Links 2/3/2024

Australian girl swings large snake in the air to save her pet guinea pig Washington Post (furzy)

We Finally Know How Ancient Roman Concrete Was Able to Last Thousands of Years ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

The Prophet — the Archetype of Societal Renaissance Living Philosopher. Running this despite it being obviously wrong. The Greek oracles were very much part of the power structure. Soothsayers have a very long tradition (see also astrologers) and are neither magicians nor priests.

What is Disease X and why is it in the news? New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Lupus and other autoimmune diseases strike far more women than men. Now there’s a clue why Associated Press (ma)


Latest Covid booster offers 54% protection against infection STAT. Not an impressive #.


How a US mining firm sued Mexico for billions – for trying to protect its own seabed Guardian

Old Blighty

Labour to ditch £28bn annual green investment pledge, party sources say Guardian (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Germany is — once again — the sick man of Europe Thomas Fazi

Persistent drought Catalonia declares a water emergency Tagesschau via machine translation (guurst)

Segun Aremu: Nigerian traditional monarch shot dead and wife kidnapped BBC

South of the Border

Did Drug Traffickers Funnel Millions of Dollars to Mexican President López Obrador’s First Campaign? ProPublica. Userfriendly:

We didn’t want to be seen messing with Mexico’s politics police has to be the biggest laugh line I’ve heard in a long time. what a sad hit piece, probably “leaked” by Trump people as a pretext to invade Mexico.


UN chief ‘extremely’ concerned over possible expansion of Israeli offensive to Rafah Anadolu Agency

‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 118: Mass grave found of Palestinians tied up, killed ‘execution-style’ Mondoweiss (guurst)

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Israel now says six, not 12 UNRWA staff part of Hamas attack New Arab (Kevin W)

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US District Court Judge: “It is every individual’s obligation to confront the current siege in Gaza” Juan Cole (Randy K)

‘He is not listening to us’: Discontent with Biden grows in Michigan’s Arab community Detroit News (ma)

Palestinian American Leaders Decline Invite From Secretary Of State Huffpost (Kevin W)

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Israel and Hamas closer to ceasefire deal amid warning over Gaza children Guardian. Not seeing much on the Middle East focused sites…They do report Biden going to the Middle East again, when his presence is a negative for getting anything done. Aaron Mate also warns against promises of Palestinian state, that Israel is very adept at inserting anodyne terms that make them easy to neuter.

* * *

Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)


Chickens in the Middle East Black Mountain Analysis (Li). Important.

US launches retaliatory strikes in Iraq, Syria Middle East Eye

New Not-So-Cold War

As We All Know… Andrei Martyanov (guurst). On the US Patriot use in shooting down the Russian transport plane carrying mainly Ukraine POWs.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Brazilian spying scandal brings back bad memories from dictatorship Brian Mier

Imperial Collapse Watch

US should be ready to deter both Russia and China over next decade — official TASS (guurst)


Trump says he would block US Steel sale The Hill (Kevin W)

UK court throws out Trump lawsuit over Steele dossier Washington Post (furzy)

Jordan subpoenas Willis on federal grant spending The Hill


Trump holds narrow lead over Biden in new poll The Hill

Haley’s Campaign Caught Creating Its Own Fan Mail PJMedia. BC: “What a hoot!”

GOP Clown Car

Driving While Trans Now Illegal In Florida Jalopnik

Oregon high court says 10 GOP state senators who staged long walkout can’t run for reelection Associated Press


Mass immigration amid mass inflation? How to keep low-wage workers low Ramin Mazaheri (Dr. Kevin)


Texas Medical Board asked to define abortion emergency exception STAT (Dr. Kevin)


The Intelligence Paradox: AI May Make Markets Less Rational Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Will AI save us from customer-service hell? Economist (Dr. Kevin). This makes using credit cards even more important, sadly. They give very strong chargeback rights and they supersede whatever the merchant tries to impose (the merchant has agreed to the network’s chargeback rules in signing up with Visa/Mastercard/Amex). So you will need to enlist the Godzilla of the financiers to counter the Mothra of the incompetence or designed malfeasance of AI customer service.

Amy Klobuchar introduces bill to prevent algorithmic price fixing Axios (Dr. Kevin)

US Payrolls Surge by 353,000 at Start of Year, Wages Also Jump Bloomberg

US Cattle Herd Shrinks to 73-Year-Low in Blow for Beef Lovers Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Google will no longer back up the Internet: Cached webpages are dead ars technica (Kevin W)

The Bezzle

Apple employees outnumbered customers at Vision Pro launch in San Francisco’s Union Square SFGate (Kevin W). I can’t see how anyone with an operating brain cell would wear them outside the house. They reduce situational awareness (due to distraction by the special features) and say you are very well off.

Guillotine Watch

What are the Enhanced Games? Billionaire Peter Thiel backs new competition labelled ‘doping-legal Olympics’ SportingNews (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Hidden prison labor web linked to foods from Target, Walmart Associated Press (Paul R)

Big Pharma will have to answer to the American people Bernie Sanders, Fox (furzy)

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

And a second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. kana

    So many podcasts lately have been about trying to figure out who is pulling the strings behind the “globalist” or “deep state” agenda, with quite a few speculating about secret societies from the past who still influence the “elite” agenda today. I’ve yet to see one of those get the facts of those groups or their ideology correct. The teachings that were the basis for the “secret teachings” of the famous secret societies today like Freemasonry, the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism etc., developed over many years among the European nobility after gaining a rebirth in Europe a few years after the first translation and newfound popularity of Hermetica during The Renaissance, notably at first among leading Catholic philosophers, nobles, and priests. See The Secret Teaching of All Ages

    1. i just don't like the gravy

      It’s all nonsense. Crap like this doesn’t deserve to be “gotten right.” Hermeticism and all this pagan esoteric woo-woo junk is just LARPing. Always has been and always will be.

      There is only One Truth and I will tell you more about it if you pay me $25 an hour and provide health insurance

    2. ian

      Maybe it’s because I came of age in the Nineties, getting high and reading Lyndon Larouche’s “Dope, Inc.”, but after entertaining theories of the British Crown and the Vatican locked in deadly struggle, with the Gnomes of Zurich/Illuminati pulling strings at a higher (or lower level), I finally settled on it being bond traders who were the ones “pulling the strings”.

      Data point (Carroll Quigley- educated) Bill Clinton being quoted as saying (in Bob Woodward’s 1994 book, The Agenda):

      “You mean to tell me that the success of the economic program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?”

      Without providing more data points, I will confess that my view of the world is not far from Paddy Chayefsky’s character Arthur Jensen and his “corporate cosmology”.

      An excerpt:

      You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immense, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels.

      It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!

      Full speech (5 minutes) here (youtube)

    3. Morincotto


      While I am sceptical relating to how relevant any such esoteric traditions really were to a rather materialistic, venal and corrupt powerelite (outside empty bragging to their equally rotten peers about how supposedly enlightened they were, but I strongly suspect that the ruling elites of all ages tended to make for rather lousy mystics), I’m nonetheless very interested in the histories of and parallels and connections between all those traditions.

    4. chris

      I remember being in the room during a big meeting at the enormous company I worked for and hearing about the exciting opportunities for us as global warming accelerated and the arctic was cleared of ice. How “big water” would become the next profit center for the company as our exposure to the oil market reduced. How public contracts to rebuild large infrastructure components due to predicted wars would bring in billions of dollars of revenue.

      I remember looking around at my fellow engineers, and not seeing doubt in any of those faces. I remember staid corporate jokes following the slides, even though we were talking about a situation that suggested suffering on a massive scale for millions of people. There were no bankers in the audience. No Koch brothers. No cloaked illuminati members cackling in the back of the room. This was just an executive senior vice president sharing details with mid level management and those bellow what was going to happen and how the company had plans to navigate that future.

      That was the moment I decided to start looking for another career.

      I don’t know who is pulling the strings of the puppet governments around the world. I don’t know who is the money behind the money at Davos. I don’t know why all these wealthy people seem to earnestly believe that the common man should bear all the burden of climate change and the wealthy should be spared. I don’t know why we will never see a peace dividend. I don’t know why we will never stop sowing chaos in the south so the poor and desperate have no chance but to travel north to live as slave labor. There is obviously some coherent principle behind all of these. There is obviously some group making decisions on a somewhat coordinated basis. But I don’t know who they are or where they are.

      But I know two things about them. I know is that they have no interest in preserving human life. I know that they are excited about the world to come because of these unfolding disasters.

      And I know the scale of what they’ve planned terrifies me.

      1. Matthew

        The idea that it is a relatively small group of people is just an effort to make something global, sociological, and extremely complicated feel more immediate and tractable because it allows for the fantasy that if you could somehow confront the cabal you could shift course. But that’s not how the world works. There are thousands of overlapping and intersecting mini-semi cabals and they’re not the sort of thing you can line up and shoot or defeat in an election.

        1. chris

          I agree we’re not going to vote our way out of this because I don’t think we voted our way into it. I also agree there are multiple over lapping interests here. But if we were to find out there are 100 families or groups worldwide behind all of this… I wouldn’t be surprised.

    5. Jorge

      I have come to the conclusion that the richest elites are like any crowd: individually smart, collectively dumb as a doorknob.

      Consider America’s actions in Ukraine- an amazing failure of the “best and brightest” to execute a plan.

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘I already had my doubts at the Chinese spy balloon episode but India’s “Chinese spy pigeon in lockup during 8 months” convinced me.’

    Chinese spy pigeon after flying back to the pigeon roosts on the roof of the Ministry of State Security-

    ‘Well? Well? Did you talk?’

    What do you take me for? Some sort of stool pigeon?’

      1. The Rev Kev

        The thing to watch out for is if President Xi announces three new missile systems to be named Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. That would be ominous that. Thing is, if George R. R. Martin had been born Chinese, then you could be damn sure that he would have been ‘encouraged’ to finish his final novel and not faff around.

    1. Enter Laughing

      Are Chinese spy pigeons just a flight of fancy?

      Not according to our own CIA.

      According to the article When the CIA Spied on American Citizens—Using Pigeons:

      “For several years, the Office of Research and Development [ORD] has carried out endeavors…to train different species of birds,” states a declassified September 1976 CIA working paper. However, until January 1976 the avian programs had been, “dismissed…as an improbable, exotic, humorous idea.” This opinion changed when someone realized birds could potentially be the answer to an ongoing problem: photographic coverage of sensitive areas such as naval yards in Leningrad.”

      After outfitting the birds with a mini camera harness, the CIA conducted clandestine tests over Andrews Airforce Base. Apparently the pigeon photogs were pretty good:

      “The full resolution capabilities of the state-of- the-art American spy satellite GAMBIT-3’s are still classified, but it is known that it could spot an object as small as four inches square. “In comparison with [GAMBIT-3] photography of the same target,” reads a CIA report, “the avian system was rated as having a higher image interpretability as well as the ability to see smaller objects.” The pigeons could provide a resolution of 3⁄4 of an inch.”

      It’s unclear whether the program ever continued beyond the testing phase,

      “But the extent of the program remains unknown; the most recent public comments by the CIA come from a 2021 video, advising, “parts of the mission are actually still classified.”

  3. Giordano Bruno

    Driving while trans:
    As a 64 year old gay man who was heavily involved in the politics of LGBT rights in the ’80s, I find the intellectual substance of the current version of trans activism tiring. The article links to “evidence,” a blog written by a transgender individual, who claims to have taken advanced courses in biology, that argues that because there are hermaphrodites therefore there’s no such thing as chromosonal norms. This is sloppy thinking.

    1. haywood

      I agree. These people do no favors to their cause by arguing such exceptions disprove a rule. I have the deepest sympathy and solidarity with trans people and their right to express their own gender. But denying chromosomal reality is not something I will stand by silently about.

      You can call me a bigot if you want. But I’ll still be out here with love and respect for my trans siblings and you’ll still be dumb.

    2. Es s Ce tera

      Biologists and geneticists tend to push back on what (adult) people think are the chromosomal norms.

      For children we simplify the biology, it’s helpful to explain that XX and XY is why we have girls and boys. A great stepping stone to understanding genetics too.

      But as we get to university age, we’re capable of understanding the science in greater depth, and that there are more than two karyotypes, and the common ones are: XX, XY, XXY, XXXY, XYYY, and the rare ones XO/XX mosaicism, XY/XXY mosaicism, XXY/XXXY/XXXXY mosaicism.

      I agree overleliance on the hermaphrodite argument is…not how I would do it. I would teach my kids the full story rather than having to correct bias later. But knowing that people can be born as hermaphrodites can still be useful as a stepping stone to understanding genetics on a deeper level.

        1. Es s Ce tera

          Not quite. You can be a girl and born with one X, and you can be a boy born with no Y chromosome. As in having the genital apparatus but not having the gene. So the matter is not as black and white as Y or not Y.

          1. Wukchumni

            My 16 year old nephew has an extra chromosome, which has caused him to be currently 6 foot 6 and wearing a size 15 shoe.

            Mom is 5 foot 3 and dad is 5 foot 8, to give you an idea of what happens when genetics goes haywire.

            Gigantism comes with the territory, but a real worrying trait is that around half of the men with an extra chromosome turn into criminals when they become adults.

      1. Vandemonian

        “…there are more than two karyotypes, and the common ones are: XX, XY, XXY, XXXY, XYYY, and the rare ones XO/XX mosaicism, XY/XXY mosaicism, XXY/XXXY/XXXXY mosaicism.”

        Not quite, Ess s Ce Tera. In fact:

        The common ones are: XX and XY.
        The rare ones are XXY, XXXY and XYYY.
        The extremely rare ones are XO/XX mosaicism, XY/XXY mosaicism, and XXY/XXXY/XXXXY mosaicism.

        1. vao

          I looked it up on Wikipedia (yes, I know), and we can even go further:

          XXY is rare (0.1%-0.2% live births)
          XYY is rare (0.1% of live male births)
          XXXY is extremely rare (0.002% of live male births)
          XYYY is so rare that there are only 12 recorded cases.

          These karyotypes are definitely abnormal exceptions and are called syndromes for a reason.

          For that matter, polydactyly (having an extra finger) is as frequent as the XXY and XYY syndromes. It can be viewed as a curious genetic quirk, but it is not a normal situation either.

          1. JBird4049

            We, as a society or nation, just can’t seem to deal with nuance. As in at all.

            The overwhelming majority of people are either biologically of the male or female sex, which are genetically XY and XX, and in Western Civilization are socially labeled with genders man and woman. However, in the weird, complex, wacky, and very fascinating reality of ours, it is more complexed and nuanced than this.

            Social gender is often more complex in many other societies than in our dual, yes/no, left/right categories of gender, and genetics can get mixed up in so many ways.

            Then there are the group of people, very small, but quite real, who have the self knowledge of their physical, biological sex, which is different than their gender, actually miswired. It is as if that part of their brain, which maps out the location of one’s body parts, says that they are of a different sexual biology, much as if the same hardwired map said they had three arms, not two. This is completely different from sexual attraction or gender roles/identity. It is also ver much less than one percent of the population.

            And I also get annoyed of the so-called conservatives looking for someone different to demonize and of the so-called liberals also looking for someone to demonize, but using different criteria for the target.

            Also, the arrogance of some about their repression and of the “bigotry” of so many others is just really annoying. I still remember when beating gays and the occasional lesbian, perhaps to death, for just existing was still a thing. And my parents could have told stories about blacks. Some things just get worse, but there have been real improvements.

            1. Giordano Bruno

              I find it interesting that everyone feels free to discuss what it’s like to be a hermaphrodite, without actually asking hermaphrodites what they think, which is an unqualified respect for the plight of trans people but that there is no connection between being trans and hermaphrodites. One is physical and the other is psychological. The above argument attempts to conflate the two arguments without providing evidence.

              1. JBird4049

                My mistake.

                What I was trying to do is to block those who say that misgendering or something akin to it is not a very real thing, while also trying to block those who say it’s all your imagination or desire.

                What makes this a hard conversation is the efforts of people to confuse and conflate everything, and then deny physically reality. It is a phenomena of all sides.

                Ideally, when talking about gender, or gender identity, we should be talking about social identity. When talking about sex in this context, we should be talking about biological, physical identity.

                Then there is sexual orientation or desire, which is something else entirely.

                Many society, especially in the past, but even today, have different systems of gender and/or orientation than the classically modern Western Civilization, but pretty all of them merely have two biological sexes.

                Trying to have a polite, respectful, adult conversation about all this is extremely difficult, isn’t? Also, very tiring.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      That was quite the clickbait. It would be rather discriminatory to make it illegal for a trans person to drive, but that isn’t what’s happening at all. There just aren’t as many gender boxes to choose from on the license application as some would like.

      I, like most people, have had to fill out any number of forms in my life, asking me to classify myself one way or another, and I haven’t always been enamored by the choices on offer myself. But I haven’t lost any sleep over it either. Pick your battles, people.

      A gay inlaw is the same age as you and came up in the Stonewall generation, and he has the same thoughts about the shallowness of the current movement. Couple years ago he told another relative from the younger generation who was vociferously advocating for the modern trans movement that “That isn’t how it works.” Maybe it’s a generational thing, but it does seem like the older generation did the real heavy lifting to get equality for everyone, and this modern movement is just being annoying at the margins.

      1. Es s Ce tera

        It almost feels like a lot of this may have to do with not working or never having been gainfully employed. The insurance, legal, finance or tech industries have had male, female, neither, prefer not to say or other as checkboxes for some time now. At my work we have had gendered and universal washrooms for years and both women and men’s washrooms have hygiene products. There’s a whole other world out there! It’s the world I live in, the world I inhabit. We have escalators and elevators and automatic flush toilets and blow dryer faucets and…and… And when I read about pushback it feels like resisters have missed the boat by about 15 years, they’re simply not aware that a huge percentage of the workforce has already adjusted, already moved on. And an obvious question one might have is, have these people ever been in an office before?

        1. JBird4049

          >>>insurance, legal, finance or tech industries

          Yes, but how many people do not work in those industries? And if they do, why would they necessarily approve?

          1. Es s Ce tera

            Yes, but how many people do not work in those industries? And if they do, why would they necessarily approve?

            Actually, you raise a good point. They won’t approve, they’ll seek out cultures more amenable to their own beliefs. And meanwhile those who do believe in at least the ideals behind diversity, equity and inclusion will also go find workplaces where these are well-established.

            At one point the majority thought homosexuals were disgusting and unnatural, their mere existence a threat to the sanctity of love, marriage and civilization. None other than Hilary and Bill Clinton were against gay marriage. Needless to say, society has since shifted. People sorting themselves into one or the other group, for or against, now add a bit of internal logic, superior arguments winning over weaker, a pinch of time and eventually one framework tends to overtake the other, is how culture shifts.

            The same will be true for this issue of trans and gender fluidity. Arguments against very much remind me of the “gays are disgusting and unnatural” arguments I used to counter – they come from the same place, namely internal feelings of revulsion. People will eventually get over their initial biases, especially once they meet a few trans or gender fluids, especially if they work alongside them.

        1. LifelongLib

          Not sure what you mean. Having the right to live as you wish irrespective of genetics can be about survival. Being aware that for some things genetics matter can also be about survival. The two don’t exclude each other.

      2. bobert

        I have a number of gay friends, mostly middle aged and up, and some of them have related that they are shocked by the sense of entitlement exhibited by the movement you refer to. Some were at Stonewall, in fact, and they have had the distinct pleasure of being lectured to by individuals who weren’t even yet an itch in their parent’s trousers about the meaning of what went on that day. But then, an ersatz movement has to look for authenticity somewhere, why not just piggy-back onto what others have lived through and fought for?

    4. Mikel

      “Lupus and other autoimmune diseases strike far more women than men. Now there’s a clue why” Associated Press

      Chromosome science involved. Imagine that!

    5. bobert

      The hermaphrodite ruse is commonly employed by the gender ideologue because it’s not widely understood that the “intersexed” are all actually either male or female. I bookmarked this wonderful comment from back in March in which reader Dandelion exposes this none sense:

      “Intersex is s misnomer. The term now is Disorder of Sexual Development. Sex is determined at conception. All embryos start out on either a Mullerian or a Wolfian pathway; the two are mutually exclusive, similar to the 1 and 0 gates in binary code. The Mullerian pathway leads to development of a female reproductive system, the Wolfian to male.

      Sometimes, either due to chromosomal irregularity or some other cause, such as 5-ARD, that developmental pathway ends in a DSD. But every DSD is sex-specific. Only males can have 5-ARD or Kleinfelter’s. Only females can have Turner’s. Everyone with a so-called intersex condition is still either male or female.

      The percentage of babies born with genitalia so ambiguous that clinicians cannot observe either male or female is .019%. Genetic testing answers that question.

      The DSD community have asked that they not be used as an argument regarding gender identity, as their medical conditions are something different altogether and sometimes are accompanied by a whole host of other medical complications.”

      A human being is either male or female, full stop. There is no in-between; human sexuality is a binary. Because biology is complicated, sometimes there are ambiguities in the physical attributes of individuals but they are all either male or female.

      1. chris

        Or, there is a wealth of biological possibility out there, but these people are asking for us to consider variability at the tiny margins as something much more common.

        We are not starfish. We are not amphibians. It does not matter if someone “feels” intersex (something I have heard people claim multiple times now). It is ridiculous to claim that a person who spent a significant portion of their life interacting with people using one public identity, was in fact this entirely different being the whole time. And physically intersex conditions are incredibly rare. Much of this trans related discussion is simply performance BS because it is much cheaper to talk about this stuff than it is to actually help people.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “It is ridiculous to claim that a person who spent a significant portion of their life interacting with people using one public identity, was in fact this entirely different being the whole time. ”

          Hey, the political caste routinely does this. I believe it is a class marker. We mopes have become so acculturated to the phenomenon that it doesn’t even bear remarking. Seems to be ubiquitous, of course. E.g., “Lying,” by Sam Harris:

      2. Es s Ce tera

        I have a hard time understanding why anyone would care so much as to deny or block anyone on this, including whatever gender anyone wants to identify as, if they want to at all.

        Infinite diversity in infinite combinations is just the way of the universe.

        1. Albe Vado

          For the current trans craze, because it’s a cultish fad that exists in the vacuum created by the lack of anything resembling actual politics in the US (culture war is not politics. It’s also even more pathetic to see these Americanisms exported to various client states and adopted as the flavor of the decade fake politics there). Like all fads it’ll fade with time, though I have zero trust it’ll be replaced by a return to something more substantive and instead most likely ‘discourse’ will just move onto something even more stupid.

          What makes all this uniquely objectionable and not just another stupid passing thing is the wake of human, especially child, wreckage it’s going to leave behind it.

          I know this is a really blunt, probably offensive to some comment, and I understand if it never leaves moderation. But I’m increasingly convinced T should never have been grafted to LGB, that there is no there there on this issue, and that there’s a lot of stolen valor going on for what is a psychosis of late capitalism identarianism.

          Being (supposedly) trans is not a sexual orientation. Identifying as the opposite sex has little if any relation to what sex someone is attracted to. At minimum we’re dealing with a giant category error in lumping this cause in with the old gay rights movement. And if anything I see far more straight MTF than I do the opposite. I’ve met enough ‘transbians’ in particular to be convinced what is going on there is a combination of rampant ‘I can’t get a girlfriend so I’ll become the girlfriend out of desperation’ and autogynephilia. It’s a fetish. To see these newcomers then turn on the old guard, the L in this case, and berate them for being ‘genital fetishists’ and try to shame them into having sex with transwomen is especially surreal, as well as disgusting.

          And I’m not at all coming from the right. I’m only dimly aware of what the right thinks or says about any of these issues. This is an opinion arrived at after, and because of, long interaction, online and off, with actual supposed trans people and the activists who ally with them. It’s a fad of self-delusion. It’s also one that, along with other identity politics-isms, has absolutely destroyed left-wing activism and organizing. It’s apparently highly variable from city to city, but in my local experience there’s zero point in showing up to any meetings of the DSA because they spend most of their time on land acknowledgements and making sure proper enforcement of pronoun disclosure is maintained. None of these unserious people are going to exactly be the vanguard of the revolution.

          I will honestly be surprised if the trans ‘movement’ doesn’t burn itself out in ten years, fifteen tops, leaves a lot of visible damage behind it and is a permanent scare on liberal/’leftist’ politics that the rest of us will have to lug around as a mark of shame for a generation or more. Many liberals will probably attempt to deep-six the whole thing and pretend it never happened, but the constant, belligerent evidence of it is so widespread it’ll be unignorable.

          1. Es s Ce tera

            You are assuming the land acknowledgements and pronoun activism is limited to lefty spaces. I have news for you, it’s mostly the corporate world, and it’s about 15 years in since it started.

            Putting that into context, I live in a city of 2.9M where the majority of the workforce is corporate, almost 1M. Those 1M routinely convene large townhalls and events with land acknowledgement, because why not, we should acknowledge the land theft and it’s a great way to move toward reconciliation, also corporate policy – shareholders wanted it, legal wanted it, HR wanted it, and it’s the responsible thing to do.

            Those 1M also routinely add their preferred gender pronouns to their email signatures, along with any disabilities that should be considered. Those 1M also make an effort to observe preferred gender pronouns by looking up Outlook profiles, also make an effort to properly pronounce names because they work with sooooo many different ethnic groups and languages.

            And the sight of a universal washroom is normal, and hygiene products are in all gendered washrooms (including mens).

            Anti-bias training is required especially for new hires – that’s where you learn to recognize your actually incorrect beliefs about certain groups, before you go and embarass the corporation by doing something stupid which results in some stupid lawsuit. The training actually does reduce the number of stupid lawsuits and HR incidents.

            And buildings and meetings are disability friendly. WTF could anyone’s argument be against that? That’s diversity, that’s inclusion.

            It’s just business, inclusion is good for business. Nothing to do with leftyism, nobody has ever read any Marx or heard of Graeber.

            In any case, I’ll take the opposite side of your prediction. :)

            1. Albe Vado

              I’m actually not assuming that at all. That’s one of my points. That these aren’t leftist ideas, but that they’ve come to completely poison putatively leftist spaces.

          2. Procopius

            I don’t know when they were first documented, but Thailand has had for more than a century what are called “women of the second type.” I’m not aware of what percentage of the population they are, but they are an accepted gender. If they’ve had the operation they use women’s rest rooms; if not, they use either (I understand there are stalls in women’s restrooms, giving them privacy, but no urinals). I doubt they make up as much as 1% of the population, but they absolutely dominate the television and movie industries. They are often characters in TV dramas, as well.

      3. Lefty Godot

        Many societies have had some kind of category for people who identified with, and took on the role of, their non-chromosomal gender. But they were mostly not understood as being that other gender, just as being a different category from either (traditional) male or female. (And this predates the whole category or social identity of “gay” by centuries, at least.) The very narrow view now that you must treat a transitioning person (or a person who says they intend to transition) as if they actually were their aspirational gender–or be anathematized and cast into the outer darkness–is not going to be sustainable when enough people realize that the emperox has no clothes on. Like a lot of the so-called “left” positions now, which have nothing to do with leftism, it’s a maximum divisiveness strategy that factions of the elite promote. And the science that gets dragged in to support this and other culture war issues relies on extreme outliers to make big generalizations. Just being tolerant and not straitjacketing people in rigid sex roles and social identities must be too difficult, because no one seems to argue for something simple like that.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its not unique to Japan, but at least within upper class circles it was considered entirely normal for males between adolescence and marriage to adopt very feminine dress styles and behaviour, up to and including becoming the lover of an older man. It was just considered a stage of life, and a legitimate choice.

          Its often observed that Thai has something like 16 different ‘gender’ distinctions, although I’ve often found it curious that several of the Thai words are English borrow words, which makes me wonder just how much this comes about from cultural mergers, rather than something that has grown organically.

      4. Dessa

        It sounds to me like a human being is either Mullerian or Wolfian, and the rest is just biological and sociological scaffolding, but go off.

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘Philipp Heimberger
    Richest five families in Florence 🇮🇹 from 1427 are still the richest today (archival data). Not only the top shows persistence. Any family who was in the (1427) top third is almost certain to still be there today. Likely many Florences out there’

    To be honest, I find it hard to criticize those families as they are doing something right. Throughout the world there is that time-honoured adage ‘shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations’ and even the Japanese version says ‘rice paddies to rice paddies in three generations.’ The first generation build up the wealth, the second maintains it as they knew what it took to build it up and the third loses & squanders that wealth as they have never learned what it took to build up that wealth much less to maintain it.

    But in Florence they maintained this wealth over six centuries which included some chaotic and violent periods. Certainly those original people thought in terms of their families rather than their own individual selves. But these families must have also been operating as a group in spite of being competitive with each other. Otherwise over the past six centuries many of them would have been pushed out to be replaced by other families. Thing is, I would be interested in knowing the origin stories for these families. Were they the same ones from 80 year previously when the Black Death hit Florence? Did some of them rise because of it? Lots of questions here.

    1. Benny Profane

      Cosimo Medici was born in 1389, just a few decades after the Black plague of 1347-52 killed a third of Europeans, and was still flaring up for decades after. So, yeah, I agree that event and the rise of the merchant class and birth of banking along with the Renaissance in Italy had to have a strong connection. Europe also had an overemployment problem before the plague, but suddenly many peasants had bargaining power over landholders with the loss of labor competition. It was quite the shock on many levels. Maybe somebody smarter than me has studied and published about all this.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        we lest not forget that Niccolò Machiavelli was a Florentine who influenced the Enlightenment and his advice seems to be still active to this day and in some ways Bernays was a demonic shill possessed by Machiavelli –

    2. Kouros

      It just shows the resilience of oligarchy and their constant strife to push away populism and “tyranny” or the alliance between the two.

    3. Dessa

      Wealth is not virtue, and the notion that rich people or in this case, families, deserve to be rich because of their choices merits substantiation. The fact that they are rich alone doesn’t stand as evidence that they are solely because of good decisionmaking. Rather, that logic is circular. The rest is conjecture.

  5. Benny Profane

    Lance Armstrong calls Bobby Bonds and says, we’re back in the game, man, pack your bags, it’s podium time! They made up an event for us, and they’re paying for it, too!

          1. The Rev Kev

            And yet in today’s Links there is an article how Peter Thiel is helping set up precisely that sort of games and calling it the ‘Enhanced Olympics.’

    1. griffen

      Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa too, the list would be a long one. It’ll be like the times of old, or I guess 20 to 25 years ago anyway.

        1. Wukchumni

          Pete Rose was very much a cautionary tale not all that different than Shoeless Joe Jackson, but then MLB embraced gambling in order to find fans younger than those nearing retirement.

          1. Benny Profane

            Joe Jackson wasn’t a manager betting on his own games.
            This present day gambling industry is a damn shame. That’s what Congress should hold a hearing about, instead of another Kabuki theater event with Zuck and TikTok. We’re allowing an entire generation to use a device they’re already addicted to to aquire another very harmful addiction that will destroy their financial life at an early age. But, as always, follow the money. Lots and lots of money.

            1. Martin Oline

              We as a nation are becoming much like Havana, Cuba during Fulgencio Batista’s rule. Peons ruled by organized crime and corrupt politicians.

    2. juno mas

      Lance couldn’t call Bobby Bonds to get back in the game. He died more than 20 years ago. Maybe call his son Barry? The game Lance played was based on having a high ‘VO2 max’ (EPO has direct value). The game Barry Bonds played requires special talent (hand/eye coordination for hitting) that is little improved with the drugs that were extant throughout baseball.

        1. griffen

          Back when these topics were very much out in the public, I bought the well written Game of Shadows. It was more widespread and prevalent, and athletes of all stripes were two steps ahead always of the USADA and other doping services. But hey, Bud Selig had a product that wasn’t going to sell itself if a Greg Maddux or Pedro kept throwing shut outs in a less than three hour MLB game.

          The fact that training could be intensified and subsequent muscle recovery greatly enhanced is slightly overlooked and not well understood. For some reason Mark, Sammy or Barry gets the treatment but not Alex Rodriguez.

          Those fast twitch muscles in aging sluggers tend to slow a bit.

    3. eg

      I’ve been waiting for this sort of no holds barred, chemical fuelled athletic competition since the 1980s.

  6. KD

    The Greek oracles were very much part of the power structure. Soothsayers have a very long tradition (see also astrologers) and are neither magicians nor priests.

    The essence of divination is conducting some manner of random process and then providing an interpretation of that random event. You can throw coconuts, turtle shells, shuffle and deal out tarot card, randomly open religious texts, view bird entrails. The essence is random process + authoritative interpretation of event.

    The ways of the ancients are not that much different from the ways of moderns. What is an election if not a random event?
    If you look at the 2020 election, it was a razor thin margin, it could have flipped if held on different day. The idea that someone gains political power on the basis of small quantity of votes distorted by the electoral college, especially given that it could change in a month, is basically irrational on one level, except that the voice of the people is the voice of God.

    The argument is that elections, or election rituals, are a form of consulting with an oracle, and the reason they confer legitimacy is not all that different from the legitimacy conferred on the battle plan when the oracle determines that the gods favor the attack today. Because elections have this magical theatrical power, its why regimes often hold elections even when everyone understands that the results are fixed.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And when the politicians are elected, they go to the Capitol Building which – after January 6th – we were told is ‘sacred space.’ So are they a sort of priesthood now?

          1. nippersdad

            I imagine everyone in Congress would get along much better if they all had swords.

            I’m betting Cruz wouldn’t last all that long.

            1. griffen

              As opposed to a priesthood, I think its more like survival of those with the lowest amount of actual virtue, decency and standards of the daily sort most Americans strive to meet (even if or when we fall shy)…I’d suggest such a competition would draw a lot of viewers on a pay per view platform. Might turn out for our leadership and elite, say by example how it turned out for this fictional scene.

              Final fight scene from Gladiator. All this after secretly knifing the man and hiding the wound, the Commodus character still won’t play on the level.


    1. farmboy

      Divination seeks to engage the 2nd brain in a way that makes the mind all unconscious. Tapping into the unknown unknowns without disturbing them is the trick. The unconscious works to stay hidden, giving it a chance to luxurate in the brain compels hallucinations, desperation, desire. After letting all that wash over you, then pattern matching takes over and some interpretation can ensue. Lots of symbolic foolishness gets discarded on the way to any wisdom. That’s why it’s important to seek information instead of darkness which will come. 2 cents

    2. Joe Renter

      Divination is not a random process IMO. I have been throwing coins for 45 years. Not for me to convince anyone that it’s valid.

      1. KD

        The claim that divination involves a random process which is then overlaid with interpretation is purely descriptive, and not intended to validate or invalidate divination. I presume it is the random nature of the process that lets the ancestors/gods/God speak. Further, it wouldn’t work very well if you could reliably predict the outcome of your inquiry, that gives the appearance that the process was rigged, and not legitimate..

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Some understand “prophet” to mean someone who claims the ability to forecast the future, like a seer or caster of lots.. This is not the way that the article’s author is using the word. Instead, he follows its original Greek as meaning someone who is a spokesperson for God, god, YHWH or the cosmos, take your pick. Yes, a prophet may include claims about the future, as did Jeremiah with his famous and painfully stretched prophesy that Judah would go into exile for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:9-12). But Jeremiah’s point was not about the length of the Babylonian captivity but about YHWH’s anger at Judah’s failure to live to his standards.

      The author’s point that prophets are by definition opposed to the status quo is a valid one under this definition and historically, certainly within the tradition of the Hebrew and Greek bibles.

      The article’s category of rural magician is also well represented in the Hebrew bible by the figures of Elijah and Elisha. Elijah’s famous contest with the priests of Ba’al (1 Kings 18) is an example of country boy magician, Elijah, going up against the big city (e.g. Ugarit) priests of Ba’al. Spoiler alert, the country boy comes out on top.

      The Synoptic Gospels paint Jesus in this magician tradition: curing illness; turning water into wine; raising the dead. The sermons and parables, however, are in the prophetic tradition. One thing to note regarding any of Jesus’s purported predictions about the future, for example, his prediction that Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed, are considered by most critical scholars to have been inserted into the text after the actual fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There is still a strong tradition in Ireland for rural healers, usually within families. I know one – his day job is running a business selling propane. I once went on a hike with him and a very atheist surgeon friend, so they had an interesting discussion. What floored the surgeon was that the healer was extremely popular with farmers and stud owners, many local ones are convinced he is better than the vet. When the trainer of very expensive stud racehorse trusts a healer more than the vet, there is something interesting going on. My personal theory is that he has a calmness that distressed or sick animals respond to positively, but its really anyones guess.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Both the USSR and US did extensive research into parapsychological phenomena. After the USSR fell, one of the Russian scientists published a book about it. The USSR found there were people who had bona fide abilities, way way above chance, but still not reliable enough to use for military purpose.

      Red-headed female peasant were the population most likely to exhibit these abilities.

      1. juno mas

        And if they were left-handed they would equate to less than 3% of the population. (My younger sister has convinced herself she’s psychic.) ;)

        1. Wukchumni

          Found out 6 months ago that my oldest sister can see people’s aura, and it comes in different colors and isn’t halo shaped like on some angel, but more along the lines of a colored line that contours their head.

          We were waiting for a table @ Chili’s and there was a Mexican-American family also waiting across the way, and I asked my sister what sort of aura action was going on there, and she informed me that the mom had a green aura, which is good-she informed me

          I’m a little miffed knowing I got no secret power, bupkis.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Now come on, Wuk. Your superpower has been identified repeatedly here: punning. I’d add communicating a love of Nature in a compelling way.

      2. playon

        “Red headed female peasant” sounds like a joke in search of a punchline. Of course a military application would be the first thing a government would look for…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, an ex-McKinsey friend who is fluent in Russia (worked there for a few years in the 1990s opening Dun & Bradstreet’s office there) read it and described it at length to me. The book sold well at the time.

          They were particularly interested in remote messaging and remote mind control.

          The US program described in Men Who Stare at Goats was to cover for the real initiative, so if there were any leaks, it could be depicted as “Oh yeah, that’s old news, some DoD guys did get snookered and spent money on crazypants ideas.”

          1. Savita

            Thanks for this Yves
            The book of ‘The Men That Stare at Goats’ is far superior to the movie, which was more of a caricature. The book depicts a broader and more serious venture

    5. Harold

      We went to a town in Florida that was inhabited by mediums and fortunetellers. Some of the houses were painted black with shards of mirror stuck on them. If you went to get your fortune told you could hear other people getting their fortunes told in the next booth. The fortuneteller would say, “How many children do you have?” and if the person answered, say, four children, the fortuneteller would answer: “I see financial trouble ahead.”

      On the other hand, I heard an anthropologist say that some native American hunting tribes, on a day when they didn’t know in what direction to go hunting, would consult a designated child or handicapped person (pardon the “incorrect” word), and would go in the direction they indicated, thus avoiding argument as well as giving the person consulted some status and importance in the community, I imagine.

    6. digi_owl

      The most sensible take i have read about all of this is that they acted as independent spy networks, and the ceremony and such acted as the cover for delivering the sought after information.

  7. timbers

    “Will AI save us from customer-service hell? Economist (Dr. Kevin). This makes using credit cards even more important, sadly. They give very strong chargeback rights and they supersede whatever the merchant tries to impose…”

    Very true.

    Last spring I purchased 3 lithium batteries for my electric lawn mowers, from online retailer at close to half price vs Home Depot/Lowes. I was worried they might not really be “new” as advertised, but all seemed fine on inspection. One of the three stopped working in about 2 months. I had a 3 month return window, and returned all 3, and proceeded to purchase 3 at almost twice the price from Home Depot. The batteries were identical brands and model #.

    Within 4 months, 2 of the 3 Home Depot batteries failed or showed issues, and adding insult to injury the Home Depot price had been reduced to about half what I paid. I purchased 3 new ones at the new lower price, intending to return the high priced failing ones. Home Depot would only issue a “store credit” which was extremely not helpful being an amount that could take years to reach.

    Because I paid with Paypal, I knew if I demonstrated proof of return, Paypal would credit me by charging back to Home Depot. So I looked up Home Depot corporate address, mailed them with tracking, and showed proof of return to Paypal and got my money back in full, keeping the new batteries a the lower price.

    Lithium batteries are expensive. The cost hundreds for lawn mowers.

    1. Carolinian

      Lithium batteries for drills and lawn mowers are the new printer ink given that you are forced to buy something proprietary (due to the case form factor) that is really generic. Of course you are still getting a big heavy battery for the price of a couple of ink cartridges so in that sense it’s a bargain. It was once said that HP was really an ink company, so great was the profit.

      1. juno mas

        Yes, beware purchase of battery powered products that have unknowable longevity. E-Bikes with frames that only accept the makers shaped battery pack is the latest ‘extravaganza’. The battery is the most expensive part requiring regular replacement.

      2. digi_owl

        Not even the form factor. More and more of them battery pack have a small chip in them that do a handshake with the tool before allowing power across. The companies will excuse themselves with it being about fire and electrocution hazards. But quite likely when taken apart they are using standardized round cells hooked into the board holding said chip.

    2. jackiebass63

      What bothers me with these batteries is they are specific to a certain brand. You can’t use them in a different product from another brand.That means you have to buy different tools of the same brand or a lot of different batteries for the different brands. I would think that by now there would have been a universal standard. The companies love the status quo because they make a lot of money selling spare batteries.These batteries aren’t cheap even if you buy a generic.

      1. timbers

        Yes one has keep an eye on that. So far my brand has been increasing the strength/duration of their batteries while keeping the weaker older ones compatible but I can only speak for particular experience.

      2. vao

        What bothers me with these batteries is they are specific to a certain brand. You can’t use them in a different product from another brand.

        Well, this is not new. Think about mobile phones.

        1. digi_owl

          Heh, Nokia used fixed sized batteries for so long that even after they sold of their handset division you could find third party products using those sized in Asia. One glorious example was an early Android tablet someone found that ran on multiple Nokia batteries. They were even hot swappable as long as one of them had enough juice left to run the whole thing.

      1. timbers

        Yes Ryobi as are my electric mowers. I found last year a surprising large percentage of them don’t last long. Maybe half. Eventually I seemed to have gotten a good lot by aggressively returning/swapping the lemons for new ones and eventually have a set that are holding up, still working. The earlier versions I had, failed at a much lower rate. I lost 1 after several years, and years later a second one failed. But the latest batch, slightly different and more powerful/long duration, I’ve had about 50% lemon rate.

        1. playon

          I wonder if these batteries could be counterfeits? I have had occasional problems with batteries for power tools.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Unrelated mostly, but I bought a counterfeit MBP charger, from OWC of all places (mac reseller); It demonstrably weighted less than an official charger, and the plastic bits didn’t fit snugly; OWC accepted return but hilariously insisted they don’t sell counterfeit chargers. A simple weight scale would disabuse them of that notion.

            Always gotta be careful.

        2. Wukchumni

          I also have Ryobi tools and sometimes the 40v batteries last a few years, sometimes 6 months.

          We have 5 or 6 different tools we use them on, with my favorite being a chainsaw with 18 inch blade, the perfect size for around these parts.

        3. ilpalazzo

          I learned that if there are batteries of the same form – factor with either “standard” or “enhanced” capacity you should get the “standard” ones as the latters are the same but more strained design.

      1. John Wright

        The linked article has:

        ““The charging system for the e-bike battery lacked a mechanism to detect excess charge” and then cut the circuit to prevent further overheating, the claim stated.”

        Some years ago I worked on qualifying li-ion battery for an electronic product.

        Some semiconductor companies have put a lot of effort into electronic control of the charging/discharging/monitoring of li-ion batteries.

        For example here is a link to a datasheet on one li-ion battery control chip from Texas Instruments.

        The datasheet is 55 pages long and its associated technical reference guide ( is 278 pages long.

        In my experience, the better batteries have two levels of cell overvoltage detection, one by the main control chip and a second IC that will blow an internal fuse if any cell exceeds a specific voltage threshold for a few seconds and the main control chip failed to catch the fault.

        It appears the Vancouver E-bike battery lacked a good control system, probably to save a few bucks.

        Note: the batteries I’m familiar with detect both cell-over voltage and cell-under voltage and permanently disable themselves via a failure flag in internal flash memory if a fault is detected.

        If someone attempts to repair the battery by replacing the cells, they will be frustrated as the “repaired” battery will not work due to the stored fault preventing operation.

        No system can protect against a cell that develops an internal short and goes into thermal runaway.

        That is why it is important to have cells sourced from a high quality li-ion cell manufacturer and good electronic control hardware.

        Quality li-ion batteries are not cheap to make.

        1. digi_owl

          For a time was curious about the “EDC” thing, and via that got to reading about flashlights and batteries.

          As i understand it, there are two types of “loose” lithium cells out there. And one of them have a heat/charge protection thing built right into them.

          Even then, most people with some experience playing around with these things have a bucket of sand or water nearby while charging. And the first sign of fault in to the bucket the battery go and then the bucket with content goes outside to simmer down.

          All that said, recently i have seen a company trying to sell lithium batteries that are the same size as a your typical alkalines but with a micro-USB port added. I’m curious but also worried.

      2. playon

        There are apartment buildings in NYC that now ban all e-bikes due to fires. I think a link was posted here about it. The problem is the cheaper batteries, if you stick with reputable makers such as Bosch etc it shouldn’t be a problem. This according to my brother who was in the bike biz for many years.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its become a ‘thing’ everywhere – I’m on my building management committee and we’ve been recommended to enforce a ban on EV bikes and scooters within the building. There should be no issue with reputable brands but there is a huge problem with cheap or fake branded batteries – they are particularly popular with Just Eats type couriers. Regular fire barriers will protect against smaller battery fires, but electric bikes now use huge batteries.

    3. Vandemonian

      I bought an el cheapo mini cordless chainsaw (with two batteries) from a seller on eBay. When it arrived the batteries wouldn’t charge. I contacted the seller, and he just sent me another chainsaw, with no requirement to return the first one.

    4. Glen

      I used an AC electric mower to mow about an acre of lawn for years (I had a smaller place in town which I had bought the mower for, but ended up buying a small farm). Good extension cords are expensive and HEAVY (12/3 wire gauge) but last a long, long time. The mower has been gone for twenty years, but the extensions cords are still being used.

  8. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Wichita Lineman by Jimmy Webb as sung by Glen Campbell)

    I am a surgeon here in Gaza
    Or I was — I don’t know
    I’m the guy who fixes things
    After each bomb explodes

    There is no trace of anesthesia
    There’s no meds of any kind
    Not one of my patients
    Is going to be fine

    I can buy them days or hours
    But I can’t sterilize
    But all the weeping faces turn to me
    When someone dies

    I do things I do not want to
    Under cold and rainy skies
    I slice into children
    And their eyes open wide

    I will die some random moment
    From a bomb or a gun
    I have to leave Gaza
    But I will not run

  9. The Rev Kev

    “U.K. High Court throws out Trump lawsuit over Steele dossier”

    Trump should have known better than to try to get justice in the UK, especially when he sees what is being done with Julian Assange. On the other had Trump is ruthless and does not seem to be a forgive and forget person. If he gets back in again as President, he will remember the UK giving protection to Christopher Steele who tried to use his dodgy dossier to wreck Trump’s chances in being President. I am not saying that he will have Steele kidnapped and brought to the US but I think that he will make the UK pay in one way or another for this.

    1. Revenant

      Out of time is out of time in the UK. There are minimal arguments to why you can file a claim out of time. In negligence, you can claim from when you have knowledge of the defect (latent defects in construction would never be litigated otherwise) but the Steele was literally front-page news from the beginning.

      Trump’s legal strategy is consistently abysmal. Is he so niggardly that, despite or because of the New York Real Estate upbringing, he is stuck on the lawyer trilemma of “cheap, crooked or smart, pick any two”?

      A second thought – is there a provision in the US where he can only sue in the US for events with a foreign nexus if he has no remaining litigation avenue open in a foreign country? Isn’t that some part of the Alien Torts regime, where other nationals (UK, IIRC?) have used the act to sue and the US courts have given the standing because these were the only forum left to claimants? Has he filed just to officially close the door?

      1. Michaelmas

        Revenant: Is he … stuck on the lawyer trilemma of “cheap, crooked or smart, pick any two?

        Trump’s stuck on the dilemma of being infamous for stiffing lawyers and contractors.

        Besides being out of time, he’s aiming at the wrong target. Steele was Moscow chief for Six — UK’s SIS — during Sir Richard Dearlove’s time in charge there. Steele was only one of a cadre around Dearlove who wanted H. Clinton’s accession to the US presidency in 2016, for reasons your Iranian friends would understand.

        1. Revenant

          Steele was the tenant of the office above ours and we were doorstepped by paparazzi for weeks when the dossier hit the news. He apologised by buying us a box of chocolates. We didn’t open them for days (MI6, chocolates, Litvinenko) but then we got hungry on Friday when we got the drinks trolley out….

          They were fine, soft and hard centres only. No polonium surprise or crunchy frog.

      2. nippersdad

        “is there a provision in the US where he can only sue in the US for events with a foreign nexus if he has no remaining litigation avenue open in a foreign country?”

        Seems like he has the perfect object lesson in the Carroll libel suit that he was just in. There is more than sufficient cause for him to bring in anyone he chooses as co-defendents for such a case, and, as he well knows, it would be perfect publicity for his candidacy. In fact, I am kind of surprised he brought suit in the UK at all. It would have been much easier to handle here.

    2. nippersdad

      Virtually everyone of my acquaintance is worried about Trump taking vengeance on his enemies, and how that will affect the future of the country; they think that is the point at which we arrive at banana republic status. Have to say, though, that we have been there for a while now, and as I can think of no allies out there that he could unduly affect that may just be the most entertaining part of his presidency.

      If we cannot have bread (concrete material benefits), at least we can have circuses.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        and Biden doesn’t take vengeance? Tara Reade was one of several women who came forward in 2019 and 2020 to accuse Mr Biden of inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing – he does like to sniff hair – Ms Reade fled to Russia and requested citizenship –

        1. nippersdad

          As none of that has ever been featured on MSDNC they are blissfully unaware that it is a problem.

      2. Kouros

        Why banana republic? The Roman Republic, which the US is parroting all the time, had a very good reputation on revenges and counter-revenges between factions, especially in the later times of the Republic…

        1. JBird4049

          >>>The Roman Republic, which the US is parroting all the time, had a very good reputation on revenges and counter-revenges between factions, especially in the later times of the Republic…

          The last thirty years or so of the Roman Republic reads like a horror story or a tragedy where everyone just goes insane. One reads of some insanity, brutality, or cruelty and thinks, okay, that’s not good. Then turn to the next chapter detailing the revenge, which is worse, and then the chapter afterwards that explains the re-re-revenge, which is even worse.

          Because of what I am reading, I am waiting for when we reach the of the Roman collapse where opponents went after one’s friends, co-workers, supporters, and family, which eventually included assassination and enslavement. The Roman collapse was faster the closer to the end it was. So, twenty years for America, maybe? American society tends to go really fast especially in stressful situations. Something to look forwards too. You could be seventy or eighty and still see it.

          Also, there arose somewhat later the legalized murder, enslavement, and seizure of property of people via proscription because they had something you wanted like his wife, a business, or a farm, and not because they had done anything or were members of an opposing faction. It just required being friends of or bribing those people who were writing the proscription lists. That this often included the murder or enslavement of the target’s family, friends, and employees was just business. Yes, there are good reasons why Caesar Augustus had such a large power vacuum to step into after the collapse of the Roman Republic.

          1. ambrit

            I have read the theory that extended exposure to lead in the water, from the Roman municipal water lines being made out of lead, (a semi-soft, pliable metal, easily worked,) caused a severe decline in the mental capacities and emotional balance of the City of Rome population.
            Lead is no longer used for public water piping. However, the Coronavirus is demonstrating the same general effects upon the public today; loss of cognitive functions and emotional balance.
            History may not may not repeat exactly, but it certainly does seem to rhyme quite often.

          2. Jabura Basaidai

            perchance are you reading “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Edward Gibbon’s six-volume work? i always peruse used bookstores to see if a complete set is available used at a decent price – still looking

            1. Kouros

              A more entertaining work is “The Roman Republic” cycle of novels by Colleen McCullough, starting with “The First Man in Rome”. Brilliant cycle that harks very very close to the historical records.

              1. JBird4049

                I have Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire on my to-read list, but I also don’t have much money, and I do have many other books that I want to read that are in my apartment.

                What I really, really want to buy and read is Arnold Toynbee’s complete set of A Study of History.. A complete, unabridged set is twelve to eighteen hundred dollars. Often more. Since it is that expensive and not that easy to find, it will be a long time, if ever, before I get it.

  10. mrsyk

    This is a metaphor for something. “Towering over the Grammys is a Los Angeles high-rise tagged with 27 stories of graffiti” (AP). This is Oceanwide Plaza, across the street from arena where the Grammys will be taking place tomorrow. I’m really hoping some arts preservation group gets all up about not allowing the owners to scrub it away. Oh, this high-rise, which was set to be LA’s tallest building, has been sitting idle since 2019. Paging William Gibson.

    1. Carolinian

      Or if the tags are by Banksy they will be carefully removed and sold for millions.

      This actually happened after Banksy did NYC. There’s a movie.

      1. mrsyk

        I read the article to my wife I bed last night, and her first comment was “Where’s Banksy when you need him?”.

        1. Carolinian

          I like Banksy but unfortunately his many imitators lack his talent. There does seem to be a kind of tagger ethic that says only banal looking structures like bridges–where almost anything would be an improvement–are supposed to be painted but the line between self expression and vandalism is a fuzzy one. In particular you wish that they would leave public amenities like nature trails alone.

          1. Hastalavictoria

            I live close to Bristol, and seen quite a bit of his work.Honest opinion now,one track pony,and nowhere close to some of the old political cartoonists..

            Again a bit like Hopper to me,brilliant but after you’ve seen a few they all head down the same track.

            Still that’s the wonderful about art- opinions

            1. Carolinian

              Surely he has more than one trick but I’d say that when it comes to graffiti any talent is a big plus. Our library has several books of his stuff.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      One way to keep out the taggers to some extent and promote real talented artists is to designate walls where graffiti artists can paint. It’s been done in a lot of places over the years from what I understand. When I lived in Seattle, one Capitol Hill bar owner allowed the side of his building to be used that way, and I think the reason was he’d gotten sick of having to clean up after random taggers. The murals that graffiti artists made were really quite spectacular. They’d stay up for weeks or months maybe, and of course some taggers would show up after the fact, but they kept it to a dull roar and didn’t distract too much from the main work. Every so often you’d show up for a beer and there’d be a whole new artwork done overnight. I really wish I had pictures of those now.

      From back in the day –

    3. juno mas

      Metaphor? Hell, it’s an actual demonstration that locking up spray cans sold at hardware stores is working. Drone video of the ‘taggers’ shows them tagging using liquid paint applied with rollers. They could be productively employed as house painters.

    4. B24S

      In 1970 I moved to Philly.

      The OG taggers were Cornbread and Cool Earl, before it hit NYC. They tagged just about (at the time) unimaginable spots.

      My (now) wife even saw them in action once.

      No idea what happened to Cool Earl, but Cornbread is still with us, and active with youth groups. Respect.

      1. B24S

        My wife was just looking through the tv listings, grousing that Turner Classic Movies was “to be announced”, and she was having therefore issues setting up to record.
        When I asked what it was she wanted to record, her response was

        “Cool Earl, CornBread , and Me”

        On TMC, 10pm pst, 1am est tomorrow.

  11. Mark Gisleson

    WaPo article on Trump’s UK case getting tossed is a master class in political hit writing. Which is a strange way to write a news story.

    Old school would have been to quote people in the street to get the dodgy stuff in but I think I’ve figured out the new formula for news stories. I was taught that there are really two 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where & Why or Who, What, When, Where & How. Neomodern Journalism eliminates the controversy by skipping both Why and How, making for a cleaner more focused news message.

    1. Neutrino

      Focus groups AI algorithms show which articles will maximize the proprietary function of policy, advertising revenues and the right dinner reservations?

  12. LawnDart

    Gotta throw this into the mix– Cop-aganda:

    Florida trooper called ‘hero’ after dying in interstate crash while chasing suspect

    Trooper kills truck-driver and self with bad judgement

    Feb. 2 (UPI) — A Florida Highway Patrol officer was killed early Friday morning while attempting to stop a suspect in St. Lucie County.

    The police vehicle driven by trooper Zachary Fink, 26, collided with a semi-truck along Interstate 95 at about 3 a.m. EST.

    I’m sorry both of these men are dead, but I hope that the family of the truck-driver sues the s**t out of the Florida State Police. Was the guy that the cop was chasing a murderer fleeing the seen of the crime and rushing to claim more victims? No? Pausing only a second or two before attempting to execute that maneuver could well have prevented this tragedy.

    This story is an example of American “journalism” that serves power rather than public interest.

    1. Skip Intro

      Could be an incident attributable to loss of executive function, reduced impulse control, and impaired judgement.
      Maybe traffic accidents will provide a proxy data source for post-covid abilities.

    2. playon

      Got an email this morning from a Republican state representative in our old district. One of the initiatives he is championing is one that would remove restraints on police chases, which hopefully will fail.

  13. nippersdad

    Re: US District Court Judge.

    Still does not answer the question of how Constitutional the imperial presidency concept is. What is the point of treaties being enfolded into the Constitution if they cannot be enforced? If the President is above the Constitution then we have a tyrant, not an executive. Lots of nice rhetoric, but ultimately the buck just got passed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The answer is it isn’t. But back in the Bush era the, ahem, legal theory arose that as the President is duty bound to enforce the laws of the Constitution, then that must mean that he is actually above it which also means that he is above the law. I think that it was called the unitary executive theory. DC might like that interpretation but it won’t play in Peoria. But Bush-Cheney were able to recruit lawyers that told them that they could do all sorts of things such as torture which ended getting back minimal results but was a great Al Qaeda recruitment device. John Yoo was typical of these hot shot lawyers-

      1. nippersdad

        “Bush-Cheney were able to recruit lawyers that told them that they could do all sorts of things”

        Exactly! That ruling was a blatant artifact of a criminal presidency. And rather than hand wringing that judge had the opportunity to engage in judicial review of all of those precedents. He CHOSE to allow the unitary executive/imperial presidency to continue for another day, until another judge gets the opportunity to throw that trash out and restore the primacy of the Constitution over all of the branches of government. There is nothing sacrosanct about the presidency that should allow the president to violate treaties with impunity.

        “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        The Prezzie is not doing it, and now that judge did not do it. I have been pissed off about this since Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table.

        1. spud

          i am as outraged at the american government for torturing people as you are. that being said, pelosi had no choice but to take impeachment off the table, because it was not bush/cheney that legalized torture in a direct internationally illegal, and unconstitutional act, it was bill clinton and al gore that pelosi was protecting.

          because bush/cheny would simply point to clinton/gore and said they made it, not only legal, but a government policy.

          the real outrage should be is, why does the left keep ignoring who is really behind the mess we are in today?

          10 Reasons Bill Clinton Was Secretly A Terrible President there are more of course, just about every problem america and the world are facing this dim wit either created them, or compounded them.

          The financial crash of 2008 was the result of so many complex, compounding factors that people still can’t agree on who, if anyone, was responsible. However, there’s one name that keeps cropping up again and again: Bill Clinton

          bill clinton has expressed regret over free trade, the lack of tariffs he admits, has starved and impoverished millions, to late now, the world is in flames due to free trade

          bill clinton was the god father of american torturers, thats why bush and cheney go free

          February 5, 2014
          10 Reasons Bill Clinton Was Secretly A Terrible President
          by Morris M.
          fact checked by Jamie Frater

          “Extraordinary rendition” is when shady government operatives stuff a bag over your head and fly you off to some foreign country where they can legally torture you. It sounds like something Alex Jones might dream up in a paranoid frenzy, but it’s a well-documented phenomenon under both Bush, Jr. and Obama—and Bill Clinton was the guy who started it all.

          Clinton and Gore signed off on the first rendition back in the ’90s, despite being aware that it breached international law. Until recently, rendered people frequently wound up in the prison cells of places like Mubarak’s Egypt or Gaddafi’s Libya, where they were tortured with electric shocks, rape, beatings, and even crucifixion. It can sometimes go hideously wrong: In 2003, the CIA snatched a terrorist off the streets and beat, tortured, and sodomized him, only to discover they’d accidentally grabbed the wrong man. The victim just happened to share a name with a wanted criminal. His suffering came care of the Clinton/Gore dream team.”

          1. nippersdad

            Have to say that I dislike the Clintons every bit as much as you do, and if you want to start a petition to send them (and Pelosi) to Guantanamo for their special form of spa treatments I will be the very first to sign it.

            1. spud

              great, and lets try to remember, as i try to do, is not just blame the GOP, but the guy that enacted the GOP/WEF agenda.

              otherwise we leave the door wide open to fraudulent populists.

              then maybe we can win back the deplorable.

      2. Vicky Cookies

        Increasingly, and especially as I learn more about the law, I’ve been of the opinion that a legal tradition which endures from one generation to the next is a form of what Thomas Paine would call “rule by dead men”. An argumentative form of rule is preferable to a violent one, but is susceptible to capture by sophists, like the totally amoral Bush lawyers, and those who would employ them. The ‘constitutionality’ of an action should not stand-in for its correctness, appropriateness, or justice, and when one invokes the ‘sacred’ constitution or its having lasted, one is employing the logical fallacy of argumentum ad antiquitatem.

        Importantly, the constitution is violated all the time by common policy. Creative interpretations by district and supreme courts, and massive blind spots in the worldview of the mainstream combine to, for example, allow the executive to commit acts of war against other countries without congressional approval. I would think this might temper some of the spiritual awe for that document; it seems rather like the Bible in this respect: few who love it have read it.

        1. nippersdad

          I think that Es s Ce tera made a very good point below:

          “The constitutional framework, rule of law, separation of powers, 3 branches and checks and balances were the key differences, what made the US republic any different from what came before.”

          I am certainly not arguing that the Constitution was writ in stone, otherwise I would not be arguing for the enforcement of comparatively new treaties; themselves being subject to judicial review processes. I really do hate all the “Patriot!” and “Freedom!” type stuff one hears, the words lose their meaning when they can be a selling point for go-cups so named, but there is a lot to be said for the concepts that it portrays of flexibilty while also providing for checks and balances. Elimination of those checks and balances is what is in question here, and a call for argumentum ad antiquitatem is not the issue.

          1. JBird4049

            For decades at least, what is written in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and in previous American jurisprudence has been constantly subjected to… creative reinterpretation by the courts, politicians, think tanks, and the wealthy. It is usually to further ostensibly conservative ends, but more often to protect the wealthy, the powerful, and the connected from the average, the weak, and the vulnerable often by subverting the rights and welfare of the latter. It is not just a conservative practice, but also of the ostensibly liberal or leftist one as well.

            This process is helped by the increasing ignorance by Americans of the philosophy, history, and reasoning of American political philosophy. It is the results of all the unpleasantness of the time from the Wars of Religion, and the despotic reactions to it, the Enlightenment, which was a reaction to the religious and political despotism, and British political, religious, social, and even economic turmoil and corruption that affected the British Colonies right through the War of Independence.

            While one can disagree with the conclusion that is the Republic of the United States of America, there were very serious debates including warfare in trying to create solutions to difficult problems by serious, intelligent, often extremely well educated people living through violent, tumultuous times. To demand that we effectively dump much or all of their solutions because of the efforts of the current corrupt, unserious, and usually foolish or extremely unwise, shortsighted people of the past few decades, itself seems extremely foolish even if the demand comes from both honest ignorance and justifiable frustration.

      1. Feral Finster

        In a just world, Biden, Trump, Dubya, Obama, HRC, etc. would be placed in irons and then delivered over bodily to the very populaces that they so tormented.

    2. Es s Ce tera

      As I always say, Americans escaped the tyranny of European monarchies only to roll their own. The constitutional framework, rule of law, separation of powers, 3 branches and checks and balances were the key differences, what made the US republic any different from what came before. Remove those and now the only discernible difference between a US president and a European King/Queen is that the latter tended to be hereditary. A president once elected has utter and complete power, just as Kings, Queens and Emperors had, also as Stalin, Lenin and Hitler had.

      There is nothing at all democratic about complete power.

      1. cfraenkel

        It’s long past time to reclaim the word “tyrant”. Just finished Prof Hudson’s The Collapse of Antiquity, in which the threat of “tyrants” plays a central role. A tyrant originally was a populist who cancelled debts and (occasionally) redistributed land that had been accumulated by the oligarchy. According to Hudson, Rome hollowed out, became a pre-feudal slave society and failed primarily because the oligarchs (Pompey, Brutus, et al) viciously put down any hint of tyranny (J. Caesar, Catiline, etc).
        European monarchies were the polar opposite of “tyrants”.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Plenty of tyrants (Dionysius I, Polycrates…) seem objectionable from what is told about them, although of course those are biased sources. I found the accounts of the greatest of them, Pisistratus, to be amusing, though. About the worst thing that the ancients could accuse him of was that all his good deeds were secretly motivated by self-interest, and that he employed deceit. He did take power by force, but even his use of violence was extremely restrained. Meanwhile, it is generally acknowledged that his rule was even-handed, that he redistributed wealth to the poor (and so probably solved Athens’ earlier social crisis), and that he presided over a golden age. It was only some of the rich families that really had cause to hate him, as he took their property and may have sent them into exile, but even then there was no real terror to speak of. I suspect that the much-hailed success of the Athenian democracy owed a lot to the foundations laid by Pisistratus. While the celebrated Pericles frittered it away.

      2. Ranger Rick

        When I describe FDR as the closest the US has ever come to having a dictator, people tend to think twice about the powers of the presidency in the hands of an individual they don’t like. Y’know, like Huey Long.

    3. Kouros

      So it is a political decision of the Supreme Court to not allow “lawfare” interfere with the workings of the empire, eh?

      International rules based order and such…

      NC is like being out of the Matrix and just looking at the screen of characters to understand what is happening…

  14. The Rev Kev

    “US should be ready to deter both Russia and China over next decade — official ”

    After reading through her Wikipedia entry, I am going to say that she really wants that trillion dollar plus that Obama said that he was going to spend on nukes so she is using China and Russia as bogeymen here-

    The thing is, when can you use them without sending the planet into a nuclear winter? It’s like three guys having a fight in a bathroom – but with each armed with a flamethrower.

    1. ilsm

      I was a cold warrior! Mostly strategic defense, sensors. But little in offensive, SAC.

      Economist Thomas Schelling worked for USAF’s think tank RAND in the early 50’s. He introduced game theory into justify preparations to destroy mankind.

      From that came the Burglar game and the Prisoner games, etc.

      The lack of moral undercurrent was noticed and quickly lost in favor of profits. In spite of the illogic of mutual suicide aka mutual assured destruction (MAD).

      A trillion bucks, the MIC does not seem to be able to design rockets!

    2. CA

      Remember that George Bush began to arbitrarily cancel arms control agreements with Russia in December 2001:

      December 13, 2001

      Tearing Up the ABM Treaty

      July, 2023

      Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2023 to 2032

      The Congressional Budget Office updates its projections of the 10-year costs of U.S. nuclear forces every two years. This report contains CBO’s projections for the 2023–2032 period.

      If carried out, the plans for nuclear forces delineated in the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) fiscal year 2023 budget requests, submitted in April 2022, would cost a total of $756 billion over the 2023–2032 period, or an average of just over $75 billion a year, CBO estimates…

      1. spud

        what one needs to know is, this is the guy who actually set the international agenda of the u.s.a., by tearing up agreements.

        i carry no water for the bushs or any other GOP creep, but the left has to come to some sort of understanding who really started this mess we are in.

        the deplorable knows most of this stuff, and when the left blames the GOP, they lose all credibility with the deplorable.

        bill clinton broke bushes promise, and lied through his teeth to yeltsin about nato expansion, and you wonder why putin is not our friend: bill clinton secretly planned to expand nato, whilst lying directly to yeltsin.

  15. ilsm

    US bombing, 5 days to disperse!

    In the WW II Strategic Bombing study the minority (including one famous American economist) opinion, you don’t hear because the USAF is big profits, bombing was “not worth the casualties and diversion of materiel”….. opportunity costs!

    The 20 odd years of Indo-China war US expended more tonnage than all WW II, which supports the minority opinion, but profits!

    125 smart weapons, 85 “targets”; the B-1 went in and seemingly got out!

    Turning Iraqi and Syrian sand into glass…..

    1. nippersdad

      Larry Johnson was saying yesterday that they went in and shot up a bunch of empty sheds. I would be interested in seeing the cost to shed ratio on that operation.

      1. Neutrino

        The Friday news dump combines with the CNN war lust to dominate the weekend talk shows, so there is hope after all. Wolf, time to renegotiate that contract. /s

    2. CA

      May 12, 2007

      Bombs Over Cambodia: New Light on US Air War
      By Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan

      In the fall of 2000, twenty-five years after the end of the war in Indochina, Bill Clinton became the first US president since Richard Nixon to visit Vietnam. While media coverage of the trip was dominated by talk of some two thousand US soldiers still classified as missing in action, a small act of great historical importance went almost unnoticed. As a humanitarian gesture, Clinton released extensive Air Force data on all American bombings of Indochina between 1964 and 1975…

      The data released by Clinton shows the total payload dropped during these years to be nearly five times greater than the generally accepted figure. To put the revised total of 2,756,941 tons into perspective, the Allies dropped just over 2 million tons of bombs during all of World War II, including the bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 15,000 and 20,000 tons, respectively. Cambodia may well be the most heavily bombed country in history…

    1. The Rev Kev

      She will settle with them later. She has the ‘tools’ as shown what has just been done with Hungary.

        1. .human

          Maybe they can find an obscure law, oh I don’t know, not fit to serve as being an insurrectionist…

    2. Mikel

      “…tweeted unelected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday…”

      That made me chuckle.

    3. Fried

      Thank you for the link to this website which allows me to evade EU censorship without the mild annoyance of having to use a VPN.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did all those skaters lose situational awareness and actually dismiss the fact that the leading skater is now at the back of the pack. Did they forget about her?

      1. CA

        Did all those skaters lose situational awareness and actually dismiss the fact that the leading skater is now at the back of the pack? Did they forget about her?

        [ Really important questions, seemingly asking what innovation or creativity is about? We’ve had a pack of academics, telling us that the Chinese could not be innovative; a little hard-working as in building the transcontinental railroad but never innovative. This meant ignoring the 27 volumes on Chinese science of Cambridge’s Joseph Needham. ]

    1. griffen

      Being fearless at that age…dare to say, I would have just hollered loudly for a dad or a mom to bring a shovel to decimate the snake. Added thought, those hippos really circle the wagons don’t they?

      1. Lee

        After puff adders and mosquitos hippos rank number three on the most deadly list of African animals.

        “3. The Hippopotamus
        These majestic animals are a pleasure to watch from afar, as they peacefully surface calm waters. However, in reality they might not be as ‘gentle’ as they seem. Hippos are said to be responsible for the deaths of around 3,000 people per year in Africa. Many of them actively protect and defend their territories along the banks of rivers and lakes.

        Female hippos can also act out with extreme aggression if they sense a threat coming between them and their babies, who stay back in the water whilst she feeds on shore. The attributes that make hippos so dangerous are their running speeds of 32 kilometres/hour and their 50 centimetre canines within their massive jaws. And if that doesn’t show how powerful enough they are, their closest living relative is the whale, so be sure to keep a safe distance at all times!” [African Overland Tours]

    2. thump

      I wonder if swinging around the snake + guinea pig was effective mainly for stalling, but not effective for getting the snake to release. I think of snake teeth as angling backwards, so the force of being swung around may have made it so the snake could not let go. It let go only when the guinea pig was set down, releasing the tension on the snake and it could open its jaws a little wider. I’m sure I have better things to think about, but it was a passing thought while I was showering. We have guinea pigs, if not large snakes in our area, so the video was quite popular in the family.

  16. Carolinian

    We’ll keep working hard to make you proud.

    Nikki’s already working for us and she hasn’t even been elected yet. Next she’ll be announcing her cabinet choices. We already know her foreign policy (“finish them”).

    But then she was already a VR version of a UN ambassador given her lack of qualifications. Given how much time people spend buried in their digital devices perhaps the joke’s really on us. We’ll put on our Apple headsets and it will all seem real.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>We’ll put on our Apple headsets and it will all seem real.

      Maybe those Apple headsets are too make it easier to do the culling. More than once, I have come this close to killing or mangling somebody with my car in San Francisco because he was doing stupid stuff like crossing against the light without ever looking up from their screen or being in a head/earphone musical daze while walking around a densely populated district full of already nuts pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. I mean really, it is not as bad as parts of NYC and LA can be interesting, but some people are already really unaware of the consequences of their behavior.

      Between Covid frying people’s brains and the headsets, the accidental deaths should skyrocketed. Then there are the street people who just don’t care and actually dare drivers to hit, or at least it appears so.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>We’ll put on our Apple headsets and it will all seem real.

      Maybe those Apple headsets are too make it easier to do the culling. More than once, I have come this close to killing or mangling somebody with my car in San Francisco because he was doing stupid stuff like crossing against the light without ever looking up from their screen or being in a head/earphone musical daze while walking around a densely populated district full of already nuts pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. I mean really, it is not as bad as parts of NYC and LA can be interesting, but some people are already really unaware of the consequences of their behavior.

      Between Covid frying people’s brains and the headsets, the accidental deaths should skyrocketed.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “As We All Know.”

    The Russians have come out and said that there were American helping man that Patriot battery that shot down that POW transport plane. Still no idea why. But when you look at all the advanced weapons like HIMARS rockets and western tanks, you can be pretty sure that NATO troops are operating them. And that includes when those weapons are used to kill civilians in a Russian city. Also, NATO has intense satellite coverage to help coordinate attacks on Russian units. So what this means is that NATO troops are helping to kill Russian troops. Do they think that the Russians will forget? That there will be no payback down the road? That the west can get away with it because they have done it before? I have news for them and it is all bad.

    1. nippersdad

      I keep seeing intimations that Russia is being far more involved in Syria than is being reported in the MSM. If they wanted an opportunity to enact some revenge for their lost plane and personnel there are a couple of perfectly good B1 bombers that will be over there all week.

      Not that I would want to give them any ideas, but an opportunity is an opportunity wherever one may find it.

      1. Old Sarum

        Old religious score to settle?

        If you closely examine the history of what the Crimean War (1854-56)* , one could just as well call it the War for Jerusalem. The war seemingly had as its flashpoint a nasty (deadly) christian sectarian biffo in one of Jerusalem’s cursed holy places.

        Given Russia’s seeming reversion to the power of Eastern Orthodoxy (and cozying up to Turkey) is it any surprise that their armed forces are in Syria?


        *Russian: Eastern War (1853-1856).

        ps After the main bloodbath was done and dusted there was a nasty (deadly) christian sectarian biffo in one of Jerusalem’s cursed holy places. (…and so it goes.)

    2. Carolinian

      Simplicius or some other warblogger has said that only Americans are allowed to operate the Patriot batteries. Or perhaps it’s just assumed due to the complex technology.

      1. Bsn

        I always thought this should be obvious. Can you imagine how much it would cost to re-lable every switch, toggle, screen, sensor (much less the directions and manual) all of the english directions and text into Ukrainian? And of course, a majority of the Ukrainian operators primarily speak Russian. “Oh heck Lyaksandro, let me just shoot the darn thang”

    3. Feral Finster

      Of course there are Americans on the ground in Ukraine. Of course, Americans or NATO troops man all the hi-tech stuff.


      What does Russia propose to do about it? Cry “no fair!”?

      1. Bill Malcolm

        I’ve been having a think. US Reaper and or Predator drones from the base in Sicily plus P8A Poseidon spy planes operating in Romanian air space over the Black Sea are always noted prior to a big Ukie drone attack on Crimea. The correlation is virtually 100% Gathering a spot of SIGINT for Ukraine, er the free and democratic world in order to overcome nefarious Russian totalitarian thuggery by spotting “assets” to strike.

        So, what Russia could do is allow North Korean forces to supply and man DPRK AD defence missilry on the territory of Crimea. Kim’s lads can have some live target practice on real live US assets. This is analagous to US personnel operating Patriot missiles on Ukie territory to shoot down the IL-76 over Russian territory. Well, not quite, if one looks at the Black Sea as “international or Romanian” airspace, but near enough for government purposes.

        And if the DPRK is successful, in the venture what’s the US going to do about it? Besides have a temper tantrum? I’m certain the rather fragrant but no BS and sharp as a tack pugnacious Maria Zakharova could deliver a BS Russian justification fully up to US neocon standards, which of course is total denial of anything.

        1. Feral Finster

          The difference is that the United States is prepared to escalate.

          Russia is not.

          And if you think that the United States would care whether DPRK or Russian forces technically shot down that Poseidon, then you are, with all due respect, not living in the real world.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Although I agree that our government is not taking the war seriously, I am also not sure what it would gain from escalating in a way that would directly harm the US.

    4. Karl

      Russia has knocked out numerous Patriot batteries since this war started. Have there been casualties? This has to be one of the most risky and technically demanding roles in Ukraine, suggesting they’d be very well paid (CIA?) contractors. Those with battle experience are also undoubtedly valuable. I wonder: how many are being re-assigned to duty in Syria and Iraq?

  18. Revenant

    A question on language and decorum.

    Today the phrase rawdogging appears in a tweet. I’ve seen this word several times in NC links in the past six months but not before that. Having a scabrous turn of mind (or lying in the gutter looking at the stars, as I prefer to call it), I intuited its meaningly correctly the first time I saw it. Look it up yourselves if you need to.

    Does everybody know what it means and this is acceptable in serious discussion these days? Or is this one of those words appearing in the mouths of innocents because of the way it sounds (like the Blue Peter producer who famously blessed the presenters to use the word “frig” because it wasn’t inappropriate for a children’s story)? I’m not being censorious, I swear like a sailor in every context but always with intent….

    1. Bugs

      That verb has moved on from the original bareback intent to mean simply doing something (completely anodyne) without the usually expected protections. I hear you though. Sigh.

      1. Revenant

        Hmm. It seems coarse for the point being made about infection control measures. There’s more to compromised public health choices than sex!

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I think that this is the first time I heard the term, although I immediately guessed at its origins.

      Its a pretty common process in language for words to move from extreme crudity to ‘normal’ once the original coarser meaning is lost, or just repetition means it loses its power. Years ago I read an essay arguing that wars were major drivers in ‘normalising’ curse words – pre WWI ‘bloody’ (from ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’) went from very crude to mild, and so on. I do wonder if the same process is happening in Russian now – if the translations are correct there is an enormous amount of crude language used by soldiers under stress.

      There also has been a tendency for big business to try to requisition ‘naughty’ words. There is a new chain of upmarket breakfast place called ‘eggslut’ (and weirdly, the font they use make the name look like ‘eggshit’ if read too quickly – I’ve little doubt this is deliberate, maybe following the FCUK brand.

      There was an odd tendency in Ireland, created largely I think by priests in schools, to invent ‘acceptable’ versions of curse words, like ‘feck’ and ‘sugar’. Nearly every Christian Brother boy I knew used these automatically. The words nearly died out until Father Ted then unleashed them on the world.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        “I do wonder if the same process is happening in Russian now – if the translations are correct there is an enormous amount of crude language used by soldiers under stress.”

        It happened a while ago (probably in the 90s, as far as public usage goes). Mat is so normalised today that I sincerely doubt the current events can spread it further.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Interesting! I guess the same processes go on with most languages (except Japanese, which seems to have a quite unique take on expletives).

          1. Revenant

            Mat predates the 1990’s! Pushkin used it.

            It is built up to be this mythic Russian black speech (and officially banned in publications and performances) and it is certainly vigorous and inventive but it doesn’t seem much different (albeit grammatically much more inflected!) from Irish or British barracks / locker room speech.

            Mat is also supposed to uniquely sex-focused compared with more, er, cacolalic Western swearing but again, I don’t see so much difference with British swearing. I think the contrast is with the Scheisse-obsessed Germans (with their special inspection platforms on the lavatory pans) and any German/Nordic influence on US swearing.

            I never realised feck etc. were Christian Brothers bowdlerisations. I assumed they were Irving Welsh-style phonetic renderings of Irish accented pronunciations. I agree that repeated usage wears a word down and proscription possibly raises it up. It is colourful offence to say the C-word but a dismissable offence to say the N-word at High Table these days. Mediaeval oaths like Blimey (the Lord blind me!) And Cripes/Crikey (I don’t remember exactly, something to do with cripples, which is now ruder than the derivative probably) appear as exclamations in the Beano and other comics.

            Anyway, back to rawdogging, as it were: perhaps it is a word that didn’t leave the US before it completed its lifecycle so it appears to have gone from nought to sixty to British eyes but I don’t think so. One thing about internet porn, it has globalised the vocabulary of sexual activity!

            I suspect the writer’s intention was épater les bourgeoises but this just draws the attention away from the message.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              Mat certainly predates the 90s (as the article I linked says, Peter the Great was famous for using it as well). It’s just that the taboo against “decent people” using it in public weakened considerably then.

  19. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    The Financial Times finally admitting that economic sanctions on Russia have been a complete failure ( which was immensely predictable, in fact I wrote an article saying it’d be the case in May 2022: ).

    It is without a doubt one of the most significant economic stories of the century, starkly demonstrating the West’s diminishing power. Despite Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of the Economy, claiming the West would “cause the collapse of the Russian economy,” Russia’s economic growth in 2023 surpassed that of all G7 countries—almost quadrupling France’s growth rate—and is projected to continue this trend in 2024 ( see attached FT graph * ). It’s nothing short of extraordinary.

    As Vladimir Putin is quoted as saying in the FT article, “Russia’s economy had not only withstood an onslaught of sanctions from western countries — but was now bigger than all but two of them.” (!)

    It is also yet another proof, if need be, of Western hubris, of the West living in a glorious mental universe where they think they can bring the rest of the world to heel. This proves the immense – tectonic size – gap between what they believe and reality. It shows that whilst they think they inhabit a world in which they lead, we’ve in fact fully entered the multipolar era.

    In almost all his movies, Will Ferrell essentially always plays a version of the same character: that of the uber-confident guy who isn’t aware he’s in fact a complete loser. It’s absolutely hilarious ( I love Will Ferrell movies! ) but also on a more serious level a commentary on the tragedy of self-deception. There’s a subtle layer of pathos in his characters’ inability to see themselves as they truly are, on the fine line between confidence and delusion. And it’s all the more tragic and much less funny if it happens on the scale of entire countries…

    It also obviously raises the question of China, whose economy is six times the size of Russia’s in PPP terms and 20% larger than that of the U.S.. What happened with Russia demonstrates, clearly, that they now command more economic power than the West. It was a form of tug of war with the West saying we’ll “cause the collapse of the Russian economy” and China saying “we don’t want to.” And the result is the Russian economy didn’t collapse, it grew faster than the West ( and so did China’s ). That means something…

    Link to the FT article:


    11:42 PM · Feb 2, 2024

  20. Terry Flynn

    Re credit card issues. Largely I echo the grudging take on them. People like me in the UK will never ever use our debit bank card to purchase anything. Getting your bank to “cover your back” in the event of fraud would tax the patience of a saint. On the other hand the consumer credit acts dating from the 1970s will almost always have your back.

    Yes I know full well as a former business owner and son of a current one that there is a dodgy cartel regarding the credit card companies. But as a customer? Never ever use the debit card….. Always the credit card…. Even if it causes issues with “keeping on top of your expenses “.

    Plus we aren’t meant to speak out loud regarding the prepaid credit cards (useful in stopping nefarious companies who won’t allow you up easily cancel subscriptions) and you might see your credit rating take a hit but in this timeline of “no net benefits” perhaps you should go for the least bad option.

    1. griffen

      On this topic of which to use, I’d concur on the credit cards. I rarely as in never ever use my debit card feature, which makes it simple to know what and where my spending is. And it is also equally useful to not use the debit feature, as in receiving what are no doubt scams or spam alerts to my personal cell number from some bank or financial institution.

      Those alerts can almost seem legit. No click, no dice. All the employer provided (varying roles, different jobs) bank and AFSA compliance training has provided a nice after effect, as in knowing how not to react. Eh, it was employer mandated but still the same.

      1. Ken Murphy

        I generally advise my customers to only use their PIN numbers at a bank ATM. Anywhere else and you’re putting your info into their computers to potentially be found by nefarious actors, who can’t steal what is not there. Having had my identity stolen, I consider the credit protections to be an complementary benefit. Then again, I tend to pay in cash anyway, which provides all of the economic information I care to divulge.

    2. Wukchumni

      Hard to imagine credit cards have only been around since 1950…

      For businessman Frank McNamara, forgetting his wallet while dining out at a New York City restaurant was an embarrassment he resolved never to face again. Luckily, his wife came to bail him out and pay the tab. But little did he know that dinner would become an important part of credit card history.

      A year later in February 1950, he returned to Major’s Cabin Grill with his partner Ralph Schneider. When the bill arrived, McNamara paid with a small cardboard card, known today as a Diners Club Card. The event was hailed as the First Supper, paving the way for the world’s first multipurpose charge card.

  21. tegnost

    I’ve surfed scorpion bay but it’s been a while.
    I think this picture is more on point than the ones in the article posted above.
    When I was there the ejidos fishing guys were on the cliff with radars constantly monitoring their fishing grounds for poachers. There was a conflict back then between the campground and the hotel, and pretty sure the hotel, aka rich gringos, won…another lost horizon
    ISDS is evil.

    1. JohnA

      Hi, thanks for link. An interesting read but infused with anti-Russia bias/propaganda that seemingly goes with the territory in western media.
      One sentence really stood out for me, namely:
      ‘Americans, for example, typically take for granted that the state exists to promote the welfare of its citizens’
      I am European but since the Reagan/Thatcher years, it has been crystal clear that the welfare of citizens has very definitely not been a goverment priority either side of the Atlantic. But do Americans genuinely still believe this?

  22. truly

    Yves, thanks for posting the sweet note to the hairdresser. As a stylist myself I have had many many situations similar to the one Sara had. Sometimes with new clients, and we have to do some play acting, more for the dignity of the spouse, child, or whomever drove the client to us. But of course for the dignity of the client, listening to the same story ever 3 minutes, and each time reacting as if it were the first time we ever heard it.
    And with long time regular clients, I think we often know before the family does. Little hints you can see when you get to have a 45 minute conversation every 6 weeks. You notice little changes that the kids and spouses often don’t. And we have no reason to be in denial.

    And then sadly one day they go away. We often never hear if they have passed or just moved to memory care. And we have a head full of memories, confessions, and secrets. Life events that they feel comfortable sharing with us, but maybe with no one else. Do the kids actually know why mom and dad got divorced? Do they know why they stayed together? Do they know how well, or how horribly dad treated mom? Do they know the joy and love mom experienced with others?

    A burden and a blessing has been given to us.

    1. Laughingsong

      Yes I echo these heartfelt thanks as well. My mom, who passed away back in 2013, entered beauty school at 17, and was in the business either directly, or later on, teaching at a community college, her whole life (she retired at 73 and died at 78).

      Her clientele was large, and they loved her. Every Christmas, my sister and I would open our presents, then Mom let us open the 30+ she got from her “ladies”. When she left the salon for the classroom there was a huge amount of clothes rending and pearl clutching!

      At least 3 of her clients put in their wills that they wanted open casket, but only if Mom did their hair for it, and she never refused … the gratitude of the families was a great memory.

      Those small conversations can come to feel very meaningful. . . . Unburdening while the scalp is massaged and the hair gently brushed/cut/styled (feels soooooo good), so relaxing, and slightly cathartic, and then you see the results and it’s a complete experience. As a child I saw it all the time, as an adult I try everything to make sure that my stylist feels the love.

      I texted a screenshot of that letter to my regular salon.

  23. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    Easily one of the more unhinged Thomas Friedman New York Times columns… *

    He decided to “understand the Middle East through the animal kingdom” (always a great idea to go compare peoples to animals in a context of genocide and dehumanization) and, surprise, surprise, the more noble animals are the US and Netanyahu (respectively a lion and a lemur) while all the locals are insects and parasites…

    So for instance Iran – one of the world’s oldest civilizations – is a “parasitoid wasp” that “injects its eggs into live caterpillars”. The caterpillars being “Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq”, and the wasp’s eggs “the Houthis, Hezbollah, Hamas and Kataib Hezbollah”. Hamas, by the way, on top of being a parasitoid wasp egg is also apparently a “trap-door spider”, go figure…

    And apparently the old lion that is the US has “no counterstrategy that safely and efficiently kills the wasp without setting fire to the whole jungle”. I.e. burn the Middle-East down.

    It doesn’t even make sense by the way: why would a lion – who lives in the savanna – be bothered by a jungle wasp? Is it because his friend the lemur, who eats caterpillars, is bothered by the eggs?

    So anyhow, there you have it, geopolitics explained to Americans by the NYT’s premier columnist: we’re the king of the animals, we’re burdened by the insects and parasites in the jungle and we might just have to burn the whole thing down.


    10:38 AM · Feb 3, 2024

    1. Revenant

      If the Bible is correct, the insects win. Out of the strong, the sweet(*): we can expect honey from the bees taking up in the belly of the dead beast….

      (*) Lyle’s Golden Syrup tins’ logo, I’m no Sunday School kid! :-)

    2. nippersdad

      What an extraordinary piece of work! I feel inspired to write a letter to the NYT editor:

      “I sometimes like to think of NYT columnists as varying types of slime molds…..”

      Lots to work with. Would they let me into Harvard if I were to plagiarize Wikipedia a little bit?

      “Slime mold or slime mould is an informal name given to a polyphyletic assemblage of unrelated eukaryotic organisms in the Stramenopiles, Rhizaria, Discoba, Amoebozoa and Holomycota clades. Most are microscopic; those in the Myxogastria form larger plasmodial slime molds visible to the naked eye. The slime mold life cycle includes a free-living single-celled stage and the formation of spores. Spores are often produced in macroscopic multicellular or multinucleate fruiting bodies that may be formed through aggregation or fusion; aggregation is driven by chemical signals called acrasins. Slime molds contribute to the decomposition of dead vegetation; some are parasitic.”

      More importantly, would Thomas Friedman approve?

      1. Morincotto

        Slime molds are also capable of learning, finding the shortest ways through complex labyrinths very quickly and generally display extraordinary intelligence for something lacking a brain and any sort of nervous system.

        So Thomas Friedman would probably have trouble meeting the requirements.

    3. ilsm

      Friedman wants you never think about the Sunni (Protector of Mecca) feud with the Shi’a.

      The Sunni are Daish and crowd, supported by the USA, Emirs and Royals. While the evil ayatollahs run the Shi’a.

      While it was the Shi’a militias which finally threw Daish out of Mosul, while Daish still attacks Syria for the USA.

      The bombs last night were supporting Daish in Syria and Iraq

    4. Zephyrum

      You are quite correct, but I admit that Friedman is a bit of a guilty pleasure. After all, the Mustache of Understanding is such a perfect fulfillment of the Oscar Wilde quote that “There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
      I’m never quite sure what use liberals make of his expositions. Is he the uncle you try to ignore at dinner, or perhaps he merely spoils the political agenda through reductio ad absurdum.

  24. furnace

    Lupus and other autoimmune diseases strike far more women than men. Now there’s a clue why Associated Press (ma)

    I prefer Gabor Maté’s explanation in Myth of the Normal in which he persuasively (to me at least) argues that trauma and impossibility of processing emotions, i.e. keeping them bottled up, significantly correlates with autoimmune diseases (it’s the same mechanism, in essence). Given that women are significantly more traumatized and are socially given less opportunities to vent those embodied emotions, it would result in a much greater incidence of autoimmune diseases.

    Though of course the discovery of the physiological means by which autoimmune diseases happen is a good thing, it is strictly limited. This passage by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism about mental illnesses remains germane:

    It goes without saying that all mental illnesses are neurologically instantiated, but this says nothing about their causation. If it is true, for instance, that depression is constituted by low serotonin levels, what still needs to be explained is why particular individuals have low levels of serotonin. This requires a social and political explanation[…] (end of chap. 5)

    1. flora

      Somewhat related is how quick many docs are to prescribe medicine that may only mask a symptom.

      an aside:

      Tucker Carlson talking with Calley Means about the business model behind pushing drugs like Ozempic on non-diabetics, for example. It’s not about improved health. Means does mention in passing the importance of food nutrition quality. utube, ~41 minutes.

      Big Pharma Is Fooling You Again, and You Don’t Even Know It

  25. griffen

    US payrolls and job report for January 2024, certainly a blockbuster headline. And in combination with the lead of the increase, as payrolls went up by 353,000, there was also a reasonable (for the hourly worker) increase to the average wage ( hourly earnings increased by 0.6% ).

    Some of the talkers on CNBC Friday morning, after this release, were discussing the possibility of monthly revisions that may pull some of the shine off this monthly release. Meanwhile in Federal Reserve land, Jerome Powell is telling the market mavens “hold my beer”. No rate cut in March, not with this type of a strong report.

    1. cfraenkel

      Sure, that’s funny. But the real perfect intersection is buried in the copy:

      However, the space has only ever been used as a gym for crew because the Navy did not procure the weapons due to a lack of funds.

      1. Glen

        And they better watch it because BAE Systems will read this article and get an exclusive contract to provide gym equipment to the Royal Navy for hundreds of millions of pounds.

        It’s becoming plain to see how western mega corporations eventually replace sovereign governments – they price them out of existence. (Hint to governments – when the MSM is discussing how “the missiles costs so much that the war is lost” the logical thing to do is nationalize the corporation.)

  26. Feral Finster

    “Is it REALLY a coincidence that Israel chose to bomb Belgium’s Agency for Development Cooperation in Gaza the day after they decided to not suspend funding to UNRWA?”

    Of course it is not a coincidence. We’re not stupid. But what is anyone going to do about it?

    1. ambrit

      “Explosively renovate” the offices of the JDL in da Bronx if they don’t condemn the Genocide in Gaza?

      1. Feral Finster

        Stop kidding yourself, please. Belgium can and will do nothing.

        Expect a sniveling apology from Belgium soon.

    2. The Rev Kev

      But man, this really comes off as so petty on the part of the Israelis. Makes them sound like petulant children with bombs.

    3. Kouros

      Keep repeating what John Mearsheimer declared in a very recent podcast with Judge Napolitano, that Israel’s behaviour is unheard of and unspeakable in its evilness and vileness, and it is in fact the opposite that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. If they insist on it it means it is the exact opposite.

  27. flora

    re: Mass immigration amid mass inflation? How to keep low-wage workers low – Ramin Mazaheri

    Thanks for this link. Well worth the read.

  28. Wukchumni

    Down in Tijuana-adjacent for a retirement party today, and the atmospheric river really gets going tomorrow, particularly in LA, and there are hopes in tinseltown that it will inspire a movie of the event, to make something other than Super Hero films, although a Super Hero showing up mid-movie can’t be ruled out if the story sags a bit.

    1. griffen

      The annual tournament* at Pebble Beach is this weekend, where amateurs can stride along a golf pro and participate as a team. Now by amateurs I do mean to specify it is a wealthy CEO, or a professional athlete now in their off season ( hey, Josh Allen is supposed to be there ! ). Probably some notable thespians as well, a Bill Murray or Sam Jackson are pretty famous in their love of the 18 hole sojourn. My guess is that some local charities are benefiting from this annual tournament and fund raiser, something unique to the game of golf and the PGA.

      In his soothing delivery, Jim Nantz is advising the weather may take a nasty turn in the overnight hours there on the peninsula ( yeah it’s north of LA but still….)

      *Back when Bing Crosby was still a really big deal, the tournament was broadly known as the Clambake.

      1. Wukchumni

        Swinging a lightning rod to and fro is par for the course among those grown men who whack off repeatedly trying to fit the object of their desire into a fitted hole around a manicured circle.

      2. juno mas

        The current storm track extends from San Francisco to San Diego. I’m in the middle and the storm is expected to rain continuously for two days—and drop 4 to 6 inches of rain (minimum).

        I would not attempt a putt on any of the cliff-side greens!

      3. skippy

        Ahh … the course where the ball always rolls to the sea …

        Mates dad [insurance exec from Champaign IL] got tired waiting for waitstaff in the main dining room, got up and emptied glass of water into plant and got stuck into some putting practice … he was shortly attended too …

  29. Wukchumni

    Australian girl swings large snake in the air to save her pet guinea pig Washington Post
    We were one of the first housing developments in our neck of the woods in SoCal in the late 1960’s and nobody told the rattlesnakes we were taking over the hood, and I must have killed a dozen by the time I was a teenager.

    One day, the twelve year old me and my chums were confronted by still the largest rattler i’ve ever seen, about 5 1/2 feet long and a foot worth of rattles. We got somebody’s dad to do the deed and like a guillotine the shovel head came down on the serpent and that was that. We cut off the rattles and the aforementioned father buried the head about a foot down and we were talking, when 5 minutes later, said head made it’s way up and was quite pissed off, and to this day I can still see those jaws fully extended sans body.

    1. griffen

      I tend to forget about Harrison…raking in large donations, and then losing big to Graham apparently then stoking the fires of the DNC and in return he is now the DNC Chair. What a country !

      I notice that the margin was razor thin. Just a shade under 96.5%…

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