Links 9/3/2023

Black Bears Move Into Abandoned Canada Town Evacuated Due to Wildfires Smithsonian Magazine

Teen Gators Are Getting Into Golf Defector

Nebraska nightmare: New tick biting us, making us allergic to … red meat. Flatwater Free Press

Wildlife and the inescapable impact of road noise High Country News

A biotech company says it put dopamine-making cells into people’s brains MIT Technology Review



When Crises Collide: The Looming Threat of Climate Change on Opioid Users Mad In America


The world’s largest dam demolition has begun. Can the dammed Klamath River finally find salvation? Cal Matters


Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Patients With Cancer During Different Waves of the Pandemic in the US JAMA Oncology. “Findings of this study suggest that patients with cancer experienced a disparate burden of COVID-19 mortality during the winter Omicron wave; strategies to prevent COVID-19 transmission should remain a high priority as new variants arise.”


CDC Details Multidrug-Resistant TB Outbreak in an Unlikely Spot MedPage Today

Dozens Sickened, Five Killed by Meningococcal Disease Outbreak in Virginia Gizmodo

Burning Man Panic

‘Conserve food and water’: No access in or out of Burning Man after storm SFGATE

From Lambert. The most plausible meme:

The most on-point meme:

No, There’s Not An Ebola Outbreak At Burning Man Forbes

Was the panic organic?

Was it Putin’s fault?


India launches Aditya-L1 solar observatory, its 1st-ever sun probe

Rahul Gandhi Accuses PM Narendra Modi of Preventing a Probe Into Adani Group The Wire


China’s Xi Jinping vows to open service sector to boost cross-border trade and investment South China Morning Post

Country Garden woes: What we know about the temporary reprieve and broader risks Channel News Asia

A Decade Down the Belt and Road The Diplomat


Protesters take to streets in Niger demanding withdrawal of French troops WION


CIA Still Refuses to Declassify Documents Exposing Its Responsibility for the Betrayal, Arrest and 27-Year Imprisonment of Nelson Mandela Covert Action Magazine

European Disunion

Italian ex-premier says French missile downed an airliner in 1980 by accident in bid to kill Gadhafi AP

Italy Factories Start to Cut Workers After Worsened GDP Drop Bloomberg

New Not-So-Cold War

Myths and Realities of the Russian/NATO NCO Systems Simplicius the Thinker


Zelensky’s presidential sponsor accused of money laundering, fraud Al Mayadeen

Nobel Foundation withdraws invitation to Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend ceremonies Associated Press

Are 500,000 dead and wounded in Ukraine enough? Apparently not. Douglas MacKinnon, The Hill

Ukraine cannot win against Russia now, but victory by 2025 is possible Financial Times

Ukraine’s substandard medical supplies endangering soldiers as war intensifies, volunteers warn The Globe and Mail


Reading Clausewitz, Thinking about War The Postil Magazine


Nagorno-Karabakh president quits as breakaway territory’s crisis deepens bne Intellinews

South of the Border

Ecuador Votes to Keep Yasuní Oil in the Ground in Historic Referendum nacla

Ecuador Overwhelmed by Car Bombs and Prison Riots Telesur


‘It’s like 1948’: Israel cleanses vast West Bank region of nearly all Palestinians +972 Magazine

Imperial Collapse Watch

Is the expanded BRICS truly a new international institution or just the Nonaligned Bloc 2.0? Gilbert Doctorow

What Happened to the UN’s Ability to Mediate? Consortium News

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

Ex-Wells Fargo Exec Deserves Prison in Accounts Scandal, US Says Bloomberg


Trump has 46-point lead over DeSantis as most GOP voters see indictments as ‘politically motivated’: poll Washington Examiner

Realignment and Legitimacy

Senility Pays, If Everyone Else is Gaga Too Andrew Cockburn, Spoils of War

GOP Clown Car

Pillen’s Rise: After building pork empire, Nebraska’s governor stands at intersection of state and ag power Flatwater Free Press


How Eugenics Shaped the U.S. Prenatal Care System Sapiens

Our Famously Free Press

Gannett Stops Using AI To Write Articles For Now Because They Were Hilariously Terrible Techdirt


Sourcegraph website breached using leaked admin access token Bleeping Computer

Sports Desk

Volleyball Day in Nebraska sets world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event Lincoln Journal Star

Supply Chain

The Green Great Game Is This Century’s Space Race The Diplomat

China reveals grand vision for space resource utilization Interesting Engineering

Angry Philippine islanders are trying to stop the great nickel rush Rest of World

Class Warfare

SAG-AFTRA’s Video Game Workers Are Voting on a Strike Mother Jones

As more Californians allege on-the-job violations, labor groups say bosses retaliate Cal Matters

SF Uses Events, Construction Projects to Clear Streets Ahead of Pacific Rim Economic Summit, Other Gatherings San Francisco Public Press


The Bezzle

Silicon Valley Elites Show Off Renderings of Exclusive New City They Want to Build in the Bay Area Gizmodo

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. JohnA

    Re Nobel Foundation withdraws invitation to Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend ceremonies

    How ironic that Nobel invented dynamite, spoke Russian and made much of his money in Russia where he lived for a time. Harold Pinter would never ever be considered for the Nobel Prize these days. Sweden is yet another sad vassal of the US.

    1. Val

      Speaking of brands running on fumes, Sith Lord Sock Puppets at Nobel committee apparently not very excited about Russia-China et al’s dynamite diplomatic achievement on Iran-Saudi rapprochement.

      Prediction for peace prize this year is Greta-Nuland-Bono-Skywalker, and those German Greens for mathematics.

  2. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon was on lack of maneuvers in the desert, mired in paper work as the mainstream media did their thing, although it appeared they didn’t have any actual reporters in the field.

    Presstidigitation is a way of life, sleight of and/or on sleepy newsfronts now increasingly reliant on rumors with no remorse for their actions.

    Scurvy of sorts has set in with much jaundice…

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Okay, Wukchumni, does this message mean that you have emerged unscathed and alkali-free from the Burning Man “festivities”?

      1. Wukchumni

        One has to learn to abide by alkali whether wet or dry, the show must go on…

        We are down to our last dozen bottles of pre-mixed margaritas, omg!

        There was a death here the other day and it hasn’t been revealed, the cause.

        Smart money is on somebody using a generator that was in a receptacle and swimming in water on account of the storm, electrocution being the culprit.

        1. Lexx

          What I want to know is, looking at all those pictures of people walking around with several inches of sticky mud clinging to their feet/shoes, how do they remove it all to keep their tents/dwelling clean and maybe get some sleep? Or do you sleep at all at Burning Man?

          1. Wukchumni

            I was the great persuader who made sure everybody in our camp got $25 Wal*Mart Wellington boots, so no problem for us, but yeah its an issue for most here.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Maybe the trick is to wrap your shoes/boots in plastic bags before having to make a walk. Not thin ones but fairly solid. When you get back, you can take the plastic off and the boots should still be clean.

    1. EnigmaWrappedInBacon

      Thank you Alice X for sharing. An interesting an informative overview of the history of blitzkriegs and why the failure of the Ukranian counter offensive is consistent with historical precedents. Well worth a read. My only quibble is Mearsheimers’ characterization of the end game as a frozen conflict. As some of the readers of his substack note, a more likely scenario is that the Russians will win, such that they will largely be able to dictate terms.

      1. Alice X

        I’m not always big on long pieces on those boys and their deadly toys but as Truman is said to have noted: the only thing new in the world is the history you do not know. I am big on history and surely some of those head honchos should have known that sending the Ukrainians out as they did was an invitation to disaster, and tragedy for their families. Shame on us!

  3. SlayTheSmaugs

    My burning man days were 2001-2005, pre the invasion of silicon valley/tech bros, when the city topped out in the 40k instead of 80k range. One dimension of the festival I loved was the self-selecting people–an extraordinarily high proportion of them, vs regular life, were competent and creative problem-solvers who cooperated effectively and were really good at being self-sufficient. People who are thus really easy to have fun and play with.

    I have no idea if the current scene is similarly populated, but if it is, that’s a crowd that will cope and have fun doing it, and this year will become legend. But if not, if money and tech has facilitated mass participation by less self-sufficient, more need-to-be-managed-and-coddled types, the situation could become tragic

    1. Craig H.

      If the SF Gate article is to be believed the current burner demographic has a slightly devolved definition of cope.

      Also I stopped reading before I got to the last sentence but they seemed to have overlooked the question:

      Do they have enough drugs?

      : )

      1. The Rev Kev

        If the National Guard landed a coupla crates of food and water by helicopter, you just know what would happen next. All the billionaires present – seeing all those public goods – would immediately punch and elbow their way to those crates and seize control of them. They would then proceed to sell bottles of water for $500 each and food packs would go for $1,000. It is their nature.

        1. Wukchumni

          I walked about 1/4 of a mile in the muck yesterday, and it took me an hour, to give you an idea of how stuck we all are.

          It isn’t as if anybody could get to the gotten goods if helos laden with food and water arrived.

          The real issue is port-a-potties which are probably on the verge of being full, which could bring on Cholera Man.

          1. Lee

            Have you thought of strapping boards to your feet? I wonder if cross country skis would work on such a surface.

            1. GramSci

              I think one would need Teflon(TM) ski wax. As in snow, I imagine the landing could be soft, but getting back up could be a bit of a sticky wicket.

          2. Mikel

            Reminds me of the reports about Woodstock ’69 & ’99 sewage as mud problems.
            Are they playing in the “mud” there yet at Burning Man?

          3. Carolinian

            Sorry. As for cholera, doesn’t someone out there have to have it for it to spread?

            Cholera is caused by a number of types of Vibrio cholerae, with some types producing more severe disease than others.[2] It is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria.[2] Undercooked shellfish is a common source.


            Of course we now know that the dehydration due to cholera was the killer. Assume you have plenty of water (and internet, clearly).

          4. Roxan

            My partner is at Burning Man. He’s ‘burned’ for around 30 years! He’s driving the Philly truck back, with all the extra gear, so he’ll get to enjoy even more mud! I went to a few local Burns, including a seriouly muddy event where we spent most of our time digging out our RV and others. I prefer the beach.

    2. Skip Intro

      I suspect much gear will be abandoned to sink into the mud and remain for years, half buried in the playa, Ozymandias like.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Future archaeologists will puzzle over why a site in the middle of a desert with no towns there have so many artifacts buried in a few brief layers. Lost, badly corroded coins – from the alkali – will date these events but geophys and magnetic survey will reveal large burning sites making them wonder if it was a series of religious events.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          This sums it up well, Rev Kev. Anthropologists and archaeologists can find all the signs of a religious ritual when they look at Burning Man.

          Things seem pretty bad, so good luck to all who are there.

          1. Skip Intro

            Will those anthropologists speculate that the rituals were a desperate but backwards attempt to stave off the ecological catastrophe that was engulfing the society of the time? Will they be wrong?

            1. The Rev Kev

              You mean like an updated version of the Ghost Dances of the North American Indians back in the late 1880s to early 1890s?


              Bonus points when it is found that some of the people responsible for that catastrophe were also attendants at the modern one and still showing off their privilege.

              1. barefoot charley

                A friend returning from Burning Man ten years ago said it was the Ghost Dance of the fossil fuel age.

    3. Wukchumni

      The biggest demographic change since you went (my 1st Burning Man was in 2003) isn’t tech bros and billionaires, but foreigners.

      It isn’t quite as heady as the numbers of foreign visitors at our National Parks, but getting there.

      Had a 5 hour stint at the greeters gate on Tuesday, and foreigners made up 20% of those I welcomed in…

      1. SlayTheSmaugs


        So glad you’re able to check in from the playa, may you and yours have a peaceful and fun burn, may you cope with the sanitary situation in a healthy way. The crowd I used to go with used to have lots to say about tech bros paying people to set up and run their comfortable camps, which is just so wrong on so many levels. But I’ve not kept my finger on the pulse in years, so I really don’t know.

        My fave was always the temple, I was a guardian the last year I went. Met Dick Dale that night, was too ignorant to know who he was but enjoyed listening to him jam awhile. Never really did the Man. Spent most of my time awake during the days cruising on my bike, playing with the art and visiting camps; I didn’t rave all night, techno dancing gets boring for me.

        be well, take care, have fun

        p.s., I went 2001-200*4*; five years total, and sometimes I glitch and write it as 2001-05…

        1. SlayTheSmaugs

          five years, met my husband in spring ’05, and we never went together
          returned to my NYC in ’01 on 9/10, and that was my second year.
          I mean, the accuracy of my self-reported date matters not at all to anyone but me I’m sure, and so ridiculous to use a 3rd comment to deliberately fix, but ah well I am a little compulsive about such accuracy

        2. Bsn

          Speaking of checking in, I hate to be downer Debbie, but isn’t the “point” of Burning Man to get unplugged from tech?

          1. Wukchumni

            You’re never really away from technology here, it isn’t like a backpack trip where you are truly unconnected.

            There frankly isn’t much to do when you can’t go anywhere, so here I am.

          2. digi_owl

            Given that Starlink is being offered for RVs these days, were are one truly unplugged?

            Never mind increasing hoopla about phones that can message directly via sats, no big antenna needed.

    4. Roger Blakely

      I saw the headline about Burning Man before coming to NakedCapitalism this morning. I wondered what NakedCapitalism would make of it. The story is at the intersection of issues that readers of NakedCapitalism care about. There is climate change. There is the issue of the recreational habits of the professional, managerial class.

      It’s been a weird year. In the winter we had snow storms so heavy that residents of Southern California mountain communities were trapped in their homes for days if not weeks. Two weeks ago we had a hurricane, though a tropical storm by the time it hit land, that marched from Baja to Idaho dropping record amounts of rain over the deserts of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Who imagined that tropical moisture over Labor Day Weekend would turn Burning Man into a muddy mess?

  4. Amfortas the Hippie

    how now….wasn’t there a tabletop exercise…perpetrated by the usual WEF types…about a Marburg Outbreak a month or two ago?

    1. ambrit

      Yes there was. Plus the ever ready Jade Helm Warriors of our Organs of State Security.
      This could be the Superspreader Event of the Year! (Given how our Overlords like to multitask, this could be the Superspreader Omni Event of the Tear too! “Now with added pathogens!”)

  5. timbers


    “Libraries across Texas are often the most reliable source of air conditioning and water for residents during the hottest months of the year. But the relationship between the Houston library and unhoused residents has long been strained. In 2005, the city council passed regulations that targeted homeless residents and attempted to deter the use of the library as a safe haven.”

    Here in Brockton MA, I sometimes on rare occasions use the Public Library to print something I need a hardcopy of. Several times I have spotted a group of older and poor folks mostly men, visibly bad off economically probably homeless. They make modest effort to look busy but clearly they are using the library for shelter to some extent. They are mostly white or (American) black males, and I have not seen Library staff bother them.

    Them being mostly white or black American males, is an interesting point because my city is a gateway for certain specific ethnic groups of immigrants. Those immigrants have family friends networks etc and get low paying jobs. The ones in the library apparently do not. The areas the immigrants live in never change, never get better, but probably the people do change as those who move along and assimilate into America are replaced by new arrivals. The ones in the library I am guessing are locals, as in Americans.

    They are Americans, mostly male, living in poverty, seeking respite from the streets, living their American retirement.

    PS a few blocks away you always see homeless people sleeping under commuter rails bridges. These bridges are literally a block or two from Police Dept, City Hall, and Main St.

    1. The Rev Kev

      With more and more malls going broke, I sometimes wondered if they could not be repurposed with these people in mind. A place to get out of the heat and the rain, a police station located inside to keep down trouble, bathrooms and toilets, a place to grab a shower, washing machines for cleaning clothes, visiting medical & dental service, job centers and people to help with resumes, a stretch of ground to sleep on, connecting bus services, etc. Sure there are all sorts of problems that would have to be solved to make this work but surely it is better than the present approach of doing sfa.

      1. Carla

        There are many, many ways to help people experiencing homelessness. When there’s no will to help, there’s no way at all.

        Rev, in America, poverty is a crime — yes, that statement has a double meaning. It is a crime that poverty persists and GROWS amongst such abundance, AND it is a crime to be poor. The poor are feared as much as criminals — maybe moreso, since in this land of milk and honey, any ordinary person can be rendered poor in an instant (car accident, unpayable medical bill, etc.) whereas people assume becoming a criminal requires some conscious action on their part. We block out the “instant poverty method” of becoming a criminal. If we didn’t block it out, we as a society might have to actually do something about poverty.

        1. Alice X

          Matthew Desmond in his book Poverty by America calculates that with $177 billion we could end poverty. It is a rough number but it would do a lot. We’ve nearly sent that much to Ukraine, and seem to be getting there.

          Our approach is, as he describes, private opulence and public squalor.

          Well, it is an worthwhile read.

          btw – did you have your eye surgery? I had mine and it is amazing, I can actually read again!

          1. Carla

            Thanks for asking, Alice X. Yes, I had the lens in my right eye, which was and is my “distance” eye replaced and thereby was able to pass the eye test to renew my drivers’ license — quite important! Am having the lens in my left eye (which has been and will be my “close-up” eye) replaced this week and hope for the same good results in terms of reading.

            I read Desmond’s “Evicted” which really had quite an impact on me. Don’t feel mentally and emotionally prepared for Poverty by America at this point.

            1. Alice X

              I’m glad for you and the best for this week’s procedure, they really do have it down.

              Well, Desmond’s chapter on how expensive it is to be poor is grueling, but that’s what we do. It’s an outrage.

            2. Brunches with Cats

              Carla, I’ve been wondering about you! Asked a couple of times, but it was too late in the cycle, and so you likely didn’t see it — if you even had full vision at that point. Anyway, I was thinking about you a lot while in ambulatory surgery three weeks ago and mentioned you a few times (only as “a commenter on a political blog I follow”) while discussing masks and the coming wave with various unmasked personnel. I wore a solid mask, but had to remove it for surgery prep.

              I’m interested in your choice to have one eye corrected for closeup and the other for distance and would like to know how that turns out. I’ve read that some people do that, but you’re the first and only one I know who did it this way. On recommendation by both my VA optometrist and non-VA ophthalmologist, I chose to correct both eyes for closeup vision and to continue to wear glasses for distance.

              Surgery itself went fine, but beyond that, my experience was quite different from yours and Alice’s (what she has described so far, anyway). Complications started within three days — all of which were predictable and preventable. Long story, will have to post in installments.

              1. Alice X

                BwC – answering for all three comments – I’m so, so sorry that you had complications. My own experience has been nearly optimum. I was curious about Carla’s choice of near and far corrections, I was aware of that option but went with far in both, as that was my underlying nature, I was far sighted (purely in eyesight of course). One ophthalmologist said I would not like being corrected for near. That one sent me to another Dr. in the university health system that I go to for a second opinion. The second one did my first surgery and a resident did the second.

                I had no astigmatism and can now see at a distance almost perfectly and require only a minimum additional correction for near. Best to you, I hope your situation is resolved more agreeably.

                1. Brunches with Cats

                  Alice X, thanks for the reply. I’m glad it went so well for you and am sincerely happy for everyone who has had a positive experience. From what I’ve heard, the vast majority of cataract patients choose to correct for distance, whether they are near- or farsighted to begin with. As long as there’s minimal or no astigmatism, they should be able to get by with their current glasses for a couple of months while waiting for the final Rx.

                  Closeup correction was recommended for me, because I do a lot of intricate sewing and miniature crafts, often requiring accuracy to 1/32 inch. I’d been taking off my glasses to be able to see that close, but the cataracts progressed to the point that even holding a project right up to my nose didn’t work — not to mention the damage to neck and back from working hours at a time in that position.

                  I believe they made the right recommendation. My problem is that they treated me like everyone else, when I was a legitimate exception to the rule. Complaining that I needed considerations not afforded to others made me a target of gaslighting, insinuating that I think I’m so special, just want the attention, etc.

                  On the hopeful side, a nearsighted acquaintance (no astigmatism) just had her second surgery and, like you, had a positive experience. She highly recommended her ophthalmologist, said he patiently answered all of her questions. He’s one of the top docs in the area so likely has a long wait list, if he’s available at all. Keeping my fingers crossed.

            3. Brunches with Cats

              2/3 Curious as to whether you have/had any astigmatism in one or both eyes (question also for Alice X) and, if so, whether you chose to have it corrected, and how that worked out. I have significant astigmatism in both eyes and so was allowed to get toric IOLs.

              I don’t recall whether you live in a rural or urban/suburban area; my region of Upstate New York is very rural, with virtually no public transportation. Being able to drive is a matter of survival, for both me and the brunch partner. In June, I raised the issue of “double correcting” for astigmatism and how I’d be able to see to drive while waiting for glasses with a final Rx, ETA end of October. VA and non-VA providers all dismissed my concerns and said there are “no temporary glasses.”

              After surgery on the right eye, I could see to drive with my left eye only, although not well, with glasses corrected for astigmatism. By the end of the week, I knew beyond a doubt that I wouldn’t be able to drive at all after the second surgery. Not only that, but a relentless headache took hold, followed by depression and what I could describe only as my brain being scrambled.

            4. Brunches with Cats

              3/3 A few days before the second surgery, in a panic, I told the ophthalmologist that if there were “no temporary glasses,” there would be no 24-hour or one-week follow-up appointments (45-min drive to her office, one way). She said, near-exact quote, “You came here for cataract surgery. Go figure it out yourself with the VA.” I did — by telling them I wanted a different ophthalmologist for the second eye. So I’m probably looking at another 3-4 months for the second surgery.

              In the meantime, I managed to get a pair of negative diopter glasses from the VA (marked on the order as “temporary,” so GEE, there actually IS such a thing!). That allowed the right to start healing, and the headache pain came down a few notches, but then vision on the left, without astigmatism correction, was impaired.

              Yesteday, I went to a non-VA optician who had fixed a pair of sunglasses years ago, and asked for suggestions. Miracle of miracles, they were able to use the prescription for my year-old distance glasses to grind a left lens for the negative diopter frames — in under 45 minutes, while I waited — and told me to come back to have it removed after surgery #2, at total cost of $76 — money well spent, and I’m grateful for having found a solution at all. Still, it’s a big chunk of change for a senior whose sole income is a monthly SS check, and I can’t help feeling like I was left holding the bag, when two uber-experienced eye docs should have been able to predict the outcome and planned accordingly. And they did have the authority to override the “no temporary glasses” rule in unusual circumstances. I’m too exhausted to be angry … yet.

          2. hunkerdown

            “I have found the following law and present it to mankind; the evolution of civilization is tantamount to the removal of ornament from objects of use.” -A. Loos, Ornament and Crime (translation, E. Gombrich)

            David Wengrow’s essay, “The Evolution of Simplicity: Aesthetic labour and social change in the Neolithic Near East“, proposes to confirm that notion through examining the evolution of decorated wares over time. He finds, among the evolution of complexity that most people think of as state formation, a parallel process of simplification and de-adornment of (regular folks’) body care implements, body art, and stone vessels.

      2. Synoia

        Malls as dwellings:

        Natural Sunlight
        Toilets and Drains
        Services, Trash water and Sewers.
        Zoning from Commercial to Dwellings, and spot zoning is often illegal.

        It is less expensive to demolish the Malls and build apartments.
        If there is Vacant land , that is the builders preferred area.

        I have looked at it and it never penciled out where I looked.

        The same appears true for Offices. The office floor plans do not make it easy to get opening windows, K9tchens and bedrooms, and specific electricity distribution, with meters for each potential unit.

        That nasty fire in Johannesburg highlights the issues.

        1. ambrit

          You are not thinking like an Oligarch Overlord.
          We do not provide a “livable personal dwelling unit” for the “deplorables.” We provide ‘adequate warehousing space’ for the “excess production units” to be stored in when they are not profitable.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      I was at the Brockton Public Library a few months ago, timbers, waiting for a case I was interested in (a pro se request for injunctive and declarartory relief by local residents against illegal sand miners/cranberry latifundists) to be heard at the Plymouth County Superior Court.

      Two things struck me: first, what a beautiful building it is. Second, precisely as you say, there was a population of older, white and black American men, who spent a long time there, seeking respite (I seem to recall it was a hot day).

      I think one of our problems in terms of poverty and unemployment in our neck of the woods is the lack of a reliable east-west public transit corridor in Plymouth County. Rt. 27 used to be a trolley line that ran between Kingston (I believe) and Brockton, and connected to the Plymouth line there. Our public transit would require you, if you have no car and needed to go from Brockton to Plymouth and vice versa, to go from Brockton to Boston (~20+ miles), and then Boston to Plymouth (~45 miles). There should just be a direct bus line on Rt. 27 (~23.6 miles, via Bing maps).

      Maybe I should write the Healey Administration a letter.

      1. ambrit

        Make it “sternly worded.” It also helps to throw in some mentions of “primarying” and “group PACs.”
        Hit them where it hurts, their political careers. Assume a complete lack of conscience on their part.

        1. Cassandra

          The reference to primarying will be futile; the Massachusetts Democratic Party, Inc, has things thoroughly under control. See what happened to Alex Morse when he was bold enough to challenge Richard Neal in 2020.

          1. ambrit

            Drat! I was hoping that it would not have to come to the deployment of ‘Political Institutional Rectification Kinetic Engagement Specialists.’ (PIRKES.)

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Silicon Valley Elites Show Off Renderings of Exclusive New City They Want to Build in the Bay Area ”

    I got an idea. Instead of all those billionaires building what will amount to an oversized walled estate, how about they built a town for the homeless and the poor. The homes will have to be duplicates of those built after the 1906 earthquake to help stop rorts like cabins costing $60,000 each to build. California will provide the infrastructure like roads, water, electricity and the like. Manufacturing can be set up near those home to provide employment and the taxes on those facilities and the workers will help fund that town. With cities like LA & San Fran emptied of the homeless and the poor, the billionaires can then play with those cities. Won’t work of course as there is no will to try such an experiment but I can see what will happen if these billionaires build their walled estate. It will still be California on the hook to still build the infrastructure like roads, water, electricity and the like and pay for the maintenance as well. The actual workers who will build that place will, once finished, will be barred from ever going there past the security guards unless it is to mow the grass or clean the swimming pools.

    1. Lex

      I’ve read analysis of Rome’s decline that puts a lot of emphasis on the transition of the senatorial class (oligarchs) from competing with each other in terms of funding public works, festivals and patronage to retreating to grand estates that were relatively self sufficient and profit centers. The transition would – in these analyses – become the feudal system of medieval Europe.

      Since there’s a cottage industry in comparing the US to Rome, it’s an interesting parallel. I’m not against comparing the US to Rome, but everyone gets it wrong from the jump by looking into the future for Caesar. Washington was Caesar, that’s why there was such a heavy handed propaganda effort to fashion him as Cincinnatus.

      1. JBird4049

        Washington retired after two terms despite efforts to get him to take a third term and earlier suggestions that he become a king, which is one of the reasons for him being labeled Cincinnatus. A Caesar or Augustus he was not.

        1. Lex

          Because he was primarily concerned with being a rich man from all his real estate.

          The problem with US-Rome comparisons is that Americans demand they be literal. Rome was functioning as a senatorial empire before Caesar and the US (from the constitution forward) was modeled on that senatorial empire. My point in labeling Washington as Caesar for the purposes of comparing the US and Rome was that Washington was instrumental in developing the US as an empire and one beholden to oligarchic interests (he being an oligarchic, and a shady real estate developer type oligarch at that).

          There’s a lot of documented history that the popular hagiographies of the founding fathers leave out.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      So the tech bros have invented gated communities. How clever of them. Perhaps they have happy memories of visiting grandparents and older aunts and uncles in their walled retirement compounds in Mexico. (“fraccionamientos”, which existed long before Americans grabbed onto the idea).

      Perhaps the best thing that could happen to the immediate SF / Bay Area would be to move 200,000 of its most obnoxious and self-serving inhabitants out, freeing up the city for an influx of new creative individuals who aren’t in thrall to their own grandiosity.

      The nice thing about gated communities is that the gates can also be used to keep people in.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I see that with a colonialist retirement pre-fab sprawl fest plunked down in the pine barrens of SE Mass. The inhabitants, mostly affluent professionals from Boston, NYC, Philly, who didn’t want to pay Cape Cod prices but still have the same amenities, are often literally fenced in to walk on their paved paths (on land that is naturally a beautiful pine-clad sand).

        If we are to have the Yuppie Reservation [name changed], I am glad at least of the fences to keep them in. Leave the woods surrounding to those that actually like them, rather than those engaged in, or benefiting from, their destruction in order that the wealthy can have even more comfort (one of the most galling things is said Yuppie Reservation has some groups like Sustainable Yuppie Reservation [real name redacted], when their entire sprawl-system is premised upon destruction of a globally rare ecosystem, the Atlantic coastal pine barrens).

    3. cgregory

      A Utah billionaire tried to build Vermont’s 4th-biggest town (20,000) by surreptitiously buying up land in adjacent townships. One town clerk noticed the unusual purchases and checked with the others to discover the plot. l

      Everybody who read about it realized the man had noooooo idea how hard it was going to be to get around Vermont’s Act 250 and local planning regulations. Of course, he failed. But greedheads are still trying in every legislative session to gut those regulations in the name of “changed circumstances.” The main changed circumstance of course is that their wallets are too vacant.

      1. petal

        Glad you brought that up. Before the names of who was buying up the land were announced, I had wondered if that guy was at it again. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the article about the building plans.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Zelensky’s presidential sponsor accused of money laundering, fraud”

    First thought that occurred to me when I heard that the SBU picked up Kolomoysky was that it could not happen to a nicer guy. This was the guy who, after the Maidan, spent some of his wealth on financing new groups such as the Dnipro 1 and Dnipro 2 militias, Aidar, the Donbas units and especially the Azov battalion to terrorize his fellow Ukrainians. He was also the guy that stole billions, if not tens of billions from the US through his wonky bank.

    The second thought was how could this guy be so stupid? The guy has not only his Ukrainian passport but one for Cyprus and one for Israel as well. Last I heard he was living in Switzerland while visiting other countries. Yes, he was directly responsible for the rise of Zelensky but the US pushed him aside and became Zelensky’s patron instead. So why was he dumb enough to go back into the Ukraine? To get some leverage with Zelensky? Another dash for cash? To try and get a cut of the billions going into the Ukraine? Some mistakes you can’t take back and this is one of them. (sheds crocodile tear)

    1. pjay

      One theory (courtesy of M of A) is that this is a cover-up ploy that will stifle any real investigation of Kolomoisky’s massive illegal and corrupt activities. That would conveniently aid not only Big Z, but the “Big Guy” as well:

      Of course I’m sure this is just a conspiracy theory, and that the Zelensky administration is only interested in rooting out corruption.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I think it’s entirely possible they would want to crush Kolomoisky specifically. He is more liability than asset these days. See also the fate of Berezovsky.

        1. pjay

          I agree. But turning his case over to the SBU could serve to remove Kolimoisky and shut down any real investigation as well. Two birds…

          1. Brunches with Cats

            Thanks for the Politico link, pjay. My own $0.02 to your earlier comment just came out of queue (see below). Based on reading I’ve done over several years, including native language articles (translated by machine), I definitely think you’re barking up the right tree.

            OH … and this, from the end of a 1/14/2021 Kyiv Post article on oligarch influence on Ukrainian lawmakers (forgot to include in longer comment):

            Editor’s Note: This report is part of the Investigative Hub project, within which the Kyiv Post monitors investigative reports in the Ukrainian media and brings them to the English-speaking audience, as well as produces original investigative stories. The project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

      2. Brunches with Cats

        Good link, thanks pjay!

        Main takeaway from the Politico piece for me is that reframing corruption as “treason” would shift oversight to the SBU, which would give Z control, whereas he currently doesn’t have any control — in theory, anyway — over investigations of corruption. Since Z presumably is controlled by the U.S., the shift effectively would allow the White House to control any investigation that, among other outcomes, could impact 2024 elections. Just a guess: U.S. will give unqualified support to “Zelenskyy’s move.”

        Haven’t seen the M of A article, but just want to note that Z started going after Benya** almost immediately after taking office, ostensibly to meet conditions in IMF and EU bailout loans. By that time, K already was under investigation by the FBI. If there’s a detailed timeline somewhere, I haven’t seen it, but I’m relatively confident it would show that the U.S. was well ahead of Z.

        ** Somebody in Ukraine — dunno who or when — nicknamed K “Benya” in reference to Benya Krik, the fictitious leader of a Russian Jewish gang in early 19th century Odessa in a short story by Russian writer and journalist Isaac Babel. The story, included in Babel’s Tales of Odessa, was made into the 1927 silent film, Benya Krik, which was spun off into a Russian TV series in 2016. I started watching both on Youtube, but couldn’t get past the execrable machine translations. The fate of the author is more than a little ironic, given current events: Born in Odessa and raised in Mykolaiv, Babel was executed in 1940 on fabricated charges of terrorism and espionage.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          Shoulda been “early 20th century Odessa” in last graf. But you probably knew what I meant.

  8. Tom Stone

    I’ve been trying to make sense of the Ukraine War and have come to the conclusion that it is a sacrifice to the Dark Gods.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I’ve heard some pretty horrible rumors and would not want to repeat any of them.

      The world is being run by the worst of us.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Senility Pays, If Everyone Else is Gaga Too Andrew Cockburn, Spoils of War

    Some funny stuff like mcconnell “shedding marbles at an accelerating clip”, biden “routinely board[ing] Air Force One through the baggage entrance rather than risk the long climb to the main door, and feinstein “patently flatlining mentally.”

    But the heading of the feinstein section was really an “ouch”:


    1. juno mas

      As a septuagenarian, I can assure you that Biden, McConnell, and DiFi are failing to climb stairs, stumbling into concussions, or being herded about in a wheel chair because they don’t do sufficient resistance/weight training with their legs. After 75 muscle mass begins to decrease rapidly and weight training and a higher protein diet are essential to maintain physical mobility/stability.

      You can asses their cognitive agility for yourself.

      1. Wukchumni

        The oldest burner in our camp is 80 and was a structural engineer and has been to a dozen burns, and he tried to help around camp, but was so frail, kinda reminded me of Joe & Mitch.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Italian ex-premier says French missile downed an airliner in 1980 by accident in bid to kill Gadhafi”

    Had to go digging to find that they are talking about Itavia Flight 870-

    Sound like it was the NS2 of its day. Everybody knows what happened to it but no government will talk about or properly investigate it.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      This story about the Ustica crash got a lot of coverage on Italian TV news yesterday. It’s truly one of the weirdest plane crashes ever, and there are all manner of conspiracy theories about it.

      The problem I have with the scenario proposed by Giuliano Amato is that the world of June 1980 was totally unlike today’s world. Amato thinks that France and the USA conducted a joint military exercise while Gadhafi was returning to Libya from Yugoslavia, their goal being to create a scenario in which a “stray” missile fired during the exercise would “accidentally” down the jet carrying Gadhafi. But let’s think about the world in 1980. France still had a very independent foreign policy and was not part of NATO’s military command structure (in fact in 1986, the French would deny USA overflight rights in its bombing raid on Libya, forcing Yankee F-111s to skirt French territory). France’s president (Giscard) was facing a difficult economic situation and an upcoming election in early 1981 (which he lost). Carter was the USA’s president and certainly no hawk. His one and only foreign military adventure (the failed hostage rescue mission in April 1980) was a total fiasco. Carter was in the middle of an election campaign and an intra-party challenge from Teddy Kennedy (he would beat Kennedy but lose to Reagan). Given all these facts, I find it hard to believe that France/USA would have collaborated on such a wildly risky venture in airspace filled with civil aviation to take out a person (Gadhafi) who was not a significant threat to either country.

      Plus, we have Bologna, which at the time was a hotbed of communist (yes, Italy’s communist party was a thing) and even anarchist activity (remember the Red Brigades?). August 1980 witnessed the awful bombing of Bologna’s train station. So IMHO, the notion that the Red Brigades planted a bomb on this airplane is not completely looney tunes.

      That said, the fact that both France and the USA are staying totally mum regarding this incident makes me wonder. Oh, and there’s also the inconvenent detail of the Libyan MiG-23 which crashed in Calabria shortly thereafter. This is one of those cases (like JFK 1963 or WTC 2001) where the more you read, the less you feel certain about (except that the governments involved are withholding information for some reason).

      ‘Tis a mystery.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Gannett–our local Gannett daily has shriveled to the point that they now say they will use the post office to deliver the paper rather than an employee. The once considerable demand for rolls of newsprint must also be shriveling these days although many of the library’s most recent hardback book acquisitions seem to be printed on it.

    As for the reporting, the bare bones stories might as well be written by AI although our paper does have at least one live and breathng reporter since I’ve met him.

    1. Mikel

      Local high school football. The players and families look forward to seeing the players names in publication.
      The college scouts want to see players names in the papers.

      Basics. The high school sports isn’t low hanging fruit in the minds of a serious local newspaper.
      It’s one of the main things that gets them local viewership.

      1. Carolinian

        The local paper does have sports coverage but behind the paywall I have no interest in paying.

        So maybe they have two reporters with one on sports.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          The newpaper that is local includes sports coverage for which there is interest-free paying. It is theorized that of two reporters, on is a real sport.

          The exciting coverage of sports which is in the local newspaper is about sports. Are sports real? One of our reporters talked to one and learned that local newspapers cover sports.

          More about sports coverage as this article is updated with coverage of sports by reporters who write about sports.

      2. Discouraged in WI

        Our local paper has the sports, but also an extensive obituary section, which definitely gets local readers. I have guessed (not interested enough to actually research) that they are free, or almost, since the postings tend to be long, with pictures.

        1. Jeff V

          Our local paper has several sports reporters, but for most sports the best way to get an article published is to write it yourself and send it in.

          Thus you might think table tennis is very popular, given the amount of coverage it receives, but that’s partly due to the local table tennis association being very diligent about sending in reports of tournaments etc. (a friend of mine writes most of them, and he is suitably modest when reporting on what are actually his own achievements).

  12. Tom Stone

    The fact that no one in Congress has asked any questions about the Nordstream Bombing shows just how cowed our “Representatives” are.
    Biden gave an illegal order to commit an act of War against four European Countries which the US Military obeyed, knowing it was an illegal order and no one says “Boo”.
    It’s interesting to speculate how far the Biden Administration will go to continue holding power, perhaps a “Hellfire” strike at the next big Trump rally?

    1. Screwball

      My PMC friends would love to see that, especially if it also took out Trump. Yes, they do say stuff like this. They hate Trump and his supporters more than anything on planet earth.

        1. John k

          More likely it would prevent trump wannabe’s from getting ideas. JFK’s death unleashed the warmongers, not the peaceniks.

          1. hk

            The masses of the American people had far more trust in government and the political process back then. Now, things are different. I doubt it would spark any obvious mass movement, but it will set the motion for the collapse of American political institutions sooner than later–not because ithere will be angry masses overthrowing it, but because too many people with regard them with hostile neglect.

            1. notabanker

              it will set the motion for the collapse of American political institutions

              I’m sorry, what still left standing?

            2. GramSci

              Yes, I’ve often thought the USA would end like the old ‘Russian’ joke: “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.”

              This General Strike would not be obvious; for example. it will not be led by ‘obvious’ leaders like Bernie Sanders. In fact it may have already begun…

              1. hk

                Yes, exactly. The similarity between the West today and the late Brezhnev/Andropov era of USSR is staggering

          2. John Beech

            Extended family on wife’s side are PMC. Hate Trump. Absolutely.

            Me? I grok. I hate Hillary. Absolutely. Turnabout is fair.

            How much do I hate Hillary? I voted for Trump. Don’t especially like the orange one. Bully. Coward, too. Charming in person, I’m sure. Doesn’t change the facts on the ground. Not my type. Voted for him regardless.

            And again in 2020. Election was stolen. No doubt in my pea brain. How? Not with the machines. Old fashioned ballot stuffing. Mail in ballots. Unsolicited. They’ll do it again.

            Now, I’m just awaiting the election where 20M votes are cast in NYC. Yup, more votes than residents as each party ballot stuffs to high heaven. Interesting times.

            1. rowlf

              Aren’t there departments is the US government that muck with foreign elections? There was a joke in 2020 that because of Covid they couldn’t travel so they practiced at home.

            2. GF

              It would be nice if you could supply the evidence for “Old fashioned ballot stuffing. Mail in ballots. Unsolicited.”

      1. Carolinian

        My brother the MSNBC fan is sure that should Trump be elected a dictatorship will follow. So I assume that’s what they are saying on TV and the extreme rhetoric is a lot more dangerous than Trump IMO given the assassination possibility that Yves wrote about.

        When Trump said “lock her up” in 2016 he was just making a joke because he has an unsubtle sense of humor. Hillary then took this as an excuse to accuse him of treason and being the agent of a foreign government. Not a joke but perhaps a sign of megalomania on the part of her wing of the Dems. It does seem to almost verge on a lynch mob mentality fueled by cable and social media.

        “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” is the mode these days so anything goes. Unclear where they’ll go. Maybe Mars.

        1. hk

          Gone in a nuclear flash, apparently…sooner than one’s expect (I hope not, but they seem eager for it…)

        2. marym

          Saying “Lock her up” didn’t make him a traitor or foreign agent, but Trump investigated Russiagate and the Clinton Foundation, so maybe he didn’t mean it entirely as a joke.

          1. GramSci

            Worse than a traitor, it made Trump a public misogynist, the latest iteration of Jay Gould’s recommendation of hiring one-half the working class to kill the other half. But male vs female was an ultimate dichotomy. one only made constitutionally possible through the agency of the Nineteenth Amendment. The Apotheosis of Lemmus sapiens.

          2. CarlH

            He did? I genuinely do not remember this happening. Who was appointed to investigate it? What were the results? Where were the people disputing those results? The CF was the most obvious pay for play operation of my lifetime and Russiagate the most obvious farce, surely they found something? If there were investigations they sure were quiet about them. Certainly quieter than the numerous, obviously political investigations of Trump.

            1. marym

              Here are some links to media reports.

              Trump DOJ investigated Clinton Foundation

              Trump special counsel investigated Russiagate

              Ukraine – Trump phone call to Zelensky – attempt to investigate Clinton’s server and the Bidens

              Trump wanted (according to Mueller) a special counsel to investigate Clinton emails

              1. CarlH

                Why so hush hush? What were the results? Why wasn’t MSNBC throwing a multi month tantrum like they did with each and every investigation and petty impeachment of Trump? No “Orange Hitler is investigating Mother!!!” headlines that I can remember and 24/7 hysteria as accompaniment. One is not like the other. The news of the investigations seem to come from “former Dept. of Justice officials”. Like “unnamed Pentagon officials” and all the certifiable lies they leak, I smell something fishy.

                1. CarlH

                  These “investigations” were also carried out by the same FBI that went after Trump from the beginning. I hate that I find myself on the side of Trump in these situations, but the dems are so polluted and corrupt it is almost impossible for me not to.

          3. britzklieg

            Why would he have meant it as a joke? “Her” is a criminal and it’s beyond obvious to anyone willing to see. So, there’s the rub… eyes wide shut from the partisans who defend the indefensible. I’d suggest a better repost would have been “takes one to know one” because Trump is a criminal too. Only problem there is that he’ll make a better president than any Democrat who has soiled themselves with the absurd fairytale/lies of Russiagate or by denying the obvious criminality of the Clinton Foundation, both of which are seminal to the nuclear brink we are teetering on. He’ll be horrible on many things, sure, but he will end the blood feast of the Biden/NATO war against Russia and in the process, save the world from the civilization ending forever war or outright global destruction that serious people rightfully fear more than opposition to abortion or any of the other favored idpol themes which pale by comparison.

            1. Procopius

              I loathe Hillary, but I don’t think she’s a criminal. They changed the laws decades ago, so Obama can say of the banksters, “A lot of what they did wasn’t illegal.” There are still a lot of people who believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, in Trump’s favor, even though the rest of us believe it was a hoax. Many of the things she did should be illegal but are not, and the Uranium One accusation is just stupid.

        3. Michael Fiorillo

          The #McResistance knew in 2016 that Orange Man would usher in a dictatorship, and they were so worried about it that they voted to re-authorize the Patriot Act in 2018.

          Likewise, they knew he was a Russian asset, but said nothing when he unilaterally cancelled the INF Treaty and supplied missiles to the Ukrainians, twelve dimensional chess players that they are.

        4. some guy

          Why should I believe Trump meant it as a “joke”?

          At some point recreational contrarianism reaches Christopheroid Hitchensian levels.

      1. PelhamKS

        The assassination would be less interesting than the way it’s framed and carried out. It would have to appear to be an extreme MAGA operation of some sort, or perhaps be pinned to Putin, to mute the ensuring martyr narrative. And who would be the patsy?

    2. Skip Intro

      Imagine the outrage, the recriminations, if Nordstream continued to exist, unharmed, after Biden’s direct promise to stop it if Russia invaded. His betrayal would have cost not just Ukraine, but the entire credibility of the US. Not on his watch!

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Daniel Szeligowski
    A sudden inflation of articles advocating for a deal with Russia indicates that the Russian authorities are aware of the difficult situation on the frontline and they seek to freeze the conflict in order to secure the territorial gains. Time to double down on support for Ukraine!’

    And right there is how you spot a true Neocon. They have two outstanding characteristics. They have no reverse gear and if things blow up in their face, they keep on doubling down. Idjut!

    1. digi_owl

      And they completely ignore the enemy, as Putin has long since renounced any interesting in a frozen conflict.

    2. Kouros

      And presented it as if Russians are the ones having troubles and in rush for some deal for breathing room…

    3. Polar Socialist

      It is truly amazing how Russia can still so totally control the media space in The West.

      It’s almost as amazing as the idea that after meticulously building an army three times bigger as big as they had in February 2022, the Russians would need a breather now

    4. hk

      Just where are these articles? The only ones I’ve seen are in the West. So these outlets are under Kremlin control, too? Makes you wonder what these people are drinking….

  14. Lex

    There’s a clip going around of a neo-Nazi protest in Florida (I think) where the leader says that voting is pointless but be supports Biden because of sending arms to Ukraine. What a timeline to be on.

    1. Acacia

      If you happen to find the link, please share.

      Could be a funny retort to those with TDS who are voting blue no matter who ‘cuz “fascism!!!”

  15. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding Burning Man’s “radical self-reliance” trope:

    Yeah, that’s a good one, considering the importation, via fossil fuels, of many thousands of people and the resources needed to keep them alive in Alkali Valley… and of course they had to have a tribute to the Ukes.

    Schadenfreude may be all that’s left to us these days, but let it roll, baby!

  16. Jhallc

    Maybe it’s just me but, the links today put me a “Lord of the Flies” kind of mind.
    On that note and to go with the “red meat” ticks, my neighbor here in Western Maine just got stung yesterday by an Asian Killer Wasp while hiking. Ended up in the emergency room. No history of prior bee sting issues. Painful, leg swollen and hives all over.

      1. Jhallc

        I thought they were only in the pacific NW as well. Could have been a look alike Giant European Hornet that are here in Maine which are less aggressive and not bee killers. He’s a landscaper and has been stung many times without issues. He said this was one of the most painful he’d encountered.

    1. chuck roast

      Yes, brother…wicked dystopian links today. Sorry about your neighbor, but it all seems to fit in. Next Sunday tune in to WRIU 90.3 2 to 5 EST for Reggae Showcase. Healing non-pharma aural salve for many of our headly ills. Way better than the Drive Thru on WERU. Love the Maniacs.

  17. Lunker Walleye

    Nebraska ticks: My neighbor, an avid hunter, has Alpha-gal. His life-threatening symptoms were just like the person in the story Conor linked to. His wife had to take him to the ER. He has not eaten any mammal meat or dairy for about four months and is doing well. Makes it a little difficult to menu-plan, but they have worked their way around it. We live in a neighboring state.

    1. Phenix

      I haven’t eaten red/mammal or any meat for 20 years. It’s not hard. I haven’t eaten dairy at home for 7-8 years. That isn’t hard either. Cheese while ubiquitous isn’t essential.

      ChatGPT can make an entire menu plan for him. A friend of mine messed around with it to make vegan, vegetarian, Paleo and keto meal plans.

  18. Insouciant Iowan

    Nebraska, home of world record attendance for a women’s volleyball game, is ticced-off. Some say its a result of climate change. Others harbor thoughts of a vegan cowspiracy. Others wonder if such a cluster-cluck owes to insidious intentions of the white meat crowd aiming to gobble up market share.
    Tics that put carnivore humans off their red-meat feed have emmigrated north from, wait for it, Texas. While Iowa sends troops to defend the US from hordes uprooted by the small farm crushing effects of tjeir countries’ imports from the US of subsidized GMO corn
    While the red meat producers, processors, and cow-fart pipeline advocates are doing a gut check, corn growers are amping up efforts to see that the resulting mountains of uneaten kernals will find their way into ethanol and as exports to the US’s, um, free-trade “partners” and, gasp, China.
    In anticipation of Guv Reynolds deploying the National Guard to Iowa’s western border, and Iowa AG Bird’s suits against Texas, Nebraska, and tic transit states in between, the wise investor will be quietly placing bets on Texas tic repellent. Isn’t disaster capitalism great?

  19. rowlf

    Last night I watched ‘Best In Hell’, a 1 hr 50-minute movie about waging war in Ukraine, filmed by the men behind the Wagner Group. Seemed like an anti-Wagner film: Join us and we will get you killed doing something stupid our drone, air and artillery assets can do safely.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I actually follows more or less closely the plot of Zvesda (Star) (youtube), a Russian WW2 movie from 2002. Team of soldiers dying in all kinds of ways to fulfill a mission is a thing in the Russian cinema.

      See also: 9th Company, Fortress of War, Panfilov’s 28 men or The Mornings Here Are Quiet (for an equal opportunity version).

      1. rowlf

        Soviet or Russian John Wayne movies?

        I would have preferred the survivors in the movie give the support tank the coordinates for the command bunker for being idiots and misusing resources that led to unnecessary casualties. That would have been an effective feedback loop for leaders that do not look after their troops. Let the opposing force have the noble deaths.

  20. Mikel

    Gannett Stops Using AI To Write Articles For Now Because They Were Hilariously Terrible

    “…clearly these papers aren’t doing any serious form of human-checking of these AI-written posts…”

    And why should they be required to tweak or help promote algorithms for SillyCon’s profit?

    They saw that BS and said the “bean counters are excited about this” let them see what it is.

  21. Lambert Strether

    A propos the tech bros stupid city and China’s economy, Malaysia’s Country Garden Forest City, the US$100-billion ‘ghost town’ caught up in China property giant’s woes South China Morning Post:

    On the approach to Malaysia’s US$100-billion island megaproject backed by Chinese investment, a collapsed bridge forces drivers to detour before they reach an artificial city emerging from palm oil trees where condos, roads and shops lay empty.

    Aimed at middle-class Chinese buyers, Forest City has weathered scant sales, Chinese currency controls, a pandemic shutdown and public anger at China’s growing influence in Malaysia.

    But its future is in doubt again because of the financial woes of Chinese property giant Country Garden. The project developer rose from a farmer’s idea to Beijing’s largest private real estate firm, but is now saddled with US$196 billion of debt.

    Another deadline looms next week over an unpaid multimillion dollar interest payment that again leaves it at risk of default.

    Sitting across from gleaming city state Singapore, the sprawling private town in Johor state was one of Country Garden’s many ambitious gambles that took the company to great heights but now risks crashing it back down to reality.

    Launched under China’s Belt and Road Initiative with a company partly owned by a powerful Malaysian sultan, Forest City houses around 9,000 people, way below its 700,000 target.
    Construction workers chip away at the island city by day while an eerie silence falls over its deserted four-lane highway at night.


    1. flora

      Finally! That’s good news. Seems Apple tried to make its proprietary flash port into a de facto standard based on its iPhone market share and its wireless keyboard market. You need to buy their cable to charge your device.

      Many years ago, Hewlett Packard introduced a proprietary parallel port printer connection on its then latest and greatest printers. You’d need to buy their parallel cable to go with the printer. If they were trying to set a new standard, that didn’t work as planned. The ports worked with the proprietary cable, but they never pushed that port into a de facto standard, even though they had a huge laser printer market share. People purchasing printers steered away from those printer models. They eventually dropped the proprietary port design and went back to the ieee standard ports.

      1. neutrino23

        Actually, Apple’s Lightning connector is quite good. It came out in 2012. The USB-C connector being pushed by the EU government wasn’t even specified till 2014. I’d rather they stayed with this than going to USB-C.

        The lightning connector, smaller than a USB-C connector, has just 8 pins. Each connector contains a small processor so that the pins can be assigned a different use depending on the application. The connector is reversible, it works either way. It also has short protection. All the pins are off until it is inserted into a device, then the application is negotiated.

        You didn’t have to buy the cable from Apple. I liked the cables from Monoprice dot com the best.

        1. Alice X

          >The lightning connector, smaller than a USB-C connector, has just 8 pins.

          My iPhone’s lightning port pins wore out and thus the phone was effectively dead. It might be repaired, but not by me. I gave up on the iPhone.

          My Android phone’s USB-C ports are reversible and haven’t worn out yet. And as a plus they take microSD cards, I have a 32 gb card in one and a 256 gb card in the other.

        2. Acacia

          Agree with @neutrino23. At the time Apple introduced the Lightning connector, the only alternative would have been the USB micro-B connector, which is asymmetrical (i.e., it only fits in one orientation). Compared to the Lightning connector, the micro-B feels very flimsy, like it will break easily. In retrospect, I think Apple made the right decision with the Lightning connector. What’s surprising to me is that there are still devices being produced with the old USB micro-B, when USB-C is today superior (maybe the smaller size?).

          Alice X, I’ve been in the same boat: I’ve had a single iPhone SE for ten years now, and several times the Lightning connector seemed to stop working. But generally it was the cable (I gambled on some thin non-Apple cable), not the connector, and that was easily fixed.

          The last time it went wonky I was convinced the connector itself had finally given up the ghost. Took it into one of those “iCracked” shops for repair. The tech told me the connector was really fine and just needed cleaning. I went around on this, as I didn’t want it to flake out again, but finally took his suggestion: simple cleaning, not replacement. That was over a year ago and there have been no problems since.

          1. Procopius

            The USB-c connector has cost me a bunch for unusable cables. There are two flavors of USB-c connector here in Thailand. One is asymmetric — that is you can only insert it in one orientation. The other is symmetric, the edges are arcs of a circle, so you can insert it either way. Unfortunately, all my Android devices require the asymmetric version, and sellers often don’t say which version they are selling. I believe the IEEE standard requires the asymmetric plug, but have never looked it up.

  22. Mikel

    “Ukraine cannot win against Russia now, but victory by 2025 is possible” Financial Times

    I couldn’t find a non-firewalled version of this story, but I stumbled across one that is probably similar:

    The first line: “The Russians are losing their war on Ukraine. They just don’t know it yet.”

    I forced myself to power through after the opener and a couple of things caught my eye:
    “…As Garry Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion and opposition leader, points out, “the worse Russia is doing on the battlefield, the more calls you’ll hear from Kremlin allies, sycophants and propagandists for fake ceasefires, concessions and negotiations to give Russia time to rearm and consolidate to prepare for a new offensive”.

    Typical of this phenomenon is Nicolas Sarkozy. The former French President demands that Ukraine accept Russian sovereignty over Crimea and Donbas, renounce Nato or EU membership and become “neutral”. As for Nato, it must cease to arm “one of the belligerents” and “re-establish neighbourly, or at least calmer, relations” with Russia.

    Sarkozy denies ulterior motives for his stance, though he appears to crave a return to the limelight at any price. He also has a book to sell. In it he boasts of standing up for France, but the reader encounters an apologist for Russia who is also suspicious of American influence and sceptical of Atlanticism….”

    I couldn’t help but think any French officials with similar leanings are probably more preoccupied with what is happening in Africa now.

    Then I had to stop at the section of the article under the header “Putin’s flawed war of extermination.”

    #Zelensky states he will cleanse the country of those that make #Ukraine weaker.

  23. Mikel
    Hilary ‘reshaped the landscape’ of Death Valley; storm damage closes park, maybe for months

    That healine/subheader is a hoot!
    Becaue here they are whining about Hilary “reshaping the landscape” and the article is filled with descriptions of the damage to all the roads and other “reshaping of the landscape.”

    This is treated like just a side note at the very end of the article:
    “…But while Hilary was a record-setting shocker, the presence of water is also part of the park’s history, said Elyscia Lettermen, an interpretive park ranger.

    During America’s last Ice Age more than 100,000 years ago, Death Valley was part of a large system of lakes. She noted that there are fossilized water ripples in mud layers in some parts of the park.

    “Water is what helped sculpt this landscape — it’s not something new,” Letterman said. “Water, even though it’s rare, is a huge part of the story here.”

  24. Tom Stone

    I saw a big man today and it reminded me of meeting the big brother of the friend I made when I was the first credit manager at Nady Systems ( They made the first successful wireless mikes and guitar pickups).
    My friend was both the baby of the family and a runt at 6’8″ and a lean 275 Lbs.
    Big Bro was 7′ tall and 350 Lbs.
    He was in town to judge a martial arts competition ( He held a 5th Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate) and was @ a year away from retiring from the US Army as a Major, which was as high as he could go due to his religion.
    Interesting dude, fluent in French German and Russian, he spent his career in Psy Ops.
    He was one of Michael Aquino’s earliest converts to the Church of Set.

  25. some guy

    About depleted-Uranium anti-armor rounds going to Ukraine . . . would the Ukraine side actually use them?
    Knowing that the resulting Uranium dust would pollute for decades the black-soil Ukraine lands which the Ukraine side says it is fighting this war to defend or even take back?

    Since the Ukranazi-controlled government makes the decisions on what weapons the Ukraine forces will use if they get them, if the Ukranazi-controlled government decides to poison Ukraine’s own black soil farmland with depleted Uranium dust, that would show just how much of a Death Cult the Ukranazi community really is.

    And the widespread use of DU anti-armor shells all over Ukrainian Farm Country would suit Russia’s sought-for long-term endstate of turning Ukraine into one big Ukraine Memorial Exclusion Zone just fine,
    I suspect any RussiaGov protests about DU shells reaching Ukrainian forces would merely be pro forma and “for the record”.

    1. Polar Socialist

      A lot of that black soil is currently either owned or leased by USA or European agri-companies. And even US pension funds. If they don’t care, why would the Ukrainians? They can always sell that grain to some third-world ****hole on the brink of starvation.

    2. Daryl

      > About depleted-Uranium anti-armor rounds going to Ukraine . . . would the Ukraine side actually use them?
      Knowing that the resulting Uranium dust would pollute for decades the black-soil Ukraine lands which the Ukraine side says it is fighting this war to defend or even take back?

      Certainly they don’t seem to have been sheepish about mining the sea.

  26. ChrisPacific

    So what if it was Ebola at Burning Man? It’s not like it’s a big deal. Just a little stomach upset – nothing serious.

    In fact, we should probably get everyone infected, just to build up a good base of natural immunity.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Very busy out here in western NC; I feel a COVID event coming on post labor day, although we have limited means for actually detecting this.

    I wonder how they’ll game the life expectancy numbers in the future? The US can’t have YoY declining life expectancy, someone might think something’s up. I guess these are self-correcting though; once enough people die, the new normal will set in, and life expectancy will stabilize. So maybe there’s no reason to change it, just let it play out?

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Steve Harwell – lead singer of Smash Mouth. The timeline:
      • August 2020 – headlines Sturgis during the lockdown era and proclaims, “F** that COVID Sh**!”
      • October 2021 – has to quit band due to slurring words and having what appeared to be a cognitive lapse on stage (described as “health issues”)
      • September 2022 – In hospice care – liver failure
      Yes, I’m speculating, but every one of the things described as ailing him falls under COVID-19 sequelae.

      James Hetfield – lead singer of Metallica COVID-19 +ve leading to cancelled shows in Phoenix

      1. Pat

        There were more obvious reasons for “discretion” then, but in the early years of AIDS there were numerous celebrities who began having obvious health issues that if you knew about the diseases that were associated with the collapse of the immune system indicated having AIDS. Switch out AIDS with Covid and more particularly Long Covid and the same could be said today. The big difference being that people are stupid enough to think that a brief Covid infection has no long term consequences, so sometimes we get to hear about some initial infections.
        Many here on the blog have noticed and commented on the parallels, but I am now flat out saying to people that this reminds me of those days, both in how public health has been twisted and in how anything that indicates this is not just deadly for gays/old and infirm gets waved away or ignored. Too many people who should know better are still trying to pretend that life can be the same now. Admitting it isn’t just Covid but what Covid opens the doors to that people should be concerned about destroys that illusion.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > Too many people who should know better are still trying to pretend that life can be the same now. Admitting it isn’t just Covid but what Covid opens the doors to that people should be concerned about destroys that illusion.

          Exactly this …

  28. southern appalachian

    Been a long time around here where I live, hunters, linemen, others who spend time outside in the fields and woods.

    Not uncommon to see long term disability here, doubly hard in that their self conception is often as an outdoors person. I imagine it’s similar to something such as long Covid, in that there’s not really a place for discussing what’s going on. People are left on their own.

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