2:00PM Water Cooler 6/6/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I need to finish up a post on brain fog, so this will be an Open Thread. Enjoy! –lambert

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TH:

TH writes: “The tiny structure there is a pretend-well, it’s a display at the South Coast Botanic Garden (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) that makes me miss my childhood. I’d have lost track of time with nothing but the Monarch butterfly that was flitting from flower to flower while I took my pictures and a copy of “The Secret Garden” (Frances Hodgson Burnett) for company.” I loved the Secret Garden. What a great book!

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. antidlc


    How many Covid deaths are acceptable? Some Biden officials tried to guess.

    Conversations about what Americans would tolerate didn’t go too far, underscoring the difficulty of explaining when the pandemic will end.

    Biden officials in recent months privately discussed how many daily Covid-19 deaths it would take to declare the virus tamed, three people familiar with the conversations told POLITICO.

    The discussions, which took place across the administration, and have not been previously disclosed, involved a scenario in which 200 or fewer Americans die per day, a target kicked around before officials ultimately decided not to incorporate it into pandemic planning, according to the people. The discussions were described as exploratory, said the people, who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely about internal deliberations.

    One U.S. health official told POLITICO the number was “aspirational … a general metric people have bounced around a lot” that would signal that “the pandemic would be under control.” But, this person added, the figure “never passed the hurdles to be a formal metric.”

    The sensitive nature of the conversations and the decision not to bring any hard number to the most senior members of the coronavirus task force or top Biden officials demonstrates the longstanding struggle to articulate when the country has controlled a pandemic that has already killed more than 1 million Americans and is still claiming nearly 300 lives every day.

    1. Darthbobber

      So all the way from “follow the science” to throwing darts at a board with random numbers.

      Or is the Keynesian beauty contest method now migrating to pandemic health “planning”?

    2. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that the question isn’t really “how many”, but “whose” deaths are acceptable. Perhaps when sufficient numbers of the elites are swept away (or, as in Lambert’s “Long COVID” post, chronically impaired), … perhaps then the problem will become important enough to address using methods that can actually address the problem.

      An incentive for the rest of us to take precautions to avoid infection might be the prospect of being healthier than many of the elites will be able to be after they have accumulated multiple Long COVID sequelae. There’s a sharp contradiction.

      1. Late Introvert

        That may be the only silver lining to come out of all this. Long Covid for the PMC!!

        1. anon y'mouse

          the PMC are all whining about having to go back to the office, and fighting their bosses about it.

          so, unless they pick it up at brunch or Nancy P’s winery fundraising dinner….

  2. Noone from Nowheresville

    Is this potentially blowback? Can’t remember which plants struck last year. Thought it was in Illinois not Iowa. Anyway, no planned layoffs announced so far.


    UPDATE: John Deere moving cab production to Mexico

    WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – John Deere confirms they will be moving cab production from the Tractor and Cab Assembly Operations facility in Waterloo to a plant in Mexico.

    “John Deere’s plan to bring new product programs to our operations in Waterloo, Iowa, makes it necessary to consolidate the manufacturing of cabs from the Tractor and Cab Assembly Operations (TCAO) to Ramos Component Works in Mexico. The decision to move cab production ensures the company can balance workforce needs within the tight labor market, while also ensuring Waterloo can open up floor space to manufacture new products,” a spokesperson for the company said.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        But if we go by Senator Mitten’s corporations are people mantra, how do we determine if it’s one person’s blowback or another person’s revenge? Or does blowback require that one must be Goliath?

  3. ambrit

    Time to wake up.
    Anyone else having multiple problems with the mail, both USPS, and the FedEx, UPS, DHL conglomerate? I’ve had three packages “go walkies” on me in the last month. The latest was delivered to an address in the wrong city entirely. At least they got the State right.
    Supply chain issues now include the “last mile” portion.

    1. Jen

      So far the delivery gods have mostly been kind to me in NH. I did have an item that I had to send back via USPS that took 2 days to get from the sticks of NH to Memphis, and 2.5 weeks to get from the terminal in Memphis to the company I was returning it to…in Memphis. Really glad I ponied up the extra 7 bucks for 2 day delivery. Fortunately I still got a full refund even though the package arrived several days after their posted return-by date.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Voting in the Sierra Club board member election had a deadline of April 27 but the ballot and candidate information materials didn’t show up in my mailbox in Germany until the third week in May, by which time it was all moot.

    3. LaRuse

      I had a Fed Ex package get lost in Maryland from Minnesota, ship from MD to Tennessee, TN to VA, and is currently (and has been for three days) 25 minutes from my house. It’s nothing I needed urgently but I ordered the items 3 weeks ago. Good thing it’s just books and not oh, medication or something important.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Your best bet is to use UPS, rather than Fed Ex. Fed Ex subcontracts out to non-union workforces that are poorly trained and not at all motivated to do a good job. UPS pays better and is more profitable despite a unionized workforce.

        1. petal

          Just about every package I get via UPS looks like an angry, psychopathic gorilla has had its way with it. Not good when you’re trying to do science.

          1. sd

            UPS managed to crush a double boxed flat screen monitor. Not only was it double boxed but in its original packaging sandwiched in foam and peanuts inside of a heavy duty double wall box.

            The shipment was insured. It took multiple submissions thru multiple portals to get reimbursed. All in all, almost 30 pages in documentation had to be submitted multiple times including original purchase receipt, serial numbers, invoice for replacement, photographs of the damage, original shipping invoice, as well as returning all packaging and the damaged flat screen to UPS for inspection. All for an insured package worth $300.

            I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

            Don’t use UPS.

          2. Michael C.

            I say always go union, either the USPS or UPS. By the way, as a retired UPS driver, we were trained often on where and how to leave a package, used plastic bags to keep it out of the rain, and service was talked about often, though the counter drive for production was endless. Most all my driver cohort worked hard to please the customer. Not sure if things have changed in 10 years, but I still go union out of principle. I was able to make a decent living with a living wage. I support those who make that happen–in this case the Teamsters made that possible.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I moved to a new state four months ago. It took several months for the U.S. Postal Service to forward my mail. I sent notice of my new address to the long list of those who send me mail on a regular basis — bank, credit card, insurance, former utility companies and so on. The company who handled one insurance kept multiple databases. They updated one database but for some reason did not update the second database. I had to call them to get that taken care of.

      I have moved several times in past years but cannot recall ever having so many difficulties.

      1. pulltheplugonmurica

        Just went to my local post office in richie Brookline, MA. No pens. Can’t be bothered to replace them with cheap BIC pens.

        1. EGrise

          In our local PO the parcel drop-off drum broke, and has stayed that way since at least last fall. No money in the budget to repair it.

          You had to show up during business hours, wait through the line and hand your parcel to a postal worker; lately they’ve just wheeled out a cart and you can drop it in there, a big improvement. I expect this state of affairs to continue indefinitely.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Probably DeJoy and his DeJoyists are achieving the desired degradation in post office performance which they have set out to achieve on purpose, in order to turn people against the post office so that the post office will have no public support when the DeJoyists ( and the Feinsteins Husbands as well, to be sure) decide to abolish the post office and profitize the profitizable parts of it.

        Biden doesn’t seem too upset by any of that.

    5. Anthony G Stegman

      I ordered products from Home Depot, REI, and Swingline. Everything arrived by the promise dates. I received text messages when the parcels were delivered. I know that the Swingline parcel was delivered by Fed Ex, but the others I didn’t see the deliveries take place so I don’t know who delivered them.

    6. petal

      A $175 shipment of really important prescription dog food went missing with FedEx last month. What a nightmare. It said it was delivered but it never was. Lives depend on on-time and accurate shipping, whether man or beast, and things are getting worse. Have been having more work packages getting held up as well. More in the last 6 months than in the decade I’ve been doing this job.

    7. Nikkikat

      The problem we are have here is that LOCAL mail is practically 6 days. If you have a local utility bill or other local mail it has been slowed to the point of ridiculous delay. I inquired of the postman, he said that local mail is not priority for them now. It sits in the post office.
      Packages and longer distance mail ie out of state takes priority. Thank you Mr DeJoy! And of course thank you to Biden, you can now be called the worst President ever.

      1. ambrit

        Rest assured that out of state packages are mainly e-commerce related. Part of the economy, and thus sacred. Regular bills and letters? Where’s the profit in that?
        We here have had local utility bills do a similar ‘waiting game’ for delivery. I have had to call the electric company three times in the last year to plead for an extension on a monthly bill because it arrived one or two days before entering deliquent status. When I suggested that they extend the time between reading the meter and the delinquency date, I was told that that decision was in the hands of “the Head Office.” Where is the ‘Head Office’ I asked. Atlanta. We’re part of a conglomerate now, and enjoying the perks of being “included.”
        Time for an “American Nationalist Party?” (I do hope it doesn’t end up as an “American National Socialist Party.”)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I couldn’t read the whole thing without registering, but what I could read was pretty accurate. Our superintendent has recently had to petition the state to stop sending more immigrants. I mentioned here earlier that the school we renovated at considerable expense several years ago to have enough space for a growing population over the coming decades is now already at or slightly over capacity due to the huge influx over the last couple years.

      Not only does this tax public resources, but it also contributes to the sky high price of real estate in the area. Prices keep going up because there is no excess capacity. A few hundred units in one lower income (although not at all low rent by historical standards) neighborhood were recently purchased by a developer from CA. The new owner just jacked up the rents several hundred dollars per unit all at once which is beyond the means of the vast majority those who live there, with immigrants/minorities making up a sizable percentage of the residents there. The city is trying to intervene before hundreds more people become homeless, because the city’s hotel rooms are already filled to capacity housing the current homeless and immigrant population. There really is pretty much nowhere to live, and especially not at a price most people could realistically afford.

  4. Hepativore

    A friend of mine bought a home three years ago and he wants to put a fence around his yard to keep the neighbors out as they keep raiding his fruits and vegetables despite telling them to stop and the police do nothing.It would not be an issue if they asked for permission, but they never do and trample any plants in their way. As he does not want to spend the money on stone or wrought-iron fencing, I need a thorny vine that would densely cover something like cheap chickenwire to serve as a living barbed wire fence against would-be interlopers. He lives in Lansing, MI so he would need something that can grow in zone five.

    It would be cheaper than conventional fencing, and the thorns would add extra “go away” value to marauding people. The problem with things like hawthorns or the Caspian locust is that they would rather be trees and need constant pruning to make them into thick hedges. So, I want a very thorny vine that you can place on a cheap fence and cover any available surface with spiky foliage. I have been looking at the various Smilax vines. Ideally, I want something that will mesh itself into a structure so it will grow in the shape of that structure and not need to be pruned to keep it as a barrier. I have seen pictures of the bristly greenbriar (Smilax tamnoides). Not only do the stems have lots of large and very tough and sharp thorns, it readily climbs on any surface using tendrils. As a bonus, I heard the berries make excellent jam and pies.

    With that being said, even though it is native to the Upper Midwest, I cannot seem to find a place online that sells the seeds for it, and there do not seem to be any in the woods next to my apartment complex. Does anybody know where I could get seeds for the plant, and if not, somebody that could send me the seeds by mail?

    1. nippersdad

      I can totally relate to people invading your friends’ garden. Whether it be grapes, plums or tomatoes, we were always getting calls about an invasion of our garden from the neighbors. Ours were people we had never seen before, and the neighbors were worried that if we did nothing they would invade their gardens as well. Our garden did not outlast those who sought its’ bounty because we just didn’t use the stuff we grew, so we stopped growing it and let the rest go as well. It was just more trouble than it was worth.

      There are smilax seeds on ebay. We would have plenty for you, but it is not the right time of year to gather them. The best we could do would be bulbs and rhizomes of established plants, and sending them out in summer would be problematic due to the heat.

      That said, it might be an idea to plant raspberries or blackberries, something you already have, on the fence line. Introduction of something that is as aggressive as smilax in an area that does not have it may not be the best idea. That it has great wildlife value is the very reason that we have been unable to (halfheartedly) eliminate it from our yard. Once established it is simply impossible to get rid of.

      1. Hepativore

        There are different Smilax species, some have nasty thorns, some are almost thornless and are grown ornamentally or for their fruit.

        He has about an acre and a half that he wants to fence in as he lives on the outskirts of town. All of his raspberries and vegetables are in raised plots in the center of his backyard and he is going to be planting fruit and nut trees in a line on either side of the yard. There is going to be around five feet of space between the proposed “fence” and any trees or plants because of the lack of light in the resulting shade.

        If you can get a hold of some Smilax seeds this fall when the fruits form, I would be curious to see what species they are. We realize they can be invasive but that is a risk we are willing to take for full fence coverage.

        The neighbors either deny they have been going into his garden when they have been seen running out of his yard with vegetables in their hands as soon as they see his car pulling up in the driveway or they act as if it is no big deal, and they do not want to have gardens of their own as they say it is too much work and just want bare lawns to make them easy to mow.

        Holly is kind of hit-or-miss in Zone 5 due to how abrupt Upper Midwestern weather can be, and climbing roses take awhile to become established in some cases.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          wild rose bush? They used to be used as fences for cattle. They do spread and are rather difficult to get rid of. No edible berries but they do flower and make the pollinators happy for a couple of weeks. Provide cover for the birds in winter.

          1. paddlingwithoutboats

            Better, Rugosa Rose, stems are hairy with thorns, grow in zone 3 and 4 too, in the UP, ya?

            Nice single magenta, pink and white blooms, mix ’em with wild blackberry, hawthorn and stick a solar powered electric wire around the inside.

            There are photo-activated contact dermatitis generating plants-cow parsley (might be cow parsnip), I think, others. Terrible mysteriously arising if you don’t know what you’re about and you touched them. Poison ivy on the outside would make it evil but you’d have maintenance on seedings.

            Or rim perimeter of poison plants-monkshood, digitalis, others. Post a sign. Use an outside ring of raw manure, physical nasty on their widdle fashion pumps. Motion activated sprinkler attachment would top it with an unpleasant cold burst. Those are made for deer/critter repelling but people don’t like cold soakers. Tuen it on when driving away.

            Get a dog, not a friendly one. Think of the intruders as unwelcome animals. Slingshot, use with surveillance camera to document their trespass.

            Place multiple outward facing mirrors, startling to ontruders of many species.

            I used to live in Lansing, for thirty-five years! Friends who gardened taught me a lot.

            Good luck.

        2. nippersdad

          There are several smilax species and they do have various different kinds and numbers of thorns, but ALL of them are REALLY aggressive. A five foot space is child’s play for the rhizomes of some of them, and in your soil they would probably go nuclear. I’m pretty sure we have them all. The birds have cultivated our plot for themselves nicely.

          The relatively thornless ones are called Jackson vine around here; they are traditionally grown along the eaves of porches and used as winter color in flower arrangements. They are very nice, but they also have the problem of being extremely prolific seed producers. Last year I was at a car parts store; the woods off the parking lot had Jackson vines growing fifty feet up into the trees and had curtains of seed all the way down. I would seriously suggest that you reconsider in favor of something else. Think bamboo crossed with Chinese privet; I can get you sacks of the stuff, but you would live to hate me if I sent them.

          I think, perhaps, a better investment would be in a trail-cam up on the eaves of the house. The police will do nothing because they do not have definitive proof of trespassing and theft by your friends’ neighbors. A simple sign that says they are on candid camera will go a long way toward preventing incursions; no tomato is worth the police record or fines they would get.

          I remember while living in Wisconsin the delight of coming home (Atlanta) to see the hollies here. It is unfortunate that the evergreen ones with thorns do not grow well in your Zone 5 conditions, a good Chinese holly would keep out Godzilla, but there may be natives that will fit your bill. It might be an idea to look into your native plant societies, or the Wild Ones, to see if there is anything else that would work.

          Failing that, the idea by FreeMarketApologist of planting gooseberries sounds like a good one. As with Opuntia species, those tiny little needles will be a reminder to stay away for a very long time. I still like the idea of raspberries and blackberries as well.

          If after all of your researches you are still interested this Fall I will source any kind of smilax seed you like, but don’t say that you weren’t warned. The next time the neighbors show up, they may be bearing pitchforks.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          What is wrong with a fence? Would the neighbors decide they are offended and start vandalizing his property or throwing garbage/feces/etc. into it over the fence?

          If the neighbors are not that kind of threat and menace, a set-and-forget fence is probably better than any fussy constant-maintaince-needed thornplants. Especially if the thornplants would offend them just as much and set off lawless violence on their part anyway.

          I remember a college hallmate once telling me an interesting story about his Great Depression era uncle who owned a big survival-sized yard and house in a smallish Michigan city. The way he prevented foodraiding was by building an electrified fence around his whole yard and setting the electricity high enough that anyone who grasped the fence went into spasm-in-place and remained stuck to the fence till he shut off the power and then they fell down. That apparently deterred them and they gave up. Whether people would just give up if medium-electrocuted nowadays is a question.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          Here is a kind of barberry we had some hedges of in Knoxville, Tennessee when I lived there decades ago. It is called Berberis juliana . . . . the Juliana ironthorn. Here is a bunch of images of it with URLs for anyone who wants to go URL diving. The thorns are an inch to an inch and a half long. I remember it as only needing moderate pruning and care. it likes to grow dense.
          The thorns are hard to see. Perhaps plant a hedge of it and then plant thornless beauty plants just in front of it so that the neighbors charge into the beauty plants and impale themselves on tens or hundreds of thorns. Maybe that will deter them after a few times.

          Here is the link.

          1. debug

            Please note that barberry is somehow correlated with increased risk for ticks and Lyme disease.


            “Managing Japanese Barberry Infestations Reduces Blacklegged Tick
            Abundance and Infection Prevalence With Borrelia burgdorferi”

            Williams et al Environ. Entomol. 38(4): 977Ð984 (2009)

            There are other references as well. It seems to be a real thing.

            My suggestion would be wild blackberry vines. They are persistent and spread quickly when fertilized, at least here in the North American Deep South. They also implant tiny little stickers that persist and cause itching for quite a while if you aren’t careful around them.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      How about climbing roses (can be pretty vine-like, and look nice woven into fence-like surfaces), hollies, pyracantha (firethorn), Chinese quince, or Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)? The plus of all of those is they are all attractive flowering plants as well.

    3. Samuel Conner

      I don’t recall the name, and it doesn’t come up in my attempts at search, but IIRC there is a website to which amateur botanists contribute data about the locations of native plants. If there are data entries of locations of this one within a reasonable trip, it might be possible (with permission of the property owner) to harvest seeds from a wild population.

      Is there any possibility of “co-opting” the raiders by helping them to get into gardening on their own properties? (Sort of a “Doctor Who” inspired strategy — try to persuade the enemies to ‘stop’ before girding up to fight them).

    4. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      Nearly half of my vegetable garden is in raised planter boxes in my un-fenced front yard. I live in an upper-lower class neighborhood, and I’ve never noticed vegetables being taken. I’m not certain if upper-lower class people generally consider fresh vegetables palatable, or even edible.

    5. jr

      Watch that stuff, it can take over the garden your friend is trying to protect:


      “ People often wonder how the vine just seems to appear in their landscape and why it is so difficult to control. The answer for the miraculous appearance of the vine lies with our avian friends. They consume the fruit and pass them randomly throughout your garden when visiting. Seeds that survive the digestion process and pass from the bird can remain viable for long periods of time. When conditions are right, the seed will germinate. Within a short period of time, plants will begin to develop an extensive underground tuber / rhizome system and the viney above-ground stem.”

      Perhaps a big dog?

          1. ambrit

            And here I was thinking that ‘Furry’ komodo dragons best described the Alt Steam Punk symposium at the ‘Shadow’ Hugos.
            See you in the Ramada Inn elevator!

    6. Medbh

      Why not raspberries? They produce fruit and can be almost impregnable once they’re established. Maybe the obnoxious neighbors would be content eating the fruit on their side.

    7. Janie

      Himalayan blackberries are a huge problem in Oregon and Washington west of the Cascades. They grow fast and have vicious thorns and delicious fruit. They are rampant along highways here.

      1. Glen

        Huge problem! If I ever figure out how to go back in time, I’m going to prevent Himalayan blackberries from getting to the PNW. These are native to Iran, but were brought to the US, and escaped.

    8. Copeland

      Vines with enough vigor to create a barrier, by their very nature, require a tremendous amount of work to maintain. they will have no inclination whatsoever to remain in the space described by a fairly narrow vertical plane, like a living fence. And if that living fence is on a property line, these vines will be a potential source of conflict with the other property owner, wanting to grow in every available direction.

      Perhaps some really cheap and fast growing shrubs, like Japanese Barberry.

      1. Aleric

        Not sure if Barberry would be a good idea, it’s classified as a noxious weed in many states, and is infamous for attracting ticks.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If there were a way to plant barberry clusters here and there, and plant year-round possum-food elsewhere, would that permit the survival of enough possums to where they could eat up all the ticks who were handily attracted to the tick-magnet barberries?

          If I had a real yard in suburbia, I would plant a small cluster of barberries on it to attract all the ticks to it and away from the rest of the yard.

    9. Appleseed

      Smilax probably won’t cut it. I used to bushwhack through it in my wild youth. But how about Osage Orange? “Horse high, bull strong, hog tight.”

      1. Rainlover

        Osage Orange was used as hedgerows by settlers on the prairies. And I believe they also used the fruit for jam. Got that tidbit from William Least Heat Moon’s Prairy Erth, an amazing book about Chase County in the Kansas Flint Hills.

        1. Rainlover

          OK I remembered incorrectly about the jam. Wikipedia says:

          American settlers used the Osage orange (i.e. “hedge apple”) as a hedge to exclude free-range livestock from vegetable gardens and corn fields. Under severe pruning, the hedge apple sprouted abundant adventitious shoots from its base; as these shoots grew, they became interwoven and formed a dense, thorny barrier hedge. The thorny Osage orange tree was widely naturalized throughout the United States until this usage was superseded by the invention of barbed wire in 1874. By providing a barrier that was “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight”, Osage orange hedges provided the “crucial stop-gap measure for westward expansion until the introduction of barbed wire a few decades later”.


          Sounds like it could be the answer to your problem. Wait until your neighbors try to eat the hedge apples!

    10. square coats

      I saw a recommendation on reddit to set up motion activated sprinklers. My thought is maybe it’s possible somehow to also add some kind of nontoxic colored dye to the water coming out of just those sprinklers so that there’s extra deterrence (if needed) for humans but no harm to the environment or animals.

    11. Rod

      I can’t believe I’d ever recommend this scorn. Fast growing, Hideous but very very effective—Rosa Multiflora
      https://learning.arielfoundationpark.org/index.php/learning-stations/the-woods/plants/80-multiflora-rose-rosa-multiflora-invasive-species —use 12” of metal flashing buried vertically as a rhizome shield on the friendly side and don’t ever let the limbs touch ground on the friendly side.
      A line of FireThorn could work over a couple of years grooming—some people do espaliers with them.
      Smilex Greenbrier is ever more present in our woods where ever it finds scaffolding and it’s thorns have caught me and the dogs by stealth countless times.

    1. Angie Neer

      “What about Chicago” is the “won’t someone think of the children” of gun policy discussions.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Did you bother to read the article?

      About half of those shot were on the West Side, most of them in a single police district, the 11th, where there were two mass shootings on Sunday.

      So more mass shootings, so proposed gun control would perhaps quell that too.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        But isn’t shooting people also illegal? How do more laws deter people bent on breaking the law? Furthermore, the Cook County DA doesn’t consider many gun law violations (Chicago has many already) to be worthy of prosecution since they are “non-violent” and “victimless”. This is well documented by the site CWBChicago.com.

        I don’t have any answers other than platitudes like give people a reason to live beyond gang life, but more of the same probably will not fix it.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          How do more laws deter people bent on breaking the law?

          This is why people are arguing for more regulation, not laws. I can’t legally go make crystal meth, I can’t legally go make anfo, and I can’t legally sell my own homemade explosives and drugs because of regulations. An 18 yr old should not be able to go buy semi auto rifles and 1600 rounds.. just like they cannot go and buy a handgun in Texas until they are 21. The Bill if Rights are not a suicide pact.

  5. Bazarov

    Imagen and Dall-E 2 are new systems that produce striking images based on textual prompts.

    So, for example, you could put something like: “A giant opossum with an afro robbing a 7-11 in 1975 associated press photo” and the system produces such an image in the style of an AP photo.

    Both systems can produce photo-realistic images based on such prompts, with Imagen (made by Google) apparently more adept than Dall-e in this regard.

    Here are some examples of what these systems can produce: https://www.reddit.com/r/dalle2/

    They’re not yet available to the public. The plan appears to be to deploy them gradually so that society can “cope” with their capabilities.

    I’m much more impressed with the results of Dall-E 2 than the “AI” text writers, which seem rather incapable of producing long form work.

    It seems to me that machine learning or “AI” or whatever you want to call it may be coming for the creative professions first! This was the opposite of what was predicted in my childhood. They always said that the machines would first obviate the menial laborers and that the creatives would come last.

    Anyway, I can’t imagine this is good news for graphic designers and the like. Perhaps some of them will be redeployed to “touch up” machine generated “art”.

    1. jr

      I watched a YouTube video a few weeks back in which the narrator was salivating over the emergence of AI “art”. For context, the narrator referred to “Elon” over and over as an expert on pretty much everything from AI to the future of humanity, in other words a “tech-boi”. He waxed on and on about the wonders of AI generated images. Lots of images of outer space, flashy sports cars, and shiny buildings. You know, “progress”.

      Nothing new there. I left a comment about fellating Musk without compensation but what was interesting were the other comments. A lot of them were from artists who were decrying the effect this technology would have on their livelihoods. Most of them were already struggling, no surprise, and they expected this to put their careers to rest.

      1. Bazarov

        Yes, it will obliterate artist livelihoods, but I imagine it will also create new types of artists–as the technology of the past has done.

        What’s interesting about Dall-E 2 and similar systems is that it’s not exactly correct to say that it’s machine generated art. The prompt directs the machine to produce the imagine. In that respect, the art is a collaboration between a human and its machine tool.

        Perhaps in the future artists will be those who can best “prompt” these systems in a sense analogous to a musician collaborating with their instrument.

        1. super extra

          I don’t know. I think a lot of these systems are like smell-o-vision for a new generation. That may be too oblique, maybe they’re more like those room-sized early synthesizers that were hundreds of thousands of dollars in current money, couldn’t be moved around much, required an expert-level understanding of where the patch cables were, and are only really remembered today for a couple of weird niche albums becuase they were superceded by cheaper knockoffs down the road that were actually usable by real artists.

          To put another way, they’re solutions in search of a problem, another product attempt for using the GPUs for something other than bitcoin mining or gaming. Should they not take off as a product and bitcoin outlawed there may be a big drop in GPU prices since a lot of people these days don’t game on high-powered machines.

  6. Darthbobber

    Haven’t seen even a teensy thing about the anniversary of D-Day on CNN or the BBC. I think this is the first time its been overlooked that thoroughly.

    1. nippersmom

      Mentioning D-Day would draw attention to the fact the the US and NATO are now arming, training, and providing financial support to Nazis.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Noticed the same yesterday. Not a singe mention but nippersmom has the explanation. During WW2, President Roosevelt armed the Russians to fight the Nazis. And right now, President Biden is arming the Nazis to fight the Russians.

  7. griffen

    Testing….Testing 123…I’m Ron Burgundy ? Sometimes I will fat finger an entry before my thoughts are finished.

    Wish to make sure my interweb navigation device is not a malfunctioning POS…yet that is.

  8. Samuel Conner

    This being an open thread …

    The thought occurs, having since the beginning of the pandemic learned how to properly pronounce the Greek letter “nu”, and other Greek words which use the same vowel in their pronunciation, …

    the thought occurs, in contemplation of potential 2024 presidential general election candidates, that in the near future there may be warrant to coin a new aphorism:

    “after shubris, nemesis”

  9. Anthony G Stegman

    If the drought in the western US isn’t bad enough the lack of ground water management in California is making things worse. Land subsidence will continue with all the bad consequences. What will California look like in 50 years? Does anyone really care? Apparently, the governor and state legislature don’t care. They continue to fiddle as disaster unfolds.


    1. Nikkikat

      I also noticed that the restrictions are exactly the same restrictions that were issued the last time. These were issued several years ago, then allowed to expire. This was due to one season of rain that was more substantial. The Governor is doing nothing as per usual.

      1. JBird4049

        The Californians who own the water rights do not want anything to change and they can use their great wealth to bribe people in the government. As long as they can steal use most of the water including that of others who use the same sources, they can make a lot of money using it themselves in farming or selling.

  10. Dan

    Lovely picture. Spouse and I both loved The Secret Garden as kids, and she’s now reading it to our own children as a bedtime story and I’ve been listening in. There are good lessons in there about parenting (mostly what not to do, as in so many British novels of a certain age), but also about how powerful nature is as medicine and the importance of kids having autonomy over a space of their own.

  11. rowlf

    The joy of ballot marking devices.

    Several Metro Atlanta counties recertify, hand count, and audit May Primary elections results

    On Friday, Dekalb County elections officials recertified, hand counted, and audited select polls after a programming issue was found. The issue was discovered when Commissioner 2 Candidate Michelle Long Spears noticed she got zero votes at more than a dozen precincts, including the one she voted at.

    More articles on the manual recount in Dekalb County Georgia.

    Remember, your vote counts! (most of the time).

    1. rowlf

      The NYT version: A candidate in Georgia who appeared to get few Election Day votes was actually in first place. The discrepancy in a race for a county-level board of commissioners seat was blamed on a series of technical errors.

      A candidate for a county office near Atlanta was vaulted into first place after a series of technical errors made it appear that she had not mustered a single Election Day vote in a vast majority of precincts in last month’s Democratic primary, election officials determined.

      Election officials attributed the discrepancy to a series of technical and human errors, which they characterized as being isolated to the primary race.

      They said that the problems, which they described as a computer programming error, began when a fourth candidate withdrew from the race late — 135 votes were cast for that former candidate. A redistricting error compounded the situation, according to the county.

      NYT punchline:
      “This has been an extremely unfortunate situation for all of us,” said Susan Motter, a Democratic elections board member.

  12. QuicksilverMessenger

    I can’t find this anywhere, but a while back Lambert gave just the name of the syntactic structure/clause/ grammar that describes the second amendment. And also gave some really good examples. I see a lot of info on log blogs but not any good straight grammar. Does someone know this, remember this?

  13. Joe Well

    Speaking of escaping Covid:

    Is anyone else trying SaNotize-Enovid?

    One manufacturer-sponsored study claimed it was 95% effective in reducing the duration of a Covid infection.

    There is a massive clinical trial underway to find if it prevents Covid but it doesn’t conclude until November.

    I bought two bottles from a mail order Israeli pharmacy for about $50 USD each, shipping included (to the US).

    The promises it makes are so stunning, I am amazed that we aren’t hearing about this all the time. If it lives up to its own hype, it would be like a 95% effective vaccine, not just against infection but transmission.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      I bought a bottle from a local seller here in Indonesia. 27 bucks shipped. Haven’t used it yet, I am keeping it for special occasions, like when I am forced to go out and meet people.

  14. JBird4049

    I keep meaning to bring this book up when the conversation comes to state sanctioned, created, or approved famines, AKA disaster capitalism, but I always forget:

    Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World by Mike Davis

    If anyone doubts just how famines usually happen since the Modern Era, I strongly suggest reading this book. Yes, sometimes famines happen because there is just not enough food, and particularity in the past in areas with bad roads, lack of water transport, and before railroads, often the powers that be not only allowed, they created them by negligence, if nothing else.

    With our current problems in the United States, I do not think our negligent and, or narcissistic, psychopathic leadership class wouldn’t having them anywhere that they think would be profitable. Rather like the Irish Potato Famine where the native, colonized Irish were often not considered White or British, they were barely thought of as human by many in the upper classes. (although much of the dying came from exposure and then disease when people’s homes were destroyed by the landowners. And the Irish tenant farmers kept producing all their normal crops except for the potatoes. The crops were rent payments and the potatoes were for their food. Then there was the British Army to enforce the law.)

    It is both fascinating and horrifying how modern libertarian ideas and policies combined with absolute free tree mandated by the Empire and enforced by the military were previously imposed on the world in the 19th century; Dickensian England was a creation of this as was the Great Hunger. The East India Company/British Raj and the Belgian (and the Republic of the) Congo.

    On the West’s destruction of the Congo via colonization and the continuing prevention of its repair for easier pillaging some good books are:

    Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa by Jason K. Sterns
    King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.

    For some lightly fictionalized account of Leopold’s efforts: The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

    I use to think that the idea of our leadership especially in the government would weaponize failure in dealing with the pandemic(s) as honest tinfoil nuttiness, albeit really understandable, if nothing else, biological weapons are uncontrollable with Smallpox II: This Time Its BAAAAD!! as a real possibility, but on remembering what I have read of the current mess and of the past, I am not that sure anymore. We have people who are not only rapacious, venal, and ambitious as Satan, they have shown hardly any courage, prudence, commonsense, or any foresight beyond a very short moment.

    Please also remember that the European and particularly British beliefs and habits are also American as well because the Europeans are part of our intellectual and social heritage. What they did in the past, they are likely to do again, especially if no one will bring up the past, and then talk about it. It is when no one will believe of the possibility of great evil that evil will happen using the disbelief as cover. Or to lesser evils like the much smaller corruption that we use to have. The United States of America has always had some corruption, but nothing quite like today’s. It was allowed to happen.

    If you have read this far into my comment, the books I recommended are good, but be sure you can deal with the endless murder, despair, corruption, and plain evil that compose them.

    1. Skippy

      Going mono culture on the single easiest to grow potato is what gave the blight its destructive potential freedom to ravage all their crops … on the other hand nobility and wealthy put it down to their poor choices and as such vindication of their superiority.

      1. JBird4049

        The only reason why they were living off potatoes was because most of their land and crops were for paying their rent and not for personal consumption, which was the results of laws imposed on them by the British government. The upper classes refused to see that fact.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Also, you could feed your family with potatoes on a patch of ground that you could never do if you planted wheat instead.

        2. skippy

          I agree yet it’s an important detail that should not be looked over, not unlike the corn dramas in Mexico.

          1. JBird4049

            Mexico, where the local farmers are forced off their farms, or stop farming, or replace the many varieties of local corn with Monsanto’s McFrankencorn? A single or two that could be wiped out by some disease or pest?

            A sad bit about the potato blight is that it mainly left alone the potato varieties not being grown by the Irish.

          2. Skippy

            Yes the fight to keep all the verities which have specific tried and tested properties that can be used instead of the Norman Borlaug approach.

            That was the point of my comment e.g. the easiest to grow for – whatever reasons – was also the most vulnerable to blight i.e. it was an outcome bound to happen, yet even with that knowledge it occurred.

  15. The Rev Kev

    So about ‘58% of Germans living in the regions that used to be part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) until 1990 want Berlin to adopt a more balanced course toward Russia, a recent survey has revealed.’ So a major op-ed in Die Welt came to the obvious conclusion. That those people did not have a “sense of society. ” Willfully blind-


  16. Wukchumni

    Vegetation is extremely dry in our third year of drought. How does this impact prescribed burns?

    The drought is a problem but it’s also an opportunity. In January through March of this year, we missed a huge opportunity. We got no rain or snow, and many areas of the Sierra Nevada could have had massive prescribed burning going on—hundreds of thousands of acres—at 5,000 feet and below. In this era of climate change, we’re going to have to look for these windows and act. The problem is that we have no workforce available during these months.

    Do we need something like the Civilian Conservation Corps?

    I think you’re absolutely correct. A civilian workforce will be absolutely necessary, both for scale and because it’s out of sync with our fire season. In the last few years, firefighters have worked over 80 hours a week for six months. There’s no way that you’re going to ask most of them to be the restoration workforce in the other months. Most of them will tell us they need psychological and physical rest. A CCC-type thing is going to be necessary to do the restoration work.


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Such controlled-burners should probably pre-consult with their local Indians about whether conditions are safe enough to start such a burn. If ” their local Indians ” say it is too dry, and the controlled burners go ahead anyway, the controlled burn will get out of control and add itself to the Firestorm Hall of Fame.

      1. JBird4049

        Anyone want to bet on whether the state will make the right decisions? It does require prudence, planning, foresight, competence, and lots of money. Aside from the last, I don’t see much of it at the state level and only a little more at the municipal level.

  17. LawnDart

    This may help to explain one of the causes of the political dysfunction in government(s) and other organizations:

    Narcissistic bosses stymie knowledge flow, cooperation inside organizations

    New research shows that narcissism can cause knowledge barriers within organizations. Narcissists hinder cooperation between units due to a sense of superiority.

    Narcissism is a prominent trait among top executives, and most people have seen the evidence in their workplaces.

    These individuals believe they have superior confidence, intelligence and judgment, and will pursue any opportunity to reinforce those inflated self-views and gain admiration.

    “There are two views of how multi-business firms create value,” Gupta said. “One perspective is you want to run an organization like an internal market. All the units are actively competing for resources from the corporate headquarters, and that competition is what enables superior performance.

    “This research kind of goes against the grain of that. If you create the perception of competition inside an organization, then that will have some downstream effects. You will be essentially foregoing some essential knowledge-sharing activities.”


  18. Noone from Nowheresville

    For 2023, for your leisure travel pleasure. Book now with Viking Cruises. Duluth, MN to Antarctica. A 71-day journey spanning the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean, Chilean fjords and glaciers and parts of Antarctica before terminating on Nov. 21 in Ushuaia, Argentina, some 7,000 miles south of Duluth. I guess one flies back. Prices start at $50,000

    1. JBird4049

      I am reminded of the historical term “coffin ships” used to describe the ships transporting the Irish from Ireland to Canada and the United States.

  19. LawnDart

    Leaked Video Shows Nude Hunter Biden Playing With Illegally Obtained Gun

    Anewly-leaked video published online shows Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, brandishing a handgun while accompanied by a nude woman in a hotel room.

    In the footage, a naked Hunter was seen waving around a handgun. At one point, Hunter, who was seen cavorting with the woman, reported to be a prostitute, also pointed the .38-caliber handgun at the camera. The footage was recorded on Oct. 17, 2018…


  20. LawnDart

    From WSWS,

    Caterpillar worker falls into molten iron crucible and dies at Mapleton, Illinois foundry

    “He was taking a sample of iron for the met lab and apparently just tripped. He died instantly, but not all of him went in. Part of his body remained on the deck for the coroner to retrieve. It must have been ghastly for those folks that witnessed it and to wait for the coroner with half of their coworker lying on the floor.”


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