Any News?

So what was the real deal with that explosion in Beirut? Or is it off the news cycle completely?

I don’t have time for the news right now, so I’m in the dark.

Any other important news?

25 thoughts on “Any News?”

  1. A ship with 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate ended up stuck at the port for some reason and never left. The cargo was unloaded and stored at a warehouse at the port for 6 years. There’s a paper trail of government officials being warned of the danger of storing it there.
    This is the official version that feels quite believable to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the conclusion I had come to. The officials whingeing in interviews about how they sent a letter to the DOJ just six months ago, and had done so several times before, about all this ammonium nitrate in a warehouse… paints an extremely realistic picture of bureaucratic can-kicking, laziness, and neglect. It’s much more believable than any of the sinister theories about Mossad, Hezbollah, etc. — which sound like your typical “nothing this bad could possibly be a stupid accident: there must have been a plan!” fear-of-the-unknown stuff.


  2. Oh it’s still on the news cycle.

    Basically, a few years ago there was a ship with ammonium nitrate cargo from which the captain was arrested and the crew detained. It made local news at the time “we’re prisoners on a floating bomb” kind of news. Well, later, the ship was grounded, the crew released, and the ammonium nitrate — which explodes at high temperatures — was stored in a port warehouse. There was a fire reported at a different warehouse, and firefighters were dispatched to take care of it.

    Except the fire spread to the warehouse containing the ammonium nitrate and the whole thing exploded.

    It killed at least 70 people.


  3. The owner of that ship was Igor Grechushkin:

    “Russian businessman whose abandoned shipload of explosives ripped apart Beirut in a huge blast is questioned at his Cyprus home”

    He is not to blame for the explosion, but it is kind of weird – Russians everywhere.


    1. You are starting to notice, eh?

      While we are BLMing and coronavirusing ourselves into oblivion other people have an actual agenda and are pursuing it devotedly.


      1. // You are starting to notice, eh?
        While we are BLMing and coronavirusing ourselves into oblivion other people have an actual agenda and are pursuing it devotedly.

        I think it’s old Russian разгильдяйство which Lebanese share. Why would Russians want to explode Beirut?

        As expected, ibigdan sees Russian plans everywhere:

        // В Николаевском порту два года стоит груз с 3200 тоннами селитры
        Это больше, чем взорвалось позавчера в столице Ливана Бейруте.

        18 сентября 2018 года в пункте пропуска через государственную границу Украины “Николаевский морской торговый порт” было оформлено прибытие судна “Тузла” (флаг о.Кука) с грузом, селитра аммиачная, количеством 3, 2 тыс. тонн. [ …] удобрений, срок годности которых истек».

        А решением Киевского апелляционного суда от 28 января 2019 года арест селитры в порту сохранился.


  4. Four nurses were killed and 200 patients and hospital workers at Orthodox-owned St. George’s hospital, a kilometre away from the blast epicentre, and the hospital was non-operational/destroyed.

    Our priest, originally from Lebanon, wrote the parish to say – “I just got off the phone with trusted people in Beirut and all I can say is that the damage is even bigger than what we see on social media, be it to our Churches, their premises and buildings, the St. George Hospital or most importantly to our people’s homes and lives. Our Orthodox Christian Brothers and Sisters have been severely affected, but our aim is to assist in all areas and all people. Thus, Our Archdiocese is working with the Archdiocese in Beirut and the IOCC – , a Orthodox charity that does work in all the middle East and especially now in Beirut directed to all people without discrimination! Hand by hand we can play our role in this. Your donations will all get there safely and be used to repair people’s lives and the country.”

    Al-Arabyia is reporting that “buildings several kilometers away suffered material damage, with Cyprus even feeling the blast, and the explosions were heard over 20 kilometers away from Beirut” and that the death toll is currently 154 and could rise even further. As an indication of their desperation, 60,000 Lebanese have already signed a petition to return Lebanon to French control for the next decade.


    1. “…over this”

      Not just this – Lebanon has become “a bottomless pit of despair” after too many decades of civil war, occupation, political corruption, & financial and social chaos. It’s not generally remembered in the west that when Lebanon was carved out of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s and placed under French trusteeship it was relatively prosperous and largely Christian.


  5. I started watching Tucker and 2 important things jumped out.


    Much ado is made about pushing more people, especially minorities and women, into STEM degrees and then, supposedly, jobs. However, Tucker or his guest said “74% of Americans with STEM degrees don’t work in STEM fields”. I googled and the number 74% os from a 2014 study. So, I started searching for more recent studies and the info from 2018 says:

    // Among college-educated workers, one-in-three (33%) majored in a STEM field. But only about half (52%) of those with college training in a STEM field are currently employed in a STEM job.

    among college-educated workers, women who majored in computer science or related computer fields are less likely than men trained in those fields to be working in computer jobs. Similarly, women who majored in engineering are less likely than men to be working in engineering jobs. Thus, in two occupational clusters with particularly low shares of women, retention of those who appear to meet a key requirement for job entry appears to be lower for women than for men.

    Women overrepresented in healthcare professions, underrepresented in engineering and computer science

    Tucker blamed outsourcing and (legal) immigration on his show, but I doubt they are the major reasons.

    If only about half STEM majors work in those fields and women are less likely than men to start / remain in STEM jobs, so how many percents of women actually benefit from their STEM degrees in computer or engineering? 40%? 25% The exact number is highly relevant, isn’t it?

    Before starting to push more women to major in engineering, what about analyzing current statistics predicting their future employment and finding reasons for this reality?

    Also, a personal question, as a feminist, do you find the reality in which men and women are underrepresented in some fields and overrepresented in others inherently problematic? If yes, is it because women are often overrepresented in lower paying jobs, or would your position be the same regardless of a salary?


    1. It’s all about who spends the money, you know. 🙂 Those higher-paid men are all married. Almost without exception to lower-paid women. Who make 80% of consumer decisions. So it’s kind of a good deal to have a lot more free time, a lot more workplace flexibility AND having access to the higher-paid salary.

      There is this photo of a winning US team for some huge mathematical competition that makes the rounds in feminist circles. Everybody in the photo is male (and almost nobody is white, by the way). “Why is everyone in this photo a guy?” my feminist friends ask. “Where are the girls?” Of course, the girls will marry these guys and get all their money but it’s unfashionable to point that out.


      1. // Of course, the girls will marry these guys and get all their money but it’s unfashionable to point that out.

        Well, you’ve previously pointed out yourself that a husband’s career and money are not his wife’s, so women who rely on men are liable to find themselves deserted w/o anything.

        And there are single mothers too, including divorced ones whose husband decided not to support his kids. Today I was reading about coronavirus affecting single parents. Before corona crisis, 10000 Israeli single mothers were unemployed or received support from the government, currently the number increased by 400% and around 40000 single mothers are in financial straits. 😦 The article says “The proportion of workers who were fired or on unpaid leave due to the corona crisis is particularly high among those with relatively low wages, and especially among young men and women.”

        Btw, is 8% a large or relatively small number ? Here:

        “According to CBS data, there are about 250,000 single-parent families in Israel, 87% of them are headed by women. About 216,000 children up to the age of 18, which is about 8% of children in Israel, grow up in a single-parent family.”

        I wondered whether the number is higher in USA or it was just me listening to too many lectures on fatherless in African-American community. Googled and was very surprised. Did you know the following? Is it all because of horribly afflicted African-American poor urban communities? Because of economics? Why?

        “U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households

        Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%). The study, which analyzed how people’s living arrangements differ by religion, also found that U.S. children from Christian and religiously unaffiliated families are about equally likely to live in this type of arrangement.

        In comparison, 3% of children in China, 4% of children in Nigeria and 5% of children in India live in single-parent households. In neighboring Canada, the share is 15%.”,who%20do%20so%20(7%25).


        1. It’s a huge affliction of the working classes of all races in the US. Charles Murray had a whole book about this which I haven’t read but am eager to do.

          Does anybody remember the title?

          But it’s not an affliction experienced by mathematical geniuses from Asian families. The higher your income and education are, the less likely you are to get divorced or have children before getting married. Getting married first and having children after is one of the most reliable predictors of socio-economic status.


          1. // It’s a huge affliction of the working classes of all races in the US. Charles Murray had a whole book about this which I haven’t read but am eager to do.

            After checking wiki, I think it’s Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010.”

            There are working classes in all nation states. If American working class is in a worse condition, one should check which American policies create this.

            Murray’s answer in his first book “Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980” is that “all social welfare programs are doomed to effect a net harm on society” and “should ultimately be eliminated altogether” (wiki).

            However, many first world countries have wider social welfare programs. What America has is a joke in comparison, yet those welfare states are in a better condition familywise. Interesting how Murray would try to explain that…

            In his another book, “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” Murray argues that human intelligence “is a better predictor of many personal outcomes” than an individual’s parental socioeconomic status. He also argues that “those with high intelligence, the “cognitive elite”, are becoming separated from those of average and below-average intelligence” .

            From what I understand, Murray argued the cognitive elite marry only among themselves.

            However, I know normal brain development is influenced by a fetus receiving (or not) all required nutrients in the womb and by food an infant has access to.

            If Murrey is worried about intelligence, he should not support the elimination of social welfare programs such as WIC, helping “low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”

            What I hate about many conservatives is this kind of hypocritical heartlessness – “we worry about children, but only unborn ones” OR “I worry about people being left behind because of having lower intelligence, but lets slash nutrition programs for infants.”

            Murrey and others are not fools. How do those people reconcile their positions?


            1. I’ve never heard about any links between food and IQ. We’d have a whole generation of idiots in Ukraine after Holodomor, then, and it’s not the case.

              I’m all for welfare support for pregnant women, obviously, but I don’t see the connection with IQ.


              1. Pretty sure there is a connection, though. In southeast asia we met poor families where most of the children were at least mildly retarded from malnutrition in early childhood. It is part of the reason for a traditional form of what westerners might classify as slavery, which still exists there: If a family cannot afford to feed all the children, they may sell girls around age ~5-8? to a wealthy family. This way the poor family’s remaining children have more food between them, and the sold child will survive and get enough to eat– and will spend her life as a domestic servant in the wealthy family’s house.


              2. I think we are talking about very different things. It’s undeniable that malnutrition is harming these children and that’s terrible.

                But Murray is talking about different kinds of cognitive differences. Let’s say a group of people eats exactly the same diet. Will there be big IQ disparities among them? Well, unless they are all related, yes, there will be.


  6. SECOND – Do you think Trump’s order against outsourcing jobs will make even the slightest difference?

    “President Trump signed an executive order on Monday preventing federal agencies from laying off U.S. citizens and green card holders and replacing them with temporary foreign workers.

    The order will increase oversight of federal agencies’ use of employees on H1-B visas, which allow foreign citizens to work at American companies without providing a path to citizenship.

    Trump’s move was sparked by a dispute with the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency created in 1933 to oversee infrastructure development in the Tennessee Valley region, which was hit hard by the Great Depression. The TVA announced last year that it planned to lay off 120 information technology employees and outsource those positions to foreign workers.”

    Tucker stressed the irony of TVA – created to provide jobs to Americans during the Great Depression – now working to outsource those jobs.


  7. A Funny Riddle:

    When will writing BLM as a sign of protest in Washington D.C. result in having six (!) police cars sent to arrest you?


    When you are a (weird) group of youths from “Students for Life” organization who chalk “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” outside of PP abortion clinic.

    Kristan Hawkins, the president of this org, decided to troll the mayor . As she said on Tucker, since the mayor “opened up the streets for public expression,” preventing them from chalking was “a viewpoint discrimination.” 🙂

    Kristan said she asked the mayor for permission, but received no response, while police told them to use temporary paint. According to her, the mayor’s response came later with 6 police cars arriving to put an end to the chalking on public property.


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