Links 12/28/2023

Reindeer Sleep and Eat Simultaneously, Saving Precious Time in the Short Arctic Summer Smithsonian

Alien World Denser Than Steel Confounds Our Understanding of Planet Formation Scientific American

Central banks rethink forecasting after failures on inflation FT


How a thumb-sized climate migrant with a giant crab claw is disrupting the Northeast’s Great Marsh ecosystem The Conversation

Guy Who Urged Planting a Trillion Trees Begs People to Stop Planting So Many Trees Yahoo News. Don’t plant trees; grow forests.

Maybe it wasn’t the hurricane that blew up the Maui wildfires Wildfire Today


The Fate of the West’s Water Rests on the Shoulders of This 27-Year-Old Politicos

The Price of Water and the Ongoing Colonization of Nature: Australian Cases in Global Context MR Online


Concerning Report Suggests COVID-19 Sub-Variant JN.1 is Behind China’s Increasing Death Rates The Weather Channel (!).

Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Infants in the United States: Incidence, Severity, Fatality, and Variants of Concern Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. From the Abstract: “More than half a million US infants contracted COVID-19 by March 2022. Longitudinal assessment of long-term infant SARS-CoV-2 infection sequelae remains a critical research gap. Extremely low infant vaccination rates (<5%), waning adult immunity and continued viral exposure risks suggest that infant COVID-19 will remain a persistent public health problem." I'm so old I remember when children didn't get infected at all!


Foreign investors unwind $33bn bet on China growth rebound FT

Some Chinese state developers leave suppliers in lurch with unpaid bills Channel News Asia

China’s Bigger Regional Banks Absorb More Smaller Peers to Lessen Risks Yi Cai Global

Beijing hit by record December lows, longest cold wave since 1951, China The Watchers

In bid to counter China, US ramps up effort to boost military ties in Asia Al Jazeera

Vietnam’s ‘bamboo diplomacy’ shifts into higher gear Channel News Asia

Chinese families of Malaysian flight MH370 victims urge new search after experts say plane could be found ‘within days’ South China Morning Post


Vladimir Putin News: Modi “willing to do his utmost” to resolve Russia-Ukraine issue: President Putin invites PM to visit Russia Times of India

Punch: The Forefather Of Cocktails Madras Courier


Next steps in Gaza war ‘to be strong and profound’: Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz Anadolu Agency

The Trouble with a Cease-Fire RAND

Why moving to the Sinai peninsula is the solution for Gaza’s Palestinians The Jerusalem Post. “The facts demonstrate that the northern Sinai Peninsula is an ideal location to develop a spacious resettlement for the people of Gaza.” Still boggled at “spacious.”

* * *

Maersk Puts Dozens of Vessels Back on Schedule for Travel Via Suez Canal Marine Link

Iran-Houthis tap AIS tracking tech for high sea attacks Asia Times

How AIS works and what it does The Nautical Institute

* * *

On foot and by donkey cart, thousands flee widening Israeli assault in central Gaza AP

Under the rubble: The missing in Gaza Al Jazeera

Israeli Soldier Dies of Superbug Infection From Contaminated Gaza Soil The Messenger. Real estate developers will have to pave everything over.

* * *

Scandal-stained Israeli ‘rescue’ group fuels October 7 fabrications The Grayzone. Re-upping from early December, still germane. Expanded commentary:

Who are the Israeli refuseniks picking jail over the Gaza war? Al Jazeera

Why is Israel’s bid to fill labor gap with foreign workers drawing ire from Indian unions? Anadolu Agency

Gas, Gaza, and Western imperialism Mondoweiss

New Not-So-Cold War

The Biden Administration Is Quietly Shifting Its Strategy in Ukraine Politico

Ukraine Doesn’t Need All Its Territory to Defeat Putin NYT

America’s Choices in Ukraine Foreign Policy. Sponsored content (!). From the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft?

Is the West considering peace talks with Russia regarding Ukraine? What scenarios are being prepared? JAM New

The Ukrainian Conflict: Echoes of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Russia’s Strategic Interests Valdai Discussion Club. The deck: “Ukraine has moved the centre of its sovereignty beyond the country’s borders, which was a mistake by the elites that costs Ukrainian society very dearly.” An alternative:

The Belarus source give me pause. Still interesting.

The Blob inverted Churchill: “War-war is better than jaw-jaw” (apocryphal):

* * *

How Serbian Authorities Declared “Maidan Scenario” and What Will Happen Next European Pravda

A new Sputnik feature article worth reading on the attempted regime change operation in Belgrade these past several days Gilbert Doctorow. Hmm.

Kremlin says Russia sees attempts by 3rd parties to provoke unrest in Serbia Anadolu Agency

* * *

Ukrainian Artillerymen Report 60-80 Percent Fall in Firing Rates Due to Crippling Munitions Shortages Military Watch

Zaluzhnyi defends law PhD thesis on secret topic Ukrainska Pravda. The subject was military discipline, so who knows what Zaluzhnyi has in mind for the fresh meat new recruits…

Economy Minister warns of delays to salaries, pensions if Western aid stops Kyiv Independent

* * *

Ukrainian Voices? New Left Review

Russia I am Trying to Forget Bill Totten’s Weblog

South of the Border

Mexico’s automotive exports continue to skyrocket Mexico News Daily

The Wizard of Kalorama™

Obama drops annual favorite movies list, including 3 produced by his media company The Hill. #1: Barack Obama, starring Barack Obama as “Barack Obama.”

Spook Country

4-year campaign backdoored iPhones using possibly the most advanced exploit ever Ars Technica

The Conservatory

Studio Trickery New Left Review. Paul is the author’s favorite Beatle.

Zeitgeist Watch

KPD: Argument over dog waste leads to fatal shooting in N. Knoxville WATE. Loss of executive function….

Class Warfare

With some flight attendants on welfare, Alaska Airlines faces contract fight Seattle Times

Pizza Huts in California, including Sacramento, laying off drivers rather than pay $20 minimum wage Sacramento Bee

Hooters: An Employment Law Nightmare On Labor

Measuring income inequality: A primer on the debate Brookings Institution

Oligarchy and Democracy The American Interest

Stop and Watch the Bees The Free Press

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Budapest as performed by George Ezra)

    My machiato with my, my favorite almond cream
    My Starbucks coffee my, my caffeinated dream
    My brew, oooh brew, oooh down at the mall

    Don’t forget the wrapper, that little sleeve,
    It’s been two minutes, lady, I’m gettin’ peeved
    Where’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh is venti tall?
    Where’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh when did you call?

    This is dreadful service your tip will be a bit of change
    Got the corner office I can’t be late again today

    That new barista’s taking way too long
    She’s using moo-moo milk that’s — that’s just so wrong
    It’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh get on the ball
    It’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh not short but tall

    That kid making espresso I doubt he’s old enough to shave
    Bleary-eyed and sleepy like he walked here from an all night rave
    Don’t you dare upset me the world is turning around me
    Avocado toast for breakfast with a double slice of Brie

    (musical interlude)

    My name is Jeffrey, lady, you wrote it down
    Don’t give my coffee to some common clown
    It’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh I heard you call
    That’s my brew, oooh brew, oooh but mine is tall

    Couple shots espresso to get me bouncing off the wall
    Draw a little picture with the cream, draw anything at all

    Hurry with my coffee, you see I’m in an awful mood
    Gotta have my venti, and what’s with all the attitude?

    My machiato with my, my favorite almond cream
    My Starbucks coffee my, my caffeinated dream
    My brew, oooh brew, oooh down at the mall

    Got my brew, oooh brew, oooh is venti tall?

  2. Wukchumni

    Ho ho ho…

    Not so tiny bubbles (not so tiny bubbles)
    In ascent over time (in ascent over time)
    Make me happy (make me happy)
    Make me feel fine (make me feel fine)

    Not so tiny bubbles (not so tiny bubbles)
    Make me warm all over
    With a feeling that I’m gonna
    Appreciate you till the end of time

    So here’s to the market
    And here’s to the profit stream
    And mostly here’s a toast
    To you and me

    So here’s to the balloon payment
    I give to you today
    And here’s a bubble
    That will not fade away

  3. caucus99percenter

    Private citizens created, and maintain, an “Edward Snowden Square” in Dresden:

    In city government, you’d think the Left Party and the Greens would have supported something more official — ha ha, no, these days all the Serious People just luuuvs ’em dat U.S. vassal status.

    As the Christian church calendar rolls over and the season of Epiphany begins, perhaps one of NC’s comedian harmonists can do something with the similarity in vowel sounds between “We Three Kings” and “Xi Jinping” …?

    1. The Rev Kev

      That article also says that it is his 40th birthday right now and wishes him well. Bet if you could have told him ten years ago that he would end up an exile in the Russian Federation, that he probably would not have believed you. Come to think of it, more and more people are fleeing to Russia for their safety – people like Tara Reade and Eva Bartlett. This is not the way that it is supposed to be.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Xi Jinping saw Joe from afar
      Stumble in to his motorcade car
      Canceled summit, perplexed pundits
      Neocons bete noire

      Yellow peril they seek to contain
      Led by cranks with pudding for brains
      Rule forever, cease-fire never
      Over us, all to reign

      Oh, oh,

      Star of Beijing, star of night
      Star of sanction-evading might
      Eastward leading, still proceeding
      Guide us to thy perfect light

      Lack of sense and war to offer have I
      Said Blinken to Xi’s diplomat guy
      Lies are brazen, stakes are raising
      Soon the whole world, they’ll fry

      War is mine, its’ bitter perfume
      No room for peace in the gathering gloom
      Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
      Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

      Oh, oh,

      Star of Beijing, star of night
      Star of sanction-evading might
      Eastward leading, still proceeding
      Guide us to thy perfect light

    3. Feral Finster

      “In city government, you’d think the Left Party and the Greens would have supported something more official — ha ha, no, these days all the Serious People just luuuvs ’em dat U.S. vassal status.”

      This is the corr4ect answer. Popular opinion doesn’t matter. Elite opinion is all that matters and nothing gives european elites greater delight than to fellate their American Master.

  4. Benny Profane

    I watched Leave the World Behind on Netflix last night. Was a bit shocked to see in the opening credits: Executive producers, Barack and Michele Obama. What a sucky mess that movie is. Not surprised he would think it’s great. I give it one (out of a hundred) jailed banker.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Let that be a lesson. There is a reason Obama isn’t quoted anywhere. He’s dull. In contrast to the faux cowboy America eff yeah culture in the 00’s, he was a breath of stale air which seemed great to a number of people, but again, he’s dull.

      1. John k

        The lies seemed fresh to me, I voted for him at every op with great vigor. Didn’t start seeing the nothing there until second term.

          1. Pat

            I missed that, I guess I was distracted by the change in the Ukrainian government which ushered in the Azovs and Banderite militias that started trying to eradicate the Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donbas with the help of ghouls like Vicky Nuland during his administration.

            Of course that could be an after the fact no, sort of like what happened with Libya and Syria where he was for American destructive actions until he was against them.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Can’t wait for Lin-Manuel Miranda to come out with a Musical based on this series. Should earn him another Tony Award for Best Musical that he can sit beside the one that he got for “Hamilton.”

      1. Reply

        The Madness of Crowds, or Flocks, of Sheep.

        Collective hallucinations imagining that Hamilton was legitimate, historical and worthy of several cross-country flights to see repeatedly. Yes, there are people who really did that, clapping and dancing hard in their seats.
        Well, good for them as they subsidized that Broadway economy. /s

    3. Wukchumni

      I’ve used this metaphor before, but nobody ever died from overkill…

      Barack Obama is the Jackie Robinson of the Oval Office as opposed to the diamond. Both broke the color line and after 8 years in the bigs, Barack had a .201 average, with 43 dingers (mostly hit when the team was comfortably ahead) and 27 attempted steals, where 11 of them proved fruitful. Other teams players knew that if you hit it to him. there was a better chance he’d make an unforced error.

      In his defense though, he talked a good game in conversation when holding runners on first base.

      Seems like a cinch to make it into the Presidential Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

    4. Pat

      The book it was based on was a Jenna Bush book club pick. It scored 3.2 on GoodReads, so think just better than generally okay (some of the reviews are a hoot). But it was a big thing in year of release.
      My bet is that the sum total of Barry and Michelle’s producing was allowing their name to be used to raise additional funding and help get name stars. They got to meet one of their contract requirements with Netflix and be attached to a buzzy Hollywood movie that wasn’t a documentary. Really making and or building something is not what they are interested in, their resume is largely presentation and promotion, usually self promotion.

    5. LY

      A bit disappointed to hear that, as I have it on my Netflix list. I was drawn to it because it was directed by Sam Esmail, who did Mr. Robot.

      1. Skip Intro

        I went ahead and hate-watched it after listening to Matt Taibbi and Walter Kirn shred it in detail a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed their takedown more than the movie, which might have been named ‘The Taming of the Karen’.

        1. LY

          I’m going to still try to watch it. It seems like a drama and a psychological horror take on ‘Don’t Look Up’ for the PMCs. Sam Esmail usually has interesting things to say, and the Tesla scene mentioned in later comments is *chef’s kiss”.

          1. Skip Intro

            ‘Don’t Look Up’ for PMCs is pretty good, but rather than pointing to the climate crisis, there are just vague hints about hostile foreign nations and wealthy cabals which don’t exist.
            It was interesting how they contrived to separate class and race so perfectly, that they could show graciously condescending snobbery counterposed with awkward race moments. (these scenes seem to be an emerging film trope — white antiracists stepping on microagression rakes while trying painfully to avoid same rakes and demonstrate their hard-won and tenuous non-racism, in something short of a ‘some of my best friends are ___’ moment).
            The class divide was mapped to the MAGA deplorables vs an alliance PMC petit-bourgeois and Oligarch.

      2. JP

        In my experience (of natural disasters) people of different persuasions help each other out. The neighborhood pitches in and swings together. The movie seems to confuse response to disruption to social breakdown caused by ideology. An alien attack or hurricane is not the same thing as the brown shirts coming for your mother. Are they just trying to engender bad feelings. I felt the same way after watching Easy Rider way back when. The movie has other big holes in it but that was what irritated me.

    6. Eclair

      Wow, Benny, I missed the Obama connection on that film. I watched it last week, not quite sure why, but once hooked, I was unable to look away. The married couple were shallow people, PMC to the core; the husband, useless out of his city milieu, the wife, an parody of a ‘Karen.’ The children were welded to their smart phones. The local ‘handyman’ (and these exist in every expensive vacation town,) who makes a living by sucking up to the property-owners who have pretended to be his friends, and knowing how to ‘do stuff,’ has ‘prepared’ for this apocalypse, complete with gun to run off the desperate people searching for food and shelter.

      It’s a bleak film, filled with despair. Maybe a story of how a society that has systematically destroyed the communal activities and ties that knit people and communities together, will end. With a whimper. But it offers no alternative, no ray of hope. I amused myself by imagining how the close-knit and off-the-grid Amish community in NW Pennsylvania would react to such a cyber attack. If they even noticed it.

      But, darn it, watch it for the marvelous scene of hundreds of white Teslas committing mass suicide!

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just now had a thought. Can you imagine what would happen if there was a rain storm which got one of the batteries on one of those Teslas wet, causing a fire? Can you imagine?

        2. Eclair

          Thank you, Rev. So, no one has to watch the entire movie just to enjoy the Tesla-smash. But, then you will miss the scenes when the son’s teeth fall out!

      1. Benny Profane

        The Tesla scene wasn’t even funny. Was it product promotion? I hope not.

        The perpetuation of the Cuban embassy noise assault theory on steroids was ridiculous. The whole film was ridiculous. I wanted that snotty daughter of the home owner to get eaten by the deer at the end. I hope Kevin Bacon got paid a lot.

      2. Boomheist

        I missed the Obama connection, too. Totally. I rather liked the film, actually, as it seemed, to me, to be an unflinching look at all the shallow and horrible things mentioned by Eclair above. I liked that there was no happy ray at the end. To me this film forms half of the bookends of 2023 – the bleak, stark, and dystopian reality bookend. The other bookend – the hopeful, feel good, throwback to America’s glorious days – must surely be The Boys in the Boat, based on a wonderful true story , a movie entirely without real conflict, just one win after another, all in the context of the humble, hard working, blue collar good American boy (and girl). One bookend with the people from now, the PMCs and the Karen, the other with the grandparents and great grandparents of those people, Depression-era Americans.
        Not a good look.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          Re: “The Boys in the Boat”. I was disappointed in the movie–the book is far better. I would have followed the book more closely, bringing the writer and elderly Joe Rasz as the last of the “boys”, into the forefront of the story. As it was, the movie was a well-done but thoroughly conventional retelling of the story.

      3. Hank Linderman

        I mostly liked the film, except that they came up with a “what happened” explanation rather than none at all, which seems like the more likely result when the fertilizer hits the air recirculation device. The Jackpot. It would have been better for them to be continually guessing, with no idea wtf was going on.

        The characters were stereotypes, but I thought it worked to show the situation we are in with all of the roiling social weirdness and dysfunction we are experiencing. Several great scenes of things coming undone, and the ending showed how addicted we are to it all.

        My family watched with me, and the involvement of the Obamas was not a selling point. So, they were ready to trash it from the beginning.

        I think our ways of war and money, inequality, hatred, fear etc. – make the events of the movie plausible. So, I’m personally sick of arguing. I’m a Bernie Sanders D, but the solutions I see involve finding common ground between L & R at the grassroots. A populist movement is the only chance of breaking the hold of “a tiny minority of the wealthiest people.” The conversations I have are shifting from L vs R, Trump vs Biden to Up vs Down: Owners vs workers, rich vs poor, strong vs weak. There is tremendous common ground at the grassroots, and it is refreshing to have R friends again. The division (which feeds corruption which creates inequality which cause more division) is the weak spot – any of us can heal the division in our lives. Any of us can become neighborly again.


        1. Thomas F Dority

          Great comment that
          “There is tremendous common ground at the grassroots, and it is refreshing to have R friends again. The division (which feeds corruption which creates inequality which cause more division) is the weak spot – any of us can heal the division in our lives. Any of us can become neighborly again.”

        2. CanCyn

          They changed some things (in the book homeowners were an older African American husband and wife, not father and daughter). The book did not provide an explanation. And I agree, a much better ending. I didn’t think the book was all that great. The movie was less enjoyable than the book. It was husband’s pick, and it wasn’t until we started watching it and I recognized the story as familiar that I made the connection to the novel. Not quite 2 hours wasted but almost.

      4. Lee

        In other Tesla news:

        Tesla engineer attacked by robot at company’s Giga Texas factory, report says Independent UK

        That the machine is described as having “attacked” rather than simply malfunctioned is an interesting choice of words. It seems to me that the whole Frankenstein/Terminator zeitgeist is something of a weapon of mass deflection of fear and mistrust away from humans and toward the machines they make. OTOH, such tales do make ripping good yarns of which I am definitely a fan.

    7. JohnnyGL

      I think it works as a window into the mind of PMC insecurities. Racism, status consciousness, lack of practical skills, fear of other countries out for revenge on us for our misdeeds, fear of trumpian prepper types, fear of nature, paranoia, it’s all there.

      No attempts to resolve or even understand anything. No rational or logical explanations. Just nagging insecurities.

      1. LifelongLib

        Every time someone says the PMC lack practical skills, I’m reminded of how when Stalin decided the USSR needed a rocket program, he put an engineer who’d done time in a gulag in charge.

        Professionals and managers have plenty of practical (even essential) skills. It’s the “Class” part that’s the problem — being beholden to the wealthy rather than society as a whole, and complicit in putting down other people with equally essential (but less prestigious) skills.

    8. B Flat

      I watched it without knowing of the Obama connection and liked it. A bit too long, as I often find with movies now.

    9. Feral Finster

      I suspect without knowing that the executive producer credits were a backhanded payoff to the Obamas, sort of like how songwriting credits are handed out in the real world, when often the named songwriter maybe was in the room when the song was written, or maybe not even that.

      1. Benny Profane

        Songwriting credits are a commodity. I listen to a lot of history of rock podcasts, and you soon learn that publishing rights are the true assets to own. Colonel Parker refined it. I just heard a story about Chuck Berry walking into a store, looking at a label of his first or second hit (they came fast), saw somebody else’s name next to his as per writing credits, and thought, wtf?

    10. skippy

      Welp … I saw it about a week ago and thought about commenting on it due to The Obama’s being producers, thought better of it. Its just money and having their name involved for the pair methinks, just their M.O. in all things.

      That said the ending was interesting, youngest daughter having anxiety issues related to needing to watch end scene of Friends, after basically going on a pilgrimage due too it. Only to end up in the safest place ahead of all the adults as the wheels fall off everything. Huge junk food splurge, finds the bunker, sees all the shows/movies on offer, plonks down to watch show having all the worlds worries evaporate and her need too finish binge watching Friends … satisfied[tm] …

    11. griffen

      Yeah about that film…watched it once and that is one time plenty. It did a good bit of dragging out the sub plots though ( nothing will work now! What is that sound? )…otherwise a completely forgettable piece of dreck. I rather liked the Tesla vehicles on auto pilot scene, unintentional humor perhaps.

      On another hand, watched “A Walk in the Woods” and it is highly recommended. Redford and Nolte seem fit for each other, one playing the loyal “proverbial too good” man and the other playing a lout with a penchant for drink and loose women.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you get a chance, you should read the book “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson which is a very good read. I myself will have to catch up on that film version which I did know existed. Thanks.

        1. CA

          September 2, 2015

          ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ With Robert Redford, Is a Scenic Trek Spoiled
          By Manohla Dargis

          There’s a scene in “A Walk in the Woods,” a low-impact amble through hill, dale and cinematic nostalgia, when our two crusty trekkers face down a pair of bears. The men — Robert Redford and Nick Nolte — are slumbering in their tents when the bears descend and begin tearing into the hikers’ food, which they have failed to properly stash. The bears roar and the men thunder back, flapping uvulas and arms to chase off the animals. It’s a mildly funny scene, partly because of its light physical comedy and sight gaggery, although also because Mr. Nolte, his signature growl now often at sepulchral depths, has been doing a fair impression of a wild beast for years.

          That great untamed being emerges these days in Mr. Nolte’s lumbering, dominating physicality (he takes up space with personality and not just girth) and in the stubbornly insubordinate hair that insists on sneaking out from under his hat. Mostly, you see it the way that you’ve always seen it: in the unyielding, liberated spirit that can’t be tamped down either by age or by an easygoing, easy-viewing entertainment like “A Walk in the Woods.” That’s a relief, because while the movie involves a leisurely excursion on the Appalachian Trail, it nervously runs from anything that might lead it into uncharted, unsafe territory. Here, the cooked outpaces the raw from first mile to last….

        2. CA

          May 21, 1998

          On the Trail, With Wit and Insights

          Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
          By Bill Bryson

          Short of doing it yourself, the best way of escaping into nature is to read a book like Bill Bryson’s latest, “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.” The only risk is the one posed by all books on nature: a certain monotony.

          Or as Bryson describes what he calls “the world on foot”: “You have no engagements, commitments, obligations, or duties; no special ambitions and only the smallest, least complicated of wants; you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation, ‘far removed from the seats of strife,’ as the early explorer and botanist William Bartram put it. All that is required of you is a willingness to trudge.”

          A willingness to trudge, in Bryson’s case, the full length of the Appalachian Trail, some 2,160 miles, from Springer Mountain, in Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, in Maine. He decided to do it because a little voice in his head said one day: “Sounds neat! Let’s do it!”

          So the challenge to Bryson — a writer of travel books (“The Lost Continent,” “Notes from a Small Island”) and books about language (“The Mother Tongue,” “Made in America”) — was to lend variety to his account of trudging. More variety even than the terrain of the 12 states through which the trail passes.

          Bryson has met this challenge with zest and considerable humor. He begins by scaring you a little. He tells you of the trail’s perils: its dangerous animals, killing diseases, “loony hillbillies destabilized by gross quantities of impure corn liquor and generations of profoundly unbiblical sex.” And bears that bite.

          He tells you of the power of woods to unnerve. “The inestimably priggish and tiresome Henry David Thoreau thought nature was splendid, splendid indeed, so long as he could stroll to town for cakes and barley wine, but when he experienced real wilderness, on a visit to Katahdin in 1846, he was unnerved to the core.” …

    12. ArvidMartensen

      Yeah watched it on Boxing Day, very disappointed.
      The background music was intrusive and left no room for any movie subtlety. But of course subtlety isn’t a US strength.
      On top of that the suspense wasn’t great. And the “storyline” hammered home it’s point as if every scene was a nail.
      And of course Russia did it. Nearly snorted out my drink at that point. It was just a waste of 2 hours of my time I won’t get back..
      Very disappointing and facile, Margaret. I give it 1/2 a star.

      1. Snailslime

        *And of course Russia did it.*

        Ha, if only.

        Western plutocrat elites have long used dystoopian fiction as how-to manuals now, I suggest Russia (and China and Iran and North Korea and…) should finally get going and do the same with stories like this one.

        Long overdue it is.

  5. Carolinian

    Re Hooters–I rarely eat out and have never been to Hooters but just to

    A business model that prioritizes and fixates on the attractiveness and sex appeal of employees, one that relies on and facilitates discrimination and harassment, is illegal.

    is that really true? Doubtless Hooters attracts a right leaning crowd but then Pauline Kael once named one of her movie review books Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. So surely the good Democrats of Hollywood will follow through by addressing “attractiveness supremacy” and make Hollywood and not just Washington the “Hollywood for ugly people.” Kael used to take shots at the Playboy culture of her era but never suggested it should actually be banned. And in fact she made sex a big theme of her movie/cultural analysis. All of which is to say that when it comes to sex as a business model that’s a much broader swath than mere “breastaurants.”

    1. Yves Smith

      Whatever goes for Hooters goes triple for strip clubs…and in NYC strippers are not prostitutes. I had a friend who was a professional ballerina who took up stripping to pay her student debt. The bouncers would toss any man who touched the girls and would escort them one by one to taxis at the end of the night. She started out at a so-so place in the old Times Square and later worked at the big ticker, Wall Street haven Scores.

      She liked the work, it was easy and the money was very good. Her accountant indiscreetly said she declared all the cash but also took all the related deductions like bikini waxings. She did well despite not having the most commercial body (small breasted) but her dance skills compensated.

      However, she and the other girls were perplexed that one dancer, who had neither a fab body nor was much of a dancer, regularly got the biggest tips. She mentioned it to her boyfriend.

      BF: “Can you dance like her?” The dancer was a very good mimic.

      After watching the dancer imitate the top tip recipient, BF concluded: “She gives men permission to look at her.”

      1. Feral Finster

        I do not go to strip clubs, but I have known enough strippers and owners and operators of strip clubs.

        Long story short, it’s the owners that make sure that the laws pertaining to their operations are strictly enforced, since the last thing they want is to get shut down for allowing illegal activity on the premises.

        As far as the girls go, what gets tips is personality more than measurements or anything else.

        1. NYMutza

          I recall watching a reality show of sorts that followed a few strippers in Las Vegas. They also did lap dances in private rooms. I always got a laugh at seeing the hands from off-camera pulling the customers hands from the lap dancer’s body. The male customers had to somehow have an attractive woman writhing in their lap but not touch the woman at all. It seemed to take all the joy out of the lap dance. On another note, all of the strippers said their tips increased when they got boob jobs. So, size indeed does matter.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      is that really true?

      How could it be? It’s not like “law enforcement” is rushing in to shut them down wherever they find the giant fluorescent sign that says “Hooters.” Of course Hooters’ “illegality” depends on there being some coherent, consistent definition of the word “illegal,” which there just isn’t these days. And then there’s this:

      Establishments like Hooters have little incentive to change. The restaurant’s successful adaptation to pandemic dining led the restaurant to pull in over $841 million in 2020, a 2.7% increase across that year. The chain is planning several expansions, including six locations near popular retirement communities.

      It doesn’t seem as if Hooters has gone up against the trans issue yet but I’m sure it’s coming. Should be a “hoot” when it happens.

      1. Carolinian

        I realize this is quicksand territory and I may not even be entitled to an opinion, being male, but I would guess that if you apply for a job at a place called Hooters and are required to wear hot pants and halter top you are not the thin skinned sort when it comes to the male libido. And if the issue is “fairness” then nature itself has been rather discriminatory in the looks department so those not so blessed have always had to “deal with it” without hiring someone with a law degree hammer to whom everything looks like a nail. Doubtless we should have fewer sexists and presidential hair sniffers but fewer lawyers too.

        Personally I can’t believe Hooters is still around and was surprised to see the other day that we still have one. The whole thing seems kind of tacky.

      2. ambrit

        “It doesn’t seem as if Hooters has gone up against the trans issue yet but I’m sure it’s coming.”
        Goldie Hawn did it way back when to George Segal in the film “The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox.”
        This morning, I find that the ‘available’ possibles in YouTube are severely restricted compared to previously ‘availables.’ The clip I wanted to “illustrate” my suggested Hooters spin off no longer comes up.
        Thus continues the degradation of the Internet Experience.

      3. Es s Ce tera

        If by trans issue you mean have any trans women worked as Hooters Girls, the answer is yes. I have a friend who once did.

        But if by trans issue you mean firing someone on learning they’re trans, then yes, from a legal and human rights standpoint that would probaby be delicious to watch unfold and would probably end Hooters. After all, they can’t exactly check provenance.

        Although to my mind it would make good business sense to hire trans, gender neutral and CIS servers. Something for everyone. Give the rabid homophobes a place, other than locker rooms, where they can discretely look while pretending to be hetero.

    3. Socal Rhino

      Sales reps for pharmaceutical companies tend to be very attractive men and women, in my experience. Sex appeal sells a lot more than mediocre restaurant fare.

      1. Feral Finster

        I understand that the “attractive young female pharma rep who uses her looks to get sales” is a trope in the industry.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          It’s not just female. I know a couple male model-esque pharma reps… very successful pharma reps.

    4. Reply

      I went for a beer at Hooters. One little-noted aspect is the rampant sexualization of customers. Unsolicited comments! The nerve. And less than a full pint. >: /s

      Here’s your beer, hon.

      Another one, babe?

      1. ambrit

        Good catch. This is what we down here call the Honky Tonk style of ‘service.’
        All Hooters needs to become a bona fide “honky tonk” is a few dice cups on the bar countertop. Then it would be a “Sports Bar” is my best guess.

      2. griffen

        South Park had a hilarious episode, perhaps more than one, featuring a restaurant chain called “Raisins”. Hilarity ensues when one of the boys, impressionable and too gullible, thinks one of the “Raisin” girls actually finds him interesting or is attracted.

        Regionally, I think that Twin Peaks is better and the beer is always cold. I first visited that chain while living in Dallas/Ft Worth…think of the name as you wish.

    5. Smith, M.J.

      Years ago I taught this case in my employment law class. The reason it is not necessarily illegal is that Title VII provides a defense for employers who can show that sex is a “bona fide occupational requirement reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business.” This BFOQ defense frequently boils down to the essential nature of the business—is it primarily serving food, or, as Hooters argued, “vicarious sexual recreation”? If you have ever sampled their food, I think you’ll agree they had a pretty good argument.

      1. tawal

        What!?! I think there wings are above average and well-priced, well at least they were 20 years ago…haven’t been since

  6. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    Nobody expected the ‘Forget Offensive’ that hit back in the world after new year…

    Forget that the national debt is like $34 frickin’ trillion, or the idea that a bunch of the bigger buyers of our bonds, aren’t so enamored anymore, one of the current players is the Cayman Islands, and yeah I know its a tax haven, but it’d be like Catalina Island sunk on account of a quarter of a trillion in bonds weighing it down.

    Forget that we’re a state-sponsored genocide machine while we’re at, now getting religion after seeing what ersatz fascists the Zionists are.

    Forget that housing bubble and affordability.

    Forget that inflation, we have a 2% target.

    Forget that 2023 set a new record for mass shootings in the land of the free & the bump stock.

    Forget that hegemony.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Based on her answer, if she had been around in 1861 she would for sure have sided with the Confederacy and later may have even been a founding member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

      1. Carolinian

        One could snidely suggest that she doesn’t know much history because she’s one generation away from the Indian subcontinent but in truth her influences were more likely the rednecks and lost causers of the SC Republican party circa Strom Thurmond. Things here have changed but that’s more recent than Nikki’s natal arrival.

      2. ambrit

        Well, if she did not like the “new regime” down South after 1865, she could move “Norse By Norsewest” and have some fun with those pesky “natives.” (Tell them General Custer sent you.)

      3. anahuna

        Cheers, Wuk. I have long felt that when it comes to humor, we just don’t connect. But that one is zany enough to delight me.

    2. petal

      Nikki Haley in damage control says ‘of course the Civil War was about slavery’ insisting it’s the ‘easy part’ and claiming a PLANT was sent in to ask the question

      Snip: “Nikki Haley was on clean-up duty Thursday morning in clarifying that her comments about the Civil War didn’t mention slavery because ‘that’s the easy part.’

      The 2024 hopeful faced a barrage of criticism and hate comments for answering a question at a New Hampshire town hall on what the Civil War was about without once mentioning slavery.

      She told CNN that she was answering the question by putting it into the context of what it means to Americans in the present day.

      ‘Of course the Civil War was about slavery. We know that. That’s the easy part of it,’ Haley said in a voice-only response to the attacks on her remarks.

      ‘What I was saying was: What does it mean to us today?’ the former United Nations Ambassador said. ‘What it means to us today is about freedom. That’s what that was all about.'”

      1. Objective Ace

        >What it means to us today is about freedom. That’s what that was all about.’

        It does? Freedom today to do what exactly? Treat fellow citizens like deplorables? Import the newest and greatest iPhone from China (which required slave labor to produce)?

        I find her clarifying remarks to raise even more questions

        1. Pat

          She is working from the notion that most people will only have seen the headlines and not her actual original remarks, thus she only needs a plausible reason for forgetting slavery.

          But since Nikki Haley has shown deeply problematic positions for her entire career my only question is is the same I have for most of our political and top bureaucratic classes. Why haven’t she/they been round filed from public life and service years ago?

    3. marym

      Her proposal that the Civil War was about “…the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do…We need to make sure that we do all things so that individuals have the liberties so that they can have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do or be anything they want to be without government getting in the way.” depends of course on particular definitions of people and government.

    4. undercurrent

      Give Haley a break. She was just demonstrating to the audience the fact that she’s not woke. She’s asleep. Everybody in that room understood that, maybe except for the questioner. What can any repub candidate say? Hey, let sleeping dogs lie (and lie, and lie.)

      1. scott s.

        Don’t know about “any repub candidate” but certainly there is a large block of mostly southern conservative voters who hold to the “states rights” notion, often adding stuff from Dilorenzo’s “The Real Lincoln” to show it was all a conspiracy to create a massive federal government. In this view, any talk of slavery is just disinformation intended to obscure the true purpose.

  7. Mikel

    “Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Infants in the United States: Incidence, Severity, Fatality, and Variants of Concern – Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal…I’m so old I remember when children didn’t get infected!”

    That highly promoted narrative or questioning about children not getting infected lasted until around the time that shots were developed for children.

    Not saying I never thought children didn’t catch and spread Covid. Always did. Just pointing out a narrative timeline.

    1. ambrit

      Not to mention the alarming reports of physiological “irregularities” in newborns with Covid and vaxx exposure in utero. (The figure of 10% observable “irregularities” among such newborns is mentioned. 10%? That’s catastrophic to a population.)

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Why moving to the Sinai peninsula is the solution for Gaza’s Palestinians”

    No, no, no. Don’t wanna do that. Under the plans for Greater Israel, the Sinai also belongs to Israel which means that they would have to bomb them all over again to make them move yet again.

    1. vidimi

      i was thinking about this too. so the palestinians move to sinai. what then? does israel leave them alone? do they get a state? it seems like it would only be a matter of time before they expanded again.

      1. Kouros

        Israel will fund another “hamas” among the disposesed in Sinai, which will attack Israel, and then Israel will have reasons to invade and occupy Sinai, again…

    2. Alice X

      The piece was written with a parallel universe in mind. Never a mention of the fundamental fact of the one hundred year war on Palestine, culminating in the 1948 theft of the land that Israeli sits on.

    3. Feral Finster

      In other words, the JPost, openly embraces ethnic cleansing.

      Lest there be any remaining doubt as to who the bad guys are.

  9. .Tom

    > Russia I am Trying to Forget Bill Totten’s Weblog

    The author is Marat Khairullin. It’s very good writing but harrowing. It’s interesting how the author capitalizes Democracy and writes as though he assumes his readers understand the word refers to a curse no sane Russian should want to have visit their country again.

    Same article also at where I read that he’s embedded in the SMO zone.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      “Democracy”, “human rights” and “universal human values” are all words that have been ruined for many though not quite all people in this country, largely by association with the 90s liberals (I suppose there was an association with Americans too, but they were never hated that strongly). When such words are used as buzzwords by people who are clearly and gleefully acting as your enemies, not everyone is going to care about what intrinsic merit may be found in the concepts.

    2. Kouros

      The piece was indeed gut wrenching.

      I just started work when things came crashing down in Romania after 1989. Mind you, it was never this bad after the fall of the Socialist Republic. But girls were sold for sex in the western market (there is even a movie about that made in Romania (The Italian Girls), depredation galore.

      As a forest management planner sent to develop management plans on the newly privatized tracts of forests in the eastern part of Romania, it was a moving target because those forests were brought down day by day.

      And a month later, one could read the various riders in the “Official Monitor” publishing new laws, riders approving the export of so many thousands of cubic meters of raw logs from here or there. For an awowed forester that was soul crushing (however, the very young “couple” in this linked story will make anyone cry). However, that type of activity was just a purgatory, compared to what I encounter when moving to western Canada, where, by rights, all logging activities should be declared criminal activities, the way are conducted…

  10. Burritonomics

    Re: Russia I am trying to Forget

    Great read. I try to explain to many friends and family that Russia in the post Soviet 90s was a place of tragedy and loss that is difficult to comprehend. And that perhaps it informs us about Russias motivations and worldview today.

    Nope. Putin bad.

    Still, I try.

      1. Lefty Godot

        Dmitri Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse recounts how the USSR gave way to a collapsed Russian Federation under Yeltsin, and how the US would likely differ in its (inevitable, to Orlov) coming collapse.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Some years ago I watched a “behind the scenes” video of a Russian pop video production – mainly for the musings of the young creative people of Saint Petersburg. One of the shooting locations was an old industrial area right outside the city, and an old guard on site told the young people it was know as the “bay of the corpses”, because in the 90’s it was where all the bodies dumped in to Neva eventually ended up.

        That actually got the young folks think about the recent history of their hometown and country, especially as the guard looked like he might have had something to do with some of those bodies ending in the river.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Although that article aligns well with what I and many others here know about the 90s, it does have one glaring problem. It offers no reason to believe that the war in Ukraine somehow helps keep that chaos from returning. One might believe that independently of the article, and then it all makes sense. Otherwise, though, the attempt to tie it to current events falls flat.

      Personally, I don’t see how any outcome in Ukraine would lead to the replication of the 90s collapse, which after all required a very particular combination of a thoroughly malfunctioning economic system and malicious elite misrule. If Americans and Ukrainians could have their way, then yes, but their preferred outcome is well beyond their reach and was before the SMO. The war doesn’t affect most people nearly enough for it, and neither do the sanctions. An all-out invasion is beyond their means. The only thing the Americans could really do is nuke us, but that would be something different.

      1. .Tom

        To me it makes sense only in the most abstract strategic thinking. If NATO states and other US client states succeed in surrounding, applying enough military, financial and trade pressure then eventually RF leadership will be forced to capitulate and Democracy will return. The time to resist decisively had come. NATO in UA and Zelensky bragging about renuclearizing was too much and RF was ready to fight.

        If, as we read here on NC, the cost ratios are highly imbalanced in RF’s favor and Western nations are incapable of making the strategic investments that would fix those imbalances then RF can degrade NATO’s capabilities by fighting in UA. And maybe it’s working. European nations’ politics are tilting more to nationalists with domestic focus in contrast to the ideologically globalist ambition of incumbents. How much more of their limited defensive capability do they want to spend projecting force through UA?

        I’m aware there’s a vast amount of detail and unknowns between abstract strategy and reality that I’m not qualified to talk about. I’m just speculating about the kind of arguments journalists like Marat Khairullin might give to Russian people.

      2. Kouros

        US didn’t need to invade in order to “guide” RSF on a certain pathway during the 1990s… Remember all the US advisers in Russia in those years? If the central nervous system is taken over, and certain avenues are encouraged, the past can be replicated again, with different flavours maybe, have no fear…

    2. chuck roast

      Yeah, I tried that. Mostly just a conversation stopper with the PMC. Later I simply mentioned that they go find a video of the Odessa Trade Union Building fire. However, the historical revisionists seem to be working on this angle. So, maybe I’ll just send them this very sad and painful scribble. Surely a drunk must have been in charge to let this happen to his countrymen.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “How Serbian Authorities Declared “Maidan Scenario” and What Will Happen Next”

    What happened was that this was an attempted Maidan-style coup against the government. And this was by the Serbia Against Violence coalition which from what I saw was using a helluva lot of violence. And of course they did this on Christmas day as they probably figured that most cops were on leave. Except that Russian intelligence was able to tip off the Serbian government what was about to happen so the cops were waiting for them. From the crowds I saw on TV, they looked a lot smaller than the crowds that besieged Capital Hill on January 6th and when the cops broke that crowd up they were able to nab 40 of them. So of course that group of rioters is now rioting to free those 40 rioters.

    Big surprises is that it seems that Germany was taking the lead on organizing this coup and not the US or the UK. Alex Christoforou says it is not enough that the leader of a country is 90% loyal to NATO and the EU but they must be 100% loyal which is why they wanted Vučić to go and be replaced by a WEF clone – or maybe that should be a WEF clown. On the TV tonight they were saying that the election was rigged and that there were irregularities but the only irregularity was that Vučić did not lose but actually won. No doubt they will try again later but if the war ends next year, countries like Germany will have bigger fish to fry.

    1. CA

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Germany, Serbia and China, 1996-2022

      (Indexed to 1996)

      Serbia has fared significantly better than Slovenia and Croatia, and done so by seeking increasingly close trade and investment relations with China. Leaders of the European Union have found close China-Serbia economic relations to be increasingly troubling.

      By contrast, Italy has experienced virtually no economic growth since 2000 and sorely needs close economic relations with China, but Italy has just withdrawn from the Belt and Road Initiative.

    2. CA

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Italy, 2000-2022

      (Indexed to 2000)

      G7 nation Italy has just withdrawn from the seemingly sorely-needed Belt and Road Initiative:

      November 4, 2023

      Chinese premier meets Serbian counterpart

      SHANGHAI — Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Saturday met with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who is in Shanghai for the 6th China International Import Expo….

      The signing of the free trade agreement between Serbia and China opens a new chapter in bilateral relations, Brnabic said, adding that Serbia will take this opportunity to strengthen cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, and elevate bilateral relations as well as the cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries to a new level….

    3. Feral Finster

      Saddam Hussein was meek and cooperative with the West. He gave up his WMDs. Gadhafi also tried to cooperate with the West.

      Both were murdered by the West and their countries turned into failed states. The persons responsible for these crimes are to this day regularly hailed as Foreign Policy Heavyweights, Serious Thinkers and The Adults In The Room.

      1. LY

        The Crawford Hill horn antenna which first “heard” the cosmic background radiation still exists in Holmdel, and is in the process of being acquired by the town for preservation purposes. Some of the surrounding property will probably still be developed.

        Bell Lab’s Holmdel complex
        , designed by Eero Saarinen, was redeveloped and now is a mixed use office complex. It’s also used as the setting for the Severance TV series.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Aha! I was wondering what and where that building was — the one the film crew of Severance are using as a stand-in for Lumon Industries.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Oh wow … my career began at AT&T, and Bell Labs was synonymous with Murray Hill NJ, despite the fact that there were “other labs” elsewhere. I never worked at Labs, but it was my dream. Must have been 1995 when I did an interview there to move into a UN*X sys admin role – I was based in Parsippany NJ back then (Consumer Products). I never even got a rejection, as then CEO Bob Allen hit the “trivestiture” button, and split AT&T into AT&T, Lucent and NCR. That triggered an immediate hire/transfer freeze. Time used to be that you couldn’t throw a rock anywhere in central NJ and not hit an AT&T building. I found out later from friends who lived in Short Hills, NJ that Bob Allen (who lived there) had his house toilet-papered by people angered by the split … LOL

      Bell Labs will forever be in the hearts and minds of UN*X users and fans the world over. I hope that something can be done to preserve the buildings’ histories, but can’t say I hold out much hope in this post capitalist dystopia. Money talks and there’s little room for sentimentality.


    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The tv specials featuring Bell Labs: “Hemo the Magnificent”, “Our Mr. Sun”, “The Unchained Goddess”, and a projects package “From Sun to Sound” all had a powerful impact on me as a child. They fed and grew my interest in Science. Later the beauty and logical clarity of the “C” language and the Unix operating system drew me toward programming and computer science. I worked for a while at a branch of Lucent and marveled at the library inside the facility where worked. I went there almost every lunch hour. The library where I worked was dwarfed by the library at Homdel and I can only imagine the library that Murray Hill must have had.

      I was there to see the libraries close, Homdel close, and Lucent self-destruct. I still wonder what became of the many technical monographs, reference books, and bound journals the Bell System libraries contained. I saw workgroups of highly competent engineers laid-off en masse when sales figures failed to meet the marketing predictions that drove project development. I saw a system of personnel management that fostered back-biting, jealousy, and stifled cooperation between employees. As I recall, this was in the great age of Neutron Jack’s hold over what might be called the corporate imagination, the u.s. corporate Zeitgeist. Now when I visit New Jersey I see so many of the old Lucent buildings empty or “re-purposed”.

      I wonder what Bell would think of what has become of the company he started. What would Edison think about what became of his company?

      Every time I see movie where a dying computer sings “Daisy” I remember playing with the “Sun to Sound” kit my dad let me have.

      1. Richard Price

        Years ago I was making tape for a big Midwest manufacturer when one of Neutron Jack’s spawn took the helm. Not too long into his tenure I happened by the loading docks of the building that housed the main research library. One of the docks was occupied by what looked like the back of a garbage truck full of books, with the broken binds of others spilling out from the edges of the sweeper/compressor arm. The library was being purged. A buddy from the lab and I salvaged a number of texts of interest. The rest undoubtedly sent to landfill or incineration. We were quite certain most would have been taken by resident researchers had the books just been put out in a central location. Of course many of those researchers were soon to be culled themselves. I guess the library just wasn’t a profit center, so who needed its assets anyway. Our titans of industry at work…

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I ran across a short opinion piece published in Nature 27 January 2022, “Bringing back the golden days of Bell Labs”
      Toward its close this opinion piece quotes: Unlike Bell Labs in the past, “most industry labs today lack the freedom to pursue projects that are divorced from nearer-term commercial objectives, and the resulting knowledge is often kept proprietary” [Gertner, J. The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation 87 (Penguin, 2012).]
      I believe that might provide a fitting epitaph for future of Science in the u.s.

      1. c_heale

        Not just the US. All the countries which adopted neo-liberal policies toward science.

        The inadequate and distorted scientific response to Covid19 is a consequence of these policies.

    4. B24S

      One of the earlier Bell Labs was at West and Bethune streets in Manhattan, built in 1894. In the late ’60s, after Bell moved their headquarters to Murray Hill, it was bought and converted to artists apartments, and named Westbeth. My father was one of the first residents, and lived there until he passed in 2004. He watched the twin towers, a feature in his cityscapes, collapse in 2001, which caused him much anguish. He continued to include them in his paintings and drawings, as he’d decided that, similar to music, they provided a high note to the compositions, which seemed flat without them. My sister still lives in his studio there. Some apartments (not his) have spectacular river views.

      Though it’s restricted to artists, it’s impressive how many artists are married to rather successful lawyers, investors, physicians, etc….

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        And over the years, due to the peculiarities and exigencies of NYC housing, Westbeth has become a NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community)… which is perhaps a metaphor for cultural production in the city today.

    5. Glen

      My first professional job was working for a national lab while it was owned and operated by Bell Labs. So my connection to Murray Hill was much more indirect than Chris, but in hindsight, especially compared to my more current experience, it was managed so differently – more along the lines of the Nature article that Jeremy mentions:

      Attracting such talent was not a problem, rather the challenge was to create the right environment for it to thrive. “We give much attention to the maintenance of an atmosphere of freedom and an environment stimulating to scholarship and scientific research interest. It is most important to limit their work to that of research”5. Kelly believed that any distractions would make researchers lose “contact with the forefront of their scientific interest”5 and decrease their productivity in research. Above all, Kelly saw research as a “non-scheduled area of work”4, translating to no deadlines, objectives or progress reports.

      But look what that approach created:

      Discoveries and developments

      1928 – Invented negative feedback. (Holy crap!)

      What I also have noticed as my career progressed was at the start, we had access to the people and shops to get anything we had designed (or were prototyping) almost immediately built: parts, materials, machine shops, chem labs, wiring shops, plating (tank lines), painting, you name it. We collaborated with other scientists/engineers (hey, that’s cool – how did you do that?), we collaborated with our suppliers. To be honest, budgeting and project reporting was minimal. I remember one finance guy telling me the charge line was set up, the funding was good for three years, let me know when you’re done or you need more – it was a multimillion dollar project. To be honest – sometimes the projects did not go well, but we got the vast majority of the projects done, on time, on budget.

      Now a days, we devote maybe 10% of the labor of a project to just providing weekly status updates and correcting tracking tools/spreadsheets for project managers. Project finances are managed as a cash flow which becomes difficult when you also have to devote another 10% of the labor to just getting parts and material bought, and lead times for parts stretching out into significant fractions of a year, and all of the support shops are gone so all those services need to be contracted out too. The end result is almost every project comes in late, and probably over budget – prices are up.

      I don’t see the likes of Bell Labs returning to the scene in America any time soon. It’s equivalent has been managed out of existence where I work, and I don’t see that changing.

    6. Adam Eran

      Marianna Mazzucato says these innovations were funded by government (largely military).

      See also Malcolm Harris’ Palo Alto for more defense funding tales.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Opinion | Ukraine Doesn’t Need All Its Territory to Defeat Putin’

    This is quite true. They should immediately fall back to their ideological heartland – Galicia.

  13. Acacia

    Re: Ukrainian source confirms that Russia and Ukraine reached a peace deal in Istanbul in April 2022.

    But what happened? “For some reasons it was… postponed,” he says. He doesn’t elaborate. But we know the answer: the US and UK blocked the Ukrainian-Russian compromise.

    Perhaps a naive question, but how exactly did the Yanks and perfidious Albion block it? I know. Boris Johnson did it. But using what leverage? Bribes? Death threats? …? And, do we have any evidence or credible first-hand testimony?

    Not doubting, just seeking support for this.

    1. Feral Finster

      I can tell you what happened – Ukraine was given a combination of bribes and threats to make sure that the war continued.

      And various Ukrainian officials have confirmed as much.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I gather a few well crafted lies were also part of the package. This was right after Zelensky crawled out the deepest bunker in Kiev (having received verification from Putin via Israeli PM that Russia was not going for decapitation strikes).

        So, he was not going to just survive this, he was promised enough weapons and money to conquer Crimea back from those drunken, scared Russians and their rusty, no-good weapons.

  14. Frank

    “Russia I am Trying to Forget”

    This is a good write up and timely reminder of those grim and crazy times. When I first moved to Moscow, in 1994, I was walking with a new Russian acquaintance through an underground walkway in front of the Intourist Hotel in the very center of the city near Red Square. I inquired as to why there were prepubescent boys hanging out with the prostitutes down there. My interlocutor looked at me as if I had been born yesterday, and answered wryly, “They’re prostitutes too!”

    It’s no great mystery why Russia is fighting and why Putin is genuinely popular. Just look at almost any social or economic indicator since he took over.

    1. .Tom

      And yet when I DuckDuckGo the two words Yeltsin’s Democracy the second hit is Boris Yeltsin: the flawed hero who gave democracy to Russia

      Um. Wasn’t he the one that gave the presidency (himself) veto over parliament? And Clinton opined it will be in our collective interest to allow a temporary reduction in Russian democracy?

  15. ChrisRUEcon

    Not sure why I have been triggering rejection with this comment, but I couldn’t post it on Links yesterday:


    Wow … what a pithy, yet perfect obituary by Yanis. He’s a better man than I for sure. The Greek beatdown at the hands of the Troika and Schäuble was something I followed very closely here and elsewhere. It will stand as one of the most horrible acts using economics as a weapon of mass destruction. One of the articles I remember most from the depths of the Greek crisis was this one:

    Greek poverty so bad families ‘can no longer afford to bury their dead’ (via

    I’m assuming Wolfgang’s family didn’t have this problem.

    Sometimes life really does not seem to be just at all.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Aha … perhaps the use of the word “e x e c u t i o n” to describe what was done to Greece might have been the thing? Changed it to “act” and it went through.

      #TheMoreYouKnow … ;-)

    2. flora

      Now Germany is so broke, due in large part to enormous energy costs, that it’s shuttering factories and selling off car manufacturing to China and others. What goes around comes around; the Greek goddess Nemesis – goddess of retribution for the sin of hubris – still acts in mans world.

      1. CA

        “Germany is so broke, due in large part to enormous energy costs, that it’s shuttering factories and selling off car manufacturing to China and others…”

        What German car manufacturers are doing is building new German plants for vehicles, batteries and parts, and even building recharging networks, in China. This even with attempts at intimidation by European Union leaders.

        December 1, 2023

        BMW, Mercedes to jointly build EV charging network
        By LI FUSHENG

      2. ChrisRUEcon

        > … the Greek goddess Nemesis – goddess of retribution for the sin of hubris – still acts in mans world

        Indeed she does.

  16. KLG

    Bell Labs was also the scientific home of Arno Penzias And Robert W. Wilson, who discovered the background radiation that confirmed the Big Bang Theory of the origin of the cosmos. This was back when a very few large corporations funded research that was not an adjunct of marketing, with the idea that knowledge is a good thing and might “pay off one day.” Or not. Much later, temporally and culturally, Bell Labs was also the home of Jan Hendrik Schön. This is a Wiki link, but the eight papers retracted from Science were the first clue to anyone watching. They were all published in 2000 and 2001. Impossible without making it up, which he mostly did. In Biomedical Science rather than Biomedicine, the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology was similar, also in New Jersey, where much of the technology of modern molecular biology was developed on a strong foundation. And then one day “management” just pulled the plug (the large manufacturing and research campus in Nutley is now empty except for the former RIMB building). I spent a productive month of 12-hour days there in the mid-1980s that would have taken two years of futzing around at my home institution.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      While mourning the loss of the great industrial laboratories it would be remiss to fail to mention the loss/transformation of the great University laboratories. Once great industry felt mission and commitment to return to Society for Society’s granting large amounts of capital to the care of industry to further the Common Good. But that covenant was broken by force of the rising tide of Neoliberalism.

      Once the great University Laboratories produced Knowledge for the Common Good to make return to Society for Society’s granting large amounts of capital for the care and furtherance of Science. Initially the War economy of the last fifty years undermined this covenant while the forces of Neoliberalism labored to work its complete collapse.

      Now science — whether in industry or university — is become shackled thrall serving near term private profit. There is no Common Good. There is no Society. And if things remain as they are there will be no happy future.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      This verges on hyper-elliptical — I believe the only way there could ever be a new Society after the Collapse of this Civilization and Society will be a consequence of learning the mysteries of chemistry and atomic scale physics. There will be a great deal of energy in the future, but it will not be directly useful or concentrated energy. It will be heat energy. Energy not readily exploited or controlled. From my little knowledge of chemistry I have the impression that much of physical chemistry and biochemistry labors under the harness of statistics. Similarly my small knowledge of biochemistry has left me with the impression that much of the chemistry of living things is controlled by scaffolds and chemical constructs that shape statistics to favor desired reactions. I believe heat — vibration or other excitations categorized as components of heat — are vital to the chemical reactions of life.

      The physical structures of life — the vesicles and tiny chambers — that force carefully selected and activated components of the desired chemical constructs for life — represent guides for ways Humankind could exploit the heat of the world to once again direct that heat to the purposes of Humankind … to create new drugs, new fuels, new materials … a new Society. Heat dissipates but infrared light can be focused, and phonons can be focused through careful choice and structuring of selected materials … though perhaps at small scales, the scales of molecules?

  17. Regis Tufarian

    Where is Matt Stoller when you need him?

    The author of this video has experience with naval and civilian vessels and seems quite knowledgeable. He says, for example, that 9 companies control 85% of the world’s shipping.

    There is an interesting discussion at about 19:00 regarding who is benefiting from what the Houthi are doing.

    TL;DR: The big shipping companies are currently negotiating 2024 rates and those will stay in effect regardless of what happens with the Houthi.

    So, today’s rates, higher because of the Houthis, will stay high even if things calm down in the Red Sea.

    Operation Prosperity Guardian: Whose Prosperity is Being Guarded?

    1. Boomheist

      The fundamental question here is whether the US and other Naval vessels – mostly US vessels and carrier planes – can consistently take out drones and missiles before they reach their targets. The other day, maybe two days ago, a number of drones and missiles were taken out, and this is the second time this has happened. If it starts to look as if the US Navy and carriers can take out drone swarms, then the Red Sea crisis will recede. If however there is a steady drip drip drip of ships attacked and some damaged, the crisis will continue. It will be very expensive to maintain naval and carrier protection over the Red Sea.

      Interesting situation – if the Houthis have thousands of drones and missiles and choose to launch massive swarm attacks, they may well overwhelm defenses and show Naval countermeasures toothless. In this case, if this happens, the Red Sea and Suez crisis will only intensify. They – the Houthis – may have the capability, but are choosing not to use it, because if they launch such an attack and are beaten back then THEY are shown to be weaker. On the other hand, naval and carrier defenses seem able to knock out small swarms of drones (15-20) and the more often they do that, the better the defenses seem to be.

      Maybe the Houthis don’t have thousands of drones and missiles. Maybe they cannot launch massive swarm attacks even if they have the drones. Maybe the naval countermeasures are up to the task after all.

      Time will tell…

      1. Aurelien

        It’s a numbers game. Nobody doubts that the carrier group have weapons that are capable of targeting and destroying individual drones. Nobody doubts that if enough drones get through they can damage the carriers. So the issue is not how good the defences are, but at what point the defenders run out of missiles and ammunition, and have to withdraw because they can no longer protect the ships. If the Houthis run out of attack before the US runs out of defence, they lose. Otherwise, they win.

        1. hk

          Especially if, as someone noted a few days ago (that I can’t find), USN no longer has operational ships that can resupply warships at sea. A modern warship does not have a very large load out of munitions and they’ll have to sail back to a friendly base with necessary stockpile.

  18. ambrit

    The photograph of Benny Gantz surrounded by uniformed ‘underlings’ is a lesson in group dynamics.
    Gantz stands, erect, arms crossed, with the classic facial expression well known as declaring; “I am an arrogant prick! Deal with it!”
    The man to Benny’s left, (right in the photo,) is plainly worrying: “How do I deal with this monster?”
    The man to Benny’s right, (left of the photo,) shown in profile, carrying a weapon, (as in, being an actual Army worker bee,) is looking at Benny with barely concealed disgust.
    There is present day Israel in one picture.

  19. Waesfjord

    Is the West considering peace talks with Russia regarding Ukraine? What scenarios are being prepared?

    JAM-News is a NATO operation, so this is essentially the West conceding defeat to Russia. It’s over. Ukraine is now running on fumes.

  20. Bugs

    “Concerning Report Suggests COVID-19 Sub-Variant JN.1 is Behind China’s Increasing Death Rates”

    The article is a retread of a Falun Gong mouthpiece Epoch Times piece and reads like AI generated propaganda…

    According to Zhou Xiang (name changed), a resident in Nanyang city of Henan Province, the people are not allowed to call their illness COVID-19.

    “Now, they are not allowed to say that it is related to COVID-19,” Zhou was quoted as saying. “They attribute the elderly patients’ infections to their underlying diseases, because the medical system does not allow them to say that there is COVID-19 virus. Patients’ requests to take COVID-19 test are all denied, and when they ask the doctors (if it’s Covid-19), the doctors don’t tell them. Actually, ordinary people all know that it’s still COVID-19.”

    Then again, Weather Channel is an IBM subsidiary so who the heck knows where this schtuff is coming from anymore. Pretty soon I won’t believe anything I read. It’s like Delillo land out here, folks.

    1. CA

      ‘ “Concerning Report Suggests COVID-19 Sub-Variant JN.1 is Behind China’s Increasing Death Rates”

      The article is a retread of a Falun Gong mouthpiece Epoch Times piece and reads like AI generated propaganda… ‘

      Thank you so much.

      Life expectancy is steadily increasing in China and overall has passed that of the US, while life expectancy in Chinese urban centers is among the highest internationally:

      January 15, 2018

      Life Expectancy at Birth for China, United States and Euro Area, 2000-2021

      January 30, 2018

      Infant Mortality Rate for China, United States and Euro Area, 2000-2021

    2. Bsn

      This: “Now, they are not allowed to say that it is related to COVID-19,” Zhou was quoted as saying……. sounds exactly like the US. Doctors have told me they can’t call an illness Covid because insurance won’t re-imburse. Docs need to use other terms to enable insurance to cover the costs.

    3. Enter Laughing

      The only person quoted in the piece is some random resident named Zhou Xiang…not a health department or hospital official, not a doctor or a nurse. Solid reporting all around!

  21. Tom Stone

    If you want to have some fun with a “Liberal”, ask them what Hillary Clinton’s position is on abortion rights.
    90% or more will answer that she fully supports “A Woman’s right to choose” while the closest to a definite answer I have found is “A belief in the sanctity of all Human life lies at the core of my Christian Faith”.
    Like all politicians she wants her coke and snort it too.

    1. johnnyme

      This Meet the Press interview speaks volumes:

      “Again, I am where I have been, which is that if there’s a way to structure some kind of constitutional restriction that take into account the life of the mother and her health, then I’m open to that. But I have yet to see the Republicans willing to actually do that, and that would be an area, where if they included health, you could see constitutional action.”

    2. Pat

      If you look back you will also find that she has shown support for abstinence based sex education. Yup she was a “Just Say No”, that will stop teen pregnancy sales operative.

      Clinton’s support of women’s rights has always been presentational. And abortion and reproductive rights didn’t even get as much full throated support as her objections to AUMF and problems with reports of WMD in Iraq got just before throwing them under the bus to vote for it.

      One of the ways I differ from those who believe that the Dems didn’t codify abortion rights because of the fund raising aspect is that I believe that people like Biden and Clinton and more than a few others honestly didn’t want women’s reproductive rights protected. Some because of religion, but most because of the financial constraints pregnancy and child bearing places on over half the population. It keeps a whole lot of people poor and hungry and compliant. (Especially since these constraints largely do not apply to the wealthy.)

      1. Stephanie

        Yep. Very easy to de-radicalize a population constantly worried about their kids’ health problems and educational challenges and where the grocery money is going to come from.

    3. Feral Finster

      To be fair, I suspect that HRC’s advocacy of “abstinence-based sex ed” or whatever is the performative part, a moral figleaf to get the rubes on-side, sort of like when a Team D politician takes a much-publicized “hunting trip”.

      People of influence and authority are pretty much uniformly for abortion.

      1. Pat

        You know that old saying about actions speaking louder than words, well lack of action also says a lot. Grudging support done despite their personal beliefs has done nothing to expand reproductive rights, but we sure have seen a lot of increased restrictions.
        And you might take a look at her VP pick Tim Kaine’s record, he has one that goes beyond words. So despite her deep support for a woman’s right to make her reproductive choices regardless of what some religion other than her own has decided they should be, she picked a guy known to have restricted those rights to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. (And for the record, while it may have been a payoff for helping to game the primaries there was no obvious political help in picking Kaine to sell the betrayal.)
        Sorry there is far more evidence that her support of abortion rights is the performative part, not the other way around.

        1. Feral Finster

          If we are going to speak of actions, HRC’s husband’s staunch advocacy of late-term abortion should be action enough.

          1. Pat

            If we were talking about HIM it would be. They are not the same person even if her entire political career has depended on people thinking they were.

  22. Feral Finster

    Re: Aaron Mate: everyone knows tat Washington sabotaged peace talks. Everyone knows that Washington, Brussels and Kiev are each prepared to fight to the last Ukrainian. (My newsfeed is filled with glowing tales of triumph after Ukrainian triumph, not so much as a peep about Ukraine press-ganging invalids, tuberculosis patients and stroke victims as cannon fodder to soak up Russian munitions).

    What does anyone propose to do about it?

    1. Skip Intro

      Demiltarization of NATO is proceeding apace, as their arsenals are converted to scrap in Ukraine and western Russia, and replaced with plans and promises made on the back on non-existing industrial capacity and collapsing finances.

  23. Karl

    RE: Oligarchy and Democracy (American Interest)

    This is a very good analysis of how oligarchy operates in the U.S. Oligarchs are not only rich but they are networked and organized. Unsurprisingly, they are mostly interested in money (more!) but increasingly branch out into other domains.

    One thing the article doesn’t address is the trickle down of wealth and power to 2nd and 3rd generation oligarchs, e.g. via foundations. I suspect the kids of oligarchs tend to have very different values and interests than their parents. They (and the foundations they often staff and oversee) are increasingly playing a role in lobbying, academia, think tanks, NGOs of all kinds. I’d be curious if these subsequent generations are, on balance, a countervailing influence on the pure money grubbing of the first generation. When the last Koch brother dies, maybe his heirs will lead future efforts to combat climate change? Maybe later generations of funders of AIPAC will reign in Israel?

    Of course, these 2nd-3rd generation oligarchs act within and through the PMC generally. While this site tends to knock the foibles of the PMC for good reasons, all you have to do is appreciate the many privately funded endeavors around the world (often highlighted by this site’s links) to realize the PMC can be amazing too. My guess is that a lot of the commentariat here are grumpy members of the PMC who are doing (or did) amazing things in their careers, but appreciate the PMC’s shadow side as well. Some may also be first or later generation members of the oligarchy!

    Yes, the oligarchs often get (and deserve) a lot of invective, but there are positive — and scary (e.g. AI) — aspects of what extreme wealth can produce. How to maximize the benefits of the former, and minimize the risks of the latter?

  24. Susan the other

    The tiger and the crow. They do not endanger each other. Agricultural profiteers along the Colorado? Yes, they endanger each other, but more among species than between species. So, Speciation is a concession – “yes, we will adjust our energy/water consumption.” The spat over water in the western USA is similar – who will adapt? Hamby has a comical name, like Bambi mamby, pamby. But his endeavors are critical. And even create a template for world confrontations for essential resources. Worth watching, if simply to establish maximum consumption limits in order to keep them at a far less maximum than critical mass. This is why society is important. It has nothing whatsoever to do with who attended the Christmas Ball, or sold the latest basketball team. Nothing whatsoever. Society establishes, ideally, a rational consensus for us to follow. Ergo, to prevent our politics from being totally sociopathic. How did this happen? This uphill battle? when the tiger and the crow are so symbiotic?

  25. KD

    “The facts demonstrate that the northern Sinai Peninsula is an ideal location to develop a spacious resettlement for the people of Gaza.” Still boggled at “spacious.”

    After the Turks altruistically helped the Armenians make their “voluntary relocation” to the desert, it proved very spacious for the survivors.

  26. Victor Sciamarelli

    As to Haley, Gaza, Houthis and Ukraine:
    If Haley needs a slavery talking point she should remind everybody that, whether conservative or liberal, the family is a fundamental element of US society and slavery permitted the slaver to be the legal owner of somebody else’s children. Slavery was a ticking time bomb that inevitably exploded.
    Egypt is in a tough spot. The Israelis and Americans are currently prosecuting major war crimes in Gaza. If Egypt accepts the Palestinians it could be viewed as being complicit in the crime of ethnic cleansing in Gaza. Even dictators like Sisi will draw the line someplace.
    Those clever Houthis have managed to expand the war without changing how the world perceives it. The focus is now on Israel and the US, and their murderous rampage in Gaza. There’s no reason to provide Israel an excuse, such as attacking Israel directly, to distract the world from what’s going on in Gaza. Maybe you want to do something 4-6 months from now when Israel’s economy and military are weakened.
    Moreover, the Houthis have made it morally unacceptable to do business as usual while the Palestinians die.
    I expect Ukraine will be kept on life support until after the November elections. It won’t look good for Biden if Putin appears in Kyiv come August dictating surrender terms to Zelensky et al. Actually, Putin might prefer the disabled Biden to Trump or some other fanatical republican.

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