Links 6/3/2023

The Strawberry Moon Marks a Sweet Start to Summer Atlas Obscura. This evening.

Thriving Garden in Sealed Bottle Hasn’t Been Watered in Over 40 Years My Modern Met

3M, DuPont Stocks Are Soaring on PFAS Settlement. A Big Overhang Is Gone. Barron’s

The Sackler ruling and the failure of liberal legalism Carl Beijer


As Ocean Oxygen Levels Dip, Fish Face an Uncertain Future Yale360

Why a Warmer Ocean is Triggering Peru’s Worst Dengue Outbreak Bloomberg

Drought Tightens Grip Across the Corn Belt, 34% of Corn Now Hit with Drought AgWeb


The minimizers have a lot to answer for:

Smart Thermometer–Based Participatory Surveillance to Discern the Role of Children in Household Viral Transmission During the COVID-19 Pandemic JAMA, with headline translated into English: More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Remember when conventional wisdom instantly congealed around the claim that children didn’t get Covid? For example:

SARS-CoV-2 pandemic severity in Canada and peer nations (PDF) The Public Health Agency of Canada. From the Conclusion: “Canada’s relatively strong pandemic response during the first two years of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic resulted in large numbers of deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions averted relative to responses in the US and UK, and more modest gains relative to France. A disease control stance focussed on elimination rather than mitigation, as was pursued in Australia during the same time period, would have resulted in further health and economic benefits.”

Myth: Natural Immunity is Better than Vaccination Michael Olesen, Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts. “Proudly blocked by V. Prasad.”

* * *

Douglas County judge rules driver in fatal 2021 crash not guilty due to COVID symptoms KETV. Commentary: “Ready for your endemic insurance increases?”

Austria not liable for Ischgl ski resort COVID outbreak Deutsche Welle. Remember that superspreader event? Seems like a decade ago.

* * *

COVID-19 outbreaks at 7 N.B. long-term care homes after mask mandate for employees lifted CBC. Yes, the last thing they saw was a smile….

The Pandemic Caused a Baby Boom in Red States and a Bust in Blue States Scientfic American

As mpox worries return ahead of Pride, a leather convention offers hope WaPo


China Real Estate: Still very relevant on Earth JP Morgan

Shangri-La Dialogue: the right time to talk is now, US defence chief Lloyd Austin says in swipe at China South China Morning Post

US has more military experience, but China has infrastructure to grow capabilities at a faster rate: Analysts Channel News Asia

An “Axis of Seven” to supplement SCO Indian Punchline (Rev Kev). SCO = Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


Can the Sagaing Forum Take Myanmar’s Spring Revolution to the Next Level? The Irrawaddy

The Koreas

On Hallyu London Review of Books


Pakistan’s always-troubled democracy is on the brink once again Brookings Institution

New Not-So-Cold War

Speech by Secretary Blinken: “Russia’s Strategic Failure and Ukraine’s Secure Future.” U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia. Times commentary.

* * *

The Importance of Uniform as Ukraine Contemplates an Offensive Larry Johnson, A Son of the American Revolution. More spreadsheet thinking; what is countable is fungible (tanks, troops, training, etc.).

Attacks inside Russia raise questions about next phase of Ukraine war (transcript) PBS

US looking to Japan to buy TNT for Ukraine artillery: report The Hill

Ukraine’s Ticking Nuclear Time Bomb The Daily Beast. Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Idea: Ukraine should stop shelling it.

* * *

Russia is spending surprisingly little on its war on Ukraine Insider

Ursula, no ceasefire. Duda, Putin has not lost. OPEC cancels MSM? Newsmax, Moscow or Iowa (video) Alex Christoforou, YouTube. Christoforou says YouTube is going full MiniTrue on his archives, removing videos embarassing to Biden.

Biden Administration

US debt ceiling: Joe Biden says ‘crisis averted’ as he celebrates deal in first Oval Office address South China Morning Post

This Is What Biden Says Is A “Big Win” Lever News

Debt limit deal claws back unspent COVID relief money NPR. Lagging indicator, or leading? Since this is the stupidest timeline, I’d say we clawed back the money just before we’re going to need it. But that’s just me.


Person alleging Biden criminal bribery scheme is a ‘highly credible’ FBI source used since Obama admin: source FOX. Surely not as credible as Steele, however.

Democrats with a small “d”:

Don’t be fooled – Trump’s presidential run is gaining more and more momentum Guardian (Re Silc).

Arizona Supreme Court Rejects GOP Challenge to Mail-in Voting Democracy. On balloting, see NC here.

Spook Country

Israeli agent drowned in Italian boat accident was part of mission targeting Iranian weapons: Media report Anadolu Agency. “Senseless, accidental if you believe in accidents…” –Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow. Read all the way to the end.

Our Famously Free Press

Inside The Meltdown at CNN The Atlantic and Here’s Our Analysis of The Atlantic’s Chris Licht Profile AdWeek. Democrats determined to prevent a second major platforn slipping from their grasp? And, of course, successfully dogpiling a CEO will teach a lesson to lot of other CEOs.

Digital Watch

Peering inside the black box of AI PNAS. Perhaps the opacity is the point? After all, if an AI’s decisions work to the benefit (profit) of its owner, isn’t that all we need to know? Meanwhile, the latest Opera release has a new feature:

Are AI luminaries too freaked out by their creation? Nonzero

The Bezzle

The rare license plates that sell for millions Alts. “People are now paying millions. For a license plate.” Works for the bitcoin ordinals!

The 420

Why Rastafari smoke marijuana for sacramental reasons and the faith’s other beliefs AP


Former Gun Company Executive Explains Roots of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic ProPublica

Zeitgeist Watch

The QAnon Shaman Is Out of Prison and Selling Yoga Leggings Now Vice (Furzy Mouse). Nature is healing.

Utah primary schools ban Bible for ‘vulgarity and violence’ BBC (Brunches with Cats).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Lockheed Martin Boosts Earnings Outlook Citing Billions Of Innocent People Still Left To Kill The Onion

‘Do I have regrets? … Hell yeah,’ says Davenport mayor after partial collapse of Iowa building AP. Too easy….

Class Warfare

The Perfect Storm That Created the Housing Crisis CityWatch

Year-over-year Rent Growth Continues to Decelerate Calculated Risk

* * *

Dockworkers Shut Down, Slow Cargo Operations at West Coast Ports WSJ

‘Lost’ and ‘Dark Crystal’ Writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach on AI in Hollywood and Why TV Writers Must Be on Set Variety

ChatGPT took their jobs. Now they walk dogs and fix air conditioners. Washington Post

The Biggest Problem With The Western Left Is That It Doesn’t Exist Caitlin Johnstone (Rev Kev).

High-flown English New Left Review. Martin Amis.

The Other Side of the Needle’s Eye Plough

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. vao

    The link “Utah primary schools ban Bible for ‘vulgarity and violence’ ” actually points to an article titled “Pakistan’s always-troubled democracy is on the brink once again”.

  2. griffen

    Apartment building collapse in Iowa, yeah Mr Mayor has his regrets. Could have done more, would have done more. I bet this is more to this story yet to be learned, as the city’s primary building inspector quickly resigned and perhaps smartly left town in a hasty retreat. Hello, Florida beaches or Key West maybe?

    The stupidity at work and on display here is remarkable, but not in a good way. There’s this, the earlier 2023 bank failures which happened quite abruptly. Just naming a few.

    1. ambrit

      Your remark about the future domicile prospects of that building inspector remind me of a case in Miami Beach back in the 1970s. Dad, who worked in the City Hall then, mentioned one day as we were passing a multi-story apartment building adjacent to South Beach that the building belonged to a “retired” New York City Police Sergeant. I later looked it up and Dad was telling the truth.
      It reminds me of the Late Great Tammany Hall organization in New York City.
      Who says the Crime does not pay?
      See, Tammany Hall:
      As the DNC counsels: “Vote early, vote often.”

      1. LifelongLib

        Tammany Hall did more to help immigrants and the poor than the “honest” political parties did. Yes it made money doing that but everybody else at the time made money without doing that. Adding Tammany Hall to my list of people who get a historical bum rap (Puritans, Victorians…)

        1. chuck roast

          A case can be made that the Mugwumps, those 19th century political activists viscerally opposed to political corruption, were really most opposed to the political power of Tammany evolving from its roots in the ghettos. These days, our politicians are so self-absorbed that they can’t even bother to give us a turkey at Christmas time.

          1. barefoot charley

            Don’t forget that Tammany was usually run by rich men. They just thought the poor were good for something. How the rich have changed.

            1. LifelongLib

              Most of the leaders of Tammany started off poor, although they didn’t stay that way. The WASP establishment generally hated them (and their constituents) for their mostly Irish Catholic (and later, Jewish) background.

              1. ambrit

                It also helped from a power distribution point of view that the Ward heelers had a degree of control over the immiserated masses who staffed the sweatshops that made the rich richer. New York City was a major manufacturing hub back then.

  3. tevhatch

    US has more military experience, but China has infrastructure to grow capabilities at a faster rate: Analysts Channel News Asia

    I’m borrowing some IPR, “You say that as if it was a good thing.”

    1. tevhatch

      Russia is spending surprisingly little on its war on Ukraine Insider
      Why am I not surprised that a magazine that carries MIC advertising does not mention less corruption as a critical factor? At least they had the guts to carry the article, or the editors were sleepy and desperate to fill space.

      1. Greg

        The article compares forecasted peacetime budgets to actual budgets. That doesn’t say what is being lost on the battlefield.

        Russia isn’t spending much on the war because it is running down stocks. And it is having trouble replacing those stocks domestically as the use of Iranian drones, North Korean ammo and the fielding of obsolete armored vehicles shows.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That is not quite what is going on. Russia is totally refurbishing those old stocks and bringing them up to modern standards which is the smart move to make. The import of Iranian drones was to fill a hole which they can now do domestically as seen by the constant drone attacks lately. We don’t know if they actually imported North Korean ammo and that may be a bit of projection going on as the west is definitely importing South Korean ammo. And big surprise – those ‘obsolete armored vehicles’ actually work as they were designed for this part of the world whereas about 75% of American armored vehicles have broken down and the British ones are almost as bad and don’t handle mud so well.

          Meanwhile the Russians have updated their tactical doctrine and are already re-configuring their force structure to move away from their battalion tactical groups and their equipment is undergoing constant updating with lessons learned from battle experience. Their troops are getting battle experience and recently I read that there was a bit of panic going on as the geniuses in NATO have woken up to the fact that with this war, they have been teaching the Russians how to fight NATO successfully. So we are now at the point where if NATO tries to send a army into the Ukraine, that they know that it will be demolished.

          1. Greg

            And Russia is doing that at almost no budget cost! What a country!

            As for the change from BTGs, it is a sign of failure. A failure to devolve initiative to lower command levels. Control of supporting arms and decisions as to their employment have instead moved up the chain of command. Inflexibility is not a strength in the modern battle space.

            Russia’s military performance is an embarrassment for Russia. The best troops and equipment have been squandered and neither can or will be replaced before the end of this war. The one ace that Russia still has is airpower. But making that observation immediately raises a question. Why, 15 months in, has Russia not leveraged its air force to support ground combat? Based on the vast failure of Russian arms, the simplest answer is that Russia doesn’t know how to.

            1. Yves Smith

              This is Making Shit Up. Go listen to the latest interview of Douglas Macgregor. He’s repeatedly described Bakhmut as an extremely successful trap for Ukraine, that they left the cauldron open so Ukraine would keep feeding men and materiel in. Easier to attrit Ukraine close to Russia’s border and supply lines.

              Russia has literally hundreds of thousands of troops in reserve. Russia has INCREASED it average level of ammo use. 20K used to be a normal day (v. 3K for Ukraine), with 50-60K a big day. 60K is now becoming a regular level of shelling for Russia, as even per the US Discord leaks, the Ukraine shelling levels have fallen to more like 1K a day. The few US press reports from the front lines confirm ammo rationing on the Ukraine side. Brian Berletic has been meticulously cataloguing how US/NATO weapons shipments have been falling, to the degree that the US has stopped report #s of what is being sent to mask that.

              Simplicius reported that Ukraine has used 40% of the global annual supply of Patriot missiles in what, a few weeks. So bye bye Patriots even if you choose not to believe Russian report of damage to three systems.

              Russia has been preparing for this war since 2014 and anticipated it could go a full three years. Russia has not bought anything from North Korea (this is Western propaganda) and looks to have bought Iranian kit to eventually build their own Geran 2 drones. Russia has its own GPS so even the initial Iranian kit would have required Russia to add the GPS module.

              See here for more detail on the poor state of Ukraine’s military: “The Ukrainian Military Is In Bad Shape – Moon of Alabama”


              Oh, and Russia has also build massive fortified lines in the South.

            2. The Rev Kev

              The change from the BTG system was to be expected as it reflected manpower issues in the Russian army which no longer apply. All armies adapt. Look up the US Army Pentomic division system and why it had to be dropped. The Russian army I would suggest is adapting fast and consider the number of western weapons systems that have been introduced and failed against them with the more recent ones the HIMARS rockets and the JDAMs.

              Note a very important historical fact. When you fight an enemy, you are teaching them how to fight you. Not only do the Russians now outclass NATO, a lot of NATO nations have now demilitarized themselves and are running on empty. Countries like Germany have only enough for 2 days of battle and then they are done. And they are typical for NATO nations.

              The Russians air forces have been mostly absent until they had worked on reducing the Ukraine’s aerial defenses. After all, why squander pilot’s lives when you can let drones, artillery and missiles do the same job? But now they are making their presence felt. What you say is like somebody saying in May of 1942 what a farce American forces are in the Pacific and they are always losing and have rubbish equipment. And then remember what came after.

            3. skippy

              Sorry, but how is Militia/Wagner with – support from – the Russian military magically changed to mean Russian Armed Forces proper.

              Describe this failure please.

              They have shown they can take out high value/hardened targets effortlessly. Have been slowly and methodically taking areas they want with significant losses in personnel and equipment for the Ukraine. BTW in what military theory is it a good idea to use ad hoc equipment supplied by the West and not the best for the most part. Add on the lack of familiarity with it save a crash course and sent to the front e.g.”90 day wonders” enacting a real time ‘Black Adder Goes Forth’ play.

              Then on top of it all is Russia hedging the multivariate geopolitical aspects of this event, not myopically focused on some flashy decisive military victory to frighten others – if they don’t do what they want, when they want. Especially when the possibility that NATO proper might get involved, hence why take losses just to impress the world with their military capacity and then contend with NATO after getting weakened. Not to mention, why show your hand with everything you have on offer so the opposing side can analyze it and devise counter measures.

              They actually have a long term game plan that includes what happens after hostilities end and cognitive about how things happening now will effect further down the road outcomes.

              Then again the examples of how things rolled in Iraq and then Afghanistan kinda puts a pale on the so called military victories.

            4. No Party

              Greg, if Russia’s reconfiguration of force structure away from BTGs is a sign of failure, then why is the U.S. Army doing the same thing? Look up ‘Division as Unit of Action’ and you’ll see that the U.S. Army has come to the same conclusion as the Russians – that smaller, modular military units (Brigade Combat Teams, or BCTs in the U.S.; Battalion Tactical Groups, or BTGs in Russia) optimized for counter-insurgency (COIN) operations, will not work in large scale combat operations (LSCO).

              The fact that Russia is reconfiguring its force structure for LSCO, during an actual LSCO fight in Ukraine, is quite remarkable. If the Ukrainian counteroffensive ever materializes, then Russia will be testing its new force structure under real battlefield conditions, gaining valuable data and experience to optimize its DOTMLPF-P capabilities (per U.S. Army parlance: Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, Policy). On the other hand, the U.S. Army’s restructuring efforts (‘Division as Unit of Action’) will be relegated to modeling & simulation, experimentation, and PowerPoint. No doubt the U.S. Army is using Ukraine to prove out some of its own concepts and capabilities under real battlefield conditions, but I doubt the U.S. can trust (or even has access to) good data from Ukraine to act on (as Big Serge so expertly concluded from the Discord leaks).

              Ask any U.S. Army general and I bet they would prefer proving their concepts and capabilities under real battlefield conditions like the Russians are doing in Ukraine any day. Real-world experience is the pinnacle of organizational development and operational effectiveness. For LSCO, the Russians have it, and the U.S. does not.

            5. Scylla

              Are you shitting me? The Russian air force is flying hundreds of sorties per day- they have moved from air superiority to air supremacy. Their attack helicopters account for more tank kills than ground forces (and they wiped out Ukraines indigenous armor, then the combloc armor the US bought up from all over the planet, and are now working on the NATO manufactured armor) People like you are living in a fantasy.
              BTGs were found to be suboptimal, so they made a change- that is what is supposed to occur when peacetime doctrine is found to be flawed on the battle field.
              It is also well documented that Russian sub commanders have more battlefield autonomy than US sub commanders. This has been written about by actual experienced western military officers.
              There is a fundamental difference in Russian strategy, and people try to explain that difference as a failure, simply because it is different. Russia actually has manufacturing capabilities that the west long ago demolished- it’s cheaper to fling a long range missile at a target than it is to load a short range one onto an aircraft carry the short range missile to the target, and then launch from the aerial platform. Why is this so difficult to understand? People like you can work as hard as you want to disseminate this nonsense propaganda to western audiences, but it is not going to change the outcome of the war- you need to move out of the denial and bargaining stages and get into the acceptance stage. All your actions do is make you look foolish and unintelligent. There is this odd belief that if you push this nonsense hard enough, it will change reality. Not going to happen, I’m afraid.
              And I will say it- most of the motivation behind western propaganda pushers is motivated by racism. I’m sick of it.

            6. tevhatch

              BTG is an expeditionary level application of force for use in low to medium intensity combat. It’s not a failure, it’s a tool that has it’s place and function and it’s equivalent remains key in the USA’s empire forward stationed forces. Now, let’s hear about your military background, education… YouTube academy?

        2. eg

          Right, Greg — the Russians are running out of ordnance, just as the Western press has been assuring us for months now …

    2. Kouros

      Has more experience with rag tag armies. Against which it didn’t necessarily win. And we are seeing how much ammunition matters. US would get out of ammunition in 2-3 weeks against China. Then what will all that “experience” do? Knowing how to duck can help you only so much…

      1. The Rev Kev

        There is an ex-military American pilot living in Oz who was also training Chinese pilots. The US sought his extradition back to the US but last I heard he was appealing against this.

  4. Lexx

    ‘The Biggest Problem With The Western Left Is That It Doesn’t Exist’

    Whereas the right’s strategy is tribalism and increased breeding (or ‘eff faster and more frequently’). Bend those little minds while they’re small and lock in the future… of church and state.

    See above ‘The Pandemic Caused a Baby Boom in Red States and a Bust in Blue States’

    1. Carolinian

      Having babies is a political strategy? That’s silly. To be sure in tiny Israel people fret about demographics but Palestinians likely have larger families because they are poor and agricultural.

      Of course those on the right would say the Dems have a demographic strategy as well: open the borders.

      1. Lexx

        Almost all of human behavior is political if you can run out in front of the herd and pretend to lead, while claiming the direction they’ve chosen was also your pick from the beginning.

        Church and state used to lead. Now they mostly show up, say words, and pass the hat; make sure The State doesn’t get in the way of humans doing what they do best.

        Red states also have the highest mortality rates… if deaths exceeds the birth rate, will they be on the slippery slope to becoming ‘failed states’? Can states claim ‘the right to fail’?

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘Gladys telling everyone that children under 12 have been “proven not to be carriers or transmitters of the disease.” ‘

    Gladys bloody Berejiklian. That woman did more than any other leader to break down our successful quarantine here in Oz, aided and abetted by Scotty from Marketing. Last I heard, there are over 20,000 dead Aussies as a result but hey, at least the economy is doing OK, isn’t it? Like Ursulla van der Leyen, charges of corruption followed her around and eventually pushed her out of power but not before the damage had been done. Supposedly the corruption report on her conduct is only a few weeks away but as she has been gone from the political scene for nearly two years, she may only get a verbal tongue lashing. For her party, she is still held in high regard-

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gawd! Considering it is the Australian Financial Review, maybe the real title should be “The Woman Who Saved “Our” Economy.”

  6. Wukchumni

    Slam Dunk Irk, or how I learned to love the debt bomb.

    Listened to Glorious Leader’s ‘Leading the Retreat’ speech on the radio and afterwards the talking heads were comparing it to all-time great Presidential speeches, as we clearly averted catastrophe only thanks to everybody agreeing to writing checks & balances be damned for the next couple years, ok?

      1. griffen

        The spice must continue to flow! Do you want Putin to win and thus avoid being taken in front of the Hague? ( \sarc ).

        Whether it is funding, or fighting expensive overseas conflicts, far away from our native soil and turf of North America, it is the American Empire in action.

    1. Carolinian

      Joe is a hero in his own mind. Or maybe he just watches too much MSNBC.

      Sounds like Blinken is puffing on the same crack pipe. Hunter showed ’em how.

      1. Screwball

        Joe is doing a great job and everyone knows it. MSNBC is better than CNN, and the most accurate and best news organization on TV – according to my PMC friends.

        I don’t know if their falling down drunk on Blue BS disease is because of the propaganda they guzzle from CNN/MSNBC, the White House/Democratic party they they so devotedly follow, or they are just that stupid and clueless.

        I don’t know how anyone can watch even 5 minutes of that blather and not turn it off in disgust. I can only come to the conclusion they spew this crap knowing there are people stupid enough to watch and believe what they are selling, which so many seem to do. Incredible.

        1. Carolinian

          When I go over to my brother’s house I demand that he turn off MSNBC. TCM is much better.

          At home I don’t have cable.

          And IMHO the big money media have always been poor at covering politics with satires of their foibles going back to Altman’s Tanner ’88 and beyond. They’ve been treating the whole thing as a sports contest for so long perhaps the public have come to view it that way–at least the Fox and MSNBC public. These advocacy channels are time filler for stay at homes.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            You must have a very understanding brother. What if he’s in the middle of the Bush Lady’s umpteenth angle on putting Trump in jail forever and ever?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “The Pandemic Caused a Baby Boom in Red States and a Bust in Blue States”

    It sounds interesting this report but I think that doing it by State is too crude a measurement. It would have been better done on a County level as with that, other trends would become apparent – like birth rates in urban versus rural which would get overlooked in a State based analysis.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      in Texas, at least, that would be complicated by lack of rural/smaller county places to give birth…as in “Regional” Hospitals, serving 5-15 counties…rather than “County” hospitals.
      2 of the 4 surrounding counties to me have “hospitals”…altho 2 of them are not much better than clinics with an ER and some minor outpatient stuff.
      my own county has a clinic…which used to be an actual hospital(wife and MIL were born there) with an at least stabilising ER.(still has the 40’s era exam beds and assorted cabinets, etc…as well as an ancient xray machine that fills up a whole room(no longer in use, too expensive to remove))
      so on paper, it would look like all the babies born for at least 12 counties around are born in Fredericksburg.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The only way then to handle that would be to check the home address of the woman giving birth. If US birth certificates have been digitized, then it would be only a matter of looking at the field containing that information and compiling the data. If they have not, forget it as you would have to look at over 3.6 million birth certificates by hand.

      1. The Rev Kev

        But wait. Our brilliant government has announced the solution. They want to bring in people by the hundreds of thousands. No idea where they are going to live or what jobs there will be for them of course but nothing that a bit of magical thinking won’t fix.

  8. timbers

    Head line – Tanks, F-16 Jets Won’t Be Ready For Ukraine Counteroffensive: Pentagon.
    Mark Milley says equipment Ukraine claims it needs for counter offensive will not be ready in time. So I guess Ukraine needs to do it before election season kicks in. Looks like someone is being thrown under the bus. Surprise!

    1. Polar Socialist

      Maybe, just maybe, one shouldn’t plan military offensives on equipment one doesn’t have?

      I don’t know whether “the offensive” is planned by Zelensky, Zalushny or Nuland, but it sure sounds like a lot of hopium and prayers were involved.

      1. Aurelien

        If an offensive is reported in the media but there are no troops or equipment involved, has it in fact still taken place?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve found the entire USA Empire enterprise in Ukraine, since…what…early 90’s?…quite offensive.
          confirming everything i didn’t want to know about my country, but suspected and learned about anyway, since at least Reagan.

          and i suspise that there will be “troops” and “equipment” involved…at least on camera…but it’ll be old men and boys(maybe single moms, too-#metoo!)…and all the clunkers and lemons and beaters the West(TM) can drag out of the yard at Killeen.

        2. timbers

          My guess – the Ukraine attacks on civilians in the north toward Moscow is part of the offensive, because that’s the best Ukraine can do at present. And those attacks on civilians may be what got the Kremlin to up its game and target decision centers like GUR.

        3. vao

          Jorge Luis Borges would probably have made something remarkable out of this. The story of a major event announced for a long time, always postponed, and then suddenly declared to have taken place (with plenty of testimonies and material proofs) despite nobody having seen it happen, everybody looking in vain for traces of its effects where it took place while finding evidence where it was not supposed to occur, which then becomes a main historical episode duly expounded in books, and that profoundly marks the fate of a nation, seems to correspond to the kind of storyline he could have developed.

          Hey, I know: “ChatGPT, assume you are Jorge Luis Borges and write a story about this: two countries are at war…”

      2. Lex

        But if you sent a bunch of stuff that the Russians blew up, while simply accepting Ukrainian statements that all missiles and drones were shot down there could be a misunderstanding of the true state of things. Joe Biden stood on a stage and claimed 100,000 dead Russians in Bakhmut (artyomovsk). This suggests that the highest political leadership circles are completely insulated from reality.

        1. barefoot charley

          Don’t forget, the Spring Offensive started out as the Winter Offensive last December. The mostest offense was the Bakhmut meat-grinder, which of course Z was winning to the very day he lost it, when “it still exists in our hearts.” Kinda like all those Offensives.

        2. skippy

          All the jawboning aside, I have yet to see anyone build any mechanized front line battlefield vehicles that can withstand/survive accurate and concentrated artillery fire – let alone missiles.

          This is the interesting bit about any so called offensive because that means concentrating forces. Without suppressing or taking out the Artillery/Missile threat it won’t be much of a offensive for long.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If F-16s and Abrams tanks proved totally ineffective against Russian military equipment, have you any idea how that will effect future sales to the rest of the world? I heard yesterday that because some of the flops with US military gear like Patriot systems, that Raytheon shares have already dropped in value.

      1. timbers

        IMO the greatest risk F-16 pose – which I mentioned long ago – is that airbases outside Ukraine (NATO or non NATO) will be used to launch them, resulting in further Western mission creep and escalation.

        1. hk

          Which, in turn, makes the lack of “Ukrainian” F16’s irrelevant. I fully expect the “Ukrainian” offensive may well involve NATO air forces in thinnest disguise possible, if any, attacking, say Belarus from Poland, with the most ridiculous excuses–they are not NATO! They are pro-Ukrainian Belarusian partisans… in F16’s taking off from Lublin. (Partly sarcasm, but I don’t know if it really is that far beyond realm of possibilities.)

          1. digi_owl

            Well there is a precedence, with soviet pilots flying North Korean marked MIGs during the Korean war. Supposedly everyone knew as first of all they were too good to be raw recruits, and second the radio chatter was all Russian.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Alexander Mercouris has twice now said in a video that the air war was turning in North Korea’s favour by the end of the war. Perhaps this is why.

              1. hk

                Mercouris sounded like the entire war was turning in communists’ favor, which was not true, BUT it was true that MiG 15s made daylight bombing of North Korea too dangerous for B29s which were suffering unacceptable losses. In effect, US airpower was largely driven out of skies over middle of North korea. Ground war did come to a stalemate: neither side could advance without unacceptable casualties, if at all possible, and winning over Korean territory became irrelevant in the bigger conflict (NB: This point is relevant today, too, I think) So the ceasefire was the only path forward.

                The difference is that Soviet MiG 15s in the Korean War neutralized only American airpower over middle of North Korea. They didn’t fly in support of the frontline communist forces, so US tactical airpower had free hand over what would eventually become the DMZ. In Ukraine, the expected role of the F16s is not to deny Russia the command of air over Lwow–and Russians rely on missile for long range bombing anyways, which F16s are useless against–like the Soviets did in Korea. They are supposed to support Ukrainian forces at the front, either by challenging Russian airpower over the battle lines or bombing Russian forces, including, likely, those in Russian territories. That strikes me as qualitatively different from Russians in the MiG Alley, as the “paper thin disguise” would be even less possible to maintain–in Korea, only those “in the know” knew and they could keep it secret in a far more restrictive information environment. If NATO is bombing Russia and several hundred US aircraft are openly blown out in Russian airspace, no one will be able to prevent things from blowing up hard, rather than force a stalemate like in Korea.

        2. Jason Boxman

          Is there any other choice? A tweet? linked here recently noted that the F16 isn’t designed for takeoffs from rough, damaged runways, because the jet intakes hoover up whatever is on the ground right into the engines. Wouldn’t that quickly rule out any airbase in Ukraine, as any such place that isn’t damaged beyond use by Russia likely will be once F16s are based there?

      2. digi_owl

        F-16 is being retired, so it may well be used as an excuse to push the F-35 harder.

        Abrams is a different story though, but i am unsure how many foreign customers there are. Most European nations are buying German or Korean right now.

        Heck, i’m not sure USA even has the capacity to build brand new tanks these days. I think it was some years into the Iraq mess that i saw something on TV about a place doing Abrams refurbishments by stripping them down to the naked frame. And it was kinda done to avoid having the place shut down completely, because USA has not had to produce a new tank in decades.

        1. vao

          I seem to remember that the USA has a single remaining production line for Abrams tanks, and that its capacity was recently boosted from 5 to 15 per month — which is still pitifully below what Russia can churn out.

          1. Lex

            Correct. It’s in Akron, Ohio and the plant was only saved from shutdown by politicians fighting for local jobs. It also produces other armored vehicles so any production increases will come at the expense of something else.

        2. Polar Socialist

          I just saw an article from defense seminar by Royal Aeronautical Society abut lessons learned from Ukraine War, and one of the main things was that NATO has to re-learn from Finland how to disperse the air bases during crisis to achieve higher resilience.

          What they left out, of course, was that Finland itself will transfer to F-35, which is incapable of operating from ad-hoc bases*. Finland has half a dozen airfields with long enough runway and within range of the capital area. So, a resilience worth of 6 cruise missiles. Oopsie!

          The Finnish Air Force gave up two of it’s long standing specifications just to get F-35: two-seat training planes and capability to operate from forest fields.

          * Or even from normal bases, apparently. Didn’t they just publish that apparently F-35 has no capacity to cool both the engine and the radar at the same time, which leads to everything running much hotter than designed, and thus wearing down way much faster that anticipated. So, one out of three is a hangar queen at any given time and of the other two only one is fully capable, the other can take off and land.

          1. Glen

            Sounds similar to what happened to the US Navy back in the 1980’s. We all understood that making NEW battleships was almost a lost art so the old WW2 battleships were refurbished and modernized as part of getting to a 600 ship Navy. I think USN ship building capacity is even worse now. I don’t know how true this is for items like tanks and aircraft, but there is only a handful of mega corporations in the MIC that do this type of work compared to hundreds of companies in WW2, and maybe twenty or so back in the 1980’s.

            But America’s MIC complex is all about profit, not winning wars. I hope this was clearly explained to Ukraine. I suspect it was not.

            1. Late Introvert

              Our bosses shipped all the factories overseas, and now they can’t actually win any of their stupid wars. Gotta love it.

              1. rowlf

                I always thought one of the lessons of the US war effort in WWII was that the government has to put a leash on its industrialists or else the industrialists will undermine the war effort. General Of The Army George Marshall complained the industrialists were always wanting to shift production to consumer goods before the war was finished. Then there was also that nasty Truman Committee getting in the way of capitalism during the war.

                1. JBird4049

                  A big problem of the American Civil War and the Second World War wasn’t production or even quality of equipment, but it was in the deliberate substandard manufacturing of the equipment, and, particularly in the civil war, in the food. The contracts would say x quantity in y quality, but x quantity in z quality would be delivered. The descriptions of the Union soldiers food especially in the first year are disgusting.

                  Not that anyone’s food during the civil war on either side was good, but unless you were a senior officer, or had some cash, or maybe posted at divisional headquarters, stuff like desiccated vegetables aka desecrated vegetables, hardtack or dried biscuit, salt pork, maybe beans, and boiled coffee was all yours morning, noon, and night. Usually, and if the contractors or the raiders did not interfere.

                  Interestingly, when two opposing armies were stopped across each other for even a week, confederate tobacco and union coffee would be exchanged sometimes by mini rafts pulled across a stream or river, plus each side’s different alcohol, and anything that could be read.

                  IIRC, even the nighttime sentries would occasionally set up an exchange if the officers were being hard cases.

                  Considering that often the week or month before and after would be spent trying to kill each other, I guess this is encouraging. Rather like the Christmas Truce during the First World War.

          2. Polar Socialist

            That’s also what the Russians do to old T-72s and BMP-2s at the moment. They strip them of everything, sandblast and rebuild them to modern standards. It’s really hard to find any production numbers, though.

            The only possible slip of information was recently by a representative of Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory who announced that on the first quarter of this year they surpassed their previous engine production record from Cold War by 12%. They make engines for T-90M and T-72BM2 tanks.

            The factory building new BMP-3 and refurbished BMP-2 IFVs also said that their workforce is doing 12 hours sifts 6 days a week for a ninth month in a row.

        3. scott s.

          The USMC surplussed around 450 Abrams when they decided to get out of the armored business.

    3. ilsm

      some news ‘story’ on Ukraine f-16 used an $11 billion figure. that suggest a full package of spare parts, spare engines, wide range of ground support equipment, munitions support equipment, etc for less than 100 aircraft.

      that would be the donating countries giving the entire f-16 support contingent.

      makes sense but most of the support stuff needs a support contingent too

      and it is 40 years old.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Christianity and money–

    This article provides some very interesting history of the relationship between Christianity and money between the time of Constantine, when Christianity and the Roman state became aligned, up through Aquinas in the Late Middle Ages with a quick peak at the 19th century.

    The article confirms my perception of this history that the Church remained wary of the “root of all kinds of evil”, i.e. money well past the time of Constantine. Since that is obviously not the case now across Christendom, when did it change?

    Tracing the Church’s attitude toward usury provides an answer. Deep in one of the oldest sections of the Hebrew bible, the Book of Covenant found in the 21st and 22nd chapters of Exodus, is a prohibition against charging interest, also known as usury, to debtors who are poor or fellow Hebrews. (Exodus 22:25-27). By the time one of the last books of the histories was written, a loan charging interest was specifically called massa( מַשָּׁא ), usually translated as “usury.” Moving to the Greek bible, Luke is the preeminent class warrior among all New Testament writers. He has Jesus challenging creditors to not even expect their principle back, much less interest.

    The Church took these texts seriously. At the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, the same council that pronounced Arianism a heresy and proclaimed Jesus as “begotten not made,” a canon was enacted prohibiting clergy from charging interest. By the time of the Lateran II council in 1179, regulation of interest on loans was expanded to laypersons who were prohibited from partaking in the sacrament if they engaged in usury.

    So if the Church persisted in the long tradition of prohibiting usury, which amounts to prohibiting capitalism, all the way up to the 12th century, when did it change? This bit of history from a answer to a query in The Guardian lays the blame on one person in particular:

    The taking of interest was forbidden to clerics from AD 314. It was strictly forbidden for laymen in 1179. The beginning of the end as far as the total ban on interest was concerned came in the sixteenth century. Although Luther and Zwingli still condemned it utterly, Calvin and some progressive Catholic thinkers such as Collet and Antoine argued that interest-taking did not constitute usury, as long as it represented the real difference between the value of present and future sums of money, and was not mere extortion.

    The accommodation between the Calvinist branch of Christianity and Mammon was cemented by the Calvinist doctrine of election. Christians have always asked the questions, “Why are some saved and others damned?” Calvin’s answer was “God decides,” in other words, God elected some to salvation and others to damnation as part of his foreknowing at the time of Creation. Wow. So what I think I’ve chosen means little to nothing. What matters is whether God has elected me or not. How can I know? The Calvinists’ answer was, “Check your bank account.” Completely opposite of Luther, who suggested true Christians were the poor and weak in society, Calvinists looked to one’s prosperity as an indicator of God’s favor and election to salvation.

    So a religion that is described as “communist” has become, in the form of the Calvinism that has shaped American Christianity more than any other denomination, a faith that finds a rich capitalist as the one most likely to succeed at salvation as well as capitalism. Jesus, who told the rich young man to get rid of his money if he wanted to be saved, had been turned upside down.

    1. Carolinian

      Michael Hudson talked about all this

      I have more than a passing familiarity with the Baptist world of today and while some Texas megachurces and the like go all “prosperity gospel” I don’t think that’s true of the mainline denominations where Bible teachings against greed are still taken seriously–at least rhetorically. Of course one might argue that the mainline denominations are fading and the megachurches on the rise but my impression here in the Bible belt is that religion in general is a declining feature of civic life.

      As for greed, doesn’t that headquarter in downtown Manhattan–not exactly holy roller territory?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It makes for an interesting comparison on the church history. I stayed out of that diary.

        The health-and-weath stuff is really more Gnostic than orthodox Christianity and limited to Pentecostals and Charismatics. “Believe it, and it will happen.” Lutherans would call that a theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross.

        It’s something to hear that upstate SC is witnessing a decline in Christianity’s influence. If there, then where is it not? Africa is the answer, I guess.

        1. Carolinian

          upstate SC is witnessing a decline in Christianity’s influence

          Just my not particularly expert impression. Don’t take it as “gospel.”

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. gotta golden bull and everything…

        when i was doing my virtual Jane Goodall research frenzy into the american Right, circa 2003-2012…on of the local aspects was using a fake email addy to obtain the weekly sermons from the local churches.
        the latter half of this period coincided with the double pronged steeplejacking ive mentioned…so the number of weekly sermons grew from 15 to 23, before settling into the 16 we enjoy, today.
        the biggest eye opener, for me, was the almost toal lack of the parts of the bible wherein Jesus Speaks…save on easter, of course.
        none of my favorite Jesus stuff to be found…you know, all the socialist stuff.
        lots of Timothy, and Isiah and Daniel.
        and gobs of Paul/Saul.
        i understand, in theory, that these choices lie with Rome, or whatever headquarters of the various flavors of protestantism…but only the Catholics and Lutherans out here seem to rigidly adhere to the Official Program.
        the more towards “nondenominational” and/or evangelical one gets, the more it seems up to the preacher.
        and it is as HMP says.
        Calvin + Chicago School.
        the Catholics(like my wife) at least give a good talk about the Social Gospel…especially the Hispanic Half of the local church; the white half, not so much,lol…(ie:lots of rumbling constantly about how brown the church is, and being adverse to spanish mass, etc)
        the Assembly of God, notably, is an exception…the preacher is an actual carpenter, and is one of the most authentic christians i’ve ever met.
        but that’s a tiny congregation.
        the CoC(church of christ, not chamber of commerce, fwiw), methodists and especially the big Non-Denom and Cowboy and 4 ” fall on the floor”churches that emerged from the Steeplejacking Time are filled with greedy bastids who obviously reckon that they’re among the chosen. only new testament they seem to like, aside from the obligatory Paul, is Revelations.
        someone should write a paper.

        (i pretty much stopped paying attention to any but the Catholics a long time ago)

        1. GramSci

          I’ve come to believe that the role of the Church, from Pilate through Constantine on down to its modern social media ‘reformations’, is to help identify the sincere followers of Jesus, so that they can be more efficiently crucified.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Sorry. I should have included text from the link. It’s “The Other Side of the Needle’s Eye,” the very last of today’s Links.

    2. chuck roast

      …and of course the usuriers had to go to confession. A real downer. Only one way to get that sin of usury forgiven…kick-back to the guy doling out the penance. And thus was born the Cathedral-Industrial-Complex! But, what the hay, it put craftsmen to work for centuries. And I suppose you could argue that it got the rich swine into heaven. I don’t think it works that way anymore. “Say ten Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys.”

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Tetzel’s Pretzels. The soul heads to heaven as soon as you can hear the clink of the coin in the collection box.

    3. Anonymous 2

      IIRC the Medici banking family bought themselves the Papacy and got Catholic teaching changed in the C16th. Nothing really changes?

    4. anon in so cal

      Max Weber, in “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” identified Calvinist ideology as a key factor in the emergence of modern capitalism in Germany. He argued that there was an “elective affinity” between Calvinist practices and the set of behaviors propitious to robust capitalist development. Calvinists worked hard, had careful accounting practices, lived ascetically, and reinvested profits into their enterprises.

      Weber disagreed with Marx on many points; in this work, W advanced the notion of the relative autonomy of the ideological thereby inverting the direction of causality in M’s ‘base and superstructure’ model.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Former church buildings, with that expansive nave, can be quite useful for other purposes:

      Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
      Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
      Restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
      Church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
      Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
      Room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
      Seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
      Have to take out their garbage for a long time.

      Alice’s Restaurant” Arlo Guthrie

  10. flora

    The Pandemic Caused a Baby Boom in Red States and a Bust in Blue States Scientfic American

    Now compare vax uptake rates in blue states and red states. Many many young women were saying early on that after the vax their cycles went wonky.

    Also compare deviations from 5 year avg birthrates between the most and least vax’d countries.

    Maybe the vax has nothing to do with it. But nobody in the MSM or in US public health agencies want to ask the question. (Sponsored by, brought to you by….)

    1. Lexx

      Reliable monthly cycles tied to gut microbiome balance and maybe those (wonky) microbiomes weren’t all that healthy to begin with. Ignorance is bliss (but not the same as ‘perfect health’). Without a baseline pre-Covid, who knows really?

  11. flora

    From Vaccines Journal:

    ” …emerging evidence suggests that the reported increase in IgG4 levels detected after repeated vaccination with the mRNA vaccines may not be a protective mechanism; rather, it constitutes an immune tolerance mechanism to the spike protein that could promote unopposed SARS-CoV2 infection and replication by suppressing natural antiviral responses.”

    “Increased IgG4 synthesis due to repeated mRNA vaccination with high antigen concentrations may also cause autoimmune diseases, and promote cancer growth and autoimmune myocarditis in susceptible individuals,”

    1. Verifyfirst

      Does this mean Novavax or a viral vector vaccine would be safer or more effective over time? Asking, I have zero idea.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ima gon say Yes.
        the mrna platform was known 20 plus years ago to have significant side effects and adverse events…like, specifically, induced autoimmune disorders.
        i learned this in the fall of ’18, while in a research frenzy about cancer when wife was first diagnosed.
        it would have been an amazing…even revolutionary…platform.
        but for things like this.
        this is why the folks doing that research couldn’t go any further towards actual treatments.

        and knowing all that, almost 2 years before the covid vaxes came out using this tech, i was sort of shocked that they went ahead with it…especially given that there was a simple, FDR-ish method of nipping the whole deal in the bud(paid lockdown for a month, etc)…but that would have given the lie to the whole austerity argument.
        …and even more shocked that they so badly screwed up the entire trial protocol in such an egregious manner(we were the third trial)
        had LIHOP written all over it from then, for me.

      1. flora

        Wait, you’re saying my comment is not what we want to see,
        or you’re saying these studies are not what we expected to see and are shocked to see?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i think the latter.
          certainly how i feel.
          just worse and worse.
          like an airborne aids.
          our grandchildren will call this era The Culling, or something.
          Hitler would be proud

    2. kareninca

      Brian Mowrey was on this in July of 2022, in his “Tolerance Cometh: IgG4 After Multiple-mRNA Doses.”

      “Spike-overload finally seems to be showing a concrete effect in the repeat-injected: B Cells in two separate cohorts were found to be self-switching to IgG4 class antibodies, associated with tolerance and anti-inflammatory response, after the 3rd dose.” (

      If I understand this properly, the covid vaccines are acting like allergy shots. People are so completely exposed to the antigens that their body becomes desensitized. The virus is seen as just background noise, and the body doesn’t try to get rid of it.

      As Rintrah says: “After mRNA vaccination the immune response against Spike is shifting to IgG4, which is how your body responds after repeat exposure to stuff it needs to tolerate, like bee venom, pollen or peanut proteins.” (

      The worst part is that it is possible that the body’s response to covid is similar enough to that of other respiratory viruses, that people will also lose the ability to fight off just the right versions of those.

      The hope is that the body has enough backups and workarounds to get past this. Anyway, I have no idea how much to worry about this particular peril on behalf of the vaxxed. I am doing my best to keep my vaxxed spouse from catching respiratory viruses, just in case.

      1. JBird4049

        Gee, this is the same method used to treat allergies. Desensitized the body to a particular antigen with repeated exposure.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli agent drowned in Italian boat accident was part of mission targeting Iranian weapons: Media report”

    So, twenty Italian and Israeli spooks on a boat having a celebration when through an accident, it all went public. I read elsewhere where it was suppose to be a birthday celebration but I doubt it. The article says that it was part of a mission targeting Iranian weapons but I doubt that as well. Maybe some sort of cooperation between Meloni and Netanyahu and this group was to coordinate any actions?

  13. Jay Ess

    “The Pandemic Caused a Baby Boom in Red States and a Bust in Blue States”

    I think that some critics of COVID minimalizers are missing a detail. Those of us who still take COVID seriously are thinking about our long term health, but long term survival instincts simply aren’t as strong as sexual instincts for many people. The “I want to see your smiling face” crowd aren’t necessarily wrongly assessing the long term health impacts of COVID (though some of them are), they are simply prioritizing reproductive urges, even if they don’t realize it.

    1. Lexx

      ‘but long term survival instincts simply aren’t as strong as sexual instincts for many people.’

      Although not foremost in their thoughts in the heat of the moment, they are one and the same from the tribal POV, or as you wrote ‘many people’. Even the most discreet coupling is a bit of an “orgy”.

    2. kareninca

      It’s not necessarily sexual instincts. From what I can see there is a reproduction instinct that is separate from a sexual instinct. I know a few women who are just desperate to have kids, and they are now having them. It doesn’t have anything to do with sex, for them (other than that is the mechanism).

  14. Carolinian

    Re CNN–if a legacy news channel falls in a forest of cable TV opinion barkers will anybody hear it–or care? The excessively long and boringly partisan Atlantic piece is way more than we needed to know about a network some of us stopped watching long before Trump. Perhaps they could revive themselves as a hard news network but that would be swimming against the tide and send The Atlantic into further tizzies.

    1. Late Introvert

      Vertlantic would have got it down to one sentence. I skimmed that load of bilge, I guess CNN pulled a Bud-Light only in reverse? How many of these Execs are running on 2 or more C19 knock-outs?

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    Patrick knows?

    A little less than 40 years ago, the Kansas City Royals, fresh off a 7-game World Series win over the cross-state rival Cardinals, drafted Heisman Trophy winning Auburn fullback, Bo Jackson. To almost everyone’s surprise, Bo signed with the Royals rather than the Tampa Bay Bucs who drafted him in the first round of the NFL draft.

    Bo showed the talent to be another Willie Mays with no-hop throws from the left field wall to home plate, tape measure home runs and blazing speed, but after a couple of years of improvement, he signed as a free agent with the most hated rival of the Kansas City Chiefs: the Oakland, then LA, Raiders. That launched the era of Bo Knows that inundated the TV (video) for two years in the early 90s. Bo continued to play full-time for the Royals, but at the end of the baseball season, he’d head for the Raiders. At the time, my sons and I played a lot of Tecmo Bowl, and Bo was my eldest son’s favorite. (It was Steve Young and Jerry Rice for our middle child and Christian Okoye for me.) Bo’s amazing abilities as a video game player were celebrated in a recent ad. (video)

    In 1991, tragedy struck as Nemesis came looking for Hubris. Bo was headed for another touchdown when someone grabbed his leg to tackle him and the thigh was pulled out of its socket. Although he had already achieved All-Star status in both sports, something no one else has done, his career in football was over, and he was never the same as a baseball player.

    That history is why I’m sure I’m not the only Chiefs fan who was a little troubled about a video from yesterday. A celebrity softball game for charity was held at Royals stadium with some Kansas City-connected celebs like Paul Ruud, Eric Stonestreet and Rob Riggle. Recent Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes was there as well, and given that Mahomes’s high school pitching ability would have made him a high MLB draft choice coming out of high school had not he been determined to be a quarterback rather than an MLB pitcher like his dad, the expectations were high

    And Mahomes, like he almost always does on the football field, produced in the home stadium of the baseball team of which Mahomes is now a part owner. (video),

    Don’t do it, Patrick. Don’t give in to hubris and become a Patrick Knows.

    1. griffen

      The ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on Bo Jackson is an entertaining look back in time, no social media and virtually the beginning of a nascent national recruiting board for college athletics if you will. Bo was a grown man coming out of high school. Would have loved to see what more he could do, say if he chose to strictly play the one sport over the other.

      The one time, in particular, when Bo just shrugs Brian Bosworth aside was worth remembrance.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        A comet flashing through the sky. He did things in Royals stadium no one else has ever done. We had a dog named “Bo,” posters, shirts. He was very popular at our house.

        Mahomes is another with so many extraordinary talents. As a Chiefs fan, I hope he stays concentrated on football for a while. After the Royals’ experiment with Bo failed, it was 30 years before they were even in the playoffs again.

  16. Jason Boxman

    Gladys telling everyone that children under 12 have been “proven not to be carriers or transmitters of the disease.”

    Because children aren’t human, they’re actually aliens from outer space! Duh.

    1. kareninca

      Yeah, at the time I filed that claim along with the claim that the vaccine stays in your arm. In the mental garbage bin.

  17. Tom Stone

    A book recommendation: “The art of scientific investigation” by Beveridge.
    It is short and a delight to read, finding books like this is why I love Library book sales!

  18. Bsn

    I see hope (not the Obama type). I didn’t read the “Russia’s Strategic Failure and Ukraine’s Secure Future.” and it’s Binken-A-Thon, I went right to the comments. A large majority of the 50 or so I read were quite negative in regards the war. People are starting to realize “We” are the bad guys. Bad Blinken, Bad Biden, Numbskull Nuland.

  19. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – Thank you for showing the Opera settings for the AI prompts that started showing up in the tool bar recently. I haven’t made the time to go find them myself.

    When that AI button showed up I was very disappointed/disgusted that Opera would include that in the first place. I guess competition from other browsers was one reason. Still, I wish they hadn’t done it. I started using Opera back when Netscape Navigator died and was involved with a user group in the early years that helped with the design of the “O” logo.

    There seems to be a growing chorus of folks warning about the massive problems with AI, but I doubt it will be enough to slow the mad dash to use AI everywhere.

    I found it quite karmic when NEDA replaced its people with a chat bot and the bot ended up telling callers the opposite of what they needed to hear. I hope the incident is the end of that organization. Their treatment of their (former) employees makes a mockery of calling themselves a helpline.

    1. Jason Boxman

      A bizarre Chinese company bought Opera years ago. The developers all left to Vivaldi. That browser is a continuation of the legacy.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Thank you, Jason. I was unaware. That means I’ll have to try Vivaldi. I’ll probably still have to use Firefox for a couple of web sites that are critical to my business. Ah well, such is life.

        Stay safe out there.

  20. Lex

    Ganja: it’s almost certain that Jamaicans were smoking weed before the Indian indentured servants were brought to the island to replace slaves.

    Smoking “flower” (ganja) is generally limited to southern, tropical India. But it was well established when the Portuguese landed in east Africa, strongly suggesting that Indian Ocean trade had brought the plant to Africa from the coast. The common story is that hashish was spread to Africa from Central Asia spread by Arab traders fairly late, but this doesn’t make sense based on how East Africans used the plant (you can’t make dry sieve hash in tropical climates) nor the genetics of the plants found in Africa.

    The plant moved west in Africa, both naturally and because of the internal slave trade. African porters were famous in colonial diaries for getting high and performing superhuman work loads without much food. And then the plant travelled with slaves to S. America and the Caribbean. The Portuguese have documented export of cannabis from Africa to Brazil to supply the new world demand.

    Again, the chemotype of plants long grown in South and Central America and the Caribbean are heavily related to African varieties, which are descended from South Indian varieties. The founder effect is pronounced. CBD percentages are effectively null, whereas varieties from northern india and especially Central Asia show great variety in proportion of THC to CBD. This is the primary chemical difference between “indica” and “sativa”. Morphologically the difference is adaptation to environmental conditions and a better description would be “temperate” and “tropical”.

    Interestingly, the indentured servants sent to Jamaica were primarily from southern India where smoking ganja “flower” is traditional as opposed to more northern India where charas (hash derived from rolling the plant between your hands) is the most common. So there was a happy reconnection of tradition. As opposed to the current gentrification of cannabis, weed has traditionally been an intoxicant of the working and lower classes.

    “The african roots of marijuana” is perhaps the best historical book on marijuana, and I’ve read most of them. It’s serious scholarship but also readable.

  21. Henry Moon Pie

    A little extra spice on your Coney dog? The Sonic in Espanola, NM is adding a special ingredient to some customer’s Coney dogs, namely cocaine. Apparently, one of the employees was making a little on the side, and with hand-eye coordination perhaps impaired, he put a baggie containing cocaine in the bun along with the ‘dog and the chili and cheese. The customer was non-plussed and called the cops. She seemed to say that she hadn’t ingested, but she was talking so fast no one knew for sure.

    There could be “New Mexico Man” stories too. I prosecuted a guy in Taos who had been arrested for possession of the 20 pounds of pot sitting in the bed of his pick-up while he was inside a 7-11. Why he was prosecuted was that he had stolen the pot at gunpoint from the New Buffalo Commune. Poor hippies couldn’t catch a break. When the defendant was let out on bail pending trial, he sauntered over to the sheriff’s evidence room and asked if he could have his pot back.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I wonder whether Wuk has ever been to Ojo Caliente. It’s not far in Western distance from Chaco.
        Ojo Caliente is the hot springs filmed in “Easy Rider.”

    1. chuck roast

      …whew, you gave me some wicked Nuevo flashbacks! My fave was the fall of ’67 when scores of cops from all over NM gathered in Bernalillo to raid a nascent commune up in Placitas. The MSM (was there anything else at the time) played it like we were all saved from an “Alien Invasion.” All the hippies were in the can and we went up there the next day to check the place out. I came away with some beads (sorry) that I wore around after that…I was branded as an automatic hippie. Nuevo is indeed a singular place.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        We ended up for most of our time there in Mora County where the locals formed a mob and ran a commune out. One night, my spouse and I were traveling home and ran out of gas about two miles from the house. I had a can there for the chain saw, so we could walk the whole thing if we had to. A truck came along and picked us up and drove us home. We had them in for a beer, and the talk turned to that night. “We killed those hippies, man, and raped their women. They won’t be back.” (The incident was bad, but that was gross hyperbole.) I began to think about my long hair and beard, our living in a house with no running water (but lights!). “Why aren’t we hippies,” I asked. Benji thought for a minute, then “You just aren’t, man.”

        I was both relieved and disappointed.

  22. chris

    I’ve noticed the coverage of the Ukraine conflict in the Guardian and the few other rags I can stomach has substantially lessened. As I don’t have the constitution to suffer through MSDNC or CNN or Fox, can others say whether the war is falling off the front page?

  23. mrsyk

    Eastern Canada’s latest wildfire burns in Sept Iles. From the Frontier Post. The lede, “TORONTO (AFP): Canada is facing a catastrophic spring wildfire season with massive and powerful blazes out of control in all corners of the country, and thousands more people displaced on Friday.” More, “Some 10,000 people on Friday were ordered to evacuate from Sept Iles in Quebec in the face of advancing wildfires.” Thousands ordered to flee advancing wildfires in Canada’s Quebec

  24. Tom Stone

    I’ve been out and about today and have seen very few masked people, however two people came up to me and said “You don’t have to wear a mask anymore”.
    That’s the third time in a week and the third time in three years.

    1. ambrit

      Tell them that you’ve broken out of home quarantine and yet don’t want to spread whatever it was that scared the doctors so much.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Tell them that you are actually infected with covid and the mask is there to stop spreading it to other people. Then do a bit of hard coughing in their direction through your mask and see if they retreat.

    3. kareninca

      You could say, “Would you like to know why I’m wearing a mask?” in a meaningful tone. I’m pretty sure they will run.

      At Trader Joe’s in Palo Alto, CA, yesterday about one in 20 people were wearing masks.

      At the credit union here yesterday, three out of 14 were wearing masks; all customers, no employees. One was a young Hispanic guy who was dropping something off for his church (N95, with ear loops). One was a middle aged black lady (N95, ear loops). One was me (N95, head loops, middle aged white lady). Not a terrible ratio considering.

    4. Daryl

      Which is a weird interaction, if you think about it.

      Has anyone ever gone up to someone in April/May and said “You don’t have to wear a sweater anymore?”

      We were told “masking is an individual choice” but really, that was never the intent and one wonders how much longer it will be legal to mask up. They don’t want us buzzkills going around and reminding people there’s still a raging pandemic.

      I’ve yet to have any of these interactions directly, just a few people being snide/rude perhaps because of my mask (but perhaps they were just rude). Chalk one up for being large and imposing.

  25. Kouros

    A disease control stance focussed on elimination rather than mitigation, as was pursued in Australia during the same time period, would have resulted in further health and economic benefits.

    Oh Canada!

    PHAC had in its planning & preparedness for airborne influenza like pandemics a matrix with the virus infectiousness and virulence on a scale of Low, Medium, and High. So you ended up having nine scenarios at most that you could follow in case the pandemic hit.

    Now, I sometime sit in and listen the weekly rounds of presentations run by our provincial CDC. It is not open to the public and the recording is not later made available to the public. It is all good, you could get all kinds of nutters out there heckling and harassing.

    We had a team of researchers presenting their findings on travel (and international travel) and the spread of pandemic. Conclusion was that regulating it more and controlling it more during a pandemic is a good idea.

    Now, having the PHAC matrix of potential scenarios given the characteristics of the pathogen (never mind now the airborne / droplet debate that still rages on – and somebody in the attendance politely put it under “beliefs”), I asked the moderator to submit to the research team the question of whether the were aware of travel bans or restrictions in any of the pre-pandemic scenarios made when considering an airborne influenza like pandemic.

    The moderator has temporized and when asking whether she missed my question, I was ultimately asked to rephrase my question and then I was out of time…

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Now, I sometime sit in and listen the weekly rounds of presentations run by our provincial CDC. It is not open to the public and the recording is not later made available to the public. It is all good, you could get all kinds of nutters out there heckling and harassing.

      I take it that they are well trusted to tell the truth and that the nutters will be not creating whacked conspiracy theories in the absence of information?

      More seriously, just how does the existence of airborne or droplet transmission depend on personal belief especially to an infectious disease? Just how does that work?

      And what about the reality that some infectious diseases use both? Really, if there’s a chance that someone might cough me to death, I would demand a mask.

      It is like the Clowns are in charge, and they don’t have any expectation that a infectious disease like Covid will not continue to spread, and that it will no become more infectious, damaging, and infectious. I just read history for fun and from that know it will likely happen being as excellent conditions been been created for Covid to get much, much worse.

      1. Kouros

        It was sarcasm from my part when I put beliefs in quotes. The question was also tongue in cheek, the one putting the question, an academic, was just baiting…

        But in our very ideologized times, hecklers could be quite annoying, and sometimes, off base.

    1. GramSci

      On Durham’s ‘investigation’. I’ve been idly wondering but never looked closely because of all the smoke. But Sy Hersh parts the clouds:
      [ Spoiler alert! ]
      Durham found that ‘mistakes were made’.

  26. Late Introvert

    Prior to 2007, people in the United States never purchased more than 7 million guns in a single year. By the time Barack Obama left office, the United States was purchasing almost 17 million guns a year. And so I think it’s impossible to discount the degree to which Obama’s presidency lit this whole thing on fire.

    re: ProPublica interview of ex-gun executive

    And IIRC, Dem’rats held both houses and did not pass anything meaningful in this area, as is the MO. Useless money grubbers playing good cop.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Former Gun Company Executive Explains Roots of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic ProPublica

      I think that propaganda and the extremism it creates is the point here. Just look at the Russo-Ukrainian War, the extreme Trans Rights and IdPol ideologies, the Kabuki theater that is the TSA, the spreading security theater of police, guards, and metal detectors, or Covid. I will add guns, tobacco, and climate change, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.

      We have an extremely effective system of propaganda by the government and corporations, and their allies that creates, and then manipulates, emotions and beliefs to do everything from selling toothpaste to guns, cause wars, elect presidents, cut taxes, and foment anger, fear, and hatred of the latest Something.

      The scary part of this, aside from creating well conditioned or well trained puppets, is the chaotic blowback that often happens. The gun rights supporters might lose their rights, but the well frothed fear might get that police state. The IdPol/Trans ideologies might cause a reversal of civil rights for minorities and women. The denial of climate change will likely led to nearly dictatorial government actions just to keep society running. The push for gun confiscation might lead to broad violations of civil rights and then war. The…

      The point is not what is being pushed, but the results, often from flawed conclusions and worse solutions, that comes from rule by emotions. If it feels right, it must be done. Like with the masks.

  27. anon in so cal

    A virus? The unmentionable Covid?

    “Rybakina said: “I was not feeling good already yesterday and the day before, so I didn’t sleep two nights and had some fever. Today I really tried in the warm-up but I feel that the right decision is to withdraw, because it’s really tough to play with these conditions.

    “I saw the doctor and they said that actually it’s all a virus here in Paris. I guess with my allergy, immune system just went down and I picked up something. It’s difficult to perform and obviously to run and even breathe. “

  28. some guy

    A couple days ago I expressed the hope that someone-or-other will start a new ” twitteresque” type of company which can do what Twitter used to do before Elon Stench bought it. I copylefted my offering of a name for such a company and its little “tweety” communications. It could be called Cricket and its little reachout-messages could be called Chirps. Or if somebody has a better idea for the name and the word, that would be fine too.

    Why would I bother writing about this? Because it appears that Elon Stench is degrading Twitter fast enough that a market niche for such a service is rapidly emerging for anyone prepared to fill it. Here is Beau of the Fifth Column in a video talk called: ” Let’s talk about AOC versus Musk…”, he explains in his plain linear ponderous way how Musk has turned Twitter into a playground of fake ” veryfried” parody accounts to flood the zone with bullsh*t. People who want better will leave Twitter alone and Beau suggests they should and why they should and why they maybe will.

    It appears that Elon ” The Joker” Musk decided he has so much money that he can afford to burn some of it in order to burn down Twitter. ” Some men just want to watch the Twitter burn”.

    Here is the link.

    Its just a 5 minute video. Those who find a five minute video too painful to watch could perhaps run it twice as fast and make it take only 2 and a half minutes. Or they can leave it unwatched. I merely offer. I don’t presume to insist.

  29. The Deming_urge

    Anyone know of a thorough analysis of the hastily crafted spending bill rushed through congress?

    I haven’t seen anything here or elsewhere.

    Thank you in advance.

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