Roaming Charges: How White Men Fight

Still from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Warner Bros.

I hope you’ve noticed that we’re in the midst of our Spring (at least, it’s meant to be Spring) fund drive. We’re trying to make this ritual plea for money as short and unobtrusive as possible. It will be shorter and less annoying, the faster and more generously our readers pitch in, which you can do in a variety of ways right here. Now, on with the (horror) show…

+ A white NYC subway rider strangled to death an unhoused black man named Jordan Neely by gripping his neck in a chokehold for nearly fifteen minutes. Most of the other subway riders watched passively as Neely flailed his arms to get loose and struggled futilely for breath. (One subway rider actually helped hold Neely down, until he was asphyxiated into unconsciousness.) The killer, who walked out of the police station without being charged, was a former US Marine, his victim a mentally-distressed man, who used to entertain people for years as a street dancer, often impersonating Michael Jackson.

+ The killing reminded many people of the subway vigilante Bernard Goetz.  But you can’t whitewash this homicide as an act of vigilante justice. Jordan Neely didn’t attack or threaten to assault anyone. At worst, he was having a bad day, an episode of despair, where he was trying to tell anyone who would listen that he was tired, hungry and thirsty. Apparently, this expression of existential anguish was all it took to ignite the murderous resentment of the white ex-Marine. He didn’t want to hear it. Apparently, this is the way white men fight, after all, Tucker.

Everyone seems to be walking around now feeling they have the impunity of cops or Navy SEALS, convinced that they can kill someone for ringing their doorbell, pulling into their driveway, approaching their car or telling them something they don’t want to hear. But under New York law (Penal Law 35), in theory at least, the use of deadly force is only justifiable if the perpetrator reasonably believes deadly force is being used or  is about to be used against him or a third party. We’ll see how closely prosecutors follow that simple and clear statute…

+ What are those lines from the Clash…

I’ve been very tempted
To grab it from the till
I’ve been very hungry
But not enough to kill

+ The ex-Marine was by far the most dangerous and unstable person on that subway car, which may be why no one had the guts to intervene, even to save Neely’s life.

+ It’s a fair question to ask which part of Tucker Carlson’s anti-Antifa rant caused Fox’s board to seek his ouster, his enthusiasm for Clockwork Orange-style ultra-violence:

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it.”

Or his apparent shame at getting so emotionally tumescent over it:

Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?

+ I’m still not convinced this message, whichever portion, sank Tucker. He unleashed much more rancid diatribes nearly every week on live TV.

+ As Tucker Carlson is consigned to the ash heap of alt-history, Jack Schafer astutely notes that Carlson’s firing for odious things he said or texted off camera have successfully distracted from the nightly flood of lies a range of FoxNews hosts told on camera, some of which forced the company to pay the largest defamation settlement in history for an American media outlet.

+ Certainly, the prime-time racism on FoxNews hasn’t abated since Tucker’s firing and one of the leading contenders vying for his seat, Jessie Watters, seems to be auditioning for the role by dropping gratuitous xenophobic insults on his show, The Five.


+ After the Citizens United decision in 2010, Harlan Crow (sugar daddy to Clarence Thomas and so many others) and his family’s average yearly political contributions soared by 862%.

+ In 2002, Clarence Thomas disclosed a gift of free tires valued at $1,200. He subsequently neglected to disclose a gift of $150,000 in tuition payments to two private schools for his adopted son. The tuition was paid by Harlan Crow.

+ Senator Mike Lee: “Clarence Thomas is one of the most influential justices in American history.” Don’t know about that assessment, Senator, but he is certainly one of the most influenced.

+ Roy Wood, Jr.: “We can all see what Clarence Thomas is, but he belongs to billionaire Harlan Crow. That’s what an NFT is.”

+ Jane Roberts, wife of the Chief Justice, has pocketed at least $10.3 million in commissions by placing lawyers at elite law firms. At least one of those firms argued a case before the Supreme Court after paying Roberts’ wife hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

+ The Supreme Court has resolved only 15 cases on its docket as of May 1st, leaving 75% of its caseload this term still undecided. No term in the last 100 years has had fewer decisions at this point. (They probably want to be safely afloat on a luxury cruise before these decisions are published.)

+ Many liberals want to focus on Thomas’ “failure to disclose” his gifts, which distracts from the real issue which is: bribery. Thomas’ “failure to disclose” is actually a little endearing since, like many people raised in poverty who come into wealth, it means he may feel some residual consciousness of guilt about his good fortune–as opposed to the others who freely disclose their bribes, knowing they’re fully immune from any legal or ethical repercussions.

+ Here’s the passive Dick Durbin, chair of the Judiciary Committee, on John Roberts, after Roberts was a no-show at a hearing on judicial ethics: “I respect him. I really think this is his court and he can make of it what he wishes.” Deanna Durbin has more energy than Dick and she’s been dead for 20 years.

+ If the Supreme Court had to adopt and abide by a Code of Ethics, it would defeat the primary goal of becoming a justice. Think I’m joking? Here’s Clarence Thomas in 2001 complaining about the meager pay of being a Supreme Court Justice: “The job is not worth doing for what they pay.”


+ After getting swiftly rebuked for his plan to shutter NYC’s libraries on the weekends so he could fully fund the overtime costs of the NYPD, Mayor Eric Adams has resumed his usual role of drug warrior. This week he’s back to warning about the evils of marijuana, claiming that children are “picking up cannabis laced with fentanyl” on the way to school. (This is a variation on his earlier trope of kids gleaning gummy marijuana off the streets on the way to school.) Yet there’s no evidence at all for this scare-scenario. There’s only been one recorded instance of fentanyl found in pot and those were mere traces in a sample from Connecticut last year, which were probably the result of cross-contamination.

+ The Mayor’s crazier than Rudy G…


+ Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on why so many kids are kept in solitary confinement in the county’s juvenile facilities: “We’ve been locking those children up in solitary confinement, essentially because there weren’t enough people there to do the care that is required by law.”

+ 42 women, including 10 minors, are filing lawsuits against the West Virginia State Police for hidden cameras in junior troopers locker rooms. The suits allege rampant sexual misconduct and that key evidence has been destroyed.

+ A Wayne State University police officer was called to an apartment complex in downtown Detroit, where moments after entering the building he shot a dog in the face twice. The police chief decided not to take any disciplinary action against the cop, saying “He had no recourse. He was boxed in the corner with nowhere to retreat.” The dog, named Ace, is a 10-year-old Goldendoodle, described by neighbors as gentle and playful, who serves as an emotional support dog.

+ The number of women and girls incarcerated in the US is now 6 times higher than it was in 1980.

+ Francine Martinez is the first Colorado cop to be convicted by a jury for failing to intervene after another officer choked a man and beat him with a gun during an arrest in 2021.

+ Kawneta Harris, a nurse incarcerated in a Texas prison, told another inmate that “partial birth abortions” aren’t a real thing. Her conversation was overheard by a male guard, who exclaimed that he had survived a “partial birth abortion.” The guard retaliated against Harris by placing her in solitary confinement.

+ When a Delaware inmate named David Holloman led a peaceful boycott against the high fees that ViaPath charges to use its tablets, he was stripped of his good time, fired from his prison job, and confined to a cell for all but two hours a day for more than a year.

+ A federal Bureau of Prisons monitor who raped a Miami woman on house arrest was handed a prison sentence one month shorter (four months) than his victim’s time on house arrest.

+ France’s prisons are now at 120% of capacity. As of April 1, France counted 73,080 inmates in prisons equipped to hold just 60,899 people.

+ The rate of firearm deaths in the US are much higher in small towns than big cities. According to a new study out of Columbia University’s School of Public Health, “In the 2000s, the two most rural county types had statistically more firearm deaths per capita than any other county type, and by the 2010s, the most urban counties—cities—were the safest in terms of intentional firearm death risk.”

+ Despite the drumbeats about the “defunding” of police departments, the opposite has happened. From 2016-2020, the number of full-time staff in local police departments declined by 0.1%. In terms of budgets, far more departments have seen an increase since 2019 than have seen a decrease.

+ Let’s look at “liberal” San Francisco. In the last 10 years, the SFPD’s budget has increased by over $100 million. It’s put an additional 400 cops on the streets, but the department’s clearance rate for serious offenses has fallen by 10 percent.

+ Since the beginning of the 2022 fall semester, 17 guns have been seized on the grounds of public schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The most ever. And seven more than through all of last school year.

+ $11,071: the average annual income of women locked up in jail awaiting trial because they can’t afford bail.

+ Here’s an update on the Great Crime Wave: So far this year, in NYC homicides are down 8% and shootings down 25%.


+ Lula da Silva, the last peacemaker, in an interview with El Pais on the Ukraine War:

“This war should never have started. It started because there is no longer any capacity for dialogue among world leaders. Brazil condemns it because Russia has no right to invade Ukraine. The Russians are wrong. The rest of us now have a choice: either feed the war or try to end it…We cannot have another war in Europe. Didn’t we learn this lesson from the two world wars? With more peace, the world will be more productive and just. That is what I’m proposing and defending…And if you’re part of the war, then you can’t talk about peace. I want to engage countries that are not linked to the war. If we succeed in achieving peace, it will be good for humanity. Otherwise, this war will never end, because Putin thinks he’s right and Zelenskiy is justified in defending his invaded nation. So, who is going to put an end to the war? I am worried that this war is linked to political interests and election strategies. That has happened before in the world, and I don’t think it’s right that no one is attempting to build peace…Russia has been in Crimea for a long time and has invaded other territories. I don’t know what type of agreement Zelenskiy and Putin are going to accept. Putin certainly doesn’t want NATO on Russian borders, and Zelenskiy certainly doesn’t want an occupied Ukraine. So impartial outsiders are the only ones who can forge an agreement to stop this war. Don’t ask me how – first we have to sit down at the negotiating table. Both sides want to win, but a war doesn’t always need a winner. Stop fighting, come to an agreement and get everything back to normal. I believe it’s possible because it happened after World War II. The European Union is proof of our capacity and intelligence as human beings to work together. Russia and Ukraine can do this and I intend to help them.”

+ The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its annual report on global military spending, which topped $2.3 trillion in 2022, a 3.7 percent increase over the previous year. European expenditures climbed by 13 percent, the largest year-to-year increase since the end of the Cold War. The US led the way with $877 billion, more than the next 10 countries combined.

US: $877 billion
China: $292 billion
Russia: $86 billion
India: $81 billion
Saudi Arabia: $75 billion
United Kingdom: $68 billion
Germany: $56 billion
France: $54 billion
South Korea: $46 billion
Japan: $46 billion
Ukraine: $44 billion

+ Russian forces may have suffered has many as 100,000 casualties (and 20,000 deaths) in the siege of Bakhmut in the last five months alone. (The assault began in September 2022.) For comparison, the Soviet Army suffered 15,000 deaths in more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, losses that played a key role in the collapse of the USSR.

+ Here’s Adam Tooze in Foreign Policy on the escalating war rhetoric with China: If you believe U.S. President Joe Biden’s repeated utterances, if there’s an actual invasion, then America is committed to a military response. I mean, can we just pause for a second to just contemplate what we’re doing here? It’s an absolutely extraordinary state of affairs when these kinds of questions are posed with the regularity and sort of almost everyday matter-of-factness as they are. Congress apparently is running its own little war game. The think tanks around D.C. are doing them almost on a daily basis. Shooting-war scenarios are being actively contemplated, and that’s, of course, our side, with no real way of knowing the extent of the conversations on the Chinese side.”

+ Warrantless wiretaps of Americans’ communications by the FBI dropped steeply last year, from  around 3 million to 120,000. But 120,000 is still 120,000 more warrantless searches than they should be doing. In order to keep the illicit Section 702 program going, Biden has tried to win Republican support by suggesting it could be used to surveil drug lords to curb fentanyl overdoses.

+ Biden signed an executive order to send 1500 active duty US troops to the southern border, following the end of Title 42 immigration restrictions on May 11th. And people thought Trump’s push to invade and bomb Mexico was some kind of crazy outlier…

+ This happened at our house last Fourth of July. Should we have reported it to the ICC?

+ CJ Ciaramella: “It’s good to see the special effects guy from Plan 9 From Outer Space is still getting work.”

+ During the first year of the Ukraine war, big oil nearly doubled their profits. The world’s 5 largest oil companies made combined profits of more than $200 billion.

+ On the 87th day of his hunger strike, Palestinian Khader Adnan died in an Israeli prison. Khader was not a militant. He wasn’t involved in any attacks. The IDF detained him 10 times without trial or charges. He was held in prison for nearly years. When the Israeli prison guards saw his health was failing, they refused to transport him to a hospital.

+ Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 291 Palestinian-owned and inhabited structures (197 in Area C, 80 in East Jerusalem, and 14 in Area A&B). Of these, 47 were provided as humanitarian relief, most of them funded by the EU. According to a report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the monthly average of Palestinian structures destroyed under the new government is now higher than at any point since 2009. 

+ Former Brazilian strongman Jair Bolsonaro, now under criminal investigation in Brazil, used forged vaccination documents to secure his entry into the US last December.

+ According to the latest data from PEN, at least 311 writers and public intellectuals were incarcerated around the world for their expression in 2022. China was the world’s worst offender, jailing at least 90 writers. Here we not only imprison writers like Julian Assange, but we also put books in lock up, now including the romance novels of Nora Roberts.

+ As I reported last week, but it’s worth repeating, in the six months since that guardian of free speech Elon Musk took over Twitter, the number of demands from governmental entities to censor Tweets or hand over user data or block Twitter users has doubled. Not one request has been refused. (In other Twitter news, more than 54% of the 150,000 users who subscribed to Twitter Blue when it launched in November are no longer subscribing.)

+ In the 1950s, the Soviet spy Kim Philby lived with his wife on Nebraska Avenue in Northwest DC, not far from my old school, American University. The double agent was then positioned as MI6’s man in Washington and regularly entertained some of the top figures in US intelligence at booze-sodden parties in his sprawling house, including Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner and James Jesus Angleton. This was the time of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Philby considered the Wisconsin demagogue a buffoon and realized that while his bombastic hearings (orchestrated by his top staffer Bobby Kennedy) were creating a climate of paranoia inside the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, they weren’t doing any real damage to the vast Soviet spy network in the US. Philby knew something most American bureaucrats and politicians didn’t: the primary source for McCarthy’s targets was none other than J. Edgar Hoover, who was eager to use McCarthy’s political pogrom to cripple his rivals at the CIA. One day Philby took Hoover to lunch and asked him directly what the FBI man thought of the sweaty Senator. Hoover primly wiped his mouth with a napkin and said: “Oh, I see him at the race track from time to time, but he’s yet to give me a winner.”


+ Remember all those stories about rampant shoplifting in San Francisco? Well, combined they didn’t come close to this kind of larceny. A judge ruled this week that  San Francisco’s Marriott Hotel illegally kept about $9 million in more than five years of banquet “service charges” that its customers left as tips for the hotel’s food servers.

+ Will the workers ever get their money, though? In a similar case in Philadelphia, a restaurant owner named Kwang Bum Kim agreed to pay $1 million to settle a federal wage theft case. Kim owed some of his workers as much as $30,000.  Four years later, his former employees still haven’t gotten anything.

+ The IMF predicts South Korea will pass the UK in terms of per capita GDP this year. In 1985, South Korea had less than 1/3 of Great Britain’s per-person economic output.

+ Real wages in the U.K. remains below 2008 levels and aren’t bounce back any time soon.

+ “Rejoin the EU” is now polling at 61% and 55% of British voters say they support a referendum on rejoining within the next five years.

+ The unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers rose to 12.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, while the white unemployment rate dropped to 1.3 percent, according to a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School. The income gap between whites and blacks in NYC is now the widest ever.

+ Even the Wall Street Journal is coming around to the conclusion that corporate profits, not wages, have been the prime driver of inflation.

+ New research published The Lancet suggests income loss has a greater impact on mental (and physical) health than income gain.

+ More than 300 children, including two 10-year-olds, were found working at McDonald’s restaurants across Kentucky and several other states. Some of the kids were discovered working (unpaid) as late as 2 am. If this trend toward child labor continues, Nike will be moving its sweatshops from Vietnam to Paducah with 8-year-olds stitching Air Jordans for $2 a day…

+ The value of commercial real estate in San Francisco seems to be in free-fall. In 2019, the 22-story tower at 350 California Street in downtown was worth around $300 million. Now up for sale, bids on are expected to come in at around $60 million, an 80% decline in value in four years.

+ Trump on the debt ceiling, President Trump on the debt ceiling, 2019: “I said, I remember, to Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, ‘Would anyone ever use that to negotiate with?’ They said ‘absolutely not.’ That’s a sacred element of our country. They can’t use the debt ceiling to negotiate.”

+ In 1955, Milton Friedman wrote a paper introducing the idea of public school vouchers. It was explicitly a response to the rightwing backlash against Brown v. Board of Education. Friedman wrote: “Under such a system, there can develop exclusively white schools, exclusively colored schools and mixed schools.”

+ The Supreme Court case brought by the state of Missouri (and six others) against Biden student loan relief plan is based on entirely fraudulent claims, a new analysis reveals. The suit alleged that MOHELA (the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority) would suffer significant economic harm if Biden’s $300 billion plan was implemented. In fact, an internal analysis performed for MOHELA shows that the debt servicing company would actually make more money ($97 million) after the plan was put in effect than it ever had.

+ They want to put 12-year-olds to work in slaughterhouses, draft 18-year-olds for forever wars and hope only the ones with “bone-spurs” live until they can vote at 21…

+ For three years, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center collected and published data on Covid from around the world. Now that project has come to an end. “Not,” the directors of the center write in the NYT, “because the pandemic is over (it isn’t), but because much of the vital public health information we need is no longer available.”

+ A new study shows that children whose Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) was in remission were at an increased risk of relapse if they lived in extreme poverty.

+ Forbes ran a piece this week ranking the worst states for mental health care in the US. The criteria were: percent of people with mental illness who needed but didn’t receive therapy, those who didn’t be didn’t receive treatment and those who are uninsured. The rankings aren’t surprising. In this case, number one is the worst:

1) Texas
2) Mississippi
3) Alabama
4) Georgia
5) Florida
6) South Carolina
7) Arizona
8) Wyoming
9) Tennessee
10) Idaho

+ Leading causes of death in the US, 2020 vs 2021.

+ Last August, Mylissa Farmer went into premature labor only 17 weeks into her pregnancy. She visited two hospitals in Missouri for treatment, one in Joplin and one Kansas City. Doctors at both hospitals told her the same thing: she’d lost all of her amniotic fluid, her fetus was not viable, and she was at high risk of developing a dangerous infection and possibly losing her uterus. They also told her that in the wake of the Dobbs decision and Missouri’s new anti-abortion law, they couldn’t terminate her pregnancy, flouting an executive order from the Biden administration mandating that hospital provide emergency abortions in situations like this. Farmer was forced to travel to a clinic in Illinois to terminate her failed pregnancy. “It was dehumanizing. It was terrifying. It was horrible not to get the care to save your life,” Farmer told the Associated Press. “I felt like I was responsible to do something, to say something, to not have this happen again to another woman. It was bad enough to be so powerless.” Similar cases have played out in Texas, which convinced a Trump-appointed federal Judge James Wesley Hendrix to block the Biden rule. Hendrix ruled that Texas law (like that in Missouri) only permitted abortions when the mother’s life is in immediate jeopardy and not merely when she faces a “serious threat” to her health.

+ The anti-abortion zealots manufactured a panic over “partial birth abortions” and brought about the reality of what one might call: post-birth abortions, about which they remain silent. Consider the case of Deborah Norbert, a woman who was unable to get an abortion in her home state of Florida, even though her fetus had developed no kidneys. Shortly after giving birth, Norbert’s son, Milo, died in her arms, just as her doctors told her he would.

+ It’s hard to imagine anyone designing a country to operate like this. But this is the one we’re now living in

+ After no fault divorce was legalized in the 1970s, a move which anti-abortion Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk views as the precipitating the moral decline of America, the female suicide rate dropped by 20%.

+ Stormy Daniels gave an interview this week and described her 2018 arrest by the Columbus vice squad during an unsanctioned (and almost certainly retaliatory) raid of her performance at the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club. She was charged with “touching patrons” in violation of a 10-year-old state law called Ohio’s Community Defense Act. “It’s never something that they handcuff you, put you in a van and drive you to the police station, you know, fingerprint use, strip off all your clothes, search you,” Daniels said. “They took pictures of my tattoos. They took my diamond earrings — that I did not get back — and put me in a cell. It just seemed really excessive for a nonviolent crime. I didn’t resist arrest. I was completely respectful, although confused, and I knew that it was wrong at the moment. The whole thing seemed very set up and orchestrated and almost, I would say entrapment.” Daniels sued claiming she was the victim of a politically-motivated false arrest. The city of Columbus settled for $450,000 and disbanded the vice squad.

+ She was only Prime Minister for 44 days, but in that brief tenure Liz Truss somehow managed to “misplace” £12,000 worth of … bathrobes.

+ Despite having an invitation, Mohamed T. Khairullah, the longtime mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, was refused entry to the White House for a reception hosted by Joe Biden to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, because the FBI had mistakenly placed his name on a post-911 terrorist watch list. Khairullah says this has happened multiple times.

+ During a hearing at the state capitol, Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Education, labeled the state’s teacher’s union “a terrorist organization.”

+ A federal judge ruled that a school district in Pennsylvania must allow students to convene an After School Satan Club, where they can indulge in verboten pursuits like a Judy Blume reading group, the  study fossils from the Jurassic Age, conducting atmospheric CO2 tests and, on Friday nights, put the trans in Transylvania by watching Rocky Horror Picture Show…

+ According to a report in Pro Publica, James Clyburn, one of the most powerful Democrats on the Hill and the man who played a key role in sabotaging Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign against Biden, secretly worked with the South Carolina GOP on redistricting in order to protect his own seat–at the expense of making a once largely black swing district safer for Republicans.

+ In her latest filing, Marjorie Taylor Greene recorded only 6 donors from her own district.

+ Apparently, Peter Thiel has had it with MAGA’s culture warriors (even though he funded some of the abrasive ones in last fall’s elections) and MAGA has had it with Peter Thiel. Here’s Steve Deace (BlazeTV) unloading Thiel: “Peter Thiel, who had become one of the real mega donors on the right in the last few years, announced he’s out. He’s not getting involved in this election cycle in ’24 at all. Thinks Trump is a loser. Then he was gonna turn to DeSantis, and then found out that DeSantis is actually serious about this groomer stuff. So, in the end, for all of his claims that he wants to save America and everything else, Peter Thiel is just a homosexual corporatist. That’s his worldview. Take away the grooming stuff, how do we pass this on to kids? Because we’re not having our own kids. Can’t rise above your own world view. You can’t. It — world view is destiny.”

+ MediaMatters has obtained some new Tucker Carlson footage, including him clowning with Piers Morgan before an interview:

Carlson: “If we’re going to talk about sex, I’d love to hit some of the fine points of technique.”

Morgan: “We can certainly talk about your sexual technique, especially after your tanning testicles last week.”

+ The scores for eighth-grade students in U.S. history have been falling since 2014. In the past four years, it’s declined five points, from 263 in 2018 to 258 in 2022.

+ A much more important statement than AOC’s dress…


+ This is probably my favorite story of the week: Researchers in Greater Yellowstone have concluded that mountain lions “garden” the soil to favor the nutrient-rich plants their prey species feed upon. Unlike humans who scatter the soil with micro-plastics to mark their passing…

+ After Cop City activists in Atlanta posted flyers naming one of the troopers involved in Manuel Téran’s killing, they were arrested, locked in solitary confinement and charged with felonies that could result in a 20-year prison sentence.

+ According to the energy analysis outfit Ember, global fossil fuel electricity generation likely peaked 2022 and has begun to fall. They estimate that by the end of 2023 nearly all of the growth in electricity demand will be covered by low-carbon sources.

+ According to the latest IPCC report, by 2050 more than 1 billion people will experience “extreme sea level rise events” every four years.

+ Around 15% of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions come from the process of getting oil and gas out of the ground and transported to consumers–more than all emissions from India or the US.

+ The Po River (Italy’s largest) is already as low as it was at the end of last summer, a grim sign for the nation’s fishing, tourism and agricultural industries.

+ Nearly two-thirds of Dutch children walk or bike to school and around 75% of secondary school kids cycle to school.

+ Last year, heat pump sales hit a record number. This year heat pump sales are up by 122% in the most quarter compared to last year’s record.

+ Using a commercial gas leaf blower for an hour generates emissions equal to driving from Denver to Los Angeles.

+ The April temperatures for Spain’s Córdoba airport soared to 38.8 °C (101.8 °F), almost 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than the previous April record at this location.

+ Some roads in the Sierra Nevada Range are still buried under as much as 50 feet of snow.

+ Norway’s oil fund is larger than the combined wealth of the ten richest people in the world and is growing by  $1 billion a week.

+ The climate crisis is proving to be a big driver behind global inflation. In the last year, the price of food has risen by more than 24% in Nigeria and 62.7% in Egypt.

+ A study of 200,000 hospital admissions in China showed that found a significant increase in the risk of heart arrhythmias in the first few hours after an increase in air pollution levels.

+ Nuclear power plants are a textbook case of “negative learning,” where each new generation gets worse and more expensive instead of better and cheaper.

+ PCBs have been detected in some of the deepest trenches of the ocean.


+ The AP stylesheet is now advising reporters to use quotation marks around the word, “woke.”

+ This sounds like an “over-reaction” to an over-reaction.

+ In his 1975 memoir, Here at the New Yorker, Brendan Gill tells the story of a luncheon encounter between the famously uptight New Yorker editor William Shawn and the considerably more liberated English writer, Henry Green, who’d just published Loving, a novel about class conflicts and erotic entanglements in an Irish country house during World War II. Shawn asks Green how he came to write such a strange, luminous novel. Green says, “I once asked an old butler in Ireland what had been the happiest times of his life. The butler replied, ‘Lying in bed on Sunday morning, eating tea and toast with cunty fingers.'” Gill writes: “This was not the explanation Shawn had been looking forward to. Discs of bright red began to burn on his cheeks.” How would Rupert have responded, eh Tucker? (There’s a Cockburn connection to Henry Green, which I’ll leave for curious readers to track down.)

+ Speaking of the C-word, my beloved professor of Elizabethan literature, Jeanne Roberts, whose rather dignified exterior concealed a deeply radical feminist mind, delighted in the bawdy word play and gender games in Shakespeare. She especially enjoyed explicating the notorious triple pun in “Twelfth Night,” when the insipid Malvolio examines a forged letter he believes to have been written by Olivia, the elusive object of his obsession…

MALVOLIO: [taking up the letter]
By my life, this is my lady’s hand! These be her
very C’s, her U’s, and her T’s, and thus she makes her
great P’s. It is in contempt of question her hand.

ANDREW: [aside] Her c’s, her u’s, and her t’s.

+ 1,600: the minimum number of words Haruki Murakami tasks himself with writing each day.

+ Ed Sheeran isn’t talented enough to plagiarize Marvin Gaye, even if he tried. Van Morrison, maybe. Late Van Morrison. Very late.

+ The real debt artists like Sheeran owe to Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Holland Dozier & Holland, Otis Redding, James Brown, Fats Domino and Little  Richard is incalculable and goes well beyond the disputed chord progressions in any particular song. There should be some kind of Soul Tax, where 5% of every sale just goes right into a Soul Reparations Fund to be distributed among the estates of the music’s pioneers.

+ Backstage at the Concert for Bangladesh, George Harrison asked Bob Dylan: “You gonna play Blowing in the Wind?”

Dylan snapped back: “Why would I ? Are you playing I Want to Hold Your Hand?”

+ Bob Dylan: “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.”

When the Green Dark Forest Was Too Silent to be Real

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Activist Angler
Stephen Duncumbe
(O/R Books)

A Blue New Deal: Why We Need a New Politics of the Ocean
Chris Armstrong

Red Memory: the Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution
Tania Brannigan

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Arturo O’Farrill
(Blue Note)

The Dutch Lesson
Soft Machine

1970s Dub Albums Collection
Joe Gibbs and the Professionals
(Doctor Bird)

On the Side of Being

“Since poetry deals with the singular, not the general, it cannot–if it is good poetry–look at things of this earth other than as colorful, variegated, and exciting, and so, it cannot reduce life, with all its pain, horror, suffering, and ecstasy, to a unified tonality of boredom and complaint. By necessity poetry is therefore on the side of being and against nothingness.” (Czeslaw Miłosz, A Book of Luminous Things)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3