It's four o'clock in the morning
Damn it listen to me good
I'm sleeping with myself tonight
Saved in time, thank God my music's still alive

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesday

"And from the discovery of a curious spiky growth on the back of many people’s skulls to the realisation that our jaws are getting smaller, to the enigmatic finding that German youths currently have narrower elbows than ever before, it’s clear that modern life is having an impact on our bones." Bones are living parts of us and they respond to different stresses.

"The planet Mars does not bruise easily, but when it does, the result is practically a work of art. A fresh impact crater, spotted in April by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), is unlike anything astronomers have seen before… The dramatic, enhanced-colour scene… was captured using NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, orbiting 255 kilometres away (158 miles)."

"Climate change may lead to unlikely illnesses in unexpected places, new research suggests: In the past two years, five cases of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacterial infection spread by handling or eating contaminated seafood, have been tied to Delaware Bay, where water temperatures have been on the rise in recent years, according to a study." We're boned.

"Facebook has unveiled an ambitious plan for its own digital currency similar to bitcoin, called Libra." Actually this isn't like bitcoin at all. This is a token currency, like buying tokens in a video arcade (if you're old enough to remember), but is technically (as I understand these things) a script. Facebook will peg the Libra to other stable currencies, which won't work (as those currencies vary in relationship to each other). While I think it may solve some issues in the modern world (lack of banking access, conversion fees, money transferring fees, etc), this is ripe for fraud and speculation and could spark rampant inflation. I think it also fundamentally misunderstands currencies, which are based on scarcity. They try to fix that by saying they would hold in reserve enough other currencies to cover the face value (or relative value) of Libra. And then there's the not so well acknowledge fact that block-chain ain't all it's hyped up to be.

"A Pakistani politician's live-streamed press conference descended into farce when a cat filter was switched on by mistake." Oopsie. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Dallas police on Monday shot and killed a masked gunman carrying a military-style rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition. Authorities later identified the man as 22-year-old Army veteran Brian Issack Clyde of Fort Worth."

Our neighbors to the North, "Four people were shot and wounded at a rally Monday for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, and three people were arrested, police said."

"A lot of us don't pay much attention to money in politics. But Mitch McConnell does. And unlike most politicians, he speaks bluntly in favor of more political spending, not less. That stance led to a long battle with one Senator, who fought McConnell harder than just about anyone else." The Embedded podcast series focusing on Mitch McConnell. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"McConnell told Fox News that he didn't know why Stewart was 'all bent out of shape' when it comes to the reauthorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, and said it would be fully funded." Narrator's voice, "But it wasn't." "The current law was renewed in 2015 and is set to expire in 2020, but the fund's administrator announced in February that there was insufficient funding to pay all claims." Mitch brings a knife to a nuclear war.

"President Trump tweeted out Monday night that his administration plans on a sweeping immigration enforcement crackdown on individuals who have already arrived in the country that could see U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stage coordinated raids in multiple cities. 'Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,' Trump wrote. 'They will be removed as fast as they come in.'" Wasn't he already doing that? Ah, oh, this is the mass arrest strategy of Gollum stand-in Stephen Miller. The one that got "then-acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen" fired for bringing in reality.

"Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman who is serving a federal prison sentence, had been expected to be transferred to the notorious Rikers Island jail complex this month… But last week, Manhattan prosecutors were surprised to receive a letter from the second-highest law enforcement official in the country inquiring about Mr. Manafort’s case. The letter, from Jeffrey A. Rosen, Attorney General William P. Barr’s new top deputy, indicated that he was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York… And then, on Monday, federal prison officials weighed in, telling the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Mr. Manafort, 70, would not be going to Rikers." Not exactly a pardon, but the administration is still influencing the incarceration and continued prosecution in this case. Also, the president can't pardon Manafort from any convictions he may face in NY State Court.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Linkee-poo, you can't plant me in your penthouse, I'm going back to my plough

"Shots were fired Monday morning at the Earle Cabell federal courthouse in downtown Dallas just before 8:50 a.m. Monday morning, officials said. Law enforcement returned fire and the shooter was hit by gunfire." Aw man, and we were this close to being able to talk about gun violence.

Apollo 11 in real time. (Grokked from Dan)

"Most people think of water as existing in only one of three phases: Solid ice, liquid water, or gas vapor. But matter can exist in many different phases—ice, for example, has more than ten known phases, or ways that its atoms can be spatially arranged." Wait, back up the truck.

"The federal government kills thousands of coyotes every year to keep them from preying on livestock and big game. But some wildlife biologists say killing coyotes isn't actually the best way to control them… In fact, some studies show that if you kill off a lot of coyotes, they breed even more." It worked with wolves, didn't it? Whispers, coyotes are more of a problem because we slaughtered so many wolves. It gave the coyotes an opening they exploited. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) is currently scheduled to launch on June 24 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket as part of a technology-testing mission dubbed STP-2. GPIM, a small, box-shaped spacecraft powered by green technology, will test out a low-toxicity propellant in space for the first time, according to NASA. The clean propellant, a hydroxyl ammonium nitrate fuel/oxidizer mix called AF-M315E, will serve as an alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic compound used in rocket fuel to power satellites and spacecraft."

"Have you seen video of that theme park ride that’s been going viral? Not to pop anyone’s balloon, but the video is totally fake. It’s a great computer-generated animation." Who knew the first major "deepfake" (this really isn't one, but just go with me here) of 2019 would be about an amusement park ride. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"… Genius alleges that Google has been copying its lyrics for years and posting them directly on Google Search, thus preventing visitors from going to its own site. And Genius says it hid a Morse code message within the lyrics to prove Google was doing it." Use of correct apostrophes and foot marks is one of my pet peeves (and one of the things I hate about the internet, I don't use them properly here because I've seen blogger throw errors with their encoding from ASCII).

Ah, our post-racial society. "An African-American Boeing employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the aviation company alleging racial discrimination after he said his coworkers hung a noose over his desk… Curtis Anthony alleges in the lawsuit that his colleagues at the North Charleston, South Carolina, Boeing plant also used the n-word and urinated on his desk. He is suing over discrimination on the basis of race, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Family Medical Leave Act and breach of contract."

From 2012, but still true. "Want A Better Economy? History Says Vote Democrat!" The article rambles a bit as the author tries to reconcile a lifetime of conservative "free market" indoctrination with reality. Long time readers may remember when I looked at just stock market performance since Truman to settle the question around the statement "business is better with Republicans in charge." No. It's not. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"A former Southern Baptist pastor who supported legislation in Texas that would have criminalized abortions has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse, accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage relative over the course of two years."

"Attorneys for local governments across the country unveiled a plan Friday that they say would move the nation closer to a global settlement of lawsuits stemming from the deadly opioid crisis."

How goes Brexit? "Boris Johnson got a boost in his campaign to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday when one of his former rivals and EU supporter Matt Hancock backed him saying he was almost certain to win the contest."

"A Republican lawmaker recently elected to the California state Senate sparked criticism this week for only appearing to invite Christians to a town hall, Action News Now reported Friday." Because that's totally acceptable for some reason. The organizers say "everyone was invited" in the same way churches will tell you everyone is invited to services. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"The U.S. military released a video Friday it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, suggesting Tehran wanted to hide evidence of its alleged involvement." Or, you know, they wanted to trace the mine back to the owners themselves.

"Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, the spokesman for the country’s atomic agency said Monday while also warning that Iran could enrich uranium up to 20% — just a step away from weapons-grade levels." Good thing we backed out of that agreement, then.

"Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a new settlement in the Golan Heights named after his 'great friend' Donald Trump." He's such a suck-up. And while it's just a sign at this point, the optics of the development on land considered to have been annexed illegally and which will probably be overpriced and inhabited by people who are hated by their neighbors has just the right ring to it.

"President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is cutting ties with some of its own pollsters after leaked internal polling showed the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states, according to a person close to the campaign." So it's fake news, and "ancient" news, but we're going to fire those people who leaked it anyway. IMHO, this was a planned leak meant to tip the scales toward Biden (who has many faults which could be exploited).

Poor little rich boy. "In total, Trump faces at least 15 criminal or civil inquiries by nine federal, state and city agencies into his business, his charity, his campaign, his inaugural committee and his personal finances… As he launches his campaign for a second term on Tuesday, Trump doesn’t plan to avoid talking about the investigations. Unlike most other candidates who face allegations of wrongdoing, he hopes to use them as part of a strategy that he hopes will help win him re-election."

"Trump also claimed over the weekend that he’s presided over one of the best U.S. economies ever. He’s wrong about that, too." Fact checking the president. You know, in 2021 there are going to be a lot of fact checkers out of work. Trump's job program for fact checkers will no longer be necessary.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Linkee-poo on a Friday

"A former US slave who became the first African-American to become a Catholic priest, is now one step closer toward sainthood."

"In 2017, the GAO found that the median price charged nationally by air ambulance providers was around $36,400 for helicopter rides and even higher for other aircraft. The total generally includes the costs for both the transportation and the medical care aboard the aircraft." Any medical transport is expensive, but air-transport is much higher because of both the lack of regulatory oversight and the requirements of the people on the aircraft. First is training of the pilots which is higher than an ambulance, also instead of EMTs you have a "flight nurse" (which is a highly sought after position, and it has huge hurdles to get in) and often there is a "flight doctor" as well. And it's another argument for single payer.

"E-cigarette leader Juul said new research in a small study shows emissions from vaping devices are significantly less toxic than secondhand smoke from cigarettes." Well, it depends on what you're studying and how you set up the study. "The authors of the study noted that various background chemicals in the surrounding environment could have factored into the results."

"The FDA noted that the donor stool had not been tested for the drug-resistant bacteria, called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli, prior to the transplantation. After the illnesses and death occurred, however, a stored preparation of the donor stool was tested, and found to be positive for the identical strain of bacteria found in the two patients." You know, you'd think you'd what to know what was in the material you were transplanting.

"Three years after lead was detected in the drinking water of Flint, Mich., state prosecutors say they are dropping all criminal charges filed against a group of eight government officials implicated in the scandal, in favor of launching a new expanded investigation."

In our names. "Rosendorf described it as 'a human dog pound'—one hundred to 150 men behind a chain-link fence, huddled beneath makeshift shelters made from mylar blankets and whatever other scraps they could find to shield themselves from the heat of the sun. 'I was able to speak with detainees and take photos of them with their permission,' Rosendorf said in an email. 'They told me they’ve been incarcerated outside for a month, that they haven’t washed or been able to change the clothes they were detained in the entire time, and that they’re being poorly fed and treated in general.'" (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

For when conservatives clutch their pearls and claim they never heard about foreign intelligence assets trying to affect our elections. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likes to boast that he's the 'grim reaper,' bedeviling a chamber where progressive legislation from House Democrats comes to die. Funny guy. But the joke sours fast when the languishing proposals include sensible, bipartisan measures to protect America's elections from another 'concerted attack,' like the one special counsel Robert Mueller found was launched by Russia in 2016." Mitch was also the asshole who would not approve the Obama Administration going public with what they knew in 2016. Mitch has aligned himself with the enemies of the republic because he thinks they'll help the conservative cause. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A federal agency is recommending that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal service, saying she violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions." To be fair so has the president, his daughter, his son-in-law, Sarah Sanders…

"Turkey will 'take reciprocal steps' if the United States imposes sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 defenses, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday, marking the latest step toward a standoff between the NATO allies."

"How the Oman tanker attack played out."

"Who benefits from these attacks?… And that's the question you don't see asked." Goddmanit, Jim. Stop being so logical. Actually I have 3 ideas of who benefits, and none of them are Iran. My guess is that the attack on ships carrying cargo for Japan, whose PM is currently visiting Iran, was an oversight. The ships were just available, in the right place at the wrong time. Iran, however, wouldn't have made such a mistake. One thing Jim doesn't point out in his article is that Japan is a large consumer of Iranian oil. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

"The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, said Friday that sailors on board saw 'flying objects' just before it was hit, suggesting the vessel wasn't damaged by mines… That account contradicts what the U.S. military said as it released a video Friday it said shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the two ships that were hit." Eye witness reports are often inaccurate, but that does ad another wrinkle to the proposed story line. And then there is this part, "The tanker survived the first attack, which hit near the engine room and was followed by another, damaging the starboard side toward the back." Now a "flying object" doesn't negate that Iran could have done it, but it does go against the narrative our government is pushing. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"U.S. actions pose a serious threat to stability in the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the leaders of a China-led security bloc including Russia and India on Friday."

It happens all the time, this crazy love of mine. "President Donald Trump and his senior advisers moved quickly on Thursday to downplay and muddle his explosive assertion that he might not report to the FBI offers of election help from a foreign entity… As Trump's Democratic opponents eviscerated him and one of his leading Republican supporters called his comments a "mistake," the president tried to recast his remarks, drawing a misleading comparison between accepting dirt from a foreign agent and his recent conversations with Queen Elizabeth and other world leaders."

"Republicans were left shaking their heads Thursday over what many of them saw as a sloppy gaffe by the president, who didn’t appear to understand that what he was suggesting was against the law." That's not really what happened. President Trump is very rich, he just doesn't think the law applies to him. Most very rich people hold the same position. Also, the president continues to profit from foreign governments and citizens who are filling his DC hotel and renting out its rooms all while he's saying it's impossible to figure out how much they make from them in order to make the donations of the profits as he promised.

"White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month, capping a tumultuous tenure as the President's chief spokeswoman in which she largely redefined the position."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday fired two police generals involved in a discredited criminal case against a journalist, an episode that sparked a mass protest in Moscow the previous day, the Kremlin said." The framing didn't go so well. Turns out framing is hard work.

For the coming circus, you might need some tools. Besides Snopes, there are other fact checkers including Media Bias/Fact Check. I'm not sure I agree with some of their categorization of news outlets, but the majority look good (but then, that's how they get you, isn't it). (Grokked from Dan)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Linkee-poo Thursday rains bring Friday's mud

"Michael Palin has predicted he will be the only Monty Python member to become a sir after being dubbed a knight by Prince William at Buckingham Palace."

"Yet many of these (food) labels also frustrate her. There's often a gap between what they seem to promise and what they actually deliver. Marketing fills that gap… (For a list of some labels and what they really mean, you can jump to the bottom of this story.)"

"Then, during Schandevel's junior year, the university's student government put out a campus affordability guide, written with the average Michigan student in mind — but it's worth noting that the average student at the school has a family income of about $150,000 per year." So she put out her own guide and crowd sourced the content. Raman (I can't eat it anymore, and not just because of the salt-load, don't drain the noddles for a starchy soup), Mac and Cheese (put canned peas and tuna fish in it, also expand it with generic elbow macaroni), buy off season/closeouts/Goodwill, and (among a whole lot of other things) steal toilet-paper. Also our experience there is one of the many reason I support Planned Parenthood, but I don't give to United Way (as sometimes free help isn't better than no help). The audio of the story goes more in depth. Also, here in Ohio our legislature has embarked on a jihad to keep college to only 4 years (or 2 years for associate degrees) and by doing so are paring down the education students receive. Instead of looking at this from the other side and seeing that non-traditional students are the majority, and most baccalaureate degrees really should take 5 to 6 years these days.

"After decades of deliberation and planning, the Peruvian government has broken ground on a multibillion-dollar airport expected to connect Machu Picchu, the country's historical jewel, more easily with the outside world. But conservationists are outraged over the potential impact of a massive, state-of-the-art international facility on the ancient site and surrounding rural communities." NIMBYism at a World Heritage site. Catch 'em while you can.

"Rural Health: Financial insecurity plagues many who live with disability." I see this every day I work at the hospital.

"A new study finds that changes in your red-meat-eating habits can be tied to your risk of early death. An increase in red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was linked with a 10% higher risk of early death in the study, published in the medical journal BMJ on Wednesday… Replacing red meat with other protein sources may help you live longer, the study found."

"A second person infected with the Ebola virus has died in Uganda, the health ministry said Thursday, after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from Congo." Is it time to panic yet?

"The FBI is now helping local authorities in the Dominican Republic examine the mysterious deaths of three Americans who were staying at resorts in the island country in recent weeks, an FBI official has confirmed to NPR." Don't drink anything.

"In his 40 years of working with people who struggle with addiction, David Crowe has seen various drugs fade in and out of popularity in Pennsylvania's Crawford County… Methamphetamine use and distribution is a major challenge for the rural area, says Crowe, the executive director of Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission. And opioid-related overdoses have killed at least 83 people in the county since 2015, he says." Well hello, Meth. We thought you were gone. Drugs of choice shift, we really need to focus on why people become addicted to drugs and fight that instead of focusing on disrupting individual drug supplies and extending treatment for only one kind of addiction.

"'It's mostly noise. You're just skimming desperately,' says Morrison, 'and you're going to miss a lot as you walk by.' Maybe people stop and engage with one or two (scientific/research) posters, Morrison says, but it generally takes time to even figure out what the poster is about. That means researchers often spend time with a poster that turns out to be not all that significant for them." Scientists learn the value of effective visual communications. This is like in literature circles someone writing a story about robots or space travel "that's about people and the sociological ramifications of this technology, but totally not SF." High, yes, we've been here before. BTW, this is also how advertising works. Give people something they can recognize and hang onto if they're interested, or let them know they can move on.

"Stanford University's former sailing coach avoided significant prison time and was sentenced Wednesday to just one day behind bars for his role in a massive college admissions scandal." And two-years supervised probation.

"The U.S. Forest Service, under Chief Vicki Christiansen, is proposing revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act that could limit environmental review and public input on projects ranging from forest health and wildfire mitigation to infrastructure upgrades to commercial logging on federal land." Clear cutting here we come.

How go the Trade Wars? "Oil output from OPEC fell in May, hitting a five-year low as the group warned that U.S.-China trade tensions could lead to slower economic growth and weak fuel demand." Not that it's a global slow down or anything.

"Chinese regulators should step up support for the economy and keep ample liquidity in the financial system, Vice Premier Liu He said on Thursday, suggesting Beijing would soon unveil more policies to bolster growth amid rising U.S. trade pressure."

"Pence is on a quiet mission to advance the administration’s top legislative priority for the year — the troubled trade deal — and, with it, just maybe hold together the fraying Republican coalition ahead of the next one."

"Hong Kong police resorted to harsher-than-usual tactics to suppress protesters this week in the city’s most violent turmoil in decades… Police fired rubber bullets and beanbag rounds at the crowds, weapons that have not been widely used in recent history."

"Around 480,000 households… have been randomly selected to complete one of two versions of a test census form — one with the citizenship question, the other without… The results, expected to be available this fall, will inform the bureau's upcoming advertising campaign for the 2020 census and plans for hiring door knockers to visit households that don't self-respond to the census." The Census is always counting. "They emphasize that federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing census responses identifying individuals until 72 years after they're collected." And they are very serious about that. During my training in 2010, it was mentioned more than 3 times during the training I received, and I had to talk about it another 2 times while training others. We had the sense that people in the Washington Office would set fire to the archives before giving up that information (other than in aggregate form). And yes, that 75-year rule was in direct response to the Census information being used to roundup Japanese Americans in WWII.

"Trump administration to send migrant children to Army base once used as Japanese internment camp." JFC. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"But in June, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reviews rulings made in immigration court, issued a two-to-one decision denying Ana’s most recent request to stay in the U.S. The judges, considering Ana’s captivity, decided that, because she had worked for the guerrillas, even under duress, she was not their victim but functionally a member of their group. “While the respondent’s assistance may have been relatively minimal, if she had not provided the cooking and cleaning services she was forced to perform, another person would have needed to do so,” they wrote, in an opinion called Matter of A–C–M–. Ana was ineligible for asylum, under a law called the material-support statute, because she had aided terrorists." (Grokked form Laura J Mixon)

"A U.S. jury could not reach a verdict Tuesday against a border activist charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants in a trial that humanitarian aid groups said would have wide implications on their work." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

The Hyde Amendment, "Democrats on the 2020 campaign trail are emphasizing their support for expanded abortion rights, but in Washington, House Democrats are preparing to retain a decadeslong ban on most federal funding for abortions." Along with the Dickey Amendment, probably two of the worse pieces of legacy legislation we're still dealing with. Why yes, both were GOP initiated amendments. We need to have this discussion, because if we don't, they'll just continue being added to appropriation bills to smooth their approval.

"Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), a lead architect of the GOP tax bill, suggested Tuesday the tax cuts may not fully pay for themselves, contradicting a promise Republicans made repeatedly while pushing the law in late 2017… Pressed about what portion of the tax cuts were fully paid for, Brady said it was 'hard to know.'… 'We will know in year 8, 9 or 10 what revenues it brought in to the government over time. So it’s way too early to tell,' said Brady at the Peterson Foundation’s annual Fiscal Summit in Washington D.C." But first, you need to transfer some money into this bank account so we know that all the numbers are correct before we can send you the Nigerian Prince Millions we promised. For a supposedly "strong economy" our federal deficit is up by 38% this year. But don't despair, conservatives will get right back to worrying about the deficit and debt just as soon as President Warren is sworn in. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Trump on Wednesday expressed surprise that cameras captured some of the contents of a sheet of paper he claimed contained details of an undisclosed agreement between the U.S. and Mexico." No no no. See, it was a prop, you weren't supposed to read it. Fuck, I'm just surprised the paper had anything to do with the Mexico "agreement."

"Two tankers were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, less than a month after four other ships were struck in the region." Round up the usual suspects.

LinkedIn would like you to know it's also relevant in the coming social media wars. "But Katie Jones doesn’t exist, The Associated Press has determined. Instead, the persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on the professional networking site LinkedIn… Experts who reviewed the Jones profile’s LinkedIn activity say it’s typical of espionage efforts on the professional networking site, whose role as a global Rolodex has made it a powerful magnet for spies."

"'Deepfake' videos threaten to bedevil 2020 campaign… The widespread existence of deepfakes could even make some people dismiss legitimate videos as fabricated."

"Sophisticated and inaccurate altered videos known as 'deepfakes' are causing alarm in the digital realm. The highly realistic manipulated videos are the subject of a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday. As Miles O’Brien reports, the accelerating speed of computers and advances in machine learning make deepfakes ever more difficult to detect, among growing fears of their weaponization."

"Trump has given dozens of interviews to Fox News and Fox Business hosts, but he’s largely ignored the broadcast networks since taking office. As president, Trump has only done two interviews for Sunday shows, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS correspondent who tracks Trump’s appearances." And why doesn't the president usually give more interviews to more than Fox News?

This is why. "'I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,' Trump continued. 'If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’—oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” Stephanopoulos then questioned whether it was a good idea allowing foreign countries to interfere in a domestic election. “It’s not an interference, they have information—I think I’d take it,' Trump said. 'If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI—if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, "oh let’s call the FBI." The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.'" Our stable genius president, everybody. He just waved the green flag on foreign interference in the 2020 election and doesn't see anything wrong with it. Because, according to him, it's business as usual. Impeach the mother fucker.

"The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates as part of its investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election."

"Former White House communications director Hope Hicks has agreed to a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee, the panel announced Wednesday, a breakthrough for Democrats who have been frustrated by President Donald Trump’s broad stonewalling of their investigations."

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Linkee-poo Wednesday spends the morning with magnets

"On average, every 30 seconds someone in the world buys a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Maybe it's for a grandchild, an expectant parent or a dear friend's new baby. Nearly 50 million copies have been sold since the classic picture book was first published in 1969, and it has been translated into over 62 languages." Happy 50th, Caterpillar.

Did the Earth move for you too? "Residents in northeastern Ohio had a shaky start to their day as a 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled the region on Monday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed." It's called plate tectonics, the Earth moved for everyone. I barely felt it here at the office.

The permafrost giveth. "A 40,000-year-old severed wolf's head, preserved by permafrost complete with teeth and fur, has been discovered in eastern Siberia."

"Police in Hong Kong clashed with throngs of protesters outside government buildings Wednesday as opposition intensified to a proposed extradition bill that would tighten Beijing's control over the semiautonomous territory." Hong Kong continues the slow slide into mainland China.

So what has Jon Stewart been up to lately? "In a sparsely attended meeting addressing aid for 9/11 first responders, Jon Stewart blasted Congress for their 'callous indifference.'" You go, sir.

"The research, conducted and published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, finds that in many cases of (elder) abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies, though that's required by law." There are many reasons. Not the least of which is ignorance of the law and the issue. Add on to this the fact that many of these people suffer memory issues. Many of them aren't watched or visited by family (for varieties of reasons all together different). Some things are easy to see, but some are not. And the elderly themselves are wary of reporting because of the potential of retribution and lack of trust. When we move some of these patients we hear a lot of "don't drop me", or "I'm falling". How much of that is the patient's own fear (falling is very hard on the elderly) and how much of that is their prior experience of having been dropped while being moved? How much can you trust a patient who along with saying something that might be a window into their experience of being abused also asks you the same exact question five or more times in a 10 minute exam (like, "where am I?" and "what are you doing?")? And no, I'm not exaggerating.

"So what's the harm of a rule designed to affirm health workers' right to exclude themselves from providing medical care that they say violates their religious or moral beliefs?… 'If the rule goes through as it's written, patients will die,' says Santa Clara's county executive, Jeff Smith, who is a physician as well as an attorney by training." It's total bullshit. Look, if you can't give any patient your full care, GTFO of healthcare.

"It's been months since most of Attema's fields were dry enough to plant. And the corn he managed to get into the ground early, about half of it just rotted in the field. He says the weather has been relentless." Welcome to the new norm. Concerned farmers are concerned. But they'll still vote for Trump next time around.

Why? "Democratic presidential hopefuls have been making the rounds in Iowa, which holds its first in the nation presidential contest next February. President Trump is also visiting state today. On his itinerary, a tour of an ethanol plant in western Iowa and a GOP dinner near Des Moines. Just before leaving the White House, Trump talked about the political importance of this Midwestern battleground." Ethanol. Trump is taking the "lid off". Ethanol is now more expensive than refined gas and unless the government mandates it's use and subsidizes the industry nobody is going to use it. When oil was over $90 a barrel ethanol was a good solution. Farmer like ethanol mandates because it means a set price and market for their crops, and they don't have to use it in their gas or diesel.

How go the Trade Wars? "President Donald Trump said he’s personally holding up a trade deal with China and that he won’t complete the agreement unless Beijing returns to terms negotiated earlier in the year."

"With no end in sight in the tit-for-tat trade war, companies must turn to lower-cost nations in Asia and the Americas to find alternative suppliers. The problem is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a nation that is not also a target of President Trump's tariff stick." An op-ed piece by a CEO of an oil industry supplier. Note he's not saying that the companies won't be profitable, but that they won't be as profitable if there weren't the trade wars and tariffs. And, again, we get the line of "we approve of what he's doing, but we don't like that we're the ones who will pay the price." In other words, businesses didn't think it would affect them. Surprise, DiGiacomo, it's your profits the president wants.

"Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted on Tuesday that the U.S. and China will successfully negotiate a trade deal… 'Eventually, this will end in negotiation,' Ross said on CNBC’s 'Squawk Box.' 'Even shooting wars end in negotiations.'" Not a great analogy, Wilbur. Especially when the whole point of your appearance is to calm investors down.

"Donald Trump brandished a document on Tuesday confirming details of a regional asylum project agreed with Mexico to stave off threatened tariffs, saying the plan was 'secret' even though Mexican officials had revealed much of it." Now our country is making "secret" deals about policies which are in the mainstream.

"This is the first time in Roberts' 14 years as chief justice that he will likely be the deciding vote on several final, tense cases -- a total of 24 over the next two weeks. Roberts landed in the ideological center of the court last year when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired after a three-decade tenure. And because Roberts has long been to the right of centrist conservative Kennedy, the court is primed to make a sharp conservative turn."

"The report by the Free Russia Foundation describes the lengths to which it says the Kremlin has gone to undermine the West using international law and accounting firms, foreign officials, think tanks and nongovernmental organizations from New York to Latvia." Ah, the ol' cloak and dagger, but with accountants. Also, "'The Kremlin and its proxies now undermine democracies everywhere by enriching elites, bankrolling illiberal populists, building energy dependence, funding networks of friendly non-governmental organizations and media outlets, and empowering fringe elements like paramilitaries,' (Josh Rudolph) said by email."

"The mission to increase Russian influence (in Africa) is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off 'pro-western' uprisings, the documents say." Their men in Africa.

"House Democrats looking to undo a decade-long pay freeze for lawmakers are rethinking their plans over fears the legislation could divide their own party… The fight is pitting pay-increase supporters, like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., against newer Democrats who fear voters will be angry about lawmakers giving themselves a raise." I dunno, maybe split the difference, give your staff raises, pay the interns, and help encourage more moderate priced housing.

"Virginia Democratic voters signaled impatience with establishment politicians in primary elections Tuesday, sending home one high-profile state Senator who had been embraced by top leaders and giving the scare of a lifetime to another." ,Turnout was below 20%. Dear DNC, please notice who is carrying the energy in these elections. The candidates aren't the "cleanest" ("A former defense lawyer who lost his license, Morrissey is white and spent time in jail after he pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Prosecutors said he had sex with his then-17-year-old receptionist. He was 56 at the time… Now married to the former receptionist and fighting to get his law license back, Morrissey has deep support among some African American residents because of his legal work in the community."). But they're the ones who do the fucking work.

"House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation Tuesday they say will allow victims of gun violence to have their day in court… The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act aims to repeal federal protections blocking firearm and ammunition manufacturers, dealers and trade groups from most civil lawsuits when a firearm is used unlawfully or in a crime." I doubt it'll even get a hearing in the Seante.

"House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Tuesday that he would hold off on his committee’s contempt votes for Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross if officials provided certain documents to Congress by Wednesday." Tick tock.

"The House has authorized its committee leaders to pursue civil contempt cases to get information for their myriad investigations into President Trump." Democrats need to tell people about how slow Congress actually works, because of how the GOP controlled Congress rolled rough-shod over the rules for the past however many years most people have an unrealistic sense of the pace of Congress.

"A group of activists are planning to protest President Donald Trump's Fourth of July address at the Lincoln Memorial next month with the United Kingdom's 'Baby Trump' balloon, an orange blimp that previously appeared at protests during the president's visits to England." Baby Trump comes to America.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesday that feels like it's Thursday

Alligators, they're getting bitey again.

Kameron Hurley on "Hustle Culture." "No one wants to hear that the cure for burnout is to do less… There is no advice here. No magic beans. Only an acknowledgement that hustle culture is slowly killing us. Hustle culture invites a return to company towns and feudal systems, with even less security. Hustle culture is a lie. The hustle can’t save you if it kills you first." All the feels. Full disclosure, while I'm not writing much these days, I have a day job (42+ hours), the night thing (16 to 32 hours), freelance (I've cut way back, so only rarely but then it's about 6 to 8 hours), and the t-shirt thing (about 10-20 hours), plus about 10 to 12 hours of commuting (all times per week). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Ikea's "Room for families." I feel I've seen this one before. Ikea bring the Simpson's living room to real life. (Grokked from CC Finley)

"A slew of environmental factors must come together at the same time for the great ice voids to open up. The research, published Monday in the journal Nature, used observations taken from big floats in the remote ocean, NASA satellites, and even sensors attached to the heads of elephant seals to show how the ocean under the ice gets mixed up, like a bartender shaking up a cocktail. Ultimately, this mixing transports relatively warmer water up to the surface." And as the oceans get warmer, more and larger ice openings are occurring (although that's not stated that way in the article).

You might remember me rattling on about what happens when a buffer reaches capacity in a chemical experiment. Whelp… "Scientists have begun to make ambitious new measurements of how much CO2 it absorbs, using deep-diving floats that travel to far corners of the ocean. Last September, with the new data in hand, researchers reported that rather than sucking up CO2, parts of the ocean near Antarctica are actually burping the gas back into the atmosphere during the dark and cold of winter. That suggests the Southern Ocean is more of a fair-weather friend than scientists had hoped." The oceans of the Earth are already warmer than they've ever been, and it's not even July yet. We're boned.

"Is your daily coffee habit worth the money?… Suze Orman, financial expert and best-selling author of 'Women and Money,' doesn’t think so… Let’s say you spend around $100 on coffee each month. If you were to put that $100 into a Roth IRA instead, after 40 years the money would have grown to around $1 million with a 12 percent rate of return. Even with a seven percent rate of return, you’d still have around $250,000." Okay, time to call bullshit on a lot of things here. First off, I like Suze Orman. I don't like everything about her, but yes, you should get smart about your finances. This is also partly the "30 books" argument all over again. What she is really saying is look at some expenses you have that you can do without. And doing calculations of, "Sure, it's only $2.50, but I buy it every workday so that makes it about $12.50 a week, or $650 a year." It's easier to stop spending $650 than it is to deny a little pleasure for $2.50. But you can also take this too far, and it also smacks of "if only those kids we're buying avocado toast they'd be able to afford houses." I could buy ice tea for $5 a gallon and get shitty tea, or spend some time, brew it by the gallon, and spend about $1.20 (not counting time) for pretty decent tea. When I was a young professional, I would buy lunch somewhere. At the time $5 was an average target, I tried to keep it below $3, and I ate a bunch of crap (Taco Hell bean burritos for instance). At the night thing they sometimes still buy lunch/dinner and it's about $10 now. At the day thing I eat prepared salad (about $2 per service, also lower calorie). At the night thing I have a yogurt, sandwich, and apple (about $4). And I take a lot of flack for it. Sometimes I buy something with my coworkers in a camaraderie sense, but it's maybe 1 in 10 times I'm asked. I like my money, I like eating better with my wife than with my coworkers, though. So I prioritize. So should you. If the spending is on automatic it's easy to lose track. Now then, let's talk about the 12% or 7%. Let me call bullshit here. Can you get that in the short term? Yes. Long term you'll be lucky at 5%. Also, Roth IRAs? Sounds good (pay taxes now, not when you pull the money out), but let me ask you two tings. One, looking at the trend, individual taxes aren't going up so much (they will in the future, or at least that's how I'm betting), so the argument about "do you think taxes will ever go down" is kind of a hollow argument now. Two, do you really think you'll be in the same tax bracket when you retire as you're in now? If you think you can save enough that you'll be making more in retirement than you are while you're working (I actually do know of a few instances of this, BTW) than Roth's are a good bet. I predict I will be in a much lower bracket when I retire (if I even make enough that the IRS thinks it's worthwhile for me to pay taxes I'll consider myself lucky). So Roths are a bad bet for me. But here's the end advice, don't give up everything that makes you happy or gets you through the day. I'm sure Suze buys enough wine to offset her savings on coffee. Do look at your spending in the long run (sure, it's only a buck a day, but thats $260/year from work days). If you'd rather spend $260 on a couple of good dinners instead, then prioritize those. Oh, and maybe paying people an actual fucking living wage so saving a buck a day wasn't the difference between being able to live or not might be a better option. (Grokked from a lot of people)

"Nearly 200 business leaders have signed an open letter arguing US moves to restrict abortion are 'bad for business'… The campaign comes as several US states have passed or are considering stricter new abortion laws." Their argument isn't so much on the balefulness of the laws and the mindset that they stem from, instead it's based on companies not being able to meet diversity goals if women avoid those states. This won't have much of an effect because the goal is to outlaw abortion, sexual education, family planning, a women's health services nation-wide. And then where will these business go?

"Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis. Plus, how local journalists failed the Central Park Five."

"Customs and Border Protection said Monday that photos of travelers and license plates collected at one U.S. border point have been exposed in a malicious cyberattack in what a leading congressman called a 'major privacy breach.'" One of the novels I've abandoned was a cyberpunk thriller where the group aiding the protagonist hijack a police car and use its data uplink to spoof the facial recognition software of the government so that the cameras (which are everywhere, and also feed a HUD in the police car) don't recognize the person they're looking for. Having this type of data (actually being able to reverse engineer the data storage formatting) would be a great assistance to someone who wanted to do that.

How go the Trade Wars? "Senate Republicans want just one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s global trade war: a cease-fire… It’s a move that would benefit not just their caucus, senators argue, but the president too." Concerned Senators are once again concerned.

"The U.S. economy may be pushed into a 'Trump recession' if Washington follows through on its threat to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association." You're expecting rationality? This president doesn't even understand who exactly is paying the tariffs.

"A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump… The fund’s value has risen fivefold since 2017, when Kushner was appointed a White House adviser, following earlier slower growth." I'm sure it's totally legit. Money for nothing, chicks for free. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Want to see what entitlement looks like? "Reince Priebus, President Trump’s former chief of staff, has officially joined the Navy. At a commissioning ceremony Monday morning, Vice President Pence swore in Priebus as an ensign, an entry-level officer. Priebus and his family also met with Trump at the White House after the ceremony." Reince is 47. From the Navy's own website, "To serve as an Officer, you must be at least 19 and less than 42 years of age (depending on Officer specialty). Waivers are sometimes granted for positions that are in high demand." I can't believe Human Resource Officers are in "high demand." (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection." It's not unusual for politicians to fight to get finding for their localities. What is unusual is to have the wife of a senator make special accommodations for their spouse to help funnel money to their state just before their re-election campaign.

Editorial opinion. "Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill." Arbeit macht frei. I mean, it's only work requirements. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

You might have noticed that I don't comment or publish links to the 2020 race too often, including not getting into "this candidate said they would do this" or "polls say" because right now it's all total bullshit when it comes to individual candidates. The field will shake down by Christmas. We might start with 10+ candidates until we hit Super Tuesday, but those will fall away fast. The only things I will post are things that will carry through the election, like this. "As former Vice President Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic primary's clear front-runner, Republicans are responding with a familiar strategy. A year and a half before the general election, conservative news outlets have already been taking a page from their Hillary Clinton playbooks, hitting back against the not-quite-presumptive Democratic nominee by making dubious claims about Biden's health and family business dealings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of those critiques are even coming from one of the Clintons' most persistent adversaries: Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer." One trick pony is gonna work that one trick. It's also a blatant example of the conservatives obsession with projection on their own faults onto others.

"There is a group of Republican House members, some of whom are on the Judiciary Committee, who positively love impeachment and are apparently dying to get one going, even if it's one they have to fight… I'm speaking, of course, of the Freedom Caucus, Donald Trump's most loyal House henchmen. They have opened more impeachment proceedings in just the last few years than any other group in history. As HuffPost has noted, the Freedom Caucus tried to impeach a whole bunch of Obama administration officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder and EPA head Gina McCarthy. They even drew up articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is of course a Trump appointee, just last year."

"House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Monday said he has struck a deal with the Justice Department to begin providing Congress with some documents from the Mueller Report related to obstruction of justice." It might just be a delay tactic.

"Today, @HouseJudiciary is holding a hearing on Presidential Obstruction & Other Crimes. These are the words Republicans have demanded us not to use…" A tweet with an image of a poster with all the phrases. They know he's a crook, they just don't care. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Linkee-poo remember when you were young, you shone like the sun

"Herold threw another idea Bluestone’s way. What if anti-CD3 could counter T cell attacks on the pancreas, which lead to type 1 diabetes? On something of a lark, in the early 1990s the pair injected anti-CD3 into a mouse model of diabetes, before the animals had become sick. The treatment kept many of them from developing diabetes." Not so much a cure, but a way to stop it from developing.

"The Chinese company Huawei has become one of the world's telecom giants. And there are questions about how it got there, including accusations that it stole technology to get ahead." What's the opposite of hagiography?

"United Technologies and Raytheon are joining forces to create an aerospace and defense powerhouse. It is one of the biggest corporate mergers of 2019." If it's allowed to.

"Seniors in major metropolitan areas, especially in the Northeast and around Washington, D.C., are more likely to continue working past age 65 than those in other areas around the country, according to an analysis of Census data by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research."

"A couple say they were subjected to a homophobic attack and left covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Maker Media, the company that publishes Make Magazine and Maker Faire is laying off its staff and halting its operations amidst financial troubles, according to TechCrunch." It's a thousand times easier to be a consumer than to be a maker. I've become a maker, in a small sense, because I can't find things I need in the market place either by availability or by price points. There's also been recent articles, one of which in the NYTs, about how "millennials aren't good at DIY". These articles have received the derision (at least in the circles I move in) they so rightly have deserved. But all the issues surrounding that concept are not good for the portion of the market that supplies DIYers. (Grokked from John)

"She is among nearly 3 million students around the country who face struggles keeping up with their studies because they must make do without home internet. In classrooms, access to laptops and the internet is nearly universal. But at home, the cost of internet service and gaps in its availability create obstacles in urban areas and rural communities alike." The Digital Gap rears it's ugly head.

"But you can save yourself, Martin County Detective Mike Fenton and others tell her. We will give you an apartment. We will provide food and education. We will bring your children to the United States… Just tell us you are a human-trafficking victim and testify against your captors." Police interrogation techniques and applying pressure.

How go the Trade Wars? "(Laredo) fortunes, based entirely on trade between the two countries, is forever tied to the United States’ kinship with or animus for its southern neighbor. The closeness of that relationship can sometimes make the restrictive lines of the national border feel blurry, but with the Trump administration’s recent threats of a trade war, they have become increasingly stark."

"'We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” he wrote, claiming that it would be 'revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!…'" You would think that an international deal, signed (just whom signed it still hasn't been revealed), obligating the US to actions, would be released in full. And if it has to be approved by the Mexican "legislative body", why doesn't it have to be approved by Congress as well? This "fully signed and documented" shit has the feel of, "I read it somewhere…".

Oh, and about that "deal" (which informed people are saying, "Wait, didn't Mexico agree to that months ago?"), "President Donald Trump is bragging about a new deal with Mexico that provides for 'large' sales of U.S. farm goods, but it doesn’t appear to exist." The article also fact checks many recent statements. It's fairly long.

"President Donald Trump says if Chinese President Xi Jinping… doesn’t meet with him at the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, this month, additional tariffs will go into effect." The word you're searching for is "petulance".

"'You are never alone. Don't trust anyone. Not the little lady in the restroom who's sweeping out the stalls. Not the flower girl in the corner. You just didn't trust anyone in Moscow,' she said." Jonna Mendez on The Moscow Rules, a book about CIA spy craft in the Soviet Union.

"Fourteen Russia-backed YouTube channels spreading disinformation have been generating billions of views and millions of dollars in advertising revenue, according to researchers, and had not been labeled as state-sponsored, contrary to the world’s most popular streaming service’s policy." I hope my Russian friends bought something nice. (Grokked form Joy Reid)

"The House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a civil contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn." Things just sure ain't the same here on Walton's Mountain.

The Politics with Amy Walter podcast with… "But a core constituency of the Democratic electorate, since Barack Obama was elected has not gotten the same level of attention: African Americans… Will this change before 2020?… According to the strategists we talked to, if Democrats want to win back the White House, it better." Dear Democrats, please focus on the communities that really help you win elections. Please sell this focus to the other communities by being able to explain that by helping marginalized communities we are strengthening everyone's political franchise and looking out for everybody's health and wellbeing.

"Examining the history of the nearly three-decade-old magazine and its intellectual trajectory teaches a useful and illuminating lesson in the logic of political ideas — how certain intellectual premises can entail the adoption of specific political positions, like a chess match in which certain moves open up a limited number of forward paths while foreclosing others. Examining that logic can help us to understand why elements of the American right have developed in the way that they have — and to make informed predictions about where they are likely to go next. What such reflection shows us is that at least some intellectuals on the religious right are in the process of talking themselves into tearing down American democracy." The first reason I am no longer a conservative (although many of my core views haven't changed). This is the logical outcome of the Reagan Compromise which brought social conservatives (the "religious right") off the sidelines of politics and invited them to take over the Republican Party. So now the solution is to clap harder, "Instead, social conservatives need to fight harder and even be willing to fight dirty, seeking to win at any cost, just as their secular liberal enemies do."

"In other words, while Obama-Trump voters still overwhelmingly approve of the president, that support is a lot softer than it was back in 2016. They did not find any significant movement among any other group of voters (like those who supported Romney in 2016 and Trump in 2016, or those who voted Romney 2012 and Clinton in 2016). And, while these Obama-Trump voters remain supportive of the president, 'even small movement among these voters — who represented 5 percent of voters in 2016,' writes the authors of the report, 'may prove significant heading into the 2020 presidential election.'" A little of the weeds of targeting politicking. Part of the problem is this narrow focus on certain groups, which is a byproduct of elections since 1980. What will change this is when a candidate can make the case that we are all in this together, and if we make sure the least among the group is taken care of, everyone will be taken care of. But that's a hard sell in an era with balkanized social groups.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Linkee-poo cover me when I sleep, cover me when I breathe, you throw your pearls before the swine, make the monkey blind

Faster, pussy cat. "Hiring slowed last month, as U.S. employers added just 75,000 jobs even as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%. The report suggests businesses are increasingly cautious in the face of the Trump administration's ongoing trade wars. And it could increase the odds of interest rate cuts." Ouch. "Barnes & Noble (B&N) is close to securing a $436m deal to be bought by hedge fund Elliott Management, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), amid speculation that Waterstones boss James Daunt could lead both retailers." And then they'll over leverage BN, give all the top people bonuses for their "great business acumen" and close up shop by Christmas. Or at least that's a possibility. The over leveraging and bonuses will happen regardless. Although the rumors of Waterstones turning a profit is a hopeful sign. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley) "Thirty-five years ago in Moscow, working on what he says was "an ugly Russian" computer that was frankensteined together with spare parts, Alexey Pajitnov started a side project that has become the second-best-selling video game of all time: Tetris." Did you ever play so much you would dream about playing Tetris? "As another hurricane season begins, emergency managers and other officials throughout the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast are applying lessons they learned last year during Hurricane Michael. Those lessons include how they conduct evacuations." "Scientists have detected radio waves emanating from the space between a pair of galaxy clusters—evidence of intergalactic magnetic fields and fast-moving particles in the space between these giant galactic assemblages." Man, the latency lag time would be a killer. The On the Media podcast with… "Since Amazon’s founding in 1994, the corporation has taken over industry after industry, defining what we buy and how we buy. Stacy Mitchell is the co-director of Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Earlier this year she wrote an article for The Nation called, 'Amazon doesn’t just want to dominate the market — it wants to become the market.' Stacy and Brooke talk about the history of regulation of corporate concentration and where the movement is headed." (Full disclosure, I sell t-shirts on Amazon through their merchant program.) And this is how Amazon will make money while losing on every sale (as the worry went in the late 90s investor circles). "Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll." It's that last part that keeps fucking us up, and why Right-to-Life claims a majority, but doesn't really have it. "Just about 50 years after New York police clashed with gay rights activists at the Stonewall Inn, the city's police commissioner, James O'Neill, has apologized for the department's raid on that tumultuous night in 1969." The arc is long. "A powerful explosion in the southern Swedish town of Linkoping on Friday damaged buildings and lightly injured 25 people, police said." "The US and Russian warships came somewhere between 50 feet and 165 feet of each other, according to the two opposing reports, with both sides alleging their ships were forced to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid a collision, which can be seen in video and a picture of the event obtained by CNN." Oh my Russian friends, this is not a good thing. Someone will fuck up, and then we'll be shooting at each other. No one wins that war. "'Tariffs are a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful word if you know how to use them properly,' Mr. Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingram on Thursday in France, where he was taking part in 75th D-Day anniversary commemorations." Our stable genius president, everybody. Again, the man is playing Chutes and Ladders while the rest of us are playing chess. That's why he looks so inscrutable. "President Donald Trump repeated his criticism of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases and said the stock market would be 10,000 points higher had the Fed kept rates lower." The man is a complete idiot. "An unidentified man is in federal custody after he asked about buying grenades and discussed possibly detonating them in Times Square, according to law enforcement sources." Ah, another lone wolf. You know, if all these lone wolves got together, they might form 4Chan.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Linkee-poo will you please say hello to the folks that I know, tell them it won't be long

"Asked how Americans can honor veterans and commemorate D-Day, Cruise underscores civic responsibility… 'I want [people] to appreciate what history has done for them and what it has done for this country,' Cruise says. 'Sacrifice is not just done by the World War II generation… Show some citizenship.'" So say we all.

"Who doesn’t love a good mystery, eh? In the book publishing biz, in North America at least, we use that term for a specific story format: murder mystery. However, mystery is a broader concept. It covers anything that is secret, unexplained or unknown." Donald Maas on mystery.

Hint to concoms everywhere, turn the goddamn fans to "on" in the rooms. "Ever wonder why you get so sleepy during conference talks? Turns out lots of conference venues aren't well-ventilated, causing CO2 to rise to levels that cause drowsiness (>1000ppm)." (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

"Using the ALMA observatory, scientists have detected a previously undocumented band of cool gas wrapped around the black hole at the core of our galaxy."

A signal in the diamond rough. "A team of researchers inside Pfizer made a startling find in 2015: The company’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis therapy Enbrel, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 64 percent… As its Enbrel deliberations (about pursuing this clinically) ended early last year, Pfizer was getting out of Alzheimer’s research… Meanwhile, Enbrel has reached the end of its patent life. Profits are dwindling as generic competition emerges, diminishing financial incentives for further research into Enbrel and other drugs in its class." Even if it wasn't the (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"This article originally stated that the price of Acthar had gone 'from just $40 in 2000 to over $40,000 today.' A spokesperson for Mallinckrodt emailed to request a correction that Acthar actually costs $38,892 today. Gizmodo regrets the error. We also regret that every last one of these guys isn’t in prison yet." (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

"New research shows fatal falls have nearly tripled in older Americans in recent years, rising to more than 25,000 deaths yearly… The findings highlight the importance of fall prevention. A separate study bolsters evidence that programs focusing on improving muscle strength and balance can help achieve that goal." Right now in healthcare we do screenings for "falls risks". And if you meet the criteria, that's another wrist band, and then we do all we can to make sure you're not in a position to fall. This, IMHO, then advances the chance the patient will fall later and instead should be met with increased care to stabilize the patient if they feel well enough to stand (many aren't) and with physical therapy to help them keep strong and retain their balance skills.

"If you’re a Windows user who has yet to update your operating system after the discovery of the Bluekeep vulnerability a few weeks ago, then maybe a warning from the NSA will be enough to spur you on." Update the damn systems.

How go the Trade Wars? "Mexico has benefited from the US-China trade war — but Trump could change that." I just hope he doesn't shoot the rest of us in the foot to do it.

"The Trump administration announced a plan Wednesday to expand access even further to protected federal lands for hunting and fishing. The plan seeks to increase access across 1.4 million acres of public land in 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries." Because of course he wants to. I'm sure Junior has complained that he can't hunt elephants here in the Good Ol' USA because we have restricted hunting in wildlife refuges, or something like that.

"A Texas high school teacher may lose her job after tweeting to President Donald Trump that her school had been 'taken over' by 'illegal students from Mexico.'" Well, that wasn't the only thing she did. And then there's this… "But according to district documents, she told an investigator she didn't know her tweets to President Trump were public." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"He says spam calls are the No. 1 consumer complaint and a top priority for the agency. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has demanded that all U.S phone carriers install new technology to authenticate real calls and flag potential spam by the end of this year." If I were more cynical I would probably think Chairman Pai lost some money to spammers and that's why he's actually doing something.

You might need to put on personal protective gear before reading this. "Nathan Larson, a 37-year-old accountant from Charlottesville, Virginia, is running for Congress as an independent candidate in his native state. He is also a pedophile, as he admitted to HuffPost on Thursday, who has bragged in website posts about raping his late ex-wife." He's for guns, for raping and killing your wife, anti-feminism and whole bunch of other bullshit. You'd think he might be running in the GOP, but he's not. He's running as an independent or a "quasi-neoreactionary libertarian". I'd like to say this guy is a hoaxer just trying to get us all in an uproar, but nope. He's serious. And this isn't his first run (but it is his first run at the state level, previously he threatened the president and was sent to jail making him a felon, and unqualified to run except at the federal level. Now with restoring rights to felons, he has a chance to run for state office. I doubt he'll make it far, and this is mostly just to say this is how low we've sunk in politics, that whackaloons like this think they can get elected. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"'I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison,' Pelosi said, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with the meeting. Instead of impeachment, Pelosi still prefers to see Trump defeated at the ballot box and then prosecuted for his alleged crimes, according to the sources." Speaker Pelosi is waiting for popular support of impeachment to materialize before beginning, but isn't doing much to drive that support. Chairman Nadler is doing the same investigations he would if this were an impeachment investigation. Which leads us to the weird place of "impeachment by another name." And now there is the idea being floated to hold impeachment hearings and come to an official rebuke from the House, but not refer it to the Senate unless enough GOP senators signal they would vote to remove the president.

"Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reversed course and now says the House of Representatives should open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump -- and that he has told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi… The inquiry's paramount objective would be to 'give the American people a view of what's going on,' he added." And that's how you'll get to that majority support. And if it's done well, GOP senators who wouldn't even consider removing the president will look complicit (I mean, they already do, but not to the general public who really doesn't follow politics all that closely).

"Like his predecessors, Trump will pay homage to the 160,000 American and Allied troops who landed on D-Day, altering the course of World War II. But in a break with past U.S. presidents, he is unlikely to use his remarks in France to embrace institutions such as NATO that rose out of the ashes of the fighting."

"Chinese leader Xi Jinping described Russian President Vladimir Putin as his 'best friend' as the two met in Moscow on Wednesday at a time when U.S. relations with both countries are increasingly strained." Like it was almost part of the plan.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Linkee-poo will deliver, you know I'm a forgiver, reach out and touch faith

"Queen Elizabeth II and world leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump gathered Wednesday on the south coast of England to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings that, at great human cost, turned the tide of World War II and helped liberate Europe from Nazi occupation."

But the Earth has warmed before… "About 250 million years ago or so, an enormous volcanic field erupted in what is now Siberia. It spewed lava that burned though limestone and coal beds and filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and pollution, possibly for millions of years. That in turn warmed the planet, made the oceans acidic and robbed them of oxygen. More than 90% of species in the oceans died out as did two-thirds of those on land." We're boned.

"China on Wednesday launched a rocket from a mobile platform at sea for the first time, sending a five commercial satellites and two others containing experimental technology into space."

"Teenagers using dietary supplements to lose weight, gain weight or build muscle could be putting themselves at risk for serious harm and even death." Those things put adults at risk too, but for kids it can be much more dramatic. And while this is an important issue, this is, again, one more attack against all "supplements" (including vitamins). Why? Because the pharmaceutical industry can't make money off of them. But they can make money off prescription Niacin, and most doctors and pharmacists won't tell you that it's just B3 and B6.

"Research points to another way heavier children and teens are at risk: their own doctors' bias. This prejudice has real health consequences for kids, making families less likely to show up for appointments or get recommended vaccines."

All in all it's just another brick in the wall. "Restraint and seclusion are most often used on students with disabilities or special needs — children like Tidd's son. Those terms can mean anything from holding or using restraints on students to isolating them in a separate room or space." And politicians and parents will point and say how terrible it is, and the parents are left to deal with the trauma and other consequences and the politicians can go back to defunding education.

"…(R)etailers that accept SNAP benefits are required to stock a variety of staple foods — including a minimum number of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and grain options… Now, there's a controversy brewing over which foods count as staples. Should beef jerky, spray cheese and queso dip count? The Trump administration has proposed a rule that would allow retailers to include these items." Oh look, ketchup is a vegetable again.

"A Russian aircraft intercepted a US aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours Tuesday, according to the US 6th Fleet."

"Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added just 27,000 jobs in May, the fewest since March 2010. Jobs in construction fell 36,000 and in manufacturing by 3,000." So the numbers this Friday may not be so good.

How go the Trade Wars? "China's State Administration for Market Regulation slapped Changan Ford with a 162.8 million yuan ($23.6 million) fine for setting minimum resale prices on its cars in the city of Chongqing, according to a statement posted on the regulator's website on Wednesday."

"Republican senators railed against President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs against Mexico in a private lunch on Tuesday with White House and Justice Department officials, who struggled to explain their legal process for implementing the new levies." Concerned people are concerned once again.

"The IRS collected $1.97 trillion in gross collections (the amount before refunds) for 2018. That figure stood at roughly $1.87 trillion for 2017. Refunds did increase this year — but not by much. The IRS refunded about $398 billion to taxpayers for 2018. For 2017, it was roughly $386 billion." So a good year for the government. And although there's a lot of statistics in that article, they don't paint a cohesive picture (and I believe that's on purpose). So conservatives can talk about how the "increased" revenues, but not nearly as much as it will cost us (especially in the long run). Also note the late rush of a lot of refunds (not fully calculated). Mostly those are the high-income and corporate tax filings (most people who expect a "great" refund file early). And the year isn't out, all those who filed extensions have until August to complete (if they don't file for another extension). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The House Judiciary Committee and Justice Department traded letters Tuesday in an effort to kickstart negotiations for Congress to obtain documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but the efforts did not appear to halt a looming vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress."

"The Internet Research Agency campaign may not only have had more sway — reaching large numbers of real users — than previously thought, it also demonstrated ample patience and might have generated income for some of the phony accounts, Symantec found." Don't spend it all in one place, my Russian friends. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"President Donald Trump is spinning a tall tale about crowd sizes and the protests in London." A little fact checking.

"Trump's U.K. visit protests are so hilarious because the president is so easy to mock." Well, yes.

Fox News link, "A woman popped the massive balloon depicting President Trump as a baby in London on Tuesday, berating protesters for disrespecting the 'best president ever.'" Crazy woman attacks protestors, stabs balloon, injures self while doing it, tries to claim she's being persecuted while being arrested for it. Apparently she's a known quantity in the UK, and the balloon was easily repaired.

"Trump appeared onstage briefly to read from a prayer originally delivered over the radio by one of his predecessors, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on the evening of the landings… before dancers emerged to the upbeat strains of 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B,' the wartime ditty sung by the Andrews Sisters… Earlier in the morning, Trump's mind was in a less reverent place. He tweeted barbs directed at former Vice President Joe Biden, the news media and the actress Bette Midler…"