Prince Philip Was the Godfather of Anglo-British Nationalism

Yves here. It may seem odd to commemorate the death of Prince Philip, since the British monarchy is a hoary symbol of [take your pick of positive or negative associations] whose main purpose today is brand-building. Yet even today, the Royals exercise influence over politics (one recent article described the Queen’s extensive but quiet lobbying […]

What Covid Means for the Athlete’s Heart

Yves here. We’re running this post as an apparently badly needed reminder that the consequences of getting Covid extend beyond the risk of death, hospitalization, and missing time from work. Many who contract Covid suffer from damage that may be lasting, from serious lung abnormalities to kidney impairments and brain inflammation. This post focuses on […]

Wikipedia’s Deep Ties to Big Tech

Yves here. This is a greatly expanded and considerably broader follow-up to an article on Wikipedia by Michael Olenick early this year, Wikipedia: The Overlooked Monopoly. Here, Olenick debunks the idea that Wikipedia is impoverished by showing not only its level of funding but also digging into its sources, a considerable amount of which comes […]

FBI Investigating Reporting Fraud at $62 Billion Pennsylvania Public Pension Fund, PSERS; Returns Allegedly Falsified to Avoid Increased Worker Contributions

Frankly, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for an investigation of a public pension fund over allegations that it lied about its returns. But it’s not a surprise that it took Federal investigators, as in the FBI, to saddle up, in this case against a Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, aka PSERS. Readers […]

Links 4/3/2021

The minds of plants aeon (Douw) Video captures deer flying through a school bus windshield BBC. Looks like the deer was OK. Seal Alliance asks walkers to give the animals space as lockdown eases BBC In an anti-tick effort, officials call for more moose-hunting permits in NEK VTDigger (resilc) Where billions of cicadas will emerge […]

Good Friday Special: Marcelito Pomoy – The Prayer

It’s unseemly to whine, but when enough little train wrecks pile up, it’s not quite the Ever Given in the Suez, but it can feel as difficult to get cleared out. Yesterday, on top of the bizarre spectacle of the assistants to three different doctors ghosting me (all with practices that have official “we schedule […]

Christian Nationalism Is a Barrier to Mass Vaccination Against COVID-19

Yves here. I’m running this post with its original headline, although the article doesn’t make terribly clear what “Christian nationalism” is. The author defines is at extreme evangelism but I’m at a loss to understand what makes that “nationalism”. The reason I am running this article is that it discusses an specific issue that IM […]

China and US: Stumbling into War?

Yves here. While the general thesis, that opposed interests, rising hostility, lack of negotiating inclination/skills, mutual misunderstanding, and aggressive gestures being believed to be popular at home could too easily lead to an otherwise not intended war, is sensible, I’m not sure I agree with Klare’s take on Taiwan. He acknowledges that “Both sides recognize […]

Coal Is In Terminal Decline, But China’s Consumption Is Climbing

Yves here. We reported in the very early days of this site, in 2007, that China was planning 562 new coal plants by 2012. China was also closing its dirtiest coal-fired electricity plants. But even with efforts to increase solar and wind power and wring energy efficiencies out of the large manufacturers, coal remains a […]

Preparing for a Wave of Non-Performing Loans: Are Banks at Risk?

Yves here. The media has focused on Covid developments, and in the US, the pitched battles over the stimulus package. What is widely acknowledged by those paying attention is that the European stimulus is way too small, and that was before the prospect of yet another set of lockdowns was in the offing. Italian banks […]

Links 3/31/2021

Police say they found mafia fugitive on YouTube, posting cooking tutorials ars technica (BC) Mother knows best! Cat carries one of her kittens into Turkish hospital and ‘asks doctors for help’ after the small animal developed an eye infection Daily Mail (Kevin W) G. Gordon Liddy, planner of Watergate burglary, dies at 90 NBC (furzy) […]

Will Biden’s Central American Plan Slow Migration (or Speed It Up)?

Yves here. As this post explains, Biden’s response to the US having destabilized governments in Central America, producing migration to the Mexican border, is to bribe those governments to do a better job of barring departures. US “aid” is primarily to strengthen domestic police and security forces. rather than improve economic conditions and thus reduce […]

Links 3/30/2021

Endangered condors return to northern California skies after nearly a century Guardian (furzy) The Louvre Just Put Its Entire Art Collection Online so You Can View It at Home for Free Travel & Leisure (Kevin W) Researchers dumped tons of coffee waste into a forest. This is what it looks like now. UpWorthy (David L) […]

We Have to Consign the Era of Financial Engineering to History

Yves here. While I agree philosophically with Richard Murphy’s belief that financial engineering should be recognized as a failed experiment, that was obvious after the 2008 blowup. Yet instead the authorities moved heaven and earth to recreate status quo ante. One of the features of the world that produced the crisis was that regulators themselves, […]

Philanthrocapitalists: The Pied Pipers of ‘Modern Slavery’?

Yves here. This article, even though fairly long, attempts to cover a lot of ground in a nuanced manner. So I hope you’ll read it closely. “Modern slavery” covers a very large range of activities, from sex trafficking to prisoners of war performing hard labor to fishing boat workers being unpaid captives to illegal migrants […]

Our Collective Long Covid

We hate to play our regular role of being the (early) bearer of bad tidings. For some time, we’ve been pointing to information and developments that suggest that efforts to contain Covid are having only limited success. That means Covid will be with us a very long time. Yet there’s still a tremendous amount of […]

Austerity Raises Covid Deaths

Yves here. Over the years, this site and members of the commentariat has regularly brought up the widespread decline in administrative competence, visibly in the public sector but often in the private sector as well. Although it’s a reasonable intuition that countries that had starved their public services, particularly health care, would have more difficulty […]

Links 3/27/2020

Beverly Cleary, Beloved Children’s Book Author, Dies at 104 New York Times (David L) I Have Come to Bury Ayn Rand Nautilus (Anthony L) Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life Quanta (Anthony L) The ancient fabric that no one knows how to make BBC (UserFriendly). Paging Jerri….. We are at […]

Incomplete and Indecisive USPS Board Flounders and Awaits Direction

Yves here. Sorry to be the bearer of less than cheery tiding on the USPS front. Despite Biden moving to fill empty USPS board seats and achieve more party-balanced oversight, true to Biden’s branding, nothing fundamental will change, at least anytime soon. Sadly, it does not look like pressure from “progressives” or even the general […]

Ships, Chips, and IPs: The High Costs of Tight Coupling

I’m sure this line of thought has already occurred to many readers, so forgive me for belaboring it, since it appears it can’t be said often enough. The press on almost a daily basis is showcasing the cost of over-optimizing businesses and systems for efficiency, which regularly results in tight coupling. “Tight coupling” is vulnerability […]

Why Won’t Doctors Take Cash?

From time to time, I’ve sputtered at Lambert about the run-ins I have had with the medical-industrial complex. Lambert thought that a recent bout of issues were sufficiently bizarre that they merited a post. Perhaps they are specific to my oddball insurance set-up but even so, I never had this issue before: a surprising number […]

U.S. Joins “Rules-Based World” on Afghanistan

Yves here. The Biden Administration is throwing so many punches on the geopolitical front, and at least in some circles, that belligerence is being called out, that some actions that might be going in a more measured direction may not be getting the attention they warrant. One is the surprising move by the US to […]

CalPERS Shoots Itself in the Foot: Undermines Its Position in Insolent Letter Demanding JJ Jelincic Drop His Case Against Secrecy Abuses

Memo to CalPERS: When you are in a hole, stop digging. We’ve embedded an exchange of letters between CalPERS and former board member JJ Jelincic, via their attorneys. CalPERS has attempted the remarkably high-handed gambit of bullying Jelincic into dropping his recently-filed suit. Jelincic went to court to force CalPERS to disclose information that he […]

Sick Unicorns: America’s Broken Start-Up System

Yves here. In addition to showcasing Hubert Horan’s epic Uber series, we’ve also taken a harsh look at venture capital, and most of all the unicorn hype, more broadly. For instance, we warned in 2017: Fake Unicorns: Study Finds Average 49% Valuation Overstatement; Over Half Lose “Unicorn” Status When Corrected. We have to confess to […]

Rising Temperatures, Melting Ratings

Yves here. Climate change damage is looking so likely that investors are finally having a think about how to price that in. And since bond investors are risk averse and at least some look out a bit on the investment horizon, the bigger impact may be felt there first. Bear in mind that ratings agencies […]

Democrats Continue to Prop Up High Cost Medical System by Buying Health Insurance

Yves here. It’s encouraging to see Kaiser Health News, admittedly in its typically measured way, call out the Democrats for reinforcing high priced medical care by running more subsidies through private insurers. You can’t say you weren’t warned. Biden did vow that nothing fundamental would change on his watch. By Noam N. Levey, Kaiser Health […]

Bitcoin, Easter Island-ism, and the Cowardice of Green New Dealers

It is hardly a secret that Bitcoin mining consumes ginormous amounts of energy (we’ll leave other cryptocurrencies out of the discussion since it’s not necessary to include them to make our case). It is also hardly a secret that Bitcoin has no legitimate use: Is there any use case for bitcoin, etc. except making illegal […]

Medea Benjamin: 10 Things Wrong With Biden’s Foreign Policy

Yves here. All goodthinking mainstream media consumers are supposed to believe that Trump was jeopardizing the world order, risking nuclear war, and damaging US interests. Biden of course would put things back together and restore America’s good name (where we still had had one). Medea Benjamin explains why that just ain’t so. While Trump was […]

Why Can’t the IRS Just Send Americans a Refund – or a Bill?

Yves here. Grrr, I had this IRS post 100% ready to go in the morning and didn’t launch it. Sing after me: “Because H&R Block!” Well, actually, it’s not just H&R Block that keeps the IRS hostage. From ProPublica in Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free: Intuit’s QuickBooks […]

Links 3/23/2021

Mouse plague ravaging farms in NSW and southern Queensland, scurries south to Victoria ABC News (Anthony L). Cue Willard. Scientists read minds of monkeys using new ultrasound technique New Atlas (David L) The simple food that fights climate change BBC (David L) Man arrested after drone found with a bag of heroin on board, Simi […]

End Vaccine Apartheid Before Millions More Die

Yves here. Obviously Big Pharma killing people en masse in low income countries by not allowing them to acquire Covid vaccines is an atrocity, yet all too true to form. Not only are drugmakers refusing to issue waivers to allow low income countries to manufacture under a low-cost vaccine license or waiver, they are going […]

Will Clean Energy Kickstart A New Resource War?

Yves here. This post on how the transition to green energy will upend geopolitical relations is far too short to do more than pose a few questions. But those questions are worth considering and I hope the commentariat will add some more meat. By Haley Zaremba, a writer and journalist based in Mexico City with […]

The Bullshit Economy Part 2: Payday Loans 2.0, aka Early Paycheck Apps

Yves here. It’s disheartening to see an abuse like payday loans back in the form of a cute app with a misleading name, early paycheck, that finesses that the user owes the party who advanced the dough, including a hefty premium. But the need it fills is the same. IBy Jared Holst,  the author at Brands […]