What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Linkee-poo gives you everything I've got for a little piece of mind

Paddy Maloney, and Ruthie Thompson, and so it goes.

"The world has already heated up by around 1.2C, on average, since the preindustrial era, pushing humanity beyond almost all historical boundaries. Cranking up the temperature of the entire globe this much within little more than a century is, in fact, extraordinary, with the oceans alone absorbing the heat equivalent of five Hiroshima atomic bombs dropping into the water every second." We're boned.

"The Korean drama Squid Game is a worldwide sensation. According to Netflix, it's topped their rankings in more than 90 countries. Written and directed by the filmmaker Hwang Dong-Hyuk, it's a violent and artful horror miniseries, a survival drama, and a commentary on debt and capitalism. With a plot that's both simple and ambitious, the series is fast-paced but character-driven, and unbelievably addictive to watch."

"A woman in Canada awoke in shock earlier this week when a rock crashed through the ceiling of her home and landed on her bed, narrowly missing her but spraying grit and other debris on her face, as her dog barked frantically."

"The story of how the demonveggen, or demon wall, came to be is as strange and disturbing as the mural itself. It’s a tale of scandal, fraud, and possible madness that begins with Gerhard Gotaas, one of Norway’s leading conservators of the mid-20th century. His work preserving and restoring medieval church art was wide-ranging and respected. But in 1940, when he entered a small village church in Sauherad to restore centuries-old artwork, he saw demons. Researchers determined earlier this year that, instead of reviving a 17th-century painting, Gotaas actually spent two years creating a monstrous mural from his own imagination. That revelation is just part of the story, however. Scant and contradictory clues only deepen the mystery of what might have possessed him to create the hellish image." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"At Italy's pavilion, a 3D replica of Michelangelo's David stands tall, his gaze intense and defiant. For most visitors, though, David's head is all they will see as they tour the pavilion. Only VIPs with special access will be able to catch a view of the statue from head to toe while it's on display for the next six months at Dubai's Expo 2020."

"The discovery of a distant Jupiter-like planet orbiting a dead star reveals what may happen in our solar system when the sun dies in about 5 billion years, according to new research… This unusual duo was discovered 6,500 light-years away, near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The pairing is unexpected because this gas giant exoplanet with a mass similar to Jupiter's is orbiting a white dwarf."

"Health officials on Tuesday authorized the first electronic cigarettes in the U.S., saying the R.J. Reynolds vaping products can benefit adult smokers… The Food and Drug Administration said data submitted by the company showed its Vuse e-cigarettes helped smokers either quit or significantly reduce their use of cigarettes, the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S." Note the limited nature of the endorsement.

How government can help it's citizens, when the government wants to. To whit the No Surprise Billing Act… "It may slightly slow premium growth… The reason, said Katie Keith, a research faculty member at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, is that a new rule released Sept. 30 by the Biden administration appears to 'put a thumb on the scale' to discourage settlements at amounts higher than most insurers generally pay for in-network care."

"Approximately 1 out of every 100 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. is a man – meaning the risk is small, but far from zero. About 2,300 men will be diagnosed every year, and 500 will die. For comparison, about 255,000 women will face a breast cancer diagnosis in any given year and 42,000 will die." Yes, Virginia, men also get breast cancer.

"In a surprise ruling late Wednesday a federal judge in New York allowed work to continue on implementation of a controversial bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin… The U.S. Justice Department's bankruptcy watchdog agency had urged Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to put the brakes on the deal until it was reviewed on appeal."

While overall numbers are going down, they may not be where you are… "(Minnesota) Health officials on Thursday reported an additional 2,919 virus cases and 25 more deaths due to COVID-19, as the state’s positivity rate continues to climb toward the high risk category."

"COVID-19 was the No. 1 leading cause of death in the U.S. in January, at the peak of last winter's brutal coronavirus surge, but then vaccines became widely available and it dropped to No. 7 by July, the Kaiser Family Foundation says in a new analysis of COVID-19 fatalities. Then the Delta variant hit and found ample unvaccinated Americans to kick COVID-19 back up to the No. 2 killer in August and September, the leading cause of death for Americans age 35 to 54, and even the sixth or seventh leading cause of death for children."

"Conventional wisdom says that if you're vaccinated and you get a breakthrough infection with the coronavirus, you can transmit that infection to someone else and make that person sick… But new evidence suggests that even though that may happen on occasion, breakthrough infections might not represent the threat to others that scientists originally thought."

"Nearly 1 in 5 American households has had to delay care for serious illnesses in the past few months, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health."

"He didn't know it in that moment, but the then-62-year-old was having a stroke… Boston police did find Copeland slumped in his car and barely conscious in front of the Berklee College of Music. But instead of calling an ambulance, they arrested him. They wrote in their report that they smelled alcohol, even though Al says he hasn’t had a drink since 1995… His wife Valerie suspects she knows the reason Boston police mistakenly thought he was drunk. Al is Black." But you knew that, right?

"Initial jobless claims fell below 300,000 for the first time since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday… In another sign the jobs market is getting closer to its old self, first-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 293,000, the best level since March 14, 2020, which saw 256,000 claims just as the Covid-19 spread intensified."

"Jordan and her fellow workers are not alone in experiencing reduced circumstances after their company is taken over by a private-equity firm. The new titans of finance, these firms use large pools of debt — typically raised in what's called the leveraged loan market — to acquire companies they hope to resell in a few years at a profit… But the heavy debt loads they take on, combined with pressure to flip acquired companies quickly, increases the likelihood that private-equity firms will have to cut costs in the operations that they buy. Often, the first to the chopping block is the company’s workforce." Anyone who has worked under one knows this.

"President Biden on Wednesday addressed ongoing supply chain problems as major retailers warn of shortages and price hikes during the upcoming holiday season… The White House says plans are in place to increase capacity at major California ports and with large goods carriers, including Walmart, FedEx and UPS… Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles has agreed to essentially double its hours and go to 24/7 operations. In doing so, it's joining the Port of Long Beach, which launched similar nighttime and weekend shifts a few weeks ago."

"It's a huge change for a father with one child in college and four at home who are on the autism spectrum, and Copeland credits the expanded child tax credit created via the American Rescue Plan as making the difference… Despite concerns that these (child tax credit) payments could cause taxpayer dollars to go to waste or discourage people from seeking or returning to work, early data returns appear to show that the extra monthly income has gone to support the immediate needs of American family budgets, like Copeland’s, and has had little effect on the labor market thus far." Conservative talking points are full of shit? Knock me over with a feather.

"More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers went on strike Thursday at midnight after 'the company failed to present an agreement that met our members’ demands and needs,' The United Auto Workers union said in statement."

"U.S. households can expect to spend more money to heat their homes this winter compared with last year, federal officials announced… A report released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration predicts that home heating costs will go up because fuel prices are rising and fuel demand has increased over the previous winter."

"Facebook on Thursday announced a research project in which it collected 2,200 hours of first-person footage from around the world to train next-generation artificial intelligence models." Training Skynet using your data.

"An extreme-right party’s violent exploitation of anger over Italy’s coronavirus restrictions is forcing authorities to wrestle with the country’s fascist legacy and fueling fears there could be a replay of last week’s mobs trying to force their way to Parliament." Neo-fascists are exploiting and using the anger of COVID mandates to sew chaos and mask their real agenda? You don't say.

"Leaders in the EU say Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's government is organizing the illegal passage of migrants from war-torn and impoverished countries into Poland and other EU neighbors. They suspect this comes in retaliation for EU economic sanctions placed on Belarus after the bloc accused the authoritarian leader of stealing last year's election and ordering human rights violations. Now humanitarian groups are criticizing Poland for pushing some migrants back to Belarus rather than reviewing their asylum applications."

"Norway's domestic security agency says an attack by a man using bow and arrow that killed five people and wounded two others currently appears to be 'an act of terrorism.'"

"A 26-foot-high sculpture commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre is set to be removed from the campus of the University of Hong Kong in what activists see as the latest sign of Beijing's suppression of freedom in the territory… The university set a deadline of Wednesday for the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China — an activist group that was forced to disband last month — to take the memorial down."

"Police in central Florida have arrested the father of a toddler who found a loaded handgun in his “Paw Patrol” backpack and fatally shot his mother while she was on a Zoom call for work… Veondre Avery, 22, was arrested Tuesday and charged with negligent manslaughter and unsafe storage of a firearm, Altamonte Springs police said." Okay, but now arrest the white people who do this as well.

"Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on Democrats to work together to pass a major spending package before the end of this month as part of a broader push to advance major elements of President Biden's domestic agenda… In a letter sent Thursday to Senate Democrats, Schumer says he plans to bring up a critical voting rights bill next week and move forward with a social spending bill by the end of the month."

"Former President Trump is urging Republicans not to vote in upcoming elections unless the “fraud” of the 2020 elections is uncovered… 'If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 and ’24,' Trump (editorial note, he lied). 'It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.'" Um, please?

"Trump ally Steve Bannon's game of chicken with the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill riot is on the cusp of entering a new and critical phase Thursday as he faces his last chance to reverse course and comply with the panel's subpoena before lawmakers likely move to seek criminal charges."

"The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol issued a subpoena Wednesday for an ex-Justice Department official who had promised to pursue former President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims… The official, Jeffrey Clark, was a key figure in a recent Senate report detailing Trump's attempts to enlist the department in his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump had considered replacing his acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey Rosen, with Clark, who was in a lower-ranking position."

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Linkee-poo what have you done, you've made a fool of everyone

"Hollywood’s Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, blasted into space Wednesday in a convergence of science fiction and science reality, reaching the final frontier aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company."

"Vietze is on the frontline of a sea change in America’s energy industry. For decades, blue-collar workers hammered out a good living in coal, oil and natural gas. Renewables have struggled to provide the same wages and benefits… Workers in onshore wind and solar tend to make less than their counterparts in fossil fuels. They are also less likely to belong to unions… Offshore wind represents an opportunity to change that."

"Right now, investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure is falling short. The IEA has said that development of new oilfields or coal mines projects must stop if the world is going to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

"The Food and Drug Administration is asking food manufacturers and restaurants to cut the salt in their products over the coming 2½ years, hoping to reduce Americans' overall sodium intake by 12 percent… The sweeping recommendation, announced Wednesday, is expected to cover a wide variety of foods — from chain restaurant meals to processed food on grocery store shelves and even baby food." That's a great goal, but we'll have to fortify other food with iodine then. But yes, recently there's been several foods I can no longer reliably eat because the sodium levels have been ticking up and they've become unpalatable to me (I don't include much added salt in my diet as it is).

"Adults who are 60 years old or older should not necessarily take a daily aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke… That is according to a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel of independent experts. The task force is revising several key guidelines and warning that, for some people, the risks of aspirin outweigh the benefits." Stop taking aspirin prophylactically.

"Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that Moderna Inc had not met all of the agency's criteria to support use of booster doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, possibly because the efficacy of the shot's first two doses has remained strong."

"A federal judge in Texas ordered United Airlines to temporarily halt its plan to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they have requested an exemption from the company's COVID-19 vaccine mandate."

"The coronavirus could be harming vital cells in the pancreas and leaving people with diabetes, according to new research being pursued by scientists… The relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes is poorly understood and scientists don't yet have definitive answers… But as the pandemic progressed, a growing number of reports suggested that people who caught COVID-19 were noticing diabetes symptoms for the first time. It is too soon to say whether the condition is permanent." There's been renewed "concern" (denialism) about kids getting vaccinated. So put this into your long COVID calculations.

"The United States is taking a major step toward reopening its borders with Canada and Mexico… Beginning next month, the U.S. will allow nonessential travelers to enter the country along the long land borders it shares with its two neighbors."

"Consumer prices increased slightly more than expected in September as food and energy price rises offset declines in used cars, the Labor Department reported Wednesday… The consumer price index for all items rose 0.4% for the month, compared with the 0.3% Dow Jones estimate. On a year-over-year basis, prices increased 5.4% versus the estimate for 5.3% and the highest since January 1991."

"Here's another unexpected example of how supply chains have been upended by the pandemic: Glass bottles used for everything from vinegar to pasta sauces are getting tied up in their own bottlenecks. That's driving prices higher, when you can get the bottles at all."

How goes Brexit? "Member states are far more focused on struggling with post-Covid economic challenges, soaring gas prices and smouldering intra-EU strife with Poland and Hungary. The last thing EU capitals say they need or want right now is a trade war with the UK… But tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol are real."

"Russia has denied using energy as a political weapon, amid surging prices across Europe that have sent gas bills in many households skyrocketing… Russia, one of Europe's biggest natural gas providers, has been accused of intentionally withholding supplies."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that oil prices could well reach $100 per barrel as demand for all energy commodities grows… Energy prices have soared across the board as economies reopen after months of pandemic-induced lockdowns and supply remains tight. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, crossed $80 per barrel last week for the first time since Nov. 2014." That wouldn't solve his economic issues, though. But he thinks it would.

"Eventually Hernandez, who said he was arrested 113 times and beaten up by the police more than once, had had it. He and several other lowriders filed a lawsuit against then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein and the police, alleging violations of their civil rights… In 1981, Hernandez united a group of car clubs to form the San Francisco Lowrider Council, an advocacy organization that helped lowriders stand up to police brutality then — and which just marked its 40th year in operation."

"The honeymoon is over. And the fading Republican support was inevitable. But Democrats are alarmed by President Joe Biden's decline in job approval among groups central to his base — most notably Black voters, Hispanics and women… Despite the slip in his job approval, Biden's economic agenda remains popular in the same polls, which find that voters support his plans to overhaul U.S. infrastructure, expand Medicare, fund universal pre-K and put money into clean energy." Well, yes. One, it's that time of the presidency (all presidents see this slump), but it also explains the reluctance of the GOP to help govern.

"The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation to raise the U.S. debt limit, the final legislative hurdle to averting a first-ever national default that was otherwise expected to occur next week… The bill, passed by the Senate last week, now travels to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature and enactment. He is expected to sign it later this week and likely Wednesday."

"Sanders has grown increasingly frustrated about what he described as a lack of details from Manchin and Sinema about what programs they want cut for a smaller package. On a conference call with fellow progressive leaders, Sanders told reporters on Tuesday, 'We are prepared to negotiate. We are prepared to compromise. But we are not going to negotiate with ourselves.'" That would be because Sinema and Manchin are not negotiating in good faith.

"Nine months after the attack on the US Capitol, Republicans in Congress are defending Donald Trump's role on January 6 in some of their strongest terms yet -- and signaling he'd have widespread backing from the party if he ran for president again in 2024." Of course he'd have it. The only major difference between Trump and Republicans is Trump doesn't hide his intentions very well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Oct 12

"This year marks the first time a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day… President Biden issued a proclamation on Friday to observe this Oct. 11 as a day to honor Native Americans, their resilience and their contributions to American society throughout history, even as they faced assimilation, discrimination and genocide spanning generations. The move shifts focus from Columbus Day, the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, which shares the same date as Indigenous Peoples' Day this year."

"Demystifying the Winchester Mystery House… Under new management, the labyrinthine mansion is giving up more of its closely guarded secrets." The Atlas Obscura entry for the Winchester Mansion. (Grokked from Gwenda Bond)

"Transient luminous events are caused by upper-atmospheric lightning. This one happened in early September and Pesquet tweeted about it this week, calling it 'a very rare occurrence.'"

"On October 2, 2021, all actively operating spacecraft at Mars ceased major communication with Earth as the planet entered its solar conjunction — an event wherein Mars crosses behind the Sun, limiting communication with Earth… As this began, NASA’s Perseverance rover’s science team released a new paper detailing the water-filled past of Jezero Crater — the location Perseverance is currently investigating."

"The world’s biggest corporate law firms have been making millions of dollars representing fossil fuel companies but, as the climate crisis intensifies, this work is coming under increasing scrutiny… Over the last five years, the 100 top ranked law firms in the US facilitated $1.36tn of fossil fuel transactions, represented fossil fuel clients in 358 legal cases and received $35m in compensation for their work to assist fossil fuel industry lobbying, according to a 'climate scorecard' published in August."

Climate change is changing how we farm… "On a foggy September morning farmworkers harvest plump, dark purple grapes at Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma County. But winemaker John Hamel II recognizes these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are very different from others grown in Sonoma and Napa counties. The green vines are flourishing mostly without direct watering."

"(T)he spread of COVID-19 visualized." A tweeted video. (Grokked from George Takei)

"Can employers require employees to get vaccinated against coronavirus? The short answer is yes, and if you’re someone who refuses, you could be out of a job."

"Sydney's cafes, gyms and restaurants welcomed back fully vaccinated customers on Monday after nearly four months of lockdown, as Australia aims to begin living with the coronavirus and gradually reopen with high rates of inoculation."

"The Dayton Police Department says it's investigating an incident last month in which several officers pulled a paraplegic man from his car after he told officers he was unable to get out."

"A former nuclear engineer officer in the U.S. Navy and his wife have been arrested on espionage charges, after allegedly attempting to sell secrets about submarines to a foreign entity, according to court records unsealed Sunday… The Department of Justice says Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe, were arrested Saturday and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act. The department says Toebbe unwittingly communicated with FBI agents and passed along sensitive military secrets, in a scheme that stretched more than a year."

"All nine participants from Tuesday’s session gave Biden C- grades or lower. And their answers circled back to a similar point: The pandemic and the many ways it continues to hinder normal life is souring their views of Biden… One woman said she wanted to buy a car but supply chain issues were delaying new shipments to the dealership. A man complained about understaffed restaurants."

"North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson said Saturday that he 'will not back down' as politicians call for his resignation over recently resurfaced comments in which he referred to "transgenderism" and homosexuality as 'filth.'"

"Teachers are going to get a little extra lovin' this week with free breakfast "Thank You" meals from McDonald's as a token of appreciation… Any educator, including teachers, administrators, and school staff can go to McDonald's from October 11 to October 15 to receive their breakfast meal, McDonald's said in a news release Friday."

"The United Nations and Bangladesh's government have signed an agreement to work together to help Rohingya refugees on an island in the Bay of Bengal where thousands have been relocated from crammed camps near the Myanmar border." Only many of them don't want to go.

Hey look, they did learn American style democracy… "Iraq saw a record low election turnout since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, the independent body that oversees the election said Monday. The preliminary results signal widespread dissatisfaction and distrust in this weekend's vote for a new parliament."

"The former president liked what he saw, boasted about the size of the crowd and argued with aides who wanted him to tell his supporters to stop rioting, according to Karl's sources… Two hours after the riot started, Trump finally acquiesced to recording a video statement. In the message posted to Twitter, he asked his supporters to go home but also praised them. 'We love you. You are special,' Trump said in the video… An aide present for the recording said, 'Trump had to tape the message several times before they thought he got it right.'"

Monday, October 11, 2021

Busy Monday

Sorry, no linkee-poo today. Busy Steve is busy.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Linkee-poo Sunday Oct 10

"A Southern California underwater oil pipeline was likely struck by an anchor several months to a year before a leak spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday… A large vessel of some kind may have struck the massive pipeline, shattering the concrete casing but not necessarily causing the slender crack from which oil spewed last weekend, said Capt. Jason Neubauer, chief of the Coast Guard's office of investigation and analysis."

"President Biden today restored the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah that were dramatically reduced under former President Trump. He also reimposed fishing restrictions at a third monument off the coast of New England."

"Billings Clinic isn’t alone in its struggles. For the last three weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Montana have bounced around from the low to mid-400s, getting closer to last fall’s peak. But patients are sicker this time around because of the delta variant, and the Montana Hospital Association says COVID patients are taking up over half of the state’s ICU capacity."

"The big picture for Covid-19 in the US is looking a little brighter as new infections and hospitalizations are down. But several regions are still struggling with a high number of cases and strained health care resources… One doctor in Michigan said he'd seen headlines about Covid-19 progress but struggled to feel relief because his hospital remains overwhelmed with patients."

"So when the family from Rostov-on-Don wanted to visit the West, they looked for a vaccine that would allow them to travel freely — a quest that brought them to Serbia, where hundreds of Russian citizens have flocked in recent weeks to receive Western-approved COVID-19 shots."

"A 37-year-old man working as a security guard in an Apple store in New York City was stabbed multiple times following a dispute over wearing a mask inside the store to comply with Covid-19 safety policies."

"The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a lower federal court ruling that temporarily blocked Texas from enforcing its ban on abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy… The Department of Justice now has until Oct. 12 to reply to the ruling, and the ban remains in effect until then."

"Google recently bet $2 billion that its New York workforce will return to the office. But to encourage its employees to actually make use of its massive real estate investments, some say the tech behemoth is using sticks, not carrots: Google employees who move to less expensive parts of the country could see their pay cut. In June, the company launched a tool for employees that showed how much less they’d be paid — anywhere from 5 to 25 percent, according to Reuters — if they move from somewhere like the Bay Area or New York City to a lower-cost location." So much for the argument of paying people for their skills and their work.

"But economists at the department also say that attempts to portray the need to tackle the debt ceiling as an effort to pay for Democrats’ budget resolutions that are yet to pass Congress amount to disinformation, according to sources familiar with the mechanism… The criticism comes primarily because the overriding reason for raising the debt ceiling stems from the fact that the US needs to borrow new money to pay the principal and interest on about $8tn of debt incurred over the course of the Trump administration."

"After Russia rode to Europe’s rescue and offered to increase gas supplies to the region amid soaring prices, experts said one thing had become abundantly clear: Europe is now largely at Russia’s mercy when it comes to energy, just as the U.S. had warned… Natural gas contracts hit new highs in Europe this week — and regional benchmark prices are up almost 500% so far this year — with heightened demand and a squeeze in supply putting pressure on the energy sector as the weather turns colder."

"Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge… Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge." (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"A passenger who triggered a plane's emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport will not face charges as authorities characterized the incident as a 'misunderstanding.'… Officials say the incident happened on American Eagle Flight 4817 operated by Republic Airways. The plane landed safely just after 3 p.m."

"Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights, 27% of its schedule, on Sunday as disruptions that the airline blamed on air traffic control issues and bad weather affected the travel plans of thousands of customers… 'We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports [Friday] evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations,' Alan Kasher, who oversees daily flight operations, told staff in a note on Saturday."

"Senior Taliban officials and U.S. representatives are to hold talks Saturday and Sunday about containing extremist groups in Afghanistan and easing the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country, officials from both sides said."

"The Taliban on Saturday ruled out cooperation with the United States to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan, staking out an uncompromising position on a key issue ahead of the first direct talks between the former foes since America withdrew from the country in August."

"Former President Trump's White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, says he will not comply with a House committee's demand for records and testimony related to the January 6 Capitol riots… The January 6 select committee issued subpoenas in late September to four of Mr. Trump's former aides and close allies, including Bannon. The witnesses were given a Thursday deadline to reply to the request for documents, while depositions are scheduled next week." Well, he's been in jail before, maybe he misses it.

"Former Trump aide Dan Scavino has been served a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, bringing an end to the panel's struggle to physically locate him… A process server brought the subpoena to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Friday, the source said. While Scavino was home in New York at the time, he asked a staff member to accept the subpoena on his behalf."

"The White House is authorizing the National Archives to share a set of documents with the Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday… Former President Donald Trump has said he plans to fight subpoenas from the panel for four former officials in his administration by using executive privilege, which is a right traditionally asserted by a White House to keep deliberations confidential."

"A former high-ranking Capitol Police official with knowledge of the department’s response to the Jan. 6 attack has sent congressional leaders a scathing letter accusing two of its senior leaders of mishandling intelligence and failing to respond properly during the riot." This could be an attempt at disinformation to discredit leadership and weaken the Capitol Police, but it does deserve investigation.

It's the DailyBeast so adjust your expectations accordingly… "But on Tuesday, Flynn appeared on a little-known YouTube channel called Truth Unveiled TV for a very different reason: rebutting the idea that he led a church congregation in a Satanic ritual borrowed from a nuclear doomsday cult… In a video entitled 'Some Have Said That General Flynn Prayed to Satan in a Recent Prayer,' host Paul Oebel gave Flynn a chance to rebut the growing right-wing controversy alleging he’s signed on with Lucifer." What I think is hilarious is that they're focusing on the "sevenfold rays" and "legions", which, yes, are references that are associated with Lucifer, but completely pass over the "freeborn" and "not being enslaved to any foe" which is directly from apocrypha discussing "the Fall." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"But what's happening Saturday night is unprecedented: Former President Donald Trump, who is teasing another run, is holding a large rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines… The latest Iowa Poll, published this week in The Des Moines Register, says Trump is more popular in the state after leaving office. Pollster J. Ann Selzer says Trump remains very popular with Republicans and has made recent gains with independents."

"Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, sought to fight his way out of a corner on Friday by releasing an angry letter in which he blamed Democrats for the impasse over the debt ceiling he broke by ending a refusal to co-operate he had said was absolute… In the letter to Joe Biden, McConnell complained about a speech in which the Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, attacked Republicans for their behaviour." Poisoned the… what well? McConnell has not only drained that well, he's bricked it over and at the very last minute offered a glass of water to get a bare minimum level of cooperation to avoid a catastrophe of his own making.

"In recent months (dissension) has hobbled Democrats — who are the nominal majority in an almost perfectly divided House and Senate — in their efforts on everything from fiscal policy and immigration to climate change and voting rights. President Biden and the progressives who now dominate his party in Congress are struggling to win over or compromise with the last few centrist-moderate colleagues in their ranks. If they fail, they cannot govern… So their internal battle is unquestionably news… But it is not, in any sense, new."

Friday, October 8, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday Oct 8

"The rock samples brought back from the Moon in December by China's Chang'e-5 mission were really young… It's all relative, of course, but the analysis shows the basalt material - the solidified remnants of a lava flow - to be just two billion years old… Compare this with the samples returned by the Apollo astronaut missions. They were all over three billion years of age."

"The 'diet' in diet drinks may be a false promise for some soda lovers. True, they deliver the fizz and taste of a soda experience, without the calories. Yet, new research shows they also can leave people with increased food cravings… A study published recently in JAMA Network Open adds to the evidence that drinks made with sucralose may stimulate the appetite, at least among some people, and gives some clues as to why."

"(Dr.) Recinos has treated people who, two weeks into hospital stays for Covid-related breathing struggles, still do not believe they have the coronavirus. She has had patients who have questioned her judgment, patients who have demanded to be given the same medications that former President Donald Trump received when he had Covid and family members of patients who have screamed at her for something as simple as giving their loved ones oxygen, a necessary treatment that they argue is doing more harm than good."

"Finland has joined other Nordic countries in suspending or discouraging the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in certain age groups because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a rare side effect associated with the shot." They don't give an actual statistic of occurrence, just that the risk is "very small." It's like these people have never met the public before.

"In the US, however, public health officials are unequivocal in their approach: people are categorized as either vaccinated or unvaccinated, regardless of prior infection. It's an approach with many strengths, including robust scientific data supporting vaccination for people who have recovered. That data—which we'll get into below—has consistently shown that immune responses from natural infections are extremely variable, thus unreliable. Vaccines, on the other hand, have repeatedly been proven to generate highly protective immune responses."

"A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has become the most public example of an argument roiling the country's more than 250 organ transplant centers… Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the widely available Covid vaccines from receiving transplants or to give them lower priority on crowded organ waitlists. Other programs, however, say they plan no such restrictions — for now." Right-wing whackaloon freakout in 3… 2… 1…

"The Florida Board of Education on Thursday voted to sanction eight school districts that have instituted Covid-19 mask mandates without giving parents the ability to opt their students out… In doing so, the state board said that school districts in Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach counties were not in compliance and directly violating a Florida Department of Health emergency rule."

"U.S. employers added just 194,000 jobs in September, a second straight tepid gain and evidence that the pandemic still has a grip on the economy with many companies struggling to fill millions of open jobs." I'm old enough to remember when they would say "strong growth" with the same numbers when it was a Republican in the White House.

"A few months ago, forecasters thought September would be a banner month for hiring… Schools would re-open, freeing parents to go back to work. Supplemental unemployment benefits that some employers blamed for keeping workers on the sidelines would expire. Most importantly, widespread vaccinations would put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror… It hasn't exactly worked out that way." Funny old world, ain't it.

"Poland’s highest court has ruled that some EU laws conflict with the country’s own constitution — a move that has raised concerns about Poland’s commitment to the Union… The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, and the conservative government in Poland have clashed for several years over the rule of law. Brussels has accused Warsaw of undermining the independence of the judicial system and has so far held back on deciding whether to disburse post-pandemic recovery funds worth about 30 billion euros ($34 billion)."

"The electric carmaker Tesla is moving its headquarters to Austin, CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday at a factory under construction in Southeastern Travis County… 'Our factory is like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown, and we're going to create an ecological paradise here because we're out on the Colorado River,' Musk said at an annual shareholder event. 'It's going to be great.'"

"Most also think social media companies, and the people that use them, bear a good deal of blame for (misinformation). But few are very concerned that they themselves might be responsible, according to a new poll from The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research." Can confirm from real life. When I find I've passed on false information here, I try very hard to correct the record and am very open about being wrong (and then I begin to be suspect of the sources I use).

"Maybe you've noticed the birthday card that arrived belatedly or the check in the mail that didn't pay your credit card quite on time. It's not your imagination. The mail has definitely gotten less speedy… The U.S. Postal Service began slowing deliveries of first-class mail nationwide on Oct. 1." Fire DeJoy.

"The sheriff of California's Riverside County, outside Los Angeles, has acknowledged that he once briefly belonged to the extremist Oath Keepers militia in 2014 after emails from the group were leaked online." He says he barely remembers joining, defends them as just "simply pro-Constitution and pro-freedom", but then he goes on to defend the organization, blame antifa and BLM, and minimize the Jan 6th insurrection.

"Senior members of the Biden administration will meet with their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City on Friday to discuss overhauling an existing security arrangement between the two nations."

"As President Joe Biden puts his party on notice that the $3.5 trillion price tag on his social safety net agenda will get cut in order to secure a deal, congressional Democrats are confronting fresh divisions over how to scale back… In recent days, some Democrats have begun pushing to narrow the scope of the package to a few programs and to make them permanent so a future Republican-led Congress or White House cannot let them lapse."

"The Senate has passed a bill to increase the federal debt ceiling, after weeks of tense cross-aisle negotiations regarding the looming threat of the country defaulting on its debt… The legislation was approved Thursday night along party lines, with a simple majority. An earlier procedural vote required Republicans to get to 60 votes. It got 61. House approval is still needed."

Fibs, lies, and accounting… "Former President Donald Trump racked up more than $70 million in losses over a four-year period from his Washington, DC, hotel, while publicly claiming that the hotel was making more than tens of millions of dollars, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee." All the better to not pay taxes with, my dear.

"The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has issued a new wave of subpoenas on Thursday for a right-wing group, Stop the Steal, and several of its members, including far-right activist Ali Alexander."

"Among the options the panel is weighing to compel cooperation is the threat of holding them in criminal contempt. Former Trump aide Dan Scavino could be the first to test that threat, with the select committee so far unable to physically serve him a subpoena, according to multiple sources familiar with the effort."

"As Senate Judiciary Committee aides investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election questioned top Trump-era Justice Department officials, a DOJ attorney present for the interviews intervened repeatedly to say such questions were outside the scope of the panel’s inquiry… The official, DOJ attorney Bradley Weinsheimer — a career official who has worked under attorneys general of both parties — cited guidance he issued in July that paved the way for congressional testimony but limited the topics former DOJ officials were permitted to discuss. But his assertions drew repeated, and sometimes pointed, challenges from Judiciary Committee aides in both parties, the transcripts show."

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday Oct 7

"Work at all of the Kellogg Company's U.S. cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday as roughly 1,400 workers went on strike, but it wasn't immediately clear how much the supply of Frosted Flakes or any of the company's other iconic brands would be disrupted."

"Zanzibar-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won this year's Nobel Prize in literature."

"Viking historian Nancy Marie Brown’s new book, The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, explores what life might have been like for the warrior woman of Bj 581. Using more evidence from the recent tests conducted on the remains, Brown traces her journey from Norway to the British Isles to Kiev then, finally, to Birka… She also explores the Viking sagas and contemporary sources with a new lens." Of importance to the WIP, and also to point out the specific ways we create our history. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Something new has been added. "The new Arid meteor shower may be making itself known in early October 2021… It's not every day that we witness an outburst from a new meteor shower gracing the skies of the Earth. But that's just what may be in store this week for fortunate observers deep in the southern hemisphere, with the advent of the Arid meteors."

"Light Field Lab's SolidLight tech sounds like science fiction. They company is aiming to, basically, re-create objects in the real world with light, just like a sci-fi holodeck. The physics of how they're aiming to get this to work is actually rather simple. Well, simple in concept, definitely not simple in execution." While the story proudly proclaims "they're here", they aren't, while the video shows a demo.

Moisture farming… "The machine Ted Bowman helped design can make water out of the air, and in parched California, some homeowners are already buying the pricey devices." I wonder when they'll realize that this is an intensely selfish action?

"Water underground has become a scarce and regulated asset in the state. Farmers have pumped so much water from aquifers in this part of California that they've become depleted, threatening water supplies for agriculture and communities that depend on wells for their household water. A 7-year-old law, just now taking effect, strictly limits the amount that farmers can pump from those aquifers, and those limits could put some farmers out of business… Water-capturing basins like this one, however, offer farmers a way to survive. That's because the new law treats the underground aquifer like a bank account. If farmers deposit water into that account when water is plentiful, they can draw more water out when they need it, in years of drought. 'It really is the difference between our community surviving and not,' Fukuda says." The plan, of course, is not without its problems.

"The world's arsenal against malaria just got a fancy new bazooka. But it's not the easiest weapon to deploy, it only hits its target 30 to 40% of the time, and it's not yet clear who's going to pay for it… The weapon in question is the RTS,S vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, which on Wednesday got the green light from the World Health Organization for widespread use."

"In the quest to get more Americans vaccinated, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Vaccine mandates work."

"The number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests."

"Jannique Martinez's home sits in a tidy cul-de-sac in Virginia Beach, Va., where she lives with her husband and kids and hosts the occasional bake sale. There's just one problem, and it's a loud one: a man who lives next door blares monkey sounds, banjo music and racist slurs at Martinez and her family — a situation that went on for months."

"But a supply crunch that initially put a question mark over the availability of luxury cars or whether there would be enough PlayStations under our Christmas trees is instead morphing into a full-blown crisis featuring a shortage of energy, labour and transport from Liverpool to Los Angeles, and from Qingdao to Queensland… All the problems are in one way or another tangled up in the surge of post-pandemic consumer demand, but taken together they threaten what one leading economist calls a 'stagflationary wind' that could blow the global economy off course."

"A growing number of shipments are stuck at sea because of supply chain issues, leading to growing concern that holiday shipments may not arrive in time. Container ships are crowding ports from New York to Los Angeles, where 250,000 containers are floating off the coast waiting to be unloaded."

"U.S. Coast Guard investigators have boarded a massive cargo ship as they probe what caused the rupture of an offshore oil pipeline that sent crude washing up on Southern California beaches… The Coast Guard is investigating whether a ship anchor might have snagged and bent the pipeline owned by Amplify Energy, a Houston-based company that operates three offshore oil platforms south of Los Angeles. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Rotterdam Express appeared to make a series of unusual movements while anchored in the closest spot to where the break in the pipeline happened, according to data collected by a marine navigation service."

"A federal judge has blocked enforcement of Texas' controversial new abortion law, granting an emergency request from the Justice Department… The department sought the preliminary injunction just days after it sued Texas over its new abortion law. Known as SB 8, the law bans almost all abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape, sexual abuse and incest."

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday offered a short-term suspension of the U.S. debt ceiling to avert a national default and economic crisis until Democrats are able to pass a more permanent solution before the end of the year."

"Black residents in the rural south are nearly twice as likely as their white counterparts to lack home internet access, according to a new study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies… The study… examined 152 counties… where at least 35% of residents are Black. Researchers found that 38% of Black residents in those counties do not have access to internet in their homes, compared to 23% of white residents in the same regions… The study also found that nearly one in four Black residents in the rural south don't even have the option to subscribe to high speed broadband, compared to just 3.8% of Americans nationwide."

"A Cumberland man allegedly killed his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a pharmacist, administered COVID-19 vaccines, according to charging documents filed Wednesday in a Howard County court… Jeffrey Burnham told his mother he had to confront his older brother, Brian Robinette, because he was poisoning people by administering the COVID-19 vaccine, telling his mother, 'Brian knows something,' according to the new charging documents filed against Burnham." Where was he radicalized? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

More guns make us safer… "An 18-year-old student opened fire during a fight at his Dallas-area high school on Wednesday, injuring four people and then fleeing before being taken into custody hours later, authorities said."

"Federal agents raided the offices Tuesday of a New York City police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, and the Long Island home of its bombastic leader, who has clashed with city officials over his incendiary tweets and hard-line tactics."

Jim Wright with some musing on the FB Armageddon… "Facebook went down without warning yesterday… To be honest, I was busy and didn't really notice until I started getting messages from various friends and family asking what was going on. Yes, I'm that guy. I've got a couple of degrees in CompSci and nowadays I make a living via the internet, so I'm the one in my circle people call when they're having problems with The Google."

"The damning Reuters report, published Wednesday, shows that AT&T helped fund and create One America News ― a right-wing network famous for its fawning coverage of former President Donald Trump, and for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election that Trump lost." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin has again issued executive orders while Governor Brad Little is out of state. In May, she made a similar move and banned mask mandates while Little traveled to a different state… McGeachin issued an executive order effective Tuesday at 2 p.m., banning any state entity — including public schools and universities — from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine or test. She announced it on Twitter, writing she, 'fixed Gov. Little's Executive Order on "vaccine passports" to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing.'"

"Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at restoring the power of the Voting Rights Act, reinvigorating their push to protect voting rights against a slew of voting restrictions enacted in Republican-led states… Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced the bill Tuesday, saying that 'tens of thousands of Americans are being disenfranchised under the guise of state law.'"

"Legislation that would allow partisan actors to request an audit of elections in Texas counties passed out of the state Senate on Tuesday… The bill is not on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's agenda for the current special legislative session, meaning it's not eligible for final passage, but Abbott could add it to lawmakers' to-do list if he chooses."

"The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election."

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Oct 5

So, Facebook went through some things yesterday… "The outage, which prevented users from refreshing their feeds or sending messages, was caused by 'configuration changes on the backbone routers,' Janardhan said, without specifying exactly what the changes were."

"Each of these (Facebook) accounts followed a small number of high-quality or verified conservative-interest pages, such as Fox News, former President Donald Trump, and former first lady Melania Trump. The study found that 'within just one day, Page recommendations had already devolved toward polarizing content.'… Within two days, recommendations began to include conspiracy content. 'It took less than 1 week to get a QAnon recommendation,' the report found." You say that like it's a bug and not a feature.

"Captain James T. Kirk is blasting off into the final frontier. In the latest sign of the strange new world we inhabit, the actor William Shatner will join the crew of Blue Origin's New Shepard on a spaceflight that's slated to launch on Oct. 12."

"Authorities could determine as soon as Tuesday the cause of the pipeline breach that spilled up to 144,000 gallons of oil off the Southern California coast, fouling waters and beaches for miles." Attempting to change the subject.

"NASA has a launch date for that most Hollywood of missions, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is basically a dry run of the movie 'Armageddon.' Unlike the film, this will not involve nukes, oil rigs or Aerosmith, but instead is a practical test of our ability to change the trajectory of an asteroid in a significant and predictable way."

"The family of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells have been used for groundbreaking scientific research for decades, filed a lawsuit Monday against Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. for unjust enrichment from the nonconsensual use and profiting from her tissue sample and cell line."

No real COVID stories today. It's so odd I felt I needed to comment on it.

"An estimated 330,000 children were victims of sex abuse within France's Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to a report released Tuesday that represents the country's first major accounting of the worldwide phenomenon… The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and other people involved in the church — wrongdoing that Catholic authorities covered up over decades in a 'systemic manner,' according to the president of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauvé."

"A clear majority of Americans, including most Republicans, opposes key provisions of the controversial new Texas abortion law, the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds."

Also Texas. "Palmer is an OB-GYN in Fort Worth, Texas. She recently had to tell a woman that her fetus had a condition called anencephaly, 'where, essentially, the baby doesn't have a brain.' It's always fatal — often during the pregnancy or else soon after birth — and patients are typically given the option to terminate… Continuing a pregnancy after a diagnosis like anencephaly comes with additional health risks and, for some patients, additional emotional trauma, Palmer said."

"The Biden administration reversed a ban on abortion referrals by family planning clinics, lifting a Trump-era restriction as political and legal battles over abortion grow sharper from Texas to the U.S. Supreme Court."

"Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday directed federal authorities to hold strategy sessions in the next 30 days with law enforcement to address the increasing threats targeting school board members, teachers and other employees in the nation’s public schools."

Jim Wright on the Sen. Tammy Duckworth not paying property taxes in Illinois brouhaha.

"Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday pushed back on several politically sensitive positions his party leaders are taking at a crucial time for President Joe Biden's domestic agenda… The West Virginia Democrat, who holds a pivotal vote in the 50-50 Senate, indicated to CNN that he disagrees with the strategy top Democrats are pursuing in the standoff with Republicans over raising the national debt limit. Manchin said that Democrats 'shouldn't rule out anything,' including a budget process that Democratic leaders have made clear they will not employ." Schumer should look him right in the eye and say, "Yes, this is a very heavy stone to carry. It's lighter if we all carry it, but if not I'll use it to mark your political grave."

Monday, October 4, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday Oct 4

"Do readers automagically buy a book on the first reading of your best and most fabulous copy? Sometimes! In any case, writing good marketing copy helps your work find its people, and that is the name of the game… What does marketing copy include?"

"An enormous comet — possibly the largest one ever detected — is barreling toward the inner solar system with an estimated arrival time of 10 years from now, according to new research published on the preprint server arXiv.org."

"An oil pipeline off the coast of Southern California has spewed more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, coating local wildlife habitats, shutting down a swath of popular beaches and potentially harming human health… The leak appears to have stopped and oil removal efforts are underway, officials said Sunday."

"This will be the first time pharmacy companies, in this case CVS, Walgreens, Giant Eagle and Walmart, have gone to trial to defend themselves in the nation’s ongoing legal reckoning over the opioid crisis. The trial, which is expected to last around six weeks, could set the tone for similar lawsuits against retail pharmacy chains by government entities across the U.S."

"As the holidays creep closer, the Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance for those planning on celebrating in person… Their first tip is urging all to get vaccinated." Wear a mask.

"He was caring for double the usual number of critically ill patients, and navigating hospital halls that looked more like construction zones, with giant fans and plastic tubing blowing a deafening level of extra ventilation. He couldn't hear his patients, or see them through the giant wooden doors of the negative pressure chambers… Burnout is a common term many associate with sheer exhaustion. But the World Health Organization says it's also characterized by greater cynicism and reduced effectiveness at work. It was a huge problem in health care long before the pandemic. But now the short staffing and crushing and unpredictable workload is contributing to epidemic levels of burnout." Can confirm.

"The United States reached its latest heartbreaking pandemic milestone Friday, eclipsing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 just as the surge from the delta variant is starting to slow down and give overwhelmed hospitals some relief."

"Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday denied an emergency appeal from a group of teachers to block New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and other staff from going into effect… The teachers had filed for the injunction with Sotomayor on Thursday, in an effort to keep the mandate from going into effect Friday."

"More and more employers are ordering workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 without the option of getting tested instead. Now workers are pushing back… In Washington, D.C., more than 400 fire and emergency medical workers applied for religious exemptions to the city's vaccine mandate. In Los Angeles, roughly a quarter of the police department is expected to seek religious exemptions."

"The data backs up what a recent poll found: While full approval might matter to some unvaccinated Americans, it's likely not going to be the sole reason unvaccinated Americans will roll up their sleeves." As someone who has worked in marketing and advertising here's a little well known secret, people lie to pollsters. People don't want to get vaccinated because they're misinformed, or they're selfish. Everything else is window dressing and making excuses.

"The Broadway hit 'Aladdin' is trying to keep COVID-19 contained… Disney Theatrical Productions said it will cancel Friday's performance and all shows until Oct. 12 after 'additional breakthrough COVID-19 cases were detected.'"

"Deaths involving police have been greatly undercounted in the United States, and African American people die in such encounters at 3.5 times the rate of whites, according to a new analysis by public health researchers… In an article published Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that deaths from police violence between 1980 and 2018 were misclassified by 55.5% in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System, which tracks information from death certificates."

"Brexit was named as one of the key reasons for the shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, although problems in the industry go deeper and are found across Europe, industry experts noted. A survey of 616 industry figures in June by the Road Haulage Association in the U.K. found that retirement, changing working rules, the Covid pandemic, low pay and drivers leaving the industry were among the reasons for the lack of operators."

"'China made commitments intended to benefit certain American industries, including agriculture that we must enforce,' Tai is expected to say… CNBC reported last week that the top trade advisor would announce that Beijing has not complied with the phase one deal that was reached under former President Donald Trump’s administration."

"Frances Haugen was identified in a '60 Minutes' interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation."

"She secretly copied tens of thousands of pages of Facebook internal research. She says evidence shows that the company is lying to the public about making significant progress against hate, violence and misinformation. One study she found, from this year, says, 'we estimate that we may action as little as 3-5% of hate and about 6-tenths of 1% of V & I [violence and incitement] on Facebook despite being the best in the world at it.'"

"The exposé, dubbed the 'Pandora Papers,' shows how the world's wealthy hide their money and assets from authorities, their creditors and the public using a network of lawyers and financial institutions that promise secrecy."

The Guardian's report… "The Pandora papers reveal the inner workings of what is a shadow financial world, providing a rare window into the hidden operations of a global offshore economy that enables some of the world’s richest people to hide their wealth and in some cases pay little or no tax."

"But even as it digs into what exactly happened and at whose behest, the select committee is preparing to slam into a wall of resistance in a few days — an anticipated effort by Trump and his allies to defy the Jan. 6 probe… The former president has a fast-approaching deadline to attempt to block the National Archives from releasing records from his White House that could shed light on his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. And some of Trump’s closest aides have until Thursday to comply with a committee subpoena for their own records."

"As Donald Trump rose to power, the Claremont universe—which sponsors fellowships and publications, including the Claremont Review of Books and The American Mind—rose with him, publishing essays that seemed to capture why the president appealed to so many Americans and attempting to map a political philosophy onto his presidency. Williams and his cohort are on a mission to tear down and remake the right; they believe that America has been riven into two fundamentally different countries, not least because of the rise of secularism. 'The Founders were pretty unanimous, with Washington leading the way, that the Constitution is really only fit for a Christian people,' Williams told me. It’s possible that violence lies ahead. 'I worry about such a conflict,' Williams told me. 'The Civil War was terrible. It should be the thing we try to avoid almost at all costs.'"

An On the Media podcast which discusses the influence of the Claremont Institute (the episode is titled "From Birtherism to Election Theft")… "It also offers a new opportunity to examine the activities of John Eastman, who entered the spotlight in 2020 when he published an op-ed in Newsweek making the false claim that Kamala Harris was ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Back then, Brooke spoke with Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who described the origins of this birtherism falsehood and how Eastman and his organization, the Claremont Institute, used the media to spread it."

"Democratic hopes for passing big legislation through the Senate rely on Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Both have made things difficult for Senate Democrats because they are moderates who have been hesitant to pass big spending packages… But while Democrats are lucky to have a Democrat of any ideological persuasion representing West Virginia, they may not be getting the best bang for their buck from Sinema." They're not moderates, they've been bought by big industry that worked hard to peel off the vulnerable, the ones with conflicts of interest, and the easily persuadable.

"A video of Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) being confronted by a youth activist who followed her into the bathroom has been viewed 4 million times on social media… Shared on the Twitter account for community activist group Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), the clip showed youth activists following Sinema around Arizona State University on Sunday."

Friday, October 1, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday Oct 1

Sorry, this has been a rough week.

"Disney World, the largest theme park in the world, welcomed its first guests on Oct. 1, 1971. Over the next five decades the park — which covers more than 40 square miles in central Florida — grew into an entertainment complex that includes four theme parks, two waterparks, golf courses, a shopping destination and 27 resort hotels." Disney World was always a mythical place for someone of my generation, and it took until I was over 50 to finally be able to go see it.

"Experts with the university who analyzed the (Vinland Map) for authenticity found throughout it the presence of a 'titanium compound' that was not used in ink until the 1920s, according to Yale News. Researchers also pointed to an inscription in Latin on the back of the map as evidence that someone intentionally tried to make the map look as genuine as possible."

"Warming oceans cause fewer bright clouds to reflect sunlight into space, admitting even more energy into earth’s climate system… Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study… Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine — the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon — as well as satellite measurements to find that there has been a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance, or albedo, over the past two decades." We're boned.

"Researchers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have dispatched a surface drone inside Hurricane Sam as it barrels toward the Caribbean, giving scientists a new perspective of what it's like inside such a storm… The video and images shared were the first of their kind gathered by an "uncrewed surface vehicle" from inside a major hurricane as it moved across the Atlantic Ocean."

"A teenager running a two-mile race suffered a broken collarbone after being knocked over by a deer."

"Nurses and other staff at a hospital in Missouri have experienced such a surge in assaults from patients that they will have a panic button system installed on their badges allowing them to alert hospital security more easily if they are in danger."

"Domestic flyers within the United States may soon need to prove they're likely COVID-free if a proposed bill Wednesday becomes law… The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act, introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would require all U.S. passengers to be fully vaccinated, fully recovered or test negative for the coronavirus before boarding a domestic flight." Cue right-wing freak out in 3… 2… 1…

"Drugmaker Merck said Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus, potentially a leap forward in the global fight against the pandemic."

Why we can't have nice things… "Hours after the Supreme Court in 2012 narrowly upheld the Affordable Care Act but rejected making Medicaid expansion mandatory for states, Obama administration officials laughed when asked whether that would pose a problem… In a White House briefing, top advisers to President Barack Obama told reporters states would be foolish to turn away billions in federal funding to help residents gain the security of health insurance."

"After eight years of planning and billions of dollars in spending, the Middle East’s first world’s fair opened Friday in Dubai, with hopes that the months-long extravaganza will draw both visitors and global attention to this desert-turned-dreamscape."

"The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are joining forces to build a new network for charging electric vehicles. The bipartisan plan aims to improve the region's economy while also reducing toxic emissions from cars and trucks… The new plan is called REV Midwest — the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition. In addition to creating jobs and improving public health, its backers say it will help the Midwest compete for both private investment and federal funding."

"The U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday that prices rose 4.3% in August from a year earlier. While only lightly higher than the previous month, it was still the largest annual increase since 1990. Energy costs have jumped nearly 25% in the past year, while supply backlogs have pushed up prices for cars, furniture, and appliances."

FOMO in business… "But Wall Street holds fast to tradition. It's an intensely competitive industry where advising on a single deal, or helping to take a company public, can bring in tens of millions of dollars in fees. And nobody wants to lose out to a competitor who proved their mettle by making the trek when others phoned it in." All macho, empty hat.

"The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Friday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 61.1 percent in September, 1.2 percentage points above the August level of 59.9 percent."

Frontline's documentary, The Power of the Fed… "When COVID struck, the Federal Reserve stepped in to try to avert economic crisis. As the country’s central bank continues to pump billions of dollars into the financial system daily, who is benefitting and at what cost?"

"Scarlett Johansson and the Walt Disney Co. on Thursday settled her lawsuit over the streaming release of "Black Widow," bringing a swift end to what had begun as the first major fight between a studio and star over recent changes in rollout plans for films."

"While federal whistleblower protections can provide a shield when a current or former employee cooperates with regulators or lawmakers to expose wrongdoing or a cover up, obtaining confidential corporate records and sharing them with the press is legally precarious, potentially opening the individual up to legal action from Facebook, according to three whistleblower lawyers who spoke to NPR."

"Toy-makers are warning of emptier shelves and pricier toys this holiday season. Their supplies are ensnarled in an unprecedented shipping crisis — floating traffic jams of container ships wallowing near key U.S. ports." The Year Without a Santa Claus. OMG, it'll be the Furby Craze all over again.

"Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who hosts the right-wing commentary website Infowars, was found legally responsible in two lawsuits for damages caused by his claims surrounding the 2012 Sandy Hook school mass shooting, according to court documents released Thursday… Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued default judgments on Monday against Jones and his outlet for not complying with court orders to provide information for the lawsuits brought against him by the parents of two children killed in the shooting."

"Federal prosecutors in Maryland are recommending 25-year prison sentences for two neo-Nazi group members, calling them domestic terrorists who prepared for a civil war, discussed how to break racist mass killer Dylann Roof out of death row and talked about assassinating a Virginia lawmaker."

"London's Metropolitan Police has issued advice to women approached by lone police officers in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder, including telling them to run 'into a house,' 'wave down a bus' or call the police on 999 if they do not believe the officer is 'who they say they are' after questioning them." Okay, first of all, her attacker was an actual police officer. Two, aren't you telling us we should obey police officers or risk being injured? And three, how about you fucking clean house first. Seriously, this is victim blaming of the worst sort.

"Belarus' most prominent human rights group said Friday that some 100 people have been detained in the wake of a shootout that left an opposition supporter and a security officer dead."

"The Biden administration has unveiled new guidelines for federal immigration enforcement that prioritize the most urgent threats to public safety, while still leaving discretion in the hands of individual officers and agents."

"A group representing school board members around the country asked President Joe Biden on Thursday for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over policies including mask mandates, likening the vitriol to a form of domestic terrorism." Whackaloon quotient goes up.

"Embattled student loan servicer Navient announced this week that it is getting out of the federal student loan business, pending government approval… If it gets the authorization, about 6 million loan borrowers will be sending their monthly payments to a new servicer. Navient plans to transfer those loans to Maximus, a company that already contracts with the Department of Education to service student loans in default."

Also… "Next week, according to a source familiar with the plans but who is not authorized to discuss them publicly, the U.S. Department of Education will unveil a significant overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which has been a magnet of confusion, mistakes and mismanagement since its inception in 2007."

"In most regards, Moscow, Idaho, is the embodiment of the bucolic college town: tree-covered neighborhoods, quiet streets, quaint shops downtown, and a pretty University of Idaho college campus. But for people who live there, the insidious presence of Pastor Doug Wilson’s cult-like Christ Church—not at all obvious on the surface, but cumulatively overwhelming at times—can make life on the Palouse surreal, even nightmarish… Moreover, as a deep profile by Sarah Stankorb at Vice reveals, Wilson’s domineering evangelical church—which buys up property and businesses throughout the Latah County community and bullies both members and non-members who question either his edicts or his far-right theology—is built on a fundamentally misogynist worldview that permits male members to rape their wives, and threatens any women who object." Wackaloon quotient goes up. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"When embedded in military guns, RFID tags can trim hours off time-intensive tasks, such as weapon counts and distribution. Outside the armory, however, the same silent, invisible signals that help automate inventory checks could become an unwanted tracking beacon." Contrary thought, I could flood the field with RFI tags or use them to psych an opponent out ("It's a brigade" when it's just a guy in a jeep).

"President Biden has signed a short-term funding bill, avoiding a partial government shutdown that would have begun at midnight… The Senate and House sprinted Thursday afternoon to pass the legislation, which will keep the government funded through Dec. 3." And in early December they will punt again to Christmas.

"Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito launched a litany of acerbic barbs at critics of the Supreme Court's so-called shadow docket on Thursday… Noting that the term was coined in a 2015 law review article, Alito said that the term has been adopted by 'journalists and some political figures' in order to convey the idea that 'something sneaky and dangerous' is going on at the high court when it rules on emergency appeals seeking the court's intervention." The conservative justices on SCOTUS are upset about being called out.

"Rarely have so many justices uttered such provocative, off-the-bench comments at the same time. Some are at cross purposes, but they all highlight the potential for declining confidence in America's highest court. Public opinion polls and new congressional scrutiny reinforce a possible new threat to the court's reputation and legitimacy."