Links 10/25/2021

Mammoths and other extinct Ice Age giants clung on longer than previously thought, DNA analysis suggests CNN

How the fight against climate change can get real at COP26 South China Morning Post. Roundup on COP26 from Bloomberg:

The dangerous private capital party FT

Google sought fellow tech giants’ help in stalling kids’ privacy protections, states allege Politico. Commentary:

How Many Users Does Facebook Really Have? The Ad Contrarian

I Used Facebook Without the Algorithm, and You Can Too Wired


How Public Health Took Part in Its Own Downfall The Atlantic. An interesting 2010 source. See also on noble lies.

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England (PDF) UK Health Security Agency

County-level Predictors of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cases and Deaths in the United States: What Happened, and Where Do We Go from Here? Clinical Infectious DIseases. From the Abstractx

Red America’s Compassion Fatigue: A Report From Mobile, Alabama The New Republic

‘Let Kyrie Play:’ Anti-Vax Mandate Crowd Rushes Barricades Ahead of Nets Home Opener NBC New York. “A few dozen.”

Americans abroad search for a first vaccine dose as millions at home get their third one WaPo

The Force of Scientific Authority The Philospher


Evergrande says it has resumed work on 10 stalled projects Agence France Presse

Alibaba Has Lost $344 Billion in World’s Biggest Wipeout Bloomberg

China warns of further spread in latest COVID-19 flare-up Channel News Asia


Myanmar junta rules out talks with dissidents, including Suu Kyi’s ousted government France24. The generals think their dry season offensive will work.

Myanmar junta accuses U.N. envoys of bias and interference Reuters

The pandemic stimulus has backfired in emerging markets FT

The Koreas

Two Years After Japan’s Trade War, South Korea’s Material Industry is Thriving The Blue Roof

Africa tries to end vaccine inequity by replicating its own AP


Turkey and Iran find soft power more difficult than hard power The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Cyber-mercenaries helped Saudis hack an NYT reporter Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic


Poland’s prime minister accuses EU of making demands with ‘gun to our head’ FT

New Cold War

Vladimir Putin Meets with Members of the Valdai Discussion Club (transcript) Valdai Discussion Club

The Myth of Russian Decline Foreign Affairs

An Oral History of ‘Счастливы Вместе,’ The Russian Remake of ‘Marrixxed… With Children’ Mel Magazine

Meet the Metals Hunter Who Wants to Make It Big in Ecuador Bloomberg

Biden Administration

Democrats ‘pretty much there’ on U.S. social spending bill -Pelosi Reuters. Watch this space:

Journalists Misread Delayed Poll as Sticker Shock on Biden Bill FAIR

Biden unveils new billionaire’s tax plan, affecting fewer than 1,000 of the wealthiest taxpayers, which will force them to pay annual levies on their stocks and bonds Daily Mail. Inheritance taxes would work a lot better.

The Bright Side of Higher Inflation Stephanie Kelton, The Lens

Democrats en Deshabille

Kyrsten Sinema’s long march through the institutions Bad News

Our Famously Free Press

The Power of Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Health Care

Impaired semen quality, an increase of sperm morphological defects and DNA fragmentation associated with environmental pollution in urban population of young men from Western Siberia, Russia PLOS

The Role of Probiotics in Mental Health MedScape

How I Became a Sick Person Ross Douthat, NYT. Affecting.

Capitol Seizure

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff Rolling Stone

Police State Watch

SEPTA rape case is latest in a U.S. pandemic of police lying. There must be consequences Will Bunch, The Inquirer

Imperial Collapse Watch

Abandoned America still being more direct than usual:

Guillotine Watch

‘Bring me a boat tomorrow’: Inside the pandemic yacht boom LA Times

‘Respectfully, kiss our a**’: Mutual aid group tweets letter that warns against helping houseless Daily Dot (DCBlogger).

Class Warfare

Iowa labor leader says union, non-union workers pressing for better pay, benefits Radio Iowa. Deere.

Where Did 7 Million Workers Go? The Atlantic. Here’s where one went:

“We’ve had to set expectations with you multiple times.” Love it!

They Gave Black Mothers in Mississippi $1,000 a Month. It Changed Their Lives. The New Republic

A vast, thrilling world of nature unfolds outside of human time Psyche (TH).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

See yesterday’s 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. Nikkikat

    I really would like to know more about those crows! That is really a mind blower for sure.
    I have seen studies on crows on PBS nature series a couple of years ago. The crows proved ingenious at figuring out puzzles. They also remembered their handlers for the study years after they had been set free and the birds had returned to the area. Their tool making abilities and use of them was incredible.

    1. Helena

      I looked at those evergreen sprigs with the pop-tops and thought it might me a crow’s idea of dangly earrings. Very pretty.

  2. Otis B Driftwood

    Brandon turning things around against a bullying manager is great.

    Less often, in fact never, do we find stories of small business owners who deal with employees who commit to work a given shift and then don’t show up, call in sick at the last minute regularly, or quit without notice.

    1. jsn

      Those are the problems of ownership, with which it’s hard to sympathize unless one is or has been an owner.

      I started my own firm in NY in order to run a non-exploitative architectural practice, like the free floating partnership of my father’s practice in central Texas back in 40s-90s. I had very little turn over in an office fluctuating between 5 and 15 people over its 18 year life by hiring carefully and keeping reserves so I never had to lay people off to float through the economic cycles, that is until 2008 which took 5 years to kill my firm, laying people off for the first time in 13 & 14.

      In the big growth burst in 2004-8, I did manage to make some bad hires. One repeatedly called in sick and systematically underperformed and stole things. When we fired for cause for her stealing, she fought it in court and knew her way around well enough to venue shop till she got a judge who rejected all our evidence and awarded her unemployment. So yep, there are some bad eggs out there, but if you’re getting a lot of them, you’re doing something wrong. At least in my experience.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Less often, in fact never, do we find stories of small business owners who deal with employees who commit to work a given shift and then don’t show up, call in sick at the last minute regularly, or quit without notice.

      Well, if you leave out the racist dogwhistling versions, and the ones making excuses for businesses that hire immigrants it’s illegal to be employing, and the screeds against minimum wage laws and other employee protections, then maybe, kind of never.

      But what would be the point of such articles? Sympathy? How woke.

    3. Helena

      I worked for a group of lawyers, and the first thing said to me in my interview was, “You aren’t planning to have children, are you?”
      And a bunch of other things they weren’t supposed to ask. They didn’t mention to me that the senior partner was billing his paralegal at his rate and was getting nailed by the state bar…

      1. Procopius

        I’m sorry, but what does “billing his paralegal at his rate” mean? Was he charging clients for his paralegal’s time at his billing rate, or was he performing legal services for him and charging him without a discount? And my apology for assuming the senior partner and the paralegal were both male.

        1. Yves Smith

          It is pretty clear to me what Helena means. He was billing the client for work done by the paralegal (a non-lawyer) at the partner’s rate. That’s a bar violation that is so serious in most states it’s a fast path to disbarment (see a variant of this theme in the book and movie The Firm, where the protagonist brings down the corrupt fixer law firm by bringing their billing fraud to the attention of the authorities).

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Poland’s prime minister accuses EU of making demands with ‘gun to our head”

    Actually Poland has an option here if the EU goes nuclear on Poland’s finances. When Belarus was inconsiderate enough not to be overthrown in the recent colour revolution, the EU – using the pretext of an arrest of a neonasty activist aboard a plane – banned Belavia which is Belarus’s main airline from flying into the EU. Belarus as a countermeasure started selling plane tickets to refugees who flew into the country and were then pointed at the border with the EU. This caused neighbouring countries to erect barriers to Belarus to keep these refugees out.

    So what Poland could do is to put in a few more gates into that 400 kilometer-long Poland-Belarus border wall and let these refugees in. They would then be bused to the Polish-German border and pointed in the direction of Berlin which is only about 50-odd kilometers away. Suddenly, Germany has a bigger refugee problem and maybe the Czech and Slovakian Republics as well. Consider, there are already German police guarding the Polish-Belarus border so this is a sensitive issue for Germany. Poland then tells the EU that the next move is theirs.

    1. Polar Socialist

      For that to work one would assume EU leaders being able to understand that:
      – actions have consequences
      – stopping doing stuff that hurts is ok

      I don’t see neither in the tea leaves yet.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, you could be right. They are about to go into their winter with a dire shortage of gas for homes & industry – while ignoring & slow-walking the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is presently already charged with gas.

    2. vlade

      Doubt it would work – and it would be a strategy that would massively polarise Poland itself (never mind Poland losing all the EU’s money, which is a LOT of money for Poland).

      Which is not really a problem (polarisation, not the money, the money would be a problem for them) for the current govt right now, which lives off polarisation, but it may mean even people who don’t care much about elections anymore would come out and vote against them come the next one. The support for the EU in Poland is still well over 60% of the voting population, and only about 17% would like Polexit.

      Economically, it would sink Poland way, way more than the UK, because for Poland exports to the EU are 80%+, never mind pretty much all of the agri production. I know that people voted and will vote against their economic interests, so that won’t stop them, but it’s a much harder sell in Poland than in the UK.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe because all those Poles who would have voted for it moved to the UK where they promptly became plumbers. :)

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Mind you, as the link above from the Blue Roof points out, its not just regular people who can vote against their own interests. The Japanese government establishment have frequently shot themselves in both feet over their attempt to bring the South Koreans to heel. Japan thinks it has leverage over ROK which has long ago disappeared. Its quite shocking that the government hasn’t learned this yet. Japanese industry is paying the price for this.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There is no way that the Japanese will ever get those contracts back again. The same happened with Russia after they got Crimea back. The Russians learned how to make and grow what they use to buy from the EU which resulted in massive losses on the part of the EU and higher employment & development in Russia. Maybe the South Koreans are learning the value of autarky as well.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>The Russians learned how to make and grow what they use to buy from the EU which resulted in massive losses on the part of the EU and higher employment & development in Russia.

            Now where have I heard about this with other countries… the United something or another?

      3. Daniel LaRusso

        some people think their is more to life than economic interests. And besides, in my corner of the UK none of the doomsday scenarios have happened. But I’m not sure if they would have if Covid hadn’t forced the government into extra stimulus etc.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Nobody is pointing any guns at the Poles. It is just the Polish Prime Minister hyperventilating , talking about the start of World War 3. Really? He needs to calm down. Talking of war just disconnects people’s rationality and presses their emotional buttons. Whipping up emotions in politics – especially hostility towards foreigners – is a dangerous game.

  4. zagonostra

    >The Force of Scientific Authority – The Philospher

    Strange that the author chooses to use Foucault’s views so extensively and leaves out latter’s original concept of “biopolitics.” I’m glad he referenced Goffman, though tangentially. I skimmed the article which in a philosophically oriented link is ludicrous as is commenting on it without reading more carefully and in earnest, which I plane to do when time permits. Thanks for keeping topics of philosophy in links. And as an aside Ivan Illich’s “Medical Nemesis” covers the topic of “Scientific Authority” in a much more direct way, i.e., with respect to medicine and it was written in 1975. David Cayley, his friend and expositor, just published a new book on Illich and has given some good post covid Ytube interviews.

    1. Steve H.

      Compare this quote:

      At the same time, modern science and liberal democracy have long shared profoundly overlapping “moral economies”, a common “form of life” in which the social assemblages of modern scientific knowledge-production have coincided with, even bled into, the formations of the modern polity and its attendant social orders. … Science and liberalism, in other words, are not contingently contemporaneous but share a powerful historical entwinement. This entwinement has at least partly underwritten the supposition that a flourishing democracy avails itself to scientific truth and that the conditions of scientific practice act as a litmus test for the operational status of democracy itself.

      After all, the mere existence of scientific knowledge, medicine, and technological innovation has not led to an equitable global distribution of those benefits. The more that research interests and the circulation of scientific goods attach themselves to market forces, the more entitled members of the public might feel that the choice to refuse scientific claims, or to replace them with alternative epistemic practices, is merely one choice among others, a way to express one’s individual (and invariably economic) freedom.


      “Always remember that China is a civilization rather than a nation-state.” []

      And the Traditional/Rational axis of the World Values Survey.

      (Post-: As I was looking up links, as of 2020 Traditional/Rational has been turned into Traditional/Secular. It looks like there’s semantic movement around the word ‘Rational’ in the same way ‘Liberal’ altered orientation.)

      1. JBird4049

        Remember that liberalism is not neoliberalism and that the neo part was deliberately created to be used to corrupt liberal including, or especially, its equality under the rule of law as well as universal human rights, the idea of the rule of law itself, of facts and reason, and the scientific method.

        As an example, I look at how the study of political economy became stripped down, stupified study of economics. Or I can look at how the 20th century’s left and later its moderate liberal center were smeared and later reclassified as socialist and then communist in the United States.

        The philosophy (or would it be better said praxis?) of liberalism was also corrupted by post modernism. If there is no factual truth, if reality is unknowable, then what use is reason? Also, as you might be noting, science and liberalism (I also think religion as well) has been a threat to the wealthy and the powerful and the current and past systems’ massive inequalities; science, religion, and politics have all been twisted into ideologies and praxis different than what they used to be including their vocabularies; it is hard to have a conversation with people when not only their job depends on them not understanding, the meanings of what you are talking and therefore what you are talking about keeps changing.

        1. Steve H.

          I’m right there with you. As a one has noted:

          Knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ th’ other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator.

  5. zagonostra

    >The Power of Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Jelani Cobb -The New Yorker

    Behind paywall. But speaking of comedy I saw Jimmy Dore live at the Dania Improve last Thursday. It was good, people I sat with never heard of him. The power of JD is in bringing stories like the Venezuelan Envoy who Biden (synecdoche) kidnapped and where I’ve not seen the story reported anywhere in my normal news-grazing sites, even NC (I may be wrong on this, please correct me if wrong.)

    1. Nikkikat

      They used to put Jimmy’s live shows up on their site. Always enjoyed him with the other comedians. Still listen to his podcast. I would love to see him live, I’d be very hesitant to go in a club. My husband and I love live comedy and concerts, doubtful we will ever be able to do that again.

      1. jr

        J Dore still puts up segments of his live shows, I watched one last night in fact. It was about Obama playing Chicago for his monument to his own ego, his presidential library, which will by the way be privately governed with no direct public access to the records kept there.

    2. t

      Wasn’t paywalled for me.
      Rehash of things people have said about the 3rd special and addressed the show by misquoting a bunch of stuff, skipping over controversial statements, and quoting Chappelle where Dave was in fact quoting someone else
      Usual enraged muddle of not actually engaging.

      1. Louis Fyne

        IMO, people who complain about Chappelle’s third special clearly didn’t watch/listen to his special—particularly his final monologue, and are resorting to extant talking points.

        If anything, I’m surprised some of his other jokes didn’t raise the eyebrows of other identity groups as those jokes were just as provocative, arguably moreso, than the comments drawing the ire of Netflix’s employees.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think this is the power of establishment cancel culture. Its not about criticising something someone says, its about establishing for those people who aren’t paying close attention that they are supposed to dislike or reject someone. Anyone who, for example, just knows a little about Chappelle from reading a little in the NYT or the Guardian will just assume he’s gone off the rails. Only those who have actually, you know, watched his shows can see that even if you disagree with him, he is not a bigot, and carefully explains his views and his reasoning.

          Its a little like with Joe Rogan – for a lot of people, Rogan is just ‘that right wing anti-vax podcaster’. Thats just what they’ve heard about him, and they’ve never bothered actually listening to the show. And it doesn’t matter if its only a minority who believe that – what matters is that its the ‘important’ minority who believe it. As Saagar in Breaking Points has said, the reason cable political shows are so important is not because many people watch them. Its because the ‘right’ people watch them.

        2. flora

          Yes. Several parts of the show is available in audio on utube, including the final monologue “Daphne Story.”

    3. Ian Perkins

      More from the BBC: Hardtalk has an interview today with David Baddiel, an English comedian, novelist and television presenter, covering the subjects of comedy, social media, wokeness, hate speech and so on. I hadn’t heard of him before, but he’s very thoughtful and articulate. (30 mins)

      1. Louis Fyne

        off-topic….but David Baddiel presented a BBC child-rearing documentary too, worth tracking down if one is interested in child development but don’t know where to start. Covers: the marshmallow test, the benefits of not telling a kid that “you’re so smart,” a teen’s biological clock, and a few other things that I can’t recall

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Ian.

        Is that the Baddiel who likes blacking up, often with a pineapple for headgear, and mocking darkies like me and screams anti-Semite when us darkies complain. That is when he’s not gunning for Palestinians and their supporters. Thoughtful, eh? An interesting description, if I may say.

        1. Ian Perkins

          Thank you, Colonel. I did say I’d never heard of him, and you’ve added significantly to my knowledge.

        2. CountZero

          I second that Colonel. He turned up on several mainstream tv programmes in the UK denouncing the non-existent anti-semitism of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party — just before the 2019 election.

  6. lupemax

    How I Became a Sick Person Ross Douthat, NYT. Affecting.

    After I read this moving column I did some research and found an excellent book that might be of help to those suffering. Kris Newby’s Bitten: The secret history of lyme disease and biological weapons. The excellent review by David Swanson of Bitten on Amazon is further enlightening. Several other “reviews” comments on Amazon are also helpful.

    1. Wukchumni

      One of the cabin owners in our community has had lyme disease for about 25 years now, and she related that it’s the most prevalent cause of suicide among all medical maladies, and reading Ross’s ordeal it’s easy to see why.

      I get a tick bite every few years and immediately go on a 10 day regiment of antibiotics, to allay a potential ticking time bomb.

    2. Pelham

      I can’t understand why, among the many doctors Douthat consulted, not one until the end of a very lengthy search brought up Lyme disease. Or why Douthat himself, having traipsed around in weeds in Lyme-saturated Connecticut, didn’t suspect what the problem was.

      Five years ago I contracted Lyme in rural upstate New York, another hot spot. But I was super aware of the possibility and checked thoroughly for ticks every night before bed. It takes up to 24 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme to its victim, so when I managed to find a tick, if it was still small, I’d remove it and do nothing more. One apparently got past me, however, and I began feeling vaguely out of sorts with periodic high fevers.

      After four days of these flu-like symptoms I went to the ER, where they ran about 10 blood tests and found nothing. Then the doctor who was treating me IMMEDIATELY concluded I probably had Lyme and prescribed a week’s worth of doxycycline capsules to be taken twice a day exactly 12 hours apart. He said blood tests in the early stages of the disease seldom reveal anything, and by the time Lyme does show up on a test, it’s too late to attack it with antibiotics.

      So I went home with the pills and after a couple of days I was fine, though I was careful to finish out the antibiotic regimen. The doctor (I wish I could remember his name as he may have spared me many years of agony) said that if caught early enough — within a week — antibiotics can deal with Lyme. Douthat apparently wasn’t treated properly until it was way too late.

      Maybe I just got lucky with my doctor. But all our acquaintances in upstate were acutely aware of the Lyme threat (the subject would come up during the summer months), and I assumed medical professionals would be on the ball as well. Wrong.

    3. Lost in OR

      Lyme isn’t as prevalent here in Oregon as it is in New England. So I wasn’t that concerned when two years ago I picked up a tick while camping. I found it after it had been on me for about two days, I pulled it off with tweezers. Sure enough, I developed the classic bulls-eye around the bite with a nasty 1″ diameter rash on the bite itself. It was quite painful and itchy. There is no way I could have ignored it.

      The Dr. gave me the minimum dose (10 days) of antibiotics. After 6 days I went back claiming I had lost my prescription to get another 4 days worth. I am very grateful that I’ve had no further consequences. That was a scary moment.

      As somebody without health insurance I’m aghast at how Ross so easily had “access” to so much health care. That level of care is almost unimaginable to me.

    1. griffen

      Looked to be considering his plight. How much would or could he if could chuck wood?

      Get my union rep on the phone. No more chucking wood. My labor ain’t for free!

  7. Carla

    Re: inflation. Meat, produce, dairy — all are sharply higher, but one item especially caught my attention. A few months ago (which was the last time I checked), the regular price for a quart of Hellmann’s mayonnaise at my local grocer’s was $4.99. Yesterday, it was $7.89.

    Oh, but I forget myself. Food prices don’t count when the gubmint measures inflation. Silly me.

    1. Nikkikat

      The cost of food is really killing our budget. Prices going up by dollar amounts. I think they are jacking us around with most of it. Unfortunately, makes it difficult to eat healthy as the processed crap food is all one can afford.

    2. griffen

      We continue debating this in frequent comments and threads. My contention* we are looking at a long winter, and long for a few bad reasons inflation being at or near the top of any list. I think the common indicator after foodstuffs is going to be energy (home heating fuel, regular to premium pricing for gasoline, diesel).

      *Contention is not prediction. If I could predict anything the Braves beat the Astros in 7 starting tomorrow night.

        1. Mantid

          If one can, limit your transportation and trips. We just “get around town” on bikes and once in a while the small truck for firewood. It can be real difficult for certain people to get minimal, but it saves – and is good exercise. And garden. Our veggies were amazing this year and we ran low on canning jars (don’t get me going on lids). So, being minimal and not having to buy much food nor gas, inflation is not really a problem. I understand it can be difficult to start, but minimalism is the new black. I hope people can get used to a simple life because it is coming fast. Practice now and bon courage.

          1. Helena

            I managed to get an electric bike with my first ‘stimulus’. I need it in these hills, and it really changed my life since I have not had a car for 11 years. Being ‘minimal’ is not a problem for me–as a child we were pretty minimal and I learned minimal habits early on. I am encouraged by your enthusiasm!

          2. wilroncanada

            I’ve flipped my lid about this, this fall. We could not find 86mm lids in any of the stores in our area. I started going online to businesses like Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Home Depot, only to be notified that none of them had any in their warehouses nationally.
            I finally thought I found some through Amazon, a bulk supply from some supplier warehouse whose name I am still trying to trace. I bought 100 in bulk. My wife used the first few in canning some pears. They were faulty (presumably too thin). They bulged as they cooled, breaking the seal.
            My wife is going to use them for crafts with our grandchildren.

    3. Louis Fyne

      I’ve become a minor hoarder. There I’ve said it. Store after store of sparser shelves—-the only place that looks normal is Costco (outside of the paper goods aisle)

      Anything that I like that’s still pre-covid priced, easy to store, and I’m guessing/know are going up in stick price, I’m buying up.

      The family’s favorite brand of organic jam, sodium percarbonate (the generic form of Oxy laundry booster) were this weekend’s stockpile highlights.

      Still not too late to hedge one’s bets and stock up on your favorites—particularly out-of-season items during the winter. As it seems there is be a tetra-pak, glass, paper, plastic containers shortage given what’s unavailable at the stores.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘I’ve become a minor hoarder.’ You know that you are going to have to let them go eventually, right? Those mines are not going to dig themselves out.

        1. Louis Fyne

          It’s not a 5%, 10%, 15% increase that caused me to stock up. It’s the not-available-at-any-price that concerns me.

          And there are more and more things that I see that literally are not available at any price (or only available at 200%, 300% more than pre-covid prices). Sodium percarbonate is one of them.

          I’m more than happy to be wrong, and best worse-case scenario, I don’t have to buy garbage bags for the next 12 months.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You’re quite right. When prices start to sky-rocket or stuff gets delayed for a short while, is one thing. But not available at any price for me is something that has the warning klaxons sounding loud. The first conditions are a glitch in the system. The later is an actual structural fault in the supply system becoming clear. I actually think that you are doing the smart thing. You might want to consider things like medicines, coffee, salt and other staples. Having extra means that down the track if things get really bad, you can trade it for stuff that you do not have. If things get better, then it just means that your shopping bills will be a bit cheaper as you use up extra stocks.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              my little tiller is finally ready at the shop, some 50 miles away.
              been waiting for gaskets for six months.
              neighbor almost lost a hay crop because of large delays in getting parts for his baler, and his rake and mower attachment….ended up hiring a metal guy in town to fabricate the parts from bar stock, etc.
              i hear similar reports every time i venture into civilisation…and whenever i venture into a store, there’s bare shelves.
              even at walmart up the road…which is a whole other level of weirdness,lol.(if they can’t get it….)
              tomorrow, mom and i are going to fredericksburg to the HEB for the first big run in almost 2 years…i’m after dry goods and staples, for to re-stock the pantry…as well as a bunch of cool cheese and cool bread and such for the freezer(for all my talents, i suck at breadmaking…and cool cheese is one of my few sine qua non’s.).
              we’re looking for a major stock-up, here…and i’m interested to see what the place is like after all this time.
              since around june of 2020, our shopping has been pretty ad hoc and chaotic…especially this past summer.
              so today, i’m going through everything remaining in the pantry areas, and setting aside the old for the chickens.
              mom’s been doing the same for weeks.
              and i’ve been “cleaning out” the freezers for a few months…as in cooking meat that’s gotten lost before it can freezer burn….so lots of fajita analogs and ropa viejo and cajun/creole concoctions that are conducive to mixing and matching and adding sinks and things.

              also have her talked in to a large seed order this fall…instead of her usual waiting til spring.
              i see hard times ahead.

    4. LaRuse

      My husband has a Diet Coke habit the way I have a coffee habit. It simply has to be in our fridge and this has always just been the way of things in our house.
      I started getting worried when a 12 pack of DC started getting to be $4, but usually the store ran a deal where you buy 3 or 4 packs and you got a significant discount.
      When I went on Sunday, 10/17, Diet Coke was $6.99 and if I bought 3 packs, I could have them for only $5 a case.

      We are an adaptable family. We gave up on grocery store beef in the Great Recession (prices never went truly back down so we’ve never really gone back). We went to powdered milk during the years when milk was almost $5 a gallon (we don’t drink it anyway – just use it for cooking purposes so powdered made sense). My standard Folgers coffee has been $8-$9 a container so I buy the store brand and mix it or just drink the store brand and be grateful I have coffee. For now the 20 oz bottles are a bit cheaper so I haven’t yet had to bite the bullet on Diet Coke coming in at $7 a 12-pack. But the cost of DC is going to become a crisis in our household because Husband is utterly unwilling to consider a cheaper alternative – no store brand will do. I know – expensive Diet Coke is the most First World problem ever, but I get it to an extent – if Coffee was suddenly 3x more expensive, I would try and find a way to budget for it…

      1. Mantid

        Yes, we all have our “needs”. Ours is café. Can’t grow that here in NW U.S. But times are getting and will get tough – fast. Don’t through rocks in a glass house but it’s actually fun deciding and acting on what can we limit or “let go”. With global warming, inflation, lack of decent work, Covid …….. many thing will be taken away so we might as well prepare and do with less, of somethings. But don’t touch my café :-0 Good luck on your end.

      2. Louis Fyne

        Diet Coke was regularly discounted to $3.33 for a 6-pack of 500mL in my neck of the woods, with enough regularity for one to stock up when the price fell. Those discounts have been gone for months now.

        Can’t recall how the BLS treats sale prices (lack thereof) in their inflation stats. But it’s a de facto 66% increase in the cost of soda. Lots of other things are the same way (no more sale promotions) in my neck of the woods—anything and everything you can think of.

        1. Louis Fyne

          I stopped drinking diet coke years ago, cold turkey. It was a bit aggravating for the first few days but lost 10 lbs with no effort over the next few weeks. And my taste buds returned “to normal.”

          Diet Coke (and soda in general) tastes disgusting to me now.

          Definitely recommend trying to quit cold turkey—but it won’t be a calkwalk.

        2. LaRuse

          :-) He actually does have a regular meditation routine, but he hasn’t asked his Higher Power about his Diet Coke problem yet. It used to be much worse – 3-4 cans of DC a day. Now, just one. Maybe 2 on a fierce day.

      3. jr

        I’ve been able to rid myself of all the drugs and booze in my life but have failed repeatedly to get rid of coffee. Tea helps but nothing can replace coffee. What happens when the stuff becomes unavailable or at least unaffordable for the average schmoe? I’ll tell you what: millions of caffeine addicted people without a “fix”. I’m not knocking those people, I’m one of them, but imagine the effect that will have on society. And it’s not just possible supply shortages:,at%20the%20risk%20of%20extinction.%E2%80%9D

        Related anecdote: I had family come into the City a few days back and I took the risk of traveling into Manhattan to see them, taking all the precautions I could. We had Vietnamese food and I wanted a cup of tea. It was six dollars for a cup of black and green tea:

        They did have cheaper offerings but the cup was roughly half of the standard coffee/tea cup I expected. Also, they were out of about 80% of their wine list:

        I wonder if you can buy powdered caffeine and just snort it? Yep, but dangerous:

        Strange days…

        1. Samuel Conner

          This won’t work for everyone, but I find that “Special Gunpowder” Green Tea, brewed strong, is every bit as … stimulating … as coffee (though to be fair, it tastes much worse the way I brew it — a different kind of stimulation — and that’s after taking into account that my coffee is generally a generic instant, made probably from the worst of the Robusto harvest and whatever other sweepings can get through quality control).

          An interesting thing that I ran into decades ago is that green tea polyphenols appear to have benefits to oral health (a recent review):

          (TL;DR — not a strong enough effect to rely on as treatment, but might be somewhat helpful as a prophylactic measure)

          Camellias grow well in some parts of the US; I wonder if anyone is growing Camellia sinensis as a form of edible landscaping. “Camforest”, a nursery that sells tea plants and seeds, even has some verbiage about experiments with cold-hardy(er) GT plants.

          1. jr

            Thanks for the info. I did a little more digging and a cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. A scale capable of weighing milligrams runs about 25$. Wheels are turning…

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            i’ve wanted camilia sinensis on the place for a long, long time…for just this reason.
            one time i located a few plants within driving range, got them planted, and we had a the hottest summer on record and burned em up,lol.
            i’ve not tried it…nor have i read with care the literature i’ve accumulated, but the “Black Drink” of various native americans is from Yupon(ilex vomitotium)…and is the only caffeine producing plant native to north america…even grows out here.
            definitely something to look into.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Try yerba mate: less caffeine than coffee, but more than tea. It’s far less acidic than coffee, causes no jitters, and imparts calm, clear stimulation. Some added benefits are that, in addition to caffeine, it contains theobromine, the happy-making ingredient in chocolate, and also works pretty well as an appetite suppressant.

          Get the real stuff, not the expensive health food store dreck Guayaki brand, which is ridiculously expensive.

          If you live in a city with a large Spanish-speaking population especially one with Argentinians, Uruguayans, southern Brazilians or Chileans, you should be able to find it in food stores. Otherwise, has a large selection of brands, including organic ones, at fair prices.

          For most people yerba mate is an acquired taste, and I ain’ t gonna try and convince you that it tastes better than a good cuppa joe, but I started drinking it instead of coffee and have never looked back.

    5. IM Doc

      Carla – another issue I have noticed is very different packaging on some items.

      Are you sure that current quart of mayonnaise is actually still a quart?

      1. Carla

        The last jar I bought was. That was a couple months ago. Yesterday, I wound up buying a “pint” jar of Hellmann’s for the bargain price of only $3.75 — with your prompt, I just checked, and it’s only 15 oz! (Unilever owns Hellmann’s BTW)

        Very good point. I’ve noticed that the “1-lb” boxes of pasta are all 13 or 14 oz. now. Pretty soon, a carton of eggs will only contain 10…

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘fasterthanlime ?
    ?”- Google had a plan called “Project NERA” to turn the web into a walled garden they called “Not Owned But Operated”. A core component of this was the forced logins to the chrome browser you’ve probably experienced (surprise!)”‘

    These ideas keep on floating around Silicon Valley. Back in ’95, Microsoft launched Microsoft Network as a portal to the internet. The intent was that this would eventually be a “walled garden” that for many people, would be the internet. They failed but Facebook succeeded here by wedging themselves in by using social media. Another of these ideas is people being forced to use a ‘passport’ to go onto the internet so that they could be identified, watched & monetized. Microsoft was pushing this idea originally about twenty years ago and it looks like Google wants to do its part to make this a standard, hence forced logins to the chrome browser. Silicon Valley is not your friend.

    1. Mr. Magoo

      Every time a rock is overturned at a FAANG company, some bit of slime spills out. The whole bit of company is not a monopoly unless it is shown to harm customers via higher prices needs to be thrown out or re-defined. Antitrust needs to include monopsony, and maybe just a ‘tad’ more enforcement of existing laws. That twitter thread is absolutely disgusting behavior.

    2. Mantid

      Yes, less and less is and will be “owned” by mere people. Vaccine passports to attend concerts, work, access hospitals, come and go…….. those are a good trial balloon that seems to be working for the powers that be. This used to be called eugenics, now it’s community responsibility. Let them eat cake, while we (the “well off”) have caviar and steak tar tar. I’m working for billionaire flambé.

    3. Oh

      Each person watching Youtube, using Google Search, Gmail, Google Translate, Google Earth or any of their evil applications is giving away his privacy and data, no matter how useful these “free” applications are.

  9. Anon

    Re: 7 Million Workers

    When I was first reading it, I thought “ah, that seems sensible”, then I got to the buried lede:

    Whether or not today’s worker revolt becomes tomorrow’s worker revolution, what’s abundantly clear is that America needs more workers. America’s prime-age population stopped growing more than a decade ago, and because of declining fertility rates, it’s unlikely to recover through natural growth alone. If the U.S. needs more workers, the arithmetic is straightforward: We need more immigrants.

    Welcoming immigrants is more complicated than putting up a Help Wanted sign at the border. Democrats are looking for ways to expand legal immigration—a matter of moral and long-term economic urgency—while avoiding a xenophobic backlash from the right. One great way to do this would be to “recapture” surplus permanent-residency visas, or green cards, that went unclaimed in previous years. Since 1992, hundreds of thousands of green cards authorized by Congress have not been issued because of administrative hiccups; last year, unused green cards reached a record high. As a result, the U.S. could extend permanent-residency visas to more than 100,000 immigrants—essentially liberalizing immigration law without technically increasing the total number of visas already authorized by Congress. This would be a clever first step in allowing more legal immigration without spooking Americans who are, for a variety of reasons, resistant to dramatic changes in the number of people the U.S. admits.

    Why is it always this solution and not any other? There’s plenty of citizens here – why not work through those first and then use immigration?

    1. jo6pac

      Because of wages $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. They’re looking to keep us wage slaves under their thumbs like they do to legal or illegal persons.

      1. Mantid

        Yep. And vaccine passports and mandates will help keep worker costs low. “Well, OK, you can work since you don’t have the required vaccine – but we can only pay $10 per hour”. I mentioned to the Rev that these mandates are a trial balloon that seems to be working for billionaires. Divide and conquer.

      2. saywhat?

        Per the Bible, citizens should not normally have to work for wages anyway.

        Fix that and foreigners would be universally welcomed as a source of wage labor as they were in Old Testament Israel.

          1. saywhat?

            During the conquest of Caanan under Joshua, the agricultural land and the city land was divided up “by lot” (by chance) among all the Hebrews (the Levites were an exception).

            Thus every Hebrew family normally had some land to farm and, for at least some, a city lot/house as well.

            So there was no need normally for a Hebrew to work for wages.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The US isn’t the Bible. We use to be subjects of the British crown, and now we don’t have a king. If you don’t like go back to England.

    2. drb48

      Article assumes that continued economic growth requires additional population growth. And never even considers whether that growth is actually desirable. Given the current climate situation, at what point will people writing about economics start to recognize that growth can’t continue forever? And start figuring out how we manage an economy that doesn’t depend on ever more people? Not yet apparently.

    3. CloverBee

      Came across this one:

      I had a number of friends respond with anecdotes that they knew people with similar experiences. My first read on this was that all of this “no one wants to work” line is to gin up support among conservatives to bring in more exploitable workers, not workers who may have actual standards.

    4. Felix_47

      The Democratic party is fixated on this issue. and yet 30 years ago Black leaders and leftists like Sanders were opposed to open borders. Sanders was asked at the time about it and his retort was “that is a Koch brothers idea!” I was in the UAW and Teamsters when I was younger and to keep up with what we were earning then, 1965 (12 per hour with full health benefits and retirement) one would have to make north of 100 dollars per hour. And back in those days plenty of Black men worked with us and had houses, families and wives that did not have to work and who could raise kids without working at McDonalds. I realize Biden is going to fix this with universal child care at 20,000 per child but why treat the symptom instead of the cause? Wages are so low that one third of all working age men in the US, mostly Black, are not looking for work, are not working, and are not getting unemployment. And they are not able to pay child support, of course. Look at 1000 per month does for mothers in Mississippi in the article here in links. And in Mississippi the average child support payment is somewhere around 150 per month and that is where they can collect anything. Back in the day if the Teamsters struck no one ever crossed the picket line. The nation shut down. Now with an Amazon strike the trucks still deliver with scab labor. And I am not against immigration. For sure all Haitians should be admitted (we are admitting 87%) but we should just annex Haiti and run it as a state. And if we want to have a more Mexican nation annex Mexico and run it. Giving the US taxpayer and worker the financial responsibility of unbridled birth rates and corruption without the authority to manage the problem is a guarantee of failure. And our societal failure is obvious. The hope of the Democrats is that those of us that remember the past are soon going to be gone. Sadly with open immigration a revolution is really impossible because national strikes would be necessary. So I guess the Dems and Repubs have figured out how to insure against a national movement to displace them.

    5. Altandmain

      The Atlantic tends to cater to the upper middle class 10 percenters who would benefit at the expense of the working class.

      They are looking to solve the so called shortage of workers while trying to avoid any redistribution of wealth from the top 10 percent of the population to the bottom 90 percent.

  10. cocomaan

    SEPTA rape case is latest in a U.S. pandemic of police lying. There must be consequences Will Bunch, The Inquirer

    As someone in this part of PA, as soon as I saw the police saying that bystanders were ignoring the rape, I knew it was a lie.

    It reminds me of the Kitty Genovese story and how the NYT purposely lied and created a decades-long narrative about bystander effect. It was a narrative I read about in high school sociology and college psych. It turned out to be nonsense and lies and disrupted people’s view of human nature for a long time.

    Evil people love to convince the public that most people are evil, and I don’t think that’s the case.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Exactly what part of the story is “lie?”

      From a USA Today report on the Philadelphia district attorney’s claim that the story “is simply not true — it did not happen”:

      The district attorney painted a picture, instead, of a “sparsely” crowded train, with passengers getting on and off throughout the interaction between the suspect and victim and eventual rape. He said people getting on and off the train might not have known what was going on at any given point and that they were witnessing a rape in progress.

      He acknowledged there were two people who were believed to have filmed at least part of the incident, and he is in possession of one witness’s video. Stollsteimer also said CCTV footage from SEPTA shows the whole attack and will be convincing in the prosecution of the case.

      The suspect, Fiston Ngoy, 35, allegedly harassed the woman, groped her and eventually raped her through more than two dozen train stops last week, authorities said. SEPTA authorities also said at a press conference earlier this week that officers responded within three minutes of the lone 911 call they received – from an off-duty transportation employee.

      The rape happened through more than two dozen train stops. People were there. “At least two people” were filming. No one intervened. The whole attack is on CCTV video and will be “convincing” at trial.

      Studiously unmentioned is whether she was screaming for help, which I’d have to imagine she was, and was ignored, which would make the whole sordid story that much uglier.

      C’mon, man.

      1. cocomaan

        Stollsteimer didn’t reveal the number of people who were on the train and may have witnessed some or all of the attack.

        We have no clue what happened, we have no public release of video, and all we have are two conflicting accounts of who saw what: the cops, who said that passerby callously disregarded her distress, and the prosector, who said that they didn’t.

        It ended up being a passerby that called the cops.

        This guy was a known offender to the police in question, who had been preying on people for a while. The cops have every reason say that it was a problem of bystanders and not their crappy policing.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          jeezus h. christ.

          “We” actually have a big, fat “clue what happened”–a frickin’ RAPE on a train happened. How this is being strawmanned into some sort of “crappy policing” issue is beyond me.

          But if you want to go there, fine.

          Fiston Ngoy, who was arrested Oct. 13 for sexual assault on a SEPTA train, came to the United States in 2012 on a student visa, according to Fox News. Ngoy’s visa was terminated in 2015 after he “failed” to remain enrolled as a student in the country.

          Court records also showed that Ngoy also had “multiple arrests and two misdemeanor convictions, one for controlled substances and one for sexual abuse,” according to Fox News. Ngoy pled guilty to the sexual abuse misdemeanor in 2017 and was sentenced to 120 days in prison.

          Ngoy was supposed to be deported following his sexual abuse charges, but a judge for the Board of Immigration Appeals found that his misdemeanor sex offense was not a “serious crime,” Fox News reported. Instead, the judge placed him on a “withholding of removal” and mandated that Ngoy report to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s order of supervision for regular check-ins.

          Sounds to me like this parade of strawmen is being ginned up to shut down any connection to the out-of-control invasion of illegal immigrants at the border, and wholesale “paroling” of unvetted afghan refugees currently happening.

          I’ve no doubt that in a couple of days the victim will be “at fault” for not having gotten off the train.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            From the linked Philadelphia Inquirer article: “Of possibly two passengers who filmed the assault, one tipped SEPTA police and was filming to provide evidence that could help convict the accused rapist in court.”

            Lemme recap. Based on the DA’s public statements, covered in a less frivolous venue than USA Today, one of the “amoral” people who filmed the attack was responsible for getting word to the cops, and therefore likely responsible for rapid apprehension of the attacker. As the Pennsylvania native cocomaan noted, the inflammatory story of “no bystander action” is demonstrably* false. And this fact was made public by the DA, a party not generally inclined to diss the cops.

            Your decision to ignore this reporting strongly suggests you want the story to become another fake Kitty Genovese fable. Based on the tone of your comment this seems to be a function of your preexisting bias against immigrants, urban working classes, and more generally, the people who are dominant within those groups today.

            One of the great crimes of elite, “intellectual” woke culture is that it provides cover for this kind of frankly racist spewing. However, the self-serving misconduct of a woke liar somewhere else in the world does not, in fact, excuse it. And never will.

            *(The time and details of the bystander report are likely recorded if it was a 911 call or a call to the transit authority emergency reporting line).

            1. Felix_47

              I did not see the race of this man specified. Why is race relevant? Culture is relevant in that some religions and cultures consider women that have any exposed skin and who are unaccompanied by a male relative to be available for any man. This is one reason we see a predominance of rape and assault among Afghan refugees in Germany. It a the standard legal defense for Afghan refugees to avoid deportation. Now the German government is financing extensive and intensive cultural training for Muslim refugee men. But race is not really relevant in this SEPTA case and no one has mentioned religion. I have not seen race mentioned in the Times. What is bad about this story is that this will lead to even more native women refusing to take public transportation and insisting on driving to commute with consequent further destruction of the climate. We see that process here in Germany and it is disastrous for us all.

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              You cannot possibly think that “filming” a rape, for “evidence,” is better than interrupting one.

              You just can’t.

            3. Yves Smith

              If he was raping her, which seems to be undisputed, and two people were concerned enough to film it, they could have intervened. Even a petite woman could have stood back from him and screamed at him AND used the lever to stop the train when it pulled into the next station. If his back was to the rest of the train, anyone could have kicked him (back of kneecaps) or hit him hard in his kidney area. If the rider had something hard like a bottle, they would have many ways to clock him.

              If the woman’s back was to the train, the move would be to come behind her and gouge his eyes out with the victim as a shield. This is a no lose move, you either blind him or he moves back and you have the victim between you and him

              If he’s on the floor, this is even easier: stomp on his wrist or ankle to break it. Stomp on another if necessary.

              Women are trained to cower. Drives me nuts.

              1. cocomaan

                As a man (maan?) I wasn’t going to bring this up, but 100%. If you’re being threatened with that kind of bodily harm, you need to fight to the death. And with people on the train with you? Fight harder.

    2. Mantid

      Can yo pass us any specific links or articles regarding the nonsense? School have shown countless videos regarding the bystander effect and I’ve always thought it b’sheit. I’ll start with the Genovese story if I can find it. Molto grazie!

  11. The Rev Kev

    That antique radio left behind in an abandoned machine shop would find a good home for somebody who appreciated such gear. I started to check out the guy’s twitter account which led me to his website-

    Lots of sad pictures there when you reflect that in these places people lived their lives. They married and worshiped at those abandoned churches and generations grew up in those abandoned homes. Out of curiosity, I put in the search term ‘abandoned America’ into YouTube and it is amazing some of the videos that came back, including a 110 room abandoned mansion and a home & cars abandoned in the middle of some woods. You do wonder who the people were that lived and worked in these buildings and what happened to them. Even that radio. Who were the people that gathered around and listened to it.

    1. griffen

      Seems like after Katrina especially, a lot of movies were being filmed in or nearby to New Orleans. Think I recognize the abandoned Six Flags park from the ending scene of “Zombieland”. Or if it’s not I’m just making an assumption it is.

      Agreed on the depressing pictures.

      1. ambrit

        The N’awlins East ‘Six Flags’ site was used for the theme park in “Jurassic World.” I remember the ads in local papers at the time, including the “throw away” shoppers, for extras for a “motion picture being made in New Orleans East.”
        The theme park in “Zombieland” was a place called “Wild Adventures” in Valdosta, Georgia. We have visited Valdosta. There are a lot of interesting places secreted around these United States.

  12. MCB

    I wonder to what extent the ‘worker shortage’ has to do with inheritance. Yes a lot of the people who died last year were retired before covid but there were also sitting on assets that even if relatively meager could have been paired with enhanced unemployment and stim to provide enough cushion to pay down debt, start a business, or pay for a cross country move or a down payment on a house. A little extra cushion from selling a old, small house in this market and a divided up life insurance policy could be enough to keep one parent at home indefinitely instead of working a poorly paid service job and paying for childcare.
    For most people it won’t be enough to live on for the rest of their lives, but it could be enough to provide breathing room to not work in the formal economy with they rest or take care of dependents or seed money to start their own business or finally finish school. I haven’t seen the numbers on any of those and I don’t know where to start looking. But my gut tells me this is part of the story that is being buried. I don’t think it’s being buried on purpose, I just think the US has an insane blind spot when it comes to the role inheritance has on wealth building (as in its essentially the most important thing) and that biased means we leave it out of the explanation.

    1. LaRuse

      Yes! I have been pondering this question too and even commented to this effect a couple of weeks ago. We gained a small insurance payout from my Father-in-law’s death from COVID last summer. We’ve both kept our jobs but as my husband’s job has gotten increasingly nastier, it he wanted to jump out, we have the cushion for him to bail any time he wanted. I am taking Community College courses and it is startling how many of my 19-25 year old classmates are in school thanks to an inheritance from their grandparents (who all died last year) and don’t have to work while they are going to community college. I think this in an underrated factor in the whole discussion about where the workers went.

      1. ambrit

        There is a tail risk to all these bequests. Eventually, unless a serious amount of money is involved, bequests run out. Then the ‘legatee’ must find another source of income; work or steal. When this cohort runs out of disposable income, expect a “world of hurt” to overwhelm the remnants of the ‘middle class.’ This is just a form of “kicking the can down the road.” However, is that a cul-de-sac I spy off in the distance?

    2. IMOR

      Seemed to me the map of the US posted here a day or two back with states colored by proportion of ‘quitters’ in each state broke down easily to meatpacking (Iowa, Illinois, one contiguous- but not Colorado, oddly- maybe you had to be documented w/ your employer honestly paying SS, UI, etc., to be counted- andd Idaho, Alaska, and Georgia, all hyped for a decade-plus as great places to retire where tons of people who sold their deceased parents’ (or similar) in CA and WA have also moved. Well-positioned not just for house equiy arbitrage upgrade, but to just stop working at the next hassle.
      So, yeah- inheritance effect.

  13. fresno dan
    Although Medicare Advantage was first offered in the late 1990s, enrollment really took off about 10 years ago. That was when Congress made the program more palatable* to insurance companies. Advantage plans became their growth driver and industry marketing got more aggressive. Enrollment has doubled over the past decade.

    I looked at the major national managed-care companies in the Medicare Advantage market over that time period. Here are their stock returns for the past 10 years, without dividends reinvested, as of Oct. 18:

    Aetna (AET) +499%
    Anthem (ANTM) +537%
    Humana (HUM) +514%
    UnitedHealth Group (UNH) +873%
    S&P 500 (SPX) +271%
    Over the long haul, the stock market recognizes value. Don’t imagine that managed-care companies are charitable ventures. This factors into how they “manage” your care**. Rather than choosing one of their Advantage plans, your best bet might be to become a stockholder. That way, you can smile at your brokerage statement because you’ll be betting with the house.
    There was a NC posting about Medicare Advantage a few days ago (which are just HMO’s) – this article just notes how profitable health insurance is.
    * they manage for their profit, not your health.
    ** and why did Congress make HMO’s (Medicare Advantage) more palatable AKA profitable? To make health care less expensive, not by reducing health insurance profits (perish the thought!!!) but by reducing your care.
    Are there inefficiencies in health care? Yeah, mostly the incredible amount of money spent on administration due to our free market health insurance – a massive amount of rigamarole designed to assure that insurance companies don’t have to pay a nickel more than they have to.

    1. Nikkikat

      It’s also no coincidence that many people from the Obama administration now either own or are CEOs of companies that run these plans. Nice little set up for the friends of Obama such as Kathleen Sibelius.

    2. griffen

      Best healthcare in the world, I propose an amended catch phrase below*. I can think of a few sample sets from our friendly commentators, many of whom can vouch for ineffective healthcare and the associated inefficiencies.

      *Best healthcare rewards / retirement plan for healthcare CEO(s) in the world. Invest along side these “executive office rock stars” and you too can benefit!

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Respectfully, kiss our a**’: Mutual aid group tweets letter that warns against helping houseless”

    Hey, remember that bit in the bible where it said ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’’ but then they got a warning letter from the Jerusalem Downtown Improvement District saying to stop as they did not have a permit? No, I don’t remember that bit either.

    1. Ian Perkins

      I expect the Atlanta government remembers Matthew 26:6-11, seeing it as a licence for extravagant waste while neglecting the poor:

      6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I think it’s the version in John that’s preferred for purposes of hypocrisy.

        I don’t know why, I seem to be the only one who thinks so, but to me in Matthew Jesus seems to be saying ‘You can help the poor any time, you know, like right now for instance, instead of being jerks to this lady who’s just trying to be nice.

        On the other hand John (A jerk himself in this reader’s opinion.) makes it clear one of the men objecting was Judas, who was skimming from the poor box, and just wanted that almost pure nard for himself.

      2. Helena

        Jesus: Hey, gimme a break–can’t I have something nice if someone wants to give it to me???

        I have puzzled about this passage. The disciples internalized a message from Jesus about them not having anything that could be given to help someone less fortunate, then they get confused by this act? The bible has gone through a lot of translating. I have heard it said that you should not treat it as a biography. Then again, maybe Jesus thought he should get a little something for his efforts.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Oh, but Jesus didn’t mean you should go around helping everybody, that would be crazy. Just good people, fellow (proto?) Christians.

      This seems to be widespread theology these days. I don’t know about how novel it is. I don’t think the Quakers and Mennonites I knew growing up would be comfortable with it. To be fair, jokes about Quaker hypocrisy go waaaaay back.

      1. Helena

        I remember this woman Trumper on a video from Indiana being asked about following Jesus’ teachings, and she said, “Well, Jesus was just WRONG!”

        1. saywhat?

          reminds me of a sermon where the minister said:

          “And then Jesus said, and I think rightly so …”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe that should actually read-

      ‘Yale Study: Natural Immunity Protects Against COVID Three Times Longer Than Vaccine For Those That Survive.’

        1. Joe Well

          1.5% dead x 8 billion people on earth = 120 million dead

          (Keeping your numbers for the sake of argument.)

          Because every unvaccinated person will get it when mitigations are completely dropped.

    2. Ian Perkins

      This appears to be the study in question, and it’s based not on COVID and SARS-CoV-2, but on looking at six other coronaviruses through the lenses of evolutionary biology and so on:

      We obtained antibody optical density data for six human-infecting coronaviruses, extending from 128 days to 28 years after infection between 1984 and 2020. These data provided a means to estimate profiles of the typical antibody decline and probabilities of reinfection over time under endemic conditions.

      That said, it’s potentially useful to know, and they’re not recommending everyone gets infected, let alone without vaccination:

      The timeframe for reinfection is fundamental to numerous aspects of public health decision making. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, reinfection is likely to become increasingly common. Maintaining public health measures that curb transmission—including among individuals who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2—coupled with persistent efforts to accelerate vaccination worldwide is critical to the prevention of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

    3. Raymond Sim

      Wow, who and/or what is PJ Media?

      My personal takeaway from “It looks like we’ll all be contracting Covid every 3-5 years from now till forever.” wouldn’t be “Three whole years? Natural infection truly is better than vaccination!”

      Just for the record, even if the disease cycle were to be three to five years, as this very tentative modeling seemingly suggests, that wouldn’t necessarily translate into individuals being protected for that long.

    4. Yves Smith

      PJ Media is complete right wing garbage. Has negative credibility. I thought our readers had more sense than to believe anything that ran there.

  15. B flat

    Jobs may go begging, but from what I see in my area personal shopping is booming. Lately every trip to the grocery or supermarket has included dodging fast moving personal shoppers. I was looking for something and one gig worker, an immigrant from Cote d’Ivoire, kindly stopped to help me locate it. He’d thought I was a new shopper. Maybe a third of the shoppers at crowded Fairway were personal shopping, via smartphone, with encyclopedic knowledge of the stock. As a subset of shoppers they are there every day, working on a circuit of stores in the area, and natural social network that follows in consequence. I don’t know about pay, probably not high, but flexible and lower barrier to entry. I can see why it would be more appealing than other jobs on offer, such as my corner bodega that has closed its sandwich counter because they suddenly can’t keep employees for it.

    1. newcatty

      We know a close person who manages the pick-up and store delivery department of a upper end grocery store in an affluent city. First, the parent corporation replaced all in-store drivers with, well, no one. All employees were laid off, some were there for many years. Just adios! All store deliveries done through gig workers for delivery companies. Then, there are the tidal wave of “personal shoppers” in the store. Her employees who are shopping for the store deliveries or pick-ups are dodging them, constantly being stopped to point out items and , often, dealing with rude or abrasive ones. Her management gives no help. Profits!!! As can be guessed, with Covid came an increase in people not wanting to do own shopping . The clientele used to be mostly older people or at home parents, etc. They knew the store drivers and were friendly . One elderly man actually looked crestfallen that now he had to have”strangers” deliver his food. The gig drivers often do not have refrigerated vans, etc. like the store drivers did at all times. When food is delivered warm, when should be kept cold, the customer will call her store to complain, want refunds, etc. Some calls are filtered by another customer service employee. Often funneled to her. So, a demanding job with lots of logistics entailed, has been made more stressful. Next time you are in a grocery store remember that the actual employees are essential for the food that ends up on most tables. They deserve respect and consideration.

    1. Ian Perkins

      Bad management squirming as his bluff is called!

      “I won’t be in tomorrow or ever again.”
      I pause for your cheering. Especially as the boss actually texted him back, begging him not to be so hasty (Response: “No thanks. have a good life.”)

  16. jr

    “Rising” discussed gain of function and Fauci’s lies:

    It features Andrew Feldman, professional liar for the Democrats. His take on the possibility that Fauci and Co. did know and promoted gain of function research? We have bigger priorities because people are dying!! The fact that such research may have made COVID more deadly appears lost on him….or he knows and is playing stupid. Which he does quite well.

    1. Ian Perkins

      What would be your attitude if this sort of research had discovered a magic bullet to stop COVID dead in its tracks?

      1. flora

        Instead, the gain of function research stopped ten’s of thousands of people dead in their tracks, imo. Dr. Frankenstein, et al.

          1. Martin Oline

            Me, me, ask me! There was no Covid epidemic before the gain of function research. Your question is similar to burning down the village to save it during the Vietnam “peace-keeping” operation, but in this case gain of function is just buring down the village. The village was not in danger until we enhanced the function of Covid.

            1. Martin Oline

              I guess some believe in the “Miraculous Infection” concept. I do not. “The National Institutes of Health sent a letter to Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., admitting to a “limited experiment” conducted in order to test if “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model” – contradicting Fauci’s previous claims.” (This was concerning the gain-of-function research conducted by EcoHealth Alliance, which funded it through NIH grants) – Linky

    2. Procopius

      Yeah, I found Feldman’s reaction hard to fathom, but it still is true that this undermines Fauci’s “We NEVER conducted gain of function research but doesn’t show that the bat coronavirus they were studying was ancestral to SARS-Cov2. This makes more plausible the hypothesis that the pandemic originated in the Wuhan Institute, but isn’t proof. The thing about Feldman’s response is that the people discussing this news don’t have any way to do something more productive in fighting the pandemic, so this really doesn’t diminish the effort being put into that. His response, though, really does diminish my interest in anything he has to say in the future,

  17. Kalstrom

    Black mothers get $1,000 and it changed their lives.

    White mothers would have their lives changed by that too. Blatant anti white racism, direct misappropriation of public funds.

    “It has had a huge impact. Among last year’s recipients, the ability to pay bills on time increased from fewer than a third to 83 percent.”

    In other words, taxpayer money going to fund uncollected speculative debts owned by the .01%, sort of like MBS security buying via the Fed at the county level.

    Like a dog that knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked, white people know the difference between making up for past inequities and blatant anti white racism and financial parasitization.

    “You say you want a revolution?” Keep of this race pandering BS and you’ll have it.

    1. flora

      tsk! One must not ever admit that white people are as harmed by the current neoliberal economic situation as black people. Such an admission would harm the current narrative that white people are not harmed by the economic system as is. To admit otherwise, well gosh, you might have whites and blacks joining together to challenge the current narrative. Can’t have that. Divide and conquer. (I read that somewhere.)

    2. marym

      From the links in the post “Magnolia Mother’s Trust” is a project of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization “Springboard to Opportunities” which also received funding from another 501(c)(3) non-profit organization “Economic Security Project.”

    3. Felix_47

      One third of all working age men in the US are not working, not looking for work and not getting unemployment meaning the government has no idea what they are doing. Most are making money doing something be it drugs, petty crime, or work for cash. These men are the partners of the women described in the ariticle. By rights the women should be entitled to 25 to 50 percent of their earnings. In fact the average child support payment in Mississippi, if it is collected, is around 116 dollars. I think the idea of the payment is a good one. I think poor men should be excused from paying child support since they cannot afford it and it forces them underground. We should pay all poor women, white and black, government child support because kids are not being supported with the current system. Another benefit would be to decrease the prison population since 7% of those that owe child support do prison time. Another benefit would be to workers because employers shy away from hiring people that are having a chunk of their pay sent to the DA to satisfy a child support lien. But to really make a difference we might want the federal government to take it over and the Biden plan seems to be a start with the tax credit per child. The amount should be enough to ensure a middle class lifestyle. Perhaps in the range of 4000 to 5000 per month. Then we could cut out food stamps, rent subsidies and a whole lot of other programs. And perhaps in exchange for being excused from child support the father should undergo a vasectomy at government expense.

  18. JBird4049

    Democrats ‘pretty much there’ on U.S. social spending bill -Pelosi Reuters. Watch this space:

    “The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision is one of the most popular and important provisions in the entire bill. It’s what the American people want and it is not coming out,” @SenSanders, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee

    — Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) October 24, 2021

    Arrgh. Yes, it’s been linked here before, but darn, Tim Minchin’s F**k the Poor is so appropriate. Meanwhile, I have found and am re-reading my copy of March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman.

  19. Maxwell Johnston

    “The Myth of Russian Decline”

    Generally a good summary despite the ritual denunciations of Russian malign behavior. One senses that the authors very much want the USA to stay focused on NATO and Europe rather than on China. But I’m more interested in a couple of demographic points that they raise (and as we know, “demographics are destiny”).

    First, they suggest that Russia is benefiting from a reverse brain drain, in which educated professionals (physicians, engineers, etc) are returning to Russia from other post-Soviet countries where they no longer feel welcome. I think this scenario already played out many years ago; most of this talent (located mainly in Central Asia and to a lesser extent Ukraine) came back to Russia long ago. That freebie is done and over, and I agree that the people emigrating from Russia nowadays are largely young and well-educated and multilingual. Not the folks you want to lose.

    Second, they suggest that Russia’s population will decline by up to 11% by 2050. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. There are a lot of foreign workers in Russia, definitely not all legal, overwhelmingly male, hailing mainly from Central Asia and China (Ukraine not so much anymore). Nobody really knows Russia’s true population (assuming we define “population” as “the number of people living in a country on a constant basis”), but if we take 5% as a reasonable estimate of illegal immigration (Pew took 3% for USA a few years back, and Russia is way easier to reach overland than the USA) then we can easily increase Russia’s actual population by 7m. This is without including the illegal acquisitions (Crimea, etc) and the likely future acquisitions (Belarus, E. Ukraine).

    Russia’s population isn’t shrinking, but it’s becoming darker-skinned, more Muslim, and less educated (generally speaking). In the short term, I see no negative impact on Russia’s overall power. But in the long run, post-Putin, things could become unglued assuming present trends continue.

  20. coloradoblue

    Kevin Drum comments on the next climate conference –

    COP26, the latest climate change shindig, starts next week. While we wait, let’s take a quick tour d’horizon of the world:

    The United States has enormous reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas.
    Germany has coal.
    Canada has tar sands.
    Norway has North Sea oil.
    China has vast coal reserves.
    Mexico has offshore oil.
    The entire Middle East is swimming on a lake of oil.
    Russia has natural gas.
    Britain has North Sea oil and . . . coal?

    This is just a tiny sampling, of course. But now let’s take a look at what each of these countries is doing to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels:

    The United States has developed fracking in order to pump more natural gas and shale oil, and is currently being held hostage by a single senator who doesn’t want to endanger the tiny bit of coal mining in his state.

    Germany continues to mine coal. Over the past decade it very deliberately eliminated its nuclear power base rather than reduce its dependence on coal.

    Canada is fighting to develop pipelines to bring its oil through the US for export overseas.

    Norway’s entire economy is dependent on continued oil pumping from its offshore fields.

    China continues to build coal-fired electric plants and recently ordered its mines to “produce as much coal as possible.”

    Mexico has increased its annual investment in Pemex in order to “revitalize” the company and increase its output of offshore oil.

    Saudi Arabia recently announced that it had no intention of ever reducing its pumping of oil. It’s safe to say the entire Middle East feels the same way.

    Russia’s economy depends on fossil fuel extraction and it has spent the past decade working hand in glove with Germany to build yet another pipeline to deliver natural gas to Western Europe.

    The coal industry is all but extinct in Britain, but when a new seam of coal was discovered a few years ago plans were made immediately to build a huge new open-cast mine because it would be good for the local economy.

    From the brownest to the greenest, there is literally not a single country willing to leave fossil fuels in the ground if that requires even a minor economic sacrifice. Not one.

    Put bluntly, this means that no country has any standing to criticize any other. Every single country on earth either (a) has no fossil fuel reserves, or (b) is committed to extracting every last dram of it. As long as this is the case, it’s hard to argue that anything else matters except at the margins.

    In a nutshell, this is why I believe our only real hope is to spend huge amounts of money on R&D in the hope that we discover a genuinely cheaper alternative to fossil fuels. The odds may be long on that, but all the promises in the world are pretty much meaningless as long as drilling and pumping and fracking and mining continue apace because national economies depend on it. COP26 will, like its previous 25 iterations, do nothing to change this.

    1. Maritimer

      PHOTOP26. I wish someone would publish the Buffets Schedule and Menus for this International Photo OP. Sharpen your elbows, Esteemed Delegates.

      Even HRH, Monarch of Downsizing and Frugal Hats, got in on the “act” with a staged “hot mic”: “It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.” Great Thunberg should sue for Copyright Infringement. Move over, Andy!

  21. Walt

    The South China Post article, How the fight against climate change can get real at COP26 portrays Larry Fink, BlackRock and the Asian Development Bank’s plans to buy coal-fired powerplants & retire them early as motivated in the effort to limit emissions.
    However, Sami Zeidan of Aljazeera and Lucie Pinson of Reclaim Finance observe that just such institutional investors as BlackRock could thereby recoup their private mal-investment in coal.
    Please see the “Counting the Cost” video: //
    Note: the clearest statement by Zeidan starts at 08:34

  22. Susan the other

    Valdai Club. Putin. Open minded, long winded speech. Pro neo-capitalism – a capitalism that meets the needs of society. He doesn’t say so, but it will have to be predicated on limiting the rights of private property and the profit motive that promotes cutthroat monopolists. What else?

  23. djrichard

    > “Biden unveils new billionaire’s tax plan, affecting fewer than 1,000 of the wealthiest taxpayers, which will force them to pay annual levies on their stocks and bonds”

    What the Fed Reserve giveth, the Fed Gov taketh away? Now the little people will have a better appreciation of the value of the Federal Reserve propping up the various bubbles. Those bubbles are funding their goodies (or so the dem logic suggests).

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Myanmar,

    If all the nonRussia nonChina outside countries all give zero assistance of any kind to the Nugies, then the RussiaGov and the ChinaGov will see which side seems more sure to pass through the Darwin Filter alive. If the ChinaRussiaGovs feel they can tell which side is more survival-capable, they will then press the other side to surrender in order to get to quick re-stability in Myanmar.

    Of course, if all the nonRussia nonChina outside countries decide to stop all sales and/or purchases of every single thing of any kind to the Tatmadaw government, will ChinaRussia decide to interpret that as “helping the Nugies”? If ChinaRussia decide to interpret giving totally zero help to the Tatmadaws as functionally “giving help” to the Nugies, then ChinaRussia will give the Tatmadaws all the help the Tatmadaws need to keep control.

    Now, if the other countries actually give help or assistance or advice to the Nugies, then China Russia will reflexively treat such help as an anti-ChinaRussia proxy war by the outside helpers. In that event, ChinaRussia will give the Tatmadaws as much total extreme help as needed to exterminate the Nugies from existence.

    So hopefully zero outside countries will give the Nugies zero outside help of any kind, because such help will merely be the kiss of death which seals the Nugies’ fate, death and extermination warrant.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    About global dewarming strategy . . . . India and especially China are playing a game of carbon skyflooding chicken with the whole rest of the world.

    The India position is probably that either the whole rest of the give India a whole entire renewable energy infrastructure to meet all India’s wants and needs, or India will keep emitting all the skycarbon it pleases. If we can afford it, maybe we should give India what it wants.

    The China position is based on extortion for larger stakes. The China position is that the entire world permit China to be the only maker of renewable energy technology for the entire rest of the world, or China will keep flooding the sky with carbon and “kill us all”. The China goal is to exterminate all industry outside of China and be the only country permitted to keep any industry in the whole world.

    We should never give in to China’s extortion shakedown racket in this case. We should refuse to let China exterminate everyone else’s industry, especially everyone else’s renewable energy industry. If China decides to keep flooding the sky with carbon as its end of the Great Game of Skycarbon Chicken, then the rest of the world should try preparing to withstand a future of global superheating while sealing itself off totally from any economic contact whatsoever with China. Let China boil it its own Skycarbon Chicken Extortion Shakedown Racket oil.

  26. VietnamVet

    The collapse of Public Health that the Atlantic article discussed occurred before the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is seen in in American’s life expectancy that was increasing to 2010, plateaued and started declining in 2014. A substantial portion of the decline is due to the Opioid Crisis and the Sackler Family who have yet to be jailed for manslaughter. This is part and parcel of neoliberal counter-revolt and the privatization of healthcare. Government has been intentionally flushed down the toilet to lower taxes and transfer middle-class wealth to the 0.1% — $50 trillion dollars so far.

    The sad fact is that shortages, illness, and death will only increase in the USA unless there is system change to restore democracy, equality, and the rule of law.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an article titled . . . ” Want to See a Modern Country Commit Suicide? Take a Hard Look at Britain
    Britain is Imploding as a Modern Society. Only Nobody’s Allowed to Admit It. ”

    Here is the link. If any British readers read this article, I wonder if it is truthful or if it is exaggerated or if it is essentially false to fake some kind of a point.

    ( If this article is true, then I would expect mass emigration out of Britain to begin in a couple or so years, and reach the levels of emigration out of the old historical famine-lands of middle and northern Europe in the 1800s. If this article is true).

  28. Skunk

    Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus in Wild Red Foxes, the Netherlands, 2021

    Excerpt: “These 2 cases of infection with H5N1 clade virus in wild red fox cubs underscore the need to raise awareness that HPAI viruses are not only zoonotic but also infect other mammal species. HPAI infection should be on the list of differential diagnoses for animals that have signs of respiratory or neurologic disease.”

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