What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, April 20, 2018

Linkee-poo is it Friday, yet

John Scalzi talks about accepting criticism, writing the other, and how to grow.

Happy (early) birthday Hubble. "The iconic Hubble Space Telescope is about to turn 28 years old, and a batch of gorgeous new imagery helps mark the occasion."

"Life on Earth used to look a lot more impressive. Just a little more than 100,000 years ago, there were sloths as long as a giraffe is tall, monstrous bears whose shoulders were six feet off the ground, and Bunyanesque beavers that weighed as much as an NFL linebacker. But over time, all of these creatures disappeared in a manner so rapid and so mysterious that scientists still can’t fully explain what went down." Hint, it was us.

"Two decades ago this week a pair of colleagues and I published the original 'hockey stick' graph in Nature, which happened to coincide with the Earth Day 1998 observances. The graph showed Earth’s temperature, relatively stable for 500 years, had spiked upward during the 20th century. A year later we would extend the graph back in time to A.D. 1000, demonstrating this rise was unprecedented over at least the past millennium—as far back as we could go with the data we had." And two decades on, the predictions have been pretty accurate. Also, "(i)f anything, climate model projections have proved overly conservative; they are certainly not an exaggeration." We're boned.

"A researcher was surveying seabirds off the coast of Vancouver Island when he spotted something unexpected: a huge group of common bottlenose dolphins — about 200 of them — breaching and swimming… This was a bizarre sight because this kind of dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has never before been spotted in this area. Bottlenoses like the warmer waters farther south."

"Both Zagat and Consumer Reports surveys have found that excessive noise is the top complaint diners have, ahead of service, crowds, or even food issues. Tom Sietsema, the restaurant critic for the Washington Post, also told me noise is 'by far' his chief complaint about the restaurants he reviews." Yes, this. A thousand times this. I have an hearing problem where I can't discern individual voices if there's a lot of noise. And trust me, there's a lot of noise almost everywhere. The other weekend I had dinner with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I could barely hear the people sitting next to me let alone friends two seats away. A lot of times I'm also reading lips. And the problem is, this is all avoidable. Right now the noise is affecting me like smoking used to. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy… If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group’s recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals’ syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S." Not happy about the price, though. But if this does win approval it will be very hard to keep cannabis on the Schedule 1 list. The definition for Schedule 1 drug is "Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." It's the "and" that's going to throw the federal government for a loop. However, changing it to "or" would move a hellalotta Schedule II and III drugs to Schedule I status.

"The Senate's top Democrat — Charles Schumer of New York— plans to endorse legislation that would decriminalize marijuana." I doubt Majority Leader McConnell will ever allow a vote on it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"But because of dueling rules and laws that have been well-known to Medicare officials and members of Congress for years, none of that covered my elderly mother when she needed care." Medicaid and Medicare rules are extremely baroque and they are all designed to not pay (or lower payment). My wife and I are pretty smart cookies and it's daunting even for both of us (and believe me, we have help from people who work with Medicare/Medicaid every day). For an elderly patient who may not have all their faculties it would be impossible.

"Music superstar Prince died two years ago because he thought he was taking the common painkiller Vicodin when, unbeknownst to him, it was laced with deadly fentanyl, authorities said Thursday."

Who needs regulations? "Tainted, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., is the source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened at least 53 people in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Somebody forgot to wash their hands (actually it's more likely to have been tainted during processing).

"It's no secret that many states have badly underfunded their teacher pension plans for decades and now find themselves drowning in debt. But this pensions fight is also complicated by one, little-known fact… More than a million teachers don't have Social Security to fall back on." Ohio is one of those states and I can tell you from first hand experience, STRS is a fucking nightmare. It's fabulous if you're a full time teacher (although it's become less fabulous in the last 10 years). But if you're a part-time or "adjunct" faculty, chances are you won't see anything. But you still can't opt in for Social Security.

So, it's 19 years from Columbine which shook our country awake to school mass shootings (it wasn't the first). Today is "National School Walk Out Day", a student led initiative. So, what's happening? "A student was wounded and a suspect is in custody after a shooting Friday morning at a high school in Ocala, Florida, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office." (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"According to an IRS official, the problem arose at 4 a.m. EDT Tuesday, which was the day tax returns were due and the busiest day of the tax year for the IRS… According to the agency, a piece of hardware connected to the IRS's master file, the core processing system that holds all taxpayer information, went down." Master File is trigger memories of TRON. "Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the computer glitch was the predictable consequence of years of congressional budget cuts which, in turn, led to significant staff cutbacks." Yeah. That.

"Someone fired through the window of a north Florida restaurant Thursday afternoon, killing two deputies who were getting food, officials said… The deputies were getting food at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton when the shooter walked up to the building and fired at them through a window, Schultz said. Fellow deputies responding to the scene found the shooter dead outside the business."

"The (British) Race Relations Act was intended to protect immigrants… 'But there came the idea that white people would be crushed by the rights that black and Asian people demanded' Sanghera recalls… The tension was especially obvious in Sanghera's hometown, Wolverhampton, in England's West Midlands, which he calls 'one of the first cities in Britain to experience mass immigration.'" So then a xenophobic politician gave an infamous speech called "The Rivers of Blood" speech. Sounds oddly familiar to today. But sometimes it's easier to see these flaw in others than it is to see it in ourselves.

"A day after President Trump promised to slash the red tape involved in weapons sales, the administration announced on Thursday a new policy that could vastly expand sales of armed drones, a contentious emblem of the shift toward remotely controlled warfare." I'm sure this won't come back and bite us in the ass.

Real reporters shocked that Fox News doesn't hold their hosts to any ethical standards. Uh, yeah, Bob. Where the fuck have you all been? (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

The kids are all right. "If you ask Wayne Christian, the biggest threat to the oil and gas industry in Texas is millennials — and a general public that's been brainwashed into thinking that fossil fuels are bad for the environment… That’s what the former Republican state representative — who now regulates the state’s oil and gas industry as one of three elected members of the Texas Railroad Commission — told his former colleagues during a legislative hearing on Wednesday where state, local and industry officials detailed the many challenges of the latest oil and gas boom in West Texas." Almost everyone who enters the oil and gas industry in drilling now will need federally subsidized jobs retraining by the time of their retirement. The rank ignorance of our elected officials continues to surprise me. At this point it's time to stop arguing logically because these troglodytes have no capacity. The money has blinded them. All they can see are dollar signs. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Upstate NY farmer says ICE officers stormed his farm without a warrant, cuffed him, threw his phone." ICE must go. (Grokked from Xopher)

"That Mr Comey's memos are so detailed - they include information about who was sitting where in meetings, the precise times that conversations began and their durations - also add to his credibility, the New York Times reports." It's almost as is FBI agents have training on how to take detailed notes that they may need to refer to later in court.

Why did Trump pardon Scooter Libby? "President Donald Trump and his outside advisers are increasingly worried that his longtime personal attorney might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors." That's why. You know, people who are innocent don't have these worries. But here's the thing, Mueller isn't prosecuting Cohen. It's "independent." Mueller just passed on what he knew, and that lead to the raids. If Cohen decided "to flip", it's not clear how that would go for him. Mueller may not even be interested in a deal. After all, he has the information already. (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Linkee-poo Thursday's alright by me

"Stephen King, The Art of Fiction No. 189." Marked for reading later. (Grokked from Delilah S. Dawson)

"Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny… and there are trillions of them… New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up." The magic of compound interest, only in this case, of compound physics. And then there is also this part, "The visualization method (used to determine volume of material moved) was developed a few years ago with a grant from the National Science Foundation, and was held up as an example of wasteful government spending by Sen. Tom Coburn, who described the research as 'synchronized swimming for sea monkeys.'" A lot of what conservatives (and some liberals) have thought of as "wasteful spending" is actually useful science. It's just our elected leaders are both ignorance of real science and are trying to impose their ideology on society.

Day of the Triffids, or, well, tumbleweeds. "Dozens of homes in his neighborhood, which borders an undeveloped tract of desert land, were seemingly swallowed up by mounds of the dry brush."

The claim: Two people in Florida were arrested for selling golden tickets to heaven. The rating: False. I can't remember if I shared a link to this story, I certainly remember it going around social media. If I did share it without a caveat, I'm sorry.

"A tenacious epidemic of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid in Pakistan is just one small genetic step away from becoming untreatable—and health experts expect it to spread worldwide." We're boned. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Ah, capitalism. "As NPR's Jacob Pinter pointed out earlier this month, the (human waste) in question comes from New York and New Jersey, which, to resolve complications with local regulations, often avoid those regulations entirely by regularly shipping their waste across state lines to areas with looser zoning laws."

"The uncertainty is leaving farmers in a quandary about what type of soybeans to plant. If the state's dicamba ban stays in place, a substantial number of farmers… will plant soybean varieties that can tolerate a different herbicide… If the ban is overturned, however, some of those farmers would switch to dicamba-tolerant soybeans, either because they'd prefer to use dicamba or because they fear that their neighbors will — which means they may need to plant a variety that won't be harmed by the drifting chemical." And that's what's known as having a lock on the market.

"Scientists used to make graphene-based membranes in small batches in a laboratory. But a new breakthrough at MIT enables researchers to spool out long rolls of high-quality graphene." You know that word "paradigm"? Yeah, here's a new one. (Grokked from Dan)

"Lawyers for a journalist who was arrested in Tennessee and then placed in an immigration detention facility said Monday that the government was trying to suppress his reporting and violated his rights of freedom of speech and the press." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Well, at least we aren't Mexico. Yet. "At least 82 candidates and office holders have been killed since the electoral season kicked off in September, making this the bloodiest presidential race in recent history, according to a tally by Etellekt, a security consultancy based in Mexico City, and Reuters research." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Syracuse University suspended an engineering fraternity on Wednesday after footage surfaced of members speaking and acting in ways 'that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities,' the university’s chancellor said." Look, guys, if you want to close your chapter, there are easier ways to do it. And I know "not all young people," but just where the fuck have you kids been living all your lives? Yeah, I know.

Tell me again how the Stars and Bars isn't a racist symbol. "'I’m not saying I’m supporting it or for or against it, but people in this country have to start realizing we have to tolerate all peoples’ views,' the mayor added. 'That’s preached a lot out of Washington and a lot of other places, but it’s not practiced. Democrats don’t like Republicans' views and Republicans don’t like Democrats' views. People have to grow up and need to respect other peoples' views.'" This is not free speech, this is intimidation, you fucktard. And it's your goddamn job to do something about it. People are already being hurt, don't wait until someone is in the hospital or morgue. (Grokked from Chang)

"At Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami this week, executives with the nation's payday loan industry are holding their annual conference with receptions, breakout sessions and a golf tournament… It's been a good year for the payday lending industry. Shortly after taking over as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney put tough new regulations for the industry on hold. Since then, stocks for publicly traded payday lenders have shot up." I'm sure it's just a coincidence that their annual meeting is being held at a place the president owns and not at all an attempt at a bribe or kickback.

"A Kansas federal judge on Wednesday ruled Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) was in contempt of court for failing to follow her order to register voters who had signed up to vote at the DMV, but failed to present proof of citizenship." (Grokked from Katheryn Kramer)

"Science Magazine has published a video showing the consequences of a simulated nuclear attack near the White House in Washington carried out by terrorists." Posted by Sputnik News. You may remember them from the other fun going on with Russia. Dudes, seriously, Gen-X grew up in the 70s and 80s, we ate nuclear threats for breakfast. I've seen the missiles go to launch position. I fucking know the numbers and (given actuate maps) can roughly outline Ground Zero and Zones 1-3 for almost any scenario. Here's the thing I know that most people don't, nuclear material is trackable to the reactor that creates it. The chance of an actual nuclear explosion by a terrorist cell is fairly low (and we'll know where they got it from by the forensics). More likely is a "dirty bomb", which is nuclear material strapped to conventional explosives (like you pack ball bearings and nails on the outside of IEDs). That's a little harder to followup on, but if it's Cesium we have a good guess already. As you may have gleaned before on this blog, I once swore an oath to burn the world down. Don't think we have softened. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would roll back policies designed to protect minority car buyers from discriminatory loan terms. Republicans passed the bill by a narrow margin, and it now moves on to the House." Yes, your elected representatives are trying to screw you over.

"Pittsburgh police ordered its detectives to bring riot gear to work Thursday in anticipation of protests should President Donald Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller… Police Cmdr. Victor Joseph reportedly sent an email Wednesday, instructing Major Crimes detectives to bring full uniforms and riot gear to work 'until further notice.'" I have questions. Like why are police storing riot gear in their homes?

"President Donald Trump said Wednesday that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's 'not going to be fruitful.'" Somebody is getting cold feet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Linkee-poo, set my alarm, turn on my charm, that's because I'm a good old-fashioned lover boy

In one day we lose Carl Kasell and Barbara Bush (the least objectionable member of the Bush family). And so it goes.

"In 2008, pieces of diamond encased in rock descended from space and landed in the Nubian Desert of Sudan. And, according to a new study, these meteorite crystals provide the first physical evidence of an ancient lost building block from the dawn of the solar system… In the study, a research team found that the Almahata Sitta meteorite once belonged to a protoplanet, one of tens of early worlds that experienced impacts and buildups to ultimately create the rocky planets in our solar system."

"Sky burial isn't a burial at all, of anything. It’s the act of leaving a corpse exposed to the elements, often in an elevated location, and only a few different cultures do it, for different reasons and in different ways." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'We have a part of the aircraft missing.'" Southwest flight 1380's emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of the engines suffered damage from what at first appears to be metal fatigue. While a lot has been made of the plane "plunging" 20,000 feet, that's standard procedure in the event of loss of cabin pressurization. You have to get the plane to an altitude where there is sufficient atmospheric air pressure.

Just because the politicians deny climate change doesn't mean the effects of climate change are not a golden business opportunity.

"More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found." Great time for the president to roll back regulations designed to protect on our air quality.

"There are many different types of costs associated with the opioid epidemic: including emergency response, health care, criminal justice, rehabilitation and lost productivity. It's no wonder the total estimated burden from the epidemic is enormous. Health care research firm Altarum put the figure at $1 trillion since 2001… The biggest share of that burden is borne by families — who measure the damage not only in financial terms, but in terms of anxiety and heartache." Remember when the president declared a health emergency? Good times.

"Police say a 3-year-old girl accidentally shot and wounded her pregnant mother in a car parked outside a northwestern Indiana thrift store." So if only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, who's going to stop all these kids?

Going out with a bang. "Last summer, on August 12, photographer Ryan Kelly arrived at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., to take pictures for the city's newspaper, The Daily Progress… It was his last day on the job — and it was a memorable one. A photo he took of a car plowing through a crowd of counterprotesters became the defining image of the chaos that day… On Monday, Kelly was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for the photo he took."

"Parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School attacks filed defamation lawsuits on Monday against right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones, who has questioned the authenticity of the 2012 shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children." Goes and makes more popcorn.

Remember when anti-abortionists were plugging the line about abortion providers being racists and born in the eugenics movement? "Kristen Walker Hatten, former vice president of the anti-abortion group New Wave Feminists and a contributor to The Dallas Morning News, has spoken at universities and events around the country about the need for mainstream feminism to embrace women who oppose abortion rights… Hatten wrote in late 2016 that she found Trump to be so 'creepy, gross and tacky'… But after he won, something changed. Hatten began sharing white supremacist content on social media. She self-identified on Twitter as alt-right and 'ethnonationalist' ― the same term used by white nationalist icon Richard Spencer. She mused on Facebook that immigrant 'invaders” are replacing white Europeans in their own countries…" This is my shocked face. They're characterizing this as a "sudden turn", but except for brain injuries, just like "being racist when they drink" isn't a thing, these sudden turns aren't either. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

"After publicly flirting last week with having the United States rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Trump appeared to rebuff the idea once and for all late Tuesday… Mr. Trump said that although Japan and South Korea would like the United States to join the 11 other nations in the multilateral trade agreement, he had no intention of doing so… 'Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work,' Mr. Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida… The comments confounded some trade experts on Tuesday night because South Korea is not in the Trans-Pacific Partnership." So basically, the agreement is too long for the president to grasp. The word you're looking for is "erratic."

"A broadband adviser selected by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to run a federal advisory committee was arrested last week on claims she tricked investors into pouring money into a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme… The adviser, Elizabeth Pierce, is the former chief executive of Quintillion, an Alaska-based fiber optic cable provider operating out of Anchorage… Pierce allegedly raised more than $250 million from two New York-based investment companies using forged contracts with other companies guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue. Pierce resigned from Quintillion in August of last year, and she stepped down from her role in Pai’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) the following month." Only the best people. (Grokked from Dan)

"The city of Memphis could lose a quarter-million dollars as punishment for removing statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis last year… The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Tuesday to strip the money from next year's state budget. The sum had been earmarked to go toward planning for Memphis' bicentennial celebrations next year."

"(Sean Hannity) denies that Michael Cohen was ever his lawyer—but Hannity was represented by a pair of legal advisers who also have close links to the president." Damnit, I didn't bring enough bread crumbs.

"Russia said Wednesday that it has received word that the U.S. has no plans for further sanctions after confusion over the issue involving U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced fresh sanctions only to be contradicted by the White House." I'm sure just the threat was enough to get the Russians to change their ways. No, I can't say that with a straight face. (Waves to my Russian friends)

"CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea earlier this month and met with leader Kim Jong Un — a meeting that 'went very smoothly,' President Trump said on Wednesday." I'm not saying he's a good guy, but if we could come to a peace deal for the Korean Peninsula and maybe walk Kim Jong Un back from his nuclear arsenal, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. And before you raise the objection, while Kim is on the far end of the spectrum, it's not like the US hasn't negotiated with or supported rulers who have worse records on human rights (El Salvadore Death Squads anyone?). However I will point out that while we continually focus on N. Korea's relationship with China, that is based on their shared border and economic ties. Kim Jung Un's biggest economic and political supporter, the person that probably helped most with development of their nuclear weapons program and influx of hard currency it required is (wait for it) Putin. I'll also point out that N. Korea is no slouch when it comes to negotiations and they have the long-term vision to advance their interests.

"Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll." It's early, and we (as progressives and liberals) have a definite bias against impeachment. But the same was true with Nixon and Watergate until there was a moment of crystallization during the Saturday Nite Massacre and the publication of stories by Woodward and Bernstein. That's one of the reasons behind the intense campaign by conservative to discredit the news media.

"Filling out this picture of how Cohen fell into this milieu we’ve always been focused on the fact that Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, owned and ran a Brooklyn social club, El Caribe, which was a well-known meeting spot for members of Italian and Russian organized crime families in the 1970s and 1980s." Russians by the bushel. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Linkee-poo late edition

Harry Anderson, better known as Judge Harry Stone of Night Court, has passed on. So it goes.

"Internet freedom advocates have argued strenuously against FOSTA-SESTA. One of the biggest fears surrounding the bill combo is that it could create room for more bills that attempt to create even more exemptions in Section 230." Regulating speech in the name of "ending sex trafficking." Although the bills almost never actually make sex workers jobs safer, sex traffickers find new avenues to sell people, and honest discussions of sex (including LGBTQ and ersatz sex education sites) get shut down. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

If you stop people from carrying guns, they'll just use knives. "Authorities say an 8-year-old student took a kitchen knife to a central Minnesota elementary school and attacked three other children." Oh look, nobody dead.

The Interior Department's fire sale. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A tariff is not a targeted strike. China has not placed a tariff on U.S. soybeans, but the mere suggestion that it might, has already begun shifting the global flows of the crop across four continents, creating arbitrary winners and losers well beyond U.S. soy producers."

"Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says that trillion-dollar deficits could not have been avoided by the GOP-controlled Congress, responding to critics within his party who say that leaders have behaved irresponsibly." Because, you know, what could we do when we have idiots and ideologues running the country. So yes, we couldn't avoid trillion dollar deficits because Brit-Forbid we would raise taxes on the rich, instead lets paddle fast with the current as we go down the drain. You know, we tried to cut all these social programs and didn't get anywhere, so there was nothing left to do (but raise taxes on the rich), so we didn't even try anything. And Ryan is supposedly the smart one of the group. (Grokked from Michele)

"A 14-year-old African-American boy stopped to ask for directions to school in a Detroit suburb but was shot at instead, according to prosecutors… Retired firefighter Jeffery Zeigler, 53, who is white, was arraigned on Friday "on assault with intent to murder and felony firearm" charges, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office."

"This is why many activists and internet freedom advocates have charged FOSTA-SETA with threatening free speech. As for Section 230, making it susceptible to more exemptions would render the whole clause useless as a governing tool." Once again the moralists are making sex-work more dangerous and making it more difficult to find traffickers (and the people they traffic) all in the name of trying to protect them. Oh, and as we do that we crack down on free-speech on the internet. Fantastic. Say, remember when Congress wanted web browsers to ship with filtering software built-in and turned on to protect the little kids? I'm not saying nothing should be done, but I really wish Congress would stop trying to use bad situations to enforce their own twisted morality which has no chance of helping anyone. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A judge revealed (Sean Hannity) to be Cohen's mysterious third client, in addition to the president and Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy." Did not see that plot twist coming. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Donald Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen is set to appear in federal court on Monday afternoon as he and the president argue that they should be able to review documents seized last week by federal agents before prosecutors do." This is why it's a separate team going through the documents first before handing them off to the team that will prosecute. And then there's this, "In other words, although Cohen is a lawyer, most of the work that has interested investigators and prosecutors is not legal in nature and so none of the public discussions about attorney-client privilege apply here."

"California has rejected the federal government’s initial plans for National Guard troops to the border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press." First counter move.

Sorry

Very busy day with meetings at both jobs and attempting to get all this shitload of work done. Probably no other posting until later tonight at the earliest, possibly not until tomorrow. Sorry. I know it was an eventful weekend.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Linkee-poo for a Sunday, because I expect tomorrow to a shitshow

So two black guys were waiting at Starbucks for a friend, and then employees called the police and the cops put handcuffs on them and escorted them out of the restaurant. They weren't bothering anyone. One did want to use the restroom. Yeah, sure there's no systematic racism in this country.

"An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature." We're boned.

"Blizzards are affecting much of the Great Lakes region this weekend, and the National Weather Service says it's 'shaping up to be a historic storm.' The snow is just one part of a massive storm system affecting areas from the Gulf Coast to northern Wisconsin and Michigan." This makes, what, the third or fourth "historic storm" this season?

"In Goldman Sachs's April 10 report, 'The Genome Revolution,' its analysts ponder the rise of biotech companies who believe they will develop 'one-shot' cures for chronic illnesses; in a moment of rare public frankness, the report's authors ask, 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'" (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"If Denis Winter suffered from heart failure, cancer or almost any other deadly disease, his family could rest assured that his care would be largely covered by insurance… But Winter has Alzheimer’s disease. So the extraordinary cost of his care — $8,500 a month, or $102,000 a year — is borne entirely by his wife, Linda. It is quickly draining their lifetime of savings." Medicare/Medicaid does not cover dementia care, which usually lasts longer and is more expensive than standard nursing home or assisted living care. Facing this myself, the article is a little light. It's a much darker experience and affects whole extended families. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"'Like, of course they see that they’re different. They’re five. They’re not stupid. They see each other, but they don’t care. It doesn’t matter.'" Because it doesn't matter. You have to be carefully taught. (Grokked from Xopher)

"After Mark Zuckerberg's two-day testimony before Congress, we consider whether a reckoning for the social media giant might finally be on the horizon. A new documentary looks at how the state of Montana has been fighting back against dark money ever since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and a legal scholar explains the unlikely history of corporations' rights. Plus, a second look at two infamous, misunderstood crimes: the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the Steubenville rape case." On The Media show from this weekend.

"The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011." Mostly a lot of the incidents fall into the "I was so scared something was going to happen, but I had my gun with me." Also note the line about how there's not even an effective training measure for police.

"'Modern thinkers feel the need to strip away our natural born right to self-protection by limiting the available weapons that are at our disposal. They blame mental illness without documentation. They blame everything except the sole responsible party, the person involved in the action.'" As others said, I think the guns help the criminals a lot. And again, there are more damaging firearms available in the world than are available to the general public in the US. And yet, the guns used in crimes in the us, including mass shootings, are all those commercially available in the US. If the line about criminals would still get guns was true, you'd expect to see more high-capacity shotguns, automatic weapons (not semi-autos that have been modified), and non-improvised high-explosives.

"'As surely as we're having this conversation, children were harmed - some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone. It's offensive, really. If you want to write a story, that's the kind of thing you should talk about.'" The GOP governor of Kentucky everybody. What a wonderful person. Say, dickhead, if that's your belief, maybe you should actually fucking fund social programs to help protect those kids, reduce family stress (security and economic), and maybe, I don't know, pay teachers well because obviously they're the front line of your family intervention program.

"More than 100 missiles were launched early Saturday morning by the U.S. and its allies France and the U.K., targeting three chemical weapons sites in Syria. The mission, according to Pentagon officials, has 'significantly crippled' Syrian President Bashar Assad's ability to manufacture chemical weapons. No casualties have been reported." This article highlights what feels to me like wrestlers trash talking each other before the main event.

"A report by the department's inspector general confirmed that investigators concluded McCabe had violated Justice Department policy by authorizing an aide to talk with the Wall Street Journal about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation — and that McCabe had 'lacked candor' in discussing the matter afterward inside the Justice Department."

For there being no collusion, there sure are a lot of Russians hanging around. Rotem Rosen, "CEO of the American branch of Africa Israel, the Putin oligarch Leviev’s holding company", son-in-law to a Russian oligarch who made his money catering to Soviets in NYC in the 70s (whom Trump called "a great friend). His marriage was at Mar-a-Lago. Strangely he keeps showing up in pictures with Trump and this past week having cigars with Michael Cohen as they played hooky outside of his court hearing about the raids on Cohen's office and hotel room. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Linkee-poo weekend

So, thinky thoughts. Of course we warned the Russians. We'd be stupid to not warn them to move their people out of the strike areas. The question is did we want them far enough in advance that they could move tangible assets out of the strike areas, or if it was just enough time to get personnel out (choosing to move assets would delay bugging out and lead to having people in the strike zone as the assets hit). And again we' spend hundreds of millions to inflict hundreds of thousands of damage. This is not the way to win. What would have been better, and had more impact, is if we had destroyed his helicopter fleet (not put holes in a runway). Assad uses helicopters to deliver the barrel bombs that include the chlorine gas, so they're a legit target and while not proportional, close enough for government work. We could deny Assad his weapons experts (yes, that's a euphemism). But first we need to get Assad labeled a criminal, and we need to exploit our casus belli (intentionally targeting a US citizen for killing), and he needs to get a AUMF from Congress. And hey, what a way to change the conversation on the Sunday Morning Talking Head Shows. With the involvement of our allies, this isn't completely a wag the dog exercise. I just wish I could confidently say it didn't play a small part in the decision.

"Billy Mitchell, an arcade virtuoso whose symphonies with the joystick once won him the title 'Video Game Player of the Century,' has been cast down from the heights of the high score lists. The organization that tracks video game world records announced Thursday that it is removing his records and banning him from future leaderboards." That's gonna leave a mark.

The Trump administration starts to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty. Because, I don't know, Canadian geese like to poop on top of Trump Tower. Changing the definition from incidentally killing bird to only prosecuting actions which are directed at killing birds is a cheap cop out, and a big win for the fossil fuel industry. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"President Trump issued an executive order late Thursday creating a special task force to examine the U.S. Postal Service's finances, which he claims have been crippled by a money-losing deal to deliver packages for shopping giant Amazon." No, Mr. President. The USPS has been crippled by a conservative initiative to privatize the postal service by bankrupting the current service by making them prepay retirement pensions for employees who haven't even been born yet. With the loss of flat-mail postage, parcel delivery has been the savior of the postal service.

"In Baltimore’s most crime-ridden zones, city officials are conducting an experiment in government. They started last year by targeting four small, deeply troubled areas to be flooded with more police patrols and city services. They called them “Transformation Zones,” at first, then rebranded them as “Violence Reduction Zones.” They’ve since added three more zones, bringing the total to seven… Each zone gets several dedicated police officers… and an extra focus across city government for ramped-up services. Mayor Catherine Pugh has put $1.6 million in the city’s budget for two 'rapid response' crews from the Department of Public Works to quickly clean up these areas, three more housing inspectors to enforce code violations such as peeling lead paint and extend hours at local recreation centers." This isn't an "experiment." This is good governance, this is the basic minimum these neighborhoods should have had all along. And gee, look, it's working. And yes, the crime has moved to other areas nearby. Why? Because they're betting that the government can't keep it up or expand the "experiment." Mostly because they've seen it before. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Part of the culture war and the war against the poor. "For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute… 'Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty,' Desmond says. 'Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.'"

Another front on the war against the poor. "If Republicans in Congress have their way, millions of people who get food aid through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) will have to find a job or attend job training classes for about 20 hours each week, or lose their benefits."

"A teacher at a Pennsylvania Christian school accidently left her loaded pistol in a bathroom, where elementary school children found it, Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday." Whelp, that didn't take long. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"'Here's what you don't get, Mr. Mulvaney. This isn't about me. This is about about active-duty military. It's about first responders and students and seniors and families ... and millions of other people who need someone on their side when consumers get cheated,' (Sen. Elizabeth) Warren said." You're correct Sen. Warren, conservatives don't get it.

"The Trump administration has condemned a suspected chemical weapons strike in Syria and is considering military action. 'We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity,' President Trump said earlier this week… In 2017, the country let in 3,024 (Syrian refugees). So far this year, that number is just 11. By comparison, over the same 3 1/2-month period in 2016, the U.S. accepted 790." Fuck Trump's concern. It's a show for the cameras. He's only going to use it as a stage to show his (read: our military's) might. Assad is a little guy he thinks he can beat up.

"Burying bad news is one half of the story. But what about the other half -- the Enquirer's promotion of pro-Trump storylines?… We went through the Enquirer's cover archive dating back to the week of Trump's inauguration. It's really remarkable: The Enquirer has been telling a consistent tale for more than a year." Fox News isn't the only propaganda. Someone needs to be Goebbels.

Eating their own. "More rank-and-file Republicans predicted Friday that the Wisconsin Republican probably won’t be able to hang on to the Speaker’s job for the rest of the year, despite Ryan’s insistence a day earlier that he would stick around until January and that no one in the GOP could raise more money ahead of the crucial midterm elections later this year."

"James Comey's much-anticipated memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, doesn't pull any punches when it comes to condemning the tenure of President Trump. The former FBI director, whom Trump unceremoniously fired, paints a picture of a chief executive only concerned about his own image in the press instead of the safety of the nation." Yeah, we already knew that.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Linkee-poo is waiting

Still waiting in line for Hamilton tickets, so not much from this morning, sorry.

"An e. coli outbreak with no known source has spread to seven states, infecting 17 people and prompting an investigation by state and federal health officials."

"I quickly discovered that way back in 1988, the World Health Organization declared alcohol a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it’s been proved to cause cancer. There is no known safe dosage in humans, according to the WHO. Alcohol causes at least seven types of cancer, but it kills more women from breast cancer than from any other. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that for every drink consumed daily, the risk of breast cancer goes up 7 percent."

In connection with yesterday's link about redlining, "In 1965, the city of Charlottesville demolished a thriving black neighborhood… The razing of Vinegar Hill displaced families and dissolved the community." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Why is fake news and propaganda a problem? "One-third of Americans think 'substantially less' than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, according to a new survey that highlights a worrying lack of basic knowledge about the World War II-era genocide." Because it distorts reality as it attempts to supplant it. Punch a Nazi for Jesus.

Let's give teachers guns. I mean, what could go wrong? "A pistol-packing Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher who said he'd be willing to be trained to carry a gun to protect the high school faces a criminal charge after he left his Glock 9mm in a public restroom where it was later fired by an drunk homeless man, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office." Well to be fair, he didn't have the gun at school, but at a public park. (Grokked from someone, sorry)

"As part of the corporate welfare package, Wisconsin has agreed to secure a vast tract of land in Racine County for Foxconn's complex… To save money on the seizure of the homes of working people in Racine County, the county has declared the homes to be 'blighted' -- that is, in such poor condition that they are effectively worthless -- allowing it to seize the land for pittances, leaving the former owners of the homes with massive mortgage debts on houses that no longer exist, with no cash to buy a new place to live. They are being wiped out." Conservatives are all against eminent domain when it's farms or their own homes, but those poor people? Fuck them. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Under Mulvaney's watch, the CFPB has dropped an investigation into a payday lender and announced that it will reconsider a rule to put stricter limits on companies that make high-interest, short-term loans. Consumer groups point to campaign contributions Mulvaney received from payday lenders when he was in Congress and say he is doing the industry's bidding. Mulvaney has said the campaign contributions do not constitute a conflict of interest." I'm sure we can trust him on that.

In case you were wondering if the whole GOP was as corrupt as Trump. "President Donald Trump is poised to pardon Scooter J. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to sources familiar with the president’s thinking… The president has already signed off on the pardon, which is something he has been considering for several months, sources told ABC News." Considering Trump's "hate" of leakers, the answer is yes. Have been for a long time. And just a reminder, Libby's leak was connected to several killings in Europe and a decade long diminishment in the CIA's ability to recruit informants.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Drug Mart

Posted without comment.

Linkee-poo, it's just no good anymore since you went away, now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

So did we all have fun with Zuckerberg? There's a story about if you go to a poker game and you can't figure out who the sucker is, it's you. If you can't figure out what a company's money making product is, it's you (NPR story on if social media should be paying us - at this time still just audio). Mostly, IMHO, Facebook isn't upset with what Cambridge Analytica did with targeted marketing, they're upset that they didn't get paid for the data they scrapped (CA paid a third researcher $800,000 for his data gleaned from Facebook). You and your data are Facebook's (and all the companies they own) product, same as Google. Same as the news (there's a reason why news articles are written to fill the "news hole" in papers), same as almost all TV stations. The only difference between what CA (and some other companies) did and what direct marketing companies have done is the accuracy and granularity of the data has gotten finer and customization has gotten easier.

"David Meade tells the Daily Express that on April 23, the sun and moon will be in Virgo, as will Jupiter, which represents the Messiah." It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine). I really need to get my ass in gear and write the damn book. (Grokked from Dan)

"Take a virtual tour of the Moon in all-new 4K resolution, thanks to data provided by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft." (Grokked from Dan)

"How are you as a parent dealing with Oklahoma's teacher walkout?… Many parents responded, most showing their unyielding support of the movement, noting that teachers were not just demanding a pay raise for themselves, but also funding for better textbooks and classroom supplies." Also note the stories of the teachers helping out the students and their parents. Just like they did in West Virginia and Kentucky. Because teachers, for the most part, are all about the student's welfare and are often the front line of family support services.

"Many American Muslims found themselves on the defensive after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But this generation says it is tired of being expected to apologize. Instead, young Muslims are determined to take control of their own stories. And they are creating fresh paths for the estimated 3.45 million Muslims in America… Rather than defending themselves, they are defining themselves." And they're not keeping quiet about it. Can't wait to see the Religious Freedom folk stand up and shout, "Right on." Yeah, not holding my breath either.

"Housing segregation is in everything. But to understand the root of this issue, you have to look at the government-backed policies that created the housing disparities we see today." And very informative video. If you can get people who say, "But slavery ended over a century ago" to watch it, maybe they'll learn something.

"When she tried to leave, sobbing after a non-consensual sexual encounter, she says the man who would be governor physically stopped her… What happened next, she testified under oath to a Missouri House committee investigating allegations of misconduct against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, is spelled out in graphic detail in a 25-page report the lawmakers released Wednesday." Trigger warning, detailed description of the encounter. (Grokked from Michelle)

"When Scott Pruitt wanted to refashion the Environmental Protection Agency’s 'challenge coin'… he proposed an unusual design: Make it bigger, and delete the E.P.A. logo… Mr. Pruitt instead wanted the coin to feature some combination of symbols more reflective of himself and the Trump administration. Among the possibilities: a buffalo, to evoke Mr. Pruitt’s native Oklahoma, and a Bible verse to reflect his faith… Other ideas included using the Great Seal of the United States — a design similar to the presidential seal — and putting Mr. Pruitt’s name around the rim in large letters…" So, you know, you can now definitively says his first-class and private/government aircraft travel, the extended security detail, his security caravan, and all the rest aren't really because of his "safety", but because of his insecurity and need to be a big boy at the table. (Grokked from someone, sorry).

"Vegetable prices may be going up soon, as a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California… Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News." So much winning. (Grokked from Catherine Elizabeth)

"But a new analysis of all Fortune 500 companies found only 4.3 percent of workers will receive a one-time bonus or wage increase tied to the business tax cuts, while businesses received nine times more in cuts than what they passed on to their workers, according to Americans for Tax Fairness, a political advocacy group devoted to tax reform. The analysis also found that companies spent 37 times as much on stock buybacks than they did on bonuses and increased wages for workers." This is my shocked face. Although I think the GOP was hoping this kind of analysis wouldn't have happened until December, after the election. "In fact, this [analysis shows] that 433 corporations out of the Fortune 500 have announced no plans to share their tax cuts with employees." But what about that teacher in PA who got, what, an extra $1.50 every pay? (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

The continuing media consolidation that was recently demonstrated with the power of the Sinclair TV network rolls on. "The Akron Beacon Journal is being sold to GateHouse Media, owner of several Ohio papers including The Columbus Dispatch and The Canton Repository." Now flavored with a little union busting.

"The Speaker of the Ohio House has announced he'll resign, days after he hired a lawyer and admitted he’d learned the FBI was asking questions about him." That's our second in a row.

"CIA Director Mike Pompeo… — who was recently nominated by Trump to be secretary of State — failed to disclose his business’ ties to a Chinese government oil and gas company in the questionnaire he was required to fill out to be confirmed as CIA director by the Senate." Like the Obama Administration had difficulties with nominees not filing taxes, the Trump Administration seems to have difficulties filling out their security questionnaires. How the hell did he even get a security clearance? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Paul Ryan is out. Hey, he got his tax breaks and has scuttled the ship of state, so his job here is done. Also he faced a primary challenger that would force him to the right, and a blue wave election that might see him lose not only his seat, but his House of Representatives. This is what's known as "getting out while the getting is good." Also known as running away with your tail between your legs.

"David Greene talks with Jesse Hunt of the National Republican Congressional Committee about House Speaker Paul Ryan's decision not to seek re-election and its ripple effects on midterm elections." Shorter NRCC, "Everything is awesome!" and shows Nancy Pelosi still polls well (in the negative) among GOP base voters. If I thought he really believed what he was spewing I'd say, "You go with your crazy self."

"Regardless of the veracity of Sajudin’s claims (that Trump had a child with a Trump employee in the 80s), legal experts said that A.M.I.’s (who published the National Enquirer) payment to Sajudin is significant because it establishes the company’s pattern of buying and burying stories that could be damaging to Trump during the Presidential campaign." If another one comes out, my guess is that would be grounds for a federal election violation prosecution. But it also begs the question, since A.M.I. claims the story wasn't credible (as they did with Karen McDougal), why they'd pay so much for exclusive rights? (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Tweet of my heart: @mattyglesias Paul Ryan loves his kids so much that he’s willing to take time away from his life-long commitment to taking food and medicine away from poor children in order to spend more time with them. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Double dip: @mzbat We need a Disney Princess who does incident response and explains persistent user sessions and SSH tunnels and screams about key rotation but no one listens until they figure it out themselves and say oh we need to rotate these keys and she’s like omfg I can’t even. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Linkee-poo Wednesday

Our stable genius of a president is blustering at Russia in an attempt to make him look bigger, to not be seen as Putin's lapdog, and because he's lashing out. If I believed he was actually outraged at Assad's behavior regarding chemical weapons or intentionally targeting an American journalist, I would feel differently. But basically I see this as his thinking Assad a "small man" that he can beat up to make himself feel better about his impotence in other matters.

Found this handy today, you might as well. Is Mercury Retrograde? Easy website.

"If you've tried to delete your Facebook account and found yourself mysteriously lost and frustrated, welcome to the world of Dark Patterns, the website and app trickery designed to make you agree to things or otherwise fool you into doing something other than you intend." Here's a video that explains how it's done. In case you've ever tried to look at a bank or retirement fund account online you've seen this as well. Every time I log into Fidelity's 401k site I am challenged to "update my contact information" which is really just their attempt to send you electronic notices instead of paper notices. In case you ever wondered how "marketing" works, here's a good primer for some of the tricks. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

There's trouble in Sweden. "After three members of the Swedish Academy resigned Friday, protesting its response to a long-simmering scandal, the committee known for awarding the Nobel Prize in literature has found itself in unfamiliar — and precarious — territory: Beyond examining the merits of an author's past work, as it does each year, the centuries-old group is now also facing questions about its own future."

"The federal agency that trains, tests and certifies the physicians who read X-rays and diagnose the deadly coal miners' disease black lung said today it was not consulted by Kentucky lawmakers in the 14 months they considered a new law that mostly limits diagnoses to pulmonologists working for coal companies." See, if they would have done that, they couldn't have protected the coal companies and swept the problem under the rug.

"The Charles Koch Foundation issued $100 million worth of grants in 2017 for higher education, up from about $35 million in 2014, according to figures provided by the foundation. The money funded programs at roughly 350 colleges and universities last year. But the shift at Wellesley’s Freedom Project raises questions about the sturdiness of the Koch-backed programs at a time when the organization is aggressively ramping up funding." "Academic Freedom Grifters" is an interesting concept, but not an entirely original one. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The letters warn that FTC staff has concerns about the companies’ statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact. Unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties. Similarly, such statements may be deceptive under the FTC Act." And this is why government is important.

"An Akron mother nodded in agreement Tuesday morning as she heard the verdicts reached by a Summit County jury in the murder trial of a man who shot and killed her son last year in a dispute over a dirt bike… After deliberating for about three hours Monday and early Tuesday, the jury of five women and seven men found William Knight guilty of all charges — two counts each of murder and felonious assault." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Why do unions get started? "Tronc has underpaid women and journalists of color by thousands of dollars a year at the Los Angeles Times, suggesting systemic salary gaps by race and gender, according to an analysis of newsroom salary data by the L.A. Times Guild." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Forty-two years after founding one of the nation’s most influential evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Bill Hybels told his congregation Tuesday night that he would step down from the helm of Willow Creek Community Church six months ahead of schedule… His departure comes less than a month after a Chicago Tribune investigation disclosed that Hybels had been the subject of inquiries by church leaders into claims that he ran afoul of church teachings by engaging in inappropriate behavior with women in his congregation — including employees — allegedly spanning decades."

"A 2016 study published in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology said that in 2012, Texas reported 147 women who died from pregnancy-related causes. The same journal on Monday released a new study by Texas Department of State Health Services researchers who say the number of maternal deaths was much lower 56… The cause for the discrepancy, according to the department, was likely mistakes made by doctors, justices of the peace and medical examiners, who incorrectly reported in the state's electronic death registration system that some women were pregnant at the time of their death, even though they weren't."

"You might recognize Wendy Vitter's last name… On Wednesday, she is likely to face some difficult questions about her statements on abortion and birth control at her Senate confirmation hearing to the post." This is why evangelicals love Trump, because he nominates people like this to judgeships. Also note that no less than Jeff Sessions has said to omit the speaking engagements from her forms was not only grounds to not approve her, but could possibly be a felony. Also note that I don't expect these "problems" (which halted several Obama nominations) to make a wit of difference with the Senate GOP approving her.

"A video obtained by NBC News shows U.S. Border Patrol agents attempting to break international law by forcing an injured and mentally unstable man back into Mexico by falsely claiming that he is not in their custody, failing to identify him and assuming he is Mexican because 'he looks like it.'" Our brave Customs and Border Patrol agents at work.

"Arizona students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will no longer be eligible for in-state college tuition, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday." Because, you know, Arizona has been shown to promote a racist agenda before. Why should they stop now with Trump in the White House. I'm sure this isn't because the conservative talking point about the Dreamers being a drain on public services has been shown to not only be a lie, but that the Dreamers contribute significantly to our country and our economy.

"In elections past, the integrity of the vote was protected by poll workers and election officials. But in 2018 and likely beyond, elections are being protected by people like the anonymous man who works in the basement of the West Virginia Capitol… He's member of the West Virginia National Guard who is a cybersecurity specialist responsible for monitoring any computer-related threats to the state's elections."

"John Boehner is heading for the boardroom of a cannabis company, the former Speaker of the House announced Wednesday… 'I'm joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved,' the Ohio Republican tweeted. 'I'm convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.'" I'm sure the profit motivation had nothing to do with it.

"House Speaker Paul Ryan told Republicans in the House Wednesday that he will not run for re-election in 2018." I'm sure his retirement pay will help. It's a little less important than if he had still been chairman of Ways and Means. There are also rumors he's a little upset because as a part of his deal to become Speaker of the House, he was supposed to be on the Presidential ticket in 2016.

Remember when candidate Trump said he would strengthen the social welfare net? "President Trump quietly signed an executive order Tuesday, directing federal agencies to strengthen the work requirements for various welfare programs. The move could eventually affect recipients of Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance and cash welfare." This is what he meant. He will cut social programs (even if the money isn't cut, more will go toward administrative of education costs, just like what happened to welfare). "'This is one of the best economic environments we've seen in years, yet businesses are having a hard time finding qualified workers,' (Paul) Ryan said in a statement." This is an obvious bullshit argument by the addition of "qualified workers." It's not like people who have the abilities, skills, and location to work are sitting on their hands.

"President Trump had a ready retort to a Russian threat to shoot down any U.S. missiles in Syria: 'Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!"'" And so continues his weird use of scare quotes. Also, there are official channels for this (no, really, more than likely if there were Russians at the target zone there would be a quiet call between to commanders of the same level and a warning to get their people out and not say anything - it's rumored this is why there were no Russian - or Syrian - casualties during last year's missile attack). And finally, weak people threaten, strong people do. Finally there's this, "'He's doing exactly what he criticized Obama for doing,' Mara (Liasson) said on Morning Edition."

"New evidence presented in a Washington, D.C., federal court claims that American journalist Marie Colvin was killed in a targeted assassination by the Syrian regime in 2012… Key testimony comes from a Syrian defector, who had been a high-ranking intelligence officer and says he witnessed the orders that led to the death of Colvin." Casus belli.

"Trump's tunnel vision about widening legal probes surrounding him and his White House may not reflect reality, or even the views of many supposed allies on Capitol Hill, but it's a powerful driving force behind his actions, as everyone waits with dread to see what happens next following Monday's FBI raid targeting his personal lawyer Michael Cohen."

"Trump Organization lawyers wrote a letter to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela requesting his 'influence' in a private business dispute in Panama and implied that his government could pay consequences if he didn’t intervene… But the letter appears to be more than just a request — it also seems to be a thinly veiled threat. The lawyers wrote that the Panamanian court’s ruling violates a bilateral investment treaty between the US and Panama and hinted that Varela’s response could affect US-Panamanian relations more broadly." Even if the president was not directly involved in the drafting of that letter, this shows the level of corruption possible because the president didn't divest of his businesses (and there's little different between corruption directed and corruption expected). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)