Links 1/28/2022

Australian lungfish in San Francisco the oldest living aquarium fish The Hill

8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House


US judge cancels auction of Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling leases FT

See the Channel Islands’ stunning ecological recovery High Country News

Troubled waters Searchlight New Mexico

The Shitshow in Glasgow The Baffler

Secret Acres: Foreign-owned agricultural land inaccurately tracked by government Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting


What to know about BA.2, new omicron subvariant detected in several US states ABC7. Commentary:

* * *

Some Americans are hesitant about Covid vaccines. But they’re all-in on unproven treatments STAT. Let’s turn this around. There is an enormous unmet demand for treatments, which is not being met. Why the market failure?

Patchwork system for rationing a Covid drug sends immunocompromised patients on a ‘Hunger Games hunt’ STAT. Like every other part of the healthcare system?

* * *

Contextualizing the risks of indirect COVID-19 transmission in multi-unit residential buildings National Collaborating Centre for Environemental Health

* * *

Suggestions for non-pharmaceutical interventions (after victory so-called “endemic status” is declared):

Bad logic driven by the “mild” talking point disentangled, a thread:

* * *

How to Properly Store Your At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Tests NECN

Where to Buy N95s, KN95s, and Surgical-Style Masks in 2022 NYT


China shrugs off IMF warnings on zero-tolerance COVID-19 approach Channel News Asia

This Is the Evergrande Endgame as China’s Property Problems Spread (podcast) Odd Lots

Venture Capital Becomes a Tech Battleground Between China, U.S. WSJ

China’s middle class is developing a taste for high-end meat, sending imports surging South China Morning Post


Myanmar junta threatens pot-banging protesters with treason France24

Myanmar Has Moved Beyond Aung San Suu Kyi vs. the Generals The Diplomat

Japan’s government should stop training Myanmar’s military Myanmar News

The Koreas

Why South Korea’s Presidential Election Matters to the U.S. Foreign Policy

Squid Game’s Strike Flashbacks Were Modeled on Our Real-Life Factory Occupation Jacobin


Ex-government workers mine for salvation in Afghan mountains Agence France Presse

New Cold War

China backs Russia’s ‘security concerns’ in crisis with west over Ukraine FT

Russia Criticizes U.S. Security Response But Sees Room for Talks Bloomberg

What’s Actually Happening in Ukraine? Commentary:

Ukraine and U.S. War Propaganda Black Agenda Report. For example:

Biden Administration

Department of Interior outlines changes enabled by Infrastructure Bill Wildfire Today

Crypto Skeptic Set to Join Consumer Finance Watchdog Bloomberg

The IRS Should Stop Using Facial Recognition The Atlantic

Nancy Pelosi Introduces Landmark Legislation To Provide Aid For Struggling Personal Stock Portfolio The Onion


What Did Clinton Know and When Did She Know It? The Russiagate Evidence Builds RealClearInvestigations. The walls are closing in?

Our Famously Free Press

The NYT’s polarizing pandemic pundit Politico

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile Task & Purpose

For sale: CIA ‘black site’ where terror suspects were tortured in Lithuania Guardian

Supply Chain

FedEx, UPS operate large Boeing freighters FAA says vulnerable to 5G Freight Waves

A remote village, a world-changing invention and the epic legal fight that followed FT


Chevron’s Prosecution of Steven Donziger The Nation. Commentary:

L’Affaire Jeffrey Epstein

“It Was Catastrophic”: Inside Prince Andrew’s Misguided Bid to Explain Away Epstein Vanity Fair

The Bezzle

This NFT on OpenSea Will Steal Your IP Address Vice

CEO of Miami armored-car company pleads guilty in $140 million ‘dirty gold’ smuggling scheme MarketWatch

The Charismatic Developer and the Ponzi Scheme That Suckered San Diego Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Walking America: Washington, DC (Anacostia and Alexandria) Chris Arnade, Intelllectual Int-ing

Seven Reactions to NFIB v. Department Of Labor Law and Political Economy Project

Cricket’s Class Wars Tribune

Routine Maintenance Harpers. Hysteresis?

Antidote du jour (JU):

JU writes:

My friend’s best friend, Dusty the Adventure Dog @ Crater Lake.

I’m in a committed feline romance, but I offered to be the new owner of Dusty if ever the chance occurred, and that was 3 months ago and since, 16 other would-be owners have also expressed an interest, the 17th attempt at adoption happening last night @ our town tow truck xmas lighting party when a woman told my friend that she wanted his dog, and meant it.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. The Rev Kev

    “For sale: CIA ‘black site’ where terror suspects were tortured in Lithuania”

    Isolated but handy to a village? It has windowless, soundproof rooms? I don’t suppose that Lithuania could turn them into musical recording studios for the local talent, could they? Yes, it is true that the floor is suffering from inevitable water-damage and they have yet to get some stains off the walls and floors but otherwise any number of bands could record their tracks there. And for all you know, some of the heavy metal bands might even dig that building’s history and be inspired to write a song about it.

    1. Watt4Bob

      I once visited an Irish Arts Center in NYC that was housed in a building that I was told, had been a factory producing armored cars, the sort called Black Mariahs, famous for their use in repressing the kind of civil unrest associated with the Irish struggle for independence, and other radical political initiatives.

      What you’re thinking isn’t so far fetched.

  2. griffen

    Surprising lessons for buying real estate. Be prepared to be outbid and for competing all cash buyers to supersede your best level efforts. The fact that property taxes are extremely high should be a factor into the process of where, and how much to buy. I was starting to research into local markets a year ago, and between the property increases and how quickly homes that appeared attractive went up as pending or contingent just left me stunned. I recognized a tendency of mine to be cautious and perhaps too apprehensive, and just not interested in bidding up the value.

    It’s a large financial transaction, and it often troubles me how real estate is made to look easy by flippers. Guess I could use air quotes around look easy.

    1. Larry Carlson

      Real estate editor unaware of basic aspects of real estate transactions — support for the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect?

      1. albrt

        My impression was that she knew about the facts ahead of time, but was unaware that the facts applied to sophisticated PMCers like herself. Finding this out took an unexpected emotional toll.

        1. juno mas

          This lack of real experience in what writers/journalists write about is typical. Too many people ‘think’ they know what they are doing–but they don’t.

          Number “9”: Get to know the neighboring property owners–they will impact your life (barking dogs, amateurish rhythmic pounding on a drumset from the garage at 10pm, whining weed-eaters from landscape maintenance workers at 7am, etc.)–because they ain’t going away!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Lesson #5 stood out. Hugh amounts of almost free money have been showered on banks and investment companies to play with, but a couple purchasing a home are niggled to death over what seems to me irrelevant minutia in explaining their finances.

      The rest of the lessons are hardly surprising to anyone private party who has tried to make a large purchase lately — like a house or a ‘decent’ used car.

    3. Larry

      I knew what I was getting into when I bought my home, but when the rubber meets the road it still can shock and surprise. My first winter in this house I learned that the previous owners had over done it on the garage door aesthetics (re: added decorative weight) but underdone it on the garage door openers and opening system. One spring broke entirely in the dead of winter and made the door near impossible to open. Sure it got fixed, but cost me $2000. It’s a real smack in the face. And you know it could and will be coming, but until it does, it’s hard to predict how you’ll react. I try not to think too much about the full cost of interest and upkeep I’m spending on a 200+ year old Greek revival while I realize the author of the article probably would faint if she could spend what I paid on my home.

  3. griffen

    Glad I don’t watch or pay much heed to Colbert. The smugness on his face, and the air is just thick with his superior brains and being a supposed right minded thinker.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wish Lambert had not put this in. Here in Oz as light night cheap fill on the TV they put on people like him from the US and last night while I was online, the TV next to me came on with his show and the segment that Lambert showed was nothing to what I saw. He had this black woman on who basically sat there and reeled off CIA talking points and the jokes that Colbert made could have been written by John McClain himself. The best you could say about Colbert is that he is a loyal son of the Empire.

      1. JBird4049

        Colbert used to be funny until he turned to the Empire and the Dark Side.

        From the very little I see on television, all the talk show hosts and comedians have become scolds. It is good for getting the in-crowd, but gentle humor, maybe with a touch of sarcasm, is the most effective. After humor can be identified as showing the absurdity between what is supposedly said and done, and what is actually said and done. Not by beating people over the head with the wonderful righteousness that is you or them.

    2. jr

      It’s everywhere these days….I think it sells (to the degree it does) because a lot of people are scared and some want to be the smug, confident guy on TV who seems to brush off uncomfortable information with a snigger and a wave.

      More pat answers. More fictional identities. More virtual power.

    3. SteveD

      Where are all of the fact-check pearl-clutchers accusing Colbert of misinformation? Oh, right, it’s not “misinformation” when you agree with the narrative.

      Colbert is a sellout of the highest order. Once capable of genuinely edgy material (see “Strangers with Candy”) now he is nothing more than a shill for the uniparty.

      1. flora

        “fact-checkers” are the new “correct-the-record” outfits. They have whatever “facts” you want… for sale. I might almost call them disinformation outfits. / ;)

      2. Pavel

        Not only a sellout but an unfunny and often cringe-inducing one. Did you see that horrific musical skit he did with actors dressed as vaccine syringes?

        I remember admiring him greatly during the GWB era slamming the docile press corps at that Correspondents’ Dinner (or whatever its called). Now he is just part of the establishment, with a particularly annoying smugness.

        1. Mildred Montana

          “…unfunny and often cringe-inducing…”

          I’ll say. I only watched him a couple times many years ago and that was enough for me. I couldn’t stand his affectations, his stock of cliched facial expressions. His favorite seemed to be the blank look of astonishment. Probably because he had practiced it for many hours in front of a mirror.

        2. flora

          There was a scene in PBS’s docu about the opioid epidemic where a PR guy for an opioid manufacture did the same dancing drugs stunt. He was dressed in an opioid costume dancing with others, touting the wonderfulness of his pharma’s opioids. Here’s the long PBS Frontline “Opioids, Inc link. Can’t find the shorter “dancing opioid” scene only link.

          Colbert’s writers derivative much?

        3. JBird4049

          >>>Actors dressed as vaccine syringes?

          My word. How interesting. Were they the guards and was he dressed up as the Red Queen King?

          An image from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland would be nicely satirical.

          But would that be too over the top? Looking at the insanity considered normal, I am wondering if A Modest Proposal would be seriously considered. Being open to comedy or satire requires having some connection to reality.

          1. Steve H.

            I was once a pancreas. Pharmacy event at a local theater. Disney-level costume.

            I hung around the treat table. Bronx tones: “Hey Honey, you sure are sweet, and I know sweet, ’cause I’m a Pancreas!”

    4. Carolinian

      I’d suggest that in a perverse way you can’t take the South Carolina out of Colbert since he seems compelled to be a super PMC by way of compensation. Was it something we said?

    5. Rod

      speaking of selling out–news you might could use

      What is Colbert salary?
      Deemed the wealthiest late-night talk show host, the actor and comedian boasts a net worth of $75 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. From 2015 to 2018, Colbert earned $6 million per year on “The Late Show.” In 2019, he extended his contract with CBS through 2023, with a salary of $15 million per year.Sep 22, 2021

      1. griffen

        Excellent point, this information is appreciated. Reminds me of a line from a Trent Reznor song. “Will you bite the hand that feeds you.”

    6. urdsama

      At least we got John Oliver as well.

      Not everyone’s cup of tea, but at least he tries to be better about not just parroting the party line.

    7. Basil Pesto

      It’s interesting that one sees all this vitriol directed at Colbert, who I agree is lame and bad, but nothing – and in fact defence of – Rogan. Both are harmful unfunny wankers, but one cops the flak because he’s a harmful wanker in service of the mainstream/party line, rather than the opposite, even if the latter is still misguided and harmful, albeit with a pretense of socratic irony and the impression of faux-humility which that conveys? I don’t really get it. Why waste time with either of them?

      1. griffen

        I don’t follow Rogan at all, but in this instance the video or tweet linked above was from Colbert. In all his smarmy, superior goodness. Colbert once upon a time was a funny and witty act on the Daily Show and his own show as well on Comedy Central.

        Colbert ain’t George Carlin, for darn sure.

  4. Roger Blakely

    – Contextualizing the risks of indirect COVID-19 transmission in multi-unit residential buildings National Collaborating Centre for Environemental Health

    According to the article it is rare that HVAC systems spread SARS-CoV-2.

    I call BS. If you are in a building, apartment building or office building, in which a common HVAC system is serving the whole building or sections of the building, you are inhaling Omicron. HVAC systems are spreading the virus efficiently.

    Learning to live with the virus means learning to wear a respirator at all times. SARS-CoV-2 is like Santa Claus; i.e., it knows when you’ve been sleeping; it knows when you’re awake. Eat and drink as quickly as you can to minimize the amount of SARS-CoV-2 that you inhale while your respirator is off.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, we know from studies of infections during quarantines that it doesn’t take much shared air. So now with rampant community spread, I wonder how frequent this is in practice. How do you gauge your risk level in multi-family housing, for example?

      If only we had a public health agency national in scope that could conduct this kind of research in the US… Or promulgate public safety information that’s actually timely, accurate, and useful. Oops.

    2. Objective Ace

      >According to the article it is rare that HVAC systems spread SARS-CoV-2.

      Well.. what does “rare” mean? People aren’t taught well enough in k-12 the value of qualifiers. They are often ignored when in reality they often should make you ignore the entirety of the rest of the sentence.

      If your spending half your life in a building with shared HVACs it means little that the odds of transmission occurring in any given hour is “rare” relative to a resteraunt

      1. jefemt

        Ye of Little Faith!

        Airlines, Railroads, Bus lines, public buildings all change their air filtration systems with rigor and punctuality!

        There ALWAYS and FOREVER will be hand sanitizer at the door, and custodial staff diligently wiping things down.


  5. allan

    Houston eviction courts are packed again as numbers return to pre-COVID levels [Houston Public Media]

    The state rent relief program is out of money. The national eviction moratorium ended months ago. Pandemic unemployment benefits in Texas expired over the summer. While the pandemic isn’t over, most of the state’s court safety regulations have ended or are set to expire soon.

    That means more eviction filings and, in some areas, crowded courtrooms that make it near impossible to stay safely distant indoors: So far this month, more than 4,600 eviction cases have been filed in Harris County as the omicron variant led to climbing case counts and hospitalizations.

    During the week of Jan. 10, more than 2,033 cases were filed in Harris County, compared to 693 cases filed during the same period last year …

    Last Tuesday, Harris County Judge Lincoln Goodwin’s court scheduled 275 evictions to be heard on the same day — half of them at 9 a.m. and the other half at 1 p.m.

    Every seat in the courtroom was taken. A line stretched down the hallway and into the parking lot. The judge and court staff weren’t wearing masks. …

    What a country.

  6. bassmule

    Tatiana Michelle Prowell, MD, is an American medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. I am sure she is a very smart person, but she’s not an epidemiologist. Just sayin’

      1. Watt4Bob

        I’ve read the whole thing, and nowhere do I find her claiming the vaccine is sterilizing.


          1. Michael

            Between these 2 things— a harder path for the virus to travel to propagate itself & an abundant supply of meds to serve as a safety net if we do get infected—it won’t be as likely that we’ll get infected or nearly as worrisome when it does happen. So this Face with medical mask isn’t forever. /22

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              He probably meant to cite tweet 21, but even that was not – in any reasonable assessment – a claim that the vaccines are sterilizing. Her entire tweet thread was reasonable, accurate, and decent. Nowhere in it did she claim vaccines are 100% effective against Covid. She said nothing even close to it. She made an entirely valid, solid argument in favor of masking.

              1. Objective Ace

                >She made an entirely valid, solid argument in favor of masking

                Except she didn’t specify what type of mask to use

              2. Paleobotanist

                Sorry, I meant tweet 21
                “And we now have 10B doses of #COVID19 #vaccine administered worldwide (>60% of Earth globe europe-africa population #vaccinated) in a little over a year. Not too far in the future, we will have enough people protected that the virus will have a tough time finding a susceptible person to infect. /21”

                which clearly implies a sterilizing vaccine. I am getting quite annoyed with MD’s claiming these vaccines are sterilizing and long-lasting which they are not.

                However, she does commendably argue for masking and better ventilation which is a good thing and seem to be the only things that we have available to us that are working.

                1. Count Zero

                  Well, there seems to be strong evidence that vaccines offer some protection against serious illness. Certainly not sterilising but because it’s not 100% that doesn’t then mean that it’s 0%.

                  I appreciate that in the US people are justifiably annoyed about health policy vis a vis covid19. Not to mention the grotesque profiteering. I would compare being vaccinated to having an umbrella on a rainy day. You are not guaranteed to stay completely dry. But you are better off with the umbrella!

                  1. Jan

                    …Assuming there are no long term health consequences.
                    What about the spike protein itself being pathogenic?

                    1. Count Zero

                      Yes, it’s not an easy choice to make. I suppose we just have to weigh up the pluses and minuses of vaccination v non-vaccination. On the balance of evidence what looks better for me. So I can understand anybody who decides not to get vaccinated. I don’t understand vaccine mandates and I don’t understand angry anti-vaxx conspiracy theories.

                  2. whatmeworry

                    you don’t seem to understand the difference between sterilizing and prevention of severe outcomes. The two are in this case largely unrelated. She is clearly making a claim if sterilizing immunity by saying: “Not too far in the future, we will have enough people protected that the virus will have a tough time finding a susceptible person to infect. /21”

                    1. Count Zero

                      Why resort to rude sarcastic remarks? I wasn’t attacking anybody. Of course I know the difference between sterilising and prevention of severe outcomes. You may be right that Dr Powell isn’t clear about it but what she says has nothing to do with me.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Considering that her explanation of the dangers inherent in “letting it rip”, echo those of Michael Osterholm, one of the country’s preeminent epidemiologists.

      Add to that the recent understanding that Covid infection can decimate the kind of T cells that are part of the body’s defense against cancer, Dr. Powell’s area of expertise, I fail to find a worthwhile point in your comment.

    2. Larry Carlson

      Given that some epidemiologists have simply regurgitated CDC talking points and others have aligned themselves with particular political viewpoints, I’d be a bit wary of appeals to “expertise.” Unfortunately, we may all have to think for ourselves here…

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Sounded to me like the latest installment in the “Big Bird Does Covid” series.

      So when I tell you we are lucky that Mother Nature gave us a practice virus to learn on with all of the #CovidVariants to date, listen to me…./18

      “Practice virus”???? Seriously??? WTF.

      But then I’m one of those “ppl w/o a…#MedTwitter background.”

      So, just to see how scientifically deficient I am, I checked out “#MedTwitter” and here’s a tweet that humbled me:

      Yesterday was my last residency interview of the #Match2022 season

      I also proudly wore my natural hair for the first time on the interview trail [Raising hands emoji]

      Practice viruses and MedTwitter. Yeah, right.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I’m not sure why this would raise your heckles. Clumsy phrasing maybe, but the point is no different from the one that has been made here several times over the past couple of years. Give the virus free rein to mutate, and the problem will become more intractable over time, which is indeed what we’re seeing. By procrastinating over containing the wild type virus which could have been brought under control relatively easily – hence, I gather, a ‘practice virus’ – we dithered, and the problem has become harder to manage as the virus mutates, and it could become harder still, hence her concern. I think I have that right.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    COP 26 Shitshow–

    Great article that I thought was going to cover nothing more than the preening conceit of our disastrously bad elites, the Conference of Polluters, until he then showed us the Conference of the People. A favorite quote that reminded me of another:

    Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an activist from the Tla’amin Nation, followed. “COP26 is a performance,” she said. “It’s an illusion constructed to salvage capitalist economies, ruinous resource extraction, and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda. I came here to disrupt it.” The room applauded. She continued: “We will outlive this. We will outlive these empires that were built on our genocide. Our ancestors have survived many apocalypses.”

    And from Buenaventura Durruti, Spanish anarchist, liberator of Catalonia:

    “You must not forget, we also know how to build. It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities, here in Spain and in America, and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place, and better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth, there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world, here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.“

    And from Grace Slick to conclude her song, “Greasy Heart,” satirizing America’s religion of consuming:

    Don’t change before the Empire falls.
    You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

  8. Samuel Conner

    Seed shipment from Fedco arrived yesterday, 14 days from order placement.

    IIRC, last year they implemented physical distancing practices in their pick/ship operation and it slowed order fulfillment (and I think they may have prioritized commercial grower customers). I think this year was prompter, but it’s also possible that I got ahead of the rush with an early January order.

    It’s not too early to be placing seed orders. Perhaps solicit requests from local fellow-gardeners and bundle order/split seed packages to reduce the burden on the shipper.

    Years ago a master gardener advised me to sow in trays early and let the trays cold stratify outdoors over the Winter. I didn’t try this until Winter 2021 and it really worked well with seed types that don’t germinate well, or at all, if they don’t experience Winter. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been setting up trays and setting them out, even in plant types that don’t require cold treatment (annual salvias, for example — but I hope the cold treatment will improve the germination rate from the ~40-50% I have seen in unstratified seeds); it’s a way of getting some of the tiresome work of seed sowing out of the way early, which will leave more time for bed preparation when the soil softens.

    (Yes, maybe I’m thinking wrong about ‘bed preparation’. I did recently finish Gabe Brown’s “Dirt to Soil” and I’m going to try to implement his concepts, adapted to home garden scale. A trial this year will be ’tillage radish’ to permeabilize the subsoil and improve percolation. I wonder if the neighbors will be upset if I heavily seed clover. Not sure how to ‘integrate animals’, though the thought occurs that I am a candidate.)

    1. MT_Wild

      I thought I was getting a jump start on ordering berry bushes since we’re trying to ediblize the yard. Boy was I wrong. Many varieties of small fruit (strawberries, raspberries, currants, etc.) are already sold out for the 2022 season.

      1. Samuel Conner

        re: Strawberries: there are probably at least a few varieties that can be started from seed and give fruit the same year.

        Last year I had decent results with “Fresca” strawberries from seed. (Seed source was “SwallowTail Gardens”, but I think it is available from other sellers). My germination rate was about 30%, so 7-8 plants from a $3 packet of seeds.

        I was getting blossoms and fruit set even on plants in pots as small as 1 pint, within 5 months of sowing (I aggressively fertilized, which surely helped).

        I was growing these to distribute plants to newbie gardeners, and only potted up one into a proper-sized container; it became a W/C plantidote, and gives a good idea of the possibilities:

        Fresca is ‘day neutral’ and I was getting blossoms into mid Autumn.

    2. TimH

      “It’s not too early to be placing seed orders.”

      Fer sure, old bean.

      I placed my seed order with Experimental Farm Network (they had Cousa squash) 10 days ago, and they are not shipping for a couple of weeks… and OOS of some seeds already.

    3. IM Doc

      One of the things of which I am so profoundly grateful in my life is growing up learning how to tend to plants, gardens, greenhouses, and orchards.

      The skill of building greenhouses and bee hives and placing trees in orchards and tending to them to force them to fruit – are lessons that were taught to me that I now find invaluable.

      I have set aside entire corners of the yard and greenhouses as testing grounds for all kinds of vegetables and fruit that I cross-hybridize myself. Over the years I have come up with quite a collection.

      I do not need to order seeds. We have everything I need and always let 2 or 3 of each kind of plant go to seed every late summer and autumn. I have come up repeatedly with my own cultivars in multiple types of vegetables that taste better or produce more fruit.

      My family and I canned and stored hundreds of bottles of produce this past summer. My kids sell the preserves of all kinds of berries and fruit in the farmer’s market – and we have all the food we need for the year except for the staples like flour and sugar and some types of fruit.

      All organic – all the time. We live next door to large pasture of cattle grazers – and the cow manure is in endless supply for the compost every fall. (All our cows here are antibiotic free – and hormone free).

      It is often bittersweet for me to teach the kids – because I remember being a kid with my elders over my shoulder the whole time I am working with them. It is all worth it when they hybridize an awesome rose or poppy or whatever that makes their mother smile.

      And we have suddenly an endless line of 4H kids who cannot wait to have a summer of lessons – to learn how to tend to plants to make your family’s food.

      This is hard work. But it keeps me young at heart. As much as I am upset by COVID, there are always good things in life to keep you grounded.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House”

    A really good article this with lots of good information. Of course I cannot wait for the sequel-

    ‘8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Renovating Her First House.’

    I have read books from different countries from different time periods and renovating or having major work done on your house has never, ever been an easy or cheap process. The word ‘nightmare’ comes to mind here. I can only imagine how this Clare Trapasso would go discovering this age-old truth but it would make a good if not longer article.

    1. Rod

      Well, she did say the #1 Lesson is to be ‘Emotionally Prepared”.
      Because, I suppose, the potential ‘Trauma’.

    2. Boomheist

      Of course, most of us who have ever bought a house were totally house-poor with the first one, maybe all of them, ie after the down payment and the high mortgage payments and then the taxes and insurance not much left for daily life, let alone any retrofitting of the house, which meant, zero available for that essential fix until either years later or failure disaster requiring further debt (like a roof collapse or plumbing failure). Combine this with what the flippers do, which are the cheapest most obvious cosmetic fixes to hide wear and tear and the inevitable other disasters that emerge – mold, lead in plumbing, electrical system failures, toxic insulation. The list is very long. The first house I bought, way back in 1980, on Cape Cod, was built in 1948 and after the interest rate of 13.8 percent at the time and our feeble down payment we were totally house poor, and then, after moving in, our agent told us the house was insulated with UFFI toxic insulation, claimed he didn’t know, and there was nothing we could do. Then we moved to another old house in New Jersey (job change) where again we were totally house poor and I ended up rebuilding the rotting window trim myself, because the work had to be done and that was the only way we could do it. Moved again in 1990 to the west coast, a new house this time, only eighteen months old, basement unfinished, thinking, we will avoid the old house problems, and we did, but a house built in 1990 is a rot sandwich and doesn’t breathe… fact almost all houses built 1980 – 2010 are rot sandwiches, built for “:energy efficiency” which means totally sealed up trapping interior moisture behind the walls and resulting in mold, rot, and damage, built with all these new materials that exude gases and are fire hazards or which break down way before promised. Heck there is even an industry out here, firms who go into schools built during those years fixing their rot sandwich problems. (As an aside, these big buildings, so enclosed, are much more likely to retain anything dangerous, like omicron droplets, that something built before 1980 with wood, loose gaps, and drafts). Divorced, rentals for a while, remarried, found a 1910 tiny house in Ballard in Seattle, built by fishermen, nothing square, and ended up rebuilding all of that. New windows, refinished floors, retucked chimney, plumbing replace, electrical replace, all of it. We did an expansion, out the back, eight feet, my wife managed the job as the construction manager while I worked, and at the end she did the tiling of the bathrooms and I put in the finish trim inside. Was it perfect? No. But it sufficed. Now we’re in an even older four-square in Tacoma built in 1904 and this, too, means endless projects. That’s what a house is. Endless projects and work. I bet for every person who manages to ride a real estate bubble such that the sale price covers all those improvements there are 100 who don’t. It’s a matter of luck, being in the right placer at the right time, and having balls of steel, as they say.

      This life is all about learning lessons, and by the time we learn them most of us are getting up there in years. I know I am. It surely helps if you are a construction manager or a handyman or a project manager, and it further helps if you have built things yourself. In my case I had some years of work on and around fishing vessels, meaning, everything – plumbing, wiring, construction, weatherproofing – and my wife had worked as a painter for years, inside and outside, so we think (whether true or not) we can handle these things, and we have.

      The truth is, though, if you think once you buy the house and close the deal you’re done, you’re wrong, and if when you decide to sell, or have to sell, after a few years, don[t pull out all the project receipts or you’ll see you’ll not get your money back, not really. So the thing about a house purchase – unless you’re a flipper – is that when you buy the place you’re only halfway there, and if you don’t believe me what do you think Home Depot and other such places exist for?

      Now we are getting older, and we often take a look at what we might do if we decide to move one final time, and we might even go look at a place or area, but you know what I think? All I can think of, looking at a possible place to buy, is, the WORK. It isn’t the effort of buying and closing on a place. It’s what has to be done afterwards. No wonder so many choose condos, or rentals.

      1. Timh

        With a condo you are liable to all sorts or HOA related stuff, plus little recourse later if the construction wasn’t up to snuff, plus quality of life is conditional on your neighbours.

        With rentals… no security of tenure, if if there are rent controls and so on.

        1. boomheist

          Totally agree I think condos are the biggest scam of all because first you buy it then you rent it with homeowner fees. A good rental can be a blessing but with all these private equity rentala good luck. My main point is that if you buy a house your effort had just begun…

          1. Yves Smith

            No, as with all things, it depends.

            NYC condos are a good deal because if nothing else:

            1. Professional managing agents

            2. Often but not always, boards not crazy. NYC is full of lawyers…including as condo owners.

            3. Competitive market + fishbowl. A broker will suffer reputational damage if they don’t warn a buyer about a known weirdo condo

            4. Not as much to fight over except the occasional big building capital charge because no gardens etc.

  10. t

    Most striking part of the Clinton story, to me, was her willingness to straight up lie to her running mate and his wife. You hear these things about how nasty and paranoid and just plain mean she is but there’s not usually such plain evidence out publicly.

    Not that it matters. She’s a champion of womens rights or something and always fighting and Orange Man bad.

    1. griffen

      Best. Candidate. Ever. Most qualified to ever run, and then lose to an unprincipled media and supposed real estate mogul.

      Make it stop. Please, when will the Clintons just go away. It’s like bad movie sequels, aka, Jaws2 was mostly watchable but horribly outmatched by the original. Jaws3 is horrible in 3D, making the shark look ridiculous.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the only cure for the Democratic Party is extermination, then Clinton is the best pilot to fly the plane into the side of the mountain. Perhaps we should all work to make her the DemPrez nominee for election 2024 so she can fly the Good Ship Democrat into the side of the mountain once and for all.

      2. ambrit

        “Hillary 3D!” Please! Make it stop!
        “I’m ready for my ‘stamp of approval’ now Mr. Dejoy.” Done in her best Norma Desmond voice.

  11. griffen

    Ponzi scheme article from Bloomberg. I was able this time to get through or around the paywall edition, through an intermediate So Cal website. While the subject of this winding story is not Madoff-level, she is reprehensible in her actions. And rightly, is now serving a sentence. By the bye, I play golf at a decent level but even I can’t figure the need for a $22,000 golf cart!

    But the more curious aspect, is as how a company like Chicago Title does not receive the hammer for their lack of compliance and zero diligence. A lot of curious aspects to this story. This is reporting that Bloomberg Businessweek still does very well.

    1. MK

      “Title” companies are really insurance companies. First American, Chicago, Fidelity, Stewart, et al. They provide an insurance product for a price and the title services such as abstracting are to further the insurance business.

      New York is, I think, the last state where attorneys are customarily and nearly always involved with real estate transactions. Not so the rest of the country. Whereas an attorney is a fiduciary to you as client, you are but a customer to the insurance (a/k/a title) company.

      1. griffen

        Appreciate the insight. Sort of the death knell for this scheme, the ring leader basically had one person, employed by Chicago, working on all the title documents. And this unraveled at last, mostly due to a licensing expert in the state of CA determined it was all phony baloney, as he performed his due diligence review for a potential investor.

        It says a lot when a venture fund or private equity was starting to line up to invest. Hard to understate how FOMO was apparently the rationale for their investment.

      2. jefemt

        Last I knew, the SE states used Attorneys/ staff as Title Examiners, who wrote attorney title opinions, which then were the basis of an Insurance Policy, issued by the Attorney’s office as an agent for the big national underwriters.

        The Owner’s policy insures ownership, subject to exceptions— essentially by paying a one-time premium, generally paid by the Seller–valid for the duration of ownership of the insured buyer.
        The Sellers shift the Warranty burden of their conveyance over to the insurance company.
        Mortgage policies are generally issued simultaneously (purchase money transactions) and insure Lien Position.

        It’s a racket that kept my family clothed fed and warm for decades. Yell FIRE!!

        1. barefoot charley

          In California I learned to my cost what title companies actually guarantee: nothing more than the chain of ownership back to the original survey, as if descendants of 19th-century cowpokes may descend on you. It’s an expensive, mandated, worthless tax of vestigial rentiers. As for what you’re actually buying, that’s no one’s department.

      1. griffen

        Never a wrong time to watch video clips from the single best golf send up ever.

        “$100 says you slice it. Gambling is illegal and I never slice. Damn, I owe you nothing.”

        “How do you compare yourself to others. I don’t know, by height”

  12. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    The Vanity Fair feature on Prince Andrew mentions he is good at taking bad advice. That is certainly true about the advice to grant the interview. Andrew’s staff and the wider royal household staff were divided, especially between new, let’s call them diversity and inclusion and touchy, feely, hires, and the usual, but often streetwise, courtiers and civil servants. This led to the resignation of one staffer, opposed, before the interview and another, in favour, after the interview.

    It’s never pointed out that Maitlis, a PMC so and so, is a friend and protege of Lord Mandelson of Rio. This was helpful diversion from more long-standing and as dodgy U.K. associates of Epstein, mainly MSM, academia and arts.

  13. Ahimsa

    Good substack post here by Vinay Prasad: Weathervanes: harmful COVID19 pundits
    They go on CNN and blow which every way the wind is blowing

    “But they fundamentally are not able to read primary literature and process it themselves. They betray themselves by always talking about a new study— for instance the CDC’ study on diabetes rates in kids post covid19— using only the terms/ findings presented in the media the day before. That’s because they haven’t read the actual paper! You will never see them dismantle the paper like this because they don’t read primary papers, and they don’t know how to interpret it themselves.”

    Made me think of Eric Feigl-Ding, amongst others.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Dr. Lisa Iannattone
    Since covid isn’t going away (thanks to a series of poor choices over the last 2 years), it’s time to brainstorm what a real exit strategy might look like because “living with covid means accepting more deaths” doesn’t work for me. We can do better.’

    This is a really good thread by this Dr. Lisa Iannattone and I really liked it when she pointed out the need for *clean air* in the same way that clean water helped do away with cholera. It’s hard to fault her reasoning but I find it ironic that it is an assistant Professor of Dermatology that is having to tell us the vital need to concentrate on clean air. Of course I also appreciate her latest tweet-

    ‘“Omicron is so contagious that it can’t be stopped.”
    “We’re all going to catch it. It’s inevitable.”
    “Omicron is like a natural vaccine, catching it is a good thing.”

    Meanwhile on the other side of the world…’

    1. Wukchumni

      When I think back on all the crap I learned about Covid
      It’s a wonder I can think at all
      And though my lack of education hasn’t hurt me none
      I can read the writing on the wall

      They give us those nice bright outcomes
      Give us the hope of summer
      Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah
      I got a been there-done that
      I love to take a PCR test
      So mama, don’t take my Omicron immunity away

        1. Wukchumni

          I think money tends to destroy mirth, look @ Colbert for instance. Therefore i’ll keep my amateur status intact.

          1. griffen

            The going is weird and possibly going even more weird. But going pro is never what it’s all cracked up to be. Just look at Tom Brady! Yeah it’s puppies and rainbows, but mister 199 of the sixth round came through in the end.

            Ryan Leaf turned pro and then that dude cratered fast.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile”

    This is really an interesting article in that the requirements for what they want are basically schizophrenic. It can’t be done. As far as I can see, they have two options. The first would be to go with something like the United States Colonial Marine M577 Armored Personnel Carrier as seen in the 1986 film “Aliens” as it has the heavy protection, the firepower and it can carry a squad into close combat- (13:51 mins)

    The other way might be to go for – now hear me out – heavy duty, silenced dirt motorcycles. Think about it. They could carry a soldier’s gear, go over all terrain, can get away quickly if they come across trouble that they cannot handle, can shoot-and-skoot, can turn those soldiers into something like the old mounted infantry where they leave their bikes temporarily behind to mount an operation on foot, and if taught they could repair and maintain their own bikes with tools on hand on those bikes. Certainly they could cover more territory than a squad in one vehicle and could come together quickly if needed.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The ability to knock out the logistics necessary a main line battle tank make them expensive howitzers you can’t move. The basic US strategy is total air superiority to protect our forces. What happens if the US can’t establish that in two weeks when the planes need maintenance?

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      I suggest they use the “Technicals” that have become popular in Africa and ME wars:

      A Toyota Tacoma pickup in USA starts at $26,500, so even a fully loaded version would be maybe $50,000, and surely the Pentagon could negotiate a discount for a fleet purchase. As per the article, $214m for 649 vehicles equals $330k per vehicle. Nice savings for the USA taxpayer, and Toyota builds good vehicles.

      1. farragut

        “$330k per vehicle” … and that’s using “90% off-the-shelf components”!

        I’d love to see all new military vehicles tested by the Top Gear trio. Would make a good series as well, I bet.

        I’d say horses would make a good choice, but I doubt there’s much grift in the ponies (at least, not the kind of grift we’re discussing here).

    3. jrkrideau

      heavy duty, silenced dirt motorcycles.

      I’d go for mountain bikes. Probably not quite as fast though that may depend on terrain, but no fuel needs , and carrying capacity probably about 25kg + rider. No noise & no heat signature.

      Pentagon should be able to source them at < US$100,000 per bike.

    4. Janie

      Barber Vintage Motorsports just east of Birmingham is a great motorcycle museum with an attached race course. It includes military exhibits.

  16. John Siman

    Thank you, Lambert, for linking to Chris Arnade’s photo essay “Walking America: Washington, DC (Anacostia and Alexandria): Walking through the Democratic coalition of blacks and highly educated whites.” By coincidence, I just did a little (unplanned) walking through Anacostia myself. For I showed up there early Saturday afternoon (in a big yellow taxicab) only to find that my highly educated white friends were not at home. Now you need to know that I always travel *without* a cell phone (though with an iPad) in order to force myself to interact with random people. So what kind stranger in Anacostia, I was asking myself, would offer me a few minutes of internet connectivity on this bright January day? As I walked around, the residents seemed very friendly, but I decided to enter a little convenience store on 16th Street before I asked for help. I was the only white person around. Almost immediately a cheerful middle-aged guy pulled out his iPhone to set up a hot spot for me: so I FaceTimed my friends, who told me they were delayed and had left their back door open for me. As I left the little convenience store, an old drunk who was sitting outside asked me to buy him a Pepsi. So I went back in and pulled out my debit card (I’d given my last $15 to the cab driver), but someone in the store said, “No, I’ll buy it,” pulled out a few singles, and handed the Pepsi to me. “What goes around, comes around,” this kind stranger said. Then I gave the Pepsi to the old drunk, walked back to my friends’ house, and discovered that they had indeed left the back door open for me.

  17. Carolinian

    Re “accepting more deaths doesn’t work for me”

    Of course medicine does this every day which is why we have DNR orders, hospices and a privatized system where many probably die unnecessarily because they don’t want to burden their families with huge medical bills. The American corporate approach to medicine has ethics that are conflicted at best.

    And that would be “system” since many doctors are undoubtedly not happy with the way things are.

    One might also ask whether showing indifference to barely studied treatments like Ivermectin is “accepting deaths” in the name of the system. There are good reasons why many distrust what is going on. IM Doc has said that honest communication is the most important thing. However it’s also the last thing we tend to get from our current establishment.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Sounds like a Russian plot to humiliate JRB,

      But perhaps one should not rush in to judgment in a case like this.

      Maybe a domestic actor with political ambitions is behind it.

      Or maybe it’s a huge stunt to pressure the Senate Democratic ” ‘No’ caucus” to allow something — anything — to be Built Back Better.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Wow, and written with zero sense of irony. The Grauniad, is shocked, SHOCKED, to find that a for-profit media platform operates in ways that it thinks will maximize profits.

      I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Grauniad to start publishing articles from Greenwald critical of the liberal establishment again…

  18. Pat

    In exciting news NY is about to start climbing the roller coaster again. they have acknowledged there are four identified cases of BA2. Now according to the first report I heard on our so not helpful news media, this is no big deal as it is nothing. I was not recording so I won’t be able to send proof when they are wrong again.

    We will have to get past the ceremonial rendering of garments in and around St Patrick’s for the fallen hero, the Nor’easter aka blizzard and the next funeral for hero 2, but after that there will be time to perhaps notice… oh wait there will be rumblings from Russia.

    While the blizzard may be less of a manipulation than most of our distractions, I am not sure constant illness and threat of long term disability will be so easily forgotten. I am also not sure our leaders really get how volatile the public is anymore. Although I do think the push for a widened police state like is going on in DC and here in NY is a hedge on their bets.

  19. Jen

    Covid updates from my humble institution…the undergrads perhaps begin to grok that the reopening plan didn’t have their best interests at heart. Infection rate of somewhere between 23 and 43% – I’d go with the latter based on the numbers that have been posted on their covid dashboard.

    Other local anecdata – I’m trying to get a transfer switch installed for my generator. My electrician called yesterday to reschedule because out 16 employees, all but 3 are down with covid and one of those is down with a reaction to his booster. He said one of the guys who was just sick with covid a few weeks ago now has symptoms again.

  20. Tom Stone

    Oh good grief, Omicron is MILD.
    The USA is experiencing a spike in deaths from Covid, but they are mild deaths.
    No exploding bodies,no gushing blood.
    And heck, all of these people would die anyway, at some point so let’s stop fretting about things we have no control over and get back to normal.

    1. marcyincny

      And we’re getting free tests so what more could we want?

      Of course here in central NY the tests will sit in a mailbox when the temp is 10º but not to worry.

      1. Del

        Let the department sending weapons to Ukraine handle the shipment of tests. They’ll arrive in day after tomorrow’s mail.

  21. allan

    What a country, part 2:

    Insurance companies In Michigan have slashed catastrophic care coverage [NPR]

    A new law allows insurance companies to pay caregiver agencies about half of what they used to get,
    and many are going broke. That means thousands are losing the care that they rely on to survive.

    (audio only, no transcript)

    The law in question had bipartisan support.

    Silicon Valley: If a service is free, you’re the product.

    Congress / state legislatures: If a bill is bipartisan, you’re the victim.

    More from Michigan Public Radio.

  22. allan

    What a country, part 3:

    Erratic schedules are a nightmare for America’s workers

    …”Alongside the health risks, uncertainty, and stress of working during a pandemic, many service-sector workers continue to contend with chronically unpredictable and unstable work schedules,” the researchers, led by sociologists Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett, said in a brief. …

    Unstable schedules can cause harm for workers and their families: Other research has found that unpredictable work schedules can impact everything from workers’ health and well-being to their children’s sleep schedules and school attendance. …

    Oddly, the Return to Normal for the Sake of the Kids™ crowd is silent on this one.

    1. marym

      In other for the Sake of the Kids™ news:

      “[Gov. Glenn] Youngkin promoted legislation moving through the General Assembly that would let any public or private college or university open a charter school, or convert an existing school into a charter school, with approval of the state Board of Education.

      While Youngkin said the bill is centered on colleges and universities, it would also allow private, for-profit businesses to open charter schools using public dollars.

      The bill is part of a package of charter school bills that seek to expand the number of schools that operate outside the control of local school boards but are funded with public dollars.”

      1. jrkrideau

        I am eagerly awaiting the first madrassa’s application shortly followed by a neighbourhood McDonald’s.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Does the bill come with a hotline allowing concerned parents to turn in the teachers of the charter school if their kids hear the wrong words??

  23. Wukchumni

    Dispatch from the DMZ (Demonetized Zone)

    I knew it was gonna be a hot LZ as i’d been sitting on a wallet full of dead presidents on the chair up on a black diamond op, to procure hot chocolate @ the top of the mountain lodge.

    Maneuvering through the beverage line, I slid a cup into the slot under a picture of what could be mine if I pressed a button and a lot of whirring later, a cocoa came of it.

    Now, I only needed to pay to enjoy and walked up to the cashier with a Jackson in hand and with disdain he uttered ‘get that thing out of here’ in no uncertain terms, so I fished out an Amex card and he simmered down somewhat as Alpine Meadows ski resort accepts di-fi (digital fiat), and I couldn’t blame him really for the outburst, a lowly foot soldier in the War On Cash, who’d been trained to hate the enemy-which was only obliged to give rank of denomination and serial number.

    Somebody had told the lowly grunt one time that currency was on our side, but there was no money in it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wuk, I seriously do not know how you manage to turn out so many gems. I tip my digital slouch-hat to you.

        1. Wukchumni

          Thanks for the compliments Rev Kev & juno mas, my imagination is working overtime these days trying to keep up with reality, as we know it.

  24. coboarts

    “The Army’s new infantry assault buggy is a useless garbage pile”

    There are dozens of hack shops in SoCal that can build Baja prerunners that run fast and hard and long. Just load up the guns etc and go go go – what???

    1. marku52

      They appear to have specified the F35 version of a light assault vehicle. Just look at the the list of requirements (Light weight, nimble, armoured—What?) and you knew it was never going to work.

  25. Sawdust

    The Harper’s piece on routines opens with a goof. Timekeeping in the Middle Ages and Renaissance wasn’t based on clocks; accurate clocks didn’t come along until later. Instead, people lived by “unequal hours” which were defined as 1/12th of the daytime and 1/12th of the nighttime. During the summer, a daytime hour is long and a nighttime hour is short. During the winter, it’s the other way around. This is more practical for an agrarian society where most activities depend on the sun.

    1. jrkrideau

      The Salisbury Cathedral clock is a large iron-framed tower clock without a dial, in Salisbury Cathedral, England. Thought to date from about 1386, it is a well-preserved example of the earliest type of mechanical clock, called verge and foliot clocks
      Salisbury Cathedral clock

      They were rare and probably not what we would call accurate but clocks started coming in in the High Middle Ages. I have read that capitalists liked them as it allowed them to pay labours by the hour whereas before they would have to pay for a morning or a day.

  26. JB

    Have people been keeping an eye on the antiwork crowd from Reddit? Despite recent screwups, they are in the middle of a critical mass of accelerating growth:

    It’s got the feeling of a nascent/growing social movement, still at the early stages of forming its narrative – but has a critical abundance of pissed off people, highlighting and discussing all of the ways they are being screwed over by their employers, among a lot more.

    Despite the name ‘antiwork’ (which is almost a misnomer), they seem exactly like the crowd who could turn the Job Guarantee into the first demand of a major social movement – but I don’t see any JG folk there, only UBI advocates (more JG advocates should take interest).

    This warrants commenters and NC’s attention.

  27. Maritimer

    This was discussed very much in the past by, loosely called, Hippies. Some implemented different concepts of work and are, amazingly, still actually alive.

    One of the philosophers of those days was Henry Thoreau:
    “Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!”

    Personally, I consider Thoreau one of America’s great economists. Economics can be simple.

    1. Sardonia

      The title of the very first chapter of Thoreau’s “Walden Pond” is “Economics”. I read it at 16 and it hit deep, and stuck forever. Beautiful writing, powerful message.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “China backs Russia’s ‘security concerns’ in crisis with west over Ukraine”

    This was actually unintentionally hilarious. Blinken actually went to the Chinese and asked them to help put pressure on Russia to help out American expansion in eastern Europe. That is like going to your mother-in-law to complain about your wife – and is just as effective. Idjut!

    1. MarkT

      RT says things that need to be said. But not consistently, and not in all departments. Unfortunately. But they are my first look, ahead of BBC.

  29. Douglas

    On Joy Buolamwini’s article, programs like unemployment stimulus and broadband stimulus programs were and are being looted with the help of the very govt. departments that run them.

    The key is the mechanism of “borrowing” the states performed — did they borrow amounts that covered all eligible, or was it reactive? Only reactive .. when?

    Is anybody checking in broadband stimulus to see if after the providers are given free access to govt. databases if the amount of funding the data says SHOULD be used is Actually used? Providers “keep” the uncalled-upon, is it? That’s Fraud, and it explains the indifference in that it’s being skimmed.

    Like that. And is Happy to enable its diversion.

  30. juno mas

    RE: Channel Islands Recovery

    The Channel Islands have truly come back from the brink of destruction. I free-dived off the coast of Santa Cruz in the late 60’s and the feral pigs, rancher sheep and cattle had destroyed the indigenous landscape. Today the eagles, fox and vegetation is returning to pre-Explorer and Ranching ecological balance. It is a travel experience worthy of your time and money. (I’m lucky, I see them every day from ocean view window)

    Here’s a link to one of many eagle nests on the island: Unfortunately, as seen in the real time Utoob video the nest is empty ( it normally would have a chick or two.) This is the second season that this nest has not had chicks. Something is wrong.

    The Nature Conservancy should be given credit for the ecological rebound of Santa Cruz Island, as they bought the island from the private property owners and started the process with their scientists. The National Park is only 25% of island’s terrain.

  31. howseth

    I posted this yesterday – did not show up – don’t know why? – Trying again (if that’s kosher) Too late – yesterday’s news cycle?

    8 Surprising Lessons a Real Estate Editor Learned Buying Her First House’ (link Clare Trapasso –, Jan 19 2022)

    We Moved to California in 2002. Could not afford our first house – and was about to head back east – then realized we could afford a double wide trailer in a ‘mobile home’ park. Looked around and found one we liked in Santa Cruz County: City of Capitola.

    Surprise 1. The interest rates for a loan in a mobile home park is much, higher than a regular house – One better have cash to pay a bigger down payment instead of taking a large mortgage

    Surprise 2. We had to pay a monthly space rent to the owner of the mobile home park – which was not too high – and was under a rent control agreement with the city, however the rent control of a city is as good as the will to protect it from owner/corporate lawsuits trying to abolish it.

    Surprise 3. The will of a city cannot match the power of the land owner – or corporate entities to sue until the rent control laws are eliminated. This happened in both Capitola, and the city of Santa Cruz. Rent control in mobile home parks was eliminated in both cities due to a barrage of lawsuits by wealthy corporate interests ganging up together causing the cities to fold. The structure of our laws is easily exploitable in this regard.

    Surprise 4. Rent control abolished, the space rent one then pays in the mobile home park is under no control, will rise unpredictably, once rent control is abolished. Remember the residents of the park own their homes (‘trailers’) – but not the land underneath their homes. What are called ‘mobile homes’ – are not RV’s – they are not ‘mobile’ ours had been in the same spot since it was delivered in 1965. You can’t just move your trailer if the rent is too high.

    Surprise 5. Since ‘mobile homes’ are not really mobile (ours rested on cinder blocks) One ever buy one if the residents don’t share ownership – as a co-op or condo, otherwise you will be at the mercy of the park owner – regarding your monthly space rent increases – and park maintenance. Even if it may get contentious – better to have resident home owners in control of these decisions.

    Surprise 6. This one was on me: Corporations call the shots in this country – not ‘we the people’ I was way too naive about our system. Hence coming to sites like Naked Capitalism to educate myself.

    Surprise 7. We sold our mobile home and now are renters in Santa Cruz. We live in a lower income ‘Tax Credit’ apartment complex – with a priority for artists. Rent is lower than average here . However, ‘Tax Credit’ housing is also under attack by Republican Senators. What saves us is other corporate powers – such as the banks that support Tax Credit housing – because they get ‘Tax Credits’ in funding these places. Therefore, ironically, it was corporate power, in this case, that defeated those senators attempting to abolish Tax Credit housing. Yay corporate America! uh oh.

    Surprise 8. The priorities in The United States are more f*cked up then I ever dared to imagine. Of course not only with “buying a first home” Running a country is hard – very hard. Should not be a surprise less painful not to pay too much attention. Sports are more fun.

    (Note: John Oliver, in Last Week Tonight did a program about mobile homes in April 2019 that was astonishingly well researched – matching our experience. There are still plenty of smart people around: There’s a whiff of hope for our country perhaps spearheaded by … the immigrants -i.e. John Oliver)

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