Links 5/9/2022

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.

–Yves

P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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Why Do Humans Have a Taste For Alcohol? Discover

What It’s Like When Your Body Can’t Feel Pain Mel Magazine

Taxes Are a Wild Card for Public Companies Holding Crypto CoinDesk

A Minsky moment for venture capital? FT

Millions of Americans Are Turning to Therapy, and Investors See an Opportunity WSJ

Massachusetts should have a state-owned bank Boston Globe (Furzy Mouse).

Gaining momentum – Results of the 2021 BIS survey on central bank digital currencies Bank of International Settlements

Climate

‘Forever chemicals’ may have polluted 20m acres of US cropland, study says Guardian (Re Silc).

#COVID19

TSA Covid Infections Have Jumped 50% Since The Mask Mandate Was Lifted Forbes

“[T]his level of Covid risk is the way the world will be for many years”:

I would like to thank the last two administrations and the public health establishment (very much including Wachtel) for bringing us to this point. And:

This is a multiple-choice test; it’s homework. The PMC l-o-o-o-o-v-e them their homework. Of course, not everybody has multiple choices. The Wachters’ maid — supposing them to have a maid — surely would not have had a choice between staying on, flying home, and driving. She would have had to take the cheapest option, regardless.

* * *

Our Covid Blunder Here Comes China

COVID-19: the next phase and beyond The Lancet

Opinion: We’re not back to ‘normal.’ COVID fight must continue San Jose Mercury News. Ventilation.

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Low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by fomites – a clinical observational study in highly infectious COVID-19 patients (accepted manuscript) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Comclusion: “Transmission of infectious SARS-CoV-2 via fomites is possible upon extensive moistening, but unlikely to occur in real-life scenarios and from droplet-contaminated fomites.” In Germany.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infections and exposure in surfaces, points and wastewaters: A global one health perspective Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. From the Abstract: “Several common and public areas, hospitals, elevators, public transport, local markets, and surfaces such as public toilets, door handles, untreated and treated wastewaters, wastewater plants, and public washrooms are also considered major points for spreading of SARS-CoV-2. Highly contaminated surfaces or places often have materials or contain items made of materials on which the SARS-CoV-2 virus can persist (e.g., metal, wood, and plastic). For example, SARS-CoV-2 can exist up to 4 days on doorknobs made by those materials. For public places such as public transports, elevators, and local markets, crowding and enclosed spaces are major source for transmission. Several measures such as using copper alloy surfaces instead of metal surfaces, disinfectants, and suitable personal protective equipment have been suggested.” From Southeast Asia.

China?

Standing Committee doubles down on “dynamic zero-Covid” and calls for struggle against doubters Sinocism

China trade: export growth slowed to lowest level in almost 2 years in April, imports flat South China Morning Post

Myanmar

Shan State Exemplifies China’s Tangled Myanmar Ties The Diplomat

Ethnic Minorities Eye Autonomy in Post-Junta Myanmar The Irrawaddy. Cheeky:

Dictator’s son uses TikTok to lead in Philippine election and rewrite his family’s past Los Angeles Times

India

The India Fix: How did a democracy like India rack up the highest Covid death count in the world? Scroll.in

‘Bad boys’ are back: India doubles down on coal as heatwave worsens power crisis Reuters

Syraqistan

Newly released video shows 9/11 hijackers with alleged Saudi intelligence operative CBS (Re Silc). You don’t say.

UK/EU

Ministers reject claims of impending UK break-up after Northern Ireland polls FT

Fox News deals in Kremlin propaganda. So why not freeze Rupert Murdoch’s assets? Nick Cohen, Guardian

Because it is a media conglomerate, sanctions would be an attack on free speech. I say this plainly because so many writers and political actors pretend that they are not demanding censorship when that is precisely what they are doing. Nevertheless, in this case the threat to freedom is minimal. Murdoch would not be punished for revealing embarrassing truths about the west but for spreading demonstrable lies for a hostile foreign power.

A devil’s deal Africa is a Country

New Not-So-Cold War

Sitrep Operation Z: Yeah, we have some Big Deals The Saker

Ukrainian commanders lash out at Kyiv over Mariupol resistance FT. The Azov Battalion. Given that the Ukraine right threatented to whack Zelensky if he negotatiated with Russia, perhaps both Kyiv and Russia are solving a common problem? (Not that Kyiv could have rescued Mariupol anyhow). Commentary:

« La guerre, c’est une déception terrible » (Google translation) La Presse. Quebec. “Déception” means “disappointment.” More fallout from the Norman Brigade debacle. An interview with Wali, a Québécois sniper. Wali: “‘It’s a war of machines’, where the ‘extremely brave’ Ukrainian soldiers suffer very heavy losses from shelling, but ‘miss many opportunities’ to weaken the enemy because they lack knowledge technical military, he summarizes.”

* * *

Putin Victory Day speech claims Russian troops fighting on ‘own land’ FT

Putin’s Long Game in Ukraine: The Kremlin Perspective Council on Foreign Relations

I led talks on the Donbas and Crimea in the 1990s, here’s how the war should end Responsible Statecraft

Ukraine: From Bad To Worse? Andrew Basevich, The American Conservative

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How war is hitting Ukraine’s farmers and threatening world food supplies Euronews

About those kill-switched Ukrainian tractors Cory Doctorow

A Pot of U.N. Money. Risk-Taking Officials. A Sea of Questions UN

Biden Administration

Hollywood lawyer paid off over $2M of Hunter Biden’s delinquent taxes NY Post. Oh.

Supremes

Another Leak Indicates Supreme Court Set to Overturn Roe v. Wade New York Magazine

The Limits of Privilege The new abortion regime is going to affect everyone Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine

Democrats Have Themselves To Blame For The Fall Of Roe The American Conservative (Re Silc).

RussiaGate

Judge spares Clinton camp in Sussmann ruling Politico

Health Care

Insurers may be padding Medicaid physician networks, study finds Health Care Dive

Police State Watch

U.S. police trainers with far-right ties are teaching hundreds of cops Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

The National Security State: 75 Years of Unaccountable Failure Joe Costello, Life in the 21st Century

A Fight Over America’s Energy Future Erupts on the Canadian Border NYT. Massachusetts already dumps its trash in Maine. Now they want to run a powerline through our land? No thanks.

Class Warfare

The Prophet of the Revolt The Pull Request but How a billionaires boys’ club came to dominate the public square WaPo

First Principles Lapham’s Quarterly

Happy Mothers’ Day (1):

The helpers do exist: Corsi box makers, for example.

Happy Mothers’ Day (2):

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

175 comments

  1. none

    As long as overturning Roe means the end of stare decisis anyway, why not see it as an opportunity? The nere mention of overturning DC v. Heller will make gundamentalists crap their pants. Citizens United is more important and would go too, of course. And the big one, from the 19th century, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co., could even get rid of corporate personhood. We can dream, anyway.

    Reply
      1. Robert Hahl

        When I was in law school I thought that Marbury v. Madison was a weak point in our legal system, since almost everything controversial that the Supreme Court has ever done derives from the power that it awarded itself there. I used to worry Congress could just overrule that case and take the Supremes out of the game. Not such an alarming idea now.

        Reply
        1. Fraibert

          _Marbury_ is immune to Congressional action because it’s a Constitutional law case. I don’t think _Marbury_ itself ever said that explicitly, but the Court definitely views it that way. In _Cooper v. Aaron_, a Civil Rights Era school desegregation case, the Warren Court unanimously agreed to the following language concerning _Marbury_:

          “This decision declared the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this Court and the Country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system. It follows that the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment enunciated by this Court in the _Brown_ case is the supreme law of the land . . . .”

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Well, it’s not immune to responses like Jackson’s re the Cherokee removal. “Marshall made the ruling, let him enforce it”, or to Congress simply removing a category of laws from the court’s appellate jurisdiction, as it did with the reconstruction acts

            Reply
        2. Fraibert

          With the above said about _Marbury_ (at the time of writing this, I think that post is in moderation), I think it’s worth exploring some related issues on adjusting the scope of judicial power.

          Article III of the Constitution mandates the existence of a federal Supreme Court. It does not require any other federal court but permits Congress to establish lower federal courts. Under the Constitution, these Supreme Court and any inferior federal courts _can_ hear (are “competent” to hear) issues in various areas, including “all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority.”

          However, even though the Article III federal courts are “competent” to hear issues in varying areas consistent with the Constitution, that does not mean that these courts have _jurisdiction_ to hear the issues. The Constitution states that:

          “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

          I lay out the above because it shows that the Congress can actually limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (i.e., pass “jurisdiction stripping” laws, in legal terms). Since the Supreme Court’s appellate function is where most of its cases arise, this means that theoretically Congress can mostly get around _Marbury_ with regards to the Supreme Court.

          Jurisdiction stripping also applies to the lower federal courts. These courts do not have to exist in the first place, so Congress can of course adjust which issues that these courts can actually hear.

          There are arguments as to why the Constitution inherently limits jurisdiction stripping. But let’s put them aside and suppose that Congress tries to partially “undo” _Marbury” by, say, stripping the federal courts of the ability to hear a certain class of Constitutional law cases. (Let’s also assume this is done in a viable way–I doubt it’s easily doable for many classes of cases.)

          Did our hypothetical actually accomplish the goal of preventing judicial review of the specified type of case? Hardly.

          Our hypothetical above forgot that state courts are equally competent with federal courts to decide issues of federal law, including issues of Constitutional law. So, even if Congress passes the hypothetical jurisdiction stripping law, any state court that has jurisdiction (as decided by the state) can still hear the issue.

          Congress probably cannot dictate the jurisdiction of a state court. State courts fall under state sovereignty, and so-called anti-commandeering doctrine prohibits the federal legislature and executive from giving direct orders to the state or any of a state’s officials. (Federal courts are an exception in appropriate cases, as we all know from school.) I do not see why Congress should be allowed to adjust state court jurisdiction when it cannot, for example, compel a state’s police force to act in a particular fashion.

          Hence, in the jurisdiction striping hypothetical, state courts (all 50+ of them, including the territories) would now be the courts of final appeal on Constitutional issues for their respective jurisdictions. A “wrong” decision in a state supreme court would only have effect in that state, but there also would be no guarantee of consistency between the states. Nor can the federal government overrule the state supreme court in areas of Constitutional interpretation–the whole point of separation of powers is that the judiciary interprets and applies the law and states, as sovereign entities, did not concede to Congress the power to control the decisions of their courts.

          Or would there be no way of getting consistency? I’m not so sure if cases are framed proiperly. Remember, from above, the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction includes “those in which a State shall be a party”, which, in further context of Article III, actually means disputes between two states. If state A tries to enforce a law with extraterritorial reach (cf. the abortion law post here) on actions that occurred in state B, might state B sue state A to determine the rights between them? if so, back to the Supreme Court we go.

          Reply
    1. TBellT

      You think they’re afraid of the Court being consistent? They know who’s on their side, they’re emboldened.

      Reply
    2. Aninnymouse

      The scary thing with Roberts trying to functionally overturn Roe without completely obliterating it is, I think, he’s not crazy about Alito’s “ordered liberty” regime that puts every established substantive due process right on the menu for reevaluation. If I read him right, Alito and this majority would reject any liberty right that wasn’t clearly established at the time of the Constitution– arguably encompassing almost all privacy rights we take for granted (yes, it sounds bizarre, but this literally includes contraception and the marital bedroom). Maybe this presents too much of a wrecking ball for him and he sees chaos and slippery slopes everywhere.
      In Texas our governor is already talking about filing a case to reconsider the requirement that Texas pays for the education of undocumented children. This is the direction our jurisprudence is headed– not in the populist direction that we’d hope, but a place narrow and mean.

      Reply
        1. Fraibert

          The two concepts do not intersect. “Ordered liberty,” in the Substantive Due Process area, relates to the recognition of certain rights as being inherent to, and required by, the Constitution, even though not explicitly enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

          In comparison, Justice Joseph Story described the Tenth Amendment in his hugely influential 1833 _ Commentaries_ as follows:

          “This amendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the constitution. Being an instrument of limited and enumerated powers, it follows irresistibly, that what is not conferred, is withheld, and belongs to the state authorities, if invested by their constitutions of government respectively in them; and if not so invested, it is retained BY THE PEOPLE, as a part of their residuary sovereignty.”

          In other words, that Amendment is a confirmation of how the Constitution allocates legal authority in a federalist system.

          Reply
      1. Fraibert

        My view is that the conservative majority will leave the big cases alone that have at least some solid reasoning (_Lawrence_, _Obergefell_), but will chip away at the edges of substantive due process using the poorly reasoned cases (_Roe_, _Griswold_). Since the doctrine (objectionably to conservative minds–and I think it’s not an unfair position) can be used to “create” mostly any right, this approach largely keeps precedent largely intact but still clearly cabins the doctrine, with the “ordered liberty” concept (which has probably 100 years of pedigree now) as the limiter.

        I do think Roberts may have institutional problems with overturning _Roe_ but I don’t believe it’s a problem of approach.

        Remember that the concept of “ordered liberty” began as a means (by advocates we would probably think of as “liberal” today) of selectively incorporating the Bill of Rights onto the states through the 14th Amendment. Because a selective incorporation approach was adopted, the idea of “ordered liberty” _from its very conception_ was intended to be a limiting principle.

        Reply
  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to Ukraine, readers may be interested in this article published in yesterday’s Observer, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/08/surrendering-land-is-not-same-as-defeat-if-a-stronger-ukraine-emerges-from-ruins. The author is a veteran of the Guardian and Observer and from their realist school of international affairs, perhaps reflecting his age and experience, and a historian.

    One wonders what, in particular, David and Vlade make of the contention?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      It takes a good historian to take the big picture view. The post WWII years, with the exception of the immediate post 1989 collapse were exceptional in European history in that maps stayed pretty much the same over a few decades. There is nothing unusual in European history in a very large country either disappearing or taking a radical new form, and size is not always an indication of its wealth or geopolitical importance.

      The one big problem with his assessment though is that even if Russia is content to take a relatively small bite out of Ukraine, this bite will involve much of the best farmland and natural resources, and will severely constrain Ukraines access to the sea, which is crucial for a nation reliant on food and heavy engineering for its wealth. A smaller Ukraine will undoubtedly be poorer and much less important. It will be little more than another Moldova, a country few can point to in a map, and few would be bothered by if it vanished altogether. Add to that the massive loss of younger people in emigration, and the future is very bleak for Kiev.

      Reply
    2. David

      I think we’re seeing the beginning of an attempt by western political/media elites to create a narrative where the inevitable Russian military victory can somehow be politically finessed as having been “all for the best” or “the least bad outcome in the circumstances.” It’s striking that the heroes of this article are the eternal pro-western liberal elites in the West of the country, and I think therefore that we’re seeing the beginning of their separation, in the western mind, from the troglodyte Slavs in the East. The New Ukraine will be something like Austria or the Czech Republic: small, landlocked, tied to the West and to western values, while the awkward bits are jettisoned.

      You can see the tension in the mind of the author between accepting this reality and adhering to the dominant narrative. The problem is less understanding what’s going on, which is too difficult, than finding an acceptable conceptual framework (ideally one that already exists) that can tell us what to think and what to do. As a historian, Acheson knows that the whole “Putin is Hitler” thing is rubbish (as for that matter he should know that what he says about Munich is rubbish), but he needs to find an acceptable way out and de-escalate the narrative, such that the West’s inevitable defeat can somehow be presented as victory, or at least a draw. I’m not quite sure he understands what he’s saying, but I can see there ghost of an idea here. In 1938/9, it will be argued, the French and British threats to go to war with Germany if Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia and then Poland were ignored because reasons. This time, though, western firmness in defence of (some of the ) Ukrainians made Putin think twice. It will be garbage, of course, but a lot of politics is just a tacit agreement on which bit of garbage to collectively accept.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        It’s striking that the heroes of this article are the eternal pro-western liberal elites in the West of the country, and I think therefore that we’re seeing the beginning of their separation, in the western mind, from the troglodyte Slavs in the East. The New Ukraine will be something like Austria or the Czech Republic: small, landlocked, tied to the West and to western values, while the awkward bits are jettisoned.

        Speaking of the awkward bits being jettisoned, one would think that the West would at least have sent some roses backchannel to Moscow for destroying the awkward bits that hail from Galicia in the Eastern battlefields. Lord forbid they survive to embarrass the Western liberal elites, be they Ukrainian or European. Truly though, to the West the only good Slav is a prostrated Slav.

        Reply
      2. britzklieg

        If there’s not, at the same time, a concerted effort to reverse the cultural disparagement nurtured in the west by what you rightly call “garbage” and which has reached beyond “cancel culture” psychosis into visceral hatred of everything Russia, then it’s all garbage. Racist garbage. IMHO.

        Reply
      3. Kendra

        Food prices are through the roof because of Biden’s sanctions.

        The fires at food processing plants can be used as an excuse for this, just like Putin’s invasion over the last 8 weeks is responsible for the last 14 months of inflation.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          Food prices are through the roof because of greedy corporations.
          Gas prices are through the roof because of sanctions, food prices will skyrocket further when those filter through the supply chain…

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Thank you Colonel. I am going to take a guess and say that like PlutoniumKun says above, that the Ukraine will just become another Moldova. They have already for years now lost access to all the rich coal in the Donbass region but now they are about to lose their best wheat-growing areas in the south. They will also lose their Black Sea coastline as those areas will become like the Donbass republics. The Russians have spent too much blood and treasure to just go back to where things were back in January. And of course Poland and Hungary have their eyes on parts that they feel should belong to them.

      The worse thing will be the demographics. How many Ukrainians that fled the country will want to return to a poor, rump state Ukraine? When the war is over, how many of the men will decide to join their families? What will all this do to the birthrate in that country for years to come. With the damage and destroyed infrastructure and the huge debts, how will they rebuild? That country was already rated as one of the most poorest in Europe and this war will push them down to another level. Anybody think that the EU will welcome them? Will they be at the tender mercy of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? Bad times ahead and the EU won’t help as by then they will have their own problems to deal with.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        Ah, but Josep Borrell has just the solution for the money problem of whatever rump Banderastan remains: EU should seize Russian reserves to rebuild Ukraine, top diplomat says. This from today, in regards to the seized $300 billion of Russian reserves.

        “I would be very much in favour because it is full of logic,” said Borrell in an interview with the Financial Times. “We have the money in our pockets, and someone has to explain to me why it is good for the Afghan money and not good for the Russian money.” 

        The Russian money is in their pockets, you see, and the US has set a precedent by pocketing Afghan money, so let’s take Russia’s money. I wonder how Borrell sees this happening without the EU suffering not only blowback from Russia but also from non-aligned countries who might decide that dealing with the EU poses rather arbitrary risks to their financial interests.

        Reply
        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          Ignacio is better placed than me to comment, but I don’t associate Borrell with logic other than he has learnt from Jose Maria Aznar and Jose Manuel Barroso and sees doing Uncle Sam’s bidding as being good for his pocket.

          Reply
          1. OIFVet

            I keep wondering whether he is perversely trying to prove Lavrov correct that the Europeans are not reliable partners. That statement caused Borrell and the EU no small humiliation in February 2021.

            Reply
          2. Ignacio

            Borrell has gone down to the sewer intellectually. It goes with the position I guess. Long ago he was a relatively sound economy secretary.
            Parallels von der Leyen IMO.

            Reply
        2. midget

          This makes perfect sense. Vast reserves of logic have been discovered in the Russian Central Bank’s accounts in Europe. Since Europe’s economic recovery after the Covid+UkroWar combo is bound to require vast amounts of all sorts of natural resources, it would be remiss of Europe to not fully exploit the deposits of logic with which it has been blessed.

          I look forward to logic becoming a commodity like any other, with the accompanying investment opportunities.
          I’d like to ask the readers of the blog for help: will the effect of demand destruction outweigh that of supply constraints in the European logic market? And what are the global commodity flows for logic likely to look like? Asking for an investor friend.

          Reply
      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Ukraine has been a rump state since at minimum 2014. A nation doesn’t easily get past a coup against their president by the US. The country has been controlled by those looting it for at least this long, probably decades. But it changed direction and sought to please those funding them. When it began firing canons at its own people that preferred Russia to the alternatives, it lost all humanity. Not that it had so much to begin with. Imagine a nation run by Nazi’s emulating a historical fringe hero that wanted to kill the neighbors.
        The Russians know the west can not negotiate or be trusted in anything they say. Why would they allow such a pariah to exist on their border if their sole focus is to eliminate Russia?
        rubber, meet road. The west will abandon it because that is what it does.

        Reply
      3. Darthbobber

        The Eu parliament did its meaningless flourish of favoring Ukrainian membership, but since the EU parliament has f-all to say about that, this is meaningless. Its almost inconceivable that the national governments would agree to Ukrainian membership and the freedom of movement throughout the EU that goes with it. (And if they were insane enough to do so, the destabilizing effect on EUrope would be massive.)

        Reply
        1. Polar Socialist

          the freedom of movement throughout the EU that goes with it

          With the current influx of Ukranians, I don’t think there will be any left soon. There’s also a good chance that almost half of Ukrainians will find themselves to be more or less Russians after the dust settles, and EU is unlikely to grant any freedoms to them.

          In that scenario, about one out of four Ukrainians is already in EU. And will probably be not willing to return to a rump state on offer.

          Reply
      4. Michael Fiorillo

        “… Ukraine will just become another Moldova.”

        Gives a whole ‘notha twist to “Glory to the Heroes!,” doesn’t it?

        Reply
    4. GramSci

      I’m afraid that for me Ascherson goes off the tracks with this contention:

      “Here danger lurks. Ukrainian politics since independence in 1991 have been unforgiving, to put it mildly. Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s brave and selfless war leadership has been a break with the corrupt oligarchs and demagogues who have mostly hogged the Kyiv stage.”

      Volodymyr Zelenskiy was a comedian famous for playing the piano with his penis and then playing the President of Ukraine on TV. I suppose it’s easy for Brits to find a Prince Hal moment in this story, but for me, Zalenskiy leading the Ukraine is a Monty Python skit.

      Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, was best supporting actor in Bedtime for Bonzo before becoming Colonel on TV for General Electric. His Prince Hal moment was leading the U.S. to victory in Grenada. In his second term, in his dotage, the country was run by Nancy’s astronomer.

      I don’t know Mr. Ascherson, but in my experience, historians who genuflect before such deities are eager for gratuities.

      Reply
      1. Robert Gray

        > I don’t know Mr. Ascherson, but in my experience, historians who genuflect before such deities
        > are eager for gratuities.

        Such a pity. About five years ago I saw a series that Neal Ascherson made for Granada Television in 1983 [ ! ] about the Spanish Civil War. I remember it as being very well done.

        Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “About those kill-switched Ukrainian tractors”

    So I did a quick check and found that John Deere controls 53% of the US market for large tractors and 60% of the US market for farm combines. So imagine one day that there is either some person, some organization or some country that has a grudge against the United States. Then right at the beginning of harvesting season, farmers all over America suddenly find that their tractors have been bricked reducing them to lumps of metal. John Deere quickly discovers that they cannot remotely bring them online again which means that John Deere techs will have to visit each and every John Deere tractor and combine on the American continent to get them going again. I wonder how long that would take?

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      And this is in part why farmers pushed for “right to repair”, as they can’t wait for some licensed mechanic to show up and switch a blown circuit board when there is a harvest waiting.

      Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      What I’ve been wondering in this story is that how the miserable Russian logistics can manage to deliver 27 bloody tractors over 700 kilometers? That takes some actual planning and resources and I’ve been told Russians suck at both…

      Reply
      1. jrkrideau

        What I’ve been wondering in this story is that how the miserable Russian logistics can manage to deliver 27 bloody tractors over 700 kilometers?

        Railway the same as they all those moved tanks from Siberia, I assume. It’s probably not that Russian logistics are lousy, they just don’t match NATO ideas.

        I wonder how quickly the people in Grozny will need to unlock those machines?

        Reply
    3. Petra

      There was chatter years ago, 2017, how the Ukrainians hacked the tractors, which allowed them to get around the restrictions and even American farmers started using Ukrainian firmware. The issue is enforcement – in the US is east to sue or tie someone up in expensive legal proceedings, whereas elsewhere, not so easy.

      Reply
      1. Jacob Hatch

        I was going to post about incentivizing Russian hackers, who are supposed to be among the best if the CIA/NED/NSA/Rachel Maddow branches of national security state are believed. However, it seems even Ukrainians could pull it off. I can see a market developing for such software in right to repair states.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          thanks to the communist era education system, and the post-communist economic bust, much of eastern Europe has some seriously skilled techies.

          Reply
        2. Procopiux

          The Ukrainians are accomplished hackers. The traces the security company “found” in the DNC computer were from Ukraine, not Russia.

          Reply
          1. Jacob Hatch

            “The traces the security company “found” in the DNC computer were from Ukraine”

            If the claim was true then not terribly good after all, otherwise those traces would be Russian or perhaps to Trump Tower. Competent hackers get other’s entangled for their acts. However, Ray McGovern showed that the actual hack had to be inside download to a USB drive. The competence of that security company now in question, therefore I guess the competence of Ukraine’s hackers could still be quite good.

            Reply
    4. JAC

      I hate to break it to anyone that uses an Apple product with two factor authentication enabled, but they all have a remote kill switch as well.

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        These days, what don’t. Both AMD and Intel CPUs come with their own “OS” that is operational even when the likes of Windows is shut down. Never mind that UEFI is a OS all its own as well.

        Reply
    5. Kendra

      Stuck in hotel in Nebraska for a week. Unbelievable number of pills and pharma advertisments on junk TV, also John Deere ads.
      Guess the boycott is having an effect?

      Reply
    6. lyman alpha blob

      I don’t think anyone need worry about foreign actors [family blog]ing everything up. I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with John Deere’s payment system software which absolutely doesn’t work, and they seem to have given up on trying to force us to use it in order to receive payment.

      If that is any guide, John Deere is fully capable of screwing up its software all by itself.

      Reply
  4. digi_owl

    All plant eating mammals partake in alcohol as best i can tell. Even birds have been seen taking a chance with them berries.

    Some years back there was a story of a Swedish moose that got stuck in a apple tree while helping themselves to the last fruits of the fall.

    Once freed by the local fire brigade, it fell asleep on the spot. Perhaps thank to a mixture of alcohol and exhaustion.

    Reply
    1. CanCyn

      I had a childhood friend with a plum tree in their yard. If they didn’t get to the harvest on time, squirrels would get drunk eating the fermented fruit. They seemed to enjoy the eating, there was no nibbling and running away in revulsion. It was hilarious to watch such usually nimble creatures stumbling and bumbling around. AFAIK none of them ever came to harm, I guess they just slept it off.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Remember the birds getting drunk on fermented juniper berries where I grew up. Most seemed to just fly funny but a few did meet their demise flying into windows. Made for a chaotic week or so each year.

        Reply
    2. Alyosha

      I have a sand cherry tree that is the bird bar outside my kitchen window for a few days every year. They get so drunk they simply fall out of the tree and stagger around. Fly into the house (not enough distance to hurt them). And other drunken adventures. I look forward to this annual celebration and monitor the fruits to know when the good times will roll.

      Reply
  5. super extra

    > Hollywood lawyer paid off over $2M of Hunter Biden’s delinquent taxes NY Post.

    whew it is very hard to get me riled this early in the morning but this managed to do the job! I despise the GOP but I hope they make hay with this because it is f***ing unacceptable. this is beyond ‘have you no shame’ territory. what do you even call this stage of narcissistic hyper capture where this can be reported on and a significant amount of the polity can still say something like ‘But Trump is worse!’ or ‘I guess you want the republicans to win!’ in response

    ETA: sorry just had to paste this from the link:

    Kevin Morris, an entertainment attorney and novelist who earned a fortune representing the co-creators of “South Park” and won a Tony award as the co-producer of “The Book of Mormon,” footed Hunter Biden’s overdue taxes totaling over $2 million — more than twice that which was previously reported, a source familiar with conversations between the two told the Post.

    Morris, whom Hunter Biden’s friends call his latest “sugar brother,” has also been funding the 52-year-old’s lifestyle in Los Angeles — including his rent and living expenses, the source said.

    The attorney has also been advising the president’s son on how to structure his art sales, according to the source.

    what a country

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      super extra!

      Now, you’ve gone and spoiled The Book of Mormon for me. I am a fan of Book of Mormon for its tight script, the snappy songs, the cheekiness, and the tight choreography. It runs rings around oh-so-self-serious Hamilton (“I want to be in the room with the right kind of people…) and Fun Home (which misses a few major plot points that might have turned it into a real musical with some depth of feeling instead of the First Musical on Broadway by Women or whatever it claims).

      However. There is hope. Can we send Hunter B and Morris to the scene in Hell in Book of Mormon? They’ve done more than steal a doughnut.

      Reply
      1. super extra

        I was thinking the Trump faction should try to Benghazify them (prior to the midterms) – very public hearings, bring Hunter and Morris and whoever else into the House for testimony. It would further drive the wedge between them and the barely-holding-on GOP cynical-moderate aristocracy and give their own base a lot of red meat prior to the election. It would also be another insane attention grab, which a lot of people are probably looking for right now. Like the useless dems could try to allow it so they could continue to raise money off their whole maga insurrection thing, and it would give them the limited hangout to argue why the Benghazification is way worse than the sugar bro paying off back taxes for the president’s son. Meanwhile the US could dial back the provocations in Ukraine and pivot away from the debacle while everyone is fired up over the domestic stuff. Drag it out through August, September if possible. win-win for enough people and allows for a move past nuclear armageddon?

        Reply
    2. BrianH

      The article doesn’t include any details, but generally the IRS would consider that $2M payoff by a third party as income to Hunter. Income that he needs to declare and pay taxes on. But I imagine his Hollywood lawyer has already found a work-around.

      Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So, how does this work?

      There were plenty of reports back when the housing bubble burst, people had to sell their houses for less than they’d borrowed, and the difference was taxed as income. Also too, when student loans for “education” scams like Corinthian College were “forgiven.” Is this income for hunter on which taxes are due?

      And as far as funding hunter’s LA “lifestyle,” it’s been reported that the “Secret Service [is] paying over $30K per month for Malibu mansion to protect Hunter Biden.”

      https://abcnews.go.com/US/secret-service-paying-30k-month-malibu-mansion-protect/story?id=83821498

      It seems like only yesterday that dems bitched endlessly about all the time Trump spent at Mar-A-Lago and the Secret Service had to be housed there. If memory serves, Trump gave them rooms at a discounted rate.

      Reply
        1. BrianH

          So was this information leaked under the direction of the GOP trying to further damage the Dem brand, or leaked by a Dem faction to damage Biden? Certainly someone wanted it out and couldn’t wait for the feds to complete their investigation.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Well, golly. Pretty much anything one reads or sees somebody wanted out there. And would knowing who have an effect on how one evaluates the information itself? Does it magically become truer or falser, more or less meaningful, because of the perceived motivations of the providers?

            Reply
            1. BrianH

              We’ll, golly, the sources and their motivations most likely do matter. At least, it matters to the sources. And it could possibly have bearing on the truth of the matter, or at least help to measure if this is all the facts, or merely what they want us to know. Or, sure, there could be magic involved.

              Reply
              1. Darthbobber

                Not really, to me. With all such things, I file them in the “interesting if true” slot, pending confirmation. Then it either disappears or is confirmed. In either case, the putative fact remains the same regardless of the original source.

                There are enough putative facts at any given time that applying speculation as to the possible motives of the unknown sources on every given one promises to be a useless endeavour.

                But then, nobody attempts to apply the “methodology” across the board, only to disfavored putative facts.

                Reply
    4. Lexx

      I can see what Hunter is getting from the association. What is Kevin Morris getting for an outlay of that kinda cash… and who paid for Hunter’s hair plugs? Is that usually a “sugar bro” perk? Can I have a bro? I’ll be trading in an old 61 year old model, for what that’s worth.

      Reply
        1. Lexx

          ;-)

          I typed into the search window: ‘Do coke and hair plugs mix?’ (I was thinking about the immunosuppressant drugs involved with transplants.)

          https://www.thehopehouse.com/cocaine-addiction/related/cocaine-and-hair-loss/
          https://www.hairguard.com/hair-plugs-definitive-guide/

          ‘Are hair plugs and transplants the same thing?

          While you may think these are two different procedures, hair plugs are a form of hair transplant. Hair transplants are a grouping of procedures that use implants to cover balding areas. A hair plug is just a particular form of implant, one that is a round grouping of hairs.’

          Reply
          1. Dave in Austin

            Not to conflate two possibly serious subjects, but do hair plugs have kill switches that can be used if you don’t pay your bill?

            Reply
    5. Oh

      I doubt that any of these characters would want to pay Hunter’s taxes if it weren’t for him being Bidet’s son. And he’s not doing so for altruistc purposes. If one follows the money, the labyrinth will eventually lead to Joe and Jill who will be making this lawyer scum very rich through some kind of payment from the public coffers.

      Reply
    6. Maritimer

      What a great credit to the esteemed legal profession, that a successful lawyer would take the time and resources not only working pro bono but to put up his own money to assist a fellow citizen having some hard times. Citizens can always rely on the legal profession to step forward pro bono to assist them in times of trouble.

      This is what makes America such a great country, the greatest in the World actually with the World’s greatest legal profession and a much envied system of Justice.

      Reply
  6. Samuel Conner

    Thankfully there isn’t a kill switch on open pollinated seeds, at least not yet. I imagine that if Big Ag could figure out a way to propagate one, perhaps using insects to transmit plant viruses, they would want to do that.

    Reply
  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Bacevich piece (From Bad to Worse) and the Quigley piece (I led talks on Crimea and Donbass) are both coming out of the Quincy Institute, which is Bacevich’s shop.

    It is good to see more foreign-policy realism. Bacevich’s piece is worth reading for its almost-elegiac tone, as he brings up one delusion and failure of the elites after another.

    Meanwhile, we have the apocalyptic Biden, Stoltenberg, and other dimwits to contend with.

    As Quigley points out, and as Jacques Baud points out in the interviews posted here, Crimea pretty much has never been part of Ukraine and its people have little interest in sticking around in Ukraine, Stoltenberg’s braying and Zelensky’s performances before the cameras notwithstanding.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From Bacevich:

      Meanwhile, Krugman declares himself to be a huge Biden fanboy. Whereas previous U.S. presidents had “given stirring speeches about freedom,” he writes, Joe Biden has “arguably done more to defend freedom, in substantive ways that go beyond mere words, than any president since Harry Truman.”

      Krugman would have to say that wouldn’t he, since “stirring speeches” and even “mere words” seem to be nowhere near uncle joe’s wheelhouse.

      Reply
      1. bongbong

        It appears Krugman is defining “substantive ways” as “amount of money thrown at the MIC for offensive weapons”.

        Since that is the case, LBJ is rolling over in his grave, not to mention Bush Jr, Reagan, and oh hell, pretty much every president since Washington.

        But the statement “Biden has done more than any prez since Trump!” wouldn’t sound so significant.

        Reply
    2. Soredemos

      I’m sure how sane the Quigley piece is when it includes bits like this:

      “As for the Donbas, it would not be difficult for Ukraine to offer more autonomy than it has to date. The Russian military assault seems to have pushed many Russian speakers in the Donbas to embrace Ukraine. They may be less demanding on autonomy than before. A renewed Ukrainian commitment on autonomy could be framed by the Russian government as a victory.”

      Reply
  8. jackiebass63

    People believe they own their property. The reality is people are only care takers of the property. To think one can prevent a power line from going through your property is wishful thinking. The reality is if the power company wants to cross your land the will eventually be successful. You may delay them for a while but eventually you will lose. Over time the power to take your property has been lost by land owners.

    Reply
    1. Solarjay

      History says differently.
      When something has to cross a few properties, then your probably right. If it has to cross lots of properties then it can and often is stopped.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Back in the early 80s, and to my current shame, I represented Shell in condemning right-of-way for their CO2 pipeline from the Four Corners to the Hobbs Unit in the Permian Basin. Here’s a tip if you’re trying to stop a pipeline: don’t line up landowners up and down the right-of-way. Instead, organize landowners in a line perpendicular to the proposed right-of-way. Shell’s Plan B (and after 40 years, attorney-client privilege on this kind of matter has surely expired) if we had lost that challenge was to jog out a mile from the current path, bypass the opposing landowner, and move on with the project. At the time, the jog was estimated to cost $1 million.

        Now if opposing counsel had organized landowners in a perpendicular line intersecting the pipeline’s proposed path at their client’s property, the pipeline company could be forced to reroute 5-10 miles around these “solidarity” landowners, and it would have been a lot more expensive. They could have paired that with a demand that the pipeline company re-do its Environmental Impact Statement to cause further delays.

        Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      Absolute private property is an unrealistic, childish myth, I agree. Unfortunately, it’s the myth whose hateful message boiled out of Western Europe and structured human social life as we experience it today.

      Reply
    3. Maritimer

      With 5G and more coming, this is even more complicated. Presently, the power company is seeking an easement on my property. They have been less than candid about what they want it for. I finally got the proposed contract and it looks to me as if it would allow a 5G tower in the future. Watch out, folks!

      Reply
  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Massachusetts should have a state-owned bank

    Glad to see the idea getting some press in a mainstream source, but does everything have to be framed in terms of identity politics these days? Can’t we just have one because it would help everyone and give people better options than the for-profit banking industry? When they frame issues in terms that can be looked at as divisive rather than unifying, it makes you wonder if the editorial board really supports the idea or just wants to stir up more animus.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      Just wait until the Congressional Black Caucus, which gets some of its funding from Goldman Sachs and UBS, is ordered to attack such a good idea.

      In 2009, when working as bankster lobbyist, the trade body I worked for lobbied the Labour government led by bankster friendly Gordon Brown to limit the interest paid by the National Savings and Investments institution as private banks could not compete with the government body.

      Reply
    2. Carla

      “When they frame issues in terms that can be looked at as divisive rather than unifying, it makes you wonder if the editorial board really supports the idea or just wants to stir up more animus.”

      Which sells more papers?

      Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      How does that create some private class endowment for one or the other party to threaten? It doesn’t, so it won’t be done.

      Reply
    4. chuck roast

      You must understand the truely “woke” nature of The Boston Globe. Looking at it on a daily basis one would think “are we in South Africa?” Imagine their disappointment that the Boston Bruins have 25 white guys pushing the puck around.

      Reply
  10. LawnDart

    May as well add this to your mountain of evidence that the killer-corona is nothing like a cold or the flu:

    SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank

    …more damage to the cerebrum than Alzheimer’s. Even in asymptomatic cases.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04569-5

    It’ll be interesting to see how millions of newly brain-damaged individuals will manage in USA’s rugged-individualistic, personally-responsible, you’re on your own, minimal safety-net society. I mean, only so many can be promoted into the PMC…

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      As long as they remember how to act white, they will be fine. What else are they doing now?

      Reply
    2. Paul Jurczak

      it remains unknown whether the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection can be detected in milder cases, and whether this can reveal possible mechanisms contributing to brain pathology

      I think you are hyping it up a bit.

      Reply
    1. djrichard

      Interesting. Speaks to risk mitigation with respect to skin and eyes. Doesn’t speak to risk to lungs. Ozone is created by conventional (not-Far) UVC. Would like to see how this risk is lowered with Far UVC (and how much it’s lowered).

      Reply
  11. Antoine LeDada

    Re: Covid-19 the next phase in The Lancet
    What a load. Chinese-bashing: their way is bad, their vaccines are worse, move along, with so much hubris (1M deaths vs 3000? How many long covid?). Then paxlovid-peddling, when it seems it’s not so effective in subsequent studies and seem to have 15-20% « resurgence ». Not a mention of that. And more vaccine-peddling, with nothing, zero about NPIs. Finally some hand-waiving about the need for more money in health care.
    Seems like a for-profit-healthcare ad.

    Reply
  12. Nikkikat

    Seems like a for profit healthcare ad. Chinese bashing. This was probably written by the FDA in association with the State Dept.
    Lol
    Seems they all work together these days, the propaganda and gaslighting that is!

    Reply
  13. Tom Doak

    I love how Dr. Wachter is now trying to normalize “flying home with a tight N95” when you are positive for COVID as an option, by asking Twitter which other psychopaths would also do that.

    After people vote for that option, he’ll take a follow up poll about whether it would be okay for them to take the mask off for (a) a sip of water, (b) something to eat, or (c) because freedom.

    Reply
    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      I know someone who tested positive last week while in Las Vegas for work. They flew home “double” masked.

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Stopped in a McDonald’s for lunch last week and they used to have a couple huge soda machines with 179 variants of carbonated sugar water that customers could use, but they went away.

    A customer asked if he could get a refill on his soda, and the manager told him ‘we’re not doing that anymore’.

    I needed to use the bathroom, and an employee unlocked it for me, and complained that homeless sometimes don’t look the part, perhaps thinking I was abode-less?

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      They can’t have the unhoused tinkling in a proper commode and using up valuable water, when they could be pulling out their hoses in the parking lot and watering the landscape… or composting it. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

      I’ll never understand the logic of the restroom being ‘for customers only’, or the caste system in ‘Murica.

      Sorry that happened to you, Wuk.

      Reply
      1. Daryl

        I have found this to be more of a big city thing in my travels. Out in the boondocks in backwards TX, never encountered a locked bathroom outside of the occasional gas station. Larger gas station/truck stop chains, particularly Buc’ees, encourage you to come in to take a whiz and in fact advertise their bathrooms on billboards, 170 miles out from the actual location.

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        France used to have ‘pissoirs’ on the streets for people to use. I gather they believed that holding your urine was damaging to your liver, which they pay much more attention to than Americans do. I don’t know if they still have them.

        Reply
    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      There was an article (maybe here) a while ago about how those fancy soda machines were moving to cups with chips in them to prevent unauthorized refills. It struck me as a crazy deal, DRM in soda cups! But the whole idea of unlimited refills of soda is such an American thing, based on my travels anyway. I can’t see people here taking kindly to losing them.

      I hate those things. I just want some ice so I can get tea and there’s always someone up there who has to look at all 9 million options before just getting a regular coke.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Americans really started to put on weight when those all-you-can-drink soda dispensers showed up in the mid 1980’s, I mean who can resist a ‘Neighborhood Gulp’ consisting of 144 ounces of the good stuff?

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          There was a famous baseball stadium that was renovated decades ago though I cannot remember which one. When it was finished, the owners were shocked to find that the stadium fitted 11,000 people (I think) less than before the renovation. So what happened? It was the seats. The seats in use before dated from the 40s when American backsides were a more normal size. The newer seats, however, were made to the new standards and which were wider. Consequently when the new seats were installed, less seats could now be fitted into those stadiums as American backsides had been “supersized” by junk food. And I bet the same story is happening in every western country.

          Reply
          1. Bart Hansen

            Being old, I go to lots of doctors. All of them now have some of those wide body seats in the waiting area and one in the examination rooms.

            I wonder what nickname they are given by the staff.

            Reply
          2. Anthony G Stegman

            Oh yes. Gurneys have also had to be made stronger in order to handle 300+ pounds of human. Hospital beds as well. I’m sure that furniture needs to be replaced more often. The world hates America for its big butts.

            Reply
          3. Neckmann

            Being a Full Size American, i joke with my doctor about the new “American Furniture”. He laughs.

            Reply
        2. jr

          The thing is with those “Big Gulps” is that the soda is flat and watered down well before you finish it. You end up tossing half of it. It’s just a gimmick to up-sell diabetes because “Moar!”

          Reply
    3. Watt4Bob

      This passed July my daughter and I stopped at a ‘New’ style McDonald’s, integrated/attached to a gas station, no cashier, only a kiosk with touch screen and only card option for payment.

      Three employees, one cook, one drive-up person, and a manager type.

      We ordered our food, and as we were waiting, a man came in and looked around, obviously puzzled by the ‘Newness’ the manager pointed him to the kiosk, and he threw his hands up and left.

      Fast forward to last Thursday, my son and I stop at exactly the same sort of ‘New’ style McDonald’s, and we find the drive-through blocked and a sign on the door saying we’re closed.

      We’re scratching our heads when a couple of women exit the store, “Sorry, we’re closed, …for good.”

      So I’m thinking how many McDonald’s restaurants fail?

      Then I think, what are the odds McDonald’s sold this ‘New’ style McDonald’s at a lower franchise fee and maybe those women lost their life savings on an investment they thought couldn’t go wrong?

      Every corporation is looking to cut costs, and eliminate as many employees as they can, but there must be limits somewhere along this line, right?

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Bob Wachter
    @Bob_Wachter
    If you were in this situation (spouse w/ Covid, rapid test +; mild symptoms), tix to fly home tonight (1 hour flight), would you have:
    1) Stayed in Palm Springs until neg (5-8d)
    2) Flown home, w/ tight N95
    3) Nixed flight, rent car, drove home (9hrs); masked; windows open.(8/23)’

    The University of Pennsylvania rang and are offering him a refund on his medical degree.

    Reply
  16. orlbucfan

    Lambert,
    Thanks for the George Clinton/P-Funk link. “Maggot Brain” is a classic. So, is this tune. It’s a hopeful song about this country. That was many moons ago.

    https://youtu.be/3WOZwwRH6XU

    The stage for the promo tour was so large, the concerts had to be set up in outdoor stadiums. I am sorry I missed this one.

    Reply
    1. britzklieg

      I too appreciate you highlighting Eddie Hazel’s remarkable guitar solo which opens “Maggot Brain”. I’ve probably linked to it more than any other “classic” moment in electric/rock music. Interestingly, I first heard it in 1975. sophomore in college and yes, I was tripping. If you are out there, Dennis Taylor, thanks for that night and expanding my mind in so many ways. It didn’t hurt that you were a gorgeous man too, heh…

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Wow the old Atomic Dog looks good! I saw P-Funk about 10 years ago and it was mostly younger musicians on stage. They brought out Clinton for a song or two and then took him right off stage again, and he did not seem hale and hearty. Maybe he was just a little banged up at the time – glad to see he’s doing better.

        Reply
  17. Dr. John Carpenter

    Headline 1: Why Do Humans Have a Taste For Alcohol?

    Headline 2: What It’s Like When Your Body Can’t Feel Pain

    Seems like #2 answers #1 in part. lol

    Reply
  18. Solarjay

    No to transmission lines
    As long as NIMBY continues, and I see it getting stronger not weaker, the idea of a solar/wind energy economy is not happening because it will have to have many transmission lines around the country. Not to mention this exact same NIMBY for wind and solar.

    I understand about the resistance, but every day we burn 4.2 billion gallons of oil, 45 billion pounds of coal, 375 million cu ft of gas.

    Every day we get further behind the idea let alone action of reducing let alone stopping climate changing GHG emissions.

    Where I used to live the “ environmentalists” stopped a wind farm that would all but shut down probably the lowest efficiency NG power plant in California, because all sorts of “ reasons” ranging from oil spills ( kid you not), ugly, birds, roads, trucks on the highway moving the parts and the list goes on, in the end climate change wasn’t enough of an concern,threat, problem to be addressed.

    This choice is being made all over the country, in my view pushed by anti renewable front groups for FF and big utilities.

    But I’m sure it’ll all just magically be ok.

    Reply
    1. Anthony G Stegman

      You are simplifying things. Renewables come with significant environmental costs, even as they mitigate other environmental costs. Transmission lines are unsightly and despoil open spaces. They can also start fires as can any lines transmitting electric power. Solar arrays and wind turbine farms require ongoing maintenance, which means lots of roads and trucks and dust. The Mojave desert in California is being more quickly despoiled by the construction of vast solar arrays that have short lifespans. Some have already been abandoned leaving behind a huge mess in what was once pristine desert. We all need to consume less energy, not look for ways to consume more “clean” energy while we delude ourselves.

      Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        I agree with you Anthony. I have seen pictures of abandoned solar and wind construction. There has NOT been any attempt to consume less energy. The farms require maintenance and we already know that they do not want to spend the money required to do that maintenance. As with pipelines or the issues with California have two electric companies not keeping up with repairs and maintenance causing fires. Even gas pipelines that were not properly maintained causing explosions.
        The environmental cost of some of these may be just as bad as what is being done now. Cutting down trees for wood pellets does not seem to be a very good idea.

        Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        It remains to be seen. The problem with the Rolls Royce reactors is that they are reliant on mass production to overcome their small individual scale – there is nothing fundamentally new in the design. Thermal plants of all types have one thing in common – they have to be built big – very big – to be viable. There are basic intersections of cost with energy loss through pressure vessels and piping that mean that nuclear and coal plants have to be supersized to make sense. This is why the small nuclear reactors used by nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers are so staggeringly expensive despite the superficially simple and long established designs.

        The Rolls Royce design will only work if they can overcome the scale problem by driving the cost of all components through modularization and mass production (you could call this the F-35 strategy). This has been tried many times before by the nuclear industry and by many militaries around the world and it simply hasn’t worked.

        Reply
    2. HotFlash

      the idea of a solar/wind energy economy is not happening because it will have to have many transmission lines around the country.

      Simple solution — think small. Independent off-grid energy collection and direct use of 12V. No transmission wires, none of this stupid make-12vDC–convert-to-120V60cycle-AC, reducing efficiency at every step. Tie in additional generating from little windmills, roof skylights, a treadle under your desk to use that nervous foot-tapping for something useful, little spinners in your downspouts, human-powered tools over power tools. Use much, much less electricity — anything that can be done by human labour, should be. Use electricity for the things it can only do, such as to charge your phone and run your computer(s).

      The pyramids (sub wonder o’ the world of your choice) were built without electric tools.

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      A lot of resistance is not organic – I’ve spent a lot of time wading through objections to wind farms and there is little doubt that there is a lot of deliberate misinformation out there which can be traced back with enough effort to fossil fuel funded think tanks – certain non-problems (such as health impacts from low frequency noise) keeps popping up despite a complete absence of scientific grounding. A lot of supposed technical and engineering objections can be traced back to the same sources.

      That said, the wind and solar industries don’t help themselves. It makes sense for them to promote lots of schemes on the basis that its easier to do this on the assumption that some will get through the process rather than work with all government agencies to come up with coherent regional or national scale renewable plans. The marketization of electricity has been a boon to the natural gas industry in particular as these are much simpler to get through regulatory processes.

      This is one reason of course why off-shore wind is so important. For very large areas of the planet its the only way to produce viable very large scale energy from renewables.

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Ok, i’m worried now as is everybody who lives the Bitcoin lifestyle. I’m so over FOMO-having bought in @ $56k and it’s now under $33k.

    I’m nursing my assorted wounds and giving real thought to cashing out, but it would not only be an admission of failure on my part, but i’m also looking @ a buck fifty loss, if not more.

    Oh how I wish i’d never been enticed by the Coinstar machine and had meekly accepted the 11.9% loss on my loose change, instead of going through all this turmoil playing the cryptocurrency game.

    Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “OUR COVID BLUNDER”

    After reading this article, I think that people will know when there is a realistic reckoning with the effects of the Pandemic when Fauci is universally pilloried for all the damage and deaths that he has caused. Nothing less. But there is something else that this article made me wonder about. There was a plague that swept through the Mediterranean in the mid-500s AD that severely affecting the Sasanian Empire and the Byzantine Empires. It changed the power dynamics of the whole Mediterranean world at the time. So could it be that the Chinese, being aware of this piece of history, have decided to sit this pandemic out through their zero-Covid policy and let the west incinerate their peoples and weaken the power dynamics of the countries that would seek to weaken China’s rise? I suppose that you can say that it is a case of never interrupting an enemy when they are making a mistake. Would not western leaders also not be aware of this history too, you ask? If you asked them I am sure that they would answer ‘History? Whassat? We didn’t do that in economics and management school’

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

    Reply
  21. Michael Ismoe

    Just like every good Muslim must try to get to Mecca once in their lifetime, right thinking liberals also make a haj to Kyiv to prove their bona fides. Who knew Nazis were so popular?

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/bono-and-the-edge-hold-surprise-concert-at-kyiv-bomb-shelter-1.4872586

    https://www.euronews.com/culture/2022/02/25/stars-with-ukrainian-heritage-show-solidarity-as-fighting-continues

    https://www.npr.org/2022/05/02/1095921716/angelina-jolie-lviv-ukraine-refugees-volunteers-children#:~:text=Angelina%20Jolie%20visits%20Ukraine%2C%20meets%20refugees%20and%20volunteers%20The%20actress,from%20a%20recent%20Russian%20attack.

    Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Yes, apparently being antiwar now encompasses picking one side and arming it to the teeth. Not what I learned in 1st day school, but oh well.

        Reply
    1. OIFVet

      Ireland hopes that Bono keeps globetrotting, or so I’m told by some Irish expats in Sofia. Except they didn’t exactly say “globetrotting “, this being a family blog I am paraphrasing.

      Reply
    2. CaliDan

      It gets cringier if you can stomach really, really bad poetry. Penned [or crayoned?] by one Bono, and read aloud by one Nancy Pelosi:

      Oh St. Patrick, he drove out the snakes
      With his prayers, but that’s not all it takes
      For the snake symbolizes
      An evil that rises
      And hides in your heart
      As it breaks
      And the evil has risen my friends
      From the darkness that lives in some men
      But in sorrow and fear
      That’s when saints can appear
      To drive out those old snakes once again
      And they struggle for us to be free
      From the psycho in this human family
      Ireland’s sorrow and pain
      Is now the Ukraine
      And Saint Patrick’s name now Zelenskyy

      Reply
  22. Jason Boxman

    Why does Wachter even get a choice? Why should you get to choose to travel if you’re positive? Why is public health now a personal choice? I guess if you’re having a particularly malicious day, you can intentionally infect people and that is also now a personal choice.

    Reply
    1. LawnDart

      I believe that people can be criminally charged for knowingly transmitting HIV. Why should it be different with covid?

      Reply
      1. Skunk

        Many people with COVID are asymptomatic. A person with no symptoms and no known recent exposures can’t necessarily be expected to know they are transmitting it.

        Reply
        1. LawnDart

          The same could be said of HIV, but we are looking at people who know that they are infected and who choose to put others at risk.

          Reply
    2. WhoaMolly

      Re: Wachter

      As my econ 101 professor used to say, “Follow the Money.”

      8 day hotel, maybe $150 US per night. Total US $1,200
      8 day door dash meals, maybe US $800?
      total to stay in hotel: $2,000?

      Car rental about $200.
      Gasoline for 450 mile drive, about 20 gallons at $6 per gallon = $120.
      Meals on Drive (one day) about $100.
      total to drive: $500?

      Drive home wins.
      Save $1,500, get home 7 days early, and (I can hear my prof saying) maybe kill off a couple elderly relatives.

      Just saying, that’s how my econ 101 prof would evaluate it…

      Reply
  23. Michael Ismoe

    Americans might want to pay more attention to the strategy and tactics playing out in Myanmar. I have a feeling we may need them when The Abortion Police, The Federal Bureau of Heterosexuality and the Voting Investigation Teams start knocking on our doors.

    Reply
  24. LawnDart

    Scientists Discover Cell Stress That Can Restore Brain Proteins Associated With Dementia

    Scientists from the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Cambridge have discovered that certain kinds of stress, like high body temperature, can reverse the abnormal buildup of proteins in the brain that is usually found in patients with dementia, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
    This phenomenon cites earlier research, which showed that people who frequented saunas in Finland were less likely to experience dementia.

    Those who used the sauna frequently (four to seven times a week) had a 66% lower risk of developing dementia and a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s

    https://sputniknews.com/20220509/scientists-discovered-cell-stress-that-can-restore-brain-proteins-associated-with-dementia-1095353463.html

    That’s freakin huge.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When all the 50 or so various Yokuts sub-tribes all started dying of measles in 1868-69, the settlers here burned all of their sweat lodges by the river here-thinking it was the culprit, no sauna for you!

      Now i’m wondering if i’d warded off dementia by taking long soaks in hot water? (spent 5 hours in Siphon hot springs by Mammoth airport the other day)

      If You Leave Me Can I Come Too?, by Mental As Anything

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

      Reply
      1. WhoaMolly

        Re: Now i’m wondering if i’d warded off dementia by taking long soaks in hot water? (spent 5 hours in Siphon hot springs by Mammoth airport the other day)

        I suspect a lifestyle where one hikes regularly and spends five hours in beautiful hot springs (with friends?) has more to do with warding off dementia–by a huge margin–than anything else.

        Being outdoors often, exercising regularly, engaging with other people, low stress, and a positive outlook on life–is pretty much the recommendation of every Alzheimer’s organization around.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Being outdoors often, exercising regularly, engaging with other people, low stress, and a positive outlook on life–is pretty much the recommendation of every Alzheimer’s organization around.

          Its so easy to wallow in world woes, there’s no shortage…

          None of that really exists when i’m in my element outdoors with friends, everything is refreshingly honest, and the various 4 legs good* have very predictable behavior, unlike us human beans who prefer to be erratic.

          * Saw my first black bear of the year last week, a cinnamon-brown yearling

          Reply
          1. WhoaMolly

            Re: None of that really exists when i’m in my element outdoors with friends…

            The great scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie comes to mind. When Griswald’s brother in law arrives in a beat-up RV and parks in front of Griswald’s upscale house.

            Just letting you know Wuk, I’m packing the RV!

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Just letting you know Wuk, I’m packing the RV!

              Cousin Eddie, was that a boxy but good 1985 29 footer?

              Siphon hot springs is our favorite of the plenitude of possibilities to get oneself into hot water in the frankly amazing array just off of Hwy 395.

              Hot springs sometimes have mayors who tend things, and Mayor Will was in attendance, draining out the tub and giving it a scrubbing down. Quite an ingenious set-up and the Mayor did all the concrete work, but ran out of dough re mi and luckily a Vietnam War Marine vet was soaking and heard his tale of no a few years ago, and donated the $400 to finish it up… semper finance

              He served in the far north in 1967-68 in a bunch of places i’d never heard of until he got around to Da Nang.

              The lay of the land:

              https://www.wedreamoftravel.com/hot-springs-in-mammoth-lakes/

              Reply
              1. WhoaMolly

                re: He served in the far north in 1967-68 in a bunch of places i’d never heard of until he got around to Da Nang.

                In 63-64 I served in the Middle East in places *no one* ever heard of. Never made it to Vietnam–thankfully. By 67 I was starting college and reading the classics.

                Reply
      2. LawnDart

        I haven’t had the chance to partake in a sweat lodge since I was last in Idaho– great stuff, and I miss it. Unfortunately, my current environs won’t allow for the construction of one.

        I wonder if really hot showers might have the same effect?

        Reply
    2. anon y'mouse

      something similar to this is also used as treatment for autoimmune based arthritises (spondyloarthritis). although people who have used it say they have to do infrared sauna hyperthermia weekly or even multiple times weekly to feel the benefits.

      too bad we don’t have a tradition of public baths/saunas here. but in Puritanland, being nude around other adults regularly would never fly, even though it was the basis of Roman culture and a large part of Japanese culture.

      gofundme $3k for a home sauna? kidding!

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      There is a lot of evidence out there about the benefits of extreme heat and cold. I find the summaries in Rhonda Patricks’ foundmyfitness site to be very useful (she is a frequent Joe Rogan guest).

      Sauna

      Cold.

      Reply

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