Links 7/3/2023

Watch Aggressive Orcas Target Another Sailing Ship Off the Coast of Europe Field & Stream. Fascinating to watch, but I don’t think it will scale.

What Can Jellyfish Teach Us About Fluid Dynamics? Quanta

Christine Lagarde: Breaking the persistence of inflation Bank of International Settlements

Indexing is Well Understood Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture


Out of the Wild The New Atlantis (Henry Moon Pie).

Breaking the Mold Atmos

Monsoon in July is cumulatively expected to be ‘normal’, says IMD Business Standard

New Zealand falls out of love with sheep farming as lucrative pine forests spread Guardian. Worked for Quebec! Oh, wait…


Widespread Drought Creates Winners and Losers in U.S. Agriculture WSJ

New report finds most US kale samples contain ‘disturbing’ levels of ‘forever chemicals’ Guardian

The looming fate of Fukushima’s contaminated water The Interpreter


Systemic Risk of Pandemic via Novel Pathogens – Coronavirus: A Note (PDF) Joseph Norman, Yaneer Bar-Yam, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From 2020, explicated here at NC, still highly germane. “It will cost something to reduce mobility in the short term, but to fail do so will eventually cost everything—if not from this event, then one in the future.” On “mobility,” see below on Okinawa.

The government had to make a choice as to who would survive Covid. The choice was people or financial services. It made the wrong choice Funding the Future. Stochastic eugenicism.

* * *

Intrinsic and effective severity of COVID-19 cases infected with the ancestral strain and Omicron BA.2 variant in Hong Kong Journal of Infectious Diseases. The Conclusion: “Omicron has comparable intrinsic severity to the ancestral Wuhan strain although the effective severity is substantially lower in Omicron cases due to vaccination.” So, not “mild.”

Face masks and selfie bans return to limit COVID-19 in Tour de France peloton Cycling News

Okinawa’s plea on COVID: Avoid visiting this summer if unwell Asahi Shimbun. Useless plea, since Covid spreads asymptomatically. Alert reader SG writes:

I thought I’d add some personal observations about the general situation in Okinawa, since I returned from a two week visit there a couple of weeks before this most recent outbreak seems to have started.

First, as you noted Okinawa is a major domestic vacation destination in Japan – it’s semitropical with a lot of beaches, a somewhat different culture from Japan proper but still familiar and quite comfortable for visitors from other parts of Japan. What you don’t mention is that it has also become a major vacation destination for Chinese tourists as well. The Japanese government lifted all testing and vaccination requirements for entry a couple of months ago, so it’s certainly likely that some infected foreign tourists may have made it in and started this outbreak. One certainly can’t rule out the large number of American military personnel and contractors as a source, either.

The Japanese government seems to have promulgated the same “the emergency is over – Covid is just like the flu now” line of BS that other governments have been selling. Some of my Okinawan friends seemed to believe it, unfortunately.

Masking is still a lot more common on Okinawa than it is in the US. I’d estimate that around 50% of the riders on the Naha monorail (the only rail line in Okinawa) were masked. Every taxi driver and hotel employee I encountered was masked. A lot of servers in restaurants were masked as well and quite a few people in small businesses. Flight attendants and agents for ANA were all masked, as were most of the international flight attendants on United. That’s the good part. The bad part is that I didn’t see any well fitted respirators – just surgical masks or cloth masks with ear loops. It was stiflingly hot and humid during my visit, which might have discouraged people from masking. I wore a discreetly camouflaged N99 elastomeric respirator when indoors or on transit, with one exception.

I seem to have been lucky since I’m past the typical incubation period and haven’t had any symptoms.

Still, between the increase in tourism on the island and the Japanese government’s “everything is normal” propaganda, I think this outbreak was entirely predictable.

Airport of the future: a seamless, high-tech urban oasis Axios. “Many airports are quickly moving toward “touchless” technology using facial recognition, AI, automation and biometric scanners to smooth check-in and security or immigration clearances.” Nothing about ventilation, filtration, CO2 monitoring, social distancing, toilets spreading aerosols, or variant sample collection.


US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to visit China from Thursday for talks ‘to address global challenges’ South China Morning Post

Is the US Stronger than China? Policy Tensor


Modi’s much-hyped US visit has shifted no sand in the Indo-Pacific alliance South China Morning Post

The Uniform Civil Code Is A Diversionary Tactic Aimed At Electoral Gains Madras Courier


Egypt gets China-funded satellites in step towards space industry ambitions South China Morning Post

European Disunion

The EU’s Digital Services Act Confronts Silicon Valley The Wilson Center. From February, still germane. The Act seems to be barreling toward passage (here; here). Do any EU mavens have views?

* * *

The politics of the French riots and In French town under curfew, wave of violence leaves locals dazed and angry Politico. Gotta say, Politico sounds a little huffy here.

France Tightens Security, Restricts Internet Access As Protests Continue Escalating Morocco World News

Haute couture week kicks off in Paris amid violent riot fears France24

Violent protests in France spread to Switzerland Anadolu Agency

Dear Old Blighty

The many headaches of Rishi Sunak Politico

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine war: The lethal minefields holding up Kyiv’s counter-offensive BBC.

Ukraine says Russian troops advancing in ‘fierce fighting’ Agence France Presse

* * *

Ukraine ‘preparing for nuclear explosion’ as Russian troops ordered to leave Zaporizhzhia plant: ‘Whole world is watching’ NY Post

Explosion rocks Zaporizhzhia Ukrainska Pravda. “An old mine or some kind of munition.” Pravda’s headline really had me going!

SITREP 6/30/23: Winds Gather Before the NATO Summit Simplicius the Thinker(s). Well worth a read. “The Zaporozhye nuclear falseflag scenario is still rolling along, stronger than ever with a spate of new developments.” Götterdämmerung-bent Ukro-Nazis lusting to turn the Donbas into a radioactive wasteland is a parsimonious explanation (and no doubt Nuland would give them more cookies). That said, here is a map of the prevailing winds:

As you can see, blowing Zaporozhye sends a radioactive plume toward Crimea, which the Ukro-Nazis are said to cherish. So strategically, we have a precedent:

Trying to game this out from my 30,000-foot armchair: Big Z (see below) badly needs a stunt before Vilnius. Perhaps Ukraine could somehow engineer a failed or abortive plant explosion, which the radioactivity monitors so conveniently installed by the United States could then detect. All of the outrage, none of the strontium-90….

* * *

Diplomacy Watch: How is the West responding to Prigozhin’s abandoned revolt? Responsible Statecraft

Russia takes direct control of Wagner forces in Syria The Cradle

* * *

EU considers Russian bank concession to safeguard Black Sea grain deal FT

Please tell me this is a fake:

Biden Administration

Uncle Sam cracks down on faked reviews and bad influencers The Register. The deck: “Big $50,000 fines for misleading posts… unless it’s political, natch.”

The Biden administration guaranteed attorney access for all migrant screenings. Most don’t have it AP. On the bright side, Biden doesn’t owe them six hundred bucks. So there’s that.

Digital Watch

Breakthrough quantum computer instantly makes calculations that take rivals 47 years The Telegraph. Great! Now maybe Google can finally fix search!

Exclusive: Immigrants play outsize role in the AI game Axios

The Bezzle

EBT Skimmers Are Draining Millions of Dollars From the Neediest Americans Bloomberg. I’m sure contactless will be fine.

Our Famously Free Press

Report Shows How Military Industrial Complex Sets Media Narrative on Ukraine FAIR (Lawndart).

Chris Hedges: They Lied About Afghanistan. They Lied About Iraq. And They Are Lying About Ukraine Scheer Post

Sports Desk

Ashes 2023: Jonny Bairstow brain-fade results in bizarre dismissal on Day 5 at Lord’s India Today

Imperial Collapse Watch

Empire Destroyed (video) Andrei Martyanov, YouTube. Shipping materiel across the Atlantic. Or not. Now do the Pacific!

De-Bunking the Barbarians JSTOR

Who built this roller coaster? Boeing?

Ensorcelled by þe Devil of Malthus Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality

Class Warfare

UPS reaches deal that lowers chances of nationwide Teamsters strike The Hill

‘Loud Quitting’ Is The Next Step From ‘Quiet Quitting,’ ‘Bare Minimum Mondays’ And ‘Acting Your Wage’ Forbes

Decapitalizing Culture New Left Review

Transcript, America This Week: “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” by Mark Twain Racket News

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. Lexx

    ‘New report finds most US kale samples contain ‘disturbing’ levels of ‘forever chemicals’ ‘

    Really? You had to pick on kale? That’s just evil… heeheehee.

    1. mrsyk

      I had a similar chuckle, and then a question. How did Kale become the poster vegetable of the PMC?

      1. KEW

        Here is a guess.

        CSAs are the source for many and kale grows crazy easy. In the PNW, it grows in sidewalk cracks. As a CSA member from long back, I do remember in the 1990’s begging to not be given any more kale in the box.

      2. aletheia33

        yes, it’s easy to grow.
        and, it’s loaded with nutrients, giving you a lot of bang for your buck if you’re generally eating for your health.
        and if you’ve got gut or other problems that force you to eliminate dairy, kale is your best source of calcium.

        this can be a strong incentives to eat lots of kale for women entering menopause (or at any age), because the more calcium you can get into your diet (and that’s not easy without dairy), the more likely you’ll be to lose less bone density with estrogen loss and thus avoid the need to take bisphosphonates (etc.), powerful drugs from Big Pharma that build bone. they can have bad side effects, and they have a history of poor pre-market testing. they now carry a black box warning due to jaw and hip fracture risks only revealed post-market. without these drugs, your risk of a fall and hip fracture, which at that age usually means being stuck in a wheelchair until you’re dead, can go up high enough to make it a hard decision, for many older women today, whether to take or not take them.

        hence women who can’t eat dairy, and don’t want to risk taking those drugs, work on exercise, take calcium pills, and eat plenty of kale instead.

        with this report, it looks like if you want to eat it safely, you’ve got to grow it yourself or get it from someone whose soil is tested as safe. this new info just makes it clearer that this must be the case for a lot of the produce we buy at the supermarket.

        1. Stephen V

          Yes, yes! I have also found (TMI here) it to be very helpful for minor diverticulitis which is common in oldsters.

        2. Darthbobber

          It gets a shout-out from the Douglas in the Otterburn ballad: “But there is neither bread nor kale to feed my men and me.”

        3. Jason Boxman

          I’ve come to conclude that any fresh produce I buy at the supermarket is probably poisoned in some way, for even if the grower is well meaning, you gotta content with soil contamination, ground water contamination, air contamination (cocoa is left to dry outside and picks up lead this way), and so on. What can you even do? Not to mention, application of pesticides or other chemicals. This whole world is poisoned at this point. Even if you grow yourself, can you necessarily afford to check for all this stuff, and what do you do if you live next to an industrial zone? Sigh.

          1. vao

            cocoa is left to dry outside and picks up lead this way

            Cocoa can be tainted with heavy metals (lead, cadmium) because of the (fertile) volcanic soils in Central America in which some of the best varieties of that tree are grown.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        Purple kale was a big thing for some Asian restaurants in the 2000s. They loved the color and nutritional data but I think the salad kale crowd was already active by then. Kale was definitely on every Top 10 Superfoods list.

        1. Lexx

          My neighbor gave me some Chinese mustard sprouts, which I planted and against the odds they got a lot bigger. Now I’m looking at those leaves trying to figure out what to do with them. May try my hand at kimchi this year, since I’m asking the same questions about the abundance of tatsoi and bok choy.

          1. Lex

            Kimchi is great. And now there are plenty of good recipes on the net. I was one of those foreigners who moved to Korea and immediately liked kimchi enough to eat it for breakfast. The secret ingredient is the rice flour paste and the fish sauce. Everything else can be to taste.

            I only had white kimchi at a Buddhist monastery but it was apparently the original form since peppers didn’t arrive on the peninsula until the late 1500’s. But don’t believe those people who say you can use any hottish red pepper. Thankfully Korean pepper flakes seem generally available now.

            1. hk

              Shrimp sauce (actually, pickled shrimp) is the standard ingredient (anchovy sauce is used rarely; some regional varieties use whole pickled fish or even pork), except the Buddhist temple variety, which uses no animal product of any kind (Some Buddhist variety go without pepper, but that’s uncommon). Radish kimchi (Dongchimi) is often
              plain, with no peppers, incidentally. Never heard of “rice flour paste” in kimchi, though.

              You can substitute Southeast Asian shrimp paste in place of Korean pickled shimp if you must. (Korean pickled shrimp is hard to find in US without Korean markets, but Southeast Asian shrimp paste, sold as powder, is easier to find (certainly, easier to order on the internet’s). They are made pretty much the same way, except Southeast Asians dry and grind their shrimp after fermentation.

            2. chuck roast

              As an ex-GI who once spent 13 months in Korea I can only say, warn your friends that they will need their Corsi Box fired up when you visit.

            3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

              I served sauerkraut to some Korean friends and they remarked that it was just “white kimchi.”

              I agreed….

          2. Cristobal

            Kale is ok, but I am a big fan of collards. I can´t get them over here, but used to buy them in the winter in SC from an old black man in a rusted old red pickup truck, always wrapped in the Wall Street Journal (?!). Once the cold weather comes the collards acquire a sweetness that cannot be beat.

          3. skk

            I sowed 2 rows of mustard seeds, just the regular ones from the masala tin, nothing special, and they’ve come up really nicely. It wasn’t a leafy veg used in my mom’s Indian cooking, who used spinach, fenugreek leaves, Chenopodium so I wasn’t sure what to do with the greens – I added it to a summer squash lemony salad – it worked nicely.

  2. Polar Socialist

    If I recall correctly, allowing a Russian bank to settle international payments to sell Russian grain and fertilizers to the Global South was a very significant part of the original grain deal. A part which EU is now, after 120 days of stalling, finally ready to concede.

    Nice framing from FT, though.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That deal is probably toast anyway as the US/EU will still not allow the exports of Russian grain and fertilizers, even though they claim that their sanctions do not effect Russian exports. For the EU, allowing back in was better than actually allowing grain & fertilizers exports but Lavrov has said ‘I don’t see what arguments there are for those who would like to continue this Black Sea initiative’-

  3. griffen

    Crack in the roller coaster. Quick, we need all the duct tape we can muster ! OMG. Since it is peak travel and summer time, the original and still entertaining National Lampoon Vacation was on the television mid day Sunday.

    Cousin Eddie, Aunt Edna, and dog killer Clark Griswold on the cross country trip from hell.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You wonder how many other people saw that crack and never reported it. Just watched a video today about a South African jet that had an entire engine fall off on take-off due to dodgy work. A passenger saw the whole thing happen but was assured by another passenger that jets can fly on only one engine. Never called the stewardess or got up and walked to one of them. Probably because the sign had not lit up saying that passengers could take ff their seat belts- (31:08 mins)

      1. Screwball

        I would like to see how they fix that break.

        I would like to see more pictures to get an idea of what broke and how large that tube is. You can see a bolted flange (welded on I assume) on one of the “Y”s but can’t tell how long the other tube is (might be a fairly large part). There are more welded pieces at the top, so it would come apart at the flange on the Y and at the top if it was to be replaced with another part.

        Will they fabricate another tube assembly in a weld shop or will they try to weld it in place? I have no idea. I would also like to see the break up close. It looks like the large tube failed, but I don’t know if there are any internal pieces we can’t see that might be part of the weldment. IOW, where did this break occur, and why?

        Since this is a amusement park ride, I would expect all the welds on this coaster to be done by a certified structural welder, and the welds to be inspected afterward. This is how it worked when I welded on structures (cranes). They might just be able to replace that part with another by unbolting, but if welding is involved (I’m guessing some of these coasters have parts that are field welded) it’s another story altogether.

        I won’t get on a coaster because I don’t like heights, but at the same time, I worked with a guy who welded on roller coasters (certified – welded on the Cork Screw at Cedar Point, Ohio). I was not impressed with his work. I’m sure he’s not the lone ranger. I would look at the welds on coaster when I went to a park – some didn’t look so good – another reason I won’t get on one.

        Bumper cars are more my speed. :-)

        1. marku52

          There was a Soviet diesel sub you could tour in Seattle. I remember walking in it looking at the welds and thinking “I wouldn’t go across the bay on the surface in this thing!.”

          Looks like that roller coaster crack failed at the weld where the angle piece joins. Probably needed to be annealed and wasn’t?

    2. kramer

      I love coasters and have a pretty high thrill tolerance, but I’ve been on the Fury 325, and its definitely pushing my limits (before the crack.)

    3. JP

      My first thought was the crack probably initiated at the top and propagated across and down. The next thought was why did they put the support, which is at the apex of the turn, in tension. If one looks at the whole structure it would appear there was plenty of room to bolster from the other side, which would put the top in mostly compression and put less stress on the welds. The whole thing looks pretty willowy and probably has points of flexure that invite cracking. Cracks usually start at welds where there are residual stresses and crystal grain impairment.

      But it sure looks like a fun and thrilling ride.

  4. CanCyn

    Re Forbes’ Loud Quitting’… in a shocking turn of events /s, Forbes is warning employees to play nice and consider their reputations. Sigh. Just a few comments on the article, some agree, some do not…, this one is the best, replying to someone going along with Forbes: (Bold mine)

    “While employed, they view their personal needs as more important than the customers’ or employers’ needs”
    This mentality should be adopted by every member of the working class.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      It’s basically American workers’ “lying flat” moment, workers of the world unite!!!

    2. Mikel

      Alot of this is BS. And on the the subject of BS…many BS jobs never really called for 8 hours straight a day. What does 8 hours of “strategy” every day look like?

      Bottom line: The era of fed easy money was interrupted. The real source of much of that “productivity.”

    3. Mildred Montana

      This might be an unpopular opinion but loud and/or quiet quitting or “bare-minimum Mondays” is severely affecting tens of thousands of British Columbians and the tourists who want to visit and have a pleasant experience.

      How so? BC Ferries (the only link from the mainland of BC to Vancouver Island and between the various Gulf Islands) has become a joke. So many cancellations due to “staffing issues” that its critical transportation is no longer dependable. If one needs a ferry it’s a crapshoot. You pay your money and you take your chances. Your ferry might sail on time (if it sails at all) or it might not.

      Just ask all those (including those tourists) who’ve been stuck in line-ups over this long weekend or dealt with a reservation website which is all too often out-of-service. Will those tourists who sat in a line-up for eight hours or finally gave up and left ever come back? Does BC Ferries even care? The best spokesperson Deborah Marshall can say is, “You can always leave your vehicle behind and board the ferry as a walk-on.” Thanks Deborah, but exactly where do I leave my vehicle?

      Now get this. Working for BCF is a highly desirable job. Both my sister and brother-in-law did it. Good pay, benefits, and working conditions. Back in the day it was hard to get a job there. And yet today it has continual “staffing issues”. Could it be (and here’s the unpopular part of my comment) all those paid “sick” days its employees enjoy? Especially on Fridays and Mondays?

      “Employee absenteeism has more than doubled at BC Ferries, contributing to some recent service cancellations and delays, according to the company. Absenteeism normally hovers around five or six per cent but is currently 11 per cent, its executive director of public affairs told Global News on Monday.”

      Is there any company in the world that would tolerate absenteeism of 11%? Yes! BC Ferries!

      1. Basil Pesto

        I’m not sure if you follow the news, but that sounds less like a “quiet quitting” issue and more like a “we keep infecting everyone with a sarbecovirus with an average time-to-reinfection of 3-9 months and also, that virus itself causes immune dysregulation of a sort which means (at the very least) that generally speaking people will get more sick, more often and for longer, and also leave millions with new and exciting chronic illnesses” issue.

        When such outcomes were being predicted ~2 (or
        more!) years ago, it was pretty obvious that the inevitable labour crunch that would follow would be blamed by the motivated-reasoning enjoyers on bludging/“pulling sickies” even though it is, in fact, pretty obvious per numerous data sources (to say nothing of the USA rediscovering a penchant for child labour) that, as predicted, people are in general getting more sick, more often, and for longer. If only we could have foreseen this! Turns out (in)actions do, in fact, have consequences. It’s now become something of a fun little game watching the likes of BC Ferries et alia deny physical reality for as long as they possibly can. I guess if we keep on ignoring this problem it will settle into some kind of new equilibrium and we get used to our new age of sickness, and the greater need for more sick days in schools and the workforce becomes more normalised, and adapted to. Can’t see it being much fun for anyone though (because, yknow, it involves people being more sick more often and accruing chronic illness while a sizeable chunk of the population accuses them of malingering).

        Of course, if BC Ferries wanted to get absenteeism back to single-digits, the best thing they could do would be to provide + mandate respirators for workers (it’s probably never going to get back to 5-6%, mind, because the workers will have social lives outside of work). But we’re a society of big babies so that’s not gonna happen.

        1. Mildred Montana

          >”Of course, if BC Ferries wanted to get absenteeism back to single-digits, the best thing they could do would be to provide + mandate respirators for workers…”

          No, the best thing it could do is to provide incentives for its employees not to take “sick” days. Such as: More pay for days worked but less sick pay and then only for, let’s say, a week or more off work. Or, alternatively, earlier retirement by using accumulated unused sick days.

          And btw, masks and COVID have nothing to do with the issue. Here in BC scarcely anybody (including BCF employees) masks anymore. Ballpark estimate 1 in 20.

          They are by and large young and healthy.

          1. bdy

            Hazard pay is great for transportation workers, but please don’t structure it so that they are incentivized to not take sick days. I want my ferrymen to stay home when they’ve got COVID tyvm.

            1. Mildred Montana

              I can’t resist incentivizing it that way. I’ve given the issue some thought. Pay them more and then let them manage their occasional sick days with the additional money. Not a serious financial setback. More than a few days, okay, give them sick pay. But do not create incentives to extend their weekends.

              And re: staying home with COVID, my understanding is that it is often transmitted asymptomatically. So, symptoms or no, what’s the difference between showing up for work or not?

              1. paddlingwithoutboats

                A few days ago NC Links included an item from Canadian Centre of Disease Research that wastewater testing for covid showed it is under reported by 19 fold. Gimme my privileges!

          2. Charles

            Wait, so the fact that no one masks is evidence that there’s *not* a COVID connection…?

          3. Basil Pesto

            And btw, masks and COVID have nothing to do with the issue. Here in BC scarcely anybody (including BCF employees) masks anymore. Ballpark estimate 1 in 20.

            They are by and large young and healthy.

            Brilliant. I stand corrected.

          4. kareninca

            I check “reddit covid positive” every day and the people who post there who are sick, over and over again (four times covid, five times covid) are “young and healthy.” But they are very sick when they catch covid, and it lasts for weeks or months. And their employers hound them to come in, even when they are still testing positive, even when they are still symptomatic.

            If you only give people a week off of work when they are sick, they will still be sick with covid, and they will very possibly still be contagious.

            There are people on the reddit site who post from Canada and they say that no-one is testing for covid anymore, so it seems very possible that the ferry workers have covid. Or other respiratory ailments due to having had covid.

            People should be incentivized to stay home if they are symptomatic, and to stay home if they test positive, and to wear respirators. That is the only way to save lives, long term. This “labor problem” is just a short term symptom that is going to turn into something a lot worse.

      2. Darthbobber

        Do you know for a fact that the job still offers conditions as favorable as it did “back in the day”?

        1. Mildred Montana

          I live in BC. To the best of my knowledge, yes. In fact there’s a joke going around about ferry workers:

          One-half hour of waving traffic on and then two hours of playing cards!

          1. square coats

            I found this article, from April of this year discussing a then just released independent commissioner’s report.

            The article discusses various contributing factors in some detail but one particular part I’d like to quote: “High inflation is putting ­pressure on wages. In a recent submission to the commission, B.C. Ferries said an external review last fall found that ­compensation is significantly below market.”

      3. Glen

        Ferries in Washington state are also struggling.

        What happened in Washington was that the ferry system has been underfunded for decades (look up Tim Eyman), and as a result, ended up with the ships in very poor shape, and the workers underpaid (compared to the rest of the shipping industry) and understaffed. Sailing cancellations due to under staffing were already happening prior to covid, but were much more rare. The system had cut staffing right to the bare minimum, and was forcing the remaining workers into some crazy working shifts/locations (i.e. doing things like making workers on the Port Townsend run report for work on a run in the San Jauns). It was a good job with a good pension, but that was decades ago. Covid just put the finishing neoliberal spin on a ferry system that was already in poor shape due to tax cuts and under funding.

        1. bdy

          I had the nicest reverse commute on the Vashon ferry back in the day. Seemed like about six bodies to operate a ~50 car capacity boat, give or take. Caught a full blown double rainbow once, horizon to horizon with a pod of orcas underneath.

          Those Washingtonians do love their tax cuts — even the DFH Left.

        2. Mildred Montana

          Yeah, Sydney BC to Anacortes WA run cancelled until at least 2030. Where’s the bailout?
          Where are the funds (probably quite small) to keep it going? None to be seen.

          Truth be told, these neo-libs care for nothing but the airlines and other local services they—and they alone—can afford. Airline carriers, float planes, helicopters, all are good if the providers can obtain government subsidies in the event of financial difficulties and the users can pay on a PMC expense account. No suspense here, they will and they can.

          On the other hand, affordable and reliable ferries? Subsidies for ferries? Sorry loser, walk or swim.

      4. Grundle

        Why aren’t the slaves toiling?! Don’t they know they’re negatively impacting MY EXPERIENCE?!?! >:(

      5. C.O.

        It couldn’t possibly have to do with constant underfunding, skimping on maintenance so that yet another ferry is out of service for the foreseeable future, and growing numbers of immune impaired staff. The attempt to have BC Ferries run independent of provincial oversight à la neoliberal dictates is going great.

      6. SES

        Some wag, I forget who, joked that posted BC Ferries delays are the only real-time Covid indicator we still have in BC.

      7. eg

        Is it at all possible that the world would be betting off with fewer tourists taking BC Ferries?

  5. Stephen

    “Gotta say, Politico sounds a little huffy here.”

    Right. Always easy to take that attitude over other countries’ challenges. While forgetting the issues at home.

  6. mrsyk

    “The politics of the French riots”, Politico. That haunting meritocratic tone-deaf tune in the background sure smells like team blue narrative management. I spent some time last night seeing what my algorithms would cough up on this subject. No surprise, hardly anything on the staggering wealth gap between rich and poor, foreign policy hovering away domestic spending, or pending climate doom caused by the rich.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    Loud Quitting.

    this is myopic, at best:
    “Leadership must immediately address these issues. Management should regularly ask for feedback and listen to the staff to understand why they are disengaged. Organizations should prioritize employee well-being and offer support and resources to support their mental health. Leaders will need to take the appropriate steps to rebuild confidence in the workplace. They should recognize and show public appreciation for employees when they do well. Some workers may be too toxic to remain and must be exited.”

    not a word about higher wages…just a bunch of symbolic posturing and “affirmations”.
    and i see the emergence of a new psych disorder: not loving your crappy job=something amorphous that is wrong with your mind…ie mental lllness/emotional problems.
    i’m taking bets that the shrinks they end up sending disaffected “associates” to will be chatgpt/bad ai.

    back in the day, whenever i would fire a boss(quit), i’d generally just not show up…if it had gotten to that point, it was generally too late for them to expect such niceties as a 2 week notice….or any notice at all.
    (10 cent raise per hour, like it was a boon,etc)
    only time i remember causing a scene was when a large idiot who had been put on the fryer for some unfathonable reason, brandished a knife and came after me for telling him to keep up…even showing him repeatedly how to arrange his doings so as to be more efficient(not taylorism, just common sense…one order at a time just wasnt gonna cut it).
    i had a larger chef’s knife in my hand at the time,lol…and brandished right back, laid my knife on the waitress table as i went out of the kitchen, through the dining room and out the front door,,,saying loudly to the bosslady….obliviously chatting with customers…that she didn’t pay me enough to hafta defend myself from knives.

    when i became a boss in my own right, i tried real hard to remember such things….and to do better.
    weird that so many forget where they came from.

    1. mrsyk

      “just a bunch of symbolic posturing and “affirmations””. You talking about my congress critter again?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      ” i see the emergence of a new psych disorder: not loving your crappy job=something amorphous that is wrong with your mind”

      They say, “Sing while you slave,”
      but I just get bored.

      One of my favorite FU Boss songs: “Maggie’s Farm

      And more direct, “Take This Job and Shove It

      1. mrsyk

        Yes and yes again. I’ve got both them there records, heh heh. I haven’t listened to the Dylan LP in a while. Johny Paycheck is always near the front of the stacks.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: The lethal minefields holding up Kyiv’s counter-offensive”

    Saw one ten minute clip of Ukrainians trapped in a minefield and an APC was trying to reach wounded soldiers to evacuate them. It was painful to watch but then one soldier jumped from the back ramp into a blast hole figuring that it would be safe. He was wrong and a blast nearly took his leg off. He quickly applied a tourniquet and he then started to crawl into the back ramp of that APC but you could see that his lower leg was still attached by some muscle and it left a smear of blood as he crawled cross that ramp. And no, I am not going to link to that gruesome footage. Nowhere is safe in a minefield.

    1. vao

      Is it the same clip where one soldier marched from one place with a wounded soldier to another one, then came back to his wounded comrade via the same path and had a mine explode under him that had not detonated during his first transit?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can’t remember as it was several days ago that I saw it. Watching that last bit was what made a serious impression on me as it was so unexpected as I would have jumped into a blast hole figuring that it would be safe too. But I think that spc was right it being the Ukrainian 47th brigade.

    2. MT_Wild

      And the DOD wonders why recruitment numbers are down. The MIC has perfected its art form to the point where anyone on the ground in peer-on-peer combat is dead meat ealking and then wonder why the meat doesn’t sign up.

      I watched the video. It doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for, the whole thing is just unfair. A medieval peasant had better odds taking on a knight on horseback then they had getting their men extracted.

      Those guys knew they were screwed but still tried to do their job. Stark contrast with the current ruling class in most western democracies.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Their job” bah. Service is slavery painted genteel. As far as I see it, the “job” of every soldier or policeman is to frag their chain of command.

      2. Glen

        What really “trashed” the US military was W’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the resulting “forever wars”. I was out by then and very glad I missed it. I know people that were deployed for more than two tours of combat. This was never done back in WW2. One or two tours was all most people can endure.

        Combat is an ugly, ugly thing. It destroys even the people that survive it physically. I have one nephew that as we used to say “went and never came back” who has been dealing with it ever since, and have talked to friends of my son who had similar experiences in W’s wars. Killing kids, shooting mothers, every evil and ugly thing happens, and assuming a soldier mentally figures out how to survive that, they may no longer know how to function in society without a lot of help and time.

        America really needs to have a draft if we have solders deployed overseas in combat. (Which means we should have a draft right now.)

    3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      I do hope the Russians are carefully marking those minefields, because at some point they’re going to have to remove the darned things after the fighting stops.

  9. Aurelien

    The Politico article on France is by John Lichfield, for many years the Indy’s Paris correspondent, where he wrote rather PMC-style material, but since retirement and living in a village in Normandy, he’s been much more realistic. He produced some good pieces on Gilets jaunes, for example, and I would suggest that his interpretation here is largely correct, and much better than a lot of Anglo-Saxon coverage. A couple of glosses may be worthwhile.

    First, he’s right to say that these are not race or religious riots, nor do they have any discernible political purpose. They are an expression of rage by those at the bottom of the social heap, in a France that, unlike the France of fifty years ago, has been neo-liberalised almost to death and no longer protects its citizens, and has largely taken away the possibility of improving their situation through education. There’s nothing political about destroying supermarkets and schools, and indeed interviews with teachers and parents over the last few days have shown a lot of worry about a “nihilistic” approach among teenagers without hope or prospects.

    Insofar as the racial issue in the banlieus is relevant, it’s largely a question of geography. In any country, crime is concentrated in poorer areas (yes of course financial crime blah blah but that’s not the point here.) These areas have long been “difficult” and crime-ridden, even when they were all-white, and the police have always been unpopular. In most countries these days families “issued from immigration” as the French say, are more likely to be found in poorer areas. So mathematically, there will be a disproportionate number of contacts between immigrants and the police if the latter were doing their job. The kid who was killed was seen at the wheel of an expensive Mercedes with Polish registration. Whilst he might have been older than he looked, and might have even been a billionaire teenage entrepreneur, it was logical enough to stop him on the suspicion that he was driving a stolen car without a licence (which he was.) Locals have been telling the media that this kind of thing, indeed, happens all the time.

    The question is what you do. French policy has been contradictory, but since 2005 it’s fairly clear that the police have been pulled back (their numbers were reduced also) precisely out of fear that something bad like this could happen. But this has simply turned law and order in the banlieus over to organised crime, and since at least the 1960s, organised crime has been dominated by immigrant groups (the Corsicans, for example, in The French Connection). So there’s no obvious answer, within the terms of what is currently politically acceptable, and already French politicians are talking about “turning the page” which means nothing will be done.

    Just a word on the politics. As Lichfield says, there have been the expected reactions from extreme Right (but not Le Pen.) Much less explicable is the performance of Mélenchon and some small parties of the extreme Left. Mélenchon has still refused to condemn the violence (although he seems to find some targets more acceptable than others). He’s described the riots as an “insurgency of the poor” and seems to believe that France is on the verge of some populist, anti-Macron revolution that will perhaps sweep him into power. But there’s no sign of that, and indeed among all the attacks on politicians and town halls, his own troops have not been spared. He’s drawn a lot of criticism from elsewhere on the Left, and the most likely result of his clumsy posturing will be to split the Left, and make a present of the issue to the Right.

    1. Wæsfjord

      Travelling through France last month, I was shocked at the poverty. I must have seen thousands of homeless. People living in tents and shacks along the banks of the Rhone in Lyon. Massive queues for soup kitchens in Paris. Rats the size of dogs. Clearly mentally ill and drugged out people everywhere.

      The country had the feel of being under military occupation with heavily armed police and even army patrols. Even the SNCF (railway) cops were kitted out like SWAT units. The food is noticeably worse than when I first visited 30 years ago. Then, France was much cheaper than the UK. I paid €5 for a coffee in a train station. Neoliberalism has fcked France so bad.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I paid €5 for a coffee in a train station. Neoliberalism has fcked France so bad.

        From the land of $5+ cup of coffee, this American says hi although the quality of coffee I overspend on is better than it was forty years ago. Of course, for many Americans, a cup of coffee is now an hour’s pay especially after taxes, unlike forty years ago.

    2. mrsyk

      Re: Mélenchon, “He’s described the riots as an “insurgency of the poor”. Insurgency may be a poor choice of words, but this description is not wholly inaccurate IMO. I am not defending Mélenchon, merely pointing out that I’ve yet to hear a more accurate description of the underlying causes from any other politician.
      I don’t care for language like “many millions of hard-working residents”, reminds me of US politicians rim-jobbing the middle class on the campaign trail. Additionally, There’s nothing of substance on the staggering wealth gap between rich and poor, foreign policy hovering away domestic spending, or pending climate doom caused by the rich, all which should be examined as prime motivational suspects.

    3. Carolinian

      Muslim Lives Matter? From a US perch the disturbances sound like the USA circa 2000 albeit with much greater street crime presence. Perhaps the commonality is that the poor will always have the power of numbers and when their survival is threatened the motivation as well. Seems like those out of it aristos like Macron should factor this in when mouthing the smug “the poor you will have with you always” (ok that was Jesus–perhaps misquoted). If things are still under control here in America it could be because we aren’t poor enough yet.

      Give it time?….

    4. Lex

      The nihilism is what shines brightest for me. Maybe I’m too infused with the long and winding tale of Russian revolution and the role nihilism played in the late 19th century. It was far more philosophical than this. But it makes me wonder, if there is no alternative to Liberalism in the modern world, then the only response to its crushing internal contradictions will be nihilism. And the response from Liberalism will be fascism.

      It does look like an insurgency of the poor, but a nihilistic insurgency of the poor doesn’t solve anything for anyone. At best it accelerates collapse. Unfortunately, if there’s no one except fascists offering a political response/solution to collapse, then that’s the solution that will be imposed upon the poor.

      1. hunkerdown

        Liberal nihilism is possible, too. The market is omnipotent and omniscient, why bother trying to change values? Retail is reality.

        Nihilistic insurgencies of the poor destroy the property and the history that the middle class uses to reward themselves for enforcing the lie. I mean, PMC are likely to believe that total systematization and administration of every thing (excluding their own private affairs, as usual) is the way to the Good Life, and having their painstaking labors brought to naught by people who simply don’t like them is a good way to extinguish their subordinating behavior and learn their place (“None. Place is up the chimney now so sit down like the rest of us.”).

      2. Aurelien

        It may look like an insurgency of the poor, but it’s not, because an insurgency of the poor would target the rich, or at least symbols of inequality or conspicuous consumption. But in very large measure that hasn’t happened. They’ve in effect targeted themselves.

        The kids (and at least a third are under 18, many 12-13 and few beyond their early twenties) are smashing up the transport system that gets their parents to work, burning down the supermarket where their parents shop, and destroying the schools and libraries that offer them the only chance of getting out of the ghetto. Their targets are overwhelmingly the poor, and even their own families, and ultimately themselves. The nearest parallel I can think of is adolescent self-harming. It’s an insurgency of a small group that is poor, but largely aimed at a much larger group that is poor as well. .

        1. britzklieg

          …as if they’d be allowed anywhere near the bastions of the rich which would prove to you their beef is legit? Burning down their own house… it’s a tired and duplicitous argument offered by the uncaring class.

          1. Aurelien

            Actually, there’s not much that could be done to stop them if they were determined. But France is such a divided society that they would have no idea where to go. One group took the train into central Paris and ransacked and looted some shops in the Les Halles shopping centre. Had they realised, there were expensive shops and nice apartments only ten minutes walk away. But they didn’t.

          2. Oh

            Totally agree. The unfortunate ones are not gonna seek out rich people’s properties and face armed police when they want to vent their anger.

        2. Stephen

          Thanks. Your perspectives are very helpful for cutting through the fog, as always.

          This reminds me a little of the 2012 events in the UK when young people went on the rampage for a night or so. Luckily, that ended quickly and this seems like a version of that but on steroids.

          My reflection is that the line between order and chaos in any society is a very thin one. Thinner than we often like to think.

        3. hunkerdown

          I hear echoes of the Democrat rhetoric about voting against one’s own interests, and shades of the property owner’s self-appointment as a fit judge. I also find it risible that you are directing them to woke symbolic protest, which you have derided elsewhere. As usual for PMC, I see you advising the other side in terms of your own values.

          I suggest redoing your critique with your own pieties and attachments written down to zero, and see that there is logic in destroying the machinery that enforces the odious values that make their subordination possible. Now, it is only for the part of the rioters (this, assuming that they aren’t fomented by Americans, as protest ants are so wont) to get their heads straight and ignore the targets their foreign agents gave them.

      3. hemeantwell

        Thanks for highlighting the use of “nihilism.” Reading Venturi’s superb Roots of Revolution suggests that Russian nihilism came in at least two varieties. In relation to conventional morality both were ruthlessly critical, but one variant, which I associate with Nechayev, was oriented to conspiratorial politics — ends justify the means on steroids, pawn sacrificing, etc on the way to a revolutionary transformation of society. The other variant was more narcissistic, denying the value of any social commitment or tie. Max Stirner was beacon of that dreck. Politically nihilism was unimportant in comparison to the far more numerous social revolutionary advocates of agrarian communalism, e.g. the People’s Will. Lurid portrayals of nihilists by writers like Dostoyevsky worked to blur out strong principled differences by stoking moral panic.

        However much the French left may be bumbling and stumbling, their attempt to fashion an alliance with the rioters — who seem to be largely banking on acts of revenge conjuring up a Something that’s better than Nothing — is way preferable to the development of a version of ISIS millenarianism, which in some ways is like a Muslim version of Afro-pessimism..

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a “nihilistic” approach among teenagers without hope or prospects.

      Apologies, I’ve been triggered:

      WALTER: Nihilists! [Family blog] me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

    6. Victor Moses

      Melanchon’s reaction is just fine – the people demanding a statement as some kind of litmus test are reprobates themselves. I never understand these demands to condemn violence. Violence is not always condemned especially when coming from governments. Heck violence is celebrated as in Ukraine or Israel by those allied to the west. These incidents [ I refuse to call them riots- did anyone do so with the Gilets Jaunes running amok for months] are an acute reaction to an atrocity that is symptomatic of the discrimination and injustice of the French state.

    7. square coats

      It’s entirely possible that I’m completely misunderstanding you, but it seems like in the third paragraph in your comment you’re saying that profiling someone is a legitimate reason for a police officer to suspect the person of a crime and take some kind of action to intervene in an otherwise perfectly legal activity. Is that an accurate take on what you’re saying?

  10. Lexx

    ‘Chris Hedges: They Lied About Afghanistan. They Lied About Iraq. And They Are Lying About Ukraine’

    Do we have a choice I’m unaware of? What if we say ‘no’ to the next war, en masse? Every voter sends a message to their Congress critter saying, ‘absolutely not!’ What happens then? Does the Pentagon shrug and say, ‘Well, the American people said ‘no’ and that’s that’?

    We know we’re being lied to. You can’t con a people who are aware it’s pure BS. The rationalizations offered to the public are for the optics, the empire’s ego. ‘Let’s go on air and offer them some crap that sounds highly moral as we commit to spending billions of their dollars abroad to protect the financial interests of campaign-contributing billionaires and The West.’ Oh, this time we’re backing a proxy by supplying them with weapons to poke Putin in the eye for us? Well… as long as our hands are clean.

    Chris is at his best when he points out there is no moral high ground in war and no heroes, just villains and victims.

    1. CanCyn

      I think that there are many who believe the current lie. Ukrainian flags everywhere here in Canada. Hate for Putin and the Russians seems pretty real to me. I get blank looks when I say that US foreign policy is very much to blame for the current situation and that Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are nothing but pawns in the US and European agenda. Total blank looks. No one wonders why a negotiated end to the conflict isn’t a priority.

      1. Paleobotanist

        Less pro-Ukrainian hype in Quebec. I suspect many Quebecois see the analogy between themselves and the Russians in Donbass and just stay quiet. Lots of Ukrainian refugees in Montreal. Lots of Ukrainian refugee guys doing crappy low wage jobs just looking happy to be safe from the draft into hamburger meat (who can blame them?). Unseen lots of the rich happy to exploit them…

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        I see lots of people around me who were quick to see Iraq and Afghanistan as lies but accept Ukraine at total face value. It’s baffling to me. I understand the situation is a bit more nuanced than “we are taking their oil fields.” But idea that the usual suspects are somehow telling the truth about a military adventure this time is beyond my comprehension.

        1. Victor Moses

          It’s a kind of tribalism which doesn’t apply in Afghanistan or Iraq. The Ukies are like us in the West and that big bad Russian bear with dubious Mongoloid admixture and a savage eastern mentality is not part of our tribe.

    2. Adam Eran

      I’d guess “Iran-Contra” is the template for any response to defund a war.

    3. TimH

      There’s an dissonance in Chris’s subtitle: “The U.S. public has been conned, once again, into pouring billions into another endless war.”

      This suggests that approval by the masses was required. The U.S. public had absolutely no choice in the matter.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Ashes 2023: Jonny Bairstow brain-fade results in bizarre dismissal on Day 5 at Lord’s”

    In the cricket world this was controversial to say the least and the Aussie players were abused by members of the MMC. Some of the MMC members were suspended because of their behaviour-

    Thing is, this was not a spur of the moment thing but was planned. The team noticed that Bairstow had a bad habit of leaving his crease early sometimes and so decided to be ready for it. So here I put the blame on the British coach who should have spotted it, pulled him aside and told him to knock it off before he gets himself out – which he just did.

    1. mrsyk

      “the kind of venom usually reserved for when someone cuts the nose off the treasurer’s Brie”.
      Bertie Wooster, that you?

    2. Basil Pesto

      An extremely funny wicket made all the funnier by the deluge of salty pommy tears in the aftermath. Carey’s action was fluid and instant – that is, there was no underhanded act of deception on his part – he had obviously been studying Bairstow’s behaviour at the crease at length and then acted on it. A completely valid stumping capitalising on village cricket-tier silliness from Bairstow. If England had taken a similar wicket they would have been commended for their streetwise savvy etc. etc.

      They should be grateful anyway, the electric atmosphere it provided probably prolonged the match by another hour and gave us an electrifying but ultimately meaningless and futile Stokes innings, adding a frisson of tension to a game that had looked a formality up til the last session-and-a-half.

      1. JohnA

        Former England cricket captain and subsequent administrator and TV pundit, Sir Andrew Strauss, public school educated and would be Tory parliamentary candidate, has blamed the ugly crowd scenes on spectators who took advantage of final day ticket price of £25 (price for first 4 days £100+) as not being typical Lord’s spectators. Unwashed oiks, in other words who dont know their place in the grand scheme of things. Except the worst scenes were in the pavilion where certain MCC members were so abusive of the Australian players, that several have had their membership suspended.
        As for the incident itself, Bairstow was guilty of sloppy thinking, and the Aussies pulled a legitimate fast one.

        1. Basil Pesto

          The names of the suspended MCC members (assuming they are real names and not made up for a lark) were extremely funny, too.

      1. c_heale

        The most ridiculous thing is Sunak commenting on it. Given the problems in the UK at the moment, he should be sticking to his day job.

    3. Jeff V

      Yay, a cricket discussion on Naked Capitalism!

      Bairstow is clearly at fault (hopefully he will learn from this), Carey did everything correctly, the umpires made the correct decision, and while I would have liked to have seen Cummins withdraw the appeal as “not in the spirit of the game” he was perfectly within his rights not to. It’s foolish to rely on favours from the opposition captain during an Ashes series – although I do tend to believe Stokes when he says he would have called the batter back had the situation been reversed.

      There are cases where I think appeals should be withdrawn – rules or otherwise. For instance there was that situation when a batter was dismissed for going over to congratulate a team mate’s century, which I think was disgraceful. This isn’t that situation.

      I loved the way it got the crowd going (which will probably carry through to the remaining games), although it seems like the members went too far. I’m pretty sure Lord’s is the only ground where the players have to run the gauntlet like that, although it is usually a very genteel and restrained one.

    4. Bill Malcolm

      Indeed, a legitimate wicket. When I played cricket as a child in my prep school’s second team (I was only ten), this was a favourite tactic. Batsman misses ball entirely and wanders out of the crease, perhaps hoping for a bye run. But if the wicket-keeper catches the ball and stumps the wicket with the ball in his gloves, or if he or a fielder catches it and throws it at the wicket and knocks the bails off while the batsman is out of the crease, well it’s a wicket (out). The most common manifestation of the situation is:. A fielder grabs the “errant” ball and whips it to the ‘keeper who is standing right at the wicket and sweeps the bails off. That happens anyway a lot of the time just in case the batsman is out of the crease, and the umpire has noticed the batsman out of crease. Often, the batsman is in, but no harm trying anyway. I was an umpire when other “houses” in our school other than mine were playing. Our “house” was one of four. The exact same setup of four “houses” was used in intramural sports in the high school I attended from fall ’59 in Canada.

      Sounds like the current England team are a bunch of crybabies. An elemental error on Bairstow’s part. Peter May (Surrey) would never have been caught out like this unless he tripped on his undone shoelace and fell over – unlikely, as he was fastidious in appearance. Went to enough Hampshire home games (and Oxford home games when on holiday with Grannie and Grandpa in the late 1950s) to see some really decent cricket. Surrey was ascendant in those days. and I saw them twice. Games took three DAYS! Then the family moved to Canada and I got to wonder why sissies wore gloves to catch a baseball. Catcher or wicketkeeper, sure, but fielders? What a laugh. Never had time for baseball, but that’s just me. It plays like rounders on steroids where mighty batters swing crossbat attempted cowshots hoping for the best. Been to but one major league game in my life (Blue Jays), and it was a crashing bore. Yes, I’m biased!

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Please tell me this is a fake

    But wait, there’s more!

    I think that video is a parody of some other song, and if I understood Ukrainian, might be pretty funny. Zelensky was a comedian after all. Sure makes it hard to take him seriously as a politician though.

    1. Ignacio

      I hope that between doses of whatever he takes nowadays to keep himself up he has some moment of clarity to see that a ZNPP stunt would mark his end. Such stunt is not going to work in anyway. First it won’t drag NATO to WW3 which is probably the objective. Second, if there is still some sense of dignity in media like the NYT, BBC or similar they will not run with Ukraine’s narrative with this. It will backfire: Ukraine will suddenly turn from highly democratic to extremely rogue and aid will stop flowing. Zelensky blamed for all mistakes. A few idiots are running with this but real politik will put a stop to neocon craziness IMO.

  13. Carolinian

    Re New Zealand and sheep–John Muir may have been the first to call sheep “hooved locusts” and he said he was more concerned about the sheep near Yosemite (he worked for awhile as a shepherd) than the loggers because the trees would grow back but the sheep pull up the roots and destroy the landscape. Cattle on the other hand crop the grass and leave the roots although overgrazing can also destroy native landscape.

    Edward Abbey continued the theme and claimed that Arizona was mostly grassland before the grazers showed up. Not sure if that’s true.

    So let’s hear it for trees. Here in the Southeast we still have plenty until the real estate locusts with their minions John Deere and Komatsu knock them all down. Indeed this summer the overgrowth seems more riotous than usual.

    1. chuck roast

      John Fremont explored portions of New Mexico in the 1840’s and wrote about vast prairies with waist high grass and huge well spaced ponderosa pines. That’s all the white guys needed to hear.

  14. Lexx

    ‘Out of the Wild’

    A thoroughly enjoyable read, Henry.

    I don’t know my bible, so if a commentor could fill me in… what were Adam and Eve to do? Or maybe just Adam at first in the garden? What job did God charge him with? And as their descendants, what is ours?

    “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      But that’s the first Genesis myth! ;) The second Genesis myth, Adam and Eve, had two jobs pre-Fall:

      1. “to work it and take care of it [the Garden of Eden]” in Gen. 3:15; and

      2, name the animals in Gen. 3:19-20.

      Considering that the Garden watered itself and was full of fruit trees, it was not a tough assignment. It’s funny to think how this myth, probably from around the 5th century BCE, relates to Rousseau, Mitchell and to the current idea about the life of hunter-gatherers. Whoever put this together had quite a gift for foresight and myth creation.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Exactly. That myth is a problem if you’re trying to talk about a more Earth-friendly approach to things with fundamentalist Christians. “But we have dominion!” But then in the second myth, it’s all the fault of humans, especially women, and their rebellion against YHWH. You might think the two stories are therefore inconsistent, but they’re not. Both stories exalt this YHWH Elohim who is the star of both narratives, and that was the primary purpose of the people who put these myths together. Their world had been obliterated, thus the Fall narrative as a concession to reality, but yet they had to rehabilitate their national god to complete the assignment given by the king who had let them return from exile.

        And despite how all these particular, long ago circumstances shaped these stories and the particular way they were put together, these myths, especially the second one, still address a lot of our situation, even anticipating the transhumanists who are openly striving to “evolve” humans into gods.

        Unlike Ezra and his scribes under the Persians in Jerusalem, we know more about how we humans came to be. The myths we create to answer the questions for which neither history nor science currently have an answer can hew a little closer to what we call reality.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I remembering wondering about that in Sunday school when I was around nine. We had learned about the attributes of God – omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc. – and that week’s lesson was about the Garden if Eden and the Fall. I asked the teacher that if God was so powerful, why did he allow the snake into the garden in the first place if he knew what was going to happen? Never did get a good answer to that one.

        1. Marissa Conley

          I try to tell monotheists of all stripes that their belief may work for them on an individual level, but at even a tiny group level it immediately becomes monstrous. Just take the simple case of a car accident where one person survives, another dies. The survivor thanks “god” for saving her, while having no good answer for why the other person died – even if the other person was every bit as much a believer as the survivor.

          This sort of “belief” is horrific at the social level. It’s monstrous.

          1. Victor Moses

            Unfortunately people brought up in the secular west have little understanding of religious paradigms even standard Christian ones that are the basis of western civilization. The salient point wrt to the car accident is that one doesn’t own one’s body or soul – they belong to God. So that it is He who takes back his property and the time of your death is not in your hands. There is no monstrosity if you realize the place of humans in a monotheistic tradition.

          2. Henry Moon Pie

            As a former monotheist, my problem with monotheistic religions with their transcendent, anthropomorphic gods is that they all project a human-like being to be in charge of the universe. That exacerbates human tendencies to arrogance and hubris, and as the Adam and Eve myth teaches, hubris is one of humanity’s most fundamental problems. We get control of fire, sort of, cough, cough. We “organize” Nature into monocropped fields. We find this gooey stuff in the ground that contains all this concentrated energy. Before you know it, we’re so impressed with our cleverness that we begin to think of ourselves as gods. Just ask the transhumanists who can’t quite decide if they want to make humans into gods or to create a silicon AI god who will tell us how to solve all our problems.

            An immanent god as understood by Eastern religions is much less a temptation to hubris.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Also, this one from Naomi Wolf might resonate with some of the NC commentariat –

          Not sure exactly what to make of it, but I find myself drawn towards similar arguments lately, after having largely rejected organized religion for expecting me to believe convoluted arguments that any child could poke holes in. Maybe it’s how lacking materialist capitalism has been found to be that many are looking for meaning elsewhere. Maybe it’s just about addressing the limits of human knowledge. I read a lot of physics and one of my favorite books in recent years was Richard Muller’s NOW: The Physics of Time but it wasn’t the physics that stuck with me. It was what he discussed near the end – that we hu-mons come up with all kinds of questions that can’t be answered by science, we shouldn’t try to answer them with science, but nevertheless they are still valid questions that merit contemplation. I can’t quite put it into words, but it isn’t just “god in the gaps” whereby people take anything unexplained and attribute it to the deity of their choice. That wasn’t what Muller was getting at, and I don’t think it’s what Wolf is going for either.

          I do think she is onto something about the changes in the world recently, specifically in the Western world and not for the better. That “garden” they so want to preserve from the barbarian hordes has a rank miasma about it. A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have described things like in such terms as I’m about to – things are not often good or evil as those are human constructions to begin with, and most of the time there’s a lot of gray area surrounding a particular event. But right about now it sure feels like something wicked this way comes.

        3. jobs

          Can omniscient God, who
          Knows the future, find
          The Omnipotence to
          Change His future mind?

          — Karen Owens

    2. Kouros

      That was an enjoyable read.

      It would have been an interesting insertion and point of debate the mentioning of some kayakers eaten by wolves on a remote island of British Columbia coast, or how hippos wantonly kill locals and tourists alike. Some fellow that I knew went on a two weeks safari in Botswana (made his money being a “high calibre consultant”) and it really sounded like a survival expedition. “The Gods Must Be Crazy I” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy I” I think better captures some of the ideas of the article.

      1. vao

        I do not remember where I read this definition, but a place can be called “wilderness” if and only if it has some creature that can hunt, kill, and devour you.

        1. Lexx

          I like that. My sympathies usually go to the predators. They work very hard for their food and at high risk to tooth and claw. We’re overrun here with wild prey for lack of predators to eat them. Without them to weed out the young, old, sick and possibly stupid, prey are the worse off in terms of survival.

          But then psychopaths may make the same argument and how would we feel about being so coldly assessed with the same terminology? Google’s answer to the prey-predator ratio question (PPR) is interesting; it too points to a grander design in the universe we have forgotten we’re part of having been apex predators for so long.

          ‘Dear Lord… if it is your will to take me now, would you mind allowing me the small grace of a predator that will kill me outright first before ripping the tastiest morsels out of my chest cavity? I’d just rather not be aware of what’s happening while it’s happening. I know it’s a big ask.’

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Empire Destroyed”

    Watching the first part of Andrei Martyanov’s video on the problem of the sea lanes across the Atlantic – and especially the Pacific too for that matter – I think back on what veterans said that were part of the Battle of the Atlantic. There was a brilliant British TV series called “The World at War” back in the 70s when so many survivors were still alive. One guy said that if you were aboard a regular merchant ship, you could wear pajamas to bed as you had time to get dressed and evacuate if the ship was hit. If you were carrying munitions, you went to bed fully dressed with shoes and life-vest on as there would be not time to waste evacuating the ship. But if your ship was carrying fuel, you could go to bed in your pajamas as if you were hit, it would be all over in an instant so you might as well sleep comfortable.

    But Martyanov was right about Raytheon calling back long-retired workers to help make Stingers again, something that they have not done in about 20 years. They literally had to blow the cobwebs off the testing equipment and apparently, those missiles are hand-made to a large extent. Not sure how well that will scale up or how well 20 year-old missile technology will work on the modern battlefield but as least Raytheon shareholders will be happy and that is the important thing, right?

    1. tevhatch

      It will be the USA extracting chips from Junkyard washing machines and refrigerators. The good old Z80 chip is still being made (but only in China). I’d bet a lot of the sensors and chips are not only out of production but long gone. Then there’s the test equipment, same issue and I wonder about the standards they used to keep them calibrated, did accounting write them off to squeeze down capital holdings to boost rate of profit?

  16. Bart Hansen

    A gorgeous bird is the pelican,
    Whose beak will hold more than his bellican.
    He can put in his beak
    Food enough for a week.
    But I’m damned if I see how in hellecan.

    Ascribed to one C. M. Marshton

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine ‘preparing for nuclear explosion’ as Russian troops ordered to leave Zaporizhzhia plant: ‘Whole world is watching’”

    There was an interview on France 24 with IAEA Director Rafael Grossi who had to admit that nothing was happening and that the Russians weren’t packing explosives into the place as Zelensky was saying though be did leave himself with some wiggle room for later. I am beginning to wonder if this is all some sort of ploy. That NATO is telling Russia is that if they do not freeze the conflict, that they will have the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant bombed and put the blame on Russia. And that will be a justification for NATO forces going into the Ukraine to “help” out with containment at that plant – which just happens to fall within Russian territory. Of course Russia – if this idea is true – will draw a different conclusion. That they cannot afford to have a bunch of crazies anywhere near that plant so that they can constantly threaten/blackmail Russia with the safety with that plant. And that the border near that plant will have to be pushed way, way, way back from that plant. There is just something about nuclear stuff that attracts Zelensky and his cohort like moths to a flame.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Because of the persistent shelling from an “unknown source” Rosatom has shutdown the Zaporozhye plant. It’s pretty much impossible to cause a large scale radioactive release there for now. By anyone.

      Which leads me to believe that all this is a psyop aimed mainly at Ukrainian civilian population to direct their attention away from…
      – failing Ukrainian offensive
      – mounting casualties (cemeteries are already full)
      – de facto full mobilization (even in the west!)
      – huge raise in energy and food prices
      – total collapse of the NATO membership bid
      – nobody has yet seen Zalushny or Budanov alive

      1. Ignacio

        Agreed in full. Running out of stunts they are. More cocaine for the creatives is needed. A lot!

      2. Permanent Sceptic

        The Washington Post ran an interview with Zaluzhny on Friday, June 30, which included photographs. The byline is from their Kyiv correspondent and the article states that the interview and photos were taken in his office on “Wednesday”; presumably that means June 28. I assume this is proof of life, if not then the Post has really gone off the deep end into pure propaganda.

    2. EssCetera

      A few weeks ago I was saying Russia should just remove the rods now that they’re in cold shutdown and safe to transport, make it impossible to create an incident, just to take the option off the table for the Ukrainians. What with the hysterical shrillness, relentless and blatant, almost comic, fakeness of the Ukrainian antics around this, I’m now inclined to believe they’re hoping the Russians will move the rods.

      It got me wondering what it looked like to transport rods and google showed this image of a typical US transport:

      Which rather looks to me like the most vulnerable point in the operation is getting them to/from the transport vehicle.

      So now I think I’ve persuaded myself these Ukrainian antics are in the hopes of pressuring the Russians to move them, that a Ukrainian/NATO missile is slotted to be fired if one of these vehicles looks like it may be about to receive anything.

    3. Willow

      Putin has made it very clear that if anything happens to Zaporizhzhia Russia will respond likewise. Which would mean taking out either or both of the NPPs in Western Ukraine. Rivne & Khemeinytsky are operating NPPs compared to Zaporizhzhia which has been ‘turned off’ to avoid a meltdown.

    4. hk

      If that happens, who’s going to help containing radioactivity in Berlin, which would be hit by Russian nukes in retaliation immediately?

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The politics of the French riots”

    I think that it was a Russian politician that said that because of the riots, that perhaps NATO should go in to secure their nukes.

  19. juno mas

    RE: Aggressive Orcas

    Those are not aggressive orcas. They appear to be the playful offspring of the SeaWorld released group. It’s genetic. ;)

  20. tevhatch

    Every time you need more money … you gotta give ‘em a good show!

    — Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) July 2, 2023

    I’d like to but Twitter blocks views.

  21. Darthbobber

    The Deadly Russian Minefields piece.
    First of all, this: “Ukrainian sappers crouched by the side of a cratered road, carefully deactivating a powerful anti-personnel Claymore mine that had been hidden near an electricity pole, poised to send shrapnel into infantry or vehicles.”

    In addition to being ancient, the Claymore is American. WTF. (Of course, in some areas Ukrainians advancing have to deal with their own defensive mines before they get to the Russian ones)

    Mine articles are always weird. Both sides employ mines widely, and make no particular attempt to deny the fact, but most coverage deals only with the villainous use of them by the “bad guys”.

    On the related cluster munitions (also in use on both sides), pro-Ukraine articles call out Russian use and mention that they “violate” a treaty. Pro-Russsian articles call out Ukrainian use or possible American supplies, and also mention that treaty. Rarely does someone mention (and never prominently) that nobody involved is a signator of said treaty.

    1. JBird4049

      Is anyone planning to remove all those mines or are they just going to cordon off the front much as France has to still do with parts of World War One’s Western Front or are the farmers going to do as the Cambodians, Laotians, and I think still the Vietnamese, and risk farming their fields, possibly to be blown up, or risk starvation?

      Once enough ordnance gets dropped on an area it will be a long time, if ever, for it to be safe. Roughly a century for a few spots after the American Civil War. Still ongoing with both world wars with, again, parts France still uninhabitable 105 years later. Then countries in Africa and Asia still have people die generations after a war’s end.

      I think that everyone is going to be dealing with this crazy use of mines for a long time with deep regret. And no, self destroying mines have a high failure rate, but still kill large numbers of people as do unexploded bombs and shells.

  22. none

    What is current take on Seymour Hersh’s article about Nordstream these days? It came up on another forum yesterday. Thanks.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      US intelligence has a story about a few Ukrainian divers destroying the pipeline, but this story is meant for Global South audiences. Euro elites haven’t made a public fuss, and if it was just Ukraine, they would. The Hersh story still explains everything but US after the fact claims.

      Prior to Hersch, I thought it was some combination of elements of the UK and Poland, but his article everything.

      This is questioning about Iraq, but there is no way guys like Blinken aren’t being asked in a similar manner as John Kerry when they go on foreign junkets. If the US will do this Berlin, what will they do to Nairobi or Santiago? The pr problem the US has is they expected Putin to be ousted by Yeltsin 2.0 and have never quite grappled with this not happening or the actual standing of the US in the world.

  23. EssCetera

    re: SITREP 6/30/23: Winds Gather Before the NATO Summit

    I admit I watched the video of the Ukrainian unit caught helplessly in the minefield, I feel like I have a moral obligation to. I think the Ukrainian command is criminal for having sent these soldiers into this. I hope the Ukrainians one day realize this and hold them to account, including NATO and the West.

  24. SET

    The Zelensky “dance video” is likely real. He was in a lot of “gay porn” videos, before he played a peace loving politician on Kolomoisky’s networked television show, the Ukie version of “West Wing”.

    I’m sure you know the story, Kolomoisky himself failed at politics, but he owned a network, so had some media clout. He got this comedian lout, to play act this character, it was a hit and even the Donbas voted for the little fascist, because he ran on a “peace with Russia” platform!

    I’ve seen the Ukrainian National Television channel clips where he was told point blank, “if you sign the Minsk Accords, we will hang you from a light pole!” Or words to that effect.

    BTW, I can’t open the twitter link, so I can share it on faceBorg.

  25. Susan the other

    The Fate of Fukushima’s Contaminated Water. Containing the water delayed the global catastrophe. Releasing it will allow the catastrophe to happen. But it will keep TEPCO running. There was no solution to this problem as they are now admitting. The treated water still contains massive amounts of radioactive particles. And they are apparently running out of storage capacity for this shit. Raising the question: Is Japan more valuable than the Pacific Ocean and all the wildlife therein? No it is not. The answer is No.

  26. c_heale

    Wanted to comment on one more thing from the Links a few days ago. The 150 best restaurants in the world. Apart from the Western bias, I think some of the entries are not that well researched. The only restaurant based in Korea is one which is famous because a former president was a customer. A president who finished his term in 2007. So has this restaurant has been the best restaurant in Korea since 2007? I doubt it, given the vibrant restaurant culture in Korea. This makes me think that the list is outdated for the restaurants further down the list, and that the entry for Korea is a token one at best.

  27. JBird4049

    Contactless benefits cards? Really?? From the Bloomberg article on the ent card skimming with the highlight by me:

    In 1978, Congress passed the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which protects consumers against unauthorized electronic transactions. In 1994, the Federal Reserve Board, which implemented EFTA at the time, moved to explicitly include EBT recipients under the law. But as part of a controversial package of welfare reforms signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, EBT cards were carved out of EFTA’s scope, creating a two-tier system for banking protections. “There was never a parallel set of protections set up,” says Victoria Negus, benefits policy advocate at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, which fights for economic justice.

    It is nice to see just where one stands in the American predator state. And yes, California’s cards does have those stupid holograms, but otherwise just the magnetic tape. It is also nice to see that 47 of the 50 states do not replace the skimmed funds although California is one of the three that does. The article says that getting the funds back requires lots of paperwork. Maybe, those beneficiaries are all just cheats, unlike our fine, upstanding legislators, lobbyists, and corporate leaders? After all one must be sure that the ginormous $250 maximum an individual gets from SNAP is not somehow embezzled. Somehow.

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