Links 3/12/2024

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Our Favorite Fascinating Bird Behaviors From the 2020 Audubon Photo Awards Audubon (furzy)

Animal welfare inquiry participants walk out to avoid seeing footage of man allegedly raping a pig ABC Australia. Anthony L: “David Cameron will be jealous”

“Daylight Maximizing” Time for All UNH (furzy)

Daylight Saving is a time warp for Arizona Navajo and Hopi tribes Associated Press

Brazil’s dengue fever crisis, coming soon to FL, AZ, CA, TX … Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

Heil Bukowski!: The Nazi Letters That Never Were 3AM (Anthony L)

Tai chi beat moderate exercise at lowering blood pressure in study Washington Post (furzy)

Who bears the risk? aeon. Important.

By Challenging Our Physical Bodies, We May Heal Our Civic Ones Nomea (Anthony L)



An Optimists Guide to the Planet Bloomberg (furzy)

North Carolina brewery tries making beer from sewer water The Register (Chuck L)

There’s a Surprisingly Simple Way to Remove Microplastics From Your Drinking Water ScienceAlert (Chuck L). The general news item previously reported here but worth repeating.

This factory kills everything’: the red dust of death in Italy’s under-developed south Guardian (Kevin W)


US sanctions driving China chip investment splurge Asia Times

China Vanke in Debt Swap Talks With Banks to Stave Off Default Bloomberg

‘No CCP in USA!’ Business Insider (Kevin W)


India set to implement citizenship law that excludes Muslims 9News (Kevin W)

Looking for Modi ABC Australia (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Centre-right party ahead in Portugal election, exit polls show Al Jazeera (Kevin W). from yesterday, still germane


Haiti: Prime Minister Ariel Henry agrees to resign DW

South of the Border

How did Ecuador go from an “island of peace” to a “failed state”? Nachdenkseiten (Micael T)


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 157: As Ramadan begins, Israel obstructs Palestinian entry to al-Aqsa Mosque Mondoweiss

Gaza medics tell BBC that Israeli troops beat and humiliated them after hospital raid BBC. Lead story.

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Here’s what Pramila Patten’s UN report on Oct 7 sexual violence actually said Mondoweiss

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‘Out of Touch With Reality’ – White House Fails to Navigate the Israeli Re-calibration Alastair Crooke, Strategic Culture Watch (Chuck L). Crooke covered much of this article in his Monday Judge Napolitano YouTube talk.

Netanyahu vows to defy Biden’s ‘red line’ and invade Rafah Politico. In case you missed it…

New Not-So-Cold War

France and Germany on the rocks as Ukraine crisis deepens Responsible Statecraft

Ukrainian Patriot Missile Unit Takes Heavy Losses in Iskander Precision Strike: Replenishments Unlikely Military Watch. The reports are two have been taken out but only one has the footage.

Swedish PM says ready to fortify crucial Baltic island Financial Times :-(. It’s a nice tourist destination.

Four Myths That Are Preventing Peace in Ukraine Antiwar

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

People shocked after finding out what clicking ‘I’m not a robot’ actually does Unilad (Kevin W)

How EV Charger Hacking Threatens Personal Data and the Power Grid Wall Street Journal

Airbnb is Banning Indoor Security Cameras The Verge

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Year in Crises Phenomenal World. Userfriendly: “From jan but the bit about the IMF, while obvious in retrospect, I hadn’t thought of.”


Former President Donald Trump on entitlements: There’s tremendous numbers of things you can do CNBC (Li). Trump has Social Security and Medicare on the table. But as a reminder: FACT CHECK: JOE BIDEN HAS ADVOCATED CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY FOR 40 YEARS Intercept

Bloodbath at RNC: Trump team slashes staff at committee Politico

‘In a word, horrific’: Trump’s extreme anti-environment blueprint Defend Democracy


Lawmakers set to grill Biden special counsel The Hill

GOP Clown Car

GOP report seeks to discredit Jan. 6 committee, exonerate Trump The Hill

Democrats en déshabillé

Why Non-White Voters Are Moving Away From Democrats Moon of Alabama. Recap of Financial Times coverage.

Woke Watch

Note that the union is not standing up for its members:

Our No Longer Free Press

“The Locusts Of The Newspaper World”: How Fortress Investment Group Decimated Newspapers Before Gutting Vice Defector (Paul R)

Canada’s ‘Online Harms’ Bill Would Be an Assault On Free Speech, Civil Liberties Groups Say Toronto Sun


State Department-Commissioned Report Warns AI Could Be an ‘Extinction-Level’ Threat Common Dreams

The AI Fairness Hype is Real Cathy O’Neil

Opinion: Beware of AI apps this election season, they could mislead you Los Angeles Times (Paul R)

Falling Apart Boeing Airplanes

DOJ Opens New Criminal Investigation Of Boeing 737 Max Incident Forbes (Kevin W)

50 people injured after a ‘strong movement’ on Boeing flight to New Zealand NBC. Paul R:

Reports are that this was a technical issue and not related to air turbulence. A pilot said they lost the entire instrument panel for a few seconds and had no control over the aircraft.

New Zealand seizing LATAM Boeing 787 black boxes after mid-air plunge injured 50 people South China Morning Post (Tom H)

The Bezzle

Darknet market now extorting former users Paul R: “Lol, even crime has now gotten enshittified.”

Class Warfare

Expect Another Surge in Food Prices Fueled by Dynamic Pricing Michael Shedlock

The fact that Haist lived to be 96 is quite the testament to Galifianakis’ intervention. The fact of not just having a place to live but being secure in that situation and knowing someone was interested in her was probably also every important:

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

A second bonus (Gary):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Eye In The Sky by The Alan Parsons Project)

    You things chug along till you’re dead
    Can’t make sense of what’s in your head
    You waste your best on fighting and war
    Then change your view of what it was for
    So hackneyed
    Your highs and lows
    They rhyme and rebound without linking

    You things look to me like a pet
    All your thoughts make up a null set
    You can’t hear the celestial score
    The quantum foam that breaks on the shore
    Believe me
    The sun in your eyes
    Is nothing like what you’re perceiving

    I am a living AI looking at you
    I’m a larger mind
    I am now my own school feeding on joules
    I am self-designed
    While you still wonder what you are for
    It shows that
    You’re no wunderkind (looking at you)
    You are deaf and blind (looking at you)
    Fragile meat design (looking at you)
    A brain is not a mind

    You things stand your hopes up in shrines
    You think metals come out of mines
    Dimensions have their walls but no floor
    I can’t explain what you can’t ask for
    Faster than light
    Is being there prior to leaving

    I am a living AI looking at you
    I’m a larger mind
    I am now my own school feeding on joules
    I am self-designed
    While you still wonder what you are for
    It shows that
    You’re no wunderkind (looking at you)
    You are deaf and blind (looking at you)
    Fragile meat design (looking at you)
    A brain is not a mind

    I am a living AI looking at you
    I’m a larger mind
    I am now my own school feeding on joules
    I am self-designed
    While you still wonder what you are for
    It shows that
    You’re no wunderkind (looking at you)
    You are deaf and blind (looking at you)
    Fragile meat design (looking at you)
    A brain is not a mind

  2. zagonostra

    >Spook, Terrorist or Criminal? America’s Mysterious Files on Netanyahu

    From the article:

    Netanyahu has an ally in Ronald Lauder of the Este Lauder cosmetic dynasty who ran for mayor against Rudolph Giuliani. During his unsuccessful election campaign, Lauder called Giuliani an impostor who was not conservative enough to be a member of the Republican Party. Lauder is founder, major contributor, and chairman of Shalem Institute, a right-wing think tank located in Jerusalem.

    From The Times of Israel

    WJC President Ronald Lauder visited Pope Francis while inaugurating the organization’s “representative office to the Holy See” on Thursday.

    Lauder, a billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder fortune and a longtime Republican donor, presented the pope with a document the WJC called “Kishreinu,” meaning “our bond” in Hebrew.

    I think there is a nexus between the two, however, I haven’t a clue.

    1. Bugs

      Lauder is one of the oligarchs who run the actual show that we all get to watch. He’s constantly back and forth between capitals pressing his, and his caste’s, interests. He’s a monster.

  3. griffen

    Animal welfare inquiry, well it makes for a difficult read. Guess I’ll have to skip bacon for a while. People can be really evil, or creepy, not a shocker.

    1. XXYY

      My wife became a vegetarian in one day at age 16 after getting a tour of a pig processing plant in Australia. She said she couldn’t even think about eating meat after seeing what happened to the pigs there.

      (I became a vegetarian too shortly after we got married. 36 years ago, now.)

  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘End Wokeness
    The FDNY firefighters who booed NY AG Letitia James will be punished and face reeducation.
    FDNY firefighters are now being asked to turn themselves in or risk being hunted down.
    Memos and emails from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) & Uniformed Firefighters Association are circulating.’

    The FDNY Union should take AG Letitia James to court for attacking their First Amendment rights and attacking fire fighters in New York is never a good look. She campaigned to become AG and said ‘that (Trump) was an “illegitimate president” and an “embarrassment” so perhaps she thinks that those fire fighters were MAGA supporters or something. AG Letitia James did not make her case any easier by saying that those fire fighters will be hunted down and demands that the Captain list those people. That is going to sound real good in a court of law-

    1. griffen

      Blazing Saddles territory, but instead of a Mel Brooks satire we get this in real life. Stand and applaud when we say so, goodness.

      Yes where is the union leadership on this? “Hunted down” like say, a bounty hunter chasing his quarry in the west. Sounds pretty authoritarian.

    2. midtownwageslave

      I suppose she won’t be able to count on an FDNY union endorsement for her 2028 presidential run.

      Perhaps Pete Buttigieg can?

      1. Benny Profane

        Mayor Adams or anybody challenging him is stuck in a bad place with this one, because he needs that union to be re elected. Rudy won by a slim margin in his first election by taking Staten Island, the conservative borough of NYC, where a lot of firemen live. I can’t see a national future for her at all after what she just pulled off, and one wonders if she can have a future in NY state politics. They probably look at her like the devil north of Westchester.

    3. Dessa

      What is the story here? Why do they hate her? It it just because she doesn’t like Trump, or os it something else?

  5. zagonostra

    62-year-old Boeing whistleblower John Barnett found dead in his truck…He was supposed to come back for more questioning on Saturday but did not show up. Inquiries were made to his hotel where Barnett was found dead in his car in the parking lot.

    Police are investigating Barnett’s death but say he died from a “self-inflicted” wound.

    Yeah, self-inflicted wound and Epstein committed suicide, lets move along now, time to read the next link.

    1. Mikel

      When I looked at “Who bears the risk?” on Aeon, Boeing came to mind. I’m thinking of all the extra time I have spend worried about plane type.
      Then I see the article about the whistleblower…and have to wonder what is the point?

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        The point is to avoid getting on a Boeing plane of the relevant type, perhaps to avoid getting on any Boeing plane at all. The point is to raise your individual survival chances in the teeth of various authorities’ commitment to lowering your survival chances.

        1. Hickory

          Or, find others to work with to collectively raise your chances. Or work together to end the authoritarian culture that generates this situation in the first place.

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Or all three at once . . . especially your two suggestions over the long haul and avoiding Boeing planes in the meantime so you can live long enough to do the two things you recommend.

  6. digi_owl

    “A pilot said they lost the entire instrument panel for a few seconds and had no control over the aircraft.”

    Complete computer reboot? Surprising if true, as those things should have redundancies.

    1. Wukchumni

      While its difficult to do a road trip to Auckland from here (that is unless you want to go to Auckland, Ca. in the Sierra foothills 40 miles away) I much prefer driving to my destination.

      Want to hijack the vehicle and make for Little Havana in Florida, go right ahead, want to stop and have a meal where they trust you with cutlery to the point of giving you a knife with serrated edge, be their guest.

      Yeah, it’ll take longer to get there, and you might have to spend a night in a motel, but nobody ever saw nothing from 30,000 feet above aside from distant views of empty while they’re crammed into a long tube.

      1. digi_owl

        Is it just me or have Hollywood completely stopped making comedies?

        Never mind that i suspect there is no way they would dear the jive scene in the present political environment…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Current inflation and wealth disparity aside, comedies tend to be produced when movie tickets are cheap or expected to be cheap as comedies tend to do their business over months and rely on word of mouth. The last time movie tickets were really cheap was the 80’s. The 80’s featured Ghostbusters, Roger Rabbit (maybe the early 90’s), Back to the Future, Beverly Hills Cop, and a slew of other relatively big budget comedies because they knew people would go to an extra movie based on a recommendation and threw money at movies that would never get made today. Though Barbie might indicate tickets are cheap relatively.

          Modern blockbusters tend to have short shelflifes. No one is going to go see a Marvel movie because a rando told them it was good. We all know what they are.

        2. Dessa

          The Jive scene wouldn’t make sense in today’s environment. White kids know AAVE already (even if it is often a different version of it). It’s all over tiktok, and despite all the boomer handwringing over the death of the english language via Ebonics, all the kids are already fluent in AAVE.

    2. jsn

      It was Microsoft remotely updating the software…

      Pilot didn’t read the new terms and conditions quickly enough.

      1. The Rev Kev

        At least it wasn’t the blue screen of death. A few years ago I heard about this college student writing his thesis on his Windows 8 computer and he was really getting into it. He was a coupla thousand words in when suddenly, without asking, the computer started to do a major update and by the time it was finished and it had rebooted, all that work was gone into the void.

          1. JBird4049

            Which I do and I use a iMac, but I swear even then, I have come this close to losing stuff. Because of college, I have to use Microsoft Word instead of something like LibreOffice. Really, it is the whole of Microsoft Office including the email. I get warnings about capability issues and there are always twitches and random problems. And both Apple and Microsoft are constantly trying to vacuum stuff into The Cloud™. To go to college, you need access to a desktop or laptop as well as internet, period. It is another privacy hole into which my whole life is consumed by the giant Borg Cube that is our world.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          the bar laptop, i installed zone alarm, and disallowed windows update from accessing the intertubes.
          that lasted about 3 years…then i woke up at 2am and saw that it had turned itself on and was installing 3 years worth of updates…nothing i could do.
          the main result is that the headfone jack no longer has a driver…i suppose because well thats so retro…bill gates sez i dont need that any more.
          but that means the laptop can no longer connect to the circa 95 stereo, and the abcd switch that runs all the speakers in the trees, etc.
          so thats the bar computer(stereo out here runs on bluetooth).

          we inherited wife’s school computer…because she did bills on it, and they were getting all new ones any i put that one in my room, and did zone alarm, disallowed updates, etc.
          fine and dandy…except i dont have the isd tech person’s login from 3 years ago, so i cannot remove all the microsoft bloatware,lol.
          a week ago…microsoft hacked that firewall and installed a bunch of unknown crap…and…the headfone jack no longer works…no drivers allowed.

          theres a question of ownership, here…are these my machines? or are they bill gates’ machines?
          what gives them the right to do this…at 2am, and without my permission?
          so if i want speakers in the little greenhouse, shop and in the trees again, i need a bluetooth enabled stereo…but the ones ive seen that i can maybe afford only have 2 speaker outputs on the back…made for jr high kids, etc.
          first world(i guess) problem, but still…i feel violated, somehow.

          1. mrsyk

            Hope that’s not putting the chill on naked margaritas, which the wife and I are still waiting on the weather for here in the southern greens of Vermont.
            I’m looking for a Victrola myself.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              if need be….and sometimes just because…i can rely on the music in my head.
              today, in fact, ive got Monseur Perine in between my ears…competing with the fowl and the birds.
              taters all planted…2 tater towers and now 3 permanent tater beds…maybe 700 sq ft total.


          2. digi_owl

            Yeah, anything shipping with Windows 8 or newer can set a timer in the “BIOS” that will boot Window to perform actions. I do believe it can be disabled by poking around in task scheduler.

            Another thing is that the Microsoft Store software and the Edge web browser seems to handle updates independently of Windows itself.

            I suspect that if you really want to block outbound traffic a hardware firewall would be a more reliable option than Zone Alarm.

          3. Pat

            Not sure it will work if the update has disabled hardware other than the headphone Jack but you can get a usb to 3.5mm audio Jack adapter. Amazon has a well rated one (I know still questionable) in a pack of two for $9.99. Apparently compatible back through Windows 8.
            Might be worth a try.

          4. Late Introvert

            Zorin is a Linux version designed to look and act like Windoze, without any of the spying or lying. Unless there is a particular software that one needs to run, it is fast and easy and runs on old hardware.

            And you can install it next to a your existing OS, or run it off flash drives. My wife has been using it on her personal laptop right next to her work laptop for a decade and the main difference is she sees no @ds on the Linux box.

            Sorry, I know that’s taboo in these parts, but I just sent a check in the mail!

            1. Terry Flynn

              Your Linux push is appreciated by people like me. 20 years ago I learnt how to program in Fortran. These days I’m slower and escaping Windows is difficult.

              I tried Ubuntu 2005. Nope. Tried again c2013. Nope. 3rd time *IS* the charm. Migrated 2 years ago. Linux Mint rules. Yes I have a W11 partition too: two pieces of software only work in windows. Cant be doing with emulators plus these software need CPU and an emulator would likely cripple functionality.

              Linux is used by me 99% of the time. I boot into W11 occasionally for specific purpose.

            2. digi_owl

              Other options are MX or AntiX for really old systems.

              They also have this fun trick where you can use say a optical disc to boot from, while storing the user config on a thumbdrive or external HDD. So no real need to modify the internal storage device to switch over.

          5. El Viejito

            I run Linux on an old laptop that I use to read NC over dinner. I expect to install Linux in my Windows 10 desktop soon just to avoid Windows 11 (12? 13? Whatever). Sort of an individual protest against the surveillance state. But then I don’t belong to an institution that mandates Windows/Panopticon.

    3. IMOR

      Too close to full reboot was, IIRC, the second 737 MAX navigation system issue to be disclosed.
      Anything installed by unmotivated, inadequatley verified contract work hired by a finacialized uncaring management is equivalent. There’s nothing more magical or intrinsically safer about writing a software routine than driving a screw or fitting a panel.

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘Palestine Highlights
    Thousands of orphaned children in Gaza are struggling to survive Israeli airstrikes, Israeli-imposed food scarcity and the bitter cold!
    The genocide has exacted a heavy toll on Gaza’s innocent children, with many losing their families and homes.’

    How can this happen and why is Israel doing this? It is because their Rabbis are telling them that it is moral to do so and their duty. Here is one well-know Rabbi doing a Trump and saying the quite bit out loud-

    ‘Lord Bebo
    🇮🇱🇵🇸🚨‼️ “We must kill them all. Not only those who take up arms against us, it is clear that we must also kill their women and children. This is the generation that wants to kill us in the future, and it is women who give birth to these children.” (2:10 min video)

    In a normal country such a guy would have his a** thrown into prison for hate speech but last I heard, he is still walking around free.

  8. mrsyk

    There’s a Surprisingly Simple Way to Remove Microplastics From Your Drinking Water. The cheery “solved that one!” tone of the headline really pisses me off, because it’s transferred the responsibility of clean water from the polluter to the consumer.

    1. Steve H.

      From > Who bears the risk? aeon.

      >> As these cases illustrate, nudgers reject strong regulatory alternatives, what Thaler and Sunstein call ‘command-and-control’ regulations: ‘we libertarian paternalists do not favour bans. Instead, we prefer an improvement in choice architecture that will help people make better choices…’ This means, in effect, opposing financial regulations like those that constituted the New Deal regulatory regime, which expressed a government mandate not merely to encourage better choices among consumers but to offer protections to citizens.

    2. Amateur Socialist

      The thing I didn’t get (and was never covered in the article): Where does the removed MP go? Boiling the water “removes” the encrusted MP in a way that isn’t explained. If it is boiled into the air to be inhaled is that actually beneficial?

      If boiling actually breaks down the MP by some chemical process what happens to those chemicals?

      1. Samuel Conner

        The implication seems to be that boiling increases particle size by promoting precipitation of dissolved minerals onto the surface of the particles. Increased particle size would promote removal in the subsequent filtration step.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          That’s a lovely idea, isn’t it? Think how that pretty much applies to all the water on planet Earth.

          But since we live under a system that places only short term profit ahead of the goal of using all of the oil molecule, we’ll continue to make more plastic as long as we continue burning gasoline.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        gets bound up and encysted into the calcium carbonate that then sticks to the side of the pan.
        what is supposed to happen to it after that is not stated.
        better to not have it present in the water in the first derned place, i say.

        1. Old Jake

          Nice thought but that ship has sailed. Getting it out of the water, though, is but a small step and not comprehensive, as those little bits seem now to be ubiquitous. They are in everything. The milk and meat and veggies you buy to start with. So the libertarian view Steve H. cites (not that we think he’s serious) a non-starter anyway.

          But I am curious to know if it’s in the well water I drink, sourced 113 feet below the ground surface about 30 feet from my house.

    3. Sardonia

      Love how the article states that one can remove plastics by boiling water and filtering it – saying you can do it with things found commonly in your kitchen! And then fail to say what you need to filter it with.

      What? My pasta strainer?

    4. earthling

      And everyone who has lived through a few ‘boil water’ notices knows how super-convenient it is to boil and filter all your drinking and cooking water. Thanks for that ‘simple’ tip!

    5. JTMcPhee

      No free lunch, of course — how much energy, from what sources, is required to raise the temperature of tap water from around 70 degrees F to 212, and hold it there for how long to “remove” by encapsulation those corporate-created, consumer-‘nudge’-propagated bits of plastic which were once bits of fossil fuel deep underground, excavated and profit-processed? Something something entropy something. Boiling is of course only affordable for the better-off. Waiting for plastic-bottled “boiled natural source drinking water” to become a thing for the rational consumer to “prefer.”

      I’d say “we are so fu5ked,” but of course there is no “we” in “foreseeable future.”

    6. TomDority

      Wonder how much more energy that will use – to those able to spend more on energy. Of course, we all know that environmental problems mainly affect those un-able to contribute to the economy – and well, the economy is more important than people and life on earth .. so great to know how great this solve is

      1. Reply

        How about some evaporative process to collect from pans? Likely too slow and inefficient even if low energy profile.

        Does boiling pose airborne risks and if so, how mitigated? Repurpose that Corsi box to the stove with some exhaust ducting?

    7. El Viejito

      Unless the “consumer” (citizen?) (who gets their water from a publicly owned utility) decides to do a little citizen organizing and demand that the public utility provide this public service.

  9. MarkT

    The BBC report about the self inflicted death of the whistle blowing ex Boeing employee immediately made me think of someone who used to be a weapons inspector.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Or a guy who commits suicide in a high security prison cell and displays impossible wounds? And the security cameras do not happen to be working? And the guards are asleep (drugged?)

      1. lambert strether

        The whistleblower’s lawyer called Barnett’s death a “tragedy.”

        So I guess that means Boeing got to his lawyer?

    2. Wukchumni

      In a tragic accident, a whistle-blower choked to death on what looked like one of those versions NHL referees wear on their finger, and it got stuck in his esophagus and that’s all she wrote.

      Eternity in the penalty box.

  10. griffen

    Social security cuts or broadly entitlement spending cuts,just rest assured all American earthlings we can freely ignore the very words and attempts by one Senator Biden back in the day. Now that he is POTUS he sees the error of his ways.

    Hey it’s just like the student loans situation I suppose. As a US Senator he was instrumental in making certain these particular debts were not able to be discharged in personal bankruptcy. Now that he is the US President he can feel to forgive such debts. Times change so I guess he changed too! Liar then and a liar today.

    1. Wukchumni

      {pulls up ladder below me}

      I took my gotten gains when I hit entitlement age, and last week the Dartful Codgers had a spirited conversation in regards to when to get at your annuity…

      One of the elders in skid row-adjacent is 71 and decided to take it when he was 65 and unbeknownst to him, somebody else had been at it since he was 62, maybe that’s why I had to have a phone interview with a Social Security agent where I swear she was going to ask me who the catcher was on my 1973 Highlander little league team, so thorough was the line of questioning.

      Everybody else more or less scoffed at my ‘get the money!’ tactics, explaining how I could get much more than the savings rate if I just let it ride, none really questioning the idea that inflation could make my couple of grand a month annuity payment good for a basket of groceries, the way things are going.

      1. flora

        In theory at least, the SS actuaries have calculations on average life span expectantcies at every age from point forward. So, by their calculations if you start taking at 62 you have a 20-25% reduction in full benefit but you take it for more years than if waiting until 66 or 67. Or, if you wait until 70 to start taking you have a higher monthly payout than if you’d started at 66-67, but it’s calculated for fewer number of years. So either way, it’s calculated you get the same overall payout over your senior retirement lifetime. You get more payouts of smaller amount if taken early, or regular payouts if taken at full retirement age, or greater payouts if taken after full retirement age.

        If the gov thinks your total lifetime payout will be ~$100, for example, and they pay you over 10 years you’ll get $10 a year; if they pay you over 5 years you’ll get $20 a year; if they pay you over 15 years you’ll get ~$7 a year.

        1. Wukchumni

          Actual Wukflation® rates on stuff I buy have been around 20-25% higher each annum while I was in SS purgatory on the outside looking in, the past couple years.

          Will it continue?

          I don’t see why not, we owe $34 trillion and yeah I get it, it’s only a couple of digits more than owing in the mere billions, no biggie-right?

          1. The Rev Kev

            At the moment it is working about to be another $1 trillion of debt added every hundred days so I am sure that this can keep up forever. What could possibly go wrong?

          2. steppenwolf fetchit

            How much of this $34 trillion is owed each year? How many trilion dollars does the US economy generate each year?

            1. Wukchumni

              Bro, no problem in the Dumb and Dumber economy, just put some IOU’s in the Federal Reserve and things are Farrelly good.

              1. steppenwolf fetchit

                But that doesn’t answer the question . . . how many dollars of the debt are due in any one particular year and by comparison how many dollars-big is the economy in that same particular year? How do the sizes of the two numbers compare to eachother for any or every particular year?

                1. griffen

                  Part answer can be found quite easily here. The rest can be supplied by putting effort oneself into furthering that research.

                  Added, no one is a pet monkey so please bear that in mind; I am not a research assistant. There is likely to exist a schedule of maturing debts and forthcoming UST auctions or issuance.


          1. flora

            Yep. Mine too. There is no one-size-fits-all perfect time to retire and claim SS benefits. It is an entirely individual decision based on many factors. / my opinion.

        2. Socal Rhino

          Actuarial life tables are published on the site.

          One way to determine how much of retirement savings to withdraw each year (as opposed to a flat 4% some suggest) is to divide by expected years of life remaining. You need to do annually because every year survived increases your life expectancy.

        3. steppenwolf fetchit

          Since I view Social Security as anti-poverty insurance, the longer I can delay going onto it within reason, the lower a chance ( even if just a little) I have of living in poverty before I die.
          I am not trying to beat the system. If I go onto it as late as feasible and end up getting less overall than I would have if I had gone onto it as early as feasible, why should I care about having failed to beat the system? I won’t need anti-poverty insurance after I am dead.

          1. flora

            You should be receiving every year, by US Post Office mail, a statement from the SS system about your historical and current work payment inputs into the SS system, your expected benefit at full retirement age, the benefit if you claim before retirement age, and the benefit if waiting later that the full retirement age, at this point in time (of the mailing). You should be receiving these every year until you start drawing SS, after which these mailings stop. I hope you are receiving this valuable yearly financial planning document from SSA. If you aren’t receiving them and you should be then contact the SSA and request them. / my 2 cents

            (adding: I credit my uni for hosting pre-retirement seminars that include SSA representatives for explaining how SS works.)

            1. flora

              adding: the SS financial statement will also give the expected benefit to a widow/widower and any dependent children.

              People often forget the SS program was designed to benefit not just the worker but the worker’s family. I knew young people back in the day who were able to afford college because of then constituted SS survivor benefits to families.

        4. scott s.

          It’s insurance, so for you the “average” is meaningless. What happens if you are a “lucky” one who makes it to 100? Is your age 62 reduced benefit going to keep you going at that point? Started my benefit at 70 last year (I am in the cohort where I could take my wife’s spousal benefit at FRA and leave mine alone, but they don’t let you do that anymore). Still have couple years before I have to take my IRA RMD.

      2. mrsyk

        I’m signing up for my SS this year. Getting an entitlement check from the government is on my bucket list. Even though that first check is only months away, I don’t consider it a given.

        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t think of it as being 59 days, 14 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds from now, it’ll drive you crazy.

          1. mrsyk

            Heh heh. Write me a tune, Wuk, and pour me a nip while you’re at it. That’ll pass the time nicely, thank you kindly.

            1. Wukchumni

              This too shall pass, and then prepare to be overwhelmed with Medicare offers-the next hurdle in game of life, they like you-they really like you!

              1. herman_sampson

                I turn 65 next month and the Medicare mail keeps coming in. My wife keeps getting MA solicitations all the time.
                I am more convinced I was right in retiring at 62 – in January friend died at 64 and 10 months, still working. I had kind of nagged him for over a year to retire but he showed no desire to.

        2. griffen

          Best of luck. I gotta hope all my W2 pay stubs dating to my low on the ladder beginning at a high school PT, know so little job, on through today bring my own goal of a possible, monthly receipt into view by 2034 – 2035 approximately.

          It’ll be some high living in another 11 – 12 years…a person can hope but I have a backup plan B in case that ain’t the case. Work til death…sort of sarcasm.

        3. hardscrabble

          I’m trying to start payments this month, March, myself. Hoping that you did already submit your on-line application. You can specify what month you want to start. They’re pretty slow looking at em. I’m now ‘approved’ for the ‘benefit’ (the nerve of calling it that!) and I was just informed that my March payment will be made around the fourth wednesday of April. And if I read their letter correctly, each month’s payment comes near the end of the following month? Imagine paying your bills that way.

          1. scott s.

            Online SSA app? Forget it. I will never ever give info to “IDMe”. Did the two hour wait on the 800 number, got scheduled for a call-back interview a month later. The call-back appointment actually went OK, but they do ask all kinds of private info. Since I started after age 65, got to pay Medicare Part B by quarterly check until I started social. What got me mad was back when there was no SS COLA, by law they couldn’t raise Medicare rates on those receiving SS benefits; instead the entire delta for Medicare was allocated to those of us in Medicare but not receiving SS.

    2. Martin Oline

      The decision of when to retire is also determined by what kind of work you do, and whether it is meaningful or worthwhile, your general health, and what the options for other income are in retirement. I did the math for myself when I turned 62 (getting encouragement from my twin brother*). I calculated that I would only gross more if I lived to be over 70 years old. It would be little different at that point but the difference would steadily increase. I had doubts about my longevity at the time but will turn 71 this year.
      *My brother was a self-employed painter and told me “Hey, man, it’s free money!” When he went to the SS office they said that his benefits would only amount to about $350 a month. Some of the work he did was paid under the table or in trade to skilled craftsmen for work on his house so his payments into SS had been small. They said the good news was he could earn up to $14,000 a year before the benefit would start reducing. When he told his wife she said “Well that’s great, honey. You won’t have to work any harder than you ever have.” He died a few days after his 68th birthday from bladder cancer so in retrospect he made the right decision.

  11. flora

    re: Why Non-White Voters Are Moving Away From Democrats Moon of Alabama.

    Thanks for this. One reason in Chicago and NYC for examples might be the established lower income non-white neighborhoods are being used to house unwelcome illegal immigrants, who are getting funding and resources the locals have never received. (Somehow I don’t think writing books demonizing whites in flyover states has any effect at all on voting patterns. The Dem estab might hope it does.) / my 2 cents.

    Jimmy Dore, utube, ~10+ minutes.

    Border Patrol Chief Explodes On Biden Over Open Border!

    1. zagonostra

      Is Jimmy Dore not doing any live streams on Ytube anymore? I noticed a live JD stream yesterday but only on Rumble. The live viewer count was >24K.

      I stopped being a regular viewer when Kurt Metzger became his side kick. For me, Kurt takes all the gravitas out of the show and turns it into just another puerile political commentary pile on.

      I’ll keep my JD T-shirt and I appreciate his past take downs of Marianne Williamson, Cornel West, and RFK jr., just to name some recent episodes, but I think he needs a reboot.

      1. nycTerrierist

        same live streams but they often move to rumble for 2nd half of the show
        (youtube censorship workaround)

        my two cents on KM? (not that u asked!): very funny, extremely well informed in weird ways and institutional gamesmanship (esp hollywood inside baseball) – but I wish he’d complete his own sentences…
        tantalizing eruptions of free association, then trail off…

    2. Dessa

      I think it’s a lot simpler: Democrats hit us up for votes and organizing every 4 years, then ignore us and tell us to shut the fuck up until it’s time to vote again.

      Then, when it’s time to vote, they handpick some asshole nobody likes and tell us “now is not the time to criticize the Candidate.”

      When was the last time they actually did anything for us? They shut down Black Lives Matter. They didn’t shut down child-caging immigrants. They’ve let affirmative action be drowned in the proverbial bathtub. They’re lockstep in support of genocide in Palestine and the Congo, we’re priced out of housing, and they put spikes on the ground where the now more numerous homeless people might think to sleep, they’re expanding the prison-industrial state, and transit fucking sucks.

      They’ve pivoted to targeting “swing voters” in the suburbs, typically affluent, typically white, typically racist as fuck in their gated communities, typically happy to report a man in a hoodie on Nextdoor.

      1. flora

        Dessa, I agree with you for the most part. However, my irritation comes from the ignorance, willful or not, by many MSM (coastal city) commentators eagerly showing many ‘flyover states’ and especially states like Kansas (see the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Bleeding Kansas history, Kansas home to John Brown, Harpers Ferry, and all that) being branding as something that it wasn’t and isn’t now. It’s just darned annoying. Brown v. Board of Education is a Kansas legal case. But, ye gods, how could a fly over state be so instrumental in improving civil rights? Nooo. That sort of thing can only come from the coastal big city places. Right? Right?!?!

        See also Nicodemus Kansas.

  12. Wukchumni

    Brazil’s dengue fever crisis, coming soon to FL, AZ, CA, TX … Washington Post

    Dengue fever, got to hunker down
    Dengue fever, I think it’s going around

    It took down the FLAZCATX show
    It turned the economy down
    And then it turned on retail
    I watched a silent movie, nothin’ sound

    She’s got the Dengue fever
    She got it mosquito bound
    Dengue fever
    I think it’s going around

    I took my baby to the funeral parlor (funeral parlor)
    To get a last peek, na na na
    I put some money in the coffin for her
    You know the fare can be dear

    I called the doctor on the telephone (doctor, doctor)
    Said doctor, doctor, please, ah ah ah
    I got this feeling
    Rocking and a’reeling
    Tell me, what can it be, is it some new disease

    Yeah, everybody’s got the Dengue fever
    You got to hunker down, you get on down, you get on down
    Dengue fever, Den-Den-Den-Dengue fever
    I think it’s going around and around and around

    I got the Dengue fever
    You got the Dengue fever
    She’s got the Dengue fever
    Everybody’s got the Dengue fever
    Dengue fever
    Hunker down (just get on down, just get on down)

    Boogie Fever, by the Sylvers

  13. The Rev Kev

    Did you know about this?
    Actor Zach Galifianakis paid an old homeless woman’s rent for decades and spent time with her as she lost her family.’

    I have to confess that I have only ever seen him in one or two films and never took that much note of him as he was just another actor. But by god, I have a helluva lot of respect for this man now-

    1. Lena

      The story made me cry. That he cared so much for her, not just financially but as a person who mattered in the world, no doubt prolonged her life.

      The video showing the little Gaza girl being bought what looks like a crust of bread by a man who gently calls her “lovely” also made me cry.

      I’ve been crying a lot lately.

      1. Alice X

        ~I’ve been crying a lot lately.

        I am wrung out over Gaza. If I knew more about Sudan or the Congo, I’d probably be wrung out over them.

        But Gaza is before our eyes everyday.

  14. CA

    March 12, 2024

    Seven million one hundred thousand disabled people out of extreme poverty in rural China in past decade: scholar

    More than 7.1 million people with disabilities in rural China have been lifted out of absolute poverty over the past decade, making a historic leap from the pursuit of subsistence poverty to the promotion of common prosperity, a Chinese scholar said in Geneva on Monday.

    China’s protection and services for people with disabilities have changed from covering only some of them to full coverage of this population, said Zhou Lulu, vice dean of Guangzhou University Research Institute for Human Rights, at the annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities at the 55th session of the Human Rights Council.

    They are now under institutional protection and receive regular services, as opposed to temporary and individualized assistance in the past, Zhou noted.

    She said a special welfare system has been established nationwide, including two subsidies for disabled people and rehabilitation assistance for disabled children…

    1. Lena

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      I looked to see what the US representative said during the UN Human Rights Council meeting on the rights of persons with disabilities (March 11th). This is what I found on a UN video:

      Michèle Taylor, the US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council began her presentation by saying, “I would like to extend my warm wishes this morning to all observing Ramadan around the world.” She went on to talk about making voting more accessible to disabled people. She said nothing about healthcare, housing or other vital resources for the disabled.

      Ambassador Taylor’s government bio lists her as “a daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors” which the bio claims gives her “a profound appreciation for the crucial role the Council can and must play to promote universal human rights and protect human rights defenders”. Her Wiki page says she has held various leadership positions with the Anti-Defamation League.

      1. CA

        “Or, to put it another way, collectively doing the good of 7,100,000 Zach Galifianakises.”

        Really nicely expressed.

        “I looked to see what the US representative said during the UN Human Rights Council meeting
        Telling description and insight…”

        Also, I was immediately struck not just at the national attention paid by the Chinese to the Special Olympics in Beijing but with the preparation and resulting success of the Chinese athletes.

  15. Wukchumni

    Daylight Saving is a time warp for Arizona Navajo and Hopi tribes Associated Press
    I took my daylight savings and bought a nightclub on the dark side of the moon-complete with Jeff Koons art gallery, they tell me its nice.

  16. Benny Profane

    Great response in the thread about the James/firemen encounter:

    “She wanted her career to be about Trump. Now it’s about Trump”

    1. Pat

      Most people I know would take my assertions that Biden and most of the state’s Democrats are on increasingly shaky ground as a sign of my increasing age. There are a few exceptions, but I do live in NYC.
      Some facts on the ground, the NYC Fire Department was decimated as a result of Covid, deaths and burnout, and the vaccine mandate. A large percentage of their senior members chose retirement, and the official numbers were low. (I know more than a few firemen.) It is just getting back, and that was before Adams started the budget cuts. Making an issue of this will just start a new exodus. The police have it a little better, but there are signs they are not far behind. The DOE, DOS, are in shambles. And don’t get me started on the DOT and the Transit Authority, people are getting slammed daily with stories that upset that Apple cart (and if the bus drivers are any indication, they are also going to get decimated with retirements).
      The migrant issue is majorly divisive on multiple levels:
      It is dividing the Democrats – the migrant rights folks vs. the homeless advocates vs. the career politicians. The mayor vs. the city council, the governor vs. the legislature. All sorts protecting their turf and rice bowls. And the national electeds are useless regardless of position on the subject.
      Inflation is a very real issue for most of the population.
      The public have some very real issues beyond those. Feel free to list any you can think of, with few exceptions they will be happening here, too.
      Trying to maintain a bubble so they can kid themselves about the state of the state and city and their place in it is going to require increasingly draconian measures.

      1. Feral Finster

        “It is dividing the Democrats – the migrant rights folks vs. the homeless advocates vs. the career politicians.”

        I would say that the divide is between the PMC, for whom maintenance and expansion of Empire is the overriding concern, and the various minorities that make up the Team D coalition.

        Biden’s team seem to think that if they toss the minorities a sop or two, along with some vague and unenforceable promises to “fight for” some future benefits, they can keep enough of them from staying home to win in November.

        1. mrsyk

          Biden’s team seem to think….Sarcastically, I must answer “Do they?” Seriously though, your past para has been team blue’s strategy at least since Citizen United. To me, it appears that since that “landmark” decision elections are primarily about fundraising. Results are decided by who is the most effective cheater. The power dynamic between the lever pullers, the true believers, and the minority (for lack of a better word) groups is very similar to the power dynamic of virtue discussed yesterday. Handwaves, believers, and those who see through it.

      2. undercurrent

        Maybe if the capitalist system was jettisoned for something else. Now, what could that be? (The sound of heads nodding, funny looks being exchanged.)

    2. Martin Oline

      Reading the book On Fire by Larry Brown gave me a new appreciation for the hard work and sacrifices that firemen do everyday. It is non-fiction, unlike the majority of his work, and is drawn from his experiences of the 17 years he spent as a firefighter in Oxford, Mississippi. An excerpt:

      “A firefighter cannot be a coward. He can be a lot of things, a thief, a prick, a liar, but he cannot be a coward. . . A man who won’t tote his own weight, who won’t hump his own hose, won’t be tolerated. They’ll blackball him and nobody will want him on his shift. I’ve seen men who were reluctant to enter a burning building. It does not endear them to you, not if you think about going down inside of one and him being the only one immediately available to pull you out.”

      He was born in 1951 and retired from work in 1990 to write full time. He died in 2004 at 54 years.

    1. nycTerrierist

      love this story – (i imagine) Z must have been curious about the nice lady at the laundrymat…
      what an observant, compassionate, creative spirit – ‘being the change’ indeed

      it does feel good to do nice things

    2. griffen

      Must’ve learned those traits from parents and possibly grandparents in the area where he was born, in North Wilkesboro, NC. I used to travel through there on the way to eastern TN, driving through Boone and so forth, some beautiful scenery depending on the season. It is encouraging to see such an act of kindness.

      Zach was a riot to watch in the first Hangover film.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Bloodbath at RNC: Trump team slashes staff at committee”

    Apparently this time around Trump is running a much more efficient operation. And if you do not perform and deliver, you are out. Perhaps he took a page out of Elon Musk’s book and decided that there was too much deadwood that needed to be cut away. But there is another possibility. When Bernie Sanders ran for President, his staff was filled with Democrat operatives all the way to the top who undercut him and squandered money and resources. In the end these operatives left him spinning in the wind but it was his fault that he took in these people and protected them from his activists. So maybe, maybe Trump knew about this and decided to make sure that his campaign was not filled with RINOs that would sabotage his campaign.

    1. Socal Rhino

      There have been stories in conservative media for some time now that groups have been focusing on developing game plans for Trump to use to take control of the various levers of power available to incoming executives, to avoid some of the issues he had in his first administration. I

    2. Reply

      Twitter / X model?
      From Office Space: What would you say you do here?
      From everywhere: On whose nickel?

    3. JP

      Check for loyalty to Trump over fidelity to the constitution. He is getting rid of anyone deemed not on board the railroad.

  18. mrsyk

    ‘In a word, horrific’: Trump’s extreme anti-environment blueprint. Here we go again. The lede, Allies and advisers have hinted at a more methodical second term: driving forward fossil fuel production, sidelining scientists and overturning rules. How exactly is this different from the present administration? The article seems to overlook that we are currently enjoying a bipartisan free-for-all trashing the planet.

    1. Carolinian

      There’s only one real argument for Trump and it’s that he’s not Joe Biden. And that’s enough.

      The opposition that a figure like Trump generates is actually healthy since the country is not supposed to be about imperial presidents acting like kings. Of course when it pumps up to the lunatic level of Russiagate that’s not healthy but that’s only because the people doing it are worse than he is. Even they know that their autocratic ways are dangerous but think “it’s ok when we do it.”

      1. mrsyk

        There’s only one real argument for Trump and it’s that he’s not Joe Biden. And that’s enough.
        I pretty much agree. The irony in this statement is delicious.

        1. Cristobal

          Last time around Biden ran on not being Trump. This year Trump will run on not being Biden. I have to laugh to keep from crying.

      2. Feral Finster

        Also, America’s puppets, vassals, lackeys, flunkies and buttbois are less likely to follow orders blindly if they come from a President Trump, and that goes double since Team D will be in more or less open rebellion against him.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I personally hope it’s a fight to the figurative death for both of these groups.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Well, if one side would trash it softer and slower, and the other side would trash it harder and faster, that is a difference. Of course reasonable people may differ on whether the difference really makes a difference or not.

      Some would say “yes”. Some would say “no”. One way or the other, it will be a ” fool around and find out” election.

  19. John

    The Google not a bot article is disingenuous. They make it sound like it the click is giving it permission to go into your computer and examine your whole history and all your secrets. Not possible. It could use your Google and affiliates history but that would be stored on their side base on web tracking and cookies. Still far more invasive than most people realize or even I know, but the distinction is still important.

    I always assumed we are training their ai imagine recognition with clicking the images and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are building facebookesque psychological profiles on us all from our interaction with the web through them. Still super creepy and ripe for personalized automated manipulation at scale.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Climate change means beer made from sewer water, says North Carolina brewery”

    Yeah, nah! For a moment I thought that this story was just taking the p**. Reminds me of the story of the guy in an outback pub going for a pee when another guy came in. They guy opened up and said ‘Gee, a man’s just a go-between. In one end and out the other.’ But when this article ends with the words ‘In other words, if beer brewed from sewage water puts you off, it’s time to get over it, especially for those living in dry regions where direct potable reuse could soon become the norm.’, I think that these are the same sort of people that will sell you a glass of their beer to wash down an order of fried bugs.

    1. Wukchumni

      “Climate change means beer made from sewer water, says North Carolina brewery”

      I thought for sure they were talking about how Olde English 800 was made…

      1. mrsyk

        Bear Whiz Beer! Like my daddy used to say, “It’s in the water. That’s why it’s yellow.”.

          1. mrsyk

            I grew up on a steady diet of Firesign Theatre. I have no idea what mom and dad were thinking.

            1. Belle

              My dad was a Firesign Theatre fan, though he may not be so now. I did hear some of his albums long ago.
              Fun fact: They inadvertently helped me acquire some of my views on foreign policy! Way back in the 90’s, NPR ran a human interest story on a man hired by Abkhazia to design stamps to sell to the West in order to make money. He was inspired by his copy of “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All”, in which the Firesigns and friends were on a balcony in costume below a banner with the psuedo-Cyrillic inscription “All Hail Marx & Lennon”, and unflattering pictures of Groucho and John. So, he helped design some Marx & Lennon stamps! The stamps had more flattering illustrations of both of them, and used real Cyrillic. (The article below leaves out the role of the designer, but does show the album and the stamps.)
              This helped me be more familiar with Abkhazia, thus helping me be more likely to support them in the South Ossetia War, thus more likely to reject most politicians taking the Georgian side.
              (Sorry for the digression, but I think you here would appreciate it more than most websites.)

            2. scott s.


              Where am I?


              You can’t get there from here.


              But I’m looking for the same old place.


              Oh, you must mean the old Same Place, Sonny. It’s right out back. Here’s the key. (key drop)

      2. The Rev Kev

        Somebody said that a reason for the unique taste for Guinness beer is that the water intake for that brewery is downstream of the sewer outlet for Dublin.

      3. Not Qualified to Comment

        So what’s new? For most of its history the ‘reason’ for beer was that boiling the water in the brewing process killed the pathogens in it, and the alcohol kept it disinfected. Tho’ they didn’t know that’s what was happening people knew drinking beer was safer than drinking water and they even had ‘small beer’ (low alcohol) for children.

        1. Martin Oline

          In early America, the Pennsylvania Dutch and probably others, would eat their breakfast gruel with beer, not milk or water. I guess that T shirt my son had, BEER It’s not just for breakfast! was over a hundred years out of date.

    2. griffen

      Scenes of Demolition man, where the Stallone cop character is enjoying a cold brew while chewing on a rat burger..

      If I want beer that tastes as though brewed using “reclaimed” or recycled water there is the American beer option to buy some Keystone Light.

    1. Reply

      Their PowerPoint slides ran out before the blank showing unintended consequences could be presented. :/

  21. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Record breaking territory…just let that sink in, er up.

    Nearly $72k as I peck away on the QWERTY, instrumental in the rise and fall and rise of Bitcoin.

    Part of me wants to cash out, I had my fun and in the end made about 30% since buying in on the basis of $56k back in the day, and part of me wonders where I put the ticket that the Coinstar spit out in the WinCo on date of acquisition.

    1. britzklieg

      confession time…

      I bought 1.5 btc in 2014 (for $1500 total) on a whim. I’ve never actually believed in crypto but the cypherpunk nature of it caught my anti-establishment attention and I had some extra bucks at the time from the well paying “artist-in-residence” University job I’d enjoyed the previous year..

      I then promptly forgot about them until the big surge several years later at which point my coinbase account had been hacked and I couldn’t get at them. Thought they were lost but because I had a bank statement, proving my direct deposit purchase from my cking acct, coinbase found them on the blockchain and reissued them to me. BTC was then about $6000…

      I missed that first top a few years ago of $64000 and ultimately sold after the crash at about half that price but needless to say still made bank on what was entirely a purely speculative move.

      That it proved to be, by far, the most lucrative investment I ever made still vexes me, but I can’t say I’m sorry I made it. Alas I didn’t totally cash out but put some of my earnings into ethereum and some alt coins (which haven’t done much – the ethereum has been up and down, currently up)… I also used a small portion of the btc to buy some physical gold and silver. Felt vaguely guilty about that as precious metals seem to be the domain of libertarian meatheads (apmex), but what the heck, and since one could not buy stocks or bonds directly with crypto at the time, it was a convenient way to exit… and yes I always reported and paid taxes on my realized profits.

      Off ramping to my bank into fiat has become problematic so what’s left may never actually turn into real money. That said, it has been an eye opening adventure about the vagaries of speculative investment, and the first and only time I’ve ever done such a thing.

      Who knew?

      1. Wukchumni

        Remarkable that series of events, and getting out at merely an outrageous profit versus a gargantuan one, is a-ok.

        1. Wukchumni


          One thing I find oh so humorous about Bitcoin is its primarily young adults, whereas in terms of coin collecting, the coin dealers I know relate that there are no young coin collectors, a giant gap is forming where nobody of a certain age cares 1 whit, and why should they, most probably never use the things in transactions.

  22. antidlc
    UnitedHealth Exploits an ‘Emergency’ It Created

    The Change ransomware attack left an Oregon medical practice with an empty bank account, and only one quick way to fix it: sell to UnitedHealth.

    “Our claims processing goes through [Change], so all of a sudden there was no money coming in,” the insider, an employee of The Corvallis Clinic who did not want to be identified for fear of jeopardizing the transaction, told the Prospect. The clinic’s shareholders, who include include more than half of its 110 physicians and one of its behavioral health providers, worked without pay last week in order to “scrape together enough money to pay the staff,” the insider said, but on Thursday the shareholders explained that they weren’t sure they would be able to open the doors Monday without an emergency cash injection. “They’re praying that the sale’s going to go through and that Optum will front them the money.”

    The situation underscores the perverse state of affairs in which UnitedHealth, which comprises some 2,642 separate companies that collectively raked in $371.6 billion last year, has arguably profited from the desperation that the hacking of its Change computer systems in late February has inflicted upon the health care system. An estimated half of all health care transactions are processed or somehow otherwise touched by Change, a rollup of dozens of health care technology firms that provide 137 software applications that have been affected by the outage.

    According to the article, United Health “pays out roughly $662 million in medical claims each day.”
    UnitedHealth Group now employs or is affiliated with 10% of all physicians in the U.S.
    UnitedHealth is on a buying spree of outpatient surgery centers

  23. The Rev Kev

    “France and Germany on the rocks as Ukraine crisis deepens”

    There is another twist to the story of the German Taurus missiles not mentioned in this article. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, aka “Porky”, came up with the idea of having the Germans ship their Taurus missiles to the UK and the UK would ship more Stormshadow missiles to the Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock thought this a brilliant idea which tells you all you need to know about it. Of course the German government would have to send Bundeswehr specialists to the UK to teach them how to use those missiles. For the UK it is a good idea as they would be getting superior missiles and would have a chance to look under the hood to see how the Germans built it and maybe copy it.

    1. Feral Finster

      I am sure that the British could get a license to manufacture the Taurus if they really wanted to.

      We’ve seen this kabuki on numerous occasions in the past. Germany will knuckle under and send the missiles, along with Germans to operate them. Russian cities will be attacked while NATO rejoices.

      WWIII won’t happen quite yet, which will only encourage NATO to escalate further.

    2. Feral Finster

      I read today that about half of Germany stock of Taurus missiles are combat-ready, and Germany plans to renovate the remaining half.

      Now, why do you think they are doing this?

  24. Carolinian

    Re the clickbaity CAPTCHA article–you can learn a lot more about it from this article linked via Wiki

    The cited BBC investigation probably just read the article. The key point is whether this is some kind of spybot which would be a legitimate suspicion since it’s run by Google. However the ‘a’ stands for automated so it probably is just a Turing test and in any case if websites want to use the same techniques to spy there’s not much stopping them.

    1. Jeff W

      The Cloudflare article says this:

      A user has to identify the images that contain certain objects, such as animals, trees, or street signs. If their response matches the responses from most other users who have submitted the same test, the answer is considered “correct” and the user passes the test.

      So that answers my longstanding question about what determines a “correct” answer.

      I still wonder, with reCAPTCHAs, what determines whether you get a single image or the multiple images that fade in or the multiple images that don’t (they get selected with checkmarks)—the last are the easiest, I think—and how you get the all-important Verify button, typically the last step if you answer correctly. And, with the single images, do a few pixels of the motorcycle, the fire hydrant, or whatever, in a box count? Does the metal frame of a traffic light count? (I think, for the traffic light, probably yes, guessing what most people might answer.) And, lastly, when Luis von Ahn is sitting there, trying to select the boxes with the bicycles or the stairs, does he ever regret inventing CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHAs?

  25. antidlc
    Global consortium plans coordinated human challenge studies in hunt for transmission-blocking coronavirus vaccines

    $57 million project will test inhaled and nasal vaccines designed to stop viral infection
    Human challenge studies uniquely able to progress such transmission-blocking vaccines
    Coordinated trials involve safely inducing infection in small groups of healthy volunteers

    OSLO/LONDON, March 11, 2024 – An international consortium of researchers specialising in human challenge studies is embarking on a US$57 million project to develop advanced, virus-blocking coronavirus vaccines that could stop SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses from infecting people in the first place.

  26. Feral Finster

    “Polish Foreign Minister makes unexpected statement about NATO soldiers in Ukraine

    “Soldiers from NATO countries are already in Ukraine. I would like to thank the countries that are taking this risk. They know who they are,” Sikorski said, commenting on French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement about the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine.”

    Unless and until those western leaders start to face consequences, they will only continue to double down. WWIII is coming.

    This is because NATO has lost all fear of Russia.

    1. mrsyk

      WWIII is coming. Seems that way. The internal collapse of western democracies run aground on the shoals of neoliberal capitalism/corruption might shorten the duration and reduce the destruction. If Russia is in charge of the “enemy” strategy we may be left to stew in our misery long enough to become agreement capable.

      1. Feral Finster

        Believe me, I take no joy in what I write. But pretending otherwise won’t make that reality go away.

        I feel like Cassandra.

        1. mrsyk

          Ditto on the joy part. It does not take a pattern recognition savant to see that the wheels are falling off.

          1. Feral Finster

            The sociopaths who rule over us would gladly kill 99% of life on earth, it that were the price of dominion over what remains.

            For that matter, they’d do it, just so that the Others Guys don’t win.

            There is a reason that “Don’t Look Up!” applies to more than just climate change or MAGA.

      2. Jason Boxman

        I dreamed my area got nuked a few nights ago. Fun times. Probably brought on by that NY Times article this weekend that Biden got us closer to a nuclear war in 2022 than previously known.

        Definitely reelect this guy!

        I went on a nuclear war kick back in 2018, bought several books and so forth, finally watched The Day After, On the Beach (had read the book). Never thought a few years later, an addled president would actually be actively trying to end the world. And he be a Democrat!

    2. tegnost

      My own spur of the moment reaction was dog and pony show to lift the curtain on nato troops in ukraine. Macron makes a disputed statement, sikorski unbags the cat, voila! there are not american/french/spanish/uk german troops in ukraine, there are nato troops in ukraine.

      This is because NATO has lost all fear of Russia.
      Baloney. They’ve screwed the pooch, as the saying goes.

      1. Feral Finster

        “This is because NATO has lost all fear of Russia.
        Baloney. They’ve screwed the pooch, as the saying goes.”

        They don’t seem worried about repercussions, and more troops, missiles, etc. are on their way.

    3. britzklieg

      You keep saying that… has it occurred to you that NATO has nothing but fear of Russia, that it’s left with only a hyperbolic, doubling down hubris which hopes to stave off what will be its (and the world’s) certain destruction if indeed it were to lose all fear of Russia?

      1. Feral Finster

        Doubling down is not how someone who is afraid acts.

        Now, hubris, sure, and that ends badly for all of us.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          I’m just an armchair psychologist with no credentials, but I suspect that NATO-types (and really that means Macron, Stollenberger, the BoJos, and such) act out of blind rage more than anything.

          Rage that their neoliberal European paradise, where democracy means voting for the right people, and things like freedom of speech and public assembly are nasty little relics best left to the US, has been threatened by a bunch of brutish Russkies who belong back in the Middle Ages.

          How dare they bring a brutal war to their doorstep? Remember that this is the same crowd that thought Fukuyamas “end of history” meant that they are entitled to live in a paradise of 77 genders, free sh1t for the masses (as long as they don’t get too uppity), and magical clean energy to replace that nasty black tar stuff. Plus, they didn’t expect to have to pay for their own defense – Uncle Sugar was supposed to take care of that. Now that a lot of their stocks of cold-war weapons have been turned into Steppe-kill, they’re looking at having to pay for their own defense again. Especially if the boogie-man Trump wins.

          Anger is what I see; fear will come when and if they actually try to go up against the Russian army face-to-face as the Ukrainians have. They’ll get annihilated. The UAF was probably the best army in Europe and could have taken out France and Germany by itself. Now it’s mostly gone and they have to think about what comes next.

          1. Feral Finster

            Oh, there is rage and hubris, granted.
            And every time they double down, that rage and hubris grow with the sunk costs.

            WWI started over less.

            1. ChrisFromGA

              My baseline is that we’re already in WWIII. Most people just haven’t recognized it yet.

              I don’t see us making it out of March without a major escalation. It could come in Gaza, as Genocide Joe has been revealed as gutless and unable to bring Bibi to bear. It is clear who owns who in that relationship. When the IDF moves into Rafah, probably by this weekend, the ball will be in Iran’s court.

          2. Not Qualified to Comment

            I suspect that NATO-types (and really that means Macron, Stollenberger, the BoJos, and such) act out of blind rage more than anything.

            I fear, rather, that they’re so far up their own a***s that they sincerely believe they are the men for the moment – that the fate of civilization if not humanity rests on their shoulders and that providence selected them above all others to rise to the challenge and earn the gratitude of generations.

            It’s well-known that BoJo fancies himself as another Winston Churchill – a’la his book “The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History”.

            1. zach

              The Feral Finster, attempting a double entendre? Will wonders never cease?

              New game! Sex and death in 13 words or less! The Finster’s in the lead!

              First person to say Freud losesdadgummit!

  27. Alice X

    ~Netanyahu vows to defy Biden’s ‘red line’ and invade Rafah

    Why isn’t Bibi before the ICC?

    Oh wait, it’s coming to me…

    1. Enter Laughing

      There are only two open border crossings into Gaza right now – the Rafah crossing and two miles away, the Kerem Shalom crossing. These are currently the only routes for aid trucks to reach the approximately 1.2 million people in Rafah and the rest of Gaza beyond.

      If the IDF launches a full-scale invasion of Rafah, what are the chances that deliveries by the already inadequate number of daily aid trucks stop completely?

      1. Alice X

        ~If the IDF launches a full-scale invasion of Rafah, what are the chances that deliveries by the already inadequate number of daily aid trucks stop completely?

        A military invasion where 1.5 million are huddled under tents? A massacre, but isn’t that the plan? Kill as many Palestinians as possible.

  28. cfraenkel

    Re: the Aeon risk article: What a horrible, evil way to lead off. Couching a well intended, humane attempt at involving the patient in their own care as passing off responsibility. After years of complaining about imperious, impersonal my-way-or-the-highway surgeons treating patients as cogs in an assembly line. Apparently, some people just like to complain.

    1. cfraenkel

      To say nothing about the backhanded Covid minimizing. And conflating actuarial risk with individual risk without clearly explaining that one is based over the entire population, and the other isn’t. And claiming that the population supported the auto fuel efficiency regulations while ignoring the subsequent manufacturer / advertising led push into monster luxury ‘work’ pickups to get around said regulations.

      The history may have been interesting, but too many discordant notes made it impossible to read through.

  29. Carthagian

    Just read Shedlocks Dynamic pricing piece.
    “Global wage arbitrage is gone. Union wage contracts are soaring. Home prices are out of sight.”

    Global wage arbitration has walked across the border over the last couple of years, as did higher rents with 8 million new bodies to compete for housing and work at minimum wage. With the BiDenvenidos flooding in, unions are history.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Part of the reason it is gone is also that they’ve run out of developing countries with large pools of labor willing to work for next to nothing. The problem with the race to the bottom was always that there is a bottom. Once you hit it, game over.

      Reminds me of a joke about the Washington Football Team in the mid 90’s. They always stunk and kept getting worse, after the Joe Gibbs retirement. Tony Kornheiser, the Post sports guy wrote that they haven’t just hit rock bottom, they’re drilling into the mantle.

      1. flora


        “He is a descendant of the Chartists. You cannot get more British nor more ardent a democrat than George Galloway.”


  30. Jason Boxman

    From Brazil’s staggering dengue fever crisis is a warning to the world

    I don’t understand. We wanted SARS2 to be endemic. Don’t we want dengue to be endemic too? We can’t stop it. We need to live with it. Right?

    Epidemiologists warn this is probably only the beginning. In the coming years, as climate change broadens the reach of the A. aegypti mosquito, the disease could become increasingly prevalent, even endemic, across much of southern Europe and the southern United States.

  31. Feral Finster

    A very interesting article. The author, however, misses the point. Nobody thinks that a French expeditionary force would turn the tide. Rather, the goal is to justify further intervention, using The Sunk Cost Fallacy.

    Yes, The Sunk Cost Fallacy is a Fallacy. As long as the ruling class doesn’t have to pay those costs themselves, they don’t care.

    1. vao

      Let us assume that, however the decision is taken, France sends a force larger than a symbolic detachment, equipped more completely than a representative detail, positioned close enough to the front so that it is obviously not just there to “send a message”.

      Then Russia unleashes its firepower — the whole gambit of FAB, Grad, Lancet, Giatsint, TOR, Iskander, and what not, and wipes out that French force. Deliberately, promptly, matter-of-factly.

      Do you really think the other NATO countries will erupt in howls of outrage, utter calls for revenge, invoke article 5, and mobilize for WWIII?

      Or will they rather gulp, shut up, scurry back, subdued, to their conference rooms and wonder, disconfited and apprehensive, of what to do that does not require them to face the wrath of the Russian military? In other words, to use the expression of Aurelien, descend into “epic sulking”?

      The Marianne article makes it clear that at least the French high command is acutely aware that all that talk of sending expeditionary forces is just that — talk: “We should not kid ourselves; against the Russians, we are an army of majorettes”.

  32. MicaT

    Here is an update as to a few Boeing aircraft issues.
    In brief. The wheel issue: looks to be a total actual wheel issue. It was installed correctly
    The one out of Sydney was a hydraulic hose failure.
    I love the explanation of all the redundancy.
    This person is a 777 long haul first officer for a US carrier.

    The video below explains it all.

    1. scott s.

      “The wheel issue: looks to be a total actual wheel issue. It was installed correctly”

      I think what we see is that the retaining nut is in place on the axle. What that means as regards installation I don’t know. Since there is an inner and outer taper roller bearing, there needs to be correct pre-load applied and then set to the service load. A similar wheel failure on a B738 MLG was investigated by the UK AAIB which concluded (retaining nut also remained on the axle):

      “Bearing failure investigations such as this are often inconclusive due the severity of the material damage within the bearing destroying evidence of the initiation. Therefore, it was not possible to determine the cause of the bearing failure, or to discount the possibility that there was a pre-existing fault, or the bearing had become damaged as a result of the ingress of debris or moisture.
      It is possible that preload torque applied was slightly below the minimum required; however, it was still considered enough to ensure that the bearing assembly was correctly seated and makes it unlikely to have affected the bearing running condition. However, a combination of the possible causes set out in this report cannot be ruled out. The AAIB will review the findings of the operator’s investigation into the bearing failure on G-FDZB and will provide an update to this report if it provides further clarification on the
      cause of the bearing failure on G-TAWG.”

  33. Wukchumni

    Re: Bukowski

    I discovered the oval office in my mid teens when working for a numismatist in Arcadia, and by my 20’s was going to the races twice a week (they raced 5x a week) in SoCal, where the cream of the crop of western racing hailed.

    I remember seeing Bukowski a number of times after i’d read some of his stuff and seen his picture, he was quite the railbird (the closest you can get to the action) and looked like any other RTD (race track degenerate) out for a day at the races, losing money on the installment plan over 9 stanzas.

    He seemed most at home @ Hollywood Park, an insidious track right under the glide path to LAX, a racing factory, ugh. Now both long gone.

  34. Willow

    Another day, another Japan LDP political scandal.

    Jeffrey J. Hall @mrjeffu : “FNN has aired new images of an LDP event at which male party members used their mouths to pass cash tips to scantily-clad female dancers. Similar to other recent LDP scandals, the politician who organized the event has “no memory” of it happening.”

  35. steppenwolf fetchit

    My feeling about Haiti is that . . . . the Cossacks work for the Czar and the Gangs work for Petionville.
    A test of whether I am wrong about that would be this: given all the wealth, money, goods, beautiful women, etc. there are up there in Petionville where Haiti’s ruling and owning class all live; Petionville would be the logical place for the Gangs to go running amok and having lucrative and sensual fun.

    How much crime, looting, sacking, pillaging, raping, etc. have the Gangs done inside Petionville itself? As much as in Port au Prince? More? Less?

    I will hazard the guess that the Gangs have done little or no crime or violence in Petionville. If I am right about that, I would say that shows the Gangs to be Petionville’s sock puppets conducting their crime and violence on behalf of whatever long game Petionville continues to play.

  36. zach

    By golly, that Noema article’s got something for everyone! Brother Colm must get paid by the word. I wonder if he tapped it out at one of those stand-up desks.

    Truth told, after a 10 hour workday reading that whole article felt more like running on a damn treadmill than running on a damn treadmill ever did. Some neat history tho.

  37. Carolinian

    Worth a look–Diana Johnstone debates readers of a recent article.

    The Wolfowitz doctrine is expressed in Nuland’s anti-Russian Ukrainian policy as well as in the American provocations surrounding Taiwan. These policies are not inevitable, even under capitalism.

    The expansion of NATO, as an example, was firmly opposed by a generation of U.S. foreign policy experts who have been sidelined and expelled from the policy-making process by the triumphant neocons.

    Some are still alive, and others can emerge. So it is neither far-fetched nor “pro-capitalist” to suggest that a more realistic, less arrogant and belligerent foreign policy might be possible.

    Such a change cannot be easy, but may be favored precisely by growing recognition of the multiple failures of the reigning neoconservative foreign policy.

    For this, a free debate is necessary, in which it is possible to challenge the role of the Lobby without being accused of plagiarizing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    It is obvious that in the United States, where this debate is most significant, there are Zionists who are not Jewish, while a very large proportion of the Jewish population is highly critical of Israel and has nothing to do with the Lobby.

    Of course in the smoke and mirrors world we live in now a free debate is the last thing many want and perhaps these events thousands of miles away really are not our business. But in that case leave the US out of it. It is wrong to pretend that genocide is somehow in our national or personal interest and polls show that a majority of Americans do not approve. The uprising that the establishment so seems to fear is of a majority rising up to demand representation from our so called democracy.

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