Links 2/13/2022

A man in upstate New York is fighting to keep his emotional support pig NPR

Red poets society: The Stasi Poetry Circle’s battle for hearts and rhymes The Irish Times

What Driveling Times Are These! Lapham’s Quarterly

She Used to Sing Opera Granta

This Ancient Roman ceramic pot was probably a portable toilet, study finds Ars Technical

The Alaska Highway: A subarctic road to prevent invasion BBC

SpaceX just lost 40 satellites to a geomagnetic storm. There could be worse to come. MIT Technology Review

Empty shops could be studios for next Bacon or Hirst, says leading curator Guardian

Reading ‘The Dawn of Everything’ from India: What if the past was a more enlightened place?

Why King Tut Is Still Fascinating New Yorker. And see this Steve Martin classic: King Tut.

Inside the murder of an oil heiress: ‘One of the weirdest in Florida history’ NY Post

The Enduring Power of the Charlatan Los Angeles Review of Books

Why portraits have fascinated us for millennia BBC


Respiratory mucosal delivery of next-generation COVID-19 vaccine provides robust protection against both ancestral and variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 Cell


The Great International Convoy Fiasco TK News. Matt Taibbi.

In Ottawa Protests, a Pressing Question: Where Were the Police? NYT

Canada truckers protest: After a police raid, what next? BBC

French Freedom Convoy crackdown: Riot police tear gas terrified DINERS at pavement cafes in Paris (forcing them to use their mandatory Covid masks while fleeing) Daily Mail


Americans move to Texas, Florida and Alabama as more work from home since COVID USA Today

Pfizer and FDA pull back from plan to expedite review of Covid-19 vaccine in young children Stat


India Has Nine COVID-19 Vaccines. Seven Are Available Only in the Headlines.The Wire

Living with the lingering effects of the coronavirus Deutsche Welle


Coronavirus: Hong Kong crosses new threshold with 2,000 suspected cases, while officials ‘considering district lockdowns’ South China Morning Post

Climate Change

Scuba diving a powerful tool to raise climate awareness Asia Times

Ocean Heat Killing Spree Counterpunch

Scientists are trying to dim the Sun and cool Earth. Is it worth the risk? Scroll

New Cold War

U.S. sending 3,000 more troops to Poland amid fresh Ukraine invasion warnings Politico

Russian Official Denounces ‘Peak Hysteria’ Following Putin-Biden Call Over Ukraine Common Dreams

Old Blighty

Queen Elizabeth being monitored after Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19 ABC

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

CIA collecting bulk data on Americans without oversight, senators say Ars Technica

Israel Is Dangerously Close to Legitimising the Use of Pegasus on Its Citizens The Wire

Class Warfare

Mortgage Servicer Accused of Pushing Distressed Homeowners Onto Its Auction Site Capital & Main

Larry Fink’s Capitalist Shell Game Project Syndicate. Mariana Mazzucato.

Jeff Bezos pushed Dutch port city to dismantle historic bridge. Now, residents plan to egg his yacht. USA Today

The Hidden Ways Companies Raise Prices WSJ. Yes, it’s called “crapification”.

Homebuyers Swarm to High-Risk, High-Reward Fixer-Uppers in Red-Hot Market Bloomberg

Crews Stall Trains Over Shopping Cart Worries as New Rule Goes Unheeded The City

IRS backlog hits nearly 24 million returns, further imperiling the 2022 tax filing season WaPo

Biden Administration

Lawmakers take action on Biden’s failed Yemen policy Responsible Statecraft

YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Biden Faces Mounting Pressure On Student Debt Daily Poster

Supply Chain

Car dealers are raising prices. Automakers are pushing back. Consumers are stuck in between. WaPo

Sports Desk

Skiers struggle as real snow falls on Winter Olympics AP

India’s sole Winter Olympian aims high Deutsche Welle

The Supremes

Biden weighs appeal of 3 top candidates for high court AP

Politicians in Robes New York Review of Books. Laurence Tribe. Larry minces no words in this takedown of Breyer’s claim that the Supreme Court is apolitical. Worth registering to leap the paywall to read this piece.

Democrats en déshabillé

Biden overshadowed by Obama as the former president engages in unseemly politicking NBC

Our Famously Free Press

Clashing Executives, Office Romance, Angry Anchors: Inside the Week That Shook CNN WSJ

Jeff Zucker’s Exit Throws a Wrench in CNN’s Streaming Plans Hollywood Reporter


The New Single-Window Green Clearance System Is Actually Major Political Reform The Wire

US official on religious freedom criticises hijab ban, India says comments are ‘motivated’ Scroll

Biodiversity Act Amendments Shift Focus From Conservation To Commercial Exploitation: Experts India Spend

In India, desolate solar parks reveal the dark side of renewable energy Scroll

Another scam in the making Dawn


Afghan Central Bank Calls US Theft of $7 Billion ‘Injustice to People of Afghanistan’ Common Dreams

The Mayor of Istanbul Could Prove Dangerous to Erdoğan Der Spiegel


African Opportunities in China-Africa Relations The Diplomat

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. flora

    Thanks for the Taibbi link. This para from the longer article gets to the point.

    In the Bush years, thanks to people like Rove, the sensible or at least intellectually defensible concept, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” morphed into the much broader idea that it’s no longer necessary to understand the thinking of any adversary or oppositional group. It’s where the now-hegemonic idea that talking is weakness and not talking is strength was born.

    Not listening to terrorists or “rogue states” quickly turned into not listening to anyone, even at home.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It could get worse. Back then, the Bush regime would refuse to negotiate with other countries until they fulfilled a whole list of demands by Washington. But the trouble was that if those countries had done so, there would be nothing left to negotiate as Washington would have gotten everything that they wanted. In actuality, they were not so much a list of demands as terms of surrender.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Those ‘demands’ are called preconditions and are our preferred method of poisoning the well. A recent example was with the JCPOA when we went beyond uranium enrichment to raise the subject of Iran’s alleged terrorism and use of missiles. For some time we refused to negotiate before Iran agreed to stop those behaviors, which for us are standard behaviors overseas.

        Currently we are using the ‘massing of troops’ as an excuse to prolong negotiations with Russia about NATO expansion eastward, something Russia has been complaining about for many years. At last the ‘massing’ has got our attention.

        1. lance ringquist

          this is correct. nafta billy clinton handed bush the tools to do that. nafta billy made it official u.s. policy to over throw other governments at our discretion.

          nafta billy clinton even passed laws to over throw other countries like iraq.

          … Yugoslavia was willing to negotiate with the United States and accepted some of the demands of the Rambouillet Treaty while rejecting others. The Yugoslavs were prepared to grant Kosovo almost complete independence including control over religion, education, health care systems and local government but wanted to retain control over economic and foreign policy. As well, they wanted to restrict NATO’s role in Kosovo to observation and advice. Predictably, Yugoslavia rejected a military occupation of Kosovo but the U.S. summarily rejected all FRY proposals. Therefore, the negotiations were about whether Yugoslavia would accept all of the U.S. demands or not and face NATO bombing of Serbia.
          Accepting such demands would be problematic for any sovereign state. The whole process raises the question of whether the U.S. was really hoping for a settlement or seeking a pretext for bombing Serbia.
          Michael Parenti, in To Kill A Nation, points out that:
          The Rambouillet “agreement” was not an agreement at all, not a negotiated settlement but an ultimatum for unconditional surrender, a diktat that spelled death for Yugoslavia and could not be accepted by Belgrade. As John Pilger wrote, “Anyone scrutinizing the Rambouillet document is left with little doubt that the excuses given for the subsequent bombing were fabricated. The peace negotiations were stage managed and the Serbs were told: surrender and be occupied, or don’t surrender and be destroyed.” …Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told this [writer] that.., a senior State Department official had bragged that the United States ‘deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept.’

  2. Eudaemon

    Found this article at NYR that provides a better background regarding E.O. Wilson’s private correspondence and why the Scientific American article criticizing his position on race has a bit more to it than many readers know (including myself). I will attempt to add some personal thoughts on the nature versus nurture debate, if people are interested.

    From the article: The unwitting alliance between members of the scientific establishment and fringe proponents of race science, the defensive posturing of hereditarian biologists, and the general reluctance to critically engage with Wilson’s legacy and questions of racism in science are perennial features of the decades-long “nature vs. nurture” debate. Wilson’s defenders have frequently alleged that his critics are motivated merely by ideology, and challenge Wilson’s detractors to produce evidence that would demonstrate that sociobiology or hereditarian theories of innate human ability are racist. So, like good historians, we decided to delve into Wilson’s past. We found, independently, what other researchers have recently corroborated—that between 1987 and 1994, Wilson engaged in a lengthy and revealing correspondence with a notorious race scientist named J. Philippe Rushton, in which he more openly associated his own scientific ideas with racialized views of human ability than he ever did publicly.

    1. eg

      I haven’t heard Rushton’s name in donkeys years. He was a figure of scorn at the University of Western Ontario as I recall.

  3. timbers

    New Cold War

    “The US warnings of war are really extraordinary – we’re truly in uncharted territory here.”

    Let me help Glenn Greenwald out:

    Terrorism: to falsely say a nation will be invaded, causing millions to flee in terror. People who make these claims are TERRORISTS.


      1. timbers

        Watched the reporter who asked for proof, too. The State Dept dude or whoever basically responded that proof was the words crossing his lips and densely stuck to that dispite repeated push back and finally ended with calling the reporter a Putin lover or something like that for wanting more. Classy stuff.

  4. jr

    “The charlatan is related to the impostor, the alchemist, the seer, and the magician; however, while these engage in the business of transformation, the art of charlatanry is confined to giving promises that are impossible to keep.”

    Ahem. Just like to point out that the business of transformation and impossible promises needn’t necessarily track. The mere act of seriously engaging in self-transformation is transformational. The definition of charlatanry given here is far more applicable to our public health officials, pharmaceutical industry, political leadership, academic administrations, mRNA “vaccines”, celebrity status junkies, MDs with MBAs, plant-based meats…

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Dimwit geoengineers–

    Very grateful to see this article and the letter signed by 60 opponents of David Keith’s crazy scheme to shoot sulfur in the sky every two years. Here’s a paragraph outlining a few of the letter’s signatories’ concerns:

    Solar geoengineering would reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the planet’s surface, and thereby have profound effects. The planet would cool, but not evenly. The Amazon region might become dryer and warmer, according to computer models, enhancing the likelihood of major forest fires and increased rainforest die-off, leading to a potential massive release of formerly sequestered carbon.

    Solar geoengineering would reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the planet’s surface, and thereby have profound effects. The planet would cool, but not evenly. The Amazon region might become dryer and warmer, according to computer models, enhancing the likelihood of major forest fires and increased rainforest die-off, leading to a potential massive release of formerly sequestered Solar geoengineering would reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the planet’s surface, and thereby have profound effects. The planet would cool, but not evenly. The Amazon region might become dryer and warmer, according to computer models, enhancing the likelihood of major forest fires and increased rainforest die-off, leading to a potential massive release of formerly sequestered carbon.

    This huge Amazon carbon release to the atmosphere would spell disaster for the planet, dramatically increasing global warming while reducing biodiversity. These impacts could end up being worse than moderate climate change Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios.carbon.

    Three powerful institutions back Keith: Harvard University; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Breakthrough Institute.

    Harvard featured Keith in a December event presented by the Harvard Alumni Association at which Harvard’s newly minted Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability was introduced.

    Gates is the funder of Fund for Innovative Energy and Climate Research at Harvard and co-managed by Keith. This is very much in line with Gates’s Nature-hating vision for worldwide agriculture featuring vast, monocropped fields of Frankenplants, copious amounts of pesticides and presumably robot bees because biological ones would never survive.

    Keith is an original signatory to the Ecomodernist Manifesto, a group who believes that the Anthropocene ushers in a wonderful new era when humans can take full control of Earth using the same brilliant technologies that put the planet at risk in the first place. Behind the whole hustle lies the Breakthrough Institute, funded in large part by the Pritzkers.

    As I had reported earlier in comments here. I have been attending meetings at which some of the people involved in Keith’s craziness were present. At the last one, a woman who is a professor in a French university reported that at a recent meeting of European academic colleagues, Keith and Harvard came up in a very unfavorable and alarmed light. That produced considerable consternation at the meeting we were both attending because Keith is considered a rising star furthering the glory of Harvard.

    These people are dangerous. Their most recent attempt to do some actual sulfur shooting was halted when Saami reindeer herders, backed by many scientists, were able to get Sweden to cancel the test. But they’re still at it, with Harvard’s and Gates’s backing. We need to be alert to these developments and oppose them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Until we know how the climate actually works, this is just nuts. If they get to the point where they can tell me the weather for the afternoon of the third Tuesday of next month, then I know that they have a good handling of how our planet’s climate actually works and maybe they have an idea of the effects of climate engineering as well. Till then, not so much.

      1. ACPAL

        For many years the global warming crowd has been telling us that they know how our planet’s climate actually works.

    2. BeliTsari

      Logic, empirical evidence, “science” as it were, mean little? When any pragmatic, grown-up, reality-based course of action confronts the corrupt avarice of “our elected” kleptocrats; Massa’s senile, sneering zombies simply fulfill their corporate contractual obligations to Bezos, Gates, Musk, Bloomberg, Koch? Media will tell us, we believe it’s simply too late for available AGW remediation. But our tech oilgarchs will save us if we’d only BELIEVE hard enough? We’ve spent two years being gavaged imbecilic bullshit, blatantly & diametrically opposed to essential fact about a virus, they’d fed poor workers to, to extract homes, W4 jobs, equity, indenturing chronically PASC poor survivors into 1099 gig-serfdom, by censoring or controlling the narrative, with yuppie beneficiaries’ slavering collusion. Now, ALL governance is ONLY for by, about and from the perspective of wealthy PMC and contradictory FACT must be silenced?

  6. jr

    A bit deeper into the “charlatan” article:

    “…and to hold in contempt liberal elites and intellectuals.”


    ” the widespread suspiciousness of governments and elites”

    Sounds like the author is confusing causes and effects here. That contempt and suspicion are fueling the dangerous ideas listed, although to be clear Right lurching organizations and individuals aren’t the only manifestations of those feelings. If you are going to make such a statement, back it up with reasons anyone should trust those entities. It is not self-evident by any rational standard.

    Oh, I see, he’s a professional $hit-lib. He isn’t rational. Got it.

  7. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Portrait fact – everybody’s face is asymmetrical to a lesser or greater extent as is the brain & capturing that particularly for those with regular features is very difficult. Add to that the fact that it was wise to flatter someone who could have your head chopped off, it’s likely that many early portraits erred on the side of symmetry. Velasquez appears to have got away with accurately portraying the Hapsburg chin, unless of course the reality was even worse.

    Digital tools are used for 3-d portraits for game characters & portraits of celebs, but IMO they don’t quite look real as they are constructed by using just one side of the face, with one being reversed & stuck to the other. Full head digital scans of a person’s head are accurate which was done on George Washington’s death mask who fortunately was wearing his false wooden teeth when the plaster was applied. This was an attempt to establish what GW actually looked like & turned out to be an almost exact match of the brilliant French portrait sculptor Jean Antionne Houdon’s statue of the great man in Richmond Virginia which was based on the same death mask. Other subjects of his but from life included Diderot, Benjamin Franklin, Rousseau. Voltaire. Thomas Jefferson & the composer Gluck – smallpox scars included.

    1. Carolinian

      It was said that the 1930s actress Sylvia Sidney was beautiful because she had a perfectly symmetrical face (in other words a rarity).

      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh good grief. We’ve most of us have seen her. First off, I found how she got that deal of having such a great face-

        But her career just kept on gong. Her last role was that of the grandma in the 1996 film “Mars Attacks!” and she was also the case worker in the 1988 film “Beetlejuice”- (2:41 mins)

          1. The Rev Kev

            I was just impressed how her career from the early 1930s went all to the way to the late 1990s. Now that is staying power.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Indeed, he is.

          Funny story: my wife took a class of students to see Denzel when appeared on Broadway in Julius Caesar (I think he portrayed Brutus). Anyway, as he appears on stage and before he’s uttered a line, one of the students yells out, “You are ONE GOOD-LOOKING MAN!

          The entire audience broke up, and Denzel almost broke character, a suggestion of a smile appearing on his face as the play proceeded…

          1. Carolinian

            I really like Denzel although he’s become rather portly and done some less than great movies in his later days. He was on radio’s Fresh Air once and said acting was like a jazz improvisation–keeping it loose.

    2. fresno dan

      I can’t remember the movie – there is a movie where a mirror is held at a 90 degree angle to a photograph and the face being perfectly symmetrical proves that the human is in fact an alien.
      I don’t know if this happend in The Day the Earth Stood Still or if is was Invasion of the Body Snatchers

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        That would be true of a robot using 2 sides of the same face with one reversed, unless a lifecast was done of an actual human being – Ian Holme in Alien . The closest I have seen to symmetry is a lifecast of Grace Kelly but when we examined it from below it was fairly obvious that there was a difference between one side of the jaw & the other & the same with her cheek bones. It’s the reason why people have a good side for photos.

        Shakespeare’s death mask has 2 fingerprints on his temple – must have been a rough birth.

        1. anon y'mouse

          that’s funny, because didn’t Cecil Beaton claim that one side of Kelly’s face reminded him of a cow?

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I see what you mean – my take is that the eye socket on the right is smaller than the other, reducing the size of that eye. Eyes are the highlights of a face especially in someone with smiling ones, which is something revealing about a person that I have noticed more due to face masks.

    3. Posaunist

      “There is no excellent beauty which hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” – Francis Bacon

      Symmetry is boring.

  8. zagonostra

    >Convoy shows how the far right has co-opted concept of ‘freedom

    From the article:

    It can’t escape our notice that the protests that have shut down parts of Ottawa, blocked border crossings and triggered an Ontario-wide “state of emergency” have successfully co-opted a noble ideal of liberty for all into a vehicle for far-right grievances to mean the opposite: liberty for a few at the cost of many

    It’s not difficult to employ soaring rhetoric when it comes to a high-falutin’ concept like freedom.
    One of my many fears is that the word ‘freedom’ becomes a dog whistle like the words ‘patriot’ or ‘patriotic’ have become south of the border.

    But let us for a moment, pretend that this is a protest that’s purely about freedoms. Let us pretend that the swastikas and white extremist flags that Stronach denounced in his piece in the Star, but not in the Post, are just bad elements to be found at every protest.

    The Toronto Star article immediately mad me think of the beginning of Lambert’s introduction to his excellent article on “Thoughts on the Canadian Truckers.”:

    Let me confess at the outset that, sadly, I have come to regard “freedom” as a tell for the expression of today’s brand of sociopathic and therefore highly adaptive libertarianism[1]. So, when I see “the Canadian truckers” (as I will call them) branded as a (highly replicable) “Freedom Convoy,” my back teeth start to itch

    So is this uprising organic? Is it Astroturfing as some suggest? Is my inclination, impulse, or to be more uncharitable, a kneejerk reaction to supporting the Truckers because they represent some vague notion of “Freedom”, naïve and lacking in critical analysis? I have to admit that having read Lambert’s post I’m more cautious and circumspect in reading the events unfolding not only in Canada but in Paris and Canberra yesterday. However, when looking at what motivates thousands of people to put peril, economic and physical, before their own comfort, you have to take into account some “transcendental concepts,” like “free will.”

    Transcendentals, that typically include the “good, true, and beautiful” make life secondary for some to life itself. There are people that are not motivated to go out and protest based on their own “class interest.” There are people I know who are deeply religious who are ready to die for what they believe are God given rights. Not rights based on the “consent of the governed.” These beliefs are deeply felt and their transgressions, real, imagined, manipulated, or otherwise “coopted” have to be understood. It’s facile to group discussions of these issues under “ideology.” But ideology only exist form those looking at it from the outside. Anyone with a specific “ideology” is on the “inside” and they would not acknowledge the truth value of those on the “outside.”

    For me it all boils down to Lambert’s statement: If I were a judge, I would make a vaccine mandate pass one test: Is the mandate motivated by public health concerns? This then necessarily invokes the “good” and the motivations of those elected and unelected officials who have been guiding public policy on vaccine mandates and passports. In a sense, whether some right wing reactionaries try and coopt an uprising is beside the point in what concerns me. If that happens I hope to have sufficient critical thinking skills to detect it, recognizing that I could, and have been, duped and manipulated (first Gulf War and “Mushroom clouds” comes to mind.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Transcendentals, that typically include the “good, true, and beautiful” make life secondary for some to life itself.

      I’ve watched a lot of protests, occupations, uprisings over the years, and I’m starting to think a key inflection point to watch for is the symbol manipulators moving in, subsequent/pursuant to organic collective action*. (That makes color revolutions sus from the get go, since the symbol, the color, was present from the beginning. Hong Kong is, I think, an exception, because it had a supremely sophisticated protest culture from decades of work.**) The symbol manipulators also come in waves, as sponsoring factions react to each other’s manipulations. Hence, for example, the “flags” with the truckers. I could have missed it, but I don’t recall at the origins of the protest any serious reporting that gave counts of flags. Or an interview with a flag-bearer. Now, of course, everything is polluted….).

      The original trucker events* were not about symbols but the material reality of the occupying trucks (sparked IIRC by a highly irrational and discriminatory quarantine regime for cross-border traffic, and morphing into demands for an end to the mandates). The Arab Spring wasn’t sparked by symbol manipulators, but by a street vendor who set himself on fire. Same with the indignados later in the years, “camping out” in public squares, with the state Capitol occupations, and with Occupy proper in Zucotti Square. The focus was on the mass of people, not kneejerking symbols.

      Sadly, it seems that the symbol manipulators are the only ones making a connection between the “transcendentals” and those energized enough to gather collectively. For the truckers, the only symbol manipulators who listened to them were conservatives. Liberal symbol manipulators, meanwhile, were generating enormous aghastitude as a counter movement to the provocation of flags. The left, who ought to be making a “transcendental” connection (Christian socialism is, after all, a thing) is as usual nowhere, or sucked into the aghastitude.

      Of course, all of us are vulnerable to this process (cf. Judges 12:5-6). We tend to think symbol manipulation is “smart,” we engage in it, and indeed it gets traction. The question is, in what direction….

      NOTE * Speaking of symbols, I’m having a hard time coming up the right word. “Protest” is wrong. There doesn’t really seem to be a word for an organic mass-gathering, occupying space for an indefinite period, with political demands. Perhaps occupation is the word.

      NOTE ** And don’t @ me about the NED. We’re not that good.

      1. zagonostra

        Much to be said about “symbol manipulators.” However, symbols are what makes us distinctly human from other species. The first clause in Kenneth Burke’s definition of man has symbols as its key term. What stimulated my comment is that I see what is happening with the Canadian Truckers as a failure of the “Left” to connect with it, and indeed, seems to be taking a hostile approach to it.

        An analysis of the psychodrama of what is happening with the uprisings over the mandates is vitally important and seems to be missing. Again, much to be said, and historically this uprising, organic or not, will be studied by historians and others.

        Kenneth Burke’s definition of man:

        1.Man is the symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal,
        2. Inventor of the negative (or moralized by the negative),
        3. Separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making,
        4. Goaded by the spirit of hierarchy (or moved by the sense of order),
        5. And rotten with perfection.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “SpaceX just lost 40 satellites to a geomagnetic storm. There could be worse to come.”

    I think that the MIT Technology Review and I might have different definitions of ‘worse.’ :)

    1. Librarian Guy

      So will those “lost” satellites become space junk? The January “Baffler” had an excellent piece on the LEO
      “low earth orbit” space junk blocking astronomers’ views and also endangering other vehicles, rockets and satellites from crossing major areas on missions . . . one possible conclusion was that the Oligarch egotists Branson, Musk and Bezos might so jam the LEO area with junk that it will be impossible to pass thru large swathes of it safely in the future– the piece is not behind a paywall, and link is at

      1. Lambert Strether

        > one possible conclusion was that the Oligarch egotists Branson, Musk and Bezos might so jam the LEO area with junk that it will be impossible to pass thru large swathes of it safely in the future

        So Musk wouldn’t be able to rocket off to Mars and leave us all alone? Cosmic irony.

    2. MarkT

      Geomagnetic storms and atmospheric drag on low orbit satellites are very well understood phenomena. And this was a very weak geomagnetic storm. Makes me wonder about the “science” being practised at SpaceX. It sounds like it might be approaching the level of “aeronautical engineering” being practised at Boeing?

  10. jr

    re: Flash Fried Satellites

    It’s truly wonderful to see these sociopath’s projects literally getting burned out of the sky. I thought this bit from the article was telling:

    “Now experts are worried about whether mega-constellations planned by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others will be resilient to such events in the future.”

    I’d bet there are a lot of experts in the fields of astronomy and related fields who aren’t at all worried about those satellites falling out of the sky. Lots of non-experts too. Article doesn’t mention any of that. There was this interesting article linked, I could only read a bit of it but it seems self explanatory:

    Satellite provides internet if you can afford it. Let’s see how far Musk’s generosity in filling the skies with his toys goes when it comes time for the bill. I could see a lot of people getting tied into his internet for business, life, etc. and then getting hosed…

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      “…I could see a lot of people getting tied into his internet for business, life, etc. and then getting hosed…”

      Count me in that lot, although I have my spidey-sense holding me back, for now.

      I live in Puget Sound area, do IT stuff for 2 companies the last 7 years in a 100% work-from-home capacity. Not paid scads of dough like I was in my youth at MSFT, but love the current company culture and growth….but I am slowly but surely being priced out of any place I am willing to pay for rent as it creeps up up up.

      Have contemplated using starlink (with cell data as backup) to finally move full time to my mountain cabin and stop paying rent at all. It would be a boon, but yeah….once starlink crapifys or implodes i would up the proverbial creek.

      But at some point soon, at the end of the next year lease maybe, the rents are gonna go up +10% Year on year yet again and I will either finally stroke out and die, or else have to look at creative internet solutions in the hinterlands.

      Possibly stroking out is best for our oligarch overlords, I dunno, so i will take that under advisement. At least the kids in our Collective would get some life insurance payout… :p

    2. CanCyn

      There are many people on waiting lists for Musk’s satellite Internet in my neck of the Canadian woods. Had an argument with my husband about adding our names to the list. I’d rather live with less than super speedy Internet than give that tool any money!!

    3. John Beech

      We signed up after 15 years of being within 600′ of AT&T fiber and making do with DSL. better than ISDN and light years better than dial-up but greatly inferior to cable or fiber. And this within the greater metropolitan statistical area of Orlando, so not exactly a rural backwater. Anyway, they delivered the antenna a couple months back but I’ve been busy. Once I get it install it, we’ll have dual services and I, for one, will be grateful for the redundancy. People love to bash the rich like Musk but I, for one, am conscious there is give and take in all business relationships. Paying the Danegeld in this case gives us a better quality of life so I am quite satisfied with the exchange. I hear similar from a friend regarding his Model S automobile, and being within sight of the launches predisposes me towards him, also.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Russia’s train system is outstanding; not just in terms of price and comfort, but in terms of its extraordinary geographical reach. As for its commercial jets (your other post below), well, I’m skeptical about the newer models (MS-21, Sukhoi “Superjet”, Tu-204, etc) and will stick to the tried and true Airbuses and Boeings. I prefer the old Soviet passenger planes: those grubby Ilyushins and Tupolevs and Yakovlevs weren’t much in terms of passenger comfort, but they got the job done.

    1. Foy

      Yep, Andrei Martyanov gives some great perspectives, I enjoy reading what he has to say. One of those technical and military minds like Scott Ritter and Pat Lang that I like to hear from.

  11. GramSci

    The author of the LARB “Charlatan” article (also apropos @timbers, above) writes

    «The [charlatan’s] adherent, they write, “remains a frustrated underdog, and all the agitator does is to mobilize his aggressive impulses against the enemy.»

    Somehow, I don’t think the author was referring to the media’s charlatan owners who have been mobilizing 80% of the US electorate to approve hostility toward Russia :-(

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Support ukraine” is a weighted poll already. Other options would have been presented. This is the best Biden can pull. He’s pulling troops out, waited a whole day for an emergency call, so it wouldn’t make the evening news. Today is the Super Bowl.

      Broken down by age, “support ukraine” only played well with the group Let er rip Joe is actively killing.

    2. Darthbobber

      This is a defect of an otherwise passable piece. The author seems able to identify charlatans only among the heterodox, as if the mainstream consensus wasn’t full to bursting with them. And to call Long a charlatan is to demonstrate ignorance of his actual accomplishments and the real sources of his enduring popularity in Louisiana.

  12. jr

    re: Art Therapy for distressed Real Estate

    I would guess that a lot of the artists the author seems to think are waiting en masse to clean up the problems of society were once employed at the shops, cafes, and restaurants that have dried up and blown away. Where will this army of artists work? Perhaps they can open a soup kitchen in one of those spaces as well. PMC hopium overdose.

  13. Louis Fyne

    LoL, pro tip: if an estate gen describes a property as a high-risk/high-rewars fixer upper, Run Away!

    Unless you are a profession builder-project manager (or have access to one for free), it will be a money pit.

    1. Tom Stone

      Buying a money pit at the top of the market and boasting about the deal you got is traditional!

      I’ve always liked the PITI acronym ( Principal,Interest,Taxes,Insurance) always given with at least the strong implication that “These are your fixed costs”.
      No “M” for Mur…Maintenance.
      And anyone who thinks taxes and insurance are fixed costs probably thinks of crypto as an investment.

      1. CanCyn

        So many young people just don’t pay attention to the actual meaning of words. Tried talking to a youngster about fixed costs recently. He said that his rent is a fixed cost. I asked if ever increased and he said of course. Well then, says I, it isn’t a fixed cost. “But I have to pay it every month”, that’s the fixed part to him. I have learned to pay close attention when I am talking to people under 30ish, context is very important because they don’t understand words to mean what I know them to mean.

        1. RA

          Not a new thing — Per Lewis Carroll,
          “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

        2. Mike

          Huh? Then I don’t think you know the meaning of fixed cost… you should look it up any business owner/financier would put rent down as a fixed cost. If you follow your logic then it seems nothing would be a fixed cost, everything goes up in cost with time just about.

      2. Lost in OR

        You might add utilities to your list. Water, sewer, NG, electricity, communications can vary in cost by location and are definitely not fixed.

  14. Theodore

    I have been slowly reading “The Dawn of Everything” since it came out. The review is appreciated for 2 reasons. First coming from an India scholar gives it a good perspective. Secondly, the endorsement of reading this book slowly with the aid of Google is very helpful. Many books are to be read fast, and some are made to be read with what Iain McGilchrist has so wonderfully shown in his book “The Master and His Emissary”, by today’s society’s neglected half of the brain.

    Thanks for posting.

    1. barefoot charley

      I must second this. Studying ‘urban genesis’ almost 50 years ago (that phrase subsumed the beginnings of agriculture, cities and civilization–all the same thing you see) I realized with despair that the scholars studying dug-up rocks were really only able to see . . . wait for it . . . the backs of their own heads. The mute stones of Uruk echoed projections, backcast descriptions of recent Western social arrangements.

      The great gift of this book is its application of (sometimes quasi-) scientific insights from anthropology, forensic geology, historic ecology and other fields non-existent when the intellectual framework of pre-history studies was built, refreshingly undermining those previously impervious intellectual structures. You don’t have to accept every assertion to enjoy the evidence that human society is comprised of our choices, which are not always or forever as sociopathic as our modern European inheritance. This is a wonderful book, a gift from the gods of the past and future. Rest in Power, David Graeber!

  15. The Rev Kev


    By now ordinary Ukrainians must be ripping their hair out at all the hysteria about a Russian invasion. Investors are abandoning the country which will cause the government years of problems for nothing but it has just got worse. A passenger jet operated by a Ukrainian company had to abort its flight from Portugal to the Kiev after the aircraft’s Irish-based owner stopped it from entering Ukraine’s airspace. I guess nobody wants to be the special guest star in the next manufactured shoot-down. And now major international insurance companies have notified Ukrainian carriers that they will stop covering aircraft flying over Ukraine “within 48 hours” which means that the entire Ukraine will be effectively a no-fly zone as far as commercial aviation is concerned.

    1. timbers

      Do you think the average Ukrainian has come to realize they are mere pawns in the game USA is playing at their expense?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ve seen street interviews with young Ukrainians who are saying that nothing has changed as far as the border with Russia is concerned for the past eight years and don’t understand why this is all happening. I think that they see it to as hysteria in the west and there is a massive propaganda program here going on right now. Two nights ago I saw a British news snippet on the news talking about the Holodomor famine of the 1930s with the implication that Putin and the Russian Federation are the same as Stalin and the old Soviet Union. The Ukraine was already an economic mess before this all started but by the time it is all over, it will be swirling down the toilet. But at least the Democrats will get “payback for 2016.” I hope that Hillary will be satisfied.

        1. timbers

          Hillary. I’m sure as we speak she’s hard at work making plans to reboot The Clinton Foundation towards helping alleviate all the suffering she’s contributed to cause for the people in Ukraine.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Clintons wouldn’t out their own money into the con, just others’, and they aren’t offering access anymore. The Clinton Global Initiative collapsed for a reason. Until Kerry lost, they had nothing. She’s hawking hats.

        2. LawnDart

          IIRC, were not separatists in Donbas expressing concerns last Fall that Ukrainian forces were preparing to launch an offensive to retake the region? And I do wonder how much control Ukrainian civilian government actually has over neo-nazi Ukrainian military units, so even if President Zelensky decides that retaking the Donbas might be a little too far over the crazy-line would certain elements in the military ignore him?

          The separatists acknowledged that they would be unlikely able to withstand an all-out attack by Ukrainian forces, do Russian forces near the region act as any sort of deterent? Maybe yes, if there’s actual civilian control of Ukrainian forces, maybe no if Donbas is the meat in a bear trap?

          It seems that any overt assistance by Russia to the separatists will be classified as a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and obviously used to take actions against Russian interests– is there anything material to gain from a US national interest perspective, or is this “crisis” being used to benefit others than the US/Ukrainian public? Who benefits from this and how?

          ***Building an anti-war songlist in preparation for the seemingly inevitable occasion, starting with this classic by Phil Ochs, “I ain’t marching anymore”:

        3. Dave in Austin

          I think the Rev Kev is a bit wrong; something has changed. Until Biden arrived we had a garden variety frozen conflict, a reasonably quiet cease fire line manned (and occasionally womaned) by bored soldiers who very rarely exchanged shots. The Ukraine army had failed to crush the revolt in 2014 and didn’t have the money (or the contacts) to get high-tech weapons for a new try.

          Money can change the equation; ask the Armenians. And false flag operations to blame the other guy can blow back; ask the folks from Georgia. Now in the last year the US has given $600 million dollars of aid (not sales) to the Ukrainian military because we couldn’t convince NATO to do it. Some of the weapons are largely defensive (anti-talk weapons), but air “defense” missiles are another story.

          The Ukrainians appear to be setting up for a quick blitz of the breakaway parts of the Eastern Ukraine and the anti-aircraft system is needed for the plan to keep the Russians from aiding the breakaway region on the first day and the anti-tank weapons are needed so a blitzed eastern Ukraine can’t be taken back three days later by the evil Ruskies without serious cost.

          To counter the Ukrainian move, the Russians seemed to have moved up troops and, more important, rocket and artillery units using modern, real-time satellite target identification systems, to remind the Ukrainians “Try it some morning and we will shoot back”. Note that the hysteria press always shows the Russian troop concentrations near the Eastern Ukraine but never mentions the Ukrainian preparations in the same neighborhood. Even more telling about the real situation is that the Ukrainian army has not made the slightest preparation to defend the supposed”Minsk-to Kiev”invasion route beloved by the armchair strategists on CNN, FOX and in the White House press corp. Sorry guys; this isn’t August 1941.

          The most scary possibility is that the Ukrainians will place more anti-aircraft units and the Russians will use anti-radiation missiles to take out the radars- a mutual escalation. With luck the Russians will give the Ukrainian crews 15 minutes notice to avoid bloodshed. Notice that this doesn’t cross Biden’s invasion tripwire- no tanks; no troops. But I’m sure Biden will try to use an incident to MauMau the Germans and demand a permanent shut-down of NordStream II, which is what I think this KAbuki theater in the Ukraine is all about. But the beauty of the “move the US-supplied AA missiles to the border” ploy is that the Ukrainians can simply pull the pawn back, annoy the Americans and placates to Russians without one word of it hitting the NYT, WP and the rest of the “legitimate” press.

          And the locals? I checked this morning and no panic on the Polish or Ukrainian stock markets on Friday. The Russian one is down because of an increase in the already high prime rate. The US markets continue to drift down in response to the Fed tightening. In other words, the real money doesn’t look too worried… yet

          1. Yves Smith

            The “Russian troop concentration” talk is a con. First, they include troops as far as 150 miles away. Second, those numbers are within regular ranges and are lower than Russia had in the ‘hood last April.

            However, any movement of materiel would be a somewhat different story but at this point I don’t trust Western reporting.

          2. The Rev Kev

            I’d agree with what you said and would add that it is not actually necessary for the Russian Army to be in the Donbass itself. Russian artillery destroyed a Ukrainian brigade back in 2014 at a place called Zelenopillya and gave the US army a bit if a wake up. Add in stand-off munitions, Kalibre missiles and anything else long range and life gets complicated for an invading Ukrainian force. I’m not sure of the Russians will give the Ukrainian crews 15 minutes notice but I suspect that they will kill any attached NATO personnel that they can locate embedded with the Ukrainians. I read a report of how American officers were killed in action with the earlier invasions which may or may not be true. Here is an account of that artillery strike at Zelenopillya which was fired from Russia itself-


            1. timbers

              If what Dave in Austin says is correct – that Ukraine is massing troop & arms near Donbass – I think the key takeaway on this is 1). Does Zelinsky the Prez know this and is he in charge of the military and? And 2). Or do US & Company & extremists in Ukraine have special people/forces doing something Zelinsky doesn’t know about and/or can’t control. In which case get ready for a false flag provocation, followed by shutdown of NordSteam2.

      2. Tom Stone

        The Game the USA is playing is called “Russian Roulette”.
        With Nukes.
        The people pushing this war are violently insane.
        “Payback for 2016” ?
        It might be helpful if these idiots read the sworn testimony of Shawn Henry before the House Permanent subcommittee on Intelligence in December of 2017.
        Mr Henry testified that there was no evidence that ANYONE had hacked the DNC servers.
        More than 4 years ago…
        Is dementia contagious?

        1. timbers

          Yes. And meanwhile, what are us Little People supposed to do during this alleged crisis…:”go shopping”? Act normal as if nothing is happening?

          Either way it ends, the US is going to either have an even bigger The Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome on it’s hands when this blows over, or the folks you mention are confident they can engineer a False Flag event soon, which the corporate media will immediately headline Russia Invades Ukraine (after all Bloomberg has that headline ready already)…thus allowing them to proceed to the next step – forcing Germany to officially end NordStrean II.

          Then I kick back and watch my heating/gas/electric bills soar to the Moon as CEO’s at energy related companies get extra extra bonuses from all the extra profits they rake in.

          1. jr

            My energy bill for the last month was five (5) times the monthly average. Got an email saying it’s the shippers and sellers. Total boot to the bank account.

        2. ambrit

          It could be parsed as “Payback for 1917.” Up until then, Russia was a semi-compliant member in good standing of the ‘International Oligarch Collective (IOC),’ the Romanovs and all. After the October Revolution, Russia became an adversary of the IOC. Suddenly, the labour movements and ‘collectivist’ groups worldwide had a nation state supporter for their “alternative” schemes for social organization. Putin, et. al. seem to have inched their way towards a counter IOC position, mainly due to necessity. When the other members of a “club” ignore your needs and actively promote things harmful to you, the logical move is to leave that ‘club’ and form your own with like minded “persons.” By developing a sort of autarky, Russia has done this. The IOC cannot allow this. It shows emphatically that “membership” in the IOC is not an existential choice, if by existential, we mean a local, region centered system of governance.
          Secondly, with ‘things’ as they are now, any use of nukes, even at a tactical level, will escalate into full on intercontinental exchanges. This has been the case with all wargaming for quite a long time. The systems work on an internal logic all their own. The “action fiction” trope of a lone, strong leader stopping Armageddon with a phone call is just that, a fiction. Once the “process” gets going, we’re screwed.
          I, for one, will welcome our Grey Alien Overlords with open arms when they ‘out’ themselves to save some remnant of the Terran human population.
          Stay safe, and keep watching the skies!

          1. newcatty

            Always look up. Maybe it won’t be Greys, who will intervene. Maybe it will surprise us who is “here”. Are you watching series “Resident Alien”? Campy, funny and intelligent and much better, imo, than the recent film. My spouse just told me that he read that most of the dialogue is improv. Even more interesting and cool.

            1. ambrit

              We’re not ‘cable’ people, but Phyl’s nephews are close with the ‘mumblecore’ filmaking groups. Improv can be quite productive, but that often leaves the ‘feel’ of the scene in the hands of the actors. It may be a truism that the ‘quality’ of your actors will determine the ‘quality’ of the finished product, but it can look very much like a “Sons and Daughters of Stanislavsky” County Fair.
              My basic fear is that any “Aliens” that might be here, for whatever reason, will be exactly what we call them, alien, not understandable to our sensoria and logic.

        3. Mikel

          I can’t help but wonder if a crisis of legitimacy has many governments wanting to replay the early 20th Century population cull.
          Huge numbers about to be metaphorically sent “over the top.”

        4. ArvidMartensen

          What if all this talk of war between the Ukraine and Russia is just another Democrat ruse to get Covid cases and deaths out of the media.
          So that Grandpa Joe and his incompetent band of do-nothings isn’t smashed at the mid-terms.
          If so, it is working spectacularly well.

          1. Librarian Guy

            All credible, it is working well “for the moment.” But since, like the previous President, 80% of the US electorate has the attention span of a fruit fly, will it make the slightest difference during the midterms, when things will continue to fall apart with the Dems crying that they can’t (won’t) do anything for ordinary voters? . . . only the latest shiny thing distraction matters, & it’s likely to be something else by fall.

          2. Jen

            Small sample size, but at an outdoor gathering I went to this afteroon, attended by mostly people in the 10% and some in the 1%, topics of discussion were: COVID, supply chain, and puppies (admittedly, there were several puppies present). Maybe COVID is out of the media, but just because it’s out of the media doesn’t mean everyone is focusing their attention elsewhere.

          3. ACPAL

            Until the last few days I considered the idea of a shooting war nonsense. However, lately the Biden Administration has been sounding a lot like the Bush Administration before the Iraq invasion. Statements of Russians massing on the Ukraine border and planning false flag events are sounding more and more like “weapons of mass destruction” and “mushroom clouds.” The Biden administration and the MSM are sounding quite hysterical and lacking in rationality to the point I consider the US getting into a shooting war, if only using standoff weapons, a real possibility. The US is definitely planning something stupid.

    2. Louis Fyne

      not just commercial planes, private jets too.

      So if you’re a Ukrainian oligarch and merely lease your plane/have a mortgage with a western bank, that plane is probably going back to the EU.

      Spare a thought for the oligarchs!

    3. Mikel

      ” I guess nobody wants to be the special guest star in the next manufactured shoot-down”

      I wouldn’t say “nobody.”
      There’s always somebody anxious to throw caution to the wind. And you never know the connections of highlevel airline execs/management. Airline exec may be their second job.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        It has knocked Covid out of the newspaper headlines, at least here in Northern Ireland.

  16. Eudaemon

    Regarding: The Enduring Power of the Charlatan Los Angeles Review of Books

    I wish to thank the moderators and the readers, however this link was found, as in a previous post I’ve had increasing desperation about the evident linkages between charlatanism and the clear and present masks that our politicians of both parties wear. The linkages have grown more noticeable with the growth in actual sales and advertising — both of foolhardy investment “opportunities” and in “alternative” medicine — of many political figures and politically-slanted media.

    I appreciate the article’s sentiment and I feel a deep connection with the author. I must read her book.

  17. Wukchumni

    Skiers struggle as real snow falls on Winter Olympics AP
    Watched oh so many skiers biff it on the grand slalom, and I can’t blame them, how do you ski real fast going through gates when you can’t make out the snow, because of lack of visibility?

    I despise those kind of conditions as a recreational skier, but then again I didn’t train for years for this one event. If we had the same awfulness on one of days in Mammoth, sooner than later one of the dartful codgers will pipe up with a request, ‘screw it, lets go bowling’ and off we drive through the tempest to the lanes by the Vons supermarket.

    In theory an inside slider is supposed to come through late Monday-early Tuesday with a smidgen of new snow in Mammoth, and it’ll be the first snow of the year if that happens.

    My Covid study group will all be in attendance on the slopes this week, i’m curious as to how we all react to long Covid, seeing as we all tested positive together?

    We’re running out of winter to make hay here in Cali, with nothing forecast through to near the end of February, and seeing as we got nothing in what are usually the big months, means unless we get a winter, everything that got nourished by the amazing xmas storm will die back with its roots on and become fodder for fire.

    So far the wildflower season has been early and lush, with Golden Poppies in abundance around the lake and even at 3,000 feet where we were hiking yesterday, along with a brush lupine blooming this time of year way too soon, yikes.

    1. Carolinian

      The TV pics–shot with telephoto lenses–probably exaggerate the lack of visibility. More about the loose snow conditions?? (I’ve never skied–not a lot of that going on where I live).

    2. petal

      Wuk, that was one of the factors we trained with when I was growing up. The lake effect snow (or the snow guns) might be going during training, and course memorisation became even more important, and those that would usually go balls to the wall when it was clear might have to ease up a little. It also made the course softer, so ruts might develop, or easier to catch an edge on fresh snow that builds up. That’s a whole other issue. I haven’t been watching the Olympics this year so I am not able to comment on course conditions of that nature. Can throw a real spanner in the works. The folks that make it to the national team levels should be used to these things and able to operate. No sympathy. When you are prepping for a race, that race morning you have course inspection and slip through and memorise it as much as you can. That’s all part of being a successful racer.

    3. Gregorio

      I have always preferred to ski in blizzard conditions, there’s shorter lift lines and a lot more untracked powder when the tourists are huddled in the lodge.

  18. Henry Moon Pie

    Graeber from the Indian perspective–

    Very interesting piece. This struck me in particular:

    What forms of power leave tangible traces for later generations, and how? A fascinating insight – particularly for architects, city planners, and those who work with space – from The Dawn of Everything is the way in which, in terms of archeological record, autocratic forms of governance may rely more on built expressions, such as the frenzied building of large structures within cities, a furious race to leave an imprint, a palace, a ziggurat, a central vista. More inclusive forms – based on governance by councils and assemblies at multiple urban scales – may leave voids and rely more on open or unbuilt spaces. These forms may leave fewer traces, but they can be inferred, credibly, from combinations of new archeological evidence, and written and other records.

    We laugh from time to time on NC about some of the absurd McMansions that people with more money (or credit) than sense choose to build, but this culturally inculcated desire to make a big mark on the world describes all our cities with their skyscrapers. What if we built in a way as to have the least impact, visually and more broadly envrionmentally, on the places where we live? What if our shelters blended in with their surroundings instead of sticking out like sore thumbs?

    That might evince a healthier attitude toward ourselves–less hubris–and the planet that gave us existence.

    1. amechania

      Worse still, the skyscrapers built in the middle east.

      They would better serve as greenhouses!

      A brain-dead mimicry of the west. Our real problem is and has been a lack of imagination.

      My idea above is ‘stolen’ (dubai is a parody on utub) and it’s odd that someone is quoting the dawn of everything and calling it an ‘indian perspective’

      The problem with the future (meaning a livable future) is not that nobody wants it, it’s that we can’t even imagine it.

  19. Mandrake

    In Ottawa Protests, a Pressing Question: Where Were the Police? NYT

    Certain creatures repudiate every tradition, biology, science, customs and norms, yet

    /they/them pronoun “Mx. Kenney has been bellowing for more police protection for the city’s residents downtown,…”

    Aww shucks, nothing like a little of your own medicine to make sheit’s brain explode?

  20. upstater

    Yesterday a comment on the Ottawa protest had a link that detailed the links of the organizers to “retired” cops and military. The placement of blockades and logistics indicated military tactics. Read it if you missed it…

    February 12, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Quite an eye opener, and then compare this to the NYT’s weak tea above: In Ottawa Protests, a Pressing Question: Where Were the Police?

  21. Wukchumni

    The Alaska Highway: A subarctic road to prevent invasion BBC
    Barry Broadfoot was the Studs Terkel of Canada, but he simply found better tales to be told, when mining the populace for remembrances.

    In his Six War Years one of the vignettes was that of a crooked craps game perpetuated by Canadians on Yanks working on the Alaska Highway, who had idea they were being fleeced.

    Each story is anywhere from a page to 6 pages long, and not always the usual war tales

    Another story was an enterprising Canadian who realized that the USA would get involved in WW2, closing down auto manufacturing, so in 1940-41 he went on a buying binge of car parts in the states and brought the bounty back and after Pearl Harbor he made bank getting 10-25x what he paid for things, because he was the only one that had any replacement parts.

    Don’t miss Broadfoot’s Ten Lost Years too!

    Amazing tales of the Great Depression.

  22. Michael Ismoe

    IRS backlog hits nearly 24 million returns, further imperiling the 2022 tax filing season WaPo

    We can send an 8-year-old – unvaccinated and un-masked – to school every day but IRS agents can’t work in the office? And somehow the Democrats think all they need is better PR?

    1. ambrit

      The evidence is pretty conclusive by now; for Democrat Party Apparatchiks, better Public Relations is the be all and end all of ‘successful’ politics. They live inside of a mirrored bubble, internally mirrored that is. Can we infer from this that the Political Class is Narcisistic as a class? That’s an interesting idea. It would not only go some way to explaining many otherwise ‘inexplicable’ things of our recent history, but also point the way to some effective counter-measures.
      Stay safe, hull down, eyes up.

      1. John

        A moratorium on filing taxes this year would give them time to catch up. I think that is a terrific idea.

  23. griffen

    Do rotten eggs spoil the celebration for the newest superyacht? I would think the Bezos’ new acquisition will not do well under an onslaught. Couldn’t happen to a nicer human!

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Three Prime subscriptions will pay for “a worker” to clean up the mess. And he better be wearing a mask.

      1. cnchal

        > Three Prime subscriptions will pay for “a worker” to clean up the mess. . .

        You have that backwards. For every Prime subscription, Jeff hands you $900 to cement your position as a whip cracking sadist, which he stole from other customers, the ones grossly overpaying to have Jeff store their zeros and ones, government being a big buyer, and third party sellers which now have to pay to be found. Since over half of them are in China, you can’t hear them scream and the ones here don’t dare scream due to fear of retaliation by Amazon.

        1. ambrit

          Wait, wait, wait. Doesn’t the ultimate end form of “the Amazon Experience” essentially create a permanent ratchiting up effect on prices universally? Here’s hoping that the Washington, District of Columbia suit against Amazon ‘goes somewhere,’ and not away.

          1. cnchal

            >. . . a permanent ratchiting up effect on prices universally?

            Yes. Third party sellers contractually prohibit themselves from selling their wares elsewhere for less. The Amazon price is the highest and sets the standard, unless they deliberately lose money on a segment to put a competitor out of business. The baby diaper market as an example where they sold them at steep losses to force a competitor to cave in to them. When governments heavily subsidize Amazon, it will take anything it wants.

            > . . . District of Columbia suit against Amazon ‘goes somewhere,’

            Amazon bought protection in the form of grifting the black caucus a million or so and hiring former White House staff to Obama for their venality. Expect the suit to go in the trash bin.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Jeff Bezos pushed Dutch port city to dismantle historic bridge. Now, residents plan to egg his yacht.”

    Maybe Jeff’s problem was that he is doing it on the cheap. For all we know he might have given some anonymous political donations to those city fathers to have that bridge taken apart yet again, even though he was paying for it. What he should have done was to give the citizens of that city a thank you of some sort. No, not a statue of himself. Maybe a museum or an art gallery. Something in the years after people can say that at least they got something for the city in exchange for all the inconvenience of having that bridge be shut down. And it would have been good pr for Jeff to point at him doing it. But maybe that is why he did not offer anything. People would have asked why he can do stuff like that for the Dutch but not for his fellow Americans.

    1. Mikel

      This kind of stuff is a gauge of how soon Bezos and friends may need to head off into space.
      If the yacht were to draw more damage than some eggs to scrape off, time to head to their mothership.

    2. cnchal

      Only eggs? Too bad. How about full pee bottles as an alternative, either glass or plastic, as long as they break hitting the deck.

      Give Jeff have a taste of what it means to toil for Amazon.

          1. newcatty

            He loves the “smell of sulfur ” in the morning, afternoon and night. Its familiar and like the smell of honeysuckle.

    3. Dave in Austin

      This whole story reeks of… something. The bridge is tall enough for the USS enterprise to sail under and the Starship Enterprise to fly under. Is there a very tall mast missing from the ship pictures? Did the town fathers of the biggest port in Europe not notice they where building a ship too tall to get under the bridge? Did Bezos, the marine architect, the shipyard and the shipyard workers union all fail to notice? And if it sails out of the harbor without the mast I’m sure one of those 300 ton-capacity, 250 ft tall barge cranes can install it outside the inner harbor for a small fee. This is the modern version of “Build it and they will come” which is “Build it, discover it is to big to leave and get an emergency varience so it can go.”

    4. MP

      Jeff Bezos took advantage of a situation presented to him.

      Whoever allowed this to happen has the biggest shit eating grin right now. Probably got paid, and all the blame was deflected to Bezos.

      Nobody likes Bezos, all the flack can be directed at him, he doesn’t care, his image whatever that means won’t even suffer.

  25. Larry

    Regarding tensions with dealers and their OEMs, the notion that direct to consumer auto dealing is the way to go is ridiculous. OEMs have a great deal where they outsource the capital costs of sales yes, but just as importantly, service to their dealer networks. Unless the OEMs think they can build up a service network as big as what they currently have through dealer networks the dealers are here to stay and will take profits where they can.

    The Washington Post cites Tesla as an example of a start up selling direct to consumers. Sort of. In most states they still have a dealer network, though it’s far less robust that other automakers. And the quality of Tesla’s service shows what happens when sales grow and service can’t match it:

    That story is from my home state of Massachusetts. Tesla has two service centers in the state, both close to metro Boston. It has no presence in the largest cities in Western, MA. If you were to buy a BEV from Ford, you can expect that large dealers will be equipped to perform warranty and recall work as well as the specialized service that these vehicles electrical and battery systems will need. The flashy tech companies don’t seem to have the wherewithal to scale their customer service at the same scale.

    Compare that Tesla story with my most recent experience with a Mazda dealer. I scheduled next day service via their website. I was greeted promptly and offered a place to work or a taxi/rideshare ride home. I was contacted by my service rep with the work to be completed, both by call and text with information rich links. And the service was completed that day.

    I’ll say good luck doing that with a Tesla or a forthcoming Rivian.

  26. Otis B Driftwood

    The NYT doing extra work to gin up war on this Sunday’s front page. A photo and two articles above the fold about the heroic effort Biden and team are doing to avoid conflict.

    The propaganda is nauseating.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, right next to a story about how Trump is grifting and trading in on being president. Because the Clintons never did this, ha. All bad in Washington flows from Trump, of course.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, A case of “Trump Delenda Est.” We know how well that turned out for Rome in the long run.
        The above is also an object lesson on the necessity and superiority of multi-lateralism in international relations.

        1. Joe Well

          Carthage would be an integral part of the Roman Empire until the Vandals took it in the late 5th century…600 years…I’d call that a win.

          1. ambrit

            That was Roman Carthage, a wholly Roman metropolis. The original Carthage was captured, sacked, and all inhabitants either killed or enslaved in 146 BC. Carthage as an independent culture ceased to exist. The city of Roman Carthage was rebuilt in the First Century AD along wholly Roman lines.
            An independent Carthage existing past the First Century BC would have been a check on Rome and a stimulus for Roman ‘improvement.’ After Carthage fell, Rome had no close rivals left to stop her from falling into Imperialism and later Decadence. (Sound familiar?)
            So, to torture the analogy a bit too far, Trump fulfils the function of a counterweight to the Neo-liberal Dispensation in American politics, an American Political Carthage. Some may prefer to compare Trump and the forces he represents to the Gauls and Visigoths of late Roman history. However, I sense an underlying strength and creativity in the Trump or Tea Party movement. Even if it is all an astroturf program run by and for the super wealthy Noveau Oligarchs, it still has an allure and ‘comfort’ for the ‘deplorable’ class.
            Sensing the real danger to their own power that the Trump phenomenon represents, the Ancien Oligarchs are pulling out all the stops to try and strangle this upstart baby in it’s cradle.
            We live in interesting times.

  27. Keith in Modesto

    My brother and I play D&D every few weeks with friends. One of the players is hosting a Super Bowl party today and invited everyone. I’m sure it will be packed, as this is an established recuring event for family and friends. I don’t want to attend because of COVID-19 and my brother advised me that I have to stop being afraid. I countered that I’m not afraid, I’m being cautious. I could have followed up with the specter of the B2 variant of Omicron emerging on the stage, but he didn’t press me.
    Is anyone else avoiding huge Super Bowl parties? I don’t want to be the only one.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > I don’t want to be the only one.

      You aren’t the only one.

      But even if you were ‘the only one’, that would not be reason to ‘go with the crowd’. The crowd is a spreading event.

      Stay healthy for the sake of the people who will need you in the future.

      1. Tom Stone

        I’m only acquainted with one person who will be attending a large Superbowl party.
        It’s an annual bash with about 100 people attending, open bar, lots of BBQ and Pizza ( They have a brick Pizza oven on the patio) “Every one Vaxxed, so it’s safe”.
        I hope he has a good time and said so.

          1. Laughingsong

            Same here. Would have been nice to see a Niners-Bengals Super Bowl again…. That was the only SB I ever got to attend in person.

        1. John

          I stay home alone and watch the game remote in hand to mute the commercials. Halftime is dinnertime.
          I often watch football with the sound off most of the time. Restful.

    2. Sutter Cane

      Just wanted to reassure you that you are not the crazy one. Fun fact I learned: last month, the number one cause of death for men in the US age 45-55 (the range I happen to fall within) was covid. Beating out heart disease and cancer. This doesn’t seem to be common knowledge among the “done with covid” crowd.

      So, I won’t be attending any superbowl parties. I was thinking about going to the grocery store just after kickoff. Maybe it won’t be crowded as everyone will be attending their superspreader events.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I suspect this is it

          I note also in this table (not delineated by age group) that heart disease deaths are fluctuating in a wave pattern which roughly correlates with Covid waves, which I doubt is a coincidence knowing what we do about the disease.

      1. amechania

        Did you get covid in the last 2-6 weeks? Cuz alot of people did.

        If so, (not a doctor) I wouldn’t worry about this one too much. If not, definitely worry.

    3. Jason Boxman

      One of the reasons I’ve remained in western NC, is that having no social network of any kind, I’m not confronted with these kinds of decisions. But I can see the temptation to go.

      But you have to balance that against a 1 in 10 or 3 in 10 chance of getting long-COVID, which you might live with for the rest of your life. I do the math and I’d rather amuse myself, however dark and empty that might be at times, than risk being seriously, chronically disabled in the United States, potentially for decades, until I succumb to age. (Or to some other cause that a previous COVID infection seems to increase the likelihood of, such as cancer or heart attack.)

      Whatever you do, stay safe and good luck!

      1. Keith in Modesto

        Thanks. Developing long-COVID is the risk with which I’m primarily concerned, as I’m in my late 50’s and already have an autoimmune disease. We just don’t know what the long-term health consequences of contracting (and recovering from) COVID will be, and I’d rather not be a test subject.

        1. .human

          We don’t know the long term health consequences of the current round of “vaccines” or repeated boosters either.

          Play it cautious and safe and use your best judgement.

      2. Dave in Austin

        Better to get long Covid than short, final Covid.

        Come to think of it, I’ll just settle for long Novid.

    4. ambrit

      We have been avoiding any large gatherings for two years now. We never were “social butterflies” and so the choice is pretty easy for us. the ones we empathize with are those who’s lives are constructed around social circles.
      You are not crazy.
      Keep it up. You’ll yet live on to dance on the graves of those you knew who “let er rip.” (More like, “Let Er RIP.”)

    5. Mikel

      Yep, but, full disclosure, it didn’t take Covid to make me avoid them.
      I didn’t lose any family or real friends over it.

    6. Mikel

      Super Bowl party story:
      I was once sitting next to a woman and she was trying to find a player on the field that she had met and partied with. I learned from her descriptions that he played defense and told her he wouldn’t be on the field until the other team had the ball.
      She said: “I didn’t realize they switched players on the field like that.”

  28. Mikel

    “Scientists are trying to dim the Sun and cool Earth. Is it worth the risk?” Scroll

    Of course not. It’s such a bad idea that it’s bound to happen. Existential panic from people that have lost their minds.

    If that’s too hard to swallow, look at it this way: it’s describing a type of infrastructure that needs to be maintained along with a lot of other junk being shot into space (see satellite story).
    That’s sustained maintenence being required on a planet being driven to instability by an ideology that does not care for the concept of “the public good”.

        1. John

          Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson has a centrall premise of dimming the sun. Goes into the effects here and there. Not a bad novel. Probably a bad idea. The Pinatubo eruption put so much sulfur. dioxide into the upper atmosphere that when it spread out the global temperature did dip for two years. Think I have that right.

    1. anon y'mouse

      Of course not. It’s such a bad idea that it’s bound to happen.

      this is what i say to myself about nearly everything involving money and/or politics, and am rarely disappointed.

      also, not a lot of wasting time wondering if “they” are stupid or evil. it’s always both.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      It seems ridiculous, but there are at least three powerful institutions behind this dimwitted idea of shooting sulfur in the sky every two years:

      1) Harvard University

      David Keith, the chief promoter of this scheme, is co-director of the Fund for Innovative Energy and Climate Research and has a dual appointment as a professor of physics at the John Paulson School of Engineering and of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government. Harvard has a shiny new Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability, James Stock, and Keith was a featured speaker at Stock’s coming out party in December. Despite grumbling from some alums, Harvard seems bent on becoming the go-to place for loony ideas to avoid degrowth.

      2) Bill Gates

      So guess who funds Keith’s Fund for Innovative Energy and Climate Research? The man who hates Nature so much that his vision for agriculture is vast, monocropped fields of Frankenplants inundated with pesticides and pollinated by robot bees, is not satisfied with destroying Earth’s soil and habitat. He’s going for the kill shot.

      3) The Breakthrough Institute

      This bunch, funded by the Pritzkers with one on the board, was behind the Ecomodernist Manifesto that proposes that a planet bumped out of the Holocene by human technology’s impacts is now ready to be more fully “managed” by brilliant (or mad?) scientists who know better about what the planet really needs–like sulfur shot in the sky every two years. Keith, of course, is one of the original signers.

      Powerful people are behind this crazy idea, but people are resisting if they find out about it. Keith was going for his first test in Sweden when a group of Saami herdsmen, backed by scientists, opposed the plan.

    3. flora

      Scientist want to dim the Sun, but nobody can figure out how to get Bezos “mine is bigger than your’s” boat under a bridge ? Simple… lower the water. / ;)

  29. KLG

    From the Cell paper, thorough and peer-reviewed:

    In Brief:
    Respiratory mucosal immunization with a next-generation adenoviral-vectored trivalent COVID-19 vaccine expressing Spike, Nucleocapsid and RdRp antigens, induces all-around protective mucosal immunity against SARS-CoV-2 via induction of systemic and local antibodies, lung tissue-resident memory T cells, and trained alveolar macrophages.

    Still work to do, but of course it did! And this has been the proper path since the beginning of the pandemic, along with a serious effort at de novo antivirals.

    That is all.

    Read this book! Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It
    h/t IM Doc and Krystal and Saagar

  30. Carolinian

    Good New Yorker story on King Tut. However while throwing shade on those imperialist Egyptologists (it doesn’t actually say white supremacists), the author doesn’t talk much about how Egyptians themselves abused and disrespected their past with the most glaring example being the Arab era removal of the casing stones from the great pyramid so they could be used in construction projects. In a similar way Roman ruins were for centuries used as building materials. However crass Carter and crew may have been they did the world a great favor.

    Anyway thanks for the link.


    IBM Emails Show Millennial Workers Favored Over ‘Dinobabies’

    (Bloomberg) — IBM executives discussed in emails how to force out older workers and derided them as “Dinobabies” who should be made an “Extinct species,” according to a court filing in an age discrimination case against the company.

    The communications show “highly incriminating animus” against older employees by officials who at the time were in the company’s “highest ranks,” according to the filing Friday.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Finding out who coined “Dinobabies” and ensuring that executive never again works in any field, particularly Tech, would be a service to workers everywhere, I think. But senders of these emails are redacted, of course.

  32. Eric Anderson

    “The Hidden Ways Companies Raise Prices” … “Yes, it’s called crapification.”

    Well, sure.
    But, more importantly, just calling it crapification hides the fact that what it “is,” already has a name. It’s called a “negative externality.” And, while traditionally being spoken of in the economic literature as applying to the costs of environmental degradation foisted upon the public (see: air pollution, etc.), it really exists any time the cost of producing a good or service is socialized. Essentially, the public pays the cost of the production of the good/service, and the corporation reaps the profit.

    I’ve postulated for some time now that this is the secret ingredient that allows capitalism to work at all. If, let’s say, we forced private actors to account for these production costs, “profit” as we know it would disappear and we’d be left with an economy that actually exists within the laws of thermodynamics — a steady state economy — where all inputs and outputs are accounted for.

    “Profit” by definition, then, is nothing more than the negative externality skim.

    1. Mikel

      Negative externality – crapification – planned obsolescence….

      All the names and classifications are in order. Now what’s the plan of action to stop the nonsense?

      1. Eric Anderson

        The interview of James Galbraith posted earlier in the week begins to embrace the problem:

        So does this article by Mariana Mazzucato posted a couple of days ago in Project Synicate:

        And, the high profile fights occurring around MMT occurring on twitter wherein mainstream economists like Noah Smith are publicly dismantled, such as here:
        Also see Steve Keen weighing in on Stoller’s thread.

        My point being, the plan of action is pushback from other economists and policy makers of sufficient clout — which seems to be occurring. If something can’t go on forever, it won’t. And mainstream economists are painting themselves into an indefensible corner, while at the same time painting themselves as nothing more than lapdogs biting at the ankles of anyone who challenges economic orthodoxy. For example, Galbraith’s countervailing power and resource based economics. Mazzucatto’s public interest stakeholder economics, MMT, and Stoller’s anti-trust crusade.

        Our job, is to continue to support and weigh in on these fights that are increasingly occurring. To understand them and educate those around us until the orthodoxy fractures to the point it can be supplanted by new economic paradigms.

        1. Eric Anderson

          Oh, and it occurred to me after I walked away:
          This is largely the process by which the “conventional wisdom” (explicated and made conventional itself by John Kenneth Galbraith in The Affluent Society) is supplanted. Ridicule and mockery of ideas whose time has passed is the most effective way to supplant the conventional wisdom.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Just started to rad this document. That financial crisis went around the world and was also here in Oz. The colonies had to shut down immigration for a few years as they could not longer afford the costs and there was a sharp recession. I think that this financial crisis also set off what became known as the”Hungry Forties” as it coincided with bad harvests. One family that I was researching in Cornwall had a lot of their babies die in this time period and I presume of malnutrition.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The even more amazing thing is that capitalism’s most fervent apologists, the neoclassical economists, managed to pull off the trick of making us believe that the Earth is embedded in the economy rather than the economy being embedded in the Earth.

    3. fresno dan

      Light bulb companies like Shelby once prided themselves on longevity — so much so, that the durability of their products was the central focus of marketing campaigns. But by the mid-1920s, business attitudes began to shift, and a new rhetoric prevailed: “A product that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business.” This line of thought, termed “planned obsolescence,” endorsed intentionally shortening a product’s lifespan to entice swifter replacement.

      In 1921, multinational lighting manufacturer Osram formed the “Internationale Glühlampen Preisvereinigung” (International Association of Light Bulb Prices) to regulate prices and limit competition. General Electric soon reacted by founding the “International General Electric Company” in Paris. Together, these organizations traded patents and sales information to get a stronghold on the light bulb market.
      I agree Mr. Anderson. I suspect, at the very least, every product could be made to last 10 times longer, and a good majority 100X longer. And that, the ONLY reason products are not made to last is profit. Some would say, what would all the lightbulb employees do? – and I say after you, noble lightbulb maker, have lit a 1000 people’s home, you have done enough work. Retire, sit down, and every night read something by the warm glow of a lightbulb…
      But how could we live without magnants and light bulb monopolies??? (sarc)

      1. Eric Anderson

        Yes, the “cost” of making something that endures is socialized. Let’s survey the ways:
        (1) Increased resource (public goods) use by normalizing throw-away disposable products, thereby
        (2) Increasing the burden upon disposal (public good) services.
        (3) Increasing the opportunity costs on the public while decreasing the private producer’s cost by simply wasting the public’s time replacing said disposable short duration products and services. We could always be doing something better than driving to the store to replace a crapified object or waiting on the phone for a crapified service.
        (4) Decreasing public trust and personal pride in the manufacturing of goods and services.
        (5) And, in an online, integrated supply chain economy, increasing the the obvious potential for bottleneck supply shortages due to an exponential number of individuals having to replace crapified products.

        I’d love to hear further ideas about how the costs are socialized because I’m certain there are so many more. And, it’s not reserved to the private sector either. Witness the federal “Paperwork Reduction Act” that was immediately aped by the states, and then the private sector.

        But hey, all in the name in increasing GDP, right? I suspect the shift accounts for a significant percentage of what anemic GDP growth the U.S. has managed on the past couple of decades. James Galbraith hints at this in the article I re-posted above.

    4. Mildred Montana

      Thanks to NC for giving me the opportunity to unload on this bane of modern life. As a careful, budget-conscious grocery shopper I see crapification (and hidden price increases) everywhere. A few examples (of too many):

      1. Natural peanut butter. It now seems to have more oil in it than peanuts. Most brands literally drip off the knife like syrup. I am down to only two brands that still spread like peanut butter should.
      2. Canned beans. It used to be one had to scoop the beans out of the can. No longer. They easily ???? out of the can. I suppose companies have done this for the convenience of the cook in a hurry. /sarc
      3. Liquid laundry detergent. An out-and-out ripoff, imho. I want soap, not water. But powdered detergent is getting harder to find. One store in my area still stocks 12kg. bags of it. That’s what I lug home.
      4. Chili powder. Many companies no longer list the ingredients in a pouch of it. Listed ingredients used to be chili powder, cumin, coriander, etc. Now the label on most pouches merely says: ???????? ??????. That’s it. Or, if the ingredients are listed, they have cut it with cheap paprika. I don’t want paprika in my chili powder. There’s only one brand left that I like and it’s been out-of-stock for months. Sad to say, chili powder might have been well and truly and forever crapified.

      I once contacted a consumer affairs reporter (in Canada) about #2 and #3. She told me companies were ??????? to add water to their products!

      1. Adam

        For laundry detergent, I’ve switched over to using soap nuts (which I believe are actually berries). All natural (well, barring potential pesticides or issues of that nature) and gets the job done well. I can’t really speak to price comparisons however, but a bag of soap nuts does last for a reasonably long time.

      2. Oh

        From my experience chili powder is made just from red chillies and should not include any other ingredients. The package I buy from the Indian grocery store does not. However, curry powder generally contains chilli powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and other spices. Chili powder is red in clor. Curry powder is more brownish. YMMV.

    5. elissa3

      Checkout Haagen Daz ice cream. No longer pints, but 14 oz. in the same container. I stick with Ben and Jerrys–still 16oz., and their politics are better. (Yes, they’re owned by a multinational, but I believe that the original owners still have some input).

  33. Mikel

    “Car dealers are raising prices. Automakers are pushing back. Consumers are stuck in between.” WaPo

    If that tweet from some weeks ago from the car owner ranting about about a software update for his car battery is any indication, consumers are stuck in between something like a medieval dungeon vice.

  34. Jason Boxman

    So Homebuyers Swarm to High-Risk, High-Reward Fixer-Uppers in Red-Hot Market mostly seems to look at couples buying houses that are in the top 5%. I guess cry me a river about having to get a fixer upper instead. Even with today’s mortgage rates, a 750k mortgage is some seriously coin monthly.

    The pandemic put a dent in their finances — Willow wasn’t able to open her new acupuncture practice because of Covid lockdowns — so they took their home search out of San Francisco and over to San Rafael, north of the city. They bought a $1.25 million Victorian originally built in 1878, and set aside $800,000 for a two-phase renovation.

    The dream of fixing up an older home can sometimes turn into a nightmare, like for Andrew Nguyen. The 31-year-old and his fiancé began the hunt for a four-bedroom home in their hometown of San Jose with high hopes and a budget of $1.1 million to $1.5 million.

    Liz Lovery, a 32-year-old content creator in Chula Vista, California, has used her TikTok account — which has almost 900,000 followers — to document fixing up a home that she and her husband purchased for $705,000 last year. They moved in during the renovations, which they mostly did themselves.

    I guess it would have been a boring story if it looked at working class people that simply can’t buy at all.

    Just the base cost to borrow 750k at 3.99% is 3,576 monthly. The all-in cost is doubtless higher.

    1. Lawndra

      We lived in San Rafael, the public schools are excellent and it’s a nice town with good weather. We used to live in Chula Vista, “pork Chop View,” a furnace in the summer with hideous traffic.

  35. CaliDan

    >Biodiversity Act Amendments Shift Focus From Conservation To Commercial Exploitation

    Forgive the lengthy quote, but recently rereading Arundhati Roy’s 2009 essay, “Democarcy’s Failing Light,” the following seemed apropos and rhetorically exceptional enough to share (though, truth be told, the content about India can apply equally to most locations; feel free to insert your local specificities):

    “Today, words like ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’ have become interchangeable with economic ‘Reforms,’ Deregulation, and Privatization. Freedom has come to mean choice. It has less to do with the human spirit than with different brands of deodorant. Market no longer means a place where you buy provisions. The ‘Market’ is a de-territorialized space where faceless corporations do business, including buying and selling ‘futures.’ Justice has come to mean human rights (and of those, as they say, ‘a few will do’). This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traaditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the tsars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize thier detractors, deprive them of a language to voice thier critique and dismiss them as being ‘antiprogress,’ ‘antidevelopment,’ ‘antireform,’ and of course ‘antinational’––negativists of the worst sort. Talk about saving a river or protecting a forest and they say, ‘Don’t you believe in progress?’ To people whose land is becoming submerged by dam resevoirs, and whose homes are being bulldozed, they say, ‘Do you have an alternate development model?’ To those who believe that government is duty bound to provide people with basic education, health care, and social security, they say, ‘Your’re against the market.’ And who except a cretin could be against markets?

    “To reclaim these stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span and too expensive in an era when Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing.

    “Two decades of this kind of ‘Progress’ in India has created a vast middle class punch-drunk on sudden wealth and the sudden respect that comes with it––and a much, much vaster, desperate, underclass. Tens of millions of people have been dispossessed and displace from their land by floods, droughts, and desertification caused by indiscriminate environmental engineering and massive infrastructure projects, dams, mines, and Special Economic zones. All developed in the name of the poor, but really meant to service the rising demands of the new aristocracy.”

  36. antidlc

    RE: She Used to Sing Opera

    Thank you for posting this.

    Forwarding to a friend who has gone through this whole process. Good to know she is not alone.

    1. Dave in Austin

      Theater kids.

      NC is always serving up morsels I’d never have nibbled on without this place. The Opera Singer piece is one of them.

      A few years ago I had a good idea and needed 29 actors and actresses to read 29 letters… written by the next-of-kin of the Vietnam Killed in Action to LBJ, usually in response to the condolence letter send from the White House. I found a studio and a video crew for free. And the actors here in Austin at the time were everywhere and very good (this was before “best place in America to live” articles ruined the place by making it too expensive).

      The actors were extraordinary and I turned out to be a reasonably good producer/director. The letters and the actors made it happen; I was just along for the ride. I hope all those actors and actresses are now happy and productive and remember the time when “acting was life” fondly.

      Back in my younger days I knew a fair number of people who took theater and acting seriously. The most successful were Spaulding Gray and J.T. Walsh. They both wanted to do good and to express themselves and theater was their first drug of choice. But it couldn’t save them. They both died before their time… while I get to live on to watch another meaningless Super Bowl.

      As the Bible says: “The good die young so that they may not be corrupted. The bad live on so that they may repent”.

  37. Jeff W

    Reading ‘The Dawn of Everything’ from India: What if the past was a more enlightened place?

    What if it turned out that the collective human past in the long view was less violent, less authoritarian, more creative, more varied, more playful, more abundant, more egalitarian, and more humane than previously assumed?

    What if it were? So what?

    As the writer of this review of The Dawn of Everything says

    …very few people today believe we need historical justifications or examples for what we project into the human future. Imagine Kennedy, at Rice University in 1961, feeling the need to include a paragraph about space-faring pastoralists from the Neolithic Eurasian Steppe as a proof of concept before declaring that we would go to the moon! Even on more abstract topics like social organization or political arrangements, no serious 21st century philosopher worth reading makes claims by deferring to human nature; most of the reading public, too, understands that “human nature” is one of those vague rhetorical hammers that lazy or bad-intentioned commentators use to yada-yada over topics they are unwilling to explore in depth. We do not need to look into the deep past and see that humans are capable of X, Y and Z in order to argue that humans today are capable of X, Y and Z, yet that is precisely the rhetorical strategy that the authors are employing here. It should have been clear to them that this was wrong-headed when, to find a “recent” example of a theorist who felt the need to ground his prognostications about political and social structures for the present and future by referring to humanity’s deep past, they had to go all the way back to Rousseau.

    Or, as the writer Anthony Appiah, invoking Jean-Jacques Rousseau a bit differently in his NYRB review of The Dawn of Everything (mentioned in the Water Cooler 11/302021), says:

    By the time he published The Social Contract (1762), [Rousseau] had given up the notion that political argument needed to be buttressed by some primordial utopia. “Far from thinking that neither virtue nor happiness is available to us,” he argued, “let’s work to draw from evil the very remedy that would cure it”—let’s reorganize society, that is, through a better social compact. Never mind the dawn, he was urging: we will not find our future in our past.

  38. Sub-Boreal

    Like many foreign observers, Taibbi has missed the most important feature of how the municipal and higher authorities have responded to the occupation of downtown Ottawa:

    I’m sure that indigenous land defenders in British Columbia wouldn’t have minded similarly gentle treatment, instead of:

  39. Mikel

    “Pfizer and FDA pull back from plan to expedite review of Covid-19 vaccine in young children” Stat

    Fully expected. The critical thinking lightbulb is more likely to come on regarding children.

  40. LawnDart

    Ukraine and policy continuity from Obama, through Clinton to Biden via Hillary’s former employee…

    From Yahoo Sports (covering international gamesmanship, apparently), interview with Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan:

    MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hmm. Russian intelligence is already publicly claiming things are happening in the east of Ukraine and that Donbas region. Is that the flashpoint where you think things would start?

    SULLIVAN: It is one distinct possibility, and to your point, the Russian media has been laying the groundwork for this publicly by trying to condition their public that some kind of attack by the Ukrainians is imminent… … right now is there’s so much emphasis on China and Russia’s leverage and not nearly enough on our leverage, our capacity, our power, our ability to have a stronger, more determined, more purposeful west, a more united NATO and more solidified transatlantic alliance than at any point in modern memory.

    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan might have lied under oath to investigators who were probing whether his former boss Hillary Clinton used federal agencies to smear Donald Trump as colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Sullivan – who served as Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser during her failed presidential bid – was identified by his campaign position in a grand jury indictment…

    Jake Sullivan intentionally sabotaged relations with Russia by pushing a false flag story that his own team fabricated. Now he is National Security Advisor, tasked with advising the president on dealing with Russia. How is that even possible? Where is the media?

    I gotta wonder if Mr. Sullivan was made Skull and Bones during his time at Yale? If you take into consideration that Obama, Clinton, Biden and Sullivan are not acting of their own accord, that others are calling the tune, this could be important. For those not familiar–

    America’s secret establishment : an introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones

    1. Michael Ismoe

      He also directed the Afghanistan “withdrawal.” Are you surprised he was one of Hillary’s most trusted aides?

  41. Lawndra

    We just got back from Walmart. Bidenflation is killing us and our neighbors. Choice A. Eat
    Choice B. Pay for car and insurance.
    Choice C, pay rent.

    At this point we get to choose 2 of the above, but cannot afford all three.

  42. Tom Stone

    I’ve been paying some attention to the print MSM this week and have learned that War with Russia is inevitable and it will be a good thing, that 1 Million Americans dead from Covid is no big deal, and that “Don’t worry,be happy” is 2022’s theme.

    “The Triumph of the swill” seems apt, with apologies to Leni Riefenstahl.

  43. rowlf

    Why didn’t Russia invade Ukraine while accused Russian stooge Donald Trump was in office? I’m having a hard time keeping track of the various narratives; they seem to conflict. Why is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying information contrary to what the US is saying? Does Ukraine even have an intelligence service? Does Ukraine know more than Washington DC, NYT and WaPo?

  44. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Reading ‘The Dawn of Everything’ from India: What if the past was a more enlightened place?”

    “Travel to Teotihuacan” in the wayback machine and . . .

    . . . The same dominant themes appear to be consistent crossculturally throughout time: ritual blood sacrifice, militarization, and creation myths, with the same human animal (acting on), the same stage (adjusted slightly for cultural/technological differences), resulting in the same tragi-comic farce, eternally the same. How could it be any other way?

    “Evidence of a grisly human sacrifice and a complex military infrastructure has emerged from an excavation of the ruins of a pyramid in the 2000-year-old city of Teotihuacan in Mexico.”

    Cf., “The authors argue that American patriotism is a civil religion organized around a sacred flag, whose followers engage in periodic blood sacrifice of their own children to unify the group. Using an anthropological theory, this groundbreaking book presents and explains the ritual sacrifices and regeneration that constitute American nationalism, the factors making particular elections or wars successful or unsuccessful rituals, and the role of the mass media in the process.”

    “The city’s very design contains the idea of it being “the birthplace of the gods” – where the universe was thought to have begun. Watermarks along the walls of Gómez Chávez’s passage have proved that the huge plaza above it was deliberately flooded to create a kind of primordial sea, with pyramids as metaphorical mountains emerging from the water as at the beginning of time. Thousands of people would have witnessed ceremonies re-enacting the creation myth.”

  45. VietnamVet

    Canadian long-haul rigs are not getting seized for one good reason. In the deindustrialized West, trucks and their drivers are what gets the goods from the ports to the warehouses to the markets. You can’t sell or buy nothing. Although Wall Street finance scams try. Already there are shortages and inflation due missing workers due to death, illness, taking care of family, and fear. If goods go zilch or are too expensive to buy — the economy crashes.

    The Obama/Clinton/Biden crew truly “learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” 2014 is being replayed as if the West was still the global hegemon. That is long gone. The USA is a failed state. The coronavirus pandemic killed almost a million Americans. A nuclear war with Russia will kill the rest.

  46. The Rev Kev

    Looks like every cloud has its silver lining. With all the war threats going on at the moment, the Ukraine’s oligarch’s are taking no chances and are fleeing that country en mass. If the Ukrainians were smart, they should be using those Stinger manpads that Lithuania gave them to shoot their private jets down as they eventually fly back home-

  47. fjallstrom

    “In India, desolate solar parks reveal the dark side of renewable energy” Scroll

    The dark side appears to be that there is as many jobs as expected. Probably more jobs than when the field in the article was an army exercise field.

    Given that the point of energy production is to replace human labour with machines, I don’t find it much of a “dark side”. Of course, and quite reasonably, the local population wants more good paying jobs, and implicitly a larger share of results of the energy produced. But the local population can be better served if these jobs comes in the form of services they need rather than in more machine maintenance than necessary. This is a political problem, not a technical problem, what the article illustrates is the dark side of Indian political economics, not solar.

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