Links 1/31/2023

Boeing 747, the “Queen of the Skies,” flying off into history CBS News

Could a digital Earth replica aid scientists’ understanding of environment? The Denver Post.

The U.S. Consumer Is Starting to Freak Out WSJ


As fracking increases in Texas, city leaders avoid scrutiny Grist

In a warming world, California’s trees keep dying High Country News


California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal AP


COVID-19 is a leading cause of death among US children and teens, study shows Live Science

U.S. Plans to End Public Health Emergency for Covid in May New York Times.An average of more than 500 Americans are still dying daily from Covid. But at the three-year mark, the coronavirus is no longer upending everyday life to the extent it once did, partly because much of the population has at least some protection against the virus from vaccinations and prior infections.”

For Some Food Professionals, Long COVID Casts a Shadow on Their Senses Eater


Settlers, army go on revenge rampage in West Bank Electronic Intifada

The U.S. on Israel’s far-right government: It is what it is. Politico

Iran summons Ukraine’s top diplomat after Isfahan drone strike Al-Monitor

EU to consider listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorists FT

Old Blighty

The Great British Walkout: Rishi Sunak braces for biggest UK strike in 12 years Politico

Boris Johnson says Putin threatened to target him with missile attack France24


Adani strikes back. Can he beat Hindenburg in the perception war? The Economic Times


Boeing losing its once-firm grip on China Asia Times

Rep. Michael McCaul on Air Force general’s prediction of war with China: ‘I hope he’s wrong. … I think he’s right’ NBC News

European Disunion

Defense firms flock to Hungary amid EU isolation Defense News

Scholz’s office logging German FM’s ‘mistakes’ – Bild RT

New Not-So-Cold War

Wasted tanks, wasted time in Ukraine Asia Times

Moscow provides more evidence of US biolabs in Ukraine RT

How to fix a howitzer: US offers help line to Ukraine troops AP


Here they go again…

Polish PM names terms for transferring F-16 fighters to Ukraine The New Voice of Ukraine

France doesn’t rule out sending warplanes to Ukraine AP

Biden seemingly rejects request to send U.S. F-16s to Ukraine Politico. “But the administration has yet to hold high-level discussions about arming Kyiv with the jets, a U.S. official said later.”

Germany Won’t Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine, Says Scholz VOA. His latest line in the sand.


Ukraine Got Quads and Electric Scooters for Military Purposes from Latvia Defense Express

Top NATO spokesman calls for “wartime economy” WSWS

NATO’s chief urges South Korea to step up military support for Ukraine Reuters

Poland to ramp up defense budget to 4% of GDP DW


IKEA taps Baltics, others for more wood supplies after shunning Russia Reuters

Swedish Economy Unexpectedly Shrinks in Fourth Quarter Bloomberg

Producer prices up 34.4% last yr, highest rise since 2000 ANSA. Italy.

O Canada

Shine a brighter light on contract government Paul Wells. “The Trudeau Liberals have paid 30 times as much to the global consulting firm McKinsey and Company as the Harper Conservatives did, even though the Liberals have so far spent less time in office than the Conservatives did.”

Canada’s Health Care System Is on Life Support Jacobin

Concern Grows Over ‘Medical Aid in Dying for Mental Illness’ Law Medscape

Biden Administration

Biden’s Mixed Signals on Chinese Solar Meet Bipartisan Pushback The American Prospect

Biden team weighs fully cutting off Huawei from US suppliers SCMP


Some Democrats are worried about Harris’s political prospects WaPo


The press versus the president, part two Columbia Journalism Review. Commentary:

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pompeo: A Monster Slaying Monsters Abroad Consortium News. Bruce Fein reviews the new book by the former U.S. secretary of state, Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Texans pessimistic about the national economy and losing faith in democracy, poll says Texas Tribune

Democrats en déshabillé

Hoyer to head new leadership arm for House Democrats The Hill


Big Insurance in-fighting: why it’s so important that Cigna is suing CVS Wendell Potter, HEALTH CARE un-covered

Police State Watch

Video adds to questions about police shooting of a double amputee holding a knife LA Times

Groves of Academe

How Much Pandemic Relief Money Will Be Wasted on Professional Development? Education Next

Guillotine Watch

Blackstone steps up tenant evictions in US with eye on boosting returns FT

Class Warfare

Survey: Nearly two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck The Hill

US Caterpillar-UAW workers authorize strike by more than 98 percent WSWS

The Bezzle


NY Bill Would Allow Crypto Payments to State Agencies PYMNTS

Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents used their house to bail him out. But they rent the land from Stanford LA Times

How effective altruists ignored risk Vox. “To rebuild the movement after the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, EAs will need to embrace a humbler, more decentralized approach.”

Elite Universities Gave Us Effective Altruism, the Dumbest Idea of the Century Jacobin

Zeitgeist Watch

Antidote du jour (courtesy of Robin K):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    —Texans pessimistic about the national economy and losing faith in democracy, poll says —

    Let’s correlate this with automobile/housing affordability and auto repo rates. The covid-liquidity “boom” made Texas housing expensive when historically it was *relatively* affordable

      1. Lexx

        Here every other car is from out-of-state, half of those are from Texas. The grocery aisles have gotten weirder; the newcomers are just so damn friendly… it’s scary. There’s just a little ‘velvet hammer’ in every drop.

    1. antidlc

      Texas does not have a state income tax. With the increased property values, property taxes have risen.

      What is Texas doing with the revenue it has received from increased property taxes?

    2. Adam Eran

      One additional comment: Houston has literally no planning department. It has minimum lot sizes and road standards, but if you want to open a bar in your living room (and your subdivision covenants don’t forbid it) you’re good to go.

      I’d defy anyone to find a significant civic design difference between Houston and most California (especially Central Valley) cities. Planning, as practiced in CA, is a waste of time.

  2. OIFVet

    Re Boris Johnson says Putin threatened to target him with missile attack.

    I thought Putin used Novichok for such dastardly deeds?! Also, were Boris’ knickers soilt after receiving the alleged threat?

    What a douche.

      1. OIFVet

        Sound advice, that. Appears Putin has taken a page out of Hillary Clinton’s book, though I can’t see him pulling off the hyena cackle the way Hillary did.

        /sarc, before anyone’s knickers get twisted

    1. DJG, Reality Czar


      Au contraire, mon frère: There is the following nugget from Boris hisself in the article. “”He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute’, or something like that,” Johnson quoted Putin as saying.”

      Boris watched The Godfather too many times.

      The threatened Johnson-ette is about as credible as Hillary Clinton fretting about Putin’s manspreading. Herein, the president-in-waiting psychobabbles:

      Aside from outbursts of middle-class dirty-mindedness, what do bottomfeeders Clinton and Johnson have to offer? ‘Tis a mystery.

      1. OIFVet

        Poor Hillz, if a manspreading Slav in a business suit can trigger her I can only imagine what squatting Slavs in tracksuits would do to her fragile suburban Illinois psyche.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          Just did a Google image search on “Putin seated” and there’s nary an example to be found of him with his legs crossed like a civilized man. Doesn’t matter who he’s with – Biden, Trump, Macron – always showing his disrespectful nature with those knees spread wide.

          1. Questa Nota

            Manspreading, or Manspreading, seems like a silly notion in search of manufactured notoriety. Look around the world and observe that men often sit with their knees apart. The guys need room to, ahem, breathe.

            1. OnceWereVirologist

              Not necessarily a silly notion if you’re talking about a bench seat on crowded public transportation but very much so in the context of international diplomacy. I can guarantee that Hilary has never needed to scrunch herself into the corner of a cozy loveseat for two because Putin refused to stop manspreading over most of the available area. I can easily believe that he didn’t show the deference that she expects as her due – why did she turn that into a complaint about “manspreading” ? – who knows ? – I don’t understand the psychology of these people.

              1. OIFVet

                If I may, it may well be that said expectation of deference may be due to the combination of America being the exceptional/indispensable nation while everybody else is not. Particularly Russia and Russians, who are Eurasian (emphasis on ___asian) and thus particularly inferior and particularly backwards, with perceived displays of male dominance being considered especially backwards behavior in the Age of Wokeness.

                I see this emphasis on Eurasian amongst the Euroatlanticist intellectual plankton in Bulgaria, who combine Eurasian and barbaric/barbarism just in case some of the denser audience members don’t get the loaded connotation of “Eurasian.”

                Nothing racist and unwoke in that of course, it’s OK when directed at Russians because, well, they are Eurasian barbarians.

              2. ACPAL

                If you’ve ever done much horseback riding, especially bareback, you’d know that the size and strength of the inside thigh muscles make it nearly impossible to cross your legs. Also, some people are just born with large inside thigh muscles and to say that those who don’t cross their legs are “uncivilized” is like saying people born with brown or black skin are “uncivilized.” Asinine.

                1. OIFVet

                  For all I know, large inside thigh muscles may indicate direct Neanderthal descendence and therefore a relatively primitive stage of development of such individuals. And as many Ukrainians with impeccable scientific credentials and fine appreciation of interwar German eugenic science discoveries have repeatedly pointed out, Russians are direct descendants of Genghis Khan’s Mongols, notoriously uncivilized and barbaric horse-riding people.

                  Geez, lighten up bud, is it really necessary to use a /sarc tag?! The second paragraph of my comment gives it away as long as one reads with comprehension.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Putin didn’t offer one cent of tribute..donation to the Clinton mafia…Clinton Foundation! Can you imagine?

      2. Mildred Montana

        Gawd almighty, Hillary gets upset about a little “man-spreading” while she’s still married to an extra-marital “man-exposer”. These people are demented, and so are the people who print their blather.

    2. Stephen

      I remember Johnson by reputation at Oxford.

      Not sure he has ever spoken a word of truth in his life. Or even knows what the truth is.

      The Duran covered this. Their comment was that Putin actually said that he was concerned that missiles in Ukraine could hit Russia within a minute or so. Per the Russian rebuttal.

      It beggars belief that a diplomat of his experience would resort to the type of claim that Johnson has made. And why would he even need to? The capability to use missiles is well known anyway.

      Amazing that UK media lapped all this up and that many people seem to believe such garbage. We have succeeded in becoming what we said we were fighting against: namely the Soviet Union. The BBC is now the joke that TASS used to be. One difference: Soviet citizens typically knew it was all lies.

      We once had Castlereagh and Metternich running European diplomacy. Now we have liars such as Johnson and stupid people such as Baerbock who make declarations of war in public with slips of the tongue. Lavrov and Zakharova versus these guys is zero contest.

      1. dftbs

        We have succeeded in becoming what we said we were fighting against: namely the Soviet Union.

        Don’t be so harsh on the USSR. They at least tried to provide for the well-being of their people, that can hardly be said about the dismal kingdom in the North Atlantic.

        1. digi_owl

          > the dismal kingdom in the North Atlantic.

          Love how that makes it seem to be sitting on top of the mid-Atlantic ridge, not a hop skip from the french northern coast.

      2. jrkrideau

        I remember seeing Trump and his first Secretary of State (Tillerman or something?) in the same room as Putin and Lavrov and thought, “Not only are the US duo outclassed, they have not a clue of how badly they are outclassed”.

        1. orlbucfan

          They aren’t outclassed in absolute greed and stupidity. That’s what this whole Russia/NATO-Ukraine war was instigated and now run by—this level of yahoos. Some human patterns of nonsense never change.

    3. Half Bankrupt

      “Boris Johnson is an epic sh*t. I hope he ends badly.”

      Tina Brown diary entry 3 July 1986.

  3. KD

    Boris Johnson says Putin threatened to target him with missile attack

    If true, it would represent an enormous waste of perfectly good munitions.

    1. CountZero

      I believe Goebbels threatened to bomb the house of Hore-Belisha — the British minister he thought was responsible for the surprise bombing raid on Berlin in June 1940. Not sure whether that explains the many bombs dropped around Wimbledon Common where his house was. Other explanations include incompetence and the decision to unload the bombs and turn home before arriving over London.

  4. William Beyer

    Video adds to questions about police shooting of a double amputee holding a knife LA Times? Someone really needed to label that one

    Not the Onion.

    1. Mikel

      If you don’t think it gets any more crazy, he was in a wheelchair because of a previous altercation with police.

  5. zagonostra

    >Moscow provides more evidence of US biolabs in Ukraine RT

    Based on documents originating with the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Russian military identified eight more individuals involved in the US-funded research in Ukraine. Among the names Kirillov singled out was Karen Saylors of Labyrinth Global Health, previously of Metabiota, a company linked to US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

    There is a very interesting connection/nexus between DTRA and Dr. Malone who worked there that is too complicated to easily describe but which, for those who are interested, with some deep digging, can hunt down. All that glitters is not gold…

  6. Terry Flynn

    Actual likely telephone advice on using Howitzer:

    “Hello! It seems like you are having trouble operating our Super Hitrate Invincible Terrific howitzer. Press 1 if you’ve had your legs blown off; 2 if you need help putting your intestines back in; 3 if your handbook is all in Chinese and you need help. If you have no arms left please stay on the line and a customer operative will get to you shortly to help. You are 456nd in line..
    Hello! We have your credit card details to speed up billing of hospital treatment at a state of the art hospital here in USA. The cost is USD250,000,000. You have the option of charging this to the Finance Ministry of Germany. Would you like to exercise this option? ”

    ” Gurgle…. BOOM”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they can also do it through an AI on a tablet. And to help, they could bring back Microsoft’s Office Assistant “Clippy”again. But they should be forewarned about getting the Aussie AI version. That would not go well-

      Ukrainian gunner: ’Comrade. Our 777 was hit by Lancet drone. Damn Russkies. What can we do now?’

      Aussie AI: ‘Geez, mate. Is that the aluminium burning on that thing? Bloody oath. I think that she’s r****ed, mate. Tell you what. Don’t tell your officers. Tell ‘em she’s goin’ fine. One turns up – you do him. Ivan won’t go after you again when they see it broken and you might be able to sit back, flick open a few beers, and have a good bludge for a while. Tooroo’

      1. Revenant

        R****ed? Too many *’s for rooted / rorted, not enough for ratf*cked. What am I missing? Rogered?

    2. Gregorio

      I’m just surprised that they don’t get connected to a call center in Mumbai. “Hello, my name is Joe, how may I help you sir?”

    3. fresno dan

      you forgot the beginning of EVERY telephone tree ever:
      We are experiencing heavier than normal call volumes. (which is 24 hours a day, every single day of the week, and we never hire more operators because that would cost us money, and we don’t care if your howitzer gets fixed, or if you live for that matter…)

      1. tevhatch

        Don’t forget: “You’ve got 45 seconds to clear out, before you know who is going to be using phone comms to aim their counter-battery fire and fix the problem permanently.”

        The hotline operators get a commission/bonus from BAE for every machine removed from inventory.

    4. Benny Profane

      And then switches to background music, the Vienna boys choir singing Springtime for Hitler.

    5. skk

      It will be interesting if they use CHAT-GPT as the chat-bot – since it cannot do computation as ‘it’ freely admits. You’d think that debugging a misfiring howitzer would require some ballistic trajectory, speed computational skills if nothing else to be able to see where it should have landed and if neither the customer nor the chat-bot assistant are able to compute and the chat bot can only respond with plausible sequences of text generated from training samples of text they aren’t gonna get anywhere are they ?

  7. Sibiryak

    Re: IKEA taps Baltics, others for more wood supplies after shunning Russia

    IKEA says it uses only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or recycled wood.

    For some insight into IKEA’s actual forest stewardship practices, see:

    Ikea’s Race for the Last of Europe’s Old-Growth Forest
    The furniture giant is hungry for Romania’s famed trees. Little stands in its way.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Romania should do a false flag operation by building a big IKEA store outside their main airport. By the time the Swedish loggers get through the maze to the exit they’ll realise:
      (1) They’re back where they started;
      (2) 3 years has elapsed – WW3 is over and they’ll be glad of Billy bookcases to rebuild and the tealights to mask the stench of death

    2. The Rev Kev

      That is pretty evil stuff that. IKEA has been in business for 80 years now. Did it never occur to them to buy land and to start planting trees annually to get a steady supply of timber for their business? Who said that it was only American corporations that could be evil? Pretty sure that IKEA would love to go into a broken-up Russia to loot all their forests.

      1. Louis Fyne

        If only IKEA was around when 30-year interest rates were negative and then it could issue near 0% debt to buy a tracts of land in the US South (or where ever) to grow trees in a *relatively* sustainable manner versus old-growth Europe and Asia.

        But it’s ok—IKEA has a stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council

        1. playon

          It’s surprising to me that IKEA uses old-growth wood. I wouldn’t have guessed it from the quality of their furniture.

    3. Carolinian

      Thanks. That’s a pretty amazing link with lots of respectable villains–not just IKEA but Harvard too.

    4. Eclair

      “Little stands in its way.” Who is this Little chap? Would like to send him or her a contribution. Gotta support these radical so-called eco-terrorists. I mean someone has to stand up for these carbon dioxide-gulping entities.

    5. OIFVet

      Ikea’s founder was a card-carrying Swedish Natsee party member, too. In addition, Ikea didn’t shy away from selling furniture made by Romanian prison labor before the fall of communism. Ikea’s lumber needs have been associated with illegal clear-cutting of old growth forests in Romania and the illegal loggers killing at least one ecoactivist. All in all, IKEA is the typical evil corporation, virtue signaling notwithstanding.

        1. OIFVet

          Oh, I realize that, I’ve watched a documentary by some very brave Romanians on the subject. It included them being chased by some rather unsavory characters over some very isolated logging roads. Nevertheless, without Ikea’s willingness to turn a blind eye…

          The short of it is, for all the supposed commitments of corporations and organizations such as the EU to weed out corruption and bad environmental practices in Eastern Europe, they in fact enable them. Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the “enlightened” West.

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    “ longer upending everyday life…

    I’m sure the ones who died, and their families, are happy to hear it.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Steny “Brezhnev Was Livelier” Hoyer emerges!

    I didn’t know that he was still functional. Somehow, he was reelected and is collecting his salary.

    It sounds like the new position comes with medals and ribbons: “Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was selected to head a new leadership arm for House Democrats on Monday, giving the congressman an elevated position in the caucus after he stepped down from his top post at the end of the last Congress.”

    To implement legislation? What are they talking about? Congress doesn’t implement legislation: That’s for the executive branch agencies and commissions.

    So what is Steny doing as the omega male of the Congress? And will the US populace be the beneficiary? (Sorry, you know that I’m just a-teasing you with that second question.)

    1. Wukchumni

      Imagine being named (the timing is almost right) after a cheaply made WW2 UK submachine gun that tended to jam?

      Have pity on our Bizarro World Politburo leaders of the 80’s in their 80’s, Chernenko.

  10. Wukchumni

    In a warming world, California’s trees keep dying High Country News
    To be able to witness changes that might take centuries, all compressed into everything that has taken place since the turn of the century is a tall order, but there you have it.

    Trees really can’t go on the offensive but everything else can, and if I was Mother Nature, upset with the well being of the forest for the trees being treated in a manner unlike i’d perfected over time by moderation…

    I’d boil the 2 legged toads in charge but do it so slowly that they hardly notice, and then i’d deploy bark beetles-that is after getting rid of the defense systems of too many trees allowed to grow in the past century of fire suppression… by utilizing drought to drain them of sap, and it isn’t David versus Goliath, more like small platoon of beetles takes down pine trees, some 2/3rds as tall as the Statue of Liberty, 175 million of them in the past decade.

    But we’re just getting going, in that all of those newlydeads have had years to dry out now and become firewood, just waiting for a clean-out by way of lightning bolt voltage with a twist in that wildfires used to go to bed @ night, kind of similar to firefighters-they too needed their sleep, but not anymore as they do what they want 24/7 on account of higher temps & humidity.

    I’ve been slowly replacing has-been forests of stately trees with low lying ground cover that takes over like so much Sierra Kudzu, which is easier for me to tend in a changing world than trees that take so much energy and effort to get them to a reasonable size, hope you understand its nothing personal, but its your fault.

    1. upstater

      Our glacial valley has a substantial creek meandering through it. Post revolutionary war settlers denuded the hillsides and creek bottoms of trees. As small farms began disappearing 100 years ago, elms and ash reforested the area. Elms are long gone, but imported Dutch elm disease took decades to occur. Elm stragglers remain, but succumb around 6 inches in diameter. Ash is another story… in 5 years everything is dead from the imported emerald ash borer.

      Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle now thrives, along with introduced wild roses (a misguided NY Conservation Department program decades ago). In the 43 years we’ve been here, the entire bottom lands have become impenetrable thickets of invasives. Fortunately we don’t have wildfires, as there are millions of tons of dry fuel out there.

      I’ve planted many buckets of black walnuts, hickory nuts and oak acorns perhaps I’ll see the seedlings this year. The trees that gave use the nuts were planted over 40 years ago; many are 50 feet high now. It’s too difficult to plant trees with seeds like maples unfortunately.

      Man supposedly had the garden of Eden. It surely was spoiled by his actions.

      1. Eclair

        Upstate, I feel your pain. In south Chautauqua county, we fight a constant battle against the invasive multiflora rose and Japanese honeysuckle. Add in the Japanese knotweed, which now lines stream banks throughout New York’s southern tier. These imports have no native predators.

        In contrast, I would not count on any of your carefully planted seedlings reaching maturity, or even early childhood, unless they are protected against deer. Or unless you have successfully eradicated your local deer. If the later, let me know your methods,

        In desperation, we began a protection scheme last year. We pile the thorny branches of massacred Rosa multiflora around the inches-high oak and maple seedlings that have popped up. The deer avoid the thorns. We hope.

      2. B24S

        More from downstate. I still have the family home in Rockland Co., built on old Dutch farm land in 1922, of local stone, hickory, and chestnut (only down maybe 5 years from the blight, still sound wood). The Dutch had cleared the fields of rocks, made into walls, but by the time the house was built the fields had started to fill with scrub. My wife worries for the Dutch farmers spinning in their graves.

        As a child we never saw deer, and there was lots of hemlock, birch, etc., giving 10-20+ ft cover filled with fox grapes, and the oak sprouts from the 20s had grown to shade the house. But the last 25 years we’ve lost the best oaks to various problems, the most recent last summer, and the house is more exposed.

        The woods are now full of beech and tulip trees, as well as multi-flora, “japanese” barberry, and devils club in the clearings. There’s an open view through the woods; below six feet almost nothing grows, as the deer eat anything as soon as it sprouts. I have a friend with bow-hunting privileges, but he only fills his tags. I’d like him to just clear them out; to paraphrase a 60’s idiom, kill them all, and let the butcher sort them out.

  11. Lexx

    ‘The U.S. consumer is starting to freak out’

    ‘Mikhail Andersson, owner of First Class Tattoo in New York City, has seen signs of weakening demand. After it was cleared to reopen from lockdowns in the summer of 2020, his business was slammed by customers flush with unemployment insurance payments and stimulus checks. In mid-November of last year, Mr. Andersson started getting calls from clients who had booked daylong tattoo sessions, saying they could only afford shorter ones or pulling out all together. Mr. Andersson, who specializes in tattoo projects that often take five or six all-day sessions to complete, had 15 cancellations for full-day slots in December.’

    To tattoo or not to tattoo, that is the today’s consumer question, an economic measure of their confidence in the economy. When money is tight smaller tattoos or – gawd forbid! – no tattoos at all, instead of the highly desirable week long full sleeve or whole back displays. Think of the poor tattoo artist, down to just a waiting list of 250. What about his kids? They need shoes too!

    I was inclined to immediately look to the age of the author(s) of this article. I’ll be putting this next to the complaints that in hard times ‘we can only afford to go out to eat twice, maybe three times a month!’

    ‘YOLO! Show me the tats!’

    1. Wukchumni

      Don’t discount tattoos, I utilize them to get an idea of a young adults visible net worth…

      I admit to not knowing or caring what it costs to be the illustrated man or woman, and it would be impolite to ask a stranger ‘hey, how much did the monkeys crawling up your left arm run ya?’ so I just go with ballpark figures of $2k per limb if there’s a fair amount, more if color is involved-not a precise thing by any means.

      Most I see have a visible net worth from $5-10k, and occasionally you’ll feast your eyes upon $25k worth of needlework.

    2. Stephen

      I guess it is a generational thing but a tattoo is something I would never ever have. Have never seen the attraction of them although they are far more common today than when I was young. Nearly everyone under 35 seems to have one. I guess this might be an unpopular comment!

      1. The Rev Kev

        I see a lot of grannies with tattoos as well. When I was a kid the only people that had them really were gangsters or sailors. Now you see them on everyone. I worked with this guy once who came out from Cyprus. He was stationed in Egypt at the end of WW2 and got himself a tattoo of a naked dancing girl on his arm. It might have been a good idea then but since that time he got married and had a coupla kids so kinda stood out.

        But then again, I am so old-fashioned that I would be too embarrassed to take a selfie.

        1. Wukchumni

          I tried to convince my mom to get a flowery heart tat on her upper arm with the word ‘SON’ in the middle, but despite all my pleading she didn’t go for it.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I once considered having a tat saying ‘SPQR’ on my upper arm but then decided that my skin was too pretty.

        2. ArvidMartensen

          Had a semi-retired guy come and build a big shed. And in the heat of summer (30 + degrees C) he always was very neatly dressed, including a pressed long sleeved shirt.
          One of the locals said that in his youth, the shed guy had tatts done all over, and in his older age was mighty embarrassed by them. So he always wore a long sleeved shirt, no matter what.
          I would’ve love to have seen the tatts, but nope, never happened.

        3. Steven A

          Baby boomer here. My dad was a WWII vet (Navy, in the western Pacific). Although dad did not have any tats, many of his friends and dads of my friends had them, sometimes in multiples. Almost to a man, they regretted getting them, giving peer pressure and overuse of alcohol for their reasons for getting inked. When it came my time to serve my Irish Catholic grandmother was plagued with worry that I was going to get tattoo’d, and impressed upon me that our bodies were tabernacles; getting a tattoo she claimed, was akin to going into the church with a hammer and chisel and chipping away at the marble. Despite my assurances that I absolultely had no desire for a tattoo, granny was not mollified.

          I served in the Air Force in Vietnam and Thailand and knew not a single incidence of a fellow airman going out and getting inked. The only ones I remember with tattoos were guys who had been around since WWII or Korea. At any rate, the brass put most tattoo parlors off-limits due to the risk of infection.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My opinion is society is dead, and tattoos are a faux-stamp of belonging in the absence of larger cultural connection and standing out when people have become devalued. As a result people try to stand out and get weird tattoos. Do I really need Leonard Nimoy on the inside of my arm? (I don’t have any tattoos to be clear, and if I did, it wouldn’t be a real person.)

        The under 35 crowd (under 42 really) is always hustling. I even hazard the popularity of The Office is a result of the fantasy of having the security of going to the same place everyday and people mildly interested in each other’s lives.

        In the case of the tattoo economy, I imagine demand was pulled forward during lock down.

        1. Bart Hansen

          Don’t forget the pro athletes. Some look like they fell into a septic tank and forgot to towel off.

      3. OnceWereVirologist

        Absolutely love them (barring face & neck tats), despite growing up in the age bracket just before they became acceptable and thus having none myself. But to each their own.

        1. Terry Flynn

          I too am in an age bracket where “you don’t get them”.

          However I was blown away by a guy whose back had the COMPLETE London Underground map tattooed. Unfortunately he was probably doomed to have to keep it up to date…..

          And the “stupid westerner trope” works both ways. BFF in first Japanese academic position at first staff BBQ had to chat to wife of Vice-chancellor whose t-shirt (to her) probably seemed cool but said “too drunk to….. Family-blog”. Regional uni for scientists….. Poor levels of English. He’s never seen that at Tokyo Uni. Though totally weirdly I learnt who were the Japanese referencing me around that time and pushing my h-index up (but whose papers weren’t translated into English) ….. When BFF told VC about way to get student preferences the VC knew “Flynn et al” and reeled off my CV ….. Surreal.

      4. Mildred Montana

        Tattoos for the young and the free are an expression of…well, something I don’t understand. And I doubt the bearer of one could articulate persuasively why he or she got it.

        In prison however, tattooing is the art of the angry and the bored. That I know for sure. Is there an inmate or ex- not sporting extensive tattooing?

        1. orlbucfan

          There is NO way I will subject myself to a (family blog) needle full of colored ink shoved into my skin with no anesthesia to start with! I hate needles period, so have never figured out the tats craze.

        2. CallMeTeach

          I beg to disagree about the young and free. Everyone I know who has them can tell you exactly why and when and where they got them. Though I am far from young, all 5 of mine mark an important event or cultural connection (Many cultures tattooed themselves, men and women). The stories that go with them are detailed and, at least to some, interesting.

    3. notabanker

      It’s behind a paywall so did not read, but my first reaction was: If by freak out they mean not paying for the over-priced corporate margin laden crap they are selling, yeah, I would agree.

    4. semper loquitur

      Tattoos are a fetishized symbol of “freedom” for many in a time when freedoms are becoming scarcer and scarcer. It’s one of the last vestiges of personal autonomy. There is a tattoo parlor in my neighborhood, actually quite a few upon reflection, but this one seems to be a hangout spot for skaters and related species of Gen Z’ers. It’s a “culture”.

      Now, I think they are silly, quite frankly, I never had the desire to get one. Why spend money on ink when you can buy drugs? But people will pay a lot for freedom, even illusory freedom. I realize they are a luxury, as you point out, but I think for many they are beyond that. They have a symbolic value that supersedes that of, say, buying an expensive car or pricey new sneakers. They have a ritual associated with them, a trial by pain, like piercings and scarring. They visibly alter the actual body of the individual whereas other luxury items generally do not. There is, in short, a Magical element to them. When sales of tattoos are dipping, I’d say it’s worth noting.

      1. Lexx

        My first thought was ‘The Illustrated Man’, tell people staring at them they were put there by a time-traveling woman after a one-night stand. Look too long and you’ll go mad. Or that you’re actually one of the rare escapees from the yakusa/russian mob/prison. Which culture do the Gen Z’ers think they’re aligning themselves with? Everything about them seems to say ‘gangster’ or ‘outlaw’. ‘I’m an untrustworthy sketchy character. Approach at your own risk.’ And yet I’m most likely to see a heavily tattooed and pierced person ringing up my purchases or drawing my blood. Last week he was also sporting a purple mohawk.

        I told the woman (a few years ago) who was drawing my blood that her (considerable, full color) tattoos were beautiful. It looked painful to me though, from what little experience I had with needling. She replied that the pain was the point.

        Exorcising pain is good but wearing the story in my skin for the rest of my life via more pain, seems like a sucky therapy and a worse religion.

        1. bradford

          Regarding “the pain was the point”:

          A long time back I read an article (by? about?) Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame, about his tattoo experience. I can’t track it down now, but the point was that he didn’t want to have a permanent tattoo, but wanted to understand what the whole deal was, and so asked a tattoo artist if they could do one without ink. Apparently the ink provides some lubrication, and the artist explained that this would hurt more. He went ahead with it, describing the experience in some detail. The people at the tattoo parlor “got it”, though.

        2. semper loquitur

          “She replied that the pain was the point.”

          Yep, it’s a kind of blood sacrifice or right of passage, make no mistake. It makes it “real”. One is “reborn” from the suffering and with the tattoos to prove it.

          From a Magical perspective, it’s little more than a sugar high. It’s one thing if the tattoo has some greater meaning, memorializing some event or concept of import in one’s flesh, but a tattoo for it’s own sake has only the act itself as a semiotic foundation. It is a shell of a ritual.

          And now they are everywhere. I am old enough to remember when having a tat or, for a guy, an earring was a big deal. Now they are, well, commodified into a “culture” and ubiquitous. Communal individualism, as tevhatch points to.

      2. Wukchumni

        The thing is, they’re really into art… but only on themselves~

        It isn’t as if there are lines of Gen XYZ waiting to get into art museums to glimpse masterpieces…

        1. mary jensen

          Wrong Wukchumni, the Gen XYZ will queue for however long it takes to ‘selfie’ in front of any van Gogh or F. Kahlo.

      3. Barry

        The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minster – Nanaia Mahuta

        What does the Māori chin tattoo mean?

        Tā moko for men and women

        Moko kauae – are received by women on their lips and chin. A moko kauae represents a woman’s whānau and leadership within her community, recognising her whakapapa, status, and abilities. It is a traditional taonga passed down over many generations from the ancestress Niwareka.

    5. Eclair

      Re: “….. customers flush with unemployment insurance payments and stimulus checks,” getting tatoos.

      Wow, is this the contemporary version of welfare queens driving Cadillacs? Blame our economic problems on the lower classes, blowing their measly $1200 check or their unemployment checks which they get for just sitting around.

      Listen to the recent Michael Hudson and Radhika Dessai episode here on NC. The bulk of these government payments went towards paying down debt. And rent and food and diapers and all that stuff.

      Now, the trillions the government doled out to the corporations? C suite bonuses and increased compensation packages. Dividends. Stock buybacks, which increased share prices, resulting in massive wealth increases for the wealthiest. And, coincidentally, even bigger bonuses for the corporate execs.

      So, people get tattoos. God love a duck, the planet is warming, the icecaps are melting, the seas are rising, Miami will disappear under the waves, the south west and mountain states are running out of water, the oceans are turning into acid, fish have disappeared, huge tracts of forest have burned or about to burn, the air and water are laced with chemicals and particulates. And two heavily armed nuclear powers are getting itchy and one of them is run by, as a commenter said, ‘schizoid psychopaths.’ If getting your arm turned blue with weird art is helping you cope with this insane sh*t, better than drugs, alcohol, or shooting up a shopping mall or kindergarten.

      But commenters may respectfully disagree.

      1. orlbucfan

        Still nuts sticking needles in your arm without bonafide painkillers and antibiotics. But hey, whatever in this day and age. I know cos I’m married to a retired biker with teeth and NO tats.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Claire Ballantine tweet–Epic burn

    I never know what I’m supposed to do with tweets that put cut off parts of articles in them. This time I clicked through, saw more of the text and found the “burn” at the end.

    Since I can’t cut and paste it for some reason, I’ll just say the sandwich guy said that when the wall street geniuses come into his store for their bagels and coffee every day, the scene at his door reprises the best Far Side cartoon evah–Midvale School for the Gifted.

    1. Yeti

      Ranked as 8th leading cause of death at 2% of all under 19 deaths. That according to this study it works out to if you assume a 50%infection rate in this cohort which I believe is not unreasonable as the period included delta and omicron VOC’s works out to 99.998% survival rate. No mention of vaccination rate nor whether or not co-morbidities we’re considered. It should be noted that almost half of these deaths occurred in the under 5’s I believe. Given that the USA ranks outside of the top 50 countries in the world in childhood mortality (under 5 year olds) this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

      1. Realist


        1 in 50,000 kids dying of any single cause is actually a lot, or did you just make the number up?

        How long would a toy or snack that “only” killed 1 in 50000 kids stay on the shelves?

          1. Realist

            In the official stats, COVID only killed you if it did so in the first month after testing positive, so that’s not really a fair comparison.

            Just like a eating crap all the time, the long term damage to your organs from triannual reinfection with COVID is going to accelerate the deaths of many more than 1 in 50k.

        1. Yeti

          Infant mortality in USA is 7 deaths per thousand, Canada is I believe under 5 deaths per thousand. That is an additional 200 deaths per 50,000 in USA, yes that is concerning, given our populations are comparable.

  13. The Rev Kev

    All right. I’ll be the bunny. Robin K’s cat in today’s Antidote du jour. Is there a name for that type of colour coat or is it just random?

      1. Terry Flynn

        Now you mention it, I’d agree. However the crazy cat ladies round here would undoubtedly find some objection since the “pattern” isn’t uniform. I don’t argue with them….. The one behind us has a Maine Coon and first time I saw it I was ready to call RSPCA thinking those stories about massive wild cats in UK were in fact true.

        Our scaredy cat little long haired oldish female moggy doesn’t know WTF is going on these days with all the new homeowners and their big cats.

    1. Terry Flynn

      I’ll be serious for a mo – someone I follow on YouTube once made a great observation re cat breeds and the comparison with dogs. The “what breed is it?” question about a dog is much more likely to get an answer of “thoroughbred breed x” or “breeds x & y mix”.

      Ask about a cat and the answer is more likely to be something like “errr ginger?”…. It made me laugh, having grown up with dogs and cats but alas even the colour name of that cat eludes me. I’ll just call it “cute”.

      1. Wukchumni

        There are a few breeds of cat that’ll set you back a bit, but in general cats aren’t worth anything compared to so many spendy breeds of dogs, contributing to the cat-dog angst-the meow too movement knows.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m always amused by people who purposely get cats.

        “Where did you get your cats?”

        Me: the sewer. They are just little parasites who steal from us. And the alley. They just show up.

        1. The Rev Kev

          But I must disagree. Cats have performed an extraordinary service to mankind. They proved once and for all that the Earth we live on is not flat at all. If it was, cats would have pushed everything off the edges long ago.

  14. Mikel

    “The U.S. Consumer Is Starting to Freak Out” WSJ

    Not much about the increasing energy bills – gas and electric – all over the country.
    So Cal Gas just sent out a ridiculous gas bill with a ridiculous eason.
    F Ukraine and F NATO.

    1. jefemt

      Inflation figures by a highly-rererenced metric exclude volatile food and energy. Since 2000.

      Soon, we will exclude Covid as a health issue.

      As Picard said, Make It So.

      Free Willy! Political Willy! 2023- get the Willies!

    2. Laura in So Cal

      Energy prices…highest ever natural gas bill for last month at $315 along with an electricity bill of $250. Our baseline bills without the furnace or AC are about $45 for natural gas and $150 for electricity. I went back to compare to last year for the same period when we paid $125 for nat. gas. I DID use about 25% more gas because it has been colder, but the biggest driver is the cost per therm. It has doubled in one year. I’m pretty frugal and only run the heat during the day with the thermostat set at 67°F. We have lots of blankets at night.

      I’m hearing of people with gas bills of $500-$1000 this month.

      Paying the higher food and energy prices absolutely makes you more hesitant on all sorts of other discretionary spending.

  15. Ghost in the Machine

    On those polls asking if democracy is the best form of government, they should first ask the respondent if they think we have a democracy.

    1. Alan Roxdale

      It is possible that the poll is bs, paid for by some ultra think-tank or the other, phrased in such a way, etc, etc. It suits more people in the political class to demoralise the idea of democracy than most of the voters.

  16. fresno dan

    The press versus the president, part two Columbia Journalism Review.

    Wolf Blitzer, a CNN host, said shortly after the story broke that “CNN would not have done a story about the dossier’s existence” if officials “hadn’t told Trump about it.” CNN, in its story, also said the sources used by the author of the report, described as a former British intelligence agent, soon to be outed as Steele, had been “checked out” over the past few months and found to be “credible enough.”
    The day before Trump’s inauguration, the Times featured a story: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry into Trump Associates.” The piece, once posted, evoked a strong reaction from Strzok,* who was leading the FBI inquiry: “no substance and largely wrong,” he texted, adding “the press is going to undermine its credibility.”
    In the article’s discussion of the dossier, it described Steele as having “a credible track record” and noted the FBI had recently contacted “some” of Steele’s “sources.” Actually, the FBI had recently interviewed Steele’s “primary” source, a Russian working at a Washington think tank, who told them Steele’s reporting was “misstated or exaggerated” and the Russian’s own information was based on “rumor and speculation,” according to notes of the interview released later. The day the Times piece appeared in print, Strzok emailed colleagues and reported that Steele “may not be in a position to judge the reliability” of his network of sources, according to Justice Department documents released in 2020.
    Maybe this is the beginning of a reassessment of the whole Russiagate debacle by the media. I can only hope that objectivity and reality are taken more seriously by the media.
    * now that is irony

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      …a reassessment of the whole Russiagate debacle by the media.

      In your dreams, Fresno. More like a revving up of the Winston Smith re-write engine.

      I especially like the use of this wholly “unanticipated” plot twist / literary mechanism used in just about every spy thriller ever written or made into a movie:

      …A BuzzFeed reporter, Ken Bensinger, got access to the dossier via David Kramer, a close associate of then-senator John McCain. He photographed the pages when Kramer was out of the room, according to Kramer’s testimony in a libel suit. Kramer also testified he would not have granted “access” to Bensinger if he knew “BuzzFeed would publish.” (Kramer declined to comment after I sent him an email explaining what this article would say about him.)

      Bensinger had been vetting the dossier, but was on vacation at Disney World with his family when CNN aired its story. A BuzzFeed editor called him to say the publication planned to publish the entire document, a possibility that had not previously been discussed, Bensinger said in an interview.,,

      Does this qualify as “deus ex machina?” It was widely reported at the time that mccain was the ultimate source of the dossier for public consumption, through an “aide,” due to his perpetual “concern” for all things “national security.”

    2. pjay

      This is a long, four part dissection of the mainstream media’s role in Russiagate. There looks to be a lot of good information which – rightly – shows the press to be the partisan hacks they are. That said, I couldn’t help but notice that the intelligence community’s role is almost COMPLETELY WHITEWASHED! Hmm.

      In this piece, most discussion of the FBI is about their *skepticism* regarding Russian collusion, as your quote indicates. Moreover, one of the most “skeptical” FBI agents, one who appears more often than anyone else and seems to be a major source for this story, is *f**king Peter Strzok*! I could be wrong, but I definitely get a CYA limited hangout vibe in this story.

      Further, in purported exposes of Russiagate I always look to see if the CIA is mentioned. It is here – once, in one early paragraph. Here’s what it says about the CIA and Brennan:

      “The dossier wound up in the ICA because the FBI pushed it, despite reservations at the CIA. Agency analysts saw it as an “internet rumor,” according to Justice Department documents. Two “senior managers in the CIA mission center responsible for Russia” also had reservations, according to a memoir by Brennan, the head of the agency at the time. Brennan testified that it didn’t inform the report’s analysis or judgments, though Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA, told the House Intelligence Committee it was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”

      That’s it. The CIA was just a skeptical bystander, and Brennan didn’t have anything to do with it. See, the intelligence community *tried* to warn the media, but gosh, they just couldn’t help longing for the next Watergate story, and once Trump jumped in with his “fake news” tweets, the media war was on!

      I have not yet been able to read the other three parts of this series carefully. I’ve skimmed them, and as I say I think there is a lot of good information on the *media’s* role. Skeptics like Taibbi, Greenwald, and Mate come off well, while the MSM are shown to be partisan dopes. But if the other parts are like this one, and I think they are, there is definitely something missing in this account. “Russiagate” is about a lot more than just the liberal media’s battle with Trump. “Limited hangout” seems an apt description, whether or not that was Gerth’s intention.

      1. Alan Roxdale

        It reads like a “few bad apples” exonerative. Each newsroom has a few skeptics and few brave dissenters. I don’t recall a single one rearing their head through the debacle. I certainly don’t remember Bob Woodward ever saying anything about Russiagate. “We investigated ourselves and found heros for the ‘Mississippi Burning’ version of reality”.

      2. Carolinian

        It is from The Columbia Journalism Review which in itself is surprising given the supposedly tight connection between Columbia J School and the Times. Having had a chance to more or less read this very long report I think it puts across the main point which is that the press are the problem here more than government leakers who are always trying to manipulate reporters. The MSM was never objective about Trump and the NYT press beat reporter openly said “this time it’s different” due to distain for Trump’s style, message and supporters. Yes Brennan and the others were abusing their positions but they needed a vehicle to do so and an eager vehicle it was. Without a doubt this was because some outlets like CNN felt they had “made” Trump with their intense coverage during the campaign (good for ratings) and now had to make up for it. But just like “weapons of mass destruction” the whole episode exposes just how phony their so called “standards” are. If Gerth is too mild it’s more his reluctance to denounce the profession itself that Columbia is supposedly training students to join. With that profession already under assault financially rocking the boat with reform seems unlikely.

      3. fresno dan

        I too noticed the very sympathetic portrayal of Strzok as a guy concerned with getting the story right, which only tells me Strzok was a major source for this story.
        But looking for the silver lining, it does tell me that maybe, perhaps, possibly there really is a reevaluation of the whole fiasco, if even someone like Strzok is letting it be known that many MSM stories were just absurd.
        I would like to know if the FBI and DoJ didn’t really think there was anything to the Steele dossier, what exactly was their basis for investigating Trump???

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Some Democrats are worried about Harris’s political prospects”

    ‘Every fiber in my body wants her to be president; everything I’ve ever fought for is for someone like her to be president’

    God, do these people listen to themselves? Who here would look forward to listening to Kamala Harris talking. Listening to Biggus Dickus is funny but Kamala just grates. I had a horrible thought though yesterday. So they dump old Joe and pin the blame on him for both Afghanistan and the Ukraine. And then that means that Kamala Harris then becomes Madame President – while Hillary’s teeth grate. She gets the office and the entry in the history books but it will still be people like Kirby and Blinken running things. But there is one thing that they cannot protect her from – the 2024 US State of the Union speech. The average length of it is about 50 minutes but I ask you – can you imagine a speech from her for that long? The rest of the world, after listening to it, could only conclude that America is no longer a serious country anymore-

    1. Wukchumni

      Putsch yourself in Harristroika position, darlink.

      If somebody else does all the heavy lifting of bank boxes near the Corvette and she ascends to the Presidency because goodbye, Joe, he gotta go, me oh my oh.

      1. Questa Nota

        Harristroika, with Willie Brown and a future draft pick like Pencil-Neck Schiff or even Mr. Fang Fang Swalwell?
        The possibilities for her kitchen or other room cabinet seem scary mind-boggling scary.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s superCalifragilisticexpialidocious
          Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious.

    2. Mikel

      You have a strong stomach to dive in and read that.
      I looked at the headline and thought, “Really? That’s what they’re worried about???”

    3. hunkerdown

      The Democrat Party is an evangelical revival group for capitalism. Mindless passion plays, in honor of the capitalist state, are the whole point of the exercise. It is not, as one commenter “Avattoir” once schooled me on Corey Robin’s blog, “a vehicle for citizen power”. See “On the Abolition of All Political Parties” for an explanation of the scam.

      (David, if you’re around, I’d be very curious where you found a tone of moral self-superiority in that piece. By my reading, she accused the whole concept of partisanship as an intoxicant to be forsaken, not a challenge to be overcome. To do the latter would only reinforce the logic of Western capitalism.)

      1. David

        I think you’re right about that. My objection to her argument, with its references back to Rousseau, is that it can easily legitimise the rule of an individual or group claiming to know what the “general will” is. The argument she was making was a very common one under the Third Republic, and to be honest it was justified as far as it went, given the pretty appalling state of French politics. But it was also precisely the argument used by Pétain, who was just as hostile to “parties” as she was, albeit from the other direction politically. His French State was designed to be a technocratic, party-less regime, headed by a ruler (him) who knew what the “national interest” was.

    4. fresno dan

      I imagine all the tremendous policies enacted and laws passed by Obama that helped black people, and I see Harris doing the same to women….
      Hmmmm…I wonder if that is why so many women are opting for sex changes….

    5. OIFVet

      ‘Every fiber in my body wants her to be president; everything I’ve ever fought for is for someone like her to be president’

      “Someone like her” 😂 Even Hillz ought to feel offended at being placed behind Harris in the “someone like her” queue.

    6. Mildred Montana

      >”…that means that Kamala Harris then becomes Madame President –while Hillary’s teeth grate.”

      So, no Harris presidency, no Hillary grating of teeth. A double-win for the American people—at least the auditorily sensitive.

    7. digi_owl

      After getting a black president with Obama, they want a female president no matter the means. That they were so rudely denied one when Trump got elected is perhaps what is driving their particular strain of TDS.

      It is all about social symbology for these people, because their lives are so massively detached from working class economics that they have zero clue about the logistics providing them with their daily barista coffee.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Defense firms flock to Hungary amid EU isolation”

    There may be another reason why those defense firms are flocking to Hungary. About half of Hungary’s energy come from nuclear power and they cooperate a lot with the Russians for those reactors and the fuel. So they will have a fairly reliable energy source to do production with – unlike a lot of other EU countries. Sure France has a fleet of nuclear reactors too but they have had all sorts of problems keeping them online when they were really needed. Hungary is playing it smart too. As they are getting those defense firms to come into Hungary, those firms will go to bat for Hungary to stop the EU trying to sanction that country for their energy cooperation with Russia.

  19. Glossolalia

    Pompeo: A Monster Slaying Monsters Abroad Consortium News. Bruce Fein reviews the new book by the former U.S. secretary of state, Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.

    It just occurred to me what a terrible name Never Give an Inch is for the the book of America’s supposed top diplomat.

    1. OIFVet

      I think it’s a Freudian slip, as in quite literally his endowment is quite a bit short of being an inch long. He can’t give what he doesn’t have, can he? Combine that with the use of ‘fighting for,’ the favorite expression of Democrats whenever they don’t actually fight for whatever issue they claim to be fighting for, and the title of Pompeo’s book makes perfect sense to me – he literally hasn’t given an inch in the fight for America, whatever the heck fighting for America means.

    2. Karl

      On reading this description of Pompeo in the article, I considered that it fits our current President:

      Yet Pompeo tacitly endorses limitless, unconstitutional presidential wars neither declared by Congress nor fought in self-defense. Neither as a member of Congress, nor as director of the C.I.A. nor as secretary of state did Pompeo ever protest unconstitutional presidential wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and against non-state actors Al Qaeda and ISIS.

      And concludes:

      He has defected from the Constitution to limitless executive power. Beware of his quest for the White House.

      But this kind of extra-Constitutional executive is in the White House now!

  20. t

    Would be lovely if Governor or two asked for natural disaster status based on Covid deaths and costs after the public health emergency is over. None will, but it truly is insane to ignore the personal and $$$ cost to so many.

    1. Wukchumni

      I got a pleading letter from the local hospital in Visalia asking me to send a plea to the Governor as they lost $133 million during Covid, of which $61 million was reimbursed-but they were out the rest.

      The biggest expense was what had to be the ultimate gig job in being a traveling RN, in that they were pulling down $2k a day, while working stiff RN’s were only making $500 for the same work.

      Kaweah Health spent $80 million on traveling nurses during Covid, ye gads.

      A go fund me from family or friend-yeah I could see that, but your hospital?

    1. Basil Pesto

      Ah yes, a medical student trying to ingratiate himself with the reactionaries and maybe land a Brownstone sinecure uses their timeworn tactic of making utterly disingenuous claims of being oh-so concerned about the working class, who in fact remain utterly unprotected and dying by the thousands to the virus. Many such cases.

      Now that global failure is universal, these cynical thinkpieces are emerging saying essentially: “see? humanity ended up failing anyway, so we should have just failed from the beginning”, and is littered with myriad little sophistries that run through the Covid Bullshit Greatest Hits catalogue. Of course, if we had succeeded at containing the disease, as many countries had showed us that way to do in early 2020, then this problem would have been summarily dealt with and we’d be laughing it off today. Unfortunately, to do that, the rest of the world would have had to have made the United States a pariah state, rather than China as we ended ip doing. Instead, we all decided to take our lead from the country with the most pointlessly barbaric system of “healthcare” on the planet – a system which the vacuous thinkpiece author’s would-be hero Bhattacharya wholeheartedly supports, by the way, because of course he does. Whoops.

      What is now vital for the reactionaries like Brownstone and the crypto-reactionaries like the Biden dems, in the next stage of their Merchants of Doubt process, is to convince the public that Maximum Infinite Covid such as we are experiencing now is and always was a scientific inevitability, rather than the murderous political fait accompli that it really is. For the former group in particular, they are now claiming that this new status quo, this massive civilisational failure and winding back of 150 years of human progress in the field ofmpublic health, represents some kind of vindication for their demented policies. One hopes that most NC readers will see through it, and other such articles which simply amount to “actually, we should have killed more people, sooner”.

      1. flora

        On the other hand, it takes some cojones to stare down big pharma and big pharma’s money even indirectly and the CDC while still in med school. / ;)

      2. pjay

        Did you read the article? His primary point is to emphasize the damage done to public discourse on health care and public trust in medical science by Establishment reactions *just like yours*! Rather than engage in informed debate, *demonize* those who question Authority and their motives for doing so!

        Here’s what the author mentions as important claims our medical gate-keepers pushed, especially early on, that did much damage:

        1. Natural immunity is worse than vaccine-produced immunity.
        2. Risk of death from the disease is high even among the young.
        3. School closures halt disease transmission.
        4. School closures are low-harm and do not damage educational opportunities.
        5. COVID is categorically not spread via aerosols (WHO)
        6. Cloth and surgical masks stop transmission of COVID.
        7. Vaccines will stop disease transmission, prevent infection, and the end the pandemic.
        8. The vaccine-myocarditis analyses (by Mandrola and colleagues) done based on VAERS are faulty.

        Which ones do you think are “murderous” lies? In the article, he cites his own long twitter thread where he provides supporting evidence from scientific journals and qualified researchers on each of these points. While there is certainly room for debating them, there is absolutely *no doubt* that plenty of highly qualified people have criticized each of these claims. Personally, I think he omitted one of the most egregious, indeed “murderous” actions by our medical Establishment: ignoring early treatment for COVID and censoring or smearing those who were desperately trying to provide such in a period of crisis and uncertainty.

        By the way, you may not like Bhattacharya, and no doubt libertarians have latched onto his arguments for their own ideological purposes. But he certainly had the medical qualifications to contribute to informed *debate*; censoring and demonizing him early on meant that his only audience were the “skeptics.”

  21. CanCyn

    Here’s me chiming in about Canadian healthcare again. The Jacobin article doesn’t get anything wrong. One thing I heard recently from a doctor in an interview is that the ICU bed shortage in particular is as much about the nurse shortage as it is beds. Perhaps the gov thinks that saying bed shortage is less alarming than nursing shortage?
    I could add some stories. One about the time I waited with my Dad (who died in 2016, so this is not a recent )story) for 14 hrs in an emergency dept hallway with no clue as to how long our wait would be. I was afraid to even go to the washroom in case a doctor stopped by while I wasn’t there. Dad was not ambulatory due to a stroke and he was somewhat hard of hearing, so needed to be accompanied when he had to visit a doc or go to emergency. That visit he was diagnosed with a tumour that had caused the internal bleeding that prompted the ER visit. Or perhaps the one about an acquaintance whose father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, fell and broke his hip and ended up dying of pneumonia from lying on his back on a stretcher in a hallway in the emergency dept for 5 days. They finally transferred him to ICU but it was too late. Or the one about my friend’s elderly mother-in-law whose broken pelvis went undiagnosed for weeks because they didn’t listen to her and didn’t do an X-ray when she visited emergency after a fall. None of these stories are recent and I have actually had fellow Canadians not even belief the broken hip story. So part of this story is that most people don’t seem to understand how dire the situation is.
    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, I have no doubt that our health care system will be privatized in my lifetime, I’m 61. Trudeau’s Liberals are as neoliberal as they come and the current Conservative leader of the Opposition is pulling the usual right wing shenanigans telling everyone that ‘everything is broken’, implying they’ll fix it all. No doubt they’ll win the next election and then manage to speed up the privatization process. Where is our supposed left-ish party, the NDP, in all of this? Busy fighting for coverage for dentistry. Sigh. A good cause but hardly the priority right now.

    1. Mildred Montana

      “Where is our supposed left-ish party, the NDP, in all of this?”

      Thank you for chiming in again, CanCyn. Regrettably, Jagmeet Singh leader of the NDP, has grown rather complacent in his role as co-PM. He is, and will remain, useless. As long as he maintains his cozy position of “power” I wouldn’t expect too much from him.

      I commented about the gradual privatization of Canadian healthcare a few days ago. I too lament it. And imo there’s only one way to stop it: Not a penny of public money for the privateers. Let them open up their clinics, let them do their surgeries, let them operate in the “free” market. Let’s see how long that lasts without government largesse, as patients balk at their fees, stop booking appointments, and in some cases can’t or don’t pay.

      Let them try, I say. But not a penny of public money for privateers. Because that is what, in the end, they are looking for—to cream off those who can pay their fancy rates while expecting the government to pay for those who can’t.

      Not a penny of public money for the privateers!

      1. JEHR

        I disagree with your description of Jagmeet Singh as he has appeared on TV saying that he would not support Trudeau if he (the PM) doesn’t live up to his promises for improving our healthcare, including dental care for children. Let’s hope he will do what he says.

        My husband and I have experienced the changes in our healthcare system in the Maritimes where we have a severe family doctor shortage and there are still thousands of Maritimers waiting for one. Our doctor who is planning on retiring made sure to help us get another family doctor. The community that our doctor works in got together and made sure that a new doctor would be enticed to come to our area. He was a nurse before becoming a doctor and his wife works in the healthcare system too.

        There is already a clinic in the town where we have to go to get our healthcare (about 30 km away) and my husband has received a letter with an invitation to visit his office. He has given us appointments and we have forms to fill in about our present health circumstances. We feel very fortunate and our situation would not have been so seamless if our former doctor and her whole community did nor work hard to obtain new doctors for the area. I know this is not the story of many places in the Maritimes where doctors have been quitting with a moment’s notice and not worrying about how their patients would manage without a family doctor.

        My conclusion is that if each community does not work out its own needs, build a clinic and actively pursue and pay a doctor that things will not proceed very well. I am proud of our community for its work in making our healthcare better. We all are truly better off for the care our doctor and our community has taken to make things better.

        1. CanCyn

          My community is currently looking for new doctors, with the help of practicing and soon to be retiring doctors. It may or may not work. I leave near a retired nurse who tells me that recruiting doctors to small town Ontario has long been a problem. If the doc has a spouse who is not a doc, they often won’t come because work is difficult to find for the non doc. And it is also my understanding that fewer medical students are choosing to become family practitioners. My physiotherapist has a friend who tried to start his own practice and found the administrivia to be overwhelming and time consuming, word gets around. This particular fellow went back to school to specialize in dermatology. In the end, with too few docs to go around, one doc recruited to one town or city means one too few somewhere else.

          1. jrkrideau

            I leave near a retired nurse who tells me that recruiting doctors to small town Ontario has long been a problem.

            It has been a problem for decades. Back 20 –30 years ago the Ontario Gov’t funded programs to encourage family practitioners to locate in smaller communities. It seemed to be fairly successful.

            I assume Dougie has cancelled the program. /s

  22. upstater

    Another example of a publicly funded rail infrastructure debacle in NYC, this one has almost doubled to $2.8B should be straightforward. For *some* reason infrastructure projects are years or decades late and 2-3-5x over budget.

    Penn’d In: MTA’s Second Rail Mega-Project Stuck in Mire

    Transit agency officials said the plans to connect Metro-North trains to Penn Station will likely face delays of six to nine months — while pointing fingers at a familiar impediment.

    The Penn Station Access project will, for the first time, link Metro-North’s New Haven Line to the transit hub on Manhattan’s West Side by running the commuter railroad’s trains over the Amtrak-owned Hell Gate Line. Currently, the New Haven line ends at Grand Central Terminal.

    The project will also provide new Bronx stations at Co-op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point, along with 20 miles of track work and bridge rehabilitations.

    Here’s another example. Biden in Baltimore touting a $6B Project to replace a pair of 150 year old tunnels on the Acela corridor.

    B&P Tunnel to receive more than $4 billion in federal funding, Biden says

    We seem incapable of delivering public goods. The level of rot is astonishing.

  23. Wukchumni

    California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal AP
    It has the feel of a poker game, all of the cards have been dealt and California has the best hand according to 1922 rights, but that was on the basis of much more water in the Colorado than there is now…

    We’ll just have to wait for the ref’s ruling tomorrow~

    1. Slaine

      I suspect California will get it’s way, for now. They have usually gotten their way, AZ vs CA not withstanding. It’s just one more failure of the elites, it’s been known since the mid 1970’s that there is no where cheap to get additional water once the shortages start. I actually think this proposal is reasonable, although I think I would insist on more cuts than 15%. 30% seems more like long term reality to me.

  24. Ignacio

    RE: France doesn’t rule out sending warplanes to Ukraine

    We should admit having been unfair to Annalena Baerbock. She has been the only sincere one saying that NATO is at war with Russia. Of course NATO is. Mostly using poor Ukraine as a proxy and victim but also by almost any other mean available. Almost certainly with boots in the ground, plus the volunteers, weapons inventories being exhausted in the West in the direction of Ukraine, economic support to Ukraine, logistic support, all kinds of sanctions against Russia, propaganda war, … NATO is at war with Russia in every aspect except formal/official declaration. Now possibly sending warplanes with the so, so, so, smart Macron announcing he doesn’t rule it out. Baerbock was right and all the rest of us hypocritical to the extreme. Keep that in mind.

  25. Van Res

    In Europe’s Clean Energy Transition, Industry Turns to Heat Pumps, Yale360, BY PAUL HOCKENOS • JANUARY 19, 2023

    With soaring gas prices due to the Ukraine war and the EU’s push to cut emissions, European industries are increasingly switching to high-temperature, high-efficiency heat pumps. Combined with the boom in residential use, the EU is now hoping for a heat pump revolution.

    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), heat pumps are three to five times more efficient than gas. And if they’re run on solar, wind, hydropower, or waste heat, they have no emissions at all.

    Unlike residential heat pumps, whose outdoor components are about the size of a washing machine, industrial versions — as large as a house — can take advantage of wasted “process energy” from factories to hike water temperatures to more than 190 degrees C (374 degrees F). At the Wienerberger factories, for example, brick dryers consume immense amounts of energy, with the drying chamber releasing mainly water vapor. This is condensed into hot water. The heat pumps then jack up its temperature from about 40 degrees C to around 90 degrees C, and return it to the drying process. Since the power source for the heat pump is the waste heat itself, this sequence consumes nearly 80 percent less energy than when the plant ran on gas.

    1. Ignacio

      Thank you Van Res There are extra benefits by scaling up the system yet i didn’t know heat pumps would serve to heat water to such high temperatures. I have been seeing a noticeable escalation in domestic heat pumps in many cases coupled with solar energy. If it works as said I believe that European governments should be pushing for it like crazy and the development of an industry of industrial size heat pumps instead of waiting until “markets” do, for once, the right thing but having industrial policies is verboten. Isn’t it?

  26. Karl

    RE: NATO chief urges South Korea to step up military support for Ukraine

    South Korea is apparently not letting its artillery stockpile to go to Ukraine:

    Speaking at the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul, [Stoltenberg] thanked South Korea for its non-lethal aid to Ukraine, but urged it to do more, adding there is an “urgent need” for ammunition.


    The NATO chief said it was “extremely important” that Russia doesn’t win this war, not only for the Ukrainians but also to avoid sending a wrong message to authoritarian leaders, including in Beijing, that they can get what they want by force.

    This veiled reference to Taiwan will redouble China’s commitment to help Russia win this war. Surely this must have made South Korea uncomfortable, as it undoubtedly has major economic ties to China. It must also rankle because the U.S. uses intimidation and force whenever it wants.

    This “you-must-choose-us-or-them” talk by Western powers is not going over well in Asia, including Japan. This is the voice of pure arrogance and stupidity.

      1. digi_owl

        Maybe they plan to deal with that as a side show to taking on China?

        That the rumble of artillery flattening Seoul will be heard within seconds is a minor issue…

    1. hk

      Also, both Koreas, regardless of what they “really” think, adhere to the “one Korea.”. They are not, at least in principle, inclined to like the notion of “Taiwan independence.” Of course, the reality is much murkier, but South Korea won’t stick their neck out going against “one China” principle for US.

  27. Van Res

    OPINION: Can we please stop talking about so-called learning loss?, by JO BOALER January 30, 2023.

    “Did students lose learning during the pandemic?

    Or did they replace the learning of
    facts and
    the sort of rote [mechanical] learning that might bring success on a test,
    with knowledge and insights about
    the world,
    health challenges,
    global upheaval,
    exponential growth,
    technology and
    ways to help their families and
    navigate complex social situations?”

    “I spent part of the summer of 2022 teaching a free data science course to high school students in San Jose, California. The course was optional, and the students earned no high school or college credits. Despite this, the diverse group of teenagers arrived each day, taking time out from their challenging home lives, eager to learn.

    When we asked the students to question data on climate change and its sources, they
    dove in,
    displaying curiosity,
    critical thinking skills,
    computer and data literacy.
    They even asked questions about
    ethics and

    Keep reading at:

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