Links 5/13/2023

What made these prehistoric ‘thunder beasts’ so big? National Geographic

A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation Quanta


El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion National Weather Service Climate Prediction Service, NOAA. Synopsis: “A transition from ENSO-neutral is expected in the next couple of months, with a greater than 90% chance of El Niño persisting into the Northern Hemisphere winter.”


CDC sets first target for indoor air ventilation to prevent spread of Covid-19 CNN. ASHRAE too (PDF). Worth a read, amazingly enough. Commentary:

For aerosol advocates to have any credibility, I’d almost say “better never than late,” as far as CDC is concerned. It’s also interesting that this only happened after Walensky departed:

Why now?

Could be.

* * *

Right after the Stanford and MGH masking debacles, too (MR):

Registration is free (though the RSVP button is slow to load and demands another clickthrough). Perhaps some kind reader will attend and ask a question — say on pro-universal masking ADA lawsuits, or potential liability — and/or forward the on-demand recording to “colleagues”….

* * *

Association of SARS-CoV-2 infection and persistence with long COVID (comment) BMJ:

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health investigated the replication competence, persistence, and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in human cells and looked for relevant histopathological features in infected tissues by performing autopsies on 44 COVID-19 cases. They found SARS-CoV-2 RNA widely distributed in 84 distinct anatomical locations up to 230 days after infection.3 Surprisingly, viral persistence was detected by high-sensitivity droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) across multiple tissue samples among all deceased with infection cases despite being undetectable in plasma.3 These findings suggest that the viral load in patients with COVID-19 might be low but still detectable in biospecimens with the appropriate assays following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, the detection of subgenomic RNA, a marker of recent virus replication, and the isolation of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 from respiratory and non-respiratory tissues, suggest that viral replication might occur for several months after the initial infection.

* * *

COVID activity rises in 2 world regions as US declines continue Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. I don’t understand why the discrepancy. It’s not like other regions didn’t experience Omicron, or there’s no travel between other regions and the United States.

Toddler dies on dream Disneyland trip after catching Covid as his heartbroken parents question why doctors didn’t give him preventative treatment for another common virus Daily Mail. So it’s not over?

Auto Claim Severity Up 35% over Pre-Pandemic Rates – LexisNexis Report Insurance Industry. “Motorists are driving like the roads are still empty. I wonder why. ‘Tis a mystery!


China steps up sampling of soy cargoes, adding to costly delays, traders say Hellenic Shipping News

TikTok Parent ByteDance’s ‘Sensitive Words’ Tool Monitors Discussion Of China, Trump, Uyghurs Forbes

Migrant Workers Are Staying Closer to Home, and That’s a Problem Caixin Global


Charred bodies, burned homes: A ‘campaign of terror’ in Myanmar Al Jazeera


Adani-Hindenburg probe: SC grants SEBI a 3-month extension Economic Times


Mineral-rich central Africa becomes focal point in US-China tug of war South China Morning Post


Israel freezes cease-fire talks with Palestine amid escalating conflict in Gaza Anadolu Agency

Imran Khan, the Pakistani politician taking on the army FT

European Disunion

The G7 struggles to find unity over China’s economic bullying FT (PU). Rahm Emanuel, “a man who could start a diplomatic incident in an empty room.” Ouch!

Dear Old Blighty

Coronation day arrests transform the profile of UK republicans FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukrainian counter-offensive takes shape with first gains around Bakhmut FT. With (paragraph 2) 1000 troops and 40 tanks?

MoD Says Ukr Attacks Repelled, Prigozhin Feud Intensifies; UK Media Admits Sanctions Fail (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Begins by disentangling Bakhmut rumors.

Ukraine war: The battle of Bakhmut is not about seizing vital ground – it is about maximising enemy casualties Sky News

The Last Stage: Preparing for the Great Offensive (video) Douglas Macgregor, YouTube. Russia has never attacked bridges over the Dneiper. But they just destroyed bridges between Moldova and Ukraine. Macgregor: “What the Russians have just done is foreclose the NATO option of committing large ground forces through Romania and Moldova into Southern Ukraine in the direction of Odessa. So Odessa is very definitely on the menu.”

* * *

Ukrainian tells CNN team embedded on frontline: ‘They are going to get killed, all of them’ CNN

Ukrainian Soldiers Risk Their Lives to Keep Weapons From the Black Market NYT

* * *

Zaluzhnyi recalled what brought him to tears from the beginning of the invasion: I didn’t have enough strength Ukrainska Pravda. So I guess Zaluzhnyi’s alive?

The Nazi Streets of Ukraine The Real Politick with Mark Sleboda

Biden Administration

Investors should brace for US debt ceiling turbulence FT

Who’s Not Sweating the Debt Ceiling? The Markets Bloomberg but The debt limit fight is beginning to stress out the market Politico

* * *

How the New Immigration System Works After Title 42 WSJ

US border communities declare disasters as Title 42’s expiration sets the stage for a migration rush CNN (Furzy Mouse).

The ultimate Blob blind spot Robert Wright, Nonzero Newsletter

Spook Country

Biden’s CIA Assist in the 2020 Presidential Election Kimberly Strassel, WSJ. The deck: “The agency, not only retirees, turns out to have worked on the Hunter excuse letter.” Granted, Strassel on the WSJ Op-Ed page, but a coherent narrative. Based on the House Judiciary “interim report” on Hunter’s laptop (dear Hunter), which looks like it’s worth a read.


No Labels taking next steps in search for presidential candidates for third-party ticket FOX. I hope this is only a grift.

Manifest Destiny: Alvin Bragg Searches for His Criminal Kailasa Jonathan Turley

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Banks Runs and Information Federal Reserve Bank of New York

One way to make banks safer? Make them “narrower.” MarketPlace

The Bezzle

Binance Announces Exit from Canada, Citing Regulatory Tensions Coindesk

Digital Watch

How synthetic data could mitigate privacy and bias issues for marketers using AI The Drum

Deleting Inactive Twitter Accounts Michael Tsai


Can the health insurance system handle massive Medicaid reductions? The Hill


Texas School Picture Day Photographer Expands Offerings To Include Memorial Posters The Onion

Sports Desk

Robo-umps have arrived — and they’re not far from landing at Target Field Star Tribune (Chuck L). Now the catchers will have to figure out how to game the bots.

Zeitgeist Watch

I feel sorry for sex London Review of Books. Clickbait headline from the LRB (!!), but interesting: “‘[O]rdinary affects’ are public feelings that begin and end in broad circulation, but they are also the stuff that seemingly intimate lives are made of.” Worth a read.

Guillotine Watch

Almost Every Powerful Economist We Have Went to 1 of 6 Schools. That’s Not Great! Slate

The Right And Wrong Ways To Interview Elite Economists Revolving Door Project Newsletter. The right way would be whip in hand?

Class Warfare

The great denial: Why they don’t want us to talk about class Counterfire

The fight over nursing home staffing mandates Axios. Well, the labor market is a spreadsheet, right? So just find the right cell and bump up the number?

Class markers:

When Deadly Steamboat Races Enthralled America Smithsonian

Antidote du jour (via):

Good kitty!

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. griffen

      A Seinfeldian, bizarro world approach to what they proffer to the masses might be worth a deep and thoughtful consideration! And we know, based on their prior actions, leaders like Wallensky and Jha were indeed considering the needs of their own quite differently than the rest.

      Best George Costanza line. It’s not a lie if you believe it.

    2. tevhatch

      Flying Lady Doctor got it partly right, partly wrong. CDC waited till the emergency was over, as otherwise the government would be forced to mandate the changes, which would cost some capitalist (finance capitalist) a lot of capital, while helping another section of capitalist (contractors and makers) get more capital/profit. We know which set of capitalist have a firm, even painful grip on the ears in Washington.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        (In general, I am loathe to “kill the messenger,” but the red push-up bustier, garter belt and boob tattoo avatar may be the exception that proves the rule in the case of Flying Lady Doctor.)

        In any event, I’d ask just one question. If she’s so sure she knows the reason cdc was lying then, what makes her think they don’t have some other reason to be lying now?

      2. Harold

        They should also mandate smaller classes while they are about it. Especially for youngest kids, This is very important

    3. antidlc

      These people truly are despicable.

      They now recommend parents consider having their kids wear masks to school, yet no recommendation for teachers and staff. And no recommendation for office or factory workers.

      My outrage meter is on overload.

      1. The Rev Kev

        By “recommending” that parents consider having their kids wear masks at school, they are outsourcing responsibility from themselves to us muppets. And if it does not work out, then they can say that it had nothing to do with them and that it was our fault.

          1. some guy

            Till now I have believed that CDC withheld this information and/or lied about it in order to foster and propel the spread of covid in order to raise the death rates by tens of millions of people over the next few decades. That would be a “mortal sin”.

            But now I am being asked to believe that CDC diddit just to avoid having some rich people and institutions be forced to spend money on upgrading ventilation and etc. If so, that would be a “venial sin” by comparison.

            So which should I believe? ( And am I using the concepts of “mortal” versus “venial” sin correctly)?

    4. antidlc

      “How do you live with yourself?”

      I’d like to ask Walensky, Jha, and Zients that question.

      1. petal

        I stopped asking that question a long time ago. People like that sleep very well at night. Amazing what you can do when you don’t have a conscience or ethics.

        1. Paleobotanist

          You gotta climb, Baby, climb. Ignore those below you, they are deplorables…they don’t matter /sarc
          I work with these people everyday in universities….

  1. griffen

    Auto insurance is also going higher, due to those increases in the article above. If there was a signal that inflation was trending in the right direction, lower, then my current 6 month premium billing from State Farm has not accepted that signal. People are driving like screaming banshees and you alone have interfered with their accelerated progress.

    Up year / year, rough math here. Plus 20%. And I get the safe driver discount!! Argh.

    1. petal

      Same here, griffen. Up by 20% and State Farm and 6 month plan. I’m still pretty ripped about it.
      Walking back from errands a half hour ago, I saw a lady run and turn on a cold red(and a walk sign), no hesitation. Have to count to 5 before stepping out, or even if driving.

      1. Late Introvert

        If you stay with State Farm they will never give anything but increases. Shop a local broker for insurance. I’ve had excellent results with West Bend out of Wisconsin. I got this tip from Clark Howard, who used to be on the local Fox AM radio, but is now online.

  2. Pat

    I am still watching agog at the spasms the main stream press had because of CNN’s town hall with Trump. I was not just amazed by the bombastic nature of the coverage, but the seeming offense at any press outlet covering Trump. I had to wonder if the day after overkill was not because of the reasons they cited, but because it didn’t go as was expected. Trump didn’t crumble, wasn’t incoherent, lied no more than average politician, and worst of all he was vital and energetic compared to Biden. If it appalled them, it was because he was not vanquished. IOW, it scared the excrement out of many of them.

    No labels, like Warren in 2019, is not a grift but a tool even if Warren didn’t realize that was what was happening. They are supposed Alternatives that are positioned to provide an alternative to the change agent and weaken that disliked opposition. I would make a guess as to the type of candidate they will run, but between the idea from the last election that Bloomberg would hurt Sanders, and the mistaken take on Trump’s town hall I don’t think they have a clear idea of what will appeal to unhappy Democrats and Republicans who might consider Trump.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was surprised that CNN gave him a platform to talk in front of a crowd on TV like they did. He is everything that the establishment hates and the fact that he was able to connect so readily with that audience augers ill for the Democrats. Maybe the point was that by giving Trump a platform – and whom the Democrats think that Biden will beat him – that it eclipses Robert F. Kennedy jnr who may be seen more of a threat. A Rasmussen poll put Kennedy already within 1% of Biden-

      But there is another factor. When Trump was President, all the networks were making boatloads of money which evaporated when he got the boot. So maybe CNN needed the ratings boost to badly-

      1. marym

        I think your second paragraph is on the money so to speak. Trump himself and the two-sided outrage machine he inspires are good for ratings. All through the Trump era in the twitterverse it’s been interesting to see the maga-trumpist critique of CNN and other non-Fox elite media as “fake news” and the neolib-pcmist critique of that same media as providing too generous a platform for Trump and his followers

        As far as the on-site audience, I can’t find an un-paywalled link to check further on the sourcing (first link below links to the NYT and a search shows something apparently similar in the Boston Globe) so with that caution, fwi the on-site audience may have been Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, and the questioners GOP primary voters (second link); and CNN may have told the audience applaud, but not boo (third link).

        Note to Lambert: You often look for transcripts. Fourth link for the town hall.

      2. flora

        The moderator’s hissy fits didn’t help her at all. Maybe that’s why the CNN crowd is so upset; she made them look stupid. (Is her career over now?) / ;)

        1. antidlc

          I wonder if Chris LIcht is missing his old job as showrunner for “The Late Show”.

          Not that I feel sorry for him.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Especially stupid, whiny and juvenile was her asking Trump if he “wanted ukraine to win” like the war was a track meet between Vladimir Putin Polytechnic and the ukraine campus of Thomas Jefferson High School.

          I doubt she even realized what a fool he made her look like with his answer.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I’m sure that she thought that she was very clever and intelligent with her ‘gotcha’ question that he would have to answer by saying that he was all in on the war. He totally outflanked her and made her look kinda pathetic which, when you think about it, is a Trump specialty.

    2. flora

      As long as they’re talking about T they’re not talking about the House investigating committee’s press conference re the Biden family business, the bank accounts, LLCs, and lots of money, both foreign and domestic. Better to use up the air time with “Trump bad.” / heh

      1. Screwball

        Good point, and I agree. Also, I don’t think it was an accident they came out with the Santos stuff when they did. Those headlines ran cover for Biden corruption story. Example, CNN home page that day was headline on Santos, along with many other articles about same, mixed with other “news” and only one small story buried at the bottom about the House committee and Biden.

        The media is so in the tank for Biden and the democrats it’s sickening.

      2. Carolinian

        They were never going to talk about that anyway. While the “liberal media” moniker was always appropriate–far more Democrats than Republicans–the open partisanship now on display seems new and disturbing. They are playing the role of commissars rather than reporters. It’s not that the Republicans are good, but at least fighting between the two factions kept things a little bit in balance.

        Like you say the press are increasingly ignoring the news. We seem to be in a strange news blackout lately. By canceling the “fake news” which is the real news there’s no news left.

    3. Mildred Montana

      Perhaps CNN will take to heart one of the Rules of Life: 𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘨𝘶𝘺 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵. You’re gonna lose. And boy oh boy, does Trump like a good fight. It’s a drug for him. His challengers only stimulate, energize, and invigorate him, make him stronger, and he won’t back down. Sorta like an addict high on PCP.

      1. some guy

        But if hosting a Trumpfight on CNN would raise CNN’s ratings, why wouldn’t they do it? And if it did raise ratings, and could do so again, why wouldn’t they do it over and over? The CNN moneycounters would consider a host embarrassing itself with Trump a small price to pay for more money coming from higher ratings.

    4. Jason Boxman

      I’m not really surprised; As the wealthy liberal Democrat funder said in an interview linked here a few days ago, Trump is the disease (what caused Trump therefore is irrelevant); As Lambert says, Trump’s election caused a state of exception among liberal Democrats and the PMC. To them, Trump is an existential threat. So they’re completely unhinged. He’s violated every norm in Washington, every implicit understanding. That’s simply not acceptable. Right on CNN he violated the adopted principle that Ukraine must win, that Russia is evil. All must comply to this worldview. The full weight of the national security state, the media, and the court system was brought against this guy by liberal Democrats, without a hint of self reflection, for going on 7 years now. There’s no rationality left with these people. None.

      1. flora

        I sometimes think that they – having won the MSM, the official narratives, the favor of the billionaire set, the approval of Wall St — after winning all that they now expect to be approved of by everyone. Must come as a terrible shock to realized half the country does not approve of them and does not want the dog food they’re selling. And that half of the country votes, too. Shockers!

    5. some guy

      I don’t think No Labels wants to offer an “alternative” to Trump and Biden. I think No Labels is trying to pre-flood the alternative zone with its own No Labels bullshoot in order to prevent a real alternative from emerging into that space.

      What’s that No Labels chant again? ” No Sanders! No way! No leftist USA!”

      1. Pat

        That was what I was trying to say, you just did it better. They are there to take out any real alternative.

        1. some guy

          Thank you for the kind words. So if No Labels’s mission is to fill up the empty Third Party space with dummgas, the first step for any legitimate Third Party wannabes and wannahaves is to realize that fact and to go into the dummgas-flooded Third Party space wearing self-enclosed sealed-up breathing apparatus . . . . and try to start a legitimate party-movement in that space anyway.

          I have zero political operating experience so I can only offer some random intuitive thoughts on how to do that. My thought is . . . . that since No Labels will have the money and the people to get itself on all 50 State ballots, and since it is acting for the Establishment it will not face any lawsuits from either Brand Name party to get it off of any ballots . . . . that legitimate Third Party wannabe-wannahaves resign themselves to being legitimate Fourth Party wannabe-wannahaves and focus on getting onto a few key state ballots. From those few anchor points, they can try exposing themselves to various publics as an Alternative Third Party choice and not just a Fourth Party gesture.

          And such an Alternative Third Party wannabe could be as loud and proud radical or liberadical or whatever as it wants to be.

    1. tevhatch

      I am probably wrong, but IMVHO, he got the purpose to blowing up the bridge wrong. I suspect those tanks in Odessa made Russia nervous that Ukraine was finally preparing to launch into Transnistria to secure their “counter-offensive” offensive requirement to the Neo-con-artist in Washington. Attacking almost anywhere else would have been suicide, and it had the hope of pulling in NATO. Without the bridge, there is no way to move heavy armour in to Transnistria.

      If Russia was to take Odessa, one important reason would be to have a link with Transnistria, which has been under threat from Moldova. Blowing up the bridges complicates that for the time it takes to rebuild. That’s why they waited till now. Again, I could be wrong, and probably am.

      1. Kouros

        There is no body of water impeding Ukrainians to attack Transnistria. The Dniester River is between Moldova and Transnistria (beyond the Dniester), not between Ukraine and Transnistria.

      1. The Rev Kev

        As it was the Russians that built that bridge then surely they know how to take them out. They probably still had the blueprints of that bridge & the engineering specs on file.

      2. Yves Smith

        I am pretty sure a Kinzhal or two could take out any bridge if they hit the right part of the structure. Early on, they effectively took out a nuclear-war survivable bunker that was way underground. It didn’t actually crack the bunker per se but did take out the ventilation, which was supposed to be but apparently wasn’t built to the same standard.

        The newly deployed glide bombs are also very potent.

  3. Bart Hansen

    The Onion story of memorials suggests a follow up: “Texas families with more than one child in the same elementary school are now splitting them up to attend different schools.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Anybody know if schools can take out dead peasants insurance on their pupils? If this happened down the track I would not be surprised at all because markets.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Well, “Insurance agents across the country have seen a surge in parents taking out life insurance policies on their school age children.”

        1. tegnost

          “Sure, here’s the keys…make sure you drink too much, and bring bobby and michelle along, I have policies out on them too!”

    2. Wukchumni

      I heard that giving your teacher an apple and a 30 round clip, might pave the way for a student to become the teacher’s pet.

  4. thoughtfulperson

    “COVID activity rises in 2 world regions as US declines continue Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. I don’t understand why the discrepancy. It’s not like other regions didn’t experience Omicron, or there’s no travel between other regions and the United States.”

    My guess is that as the national discourse and behavior continues to, no longer just minimize covid19, but declare it “over”, every remaining data collection point that had been functional is beginning to fail. Just as we saw the discrepancy between reported cases and waste testing back in late ’21 and esp in 2022.

    If we don’t test and don’t record we can’t know.

    It is happening in other countries to some extent, such as the story yesterday about the mysterious 30,000+ excess deaths in the UK in recent months. They did report an interesting spike in some sort of heat disease and dementia deaths.

  5. griffen

    The article above from the WSJ, well it is the Opinion page but is worth the efforts to read the full length column. Plenty of responses seem to fall on the line of demarcation; you see there really is nothing on the laptop or possibly instead, now you see the election in 2020 was certainly, ahem, impacted by these intelligence officials that circled the wagons around Camp Biden. Nation of laws, my eye.

    Ridiculous. The Stupidest Timeline.

  6. Lexx

    ‘Auto Claim Severity Up 35% over Pre-Pandemic Rates’

    Yes, they’re driving faster, tailgating, and running red lights. They seem to be in an incredible hurry. Where are the cops? Hardly ever see them, they all seem to have something more important to do.

    To make matters just a bit more frightening, there’s those out on the road who have for some reason decided to go slower… a lot slower. The turtle-slow drivers were a rarity. Now I can count on finding my car behind at least one or two of those drivers poking along doing 30 in a 40, hugging the shoulder, braking way in advance for a stop, and then not bothering to use their signal for a turn. Two different approaches to getting from Point A to Point B, all mixed together on the same roads. This must be driving the roadrunners mad! And traffic is much heavier than it used to be, so there’s no passing and being on your merry way.

    The law abiding drivers are still a slim majority, but our numbers are diminishing daily. It’ll be Mad Max out there soon. Last night I was woken by what sounded like cars using our main road for drag racing. That went on for about an hour.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I’ve also noticed this rise of very fast and very slow drivers. In fact, just yesterday I was driving on an urban, divided, limited access 4 lane highway (2 lanes in each direction) with a speed limit of 55, but usually ran around 60 pre-pandemic, and 2 cars were driving next to each other and blocking all traffic going 40-ish. This lasted for a few miles until one of the slow pokes exited. The other remained obliviously driving 40 in the fast lane while the speed demons then fought it out to get around. Many close calls. I was very glad to get off that road.

    2. griffen

      This is not intended as a satirical reply, so just bear in mind. Only the messenger to pass along the following satirical point of view….courtesy of the Bee. I notice a divergent set of drivers, the overly and far aggressive set and the other is the tortoise willing to race (slowly) while staying in the left to far left lane. That tortoise can really jam things to a crawl; I find them both highly annoying.

      1. Wukchumni

        In my forays on the road in the SoCalist movement, i’ve noticed motorcycle riders are incredibly aggressive when cutting between cars on LA freeways, and it freaked me out.

        The route of all evil on freeways across the land is of course the BEFNAR*, and it only takes one galoot to hit their brakes and every car behind follows suit.

        *Brakes Engaged For No Apparent Reason

        1. Carolinian

          On our freeways the cars do it too–weaving in and out. I wonder if they have those proximity sensors on the car corners that allow them to cut within a foot or two of the car in the next lane.

          Me, I’m a one car length for every ten miles per hour driver. Some of us are so old we can remember when high schools had driver education classes.

        2. Brunches with Cats

          BEFNAR, Upstate NY edition: A cop on the shoulder is good for a 20 mph reduction in traffic flow. Now will always think of it as BEFCOS-20.

        3. airgap

          Makes me recall that bumper sticker from the late 60s?, ‘Warning, I brake for hallucinations’.

          I expect that many drivers today are under some pharmaceutical impairment, legal or not.

      2. danpaco

        I’m oddly sympathetic to the aggressive driver.
        In Toronto everyone drives like nobody is behind them.
        Trapped by giant pick ups, the semi-lost UBER drivers, Amazon delivery trucks, cell phone texting, and SUV parents, I’m constantly trapped behind someones thought process.
        If you need to get somewhere and cant its easy to lose it.

    3. What?No!

      I’m thinking it’s at least a mix of 5 things:

      – prior to Covid I was amazed at the increase I was seeing in drivers being aggressive at pedestrian cross-walks and wondered at that time “things have changed; where are the cops?” This was when cell phones and distracted driving was all the rage.

      – Boomers just naturally being the largest aging cohort. So driving more poorly/carefully.

      – the kids don’t drive; get their licenses later if at all. I think I drove a car every single day from the day I turned 16 (unofficially prior to 16 probably also true). Economics, less access to cars, less ability to use them. Less skills, less experience.

      – Covid brain. And lots more general sh••iness and precarity. The anger, loss of empathy, control; more selfishness.

      – Fewer trips, no daily commute for many, less habitual more sporadic for some. You simply lose your edge, take a few minutes to re-acclimate when you get behind the wheel after not going anywhere for days or even weeks.

      Put it all together and it’s not good.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Thanks for the compilation. I’ve had a running list myself, #1 of which is increasing financial strain.

        Among the biggest jolts, as noted in yesterday’s links and separate post by Yves, was the end of supplemental SNAP in February (earlier, in some states). Seniors and those on SS Disability were particularly hard hit. We got an unprecedented YUUUUGE (/s) increase in SS benefits on January 1, only to have a big chunk of it taken away by a reduction in SNAP. With the emergency still in effect, that reduction went unnoticed, because the emergency supplement made up the difference. Once Biden declared the emergency to be over, SNAP benefits dropped, not to where they had been before, but to the new “income-adjusted” amount. I took a net loss of $169/mo.

        Then there’s the increase in grocery prices (main topic of Yves’s post yesterday), overall inflation, and rising interest rates, adding even more to the cost of food, since I can’t make it to the end of the month now without using credit cards to pay for groceries.

        I am just one of millions in the same boat, for whom these circumstances have triggered a primal fear for survival — which most definitely can cause anger and aggression. Taking it out on the road is common, as one is surrounded by metal and in most cases won’t have to personally confront the (real or imagined) source of their anger. There have always been aggressive, rude, and totally oblivious drivers, causing varying degrees of irritation. Normally, we can deal with it reasonably, but doing so becomes difficult to impossible when under extreme duress.

        Last week, I actually canceled two treatment programs at the VA, due in part to the increasing frustration of driving 50 miles RT, mostly on a two-lane rural highway with all of the above observations and then some. Cost of gas also was an issue. Did my accounting for April and was shocked to see that the extra appointments resulted in more than $50 extra in gas, even after consolidating trips when possible.

      2. kareninca

        Also grief. I know a lot of people who are grieving due to people whom they lost or are in the process of losing. It is not good for their driving.

        And, covid body to go along with covid brain. Sick people drive worse than well people, often.

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      “”Where are the cops?”

      In NYC, they’re buried in their phones, and give off a lot of actitude when a lowly citizen asks for directions or help.

        1. jrkrideau

          I do not see that public employees should be covered by that otherwise reasonable law.

          @ playon
          Thanks for the link. Afroman is good.

    1. Mildred Montana

      The article included Social Security in the federal budget. It shouldn’t have. SS is a program separate and distinct from other federal spending. It is putatively self-funding.

      If it is has or will have unfunded liabilities, that is only because successive administrations over the years have dipped into the SS piggy-bank for ready cash and replaced it with IOUs.

      To repeat: SS should not be included in the federal budget. And imo there’s a possible fix for any of its funding problems: Simply raise the earnings limit on FICA contributions from its current $160,000 to one that will capture more high-income taxpayers. Or eliminate it altogether. There’s a lot of millionaires and billionaires out there, more than ever before in the history of the US.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        You’re right, but when they double the current defense budget, bail out more banks after the FDIC fund is depleted and give some more tax breaks to our poor, beleaguered billionaires, they’ll come after SS because, as Willie Sutton explained, “that’s where the money is.”

      2. Adam Eran

        Mildred, you seem to be under the impression tax revenues fund (any) federal programs. Where do taxpayers get dollars to pay those taxes if the monopoly provider of dollars doesn’t spend them out into the economy first? It’s not “tax & spend,” it can’t be. It must be “spend first, then retrieve some dollars in taxes.” The taxes create the demand for dollars; they do not provision federal programs. The government is the sole, fiscally unconstrained player in the economy.

        And what do we call the dollars spent, but not retrieved in taxes? Answer #1: the dollars in your wallet. The dollar financial assets of the private sector–their savings. Answer #2: National debt.

        National debt is like bank debt–your bank account is your asset, but the bank’s debt.

        As for “funding” Social Security, your suggestion would work (of course!) but so would eliminating FICA taxes and just having the government “print” the money.

        1. Bugs

          I thought the article assumed that – or at least the interviewees did – and the consensus was a large:

          “so what, yeah we can cancel the debt, but debt is the grease that keeps the wheels turning”

          Maybe it doesn’t read that way on first glance, but like I said, it’s a pretty decent article for the mainstream press. And I think the journalist put some effort into it.

        2. Mildred Montana

          Interesting comment. I’m probably getting in over my head here, but let’s do a thought experiment: Instead of putting the cart before the horse, let’s try putting the horse in front. In other words, have governments tax now and spend later. Is there any reason why governments can’t do this? Is “spend now, tax later” some sort of universal inviolable economic law, some sort of shibboleth, an 11th Commandment? And if it is, if that strategy works so well, why is nearly every government in the developed world packing a huge national debt and scarcely one of them runs a budgetary surplus?

          If governments today ran budgetary surpluses they would be free to tax now and spend later. Nice to have money in the bank, so to speak. What seems to have gone wrong with their financing is that they have become addicted to the consumers’ mantra: “Buy now, pay later.”

          As mentioned above, why is nearly every government in the world in debt? The US currently has a national debt of ~$31 trillion, up 6X in the past twenty years. What has gone wrong? So much for spend and tax.

          And re: printing of money. The Fed has been printing money for fifteen years now. How’s that working out? Seen prices in the grocery store lately? Looked at your latest rent increase? Printing money is not a panacea. While favoring the few, it only makes things worse for the rest.

          1. chris

            But governments like the US have an infinite amount of money in the bank, because they can print their own currency in whatever amounts they want.

            As for your question, the answer why it doesn’t work to tax now and spend later is what happens when you have a natural disaster? Are you going to tax the people who just experiencedthe calamity so you have the money to pay for the damages done by the disaster? Or does it make more sense to spend the funds needed to address the disaster and then recover some via taxes later? And if you’re serious about tax first and spend later, do you want to tax everyone at high levels to cover the multi-billion dollar disasters we have, just in case we have them?

            And what about our status as the reserve currency for the world, or at least the financial world? How do we make sure we have enough dollars to clear all those transactions and supply the people buying dollars in foreign countries while still giving US citizens enough dollars to handle their own business?

            To your earlier point on SS funding and raising the cap, I’m not sure it works anymore. Too much money is being generated outside of the system entirely. People getting paid in stock or taking loans against their holdings which serves as their income, but effectively avoids FICA. We’d be better off if more people made more money rather than raising the cap so that fewer and fewer people who still get W-2’s at those levels are able to escape the tax.

          2. Angie Neer

            Hi Mildred, Adam Eran is writing from a Modern Monetary Theory perspective. It seems you’re not familiar with MMT, which can sound quite radical and counter-intuitive if you’re new to it. Lambert’s post MMT on a postcard is a good place to start. Or Stephanie Kelton’s book The Deficit Myth.

          3. Jeff W

            “Is there any reason why governments can’t do this?”

            Well, at the most basic level, the government has to spend money “into” the economy so that people have the money to pay taxes with. Stephanie Kelton uses the analogy of a Monopoly game—“the first thing that has to happen is that somebody has to spend the currency into the game or the game can’t begin.” The video (“Stephanie Kelton: The Public Purse”) linked to on YouTube is an excellent introduction to Modern Monetary Theory—Kelton basically talks about all the concepts that would later appear in her book that Angie suggests, The Deficit Myth.

        3. Jeff W

          While “eliminating FICA taxes and just having the government ‘print’ the money” would work, it ignores the fact that the those who pay FICA taxes are currency users and can’t conjure up the money as the currency issuer can. So, by paying the FICA taxes, they incur a detriment that gives rise to a moral claim to the deferred benefit of Social Security payments later on. That— and the universality of the program—makes Social Security far less susceptible to challenge. It’s hard to deny someone something that he or she has “paid into,” whether or not that payment is actually needed.

          In ancient times, people, in fact and in legend, made sacrifices of other animals often (and of humans maybe less often). Presumably, the supernatural beings the sacrifices were being offered to didn’t need the goats or rams or whatever any more than the US government “needs” taxpayers’ dollars but, for the purposes of the sacrifice, that didn’t matter. What mattered is that those people gave up something of value that they needed and could not easily come up with and, therefore, could at least reasonably expect something in return. The payment of FICA taxes gives rise to a similar equitable principle on the part of the taxpayer.

        4. some guy

          I have read from time to time that Roosevelt and his economics advisers understood that to be “true” at the technical level, but also that Roosevelt was a good enough politician that he understood that if future SS-recipients had spent their whole working lives paying FICA taxes for SS before getting to collect it, they would feel so very proprietary about their hard-earned “Earntitlement” that they would resist and reject every political conspiracy to take it away from them. Didn’t Roosevelt himself say something like ” I don’t want any damn politician ever messing around with my Social Security program” . . . ?

          And indeed, we the future hopeful-recipients of the SS retirement benefits to come did not get the dollars we paid our FICA taxes with for free. We had to perform work per unit time in order to get those dollars we paid those FICA taxes with. So the “dollars” were not free to us.

          1. Jeff W

            From a “MEMORANDUM ON CONFERNCE [sic] WITH FDR CONCERNING SOCIAL SECURITY TAXATION, SUMMER, 1941” by Luther Gulick, an “expert on public administration,” according to the official Social Security Administration website:

            In the course of this discussion I raised the question of the ultimate abandonment the pay roll taxes in connection with old age security and unemployment relief in the event of another period of depression. I suggested that it had been a mistake to levy these taxes in the 1930’s when the social security program was orgiginally [sic] adopted. FDR said, “I guess you’re right on the economics. They are politics all the way through. We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.”

            [bold added]

  7. Mark Gisleson

    The Ultimate Blob [Nonzero] is my must-read today:

    Our “rules based order” allows us to inflict mayhem when and where we please, because it doesn’t involve the consistent application of rules. It’s an “order” that camouflages the pursuit of US interests as the US (however confusedly) conceives of them.

  8. Stephen V

    Thanks for the Maine Coon floofer Lambert! But only 6 likes on Twitter. Whats up with that?

    1. tevhatch

      I thought that was a Norwegian Forest cat, so I clicked through. The photographer is Swedish, so odds are slightly in my favor. The photo seems to be the most liked item in her profile, so the AI is doing some good for once.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “When Deadly Steamboat Races Enthralled America”

    From the sounds of it, there might be a good movie to be made about one of those races. Of course it was a different time and people would accept a slower form or race as they led a slower pace of life. The article says that because of the races and some tragedies, that ‘the Steamboat Act of 1852 imposed stricter safety and inspection requirements and called for the licensing of river pilots and engineers’. I wonder if it also led to improvements in the technology of the day in being able to manufacture more efficient and faster engines along with boat design. The America’s Cup yacht races certainly led to improvements and advances of yacht design over the decades.

    1. tevhatch

      That faster design was called the railroad. Mark Twain covered how trains did in the need to race.

    2. griffen

      One of my favorite youthful pastimes was watching ‘rassling* such as it was. I always thought the nicknames were so cool. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. My recall was his signature move was a leap from the top rope or maybe a body chop. Youth as they say, is wasted on the young.

      Typically I watched at my grandmother’s house, and oddly enough she followed the wrestling too. Such a cool individual she was. Back to steamboats…a Fast and Furious prequel?

      1. Mildred Montana

        I wasted my youth on Roller Derby. I cringe to think that if the internet had existed back then I would have been watching all day long.

  10. jefemt

    Interviewing economists. There is a list of tech companies to invest in embedded in that aticle. Don’t bet against The Fed, Summers, Dimon, or Pelosi. Mirror their books and Win!

    Economists: Not sure if there are any Hockey fans out there, but Toronto had a never-declared goal, nor waived-off goal, declared a no-goal in a nine minute review. Economists, you ask?

    Well, it appears that Economist influenced logic– “Imagine you have a whistle” — is in the rule book.

    Despite being taught from the moment their wobbly ankles touch the ice at a tender age, hockey players of every stripe in the gorgeous rainbow are taught to, “Play hard til the whistle blows!” (Any sport, really)

    Yet, at the pinnacle of the sport, vying for the most difficult trophy of any sport to win, the rules are,
    Imagine that the whistle blew…

    Rule 31.2 covers ‘intent to blow’:

    As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening.

    On a goal situation this is backed up in Rule 78.

    Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee … when the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.

    Why, it’s almost like the ref has an inviolate God-like Decree power, similar to a life-term appointed Judge?!

    Ahhh, Trono….

  11. wuzzy

    “A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation”

    The Parasite Management Class evolved in less than a generation.

  12. Frank

    About Zaluzhnyi being alive, the posted interview was done well before he disappeared from public view, it was from a couple of months ago at least. That they decided to release it now is actually a bit strange. Until we get visual confirmation, the rumor has not been thoroughly debunked.

  13. Wukchumni

    Headed out with friends to the site of the first Ghost Dance held in the USA in 1870 by the affiliated Yokuts tribes, that inspired other tribes in the east to follow suit, with the biggest one @ Wounded Knee in 1890.

    Eshom Valley is a beautiful spot about 30 miles away from where my QWERTY is slowly pecking away and you can see why the Native Americans chose it, with a wide flat expanse of grass that goes on for about a mile, this is where 3,000 to 4,000 survivors of the 1868-69 Measles epidemic held a marathon dance for 6 days, with the stated hope of bringing back some of the 85-90% of their loved ones who had perished.

    What would we resort to if a similar number of us went away, rather all of the sudden?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I suppose it was similar to what was felt in some villages after the Black Death had finally passed after a coupla years. How can you deal with that level of loss without giving up? I suppose that you keep your hopes for those children that are born after such a disaster passes through as they will not have the same experience.

      1. Wukchumni

        So, you’re telling me I can expect to see McDonalds offering $47 an hour for new hires, if past is prologue?

        1. The Rev Kev

          If we lost 85-90% of the pop, we would have to learn to be farmers in order to feed ourselves and would have to abandon any big city. The only good news is that we would have a few years of stored food to feed ourselves with while we learned and made our mistakes. But we would be telling our grandchildren about food that will no longer be seen like pineapples and oranges.

          1. Wukchumni

            Stunningly beautiful drive today, there must’ve been 9 different shades of green on display, everything is so full of life after looking listless during the punishing drought, but that was then and this is now.

            If there was 85% less of us, that would return this orb to the population before the industrial revolution, handy that!

    2. playon

      Not a ghost dance, but in where I live, this happened:

      Upon arriving to this location in 1814, fur trader Alexander Ross noted:

      “This mammoth camp could not have contained less than 3000 men, exclusive of women and children, and treble that number of horses. It was a grand and imposing sight in the wilderness, covering more than six miles in every direction. Councils, root gathering, hunting, horse-racing, foot-racing, gambling, singing, dancing, drumming, yelling, and a thousand other things were going on around us”

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘New Not-So-Cold War’

    Lots of panic and stress over Bakhmut but it is still a numbers game. And in this one, the Russians have way, way more. The Ukrainians are throwing what amounts to the last of the gear that the west can send them and I have heard that two British Challenger tanks have already been destroyed. Consider this. The Ukrainians took some territory when the Russians pulled back but do they have the numbers to keep on pushing and collapse the Russian line? In a word, no. The Russians still have over 300,000 men that they called up waiting in the wings and if the Russians are not sending some of them to hold the line at Bakhmut, I can only conclude that first, the Russians figure that they have enough forces to hold the Ukrainians. Second – and more ominously – they have other plans for all those men. This is now definitely the end game and from what I can see, the Ukrainians can kiss Odessa goodbye.

    1. chris

      It is a strange time. I wish I read Russian or Ukrainian but since neither can be trusted to be particularly accurate I just have to wait until those more informed than me pierce the fog of war.

      I agree with you based on what I understand about the fundamentals and logistics involved here. I think the people who are seizing on any advances by AFU so prematurely are craving something, anything, they can hold on to so that they can tell themselves this was worth it and they didn’t back the “losing” side.

      Although I agree with Trump in this matter. I’m all for people to stop dying. I don’t even understand why Ms. Collins thought her question needed to be asked. If this is a matter decided by Ukraine for Ukrainians, and if our involvement in this matter is to bleed the Russians for “as long as if takes”, then what do we care about winning or losing. What does winning or losing even mean in this context? If the Russians “win” they get a permanent hellzone next door that they have to monitor for terrorism. If the Ukrainians “lose” the destruction of their remaining country ceases and their people stop dying. How does either situation align with traditional concepts of winning and losing?

      1. Norge

        I suspect that Russia is maintaining a reserve of soldiers and equipment in readiness for being attacked by NATO. The main event.

        1. ambrit

          Agree. The Russians have generally been strategic thinkers. That bridge in Moldova cuts off the movement of the 101st Airborne to Odessa. Some could be air dropped, but they would need heavy weapons to arrive sooner or later to hold off the Russian armour. Otherwise, it becomes “A Bridge Too Far.” If NATO gets legally involved here, it will have to be via Poland. Try and send the Polish troops into Western Ukraine as “Protectorate Troops.” This has dragged on long enough that I fear that the Russians will decide to ‘challenge’ the Polish troops. (If Poland gets involved, watch Kalingrad. There is where nukes could fly if anywhere. Kaliningrad is legally, and de facto part of the Russian Federation. Imagine if the Chinese tried annexing Hawaii. [ I could se a Hawaiian Peoples Liberation Army being set up.]

    2. Robert Gray

      Re: Sky News ‘Ukraine war: The battle of Bakhmut …’ by retired Air Vice Marshal Sean Bell, linked above

      Fortunately, the following claim appears in the sub-head, thereby obviating any need to read further.

      > Yet over 100,000 Russians and well over 20,000 Ukrainians have – to date – been killed
      > or injured in this grinding war of attrition.

      Black is white. Up is down.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      This period and these people play a key role in Jeremy Lent’s The Patterning Instinct. Not only do the Aryans spread proto-Indo-European, but they disseminate the dualism that now plagues the West. This very lengthy review of the book spells out the process. This also ties in with Dr. Hudson’s findings about the debt relief and concern for the people’s welfare found in Mesopotamian cultures like the Old Babylonian culture of Hammurabi.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link, Amf. It is a helluva read and I wish that these eras could be studied in school. The populations seem to have been sloshing back and forth on the Eurasian mainland – when they weren’t massacring each other – and in some ways, it is reminiscent of the world imagine and depicted in “Conan the Barbarian.” That is one link that I am keeping.

      1. Polar Socialist

        From my readings and talks with people who have been involved in some level in this type of research, the picture I got is that it’s usually the linguists who take the suitable parts from archeology and genetics results and build these “big arrow” things.

        Archelogists and geneticists do not like that. Both disciplines think it’s very problematic to assign any (proto) language to any certain type of artefact or phenotype. Partly because linguistic constracts are mostly theoretical or hypothehical and even the experts can’t agree on timing, while modern archeology and genetics are for most part “hard sciences”, even if timing in genetics is still mostly a well educated guess.

        As an example, for over a hundred years linguistics claimed that Balto-Finnic languages gained a lot of Proto-Germanic loanwords from Baltic tribes, when the Finnic tribes reached Baltic Sea. Then the geneticist noticed that genetically Balts are actually Finnic who at some point changed to Germanic language and have likely lived in the Baltics for thousands of years. As far as I know, the linguistics have yet to accept this.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the-indo-european-conquests

      Bourdieu recommended Emile Benveniste, Dictionary of Indo-European Concepts and Society, so I bought a copy. Perhaps one day I’ll review it.

      Sadly, it’s not organized as a dictionary, unlike the dictionary of Indo-European roots found in back of the American Heritage dictionary of English, which I loved as a teen-ager. I loved linguistics as etymology, and etymological as psychohistory; I thought that was more interesting than Chomsky’s innovations; still do!

  15. Tom Stone

    The World may be going to hell in a handbasket, but this is the most spectacular blloom I have seen in the 20 years I have lived in Sonoma County.
    It seems like everything is in bloom.
    The Wisteria are particularly fine and I drove past my two favorites in Pocket Canyon and Summer Home Park.
    One is growing through a redwood and cascades to the ground starting at about 150′ above ground, the other grows through a Bay Laurel into a tight group of redwoods. That one is close to 200′ and the trunks are thicker than my thigh.

    1. Lee

      A treat for the eyes no doubt. For my allergies, not so much. Most years April is the cruelest month but this year, due to the unusual weather pattern, it looks as if May will be the meanest month for allergies.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It seems like everything is in bloom.

      Michael Pollan, of Botany and Desire fame, might imagine these plants are reaching out to us in some benevolent way. (Does make you wonder, now that I’m conscious of what viruses can do to the brain, whether pollen has other effects than coughing and sneezing. Perhaps we have medicalized allergies, entirely misconceiving them.)

  16. digi_owl

    I guess NATO basically wants either Sevastopol for its naval base, or Odessa so they can build up their own. And didn’t USA park a subset of the 101th near there a year ago?

    It may well be that if Z falters and Ukraine disintegrates, NATO hoped to pull a Syria by moving in and setting up permanent residence in Odessa amid the chaos.

    1. Paradan

      They can set up a naval base anywhere they want along the Romanian, and Bulgarian coast. A couple piers, some POL tanks, dig a few ammo bunkers, done deal. Odessa is valuable as a commercial port with rail, and roadway links leading into central europe. Ports that aren’t controlled by Germany, France,Italy etc. Heroine, Corn Syrup, and Oil. As for Sevastopol, they just don’t want Russia to have it.

  17. Jason Boxman

    So when I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep, I got to thinking; What is hospital policy with regards to TB patients? Does a hospital accept these patients? If so, what precautions, if any, are taken? If not, why not? My suspicion is that there’s substantial hypocrisy in regards to how hospital IC handles TB, an airborne pathogen, versus how it mishandles SARS-COV-2, an airborne pathogen. I think this kind of comparison might be more on target than cholera, for example, as much as poop emoji are amusing, or seatbelts, because effective precautions for TB are literally identical to that for SARS-COV-2, whereas not wearing seatbelts is own stupidity, for example.

    I could be off base though?

    1. cfraenkel

      All us in the peanut gallery are limited to suspicions. I suspect you’ve hit on one of the underlying factors that ‘explain’ some of the unexplainable decisions we’ve been lamenting these last three years. “Airborne” diseases (ie TB) have longstanding standards of care – like negative pressure hvac – which are very expensive. Fine when limited to a TB ward, but if the system had to apply that higher standard to the entire facility, then where would next year’s bonus come from. (Less cynically, if you had to apply the “airborne” standard, then the facility could only handle 1/X the number of patients, which could be counterproductive in a pandemic.)

    2. bwilli123

      From May 2020

      San Antonio hospital could have an answer to the PPE crisis– elastomeric masks

      …”Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there is a hidden gem in the medical field and it happens to be on San Antonio’s southeast side.
      Eyes from around the world are honing in, on this specialty tuberculosis hospital, the only one left in the nation. But that’s not why it’s getting all this attention…
      Dr. Kizilbash says the Elastomeric is highly effective against airborne diseases such as Tuberculosis. She says the center has used them since 1996 and not once did an employee test positive for TB.

      1. Jason Boxman

        So the answer is that hospitals simply do not deal with TB patients. Makes sense. Why would you want that liability anyway?

  18. flora

    re: migration rush at the Mexican border.

    Gotta import a more pliant, less demanding working class. I mean, have you *seen* the number of workers going on strike in the US now? The gall of those workers! Gotta import cheaper and more docile workers who won’t ask for raises or safer working conditions. / ;)

    1. Pat

      And the Democrats are all in. This focuses on AOC but it is the entire NYC congressional delegation along with Adams and Hochul which want waivers for asylum seekers to legally work.

      And for the record this has been brilliant on the parts of the Republicans. Adams and his inept administration have managed to insult and anger multiple upstate city and county officials by trying to move migrants from the city to their areas with little or no notice. That the hotels they have made arrangements with are have managed to annoy the people who had booked or reserved rooms. The only saving grace for those demanding that asylum seekers can work is that most of them are from the city. That gives them some wiggle room, as the city is so majority Democratic, they can probably afford the loss of un and under employed voters, plus parents of those looking for jobs, etc. Although it may not be as large a cushion as they might think, upstate I am pretty sure it would be the kiss of death. Heck, there is growing pushback in the city about housing plans.

      IMO thid is no longer going to be the “safe” issue it was from a distance. Many of these NY politicians are going to be finding that protectionism isn’t just for Republicans, a whole lot of Democrats are going to be demanding much stricter immigration rules and will vote against those who aren’t working towards that.

      1. flora

        Plenty of Black Chicago voters are p.o.’ed with 500+ new border crossers getting dropped into their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods already have problems city isn’t addressing.

        Cheap and powerless labor is what Wall St. wants, and Wall St. owns the Dems. / ;)

        1. Pat

          Veterans support groups have just gotten into this. They are claiming that homeless veterans are being kicked out of shelters to give the space to the migrants. This will not end well.

          Look it is a hideous situation, 100s more arrive here every day. But sorry to say there is a point you have to admit that the border governors have a point and you start sending 100s a day to the White House and Blair House. And you flat out say that this is a federal problem, which it is. If thousands are camping on the mall, something might be done.

          1. ambrit

            Take my word for this; sooner or later some of these “economic migrants” from South of the Border will be massacred. I know not whether this will be “spontaneous” or “engineered,” but immigration has become a major political issue. All this stoking the fires of the forges from whence come the blame cannons will eventually start a fire outside of the foundry.
            The secondary benefit to the ruling elites is that this will become a major distraction from the primary crimes being committed, by those self same elites.
            A tertiary benefit will be the political cover given to the formalization of the Police State.
            We are witnessing a teaching moment in Authoritarian Political Theory.

            1. chris

              I’m afraid you’re right. All the people who claim they’re being kind by letting this continue will end up fueling a horrible crisis.

              I also found all the coverage today and yesterday amusing. In the lead up to 11:59 PM Thursday, we saw pictures of migrants crashing all around Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. Now the Guardian and others are reporting on how calm it is and migrants in Juarez supposedly don’t want to be deported so they want to follow the regular procedure. Right…

              Regardless of whether it’s easy to dunk on outlets like the Guardian for sensationalizing the run up to Title 42 going away, we’ve seen pictures and video and had reports of people massing at the border for years. This past week we’ve had complaints from numerous authorities in Texas and Arizona that they don’t have the resources or an understanding of what the rules are now. We’re supposed to believe all that magically disappeared and everything is OK now?

      2. hk

        The cynical mindset at work is that the poor don’t vote too often, even if voting is made “easier,” allegedly for their benefit. So Democrats love to talk about making “ballot box more widely accessible” in words, but certainly don’t act like they mean it. Or, at least, I think that is the case. If they really do believe that the poor, rarely voting people are with them, God/god/superhuman beings help us. Come to think of it, that is exactly how we got 2016, isn’t it? What’ll be next? The Russians don’t want free pass of migrants into US and Putin wants to secure American borders?

  19. indices

    Gonzalo Lira appears to have pretty much dropped off the radar since his arrest about a week ago in Ukraine: “The edited video shows heavily armed special forces knocking on Lira’s door and aiming a machine gun at the 55-year-old Lira, who opens the door in his pyjamas. The metal soundtrack from Override Spedup fades down enough to hear the words of a special forces member telling Lira while tapping his arm: ‘Welcome to Ukraine.’ ”
    It does not look promising.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The UK is going to pay for that, one way or another. And it will be at a time of the Russian’s choosing. It appears that a lot of people in the UK are still furious that the Russians shut down Project Syria and want the Russians to pay for that being done by killing as many Russians as possible, even if it has no effect on the course of the war.

  20. Jason Boxman

    People in family finally got sick with something; COVID tests come back negative, but it’s horrifying to hear people cough continually. It’s hard to believe anyone can get sick with anything except COVID at this point, all evidence to the contrary. It makes all of this more real than I’d prefer.

    1. chris

      I’m so sorry to hear that! My and mine just went through that. We had repeated negative rapid and PCR tests for covid. Took us 9 weeks before all the coughing stopped for everyone in the house. Doctors suspected that we had RSV. But no one ever gave us a conclusive diagnosis. What doctors also said was that they don’t care about a chronic cough until you’ve had it for 8 weeks or longer. Which I found intolerable.

      Musinex helped us a lot. So did things to control the coughing at night so we could sleep well and heal. Best wishes on everyone in your family getting better quickly!

    2. The Rev Kev

      I read yesterday that a conductor in Europe at a concert rounded on the audience because of the amount of coughing that was going on. That is not good on several levels that.

  21. griffen

    Baseball commentary on robo umpires calling balls and strikes, pretty interesting use of the technology. Seems like testing this system out in the minors, and gradually on up into AAA ball, managers and players can get accustomed to the very likely outcomes to follow. Down side, less arguing about the calls by the umpire and no real kicking dirt at home base for the managers. Plus, maybe fewer insults and vulgar verbs are going to be hurled about?

    Careful what you wish for in technology adaptation. One wouldn’t wish for the technology to suddenly go a little haywire, say by example, this video clip from beloved ’80s film Robocop. NSFW, a bit extreme as well.

    1. Screwball

      I’m 66. Baseball was my life from the time I was about 5 until late teens when I ripped my arm, which I thought cost me a chance at the big time. I loved baseball with every inch of my body.

      Over the years that changed. The player/owner issues with strikes and lockouts. Then the steroid thing as another example. The game continued to “evolve” as some would say. The players got bigger, faster, but maybe not really better. Can he bunt? No, we don’t bunt here, we hit homeruns – that’s where the money is – hit 20 hr and leave your glove in the bus said the great Al Kaline. Wee Willie Keeler rolled over in his grave.

      But hey, it helped fuel the fantasy game and who knows how much money that made people. Because it became all about money – look at these contracts. Guys making 26 million bucks a year for going to bat 4 times a game and couldn’t run out a triple if he hit it in the Grand Canyon – but it’s the last year of his contract so it’s all good. That’s if he played that day.

      Now they are changing the rules again, and I’m sure the electronic strike zone is inevitable. I’m already done, but if there was ever a chance to get me back – an electronic umpire won’t cut it. They are a part of the game, and a good pitcher can take advantage if he knows how a certain umps works. Another negative. I could go on and on, but I won’t bore us anymore.

      I’m old school through and through – wooden bats, white balls, on grass, with a real umpire. And while I’m at it – take the darn armor off those arms (picture David Ortiz hanging out over the plate in the Fenway bandbox wearing an arm length protective cover). If you get hit by a ball it’s suppose to hurt. Bob Gibson and Big Papi would have gotten into a fist fight.

      I guess I wasn’t done.

    2. Randall Flagg

      “it’s just a glitch. A temporary setback”

      The story of our PMC class…

  22. bayoustjohndavid

    So, have Larry Summers and all the other economists from the six schools mentioned in the Slate article convinced mainstream liberals that recent inflation has disproved MMT?
    It mentions criticism about the omission of environmental economics and feminist economics and then says:
    “Interestingly, one of the most important developments in recent economic history, behavioral economics, came from outside the top-six universities”
    Nothing about MMT.

    1. jrkrideau

      Possibly the economists from the six “sacred’ schools have not heard of MMT?

      I remember an interview with a Chicago School economist mentioning he had never read anything John Maynard Keynes had written.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. Now we know what is going to be done with all of those empty malls. FEMA Re-education Camps. Their motto?
        “Woke makes you free.” Blazoned above the entrances of the FEMA Re-education Camps.

  23. semper loquitur

    “A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation”

    The next time someone tells me that alien wouldn’t visit Earth because it would be like us stopping by to look at an anthill, I’m giving them this link.

  24. skippy

    Ref – The fight over nursing home staffing mandates Axios.

    Did someone say Labour ***Market*** … still waiting for someone to produce a multi Qtr anything to show any so called Market mechanics in the more accurate term Labour Pool. Furthermore how is it even possible to suggest a labour market with NIARU structural un-under-dis-employment.

    Market forces bawhahaha~~~~

    1. ambrit

      I’ve often wondered if the Pinkerton’s Agency wasn’t self aware enough to think of itself as ‘Market Forces.’

        1. ambrit

          The Pinkerton’s originally worked as spies and counter espionage agents for Lincoln during the “War Between the Oligarchs” 1860-1865. So, extra judicial was the methodology from the outset.
          The writer Dashiell Hammett worked for the Pinkerton’s during the big mine strikes and associated wars between Labour and Capital of the late 1800s. His stories of the Continental Op chronicle that time. Try reading “Red Harvest,” from which, supposedly, Kurosawa got the plot for “Yojimbo.” It is, to use an old and time honoured phrase; A rattlingly good yarn.

  25. Jason Boxman

    So Spectrum Internet is using this opportunity it seems to raise prices yet again; Was up $5 last year in the midst of Biden-flation, and this month it’s up a whole $10. Last statement said they were “extending” my promotion for a year, so I guess instead they’re just raising prices. After the promotion, this $50 service will be up to a $100 or thereabouts. I can’t wait. Only competition here, if you can get it, is AT&T DSL or satellite. And AT&T is so thoroughly broken as an organization, I can’t identify verify, so that’s out.

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