its many moons passed. Funny, I ( and my human companion) are also living with our “only two”. Two females who also are not close to each other. The younger one is more assertive. The older one is gentle and mellow. They have reached an understanding between each other. Each has her chosen places in the house to claim for themselves. We would miss them so…

    2. chuck roast

      A fun read. And while I was reading it my cats were in the moment…their, in the moment that is. But, I liked the intro also about academics who are at pains to stoop to writing for the great unwashed. I immediately recalled reading “The Worldly Philosophers” by Robert Heilbroner one summer while excitedly awaiting my first semester at uni. A wonderful book that influenced my subsequent studies. I hope that it has stood the test of time.

  22. Andrew Watts

    RE: “I Keep Telling Myself that Justice Will Prevail”

    Del Ponte is an interesting person with a fascinating history. She resigned from her position at the UN after alienating both Russia and the United States with her stance on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. There probably isn’t any other person with more credibility that has accused both Damascus and the rebels of using them. It’s a reason why the left should stay out of the information war in any case.

    1. pjay

      This is a puzzling comment, especially given your last sentence. First, just reading this article demonstrates Del Ponte’s extreme bias against the Serbs and Milosevic. There is *much* that is left out here. Second, I am not aware of any real evidence that Assad used chemical weapons. I am aware of a lot of reasons why the “evidence” pushed in the media should be questioned.

      I have no insight into Del Ponte’s actual beliefs or motivations. She may well have been sincere. But if so, she was still an accomplice in the West’s dismantling of Yugoslavia and attempted dismantling of Syria, using “lawfare” as part of a hybrid war strategy. I can’t think of a better example of why “the left” — if you mean the *real* anti-imperial left — should be vitally interested in the “information war.”

      1. Alex

        I wouldn’t say that her saying that Serbs committed more war crimes amounts to ‘extreme bias.’ Crimes have been committed by all sides and I think that any comparison would be subjective (how do you compare the expulsion of Serbs from Croatia with the mass killings in Srebrenica?).

        What is really interesting is that she says that the US in general and Madeleine Albright in particular told her to slow down the investigation of Kosovar Albanian crimes.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Journalists Hit New Low by Betraying Source”

    I’m surprised how this article did not mentioned the deliberate outing of Reality Winner by ‘The Intercept’ not that many years ago, especially in light of the fact that she has just been released from prison. It was that event which put The Intercept on my garbage publication list.

    1. John Emerson

      Outing lying celebrity gossip slimeball Tucker Carlson is not on the same world as outing Reality Winner, a real journalist who paid a real price.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Late to reply here. Reality Winner was not a journalist. She was a USAF intelligence specialist who was outed by The Intercept after supplying them with a classified report. And yes, Tucker Carlson can be a ratbag but consider this question before getting too wrapped up about him-

        ‘Who has worked with and funds Bellingcat?

        a) Tucker Carlson

        b) The Intercept

        Tucker Carlson is as big a ratbag as Rachel Maddow but both are open who and what they are. The Intercept pretends that they are on your side – but are not really.

  24. Objective Ace

    The Peter Thiel article headline needs to be more attention grabbing. Something like, “While the 99 percent squabble for crumbs, how a single member of the 1 percent commits fraud to cheat the government out of 5 billion taxable income”

    1. griffen

      That article is well worth reading. It’s just so very bold and in your face. One could argue that an early stage founder or angel investor is taking the big investment risk.

      The payoff profile is so very assymetrical; unless I misread the IRS can not get to those gains for taxation. It’s not even a loophole but large enough to drive an autonomous semi truck through. Plus the naming convention should be updated. He’s more akin to Sauron than Lord Elrond. Our elites and overlords can be flat strange!

      1. Objective Ace

        While payoff asymmetry is another problem, Thiel’s issue is that he ignored the requirement that securities must be valued at market price at the time they are placed into a Roth. They quoted a tax attorney in the piece who advises his clients not to put private start-up equity into a Roth for precisely this reason. The IRS could absolutely go after him if they wanted to. Of course we’ve had decades of defunding and dissuading the IRS from doing this very thing

        1. R

          The issue is timing. If you transfer founder shares after the transaction, they have gained in value. If you transfer them before the transaction is a prospect, e.g. before anybody signs a term sheet, they have only nominal value. The art is transferring them when there is a term sheet on the table or in the offing but probably not signed or, if signed, subject still to due diligence and final investment committee approval and, of course, agreement on the transaction documents. There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip: in the UK, HMRC would be hard pressed to insist the shares were worth something when the transaction could have failed at any point.

          The nice way to deal with this (I forgot who popularised the idea) is to run the capital taxes office as an investment fund: the taxpayer is allowed to submit their own valuation for assets and the tax office is entitled to buy them at that price. A little Keynsian dealing (he was tasked by HMG while in the Paris embassy to buy art in WW1 France, which subsequently appreciated greatly in value) would be an effective way of scalping the rich and/or keeping them honest. As we all know that taxes don’t fund anything, the downside does not matter (indeed, it would be a countercyclical stabiliser, albeit of investment acumen rather than the business cycle).

    2. The Historian

      If you read the article, you would know that Thiel is not the only one of the billionaire class bilking the Roth rules. Apparently our favorite grandfatherly billionaire, Buffett, is doing it too!

      1. Objective Ace

        Buffet at least did it without resorting to fraud.

        Thiel straight up committed fraud. You can’t under value securities to get around the $2000 annual cap. Paypal explicitly noted that they sold shares to employees at “under market values”. That’s it right there–smoking gun. The shares Thiel bought at .0001 dollars were under market value according to the very company that sold them

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      PayPal later disclosed details about the early history of the company in an SEC filing before its initial public offering. The filing reveals that Thiel’s founders’ shares were among those the company sold to employees at “below fair value.”

      Victor Fleischer, a tax law professor at the University of California, Irvine who has written about the valuation of founders’ shares, read the PayPal filings at ProPublica’s request. Buying startup shares at a discounted $0.001 price with a Roth, he asserts, would be indefensible.

      Case closed. Seize the entire account as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Quit dickin’ around. Next, drop everything else and start looking at the other similar accounts. There aren’t that many. ProPublica did the work for you. There are no good excuses, only corrupt ones.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That would appear to be the issue here – Thiel* having special access to the shares cheaper than anyone else could get them – and not the ROTH itself.

        You don’t wind up with any more money from having a ROTH vs. a traditional IRA – you just pay less in taxes overall which the government is OK with. If I have $1,250 and want to use a ROTH, I pay $250 in taxes (20%) up front and invest the rest tax-free. Maybe that remaining $1,000 turns into a million in my ROTH and I don’t pay any further taxes when I withdraw it. In a traditional IRA, I would have invested the $1,250 pre-tax, and then that turns into $1.25 million, and I have to pay $250K (20%) in taxes when I withdraw the funds. In the first scenario Uncle Sugar gets $250 and in the second gets $250K, but either way I walk with a million.

        Perhaps this is a tacit admission from Uncle Sugar that taxes don’t actually fund government spending!

        * this is in no way meant to endorse the investment strategies of Peter Thiel, who is a soul sucking incubus and a member of the billionaire class, a cohort which would not be allowed to exist in a truly equitable society.

        1. R

          That’s not the point. If you have designed yourself a lower tax rate on your dealings, you can outbid everybody else on any one deal, assuming you are all working towards the same after tax return, and your stack of chips will grow faster than the other players. So pretty soon they all fold and you take the pot. The winner takes all economy.

  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Student loan servicer censured over ‘what appears to be false’ congressional testimony Yahoo Finance

    What a colossal waste of time and oxygen these senate committee “hearings” are.

    These idiot senators act as if the miscreants and criminals they are so hot to “grill” are going to honestly respond to the questions those same senators should already know the answers to, and WOULD if they didn’t spend all their time dialing for campaign dollars.

    Then they write a “letter,” after the fact, and the whole sorry exercise degenerates into accusations of “inaccuracies” and hollow threats of penalties, while the original very serious infractions are free to continue unabated and lost in the shuffle. And the legislative “toughness” becomes the “news.”

    The current system is irredeemable. Every single incumbent should be thrown out so we can start over. There really is no other way.

    1. Alfred

      I, too am totally sick of watching this empty BS and faux outrage–I don’t know how Nadler and the rest can live with themselves any more. I am going to write a letter too. My Senators are not to blame though, they just have to listen to me (or their interns do).

    2. Carla

      Re: voting the bastards out. Unfortunately, switching out individuals won’t change a systemic problem. The system changes the individuals, not the other way around. We’ve got to get corporations out of governing by relieving them of their ill-gotten, never-intended constitutional rights, and then we have to establish that money is NOT speech, and therefore money in elections can be regulated. Yes, we need a constitutional amendment, and here is the resolution, introduced last month in 117th Congress. It already has 65 co-sponsors:

      If your Congress Critter hasn’t yet signed on, bug it until it does. If it has, thank it.

      Corporations can be given legal standing with statutory rights that are able to be granted and taken away by the people’s representatives. It is impossible to have a democracy when corporations claim and exercise constitutional protections — those are for human persons and the natural world* — not artificial legal entities.

      *i.e., the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, etc.

      1. Alfred

        Now that they are almost all feeding at the Wall Street insider trough as well as the lobbying slop bowl, they are more tenacious than ever to keep things as they are.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Surely the fact that we out-number them by thousands to one must count for something

            I am beginning to think it does not. Where is the point of leverage?

            That is why I keep posting so much on Myanmar. It’s a perfect natural experiment.

  26. Jomo

    On the Miami Condo tower collapse, could this be another manifestation of sea level rise? On a monthly basis, sea water is percolating upwards to the ground surface through the regions porous limestone rock. So what is happening underneath these tall buildings? The basement of this building is clearly flooded in the photos of the article, so is the foundation sitting in a soup of sand and seawater with occasional upward pressure from higher tides? I’m not an alarmist, but maybe Florida needs to start inspecting these towers more than once every 40 years.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It was really bad timing as that building was just beginning its Recertification process as it was forty years old which would have picked up on the problems that cause the collapse-

      ‘The recertification process mandates that, once a structure turns 40, its owners must hire a registered architect or professional engineer to do electrical and structural inspections within 90 days of receiving official notice from the town.

      If repairs are found to be necessary, the owner gets 150 days to complete them. The costs of repairs can be apportioned among the unit owners. And if the town’s building official determines the building to be unsafe, the case gets forwarded to the county’s Unsafe Structures Board for review.

      Buildings then repeat that process every 10 years after the initial 40-year review.’

      1. Alfred

        It emerged Thursday that scientists had warned that the condo building was sinking and in a potentially dangerous condition one year before it collapsed, while it was due a safety certification review for the first time in 40 years. It had also just undergone improvements to its roof.

        Authorities have not yet determined what caused the collapse and Miami-Dade police have opened an investigation – though Mayor Cava said ‘there has been no evidence found of foul play.’

        I guess criminal negligence, but not foul play? Keeping their fingers crossed, whistling past the graveyard? But they surely didn’t mean any harm to come to those people, right?

        1. Shonde

          Makes me wonder if the HOA board gave every owner a copy of the scientific report re structural issues. Was that structural report included with any sales documents required after the report was done?

        2. Maritimer

          “It had also just undergone improvements to its roof.”

          At least it did not collapse through the roof. I remember back I think with Hurricane Andrew that there were huge violations of Florida building codes via corruption. Miami-Dade county does not have the most savory of reps. Could be a bit of a Liability Hurricane brewing.

          Another aspect of this is that coastal insurance is so expensive that the US Gov holds most of it. A sop/subsidy to the wealthy who own the waterfront. I wonder who insures Mar-a-Lardo?

          So maybe Feds step in with Building Insurance Program, another sop to the wealthy.

    2. Carolinian

      There’s a book about how Miami is very much threatened by sea level rise and they are all fretting about what to do about it.

    3. tegnost

      I’m not an alarmist, but maybe Florida needs to start inspecting these towers more than once every 40 years.

      In the US we don’t measure what we don’t want to know

      1. Alfred

        Especially we ignore those things, to the point where I get suspicious when I see something being studiously ignored.

      2. Mantid

        tegnost, Spot one! CDC doesn’t count certain Covid cases any longer. It’s nice how the case count has gone down. Out for a pint now!

      1. flora

        Ground seismic “radar” is used to find tunnels on the US-Mexico border and the S.Korea/N.Korea border. With the porous limestone base in FL and the increasing number of large sink holes connected with sea water action, I wonder if required structural recert for large old multifamily buildings ought to include ground penetrating seismic “radar” to identify any deteriorating geology, aka large earth cavities (that’s what tunnels are in essence) under or near the building. Hurricanes aren’t the only architectural problems in FL now. My 2 cents.

        1. FreeMarketApologist

          It’s a good idea and I’m all for it, but they may discover that there’s really not much of anything holding up most of the buildings in Florida. What will happen when the value of 50% of the property in the state goes to zero?

          1. Alfred

            The truth will hurt “the wrong people”? Lives will be saved? Insurance companies will drop like flies and be dropping insureds like filthy lepers?

            1. Michael Hudson

              What I want to know — and what will answer all your questions — is what argument the insurance companies are going to use to avoid paying the policy holders who lost their homes (and lives).

              1. Alfred

                Yeah, I asked State Farm that same question when they dropped me like a hot potato after an Eastern Shore MD hurricane. Their first reason? They said don’t bother to try to file a claim because the bank had not paid the premium, which was escrowed. Then they said don’t bother to try to renew because they weren’t insuring anyone in my newly designated “hurricane alley” any more. I am fortunate that I had no appreciable damage. I just got another insurer.
                This is what Floridians have to look forward to:

          2. flora

            Or, you know, Turkey Point nuclear power generating station just south of Miami and Coral Gables, FL…. (Hope the plant operators there are on top of this question. Seriously.)

            I think the buildings permits were done with best intentions with best information available at the time the permits regulations were issued some decades ago. New information is coming to light. So, where to from here? No easy answers, imo.

    4. Glen

      It really reminds one of this:

      The Sampoong Department Store Collapse: Largest Mall Disaster in History:

      I’m not saying that the failures mechanisms are similar, but it’s an interesting investigation of what can cause events like this to happen.

      I’m sure we are looking at a number of factors which came together and allowed this failure to happen. And it would certainly be prudent to perform some inspections of adjacent structures pretty quickly just to be safe.

      1. flora

        thanks for this link. Reminds me of the KC Hyatt-Regency skywalk collapse during a Friday tea dance in 1989 (?). Cost-cutting. Undersized (cheaper) bolts and hangar steel rods. I can only wonder what a public-private(profits) infrastructure deal may bring us.

        1. flora

          adding: readers living in the KC area in 1981 will remember this event. From Wikipedia:


          The Kansas City Star hired architectural engineer Wayne G. Lischka[4][19] to investigate the collapse, and he discovered a significant change to the original design of the walkways.[16] Within days, a laboratory at Lehigh University began testing box beams on behalf of the steel fabrication source.[4] The Missouri licensing board, the state Attorney General, and Jackson County would investigate the collapse over the following years.[16] An investigator for the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) characterized the neglectful corporate culture surrounding the entire Hyatt construction project as “everyone wanting to walk away from responsibility”.[4] The NBS’s final report cited structural overload resulting from design flaws where “The walkways had only minimal capacity to resist their own weight”.[1]:6

          1. Katiebird

            I remember very well. It was a terrible event. …. 2 years before that there was another structural failure in Kansas City,

            40 Years ago, the collapse of one of Kansas City’s most iconic buildings shocked the architecture world

            On June 3, 1979, the Kemper Arena hosted a convention of America’s top architects. The group gathered inside the West Bottom’s sleek modernist arena, a structure it recognized as “one of the finest buildings in the nation.”

            One day later, it didn’t have a roof.

            It was an event that shocked the architecture world 40 years ago, drawing worldwide attention to Kansas City.

            The Kemper was the first major project by German-born architect Helmut Jahn, who had been honored inside his masterpiece just hours before the disaster. The Kemper’s column-less design offered prized sightlines that led to it being tapped to host the 1976 Republican National Convention.

            But, the night after America’s top architects left, a storm struck.

            Several inches of rain poured down in less than an hour. Around 7:10 pm, whipping wind and a deluge of rain caused the center of the roof to collapse onto the arena’s floor.

            “The arena’s cool white exterior was largely intact,” the New York Times later reported. “But the interior was a mass of rubble, with the bright Missouri sun shining through a hole almost 200 feet square onto the twisted remains of a scoreboard, ceiling trusses and bright yellow insulation panels.”

            Luckily, no one was hurt in the implosion of the arena, which was renovated in 2017 and is now known as Hy-Vee Arena. But at least one man who was among a handful of security guards and maintenance people in the building narrowly escaped death.

      2. KFritz

        Once again my apologies that my desktop somehow can’t do links with NC software.

        The actual video of the collapse reminded me of controlled implosion. There was an almost rhythmic, orderly quality to it. Unless the video was sped up, it happened quickly. Typing “CDI” into the searcline at Youtube, produces many videos of Contolled Demolition Inc, the US’s most prestigious practicioner of “implosion.” Note that before the explosion is done, all materials except the superstructure, decking, flooring, and framing are removed, so the rhythmic, orderly appearance of the Miami calamity–its similarity to planned implosion– is even more remarkatlbe.

    5. chuck roast

      More likely “a soup of sand and fresh water”. We forget that as the level of the sea creeps up, so the ground water, which is higher, creeps up proportionately. That’s what is immediately threatening in my neighborhood, and is creepy indeed.

  27. Maxwell Johnston

    “Baseball’s Goofy New Job: Belt Inspector”

    It took MLB almost a decade to crack down on PEDs (even though it was painfully clear as early as 1998 that something was seriously wrong, exhibit number 1 being Barry B’s melon head, and exhibit number 2 being McGwire’s transformation into The Hulk), but give the pitchers an edge and whoa: the sheriffs get to work! Always amusing to see what the real priorities are.

    1. griffen

      Hulk smash! Ball go very far! I remember well that chase given to beat Maris record in 98. So much care for precious records.

      Calling out an also ran is one step, but dudes like Max Scherzer for the Nationals? Stick to banging trash cans and no one cares maybe. I for one no longer care about baseball.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Even earlier than that – I raised an eyebrow when the formerly light hitting Brady Anderson walloped 50 homers back in 1996. The current inspection regime is ridiculous – I had a chuckle when Max Scherzer, a throwback to the days when the best pitchers were mean, tried to drop trow the other night when the umps came looking. I’m not necessarily condoning the sticky stuff pitchers have been using (although pitchers have claimed they did it in response to MLB messing with the balls and making them harder to grip than in the past [whether the grip issue is true or not is open for debate but MLB has definitely been changing the baseballs ever since they took over the manufacturer a few years ago {are any NC readers surpised to see private equity involved in that acquisition?!?}]), but it’s the analytics that are making the game unwatchable.

      And to NotTimothyGeithner, we missed the Anderson and Schilling for Mike Boddicker deal in our discussion of terrible Sox trades the other day. Maybe it wasn’t Babe Ruth for some theater tickets, but in retrospect that was a raw deal too ;)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Boddicker pitched pretty well…so…Schilling was hall of pretty good when he was with Philly. He would have been gone. They traded Aaron Sele. I think they wouldn’t have found a reason to keep Schilling. I just checked Schilling’s performance. Yeah, then GM Dan Duquette, that 2004 team was largely his guys, would have moved him shortly after he took over.

        I saw Anderson a few times when he was in the minors. He looked exactly the same through the ’95 season, then he was clearly kidnapped and replaced by a crazed steroid using fan.

      2. Savita

        this really is some secret code. I have no idea what you’re talking about!
        I recognise the words private equity..

  28. Nikkikat

    My husband and I had a huge laugh at your post. We used to wonder what the guy thought that had to order hats in ever expanding sizes for Bonds and why McGwire looked like the hulk but never turned green.

  29. flora

    re: The cooling of John le Carré – The New Criterion

    I missed the point (I guess) of this article. I think “The Constant Gardener” is particularly topical just now.

    1. ambrit

      My reading is that LeCarre’s later works were pretty much expressly anit-American and anti-English elites. This later philosophy of his cannot be allowed to retain legitimacy, now that the man is dead and no longer able to defend himself. It’s a Post Mortem Demonization. Expect more of the sort to follow, not just with LeCarre but with other recently deceased “voices in the wilderness.”
      I’m eagerly anticipating a revisionist appraisal of Hunter Thompson.

  30. Duck1

    They are keeping the dry powder on the sidelines because Schumer and Pelosi are certain that smoke and mirrors will pull the rabbit out of the hat.

  31. Maritimer

    Radio waves from Earth have reached dozens of stars MIT Technology Review
    From the article: “…it’s nice to think that one day, we might be able to say hello.” Give these folks the Nobel Prize For Wishful, Magical Thinking.

    “Hold my beer, Doctor Zoren, I’m gonna rev up the intergalactic radio signals.”

    For starters, please prove scientifically that who/what ever you “say hello” to will be benevolent or, at the very least, harmless.

    More Experimental Science with potentially disastrous consequences.

    1. ambrit

      And, how will our ‘aliens’ be able to “understand” our ‘messages’ if they don’t utilize radio and the associated electromagnetic spectrum. If ‘they’ are behind us in technology, they wouldn’t be able to recognize the signals at all. Depending on how far advanced over us ‘they’ are technologically, ‘they’ might not be using such frequencies any more and thus miss the signals.
      “Gnorf, there’s a blip on the radio band!”
      “Does it show up on the standard graviton detector?”
      “Well, no Gnorph, it doesn’t.”
      “See. Little out of the way suns are always putting out bursts of anamolous energy. Don’t worry about it. Any civilized species would be communicating by gravity wave modulation. Ignore it.”
      “But, but…”
      “No ifs, ands, or buts Ruell. Next you’ll be claiming that this is proof of the existance of ‘Flat Eyed Monsters.’ Now, if a deep space probe were to enter our Solar System, that would be different.”
      “If only that were so.”
      Astute readers will have noticed the differing endings to the senior scientist’s name: Gnorf versus Gnorph. In the written form of Reticulan, the ‘f’ ending indicates personal equality. The ‘ph’ ending signifys the inferior status of the speaker to the “person” being addressed. The same basic rule applies to the other formal name ends. [For a discussion of the Reticulan practice of formal name endings, see the monograph by Slugg Q, Glargg M&R, and Sneet *. 40357. Taxonomy and Morphology of Name Status Identifiers. Proceedings of the Institute of Symbol Manipulation Analysis. 8208:34-89.]

      1. witters

        Behind us in technology? Acoording to all the UFO enthusiasts they are way ahead even of our laws of physics (but unable, it seems, to develop half decent stealth technologies).

        1. ambrit

          But those are the ones we think we are seeing. If life follows the standard deviation over time, there will be as many cultures behind us as ahead of us on the “Ladder of Civilization.”
          As for ‘alien stealth’ it is useful to note that ethnologists usually interact in some fashion with the “primitive” cultures they are investigating. The times that such scientific inquiries are hidden is when the subject of the research is considered dangerous to the observers. Given the ‘observed’ superiority of the “alien” technology over the Terran human technology, I seriously doubt that the “aliens” would fear us enough to hide their presence.
          Again, some analogue of the ‘Prime Directive’ would come into play here.
          Also, the “aliens” could be so far ‘ahead’ of us that they don’t care what we see or figure out. We could be the chimpanzees to their Xeno-Anthropology Graduate Students.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal a ‘Disaster in the Making’ ”

    Oh? Really? Are they really alarmed? Reeeeaaaaa. . . ly?

    Let’s see them all vote against it in order to get it defeated.

    No, but seriously, this is a Yeltsinization plan for all of America’s publicly owned goods and assets at every level, from Federal down to County and Town. Can enough people torture and terrorise enough progressive officeholders in order to terrorise them into voting against something they all secretly support?
    Can enough public members terrorise them worse then the DemParty Leaders can bribe and wheedle them into supporting Plan Yeltsin for America?

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