Links 2/24/2023

Cat becomes Polish city’s top-rated tourist attraction Notes from Poland

The World’s Deadliest Mushroom Has Adapted to Invade the U.S. Field and Stream. Because there’s so much bullshit? And they keep us in the dark?

Falling in Love With Investments The Rational Walk


A realistic ‘energy transition’ is to get better at using less of it Resilience

China provinces top list of world’s most climate-vulnerable regions: Data Channel News Asia

In Argentina’s drought-hit fields, billion dollar losses and farmers going under Reuters

Iron shortage threatens microbes key to food chain in Southern Ocean Science. Fascinating story that again shows how little we know.

After uproar, society backpedals from actions against scientists who staged climate protest at meeting Science


With end of zero-COVID in China come chaos, challenges, recovery Channel News Asia

Dragons Awake Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Empire, Communication and NATO Wars

China’s wealthy struggle to find private jets as travel rebounds FT


Adani issue: Supreme Court says won’t issue injunction to media Indian Express

The Adani Crisis Is Exactly What India Needs Foreign Policy

European Disunion

Hungarian parliament faces dispute over Sweden, Finland’s NATO membership Andalou Agency

How a Covert Firm Spreads Lies and Chaos Around the World Der Spiegel. “Team Jorge says it charges up $15 million to manipulate an election. Hanan, alias Jorge, says he counts around a half dozen intelligence agencies among his clients.” That’s not very much money!

Dear Old Blighty

UK nurses’ union suspends strikes after government agrees to talks over pay Andalou Agency

You must be having a laugh! Yes Minister and The Thick of It were among the satire programmes flagged by beleaguered counter-terror Prevent scheme for ‘encouraging far-right sympathies’ Daily Mail

The digital pound: A new form of money for households and businesses Bank of England. More at NC here.

Return of private equity suggests revival of London’s salad days FT

New Not-So-Cold War

China calls for Russia-Ukraine cease-fire, peace talks AP

What They Didn’t Talk About in Munich The American Conservative

* * *

Here’s How Ukraine Could Retake Crimea Politico

‘Absolute victory over Russia isn’t possible’ Fiona Hill, Unherd

A Fight for Survival: What Victory Looks Like to Putin Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

* * *

One Year After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Experts React RAND

A Report Card on the War in Ukraine Foreign Policy

* * *

Russian Air Power “Mystery” Explained The Dreizen Report

Briefing to the UN Security Council on the Nord Stream pipeline (video) Jeffrey D. Sachs. Transcript.

The corruption of massive industry ‘sweeteners’ in foreign arm sales Responsible Statecraft (Re Silc).

Biden Administration

Biden nominates former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to head World Bank Reuters (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Why not paypal CEO?”

After Alaska Airlines planes bump runway while taking off from Seattle, a scramble to ‘pull the plug’ Anchorage Daily News (PR).

Supply Chain

Dealing with the Shipping Container Crisis Hellenic Shipping News

‘Colossal’ tidal wave of new container ships about to strike Freight Waves


Doctors Are Disappearing From Emergency Rooms as Hospitals Look to Cut Costs KHN. The words “private equity” should be in the headline.

The FDA Wants to Interfere in the Practice of Medicine WSJ. The deck: “A little-noticed provision of the omnibus spending bill could give the agency power to ban off-label use of approved therapies.” From January, still germane.

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried Hit With Additional Bank Fraud Charges in New Indictment CoinDesk

He watched the Koons ‘balloon dog’ fall and shatter … and wants to buy the remains NPR

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Documents from JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon sought in Jeffrey Epstein lawsuits FT

Zeitgeist Watch

American paranoia Times Literary Supplement. Starting with World War I.

* * *

Small Penises and Fast Cars: Evidence for a Psychological Link (preprint) PsyRvix. The Abstract: “In this experiment, we manipulated what men believed about their own penis size, relative to others. We gave them false information, stating that the average penis size was larger than it in fact is, reasoning that, on average, these males will feel that relatively and subjectively their own penis was smaller; compared to those told that the average penis size was smaller than true average. We then asked them to rate how much they would like to own a sports car. These facts and questions were buried amongst other items giving information and asking for product ratings, so that our hypothesis was masked from participants. We found that males, and males over 30 in particular, rated sports cars as more desirable when they were made to feel that they had a small penis.” Hmm. I wonder if this technique could be more widely exploited.

This Wooden Phallus Might Be a Rare 2,000-Year-Old Dildo Science Alert. Who says there’s no such thing as progress?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls for a ‘national divorce’ between liberal and conservative states NBC and Never Mind Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘National Divorce’ The Atlantic

Seattle bans caste-based discrimination, becoming first U.S. city to do so Seattle Times

There’s a War Going on in Your Local Buy Nothing Group New York Magazine

Class Warfare

Norfolk Southern toxic train bomb:

Ohio train derailment tied to overheated wheel bearing, report finds Axios. Yep. The train also may have split in two during braking, which could be a function of having been incorrectly “blocked” (heavy cars in the rear), as a function of Precision Scheduled Railroading, which forgoes such niceties. See also Freight Waves for more detail, including on roller bearings.

“Superfund for Workers”: East Palestine Raises Questions of Worker Displacement Payday Report

One Reason Why Victims of the Norfolk Southern Derailment Should Be Wary of Trusting the U.S. Government (The BP Oil Well Blowout of 2010: A Case Study) Brian J. Donovan, Journal of Accountability

5 unanswered questions on East Palestine derailment after preliminary NTSB report The Hill

* * *

Tax Breaks Threaten Remote Work If Cities Start Enforcing Them Bloomberg

Can Our Brains Be Taken Over? Quanta

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.


  1. Terry Flynn

    That male member-sports car link reminds me of the psychology study that would never pass an ethics committee these days where they used sensors to measure, uh, tumescence among men upon being presented with pron images, some “appealing to typical hetero man” and some definitely for men who like men. The participants (all supposedly heterosexual IIRC) had been stratified according to answers on a scale purporting to evaluate degree of expressed homophobia.

    You can guess whose members got most engorged at the men on men action ;-)

    I only had the print version and it’s in a storage locker but I’ve on many occasions seen people put the reference into online discussions to make homophobes shut up. I think it deserves its own name for the phenomenon (like Godwin’s law regarding politics).

      1. polar donkey

        Has anyone told this to the race car groupies? Can’t wait to see the Fast and the Fractional 9.
        Does this study apply to matadors and skydivers too?

    1. Jeff W

      Oh, yeah, I remember that study—it’s this one.The device used for the measurements was a plethysmograph, probably the only time I’ve encountered that word. I kind of wondered what the study participants thought they were consenting to.

      1. Laura in So Cal

        Lifted trucks with big tires that are always pristine (never see any off roading).
        When I see one, I always think “poor guy”

        1. Arcadia Mommy

          Not true. My father has a big 4WD pickup with a lift because he is a camper, hunter, pulls his horse trailer and loads up the truck with supplies for the barn.

          Nice stereotyping.

    2. jefemt

      My first thought was the study will be used as an analog and sales training tool to the M I complex selling bigger faster better munitions and systems that deliver them.

      Calling Lindsay Graham…

  2. griffen

    MTG calls for a national divorce. Seriously, WTF. We kinda tried this some 160 years ago. Yeah, some of the red states might do fine but there are a couple red states who get much funding from the federal government (disproportionate perhaps to what their state’s GDP actually is). As gets often said, this is the stupidest timeline and we only grow more stupid.

    I was thinking about the comic genius of Calvin and Hobbes. We’re living in Calvinball.

      1. griffen

        We could sell branding rights!! Because, free markets and such. Instead of South Carolina, welcome to the home of BMW Americas. The retailer state of Arkansas, sponsored with all manner of benevolence by Wal-Mart. \sarc

        I swear the film series installment of Aliens had it right. I’m not sure which species is worse. In our modern times, I would insert “political species” into the phrasing.

      2. AndrewJ

        Bring it on. The federal government is metastatized and is unreformable. The only way forward – to a more peaceful planet without the enormous USA military casting a shadow over all corners of the globe, towards a government capable of representing citizens, and for more reasons – is to tear it down and rebuild it with regional compacts. Buckle up, it’s time for a constitutional convention or two!

    1. Carolinian

      And yet some Democrats seem to agree with her and want to jettison flyover with all those bitter clingers.

      Meanwhile those of us who live in a red state understand that the real life of the country is becoming more homogenized–everywhere the same Walmart and McDonalds and “casual” upgrades like Applebees or Olive Garden. We are the United Commercial States of America even as the duopoly’s kabuki pretends otherwise. There is competition for dominance of course but not so serious that the regions would once again start fighting each other over it. We save all our real aggression for overseas.

    2. Objective Ace

      Direct money transfers arent the way to look at it. I wonder who benefits more when the Cantilion Effects is factored in?

      I wouldnt be surprised if many of those red states who are net recievers of money on paper, actually lose out substantially because they are at the end of the line, only receiving the newly created Fed money after its filtered through the financial system and corporate America

    3. FlyoverBoy

      Except we didn’t really try this 160 years ago. I’ll be that guy: I agree with Greene. 160 years ago, some states tried it and other states stopped them.

      Today, as a blue-state Midwesterner, I posit that the situation is different. Today, the South in particular is a leech fastened to our republic. They take far more federal dollars than they pay in. They drain the civilized portion of the country by infecting its politics with right-wing evangelical fascism, distorting election outcomes, the makeup of the legislature and the leaning of our courts. Their hate for workers and taxes gives corporations an outlet for a ruinous race to the bottom that has drained the misleadingly titled “Rust Belt” dry (more like “Sabotaged Belt”).

      I think the part of America worth preserving would be far better off if we jettisoned the South. The fact that many of them actually want out simply makes the Southectomy surgery easy and painless. I WANT them to leave. Don’t let the door hit y’all in the arse on the way out.

      1. Carolinian

        many of them actually want out

        You wish. A big chunk of the South now consists of former Ohioans and Midwesterners. The fantasy that the South is full of Lost Causers longing for secession is held by those who never come here. In my Southern town some of those Baptist churches that you dislike are looking downright tatty and the just built apartment complexes shiny and new.

        But you do make my point that the true secessionists don’t live in the South.

      2. chris

        Sure. I forget, how many trillions of dollars have we had to spend because of banking shenanigans in the “civilized” parts of the country? And, remind me, was it Trumpy farmers in red states that brought the pandemic to our shores, and then spread it throughout the country when they fled their expensive cities? Or was it a bunch of insulated class elites with passports and vacation homes? And, forgive me if you’ve already mentioned this, but how are these civilized areas that can’t process their own trash, don’t want new power plants for their new EVs, and don’t want Amazon fulfillment centers anywhere close by going to survive if they divorce from the people who literally provide all the food and fuel for them to live?

        This is a stupid argument to make. MTG is an idiot but she’s no dumber than fools who think anyone would be better off if one state of this country seceded from the other. I’d also add that if you want to know who to blame for the tide of corporations making life in the country materially worse so that folks in Red State America cling ever more fiercely to their guns and religion… look in a mirror. What do you think the people in East Palestine are going to think about the democratic administration after being forgotten by the best and brightest here?

      3. griffen

        You know, I’ve read stories in the past about a solidly blue state such as Illinois having one of the worse municipal bond ratings at a state level for General Obligations. I mean, historically I think Louisiana is the worst to be clear. Point being even the blue states might need a few federal dollars as well. Added, I get what you are stating even if I just might disagree on the terminology used.

        Where are we drawing the line approximately, I must wonder. Ohio, just by example, does not appear to be a solid for the blue division. And I’d hasten to add, my home state of North Carolina falls into the south portion of the country divisions so I’m quite close to being home already. Added thought, working at modern US corporations where my head gets stomped on has happened so I’ve dealt with that in the past.

        1. marym

          August 13, 2021
          The State of Illinois received some good fiscal news this summer: two rating agencies upgraded the State’s credit ratings and a third revised its outlook to positive. The credit upgrades were the first in in two decades, reversing years of negative news.

          February 23, 2023
          S&P Global Ratings announced Thursday that it had raised Illinois’ long-term credit rating to A-, up from BBB+, marking the seventh upgrade the state has received from a major rating agency in less than two years.

          Federal funding per resident

      4. Eclair

        RE: Jettisoning the South. That’s the South that grows tomatoes, peaches, pecans, strawberries, oranges, watermelons, sugarcane, peanuts, blueberries, broiler chickens, spring onions, cattle, soybeans and corn?

        What percentage of those government subsidies go to agricultural producers? And to the low-paid agricultural workers who toil in the fields?

        Not that I am against breaking up the hegemonic USA. (If our President can prescribe that for Russia, then why not for the USA? ) A couple of much smaller military forces might be less of a threat to world peace.

        1. chris

          I prefer the concept of breaking up the democrat and republican parties into smaller corporations so that they can inflict less damage on the world.

          1. John

            The democrat and republican parties as now constituted will be gone by mid-century. They have evolved into a uni-party with rebellious wings. As has happened a number of times in our past, there will be a realignment. What it might look like I could only guess.

        2. Daniil Adamov

          Especially if they end up fighting each other?

          Also, how would they split the nukes – or would anyone be stupid enough to give them away in exchange for promises again?

          1. Eclair

            Offer the nukes on a newly created Hegemonic Buy Nothing FB page (see above link, There’s a War Going on in your Local Buy Nothing Group:)

            Offered: Gently used ICBM’s to entities writing best paragraph on Why I Want my own Nuke. Preference given to those who have never had a nuke. Porch pickup available. DM for complete list.

      5. Scylla

        I routinely point out that there are other subsidies besides currency/cash. This is more about rural vs urban/suburban than it is about red vs blue states or north vs south. Anyone that thinks urban/suburban areas are supporting rural areas is delusional. Sure, cash subsidies often flow into rural areas, but people ignore the resources that flow out of rural areas- those are subsidies too. Food, raw materials, energy, labor, etc are all net flows from rural toward urban/suburban, and then don’t forget that urban/suburban areas then dump their waste into rural areas.
        If you want to know who is really subsidizing who, just perform a quick mental exercise- assume all transfers between two areas are completely severed, and then ask yourself who will likely survive in greater comfort. Rural areas will easily come out on top (and this certainly includes rural areas in the south).
        I think it is also time for people to come to terms with the understanding that rural areas have become uniformly Republican, not necessarily because these people prefer right wing policies (lots of people in rural areas will agree with Marx’s criticism of capitalism, I promise you), but rather because Democrats treat rural people like something unpleasant they have stepped in.

    4. Wukchumni

      If we go the divorce route, who gets custody of the currency and if the south loses out-does it become a Santa Claus dad, showering gifts upon the north in an attempt to assuage gilt?

      1. JP

        Don’t go bringing up practical matters. This is a domestic dispute. Don’t call the police they will shoot someone.

        I too live in the south. The central valley of California. Certainly Bakersfield and Porterville are further south than Birmingham and produce better cotton. What we don’t have is a decent militia. The really good militias are in places like Michigan and Wisconsin. Come to think of it they are more likely to succeed then Georgia, after they dispose of all those liberal low life in their capitols.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, that’s a bit queer as getting a concealed carry permit for your gat is a given in Godzone, you’d think we’d have at least a little militia action, but we’re no northern Idaho.

          1. Mildred Montana

            California is like a bowl of granola. What ain’t fruits and nuts is flakes. Tough to raise a decent militia with that material.

            No offense intended to Californians. I quite like granola.

        2. pjay

          I live in upstate New York. You’d be surprised how many “Southerners” there are up here as well. But in NY state politics is dominated by “cosmopolitan” NYC and the corporate Democrat machine, sometimes in cahoots with the corporate Republicans (I don’t think they call themselves “Rockefeller Republicans” anymore, but we still have some). So I guess we are on the *right* side of history up here. Yay!

        1. Keith Newman

          @Daniil Adamov, 10:53,
          Indeed. I don’t think many Canadians would like that map. Something like 90% of us were happy when the US-Canada border was closed during the pandemic…

          1. Don

            But if we (Canada) got Ecotopia plus the Empty Zone, I could live with it. And if erstwhile Canadians who suddenly found themselves living in Foundry, New England, and so on, wanted to join us, we would have lots of room for them, and some pretty nice beaches.

        1. LifelongLib

          I think some in eastern Washington state would be interested in that too, given what I’ve heard of their politics.

        2. ACPAL

          Unfortunately Boise, where most of the politics are hammered out, is being flooded with liberals from California, Portland, and Seattle. Their ideal is to make Idaho like those other liberal states so we’re starting to see the same problems as Oregon, liberals concentrated near the Capital passing laws in spite of what the less populated, conservative parts of the state want. Those liberals will never accept Eastern Oregon as part of Idaho because it would reduce their voting power in Idaho.

          What we need is to carve out those high population regions and isolate them, voting-wise, from the rest of the states. That way they could have what they want and we could have what we want. Call them City States or whatever, but stop letting them lord over the rest of the populace. This is one of the fallacies of democracy.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        you forgot Amfortas’ Enclave.
        ive said forever that when/if Texass secedes from the Union, I’m seceding from Texass.
        20 acre statelet is how i treat my place anyway.
        if it’s good for Andorra or Monte Carlo or the Vatican….

        and, to be clear, this is not yer average libertardian “i hates gooberment” thing…this is a Moral Position….based on antiimperialism, antiwar and anticorporate state.
        (as well as being wholly unrepresented in “our” vaunted “democratic republican” polity as currently configured.)
        i even have an embassy/international trade zone built in the form of the Wilderness Bar.

        1. Wukchumni

          I envision your spread being more like Hutt River Province in Aussie…

          The micronation was founded on 21 April 1970 when Leonard Casley declared his farm to be an independent country, the Hutt River Province. He attempted to secede from Australia over a dispute concerning wheat production quotas. A few years later, Casley began styling himself as “Prince Leonard” and granting family members royal titles, although he did not include the word “principality” in the official name until 2006.

      2. John

        Look at The Articles of Confederation. Tweak them here and there and you could have a looser ‘union’ that might, maybe, perhaps, be workable. Look at some of the things that are proposed or happening in Texas and decide if there is an as yet unspoken agenda in the minds of some Texans.

        1. polar donkey

          I live in Memphis. While it might actually be better for us to join Mississippi, since blue Nashville hates us as much as red rural rest of Tennessee, I don’t want to leave the Union. Our local politicians are god awful blue FIRE+ (finance, Insurance, real estate, + NGO) similar to the god awful red FIRE+ (+=landed gentry) in republican areas. I’m not sure if anyone has looked a congressional map of the United States, but you can drive from the west coast to east coast and not go through a blue district. That would seem to make a pretty messy divorce.

      3. Lex

        They’ve got most of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the “breadbasket” except we don’t farm nothing but rocks round here. At least not in any great quantity and certainly not the western section which they put in the bread basket. We’re far more “foundry” material given our rock farming to make the iron to forge the steel in said foundry.

    5. jefemt

      MTG: sigh. The problem, as I see it, is the 2016 and 2020 Presidential results electoral maps by county. There are literally huge -but few-blue blobs, around urban liberal cores, and the rest I mean a LOT of red counties. Cross your eyes and look the map is red with blue polka dots–rural America is red.
      So there is no practical geographical sense to the divorce notion.
      But, the irony of the ‘cancel’ woke turned inside-out is thick. Cancel the non MAGA person.

      I look at MTG as a great analog as to the limits of A I.
      AI is prone to and rife with Garbage in, Garbage out. The initial program/ programmer is after all a human with biases, imperfection, and limited intellect and imagination.

      Garbage in, garbage out. A I.
      Imagine a super-powered Marjorie Taylor Green, but networked, working at the speed of light, 24/7.

    6. some guy

      Beau of the Fifth Column has a little video about MTG’s call for a national divorce. In its briefest form, his thesis is that the kind of Republicans and Conservatives she represents and is one of sense that their numbers are declining and that they will represent a shrinking minority of people. They have therefor decided that they don’t want to have to represent anyone anymore and would rather rule people so as to enforce their vision on their captive subjects. Beau thinks that the country is evolving away from offering a possible platform for the MTG-type people to achieve their authoritarian rule country in.

  3. Ahinsa

    “Generally, hospitals can bill for care by a midlevel practitioner at 85% the rate of a doctor while paying them less than half as much.”

    This is a myth. Off-the-record conversations with independent emergency room physicians contracted by one of the mentioned PE companies say that they routinely co-sign the notes written by mid-level practitioners so that these visits can be billed at the physician rate!!

    These physicians state that if they do not do so, they are not called back for shifts. They are taking on a remarkable liability as they are truly not supervising the physician assistants and nurse practitioners. But they do so as they get paid well! And these companies make a lot more

    It would be worthwhile for OIG to conduct audits to see if this is indeed true. As there is no way one MD can see more than 70 or 80 patients in a shift in such messy environments

    1. flora

      So… hospitals have the equivalent academic practice of replacing tenured professors class loads with adjuncts? Good to know.

      1. Terry Flynn

        The “different physician budgets” problem has become chronic and is crippling the NHS even more in last few years. General Practitioners always refused to be NHS employees (with some exceptions) so most aim to be a limited liability partner in a practice.

        Now they are grouping together – so the 20 practices in North East Nottingham are one of the many “Clinical Commissioning Groups – CCGs”. CCGs are being bought up by US companies. Is it coincidence that our CCG now refuse to fund around 20 meds….. Which coincidentally are very expensive….

        So a GENERIC antidepressant (but evidence and loads of psychiatrists agree) which is the most effective pharmaceutical for depression isn’t funded. I have to travel to ONE pharmacy across the city attached to the hospital Trust to get it. Today I took the 2 busses…. And it was closed suddenly….

        Then the GP has the chutzpah to lecture me about stuff. At least my friends who are GPs freely admit General Practice is full of greedy useless people. Plus, I taught them around 2001…..most were incompetent. One is now one of the GPs in my local practice. And they wonder why I got one fired for gross professional misconduct and I keep causing trouble for pointing out dangerous practices?

        General Practice should be nationalised immediately. Yeah yeah there are loads of great ones….. DOWN SOUTH… But the worst serial killer possibly in history was a British GP. All my specialists obviously loathe my GPs.

        1. Felix_47

          If we consider health care a human right it should be managed just like fire protection or the police or the military. All providers should be on salary with no incentives for production. You get what you pay for.. And the NHS is has been great……the problem is that it is underfunded. The US should adopt it and just fund it better.

        2. ThirstySoul

          Thank you for the insight. I’ve had terrible time with my GP. All the the patients I know with them have complained to no end. I would love to know how to identify the unsafe practices and escalate the issue. It was impossible to get a referral to a specialist 5 years ago. I bet it is even worse now. He always brought up the underfunding and his work load as if the patients could solve the problems facing the NHS.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Pretty soon you’ll go to the ER with a broken arm and they’ll send in the janitor to fix you up. From a janitorial service of course, not one directly employed by the hospital. Much cheaper when you don’t have to pay all those bennies.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Hungarian parliament faces dispute over Sweden, Finland’s NATO membership”

    So I guess having Samantha Power visit them to make threats and to organize the next attempt at a colour revolution somehow did not convince the Hungarians to green light letting Finland and Sweden into NATO. So no carrots and all sticks is not a viable strategy after all. Who knew?

  5. Terry Flynn

    Re popular cats. Larry the No. 10 Downing St cat has a cult following and the person running the Twitter account on his behalf is often very witty.

    Unfortunately Larry (anecdotally) isn’t doing his rodent-catching job very well these days (though cut him some slack – being a rescue cat his exact age isn’t known but he’s definitely getting on a bit) and used to fight with Palmerstone and other Departmental cats instead….. I guess fighting with colleagues has infected the civil service…. That’s what happens when you are in a house share with backstabbing politicians.

    1. Stephen V

      Larry puts up with a lot:
      Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) tweeted at 4:15 PM on Fri, Nov 04, 2022:
      To answer some of your questions:
      – No I’m not “Rishi Sunak’s cat”
      – I live here permanently, politicians are temporary residents
      – Some of them very temporary
      – I agree, he’s not off to a great start
      – No, I’ve not found his wallet. Yet.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Indeed. Lots of people don’t realise Larry is a civil servant and is the “pet” of no politician.

    2. fresno dan

      Cat becomes Polish city’s top-rated tourist attraction Notes from Poland
      A large black-and-white cat named Gacek has become the top-rated tourist attraction in the Polish city of Szczecin, with over 1,000 Google reviews giving the animal a near-perfect average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
      My favorite line from the article, because, after all, this is a cat:
      “It was worth travelling three hours to feel ignored by him. Recommended,” wrote one visitor.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “One Year After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Experts React”

    I note that RAND is the same mob that was giving the game-plan on how to destabilize Russia not that long ago. Personally I am very disappointed in the advice of all these think tank wonks. All felt the need to give advice that would be agreeable to Blinken or Nuland and is this not only useless but dangerously misleading. If I wanted to read opinions like this, I would read the comments section of the Daily Kos or read Turcopolier. There was only one person’s assessment that I had any respect for and that was of Shelly Culbertson giving her assessment of the Ukrainian refugee situation which sounded pretty accurate. But then again, nearly everybody in power is losing their minds about this war. A coupla years ago people talked about Trump Derangement Syndrome but it looks like we now have Russia Derangement Syndrome. Want proof? Read the following tweet and I should note that it is from the official NATO twitter account and not a parody account. I won’t say what is in it but invite people to read it-

    1. Stephen

      Yep, I saw that earlier. Only people who do not know the suffering of war can liken it to a game. That sums up the modern day west. Everyone else suffers instead.

      1. JohnA

        Eh? Mel Gibson you mean, surely!

        There is a plaque in London in Smithfields, the old meat market close to St Bart’s Hospital, commemorating the site where Wallace was executed, after being suitably tortured.

        1. Revenant

          IIRC, the plaque is actually on the wall of Bart’s!

          The meat market was outside the City’s boundary, as the last spot on the cattle drive south down the A1 from Scotland. William Wallace was slaughtered like a Highland cow….

          Bart’s may also have been outside the wall: it was originally a monastic foundation I believe like the Charterhouse to its northeast and the Priory of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John and Jerusalem to its Northwest (which is these days home to its descendant the St John’s Ambulance but also to the order, in reduced circumstances: only the gatehouse remains), both outside the walls.

          I used to live in Charterhouse and I cannot quite be certain whether I dreamt it, that Yves came by when there was a meet up in the Jerusalem Tavern and she was in London in the Barbican.

    2. chris

      Yeah. This and the Fiona Hill interview were really interesting. There’s some glimmers of thought in each but the crazy is so strong that you know the people making these statements will never admit their mistakes. Or even pause in their actions. I mean, what’s the practical difference between what Putin is doing (assuming the worst allegations are true) and what the US is doing in Syria? Would any of these people accept the independence of Crimea, and the Donbas oblasts, from Ukraine? Or is it only acceptable for them to be “free” if they rejoin the state that has been actively killing them for the past 8 years?

      At least in the Hill interview you get a sense that some level of reflection is possible. How much responsibility should the US bear for countries that don’t want to protect themselves getting into this kind of trouble? Germany and France in particular seem to have actively been poking the bear only to not have any idea what the consequences would be. Just like they seem to have actively supported the crazy US plans for Europe without actually thinking through what would happen next if they suddenly cut themselves off from cheap sources of energy.

    3. Michaelmas

      Rev Kev: But then again, nearly everybody in power is losing their minds about this war.

      Cognitive dissonance and incipient epistemological collapse will do that to folks

      It’s 2023, and they’re trying just as hard as they can not to notice that, and the fact that the US is not the exceptional hegemon in a unipolar world, blah, blah, blah.

      That indeed when the US says “Jump!” the only people nowadays who are doing that are the bought-and-paid-for lackey elites in the EU — and they at some point will have to confront their national populations and the fact that in the real world the EU and NATO really don’t have the material clout to posture like they’re doing.

    4. CaliDan

      RAND’s senior behavioral scientist, Todd Helmus, candidly tells us what to expect in 2023 (presumably, so we can adjust accordingly). “Success in Ukraine will depend on maintaining international support and weapons shipments. To do so, Ukraine must keep the war front and center in social media feeds across the United States and Europe.”

      That is, of course, if the elite haven’t had enough success in Ukraine already, otherwise they’d lileky move to greener pastures.

      1. jsn

        The obliviousness is breathtaking.

        So, to keep the weapons flowing we’ll just get them from all the places we exported our manufacturing to.

        Social media will no doubt bring the Chinese back on side so we can get ammo to Z.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘greener pastures?’

        After this war is over the grass will be very green indeed in the Ukraine.

    5. spud

      if you would have listened to NPR, watched charlie rose and PBS from 1993 onwards, you would have heard a parade of one after another lunatics with feverish beliefs of superiority, racism, hatreds for blue collar types, and how they should accept reality, maybe even learn manderine and coding, wall street is the savior of the world, color people of the world will be the sweating grunts, the world is now ours.

      just think, russia threw a spanner into the feverish, and they were this close to grasping the brass ring!

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The dildo of northern England article: There is the underlying study that one can click through at the end. And so I did. For the details.

    There has been much debate here at Naked Capitalism about the role of science. I offer this quote from the “Touch Wood” article: “Comparison of wear patterns on the Vindolanda wooden phallus with known examples of dildos is also difficult.”

    There is also some good description of herms, which are an aspect of the ancient world that moderns won’t get. Likewise, the idea of the phallus as apotropaic (warding off bad spirits) is hard for moderns to get–what with the current puritanism and body shaming. So ancient Roman windchimes don’t have the same effect.

    And in honor of science, there are these investigations. To quote: “The choice of organic materials with smooth surfaces is also illustrated by an eighteenth-century ivory example found in the stuffing of a seat of a Louis XV armchair in a convent on the banks of the Seine in Paris (Science Museum Group n.d.).”

    And you were looking for coins that had gone astray…

      1. Wukchumni

        Funny how we’ve gone from wooden dildos way back when, to semi-automatic steely dans as a way for Americans to pleasure themselves.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Thanks. I wasn’t going to bother commenting on the sports car article because it’s so appallingly bad (even by the standards of 20th century mathematical psychology and experimental design) but your comment spurred me to make a few points.

      First, stated facts are notoriously bad at changing attitudes/values. Regular readers of NC and those who just observe how badly we deal with climate change know this. You cannot vary “self esteem” experimentally – indeed choice modellers often use it as a robust “defining factor” together with “attitudes/values” in order to better break the mathematical problem inherent in choice data. (See work by Lee, Soutar – UWA – plus Schwartz and my former boss Louviere for references).

      Pseudo-randomisation? You still get “bad randomisations” (particularly for n=200). Use Balanced Incomplete Block Designs and Latin Squares (routinely published in early 1980s).

      Delete 2.5% of respondents for lack of attention? So their errors were too large? Very convenient how this aids in getting p down to below 0.05.

      Fixed effects for respondents – so they DON’T make errors in repeated choices? I don’t see a single reference to papers by McFadden, Louviere, Hensher and others showing they do. Two of those are very mainstream economists BTW.

      This article is Buzzfeed worthy. Was it written by an AI? I suspect it’s a trick article by UCL to check if we can spot an AI piece of garbage. Otherwise it is getting through because the people who could really do proper peer review died of Covid over past 2 years :-(

      Finally you can validate using response time data. Where is it? I’ve refrained from referencing me as I’m probably breaking rules but there’s a textbook out there to show all these references.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Just a few (I hope) more positive observations about how to improve these types of study. How do you change inherent values and attitudes including self esteem? You don’t quote facts. People have absurdly optimistic views about the efficacy of potential end-of-life interventions like intubation etc thanks to those awful TV dramas. My work showed what was an almost deterministic predictor of whether you are a “unplug me” or “throw the kitchen sink at me to try to keep me alive” type: whether you personally have seen a family member or close friend go through it.

        Physicians are hugely “unplug me” types, as are those who witnessed ICU procedures for loved ones. Others? Nearly always “I want everything”. Stated facts are often ignored.

        Rating scales? How often do we need to keep proving that these don’t satisfy key mathematical assumptions? Difference between 2 & 4 must be same on latent scale as 3 & 5. 4 must be twice as large as 2. Anyone who watches Amazon/Rotten Tomatoes ratings already knows these are garbage. They’re before we get to biases like “people from traditional Chinese backgrounds avoid number 4” etc….

        Do you ever give a numerical rating to a key foodstuff at the supermarket indicating how much you like it? No. You buy it or don’t. You choose how much to buy. Discrete choices. The “human decision making process paper” I wrote (open source) with Louviere and the guy who led the process to decide damages for Exxon Valdez (Richard Carson) is now my most cited publication….. This surprised me. There must be bunch of people taking interest in this topic of how humans actually make choices, how they make errors, how they decide yes/no, how they decide how much etc.

        How would I have dealt with the “respondents who devoted too little attention”? I immediately go back to the survey company with respondent IDs and ask for data on how long they took….have they exhibited “click through” behavior before? Is there anything else to explain “high noise to signal behavior?” (like advanced age, no education beyond age 15) etc. It’s pretty easy to separate “cheaters” from those who genuinely had difficulty.

        Good survey companies tend to suspect the cheaters already. Those respondents don’t get the payment and new respondents are selected. This was being done – easily – 20 years ago.

        1. Senator-Elect

          Thank you, Mr. Flynn. Your comments are goldmines. Your students were lucky to have you as a prof!

          1. JohnA

            Johnson gave up his US passport a few years ago, after the American tax people sent him a big tax demand on his worldwide income, as he had handily chosen not to file any tax return to the US as he was supposed to do.
            Otherwise, he could, I suppose, run for president.

  8. Jon Cloke

    “King of Kaszubska Street” – Turn up to live in a street in Szczecin and someone will castrate you doesn’t sound like a brilliant message to me…

  9. eg

    Regarding the Quanta article, it appears that Omicron has taken over the brains of the infected, convincing them that getting subsequent Covid infections doesn’t matter … :-/

  10. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon had been sent on a monetary goodwill mission to Badlands National Park but to our chagrin the only good cash was a cache on your computer, little did we know that we’d blundered into yet another incursion in the War On Cash and entrance was forbidden using customary rectangular dead presidents, what to do?

    We formed a skirmish line around the entrance station and laid siege to it, and after a few days of lack of nourishment the park employees hauled down old glory and in it’s place a Hane’s Beefy T white t-shirt was flown, signifying that they were giving up.

    Some day this war will be over and pieces of paper will prevail…

  11. Jack

    This is an clip from a Fb post from Jonathan Hoeflich, an independent naturalist, on the condition of a creek close to the derailment and fire in East Palestine, Ohio. ODNR is Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
    So I think I’m finally calmed down enough to tell you all about my experience today. I really didn’t want to past the videos I posted today but feel it needs said.
    Friday night my friend Sam Hall contacted me to let me know that he was planning on taking a look at the area around the East Palestine train derailment and asked if I wanted to join him. Though I couldn’t Saturday because of a very important photoshoot in terms of my budding career I joined him today if only to help him for fish IDs, see it for myself, and to document what is quickly being covered up by national media, social media outlets, and now without a doubt the state of Ohio.
    We met up this morning at the confluence of Leslie and Bull Runs and followed Leslie up about a mile and a half. This spot is ruffly 3.5 miles from ground zero. At first there seemed to be some hope. At the bridge we parked at we were greeted by the sight of a fairly large school of shiner fry (roseyface or possibly “strommon” or even spotfin). However this small glimmer hope was soon dashed as more and more dead mottled sculpin, various darters (mostly large colored up prespawn rainbow darters), and central stonerollers. Another 200ft upstream we started seeing those now famous oil looking rainbow plumes rising from the bottom. It was also where I really started to notice the smell that was reminiscent of treated lumber somewhat or freshly laid linoleum flooring.
    By the time we hit Leslie itself outside of a few dying cranefly larvae and some Allegheny crayfish that were still somehow barely clinging to life everything was dead. Loads of salamanders (mostly 2 lined, a few duskys, and a random redback), green and bullfrogs, sculpin, darters of all local varieties, stonerollers, and dace littered the bottom (after the creek had been “cleaned” several times). All the alge covering the rocks was black and rotting, and all the rocks on the bank were covered in a thick white crystalline film. Soon we were walking on a carpet of death, the numbers of dead wildlife now much more numerous. The weird thing was we could see everywhere someone had been “cleaning up” all the death and the spots hit hardest were in front of the few higher class residences. That may be a coincidence but after everything we went through today I’m a bit suspicious of that.
    As we neared about a mile and trying to cataloge hundreds if not into the thousands of dead fish, millions of dead inverts, and scores of dead amphibians we got to a small private bridge over the creek where we were approached by some locals (the second and third of the day) who were kind but curious about who we were and what we were doing. We explained to them that we were independent folks from the envriomental field and were taking soil and water samples and documenting the dead life there so the public could know exactly what we were finding dead as well as documenting the oil like plumes as things were obviously starting to be covered up. They were happy to share their experience with us and said that they were also sure that they were being lied to about the supposed safety of the area. They both had wells and were waiting to hear back from private testers seeing they were told by theNorfolk and Southern guys that their well water was safe. We told them that it was most certainly not safe after what we had seen and that this issue was obviously much bigger and far reaching than the media is making it seem.
    After about another half mile nearing closer to the crash site the smell, oily plumes, and death became even more prevalent. With already more than we could really handle in terms of documentation and my age making itself known we decided to head back.
    When we got back to the bridge two ODNR vehicles crossed (one truck and one Nissan SUV) noticed us, drove by two more times, and finally stopped. I came into this day with it in my head that there was a real chance of me getting arrested for something and was prepared for it. On top of that I was pissed and breaking inside despite how I was trying to appear in front of Sam who I just met in person for the first time. I was ready for war…I was ready to take a beating, get tossed in jail for lord knows how long, even take a bullet for this. Still I came at the first guy with my normal kind response to both make it seem like I was on their side (I mean we are supposed to be right?) and like we were there in some official fashion (Sam more or less was I having no licensing or permits in Ohio was merely an observer and fish IDer). The first guy in the truck was older with grey hair and didn’t give us much attitude but was doing some serious probing. The second some younger punk looking guy looked like he was ready to start the shit show putting on and taking off his muck boots several times. The old guys first question of course was “What brings you here today?” To which my response was “I’ll give you three guesses and 2 don’t count…”. The guy got a “you sumbitch…” Smile and continued to ask us a bunch of questions some of which got further smart answers.
    Eventually we got on the subject of dead fish species and that’s when Sam and I got slapped in the face with the most shocking statement of the day. The older ODNR guy said to us (my guess assuming we just got there) “Oh we haven’t seen any fresh dead fish since the 6th…” Sam and I looked at each other like “F@$KING SERIOUSLY?!!!” There were literally fresh dead fish all around us as we were talking to them!!! After assuring them that there were definitely fresh dead fish literally everywhere they left but not before making a point that we obviously didn’t have permission to cross all the property boundaries we did (or were going to cross). Here’s where things get really weird…
    We headed just down stream to take one more look at the healthier looking section below the bridge. Not 10 minutes later 3 Black unmarked SUVs and an official looking unmarked van pulled up to our vehicles and appeared to take pics of our license plates. Sam got some pics of it as we both agreed that we should head over to see what the hell was going on. As we neared where we were getting out of the creek they pulled off.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Re your last paragraphs. The same sort of things were happening after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill back in 2010 and you had I think FBI agents trying to stop or arrest people trying to investigate or report what they were seeing.

    2. wendigo

      About the well water samples.

      It will probably take time for the chemicals to migrate from the surface to any depth. Water samples will need to be taken for months to years.

      It is important to get the initial sample of possibly clean water to be able to show any chemicals that show up are from the spill and not already there.

    3. Lex

      I saw a clip from an industrial hygienist / chemical engineer in the area. Seemed to be on a similar trip as described. He pointed out that it was not a “controlled” burn because when we incinerate hazardous materials we do so in a closed environment where temperature and particularly oxygen are controlled so that combustion is complete (or as near to it as physically and chemically possible). He also pointed out that the sooty black smoke is the prime example of why that was not a controlled burn because it evidences incomplete combustion.

      He didn’t mention that those incineration facilities also have significant emissions control systems attached for after the burning, which also were not present in this “controlled” burn.

  12. Lexx

    ‘A realistic ‘energy transition’ is to get better at using less of it’

    One of the upsides of transitioning to solar is looking forward to the bills in winter… or it would have been had natural gas here not doubled in price. Replacing the gas fireplace insert did lower our electric bills for the three most expensive months (Dec-Jan-Feb), only to see gas double, not because of increased use but increased price per therm. It’s a hard sell getting people to change their behavior if they can’t measure their efforts. We can’t pay our bills with more virtue in our checking accounts.

  13. ron paul rEVOLution

    >The World’s Deadliest Mushroom Has Adapted to Invade the U.S. Field and Stream.

    Life finds a way…

    1. ambrit

      And here I was wondering why the authors had not mentioned the original sightings of said “mushroom” over at the Nevada Test Site back in the 1940s.

  14. Wukchumni

    Armageddon or something approximating it, will soon be a factor in the SoCalist movement where often LA drivers struggle in the rain, imagine slithering across lanes on the 405 when all hail breaks loose?

  15. pjay

    – ‘Here’s How Ukraine Could Retake Crimea’ – Politico

    – ‘Absolute victory over Russia isn’t possible’ Fiona Hill, Unherd

    For some masochistic reason I forced myself to read both of these pieces. As usual, Fiona Hill pretends to be the voice of “expert” reason. She claims to favor diplomacy, saying a satisfactory military solution is not feasible. She claims to have been against the expansion of NATO into Ukraine and Georgia in 2008. Yet her depiction of post-Soviet history, the Ukraine war, and the “imperial” designs Putin supposedly held from the time he was mayor show her to be incapable of objective analysis. Give Putin an inch and he’ll take a mile. It’s a Putin-derangement version of the domino theory. She is an ideologue, a product of our wonderful “Soviet/Russian Studies” infrastructure, student of Richard Pipes.

    Yet she sounds positively brilliant in comparison to the preceding article, which is about as recklessly delusional as any discussion of Ukraine I’ve seen – and think of all the competition around today. From the brain of someone named Casey Michel:

    “Rather than viewing the peninsula as a Russian appendage, an increasing number of experts and policymakers have begun arguing that restoring Ukrainian control of Crimea may be the key ingredient for any lasting peace — and that, increasingly, only Ukrainian sovereignty over the region will guarantee stability not only in Ukraine, but in Europe overall.”

    Think of how breathtakingly stupid this passage is. The rest of the article is just as ridiculous. Guys can have comfortable positions with several “think tanks” and put out bilge like this in Politico (among other publications; check out his bio). Maybe that’s the point. Such insanity makes the official “experts” like Hill sound downright “diplomatic” by comparison.

    1. Zephyrum

      Misery loves company. I read the articles too, or most of them. Casey Michel was in the peace corps in Kazakhstan, and one might imagine that he got an earful about Russia at that time.

      It’s been my experience that most people with Russia Derangement Syndrome have a connection to someone with Soviet or Russian experience. For example, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Victoria Nuland all descend from Jewish grandparents who emigrated from the Soviet Union. Once someone decides to hate Russia, there don’t seem to be a lot of return paths.

      It’s possible or even likely that these people had bad experiences with the USSR, but that’s hardly a reasonable basis for high-risk geopolitical policies that could lead to WWIII.

  16. Lex

    Oh wow, that Politico article on Crimea is one of the finer pieces of propaganda I’ve ever read. Not only that but the link to another Politico article on Crimean history is almost as good (as a piece of propaganda). The subtle manipulations of history which aren’t outright falsehoods but provide importantly incomplete information are top notch.

    A reader would need to be pretty well informed, especially in history, to find the disinformation and propaganda in these pieces. There are slip ups like how an article published yesterday suggests that the Criimean bridge was “recently” bombed by Ukraine, though I suppose that if you aren’t actively consuming news this would slip through individual information filters as well as the deftly manipulated history.

    I keep coming back to a question of whether policy makers read things like this and believe them because they too are as willfully ignorant as the general public or if its propaganda for the rubes?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s amazing the amount of garbage that is being printed lately and that Politico article was one of the worse. To demolish it, you would need only ask three simple questions-

      Do the Ukrainians have the military manpower to take Crimea?


      Do the Ukrainians have the heavy gear needed to launch such a campaign?


      Do the Ukrainians have the huge quantities of ammo needed to conduct this campaign with?

      Hell, no.

      The guy who wrote this trash – Casey Michel – states that he is an investigative journalist. The evidence suggests otherwise.

      1. hemeantwell

        Should be said again that it would be an interesting research project to compare Michel’s effort and those of his ilk with what chatgpt comes up with. Like chatgpt Michel is simply harvesting the official consensus. Editors could use comparison results to either discipline any deviations from the official line or ridicule him for lazy stenography.

      2. IMOR

        Politico was always problematic, and the moving on of several longtime reporters and aggregatos a few years ago removed most of its value to me – but the change to foreign ownership has been a real disaster. I mean, just read Lexington in the Economist or Murdoch paper headlines if you want that perspective, right? But seriously- its coverage of the day-to-day on the Hill and in the White House has gone from suspect to hamfisted and weirdly ingenuous.

        1. pjay

          Yes, Axel Springer has brought the same journalistic integrity to its US acquisitions as it has demonstrated in its German publications. From Wikipedia:

          “Upon its acquisition of Politico and Business Insider, Axel Springer announced that all employees must support a free market economy, a united Europe, and Israel’s right to exist.”

          Nothing like employee loyalty oaths to insure the highest standards of journalistic excellence.

          1. John

            So both politico and business insider are mandated propaganda organs. I have long looked at each to see what the “other side” is thinking and saying. I see I am correct to do so.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Cynicism aside, I blame Watergate. “Deepthroat” became the standard for investigative journalists instead of digging through records like the Spotlight crew. Naturally reporters repeat what they hear instead of digging.

        1. LifelongLib

          IIRC that was I. F. Stone’s method. No need for classified documents or secret informants. Just read carefully through public reports the government itself published and the truth will be in there somewhere.

      4. cfraenkel

        On the contrary – I found the Politico propaganda illuminating. The only thing the author writes about is opinions of ‘experts’ in DC about what is or isn’t achievable, or desirable. In their world, that’s all that matters. Remember the good old days (20 yrs ago – how time flies) when the “reality-based” community made fun of Cheney / Rumsfield for claiming they knew better? Seems like that mental virus has contaminated the whole imperial city.

    2. Stephen

      I think your question is right. Policymakers have very little knowledge so end up believing this stuff.

      As you suggest, the linked article on how Crimea allegedly prospered under Ukraine is even more fun. Also refers to Russian expansionism over the past few centuries. If you take that at face value and forget Manifest Destiny plus the British Empire then I guess it works as a way of denigrating Russia. But no informed person in the Global South would make such a mistake!

      I may have missed it (the article is cringeworthy so my reading care reduced as it progressed) but I did not see any reference to the Sevastopol Naval Base, its status as of all union significance (that might be the wrong phrase) under the USSR and the clear threat that Russia perceived in 2014 that NATO might end up putting ships there. My understanding has always been that this is a large part of why Crimea matters to Russia. Otherwise, no offence intended to Crimeans but I believe it is pretty much a semi arid desert (albeit the wine these days seems to have a good reputation) and Russia is not short of territory per se. An expert may correct me of course.

      The security threat is the big Russian issue not recovering / keeping holy territory as such but we cannot say so in such propaganda pieces of course.

      Yes, it is top notch. You have to be quite well informed and keen to question what you read in order to see through this.

      1. Stephen

        Of course, the article also ignores the fact that one of the first things the Russians did in 2014 was to give formal recognition to the Tatar language (as well as Russian and Ukrainian), something that I understand Ukraine had not done since 1991. Clearly, such attempts at genuine multi-culturalism (and I realise Russia may not be perfect at this, nor is anybody) do not fit “the narrative” either.

        1. Victor Moses

          Er no the Crimean Tatars do not have a good relationship with the Kremlin. Putin outlawed their majlis or parliament some years back and arrested some top leaders. This repression was a miscalculation by the Russian government given this ethnic group was deported en masse by Stalin and has much bitterness to the state.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Not so fast there Victor. Certainly the Russians have a history with the Tatars and not a good one at that. But the Tatars were treated worse under the Ukrainians in the years they controlled Crimea. If you look back on the Crimean vote to rejoin the Russian Federation, the bulk majority of the Tatars voted yes as they Russians were making them included as a people. The Tatar organization that the Russians banned were more of a NGO that were working with the Ukrainians for their own benefit.

          2. R.S.

            Well, that Mejlis officially denounced the Crimean referendum on 03/15/2014 and moved to Kiev. Its head, Refat Chubarov, was also a Ukrainian MP (from Poroshenko’s party) til 2019.

            In 2015, Chubarov, Mustafa Jemilev (the former chairman of the Mejlis) and Lenur Islamov (the chairman of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars) initiated the food blockade of Crimea. Tatar activists, representatives of the “Right Sector” and members of the “Azov civilian corps” blocked the roads from Ukraine to Crimea and prevented any trucks from entering from Sep til Dec 2015.

            Islamov and Chubarov also openly supported the energy blockade of Crimea. When the power lines were blown up by some unknown perps, Tatar activists tried to stop the repair teams from getting to the sites, there were some clashes and so on.

            The Mejlis was finally outlawed by the Supreme Court of Crimea (not by Putin) in 2016.

          3. Polar Socialist

            If you bother to dig deeper in to the world of Crimean Tatars, you might notice that they are not a homogeneous block. Majlis consisted completely of pro-Ukrainian Tatars appointed by Ukrainian president.

            New Milliy Fırqa is a pro-Russia Tatar organization, and it’s very likely that more Crimean Tatars have volunteered to fight in SMO than supported Majlis. At least their volunteer battalion was celebrated as heroes in Crimea, when they held the extreme western part of the frontline on the left bank of Dniepr during the heavy Ukrainians attacks allowing Russia to move reserves to stabilize the front along the Inhulets.

            Issues are never simple in that part of the world.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘the linked article on how Crimea allegedly prospered under Ukraine is even more fun’

        I understand that when the Ukrainians truck-bombed the Kersh bridge, that some Crimeans joked that that was the first thing that the Ukrainians had done for Crimea since the 90s. When the Russians took Crimea back, they found that they had to build a boat load of infrastructure back as the place had been so badly neglected. Things like roads, schools, etc.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          The main complaint I’ve encountered from Crimeans post-2014 was that too much remained unchanged, which hardly suggests good memories of Ukrainian government.

        2. Leftist Mole

          I used to think Russia wanted the Donbas to stay with Ukraine (via Minsk) because it didn’t want the burden of rebuilding it up to Russian standards.

      3. Keith Newman

        Opinion polls by Westerners published a few years ago, reported in the Washington Post, show that the overwhelming majority (82%) of Crimeans are happy to be in Russia.

        1. Polar Socialist

          From what I’ve read by the Crimeans, they did have the first referendum about dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and they kinda chose to stay with Russia, not Ukraine and were enormously disappointed when Yeltsin just gave it to Kravchuk without second though.

          Facing the inevitable, they did choose Russian color for the flag of Crimean Autonomous Republic, which they did manage to retain. Even if Kiev did turn down three constitutions before one was accepted in 1998.

          This, again, is one point often conveniently “forgotten” in western accounts: Crimea was an autonomous republic with it’s own parliament and constitution. In the eyes of the international law, Crimea pretty much had the right to secede from Ukraine.

          1. Stephen


            My understanding is that in 1992 the Supreme Soviet of Crimea declared it the Republic of Crimea and declared self government on 5 May.

            Crimea had voted in January 1991 for a separate republic and then for independence from the USSR in December 1991 along with Ukraine. But that was only when the USSR was already past saving and the vote was only 54% compared to 91% nationally in Ukraine.

            My understanding too is that Ukraine actually scrapped Crimea’s separate constitution in 1995, abolished its post of President and then incorporated it as an Autonomous Republic in 1996. Presumably with a new constitution.

            I suspect there is also more complexity than that too but the whole history gets ignored in western narratives that just treat it as some sacrosanct Ukrainian territory that Russia “stole” in 2014. Reality is nothing like the western fairy tale.

    3. dingusansich

      Delusion, ignorance, and greed are not mutually exclusive. They’re more like menu items. Excuse me, my filtered media is empty, and I’m ready to order. I’ll have the like me appetizer, the go-along-to-get-along entree with sides of motivated reasoning and plausible deniability, and fabulation topped with blowback for dessert.

      I too puzzle over what such people really believe. Yet for all their huffing and puffing and sober intoning, rife as such are with contradictions and special pleading, they may not much care. Belief is a fungible commodity, and their business isn’t what words mean but what they do, which is to say, power (file under greed, above). In that language game, truth is a dispensable means, a smoke-’em-if-you-got-’em luxury, not an end. Consistency? A hobgoblin. Like Whitman (and Legion), our policymakers contain multitudes, the lot kept afloat on a raft timbered with rationalization, groupthink, denial, projection, and that famous exceptionalism.

      Some MICIMATT denizens who catapult the propaganda—public relations consultants, civil service and military specialists, political and academic spinmeisters, all the Johnny Appleseeds of disinformation and perception management—surely know they’re gaslighting. But a fickle, clueless public clearly can’t govern itself, can it? So an endlessly augmented and ramified vanguard of secrets and lies must seem not only a worthwhile expedient in a good cause but absolutely essential. Noble, even.

      No need to bother with quaint notions of factuality and the real. The Karl Roves will will them into any chimerical shape desired. That is axiomatic. False assumptions, likewise irrelevant. If the desired results aren’t forthcoming, distract, change the subject, begin again. It’s all billable.

      As politics is show business for ugly people, an old joke comes to mind. A longtime producer, showing a young executive the ropes, says, “Kid, what you need in this town is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

      All this raises inconvenient questions. Under these conditions, what is the meaning of “democracy,” since it effectively excludes informed consent of the governed, and how are the institutions that breed such policymakers and their minions—lost gazing into mirror upon mirror of deceit, hubris, and the irrational—not kissing cousins of autocracy?

    4. paddy

      yes, more politico propaganda, repeating jargon disconnected from reality.

      politico’s commenter about a ‘massive air, land and sea’ military evolution against first the land bridge then crimea itself ignore weakness of us assets, and the lack of european assets. as well as ignoring the ww ii battles of kursk and the bulge, two examples the russians would love to reprove.

      that said as a vietnam era veteran somewhat familiar with us tactical air capacity then and now…. the chances of running an “air war” of necessary scale and effectiveness are near zero. vietnam tac air did not work out all that well.

      aging us tactical air inventory is not up to the task, and the euro counterpart does not! and as gao (23-106375, 23-106217) pointed out in dec 2022 the f-35 needs major upgrades to be survivable/useful which is keeping the low readiness a-10, f-16 and f-18 inventory on life support until something gives. with a 16000 pound gas tank, and the flight characteristics of an a-7 i doubt f-35 will ever be useful.

      western tanks, and infantry vehicles are similarly old, unreliable and consume huge amounts of fuel….

      the supply lines down to east of the dneipro are daunting. if the ammunition and spares are found.

      politico and fiona hill a pair of neocon propagandists.

      they carry the approved message

  17. flora

    re: Biden nominates former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to head World Bank Reuters (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Why not paypal CEO?”

    Um, maybe because Mastercard is at the forefront of pushing digital currencies and digital ID schemes, whereas Paypal is not? / ;)

    One of the things that usually goes unmentioned in articles about CBDCs is the huge amount of grift it provides for so many middlemen like Mastercard and Microsoft and others.

    1. Realist

      I would have thought that a properly implemented CBDC and individual wallet would get rid of as many middle men as it created.


      What would be the purpose of a private bank deposit/savings account anymore, wouldn’t it be obsolete? Couldn’t the CB issue interest in the DC straight into your wallet.

      Couldn’t the DC be lent directly to citizens at better rates by the CB?

      What about turbo tax, CPAs etc… Wouldn’t they be SOL when your wallet could generate a report of all the DC income you received? Theoretically the wallet could auto-withhold or separate the DC depending on the category of debit.

      Critics will say they “but (they) can shut you down at the flick of a switch”… Can’t they do that already?

      1. tegnost

        Couldn’t the DC be lent directly to citizens at better rates by the CB?

        yeah, and trump could give us m4a, but he’s not going to any more than the first bank of the us will lend at better rates. As it is, they lend at better rates to banks, who gouge the populace. CBDC will just make it easier, as well as making it easier to punish the non compliant slaves.

    2. tevhatch

      Merkel must be feeling the same betrayal as her fellow Germans now. She’s be angling for that job long before she stepped down.

  18. t

    Mushroom sounds like great news! Feral hogs will eat all the mushrooms, wiping them out, and then the hogs will die. Whew!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Unfortunately, I suspect pigs would smell the poison in the mushrooms. They seem able to indulge in mushrooming the indigenous varieties with little difficulty — and indigenous mushrooms include many poisonous types.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “After Alaska Airlines planes bump runway while taking off from Seattle, a scramble to ‘pull the plug’”

    Aircraft in the past have crashed because they were overloaded both large and small. Several years ago a rock star was killed along with everybody aboard her small plane when she insisted that the pilot take all her luggage of which there was a huge amount. But that article says the following-

    ‘Peyton added that even though the update to the DynamicSource software had been tested over an extended period, the bug was missed because it only presented when many aircraft at the same time were using the system.’

    Does that imply that the vital calculations take place on servers located on the net and not in that plane itself? Seriously? Now they are at the point where they are depending on experienced pilots to see if those calculations are right or not. But for those calculations itself, how hard would it be to have an independent software program aboard each plane do those calculations? It would be a very simple, basic program. Hell, in the old days the pilots use to do it with pencil and paper so how hard could it be?

    1. Terry Flynn

      An airline close to our hearts has been “getting closer to the wire” for years now – QANTAS. Flight on the “airline bus route down the Eastern seaboard” of Australia to get me home to Sydney from Brisbane around 2012 from a conference was cancelled. Thankfully (unlike Alaskan Airlines) QANTAS always had planes in reserve ready to address this.

      Most fellow conference attendees were shoehorned onto other QANTAS flights back to Sydney (to get connections etc). I was in no rush so volunteered to be “low priority”. Unfortunately 14-16 of us couldn’t be put onto other flights and a 737 was quickly brought out of storage. I don’t know if it was also used to also transfer a load of freight (since us conference peeps had no checked baggage) or 14 passengers were enough to alter aerodynamics of a plane that was gonna lose a boatload of cash if overfueled….

      Twas interesting that we were seated in VERY particular pattern – and this “exceeded” minimum numbers at emergency exits. A few at front, a few in middle and a few at rear. When someone asked about spreading out, the Captain came out into cabin and said NOBODY is to sit anywhere but their assigned seat till we’re at cruising altitude.

      When up there it was great and we loved free booze and chats with staff and ability to go lie down anywhere. However on approach to Sydney twas back to assigned seats and names were checked. Very odd at the time but I think I know why now.

      1. Eclair

        Years back, I worked, very briefly, for McDonnell-Douglas, when they were looking for experienced C-17 Loadmasters: a specialist who was responsible for insuring the cargo on those enormous planes was balanced and distributed.

        I have bestowed the title on my spouse, who can pack an unbelievable amount of camping gear into a car and still have room for the grandkids to sit.

    2. hk

      This type of problem was one of many factors contributing to the Gimli Glider incident: people get hung up on the conversion to the metric system, but the problem with compounded with the transition to a more computerized plane with cockit crew of 2 which added to the things pilots had to check before the takeoff, misbehaving computers that gave misleading information, and failure of maintenance teams to communicate with each other. One should not trust technology that can’t be easily spot checked by humans for safety.

  20. ddt

    Re sports cars and small penises a few thoughts. 1) My sister who’s a conspiracy theorist believes that were all being pushed to modern EVs so that tptb can then control usage (“you’ve used your travel allotment electricity for the week/month therefore we’re shutting your car down until your bill is paid in full”). 2) Covid-dick: there were men that reported reduction in penis size post covid. 3) Rush’s “little red barchetta” takes on a whole new meaning (future driving dystopia combining thoughts 1 and 2 above).

    Sorry, kinda slap happy on a Friday afternoon ;-)

  21. Diogenes

    From the Der Speigel piece on Team Jorge election hacking

    At the same time, Putin set up an entire troll factory employing around 1,000 people in a secret office building in St. Petersburg with the goal of systematically breaking down Western societies. Their primary goal? Installing Donald Trump in the White House. Ahead of the U.S. elections, the Russian trolls established what looked like American Facebook groups, such as the United Muslims of America, which claimed to support Hillary Clinton. Up to 120 million Americans were bombarded with polarizing fake news, as a special investigator determined several years later.

    U.S. authorities indicted 12 Russian agents for participating in “a criminal conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.” They also posted a reward of $10 million for information about efforts by Yevgeniy Prigozhin to interfere with the election. Prigozhin is a close ally of Putin’s, a convicted criminal and the head of the notorious mercenary unit Wagner Group. He also financed the St. Petersburg fake news factory, as Prigozhin confirmed to DER SPIEGEL when reached for comment.


    1. Polar Socialist

      Really. Prigozhin’s lawyers even unexpectedly came to court in USA and challenged all the charges made against his “troll factory” (not Putin’s). DoJ did not just drop the charges but did it in a way that the case can not be opened again, ever.

      Actually two of Prifozhin’s companies were charged with interference, but his lawyers showed that one of them did not even exits at the time of the election, so the judge threw that one out.

      The article just forgot to mention those minor details, I’m sure.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        And they also fail to add that we have actually proven US troll armies that were dispatched to influence an election and “Correct the Record” for the benefit of Hillary Clinton, and not just hypothetical Russian ones –

        They bragged about it, for crying out loud. But somehow it’s only bad when the Russians hypothetically do it.

    2. pjay

      Yeah, I think the real motives behind all the sudden publicity about “Team Jorge” are pretty clear in this article. Here are some more revealing passages:

      “Disinformation has long been one of the favorite weapons of many autocratic states. “Hybrid warfare” is the term used by officials at the BfV to describe efforts made by Russian trolls, Chinese hackers and North Koreans agents to infect digital infrastructure or spread fake news. But now, in times of war, the lines between the disinformation spread by private mercenaries for hire and that promulgated by state actors are blurring. It’s a dangerous dynamic….”

      “Experts have begun to see disinformation as a significant risk, particularly for unstable or polarized societies. When too many people can no longer distinguish between facts and lies, it becomes easier for despots and populists to spread their dystopian worldviews. Look no further than Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Russian President Vladimir Putin or former U.S. President Donald Trump.”

      And to top it all off:

      “”You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, plant enough conspiracy theorizing that citizens no longer know what to believe,” former U.S. President Barack Obama, said last spring in a speech he delivered at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Facebook and Twitter both have their headquarters there, and Obama left no doubt that he considers these efforts to be gasoline on the fire that threatens to inflame a fundamental danger: “Disinformation is a threat to our democracy.””

      Pretty clear who the good guys and bad guys are. I’m just thankful that a consortium of Truth-Defending media organizations including “DER SPIEGEL, The Guardian, Le Monde, ZDF, Der Standard, Die Tages-Anzeiger and Die Zeit” is on the job in Europe too, as it is in the US, seeking “to quantify the enormous scale of disinformation, propaganda and cyberattacks.”

      1. digi_owl

        Age old schoolyard clique behavior. When the popular ones do it, it is good. When the deplorables do it, it is bad…

      2. LifelongLib

        Still waiting for someone to explain how “disinformation” differs from “opinion I don’t agree with”…

    3. lyman alpha blob

      If I remember right, Prigozhin’s “admission” was more along the lines of a joke after he got sick of being asked about this nonsense.

      As PS notes above, the DoJ turtled up as soon as Russia actually challenged the indictments and asked for discovery, ready to appear in court.

    4. Lex

      It only takes 1,000 people in an office in St. Petersburg to bring down the greatest empire in the history of mankind (TM) and western societies. Weird. One would expect that there was a lot more resiliency baked into freedom, democracy and capitalism.

    5. LawnDart

      Yeah, loved the part that Russians “hacked” Hillary’s computer to spill the secrets before the 2016 election, something extensively disproven by VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). And there were plenty of other “tells” in the article as well.

      As many have been taught, the more truthful the propaganda, the more effective it is– something Spiegel needs to practice: they went too heavy on the disproven bulls#!t. But it was still an enlightening article as a first-hand example of how pervasive the problem is.

  22. Jason Boxman

    The takeaway from One Reason Why Victims of the Norfolk Southern Derailment Should Be Wary of Trusting the U.S. Government (The BP Oil Well Blowout of 2010: A Case Study) which is extremely detailed in regards to the statute and court records, but not particularly exciting to read, seems to be:

    Judge Barbier saved BP approximately $4.30 billion by finding that only 4.0 million barrels of oil, rather than 5.0 million barrels of oil proposed by the United States, exited the reservoir.

    (bold his)

    The settlement itself was just a cost of business:

    (a) $5.5 billion to the United States as a civil penalty under the Clean Water Act, payable over 15 years;

    (b) $7.1 billion to the United States and the five Gulf states for natural resource damages, payable over 15 years; and

    (c) $4.9 billion to settle economic and other claims made by the five Gulf Coast states, payable over 18 years.

    (bold his)

    The DOJ lied:

    The DOJ failed to point out that BP is able to deduct $15.3 billion of this $20.8 billion on its U.S. tax return.

    (bold his)

    So just a cost of doing business, in the end, and no senior executive went to jail, and Obama never paid any price prioritizing BP over Americans.

    1. fresno dan

      as money is fungible, so US citizens actually paid the fine. Funny how law and order types never propose that corporations* should never profit from their misdeeds, i.e., get a tax deduction for fines or legal judgements….

      * Son of Sam laws. although there may be 1st amendment consideration for an individual, its hard to see how that could be a consideration for a corporation

  23. Craig H.

    You must be having a laugh! Yes Minister and The Thick of It were among the satire programmes flagged by beleaguered counter-terror Prevent scheme for ‘encouraging far-right sympathies’

    They must have had a cow when they saw the South Park episode and then after looked at the ratings.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can’t believe they put the movie “Zulu” on that list. Or even the “Bridge on the River Kwai.”

  24. Jason Boxman

    The FDA Wants to Interfere in the Practice of Medicine

    Author couldn’t resist a hit on IVM:

    This process works in reverse, too. When evidence accumulates that off-label uses aren’t effective, practitioners cease prescribing the drugs for the relevant indications. Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which were advanced and then abandoned as treatments for Covid, are recent examples.

    But hospital-based studies administer IVM late in the game. Antivirals are to be given early, we’re always told, so why does this discredit anything at all?

    1. Yves Smith

      Someone needs to tell Congresscritters that this provision could be used by a future Republican administration to ban off-label uses like abortion pills. See our post on the Texas lawsuit v. the first pill in a two pill cocktail. The second pill is less effective by itself (down to 80% v 99% with the first pill). But that use would be off label since the FDA approved it only with the first pill.

      1. Pat

        Considering how those fighters for women’s rights have repeatedly run, supported and embraced anti choice Democrats….well…what makes you think that isn’t a selling point for many of them, including leading Democrats.

  25. Daniil Adamov

    “You must be having a laugh! Yes Minister and The Thick of It were among the satire programmes flagged by beleaguered counter-terror Prevent scheme for ‘encouraging far-right sympathies’ Daily Mail”

    As a Thick Of It fan, I suppose I kinda get it. Neither show is particularly complimentary towards existing representative democracy and its elites, and I suppose that could, in theory, push people away from that. And once they have been pushed away they may as well embrace the far right, among other options. It checks out.

    On the other hand, there is the Russian saying that one should not blame the mirror if one’s face is askew. Maybe, just maybe, it is the reality that is being satirised that deserves some of the blame.

    1. Stephen

      Yes Minister was apparently Margaret Thatcher’s favourite TV program.

      Or at least she was a fan. She even wrote a sketch about it!Maybe that is what they are getting at.

      Western culture seems increasingly unable to laugh at itself. Your comment about the mirror may explain that. You almost do not need satire these days. Just description.

      1. t

        I am frequently amazed by people who really truly do not get that the joke is on them, or don’t even care what the point is as long as they feel someone has put them in the spotlight.

        As a rule, if people are in a social setting and laughing, I assume at least 50 percent of them are happily mirroring others and would not even smile if alone.

        1. flora

          On the other hand, sometimes it takes insiders to get just how true and funny a satire is. “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.” That sort of thing. Thatcher could at least indirectly laugh at herself and the nonsense she had to put up with in party politics and in large bureaucracies. (This doesn’t mean I liked her politics or policies.) / ;)

          1. Terry Flynn

            Funny you mention “insiders”. My paternal grandmother’s family was known as the “other” Roberts family in Grantham.

            My grandmother and her sisters (one of whom was Roberts/Thatcher’s year group so shared a desk at school for years) were FORBIDDEN by my great grandfather from entering “that shop” unless he was with them. I’m sure his reasoning was entirely innocent……. That’s what my youngest sister of late granny would say…… But she’s a nun and also believes stuff like “homo people like me go to hell” and “Benedict was a good guy” …… Talk about having skewed morals….

          2. Stephen

            I think that is right.

            In my youth satires about the military were a big thing: in Britain there were countless comedies such as Dads Army (Home Guard) and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (14th Army in Burma) while in the US there was Mash of course.

            Today, this genre seems to have died. I strongly believe that one reason is that there are so few insiders who can relate to these institutions and understand the joke. Back in the 70s nearly every adult male aged over 40 had some experience of military or quasi military service.

            1. Wukchumni

              Aside from Combat & 12:00 O’Clock High, most all military oriented tv shows in the USA in the 60’s & 70’s were comedies or satire.

              1. flora

                Yep. Sgt. Bilko (late ’50’s), McHale’s Navy, Hogan’s Heros, and MASH, for examples.

                egads! Who knew they were white super-ist shows! (Instead of satires on military bureaucracy or the madness of war.) / ;)

            2. digi_owl

              Similarly, as the wartime generation has faded, movie and TV violence, in particular gun violence, has become ever more overblown.

              Bodies do not go flying several feet through a window from a bullet to the chest unless physics have been thoroughly violated.

            3. flora

              Now we have satires about work. See “The Office” and the “Dilbert” cartoon. The higher up “brass” are still overly promoted doofuses and the bureaucracy still a pointless time-sink. / ;)

      2. digi_owl

        Likely because the writer of the show was right leaning, and was trying to highlight the hopeless inefficiency of bureaucracy. And Thatcher was of the same school of thought as Reagan, and wanted to hand over UK to the market.

    2. some guy

      I can think of a saying which should exist, if it doesn’t already exist somewhere.

      ” Show him a mirror and he’ll think its a window.”

  26. MaryLand

    Wastewater from the Ohio train derailment is being sent to a Houston, Texas company, Texas Molecular. It has received half a million gallons so far and expects to receive a total of two million gallons. I put a link to the story in a comment, but that seemed to kick out the comment. The headline: Judge Hidalgo voices frustration she wasn’t told about Ohio train fire wastewater being brought to Harris Co. The link was from tv station KHOU.

  27. Wukchumni

    Furious flurries are falling in Vail leaving us kinda like the Donner party, albeit with plenty of food…

    Funny skiing story from about 20 years ago:

    There was 5 or 6 of us on a weeklong peakbagging backpack trip to the Nine Lakes Basin in Sequoia NP in the summer, and a friend is quite the telemark skier and another friend on the trip doesn’t ski, and early in the walk my skier friend told my other friend how much he likes telemarking, and a day or 2 later, my non-skier friend asked me why I invited a telemarketer on the trip, oh how he howled when I explained the difference, lost in translation.

    1. juno mas

      The non-skier was likley well-heeled. While the telemarker is loose-heeled.
      Therein lies the flakes.

  28. Cetra Ess

    re: Tax Breaks Threaten Remote Work If Cities Start Enforcing Them

    The odd thing is that the author of the Bloomberg piece doesn’t seem to consider that perhaps the 1-hour-commute-both-ways-to-the-office-stuck-in-traffic-jams or 1-hour-to-get-literally-anywhere model is not working to begin with. So at this time virtual workforce makes so much more sense to literally everyone except the upper echelons.

    Perhaps the “urban doom loop” is much needed to get us out of the current predicament? Current metropolises are simply not efficient, need to be broken before they can be restructured – but they never will be if we insist on keeping the current structures.

  29. Cetra Ess

    re: After uproar, society backpedals from actions against scientists who staged climate protest at meeting

    The rather sad thing is if the AGU hadn’t overreacted the way they did it likely wouldn’t have been news, the protest itself likely would have fizzed and been forgotten. Thank goodness the AGU went for the Streisand effect. In a way, it was the best possible reaction.

  30. semper loquitur

    Rob Henderson on Why Upper Middle Class Whites Have Gone Woke

    Quillette contributor and Cambridge PhD student Rob Henderson on how cancel culture became one of America’s most successful exports and why upper middle class whites have embraced the woke agenda. (Click here to listen to the podcast.) Rob recently wrote a piece for Quillette entitled America Exports Cancel Culture to the World.

    A great conversation on the Puritan roots of white liberal Wokeness (a point I’ve made here more than once), the use of social justice by powerful individuals and corporations to consolidate and extend their privilege, and the myopia of elite, educated “progressive” activism.

    1. flora

      Quoting Juvenal from one of his Satires:

      “I get an itch to run off beyond the Sarmatians and the frozen sea, every time those men who pretend to be old-time paragons of virtue and live an orgy, dare to spout something about morals.”

  31. flora

    re: new cold war.

    Chutzpah much? / ;)

    US seeks to discuss New START implementation with Russia
    According to Nuland, Washington has “no intention or need” to resume testing

    WASHINGTON, February 23. /TASS/. The US authorities would like to get back to inspections as part of the New START nuclear arms control treaty and have a chance to discuss with Russia the implementation of this agreement, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said in an interview with Washington Post.

  32. ThirtyOne

    An interesting look back at a paper written in 1993. (Thirty! years ago)

    Its author, Barry R. Posen (Rand, CFR, MIT, Woodrow Wilson Foundation), belongs to the leather-armchair school of strategy the US so excels in: arranging for others to die for the US living standard.

    For obvious reasons, only Posen’s assessment of Russian military strength is dated. The remainder of his study predicts with such ghastly exactitude both events in the Ukraine over the last 20 years and the expected, indeed hoped for, Russian response, that one readily perceives that this is no prediction, but rather a fully-formed proposal for War—complete with Posen’s dismay, very faintly-veiled, at Operation Barbarossa’s failure, and his pleasure at the “high cost” Barbarossa exacted on Russia.

  33. Tim

    The ultimate business model is where the customer has to accept your service as a matter of life and death, and the business has to be paid for the service by somebody even if the patient can’t pay, which means you can charge whatever you want and keep a ton of money over the cost of doing business. Of course even better if you can squeeze those costs as low as possible.

    It was always inevitable the ER would end up being owned by overlords, PE or otherwise.

  34. Grateful Dude

    re divorce: Why couldn’t blue states create a single-payer health collective? It’s just insurance, and there are plenty of folks in these states to balance an insurance pool. Just California could probably pull it off.

    And we’d save a lot of money.

    Then public hospitals.

    1. Pat

      If you think the elected representatives from California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois etc will bite the hand that feeds them and enact single payer, well I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Just to remind you it was former Illinois Senator and Congressional Representative who as President and Chief of Staff promised the major players that single payer was off the table before Putting Max Baucus in charge of getting healthcare reform through the Senate. You know the guy who tried to get activists arrested because they tried to force him to include single payer in the hearings. I won’t even get into them passing Dole Care.

      The excuse was that the conservatives wouldn’t pass it, but the “liberals” killed it before the talks even started. Without totally restructuring campaign finance, lobbying rules and really recognizing corruption there is not a chance anything changes. Well except the excuse why nothing will change. That they will have to fiddle with.

    2. LifelongLib

      Insurance is paid for by the people who don’t use it. I hope somebody who knows more will weigh in, but my understanding is that model doesn’t work for health care because the need for it is too predictable, so the people who would be expected to pay for it just opt out. That’s the reason ObamaCare had mandates. The only entity that can support health care for all is a national government.

    3. Yves Smith

      The old Blue Cross, Blue Shield insurance companies came close to that. Their not for profit status was successfully challenged in the 1980s and that was the end for them in providing good, cheap coverage.

  35. spud

    was the politico article meant to be comic relief, or was the author that deluded? if it was comic relief, he deserves a well said kudo’s! if not, where is his butterfly net?

  36. Karl

    RE: Report Card on the war in Ukraine (Foreign Policy)

    This is interesting in that it’s now clear to this organ of mainstream opinion on foreign policy that things aren’t going well for Ukraine. Interesting quote:

    Thus, as the Western press continues to highlight Ukraine’s successes, we should also recognize that if year two of the war were essentially a carbon copy of the first, in February 2024 Russia would control almost one-third of Ukraine.

    Ukraine is given the advantage for “Military and Financial Aid”, “Information War” and “Domestic Support”. Russia is being given the advantage in all other respects.

    1. juno mas

      Hmm, is that “Domestic Support” in Ukraine, the US, or Russia? Seems to me Putin has the unflagging domestic support.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was just reading that Putin’s present support is higher than JFKs ever was back during his Presidency.

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