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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Linkee-poo, so that went well

"That diamond on your wedding ring isn't as rare as you might think… Using sound waves, scientists uncovered a cache of diamonds distributed deep below the Earth's surface, and it amounts to over a quadrillion tonnes of the precious mineral." Well, we already new that De Beers already manipulated the market on diamonds (and is rumored to hold a lot of stock off-market to artificially raise the price). "'We can't get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before.'" Well that's the trick, ain't it.

"An advanced new radio telescope, known as MeerKAT, has begun operations—and it has already captured a spectacular image that is the clearest view of our galaxy's center to date." My God, it's full of stars.

"Health officials are warning against eating crab meat from Venezuela, as it's been tied to diarrhea, vomiting and fever." Good safety tip, Egon.

An article on the current state of electronic motorcycles.

"That's why Friday's announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved TPOXX as the first treatment for smallpox is significant. Hopefully, no one will need to take TPOXX anytime soon. And, no, you probably won't be seeing any TPOXX and smallpox advertisements with dancing happy people on television in the near future. However, TPOXX does help address an important need. Most people do not routinely get the smallpox vaccine anymore, unless they are regularly handling smallpox or in the military."

"(Dr. Walter Koroshetz is) responsible for the institute's public health campaign called Mind Your Risks. Its goal is to let people know that there's a link between high blood pressure, stroke and dementia." High blood pressure (hypertension) shows links to dementia and Alzheimers. I don't think they have proven a cause and effect relationship, but there is some logic to it. As a note, one of the most common notes I see on head CTs of the elderly is "ischemic changes to white matter". This isn't something acute, and most often it's not even mentioned to the patient.

"Death rates from liver cancer increased 43% for American adults from 2000 to 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. The increase comes even as mortality for all cancers combined has declined." Gee, I'm sure out diet (all nutrition is first processed by the liver) has anything to do with it. Nope. Sure the presence of high-fructose corn syrup (ammonia byproducts of conversion) and artificial sweeteners like aspartame (processed into formaldehyde)in our foods have no affect here. Fuck cancer.

"But dig deeper and the implications of what they're selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance… With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story." They already were building databases holding your medical claims, now they're going after psychometric data. It's time for single-payor. "Patient advocates warn that using unverified, error-prone "lifestyle" data to make medical assumptions could lead insurers to improperly price plans – for instance raising rates based on false information – or discriminate against anyone tagged as high cost." You say that like it's a bug and not a feature of the system. (Grokked from John)

"Eight animals have now died after a jaguar escaped from its habitat at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans."

"John Miller, 59, was arrested on Sunday morning after DNA evidence linked him to the rape and murder of April Tinsley, whose body was recovered three days after her family reported her missing in 1988, according to charging documents… Investigators said they arrested Miller after using a genealogy database to narrow down the DNA match to either him or his brother. The DNA was taken from the used condoms and evidence from the crime scenes, according to court documents."

"Iga, a small Japanese city and the birthplace of the ninja, is facing a serious problem — there aren't enough people training to be ninjas, not even for $85k a year." A podcast that treats the subject lightly (and through a Western understanding of Ninjas, garnered mostly through movies), but shows a very real problem.

"While unemployment has hit record lows, there's another number that also gets a lot of attention — underemployment. Around 33 percent of college graduates are underemployed." Another example of employers expecting to get overqualified candidates to fill positions (note, in a "full employment" situation, unless you're paying top dollar, that ain't gonna happen). Although I think the real problem here is not over expectation or mismatch between jobs and colleges, but mostly because business doesn't understand how to work properly now that we're in the age of the MBA executive.

"India has ordered its state governments to inspect childcare facilities run by the Missionaries of Charity — the Roman Catholic order founded by Mother Teresa — following arrests of a nun and a worker accused of baby trafficking." After scandals in Ireland and Australia (and rumors in Central America), they finally get to Mother Teresa.

How goes the Trade Wars? "The European Union and Japan have signed one of the world's biggest free trade deals, covering nearly a third of the world's GDP and 600 million people."

"The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities." I'm sure there's a perfectly innocent explanation for this. It isn't the real reason, but I'm sure there is one. (Grokked from Michele)

"Haiti's Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday after days of riots sparked by a plan to raise prices on fuel."

"At least 273 people have died and 2,000 have been injured in the unrest that's rocked Nicaragua since April, according to the human rights arm of the Organization of American States (OAS)."

"The US government charged a Russian national heavily involved in gun rights with being a spy for the Russian government in the US and developing relationships 'with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics.'" Interesting times. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Fran Wilde)

Sometimes we get focused on just the social media aspect of the Russian attack. "New charges against a woman who tried to build bridges between the Russian government and American political leaders via the National Rifle Association delivered a breakthrough in understanding one aspect of the attack on the 2016 election: 'infiltration.'"

"The question for the state’s politics is which side of that debate is more in touch with the state’s voters — the activists who are urgently pushing the Democrats to the left or the (Sen. Diane Feinstein), who trounced De León in the June primary, winning 44% of the overall vote compared with his 12%." Line up the circular firing squad again.

"Judge on Trump administration’s immigrant reunification efforts: 'HHS either does not understand the court’s orders or is acting in defiance of them'." Dear Judge, HHS had no intentions of ever reuniting these families.

"A federal judge in California has temporarily halted the deportation of immigrant families that have been reunited after being separated by the Trump administration."

So, how did the summit go? "US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin blew past the 90 minutes they were scheduled to spend with only interpreters at their sides on Monday, just hours after the US President blamed US policy for the dismal state of relations between the two countries."

"After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote."

"'I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office,' Mr. Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin."

I think our intelligence community, like our diplomats overseas and everybody in the national security structure, had low hopes for this meeting, and the bar was pretty low for Mr. Trump, but he still didn’t get over the bar." (Grokked from Emma Audsley)

"Sunday's demonstrations capped a weekend in which the US president drew protests no matter where he went -- whether in Finland, in London or even at his own golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland."

Monday, July 16, 2018

Linkee-poo Monday

Busy morning.

"Police say Stolper, 72, was angry over being served eviction papers and had expressed anger and aggression toward other residents at the condominium on several occasions… On Thursday, police say Stolper told witness Luis Diaz that he was 'going to burn down the building with all the f------ Jews,' according to the arrest report." Okay, so can we call then Nazis now? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Six months after the Tax Cut and Jobs Act became law, there's still little evidence that the average job holder is feeling the benefit… Worker pay in the second quarter dropped nearly one percent below its first-quarter level, according to the PayScale Index, one measure of worker pay." This is my shocked face.

"Abortion is immoral, except when it comes to my mistresses." A quick roundup of the hypocrisy of the right when it comes to morality and specifically abortion.

"A Massachusetts bill to enact automatic voter registration is one step closer to becoming law after the state Senate voted to approve it this week… The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill on Thursday, according to Mass Live." Damn liberals, wanting to make sure everybody can vote. It's like one side believes in democracy and another side does not. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Now reports indicate that (Elon) Musk was one of the top donors for a Republican PAC named Protect the House." He was in the top 50 contributors. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) has launched an investigation after it was revealed that a Russian investor had purchased a software company that runs part of the state's voter registration system."

"The U.S. homeland security secretary said on Saturday there are no signs that Russia is targeting this year's midterm elections with the same 'scale or scope' it targeted the 2016 presidential election." Uh, yeah, Bob. I think I pulled a muscle with the side-eye. The intelligence community is saying "red lights are flashing" and our DoHS Secretary is saying, "Well, it's not as bad as last time." (Waves to all my Russian friends). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

A tweet storm on some of Trump's tweets from the weekend and the language used.

"In an interview with 'CBS Evening News' anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union -- comprising some of America's oldest allies -- when asked to identify his 'biggest foe globally right now.'" Our stable genius president, everybody.

"A California-based company that sells 'Make America Great Again' hats similar to the official hats sold by the Trump campaign says its prices may rise in response to trade tensions with China prompted by President Trump's tariffs." That is hilarious (although note this is not the company that makes the hats for the official campaign).

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Linkee-poo for a weekend

Well, that was a lovely trip.

"But hospital administrators recognize the indirect consequences of mass shootings — the far-reaching ripple effects on an entire community — like the distress people experience when they're separated from sick loved ones during a lockdown… They're trying to fix it."

"Nearly 63 years after the brutal, racist killing of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was visiting family in Mississippi, the Justice Department has reopened the investigation into the killing."

"How much medical marijuana is in the pipeline in Oregon? The managers of the state’s program concede that they simply don’t know because of lax reporting by producers and a lack of site inspectors." Trying really hard to not make a stoner joke here.

"A Houston woman accused of offering to sell her 2-year-old daughter for sex at a cost of $1,200 has been sentenced to 40 years in prison."

"A major change which aims to keep more weapons out of the wrong hands is in the works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's gun background check process." Yeah, don't think it's going to help. But at least they can say they're trying.

"On Thursday, two days after its original deadline, the Trump administration announced that it has complied with the first part of a court order to return the nearly 3,000 migrant children separated from their parents in recent months." Except they didn't really, but they have reasons. Yeah, we're going to need to see some paperwork.

"The second-quarter earnings season kicked off Friday as expected with big banks JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. beating expectations and Wells Fargo falling short, but all three stocks fizzled in early trade as the numbers failed to inspire investors."

"Papa John's founder John Schnatter will be removed from the pizza chain's branding after his use of the N-word forced his exit from the company."

"Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is facing scrutiny after he appeared in a promotional video in which he seemed surprised that black schoolchildren play chess." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The bond market is sounding an alarm on the economy as 'yield curve' spread hits narrowest in 11 years on Friday." Say, what was 11 years ago? Everybody grab something, it's going to get rough. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Republican attacks on federal law enforcement have helped the Russian effort to spark chaos within the United States, an embattled top FBI counterintelligence agent told Congress on Thursday… The hearing was often raucous and seemed at times more like a TV comedy about Congress than a real committee hearing."

"Stephen Colbert isn't one for deep dives, but Thursday night on 'The Late Show,' the host ripped into House Republicans over the dysfunctional, combative hearing in which FBI agent Peter Strzok was questioned extensively in front of the House Judiciary Committee, with digs into both his credibility and his judgement. Colbert dedicated his entire opening monologue to the battle in Congress Thursday."

Before Pruitt, there was Price. "The government wasted at least $341,000 on travel by ousted Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, including booking charter flights without considering cheaper scheduled airlines, an agency watchdog said Friday."

"Counter terrorism detectives investigating the contamination of two people by the nerve agent Novichok believe they have found the source of the deadly substance… On Wednesday, 11 July, a small bottle was recovered during searches of Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury." (Grokked from Dan)

What happened at NATO? "Donald Trump promised to run the White House like a business, and that business appears to be a reality television production company." "The former White House official said Arangio's just-the-facts approach put her at odds with top Trump aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner, and others involved with the Domestic Policy Council, especially on the issue of refugees… 'She has fought to correct misleading information about refugees and migrants provided to the president by Miller and the DPC,' the former White House official said." And for that, apparently, she had to go. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer) "The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday with a litany of alleged offenses related to Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, state election systems and other targets in 2016." Surprise, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks are both Russian GRU operatives. (Waves to my Russian friends) "The indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller alleges that the unidentified candidate made the electronic request on Aug. 15, 2016, and in return received 'stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.'" Guccifer 2.0 also related documents to other lobbyists and political actors. (Insert that rubbing chin while thinking emoji here). (Grokked from Dan) "The White House is stressing that the new indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers contains no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the Trump campaign or that the hacking the Russians are accused of conducting affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election." Actually, not so much. In other reports right after then candidate Trump said he'd be appreciative is Russia could find the "missing" Clinton emails there was an increase of fishing attempts and hacking attacks on the DNC (which doesn't track, because it's not like they had the emails).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Linkee-poo, been beat up and battered around, been sent up and I've been shot down

"Can cancer cells be designed to turn against their own kind? Scientists from Boston took advantage of cancer cells’ typical behavior and used CRISPR technology in hopes of destroying the main tumor with its own cells."

"What if, instead of a black and white X-ray picture, a doctor of a cancer patient had access to colour images identifying the tissues being scanned? This colour X-ray imaging technique could produce clearer and more accurate pictures and help doctors give their patients more accurate diagnoses." Well that last statement has yet to be proven true. In medical imaging we have what are called "the golden standard" of imaging for different tissues. All of those have had long trials which have to prove they're better than what we had in the clinical setting. And with CT imaging (which is where I believe this chip will be used) we've long had the ability to construct 3d models and to colorize them. So I'd really have to see more about this before I'd say more. (Grokked from Dan)

"The Chicago man shown in a viral video berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt has been charged with a felony hate crime."

"Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president-elect, will create a border police force to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants, weapons and drugs coming into his country from Central America."

Why? "The U.S. delegation is expected to offer better ties and financial rewards while demanding that Mexico expand its efforts to reduce the flow of Central Americans who travel across Mexico toward the U.S. border."

"In an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper The Sun, Trump said May had ignored his advice on Brexit, he praised former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson -- who has just walked out of her Cabinet over the issue -- and he said May's cherished hope of a free trade deal with the US would be killed off by her softened approach."

"Mr. Trump said at a news conference that 'they like me a lot in the U.K.,' but he was greeted with protests on Thursday that continued into Friday, including a giant balloon depicting him as a snarling baby in a diaper." They support him in the emails.

Why are some Republicans now timidly criticizing the president? "Trump says trade wars are 'easy to win.' Economists think differently, although most expect the U.S. to emerge without serious damage. A bigger question is: Will Republicans?"

"Russia's information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news… They… created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans' hometown headlines." (Waves at my Russian friends). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"House Speaker Paul Ryan explained Thursday that a family of woodchucks moved into his Chevy Suburban recently, eating the wiring, and rendering the car useless." The animals are with us. Not sure if this should be a Narnia joke or a Star Wars murderbear joke. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Linkee-poo, Thursday already

Been berry berry busy boy. Not much today.

"An ancient tablet engraved with 13 verses of the Odyssey has been unearthed in southern Greece in what is possibly the earliest-recorded trace of the epic poem, the culture ministry said Tuesday." Funny, I don't remember Odysseus shouting, "How do ya like me now, bitches!" as he and his son killed the suitors. (Grokked from Writers Digest)

"As hurricane season heats up, threatening thousands of coastal properties with storm surges, homeowners should also mark July 31 as a day of reckoning… That’s when the National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire unless lawmakers extend it for a seventh consecutive time since the end of fiscal 2017. In this polarized Congress, there are no guarantees that the cash-strapped program will get another reprieve." What's the problem, Congress. It's not like climate change is real, so storms aren't becoming stronger or more frequent.

"Pornography has provided the first real boom in VR, and adult-entertainment companies like Naughty America are leading the way." And in other news, water is wet. (Grokked from Dan)

Remember people saying that they weren't racists because they didn't hate anyone or use the n-word? So, can we call Papa John's John Schnatter a fucking racists now? What is hilarious is his outburst, where he used racial slurs and implied violence against minorities, was "Forbes reported that the incident took place on a call arranged between Papa John’s executives and Laundry Service as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter to prevent future public-relations missteps." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The Daily Show's reporting from a Trump Rally about Space Force. (Grokked from Dan).

"The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has been a keystone of global security since its formation in 1949, does not involve a membership that collects dues. There is no annual subscription." Someone please let the president know. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The tax cuts Republicans enacted in late 2017 will likely provide less of a boost to economic growth than many forecasters predict—and possibly none at all—economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said Monday." This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"No restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, is safe for Mitch McConnell, it seems. Protesters followed the Senate Majority Leader to his dinner destination on Sunday night, blasting Public Enemy’s 'Fight the Power' and chanting 'no justice, no peace.' McConnell and his group was forced to leave Italian restaurant Sarino mid-meal due to the disturbance, according to the Courier Journal." (Grokked from Chang)

A Jim Wright tweet storm on the Resistance. I am part of the resistance, but there are those who have purity tests and believe it's a virtuous club of some sort. There are always those people. I don't need other people to tell me where to vent my spleen, or where to put my energy. At some point it may be necessary to have some more formal structure. But even when that happens there will be a number of us on the outside, fighting the good fight, waiting for the corruption to sneak into the Salon Succession movement like it always does (that's an Art History reference, in case you needed some direction). Or as I told a professor who told me that given the GOP's war on public unions and pensions, he could no longer support them and joined the Democratic Party, "We're not much better, but at least we won't consciously, maliciously, and with forethought fuck you over."

"For the second day in a row, the Senate pushed back on President Donald Trump, showing stiff resistance to his key policy decisions on tariffs and NATO even as the President is at a summit in Europe wrestling with allies over those same issues." Oh great, the Senate is finally showing some spine. "The bipartisan 88-to-11 tally on the non-binding resolution sends a message to the White House about how frustrated senators are over Trump's disruptive moves on tariffs." Ugh. Non-binding mean "bullshit," in political terms. It's the same as threatening to turn the car around on the family vacation. Dear senators, 88-11 is a veto proof majority. Move to take back your Constitutional powers.

"The new timeline below, which now includes developments since early June and up until July 10, 2018, chronicles publicly reported Trump comments and actions toward Russia since the 2016 U.S. presidential election—whether accommodationist or adversarial or defying easy classification." TL/DR There's a lot of fucking Russians hanging around. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Linkee-poo can sit around and wait for the phone to ring

"'These new discoveries tell us that dinosaurs were much more adaptable and creative in attaining huge size than we used to think, which I think means that there are even bigger and weirder dinosaurs out there remaining to be found,' Brusatte said."

"By grinding up pieces of marine shale, a team of researchers from the Australian National University has discovered the oldest known colors produced by living things. The pigments, which are 1.1. billion years old, once belonged to cyanobacteria, and were used in photosynthesis."

"Archaeological digs around ancient Egyptian sites still have plenty of secrets to give up yet – like the huge, black granite sarcophagus just discovered at an excavation in the city of Alexandria, on the northern coast of Egypt." I've seen this movie, cover it back up, pour cement over it, salt the earth around it, pretend like it wasn't even there. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Or, you know, given the current political landscape, go ahead. Open that fucker up. Can't be that much worse.

"'We can only recommend that residents avoid entering brackish waters, especially if they have are immunocompromised or have open wounds or sores on their body,' Hetzell highlighted. Brackish water is the combination of fresh and seawater often found in the area where rivers meet the sea."

Why do we need to protect clean sources of water? "In response to a survey sent out by health officials, at least 548 people reported gastrointestinal illness after visiting CLIMB Works in Gatlinburg, Tennessee since June 15. That number is likely a low estimate."

"But for many people with disabilities, going without plastic straws isn't a question of how much they care about dolphins or sea turtles; it can be a matter of life or death." Here's the thing, you can still have plastic straws, just don't give them to everybody. It's sort of like when there's a water shortage, some restaurants go to serving water only when a customer asks. I personally hate the straws in most drinks I get, but really like them for things like shakes. You don't need to serve me a straw when I order water or tea. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have then in case a customer needs one. When I worked in fast food we had people order food with no-salt (burgers and fries), and we accommodated them. It seems pretty easy to solve this, it just requires people to pay attention.

"In a statement, the company confirmed the conversation, calling it extensive. Pfizer said it will return prices on dozens of the company's drugs to where they were before July 1 'as soon as technically possible.'" But no word on how long that will last, they already had raised prices and aren't rolling those back (only the ones schedule for this month) and (whispers) other than increased profits, bonuses, and shareholder payments there's no real reason to raise prices in the first place. Note increases in Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share (EPS) (ie. profits paid out to shareholders).

"Does your doctor’s mental health and well-being affect the care you receive? A new study says yes -- burnout, fatigue and depression may affect major medical errors." And then there is this, "Systems issues include 'inefficiencies of the electronic health record, complexities of documentation requirements mandated by CMS, and responsibility placed on the physician to complete tasks that are better achieved by team-based care,' Ripp said." Inefficiencies is putting it mildly. Just for me to do my work requires me to run 5 pieces of software, competently, including adding specific coding to exams for billing purposes, checking codes for accuracy along with a bunch of other fuckery and that's even before we get to the software to take x-rays. And to add to the fun, there's a constant level of change in those codes, our procedures, and software upgrades.

"Researchers are now exploring whether some cheap and common drugs have side effects that could help people fight off the flu and other lung infections."

"Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, says many cancer deaths could be averted if these demographic gaps were narrowed. He discussed the future of cancer prevention, screening and treatment, as the American Cancer Society lays out its vision for cancer control in a series of articles that are being published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians starting Tuesday."

"Nelson, who practices internal medicine, is the medical director of the Highland Human Rights Clinic, part of the Alameda County health system. A few times each week, he and his team conduct medical evaluations of people who are seeking asylum in the United State… The doctors listen to the patients' stories. They search for signs of trauma. They scrutinize injuries, including electrocution scars, bullet wounds and unset broken bones."

How go the Trade Wars? "Here's a list of goods whose prices are already up or are expected to rise shortly…"

"The proportion of American workers who quit their jobs in May reached the highest level in 17 years, a sign that more people are confident they can find a new job, probably at higher pay… Businesses advertised fewer jobs in May than the previous month, but the tally of open positions still outnumbered the ranks of the unemployed for the second time in the last two decades, the Labor Department said Tuesday." In a normal economy this would mean increases in pay as companies compete for quality employees. Instead, we have anemic wage growth.

"Now, 10 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia are taking on the issue with an investigation into eight national fast-food chains. At issue are 'noncompete' clauses that limit where employees can work after they leave." Why do fast-food companies need noncompete clauses or no-poach agreements for their rank-and-file employees? Their claim of "training" doesn't wash. It's not like people are getting advanced degrees for this work.

"The NFL had intended for its rule (regarding the National Anthem) to achieve a resolution… But if it was resolution the league was seeking, the move failed." And it failed in a predictable way. Hall of Fame is coming up, guys. Time to get it together.

"A member of a German neo-Nazi gang was jailed for life on Wednesday for her part in the murders of 10 people during a seven-year campaign of racially-motivated violence."

"Two weeks after arriving in the US seeking asylum, E, 23, found herself in a detention cell in San Luis, Arizona, bleeding profusely and begging for help from staff at the facility. She was four months pregnant and felt like she was losing her baby. She had come to the US from El Salvador after finding out she was pregnant, in the hopes of raising her son in a safer home." So much for the vaunted "sanctity of life" stance of the pro-lifers. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Several naturalized U.S. citizens in Tennessee have allegedly being told by the state’s online voter registration service that they are not citizens at all and thus have been barred from voting."

"Trump wasted no time, on Wednesday accusing fellow NATO ally Germany of being beholden to Russia because it buys energy from Moscow, in pointed remarks ahead of a summit of the military alliance in Brussels." Projection, it's never pretty.

"President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort asked a federal judge on Tuesday to keep him in a jail about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., after receiving permission earlier in the day to move closer." I wonder if he realized that it wouldn't be the cushy jail (as far as these things go) that he's in now and he may have had to share a toilet with someone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Linkee-poo Tuesday

Busy morning and last night.

"An elite team of Thai Navy SEALs and foreign rescue divers brought out the final four boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave near the Thai-Myanmar border, extracting the team through a labyrinth of tight passages after they spent two weeks trapped in darkness."

"Trauma in childhood echoes through generations, according to new research that could have implications for thousands of migrant children recently separated from parents at the U.S. border." Also a part of institutional racism.

The rich are just like you and me. "NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with New York Times reporter Jim Tankersley, about people rushing to finalize divorces so they can deduct alimony payments before the new tax law kicks in."

"Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, according to the data." Wow. So now I wondering how many of those accounts that "suddenly disappear" when some people call them out go away because the user deletes their tweets (or accounts) or go away because Twitter identifies them as trolls and suspends their account? But, so why is Twitter getting more aggressive? Could it finally be political pressure is getting to them? "Legitimate human users -- the only ones capable of responding to the advertising that is the main source of revenue for the company -- are central to Twitter’s stock price and broader perceptions of a company that has struggled to generate profits." Yeah, I think that's more the case. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Hate breds hate. "Woman beats a 91-year-old Mexican man with a brick, tells him to 'go back to your country'."

"A California federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration's efforts to detain immigrant families for long terms, calling it a 'cynical attempt' to undo a longstanding court settlement. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said the federal government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits detaining children who crossed the border illegally for extended periods."

"President Trump signed full pardons on Tuesday for Oregon cattle ranchers Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son, Steven Hammond, 49, whose long-running dispute with the federal government ended with them going to prison for arson." So much for the rule of law.

Judge Kavanaugh is a product of the Federalist Society whose sole purpose is to develop young lawyers and school them thoroughly in conservative thought. That may seem to be a benign cause, but it most definitely is not. These lawyers and now justices have a severely warped interpretation of both laws and the Constitution, one that most lawyers, after studying the actual law, could not support. These people where bred to repeal Roe v Wade, strike down anything that came close to encroaching on the second amendment, support corporations and the idea of corporate personhood over the rights of citizens and the general public, to roll back civil rights protections, and to denigrate the accused and limit their rights before the law.

"Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade." Let me call bullshit on that one. While under consideration for the Appeals Court, Kavanaugh refused to answer questions about his personal belief on Roe v. Wade and gave the answer that it was "settled law." Well, for the Supreme Court, it is not "settled law" and they can change it.

"'Provide sitting presidents with a temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations,' Kavanaugh proposed." Although he thinks impeachment is still an option (which is good, because that's actually spelled out in the goddamn Constitution). No one is above the law.

Better double-up on the tin-foil in your hat. "And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility… What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect." Well, not missing from some of our's imaginations. Although it is boggling to contemplate, even for people schooled in cloak and dagger thinking. It may also be difficult for two generations brought up in an era that can be exemplified by the over-the-top and ridiculously easy to stop R (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

Monday, July 9, 2018

For being where no man/one has gone there sure are a lotta people hanging about

Okay, so, I've seen this Shatner versus University professor thing for a little bit. Thoughts. Judging historical works through the lens of modern mores is perfectly legit. Running these works of the cannon through the modern lens is EXACTLY how art works. You can't do otherwise.

Now, to say we should then "change" the works, I disagree with. I have a long history of watching neutered Warner Brothers cartoons because of Puritanical thoughts of the 70s, do not mess with it. That doesn't mean you can't bookend the works with modern statements pointing out the flaws. My DVD of wartime cartoons does this very well. Leonard Maltin states specifically that the cartoons have racism, agreement with such racism was expected from the contemporaneous audience, but this doesn't make it right, and they weren't going to whitewash it out.

So, you can still find Laura Ingalls Wilder books in your libraries and bookstores. They have the often cited addendum to one line, but are still filled with the casual racism of the author (and the intended audience). They are classics of American Literature, which does not impart some sort of Holiness and infallibility.

The question was should a current award for children's literature continue to carry Laura Ingalls Wilder's name given the current social mores? And the answer is an emphatic no, it should not.

As a writer of SF and Fantasy, our community continues to struggle with this question. It was only last year (or the year before, sorry, past 50 and they start to run together) the statue for the World Fantasy Awards was changed from a bust of HP Lovecraft (who was wildly racists, even in the times he lived in). There are still new words being fed into the ravenous maw of Cthulhu, the universe he created. But these new words are written from a different perspective, and while they may describe racism as practiced in the time the story is set, the works themselves are not racist (for the most part). This may be a fine hair to split, but it's one I think that can and should be split.

Our past is racist. Shit, our present is still fucking racists. But that doesn't mean that we, ourselves, have to be racists.

Oh, while Star Trek did tackle racism (and nationalism) and misogyny, and was considered "progressive" by the contemporaneous standards, it still exhibited a good deal of racism, misogyny, and unexamined privilege. I think Shatner understands this and is attempting to preserve his own space and importance. It could also be a little bit about the worry that those of use growing older have of becoming irrelevant.

Linkee-poo, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground

"Rescuers working at a cave site in northern Thailand have brought four more boys out of the flooded cave system Monday, according to a witness working with the rescue team, leaving four boys and their coach still inside." That's good, because more rain is coming.

"There's new evidence to support a decades-old strategy for preventing the tick bites that lead to all sorts of nasty diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever… The remedy involves spraying your clothing with permethrin — a pesticide that's chemically similar to extracts of the flowering chrysanthemum plant."

Why do we need any food inspectors? "Two hundred twelve people have been infected with an intestinal parasite in four upper Midwest states after reportedly eating pre-packed vegetable trays under the Del Monte Fresh Produce brand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trays were purchased at various retailers including Kwik Trip or Kwik Star convenience stores."

"The administration said it was withholding $10.4 billion in the so-called 'risk adjustment' payments (for Obamacare coverage), citing a district court ruling from earlier this year in New Mexico. While the administration says it is required to stop payments because of the court decision, insurers say the move could result in higher premiums for millions of individuals and small businesses."

"British police say a woman in England has died after being exposed to Novichok, the nerve agent that also poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter there in March." Nerve agents typically don't last long in the environment (you really don't want to poison your own troops as they advance). So it's unlikely that their exposure was from the original attack. This could be someone attempted to dispose of evidence/their excess stock and these people blundered into it's effect area. It could be an attempt to sew confusion (random victim to throw suspicion off of the Russians). Or there was another attack planned and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This won't end well in any case.

Oh, and how goes Brexit these day? "The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May has been plunged into turmoil with the resignation of two senior Cabinet ministers in a deep split over her Brexit strategy… The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, quit on Monday, hours after the resignation late on Sunday night of the minister in charge of Brexit negotiations, David Davis." Still a dumpster fire I see. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Xeni Jardin)

"'The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement,' the woman who accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of groping her years ago said in a statement on Friday." Yep, not even Justin Trudeau is going to make it out of this cleanly. Which isn't a bad thing.

"On Friday, dumped out with the least desirable news of the week came word that a lawsuit arguing that Detroit students were being denied an education had been dismissed." Um, no. One of the basic functions of the US Government is the education of the youth. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"But the election of Donald Trump prompted a major backlash because of fears he’d downplay scientific conclusions in his policies. And his picks to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior have been especially troubling to scientists. Those fears have inspired hundreds of scientists nationwide to run in the midterm elections." Women and scientists, and scientists who are women. One, I think it's great more people are getting involved (on all sides). Two, while any help is good, IMHO it should be the parties who are developing the talent, giving practical advice, and supporting local candidates. And while most of these stories focus on the candidates, there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to be involved, want to help their communities, that don't involve elections. Only some of those mean working for candidates. Most of your local governments have many boards and committees whose members are appointed to serve. And their work is also damn important. Politicians need help for both office support and policy support, those are hired positions (if the politician has a budget to do hiring).

"(Janelle) Bynum, who is the only black representative in the Oregon state House, was canvassing in her district ahead of Independence Day, as NPR's Tanya Ballard Brown reported. The lawmaker said she was typing notes in a driveway when a deputy from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office approached her." Politicking while black. Fortunately the sheriff has a brain. While it's sad that someone called the police on her, the officer handled it well.

"A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly… Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations." Heinous fuckery.

How go the Trade Wars? "The American Soybean Association (ASA) said in a statement that soybean farmers 'rely heavily' on exports to China, and said that they lobbied Trump to reconsider the tariffs." It's all fun and games until it's your pocketbook. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Tosh, a third-generation farmer who almost always votes Republican, said he’s voting this fall for Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, in part because Trump’s trade wars are hurting his family business — a sizable one with some 400 employees and 30,000 pigs. The cost of steel needed for new barns is up, Tosh said, and the expanding pork market stands to suffer under new tariffs." (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was followed to his car Saturday by protesters who hurled both personal insults and political rhetoric at him while he left a Kentucky restaurant." To my fellow resisters, be on point, be critical, don't threaten them personally (unless they're actual Nazis).

"President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, 'should cooperate' with prosecutors, and that if he tells the truth, Trump has nothing to worry about." This is the old "sound confident to sway public opinion" tactic. Considering that Mr. Giuliani sounds a little more sober in these interviews (I've only read the article, I didn't see his performance) as compared to 1 month ago, I really don't believe his protestations. I think he's realized he has his own legal jeopardy here. Also, note how the language has changed and now we're at "'It's our, it's our firm belief, and we think nothing contradicts this, that the president did nothing wrong,' Giuliani said." We're a few weeks away from it being a "it's not my fault" story.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Linkee-poo is looking to see if it was you

Just a note that a posted a second set of links late yesterday.

"A Virginia federal court has made a decision that photographers won’t be happy to hear: the court ruled that finding a photo on the Internet and then using it without permission on a commercial website can be considered fair use." Yeah, I don't think that's going to hold up on appeal. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Spiders have no wings, but they can take to the air nonetheless. They’ll climb to an exposed point, raise their abdomens to the sky, extrude strands of silk, and float away. This behavior is called ballooning." And it requires using the Earth's electrical fields. The world is weirder than you think.

"Astrophotographer Damian Peach created an animation showing the dramatic effects of the global dust storm that has plunged the Martian surface deep into darkness."

"Three days ago, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration teamed up with NASA in the hopes of finding leftover chunks of a meteorite which slammed into the ocean way back in March. NASA had a pretty good idea of where the space rock impacted the ocean, but actually finding any debris was still a long shot. Now it’s beginning to look like the expedition has paid off."

Just because it's been linked to by lots in my timelines, "A pride of lions ate a group of poachers who broke into a game reserve earlier this week in South Africa to hunt rhinoceroses." Well done, ladies.

"In one recent survey, Wayne Chappelle and Lillian Prince, researchers for the School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio, drew on interviews that they and other colleagues conducted with 141 intelligence analysts and officers involved in remote combat operations to assess their emotional reactions to killing. Far from exhibiting a sense of carefree detachment, three-fourths reported feeling grief, remorse and sadness. Many experienced these 'negative, disruptive emotions' for a month or more. According to another recent study conducted by the Air Force, drone analysts in the 'kill chain' are exposed to more graphic violence — seeing 'destroyed homes and villages,' witnessing 'dead bodies or human remains' — than most Special Forces on the ground." Yes Virginia, drone pilots also get PTSD. There is no clean way of killing. And just like other examples of PTSD, some people get it, some don't. While there's been a contemporaneous connection between PTSD and TBI, PTSD was never really about being "shell shocked." As they say, it's a "moral wound." Something that betrayed your inner moral compass either by act, or failure to act. Modern warfare, by design, is cruel and vicious. Part of engaging in war is to break the opposition's spirit for fighting. Tanks were originally designed to be so frightening that opposing troops would immediately surrender. If you have been here a long time you've seen me pontificate that drone warfare is perfect for the "War on Terror" (also note, I strongly disagree with how our drone program has been handled). When done well, while not "surgical" it is precise and it has the elements of shock and surprise. But that psychological impact isn't a precise effect either. Both sides experience the trauma. It's just that hopefully you've trained your side to be accustomed to the kind of warfare you are engaging in. Unfortunately there is very little training you can do to handle killing another person, when you see them as a person, even in self-defense. (Grokked from Sheila)

How go the Trade Wars? "The (Chinese) government said previously it would hit more than 500 US export items — including cars and major agricultural goods such as soybeans and meat — worth the same as the Chinese products targeted by the United States." And then we get to, "But Trump… described the potential escalation to reporters aboard Air Force One: 'Thirty-four, and then you have another 16 in two weeks and then, as you know, we have 200 billion in abeyance and then after the 200 billion we have 300 billion in abeyance. OK?' Trump said. 'So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300.'…That amount is higher than an earlier threat from Trump to target as much as $450 billion of Chinese exports. It's also bigger than the $506 billion of goods that the United States imported from China last year." Yeah, so we're going to somehow impose tariffs on more trade products than what we import, let that one sink in a little.

"In 2017 nearly every stock market around the world was up, and the term 'synchronized global growth' was trending among investors. Now with markets around the world teetering on correction levels — from Argentina and Brazil to Germany, India and China — and White House officials saying President Donald Trump will proceed with his trade war regardless of stock market impact, many wealthy investors see the stock market hitting a short-term wall and they are increasing their focus on short-term investments." (Grokked from N. K. Jemisin)

"Before he resigned on Thursday, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was facing new questions about whether aides deleted sensitive information about his meetings from his public schedule and potentially violated the law in doing so… Last summer one of his senior schedulers, Madeline G. Morris, was fired by Mr. Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff, Kevin Chmielewski, who said he let her go because she was questioning the practice of retroactively deleting meetings from the calendar. Mr. Chmielewski has emerged as a harsh critic of Mr. Pruitt after a bitter falling out that led to his departure from the agency as well."

"The economy has now been adding jobs for nearly 8 years — its longest streak on record. The U.S. is considered at near full employment, and the biggest challenge in the job market is the lack of available workers — a record 6.7 million jobs remain unfilled. In many industries, including trucking, construction, and information technology, this labor shortage is becoming increasingly acute."

"Republican lawmakers who went to Russia seeking a thaw in relations received an icy reception from Democrats and Kremlin watchers for spending the Fourth of July in a country that interfered in the U.S. presidential election and continues to deny it." Russian state TV mocked them. On twitter at least two of them tweeted out photos of them at the capital listening to fireworks (no, I'm not kidding). (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

"Records linking children to their parents have disappeared, and in some cases have been destroyed, according to two officials of the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members." But it's not their fault, at least according to them. "'Any confusion is due to a broken immigration system and court orders. It’s not here,' (Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services) said." Nope, Sec. Azar, I'm pretty sure it's your fuckup. Also note, the rank and file workers are stepping up to do the job. You know, the people the GOP vilify as lazy.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Linkee-poo late edition

So much shit, it couldn't hold till the next day.

"Temperatures that hit around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Glasgow, Scotland, last week were more than the "weatherproof" roofing material on the city's Science Centre could withstand — it began melting, dripping black goo down the side of the building, reports the BBC… In the U.S., it was Forest Hill Road in Lancaster County, Pa., that was melting in the heat." The Southern Hemisphere has been dealing with this for almost a decade now. But now it's finally here in the Northern Hemisphere. We're boned. Time for Fox News to tell us because it'll snow by Christmas that global climate change isn't real.

"Uranus's strange climate and unusual tilt could be explained by an impact with a huge object, according to new research."

"The PacifiCorp Coal Valuation Study concluded that coal plants owned by Wyoming’s largest utility aren’t always the cheapest power source for customers, particularly compared to renewables. That finding runs counter to assumptions that proximity to coal mines always drives down the cost of coal power, compared with other options." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Swiss Re Ltd. will not provide insurance or reinsurance to businesses with more than 30% thermal coal exposure starting Monday." That might leave a mark. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"The study looked at 17,260 Android apps and specifically paid attention to the media files being sent from them. As Business Insider summarizes it, 'The researchers found no instance in which these apps turned on the phone’s microphone unprompted and sent audio. But they did find that some apps were sending screen recordings and screenshots to third parties.'"

"'In the early days of the automobile, it was drivers' job to avoid you, not your job to avoid them,' says Peter Norton, a historian at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. 'But under the new model, streets became a place for cars — and as a pedestrian, it's your fault if you get hit.'… One of the keys to this shift was the creation of the crime of jaywalking. Here's a history of how that happened." (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

How go the Trade Wars? "On Friday, the world's top two economies are due to exchange fire by hitting $34 billion of each other's exports with steep new tariffs, the first moves in what may become a devastating cycle of retaliation."

"U.S. whiskey distillers are fretting over the steep new tariffs they're facing around the world. They're being punished as U.S. trading partners retaliate against the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now, the distillers fear that a long boom in U.S. whiskey exports could be coming to an end."

"Just in time for that Fourth of July burger, tariffs are hitting U.S. beef exports this week. And tariffs mean lots of prime cuts could get dumped back on the domestic market, lowering prices. Symons, and other ranchers across the West, are bracing to lose money — but many still proudly support President Donald Trump." As long as it hurts those "other people" more, they'll back Trump until they're eating shoe leather. "'We need to solve these trade problems,' (Kent Bacus, head of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association) says. 'But we don't need to do it on the backs of America's farmers and ranchers.'"

"For example, Fed policymakers had a wide-ranging discussion on whether the recently slim spread between short- and long-term interest rates might be a sign of an impending recession… Policymakers also took in a special presentation by Fed staff on another potential indicator of recession: the spread between the Fed’s current policy rate and the expected rate several quarters ahead derived from futures markets… The document released on Thursday did not indicate whether policymakers took either the yield curve or the information from the special staff presentation as pointing toward an impending recession."

"When Donald Trump visits Britain next week, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to face a harsh reality: Brexit makes Britain more dependent than ever on an alliance with the most unpredictable U.S. president in living memory." He's just not that into you.

"British police say two people in their 40s are in critical condition after being contaminated by the same deadly nerve agent used to attack a former Russian spy there in March. They both became sick on Saturday in Amesbury, England."

"We already knew President Donald Trump had thoughts about possibly maybe invading Venezuela. But it turns out those thoughts were persistent and it took a lot for the commander in chief to accept that going against the wishes of all the U.S. allies in the region was perhaps not the best way forward."

"In that document, the U.S. pledges security guarantees for North Korea, while North Korea commits to 'work toward a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.'… There are doubts, though, about how serious Pyongyang is about doing that." This is my shocked face (I've been saying that a lot lately).

"Despite all the Democrats' special election wins, high voter turnout in primaries and polls showing strong party enthusiasm heading into the midterms, the fact remains that Democrats are still stuck at their lowest level of power in nearly a century." It's called RedMap, Rep. Ryan. Might want to study that. Again, the Democratic Party needs to build the ground to stand on. Right now it's in a haphazard manner. They need to develop talent, learn a lesson from Obama and get a strong ground game going, and they need to start holding to their principles. The right, at this time, will not negotiate. You lose nothing by holding on to your principles. Win the local elections, win the state elections, and the national elections will be much easier. Right now from the inside and out it appears they think winning national elections will gain them the local ones. Also, learn how to play the press. This is an article all about how the Democratic Party doesn't know how to win… while they're in the process of winning.

Why does the resistance call people Nazis? "Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has called on a Nazi candidate to drop out of a Chicago-area congressional district race, breaking with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has urged voters to write in a candidate or to vote Democrat… Rauner on Tuesday called for Holocaust denier and self-avowed Nazi Arthur Jones to drop out of the race, according to WCIA TV… When asked if voters should instead cast a ballot for the Democratic candidate, Rauner replied, 'No.'" Because they're fucking Nazis. And this governor can't bring himself to tell people to vote for the other candidate. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

"For months, ProPublica and FRONTLINE have been working to identify the white supremacists at the center of violent demonstrations across the country, including the infamous Unite the Right rally last August in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Rise Above Movement, a Southern California group that expresses contempt for Muslims, Jews, and immigrants, became a focus of that effort. ProPublica and FRONTLINE were able to quickly identify a number of the group’s leaders… But one seeming member of RAM was harder to nail down… In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Miselis works as a systems engineer for Northrop Grumman, the giant defense contractor with a plant in Redondo Beach, California." (Grokked from Chang)

"The move to denaturalize some citizens is just the latest in a larger drive by Republicans—led by key figures in the Trump White House—to preserve a white majority in American politics… What Donald Trump brings is an explicit effort to write nonwhite immigrants out of the body politic, removing as many as possible and presenting the rest as a suspect class." (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

Resist. "Activists in two separate protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies were arrested at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday — one group unfurling a banner calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while in another act of defiance, a woman climbed the statue's base to protest immigrant family separations."

"President Trump on Thursday tweeted that Congress must pass immigration laws that would allow U.S. authorities to summarily kick out would-be immigrants 'just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.'" Damn kids, get offa my lawn! The president is an idiot.

"The U.S. government is reviewing the cases of nearly 3,000 children in its care who say they were separated from their parents when they crossed the U.S. border as it rushes to meet a court imposed deadline to reunite migrant families, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar… Azar also said that the traditional method of verifying parental claims over a child, through documents like a birth certificate, will take too long. So the agency will be conducting DNA tests by taking a cheek swab of every child before matching him or her with a parent." That number of kids separate keeps going up. Since we took documentation away from the people as they crossed, it'll be difficult to use documents like birth certificates (which they may not have any in the first place). And why didn't we keep accurate records as we separated children to make reunification easy?

"Last week, ABC News’s Matthew Mosk and John Santucci reported that several wealthy Russians were “granted unusual access” to Trump inauguration parties back in January 2017 — and that Mueller was seeking to find out why." (Waves to my Russian friends)

"The Senate is about to confirm the man who would take over the Environmental Protection Agency should Scott Pruitt step down. Andrew Wheeler, an energy lobbyist who has worked for the Senate’s biggest climate change denier, faces a confirmation vote for deputy administrator, the number two position at the agency, as soon as Tuesday." But maybe this guy won't be as much of a grifter as the previous. Yeah, not holding my breath either. Policy wise I don't expect any change. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

You know how conservative love them some veterans? How they even turned the 4 of July into some militaristic fetish worship of them (hint, it is their holiday only in the sense it is all of ours holiday)? Apparently not so much. "Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned." Also note, these immigrants are "doing it the right way." (Grokked from Chang)

Linkee-poo tries to wrap its head around a Monday on a Thursday

"When Jaissaan Lovett graduated last month as his high school's first black valedictorian, he prepared a speech — but he says his principal wouldn't let him give it. So someone else stepped in who wanted to hear what he had to say: the mayor of Rochester, New York, Lovely Warren. Not only that, she gave him a much wider audience for his message." (Grokked from N.K. Jemisin)

"The energy storage projects are being built to avoid the need to keep three Calpine gas-fired plants running as RMR resources and to shore up congestion issues in the region… 'Storage at this scale is likely now cheaper than the total cost to run the gas plants,' Alex Eller, senior energy research analyst at Navigant, told Utility Dive via email… The announcement includes what is set to be the largest lithium-ion battery installation of its kind: a 300 MW, 1,200 MWh storage…" And there are some who don't think we've achieved the goal of "better, cheaper battery storage" yet. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as 'a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.' But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view." (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"Google has confirmed that private emails sent and received by Gmail users can sometimes be read by third-party app developers, not just machines." They know what you did last Summer. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Can't remember if I posted about this before. "The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is creating a new task force. Its goal: to examine what they say are bad naturalization cases, according to Director L. Francis Cissna’s June announcement… As a result, the organization expects to hire dozens of lawyers and immigration officers in the coming weeks to find U.S. citizens they say should not have been naturalized, to revoke their citizenship, and then eventually deport them." Don't think this can affect you? Okay, answer this question, who says they'll only do it for people still alive and they've already floated the idea that "just because you were born here doesn't automatically make you a citizen" (and you thought that was just about "anchor babies"). Also note, they already have the power to do this, they just didn't exercise it unless given cause to re-examine a case (such as for Nazis fleeing justice). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The head of Poland's Supreme Court defiantly arrived at work on Wednesday in Warsaw, rejecting a law by the right-wing government that aims at forcing her and many other top judges into retirement."

"California Republicans are banking on a ballot measure this fall that the embattled state party believes can stave off a Democratic wave in November — and perhaps even spark a GOP revival in the run-up to 2020… Carl DeMaio, the former San Diego city councilmember announced this week he’s raised more than $1.1 million online for his campaign to repeal the 12-cent a gallon gas tax backed by Gov. Jerry Brown — and polls suggest it may be heading for a November victory." Grasping at straws.

"One of the facilities (DoHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen) visited, in Los Fresnos, houses parents whose children were taken from them under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy. Many of the detainees there are women, and many desperately wanted to speak with Nielsen. Instead, they were moved to a distant soccer field, where they shouted to Nielsen for help but were too far away for her to hear them." Such caring people. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer, I think)

"At least 10 Canadian fishing boats from New Brunswick have been intercepted in the past two weeks off the coast of Maine by U.S. Border Patrol agents looking for undocumented immigrants, The Canadian Press reported Wednesday." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he doesn’t think the federal government can do much to respond to school shootings… The Kentucky Republican also said that improvements to school security might be the best solution — though, he added, Congress could do little on that front either." Then, with all due respect Majority Leader, we really don't fucking need you at all. This is your good damn job. This is your fucking oath. You can do things, it's just you've taken all those solutions off the table because of money, you whore. You've sold us out. You don't deserve to be voted out, you deserve the fate of all those in governance who failed the social contract. Sad thing is it probably won't happen to you. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

"President Donald Trump plans to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin at the start of their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, according to a person familiar with the plans, before allowing other aides to join the highly anticipated encounter with the Russian leader." You don't want witnesses to the bribery or your annual review. He does realize we all can see this, right? (Grokked from Chang)

"Spokespeople for online reputation management companies in the two countries confirmed that they had been paid to write articles attempting to whitewash Trump’s ties to Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who, with former Russian trade minister Tevfik Arif, collaborated with the Trump Organization on numerous real estate deals from New York to the former Soviet Union." It doesn't take a lot of money to do it, though. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)