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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Linkee-poo, come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be, as a friend, as a friend, as an known enemy

Spurious correlations. For the fun of it, and because it's getting close to a major election and this time there are many competitors in the disinformation field (sorry, my Russian friends). As they say, "figures don't lie, but liars sure can figure." (Grokked from Dan)

"The Trump administration unveiled final regulations that weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on Monday, just three months after the United Nations warned of the “unprecedented” decline in biodiversity around the world." Because of course they did. (Grokked from somebody, sorry, lost the link)

This is what's called, "willful negligence." "Two of the government’s top scientists detected the first signs of the emerging opioid crisis back in 2006 and tried to warn health officials and the public of the coming catastrophe, according to a confidential document obtained by POLITICO… The effort didn’t lead to any real action, and the toll of death and addiction climbed. More than 133,000 people have died from prescription opioids since then — and hundreds of thousands more from street drugs including heroin and illicit fentanyl." And just as we've geared up to fight the opioid/heroin crisis, the taste of drug users is changing back to meth. Again, we need to fight a war against addiction, not against a specific drug. But fixing the systemic sociological and economic issues that lead a large portion of our population to use and become addicted to drugs is a huge struggle which would be exceptionally painful (mainly to the rich and privileged). So that won't happen. And we'll continue to fight the last battle and never make progress.

The Amazon is burning and it's like the world decided that vaping was safer than smoking. "Fires raging in Brazil's Amazon rainforest have hit a record high number this year, according to new data from the country's space research agency, as concerns grow over President Jair Bolsonaro's management of the environment." Management?

"When you’re looking at a search result with hundreds of options on Amazon, the 'Amazon’s Choice' label may give you a sense of relief." Don't you believe it. Yes, I've even found better pricing on the exact same products as the "choice." Amazon is not your friend. (Grokked from John)

"The number of investors with at least $1 million in their 401(k) accounts rose to 196,000 at the end of the second quarter, up from 180,000 the previous quarter and surpassing the previous record of 187,400 reached in the third quarter of 2018, according to Fidelity." Again, the recommendation is to have $2M at retirement, "The average 401(k) account balance was $106,000…". Average, which includes all those super savers. Also, as of 2016 there were 55 million 401(k) accounts, so 196K is 0.3% of all 401(k) plans. We're fucked when it comes to retirement.

So when Net Neutrality died they told us, "these companies would never mess with customers' connections?" Really? "Researchers from Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted more than 650,000 tests in the U.S. and found that from early 2018 to early 2019, AT&T Inc. throttled Netflix Inc. 70% of the time and Google’s YouTube service 74% of the time. But AT&T didn’t slow down Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video at all." (Grokked from John)

"An Australian appeals court Wednesday upheld convictions against Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children. The decision brought cheers from scores of abuse survivors and victims' advocates demonstrating outside court."

How go the Trade Wars? "The tariffs Trump has already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if Trump carries through on his plan to levy tariffs on another $300 billion of US imports from China, the bank added." Are we having fun yet? And then there's this, "Last week, as recession fears spiked, the Trump administration delayed tariffs on consumer goods such as smartphones, toys and video game consoles until December 15. Trump's advisers warned him these new tariffs could effectively 'ruin Christmas,' people familiar with the matter previously told CNN." Remember all those Xmas Specials about somebody stealing/cancelling Christmas? Looks like it was Trump after all.

How goes Brexit? "Johnson will aim to persuade Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron who he’s meeting on Thursday, to try to influence the wider EU to change a crucial part of the Brexit deal." Yeah, that'll work.

"Italy’s prime minister resigned on Tuesday, throwing a twist in far-right, anti-immigrant leader Matteo Salvini’s power play to get early elections." When Berlusconi looks moderate and reasonable by comparison, there's a problem.

The stories we tell ourselves. "What are the stories that America has told about itself? Historian Greg Grandin… talks about his book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, and the old idea about limitless growth that influenced American policy and psychology." The On The Media podcast on our great civilization, and how our zeitgeist about our founding and our mandate are based on intentional (racist) lies. It's a two part podcast (as most of On the Media's podcasts, they report several stories around a central theme). The first part is about India's development of their own creation myth, and then they dissect America's Frontier Theory/creation myth and how the stories we tell ourselves are convenient lies to protect the powerful, even when those stories change. Highly recommended listening.

"The U.S. government will not give flu vaccines to migrant families being held in detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the decision Tuesday, weeks before the flu season begins." Calculated and intentional cruelty.

"According to an affidavit from a Miami FBI agent filed in federal court, Lin was not shy about putting his violent threats in writing. Between May and August this year, Lin allegedly fired off a litany of hateful, pro-Trump, pro-Hitler, and violent Facebook messages directed toward Hispanics living in Miami. Those messages wound up in the hands of the FBI." Why, there's almost a connection here. Your choice if it's a connection between Hitler lovers and Trump supporters, or the mentally deranged and Trump supporters. I guess you could choose both. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"Israeli officials on Wednesday offered a muted response to remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump who said American Jews who vote for the Democratic Party were 'disloyal.'" Another step down into the abyss.

Collateral damage or targeted response? "Twitter announced on Monday it had removed 936 accounts it said belonged to a state-backed Chinese effort to sow discord and undermine protests in Hong Kong… That was news to Luka Ivezic, a 24-year-old student at Kings College London, whose account - @TechPoliticist - had been suspended, and appeared on the list of those said to be run by, and out of, China… Mr Ivezic, who was born in Croatia and says he has never been to China, recently completed his thesis. The subject? 'Disinformation, and how artificial intelligence can empower the tools that China and Russia have to misinform us.'"

Apparently, the president was serious about buying Greenland. Stupidest timeline ever.

"Less than two weeks before his scheduled trip to Denmark, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has postponed his visit to Copenhagen after the Danish Prime Minister disputed his interest in buying Greenland as 'absurd.'" Somehow we have now alienated Denmark.

Speaking of Greenland… "Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By season’s end, about 440 billion tons of ice — maybe more — will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet, experts estimate. That’s enough to flood the entire state of Pennsylvania under water about a foot deep." The word you're looking for is "unprecedented." We're boned.

"A sudden cascade of events is challenging President Donald Trump's boasts of an unprecedented American winning streak that is a critical component of his reelection salesmanship." It's not a "sudden cascade." It's called "chickens coming home to roost."

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Linkee-poo, will you walk away from a fool and his money?

The Hugo Award Winners.

"India's second lunar exploration mission has entered the Moon's orbit, nearly a month after blasting off, officials have said."

The Hidden Brain podcast on the affects of nature. "For more than 30 years, psychologist Ming Kuo has studied the effects of nature on humans. She came to this field of research not from an interest in greenery, but from a fascination with crowding and noise — the negative impacts of urban environments." While scientists are "always surprised" that humans respond in the same ways animals do, I'm always surprise that scientists continually forget that humans are animals.

"The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the sudden emergence of severe lung disease linked to vaping in 14 states." Look, even breathing the air causes lung damage (but your lungs are built to withstand most of it, our regular air pollution however can overwhelm your defenses). Adding particulates of any kind will do more damage (including breathing treatments, although the benefits of those outweigh the risks).

"A study published Monday suggests that fluoride consumed by pregnant women can decrease the IQ of their children. No single study provides definitive answers, but the latest research on this controversial topic will no doubt stir debate… In general, there was a small difference for any individual child."

"It's unusual — but not unique — for a London restaurant to turn away diners who have food allergies. But almost every type of restaurant there asks patrons about allergies. Restaurants in the United Kingdom are generally far more vigilant, in this regard, than restaurants in the United States." See, if they actually did something about it that would be fantastic. Unfortunately it's usually a prelude to denying service.

"A French couple is facing years of jail time after stealing almost 90 pounds of sand from Sardinia, the Italian island known for its picturesque beaches. The alleged thieves told police they were taking the sand home because they wanted to keep it as a 'souvenir,' Italian media reported Monday." Like you do.

"Five years after Eric Garner’s death, his killer, police officer Daniel Pantaleo, has been fired. The Daily Beast was first to report the news, citing a senior law-enforcement official." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The man charged in the El Paso Walmart mass shooting is on suicide watch, authorities say." Is "suicide watch" the new "the cat is on the roof" Kremlinology?

Coming to America (not the woman, but the legal jeopardy)… "A young rape survivor who'd been accused of inducing an abortion and previously sentenced to 30 years in prison was acquitted of all charges by an El Salvador judge Monday at the conclusion of a retrial."

Because hate doesn't have a country. "Mobs in India are lynching minorities. Many accuse the Hindu nationalist government of failing to forcefully condemn the violence. Activists have launched a hate crimes hotline in 100 Indian cities."

How got the Trade Wars? "President Trump and his team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. At the same time, the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth." To paraphrase the president and administration, "Everything is fine, no need to worry, but it's totally those others guys' fault for sinking it!"

"A handful of key economic indicators suggest that the United States could be approaching a recession or, at the very least, a period of slower economic growth. Now, it's worth noting that no one is really able to put an exact date on either of those worries. But the White House is downplaying fears of a slowdown as the 2020 election approaches."

"The decision permits Huawei to continue buying products from American companies to support its existing customers. It was made, in part, to minimize disruption in parts of rural America that rely on relatively inexpensive Huawei equipment to carry wireless service in remote areas, Commerce officials said." Waves "hi" from the rural parts of America were sometimes getting even a 3G connection is debatable.

"Home Depot on Tuesday reported sales that missed analysts’ expectations, and it lowered its sales outlook for the year amid fears that the trade war will slow consumer spending." Is that the Jaws' theme I'm hearing?

"A group of 181 CEOs have issued a statement proclaiming the need to help deal with income inequality and working conditions." Someone's been reading history and getting a little worried. Also, for all those shareholders who have been the focus for decades and are now bemoaning any change… yeah, how does executive pay affect your ROI? Think it helps? Or do you see how those executives have been skimming off the top while returning mediocre (at best) returns?

"The yield curve inverted on August 14, which, if you’re like many people, sounds somewhere between impossible to understand and extremely boring. But it sent the financial press into a tizzy of panic that could grab anyone’s attention." Notes that this is not the first time in the past year this has happened. They're just coming closer together now. Also, while the yield curve alone is not a good enough indicator, many of the others are already out there. Including the administration trying to convince us all the "fundamentals are good" (they're not), and academics claiming that "the rules no longer apply" (they do).

How goes Brexit? "Britain would face gridlock at ports; shortages of medicine, fuel and food; and a hard border with Ireland if it left the European Union with no deal, according to a leaked government document." Operation Yellowhammer, subtitled "Bend over and think of England."

"A senior police chief has appealed for political progress in Northern Ireland after bombers tried to lure officers to their deaths… Police said dissident republicans were behind the explosion near Wattlebridge, close to the Irish border, on Monday." Guys, guys, guys, settle down. You've got until Halloween. And then there will be decades after that. You don't want to blow it all before your time. (Grokked from @Ardprest)

"What is Johnson's strategy to make Brexit finally happen?" He is a sociopath and he doesn't fucking care who dies?

"Police officers in California will be required to use lethal force only as a 'necessary' response to a threat — not merely as an 'objectively reasonable' one — under legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday. Under the tighter standard, deadly force is legal only in instances where there are no other options." As it should be.

"The Pentagon today announced it tested a conventional ground-based cruise missile that went more than 500 kilometers, which would have been banned under the now-defunct INF treaty." That was quick. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"In Ohio, a racist 20-year-old man was arrested over the weekend for threatening to attack a Jewish community center, in a post on Instagram… Reardon participated in the 2017 Charlottesville Nazi rally, of which President Trump said 'there are very fine people' on the Nazi side of America." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Skyfall. Just what the fuck did happen in Russia early in August? Also there are reports of radiation detectors both spiking, and then going dark. To my Russian friends, I know it's been a while, but understand the people you are working for will not protect you from their own machinations. In Chernobyl, they gave (former Soviet) soldiers rubber aprons and gloves and then had them throw radioactive rods from the roof back into the chamber. The rubber did nothing, the paper masks they were given did barely anything, and three months later they were all dead. The residents around the station had their thyroids removed (radioactive iodine is a by-product and leads to thyroid cancer). If it suits their needs and mission, they will walk you to the precipice with a smile and a handful of money, and joyously push you off the cliff. Stay safe, my Russian friends.

"Twenty-three Texas towns have been struck by a 'coordinated' ransomware attack, according to the state’s Department of Information Resources." It's all fun and games until it comes to your hometown. Or in conservative-land, when it happens in a deep red state.

"The US military is no longer the primary force in Asia, and missiles from China's rapidly improving military could overwhelm its bases in hours, according to a new report." Oh noes! What'll we ever do? Look, our forward positioned soldiers, sailors and airmen have no chance of repelling an attack from any of the militaries they face. This is why in places like South Korea you get hazard pay, because you are being positioned as cannon fodder. But then we have more troops staged close by for quick redeployment (in South Korea's case, in Japan and Australia). Most of those will be sacrificed to slow the advance enough to bring the full force of our military (which will take several days, at least). This is just the beginning call to increase Pentagon spending (note it is only slightly less than when we were fully prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Yes, it's that budgeting and appropriations time of year again. And if you want to actually reduce the deficit, there's really only one place to go for that without crippling the government.

"Trump's responses Sunday on how hard -- if at all -- he will push Congress when it returns on passing some sort of further gun control laws are a drastic step back from what he was saying even earlier this month." Of course Trump wouldn't support any change. The NRA helped him get elected. He's already in panic mode. Even if he actually wanted to make some change (and that's a huge "if") he wouldn't risk losing the NRA's support. He also has no backbone. So there is that as well. Again, when he (and we) are faced with a choice, look for the one that causes the most chaos, the most disruption, to our society. Trump will always pick that choice.

Monday, August 19, 2019

First day back

And things are a mess. Still working through the emails over vacation, and I have about 20 from today alone. So I wouldn't expect a linkee-poo today, sorry.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Linkee-poo is back

Back from Vacation, so, what's been happening in the world? Oh look, everybody else (well, most people) are starting to see RECESSION blinking lights.

"A new study shows that leading AI models are 1.5 times more likely to flag tweets written by African Americans as 'offensive' compared to other tweets." Skynet is also racist. Computers aren't "better", they're just faster. We're just speeding up racism.

So, how's that "moar guns in schools will help" idea going? "A school district in Ohio is coming under criticism after it was reported that a pair of first graders gained access to an unlocked case containing a firearm and allegedly picked it up, The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday." Ah, I see it's going to plan. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"New York City detectives questioning a boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda. When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA… Although it did not match evidence found at a crime scene, his DNA was entered into the city’s genetic database. To have it removed, the child’s family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year. The boy was 12." What could go wrong?

Former Congressman Joe "Walsh wrote that Trump is 'unfit for office' and listed issues that should make Republicans view Trump as a liability." And so begins the distancing from Trump that the "smart" people will see as necessary to continue to hold power once Trump is gone. Sorry, Joe, you supported this asshole. Just because you realize the jog is up doesn't qualify for a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. "Despite originally supporting the president's campaign, Walsh wrote that Trump has made him see 'the worst and ugliest iteration of views I expressed for the better part of a decade.'" This asshole… (Grokked from Jim Wright, I think)

"For the first time in more than a decade, Rep. Devin Nunes is reporting that he owns a stake in a farm… Nunes, R-Tulare, reported on a newly released financial disclosure form that he owns a Tulare County farm that generates no income for him and is worth less than $15,000." Moo. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer, I think)

"Planned Parenthood, government agencies in blue states and other health providers are expected to tell the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday that they will not comply with its new rules banning recipients of Title X family planning funds from referring women for abortions… That means they will have to leave the Title X program, giving up millions of dollars in funding that had been used to provide low-income women and men with birth control, cancer screenings, HIV and STI [sexually transmitted infections] testing and other reproductive health services." Anti-abortionists don't see this as a loss. But for rural clinics and healthcare, this will be a big impact that will burn through communities for years and take decades to reverse. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Linkee-poo bits

Okay, so we're going to be traveling until the 18th, so don't expect anything regular until then.

"Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing?" The Hidden Brain podcast on tunnel vision.

"AT&T employees took bribes to unlock millions of smartphones, and to install malware and unauthorized hardware on the company's network, the Department of Justice said yesterday." The fuck? (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Rest assured the president will remain as he is, Congress will remain on recess, no new legislation for gun control will actually be proposed or get out of committee, but a lot of people will talk about it. Basically, August is usually a holding pattern as we all suffocate in the stifling political hot-wind.

Isn't that a pleasant thought?

But be excellent to each other. Support your neighbors. Help someone off the ground when they fall. Step by step we will change this. There will be disappointments aplenty to go around. There will also be minor victories. It's not so much a marathon as a long walk.

We're all in this together.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Linkee-poo sets out on adventure

Toni Morrison, and so it goes.

"Story tellers are often gifted with a steady drip of new ideas that could become stories. The often discussed issue, of course, is when that drip of ideas starts to become a distraction from our current project." (Grokked for Steve Brust, I think)

"There and Back Again", an essay by my friend Sarah Goslee. Fuck cancer.

"In hospitals around the world, the snakelike duodenoscope is regarded as an indispensable tool for diagnosing and treating diseases of the pancreas and bile ducts… But these fiber-optic devices have a remarkable drawback: Although they are inserted into the upper part of the small intestine through the mouth and constantly reused, they cannot be sterilized by the usual methods." They also break easily and the lenses get foggy quickly. I've been in procedures were we've gone through 3 to find on that works properly.

"The Philippines has declared a 'national dengue epidemic' after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year."

"Glaciologists at the University of California, Irvine, uncovered subtle movements of Antarctic ice with a kind of measurement called synthetic-aperture radar interferometric phase data. By using a satellite to bounce radar signals off a patch of ice, researchers can determine how quickly that ice is moving toward or away from the satellite. Combining observations of the same spot from different angles reveals the speed and direction of the ice’s motion along the ground." Ah, better maps to tell us just how boned we are.

"French inventor Franky Zapata made history as the first person to cross the English Channel by hoverboard, taking off Sunday from Sangatte on France's northern coast and touching down near Dover, England."

How goes Brexit? "Lawmakers who want to stop no deal are threatening to bring the government down with a vote of no confidence. That would likely trigger an election, but could that happen before Brexit?"

How goes the Trade War? "China’s central bank has firmly rejected the U.S. Treasury’s designation of Beijing as a currency manipulator, saying the accusation has 'seriously' undermined the international financial order and risked further market turmoil."

"The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both fell 3 percent. Oil crashed. The spread between three-month and 10-year Treasury rates—the “yield curve,” which has historically served as a prescient indicator of the economy—inverted to its widest level since 2007, the year the U.S. fell into the Great Recession." Don't worry, this morning (before market open) Dow futures are up.

"North Korea continued to ramp up its weapons demonstrations by firing two presumed short-range ballistic missiles into the sea Tuesday while lashing out at the United States and South Korea for continuing military exercises that the North says could derail fragile nuclear diplomacy."

"The United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 — far greater than what is seen in other wealthy countries." And I want you to look at the graph of the countries with the highest rates of violent gun deaths worldwide, notice anything familiar? Like the ethnicities we see seeking asylum in the US at our Southern Border.

"Facing pressure to take action after the latest mass shooting in the U.S., Ohio’s Republican governor urged the GOP-led state Legislature Tuesday to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats." Yeah, they won't pass here in Ohio.

"US authorities are investigating the shootings in El Paso that left 22 people dead as a possible case of 'domestic terrorism'. How big a threat is this kind of terror and how is the US combating it?… Police believe the white suspect, Patrick Crusius, drove hundreds of miles across Texas to a Hispanic-majority city to carry out his attack."

"Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine heard it during a Sunday night vigil for victims of the mass shooting in Dayton. His speech was partly drowned out by many in the large crowd repeatedly shouting, 'Do something!'" Don't worry, even crippled as it is, the NRA is still a powerful force in politics and (with the help of Russian money) will continue to influence US politics. Nothing important will happen. Not even a s secondary benefit of increased services for mental health.

And I'll just repeat one of my tweets here. "For anyone harboring (or knows someone) the thoughts of, '2nd amendment is there so the government is afraid of us/we can overthrow a tyrant' look at Dayton. He had a semi-automatic AND body armor. Yet police shot him dead in 1 minute. Do you think government is afraid of you?"

"Ten new pro-gun laws will take effect in Texas in four weeks, less than a month after 22 people died in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso." Because Texas. Also, the process is already politicized by the gun-rights side of the argument. They just don't want to cede that ground.

"Cesar Sayoc, the Florida bodybuilder and nightclub bouncer who mailed inoperative pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and media figures seen as critical of President Trump, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a federal judge in New York on Monday."

"Authorities say a 55-year-old Florida man pulled a gun on a late-arriving furniture delivery team, saying he’s 'shot people for less.'" Good thing this member of our well-regulated militia had a gun to protect himself from the surge of late delivery people so he can enjoy more freedom. I'm sure he was just "standing his ground."

"'Service providers, device manufacturers, and application developers are developing and deploying encryption that can only be decrypted by the end user or customer, and they are refusing to provide technology that allows for lawful access by law enforcement agencies in appropriate circumstances,' Barr proclaimed." Uh, yeah, Bob.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign tweeted out a photo of satirical tombstones over the weekend, including one featuring an election opponent’s name, hours after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that claimed the lives of 22 people." Of course he's not worried about the timing or the visual. This is just standard GOP tactics.

"Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night after a photo surfaced on social media, showing a group of young men 'groping and choking' a cardboard cutout of the freshman congresswoman — while wearing shirts that read 'Team Mitch.'"

"The conservative group Judicial Watch on Monday announced a legal challenge to California's new law that prevents President Trump from appearing on the state's 2020 primary ballot unless he discloses his tax returns."

"White House senior adviser Stephen Miller wasn't getting an immigration regulation he wanted. So he sent a series of scorching emails to top immigration officials, calling the department an "embarrassment" for not acting faster… The regulation in question would allow the Department of Homeland Security to bar legal immigrants from obtaining green cards if they receive certain government benefits. The rule will likely be released in the coming days, according to a pair of current and former Trump officials briefed on the timeline." Himler without the whimsy. Remember how the Trump administration came in on a platform of no new regulations? Yeah. That was only about business polluting and economically raping their employees. For everybody else, we're fucked. Conservatives are all about regulations, when it's about you and me.

"In the 2 1/2 years that Trump has been in office, his administration has appointed nearly 1 in 4 of the nation's federal appeals court judges and 1 in 7 of its district court judges."

Monday, August 5, 2019

Linkee-poo knows you'll be calling me soon and if I don't answer I'm calling the moon

"'Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.'" Fourteen Douglas Adams quotes for writers.

Space goes green.

"In Kentucky, running away from home or constantly skipping school could get a kid locked up in a juvenile hall for days. Those acts, called status offenses, aren't exactly serious crimes, but for years Kentucky and other states treated them like they were." And that usually leads to more and more contacts with the criminal justice system later in life.

"Though Adcock practices ancient arts of traditional Chinese medicine, she is an integral part of the hospital's integrative pediatric pain and palliative care — or IP3 — team. It's sort of an emergency response team for pain that combines traditional pharmaceutical pain care with other techniques to ease the suffering of the sick children who populate the rooms here." I'm so old I remember a time when acupuncture/acupressure/dry needling were considered quack remedies that no serious doctor would ever consider. That was what, in the 2000's?

"The metastasis of Sparta worship in the 'fake news' age offers an object lesson in how to rewrite the history of a people and a culture, pressing them into the service of hard-line political movements marked by racism, nationalism, and tyranny. How did the Spartans, who ceased to be a real political force more than 2,100 years ago, come to hold such a widespread, and increasingly pernicious, influence on contemporary society?" Myke Cole on the cancerous myth forged at Thermopylae.

How go the Trade Wars? "Perfect summer storm brewing for stock correction as trade war simmers and more Fed action awaited."

"China responded to Donald Trump’s tariff threat with another escalation of the trade war on Monday, letting the yuan tumble to the weakest level in more than a decade and asking state-owned companies to suspend imports of U.S. agricultural products." Tit meet tat.

"No, China is not paying U.S. farmers $16B through tariffs." Instead the tariffs are out money, as well as the tax dollars (or actually the deficit and debt incurred will be paid with our tax dollars).

The pace of expansion for U.S. services companies fell to its slowest pace in nearly three years, as gauges of business activity and new orders weakened."

"The Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is in lockdown after the government revoked a special status granted to the troubled region." Oh fuckbuckets. Here we go.

"An Arlington police officer aiming at a loose dog coming toward him shot and killed a woman Thursday evening, CBS Dallas reports. The officer wasn't hurt." Well, thank Dog the officer wasn't hurt. Say, what about the dead woman? So let's rewrite this, "Woman minding her own business, laying in the grass with her dog, is beset upon by over zealous police who pull their sidearm and shoot the woman. For laying in the grass suspiciously." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, say he was suspended for compiling a 'hit list' of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault."

"Asked about reports that, while a Bellbrook student, Betts was suspended for causing a lockdown by writing a 'hit-list' on a bathroom wall, Baker said, 'I would not dispute that information, but I don’t want to get involved any more than just making that comment.'… A woman who went to high school with Betts recalled the hit-list." I'm noticing that the reports that he also killed his sister has dropped out of American news.

"Mr Trump has said 'perhaps more has to be done' to stop such attacks… Opposition Democrats said he was part of the problem, citing anti-immigrant rhetoric and opposition to gun control."

"'The FBI is most concerned about lone offender attacks, primarily shootings, as they have served as the dominant lethal mode for domestic violent extremist attacks,' (FBI Director) Wray told a Senate panel July 23. 'We anticipate law enforcement, racial minorities and the U.S. government will continue to be significant targets for many domestic violent extremists.'" Seems prescient, except we've been living this reality since I've been alive. And most definitely since the 80s.

"Protesters were waving signs outside President Trump’s rally in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday when a red pickup truck pulled up to the crowd. Someone in the passenger seat started yelling, WCPO reported, and a few protesters shouted back. Suddenly, the door flew open and a man in a green polo hopped out, fists cocked." Ah, those peaceful Trump supporters. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Texas Sen. Ted Cruz denounced Saturday's shooting in El Paso as a 'heinous act of terrorism and white supremacy.'" Sen. Cruz, the Kettle is on line 3 and would like to respond.

"President Trump, responding to the deadly shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 29 people, condemned white supremacy and called for the death penalty for mass murders and domestic terrorists." Well, that only took over a hundred lives and (looks at watch) three-years. But before that, "'Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying ... this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,' Trump tweeted." So Trump first takes away, and then giveth. And let's tie two piece of Must Pass Legislation, which have no actual chance of passing, together. That way we only need to deal with one failure instead of two separate failures.

"Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says that if President Donald Trump is serious about strengthening gun laws in the wake of two mass shootings, he should demand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put a House-passed bill strengthening background checks up for a vote." Yeah. There's that.

"Britain says it will work with the United States in a “new international maritime security mission” to protect merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz." That makes one.

"Another Texas Republican congressman announced his retirement Monday as the party’s mounting departures made it increasingly unlikely it will be able to regain the House majority in next year’s elections… Rep. Kenny Marchant’s decision made him the 10th GOP representative to say he won’t run for re-election next year and the seventh in the past two weeks." Rats leaving a sinking ship.

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered top Navy officials to rescind medals awarded to the prosecutors who unsuccessfully tried Navy SEAL team leader Eddie Gallagher for murder." Unlawful command influence. (Grokked from Michelle)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Linkee-poo Fridayish

Janiece's annual fund raiser to help raise awareness of suicide in memory of her daughter, Maureen.

"The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island’s ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic." We're boned.

"This is a roaring glacial melt, under the bridge to Kangerlussiauq, Greenland where it's 22C today and Danish officials say 12 billions tons of ice melted in 24 hours, yesterday." Really boned.

"A U.S. plan to let Americans legally import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada is causing concern among Canadians that it could cause shortages of some medications." It's not a realistic or a workable plan.

"She is showing off the vast area of Massacre Rim, the country's largest and newest Dark Sky Sanctuary."

"With 56 new cases of Hepatitis A reported statewide in the week since the last reporting period, the Florida Surgeon General declared a public health emergency on Thursday, allowing health officials to test and treat people suspected of carrying the virus."

"Against seemingly impossible odds, the three survivors of the Las Vegas shootings – the deadliest single day mass shooting in U.S. history – walked right into another massacre last Sunday. Once again, they escaped alive." We have so many mass shootings we now have people who survive multiple instances.

How goes Brexit? "Boris Johnson, Britain's new prime minister, saw his parliamentary majority reduced to a single vote on Friday after his governing Conservative Party lost a special election just as it faces a tough fight over Brexit."

How go the Trade Wars? "President Donald Trump announced Thursday the U.S. will apply a new tariff of 10% on about $300 billion worth of products from China beginning Sept. 1, escalating the two countries’ festering trade dispute."

"China’s foreign ministry pushed back against President Donald Trump’s latest tariff threat on Friday, reportedly saying the world’s largest economy should give up its illusions, shoulder some responsibility and come back to the right track on resolving the trade war."

"Global stock markets plunged Friday after President Donald Trump’s surprise threat of tariff hikes on additional Chinese imports."

"Japan will remove South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners, deepening a bitter row between the two countries." But also, "And while it hasn’t been long since the CPTPP (formerly TPP) was ratified, those member countries are starting to see the benefits of reduced trade barriers."

"President Donald Trump on Friday will make an announcement on European Union trade at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, according to the White House's daily guidance." Here we go.

"'This trade thing is what’s brought on by the president and it’s really frustrating because he took away all of our markets,' Bob Kuylen, a farmer from North Dakota who grows spring wheat and sunflowers, told Yahoo Finance. 'We live in an area where we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. It costs us a lot of money — over $1 a bushel to get our grain to markets.'" Shocked that exactly what we told you would happen has happened. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The economy is slowing down, but it keeps creating jobs at a healthy pace. Employers added 164,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate remains at a nearly 50-year low." While there's lots of trumpeting about this, know that 150,000 is about "level keeping", so this isn't great job growth. Also, "Job gains for the two previous months were revised downward by a total of 41,000. Over the past three months, monthly job growth has averaged about 140,000 — down from 233,000 in the final three months of 2018."

"Woods told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the men were last seen in the jail at around 8:30 p.m. Monday. But it wasn’t until 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday that officials noticed they were missing, even though Woods told the Pine Bluff Commercial that several other inmates tried to escape Tuesday but were quickly captured after a drone spotted them on the roof." Yeah, I'm going to have to call bullshit on them "not noticing" they guys weren't there.

"Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee upended the rules Thursday to advance a controversial immigration bill as chairman Lindsey Graham muscled through a detention bill that Democrats oppose." Your conservative example of compromise, "Just do it my way."

"The United States announced Friday it has formally withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow, putting an end to a landmark arms control pact that has limited the development of ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers." Madness. Although it now give Russia free rein to "develop" those weapons they've only showed on Powerpoint slides.

"North Korea has reportedly conducted a third test launch in just over a week, firing what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles, according to South Korean officials." That next letter better be really lovely.

"President Donald Trump and a crowd of over 17,000 people here Thursday night stayed away from controversial remarks and chants directed at black Democrats, instead focusing a message on winning in 2020 to 'keep America great.'" He was still assholey, just not as much.

Tweet of my heart: @BettyBowers Trump was the first man in history to be in three places at once. On 9/11, Donald was downtown being a first responder WHILE he was in NJ watching Muslims celebrate WHILE he was in Trump Tower calling TV stations to brag about his building now being the tallest! #LostTrumpHistory (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Linkee-poo Thurseldays

Just as a heads-up, I will be taking some time off in August. So expect outages, but we should be back to normal (for various definitions of "normal") by the end of August.

"Film noir came from the hard-boiled fiction of writers like Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler. It took off in Hollywood during and after World War II, when Eddie Muller says you couldn't sell people just on happy-ever-after anymore, 'and so finally, here were stories on the big screen at the movie house that reflected that pessimism.'" Old people's grim/dark.

"Drawing on ten years of hard work and 7 million dollars in crowdfunding, the nonprofit Society's LightSail 2 has become the first small spacecraft to raise its orbit solely on the power of sunlight." Well done LightSail2.

"The runaway star, S5-HVS1, is moving at ‘extreme’ speeds of up to four million miles per hour - and appears to have been ‘kicked out’ of the area near the supermassive black hole." They make it sounds like "it's impossible" and "no one knows why". It's called a gravitational boost. We've been using it for our spacecraft since the early 70s. Travel into a strong gravitation well, but keep far enough away to not be captured or crash, and you can get a very big velocity boost.

"The new research in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres finds chemicals used in pesticides that have been accumulating in glaciers and ice sheets around the world since the 1940s are being released as Himalayan glaciers melt as a result of climate change." We're boned.

"Brazilian scientists are reporting a sharp increase this year in the clearing of forests in the Amazon. That's bad news for endangered ecosystems, as well as the world's climate. Deforestation releases large amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide… It's also a setback for big food companies that have pledged to preserve those forests — or at least to boycott suppliers that clear forests in order to raise crops or graze cattle." Really boned. But now with satellites we can monitor just how fast we're being boned.

"Now, however, a team of researchers has figured out how to directly probe these melt processes and has tested the method out on one glacier in Alaska. What it found, published this week in Science, is worrying: the glacier is melting far faster than current theories had suggested 'The melt rates that we measured were about 10 to 100 times larger than what theory predicted,' says lead study author David A. Sutherland, an oceanographer at the University of Oregon." Boned faster than we thought.

"Hundreds of Russian towns and cities are shrouded in heavy smoke from wildfires in Siberia and the Far East Thursday, and the blazes appear to be spreading in remote terrain."

Meanwhile, in the Congo… "On August 1 of 2018 the World Health Organization confirmed four Ebola cases in the conflict-torn east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then the outbreak has slowly and steadily worsened. There have now been roughly 2,700 cases and more than 1,800 deaths from the disease, making this the second largest Ebola outbreak after the 2014-2016 West Africa crisis, which claimed more than 11,000 lives… And health officials worry that the Congo outbreak is still far from over."

Why the courts are important. "The judge ruled the agency improperly evaluated and considered water use issues associated with the Rosemont Mine planned in the Santa Rita Mountains on part of the Coronado National Forest."

"Investors are paying close attention to the rapidly growing sector that is agricultural technology, or ag-tech. As the earth warms and the world’s population grows, more and more companies are growing food indoors in greenhouses and vertical farms. Although demand is increasing, this segment of the agricultural industry faces high costs of both labor, energy costs and equipment, for things like lighting." A Marketplace story (no transcript, just audio).

"A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed 1 person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of dozens of people from a nearby mobile home park, authorities said." Isn't it infrastructure week again?

"The Trump administration is outlining two possible ways certain drugs that were intended for foreign markets could be imported to the U.S. — a move that would clear the way to import some prescription drugs from Canada." Outsourcing a backbone and coopting "socialist" systems to prop up the "free market" in the US. Fantastic. This is not a fix.

"A new study suggests that, until they reach puberty, kids are strongly anti-beard — although children with bearded fathers did feel more warmly toward facial hair." That explains a lot.

"Under the proposal, hospitals would be required to post the prices they negotiate with every insurer for just about every service, drug and supply they provide to patients, starting Jan. 1, 2020." Yeah, that's not going to do hardly anything (except raise the negotiated prices). As I've said before, there is a tremendous amount of variability in quality of service for healthcare. So that cheaper CT scan may be exposing you to more radiation (but that's not going to be publicized), or may be read by a Radiologist in Indonesia (where they have different rules). Is the lab with the lower cost actually giving you a better result (when I had my testosterone tested, we ended up having it retest twice at 2 different labs until we got a number that we could trust). And just because someone had a bad experience with a provider doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad doctor. We are not cars needing mechanics who use exactly the same parts. And let us say you agree to the price of a certain surgery, but then you have a complication on the table which requires a blood infusion, or more extensive surgery, do we need to wake you up to get consent first? Let's say you've given a certain pain killer, but it doesn't work (not unusual). Do you get a refund? This is a solution from people who have never actually looked at healthcare billing because it was never their entire paycheck.

How goes Brexit? "The government has announced an extra £2.1bn of funding to prepare for a no-deal Brexit - doubling the amount of money it has set aside this year." You're going to need a bigger boat.

It takes two… "The European Union has told Britain’s new Europe adviser that it isn’t prepared to renegotiate the Brexit agreement, three months before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc."

"After a first week in office that saw him booed in Scotland and berated in Belfast, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was facing his first electoral test on Thursday — a special election that could see the Conservative government’s working majority in Parliament cut to just one vote." Makes more popcorn.

The retail apocalypse continues unabated. "But now the so-called flagship store is disappearing from high-profile shopping thoroughfares like Manhattan’s Madison Avenue and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile because of skyrocketing rents and the shift to online shopping."

They tell us the "brightest minds" work on Wall Street. "Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments after the Fed’s expected rate cut are seen as confusing, and market pros say monetary policy has become muddled… The bottom line is the Fed is still expected to cut interest rates again, but possibly not as much as markets had been geared up for." I'm not buying it. Rich people work on Wall Street. And too much is never enough for them.

Speaking of "brightest minds" (not)… "President Trump plans to appoint former White House press secretary Sean Spicer to the Naval Academy's Board of Visitors, the White House announced Wednesday." I'm not sure, "lying toady" is the example you want for the Navy's cadets.

"Previously unreported analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration of the first Boeing Max crash suggests it 'didn’t take that much' for a sensor to malfunction and that a similar disaster was possible." Heads should roll.

"Princess Haya bint al-Hussein of Jordan, one of six wives of the ruler of Dubai, has asked a U.K. court for protection after she fled the United Arab Emirates earlier this year with her two children."

"The Trump administration continues to separate hundreds of migrant children from their parents despite a federal court ruling that ordered an end to the practice, according to court documents filed in California by the American Civil Liberties Union."

"The Trump administration is moving to weaken the civil rights-era Fair Housing Act — making it much harder to bring lawsuits alleging discrimination in housing, according to housing advocates. But conservative groups applaud the move and say it would stop frivolous lawsuits." The Trump Administration, fucking over the little guy and giving a fist to the landlords. Gee, who could have seen that coming? And sure, this is totally not a racist move at all (narrator's voice: In fact it was).

"Police in Columbus, Ohio, brought departmental charges on Wednesday against five officers who were involved in the arrest of Stormy Daniels at a strip club last year… Three of the five officers are named in a lawsuit Daniels brought against the city and the Columbus Police Department alleging that she was arrested in a political conspiracy to protect President Donald Trump." A report states that the arrests weren't politically motivated (yeah, right, Bob), but were "against policy." The really sad part of this is because of the improper actions of some police who couldn't be professional is the team that investigates human trafficking has been disbanded at a time it's needed most. So good job, those cops, you've fucked us all over.

"U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson came to Baltimore Wednesday to promote the Trump administration’s efforts to improve urban areas… HUD officials hoped to stage their event on a vacant lot, but didn’t ask for permission from Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ, which owns the land and hopes to build a parking lot there, said church member Gregory Evans. Evans asked the HUD group to move." Of course then Sec. Carson tries to blame it on the "animosity" in the city. No, Mr. Secretary, you just didn't think that 1) anyone owned the land and 2) weren't curious or professional enough to find out and 3) thought you didn't have to play by the rules. Seriously, there are advance people who do this all the time. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Wednesday's Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit was interrupted twice by protesters in the audience who were trying to draw attention to immigration and policing issues." Which, IMHO, would have been a better discussion and use of the time.

"A militia network’s enthusiasm to lend paramilitary support to Oregon’s Republican senators last month could be a bellwether for the 2020 campaign season." Ah, the "loyal" Americans who are so patriotic they want to kill their fellow Americans and overthrow the government. (Grokked from Matt Wallace)

"All eyes will be watching both the Ohio crowd’s behavior — and how Trump reacts. Even his closest advisers seem uncertain as to what may transpire." Expect a staged chant and tepid response (probably even indicated on the teleprompter), and even more outrageous behavior. Although it is possible, because the president is weak, it may get out of control and he may not remember to respond to everything. That sometimes happens to populists who haven't realized they've grabbed the tiger's tail, but instead think they are the tiger. And having worked in Cincinnati for almost a year back in 90-91, yes, the city is a powder keg waiting to go.

"The Trump administration's intelligence watchdog has declined a request from four top Senate Democrats to investigate how the White House has handled security clearances for Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and other employees, according to a letter obtained by NBC News." Makes it convenient to be the gatekeeper to investigating your own actions. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"If you've ever wondered what Waititi's creative process is like, then you'll want to dig into the insight offered up in this interview with the good folks at BAFTA." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin) The universe wants us dead. The Crab Nebula Pulsar… "An object just a few kilometers across… generates power on such an enormous scale that a single photon screaming away from it at 300,000 kilometers per second can travel 6.5 quadrillion kilometers across space with so much energy in it that if it were to hit you and you absorbed that energy in your skin you could actually feel it. From a single photon." Whoa. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"What will I see during a black moon?… A black moon is really just a new moon, the only real significance is that it's the second one. So you won't even see the moon, because it will blend in with the sky. The moon is also going to be a supermoon, meaning the moon will appear bigger than usual because it's closer to the Earth, but because it's a new moon you still won't be able to really see it." There's just… I can't… Jesus Haploid Christ (as my friend Jim says) help us.

"On July 3, the Indiana State Department of Health approved an application submitted by Dillinger's nephew, Michael Thompson. Dillinger's body will be exhumed and reinterred by September 16 at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, according to the permit."

"Two men were killed Tuesday in a shooting at a Mississippi Walmart in Southaven, and a suspect described as a disgruntled former employee was in custody, Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore said." And then they came for us at the Walmarts. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"With the legal fight to block a citizenship question from the 2020 census behind them, immigrant rights groups and other advocates are now turning towards what they consider an even greater challenge – getting every person living in the U.S. counted."

Let's allow concealed carry in places that serve alcohol. What could go wrong? "According to the incident report, Dennard fired his gun inside the Tunnel Hill restaurant because 'someone stole his wallet and he was in fear for his life'… One witness told deputies Dennard had 4 shots of tequila and got his own beer from a refrigerator." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

How go the Trade Wars? "U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a brief round of trade talks on Wednesday that Beijing described as 'constructive', including discussion of further purchases of American farm goods and an agreement to reconvene in September." Man, we've been having "constructive" talks for almost 2 years now. You'd think they would have actually built something by now.

"A week after similar tests, North Korea has again fired two short-range missiles into the waters that separate it from Japan, according to South Korea's military." But I'm sure the next letter to the president will be just as lovely as the first couple.

So after the biggest give-away to the richest among us, known as the Trump tax bill, what's next? "In a letter sent to Steve Mnuchin on Monday, (Sen. Ted Cruz) urged the Treasury Secretary to use his 'authority' to index capital gains to inflation, a move that would almost exclusively benefit the mega-rich." Because it's never enough. Tax the rich. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The far right traffics heavily in projection, and this 'antifa panic' is no exception. The far right is desperately trying to depict the radical left as doing what the far right itself is actually guilty of: engaging in sustained, murderous violence with deliberate indifference from the highest levels of the government." The fascists are trying to consolidate power and make illegal any resistance to their white-nationalist agenda. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

A long article on the Rise and coming Fall of Alan Dershowitz (with his connections to Epstein). (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Oh look, Himler Without the Whimsy is at it again. "White House operative Stephen Miller is maneuvering to further sabotage the asylum process by replacing highly trained career staff with border cops at a crucial early stage… The scheme would shift responsibility for initial 'credible fear interviews' with asylum-seekers away from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency where it’s rested for years. Miller is eager to replace USCIS’s professional asylum interviewers with Border Patrol officers, emails reported by NBC News suggest."

"The U.S. and Guatemala are still negotiating a deal to establish a 'safe third country' agreement, despite President Trump's announcement on Friday that Guatemala had agreed to take in more asylum-seekers from other Central American nations." Many people that are showing up at our southern border are from Guatemala. If they can't protect their own citizens, how can they take in other countries' citizens and protect them?

The racism problem in the GOP is only new so they haven't been able to figure it out yet. "Reagan said, 'To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes!'"

"We can, however, definitively fact-check his claim that African Americans are generally pleased with his performance… They are not." But Diamond and Silk still love him, amIright?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesdays

"Scientists don't know much yet about the long-term effects of 'vape juice,' the liquid used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. But researchers analyzing the liquid and the vapor produced when it's heated say some kinds of e-liquids are reacting to form irritating chemicals called acetals while they're sitting on shelves." Oopsies.

"To summarize: The bill would subsidize four uncompetitive power plants, remove all incentive to build more renewable energy projects, and cancel efforts to help customers use less energy. It is a bill only a utility (and the lawmakers who do its bidding) could love, an extravagant gift to utility investors that hoses Ohio ratepayers." Yep. Our conservative government at work, for their sponsors. We've paid for these plants over and over (and over) again. Conservatives are all for the free market, until it's their money about to be lost.

"They've created a contact lens, controlled by eye movements, that can zoom in if you blink twice." Because why the fuck not. Waits for the inevitable traffic crashes and other accidents that will result.

The thing about the "opioid crisis" is that they is always a drug crisis in America. It's just that the drug of choice changes are market forces put people in different directions (and this is why the "pain misuse" argument is bullshit). "Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018." Remember meth? The reason why you can't buy good decongestants until you have your license information scanned in and star of the "Breaking Bad" series? It's back. Remember cocaine? It never left.

"The gunman who police say opened fire at a popular garlic festival in Northern California and killed three people reportedly referenced a neo-Nazi manifesto on social media before the shooting." This is my shocked face. So while the government is attempting to classify antifa as a terrorist organization, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists continue to kill people where as antifa doesn't.

They're just like you and me. "A rising number of American workers may be feeling nearly as dazzled on the job. One of the fastest-growing job categories of the past decade has been in what David Autor, an economics professor at MIT, calls 'wealth work': Catering to the whims and desires of affluent households." Well, I guess they are at least creating some jobs. "Yet economists note that most so-called wealth jobs don’t benefit workers or the economy as much as traditional employment does. Most wealth workers are self-employed and so lack employer-provided health insurance, retirement plans and other benefits. They often earn relatively low wages, and their incomes tend to fluctuate depending on how many clients they have. Nor do they have many opportunities to learn new skills, undergo advanced training or move up a career ladder."

How go the Trade Wars? "President Donald Trump is threatening to get 'much tougher' with China on trade if he wins reelection in 2020." There's only so much blood in a stone.

How goes Brexit? "The pound has continued to fall on currency markets as the government insists that the UK is prepared to leave the EU without a deal… Sterling hit a fresh two-year low of $1.2120 against the dollar on Tuesday, before recovering some ground."

What was in your wallet? "Millions of Capital One customers have been affected by a data breach that the bank says happened in March when a software engineer allegedly exploited a vulnerability to access its systems."

"Central bank officials are expected to cut interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis not because Trump demanded it. Instead, they will move in part because the president’s bruising trade policy has helped fuel a global manufacturing slowdown and injected deep uncertainty into executive suites around the world." This is all just, "they gotta cut rates" argument, ignoring the argument about keeping your powder try in case you have to lower rates later.

"U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro contended Monday that analysis of federation finances showed that it paid members of the women's national team millions of dollars more than members of the men's national team over a period of nearly a decade." But only when you don't include the amount FIFA paid for World Cup bonuses and when you consider that the women's team has won how many championships in that time whereas the men have even failed to qualify most of the time. Also USSF just ignored a lot of other money that has been paid out to the men's team.

"Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against their family members are no longer eligible for asylum." Performative cruelty.

"Carol Evans approves of Donald Trump’s immigration policy. She gives him credit for the strong economy. But the Republican from the affluent Milwaukee suburbs of Waukesha County, a GOP bedrock in the state, just can’t commit to voting for the president next year like she did in 2016." They aren't full-on racists, just mildly racists. Don't worry, they'll still vote for him over choosing a dirty liberal.

"Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in recent months saw his warnings about threats posed by Russia watered down by the White House, The New York Times reported Sunday." If only we could see a connection…

"Mary Anne Marsh, a political analyst for Fox News, raised concerns on Monday that President Donald Trump appeared to be consolidating his control over the U.S. intelligence community with the nomination of GOP Representative John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence." Almost there…

"A conservative lawyer and writer who argues for selling off the nation’s public lands is now in charge of a nearly quarter-billion acres in federally held rangeland and other wilderness." It's a fire sale.

"When candidate Donald Trump prepared to give a major energy speech during the 2016 campaign, one of his closest advisers provided a pre-speech review to senior United Arab Emirates officials, an unorthodox move that caught the attention of federal investigators, according to emails and text messages uncovered by a House Oversight Committee investigation." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump is claiming a groundswell of African American support in response to his comments insulting Rep. Elijah Cummings and calling his majority-black Baltimore district a 'disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.'" They love him in the emails.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Linkee-poo late Monday

"Gray is at the hospital because she volunteered for one of the most anticipated medical experiments in decades: the first attempt to use the gene-editing technique CRISPR to treat a genetic disorder in the U.S."

So how's our greatest healthcare system in the world going? "After Kim Lauerman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, doctors wanted to give her a drug that helps prevent infections and fever during chemotherapy. Her insurer said no."

"Mass shootings like the one that struck the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, have become the 'new normal' in the US, James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst, said Monday." Ain't that fucking happy.

"Opus Bono established itself as a counterpoint to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups that have accused the church of trying to cover up the scandal and failing to support victims of clergy misconduct. Opus Bono focuses on what it considers the neglected victims: priests, and the church itself." Uh, yeah, Bob.

"Often described as a 'slow-moving disaster,' the problem is caused by an iron sulfide known as pyrrhotite, which causes concrete to crack and break gradually as it becomes exposed to water and oxygen. The material containing pyrrhotite has been traced to a Willington quarry used between 1983 and 2015 by a now-defunct concrete company."

How goes Brexit? "Britain is turbo-charging its no-deal Brexit preparations and will be ready to leave the European Union with or without a deal on Oct. 31, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday." For a country that sometimes bemoans the loss of empire, I'm not sure they'll realize just how much they'll miss where they were 3 years ago.

"U.S. central bankers are expected to lower borrowing costs this week for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago. That’s the easy part." Chickens. Basket. Hatching. Hell. Going to. Counting. "One reason: No clear consensus from Fed officials about why they need to cut rates in the first place, particularly with the U.S. unemployment rate near a 50-year low and the American economy puttering along as the best-in-class performer among developed nations."

"Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Sunday announced his plans to step down in a letter to President Trump."

"The Trump administration determined that more than 500,000 children would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals under a proposed overhaul to the food stamp program, but left that figure out of its formal proposal, according to House Democrats." Fuckers. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"US President Donald Trump has denied being a racist after remarks he made about a black Democratic Congressman and the US city of Baltimore." Prominent racists says he doesn't hate anybody so can't possibly be racist. As to why the row started, uh, Rep. Cummings just won approval to subpoena Ivanka and Jared's emails where the conducted government business using their private email accounts. Naughty naughty.

"The goal is a new round of "working-level" talks between experts from the two nations. President Trump and North Korean president Kim Jong Un agreed to make such an effort during their dramatic meeting in June at the fortified boundary between North and South Korea." Low energy, no-followthrough.

"Four days after being arrested by Russian authorities, Alexei Navalny, a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin, has been hospitalized with what his spokeswoman has described as an 'allergic reaction.'" For those of you born after the fall of the Iron Curtain, "allergic reaction" is Kremlin speak for "poisoning" (and possibly radiation poisoning).