Links 7/12/2022

Jerri-Lynn here. Some readers might be confused by the apparent contradiction between Sunday’s post announcing my impending retirement and the appearance of my by-line here today. The explanation: I am indeed retiring, but not ’til the end of this week. Before then, I’ll be posting a bit today and more on Thursday, and launching a farewell post as soon as I finish writing it.

Before then, I want to tell readers how much I appreciated the many kind comments they posted in response to Sunday’s announcement. There’s no better feeling a writer can have than to hear from her readers that they were touched by – or learned from her writing. And that’s especially so when the audience is the NC commentariat – the best commentariat.  It’s been such a privilege to write for you.

Thank you so much!


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.


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.

* * *
ALL FALKED UP Crime Reads. Columbo, one of the best U.S. tv shows from the ‘70s. That and M*A*S*H. And the first seasons of Saturday Night Live.

The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards Atlantic (David L)

All History Is Revisionist History Humanities

Explained: Why The Fight Over DNA Is Central To Biodiversity Conservation India Spend

Faroe Islands sets quota of 500 dolphins to be killed in controversial annual whale hunt CNN (The Rev Kev)

In Comeback Moment, Up to 150 Fin Whales Spotted Feeding off Antarctica EcoWatch (furzy)

Logjams Benefit Wildlife So Much That Scientists Are Intentionally Placing Wood in Streams Treehugger

Man in northeast Thailand pays 3.9 million baht dowry… for a buffalo Thaiger (furzy)

A First Year of Discovery Inference

James Webb telescope takes super sharp view of early cosmos BBC Wow!

New York city offers nuclear attack tutorial (VIDEO) RT (The Rev Kev)

When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said ‘No Thanks’ Smithsonian Magazine

Start cleaning your home more sustainably with these tips NPR (David L)

Education Doesn’t Work 2.0 Freddie deBoer

Floridian attempting to escape sheriff on a John Deere tractor fails to get away, this time Boing Boing. re Šilc: “nothing runs like a deere” is false advertising then


Covid-19: Hong Kong to step up restriction enforcement with colour-coded app system, but health minister says change not aimed at ‘tracking’ residents South China Morning Post

Inaccurate pulse oximeter readings tied to less supplemental oxygen for darker-skinned ICU patients Stat

COVID Brain Problems May Stem From Attack on Endothelial Cells Medpage Today (carla)

Moderna to make two different omicron boosters: one for US, another for UK, EU Ars Technica

Is BA.5 the ‘Reinfection Wave’? The Atlantic (David L)

New Not-So-Cold War

White House: Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia AP (re Šilc)

India’s takeaways from Bali ministerial Indian Punchline

Joe Biden’s Oil Gamble Set to Backfire as Saudi Arabia Sticks With Russia Newsweek (re Šilc)

Russia shuts down Nord Stream gas pipeline for repairs Deutsche Welle

Lithuanian crowdfunding drive gets Ukraine an armed drone AP. re Šilc: “the wide world of stupidity knows no bounds”

Remembering the Crimean War Russian Dissent

NYT Ground Report Debunks NYT Claim Of Strikes Against ‘Ukraine’s Civilians’ Moon of Alabama

RT’s “Cross Talk” is back on Gilbert Doctorow

Julian Assange

Ithaka Craig Murray

Sports Desk

The life and career of baseball great Babe Ruth Daily News One of the highlights of Grandpa Scofield’s life was to have seen Babe Ruth play. That and being on a ship that sank. And passing through the Panama Canal.

Supply Chain/Shortages

Long Beach container backlog crosses red line as delays mount American Shipper

A Single Telecom Company Outage Sent Canadian Airports Into Havoc Jalopnik (The Rev Kev)


« Uber Files » : révélations sur le deal secret entre Uber et Emmanuel Macron à Bercy Le Monde

The Uber whistleblower: I’m exposing a system that sold people a lie Guardian


Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove will survive Washburn Fire, says park’s forest ecologist SFGate (David L)

Old Blighty

Britain to have new PM by 5 September as Tory leadership rules announced Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Class Warfare

On Prime Day, declare independence from Amazon Daily News

Congress showers the Pentagon with cash while Americans pinch pennies Responsible Statecraft

How Elon’s bizarre Twitter takeover saga could have just been a cover for him to sell $8.5 billion in Tesla stock Fortune

Matt Levine’s Money Stuff: The Price of Not Buying Twitter Bloomberg

‘Black Swans’ and ‘Perfect Storms’: Wall Street Reaches for Cliché to Excuse Your Withered 401(k) WSJ

The Importance of Competition for the American Economy The White House

New Mexico’s Oil and Gas Revenues Are Breaking Records and Complicating Budgets Capital & Main

Biden Administration

EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden could face prostitution charges for transporting hookers across state lines and disguising checks to them as payments for ‘medical services.’ First Son spent $30k in five months on ‘the girlfriend experience Daily Mail (BC)

Jill Biden can’t say ‘bodega’ — and it brought back Peggy Hill comparison NY Post

The Iran hawks’ dangerous hubris Responsible Statecraft

Trump Transition

Bannon suffers setback as judge rejects delaying contempt of Congress trial Guardian (furzy)


Harris, despite wave of critical media coverage, still beats DeSantis in 2024 polling MSNBC (furzy)

Herschel Walker impresses crowd with incomprehensible word salad about air pollution Boing Boing. re Šilc:  “has to be one of the greatest us senators if elected”

The Supremes

The Supreme Court Has Always Been a Reactionary Body Jacobin

In a historic term, momentum to move the law often came from the five justices to the chief’s right SCOTUS Blog


What will US abortion sanctuary networks look like? Al Jazeera

Abortion providers embrace virtual assistants and automation to prepare for new flood of patients Stat (Dr. Kevin)

Democrats en déshabillé


Small State, Big Agenda? Nepal in the Gulf Labor Migration Market The Diplomat


Kali Faces the Wrath of a Hindi Colonialism Out to Destroy the Traditions of Her Followers The Wire

9,500 kg and 6.5 metres high: All you need to know about the national emblem atop new Parliament building First Post

World Population Day: India will overtake China in 2023, says the UN BBC

World Population Day: India Has a Demographic Dividend To Reap – But Will It? The Wire

The India Fix: How five years of the GST regime has changed Indian politics Scroll

Proposed Megaproject in Great Nicobar Island Could Spell Trouble for Its People, Wildlife The Wire

How New Forest Diversion Rules Deal a Body Blow to the Forest Rights Act The Wire

Guillotine Watch

Richard Branson won the space tourism battle, but his company lost the war Ars Technica

Piet Mondrian and the six lines that made a masterpiece BBC

van ghosts The Smart Set

From Leonardo to Hepworth: the art of surgery The Spectator

Antidote du Jour (Tracie H):

I paid a visit to the local nursery, Roger’s Gardens, earlier this month and of course, even though I was there with a friend who was shopping for plants, I had brought my camera along. While she was busy looking something up on her phone, I had a chance to take a few shots of this strawberry tree. While I was busy framing the colorful fruit, this sweet Orange-crowned warbler popped in to feast on the abundant supply of aphids.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa


    <em(melody borrowed from There’s A Kind Of Hush by The Carpenters)


    There’s a kind of hush across the EU tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!

    (One shower a week!)

    So you lost your job
    But don’t you think twice tonight
    One meal will suffice straight from the can
    With no gas to ignite!

    The Russians shut down Nordstream One
    It might come back we might get none
    Who can tell . . . it’s a Russian cartel

    No water heater kitchen range
    Or radiator scrounge around for small change
    To fight the inflation!

    There’s a kind of hush across the EU, tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!

    Don’t worry ’bout electricity
    Go stand in line with your grocery
    Ration Card . . . grow food in the yard

    They’ve come to tow your car away
    But that’s alright you cannot pay
    With no job . . . just permanent welfare!

    There’s a kind of hush across the EU tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!


    There’s a kind of hush across the EU tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!

    (One shower a week!)

    Can we do without
    Swamp gas on the Continent?
    What more could go wrong than the methane gone
    To the end of our days?

    I guess we’ll have to burn our chairs
    In winter wear long underwears
    Eskimos . . . in layers of clothes

    We asked for this with both eyes wide
    But sanctions are just suicide
    Now we’re in . . . an impossible pickle!

    There’s a kind of hush across the EU tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!

    Our GDP is falling fast
    Our happy days are in the past
    Our regime . . . is way off the beam

    If we all dump this NATO bloc
    The Russians might come back and talk
    About gas . . . from nation to nation!

    There’s a kind of hush across the EU, tonight
    Across the EU all the natural gas is going away!

    1. Pat

      Damn, I’m old, my first thought was Herman’s Hermits. The Carpenters’ cover was a decade later.

    2. GF

      “I guess we’ll have to burn our chairs”

      First thought was to say goodbye to forests of the EU. The chairs will come next.

    3. Sardonia

      Nice. While I love Wuk’s wordplay, I favor new lyrics that have the same meter as the original lyrics of the song – so one can happily sing along as per the original, and it flows.

      And yes, this is from Herman’s Hermits, not The Carpenters, you young whippersnapper!

  2. Terry Flynn

    Learnt yesterday that my MP (young 2019 freshly elected Tory in red wall seat considered one of the most marginal in the country and which Starmer must win back if ever to govern) is a member of the 1922 committee!

    I have nothing against the guy personally (though practically everyone round here refers to him as a particular children’s animated TV character he resembles) but if the 1922 committee (infamously traditionally being the very established “men in grey suits”) appointed him within 2 years of election given his age/experience, it really cements concerns about the number of Tory MPs who have ANY talent whatsoever.

    Yeah yeah, bears in woods, pope jokes can commence……

    1. David

      As far as I know, the 1922 Committee is just the Tory parliamentary group minus Ministers. Membership is automatic.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Sorry my copy and paste backfired – the EXECUTIVE. He got ELECTED onto a committee of 20ish from way over 100 backbenchers practically upon entering national politics.

        Unheard of in “traditional” times. The 1922 Committee Executive used to typically be Knights of the realm of their ilk who could tell someone like Churchill that he had to step down.

    2. Balakirev

      The 1922 Committee was formed in 1923. It was made up of a small, informal group of conservative MPs who liked dining together. They subsequently decided to focus exclusively on the membership of Tory backbenchers.

      There’s a pretty good, detailed background up on their Wiki page:

  3. griffen

    Glad to see that Florida Man* is keeping busy this summer, making sure we stay entertained by the antics. As to fixing the tractor for increased speed, I believe that the fictional Bobby Boucher’s girlfriend was up to the task \sarc

    *As opposed to Southern Man, or Texas Man. Take your pick.

  4. kriptid

    Woke Imperium: The Coming Confluence Between Social Justice and Neoconservatism

    Coming confluence? Funny, I thought that confluence already started when the baton was handed to Obama…

    The full report in PDF form is worth a read. A few of the key findings from the report summarize nicely:

    The rise of a ‘woke’ activist-driven, social justice-oriented politics—particularly among the members of academia, media, and the professional managerial class—has provided the latest ideological justification for interventionism, and it has become readily adopted by the U.S. foreign policy establishment. These groups now have an even greater level of symbiotic relationship with state actors.

    Professional selection and advancement under these conditions require elite signaling of loyalty to ‘progressive’ universalism as the trending state-sanctioned ideology, which further fuels the push towards interventionism. This combination of factors encourages a new institutional and elite consensus around trending shibboleths.

    The emerging hegemonic posture and its moral imperialism are at odds with a sober and realistic appraisal of U.S. interests on the world stage, as they create untenable, maximalist, and utopian goals that clash with the concrete realities on which U.S. grand strategy must be based.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. that’s a good one.
      much food for thought.
      ive never heard of any of the people in that outfit, but the main dude hits some notes that make me think he’s leaning pretty far to the left….and, hell, i make pretty much the same arguments at the feedstore and the wilderness bar.
      that said, its interesting to see him and them turn up in national review, compact and unherd.
      ideological/philosophical matrix is in ferment…at least down in the cracks and crannies.

      1. kriptid

        Yes, I actually stumbled across this because the author gave an interview to Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone (for anyone unaware, a sort of populist antiwar-leftist news source).

        What’s funny is the think tank that published this gets some funding from the defense lobby/consultancy groups, so while the woke-bashing seems to track, the neocon bashing is more unexpected… But altogether welcome.

    2. Lex

      Thanks for that link. Perhaps the US should start with getting woke for itself (and I mean woke in the original, Black American usage, not the BS gentrified liberal usage) before exporting it. Otherwise it’s just an excuse for imperialism the PMC can rally around.

      1. Aumua

        Thank you for making that distinction. That the former has some valid aspects is something I’ve tried to communicate here several times, with limited success.

        1. JBird4049

          That the former has some valid aspects is something I’ve tried to communicate here several times, with limited success.

          As with Combahee River Collective’s use and meaning of the word Intersectionality being deliberately distorted from being used both to denote inclusivity and interconnection to exclusivity and separation instead, this just shows how extensive and effective the efforts at propaganda are.

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    Jill Biden can’t say ‘bodega’

    Is it possible they don’t have bodegas in Del and she had never heard of them before?

    1. griffen

      You’ve simply got to read the Herschel Walker quote. Priceless words. I clicked around to find it from a few different sources.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Atmospheric circulation theory, for a MAGA audience. Thanks for the recommendation; these days one needs all the giggles one can find.

        Of course, one could reply that, by outsourcing our heavy industries to China, we made their bad air worse so it’s kind of appropriate that the air pollution entailed by our consumption habits eventually makes its way back to us.


        The thought occurs that it might be a just outcome for locutions of this kind to make their way into the imperishable records of the world’s greatest deliberative body.

      2. foghorn longhorn

        Heard it on local sports radio, that was indeed some word salad. My goodness.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Much was made of Romney’s 47% line, but the questions he was being asked were just baffling, combining gross ignorance and word salad. I see these politicos and am increasingly convinced Americans yearn for politicians who make them feel smarter.

        1. Mildred Montana

          >”…am increasingly convinced Americans yearn for politicians who make them feel smarter.”

          Couldn’t agree more. As I’ve said a couple of times here, many Americans seem to prefer their politicians dumb. Forty years of presidential elections prove the point: Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Trump. Obama was the exception; smart no doubt, but unfortunately a skilled liar who knew how to hit the right populist notes.

          Five mediocrities (or worse) out of six. That record appears to show that an intelligent politician who wants and is able to discuss issues and policies articulately and rationally doesn’t stand much of a chance.

          That politician, to many voters, is intimidating, even “uppity” and, perhaps worse, boring. They would much rather vote for the “folksy, down-to-earth, relatable, likeable” candidate. That candidate’s ability to entertain them is a campaign bonus (see: Trump). Issues and policies are largely irrelevant, and so they vote on feeling and feeling alone.

          1. wilroncanada

            They were all smart, including Obama and Biden. Not intelligent, but con-man smart.

      4. CaliDan

        The CDC helpfully reminds us that signs and symptoms of a concussion generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days.

        You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days after the injury. If your Senator’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take them to the emergency department right away.

        Also a preemptive happy National Concussion Awareness Day, September 16th, 2022!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      After 4 decades of ny cop shows like Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and all the iterations of Law and Order, which some “social scientists” have gone so far as to blame for american attitudes on Blacks and crime by the way, it’s impossible to believe that anyone in the country does not know how to pronounce the word “bodega.”

      And an English teacher should at least be expected to see at a glance that the “d” sound comes before the “g” sound. When I first saw this clip I thought it was a dubbed-in joke to make her look stupid.

      This is right up there with hillary not being able to get herself a cup of coffee at a gas station convenience store or george h.w. bush marveling at grocery store checkers scanning items instead of punching numbers into a cash register.

      Dear leaders. Dear, dear, out-of-touch leaders.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        That’s what I figured but wanted to make sure my NYC proximity hadn’t skewed things

      2. Mildred Montana

        Well, in my weak attempt to be fair to her, maybe Joe Biden Syndrome is contagious? ;)

    3. petal

      She also apparently compared Latinos to tacos.
      ‘We are not tacos’: Latin community slams Jill Biden for saying they are as unique as ‘breakfast tacos’ as she refers to bodegas as ‘bogedas’ at ‘Latinx Luncheon’ in San Antonio

      Snip: “U.S. first lady Jill Biden’s attempt to compliment Latinos flopped on Monday when she said they were as unique as ‘breakfast tacos,’ prompting criticism from across the political spectrum.

      The National Association of Hispanic Journalists was not impressed, saying Biden and her speech writers ought to ‘better understand the complexities of our people.’

      ‘We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by a variety of diasporas, cultures and food traditions, and should not be reduced to a stereotype,’ the association said in a statement.
      The gaffe came as President Biden’s popularity among Latino voters continues to plummet.

      According to a recent Quinnipiac opinion poll found that Biden’s approval rating among young Hispanic voters is around 26%.

      Biden was speaking in San Antonio at the annual conference of UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza, Biden attempted to praise Raul Yzaguirre, who led the civil rights and advocacy organization for 30 years. On July 7, Yzaguirre was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

      ‘Raul helped build this organization with the understanding that the diversity of this community, as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami, and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio, is your strength,’ Biden said.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        ’U.S. first lady Jill Biden’s attempt to compliment Latinos flopped on Monday when she said they were as unique as ‘breakfast tacos’

        That’s like the time that John F. Kennedy was in Berlin and said in German ’We are all Berliners’ but it came out as ‘We are all jam-filled doughnuts.’

        1. Robert Hahl

          A way for English speakers to really get it is to imagine he was speaking in Frankfurt and said: “I am a Frankfurter.”

        2. Art_DogCT

          Kennedy said, “Ich bin ein Berliner”, instead of the correct “Ich bin Berliner”. The lack in German of a definite article in describing oneself is a frequent point of confusion for English speakers usually corrected after a high school year of German I. These days I’d blame machine translation. For Kennedy, poor staff prep.

          I suppose one could parse his claim of pastry status as representative of all right-thinking people of the world in those heady days battling the Soviet beast. Those were, indeed, the days. (In an alternate timeline the speech took place in Hamburg, with the expected hilarity following.)

          1. petal

            My German I professor used it as an example. Got a good laugh out of the class. Now whenever I hear/read it, I automatically hear him saying “I am a jelly donut.”

          2. Darthbobber

            Walter Reuther recounted that on a tour of the USSR his effort at small talk with his female guide suddenly led to a stoney silence. He discovered later that when he believed himself to be saying “what will we do if it rains?” he was actually saying “what will we do if there is a baby?”.

        3. Shaddan

          This business of straitjacketing Hispanoparlante culture, which uses masculine and feminine definite articles, adjectives and distinctions, with bullshit gender erasing, “latinix,” and the anti family “partner” is why Biden has almost 3/4 negative popularity.

          Democrats are digging their grave with their mouths.
          Encourage it!

          1. caucus99percenter

            “Latinx” automatically makes me think of Philbert Desanex, mild-mannered reporter for the Muthalode Morning Mungpie and secret identity of (underground comix artist Gilbert Shelton’s superhero character) Wonder Wart-Hog.

            1. marku52

              I thought it was the Muthalode Morning Mishap

              “Hey with the wings folded up, this thing isn’t any wider than my father’s LTD..”

              And Heffalump Dumpaloon for Harley Davidson. He was a funny guy.

          2. Aumua

            Some Latinos want to be referred to by a gender neutral pronoun. It’s not rocket science. However I would never assume that all of them want that. Obviously they do not.

            1. kriptid

              My “Latina” wife happily refers to herself as “Latin”. No need to bring in some anomalous “x” when just getting rid of the gendered ending.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        There are quite a few examples of public figures that demonstrate that there is nothing inside the helmet any longer. The football player has an excuse. The brain refrains. The other Biden doesn’t seem to have anything there either, but there is no excuse for the insults they lay out.
        Get the impression that this is what they want to convey? It must be after they make so many “gaffes” that aren’t mistakes, just demonstrative of their disdain for real humans.

      3. Wukchumni

        Joe & Jill went up a hill to fetch a nomination,
        Joe fell down and only because he was wearing a helmet
        Did he not lose his crown
        And Jill never met a taco she didn’t like

      4. jr

        Let’s not forget that the First Lady was addressing a “Latinx Luncheon”. The term Latinx is wildly unpopular with Latin people, as would be any label cobbled up practically overnight and applied to them by another ethnic group:

        The fact that this doesn’t faze anyone in the Democratic establishment is evidence for one of the claims in kriptid’s “Woke Imperium” link. It’s all about in-group virtue signaling. Jill Biden doesn’t give a $hit about Latinos. It’s all empty social justice posturing. She wants everyone to know that she, and by proxy her semi-vegetative husband, are on the right side of history. Therefore, a proxy war with Russia must be justified, as it too is for the greater good.

        Isn’t this why Marx eschewed moral arguments, by and large? He knew they were too easily manipulated, too nebulous. Addressing material needs, food and shelter and the means to sustain them, are concrete metrics that actually improve the lives of others.

    4. Louis Fyne

      Team Biden literally (IMO of course) has the worst White House speechwriters since at least FDR. And only because I can’t recall any Hoover speeches from the top of my head.

      Where are they finding these people?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Lipstick on turds. The Watergate babies have been a scourge on the body politic for a long time. What kind of people do they attract or promote?

        I can’t remember Yves Smith’s exact line, but paraphrasing if I’m not 100% accurate, she has called AOC one of the most gifted communicators she’s ever seen. A healthy party would have had her lined up to be an alderman or something. Who would be drawn to Biden? Can you imagine the person under 40 in line for the speech writing team for Biden? It would likely be an insufferable tool like Pete.

        With safe seats, none of the courtiers ever have to prove whether they can or can’t.

        1. Pat

          Don’t forget credentialism. I imagine that no one gets within 100 feet of a congressional office, or any national level campaign as anything above an envelope licker without some meaningless top university issued degree or two and an introduction from a friend of someone.

          It isn’t just that they don’t have to, it is that it would never occur to them that all these people with masters and doctorates on their staffs couldn’t find their location on a map much less understand the culture and overall economic environment of anywhere outside the Beltway, Acela Corridor or wealthy enclaves of Southern California.

    5. DJG, Reality Czar

      Mifune-san: This is what passes for multiculturalism in the U S of A, where “bilingual” means speaking American English and Mexican Spanish. The pettiness would be astounding, if I hadn’t seen so much of it. Not that I’m even much of a fan of “Doctor Biden,” noting that her pretentiousness is much like theirs.

      Ask one of these multiculturalists to go farther afield than “bodega.” Ask one of them to pronounce Toshiro Mifune and tell you what those mysterious words mean.

      Hilarity will ensue.

        1. Ignacio

          Or where it is stored/cured. It has both meanings, and by extension a wine maker can be called “bodega”.

      1. Wukchumni

        We in the Palinstinian Movement gladly accept the challenge of Kamala to debate, you betcha.

        2 word salad specialists way past their use-by date duke it out, in theory one emerges victorious.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              Made me look but yes, Walters is still alive (but suffering from dementia which, now that I think about it, would make her an excellent moderator for such a debate).

              Afterwards MSNBC could do analysis with noted bafflegabbers Kamala Harris, Dwight Eisenhower (AI reconstruction), and Yogi Berra (AI). I would tune in for the Yogi.

    1. Screwball

      I would add my PMC friends favorite for 2024 – Mayo Pete. Can you imagine the drinking games?

    2. digi_owl

      Now that’s a cat fight for the ages.

      Not that people watch political “debates” any more, as all of them are drilled in dodging questions (or gets softballed by their side of the media).

    3. Shaddan

      “Harris, despite wave of critical media coverage, still beats DeSantis in 2024 polling”

      Sure, in Woakland, Beverly Hills and other Blue cheese veins, but not in the rest of America.

  6. JohnA

    Seemingly all the long list of candidates to succeed Johnson are promising tax cuts, welfare benefit cuts, one mentioned repealing the ban on foxhunting that is moot because the police refuse to prosecute hunts that ‘accidentally’ keep catching and killing foxes, but there has been little if any talk of cracking down on tax evasion or tax avoidance even though there are more and more billionaires with offshore accounts in Britain. However, one such billionaire who has suddently been charged with tax fraud is former formula one racing tycoon Bernie Ecclestone. Coincidentally or otherwise, Bernie went public a couple of weeks ago in support of Putin with whom he had dealings with regard to grand prix races in Russia.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said ‘No Thanks’”

    Don’t blame them. When lots of people are burning coal, you can smell it in the air though, like living next to an airport, you get used to it and not notice it any more. I went from Calais to Dover in ’84 and as soon as I got off the ferry, the distinct smell of coal hit you right in the face. After an hour or two you hardly noticed it anymore but you know that it was there.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Europeans only really started burning coal when they ran out of peat and firewood. The entire Dutch economic revolution of the 17th Century was based on peat, they burned mountains of the stuff (and ended up having to build the dykes to make up for the consequent flooding). Most English heaths are exhausted peat mines. Peat is by far the nicest smelling fuel, its a pity its such a horrendously damaging fuel.

    2. Mikel

      That’s the first thing I thought of was the smell.

      But then objections like this are funny:
      “Nathaniel Hawthorne argued that gathering before a flickering hearth was crucial to bringing families and citizens together…”

      He couldn’t forsee the backyard barbeque.

      But the thing about arguments like, “Back in the day people were at first against ______ “(name some currently popular invention) is that over the long-term of generations and centuries, so many proposals for some new adaptation orove to be over-hyped and more harmful than advertised.
      Not impressed by such arguments.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      Reading your comment awoke a strange upper palate/back of the throat sensation for me. Not a taste memory, more environmental. The smell of coal is incredibly distinctive. Different from charcoal. Mine are childhood memories but incredibly vivid.

      I also remember that if my brothers and I played in the furnace room where the coal was piled, mom always somehow knew what we’d been up to.

    4. Art_DogCT

      In the Very Far Ago, in the Very Long Away, I twice visited Berlin DDR, for a month in 1982 and two weeks in 1983. On my first visit I experienced being in a place that burned coal as a major source of domestic and commercial energy. It reminded me of my stint as a parking garage attendant in Denver circa 1974 spending my shift going up and down a column of exhaust fumes. This was an era when downtown Denver’s air quality was often bad, and when we were experiencing one of the frequent air inversions, the air quality was a health emergency for the vulnerable. I was working for a printing service (‘Quick Print of Park Central) that had me making deliveries to various office buildings. There were days when I’d get back to the shop after some 10-15 minutes on the streets and would taste nothing but sulfur in the back of my throat for what seemed hours.

      I thank you for triggering a Proustian (over)indulgence of nostalgia. While less appealing than Proust’s madeleines, coal and auto exhaust fumes were part of a former timeline some memories of which remain vivid even today, in the Afterward when that more than callow young man has transformed to this growling old dog, ‘something rich and strange’.

    1. flora

      adding: many will remember the term ‘gangster capitalism’ as applied to the economics of Russia in the 1990’s after the fall of the USSR and also applied to China in the 1990s-2000s.

  8. John

    “They’re now pushing an Israeli-led regional alliance that would likely drag the United States into another Middle Eastern war.”
    Dragged? Led? Pushed? How many billions to Israel each year? Who overthrew the Iranian PM in 1953? How has Iran earned the ire of the USA? Does it have anything to do with that vast quantity of oil that the USA and the collective West cannot control? Do you realize how bizarre the idea of and Israeli led Middle east coalition sounds to someone who remembers Truman immediately recognizing Israel in 1948?

    Being occupied elsewhere while wrecking Iran being on the agenda, the USA would cheer, supply weapons, ISR, advisors, and let others do the “kinetics.” Isn’t kinetic the word of art for actually fighting a war?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Would you believe that they are also trying to drag India into an alliance with Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE? Looks like they are trying to revive that idea of a middle-east NATO (METO?) that went nowhere a coupla years ago.

      1. Pat

        I would have severe doubts about entering into any agreement with the US and Israel. The world has to know we are incapable of holding up an agreement, but Israel’s record is almost as bad. And many times it ends up with death and destruction.

    2. Louis Fyne

      and add that Iran is huge.

      If the Straits of Hormuz end of Iran was placed on Orlando, Florida, the borders of northwest Iran would be past Omaha, Nebraska and northern Iran would end around Chicago.

      Zero chance the US military can occupy that much land with the current size of the US Army.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden could face prostitution charges for transporting hookers across state lines and disguising checks to them as payments for ‘medical services.’ First Son spent $30k in five months on ‘the girlfriend experience”

    Frankly I don’t give a damn. Hunter Biden is who he is and it is really his business. Does he do serious drugs? Yes, which makes him an idiot which is really his problem. Does he do hookers? Yes but so what? He and they are consenting adults and it is just business. He is just a public example with what can happen with the kids of the elite that have access to large sums of money and no consequences for their actions. So in a way it is just a distraction. Distract us from what you say? How about the clients to Jeffrey Epstein, none of whom have been hauled out in public and are being sent to the slammer. Those girls, through their young age, could never be considered consenting adults. But nobody is chasing those men, even though we have at least two names – Bill & Andy – and so stories to do with Hunter Biden are just shooting fish in a barrel for public entertainment.

    1. Wukchumni

      Hickory dickory dock, Hunter paid by the clock
      The cock struck one, the urge went down
      Hickory dickory dock

    2. Pat

      It really strikes me as the same type of distraction that was used with Cuomo. Lesser more salacious issue waved in the public, that either will go nowhere or result in the least problem for them and their connections.

      It isn’t that he is useless rake, it is how he got the money for the “girlfriend experience”. Look at prostitutes and the drugs, not the corrupt system he used as an atm, and how daddy set it up. Better to fund Hunter’s demons than take the political hit. Please paying Hunter for access to you is not a problem in Washington…

      (There were times when I thought that part of the outrage at Trump wasn’t that he was so open about it, but that he was cutting into the money so many thought were their due. I mean look at the almost death dive the Clinton Foundation took. Now imagine how the no work sinecures we never hear about disappeared for the usual subjects and their kin…)

      1. Wukchumni

        Methinks its the reason paterfamilias always brings up Beau in passing, as he knows what a scoundrel his surviving male heir area is.

      2. Tom Stone

        It is preferable to discuss hookers and blow rather than bio warfare labs and bribes.

    3. Lex

      Nope. Joe Biden put a lot of my friends in jail with his hardline anti drug policies. He used to give speeches that would place his own son in the grouping of menaces to society. Joe Biden was wrong then, but the damage he’s done to individuals, families and communities is incalculable. I want his kid locked up so he might know what he put so many other parents through. (No, it wasn’t just Joe, but he was a huge part of those crime bills and he was proud – probably still is – of what he did.) I admit this isn’t good of me, I should be a better and bigger person. But I’m not. Family blog Joe Biden and his crackhead kid.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Yes! this is why Hunter’s crack adventures are newsworthy
        (galling, Joe was marketed as ’empathetic’!)

        Even more worthy of investigation, Hunter’s ‘business’ ventures abroad
        (Burisma, et al.)

        1. Balakirev

          Yes! this is why Hunter’s crack adventures are newsworthy
          (galling, Joe was marketed as ’empathetic’!)

          That’s clearly a misprint. They meant “pathetic.”

      2. Gawr Gura

        It’s always morally correct to want to see the spawn of the rich and powerful punished, by any means necessary.

        1. flora

          tsk. that’s a strawman argument. the question is criminal or borderline criminal activity protected and excused by a person’s powerful connections where less well protected person would certainly face charges.

          Why haven’t we seen Epstein’s list of johns?

          1. Screwball

            Great question, and it didn’t go unnoticed by me (and many others) how the Maxwell trial was carried out in such a way to do nothing but protect the Johns.

            Laws are only for us serfs.

          2. MT_Wild

            I want to see Hunter fully investigated and Epstein’s little black book.

            But I’ll take what I can get.

    4. LawnDart

      It ain’t a crime unless you’re a poor, then the system will squeeze every nickle it can out of your hide:

      Inside the ‘school’ for men caught paying for sex

      Police in Texas and across the US regularly conduct operations to catch men seeking sex work. Programs bankrolled by evangelical churches promise to change them

      Something tells me Hunter won’t become an alumn.

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      It’s all about the hypocrisy. As mentioned, Joe’s own policies and beliefs would nail his kid to the wall, were he not his kid. And were hunter not white, rich and connected, he’d have been in the slammer long ago. Add to that the fact that if his last name was Trump, his antics would have been a 24-7 news cycle to themselves, and that’s the only reason I care.

      Yeah, it’s a distraction. I’m still much more interested in all of his and “The Big Guy’s” business dealings that keep getting swept under the rug. And of course they should be investigating Epstein’s little black book. (And someone please explain to me how Maxwell got ten years less than R. Kelly…aside from the obvious.) But I am still not convinced anything will come of this like all the other times. The tittering gossip as all we plebes are allowed to have anymore. Nothing will fundamentally change, but it gives the meme makers something to do.

  10. Wukchumni

    My frequent hiking buddies are a French ex-pat couple who’ve been living in Visalia for about a dozen years now, and he always jokes about seeing a giraffe in the Sierra on our walks, and if you look at the Drought Monitor, there is very clearly a giraffe looming over Cali, Oregon and Nevada now…

      1. Wukchumni

        Been making hike while the Sun shines as its not a matter of when it’s a matter of how a fire pollutes the air and forces me into the great indoors.

        We’re not really affected so much here from the Yosemite fire which isn’t that big in the scheme of things as far as smoke producing, but its a sad start to the summer, and there is no natural source for the ignition on a cloudless day, meaning a human bean done it.

        Tomorrow’s hike is a fun one where I connect with 25 year olds I can in a way I could never do in the city, our common bond being bounding in the wilderness.

        They’re mostly from the midwest and work at the Silver City Resort in Mineral King, and are so full of vim and vigor, marching off into the Sisyphus Alps where you roll up a 3,500 foot hill to climb Vandever Peak in a 15 mile dayhike only to lose it all on the way down. I’ll try and keep up, but I have an advantage in that its mostly off-trail and I know the way, ha ha ho ho hee hee.

        There’s a reason the Mosquito Lakes got that moniker as there are oh so many squadrons of them stationed there, along with the Mineral Lakes which is also mossie terra firma.

        Thats not gonna stop us from our appointed rounds and this is where a headnet comes in so handy in keeping them away and saving face by not swallowing protein. This time last year I had hundreds on me for miles and more coming in what appeared to be staggered V-Pack formations but they weren’t biting, it was as if they didn’t know how, but it doesn’t matter with me as apparently I signed a deal with diablo in my dreams and I haven’t had a mosquito bite in over a decade.

        The 2nd Mosquito Lake is a real beauty, a Kodak moment:

      1. Wukchumni

        You gravitate to the fruit when you’re in a French-owned multi national firm that does automated fruit sorting, and they grow a bit in Godzone.

        She’s from Brittany-he’s from Marseilles and she calls him ‘my gangster…’

        1. The Rev Kev

          Marseilles always did have a bit of a reputation. Sort of like the Chicago of France.

  11. amechania

    I had a post about death and how I answered the phone in spanish two months ago and no more robots called me.

    They ask me to press 1 for english. Dont.

    Anybody else have their tv updating for 15 plus minutes today?

    Always a pleasure.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Russia shuts down Nord Stream gas pipeline for repairs”

    With the pipeline shut down for repairs, it has seemed to concentrated the minds of the leaders of the EU as to where their policies are leading them. But I have no doubt that the Russians will turn on the gas later this month as scheduled. They are sticklers for stuff like this. There was something that occurred to me earlier today so grab your tinfoil hats. In Germany they are already talking about shutting down schools due to lack of heating and are already setting up buildings as warming centers where people can go in and get warm. As for the gas that they have, it will be the government that will be deciding who does and who does not get any of it this winter. So in the German economy, they will be picking the winners and the losers with the losers having to shut down their businesses – and likely for good. So what if countries like Germany will let all this happen? The unheated homes and the unheated businesses I mean and just thump down on protestors.

    Conservatives go on about the Green Agenda and when you see what is happening to the Netherlands at the moment, you wonder if they may have a point. So what if countries use this “opportunity” to select how they want the future economy of their countries to look like? Which industries that they want shut down for good and outsourced. They will never have an opportunity like this again. And they can always blame Russia for this happening. As to what industries would get eliminated in countries like Germany, I have no idea though I suspect that a number of them would be industrial. Again, if not for the Netherlands deciding to cut a third of their meat production, putting a heap of small farms out of business and then using the land for building on, I would never have thought of my suggested scenario but who knows what else those leaders are thinking what would be a good idea.

    1. ChuckyChubber

      It all boils down to whether you believe there is an imminent threat to life on earth from climate change, or not.

      If you don’t believe it, then the position of the conservatives you mention makes perect sense. If you do, then that position seems psychopathic.

      I am not able to gather and evaluate my own data on a meaningful scale, so I have to take other people’s word for it all. From what I can gather, it seems quite probable the threat is real.

      What do you think?

    2. liam

      I don’t know how the Dutch government are going about it TRK but they are not wrong in needing to do something. IIRC the trigger for their action was a court case(s) taken by environmentalists regarding climate change in general, and nitrogen in particular, of which the government lost. It was a court case celebrated by many as finally a national court was saying that the rhetoric of the state had to be matched in its deeds, and that we cannot push the costs out onto our children.

      I’ve read the talking point about doing this during a food crisis. The world cannot be fed the western diet. Period. Equally, you cannot solve a food crisis with meat. The Netherlands is the size of a postage stamp. The only reason they’re as productive as they are is because of the inputs they put into the system. And the outputs are immensely polluting. What’s going on in Holland is not what a lot of people seem to think.

      Livestock numbers per EU country:

      European countries by area:

      1. Lex

        Indeed. And measures must be taken to reduce our climate impact. Where it gets weird is that our “leadership” doesn’t appear to have a plan to manage downstream effects of their decisions. I don’t doubt that the Dutch agricultural sector needs reform to be environmentally sustainable. I also don’t follow Dutch politics so I’m relatively ignorant of all the details. But I still think it’s safe to assume that the Dutch government abided by the court ruling without a medium or long term plan.

        This is like Biden getting all juiced up to sanction Russia back to the Stone Age without have a second thought about how it would affect the average American. I’m beginning to think that western leadership really does believe gasoline arrives magically via pumps and sausages magically appear on European supermarket shelves. Maybe they are that dumb? They obviously refuse to cope with reality, especially the reality of their decisions.

  13. timotheus

    My father also talked about walking (from home in West Harlem) over to the Polo Grounds with his friends to watch Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. I think he said it cost 10 cents to get in. The subway cost a nickel, but they preferred to save that. The left and right fields were unusually short, which helped Ruth set all those homer records.

    1. Wukchumni

      About 35 years ago we had a roach coach come by my line of work with Murph in charge and his girl Viernes cooking up a storm. Murphy was close to 70 and grew up in Detroit and told me he most certainly had the record for going to games after the 7th inning, as that’s when Tiger Stadium opened the gates to Great Depression era kids & adults with no money.

      He related one time that he had an autograph book, and I eagerly asked him to bring it the next time we do lunch, which he RSVP’d to on the spot.

      It was a tiny autograph book, maybe 4×6 inches and all business-as he told me the players whose autographs he got, seemed to appreciate the feel in their hands, the right size.

      It was obviously loaded with Tiger players * recognizable stares of the era and the autographs were on either side of the page, and it became obvious that maybe 20% of the players were illiterate if one were to judge by their John Henry, but who am I to reach a verdict?

      Maybe there was 150 signatures…

      The ne plus ultra of nom doublooms was Lou Gehrig. He told me Babe Ruth was a hard get who never signed nothing.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Unlike the overwhelming majority of baseball players in that era, many of whom were illiterate – the short stories of Ring Lardner give some sense of the period – Lou Gehrig was a college boy, and went to Colombia.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      If they saw Gehrig and Ruth together there, those were World Series games.

      1. voteforno6

        It would’ve been either separate World Series, as those two teams didn’t play each other when both Ruth and Gehrig were on the Yankees, or more likely, some exhibition games.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      If I remember correctly, the right field fence in the original Yankee Stadium was set at 203 feet from home plate, to help The Bambino set those records.

    4. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I can see the Ebbets Field Apartments out of windows on the back side of my house. The complex was built after the Dodgers decamped to LA. I walked by them once with my Dad, and he told me he’d once had a tryout there.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Dodger Stadium of my youth was such a clean edifice with really no advertising to speak of as it was once considered gauche, and came to be by eminent domaining Chavez Ravine as in raus! Mexican-Americans, so there’s that.

        But that all was water under the bridge over the LA River which they cemented over to make sure all of the largess drained out to the ocean and wasn’t kept for human use.

        Daddy-o was in the stock business having gotten his feet wet in the penny stock capital of the the then known world in the 1950’s-the mile high city of Denver.

        Really Single-A ball that, and he figured he could play AAA ball and moved the family to LA and the Pacific Stock Exchange, now that was a market!

        So the firm he worked at had had Peter O’Malley as one of the higher ups, and he was the son of the owner of the Dodgers, so mom related to me that we got dugout seats sometimes at games where in theory I watched Koufax pitch, Wills steal and Drysdale mow em’ down, but a ducat is wasted on a toddler as far as them remembering anything, ha ha

        1. Lee

          One of my earliest, literally knee high toddler memories, also set in the city of angels, is of wandering around in a big room where men sat at round tables smoking, downing booze, uttering occasional words and doing something with their hands. I would come to know later that I had been toddling around in an illegal poker den run by my mom and pop for the Dragna family.

    5. Leroy R

      I’m so old school that I find things like a Yankees vs. Pirates matchup disturbing (American League against National League). Designated hitter? Fuhgeddaboutit… the pitcher batting imposed a strategic kink at the end of a game oftentimes. My father took me to one of the last games played at the Polo Grounds, a Mets game in 1963 as I recall, when Jim Hickman (not a pitcher) hit a grand slam to win the game in the 9th inning.
      There may not be players of the caliber of the greatest from the past, but I have noticed one player who stands out: Shohei Otani (Japanese, needs an interpreter when the manager comes out to the mound to talk) is both a first-rate starting pitcher and is the designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, a position for the best hitter on the team. I think he is one player, right now, who can be classed with the former greats. Otani will appear in next week’s All-Star Game as a designated hitter *and* pitcher for the American League. Watching him at bat is very interesting, with his rituals making me wonder if he considers his bat to be a Samurai sword. When he pitches, there are lots of swings and misses; it’s worth looking for an Angels game when he’s pitching.

      1. juno mas

        While Ohtani has ways to go to match the Babe’s homer count, he is far superior to Ruth as a pitcher.

        Ohtani is a supreme athlete. Watch his stride and glide running the bases– at 6’5″ he’s nearly as fast as Mike Trout (6’0″). And when he uncoils that frame in striking the pitch it goes much farther than Ruth ever hit a ball.

    6. Lexx

      I’m winding up watching Season 2 of ‘Boardwalk Empire’, and boggle that once upon a time people walked around with nickels in their pockets (not all quarters… nickels!), and that paid their way for this and that throughout the day. Yes yes, low wages and low cost of living, but still… nickels! Now it’s pretty much ‘foldin’ money’.

  14. Alex Morfesis

    Babe Ruth and civil rights…six weeks in April…the sport of baseball made a huge mistake in bringing in an absolute racist to be the commissioner and one of the first things he tried to do was prevent white baseball players from barnstorming and playing in front of black crowds and against black ballplayers. Babe was having none of it…he often insisted he made more money off season and he looked forward to the day Ty Cobb would retire and the possibility of playing with the league rube foster created would come to pass. He knew it was not only right, but good for baseball…the commish would have none of it and insisted Babe and “His” Yankee All-stars cease and desist…he did cease and desist… playing for the Yankees…the commissioner suspended him and another player for the month of April…and when May came around Babe was nowhere to be found… eventually baseball blinked and Babe was required to no longer use the Yankees name off-season…one of the reasons the Babe was never allowed to manage a team…lost to history as much is….

    1. voteforno6

      Not just the Babe.

      Apparently when John McGraw died, his wife found a list of all the black players that he had wanted to sign over the years.

  15. Ignacio

    RE: Faroe Islands sets quota of 500 dolphins to be killed in controversial annual whale hunt CNN (The Rev Kev)
    Something that is omitted in the article is that dolphin and whale hunting is also the hunting of fishermen competitors and IMNSHO it is really as fishermen see it. This is done in much higher numbers in Japan also.

    1. Randy

      The link is to the Cornell Lab article, it just doesn’t look quite like I wanted it to. LOL.

  16. Robert Hahl

    re: Education Doesn’t Work

    I realized this in seventh grade when trying to find anyone who had learned to speak French in an American classroom. I never did, all through high school. I concluded this was a deliberate program to convince Americans that they are not good at learning languages.

    1. Harold

      There is something amiss with this sentence: “But in thousands of years of education humanity has discovered no replicable and reliable means of taking kids from one educational percentile and raising them up into another.”

      I am not sure that for thousands of years: “taking kids from one educational percentile and raising them up into another” — is how education has been defined for centuries. What are we talking about here?

      1. jasonv

        Yes, I thought that was an odd statement. In general, I think he means if you have 100 kids in school and 25 are in the bottom quarter, there is no way to get those kids to the middle or the top in terms of comparative performance, since the other 75 kids will keep doing what they’re doing at the same rate and stay ahead. Of course, there will be some exceptions. Which means worrying about achievement gaps is not as useful as making sure achievement is going up in absolute terms.

        Also, at the end he points out that people end up in low wage jobs like elder care and that perhaps those jobs should pay better instead of telling people “learn to code” or “should have studied more.”

        1. Harold

          Perhaps we should be measuring how much individuals have learned by comparing them to themselves and not by comparing them to the very top tier.

          As they used to say, isn’t going from a D to a C just as important, if not more so than, going from a B to an A (provided improvement continues in that direction, of course), if excellence in taking commercially published tests is the goal. Not sure it should be, to tell the truth.

        2. NN Cassandra

          The problem I have with his argument is that, as he mentions, there actually are big improvements in education, but they are over time and he calls it “absolute performance”. Today’s kids from bottom quarter are doing better than bottom quarter kids from 100 years ago. And if we discount possibility this is due to human race rapidly developing some beneficial genetic mutations, then it must be due to environment.

          In fact that there could be overall ongoing improvement and yet the relative gaps just keep staying the same strongly suggest to me there is something that maintains them, otherwise I can’t imagine how such synchronization could happen “naturally”.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘Today’s kids from bottom quarter are doing better than bottom quarter kids from 100 years ago.’

            I might dispute that. Robert Heinlein wrote how he had the school text books that his father used in school in 19th century Mississippi and from what he said, the sort of material that they studied was on par with what was studied in a present-day advanced university course (a 1960s University course I will add here). And this was just a one room class with kids from different grads. They studied world history and not just European history, foreign languages like Greek and Latin, geography of the world, etc. This in a time with mud roads remember. But schools have been deliberately dumbed down over the past century and is probably a reason why history studies have been pushed aside for “practical” STEM courses.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Taking German in high school and German literature in college did lead directly to me wanting to work in Germany (and eventually settle here for good). But it’s true, that kind of intellectual curiosity (?, or whatever it was on my part) is really the exception.

  17. digi_owl

    All that security theater, only for a telco network to be taken down by a fat fingered router config.

    And now there is bellyaching about not being able to boot Linux of a new Thinkpad with secure boot enabled out of the box, because it is configured to not accept third party keys by default. But nobody is asking why it needs to be “secure” like that in the first place. 99% of the population is not under a persistent threat from the TLAs, no matter how much the posturing def con dumb hats says otherwise.

  18. William Beyer

    Michael Hudson rambles less than usual in today’s piece, but his distilled economic message may be the shortest, and best, statement on current economic reality in this world.

    1. flora

      Shortages can be very, very profitable, especially so for monopoly and near-monopoly corporations.

      1. Wukchumni

        You ‘can’ see where this is heading, the hoi polloi was urged to go out and get as armed and dangerous as they possibly could, but were fine being just in time with nourishment, and slowly the line between the have lunches and and have not lunches lurches and anybody that was prudent and prepared, gets their goods stolen at gunpoint.

        Its easy to fault Atlas Shrugged but there are some quite prescient passages, this one seems dead-on, from 1957 no less!

        In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law, men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims—then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

        1. LifelongLib

          Except that she would have thought Bill Gates was a creator and that a breakfast program for poor school kids was looting.

          1. flora

            In the Progressive Era and during the New Deal the “special interests” were understood to mean the monopolists, the railroad barons, the Wall St financiers. The bad guys who caused misery on Main Street and brought on the Great Depression.

            After 1950 or so, the GOP and big business lost no time declaring the real special interests were the Unions, teachers, miners, people on public assistance. They were good at stealing the moral clams of the once exploited to claim their own “exploited” status.

            I’m happy to take Rand’s arguments to bolster the claims of the now again exploited Main St shops and employees who are being overworked and underpaid by monopolies and financiers on Wall St. – wage theft. Unfair competitive advantage – market place theft. Unchecked financial frauds – monetary theft.

            1. flora

              An example of one of today’s special financial interests are the Wall St banks and subprime lenders:

              In the subprime mortgage industry, bankers handed out iffy loans like candy at a parade because such loans meant revenue and, hence, bonuses for executives in the here-and-now.

              -Thomas Frank

              People lost their homes. That’s either fraud or theft or both, imo. No one in the C-suites went to jail. Hell, they got even richer. I’m good with turning Rand’s argument against them.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “White House: Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia”

    So what is Biden going to do about Russia and Iran doing this? Sanction them? With Biden trying to get a coalition together to eventually attack Iran, Russia may now give Iran some serious upgrades. Maybe swap their S-300s for S-400s? With the nuclear deal all but dead due to Washington’s intransigence, Iran is making alternate arrangements and I see that Iran is set to become a member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year and is also applying to join the BRICS group. I guess that joining the west has lost its luster-—uzbekistans-foreign-ministry-1097197285.html

  20. upstater

    Nicobar, the Wire…

    What a depressing, disgusting and disturbing story. An international Airport, golf course and a container transshipment port! Minimal involvement of the indigenous people. This is played over and over again. People and the environment be damned.

    Thank you JLS. Hoping you toss in interesting links and an occasional guest posting. I’ll miss the holiday food essays and the wonderful comments they initiate.

  21. jr

    Just in case you’ve had too much good news to read today: BA.5 can reinfect you within a month of an infection.

    I’m mentally plugging this into that long COVID frequency chart that was posted a day or so back and it’s not looking pretty. Masking is rare around here and people are still talking about being safe because they are vaxxed or have had it already. Perhaps this will be the wake up call people need to take COVID seriously? I’m not counting on it. Bet long on stupid.

  22. Jon Cloke

    I just literally flicked over BBC News a minute ago and there was Michael Gove, looking startled.

    The only words I heard were the interviewer saying “Are you a snake?”

    Also, watch Suella Braverman on Channel 4 trying to explain why the ERG, a hard-core private anti-EU group which won’t reveal its’ members, gets paid public money… but still won’t tell us who the members are!

    What interesting times we live in.

  23. Tom Stone

    A few small arms from Ukraine are reportedly showing up on the dark web, a $2,400 package deal
    gets you one brand new M4 Carbine with Suppressor, 10 magazines and an ACOG holographic sight.
    A nice package for a good price, I’ll have to head over to ARES to see what’s showing up on the market in the way of crew served weapons.
    BTW the head of procurement for Ukraine really looks the part, it’s got to be one of the most profitable jobs in the Zelensky Administraion.

    1. Polar Socialist

      There’s a rumor that Ukrainians even sold one M142 HIMARS launcher for $880,000. To Russians. People on the Internets seem to find that plausible, but would prefer to see photos of that and the French CAESAR howitsers on the Uralvagonzavod front yard.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Both hilarious and expected. You should go grab yourself a M777 howitzer off the dark web while you can. Be the only person on your block with one. Then, in no time at all, be the only person on your block. :)

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you want one you had better hurry. I just saw footage of how the Russian have nabbed one – though it looks banged up. Apparently they are getting a reputation for breaking down or being easily damaged by shrapnel in combat. Meanwhile…

        ‘Javelins Selling Like Hotcakes On Albanian Blackmarket – Thanks Joe!’

        “The video shows the process of reselling Western aid, filmed on a hidden camera. The cycle is simple: after being delivered to Ukraine, the weapon goes not to the front, but to a deal with the buyer, and then anywhere – anywhere in the world through the black market. The video features Swedish-British NLAW MANPADS and American Javelin ATGMs. And the numbers on the car are Albanian, which is not surprising. During the Yugoslav wars, Albania formed a very developed market for the trade in “black” weapons. Half the country was doing this (no offense to the Albanians), and the other half was doing drugs.” (1:25 mins)

        I’m shocked, shocked!

  24. Lexx

    ‘The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards’

    Oof! Can you imagine just for moment, that you’re an amateur and you’ve just snapped that beauty of the Western Grebe? I hope the photographer retains the copyright to that image… it’s gorgeous and worth a fortune.

  25. Roland

    A hard material-based currency does have the one advantage that it cannot be created at will, in any quantity, by certain market participants.

    Whether that advantage of a hard material currency is worth its disadvantages is a separate discussion.

    It’s not hard to understand why those who tire of misgovernment might prefer to embrace the constraints imposed by something like gold, even if only for a period of time. It could be a corrective to the endless expansion, demands, and encroachments of the current regime, whose financial speculators and parasitic PMC have burgeoned with fiat money.

    Remember, too, that tremendous advances in terms of real living standards and social equality were accomplished under the supposed austerity of Bretton Woods.

    Really, money supply should be regarded as a narrowly technical matter, and secondary. The fundamental and primary matter is the political will to secure the general welfare. You could do socialism under a strict gold standard, or crush faces forever under MMT. What matters is the politics.

    You’re never going to wonk your way to socialism.

    1. Skippy

      You’ll find after as much time as I have spent digging and talking to a wide spectrum of currency sorts over a long time that it boils down to two camps – hard/sound and functional monetary systems. The distinction between the two is galaxies apart as the hard/sound money sorts seek a non political solution to the human dilemma so they can still have their ideological freedom and liberty pony cart free markets organizing humanity e.g. not really keen on this thing some call social democracy and economic rights ….

      On the other hand the functional currency camp firstly describes the actual workings of the monetary system rather than posit ideological preferences, its potential, as to frame the debate around what – is – on offer from a political solution if their is the will.

      Hard never fixed anything and we have endless wars and depressions too prove it, post going off hard some thought the new currency paradigm was better administrated in setting up the world to suit the same ideological perspective of the old hard/sound system, but, without the epic busts that would then lead the unwashed to consider other alternative ideological social constructs.

      The big kicker in all this is contra to the past our environment is now rapidly changing.

      1. Wukchumni

        I could see surface water being a much more liquid commodity to hold for long term investment as the world dries out, but admittedly you can only fit so much in a safe deposit box.

        Hard money population peaked @ 2 billion in the world, er humans that is. Kind of a self regulator in that regard, it hit a billion in 1800

        Could that functional money camp have been the reason for such a concentration of us now, zeroing in on 8* Billion.

        * Good news in Chinese numerology, the luckiest number of them all!

        1. Skippy

          Before currency the human population expanded and almost went extinct many times, which kinda/sorta makes such deductive reverse engineered opinions seem like a goal seeking practitioner bias affair Wuk.

          My views on either is the quality of contracts matters more than whatever is used to satisfy the contract, which then amounts to whatever dominate social imperative at the time drives the human agenda. Hence regardless of whichever system is used its outcome is baked in way before currency is involved.

          I think YS recent comment on financial economics from Econned and how minds are guided, dominate theory refuted, but ignored, has more too do with outcomes than what currency system is used. Especially in light of the Nobel Prize post IMO e.g. social engineering proceeds everything else – see neoliberalism and the currant flap with Russia and China.

  26. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    It was a sultry day back in the world in SoCal and I thought i’d treat the platoon to a slurpee on 7/11 when they were on the house, so we marched off in cadence to ‘I don’t know but i’ve been told-brain freeze never gets old!’ and had barely entered the door of a 7-11 when a firefight started and we set up a perimeter near the horoscopes and charcoal briquettes just on the other side of the rolling hot dog machine and waited for our chance to hopefully get a cherry one, but a coca-cola would suffice.

  27. poopinator

    The article on Columbo did a great job putting into words the appeal of the show. I never gave it too much thought, but this little snippet was perfect:

    “He’s perfect. There’s nothing more satisfying than when his blue-collar identity or working-class accent are underestimated by a snobbish culprit. When Columbo takes somebody in, it often feels like a pushback against the tyranny of the upper-crust.”

    A true detective of the people.

    1. WendyS

      I showed the first episode to my 19 year old daughter and she absolutely loved it.

      We have been watching all the rest of them.

  28. caucus99percenter

    The link for “A First Year of Discovery – Inference” is bad — it’s a duplicate of the BBC link below it.

  29. Irrational

    Re. ” Swedish tweet”: I read it as saying Sweden is OK with the use of nuclear weapons, not the stationing on the territory. However, as an expat Dane I am less conversant in Swedish than those, who never left Denmark, so I could be wrong. Arguably also not much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Indeed the Swedish defense minister merely said “Sweden accepts NATO’s approach to security and defense, including the crucial role of nuclear weapons.”

      In other words, Sweden is now OK with the USA burning the whole globe to defend Sweden. It’s the era of politicians don’t listening to themselves anymore, me thinks.

    2. Jesper

      The full letter of application:
      I am not quite sure why it was decided to include the phrase of: “essential role of nuclear weapons”, was it required or was it added by someone?
      But then again I consider the Swedish foreign minister to be barely a tool. Possibly the position as foreign minister was not seen as important in the belief that all important foreign policy dealings would go through the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

      1. Polar Socialist

        all important foreign policy dealings would go through the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs

        Unfortunately, yes. And what an utterly useless nitwit Borrell turned out to be. Wait, I’ll take that back – he turned out to be an utterly damaging nitwit.

        I’m still wondering that he’s holding his office after the most serious failure of European foreign policy since the… sorry, I got nothing. Unless the aim actually was to have a “kinetic” war in Europe and causing untold harm to world economy, political unrest and a possible global famine.

  30. caucus99percenter

    One wonders if the assassination of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh in 2003 didn’t in fact have a deeper background than the “just a lone nut with a knife” explanation.

    Maybe some state actor somewhere intended the assassination to send a message in order to change Sweden’s foreign policy, and the shift we’re seeing today is the long-range end result? Is that too foily?

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