Links 2/24/2024

On the shared genetic memories between us, the cat and the fly aeon Anthony L)

Neanderthals’ usage of complex adhesives reveals higher cognitive abilities, scientists discover New York University (Chuck L)

Astronomers Discover the Brightest Known Object in the Universe, Shining 500 Trillion Times as Bright as the Sun Smithsonian (Anthony L)

Fascinating Obscure Texts from Ancient Greece and Rome Tales of Times Forgotten

Universal antivenom for lethal snake toxins developed by researchers Scripps (Chuck L)


Mercedes-Benz Backs Off Plan To Only Sell EVs By 2030 The Verge

Voluntary carbon markets: “decades of misrepresentation, mismanagement, and fraud” REDD-Monitor (Micael T). Quelle surprise!


Old Blighty

Sunak urged to act against Truss for spreading rightwing conspiracy theories Guardian (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Why War Bonds Are Returning in Europe Tom Luongo (Micael T)

Germany legalises cannabis, but makes it hard to buy BBC (furzy)

New study: Economic inequality in Sweden – An overview of facts and future challenges Swedish Fiscal Policy Council (Micael T)


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 140: UN experts urge countries to stop arming Israel as Netanyahu unveils postwar plan Mondoweiss (guurst)

Palestinian Authority says Israeli post-war Gaza plan ‘destined to fail’ Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

* * *

UN experts call on countries to immediately halt arms exports to Israel Middle East Eye (BC)

Hamas awaiting new truce proposal from mediators’ talks with Israel Arab News

Ireland must use full influence to end Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza Sinn Féin (BC)

* * *

The Trauma Experienced in Gaza Is Beyond PTSD New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Ghost town in Israel’s far north as spectre of war looms Al-Monitor (BC)

Children, women death toll in Israel war on Gaza 6 times higher than Russia-Ukraine War ANews (BC)

* * *

Anti-Palestinian Animus at Root of U.S. Anti-Terrorism Laws, New Report Reveals Palestine Legal

* * *

Israeli missiles, spy gear and drones in high demand at air show amid war Ctech (BC)

New Not-So-Cold War

How Russia Could Respond to West’s Potential Frozen Asset Seizure Sputnik (Kevin W). Not enough mention that the sanctions are NOT legal under international law. They need to be approved by the UN.

Defence Forces destroy another A-50 Russian aircraft Ukrainska Pravda (furzy)

Medvedev admits getting to Kiev for reaching targets of special military operation TASS (guurst)

Collapse of Operation Citadel 2.0 TASS (guurst)

Ukraine can no longer win The Hill

War in Ukraine at 2 years: Destruction seen from space – via radar The Conversation (Kevin W)

It’s absolutely treacherous’: Minnesota photojournalist on capturing 2 years of war in Ukraine MPR (Chuck L)

* * *

US lacks long-term sustainment plan for key Ukraine weapons, Pentagon watchdog says Defense One. From earlier in the week, still germane.

Rodents damaging Western hardware in Ukraine – Le Figaro RT

* * *

No doubt happening, but at any meaningful scale?

* * *

The Biggest Ever Sanctions Have Failed to Halt Russia’s War Machine Wall Street Journal (Li)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Leisure Firm in UK Told Scanning Staff Faces is Illegal BBC

A type of cyberattack that could set your smartphone on fire using its wireless charger TechXplore (Dr. Kevin)

FTC Fines Avast $16.5 Million For Selling Browsing Data Harvested by Antivirus 404Media (Micael T)

New CMS rules will throttle access researchers need to Medicare, Medicaid data STAT (BC)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Fatal Flaw Undermining America’s Defense Industrial Base Brian Berletic, YouTube

US jets intercept high-altitude balloon over Utah BBC (Kevin W)

Security meeting shows Western leaders no honest peace-brokers Shine (BC)


Trump investigator offers cellphone data casting doubt on Fani Willis relationship timeline The Hill


Biden wants to put the US on permanent war footing Responsible Statecraft. Accelerating the late-stage USSR trajectory.

Turns Out, the Fake Biden Robocall Was Made With Magic New Republic (furzy)

Budget Brinksmanship

GOP shutdown fears grow: ‘We could be in a world of hurt’ The Hill


Trump voices ‘strong support’ for IVF treatments after Alabama ruling Guardian

Alabama Lawmakers Move to Protect I.V.F. Treatments New York Times (Kevin W)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Supreme Court is about to decide the future of online speech The Verge (Micael T)

Government Gag Rules Keep Vital Info From the Public FAIR (UserFriendly)

VICE shuts down website and lays off ‘hundreds’ of staff RT (Kevin W)

AT&T Restores Service After Massive, Nationwide Outage CNN

Class Warfare

Teamsters Prez Threatens Copyright Infringement Suit Against Dissident Website – 500,00 Argentine Healthcare Workers Strike – 20,000 Cal State Undergrad Workers Unionize Mike Elk

What is Eyes on Education? Rokita Launches Site to Pillory Teachers Rolling Stone (furzy)

Antidote du jour. From Mark T’s visit to Kruger National Park:

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Karma Chameleon by the Culture Club)

    Now Gaza sees mass murders every day
    Goes on non-stop while we protest and we pray

    There’s a sense of dereliction
    As we watch this blow by blow
    We won’t set any restriction
    It’s tally-ho. We let them go.

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

    And the stain of this won’t ever wash away
    We air freight them brand new bombs every damn day

    Every bomb run and every hit done
    Murdering a helpless throng
    Must my soul now live forever
    Knowing I just went along?

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

    Israeli Jews are homicidal
    Territory is their idol
    Israeli Jews are homicidal
    Territory is their idol

    Gaza’s not their jurisdiction
    It’s not a human lawn to mow
    Now they seek a mass eviction
    We answer NO. We answer NO.

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

    How the hell are we supposed to live while this goes on?
    This is just wrong. This is so wrong.
    Everyone gets queasy from a glimpse of a Gaza scene
    This is obscene. This is obscene.

  2. DavidZ

    Rodents damaging Western hardware in Ukraine – Le Figaro RT

    turncoats, spies, traitors – those rats!

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Leisure firm told scanning staff faces is illegal”

    Serco Leisure said that they had taken legal advice before installing those cameras. And that staff had not complained about them – mostly because if you did you would probably lose your job. But did Serco Leisure really think this all the way through? Suppose there was a data leak or hack and all that biometric data ended up for sale on the net. Would that not make Serco Leisure legally liable for any adverse effects experienced by those staff members? Side bet here. I am going to guess that they never bothered deleting the files for staff members no longer working for them but left them on a server somewhere.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Biden wants to put the US on permanent war footing”

    Performative theater by Biden. If you want to know why this will never work, just listen to Brian Berletic’s video “The Fatal Flaw Undermining America’s Defense Industrial Base” in Links today. To do so successfully, they would have to first come up with an industrial policy. Then they will have to nationalize the MIC so that they are no longer working on a profit motive to turn out gold-plated weapons that don’t work in combat but real-deal weapons. Then they may have to bring home some manufacturing facilities to ensure that the work is done. In addition, they would have to stop sourcing raw materials from countries like China and Russia who are actually target countries. If they can do all this, then the Biden White House would be well on the way to putting the US on a permanent war footing. Won’t be holding my breath though.

    1. jefemt

      It happened pretty quickly in WW2. All we need is some sort of shocking crisis to emerge- to legitimize it.

      Big Tail, wag dog. Might want to clear off the coffee table before Big Dog does.
      Commander- the ultimate Arbiter!

      1. The Rev Kev

        The difference is that back then all those factories were still sitting there as well as a trained workforce, even though the Great depression made them under utilized. When war broke out, those workers went back to work and those factories started to work again and were even expanded. That capacity is no longer there now but was shipped to Asia from the 80s on. What machinery was not sent there was sold for scrap metal. Those workers were also thrown on the scrap heap and never got a chance to pass along their skills to a younger generation. To a large degree that would have to start off from scratch.

            1. BeliTsari

              Nuh uh! Installing RR Merlin engines & .50 Cal machine guns in P51s & Shermans being suicidal, against German armor, 88mm guns, optics & FM radios typified how we ignored everything & still designed weapons as political boondoggles, killed a LOT of Allied troops. We’d done far better, murdering working folks, with weapons designed for US Imperialism & WW-I sales?

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Sorry, my family came out of that part of the economy. My grandfather ran a job shop and also taught at Pratt at night how small manufacturers worked to lawyers and other professions who need to know a bit about it. There were a lot of what we would now call metal-benders back then.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Last night on the news I saw Victoria Nuland claim that Russia bought millions of washing machines so that they could pull the chips out of them. They really do want to keep that myth alive for some reason.

      2. Em

        There was a powerful civilian industrial base in 1940 including owners, factory managers, technicians, and skilled workers who could easily transition from building cars to building tanks. They’re used to competing with other strong players on price and quality and taking great risks for great rewards.

        Today we’re at the end of a 40 year deindustrialization. We still produce most foodstuff and bulk goods domestically but for everything else, it’s either imported or “made in USA” as final assembly. The American weapons makers are all boutique makers living off of cost plus Pentagon contracts who can’t think in terms of inexpensive “good enough” weapons.

        China got where it is today after 45 years of making growing its industrial capacity the number 1 national goal. Russia was lucky to recover a lot of its industrial capacity because only 20 years lapse between the collapse of the USSR and 2014, so enough of the people with knowledge and infrastructure was still around to be reconstituted.

        1. CA

          “China got where it is today after 45 years of making growing its industrial capacity the number 1 national goal.”

          Surely so, and remember that the US formally decided to “contain” a thoroughly peaceful China in 2011. In necessary response, China began to construct a shipbuilding industry which now produces more than 50% of the entire world ship tonnage produced each year and is virtually entirely domestically sourced.

          Also, remember that in 2011 the US decided to stop allowing China to work jointly on space exploration and development programs. The result being a comprehensive Chinese domestically sourced space development program…

      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        America still had an industrial ecosystem in those days. Plus a lot more not-yet-used resources.

        Today we don’t have either one.

    2. Pat

      And as you point out below, establish training programs for the manufacture of not just the arms but the materials and parts, skills that have been largely lost in the last four decades. Complicating this has been that the traditional training methods of the past have either been crapified (vocational colleges now largely grift organizations) and apprenticeships in the industry (eliminated as taking too much from the profit at the top especially since you are supposed to pay actual good wages after the apprenticeship is over.) in other words they can’t even ramp up the training programs, they have to rebuild them as well as the factories and…

      They may have had sociopathic fantasies of these wars for years but they aren’t even Call of Duty level military strategists, especially on logistics. And they are just as big on short term business profits grift as most of their donors. Both of which have made the America they have controlled unfit and unready for war against a comparable nation much less two.

    3. CA

      “Biden wants to put the US on permanent war footing”

      Please notice that with military spending that has now reached $1,021.8 trillion yearly and climbing fast, Biden has evidently already put the US on a permanent war footing:

      January 25, 2025

      Defense spending was 56.1% of federal government consumption and investment in October through December 2023 *

      $1,021.8 / $1,819.8 = 56.1%

      Defense spending was 21.0% of all government consumption and investment in October through December 2023

      $1,021.8 / $4,856.8 = 21.0%

      Defense spending was 3.7% of Gross Domestic Product in October through December 2023

      $1,021.8 / $27,938.8 = 3.7%

      * Billions of dollars

        1. Revenant

          I mean $1.028 trillion, not $1,028 – unless you are French and your number format convention is reversed. Or Biden is spending a quadrillion….

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The Biden initiative is mislabeled as putting the u.s. on a “permanent war footing”. As far as its real effect and intent, I believe the initiative intends to adopt the u.s. defense industry as a permanent and primary financial dependent of the u.s. government at the expense of all other u.s. government spending. The current defense budget suggests that Biden’s initiative is redundant although it may succeed in shifting an even greater proportion of u.s. tax revenues to defense.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Perhaps less traditional than generally assumed: prior to WWll it was the more honestly-named Department of War.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I play with capitalization — for example “u.s. government”. To me there is Defense [u.s. spelling] and much the deprecated defense. The u.s. has neither a defense nor a war department, just a misnamed department for the transfer of public funds to Corporate interests.

        3. Pat

          But being honest would wake a lot of people up about who is waging war without being attacked. And who is getting rich from it. The shift from War to Defense was all about branding the spending as something necessary. More people see the actual benefits of the Post Office and Medicare and even food stamps than our war mongering. Do you really think the American people would be approving our government cutting all of those while spending an admitted trillion on War when we aren’t under attack? They are already balking at the money being sent to Ukraine and even some pushback on Israel rather than emergency spending on American tragedies like East Palestine and Lahaina.
          Can’t wait till they find out their trillions yearly for decades has left them without a full army, empty warehouses, weapons that don’t work, and a country incapable of addressing any of that because now we are always at war (hat tip to Orwell).

      1. CA

        Would probably have to wave a whole lot of environmental legislation as well, as much of that raw material extraction and primarily refining is anything but clean…

        [ Interestingly and importantly, the Chinese have been developing clean rare earth extraction technology:

        November 9, 2022

        Researchers develop green, efficient electric rare earth mining tech ]

    5. Carolinian

      Maybe Biden’s just an idiot. Ken Silverstein wrote that essay on Hillary saying her real problem was her mediocrity. Of course Hill considers herself a “stable genius” but doesn’t say it out loud like Trump (who–one never can be quite sure–may have been kidding).

      Whereas whatever one may think of him, Putin is obviously not an idiot. Why wouldn’t Biden resent such a big smarty pants?

      The intellectual caliber of our politicians has declined drastically and that’s saying a lot.

      1. Reply

        Biden’s ability to self-delude juices up his sizable ego. His life arc doesn’t bend toward anything beneficial, and is punctuated by fits of reactivity due to poll results. There isn’t any fixed point of reference beyond himself, representing the devolution to the Solipsistic Presidency. Ugh.

      2. David in Friday Harbor

        Biden’s not just an idiot. He’s also a crook. What does Biden and Jake Sullivan’s “military Keynesian” Permanent War Footing get for us mere mortals?

        More starving of our infrastructure is what we get: I live on an island in WA served by a “marine highway” that was once state of the art. Today the ferries are 50-60 year-old rust buckets that are constantly breaking down. We are 6 miles from Vancouver Island, but my friend can’t directly visit her brother there any more because ferry service suspended under Covid won’t be restored until 2030 due to an inadequate number of boats.

        Why? The 80-year old shipyard that was contracted to build new vessels was sold to Private Equity and is now controlled by Carlyle Group. They refuse to build any more civilian boats and solely accept work from the Pentagon. Joe Biden spends most holidays at Carlyle founder and co-chairman David Rubenstein’s Nantucket Island estate. Of course, Biden and Rubenstein don’t worry about the ferry schedule; they have helicopters.

        As always, follow the money.

        1. playon

          We live nearby on the mainland and my wife lived on one of the San Juan islands for many years. I didn’t realize that the reason there aren’t any new ferry boats was because private equity became involved – it’s disgusting. Maybe the WA ferry system should start buying boats from the Chinese.

          1. David in Friday Harbor

            It’s yet another sad tale of Carlyle’s greed. Todd Pacific became part of Vigor Industrial in 2011, who were happy to take-on building the proposed hybrid vessels. Sadly Carlyle Group was on the prowl for defense contractors to gobble-up and made Frank Foti a very rich man when he sold Vigor to them in 2019. Blob-adjacent Carlyle isn’t interested in constructing price-capped vessels for WSF when defense contracts are heads-I-win-tails-you-lose risk-free propositions.


            BC Ferries obtained their latest boats from Germany (Coastal Class) and a Dutch company operating in Romania (Island Class). China builds excellent vessels, but the D.C. Blob seems stupidly to be at war with the country that manufactures just about everything that Americans rely on in their daily lives. The Orange One demonizes them as well, so this is unlikely to change through the “democratic” process.

            This is how Private Equity and the Permanent War Footing are ruining the quality of life for average Americans.

    6. Lefty Godot

      Whatever happened to “Give Peace a Chance”? Apparently the draft really was the prime motivator for the peace movement, despite its brief flare-up again during Reagan’s tenure. It’s a bit unnerving that there is so little opposition to the Uniparty’s full throttle Cold War II revival push.

    7. Glen

      Well, you and Brian are quite correct about what would have to be done to achieve an effective war footing as FDR did for WW2. But I suspect the performative “war footing” will be to impose severe rationing on American citizens and give even more trillions of dollars to the exact same American oligarchs that have gutted the American military and amply demonstrated that in Ukraine, and the middle east. (It’s the you will eat bugs, own nothing, and be happy because the DC elites and their owners, the American oligarchs, want to eat Russian caviar, and drink Russian oil – and followed by Taiwan will be an America vassal state despite treaties and all that legal crap.) It will be as stupid and damaging as when Obama took the exact same people that caused the GFC in 2008, bailed them out with trillions of dollars, and put them back in charge of the economy.

      It will obviously result in the exact opposite of what Biden states – it will accelerate wrecking America and the American military and further empower Russia and China, but it will put a whole lotta dollars in the oligarchs pockets so they really don’t care what it does to America. They live in a different America, the one with all the money.

      1. playon

        It’s not the same America that the wealthy live in, in fact it’s not America at all – oligarchs have homes all over the world and many have second passports.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Cannabis legalization–

    The German law sounds a little schizo, an incoherent compromise forged in the parliament. It sounds like the way Kansas, home to Carrie Nation, handled alcohol with “club” memberships.

    Here in Ohio, the people took control with a cleverly timed voter initiative that legalized recreational marijuana and home grow. The Republican legislature is doing its best to undermine and slow walk the new law, but in the meantime, the people are moving forward. Last weekend, a Cannabis Farmers’ Market was held in Cleveland. Clones and seeds were on sale along with the various accessories useful to cannabis growers. I’m not getting out much these days, so I did not attend, but the organizer promises to make it a regular event.

    The past week has given me an opportunity to experience one of cannabis’s reputed benefits: lessening nausea from chemotherapy. It works! Cannabis lozenges (obtained from a legal dealer with my official Ohio medical marijuana card) or a couple of puffs nixes any queasy feelings within minutes, so far eliminating the need for piling anti-nausea medicines on top of an already lengthy list of medications I have to take. I also know the side effects, most of which are pleasant.

    Depending on how things go, I’m hoping to grow some cannabis outside this summer in a discrete spot. No more lights, pots and fertilizer. Just sunshine and rabbit poop.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Depending on how things go, I’m hoping to grow some cannabis outside this summer in a discrete spot.’

      Grow it outside in a police station garden. They’ll never notice. This actually happened years ago with a police station down in Sydney and it was only when it got too large did they finally notice it.

      1. Laughingsong

        We used to throw pot seeds in the planters that lined the main street of our California town when we were teenagers, and waited to see how big they’d get before being noticed and pulled.

    2. Pat

      I am so happy you got the relief you needed and deserved. Many good thoughts for a successful treatment and a full recovery.

    3. Tom Stone

      Good luck with the Chemo, mine was brutal but the cancer is still in remission three years later.
      Two of the Nurses in ICU recognized me when I visited a friend there last week, beautiful women are a delight.

  6. Em

    Been listening to Jon Elmer laying out the history of the siege on Gaza since 2005, starting at about 35:30, on his periodic sitrep discussions with Justin Podur. I know most of the pieces already but Jon makes a devastating case altogether.

    Highly recommend these sitreps. Even if they weigh strongly towards the most favorable interpretation of Palestinian perspective, it’s one that’s completely missing from most of Western analysis, even by the most sympathetic ones such as Sachs, Ritter, and the Matés.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        Clare is a person of conviction with a fiery accusatory rhetoric that warms my intellect – Rashida Tlaib should take note and go for it too without reservation, although i do appreciate her unwavering stance against the genocide – she’s already a marked person by the zionists trying to unseat her by funding opponents so has nothing to lose –

  7. Pat

    Just a thought about Texas having more housing because of lack of regulation. There is another factor not mentioned that the per mile density in Austin and Houston hasn’t begun to reach the levels in those blue states for the comparison cities. Being able to build single family and/or small complexes means the dangers of collapse of a cheap build are not the same as for building with more stories and more residences per story. There are almost ten times the people per square mile in the much larger urban section of New York City than the urban center of Austin for instance.

    Constrained space might be as large a factor as ease of permits. I won’t even get into the greed factor that affects the choices of what gets built. Look I am not saying that the added difficulty and cost of building in NY or San Francisco is not a factor, of course it is. But not all of that difficulty is regulation. This is a highly deceptive simplification.

    1. griffen

      Interesting chart. I live in the upstate region of South Carolina, and once upon a time researched making a home purchase in early 2021. I chose wisely to delay that decision, or at least I think I dodged a bullet of tying myself to an employer that is circling the drain so to speak. Renting does bring a benefit, less responsible for out door weekend chores. This region of SC is experiencing or continues to experience an influx of employers and newly relocating residents. And with that there is a constant supply, it seems, of new residential construction primarily single family. Hard to figure what the regulations are, but infrastructure (roadways, new schools) appear to lag this growth.

      I’d consider regions like the ones mentioned in the chart, and would include the Dallas / Ft Worth metro and also Greater Atlanta. Hordes of companies located there and the surrounding counties, and many employees move there for attractive opportunities. I’ve had family living in the metro Atlanta area since the middle 1980s…that place is not for myself though. Final thought, buying a bigger or perhaps a newer house based on the sq foot valuation makes a big difference I expect.

      1. Pat

        And most of these areas require one or two cars per family, an added expense to housing.

        I spent a week in Atlanta and one of their more ritzy suburbs in the late eighties. As insane as NYC is, and it is insane, I would be suicidal in Atlanta. It is better disguised, but much of the same problems of wealth disparity were evident if you looked, and at the same time there were far less public services. Oh and it was already spreading out.

        1. Carolinian

          I lived there for years and once almost enjoyed tootling around the vast metro area (bigger than London’s I was told). But it has gotten much worse and probably that is since you were there. One factor is that the “new urbanism” is causing many more to live downtown thus further straining those hard to expand intown freeways. Even though they have MARTA Atlanta is so very much a car culture and anyone who hates driving will feel out of place.

          Where I live now is becoming more like Atlanta and I have to use my knowledge of all the back ways–just as I did there–to compensate. There’s a bit in Steve Martin’s L.A. Story that makes fun of this as he drives absurd shortcuts to get home.

          1. Synoia

            After graduation from University I got a jop in London (Higher supply of females compared with a Male only University).

            Communing from my parents house (Half mile walk, train to London, Tobe to the City) I hour Pius.

            Moved to South Kensington, and paid rent rent. The commute on the Tube was the same duration as commuting from My Parents home.

            And I was poorer and could nor afford food and rent.

            Because the company was a Bank subsidiary, we could eat in the Bank Cafeteria.

            But, the Commute to the Bank cafeteria was long, and the cost of commuting across Lindon made food local to the office same cost as the Cafeteria.

            I was poorer than when I was a Student.

            I finished the job and emigrated to South Africa. There I was better paid with a better climate and less cost of living . I never worked for a British Company again.

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            “The Californians” SNL bit with Kirsten Wiig, Fred Armiston and Bill Haider had an ongoing, funny-because-it’s-true trope about LA driving routes that’s worth watching.

        2. Jason Boxman

          And most of these areas require one or two cars per family, an added expense to housing.

          If I add in my transportation costs, it isn’t much cheaper in nowhere NC than it was in Somerville, MA, although you certainly get more square footage in nowhere-ville. But life isn’t all about square footage. And the quality of that area is bounds higher than whatever I have out here in exchange for only a very modest cost of living savings.

    2. Milton

      Housing crisis, being caused because of development regulation, is utter BS. For the past 3 years, more HUs have been built than add’l household formation in the US–i.e., household growth is slower than housing unit (HU) development. Currently, there are over 15 million vacant HUs in the US and that number is rising. I will create a map of this at a near future time.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Perhaps the “over 15 million vacant HUs[housing units] in the US and that number is rising” are priced beyond the means of those who might want to form a household. Are you claiming that development regulations have little or no impact on the cost/price of new housing units or just that there are other impacts that should also receive mention.

        1. Synoia

          I would like to see the Commute times for the new houses. In California the new houses are far from work, which really destroys family time.

        2. Revenant

          I cannot speak of the USA but in general the price of housing is dictated by the price of land and it is not in the interests of landowners to sell so much so quickly as to reduce the price. Only developers in distress do this. The rest bleed them out slowly.

          Several studies in the UK have shown that the price of housing is is essentially inelastic with respect to housing completions, for any reasonable assumption of completion volume. The “market” never clears at a lower level because the biggest owners if housing, mortgage lenders, will advance more money (explicitly in a boom; via extend and pretend in a downturn) to keep the price of land bid up.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            In the u.s. the cost of land is another cost in construction in addition to costs resulting from development regulations which to my mind include zoning and local taxes as well as other costs. The cost of land is not independent of these costs associated with development regulation. The costs of housing are also dependent on the costs of construction materials and skilled labor, the cost of money borrowed to purchase large parcels of land, the cost and ‘complexity’ of obtaining subdivision or lot-split approval, the costs in time, money, and complexity for government inspections of the work. And these are only the things I can think of without much effort. I believe the cost of housing is a complex issue. Michael Hudson has many times described how the cost of housing and land is tied to the placement and quality of government provided services like public transportation, roads, public amenities like parks, local schools, distances from sources of employment …

      2. CA

        January 30, 2018

        Case-Shiller Real Home Price Index, 1992-2023

        (Indexed to 1992)

        [ Robert Shiller has a national real home price index extending from 1890 to the present. For reasons I do not understand, the real home price index is now far, far above any level recorded since 1890. ]

    3. mrsyk

      Thanks Pat, agreed. Whenever I see claims along the lines of “everything you need to know in one chart” my knee jerk reaction is to move on to the next essay.

    4. Seth Miller

      As an attorney representing tenants for 35 years, I am shocked that NC is posting YIMBY propaganda here. Deregulation, whether of zoning laws, or fire safety requirements, or rents, does not help create affordable housing. Conditions in cities where land is scarce and most people walk or take public transit, like San Fransisco, cannot be compared to car-centric cities like Austin, where they have not even used up the undeveloped land within city limits yet. Here’s a chart I found after just two minutes of research:

      Once a city uses up its buildable land, only government action or subsidies will produce affordable housing. And doing that without producing displacement requires ironclad tenant protections. Otherwise, the new housing will just gentrify existing residents away and cause more homelessness.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘All things interesting
    Chances that a cow steals your shoes are slim, but never zero’

    Impressively, the cow took those shoes while on the hoof.

  9. Em

    Can I hope, now that Gaza and Ukraine have both turned into unwinnable quagmires and we’ve well and truly ran out of munitions and Russian/Chinese things to sanction, that the American government will pivot back to protecting us against Chinese balloons on our borders?

    Also…I always thought that being stuck in a Groundhog Day loop would be way more fun than the last 4 years have been.

    1. Skip Intro

      The dynamic seems right. Why waste million dollar missiles on thousand dollar drones over there, when we can do it here with much cheaper, safer balloons.

    2. digi_owl

      Looking at passes for “popular culture” these days it feels like there has been a time loop going since maybe 2010.

  10. Wukchumni

    Yack it up, yack it up
    Buddy gonna shut you down

    It happened on the DC strip where the divide is wide
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Two political parties standin’ side by side
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Yeah, the fool-injected Pachyderms & Donkey Show
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Revvin’ up their rhetoric, and it sounds real mean
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Yack it up, yack it up
    Buddy gonna shut you down

    Declinin’ approval numbers at an even rate
    (Ooh, movin’ out now)
    On account of one, possibilities of a shutdown accelerate
    (Ooh, movin’ out now)
    Freedom Caucus is in fret, Johnson is startin’ to spin
    (Ooh, movin’ out now)
    But AIPAC is really diggin’ in
    (Ooh, movin’ out now)
    Gotta be cool now
    Power shift here we go

    Any chance of funding wars is windin’ out in a bad row
    As the fool-injected Pachyderms are really startin’ to say no
    To get the traction they’re still riding the Hunter clutch
    The laptop isn’t helping that machine too much

    Johnson to the floor, hear his masters speak
    (Ooh, pump up dogma now)
    And now their slim lead is startin’ to shrink
    (Ooh, pump it up now)
    He’s hot with religious indignation but it’s understood
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Nothing ever gets done in this DC hood
    (Ooh, pump it up now)

    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down

    Shut Down, by the Beach Boys

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Bravo! Note that the House is now threatening to stay adjourned until UpChucky sits down to bargain in good faith on the first four appropriations bills, needed by next Friday at midnight to stave off a shutdown:

      Here is a suggested B-side to your work of parody:

      Every day I get in the queue
      Too much, omnibus
      To vote on the ‘bus that takes more from you
      Too much, omnibus
      I’m so nervous I just sit and smile
      Too much omnibus
      Its pages laid out it would stretch for a mile
      Too much, omnibus

      Thank you Congress for getting me here
      Too much, omnibus
      You only do your job five days all year
      Too much, omnibus
      I don’t wanna cause no fuss
      Too much, omnibus
      But can I have muh omnibus?

      (Freedom Caucus) Noooo !

      I don’t care how much you’ll pay
      Too much, omnibus
      I’m gonna ramrod an omnibus every day!
      Too much, omnibus

      I want it I want it 3x …
      (Freedom caucus chorus)
      Ya can’t have it!

      Billions of interest compounds each day
      Just for those t-bills to repay
      Billions of interest compounds each day
      The principal we won’t repay

      Omnibus! 12x
      I want muh omnibus … I want muh Omnibus
      (w. Keith Moon on lead drums)

      I said now I got muh omnibus 2x

      Billions of interest compound by the day
      The principal we’ll not repay!

      Swamp creatures, they’ve got some crust!
      As they shirk their duties with an omnibus

      Too much, omnibus
      Magic Bus by The Who

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Fascinating Obscure Texts from Ancient Greece and Rome. Spencer McDaniel.

    Maybe it’s that I have spent more time around the Greek and Roman classics than McDaniel has (she’s awful young-looking in the photo).

    First, I highly recommend the Palatine or Greek Anthology. The women writers mentioned like Erinna and Anyte are there, as are other women poets like Korinna (reported to have taught Pindar) and Telesilla. The Greek Anthology ranges across several hundred years, because it was a kind of work in progress. (And unfortunately for “queer theorists” and other academics, it has many poems about same-sex love affairs, some rather comic.) All in all, it is a wonderful sentimental education.

    If you read any books on cookery that deal with the Mediterranean world such as those by Patience Gray and Mary Taylor Simeti, the cookery books mentioned in the article are not obscure. These two authors mention Apicius, the Hedypatheia (Good Things to Eat), and the Sophists at Dinner. Patience Gray, in fact, gives a recipe for lasagnette with chickpeas from Horace. Mary Taylor Simeti gives recipes for some ancient Greco-Sicilian pastries that have descendants in modern Sicilian cookery.

    Pausanias’s travelog of Greece is not obscure. It gets quoted all the time, because he was so thorough.

    Likewise, Lucian of Samosata is often mentioned as the inventor of science fiction, so he isn’t as obscure as the author would make it seem.

    Diogenes Laertius also is often quoted, being a major source for information on philosophers, some of it rather spicy.

    All in all, these writers are easily accessible, and their concerns are human and humane that communicate across the centuries.

    1. zach

      I couldn’t get through that whole article in one sitting, it was a Minoan labyrinth of tangents each one more worthy of exploration than the last.

      About Bill Belichick it is said, he has forgotten more about (american) football than most people will ever know – there’s a parallel to be drawn here but i’m not feeling all that witty at the moment.

      Unless, should we start calling you “Coach Reality Czar?”

    2. jrkrideau

      I don’t think McDaniel is writing for an audience that reads Latin cookbooks. More one that thought that movie about the Spartans had some relationship to reality. : )

      It is an interesting blog overall.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I thought the same about some of her references. I wasn’t familiar with some of the poets who writings exist only through fragments or quotes by others, so that was interesting. But while Pausanius may not be Plato, he isn’t exactly obscure and quite a bit of his writing has been preserved. I still have the two volume set the was assigned for one college class I took. And Loukianos (which I misread at first as loukanikos – haha) became much less obscure when I realized she was talking about Lucian.

      Never actually read Lucian though, but now I think I will. And thanks for your own recommendation as well. More books for the list!

      For those who, like the author, express an interest in gender and sexuality, an interest I’m coming to suspect is inversely proportional to the frequency that one finds another to wrinkle the sheets with (if you’re doing it, you spend less time yammering about the “theory” of it all), I would recommend Catullus’ poetry which is also quite racy and often rather hilarious. A lot of people today seem to think they’re breaking some new ground with their contemporary mores, and they most decidedly are not. One thing that struck me with Catullus when I read him in college was his pleading to a female lover not to abort her pregnancy, a practice that I had thought was a relatively invention recent until then. There really is nothing new under the sun.

    4. R.S.

      Thank you. Yes, I used to think that Lucian was really famous. Likewise, Batrochomyomachia is well-known, at least by name and gist. It’s one of those funny highbrow snubs. Laertius is Philosophy 101, widely quoted.

  12. Wukchumni

    Trump voices ‘strong support’ for IVF treatments after Alabama ruling Guardian
    Why stop at embryos?

    An average male is hoarding so many spermatozoa that he could people a country of 100 to 200 million, were all that baby batter to come to fruition.

    1. Em

      What happens after the “parents” die? Are the “siblings” responsible for upkeep or do they become wards of the state? Will the IVF embryos become a race of immortals?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Why War Bonds Are Returning in Europe”

    I seem to recall how when Greece was on the torture rack several years ago, the possibility of Eurobonds was raised to solve this problem. but then the northern countries like Germany and the Netherlands stomped on this idea but hard and saying that the whole idea was irresponsible. Now because of the Ukraine it is just ducky. The Ukraine seems to be the Great Enabler for the EU the past two years. Here we see this with Eurobonds but there are other examples. Militarization of the EU? It’s OK because of the Ukraine. Increased censorship and harassment of journalists? It’s OK because of the Ukraine. Centralization of power in the EU to unelected officials? It’s OK because of the Ukraine. I have to say that in some regards, you could call it the Ukrainization of the EU.

    1. digi_owl

      It is not Ukraine as such, but that supporting Ukraine signals allegiance by those in “charge” to the globalist agenda. And thus no matter the outcome, sans a full on “red army” crossing of the Rio Grande, they will fail upwards once their tenure in Europe ends.

    2. Mikel

      “..The EU can’t afford to raise the capital it needs to complete its fiscal integration plans with the ECB forced up to 4.5% to keep pace with Powell’s FED. They need these rates back near zero to fund their grand dreams of a hydrocarbon-free totalitarian future…”
      It’s entertaining to watch people try to grasp “higher for longer.” Rates that are currently not high in the longer scheme of things. And trouble grasping that higher yields – at a high enough rate – will also be attractive to investors looking for long-term place to park cash with less risk.

      Also, are they still talking about creating bonds backed by stolen Russian reserves?

  14. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept: Milk Ranch fire lookout

    The odds of us seeing anybody on today’s walk are hovering at around zero, as nobody goes there.

    Once upon a time there were manned fire lookouts all over the Sierra Nevada, the early warning system of the day.

    This one was used from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Now its a communications hub for Sequoia NP, repeater stations, etc.

    It narrowly missed being burned up in the 2021 KNP Fire…

    Can’t wait to see the view!

    1. playon

      Lots of abandoned fire lookouts here in WA state also, we hiked up to one of the more accessible one a couple of years ago. Back in the day being a lookout was a great job for people who didn’t mind spending a lot of time alone. Author and poet Gary Snyder wrote a book about spending a summer in one – back in those days they had to supply the lookouts by bringing their food in on mules. He worked for two summers in the North Cascades but couldn’t get the gig as he found himself barred from working for the government due to his association with the Marine Cooks and Stewards.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everything burned around the fire lookout, and aside from an outbuilding that burned up, it remains intact.

        Astounding views of places we were already pretty familiar with, from completely different angles of repose.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Censored Men
    🇷🇺🇺🇸 Biden called Putin a “crazy son of a bitch” after he said Russia would prefer Biden for POTUS over Trump.’

    Perhaps I am wrong but it really seems that Biden has a personal hatred for Putin and it is all personal for him. It was only a year or so ago while he was in Poland that he demanded that Putin be deposed. I do not think that any previous President has said such things to a Russian leader before, even during the height of the First Cold War. Does Biden hate Putin because all his plans are being frustrated? That because of him Project Ukraine is headed off a cliff? You have to wonder if some of the decisions that Biden makes about Russia is coloured by this intense dislike of Putin. Certainly Biden has gathered around him in the White House people that also hate Russia and especially Putin. Not a good brew that.

    1. Pat

      Well it was a rather impressive way of saying Biden is massively incompetent and less of a threat than a reality star. That is IF you believe that Trump was the worst president in history as Biden and his entire circle does.
      I wouldn’t doubt that Biden hates Putin, but then I believe that Joe has a long list of world leaders he has a hard on for. Between the Senate and his time as VP, he has more than enough opportunities to show world leaders what a tool he is, and how useless. That “fighting” Russia has been a huge fund raiser for politicians (both for campaigns and privately) for decades hasn’t hurt.

    2. Screwball

      Certainly Biden has gathered around him in the White House people that also hate Russia and especially Putin. Not a good brew that.

      He’s no longer active as I understand it, but IMO there was no one in this administration more unhinged and deranged about Russia (and Trump) than Alexander Vindman. The guy is a pure psycho nut job, and I’m sure he’s not alone. He’s also a hero to the never Trumpers and MSNBC dems.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      I think it’s probably his idea of acting tough for his supporters (telling it like it is etc.), in which case it seems like he has their number.

    4. griffen

      Joe Biden, fighting Russia and the Commies for you America. Vote Blue (and Vote Often?) in November !! I’m surprised he didn’t also include “Our Democracy” or “Democracy” in his retort.

      Joe of course knows that Trump and the MAGA movement is colored in red, so much in common with the Russian flag…or at least per that Rothkopf piece linked in WC yesterday. I quickly scanned through it, Vomit inducing.

      1. Screwball

        Speaking of vomit inducing…

        I was told today that Jill Stein, RFK Jr., Cornell West, and Trump are all backed by Russian services. Because no rational person would back any of those “charades” so it has to be Russia. These people are completely off the rails unhinged.

        Somebody make it all stop.

    5. zach

      This is related from memory. Facts, timeline, and characters may or may not be based on true events. Consult with a physician before continuing.

      I have no way of verifying the following anecdote, but one or another purveyor of “Russian propaganda” that I used to frequent related a story about how at the end of Mr. Putin’s term as Prime Minister (ie the Medvedev interregnum), none other Uncle Joe told Mr. Putin in no uncertain terms NOT to run for president again. Because, I guess, that’s how the game is played.

      Needless to say, Mr. Putin took umbrage to the audacity.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, I have heard or read that too. And Biden did it in person.

        We then really promoted Navalny and his fellow travelers when Putin did not listen. Putin got 64% of the vote.

        1. Pat

          Well if true that was a well deserved big middle finger to Biden’s sense of power. And even before his mental decline he was insecure enough to want to hurt anyone who didn’t “respect” him.
          Jeez, forget high school, these jerks are still acting like grade school bullies. If armies and nuclear weapons weren’t involved it would be pathetic. But they are and that is frightening.

    6. Es s Ce tera

      Well, imagine you’re Biden, a career politician, a lifelong Zionist, oldskool Russia and China hater, you’ve always dreamed you’d become prez and die a national hero having lurched the country toward worldwide US and Israeli dominance and supremacy through conquest of China, Russia and the middle east. The devious plan (pinky finger to mouth) was to conquer Ukraine, turn Europe into vassal states, destroy Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, diminish China, cause the economic collapse of Russia and also the overthrow of Putin…

      But instead EVERY SINGLE THING has gone horribly and completely wrong. Had that f**king Putin just f**king rolled over, Ukraine would be won by now and the US onto the later stages of the plan, would be directly engaging China while supporting Israel’s invasions, with European industrial might chugging along nicely and supporting the effort.

      Now, instead, Ukraine is lost, Europe’s industrial base in collapse, the US is financially and materially supporting a genocide and is consquently diminished on the world stage, war materiel and stocks intended for other fronts per the plan are now greatly reduced and Israel is about to invade Lebanon, possibly Syria and probably Egypt too.

      Meanwhile, US military and technologically supremacy has been demontrated to be false. Your generals and all experts are probably strongly recommending against any big moves until that wee problem can be figured out.

      And where the f**k is Steiner?!?! And what does Epic Beard Man think he’s doing?!!

      I think if Biden hated Putin before, that hatred is infinitely greater now.

      1. Kouros

        Too bad he stoped writing after February 2022. CSIS visits at home and likely some inuendos have convinced him to stay put…

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Bad Times at Black Rock: CBS Causes Uproar After Seizing the Notes of Investigative Reporter”

    I wonder if the lawyers for Fox news also got onto CBS’s case as a lot of the files seized date from her time with Fox News which includes confidential sources. Having CBS say that they now have the right to blow the covers of those confidential sources at their whim means that this effects Fox news operations too which would be intolerable.

  17. zach

    Myrotvorets (миротворець) is/was the website compiling information about people in opposition to certain Ukrainian political fringe elements. Some of the people identified on this website have been subsequently unalived. Myrotvorets means peacemaker in Ukrainian.

    A blue check twitter account going by the handle Peacemaker (@peacemaket71) is imploring people to sign up for a local guerilla resistance telegram channel in Odessa region.

    I smell a rat.

    Then again, I live in an agricultural area, so it could just be a… could just be a rat.

    1. ambrit

      I wonder if this ‘Peacemaker’ outfit has “advisors” from the FBI’s anti-terrorist taskforce in house? (Look for it somewhere in the FBI’s “Black Box Budget” line.)

      1. zach

        “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

        Thanks (other, different) Uncle Joe.

  18. Wukchumni

    Following record-setting rainfall, kayakers are flocking to Death Valley to experience a rare opportunity.

    Just before sunrise on 19 February, Patrick Donnelly headed to Badwater Basin in California’s Death Valley National Park to take photographs. As the lowest point in North America, the basin is normally a surreal expanse of parched salt flats stretching as far as the eye can see. But on this day, what the longtime area resident saw as he approached took his breath away.

    “I said to myself, ‘Oh my god, this is incredible,'” said Donnelly, who is the Great Basin director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “[Death Valley] is the hottest, driest place in North America, and all of a sudden, it literally has billions of gallons of water. It has been completely transformed.”

    About this time in 2005, we were treated to the best floral display i’ve ever glimpsed in Death Valley as a result of a series of storm that hit from Xmas to just past New Years.

    There were vast fields of yellow everywhere-the predominant color, but not limited that that hue.

    Lake Manley was about the same size as it is presently, we drove a causeway across it and the reflections were something else.

    We had quite the group headed to Saline hot springs in Death Valley NP over Presidents Day weekend, but 4 feet of snow at the high point on the road going in, combined with storms ongoing while we would be there, made the trip a no-go (holds up tiny fist against the sky) sadly.

    1. JBird4049

      Seeing Death Valley like this is something I would really like to see. Between living in the Bay Area and never knowing when it will happen does make that difficult.

  19. Carolinian

    Chris Hedges interviews Rabbi Shaul Magid of Dartmouth on the nature of Zionism. Some interesting passages and here’s just one

    Chris Hedges: You have had these prescient critics – Yeshayahu Leibowitz is pretty amazing, he foresaw the dark places Israel would go if it continued to occupy the Palestinians, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt. You quote Isaac Bashevis Singer, a writer I love, and he wrote that exile was necessary to perpetuate a longing that produces Jewish genius. And for Singer, Yiddish was the language of exile.

    Shaul Magid: It’s a fascinating essay that I discovered pretty late in writing the book and then decided that he needed to be included because Singer considered himself a Zionist, yet he understood that the greatness of Judaism, the genius of Judaism, was that which was produced in exile. Not only in exile – I think this is Singer’s point – But because of exile. There’s something about that experience, whether it’s an experience of marginalization, an experience of disempowerment, an experience of being apolitical or non-political, that enabled Judaism to form and develop in ways that created an entirely distinctive, robust, and ethical tradition to some degree with all of the caveats. There’s a line that I also quote from Gershom Scholem in his interview with the Mukit Soor from the ’70s where he said, “Zionism sought to end exile and it was those that were opposed to it that understood it more than those that were in favor.”

    Or in other words to think outside the box you have to be outside the box. In very general terms I personally have always had the theory that the reason for the huge Jewish contribution to the 20th century was about being outsiders and now that they’ve created their own box they (the Zionists) have become the thing they opposed. Or, to put it another way, we humans are all so very much the same except for our circumstances. Obviously this view is a problem for those who were raised to think of themselves as a world apart. At any rate worth a look

    1. James Brooks

      enabled Judaism to form and develop in ways that created an entirely distinctive, robust, and ethical tradition to some degree with all of the caveats.

      All traditions are distinctive in their own way.

      Judaism is certainly robust. No argument there.

      The last part says, “Judaism is a tad ethical, but there’s a whole lot of caveats to even this minimal degree of canonical ethicalism.”

      I agree.

    2. Kouros

      I found some seeds of this malignancy in literature. In Thomas Mann’s “Joseph and His Brothers”, on the deathbed of Jacob, Josep’s father, the old man goes into a raving diabtribe about the rise in power of their line. Quasi-apocalyptic.

      Then in Colleen McCullough “Roman Republic”, when Ceaser attacks Egypt and has to deal with the resps of Jews in Alexandria, some not nice things are thought by Caesar about these reps and what they were standing for, thoughts alluding to this dark malignancy.

  20. tegnost

    It seems trump long ago figured out that abortion/ivf are one of the very few sticks the dems have left to beat their crew with

  21. Tom Stone

    Where will the school teachers come from next year?
    Here in California they will be exposed to Covid and whatever else the funding units bring to class daily for the next four Months.
    They have pretty much all had Covid at least once already and the damage is cumulative, will 10% of them be so damaged they can no longer do the job?
    And of course the kids and their Families will also be getting sick repeatedly, which might have an effect on the Markets that our betters have not fully taken into account.

    1. mrsyk

      I’ve noticed more than a few troubling headlines concerning public schools recently. This one caught my eye, from earlier this week. Massachusetts school requests National Guard to rein in ‘violent’ students: ‘Sex and drugs in classrooms, NY Post. The lede, Massachusetts school requests National Guard to rein in ‘violent’ students: ‘Sex and drugs in classrooms’.
      More, “Over the past few months, our high school has experienced a disturbing increase in incidents related to violence, security concerns, and substance abuse. The situation has reached a critical point, more recently we had an alarming 35 teachers absent, underscoring the severity of the challenges we are facing,”

  22. Wukchumni

    Pastor Under Fire For Claiming Women In Shorts Deserve To Be Assaulted

    During a sermon recorded last August that recently went viral, the Reverend Bobby Leonard blamed sexual assault of women on their clothing.

    Shorts people got no reason
    Shorts people got no reason
    Shorts people got no reason
    To give

    They got little hands
    And little eyes
    And they walk around
    Tellin’ great big relationship stories
    They got little noses
    And tiny little teeth
    They wear high heel shoes
    On their size 6 little feet

    Well, I don’t want no shorts people
    Don’t want no shorts people
    Don’t want no shorts people
    ‘Round here

    Shorts people are just the same
    As you and I
    (A fool such as I)
    All short pants are above reproach
    Until they incite
    (It’s a wonderful world)

    Shorts people got nobody
    Shorts people got nobody
    Shorts people got nobody
    To not incite

    They got little baby legs
    And they stand so low
    You got to pick ’em up
    Just to say hello
    They got little cars
    That got beep, beep, beep
    They got little voices
    Goin’ peep, peep, peep
    They got grubby little fingers
    And dirty little minds
    They’re gonna get you every time

    Well, I don’t want no shorts people
    Don’t want no shorts people
    Don’t want no shorts people
    ‘Round here

    Short People, by Randy Newman

    1. Late Introvert

      Speaking for a friend, who never got taller than 5′ 5″, and who was in 9th grade at the time it was on the radio, man did he really hate that song!

      1. eg

        I was no fan either, but I grew later (99th percentile on the growth chart where late starts are concerned, apparently).

  23. griffen

    Asking for a friend, since I don’t know the application of law here and only tangentially have followed this court case. If the cellphone data says your location was X and you testify the location could have been X, Y or Z, which is the better version to believe. Hard to trust what the prosecution has been up to…”You can’t hide, Your lying cell phone ties, and Your lawyer smile, is a thin disguise…”

    Hey it’s Atlanta..just say I like the Waffle House and they are never ever closed ( except in those cases of a hurricane or catastrophe )…Something smells here but that’s just my non-legal opinion. And for once, someone on the Trump lawyer team seems to be up to the task.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you have a smart phone, it is often a few meters:

      GPS (Global Positioning System) technology has become increasingly accurate over the years, and modern smartphones are capable of providing highly accurate location information using GPS. Generally, GPS location accuracy can range from a few meters to several hundred meters, depending on a number of factors.

      The accuracy of GPS location can be affected by a variety of factors, including the number and strength of GPS satellites in the area, the presence of tall buildings or other obstacles that can block the GPS signal, and the quality of the GPS receiver in the device. In addition, GPS accuracy can be improved by using other location-based technologies, such as Wi-Fi positioning or cellular network triangulation.

      So he might need an independent expert.

      If he has a dumb phone, those cannot be located accurately enough to be used in court.

      I can tell you here that the ride hail service can’t GPS me worth squat. Wants to send cabs to all sorts of weird places. I always have to input my location.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I think WiFi is triangulation and so not accurate enough for court. GPS is even on a separate battery so turning it the phone does not do it. You need either to go into airplane mode or use a Faraday bag. Or leave it home a lot as I do. There are many trips I make where my phone does not go with me.

  24. tegnost

    • People and politicians in blue states say they care deeply about the housing crisis and homelessness but keep blocking housing so both get worse

    They care deeper about their property values

    1. Lefty Godot

      Their raison d’etre is caring deeply about all sorts of stuff. Visibly, in public spaces if possible. But that’s it. A super-sized nothingburger outside the caring deeply business.

  25. Ghost in the Machine

    “Researchers unknowingly spotted the ultra-bright quasar, officially called J059-4351, in images taken in 1980 by the Schmidt Southern Sky Survey, a telescope in Australia—but at first, they mistakenly identified it as a star. Typically, astronomers find quasars using machine-learning models trained to survey large areas of the sky for objects that look like known quasars in existing data. This makes it harder to spot unusually bright quasars that are unlike anything seen before.“

    Interesting for this drawback of machine learning (AI) to come up in this context. The algorithm missed the biggest quasar because it was out of the training set range

  26. griffen

    File one for Class Warfare or Hunger Games 2024: Mega Millions. The lottery jackpot has increased to be greater than $550 million, and no winner was reported for last night’s drawing.

    You can’t win if you don’t play…I am not one to actively condemn anyone for playing. With the NFL season over and done, the options for active betting are a little less “gold hued” so to speak.

  27. ChrisRUEcon

    First, an observation: my sweet ${DEITY}, the NC team has hit the ground running hard to start the year. The volume of posts is deluge-onal … :)


    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Ugh … the sheer stupidity of it all. In an election year, where #Jo3yJ4ckA$$ is losing in the polls and facing “replacement mutiny” from various state and party factions.

      Dude’s frickin‘ clueless … and the Dems continue to show how feckless they are.

  28. Carolinian

    I walked by my nearby polling place and voters were trickling out–none of the usual campaign signs. Not being a Republican I decided not to vote and passed up the chance to weigh in on my least favorite SC politician.

  29. Tom Stone

    I reread some of Leticia James reassuring remarks this morning “If you aren’t Donald Trump you have nothing to worry about” sounds like the definition of selective prosecution.
    If the Dems were serious about “The Rule of Law” and holding even the powerful to account Donald Trump would be in the dock at the Hague for the murder of Soleimani.
    As it is they look like vicious clowns.

    1. c_heale

      That means that everyone else has to worry that if they get on the wrong side of the wrong politician, they will be prosecuted egregiously.

      They should all be terrified.

  30. Maxwell Johnston

    The Biggest Ever Sanctions Have Failed to Halt Russia’s War Machine–WSJ

    I’ve noticed several recent articles in the western MSM grudgingly admitting that RU’s economy is resilient while also describing it as a ‘war economy’ or ‘war machine’. To me, both phrases conjure up images of deprivation, shortages, long lines, flickering electricity, pale thin children huddling around fires to stay warm, grim-faced soldiers marching down the streets, and so forth.

    Having recently returned to Tuscany after two months in Moscow, I can only say that–in Moscow anyway–nothing could be further from the truth. The city was oozing prosperity; good infrastructure, no shortages of anything in the shops, the usual traffic, even the restaurants we frequented were packed. I didn’t post my usual comment here on NC summarizing my observations because little had changed since my last visit in May. So for the sake of continuity, I did notice two changes. One: many more Chinese cars on the roads. Two: lots of billboards exhorting the population to vote in the upcoming March elections (“Putin-Russia-2024” reminded me of Louis XIV’s “L’etat, c’est moi”). Maybe I saw two possible indicators of a labor shortage (fewer manned cash registers at the supermarkets and slipshod snow removal away from the main thoroughfares), but to be fair all the supermarkets are pushing the self-checkout lanes these days and there truly was quite a lot of snow this winter. So I’m not even sure about the labor shortage.

    As for military presence (i.e., the ‘war machine’ bit): there are still many billboards encouraging young men to volunteer for the the contract (professional) armed forces, and I saw two crippled soldiers: one outside our local polyclinic (an otherwise strapping young man with one leg amputated being helped along by a woman, and an old business colleague showed me a photo of his young nephew recently back from the front, taken at a military hospital where he is being fitted for prosthetics having lost both legs below the knee). Otherwise, one would hardly guess that there was an armed conflict going on not so far away. Just normal chaotic city life.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that wintertime Moscow was glittering and lovely, with the many holiday lights reflecting off the snow and the buildings. Eye candy, especially in the city center. And it was a pleasure to be in a country that heats its buildings properly during the winter.

    Maybe–just maybe–the sanctions will have a long-term stunting effect on RU’s future development, but I rather doubt it. The world order has changed.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for the report. Not too long ago Larry Johnson showed pics of the Kremlin bedecked with lights and crowds. Looked like they also had a roller coaster to match the Western mania for Ferris Wheels?

      Not very London during the Blitz.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          I didn’t notice a roller coaster by Red Square, but we made our annual family pilgrimage to its outdoor skating rink for Valentine’s Day.

          In Italian, a roller coaster is also “montagne russe” = Russian mountains.

          In Russian, a roller coaster is “американские горки” = American slides.

          1. ChrisRUEcon

            > but we made our annual family pilgrimage to its outdoor skating rink for Valentine’s Day

            “горки” Park?! ;-)

            One of my fave Cold War era films!

      1. zach

        Nor would it be, no one is blitzing Moscow just now.

        And how fortunate are we, that we can brush aside a strapping young one legged man, and a double amputee below the knees – cost of doing business I suppose, and besides! It’s only a Russian!

        I wonder did Mr. Johnston feel compelled to ask the strapping young “crippled” man how he felt about life at the moment they crossed paths? Or did they even cross paths, it’s hard to determine by Mr. Johnston’s telling – perhaps he saw the cripple, at one time presumably an anatomically complete human being, from his taxi or bus or homestay window?

        And to think, some number of miles to the south and west of Moscow, there are young, strapping (and not-so-young and not-so-strapping) men (and apparently women) being relieved of the burden of their limbs at a rate of… 10 to 1 is it? Or has it drifted higher?

        Moscow is a beautiful city no doubt. I hope to visit one day.

        1. Late Introvert

          OK. So Ukraine is in a world of hurt at the hands of the US. Nobody here would dispute that. Your point is?

          1. zach

            The story told was about only seeing a couple of “crippled” Russian soldiers on a trip to Moscow, and yet you’ve managed to unsee them entirely. Unmentioned at all was the ratio of Ukrainian “cripples” – pardon me for writing that in to someone else’s narrative, it really doesn’t have any bearing. After all, they’re only Ukrainians, and probably nazi fascist scum at that!

            My point… Let’s see what is my point… Can’t seem to see… Or remember where i put… Well, you got me, I appear to have lost my point. Not as traumatic as losing a limb, for sure, but I do feel awfully silly now!

            Oh, here it is.

    2. mrsyk

      For whatever reason, this story has been getting top billing. I spent way too long in the car yesterday and was subjected to npr’s coverage (parsing, “Moscow just appears to be thriving economically, actually the sanctions are killing them, you just can’t see it.” and other crap along those lines). I’m not sure what we’re being trial ballooned for, but it seems to revolve along Navalny’s death, of which we must be reminded of on a continuous basis, but if I were a betting man I’d wager it’s about securing more billions for “Ukraine”, because we need to defend our freedoms which are hated by Russians. It’s hard to fathom how bad western news media is these days.

      1. Jason Boxman

        No one outside the beltway, NPR crowd, care about Navalny’s death. I doubt much anyone outside of the liberal metro-areas has even heard of him. I’m surprised these types aren’t holding rallies shouting “death to Putin” honestly. It’s all quite unhinged.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      Yekaterinburg is doing fine as well. Someone visiting here from Israel, and rather hostile to Putin and the war, has noted with some surprise that economic activity (in malls, online marketplaces, etc.) is thriving, although municipal services seem to have declined (they have been pretty poor at clearing out snow this year). And yes, restaurants are absolutely packed here too.

      By contrast, Israel’s economy is obviously hurting – volunteers have to gather the harvests in absence of manual labourers, while production suffers from delayed deliveries as necessary parts must take the long way around Africa (at a factory where a family friend works, anyway, but I doubt this is altogether isolated). Hamas and Houthis are much better at economic warfare than Americans these days.

  31. antidlc

    OK, I have to ask.

    RE: AT&T outage

    Was it due to someone with cognitive decline?

    Did a lot of the experience walk out the door with the Great Resignation?

    1. notabanker

      Well, it certainly was not the cyberattack that every liberal news org speculated about on Thursday. Those pesky rooskies……

  32. Jason Boxman

    The sign of elite incompetence of our times, always racing!

    Donald Trump Is Racing Against Time to Find a Half-Billion Dollar Bond

    So many articles include “racing” in their headline, it’s hard to not notice anymore. Why is everything in the United States a race? Lack of foresight? Poor planning? And now they’re racing to get a budget deal before yet another possible government shutdown.

    Like, did no one know that appropriations run out soon?


  33. Willow

    > How Russia Could Respond to West’s Potential Frozen Asset Seizure

    If Europe offloads the assets to fund Ukraine (to be pissed up against the wall) and then down the track wants to play nice with Russia again, Europe is going to be screwed. Europe will be too heavily in debt to refund the confiscated assets. Russia will then be in a very good position to pick up choice European assets or market (esp. energy) monopolies/contracts. (cue Nelson Muntz: haha!)

    > Defence Forces destroy another A-50 Russian aircraft

    If true, highlights key problem for West. All of these types of aircraft are inherently vulnerable up against a peer adversary. If West can’t get these aircraft close enough to the battlefield its a major loss of ‘sight’. And particularly for UK, too expensive to now replace.

    > Medvedev admits getting to Kiev for reaching targets of special military operation

    Putin’s historical narrative is that Kiev is a Russian capital city. So it’d be more surprising Russia doesn’t go there. Russia can’t afford for Kiev to become a new Berlin. The longer the conflict goes on, more likely European economy collapses (beginning of societal collapse) and Kiev will be offered up to Russia on a platter.

    1. John k

      Seems this area changed over time.
      2014 election Kiev, unlike Kharkiv oblast, voted very heavily for west leaning guy. Imo Kiev will remain part of ukr rump. So in this case dnieper border makes sense.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          And will continue to do so. National allegiance is extremely fluid; remember how a majority in Ukraine was against independence until it was a fait accompli, at which point a majority was found to be in favour. I think it’s certainly true that you can’t count on any snapshot of current sentiment to remain relevant even in the near future.

  34. Revenant

    Two important articles I’d like to recommend to the NC crowd, in different ways:

    Tendentious, self-serving market-blindness arguing to increase the strategic petroleum reserve into a strategic everything reserve to stay the invisible hand when it wabbles (free registration for FT Alphaville may be required)

    End of days, end-of-the-pier farce that is UK politics (a by-election where Labour and Green party candidates have been disowned for anti-Zionism and the Tory has gone on holiday!)

    Hamas is pulling the rug out from under Starmer in the UK….

    1. griffen

      I could have voted yesterday perhaps should have indeed voted in the primary. Not sure yet who I would pull the lever for. Hold my breath and count to ten…I don’t own a MAGA hat or any of the MAGA paraphernalia, finding Trump as a nominee hard to accept once again. However I do certainly subscribe to the party of Let’s Go Brandon.

      Alas, men’s college basketball in late February is a welcome distraction…

  35. VietnamVet

    Besides trench warfare, rampant death and imperialism, the basic similarity between today’s wars and World War I is the arrogant incompetence of the global aristocracy, then and now. The intent of the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza is profiteering, aggregating resources, genocide and overthrowing the opponents.

    There is no diplomacy to end these wars because that would mean that the Axis of Resistance has won and resurrected the multi-polar world. Actually, a nuclear weapon enforced peace of a Cold War 2 and DMZs separating combatants would turn out better for Americans than the looming defeat and economic collapse brought on by the loss of World War Three. Yet, the Western Empire (NATO) continues down the path to extinction already taken by Imperial Germany, Russian Monarchy, Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Imperial Japan last century.

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