Links 1/25/2023

Earth’s inner core may have ‘paused’ its rotation and reversed, new study suggests The Hill. See, there’s your problem.

Miami Man Injured by Falling Iguana During Outdoor Yoga Class Miami New Times

Climate

Novel adaptation for existing blast furnaces could reduce steelmaking emissions by 90% (press release) University of Birmingham (Ignacio).

Carbon capture nets 2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year — but it’s not enough Nature

Giant Wind Turbines Keep Mysteriously Falling Over. This Shouldn’t Be Happening. Popular Mechanics

‘Death by a thousand clearcuts’: Canada’s deep-snow caribou are vanishing The Narwhale

Feds deny emergency call to slow ships, ease whale strikes AP

Water

Oklahoma City sues oil company for stealing water intended for emergency drought relief KOSU

Milborne St Andrew’s rivers of sewage shouldn’t become water company ‘witch hunt’ Dorset Lives. Public health advocates keep making jokes about John Snow leaving the pump handle on, so people can make their own “personal risk assessments” about cholera, but maybe the joke will be on them? And us?

#COVID19

FDA emails show how vaccine leader questioned ‘hyper-accelerated’ 2021 review of Pfizer shot Endpoints News

“Died Suddenly” Is Anti-Vaxxers’ New Favorite Phrase Slate

China?

Frontline Wuhan: the first city struck by Covid-19 learns its lessons South China Morning Post. Then and now:

China’s Economic Model Is in Crisis (and Xi Knows It) (interview) Michael Pettis, New York Magazine

“The Byzantine Republic” and the Chinese Empire: Some similarities? Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality and More

Biden administration has raised concerns with China about companies selling aid to Russia CBS

Cold Controls Phenomenal World

Japan’s factory activity extends declines for third straight month – PMI Reuters

India

Limit vaccinations to at-risk population, declare end of the pandemic, says expert task force The Economic Times

Amid China scare, Covid vaccination picks up in India: Here is what you need to know Indian Express

Biden sends top officials to try to win over African nations long-wooed by China and Russia CBS

Syraqistan

Media help launder US military PR on joint drills with Israel Responsible Statecraft

Top pro-Israel Democrat Warns Netanyahu Government ‘Mistakes’ Could Erode U.S. Support Haaretz

European Disunion

Brussels takes aim at crypto in sweeping new banking overhaul FT

Strong clan loyalty, locals, helped mafia boss Messina Denaro stay hidden Reuters

New Not-So-Cold War

Germany to send Leopard tanks to Kyiv, allow others to do so – sources Reuters

U.S. Poised to Provide Abrams Tanks to Ukraine WSJ. Commentary:

Many point out that Ukraine will need training to drive M1s and Leopards. But NATO members (US, Polish, German) drivers are already trained. So, move in the tanks, with boots on the ground to follow? Further:

So, the battlefield requirement for these heavy tanks — assuming they arrive after the ground has thawed — would be good roads and/or good rail, plus any other terrain requirements for a big tank thrust. Does seem rather like telegraphing one’s punch, and Russia will have plenty of time to game this out.

The M1 Abrams Is the Right Tank for the Job in Ukraine Foreign Policy. “Ukraine’s path to reclaiming its territorial sovereignty lies in leveraging machines rather than sacrificing men. This requires help from abroad.” Now they tell us!

Will M1 Abrams And Leopard 2 Tanks Win The War For Ukraine? 1945

* * *

Why Russia’s war in Ukraine today is so different from a year ago The Conversation

Baldfellas: How Belarus’s Failed Regime-Change Movement Shaped Putin’s War Plan Mark Ames, The Exiled. We could, as we used to say, “have discussion” about Putin’s initial thrust toward Kiev from Belarus, but that it’s the result of Color Revolution blowback… That’s interesting.

Invoking the Kosovo Precedent: Can we Dismiss the Russian Argument? Fletcher Forum of World Affairs

* * *

“Several Ukrainian Officials Are Fired as Corruption Scandal Balloons” Gilbert Doctorow

What really happened during those NATO meetings last week? Responsible Statecraft

South of the Border

Peru protests will continue: Interior Minister Al Mayadeen

Brazil’s Lula fires army chief in wake of pro-Bolsonaro riots Al Jazeera

Omitting the Evidence: What the IMF Gets Wrong about Venezuela CEPR

U.S. raises ‘grave concerns’ over Mexico’s anti-GMO farm policies Reuters

Biden Administration

Justice Dept. sues Google over digital advertising dominance AP

Janet Yellen Dismisses Minting $1 Trillion Coin to Avoid Default WSJ

A Brief History of the Last Reigning Music Monopoly, from CCR to Travis Scott and Taylor Swift Moe Tkacik

Supply Chain

Shipping hurt by weak demand for Chinese goods FT

New study: 96% of companies move manufacturing closer to home amid supply chain disruptions Container News

The Economic Secret Hidden in a Tiny, Discontinued Pasta The Bulwark

Tech

League of Legends Source Code Hacked, Riot Refuses To Pay Blackmail Kotaku

Generative AI: how will the new era of machine learning affect you? FT

Our Famously Free Press

Murdoch scraps merger of Fox and News Corp after investor pushback FT

Pfizer Pays To Change The Story The Lever

Police State Watch

Inside the Underground Economy of Solitary Confinement The Marshall Project

Healthcare

Dollar General pilots mobile clinics as it targets a bigger presence in healthcare Fierce Pharma (Petal).

Class Warfare

1 big thing: Tipping fatigue Axios

Why and How Class Still Matters Jacobin

The Designer Economy NOEMA

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

173 comments

  1. zagonostra

    >“Died Suddenly” Is Anti-Vaxxers’ New Favorite Phrase – Slate

    Slate is a little behind new trends, the new favorite catch phrase is “s/he had a coincidence.”

    I’m much less fearful of the impact of “anti-vaxxers” than what Slate is suggesting we do. Interesting that they have clocked the speed of “false” information relative to “true”, gives the theory of relativity a whole new meaning. And of course we don’t have enough snooping on private individuals, we certainly need more “surveillance systems.”

    There have been studies that false information travels six times faster than true information on social media….We need to treat misinformation/disinformation as a public health concern. We need surveillance systems, prevention strategies, interventions.

    Reply
    1. SittingStill

      A recent video by Dr John Campbell (one of the few social media voices I trust on Covid matters) de-legitimizes the premise of the “Died Suddenly” Slate article by detailing serious flaws in the underlying vaxed vs un-vaxed UK data. He explains why this dataset can’t possibly support any conclusions regarding the question of vaccine efficacy vs. harm.

      By publishing this, Slate just plummeted in my estimation as a source of well considered opinions (It was not terribly high to begin with). It totally ignores one of the biggest issue of all: What is behind elevated all-cause mortality levels? Could be long term effects of Covid. I have not dismissed the possibility of vaccines being responsible either. Or, maybe it could be both? Regardless, shame on Slate and the author of this piece.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Was Slate ever good?

        And perhaps I’m not up to date but one theme of the skeptics has always been that the PCR test is both unreliable and inconsistently administered. Even if one doesn’t agree it’s no excuse for dogmatic certainty in the other direction. If Wikipedia can be considered mostly objective here’s what their article says

        Individual jurisdictions have adopted varied testing protocols, including whom to test, how often to test, analysis protocols, sample collection and the uses of test results. This variation has likely significantly impacted reported statistics, including case and test numbers, case fatality rates and case demographics

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_testing

        Reply
      2. Heidi's Walker

        First the author states that the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Sounds fishy right off the bat.
        Secondly, “benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly around mortality, continue to greatly outweigh the risks.” The Hippocratic Oath requires that doctors do no harm. Giving this experimental vaccine to healthy people without comorbidities to COVID-19 violates this oath. A healthy person has a negligible risk of being harmed by COVID-19. As admitted by Jetelina there are risks to taking the vaccine. IMHO it would be malfeasance for a doctor to recommend this experimental vaccine to a healthy person.
        Thirdly, when the data scientists look at the numbers they look at healthy and unhealthy recipients of the vaccine at the same time. To include healthy people with zero risk of death will skew the numbers making the vaccine appear to be more effective than it really is. The healthy people’s immune system is the dominating factor in their wellnes not the experimental vaccine. Please show me a study that looks at only those WITH comorbidities, risk of serious illness due to COVID and I might be convinced.
        The interviewee also contends that the efficacy of the vaccine is readily apparent on a graph. Any graph can be manipulated to appear to show whatever conclusion the grapher would like to advance. This is a worthless interview.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          Look at any graph of deaths from any highly vaccinated country and point out the immediate reduction in deaths from these “safe and effective” vaccines.

          You wont’ see any. There might have been some value against the early variants, but they are totally ineffective against the newer ones, and apparently prevent your immune system from mounting a good effort against the new attack.

          Quote from a study linked here a few days ago
          “We were surprised to notice that increasing levels of boosters were linked to increased infections….”

          Reply
    2. Mikel

      And studies have shown that misinformation travels at the speed light in the MSM.

      The MSM are the main ones following social media around. Keeping the hype of the “tech” strong with stock prices – as much as possible.

      Remember when they couldn’t get enough of Twitter feeds scrolling on banners during news shows?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > in the MSM

        I think — to the extent that this distinction matters any more — state actors are even worse and more effective disinformation propagators than the MSM. Look at the damage CDC has done (and WHO, which if not a state actor proper, is funded by them, and even has treaty-making power). Or Fauci. Or Biden, Klain, Zeints. Or, for that matter, Xi.

        Reply
    3. pjay

      Yes. This is not an article that combats “disinformation” with the facts. Rather, this is a typical “debunking” exercise, meaning it attempts to silence anyone questioning the dominant narrative by associating them with “anti-vaxers” and “conspiracy theorists.” There are a number of legitimate questions raised by people who are neither concerning these specific vaccines. Despite what they claim to be doing, this type of article does not serve the cause of “truth” but rather contributes to continued polarization.

      Reply
    4. fresno dan

      Zag
      FDA emails show how vaccine leader questioned ‘hyper-accelerated’ 2021 review of Pfizer shot Endpoints News
      The FDA’s top vaccine official raised concerns that a sharply accelerated process to review and formally approve Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine would undermine public confidence in the shots, leading to a series of vigorous exchanges between her and the agency’s senior leaders.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          From the MedScape article:

          If accepted, the vaccine formula would be decided each June and Americans could start getting their annual COVID-19 shot in the fall, like your yearly flu shot.

          How convenient for us that SARS-CoV-2 evolves to escape vaccines on a schedule of our choosing!

          Reply
    5. Katniss Everdeen

      We have more evidence than any other vaccine or any other disease in the history of humans that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly around mortality, continue to greatly outweigh the risks. We’ve never had so much coordination or teamwork looking at one thing and it’s so clear.

      Anyone who makes such a ridiculously untrue statement should have her “epidemiologist” license immediately revoked.

      And just by the way, when millions of americans watch a 23-year-old professional football player keel over from a heart attack and need to be resuscitated for 9 minutes on the field while playing a game, it can’t be handwaved away as “misinformation,” “disinformation,” “lacking context” or “conspiracy theory.”

      Particularly not in such an unserious, dumbed-down interview as this.

      Reply
      1. Michael Sharkey

        I wonder if her funding colors her opinions?

        Katelyn Jetelina receives research funding from the NIH, CDC, DOJ, NIOSH, and several non-profit organizations. She sole founder, owner, and author of Your Local Epidemiologist newsletter.

        Reply
      2. Aumua

        Are you claiming that you know that Hamlin’s collapse on the field was related to the vaccine? How can you possibly know whether or not there is any connection whatsoever? I’m not saying there isn’t necessarily, but

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

        this guy collapsed on the field and died at 28 in 1971, long before covid vaccines, for example.

        Reply
    6. semper loquitur

      “We need to treat misinformation/disinformation as a public health concern. We need surveillance systems, prevention strategies, interventions.”

      Treating COVID this way too, that would be helpful.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        She must miss the days when Big Pharma corporations could just tell places like Twitter to censor all opinions that disagreed with their own.

        Reply
  2. Lexx

    ‘OKC sues oil company for stealing water intended for emergency drought relief’

    ‘Now, the water utilities trust is suing because they say Revolution built those lines anyway. According to the lawsuit, the company installed three and a half miles of foot-wide pipe along a trail in Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.’

    And Revolution did this on little cat feet, all on one moonless night, during a thunderstorm when there were no humans to bear witness of the crime being committed. The city knew and chose to look the other way. The first time I heard someone say ‘Better to ask for forgiveness, than ask for permission’, had been born and raised in Oklahoma. I can think of few states more in the pockets of oil and gas companies than that one.

    Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Oklahoma City sues oil company for stealing water intended for emergency drought relief’

    ‘The lawsuit requests that Revolution compensate the city for the alleged theft and pay punitive damages.’

    And that is exactly why it happened – and will happen again. There is only financial consequences which will probably be only a fraction of the damage that they caused. Here is how to stop it happening again. You send in a team of detectives to seize all company records including emails, invoices, etc. Then, when you have found the guilty parties, you send the police back in. They ask ‘Are you so-and-so? Please turn around.’ and then they slam handcuffs on them. They walk them through the corporate building as a lesson to junior managers and the like of what happens when you break the law. Those arrested go to trial and afterwards get sent to the slammer to share a cell with a person that they would ordinarily cross a street to avoid. Then next time if the same situation arises, people will know that they will actually face real world consequences and either refuse to do such deeds or demand those orders be written on paper by their higher ups to be given to them to keep. Geez, even George Bush sent people from Enron to prison for their misdeeds.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        That has been gamed out and as a result, such acts of “creative destruction” are now considered as “Acts of Domestic Terrorism” and punished appropriately.
        So, yes, do blow the pipelines up, but be prepared to defend yourself afterwards from maximum blowback.
        Someone the other day in comments mentioned the book by John Brunner, “Stand on Zanzibar” which I also recommend. His follow up book, “The Sheep Look Up” is an equally compelling evocation of a dystopia. A dystopia now visible all around us.
        Watch out for the shigawire booby traps!

        Reply
    1. Mildred Montana

      The Rev Kev, you don’t go far enough in your zeal for justice. Perp walks and prison still have, unfortunately, a certain “tough-guy” cachet to them and anyway, conditions in minimum-security for the wealthy are still pretty comfy.

      Therefore, in 𝘮𝘺 zeal for effective justice, I propose the revival of the Middle-Ages punishment of public humiliation. I imagine the pants-down paddling of a crooked executive in the town square, well-advertised and attended by thousands of gleeful spectators.

      Then—and here’s the modern twist on an old punishment—once the shaming is complete and has been duly recorded on many cameras, the videos will be posted to social media where they are sure to go viral and last forever. That criminal has received a life sentence of ignominy, and even his cronies will have great fun watching TikTok and laughing as his bared buttocks slowly redden under the ministrations of the paddler.

      And there’s the money saved on “housing” costs…I could go on…my mind grows delirious with visions of vengeance.

      Reply
        1. Screwball

          Josh Hawley introduced a stock trading ban bill called The Pelosi Act.

          Hawley on Tuesday introduced the Pelosi Act — or the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act — renewing a legislative push to curtail stock trading by lawmakers that has failed over the last few years.

          Pretty clever if you ask me, but I don’t expect it to go anywhere.

          Reply
          1. LawnDart

            I just saw that– freakin’ hilarious! It makes me almost like Hawley–

            Sen. Josh Hawley introduces ‘PELOSI Act’ to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

            Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wants to bar lawmakers and their spouses from owning and trading stocks while in office by proposing the ‘PELOSI Act.’

            The bill, whose title is “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act,” takes a dig at its namesake, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

            https://nypost.com/2023/01/25/josh-hawley-pitches-pelosi-act-to-ban-lawmakers-from-trading-stocks/

            Reply
            1. Mildred Montana

              Clever for sure. Interesting that an insider knows what a fellow insider is up to. These people are so sure of their impunity they feel no need to keep secrets.

              Reply
  4. Mikerw0

    Re: Ronzoni

    Growing up in the NYC suburbs, this was iconic. We could all quote their tagline.

    That said, this is important and underlies an important internal fault in shareholder (only) capitalism, which is the demeaning of skills required to actually do things and the stripping of assets. The same is happening in such diverse industries as auto repair, bicycle repair, etc.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Mikerw0
      The Economic Secret Hidden in a Tiny, Discontinued Pasta The Bulwark
      Well. This would not be the first time a seemingly simple manufactured product proved difficult to obtain. Several years ago, Apple suspended its effort to assemble iPhones and Mac Pros in America because it couldn’t reliably source some tiny screws. The tool and die landscape in the United States was reportedly so diminished that even a tech titan like Apple couldn’t easily commission these particular components reliably. How? It’s just a screw. But if you wish to make a screw, you must first invent the universe. Or, at least invent a full-dress tool-and-die manufacturing industry, one of whose outputs is a tiny screw.

      Because it isn’t just the die. It’s the tools and machines that make dies. And the tools and machines that make those machines. And the ecosystem of engineering knowhow and tacit knowledge that make all of it run smoothly and efficiently enough to be competitive.

      Financial journalist Eamonn Fingleton wrote, in his somewhat jingoistic protectionist manifesto In the Jaws of the Dragon, that when America loses a manufacturing sector to Asia, we’re not just losing the manufacturing plants. We’re also losing all of that accumulated knowledge embodied in the workers who maintained the derelict industry, and who now have no one to pass it on to. So it was, perhaps, that the American tool and die landscape simply couldn’t compete with that of southern China. This has always seemed to me the strongest of the arguments against unfettered free trade.
      ….
      It’s worth emphasizing that the key issue here was not obtaining any precision electronic components (the primary issue facing anybody attempting to make high-quality cassette players these days), but rather the basic metalworking involved in casting various parts. The barrier, in other words, was not complex, but simple—one that the industry had vaulted over already decades before, but discovered it could not jump so easily again, given the degradation of its shoes, the track, and the stadium in the intervening years.

      There’s something profoundly humbling about this. For all of the wealth we enjoy today, and for all of the technological progress we’ve made, some things simply require good old-fashioned labor and specialized knowledge. And those things are increasingly elusive, even as we are increasingly affluent.
      ====================================
      So I watch Court TV all the time, and every night there are contibutors from all around the country, and every night, there is some kind of communication snafu. Now, when I was a kid, the landline telephones worked perfectly – I can’t remember even one failure. Maybe we don’t need perfectly working phones. But what I mind is the dogma (i.e., the market) that everything works better and costs less, because its not true. The future is less truthful…

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Nifty excuse that, when Apple has shown itself willing, and increasingly capable, of bootstrapping whole factories in order to get just the right part for their products. That, or warehouse whole yearly outputs to ensure they have no shortages (also why they seem to keep outdated models on sale for years, in order to use up all that excess material).

        Reply
    2. Jeff W

      “We could all quote their tagline.”

      Ronzoni sono buoni. (“Ronzoni is so good.”) it was so well-known that, as a kid, I didn’t even think of it as Italian—it was, well, just a phrase that everyone knew the meaning of.

      Reply
  5. Lexx

    ‘1 Big Thing: Tipping Fatigue’

    I tip for services provided, period. No service, no tip, and handing me something over the counter doesn’t count, nor does just showing up for work. This is why I always have a little cash on hand. Unless you’re paying by card, it’s difficult to get one of those little coercing screens in front of the customer.

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      I agree, Lexx, with this addition. If I get bad service, which has only happened a couple of times, I leave a nickel just so the server doesn’t think I forgot the tip altogether.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      How about a place where there is no tipping but the staff are paid a higher wage so that they do not depend on tipping. That way they can actually concentrate on their jobs. There was a article linked here a few years ago about a restaurant that actually did that and some of the customers got very upset about it as it meant that they no longer had their ‘power’ over the waiters and waitresses – especially the later.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I remember being 19 the first time I went to NZ & Aussie and i’d read up on things, but was still kinda in a tipping mood despite it not even existing back then there (sadly it is making inroads down under now-eternal vigilance is a must, don’t let your waiters/waitresses be in charge of extorting 15% more just because they can!) and remember one episode in the 80’s where I was gonna be in NZ for many months and books were really expensive there, so I brought a suitcase worth among other items, and had 4 suitcases after clearing customs n Auckland, and the taxi driver really struggled with my goods, and after arriving at my destination, I felt at least a few bucks would be needed there, and the taxi driver practically berated me for my attempt, and to his credit, he let me off the hook by requesting a 20 Cent coin as a tip, I think mainly to save me from my embarrassment over the whole thing.

        And another thing, it wasn’t as if you got crappy service in restaurants under the no tip regime, it was no different than in the states, maybe better.

        Reply
      2. John Zelnicker

        I’ve read somewhere that several New York restaurants have tried higher wages and no tipping and have been very successful. I think they were mostly high-priced venues, so that may be a factor in whether ot not it works.

        Reply
      3. Stephen

        UK restaurants now typically add a set service charge that is called optional but you pay it. So you do not then give a discretionary tip.

        There was a furore some years ago that certain places were using it as a way to make up waiters pay to the minimum wage, or just keeping it. Which boils down to the same thing. I used always to check first and would pay it as a cash tip instead if there was any suspicion of that nonsense. My belief is that such behaviour has largely been cleaned up. A benefit is that the service charge is usually shared with the kitchen staff too.

        Of course, the restaurants could just include “service” in the price anyway! Whenever one discusses these practices with waiters they typically explain that after tax and after “sharing” then the real impact of such a service charge on their wages is not exactly game changing. That may be different in the US if everyone tips 15% that the waiter keeps, of course.

        Reply
    3. Questa Nota

      Tipping percentages started trending up long before Covid.

      One big reason for that was that restaurants figured out that they could guilt patrons into paying more so that they could pay less. Shift the cost away from the enterprise. And don’t ask any questions.

      Back in the day 12% was a standard tip, then 15% became a type of baseline. Now it is common to see some coerced recommended tip range starting at 18% and then going up as far as 25%.

      By the way, check that calculation base, too. People in sales tax states often paid tips on the pre-tax amount. Now you are expected to accept whatever amount lines up with their recommended percentage, without looking too closely. The worst are those little payment kiosk devices cluttering up your table and distracting from the meal. They might loosely follow a post-tax base but don’t count on it. Perhaps that is a sign of the times when fewer people care to do math in their heads?

      I always tip more for breakfast, on those occasions when I go out for that meal. I figure that someone who got up early to help me start the day merits more consideration.

      Reply
      1. Lexx

        Those kiosks are what killed the local Outback Steakhouse, or so I’d like to think and if so, the Red Robin can’t be far behind. They have not been popular here.

        Experienced breakfast cooks are worth their weight in gold doubloons. Breakfast is a simple meal, where timing in the kitchen is everything, and some empathy for the high degree of individuality in every order. Under cook my eggs and I’ll be deeply unhappy. I’m going to send them back (if/when I can flag down a waitperson) and that means my husband will have finished his meal by the time my plate shows up again. Instead of enjoying a meal together, we’ll be sitting there watching the other one eat, cuz who wants cold eggs?

        I’ve had to cross two favorite breakfast joints off my list over eggs and timing. ‘Eggs’ because that restaurant doesn’t believe in microwaves, and ‘timing’ because they seem to have lost their stellar all-Latino kitchen staff and acquired a replacement of gigantic doofus-y looking white dudes who didn’t seem to comprehend the meaning of ‘medium rare’. If management is reluctant to pay those guys more, I could see why. It’s costing them customers.

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          Aren’t you afraid that annoying the kitchen staff by sending things back, will cause them to do something horrible to your food? I’m asking as someone whose second job, at age 15, was in the kitchen of a diner. Not that I or anyone there did that (that I know of), but I could picture it happening.

          Reply
      2. Joe Renter

        Tipping. In restaurants there is front of house and back of house. Traditionally the back of house does not get tips in my experience. Which can create animosity. When working recently in CA the back of house received a percentage of the front of houses tips, which is more equitable IMO. Now living in NV the pay is pretty poor. Front of house gets minimum wage $10.50. But overall, the back of house works harder. However, as Sartre once said, “Hell is other people” perhaps its relative.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Isn’t hell over in Florida et al where the waiters and waitresses earn approx bupkis as a minimum wage, like $2.45 an hour or something.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            $2.45? Bah, that’s too generous. In many Southern states they pay a more reasonable $2.13

            It is also true that the employer is legally required to make up the difference, if tips fall short, and pay the minimum federal wage of $7.25. Why, sometimes they actually do!

            (Why, yes, this is sarcasm.)

            Reply
        2. lyman alpha blob

          In most places the back of the house doesn’t get tipped out, or at least it’s not mandatory, but good waiters do it anyway. The best waiter in a busy restaurant in Seattle I used to work at would tip out the cooks and service bartender pre-shift. You made money there by turning tables fast and the cooks would put up his tables’ food ahead of the other dozen or so waiters waiting for their orders to be filled. He’d also get a freebie Cape Cod on his drink tray every few trips to the service bar which he’d slam on the way out of the kitchen. He’d get pretty sloshed without letting it show to the customers, sold more than all the other waiters on most nights, always made sure he tipped out the front of house staff a little more than everybody else, and still usually walked with more more money than anyone at the end of the night. Sometimes generosity does have its rewards.

          Reply
      3. Jeff W

        “By the way, check that calculation base, too.”

        With food delivery services, too. The subtotal on Uber Eats might be, say, $39.90 but the calculation base on the suggested tip amount is $51.15, which includes delivery fee, service fees, CA Driver Benefit (in California, obviously), membership fees and taxes—which is a lot of fees to be calculating the tip on, and makes no sense, anyway. (It basically boosts the tip by 28%.) Meanwhile, GrubHub doesn’t seem to use any base at all in its calculations and just suggests a relatively paltry fixed $1, $2, $3 or $4 amount—I’m not sure what that’s about. (In either case, you can also enter whatever custom amount you want as a tip.) So it pays to check.

        Reply
    4. Gregorio

      I don’t have a problem tipping for service, but being presented with a suggested tip starting at 15% when picking up a mediocre meal in a throw away container at the takeout window is maddening. I could see maybe a 5% tip for someone handing you a bag and processing your payment, but it’s a sad commentary on our society, that businesses need to shame customers into making up for their exploitation of workers with low wages and crappy benefits, by pushing the idea that a 15-20% tip is customary for any sort of transaction.

      Reply
      1. Mildred Montana

        >”…a 15-20% tip is customary for any sort of transaction.”

        Jeesuz, don’t get me started. I worked in the service industry thirty years ago and I would spend at least ten minutes with the customer, sometimes more, including advice and friendly chat, in other words 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦, for a tip of a buck or two.

        The current tip plague has employees expecting a tip for ringing up your purchase (which you selected yourself and walked to the till) and then saying, “Would you, Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Nobody, like your receipt?” That’s it. If I’m doing all the work I refuse to tip for the one minute of such “service”.

        In these situations, I sensibly expect the employer to pay his employees an adequate wage.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t get me started on the ‘would you like to round up to a Dollar in order to save spastic youth from themselves’, or other pithy pleas, please!

          Reply
  6. griffen

    Dollar General and health clinics. I can look forward to the staffing levels being on par with their existing retail store locations, which is like a partial staffing. And I write that as a frequent DG customer if only for convenience sake. The inventory can truly be a hit and miss.

    And in related news, McDonald’s is announcing plans to distribute diabetic glucose monitors with every combo meal. In its latest rendering before production begins, the McMonitor seems sure to be a hit among loyal customers ! “Life will be just easier, as I can see the glucose levels shift both before, and after, my McMuffin breakfast sandwich with a large 44oz Diet Coke.” \SARC

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Biden sends top officials to try to win over African nations long-wooed by China and Russia”

    If the US is trying a charm offensive in Africa, then I am not sure that Janet Yellen is the one for that. Charm is not one trait that I associate with her. Remember too that the price cap scheme was her doing. Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is probably still getting the rock star treatment in Africa and he is probably offering African nations foodstuffs and fertilizers while Yellen offers what exactly – IMF loans?

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      Loans with “stringent” requirements, it goes without saying. I happened to look at the new State Dept. “Welcome Corps” program, meant to help integrate refugees into US society. Sure enough, they will do stringent background checks. I presume this means a history of social activism or traffic tickets would be a deal killer. Happy to be corrected on that view.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yellin may be the best option. Biden missed his best window to replace people such as Blinken. Yellin hasn’t been, but Blinken isn’t making inroads. He had a late summer trip and a post Christmas summit with nothing positive to report. It’s probably time to return him to States official role as guardians of American College students who lost their passports. Harris? Haven’t we done enough to Africa? Kerry would be like sending Biden.

      I would hazard Yellin is probably the only person available who didn’t express opinions similar to the EU’s Borrell.

      This article seems like a puff piece. I made it halfway through, and they don’t even mention Blinken. The article mentions programs the US can offer as if they weren’t the same monstrous programs the US has offered for decades, and nary a mention of US military misadventures. This is for domestic consumption as the US won’t deal with former colonial subjects like equals until forced to.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/15/georgebush.usa

      This is the other issue. As bad as Shrub was, Obama was also really bad, and not acknowledging that has left us with his VP as Vice President who won’t simply have the baggage of the US but Obama and a direct hand in 50 years of monstrous policies.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Not that i’d know, but the French ex-pat couple I hike with told me Blinken speaks impeccable French, and maybe like Buttigieg, people were taken in by his cunning lingual abilities?

          Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >Mass protest in Europe black out

    I am seeing many protest in Europe and the UK this past weekend on various Twitter feeds. In Paris against Macron’s attack on social welfare policies while simultaneously increasing defense spending, in Ireland against “globalist,” in Italy, Germany, Netherlands, etc…and yet a deafening silence in news coverage. I think the controllers think that the masses have no agency on where the ship of state goes, let the proles protest, damn the torpedos, full speed ahead, Agenda 2030 and the Great Reset is on the horizon.

    Reply
    1. Bsn

      Spot on. In fact, this is a good observation as an example of why “protests” don’t matter, strikes do. Of course the rail and nurses strikes in England are not in US news, but they are all over the Brit press. Hit them where it hurst, their wallet.

      Reply
  9. Louis Fyne

    — — would be good roads and/or good rail, plus any other terrain requirements for a big tank thrust. Does seem rather like telegraphing one’s punch, and Russia will have plenty of time to game this out.–

    From the Polish border to the Dniepr River city of Dnipro is 600 miles/1000km! Or about the distance from Indianapolis to Philadelphia

    And you still not at the frontlines.

    Modern tanks do not drive those kind of distances even in peacetime—flatbed truck or rail transport are the only options.

    PR and propaganda is driving the tank issue so much that no rational discussion of the issue is possible. Dumb escalation, potentially using western mercenaries as tank crews, that’ll merely prolong the hour for a few more days with zero effect on the strategic outcome.

    The media thinks these tanks are going act like George C Scott in the film “Patton.” Reality is that modern tanks (facing commercial drones, military UAVs, modern infantry-manned anti-tank weapons, and opposing tanks) are sitting ducks unless they are working together with drones, air support, and infantry—a framework which the Ukrainian military can barely scrape together right now.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Makes you wonder if these promised tanks are really for the eastern front or whether the plan is that they will be a force to defend western Ukraine i.e. Galicia to keep their Nazi buddies safe from the big bad Russians.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        being that I’m a cynical son-of-a-gun, my assumption is that the best of the weapons shipments are either sold or given to ultra-nationalist units…..(don’t want to trigger the content filter) The “Waffle” units in the Ukrainian military-security hierarchy.

        those guys will be the iron fist of post-war Ukraine with or without Zelenskyy.

        Congratulations everyone, we’re laying the groundworks for a police state on the border of the EU that’ll make Pinochet look like a choir boy.

        Heckuva job Ursula, Joe, Olaf!

        Reply
        1. Bsn

          And German/US tanks in a few town squares in Russia will be nice reminders of who not to deal with – and what to let pigeons sheit upon.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            There’s always a lot more war relics left over years after by the winning side-not the losing side.

            There’s gobs of flying P-51’s but only a handful of ME-109’s and only 1 flying Zero with the original engine. (we watched it fly @ Planes of Fame in Chino about 25 years ago, a VERY loud engine, sounded like a popcorn machine)

            Reply
            1. Joe Renter

              Many pilots from WW2 had hearing problems. Especially B-25 from what I read from the book, The True story of Catch 22: The real men and missions of Joseph Heller’s 340th bomb group in WW2 (long title).
              A worthwhile read. In that bombing group, the record of most combat missions flown (102) was held by an officer. Heller was a bombardier and flew 60 missions.
              I am rereading Catch-22. A classic IMO.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                Make sure you read The Good Soldier Švejk, the inspiration for Catch-22.

                That same day we saw the Zero, a P-38 flew over our heads @ about 1,000 feet and you could barely hear the engines.

                Such a contrast!

                Reply
                1. B24S

                  At my wife’s family cottage on Lake Michigan we get to watch all sorts of aircraft coming and going to the Oshkosh Fly In. She’s broken more than one toe running out to see what’s coming down the beach.

                  One year I thought I saw an ME-109, but didn’t believe myself until the charter pilot who lives next door confirmed my spot.

                  A late friend ran the fuel truck at the Reno Air Races. When you rode with him, you were everybodys friend.

                  (Heller was a friend of our neighbor growing up, and when, as a young boy, I asked him about the ultimate fate of Yossarian, he wouldn’t give me a straight answer, like any good fiction writer.)

                  Reply
                2. juno mas

                  The P-38 engines had turbo-superchargers. Allowed for higher altitude flight, and muffled the exhaust of their piston engines.

                  Reply
                  1. Wukchumni

                    Great place, Planes of Fame.

                    My better half got a ride in a Ford Tri-Motor that was so slow you could set a sundial to it, as it lumbered aloft.

                    There was a great back story here, in that when the aluminum siding for these planes went bad and once that happened, they were unflyable, but an executive from Aloca sold the original circa 1931 forms to make aluminum siding for the princely sum of 1 Dollar in the 80’s to those who would benefit, allowing a number of tri-motors to be restored.

                    Reply
        2. Janie

          Yes, that was Alex Christophorou’s speculation yesterday on The Duran. The tanks will arrive in Poland way too late for action on the Donbas line. Greater Poland will really help keep Germany down.

          Reply
        3. John k

          I can’t see why a polish invading army wouldn’t be dispatched in the same way as Ukraine armies have been. Or why Russia would like Poland to take Galicia, bringing nato closer to Russia. Russia de-electrifying Ukraine might now be a long term Russian plan to de-populate Ukraine, pushing millions into Europe. and since the massive transformers are only made in Russia, they have agency beyond their powerful military.

          Reply
          1. Polar Socialist

            Because in that case Poland would have to deal with the nutters, Poland would owe it to Russia for gaining part of her former glory and it would be difficult for the rest of NATO to not kick Poland out for “siding with Russia in dismantling Ukraine”.

            As a bonus, Anne Applebaum’s brain would likely short circuit trying to make all of the actors out as heroes and monsters at the same time.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              I’m surprised we haven’t inked a Non-Aggregation Pact with the Poles yet.

              I used the think hair furor was trying hard to get us into WW3, but it’s Joey covering up nefarious dirty family deeds not done dirt cheap in Ukraine in which the USA is going to be hoisted on it’s quite considerable petard.

              Reply
      2. Willow

        Speculation that the tanks are to be used for a Polish intervention force in Ukraine is discussed in this youtube with Alexander Mercouris. Along with sudden ‘changes’ in Ukraine leadership.

        Isolating Zelensky. Collective West builds intervention force for west Ukraine
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XtrMST9iDQ

        Would explain why Germany & US have been dragging their feet if Polish/UK/Baltics hatched plan? Makes sense if using an already trained Polish force & support facilities in place. But given antics of Poland & Baltic States I can’t see how the West thinks introducing an intervention force will be ‘contained’ within the Ukrainian sphere of conflict. It would require Russia’s tacit consent of a no-fly zone over Galicia otherwise things will escalate very quickly and get very ugly for the West.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Modern tanks do not drive those kind of distances even in peacetime—flatbed truck or rail transport are the only options.

      What I’m saying, yes. And so you start from the Polish border, whether by road or rail, and end up…. where?

      Possibly where the Russians wanted you to end up, if they wrecked all the other alternatives route.

      Reply
  10. Will

    Wow. NASA (in partnership with DARPA) is gonna put nukes in space. Isn’t there a treaty against putting nuclear weapons in space?

    Oh. Wait. I read that wrong. It’s just a nuclear powered rocket for getting to Mars. Silly me.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/jan/24/nasa-mars-trip-nuclear-rocket

    What an exciting time to be alive. Although the true innovation will only come when NASA turns all this over to Musk and Bezos. Then we’ll really be cooking with fissile gas.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Getting to Mars? I’m still waiting for a repeat of the moon landing which is now more than a half century in the rear view mirror, my phone is more powerful than NASA computers were back then…

      Reply
        1. dftbs

          If it were the case that the US lied about the moon landing, it would be the most benign action it took in its fight against the commies. And if it were the case it was a lie, they would’ve gotten no compliance from the Soviets then, or the Chinese and Russians today, in maintaining that illusion.

          Reply
    2. BMW DOG

      I worked at the NRDS (nuclear rocket development station) down on the Nevada Test Site just north of Las Vegas. I’m glad they never did get the damn thing lit up.

      Reply
  11. Terry Flynn

    “Died suddenly” is, I predict, gonna become a very contentious phrase. The scanning and full digitisation of UK NHS records allowed me to find out if (during the 1970s when combijabs were rare) my mother missed any of the 30 requests for a jab for me (multiple conditions plus boosters). She missed only 1 (which is EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD given the claims on mothers’ time and we know from epidemiology) – this is incidentally how they disproved the “individual jab” nonsense Andrew Wakefield proposed….. Japan showed that individual jabs led to HUGE gaps in coverage….. My mum was a real outlier…

    So does “died suddenly” mean anything? I no longer work in health service but that kind of entry raised alarm bells….. Just like the fact my two co-authors of my “magnum opus” had causes of death that puzzled me. Both were VERY open about their health. Author one died of cardiac issues (yet he had none – he had a form of leukemia that was well under control and had no links to cardiovascular systems) – died 2020. Author two died 2021 of cardiac failure….. Now I was VERY close to him and if he had had any issues with cardiac implications I’m fairly sure I’d have known. This just didn’t add up but I’m not in position to question either death.

    Am I now “antivax”? NO! I just want proper oversight etc like we used to have.

    Reply
    1. Duke of Prunes

      Obviously anecdote is not data, but my parents, who were spry mid-80 year olds prior to the pandemic, are both in a bad way with blood born ailments – leukemia and a different bone marrow problem that was originally diagnosed as leukemia. Unlike many, they live in a rural area and did not get covid, only the full course of mRNA shots and boosters. Yes, many old folks have passed from these ailments prior to the mRNA so I’m probably just bonkers, but the timing and speed of their decline is interesting to me.

      Like above, I’m not “antivax”, but have always held a healthy skepticism of our “health care system”. Everything that is coming out now is not helping anyone, but it does need to come out and be discussed if you ever want people to trust it again. More surveillance is not the answer.

      Reply
  12. TomDority

    U.S. raises ‘grave concerns’ over Mexico’s anti-GMO farm policies Reuters
    “Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges,”

    I would raise grave concerns over USA’s pro-GMO farm policies. Also I would simply substitute USA’s with Mexico’s and U.S. with Mexican and vice versa

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I would say it has next to nothing to do with science, and everything to do with wall street “owning”
      the germplasm through patents.

      Reply
    2. Kouros

      The US approach to risk management does not consider the “precautionary principle” as sound. One must take the poison and then an entire army of cogs is set to work to find out how much poison can one take before gest sick and drops dead… Never mind that the risk assessors have managers with certain agendas…

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Lexx
      Really, it just details how absurd and self serving the whole thing is. There was one little snippet I found particularly amusing as I am a big movie buff, and that is how most in the security establishment are white men, but in so many movies, CIA directors are black men

      Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Media help launder US military PR on joint drills with Israel”

    My take here is that the US is just holding hands with Israel to placate them. The US has just shipped about half the 300,000 155mm artillery rounds that they had stored in Israel. Not only is this stockpile for the use of US forces for the whole region but also for the use of Israel whenever they go to war. So with all those rounds heading to the Ukraine, this means that it will be much harder for Israel to get into their next war and may make them feel vulnerable. So the US having these drills was probably how just to reassure the Israelis.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      to put into context, if i recall correctly, it is estimated that the Russians are using artillery shells at an annualized rate of >3 million shells.

      Reply
  14. Adrian D.

    Re the Abrams tanks – worth noting that against Iraq between 2003 & 2009 530 of them were sent home to the US because they were so badly damaged. That’s about two a week against an insurgency with US trained crews and all the US logistics. Even if the Russians just employed their newer RPGs (let alone drones etc) they won’t last long at all.

    https://www.thefuldagap.com/2018/01/09/the-m1-abrams-and-iraq/#:~:text=While%20no%20Abrams%20tanks%20were%20reportedly%20destroyed%20in,can%20be%20attributed%20to%20a%20number%20of%20issues.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Those Bradleys will fare even worse due to their aluminium armour. This ex-US Army officer was saying that when he was in the Balkans, one caught fire but the good news was that the whole crew got out safely. And that Bradley? It was probably an earlier version but he said that it burned for four days. When he went to check it out later, he found the two tracks still in position, some sort of plate, and the rest was a big puddle of melted aluminium on the ground.

      Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            My first car was the family hand me down 1974 puke green (the claim was the hue was avocado) Pinto, which I used to rear end some lady’s car in Buena Park shortly after getting my drivers license, good thing it wasn’t the other way around.

            Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                Ha ha

                Since it is FGFW, the longest stay in Fresno I can remember seemed to last forever, but when you’re 5 an hour is roughly equivalent to 3 days in kid years.

                Daddy-o crashed the Ford Country Esquire near Wawona (I was Canyonero before it was cool)

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Country_Squire#/media/File:1967_Ford_Country_Squire.jpg

                And in Wukchumni family lore, the first thing I asked of my parents after the crash that wasn’t all that big of one was ‘are we not rich anymore?’, oh what comes out of the mouth of babes in the woods…

                The only thing I can really remember in the 3 day stay-a 3 day stay in Fresno getting the jalopy back into working order, was I had my very first Orange Crush, good times.

                Reply
                1. fresno dan

                  Wuk
                  I would do anything for an orange crush, but it has to be diet. And I can’t find one to save my life. I am reduced to drinking the Sunkist
                  And speaking of things orange, being on a low carb diet, I hadn’t had macaroni and cheese (well, I had it rarely at restaurants, but it was white) in years, at least what I consider real macaroni and cheese. So I bought myself some Kraft macaroni and cheese, and the deep orange color, denoting the cheesy flavor of mass produced groceries in America, was gone. Just a pale pastal orange….

                  Reply
                  1. Wukchumni

                    Oh, I see…

                    They finally ran out of Vietnam War era Agent Orange dye on mac & cheese~

                    Has a country ever intentionally tried to kill it’s populace via food?

                    Reply
      1. Michaelmas

        Those Bradleys will fare even worse due to their aluminium armour.

        Aluminum armor? Jeez. Almost beyond belief that the US MIC would send US soldiers out onto battlefields packed in such things.

        Except not, unfortunately. Not from the nation that came up with the Littoral Combat Ship, also aluminum armored and designed to burn down to the waterline when hit by a missile.

        Really, it’s like the US has become stuck in this grandiose dream about its own (pretend) past. Back in the 1950s US warships’ upper structures coming over the horizon looked really impressive and it didn’t matter so much then that they were made of aluminum because missile technology hadn’t been democratized and brown people in every third world nation and dissident group didn’t have them.

        Now they do because it’s 2023 and missile technology has been democratized, not least because of the US’s own efforts. And yet the US MIC cannot bear to change and give up the profits that go with those big platform ships and weapons systems, even though they’re just big targets.

        Reply
        1. tet vet

          I served in a mechanized infantry unit in Vietnam and we rode on an M113 APC. It was the most widely used armored vehicle in Vietnam and was also made of aluminum and was manufactured by Food Machinery Corporation in San Jose, CA. The M113 was introduced in the early 1960’s and was originally intended to carry a platoon of infantry soldiers inside who would then exit via the rear door to engage in combat. Unfortunately because armor piercing rounds (RPGs in the case of the Soviets) were introduced shortly after it was introduced, no one that I ever witnessed, except the driver, dared to ride inside. The vehicle had a 50 caliber machine gun mounted on top in a turret and was designed for the machine gunner to stand when firing in combat. I served part of the time as the machine gunner and we were taught to sit on an improvised seat (a 2 by 4) with our legs pulled up close to our chest completely outside of the interior. Basically, by the mid 1960s those PCs (as we called them) were a death trap for anyone inside when hit by an RPG. So much for being “armored”. Anyone who has seen Oliver Stone’s movie Platoon would have seen soldiers on PCs roll up at the end of the battle scene where the character Charlie Sheen was playing was wounded. The PCs depicted in the movie were from my unit as we were the sister battalion to the unit that Stone served in, and the movie was based on his experiences in Vietnam.

          Reply
          1. Joe Renter

            Good info. I did not know the story behind the movie. Growing up as kid and into the news, Vietnam was pivotal in my understanding of the world outside of my little reality.
            My neighbor was killed in a copter crash, and I lived close to FT Ord in Santa Cruz, where those who were about to be shipped out to Nam would party hard. My parents owned a motel, and my stepdad was very conscious that they had the right to get the party going as their future was not a given.

            Reply
        2. digi_owl

          Best i can tell, navies have given up on armoring again hits. And much like with the air force, hope to detect and strike first via beyond the horizon missiles.

          And now i am tempted to dig up that venerable naval simulator, Harpoon.

          Reply
          1. Louis Fyne

            I loved playing that game. I believe it is/was available as “abandonware” on a few retro gaming sites.

            If I recall correctlly, you need “FreeDOS” to run the game. Should be able to run on a Windows 10/Mac

            Reply
            1. digi_owl

              The DOS version should likely run fine inside DOSBox indeed, though i am more familiar with the later Windows 3.x version.

              Reply
        3. scott s.

          OK but those 50’s era ships were WWII left-overs. The post war brought ever increased use of electronics. Even using water cooling to allow more dense equipment that electronics needs to go somewhere. That somewhere tends to be topside, which means stability issues due to weight. So it is very advantageous to take measures reducing that topside wight. For surface combatants you are never going to have much if any armor. We did take some lessons-learned from the Stark and Falkland Islands about missile hit survivability. That was cranked into the DDG 51 class. Now of course when some nutty SecDef decides to worship at the alter of “transformation” experience goes out the window as “obsolete”.

          Considering the demonstrated survivability of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, not sure we could do worse.

          Reply
      2. Duke of Prunes

        Not sure if it’s been mentioned around here, but HBO produced a movie starring Kelsey Grammer that lampooned the Bradley fighting vehicle development. The Pentagon Wars.. It’s available for free on the you tube. I guess it was ok to make fun of the government back then.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The thing is, just about tv series in the 1960’s through to 9/11 lampooned the military, the only serious ones were Combat (which featured every dumb Nazi imaginable-who had the squad cornered-but stood up at precisely the right time for Kirby & Co. to mow em’ down) and Twelve O’Clock High. I think all of the rest were for laughs: McHale’s Navy, Mister Roberts, No Time For Sergeants, Hogan’s Heroes, F-Troop, The Wackiest Ship In The Army, Gomer Pyle USMC, MASH, C.P.O. Sharkey, Operation Petticoat, Private Benjamin, etc.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Likely because it took the edge off for those that had seen combat first hand, and also that so many viewers, and script writers, had served that they either had seen or heard about such idiocies first hand.

            Supposedly there is a similar evolution in big screen gunfights as WW2 became more distant.

            Right after WW2, when the baddie got shot he would simply seize up and fall down on the spot. But as we move steadily towards the present day, even small caliber handguns develop the ability to send the target, but not the shooter, flying across the room.

            Even the sound of gunfire, never mind fist fights, has been exaggerated to a almost comical degree.

            Reply
  15. flora

    Huh. Did someone push the wrong computer button? / ;)

    NYSE Investigates Technical Issue That Caused Wild Market Open

    A “technical issue” that the exchange didn’t immediately identify resulted in some gyrations that spanned almost 25 percentage points between the high and low in a matter of minutes. Banks, retailers and industrial companies were among those affected, including Wells Fargo & Co., McDonald’s Corp., Walmart Inc. and Morgan Stanley.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/nyse-investigates-technical-issfidue-that-caused-wild-market-open/ar-AA16GOKN

    (AI and digital currency sound great, really great…not.)

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      Well, well, well. Just don’t call it a test?

      https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nyse-glitch-caused-manual-error-141306013.html/
      “..The root cause of the issue, which the exchange operator said has been resolved, was tied to the company’s “disaster recovery configuration…”
      disaster recovery configuration…
      disaster recovery configuration…
      disaster recovery configuration…
      disaster recovery configuration…
      disaster recovery configuration…

      Oops!

      Reply
      1. flora

        Oops, indeed! / ;)

        “The root cause of the issue, which the exchange operator said has been resolved, was tied to the company’s “disaster recovery configuration” at the start of the day. More than 1,300 trades and some 84 stocks were impacted and marked as “aberrant,” NYSE said in an updated statement on its website.

        NYSE said that some 4,341 trades in 251 ticker symbols “should be busted.” Most of the trade breaks were processed Tuesday, with the exchange planning to process the rest today.”

        (Has anyone seen SBF lately? / joke!)

        Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      I wonder if The Market! will ultimately force some course correction on this, simply because labor will be unavailable? Or perhaps social programs will be cut simply to force people back into the workforce. Nonetheless, how productive can one be, suffering from long-COVID?

      This is a society level disabling even in the making. It seems Biden might go down in history as the worst American president, presiding over such an event that dismantles America as a functioning country, to the extent it functioned pre-Pandemic.

      Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    Janet Yellen Dismisses Minting $1 Trillion Coin to Avoid Default WSJ
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Numismatricks are disappointed with the dismissal out of hand as there is precedent minting coins pretty much for the seignorage alone, and recently.

    You know those various Dollar coins*, the Sacagawea and Presidential ones that you never ever see in circulation, issued since the turn of the century?

    They all went down to Ecuador and El Salvador where the Yanqui $ has circulated for about the same amount of time.

    The amount of seignorage on a Trillion $ coin is quite something, if the proposed coin weighed 1 ounce, there’d be $999,999,999,862.00 worth, and to put things in perspective, the aforementioned Dollar coins circulating ‘down under’ have an amazing 85 Cents each profit versus minting costs and face value.

    * The main use here in the estados unidos was sharpies would buy $5,000 sealed boxes of them for face value from the U.S. mint using a credit card, and get an ad hoc cash advance, along with credit card points.

    They would get the coins and simply deposit them in their bank, and before you knew it, said banks ended up with a veritable shitlode of Dollar coins that nobody in the US wants or desires, so the banks sent them back to the Federal Reserve for cash, an interesting money merry go round of sorts.

    Reply
  17. Not Again

    He’s back….

    President Biden trails former President Trump in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential match-up, 41% to 44%. Ten percent would support someone else and 4% are undecided. Since the November national poll, Trump’s support has increased by three percentage points, from 41% to 44% and Biden’s support has decreased by four percentage points, from 45% to 41%.
    https://emersoncollegepolling.com/national-poll-bidens-approval-recovers-two-years-into-term-trump-maintains-lead-over-desantis-in-gop-primary/

    Brought to you by today’s Democratic Party.

    Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    Miami Man Injured by Falling Iguana During Outdoor Yoga Class Miami New Times
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Florida Man is interesting in that i’m sure Ohio Man might have a squirrel injure him by falling out of tree, or Oregon Man could be injured when slipping on a duck, but the fact is none of the other 49 possibilities ever goes by ‘……….’ Man, doesn’t happen-only in the bottom right hand pocket.

    California Man, by Cheap Trick

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQhxYbXY8eE

    Reply
  19. square coats

    >slow ships and whale strikes

    I found this article a bit confusing. It says the NOAA is “considering” (ongoing present tense) regulations. Then it says the NOAA “denied” (completed past tense) the proposal three days prior to the article’s publication date.

    Also based on a previous AP article linked within this article, it appears that the NOAA has/had been considering the proposal since at least last July, but now in January says they can’t implement “emergency regulations” (intended to be in effect during the winter and spring seasons) quickly enough to make them effective.

    The regulations are for expanding the size of already existing “slow zones” and the kinds of vessels the regulations would apply to. It’s my understanding that NOAA already puts out weather alerts that specify risks for specific types of vessels.

    Honest question: how hard could it be to use the same emergency alert system to broadcast the new coordinates of the zones?

    Reply
    1. scott s.

      I don’t think promulgating would be the issue. I’m guessing it would go out via the the NTM system between USCG and NOS. I think the bigger issue is the administrative requirements of APA / NOPRM.

      Reply
  20. Mikel

    “The Designer Economy” NOEMA

    What if the econmy needs more designers capable of empathy more than capable of technological/technocratic design?

    Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    Hope springs eternal in Trona that the rest of Cali will slide into the ocean, and they’ll have bitchin’ digs @ the beach…

    I’ve only been hanging out for a little over 3 score here so i’d like to think I know the score, but i’ve never seen so much slippage as there is now, and to be fair I was playing hooky from the storm and only caught a little of the action, but it was as if the rain was trying to punish the dirt, i’ve never seen such forceful drops, it was epic the scintilla of storm I saw.

    Driving around lusciously green Tiny Town yesterday, I saw lots of say 100 to 200 foot tall hillsides in non-burned areas, where there was a 4 foot swath of dirt bordered by foot high grass on either side, and around 4 inches of topsoil had come undone with a heap at the bottom, but nothing in the way of covering roads or anything.

    I saw dozens of these, and combined with that footage of the cliff falling apart down in San Diego in just a few minutes time (what are the geological odds there, Las Vegas?) and driving by a low down good for nothing hill schluffing onto Highway 5 near Templin Highway on the drive home which closed 2 lanes of traffic, you get the idea the ground really needed the rain respite as it could take no more moisture, after being held hostage in a concentration camp of drought for 3 years where it was afforded a swallow every now and then, and the occasional quaffing that came with rare precipitation.

    And similar to that POW who lived on a diet of rice in Japan, you really didn’t want him to go to the smorgasbord for a first feed, but that’s what happened in the golden state.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      I posted this 10 minute video of the cliff coming undone a few days ago, but it deserves a repeat…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0TjcmNsjPE

      I never ever look at comments on Youtube as they are invariably not worth the effort, but since it was a lifelong friend who played Cecil B. DeMille on Black’s Beach, I had a read.

      The most common complaint, and there were lots of them, is that he filmed it in portrait mode-not landscape mode.

      A once in a lifetime event and he captured it beautifully, and a good many people were upset over this?

      How high tech spoiled we’ve become…

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I have to admit that I thought that for a moment until I realized that he was so close to the action that if he tried that he would lose the view of most of what was happening. And looking at that big jagged rock at the top, I wondered if perhaps he was a little to close to the action. Saw a video of a snow avalanche a coupla weeks ago and the action was really far away but as the video went on you realized that it was heading their way and then they got hit too. Good thing that it was not rocks.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I asked if he was ever scared, and only towards the end when he realized the whole shebang might come tumbling down, and i’d guess he was 200 feet from the bottom of the cliffs with another 50 feet until water and i’d imagine the image of a cliff about to fall on you would be a great motivator in seeking a riptide.

          We rode his e-bikes right there a week ago, and nothing was amiss, aside from one of the bikes running out of juice, so we scavenged for a bit of rope and found perhaps 6 different ropes hopelessly tangled with kelp and managed to pull half of one strand about 8 feet and cut it with a key’s edge and tied both ends towing him from my e-bike…

          …very MacGyver that!

          Reply
  22. Margot

    90% reduction of CO2 in blast furnaces!…Same mineral needed, Perovskite, is also on the forefront on new more efficient solar cells.

    Minor detail:
    Major source of it is
    Achmatovsk near Kussinsk in the Zlatoust district, Ural mountans, Russia.

    Hmmmmm…wonder if that country needs a war of liberation?
    https://webmineral.com/data/Perovskite.shtml

    The Globalists’ sanctions on Russia are death by a thousand economic cuts to the west. Maybe that’s the plan? Viva Putin! Let’s get this tragic and expensive charade over.

    We could fund America’s healthcare or rebuild every failing bridge and road with the money flushed on that shitshow so far.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Infra building is done by lots of modest sized companies in a competitive environment. High tech weapons are done by a small number of large companies that take turns bidding on sole source contracts with obscene profits. Big profits funds large donations to many legislators etc. war spending always has frenzied support, naturally this squeezes out infra spending.
      Short term profits have been squeezing long term investments throughout industry for at least a generation, explains shipping our mfg to China etc… seems like eating one’s seed corn. A post here shows Japan is copying the us, and looks like eu follows as it de-industrializes. More and more the west does financial and the east does mfg.

      Reply
  23. Susan the other

    Thank you for the post from Noema on The Designer Economy. Very inclusive and practical except for one thing, it doesn’t address a process for environmental reclamation. If I could design an economy I would start today, boots on the ground, working backwards from devastated environments to fully reclaimed environments and in that process come to understand what not to do when designing new industrial green economies. Find those bottlenecks first and then go forward with industrial sustainability policies. Low carbon-high care socioeconomics industrial policy should start with a new department of reclamation with field offices everywhere, otherwise we are just guessing. And it would create lots of good employment out in the boonies and rural locations which would be a very good thing.

    Reply
    1. Joe Renter

      That would be a great start. However, until we get rid of those in power and their minions, we will continue to be ruled by black hats of capitalist greed. Steeped in materialism with no consciousness of the true needs of humanity. And I was so full of hope as a youngster. Hoping the things get sorted out in time for the next rebirth otherwise it will more dystopia with an x-factor.

      Reply
  24. John k

    China’s economic model, Pettis…
    I wonder if gov providing more benefits to workers might have less opposition than telling local gov to stop the land sales.
    Childcare subsidies would help women decide to have children, which might have widespread support as pop begins declining.
    A good social security program would reduce workers’ fear they must save for old age, reducing property investment and encouraging other spending. And a good Medicare type plan would do the same. These would be very popular and some costs don’t kick in until later as central gov shifts spending from infra to worker benefits. Certainly oppo from infra builders, but maybe easier to overcome than local gov’s.

    Reply
    1. deplorado

      I’d add to this: all due respect to NC (and I do have a lot of it!), but why do you continue to point to whatever Pettis is saying? He’s never been right, and has been predicting debt and banking and real estate collapse in China for a decade and calling their development model wrong. Is there anything that anyone here can learn from him? I mean, just look at this phrase from his interview:

      “channel those savings through the banking system into investment.”

      Consumer savings become investment?? We pretend that credit doesn’t exist?? We pretend that China’s financial system works like the US’s?? For what purpose? This is worthy of the Krugman’s worst intelligence-insulting pablum.

      Seriously, NC editors, in what way do you find him worthy of being read?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I would interested to see you point to a single link of Pettis predicting a crash. He has repeatedly pointed out over the years in his blogs that China has sufficient financial and institutional capacity to prevent a western-style crash. He has always stated that the most likely outcome was a long period of stagnation to flush the debt out of the system and rebalance the economy. Pettis is one of the few economists out there with a knowledge of the history of financial crises (or put another way, he has read his Minsky) and has applied this to China. Pettis has always been more bearish on China than the average economic commentator, but he has never been a Chinese doomster.

        Here are his predictions for the decade from 2011.

        Reply
    2. deplorado

      Pettis likes to predict severe challenges if not imminent collapse of China’s economic model for a decade, which model, according to him and whoever pays his paycheck, is very wrong. I don’t think he should be listened to when it comes to China. Michael Hudson will probably have a belly laugh at Pettis’s interview.

      Reply
  25. Synoia

    Giant Wind Turbines Keep Mysteriously Falling Over. This Shouldn’t Be Happening.

    Hmm,were these engineered by the same bloules which build defense equipment and grovel for money and favors in DC?

    Reply
    1. tevhatch

      Before they fell over, they were shedding forever chemicals like PFOS from their blades into the landscape in copious amounts, but hey, it’s green.

      Reply
  26. Karl

    RE: Why Russia’s war in Ukraine is different from a year ago

    The big difference: it’s now a slow grind that favor’s Russian superiority in resources and tactics. But the following assertion doesn’t seem right (but maybe it is?):

    Both sides therefore have the capacity to keep fighting for the foreseeable future.

    I have the impression that Ukraine has been significantly weakened over the past year and the tide is already turning in the Donbas. Any thoughts here on NC on how long Ukraine can keep the grind going?

    I remember Scott Ritter and others saying that “General Winter” and “General Patience” will be showing results around now. Well, winter is upon us and the grind has indeed taken its toll. So: how much longer?

    If spring rains come and Russia hasn’t seized complete control of all of the annexed Oblasts, I’ll be surprised. On the other hand, maybe Putin is fine with dragging things out and seeing NATO/EU continue to weaken militarily, economically and politically. And Ritter does say “Escalation Management” may mean tolerating a continued slow advance so as avoid provoking over-reaction by the West.

    Still, aren’t there limits to how long this can drag on, e.g. the patience of the Russian people?

    Reply
    1. tevhatch

      As long as the Ukraine Government is willing to send everything to the East to be destroyed, why force a march to the West? All those MBAs but no one can figure out basic logistics in Washington.

      Reply
  27. RobertC

    China?

    It’s looking likely SocalJimObjects will be safe in Taiwan as Maersk Captain Stephen M. Carmel editorializes The US Navy Needs Tankers: A Crisis In Capability

    The Department of Defense is projected to need on the order of one hundred tankers of various sizes in the event of a serious conflict in the Pacific. The DoD currently has access it can count on – assured access – to less than ten. Not only does the U.S. lack the tonnage required to support a major conflict in the Pacific, it has no identifiable roadmap to obtain it.

    As in naval warfare, it is also true in naval logistics Quantity has a quality of its own.

    Reply
      1. tevhatch

        South Korea was too busy making tankers for Russia. UD DOW (but DOE would be even more honest) ordered the replacements from China and still have not figured out why the construction is delayed.

        Reply
  28. RobertC

    For decades experts from all directions have been saying DoD needs to operate more like private industry. And they are getting their wish: the ethic and outlook of the private equity industry.

    Reply

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