Links 1/22/2022

Notre Dame rises again National Geographic (David L)

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master, Dies at 95 Tricycle (David L)

A Rio Grande Valley Woman Just Broke the U.S. Record for Most Birds Spotted in a Year Texas Monthly (resilc)

Striking Black and White Photos of Beautiful Rock Formations Found in the Western U.S. My Modern Met (David L)

1,100 Delicate Drawings of Root Systems Reveals the Hidden World of Plants Open Culture (David L)

Hubble Finds a Black Hole Igniting Star Formation in a Dwarf Galaxy NASA (guurst)

The immense power of Tongan volcano eruption baffled scientists, now they’re trying to unravel what happened ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Large Spinning Ice Disk Forms on Presumpscot River in Southern Maine Fliboard (David L)

Can a Neural Network Ace an MIT Math Exam? Cantor’s Paradise (David L)

Kidneys From a Genetically Altered Pig Are Implanted in a Brain-Dead Patient New York Times (resilc)

Cannabis Use Produces Persistent Cognitive Impairments Neuroscience News (David L). Had long assumed that based on the stoners I knew in college. Would like a comparison to alcohol use, though…


Hong Kong to cull hamsters and quarantine pet store visitors over Covid fears Financial Times (David L)


Covid reinfection: how likely are you to catch virus multiple times? Guardian (Dr. Kevin). Key section:

According to scientists at Imperial College London, after taking into account a host of factors Omicron was associated with somewhere between a 4.38 and 6.63-fold higher risk of reinfection, compared with Delta.

The team add that this means protection against catching Covid arising from a previous infection within the past six months has fallen from about 85% before Omicron turned up to somewhere between 0% and 27%. The drop is not surprising given that Omicron has been found to have the ability to dodge the body’s immune responses to a significant degree.

Study suggests SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant spike mediated immune escape and tropism shift (Kevin W)

Serological screening suggests single SARS-CoV-2 spillover events to cattle BioRxIv (guurst)

Nervous system consequences of COVID-19 Science

Oral CBD Prevented COVID-19 Infection in Real-World Patients, Study Suggests Vice (resilc)



Would help if Pagel would quote precisely, “detected” does not = reported given home testing and broken/downgraded reporting in many states. But GM, only mildly engaging in hyperbole, suggested that everyone in the world would have gotten Covid by March at its propagation rate:

She’s faculty at UCSF. Theories below:

The biggie is the pattern we’ve seen regularly: schools act as if kids are well masked when they let them eat lunch together. Second is adult KN/N95s won’t fit kids well and probably leak a lot.

Federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers The Hill

Arizona Sues U.S. to Block Clawback of Funds Over School Mask-Wearing Policies Wall Street Journal

Mask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House The Hill


The excruciatingly long, slow ‘death’ of coal Grid News (resilc)

Everyone’s least favorite climate fix? Nuclear power gets fresh look. Christian Science Monitor

A Dairy Farm Is Defending a Pollution Lawsuit. Some Say Vermont’s Regs Are on Trial Seven Days (resilc)


One in three UK business owners fear their company won’t exist anymore in a year as Brexit onslaught intensifies City AM (guurst). From earlier in the week, still germane.

Old Blighty

Average UK first-time buyer is now older than 30, says Halifax Guardian (Kevin W)

Germany wants to attract 400,000 skilled workers from abroad each year Reuters (resilc)

New Cold War

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland. C-SPAN (Kevin C)

From the day before the meeting: Blinken droht Moskau mit “massiven Konsequenzen” Tagesschau (guurst). Google Translate: Blinken threatens Moscow with “massive consequences”

How Emmanuel Macron can end the threat of war in Europe Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Anthony Blinken and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Biden Administration Gilbert Doctorow (guurst). Key section:

The Russians have a very flexible and constantly changing set of responses to threats and opportunities. This is what makes it so difficult for us commentators to foresee the actual path to denouement. But it is also what makes it almost certain the Russians will get what they want and change the European security architecture to their advantage in the face of American obtuseness.

More Gilbert Doctorow: Russian elites talk WAR: ‘Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,’ 16 January 2022 (Chuck L)


The UAE’s bitter choices: strikes in its cities or defeat in Yemen The Cradle (Chuck L)


A veteran charged in the Capitol riot was sentenced to home detention and probation after a fellow Marine identified him to the FBI Business Insider


Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines Politico (David L)


Democrats hope to salvage Biden’s agenda on Manchin’s terms The Hill. So how is it Biden’s agenda?

Woke Watch

Police State Watch

Pastor, sister say rogue Alabama police force sought revenge Hoo boy.

The true cost of policing (guurst)

Our Famously Free Press

Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham predicts S&P 500 will crash 50% after 4th US ‘superbubble’ in the past century pops Business Insider (David L). Odds are he is right…but when? And as with the dot-com era, there’s often a short blowout phase before the implosion. You could see Something Bad was imminent in 2007-8 due to the massive leverage surrounding housing coming apart. This time, the sources of an unwind now look way more diffuse.

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech Axios (Kevin W). Kill me now.

Inflation: US vs. Euro Area and UK Menzie Chinn

Professionals Must Now Disclose Their Interests in the PR [Puerto Rico] Cases Credit Slips. Horse is out the barn and in the next county measure with respect to McKinsey self-dealing.

Fed releases long-awaited study on a digital dollar but doesn’t take a position yet on creating one CNBC (Paul R)

A New Model for Ethical Leadership, moving beyond “don’t lie, don’t cheat … Harvard Business Review (Dr. Kevin). Sigh. After HBS graduate Paul Bilzerian was prosecuted and went to prison, there was a great deal of navel gazing about ethics. After much study (real study, not meant to be self serving or exculpating), the school concluded there wasn’t anything they could do. By the time students enrolled, their moral compasses were already set.

Guillotine Watch

Some fashion guy just died White Hot Harlots (Anthony L)

Class Warfare

2022’s States With the Highest Job Resignation Rates WalletHub

Gen U: Generation Union (feat. Jaz Brisack & Casey Moore of Starbucks Workers United) Michael Moore

Antidote du jour. Alison L’s Daisy:

And a bonus (Howard Beale IV):

And a second bonus (musk ox fan Dr. Kevin):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ambrit

    Brookside, Alabama ‘has form’ when it comes to “questionable” actions under the guise of “official duties.” The town is running a “Ticket Mill;” where an outsized number of officers proportional to the town’s population purposefully write legally ‘questionable’ and often outright fraudulent tickets simply for the purposes of raising funds. Even other Alabama police forces oppose this practice as carried out by Brookside.

    1. LawnDart

      “Policing for profit” is another extortion racket run amok in this country: our society has first-world pretensions and third-world status, and the fact that these revenue rats are allowed to exist is just more evidence of this.

    2. Wukchumni

      On my early trips to Aussie/NZ 40 years ago I was too young to be able to rent a car, so I bought a circa 1968 Renault in Melbourne and it was my ride for 3 months, and one time I was on the Hume Hwy going to Sydney and I got off the beaten track a little and about 2 miles before getting to this little town-the pavement stopped and I was following too close to another car and it spit out a rock which hit my windshield and busted it up real good, I remember having to poke my head out the side window to be able to see.

      I pull into the little smoke of perhaps a thousand residents and there must’ve been 6 or 7 windshield shops, an odd variation of Brookside, Alabama to be sure, and I imagined kids in town going on field trips to place the just right sized rocks on the dirt road to snag motorists, like me.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Similar story. I was in a road rally which went through the Yucatan peninsula en route to Costa Rica when we (my co-driver and I) had a sudden blowout. The tire was shredded. While my co-driver changed the tire, I walked back down the 2 lane highway until I located a piece of rebar embedded in the concrete and jutting out at such an angle as to guarantee tire loss. Huh.

        Walked back to the SUV (a butched-up Suzuki Samurai) only to have an angry trucker blast his horn and scream at us as he passed. I later learned that it was considered proper road etiquette to have someone waving a red cloth when broken down.

        Tire changed, tools squared away, and we were off. Around the very next bend we passed a familiar semi with several flat tires on the side of the road with a very sad driver. No red flag.

        A kilometer or so down the road, we came upon a small town. The very first business was a tire shop.

      2. griffen

        Reading the above, it occurs this is often a tactic seen on film for some of the locals to get their teeth into the travelers wallets. Or in some instances on film, their teeth into the travelers.

        Texas Chainsaw Massacre (I think this is getting a 2022 refresh). The Hills Have Eyes (recent film reboot). Wrong Turn.

    3. griffen

      It ain’t Mayberry that’s for sure, or the real town of Mt Airy, NC. That article reads like a despicable, vindictive act by a town government.

      Must be nothing to do, and that is not excusing those actions.

    4. Glen

      I thought Yves mentioned that this is a county that got taken to the cleaners on a Wall St deal, and is now doing whatever it can to raise money.

      1. ambrit

        That’s the County of Jefferson. Brookside is a town within the County and is running it’s own side hustle, independent of the rest of the County. Heaven help us if the County Sheriff’s coppers start doing this to scale.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Grew up in the neighboring county, also on I-22. The described highway robberies are unrelated to the Wall St. deal. Just a bunch of small town jerks who saw the new interstate (Birmingham to Memphis highway) as a gold mine. There are towns like this all over the US. Ohio seems to have a few that use their 400 yards of interstate to pay the town’s bills. Same thing here.

        Note that we elect our judges and, strangely, don’t require that judges have a law degree or relevant experience.

    5. Carolinian

      I have occasionally driven on I-22 but may have to look at a long detour next time.

      There have been reports of such towns in Texas–often trying to stop Hispanics carrying large amounts of unbanked cash the police can sieze

      1. JTMcPhee

        As a GI driving an MGB sports car in Texas in 1969, I had a target painted on my backside. I got stopped in Piersall, TX, for the false claim that I had “passed with insufficient clearance” just before leaving the town limits. There were cops lined up, waiting their turn. I got directed to the village hall, a big room with a judge and bench at each end and two lines of suckers waiting to be processed. I did not have the $150 cash fine demanded, so the cops stuck me in the county jail for the time it took for my parents, Rest In Peace, to drive to Chicago (it was Sunday and that was the closest Western Union shop that was open) and wire the money to the town treasurer. Ten hours in a nasty cell, at least it was single-occupancy. No “thank you for your service,” of course. And if I did not have that support network? I’d have been locked up for 30 days doing hard labor. Maybe then getting locked up by the Army for being AWOL.

        Rule of law, my aching a$$.

        1. Wukchumni

          How traumatic that must’ve been, and i thank my lucky stars that they weren’t taking Nixon Jugend yet, allowing this then seven year old to slip their draft dragnet.

        2. JBird4049

          $150 in 1969. That is one large fine for such a petty offense.

          I am thinking more and more that someone should create something akin to the Greenbook, but this time for everyone and more focused on the police.

          I keep reading about policing for profit (and a replacement for municipal taxation) with nothing to do with deliberate lawbreaking that often occurs with the police. Then I can add the places where the police are unusually corrupt, brutal, and lethal.

          It is not obvious when you are dealing with an honest or corrupt department (or government) as they look the same. These places only become know once a certain number of people are abused, which can be thousands of people. California and the Bay Area could use one. Occasionally, a police department will be reformed or moderate, but it looks like playing Whac-a-mole with the moles winning and reproducing. And ain’t that depressing?

          America, land of the Free.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe it could be digital and steadily updated, if it had enough people and financial support.

            Maybe it could be called something like CopWatch Bluebook.

            1. JBird4049

              (Caution. Rant ahead.).

              Oh, and all the extra fees and charges added to a fine. $259 becomes $1000.

              Then there is the paperwork for disability, medical, and any financial aid.

              “Please verify that you are still permanently disabled.” (I thought permanent was permanent? But I have to say it yearly or lose it.)

              “Please include all all money in your roommates and partner’s possessions anywhere in your home to verify the property requirements.”

              Then there is stuff like this.

              “You can’t pay your fine and there are no available “volunteer” positions open to pay it? We might have to send you to jail for nonpayment.”

              These are all paraphrasings I have read or been told while dealing with the system in liberal California.

    6. Dave in Austin

      I got caught in a scam like this 20+ years ago in southern NJ on I-295. New Jersey was being paid by a federal grant to run a “drug interdiction task force” designed to find drug couriers traveling on the interstates between the south and NYC. I got stopped for speeding while tailgating a tractor trailer which was not stopped. I was carrying a small amount of marijuana. Eventually I went to court and asked for a trial, which surprised everyone. Long story short, I was found not guilty. Of course that took three trips from Washington, DC to south Jersey all at my own expense.

      A few years later I got my revenge. I was indirectly involved in the selection of the winning bidder on a $35 million dollar contract. One of the two finalists was a NJ company. Needless to say, it didn’t get the contract. As the Italians used to say “Revenge is a dish which may be served cold.”

      That NJ program at least had a real government goal in mind, even though it was selective enforcement. The other car stopped that morning was being confiscated because in had “secret compartments”- not drugs, just compartments. The two officers filling out the form were puzzling over what to put down on the charging form; they couldn’t figure out what crime to charge “the Dominican” with. It didn’t matter. He headed back to NYC on the bus without being charged and they kept the car.

      The police in my case acted in a professional manner although their office in a hastily converted public works building left a lot to be desired. When they un-cuffed me from the bench I was cuffed to and led me past the six officers’ desks to the fingerprint table I was relaxed and cooperative with the officer guiding me on my left. While I was pressing a finger of my left hand on the ink pad I noticed that on the desk three feet to my right there was a semi-automatic pistol with the clip in. Without thinking I nudged to the left and kept bumping up against the officer. He looked at me, annoyed, then noticed the gun. “Frank! Frank! Your gun.” he yelled as we both moved left. Frank came and got his gun.

      Honestly, the Alabama case is much more serious than what happened to me, a true “Ludowici, GA” situation. Never heard of the place? It was the most famous speed trap in the US back in the 1950s. It was located on an unfinished part of I 95 going from NY to FL and the locals made a living off NY plates using the still perfectly legal “Didn’t use his turn signal while changing lanes” scam.

      The place embarrassed most Georgians and NY was starting to respond by placing Georgia companies and citizens in the cross-hairs when they were in New York City. An honest Georgia politician ran for Governor. Part of his platform was to put a stop to Ludowici. He won, pulled the town’s police powers temporarily until they promised to stop, and resolved the problem. His name was Jimmy Carter.

      I don’t think it would take too many companies in AL having their bids turned down by companies and government organizations in other states before Alabama to got the message.

      1. Wukchumni

        Last time I went to Burning Man in 2009, Nevada Highway Patrol was popping cars around Gerlach for any old reason, only to escalate it into a drug search if you were dumb enough to allow that to happen.

        It was like shooting fish in a barrel though, as if you aren’t carrying, ha ha!

        I knew somebody that got escalated and he had 2x 1/2 gram little baggies of cocaine and he got busted for ‘dealing’ and the worst part was he didn’t even like cocaine, it was just something else in his kitbag of trix.

        He told me he was one of about 300-400 who were nailed oh so close to Burning Man, and they were all bused back to Reno and put in jail. It cost him $13k in fees etc. when it was all said and done.

      2. Oh

        Watch for the crooked police who dish out tickets in Hawaii (big island) where they don’t require radar to clock you – just their “trained eye”. I saw this cop in the rearview mirror and I pulled over to let him go (I thought he was on a call) but he ticketed me for speeding and cutting into the traffic, neither of which I did. I was driving a compact rental and was just coming out of a shopping center and he wrote me up for doing 65 mph. Bull***t! I appealed to the judge to no avail. I paid a $200 fine. I would have cost me over $1000 to fly back for a trial. They knew that, I’ll never visit there again.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats hope to salvage Biden’s agenda on Manchin’s terms”

    On the face of it, it will be no longer Biden’s Bill but Manchin’s Bill, especially when they are asking him what ‘chunks’ he can agree on to be kept in. But I smell a rat. Manchin has said that he wants to start off with ‘a clean sheet of paper and to start over’. To me, that means that he is saying that the past several months of negotiations he wants trashed as if they did not exist. Can you imagine something like that happening in the commercial world? I can see it now. ‘Hey, all those months of negotiating we have been doing this contract? Well I’m gunna trash them and I am demanding that we start over from where we were last year. You cool with that?’ This puts negotiations back at square one. Of course this put’s Manchin in the driver’s seat as pressure will increase on Biden to accede to any of Manchin’s demands so that he has something to show the public as the US goes into the midterms. And there is no guarantee that Manchin may not just drop the boon on Biden and say that he cannot agree to any bill whatsoever so hasta la vista, baby.

    1. PHLDenizen

      As long as Dems get their SOS — Save our SALT (deduction) answered — not sure they really give a shit about anything else. I hope Manchin and Sinema torpedo the bill just to keep the SALT cap in place. This bill is rapidly degenerating into something worth nothing to anyone other than the oligarchs and the PMC with aspirations to be such. I’m feeling ornery and accelerationist today.

      Schools and law enforcement, based on my limited sample size, appear to be the largest chunk of prop taxes. And things like NJ’s “home rule”, whereby even the most minuscule town insists on funding its own municipal services that would cheaper with consolidation. I’d like to think that the forces pushing those taxes down would squeeze out useless school admins and turning the police departments into something less than a standing army would occur, but that never happens. The ratchet effect in full force.

      Their base hates the SALT cap because it cuts into their nanny and housekeeping budgets. Forces them to take relatively more modest vacations. And makes it more expensive to send their kids to private school.

      1. Oh

        The Dims are double dealers anyway. They use Manchin as an excuse and play games as though they care for the people.

        1. the last D

          Maybe it’s time for Bernie Sanders to run as a republican. I mean, don’t they care for people? Yeah, Bernie, run for a party that cares for people and will be sure to give you a fair shot in the primaries.
          Neither party cares for people, only the green kind, that fits in their pockets. Money is speech, after all, and democrats and republicans are all ears.

  3. timbers

    Psaki “My advice to everyone out there who’s frustrated, sad, angry, pissed off, feel those emotions, go to a kickboxing class, have a margarita, do whatever you need to do this weekend, and then wake up on Monday morning, we gotta keep fighting.”

    Keep fighting for what? Nancy Pelosi and most of the Congressional delegation’s insider trading stock portfolios? Massive double digit inflation in housing making home and apartments unfordable and finance that is never called inflation? Death at an early age because healthcare is unaffordable and complex and that’s not inflation either it’s just “adding to the Gross National Product”? President Joe Manchin’s tax breaks and subsidies to the rich and corporations? Senator Biden’s 2nd Act of Obama breaking all his promises then proceeding to do the opposite? Antony Blinken’s small appendage style of diplomacy over compensation by insults and threats? How will American’s benefit from losing a hot war with Russia or Europe from a new flood of economic immigrants coming their way from Ukraine and then cutting off for good it’s access to cheap Russian fuel?

    Every opinion poll I’ve read about shows the folks in Ukraine disapprove of their government by incredible margins that make Senator Biden look stellar by comparison. They have been denied the option of change thru voting. Will the U.S. one day become like Ukraine with equally low ratings of the U.S. leadership?

    Biden did recently raise the Federal minimum wage to a whopping $15 but it took so long it should have been $20 or $25 instead.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s there new buzz word. I guess their polling said people saw them as cowards, a win for their pr department as they are just right wingers.

        Also I saw it pointed out Psaki was calling for the weekend at noon. She’s a fighter…

      2. Lou Anton

        Glass Joe from Mike Tyson’s punch out was a fighter too (YT for reference for those of you who aren’t late Gen Xers). Hey, I kinda like the nickname Glass Joe for Biden! Just takes one punch and he’s out.

      3. CarlH

        We have to keep “fighting” for “robust”, “bipartisan”, “solutions” that will help the “folks” “center” their priorities. The words with quotation marks are some of the weasel words that drive me crazy when coming from the dems. There are so many more. Our language has been thoroughly corrupted.

    1. SteveD

      Reminds me of Obama’s ‘Make me do it’. If it is _our job_ to “keep fighting” or “make them do it” or whatever phrasing they want to use, then what is the point of representative democracy? Seems to me they are just unreliable middlemen.

      1. Questa Nota

        FDR ghost must’ve been laughing at how another of his actions got appropriated. At least he had something to show for his efforts.

    2. Carla

      “[Ukrainians] have been denied the option of change thru voting.”

      So have Americans. Just by another mechanism.

      But certainly, if ever we have been denied anything, it is the option of change thru voting.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I keep getting on liberal Democrat lists; I got one from Pelosi yesterday about how mad she is, and can I please give tons of money to the DCCC so we can fight on.

      I had some choice words when I again unsubscribed + reported as spam in GMail, for what that’s worth.

      All this because I gave money to one apparently Democrat-aligned NGO in 2020 to help out workers losing their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic. Oops. I’ve been punished with liberal Democrat fundraising emails ever since. (Or Sanders gave up his list, but I can’t believe that happened or I would have read about it.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        You would be shocked by what is public information. It’s why the vaunted Obama list never turned into anything. It was all entered into VAN. Like anything, it’s how the list is used. Jen Psaki has VAN access, but she’s an idiot. For her it’s worthless. Those people waste time soliciting from people who gave to Sanders groups. They do it all the time.

        Terry Mac started sending out emails in mid October about how his grassroots army wasn’t sending enough money. I’m obviously not sending him money, but he wasn’t using the emails to promote messages just gripe. Then he probably sent that round to the donors for Jennifer Carroll Foy. Terry wasn’t even selling himself. He was just griping. Good information in the hands of idiots is worthless.

        1. Jason Boxman

          It’s more insidious than that; I just got an email from DGA asking for money too. This is repugnant.

      2. chuck roast

        Always send a money order and put a bogus name on it…they get the cash and you get your anonymity.

    4. Joe Well

      The solution really is to go to group fitness classes and then to a bar because once we all have covid we’ll be too sick to worry about covid. Or the collapse of civilization.

    5. Wukchumni

      Nibblin’ on let them eat cake
      Watchin’ the sum take
      All of those dead from Covid mistake
      Strummin’ my QWERTY
      On my laptop circuitry
      Smell those consequences
      They’re beginnin’ to boil

      Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
      Searchin’ for somebody to kickbox assault
      Some people claim that there’s Biden to blame
      But I know it’s Psaki’s fault

      Don’t know the reason
      I got Covid during ski season
      Nothin’ to show but this brand new positive attitude
      But it’s a real beauty
      An asymptomatic cutie
      How it got here I haven’t a clue

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its absolutely unreal, but yes, its hilarious.

      The irony is though, that give it 2 centuries or so it will be a national monument and heritage groups will be campaigning for its restoration. thats assuming its made of stone and not paper mâché, which I suspect much of it is.

      1. Wukchumni

        Neuschwanstein Castle is pretty kitschy inside, but doesn’t hold a candle to Neupondstein Castle with the former being de-moated.

      2. Deschain

        Am I the only one who thinks he and his wife got divorced because she wanted to call it Galt’s Gulch

        1. ambrit

          Oh, my money’s on her kicking him to the curb for calling her Galt’s Gulch. (That’s how many of “those sorts of people” roll. Just ask any of Epstein’s Airline passengers.)

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve been to Galt and it suffers greatly in being too close to Stockton for me to pull up stakes and move to the gulch-way too many funky farm smells as well-a cacophony of ca ca not to mention thanks to bovine intervention, but there is a decent ‘Meskin restaurant there in it’s favor, and not that far from Weimar where there isn’t a war on cash, unlike Alpine Meadows ski resort a little further down the road where coinflict has been going on since it opened in October, and the cash utilities have mounted, sequestered in wallets and purses.

    2. Joe Well

      Once upon a time (1920s), a superrich tycoon inventor built a castle, Hammond Castle in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and it was actually in reasonably good taste (open for tours, that’s how I know). Furnished with actual medieval and classical antiquities including a real Roman sarcophagus, and the piece de resistance (cannot be bothered to look up spelling), a massive organ he himself designed.

      What a contrast with this trash version of Dungeons and Dragons. A before-and-after of American decline.

    3. jr

      The McCloskeys must be drooling with envy. All they got was a rip-off Renaissance faux-storical mansion to restore to it’s former cheesiness. This is a real Disney palace! Think of all the history they could preserve.

    4. juno mas

      I came across a similar castle-sized residence in the late 1980’s (Savings & Loan Bubble/Fraud). However, it was unfinished.

      Hidden high in the hills of North Shore of Lake Tahoe (Incline Village) with massive entertainment rooms (music/theater) and 25m indoor swimming pool. The interior was paneled with all manner of exotic wood. (The fine carpentry tools (shapers/joinery) were still there—seems all the builders/workers departed on very short notice). Maybe the owner/builder was one of those caught in the savings and loan debacle.

        1. Rainlover

          Luxury is having enough room to house your very own tree. At least this castle looks comfortable. Most of the mansions I’ve toured from NC seemed to be built only to impress, not to actually live in. Plus an impressive drop in price. My take away: you can build your dream castle but good luck finding a buyer when you tire of it. Small market.

      1. griffen

        While this was not in Tahoe, but Denver, I’m always reminded of such cautionary tales when regulators and authorities actually pursued the thieving and lying miscreants behind these lending institution scandals. Clarifying that the rule of law applied to CEOs and prominent connected people.

        Note the presence of a fairly prominent political family. The numerous S&L implosions within Texas in the late 80s, now that was the very heart of the debacle.

  4. griffen

    Today’s example for the guillotine. Hope you have not eaten yet this fine morning. Over the top much, with the castle design and dork interior. What an effing eyesore. The continued tweets are pretty spot on for satire.

    Or maybe the dude really, really enjoyed Braveheart. And was glad when Wallace finally died. \sarc

        1. Wukchumni

          There was a ski on & ski off chalet being constructed last week in Mammoth from my purview on the chair going up, and they pretty much use the same method as you would on a Disney Castle in that much of the facing boards were particle wood sheathed in Tyvek, this on a couple million buck skied-à-terre.

          1. juno mas

            The days of building substantial homes with brick and mortar are long gone. The skilled craftsment as well as the material.

            Strand board (OSB) has replaced regular plywood for all manner of sheathing in stick built structures (homes). Standard plywood is now too expensive to install, except for designated structural support and seismic shear stress.

            Mammoth is in Cali, of course, and the building code requires Tyvek (or equal) as an energy conservation wrap (keeps out the cold mountain air).

  5. The Rev Kev

    “A veteran charged in the Capitol riot was sentenced to home detention and probation after a fellow Marine identified him to the FBI”

    If you are getting tired of all those arrested protestors having to go on their knees and beg for forgiveness like an old-style Soviet court scene, you ain’t see nothing yet. Just wait till the movie comes out which I am absolutely positive will not be used for political purposes. One of its producers has already said the “harrowing and terrifying” script is “sure to become the definitive cinematic document on that gut-wrenching day.” It is reportedly based on testimonials from two Capitol Police officer – one of whom is a prominent Democrat activist while the other has just been hired by CNN. No word if there will be anybody playing AOC but I can just imagine what this film will be like. It will be like throwing gasoline on the political fires of the 2024 election year as it will demonize the protestors, lionize the Capital Police, omit all mention of FBI informants or things like the Police stepping aside allowing them in the building. But will it play in Peoria?

    1. MT_Wild

      Can’t wait to see all the armed protesters and the Capital police screaming “we’re running low on ammo”./s

      Should be telling to see how they handle the shooting of
      a unarmed protester at a mostly peaceful protest.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      If Biden were a smart man, he’d pardon everyone involved and end this stupidity before a martyr is born.

      1. PHLDenizen

        If Biden were a smart man, he’s pardon all the black kids he threw in jail for possession charges. And, If had more balls, he’d get Robin DiAngelo to use exploit “white fragility” to get them reparations in some form.

        But that would require Biden possessing introspection and an admission he did awful things. He possesses neither. It’s also probably going to put Kamala into a defensive crouch, endangering her already slim prospects.

    3. marym

      The rioters went to the Capitol to nullify the votes of tens of millions of their fellow citizens and trashed the place for fun.

      Some were armed with mace, bear spray, and weapons of opportunity. Others had guns stored elsewhere. We can’t know what would have happened if they encountered members congress or staff, though we do know what happened when they encountered cops.

      The rioters were participants in a voter nullification movement that included a then-sitting president, his cronies, his campaign, members of congress, and state legislators and AG’s. That movement continues today.

      In addition to provocation from this segment of the “clear as daylight state” there may have been “deep state” provocateurs in the crowd. There sometimes seem to be at other protests, though most of the protesters often ignore them and go home when the violence and looting starts.

      The Democrats should be doing the work of what’s left of “our democracy” instead of putting on musicals and making movies. However, they’re hardly the only ones making propaganda films about the rioters. Maybe along with begging their fellow citizens for forgiveness (if that’s what some of them are doing) the rioters should also beg their elite provocateurs to stop throwing gasoline on the fires of election subversion and demonization.

      1. MK

        Lighten up Francis – the mob was a joke and the capital police basically let them into the building.

        And Princess Pelosi forgot to allow the National Guard to be there that day.

        1. CitizenSissy

          Huh? BTW DC National Guard is not under Speaker Pelosi’s purview. Beating police doesn’t strike me as jokesy and supportive from the alleged “Back the Blue” crowd. Sorry, but an attempted coup isn’t something to “lighten up” about.

          Instead, I’d offer up the once-respected Republican party as the royal metaphor – their toadying to Trump puts Versailles courtiers to shame.

          Think for a nanosecond that the BLM equivalent would have been anything other than mowed down in a hail of bullets? I don’t.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        The January 6 incident may not be all that it seems. Or it may be much more. Check out this link which was posted here a few weeks ago. Yes, it’s a right wing site but it does raise serious questions.

        1. Rodeo Clownfish

          I keep wondering about how many protesters went into the congressional building vs. how many elected to stay outside or just leave once the riot into the Capitol began? To read the news, you would think that all the protesters became rioters and went inside. But is that correct? There should have been many more protesters than the numbers of people accused of invading the building. All those buses….seems like the nonviolent, non-trespassing protesters, who may have been an overwhelming majority of those present, have been disappeared from the collective consciousness.

          1. marym

            Re: “ how many elected to stay outside or just leave”

            I think a large number did stay outside, or leave, although 700 (or whatever the estimate of people who went inside) is still a whole lot of people. I think one speculation about why Epps hasn’t been indicted was that he didn’t go inside the Capitol. Or was that part of his escape plan…..(jk, I have no idea).

            1. marym

              Re: “ disappeared from the collective consciousness”
              As have peaceful BLM, anti-war, etc. protesters down through history.

              1. juno mas

                Yes, these mostly white folks were treated relatively mildly compared to the truncheon swinging, hard-rubber-bullet firing constables accosting street protests across the rest of America.

        2. marym

          Re: “not all that it seems”
          I did say it was part of something larger and something that had elite support (although to me that means it was exactly what it seemed).

          Re; un-indicted provocation or enablement
          As I also said, that’s been suspected at other protests.

          Given that this was a right-wing, anti-Democrat, and and anti-democracy protest, if there was LE or LE-adjacent involvement were they

          – undercover to incite this particular event to make the protesters look bad
          – undercover to incite this particular event to make the protesters more effective participants in the election nullification project
          – aleady undercover in one of the militia groups and there as part of their cover
          – LE on the job but sympathetic in their political opinions and willing to facilitate the protest (some the protesters seemed to expect this to happen, even for LE to join the protest)
          – LE on the job unsympathetic to the protest but under-prepared or under-trained to meet the situation (though many of then did try to stop the rioters)

          If the protesters, or those sympathetic to their right to protest, can shed light on LE involvement in protest movements, that would be of interest even to people unsympathetic to this particular cause. It doesn’t in any way change the fact that the cause was voter nullification.

      3. MT_Wild

        I accept and am trying to understand that you believe that, but just can’t believe how absurd it sounds.

        They were tourists, both in their trip to DC, and in their participation in a protest/riot. And sure it was a unlawful protest, but if we’re going to start prosecuting people for that, I’d like to see it universally applied. Its like prosecuting hate crimes, I have no problem with it in concept, just want to see it universally applied in all cases.

      4. Big River Bandido

        Sorry, I laughed so hard now I have to clean up the scrambled eggs. Good thing I wasn’t inhaling.

      5. Pate

        “The rioters went to the Capitol to nullify the votes of tens of millions of their fellow citizens”

        Change channels? Turn off “Faux Capitol Riot Theatre” and stream instead “Donor Class Corporate Elites Fund Elections Without Limit”. While the plot may be slow-moving, the behind-the-scenes actors are exceedingly powerful in their performance. It’s the woke you ain’t allowed to toke.

      6. FluffytheObeseCat

        “They were tourists, both in their trip to DC, and in their participation in a protest/riot

        And the majority of BLM protestors stumbling around near vandalized Target stores were similarly essentially tourists. Show me where you and the majority of scoffers here posted comments about how ridiculous the right wing media smears against them were, at the time. I was reading NC comments daily then as now, and somehow I didn’t manage to see the many scoffing rejoinders you must have written in defense of the BLM protests.

        I mean you all feel so strongly about marym’s comment, you were compelled to repeat-post about how ridiculous it is. You must have done likewise a year and half earlier, when strong hysterics were pouring out of the Tucker Carlsons of our nation. So, please, link to your old rebuttals from that period. Honorable consistency in your expectations of how American protestors should be treated suggests you must have spoken out publicly against the naked fearmongering of the right at that time, and that my memory of silence is in error. So show us what you said then.

        Or all you all just up and admit…. that you hold malicious, malingering, white outrage-mongers to a less stringent standard than the rest of the People. Or no, don’t be honest. Proudly state your view that their vandalism and theft can’t possible require any hint of punishment because…PELOSI!!!

        Pelosi! The magickal incantation that absolves them of all and every wrongdoing! It’s so handy, that magick word is. It’s sure handier than admitting whiteness and rightness make all the difference in your judgements.

        1. Pat

          Show me where the prosecutions for those were ongoing for over a year, and it occupies the news space January 6 does.

          I would also like examples of demands for friends and family and coworkers to turn them in. And then news reports of people doing just that.

          Most of us do put both things in the same category. We don’t think that people who attended but didn’t trespass should face charges or condemnation. We also don’t put think that that over excited protestors who did something stupid like turning over things and breaking windows and/or rushing the Capitol is the same as planning on breaking in and looting or planting bombs.

          The difference is the response of our outraged officials. And that response is very distracting from issues about both these events that should be addressed but aren’t.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Whataboutism. It’s not considered a legitimate form of rebuttal by our hosts, for obvious reasons. Beyond that though, I can gay-run-dam-tee you that many individual BLM-protest adjacent thieves and vandals are currently being slowly ground to pulp via our state and municipal level justice systems. Without fanfare. And without hordes of internet sob sisters baying about how wrong it all is.

            Whataboutism. It’s sure handier than admitting whiteness and rightness make all the difference in your judgements.

            1. Gareth

              Whataboutism. It’s not considered a legitimate form of rebuttal by our hosts, for obvious reasons.

              Dr. Fluffy, heal thyself.

        2. Big River Bandido

          The mere use of agitprop like “insurrection” applied to an Instagram Riot is such a bad punch line I can’t even take the rest of this seriously. If this was “insurrection”, where were the seizures of the military, the Secret Service, the media, and the public utilities? In other words…aside from scaring a bunch of natural cowards into hiding in their posh offices for a few hours…in what way did your “insurrectionists” attempt to, you know, seize power?

          1. JP

            It wasn’t military, It was congressional. It was a coup attempt by the administration with the support of the majority of the GOP representatives to thwart the will of the majority voters. The “riot” was a side show. Yes we are a banana republic and the Riestag was burned long before the national socialists became the gov’t.

          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            “in what way did your “insurrectionists” attempt to, you know, seize power?”

            I guess you’d have to ask someone who actually used the term “insurrectionists”. Or “seizure of power”. Instead of inserting these terms into the minds of readers, by way of posing “questions” that artfully embed these trigger terms within them.

        3. JP

          Thank you, that was constructive. There were military, ex military, law enforcement and even a few elected officials. Maybe some “undercover” but were they provocateurs or like everyone else in attendance swallowing the stolen election coup attempt hook line and sinker. We simply don’t know the facts and should be cautious to speculate or opinionate as the case may be. The Jan 6 committee has partizan elements but they seem to be accumulating a body of real evidence. Even if their eventual report is slanted, the evidence they have assembled will be of historical importance for future analysis.

          Most who post here are not cheering for one team or another but the cynicism runs a little thick. Many may think themselves not to be players in the game but we all are like it or not.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, as Leon Trotsky once said, ” you may not be interested in the Game, but the Game is very interested in you.” or something like that.

        4. djrichard

          BLM protests were a challenge for moral authority. Sure right wing media could claim moral high ground of property. But so what. Let’s unwind. Before the protests they had moral authority. Did the protests dent their moral authority? Not really. Did it enhance it? Sort of. What it did is imbue them with more power by virtue of the fact that the protests seemed to be sanctioned by those that have power. So it didn’t give them more moral authority so much as it gave them more power.

          Remember the Rodney King riots? They weren’t sanctioned.

          Let’s compare to the “insurrectionists”. Did they have moral authority before the “insurrection”? Maybe in their fevered imaginations. But what was the common knowledge game? The audience view was that they were a bunch of losers. At least that was my view. Did the actual breaking and entering dent their moral authority. Well that’s what is still up for grabs. At the time, it could have been left as not only being a bunch of losers, but disrespectful losers. But it’s not being left to that. Those who have power to influence that game are using their power, propagandizing the audience that these losers dented their moral authority so much that they have gone beyond the pale. No different than evil doers. Now why do I have a dog in this fight? I could simply ascribe this to dem vs GOP reindeer games. But I have a knee-jerk reaction when those in power have a campaign against evil doers. I do the stupid thing and go to bat for … the evil doers.

          Let’s pretend the “insurrection” was successful. Somehow they secured real power. This requires both moral authority and the power that comes from being sanctioned by those that have real power. Enough of a mix of the two that the audience would have to buy into it. But these guys were losers, leagues away from getting any buy in from the audience. Perhaps if it was lawyers who were banging on the doors of the capital things would have been different. But it wasn’t.

          Back to topic. During the Rodney King riots, I didn’t defend the rioters. At least not that I can remember. Or if I did it was weak tea. What really woke me up was seeing what we did to evil doers in Iraq. So afterwards when the racists would say it was OK for police to kill people who were disobedient, I called them out every time. How about when the police kill people who are “evil doers”? I call that out too.

          Anyways, now that BLM has power, I think many of us on NC are interested in finding out what BLM plans to do with it. Use that power against “evil doers”? Use that power simpply to seek power? Or something more empowering for the people?

      7. djrichard

        I haven’t been keeping up on this. I understand Trump looks to have had schemes for vote nullification, through the courts or what not. Did his plot depend on some level of success being achieved by the “insurrectionists”? If so, what was the mission that Trump needed the “insurrectionists” to achieve for his plot to be successful?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe he figured a protesting crowd in front of the Capital Building would look good on the TV news. But I doubt that he ever figured that after a brief fight, that they would just let that mob go for a stroll through the Capital Building. That was a circles within circles decision that on somebody’s part

        2. marym

          Though I don’t think the rioters themselves had any coherent plan, the overall place of the riot in the larger project at that point seems to have been to stop the counting of the electoral votes in order to force the selection of president to Congress or back to the states to send an alternate set of electoral votes.

          Here’s an overview of the project to overthrow the results of the presidential election prior to that point. The website is “never-Trump conservative,” so you can factor in whatever you may see as the bias, but it’s an ok summary of key events. It doesn’t cover the on-going voter suppression and election subversion bills being proposed in the states going forward.

    4. dcblogger

      wow I cannot believe the attitude of the NC community on the most serious assualt on democracy of my life time. I cannot understand the lack of empathy, the lack of humanity.

      1. Pat

        Gosh, I guess you haven’t been paying attention.

        Apparently you missed both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primary.

        But for something that actually no question about it did overturn the will of the voters let’s talk the debacle of Florida in the 2000 election. Besides the questionable butterfly ballot and Republican operatives Brooks Brothers riot and the ridiculous verdict in Bush v. Gore, there was Choice Point’s deliberately over broad voter roll clean out.

        Unless I am supposed to feel empathy for the so-called insurrectionists, I fail to see where humanity enters into this. So a bunch of politicians got scared that they pissed off the people they are supposed to represent. Unfortunately for people who believe the hype their privileged derrières are no more worried about that so-called assault on democracy than are most Americans, they are however worried that if they don’t get hard on this crime they might have to worry about the public getting pissed and being more focused on them then on being tourists and taking selfies next time.

        I may not think this deserves empathy or that it has little to do with humanity, but I do know it deserves to be treated with the same level of cynicism as the Manchin Biden dance or the Russians and Ukraine/2016 election according to the usual suspects.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Look, I know you disagree about the importance of January 6th but this was not the first time that that place has been attacked. Not by a long shot-

        You want to know what the most serious assault on democracy was in your lifetime? Russiagate, that is what. Thought up by the Clinton campaign the night that they lost, this became a major mindf*** of the American people where they were convinced that their President was a Russian agent. This was amplified by the media, the spook agencies and a large portion of the political establishment. People and careers were ruined, citizens were called traitors and the actual machinery of American democracy was being deliberately jammed up for political gains for some. The US was being thrown into confrontation with Russia – another nuclear power. And then they boasted about how they did it after Biden was elected. So I ask you. What are the chances that Hollywood will come out with a thriller based on Russiagate? Yeah, never going to happen.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Just because RussiaFake was bad does not mean that Jan 6 is not bad, especially when considered as part of a multi-state Republican rollout of state-by-state election nullification design engineering.

          Democrat-haters feel it doesn’t matter because only the hated Democrats suffer anyway. But when a legitimate political party emerges and wins elections, the same election nullification engineering systems will be used to nullify all those elections as well. Then Democrat-haters will realize that it really did matter after all.

          The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy in a different way.

          It has been said that the Republican election nullification engineering rollout just shows that Republicans take their politics more seriously than the Democrats take theirs. But one could also apply that logic to Sanders’s loss to primary nullification engineering by the mainstream Democrats. One could say that it just shows that the mainstream Democrats take their politics more seriously than the Sanders took his politics.

          And if there really is no magic board of neutrality and fairness which should be looked to for preventing election nullification design engineering, then there may also be no such thing anymore as political or electoral legitimacy at all anymore, at any level. And that may be true too. Certainly lack of any official interest in election by paper ballot marked and then counted by hand shows that may long have been true.

          If so, the “left” should not look forward to any revolutionary opportunity for seizing the glowing ball of power as it rolls around in the streets. Because the “right” will be the people with the numbers and the power to seize the rolling ball of power.

        2. rowlf

          I would have flagged MLK Jr being assassinated by the FBI as the biggest attack on US democracy. If the government resist’s the governed’s will what do we have?

        3. the last D

          All the presidential elections, and all the congressional elections, do not represent democracy, they’re mainly the oligarchs fighting one another. Elections are always about the distribution of power, control and wealth. Citizens basically get to vote for this or that oligarch-the very few exceptions are not countenanced for long, and invariably become marginalized-because governance, from the very foundation of this nation, was intended to be the provenance of the wealthy. Voting affords each voter, such as myself, the chance to pick their poison. The u.s. constitution was adopted to make certain that this would be the case, and the spectacle of billionaires and financial capitalists growing ever more rich is an indication of the framers success. I’m suggesting that this is the greatest assault on democracy in my, and in all, generations. The constitution ought to be considered a death warrant for the poor and the powerless. I think that if considered in this way, you might agree.

      3. chris

        What planet are you living on?

        A serious assault on democracy that had at least 2 FBI informants in the crowd per prior reporting from NYT? A serious threat to democracy wherein no election result or even process was over turned? A serious threat to democracy that if the Capitol Police with their 500 million $ a year budget had showed up in force to the event that since they had prior notice of could have stopped cold? The fracas on 1/6 wasn’t even close to a whiskey rebellion let alone a threat to democracy. It was stupid riot filled with horrible people who were much more successful than they expected to be. It looks like we’ll actually get to see discovery documents relating to this indictment so we’ll learn if there’s any more to it than that.

        Regardless of whether threats real or imagined existed on that day, we all know what the outcome will be. DC police will get more funding. Joe Biden will have an excuse not to be seen in public too much. DC will be locked down to insulate politicians from those who they supposedly govern. And all the right people who understand what Jen Psaki talks about will be protected from their true enemies – mouth breathing citizens who have lives that the donorclass lackeys find offensive.

      4. caucus99percenter

        My reaction is just the opposite. This confirms my judgment that the NC commentariat is the best and sanest on the Internet. I attribute this to what NC’s proprietors have called “counter-suggestibility” and to what I would call gut-level resistance to emotional blackmail and other forms of psychological manipulation.

  6. wsa

    A repellent turn of phrase from the US Embassy in Ukraine, “this shipment includes close to 200,000 pounds of lethal aid, including ammunition for the front line defenders of Ukraine” [Twitter].

    Lethal aid?! I can’t tell if that’s trying to be a euphemism or a provocation. Maybe both.

    1. Wukchumni


      When you use pounds as your measuring stick because 100 tons sounds like nothing, tells you how woeful our supplying effort really is.

      To put things in perspective, the encircled 6th Army in Stalingrad required 300 tons a day by air to keep on keeping on. It usually managed 100 tons a day.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Perhaps they learned that from Bin Laden, who objected to a 7 million gram (IIRC ‘daisy cutter’ fuel/air) explosive device that was dropped on his fighter.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          To untrained ears or people without sufficient bs detectors (even liars lack these), 1000 lbs bombs are the same as bombs measured in megatons. It’s like that for everything. Hillary having the most votes evah! for example.

          Whenever I hear about the imminent invasion and the 100k Russian troops on the border, I wonder if Putin is planning an air show or parade. Old Addie had 150 divisions when he invaded the USSR. Basically, he had a division for every soldier Putin is going to “invade” with.

          Or the US spends 750 billion a year on defense. This sounds great except grift, deployments all over the world, constant warfare, and so forth. Doofuses at places like State don’t get this because it’s not their problem.

          1. Wukchumni

            Then: ‘We’re eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked.’

            Now: We’re eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow is Blinken.

            1. Kent

              Don’t worry, Joe Biden and the Neoconartists are well on the way to seriously threatening to flash your brains and eyeballs to steam.

              Good news, it will only hurt for a microsecond.

            2. VietnamVet

              The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to me, looked frighten after the latest talk with the unflappable Sergey Lavrov. I’ve seen soldiers with the 1,000 yard stare. The world is pretty much at the cliff edge with a failed US government unable to do public health and a beta Omicron variant just emerging. Mitigating climate change is a laugh. A war in Europe in the winter is really scary.

              I wonder if the Obama Crew even grasps what a complete disaster they started in 2014 in Ukraine and Syria. A best, the earth is now a multi-polar world. At worst, it will be waste dump devoid of humans without a frozen north and south poles.

      2. wilroncanada

        That’s still a lot of big macs–supersized. Canada is also coming to the defense of Krystia’s extended family. We’re ending a load of goalie equipment, basically unused by Edmonton Oilers for a couple of months–and a skate sharpener.

        1. Wukchumni

          It all makes sense now, Terry Sawchuk was a Ukrainian spy between the pipes in the Gulag Hockeypelago, setting the stage for hordes of ‘chuk’ suffixes to suffice on ice in the future, part of ‘the fifth column’ line, now supplying weapons of sharpened expression, but no skate guards I couldn’t help but notice.

  7. Joe Well

    >>Had long assumed that based on the stoners I knew in college. Would like a comparison to alcohol use, though…

    But most of the stoners I’ve known also hit the beer (another relaxant) pretty regularly, not to mention coffee and cigarettes (stimulants). It is pretty clear they’re regulating their mood through self-medication rather than evil Big Pharma.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is like those Vietnam vets that before going out on patrol, would take a bunch of uppers and balance it with a bunch of downers to get a pretty good buzz going. Thanks, but no thanks.

      1. bassmule

        I knew one 4th Division Lurp who took his pills by the fistful, downs from the left pocket of his tiger suit and ups from the right, one to cut the trail for him and the other to send him down it. He told me that they cooled things out just right for him, that he could see that old jungle at night like he was looking at it through a starlight scope. “They sure give you the range”, he said.

        —Michael Herr in “Dispatches.”

        1. jr

          Years ago I partied with a former Army Special Ops type in Orlando. Total nut-bar, a killer. He had operated in South America and shared some tales over beer and bud.

          Before a long jungle mission, their CO would score them some of the sweetest, lightest blow he’d ever had or seen since. Really clean stuff. Being young bucks, he and his team would each pocket a few grams and head into the mist for a couple of clear eyed but sleepless days of murder and destruction.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Yep, that was where I heard that from. I was wondering last night which of my books on ‘Nam that was in and thought that it was “Dispatches.” You wonder what the grunts did in Afghanistan while out on patrol. And seeing images of US troops walk through fields of poppy plants was just weird.

      2. Joe Renter

        RE: Rev,Kev,
        AKA the “Speedball”. One of my favorites from years back, having grown up in the 70’s.
        But I was not in Nam. I knew a couple vets though and they were not adjusting so well to civilian life. As a side note, a term that I came across a few years back was, “Hippie Speedball”, cannabis and coffee. A low-key, modern take on the classic.

          1. R

            I revised for my finals on black espresso and Armagnac, with interesting results (firsts and thirds in the various papers and nothing in between). Not having learnt my lesson, I shared a bottle of vodka in Florence with my friend on our subsequent roadtrip around Europe, when the only mixer we could find was coffee. The alcohol wears off so you wake bolt upright into a double-dehydrated hangover. Never again!

    2. Wukchumni

      At coin shows in the 80’s and 90’s the lingo went like this:

      ‘Do you have any copper coins?’ which was code for marijuana, while if you uttered ‘Do you have any silver coins?’ was code for cocaine.

      You didn’t have to be strait-laced in order to buy or sell aged round metal discs and in fact I knew this very successful numismatist who would ‘drug test’ potential employees, as he was looking for stoners with a work ethic, like him.

    3. griffen

      I’ve had no direct experience but second hand through some roommates. One dude was a crazy son of a gun if he was drunk and also a little high. Not in a bad or violent way, just prone to relieving himself in the very worse locations. That said, Chapel Hill, NC, was a fun place and fun times in my middle to late 20s.

      I’m playing some tunes this morning by noted cannabis enthusiast Tom Petty (rest in peace).

    4. cocomaan

      Yeah it’s a meta study so I’m not sure how you isolate for cannabis use when most Americans are on one pharmaceutical or another, plus the substances you mention.

      Weed undoubtedly has cognitive effects. Zero doubt. Probably a lot of negative ones. But there are plenty of high functioning alcoholics and stoners who are abusing the drugs hourly. Are they dumber for it? Hard to tell.

    5. PHLDenizen

      I tried to print out the study to mark it up, but it requires signing up to do so and felt zero motivation today. The lead researcher’s interests include “forensic psychiatry” and augmented reality gizmos as treatment modalities for mental illness. I’m keeping those in mind as I read through it. Not saying his results are bunk, but some of it is POSSIBLY a bias that steers his interpretation of data.

      Having not read it, I’m wondering if causation is backwards. Yves sample size notwithstanding, I’ve seen a lot of people who are mentally ill and locked out of behavioral health systems due to simply being too broke. Are these people with pathologies like anxiety, unipolar or bipolar depression using marijuana as a therapeutic agent? All of these conditions, particularly PTSD, can cause symptoms described as consequences of THC use. Meta analyses are also only as good as the collection of studies they draw inferences from.

      And I also agree that a study comparing marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, meth, and heroin would be useful. You’d need to include groups of the mentally ill.

      I know when I’ve had depressive episodes or overwhelming anxiety, my brain was useless for remembering things and functioning on a high cognitive level. Microdosing THC actually made me more productive and memory problems evaporate. One anecdote is not data.

      Growing my own magic ‘shrooms. We’ll see how that goes.

      Long marijuana to go with long Covid and long haul Lyme?

  8. Robert Hahl

    Re: Ethics, Moving beyond “don’t lie, don’t cheat…”

    How about: “Don’t be lesser evil.” I proposed this as a campaign slogan to Katie Halper while she was promoting Bernie’s second primary run, but she did not do anything with it. I don’t know why.

    1. griffen

      It’s an interesting article. I thought the section that zeroed on time as a scarce resource was quite appropriate. I think that in the modern / larger corporate setting, middle to upper level mangers must spend their life accepting meeting requests and being on forced Zoom calls. It was trending that direction in my latest role for a finance company. Let’s see, do we open our branches today and serve our customers? Let’s take a vote!

      Sadly, I get to the last few paragraphs and there it is. The reference to Cass Sunstein, who I am sure was proud of the work resulting in “Nudge”. I just find Sunstein offensive to read, whenever I had time and ability to read on Bloomberg. It wasn’t one particular thing, more like a list of grievances for his style of opining from on high.

  9. Bart Hansen

    On the CSPAN video of Lavrov and Blinken, who are the three women who sit beside the latter?

    And thanks for the mention of Gilbert Doctorow, someone I have been following for some time.

    Here is a recent interview where he suggests fireworks may well be coming:

    1. dftbs

      Thank you for sharing. It was great to come back from kickboxing class to read Doctorow. In contrast to the fantasists at Responsible Statecraft, who harbor wild thoughts of Macron being a real human boy and of France holding the preeminence within NATO that it did in the ECM; Doctorow is a solid realists.

      He doesn’t waste time framing any moral illusions, but simply compares the capacity of nations relative to their strategic goals and imperatives, and in the case of the US, our wishes. Where he finds a disconnect he renders a precise judgement. More analysis like his would be helpful to stem the overflow from people hoping to fight a war in/for Ukraine that may wake up with Joe Strummer in their heads and London(or DC) burning.

      Thanks again, off to Margaritas!

      1. Pate

        Kickboxing and margaritas. Ah, someone who recognizes (and avoids) a common fallacy of western thought: the ‘either-or’ proposition.

      2. Michaelmas

        G. Doctorow is good and so, for those who don’t know, is Patrick Armstrong at his site RUSSIAN OBSERVER.

        Armstrong was a professional USSR/Russia analyst at the Canadian Department of National Defence and Counsellor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow 1993-1996. Of note: he’s just had a visit from Canada’s interior security and had to move on from his old regular outlet, Strategic Culture Foundation, so he’s now getting published at Col. Pat Lang’s Turcopolier site.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      The blonde woman is Karen Donfried (ass’t sec of state for european and eurasian affairs). Don’t recognize the other two.

    3. David

      Yes, Doctorow is always worth reading, although here I think he’s wrong on a couple of points.
      I don’t see any point in Russia annexing the rebellious Donbass republics. It’s a few years since I was there, but they were economic and political basket cases, and I can’t imagine that things have improved much. They would be a massive economic burden, would create a new front line to defend and would contain a minority of Ukrainian-speakers whom outside powers would be quick to manipulate. More likely, surely, would be to turn them into semi-autonomous states, largely independent, where the writ of Kiev didn’t run and, most particularly, where the Russians could effectively prevent troops being stationed. It would be easy enough for the Russians to create the whole panoply of “self-defence” militias, parallel political structures, official use of the Russian language etc. without sending in a single uniformed soldier, and there are signs that that’s exactly what they are doing.

      The other point is that it’s France, not Germany which is the heavyweight in European security issues. Germany has no effective armed forces, whereas France does, as well as its own nuclear weapons.

      1. Dftbs

        Good points David. I think George Szamuely in the Press tv interview Bart linked above extends on your assertion that “resolving” the dispute via independence and/or annexation of the LDNRs may be against Russia’s interests. It may even constitute a de jure victory for the Kiev regime as it would effectively end their internal conflict and make them actually eligible for NATO membership. In which case we’d have to hope that Macron, or whomever runs France, would fulfill the Responsible Statecraft fantasy of saying “non”.

      2. Joe Well

        I have been listening to the history of Byzantium podcast and it is striking how important buffer states (especially Armenia) were to them. Very different from an American perspective of being surrounded by a lot of friends surrounded by oceans.

        Do US planners really not realize this is what the Russians are thinking?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Orientalism is the guiding light of US foreign policy elites. The idea America’s vassals and enemies have any kind of opinions is irrelevant as they are subhuman waiting to be blessed by the presence of Americans. Suggesting otherwise pretty much makes a person a blood traitor.

          Occasionally the Pentagon soothes the situation because the go along to get along crowd knows the general in charge of an operation where US ships sink will be crucified.

          What Moscow or Beijing think is irrelevant to them.

        2. LifelongLib

          Yes, being the only major power on two isolated continents gives the U.S. quite a different perspective from Europe, which has always had to deal with a number of more or less equally powerful nations that are more or less nearby.

          I’ve been trying to think what a genuine U.S. strategic interest would be. “Access to cheap stuff” is the only thing that comes to mind. Unlike many European nations, the U.S. doesn’t seem to have a great strategic weakness that defines its foreign policy for decades or centuries. Maybe that’s why our policies look so shallow or ideological — they’re not ruled by some big long-term necessity…

          1. Mel

            As far as I can see, the strategic idea is for the U.S. to be the Executive Suite for the entire world. From there the elites that run the U.S. can make all the decisions, issue all the orders, and allocate all the goodies. That means that any country that isn’t following the orders is an existential threat.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            -stable borders
            -no piracy
            -no refugees; lets not produce them
            -reasonable immigration policies; this would change
            -clear international structures
            -reasonable extradition treaties/coordinated law enforcement
            -less nukes
            -dollar reserve currency (more a plus)
            -renewable energy independence

            The US just needs the generic needs, but that is about it.

          3. Even keel

            Power in search of a purpose.

            Sounds right.

            The purpose becomes power.

            I really like your insight here. I had not though of it before.

            They used to have the Monroe doctrine. I guess since that succeeded we have been in the situation you describe.

      1. ambrit

        You mean Hilz, Madz, and Condz? The Three Whicked Whiches of Whashington?
        “Hubble bubble, ease my trouble,”

  10. Ep3

    Tax breaks:

    20 miles outside Toledo. Not in downtown. Not taking an abandoned industrial site & cleaning that up & breathing new life into that. Taking an empty, clean, untouched piece of property & tearing that up. Of course, they aren’t even sure they are going to build the building. They will get about halfway done, ask for a bailout & tax cuts, get those, then walk away. And leaving the county & state to clean up the physical and financial mess.

    1. Ep3

      Somethings going on in Ohio. Still digging for more info.
      For now, just posting this bcuz it’s another example of destruction of the US countryside. Instead of building in downtown Columbus, intel chose empty land outside of town. Apparently there are no empty warehouses or abandoned factories in Columbus. Besides, the executives don’t want to have to drive through a run down part of town to reach their ivory tower. They don’t want the local businesses in the downtown to start making profits again. They want all new fancy restaurants built near their ivory towers, so they can feel safe when walking to their cocaine lunches. Besides, they will help their friends build these restaurants (and apartments, & whatever else commercial), so they will get kickbacks & huge returns on very small investments. How dare we go back downtown & revitalize all that. Some local family owned business might make huge profits & not give kickbacks to the right ppl.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve often felt the Buckeye State was shortchanged on consonants and maybe a vowel movement would help, such as

        Oi, Ho! or Oh, Oi!… maybe not as both seem borderline lascivious and you can’t have that in the land of Lincoln-adjacent.

        Kidding aside, I feel on the outskirts of Toledo’s pain, a stationary exercise bicycle factory potentially stillborn, oh or should I say Ohio, the humanity!

        And whiling i’m piling on, what is it with that pennant of a flag of yours that can’t decide which one it wants to be, other than a 3-engine triangular UFO heading west?

      2. Rod

        I feel your vexation.
        I agree with the bad motivations you call out.
        Walk around and talk and I’d bet most Buckeyes—who don’t belong to The Chamber—would agree with you.
        Reclamation is an Attitude, and Solution Skill, we need sorely to have a future.

    2. Screwball

      I live about 30-40 minutes from there. Strange they want to build there instead of Toledo, who has existing space available somewhere I would think. I know of one building on corner of Bennett Rd. and Sylvania that has been an empty warehouse for better than 20 years. Was a manufacturing site at one time (Dana/Spicer).

      FTA you posted:

      The factory will sit on more than 200 acres with more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing, office and amenities space. It will use renewable energy to power its operations.

      Just guessing, since they are going to power with solar, do they need the land for solar panels? They could be put on the roof of a large building instead of using prime farmland (which the area they are talking about building is). Also, First Solar is located not to far away as well. I wonder if that has something to do with this?

      1. Even keel

        Nah. I’d bet it just means they are going to buy renewable energy credits. It’s just greenwashing.

        * disclaimer: I don’t actually know the details of this particular project, that is just usually how it goes.

  11. BeliTsari

    Amalgamating a comment: Thich Nhat Hanh and cannabis imbibing PASC victims’ mindfulness, in detecting Catastrophe Capitalism’s COVID caper, is intentionally blatant to prevent: general strikes, ANY protests, third parties, rank & file union upheaval or insurrection (not controlled by neocon NSA, FBI or Rent-a-Spooks) or dissolution of media complicity. We’ve seen a LOT of folks just start to doubt what we’ve been told we believe. That it’s ALL a peetty obvious pack of half-ass lies and our betters just kill powerless, “minority,” poor workers without any negative consequences (while petit-bourgois liberals’ portfolios benefit; plague, drought, AGW, storms), for lack of another trope, dead peasants are GOOD?

    1. sd

      About 20 years ago, I had the great pleasure to hear Thich Nhat Hahn speak at the Santa Monica Civic Center. What still stands out to this day was the audience. While the monk sat still on stage and spoke quietly, the audience could not and would not stay seated.

      One of those telling / teaching moments.

      1. BeliTsari

        I’ve the greatest difficulty, just associating concious, real-time awareness of experience, with the word “mindfullness.” We know, we’re capable of interacting, of living in this moment; awakening to reality. But self actualization might as well as be outlawed, since… one thing leads to another, and looking for ego’s off switch, certainly FEELS like the heebie-jeebies? Being cast naked, into a jellyfish swarm in SpongeBob? Conditioned to project our frantic, manic, panic to color in what we hope to sense. Our psychic selfie-cam?

  12. HotFlash

    WRT item:


    The UAE’s bitter choices: strikes in its cities or defeat in Yemen The Cradle (Chuck L)

    Should there be a link here?

  13. The Rev Kev

    That Musk Ox video was something and I never heard of qiviut before. The Musk Ox shed that coat in the springtime it said and the stuff is stronger and warmer than sheep’s wool. So this being the case, did earlier peoples gather this stuff up to be used for insulation in their clothing the following winter?

    As for today’s Antidote du jour, all I can say is that Alison’s cat Daisy is certainly playing it risky.

    1. Judith

      Lots of info about muskox and Inuit relationships here. The yarn is incredibly expensive. Lace weight yarn is quite fine. I would at least use two strands to knit a hat and even at that the hat would be delicate. Given the yarn, it would still be very warm and soft.

      1. LaRuse

        I am, aside from a knitter, a spinner (drop spindle and wheel). I got to test spin a tiny sample of qiviut once. It is wonderful, but like most of the truly high dollar fibers, somewhat difficult to master and being so $$$, not something you hand over to a novice. I had never seen how it was harvested and I enjoyed the video a great deal.

  14. Jesper

    About: Germany wants to attract 400,000 skilled workers from abroad each year
    A quote from the article:

    Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, Duerr’s libertarian FDP and the environmentalist Greens agreed in their coalition deal on measures like a points system for specialists from countries outside the European Union and lifting the national minimum wage to 12 euros ($13.60) per hour to make working in Germany more attractive.

    I am not quite sure how raising the minimum wage will attract the skilled workers, I suppose one possible explanation might be that the skilled workers are only earning minimum wage. Seems like that explanation is contrary to the belief, mostly held sacred by economist who want to continue being employed as economists, that people are paid what they are worth
    I suppose that one possible explanation for why ‘Germany’ wants to attract the workers might be similar to a story in a newspaper in Ireland from a couple of years ago.
    Paywalled but the headline might give some indication of what the story is about. Increased GDP and increased property prices is the gist of it & that is what it is all about isn’t it? :(

    But maybe I am being harsh, maybe they are changing strategy. From the strategy of cutting welfare they are now arguing for increased wages as a way to make the unemployed want to work again. Possibly I misunderstand the long sentence that I quoted.

    1. cnchal

      Germany can put up For Hire signs . . . in China. They are the ones with a skilled labor force. $13.60 per hour is at least ten times what they earn in China, so I bet there would be a few million takers, if China lets them go.

        1. cnchal

          $13.60 per day in China means living like a broiler chicken in a cage for four chickens but twelve crammed in there when shift changes are accounted for.

          $13.60 per hour in Germany means living like a free range chicken.

          If you were that chicken, which lifestyle would be your choice?

    2. eg

      I don’t understand how economists get away with the claim that workers are paid “what they are worth”? It seems fairly obvious that workers are paid whatever employers can get away with — otherwise whence come profits?

  15. griffen

    The article on markets in a bubble and prediction by Grantham. Far be it from me to find reason to disagree. It does seem that capitulation is going to be necessary. Holders of Bitcon, for example, have not enjoyed the ride downward over the past 2 quarters give or take. Bitcoin looks to have a market high close above 65,000; and this morning it is about 35,500. And subject to fluctuations on a Saturday, which I do not comprehend.

    Netflix took a dive after poor earnings, and Peloton is on fire but the wrong kind. I’ll be interested in how some leading edge tech funds are performing. A slight variation to the varied “bubbles popping” sometime in the near or distant future, I catch Jeremy Siegel of Wharton on cnbc; his point is usually that yes, we should anticipate a sell down but he follows that point with a broad comment; what are you going to buy next exactly.

  16. LawnDart

    Cannabis Use Produces Persistent Cognitive Impairments

    How much use is required to produce these impairments? I understand “acute” to mean just took a hit off a big fatty, and the study says this “may” lead to effects lasting longer than initial intoxication, as their research “suggests.”

    As written, this article just seems like more “reefer madness” bullshit.

    I’ve watched a close friend moving ever into the grip of chronic CIP (Cannabis Induced Psychosis) with decades of heavy daily use (smoking resin and wax, eating bud butter, brownies, and drinking alcohol and teas infused with it), and that’s one ugly condition: paranoia, delusions, violent emotional extremes– a total poster-child for “this can happen to you.” And, sadly, willfully blind to the effects the massive over-indulgence is having on him, like other types of junkies.

    We don’t need more headline that scream “Cannabis is Bad!” but we could use some real-world discussion and honest debate as to what is responsible and appropriate use of marijuana. I personally find the devil weed useful once every few months or so, to allay body aches and muscle strains, and to get a restful sleep. The 2.5mg mints offer low-dose predictibility, and a few hits from a vape or joint can blunt the effects of pain further, as needed. Alcohol and OTC meds don’t offer the same relief, for me at least.

    1. Mantid

      Good comment. Also, non smokers (now a days eaters too) may not understand how strong it has become. “In the day” – mine were the 60s – one could smoke 2-3 reefers during a day and have a nice “buzz”. Now, it’s one hit and your evening is different. In the States, studies are few and far between because it’s classification as a narcotic limited any quality research. We need some double blind (after two hits) studies post haste ….. any volunteers?

    2. Maritimer

      Sheesh, I figured that out way back in 1981 by renting a Cheech and Chong movie. Pretty cheap research. Where’s my PhD and exorbitant grant loot?

    3. Juneau

      Here is a systematic review showing evidence that daily heavy cannabis use of high potency THC pot raises risk of psychosis five times compared to baseline risk.,high%20potency%20THC%20%5B18%5D.
      There is a dose effect discussed in this review, and also there may be genetic factors that predispose kids to getting psychotic symptoms from heavy pot use.
      Lots of people are fine with it but parents who encourage their school age kids to use really get my goat. Adults should do as they wish IMHO.

    4. Josef K

      I agree this article is junk pseudo-science. It’s main thrust is MJ “produces persistent cognitive impairments” yet it stduiously avoids delimiting, if that’s the correct term, the most important metric: “persistent.” For how long? I read the whole article looking for a duration; the conclusion only provides: “These acute impairments accord with documented residual effects, suggesting that the detrimental effects of cannabis persist beyond acute intake.”

      So “persistent” is, ultimately, defined as “beyond acute intake.”

      Pfft. Next!

  17. Juneau

    Cannabis and congitive performance: the main difference between cannabis and alcohol intoxication is that cannabis lasts for weeks, alcohol for hours. Both cause cognitive impairment but it takes a lot longer to eliminate cannabis, and the cognitive effects persist for weeks.

    1. urblintz

      Cognitive impairment and cannabis…

      Touting one’s own accomplishments to make a point can be uncomfortable and unattractive. Anecdote is not evidence. Then again, we have only our own experiences, understandings and observations to guide us in the long run. Here are mine:

      I, a professional singer, have smoked marijuana, regularly and copiously, for 50 years. At 65, I continue to do so. Other than seasonal and (non-debilitating) migraines I’m in good health, taking no meds, cooking good food and and eating well, jogging on a treadmill 3 or 4 times a week and singing (intensely aerobic) daily. Not bad for a “stoner.”

      I speak 3 languages fluently and am conversationally adept at 3 others. I have sung in at least 12, including Korean, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Hungarian and Czech (I’m studying Finnish at the moment in hopes of impressing my boyfriend in Helsinki). I read Cervantes in Spanish and Calvino in Italian. I have sung, from memory, literally thousands of art songs and vocal chamber works and number my leading opera roles at more than a dozen including Pelleas, Figaro, Marcello, Papageno, Alamaviva and Falke. I finished undergraduate (organ performance/music history) and graduate (voice) degrees in 5 years then moved to NYC after winning several noted and career-making competitions, making solo recital debuts at Alice Tully Hall and the 92nd St Y before landing a 3 year apprenticeship with the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Development Program, during which I sang 35 performances as principal artist. Then my real career started and took me around the world, most recently Spain (2019). Not much work these days but I do have, still, a high-profile NYC agent. Not bad for a stoner.

      Some of the best minds and most talented artists I have know are “stoners” including reknown composers, conductors, pianists and world famous singers. The leading Wagnerian soprano of her day smoked like a chimney (we had the same dealer). I’ll never forget waiting off stage at the (classical) Newport Festival and smelling the telltale aroma coming from the bathroom then observing as one of Brazil’s most accomplished pianists emerged in a cloud and proceeded to go on stage to perform flawlessly one of Schubert’s (25 minute long) sonatas. And we can’t forget the most famous stoner genius of all: Louis Armstrong. Not bad for “stoners.”

      Is it mere conjecture to suggest that Freud might have gotten more things right had his preference been for cannabis rather than cocaine?

      BTW – I personally eschew alcohol… can’t even remember the last drink I had..

      And I’m not so cognitively impaired as to mistake Wright’s weak-tea take-down of Malone in yesterday’s links for principled analysis. Working from memory of the non-paywalled portion, Wright starts with convoluted hair-on-fire outrage, that Malone thinks covid cases were over-repo rted (they were) but then uses the “official”reported number (800,000) to assert an entirely different point about the percentage of deaths that might have been averted through therapeutical intervention. Wright says Malone can’t have it both ways. I say it’s a non-sequitur. Even more egregious, by declaring, in advance, Malone’s thinking as “Conspiracy Theory” he totally “begs the question” the formal, academic meaning of which is to ignore a question under the assumption it has already been answered, to assume the conclusion.

      I’m surprised someone who teaches at Princeton would make such a plebean error… then again Paul Krugman teaches at Princeton too.

      Anyway, back to cognitive impairment…

        1. Wukchumni

          I cast my last vote for Denver Stoner in the recall election for Governor, who was a law enforcement officer.

          He had kind of odd Sargent Stedenko cred, with a name to fit it.

      1. Screwball

        While I am not blessed to have the musical talent you do, I am the same age, and have been a toker since 1969. I’m a retired engineer who helped bring some of our life changing products into our home, now retired and teaching STEM classes to college kids. We tokers get a bad rap IMO.

        I’m in Ohio. We legalized medical pot a few years ago, but recreational was on the ballot, not sure, maybe 5 years ago, but failed. When the medical debate was going on, the plume (pun intended) of propaganda was overwhelming. And most of it was P cubed – pot propaganda porn. We’ve heard it before haven’t we?

        So the local League of Women’s voters were going to have a “Town Hall” on the pro-cons of the wicked weed. My better half and I were going to go. I was pumped. I wanted to let them spew all the bad things from all the studies and experts, then listen to them convince everyone how bad the evil weed was.

        Then I was going to raise my hand and say, why does everyone always cite all these studies, but never talk to a real “Test Dummy?” Well, today is your lucky day.

        It was cancelled due to health reasons. Go figger.

        I don’t want to listen so some arrogant Ivy League stat master sitting in his ivory tower office lecture me about the evils of pot who never took a toke in their life – I want to listen to Cheech & Chong, Willie Nelson, or the countless other “productive” people who like to bong. Oh well, we can stay mellow, happy, and content anyway.


        1. urblintz

          CUNY was once a fine institution and still has some interesting voices on its faculty, Krugman’s not being among them.

        1. urblintz

          Never in Denver, except for a failed audition at Denver Opera. ha! But I sang two summers at Aspen, those early ‘tween years when moving from student to pro, including my first Almaviva in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro. Good memories!

    2. Mark Sanders

      “[T]he cognitive effects [of cannabis] persist for weeks.” In what way are we to come to this conclusion?

      1. Juneau

        I am mostly concerned with high school and college users. Adults should do as they wish and I mean no offense to adults who choose to imbibe. Admittedly it is presumed that the long half life of cannabis leads to prolonged impairment: here is one study showing that cannabis lasts a long time in the bloodstream: The half- life of it for an infrequent user is 1.3 days and for frequent users 5-13 days (64).,%2D13%20days%20(64). Alcohol follows the one drink per hour rule. Studies on kids who smoke pot show consistent deterioration in academic performance (there are numerous studies, here is one: ). Again, YMMV and no offense intended. I work with kids whose lives are ruined by this drug and I have a definite bias.

        1. Mark Sanders

          Remnants of cannabis can be in the blood for perhaps over a month, which is why smoking one joint can make someone lose their job 30 days later by a drug test, while someone who snorts cocaine or shoots heroin on Friday can have a clean drug test at work the following Monday. But a positive drug test for marijuana does not equal cognitive impairment.

          As far as high school and college kids go, I believe the declining academic performance has to do with laziness inspired by the cannabis probably more than a cognitive problem. Now, I do realize it’s not good for a 12 years old to be imbibing in marijuana, but the same could be said for alcohol and any of the illegal drugs. I have a friend who knows someone who smoked pot every day starting in 6th grade, and the guy basically can barely take care of himself, let alone hold a job.

          I myself started smoking senior year in high school, consistently smoking all through my working life. I got a college degree and a job that enabled me to buy a house and retire comfortably. I sometimes think I could have been more successful had I not smoked pot, but again, it has to do with laziness from the drug.

    3. Mantid

      Where the Billy Heck did you get this idea? You propose “and the cognitive effects persist for weeks.”. Are you high? :-)
      Really though, please site something because that is downright wrong.

      1. Juneau

        Please see the sources listed in the above post. Thank you. As I stated, the prolonged effects are presumed based on the very long time that thc remains in the blood stream. Academic performance is deteriorated in HS and college kids who use regularly, that is the group we should be concerned about in my opinion. No offense intended (I will state again)

        1. urblintz

          I smoked pot daily from the age of 15, all through high school, skipped my senior year straight to college where I settled for a mere 4.0 GPA, all entirely under the persistent cognitive effects of thc which, thank god, had the added benefit of moderating the “depressions” (and ill-considered ambitions) which seemed to overcome so many others as I was emerging into adulthood. This morining I smoked a small pipeful, did my taxes, then worked on a new arrangement of “When Sunny Gets Blue” at the piano. I’m taking the second verse out of the original blues groove, where my natural instincts incline toward “pop” crooning, into a double time scat. You’d be surprised how hard it is to keep keep the hands controlling tempo, rhythm and harmony while the voice goes off in scaler, syncopated roulades of improvised syllabic fancy. My hands want to go where my voice is going, ha! But it’s getting better… even at my age… and under what surely must be a permanent cognitive state of disfunction given all the ganja I’ve consumed over the past 50 years.

          But thanks for your concern. I’ll be just fine!

          1. juno mas

            That’s why really good jazz pianists aren’t great singers. It takes too much time/effort to do both.

    4. Screwball

      RE: the pot thing since this thread is getting kind of long. Every day we seem to talk about COVID and how to get a handle on it, what works, what doesn’t, on and on.

      Let’s not forget what pot can do for people with ailments. A lifetime buddy of mine died about 5 years ago. 68. Started with prostrate issues. After three years of radiation, chemo, you name it therapy, he couldn’t shake it. He said the best thing to cope was the herb. We made sure he never ran out. Illegal here, didn’t care.

      Funny, a simple plant anyone can grow in their window sill has medicinal value.

      Not to worry, we will legalize it eventually nationwide for everyone. Sponsored by Pfizer of course.

  18. petal

    Thank you for the musk ox video. That was really neat. Sent it to a friend that raises alpacas for fiber and she got a real kick out of it.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland.”

    When I see Blinken, I think of him in Alaska having that meeting with that Chinese diplomat. Poor guy. He decided to roast that Chinese diplomat and was shocked when he was taken out behind the woodshed instead. With Lavrov, he is definitely out of his depth. From what I have read, the US plan is to keep Russia talking while they keep on pumping weapons into the Ukraine. They actually said this was the plan on the news earlier. But the Russians said that they are not going to play that game. The one where you argue over sharing a pizza while all the time the other person is eating that pizza on you. I would guess that the Russian have a definite date in mind and if the US still refuses to consider their demands, they will take some sort of action. What will that be? I have no idea. But to steal a line from the BOFH, I would not want to be Blinken as the albatross of responsibility wraps its feathered wings around his shoulders here.

    1. Questa Nota

      When SoS’ name comes up, I am reminded of the linked Eugene Field poem. Perhaps you recall it from long ago, or maybe read it to your children.
      He should be put down with a bottle so that the adults, if any of those are still around Foggy Bottom, can attempt to salvage some shred of normalcy.

    2. Dftbs

      The Russians expected a response this week. Whatever they have in mind as a retaliatory step is already being taken. I suppose we’ll have to wait for it’s reveal. Unlike our expert strategists, the other side doesn’t trumpet its plans to any reporter in earshot. The most entertaining part will be the dark humor in the surprise of our “intelligence” community when it becomes public knowledge.

      1. Wukchumni

        If we do a dosey-doe with them former commie reds, one sure sign to look for is when all of the sudden-like, the fast food places are offering deals on Chicken Kiev (Kyiv would only confuse us-lets not go there) combos despite none of them offering such a repast in the past, as a way for our country to familiarize itself with why we started World War 3 even though maybe only 27 out of 1,000 Americans could actually locate it on a delineated map, the Ukraine is not weak!

        1. Bart Hansen

          Has anyone noticed that a memo must have been passed to the media that the capitol of Ukraine is now to be pronounced in one syllable sounding like the second syllable of believe?

          When we were in Russia in 2014 I made a point to ask a Russian how to pronounce Kiev and she said like Key-ev.

          This reminded me back several years when Qatar was to be pronounced like the description of ‘someone who cuts’ – cutter.

    3. jo6pac

      If you liked the first meeting there’s another one coming up very soon at the same location and the same Chinese Diplomat. I’m going long on popcorn

    4. Nikkikat

      Lavrov makes Blinken look like a two year old. I remember his meeting with the Chinese and boy did they make a fool out him!

    5. Darthbobber

      Responsibility? What’s that? Hard to maintain accountability among people who have such a feeble grasp on cause and effect.

      A side question: When did our alleged diplomatic corps become the favored haven of feckless and frivolous warmongers of all stripes? They seem to be much more inclined that way than the military leadership is.

      But I have trouble thinking of the last time our diplomats did actual diplomacy. They presently seem capable only of the sort of negotiation engaged in with the clearly weaker. Basically writing up dictated terms. With counterparties not susceptible to either bullying or petty bribes they seem to have no idea how to proceed.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Maybe he’s hoping this will be interpreted as an ‘olive branch’ —

      ‘I acknowledge that then President Trump had the right for this nomination to be voted on during his term’ (as McConnell cackles in glee) —

      and the GOP House in 2023 will, out of gratitude, not impeach him. It’s not clear to me that the Senate Ds would obstruct a conviction, given the chance for further ‘no fundamental change’, with new branding, at the top.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am moving because of the way the sales of the property I had been renting was handled by the new Investment Company Landlord — springing notice of the sale mid-November with a demand to sign a new lease running Jan 1 to Jan 1. I do not know what the situation is in other areas — Mid-Winter in New Jersey, it was nearly impossible to find a place to rent storage and the rents are 1/3 of the rent I used to pay before the rents jumped from $900/mo. to $1050/mo. It has been like that since at least mid-Summer 2021 when I first checked around for storage. The local U-Haul outlet recently had numerous of the larger moving trucks show up from one way moves from origins unknown to me. Wildly extrapolating from the situation here and the Tucson story you linked I wonder whether there is a big migration underway, although from where to where I have no idea. I imagine I am seeing and experiencing the first signs of the housing market restructuring the CARES Act and Fed policies seemed to promise.

  20. cocomaan

    Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham predicts S&P 500 will crash 50% after 4th US ‘superbubble’ in the past century pops Business Insider (David L). Odds are he is right…but when? And as with the dot-com era, there’s often a short blowout phase before the implosion. You could see Something Bad was imminent in 2007-8 due to the massive leverage surrounding housing coming apart. This time, the sources of an unwind now look way more diffuse.

    Wolf Richter calls it an “everything bubble.” But if everything is in a bubble, I’d rather call it inflation.

    1. ambrit

      And the rest of us will be realists and call the “implosion” a ‘Crash.’ Implosions are often manageable. The edifice collapses in on itself and collateral damage is minimized, if not eliminated entirely. In a ‘Crash,’ however, lots of uncontrolled damage results. As a thought experiment; imagine that Social Security had been “privatized” some time ago. Being tied to the stock market, when that market collapses, so do benefits. [Indexing.] Now imagine the Holy H— unleashed in the next few months.
      It has become a Meme here but bears repeating: Hubris is followed by Nemesis who is followed by Hades.

      1. juanholio

        Once people, who don’t normally talk about stocks, start taking about a crash, you have to imagine it’s near the point where there is a narrative shift and it gaps up outside of market hours, and makes everyone, who got out to avoid the crash, chase it back up again. Turnaround Tuesday?

        1. Wukchumni

          For the average person, Wall*Street is treated in the news the way you’d cheer or jeer a sporting team’s performance and there are no ‘ties’ on the DJIA, every trading day is up or down, and even if the proles don’t have a dog in the fight, were things to crash they’d feel crushed if only by association of what the hallowed numbers mean to the economy, as presented by the main stream media utilizing presstidigitation.

          1. Jason Boxman

            US News & World report claims that:

            Ownership of stock is concentrated among those with higher incomes. That is hardly a surprise as investing in stocks or mutual funds requires money. Some 92% of those in the top 10% of the income ladder owned stock in 2019 compared to 56% of those considered middle class. When it comes to owning stocks directly, families in the top 10% of earnings accounted for 44% compared to only 12% of the middle class and 5% of those in the bottom quintile.

            Looking at net worth rather than income, a total of 94% of those whose net worth placed them in the top 10% of wealth distribution owned stocks in 2019. Of families whose net worth was in the bottom 25%, 21% owned stock in some form.

            That’s actually higher than I expected for people that aren’t obviously wealthy.

            On the other hand:

            When measuring the value of stock holdings, wealthier Americans have more money invested in the market. Families in the top 10% of incomes held 70% of the value of all stocks in 2019, with a median portfolio of $432,000. The bottom 60% of earners held only 7% of stocks by value. The median middle-class household owned $15,000 worth of stock.

            Nonetheless, for most Americans what matters is a fair wage, not “the market”. To the extent investment performance matters, it’s because capitalists eliminated private pension plans and replaced them with defined contribution plans (401(k)s), while no one bothered to increase Social Security payments to make up the loss. What a bleak (or none!) retirement many face as a result.

      2. Objective Ace

        Considering social security is actually just spent on government expenses throughout the year and there is no pile of cash sitting there to pay out benefits as they come due, I’m not entirely sure I see how “privatizing” social security would be worse.

        It could be worse if congress decided not to backstop it.. but the current social security setup would also be terrible if congress decided not to backstop it

        The real problem with social security is fewer and fewer people paying into it as the population growth slows. Whether its privatized or not doesnt help with that issue

        1. ambrit

          From what I’ve read about various “privatized” government functions, the real goal of the privatizers is to create a revenue stream based upon “fees” imposed for the “management” of said functions. Such fees directly reduce the client’s payout amount.
          As for ‘hazzards’ inherent in the system, with a government run system, politics comes into play. The Social Security recipients are a fairly cohesive voting bloc. Piss them off and retribution will happen, even if slowly. A privatized system can be structured so that the culprits can escape to sunnier climes when something goes catastrophically wrong, and “legally” too. The compromised system itself is shuttered and then reorganized under “new management.”
          Secondarily, a private concern cannot create money as can a sovereign government. Thus, a private crash ends up with the clients losing much of their ‘wealth.’ A government crash can be backstopped through fiat creation. Inflation? Of course. Has anyone managed to ‘control’ inflation yet?
          The demographics of the eternally shrinking workforce support cadres is a real concern, but not for what most would consider a valid reason. The shrinking workforce is, to an extent, the result of the deindustrialization of America.
          Again, income inequality comes into play. There is plenty of money being ‘made’ in America. Unfortunately, with the financialization of the American economy, that pile of money is divided mostly to the benefit of the top earners. Today, there is an upper cap on wages and income that can be taxed for Social Security. Remove that cap and several pro-public effects are unleashed. First, a massive flood of money enters the Social Security funds flow. On paper at least, suddenly, the Social Security Trust Fund is going gangbusters. Secondly, the wealth inequality is somewhat lesssened. This is social engineering in it’s purest form. Wealth is transferred, popular unrest can be soothed through propaganda of a ‘happy’ sort, the Government “balance sheet” can be massaged to show a “healthier” government economy.
          Unfortunately for we small fry, the winds are blowing from another quarter right now.
          Citizens United must die first before we can contemplate reforms in general. That is a subject for another day.
          Be of good cheer and stay safe.

          1. Objective Ace

            Totally agree – privatizing ss would result in “skimming off the top”. I’m just not sold that that cost would be all that great relative to the overall larger picture. This is a big if — but in theory — more money poured into private companies should result in increased capital and overall production for them and the economy at large*. Its unlikely this would be as productive as government spending that money on infrastructure, but as Lambert points out below, thats not really what the government does. Federal taxes do not dictate spending

            *Based on climate change maybe this isnt a good thing?

            1. tegnost

              but in theory — more money poured into private companies should result in increased capital and overall production for them and the economy at large
              They’ve had free money for twelve years, what more can be done than that

              1. Objective Ace

                Increased equity isnt the same thing as cheap debt/leveraging. Whether expansion though equity or debt is more likely to generate producitve investments vs. rent seeking monopolist practices is probably up for debate. But we do know that much of the fed monetery policy didnt go into businesses at all (ie the Fed is buying tens of billions of mortgages every month).

        2. Lambert Strether

          > The real problem with social security is fewer and fewer people paying into it as the population growth slows.

          No, it isn’t. Federal taxes do not fund Federal spending.

    2. Mikel

      Right now it looks like a managed walk down that could last a year or more.

      But that’s looking at the indexes only as a metric. In my opinion, those went to hell as a metric with inclusion of Tesla.

      Still a handful of stocks keeping the indexes not too far from all time highs.
      Huge numbers of stacks have already fallen more than 20% and that began earlier last year.

      Will circuit breaker days happen?

    3. Mikel

      One other thing to consider : lots of games are being played with wanna be options traders.
      These past few years have seen as much as, if not more, speculation with options as stocks.

    4. ArvidMartensen

      Don’t think it will happen this year. The Fed will keep rates low and the money flowing because it’s an election year. And Democrats are in trouble already.
      If they raise interest rates and turn off the free money for the rich, it will be fast carnage. For the last 30 years it has been slow carnage with peaks and troughs to disguise, like air slowly leaking from a tyre that you can pump up a couple of times a week without replacing.
      In Australia, the movies made about small towns luring people in under some pretext or other were supposed to be a dystopian future. But in the US that’s been happening for a while, according to the stories here. Another sign of a dystopian future not far away now, where it’s every man for himself. Oh wait…
      Ordinary US citizens will welcome the Chinese/Russian permanent visitors if they promise food and stability and health care, just like the ordinary Romans welcomed the invading northern hordes when Rome fell.

      1. griffen

        I really must disagree, the Fed must take some action during this year and likely into 2023 (if not longer). This ruse of absurdly low short term interest rates has perhaps run it’s course. There will be an adjustment, and marginal companies in the past will find their marginal circumstances a bit worse for the actions by the Fed.

        While they’ve gone the gradual route in the past, it seems very likely they will gradually and very pointedly have to take action. The inflation canary is no longer just down in the mine.

  21. flora

    re: new cold war

    Lets see…
    Biden’s polling numbers in the basement. Inflation rising. Main Street economy hurting.
    Election year.
    et viola! Time for saber rattling to improve B’s numbers. Tail wagging the dog. Threat of a “little” war might be just the ticket.
    Seems to be a tried and true campaigning pivot – change the narrative away from domestic problems – in US politics going back for decades. My 2 cents. (too cynical?) / ;)

    1. Wukchumni

      Biden was elected originally on the coattails of being against the Vietnam war, voted against doing Iraq War numero uno, was very much for going to war in Afghanistan & Iraq, and then pulled us out of Afghanistan.

      Now we have desperate oh Joe, sending out sounding sycophants insensitive to the Russians needs and wants over terra firma nobody really wants, it’s tantamount to a 3-way Mexican Standoff and somebody is about to shoot their fool head off.

      1. flora

        An aside: Ukraine’s geography is its tragedy; it’s the most direct and militarily easiest route from the East to the West into Europe, also from the West to the East. (See Genghis Khan as an early starting point: he invaded Ukraine, defeating Kiev, and from there went on to Hungary in the 1200’s). Ukraine, the great east/west highway, has been overrun and conquered/reconquered numerous times over the last 800 years in both directions. (Turkey, Ukraine’s southern neighbor, offers no direct route from the East into Europe because the western border of Turkey is the Med. sea, and its northern border is a smaller Black sea.)

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I would extend that date of Ukraine’s being a natural highway for invasion further back than 800 years before present …. Herodotus has the Scythians (first recorded cannabis smokers in the West, if Herodotus is to be believed, to touch on a point elsewhere in the Comments today — study seems pretty off to me based on anecdotal evidence, but I could be wrong) on the Pontic steppes 2,500 years ago.

          It’s pretty likely the original Indo-European route to Europe was through the self-same steppes of what is now Ukraine.

          It’s also a sign of the suicidally delusional leadership we have in the West that they are seriously considering starting a war against Russia, in the winter, in the basin of the River Don — the last time Westerners tried that, the Soviets annihilated the Italian-led forces that were unfortunate enough to be there (bad country for Alpini, despite the snow).

      1. marym

        Republicans: We can’t win elections if a lot of people vote and have their votes counted. We’ll pass laws to make voting more difficult, and facilitate partison control of the counting and certification process.

        Democrats (performing for the cameras, but still…): We should protect the voters from that happening.*

        Pundits: Exactly the same. Divisive!

        *If Democrats actually were going to do anything, and if they took the trouble to understand what some of the new state laws actually do instead of just saying stuff offhand, they can potentially expand and protect voting rights; but I don’t know if they can do anything about the potential to override the count.

        Their failure to do anything for the people may cause them to lose elections to Republicans who also won’t do anything for the people, but it doesn’t mean voter suppression and election nullification laws aren’t delegitimizing.

        1. flora

          If Dems were going to do anything to keep their margins they’d stop ignoring so many of us Dems in “flyover” states where, once upon a time, many Dems were elected to statehouses and the US Congress. That was back before the Dem party decided supporting Dems in flyover states wasn’t worth (I use the term advisedly) their time and efforts. /ugh.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Once again, the dems controlled the house for 40 YEARS STRAIGHT.

            Clinton got elected, hillary tried to ‘reform’ healthcare, they lost the house and senate at mid-terms.

            Never underestimate the clinton’s ability to eff stuff up.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They didn’t hold the House for one congress between 1995 and 1933. But the Clintons are brilliant. I mean doing Tysons and Wal Marts bidding and holding onto nostalgia voters. Wow. You have to be a genius to figure that out.

    2. Martin Oline

      I feel this whole The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, thing is merely designed to stop NordStream from ever operating.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Wish I understood which German thinking (of their .01% no doubt) matters, what that thinking might be.

        Who paid for nord2 pipe and laying of it to begin with. That’s a lot of investment laying in waste.
        Do Germans (Bayer?) want control of Ukrainian agriculture lands that much?
        Do Germans want U.S. to continue paying for defense via NATO so much that they allow this madness?

        1. caucus99percenter

          There seems to be some secret post-WW2 deal still
          in effect where, in exchange for having been “rehabilitated” and cleared of the taint of bad old Austrian uncle Addie, the German elites cede veto power over foreign policy to the western Allied victors and Israel.

      1. LawnDart

        Coming back at you n the same vein, with GBH’s Generals:

        [Generals Lyrics]

        We’ll lead you into victory, you hear the generals say
        Never look behind you, we’re with you all the way
        Go to bed early, conserve your energy
        Tomorrow we’ll be fighting with the enemy
        Polish your boots, clean your gun
        Killing those bastards will be a lot of fun
        Take no prisoners, kill them all
        Start to march when you hear the call

        ‘Cause Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her
        Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her, for her

        Marching into victory, marching in the mud
        Fighting for freedom, fighting in the blood
        There’s dead bodies all around, you’re told to carry on
        Death is not right, war cannot be won

        Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her
        Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her, for her

        March along you see a flash
        Fall to the ground and make a splash
        You awake you’re lying in the bed
        Eyes are shut you think you’re dead
        Lost your arm, you’ve lost your leg
        Lost you’re job, you’ll have to beg
        You’ll get loads of sympathy, a picture in the Post
        But where were the generals when you needed them most?

        ‘Cause Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her
        Britain needs you, Britain needs you
        Britain needs you to die for her, for her

        Britain needs you

          1. JTMcPhee

            Kind of like all the submerged early-version verses in our national “Christian hymn, suitable for all denominations,”“America the Beautiful:”

            Original Poem
            Words by Katharine Lee Bates
            O beautiful for halcyon skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the enameled plain! America! America!
            God shed His grace on thee, Till souls wax fair as earth and air And music-hearted sea!

            O beautiful for pilgrim feet
            Whose stern, impassioned stress
            A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
            America! America!
            God shed His grace on thee
            Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought By pilgrim foot and knee!

            O beautiful for glory-tale
            Of liberating strife,
            When once or twice, for man’s avail, Men lavished precious life! America! America!
            God shed His grace on thee
            Till selfish gain no longer stain, The banner of the free!

            O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears! America! America!
            God shed His grace on thee Till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter jubilee!

            “Till selfish gain no longer stain…” “Till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter jubilee…” What could those words mean, I wonder?

          2. Darthbobber

            Composed and first performed during the ’45, when London was nervous for a bit, and the Hanoverian dynasty was in need of all the morale builders it could get.

  22. Jason Boxman

    So I came across this quote, belatedly, the origin of which I will share after you ponder it and then conclude what president it is describing:

    […] the administration hewed pretty much to the spirit of the pandemic laissez faire favored by the President’s kitchen cabinet. [The president] was quite unwilling to superintend major government efforts directed at ordinary Americans. The White House rejected a plan to distribute free masks to people using the post office. It also declined to mount a large scale national testing effort. Instead it rapidly devolved responsibility for combatting COVID to the states, clearly anticipating that state Governors, not the White House, would take the heat for individual lockdown decisions, school closings, or mask mandates.

    No, that’s not Biden. It’s actually Trump. Difficult to tell, right? This is from:

    The Knife Edge Election of 2020: American Politics Between Washington, Kabul, and Weimar
    Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, Working Paper No. 169, November 7th, 2021

    Which was linked here probably back in November but I’m only reviewing now. (100 pages!)

    So much for “the adults” being back in charge, eh? Although I guess to the extent that being an adult means beating your child-like charges for misbehavior (get back to work!) it might be accurate, after a fashion.

    1. Pate

      Well, he did tell us “nothing would change”. Why do so many expect something diff? “Choice” is theater.

  23. Ranger Rick

    The Kroger strike ended in Colorado. Kroger made some concessions, likely not out of the kindness of their hearts, but because it could have gone national (several other states have had strikes at Kroger-owned businesses in the past few months, or have unions calling for strike votes).

    I’m glad the union won, but it should never have come to this.

    1. ambrit

      And there, in black and white, (and yellow and red,) is why we have Unions.
      Without a credible countervailing force, the Ownership Class will always try to immiserate their workers to increase their share of the economic spoils.
      Given Terran human nature, it will always “come to this.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad that so often the union leadership becomes just pigs on the porch, playing cards and drinking with the Men in Suits… I guess it is an inevitable dynamic, since mopes do not know how to hold onto gains and play to win over the long haul, and any ambitious souls among the working class tend to “rise to the top” and end up traitors to the working class — just going to work, keeping the head above water, will not keep the Hoffas and Boyles from cutting our nuts off, again and again…

    1. griffen

      That is a rebuild process that one should not hurry through or attempt to complete early in order to get some bonuses kicking in. It is interesting that they’ve got a deadline in mind, for 2024. Which does not seem too likely, must be a lot of intricate and delicate work to do.

  24. Tom Stone

    Not cynical enough.
    You underestimate the hubris and stupidity of the US establishment by no small amount.
    Blinken and his buddies are certainly capable of provoking WW3 accidentally and who is to stop them?
    He’s in worse shape now than Reagan was in his last year in office.

    1. Mikel

      I’m pretty much relying on the hope that the other countries refuse to play the death trap game.
      That’s just a hope and where my hope rests.

      1. Mantid

        Well, remember that “the other countries” are not in charge. It’s Blackrock, Military Contractors, WEF, etc, etc, etc, They own the guns and news outlets that are pushing this narrative so hard. Individual countries have gone the way of City States. The Venetians are no longer in charge. “There will be blood”.

  25. MonkeyBusiness

    Philip Schellekens’ Tweets:
    – Vaccines work very well, we should expand access
    – Scroll down a couple of Tweets and it’s the countries with the best access to vaccines that are showing the highest test positivity numbers.

    1. Objective Ace

      I keep seeing the vaccines are “90 percent effective” and keep wondering–effective at what? Doing absolutely nothing is 95%+ effective at keeping you out of the hospital which is what we’re being told is all the vaccines are good for now

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. You should see the prices used equipment is commanding; the older, still working equipment is not subject to the corporate rentier “intellectual property rights so you can’t repair it yourself or at an independent shop”, aka you don’t own the equipment you bought. (How farm equipment escaped the auto right-to-repair laws, including rights to see the digital schematics for repair purposes, is a mystery to me.)

      An aside: in general, farmers are very capable, smart, and resourceful. Why Deere would think “where else they gonna go?” is beyond my understanding.

    2. Mantid

      Yes, vinegar works like a charm on most, excluding morning glories, especially on a Sunny day. But save some of the dandelions off to the side for a salad, or if enough, some wine to go with your Sativa.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If this farmer revolt gets bad enough long enough, the Union may wish that it had made “recognizing right to repair” for John Deere customers a part of the concessions it demanded from Deere.

  26. Mikel

    “Most may only stay a day or two – but it’s hospital & they’re sick & feeling miserable. It’s not a trip to the park.

    How have we decided this is fine? ”

    Either “because markets” or there aren’t enough sick kiddies from the side of the tracks where this would be deemed unacceptable.
    Just my first, off-the-cuff thoughts….

  27. rowlf

    A few days ago I mentioned a friend and his family having a mild cold like case of covid and left out a detail. The man is a tradesman and drives a pickup truck with a two axle box trailer from outdoors job site to job site. He mentioned the first sign something was wrong with him was when he realized he had just driven through a red light at a familiar intersection due to brain fog. This scared him so much he went straight home for the day and then stayed home as other symptoms developed.

    In his case smell and taste were affected. As we compared notes (About a quarter of my coworkers have had covid over the last year and a half, and recovered, but another friend lost six members of his family.) and I mentioned some of my coworkers still haven’t recovered taste and smell, he mentioned taste and smell bothered him as he likes to roast his own coffee. Prior to covid, the people I knew who had taste and smell changes had suffered concussions.

  28. Wukchumni

    One day in the life of Ivan Isolationist…

    Not much news here in the leper colony, livin’ la vida covid and lovin’ it as I went for the unlimited miles option-it’s guaranteed to stay with me as long as the chassis lasts. Somebody asked about brain fade and i’ll admit to an instance of it when I fell into a trance and went on a buying binge of Hummel figurines on eBay, but snapped out of it.

    Sometimes I take a turn for the verse and have to stop myself. Stop Press/ Just received notice that my 4 tests will be here on January 25th via USPS, i’ll have to study up.

    Feeling a little backed up in the nasal passages…

    Snotty Scotty and the Hankies 96 Tears

    1. Mantid

      I gotta mention Wuk, years ago I wrote a piece for bass clarinet entitled A Day in the Life of Ivan Hippopotamus. Ivan sure gets around. Keep ’em comin’

  29. Wukchumni

    Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master, Dies at 95 Tricycle (David L)
    I always wanted a zen studio called ‘Now and Zen’ and of course it would be open odd hours.

    1. ambrit

      My Dad ‘wanted’ to set up a Zen School of Writing. “Of course,” he’d remark, “the Devil would be in de tales.”
      My comeback was; “A blank sheet of paper would be success?”
      His counter; “Define success.”

  30. Mantid

    Don’t know if it’s still around but down in Portland Or. there was a coffee shop called Rimsky Korsikoffee House. It was a good cup before espresso was know in the states. (Bart Simpson voice) “Mmmmm coffee”

    1. Wukchumni

      My favorite antique store name ever…

      ‘Junk & Disorderly’, in Downieville, Ca. (long since closed)

  31. flora

    re: Yellen goes to Davos

    She goes to Davos thinking that carrying a US national card, with the US’s national power and imprimatur behind it, backs her as an important seat at the table, not realizing the Globalist’s table doesn’t care about nations. (This reference to the “Peace in Our Time” card wrt Neville Chamberlain is no doubt a bit over the top at this point. However, in future, it may not be seen as over the top. My 2 cents.)

    “The problem we have is not globalization. The problem is a lack of global governance.” Kurt Schwab

  32. Susan the other

    Yellen. We are now promoting Supply Side monetary policy. The glitch last time we did Supply Side was a combination of labor decimation; offshoring; and a free trade/strong dollar policy. It destroyed our middle class and created a population of poor and homeless people which is unacceptable in a true democracy. True being the key word. This time our stagflation won’t be fixed by the Fed’s tapering of QE and slightly higher interest rates. We have pretty serious inflation for a “temporary” disruption of the status quo. A status quo which is in denial. So Yellen is no doubt looking at the devastation higher interest rates and no more QE could do. And a right wing Congress dumb enough to demand it. She is taking the pressure off Powell and helping Biden by announcing supply side stimulation, much lower taxes basically. But that will only create a bigger bad economy to be dealt with again. At this point we need a variety of economic measures like a jobs guarantee, M4A, etc as well as negative measures which prevent “strong dollar” and “free trade” advocates from eliminating both equality and demand completely. And Congress is dumb enough to screw it up. And she knows it. Yellen’s just buying time so Congress can catch up on the learning curve. We should all insist they take night courses and pass with at least a C. Maybe we should insist that Congress legislate a third mandate for the Fed to prevent inequality. That’s the only democratic thing to do.

  33. dcblogger

    not sure if this has been posted yet

    What to know about the battle over Fox Valley health care workers now playing out in court
    ThedaCare requested Thursday that an Outagamie County judge temporarily block seven of its employees who had applied for and accepted jobs at Ascension from beginning work there on Monday until the health system could find replacements for them.
    … …
    Outagamie County Circuit Court Judge Mark McGinnis granted ThedaCare’s request and held an initial hearing Friday morning. The case will get a longer hearing at 10 a.m. Monday.

    1. ambrit

      So, the return of indentured servitude.
      And here I was imagining that the Neo Robber Barons wanted to roll back social history a century or so. I was off by a century or two.

  34. Maritimer

    A Rio Grande Valley Woman Just Broke the U.S. Record for Most Birds Spotted in a Year Texas Monthly (resilc)
    “WHAT: At the end of December, after driving 49,000 miles and hopping on more than fifty flights across the country, Kersten, 35, broke the American Birding Association’s record for most bird identifications in the lower 48 states within a calendar year.”
    WHAT???? The ABA actually encourages this sort of activity? What’s next, a TV deal?

    Almost as bad as the American Humanist Association giving America’s favorite Pandemicist, Dr. Phauci, Man of the Year.

    Watch out for your Associations.

  35. Jason Boxman

    Public health as personal choice, the CDC way!

    But scientists have noted that some people may be infectious for longer than that, and some criticized the agency for not recommending that people receive a negative result on a rapid test before ending their isolation periods.

    The agency subsequently updated its guidelines to note that people who wanted to test should take a rapid antigen test “towards the end” of the five-day isolation period but stopped short of formally recommending it.

    And of course this is appalling:

    Scientists have been working overtime to study Omicron. Many questions remain unanswered, but here’s what they’ve learned so far.

    And yet we don’t know, so we’re letting it ride, because that’s a brilliant idea, of course.

    Stay safe out there! I got an email today from United States Mask and they’re back in stock; They skipped certification because they say regulators are so far behind. I don’t own any of their masks yet, but I’m tempted to buy and compare with my Gerson duckbills that need a cloth mask + badger to fit tightly without fogging my glasses at all.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Gerson duckbills

      I was impressed by this on the Halyard Duckbill page (not recommending either brand, this is where I encountered the text):

      The FLUIDSHIELD* duckbill breathing chamber is more than twice as large as the leading , and exceeds NIOSH standards for breathability. Because proper snug fit is critical2, HALYARD* N95s come in a range of sizes, with malleable nose wire to adjust fit. And to aid in comfort and durability, strong elastic straps are securely bonded—not stapled—to the mask.

      I think the “breathing chamber” is an important concept. The 3M 9320A+ I’m using is constructed such that it too has a breathing chamber, and I think that makes it much more comfortable; nothing less pleasant than breathing in non-woven fabric).

      Also, the 3M 9320A+ are stapled, and bonding sounds better, but I find the elastic breaks before the staples give. You’ve got to be careful how to don and doff the 3M 9320A and not put too much stress on the straps.

      Of course, we’re only finding out what makes a good mask three years into a pandemic. Greatest country in the world!

  36. Wukchumni

    Joe and Jill
    Went up the hill
    To fetch a pail of trillions
    The deal fell down and broke his crown
    And hope went tumbling after.

      1. JBird4049

        Hmm. This has been gone over here in NC, but…

        IIRC the flu is one of the more deadly disease if only because it mutates often and spreads easily. Then there is the 1918 Pandemic.

        Sounds like Covid. In genetics and evolution classes it’s axiomatic that the more opportunities for mutations to occur means more opportunities to for change; a virus or bacteria has pressure to spread and often killing people is an effective way to do so.
        It also gives as disease more chances to evade vaccines, treatments, and cures and all the money in the world will not change this.

        The means to end this have been known for generations if not centuries. Some say that our elites are likely democidal, which is probably true for many, but I think many just have an impulse to die. They are suicidal and want to make the whole world their burial mound or funeral pyre. If they are egotistical enough, for servants in the afterlife. Though if there is on one they are probably going to be very disappointed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I didn’t mean to imply that the flu is nothing. Far from it. But that article gobsmacked me on two levels. One was that even though Omicron came out of the blue and took over the world in what – two months? – these leaders are not considering the fact that the next variant may not be even more lethal. They want to pretend that it is all over and there won’t be any more variants. The second thing that got me was that after the past two years with all the deaths, illnesses, the collapse of governmental trust and all the rest of it, that we are right back where we were in early 2020 but this time, it is our leaders that are saying ‘It’s just the flu, bro.’

          1. Lambert Strether

            > They want to pretend that it is all over and there won’t be any more variants. The second thing that got me was that after the past two years with all the deaths, illnesses, the collapse of governmental trust and all the rest of it, that we are right back where we were in early 2020 but this time, it is our leaders that are saying ‘It’s just the flu, bro.’

            And there are enough people chanting in chorus with them (“Lead our lives! Lead our lives!”) that the talking point won’t wither and die. Nor has any coherent alternative to Vax-only been presented within the political class, a complete debacle for the left. The aerosol and treatment people aren’t only frozen out of CDC and WHO, they’re frozen out of the political process. (A third party* for people who hate both liberals and conservatives would leap at this opportunity…).

            NOTE * To be fair, I went to the Green’s site to sign up for their newsletter and found this:

            On the front page. Hopeless. Completely hopeless.

          2. JBird4049

            Sorry Rev, I was not criticizing you.

            I share the same thought and feeling, but am mostly becoming numb for what can I do with such madness. It becomes Oh look, more insanity, how nice. What’s for breakfast?

            It was more going over (mostly for myself) just what is wrong with the It’s just the flu, bro. approach.

            Jesus, I think some have been listing to the Doors too much and thinking Mammon is their girl and this song their anthem:

            You know the day destroys the night
            Night divides the day
            Tried to run
            Tried to hide
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through to the other side, yeah

            We chased our pleasures here
            Dug our treasures there
            But can you still recall
            The time we cried
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through to the other side

            C’mon, yeah

            Everybody loves my baby
            Everybody loves my baby
            She get
            She get
            She get
            She get high

            I found an island in your arms
            Country in your eyes
            Arms that chain us
            Eyes that lie
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through, oww!
            Oh, yeah!

            Made the scene
            Week to week
            Day to day
            Hour to hour
            The gate is straight
            Deep and wide
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through to the other side
            Break on through
            Break on through
            Break on through
            Break on through
            Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
            Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    1. JBird4049

      PG&E has bribed most of the governors and legislators for a century, which makes Governor Newsom actions about as surprising as the sunrise. He could have expanded on solar, but that probably would not be very profitable for PG&E. California is just one big earthquake zone and the they have known of specific faults in the area. IIRC, people have been trying to get that facility either not built and afterwards trying to close for more than 40 years. I’m sorry I ever voted for him. Not that the Republicans would be any better.

  37. griffen

    The snow was falling on Lambeau Field as though a giant had shaken a snow globe that enclosed all of Green Bay. No amazing comeback by the anointed Rodgers on this night.

    As the clock struck zero, a well done attempt for 3 points sails through the uprights. Another opportunity lost as a home favorite for the Packers. San Francisco to play for keeps next week in the NFC championship.

    1. Susan the other

      What a strange little tidbit, Rev. Dioxygen-diflouride is used specifically to process plutonium, etc. at Los Alamos. Making me wonder about all the other chemical combinations being developed for psy ops.

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