Links 8/11/2021

Squirrels use parkour tricks when leaping from branch to branch Science News

Global connectivity of Southern Ocean ecosystem (PDF) British Antarctic Survey

How to Sell ‘Carbon Neutral’ Fossil Fuel That Doesn’t Exist Bloomberg

Cold enough for you? Why air conditioning reigns supreme in Southern California Los Angeles Times

The Lawn Problem London Review of Books

Bayer loses third appeals case over glyphosate weedkiller Reuters (Furzy Mouse).


4,000 Mississippi Students Quarantined; Hospitalizations Break 2020 Summer Record Jackson Mississippi

“Don’t share air” quantified:


Pediatric COVID hospitalizations soar Axios. Commentary:

* * *

J&J Vaccine Effective Against Delta in South Africa Trial Bloomberg

At least 1 million people got unauthorized third booster shot NBC. Scroll down.

* * *

Ivermectin meta-analysis to be retracted, revised, say authors Retraction Watch

Studies look at clotting, myocarditis tied to COVID-19 vaccines Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


China’s Covid lockdown could have economic costs to the world, says strategist CNBC

Hong Kong teachers’ union to disband due to ‘drastic’ political situation Channel News Asia

China’s focus on giant aircraft carriers makes it vulnerable to missile threat FT. China?

China and Russia hold large-scale joint military drills Al Jazeera

Cambodia dam destroyed livelihoods of tens of thousands: HRW Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse).


ASEAN envoy willing to wait before meeting Myanmar’s Suu Kyi Jakarta Post

More Than 740 Myanmar Junta Troops Killed in July: NUG The Irrawaddy. Big if true

China to fund Myanmar projects in agreement with junta Channel News Asia

Australians who live abroad denied permission to return overseas despite promises Sydney Morning Herald


A-level grades could be SCRAPPED to end ‘free-for-all’ on top marks: Ministers consider using numerical system like with GCSEs to ‘reset’ marks after Covid inflation row Daily Mail

Our buildings are still at risk Inside Housing. Near miss on a second Grenfell.

The Caribbean

‘Economic Warfare [Is] Designed to Starve the Cuban People Into Rebellion’ FAIR

Haiti judge with controversial past put in charge of slain president’s murder probe Miami Herald. Surely not.

US-China rivalry hangs over Haiti a month after president’s killing Nikkei Asian Review

St Lucia recommits to Venezuela, prepares to exit Lima Group Caribbean News Global

Brazil’s Congress rejects voting changes amid Bolsonaro pressure Al Jazeera and Bolsonaro’s ‘banana republic’ military parade condemned by critics Guardian

Biden Administration

Infrastructure bill passes Senate, sending Biden’s plan for roads, bridges and broadband to the House USA Today. Biden: “There are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads.” So, no second Civil War in the immediate future….

Senate passes budget resolution, setting stage for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion package CBS. This is the reconciliation bill, not the infrastructure bill.

Score 2 for Bidenomics Noah Smith, Noahpinion

Crypto Lobbyists Falter in Bid to Fix Broad Tax Provision Bloomberg. That’s a damn shame.

More than $600 million stolen in what is likely to be one of the biggest cryptocurrency thefts ever CNBC

Democrats en Deshabille

What’s next for Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his resignation over sex harass claims? New York Post. Commentary:

In the print version, the headline: “AT THE END OF HIS GROPE” and deck: “Creep out! Gov. Cuomo Finally Resigns.” Good effort?

Factbox: Cuomo’s replacement Kathy Hochul to become New York’s first female governor Reuters. Not sure what “independent Democrat” means. Readers?

Our Famously Free Press

Examining the consumption of radical content on YouTube PNAS

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The NSA’s Inspector General Opens Investigation Into Allegations of Illegal Spying on Tucker Carlson Glenn Greenwald

Activist raided by police after downloading London property firm’s ‘confidential’ meeting minutes from Google Search The Register


On Eve of Assange Hearing, A Look Back at the US Chief Medical Witness Consortium News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Plutonium Pits Are a Critical Obstacle in U.S. Nuclear Plans Foreign Policy. “Reasons for the lack of success are probably many, including inadequate facilities and the need to relearn what had once been institutional knowledge.” Takes more than Excel to manufacture a plutonium pit.

After 20 years, Pentagon still lacks control over hired guns Responsible Statecraft

Garrison Keillor slurs Social Security workers as Nazis, infuriating its advocates Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

The Ultra-Rich Are Driving a $24 Billion Property Frenzy in Singapore Bloomberg. Always good to see capitalists allocating capital, their social function.

Why Italy Might See a Worker Co-operative Boom Grassroots Economic Organizing

New York Times Tech Staff to Walk Out in Growing Union Fight Bloomberg

Why high-profile smart cities fail, from Sidewalk’s Quayside to Amazon’s HQ2 in Queens Fast Company

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus anti-antidote, if “bonus” is the word I want (Gedeon):

Oh the humanity!

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. Juneau

    Am I bad for rooting for the bear? What part of “run away from danger” is lost on this junior Karen? (I think I can use that term as I am a senior Karen).

        1. Josef K

          Not sure if his job title is “manager,” but he mostly certainly was in charge.

          You reach a point in life where you stop asking “why” when really bad szit happens to you; she’ll get there eventually.

    1. Terry Flynn

      I seriously laughed out loud at this clip and though I generally don’t wish serious ill on people, in this case had she become a Darwin Award winner I would have simply shared this to everyone I know.

    2. zagonostra

      Bear doesn’t care…I was rooting for the bear the whole time too…maybe if she was supposed to be sleeping in September she is pissed off you woke her…Oh Bear please stop!

    3. Michael

      After seeing someone mace, then ask a bear to “come back” (and considering the bear’s point of view was probably “are you serious lady?”), there really was no better goodness than to root for the bear.

      1. Wukchumni

        You can always tell a rank amateur when it comes to black bears around these parts if they have a can of bear spray attached to their belt, or more irritatingly wearing ‘bear bells’ on their boots, which sounds like sleigh ride bells from afar as they are approaching you on the trail.

        Probably the worst thing that could have happened with her kayak would’ve been if the bruin drooled on it, as they are wont to do.

        Its pretty rank, the smell.

        We camped overnight @ Little Yosemite Valley last week and Y bears are notorious for getting backpackers stuff-including counter balance food hangs, and as a result bear canisters are required to store your food in, and a ranger told me of a bear that grabbed a canister and ascended about half way up a pine tree, and then bombs away, but luckily the canister stayed intact despite the 50 foot drop.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          When I first saw this video, I was convinced that one of the kardashians rented a bear, threw a side of beef into a kayak and filmed the result, to peddle designer bear spray or a new and improved, bear-proof, genuine kardashian kayak.

          Don’t let the wildlife ruin your nature-filled vacation experience.

          Truth is stranger, and more disturbing, than fiction.

        2. FreeMarketApologist

          My parents’ house was waaaay up in northern Idaho, and they had a set of bear bells they would get unsuspecting new guests to wear while out and about around the property or down by the water. The tell to the guests was all the other guests’ snickering.

          I’m totally on the side of the bear on this one.

        3. Bob Tetrault

          Back in the 70’s, the Camp 4 ploy for entertainment was loose stinky food in a bear box next to some clueless tourist. The bears would slap it around, booming, all-night-long.

      2. Gregorio

        That incident occurred at Goddard Hot Springs off Baranof Island near Sitka.
        The bear population in that area has been increasing and bear/human interaction has become increasingly problematic in Sitka and in popular recreation areas in the area.

    4. Milton

      Too much! The woman imploring the bear to stop was a combination of Margaret Hamilton and the announcer from Lakehurst, NJ.

      1. LawnDart

        It only took a few moments of listening to her for me to find my inner bear.

        Not really sure if it was her voice or the fact that Lambert would inflict that upon us first thing in the morning– that was not a nice thing to do.

        1. Wukchumni

          Bears are like yeah whatever, but how do you talk to a mountain lion stalking you for 6 minutes in Utah?

          Some years ago I ran into a big cat expert. He’d been everywhere in the world and asked what the chances of seeing a mountain lion on his backpack trip in Mineral King, and I told him ‘slim to none’.

          I then asked what he’d do if he saw one, and he emphasized you should under no circumstances scream at the feline, as that’s very aggressive to them.

    5. jefemt

      Wish this were a joke.

      Reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon with the dog and the dog owner. What the owner says, what the dog hears.

      “Why are you here?!! ” indeed….

    6. Keith

      Generally, running away from a bear is a bad idea, if you act like prey then you get treated like prey.

      I was more amused by her trying to rationalize with the bear, as if english was his second langauge. That said, listening to her annoying and whining voice, inwas hoping the bear woupdmeat her and put us out of our listening misery ;)

      1. Wukchumni

        Have a friend who is a Karen (that’s her name-but she doesn’t fit the profile) that always seemed to be on her period when we’d be out on backpack trips, convinced a black bear (sense of smell 7x that of a dog) would get a whiff of her menstruating and come investigate, although nothing of the kind ever happened.

    7. K.k

      Wow, just wow! Very fortunate lady. That bear could have closed the distance between them in no time!
      I wonder if she would have behaved like that if she wasn’t filming herself trying to create a viral moment. Smart phones continue making people dumber.

    8. BondsOfSteel

      You can’t run from a bear… you just look like prey. (Bears outrun and kill elk all the time.) Making yourself loud and annoying is not a bad plan. (Although, slowly backing away would have been mine.)

      I’m guessing that water temp was low 40s in southern AK in late Sept. Without a kayak, that sailboat is 100 miles away. If she doesn’t get off that shore by dark, which comes early in late AK Sept, that bear will probably come back. It was raining solid, so a fire is questionable.

      That kayak could be life or death for her.

    9. Maritimer

      This Lady would have been OK if she had spoken BEAR. Unfortunately, she was using English. Native Human North Americans were sent to residential schools to learn English and obey. Bears were not, thus they speak their original BEAR language and like to do their own BEAR Thing. Sigh.

      The CDN Government, having had so much success with reprogramming CDN Natives at their wildly successful Native Residential Schools, did try a reeducation experiment with Moose with limited success. But the program was just too costly and abandoned. Thus, CDN Bears and Moose and other unruly critters unfortunately still speak their Native Tongues.

      Nature Adventurers should be aware of this when they venture into the Wild with their plastic kayaks and fiberglass sailboats and other assorted vital paraphernalia.

  2. urblintz

    Improved headline: Parkour Uses Squirrel Tricks When Leaping from Anything to Anything

    many consider squirrels as nuisances… whatever… observe their prodigious climbing abilities, be humbled, humans… and amazed.

    1. Samuel Conner

      In 2020 I was tormented by squirrels digging plants out of pots (including a couple of hard-won rarities), apparently in search of delectable smelling organic fertilizer (Espoma “Garden Tone,” some batches of which, to my nose, have notes of toasted chocolate). I remember gazing in fury at a plump animal perched on the edge of a half-gallon pot a dozen yards away, the animal seemingly staring right back at me — “you work for me! “. Within the hour I had ordered a big Havahart trap.

      In subsequent weeks, three squirrels were trapped (peanut butter is irresistible, it seems) and removed to a woodlot a few miles away. They probably became food for hawks.

      I used a different slow-release fertilizer this year as an added precaution.

      There have been no squirrels this year, which seems odd, as I haven’t seen any in neighbors’ yards, either. I wonder if I put the entire local community into terror.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well if squirrels are a constant problem, then what you need to do is to set up your own CWIS gear in your backyard to deal with them. Here is a Russian ‘Kashtan’ model depicted in action in this short film clip- (1:38 mins)

        Rig one up to a motion-detector and it should be quite effective against squirrels. Some call it overkill but we are talking about squirrels here.

        1. Wukchumni

          A few years ago when Ken Burns show on the Vietnam War came on I asked my Vietnam vet neighbor’s wife if he’d seen it, and she told me ‘he doesn’t watch anything having to do with war’, but he still goes to war over gophers with a .22 sniper rifle @ the ready, tells me around 6 pm is when they come out of their hidey holes in the underworld.

          He won’t hunt in the summer as the risk of setting off a fire by shooting a bullet in the dry bush is too much, and lulls his prey into a sense of false security come the fall.

    2. Questa Nota

      But did the bear use those Parkour tricks?
      When does Parkour sue to get video royalties?

      Or did the Parkourer use squirrel tricks?

      2021 Life is way too complicated. /s

  3. urblintz

    “Studies look at clotting, myocarditis tied to COVID-19 vaccines”

    well that was quick!


    1. Anon

      Walensky and the other useless but for narrative jive will have some new improved guidelines sometime in 2022..

      They all KNEW that myocarditis, and clotting and much much more were effects of these experimental gene therapies over a year ago -and hid the information -the facts- instead of publicizing it.

      Dis-informed consent? Deformed consent?

      Denied informed consent?

      This is rather blatantly criminal.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        But, but….“Myocarditis appears to mostly resolve”

        The researchers conclude, “In this case series, in short-term follow-up, patients were mildly affected. The long-term risks associated with postvaccination myocarditis remain unknown. Larger studies with longer follow-up are needed to inform recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in this population.”

        When all is said and done, I wonder what a case of “mostly” resolved myocarditis costs over a lifetime in a for-profit “healthcare” system, or what the annual cost of the new “biologic” drug to treat it will be.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      And then there’s this:

      Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine mRNA-1273 Observational Pregnancy Outcome Study

      Brief Summary:
      The main goal of this study is to evaluate the outcomes of pregnancy in females exposed to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) during pregnancy.

      Estimated Study Start Date : July 22, 2021

      Check out the “Primary Outcome Measures.” Here’s #4:

      4. Number of Participants With Infant Outcomes [ Time Frame: Up to 1 year of infant age ]

      Infant outcomes may include minor congenital malformations, size of gestational age, low birth weight, size for age, failure to thrive, hospitalization of infants, neonatal death, perinatal death, neonatal encephalopathy, respiratory distress in the newborn, neonatal/infant infection, infant death, and infant developmental milestones.

      And from the section on “Cosideration for Participation”:

      …Clinical trials provide the basis for the development and marketing of new drugs, biological products, and medical devices. Sometimes, the safety and the effectiveness of the experimental approach or use may not be fully known at the time of the trial….

      Thanks a bunch, .gov.

      1. cocomaan

        Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat turkey or lay on their backs, but it’s safe to get an experimental vaccine when pregnant?

        Give me a break.

        1. Daniel LaRusso

          My niece the doctor doesn’t believe there are any risks to fertility or pregnancy using the vaccine. She said something about how medication can upset menstration (or something liek that).

          Can you expian how the vaccine is experimental ?? I know it only has emergency approval and not full approval, but in the UK that is coming shortly I thought.

  4. timbers

    The NSA’s Inspector General Opens Investigation Into Allegations of Illegal Spying on Tucker Carlson Glenn Greenwald

    Once, I was puzzled why red team supported policy that provided for future targeting of their own (Tucker). Then, I was mystified blue team embraced and/or didn’t care when Obama took that policy to new more robust level by applying them to Trump…didn’t blue team realize they are paving the way for the day those methods will be turned on them?

    Then I realized red and blue teams are on the same team. There’s them on one side, and on the other side are folks like Greenwald and similar.

  5. zagonostra

    >Garrison Keillor slurs Social Security workers as Nazis, infuriating its advocates Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

    The Los Angeles Times is the one yelling “Oh Bear Please Stop” in this story. Any allusions to Hitler, even if couched in irony or some other comedic trope, is beyond the pale it seems. If this is what the Newspaper is reporting, it’s no wonder people don’t read it anymore.

    Describing his travails getting caught in Social Security phone message hell when he tried to obtain a replacement Medicare card, Keillor wrote of “Social Security, whose initials are the same as Hitler’s Schutzstaffel, which is no mere coincidence.”

    Keillor wrote that he finally reached a customer service agent on the phone: “A woman came on the line who I could tell was wearing a brown uniform with a swastika on her cap.”

      1. Questa Nota

        Well, he is a sophisticated caller!
        Maybe his invite to the Vineyard got lost in the mail. Dang, have to call them next.

        1. Pelham

          Same here, except for the fact that I regularly check NYT headlines to learn what the blob wants us to think.

  6. timbers

    Lady: “Bear, please stop breaking my kayak. Why are you here? It’s September and you’re suppose to be asleep. Please stop breaking my things.”

    Bear: “You broke my climate, habitat and food supply, ma’am. Why did you expect?”

  7. Samuel Conner

    > “There are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads.”

    Call me a “pessimist”, but I reckon that there are “parties to nowhere.”

    Thankfully, there are only two of them.

  8. urblintz

    regarding the crypto lobbyists failure…

    not defending crypto but…

    after all the environmental concerns about bitcoin voiced by the likes of Elizabeth Warren, what is the one crypto protocol which the legislation exempts and therefore encourages?

    Bitcoin’s “proof-of-work” system that uses as much electricity as Switzerland, or so we were told.

    oops… someone wasn’t paying attention.

    1. urblintz

      I need to correct this comment… with apologies for my confusion…

      there were two amendments offered to “correct” the original language in the bill (deemed far too vague and expansive). both failed and the original language was retained, so contrary to my comment, pretty much all of the crypto world is targeted.

      The irony is that the amendment offered first (and supported (not sponsored) by Warren and most Democrats except Wyden, specifically, who sponsored the second amendment)
      exempted bitcoin and only bitcoin from the expanded taxation efforts. Warren apparently didn’t understand the difference between proof of work (the exempted bitcoin environment killer) and proof of stake (the somewhat less damaging one) and if she did, why would she have supported this first “clarifying” amendment?

      That said, I am not completely clear myself on what all transpired during this farce and admit to be picking on Liz. Guilty as charged.

      1. duncan

        Farce is correct. All sides agreed the original language was broken and would likely harm American innovation and jobs. They let one senator shoot down a bipartisan amendment on completely unrelated grounds. It says something that Ted Cruz was the voice of reason in the debate! A lot of people disappointed to have to agree with him…

  9. allan

    Thank you for the @RichardCorsiAQ thread on classroom air quality.
    The start of school concentrates the mind.

    You have to wonder how much money was plowed into HVAC over the summer and what was it spent on.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      Change the school year, if in person instruction must happen then have it out of doors during the tolerable weather specific to the geographic location.
      Half joke/half serious: bring Amfortas for clothed Socratic perambulations

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You have to wonder how much money was plowed into HVAC

      Well, with the strong messaging on aerosols and ventilation coming from Biden and Walensky, you’d have to think quite a bit.

      Oh, wait….

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    Proudhon over Marx–

    An author argues that Mutualism is the system that should replace Capitalism rather than Democratic Socialism or Anarcho-Syndicalism.

    In point of fact, Mutualism predates both Marxism and Anarcho-communism and is one of the oldest schools of Socialism. The core principles were developed by Proudhon, who invented “Anarchism” as an ideology. Anarcho-Communism came later as Bakunin & Kropotkin tried to graft Marx’s “pure communism” onto Proudhon’s ideal of a society freed from the State, while rejecting Marx’s authoritarian theory of change. And, of course, Benjamin Tucker – an American mutualist – was a founding member of the First International, the first global socialist organization (Proudhon was invited to join by Marx, but rejected him because he wanted nothing to do with Marx’s authoritarian version of socialism. And yes, this caused beef.. but that’s another story). So yes, Mutualists are socialists and have been part of the global socialist movement since before Marx. Deal with it.

    1. fjallstrom


      I would say that the article skips the role of the currency issuer. In a system where the individual doesn’t directly control their means of production, like say the hunter that can make a bow and arrows, a farmer that owns their own land or an artisan that owns their tools and has a steady suppply of raw materials, you need to create credit in order for people to be hired by some other people.

      It might be that he assumes that the market will balance, but there are not many examples of that in real life. And with the credit allocation comes power, which he dosen’t adress how it will be controlled as he assumes that it won’t be necessary.

      Also, the human population the last couple of centuries describes an S-curve, not perpetual expansion (with the first expanding populations now declining, Asia reaching the cusp and Africa still expanding). This might not matter to the articles argument, as it doesn’t look like a post-scarcity society is close anyway (unless the rich suddenly learns to do with much less).

  11. VT Digger

    China’s focus on giant aircraft carriers makes it vulnerable to missile threat”

    Some editor at the pink paper asleep at the wheel? Off their meds?

    1. The Rev Kev

      On the other hand, can you imagine half a dozen small Chinese carriers running around the Pacific and even the Atlantic? Several weeks ago you had an Iranian destroyer and a support ship sail into the Atlantic and NATO went nuts trying to determine where they were going to as they were sailing all over the Atlantic. The US threatened both Venezuela and Cuba if they even allowed those ships to dock at their ports. In the end those Iranian ships went to Russia to take part in some Navy celebrations but the over-reaction was fun reading for weeks. Not quite the Great Yellow Fleet but it would be interesting if a Chinese carrier did a whistle-stop tour of the South Pacific.

    2. Keith

      Sadly, FT is paywalled and too expensive for my taste.

      I think the more interesting story is that China is building up its carrier fleet despite the missile risk to it. Carriers project power, and now a days, probably not well against a super power, leading one to believe if China will start projecting power with smaller nations to create or defend its sphere of influence. After all, they are building ports arpund the globe, well, at least in south Asia and Africa, so who knows.

      1. Louis Fyne

        The Chinese carriers, while designed to project power to the Arabian Gulf, would most likely be used in a war with the US near the Chinese mainland….aka under the umbrella of mainland missiles.

        Compare-contrast with at most 2 carrier groups from the US Navy in the South China Sea.

        I prefer not to risk having a series of new coral reefs at the bottom of the Pacific

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I doubt the Chinese super carrier would see service in a conflict with the US until supply lines were sufficiently disrupted to force the US back to Guam and Japan in any conflict. Carriers aren’t comparable to land based runways. You use them when you don’t have land based options. We didn’t use carriers too much in the Atlantic in World War 2 for a reason. The Chinese may have had good relations with the pre-coup government of Myanmar, but they aren’t going to risk the US getting in if the junta fails.

          Even then nuclear subs would probably keep the area too unsafe to sail the carrier. My guess is the Chinese would park it, where if the US hit it, where it couldn’t be a navigational hazard.

          The US is reliant on carriers because we have so many interests and not enough troops, planes and so forth we have to cart them around without negotiating passage through air space.

      2. The Rev Kev

        To get that FT article, put the title into Google and it should be one of the first one or two results that come up. When you click on it, you should be able to see the full article.

    3. Raymond Sim

      “China’s focus on giant aircraft carriers makes it vulnerable to missile threat”

      LOL Are they trying to throw shade on China, or is a pitch to sell us on missiles like the Chinese have already deployed?

      Honestly, one of these days these boys are going to get us all a bellyfull of Chinese takeout. You know: “Chinese take out Ronald Reagan, Chinese take out Guam …”

      In all seriouness, we are ruled by utter dipshits. China’s building a military that will let them exert hegemony beyond their contiguous landmass you say? How’d they get the money to do that?

    4. David

      Just about every weapons system in history is vulnerable to other weapons as well: I confidently expect an article soon pointing out that leg infantry are vulnerable to high-velocity small-arms rounds, so perhaps we shouldn’t be using them any more.
      Carriers, as I’ve said before, are about force projection, and the fact that the Chinese are interested in them means that they intend to deploy well away from their home area. A carrier is essentially a floating airfield, floating helicopter base, floating barracks, floating logistic centre, floating HQ, floating intelligence collection system and a base for launching operations from smaller craft. If you want to do those things you need a carrier, and of course you need to use it wisely and not expose it to needless risks.

  12. Paul

    Not sure what “independent Democrat” means

    In the current context perhaps it indicates one of the subplots to removing Governor Cuomo form office is placing a product of the Erie County political machine in the governors mansion to facilitate elimination of the office of Mayor in Buffalo in favor of a state certified City Manager approved by The Buffalo Common Council.

    Part of a larger plan to revamp local government in the Empire State by creating a process to pool selection, training, & assigning state ‘qualified’ City Managers?

    1. Carla

      The replacement of elected mayors with appointed city managers, and ward council representatives with at-large council members (who appoint the manager) both date to the “Progressive Era” of the early 20th century. Like many things we learned in school were “progressive” these were a profoundly anti-democratic reaction to Black people and immigrants voting for people who looked like them and actually represented them to govern their cities. The (white) business and professional establishment (all male at the time, of course) were horrified at the certain prospect of losing power, and successfully engineered a “professional” solution that kept them in control:

      1. bob

        Hochul is a product of county government in NYS. County government in NYS is always and everywhere a republican dominated minority area trying to exert control over a democratic city within it.

      2. Big River Bandido

        This trend never quite took hold in the old machine-style politics of America’s old cities in the Northeast. (I’m including Chicago in that group b/c for all intents and purposes its political system is of the same vintage, tone, and character as the Eastern seaboard cities).

        But in the smaller old industrial cities of the Midwest, including Davenport, the “weak mayor/council/city manager” type of government is extremely common. (Note: these cities did not eliminate the mayoral position, they simply diverted many of its executive functions to the city manager position.) Some states even prohibit the “strong mayor” form of government entirely; Iowa, I believe, is one of those states. This is only on my radar because my city, Davenport, being a “charter city” that predates the state of Iowa, could still revert to the strong mayor system with a majority vote of citizens. For reasons you describe, I would love to see such a movement take hold here. City managers are, in my view, a pestilence on the public commons.

        1. LifelongLib

          The mayor/city council system potentially has the same drawback that the U S. President/Congress system does — policy differences that lead to paralysis. Somewhat analogous to a parliamentary system, the city council/city manager system makes one body responsible for policy. Provided the city council is fairly elected, why is this bad?

          1. Carla

            As someone who attended City Council meetings AND Council working sessions almost every Monday for five years, I can tell you that the City Manager ran the Council, not the other way around. In our town, as in most places, the City Council is part-time; most of them have day jobs, and some are retired. They are not at City Hall 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and they really have no way to discern what goes on there, except for what the City Manager, or staff who report to the CM, tell them. The City Manager and the Law Director hired by the CM ran the city with an iron fist. Our city of 44,000 had the same CM for 28 years, and he ran it right into the ground before Council finally, FINALLY, was confronted with evidence of some wrong-doing on his part. We, the People, were never told what of course, but some of us have our ideas. Anyway, he was forced (read permitted) to resign, and took his incredibly generous public pension & went to work for another suburb in the area.

            Our City Council then hired a young, inexperienced City Manager with one ethic: she would be in control of everything at the city at all times. She had a tough job to begin with, and with employees hired on the basis of only one qualification: their loyalty to her — things did not go well over time.

            Our City Council has shown itself completely and utterly unable to govern. They almost never legislated: the CM and Law Director brought forward virtually all legislation and “sold” it to 4 out of the 7 members. The CM set the agenda for City Council meetings and presided over those meetings.

            This is not representative or democratic government by any measure.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Our City Council then hired a young, inexperienced City Manager with one ethic: she would be in control of everything at the city at all times. She had a tough job to begin with, and with employees hired on the basis of only one qualification: their loyalty to her — things did not go well over time.

              She sounds like the Empress Alexandra, last Empress of the Romanov dynasty.

              Well done on your meeting attendance!!!

          2. Big River Bandido

            Part-time city councils are easily “captured” by professional city managers, who usually stay in office far longer than the elected officials, and who usually end up managing cities just like CEOs: for themselves and not the people.

            The only protection against such capture is having officials who are elected directly.

            1. The Rev Kev

              See the same in our own local council in Oz. Years ago we had a manager that was almost independent of the mayor. An election hove into sight and just before the election was held, that manager got to sign a five-year contract for his services so that even if that mayor lost, this guy will still be around for the next half-decade.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Not sure what “independent Democrat” means

      Context and formatting are important with this particular formation. In NYS this could be a veiled reference to the Independent Democrat Coalition (IDC) that Cuomo invented going into his second term: right-wing Democrats who would give Cuomo cover for all the things he didn’t want to do. Basically, these are Blue Dog Democrats in the context of NYS politics.

      There were originally 8 members of the IDC. They were wiped out by DSA candidates in 2018.

      Hochul is a typical upstate Democrat, pretty right wing in her previous positions and pronouncements. She was never openly part of the IDC (that was just a legislative clique, anyway), but she has always positioned herself politically in that general zone. Not that she’ll matter much; the power dynamics in NYS have a momentum and inertia all their own which few politicians in the state can actually manage. Lieutenant governors at least in NYS have typically been bit players, cheerleaders for power, or they wouldn’t have been chosen for their positions in the first place. Typically this type of candidate does not adjust well to Alpha Dog mentality — which means they are ripe targets at the next election for those who view themselves as naturally predisposed to govern. When bumped up into the Governor’s chair, they are often overwhelmed. Anyone remember David Patterson?

  13. Louis Fyne

    re. smart cities.

    it is the repackaged version of the LeCorbusian dream of a city , just updated with big data. IMO, it is the chaotic, inefficient parts of the city that humans like the most in a love-hate way

    Art critic Ronert hughes once said in his “Shock of the New” …. ‘it seems like plants, we do need the shit of others for nutriments in order to thrive’ ( he was reacting to the clean-slate policy of the city plan of Brasilia and other such Corbusian models for life.)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yup, its very hard to make an attractive city by trying to ‘design in’ fun, rather than let it develop naturally. Or worse still, try to design it out in order to make it ‘safe’ or ‘orderly’. It can work (many Parisian or Barcelona neighbourhoods, for example), but it takes far more patience and time than a google has, or even a politician on a 4 year election cycle.

      Its also of course possible to do the opposite, as they’ve found out everywhere from Seoul to Edinburgh.

      1. Polar Socialist

        With some 10,000-11,000 year old cities around (Byblos, Jericho) one would think that folks already have this “city” thing figured out.

        It’s almost like the PMC can’t figure things out at all by observing and learning, they can only accept what the latest newly branded crapification method tells them to.

        1. LifelongLib

          Or the “PMC” figured it out, and the people with real money and power told them it would cost too much…

    2. Barry

      I recommend How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand.

      While it is about buildings, I would argue his analysis of buildings that can be adapted to new uses applies to cities as well.

      1. ProudWappie

        That was an excellent series, and it completely destroys the idea of fancy single-purpose buildings as something being really valuable. I’m also reminded of the seemingly counter-intuitive attraction of relatively cheap cities to artists/creative people (Berlin comes to mind here, it has been a magnet for creative people after the wall fell), after which the gentrification starts (which is currently causing problems there). Vibrant neighborhoods are created by people, not the buildings.

        I think it’s all about people being invested in a neighborhood, which seems to be contrary to high-income inhabitants. Another thing, which is really important in my opinion, is time. It’s all about keeping a building relevant, instead of just bringing it down and building something new.

        Let’s put a link in here for others as well (Youtube channel of the presenter and co-writer, Steward Brand himself):
        Part 1 of 6 – Flow

    3. ProudWappie

      That’s a very good observation. There is something organic about old city centers, which is impossible to reproduce/recreate by modern means. In The Netherlands, you see this typically with suburbs, or cities which were setup by combining a number of small village (Nieuwegein comes to mind here). The city centers of those new/recent villages/cities just don’t seem to have the same feel, as their old, and “naturally” developed, counterparts.

      Note that, even some relatively small, villages have gotten city rights in the 12th-14th century, so they have a quite a lot of history to them.

    1. Wukchumni

      It was ho hum in the wee hours. when on the 2-4 a.m. shift.

      Saw 4 shooting stars, and i’m expecting a lot more from our solar system after dark tonight where if predictions come true, might see 200.

      1. Wukchumni


        The November 1833 Leonid meteor shower was estimated @ 50,000 to 150,000 per hour, and here’s an account not far from San Francisco Bay, as chronicled by Zenas Leonard-a member of legendary mountain man Joseph Walker’s exploration team, also the first Americans to see Yosemite & Giant Sequoia trees.

        “On the night of the 12th, our men were again thrown into great consternation by the singular appearance of the heavens.

        Soon after dark the air appeared to be completely thickened with meteors falling towards the Earth, some of which would explode in the air and others would be dashed to pieces on the ground, frightening our horses so much that it required the most active vigilance of the whole company to keep them together. This was altogether a mystery to some of the men who had never seen or heard of anything of the kind, but after an explanation from Captain Walker, they were satisfied that no danger need be apprehended from the falling of the stars, as they were termed.”

        Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard (1839)

        1. Milton

          Well I wasn’t around for that event but I still recall how spectacular the 2001 shower was. It had to have been well over 10,000 an hour. I was fortunate to have parked myself in the some dark area outside of Palm Springs. Simply amazing!

          1. Wukchumni

            We were camped way up a canyon near Red Rock Canyon on Hwy 14 during the 2001 Leonids, and i’m an early go to bed type and stayed up too long and was sleeping during the main event in the early hours, and was told in retrospect that my friends had waked me up about a dozen times to watch the spectacle because I kept falling asleep, and I remember seeing 6 or 7 in the air at once, it was the best aerial display i’ve witnessed.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    China’s focus on giant aircraft carriers makes it vulnerable to missile threat FT.

    I’ve found it curious that with all the talk about aircraft carriers being obselete, the Chinese are thowing vast amounts of money at their future fleet.

    I’ve often wondered what the motivation would be – there seems to be no strategic value to them whatever. They would to to the bottom of the sea very quickly in any conflict with a peer country in the region or wider.

    My guess is that its related to China’s ambitions in investing worldwide. An aircraft carrier may have little use in scaring the US, Vietnam, Taiwan, etc., but it could be invaluable if, say, a coastal African country decided it wanted to sieze Chinese assets for one reason or another. Perhaps they are remembering well the sort of anti-Chinese sentiment that has often risen in countries like Indonesia or Cambodia during revolutions.

    Just a thought.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So they would be the 21st century version of 19th century British gunboats then. I can believe that. It would be a good platform to evacuate Chinese nationals if need be too.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Chinese have half a dozen mid sized amphibious docks that would be much more useful in a civilian evacuation scenario. The aircraft carriers are 100% about force projection.

        1. jsn

          Chinese misallocations of capital tend to employ lots of people and go on longer than one could ever imagine.

          Still, it beats the western misallocations of capital that tend to dis-employ people and go on longer than one could ever imagine.

          Of course, both are burning the world down, it would be nice if they would stop!

    2. Keith

      Thats my guess, project power over smaller nation states and make mischief, like any global superpower does. It also creates a line in the sand that other powers need to think about. Sinking a capital ship like that is a declaration of war, so other powers would need to think about it.

      They are developing ports in Pakistan and have one in Djabouti, so my guess would be about projecting power throughout the region ans being able to protect supply routes. Lastly, there is also the prestige of maintaining open shipping lanes, especially while closing off some due to border disagreements.

    3. Raymond Sim

      C’mon man, they’re tools for extending hegemony beyone one’s landmass, plain and simple. Look who’s ever built lots of them and what they were up to.

      Just as aircraft carriers did not make armored gunships obsolete (See ‘Guadalcanal Campaign, also Every Amphibious Operation of WW II) carriers will still have utility so long as full-featured naval forces are capable of protecting them long enough to get the job done. And they are absolutely essential for convincing people overseas you might just come kick them around if they don’t behave.

    4. Kouros

      Could be platforms to attack Taiwan from several directions rather than only the mainland. I see no other utility. If China takes over Taiwan, it doesn’t need any more carriers, since will have possession of the biggest one in the area.

    5. Polar Socialist

      In China’s case it could just be about having a need for decent CAP over their nowadays huge surface fleet protecting home waters and controlling the South China Sea.

      While vulnerable, a carrier is still harder to destroy than a forward air base build on an atoll, since you have to find it first. Not many nations in the area have that capability. If Iran can hit US base from hundreds of kilometers away, Indonesia surely can hit Spratly Islands.

      We can safely assume China does have other concerns besides US Navy. They have even exchanged shots with other navies from time to time.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Plutonium Pits Are a Critical Obstacle in U.S. Nuclear Plans Foreign Policy.

    I think there is a crucial lesson here – technology is not always unidirectional – its entirely possible for a society to ‘forget’ how to do things if they don’t keep doing it. Its a particular issue with military technology as the increasingly long cycle of replacement means that an entire generation of engineers just retires with all their knowledge. The UK has discovered this to its cost now that its developing a new generation of frigates. They simply don’t have any shipyards yet with the institutional memory of building vessels like this.

    1. Paradan

      I found some obscure blog about this last year. Like a small blog someone from the industry would keep. I think what the issue was that if they want to increase production they need to hire more people, but its a specialized job, so in house training only. which means to train more people they would have to slow production even further and for a year or more. I think congress wanted 50 pits a year, but they are only hitting 30. Note these numbers are from a very hazy memory of reading this article.

  16. Carla

    Re: Hochul being called an “independent Democrat.” Consider the source, but I heard on NPR yesterday that despite hailing from conservative-leaning western NY and being considered a centrist Democrat, Hochul has good relationships with NY state progressives. Maybe that would earn her the designation of “independent Democrat?” (I wonder where she stands on fracking, M4A, etc…)

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I couldn’t care less about good relationships with NY state progressives. I’m only interested in good relationships with progressive policies. Context clues tell me we should expect more of the same there.

  17. Gary

    RE: Children with COVID delta
    My wife does patient access for a large hospital in Fort Worth. She has been working pediatrics lately and children and babies are flooding in with COVID. They’ve not seen this before. Its extremely sad.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No precautions. When kids were home playing Minecraft, the weren’t being exposed, but between the “honor system” and the vaccinated going mask less, it’s going to be a nightmare, especially with the usual illnesses out there which can wear on people.

  18. diptherio

    I read about 80% of Noah Smith’s paean to the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill, and am now notably dumber than I was before. Noah is the epitome of the naive optimism that Neuberger discusses in his article today. It is truly astounding that there a large numbers of educated and ostensibly intelligent people in this country who think about politics in this way. If your political analysis doesn’t include things like narcissism, sociopathy, and kayfabe, it ain’t worth a hill of beans. One gets the impression that the opinionated Mr. Noahpinion has never heard of the latter, and thinks the first two only apply to Republicans. Such a sad, silly man.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Every now and again Smith comes up with something interesting and I return to have a look at his writing. Then he writes embarrassing junk like that article to remind me why its a waste of time.

  19. bob

    Reuters. Not sure what “independent Democrat” means. Readers?

    Guy with an NPR name speaking on NPR yesterday unintentionally said — “She’s a moderate re…democrat”

    She was hand-picked by Cuomo, like the rest of the power structure in NYS gov.

    Why the 2 week delay? Is he hoping delta gets out of control and he has to stay on? DeRosa is staying on with him. She announced she was resigning over the weekend, before Cuomo.

    1. bob

      “Hochul will have ‘massive’ conflict of interest on day 1 as governor (report)”

      She doesn’t have one now? Or hasn’t had one?

      “Hochul’s husband, former U.S. Attorney William Hochul, is currently general counsel and senior vice president at Buffalo-based gambling and hospitality giant Delaware North.

      The company has tens of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the state, according to the Daily Beast.”

  20. CG

    I love the idea of winning people like Noah Smith have with regards to the infrastructure bill. Apparently getting a third of what Trump was offering to do (and both using asset recycling for funding) counts as a great and overwhelming victory for Biden’s economic and political vision. If you’re a Democrat/liberal/leftist who cares about maintaining a semi-functional national infrastructure, why not just vote for a Republican like Trump so you’ll be able to get a higher floor for spending?

  21. The Rev Kev

    “St Lucia recommits to Venezuela, prepares to exit Lima Group”

    More and more countries are leaving the Lima Group as it never fulfilled it’s purpose of taking over Venezuela for its oil. I’m betting that the EU would rather put the whole memory of it behind them. Having St. Lucia leave now is not good. They are off Venezuela’s coastline and could have been useful if launching air strikes on that country.

    Say, whatever happened to Greedo from Venezuela? Haven’t heard about him in a long time. Isn’t it time he moved permanently to Florida to join all the other has-beens and never-were ‘revolutionaries’? Said in a comment years ago that eventually you would only see him in bars in the end trying to chat up girls by saying ‘Hey, babe. I was nearly the President of Venezuela!’

    1. Shonde

      I have been watching the update webinars and sometimes they have good information and sometimes so so. This one will be a must watch since yesterday a tweet on FLCCC Twitter spoke of need to change some protocols due to Delta not responding to some previous protocols.

      IM Doc yesterday in his comment also spoke of very ill Delta patients not responding to previous treatments so maybe this is what IM Doc was referring to. We will know more tonight.

        1. JBird4049

          First, I just finished watching FLCCC’s webinar. Secondly, I’m just some rando on the internet, so rather than just reading my comment, go to the FLCCC website. (Caution, if you go directly to the site’s home screen at, you may, or may not get a warning that the site might contain viruses and steal your information.) The link I just provided goes to the site’s protocols page, which should avoid the warning and blocking pages.

          If you do decide to take the risk, you may still be completely blocked instead of being able to enter the site. Strangely this is intermittent and using a VPN to appear to be from outside the United States also works. Interesting. Also, when I first got on the site, over a month ago, there was no problem. And Vimeo just deplatformed them.

          So, I leave it to you to decide on whether the warnings are legitimate and the risks are worth it. Personally, I would rather have be them legitimate, or mistaken, instead of the corporate state’s deplatforming someone from the internet (or forming the Great Firewall of the United States). Yes, I think it is the latter, but be warned.

          This latest video will be over an hour long, but I think it is worth watching. The doctors look very legitimate. While they hyped Ivermectin as the primary defense, they were not enthusiastic on pregnant women or children taking it. No tests or long term studies for them on using Ivermectin. They also said that everything else should also be used at the same time. I.e., the listed supplements, drugs, gargle, and mask.

          The bad news is that the Delta variant is harder to treat and more deadly, so treat at the earliest sign that you are sick with something, because that could determine whether you live, or not. Also the current hail Mary treatment that they are using, which is plasma exchange (getting rid of the old plasma and replacing it with new plasma, is problematic as they are not sure if they can keep getting any of the limited supply.

          Furthermore, the attacks on their usage of Ivermectin is only attacking some of the trials, which are sliced and diced to try to discredit them. One of the doctors made the point that only things being attacked are some of the trials and nothing else, like the current effectiveness when used by doctors generally, or the history of its use, or any of the other studies on it.

          Finally, finally there are (chain) pharmacies that appear to be getting top down directives to not fill Ivermectin prescriptions, but that the independents are usually ready to fill them. And since they are afraid that they might be completely deplatformed, they ask that you signup for their email newsletter and also sign up for Telegram, so that they can still keep in contact with you.

          Finally, finally, finally, they have listed sites you can use to legitimately get human Ivermectin. No skullduggery or using veterinary meds. (One of the viewers made a comment that they cannot get or import Ivermectin in England. Is this true? If it is, it’s crazy)

  22. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Covid lockdown could have economic costs to the world, says strategist”

    This article is just nuts so obviously was written by a modern economist. The guy in this article – “veteran strategist” David Roche – was saying that ‘China has tightened Covid-19 measures to combat an uptick in daily cases — a move that could hold back the country’s economic growth and hit its stock markets.’ Has he worked out the effect on China’s economy if they just let it cut loose? What would be the economic cost if China turned into India?

    Then he says that ‘some economists have raised concerns about China’s “zero tolerance” approach to Covid’ so I am assuming that he is one of them. But then he delivers a zinger when he says “Markets have got into the mode of thinking Covid is very … bad, but economic recovery (is) taking away lockdowns, removing social restrictions — that’s kind of the world recipe at the moment.” Get it? It is these economist that are decided how to deal with this pandemic and not the medicos. That s***storm that you can see as the Delta strain is ripping through the world? That is an economist’s plans for dealing with this pandemic at work and I even see the same ideas by our politicians in Oz.

    1. jrkrideau

      Thank you RKev. It saves me writing something similar. That writer seems bonkers though she could be correct and it is a lot of US investors who are bonkers.

      1. JBird4049

        Well, as Lambert has said “the spice must flow.” I believe that forty years ago this kind of elitist worshiping of the “experts,” and yes I also believe most them are not, would have either been ignored or laughed at. Today, the PMC think that common sense and looking at the whole, instead of just some parts, is just silly.

  23. Carolinian

    Re Keillor–since Keillor was obviously making a not terribly funny joke Hiltzik’s column is more a complaint about the cancelled who refuse to stay cancelled. He links this article as though to shock us

    but it is thin stuff. Keillor’s victims complain about “power imbalance” and that he was not nice to them but we only have their side of the story. It’s possible they just weren’t very good at their jobs and Keillor not very good at firing people.

    And while it’s more than possible that Keillor’s folksy public persona fell away in private, it wouldn’t be a first for entertainers of this type. They say that Andy Griffith was rather mean in person. Still if the crime is “power imbalance” writers like Hiltzik–who I had never heard of until now–may find it useful. When the mouse attacks the elephant people start paying attention to the mouse.

    1. grayslady

      If you haven’t heard of Hiltzik you haven’t been reading Yves articles on CalPERS. Hiltzik is one of the few reporters brave enough to second the NC observations on CalPERS mismanagement fiasco.

      1. Carolinian

        Consider me suitably chided then. Still, it doesn’t sound like Keillor is exactly his beat. I guess you could call it bad boss coverage but let’s be real. Keillor is a writer and a radio performer. To the extent that he was running a company it was not his day job.

        And I think the complaint in this instance is more than a stretch. If trivialization of Nazi references is to be condemned then we have a giant four year example during the late administration and very few press complaints about comparing the goofy Trump to the man who laid waste to Europe. And if it’s about sexual harassment then consider the very blind eye the press turned toward Biden doing far more of it than Garrison Keillor has been accused of doing.

  24. dday

    Regarding the article on plutonium pit production, I have two comments.

    First, there has been a lot of talk about the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate yesterday. It will add $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, water pipes and other physical improvements. In comparison, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. will spend $634 billion over the next ten years for nuclear weapons.

    The second comment is that on January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was ratified.

  25. jr

    Superplant: Sunflowers!

    Did you know:

    all parts of the sunflower are edible
    -you can build shelters from the stalks
    -you can build rafts from the stalks
    -you can make flour from the pith
    -they make great tinder and kindling?

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve always been a sunflower seed addict, got hooked early on David & Sons, made a transition to Frito Lays and lately can’t get enough of Trader Joes, which has just the right amount of salt.

      Its like aerobics for the mouth-all that shucking & jiving.

    2. kareninca

      all parts of the sunflower are edible”

      I do love sunflowers but come on, the shells are not edible.

  26. Dalepues

    New York Post “At The End Of His Grope”, pretty good. But compare to
    “Moral Haggard”, to describe Ted Haggard, the evangelical bible thumper
    whose sins became national news in 2006,
    I was unable to find the name of the writer who punned off Merle Haggard, but I want
    to say either James Wolcott or Maureen Dowd. Also, from the NYP, perhaps the best
    headline of all time:

  27. Keith

    I haven’t seen it mentioned here, yet, but it seems the Dems are pursuing an unforced error with their plan to raise the debt ceiling by forcing GOP support- or perhaps using this as a reason to slash spending due to budget cap requirements. With Manchin already complaining about the 3.5 trillion budget being too much, I would say good bye to the “green whatever,” as Ms. Pelosi so eloquently phrased it as she was putting a leash on the squad. On the plus side for some federal workers, perhaps we can get a shut down and get a little free vacation time!- Don’t, get your leave in by Sep 30 to ensure you won’t lose any if we do. Some reader responses from Politico’s Morning Money:

    “Nancy Vanden Houten, lead economist at Oxford Economics, emails: “Like you, I’m puzzled by the Democratic strategy on the debt limit. Sure, they’d prefer not to have to vote to hike the debt limit without GOP votes, but is that worth giving Republicans leverage on the issue?

    “I don’t think so. Seems like something of an unforced error. I also wonder how focused voters are on the debt or debt limit these days…seems like less than 10 years ago. Considering the American Rescue Plan, infrastructure and perhaps another big spending bill, Democrats will have a lot to campaign on to counter debt limit attacks from the GOP.””

    via a corporate lobbyist: “‘Vote no, hope yes’ by GOP backbenchers has done tremendous damage to the Republican Party’s ability to articulate a message or to govern.

    “The party as a whole has basically adopted it as their approach to the debt ceiling. It seems like Schumer is basically taking the same approach as Boehner did at times and forcing the ‘vote no hope yes’ folks to go on the record on a high-profile vote.”

    And lastly, GOP closing ranks:

    GOP SENATORS PLEDGE TO BLOCK DEBT LIMIT HIKE — WSJ’s Siobhan Hughes and Kate Davidson: “Most Republican senators have signed on to a pledge to force Democrats to raise the debt ceiling through procedures that don’t rely on GOP votes, escalating the political tug of war over who is responsible for keeping the U.S. from defaulting.

  28. RockHard

    No Bezzle section today, so I’ll do a reader submission: End of the line for Uber

    The bezzle was an equal-opportunity ripoff. It didn’t just steal money from credulous investors – it also victimized workers, riders, cities and restaurants. After all, if no one drove, rode or ate from an Uber, investors might wise up about its impending financial doom.

  29. Wukchumni

    By now you’ve probably heard of Topo Chico. Coca-Cola acquired the Mexican mineral water in 2017 and quickly moved the drink into bodegas, coffee shops, and supermarkets across the U.S. But let’s imagine it’s 2016 and you’ve just moved to Houston and you’re at an ice house and tired of beer but still excessively thirsty because every day in Houston feels a little like walking through butter. Imagine you ask the bartender for club soda, and they hand you a “Topo.” The glass bottle is as lean and willowy as a model; the carbonation is confident, intense. This is the beginning of the rest of your seltzer-drinking life.

    I grew up on the East Coast pounding Polar Seltzer. During my undergrad years in Oregon, I survived off artificially flavored store-brand sugar-free soda waters that tasted drastically of aspartame. Whereas those drinks were either too tepidly undercarbonated or desperately overflavored in a bid to compete against soda, Topo Chico knew what it was: a 126-year-old mineral water so heavily carbonated the opening sips scour your tongue. Unlike LaCroix with its dozens of fruity options, the flavored varieties of Topo—lime, grapefruit, tangerine—are few and dignified.

    I’ve been a Topo-Chico drinker for well over a decade, and its one of the few items that Wal*Mart carries-which other retailers don’t, giving me a reason to gawk @ the people of Wal*Mart, but now there’s a shortage, and i’ll be forced to make do with lessers like San Pellegrino et al. C’est le eau.

  30. jrkrideau

    On Eve of Assange Hearing, A Look Back at the US Chief Medical Witness

    Declassified has seen a contract showing that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provided more than £2-million to KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry for the years 2013-16 for a project which KCL is forbidden to mention in public without MOD approval.

    Can you say “MKULTRA”?

  31. a fax machine

    “Independent Democrat” = nameless functionary that somehow ended up into a position of power. Lt Govs are always good examples of this, and can sometimes become an officially licensed on-brand Named Democrat. Gavin Newsom is a good example of the latter, being a nameless, middling City Supervisor who skyrocketed to fame for preforming the first gay marriage in California which got Prop 8 overturned. This led him to be Brown’s Lt. Gov, where he further worked on his brand giving him his successful Gubernational run. Compare this to CA’s current Lt. Gov who is just some competent but nameless person.

    Other examples of nameless Democrats can be found in state assemblies where they do the majority of legislative work. Unless if they strike a brand, most of their effort is never known or appreciated.

  32. Wukchumni

    Cold enough for you? Why air conditioning reigns supreme in Southern California Los Angeles Times
    Couldn’t break through the great paywall despite a determined karate kick & 3/4’s Nelson wrestling move…

    My first car I can remember was our 1966 blue Ford station wagon with vinyl seats & no a/c, few cars came with it back then. On a hot summer day you’d dread the first few minutes sitting on vinyl after the car had been sitting in the 94 degree Sun, ouch!

    Your only chance @ cooling down was that weird triangular window on the driver & passenger’s side window, and it wasn’t all that.

    One of these heatwaves a grid or few are going to go down because of everybody using their a/c, and when you get right down to it, we’re all 72 degree people now, only briefly does it differentiate in places where humans shouldn’t be, which entails much of the west.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a determined karate kick

      If you have Safari try the Reader view. I believe the Insight browser has the same functionality. Reader views give you basic formatting and some images a la the Web c 1995, which is all one really needs anyhow. They generally lobotomize all the JavaScript.

      Makes me think I should go back to the shell and Lynx [goes to test]. Sadly, it is not available from the Mac command line, although it can be installed with (brew> or MacPorts, which I would also have to install, so, not today).

  33. a fax machine

    re: plutonium pits

    Personally I don’t trust the government when they say they’ve lost knowledge on how to do it. They got the expertise but the actual idea of building such a thing is considered completely alien, because who would work such a job? Nobody wants to work in nuclear power let alone actual hands-on bits with radiation and dangerous stuff that can kill you. By comparison, the sort of person competent enough to work this job would rather work in a (comparably) safer solar panel factory or battery salvager/electroplating shop. The loss of “institutional” knowledge reveals something else: employees that would normally train up into foremen/supervisor roles moved on to other jobs because nuclear was cancelled. Same for the logistics end, why would a Hazmat truck driver work radiation jobs (scary! also lots of reading and rules to respect) when gas transport work is pays almost as good and is more reliable?

    So now what? Not much, IMO. New production processes, such as the USAF’s 3d metals printing program in Palmdale’s Plant 42, will probably revolutionize pits once the government realizes this is a perfect job for machine equipment to perform. In my personal opinion, pit expansion at the LLNL is inevitable – if not the LLNL then the adjacent Firing Facility up in the hills. The government can expand there all they want without locals even knowing about it, because the only time people know about these things is when the big scary trucks come through. If the plutonium is put onto normal-looking trucks or trains, this problem ceases to exist. And such is how the weapons facilities at the LLNL have been quietly expanded for the past two decades.

    Further, even if Livermore somehow whines about LLNL expansion enough to thwart it (which I doubt given the money they make from it), there is Ready Island. There is also the giant floating drydock in Vallejo, which seems like the perfect pit factory if there ever was one – it could also be towed back to Redwood City to allow LLNL workers to commute to it.

    (some of you might notice this includes many topics brought up in my post yesterday about the Tri-Valley and local trains, it does and these issues influence local rail freight policy)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is an extremely interesting comment and I like the connection to rail. I am starting to think that everything, without exception, involved in a local permitting process should be administratively monkey-wrenched. This rail project is just as nasty as pipelines which are just as nasty as landfills etc.

  34. Wukchumni

    My Kevin is on board in a concerted effort to save the big trees even if he doesn’t know where they grow. There are precisely ZERO on the eastern slopes, they’re all on the western slopes.

    Kev’s not too bright, but probably not his fault, some staffer wrote it and proofread it himself.

    “Giant sequoias are the largest trees in the world – some tower over 26 stories high and grow wider than a city street. They can only be found growing naturally on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California, including in my district in the Sequoia National Forest.”

  35. Kouros

    Dismayed to hear that the HK teachers’ union has disbanded.

    While I am a lefty, I always found hypocritical that some of the first actions of any communist party in the eastern block was to gut the unions… Not that the Solidarity Union in Gdansk necessarily prove their point, but the fact that the goal was to get power and have no contestants…

    With HK, I think the issue is more complex than that at least because now I suspect there is a push to change the curriculum to one that sees China in a more positive note…

  36. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    I remember when Bayer bought up Monsanto and anyone with any brains could see they were going to take a black eye over Roundup. Perhaps the mountain of IP made it worth the hassle.

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