Links 7/5/2021

New map created by AI reveals hidden links between Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies

Christine Lagarde: Financing a green and digital recovery Bank of International Settlements. “So how can we capitalise on this opportunity?”

This is as good as it gets for the US economy FT

Conditions are ripe for repeat of 1970s stagflation and 2008 debt crisis Nouriel Roubini, Guardian

Hackers demand $70 million to restore data after massive US cyberattack France24. That’s all?

Another 0-Day Looms for Many Western Digital Users Krebs on Security. Attacks on user storage devices connected to the Internet worry me. I would suggest that those of you who use Adobe products log out of the Creative Cloud app. LightRoom, at least, has the ability to move and delete files, so the inevitable penetration of Adobe might lose you years of work.

The PrintNightmare continues: Microsoft confirms presence of vulnerable code in all versions of Windows The Register. I don’t think we should have to patch our machines any more because Freedom.

Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development The Hill (original). From the original: “US inventories are underestimating methane emissions from [the oil and gas (O&G) sector] by 48%–76%.”

Fourth of July Post Mortem

We would be united if only the others weren’t dividing us:

It’s deplorable, I tell ya. Deplorable!

Please, make it stop:

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? Frederick Douglass

The Broker Who Saved America The Reformed Broker

How the NHS Was Won Tribune. The NHS was established on July 5, 1948. Still prostrate in the rubble after World War II, with a steam-powered transport system, and no computers, the UK was able to do what the United States could not do sixty years later. ‘Tis a puzzlement!

Veteran with ‘Be Courteous With Fireworks’ yard sign unaffected by Flowmaster exhaust, Toby Keith Duffel Blog

Nation’s Dogs Vow To Keep Their Shit Together During 4th Of July Fireworks The Onion


A Big Hit, A Big Miss, & Mixed Vaccine Schedules: The 18-Month Mark Hilda Bastian, PLOS. Exhaustive vaccine roundup.

Pfizer vaccine 70% effective against Delta variant, claims study Times of Israel

Prepare for mandatory COVID vaccines in September, Army tells commands Army Times

How Covid Helped Heists, Hoaxes, Scams, Cons, and Other Mischief Bloomberg

Where’s My Lyme Vaccine? Slate


What happens if Chinese household wealth is unleashed on the world? FT

Article by the former speaker of the US House of Representatives: American politicians should go to China to take the high-speed rail What China Reads

China launches cybersecurity review into more US-listed firms following action against Didi Chuxing South China Morning Post

China Yet to Deliver Promised Billions Despite Duterte’s Pivot Bloomberg

Sinopec starts building carbon-capture project in east China Reuters

This Popular Chinese Photo Tourist Spot is Entirely Fake PetaPixel (AC). Disneyland2.


Bereft of International Support, Myanmar’s Protesters Turn to Violent Resistance The Diplomat. If the warlords can refashion themselves as statesmen, they’d be helping themselves in a Federal system. If not, not.

EXCLUSIVE After pressuring telecom firms, Myanmar’s junta bans executives from leaving Reuters


Drone Attacks on Military Installation Rattle India’s Security Establishment The Diplomat


Taliban take districts in northern Afghanistan from fleeing troops USA Today. The US embassy in Kabul has a flat roof, good job.

Nordic fund KLP excludes 16 companies over links to Israeli settlements in West Bank Reuters

‘Marriage without strings’: Saudi confronts rise of ‘misyar’ Agence France Presse

Azerbaijan: Large fire erupts at Caspian Sea Deutsche Welle


“Long flu” is a thing, apparently:

Covid surge forces top private schools to close until next term Times of London. Because freedom!

Pop-up ‘coronabikes’ test German love of order Guardian

Brazil erupts in protests after court authorises Bolsonaro probe FT

Biden Administration

In Barrett’s first term, conservative majority is dominant but divided SCOTUSblog

Images from Hunter Biden’s laptop call into question Joe Biden’s denial of talking business with son FOX

New Hunter Biden Disclosures Feature $100,000 Donation Of Former FBI Director Freeh To The Biden Grandchildren Jonathan Turley, The Hill. Come on, man.

Is Hunter Biden’s art worth $500,000? Here’s what a curator has to say Yahoo News. Must be worth it to someone. For some reason.

Trump Legacy

Inside William Barr’s Breakup With Trump The Atlantic. How’s the Durham investigation coming?

Our Famously Free Press

Out-group animosity drives engagement on social media PNAS. Ka-ching.

Scientific American Retracted Pro-Palestine Article without Any Factual Errors The Intercept

Class Warfare

They Sewed Protective Masks and Gowns. Who Protected Them? New York Magazine. The people with the “In This House” signs in their yards?

Why Sectoral Bargaining Matters for the Labor Movement Jacobin

Dead Malls Predicted the Erosion of Public Space in America Rachel Presser

Antidote du Jour (via):

“Ridiculously, [this] photo is not staged.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Samuel Conner

    I found Roubini’s warnings in the Guardian item a bit hard to get anxious about. Perhaps a different framing would put a different light on some of his concerns. “Balkanisation of supply chains”, for example, could be regarded to be a move in the direction of global anti-fragility. Central bankers finding themselves in a tight spot in terms of shrinking policy alternatives might be an incentive for intelligent fiscal interventions by national fiscal authorities.

    IMO the threat of stagflation in the context of longer term problems, such as climate disruption, is like a ripple on the surface of a tsunami.

    I’m guessing that he hasn’t imagined a “people’s economy” as described in the last chapter of “The Deficit Myth”

    1. timbers

      Inflation and it’s meaning can be a frustrating discussion. IMO a big reason for this is government – and not just US govt – to corrupt it’s measure by deliberately understating it by miles. Taking housing as in home ownership out of CPI in 1983 was a milestone in governments efforts to corrupt inflation measurement and turn that into little more than a tool of propaganda. You can find all sorts of fancy learned writing why your house is less what you use for shelter than it is an investment and therefore is not really part of inflation.

      That is of course nonsense. No one needs to be told what’s happening to the cost of “investing” in shelter because we can all see it.

      Perhaps the second biggest contributor to inflation – at least in my world – is car inflation. The government has used smoke and mirrors understating car inflation for decades, but is particularly glaring now with the chip shortage. Best I can tell, the cost of replacing my car is up about 100% since the 5 years ago I bought my last then new car. I bought in a glut, the base model. Today their is such a shortage that base models exist only on the internet so you to purchase the more/most expensive model. And my preference for small hybrid cars is a niche abandoned by makers because big gas guzzlers have much better profit margins. So to replace the 2016 Prius C I got for $17k when new, would cost me about $35k or more today for a regular top end Prius…IF I could find one for sale. And frankly, the regular Prius is a bit larger than I prefer, but the slightly smaller Prius C has been discontinued.

      I my world where I value – NEED – home and car due to my life needs at the moment, I estimate I am experiencing annual inflation of 10%-20%. It’s hard to be more accurate because the govt has corrupt official inflation reports so extensively for so long, but I know my world inflation is no where near what the government says it is.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        If you have kids in college, #3 on your list would be college tuition, which has been rising far faster than the CPI for decades. [I just checked; over 6% per year at my alma mater.] #4 would be medical care.

        I too find the official CPI metric to be an utterly inadequate measure of the actual price inflation happening around us.

      2. Objective Ace

        The issue you mention with cars is Hedonic adjustments. The CPI makes adjustments to the price of goods based on “quality of life improvements”. The problem is, who determines the value of these quality of life improvements? It turns out the market does (you can compare how much consumers pay extra for a standard car vs one with an extra feature). This seems sensible until you consider “quality of life improvements” are really just luxury items and features that poor folks often cannot afford. Since poor people are priced out of the market their value of the improvement (likely to be negligible) is ignored and the “market price” of an item is biased towards what rich people value a new feature at.

        So for example, according to the CPI the actual price of cars and trucks declined by 11 percent over a 20 year period since 1995. This would seem absurd to any poor person who can no longer afford a car. Even more well off people are starting to see through the rub as you note

        1. timbers

          Yah. Have no use for some of the Hedonic benefits like blue tooth. Don’t even listen to the radio when driving. In part due to being a physical media snob. Prefer an immersive experience with killer audio and video and can’t get that in a car while driving. On that subject, the 2020 remake “The Invisible Man” is incredible. Much more than just a remake. Surpasses IMO the original 1933 version and 2000 Hollow Man. Audio heavy on LFE and Base ands to it’s truly scary impact. Rarely like newer movies. This one is great. But can’t experience it my car that’s for sure.

          1. Aumua

            I don’t know, there’s a positive side to bluetooth audio systems where you can connect your phone to your friend’s car stereo and play anything stored on there, or with Spotify or whatever you can play pretty much any song ever made, instantly. It can make for some interesting and fun car trips, and sharing of musical interests. It’s kinda cool, actually.

            One drawback though is that a lot of these systems won’t let you connect a device while the car is driving.

            1. HotFlash

              It can make for some interesting and fun car trips

              Ah, yes, possibly. Back in the old days, we just sang “99 bottles of beer on the wall”, looked out the window, and were happy.

        2. Jason Boxman

          I wonder if they can incorporate negative quality of life adjustments, like connecting cars to the Internet of s**t so they can be hacked remotely. Fun times.

        3. Spoofs desu

          @objective ace: regarding your comment/question on who is making these hedonistic adjustments—it is Dionysius. Maybe you heard of him; a Greek economist?

          Seriously though, I recall reading an article in wsj where the govt would use the marketing brochure of the car manufacture as part of the methodology to determine product improvements relative to price changes, noting that between model years the car was essentially the same.

          I recall in the 90s I was considering buy a Mitsubishi Eclipse that had 12 inch circumference, raised area, on the hood of the car. This was due to a kind of design flaw where they wanted the hood to slope down more from the previous year’s model, but the height of the carburetor on top of the engine could not accommodate the new sloping hood design. So, they raised this area on the hood. The marketing brochure called this new feature a “power bulge”.

          I always wondered who the guy was whose job it was to do the hedonistic adjustment for the “power bulge”. How would you calculate? Would one need to bring in some sort of Freudian analysis to the process?

        1. CuriosityConcern

          Only drawback is parts availability, I would say buy a popular older model. Otherwise you would have to learn fabrication or pay for it…

          1. Lost in OR

            I just rebuilt a 70’s vintage Troybuilt rototiller. It’s a beast like they just don’t make anymore. There is one US supply house that has the parts. I put a new Harbor Freight $120 knock-off Chinese-built motor on and I was good-to-go. Should be good till we’re back to the mattock. Now I need to get a new handle on the mattock.

          2. rowlf

            There are some wonderful networks for out-of-production farm equipment, automobiles, motorcycles, firearms, reloading presses, aircraft and machine tool parts. Usually old guys who are real characters and/or curmudgeons. Part of the challenge is identifying what you want and the finding it at a price you are willing to pay.

            US stuff availability is pretty good, but European and Soviet stuff gets more challenging. Sometimes if a part is popular enough someone might make a new production run, which can often be really good due to better materials or manufacturing process.

      3. Mildred Montana


        What about product durability and quality? I’m sure that’s not factored into the CPI. When I buy a washer and dryer for $1000 which last ten years when they used to last twenty, does that not effectively double the price of those items? Not to mention the inevitable repairs along the way because products nowadays are often so shoddily made. Those contribute to more hidden inflation.

        Calculation of the CPI (like those of macro-economics in general) is a pseudo-science. Even with computers, there are far too many inputs (some not easily measured as mentioned) to enable the production of an accurate figure. So at best, if not outright confected, it is massaged to meet the government’s goals and the Fed’s 2% target.

        1. Medbh

          I completely agree about the appliance issue. We moved 7 years ago into a house with all new appliances. Within the last 7 years, we’ve had to replace all of them, including the stove, fridge, dishwater, oven, microwave, and washing machine. At first, we tried getting them repaired, but both the oven and dish washer were broken again within months, and the labor plus parts was about half the cost of new.

          Even if you want to get something repaired, you have to put up with a ton of inconvenience to do it. I called two companies about the broken fridge. One wouldn’t replace it under warranty because they said they had been burned too many times, and they lose money on the job because the manufacture won’t honor legitimate claims.

          The other company was willing to replace it under warranty (which means the manufacturer paid for the $400 part, but we had to pay the $500 labor), but they were booking 3 weeks out. How many people are willing to go 3 weeks without a fridge?

            1. Medbh

              Unfortunately, the quality issue isn’t confined to one brand or model.

              The kitchen appliances were GE Monogram, with the exception of the dishwasher, which was Fisher.

              We replaced the original fridge with a LG, model LFX5296S, but it also failed (the one I recently tried to get fixed under warranty). So as far as the fridges are concerned, that’s two different brands that failed within 7 years.

              The part that failed on the LG fridge was a well known issue. There is a plastic part that does not handle the change in temperature well, and eventually cracks. The repair company said that they had replaced tons of them.

            2. Mildred Montana


              As a conscientious consumer I have several hard boycotts going on at the moment (one of twenty years duration!). Alas, all the boycotted companies are still in business and seem to be doing fine despite being deprived of my dollars. :(

              My only reward thus far has been a certain Zen pleasure that I’m doing the right thing.

          1. Mildred Montana


            You have my sympathies. The manufacture of shoddy products is a crime, except it isn’t. And the extraction of repair fees for those barely serviceable products is another crime, except (surprise!), it isn’t. Where the hell is the Bureau of Consumer Protection?

            Three weeks without a fridge? That’s…well, criminal. The BLS loves its “hedonic adjustment” to the CPI. Maybe if it hears enough stories like yours it will start making an “anhedonic adjustment”. And up will go the real inflation rate.

            I wish you the best of luck with your appliances (and other stuff).

      4. lordkoos

        I’m surprised that people who are not wealthy buy brand new cars. I’ve never made a car payment in my life and have never owned a car that is less than five years old, usually they are over ten.

        I also prefer cars that were made before 2010 as they have less of that “smart” crap in them. It takes a huge amount of resources to make a brand new car, you are doing the planet a favor buying a used one. Hybrids are cool and all but when they break down they are generally very expensive to repair. My sister in law had a Prius for awhile, when some of the digital stuff on it broke she was looking at a $4000 cost to fix it. Meanwhile if you buy a second hand Toyota and take care of it you can often get 200,000 miles out of them without many costly repairs.

        1. neo-realist

          Additionally, in the Seattle area, Prius’s are a prime target of catalytic converter theft. With labor cost, you’re talking about $2000 in replacement cost.

          Speaking of smart crap, I have a Honda model from the early 2000’s, which was brought used, that a few years ago had to have a computer chip replaced (about $3000) that put on the engine light and caused the car to be almost un-drivable without the chip. Since I figured that I had a lot of driving left in the car (about 138K miles), I chowed down to buy it. Still running well, but I just have to hope the car alarm keeps working to protect it from theft cause the thieves love Hondas for their parts.

          1. howseth

            My 2001 Honda Accord (4 cylinder) just passed 75,000 miles – I don’t drive much these days. My notion is to keep it till my end – whenever that may be. I bought it new. Shipped it from Long Island to California 6 months later – when we moved here.

            I noticed a lot more older cars in CA than in NY or Chicago – a good sign for a forever car.
            Thing is timing belts wear out/crack just with time. This is an issue with the non-metal timing belts in our 2001 Honda – and are very expensive to replace as they have to take off so many parts to get at the damn thing.

            Good thing is insurance cost goes way down as the car is considered worthless – so insurance covers liability mainly.

            I use ‘The Club’ on the steering wheel – a leftover from Chicago days to prevent theft – hate to have it stolen for parts

    2. John Emerson

      “Might be an incentive for intelligent fiscal interventions by natioal fiscal authorities”.

      Assume a can opener…..

    3. tegnost

      My problem with the roubini is where he says the 2010’s were great in the us because average pay rose so much…well of course it did, but what was the distribution? I’m getting paid roughly what I did in ’07, and it’s taken 11 years to get back there, while costs are through the roof. That said I agree with him that we’re weak.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That FT article in today’s Links “This is as good as it gets for the US economy” was also saying how the economy has been going great for years now. You read it and you wonder if they are taking about the same country. They say things like ‘Instead, the 2010s saw an expansion of American economic power, driven by its tech prowess and its relatively quick resolution of the debt crisis.’ and ‘US consumer and small business confidence hit highs unsurpassed since the 1960s.’ I’m sure that economists like Mark Blyth would have a different viewpoint.

        1. upstater

          My head is in the oven and my feet are in the freezer but on average, I’m 98.6F

              1. John Smith (no high tower)

                Mean is heavily skewed by outliers as mentioned above, and loses utility as soon as you start deviating from normality assumptions. This is because it uses squared distance in its calculations (i.e. L2 norm) which magnifies the effect of the longest side. The main reason for choosing mean and std as the statistical defaults is a combination of history and really nice analytic properties.

                Better is the combo of median and mean/median absolute deviation. These give you an intuitive feel for the measurement of middle-ness/dispersion, as well as being much more robust. But they still break down on highly skewed distributions like the income distribution.

                In practice, my standard approach is take the logarithms first. This puts everything in terms of orders of magnitude, which does look roughly symmetric and normal. You then calculate your central tendency and dispersion there. It requires thinking about the distribution more abstractly, but the trade-off is that you’re working in a much more natural domain for the problem (seeing as logarithms nicely handle growth and accumulation effects).

                Alternatively, quantiles are a good nonparametric alternative to actual measures of dispersion. The only problem with quantiles is they’re very arbitrary in terms of what info they reveal, but for the sake of generating a statement of the form “the middle 50% of people earn between $X and $Y”, they’re quite good.

    4. cocomaan

      It could be a sunny day and Roubini would be predicting an imminent storm. He’s a bit of a perma bear and I’ve stopped listening to those types.

      1. barefoot charley

        Roubini will be dead right one day. The end is always nigh (though it’s been for 30 years).

        1. Lost in OR

          Perma bear. I like it. I’ve been one since I read the Limits to Growth in the 70’s. And I’ve been wrong, sorta, ever since. But then, please present the case for The Perma Bull. There is only one possible conclusion to unsustainable.

      2. Wukchumni

        I’d like to see a ‘doom-off’ between Count Formaldehyde & Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, how could it be anything less than epic?

    5. Mikel

      It’s still more of the same: “we” (eyeroll) are in an alleged crisis because X, Y, Z means there are actual limitations to economic growth models that enrich a few.

    6. Procopius

      I don’t quite get what he’s on about. What do debt ratios have to do with the 1970s’ stagflation? It was primarily a supply side shock, resulting from OPEC’s shut-off of the oil. The widespread existence of cost of living clauses in union employment contracts made it harder to control, so Volcker and Reagan started the destruction of unions and there are no “escalator clauses” today. Of course there was no inflation after the GFC. The housing bubble burst, throwing the country into a depression, and widespread financial fraud and looting slowed the recovery. How does he even compare the two situations? Well, he always has baffled me, like Larry Summers.

  2. cnchal

    > Hackers demand $70 million to restore data after massive US cyberattack France24. That’s all?

    So, what, a thousand companies were hacked at an industrial scale by hacking the company the thousand relied on?

    Reading background leaves the impression that cloud land is running into the law of large numbers. As moar crapola is connected, moar data is collected, moar points of vulnerability are created.

    Security is going to be a bitch. At $70,000 per company they got off cheap, cost of doing business. What would a security focused internal IT department cost per year?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Regarding corporate security, there’s already a movement afoot saying if the companies refuse to spend the money for an adequate level of same the government needs to enact a law requiring it. Which will, no doubt, include tax breaks and/or subsidies to ease the financial pain.

    2. WhoaMolly

      What the hell are we paying the NSA for anyway? Is there any way they can’t track and identify hackers anywhere in the world in 48 hours?

      1. Procopius

        I am not an IT dude, but it seems to me the only way NSA could track the hackers would be by monitoring lots of computers in the States, which is illegal. Not that illegal bothers them, but there are people who would complain. On the other hand there should be back-channel communication with the Five Eyes who do monitor a lot of computers in the States and it’s not illegal in their countries, so all we need is to find an incentive that will motivate them.

  3. John A

    Re: the UK was able to do what the United States could not do sixty years later. ‘Tis a puzzlement!

    Except US healthcare companies with total complicity from Johnson and his gang, are dismantling the NHS piece by piece.

    I was amused today to read that the Queen has awarded the George Medal to the NHS. At a time when nurses have been offered 1% pay rise. It brought to my mind a very famous Social Democrat election poster from decades ago showing an old guy with the heading ‘Gärna medalj, men först rejäl pension’ (By all means a medal, but first a decent pension) which is very apt in Johnson’s Britain.

      1. The Historian

        Why does the Queen need health insurance when the people of Britain provide the Royals with the best medical care available, including private doctors? Nothing but the best for the Queen and her offspring, but the rest of the Brits – you know, the ones paying for the Queen and her offspring’s care? Well, they aren’t royal, are they?

        1. R

          The top NHS consultants are available to treat the Royal Family but their planned care tends to take place at private hospitals (the Kate and Meghan births) or, when we had them, military hospitals (security).

          For emergencies, they just get blue-lighted to the nearest A&E with a reputation in the relevant field. A school friend’s father was the top anaesthetist locally when Prince Charles broke his shoulder (?) playing polo in the 1990’s and was treated (IIIRC) in Cheltenham hospital.

          They probably have a list of hospitals to avoid in their travel plans, when they are out making ROyal visits (ironically, most of the choices, for and against, are probably named after a family member!).

    1. Jesper

      For some reason the rewards for the workers tend to have little to no monetary value. I know some people who worked in healthcare in Ireland during the time when they were seen as heroes for working in the beginning of the COVID. The reward? A medal.

      Not quite sure how the discussions went, possibly like:
      -We can’t give the heroes money because they’ll just waste it
      -We can’t give the heroes extra vacation because they are happiest when at work and told what to do (they probably don’t even have activity directors where they live…)
      -We can’t give them nothing as that has bad optics so lets give them a shiny object that will distract them…

      & as far as I can tell one of the difference between classes of people:
      -if you get a bonus for doing your job then you are of the upper (middle) classe or higher
      -if you get fired for not doing your job then you are of the lower classes

      I’ve read economists (and teenagers) argue that it has to be made cheaper to fire workers so therefore change the law to make it so, however, the costliest mistakes and the costliest to fire are of the upper classes protected by sacrosanct employment contracts…

      1. Allentown

        This is spot on and something that I’ve always remarked upon about my wife’s job at the hospital. If a nurse in an understaffed unit makes a single mistake with medicine, she is immediately fired. But the administrator who created the under staffing will get a bonus for saving money. My wife did get a mask though for working through the crisis. And then later a t-shirt!

      2. tegnost

        The modern version of the bonus army and they’re marching on washington to demand their asset values be preserved!

      3. Mikel

        Considering that highly paid people have a high level of corruption (more begats wanting more with all kinds of ad/marketing propaganda pushing buttons) I’ve been wondering if the framing should be even more about what is “enough” rather than what is too little.

    2. Eudora Welty

      Healthcare workers here in Seattle were offered a 1% pay increase, which management says is very generous. I see massive burnout, disaffection, and skepticism across the direct-line healthcare workforce.

    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, John.

      It’s not just Johnson.

      Starmer’s campaign was funded by United Health. Two UH lobbyists joined his office after his election victory. Both have just left.

      The outgoing NHS CEO, Simon Stevens, is New Labour, but has been friends with Johnson since Oxford.

      The rot began with New Labour, especially Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers and Andy Burnham. Owen Smith wanted to continue that project.

  4. Sam Adams

    Love the teddy and dog. Made me smile for the day Reminded me of my own dog who I recently lost and who had his favorite teddy to sleep with.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Sorry for your loss, so hard to lose our dear buddies
      I hope you find another, when you are ready

  5. Some Guy in Shanghai

    RE: Xiapu County

    This story, to me, symbolizes modern China too perfectly for words.

    1. R

      Makes me think (in an oblique way) of the Williamsburg water front in Brooklyn where remnants of the old domino sugar factory have been turned into a sort of monument in front of new high rises for people who work in finance, marketing, and tech.

      Goodbye productive economy, let’s memorialize it for a whole pile of rich people who literally do nothing of real value – America’s ‘new economy’.

      They even have the cheek to put up a plaque celebrating the diversity of the former workforce (who have now been gentrified out…)

    2. lordkoos

      The Chinese seem to love the ersatz stuff even more than Americans do. When in Beijing 20 years ago I walked through a theme park that had a perfect replica of a Tibetan monastery, complete with orange-robed monks.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Notice that bit on the Daily Mail front page where it says ‘PM…declares its time to live with Covid as we do the flu’? That is the same thing that Scotty from Marketing in Oz declared a few days ago with his four-phase plan to get us out of the Pandemic. I am smelling a rat. Was this discussed at the recent G-7 meeting? Scotty had a long meeting with Boris then so perhaps that this was the general agreed upon strategy in dealing with the Pandemic. So all those a year ago whom we mocked by saying ‘It’s just the flu, bro!’ turned out to be prescient about how it would be handled before the pandemic ended. And that is how this Pandemic is going to end. Not with a whimper but with a bang. I would say now would be a good time to stock up on goods and groceries if you can.

    1. Mikel

      This caught my eye in the thread on that tweet:

      “BREAKING: Duchess of Cambridge self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for covid-19. She’s fully vaccinated & has no symptoms. Has been to Wembley & Wimbledon in past week…”

      Just can’t help but note they say “has no symptoms”…not whether she has tested positive or not.

    2. Nikkikat

      Same issue here with appliances. I have lived here 28 years. We have had 3 dishwashers. First one had the entire motor go out 2days after the 1 year warranty was up. Had to buy a new one as motor cost practically as much as the dishwasher. Last two had the control panels on the front go out on them. We are on our 4th refrigerator. I do not like ice makers as they always have a problem and can flood the kitchen with water. These are basic refrigerators with no fancy anything and an a top freezer. Microwave is the third on we have purchased. Water heater is 6 years old and has been fixed twice. To compare, I have a washer and dryer that I replaced last year, purchased when we bought the house 28 years ago. I never buy the cheapest or most expensive but somewhere in the middle.
      I have a family member that always buys these computerized appliances.
      There is constantly some kind of filter needing replacement or some such nonsense. And always an annoying buzzer or bell that continues to sound off until you replace the part.

    3. Aumua

      This is just my opinion, but I would suggest that perhaps the vaccines are in fact making it more like the flu. That’s probably going to be an unpopular opinion right now. I just keep looking at the numbers, and I see them rapidly falling especially in the U.S. and other places where vaccination is somewhat widespread.

    4. crittermom

      I’m still wearing my mask. We seem to be having another wave sweeping through this area of the valley.

      This past week a relative (by marriage) of my landlord’s died from it, and yesterday the manager of our local gas station was airlifted to a hospital and put on a ventilator.
      I found out today she had already lost two siblings to Covid.

      I’m told these are not the only active cases in this close-knit community.
      I suspect none were vaccinated, even though there was ample supply.

      I admit to being somewhat unsettled when our postmaster said she isn’t getting vaccinated.

      The mask mandate was lifted and people are partyin’ down in this state of ‘Crowdorado’* like we’ve seen the end of it.
      I’m not as optimistic.

      So I’m not relying on just the one dose J&J I received to completely shield me from all.
      Still masking, and distancing when indoors with others.

      * ‘Crowdorado’. Thanks to whomever (can’t remember!) on here came up with that. It’s (sadly) perfect.

      1. RMO

        I’m still wearing my N95 here in BC. Masking in grocery stores etc. has just become optional at the discretion of the store – some still require it, those that don’t that I’ve seen still seem to have about 90% mask use right now. We’ve just hit 80% one dose and 37% fully vaccinated and the past 24 hours have seen 20 new cases out of a 5.2 million population. I just got my second dose of Pfizer Thursday but even after the two weeks are up I’m going to base my precautions on what the case numbers here are. If we have day after day of zero new cases then I will start to return to my pre-covid routine.

  7. griffen

    Coming soon to a QVC near you, it’s the latest from the successful, not starving at all Hunter Biden collection! Get yours and be the first to own a uniquely American original.

    Barf. Grifting is too an art form I suppose.

    1. Mikel

      “Since many of Kaseya’s customers are companies that manage internet services for other businesses, the number of victims grew quickly…”

      And none of these businesses can be assumed to be “forever businesses.” Companies constantly go out of business and are bought and sold.

      I see a huge security nightmare that has been created. “Innovation”….
      And people looking to the cause of it for the solution.
      Also, this might all be more accurately called “the protection racket.”

      1. Oh

        Waiting (and hoping) patiently to see what AWS would do in a similar situation.
        What would Jeff do?

    2. Aumua

      It seems kind of like a value bet in poker. They want to get paid off, but they also want to make it easy enough for companies to pay them off. Spreading the ransom around to a bunch of different companies is a pretty good idea.

    3. synoia

      What happens when fake hackers demand less money?

      How can one discern that a specific demand is credible?

  8. Baby Gerald

    Re: NYT American Flag tweet

    Notice that the comments on that tweet vastly outnumber the ‘likes’ by almost 2 to 1. This, my friends, is what we call ‘getting ratio’d’.

      1. Lost in OR

        Thanks Rev. I had no idea.

        You’re an awesome poster! Where do you get the time, depth, and bandwidth?

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        That’s fascinating. I had no idea so many of them lost so much. Back then, the elites had skin in the game. Times change, and so do societies.

      3. marym

        I didn’t find a version of this story that cited historical sources. The Snopes supposed debunking of some of the story lists secondary sources, but not specific to each item.

        Accurate stories or not, that people suffer consequences for acting on their beliefs doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of judging the content and the private and public consequences of their beliefs.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Thanks for posting these links. I read through both, and though we can quibble over historical details neither link IMHO contradicts the fact that wealthy elites in 1776 colonial pre-USA had way more skin in the game than wealthy elites in 2021 USA (or probably any other country nowadays). Being taken prisoner (however briefly)? Having your house ransacked? Having one of your offspring die in combat? No way.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      rod dreher had this on his twitfeed:

      i see this regularly between here and san antonio…just with a bit smaller flags.
      one man trump parades.

      and, i’ll drop these here, because i found them interesting:

      this abhors me…but i’m one of those archaic Free Speech(and Thought) Absolutists.

      and finally, where i got both of the above links:

      where i live and move, “cancel Culture” doesn’t really affect me…save for a little bit that is continually attempting to seep into the local ISD’s internal culture(those fires never seem to take, and pass by, unremembered)
      and i admit that for a long time, i thought that what we call Woke was merely another hallucination of the teabillies.
      in retrospect, however, i remember encountering it’s larval form 20+ years ago…
      i read judith butler in college, but dismissed her as a hack.
      it’s remarkable to me that her work has become the foundation of all this mess….as if the Crazy Right wasn’t enough to deal with.
      of course, like the woman in the Bari Weiss offering, courage, with cost is what it will take to counter both of these threats to human survival and flourishing…and that’s in short supply.
      (even the thought of trying to publish a book or a blog or yelling on faceborg seems overly exhausting, to me….but i’ve got more than i can handle at the moment on this physical farm in the wilderness)

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        …and even more about who doesn’t bother to read an article, but comments anyway. Here’s the actual piece:

        Here’s the topic of the article:
        Politicians of both parties have long sought to wrap themselves in the flag. But something may be changing: Today, flying the flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation in a deeply divided nation.”

        The topic is an entirely correct one for Independence Day. The article does, naturally, spin the issue in typical, mealymouthed New York Times fashion. Instead of arguing how those of us who don’t support ultra-rightists’ misappropriation of the flag should fight back, it just whimpers with “observations” about how distressed people are when the flag’s meaning is hijacked. That sort of mewling silliness doesn’t however, make the topic false or unimportant.

        A Dominator skull decal colored in with a US flag with a blue stripe marring one of the whites is a vicious, unsubtle statement. And wayyyy too often, the truck with the dominator decal also sports a real US flag nearby. Like it’s the same thing, completely indivisible. This kind of symbol manipulation should make most of us angry every time we see it. The problem isn’t that the Times weakly broached this issue. It’s that it sniveled it’s way through all the responses, doing a disservice to the people who allowed themselves to be interviewed. The Times writer just “observed” those who live out here in flyover* like we’re animals in a safari park. Which is a painfully stupid approach. The days when the Times readership could take this stance safely are either gone, or fast disappearing.

        *(apparently this writer was sufficiently insular that Long Island served as a stand in for the heartland).

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          same way the same(more or less) bunch ceded the field regarding religion.
          i’m neither religious(in the conventional sense, there ain’t a box i can honestly check) nor a flag lover…and, prior to trumpyism, i didn’t care about people flying flags.
          i only do, now, because it’s so often,so obviously a hostile act…however performative, it carries a real threat.
          to test this, all you have to do is apply Step 4(4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves) regarding us empire in the presence of a previously identified flag waver.
          quickest way to learn sympatico with all those beaten and chased victims of empire, is to become one yourself.
          just admit that you hate america, reckon “we’ve” done far much more harm than good in the world, and await the reaction.
          I grew up and came of age in that situation, being congenitally antiauthoritarian, too smart fer my own good, and rather undomesticated.
          regardless…all this is two sides of a class that is much less precarious than i’ve ever been throwing feces at each other, reinforcing the illusion/delusion that us’n’s matter, and that it’s the best of all worlds.
          THIS, is something to yell for:

          on the other hand…i, and my wife and youngest, were facetimed to my stepdad by my mom raising a new american flag on his little flagpole up by the front gate.
          he’s been at the va in micu for almost 2 months, and july 4th gets him down in the dumps, because thats when the bad guy across the rice paddy shot him in the back.
          it took 40 years of secret misgivings for him to admit that he felt betrayed, and that he’d killed people for no good reasons.
          i didn’t ask how our little ceremony would relieve all that,lol.
          my only comment was playing scotland the brave on my fone…bagpipes are cool, right?
          and i’ll respectfully burn the old one for him, even without supervision.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            …prior to trumpyism, i didn’t care about people flying flags.
            i only do, now, because it’s so often, so obviously a hostile act…however performative, it carries a real threat

            Yes. The US flags in the center of the truck beds…. right next to the Gadsden and the Trump flag. It’s not like they’re using it that way to bring peace and freedom to anyone except themselves and their best buddies.

            I realize most commenters here have to contend with effete coastal snobbery more than thug-pig Trumpists, but if they’re so all-fired concerned about America, they should learn about those Dominator decals, and what they stand for. This kind of sneering, overtly violent garbage is increasingly common on trucks and SUVs in the intermontane west. And it’s not all the fault of tiresome, pretentious MSW (masters of social work) types who advertise their preferred pronouns of address in their sig files and Instagrams.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              old as the hills in rural texas….but thre is a difference between rural east texas, and rural central texas.

              i’m sitting in my wilderness bar, watchin the rain, listening to the thunder, and chillin.
              a million tiny dragonflies suddenly take wing from the grass and such, and fly up into the trees.
              maybe 1/8″ long, i had to get up close(Ghan-Bury-Ghan) to see them(they ignored me).

            2. rowlf

              The people with the Dominator decals know that there is a missing piece of the US puzzle. What they see doesn’t match up with what they are told. If you figure it out you could be their leader to a better place. How would you swing them and bring them in?

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                by talking libertarianism(small l) mixed with my well honed new deal evangelism…in the language of king james

                ie: meeting them where they’re at

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  what “those people” want, is agency….or at least the simulacra, thereof.(see: third matrix film, with the Architect)

                2. rowlf

                  meeting them where they’re at

                  … and bringing them to where we can work together.

                  As a past union organizer and manager at a corporation I am fascinated by how to form a team and make it work, which makes me a big fan of Adolph Reed Jr. FDR and the Brown Shoe Army.

        2. Mark K

          Highlighting a single word in the passage Fluffy quoted from the flag article…

          Today, flying the flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation in a deeply divided nation.

          Have these people no sense of history? John Prine, c. 1971:

          “Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven any more / They’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war”

        3. Elizabeth Burton

          “I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.” — Molly Ivins

          1. Nikkikat

            I have never flown the US flag for any reason. I live a Orange County ca. My street has 4 houses with actual flag poles in the yard. Every holiday the Mormon church Boy Scouts sell flags on PVC poles and come around to plant them in yards where they aggravate me for 3 or 4 days. I also would rather burn one than plant or hang one. Almost no other country do you find people putting up flags or singing the national anthem at sporting events. Every Fourth of July I think of the Nazis putting flags up on everything during Hitlers reign when I see our flag lined street. I also remember those yellow ribbon magnets on everyone’s cars after 9-11.
            People love their propaganda.

            1. Oh

              Putting out a flag for Memorial Day or July 4 is a me too thing!
              Patriotism is doing somethng for the masses not flag waving, nor supporting troops.

    2. cocomaan

      Thanks for the update on the lingo.

      I fly an American flag because it’s a good way to make sure nobody bothers to rob your house.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre


        Over the last few years Union Jacks have become more prevalent flying outside ordinary homes, something that was very rare when I left 23 years ago & eventually ended up in Northern Ireland, which back then & still is where it’s at for flags, Queenie stuff etc, often just across the road from Irish Tricolors decorating another housing estate.

        Due to the English Soccer team doing so well…so far, in the European Championships I imagine that many more flags are going up, with much more confidence than usual that they won’t be taken down very soon after, as the team looks as though they have a real chance to win it. If they do I’m sure that Brexit will be credited for boosting the bulldog spirit, which of course Boris will make the most of.

        Perhaps flags are the last refuge for something.

    1. griffen

      Arthur Fonzarelli deserves better, come on! Albeit in today’s world, the Fonz could CGI impose the shark image as though he appears to jump it. Just get Peter Jackson on the set.

      1. Sometime Susan

        Zuck isn’t wakeboarding in the real sense of the word; what he’s doing here is riding a board that’s attached to the side of the boat he’s being filmed from. There’s little difference between this fantasy and the Chinese peasant photo-op.

  9. Blue Duck

    When will these hackers do something socially useful, like shut down air traffic? They have found a tool that is effectively as powerful as striking workers, but all they’re doing is asking for pennies instead of making big demands.

    1. anon y'mouse

      criminals are capitalists, just using illegal means to get the goal.

      you’re thinking about revolutionaries, which seem to have died out a few decades back.

      if they did that, worse would happen to them than their bitcoin stashes being raided. guantanamo is still sitting open for enrollees.

    2. Acacia

      Indeed. Talk about a lack of imagination. They’ve got their Guy Fawkes masks and badass hacker kit, but evidently they haven’t even watched V for Vendetta. Sheesh.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Seriously. A pipeline is allegedly shut down, shoving up the price of gas (which price remaining largely in place post-reopening), owner of pipeline shells out $40 million (most of which is “restored” after less than two weeks), all is back to normal. Meantime, media screams “RUSSIA!” and Biden announces enhanced security measures against “domestic extremists”, which according to the Navy includes socialists.

        I hope I can be forgiven if this new “attack” has the distinctive smell of “rinse and repeat”.

        1. pasha

          it was even more subtle than that: the hack didn’t shut down the pipeline, it shut down the billing mechanism. when the company realized it was pumping for free, it shut down the pipeline, causing great disruption.

      2. jo6pac

        the cia is losing their poppy fields in Afgan. They have to make the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ somewhere.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Taliban take districts in northern Afghanistan from fleeing troops”

    This is going to get interesting this. The Pentagon is planning to keep about 650 troops at the US Embassy. And they are negotiating with Turkey to have about 500 of their troops to garrison Hamid Karzai International Airport – along with a US contingent. And the British say that they want to keep a special forces contingent there after the withdrawal as well. But wait, there’s more. The US also plans on using the Embassy for hosting a military command post to control operations in Afghanistan such as raids, bombings, etc. And we are not even talking about a huge CIA contingent or an unspecified number of contractors. So in short, they plan on staying in Afghanistan and don’t ever want to leave. The Taliban may be religious extremists but they are not insane enough to leave this viper’s nest in their midst. And the Taliban have a lot of options to choose from as they close in on Kabul. They have said that Kabul is not a military target but hinted that if troops remained behind, that that could quickly change.

    They could shut off food supplies to the city. Hello Berlin Airlift 2.0. They could shoot down aircraft with manpads as the Iraqi resistance did at Baghdad’s airport during the occupation. So in spite of any future bombing, there will come a point when that convoy will have to leave the US Embassy and drive down Airport Road to meet transports awaiting them at that base. And they will have to negotiate free passage with the Taliban to do so. So this will be worse that the Soviet evacuation of Afghanistan. The Soviets left on their own terms and left behind a structure that lasted years. The US/NATO will be reduced to having a redo of Saigon in ’75. Just before the invasion 20 years ago I was reading an article by the last Soviet commander in Afghanistan trying to warn Washington what to expect but they blew him off because this time, it would be different-

    1. JohnnyGL

      This is one of those situations where you have to wonder about the motives and goals of people involved.

      Does the Pentagon WANT an embarassment of a withdrawal, — a kind of Saigon, to make Biden look bad? To punish him for leaving (mostly)? Sec Austin seems loyal enough, but i’d be worried about the leaders overseeing whatever small garrison is to be left behind.

      Also, how patient, or anxious, are the Taliban leaders? Are they content to wait things out? Or are they itching to squeeze the Americans out while they see the opportunity?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My guess is the number is perceived as enough to deter the Taliban but small enough to not offend and be able to resupply if they have to. The Taliban seem to be hitting the area of the old Northern Alliance. Are they actively destabilizing a relatively organic counter to the Taliban? The “legitimate” government was instituted by colonial powers. It won’t last.

        My guess is Biden’s strategy is to delay until he can dump it on DeSantis. Biden may be betting on mercenaries, but mercenaries have a habit of splitting when the going gets tough. As long as the mercs are staying in their lane, dealing with the old base of the Northern Alliance makes sense, then move onto the mercs as flue won’t do anything without actual soldiers doing the hard work. A majob assault on US troops risks bringing air power.

        1. tegnost

          The thing about airstrikes is that they can be referred to as “surgical” which makes it seem so precise and measured, yet unquestionably necessary. I’m not one who thinks the military dislikes biden, but I could be wrong…so I’m guessing symbolic temporary disengagement. You have to keep at least one campaign promise!

        2. Keith

          There’s a difference between the all volunteer force and mercenaries? Seems they are both doing their job for their chosen careers. Only real difference is the media doesn’t track the private worker deaths, only the government employees.

      2. Andrew Watts

        There isn’t a shortage of really smart people who want to dive the US into a military quagmire. This is a reason why I can’t gloat over Rumsfeld’s grave.

        It’s also pretty humiliating to see your puppet client-state collapse while you’re in the middle of withdrawing. They should’ve left by May as stipulated by the original agreement.

        Worse than the fall of Saigon imo.

        1. lordkoos

          Much worse, I agree — Vietnam wasn’t left in the hands of an army of zealous religious extremists.

          But, who is going to guard the opium fields now that the US has pulled out?

          1. Young

            Forget the opium fields.

            I am more concerned that the percentage of girls gettjng high school diploma in Kabul will drop below Tehran’s. /s

    2. Andrew Watts

      I don’t expect that the Taliban will make a move to capture Kabul yet. The Mayor of Kabul and the remaining NATO forces might be left alone for now. Of course, I could be wrong about that. The Taliban will likely be busy consolidating it’s hold over the territories they recently captured until the next spring offensive. They might even be in control of more territory then they did in 2001.

      The swift advance of the Taliban across non-Pastun areas in the northern districts probably came as a shock. The collapse of the Afghani forces shouldn’t have been a surprise though. This is a replay of the disappearance of the Iraqi Security Forces in 2014.

    3. Mikel

      Or a lot of it could just be people returning home after foreigners leave.
      Still talking about people who were there before the militaries came and will be there long after.

    4. Aumua

      I’m just tired of hearing the MSM constantly bellyaching about how terrible it is that we are leaving Afghanistan, and darkly hinting at all the horrible things that are going to happen because of it. I kind of just file the USAtoday story in that same bin. I reluctantly give props to the Biden administration for apparently following through on the troop withdrawal at least, in spite of all the crying.

  11. jsn

    FT links today:

    So, I guess the CCP has decided to blow off some of the domestic froth by letting nationals extinguish it in the West, learn how good they have it at home.

    Then, “Populist” Bolsonaro is the subject of “popular” protests. FT making a stew of the OED: the guy installed by the CIA and run by corporations is “populist”, you know like Mussolini, the guy who invented the term.

    I only subscribe to keep tabs on what the global PMC is thinking, but this makes the price hard to justify.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Mussolini did not invent the term “populist”. It was created in the US as the designation for the People’s Party about 135 years ago, and has been greedily co-opted by all the elites and tyrants ever since.

      1. jsn

        Sorry, I forgot the /s.

        Mussolini invented the term fascism, which is a militaristically run corporate state (I agree with Lambert this particular governing structure is an innovation of the antebellum American South).

        My point is the FT deliberately using the wrong term. Sanders is a populist as was Bryan: Bolsonaro is a fascist as was Trump, thought thankfully an incompetent one.

        1. John Emerson

          Quibble: Bryan was a Democrat friendly to the Populists, but never a Populist.

          At the Scopes trial the actual Populist was Clarence Darrow, not Bryan. Anti-populist liberals get that 180 degrees wrong wrong.

      2. jsn

        My bad! What I intended to communicate was my irritation at misusing the word “populist” to further discredit that worthy term when the word “fascist” perfectly describes the subject.

        My previous reply apparently was lost in the aether.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Dead Malls Predicted the Erosion of Public Space in America”

    Malls must be a real part of past American life and you see it reflected in films like “Mallrats” & “Dawn of the Dead” (which was set in a mall). In fact, there is a website which has all sorts of stories on malls and where you can look up many malls going by State-

    But I do wonder what main Streets were like which those malls replaced. What was it like back then? If those big chain retailers have abandoned those malls, perhaps they can be re-dedicated for local groups, community activities and even have sections for homeless shelters. All sorts of possibilities there. Thing is, having a commercial complex for decades be the nexus for local communities just does not really seem to be the best of ideas.

      1. wilroncanada

        Coincidence! I’m sitting in the kitchen with the door open (it’s about 28 celsius) listening to my neighbour, playing blues harmonica, jamming with my other neighbour, an 80s rocker, doing blues riffs over and over, practicing. Both are retired older gentlemen, like me.

    1. Carolinian

      Hope those homeless have a car. US malls sit in the middle of acres of parking. And amazingly, at least until recently, even that isn’t enough at Christmas time.

      The decline of mall culture is doubtless a good thing for the environment but it won’t easily be repurposed.

    2. Adam Eran

      The bizarre thing about calling dead malls “public spaces” is that malls are private space. They are the ersatz public square where, I promise you, if you stepped up on a soap box to talk politics, you would be ejected. They are not public spaces. Main street is a public space. The town square is a public space.

      Malls are privately owned and operated, and now suffering badly because of online competition and because they are an element of sprawl. There’s typically no housing in malls. No offices. It’s a single (commercial) land use. No natural customer base exists for a mall because everyone must drive from their (single use) residential area.

      There are signs things might improve, but so far, these are just plans, not a lot of building is going on.

    3. lordkoos

      Weren’t most malls were purpose built in the suburbs so did not replace Main street? They certainly contributed to the death of small local businesses though.

    4. Big River Bandido

      In most places in America, malls were not built anywhere near Main Street. That was largely the point. They were built in the suburbs, far from downtown areas, so that wide 4-lane highways could be built. Essentially, new “cities” arose on the peripheries of old industrial cities of the northeast and Midwest. But these are not cities at all really, just miles and miles of strip malls and sterile apartment complexes, none of it walkable. The aesthetics of these places are dystopian and hideous; their rise (concurrent and symbiotic with that of “suburbia” and the automobile) is what killed America’s cities.

      Ironic that suburban and exburban malls are being killed by the same forces they themselves unleashed. Good riddance, I say. Eventually many of those sites will be bulldozed…they are mostly located in places where no one would otherwise go.

      1. KB

        Oh my…need to catch up with the malls at least in suburban Minneapolis. I grew up and worked as a 16 year old at the first fully enclosed climate controlled mall in the US….Southdale Mall…Their parking lot is now filled with motels and apartment complexes…ugly ones…the 5 over 1 concept of 5 stories of “luxury” but cheaply built apartments over one floor of retail….These motels and apartments are everywhere on many parking lots. Built nearby the same in a Lund’s grocery store parking lot. Nope, every acre of parking is now filled with these atrocious buildings….traffic and the environment?.how does this help…Life is not livable anymore in these previous WW2 built homes for middle class/blue collar workers..not Edina per se, but all the neighboring communities

        1. pasha

          i still have a pin i used to wear when i liven in minneapolis:

          “U.S. out of Edina!”

    5. grayslady

      I can tell you exactly what it was like in those days. Freestanding communities of 3000-5000 people really did have a main street, complete with Rexall pharmacy, white goods appliances and repairs (washing machines, refrigerators, etc.), the indoor movie theater–often of Art Deco design, a five-and-dime/Ben Franklin type store, hardware store, the local Ford Motor dealer, grocer, butcher, toy store, book store, etc. Side streets had the independents–broken lamp repair, independent auto repair, a retail store for the dairy (every independent small community had its own local dairy) where you could buy a massive cone with the best ice cream imaginable for just a nickel. Outside of town you could typically find a local hospital, a drive-in movie theater, and a Dog ‘n’ Suds/A&W Root Beer stand for a Saturday night dog or burger. All shopping was local. No one would even think of driving 10-15 miles to the next town for something. No bakery? There was always a woman in town who was superb with pastries, could use the extra money, and was available to take orders for breads, pies, cakes and cookies. Everyone knew everyone else, and you supported your local merchants. Once a year you might take an outing to the nearest very large town for specialty goods or clothing, but material goods weren’t a big thing. Closets were typically 4-5 feet wide, and you had one dresser for folded items. Something special like a hunting jacket? There was always the Sears catalogue.

      Larger towns of 12,000 or more were likely to be suburbs or extended suburbs of a city. There were several main streets or even several shopping areas. Like their smaller cousins, they had useful stores: hardware, butcher, bakery, fishmonger, clothing, banks, auto dealers, pharmacies, five-and-dimes, just like the smaller communities–just more of everything, and with some specialty stores thrown in. My hometown had an appliance store, but for major appliances most families went to Sears, Polk Bros or Wieboldts, and it was likely to be the only charge card they had. Cars, mortgages and major appliances were the only items for which a credit card was used, and then only to pay a set amount over a longer period of time. All the credit cards were store cards–no MC, Visa or American Express. For a greater selection of clothing, you would go to the nearest larger city maybe 3-4 times per year, and the big city once or twice a year.

      The shopping malls never threatened main street because they were never originally designed to compete–they were designed to bring some of the larger stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Marshall Fields and others to where the money was–in the suburbs! Car dealers weren’t located in the malls, and no one shopped for a hacksaw at Lord&Taylor. There were no pharmacies at the mall. Malls were primarily for clothing and shoes, maybe some furniture stores, but definitely stores that required a lot of floor space.

      What killed main street was logistics and finance. Stores like the five-and-dime used to be able to buy Christmas merchandise for delivery in October with payment in January, after the merchandise sold through. Along came Walmart and the manufacturers of small toys, writing pads, woven baskets, etc. no longer wanted to finance the independent merchants when they could sell to Walmart–for less profit, to be sure–but with immediate cash payment for their invoices. Independent pharmacies couldn’t compete on price with Walgreens. Car dealers moved to former farm land where they could build huge dealerships and negotiate exclusive area distributorships. And so it went.

      Malls were for people with an auto and limited time. Want a special sweater for that Christmas party you’ve been invited to? You’re more likely to find one store at the mall that has just what you want. Want to order a couple of beef tenderloins for the Christmas party you’re giving? Go to the local butcher. Nowadays, we seem to have lost the best of both worlds we used to have. No interaction with the store owner or ability to accommodate special requests, and no ability to go to the mall and actually try on a garment or a pair of shoes. Life was definitely more pleasant when I was younger.

      1. flora

        Your comment is a wonderful description of what life was like when Main Street was the main shopping area for the local small-mid sized town. Even the much smaller towns had a lumber yard that carried building supplies, lumber, and heavy metal joining parts and paint; would have a local hardware store that probably had a range of kitchenware and small countertop appliances and a small toys section as well as the standard hardware; and would have a local newspaper, a local bank, and a post office.

        1. artemis

          Well, malls popped up in my small southern city when Main Street was desegregated.

          1. flora

            Malls were popping up everywhere during and after the 1970’s, even in lily-white states. Mall of America in Minnesota was the apotheosis of the trend, imo. Vast, air conditioned emporiums of “shopping experience”.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I know that malls are just dinosaurs now but looking at those videos about how they are deserted and abandoned is sad watching. At one point, they were part of people’s lives, right or wrong, and I have read people talking about how so many of their memories happened in these places. Seph Lawless has a whole series of videos on abandoned places, including malls, and it is something like out of a movie set from a post-apolitical world-


            2. Wukchumni

              We would ride our Schwinn Sting-Rays in SoCal from Hacienda Heights to Rowland Heights and back on the 2 lane blacktop of Colima Blvd with no stop lights for about 7 miles each way. One of the highlights was stopping @ Chalk Hill where you could find ancient fossils.

              Rowland Heights might have had a thousand residents, now its closer to 50.000 and when Puente Hills mall opened in 1974 to much fanfare, I think the high school marching band made an appearance and a 4 plex movie theater (as featured in Back to the Future) showing the latest Hollywood had to churn out, combined with terrorizing the 60 something mall security guard vis a vis opportune anonymous accurate peanut drops from the upper level onto him. Cameras were bulky and expensive so nobody was watching you, a golden time to be a juvenile delinquent.

              In the meantime the mall has expanded mightily and spread over the 60 freeway, and Chalk Hill?

              There’s a McDonalds just below it with many other stores in close proximity. I wonder if any of the patrons ever know what went on there once upon a time?

      2. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that info, grayslady. I have read accounts what towns were like in older days and it certainly was more convenient and less hustling nipping at your heels. All of that given up for malls and now malls are being given up for online ordering and the like. I think that I may have to save your comment. It’s a good description of what has been lost and what will have to be returned to one day.

    6. eg

      I don’t think Canada (nor anywhere else, really) has anything like the mall square footage per person of the US.

  13. antidlc

    Dr. Fauci says fully vaxxed people should still ‘go the extra mile’ and wear face masks in low vaccination areas

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said even people who are fully vaccinated should still “go the extra mile” to ensure protection in areas with low vaccination rates.

    “Even as good as they are and highly effective, nothing is 100%,” Fauci said of vaccines during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw an interview with Fauci where he said about people hesitant to get a vaccination “Whatever the reason—some of it is ideologic, some of it is fundamentally anti-​vaxxer, anti-science—but we just need to put that aside now.” So no word on any other possible reason why people may be hesitant to get a shot. You are just being unreasonable and need to grow up-

      1. Manatee

        Keeping Covid around does many things. Separates vaxed and un-vaxed, rich & poor, black & white.

        It makes billions for Blackrock and their shills who are buying up real estate as if it’s going out of style, promotes online purchases (which can be traced easier than cash) via amazon etc.

        It helps keep unemployment high so employers can pick and choose workers. No way the people and corporations that really control the US want Covid to end.

    2. Jen

      Does this mean that the powers that be are starting to think the narrative of blaming the deplorables and irredeemables who won’t vaccinate isn’t going to hold water if/when the Delta varriant sh*t hits the fan?

  14. tegnost

    Don’t look at the seattle times to see yet another statuesque and visionary bezos pose.
    Worst person, ever.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development”

    ‘The EPA has underestimated methane emissions caused by oil and gas production by as much as 76 percent.’

    As somebody once pointed out, isn’t it remarkable how the mistakes always go only one way?

  16. Mikel

    Re: Cloud / Hacks

    Ports for external devices OFF the cloud is at least something individuals can do as their own administrator.
    As for all these businesses running off to a servers for storage that are online…security for files of the most sensnsitive info needs another form of storage for back up. Anybody serious is probably already doing that.
    But the propaganda has many with their heads in the clouds.

    And noted the suggestiom to adobe users.
    I’m still rocking an adobe suite version 6.0 that is not subcription and all files have a non-cloud home.

    1. lordkoos

      I cannot understand why people and small businesses use “the cloud”. I get that it’s convenient access from anywhere but external storage has never been cheaper and you know exactly where your data is.

  17. Carolinian

    Re Hunter’s art career–Paintings by Paul McCartney or Stallone may be terrible (haven’t seen them) but at least the new owners will have a token from celebrities who are admired for something.

    Who, on the other hand, would feel that way about Hunter? Lex Luthor, hanging one–pride of place–in his lair? The MSM are doing everything in their power to ignore Biden’s black sheep son even as he desperately seeks to become the new Billy Beer. .

  18. DJG, Reality Czar

    Frederick Douglass and his remarkable speech. Lest we forget:

    I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed CASH FOR NEGROES. These men were generally well-dressed men, and very captivating in their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

    [Douglass was born in 1817, so this would have been the late 1820s, a time not much discussed except to argue about Andrew Jackson. Meanwhile…]

    1. Cat Burglar

      If we could agree to have a canon of political thought in this country, I would vote to have the Douglass speech in it.

      It seems he would not have agreed with the 1619 Project:

      “…interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? Or is it in the temple? It is neither….let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument, why neither slavery, slave-holding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a track of land, in which no mention of land was made?”

      He clearly thinks that the question of what the document means can only be answered politically, by emancipation of enslaved people.

  19. ambrit

    Hah to the Chinese Disney2.
    Being where it is, let us call it by it’s proper name: “The Magic Forbidden Kingdom.”
    Walt would definitely have approved.

      1. KLG

        One of Jeff McNelly’s best cartoons had three portraits below the title “Defeated at Manassas:”
        McDowell, 1861
        Pope, 1862
        Mouse, 1994
        Mickey in a Union general’s uniform, with a collar that completely hid his murine neck, was priceless.

        Search and ye shall find!

  20. Kenny

    ” in shorthand form: We don’t have a Lyme vaccine because of anti-vaxxers.”

    No, we don’t have a lyme vaccine because there’s no way for BigPharma to tap into the U.S. Treasury—-yet. The week a patent is issued, suddenly it will become a “growing crisis” demanding that every person “do their fair share” and “take responsibility”, like little boys having to get a mandatory vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

    As for the current looting, here’s a succinct layperson’s article:

  21. R

    Lambert, it’s never the Times of London. Just the Times. If you are worried about confusion with the NYT, you can call it the Thunderer (if you must),

    The school article is highlighting a real problem. We had a birthday party for #1 son (outdoors, raft building). One classmate did not come, woke up with a fever. Sunday morning the rest of the bubble (two year groups, six classes, probably 80-odd children) have to isolate at home when the test comes back positive. Two days later, #2 son’s bubble pops. They will be able to go back for the last day of term but we shall not send them because we have a family reunion with grandparents in Ireland and cannot afford for them to fall ill….

    I think the government has only noticed now that boarding schools like the article covers are sending the ministers’ sprogs back home though!

  22. Jason Boxman

    Must be from a week ago now, but this is why I continue to believe we need to test a substantial sample of COVID positive people after the acute phase, to see just how widespread the damage is. So of course we haven’t and won’t. We only know about people who can actually afford, in both time and money, to seek treatment.

    The UNC facility is the only long COVID clinic in a lengthy, heavily populated stretch of the southeastern U.S. between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Baratta says its capacity to see patients is dwarfed by the number who need help. To date, the clinic’s team has evaluated just more than 300 people. Some have sustained damage to their lungs, heart, kidneys, brain or other organs. Others experience fatigue, headaches, cognitive problems commonly called “brain fog” and difficulty breathing but have no discernible organ damage.

    New Long-Haul COVID Clinics Treat Mysterious and Ongoing Symptoms

    This country is broken.

    1. lordkoos

      I don’t remember where I read it but there was an estimate that fully 30% of people who get a serious case of COVID can have long-term symptoms. Those are bad odds.

  23. Cuibono

    re China’s fake photo op city:
    in 1981 I was visiting China. We were on a train ride somewhere in the countryside outside of Suzhou when we passed a small boat being poled along a canal, with a young woman in a bright red silk jacket at the bow holding a large Chinese flag fluttering in the breeze. It was so made for perfection that even then i wondered at whether or not it was real…sadly i did NOT have my camera at the ready…

  24. The Rev Kev

    “How Covid Helped Heists, Hoaxes, Scams, Cons, and Other Mischief”

    My error. When I read the title, I was thinking that it would be an article about the 2020 CARES Act.

  25. kareninca

    Yay!!!!!!! Israel is actually checking to see if vaccinated people can be super spreaders!!! Oooops, yes they can:

    “This week, at least 75 high school pupils were confirmed to have contracted the virus at a Tel Aviv end-of-year party, after a student was infected by a vaccinated relative. That relative contracted the virus from another vaccinated individual who had recently returned from London, according to Channel 13 news.”(

    Vaccinated superspreaders . . . . coming to a mass event near you!!

  26. kareninca

    I love the Jerusalem post. Israel collects real data, and the JP actually reports it, and they even have a comment section! So for instance, it looks like “at least you get a milder case” may be (or soon become) a thing of the past:

    “However, the rate of unvaccinated patients among those who are currently in serious condition is decreasing drastically. On Sunday, the patients in serious conditions who were not vaccinated stood at 57% – including one child and one pregnant woman. In the past few months, they were almost 90%.” (

    Look what someone points out in the comment section: “Note the strange phraseology, this is what it means: “The percentage of fully vaccinated patients currently in serious condition is drastically increasing”

    They have a perceptive readership.

    1. allan

      Nice. It is from 2012 and has only gotten worse since.

      But, as one of the candidates in 2012 said, if people want to get ahead
      they should get a loan from their parents and start a private equity firm.

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