…being as I didn’t get this done on time there’s a chance I might backfill it some if I get the opportunity later in the day…call it evidence of poor time-management, if you will…but I think it’s probably fair to say that I’m not the only one to find that navigation the last not-so-little while is not without its frictions
The past week’s government reports showing inflation running at an annual 5.4 percent pace and a labor market in unusual turmoil offered a head-snapping portrait of a $21 trillion economy trying to regain its footing. Even as payroll growth slowed to its lowest monthly total since late last year, Americans empowered by greater leverage quit their jobs at a record pace, according to the Labor Department.
The news offered further evidence that the pandemic has triggered economic aftershocks that policymakers are struggling to understand, let alone quell.https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/10/13/september-inflation-cpi-fed/
…some points of which are rougher than others
Dollar Tree recently announced that higher freight costs — one element in rising inflation affecting consumer prices nationwide — are forcing the company to abandon its just-a-buck policy. Dollar Tree, with 15,000 stores in the United States and Canada, had already been testing prices up to $5 at its “plus” and “combo” stores, but had resisted pressure from investors in recent years to ditch the dollar barrier in its traditional stores.
…although I don’t think “it’s unfathomable that President Biden and progressive Democrats contemplated an inflation-stoking $3.5 trillion social spending plan“…so…as far as the author of that one about the dollar stores is concerned I probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about…& it would certainly be fair to say that when it comes to the intersection of trade, finance & politics there’s definitely a lot I can’t fathom
For months, a battle over the status of Northern Ireland has been the thorniest legacy of Brexit, even sparking a conflict known as the “sausage wars.” Now, Britain has upped the ante by demanding that post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland that it agreed to two years ago be scrapped and replaced.
The protocol aims to resolve one of the most complex issues created by Brexit: what to do about the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which remains part of the European Union.
“Today’s package has the potential to make real, tangible difference on the ground,” said Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission, the executive body of the 27-nation bloc, adding that this amounted to an “alternative model for implementation of the protocol.”
But he offered no concession over a demand made on Tuesday by Britain for a completely new agreement, one that would remove any role for the European Court of Justice, the bloc’s top court, as an arbiter in disputes. That idea had already been rejected by Brussels.https://www.nytimes.com/article/uk-northern-ireland-protocol-eu.html
…but I do know the DUP were pulling some shit last week about threatening to withdraw from things mandated by the good friday agreement to try to get their way on a tenuously stretched point of principle to do with talks about that protocol…while another familiar source of shit-stirring went at it in characteristic fashion
The UK government always intended to “ditch” the Northern Ireland protocol, Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings has claimed.
In a string of tweets, Cummings said the flawed Brexit deal had been a way to get out of the electoral doldrums and “whack [Jeremy] Corbyn”, and “of course” the government should be allowed to “sometimes break deals… like every other state does”.https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/oct/13/dominic-cummings-says-uk-always-intended-to-ditch-ni-protocol-brexit
…so there’s plenty of gasoline being poured on that fire…which I’m sure is definitely the sort of thing that part of the world has plenty of time to figure out at its own pace
“It is adapt or die,” the head of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, said in a statement accompanying a new climate change report.
The report warned of rising sea levels, increased river flows and significant strains on England’s public water supply amid soaring global temperatures associated with the changing climate. It urged the government, businesses and broader society to engage in adaptation and mitigation strategies, “rather than living with the costs of inaction.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/10/12/england-climate-change-adapt/
…well…enough time, then
Clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles are advancing so rapidly that the global use of fossil fuels is now expected to peak by the mid-2020s and then start declining, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.
But there’s a catch: The transition away from coal, oil and natural gas still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said, at least not unless governments take much stronger action to reduce their planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions over the next few years.
Current energy policies will still put the world on track to heat up roughly 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to preindustrial levels, the report found. Last month, the United Nations warned that such an outcome would be “catastrophic,” noting that countries are already suffering much higher risks of deadly heat waves, droughts, floods and wildfires after just 1.1 degrees Celsius of global warming to date.
The report noted that many countries are contemplating more forceful action, at least on paper. More than 50 countries, including China and the United States as well as the European Union, have now announced targets to get to “net zero” — that is, to reach the point where they are no longer adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere — over the next few decades.
If every country followed through on that promise, the world could potentially limit total global warming to around 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2100, the report found. But even this outcome is far from assured, since most of the nations pledging to go net zero have not yet enacted policies to achieve those goals.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/climate/global-fossil-fuel-use.html
…still…if you look long enough…or possibly elsewhere…you might at least see signs of saner heads prevailing
That said, I am pretty excited by the awarding of the prize to Angrist, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Card, of the University of California, Berkeley; and Imbens, of Stanford University. A lot of excellent articles about the Nobel have focused on how these scholars upset conventional economic wisdom on topics such as the minimum wage and immigration. I want to focus instead on the tools that the three developed. These tools are powerful yet easily graspable, like a good pair of pliers.Here Are the Cool Economic Tools that Just Got a Nobel [NYT]
The beauty of the Nobelists’ work is that it’s about the real world. Finding fruitful natural experiments requires not just cleverness but a deep understanding of the phenomenon being studied.
…whatever the hell is going on I sincerely hope there are a bunch of people involved in a lot of it that are a bunch smarter than I am because to be honest if I’m going to get anything done today I probably need to not spend it wondering about stuff like how things are going in the various parts of the world where it seems like we’re way the hell past plan B
The United States and Israel have warned that they are exploring a “plan B” for dealing with Iran if Tehran does not return in good faith to negotiations to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.
The US warnings came as the EU chief negotiator Enrique Mora travels to Iran with a message that the talks are in deep crisis, in the latest attempt to convince Tehran to return to talks. A European diplomat said: “It is now up to Iran to unambiguously state its intention and explain its choice to the international community and its own citizens.”
Malley will in the coming days travel to the Middle East to consult on how the US and its allies will respond if it decides it is necessary to break off the talks designed to reinstate the 2015 agreement constraining Iran’s nuclear program.
US officials believe they cannot wait indefinitely since Iran is developing irreversible nuclear knowledge, taking it closer to the ability to build a nuclear weapon. It has built up a stockpile of highly enriched uranium at 60%, experimented with uranium metal based fuel at 20%, restricted UN nuclear inspections, developed 1,500 advanced centrifuges capable of producing uranium and declared it will use advanced centrifuges at its Fordow site.
Israel, which has not shown a reluctance to bomb Iranian nuclear installations in the past, has been pressing for the US to recognise the new regime in Tehran is ideologically opposed to the nuclear deal known as the JCPOA.
Russia is also urging Iran to return to the talks quickly and not to try to undo the progress made in the first set of talks.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/us-and-israel-exploring-plan-b-for-if-iran-does-not-resume-nuclear-talks
Even the incursions by Chinese warplanes have a context, as they came during exercises in waters east of Taiwan by naval vessels from the US, Japan, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The aircraft were apparently simulating attacks on some of those vessels. Beijing should be wary, however, of taking out its anger at other countries via constant pressure on Taiwan. That is the route to ever greater tensions and a heightened risk of military accidents that could spill over into war.
Most fundamentally, future decades of peace across the Taiwan Strait depend on recognition that military conflict would be a disaster for Taiwan, China, the US and the world. Quite aside from the hideous human cost of any fighting, any war would overturn a global order under which Taiwan and China have both prospered mightily, to their own benefit and that of their trading partners. Beijing and Washington would emerge from such a conflict to a world riven into hostile blocs. Whoever the ‘winner’, all would lose.
The choice across the Taiwan Strait is between a tolerable status quo and a disastrous conflict. That will not change. On all sides, therefore, the need is for common sense, calm and cool heads.The acute dangers of a conflict over Taiwan [FT]
…it’s a good thing the weekend is nearly here because I have a feeling the world could use some time off…we’ve all got a lot on our minds after all…it’s easy to understand how you might want to get away for a while…it’s hard to keep up with it all…so I get that sometimes even when you think you know what’s in your luggage you might be mistaken
Late last month, Kristi and Jared Owens were checking their luggage at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Texas for a trip to Las Vegas when Southwest gate agent Cathy Cook said the bag was overweight. They could check it as is for a fee, or move some stuff into their carry-ons.
Like most people, the Owens wanted to avoid the fee, so they opened up their suitcase to rearrange their belongings. That’s when they discovered Icky, their five-pound rescue chihuahua, hiding inside one of Jared’s cowboy boots.https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2021/10/13/stowaway-dog-southwest-icky/
The Owens were mortified, and they were worried that airline staff would think they hid their dog on purpose.
…but I confess I don’t get how you don’t know you’ve packed some things in particular?
Transportation Security Administration agents have caught 4,495 firearms at security checkpoints so far this year, marking a 20-year record.
The discoveries are rare but up sharply, the agency said. So far in 2021, officers have found 11 guns in carry-on bags for every 1 million passengers screened, the TSA said. When the previous annual record of 4,432 guns was set in 2019, the rate was 5 firearms per million passengers screened.
It’s unclear whether passengers are more clueless or reckless, officials say, or precisely what is driving the increase. A decade ago, agents found 1,320 guns on passengers, according to TSA. Agency officials didn’t point to changes by officers themselves to the explain the increase.
“We believe that more people are carrying guns with them,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. “The most common excuse is that they claim that they forgot that they had their gun with them.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/10/13/tsa-record-guns/
…if you go as far as that WaPo piece you can come to your own conclusions about the top 10 airports for that stuff statistically…but on the subject of statistics
Even before the pandemic upended school, test scores in both reading and math declined for 13-year-old students, the first drop registered in a half century in testing meant to measure student proficiency over time.
The data showed declines among the lowest-performing students, but not those at the top, suggesting that educational gaps that pervade the U.S. system are becoming larger, not smaller.
Student scores remained, across the board, higher than they were a half century ago. But the new results showed overall declines for 13-year-olds since 2012, with drops concentrated among the lowest-performing students. Similar drops have also been registered on a separate, similar assessment designed to measure short-term trends, with those scores declining for those at the academic bottom and rising for those at the top.
The national tests are better at explaining what happened than why, though there were some clues. A survey that accompanied the test results found increases in the number of students who said they never or hardly ever read for fun on their own time. In 1984, 9 percent of 9-year-olds said reading for fun was rare. That rose to 11 percent in 2012 and to 16 percent in 2020.
Among 13-year-olds, in 1984, 8 percent said they never or hardly ever read for fun, rising to 22 percent in 2012 and 29 percent in 2020.https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/10/14/nations-report-card-scores-falling/
…then again…I don’t know if I’d care to find out what percentage of what I wind up reading counts as fun…& who’s to say who’s smarter about what
Children are smarter than any of us. Know how I know that?bill hicks…in case that part wasn’t obvious…couldn’t seem to find it as a clip
I don’t know one child with a full time job…and children.
…either way…while this continues to hang in the air
The picture of Donald Trump’s scheme to get the Justice Department to help him overturn the 2020 election has been significantly filled out in recent weeks. First came the disclosure that conservative lawyer John Eastman had authored a memo outlining the steps by which this would take place on Jan. 6. Then came a major report from the Senate Judiciary Committee detailing Trump’s pressure campaign to get the Justice Department to lay a predicate for that Jan. 6 plot.
So just how close did we come to an actual stolen election — stolen by Trump?https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/13/how-close-were-we-an-actual-stolen-election-stolen-by-trump/
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot issued a subpoena on Wednesday to Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official under President Donald J. Trump who was involved in Mr. Trump’s frenzied efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The subpoena seeks testimony and records from Mr. Clark, a little-known official who repeatedly pushed his colleagues at the Justice Department to help Mr. Trump undo his loss. The panel’s focus on him indicates that it is deepening its scrutiny of the root causes of the attack, which disrupted a congressional session called to count the electoral votes formalizing President Biden’s victory.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/politics/jeffrey-clark-subpoena.html
The subpoena was the 19th issued in the House inquiry, and it came as the panel braced for a potential legal battle with at least one prospective witness, Stephen K. Bannon, a former adviser to Mr. Trump who has refused to cooperate. The leaders of the committee threatened last week to seek criminal charges against Mr. Bannon in response.
Twitter is struggling to curtail covid-19 misinformation and hate speech originating from the fringe social network Gab and migrating to find massive audiences on the platform, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.
The group, which studies and advocates against extremism and antisemitism online, wrote that while Twitter has beefed up its policies against such content, it “has not addressed the ease with which users are able to drive traffic to hate and misinformation hosted on outside sites.”
Case in point: Links from Gab, the alt-social network known as a haven for conspiracy theorists and white nationalists, are getting massive traction on Twitter, the ADL found. The fringe site, with its laissez-faire approach to content moderation, has become a refuge for users sharing that type of content, which Twitter and other major platforms have cracked down on.
The ADL found that during a two-and-a-half month stretch, more than 112,000 posts on Twitter included links to Gab and may have reached as many as 254 million users. The issue, the ADL wrote, is that the 50 Gab links most shared on Twitter “were rife with conspiratorial content and misinformation, some promoted by Gab itself via its verified Twitter account.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/12/twitter-is-serving-gateway-gabs-conspiracy-theories-study-finds/
…for whatever reason
Flodr argued that Parnas and Kukushkin were well aware of U.S. election laws that prohibited straw donations from foreign sources. She told jurors that text message and email evidence will prove the pair purposely sought to hide the true source of the donations and “blatantly” violated the law.
Parnas also allegedly lied to the Federal Election Commission about the hefty contribution to the Republican fundraising committee, which prosecutors say amounted to another straw donation. “[GEP] didn’t exist in the way a real business does,” Flodr said.
Large donations that were not really his own, prosecutors allege, bought Parnas access to events with political heavyweights — including a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser attended by Trump around the 2018 midterm elections.Prosecutors argue Giuliani associate Lev Parnas knew donations he funneled were illegal [WaPo]
…we have to deal with it in a world where the answer some isn’t clear enough to stop it being one that includes this sort of thing
The event kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance — to a flag that was present “at the peaceful rally with Donald J. Trump on Jan. 6,” according to Martha Boneta, the Republican emcee of the event. Bannon whipped up the crowd of several hundred by repeating Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election and predicting Trump’s return — in 2024, if not before.
“We’re gonna build the wall. We’re going to confront China,” Bannon said to cheers. “We’re putting together a coalition that’s gonna govern for 100 years.”
In a tweet after the rally, McAuliffe denounced the event.
“Glenn Youngkin was endorsed again tonight by Donald Trump at a rally where attendees pledged allegiance to a flag flown at the deadly January 6th insurrection. Beyond disturbing, this is sick. And Glenn is honored to have Trump’s endorsement,” McAuliffe wrote.Trump calls in to rally hosted by Bannon for Virginia GOP candidates [WaPo]
…then this kind of thing is surely going to the bare minimum of what’s going to be needed
A Colorado judge on Wednesday prohibited a local official who has embraced conspiracy theories from overseeing November’s election, finding she breached and neglected her duties and was “untruthful” when she brought in someone who was not a county employee to copy the hard drives of Dominion Voting Systems machines.
The effort by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R) to ferret out supposedly hidden evidence of fraud amounted to an escalation in the attacks on the nation’s voting systems, according to experts, one in which officials who were responsible for election security allegedly took actions that undermined that security in the name of protecting it.Colorado county clerk who embraced conspiracy theories is barred from overseeing elections [WaPo]
…whatever you do…at least consider putting your time into something constructive?
Conservationists are on the hunt for “citizen scientists” to spot walruses from their own home to help track populations of the creatures and give scientists an understanding of how many are left in the wild.
Keen-eyed members of the public are being asked to scour images of the Arctic taken from space for the blubbery mammals and report any sightings to WWF and the British Antarctic Survey, as part of a census of Atlantic walrus and walrus from the Laptev Sea.
It is hoped half a million people worldwide will join the Walrus from Space research project, and look through thousands of high-resolution satellite images – a task too gargantuan for researchers to complete alone.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/14/walrus-from-space-census-seeks-public-help-to-spot-animals-in-satellite-images
…I’m just gonna take a moment to contemplate the phrase “walrus from space”…some things you just don’t expect first thing in the morning