Links 2/22/2024

UK hedgehog sightings on the rise after years of decline, survey finds Guardian


Extreme cold event in BC causes near-total crop failure, Canada The Watchers

Alberta declares an early start to wildfire season Edmonton Journal

Extraction of raw materials could rise 60% by 2060 – and making mining ‘greener’ won’t stop the damage Econotimes

Tsunami exposed misplaced trust in infrastructure in “Over the Seawall” Colorado Sun

Derailed Train Dumps “Unknown” Amounts of Coal into Famed California River Field and Stream


Paxlovid use tied to 84% lower risk of hospital care Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


China starts drafting bill to boost private sector and tackle sluggish post-Covid economy following major setbacks South China Morning Post


Myanmar Junta Launches Mass Production of Army Uniforms for Conscription The Irrawaddy

Purity or pragmatism? The CDM dilemma Frontier Myanmar

Russian Envoy Discusses Deeper Ties With Myanmar Junta The Irrawaddy


‘We want dignity’: Indian farmers defy pellets, drones to demand new deal Al Jazeera


US charges yakuza gang leader over conspiring to sell nuclear material Channel News Asia

The Hard Path of Walking Away: Ex-Yakuza in the Legal Profession Nippon

Dear Old Blighty

UK lawmakers storm out of parliament over Gaza ceasefire vote France24


10 countries present legal arguments at ICJ against Israel’s occupation of Palestine Anadolu Agency

A Kinsley gaffe:

Here’s the transcript; yes, she went there.

* * *

Red Sea crisis distorts container shipping market SeaTrade Maritime

Houthi-Hit ‘Rubymar’ Faces Unknown Fate gCaptain

Egyptian president says Suez Canal revenues drop by 40-50 percent since Gaza war Xinhua

* * *

Opinion: I’m an American doctor who went to Gaza. What I saw wasn’t war — it was annihilation LA Times

IDF Sent in Handcuffed Prisoner to Evacuate Hospital, Then Killed Him When He Left The Intercept. Cf. Isaiah 60:3.

Israeli soldiers post distressing content out of Gaza CNN. “[M]any adding what they consider as a comedic twist to their content.”

New Not-So-Cold War

President’s Office announces “honest conversation about future” on Sunday Ukrainska Pravda

The Future of the SMO [Part 2] Simplicius the Thinker

Postscript to the taking of Avdeevka Gilbert Doctorow

Russian victories shake global leaders’ faith in Ukraine war prospects FT

* * *

Best Way To Honor Navalny, NATO Chief Says, Is Ensuring Russia’s Defeat In Ukraine Radio Free Europe. “[T]he war in Ukraine is a war of aggression, [Stoltenberg] said, and Ukraine has the right to self-defense, including striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.”

* * *

Does the West’s Ukraine policy need a reality check? A Brookings debate Brookings Institution

Ukraine Can No Longer Win RealClearDefense. The bio is interesting: “Joe Buccino is a research analyst at the Defense Innovation Board, a former communications director at U.S. Central Command, and a retired U.S. Army colonel with five deployments to the Middle East during his military career. He served as the communications director for the NATO support mission in Europe from February to November 2022.”

The Christmas Gift that Keeps Giving Jack F. Matlock, American Diplomacy

The Age of Amorality Foreign Affairs. The deck: “Can America Save the Liberal Order Through Illiberal Means?”

* * *

JD Vance: Europe must stand on its own two feet on defence FT. Commentary:

If Europe had Russian gas, that would be a lot easier….


What is an ODA and why is it critical to understand it and Part 2: Reconstituting Boeing’s ODA system Leeham News and Analysis. Important.

Boeing ousts 737 MAX chief in shake-up as blowout fallout mounts Dominic Gates, Seattle Times

Boeing’s crisis may open gap for Chinese jets to fly through FT


The American Schools of Antitrust (PDF) Tim Wu, Columbia University

Digital Watch

ChatGPT has gone berserk Marcus on AI. “[T]hese systems have never been been stable. Nobody has ever been able to engineer safety guarantees around then.”

Commerce opens comments on regulating certain influential AI models FedScoop. If safety guarantees can’t be engineered, in what sense can AI be regulated?

Help!—AI Is Stealing My Readers The Honest Broker


The US justice department must drop spy charges against Julian Assange Margaret Sullivan, The Guardian. Commentary:

Assange Final Appeal – Your Man in the Public Gallery Craig Murray

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s final bid to contest extradition to US begins amid protests Anadolu Agency

‘It is time Julian Assange was brought home,’ reiterates Australian premier Anadolu Agency

Groves of Academe

What Shocked Me About the Culture at Yale Persuasion


Life expectancy when we “live with” [sic] infection (1800), and when we don’t (1950):

Italy: Measles, new variant in the Milan area that may escape testing FluTrackers. I’m not on top of the measles case count. But the institutional responses are very concerning; we seem to have learned nothing from Covid (if a healthy public is indeed the goal of the public health establishment).

Screening Room

Dune: Part Two film review — Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya and sandworms return in XXL spectacle FT

25 Years Later, Office Space Is Still Bleakly Hilarious Paste

Imperial Collapse Watch

British nuclear sub missile launch FAILS as Trident dramatically misfires and ‘plops’ into ocean just yards away The Sun.

Navy Will Ask for 1 Virginia-Class Sub in FY 25 Shipbuilding Budget, Increase Amphib Production US Naval Institute

Class Warfare

Labor strikes in US rise to 23-year high in 2023 Anadolu Agency

Income disparities in COVID-19 vaccine and booster uptake in the United States: An analysis of cross-sectional data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey PLOS One

Where the Ruling Class Went to Rule – Law’s Violence in the Era of William Howard Taft Balkinization

Seeds of What Ought to Be Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books. Hegel.

Libraries are on the front lines of America’s problems Axios

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 Sugar Man by Sixto Rodriguez)

    Lindsey Graham what’s the hurry?
    We grow weary of your scenes
    You’re a decoy hired to attack
    From a rented limousine

    Lately you’re not mercenary
    You won’t vote cash for Ukraine

    Lindsey Graham smelling salts and
    Fainting couches are your mode
    Has somebody called some marks in?
    Is it time to pay your toll?

    Are there photos long since buried
    That you betray John McCain?

    Lindsey Graham’s not a panther?
    That’s unheard of around here!
    Lindsey Graham’s combat weary?
    His behavior’s rather queer!

    Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham
    Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham
    Lindsey Graham . . .

    (musical interlude)

    Lindsey Graham what’s the hurry?
    We grow weary of your scenes
    You’re a decoy hired to attack
    From a rented limousine

    Lately you’re not mercenary
    You won’t vote cash for Ukraine

    Lindsey Graham smelling salts and
    Fainting couches are your mode
    Has somebody called some marks in?
    Is it time to pay your toll?

    Are there photos long since buried
    That you betray John McCain?

    Lindsey Graham’s not a panther?
    . . . . . . .

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      thought only us Detroiters and S. African folks knew about Rodriguez – he even ran for Detroit mayor once – good songs – nice touch Antifa –

      1. JW

        His music is popular here in France.
        We play the Sugar Man album a fair bit. Good exercise turning the disk over, only 4 tracks per side!

    1. Alice X

      They keep building SA’s case at the ICJ. An affirmative finding of genocide is becoming a foregone conclusion. The Final Solution.

    2. Feral Finster

      Think of this as Israelis giving the world The Double Bird. “Yes, we’re committing daylight genocide. But our American bully stands with us as we do so, so what are you going to do about it?”

  2. griffen

    Twenty five years after, Office Space is still hilarious. Irony, and that certain level of wit and satire that a Mike Judge production can provide. Hard to imagine someone else in that role, Livingston was so very right to play Peter.

    “Not missing work”, those TPS reports, executive hack Lumburgh…and yes the lack of privacy for cubicle dwellers in a cubicle farm located in Anywhere, USA…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The famed stapler in question is Ferrari Red which is our of the reason it took so long to market besides the cult status of the movie. It’s supposed to be subtle foreshadowing. More importantly than swingline not making a red stapler was Judge asked Boston a day another company first,but they didn’t want to mock their product. Swingline has made a fortune since then. Everyone who dreams of leaving it all behind buys Swingline.

        2. griffen

          I’ve seen an interview with Stephen Root, who portrayed Milton, and he was supposedly not the actor that Judge had in mind to play him. Speaking of Root, he’s got a litany of smaller roles in some pretty good films.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Root is Milton in the Milton shorts. The original idea was a Milton movie which wouldn’t work they were too goofy and one note like the original Beavis and Butt-Head shorts that eventually became King of the Hill (for those who haven’t noticed Beavis, Butthead, and Daria are Bobby, Joseph, and Connie).

            Root’s performance in the first couple of seasons of Barry is fantastic. As he became comedy relief, his character wasn’t as good, so it’s not a knock against him or the show.

          2. britzklieg

            Root’s blind backwater DJ character in the brilliant “O Brother, Where At Thou” is one for the ages.

      1. Screwball

        I have one too. My better half bought it for me because I worked in cubical hell for 30 years. I took it to work. It didn’t go over well and I didn’t care. I lived in a football sized room of nothing but cubes – I called them cells. I was always in trouble because I wasn’t very good dealing with incompetent corporate worms who did nothing but screw over people to rise up the food chain. I was moved into the same cube as my boss – which I promptly re-named the “penalty box.” That didn’t go over too well either. I finally put up a sign that said “if ***holes could fly, this place would be an airport.” I had to take that down, but some of us got a kick out of it.

        One of the best stories of corporate hell was a co-worker who retired. He was going around the room telling everyone goodbye. He was the only guy who did his job so there was no replacement. I asked him what they said when he told them he was leaving and what they were going to do? He said, “I don’t know, I haven’t told them yet.” He did that as he walked out the door. Too funny.

        Screw corporate America. Office Space is too kind. It is a hellhole filled with ***holes.

    1. Neutrino

      How many readers worked in office environments that had similar bugs features?
      Many probably had TPS reports or similar until someone from outside the bubble asked why not rethink and consolidate or eliminate. Trees saved, priceless.

      Or near restaurants with flair?

      1. griffen

        The opening scenery from Office Space has often reminded me of a six lane road going through Las Colinas / Irving, in Texas. It was either 114 or 183, but the comparisons are incredibly on point. Rows of warehouses flung all over, most if not all single story. Wall to wall traffic at the peak hours. I count myself generally fortunate, in hindsight and with the years flying by that most managers were not like the Lumburgh character.

        Corporate America wants your loyalty…hah. Pull the other leg.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        groan…ive avoided such places for all my life…including those cooky cutter restaurants with flair.
        i know people that work or have worked in those places.
        most of them dont want to talk about it.
        my brother, especially, gets uncomfortable about that topic.

      3. Socal Rhino

        At one place I worked, the team produced a weekly report that I discovered had been a special request from a portfolio manager who had left his role years before, and no one read since.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Got a story to match that. About 120 years ago you had a French officer attached to the French Embassy in Moscow. This guy noticed that a Russian soldier was placed on guard in a place where there was nothing there to guard. Snow, sun, rain – there was always a soldier stationed there. Curiosity got the better of him so he asked for a copy of the orders attached to where these soldiers were stationed. Turned out that during the reign of Catherine the Great in the18th century, she came across a flower in one of her walks and asked that a soldier be placed there so it not be squashed. She then promptly forgot the matter between love affairs and wars but the Army did not. So for decade after decade a soldier stood guard there with nobody wanting to question orders. We may laugh but I bet that that sort of stuff is still going on in armies across the world.

        2. eg

          I was suspicious that one of the annual reports I was required to submit wasn’t being read by anyone, so I purposely inserted a section of gibberish.

          My suspicions were confirmed when I never heard back about it …

    2. Feral Finster

      Some years ago, my office floor was being remodeled, so everyone on my floor had to office for a couple of days in a conference room.

      I didn’t like it.

      For one thing, I couldn’t goof off, or even do something else for a couple of minutes so I could look at my work again with fresher eyes, at least not without everyone knowing. If I made a non-work related phone call, it was everyone’s business. I felt like I was going to work in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon or something equally dystopian.

      I thought about the secretaries. When they go back to their remodeled cubicles, nothing changes. It’s like this every day for them, constant supervision, no real solitude or privacy. That must suck mightily. I don’t know how they can stand it.

      So why do I have a corner office? Why do I get anything done, ever, without anyone to watch over me? Because I am so well trained, I don’t need to be supervised. I am the little hall monitor, the little prison super inside my own head, telling myself to get back to work. I won’t leave the prison, even though there are no walls and I can walk out the door any time I like.

      How messed up is that?!?

    1. Feral Finster

      Muh Hostages!, much like Muh October 7 (or Muh 9/11) was ever always only a pretext for TPTB in Israel and the US doing what they wanted to do.

  3. Steve H.

    > The Age of Amorality Foreign Affairs. The deck: “Can America Save the Liberal Order Through Illiberal Means?”

    At some point this started to read like a pre-apologia for dictating the outcome of the US election as a consequence of appeals by NATO allies.

    >> Washington could find itself covertly trying to tip the balance in elections in some crucial swing state if the alternative is seeing that country shift hard toward Moscow or Beijing.
    >> If today’s competitions will truly shape the fate of humanity, why wouldn’t a vigilant superpower do almost anything to come out on top?

    If I call the Vigilant Superpower, who picks up the phone?

    RGH Siu: Ends achieved are nothing more than means expressed.

    1. Feral Finster

      “We had to cancel/rig the election because Muh NATO allies!”

      That is what is called a pretext. Once you understand that more often than not, the reasons given by the powerful of why they just had to do something are but pretexts to do what they want to do, many things will be revealed.

    2. Cat Burglar

      The Brands article reads like a pep talk for a foreign policy apparatchik that is wondering why it goes to work to front for a genocide support policy. It comes down to brand (sorry) loyalty: they are autocracies, we are a democracy, no matter what we do. Bad stuff is always just tactics, it doesn’t touch who we are, remember that.

      The Djakarta Method was OK, pretty much! It escapes my memory what Reagan did to help the democratic movement in Chile, but the death squads he supplied and advised in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador at the same time must have confused me. Overthrowing the Iranian government in 1954 must have been more or less the correct thing to do — nothing has gone wrong since. It is all just tactics –remember that — and the democratic direction of US policy is untouched, even this week, as Biden tries to extradite a journalist for the crime of free speech.

      If you want to make the case we’re in Cold War II, the Brands article is Exhibit A. It is laughably transparent.

      1. Kouros

        If he were an educated bureaucrat he would have known that “if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the chaos in Westminster yesterday evening, summarised by Richard Murphy at, an hour ago, I received an e-mail from a (Tory leaning) lobbyist: “This was Blair’s idea. He’s doing the foreign policy thinking for Labour as the shadow cabinet has neither experience nor interest in foreign affairs and Blair sees himself as elder statesman and mentor. Blair is also in touch with his Gulf state donors who, unofficially, back Israel and see what’s going on in Palestine and Yemen as popular revolts and one that could spread to the monarchies.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link, Colonel. When I saw Blair’s name I knew that it was going to be bad. What is the bet that when/if Labour is elected, then they find a way to bring in Blair through the backdoor and make him Foreign Minister or something. We saw that already with David Cameron. I saw him on the news tonight in Munich sitting right next to Antony Blinken and they made a matched set.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Blair will be and is happy to be a back seat driver and have his employees seconded to government and his proteges as ministers.

        A formal role would put him (and his donors and earnings) in the spotlight and put his earnings at risk.

        Centrists are delighted at his return.

    2. Kouros

      The Gulf Royals need some history lessons. Their reign and legitimacy would be strengthen in fact if they were to backup the Palestinain case. By siding with Israel, they are just showing their own population what they (the royals) would be capable of doing against their own people to defend their position.

      The way Israel keeps the Arabs under terror and oppression, the Gulf Royals are bound to employ against their own population. See Bahrain.

  5. timbers

    Postscript to the taking of Avdeevka Gilbert Doctorow

    I noted several days ago – instead de-militarized zones which IMO make no sense – I do not think just yet Russia is ready to destroy Western factories found to have supplied Ukraine with weapons to launch terrorist attacks upon it’s civilians…but that time is fast approaching.

    “A test of Russia’s willingness to hit back in response to such escalation already took place yesterday when Ukrainian forces used American-supplied ground-launched Himars missiles to hit the central library and other civilian structures in the center of Donetsk city.”

    “I address peace-loving folks…I call upon them to consider that the Kremlin has indirectly, via state broadcasts like the Solovyov show, made clear its intent to destroy factories producing weapons like the Taurus at their source and to destroy air bases that are being used by Ukrainian aircraft to launch deadly attacks on the Russian homeland.”

    “With the Russian victory in Avdeevka against everything that NATO could deploy on the spot, the Alliance has lost its deterrent value.”

    Of course, this is what Doctorow thinks. He could be wrong in his interpretation. More evidence of his view would be helpful.

    Regardless, IMO further consolidation and progress on the ground for the SMO is needed before Russia should announce Red Lines (and this time, ENFORCE them), including that Western factories will targeted and destroyed if they supply weapons to Ukraine that are used for terrorist activity against Russian civilians. Targeted factories IMO should include the United States, but I suspect the Kremlin may not agree.

    Reality has changed these past few years. NATO is a paper tiger and posses no real threat to Russia that she can’t fend off, and Russia is militarily superior to the United States and destroy any military target in the US it wishes to.

    Things have change. It’s a new world. The United States needs to learn that in some areas of military matters, it will be taking orders from Moscow.

    1. Feral Finster

      Considering that the West has ignored with impunity red line after Russian red line, why Doctorow think that this time it will be different remains unsaid. (And the idea that european citizens have any say in european politics is a laugh.)

      Of course, had Russia acted decisively from the outset, the entire point would be moot.

    2. Lefty Godot

      There are still some months to go before Russia can really push the line of contact forward dramatically, despite the Avdeevka victory. Orikhiv, Ugledar, Chasiv Yar, Kupyansk, etc., are still going to be fiercely contested. In another month maybe we see one or two of them get taken. By June, unless NATO can give Syrsky something game-changing to work with, there should be some much more noticeable territorial gains, maybe wearing down the Ukrainian drone corps to the point where a big arrow attack by fresh forces can push the government out of Kiev. In the meanwhile, there are all kinds of possibilities for coups against Zelensky, which would change the timelines some.

      1. John k

        Imo ze’s refusal to negotiate is in Russian interest to the point he is indispensable to them, while at the same time Biden wants to avoid a loss before the election, so also doesn’t want any negotiation… and note in the latter case that za was evicted even though the army much prefers him. If these points are true it seems likely he’s there for the duration.

      2. Kouros

        The only thing that would improve Ukraine’s position, beside NATO joining in the fray, would be the army of clones grown in the labs of planet Kamino…

        1. John k

          Imo nato has been in the fray from the beginning, training, intel, weapons plus mercs both operating some weapons/defense as well as in the trenches. I see it as basically nato plus ukraine army, and they’re collectively losing so badly nato will be seen as a fairly useless used up paper tiger.
          And us is most of nato, they’re most of the loss.

  6. griffen

    Asking for a friend…are the Ivy League campuses broadly indicative as depicted in the above article, the view being written by a young college student at Yale? I once upon a time, lived in the Chapel Hill and Durham areas and can foresee a lot of that same level of speech “monitoring” and related instances of micro aggression becoming more common. Not exactly the same as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, et al…but all broadly cut from the same cloth ( private elite university, public elite research university ).

    I do love my Tar Heels, but the politics are at times difficult to wade through ( not that I have to do so anymore as I left the area in 2006 ). My preferred path for higher education was decidedly not in those rankings….second rate or third rate dependent on one’s opinions.

    1. petal

      Yes. It’s very race and gender oriented, while they ignore class issues. These students and staff members, like the author talked about, come from the elite prep schools and universities. You have to be very careful what you say or how you act in case you step on a proverbial land mine. You never know how someone will react, so best to keep quiet. It could ruin your life-not worth the risk of things blowing up. Just the other day I was informed by an administrator to stop using the terms “scavenger hunt” and “treasure hunt” because they are offensive, and to come up with a different term to use. Another person(a pale person of younger age) I am involved with in this project is completely keyed in on race as the answer to everything and ignores class even though class also played a big, if not equal, role in what we are researching and talking about. I suggested including class standing and there was nothing but crickets, as if I had just dropped one in the punch bowl.
      When I was at Cornell in the mid-90s, it was beginning to be like it is there now. The seeds were sprouting, so I was not surprised how things have turned out. It was all about race and they were quite open and unashamed about discriminating against you based on skin color. If you weren’t a member of one of the “protected classes” and/or didn’t have family money to make life easier, you were toast. Hard to explain and condense it, sorry.

      1. CA

        “Yes. It’s very race and gender oriented, while they ignore class issues…”

        Yes, surely. And simply notice how Lawrence Summers was quickly able to ruin the president of Harvard by accusing the president of being insufficiently attentive to the sensitivities of students who found criticism of the Israeli government personally threatening. Even now, Congress is readying an investigation of the Harvard atmosphere.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        In regards to your coworker, my dad (his father was a milkman when he worked) said most people who are fairly well off when describing their success are just saying “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else” and to never believe them.

      3. Wukchumni

        We were in the sauna at our rental condo digs in Mammoth when an older gent came in and excitedly told us of getting his free season pass when he hit 80 (with one of the Dartful Codgers in attendance only 6 years away from the holy grail…) and then told a tale of woe.

        He’d been a teacher down in SoCal for almost 50 years and came up to Mammoth to retire, and the local high school needed substitute teachers, so he gave it a whirl and had been there a week, when in class some commotion came about in the back of the room, and he yelled ‘Cut that crap out, now!’

        One of the students complained (lets call her a proto-Karen) to their parents, and he was told by the principal that the school wouldn’t need him anymore.

        Crap happens…

        1. hk

          The AskAKorean person often claims that things in South Korea precede events in YS by several years (although this is not something he’d pretend to recognize): parents harassing teachers for allegedly dissing students has been common for at least a couple of decades now, but, last year, things got so bad that there were a number of suicides by elementary school teachers because of the abuse by the parents. People were shocked, but not sure if anything has been done.

    2. The Rev Kev

      By coincidence I was thinking about this whole thing about young students today while reading a book and came up with analogy. This is not so much about the children of the elite but the general student body. We have all heard the old saw about shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations, right? So consider this. A first generation of students has a large number come from working class families and these students would have no problem with going to parties with their neighbours who had become “tradies” or other workers and so are grounded. The second generation from these students tend to marry only other professionals and only go to parties with people of their own sort. They have little in common now with workers in their age cohort and enter the Professional Managerial Class after they graduate. Now you have a third cohort that is only grounded in themselves so come up with games like pronouns and micro-aggressions and the like. Back during the Vietnam war students fought to get rid of professors that were part of the MIC establishment. And now? This third generation demands that professors that do not think exactly like they do be fired and punished. They are now part of what their grandparents fought against.

      1. Carolinian

        I totally agree with your theory and think it explains so very much about current America and other Western countries. Empathy requires experience and those who grow up in wealth–or any other protected environment–don’t have that.

        As for academia, The Holdovers is a good movie about a New England prep school in the early 1970s. It remembers a time when class consciousness was a major preoccupation of our culture and the director Alexander Payne is a Boomer.

        Of course there were a lot of bad things about a past world when the working class were far more prominent with overt racism being one of them. But modern times that welcome people like the Obamas into the elite simply allow African Americans to also look down on the poor. America, the classless society, is all about class and always has been.

        1. digi_owl

          Because USA kept hiding class behind ever odder takes on “race”, because the lowest class gets refilled with waves of immigrants from outside.

      2. griffen

        Was thinking about this topic and discussion, while out running errands and grabbing a sandwich. My “echo chamber” of my youthful upbringing leads me to believe, perhaps not exclusively but in broad terms, that my Christian school education from K through 12 and then another four years of higher institution lead me into what I could describe as follower syndrome.

        And what I mean to say is this. I was merely following, and being advised what to believe, what to read, what to avoid ( evil movies! evil music! ) is akin to being raised in a cult like situation without the communal living and no pompous villain like Jim Jones running my life. I excelled in my classes but only because there were no real advanced courses or AP options. I did well compared to peers, but then all the peers I ever knew or have met were broadly in the same boat and raised in a highly similar fashion. Echo chamber.

        It’s amazing to consider, being the tender age of 51, where I’d be in life had I matriculated at an institution (by example) a Michigan, a Virginia or a UNC-Chapel Hill. Generally no complaints overall but honestly, some doors were never opened or permitted and it can really mess with your mind.

        Added thought. My experiences also relate to current political topics, as in the far right evangelicals have really serious issues if they want to project their hard core beliefs onto varied levels of government and push their stances down our collective throats no matter. No thank you.

    3. Feral Finster

      I have an “elite” education and come from a decidedly non-elite background.

      My experience is out of date, but yes, the description of the culture is, AFAICT, dead accurate.

    4. wol

      My friends in my teens and young adulthood were largely white lower-middle-class miscreants. Last century I was asked and taught one semester as a Visiting Lecturer at UNC-CH. I learned what living with the Stasi must have been like. Later I was asked to be on a panel to advise undergrads on a kind of career night and respectfully declined. I avoid campus.

      1. Julia Louie

        I taught as an assistant lecturer in the California University System. Wallowed in mass intellectual foibles and political correctness.

        The approach I found to wake up the woke is to individualize their futures:
        “You will not be able to buy a house or live well because of what you are advocating here.”

        “You and your privileged children, if you ever can afford to have any, will never get a comfortable public service job.”

        “If you can afford one, you’ll probably be forced to live in a car after your parents are taxed out of their home.”

        Did that get their attention. The tell is that their face froze and their shoulders dropped.

    5. Em

      These kinds of articles come up every couple years and they do rhythm with some of my collegiate experience. The ignorance of material issues is class and actual oppression to imagined oppressions has been a problem but probably gotten crazier since woke “social Marxism” starting running rampant. On the other hand, prep school and colleges are rare times in our class bound society still have some mingling between the proles and the very rich on roughly equal terms. And the proles finds out that the rich are really really not like the rest of us.

      At the same time, I think him uncritically quoting rightwing fraudster Yeonmi Park is a tell. He’s writing for a particular anti-woke audience to turn them against academia and “the elite” in general.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      Yes thy are.

      I went to an non-Ivy but expensive Northeastern liberal arts college (on a lot of financial aid). The first big diversity push came back in my undergrad days in the late 80s/early 90s. Lots of white kids from wealthy NY families protesting the lack of diversity then, including a laydown protest in front of the library entrance, (I remember thinking then that denying others, including minorities, the ability to study was maybe not the brightest idea) despite the fact that there were about 11% minorities at the time in a state that was 99.5% white. Having come from a state with similar demographics, the campus was more diverse than anything I’d ever seen coming from a farming family in a small rural town. It really opened my eyes, meeting and making friends with all kinds of other kids who didn’t look like me. I found it difficult to comprehend why others found it so un-diverse and wondered why they came to college in such a majority white state to begin with.

      Now the diversity crusaders of the 90s are running the show. Few years ago the big controversy at my alma mater was white kids donning sombreros for a Cinqo de Mayo party. Complete facepalm moment for me.

    7. .Tom

      It’s a good article. I often ponder the viciousness of a cancellation mob. It seems positively sadistic sometimes. (I have a theory about the sadomasochism of PMC relations and hierarchies, for another day.) But Henderson proposes that the viciousness comes from a Jungian shadow, hostility that comes from recognizing in themselves that which one should abhor. Smart idea.

      1. chuck roast

        I’m old enough to remember the Panther Rally at Yale. Many of my friends ate acid and hitch-hiked down to New Haven…I don’t know…fifty or 75 miles. I didn’t go. Sloan Coffin helped to put that together. We were twisted indeed, but we weren’t confused.

    8. eg

      “Your” Tar Heels were engaged in one of the most egregious sham coursework scandals ever discovered in an institution of higher learning with the slightest pretence to either academic rigour or integrity.

      1. griffen

        Indeed I am well aware of this. College students find an easy A for a semester, shocking I realize…I can’t defend what a few people ( one with tenure I believe ) had put into place to aid or assist those students at the margins or edge of eligibility requirements for their amateur status.

        I’ll add here though…the NCAA showed itself incapable in the above case and several others of being staffed with quality professionals. Btw… not to throw stones but pick an SEC football powerhouse and make a similar argument. The classes for underwater basket weaving is not unique, I don’t believe….

  7. Benny Profane

    “If Europe had Russian gas, that would be a lot easier….”

    That, to me, would be the real capitulation and the end to this war. An announcement that the pipeline will be repaired and functioning.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I wonder what the near term capacity with Russia finding new markets. Even if peace broke out tomorrow, Europe won’t get the spigots turned on. This is what I imagined happened at Munich. Europe loses either way, and now the players have to figure out how they deflect blame as activities like the farmers’ protests spread. How long before the garbage gets dumped on their homes?

    2. Skip Intro

      One of the NorsStream lines is still fully functional, and waiting for the Germans to feel like turning it on. Of course it may also blow if that decision were to approach, the Bush/Biden foreign policy team having preserved it as a remaining hostage, and for use when Exxon and Shell seize Russia.

      1. Kouros

        Did the Russians take the gas out from the remaining pipeline?

        Was any saboteur punished for not finishing the fourth line?

    3. Skip Intro

      Oh dear, I seem to have duplicated my comment, but this one was the one with NordStream spelled correctly.

      But I’ll respond to NTG’s idea about turning the taps on. At the very least the EU will be competing with other bidders for the gas.

  8. Wukchumni

    What a difference a dog made
    Twenty four little puncture wounds
    Fought the Secret Service
    Where there used to be pain

    Joe’s Commander instilled fear
    Moved to an undisclosed location here
    Secret Service frights are through it appears
    Since it went to the pound

    What a difference a dog makes
    There’s stitches and pools of blood before me
    Dog bite wounds can be alarming
    Since that moment of hiss
    That not so thrilling ‘kiss’

    It’s heaven when you
    Find a Golden Retriever instead on your milieu
    What a difference a dog makes
    And the difference is huge

    What a difference a dog makes
    There’s stitches and pools of blood before me
    Dog bite wounds can be alarming
    Since that moment of hiss
    That not so thrilling ‘kiss’

    It’s heaven when you
    Find a Golden Retriever instead on your milieu
    What a difference a dog makes
    And the difference is huge

    What a difference a dog made
    Twenty four little puncture wounds
    Fought the Secret Service
    Where there used to be pain

    It’s heaven when you
    Find a Golden Retriever instead on your milieu
    What a difference a dog makes
    And the difference is huge

    The difference is huge
    The difference is huge

    What a Difference a Day Made, performed by Jamie Cullum

  9. The Rev Kev

    “NAVY FLOP British nuclear sub missile launch FAILS as Trident dramatically misfires and ‘plops’ into ocean just yards away”

    It happens. About a year ago there was a missile failure aboard a Russian warship linked on NC and at the time I linked to a compilation of naval missile failures as they are common enough. Cannot find that video now but here is a brief clip of a missile failure aboard a US warship- (14 secs)

    1. scott s.

      “Missile” launch appears to be a torpedo “fired” (pushed out by compressed air) from a Mk 32 torpedo tube.

  10. Es s Ce tera

    re: Ukraine Can No Longer Win RealClearDefense.

    “None of this is fair to the people of Ukraine, who have placed their hopes of sovereignty on American commitment.”

    This line is very strange, does the author think Ukraine is not free and sovereign? Does he think Ukraine is trying to become independent of Russia and that’s what this is about?

    1. Feral Finster

      I am baffled by anyone who actually thinks that Ukraine is in any way free or sovereign.

      A calf in a veal pen has more agency and freedom of action.

    2. Randall Flagg

      “None of this is fair to the people of Ukraine, who have placed their hopes of sovereignty on American commitment.”
      Hard for me to feel sorry for the Ukrainians. I think our leaders (US) only commitment is to wrecking the world while trying to make as much money from it as possible Clearly they have not been paying attention to American history…

      1. eg

        “Fair to the people of Ukraine?”

        Which people? There’s been a civil war there since 2014, which by definition means that there is no one “people of Ukraine.”

  11. Roger Blakely

    Re: What Shocked Me About the Culture at Yale Persuasion

    The author makes reference to a refugee from North Korea, Yeonmi Park, who became a student at Columbia. A comment to this article included these statements:

    The author mentions Yeonmi Park. Good call. Columbia is a hard-core bastion of ‘woke’ craziness.

    “Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea is pretty crazy, but not this crazy,” she added.

    1. Feral Finster

      FWIW, the mrowki I know who grew up in Communist Poland and live ehre say something similar.

      And Poles are the most knee-jerk pro-American people you can get, with or without a prescription or on the street.

      1. Kouros

        I can attest to the same about campus life in Romania. You had to do something very stupid, like protesting against gov reprisal of a workers’ march while holding your schools teaching hunting guns in your hands… Led to the students being expelled. But everything else was fair game.

  12. Cassandra

    If the new measles variant in Milan can escape the current diagnostic tests, can it also escape the current (very good) MMR vaccines? Do our Italian commentators have any local news regarding the outbreak? Covid remains a major concern, but immune escape resulting in a measles pandemic is terrifying .

    1. t

      …healthy public is indeed the goal of the public health establishment).

      Especially when we all know that, in the US for sure, public health agencies are effectively HR departments, working for the boss, instead of like a union working for us.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “10 countries present legal arguments at ICJ against Israel’s occupation of Palestine”

    A US State Department official speaking before the International Court of Justice urged the body not to order Israel to end the occupation of Gaza or the West Bank, arguing that the occupation of both was essential for Israel’s security. No word on Palestinian security though-

    1. CA

      “10 countries present legal arguments at ICJ against Israel’s occupation of Palestine”

      A people have an absolute right of existence. The Palestinians have an absolute right of existence and questioning or denying that right is civilizationally intolerable.

  14. LawnDart

    Hal Brands The Age of Amorality simply argues that the ends justify the means, the ends being the majestic peaks of liberal democracies that loft above the clouds, out of the sight of mere pedestrians such as you and I.

    Kidnapping, torture, mass-murder (and now, apparently, genocide) are all OK when WE do it (didn’t you vote for this, give your consent?), as long as it serves a greater purpose in the ideological struggle against… something… because we’re defending freedom and democracy ™!”

    [Killing an Arab, by Hurts to Laugh (Angry and loud version, very unlike The Cure’s original, a reflection of our times)]

    1. Cat Burglar

      Brands is associated with the American Enterprise Institute, and my guess is that he is presenting this as a trial balloon for a possible Trump administration.

    2. Kouros

      In my long ago ethics class at uni, the whole semester we were drilled with the whole set of arguments demonstrating that the ends do not justify the means, especially when you speak of people, who are ends onto themselves.

  15. hemeantwell

    I’d recommend the Eagleton review of Bourke’s book on Hegel that nails Bourke for his wrong-headed — better, quaintly Popperian — treatment of Marx. If you want to know more, check out Marcuse’s still useful Reason and Revolution or, to bring in someone who’s recently gotten deserved notice here, Raymond Geuss’ The Idea of a Critical Theory. The lodestar of critical social theory is to proceed immanently, not externally, and Bourke can’t understand that Marx was all about that approach.

    1. Cat Burglar

      It is a good article, within its Anglo limitations. That’s why it doesn’t mention the huge postwar Hegel revival among continental left-wing scholars (almost always on the post-Leninist far left), and the post-New Left renewal of interest in the US (usually among those interested in a social-movement based left, and not left liberals).

      But knowledge was scarce. When I tried to study Hegel as an undergraduate in the 70s, there were virtually no faculty with any detailed knowledge of his work — their knowledge of the history of philosophy stopped at Hume.

      Hegel makes maximal claims for the role of reason in human affairs, which, true or not, are worth considering for that alone. As a Lutheran Surrealist professor — the son of a Physical Education professor — put it to me, “Hegel is the team that everyone wants to play against.”

  16. Wukchumni

    When Silicon Valley is in the White House
    And Elon alights for Mars
    Then peace will guide the planets
    And love will steer the stars

    This is the dawning of the Age of AI quarry, us
    Age of AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us

    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic Chat GPT crystal revelation
    And the mind’s true liberation, AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us

    When Silicon Valley (when Silicon Valley) is in the White House
    And Elon (Elon) alights for Mars
    Then peace will guide the planets
    And love will steer the stars

    This is the dawning of the Age of AI quarry, us
    Age of AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us
    AI quarry, us

    Age of Aquarius, by the 5th Dimension

    1. ChrisFromGA


      transitive verb

      1: to dig or take from or as if from a quarry
      quarry marble
      2: to make a quarry in
      quarry a hill

      Presumably, this nice piece of lyrical mischief is using the 1st definition. This an apt use of words, as corporate Amerika seeks to use AI to take many things from us, here are just a few I can think of:

      (1) Money
      (2) The ability to think for ourselves
      (3) An independent press (AI being used primarily to fake pictures, videos, thereby destroying whatever credibility is left)
      (4) The right to speak to a human. Karen is in peril.
      (5) Important relationships, such as doctor-patient, and attorney-client.

      1. Wukchumni

        Excellent analysis…

        My hole card is: (6) Wilderness, where AI can’t make any money doing it’s worst, as there is no business.

      2. LawnDart

        An excellent list.

        Insurance, specifically Medicare claim denials, is the first example that comes to mind where AI is directly acting against the common interests of we the people. But this disease of AI misuse (or abuse) is spreading so rapidly that it is quickly becoming difficult to keep track of.

        Perhaps we can ask an AI chatbot to write a short article summarizing the abuses and nefarious uses of AI? That’d be fun.

        1. Julia Louie

          Georgia Chris.

          Something missing in the definitions.

          Quarry and Target are synonyms
          Target noun – A person who is the aim of an attack (especially a victim of ridicule or exploitation) by some hostile person or influence. … Quarry is a synonym for target in prey topic.

          1. tawal

            That’s how I understood ‘quarry’ in Wuk’s rendition. Like being put in a cage by AI where we are no longer free to think for ourselves but only with the drivel that AI presents to us.

    2. Airgap

      Wonderful work. It sent me to YouTube where I recalled fond memories from 1969 while listening to the Fifth Dimension and Age of Acquarias.

      And peace will guide the planets
      and love will steer the stars

      harmony and understanding
      sympathy and trust abounding

      So many possibilities, so much optimism.

      What happened to us?

  17. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    U.S. pundits are literally starting to say it out loud: for “good” to triumph, we must be evil.

    “Good” of course here being defined as the preservation of the Rules-Based Order, aka U.S. hegemony.

    That’s literally the argument here, he writes “the only way to protect a world fit for freedom is to … engage in impure acts.”

    Such impure acts, he writes, as backing Israel: “Biden has rightly framed the Israel-Hamas war as a struggle between a flawed democracy and a tyrannical enemy seeking its destruction. There is strong justification, moral and strategic, for backing a U.S. ally against a vicious proxy of a U.S. enemy, Iran.”

    This is a sign we’re going back to the very worst times of the cold war, which, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t bloodless at all.

    In fact anyone reading an honest account of the period – like @Vinncent ‘s “The Jakarta Method” – will conclude that the side that prevailed, far from being the most moral one, was the one most willing to kill the greatest amount of people for that purpose.

    The book is called “The Jakarta Method” because of what the US-backed Suharto military dictatorship did by killing around 1 million communist sympathizers in the country. A method applied in countless other places: Chile, famously, but also Brazil, Malaysia, Argentina, Guatemala, Taiwan, etc. And I’m not even mentioning America’s genocidal wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, etc.

    That’s the article, don’t read it if you’ve just eaten :

    The Age of Amorality
    Can America Save the Liberal Order Through Illiberal Means?
    By Hal Brands

    12:21 AM · Feb 22, 2024

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      didnt Darth Cheney wax poetic about the need to go to the Dark Side?
      and i also remember a more recent unfortunate utterance in public…about how we Plebs have Star Wars all wrong…its the Empire that’s to be admired!
      might have been jaime demon, but i really cannot recall.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        reading through the FP thing, it occurs to me how contradictory it is, to “fight for democracy”, because other people want to do things differently than you would like.
        a good way to confuse rednecks, is to insist that our vaunted freedom of speech, religion and thought means that its entirely permissible to be an atheist, a druid, a socialist or a communist….lest those freedoms have no meaning.
        this is where the tiny minority that wants the usa to be a noahide utopia gets things so wrong….they know they’re right, so never consider that all the other dogs may choose to eat different dog food.
        this is increasingly similar to the way the PMC/Blue Check cohort is developing…indeed, if theyre not already there.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          still workin through it(had to run off and run the tractor for a while):
          fta:”First, morality is a compass, not a straitjacket. For political sustainability and strategic self-interest, American statecraft should point toward a world consistent with its values. But the United States cannot paralyze itself by trying to fully embody those values in every tactical decision. Nor—even at a moment when its own democracy faces internal threats—should it insist on purifying itself at home before exerting constructive influence abroad. If it does so, the system will be shaped by regimes that are more ruthless—and less shackled by their own imperfections.”

          what nation is he talking about again?
          throughout, he’s yammering about some ideal usa that never existed.
          and certainly does not now.
          merely glossed over the long history of decidedly undemocratic atrocities(death squads)…and holds up the shining city on the hill…give me yer poor,etc.
          tacitly criticises duarte’s drug war…as if our own global war on dope never happened, and didnt kill and otherwise ruin so many people, at home and abroad.
          on and on.
          this is why i read FP these days….to remind me how much i hate our rulers and their mirrored frelling bubbleworld.

    2. ian

      “Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster.

      And if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

      I remember the above (a paraphrase, btw), not because I ever read Nietzsche, but because i read Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ magnum opus Watchmen.

    3. hemeantwell

      Ends justifying the means thinking is always available to explain brutality to the public. Unfortunately for its exponents, their inability to control transmission of the effects, and the enactment, of brutality has collapsed. It’s as though they think of the public as akin to bomber crews, members of a society that drops their payloads on people that can’t be seen and only dimly imagined. Sure, there are going to be some group-bounded types who cancel out the flood of images by squinting at other worthies who are supposedly being saved by brutality. But many won’t buy that form of right-mindedness. Failed means-end rationalizations will only give more steam to the downbound train of legitimation crisis.

      Weber’s discussion of charisma in his opus Economy and Society is generally pertinent here. When the rules-based order shows itself to be nothing but self-serving lies, and no organization seems to offer a planned resolution of chaos, there’s a tendency to regress back to person-based solutions, looking to individuals, not eroded institutions, as a source of hope. Looking at it as a shrink, to me that’s pretty much a fallback to family and small group models of dependency and inspiration. Enter drump.

      I’m not fan of Talcott Parson, but here you go: “As Parsons observed correctly but rather hastily, “Legitimacy is thus the institutional application or embodiment of charisma.”‘ If you dig into this there’s a theory of historical cycles that’s pretty compelling. You can start by thinking about all those references to “Founding Fathers” and how they stand in relation to a theory of democratic institutions.

      1. Feral Finster

        “I’m not fan of Talcott Parson, but here you go: “As Parsons observed correctly but rather hastily, “Legitimacy is thus the institutional application or embodiment of charisma.”‘ If you dig into this there’s a theory of historical cycles that’s pretty compelling. You can start by thinking about all those references to “Founding Fathers” and how they stand in relation to a theory of democratic institutions.”

        Fascinating, Captain.

        If we are to speak of historical cycles, I would look to Tytler, or, in longer form, to The Iron Law of Oligarchy. Much of the success of the West was in its ability to keep sociopaths from accumulating too much power, as sociopaths are incapable of working for any goals other than those that benefit them personally.

        What we see now in the West is the reversion to the mean, as well as its breakdown, as sociopaths, once again, are incapable of working for any goals other than those that benefit them personally.

        1. hemeantwell

          And so now we’ve got bargain basement charisma in the form of Trump, the charismatic sociopath. It’s the only form of charisma that can make it through the conduits of the PMC.

          1. Feral Finster

            Speaking only for myself, I don’t find Trump charismatic in the slightest. I suspect that for many, his perceived charisma is basically a reflection of their own unarticulated sense that the system we have today is rotten to the core and the only thing to be done is to Burn It All Down.

            Then again, I always thought Bill Clinton to be an oily used car salesman, while I am duly assured that he Gave Voice To A Generation or some such crap, so I may be wired up different.

            1. britzklieg

              The first “black” president – LOL!


            2. eg

              Speaking of charisma, I have been informed by a friend who met him up close that Clinton was extraordinarily charismatic in person — magnetic even.

              Hence extraordinarily dangerous, given his ruthlessness and amorality.

        2. zach

          Hey now, sociopaths have feelings too. How do you think Prometheus felt after stealing fire and sharing it with us mortals? It often takes a sociopath to advance the plot.

  18. Amfortas the Hippie

    “Having each Western shell lovingly crafted to the exacting tolerances of a Formula 1 race-car engine offers measurable benefit. In ideal circumstances, Allied artillery systems outrange, outfire and hit harder than equivalent Russian systems. But conditions are no longer as ideal.”
    thats him quoting Forbes.

    reminds me of back when, in various kitchens…us old hands, having come up through the ranks as it were…would all grimace and moan when the boss hired somebody from “The Other CIA”(culinary inst. of america).
    these people could make a single plate of exquisite taste and presentation…but throw them in a working kitchen, with 200 customers to feed in an hour and a half(lunch rush at my place), and they are reduced to a flavourful glace on the floor in short order.
    “in the weeds” was invented for those folks.
    sounds to me that thats what the big scary MIC has become.
    add in Aurelians latest, and one sometimes wonders why we’re all so afraid of them.
    all they have is PR, chest thumping, and threats(and sneaky in the dark stuff…as well as a whole lot of monoploy money)

    1. Polar Socialist

      There was some time a go an article in which a Ukrainian battery commander complained about “NATO standardization”: yes, all the 155 mm shells can use the same fuzes and they all fit in the guns, but that’s about it. Ammunition produced in different countries have different weights, different powder mixtures and so on making any kind of precision impossible if you have one of this and two of that and so on.

      1. Wukchumni


        Imagines a card table set up somewhere on a lower Manhattan sidewalk with the proprietor having three 155mm shells displayed, and you have to guess which one has most powder, in order to win.

      2. vao

        Plenty of ammunition with standard NATO calibres cannot be used interchangeably at all. Some examples:

        1) The Challenger II tank uses a 120mm cannon — which is a standard NATO calibre. Except that it uses a rifled barrel, requiring its own very special kind of shell — that the British ceased manufacturing years ago.

        2) The AMX-10 reconnaissance vehicle sports a 105mm cannon. 105mm is a standard NATO calibre — except that the AMX-10 only works with a proprietary form of shell that is useless elsewhere.

        3) The Gepard has a dual 35mm anti-aircraft cannon — again, a very standard NATO calibre. Except that it is very particular about what kind of 35mm shells can be fed to it, as the Germans realized when they tried to use the 35mm anti-aircraft ammunition provided by the Norwegians. Since the Swiss, who manufacture the required ammunition (Oerlikon guns), refused to supply it because of legal export restriction, Rheinmetall had to bite the bullet, dust off some machines, set up a production line, and re-launch the production of the specific 35mm ammunition for the Gepards donated to Ukraine (and which Germany took out of service long ago).

        And all these are now in Ukrainian service.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          yeah, my favorite rifle is a very old winchester 44-40 saddle ring.
          so i know how they feel, having a nice gun, but no ammo.
          but i have other guns…and lots of ammo for them.
          i figger 30.06 will play a large part in usaian insurrectional acts in the future.
          as well as 12 and 20 ga.
          and 30.30, ,271.
          and the essential .22.
          folks have hoards of those, from grandad’s time, if people i have known are any metric.
          all the ak enthusiasts are gonna run out of ammo quick.
          (i’m told by gun enthusiasts/nuts i know well that theres lots of folks at the range or pasture or whatnot who apparently dont know that such gunz can also fire one shot at a time…even when modified….ergo, the waste of ammo is baked in…mini-orgasm, etc)

    2. digi_owl

      Always happens. Seeing much the same develop in IT, and it has taken me from finding tech interesting to wanting as little as possible to do with anything they have come up with in the last decade or two.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Tsunami exposed misplaced trust in infrastructure in “Over the Seawall””

    ‘No country was better prepared for a tsunami than Japan, and yet its leaders later admitted to being caught by surprise. Tens of thousands perished.’

    That may not be entirely true. Before they built the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima, geologists checked the region out for the highest tsunami so that defenses could be built accordingly. Years later another team of geologists went into the foothills and found disturbing evidence for much higher tsunamis in the past. They presented their findings to the the company that run that plant – TEPCO – but TEPCO did not want to know and their findings were ignored. The rest is history. You wonder if there were any other geological teams that were finding evidence of higher tsunamis in other regions that had built seawalls.

    1. digi_owl

      See big oil burying their internal findings about global warming, big tobacco trying to cover up cancer risks, recent evidence that food companies have done the same with sugar by deflecting attention onto fat, all manner of wonder-chemicals out of DuPont and like that ended up being harmful long term, and the list keeps ever growing.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Given the context, it’s a bit ironic. Isaiah 60, a foretelling of the future glories of Zion/Jerusalem after YHWH renews/restores his covenant with its inhabitants, sits in the middle of Third Isaiah which runs from chapter 55 until the end of the book. Third Isaiah is written from the perspective of returnees to Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus allowed them to return from the exile they had endured since the neo-Babylonian capture and destruction of Jerusalem. (First Isaiah, chapters 1-39, is written from the perspective of the 8th BCE prophet Isaiah in Judah. Second Isaiah, chapters 40-54, is written from the perspective of an exile in Babylon.)

      Third Isaiah’s viewpoint stands in direct contrast to Ezra, whose eponymous book recounts Ezra’s efforts to maintain the racial “purity” of the returnees against the “people of the land” who were living there when the exiles arrived. In contrast to the racialist Ezra, Third Isaiah is about as universalist as you’ll find among Hebrew prophets. Even eunuchs who accept YHWH as god are included:

      Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say,
      “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.”
      And let no eunuch complain,
      “I am only a dry tree.”
      For this is what the Lord says:

      “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
      who choose what pleases me
      and hold fast to my covenant—
      to them I will give within my temple and its walls
      a memorial and a name
      better than sons and daughters;
      I will give them an everlasting name
      that will endure forever.
      And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
      to minister to him,
      to love the name of the Lord,
      and to be his servants,
      all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
      and who hold fast to my covenant—
      these I will bring to my holy mountain
      and give them joy in my house of prayer.
      Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
      will be accepted on my altar;
      for my house will be called
      a house of prayer for all nations.”

      Isaiah 56:3-7

      There has been a tension between a religion based on genes versus a religion based on belief that’s been present in Judaism from the beginning.

      It might also be noted that Jesus is quoted in the Greek bible on multiple occasions referring to Third Isaiah, including the “house of prayer” quoted above as Jesus is about to clear the temple.

  20. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    The US asks the ICJ, where Israel is also on trial for its occupation of Palestinian territories, NOT to ask Israel to leave the territories. Because that’d make Israel “insecure”.

    So the colonizers need to stay for THEIR security *

    Which by the way is factually wrong, illustrated by the fact that Israel suffered the worst security setback in their history just as they were occupying the most Palestinian land, under their most extreme government in this regard.

    Turns out that the more you colonize people, the more you prioritize ‘your’ security and ‘your’ wellbeing at the expense of ‘theirs’, the more radicalized they get. Weird, no?

    * US asks world court not to call for Israeli pullout from Palestinian territories

    7:07 PM · Feb 21, 2024

    1. Vicky Cookies

      Chomsky talks about the choice between expansion and security. You can continue to steal other people’s land, try to control their lives and brutalize them, and experience the consequences; you can also choose to be secure and safe, by treating other people as you’d like to be treated. This makes sense to me from the smallest interpersonal level to the arena of international affairs, where it extrapolates to hegemony or survival, as the good professor would say.

      1. Synoia

        The Solution is clearly demonstrated by the Zulu treatment of the South African tribes in the High Veldt in the 18 1ith or 19th centuries.

        Kill the males, take some pf the Women and Children and execute the rest. I do mot recall if it was Shaka or Dingan or others who led this program.

          1. JBird4049

            Even the Romans would usually give their victims one chance to surrender with their lives and much, if not most, of their property.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Kill the males’

          With Shaka it wasn’t quite that way. After the battle that would defeat a tribe, all survivors would be incorporated into the Zulu army which is why it grew so large. Remember that when the Zulu army started off first in about 1817, there were only about 400 men but by the time Shaka was assassinated 12 year later, there were tens of thousands in his army. Newly incorporated troops would be equipped in the Zulu manner and were taught Zulu fighting methods and if you were good enough, you could quickly rise in the ranks so that some of those incorporated tribal members ended up becoming generals in Shaka’s army.

          1. CA

            Thank you for correcting what was obviously quite an unfortunate assertion.

            We are living through a genocide and President Biden has made America complicit and that has to be my or our focus however distressing:


            Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

            The US was again THE ONLY country to veto a ceasefire at the UN Security Council.

            The third time it vetoes such a resolution since the start of the massacre.

            Full complicity.


            US vetoes Arab-backed UN resolution demanding ceasefire in Gaza

            6:28 PM · Feb 20, 2024

  21. meadows

    Regarding “What Shocked Me About the Culture at Yale”…
    New word:
    Obligerant, meaning oblivious and arrogant.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Best Way To Honor Navalny, NATO Chief Says, Is Ensuring Russia’s Defeat In Ukraine”

    Wait – I thought that Stoltenberg said that NATO was not part of this war.

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard he really worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard before being selected because of his photogenic qualities and ability to speak Russian, as the code was carefully hidden in his name: Naval NY

    2. Feral Finster

      NATO is part of this war, but only when and to the extent convenient to NATO.

      NATO is not part of this war, when and to the extent not convenient.

  23. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    This is quite extraordinary:

    This is Ma Xinmin, China’s Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, speaking on behalf of China, saying at the ICJ today that Israel is a colonizer and that the Palestinians have a right to resistance under international law, “including armed struggle”, which, he said, “in this context, is distinguished from acts of terrorism”.

    Here is the exact quote (after the quote I’ll link to all the legal texts he refers to): “The UNGA resolution 3070 of 1973, I quote ‘reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle’.

    This recognition is also reflected in international conventions. For example, the Arab Convention For The Suppression Of Terrorism of 1998, affirms, I quote: ‘the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, in order to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination and independence’.

    Armed struggle, in this context, is distinguished from acts of terrorism. It is granted in international law, this distinction is acknowledged by several international conventions. For example, article 3 of the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of 1999 provides that, I quote: ‘the struggle waged by peoples in accordance with the principles of international law for their liberation or self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression and domination by foreign forces shall not be considered as terrorist acts’.”

    – UNGA resolution 3070 of 1973:

    – Arab Convention For The Suppression Of Terrorism of 1998:

    – OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of 1999:

    9:46 AM · Feb 22, 2024

      1. Kouros

        Tibet and Xinjiang are recognized internationally as part of China. Also, given the Chinese constitution and law system, Tibetans and Uyghurs have the same rights as the Han. In fact during the one child policy, minorities were not subjected to this law.

        All the while it is recognized that Israel is an occupier force, and has two sets of laws for the Jewish population compared to Arabs, and never mind the laws governing the Arabs in the occupied territories.

  24. Feral Finster

    Best Way To Honor Navalny, NATO Chief Says, Is Ensuring Russia’s Defeat In Ukraine Radio Free Europe. “[T]he war in Ukraine is a war of aggression, [Stoltenberg] said, and Ukraine has the right to self-defense, including striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.”

    This is the inevitable result of Russian dithering and indecisiveness.

    1. digi_owl

      Because Russia operated under the assumption that the enemy was still sane and valued self preservation.

      Instead the enemy is willing to burn the proverbial house down to his family honor…

      1. Feral Finster

        Yup. Russia has consistently underestimated just how sociopathic those ruling The West are.

        Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. I didn’t say we have to like it.

        So what is Russia proposing to do about it? Acting nice isn’t going to work, any more than quoting Bible verses will stop an armed robber.

        1. Kouros

          The attrition war is what Russia is doing right now. Setting up a parallel system for the golbal south. Winning, and not treating Ukrainians the way Israel is treating Gazans is also a plus for Russia.

          Defeating NATO /US though can only be achieved from within, replacing oligarchic enabling structures with something that is less enabling. Or how to systematically undercut the Iron Law of Oligarchy (and Bureaucracy for that matter).

  25. Wukchumni

    Alberta declares an early start to wildfire season Edmonton Journal

    Last year in Cali 350k acres burned, while up over in the Gulag
    Hockeypelago… 43 million

    It was really a wet winter last year with a fair amount of rain in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada in the summer months, keeping things moist.

    This winter so far seems like a fairly ordinary one, with another atmospheric river on tap, starting in a week.

    The winter of 1968-69 was the previous winter of record in the southern Sierra before 2022-23 and right up there elsewhere in the state, and 1970 was a BIG fire year, and judging from all the foliage that sprang up last year, that we will be looking at an epic fire season.

    I’ve got a fair amount of newly fallen wood on the ground on the all cats and no cattle ranch, an out of the way Blue Oak died maybe 6 years ago and finally toppled. I’d looked at it as money in the bank when it was an upright citizen, but now prone to laying around, and parts are parts.

    The little stuff goes into the burn pile (3 wheelbarrow loads will give you a fire that is about 8 feet tall and lasts about 10 minutes from ignition to apogee to ashes) the medium sized branches go into the burn in the fire pit pile on the front porch of the back of beyond, and larger rounds go in with the many cords i’ve collected.

    1. i just don't like the gravy

      I’m expecting millions more acres burned this year in Canada. It will be bullish for my future palm oil plantation in the former boreal environs

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve got my architect planning out a cabana on the north shore of the Great Slave Lake, not too far from the water ski ramps.

    2. jrkrideau

      The UPC Gov’t in Alberta does not appear exactly competent but this is ridiculous

      Alberta declares an early start to wildfire season :The season traditionally has run from March 1 to Oct. 31

      The article goes on to say :
      Loewen said his department is asking for enough extra funding in the budget to hire an extra 100 firefighters. If that request is approved, they will be in the field by May 15, he said.

      That’s in addition to the 900 firefighters the province fielded in 2023, who are expected to be ready by April 15, said Loewen.

      I would have thought you would want your fire teams in place before the start of the season, not when everything was burning.

  26. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    According to the FT article on the Munich conference “Some leaders’ speeches were marked by an undercurrent of rancour — a feeling that their countries were bending over backwards for Ukraine while others in Europe were not pulling their weight.”

    But when Trump expresses those same feeling, albeit in his inimitable style, they pee in their pants:

    “The run-up to Munich was overshadowed by Donald Trump’s shocking remarks this month, when he said Russia could do ‘what the hell it wants’ to Nato countries that failed to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.

    “The intervention came with western leaders already worrying about what a possible second Trump presidency might mean for the future of the transatlantic alliance and western support for Ukraine.”

    1. tegnost

      to be fair, NATO countries gdp is collapsing so what was 2% a few years ago is a lot less now, better lock in those gains, wouldn’t want to leave money on the table. I’m sure other notable slogans apply…

  27. Mikel

    “Help!—AI Is Stealing My Readers” The Honest Broker

    “…AI advocates could end these scams by offering transparency. Just tell us when AI is used. That’s a simple, fair request.

    But it won’t happen unless we force the issue. The AI business model is currently based on deception. Demand collapses if they’re honest.

    That’s why the scamming problem will get worse—much, much worse—unless we take prudent steps. Otherwise scams will drive the economics for this powerful technology…”

    As I said, anything it gets right is probably a copyright violation. And the people reaping the profits know it.

    1. tegnost

      anything it gets right is probably a copyright violation.

      Whenever i think about this sort of thing I recall linda green and MERS…that copyright isn’t worth much to those stealing the data/art/musings/IP…”hey wait! My IP is untouchable! How could I survive without my app revenue!” Sad, I know… Too bad about one’s art and musings though…

  28. digi_owl

    What is really crazy about the life expectancy thing is that penicillin only became cost effective thanks to WW2, as before then growing it at quantity was seen as too labor intensive to be worthwhile.

    So many developments we have come to take for granted in the last 200 years or so came on the back of military spending due to hot or cold wars.

    The basic radio tech that allow a mobile phone to work came about so that WW1 spotter planes could give targeting corrections to artillery quicker.

    The integrated circuit was basically a product of the space race. A cold war competition akin to two technological gorillas chest pounding.

    1. Cetzer

      From (~500 BC)
      “War is father of all and king of all”
      “War is a creative tension that brings things into existence”
      So 200 years might be a bit short-sighted, although it is a ballpark figure of the fossil flash¹ (under the pan) or Carbon Pulse, see e.g. The Great Simplification by Nate Hagens
      I suspect that none of the “developments” you mentioned (or perhaps thought of) could have happened without the overdose of easy and extremely plentiful energy, provided by Oil and its lesser brethren. Of course, this frenzy is² already ending, see Energy Cliff.

      ¹Causally Overlapping your observation – that is not wrong but in my view wrong-footed
      ²Obvious for all, who do not suffer from Energy Blindness, another key term of Nate Hagens and others

      1. c_heale

        What is true in the past cannot be extrapolated to the future. Since we now have major problems with resource depletion and global warming, we cannot assume that we will be able to continue technological development.

  29. Carolinian

    That Matlock/American Diplomacy is a must read and thanks for the link. Example

    This happened over the period of a few months in 1991. During that time, the Bush administration hoped Gorbachev could preserve a voluntary union minus the three Baltic countries. In a speech delivered to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on August 1, 1991, Bush advised the Ukrainians (and implicitly the other non-Baltic Soviet republics) to join a voluntary union as Gorbachev proposed and to avoid “suicidal nationalism.”

    Therefore, the total break-up of the USSR in December 1991 was a defeat for American policy at the time, not a victory as would subsequently be claimed and believed by most people, in both the United States and Europe.


    In 1993, Francis Fukuyama, a political scientist who worked for a time on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff, provided another foundation element for what came to be called the “Liberal World Order” in a widely cited book entitled The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1993.

    What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

    The prediction that any present system could be “the final form of human government” was a breathtaking allegation totally void of any supporting historical fact. It was just as fanciful as Karl Marx’s prediction that a proletarian revolution would result in a world free of competing classes, government compulsion and strife. Yet it led to a presumption that the United States could use its military and economic power to transform other societies into democracies with capitalist economies that would live in peace with one another.

    Say what you will about George H,W, Bush but the man who called Reaganomics “Voodoo economics” was clearly a lot more of a statesman than anyone around these days. He even tried to take on Israel. Unfortunately his character defects were another matter–thus giving us the Arkansas grifters and the rest as they say is history if not the end of it.

    1. CA

      In 1993, Francis Fukuyama, a political scientist who worked for a time on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff, provided another foundation element for what came to be called the “Liberal World Order” in a widely cited book entitled The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1993…

      [ What Samuel Huntington realized from the beginning was that the “End of History” was supposed to mean the end of race, the end of culture. Fukuyama’s thesis simply dismissed China as a 5,000 year old racially and culturally distinct civilization. The Fukuyama work was profoundly prejudiced. Fukuyama has simply condemned the Chinese for persisting in being Chinese. ]

    2. hk

      My Russian/USSRian friends blame Yeltsin for the breakup, that Yeltsin aided and abetted it because he wanted to be the top leader, without having the “Soviet” superstructure over him. Not sure how accurate this is, though.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The votes favored union. Yeltsin went full steam ahead.

        An overlooked problem is the age of minor functionaries. No one was around to stop Yeltsin. Everyone was too green.

  30. IM Doc

    A comment about the above Paxlovid article.

    I have the privilege of having 2 4th year medical students with me this month, both from top tier medical schools. Unlike the vast majority of their peers, they actually are interested in the mechanics of statistics and study design. The vast majority of the students today are members of the “evidence-based medicine” cult. No thought involved. If it is in “up-to-date” that is evidence-based and therefore the holy word. Why even deign to think through such things.

    I actually laughed out loud this AM when I read this paper after being highlighted on NC and a few other mainstream publications. The flaw is overwhelming and instantly obvious to anyone with 2 functional neurons who are versed in medical statistics. Both fourth year students, who as I said, are very good for their age, noted it instantly as well. I tend to test my students like this – having them identify issues on their own is very important for their education.

    The problem with the study is very simple – SELECTION BIAS. There was a time and day when the medical editors and writers in the big organs of the MSM were very familiar with all the problems as well. This would have never passed muster. As we all know now, sadly, the MSM is just a blowpiece for the official narrative – no critical thinking skills required.

    This is a backward looking observational study. Following ONLY those people in EMR systems who were actually started on Paxlovid. There is no forward looking controlled placebo group for comparison. A little secret – Paxlovid has so many dozens of bad drug reactions that you essentially eliminate all of the severe cardiac patients, cancer patients, psych patients, kidney patients, and many diabetics from ever taking it in the first place – it will have bad interactions with the meds they are currently taking. Ergo – and presto – you have instantly removed all of the patients from your cohort who would likely get into the hospital from COVID in the first place. So of course, in this self-selected cohort, the hospitalization numbers are going to look GRAND.

    What a complete farce this whole thing has become. Having 40% of the revenue of the MSM coming for pharma really is a problem, wouldn’t you say?

    Furthermore – this data is 2 years old, from Omicron. This has no relevance at all to our current situation.

    One of these students this AM, and he has been by far not alone, from an Ivy League medical school, thanked me today because I allow vigorous discussion of issues – If I had said anything about Paxlovid back home, I may have flunked the course.

    We are so off the rails as a profession and our handing down of the wisdom to the next generation – I am not even sure where to begin.

    The fact of the matter is – I cannot tell that Paxlovid does a thing with these patients. 1 in 3 or so – get a sicker event as a rebound in a week or two. A vast amount of patients are unable to take more than 1-2 doses because of a bad mouth and taste problem – and hives/itching/urticaria.

    Not to mention – NO ONE takes it now – they get to the pharmacy – and “That will be 1500 dollars, Ma’am”. When you have a medical system based on deductibles in the 5 figures – there is almost universal pushback at that price point. No wonder Pfizer is struggling so. I know Dr. CDC Mandy Cohen has assured everyone there is some kind of coupon program. Myself, my colleagues, and none of the pharmacists I work with have a clue what that even is.

    Again – it is almost purposeful.

      1. tegnost

        lies, damn lies, and statistics.
        And from a random goog blurb on test costs…
        PCR lab test results within 48 hours; No cost to you — testing cost billed to insurance *; Test results available on the spot or via MyUCSDChart; SMART Health

        the auld asterisk of conditionality

        At CVS it’s 69.99, a very attractive price point, and your insurance might even pay for it…or should I say you already paid for it as the doc notes re deductibles. So where’s the marketing genius who can come up with the idea to make testing free (well, “free”) and then make it up on volume?

      2. CA

        February 13, 2024

        Here’s how to get free Paxlovid as many times as you need it
        By Leana S. Wen – Washington Post

        When the public health emergency around covid-19 ended, vaccines and treatments became commercial products, meaning companies could charge for them as they do other pharmaceuticals. Paxlovid, the highly effective antiviral pill that can prevent covid from becoming severe, now has a list price of nearly $1,400 for a five-day treatment course.

        Thanks to an innovative agreement between the Biden administration and the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, Americans can still access the medication free or at very low cost through a program called Paxcess. The problem is that too few people — including pharmacists — are aware of it.

        I learned of Paxcess only after readers wrote that pharmacies were charging them hundreds of dollars — or even the full list price — to fill their Paxlovid prescription. This shouldn’t be happening. A representative from Pfizer, which runs the program, explained to me that patients on Medicare and Medicaid or who are uninsured should get free Paxlovid. They need to sign up by going to or by calling 877-219-7225. “We wanted to make enrollment as easy and as quick as possible,” the representative said.

        Indeed, the process is straightforward. I clicked through the web form myself, and there are only three sets of information required. Patients first enter their name, date of birth and address. They then input their prescriber’s name and address and select their insurance type….

        1. IM Doc

          Just try it.

          Also, just ask yourself – Why is medication access relegated to the opinion pages? That seems really messed up to me.

          Patients on Medicare and Medicaid or who are uninsured should get free Paxlovid.

          I am highly skeptical of the verbiage “free” in anything to do with Big Pharma.

          But please note the above statement – and then translate that to all the millions in this country on commercial insurance or Obamacare plans.

          Good times.

        2. Cassandra

          >patients on Medicare and Medicaid or who are uninsured should get free Paxlovid

          Note that nothing is said about insured patients who have yet to meet their (often exorbitant) deductible.

          Yes, patients should get free medications. But that will never, ever happen in the Greatest of All Nations. We are a capitalist society, and that is just the way it is.

    1. Bill Carson

      I’ve been recuperating from my first bout of COVID since Sunday. My daughter, who is a T1D in her late 20’s, was given Paxlovid when she came down with COVID a while back and she suggested I should inquire about it. I assumed it was like Tamiflu. Sunday I did an internet search and Walgreens popped up as a potential source. They had a questionnaire on their website which I dutifully filled out and it indicated I was not eligible. I thought it curious that I would be required to provide lab results within the past 12 months that include kidney and liver function.

      Symptoms worsened Sunday night into Monday and I was a little concerned, so I logged in to my health insurer’s website, Kaiser. Filled out their similar online questionnaire and was summarily informed, without speaking to a health professional, that I was ineligible.

      This seemed really odd to me–that the system has been touting this formulation as a near-miracle drug that has done (seemingly) remarkably well at keeping people out of the hospital and (possibly) dying. And here I am, upper-fifties, overweight, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetic—all of those things which would seem to put me in a high-risk category—and they won’t even let me speak to a doctor, PA, nurse, or pharmacist about it. Makes perfect sense the way you explain it, thank you, but frustrating as heck.

      I’m on the mend now, fever-free, but with some residual phlegm and grogginess plus loss of smell, so I’m glad I didn’t take paxlovid, but still.

      By the way, another thing has surprised me (I guess it shouldn’t). As I said, on Monday I LOGGED IN to my Kaiser Permanente account and reported that I had tested positive for COVID. I kind of expected to receive a phone call or an automated, AI-generated email response from them acknowledging that, expressing corporate concern, and perhaps providing some tips about how to recuperate or when to see a doctor, etc. They have not reached out in any way whatsoever.

        1. Bill Carson

          Oh that’s very helpful, thanks. I suppose I would have had to make an appointment to see a doctor (possibly even tele-health), obtained a prescription, and then I could have used this program to secure the medication for an affordable cost. (In retrospect, that’s a lot of hoops for someone in a fevered delirium to jump through, but it is what it is.)

          Oddly, neither Walgreen’s nor KP’s websites suggested I needed to make a doctor appointment and then I might be able to obtain Paxlovid. Especially odd since Paxlovid is supposedly only effective if started within 5 to 7 days of symptom onset.

    2. jrkrideau

      The article is pay-walled but the problem was glaringly obvious from the abstract. I don’t know the journal but I would have thought the OUP would have decent editors on it.

  31. Carolinian

    Re Dune–having just re-watched Part One I think some of the disappointment has to do with the format. Being a part one it is all table setting for a climax that is yet to happen. And back in the Perils of Pauline days people didn’t have to wait two years for the next episode.

    Looking forward to that climax or at least more of a story.

    1. zagonostra

      I didn’t appreciate Dr. Liet-Kynes being portrayed as a black women, the character is a man in the novel. Nothing against black women, I just thought the change was arbitrary. Also missed Duncan Idaho (or was it Gurney, it’s been a long long time since I read the novel) playing the “guitar.” Also, I recommend wearing ear plugs, when I saw the movie I went to the rest room to get tissue to stuff in my ear, it was the first time I’d been in the movies in years, I didn’t know just how loud the sound track was. Lots could say about the movie, my daughter loved it so it was just good to be together sharing the experience of watching.

      1. Carolinian

        I almost never go to movie theaters now and have a home projector if I want the big screen (my white wall). One big advantage is that you get to control the audio level which should be loud enough to understand all the dialogue and no louder.

        Blame all this on George Lucas and his THX sound program. The theaters have techs who set those loud volumes to what H’wood considers “spec.” I guess the theory is that rock concert levels are giving the audience their “you are there” money’s worth. And with expensive sound systems and surround speakers to some extent that is true. But my above recommendation is actually the correct one IMO.

      2. LifelongLib

        The Liet-Kynes color/gender change bothered me less than the expressed hostility to the Duke, who in the book Kynes likes for risking himself to rescue the spice factory crew from the sandworm. I guess imperialism is a little less popular now than it was even in 1965…

    2. c_heale

      From the trailer Part 2 looks like a standard Hollywood action/romantic movie (i.e. terrible acting). I won’t be watching it.

      1. Kouros

        Riiight! No regular Hollywood movie will have scenes with atomic bombs used to pulverize a mountain range so that the 300 m long sandworms could be driven towards the capital to fight the enemies. That is epic beyond epic and must be seen on the big screen.

  32. playon

    Boeing ousts 737 MAX chief in shake-up as blowout fallout mounts

    They are blaming this manager (and I’m sure he is culpable), while the real problem is that the company is now run by accountants with no aviation background.

  33. Tom Stone

    Here in Sonoma County the new high security County jail is nearly complete, it is six stories tall and covers a large city block.
    Across from it is a Homeless encampment behind a privacy fence on a similar sized lot.
    There are porta potties and potable water provided, but I have no idea how many live there…as long as they are out of sight they won’t disturb the good people of Sonoma County.
    In other news the Homeless have begun to break out the glass doors and windows at the main library, a place that has been their refuge the last few years.
    There are 30-40 homeless who wait at the front door for it to open every day, it’s warm, they have clean bathrooms to use and they can charge their phones or use the internet.

    1. Bill Carson

      Re the homeless using the library as a refuge. The alternatives here seem pretty simple. Let them destroy public libraries or, perhaps, provide them with some sort of sheltered space where they can warm up or cool off, use the restrooms, access the internet, and charge their devices. The former option has some political expediencies in that it allows a certain faction to demonize and dehumanize those experiencing homelessness. But the latter option would be pretty simple to implement, especially considering the glut of vacant office space that could be utilized.

    2. flora

      Your last para makes no logical sense. Is this organic in nature or is antifa infiltrating the homeless camps? Does someone/thing not the homeless want to shut down the library for whatever reason? It’s an election year so time to start some mayhem? Hey, I wish I didn’t wonder about this, too. / ;)

      My local library is also seeing a sudden upsurge in violence, theft, and vandalism attributed to the homeless. Is some PE outfit trying to buy our library, which the town won’t sell… yet. “Nice library ya got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.” ….

    3. Cassandra

      I wonder if the glass breakers may be meth heads, as discussed in the post about multiple-drug users. That is a Venn group that has some (but not perfect) overlap with the homeless, and which is not known for making rational decisions.

      1. marku52

        Some homeless person burnt down the kiddie play area in my local park. Why? Who knows. Not all of these people are just down on their luck.

        1. juno mas

          You’re right. Some have mental illness, some have addiction issues, some are between jobs (hopefully) and some act destructively from the social setting they find themselves in. My guess is they were trying to stay warm one early morning in the park.

          Better to find ways to serve the homeless and begin to resolve an intractable social issue.

          (Somwhere there’s an estimate that providing housing for all the homeless would take 20 Billion $. How much of your tax dollars went to un-house the Ukrainians?)

  34. Matthew G. Saroff

    That tweet on life expectancy, is at best misleading, and more likely completely wrong.

    The change in life expectancy is driven largely (over 80%) by reductions to pregnancy related deaths, in the US female life expectancy was less than men until 1900 because of this, and infant and child mortality.

    2000+ years ago, some obscure book said that man’s span was, “3 score and 10,” or 70 years old.

    1. ForFawkesSakes

      “Since the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System was implemented, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the United States increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019.”

      From the CDC page on maternal mortality.

    2. JustTheFacts

      Indeed. Compare the US and Russia/the USSR.

      It’s unsurprising that “life expectancy” in the USSR was lower in 1950, what with the famines under Stalin, and the effect of World War 2 in which 27 million Soviet men lost their lives. The US on the other hand did not lose as many people, and had an economic boost from WW2.

      Again, in 2015, the effects of the collapse of the USSR and Yeltsin’s anarchy also affected life infant mortality and adult life expectancy, while the US had been mostly riding high.

      Today the situation is flipping. The US has worse infant mortality than Russia does, and worse mortality of white working class men, due to social conditions and outsourcing of working class occupations.

      None of this is due to vaccinations. Indeed, the US fared very poorly during COVID, despite having “the most modern vaccines”.

      1. JustTheFacts

        (which is not to say that controlling infections isn’t important. Just that there is more to the story).

  35. Jabura Basaidai

    considering the wahoo way that trains run these days and the lack of concern for safety and oversight that might eat into profit, it seems fated that a derailed train dumps “Unknown” amounts of coal into a California river –
    and some mental giants want to send oil by rail next to the Colorado and some of its tributaries –
    oh my what could go wrong?/s –

    1. juno mas

      I’m familiar with that section of the Feather River. The railroad runs immediately adjacent to the river for mile and miles. Erosion along the river banks likely is the cause of the derailment (track failure).
      The location of the derailment is, fortunately, accessible to Hwy 20 and the clean-up can be prioritized.

      I had a summer home in the vicinity, and the amount of freight rail traffic that passes along the Feather River floodplain is immense.

  36. Amfortas the Hippie

    adjacent to the boston review thing linked here the other day:
    “Where does this leave us today? Freedom talk may, at present, be most associated with the politics of the right. But its account of freedom is actually less compelling to Americans generally than perhaps at any time since that early twentieth century. At present, there is a wide sense that most Americans experience nothing like freedom as self-rule. They are instead subject to the whims of massive and hierarchical institutions, at work and in politics.

    The conservative response is deeply familiar. But the energy it used to carry with it is waning. More than ever, it feels like the right is falling back nostalgically on the same set of worn-out tropes that worked for them in the past. It continues to tie individualistic self-mastery to dismantling state programs and deregulating the economy. But even its own base now sees that corporate interests are not the same as the public interest. The mid-twentieth-century bargain with business, so good at the time at promoting an entrepreneurial, individualistic freedom, ultimately proved self-defeating, leading to much of today’s precarity. As global economic conditions changed in the following decades, American corporations squeezed workers, abroad and then at home, and steadily eviscerated what remained of midcentury job, pension, and health care achievements.”

    last night, my cousin called(a lil late for me to get all worked up and extemporaneous,lol)
    because he and his woman had been lamenting the economic state…expensive groceries, her wages declining…his contractor work in winter doldrums.
    the consensus between he and i(*) is that the precarity that once was the province of po folks and black people has been creeping upwards for all our lives…until its now being noticed by even upper middle class folks. the hassle of dealing with robotic customer service, the myriad middle men wetting their beaks all around, and 2 parties…as well as a centralised homogenaety of goodthink….and for him…the inability of anyone he knows to buy a house…or coupla acres…so that they can at least enjoy my level of prosperity(!!-**).

    ie: the words out among the lumpen, and the rulers are blinder and more convinced of their mandate of heaven than ever before.
    one of these things will have to give.

    (*-she’s a nice woman…but is congenitally wrapped in red white and blue…no talk of usa as perhaps the baddies)
    (**-as in i can…like in my current and likely permanent Pinch,…feed me and mine…he’s envious of our freezer space and that we havent bought meat, save bacon, for months)

    anywhoo…the “forum” is worth a look.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and linked within the above, from the same guy, whom ive never heard of:
      from 2018, but relevant, i think:

      fta:”For those on the center-left and center-right, there remains a desperate hope that if Trump were to be removed from the scene, through impeachment or defeat, the US could somehow return to its previous trajectory. And for all the past year’s politics of despair, a likely electoral outcome, because of popular revulsion toward Trump, is that centrist politicians in both parties will gain another shot at power. Given the razor-thin margin of Trump’s victory—despite institutional advantages like the electoral college and voter suppression—there is little reason to assume that Trump the politician will enjoy lasting political dominance. But as long as party stalwarts persist in recycling cold-war tropes, they will remain trapped in the same cycles of social crisis and popular disaffection. Even if this combination of nostalgia and outrage works for a couple of election cycles, it cannot work indefinitely. This is not 1989.”

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        and more:
        “This underscores the need for left forces to focus explicitly on how to expand their institutional capacity. Before the cold-war faith in the constitutional order came to glaze over everything, labor and black-freedom activists—together with allied reformers—saw transforming the state and its institutions to make them amenable to popular control as the political problem of the day. This was a central reason why labor and black radicals understood their work not in terms of special-interest bargaining or formal inclusion in the existing legal structure, but as projects to create a genuine democracy: their social movements were mass democratic insurgencies. Activists had clear and contesting notions of political design—and they pressed for institutional changes—from the abolition of the Senate to full voting rights to collective bargaining—that, if implemented, would have dramatically elevated the social power of their bases.

        One way to think today of Sanders’s call for a “political revolution” or of the “Moral Mondays” movement in North Carolina, which tie voter disenfranchisement to broader justice claims, is as a continuation of this exhortation to democratic mobilizing. The goal is not merely to bring back the social welfarism of the past. It is to create an actual left majority—cross-racial and class-conscious—that has a clear agenda serving its interests and, just as vitally, the bargaining power institutionally to pursue those interests. To move past the moribund legacies of the cold war, we need to invest in new democratic reform efforts across the American institutional landscape.”

        ive given up on electoral efforts…until something like that emerges.
        given my experience in the feed store parking lot and the frelling produce aisle, it is entirely possible.
        but it cant be just the odd redneck hippie in the wilderness…a lonely agoraphobe, no less…making it happen.
        evangilism is required…and widespread enough to break through the monomyth…and likely the willingness to be persecuted, arrested and even beaten up(i have been all 3 in my time, as punishment for embodying what we say we are)
        one mind at a time….and we’re way behind…so better gets to steppin.

        1. Kouros

          See what happens when the “Prosperity Gospel” will be declared dead and some evanghelists will start remembering and pushing the story of Jesus kicking out the moneylenders from the temple and that the creed doesn’t say “forgive us our sins” but “forgive us our debts”….

  37. Amfortas the Hippie

    read yet another article…this one from ’22…by this Aziz feller.
    same basic message, and same basic examples.
    but at least its narrative, instead of the usual pseudoacademic bafflegab jargon such sentiments are generally expressed in these days.
    i could see him writing for compact mag AND jacobin.
    but whatever…what he’s made me think of is Yeoman Farming.
    i’m a jeffersonian lefty at root….new dealism/socialism/anarchism…and then the general disillusionment…all came later, and were laid down upon that bedrock.
    the book “5 acres and independence” is next to my bed.
    of course, i’m rather accidentally fortunate to be in such poverty where i’m at…mom paid cash for this place, with the cash from selling the house i grew up in, which was on grandmother’s land, and built with grandparents financial, labor, and labor force help.
    but for yeoman farming(or light industry) to become a thing…as well as its associated fertility of mind… my remarkable existence must be replicated, somehow.
    but at a time when folks are having more difficulty than ever in obtaining land, let alone the means of production…and let alone market access.
    i guess i am assigning homework…because this is something i’d like to hash out, because i reckon its important, going forward into decline.

    1. Kfish

      ‘Urban farming’ is a keyword showing up more and more on the Internet, folks doing intensive market gardening on borrowed land. Curtis Stone wrote a book about it by the same name. Though a lot of them seem to be using it as a springboard to earn enough to buy their own land – the lack of tenure means there’s no incentive to build sheds or other improvements.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Chris Smaje is right there with you, amfortas. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post of his:

      Let me start this journey with my feet on my farm. When people visit it, I notice three main responses. One is an unbidden enthusiasm for the rural paradise we’ve created, the beauty of the place, and our great good fortune in avoiding the rat race and producing honest food from the land. Sometimes, the words are spoken, and sometimes, I only see it in their eyes, but the sentiment that usually accompanies it is: “This is great. I wish I could do something like this, but I can’t because…”

      The second response takes in our rustic accommodation, the compost toilets, the rows of hard-won vegetable beds, the toolshed speaking of the work to be done, and the reek of manure and compost with a kind of recoiling pity. It seems to say: “You went to graduate school and got a well-paid job. Then this. How did it go so wrong?” Or the more actively disdainful: “Each to their own. But nobody wants to farm anymore. All that backbreaking work!”

  38. CA

    “China starts drafting bill to boost private sector and tackle sluggish post-Covid economy following major setbacks”

    The points here are that selected private sector companies are slowly but steadily boosted yearly in line with the current planning emphasis of the central government. This is a yearly or even half-yearly affair. The Chinese economy has been faring well in all, and after fast growth in 2023, the pace of growth now appears to be quicking. I have no idea what major setbacks there may now be, since national policy adjustments are continually being made to resolve emerging economic problems and the Chinese have been adept at resolving problems these 45 years.

    Also, an economy in which there is massive critical infrastructure development has an important growth base.

    What Western China-growth critics should be paying close attention to is the remarkable speed of Chinese technology advance and application of the technology advances to rapidly exp[anding development country markets.

  39. richard

    I have a complaint. Why do you post items that have a shield which most of us do not subscribe to with out a written summary like Eve always gives ? I think it is a waste of your time and ours. If you don’t have time for a summary forget it. ( unless you are focused on a certain readership.)

    1. griffen

      There is a function I find useful in such endeavors…it just might require more incremental effort on one to actively seek and find out results if they are not rightly served on a platter for immediate consumption.

      Just a suggestion…but digging around is often helpful. And obviously…the news can be like a firehouse to drink from…

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