Links 4/23/2023

The eccentric pioneers of vegetable electricity BBC

How America’s most endangered cat could help save Florida National Geographic

UC Irvine biologists discover bees to be brew masters of the insect world (press release) University of California, Irvine

Central banks load up on gold in response to rising geopolitical tension FT

US banks on alert over falling commercial real estate valuations FT

The laziness tax: Why your money isn’t accruing high interest Felix Salmon, Axios


The Climate-Killing Monster in Your Basement HellGate

How rising sea levels will affect New York City, America’s most populous city ABC

A Guide To Sustainable Gardening Family Handyman. “Permaculture” mainstreamed! Part of “Trusted Media Brands,” with a capital “T”. Frankly, I rather like this venue, even if it’s rather blithe about using common household petroleum-based materials like packing peanuts. No doubt future issues will contain many fascinating DIY proxies for the approach of The Jackpot.


“We Want Them Infected” – My Book is Done! Science-Based Medicine.

* * *

The Spike The Tablet. “The ruthless efficiency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein makes it an extremely dangerous bit of biology. But also, this spike is itself a pathogen.” Then again, commenting on this study in PNAS (Links 4/21), KLG wrote:

Regarding the occludin paper from PNAS, I participated in similar research in my previous life. Traveling today, but after a rapid read the data look very solid and convincing. Just another reason why spike was the wrong vaccine target? Maybe. It has been a long time since I have thought about this, but occludin does exactly what the name implies. It is essential for maintaining the tight junction seal between cells in every epithelial sheet of cells in the body (so far as I know). TMI but this seal separates the apical from basolateral domains of epithelial cell membranes. So, in addition to forming giant, multinuclear cells the process might also contribute to vascular leak? SARS-CoV-2, like all viruses, is very “smart” at what it does. And syncitium formation is one mechanism many viruses use to spread. Crafty little devils…

Periodically, I comment that “we don’t know anything.” That may be true for “the spike” as well, as well as the vaccination paradigm based on it. Interesting times.

* * *

Trouble at WHO (1):

Well, that depends, doesn’t it?

Trouble at WHO (2):

But see: “Common Names” for Notable SARS-CoV-2 Variants: Proposal for a Transparent and Consistent Nicknaming Process to Aid Communication World Health Network. Why not at least engage with this reasonable proposal?

Implications for CDC from End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration (PDF) NACCHO. The URL: “CDC-PHE-Talking-Points-Final-4.13.2023.” This is interesting:

For more on CDC’s “green map,” see “Why Did Covid Daily Case Counts and Covid Wastewater Readings Diverge in March 2022?

* * *

Las Vegas Strip Has a Scary Covid-Created ‘Fatal Fungus’ Problem The Street. “Nevada’s entire congressional delegation wants help from the CDC.” Let me know how that works out.

Fungal Diseases and COVID-19 CDC (MV). “COVID-19 likely increases the risk for fungal infections because of its effect on the immune system and because treatments for COVID-19 (like steroids and other drugs) can weaken the body’s defenses against fungi.” See this thread at NC in 2021.

* * *

Weird SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in mink suggests hidden source of virus in the wild Ars Technica. Poland. Nevertheless.


Shifting production from China is impossible, says shipping boss FT

Lawmakers war-game conflict with China, hoping to deter one AP. Terry Pratchett, Jingo:

“If you would seek war, prepare for war.'” “I believe, my lord, the saying is ‘If you would seek peace, prepare for war,'” Leonard ventured. Vetinari put his head on one side and his lips moved as he repeated the phrase to himself. Finally he said, “No, no. I just don’t see that one at all.”

Climate change is displacing a million farmers in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta – but for most, migration is not an option Globe and Mail


Commentary: India has the world’s biggest population but won’t count it Channel News Asia

Gunshots in Khartoum New Left Review. Sudan.

European Disunion

Cooking pots banned at anti-Macron protests in France, drawing ridicule South China Morning Post. Toujours de l’Audace (1):

Toujours l’audace (2):

Toujours de l’Audace (3:

The media critic in me notes that the last two videos are neither wide angle or aerial, hence the real size — and composition! — of the manifestation is unknown. Nevertheless, interesting tactics!

‘The Champagne of Beers’ leaves French producers frothing AP

Dear Old Blighty

Russia scholars split over sanctions work Times Higher Education. The deck: “Academics who act as court experts in return for up to £20,000 are under a ‘corrupting influence’ claims one Russia analyst, while another expert says fees help pay his mortgage.” “Scholar” is not a synonym for “academic.”

Back-to-school influencer ad spend finally revealed after 2.5-year battle Schools Week

New Not-So-Cold War

Intense battles for Bakhmut continue, numerous attacks repelled near Mariinka – General Staff report Ukrainska Pravda. Since this is a Ukrainian source, I assumed we could conclude that Bakhmut is already taken, but apparently not.

Modern Trench Warfare Footage Erik Zimerman, My Publication

Ukraine: Stalemate in an attritional war? Indian Punchline

* * *

Ukraine Situation Report: The Brutal Wait For Ukraine’s Counteroffensive The Drive

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive: Will It Retake Crimea? Council on Foreign Relations. Generally pundits label this sort of thing a “delicate dance”:

A successful counteroffensive will create a wave of national confidence and reduce feelings of national exhaustion at the same time. The challenge for Ukraine’s leaders will be finding a way to harness these powerful sentiments to obtain an outcome that looks like victory but stops short of the country’s maximalist aims.

Will Goldilocks please pick up the white courtesy phone?

* * *

The EU is not ready for Ukraine BNE Intellinews

Ukrainian diplomat says Kyiv will not join NATO in parts Anadolu Agency. Not even as part of Poland?

Zelenskyy signs ban on Russian place names in struggle over national identity Deccan Herald

Spook Country

The Discord Leaker Was a Narcissist, Not an Ideologue Foreign Policy

Democrats en Déshabillé

Lock Him Up! Ranking Democrat Suggests Possible Criminal Charges Against Journalist Matt Taibbi Jonathan Turley, The Hill

Illegal aliens who are LGBTQ ‘may not be detained’ under Democrats’ new bill FOX. So, once it was “give me your tired, your poor” but apparently the poor are no longer a “vulnerable class,” at least in Liberal Democrat Thought.

Claims that fueled Missouri GOP crackdown on trans care ‘unsubstantiated,’ university says Kansas City Star. “The review found that the university needs a more formal approach to documenting parental consent and responding to public engagement. It recommends requiring specific written consent [that seems reasonable] prior to prescribing gender-affirming medications and says the university has already updated its protocols.” I think I prefer “sex change surgery” to the glozing mealy-mouthedness of “gender-affirming care,” a catchphrase that suddenly grew like kudzu all over everything (yes, there are aspects of such “care” that are not surgical, but surely surgery is the canonical end state of the process).


Trump’s misleading evocation of the Presidential Records Act Glenn Kessler, WaPo (Furzy Mouse). Dude. Presidential records found right in Clinton’s drawer Washingon Times (2022). That’s drawer, singular. Where Clinton kept his socks.

How Our Team Overturned the 90-Year-Old Metaphor of a ‘Little Man’ in the Brain Who Controls Movement Scientific American. If only we could do the same for Bond Villains in politics.

Sports Desk

Social cohesion:

Everest 2023: Miracle Rescues on Annapurna Alan Arnette. Heroism, to be sure. However, having read Into Thin Air, I’m skeptical of the entire “summit” industry.


How a Google Antitrust Case Could Determine the Future of AI Matt Stoller, BIG. Musical interlude.

Google’s Rush to Win in AI Led to Ethical Lapses, Employees Say Bloomberg:

Shortly before Google introduced Bard, its AI chatbot, to the public in March, it asked employees to test the tool.

One worker’s conclusion: Bard was “a pathological liar,” according to screenshots of the internal discussion. Another called it “cringe-worthy.” One employee wrote that when they asked Bard suggestions for how to land a plane, it regularly gave advice that would lead to a crash; another said it gave answers on scuba diving “which would likely result in serious injury or death.”

Google launched Bard anyway. The trusted internet-search giant is providing low-quality information in a race to keep up with the competition, while giving less priority to its ethical commitments, according to 18 current and former workers at the company and internal documentation reviewed by Bloomberg.

Hard to believe. Google?

Artificial Intelligence in the Garden of Eden Peggy Noonan, WSJ

Supply Chain

Geopolitics, container shipping rates and an ominous sign from Taiwan Freight Waves

Feral Hog Watch

Minnesota Lawmakers Move to Thwart Growing Eurasian Hog Problem Field and Stream

The Jackpot

‘It’s like an infectious diseases textbook from the turn of the century’: Doctors alarmed at rise of ‘retro’ diseases Toronto Star. Immune system dysregulation?

The End of Rapid Population Growth Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. “The slowdown in population growth is due to a collapse in childbirth around the world.” So let’s not overshoot on driving down life expectancy, mkay?

Class Warfare

Working Sick: Americans With Long COVID Struggle to Make a Living Capital and Main

Wells Fargo workers’ union effort pushes shareholder proposal Banking Dive

I’m a medical resident. I want to pause the drive to unionize hospital trainees STAT. Worthy of excoriation….

Universal Public Services: The Power of Decommodifying Survival Jason Hickele

Rural Americans are importing tiny Japanese pickup trucks The Economist. In Japan, kei:

Compare bed sizes of the kei with the Ford F35150:

From the photos, I can’t actually measure the truck bed of the tiny kei vs. the mightily bulbous F150 to see whether the kei can actually carry more stuff, but despite my well-known hatred of bloated and monstrous American vehicles, I think we can agree — as we see the F150’s bed atrophy over time — that the F150’s proportions show something other than a quest for pure functionality is at play.

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. johnherbiehancock

      From the “sustainable garden tips”:

      Whether you’re dealing with wet snow or mucky soil, a dose of spray lubricant on your shovel will make the sticky stuff slip right off. Use a lubricant that contains silicone or Teflon and recoat the shovel occasionally.

      Luv 2 introduce forever chemicals into my sustainable garden plot and then eat the crops

      1. Cameron Jones

        It was the first link I went to and the FIRST time I felt wholly mislead by your description. Which is a relief, actually! Human and Biased and So-Ignorant-on-certain-subjects-as-to-be-dangerously-misleading you certainly are! Damn, I was starting to just blindly believe you guys about everything, and this was a nice check. I appreciate! Thank you! I continue to be your devoted fan.

        1. lambert strether

          Today is my day to be kind, so I will simply remark that at NC it’s insufficient to claim “bias” and “ignorance”; you must show it. Do enlighten us.

          UPDATE I have deleted your second, “broken record” comment.

          1. Carla

            I was not happy with the recommendation to spray a carcinogen (Teflon) on garden shovels, nor with using plastic peanuts in pots as you mentioned, Lambert. IMHO, from what I have seen so far, this link (from 2017) is not a great source for information on sustainable gardening.

            1. Yves Smith

              Perhaps the problem is trying to straddle markets. The pub is “Family Handyman.”

              Every handyman I know regularly deals with nasty chemicals, and I don’t see many using nitrile gloves or respirators

    1. Mark Gisleson

      The end of the Biden administration is proving to be the most glacially paced slo-mo trainwreck ever. I keep flashing back to 2003 when millions marched against war and were roundly ignored by the pro-war news media which seems to have morphed into pro-corruption news media. All the news that fits.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      On the same topic, I’d like to recommend Aaron Mate’s thorough explication of this story with the context of Joe’s rather desperate use of that letter in the last debate against Trump. It would seem that Blinken ordered up this missive with the idea that it would serve just that purpose. Aaron was sitting in for Jimmy on Jimmy’s Youtube show.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That was a great piece by Mate and I 2nd your recommendation. This is some Watergate level malfeasance which is being completely ignored.

        1. Screwball

          I went to the websites of CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and WaPo and found nothing. It might be buried somewhere, but I didn’t see it.

          Imagine that.

          1. marym

            There’s an excerpt from the Morell transcript that Team Blue is tweeting where he’s asked whether Blinken “direct[ed], suggest[ed] or insinuate[d in any way] that he should prepare a statement, and he says no. This may be the third “snippet” Taibbi references in his post, and he may have further comments about it, but it’s not in the section visible without subscription.

            Based on that, Team Blue’s take is that these were private citizens, free speech, etc. I only found one WaPo link on the subject, which also includes this other piece of the testimony.

            Of course, people in the club, coming or going through the revolving door, wouldn’t need explicit instructions.

            That would seem to make Taibbi’s rhetorical “Did a presidential candidate engineer a massive public deception?” to which he answers yes comparable to the question: Did a sitting president and elite cronies – in government and private – “engineer a massive public [take your pick – deception, perception]” of a rigged election?


      1. ambrit

        “Alexander Mercouris was remarkably pessimistic about the future of the US.”
        As well he should be. He observes America from ‘across the pond,’ somewhat separate but culturally aligned. An excellent ‘place’ from which to achieve a balanced analysis.
        We are living in an Empire in it’s terminal decline. Traditionally, next to come will be the barbarian incursions and eventual breakup.
        I can see the deployment of “barbarian incursion” thinking in the present “Conservative’s” fixation on “illegal immigration” and “Border Walls.” So, that “prediction” is already happening. All the talk recently concerning secession would be one form of the “breakup” item of the Imperial Decline Phase in America.

        1. .Tom

          And Mercouris is another kind of conservative, a more old-fashioned kind that likes strong leaders like Putin, Abe, Trump, Thatcher. He’d probably be a monarchist/imperialist given the opportunity.

            1. .Tom

              My first sentence is I think a justifiable observation. I spent a lot of time paying attention to him last year. I think it’s clear he’s an old-school British-style hard-right conservative who likes strong national leaders. My second sentence explicitly hypothetical and expresses an opinion in an obviously sarcastic way not uncommon in comments here.

              I think it’s important to maintain some kind of understanding of pundits while listening to them. Even if that person is saying stuff we accept as valid, for whatever reasons we may have. I think Mercouris can be interesting and informative but some of the stuff he says makes me wary. My description is a kind of summary of the heuristics I use in approaching his output.

              1. hk

                That characterization seems a bit odd since, despite being a British citizen(subject?) now, he is Greek by birth and often has, as far as I can tell, what I take to be an old fashioned “Greek” perspective: a bit socially conservative on domestic matters, distrustful of great powers spouting big “ideas” on international stage (b/c small countries like Greece wind up paying disproportionately heavy price for them), and clearly sympathetic towards fellow believers in Orthodox Christianity. I don’t think these are, except maybe #1, particularly compatible with “British” hard right.

                1. .Tom

                  How about this hk? Let’s do a couple of two-hour live streams a week on OoToob to hash this out until we find common ground in the terms to describe what kind of conservative we think Mercouris is. [/joke]

                  1. ambrit

                    All snark aside, this idea would have use for the “average” OoToob viewer. How many people that we encounter “on the street” are conversant with, much less comfortable with a ‘robust’ dialectic?
                    The Elite’s tactic of “siloing” the public has a fell purpose. In the spirit of the observation that, “Propaganda works,” we must gird our loins and produce as much “counter propaganda” as we can.
                    Stay safe, no matter what side of the cylindrical ‘fence’ you are on.

                  1. hk

                    Two dimensions, specifically pertaining to religion and another, arising from both of them being from the “Greek” world, I think.

                    1. They are clearly sympathetic to the Orthodox countries and peoples of Eastern Europe and suspicious of the Westerners.

                    2. I have the sense that the religious Orthodox, especially from the “Eastern” world (I tend to include Greece and Cyprus among them) tend to be a bit more socially conservative than the Westerners, but in a rather different way compared to Western conservatives. I can’t quite describe it exactly, though, but that’s the sense I keep getting from their worldview.

                    Also, their background as a Greek and, even more so, a Greek-speaking Cypriot (and a diplomatic brat, in case of Christoforou) makes them acutely aware of the perspectives of small countries facing complex situations with their neighbors and region and pressure from superpowers as well as the problems of corruption and lawlessness. (I am certain I heard Mercouris speaking of his experiences as a young man in Greece as a major influence on his way of thinking, which, I imagine was at least partly during the era of “Rule of Colonels,” which was not only dictatorial, but also corrupt, arbitrary, petty, and quite incompetent–the kind of regime that makes one really appreciate the value of a competent and reasonably responsible government, even if it’s not very democratic. (I am probably imagining too much, though).

        2. Roland

          “Empire in decline” is often said, but inaccurate.

          The Empire is doing fine. Empires exist for the benefit of their rulers, not their subjects. The rulers of the American Empire have never been richer, more securely in control, or better pleased with themselves, than they are today.

          There is no organized domestic opposition to their rule. Abroad, their empire is growing–they just annexed the Finns and Swedes, peoples once proud, but now cringeing and grateful.

          Am I the only one who sees how happy these rulers are? They think they are the smartest, most creative, most virtuous, most meritorious group of people who have ever existed. They have developed a philosophy, actually a metaphysics, that the whole world must ultimately conform itself to their dreams and desires. I am not joking. That’s truly how they think: each of them the god of their own personal universe.

          They have the biggest empire of all time, so it stands to reason that they should become the most conceited ruling class of all time. Ecclesiastes said that all is vanity, Davos Man replies that vanity is all.

          It’s the American republic that’s dying. The American ideal of personal freedom is still detectible within the horrid, misshapen mockery its elites have made of it.

          At the time of the Enlightenment, the reactionary aristocratic criticism of bourgeois liberty was that such liberty was profoundly impious, and that it would lead humans to think that they are gods. As much as I would take the side of Enlightenment against Reaction, I now see that the reactionary critique of bourgeois liberty is, in itself, quite perceptive, apart from the class-motive of those critics of old.

    3. .Tom

      I read Taibbi routinely, have a lot of time for him in general, and have done for well over 10 years. But something I don’t get: What was/is his crime against the other Exilers? Why do Yasha Levine, Mark Ames and John Dolan hate him so much? They seem to enjoy hating on him in public so I have to assume their audience is supposed to know why … but I don’t. Can NC commenters explain?

      1. pjay

        I don’t know for sure. It may have something to do with the fact that for many years Taibbi was a golden boy “insider” among the liberal (pseudo) “left.” As long as he was using his talents in ripping Wall Street, Bush, or Trump, he was “one of them.” Taibbi has said as much himself. I think the Exile boys may have seen him as selling out; I really don’t know with certainty. Then, as soon as Taibbi even hinted that Russiagate might be a little shaky he was “me-tooed” by the Establishment for some of the Exile antics back in the old days. Taibbi, who had not completely given up on mainstream acceptance yet, kind of wimped out with an apologetic defense. The other Exile guys seemed to see this as a cave-in. But in fairness, Aimes did defend Taibbi against the charges of misogynistic behavior (mostly in satirical writing) by taking almost all the blame for it.

        Now there seems to be some fear of “red-brown” alliances (Taibbi working with the likes of Musk or Tucker Carlson). They have downplayed the significance of the Twitter files work by Taibbi and others sometimes hinting that Taibbi, Greenwald, et al. are naive useful idiots for the Right, as if they are incapable of recognizing the dangers of cooptation. I strongly disagree; they have significant platforms and are using them to say the things that need to be said. Not that I trust Musk, Carlson, etc. But I would like to know what’s up with the Exile critics. Maybe they’ll tell us.

        1. .Tom

          I have thought about exactly that and it could be no more but for whatever reasons I still don’t buy it. They are all independent-minded thinkers who can be quite contrarian and often violate the Blue Cult orthodoxy.

          I listened to the last but one Radio War Nerd, they really unloaded all weapons on him. And I remember all the lashings and outbursts from Yasha, I tend to think there’s something in their history they see as a betrayal. Perhaps to do with when Taibbi tried to set up Racket News as an organization with billionaire patronage like Greenwald did to start The Intercept.

        2. skippy

          Not speaking for anyone else here …

          The drama with playing footsie with the likes of Musk or Carlson is that it helps them with gate keeper status whilst down playing all their past dramas, and even increase their personal market share[tm]. Then use that burnishing to help them advance other agendas which many might find unpalatable, but yeah that freedom of speech thingy …. oops …

      2. Yves Smith

        I don’t know about Yasha (his stance may be out of loyalty to Ames) but Ames felt deeply betrayed when Taibbi abandoned The eXile. And Ames is not a forgiving type. Ames left Russia only when Medvedev went after The eXile (Putin had tolerated it despite it running quite a few scurrilous cover stories on Putin with very unflattering cartoons).

        1. .Tom

          Yes, that could be it. It’s kinda crazy how long Mark kept going the eXile. And John Dolan is very much tied to Mark with the War Nerd podcast.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think another piece of the puzzle is that Ames and Levine grabbed for the brass ring with the excellent Pando Daily, and for whatever reason that publication never achieved the clout that Ames and Levine deserved so much. Again, there’s a history here I’m not privy too.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The combined Ukraine/NATO war machine is a leaky balloon. And every day, it leaks a little faster. Russia is a quite a bit larger balloon which has its own gas supply, and is just covered with thorny points that keep poking more and more little holes in the Ukie balloon.

      Not the best analogy, given nuclear weapons that could pop them both. But I don’t see “stalemate” in the future for the fork- tailed, goat-footed “West” in this one.

  1. Samuel Conner

    > Family Handyman

    I agree that the “20th-century convenience” substances are a bit off-putting, but there are good ideas here.

    The “deep container” to slow/prevent rhizome spread is one that has already occurred to me and I plan to implement it this year with “Purple” Milkweed starts so that I can set them in soil, but not be punished with underground spread if the plants turn out to be Common or Purple/Common hybrids with Common underground traits. I’d like these plants to bloom the first year, but they don’t do that reliably in modest-sized containers on benches.

    1. Lex

      It works. If you can get enough information to know plant root depth it will help you size the container. The only problem is if the container walls aren’t deep enough to stop roots, so it’s generally a good idea to use the largest container you’re willing to excavate for.

      Old, even broken terracotta pots will work for this too. You can stabilize the breaks with exterior soil. In some ways they have the advantage of allowing moisture to pass from surrounding soil to the interior. The plants will root through the drainage whole or you can break the bottom off. Garden centers almost always have busted terracotta from received shipments.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > Old, even broken terracotta pots will work for this too

        Noted, and thank you!

        I have several of these in multi-gallon size, with the bottoms already broken off due to my failure to bring them indoors before freezing weather.

        I am feeling more optimistic about the Milkweeds this year.

    2. Bart Hansen

      We are currently in the process of digging up dozens of the decorative grasses that we allowed to spread around the property. Man, is it hard work to get up the well-buried rhizome masses. Some of them are 2-3 feet across. We are utilizing shovels, a pickaxe and a 20 pound 6 foot long pry bar.

      1. Lex

        Yes. And they have a remarkable ability to regenerate from what seems like the tiniest scrap of root. This trick works for ornamental grasses, but not as well since – as you’re experiencing – those grasses tend to have overwhelming escalation dominance in the rhizosphere.

  2. fresno dan

    Claims that fueled Missouri GOP crackdown on trans care ‘unsubstantiated,’ university says Kansas City Star. “The review found that the university needs a more formal approach to documenting parental consent and responding to public engagement. It recommends requiring specific written consent [that seems reasonable] prior to prescribing gender-affirming medications and says the university has already updated its protocols.” I think I prefer “sex change surgery” to the glozing mealy-mouthedness of “gender-affirming care,” a catchphrase that suddenly grew like kudzu all over everything (yes, there are aspects of such “care” that are not surgical, but surely surgery is the canonical end state of the process).
    So, surgery is the canonical end state of the process
    Now, I have seen a LOT of porn over the years, and it certainly use to be that male to female sex changing included a lot of…lopping among the male to female porn stars. Now a days – apparently not so much.
    There is also data available from the US HERE showing that genital surgery is very rare. In this study (sampling 20% of all outpatient hospital discharges in the US) there were only a few hundred genital surgeries performed each year. (205 in 2012, 250 in 2013, 345 in 2014). This suggests that between 1000-2000 genital surgeries were performed across the whole of the US each. If the trans community in the US represents 1% of the US population this means we’d expect there to be in the region of 3 million people identifying as trans in the US. This means less than 0.1% of the trans community undergoes genital surgery each year supporting our conclusion that the vast majority of males who identify as women retain their penis.

    Now, what percentage of trans “women” are represented by trans “women” porn stars is anybody’s guess, but there is a whole niche of “chicks with dicks” in porn. And if one is so inclined, the amatuer section has thousands of such individuals on display who state that they are not removing their penises. I think it is pretty obvious that making a vagina that gives the same quality of orgasm as the original equipment is pretty ….dificult (I was gonna say hard).

    1. LN

      fresno dan, please bear in mind that you are talking about human beings, some of whom are present. Furthermore, many men, and some women, confuse what’s achieved in porn with reality, but that’s not wise.

      Concerning “sex change surgery”, Lambert, I’ve read that only about one in four people who change their gender socially actually undergo this surgery. It’s both expensive and risky. I myself have been living as my desired gender for a quarter of a century and have been using gender-affirming medication most of that time. I haven’t undergone any sex or gender related surgery.

      Concerning the linked article, they appear to have conducted a thorough investigation and the claims were invalid. This isn’t surprising as this business is clearly a politically motivated moral panic.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’ve read that only about one in four people who change their gender socially actually undergo this surgery

        The link-free nature of your claim aside, I chose the word “canonical” — and not “universal” — with care. I’m glad things worked out for you.

        As far as moral panics go, I’m a little stunned that “requiring specific written consent prior to prescribing gender-affirming [sic] medications” as an outcome of the investigations was passed over in a totally matter-of-fact fashion. On what basis was the putative consent given before? Vibes? How do we even know that it was given? Pinkie-swearing? If a process that includes some form of accountability be the outcome of this “moral panic,” then have at it, say I. I would also need to know that the institution wasn’t simply protecting itself, as they do. The original whistleblower was, after all, queer, and married to a transman.

        1. LN

          @Lambert Thanks for posting my comment.

          Indeed, this specific accusation must be investigated properly, and I am in no position to determine that it has been. However, by a moral panic I meant the larger context in which this investigation is taking place. This is best represented by Michael Knowles calling for the eradication of “transgenderism” from public life at the CPA conference. I don’t live in the USA and am not the best person to argue this point, but I do know what Mr Knowles intends.

        2. digi_owl

          I find myself thinking about the claim that the satanic panic was the creation of daytime tv plus suburban housewives.

          Only this time round it is smartphone delivered social media plus young girls.

          Also, it is curious how the term tomboy seems to have vanished completely…

          1. ambrit

            “.. it is curious how the term tomboy seems to have vanished completely…” Perhaps because it is a bit too close to “Tomboy of Finland” for their esoteric and eclectic tastes?

    2. NarrativeMassagerInc

      The problem is hormone therapy in young people can permanently effect their development, and not “just” their sexual development. Bone density issues and many other serious ailments result from taking puberty blockers. Its why most of Europe has banned such treatments for kids. So whether this ends up with actual surgery or not isn’t really the relevant question.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > porn stars

      I have heard it said that pr0n is not about sex, but power (though of course some might question the distinction). I’m not sure that pr0n is an especially useful lens here. Moreover, it’s insulting. I’m sure there are plenty of “dull normals” out there — e.g., Deirdre McCloskey — and more power to them, who have no thought of being compared of pr0n stars or desire to be so. I mean, I’m a guy, and have no ambition whatever to have Ron Jeremy-like equipment, heaven forfend.

      I well remember the impossible-to-avoid back pages of the Philly weeklies, where the words “fully functional” figured largely (an absolutely tragic situation if that’s how the advertisers were funding their surgery). Therefore, I’m aware that complete transition with all the “equipment” replaced at the biological level is not universal. Again, I chose the word “canonical” with care.

      1. ambrit

        Uh, “canonical” as in the Artillerist Dispensation, or “canonical” as in “preaching to the choir?”
        As is usual with ‘Country Matters,’ there are too many puns and quips available. Oh, heaven help us with this pornucopia of potently perverse possibilities!

      2. fresno dan

        Lambert (I assume you are addressing my post)
        my point was with regard to the data of how many “trans” with the full surgical transformation to “female” i.e., where the male genitalia is removed and replaced with a surgically constructed vagina.
        In the “conservative” media, there is quite a hulabaloo about males identifying as “female” who retain male genitalia. Apparently, quite a few “trans” i.e., males who identify as “females” due to hormone replacement therapy, but who do not have male genitalia surgically removed, identify as “female.”
        Now, if someone who has breasts and a penis showers with women, this is going to lead to some definitional problems of what exactly is a “female” and whether such hormonal “females” meet the legal definition of “female.”
        Now, I don’t want to use “porn” to provide data (there was a non porn link – THERE WAS NO INTENT TO INSULT ANYONE, but if someone wants to look, there are thousands upon thousands of “trans” individuals who have breasts and penises), but on the other hand, websites that are near “porn” such as ONLY FANS provide thousands, if not tens of thousands of individuals who identify as “trans” which I take to mean that they are identifying their gender as “female” without removing their penises (sometimes they do self castrate).
        Now, I don’t care if somebody is trans with or without their penis. But at some point it is going to be a legal and regulatory issue, so I think people have to be clear about the actual plumbling issues…

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry, there is more than just male to female surgery. There is also female to male, including not just double mastectomies but also removal of the uterus and ovaries and the construction of a penis and scrotum. You can find the gory details at the link below under these categories, which I extracted:

          Chest restructuring

          Removal of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes

          Metoidioplasty. A metoidioplasty is a method of constructing a new penis, or neopenis.



          The penis construction surgeries can include “urethral extension, the goal is to be able to urinate while standing”

          1. fresno dan

            Sorry, there is more than just male to female surgery.
            Of course. But that is not the issue under discussion. The original issue that I was addressing was Lambert saying:
            Claims that fueled Missouri GOP crackdown on trans care ‘unsubstantiated,’ university says Kansas City Star. “The review found that the university needs a more formal approach to documenting parental consent and responding to public engagement. It recommends requiring specific written consent [that seems reasonable] prior to prescribing gender-affirming medications and says the university has already updated its protocols.” I think I prefer “sex change surgery” to the glozing mealy-mouthedness of “gender-affirming care,” a catchphrase that suddenly grew like kudzu all over everything (yes, there are aspects of such “care” that are not surgical, but surely surgery is the canonical end state of the process).

            That is, the issue that I was addressing is: is a trans “woman” (i.e., a male “gendering” as a woman to be considered legally a woman if that person has not had their penis removed?

            Maybe you have heard of Dylan Mulvaney
            TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney dedicated episode 233 of her series Days of Girlhood to Caitlyn Jenner after the former reality TV star responded to a clip of Mulvaney saying ‘women can have bulges.’

            In the latest video, Mulvaney, 25, made reference to a tweet that was sent out from Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn last week, and then went viral in conservative circles.

            Mulvaney says in the clip that she felt uncomfortable in public when wearing tight clothes because people would stare at her crotch. She goes on to say that society should normalize ‘women having bulges.’

            ‘I can normalize women having bulges sometimes. We’re coming up on bikini season and you might see a bulge or two, so normalize the bulge!’ she said before bursting into song.

            Mulvaney goes on to sing: ‘Normalize the bulge. We are normalizing the bulge. Women can have bulges, and that’s ok. We’re not gonna stare at their crotches.’

            I can understand people not wanting to address this specific issue, but the issue is “women” with penises, not other surgeries.

            1. Yves Smith

              Sorry, the statement that was your point for departure was not limited to men transitioning to women. You continue to double down on your misrepresentation of the GOP position. There is far more female to male surgery (stats confirm this), I believe above all mastectomies.

              1. fresno dan

                the statement that was your point for departure was not limited to men transitioning to women. You continue to double down on your misrepresentation of the GOP position.

                I don’t know exactly what you are talking about. MY POINT was only with regard to the “non-binary” individuals, i.e., individuals who generally refer to themselves as “women” but retain their penses. I don’t care if individuals want to live with hormone replacement therapy without getting surgery and retain their penises. But it was the point in the post I wanted to address.
                As far as me misrepresenting what the “GOP” position is, I don’t know what the “GOP” position that the GOP is taking in the article.
                AGAIN what I was referring to was to the post blurb that I assume Lambert wrote:
                Claims that fueled Missouri GOP crackdown on trans care ‘unsubstantiated,’ university says Kansas City Star. “The review found that the university needs a more formal approach to documenting parental consent and responding to public engagement. It recommends requiring specific written consent [that seems reasonable] prior to prescribing gender-affirming medications and says the university has already updated its protocols.” I think I prefer “sex change surgery” to the glozing mealy-mouthedness of “gender-affirming care,” a catchphrase that suddenly grew like kudzu all over everything (yes, there are aspects of such “care” that are not surgical, but surely surgery is the canonical end state of the process).
                I take it that the GOP policy that is being referred to by Lambert is: . It recommends requiring specific written consent [that seems reasonable] prior to prescribing gender-affirming medications and says the university has already updated its protocols.” I haven’t read the entire bill, I don’t know if any democrats voted for the bill, and I don’t know if there is anything in the bill I would characterise as anti gay, but I agree with Lambert that written consent for minors is a good thing.

                Now, I would certainly agree that in general the GOP is anti gay, and I disagree with anti gay policies. But that is not the point I am making, and you seem to be mistating what I am saying. I don’t care what surgery or what treatments people get for anything as long as the general rules are followed. To me, its an interesting question of how non binary people will be classified. Now, some people may not want to talk about it, and that is fine. I was responding to a particular point in a posting.

                1. Yves Smith

                  Lordie, you’ve confirmed my charge and keep acting like you haven’t.

                  Did you miss trans includes women transitioning to men??? And as I showed you, that includes “top” and “bottom” surgery, to the degree that peeing while standing is an attainable outcome????

                  How often can you read what I wrote and not process it?

                  More women to men get hard core surgery than men to women, so this is not a rhetorical issue.

                  1. fresno dan

                    Did you miss trans includes women transitioning to men???
                    The point I wanted to talk about was men transitioning to women, due to my expericences that I have had with such individuals.
                    Thank you for using your superior intellect to straighten me out that the specific point I wanted to bring up was illegitimate, and what I REALLY should have said, and what I should believe.
                    No need to respond. I see I am unworthy and not intelligent enough to participate in these discussions on this website. I apologize for what I have seen and thought, and will slink away and not bother you again. Please forgive me – I hope you never have to put up with someone as evil as me again.

  3. paddy

    cfr: invading crimea is a thousand logistics miles too far for nato, much less the puppet military from kiev.

    needed, an iron mountain delivered by poor rails and one lane roads….

    if nato could fine the iron.

    where do they get the logisticians to look over the field marshals’ shoulder and say, you cannot get there….?

    how awesome for nato to send its equipment for russians to blow up or ukraine to sell!

    1. digi_owl

      Pentagon etc is well aware of the problem, but the state department is a whole other world…

      1. Polar Socialist

        Somebody could show them a map of Perekop Isthmus, the main route to Crimea. You know, that 10 miles long, 6 miles wide bottleneck divided into two narrow land passages by an artificial lake in the middle. Flat as a pancake, mostly grassland and sand.

        Germans did take Crimea in eight months when they had the numbers, a total air superiority and the commander on the other side was Lev Mekhlis, a political commissar and a nitwit without any military command experience and hated by everyone below or above him.

        Ukrainians won’t be that lucky, me thinks.

          1. hk

            They didn’t go by land. They had total control of the Black Sea in 1854 and landed their troops not too far to the north of Sevastopol–none of them were even close to the Perekop Isthmus. None of their advantages exist today.

          2. Kouros

            The Straights are closed by the Turks this time. Also, any NATO ship is a sitting duck in the Black Sea, same as Moskva.

            So no dice this time.

      2. johnherbiehancock

        I don’t think the Pentagon understands it either. or least anyone with a star, on up…
        or maybe getting the star is contingent on NOT understanding it.

        I recall reading an article from 2014 or so, maybe in the War Nerd, about Petraeus recommending the Ukrainians launch an all out, armored drive to push the Russians out of Crimea and the East, and it ignored air superiority, and pretty much assumed the Ukrainians were fighting an opponent no more sophisticated than like the Taliban or something.

        I can’t find the article now, but every headline that comes up over the last couple years about Petraeus + Ukraine reminds me of “Friedman Units”… Russia’s always about to collapse, Russia’s exhausted their resources, Putin’s out of options, Putin has painted himself into a corner, etc.

        1. digi_owl

          Well someone there do have a clue, as they managed to convince Congress that pushing for a no-fly zone was a very bad idea.

          1. Late Introvert

            The losing lying Generals from the Pentagon may have a small victory here and there, but the losing multiple wars that should have never been started kind of leaves a whole stink about the place. Sure it’s not their fault, right.

            And Ukraine is already cooked, and they know it. Liars.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If the Ukrainian military was unable to take Crimea a year ago when they were at full strength, had troops trained to NATO standards and had a wealth of weaponry making them the most powerful army in continental Europe, how exactly are they supposed to take Crimea with what they have now? This whole idea of taking Crimea seems to be some sort of fantasy by the Neocons and they almost lust after it. Probably it is one held by the US State Department as well as some centers of power in the EU. I can see the US supplying long-range missiles to the Ukrainians to hit Crimea but I would be willing to bet that a high proportion of them would be aimed at civilian targets. I do wonder though if NATO is trying to press the Ukrainians into an attack on Crimea and the fantasy seems to be that the Russian army will panic and retreat, there will be chaos in Moscow forcing Putin to be toppled and the war ended with the Ukrainians dictating the terms.

      1. Polar Socialist

        We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down

        Now, where have I heard that before…?

      2. Pat

        Not for nothing but it wouldn’t surprise me if kicking Russia out of Crimea wasn’t the biggest get of this whole neocon exercise. And that they are so delusional that a year of losing on every front except propaganda is not enough for this brain trust to get that it is not going to happen. Think how long we were still “winning” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        I feel for Crimea, and by extension Ukraine, unless saner heads can begin to get a hold on things it will be missiles. Which will lead to a whole lot of destruction in both countries. And yes I think it will eventually have to be explained to Poland that if they want to take this on they can also expect to have most of their bases and much of infrastructure reduced to rubble for them not to take up the campaign.

        1. bwilli123

          …” if kicking Russia out of Crimea wasn’t the biggest get of this whole neocon exercise…”

          This was suggested in a recent article at Larry Johnson’s site.

          …”the Russians must have asked themselves the following question: “What do the Ukrainians and NATO want more than anything?” And since it’s actually the Americans and the British running the show: “What do the Americans and the British want more than anything?” The question isn’t hard to answer. What the Americans, the British, and the Ukrainians want more than anything is Crimea. Crimea is the key to “dominating” the Black Sea, and capturing it would be a dagger into the belly of Russia.

          After having run through this logic, the Russians would have come to the conclusion that the Ukrainian attack on the Donbass republics and the defensive lines was a trap to tie them down. Then they started planning countermoves…”

        2. Lex

          IMO, it’s the prime directive for the Ukraine operation going all the way back to the Orange Revolution. The first act of the coup government in 2014 was to announce that the base lease would not be renewed. Although it wouldn’t go into effect immediately, the intent was telegraphed. That’s what prompted the annexation of Crimea.

          I maintain that the primary goal of the SMO in phase I was securing the landbridge, which was done while everyone was watching Kiev. (The recent sonar21 post agrees.) And it is why the west demands the offensive strike towards Crimea. If/when Russia takes Odessa, the US/UK will abandon Kiev immediately. It would have no utility left.

      3. Bugs

        If you read the MSM and the nutty NAFO guys on the twitter, your scenario of Russian collapse is actually what they believe is happening in real life, right now. It’s dérangeant

        1. John k

          The high priests/priestesses of state dept and WH seem to believe they’re own msm propaganda with a religious fervor. The end might be as shocking to them as the general public. My fond hope is they manage to pivot somewhere else rather than endless escalation.
          It seems they’re intent on throwing the last Ukrainian against long range artillery… wonder how many die without ever seeing the enemy…
          I’ve long been surprised its going so slowly. But maybe it wont be much longer. And then… if it were me I’d say,
          If missiles are introduced anywhere where they’re not now, we will remove them, nato or not.
          We will not trade with any ‘unfriendly’ with missiles aimed at us, or with any country that sanctions us.

          1. paddy

            as napoleon said “do not interfere with the enemy when they are making a mistake”

            why should russia move faster or even win when washington keeps sending all usa and nato materiel reserves to kiev to be blown up or sold to isis!

        2. eg

          An eedjit friend of mine who is representative of the most deluded PMC groupthink sent me a Twitter link to a thread outlining how Ukraine can retake Crimea. It’s embarrassing.

      4. Dan Berg

        From an article in Foreign Affairs by Timothy Garten Ash:
        The EU has a European Peace Facility, which during the first year of the war in Ukraine spent some $3.8 billion to co-fund member states’ arms supplies to Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is now proposing that the European Peace Facility should directly order ammunition and weapons for Ukraine, comparing this to the EU’s procurement of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That last idea is so that Ursula von der Leyen and Co. can skim their own 10% off the top.

        2. cosmiccretin

          “comparing this to the EU’s procurement of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic”

          should be re-phrased as “comparing this to Ursula von der Leyen’s personal procurement of vaccines…”.

          We all know exactly what that entailed.

      5. bdy

        Hasn’t the endgame always been regime change in Moscow?

        Like Russia, where the long goal of de-militarization affords them territorial compromises in a war of attrition, the blob can convince themselves of their own wiggle room. By the ‘80s Afghan playbook, all they have to do is prolong the conflict until Moscow cracks at the seams. Then the NGO/intelligence nexus can do what they do in all the places they do it and viola! No more evil dictator! As long as people are dying the plan is moving forwards in these sick minds. When it eventually fails it’s still a win because ka-ching.

        Crimea, Kiev, Kherson, liberation, war crimes yada yada: just elements of the narrative — social lubricant to keep interested supporters engaged, from Karen to Patreus to Maddow to AOC to you and me. Strategically nothing actually need be accomplished until after the fall of Moscow. Crimea can wait.

  4. digi_owl

    So, once it was “give me your tired, your poor”

    Was it ever, truly?

    Best i can tell, USA clamped down hard on immigration when it changed from the second or later later sons of the European wealthy etc to tenant farmers and like.

    1. johnnyme

      It may have been up until the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was passed:

      The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years. The law excluded merchants, teachers, students, travelers, and diplomats. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first and only major U.S. law ever implemented to prevent all members of a specific national group from immigrating to the United States.

      And the notion was firmly squashed by the 1924 Immigration Act:

      The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the Asian Exclusion Act and National Origins Act (Pub. L. 68–139, 43 Stat. 153, enacted May 26, 1924), was a United States federal law that prevented immigration from Asia and set quotas on the number of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. It also authorized the creation of the country’s first formal border control service, the U.S. Border Patrol, and established a “consular control system” that allowed entry only to those who first obtained a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.

  5. fresno dan

    Rural Americans are importing tiny Japanese pickup trucks The Economist. In Japan, kei:
    From the photos, I can’t actually measure the truck bed of the tiny kei vs. the mightily bulbous F150 to see whether the kei can actually carry more stuff, but despite my well-known hatred of bloated and monstrous American vehicles, I think we can agree — as we see the F150’s bed atrophy over time — that the F150’s proportions show something other than a quest for pure functionality is at play.
    I was thinking about buying a pickup. My wife has a SUV hybrid, but the fact is that my hatch back like car has MORE cargo space. Unfortunately, I want to buy trees and other taller objects, and getting them home is a problem because they don’t fit in the car. Delivery charges are high, as well as those times when one comes across a unique find.
    But as far as I can tell, all the pickups now are four door – which might be good for hauling people, but hauling stuff is less then satisfactory as the bed is now more an accessory.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The old Top Gear guys did a bit on proper hatchbacks and the corresponding math. Basically, they are the only car one should ever have. When you need a larger load, just pay the delivery fees. They often come with movers too.

      1. .Tom

        We’re looking to replace our old Mazda3 5-door. The new model has a bigger engine (2.5L up from 2) and inferior fuel efficiency. I get 41 average (American) mpg and don’t want to go backwards on that. So the only option remaining it seems is the Prius. It won’t swallow bicycles whole like the Mazda3 but should suffice for the dogs and most shopping.

        What’s wrong with the American market that 5-doors are so scarce?

        I wish you hadn’t mentioned Top Gear, the most banal TV show ever that somehow also managed to be offensive, but they are right on this point.

        1. wol

          We have a 2009 Prius hatchback, currently 43.8 mpg. It can carry a surprising amount of stuff. Let us know if you go with a 2023 Prius? 50+ mpg and good-looking.

          1. .Tom

            Looks? Meh. Cars are a blight on our lives and I don’t know what’s more depressing: the cars or their seemingly endless fashionability and attractiveness to people.

            Looks(2)? These are the looks I care about: Zeno and Lucy in red hatchback.

    2. petal

      Back home we used to make fun of the fakers in the big pickups-all you had to do was look at how small the bed was to suss them out(and also how clean it was on the outside). Dan, look for what’s called a work truck. My mother has one. It’s a bare bones, regular non-extended cab with a full-sized bed. Good luck. They are getting harder to find.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I always reckoned that if you couldn’t stack 50 bales of hay on it without having to tie them down then it was more fashion statement than truck.

        Those were pick-em-up-and-throw-em sized bales of course.

        1. Mangelwurtzel

          It’s a trade off, of course. We can only stack 30 bales on our short flatbed, but the crew cab is invaluable on the orchard for hauling people or miscellaneous tools and gear. Especially if it’s raining. Sometimes I wish we had an 8′ bed, but the turning radius on those trucks is a liability in town.

      2. digi_owl

        Some years back a image made the rounds on a ad for glue on “dirt”.

        Basically a decal meant to be pasted on around the wheel wells to make it look like the car just came from an offroad drive.

    3. Judith

      I am hoping to plant trees sometime in the next year. From what I have read (and I don’t have any references readily available right now) there is a lot to consider about both buying and planting. And you may already know this. Have fun. (Wuk probably knows a bunch)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t know your location, but if you’re in New England, try FedCo. Even if you don’t buy anything, their catalog has a wealth, a plethora, a superfluity of good information and hard thinking.

    4. chris

      It is hard to get a truck truck lately. I don’t want an enormous vehicle for driving. I need a work vehicle that can carry my tools, construction materials, and let me pick up various things, all while going over rough terrain. My solution was to start with a 2013 dodge ram tradesman 1500 and go from there modifying the bed, body and interior. Worked great and several years ago, since this was no one’s preferred trim or cabin arrangement, it cost less than 20k$.

    5. Nordberg

      As a Tidewater native, there is no Newport, VA. There is a Newport News, VA. And yes, they do offload car ships there. It is cool to drive on 664 and see the lots of brand new cars (and I am guessing used imports) parked there waiting to get loaded on trains. Right before the Monitor and Merrimack Tunnel is the coal yard that has mountains of coal waiting to be loaded onto the colliers.

    6. heresey101

      Currently, I have a Honda Ridgeline, which is functional and small enough to be useful. It has a 5′ bed, all wheel drive, dual opening gate, and second seat for groceries or hauling goats to the vet. It will hold 4 bales of straw/alfalfa.

      When it comes out next year, I am planning to get a Canoo Pickup because it is electric and has many really cool features. It is similar to the VW double cab pickup that I had many years ago. Check out the pickup reveal –

    7. Glen

      Dump day for us. Time to load up the F-150 and haul all the trash and re-cycles (it’s about 70% re-cycle.)

      I’ve been driving F-150s for over forty years. The newest one is a 2020 Fleet configured work truck, single cab with an 8 foot bed (so it looks just like the 70’s truck in the photo). There were only two on the lot when we bought it (out of about 100 F-150s at the time), and the sales person told us nobody ever looks at the stripped out models. This one has a radio (last one did not, and I never installed a radio), but that’s pretty much there so that the back up camera has a display (my wife’s comment – after thirty years, you finally got a radio). I cannot complain, it gets good mileage for a truck, it tows our tractor on a trailer, and we’ll probably use it for thirty years just like we did with the last one. We have a very small farm so a truck is sorta handy.

      Our other car is a five door hatchback (it’s the second one we’ve had over the last forty years.)

      I have to admit, I do not understand why anyone would want a truck set up as luxury people hauler with a 5 foot bed, but these do seem to be popular and unworldly expensive (the 2020 F-150 was $25K when I drove it off the lot – the most we have ever spent on a vehicle, but one of our neighbors spent over $90K on a very deluxe F-250 when he needed a truck to haul his fifth wheel trailer.)

      1. ambrit

        Ye gads. We bought the house we live in now, a semi-fixer upper, back in 2009 for well under $90,000 USD. As beat up as it is, it will outlast us. I couldn’t say the same about the automobiles being sold today. Plus, the simpler, the better. Have you seen just how few items you can fix at home on automobiles today? Some high end cars are so electronically ‘integrated’ now, you need a dedicated computer hook-up to diagnose and often fix anything. Mercedes now require a ‘reprogramming’ through the car computer whenever you change the battery. How much is functionality and how much is useless grift, I know not.
        Stay safe. Keep mobile.

    1. Carolinian

      Stream of consciousness ranting which wore out my patience just reading it. Apparently the guy is a current or former car dealer and his defense of the Ford 150 boils down to “don’t plumbers deserve a little luxury too” and “oh look over there rich people.”

      Of course the problem is that there are a lot more plumbers and carpenters than super rich, so while the latter must be condemned the 150 driving former must be condemned even more if climate matters. He also pushes the idea that the car companies are merely responding to a market demand rather than creating it. But then car dealers have never been at the top of my list of straight talkers.

      1. digi_owl

        The “only responds to the market” defense has not been true since at least WW1. Where afterwards the industries hired Bernays to come up with ways to induce demand, for the excess production capacity built up during the war.

        Why everything has become a “lifestyle” product these days.

      2. Daryl

        I imagine plumbers, electricians and the like probably miss the days when trucks were cheaper than cars and not a status symbol.

      1. digi_owl

        I think i have seen such a image. Or may it compared a European Ford van with a US Ford truck.

          1. polar donkey

            My family has a garage. Does maintenance on the local government vehicles for mental health agency. The place uses 15 passenger e350 Ford van. At a certain mileage, they have to sell and replace. We got a 2001 with 250,000 miles. $1,000. Runs like a top, can tow anything, and when we took out all the seats, cavernous. We have some rental properties and it functions as a rolling workshop. All the tools fit in it an most building supplies.

                1. ambrit

                  And would make a lovely “camper van” as well. The old Dodge ‘Sprinter’ works similarly.

  6. fresno dan

    The End of Rapid Population Growth Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. “The slowdown in population growth is due to a collapse in childbirth around the world.” So let’s not overshoot on driving down life expectancy, mkay?
    If you impoverish and immiserate the vast majority of the population, what do you expect?
    AND I think there are more people really thinking about having children. I never had kids, and my wife actually told me that although she loves her two children, if she had it to do over, she would not have had children, at least with her first husband.

    1. Boomheist

      50 years ago the governing narrative was that earth’s human population would continue to grow forever. I think we had about 4 billion then, and now it is 8 billion. But three things seem to have happened. One, people in industrialized and post industrialized countries began having fewer children, such that overall rates of growth in those countries are now declining (many articles about this, the impending doom for US, China, Russia, etc); and, two, it seems that in the global South (less developed) maybe because of the advent of the internet and cellphone web access, birthrates might be dropping also; and, third, the re-emergence of pandemics as the bugs learn to evade antibiotics……It may well be that, almost all of a sudden, the number of people begin to fall very fast as older people die off, me among them, and younger people don’t have kids because they cannot afford to, or are infertile, or are choosing not to, such that by, say, 2073, we are back to three or four billion, or less…..

      1. anon in so cal

        “back to three or four billion, or less”

        If this could happen much, much sooner, then maybe the catastrophic decline in biodiversity could be halted or at least slowed. It is so depressing to realize we’re in the middle of a massive extinction event and so many people are oblivious, or they are aware but don’t care. Habitat loss is a principal cause and human demographic growth is the main driver.

        “Ambitious targets to halt the decline in nature may already be slipping out of reach, a study suggests.

        Scientists say the effects of climate change and habitat loss on animal populations have been underestimated.

        They say bringing back wildlife may take longer than expected and that unless we act now global biodiversity targets will be out of reach.”

        1. anon in so cal

          Somewhat relatedly, here are the ten U.S. states with the greatest loss of tree cover / forest.

          California is near the top. Drought and forest fires killed a lot of trees but housing development is also a huge culprit.

          So, of course, a Nevada real estate developer wants to construct “luxury housing” on 221 acres of Oak woodlands in the Verdugo Hills section of Los Angeles. Proponents use the “construction jobs” canard. Plus, obscene proposals to replace the old oak trees (top of the list of beneficial trees for wildlife) that they plan to chop down and to completely denude a large swathe of habitat for “fuel modification.”

          “Cited benefits include providing a substantial amount of high-quality housing to accommodate population growth in the area, as well as the creation of hundreds of construction jobs. The agreement also states that the project will replace old oak trees with new plantings that will benefit the habitat, and will decrease fire risk in the area by introducing fuel modification zones.”

          “A 20-year battle over the fate of a rugged, verdant hillside in Los Angeles is barreling toward an epic conclusion as developers move forward with plans to construct a luxury housing project in the Verdugo Mountains, above the Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood.

          The Canyon Hills development project, approved by the Los Angeles City Council in 2005, is awaiting one final rubber stamp before crews can begin clearing hundreds of acres to make way for 221 homes.

          Petition to stop the project. (probably useless since the City Council is so corrupt)

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘If you would seek war, prepare for war’

    I think that Sun Tzu’s saying is more realistic-

    ‘Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win’

    And the whole NATO-Russian war is an example of this saying in action.

    1. hk

      I prefer “Better to win without a war than winning a war ” (What I think is the better translation than the usual the usual flowery lingo version.)

  8. Spork

    Re: Japaneses mini trucks

    Our little urban farm purchased one of these in 2021, a Honda Acty. I can confirm it has a bed that can hold a 4×8 sheet of plywood with the tailgate up. It is far more practical than the late 90’s single cab ford F150 that it replaced. The F150 could also hold a plywood sheet in its bed (with the tailgate down IIRC)… but was an overgrown lumbering monster in comparison. The mini truck is perfectly sized for someone doing actual work. Wood chips, brush, soil, gravel, lumber, compost, seedlings, tools…… I would choose this vehicle over anything else on a small farm. It is also extremely fun to drive and gets smiles everywhere. The only concern, and it is nothing to sneeze at in an era of supersize vehicles… is that your kneecaps are the crumple zone.

    Practical, fun, reliable, affordable, easy to repair, relatively fuel efficient.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      when i first moved here, exwife had a pos late 70s(?) chevy luv that we used for on farm stuff.
      crapped out, and i am still not a mechanic.
      i saw the little trucks in the article when i lived in austin a lot…considered one…but i really like the Falcon(tricked out lift kitted golf cart)…i can get anywhere on the place, have 2 trailers(one is a dumper) and its silent running.
      we had a huge storm last night…and i just took falcon and trailer and filled 2 of the empty banobarrels with cow shit and redtop cane detritus from the middle of the dirt road where the flood had put it.
      chickens are currently working it in to what will eventually be the AcrosstheRoad “Other Garden”.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    AI in the Garden of good and evil–

    I am no fan of Peggy Noonan. She may be a gifted wordsmith, but for what and whom has she employed those talents? Nevertheless, Peggy’s WSJ op-ed today is a brilliant piece, reworking what I’d nominate as humanity’s most powerful myth, the second Genesis story of Adam and Eve in the Garden, and making this ancient myth fresh and directly applicable to our situation. Peggy joins others who have sought to find connection between their times and a story set at the very beginning of the human journey, including Joni Mitchell whose own brilliant recasting of the myth in the chorus of “Woodstock,” sought to give direction to a generational rebellion.

    I’m not going to include much about Noonan’s article because I found its twists and turns so surprising and illuminating that I don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone. But it might be possible for readers to get more out of the piece if they had more background on the Adam and Eve story and its origins.

    So where did this story come from? How old is it? How did it end up in the Torah, specifically in the 3rd chapter of Genesis? It seems to me that the continued relevance and power of the Garden myth makes it worth our while to understand a little more about how this passage found its way into the canonical literature of two religions so that it has been preserved for many centuries.

    In the 19th century, Western biblical scholars, mostly famously Julius Wellhausen, noticed that the literary composition of the Torah (first 5 books) betrayed the melding of four distinct sources in the text. The first, called “J” because of the predominance of the divine name JHWH (Germans transliterate Hebrew yod as “j” rather than the “y” used by English scholars). Another source, designated “E,” uses Elohim (plural of majesty of El, i.e. god) for the divine name. Source “D,” found almost exclusively in Deuteronomy naturally, and source “P,” the Priestly source found primarily in Leviticus, don’t play a role in the Genesis myths.

    Both the first Genesis myth, creation in seven days, and the second Garden myth are “J” texts. But does that tell us anything about who wrote it and when it was written? Wellhausen didn’t want to say much about dates and sources. He stuck to analyzing the texts closely to unravel the threads, particularly “J” and “E” that alternate throughout Genesis. Nineteenth century biblical scholars sought to place the origins of “J” as early as possible, perhaps to soften the shock of the whole documentary hypothesis on those who still believed that Moses personally wrote down the entire Torah except for the short section at the end about his death. So the first proposal was that “J,” including the second Genesis story, was composed toward the end of Solomon’s reign in the 10th century BCE.

    Later scholarship has rejected that early date because of seeming references to texts attributed to prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah who came along centuries after Solomon, and focused instead on the period of the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE when Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians removed the political and priestly classes from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah and took them into exile in Babylon. Nowadays most trace “J” in its more final form to the period after the return from exile decreed by Cyrus in 539 BCE (remember Trump as Cyrus?). Prominent among the returnees was the priest and scribe Ezra whose eponymous book appears in the Hebrew bible.

    Let’s consider the context in which Ezra and perhaps a school of scribes under him found themselves. The temple, God’s house in this belief system in which the presence of YHWH himself dwelt within the Holy of Holies, was rubble. The walls, critical to protect a city’s inhabitants from raiders and predatory animals, were piles of stone. The “people of the land” as Ezra called them, had lived fifty years with no priests and no temple and YHWH-ism was not even a faint memory for them. Everything was a disaster.

    So with this context and working with a collection of oral and a few written sources, Ezra and his scribes set out to explain how things got so screwed up while rehabilitating YHWH’s reputation after he had failed to protect them and even his own house from the Babylonians. Out of this mission came the first and second Genesis myths which re-affirmed YHWH’s power while assigning blame for Jerusalem’s fall to humans and their hubris. The history section of the Hebrew bible, from Joshua through II Kings, elaborate this theme and include Israel’s breaking of YHWH’s covenant with David, thus losing their right to the land.

    When we know more about the historical circumstances surrounding the process of creating the book of Genesis, it’s easy to see how that second Genesis myth is so easy to revitalize and make relevant to current times as Noonan and Mitchell have done. The myth has special power to illuminate our situation in times when all seems in decline, old belief systems are losing their power to help people understand their place in the universe and Nemesis has come calling.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        She outdid herself to the good with that one. I cannot believe I never made the connection to the Apple logo. I owe her for that alone. And then on to Jung? Wow. She was sounding more like Marianne Williamson than Marianne Williamson does these days.

        1. El Slobbo

          Jean-Louis Gasee, former Apple executive, went further with this.

          “One of the deep mysteries to me is our illustration, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn’t dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope, and anarchy.”

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        There’s Noonan’s Collective Unconscious idea in operation. I could not believe when she went that direction. I was like “WTF?”

    1. skippy

      Sorry to be a kill joy, but, the name Noonan instantly flashes her old quote “It would be irresponsible not to speculate” in my mind and how her position gave her a high perch to sell everyone on the virtues of corporatism e.g. everyone need to get into stonks so they could be self sufficient and live the Good Life[tm].

      Maybe for her next piece she can do a write up about the sociopolitical context and outcomes of the Councils of Nicea, trinitarianism against monarchianism, and how wittingly or unwittingly stuff like this still influences world events … cough Ukraine.

      It would be curious to she where she places herself in the bible ….

  10. Mikel

    “Las Vegas Strip Has a Scary Covid-Created ‘Fatal Fungus’ Problem” The Street

    “Fungal Diseases and COVID-19” CDC

    Ian’t this a win for Ivermectin as a Covid treatment or preventative?
    It is used to treat fungal type diseases in humans.

    1. Raymond Sim

      These days people use it the way their great-grandparents might have used turpentine. Better it than hydroxychloroquine.

      We’re talking here about truly horrific disabling and disfiguring diseases with high fatality rates. No such thing as a ‘win.’ And on what basis do you describe Ivermectin as an antifungal?

    2. tevhatch

      First step, observe for correlations and then assert an hypothesis. Well done. Now comes the hard part, … applying for funding.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      There are reports now of desertion and open rebellion among the AFU:

      The really incredible thing is that if you limit yourself to the corporate whore western press, the complete opposite picture is being painted. The super awesome Big Bang counteroffensive is going to happen any day now, and all of these setbacks we are reading about in Military summary and other alt- media are nowhere to be found.

      I wonder about how the average guy in the street is going to take it when this thing ends just like all the other failed neocon wars.

  11. Acacia

    Re: Ukrainian diplomat says Kyiv will not join NATO in parts

    So, it sounds like Ukraine won’t be joining NATO at all then.

    Because good luck ever getting those “missing” bits back again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They are already saying that they won’t join NATO unless they have Crimea. I think that taking Crimea is actually in their Constitution.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Lawmakers war-game conflict with China, hoping to deter one”

    It doesn’t matter what this article says as the only conclusion that those suits will come up with is to pack Taiwan with as much military gear as possible – which of course benefit the arms industry. Send trainers as well to teach them how to fight China up to NATO standards. Maybe get some other NATO countries to send their ships to the Pacific as well. But they will always be guided by those two eternal principles – if things go wrong just double down & never have a reverse gear.

    1. ACPAL

      As I recall that was the plan for Ukraine, load it up with weapons and training to help it repel the Russians. We know how that’s working out for Ukraine and the rest of the world.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You know how for years now we have been reading about students in universities who go all in on stuff like trigger warnings and demonstrations against people who dare have a different opinion? You ever wonder what happens when they graduate and go to work for major corporations? I wonder if this may be an example with this executive who put billions of dollars at risk along with the livelihood of tens of thousands of ordinary workers for their own personal belief system.

      I saw that new commercial on YouTube the other day and in its own way, it was just as bad. Total cringe.

      1. flora

        That second ad made clear the Bud ad exec has no idea who’s the market for the ad. No idea. Completely out of touch. Rogan could barely stop laughing.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          They ran this commercial on Fox yesterday during the baseball game. It was immediately obvious that they were hoping the Clydesdale would get rid of the bad taste of force feeding them mulvaney.

          Damn, they don’t think much of their customers, do they?

          You’d really think that, with all the data mining they do, they’d know their customers a lot better than that.

          1. ambrit

            “You’d really think that, with all the data mining they do, they’d know their customers a lot better than that.”
            What ‘they’ do not really understand is themselves. To be effective in any social process, it helps to be able to suppress one’s ego. This bunch are the grown result of the “Me Era” and Helicopter Parenting, Phase One.
            The ‘crash and burn’ as exemplified by the Bud Ad fiasco is just a symptom of having dysfunction “normalized” within the society. “What could go wrong?” has become, “What has gone wrong now?”

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              Old Augie Busch must be turning in his grave. For some reason, Augie took a liking to the Lutheran seminary I attended. He donated ample quantities of his finest every year for a kegger on campus in a tradition that had gone on for more than a decade when I was there in the 90s. It produced some division in the student body though. The hard core upholders of the Book of Concord took Luther’s exhortation to “sin boldly” a little too literally, while the Pietists stood to one side, shaking their heads disapprovingly.

              1. ambrit

                Would that come from Augustine Busch’s “Confessions?”
                Remember the (in)famous cautionary quote from that estimable tome: “To InBev then I came, where a cauldron of unholy brews swilled all about mine mouth.”
                Stay safe! Drink only from proper glass bottles if wooden kegs are not available.

              1. ambrit

                Oooooh! To go with that, let us scrap the appellation “Karen.” (I sort of knew a Karen once upon a time. She would not have been amused.)
                How about “Tinker Belles?” {Several ‘jokes’ hiding in there.} (Patriarchal as all get out, yes, but somehow it fits the Zeitgeist.)
                Stay safe!

      2. PsyQuark

        There is a podcast where the marketing exec who came up the original campaign explained her reasoning. My search skills can’t find a link that isn’t embedded in commentary but to slightly paraphrase “I was told we need to expand the brand. Obviously that means inclusive so…” The actual phrasing she used was not measurably different. Supposedly she has a degree from Harvard.

        In contrast, 20 years ago, Subaru heard jokes about Subaru Foresters being extremely popular among lesbians. They did market research and found it was true so ran a targeted campaign based on that fact. It was well known among car people and there was (essentially or completely) no push back. Even among the macho Subaru STI rally drivers.

        I would take this debacle more as an example of the fall of education/credentials than anything else.

        1. chris

          Is this the one?

          I get that this is clueless woke fail, but wow the comments about her are harsh in many of the sites discussing this. There doesn’t seem to be any push back against the fail either, which is odd? The explanation from Mulvaney appears to be that people are picking on them because they’re so new to be being a transperson.

          Yeah… that’s what spokesmodels are paid to do. They blame other people for the campaigns starring them failing miserably. Given Mulvaney’s horrid association with AB ruined the career of the first woman executive in that position at AB, you’d think they’d at least be capable of publicly apologizing for the harm they caused.

        2. hk

          “Obviously that means inclusive…”

          Oh, dear. This is just amazing in the depth of cluelessness….

  13. Rob Urie

    Much of the Russian nuclear naval fleet is docked in Sevastopol, Crimea.

    Don’t count on the American ‘leadership’ either knowing this or caring.

    So, the Americans / Ukrainians invading Crimea is to launch a nuclear war with Russia.

    1. tevhatch

      “Much of the Russian nuclear naval fleet is docked in Sevastopol, Crimea.”

      That would have been excellent news for the USN and very bad news for China if it was true.
      The import of Crimea beyond it’s history is Ukraine isn’t sovereign and is set to turn it over to the USN.

    2. Polar Socialist

      If by “nuclear naval fleet” you mean ships with nuclear propulsion, there are none in Crimea.

      If you mean ships that are part of strategic nuclear deterrent, there are none in Crimea.

      If you mean ships armed with cruise missile that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, then there are indeed three Admiral Grigorovich class frigates and four Buyan-M class corvettes in Sevastopol, Crimea.

      That would be about a third of this capability of the Russian Navy. The absolute heavy hitters in this category, Admiral Gorshkov class, with 32 VLS cells for Kalibrs are all on the Pacific. Of the 8 under construction only one will be assigned to the Black Sea fleet. Most of them will go to the Northern Fleet to keep NATO in check.

      It’s almost as if the Crimea itself was an unsinkable carrier controlling the whole Black Sea.

    1. flora

      If last weekend in Chicago was any indication of what a 1000 fewer trained police officers might lead to… next year’s Dem National Convention in Chicago could be “spectacular”. / ;)

  14. jefemt

    Kei (not K) micro utility trucks: The US based vehicle fleet is so beefy and bruly and tank like—
    Reflections of Warrior-State Empire

    Warrior-State Empire. Heavy Metal Garage Band name?

    Thank you for the links. Distressing- I am going outside to fix fence.

  15. Lexx

    ‘The Champagne of Beers’ leaves French producers frothing’

    First of all, Miller High Life in any bottle sucks. Calling it ‘champagne’ doesn’t help the taste, just marketing.

    The moldering bones of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac must be feeling pretty smug. There’s no violent protest over the usage of words here that have come to represent generic global excellence. ‘Oh, you want to refer to that as the ‘Cadillac’ of something… please, by all means… no, no, free of charge.’

    1. Bugs

      Though I rarely drink macrobrews, a cold bottle of Miller High Life is not bad at all, especially in its ancestral home, one of Milwaukee’s friendly neighborhood corner taverns. It’s a working person’s beer and that very old slogan holds meaning to a lot of people who grew up in those neighborhoods, with the sent of Froedert malt and Red Star yeast in the air.

      1. Not Again

        If the French are pissed off about Miller High Life being labeled as “champagne” wait until they find out about Wonder Bread.

  16. Alice X

    >Lock Him Up! Ranking Democrat Suggests Possible Criminal Charges Against Journalist Matt Taibbi Jonathan Turley, The Hill

    A good piece.


    The content [of the Twitter files]— like the content of the Pentagon Papers — is “facts.” The implication of those facts are opinions.

    The Democrats have turned to the dark side. Have they have no shame?

    1. Screwball

      No, and they can’t turn back now. They’ve been guzzling lies for the last 6 years so they are falling down drunk on Blue BS. With help from the media stenographers of course.

      I can’t bear to watch, but I’m guessing the Sunday morning propaganda shows won’t spend to much time on the latest Biden scandal.

  17. Lexx

    ‘Antidote du jour’

    ‘Okay, guys… mom says it’s time for bed. See ya tomorrow!

    Create yer own caption.

  18. Mary Wehrheim

    The increasing cab to bed truck ratio. Brings to mind the old Texas adage of, “All hat and no cattle.”

    1. FlyoverBoy

      I’m no fan of 5-foot-tall cliffs as car hoods, but I do think as a car industry observer that the rise of the pickup is being misunderstood.

      The American public has been a fan of big, roomy, soft-riding, not especially fuel-efficient family cars for over 50 years. In this era, building those cars as sedans has essentially been outlawed, so you now have that exactly same vehicle blueprint with a rugged-looking suspension lift and a modest but handy bed on the back.

      It’s sold as a “pickup truck” with rugged-sounding names like Ram and King Ranch and Silverado to take advantage of that vehicle type’s heritage, but it’s not that vehicle type anymore. They have roomy, comfortable, non-afterthought rear seast, leather and real wood, and in the case of the Ram, a luxury car suspension. Because that’s what they are now: today’s luxury cars, outselling all the “real” ones.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”The American public has been a fan of big, roomy, soft-riding, not especially fuel-efficient family cars for over 50 years.”

        I would argue that the American public, given its endemic obesity, can’t usually fit comfortably into a small, compact, fuel-efficient car or truck. Therefore their choices of vehicle are made not out of preference but that of necessity.

        Just another uncounted cost of obesity. Funny, good for GDP, bad for society.

  19. Randy

    I like that spray your shovel with Teflon liquid lubricant tip. Clay won’t stick to your shovel. Plant roots will penetrate the soil easier when all the soil grains are slippery with Teflon resulting in larger root systems and thus larger plants and greater yields. You can grow your own PFAS flavored vegetables at home in your own garden and bypass all the middlemen in the process of contaminating your body with “forever chemicals”. Maybe the PFAS will leach into your groundwater and end up coming out of your faucet. The possibilities are endless.

    1. flora

      riiight. / ;) Better to keep a bucket of water nearby, dunk your shovel blade into the bucket at the start and at intervals and the clay will come off pretty easily, too. What? Water? Can’t have that. / ;)

  20. Carla

    Ordered “We Want Them Infected” — very happy to learn about the Science Based Medicine site. Thank you, Lambert, for this.

    1. bassmule

      Sounds like an extraordinary book. Michael Lewis’ intro:

      The title of this book is astonishing. We want them infected. Those four words come not from some random crackpot, but from Dr. Paul Alexander, an epidemiologist and official in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration. On July 4, 2020, before anyone had been vaccinated, he said:

      Infants, kids, teens ,young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected….

      In the middle of a raging pandemic, with a new, poorly understood virus that was capable of overwhelming hospitals and morgues, Dr. Alexander wanted it to spread rapidly amongst hundreds of millions of unvaccinated, young Americans.

      He was not alone. Doctors and scientists from our most prestigious universities convinced millions of Americans that COVID was only dangerous for the elderly and infirm They influenced powerful politicians, who also wanted the virus to spread widely. While overwhelmed frontline doctors begged the public to avoid the virus, other doctors, completely sheltered from the consequences of their words, worked to undermine these efforts.

      Though they spoke in euphemisms, unlike Dr. Alexander, they too supported the mass infection of unvaccinated children and young adults. To achieve their goal, they spoke about SARS-CoV-2 using the same glowing terms anti-vaxxers speak about measles or HPV. The arrival of vaccines did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm to spread the virus. In fact, doctors led a successful campaign to undermine pediatric vaccination. The anti-vaccine movement is now mainstream.

      order it here

      1. davejustdave

        I have ordered Jonathan Howard’s We Want Them Infected from the publisher – I note with dismay that it is not currently listed for sale at Amazon, B&N or Powell’s.

      2. britzklieg

        No fan of #45, but it wasn’t Trump who recently undermined the use of masks, will be officially ending the “emergency” next month even as the pandemic thrives, ignored and underfunded the need for treatments, never mentioned mucosal immunity and nasal vaccines or mandated indoor air quality controls. Maybe a better title would have been “They Still Want Us Infected.”

        1. some guy

          No, but it was Trump who foundationally undermined the use of masks ( through such high bisibility publicity stunts as making an on-camera point of refusing to wear a mask while touring a Ford plant, encouraging violent resistance in Michigan and elsewhere to mask mandates, etc.), along with Fauci. I will remember that even as I remember that Biden has re-ratified the undermining of the use of masks.

    2. Yeti

      You may want to read “Spike”, the link below the SBM article, as it seems that this protein may be a toxin. This is according to many published studies even before Covid-19. Then search “spike protein “ on SBM and you will find 8 pages of mainly David Gorski calling anyone making this claim “anti-vaxxers”. Actually anyone questioning the safety and efficacy of the mRNA technology is thrown into that boat and cast off as a nut bar. I am sure when reading your new book you will find many reasons to keep getting vaccinated whether or not you have had Covid-19 as well as taking only the “new” pharmaceutical treatments available. On SBM you will find many articles claiming any treatment that happens to be off patent of no value. Like vitamin D, Zinc, among the others that are unmentionable. In fact before I was banned from commenting there I requested studies that showed IVM was harmful in treating Covid-19. I am currently perusing FOI documents from Health Canada as well as BC and can show from their data this “vaccine” is of little value in the treatment of this disease. If Yves is interested I can email her the docs. One study out of Ontario indicates that vaccine effectiveness drops to 6% by 59 days and to -16% past 240 days. This in on a HC document I’ve obtained. This link on page 10 shows adverse reactions to this vaccine are up to 10 times higher than the flu vaccine. This was as early as January 21, 2021.
      So yes I am sceptical of information from SBM.

    3. C.O.

      Yes, thank you very much for the head’s up. A new article at the tyee may also be of interest on the theme of “we want them infected” and for the Bonnie Henry file.

      Why BC Needs to Bring Back Mask Protections: We can ignore the virus, but the virus won’t ignore us.

      Just a few quotes that will sound all too familiar to most posting here, any emphasis added by me:

      We at Protect Our Province BC have been saying this for some time now: there is functionally no public health in British Columbia. As if to highlight the point, B.C. recently dropped the public health order requiring health-care workers to wear masks around sick patients, and vice versa.

      To make matters worse, you’re more likely to catch COVID in British Columbia than about anywhere else in Canada right now. Currently at least one in 17 British Columbians is infected.

      If you are tired of delayed and cancelled health-care services, you should brace yourselves, because removing safety protections in hospitals will only make health-care service delays worse. More health-care workers are going to get sick, particularly in LTC facilities where workers are forbidden by their employer (Health Authority) to wear respirators. The health-care nurse-to-patient ratio, the B.C. government just promised, will be unattainable.

      Alas, it’s just like Lambert says, “Everything is going according to plan.”

  21. Jason Boxman

    I feel like if your first thought is someone is gonna steal my baseball, which was mine, then you probably live in America. The elite taught me well.

  22. IM Doc

    Let’s talk about the “Wow, we are seeing all kinds of retro infectious disease” article.

    This harkens back to yesterday when we had the article about evangelicals clearly showing the research had not been done by the reporters.

    This article is exactly what I was talking about yesterday. One has only to read the blurb under the title to realize the writers are already lost.

    “Doctors say the pandemic caused many to neglect routine vaccinations for easily preventable diseases like tuberculosis, syphilis, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and measles.”

    Where is the research? Where are the editors? The fingers are typing and we have no idea what we are talking about, do we?

    Can someone point to me in one place where there is an active immunization program and functional vaccine for syphilis? Anywhere?

    Can someone point to me anywhere in USA or Canada where TB preventives are used on a widespread basis?

    Two issues are indeed here if the reporter would have bothered to talk to anyone on the ground. I suspect they did and realized what they were hearing does not fit the narrative and so decided to just make stuff up.

    First, the amount of vaccine skepticism out there now is like nothing I have ever seen before. This has at best a tangential relationship to lockdowns, etc. Rather, it has everything to do with the constant lying, the constant data hiding, the obvious grifting, and the obvious complete failure of our agencies in the federal government the past 3 years. I hear this all day and every day.

    Second, the media just has to continue the trope about the rubes in Alberta (Canadian media) or the rubes in Mississippi (American media) and how they are so so stupid and misled. It is their imbecile behavior causing this whole thing.

    Now for some truth…….for 30 years, I have read articles and attended symposia where vaccine hesitancy and anti vaxx behavior were the topic. Until 2021, the ONLY focus was on the Bernie Bros Berkinstock crowd, and inner city minorities. Those have always been the loci of anti vax movements. And then Rachel Maddow took over in 2021 and politicized it. The measles and mumps outbreaks for decades have been almost always confined to the inner cities and then our urban and suburban blue hives, Oregon, California, etc. I work in a blue hive right now. And my issues are the same as always. Not MAGA people, it is young Bernie Bros. “I will not inject anything into my precious body, etc”. Because of the profoundly reckless behavior of our media and agencies, though, the past few years, it is certain that the problems will now include MAGA country as well.

    There will never be any ability to solve problems, even overwhelming problems, until we can once again speak truth to one another.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Prior to 2021 I had the same impression about the anti-vax crowd – they tended to be well educated, liberal PMC types and they were very wrong. There had been measles outbreaks pre-rona due to their refusal to vaccinate their children. I will say that the only person I know who wouldn’t vaccinate her kids was a rabid Clinton supporter and wouldn’t have mictorated on Bernie were he on fire.

      1. pjay

        Not really an ad hominem swipe; more of a short-hand description of a demographic that most of us understand. I was also a “Bernie Bro” at one time – I didn’t like it when Hillary’s pals used it as a smear, but as used here the phrase doesn’t bother me. It is IM Doc’s main point that is crucial. And I would add that many, if not most, of those who are now “vaccine hesitant” were *not* previously “anti-vax.” I certainly wasn’t. Neither was my family doctor. But both of us are skeptical of pushing *these* vaccines on most young people, given the evidence at hand. I am one of the many IM Doc describe whose faith in the medical Establishment has been irreparably shredded.

        1. Vandemonian

          I’d class myself as ‘vaccine hesitant’ now, but it’s a recent change. Maybe vaccine connoisseur is more accurate. I qualified as a medical laboratory scientist in my 20s, and worked in labs for years. I saw vaccine developers and producers as minor folk heroes, and was happy to trust them enough to get the recommended immunisations as they came along.

          The CoViD mess is different. Warp Speed and emergency use authorisations and the misrepresentations of safety and efficacy have left me very suspicious. I’ll need to confirm for myself which vaccine I’ll get for my fourth dose, and that will take a fair bit of effort.

          1. Veritea

            The misrepresentation of data issue for vaccines didn’t start with COVID, it is the natural extension of what has happened with the vaccine approval process over the last 30 years. No drug undergoes a more narrowly limited set of testing than vaccines, where they use one of the primary active components in the vaccine for the control group “placebo” and compare it to the actual full vaccine.

            Not surprisingly this eliminates most of the differences between groups in terms of bad outcomes. One lawsuit discovery process however discovered that internally they have at least sometimes used a true inert placebo, where the result showed that the vaccine in question was indeed causing all sorts of problems. But don’t worry, the FDA only asks for the “placebo” that has active ingredients to maintain the coverup of problems caused by the adjuvent.

    2. Lexx

      They lost me with the word ‘retro’. I typed ‘retro diseases’ into Google to see what would come up, and it offered info on ‘retroviruses’, still very much present.

      Did the doctor mean like ‘diseases of yesteryear’, as though we had somehow left them behind, instead of just knocked the numbers down through annual vaccinations? That worried me more, not the diseases but the idea that if we stop talking about them they’ll just go away. A kinda ‘wokeness’, where we pay more attention to the language and somehow the problem stops being a problem. If we don’t talk about it, is it really there?

    3. Raymond Sim

      As with Protestant sects, the different flavors of what passes for ‘left’ differ profoundly, but the distinctions aren’t necessarily obvious to those not raised in the faith, especially given the way media depict them.

      Waldorf school enthusiasts would be an example of an anti-vaxx minded group likely to be perceived as ‘liberal’ when that label doesn’t necessarily fit.

      A while ago Lambert posted an item that categorized underlying assumptions which lead to the majority of misapplications of logic to issues of public importance. My personal sense is that narcissistic identification with a “special” group or belief system has more to do with these quite frankly antisocial attitudes than what bucket our manic yet catatonic discourse tends to toss them into.

      Meanwhile, sorehead, defiant personality types seem pretty evenly distributed across groups, and now is their time to bray!

      1. flora

        Narcissists indulging themselves with a bit of bullying the designated out groups seems to be a thing now. / oy

    4. IM Doc

      The more I thought about this today – the more I feel like I should add a bit more context.

      30 years of bafflegab ( as Lambert calls it ) – decades of papers, conferences and symposia on one of the examples above – the vaccine hesitancy of the inner-city Black and Latino population.

      One thing that is produced by all this bafflegab is “consensus”. Let us state the consensus for the vax hesitancy in this group prior to 2021.

      It all boiled down to a loss of trust.

      1) These groups have been lied to over and over again by the medical establishment.

      2) They seemed to be the go-to group when the medical establishment decided to do experiments, Informed consent was not even tried in this group.

      3) Panic and fear were common tactics used for generations by the medical establishment on these groups to get them to accept treatments, etc.

      4) Coercion was extremely common. Or one may call it bribery. “You do not get your food stamps this month unless you do XYZ.” – Sounds outlandish – but unfortunately I witnessed this as a young man over and over. Mandates of experimental substances are even worse. There has never been a single time when this has ever been successful in any way. There is always an immense backfire and that backfire often blows something up that is never imagined. Even non-experimental mandates can be an issue. The mandate for childhood vaccines that was wrought in the mid 2010s all sounded good – but it was the start of the homeschool movement and alternate education movement on steroids. ( It had been there before – but it really took off then). This one thing may indeed prove to be over time the death knell for our public schools.

      These issues are taught in medical school and public health school. I was there. But I guess our leaders missed those lectures.

      One of my life mentors in public health used to state – “Mandates are a sign of one thing – YOU HAVE FAILED TO MAKE A CASE TO REGULAR PEOPLE. If you have to resort to mandates, it is because you are not doing your job well.”

      5) When things go wrong, try to hide everything by either lying/dissembling OR worse yet – place the affected patients in isolation and never tell them or family what is actually going on.

      6) Have the vaunted ethics of medicine applied to every other group but you and your peers – all you get is “You do what we tell you – or get no care at all.”

      7) Have those who refuse to play along be slandered, downcast, and ridiculed. Make scapegoats of them.

      8) Refuse to have any public discussion of the pros/cons. Completely ignore any other health professional or community leader who says anything about your plan. They are so wrong, they obviously should not be given any kind of attention. Make certain that everything you say or do as a medical establishment will cause people to realize that not following their exact orders will possibly lead to your death and everyone around you.

      Indeed, it has been my experience that there is NO BETTER WAY to expose crazy ideas than to get those who have those ideas on the same debate stage side by side with thought leaders. I have seen this so often in my career. Yet – our leaders refused and still refuse to do so right now…….Why?

      Yes – these “bafflegab” issues were openly discussed by doctors in my generation in shame for decades as to why this entire group had lost faith in medicine. So, of course, what do we fall back on when there is a real crisis that affects every man, woman, and child? – Well – let’s throw out the window every single one of these consensus items ( and more) and now wonder why no one trusts us anymore…….

      I have decided going forward in my career not to waste a moment on any of these conferences ever again. It truly is bafflegab. Nothing is ever learned by those in charge and no matter what the consensus – we immediately revert to whatever is going to make Big Bucks for the masters.

      Our leaders completely ignored the consensus of generations. As a consequence, the problems that we engendered in various ethnic groups in the past are going forward going to involve large majorities of the population.

      Great job! This disaster will be dissected for generations to come.

      1. flora

        Thank you for stating better what I have been thinking. My opinion of fed level US public health agencies has done a 180 degree turn from my 2019 opinion. I wouldn’t have believed that possible. Yet here we are.

      2. B24S

        Thank you for expounding. While I have followed your commentary closely, and found your reporting from the seeming hinterlands to be rather incisive, pardon me for cringing at the use of the term “Bernie Bros” as a reference to anti-vaxxers.

        My wife spent 35 years as a NICU RN at a major urban Children’s Hospital. Vaccination resistance was a constant issue during her career. I just asked her who were the most vax-resistant; without hesitation she responded that it was the “New-Age” types (“my pure child”, etc.). Birkenstocks, chakras, etc., sure, but that’s not “Bernie Bros.” Believe me, I’ve lived in the Bay Area for almost half a century, and I’ve more than had my fill of them (New Agies).

        As you note, the other demographics that are hesitant are the Black, Latino, and Asian communities, a major part of the hospitals’ population. But they at least were willing to listen to the nurses.

        My wife retired in 2017, thankfully; we can’t imagine what it’s like in the NICU now. Our boys, though, are still in the trenches.

        1. flora

          an aside: the term Bernie Bros came out of the Clinton campaign trying to discredit any one who would vote for her opponent in the primary. “Oh, they’re a Bernie Bro” was a smear against the candidate and his supporters.

          1. B24S

            Thanks, Flora. I also remember the “anti-feminist”/misogynist trope that was part of the proffer. You know, just your everyday, catchall smear.

      3. marku52

        Thanks again. I was pleased as punch to get my first Moderna shot.

        Now I’m furious that I was lied to about just about all of it. Never getting another flu shot. Having serious misgivings about my second Shingrix.

        These people lie about everything, and the testing is just made up out of whole cloth and tortured into whatever outcome is desired
        “The mRNA stays in the arm”
        “It dissipates immediately”
        “It stops transmission”
        “Side effects are rare (and we hide them anyway)”.
        “95% effective!”

        All a lie, Every bit of it. and oh yeah….”Horse Paste.”

      4. skippy

        This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

        During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

        Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize–winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

        Science-Mart offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science—once the envy of the world—must be more than just another way to make money.

        I would add the debate here on NC about the New[tm] DSM-5 and the/those agency which started pushing neoliberal ideology into it because markets …

        Off too my appontment at the wellness center where all the best medical practitioners work and dang that lobby is to die for …. literally … s/off

    5. Revenant

      Other aspects that must not be named:
      – in the UK we have imported multidrug resistant TB and other nasties through the overlap of bad policie: family reunion migrants + blowing up SW Asia creating refugee flows and forbidding all of the above to work and housing them in terrible conditions and not even ensuring people have a healthy diet;
      – we have failed to treat it by not compelling immigrant medical examinations and not properly funding active primary care engagement to reduce noncompliance and not funding public health in infectious diseases and not funding isolation treatment in sanatoria for refuseniks and allowing immunosuppressive conditions like HIV to go untreated; and,
      – we then declared mission accomplished on childhood immunisation a few years into the above two pronged suicide and closed our universal secondary school programme of immunisation and testing.

      Now we just wait, to see when TB returns to the affluent suburbs via the cleaners and immigrant staff of the inner cities. It is rife in the precariat, through no fault of their own.

  23. Dr. John Carpenter

    The other day at work, I was walking through the parking lot and was struck by the image of this massive truck, literally spilling into the surrounding spots and into the isle. I was wondering who the jerk was that couldn’t park, but as I got closer I realized it would have been impossible to park that behemoth any better. There wasn’t a fraction of an inch to spare.

    And yep, it was an F150.

    Where I work would be considered financial sector, yet our parking lot is full up with these barges. That the beds can barely hold a card table scarcely matters. At best, these people tow a boat once or twice a year, maybe a couple of trips to Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    Were we in the 80s, I think out lot would have BMWs and Mercedes and other sporty cars. We do have a few fans of such vehicles, but they’re easily outnumbered by the massive, lifted, extended cab trucks that are rarely used for more than shuttling the kids to soccer practice.

    1. tevhatch

      Reminds me of the description of the cars in The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth. When they are not dropping kids off for soccer practice then they are busy killing them in the bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks.

    2. digi_owl

      Now you got me thinking about the nickname for SUVs in Norway, børstraktor (bourse/exchange tractor).

      Came about in the 80s financial boom, as younger traders making it big would buy Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen and similar.

      1. Revenant

        In UK, the Chelsea Tractor.

        The phrase pokes fun at new money and old. Traditionally, a Chelsea family would indeed have a landed estate somewhere but the tractor would stay there. Then the Range Rover was invented and was ideal for shuttling between the two. Then new money forced the Sloanes out of Chelsea and the SUV successors became infra dig.

  24. Mildred Montana

    >Everest 2023: Miracle Rescues on Annapurna Alan Arnette. Heroism, to be sure. However, having read Into Thin Air, I’m skeptical of the entire “summit” industry.

    I too read “Into Thin Air” and found it an unexpectedly fascinating and informative book despite not being a climber or knowing any. I’ve read several others on the topic since so the mention of Annapurna triggered me. I’ve decided to include this link for others who might be interested in mountaineering:

    1. Above all, the link has many beautiful, beautiful photos of mountains.
    2. It has a surprise inclusion in the list: Mt. Washington in New Hampshire! Despite its puny 6300-foot elevation it apparently can serve up some surprisingly severe weather conditions.

    1. Screwball

      I have also read that book, and there is a movie as well. The movie version has some spectacular footage. There is also a documentary on Netflix I believe, called Meru, which is a very technical climb for those in the “sport.” In this film they climb the Shark’s fin, a 20,000 ft vertical wall.

      I’m kind of fascinated by what these climbers do, but would never want to do it myself. I can’t imagine being cold/half frozen for weeks is fun, but to each his own. The level in which they push themselves is quite incredible.

      But as said by Lambert above, I question the industry angle too. People spending thousands of dollars to get hauled up a mountain putting everyone’s lives in danger. Commercialization of a very dangerous sport, if you can even call it that.

    2. B24S

      A friend used to be a mountaineer (I had aspirations myself). At one point someone showed him the statistics: an annual ten percent fatality rate amongst the the upper tier of climbers. He scoffed at first, and continued to climb.

      In 1996 he was invited to join Scott Fishers’ group on Everest. Scheduling precluded his participation, and we all know how that turned out.

      He prefers to hike and scramble these days. And then he goes home to his family.

  25. fresno dan

    Lock Him Up! Ranking Democrat Suggests Possible Criminal Charges Against Journalist Matt Taibbi Jonathan Turley, The Hill

    At one point in my life, I would have thought that the proposition: the democrats are as bad as republicans
    would be to any sane, objective, morally centered person as ridiculous. I now think democrats are as bad as republicans is irrefutable, and only subject to debate to the extent it can be argued that democrats are worse than republicans.
    Something has happened in the social political nexus that seemingly is propelling the social millieu to be one of evil. I guess with McCarthism this happened before, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but that seemed limited, and on a narrow topic. This seems so much broader, and all encompassing…

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I hear you and totally agree. If you look at it a little differently, it makes more sense. It’s not so much that Democrats have gotten worse than Republicans, it’s that they are Republicans. After about the 18th time I heard Barry O sing the praises of Republican St. Ronnie, I took him at face value. His wife later swapping candy and hugs with the war criminal Bush made it abundantly clear.

        1. John k

          Yes, both wings of the uni-party have the same anti worker policies (because they share the same donors), imo dems keep looking for ways to differentiate themselves from reps and lgbtq is the latest.
          But I wonder if women in general welcome men that ‘identify as women’ into their sports? Are there really votes to be had here?

      1. eg

        “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which …”


        “The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.” – Julius Nyerere

    2. Old Sarum

      Re: Social Political Nexus:

      I recall (as a Brit) being somewhat amazed to learn that Bobby Kennedy can be mentioned in the same breath as Joseph McCarthy. What is it they say? …two-party, one-party state?

      I can only suppose the original celebrated ‘Camelot’ was just that.


  26. chris

    The ABC article, “How rising sea levels will affect New York City, America’s most populous city” is not something I should have read on such a beautiful morning. This is further evidence of how stupid and hollow those who claim to be guarding us against misinformation really are. This was the line that really killed it for me:

    And 1-in-100-year floods are now happening so often, the term may change, experts told ABC News in 2021.

    The concept of a 1-in-100-year flood is based on an assessment of collected data. The term CAN’T change. What changes is the data going into it, which results in new assessments of risk, and new expectations for what a 1 in 100 year event is, based on the data. What we have observed for some time is that what used to be considered 1 in 100 year events are occurring more frequently. So frequently in fact that the original evaluation which defined a 1 in 100 year event may no longer be accurate.

    It doesn’t matter why that shift is occurring. Could be because of rising sea water levels. Could be because of construction. Could be because the waterways in NYC haven’t been dredged recently. It doesn’t matter. All we’re supposed to do is collect data, record it, evaluate the data, and then make changes to estimates if possible.

    It’s the “make changes” part that we have studiously avoided everywhere for decades. That’s because if you update the flood maps based on recent data, you create a huge problem, which has been discussed on NC before. Some congress critters are at least honest about their desire to preserve the status quo in the face of overwhelming evidence that millions can’t keep living where they live and builders can’t keep building in floodplans. Maxine Waters is a perennial favorite here, having lead the charge to delay post Katrina changes to FEMA maps and reliably delaying updates to flood insurance program premiums.

    So who are these experts that ABC consulted, and why are they so wrong about simple terms? Or did ABC choose to misrepresent what these experts said? And when will ABC or anyone else tell the American people that right now, absent any further changes from water rising due to any number of causes, millions of people in this country should be permanently relocated due to flood hazards?

    1. flora

      Thanks for this. Maybe Chat wrote the article. / ;)

      an aside: every state has a govt library of floodplain maps, including historical floodplain maps, along with many other govt maps.
      So many older (older than 40 years ago) once designated floodplains have in more recent times been taken out of the floodplain designation due to dam building or real estate developers trucking in loads of fill dirt to raise the soon to be built area only a foot above the floodplain level designation. ( There are a lot of problems with this in torrential rains since the water has a hard time running off as fast as needed, and with foundations settling unevenly on fill dirt. )

      The point is that if one is considering building or buying in a neighborhood or the country, it’s not a bad idea to check the older govt floodplain maps to see if that area was designated a floodplain 40-50-60 years ago. Might save you some problems to know this in advance of your real estate decision.

      1. chris

        You can also look at the regular Biggert required updates, but the process is slow as molasses in February.

        Always amazes me that we have here a clear example where a technocratic market based solution COULD WORK and no one wants to go that route.

        Raise flood insurance premiums to be what they should be, update maps accordingly, require flood insurance. Boom. Done. People who can afford to pay, pay. People who can’t, move. People who need assistance because they’re stuck, we help to move.

        If you get a pay out or loan from the government or any related program, and choose to rebuild in the same location that just experienced a flood loss, that amount of payout becomes your deductible for the next round. So, you got flooded, received 100k$ in assistance, and chose to stay in place? Great. Government assistance the next time around requires you to spend 100k$ of your own money before receiving any further funds if you still intend to stay, or…you abandon the location and build elsewhere, with an extra deductible because you were too dumb to move the first time. Apply this to earthquake zones, fire hazard areas, landslides, etc. If we don’t start shifting now we’ll never start change where we live in relation to natural hazards.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The laziness tax

    Felix Salmon seems a little lazy himself here and the article reads more like an ad for Apple’s services, touting one of their high yield accounts, while ignoring completely higher yields to be had from Treasuries.

    I have to thank Michael Hudson for bringing the low interest rate issue to my attention a few weeks ago. I had certainly noticed it, but I bank at a credit union and don’t keep a lot of money in my accounts anyway and frankly wasn’t paying much attention as interest rates started to rise. Then Hudson pointed out that one of the reasons for the recent bank runs was not because people noticed that the market value of SVB’s Treasuries had gone down and panicked, but because SVB and others were not paying higher interest on savings accounts despite increases in Fed rates so customers decided to park their money in Treasuries where they could receive the going rate. Those withdrawals were what caused SVB to sell Treasuries it wasn’t planning to sell.

    Anyway, it made me look into it myself, and it is extremely easy to invest in Treasuries. They pay more than what Apple or other high yield accounts are paying, and you don’t need to lock your money up long term if you don’t want to. Due to the current inverted yield curve, the highest rate right now is on 13 week T-bills, or it was as of a couple weeks ago at least. I got just under 4.9% on the last batch I purchased, which is significantly more than the rate mentioned in Salmon’s article. You can buy them directly from a government website and you don’t need to give up any personal info they don’t already have. Once you create an account with TreasuryDirect, you can link it directly to your existing bank account and when you make purchase, money is withdrawn from your account and then redeposited once the security has matured.

    Here’s the website: Being a government website, it isn’t the most user-friendly, fairly clunky, and took me several tries to get an account created. But after that I found it pretty straightforward and easy to use. I’d always thought Treasuries were more for large institutional investors, but anyone with $100 can invest and there are no fees charged up front (they’ll get you on the taxes later – no free lunch). I plan to keep doing it until rates start dropping again or they try reimbursing me with CBDC government crypto.

    1. Screwball

      Seconded. I’ve been using Treasury Direct for years. As you say, a little clunky, but it works. Sure pays better than the .01% my bank gives me.

  28. fresno dan
    It’s been known for some time now that America’s reserve of munitions has been severely depleted by the ongoing war in Ukraine. Our NATO allies in Europe aren’t doing much better. Concerns have been raised as to whether or not we would still have enough ammunition to support a sustained combat effort if we had to defend Taiwan against China or meet any other military threat. This is particularly true of our supply of 155mm howitzer shells, which the Ukrainian forces use in vast numbers every day. So why aren’t we catching up on the domestic production of these rounds? As it turns out, we currently have only two plants capable of producing these shells and they are unable to expand production very much at this point.
    What almost nobody in Washington seems to be discussing at the moment is whether or not the current situation is acceptable. As noted at the top, if we had to get into a hot war with China or even Russia tomorrow while still supplying Ukraine, we would run out of ammunition in a matter of days or at most a few weeks. And it’s not as if the Russians and the Chinese don’t know this. America is making itself increasingly vulnerable in the name of continuing this proxy war in Ukraine. And there hasn’t been a single vote taken in Congress as to whether we should be doing this at all or whether we need to impose caps on how much aid we will continue to give them.
    I am surprised we didn’t outsource ammunition production to China….as Friedman would say, countries in an ammunition supply chain never go to war…
    Of course, congress apparently didn’t specifically address where ammunition gets produced….or whether war happens or not, or is prepared for or not. To tell the truth, I don’t know what those people in congress actually decide…

    1. Pat

      Despite efforts to not just allow production of everything leave America but to make it even more profitable for multinational corporations to do so, their seems to be a distinct disconnect from the consequences of that in our vaulted Beltway regulars. By that I mean they are shocked over and over when America has shortages of some desired item or necessity. This brain trust hasn’t only not addressed an ammunition shortage many of them probably don’t know it exists. Just like many of them don’t have a clue that drugs they, or their parents and children depend on could become difficult to impossible to get if trade with China or Chinese allies were curtailed. Sure some have stockpiles of necessities, but most of these are clueless.

      For decades I have attributed Machiavellian manipulation to much of DC, but the last few years have taught me that it is the epitome of the Peter principle, with the ratio of Idiot posers versus Those who actually are strategic far greater than I ever imagined.

      1. Kilgore Trout

        I think something else is at play as well. People like Blinken and Sullivan, who likely never have done an honest day’s manual labor in their entire entitled lives, have created their own reality about how things get made. It’s magical thinking on their part, they have no understanding that our industrial base has vanished, sold off for profit because markets. Not only have they never actually labored themselves, they’ve probably never known anyone who actually worked in a factory or did manual labor. They can’t believe we can’t wish those weapons into existence. The disconnect between our elites and the real world is stunning. Pity that ordinary Ukrainians are now paying the price for that disconnect. Not unlike Libyans, Syrians, Yemenis, Iraqis….

      2. skippy

        It should be remembered that at the time the sales pitch was keeping consumer prices low, hence no upward pressure on wages, because[tm] that would unleash the horrors of ***inflation***.

    2. Boomheist

      There’s a nice long thread in Twitter from this mariner about shipping regarding our capacity to actually carry and lift material and troops to foreign theaters of battle and the news there ain’t good. Our Military reserve fleet, that is, ships standing at the ready to load and carry vehicles, tanks, ammo, and soldiers is made up of a number of ships being operated by private contractors and many if not most of the ships are old, don;t work very well, maintenance nightmares, and constantly fail to pass readiness tests. I know that from direct personal experience serving on such ships 2015-2016 as an able bodied seaman and bosun. Just as with the ammo shortage described here, we have another big problem, which is, lack of ships and possibly a lack of sailors trained to man those ships, as the American merchant marine has dropped from thousands of ships before WW2 to about 200 ships today, with great struggles finding and training sailors.

      Our experience these past 50 and more years fighting wars offshore without formal declarations of war and placing the full nation on a war footing, behaving as if we can have our war fighting cake and a blissful domestic economy at the same time, is going to come starkly to the fore if we end up in a real conflict with another major power.

      Hate to say this, but it may be that the only way to solve the ammo problem and the maritime problem and probably other problems (as, for example, an all volunteer force) is for the nation to go on a full war footing, as we did in WW2.

      But that’s socialism, some might cry.

      1. chris

        It has nothing to do with socialism. If congress ever asked for that, in the context of a war in Ukraine or some other place, the answer from the people would be no. No, they won’t change their work roles to support war production. No, they won’t start working manual labor to produce things in factories. No, they don’t want their kids to be soldiers. No, they won’t support senators and congress people who want to go to war. No, they won’t submit to a draft.

        The reason we’re doing things the way we’re doing them is because we know we can’t go on a war footing.

        1. JBird4049

          If you look at even Boomer aged elites, it is not that strange to see veterans of the Vietnam War and the further you go back, the numbers only go up. Even with the draft being of the right class could protect you, and yet many of the upper classes went.

          Today, they seem to believe that service, like taxes or obeying the law, are for the little people.

      2. Old Sarum

        re Sal Mercogliano, What’s going on with shipping? (formerly What the ship?)

        I follow Sal and through the comments try to lure him into the realm of ‘industrial policy’ but to no avail.

        He does cover the loss of naval skills & competence however. OooEee!


    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Here is somebody’s idea of the future. General Jack Keane (four-star) is quite a big shot. He’s on the board at General Dynamics and a Fox News regular. He’s chairman of the board of some little outfit called the Institute for the Study of War, an organization that also sports the names Kagan and Nuland.

      So General Jack said on Fox a few days ago that we were spending 6% of GDP on defense in the Cold War. Now we spend 3%. Jack says to face Russia and China, we’re going to need to go back to Cold War defense spending levels and more. And that doesn’t count, he points out, the costs of re-shoring and expanding our bomb making facilities.

      These people aren’t talking about increasing the defense budget, They want to double it or more.

  29. John Beech

    I don’t get the hate for pickups. I’ve owned a couple in the last 50 years (last time being ca. 1988 when I owed a construction company, so call it 35 years ago). Why not excoriate ownership of 4-dr sedans, while you’re at it?

    After all, as a class, sedans are principally purchased for the ‘possibility’ of carrying passengers (like fetching Mom & Dad from the airport when they visit). However, if you look around, unoccupied back seat rivals trucks bed unencumbered by cargo!

    Color me curious regarding the rage against trucks. Especially as it’s a ‘lot’ easier to ring an Uber in the unlikely event you need to fetch folks compared to renting a truck.

      1. Carolinian

        Right. It’s the car industry playing games with the rules designed–at the time–to both lessen oil dependency and pollution. Now global warming awareness makes them even more relevant.

        In American we unfortunately do need cars but the many safety improvements like air bags mean we don’t have to have land yachts unless we just want to thumb our noses at things like AGW or pretend they don’t exist. And all these needlessly tall pickups are dangerous for bikes and pedestrians. Car companies push them because they make a lot of money on them. It has little to do with practical.

    1. chris

      It’s because they’ve become so large and the people who pilot them are so bad at driving. They don’t have any sense of where the vehicle is in the lane or in a parking spot. And they attempt to park these monstrosities as if they were sedans. We don’t have parking or city streets that can handle the size of these things. The other day I had to respond to an emergency for work and even my relatively smaller work vehicle could not drive down the side alley due to people parallel parking huge vehicles on the other side. They also weigh more and put more wear on roads and other structures which many of these people do not reimburse local jurisdictions for as they should.

      I’ve driven fork lifts, large bus RVs, construction vehicles, and other specialized equipment. It takes training beyond the usual drivers ed to do it safely and correctly. Many of these people do not take the time to learn how to safely use these expensive beasts. So they’ve earned the scorn of those who have to deal with their carelessness.

  30. Tom Stone

    I’ve been thinking about the nature of citizenship here in the USA.
    The US was based on a romanticized vision of the Roman Republic, with every free white Male granted the two essential rights of a Roman Citizen.
    The right to vote.
    And the right to keep and bear arms.
    This, of course, horrified Europeans and all of the right thinking Americans who understood the importance of maintaining public order and keeping the underclasses in their place.
    We now have both the Heller and Bruen decisions which have affirmed the individual right of law abiding citizens to both keep and bear arms “Subject to reasonable restrictions” which are pretty clearly spelled out in “Bruen”.
    Half of US States are now “Constitutional Carry” with no license or training required to carry a concealed firearm and half the States restricting that right to various degrees.
    De Jure all law abiding Citizens have the right to keep and to bear arms, De Facto only those with the economic means to satisfy those “Reasonable Restrictions” have the right to bear arms in half of the US States.
    Keep in mind that almost half of US households could cover a sudden $400 bill for perspective…
    In Sonoma County the cost of obtaining a CCW is approximately $3,000, in neighboring Lake County the cost is @ $300.
    The unworthy poor need not apply.
    And I see the same pattern playing out across the States that restrict the right to bear arms,in urban areas with greater economic inequality the cost of exercising this right is much higher than in areas with less
    I suspect that a paper looking at the class structures of “Constitutional Carry” VS restrictive States would be illuminating and not difficult to research.

    1. davejustdave

      According to this article, universal suffrage for white males was not granted by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but developed more gradually:

      Voting After the American Revolution

      Following the American Revolution, the new country transitioned from a period of being under British rule to developing its own government. After the failure of the Articles of Confederation, the country adopted the United States Constitution in 1787. Article 1 of the Constitution empowers state legislatures to oversee federal elections. Suffrage, or the right to vote, was granted exclusively to white, land-owning men. Since they were at such an early stage of the republic, the founders believed these men’s economic ties to the country were valuable.

      However, a growing number of men began to champion an expansion of suffrage during the early 1800s. Following a period that lacked political parties or choices for voters, the 1820s saw the return of a two-party political system, as well as a renewed interest in suffrage. White men continued to move West in search of available land, but many did not feel that ownership should be a requirement for voting. Many states removed that requirement, opening the door for complete white male suffrage.

    2. Paradan

      Roman citizens did not have the right to bear arms. In fact weapons were banned from Rome, thats why the Senate was always beating each other to death with chair legs etc.

      1. JBird4049

        During the reform efforts of the Gracchus Brothers, supporters of the Senate climbed up onto the roof of a locked, defended house and killed the opposing sides supporters in the central atrium by throwing the large, heavy roof tiles on them.

        Also, at another meeting for voting somebody stabbed someone in the opposite side to death with a with either a pen knife or a very sharp writing quill. It would be like murder by fountain pen. I remember thinking just how do you do that? I assume that the other person was trying to defend themselves. You can do it as they are sharp, but you have to try.

      2. JBird4049

        >>>Roman citizens did not have the right to bear arms

        Until the Marian “reforms” Roman legionaries were expected to supply their own weapons, but the multiple wars, the continuing taxation, and the theft often by fraud, of the farm land and supplies gotten from all the wars and designated for the average Roman, by the wealthy Romans made an increasing number of citizens landless and unemployed. Add that the vast number of slaves from the same wars also drove down the wages of those forced into being laborers.

        Those reforms, which were needed to keep the Roman army going and looting, were necessary because of the increasing poverty and growing wealth gap; they also transferred the average legionnaire’s allegiance from the Roman Republic to the general who paid his wages. From when the reforms were implemented to the end of the Roman Republic was IIRC seventy eight years.

  31. Tom Stone

    To be clear, if I were able to afford a concealed weapons license I would get one because I am old, I am disabled and I am poor.
    I’m a prime target and due to my spinal injuries the consequences of a mugging might be extreme.
    Here are my qualifications.
    I passed the same background investigation the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department uses to hire deputies, it took 9 months and they even talked to my surviving grade school teachers.
    I have had 40 hours of class room training in regard to the lawful use of force, shoot-don’t shoot scenarios, and 8 hours of deconfliction and de escalation role playing.
    150 Hours of range time working from the holster with a POST certified firearms instructor.

    What disqualifies me?
    Poverty, I am not of the right class.

  32. Ghost in the Machine

    This blog has been referring to the Jackpot for years in its various observations. As a Gibson fan, I appreciated the reference. But, it is weird and a bit surreal to me now to realize we are clearly in the beginning phase of the Jackpot. We are living at the beginning of a great historical contraction right now. Family members badger me about getting a financial advisor. Why? You think these paper promises are going to mean anything in 25 years. And look at the companies in the index funds. The top 50 market cap companies, it’s a devil’s list regarding any real action on a our destruction of ecosystems. How many of those very concerned about climate have a 401k? Part of the problem. But, giving up your financial power in this culture is the social equivalent of setting yourself on fire. Who will take care of you? Yes, we need to build real community again, but we are all terrified and isolated. My society is dying. What to do?

    1. Lost in OR

      I’m with you Ghost. We are indeed in a dying society. The problem with NC is it is so good at keeping us up to date with our impending demise but offers little in the way of dealing with it. I’ve seen numerous comments from people having to back NC out of their lives. If you’re paying attention, it’s a dark world right now.

      Pre-covid, NC was hosting meet-ups around the country. I attended one here in Portland with Yves in attendance. I was surprised how many people were there. There was talk of a follow-up picnic but nothing came of it. While community will be our greatest asset in the Jackpot, I see no way of creating it. It’s kind of crazy how isolated we have come to be. NC types are out there, the means to connecting with them are not.

      So, you’re not alone. I think we are all with you. If I knew you lived near me I would be right over to share a beverage or two. I could sure use the like-minded company. But we are all just on-line friends. Which means we are all, like you, alone. I wish you the best.

    2. skippy

      Ditto for me … I’m just going to my work, which I love, keeps me physically and mentally fit, look after the two dogs, buy tools which help me and enable me to help others and with Keynes wrt not caring or looking at the stock markets … e.g. sorta like not watching video media save a few history or an interesting show/movie here and there …

      Only real expectation is once eldest son buys a house that I get to fix it up, pull out all the stops as my opus …

  33. fresno dan

    Far fewer people felt positively about the potential of a rematch, with 23 percent reporting “hope,” 8 percent saying they felt “pride” and 7 percent saying “gratitude.”
    If 38% are exhausted, than 62% are something else. According to the above total of (23+8+7) 38% express “hope” (hope for a rematch between Biden and Trump???) 8% pride (pride we are having a do over of Biden and Trump – I guess I should be grateful it is less than 10% who are proud of that) 7% “gratitude” (its possible there are more bizarre things to be grateful for…)
    What this most strikes me as is the movie Dr. Strangelove where at the end of the movie, B-52 pilot Slim Pickens has reached Moscow to drop a nuke on the Russkies, and the bomb is stuck in the bombbay, so Pickens goes back and jumps on it to dislodge it, and in so doing is discharged with the bomb. Instead of being depressed about being blown to simthereens in a nuclear explosion, Pickens whoops and hollors in joy at completeing his mission.
    I say we embrace the absurdity of Biden vs Trump II – we are getting American representative government – good and hard.

  34. Raymond Sim

    Is it just me, or is the Tablet article on the spike protein rather rambling and only semi-coherent?

    And given that we’ve learned so much about the functions of other viral components I don’t see how one can even properly treat this subject without delving into their roles.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Really? Could you elucidate what made it thorough? Some topic you might have anticipated they’d overlook but included?

        And what about other viral components? Are you thoroughly sure they can be ignored?

  35. Rick

    Re: the Tablet article on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It feels like a jumble of things from different sources with different, possible large, biases. The use of scare words like ‘cytotoxic’ is unimpressive. Phagocytes keep us alive – and are highly cytotoxic (thank you, Barbara Ehrenreich for your book Natural Causes). I keep up to date as best I can but this kind of thing is really above my pay grade and it’s unfortunate that we live in a time of warring ideologies in scientific research. Yeah, the war has always been around but the pandemic has driven it to a fever pitch.

    One point of reassurance is the reaction to the second ‘Trouble at WHO’ tweet – it is a wall of scorn for the blatant attempt to keep the public confused and ignorant.

    1. britzklieg

      from the Salk Institute in 2021:

      “Scientists have known for a while that SARS-CoV-2’s distinctive “spike” proteins help the virus infect its host by latching on to healthy cells. Now, a major new study shows that they also play a key role in the disease itself.”

      “In the new study, the researchers created a “pseudovirus” that was surrounded by SARS-CoV-2 classic crown of spike proteins, but did not contain any actual virus. Exposure to this pseudovirus resulted in damage to the lungs and arteries of an animal model—proving that the spike protein alone was enough to cause disease.”

      “The team then replicated this process in the lab, exposing healthy endothelial cells (which line arteries) to the spike protein. They showed that the spike protein damaged the cells by binding ACE2.”

      “this is the first study to show that the damage occurs when cells are exposed to the spike protein on its own.”

        1. britzklieg

          I don’t know, it just seems to me that the word “cytotoxic” – toxic to cells – is more accurate than scary. It’s certainly more accurate than the word “vaccinated” for which there have been ever changing definitions in the past 2 years…

        2. britzklieg

          I don’t know. I just think the word “cytotoxic” – toxic to cells – is more accurate than it is scary. It’s certainly more accurate than the word “vaccinated” given the changing definition of that word during the pandemic.

  36. Cetra Ess

    re: US banks on alert over falling commercial real estate valuations

    I had to look it up and basically Class A Commercial properties are recently built (within the last 15 years) constructed in ideal central and desirable central locations such as downtowns. Class B are slightly older buildings in less desirable areas. Class C are much older buildings mainly in the outskirts, industrial or commercial areas, etc.

    The article quotes someone saying Class A buildings aren’t at risk, no problemo, but class B and C properties are in deep trouble because these property values have lost an estimated 20% in value. Then goes on about maturing mortgages, property owners needing to make decisions to keep at loss or let it go, etc.

    I’m wondering why these older commercial buildings would be struggling to attract leases over and above their usual difficulty attracting leases precisely *because* they’re older buildings and in less attractive locations.

    The article doesn’t really say, but certainly work from home culture has nothing whatsoever to do with it, because why would it, even? A premise is being given here without any support.

    But one possibility is that thanks to the pandemic, business owners are seeing that not having to rent or lease commercial property cuts a major expense from the books, makes them more profitable.

    So why don’t they admit that?

    1. chris

      I have no doubt that we’d see discussions on NC about topics like cordyceps jumping to humans long before we’d even see acknowledged it was possible by the MSM. It appears that we’re living in Homer Simpson’s world, where all the news we see is brave enough to tell us that everything is going to be OK. Please ignore what our owners are doing. Pay no attention to what our government officials are investing in. Everything will be OK…

  37. Raymond Sim

    KIdding aside, here’s the CDC article discussing fungal infections and immunodeficiency:

    Scientists are still learning about aspergillosis (infections caused by the fungus Aspergillus) in people with severe COVID-19. In the past, scientists thought aspergillosis occurred almost entirely in people with severely weakened immune systems. However, aspergillosis has been increasingly reported in patients without weakened immune systems but who have severe respiratory infections caused by viruses, including influenza.

    They want to redefine “severely weakened immune system” to allow for fungal infections that formerly were almost the definition of the condition.

  38. Jeff W

    “Google’s Rush to Win in AI Led to Ethical Lapses, Employees Say”

    Also this from the Bloomberg article:

    “The staffers who are responsible for the safety and ethical implications of new products have been told not to get in the way or to try to kill any of the generative AI tools in development, they said.”

  39. Objective Ace

    Illegal aliens who are LGBTQ ‘may not be detained’ under Democrats’ new bill

    How does one “prove” theyre LGBTQ? Presumably the result will just be every illigal alien says they’re “LGBTQ”

    1. Jeff V

      It’s hard to believe I’m living on the same planet as the author of that Medium piece.

      Reality can only be defied for so long; you’d think that eventually a large group of people (I assume them, but it could be people like me) are going to turn out to be spectacularly wrong about everything they are so very, very certain of.

  40. Objective Ace

    >the F150’s proportions show something other than a quest for pure functionality is at play.

    That extra cab space does have a function. F150s are often a family car or used to carpool workers to a job side. It’s essentially an SUV you can use to haul lumber or other building materials when the need arises.

  41. Jason Boxman

    Even if those workplaces won’t offer paid sick leave, Raifman said, they could at least help stop the spread of COVID and protect working long haulers from getting sicker. “There could be large benefits to employers and employees to have plans in place to mitigate transmission through masking policies and increased testing at the beginning of surges. Being proactive about airborne virus transmission is smart.”

    There should be daily PCR testing, with respirators a requirement, along with improved ventilation, and employer provided kits that include vitamin D, nasal spray, and mouth gargle. Inexpensive things that have a high degree of likelihood of reducing transmission.

    But the Biden administration interceded and OSHA has no mandatory requirements for any of this stuff from employers, because Markets. (Go die.)

  42. tooearly

    we have known for over 20 years about the pathogenicity of the spike. interesting choice

  43. some guy

    As I read the article called ” We Want Them Infected” . . . I hope other readers will remember that this Dr. Alexander person was Trump’s personal choice for the position he occupied. Mass covid death was first created by Trump and his people and is part of Trump’s handoff to the Biden Administration. The Biden Administration separately and on its own decided to ratify and support the Trump covid legacy by increasing the rate of mass death and ensuring that it will last for decades to come.

    But it did start with Trump and I hope that Biden haters will remember to give Trump some of the policy-foundational credit for the Covid Jackpot Policy. I hope people start calling it the Great Bidentrump Plague.

  44. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Nicknames for SARS-CoV-2 variants
    I could have sworn there was a proposal to name new variants after constellations, stars and/or planets, and came up with a list several months ago, only to continue seeing the numerical designations. So I gave up and never posted it. Thanks to Lambert for the WHO nomenclature link, confirming that it wasn’t just my imagination. Hadn’t seen their criteria previously, so my list doesn’t strictly conform, but whatever …
    Algol variant – Interminable excruciating headache, makes you wish for guillotine therapy
    Canis variant — May be Minor, i.e. “mild,” or Major, in which case you’ll be sick as a dog
    Capulus variant — Hard to get a handle on it
    Chamaeleon variant – Mutates too fast to track
    Corvus variant — “Corvid-19”
    Eridanus variant — You’ll go through at least six boxes of Kleenex an hour
    Fornax variant — The fever will burn you up
    Gemini variant — Hits you twice
    Menkar variant — Loss of smell may be permanent
    Pegasus and Taurus variants — Reponds well to … “Seriously, ya’ll. Stop it.”

  45. skippy

    Interesting tidbit ….

    Sunder Katwala
    Incredible that of five authors of this 2012 book, 4 went on to hold every great office of state

    Truss, Prime Minister (6 weeks) & Foreign Sec (1 year),
    Kwarteng, Chancellor (6 weeks),
    Raab, Deputy PM (6 months) & Foreign Sec (2 years)
    Patel, Home Secretary (3 years)

    1. skippy

      WOW … its like … trying to create Dune spice ex nihilo and satisfaction of all contracts is dependent on it – universe – revolves around it …

      Then again most of the world is not West and has baggage from it in the past and a move like this just confirms those concerns e.g. we shaped the world and own[tm] the results of that past and anyone that disagrees is the enemy.

      Multipolarity makes this a desperate gambit in attempting to shape global markets so a few can reap the rewards methinks …

  46. Adam B

    (yes, there are aspects of such “care” that are not surgical, but surely surgery is the canonical end state of the process).

    Surgery is NOT the ‘end’ of a person’s transition. Numerous studies have shown that while surgery is an option, it’s not often used. Gender-affirming care like peer/family support (aka, ‘social transition’) and hormones are often good enough to get someone through their lives happy and healthy

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