Links 9/1/2023

Car with giant bull named Howdy Doody crammed into passenger seat pulled over by Nebraska police NBC News

Germany’s radioactive boars are a bristly reminder of nuclear fallout Science

Drought Reveals 113-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tracks in Texas Smithsonian Magazine

Here’s when humans nearly went extinct, reveals new study Interesting Engineering



Failed Net Zero pledges: Just 0.3% renewable energy produced by 12 European Big Oil companies in 2022 Down to Earth

Appalachia Mobilizes Against Manchin’s Dirty Deal Atmos

Toxic Train Bombs

Railroads resist joining safety hotline because they want to be able to discipline workers Associated Press


Brain fog after Covid linked to blood clots – study BBC

COVID-19 will harm students The Kingston Whig Standard

Welcome to the “You Do You” Pandemic The Nation

Old Blighty

He Was Shot 14 Times at the Dinner Table. His Children Want to Know if Britain Ordered the Hit. New York Times

US fighter jets capable of nuclear bombing to be based in UK The Telegraph


Burkina Faso cabinet approves bills to deploy troops to Niger Al Mayadeen

A ‘Desperate’ Nuland in Africa Consortium News. Is a desperate Nuland more dangerous than a confident Nuland?


Making sense of the coup in Gabon An Africanist Perspective

‘Obama’s man in Africa’ under house arrest as popular coup rocks Gabon The Grayzone

Coups vs Democracy and the Misunderstanding of Africa’s Youth The Elephant


Documents Provide Fresh Insight Into Allegations of Stock Manipulation That Rocked India’s Powerful Adani Group Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. It should be mentioned that the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project receives funding from USAID and the US State Department among others.

First Indian companies sanctioned over trade with Russia, report reveals The Independent

Balochistan’s deadly confluence of separatist insurgency and Islamist militancy Himal Southasian


China lets Baidu, others launch ChatGPT-like bots to public; tech shares jump The Straits Times

China’s Sham Meritocracy Has Created a Burned-Out Generation Foreign Policy

China’s too-big-to-fail property giants the tip of real estate crisis as ‘suppliers are being dragged to death’ Channel News Asia

China Is Speeding Up Infrastructure Bond Sales to Boost Spending Bloomberg


China spells out ‘obstacles’ to resuming high-level military talks with the US South China Morning Post

In a 1st, Taiwan to get US funds under Foreign Military Financing: Report Anadolu Agency

Analysis: China’s new map a timed move to reassert its territorial claims, flex muscles ahead of regional summits Channel News Asia

Japan’s Defense Ministry Requests Largest Ever Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 The Diplomat

New Not-So-Cold War

EU aims to train 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers by end of 2023 The New Voice of Ukraine

‘Corrupt Decisions’ – Kyiv to Review Medical Exemptions from Army Duty The Kyiv Post


An Obsolete German Tank Seeks a Second Life on Ukraine’s Front Lines New York Times

World’s First Specialized Explosive Naval Drone Unit Formed In Ukraine Naval News


Russia hosts Turkey’s Fidan, presses for guarantees on grain deal Al-Monitor

Ukraine cries foul as fuels refined from Russian oil pour into the EU Politico EU

The Hedgehog Temple: A Tribute to Fallen Ukrainians at Burning Man The Kyiv Post

Positive signals from Brussels reignite Georgians’ EU hopes Eurasianet

Azerbaijan says embassy in Lebanon attacked by people of Armenian origin Anadolu Agency

Three more Armenians detained at Azerbaijan’s Lachin checkpoint Eurasianet


How American aid supports autocracy in Jordan Responsible Statecraft

Interim Taliban administration signs $6.5B mining contracts in Afghanistan Anadolu Agency

Spook Country

GoFundMe, Go To Hell Matt Taibbi, Racket News

Biden Administration

US FTC secures settlement with ICE, Black Knight over $11.7 bln deal Reuters

Hunter Biden’s firm exchanged more than 1,000 emails with Joe Biden’s VP office, records show Fox News


Trump asks judge to sever Georgia election case from co-defendants The Hill

Inmate killed in stabbing spree at same Fulton County jail where Trump was booked, could be housed if convicted New York Post


Proud Boy Joseph Biggs hit with 17-year prison sentence over Jan. 6 conviction Washington Examiner

The Supremes

Clarence Thomas Acknowledges Undisclosed Real Estate Deal With Harlan Crow and Discloses Private Jet Flights ProPublica

GOP Clown Car

Sen. Mitch McConnell cleared to continue work after two freezing incidents New York Post

Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Wouldn’t Say If He’d Replace Mitch McConnell With a Republican Jezebel

Our Famously Free Press

Lawsuit against police chief just the latest shoe to drop in Marion newspaper raid case Kansas Reflector

New guide helps journalists know their rights when police come knocking Freedom of the Press Foundation


HCA, Google roll out generative AI project Becker’s Hospital Review


‘Quiet cutting’ in hospitals: Outsourcing may be 1 example Becker’s Hospital Review

Big Brother is Watching You Watch


Elon Musk’s X now wants your biometric data, as well as your job and education history, for ‘safety, security, and identification purposes’ Fortune

AI-powered hate speech detection will moderate voice chat in Call of Duty Ars Technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

Grievance and Reform The Polycrisis. “Will the BRICS bargaining chip bear fruit for smaller and lower-income countries?”

Class Warfare

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, study finds Fortune

Who owns the West? High Country News


Why Teamsters allowed 22,000 union jobs to vanish Freight Waves

Amazon in prime position and is first to unveil peak season surcharges The Loadstar


Tech billionaires’ secretive plan to build a California city from scratch Los Angeles Times

The Bezzle

Tiny Anguilla may make $30M on its “.ai” domain amid AI hubbub Ars Technica

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. digi_owl

    > Car with giant bull named Howdy Doody crammed into passenger seat pulled over by Nebraska police NBC News

    Some grade A bull, that. Only in America.

    > Germany’s radioactive boars are a bristly reminder of nuclear fallout Science

    Do they glow in the dark?


    From leaded fuel to microplastics, we really can’t get a break can we?

    > He Was Shot 14 Times at the Dinner Table. His Children Want to Know if Britain Ordered the Hit. New York Times

    Palestine in the north Atlantic.

    > A ‘Desperate’ Nuland in Africa Consortium News. Is a desperate Nuland more dangerous than a confident Nuland?

    Nothing fights like a cornered rat…

    And as for the antidote, what is that “saying” about cats and dogs living together?

    1. Randall Flagg

      >And as for the antidote, what is that “saying” about cats and dogs living together?

      A sign of the end times??

        1. digi_owl

          Ah yes, that seems like what i vaguely remembered.

          Also, hysteria seem to be in ample supply these days.

      1. Mildred Montana

        That dog used to chase deer; now he lies down with them. Looks to me like he’s gotten old.

        “His ebon chin time hath to silver turn’d…”
        —–a paraphrase of the 16th century song 𝘏𝘪𝘴 𝘎𝘰𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘯 𝘓𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘴 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘪𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘛𝘶𝘳𝘯’𝘥

    2. Lexx

      Every time I see that photo I’ve wondered which the I’d trip over first trying to get out the door, and the answer is always the cat, who’s trying to get in before the competition.

      DOG: ‘You woke me up for a photo?’

      DEER: ‘All I can smell is old dog farts and used kitty litter.’

    3. Mark Gisleson

      I like to play this game using the NYTimes online top right sidebar. Invariably the last item will cue how they want you to respond to the top op-ed listing. Recently they ran a story about “slobs” just before a hit piece on Trump.

      Currently (subject to change) they have MIND diet, drag king, “tiny snake swallows absurdly huge prey” and then the op-ed leading off with “American Power Just Took a Big Hit.”

      : |

  2. The Rev Kev

    “A ‘beefed up’ car with giant bull named Howdy Doody crammed into passenger seat pulled over by Nebraska police”

    When pulled over about this stunt, the driver tried to give the Nebraska cops a load of bull but they weren’t having a bar of it.

      1. mrsyk

        From another article published on breakingnews,
        “Ms Meyer said Howdy Doody is like a member of the family now, but she was not always wild about how much her husband spent on the bull over the years.

        “The amount of money that he’s spent on this whole darn project between the car and the bull I could’ve had a brand new kitchen,” Rhonda Meyer said.”

  3. mrsyk

    “Here’s when humans nearly went extinct,”. This is quite a story. Wondering if we can pull this trick off twice.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If that bottleneck lasted around 117,000 years, then it could not have been something like a volcano but must have been something more systematic like a severe shift in the climate. This is at least the second time that the human race almost went out but damn, only about 1,280 breeding individuals? Below is an article and I only link to it as the top image shows you what that number of people look like assembled together in one place-

      Some human characteristics must have been reinforced through line-breeding – otherwise know as inbreeding – but for that long a time span it must have been a near run thing.

      1. mrsyk

        “– but for that long a time span it must have been a near run thing.” Seriously. It’s blowing my mind.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          This graph may help explain how that was possible. (To read the graph, note how the x-axis changes its scale in order to portray such a long time frame while still showing detail over the last few million years.) Find the “1” for 1 million years ago. In the Pleistocene, the amplitude of the temperature changes is huge, and around a million years ago, it was averaging about 2 degrees C lower global annual temperature than now–in other words an ice age. But the temps were still fluctuating wildly within relatively short time spans. It must have been very difficult for humans to find livable conditions, and they must have been moving all the time.

          Later in the Pleistocene, the frequency of the temperature fluctuations grew slower, making it easier to survive and grow in population. Finally, the Holocene arrives with the mildest, most stable period of temperature in Earth’s history. That’s how humans could begin agriculture with limited population growth. Then we found that old bubblin’ crude, and it was party time.

          Then we blew that mild Holocene climate with spewing all that carbon in the air with our Happy Motoring, guilt-free flying and massive accumulation of stuff.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>“Here’s when humans nearly went extinct,”. This is quite a story. Wondering if we can pull this trick off twice.

      We did. The known second bottleneck probably had more individuals, but still less than ten thousand individuals. So, not as severe, but the worldwide population was still reduced to the size of a single small town.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “Wondering if we can pull this trick off twice.”

      It would be the third time, at a minimum. There was a near miss about 74,000 years ago when the volcano Toba exploded in what is now Sumatra, shooting hundreds of cubic miles of rock into the upper atmosphere, thus setting off multiple years, and perhaps decades, of volcanic winter.

  4. Acacia

    Re: Welcome to the “You Do You” Pandemic

    Executive summary: it’s what Lambert has been talking about for, oh, the past two years, at least.

    It would be funny that the PMC-adjacent Nation is now siding with Trump’s surgeon general Jerome Adams against Biden operative Ashish Jha, if so many people weren’t going to suffer as a consequence of all the horrific gaslighting.

    Within my own minor orbit, a friend just tested positive and the symptoms have hit hard. His HMO recommended Paxlovid and told him to come into their pharmacy to wait and pick it up. He got angry — “It’s virulent!” — and had to scold them into getting it delivered to his address. Hospital infection control in top form!

    1. KFritz

      There is some reality to the Biden Admin’s “realpolitik,” based on my “sample of one” anecdotal observations. I live in the San Joaquin Valley, and ride on the buses of 3 different transit districts. In all of them, ridership picked up after the mask mandate was lifted. I concluded that people hadn’t been riding because they didn’t want to wear masks. Bus riders are mostly part of the underclass demographic and they’re happy not to be wearing masks. They would almost certainly react with anger if masking was ‘remandated.’

    1. The Rev Kev

      When questioned about all these law violations, the Department of Justice indicated that any laws these days are more like “guidelines” in practice. At least, that is how they are doing things. :)

  5. Cancyn

    Re the Kingston Whig Standard article. I live about 20 mins north of Kingston and gave up on this fairly conservative rag not long after we moved into the area. Thanks so much for featuring it! I’m shocked and surprised to learn that we have someone like Dr. Zoutman in our community. Part One of the series is worth reading too. He hasn’t eaten in a restaurant in 4 years! I know many NCers can also say this but I’d guess that not many other health care types can say the same, in Canada or the US. I have mostly dined on patios the dozen or so times I’ve eaten out since early 2020. But have ventured inside a couple of times when indicators were fairly low. I met my brother and his wife for lunch yesterday and we were intending the patio but it was closed due to our annual August wasp problem. So I had what was probably my last indoor meal for quite some time.
    I remember the SARS crisis. My husband had knee surgery while we in the midst of it. The hospital in Hamilton had a triage tent set up out front that all visitors had to go through. Most visitors were not allowed in. I wasn’t allowed in the hospital before, during or after the surgery. A masked orderly brought him down to the parking garage in a wheelchair to meet me so that I could take him home.
    With regard to the money for school ventilation systems, the elementary and the secondary school in my little hamlet both have new ventilation systems on their roofs. The elementary school has also had new windows, ones that open, installed. The secondary school has also had a lot of external ‘beautification’ work done of late – I can’t help but wonder if that is due to an over allocation of COVID funding. I was considering volunteering to help with the breakfast/lunch program at the elementary school this year. Not sure that I will with this new surge. If I do, one of my first questions will be about the ventilation, I will report back if and when I do.
    Last, I am noticing a slight uptick of masking in my area. But not much. My husband had an ultrasound the other day, he was the only one in the clinic masked, including staff.

  6. flora

    Tech billionaires’ secretive plan to build a California city from scratch – LA Times.

    From the article:

    “U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, who represents the region, said for years he and other officials were unable to determine who was behind the dizzying land grab. Flannery Associates has purchased land that was restricted to open space and agricultural purposes under a state conservation program.

    The company seeks to rezone the land, which would require approval by multiple state and county agencies and wouldn’t be as simple as asking residents to vote on the issue, officials familiar with the process said. But the lack of residential zoning in the area does not seem to be a factor for Flannery Associates. ” (my emphasis)

    Would require approval… unless… something like a natural disaster like a wildfire in that area would let the gov declare a state of emergency and avoid existing zoning and land use restrictions.

    1. mrsyk

      heh, heh. That would be one way. Or just buy the votes you need on the planning board. (at the planning board? Like going shopping at Whole Foods?)

      1. ambrit

        The “wildfires” would also clear the construction sites.
        Plus, it would be another test of the space based directed energy weapons system. /s?

    2. The Rev Kev

      When the Romans were going to build a town, they worked out how much water they would be able to get to that site which would give them the maximum size of the future population. But for a new city in the middle of nowhere in California, they should be asking where the hell the water is going to come from. Will Los Angeles or San Francisco give up a big chunk of their water supply to give to a billionaire’s city? They take the matter of water very seriously in California.

      1. digi_owl

        From the impression i have gotten regarding water priorities in California, they could register the project as a farm (long pig maybe?) and get all they would want and then some.

      2. t

        They take the matter of water very seriously in California….

        We can see that in in the fairly recent decision to start paying for it….

        1. JBird4049

          The Sacramento Delta, like anything else dealing with water in California is heavily regulated. Having a city taking all its water from delta would invite the type of legal and legislative fighting that would make Trump’s court fights look tame; it would be a matter of life and death, both financially and literally.

    3. MJ


      Instead of meeting the challenge of improving our existing cities we take the easy way out and build a new one—losing prime agricultural land in the process.

    4. Wukchumni

      Have acquired real estate in Nevada along with 64,365 others in what some may say is a land grab in creating the 11th biggest city in the state. Not a drop of water here, although alcohol is plentiful.

    5. Daryl

      When I heard of this, I was reminded of all Yasha Levine’s writing about Victorville. Ah well, no doubt the state of California needs another prison colony. And one conveniently located to the Bay Area at that!

  7. mrsyk

    “Nearly two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, study finds”. There it is, neatly summed up in one sentence, the crux of the biscuit, and easily remedied. Is it neoliberalism that requires the masses to be hungry, cold and stressed? Predatory capitalism?

      1. Benny Profane

        Bernie and AOC tell me that he has accomplished so much they need a few more minutes to list them all!

    1. bassmule

      “The dual-mandate framework is predicated on the belief that there’s a delicate balance between too much employment and too little. It also assumes that the Federal Reserve has the ability to move the economy to its sweet spot, where just the “right” number of people are kept on the sidelines, wanting to work but trapped in unemployment for the sake of keeping prices in check. To put it crudely, the Fed uses unemployed human beings as its primary weapon against inflation.” (emphasis added)

      –Stephanie Kelton, “The Deficit Myth,” Chapter 2, “Think of Inflation.”

      1. Skip Intro

        Sounds like the fed is sharing a playbook in its misguided and ineffectual counteroffensive on inflation with wave after wave of human cannon fodder.

      2. Rolf

        Thanks for including this link to Kelton. And although perhaps I am preaching to the NC commentariat community choir, isn’t it manifestly clear that using the FED/monetary policy to maintain “maximum employment” is a rolling disaster? Its tools are too crude, work only to increase indebtedness, whereas consumers’ willingness to assume debt is a direct function of whether they think they’ll be able to repay that debt in the future (will I still have a f****** job)?

        Even without the FED’s inhuman pursuit of Friedman’s imaginary NAIRU, even if it really was trying to attain maximum employment (versus simply enriching people who already have more money than they can use), it will fail at this. In my view, everyone who wants to work, wants a job and an income should be able to find one (JG). Intentionally maintaining unemployment is not just stupid but cruel.

        I found this series by Steve Keen, This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Inflation (third installment published a year ago at The Epoch Times), which draws in Michal Kalecki, to be helpful:

        “We have drastically improved the efficiency with which we mine energy and process minerals today, but the physical constraints of much more difficult to mine energy, and much lower quality minerals, can’t be eliminated by ever-rising productivity. These two factors also multiply together: the energy is more expensive, and more of it is needed to process lower-quality ores into final goods. One problem amplifies the other.

        Since this is also happening in the context of dangerous global warming, and fossil fuels still provide over 80 percent of our energy inputs, there is no possibility of replacing fossil fuels with renewables or nuclear power in time to address these cost pressures.

        The likely prospect, therefore, is rising prices—not because of wage demands or excessive markups, but because of a sheer increase in the cost of turning raw materials into finished goods.

        The Neoclassical “cure” for this disease—rising interest rates, and cutbacks on government spending—are as effective as 18th-century medicine was against cancer. They will probably cause a recession, which may reduce markups and thus some inflation. But with real wages falling, rising unemployment on top of falling real wages could break the West’s already brittle social compact.

        Inflation is, therefore, likely to be a permanent feature of society. The question is not how to eliminate it, but how to avoid it causing social breakdown.”

        1. Mark Gisleson

          This is the kind of clear-headed thinking and rigorous analysis that forms the backbone of truly great science fiction. Sadly, I can’t remember the last time a President gave us an argument for anything that included any context other than what’s needed to create straw men.

          Climate change isn’t just here, it comes with countless Easter Eggs: some new but most the inevitable byproduct of past decisions. Every solution we come up with will be at risk of being rabbit punched by a dark swan.

          On my darker days I can’t help but think that the future will be so bright we’ll all be shades ; )

          1. Rolf

            Climate change isn’t just here, it comes with countless Easter Eggs: some new but most the inevitable byproduct of past decisions. Every solution we come up with will be at risk of being rabbit punched by a dark swan.

            I think the above are important points often missed: that the tails of the carbon system are long indeed, and that the sword of any “solution” to our current difficulties contains at least two, if not more edges, some hidden. To badly mix yet another metaphor, there is no silver bullet.

    2. chuck roast

      I like Wolf a lot. He does yeoman’s work on inflation without the institutional bias. But to hear him tell it Joe & Jane Citizen are spending like there is no tomorrow and packing it away in savings like there may be a cataclysm tomorrow…what to do with all that cash? Distribution never seems to be a concern of Wolf’s…only aggregation. Like having 20/15 vision and glaucoma at he same time.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I would have thought that it was radiant heat that would have gotten that car. It travels in a straight line and the ridge that it was on might have led to it getting it in full rather than all the areas surrounding it as they were masked by the height. If the grass did not burn on the other side it could simply be a wind change which pushed the fire back on itself.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Germany’s radioactive boars are a bristly reminder of nuclear fallout”

    Something that this article does not bring up which is kinda strange. All that radioactivity came from Chernobyl as well as all those nuke tests over the decades which has been sinking into the earth. And a fair bit made its way into truffles which those wild boar have been feasting on leading them to become more radioactive. But digging for truffles is a big thing in countries like France, Spain and Italy. Last I heard, the prices that they can fetch led to them being called black gold. So what about all those people-

    1. Carolinian

      Luckily there were never any above ground tests in the US and our elite diners don’t care for the stuff. Oh wait.

      The premise of the film is that rival Portland truffle hunters steal Nic Cage’s pig. Even this isn’t fanciful since in Italy the same sort steal truffle dogs.

    2. Schopsi

      What happens if you nuke a wild boar?

      Answer: It reforms in 1-100 minutes.
      Only now it’s radioactive.

      And pissed.

  9. Alan Roxdale

    A ‘Desperate’ Nuland in Africa Consortium News. Is a desperate Nuland more dangerous than a confident Nuland?

    I can’t help but think putting Nuland on the Niger brief is some kind of punishment. Clearly out of her regular eastern europe proving grounds, clearly a muckier situation due to French involvement, little in the way of defense contracts, etc to tempt the interest of the MIC, and to top it off the putsch leaders are obviously closer to the natural allies the State Dept would prefer to be dealing with in the region to begin with.

    Has there been a coup of sorts within the State Dept lately? Some reason why Blinken and/or Sullivan are not dealing with the West African dominoes themselves?

    1. Carolinian

      She was just promoted to number two at State and so has to broaden her cookie distribution. Sounds like the Africans may not be buying what she is pushing.

      Blinken busy with the Great Game and Sullivan works for the White House.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The promotion and the Africa tour both smack of being elevated so as to take a more spectacular fall.

        If so, I can’t wait.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Being cynical about the desire for optics form Team Blue, they are sending Nuland to turn around and gripe about patriarchy as the US has no interest in changing policies but needs to look like it’s engaging Africa.

    3. hk

      She can bring the coup leaders cookies and a pat on the back. She’s done it before. Oh, wait…she’s supposed to be angry at them? Aren’t coups democratic?

    4. doug

      ‘little in the way of defense contracts’
      My understanding is there is a $100,000,000.00 USofA drone base there. If the USofA calls it a coup, we have to give up that base. I could be wrong.

    5. Aurelien

      In the psychopathic jungle of Washington politics, Nuland has to demonstrate her new improved status by involving herself in whatever is the crisis of the day, no doubt pushing out of the way the person who would normally have dealt with the issue, to show she’s the boss. It’s not surprising that she made a mess of things: African politics is all about personal survival and enrichment, and in many of these countries Nuland would have lasted about a week before someone offed her.

      The US has never had a happy time in Africa: the sheer complexity and variety of the continent is enough to give you a headache, and it’s never had a high status in Washington. Many of the top people are career diplomats, which is good as regards expertise, but often means they have less influence. Which reminds me of an allegedly true story I was told of a US military training team in an African country some years ago. The Pentagon thought that it would be nice gesture if all of the members of the team were Black, not realising that Africans don’t like being patronised. The course did not go well and at the end of it, over a few beers, the leader of the US team discreetly asked one of the Africans why. “Well, don’t forget” was the response, “that my ancestors sold your ancestors into slavery.”

    6. Feral Finster

      As pointed out elsewhere, Nuland was recently promoted to Number Two at State. She’s hardly in bad odor with her bosses.

      Nuland is sent when the US wants to take a “my way or else!” line.

  10. Lexx

    ‘Welcome to the “You Do You” Pandemic’

    The one and only time I’ve heard someone say this to me, it was a Banner employee sitting on the front desk at Ortho. I was checking out and said something goofy, she laughed and said, ‘Yeah, whatever, you do you.’ I laughed too, felt my heart rate kick up and alarm bells start to go off. She was new, every time I walked in there was someone new sitting at that desk. She gave off that nervous vibe of someone not entirely sure of what she was doing and was using humor to smooth over the awkwardness.

    A few minutes passed, she said something goofy and I handed the line back to her, ‘No problem, take your time, I’m not in a hurry… you do you.’ She laughed and said she ‘deserved that’. Oh, it had been an insult? My nervous system was trying to warn me, ‘thar be anger in this one – warning!’

    Weeks went by and I returned for my right knee, the same woman sitting at the desk, but what passed for a sense of humor was gone and the defensive attitude had hardened. There were two women checking people in and they’re barking orders at patients as they came in the door. ‘NEXT! NAME?! DO YOU HAVE YOUR INSURANCE CARD AND I.D.!?’ The demand for information was rapid fire like they were cracking a whip of control over particularly slow and stupid people and they felt free to share their annoyance. A constant at ortho is that no patient comes walking in there with a lot of spring in their steps. It’s the front desk attitude that’s changed and the ‘agency’ they feel at sharing it with patients. The folks in the back offices are pleasant enough, it’s the folks setting the tone for the office that had gotten angrier and more defensive.

    Have we patients become an unruly lot, like drunk airplane passengers who sat at an airport bar two hours before the flight, and then took it out on the flight attendants? (We’re all familiar with the stories now) Are bans coming where our access to medical care is cancelled despite being insured, due to ‘bad behavior’ on the part of a few patients, as judged by the folks in ‘customer service’?

    Husband is in cybersecurity, he knows his way around an IT department. He’s gone round and round with Banner online and on the phone trying to get an itemized paper bill from them. We’ve checked all the boxes for opting out of ‘paperless’ but no bill arrives, no matter what may have been agreed upon. They want us to create a portal and pay them online; they just won’t say so. I don’t think they want us ‘to do us’; they want us ‘to do Banner’.

    1. ambrit

      “…‘to do Banner’.”
      Looks like you might have to start making hard copies at your desktop PC of your bills and payments.
      We have a dedicated checquing account for all online payments now. The savings account and the credit card/ debit card account are “walled off” from online as much as we could manage. (The bank fiercely resisted our demand that no “Overdraft Protection” be enabled on our accounts. I had to go to a manager in her office to get it done. Banks just love their fees!)

  11. dave -- just dave

    Wondering if we can pull this trick off twice.

    Yes, this is an interesting question, addressed in a book that is high on my to-read list, Bottleneck by William R. Catton, Jr. Wikipedia states Catton (1926-2015) was “an American sociologist known for his scholarly work in environmental sociology and human ecology. More broadly, Catton is known for his 1980 book, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change, which is credited by younger generations of environmental scholars and activists as foundational for their own works.” I am currently working my way through his earlier book, which makes a convincing case for the proposition that things that can’t go on, won’t go on.

    A review at Amazon cites the declaration of intent for Bottleneck; Catton writes, his two small great-grandsons alive in his thoughts, “I hope by the time they become great-grandfathers themselves, their generation will be so conspicuously more enlightened than mine was and our forebears were that the world population of bottleneck survivors will have evolved social systems better able to be circumspect in their use of their planet and its vulnerable biosphere. If readers of this book come to share similar hopes, and contribute to instilling them in their descendants, my reasons for writing will have been justified.”

    It’s hard to predict if that will happen, but as Bloody Mary sang in South Pacific,

    If you no have a dream, if you no have a dream
    How you gonna have a dream come true?

  12. ambrit

    Bank Ens—-fication Report, Southern Edition.
    I did some shopping yesterday. Took the bus uptown and got off near the only C—Bank branch that has a coin counting machine on premises. When I presented the jar of change and deposit slip at the counter I was told that the bank no longer used the coin counting machine for retail customers.
    “We only accept change rolled up now. Put your account number on the side of the roll. Thank you. Next!”
    I was not going to give up so easily. I turned to the woman behind me and said; “Not yet ma’am.”
    “What happened?” I asked, ” did the counting machine break?”
    “Sorry sir, the machine is still back there and it works. We just no longer use it for individual customers. WalMart has a coin counter in their lobby.”
    “I know that, but they charge a seven percent “handling fee.” I thought I was dealing with a full service bank here.”
    “Well, that’s one service we no longer offer.”
    “I’ll go now. But give me some coin rolls first.”
    The teller rummaged about in her drawer and pulled out some paper coin rolls.
    “Here you are. Have a nice day.”
    I bit my tongue and left.
    At least she didn’t ask me if I was interested in “investing” in a CD.

    1. Screwball

      This brings back an old memory. Probably 10 years ago, 5/3 bank. I had over 100lbs of change (I weighed it). To make a long story short, I put a few hands full in a freezer bag, added a deposit slip, and dropped it off at my bank. I told them to credit my account, and they could just throw away the bag.

      Four days later – nothing in my account. I was near the bank so I stopped to see what the hold up was;

      Hi, I brought a bag of change in here a few days ago, and I haven’t noticed any deposit in my account?

      We have 7 days to do the transaction.

      What? 7 days, what’s up with that?

      That’s our policy.

      Do you still have the bag?

      Yes, it’s in the back room.

      Can I see it? They go get my bag out of a locked room behind the teller counter and show it to me. Do you realize – the time we just spent on this you could have ran the money through the machine and we would be done?

      We have 7 days. PO’ed at this point, I just left. On day 7, it showed up in my account.

      I did this 3 more times. Each time it took 7 days. The third time there were 3 ladies sitting at the counter doing NOTHING. But it took 7 days.

      Unbelievable. I found another branch in a different city who would take care of me. So I took the remaining 80+ lbs there and it was in my account that afternoon. Same banking chain, different branch. But I had to drive about 30 miles to do so.

      Today, whenever I tell this story I have people tell me their banks will not do change either. Just another reason to loath banks.

      Funny too, our local Kroger has a change counting machine (Coinstar I think), but it takes something like 12% off the top for doing so. Maybe I missed it, but nowhere on that machine do I see where it tells me it takes %12 percent.

      We are nothing but exploitation devices and lab rats. Ain’t America great?

      1. flora

        I don’t normally link to iAllegedly Dan’s utube channel because his outlook doesn’t often match the outlook at NC and he has alarmist titles, imo. However, I usually find some useful info in his videos. He has a video now about the increasing problems in retail banking now, about big banks trying to reduce retail customer services, etc, so I’ll leave this here for any info that might be useful to you, or as grist for the thought mill. I disagree with a lot of his solutions, but his data is usually accurate, afaik.

        My thought: If your bank is reducing the level of retail customer services you’ve come to expect, like a free coin counting machine for bank customers, start looking for a new bank. / my 2 cents / ;)

        1. Screwball

          Thanks for this flora.

          A few summers ago I did exactly what you suggested – look for a new bank. I have no love for 5/3, but I also don’t have many choices. I live in a small Ohio town with limited choices (including credit unions – I won’t get into my 48 day war with my one and only credit union (who I no longer use)).

          I went from bank to bank asking about interest rates, ATMs, fees, etc. The normal banking stuff. It was a truly depressing experience. The one I liked best, which I was going to move to – closed their local branch so there would no longer be a branch in town. So at the end of the day, one might be better than the other on one thing, but not another (access to ATMs for example). So I just stayed where I am for now. I may re-visit this in the future.

          My current bank advertises how we can access “generic ATMs” at certain locations in town and not be charged a fee. This is a nice feature – until it wasn’t. I used this at a gas station which is nearby. Very convenient. A month ago I used it and a few days later I notice a $3.00 fee shows up on my statement. Come to find out, this service is no longer fee free – and of course we were not told. Imagine that!!!!

          Banks need to eat too, I guess. I truly despise banks. Matt Taibbi said it best; a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

          So true.

      2. hunkerdown

        FWIW, Meijer has recently upgraded some self-checkstands with small coin sorters that sometimes work when fed carefully, albeit of limited capacity.

        The Man really don’t want us having tokens of value beyond their grasp, do they.

      3. flora

        I wonder if this is a way for banks to keep less cash on hand. No need to have paper bills & coin to exchange for the amount of coins counted if the customer requests cash instead of depositing in their account. who knows.

        oooh, there’s an idea, present your jar of coins at the teller window as a deposit into your account. (I bet they still have a coin counter in the back.) oh wait, that didn’t work for you. geez. yeah, find a different bank or credit union or savings&loan. / ;)

        1. Screwball

          One of the banks I talked to has a change counter in their lobby. You can take all the change you want, put it through the machine, then give the teller the receipt, and they credit your account.

          This is better than nothing, and I would be OK doing this. At the same time, it’s like a self-checkout – you do the work – not the banks employee. They save on wages.

          Next thing you know, they will be trying to ban cash/change due to…. Oh, wait!

        2. ambrit

          Alas, the other financial institutions round here are pretty much all alike.
          The local payment office, inside the local managerial office, of the Electric Power Company, does not accept credit or debit cards, but they do accept cash, and cheques. Counterintuitively, they do accept credit cards and debit cards online.
          Go figure.

          1. flora

            Accepting cash and checks is good, imo. Mastercard and Visa are trying to increase transaction fees – the fee merchants pay for each card swipe for the cc card swipe service. Small locally owned shops and businesses are already running on a razor thin profit margin. Use cash or check at local businesses whenever possible. ( I shudder to think what a world of only bigbox stores and conglomerates and Amazon would be like. brrrr.) Anyway, glad your local utility accepts cash and checks. / my 2 cent.

        3. Laura in So Cal

          My credit union which is better than the local banks for just about everything stopped accepting large amounts of loose change years ago. You have to roll it. They will accept small amounts of change especially if it is brought in by a kid.

      4. Xihuitl

        I don’t accept coins when I pay for something with dollar bills. I just let them keep the difference. Not worth the bother of lugging that loose stuff around.

  13. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Moooooooorning Fiatnam!

    In a place where money can only acquire a bag or block of ice, some might claim this is where the War On Cash really got started, back in the 1980’s.

    Scurvy looks to not be an issue with all the margaritas consumed, and its raining as I type, which turns alkali into a gooey clay which means nobody is leaving camp today and maybe tomorrow.

      1. Wukchumni

        I hadn’t heard of it before and asked our platoon if they had seen it, and everybody shrugged their heads and said ‘nope’.

        1. Wukchumni


          You can ride your bike or walk about 17 feet before your tires get all mucked up or your footwear becomes platform sandals on account of the gooey clay.

  14. chukjones

    ‘Welcome to the “You Do You” Pandemic’ My recent experience,

    I came down with symptoms headache, sore throat, and lightheadedness. Rat test was neg, but I don’t trust them completely so I tried to find a RTC, closest place said they had them but not when I got there at 7am. Tried another and called first to check. I got there ( much further from home, but I have a car. sorry for public transit dependent) They tried to talk me into a RAT but I insisted. Front desk was masked but the PA was not. (You do you.) Assistant came to give test but she just passed it around the an inch or less and rolled it around twice. It was negative. I would have put down my throat where the pain was, but you do you, What a waste

  15. The Rev Kev

    “EU aims to train 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers by end of 2023”

    The EU is going to have to do a lot better than that. The Ukrainians lost more men killed than that in this offensive the past two or three months so having trained 40,000 by year’s end won’t even replace the men killed much less those wounded. But hey, if it keeps this war going so the right people can keep on making money, who am I to disagree.

    1. digi_owl

      I do wonder if any of the recruits being trained abroad have tried to seek asylum as a conscientious objector. Or if they are all dyed in the wool Azovs. And if it is the latter, EU may regret the training once these people turn to terrorism to avenge EU stabbing Ukraine in the back by not doing enough.

      1. Benny Profane

        My back of the envelope calculations tell me that most of the dyed in the wool Azovs are dead or maimed by now, or coughed up 5-10 grand to escape to the EU or here. Or, a more macabre note, they may be positioned in rear lines shooting those that retreat. Certainly out on the streets grabbing whatever warm bodies they can find.

        Speaking of which, I wonder if things will get so bad that EU and eastern Euro countries hosting able bodied Ukranians will start supporting the war for democracy and rules based order by deporting those poor souls back to the meat grinder when special visa time limits run out.

    2. chris

      It is awful to read about this day after day. It is awful to think that the Ukrainians hate the Russians so much that they will sacrifice an entire generation of people to make a show for the West. I can’t think of anything good that will come of this disaster. I’d expect when the US stops supplying arms for the effort, all the fighters we’ve trained will find their way to our country to enact revenge. And since the Ukrainians are not brown, they’ll no doubt get in and not be treated roughly before they succeed. I can even imagine people like Nuland being OK with that outcome because it would mean we’d see support for the war effort increasing. After all, thy will pin whatever happens on Russia no matter who did it.

      1. TimH

        It is awful to think that the Ukrainians hate the Russians so much that they will sacrifice an entire generation of people to make a show for the West.

        It’s not that simple. Firstly, Ukraine is a mishmash of Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian territory due to borders shovelling around. Secondly, “Ukrainians hate Russians” to the same extent as “British hate Germans” in WW1, which is not really… but the people who operate wars aren’t the people sacrificed in them.

          1. chris

            I’m not sure how much either of those points matter.

            For instance, I can say that there is a comparatively tiny population of the US that hates brown people and wants to bomb them. However, the people in charge of the US appears to have an outsized representation of those individuals, hence our policy bombing brown people all over the world for decades. To anyone in Venezuela (economic bombing, but still), Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. the logical conclusion they’d draw from that policy is the US hates brown people. I could tell them that we don’t, that numbers of us give time and money to charities to help them, that we’ve had protests to stop the wars, but none of that has changed anything.

            So I hear you, and I agree, and there’s even polling data from Vox EU that backs up what you say. Ukraine has a Neo-Nazi problem with a small part of it’s population. But if that is the population in charge, does any of the nuance matter? Is there any difference between them and Ukraine? Between those of US that hate US policy but can’t stop it and the people like Vicky Nuland who want more war? I don’t see a chance for that non-Russian hating of the Ukrainian state to overthrow the current regime. So for all intents and purposes, and certainly for negotiations, why can’t we say that the “Ukranians” hate the Russians?

            1. Yves Smith

              Yes it does enormously in terms of the end of the war. If all Ukrainians hate Russia, there will never be peace. If is a small proportion of the population that hates Russians and has gotten themselves in charge, there can be a resolution. The fact that the government is now shanghaing people to serve and so many are dying or coming back hopelessly maimed (and Ukraine rejected a settlement in March 2022) says a new regime could turn public opinion against its predecessors.

              There is a post today at Redacted that I am putting up of a POW discussing how the Ukraine soldiers are forced to take drugs before they are sent in to fight.

      2. Feral Finster

        “It is awful to think that the Ukrainians hate the Russians so much that they will sacrifice an entire generation of people to make a show for the West.”

        There is a hard core of Ukrainian Nazis, but most Ukrainians want desperately to see the West as The Magical Land Where Institutions Basically Work (regardless whether there is any truth in this) . If hating their brothers and their grandparents is the price that the West charges for admission to that blessed land, then they will pay that.

        1. digi_owl

          Best i can tell there is quite a few Russians that seem to have the same magical thinking about the proverbial west.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            Given that Israel is part of the proverbial west, and with apologies in advance for linking to the Moscow Times, this (unwittingly) hilarious article confirms your opinon:


            I think this article was meant to be sympathetic to the Russian snowflakes (well-to-do snowflakes if they could afford to go to Israel, most military-age Russians escape to the rather more low-rent Caucasus or the Stans) who fled Russia to avoid military service, but in all honesty it made me laugh and laugh. Oh my, fleeing evil Russia (which has mobilized roughly two tenths of 1 percent of its population so far, for its biggest war since 1945, and yet its economy continues to grow) to emigrate to what is probably the most militarized country on our planet (even women get drafted, equal opportunity carnage, yay!), and undoubtedly the most aggressive towards its neighbors (even North Korea has cordial relations with 2 of its 3 land neighbors). What on earth were these young Russians thinking?

            Offspring number one has a Russian friend who went to Israel and then, when he discovered the reality of conscription, departed in haste. He won’t be going back to Israel ever again.

    3. Polar Socialist

      If I’m not completely wrong, that number contains the already trained (and deployed, also likely lost) 30,000 or so Ukrainians. It was something about the target for 2023 having been raised from 35,000 to 40,000.

      Now, it also my understanding that even some Ukrainians are questioning what the EU trainers can actually teach to Ukrainians, having never fought a major land war in Europe against more powerful enemy. Oops, sorry! They do still think Ukraine is the more powerful one of the two (because democracy! and values!), but the rest remains valid.

  16. Grumpy Engineer

    Key quote from “DownToEarth: Failed Net Zero pledges: Just 0.3% renewable energy produced by 12 European Big Oil companies in 2022”:

    Only 7.3 per cent ($7.09 billion) of the companies’ 2022 investments went towards green energy and the remaining 92.7 per cent ($87.95bn) for funding fossil fuel business, the report said.

    So each percentage point of renewable energy effectively costs 7.3/0.3 = 24.3% of revenue, while each percentage point of fossil fuel energy effectively costs 92.7/97.7 = 0.93% of revenue. This means that each euro invested in fossil fuels yielded 24.3/0.93 = 26 times as much energy as each euro invested in renewable energy, at least as invested by European Big Oil companies. This is not good.

  17. Burritonomics

    Re: China’s Sham Meritocracy Has Created a Burned-Out Generation / Foreign Policy

    Good article. Except you can cross out “China/Chinese” and plug in about any western country of your choice. They all pretty much fit the bill.

  18. Lexx

    ‘Amazon in prime position and is first to unveil peak season surcharges’

    I’d been wondering… they’ve been pushing ‘same day’ delivery rather hard and we still haven’t taken them up on that offer… we’re just not in that big of a hurry.

    Meanwhile at Amazon, the ‘free’ Prime Video content has almost disappeared. Now it’s either buy, rent, or subscribe, for those too slow to notice just how bad the programming had become and wasn’t already subscribing to HBO Max, Paramount, Disney, Hulu, etc. The ‘good stuff’ once included with membership is now behind some kind of paywall.

    On Mondays I go to Whole Foods’ website to see what’s on sale. Last week I made two trips to purchase their whiskey-fennel brats, only to be told first ‘we’re out’ and two days later when I returned ‘there’s no room in the display case even if we made them’. Read: never mind what corporate is advertising online, the in-store reality is there are sausages we’re required to have available in the case at all time and whiskey-fennel is not one of them, so maybe we’ll never have them in this store again.

    The following week I went in to buy two bone-in rib-eyes. “We’re out”. It was Monday afternoon. Either there was quite a run on those steaks that same morning or the ads are bullshit. I refused to troll the store for some kind of manager to complain to… again. The answer would again be ‘Well, I can give you $10 off your purchases today?’ So, bullshit got my ass in the door, complaining got me $10 off, and Whole Foods still made a profit. My experience suggests to me that Amazon doesn’t care about customer satisfaction. What are they really after with same-day?

    1. cnchal

      Thank you for your whip cracking sadist eye point of view. Amazon is an ongoing shitshow with an internal pump and dump scheme. That’s why the “good stuff”, mostly digital dreck, is being boarded up behind paywalls. That Prime membership fee doesn’t come close to covering the expense of providing Prime services, so prepare to be abused.

      How Amazon makes the sausage.

    2. Carolinian

      Hey PBS shows are re shown on Prime Video and presumably free unless they want to change the name to Bezos Broadcasting System.

      This past week they had a good multiparter called Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland. About the “troubles” and from the BBC.

      1. Lexx

        On Acorn I just watched the two seasons of ‘Aidan Dunbar’s Coastal Ireland’. Gargeous, simply gargeous. I can’t wait to visit again, but I think it’ll be a long while yet.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Burkina Faso cabinet approves bills to deploy troops to Niger”

    Looks like Burkina Faso is upping the ante. That force would act as a tripwire if ECOWAS actually went into Niger but maybe some of those ECOWAS countries may be having second thoughts. The west defeated Iraq pretty quick but the occupation was hell on earth and such may be the case with Niger. So imagine this. Nigeria actually sends a military force into Niger leading to a regional war. Suddenly, ordinary Nigerians are asking why the hell their troops are getting killed on behalf of France for. Why are they trying to starve fellow Africans just so France can keep on getting cheap uranium. Suddenly, the Nigerian government realizes that having their army in another country may not be wise when it is needed at home instead – to protect their glorious President. Maybe the Nigerian army may be getting ideas along with the militaries of other ECOWAS countries. Starting a war is dead easy. Predicting how it will end is not.

    1. Feral Finster

      The bigger concern is that the Hausa people of northern Nigeria are kinfolk to the people of Niger.

  20. mrsyk

    Meanwhile, somewhere in Kansas… I commented yesterday that the people of Marion County would render their own verdict. From The Kansas City Star in an article about restauranteur Kari Newell,
    “Now, some residents said, it might have been best had Newell never reopened. They question whether her businesses will, or should, survive. “After what she has done, I’m not going to go to her place any more. And there’s about 100 people telling me the same thing,” said Jack Webb, 88, a resident for 52 years. He knew Joan Meyer well. He used to cut her grass.”

    “Lloyd Meir, 77, walked into the local pharmacy, red Make America Great Again hat atop his head, cowboy boots on his feet. He minced no words in expressing his disdain for Police Chief Cody, the mayor, choice city leaders — and Newell. “They need to pack their bags and hit the road,” he said. “What they did to that newspaper is pathetic. And to him (Eric Meyer) and his mother: Hell, they killed her. They need to go to the penitentiary. She needs to go with them.”

    And sadly, “Newell said. “I’m probably approaching 5,000 pieces of hate mail.””
    As an aside, note the MAGA hat in the second quote.

    1. Lexx

      ‘Funniest thing I’ve read in the month of Sundays’, she said, murderously cackling like a hen hunting grasshoppers in the raspberry patch. Oh, Kari has been a baaaaaad girl, not once but over and over again, and she was pissed about the possibility of it going public? Heheheheheheh… like that would be the first the subscribers had heard about Kari and it hadn’t made the gossip circuit like an electric current the moment she was pulled over, each and every time… ‘oh that Kari likes to party a little too hard’ they whispered from across the street. And she’s the victim in this drama?! Heheheheheheheheheheh, oh oh my sides hurt!

      1. mrsyk

        Interestingly, and not to defend Ms Newell’s character, Eric Meyer, owner of the Marion Record, said this:
        “She is a pawn,” Meyer said, seated in his newsroom office last week. “I think she was a convenient excuse used by other people to get at us. I think she’s a patsy in that regard.”.

        1. Lexx

          There’s plenty of villains and blame to go around. Caught in the middle was Joan, who was so fragile at the time that the stress of having her home invaded by the perceived ‘good guys’ killed her? Yes, she was co-owner and I suppose you could say she died with her boots on for something she believed in. But I’m agnostic even in foxholes and frankly, I think alive is better than dead. I hope she thought it was worth the sacrifice.

          Small rural towns are full of old people these days (e.g. my mother while she lived). That episode must have scared the crap out of them and everyone who loves and cares for them, reinforced by the video. The consequences of the threatened reputations (and livelihoods) of a powerful townie plus the police chief meant no one’s home was safe anymore but what taxpayer-paid deputies may come to their doors and wreck havoc on their sanctuary, their peace of mind. The citizens of Marion county weighed and measured their complicity in Joan’s death* and figured Kari should have gone ahead and taken her lumps. The outcome was going to be lose/lose for her either way.

          No sympathy.

          *Because that’s how small towns work, everyone is up in everyone else’s business, usually for generations. It’s part of their identities.

          1. mrsyk

            It should scare people, make them angry as well. I’m cautiously optimistic that her sacrifice will bring at least a small positive benefit to freedom of the press and transparency in officialdom. We shall see.
            When they kick at your front door
            How you gonna come…….
            The Clash Guns of Brixton

  21. Carolinian

    Re Who Owns the West–interesting to see Saudi Arabia so far down the list since they have been spotlighted for their farms in Arizona. Perhaps the next installment should be who uses the water.

    And of course Ohio should hardly be given ownership of Ted Turner, the South’s mouth, who had lived here since age 9 and who bought MGM because Gone With the Wind was his favorite movie. I think he now stays in Montana.

    1. juno mas

      The biggest land owner in the West is the US government: Cali-50%, NV-85%, ID-65%, OR-60%, AZ-50% . . . and water is the key to everything in the West. (There is not enough of it.)

      1. Carla

        There is not enough water in the West (or, actually, almost anywhere) to support unlimited population growth. Probably not enough in some western states (CA and AZ at least) to even support the existing population. Apparently, people think “degrowth” is a dirty word. I think it’s a beautiful word, particularly as explained by Jason Hickel in his wonderful book “Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World.”

    2. Lee

      I don’t know how much time he spends there but his Flying D ranch has 45K bison. There are only about 6K in Yellowstone National Park, and about 360K in North America, all descended from the bottlenecked, relict population of less than one thousand left over after mass slaughter and habitat loss reduced their number from tens of millions. So, from the standpoint of species preservation, whatever else he has done, one might credit Turner with doing a good thing in this instance.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Sen. Mitch McConnell cleared to continue work after two freezing incidents”

    It’s amazing the number of uses that can be found with a spray can of WD-40.

    1. Wukchumni

      The press is so unfair in regards to ‘Still life portrait with Mitch’.

      Don’t they know what performance art is all about?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Somebody should have run to Mitch after his latest attack and said ‘Mitch, we have great news for you. We found a surgeon that can fix your problem and save your life and you will never have one of those seizures ever again. The only problem is that he lives in Moscow…’

    2. Benny Profane

      Where is the wife in all this? You know, our ex commerce secretary? Travelling back and forth to China, doing deals? Isnt this her time to show phony empathy?

      1. Nikkikat

        Oh, but that’s why old Mitch is hanging on to the senate. He’s waiting for Nikki Haley to hire Elaine as commerce
        secretary or transportation Secretary or some other Secretary that will give her a chance to earn a place on a few more boards of major banks and corporations. This has worked well for Mitch and his wife Elaine.

      1. Benny Profane

        Well, of course. It’s CNN. I mean, the rest of America says duh, but most media thinks it something doctors have to diagnose. Kinda obvious. I remember back when he fell and was “concussed”, which started all this, and some said that was the first stroke, and, maybe, yeah, resulted in a fall. Duh.

  23. Lex

    Thanks for linking “An Africanist Perspective”. The post was illuminating and enough for me to subscribe. I especially appreciate his brief dissection of French neo-colonial politics and what likely makes Gabon different than the Sahel coups. Also, he dropped this line, “… a deep dissatisfaction with meaningless ritual electoralism masquerading as democracy.”

    I’d argue that this description is not limited to west and central Africa, and that it’s predicatively descriptive of the next two elections cycles in the US.

    1. Lex

      West African Disco is not my favorite genre, but some of it’s pretty good. So I went digging to see if I could find more than what Greyzone linked about Ali Bongo’s disco career. It does appear to be very short lived and I didn’t turn up much more than the single album. But I’m disappointed in Greyzone’s link because that album has a cover of “Gonna Fly Now” (The Rocky theme) and they guys backing Ali (Alain) are pretty damned good but he doesn’t sing.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        United Artists, 1978. There are some revival labels and a lot of folks are dredging up and remastering old stuff now (sadly Bongo not in those ranks yet but he is featured on a Dusty Fingers volume so not entirely forgotten).

        Not really an NC thing but if you message me on Twitter or email my name w/a gmail dot com attached I can steer you to some nice stuff in this regard. Music’s the only thing I love as much as politics and Africa is the mother of all music.

        And if you’re not already shopping labels like Analog Africa, Habibi Funk, Sahel Sounds, Syliphone — do check out their reissues.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “US fighter jets capable of nuclear bombing to be based in UK”

    And in non-related news-

    ‘The Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, one of Russia’s most capable nuclear weapons, has been approved for active duty, Yury Borisov, the head of the Roscosmos space agency, has announced.

    The development was revealed on Friday during a Roscosmos event. The weapon is believed to be the longest-range and heaviest missile in the Russian nuclear arsenal.

    The liquid-fueled silo-based delivery vehicle, final stage testing of which was completed last year, is the intended replacement for the aging R-36M2 Voevoda missiles. Its range is estimated at at least 11,000km, with a payload weighing around 10 tons.’

    I would imagine that Moscow has informed Washington that as soon as a nuke flies at them from anywhere in Europe, that they will immediately target the US as the real source of those missiles.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “An Obsolete German Tank Seeks a Second Life on Ukraine’s Front Lines”

    The New York Times is lying their faces off once again. The First Cold War-era Leopard 1A5 is a museum piece and even when it first came out, its armour was recognized as being thin and that was over half a century ago. Its 105-millimeter cannon is small as well and Lancets will be a mortal threat to them on the battlefield. On paper it looks like the west is doing the Ukrainians a favour but this tank is just junk on wheels and is not fit for the modern battlefield. I wonder too at the quality of men that the Ukrainians are sending to the west to be trained up on them and one German reporter was surprised to learn that one Ukrainian tank crew recruit was 71 years old.

    1. Polar Socialist

      So he was 8 years old when the pre-production Leopard 1’s rolled from the factory? At least he’s older than the weapons he’s learning to use…

  26. upstater

    Wisdom from NYT David Leonhardt, advocating the 3-fer vax regimen for fall:

    The best defenses against Covid haven’t changed: vaccines and post-infection treatments. They are especially important for vulnerable people, like the elderly and the immunocompromised. “Overwhelmingly, those who are being hospitalized are unvaccinated or undervaccinated,” Hotez said.

    Repeated COVID infections of the elites have accelerated their lying, delusions and dementia.

    N95, don’t leave home without it!

    1. Jason Boxman

      Hilariously, one of those is not a defense; getting treated once you’re infected is a reactive step. And the other suggestion, COVID shots, are demonstrably not sterilizing at this point, so it is at best a very very leaky defense.

      These people are without a doubt insane; it’s casual murder. This country has such a sordid history of murdering its own citizens through privation, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It was always clear the elite could care less; we are, after all, “consumers”. I’m beginning to think that the “consumer” trope used everywhere is the American equivalent of the useless eaters expression.

  27. Terry Flynn

    re long COVID. Anecdote here. Immunologist wants to see me in person following conversation with my GP. Just wanted confirmation negative HIV first (yep, I’ve been like a monk for years now and recent test just to be sure). It is clear that *someone* in immunology in the East Midlands is on the ball regarding “overall patterns of blood counts during the progress of the pandemic” and clearly thinks my pattern of immune function needs investigation. The NHS can be glacially slow but I’m glad that something is finally happening.

    Incidentally – linking to the “micro blood clots” article – I’ve had abnormally thin blood for a while and when “properly treated” I’ve felt noticeably WORSE getting more infections. More anecdote (which I dislike given my evidence based background) but I find it interesting….

    1. Raymond Sim

      I for one am very grateful for your anecdata. My experience has been that there’s really no substitute for anecdotes from people who can police their confirmation bias.

  28. JM

    Related to the link about COVID jumping to cats, and the previous one about it’s prevalence in white tailed deer in the US. I have a fuzzy memory of specialists (ie. attacking only 1 species) being less likely to lead to death/extinction than generalists that attack several species; though I don’t remember if it was in the context of parasites, predators, or diseases. But, a quick search turned up this, which indicates there may be some similar forces at work in diseases: (title: The bigger the evolutionary jump, the more lethal cross-species diseases could be)

    I don’t think there’s been any indication that this is a huge concern at this point, but I wonder if it may become something in time.

    1. GramSci

      Sooner or later Covid-19 will jump to pangolins, and Anthony Fauci will then claim vindication for funding EcoHealth.

  29. mrsyk

    Meanwhile, boreal forests continue to burn. From CBC “B.C. extending state of emergency due to wildfires as winds expected to fan flames in northeast”.

  30. Lex

    Will the clean energy auto economy be built on factory floors riddled with toxic chemicals and safety hazards?

    Oh my. In my experience, articles like this are actually the tip of the iceberg and the situation is much worse. A few things that really popped out to me from a professional perspective was the story about an electrolyte spill that was cleaned by SERVPRO. Now servpro is a franchise operation and different locations can have different capabilities, but for the most part they are an industrial cleaning company excellent at things like dealing with water damage or similar situations. They are not normally competent for hazardous chemical spills, which is clearly what that spill was.

    The included record of fines via OSHA violations is also illustrative. For the most part, OSHA fines for citations were built when the legislation was enacted in the 1970’s. A cumulative $12,000 in fines is a lot cheaper than fixing the problems.

    1. Nikkikat

      As someone who has had to deal with serve-pro. Horrific company all around. Good at saving the insurance companies a buck or two at your expense.

  31. JBird4049

    >>>China’s Sham Meritocracy Has Created a Burned-Out Generation Foreign Policy

    From the article:

    The shortcomings of the system are equally glaring: Its focus on ranking and testing creates enormous stress for students, while its reliance on rote memorization deprives students of intellectual autonomy—they may be able to recite Tang dynasty poems, but they aren’t accustomed to grappling with the complexities of the world and their places in it, and to forming understandings independently without falling back on received narrative. In the past decade, the system has taken an ideological turn that worsened this problem. The teaching of such subjects as history and political science was always superficial and didactic; now it has become little more than regurgitating Communist Party dogma verbatim.

    This is just supposition, but as with the United States, a dumbed down education, the censorship, the focus on self centered greed, and I am assuming the lost of community, along with the supposed meritocracy, is destroying Chinese society.

    To restate, this worship of wealth along with the degradation of the mind and civil society, a hollowing out of society to merely karoshi, to borrow a Japanese term for death by overwork, as well as to hyper develop the infrastructure is the problem for the benefit and to maintain control by the state is the problem. This is not to say that the goals of the central government are wrong or even that the benefits to the individuals and society are nonexistent, but it is like an athlete focusing only on strength, or endurance, or flexibility instead of all three.

    It is easy to take the comparison too far, but again, the United States and China are suffering similar problems and for similar reasons.

    1. Carolinian

      On the other hand opinions may vary. Foreign Policy–voice of the CFR–unlikely to be friendly to China.

      Of course I know nothing about China but have read a couple of books by Peter Hessler who was a Peace Corps volunteer who spent time there touring and teaching English. Then he sent his impressions to The New Yorker.

      These books are good and you don’t get much of an impression that the Chinese hate their government. Undoubtedly they are interested in wealth and once came to 19th century California seeking it until banned. If it’s communism or capitalism with Chinese characteristics then maybe those characteristics will weigh more heavily than they would here.

      1. JBird4049

        I would not describe it as hate. The neoliberal professional managerial class that runs our country do not hate the government, but they are like the fish swimming in poisoned waters, unable to see that what they have created is killing them. How many American leaders are unable to see what the slow decay of the American nation has created or who still believe that somehow the country of fifty years ago still exist? They have blinded themselves, but they cannot see this. (No pun intended)

        The Western leadership class confuses the vampiric financial capitalism with the industrial capitalism, what ever its faults, created infrastructure, funded research, and developed much of world, or mistakes the creative research universities of the past with the current, corrupt money machines of today; instead of creation for profit, we have destruction for profit, but too many people were and many still are blind to this.

        To restate this, an extremely effective method of creation has been repurposed to be an extremely effective, perhaps lethally so. This has been aided by the ruling class with the assistance of state security to disarm the population by destroying its social institutions or connections.

        Like the Americans, the Chinese have greatly altered their society towards their version of capitalism and have also ensured the weakening of what they perceive as problematic social elements, which has damaged them in subtle ways. The hollowing of society by its replacement with money. This very hollowing makes it impossible to understand in that society to understand that it is hollow.

        I am finding it hard to explain because I am trying to explain a process and a problem in both societies, one of which I do not understand at all and the other not enough. Maybe, I should end this attempt of an explanation to say that both societies have hyper developed parts of their society while breaking down, often deliberately, other parts without understanding just how unbalanced and therefore crippled they are becoming.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I think you explained your thinking very well, and I think you’ve made an excellent comparison. I was wondering when reading PK’s piece about whether this Chinese reluctance to dive all the way into consumerism is evidence that they’re wondering whether it was such a good idea to go in as far as they have on capitalism after seeing what’s happening to us.

          Let me take your idea on a side trip. I’d say that the destruction is a collateral effect of the system’s having profit as the ultimate goal. If it doesn’t make money, it won’t be done in our system. And if it does make a profit, it will be done, societal “norms” and even laws be damned. And if it’s a necessity–I was thinking today about how society takes care of people who are old and sick–the whole process is twisted into a pretzel in order to force it to make a profit.

          The problem is that the older system that you describe as creative was also a capitalist system where profit was presumably the primary goal. But primary goal of what? Under the New Deal formulation, was there a higher societal goal than the business/capitalist goal of profit? Is that what neoliberalism or financial capitalism changed? Has the strictly business goal of profit supplanted other, higher societal goals completely? The answer, I guess, going back at least to Clinton and Gore, is that now the goal is to run even government itself like a business. That’s how economists get to tell public health officials what to do. And the “smart” public health officials, like Wen and Jha, have learned to talk more like economists than doctors or public health officials. But now doctors talk like economists too, at least when they become hospital administrators.

          And that’s pretty funny considering how–I think it’s Steve Keen who says that neoclassical economics is astrology with calculus–economists don’t know much about reality. And businessmen are blind to anything but profit, yet they are the ones that Trump and Pence consulted about how to handle Covid. They basically bragged about the phone call with the hedge funders.

          Donella Meadows would say that the goal is ultimately determined by the paradigm. We didn’t exactly have a goal change. Instead, what used to be a subordinate goal has become primary. Does that mean that our society’s predominant paradigm has changed? When did that happen and how? Did we notice?

          Maybe this is the evolution. The Great Depression destroyed confidence in the businessmen and bankers to run things as they had been doing at least since the Civil War. They blew things up and had no idea how to put it back together again. The New Deal stepped up, tried something until they found what worked, and rescued the country and capitalism. The capitalist got cocky again. The people forgot or never experienced the Great Depression, and by the 70s, we were getting back to letting the businessmen make the decisions. This makes sense to me, but leaves unanswered the question about why, when the same thing happened in ’08, we did not experience the same loss in trust and confidence in the businessmen and bankers. Could Obama, with investigations and prosecutions, have taken things in a different direction?

          These changes in primary goal were even more dramatic in Europe and Britain, who had both strongly subordinated business/capitalist goals to other societal needs from health care to banking. That has flipped dramatically in Sweden, for example. And as you point out, it has penetrated a long way into Chinese society where the goal threatens to change completely from a socialist to a capitalist one.

          So this change in paradigm is contagious. It spreads around the world, across geographic, language, cultural and even ideological barriers. I’d describe it, i.e. the neoliberal paradigm–as a disease, so what spreads it? Fomite or aerosol? Is there a vaccination against it or effective NPIs? Most importantly, since it’s everywhere like kudzu in the South, how do we cure it or get rid of it?

  32. Jason Boxman

    As far as Inmate killed in stabbing spree at same Fulton County jail where Trump was booked, could be housed if convicted, I think as a society, if part of conviction and imprisonment means torture and murder, we ought to at least be honest that that’s part of the punishment. Whether that’s morally justified or not, is another discussion, but the lack of honesty in so many aspects of American society is disturbing. How long can a society based on lies endure?

  33. Mildred Montana

    Imperial Collapse Watch:

    No longer any need to look overseas for the signs. They’re writ large in America’s political class. The triumvirate of Biden, O’Connell, and Feinstein: Fitting symbols all of imperial decay, the very personification of it.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      “The Walking Dead – Season 12”

      Episode 1 – Watch as Maggie, Negan, and Ezekiel defend Alexandria from the DC zombies. Make sure to bring your baseball bat!

    2. Nikkikat

      I was thinking about this too. As in the old codgers running the Soviet Union until it disappeared itself. Some of them only made it a couple of months until another old guy took over and also died in office. Of course ours have the best health care money can buy and there are enough left over in the Congress to supply
      Us with old guys for a while yet.

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