Wednesday Open Thread

“If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?”

–Thomas Huxley

42 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Powerful Pear says:

    Remembering the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. April 18, 1942.

    The last Doolittle raider, Richard Cole, died April 9, 2019 at the age of 103.

  2. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    Happy to see John Fetterman win the D primary for Senate in PA. Always liked the guy and hope he gets well soon.

  3. ParkHill says:

    Mike Sokolove in the NYT: "On John Fetterman".

    I almost didn't read this article due to the title. In fact it isn't about Fetterman and the Democratic Party, rather why Fetterman did so well over a "central-casting" politician. Fetterman has kind of an over-sized persona that comes across as authentic. I understand that he has more or less left-side-of-the-dems policies, but I think his appeal is about his personal style. You just "feel" like he is authentic. Maybe he actually is. Maybe the defeated Conor Lamb is a sincere and authentic person, but it doesn't come across if you are a suit-jacket-and-tie, moderate trying not to offend anyone.

    Mr. Fetterman, 52, offers something different, a new model for Pennsylvania. It is built on quirky personal and political appeal rather than the caution of a traditional Democrat in the Keystone State. With over 80 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Fetterman was more than doubling the total of Mr. Lamb, whose campaign, despite winning many more endorsements from party leaders, never gained momentum.

  4. ParkHill says:

    David Roberts on "Distributed (electrical) Energy Management".

    David Roberts is one of the sharpest writers when it comes to the transition to renewable energy. I was upset when he left, but now he has moved to substack.

    Recent years have seen an explosive rise in distributed energy resources (DERs) — energy devices that are located “behind the meter,” on the customer side, like solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), and smart appliances.

    Consider an EV. The customer has a relationship to it, a way to see its capacity and behavior; it wants to operate the EV in a way that best serves their own transportation needs. The aggregator — an entity that gathers DERs and treats them as a single entity, to sell their services — has a different relationship with the EV; it wants to operate the EV to meet contractual requirements. The distribution utility has a different relationship; it wants to operate the EV to maintain grid stability. And the market manager (ISO) has yet a different relationship; it wants to operate the EV in the way that best serves the market.

    All these entities want different things from the EV, but they’ve all built bespoke systems to track it — systems that do not communicate with one another. Consequently, most DERs are wildly underutilized.

    That is what Energy Web, an international nonprofit, aims to provide: “an operating system for DERs” that will assign each DER a record on the blockchain (yes, the blockchain), allowing all interested entities to have a common source of information and tracking.

  5. MichaelBowman says:

    Who is going to break this to the MeatIn! police? 

    ADM, Eat Just partner on cultured meat production

    Agribusiness giant ADM has jumped into the cultured meat foray with its first strategic investment in the industry that will partner it with Eat Just Inc.’s GOOD Meat division.


  6. 2Jung2Die says:

    Yes, Campaign 2022 continues to get worse. Here's the latest on eliminating Colorado's popular vote for statewide offices from Greg Lopez, emulating the thought process from 1787 to create our own little Electoral College:

  7. tim-tam says:

    Madison Cawthorn foes who targeted him with a damaging nude video say Lauren Boebert is next on their hit list


    "I think we're gonna go after Lauren Boebert in Colorado in a similar way," David B. Wheeler, cofounder of the American Muckrakers PAC, told Insider. "I think we're gonna engage in that race pretty quickly."

    While Wheeler is a Democrat, his co-founder is unaffiliated, and the group counts some Republicans among its advisors. 

    Wheeler said he's received "interesting information" about the Republican firebrand, whose primary against GOP state Sen. Don Coram is on June 28. The information is "certainly not as salacious as some of the Cawthorn stuff." It deals, instead, with financial matters, he said, declining to disclose more details.

  8. notaskinnycook says:

    And finally tonight, the “pro-life” party literally voting to starve babies, and the few with a shred of decency:

    • kwtree says:

      Thanks, cook. Good to know that Lauren Boebert, after raising four kids, has kept restrictions on baby formula in place for other moms and other babies.

      My understanding of the bill the House passed (without Bobo”s vote) is that it would allow parents on WIC or other government assistance to buy organic and niche formula using the WIC card. 

      Prices on formula are insane; a 32 oz can can run over $50. It’s worth breaking up the formula monopoly, but I don’t think either of the bills does that.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        One story I read said that investigating the monopolies is next on the list; after the crisis is over. 

        • NOV GOP meltdown says:

          What is particularly insulting is that many of the Republicans who are blaming Biden for the baby formula crisis are the same ones who are undermining any of his efforts to fix it. Kind of like the same damn thing when idiots like Bobo run back to their district and tout all the nice projects that are going to happen due to a spending bill they literally voted against. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. Truly horrible people.

        • kwtree says:

          You couldn’t create a more steretypical villain than a monopolistic corporation that a) makes baby formula, which many babies literally can’t live without b) does it badly ( see whistleblower’s revelation of contamination in the factory c) marks it up to a premium price  (average price is $1.15 per ounce, or about $35 for a 32 ounce can, enough to make about 60 bottles. 

          , and then d) restricts supply in order to maximize profit, at the costs of the babies the right wing claims to care about so very much.

          I don’t think that there is a logistical reason that formula has to be that expensive. If there is, it’s a product that the government should subsidize, as it does with the WIC program.

          The problem is that the prices are still high; even if WIC buys formula for needy families, the monopolistic companies are still making a fortune. David Dayen of The Prospect writes: 

          As of 2018, four companies—Abbott (which makes Similac), Reckitt Benckiser (Enfamil), Nestlé (Gerber), and Perrigo (which makes store-brand formula)—control about 89 percent of the U.S. market. 

          Something I didn’t know: Again, according to Dayen’s article, the Trump administration actively discouraged breastfeeding in developing countries. Nestle was infamous for undermining breastfeeding in Africa, leading to the deaths of hundreds of babies, and consequently, a worldwide boycott of Nestle products.

          It may take another boycott to break up these profiteering formula companies.  I doubt that we can trust Congress to do it on its own without massive public pressure. 

          • Voyageur says:

            There is no monopoly here, when four companies share 89 pct of the market.  The problem is stupidity, not greed, since the company that shut down because of bad quality control lost millions and the profits from the shortages went to its competitors.

            This is oligopoly, not monopoly, and should quickly correct itself.  I’ve never seen a widespread shortage of formula before in my lifetime.

            • tim-tam says:

              “There is no monopoly here, when four companies share 89 pct of the market.”

              “This is oligopoly, not monopoly”

              You’re splitting hairs about what flavor anticompetition the suppliers are practicing. And Buttigieg is keeping the bumper lanes on for those billionaires.

              “Let’s be very clear, this is a capitalist country. The government does not make baby formula, nor should it. Companies make baby formula.” Buttigieg, to CBS.

              What the fuck? Why is baby formula subject to profiteers? There is no earthly moral American reason why we should look at a LIFE-SAVING tool that mothers and infants have no choice in choosing to be a consumer of and say, “Yes, that should be subject to artificial market constraints so I can live the Trump dream.”

              The point IS greed, yes. ‘Monopolistic’ is a perfectly cromulent word for ‘Capitalist’ as it entails ignoring the common, public, good, to turn a profit from other people’s work. In this case for life-saving resources. It’s no different than insulin.

              “Correct itself” = Buttigieg and Biden grip white knuckle the reigns of public health against public good for a few cronies’ pocketbooks.  


            • kwtree says:

              It may not technically be “a monopoly” ,but mostof the reporting calls these 4 baby formula companies “monopolistic”, and suggests that they may be fixing prices at a high level, and that they could be investgated and possibly prosecuted or regulated under the Sherman Antitrust act.

              When 43% of babies’ families can’t buy a basic survival necessity for them, yet prices remain artificially high for a product that is basically dehydrated milk or soy, added vitamins, and sugar, then laws against “unreasonable” profteering should come into play. 

              If pure lassez-faire capitalism can’t feed the babies, it’s time to look beyond it. 

              • Voyageur says:

                Use your head.  The shortage was not a cabalistic agreement like OPEC, it was a government closure of one stinky firm.  That firm is losing millions.  The answer is, a, airlift in surpluses from other countries — as biden is doing, and, b, clean up the contamination and get the fourth company back producing, pronto.

                If poor families can't afford it, WIC  can help them.

                You seem to view every minor ripple in the economy as a reason to destroy  our economy and replace it with socialism.

                It ain't.



                • tim-tam says:

                  Voyageur says:
                  May 19, 2022 at 9:26 PM MDT

                  You seem to view every minor ripple in the economy as a reason to destroy  our economy and replace it with socialism.


                  Use your head

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                  If poor families can’t afford it, WIC can help them.

                  What if I were to tell you the shortage in supply is not because of consumer cost?

                  The private manufacturers should be nationalized. It’s obscene for them to make a profit off of baby formula. It should be free at point of service. It would only cost a fraction of the money dumped in military. Baby formula should not be treated like a commodity.

                  • Voyageur says:

                    So the resident racist, ageist, sexist Timmy Troll takes time out of his busy schedule of smearing veterans to again show his utter ignorance of the dismal science.

                    go away troll.

                    no one listens to you.

                • kwtree says:

                  Use your heart. Feeding the nation’s infants is a public good that should be part of the Commons– like clean air and water, or public education. 

                  Availability of formula should not depend on how profitable it can be.

                  The causes of the shortage should be investigated, and another means of ensuring that all babies can eat should be created. It is of course only one aspect of a larger paradigm; poorer moms often don’t breastfeed because workplaces don’t allow time and space for it. I breastfed my own kids as long as possible, but sacrificed earning ability to do that. 

                  You and Timtam also share common habits of flipping instantly  into personal insults at the slightest whiff of disagreement; you have much more in common than your ideological differences. 

                  • Voyageur says:

                    About half the baby formula in this country is already provided by the govrenment via WIC.  That would seem more than adequate.

                    The broader problem of inadequate parental leave or child support is one on which we agree.

                    As to Timmy-troll, he's a troll.  And a racist, ageist, sexist troll at that.

                    • kwtree says:

                      State contracts via WIC keep formula prices unnaturally high. The net effects are vendor concentration and price-fixing, even if that isn't stated intent. The shutdown of the Abbott plant merely highlighted how vulnerable the system is. 

                      We need a better system.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      So, you want the government to provide free formula, which it does through WIC.

                      Then, you complain about WIC!

                      As the article notes, a17.5 pct tariff and impenetrable bureaucratic barriers to imports are the real problem.

                      Yet sales in April were 13 percent higher than before the Abbott shutdown!  Obviously, the fear of shortages caused hoarding, which caused shortages.

                      Reopen Abbott (already authorized.

                      Authorize free imports from Canada and Eu countries with high standards.

                      Allow WIc benefits to be used for any formula.

                      Then you’ll be tripping over the stacks of formula in supermarket aisles.

                      But, no, we don’t need a federal bureau of baby formula.

                    • tim-tam says:

                      WIC is not an adequate solution and doesn’t address the fundamental principle baby formula shouldn’t be treated as a commodity


                      It, like insulin, is life-saving, and its consumer base has no say in whether or not they need the product, and therefore it is unethical to pay into such a system.

                      WIC providing vouchers doesn’t change the “pharmabros” unethical operation. And worse, it demands means-testing.

                      The right of an infant to be fed being contingent on bureaucratic hoops when an existing system based on publicly funded research already exists isn’t a moral quandary.

          • notaskinnycook says:

            I still haven’t bought anything made by nasty Nestle or any of its myriad subsidiaries in over forty years, and I won’t. Governments crack down on their deceptive marketing practices, they promise to be good, the government lets up on them, and they’re right back to their old tricks again.  

            And WIC severely limits the types of formula it’s willing to supply. Woe unto little ones with intolerances or allergies to most commercial formulas. Getting a prescription from a pediatrician for a waiver can be a huge hassle.

            • Voyageur says:

              The only thing is the people who used to be mad at nestle for selling baby formula are now mad at it for not selling baby formula.

              we need an 800 number to call so we can tell what we're mad at them for on any given day.

              • tim-tam says:

                The people aren't mad at Nestle for providing baby formula, they're mad at having to pay shareholders' profit margins to obtain it.

                Now the people are mad at Nestle for not providing baby formula, and still turning massive profits, and demanding government assistance to maintain their oligopoly and profit margins.

                Hopefully that clears up your confusion.

                • Voyageur says:

                  You are stupid, Timmy Troll, and a racist, ageist, sexist, moron at that.< There is no confusion on that point. And you know absolutely nothing about the Nestle issues.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      “Ageism is racism.”

                       Timmy Troll is racist, ageist, sexist, impotent scumbag.

                      a prejudice whereby people are categorized and judged solely on the basis of their chronological age
                      How is ageism similar to racism?
                      -stereotyping of ageism is a social disease
                      -people are judged not on their character or actions but simply based on their age, like people are based just on the color of their skin

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