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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Linkee-poo on a Friday

"More thoughts on the nature of story from The Mystery Feast by Ben Okri… When they want to destroy a people they begin telling stories about them. Even when negative stories about a people are not believed they still leave an imprint on the underside of the mind, a residuum of doubt, a sinister grain that in time can become an evil pus of perception." The power of story.

"But to the extent that books have transitioned to digital, the flow is almost entirely through Amazon. With its data and power, the company could make books designed specifically to keep people reading and buying, and with its impressively wide-reaching marketing strength, it could get those books in front of hundreds of millions of people with credit cards." I don't doubt that Amazon has been collecting and collating the information in seriously deep and multi-dimensional connected databases. They'd be fools not to. But exploiting that data assumes that 1) there is a writing formula and the discussion about that could fill volumes including that yes, there are some (but mostly defined by the exceptions), there are also programs that currently can write copy. But 2) looking at the various learning algorithms attempts at other endeavors, "computers writing copy" are rudimentary at best when it comes to fiction. And 3) too much pablum becomes boring. I know I certainly have different tastes in fiction than when I was younger (I haven't read LoTRs for almost a decade now and I doubt I'd be able to do so again, nothing against the story or the writing, I just don't have the patience or time for it). And while various genres are derided as being formulaic, they really aren't and those perceptions are created and held by people who don't actually read widely in those genres. So like the rumored and highly anticipated Singularity, I have a feeling this is more hype than actual chance. That doesn't mean they won't try it and it doesn't mean that such product wouldn't take a good percentage of sales. But if I had to place money on a bet, my guess is those sales would just be in the "direct to e-book/published on Amazon only" stories (not to say that wouldn't be terrible for a lot of authors). As the joke goes, "All we needed was one more monkey, one more typewriter." (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"For the first time in six years, a new mission is about to land on Mars. On November 26, NASA's Mars InSight lander will touch down on the Red Planet at 3 p.m. EST."

"Miscarriage, or the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks, is so common that Americans often stay quiet about their pregnancies until after the first trimester, when the majority of miscarriages occur. Improvements in early pregnancy detection and the use of fertility treatments have increased the likelihood that couples learn they have miscarried, when they once might not have even known they were pregnant." And if the miscarriage happens later there can be some pretty terrible outcomes associated with it, which is reason #783 why I support legal, and safe abortion options. "In reality, most miscarriages are caused by genetic problems." But that won't stop conservative lawmakers from enacting laws that will criminalize women who experience miscarriages.

"Over the next few decades of climate change, the country’s first national park will quite likely see increased fire, less forest, expanding grasslands, shallower, warmer waterways, and more invasive plants — all of which may alter how, and how many, animals move through the landscape. Ecosystems are always in flux, but climate change is transforming habitats so quickly that many plants and animals may not be able to adapt well or at all." Glad I saw it when it was still good. Note the climate conversation is no long, "what will happen in the future" but is now, "what have we lost, what can we possibly save." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Chinese authorities have announced strict new measures in an attempt to halt the country's fast-growing African swine fever crisis, which has spread to 18 provinces and led to the culling of more than 200,000 pigs."

How are those tax cuts working for increasing revenues? "The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60 percent from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue." Oh, about as good as the last 4 tax cuts were at increasing revenues. So in January, as Republicans and conservatives suddenly remember they're against deficit spending and are all about fiscal responsibility as the Democrats take control of the House, remember when, where, and why these deficits appeared.

I'm not saying Trump is a Nazi, I'm saying Nazis say Trump is a Nazi. "A man laced the atmosphere of a Baltimore theater with menace when he began shouting 'Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!' during intermission of a classic play set in a Jewish village in czarist Russia… The patron’s pro-Nazi and pro-Trump outburst during a Wednesday night production of 'Fiddler on the Roof' sent dozens of panicked people running for the exits at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Women carrying lacy underwear took to the streets across Ireland this week after a man was acquitted of rape in a trial that featured a 17-year-old's thong as a line of defense." Her underwear… as a defense. I guess her skirt wasn't short enough or her blouse not transparent enough that they're now saying the kind of underwear she wore was an excuse for rape. I suppose next we'll finally just get to, "Well, she had a vagina… she was asking for it."

So why was Turkey all hellbent on going after the Saudis for the killing of a US Green Card holder? "The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests." And the president is just weak enough to do it. It's an embarrassment all around. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The U.S. Justice Department said it is planning to prosecute controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange." And while everybody continues to focus on the releasing of the DNC emails, Julian Assange is wanted on crimes much older than that. You might remember Chelsea Manning.

How do you followup passing a Stand Your Ground law after gaveling down a speech by a prominent African-American representative? "Ohio’s GOP-controlled House passed a bill to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks before many people even know they’re pregnant. In a 58 to 35 vote Thursday, the House sent the measure to the Senate." Ohio, the heart of fuck you conservatism. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In partnership with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump White House has secured lifetime appointments for 29 appeals court judges and 53 district court judges. That's not to mention two Supreme Court nominees." And they're mostly white males (Trump's nominees are 77% male and 83% white). I know you're shocked.

"Something happened at the Capitol Tuesday to reaffirm my long-held view that liberals should stop believing what conservatives say liberals believe." A tweet storm of truth. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a speech to the conservative Federalist Society… In it, Lee warned of a brewing civil war, and claimed that the only way to avert violence would be to eradicate a long list of federal programs including 'the interstate highway system,' funding for 'K through 12 public education,' 'federal higher education accreditation,' 'early childhood education, the Department of Commerce,' 'housing policy, workforce regulation,' and what Lee labeled the 'huge glut of federally owned land.'" BINGO! I got Bingo! And yes, there are conservatives, considered "mainstream" who believe this. Dear Sen. Lee, that's exactly what will have us liberals shooting mad. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"It's one thing to read about the 340,134 Georgia voters who were wrongly purged from the rolls. That is, to be sure, an eye-popping number — if even a quarter of those voters had gone to the polls and been permitted to vote on Election Day, the odds are overwhelming that Democrat Stacey Abrams would have at least been able to force a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp, if not defeat him outright. But as with all statistics, the abstract number can obscure the human toll." Yes one party is attempting to steal elections, and it's the party shouting the loudest about other people stealing elections. The GOP's habit of projection continues.

Flipping twenty House seats is considered a "wave" election. "On Thursday, Democrat Jared Golden beat Maine Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, marking the 33rd seat pickup for Democrats in the 2018 election."

Michael Avenatti was arrested on charges of domestic abuse, however Jacob Wohl's Surefire Intelligence claimed it as a victory. There's very little information than that, so I'm not linking to any articles. Just like Project Veritas reports, these should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office is exploring whether longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit a witness who is contradicting Mr. Stone’s version of events about his contacts with WikiLeaks, according to people who have spoken to Mr. Mueller’s investigators." (Grokked for someone, sorry, lost the link)

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday indicated during an interview that he tapped former US attorney Matthew Whitaker to replace then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation." I still have the feeling the Presidents personal lawyers are just drinking themselves into a stupor at night.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Linkee-poo Thursday

"The latest problem to be linked to global warming: male sperm counts." Now they're just reaching for things to get conservatives' attention. It won't work. Those you're trying to reach are also those who buy the testosterone pills on TV.

"The Food and Drug Administration said Losartan could contain an impurity that has been classified as a probable human carcinogen, known to cause cancer." That sucks. I wonder how that contaminate mysteriously got into the process? Doesn't Big Pharma continuously tell us how stringent their production quality issues are, which are a reason why drug prices are so high? It's almost as if they were lying the whole time.

"A couple of raccoons in West Virginia aren't rabid, they're just 'drunk,' police say." Alright, buddy, recite the alphabet backwards.

"NASA has announced the discovery of a massive meteorite impact crater hidden deep beneath the Greenland ice. The crater measures over 19 miles wide and 1,000ft deep, making it one of the top 25 largest impact craters on the planet. The discovery was made by a team of researchers led by the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark."

"Scientists announced this week that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei has finally achieved a temperature exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius, setting a new record in fusion technology and bringing us closer to a new age in energy." Imagine going away and forgetting that you left that oven on. "Tokamaks like China's EAST reactor use the magnetic fields produced by the moving plasma itself to keep its wobble in check. This makes it less stable, but allows physicists to turn up the heat." What could possibly go wrong.

"Americans seeking to stay healthy can get their exercise in small increments of just a few minutes at a time, according to new guidelines issued by the government Monday that again encourage a largely sedentary nation to start moving."

"Researchers expect that three dozen new drugs will come on the market over the next few years with astronomical prices — some likely topping a million dollars per patient." So, how do you pay for a $1m dose of medicine? And will insurance actually pay for it? And if they do an installment plan, while they are covering their asses in case the treatment doesn't work, what happens if you change insurance plans (or employers, or get laid off, or switch to Medicare…). They don't cover that part.

"Ford Motor Co. delivered a message to skeptical investors wanting answers about its Auto 2.0 strategy: We're doing more than you think." (Look busy, the boss is coming) No, really we are working hard.

The rich are just like you and me. "Just like in many of the towns and neighborhoods in this region, Hidden Hills residents were ordered to evacuate their homes as the Woolsey fire approached. But unlike thousands of others, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian did not have to leave their fate up to erratic winds and unpredictable floating embers. They had other options. They called in a team of private firefighters who saved their $60 million mansion and many of the other houses in their neighborhood." 'Cause that's cheaper than paying actual taxes that would support everybody's safety.

"As the scope of a deadly Northern California wildfire set in, the sheriff said more than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through the charred remains in search for more bodies. The blaze has killed at least 56 people and authorities say 130 are unaccounted for."

"If California electric utility PG&E is responsible for California's wildfires, it may not be able to afford the payouts it would owe." This is why you carry insurance, they just didn't carry enough insurance. Also note that utilities are actually responsible for a lot of the wildfires in California.

An in an attempt to give cover to conservative candidates and their racist or ignorant statements, Fox News would like you to know that people also get upset over liberals' statements. Like John Cleese making a joke about people escaping the California wildfires eating diner in a restaurant and ordering everything "flambeed." Because, yes, that's just like calling immigrants "dirt", making a public hanging spectator reference when your opponent is African-American, or saying people are evil for condoning (and trying to make safe) abortion. Exactly the same. I didn't get a harrumph outta that guy.

"'He tried to explain to us that he was making his own version of a firework,' Lake Helen Police Chief Mike Walker said." While there's a lot of "TATP is used by ISIS" in the article, understand that it's a well known compound. But they are correct, most people who try making it without some assistance usually blow themselves up (making bombs is a skill). And he might have been making it for himself, except for the switches. It depends on his construction of those switches (and exactly what type of switches they are). While there's not much to go on from the photo on the article, that doesn't look like it's meant for home use (but I'm not an expert here).

"Tyler Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making a false report resulting in a death, after he placed a hoax call late last year that resulted in police fatally shooting an unarmed man in Wichita, Kan."

"Saudi prosecutors said Thursday they would seek the death penalty for five people allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi… It also shared details of the journalist's murder, saying Khashoggi was killed following 'a fight and a quarrel' at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him, then his body was chopped up and given to a local collaborator, the prosecutor said." Yeah, that totally sounds accidental. Do you all test these ideas outside a conference room?

"Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s senior campaign adviser, Brad Todd, repeatedly refused to commit to certifying the results of Florida’s US Senate election, during CNN interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning, if Scott ends up losing in a recount to Democrat Bill Nelson." Republicans want all votes counted, unless it means they lose. This sloppy rhetoric isn't just aspirational, it's the kind that will get people killed. "Scott’s evidence-free howls about election fraud have been echoed by President Trump. On Tuesday, Trump suggested Democrats in Broward and Palm Beach counties are fabricating ballots. Again, there is no reason to believe they are." If these charges were true, that is a crime of immense impact. But they're treating it like someone stealing a pack of gum.

"Sterling plunged by over 1 percent against the dollar Thursday morning after U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned from his post, piling yet more pressure on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May." I'm not sure 1% constitutes a "plunge", but the narrative is "ZOMG! The. Sky. Is. Falling."

"The slump reflects a fundamental change in the outlook for the oil prices. A month ago, traders were concerned that a looming shortage of oil would push crude futures to $100 a barrel. Now, supply is expected to swamp demand at the start of 2019." Why it's almost as if there's a global slowdown (as well as "tough sanctions again Iran" that are neither tough nor real sanctions). Fancy that.

"Gas prices are plunging as the Thanksgiving holiday travel period approaches… Gas prices neared a four-year high in October, when they briefly topped $2.90 per gallon, but have since retreated." Why it's a Nightmare Before Christmas miracle. Here I'll just note that over the summer the American oil industry was riding high. Prices were back in the "time to explore/speculate, again" range and crews were getting back to work. Drilling platforms were in short supply. Now all that ramping up with either try to coast on fumes, expecting another oil price spike, or will collapse even more than before. "Other factors include declining global demand. Investors believe the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may cut production in a bid to prop up prices, but anticipating that relief hasn't helped boost prices." How's our relationship with the Saudis and Venezuela?

"President Trump on Tuesday announced the nomination of retired Army Gen. John Abizaid as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia — a move that would fill a vacancy that's been open since the administration's first days." Oh, hey, 2 years in and we're finally getting around to filling (some) ambassadorships. Great work there, Donny.

"Vice President Mike Pence confronted Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday over the 'violence and persecution' of her country's Rohingya Muslims." The VP goes for the low hanging fruit. Also, conservatives are still upset at Suu Kyi winning the peace prize when they think GW should have. Not to mention they're still stinging from President Obama having won one. While you'r sin the mood, Mr. VP, and in the area why don't you call out China's persecution of Uighurs and point out to our friends in the Philippines that the extra-judicial kills need to stop. And while you're at it, maybe tell our Saudi allies to stop their campaign of assassinations and political extortion. And then look Putin in the eye and tell him to stop the killing and harassment of the LGBTQ population. Frankly, Mr. Pence, I don't think you have the intestinal fortitude to do it.

"Israel's defence minister has resigned over the cabinet's decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza."

Trump is doing such a good job for veterans. "A House committee will hear testimony Thursday from Department of Veterans Affairs officials over delayed GI Bill payments potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of veterans. NBC News reported Sunday that IT glitches at VA have caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed for months or never be delivered, forcing some veterans to face debt or even homelessness." That person is leaving that position to run one of the local VA facilities. The problem is still not fixed.

Whelp, thank the gods that election is (almost) over. Whew. "The holiday dinner conversations are going to be intense in several high-profile Democratic households in the coming weeks, as potential candidates near decisions on whether to run for president in 2020." Oh fuck. Well, for me, I could scratch 9 off that list right away.

"Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's temporary appointment was legal, the Justice Department said in a memo on Wednesday — but it did not address whether he must recuse himself from the Russia investigation." So the DoJ, which Whitaker now head, released a memo that states his appointment was legal. So, "Man says what he's doing is legal." Not exactly unexpected. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

"'Yes, he's pissed -- at damn near everyone,' a White House official said, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week. After nearly a month straight of campaigning before adoring crowds, the applause has gone silent and the President has retreated. The tempest has led to rampant speculation inside the building about the fates of other senior staffers, some of whom are beginning to plan their exits." Apparently the president is a sore loser (as well as a sore winner). Can't wait to hear the hot takes on how all this disfunction is actually good for the country and exhibits Trump's winning style.

"The U.S. will not require North Korea to provide a complete list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites before President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un meet for a second time, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News exclusively on Thursday." The world is laughing at you, Donnie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Linkee-poo's got a smile it seems to me, reminds me of childhood memories

I know my delayed posting of several articles covering events over the weekend has probably screwed up our Russian friends reporting deadlines. Sorry guys.

Chuck Wendig with tweet storm of 25 reasons to keep making things.

"In a valley in eastern Kazakhstan’s remote Tarbagatai Mountains, archaeologists recently excavated a kurgan, or burial mound, holding the remains of two Iron Age teenagers who lived roughly 2,700 years ago." (Grokked from S.A. Chakraborty)

"New York City recently produced a report on the gender price differential in some consumer goods. The so-called Pink Tax. It turns out, women pay more than men for certain goods, like clothes and home health products and personal care products. The study found that women pay as much as 13% more for some categories of products." The Indicator podcast with the best "duh" moment so far. As for those economists who say this is a good thing, please fuck off and die. It's just evidence that the so called "free market" will not work and won't self-regulate. And actually, the only surprising part of this story, for me, is that the reporters (both women) did not know this already. Next up, why are traditionally "women's products" repainted black and marketed to men? (No, you don't have to tell me, I already know.) I want to ask the reporters if they've noticed their clothes typically don't have functional pockets, are made from thinner materials and designed to show more skin. And while they focus on razors, let me just say the razors are basically the same. Buy the guys' razors.

"Hate crimes in America rose 17 percent last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data that showed an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks." Make America Great Again. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Police have arrested a man in Washington, D.C. who allegedly has social media ties to the suspected gunman in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people… Clark is facing one federal count of unlawful possession of firearms by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance, and one count in the District of Columbia of possessing high-capacity magazines… Authorities report that in the hours after the synagogue shooting, Clark's younger brother, Edward, went to an island in D.C. and shot and killed himself… Relatives told investigators both brothers were part of alt-right movements and that they became interested in guns because they thought there was going to be a civil war, according to court papers." Can't wait for the NRA to defend this guy because of the high-capacity magazine charge.

"First lady Melania Trump, in a remarkable move carried out by her spokeswoman, publicly pushed for the ouster of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel." Rhut rho. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The annual convention of the Federalist Society… has long been a glittering and bustling affair… But as the group prepares to gather on Thursday for the start of this year’s convention, more than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers have joined together to sound a note of caution. They are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms… The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and the husband of President Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway. In recent opinion articles, Mr. Conway has criticized Mr. Trump’s statements on birthright citizenship and argued that his appointment of Matthew G. Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general violated the Constitution." Dear Federalist Society members, you might want to check your own history and actions. You may just find your complicity in actions and the policies you support contradict the stance you're trying to take. Although this is a subgroup, and there's always trouble makers. But then, as you read the article, you'll find this is just more of the conservative line of being very concerned about these overt actions, but where the rubber meets the road they're all for it, damn the torpedos, full speed ahead. It's just a smoke screen and prepositioning in case they fall out of power so they can criticize liberals for doing exactly what they're doing now (except, you know, conservatives will be the targets then). And they almost control all of the judiciary, so they're trying to enact the fiction that it's not about politics, when for conservatives the judiciary has always been about politics.

"Two Democrats leading the rebellion against Nancy Pelosi were bullish Tuesday evening about their efforts to stop her from winning the speakership, promising to soon reveal that they had enough support to cause a major shake-up at the top of their caucus." Dear reporters, the "people proposing a contrarian position believe they have the support to enact their vision", while titillating, is not news. They're using you to try and gin up that support. This is the gambit Fox News uses all the time. Some fringe actor says something scandalous on the morning show (or the late night shows), Fox News then reports that the "person says this", by noon it's "people are talking" and by the time the night shows are on it's a full blown "lots of people are discussing the possibility that…". It's boring and mendacious. Of course they're "100% positive". That's how they get you to report it even though they know there really isn't a chance in hell.

"A federal judge on Tuesday found that Gwinnett County violated the Civil Rights Act in its handling of absentee ballots during last week's midterm elections, a ruling that will likely delay the overall vote tally in the state's tight gubernatorial race."

"A federal judge has ordered Georgia election officials to review all provisional ballots cast in the midterm elections and prohibited the state from certifying the election before Friday…" Count all the votes.

"Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant defended Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for joking that if one of her supporters invited her 'to a public hanging,' she’d 'be on the front row,' Monday afternoon by saying that people should be paying attention to African American abortion rates instead of her words." I'm sure he thought that sounded wise in his head. Dear Mississippi, I'm sure someone has a shovel there that could help you dig faster, but seeing how deep that hole is, maybe not. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Just a general meta note (as I am sometime wont to do), with all this election brouhaha this cycle there are a number of people who are attempting to use the messy, but usual, vote counting process to bring the results of an election into doubt. So first, this is how all elections have worked, no boards of election don't "pre-tabulate" absentee, mail-in, and early voting ballots. In fact, they are saved to the last (which may seem strange for early voting, but just imaging someone leaking early results and you can see why they don't do it). They have always been saved to the last. But usually elections aren't close enough that they ballots could change the outcome (which has always been some people's arguments for voting in person). As our country bifurcates into political camps this is no longer true. Elections are close enough these days to fall within both the margin of error in counting (which is why there is always the possibility of both machine and hand recounting) and they definitely are close enough that these other ballots (including provisional ballots) may tip the scales. And that's what we're seeing here. As the mail delivers absentee ballots (which many states only require the ballot to be postmarked on election day to count, and oversea's military ballots have extra time to be delivered) the voted totals are added in. Also, since many absentee and mail-in ballots are not the same format as in-person ballots, that slows the process down (as machines are reprogrammed, tested and verified before the ballots are counted). Second, instilling doubt as to the fairness and valid of the ballot is exactly a goal of the Russian interference in our elections. Look at how the sides are shaking out as to who says "count all the ballots" and those shouting "RIGGED!" They're doing the Russian's work for them. While their "meddling" in the election appears to have been less than in 2016 (sometimes when you can't see it, it doesn't mean it's not happening, it's just you are either looking in the wrong place or they've gotten better and so are less detectable) they've already hacked the wetware enough that we're doing it to ourselves. Don't carry their water for them.

"Ten months after the (tax cut/reform) took effect, that promised 'supply-side' bump is harder to find than the sugar-high stimulus… Despite a remarkably strong economy, the fiscal health of the United States is deteriorating fast, as revenues have declined sharply. The federal budget deficit… rose to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year… That was a 17… since the tax cuts were passed, the 1,000 largest public companies have actually reduced employment… About half of those net losses came from companies in the restaurant and leisure industries, the analysis found." Just waiting for the president and the GOP blame the deficit on the Democrats. That should happen sometime before the end of January. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Linkee-poo, face front, true believers!

The alligators are reviewing proofs.

Stan Lee. And so it goes.

"While the coffee ritual may indeed have helped Kimmerer's father to feel more meditative, centered, and ready to start his day, this therapeutic aspect of the ceremony is not its purpose or focus. Rather, it is an act of gratitude, an acknowledgement of the larger world of which we humans are just one part. There is no ego in the ritual, no self-aggrandizing, no 'look at me, look how spiritual I am' -- just the simple, humble act of man offering a humble gift to creation." Terri Windling on homemade ceremonies, their purpose and necessity. Do you say a prayer as you light the candle, do you ask its forgiveness when you blow it out (or snuff it out depending on the candle)? Ceremony and ritual are important, even if they aren't tied to religion. They prepare you and they prepare the space you inhabit. Although for modern society we either don't recognize that we're doing it or we down play it's importance. At worst we toss it off as superstition. And in doing so, we lose something of ourselves instead.

"Le Grand K was forged in 1879 and is held in a locked vault outside Paris — revered and kept under lock and key because its mass, a little over two pounds, is the official definition of the kilogram… But this is will soon change."

"U.S.-based aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab completed its first successful commercial launch on Saturday, sending seven spacecraft including “six tiny satellites and a drag sail demonstrator” into orbit aboard a relatively small Electron rocket designed primarily for smallsats and cubesats, Spaceflight Now reported."

"Yes, astronomers suggest that it's very likely that a 'dark matter hurricane' will slam into the Earth as it speeds through the Milky Way -- but it shouldn't cause any damage. In fact, in the hunt for the mysterious particle (or particles) that makes up dark matter, the 'hurricane' may provide our best chance at detection." I remember some earnest discussion about Star Trek's "electrical storm in space" thing. Now this.

"Digging through Vietnam War-era archives from the U.S. Navy, the researchers discovered that long-forgotten sea mines which were placed during the conflict actually reacted to the magnetic effects of the solar storm as it hit the planet. Dozens of the mines, designed with magnetic detonators that are set off when a ship passes close by, were triggered by the storm."

"Russian officials have now acknowledged that the October 29 accident involving Russia’s only aircraft carrier and largest floating dry dock has made continuing the refit of the ship impossible. The dry dock, the PD-50, was the only one available capable of accommodating the 55,000 ton Admiral Kuznetsov. As a result, the completion of the refit of the ship is now delayed indefinitely." Well that's gonna crimp their dreams of a blue water navy. (Grokked from John)

"But there are growing indications that natural gas is taking West Virginia down the same path as coal, including a long and continuing battle over how the profits are divvied up among residents and out-of-state companies that are extracting natural resources from the land. And EQT is now suing to gut the 1982 royalty law that was meant to give gas owners a larger piece of the industry pie." It's called "natural resource exploitation" for a reason. And the extraction companies will always try to screw the landowner. The same way your telecom adds extra "fees" to your bill and airlines charge for baggage and fuel recovery fees. This is what "less regulation" is all about. And it's not just West Virginia. The shale gas play should have made many in SE Ohio and Western PA rich, but those areas are still as poor as they were when this whole thing started. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The White House has defended US President Donald Trump's decision to miss a memorial event on Saturday after he faced a backlash… Mr Trump, who was in France to mark the centenary of World War One's end, cancelled a visit to a US military cemetery because it was raining." Supposedly the helicopter couldn't fly and he didn't want to tie up traffic. Yet somehow the other heads of state could make it to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial.

"The fallout from President Donald Trump's decision to skip a ceremony honoring fallen American World War I soldiers in France on Saturday because of the rain grew amid the images of other world leaders defying inclement weather to memorialize the sacrifices of military heroes as part of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day."

"President Donald Trump on Monday unloaded on the US's European allies, and appeared to threaten to pull out of NATO, upon returning home from a World War I memorial event in Paris, where French President Emmanuel Macron openly rebuked Trump's political philosophy in a speech on Sunday." Note that Macron was rebuking nationalism.

"He began his visit with a tweet slamming the French president’s call for a European defense force, arrived at events alone and spent much of his trip out of sight in the American ambassadors’ residence in central Paris. On Sunday, he listened as he was lectured on the dangers of nationalist isolation, and then he headed home just as the inaugural Paris Peace Summit was getting underway." I think we can safely call the president's trip to France a failure.

"Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to 'tell your boss,' believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence." No collusion, according to the president.

Why is it a problem that the president is pushing "nationalism"? "Baraboo Superintendent Lori Mueller said she became aware of the photo Monday after it was posted on social media. The photo of more than 60 male students dressed in suits, some wearing boutonnieres, shows many with their right arm extended upward while posed on the steps of the Sauk County Courthouse. Mueller did not say what occasion may have brought the students together, but she said the photo appears to have been taken last spring and wasn’t taken on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event."

Culture and heritage. "This gentleman objected to the presence of peaceful protestors on a street corner in Orange, Texas: 'You don't deserve to be in this God-damn country. You don't like it, take your ass home.'" Conservatism is a contagious mental illness. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"'If they're not able to meet the deadline, the secretary of state of Florida may go ahead and certify the elections for our candidates,' Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett told CNN. 'In that case, you can bet your butt there will be lawsuits filed everywhere.'"

"As volunteers rush to complete the legally mandated review, Republican Gov. Rick Scott -- who leads in his race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson -- is again upping the stakes by suing to require law enforcement officials to seize ballots and tallying machines in Broward and Palm Beach counties during any break in the action."

"For the second time in 18 years, a pivotal election may be slipping away from Democrats in Florida thanks to an unlikely culprit: the design of a ballot."

"A video of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., who faces a runoff this month against an African-American Democrat, joking about attending 'a public hanging' went viral Sunday as she insisted there was nothing negative about her remark." Dear GOP, you've got a real problem.

"The Georgia Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court Sunday asking for rejected absentee ballots and provisional ballots to be counted in the Georgia governor's race… The lawsuit challenges the rejection of more than 1,000 absentee ballots for missing information or mismatching information, like birth dates or addresses."

"President Trump demanded on Monday morning that Florida halt its ongoing, legally required statewide recounts while the Republican candidates are still ahead, claiming, without evidence, that 'many ballots are missing or forged' and the ballots are 'massively infected.'" Call the Orkin man, the ballots are infected. The president lives in an evidence free mindset.

The On the Media podcast with "America’s divisions are all the more clear after another frenzied news cycle. This week, we ask a historian and a data scientist whether we humans are capable of governing ourselves. Plus, the post-midterm prognosis on climate change, and how our media have often complicated our country’s founding spirit of self-reflection."

"Congress is returning to Washington this week for an end-of-the-year session that’s expected to be filled with high-stakes legislative fights and plenty of drama… Lawmakers will be forced to juggle several crucial deadlines on must-pass pieces of legislation and unravel thorny policy fights, while also navigating political battles over leadership and a potential Cabinet shakeup." Gee, if only they had done their actual work this wouldn't be a problem. And remember when I talked about the GOP plan to stack the courts? "Republicans have confirmed Trump’s judicial picks, particularly nominees for the influential circuit courts, at a breakneck pace during the first two years of his administration, even setting a record for the number of appeals judges confirmed."

The problem with, "We'd all be more secure if everyone had a gun" philosophy. "Witnesses said a Midlothian police officer responding to a shooting inside a south suburban bar shot at the wrong person early Sunday morning." They killed the security guard who had subdued the shooter. This is what institutional racism looks like, and what happens when there are too many guns. Police arrive on the scene, see a black man with a gun holding down another person and assume the black man is the criminal. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Families of people with dementia will often take away the car keys to keep their family member safe. They might remove knobs from stove burners or lock up medicine… But what's less talked about is the risk of guns in the home for those with dementia." Taking away driving privileges is removal of independence, which is difficult enough. Many people's identities have been wrapped around their gun ownership (thanks to the propaganda of the NRA and the right). The troubling thing about dementia and Alzheimer's is that memory isn't always destroyed, just the path to retrieving it. There are many paths to that memory (as we currently understand how the brain works… see my normal disclaimer on that) and new paths can be forged. Also, the brain is redundant. Habit can mask disfunction for a long time. SO while I might say that one solution would be to keep the guns, but remove all ammo, anyone who has dealt with an older relative's smoking habit knows the problems with that.

"Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican known for hard-line stances on immigration and racist remarks, challenged a conservative magazine to release audio to prove that he had compared immigrants to 'dirt.'… So The Weekly Standard did." Also note the Weekly Standard is a conservative media outlet. Yes, Rep. Steve King is Nazi scum.

"The president just meant the acting attorney general isn’t 'a friend' he’s known for 'his entire life,' (Kelly Ann) Conway said." They haven't played devil's triangle, yet. Too soon?

David Roth on the president. "If there is a purpose here, it is the theater of it—the theater of Trump’s strange fey boorishness and the towering and obvious lies he tells, which exist not to convince but more to signal his ongoing unwillingness to be constrained by fact." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration had stopped defending key parts of the Affordable Care Act in court on the grounds that the law became unconstitutional when Congress repealed the tax penalty for individuals' failure to buy health insurance… Maryland filed suit against Sessions challenging that position… But now that Sessions is no longer attorney general, Maryland is buttressing its argument. The state contends that Whitaker was unlawfully named acting attorney general, and so he has no authority to respond to their lawsuit." So it begins. Wait until the lawsuit is, "I can't be convicted because the Attorney General at the time was illegally appointed."

"North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat." I can't even fake being shocked by this. The president has no idea how to negotiate when people don't really need his money. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Linkee-poo it's a new week?

Sorry, still full of alligators.

Delilah Dawson with some truths about writing.

"The large, multiyear research efforts tested different formulations and quantities of drugs made with Omega-3 fatty acids on two groups of people: one that suffered from cardiovascular disease or diabetes and another that represented the general population… Both studies found that people who took the drugs every day enjoyed protection against some heart and circulatory problems compared with those given a placebo." Well, kinda sorta.

"A mocking tweet from the National Rifle Association has stirred many physicians to post on social media about their tragically frequent experiences treating patients in the aftermath of gun violence." That didn't work out well… for the NRA. Seriously, NRA, I'm not a doctor, but I work in an ER and we see what happens at the wrong end of the gun. Few people outside of the medical field read medical research. You really asked for this shellacking.

"The Food and Drug Administration is planning to limit the sale of sweet electronic cigarette flavors in an attempt to curtail what its commissioner has called an 'epidemic' of teen vaping, according to an agency official."

"They found that the insecticide — from a controversial group called neonicotinoids — made the bees more sluggish and antisocial, spending more time on the periphery of the nest. It also made them less-attentive parents, according to research published Thursday in the journal Science." Smoking isn't good for anybody.

"Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sends a letter to President Donald Trump questioning whether the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was constitutional."

"The incident, video of which was taken offline shortly after being posted, has prompted an aisle-crossing outcry – fueled in part by Carlson’s own significant embellishments of what occurred while he wasn’t home. I was there for the entirety of the 10-minute demonstration, and can report in detail what actually happened."

"President Trump on Friday suggested he could pull press credentials from other reporters who don't show him 'respect'… The comments come two days after the president suspended the press pass of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a contentious exchange during a news conference." Tin-pot dictator stuff.

"Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris, resigned from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on Friday, calling in a withering critique for another referendum to avoid the vassalage or chaos that he said her Brexit plans would unleash." Rats leaving after they scuttle the ship (and take all the money).

"Whitaker, a former US attorney in Iowa, was paid to work as an advisory board member for World Patent Marketing (WPM), a Florida-based company accused by the US government of tricking aspiring inventors out of millions of dollars. Earlier this year, it was ordered to pay authorities $26m." Only the best people. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"When things were particularly bad between President Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, the attorney general's chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, would attend White House meetings in his place… But Sessions did not know that Whitaker at the same time was angling for a promotion." A timeline of the ouster. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/tensions-rising-mueller-manafort-level-cooperation-sources/story?id=59086047&id=59086047&__twitter_impression=true Manafort is betting on a pardon. I guess he's forgetting there are also state charges pending and a presidential pardon isn't available there. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Linkee-poo wants to be your fantasy, maybe you could be mine

Sorry, not much I can do today with all these alligators. So no stories about how Florida and Georgia elections and a whole bunch others are getting tighter and/or too close to call. Gee, Rich Scott, if only you had actually fixed the damn system when you were governor for 8 years, this might not be happening. And it is frankly hilarious to see the people who screamed about "voter fraud interfering with the votes of real citizens" no screaming about how we shouldn't count all votes because mumble mumble something FREEDOM.

"Because in the paper, a team of astronomers show that they have observed a blob of dust sitting just outside the point of no return of a supermassive black hole, where the gravity is so intense that this material is moving at thirty percent the speed of light. And this wasn’t inferred, deduced, or shown indirectly. No: They measured this motion by literally seeing the blobs move in their observations." (Grokked from Tania)

"For the first time, astronomers have observed the final stages of galactic mergers, peering through thick walls of gas and dust to see pairs of supermassive black holes drawing closer together and the black holes' rapid growth." When galaxies collide.

"As researchers the world over search for alternative energy sources, there has been a sharp rise in interest in cyanobacteria… These organisms, widely found in the oceans and on land, are being investigated for their abilities to turn sunlight into electrical current."

"When the South Atlantic Ocean was young, sea monsters ruled it." Mosasaurs. Why did it have to be mosasaurs?

Companies would never throttle internet access to services because they couldn't compete. Remember that line? "Sprint Corp. has been slowing traffic to Microsoft Corp.’s internet-based video chat service Skype, according to new findings from an ongoing study by Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts." That didn't take long. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"UBS Group, Switzerland's largest bank, said it expects to be sued by the U.S. Department of Justice as early as Thursday on civil charges related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to a company statement."

"(USS Cole terrorist attack victims and family's) path for this and similar suits has been long and difficult, and now, to the consternation of the victims and veterans groups, the Trump administration is siding with Sudan, long designated a state sponsor of terrorism."

For all those who lamented about how Kavanaugh's life was ruined by charges of sexual harassment and rape and those who peddled the "mothers should be worried this might happen to their boys". "Christine Blasey Ford is still being harassed after leveling sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, her lawyers say… She's had to move four times, she wrote last month. She has had to pay for a private security detail. She hasn't been able to return to her job as a professor at Palo Alto University. A spokeswoman for the school did not respond to a question about whether there was a timeline for Ford to return." So why didn't she come out earlier? (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Long lines at polling locations in Georgia reveal a voting system that is not performing properly and may disenfranchise voters who cannot wait for hours to cast a ballot. Initial reporting on Election Day shows that precincts with particularly long lines are in African American neighborhoods." Like they were in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. It's almost like the Secretaries of States don't really want to solve the problem.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Linkee-poo down the rabbit hole we go

It's alligators as far as the eye can see.

"The US inquiry into alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 election could be under threat after President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, top opposition Democrats say." So the question is, will Whitaker take the hit and end the Mueller investigation before Trump sends a new appointment to the Senate, or will he just hold course and prepare the field for Trump's appointee to do the firing. Another question is how far along is Mueller's investigation and what the fall out will be if leaks start appearing in a more earnest way? In the press conference yesterday the president threatened the House to keep them at bay from investigating him (charges also echoed by the Senate Majority Leader). The results of the investigation (the parts we don't know right now, as compared to the charges already filed) will eventually become public. The only question there is it within a week, next year, or 5-10 years from now. So right now the difference between a Constitutional Crisis and the current state is so minor as to not be relevant.

"A Texas poll worker was charged with assault today after yelling racist remarks at a black voter who she didn't think should be voting, then shoulder-checking her." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Voter turnout on Tuesday was massive: More than 47 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Tuesday. That's according to early estimates from the United States Election Project… That's the highest turnout for a midterm since 1966, when 49 percent of the population showed up to vote."

"Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker lost a very narrow race for reelection to Democratic challenger Tony Evers on Tuesday. But it wasn't close enough to qualify for a recount — thanks to a law he signed himself last year." I'm not sure that's a karma bitch slap, more like a karma round-house kick to the head.

"Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is refusing to accept Republican rival Brian Kemp's declaration of victory in the Georgia gubernatorial race and is considering legal action in the high-profile contest." If he hadn't been such a dick before in his attempts to suppress minority voting, it probably wouldn't be such a problem. But Kemps has consistently tried to steal this election. He should have recused himself from anything involving governor's race and let his deputies handle it.

"Following the mixed-results of this week’s midterm elections, President Trump held a news conference that quickly descended into a full-contact grudge match against Democrats, failed Republicans candidates and the press." This is the news conference with the confrontation with Jim Acosta.

The White House used edited (speed) video of Jim Acosta and the intern trying to take away his microphone. (Grokked from Daniel J Hogan).

"Sarah Sanders is slammed for retweeting conspiracy theorist's 'DOCTORED' video of Jim Acosta's exchange with White House intern that shows CNN reporter 'KARATE CHOPPING' her arm"

Us and Them. On the Media podcast… "Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra." With, without, and who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Linkee-poo oh what a night

Alligator overload.

"There have been 80 confirmed cases of the polio-like illness known as AFM in 25 states this year as of Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday… In addition, there are 219 cases under investigation."

"Every year, nearly 34,000 cases of cancer in the US can be attributed to HPV, the human papillomavirus . The CDC estimates that vaccination could prevent around 93 percent of those cancers. Yet HPV vaccination rates are abysmal: only half of the teenagers in the US were fully vaccinated in 2017." How the US's neuroticism about sex kills. But the good news is more kids are using protection.

"A 94-year-old former enlisted SS man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, charged with being an accessory to murder for crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis' Stutthof concentration camp."

"Saudi Arabia's crown prince has launched a project to build the first nuclear research reactor in the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported."

"Facebook announced late Monday the suspension of 115 accounts it believed to be engaged in 'coordinated inauthentic behavior' as top law enforcement officials warned that Russia may still try to interfere in U.S. elections." You know, shutting these accounts down is good. Waiting to shut them down until election is heinous fuckery.

"Fox News lightly criticized host Sean Hannity on Tuesday for campaigning for President Donald Trump after promising that the host would not do so." Yes, Sean, it was planned. Let's just drop the pretense, Fox News is the GOP propaganda wing. Straight up. It's only if you're still trying to keep the facade of "journalism" going that this would be a problem. Fox News has even snookered the conservative faithful, because they still think it's "news" and not, as Jon Stewart once called it, Bullshit Mountain. And Hitler also brought Goebbels on stage with him. If you work at Fox News and this is a problem for you, let me give you the advice Fox News has been giving the rest of us. Quit.

Dear Democrats, looking for something more than "infrastructure" to work hard on? "In the ballot measures that passed Tuesday, voters in at least three states took the power to determine political boundaries away from state legislatures, while a similar proposition in Utah was too close to call. Voter registration deadlines could become a thing of the past in three states that are making it easier to take part in elections." Here's a winning strategy. Conservatives will flog you with claims of "illegal voting" and other bullshit. You need to have your facts ready and fight back and label conservatives as those who want to disenfranchise voters and suppress minority, lower income, older voters, and women's votes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Linkee-poo election day

Huhn. "Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft." And the paper they published. "However, recent observational and theoretical studies imply that 'Oumuamua is not an active comet. We explore the possibility that the excess acceleration results from Solar radiation pressure… For a thin sheet this requires a width of ≈ 0.3 − 0.9 mm. We find that although extremely thin, such an object would survive an interstellar travel over Galactic distances of ∼ 5 kpc, withstanding collisions with gas and dust-grains as well as stresses from rotation and tidal forces. We discuss the possible origins of such an object including the possibility that it might be a lightsail of artificial origin. Our general results apply to any light probes designed for interstellar travel." Rama? Of course Occam's Razor and all.

"The spacesuit-wearing mannequin and its red Tesla Roadster have now sped beyond the orbit of Mars after launching into space in February aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, the aerospace manufacturer said Nov. 2 in a tweet."

And now we go to Wisconsin and their economic miracle of Foxconn. "And while many - including this site - accused the project of being a giant taxpayer-funded boondoggle, calculating that every job created would cost some $230,000 in incentives, a little over a year later and even more disturbing "glitch" in the plan has emerged: according to the WSJ, instead of hiring local talent, Foxconn is considering bringing in personnel from China 'to help staff the large facility under construction in southern Wisconsin as it struggles to find engineers and other workers in one of the tightest labor markets in the U.S.'" Con, it's right there in the name. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Xeni Jardin)

And then, "Mason reiterated Foxconn’s promise that it will eventually create thirteen thousand 'permanent' jobs in Wisconsin. But the company recently changed the type of factory it plans to build, downsizing to a highly automated plant that will only require three thousand employees, ninety per cent of them 'knowledge workers,' such as engineers, programmers, and designers. Almost all of the assembly work will be done by robots." That's a fairly long article that discusses a lot of other "changes" Foxconn demanded, the government running roughshod over their citizens, and how a large corporation could bend a weak conservative government to their will all for a good photo op. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"President Donald Trump's move to deploy troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is so far shaping up to have a cost of $220 million, according to two U.S. defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly." Party of fiscal responsibility my Aunt Fanny. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Two Elkhart, Indiana, police officers who punched a handcuffed man in the face more than 10 times will face criminal charges — 11 months after the fact, and only after The South Bend Tribune requested video of the incident as part of an ongoing investigation with ProPublica." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"(The shooter) was described as a brooding military veteran and former teacher, who appeared to have made videos detailing his hatred of everything from the Affordable Care Act to girls who’d allegedly mistreated him in middle school. The videos were posted four years ago, and were removed from YouTube after the shooting." A student attacked the shooter with a broom, got the gun away from him, but then lost the gun back to the shooter which was when the shooter took his own life.

"(SCOTUS) on Monday rejected appeals from the telecommunications industry seeking to throw out a lower court ruling in favor of the “net neutrality” rules. The Federal Communications Commission under President Donald Trump has rolled back the rules, but the industry also wanted to wipe the court ruling off the books."

"As the first active-duty military troops sent to the U.S. border with Mexico installed coils of razor wire on a bridge and a riverbank Friday, a sense of unease spread across Texas’ Rio Grande Valley… President Donald Trump’s portrayal of a border under siege by drug smugglers and other criminals is at odds with what residents in towns along the 1,954-mile (3,126-kilometer) divide with Mexico see in their daily routines, with U.S. border towns consistently ranking among the safest in the country." Wag the dog, baby. And once again, seeking asylum is a legal activity and a legal way of entering a country.

"A change this year in federal contracts has left some farmers market operators and advocates nervous. A company that has long provided the technology to 1,700 farmers markets across the country that accept benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, says it is pulling out of the business. And that could jeopardize recipients' access to fresh food."

"After CNN, NBC News, Fox News and Facebook either refused to run or stopped running a racist ad funded by his 2020 reelection campaign, President Donald Trump was dismissive Monday."

"False claims that ICE is interfering at polling locations have cropped up intermittently over the past two years. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, for example, an image spread on Twitter appearing to show an immigration officer arresting someone in line to vote. The image was a hoax." Because even ICE knows that despite conservative hysteria to the contrary, undocumented immigrants don't vote. Basically this is a scare tactic to keep hispanics from voting.

The president says, "toughest sanctions ever." The world says, "Iran's oil exports have fallen sharply since President Donald Trump said he would re-impose sanctions on Tehran earlier this year, but with waivers in hand, the Islamic republic's major buyers could scale up orders as soon as next month."

Remember the "Russians don't seem to be interfering in this election" stories? "The hackers have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show hackers have had 'limited success.'" (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Following last year’s tax cut, Republicans have been plotting to cut social insurance in the name of debt reduction — but wanted to wait until after the election to do so." Again, you pay separate taxes to support those. But in this age of not actually getting a check and most people rarely check their stubs online, most people don't realize that. These programs have nothing to do with the debt (except that they've been financing the debt for a long time, as any excess these taxes brought in were spent on buying government bonds). "If Republicans hold onto Congress — or even if they keep one chamber — threats to social insurance will loom over every fiscal deadline, every behind-the-scenes congressional huddle." Note the next fiscal "cliff" is December 7th.

"Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity made a cameo appearance on stage Monday night at President Donald Trump's final midterm rally, going back on the pledge he had made hours earlier not to appear on stage with the president." Because of course he would.

"The crowd at President Donald Trump’s rally in Missouri on Monday evening began singing "Amazing Grace" after a woman collapsed and needed medical attention." And then the Fox Article goes on to explain "Amazing Grace" as a song. First class journalism right there, folks. And a prime example of why the evangelicals love Trump, a serial adulterer, con man, and liar.

"As I go from door to door, I have started telling the Democrats what I learned in my decades working for Republicans. Republicans win because they never, ever give up, and because Democrats do. But maybe, after Kavanaugh, Democrats will realize it’s time they change their tactics." (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"Under normal circumstances, America's midterm elections tend to elicit shrugs outside the U.S. The world usually focuses on U.S. elections when the president's name is on the ballot. But if you're an American overseas these days, you may be quizzed on what will happen in Tuesday's midterms." And it's not for good reasons. The rest of the world is wondering if we'll come to our senses.

And here let me remind everybody that even if the Democrats take back the House today, Trump will not be impeached. If the the House would approve articles of impeachment, to actually remove him from office requires a super-majority of the Senate. Even if the Democrats won every single Senate seat up for election this year, they wouldn't have enough. And good luck getting Republicans to see the sense in removing Trump.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Linkee-poo, you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone

"Below are samples of my pitching and development documents, pilot and episodic scripts, and other writing. While my own career is a work in progress, and nothing below is in any way definitive, or even "good" and "correct" for that matter, I hope that by reading the documents below - some for successful sales, others for failed experiments and unsold projects - those looking for guidance will find a useful example." (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Since March 2009, NASA has discovered more than 2,600 planets, including potentially habitable ones, thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope. Last week, after nearly a decade of hunting for new planets, the Kepler finally ran out of fuel. NASA decided to officially retire Kepler within its current orbit, away from Earth, on Oct. 30, 2018."

"A new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals." Because why would we need new antibiotics when they can sell us new pain killers?

"A man in Australia has died from rat lungworm caused by a garden slug he ate for a dare eight years earlier." Look peoples, don't eat worms. Okay? Yes, I know slugs aren't worms. But you get what I'm saying, right?

"The growing number of campaigns to ban plastic waste are putting pressure on companies to find alternatives – not just for straws, but for all kinds of plastic packaging. So BillerudKorsnäs tests out products they hope to sell in the budding market for plastic replacements." It may just be a designer thing, but man I love coming up with a good cardboard packaging design that solves a lot of mechanical problems.

So, as you may know, I'm kinda a DebbieDowner on human level AI (or being able to "upload" your brain) in computers. There's a reason for this. We don't know, really, how the brain actually works. "Miller and Constantinidis agree that working memory is critical to just about everything the brain does… But they are on opposite sides of a lively debate about how working memory works." And they may both be wrong. The brain is not a computer. It's just that computers are the most complex machine we have now (and frankly, digital subtraction is still beyond most people's ken). That's why we compare the brain to a computer.

"But maybe the hours she spent lining those little blocks ('tetriminos') into perfect rows of 10 weren't a total waste. Her latest research suggests that Tetris can ease us through periods of anxiety, by getting us to a blissfully engrossed mental state that psychologists call 'flow.'" As a young man (okay, in my 20s) I had dreams of Tetris. Just say no. This is just distraction (which, yes, can sometimes be helpful).

"Should I start drawing down my savings or claim Social Security early?… There's no perfect answer, but here's what you should consider."

"Trump has sought to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. funding for AIDS programs at home and abroad, but the U2 frontman says members of Congress 'have so far turned down this president’s request to cut AIDS funding — right and left in lockstep together on this.'"

"World stocks slipped on Monday, halting a four-day recovery rally as anxiety surrounding global trade conditions and rising U.S. interest rates dampened risk appetite." ZOMG, uncertainty. What'll we ever do? Note that you don't hear the conservatives, who were all against uncertainty up until 2 years ago, sounding the alarm klaxon this time. "'Everyone’s on hold until the (end-November) G20 and also the Fed coming up,' said Arbuthnot Latham’s Perdon. 'Our sense is absolutely that there’s a lot of cash on the sidelines right now.'" You mean the market is making a bet that also looks quite similar as to what they would do if they felt we were approaching a recession? You don't say.

"There is unspeakable sadness in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The community gathered Sunday night to remember four lives taken suddenly in a hit-and-run crash, reports CBS Minnesota… Three young Girl Scouts and a mother were killed Saturday while cleaning garbage out of a ditch in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin."

"A big group of Central Americans pushed on toward Mexico City from a coastal state Monday, planning to exit a part of the country that has long been treacherous for migrants seeking to get to the United States."

"A hunting guide and his client accidentally shot each other and then blamed it on undocumented migrants, police in the US have said." But not after they raised almost $26,000 on GoFundMe. Paranoia strikes deep. (Grokked from Vincent O'Connor)

For the "more guns make us safer" crowd. "An 11-year-old boy shot and killed his grandmother before turning the gun on himself Saturday, the boy's grandfather told police in Arizona… The Litchfield Park man told detectives that he and his 65-year-old wife 'asked their grandson to clean his room and pick up after himself throughout the day, as he was being stubborn about it,' Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Joaquin Enriquez said in a statement Sunday."

Fox News host fact checks Fox News host in real time. Awkward.

"A New York federal judge is poised to hear evidence from critics of a Commerce Department decision to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census."

"The U.S. has officially imposed what the Trump administration describes as the 'toughest ever' sanctions against Iran, meant to curb Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and contain its growing influence in the Middle East." "Toughest ever" translates to a subset of what we had in place before the nuclear deal, and significantly less international support. The president can not tell the truth.

"Around the world, conservative groups have been gaining influence, bolstering the power of right-wing leaders. It is a trend driven not only by older generations but also by the young." And, again, it's mostly driven by fear.

"In the final days before pivotal midterm elections, President Donald Trump is painting a distorted picture of immigration while exaggerating his record of achieving economic gains for non-whites and improving health care for veterans."

"House forecast: Democrats will win 226 seats (and the House majority) while Republicans will win just 209 seats. A Democratic win of 203 seats and 262 seats is within the margin of error."

"Republicans would have to sweep virtually all of the 22 races currently rated as toss-ups to hold onto their House majority — a nearly insurmountable challenge — according to a new POLITICO analysis." From this weekend's talking heads shows, basically nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Good chance the Dems take the House, the Senate is a tossup. But what is more important are the local/statewide races.

"'A vote for any Democrat this November is a vote to really put extreme far-left politicians in charge of Congress and to destroy your jobs, slash your incomes, undermine your safety and put illegal aliens before American citizens. Not good.' — President Donald Trump on the stakes of the midterm elections." Again with the projection. "Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight." Arbeit macht frei.

On the Media podcast, "After a week of hate-fueled attacks, we examine the "dotted line" from incitement to violence. We dig deep into tribalism and how it widens the gulf between Republicans and Democrats. Plus, the history of antisemitic propaganda and how it inspires modern-day violence. Also, why is the GOP running against California in midterm races around the country?"

But, hey, the good thing is on Wednesday we can start talking about 2020 (and a groan went up from the crowd).

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Linkee-poo weekend before an election

Go out and vote.

"A Los Angeles area teacher who was captured on video punching a student repeatedly was released from jail Saturday after being held overnight on allegations of child abuse… A student is seen on cellphone video captured by students confronting the man, alleging that he spoke ill of the teen. At first Riley appears to be patient as the student curses at him, calls him a racial epithet, and challenges the man." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"But a new paper by the same authors (Sci-Hub mirror) shows that the rising minimum wage generated major increases for the workers who had the most hours, whose hours were only cut a little, but still came out ahead thanks to the wage increase…" (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A Washington state politician has suggested in a manifesto that all men who support abortion and gay marriage be killed, among other extreme religious views… Washington state Rep. Matt Shea admitted Wednesday that he wrote and distributed the four-page document, called the 'Biblical Basis for War,' which includes 14 sections on how biblical war can and would unfold. Shea, a Republican who represents Spokane in the state’s House, is up for re-election in the midterms next week." Marching, marching to shibboleth with the Eagle and the Sword. That's okay, Rep. Matt Shea, I've often wondered if we shouldn't have another Age of Martyrs which your types like to compare yourselves to. The "Christian" fascination with the God of the Old Testament never ceases to astound me. Because the New Testament is the new covenant between Christians and God. He threw out all the old rules and gave you a new handbook. You Christian types might want to check it out. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

What do you do when your faced with defeat? "Georgia's Secretary of State's office says it has launched an investigation into a 'failed attempt to hack the state's voter registration system' on Saturday evening… The office of Brian Kemp, who is also the Republican candidate for governor, said in a Sunday morning news release that they will investigate the Georgia Democratic Party as part of its probe, but did not offer any details on why it is investigating the Democratic party." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"As recently as Monday, computer servers that powered Kentucky’s online voter registration and Wisconsin’s reporting of election results ran software that could potentially expose information to hackers or enable access to sensitive files without a password." In network security you are only as secure as the weakest link in the system. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"'Estimated 200 unregulated armed militia members currently operating along the southwest border. Reported incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments. They operate under the guise of citizen patrols supporting CBP [Customs and Border Protection] primarily between POEs [Points of Entry],' according to the documents." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The man who shot dead two women at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday before killing himself was a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist who railed against women, black people, and immigrants in a series of online videos and songs." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"On October 24th, Takeyla Singleton, a housekeeper at a Best Western hotel in Cordele, Georgia, posted a two-minute video to her Facebook account. Earlier that day, Singleton, who is African-American, like the majority of the town’s residents, had filmed Royce Reeves, Sr.—a forty-six-year-old barber and an elected city commissioner—receiving a ticket for illegally parking a limousine on Highway 19. Reeves, who is also black, had recently borrowed the vehicle to take poor or unmotivated residents to the polls to vote early." Seven cars, a mixture of state and local police, responded to the incident… of a black man illegally parked. That's what official racial intimidation looks like. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Then the whole thing blew up. Cohen, it turns out, doesn’t actually exist. His real name is Jacob Wohl, and he’s a pro-Trump twitter troll and former teenage hedge fund manager with the dubious distinction of being the youngest person ever to earn a lifetime trading ban from the National Futures Association." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)