Links 12/5/2021

Honeybees Survived for Weeks Under Volcano Ash After Canary Islands Eruption NYT

I Lost $400,000, Almost Everything I Had, on a Single Robinhood Bet Vice

Plumber discovers money, checks in wall of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church years after $600K burglary Click2Houston

Is Private Equity Overrated? NYT. Good to see Dealbook catching up.

Climate

Visualizing the Accumulation of Human-Made Mass on Earth Visual Capitalist

(Comparison is to biomass, quantified here.)

Core Concept: Green ammonia could produce climate-friendly ways to store energy and fertilize farms PNAS

The Problem With Alice Waters and the “Slow Food” Movement Jacobin

#COVID19

Chin-stroking:

The Race to Gauge the Threat of Omicron: Weekend Reads Bloomberg

We’ll know more soon about Omicron. Here’s how to interpret the coming flood of data STAT

The race to decipher Omicron: will it take days, weeks or months? FT. Fortunately, our far-sighted political class has a robust system of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place, to protect us in the interim between variant discovery and vaccine development. Lol, no, what was I thinking.

* * *

COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Immunogenicity in Immunosuppressed Individuals Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “These data suggest that the current COVID-19 mRNA vaccine regimens will likely not provide optimal protection in immunocompromised individuals.”

* * *

As the Lock Rattles LRB.

[I had the] ‘mild to moderate’ version of Covid. But it wasn’t much fun. I had the semi-delirious sense that my body knew it was dealing with a new illness. I would feel OK and then not OK, in waves. The image that stuck in my mind that week was of being in a room in a not very good hotel where somebody keeps trying to open your door, rattles the lock for a while, then gives up and goes away, only to come back and try again a few hours later. It felt as if Covid was repeatedly returning to try the lock. It was a sensation I’ve never had with any other illness: the feeling that Covid had intentions, and that they were not benign.

On a global level, Covid hasn’t stopped coming back to try the door.

The horror movie trope seems appropriate.

Covid-19 and the Safety Net — Moving from Straining to Sustaining NEJM. “In addition, safety-net systems faced greater financial, workforce, and technological pressures than other systems. The suspension of profitable services [(!!!)], the transition to telehealth, and inadequate access to federal emergency funding were felt especially acutely by safety-net providers that had historically slim margins and minimal cash reserves.” Readers know I hate the safety net metaphor, because it normalizes the concept of life as a tightrope walk. Sorry the hospitals lost some profit, though. Perhaps there’s some other way forward?

* * *

How well masks protect Max-Planck-Gesellschaft:

Three metres are not enough to ensure protection. Even at that distance, it takes less than five minutes for an unvaccinated person standing in the breath of a person with Covid-19 to become infected with almost 100 percent certainty. That’s the bad news. The good news is that if both are wearing well-fitting medical or, even better, FFP2 masks, the risk drops dramatically.

Supporting evidence:

Well, confounders. But still (data via). More on FFP2 masks.

In Praise of One-Size-Fits-All Boston Review

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Ministry of Education ordering air purifiers, CO2 monitors for schools New Zealand Herald

Hippos with runny noses test positive for COVID-19 at Belgian zoo Deutsche Welle

China?

How China’s belt and road is connecting Southeast Asia, political wariness aside South China Morning Post. Stations = real estate development.

Even on U.S. Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out Pro Publica

Myanmar

Myanmar’s Military Must Be Shown It Can’t Win Foreign Policy. Only one way to do that, really.

Myanmar officers fire shots, drive into anti-coup protesters during ‘flash mob’ in Yangon South China Morning Post

Southeast Asia risks stumbling toward a South American future (PDF) Nikkei Asia Review

India

Coal India  to  pump  in  over  ₹19k cr  to raise coal transport capacity Live Mint

Adani’s Controversial Australia Mine Will Be Used For Electricity In India NDTV

[Photos] In anticipation of India’s largest coal mining project Monga Bay

Syraqistan

The China-Iran Strategic Partnership: 40 Years in the Making The Diplomat (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Go with a winner.”

Bennett and Biden: the Honeymoon is Over Tikun Olam

Islamic countries to meet on Afghanistan crisis on Dec 19 Channel News Asia

Chinese mining groups scour Afghanistan for opportunities FT. What, not opium?

UK/EU

American-style governors could level up England The Sunday Times

… the playing fields of Eton:

The whole thread is worth reading.

Europe’s Energy Security Problem Leaves It in the Cold War on the Rocks

New Cold War

Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war The Saker

Biden Administration

Barrett’s Adoption Question Causes Ongoing Firestorm in the Media Jonathan Turley. I can’t think why:

The tweet conflates “American women” with all humanity, all of whom are “earthen vessels” in Cawthorne’s belief system. Nevertheless.

The Fifth Circuit Court got the science wrong on OSHA’s vaccination mandate STAT

Harris allies want her to take the reins as a staff shakeup looms Politico. Willie Brown told Harris she didn’t have to do it. But here we are.

Division among Biden appointees led U.S. to embrace Trump-era border policies CBS

Supply Chain

Alphaliner Forecasts Record $120B in Profits for Container Carriers Maritime Executive

How a Cream Cheese Shortage Is Affecting N.Y.C. Bagel Shops NYT

Our Famously Free Press

CNN Fires Chris Cuomo Amid Inquiry Into His Efforts to Aid His Brother NYT. Mass slaughter in nursing homes? Jake with the angels! Priorities….

Sports Desk

Big Contracts, Big Buyouts, Big Pressure: College Football Coaches Hit the Jackpot NYT. One of the best things that could evermhappen to “higher education” would be for football teams to be hived off and become openly what they already are in practice: Profit-making entities being looted by insiders and wholly dependent on cheap labor. If they want to retain their branding, they can make a licensing deal with their school. Go, “team.” Please.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fossil Fuel’s Downfall Could Be America’s Too Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

Class Warfare

Thousands of Striking Columbia Grad Student Workers Threatened via Email With Replacement Newsweek. The email:

Classic Dean-speak.

A list of people who made good calls on Covid:

None in positions of real power or authority. As we see.

The Political Economy of Reaction Unpopular Front

Shunpiking to Lewis, Vermont. Population: 0 Obscure Vermont

Winter Trees as a Portal to Aliveness The Marginalian

The animal that walked into my life — story collection (podcast) Conversations, Australian Broadcasting System

Antidote du jour, bird (via):

Musical interlude:

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.

199 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    Working link for ‘How China’s belt and road is connecting Southeast Asia, political wariness aside” article at-

    https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3158184/how-chinas-belt-and-road-connecting-southeast-asia-political

    Some western countries are criticizing Laos for accepting a railway in their country, especially the one that carpet-bombed it a coupla decades ago. But to tell you the truth, if I was offered a new railway for my country, an US military base or an International Monetary Fund loan, that I would have to go with Door Number One.

  2. Wukchumni

    I Lost $400,000, Almost Everything I Had, on a Single Robinhood Bet Vice
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’m calling BS on this tale of woe, the punter claims to have made $35k on silver when it really didn’t do anything, and then goes all-in on a Chinese stock and loses everything, the ‘moral’ of the story being that Alibaba was bad, i.e. avoid the middle kingdom, dude.

    Wall*Street, I have to hand it to you, you never miss a chance to push your brand…

    1. Basil Pesto

      idk, the moral very clearly seemed to be ‘Robinhood bad’. His choice to put all his chips on Alibaba is both 1) entirely plausible 2) incidental.

      1. Mikel

        “It didn’t start with Alibaba. It started with a $5,000 bet on AMC.”
        “But the big tipping point was GameStop. It was just ridiculous, and I got greedy and had FOMO. ”

        This is not only a Robinhood story, it has all the markings of a Wall Street Bets (Reddit forum) story. They call what he did – betting everything on an option – a YOLO.

        He may have some of his details mixed up, but overall, it’s likely he did something as crazy as it sounds.

        1. MonkeyBusiness

          YOLO may very well be true, but living poorly for 60 years will feel a lot worse and longer than living comfortably for the same number of years.

          The Wall St Bets crowd has had it coming for a long time.

    2. Robert Hahl

      A more honest headline would have been, Easy Come, Easy Go. He didn’t save up that money, he won it betting on other stocks and then went for double or nothing. He will probably do it again.

      1. Mikel

        It doesn’t sound like he did much winning to re-invest. He kept invest paychecks saved more than anything. He didn’t know when to sell.

        Everything he read, he felt primed on knowing what to buy, but I doubt any of it went into detail about when to sell. That’s so dependent on individual circumstances that it’s hard to generalize about in theory.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      The contradictions in the text are indicative of somebody who doesn’t understand the difference between investing and trading at even a basic level, how investment or trading strategies are designed and implemented, and how to do effective risk management in an actively traded book. For what he was doing, he was in way over his head, and it’s been the story of day traders down through the ages:
      I consider myself conservative from an investing perspective. … My job involves a lot of researching companies and trying to understand business and economic models. I like to read a lot, and there’s a lot of books on investing. ” and yet: “I don’t believe in passive index investing…. My truthful belief is I don’t necessarily believe passive investing to be the answer.

      and

      I had wanted to find a company where the price-earnings ratio was low, and every single analyst had a buy rating with like a 40-50% upside on it. Looking at all of TipRanks, my understanding was that this was a very, very safe bet with a limited amount of risk.

      which indicates that he hasn’t actually read any of those books, and doesn’t know basic investment models or what the elements of risk are in an investment or a trade.

      Mostly, it’s a thinly disguised attempt to deflect attention from his own astounding lack of knowledge and tar Robinhood (which they may deserve for other reasons).

      1. diptherio

        The most insane part to me was right at the beginning, wherein the author tells us exactly what kind of person he is.

        My first job paid me $40,000. Next one $50,000. So I basically only started getting money like three and a half years ago, when I got a good job.

        The median household US household income in 2020 was $67K, so this guy was making well above the median for an individual, but doesn’t count that as “getting money.” Am I a bad person for despising this guy right out of the gate?

    4. Mikel

      The whole story and the contradictions within it (especially when considering the line “My job involves a lot of researching companies and trying to understand business and economic models”) can be summed up in this paragraph from the author:

      “I put chump change, like three grand, into crypto, when I only had five grand to begin with in 2017, and I lost all of it. But I was seeing everybody making money hand over fist, and I wasn’t. I work in tech, and a lot of my colleagues were worth, like, $10 million….”

      That’s the everything bubble in a nutshell.

      Did he mention WSB? Where finance and tech bros hype options to dump on people that don’t understand options? They engage in locker room type commenting so that eveyone feels part of a community…but it’s a financial fleecing going on daily.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Slow food, Jacobin and “Ecomodernism”–

    It’s very disappointing to see Jacobin give a platform to Ted Norhaus and the “Eco”-Modernists. As you can see if you click on author Nordhaus’s name, he is the CEO of the Breakthrough Institute, a Pritzkerian wart on the face of the planet whose board includes whom you would expect. (Except what is poor, old Stewart Brand doing there?).

    If Jacobin is a DSA organ, then this slice of the Left is making a big, big mistake aligning with people who want to shoot sulfur in the sky every two years. (That idea’s proponent, David Keith, is among the Ecomodernist illuminati.)

    Chris Smaje, who’s been the target of some Marxist critics whose blood pressure was raised by the idea of small farmers (OMG! Peasants!), has written a pretty good discussion of the threat to the Left posed by people in love with technology. It relies on Richard Sennett’s distinction of the top-down and the bottom-up Left:

    The Left divided between those who sought to establish solidarity top-down and those who sought to create it bottom-up; the centralized German labour union represented the one approach, the local American workshop the other …. There were … two versions of solidarity in these discussions, the one emphasizing unity, the other inclusion.

    From Richard Sennett’s Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation

    Smaje’s article is a good counter to Nordhaus because Smaje has been attacked on much the same grounds as Nordhaus attacks Waters: these ideas might be attractive to the Right so they must be bad. Note Nordhaus’s contempt for Wendell Berry’s “nostalgia.”

    And here comes Jacobin giving a forum to Nordhaus, the Breakthrough Institute and the Ecomodernists. Really? The Pritzkers are going to lead us out of this?

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Stewart Brand became a tech idol-worshipper a long time ago, and his politik has followed suit. Anything he has to say transacts at a high discount at this point.

  4. farmboy

    The Jacobin article on Slow Food is right about the snobbery and elitist worldview of agriculture and rightfully links it to the PMC. The productive capability of modern ag is astonishing and the adoption curve of high yield farming feeds the world’s population. Being a proletarian spending a good share of your life scraping by, hand to mouth is nobody’s life choice. The Green Revolution was a plant breeders’ pinnacle of achievement. The double dwarf gene selected in wheat jumped yields and narrowed the disease profile of the growing crop.
    The downside is poorer nutrition, industrialized food production, CAFO’s, soil erosion, chemical use, health impacts both public and personal. The EU farm to fork initiative will reduce production and force dietary changes. Less meat, smaller grain crops, will there be less food for Egypt, Turkey, China and the big importing countries that need worldwide production to feed their people. It’s often said that hunger is not a supply problem, but a political one, but there is a baseline to production. Higher prices for staples is way more impactful for poor and low income peoples as we are seeing today.
    Better , cleaner , safer production practices are doable, but who pays for lost calories? It’s one thing to be critical of western style diets and the necessity of making them healthier and a whole nother set of ethics, even for the rest of the under nourished world. Exporting Slow Food to the rest of the world is inhumane and selfish, but keeping it in the Western world’s back yard will ground us.
    Genetics, plant breeding, GMO like practices, with more emphasis on health can work. Chemistry is quickly fading with biology ascendant.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      farmboy:

      The article on Alice Waters and Slow Food is painfully bad. It repeats the usual canard that only U.S.-style mass production can put food on the table for millions, because organic farming has lower yields, et cetera et cetera. The John Deere strike and those machines going for thousands of dollars should have put some doubt out there in the world, eh?

      Further, the article talks about Slow Food without addressing Slow Food, the organization behind Terra Madre (a worldwide effort to maintain traditional practices), the organization’s efforts to preserve traditional breeds of plants and animals, the “Maestri di Gusti” here in Piedmont–almost all of which are small family operations either as farms, orchards, or apiaries, or as producers of such products as chocolates or as bakeries and other traditional (highly productive) artisans. This very afternoon I picked up a bag of breadsticks from the booth run by a small bakery in a small town that had made that list.

      So the article, ever-so-desperate to poke Waters in the eye, truly doesn’t understand what is going on here.

      But, yes, please: What we need is much more monocropping, more fertilizers, more dairy cattle penned up by the hundreds in New Mexico (New Mexico?), the continuing abuse of animals raised for meat, and more use of cottonseed and soybean oils.

      Because people don’t have time to cook. Only to consume.

        1. Adam Eran

          Michael Pollan reports ag subsidies are 40% of Ag income in the U.S. Then quotes one farmer saying “It’s just like laundering money for Cargill and ADM [big agribusinesses]”

          1. flora

            Subsidies were originally introduced to encourage small farms to let some ground lie fallow each year to 1.) encourage crop rotation and soil renewal, 2.) encourage prevention of soil erosion by leaving the fence rows unplowed, and 3.) give the small farmer a buffer against the financial predations of monopoly Big Ag. Big Ag tears out the fence rows and plows corner to corner, it strip mines the soils’ nutrients, it increases top soil loss to rain and river erosion. Any time you hear a politician bloviating about getting rid of farm subsidies in the name of Freedom to Farm, know that he’s talking about giving little farmers the freedom to fail… against Big Ag. Now, if he wants to talk about reining in the way Big Ag is siphoning off subsidy money originally designed to help small farmers and soil and water conservation efforts, I’m all ears. (Yes, Cargill and ADM have turned it into a money laundering machine in the current one-size-fits-all policies.)

            1. Harold

              It was Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s secretary of Agriculture, who initiated the policy of unplowed fence rows and of encouraging farmers letting some fields periodically regenerate the soil by lying fallow. I remember reading somewhere (can’t find it anymore) that Wallace believed that federal agricultural policies should aim to encourage not, “small farms” but rather, medium-sized farms.

              It was Nixon’s secretary of agriculture Earl Butz who reversed Wallace’s accomplishments and proclaimed a new era of profit-maximizing “fencerow-to-fencerow” planting by giant agribusiness with the slogan: “Get big or get out”.

              Then you had Reagan who made a mockery of government standards of nutrition by declaring that “Ketchup is a vegetable” (for poor children).

              It is ridiculous to suggest that Mark Bittman, the PMC, and Slow Food are the culprits in the political crisis we are currently undergoing with our agribusiness and national health. That such ideas appear under the auspices of the purportedly leftist “Jacobin” is telling, which is why I avoid that publication.

              And BTW, nostalgia is neither good nor bad, the idea that we should never look back or learn anything from or about the past bespeaks the same juvenile, know-nothing mentality.

              1. Pate

                Yes, Butz’s fence row to fence row also undid all of native prairie grass restoration efforts implemented after hard lessons learned during the Dust Bowl. If not for rapidly depleting aquifers like the Ogallala much of flyover still under cultivation would return to The Great American Desert, the name used on maps prior to railroad marketeers who renamed it The Garden of Eden on their maps. Needless to say very little of the native prairie grassland biosphere remains, replaced by new high maintenance grass varieties like corn and wheat. Prairie policy re farming has been wrong from the start as John Wesley Powell tried to make clear.

              2. drsteve0

                I’m so old I can remember Earl getting his Butz handed to him for telling a particularly tasteless joke. Sometimes karma delivers. Ahhh, Henry Wallace, what might have been.

          2. bob

            Everyone forgets the B in the ABCD’s now.

            Bunge. $BG 46 billion in revenue in 2018

            According to wikipedia’s blurb on the google results page-

            ” It competes with Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.”

            LOL! Competition?

      1. sfp

        Like the article says, nostalgia is a blank check for a weak mind.

        It’s either monocropping/abused animals OR family run farms using traditional practices. There’s nothing in-between.

        But, yes, please: let’s continue to heap scorn and contempt on the cattle-like consumers who don’t know any better and therefore don’t cook.

        1. John

          I thought the Nordhaus polemic against Alice Waters was a good shill for his corporate techno utopia masters. Corporate serfdom promoted by Jacobin…how disappointing.
          As the grandchild on both sides of small mixed farmers in Virginia who had very good lives, sent their kids to college for education rather than jawb training, I know Alice Waters vision is possible and not nostalgic. Unfortunately, the industrialization of ag did to small farmers such as the grandparents what WalMart did to small shop keepers.
          Nordhaus obviously never heard the old warning against putting all you eggs in one basket…to use a saying from farm life.

      2. Robert Hahl

        I heard part of an Alice Waters interview on NPR last month and she made good sense, e.g., cook a big pot of beans every week. Eat them with grains and vegetables to get several quick nutritious meals without much work. It’s what I have been doing for a few years now thanks to Carla.

        Carla Makes Beans
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXqoyt4vsPA&t=13s

      3. BeliTsari

        Basically, it’s cherry-picking false dichotomy, to conflate viable alternatives to GE monoculture, industrial agriculture & conglomerate control of political policies, ubiquitous ISDS omnipotence enforcing multinational corporations’ edicts on all food production, processing, inspection and distribution. Genetic Literacy Project & ACSH straw-manning, gaslighting & red-herrings will conflate ANY regenerative, organic, sustainable or simply CONCERNED grower as “anti-science Luddite ignoratti” and like “antivax,” it’ll work! Herbicide dessication of all grain, tubers & legumes FEEDS millions! I’m just WAITING for blatant trolling to begin?

      4. Soredemos

        I’m sure the 20th century explosion in population coinciding with the invention of artificial nitrogen fertilizer was entirely just a coincidence.

        Much of the NC community seems to just take it as a given that *of course* we can simply transition away from big agriculture. Can we though, without a die off of several billion people?

        1. Yves Smith

          We have run numerous articles showing that small scale farming is at least as productive, if not more productive as Big Ag and does not deplete the soil. You are running Big Ag propaganda.

          1. Dictynna

            Even if small scale farming was a bit less productive, my guess is that a Big Ag monopoly on food will introduce distribution problems.

            These might be accidental, or they might be deliberate, used as a method of control.

            1. skippy

              Then you have to factor in the product Mfg’ers contracts for the supply of these raw commodities and how that shapes perspectives moving forward.

          2. Soredemos

            I’m not convinced I am spouting propaganda. The massive 20th century increase in world population growth maps almost exactly to the adoption of lots of farming practices the ‘enlightened’ like to whinge about. There are between 4 and 6 times more people on the planet today than there were in 1900.

            To just turn around and blithely go ‘well, ahksuhally, none of that was needed and we could feed all of them in a much more green way’ doesn’t seem credible to me. Are you really so sure of that? How much are you willing to bet on it? If it was possible, why didn’t it already happen? Why did the massive increase in yields and population only happen the way they did?

            Just to be clear, I’m convinced we can’t feed so many people (to say nothing of several billion more over the coming decades) without industrial agriculture. I also don’t thing our current farming practices are sustainable in the long term (the UN is already warning about widespread soil erosion and nutrient depletion). I think such a massive global population is a historical abnormality, not sustainable, and will crash, probably in my lifetime.

            1. Yves Smith

              Correlation is not causation. See this for instance:

              Since the 2007-8 food crisis, when spikes in prices for global commodity crops raised the specter of food shortages, Africa has seen a surge in funding to help local food producers grow more of the region’s food. African governments raised spending on agricultural development, supported by international donors who recognized, for the first time in decades, that developing countries needed to grow more of their own food and that their small-scale farmers could be a crucial part of that effort rather than a drag on economic development.2 For several years, high international crop prices drew private investment into agriculture. Global philanthropies, newly endowed with billions of dollars in technology profits, led the charge. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established a well-funded program on international development and partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 to launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA eventually set the ambitious goals of doubling crop productivity and incomes for 30 million small-scale farming households while halving food insecurity in 20 African countries by 2020.3

              That Green Revolution project is failing. My research has shown that as the Green Revolution project reaches its 2020 deadline, crop productivity has grown slowly, poverty remains high, and the number of hungry people in the 13 countries that have received priority funding has risen 30% since 2006. Few small-scale farmers have benefited. Some have been thrown into debt as they try to pay for the high costs of the commercial seeds and synthetic fertilizer that Green Revolution proponents sell them. This disappointing track record comes in spite of $1 billion in funding for AGRA and $1 billion per year in subsidies from African governments to encourage their farmers to buy these high-priced inputs.

              African governments have a choice to make, a choice that will determine the continent’s food future. For the last 14 years, governments and donors have bet heavily, and almost exclusively, on the Green Revolution formula of commercial inputs, fossil-fuel-based fertilizers and agro-chemicals. That gamble has failed to generate agricultural productivity, even as the continent has seen a strong period of economic growth. Rural poverty remains high. Hunger is rampant, with the United Nations warning that Africa could see a 73% surge in undernourishment by 2030 if policies don’t change.

              https://www.iatp.org/africas-choice

              See also:

              https://www.dw.com/en/has-africas-green-revolution-failed/a-54581028

              In India, the Green Revolution was successful in its initial decades but is now imploding:

              In turn, the Green Revolution states now face a particularly acute water crisis. Some regions in these states could run completely out of groundwater in the next 20 years. The apocalyptic air pollution seen in and around New Delhi in early winter is also partly a consequence of the Green Revolution. The overuse of fertilizers and pesticides has caused soil degradation and groundwater poisoning.

              These environmental problems are already severe and will get worse with climate change. It is farmers themselves, meanwhile, who suffer the worst of the consequences. Punjab and Haryana have among the highest levels of arsenic poisoning of groundwater in India—the likely cause of high rates of cancer prevalence. The Green Revolution states also carry among the highest burden of premature deaths due to air pollution.

              https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/03/07/indias-green-revolution-sowed-the-seeds-of-todays-meltdown/

        2. skippy

          “The Man Who Tried to Feed the World,” a new documentary film that premieres tonight on PBS, traces the “feed the world” ideology back to its Cold War origins—and specifically to a high-yield dwarf wheat developed by Norman Borlaug, the scientist widely credited with laying the foundation for the way the world farms today.

          In the 1960s and ‘70s, Borlaug rose from unknown plant pathologist to American legend for sparking a period of enormous agricultural output known as the Green Revolution. He was hailed as a hero, credited with ending famines in the developing world at a time when fears of an escalating population were weaponized as a potent political issue.

          For that effort, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. But as historians and agronomists explain in the film, Borlaug’s advancements—including higher-yield varieties, heavy use of synthetic fertilizers, and widespread adoption of irrigation—are now viewed in a more ambivalent light, due to mounting environmental costs and worsening social impacts on rural communities and agrarian societies.

          https://thecounter.org/norman-borlaug-man-who-tried-to-feed-the-world-pbs-green-revolution/

        3. ArvidMartensen

          The 20th century explosion in population might have had something to do with modern medicine. The biggest killer before penicillin was infection. The longevity killers like heart disease and cancer only became top causes of mortality when people reliably lived long enough to get them (talking western world here).
          Once you have more people surviving, you need more food to feed them, and so the political pressure to ramp up agriculture. And of course the population explosion brings opportunities to make a buck, so low quality industrial agriculture booms.
          You are right though about the transition that will be forced onto humanity because of climate change caused by wildly out of control over-population. The systems analysis work that underpinned Limits to Growth is still valid.
          As climate change is now changing the productivity of cropping land (extended droughts, more frequent and severe floods, prolonged extreme heatwaves, unseasonal frosts etc), we will see more starvation, starting in the poorest countries that can’t just buy what they need.

      5. Breena

        What’s not mentioned is that the “snobs” refuse to eat pesticide residues that are neurotoxins and interfere with glandular activity, cause cancer and death. That’s not snobbery, that’s common sense.

        Also, black people are too dumb, to poor to helpless to eat high quality food? When I see the word “racism” in an article, I stop reading and would never patronize the advertisers showing up alongside such horseshit.

      6. farmboy

        “The downside is poorer nutrition, industrialized food production, CAFO’s, soil erosion, chemical use, health impacts both public and personal.” Hey, I agree. Let’s see how to manage this transition on 15 million acres of winter wheat production in the arid western US and maintain production and exports. We are still at proof of concept, but the horse regime ushered out post WW2 can provide a roadmap. Cover crop rotations to substitute for a year of fallow will likely suffice. Plant breeding will be essential and crucial just like Borlaug introduced. Biology and genetics replace chemistry and CAFO’s.

    2. Mr Ed Japanese Farmer

      Amazing hypocrisy among true blue organic activists:

      “I’m vaccinated!, are you?”

      “I’m still waiting for the non-GMO version.”

      1. Maritimer

        Recently on his podcast, Dr. Peter Breggin called attention to that very concept, calling these injections GMO Experiments and wondered how folks against GMO could be for Big Pharma injections. The Human Mind apparently has no problem holding contradictory opinions at the same time. Very similar to My Body, My Choice folks being in favor of coerced injections.

  5. Bart Hansen

    On Joel Osteen’s money: Could it be that Osteen had already collected on an insurance policy for that ‘stolen’ money?

    If you want to see a premier oily grifter, try watching one of his Christ wants you to be wealthy sessions.

    1. Mildred Montana

      Those who set out to serve both God and Mammon soon discover that there is no God.
      —–Logan Pearsall Smith

    2. griffen

      I find that particular brand of evangelical / non denominational church leader off putting. But he does have a big following. They do seem to exclude portions of the New Testament, for example the meek inherit the earth.

      I have watched Osteen in the past, sparingly. It isn’t for me.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Joel Osten did a Hunter Biden. Got high or drunk one night (or both), stole the money and cleverly hid it behind that wall, and the next day he could not remember what he had done with that money. Just like Hunter and those eternal laptops. ‘Now what did I do with it and where is it now? Think, dammit, think!’

    4. Wukchumni

      Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.

      Mencken

    5. t

      Sounds like someone attempted to steal a collection bucket, stashed it, and couldn’t get back to it. Except how could Joel have reported a stolen offering with a dollar amount? Would insurers just pay based on whatever? And don’t they have cameras everywhere? Isn’t this a TV show as well as a church? Weird AF.

    6. Mikel

      That would be more likely the real scam. The envolopes included checks. I’m thinking those amounts were included in the report about the stolen money total and the thief found it more likely to collect on them through insurance than to try to cash the checks.
      Maybe then the thief could just go dip into the cash from time to time and not draw alot of attention by trying to deal with bags full of cash at one time.

      1. Pate

        In the early 80’s a Tulsa postal worker who delivered mail to Oral Roberts University was making a very handsome living by regularly siphoning off a few large and never missed mailbags for himself. He took the cash but for some reason decided to keep and store the envelopes containing checks at a local storage facility. But for that he might still be in business today. Maybe a case of no honor among thieves

        https://oklahoman.com/article/2058031/tulsan-charged-in-theft-of-evangelists-mail/amp

    1. Orange

      All working class men, White, Black, Asian, should go on a general strike for say, ten days, or just long enough for everyone’s phone batteries to die because power’s out.

      This would demonstrate the importance of the “irrelevant” and “deplorables.”

      After maybe the elite, and feminists as a bonus, will realize that they depend on working class men of all races.

      1. flora

        Check out the FRED graph in this CHS blog post. No matter how you smooth that curve, it’s been been a steady downward trend from 1975 to 2018.

        https://oftwominds.com/blog.html

        adding, from Taibbi’s latest column:
        “You know when people have negative perceptions of the economy? Usually, when they don’t have enough money. Maybe the jobless claim figures don’t matter as much because the jobs gained aren’t good ones. Or maybe people read the aforementioned Larry Summers saying “a jolt is what is required” to restore “credibility” at the Fed, which would confirm every suspicion ordinary people will have gained from experience in recent decades, i.e. that whenever the economy is allowed to run hot for a while, belt-tightening is eventually called for by “responsible people” to pay for the gains above. It could be they’re guessing what’s coming, and not without reason. ”

        https://taibbi.substack.com/p/bidens-troubles-arent-bernies-fault?

      2. marym

        “Women make up a substantial share of the working class in every state and Washington, D.C. Table 1 shows that the share of those in the labor force who are women without a four-year college degree ranges somewhat among states, from 41.1 percent in Alaska to 47.9 percent in Delaware. In 41 states, the female share of the working class is between 44 and 47 percent. In Washington, D.C., the number is slightly higher, at 52.6 percent.”

        Hoping the link to CAP will be cosmically balanced by the one to IWW :)
        https://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/economy/news/2018/07/06/170670/makes-working-class/
        https://archive.iww.org/content/bread-and-roses-hundred-years/
        https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/bread-and-roses.jpg

      3. Mantid

        This relates to the mumblings about Russia invading the Ukraine. Let’s say a country invades the US> If everyone stopped going into “work” the invaders would leave. There would be no electricity, no petrol being pumped, no traffic lights, no stores open, toll gates wouldn’t open, etc. Sort of a Tai Chi approach to defense. The invaders would be gaining nothing yet having to supply themselves with everything. Not a winning proposition.

        1. ambrit

          Of course, there is also the “scorched earth” strategy, in reverse. Invade a country to physically destyroy it. Blow up as much civic infrastructure as possible before leaving.

  6. Zephyrum

    The Europe’s Energy Security Problem Leaves It in the Cold and Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war articles are quite properly adjacent, for they cover the same dynamic. It’s all about Energy and the influence that results from the control thereof.

    The Donbas is not just a region of ethnic Russians speaking that language, it is also home to most of Ukraine’s coal reserves, among the largest in the world. Crimea itself was the source of 10% of Ukraine’s domestic gas production. Loss of these has hurt.

    The United States has awoken to the realization that Europe has increasing ties with Russia that cannot be easily dislodged due to mutual reliance on the energy trade. Converting Ukraine to a client state has worked out about as well as any other such American initiatives in recent decades, creating turmoil and misery while failing to achieve strategic aims–such as helping Europe become less dependent on Russian energy. The US has obtained all of the liabilities with none of the benefits.

    It’s unclear what the US feels it has to gain by doubling down on a failed Ukrainian strategy. It is extremely unlikely that the Russians will allow Ukraine to retake control of the Donbas, and the incremental propaganda that the US could emit after such military action by Russia wouldn’t win any hearts or minds that aren’t already committed to an existing point of view. It seems more likely that the US wishes to make Ukraine stronger as a separate state, hoping to dissuade Russia from taking action in the future. But the US has been spectacularly unsuccessful at building foreign armies, at least those loyal to US interests. And deploying NATO forces or equipment to Ukraine is going to escalate conflict with Russia very quickly.

    This brings us to Secretary Blinken, who does not seem to have the ability to remain calm under pressure. That is a reliable sign of weakness, and you can be sure that Russia and China are well aware of the significance.

    The War on the Rocks article broadcasts weakness as well, saying:

    Because the gas trade is conducted bilaterally rather than at the European Union level, Russia exploits Europe’s divisions, punishing states with less relative bargaining power, and rewarding its best consumers.

    This is nothing that any corporation doesn’t do every single day of the year, but note how it awards all of the agency to Russia. What the war college author is saying is that the US is powerless to prevent it.

    I hope that the US can be a rational actor, and not commit to even more stupid conflicts that we have committed to in the past. What we really need is a way out of the dilemma, and I’m afraid in the quest for that path we are on our own.

    1. Dftbs

      I think it’s a mistake to assume clear intention, rationality or competence in US actions. It’s hard to find examples of institutional American competence in the last 30 years, perhaps Tom Brady?

    2. JBird4049

      From my limited understanding, the Germans and the French have been gaming the EU’s economics for years in favor of their economies and more specifically their banks for years with the unnecessary impoverishment of countries like Greece; since the Europeans’ economy now acting like the American economy, I am not surprised that it is every man (or country) for himself and with the devil taking the hindmost. Short term greed does not help create trust or long term co-operation, which is what the Russians, somewhat foolishly, are taking advantage of.

  7. Questa Nota

    You may think that the cat is posing for the camera, instead of keeping eyes on that bird over there on the next tree. :)

  8. The Rev Kev

    “As the Lock Rattles”

    This is quite a good read this and by the end of it gave me an idea for a book. This article lays out the UK’s response to the pandemic and does not pull any punches. But could you imagine where this was a chapter on a book on the world’s response to the Pandemic? So this would be the UK chapter and you would have chapters for the US, China, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Russia, the Czech Republic, Iran, Italy, South Africa, etc. and all written by people who lived in those countries? Read all together, it would give you a clear picture of what happened and which approaches worked the best and which were nothing less than a disaster. I’d buy a book like that.

    1. JEHR

      Please include Canada as a chapter in your book. We were the original “mix-and-match-vaccines” country which just happened to work. I am looking forward to my second booster next March after having had Pfizer Moderna, twice, and probably Moderna thrice next March. Interesting times we live in! Has it worked well? We don’t know because it is still going on…and on…and on…..

  9. Questa Nota

    Public school and boarding school abuses have long been open secrets. See, for example, Eton Voices, a book about that pinnacle of publicness, unless of course, you prefer a different harrowing experience.

    1. Sailor Bud

      Roald Dahl wrote two little memoir books, Boy, and Going Solo. The first is all about his childhood in UK schools, and the second finishes with his WWII experiences as a fighter ace, flying Hawker Hurricanes.

      They’re both so page turney that you can shoot right through them in two afternoons, but his experiences of those schools is all about boys getting caned on the bare bottom, for infractions that range from the slightest nothing to getting caught in true mischief. It’s terrifying, and all too real. This was mostly taking place in the 1920s and 30s, which just isn’t that long ago.

      Not to spoil things, but as it turns out, Dahl was a near 7-footer. He also apparently had excellent reflexes for someone that tall, so he was made captain of both the fives team (English handball) and squash. This made him privileged in the extreme, and he was expected to be a boazer (prefect/hall monitor/RA type). But they absolutely couldn’t and wouldn’t make him a prefect because he was too nice to beat and abuse the younger boys.

      It’s part of why Dickens, Saki, and Peake gave us their particularly fantastic British grotesques.

      1. Basil Pesto

        heh, I read those when I was about 10 or 11 maybe. It’s the scene describing adenoid removal whose echoes vaguely rattle around in my brain. Yikes.

        1. Sailor Bud

          I’ve read them a bunch of times, because I love his style. He always engages the reader right away. His adult short stories can be fun too, as well as his silly little novel, My Uncle Oswald and his two Oswald short stories. I have the complete collection of the short stories in a hardbound book from Everyman’s Library.

          His earliest works were a bit dry, but once he got his prose and his descriptions polished, it’s great, and I can read his little surprise tales over and over. It’s very hard to be clever, and some of his best stuff is incredibly that.

      2. Jason Boxman

        So this reminds me of the abuse heaped upon the Kamikaze pilots, mostly young conscripted university students, during training in Japan towards the end of the war. This is covered extensively in Danger’s Hour: The Story of the USS Bunker Hill and the Kamikaze Pilot Who Crippled Her.

        I found the book in DC, and being written by a Kennedy, the copy I found for $50 was signed by a Kennedy. Needless to say, I bought a much cheaper copy online. Not sure what I was going to do with an autographed copy anyway.

        Anyway, it’s a harrowing read.

        1. Sailor Bud

          Right, and I think a large bit to do with what Kubrick shows in the first half of Full Metal Jacket. Abuse might build character, but what kinds of characters?

          1. Basil Pesto

            I’ve been watching clips of the “I am. In a world. Of shit.” line recently. Can’t imagine why.

    2. neo-realist

      Lindsay Anderson made a terrific film titled if…. that touches on the cruelty and sadism at british boarding schools….and the armed rebellion that ensues as a result of such conduct:)

    3. Soredemos

      One of the responses to the Tweet mentions Lord of the Flies, a novel I’ve never liked because its portrayal of human nature in a crisis is basically complete nonsense (both of adults, and of children, as real-life has shown: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/09/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-what-happened-when-six-boys-were-shipwrecked-for-15-months).

      But maybe I should reevaluate it. Whatever Golding’s intentions of writing a ‘realistic’ story of children on their own, while it didn’t actually reflect reality for most people, maybe it did reflect the type of abused virtual psychopath that Golding was most familiar with. It may indeed be an accurate depiction of how an island of young Boris Johnson’s would behave.

  10. griffen

    Vice article headline rewrite…How to watch arguably a small fortune go up in flames. Youth is wasted on the young, is that the proper saying.

    Invest in options while admitting you don’t really like, know what the downside. No. No, a thousand times no. Of course I say that after 20 some years of making an investment plan and realizing that companies like GE can also find their way, meandering as it was, into the abyss.

  11. allan

    Re: the Pro Publica article on Ch*n* intimidating Ch*n*s* students on US college campuses.

    History might not repeat, but it rhymes.
    Back in the 80s and 90s, US (and other Western) corporations wanting to strike gold in Ch*n*
    claimed that by doing business there, they would bring Western values.
    Democracy would flow from economic liberalism.
    Oddly, the local regime had other ideas.

    Years later, US (and other Western) universities wanting to strike gold in Ch*n*
    claimed that by educating its young, they would bring Western values.
    Democracy would flow from academic freedom of expression.
    Oddly, the local regime had other ideas.

    1. Mantid

      Yes, this line is striking…. “I think that the Zoom rehearsals were known by the Chinese Communist Party,” No sheit Sherlock! Zoom is run through China and anyone who uses it for biz, family chats, or in any other form, is sacrificing privacy for convenience. There are other options that don’t track you such as Jitsi. More data points for US surveillance and of course Chinese. “But it’s so easy and has great graphics”.

    2. Questa Nota

      China is not alone in sending their minders to US schools.

      In a prior era, Iran was known for having SAVAK presence on campus, as conveyed by jumpy students. Saudi also had their guys. Typical dorm or apartment decor in the day included that obligatory picture of the Shah, the King, Emir or whomever. The students said that they were careful to display their loyalties.

  12. Synoia

    The article on UK Boarding schools is right on target.

    One leaves home at 8. The bullying is pervasive, and continuous. I left scars on a number of people.

    I left, I never wanted to be with those people again. I emigrated.

    1. svay

      I went to one aged thirteen, and got kicked out a year later. I didn’t see or experience much bullying, but I was struck by the sheer amorality of many there. I’d never had a high opinion of the rich and privileged, but I had imagined they sort of half-believed in the Christian morality and duty to do right I’d been fed for years, or they tried to live up to those ideals but the flesh was weak and all that. “Oh, all that’s for the plebs,” I was enlightened on my second day there. “There’s only one rule: don’t get caught.” (Some held there was a second rule – if caught, say nothing.) Such views weren’t universal, but they were definitely widespread.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Caning was still a thing during the early 70’s in England but not on the bare bottom & actually in my experience & others the first headmaster we suffered at my last school would aim low so it caught you at the softest part. Other than that kids got slapped, occasionally punched, board rubbers thrown at them – once resulting in hospitilisation & I will never forget a certain teacher who looked like an elderly nightclub doorman who liked connecting the thin edge of his ruler to knuckles for no apparent reason other than to create fear. He also also once brought his own knuckles down hard on the top of my head for the heinous crime of talking in the corridor.

        It wasn’t all one way though as while I was there 2 teachers were beaten up in Set 4 classes by kids with nicknames like Igor who left school barely being able to spell their own names & occasionally parents would turn up & beat teachers up or at least chase them around a bit. In the playground it appeared that someone was always fighting someone else & often it was girls doing that thing where they circle around while trying to pull each other’s hair out. There were some good teachers who I think believed in what they were doing but basically most of the lads were set to head down a coalmine anyway & at that time the girls would become housewives – I left at 14 & worked as a milkman’s little helper.

        1. svay

          I was frequently given canings (or whacked with something or other) and detentions, and I far preferred the former – they were over in no time, bar some soreness, while an hour or two of incarceration when I could be out getting up to more trouble was a real punishment.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Detentions were not yet a thing in the early 70’s & I still remember the joy at escaping the seemingly eternal 2 hours of Maths on a Friday afternoon. A feeling that persisted during a later time when I would be caught up in the klaxon incited stampede out of a couple of factories I did time in – it was always advisable not to stumble & if you dropped something – forget about it.

            Sadly some kids got much worse from their parents, like in the case of a friend of mine who often had a collection of bruises that he made excuses for, but unlike the other end of the spectrum whose young minds perhaps become to a certain extent institutionalised, we got to go home everyday which for me at least was pretty damned good.

            1. svay

              Detentions were not yet a thing in the early 70’s

              They were in both the boarding school (70-71) and the state schools I attended.

              1. Eustachedesaintpierre

                We were fortunate then in that respect, but perhaps it depended on the school & maybe the teachers were also desperate to get out of the place. I attended parent evenings at a large comprehensive after secondary moderns became history, to get updates on the progress of my 2 stepchildren & was very surprised at how civilised the place appeared to be in comparison. They both did very well out of it as did my daughter unlike myself during my 9 school slog with sometimes fairly large gaps before starting another.

                Of course with the demise of heavy industry the former set-up no longer had a purpose.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “American-style governors could level up England”

    It’s a job-creation program for the Tories so that they can take care of their mates with a high-paying job, especially now that serving with the EU Parliament has now been closed off. So you would have British “Governors” like Theresa May, Dominic Raab, David Cameron, George Osborne, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and all the rest of the scurvy crew. Actually it would be worse. The various Counties would become de-facto States but more to the point, it would have enormous looting possibilities as these new Governors would seek to sell off public infrastructure & services to mates that they know and all in the interests of “efficiency”. The local councils would be ignored and allowed to wither on the vine.

    1. Synoia

      The English ruling class love their Lords. This is little more that a return to the past, and to reestablish the House of Lords as the more powerful body in parliament.

  14. pjay

    Re: ‘In Praise of One-Size-Fits-All’ – Boston Review

    This article is a nice overview of the recent history of neoliberal ideology. I agree with almost all of it. So why does it both *infuriate* and utterly *depress* me that it is applied to vaccine mandates, and that most of my liberal academic friends are utterly incapable of understanding why I would feel this way? That, to me, is the absolutely central question.

    1. Lee

      When I consider the prospect of vaccine mandates here in the U.S., the phrase “There will be blood” comes immediately to mind for some reason.

      1. Jen

        I have to wonder how many people will be willing to be subject to endless boosters, especially when it becomes clear that they aren’t ending the pandemic.

        1. Lee

          Annual flu boosters are normalized, but having to get boosters more often than that strikes me as being not particularly appealing. Even assuming a compliant population (lol), are we even logistically capable of such a feat? And then there’s the expense. Given what we already spend on our less than world class healthcare delivery system, will we be reduced to buying medicines and not much else?

          Perhaps annual jabs with better therapies and a tolerance for somewhat higher body counts and post-viral morbidities is where we will find our point of equipoise so far as Covid is concerned.

        2. rowlf

          Fauci and Walensky have moved into telemarketer territory with their poor performance record but constant pitches for the newest solution. How soon until nobody listens to them?

        3. Hulla

          Forms for your employer to fill out and sign ahead of you getting your employer forced vaccines:

          “The following forms are provided to help families, employees, students, and parents successfully implement complete due diligence and informed consent with respect to COVID-19 injections.”

          https://home.solari.com/forms/

          1. Maritimer

            Those forms are wonderful and the most comprehensive I have seen. Anyone being forced into injection should get it on record. The time may come when the tables have turned. Remember Big Tobacco among others. Have it well documented that your were a victim.

      2. Alice

        Amazing how articles about how Omicron is less lethal and evades vaccines are being ignored since there’s no patented profit sucking patented Omicron vaccine + Omicron vaccine mandate, yet.

        If Covid and variants are such a threat to everything, and the U.S. government is forcing people to get jabbed, multiple times, then the U.S. should nationalize vaccine production through the V.A. and remove the profiteering.

        Also, how many people are in intensive care because of Omicron?
        This whole thing is pharmobsters controlling our politicians for profit.

        1. Yves Smith

          Please do not spread disinformation. The articles that Omicron is less lethal are false. We’ve been featuring hospitalization data from South Africa that establishes that conclusively.

          And the big issue with Covid isn’t (just) mortality. It’s morbidity: long Covid, brain inflammation, heart and lung damage….

          It is also pretty certain that that Omicron evades current vaccines and we won’t have ones tailed to Omicron for at least a few months.e

          That is separate from the fact that the vaccines were not well tested and the officials are refusing to gather good data on side effects, as in to determine risk v. reward for subpopulations.

    2. Soredemos

      There’s a potentially valid position in there, that a pandemic is exactly the type of scenario where it could be valid to violate personal bodily autonomy in the name of protecting the whole.

      But it isn’t valid right now in this pandemic because, basically, the vaccines don’t work.

      Deploying this stance now is only going to discredit it in the future when it might actually do something, whether for this pandemic or the inevitable next one.

  15. Carolinian

    Re the fifth circuit and stat–undoubtedly the article is correct that judges are not medical experts and therefore judges making definitive pronouncements on medical questions would be like doctors making definitive pronouncements on legal questions. While this reader thinks Doctor Harris is totally shading the mandate argument by ignoring the many problems with the vaccines, clearly the final decision on what Biden has done will come down to the Constitution and whether he has the power to do it. To be sure science will come into it but the courts have already struck down letting agency bureaucrats make profound social decisions that are outside their remit. The article purports to describe certain harms while ignoring many many others. Assuming Long Covid is real it is hardly the only medical threat that is subject to the ultimate authoritarian sanction. For example even now smoking is not forbidden and unhealthy foods are freely sold. And if it should be decided they must be blocked then it would surely be Congress that must do so, not a president who is charged with enforcing the laws rather than making them up.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “The governed,” in that context, equals only the bribers who bribe the nominal legislators who rubber-stamp corporate-lobbyist drafted “laws of the land.” Lots of proof that the mopes forced to “live under” those edicts and mandates have essentially zero say in what the rules and policies are.

          1. Hepativore

            You know, I really am scratching my head as to what the functional difference is between the way our country is structured and the feudal states of old. The president, much like a medieval king, is relatively weak compared to the economic and political power of wealthy corporate lords and patrons that pressure him to do their bidding. Everybody else who is not in this circle of defacto aristocrats is part of a vast underclass who only exists to serve their rulers and superiors. Social mobility is largely dead for most people now, so where people end up in terms of their place in the hierarchy has now largely been set in stone.

            One major difference I suppose, is that our current crop of aristocrats make no pretense about any sort of noblesse obligè. Also a lot of workers have even fewer rights and guaranteed holidays than many medieval peasants did.

            1. Even keel

              Interesting. I’ve always taken it for granted that each person is an end in herself. She exists for no other purpose.

              Your post posits an instrumental view of humans, including a class who “exist” for certain purposes from the point of view of other humans.

              I think of American democracy as fundamentally being organized around the inherent value proposition. It’s continued coherence depends upon that view being widely shared.

              I suppose if enough people believe in the instrumental value of others (or themselves??), And organize their thinking in that way, then democracy is over.

    1. rowlf

      Shouldn’t she be in the Ukraine reporting on “Columns Of Russian Tanks” that nobody else can spot?

    2. Bart Hansen

      I love when people put up avatar photos from their high school graduation. She’s 73 for Christ’s sake.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Adani’s Controversial Australia Mine Will Be Used For Electricity In India”

    ‘Australia’s government argues that local mines like Carmichael could reduce global emissions, as the coal is higher quality and will displace the use of more polluting fuel.’

    Maybe the Coalition government here could rebrand it as “Green Coal” to make it sound more environmentally friendly. I wouldn’t put it past them.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Growing up in Chicago, when coal was still heavily used for residential heating as well as the steel mills before the Clean Air Act, there was a company with an Irish name I don’t recall whose Irish-music radio jingle went something like “the ___’s green-marked coal is the best can be seen, why on my soul that green-marked coal beats any coal I’ve seen.” A little green paint applied to each chunk in the supply chain process…

      They had some serious air pollution days in the Windy City during inversions when the wind did not blow…

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Take a gander at this old GE Clean Coal ad. I remembered the sweaty dirty sweaty (meant to be SEXY) models to this day. (made it easy to search) Thought it was an insult to coal miners everywhere. I didn’t remember that it was GE ad. GE Ecomagination. Brilliant.

      I also vaguely recall that there was an entire clean coal campaign. I was originally thinking the Obama administration but the date on the video puts it in the Bush administration time frame.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1A146sANdg

  17. griffen

    Sports desk commentary, which gets a frequent discussion here but not a daily occurrence. I’m accessing a comparable story, from Sports Illustrated.

    Summary of issue, a small list of donors/boosters have a seeming endless supply of cash reserves. So that’s part of the rationale for a USC to hire a very big name in Lincoln Riley. The other angle, is someone like Brian Kelly who had very recently set the career mark for wins as ND head football coach. There are other high profile moves, but those two above are the biggest fish.

    Secondary note, the biggest elite programs are essential to the NFL as a minor league system for talent. There is no in-between, and a high school football player is unable to “jump” into the league the same manner as a high school baseball player who forgoes college.

    I love college sports and this particular time of year as college football begins wrapping a bow on the season. Salaries and all-in compensation moving only ever up, not down, does not appear sustainable. Ten years out, someone will pay $15 million for a proven winner whose goals are winning, winning and maybe a competent graduation rate.

    1. John Beech

      Well I, an Alabama alum, went into the best spectating day of the college football year with a strong desire for our team to win. I predicted a final score of 42-31 (turned out 41-24). The team was the underdog for the first time in maybe a decade – but – secretly I was just hoping we wouldn’t be embarrassed. All I can say is . . . Roll Tide, Roll.

      And congrats to #3Cincinnati, #4Georgia, and #1Michigan! There remain three more great games for the season and I look forward to the rematch with Georgia in January.

      1. griffen

        I had not predicted such an epic beating, but the UGA offense just could not muster enough fireworks. Okay it wasn’t epic but very convincing over that defense.

        Saban is the best currently, and historically, and Kirby remains baffled on how to beat Alabama. A rematch in the national title could be in their future! Plus some other interesting match-ups in the New Year Six bowls.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Gay

          This guy didn’t see the field in college, but Belichick took a call from Saban.

          Saban’s successes aren’t all this extreme, but Kirby can’t beat this. You can’t out scheme, motivate, or have more talent than Saban. All you can really hope is to be close and that your QB is the guy, hence Clemson’s success. If you try it with lesser guys, you can’t make it work. If Saban says you can play in the NFL doing what he says, you will make it to the pension requirement. If you aren’t, he tells you and picks up the phone to get you a football job, but people pick up on the other end. My school’s message board occasionally gets a lament for missing out on a future first rounder Saban picked up, but outside of injury, who is going to make sure you live up to your potential? A coach who abruptly quit or Nick Saban. I actually think guys like Kelly are jumping with a post-Saban era in mind.

          Though I follow the Pats, and an explanation for part of his success is that the Alabama rookies and sophmores in the league aren’t doing too hot. Mac Jones was assumed to be another Bama QB.

          1. Duke of Prunes

            IIRC, Saban did to Michigan State pretty much the same as Kelly did to ND. Jumped to LSU literally days after assuring the MSU faithful he was committed to the program long term.

            It’s just what coaches do (and pretty much what many successful people do outside of sports), and I don’t quite understand the consternation – must be a slow news time.

    2. Steven A

      “One of the best things that could ever happen to “higher education” would be for football teams to be hived off and become openly what they already are in practice: Profit-making entities being looted by insiders and wholly dependent on cheap labor. If they want to retain their branding, they can make a licensing deal with their school.”
      I first proposed outsourcing college sports few years ago when a local sports columnist asked for reader input about the idea of paying college players. The paper published my proposal, which follows: Since we have decided that the mission of our universities includes middle-brow public entertainment, it only makes sense that universities spin off their sports teams to a quasi-private corporations to administer those programs. The infrastructure is already in place in the form of booster clubs and stadiums, arenas and other facilities, which can be leased out. Of course, players will be paid according to the prevailing market and, scholarships will be optional. Maybe, just maybe, such an arrangement will generate an atmosphere of honesty. DISCLOSURE: yesterday my alma mater’s football team was pummeled in one of the conference championship games. I am just now emerging from my disappointment and sorrow.

    1. Roger Blakely

      The punch line, because it is hard to hear and makes no sense to this American, is that Clarke says that we would not take a call from a wise owl because he is right-wing politician from New South Wales.

    1. griffen

      Only the best and brightest appear in the House of Representatives. I’ve come across his story before, advertising his skill as a real estate investor. Unfortunate to be crippled in an auto accident.

      Playing to his base of support.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Heh, not sure whether you can be considered to be lucky, or unlucky, for not having heard of that garbage human until now.

      If he is the shape of the coming right wing renaissance in thoughts, deeds, standards, ethics, and morality for this country then….well…I may have to vote for the Commies.

      1. the last D

        Good idea. We have to use all the arrows in our quiver, the sharp ones and the dull, to challenge the status quo. Put another way, we have to use all our “commies.”

    3. Wukchumni

      And who the hell still uses Polaroid cameras these days?

      Polaroid photos were often associated with do it yourself porn, for back in the day, photo developing places might call the authorities on you if your shots were of a naughty nature, or at the very least not allow them to be turned into Kodak moments…

      Nutty evangs such as Cawthorn will likely call the shots after the Donkey Show loses big in 2022, with my Kevin in charge of the whole enchilada~

    4. Basil Pesto

      And who the hell still uses Polaroid cameras these days?

      I didn’t watch the video so lack context but Fuji Instax cameras – functionally the same as polaroids – are very popular and moreover can produce excellent results (I have two of them myself, been meaning to submit some plant photos taken with them to Water Cooler). Despite the Instax format being around for some 30 years, the photos and cameras are still colloquially referred to as Polaroids, which must piss them off.

      Fujifilm makes some superb digital cameras and lenses, but iirc Instax is their only profitable photographic product line.

      1. Carolinian

        Well Ed Land did come up with the idea.

        And Polaroid film was always rather expensive therefore profitable.

      2. John

        Looked up Cawthorn: Quite a resumé. Seems he is favor of both sides of many issues on alternate days, but maybe that is a feature of being a communicator and not a legislator.

    5. JP

      The Madison Cawthorn clip is truly scary. I was taken to task a week or so ago by Yves for denigrating “bible thumpers”. Yves equated bible thumpers as religious persons, especially in the south and certainly black voters. I disagreed with this definition. To me “bible thumpers” are no more religious then flag wavers are patriots. I was wrong. The dictionary definition says bible thumpers are loud and proud evangelicals. That might be a 1930’s tent preacher. It doesn’t really speak to todays politically motivated thumper. The political motivation is to bend everyone to the bible’s rules of conduct and thinking as per the thumper tribe’s considerations.

      Madison Cawthorn is the worst kind. Wrapped in the flag, he would be pleased to impose an authoritarian theocratic state if it served his purposes. He is not alone. We have a county supervisor who has openly declared for a theocratic state because the USA was founded as a christian nation. Here in Kevin Mcarthy’s district it is not hard to imagine Kevin displeasing Trump who then backs this guy as a primary challenge and bingo!

      The sign that says “save america” down the road is in Trump colors. The supreme court has gone majority fundamental. All we need is a few more congressmen like Cawthorn to have a fish sign imposed on the flag. The fish is, of course, new testament but most bible thumpers hide their old testament allegiance in the folds of the new. This group is not getting any smaller. There is a German series on netflix (Babylon Berlin) that dramatizes the period just before the burning of the Reichstag. What I thought was poignant was the shear number of national socialist supporters who eventually overwhelm democratic norms.

      I wrote this early this morning but decided not to post and then I read this on a Berry Ritholtz sunday reads link:

      https://mattlabash.substack.com/p/jesus-wept

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I don’t hate ‘bible thumpers’, generally speaking – some of my extended family are such – but I am *very* skeptical that many of them (of the Evangelical variety) would give me the same respect and consideration I give them. In fact, just the opposite….once successive layers of the veneer of ‘respectable societal norms’ are sanded off their public/private personas (precisely as Trump et al have…been doing) I have every expectation that I and people like me will become the demonized other it is completely acceptable to imprison, harm, and kill.

        In my neck of the woods we are not too far from the Aryan Nations peeps in Idaho, and in Eastern WA we have this gem of tolerance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Shea

        Sadly, for various reasons I have to interact with some of those sorts of people both directly and indirectly, and believe you me – these are NOT the much maligned stupid bubbas of ‘Meal Team Six’ derision. They are efficient, ruthless, well-armed, and far more populous then many of the people who ‘poo poo’ that sort of thing seem to have deluded themselves into thinking. They ARE a ready-made Sturm Abteiliung and a better-oiled machine then people are willing to admit.

        The Matt Sheas (and Madison Cawthorns) of this country aren’t just pleasantly disagreeing with my views…..they want me dead, Dead, DEAD – and the only reason i try to understand them, is to determine how to best oppose them when their Nacht of broken Krystall comes. And come it will.

        And to the Evangelicals who sit down and break bread with people similar to Shea/Cawthorn…well, sorry. I’m increasingly subscribing to the relevant cliche that “…When you have 9 people who sit down at a table, and a Nazi sits down with them…and the original 9 do not get up and leave….You have TEN Nazis…”.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Europe’s Energy Security Problem Leaves it in the Cold”

    A sad, sad piece. So in order to get back at Russia because they have the gas to sell, Europe should include ‘increased flexibility on green initiatives, reevaluating nuclear energy, and improving energy infrastructure between states’ which I read as building more coal power stations, build more nuclear power plants, and send power from one country to another – whoever can pay the most. So you could see power being diverted from countries like Greece and Bulgaria and sent to Germany instead because they can pay more for it.

    This all came about because the EU, in its wisdom, decided that long-term contracts was not the way to go with gas supply but depending on buying it on the spot market. And now the price has skyrocketed enough to make me think that some former Enron executives found work in the gas market. And does the Ukraine have a coal shortage? Absolutely. Why? because they refuse to buy the coal from the Donbass and instead have imported it from other places like the US for a higher price.

    But this article was right about the European Union pressuring members to phase out coal consumption. I read recently that they have been fining Poland for still using coal when they don’t have another source of power that is more convenient. Sucks sometimes to be in the EU. But still, this Emily Holland wants to see Europe beggar itself and have its energy supplies in chaos simply so that it can get at Russia who would then say stuff it and sell all that gas to China instead. Needless to say, if you read her biography at the end, you realize that Emily Holland does not live in Europe and so it not effected by any of her ropey advice.

    1. Zephyrum

      Good summary of the situation. I was also struck by this passage:

      Europe has discovered that there is no easy path to energy security, and short-term solutions to the energy crisis (e.g., signing long term contracts for additional volumes of Russian gas) may undermine longer-term goals.

      Evidently long-term contracts represent short-term solutions. And short-term spot buying represents, what, maybe expensive energy?

      1. John

        You want to end the use of coal. The preferred “green energy” sources are not available in sufficient quantity. Gas from Russia is available and can meet your immediate needs. Do you do without heating fuel in the moment because buying from Russia is politically distasteful and may undermine longer term goals? What happens this winter? Please explain.

    2. Anonymous 2

      If I recall correctly, the decision to avoid long-term contracts was driven to a large degree by the UK.

      Ironic?

    3. upstater

      Oddly doesn’t mention that the EU bureaucracy made rule that 75% of demand was to be satisfied in the spot market and not by long term contracts. This is the same madness as the 2000 California electricity crisis, amped up by Enron & friends taking generation off line and the resulting price explosion. Further Gazprom is certainly not the only market player with storage capacity in western Europe. The decision not to maximize storage last summer was shared by all the market players, anticipating eye watering prices.

      That being said, everything is Putin’s fault. /s

  19. Wukchumni

    Winter Trees as a Portal to Aliveness The Marginalian
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Trees here on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada are a mix of those that go dormant and a few that don’t…

    Buckeyes come to life in January but by July seem to be dying if you didn’t know any better-but resurrect themselves 6 months later, Blue Oaks lose their leaves in October (not this year though, many shed a fair amount of leaves in July and trees still have lots of green leaves on them now which is way odd) and leaf out in March.

    Trees that don’t go into dormancy had a devil of a time during our 2012-16 drought, with Manzanita & Live Oaks dying not quite en masse, but close.

    The object of my desire-Sequoia trees, evergreens that really haven’t been affected by drought which is odd, as their roots spread outward in a shallow fashion 6-12 feet down, and there’s no deep tap root to extract precious water to keep on keeping on.

    Four of us will be hiking the Paradise trail today which weaves through the Atwell Grove, full of superlative specimens with trees over 300 feet tall and over 3,000 years old, and those growing at the highest altitude @ nearly 9,000 feet…

    http://sequoiaquest.com/atwell-mill-grove.html

    1. Lee

      The coastal redwoods receive as much as 80% of their water from fog drip precipitation, I’ve been told. As for your mountain variety, I have no clue. But given their age, the older ones must have somehow survived prolonged droughts in the past.

      Severe Ancient Droughts: A Warning to California
      New York Times

      BEGINNING about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ll be visiting trees today that lived through those lengthy droughts, and where i’m pecking away at in the foothills was where one of the greatest population densities of Native Americans in the country once upon a time, who were here for an equal amount as the Sequoias

        For the latter, it was all about being first in line for what little water reliably emanated from the mountains above them.

        Comparatively few Native Americans lived in what are now SD/OC/LA/SF, the water situation was just too iffy.

        1. JP

          If memory serves me well (it’s not what it used to be), The Yokuts are relatively new, 300 – 500 years and were never really mountain natives but were very dense in the valley. An older culture from about 1000 years ago lived primarily at higher altitudes, leaving traces at 8000 / 9000 ft. That is the culture responsible for the famous indian bathtubs, which were large acorn grinding/leaching holes in the mountain granite. I am not an expert. My neighbor wrote his thesis on the high altitude natives.

    2. Carolinian

      We are having a great leaf season here and I and my camera have been visiting the local arboretum created by our now deceased treehugger tycoon. Most of the exotic trees are from Asia because the US Southeast and China/Japan have similar climates. If ever in doubt there is always Kudzu to remind us of this.

      Supposedly CA has Italy’s “Mediterranean” climate? The arboretum to the east of Phoenix features Australian trees.

  20. Anon

    “Father Profit”…

    🤢

    I can’t decide what’s worse: that it be so anthropomorphized, or that profit has achieved such supremacy, it is appropriate to regard it with a fundamental reverence, as one would the dimension of time!

    Finance, has ascended, beyond the realm of man.

    Only He can save us. No, not God this time…

    1. saywhat?

      The Bible has an interesting take on “profit” – profit is good but profit taking (and interest) from one’s fellow countrymen isn’t good.

      Word search of “profit” in the Bible.

      Interestingly, we COULD have finance with neither profit-taking nor interest but that would mean de-privileging banks and we can’t have that, can we?

  21. Mikel

    “How masks protect”

    “In our study we found that the risk of infection without wearing masks is enormously high after only a few minutes, even at a distance of three metres, if the infected persons have the high viral load of the delta variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus,” says Eberhard Bodenschatz. And such encounters are unavoidable in schools, restaurants, clubs or even outdoors…”

    Those encounters would be even more unavoidable on airplanes and airtight, non-window opening office buldings.
    How in the crazy, denialist delusion can they have nerve to mention outdoors (where one actually has more control over their distancing among other things) and not mention a filthy airport restroom or office building with windows that open?!
    Wake up.
    Not nitpicking. This kind of thing matters.

    1. Mikel

      “office building with windows that DO NOT open”
      keep up fingers….

      But to add: When was the last time you saw any shared bathroom listed among danger zones?

      More focus on looking at outside than bathrooms? Sounds more like fear of political protests than the virus.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I don’t quite understand the point you’re making. If Bodenschatz is mentioning clubs for example, why wouldn’t that encompass filthy restrooms, even if they’re not in airports? Why would anyone reading that sentence not also extend the listed venues to include office buildings in their mind?

      I also think it’s important for the author to point out that while infection risk is diminished outdoors, it is not impossible (not as far as I’m aware anyway!)

      1. Mikel

        I think bathrooms should be discussed specifically because of the aerosols there compared to another part of the room.
        For instance, I’ve seen return to office policies where the HR people are saying if you come to the office you have to wear a mask everyplace in a building except at desks. How far are the desks away from the bathroom? Does the bathroom have lids that can be closed before flushing?

        How about those restaurant rules where you have to wear masks but can take them off while eating? Bathroom doors open…

        There are precautions distinct to restaurooms that can affect all of indoor air that are being glossed over if discussed at all.

        1. Mikel

          “Plumber discovers money, checks in wall of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church years after $600K burglary”

          Don’t even have to look. Bet this is a “prosperity gospel” mega-church and preacher?

      2. John Beech

        Date night for the last two years has taken on added importance for my wife and I. What began as a take out pizza on the waterfront (our small city of Sanford, FL has done a nice job of making a riverwalk on Lake Monroe, a broad spot on the St. Johns river), has become our sole source of evenings out for dinner. This, because going out to a restaurant isn’t in the cards (usually pizza although we occasionally change it up with burgers, or some such). My point? The other day, which munching on a slice, a fellow and his girlfriend parked about 50-75′ upwind. He hopped out and like a gentleman opened her door, before swanning her around the promenade. Maybe 10 seconds after shutting the door, we were overwhelmed by the stench of her perfume. Not that the perfume was unpleasant but that she’s apparently bathed in it for me to get a whiff from so far made me feel sorry for him in an enclosed vehicle. The real point? I probably got a whiff of her breath as well and if she were infected, a dose of virus, too. Folks, if you can smell the perfume, the cigarette breath, or even the mint you’re in the danger zone. Mask up!

    3. BeliTsari

      So, either “our” leaders, health departments, media & academia’s TRYING to infect: essential workers’ older, less-healthy loved-ones; then the chronically PASC workers, indentured into uninsured, 1099 gig serfdom; now: school-kids, teachers, drivers, staff & childcare/ au-pair (along with unvaccinated or immunocompromised or breakthrough victims of all sorts, intentionally conflated or ignored by media… Otherwise, we’d simply have to assume, our leaders were senile, brain-damaged, criminally insane psychopaths, simply harvesting our homes, labor, equity; while the PMC, retired yuppies and sneering Creative Class™ cash in on our demise?

      https://readsludge.com/2021/11/29/health-insurance-and-pharma-lobbyists-max-out-to-the-dem-party/

      https://taibbi.substack.com/p/bidens-troubles-arent-bernies-fault

  22. LawnDart

    Re: Adam Hamdy Tweet Storm

    It sounds like he’d be at home in the NC commentariat, if not already posting or lurking here– excellent summary of advice not taken with regards to CV over the past 20-months or so, though none of it really news to those of us who follow this blog regularly. Still, thankful that someone put it together as he has done, a very useful tool as the gaslights flare and dim.

    He stated that he no longer tweets about Covid-19, in part because of all the flak he’s received. I’m sorry to hear that as it’s a loss to each of us of one who brought meat to the table, but I can certainly understand how the BS can grind you down.

    The truthtellers, those who write this blog and those who regularly post to it, have my respect and admiration– thank you☆

  23. Jason Boxman

    So Cawthorn is apparently my Congress person out here. I love me some western NC, for sure! I miss living in Alan Grayson’s district in Florida back in 2008. At least when he made the news, it was for saying something intelligible.

  24. Mikel

    “Fossil Fuel’s Downfall Could Be America’s Too” Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

    “The most gothic visions see the United States plunged into something akin to a civil war between fossil fuels and anti-fossil fuel factions. That may be fanciful, but what is harder to deny is the United States, whether governed by Democrats or Republicans, has a lamentable track record of managing and mitigating the job losses and social dislocation that follows deep economic change….”

    Basically, you’ll have to read Chris Hedges, who writes about the economic desert communities of America and what they look like, to get a better description of this kind of decline. Tooze spends more of the article talking about the economies of countries and how to help “poorer” nations than what the title suggests.

    I don’t think most Americans understand how many towns, the smaller communities between urban centers, developed past villages as a result of two main events: WWII and oil drilling.

    The kind of epic disruption being tossed about at elite events (full of caviar and private jets) with zero transparancy about what really is in store.

    Ask yourself everytime you see one of these articles: Why aren’t the plans about what to do about all the coming disruption discussed as much as the emissions policy minutia?

  25. Ghost in the Machine

    Thousands of Striking Columbia Grad Student Workers Threatened via Email With Replacement Newsweek.

    Grad students and post docs are certainly the work horses of academic research. And very cheap labor for the skill and education level. Departments and laboratories put a lot of effort recruiting talented students into their programs often with specific skills in mind. The administration is pretty naive if they think they could just replace them. And good luck recruiting new skilled replacements after potential students see what was done to the previous group. I imagine the students applying for Columbia will have plenty of good alternatives.

    It would also kill the continuity of research in the labs. It could be quite damaging to the careers of the principle investigators. The students are in a strong position and they should stick to it.

  26. diptherio

    File under Class Warfare:

    Someone stole $950 worth of items from a Walgreens — there were 309 news stories about it.

    Walgreens was caught stealing $4.5 million from employees — it got just one single story.

    https://twitter.com/GravelInstitute/status/1467267030306934795

    Walgreens settled for $4.5M, but according to a commentor on the thread, the actual amount of wage theft they engaged in amounted to $12.8M. Also the “one single story” isn’t even that, so much as an advertisement for an employment law firm. I did a DDG search to verify that no one else had reported on this settlement, and sure enough, the law firm blog is the only place I see it mentioned. Plenty of other stories about Walgreens ripping people off, though — namely Medicare. It seems like Walgreens just might be the Well Fargo of drug stores…

    1. Maritimer

      Walgreens, of course, just part of the Injection Cartel. What could go wrong when a demeaned, victimized, disgruntled employee injects you?

      Walgreens was also a big player in the Theranos fraud.

      Sure seems to be a pattern here.

    1. fresno dan

      upstater
      December 5, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      I thought maybe the quote was indirect or paraphrasing what the congressman said. NOPE, complete and accurate:
      “Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo,” U.S. Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on Twitter.
      The picture is quite …startling….shocking…discomfiting…disturbing….disquieting – well, I don’t think any American word captures it. Maybe there is a German word…

      Click to Edit –

    2. griffen

      Holy cr*p on a saltine cracker. To call this photo a priceless piece of oppo research, is just wow. Quality leadership class material on display.

      I saw a similar column from a different website. A few commentators noted it either looks like a promo for the Purge movie series or a photo of a family before they hunt dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

      1. upstater

        Oppo research? NOT!

        Look for multiple emulations and enhancements of this repulsive behavior in the coming weeks. This sells!

    3. VietnamVet

      I spent almost a year with two breaks for R&R, carrying a locked and loaded M-16 everywhere including the sh*tter. The aftermath is anxieties and hypervigilance. The Congressman and his family are stark raving mad. An M-60 Machine Gun is not a play toy. It is the standard tool for trench warfare.

      Who is the Squad going to kill for the holidays? They are border state hotheads who, intentionally or not, are about to start a second Civil War.

    1. svay

      PS The grim humour’s in the Palestinian responses on social media, such as “How likely are you to recommend occupation to a friend?” The story’s apparently true.

    2. skippy

      Its bemusing to watch one mob endlessly bang on about self determination … for decades … yet … thinks its OK to remove that prospect from others to advance theirs …

  27. Jeremy Grimm

    “Fossil Fuel’s Downfall Could Be America’s Too”:
    This opinion piece, based largely on a recent Nature Magazine study — “Reframing incentives for climate policy action” — which appears to draw its conclusions from a computer model of economic analysis of a “new incentives configuration” which “emerges with the new energy geopolitics” [evidenced at COP26?]. I confess that I did not make an effort to carefully read the Nature study — just whisked an overview of its methods and discussion. An excerpt from the methods section was more than sufficient to dull my interest: “Here we used the non-optimization integrated assessment model E3ME-FTT-GENIE framework based on observed technology evolution dynamics and behaviour measured in economic and technology time series.” I am extremely skeptical of the prognostications of economists, economic theories and computer models, social scientists and their theories and computer models, and even more skeptical of a computer model tying all their efforts together into a study nicely timed to coincide with the conclusion of the dismal COP26 meeting.

    The u.s. downfall may accompany the downfall of fossil fuel. But the causes of the impending u.s. downfall are much more numerous and broader than the downfall of fossil fuels. Wholly owned politicians, bolstered by Economists, and controlled by Big Money interests, including Fossil Fuel Big Money, and I would add Green New Deal Big Money, are all doing their part to loot and dismantle the remnants of the u.s. economy and polity.

    I can agree with some of what Tooze suggests:
    “The transition [an energy transition to renewables and ‘Greeness’] is not a done deal, of course.”
    “But if a large part of known oil, gas, and coal reserves are now destined to stay in the ground, this has daunting implications for the energy industry.”
    I question Tooze’s begging the question whether existing renewables technologies can deliver “an agro-industrial transformation, offering ultra-cheap electricity from wind and solar” without some fancy accounting work. And even if renewables technologies could offer ultra-cheap electricity, electricity provides only a fraction of current energy needs and uses. Scan through the “Scenarios and choices of regional decarbonization policies” the Nature study describes at its tail. Examine “Road transport” for example. How could the policies described there transform the u.s. logistics chains to transition away from a dependence on fossil fuels and is the u.s. singular in its devotions to long, lean, fragile logistics chains? I believe the road ahead is much more complex and bumpy than anything the Nature study contemplates or predicts.

  28. fresno dan

    Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war The Saker
    Here is the problem as I see it: “Biden” has allowed all sorts of russophobic nutcases to paint the Biden Administration into the exact same corner where the same russophobic nutcases stuck Trump: a place where no meaningful negotiations (i.e. negotiations which imply the willingness to make mutual concessions) are possible. All that Kabuki theater about “talking to Russia from a position of strength/force” kind of implies that the Russians will get scared and cave in to the Empire. The problem is that in the real world (as opposed the political Hollywood of the western propaganda machine), it is Russia which is in a very strong position while the US/NATO/EU are all in a position of extreme vulnerability.
    —————————————————————————-
    https://hotair.com/jazz-shaw/2021/12/05/what-will-biden-do-if-putin-invades-ukraine-more-sanctions-n433286
    At first glance, “more sanctions” doesn’t sound like much of a threat in response to a Russian military invasion of a neighboring nation. After all, there are already a number of sanctions imposed on the Russian government and many prominent Russian officials, both military and civilian. But I do have to admit that there is one sanctioning maneuver available that would probably get Putin’s attention. Analysts refer to it as the “nuclear option” when it comes to sanctions. We could cut Russia off from the Belgium-based SWIFT system which is the primary vehicle for moving funds around between thousands of banks around the world.
    =========================================
    Now, the Hotair site that I refer to (conservative, repub, or rightwing – whatever your preference in adjectives) confirms that both Fox and MSNBC/CNN are anti Russia. So those are “news” agencies – what does a potential presidential candidate like Trump think? As far as I can gleen from past comments, Trump sometimes sounds the most pacifistic candidate with regards to the Russia/Ukraine situation of either party. Of course, a google search of “Trump quotes regarding Russia and Ukraine” in the past year got me endless articles about….Joe Biden and Ukraine….apparently the number one search engine in America can not discern the difference between Biden and Trump (is every f*cking thing in this country crap???)
    Of course, Trump HIMSELF claims he has been tougher that ANYONE on Russia, and there have been many postings here at NC that support that contention. Does Trump say one thing and do another? Or does the US government simply ignore Trump?
    So, does the US political system have even ONE viable candidate that advocates not getting involved between Russia and Ukraine??? It seems to me the US government ignores most of the voters of the time.

    1. Carolinian

      can not discern the difference between Biden and Trump

      Prolly because every time someone asks Biden why things are messed up he blames Trump. Leaves the Google algos scratching their virtual heads.

      One site I read said Ukraine will attack Donbass just as soon as Putin leaves for the Winter Olympics. There’s a history. Of course Ukraine isn’t going to do anything unless they get a green light from Washington.

      1. albrt

        My guess is that by the time the Ukrainians decide to invade Donbass, the Russians will have rotated in regulars to replace a lot of the Donbass militia. In that sense there will be a Russian invasion, but there isn’t really anything the Blinken/Nuland dimwits can do about it.

  29. Ohnoyoucantdothat

    A belated comment on the article from 2 days ago about shale oil. I’ve been busy converting an old school bus into a skoolie and haven’t been paying too much attention to anything else. I’m presently sitting in the Permian Basin, in Southeast New Mexico. The son of the guy I’m staying with works in the basin as a corrosion specialist. He told me a few days ago that most of the pipelines he monitors are empty and very little oil is flowing. I asked him why given the $80+ per barrel price. He gave me one of those “knowing” looks and suggested that producers were more concerned about long-term contracts, not the spot price. All the oil from this area flows to a central storage facility (sorry, don’t remember exactly where that is but would guess either Texas or Oklahoma) and is then distributed to the refiners. Most of that crude is sold under these contracts which are still in the $40s. I think most of those contracts are up for renewal in the new year. That’s when prices will go ballistic. And that’s when oil will start flowing. According to the son, drilling is going on quite aggressively but finished wells are being capped. Producers are only pumping enough to pay the bills. All of this is consistent with what I saw in September driving from Roswell heading south. I’d say 80% or more of the pump jacks were idle. So I think the article isn’t being completely honest. For now, shale oil is staying in the ground waiting for better prices.

    1. Pate

      “flows to a central storage facility (sorry, don’t remember exactly where that is but would guess either Texas or Oklahoma“

      Prolly Drumright OK

      1. foghorn longhorn

        It is actually, Cushing OK.
        My peeps in that neck of the woods are back working again, after getting canned for about a year, right at the start of the madness.

  30. Quentin

    I’d appreciate if someone could tell me what kind of stunning crane was featured in yesterday’s Antidote du jour, December 4. Japanese? Siberian?

  31. Stan

    Even on U.S. Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out — Pro Publica

    RE “‘This is an overall extension of the police state,’ said Anna Puglisi, a senior fellow at Georgetown University who served until last year as the U.S. intelligence community’s national counterintelligence officer for East Asia. ‘It is brazen. But when you talk about it, people act as if you’re nuts. There has been no cost to China [sic] for this.'”

    This should be no surprise to anyone, especially Chinese nationals on US campuses. The Chinese Stasi and Stasi wannabes planted in US universities are just as bad as their totalitarian American and Russian counterparts.

    And, Americans have no business pointing their hypocritical, bloody fingers at China because the US Stasi also targets, tortures and kills US civilians inside and outside US borders. Indeed, Anna Puglisi — “senior fellow at Georgetown University who served until last year as the U.S. intelligence community’s national counterintelligence officer for East Asia” — is quite a piece of work. The US Stasi has stalked and harassed me in China (East Asia) too, not only in the US, London, Mexico and Brazil. She knows about the US Stasi’s COINTELPRO / Zersetzung torture programs aimed at US dissidents, i.e., anyone the US Stasi simply does not like. She and her colleagues are just as evil and guilty as the CCP Stasi she criticizes. She is another, dime-a-dozen, American double-standard on legs. Thanks to US voters who thank those people for keeping them “safe”, there has been great cost to the US for this. But US voters don’t have a clue.

  32. wellwellthen

    “standing in the breath of a person with Covid-19 to become infected with almost 100 percent certainty”
    demonstrable nonsense. Check the studies of family transmission. Nowheres near 100%

    1. Yves Smith

      Irrelevant. Those studies were on wild type which was vastly less transmissible than Delta, which is shaping up to be markedly less transmissible than Omicron.

  33. Bart Hansen

    Both the Post and the Times have frontpage anti-Assad pieces in today’s paper, marching in lockstep as they do with Russia.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, if Syria is now a narco-state, it’s entirely sponsored by the United States’ bankrolled destruction of that country.

  34. fresno dan

    https://popular.info/p/a-tale-of-two-thefts
    For example, on June 14, 2021, a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco tweeted a cellphone video of a man in Walgreens filling a garbage bag with stolen items and riding his bicycle out of the store. According to San Francisco’s crime database, the value of the merchandise stolen in the incident was between $200 and $950.

    According to an analysis by FAIR, a media watchdog, this single incident generated 309 stories between June 14 and July 12. A search by Popular Information reveals that, since July 12, there have been dozens of additional stories mentioning the incident. The theft has been covered in a slew of major publications including the New York Times, USA Today and CNN.
    ….
    Just a few months earlier, in November 2020, Walgreens paid a $4.5 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging that it stole wages from thousands of its employees in California between 2010 and 2017.
    ….
    So this is a story of a corporation that stole millions of dollars from its own employees. How much news coverage did it generate? There was a single 221-word story in Bloomberg Law, an industry publication. And that’s it. There has been no coverage in the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, or the dozens of other publications that covered the story of a man stealing a few hundred dollars of merchandise.
    ===========================================
    Most, if not all “news” is totally subjective – there really is no objective criteria for what is “news worthy.” Indeed, what gets reported is what makes money….
    Blonde woman disappears and it is a daily story with hourly updates. To paraphrase Stalin, the disappearance of one blonde is a tragedy, the disappearance of a million brown women is a statistic…

    1. albrt

      You see, right there you gave objective criteria for what is news worthy – “blonde woman” and “what makes money.”

      I think doing wacky stuff on a bicycle is also predictably newsworthy.

      May be completely immoral, but it’s objectively consistent.

  35. coboarts

    yes, thank you, you wonderful socialists – keep the workers working – feed them crickets… “The Problem With Alice Waters and the “Slow Food” Movement” Jacobin… Who was it that said it, oh yeah, that old VN Vet dude – “burn it all down”

  36. Tony22

    “Visualizing the Accumulation of Human-Made Mass on Earth”

    Big error in that chart: Concrete and aggregate are separately weighed.

    Concrete is aggregate, gravel and sand, plus cement and water.

    This would be like weighing all the bread one ever ate, plus the flour to make it.

    1. albrt

      Someone who knows what they are talking about would probably have excluded the crossover. The problem is we don’t know whether the chart was created by someone who knows what they are talking about, or by a journalist.

  37. MarkT

    Apropos of nothing

    Our Pfizer, who art in Heaven
    Hallowed be thy vaccines
    Thy profits sum
    Thy will be done
    On earth as it is in Washington

    Give us this day our daily dose
    And forgive us our travels
    As we forgive those who travel with us.
    Lead us not into quarantine
    But deliver us from isolation.

    For thine is the patent and the profit and the glory. Forever and ever.

  38. farmboy

    “The downside is poorer nutrition, industrialized food production, CAFO’s, soil erosion, chemical use, health impacts both public and personal.” Hey, I agree. Let’s see how to manage this transition on 15 million acres of winter wheat production in the arid western US and maintain production and exports. We are still at proof of concept, but the horse regime ushered out post WW2 can provide a roadmap. Cover crop rotations to substitute for a year of fallow will likely suffice. Plant breeding will be essential and crucial just like Borlaug introduced. Biology and genetics replace chemistry and CAFO’s.

  39. Data Prepper

    If you follow the tweet on mask supporting evidence from Mark Sumner to the Documenting Covid page (https://documentingcovid19.io/tags/48), you are presented with links to 2 PDFs.

    One PDF is for ‘DHSS masked vs unmasked case rate study results’ (https://documentingcovid19.io/uploads/Masked%20vs.%20Unmasked%20Case%20Rate%2011.3.pdf)
    One PDF is for deaths masked vs unmakes. ‘DHSS masked vs unmasked death rate study results’ (and what Sumner tweeted and Lamber posted). (https://documentingcovid19.io/uploads/Masked%20vs.%20Unmasked%20Death%20Rate%2011.3.pdf)

    As done for these graphs, is masking really being measured or economic class/income inequality? Per the description of the page with the PDF links, “…the health department responded with two plot graphs showing the difference in masked jurisdictions (St. Louis and St. Louis County, Kansas City and Jackson County) and the rest of the state, which mostly do not have mask policies.” So, the unmasked lines include masked areas outside the large metropolitan areas.

    Yougang Gu had done some analysis on the correlations on income inequality and COVID death.
    https://twitter.com/youyanggu/status/1407418434955005955

    The case rate graph comparison, shows a close relationship, with a case rate offset between mask vs unmasked. The death rate graph for unmasked is rather erratic with alarming spikes, which don’t quite correspond to the case rate graph. (I understand deaths would be delayed, but still.)

    Perhaps a minor quibble, but I don’t like the Y-axes for both graphs being labled the same between each graphs. The Y-axis on BOTH PDFs is labeled as ‘Moving Average of Case Rate per 100k Population’, whether for ‘case rate’ plot or ‘Deaths’ plot. The data plotted looks different, and the title is different, but the Y-axis label is the same. At the very least, I call this sloppy data prep. The title for the deaths graphs is wrong as well, not reflected the actual time period of the x-axis. Again, sloppy prep.

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