I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Linkee-poo Wednesday Sept 27

"Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing." Fucked around, finding out.

"With just days to go before the government runs out of money, the Senate has unveiled a bipartisan stopgap bill in a bid to avert a shutdown – but there’s no guarantee that it will be able to pass in the House as a bloc of conservatives rail against the prospect of a short-term funding extension."

"On average, during an El Nino winter, the northern U.S. sees warmer than average temperatures, as the polar jet stream stays north and keeps the cold air in Canada.... Meanwhile, the South is wetter than normal due to the active subtropical jet that is fueled by warm, moist air from the Pacific Ocean."

"'The discovery (of carbon from the subsurface ocean) signals a potentially habitable environment in the ocean of Europa,' according to the Webb telescope's website." Attempt no landings there.

"After traveling billions of miles for seven years to touch an asteroid and bring some of it home, NASA's Osiris-REx mission has finally delivered a precious sample to Earth."

"There are times in life when the challenges we face feel insurmountable. Authors succumb to writer’s block. Athletes and artists hit a plateau. People of a certain age fall into a midlife crisis. These are all different ways of saying: I’m stuck. This week, in the kickoff to our annual You 2.0 series, psychologist Adam Alter shares his research on why we all get stuck at various points in our lives, and how to break free."

"Some archaeologists describe Peru’s capital as an onion with many layers of history, others consider it a box of surprises. That’s what some gas line workers got when their digging uncovered eight pre-Inca funeral bales."

"The British Museum has asked the public to help identify and recover ancient artefacts that have gone missing from its collection… Last month a member of staff was sacked and police launched an investigation after around 2,000 treasures were reported 'missing, stolen or damaged' over a 'significant' period of time."

"Starting Monday, September 25, the federal government will send up to four free COVID-19 rapid tests per household to anyone who requests them."

"In June 2021, more than a decade after the first reports, Philips announced a recall of millions of machines that had been delivered to nearly every corner of the United States and dozens of other countries. The company acknowledged that the foam it had chosen could crumble in heat and humidity and send potentially 'toxic and carcinogenic' material into the noses, mouths, throats and lungs of users." Full disclosure, I used a Phillips Respironics device that was recalled. Motherfuckers.

"Research on the therapeutic use of psychedelics is underway at several universities, and data continues to accumulate on how they may help with conditions from PTSD to depression... And there's increasing interest in that work from a group of professionals who already guide people through life's deep and difficult times: chaplains."

"Surgeons have transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying man in a bid to prolong his life – only the second patient to ever undergo such an experimental feat. Two days later, the man was cracking jokes and able to sit in a chair, Maryland doctors said Friday."

"She's one of many people taking Ozempic and related drugs who describe mental health problems. But that side effect isn't mentioned in Ozempic's instructions for use, or drug label. Are the problems a coincidence or related to the drug?"

"The 67-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee, could not afford to see a dentist on the $1,300-a-month his family gets in Social Security and disability payments. So he waited for the state to roll out a program this year that offers dental care to the more than 650,000 Medicaid recipients like him who are 21 and older. Tennessee is spending about $75 million annually on the program."

In our name... "Phillips and Chester Deanes disagree. The men who grew up at the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex are now leading the charge seeking compensation and further health studies that could determine whether the secretive testing contributed to various illnesses or premature deaths that some Pruitt-Igoe residents later suffered."

"The 148-day Hollywood writers strike will end just after 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday, thanks to a new three-year deal the Writers Guild of America made with major Hollywood studios."

"Amazon Prime Video unveiled plans to introduce advertisements during shows and movies starting early next year — becoming the latest streaming service to embrace ads to keep its business growing." Motherfuckers. Enshittification at it's finest.

"Retailers have long complained the so-called 'swipe fees' they have to pay for accepting credit cards in the U.S. are much higher than those in Europe, where the fees are strictly regulated." And here's the kicker not mentioned in the story, the fees are higher if the card is not swiped, but you have to enter the info by hand.

"The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating Atlantic Red Crab and Workforce Unlimited for possible violations of child labor, overtime pay, and anti-retaliation laws, according to documents obtained by The Public’s Radio. The Labor Department is also investigating Sea Watch International, a Maryland-based clam processor that has a plant in New Bedford."

"The United Auto Workers union is expanding its strike against GM and Stellantis but said that progress in negotiations with Ford means it won’t expand the number of Ford workers on the picket lines."

"On paper, maybe the Detroit Three can afford to pay workers more and shareholders less. But nobody is asking their competitors to do that, and some of those competitors already enjoy advantages. The Detroit automakers aren’t the titans they used to be, and they’re not the titans the UAW seems to think they are, either." What a suckup. Seriously, "they don't have to, we shouldn't" isn't a business argument. Didn't your momma teach you that just because everyone is jumping off a bridge that you don't have to?

"SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s refusal to allow Ukraine to use Starlink internet services to launch a surprise attack on Russian forces in Crimea last September has raised questions as to whether the U.S. military needs to be more explicit in future contracts that services or products it purchases could be used in war, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday."

"Ukraine struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in a missile attack that left the main building in flames and a serviceman missing, according to military officials."

"Pope Francis blasted the 'fanaticism of indifference' that greets migrants seeking a better life in Europe, as he arrived Friday in the Mediterranean port of Marseille amid a new influx of would-be refugees from Africa that has sparked a backlash from some of Europe’s increasingly anti-migrant leaders."

"The speaker of Canada’s parliament has resigned after inviting a Ukrainian Nazi veteran to attend a special session of parliament, and then calling the man a 'hero' amid two standing ovations." Oopsie.

"A military judge at Guantanamo Bay has ruled one of the 9/11 defendants unfit for trial after a military medical panel found that the man’s sustained abuse in CIA custody years earlier has rendered him lastingly psychotic." Just another reason why you don't torture. There will be no justice for this.

"The community is facing growing pains again, 80 years later, as Los Alamos National Laboratory takes part in the nation’s most ambitious nuclear weapons effort since World War II. The mission calls for modernizing the arsenal with droves of new workers producing plutonium cores — key components for nuclear weapons."

"Federally subsidized crop insurance made record-high payouts last year. While climate change is making farming more risky, the federal program often shields producers at taxpayer expense. Some argue it’s time that the fast-growing program encourages farmers to mitigate their risks." Or, ya know, we could fucking work on halting climate change.

"Residents who survived the wildfire that leveled the Hawaii town of Lahaina might not be able to afford to live there after it is rebuilt unless officials alter the zoning laws and make other changes, economists warned Friday."

"Six years after two stained-glass windows that honored Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson were taken down, the Washington National Cathedral has unveiled the pair of windows that are taking their place... The windows, titled 'Now and Forever,' were created by artist Kerry James Marshall and center around racial justice. The images show a group of protesters marching in different directions and holding up large signs that read 'Fairness' and 'No Foul Play.'"

"An Oklahoma judge was arrested in Austin, Texas, last week after authorities say he opened fire on parked vehicles while out driving, striking at least one of them, and intentionally crashed into a woman’s vehicle, telling officers later that she had cut him off."

"Today on The Sunday Story, NPR's Daniel Estrin talks about his four-year investigation into the 2019 U.S. raid against ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Pentagon says its deadly airstrikes did not hit civilians. But Estrin's investigation challenges that account. Now the Pentagon says it will review new information brought to light about the incident."

"The FBI said Friday it has opened a civil rights investigation into allegations in recent lawsuits that police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, assaulted drug suspects they detained in an obscure warehouse known as the 'Brave Cave.'" How about "police should not have black sites" and we prosecute those who set them up and those who used them?

"New conflict of interest allegations have surfaced about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas… In a lengthy article published on Friday, ProPublica reports that Thomas over the years has maintained a close relationship with the Koch network, one of the largest and most influential political organizations in the country, and that the justice, on at least two occasions, spoke at fundraising events for the conservative organization." Oh, is it another week so soon?

"There's a lot for lawmakers to be stressed about these days, from the looming threat of a government shutdown to debates over additional funding for Ukraine. But one of the most divisive issues on Capitol Hill suddenly seems to be what senators can wear to work... Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer directed the Senate's sergeant-at-arms to stop enforcing its unwritten dress code — only for its 100 members — starting this week." :: clutches pearls, falls onto conveniently waiting couch ::

"For weeks, Democratic and Republican senators have been watching the House with growing alarm as Speaker Kevin McCarthy has struggled to cobble together the votes to pass a short-term spending bill along party lines – all as he has resisted calls to cut a deal with Democrats to keep the government open until a longer-term deal can be reached. The initial plan: Let McCarthy get the votes to pass a bill first before the Senate changes it and sends it back to the House for a final round of votes and negotiations." Not so fast, although I believe the rules allow the Senate to initiate a CR, they cannot initiate budget or appropriation bills. Those must originate in the House.

"The White House on Friday directed federal agencies to get ready for a shutdown after House Republicans left town for the weekend with no viable plan to keep the government funded and avert politically and economically costly disruption of federal services."

"While Republicans on the campaign trail and in Congress regularly bash the law — which Biden signed a year ago Wednesday — as big-government overreach by Democrats bent on killing off fossil fuels, its benefits are disproportionately landing in their communities. And as the measure supercharges efforts to combat climate change, it’s also rekindling economies where people have felt forgotten, potentially softening how some voters view Biden as he seeks reelection."

"The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to block enforcement of an Alabama voting rights decision that the high court issued just months ago… In June, the court ruled that Alabama's Republican-drawn congressional map violated the Voting Rights Act because, in a state with seven congressional districts and a 27% Black population, the GOP-dominated legislature had created just one congressional district in which Black voters are either a majority or close to it."

"X, the company formerly known as Twitter, has removed the ability for people to report a tweet for containing misleading information just weeks before a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament in Australia… Since 2021, users on X in countries including the US, Australia and South Korea had been able to flag tweets that they believed contained misleading information for review by staff at the company – separate to other processes the company has in place to report abuse or hate speech." And now you know why Musk and his consortium of investors overpaid for Twitter.

"More than 15,000 people in Arizona have registered to join a new political party floating a possible bipartisan 'unity ticket' against Joe Biden and Donald Trump."

"The Colorado judge overseeing the first significant lawsuit to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot on Friday issued a protective order prohibiting threats and intimidation in the case, saying the safety of those involved — including herself and her staff — was necessary as the groundbreaking litigation moves forward."

"A lawyer for Donald Trump on Friday accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of ignoring 'everything' as she pursues a civil lawsuit alleging that the former president ran a systematic fraud at his family business." No, sir. She's just ignoring you and your frivolous claims.

You know how conservatives like to say, "well, what about all the corruption on the Left" when they fail to address blatant corruption in their caucus? "A federal grand jury in New York has returned a sweeping indictment against United States Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, in connection with improper foreign relations and business dealings... The investigation focused on a luxury car, gold bars and an apartment allegedly received by Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian. His wife was also indicted." There was also a lot of coverage over "Dems aren't asking Menendez to resign" in the first few days. More and more are coming out saying he should go.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Linkee-poo Tuesday Sept 19

"Poison ivy is poised to be one of the big winners in this global, human-caused phenomenon. Scientists expect the dreaded three-leafed vine will take full advantage of warmer temperatures and rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to grow faster and bigger — and become even more toxic." Great.

"After manufacturing crystals of an HIV drug in space, the first orbital factory is stuck in orbit after being denied reentry back to Earth due to safety concerns." Note that the article makes it sound like the reentry vehicle is being denied because of it's cargo, where as the denial sounds like "you didn't fill in these boxes correctly."

"In its 33-page report, an independent team commissioned by NASA cautioned that the negative perception surrounding UFOs poses an obstacle to collecting data. But officials said NASA’s involvement should help reduce the stigma around what it calls UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena." Where's the fun in that?

"In addition, the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks address gaps in the World Heritage List identified by the World Heritage Committee. Specifically, a lack of sites representing pre-contact Indigenous American sacred architecture and sites that represent early understandings of science, culture and astronomy." I've visited a number of these, and yes, they are worthy of world heritage status.

"Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, is facing criticism for saying that Black and female musicians were not "articulate" enough to be included in his new book, which features seven interviews with white, male rock 'n' roll icons." Watch as the spiritual hand of Sister Rosetta Tharpe reaches out from beyond the grave to bitchslap this asshole.

"But that’s if the concept works. And players in the industry are betting big even as rivals wobble and fail. California-based Plenty Unlimited this summer broke ground on a $300 million facility, while Kroger announced that it will be expanding its availability of vertically farmed produce. Meanwhile, two indoor farming companies that attracted strong startup money — New Jersey’s AeroFarms and Kentucky’s AppHarvest — filed for bankruptcy reorganization. And a five-year-old company in Detroit, Planted Detroit, shut its doors this summer, with the CEO citing financial problems just months after touting plans to open a second farm."

"The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be manufacturing cutting-edge electric planes that take off and land vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc." I'm sure it's about "tradition" and not taking advantage of a part of the state that still hasn't climbed out of the 2001 recession.

"Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, was initially suspended the same week his state outlawed racial discrimination based on hairstyles. School officials said his dreadlocks fell below his eyebrows and ear lobes and violated the district’s dress code." Do we have to fight this again?

"On one side are United Auto Workers members, who say record corporate profits should yield a record contract... 'We went backwards roughly $10 an hour in wages over the last six years,' UAW President Shawn Fain told NPR. 'At the same time, in the last decade, these companies have made a quarter-trillion dollars in profits.'... On the other are the Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — which say they have put historically generous offers on the table, while also emphasizing that there are limits." Can't have the workers expecting to share in ALL the profits of their labors, now can we.

"The program, known as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, partners with nonprofit groups to provide HIV/AIDS medication to millions around the world. It strengthens local and national health care systems, cares for children orphaned by AIDS and provides job training for people at risk… Now, a few Republican lawmakers are endangering the stability of the program, which officials say has saved 25 million lives in 55 countries from Ukraine to Brazil to Indonesia. That includes the lives of 5.5 million infants born HIV-free."

"The Italian government approved new measures to crack down on migration Monday, after the southern island of Lampedusa was again overwhelmed by a wave of arrivals setting off from Tunisia and the migration issue returned to center stage in Europe with talk of a naval blockade." Here we go again.

"Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat Monday as it investigates what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible allegations that India's government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist."

"Five Americans who have been held in Iran for years are on their way to the United States in return for Iranians released from U.S. custody and Tehran's access to $6 billion in frozen oil revenues, according to a senior U.S. official."

"SpaceX, Musk’s space-exploration company, had for months been providing Internet access across Ukraine, allowing the country’s forces to plan attacks and to defend themselves. But, in recent days, the forces had found their connectivity severed as they entered territory contested by Russia. More alarmingly, SpaceX had recently given the Pentagon an ultimatum: if it didn’t assume the cost of providing service in Ukraine, which the company calculated at some four hundred million dollars annually, it would cut off access."

"A debris field has been identified as the remains of an F-35 fighter jet that went missing Sunday north of Charleston, S.C., officials said." Oh good, you mean this crash won't be an opportunity for our competition to gather pieces for their own study.

"A complaint filed Monday alleges that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita violated professional conduct rules in statements he made about a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim last year."

"But it’s the (NC) Republican Party that is making the decisions in the state, thanks to recent seat gains in the legislature and aggressive stances from GOP lawmakers. It has passed voting changes over Democrats’ objections and this week could vote to wrest power from the governor over how the state’s elections are run."

"Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday in an impeachment trial before the state Senate. He was accused of abusing his office to protect a political donor."

This week in "there's no there there"… "When Republicans took power in the House of Representatives, they began trying to find evidence to make the case that President Biden had profited from the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden… They have not found that evidence, and struggled to bring public focus to their investigation — that is, until this week, when it was given the imprimatur of impeachment."

"The speaker is trying to convince his Republican conference that there will heavy political fallout from a shutdown as he plows toward a vote to pass a stopgap measure, called a continuing resolution, that would keep government offices open past the Sept. 30 deadline. GOP leadership is preparing for a vote by Thursday, but McCarthy is warning he’ll keep House lawmakers in Washington into the weekend. Regardless, many are already bracing for a weeks-long shutdown." The clowns are back in town.

"'We have to be truthful, not neutral,' (Christiane Amanpour) urged. 'I would make sure that you don’t just give a platform … to those who want to crash down the constitution and democracy.'... It’s an important call to action. But so far, the American press is failing to meet its responsibility to adequately emphasize the stakes of the coming election." Here we are now, entertain us. Considering this is coming from Margaret Sullivan, you know, maybe we should listen.

"Alabama is once again appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower court ruling that found the state's map of congressional election districts likely violates the Voting Rights Act by weakening Black voters' power."

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Linkee-poo Saturday Sept 16

"The good news is that Hurricane Lee is weakening and will keep doing so before making landfall near the U.S.-Canada border. The bad news is that it will bring dangerous winds and a massive amount of water to areas that are already saturated from heavy rainfall this summer."

"The death toll in Libya's coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Red Crescent said Thursday"

"Earth’s climate, biodiversity, land, freshwater, nutrient pollution and “novel” chemicals (human-made compounds like microplastics and nuclear waste) are all out of whack, a group of international scientists said in Wednesday’s journal Science Advances. Only the acidity of the oceans, the health of the air and the ozone layer are within the boundaries considered safe, and both ocean and air pollution are heading in the wrong direction, the study said."

"Executives at ExxonMobil continued in recent years to raise doubts internally about the dangers of climate change and the need to cut back on oil and gas use, even though the company had previously conceded publicly that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal." Someone, somewhere, is sharpening a guillotine blade, slowly and deliberately.

"The luxury cruise ship MV Ocean Explorer was successfully pulled free on Thursday, three days after running aground in Greenland with 206 people on board, authorities and the ship's owner said."

"A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. The new “inverse vaccine” does just the opposite: it removes the immune system’s memory of one molecule. While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s disease, in which the immune system attacks a person’s healthy tissues." Of course, it's still in the "some day soon" stages.

"The Southern Indian state of Kerala is now battling another deadly outbreak of the Nipah virus, its fourth since 2018. Authorities were alerted to the outbreak after two deaths attributed to the virus."

"The mixture of stimulants like cocaine and meth with highly potent synthetic opioids is a fast-growing driver of fatal overdoses in the U.S… Since 2010, overdoses involving both stimulants and fentanyl have increased 50-fold, and now account for 32% of U.S. overdoses in 2021 and nearly 35,000 deaths, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Addiction."

"The psychedelic drug MDMA can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers reported in a new study published Thursday."

"It’s been a favorite topic among some of the GOP’s top presidential contenders. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters that people are 'lurching toward' COVID-19 restrictions and 'there needs to be pushback.' South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott posted online that the 'radical Left' seeks to bring back school closures and mandates. And former President Donald Trump urged congressional Republicans to stop the Biden administration from bringing back COVID-19 'mandates, lockdowns or restrictions of any kind.'"

"The Big Three CEOs saw their pay increase by 40% over the last four years, while our pay only went up by 6%," UAW President Shawn Fain said at a news conference last week… As of Tuesday, the UAW is proposing an approximately 40% compounded wage increase over the course of a four-year contract, a tad lower than its opening bid of 46%."

Why we can have nice things part somewhere in the thousands. "It's rare for a government policy to have an immediate and measurable impact on an individual or large portion of the population. But experts say the monthly payments to low-income families with children were doing just that… After the expanded credit took effect, child poverty hit a historic low of 5.2% a year ago. New Census data shows it has since rocketed to 12.4%."

"The survey of 1,568 adults between 18 and 34 found that young people are optimistic about their futures and envision becoming more successful than their parents. But they express more negativity when thinking about the effect the government and political system will have on their lives in the coming decades."

"The Biden administration said Thursday that Egypt’s poor human rights record hasn’t improved, but it won’t withhold as much military aid as it did last year regardless. Administration officials cited what they said were overriding U.S. national security interests for the decision to limit the extent they would penalize Egypt for the abuses." It's like the 80s all over.

Why we can't have nice things, part whatever… "Fifty years ago in Chile, the United States worked to end the presidency of an elected Marxist and, in turn, helped usher in an authoritarian right-wing dictatorship." This is also why when I heard the CIA was directing the drone war and controlling a large contingent of Special Forces I wrote a lot of emails. It's why the CIA had a fence places around it.

"A federal jury has awarded $100,000 to a same-sex couple who sued a former county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue them a marriage license, claiming that doing so would violate her religious beliefs." But then to the second couple that sued, they awarded nothing.

"In bodycam footage released this week, a Seattle Police officer is heard making callous comments about a young woman who died after she was struck in a crosswalk by an officer responding to a call." Yeah, I don't buy their cover story.

"New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday narrowed an order that broadly suspended the right to carry firearms in and around Albuquerque to apply only to public parks and playgrounds where children and their families gather."

"The immigrant population in the U.S. is growing again… The number of people born somewhere else climbed by nearly a million last year, reaching a record high of just over 46 million, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau."

"A year ago, 49 migrants arrived unexpectedly on Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy island community off the Massachusetts coast. Immigration advocates called it a cruel political stunt, but it has surprisingly created a legal advantage that some of the migrants might be able to use to remain in the United States."

"A tearful Eric Molitor gave hugs to supporters in an Antrim County courtroom Friday, where a jury acquitted him and two other men who were accused of aiding in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer." Note that most of the accused are going to jail.

"The U.S. government has warned a Virginia judge that allowing an American Marine to keep an Afghan war orphan risks violating international law and could be viewed around the world as 'endorsing an act of international child abduction,' according to secret court records reviewed by The Associated Press."

"The defense team for suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rested its case late Thursday afternoon after witnesses refuted allegations that the three-term elected official abused his office and committed bribery to benefit a real estate developer and campaign donor."

"The Ohio Attorney General’s Office again rejected petition language Thursday for a constitutional amendment aimed at remaking the state’s troubled system for drawing political maps, frustrating the effort’s backers."

"Alex Jones' personal spending is frustrating families who are trying to collect on the $1.5 billion in judgments against him for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting a hoax... His total personal expenses for July topped $93,000, up from nearly $75,000 in April, not including legal fees and other costs for his court cases, according to bankruptcy filings." Time for the Marshalls to get involved.

"U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was escorted out of a Denver theater on Sunday night after several people seated near her in the audience complained she was creating a disturbance." Yes, it's petty, but I never said I wasn't. It's also to show how some people don't think they are more equal than others.

"Hunter Biden has been indicted on felony gun charges weeks after a plea deal struck between President Biden's son and prosecutors fell apart. The charges possibly set the stage for yet another high-profile criminal trial in the middle of the 2024 election as President Biden is seeking reelection." Note the preplanted concept of, "if he's not indicted for other things, that shows Pres Biden is protecting him."

"Hard-line Republicans have spent the week explicitly tying McCarthy's political fate to the spending fight in a chaotic push for further control. The dynamic has ground the House to a standstill, just weeks before the deadline to fund the government or shut down."

"Hundreds of rioters have been charged, convicted and sentenced for joining the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. Unlike their cases, Samuel Lazar’s appears to have been resolved in secret — kept under seal with no explanation, even after his release from prison." Pretty sure he's providing testimony in another case.

"Federal prosecutors are seeking an order that would prevent Donald Trump from making 'inflammatory' and 'intimidating' comments about witnesses, lawyers and other people involved in the criminal case charging the former president with scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election." Good luck with that.

"Former President Donald Trump has 'no idea' whether Republicans will vote to impeach President Joe Biden... But he does have a theory on what motivated House Republicans to launch a Biden impeachment inquiry: revenge... 'They did it to me,' Trump told former Fox and NBC host Megyn Kelly during an hourlong interview on SiriusXM radio that aired Thursday. 'And had they not done it to me, I think, and nobody officially said this, but I think had they not done it to me … perhaps you wouldn’t have it being done to them.'" Saying the quite part out loud again.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Linkee-poo Saturday Sept 9

"Lee is expected to keep strengthening and reach winds of up to 180 mph (290 kph). Only seven Atlantic hurricanes have had winds of that magnitude since 1966, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. Among those was Hurricane Dorian, which pummeled the northern Bahamas in 2019 as a Category 5 storm, hovering over small islands for some two days."

"Archeologists in Norway discovered an arrow shaft that appears to be from the Stone Age, meaning it is approximately 4,000 years old… The discovery was made on the side of Mount Lauvhøe, which stands at just over 6,500 feet in Norway's Lom Municipality. Archeologists had found arrows from the Iron and Middle ages when they last surveyed the area in 2017. However, this arrow shaft was found after ice at the site melted away in recent years, according to Lars Holger Pilø, co-director Secrets of the Ice, part of Norway's Department of Cultural Heritage."

"Now, more recent sites in (Turkey's) southeast are yielding finds that archaeologists say may change modern understanding of this part of the world's past, moving the footprint of pre-Roman activity in the area farther east than was previously believed."

"Texas’ power grid manager on Thursday again asked residents to cut their electricity use as the state endures another stretch of sizzling summer heat. The request carried fresh urgency, coming the day after the system was pushed to the brink of outages for the first time since a deadly winter blackout in 2021."

"Two Chinese construction workers looking for a shortcut last month destroyed part of the country's Great Wall by driving heavy machinery through it, authorities say." Oopsie.

"Japan launched a rocket Thursday carrying an X-ray telescope that will explore the origins of the universe as well as a small lunar lander."

"The Biden administration is canceling the only seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The leases were originally issued by the Trump administration over the protests of environmentalists and some Alaska Native groups who argue the region should be protected as a critical wildlife habitat." It's a mixed bag, really.

"A federal judge has found that a Trump-era rule change that allowed for the logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest violates several laws."

"The last wild Atlantic salmon that return to U.S. rivers have had their most productive year in more than a decade, raising hopes they may be weathering myriad ecological threats."

"Heavy rains and thick mud stranded thousands at this year's Burning Man music and arts festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. But some who were caught in the mix said learning to roll with the mayhem is part of the experience."

"The Biden administration last year promised to establish minimum staffing levels for the nation's roughly 15,000 nursing homes. It was the centerpiece of an agenda to overhaul an industry the government said was rife with substandard care and failures to follow federal quality rules." At the hospital we see a lot of elderly patients and I can say for a fact that their care in nursing homes is far, far below adequate (although better than it was in the 80s). I am really glad we were able to get my mother into a reputable facility.

"Scientists have produced the first data indicating that a variant that has raised alarm is unlikely to pose a big new COVID-19 threat… Four preliminary laboratory studies released over the weekend found that antibodies from previous infections and vaccinations appear capable of neutralizing the variant, known as BA.2.86."

"The 2018 Farm bill removed hemp as a controlled substance, so long as it has less than .3 percent Delta 9 THC. That's the active ingredient in marijuana that produces intoxicating effects… After that law, the market found new ways to make hemp mimic marijuana."

"The IRS announced on Friday it is launching an effort to aggressively pursue 1,600 millionaires and 75 large business partnerships that owe hundreds of millions of dollars in past due taxes." Good.

"UAW, which represents 150,000 workers at General Motors, Stellantis and Ford, is not alone in asking for big pay raises over the course of their contract. In recent months, workers across industries have fought for — and, in a handful of cases, won — around 50% wage increases over the next four to five years, as they call out years of stagnant wages and robust company profits." What's not noted in here is that in the 90s and 00s the unions accepted tiered pay systems that payed new workers less. I certainly hope these contracts are rolling those provisions back as well.

Why can't they resolve this Hollywood strike? "Studios like Warner Bros. and Disney are on the other end of the negotiating table — a table they last shared with negotiators from WGA on Aug. 18. They have not negotiated with SAG-AFTRA yet." Oh, that's why.

"One of the demands that actors and screenwriters are making in trying to renegotiate their contracts with Hollywood studios is greater residual payments, and several people in the entertainment industry have come forward to share what those residual checks look like." Entertainment accounting is the most creative in the world. Like, it should win awards.

"From an early model of the iconic alien mothership from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' to a complete Stormtrooper costume from 'Star Wars,' bidding opens Friday on thousands of pieces Hollywood model maker Greg Jein collected over his lifetime, including many he created during his nearly half-century career."

"Why does every social media platform seem to get worse over time? This week’s On the Media explores an expansive theory on how we lost a better version of the internet, and the systems that insulate Big Digital from competition. Plus, some solutions for fixing the world wide web." The full "enshittification" conversation. Highly recommend.

On the previous podcast Core Doctorow goes on to admire Lena Khan. "In March 2021, when President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, the decision was met with a rare kind of excitement for the otherwise sleepy agency. The excitement seemed bipartisan as 21 Republican senators voted to confirm the commissioner. Not long after, then 32-year-old Khan was promoted to chairperson of the agency, making her the youngest chair in the FTC's history. Since then the tone around Khan has changed dramatically, as Republican commissioners at the agency have pushed back against what they see as a radical agenda. Back in March, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger spoke to Emily Birnbaum, technology and lobbying reporter for Bloomberg, about a growing anti-antitrust movement emerging in the press and in Washington, and why Khan has become its main target." The consider it a radical agenda because Lena Khan made her splash by writing a rebuttal to Bork's revision of anti-trust laws. So she it putting the FTC back to work and enforcing the laws as they were intended. That, of course, upsets many conservatives.

"To lose service entirely is rare. But the withdrawal of legacy airlines from regional airports is a growing phenomenon… American, Delta and United combined have left 74 regional airports since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study by aviation consulting firm Ailevon Pacific." Ah, I see we are going to have to learn this lesson again.

How goes the war? "Cuba says it has disrupted a scheme in Russia to recruit Cuban citizens to fight in Ukraine… In a statement, Cuba's Foreign Ministry called the alleged plan a human trafficking ring. It said Cubans, both in Russia and on the island, had been recruited to fight in Russia's war against Ukraine."

"A retired teacher in Saudi Arabia was recently sentenced to death for his tweets criticizing the country's leadership to his handful of followers, according to rights advocates and his family." And now you know why the crowned prince of SA holds so much equity in X (aka Twitter).

"Alabama is once again appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower court ruling that found the state's map of congressional election districts likely violates the Voting Rights Act by weakening Black voters' power… The extraordinary move comes after a panel of three federal judges struck down Alabama's latest congressional redistricting plan for not following their court order to comply with the landmark civil rights law." Just as a reminder, Ohio also does not have an approved map.

"A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a controversial floating border barrier in the Rio Grande River violates federal law and must be removed… U.S. District Judge David Ezra ruled that the 1,000-foot-long string of large buoys and saw blades in Eagle Pass, Texas, was ordered deployed by Gov. Greg Abbott without proper federal authorization."

"Lawmakers return this week with one pressing challenge this month — avoiding a potential government shutdown… The Senate is back Tuesday to sort out the next steps on crafting a short-term funding bill that can pass before federal agencies run out of money on Sept. 30. But talk of the health of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., following another episode when he froze at a press conference last week, will also dominate Capitol Hill." Is it September already?

"Trump White House official Peter Navarro was found guilty Thursday of contempt of Congress charges for refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol."

"Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says he will not recuse himself from a major tax case. His statement, attached to a Supreme Court orders list on Friday, came after Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the chief justice in August, urging that steps be taken to assure that Alito not take part in the tax case." But if he recuses himself, how is he going to accept the grift with a good conscience?

"Prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., say they expect that a trial in their election interference case would last four months — not including jury selection — and they'd expect to call more than 150 witnesses."

"The nine-page report showed jurors recommended charges against 39 people, compared to the 18 who were charged along with former President Donald Trump. The names of those not indicted included Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn."

"Enrique Tarrio, the former national chairman of the Proud Boys, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol." Good.

"Concern for U.S. democracy amid deep national polarization has prompted the entities supporting 13 presidential libraries dating back to Herbert Hoover to call for a recommitment to the country’s bedrock principles, including the rule of law and respecting a diversity of beliefs."

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Linkee-poo Wednesday Aug 30

"Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Fla., on Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm. Georgia and South Carolina could see heavy wind and flooding as the storm moves east."

Yeah, I know, I've missed a lot of stuff.

Bob Barker, and Sam Wurzelbacker (aka Joe the Plumber), and so it goes.

"Humans have always created. But historian Samuel W. Franklin argues that 'creativity' didn't become a social value until the Cold War. Today, we're at another inflection point for humanity, technology, and national identity. The meaning of originality is blurring; there are legal disputes about what constitutes original art; and AI can write a song like your favorite artist in seconds. So what does it mean to put creativity on a pedestal? And what would it look like to tear it down?" The Throughline podcast with an interesting topic, at least to me. I disagree somewhat with some of the definitions and assumptions they make here, but overall a good episode. Yes, at a reductive level, nothing is new (eventually it all comes down to atoms and energy which have been here since a little after the Big Bang). But as someone who has put things out into culture and is both tickled and enraged (like when it's pirated) when it comes back, I know what it is to create something new.

"People are freaking out over a question mark seen in space. Scientists can explain." But nobody is listening.

"The US Copyright Office is opening a public comment period around AI and copyright issues beginning August 30th as the agency figures out how to approach the subject… As announced in the Federal Register, the agency wants to answer three main questions: how AI models should use copyrighted data in training; whether AI-generated material can be copyrighted even without a human involved; and how copyright liability would work with AI. It also wants comments around AI possibly violating publicity rights but noted these are not technically copyright issues. The Copyright Office said if AI does mimic voices, likenesses, or art styles, it may impact state-mandated rules around publicity and unfair competition laws… Written comments are due on October 18th, and replies must be submitted to the Copyright Office by November 15th." So here's the US Copyright Office's page on AI., the Regulations.gov page with their notice which outlines the questions they are seeking comment on. To submit your comment, click the "comment" button under the title.

"An ancient Christian mosaic bearing an early reference to Jesus as God is at the center of a controversy that has riled archaeologists: Should the centuries-old decorated floor, which is near what’s believed to be the site of the prophesied Armageddon, be uprooted and loaned to a U.S. museum that has been criticized for past acquisition practices?"

"New material provides clean water and electricity using nothing but the Sun." I've heard these claims before. Hopefully this is more than vapor ware, because we really need moisture farmers in some parts of the world.

"After a disaster happens, it could take days before first responders are able to reach people. And it's usually friends or neighbors in your community who can get to each other first… Lea Crager, FEMA's Ready Campaign Director, says there are still steps you can take to prepare yourself for situations where your access to medical assistance is limited." As demonstrated last week in NE Ohio.

"The Biden administration released its list of the first 10 drugs that Medicare will target for price cuts – reductions the government plans to achieve by negotiating the prices with drugmakers." And guess who is not happy.

"As President Joe Biden touts the first 10 drugs subject to Medicare price talks, Republicans are searching for their own message that would resonate with voters on the downsides of his signature domestic achievement... Piggybacking on the pharmaceutical industry’s strategy, Republicans are working to persuade Americans that the Biden plan will stifle innovation and lead to price controls, several strategists say." Just in case you needed reminding who was on which side here.

Our wonderful US Healthcare system, the envy of the world… "Imagine if each time your wages were deposited in your bank account, your employer deducted a fee of 1.5% to 5% to provide the money electronically. That, increasingly, is what health insurers are imposing on doctors. Many insurers, after whittling down physicians' reimbursements, now take an additional cut if the doctor prefers — as almost all do — to receive funds electronically rather than via a paper check." I wonder how much it would cost to have a physical check cut? "With more than $2 trillion a year of medical claims paid electronically, these fees likely add up to billions of dollars that could be spent on care but instead are going to insurers and middlemen."

"Children who lived closer to natural gas wells in heavily drilled western Pennsylvania were more likely to develop a relatively rare form of cancer, and nearby residents of all ages had an increased chance of severe asthma reactions, researchers said in reports released Tuesday evening."

Businesses posted far fewer open jobs in July and the number of Americans quitting their jobs fell sharply for the second straight month, clear signs that the labor market is cooling in a way that could reduce inflation."

"Target reported Wednesday that the backlash over its LGBTQ+ merchandise before and during Pride month in June took a bite from its sales. This comes on the heels of Bud Light's parent company also reporting substantial losses in U.S. sales and profits due to similar reaction to a marketing campaign… The moment is leading executives to wonder about the benefits of supporting social causes during a time of such polarization in the country." Or, and just hear me out here, it was because of your hesitation to support your decisions, and the eventual rollback of the position. My guess is this wasn't so much a result of the conservative screaming (if so, it would be one of the first instances they actually moved the needle), but a reaction from the LGBTQ+ community when they walked back their support.

Canada, citing the risk of potential dangers, is advising LGBTQ travelers planning trips to the United States to check how they might be affected by recently passed laws in some states, Ottawa said Tuesday." Really, Canada? I thought we were friends. But seriously, how fucked up do you have to be that Canada says, "hey, wait, you might want to rethink your vacation plans."

Nashville Rep. Justin Jones was silenced on the Tennessee House floor after he was ruled out of order on Monday... The House voted that he was speaking “off the bill,” which put him out of order for a second time, and — per the new rules in place for the special session — meant he would not be recognized to speak on the chamber floor for the rest of the day." Racists gonna racist.

"All it takes to render the technology-packed self-driving car inoperable is a traffic cone. If all goes according to plan, it will stay there, frozen, until someone comes and removes it… An anonymous activist group called Safe Street Rebel is responsible for this so-called coning incident and dozens of others over the past few months. The group's goal is to incapacitate the driverless cars roaming San Francisco's streets as a protest against the city being used as a testing ground for this emerging technology."

"Over the past year, the Inflation Reduction Act has spurred nearly $280 billion in new investments across the country. The vast majority of those investments have flowed into Republican-held districts, according to numbers compiled by advocacy group Climate Power." You know, the districts whose representatives voted against the bill.

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was booed and heckled on Sunday while attending a prayer vigil in Jacksonville for the three victims killed in what authorities say was a racially motivated attack at a local Dollar General." Faith in humanity restored.

In our name… "These findings are all part of a trove of more than 1,600 pages of previously secret inspection reports written by experts hired by the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. In examining more than two dozen facilities across 16 states from 2017 to 2019, these expert inspectors found 'negligent' medical care (including mental health care), 'unsafe and filthy' conditions, racist abuse of detainees, inappropriate pepper-spraying of mentally ill detainees and other problems that, in some cases, contributed to detainee deaths… These reports almost never become public."

"Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a filing Tuesday reiterated her desire for all 19 defendants charged in her Georgia election interference case to stand trial together, telling the judge that her office 'maintains its position that severance is improper at this juncture and that all Defendants should be tried together…' The development came on the same day that the judge overseeing the hearing over former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' request to move his case from state court into federal court requested "limited additional briefing" before he renders a decision on the matter."

"Jenna Ellis, a conservative media figure and former attorney for Donald Trump, is crowdfunding her defense fees after being indicted along with the former president and 17 others earlier this week." Actually a lot of them are. Grifters gonna grift.

Look, actual voter fraud. An Alabama legislator was arrested Tuesday on felony voter fraud charges accusing him of voting in a district where he did not live. Oops, another Republican. Never mind. Move along.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Linkee-poo Tuesday August 15

"A Georgia grand jury has indicted Donald Trump and 18 attorneys and allies for an alleged scheme to overturn the state's 2020 election results, implicating the former president as the head of a sweeping conspiracy."

"Kunzru was irked enough to add his own voice to the rising Prosecraft protest. He wasn’t mad about the analysis itself. But he strongly suspected that the founder, Benji Smith, had obtained his catalog without paying for it. 'It seemed very clear to me that he couldn’t have assembled this database in any legal way,' he says." I wouldn't say this was specifically "against AI." It's more of a reassertion of the rights of the IP holders. It's just that it appears that AI (and the tech industry in general) are serial content pirates and plagiarizers. Or as they say in the article, "But it appears to share something crucial with most of the AI projects making headlines these days: It trained on a massive set of data scraped from the internet without regard to possible copyright infringement issues." And, of course, he still doesn't get it. He asks if "Would people be less angry with me if I bought a copy of each of these books?" The author of the article says, "Yes", but the answer is "No." You need to buy the rights to use the novels as part of a new work, and that will be much more than the cover-price of a physical or digital book.

"Human-driven climate change pushed global temperatures to never-before-seen heights in July, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. The month is now officially the hottest July on record since record-taking began in the 1800s… And it wasn't even close: the month was a whopping 0.4 °F warmer than the previous record set in 2019, and well over 2.1 °F hotter than the 20th century average."

"This summer has been among the hottest and hardest in memory. Austin broke an all-time heat index record in June when the 'feels like' temperature topped off at 118 degrees. Then, we had our hottest July ever recorded… This week, only halfway through August, it looks like we’ll surpass 40 days straight of triple-digit heat. This could end up being our hottest summer ever."

"Scientists are wondering if global warming and El Nino have an accomplice in fueling this summer’s record-shattering heat."

"Juneau’s glacial outburst floods have happened every year since 2011, but this year was the worst by far. The Mendenhall River eroded the bank in a matter of hours, undermining some homes and sending at least one into the river."

"A devastating wildfire that tore though parts of Maui and destroyed much of the historic town of Lahaina has killed at least 89, officials said Saturday afternoon, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century."

"Hawaii wildfires: Photos show the destruction and devastation."

"The U.S. government will settle a lawsuit with conservation groups and commit to releasing more endangered red wolves into the wilds of North Carolina, where nearly three dozen of the canine species are believed to still run free."

"California wildlife officials say they've confirmed a new gray wolf pack in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains… The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday the pack was found in Tulare County — the farthest south a pack of wolves has been detected in the state in more than a century."

"Baltimore's harm reduction vans have long been a place for people to exchange used needles for clean needles. In recent months, more people have been coming to Baltimore's two mobile harm intervention vans in need of serious wound care due to a drug called xylazine. Among users, it is commonly referred to as Tranq."

"Five people were found dead after a house explosion in western Pennsylvania that destroyed three structures and damaged at least a dozen others, authorities said Sunday."

"59-year-old Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was a former investigative journalist who was outspoken against what he saw to be clear, increasing government corruption in his country… Villavicencio was fatally shot on Wednesday, moments after exiting a campaign rally in Quito, the nation's capital."

"The Texas attorney general's office has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, effectively blocking a judge's hours-old order that temporarily lifted a ban on emergency abortions."

"Ashley was discharged from the hospital only hours ago, but there are no baby presents or toys in the room, no visible diapers or ointments or bottles. Almost nobody knows that Peanut exists, because almost nobody knew that Ashley was pregnant. She is 13 years old. Soon she’ll start seventh grade."

"Ohio voters have defeated Issue 1, according to a race call by the Associated Press on Tuesday night. The no vote rejects a proposed constitutional change that would have made it harder to pass future amendments to the Ohio Constitution." Than you, my fellow Ohioans. Although ti was much closer than it had a right to be.

"It was the result of having multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — 'turn the other cheek' — [and] to have someone come up after to say, 'Where did you get those liberal talking points?' And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, 'I'm literally quoting Jesus Christ," the response would not be, 'I apologize.' The response would be, 'Yes, but that doesn't work anymore. That's weak.' And when we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive to us, then we're in a crisis."

"Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he won’t sign a pledge to support the Republican nominee if he loses the GOP presidential primary, flouting a requirement for appearing in the first debate later this month."

Hey, remember when Democrats called out Republicans for their violent imagery and the use of "targets" and "scope" graphics in their political advertising, and the conservatives were all, "this is just rhetoric, nothing real to be worried about." "For extremism researchers, the shooting death this week of a Utah man who was alleged to have made violent threats against President Biden and other public officials highlights a concerning trend. For years, they have watched a steady escalation in violent political rhetoric that appears to be fueling acts of real-life violence."

"An armed Utah man accused of making violent threats against President Joe Biden was shot and killed by FBI agents hours before the president landed in the state Wednesday, authorities said."

"Here's the thing: The real threats to democracy aren't at the ballot box and never were… The real threat comes from those like Trump who would ignore democracy and the will of the people altogether and who daily attempt to replace democracy with disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, intimidation, dark money, and when all that fails: seize power with violence and insurrection."

Monday, August 14, 2023

Linkee-poo Monday August 14

"The new images of the famous Ring Nebula from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are mesmerizing, with glowing rings of gas and wispy trails emanating from the core. We can see it in more clarity than ever, including thousands of clumps that make up its main ring."

"NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was back chatting it up Friday after flight controllers corrected a mistake that had led to weeks of silence."

"But this year there is a lot less sea ice than ever recorded before. And that is bad news for people around the world, because sea ice helps control how quickly the rest of Antarctica's ice melts, which contributes to global sea level rise." We're boned.

"Waves are getting bigger and surf at least 13 feet (about 4 meters) tall is becoming more common off California’s coast as the planet warms, according to innovative new research that tracked the increasing height from historical data gathered over the past 90 years."

"A D.C. restaurant started serving chicken made from cultivated animal cells this week — and DCist/WAMU was among the first customers to try it… It's something out of science fiction: Chicken produced in a stainless steel tank without killing any birds. The meat is grown from their cells that feed on nutrients and multiply until they can be harvested and molded into what will later be served on our plate — strips of chicken that have been skewered and grilled."

"A primordial sea animal that lives on the tidal mudflats of the East Coast and serves as a linchpin for the production of vital medicines stands to benefit from new protective standards… But conservationists who have been trying for years to save a declining bird species — the red knot — that depends on horseshoe crabs fear the protections still don’t go far enough."

"The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first ever pill for treating postpartum depression, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects hundreds of thousands of new parents across the U.S. each year."

"'There's been so much research that has shown that if you consume more fiber, you are healthier,' says Hannah Holscher, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, and self-proclaimed 'fiber nerd.'" Unless, you know, you have some condition that fiber is actually counter indicated. And there are people who have major problems with inulin. Also, note the dangers of highly processed foods (where the "added fiber" comes from).

"The COVID-19 International Research Team (COV-IRT) and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) report that they have identified abnormal mitochondrial function in the heart, kidneys, and liver after SARS-CoV-2 infection, which leads to long-term damage and may help explain long COVID."

"The new research, which was an international collaboration between dozens of scientists, describes how some people carry a version of a single gene, FOXP4, that is associated with developing long COVID. Longet calls the new research an 'important element' in understanding why some people's COVID symptoms seemingly never resolve." We don't know much, but we're starting to learn some.

"Odds of a soft landing may have just gotten a little better… U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in July. While job growth has moderated, it hasn't come close to stalling, even after the Fed raised interest rates to the highest level in 22 years."

"Ever since production of the first Star Wars movies in the 1970s, the visual effects industry has largely been non-unionized. But now for the first time, a group of 50 visual effects workers at Marvel Studios in LA, New York and Atlanta have signed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board. They hope to become part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE."

"Rubalcaba said the actors had their faces and bodies scanned for about 15 minutes each. Then their digital replicas were created… But here's the rub: She was never told how or if this digital avatar of herself would ever be used on screen. If it's used, she might never know. No matter what happens with it, she'll never see any payment for it… Disney did not return a request for comment."

"President Biden just ordered U.S. investigators to share evidence of Russian war crimes with The International Criminal Court. On this week’s On the Media, what will it take to secure justice for Ukraine? Plus, a moving look back at the early days of the conflict."

"The researchers at Yale's Humanitarian Research Lab gather in a carpeted underground bunker, beneath the campus library, to steadily gather evidence of Russia's alleged war crimes. In a report published earlier this year, in collaboration with the State Department, they presented evidence of the Russian government operating more than 40 child custody centers for Ukrainian children who have been forcibly removed from their homes to Russia. On the other hand, Russia's embassy in Washington has claimed that the children were forced to flee to safety due to the war. About a month later, on March 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting children from Ukraine." Putin is a war criminal (waves to my Russian friends).

"The motion was filed last week by attorneys representing the School Board and argues that Zwerner, who was shot in her classroom at Richneck Elementary in January by a 6-year-old student, is only entitled to file a worker’s compensation claim because the injury she sustained from the shooting is a 'workplace injury,' and that the shooting was a hazard of the job."

"Eventually, two and a half hours after the pain started, the expectant mother said she was allowed to leave the Middleton Unit. As quickly as the pain would allow her, Issa drove to a nearby hospital, where doctors rushed her into emergency surgery after being unable to find a fetal heartbeat. The baby was delivered stillborn… If Issa had gotten to the hospital sooner, medical personnel told her, the baby would have survived, the lawsuit claims… For more than two decades, in legislation passed by lawmakers and defended in court by the attorney general’s office, Texas has insisted 'unborn children' be recognized as people starting at fertilization. And although it has traditionally referred to all stages of pregnancy, from fertilized egg to birth, as an unborn child, the state repeatedly referred to Issa’s stillborn baby as a fetus in legal briefings." Trying to have it both ways. What is missed here is not the facts, but the reasoning. See, it's not about "the baby", it's about punishing women.

"A Texas judge ruled Friday the state’s abortion ban has proven too restrictive for women with serious pregnancy complications and must allow exceptions without doctors fearing the threat of criminal charges… However, the injunction was immediately blocked by an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, the state attorney general’s office said."

"Ammon Bundy, the anti-government provocateur, has been arrested according to the Gem County dispatch service… Bundy has had an active arrest warrant since mid-April after an Ada County judge found him in contempt of court for refusing to show up to legal proceedings for nearly a year over a civil lawsuit filed by St. Luke’s Health System."

"Authorities in Montgomery, Ala., are charging three men with assault for attacking a riverboat co-captain on Saturday. When officers arrived on scene, the fight had spiraled out of control into a full on brawl at the city's Riverfront Park."

"In an unprecedented raid Friday, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the Marion County Record office, the newspaper’s reporters, and the publisher’s home." The police, the sheriffs, and the judge all need to be ousted from the jobs they don't deserve. The stress and violence of the raid eventually lead to the death of a co-owner.

"Men who had sworn an oath to protect and serve were huddled on the back porch of a Mississippi home as Michael Corey Jenkins lay on the floor, blood gushing from his mutilated tongue where one of the police officers shoved a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger… As Jenkins writhed in pain, the six white officers devised a scheme to cover up dozens of stunning acts of brutality that they had just carried out during 90 minutes of terror against Jenkins and a second Black victim."

"The College Board says the Florida Department of Education has, 'effectively' banned an AP Psychology class in the state. AP African American History is already banned in Florida… The only way districts in Florida will be allowed to teach the Advanced Placement Psychology course is if they omit chapters on gender identity and sexuality." Blatant and open fascism.

"When the US women’s soccer team was knocked out of the world cup, they became the latest target of a right-wing media campaign. On this week’s On the Media, the state of discourse around gender. Plus, the quality of coverage around trans rights, and how it’s changed."

"Mississippi is violating the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment by permanently stripping voting rights from people convicted of some felonies, a federal appeals court panel ruled in a split decision Friday."

"Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville's disagreement with a Pentagon policy on abortion is upheaving life plans for hundreds of military families. Now those families are petitioning Senate leaders to intervene on their behalf."

"This year, the Department of Defense began renaming military bases that honor the Confederacy. On this week’s On the Media, a former general explains why the reckoning with the myth of the 'lost cause' is overdue. Plus, hear how Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine has been hundreds of years in the making."

"A judge has set a hearing for Friday about the parameters of a protective order dictating how former President Donald Trump and his legal team can talk about the evidence in the Jan. 6 criminal case."

"And now, Trump remains the undisputed front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, despite facing three indictments on a variety of criminal charges, most recently on Tuesday. While it's still unknown what impact the latest federal indictment — on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack — will have on the electorate, so far he has weathered every storm."

"The Fulton county district attorney investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state of Georgia is expected to present evidence to a grand jury and ask it to return indictments as early as next Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the matter."

"The editor in chief of Christianity Today is warning that evangelical Christianity is moving too far to the right, to the point that even Jesus’s teachings are considered 'weak' now." We all know this was happening, it's just interesting to see it actually happening.

"Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who has been investigating criminal allegations against President Biden's surviving son, Hunter Biden, has been named a special counsel, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday… Weiss, a Trump appointee as U.S. attorney who was retained during the Biden administration, has been investigating Hunter Biden since 2019. He reached a tentative plea deal with Hunter Biden, but it collapsed amid scrutiny recently from a Delaware federal judge."

Friday, August 4, 2023

Linkee-poo Aug 4 early morning edition

The craziness continues. Once I think I've got it all squared away, another curve ball comes in and I have to spin more plates as well as all I'm dealing with. Sorry.

Tony Bennett, Sinead O'Conner, Paul Reubens, and so it goes.

"'Record breaking' loses some of its wow factor when that record just keeps getting broken. Tuesday marks 26 consecutive days in Phoenix, Az. with a temperature over 110 degrees."

"It's so hot in Florida right now that the ocean temperature in one area just crossed into the triple digits… On Monday, a water temperature sensor in Manatee Bay near Everglades National Park recorded a temperature of 101.1 degrees, according to a park spokesperson." We're boned.

Hey, remember the whole, "we need to clear out the wildlands to prevent forest fires" push? "The U.S. Forest Service’s own prescribed burn started a sprawling 2022 wildfire that nearly reached Los Alamos, New Mexico, the agency acknowledged Monday in a report published after a lengthy investigation."

"Tens of thousands of people, many of them British tourists, are scrambling to evacuate from Rhodes and Corfu as wildfires rage across the country. Temperatures are expected to climb again Tuesday."

"Millions of Americans use kratom, which is sold at gas stations, vape shops and bars. It can act like an opiate on the body. The FDA warns against using kratom, but most states don't regulate it."

"The pandemic inflicted higher rates of excess deaths on both Republicans and Democrats. But after COVID-19 vaccines arrived, Republican voters in Florida and Ohio died at a higher rate than their counterparts, according to a new study."

"Countertops made of the engineered stone "quartz" are incredibly popular, but public health experts say cutting this material unsafely can expose workers to deadly dust."

"Dr. Alfonso Sabater pulled up two photos of Antonio Vento Carvajal’s eyes. One showed cloudy scars covering both eyeballs. The other, taken after months of gene therapy given through eyedrops, revealed no scarring on either eye."

"'What they're seeing is that there's an increase in folks who are saying, "Yes, I do receive SNAP," but their distribution numbers here are staying about the same,' said Emily Kraft, the director of community outreach and support services at the Foodbank, an organization in North Carolina. 'So it really reinforces that idea that SNAP is meant to be supplemental — that is not meant to be someone's entire food budget, which is why folks are still stopping in here.'" It's Farm Bill time again.

"Many parents are also hoping to pull back on spending on school supplies this year, according to a survey released Wednesday by Deloitte. The firm is predicting that spending will decrease 10% from last year, marking the first decline since 2014, said Stephen Rogers, the managing director of Deloitte's Consumer Industry Center. Inflation is having a big impact on how parents are shopping, he said."

"The Teamsters union said it has secured pay raises for United Parcel Service workers, averting what would have been one of the largest strikes in U.S. history." They always focus on the pay and miss the greater wins for safety and new hires.

"The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday it would raise interest rates a quarter percentage point (or 25 basis points), to a 22-year high. It marks a return to the long, steady climb interest rates have been on for the last year, as the Fed attempts to beat back inflation."

"Fitch Ratings cut the United States' credit rating by one notch, from the top-rated AAA to AA+, saying rising deficits and political brinkmanship are imperiling the government's ability to pay its debts… It marks another rebuke for the U.S., which lost its AAA rating from Standard & Poor's in 2011 in the midst of another debt ceiling standoff. Today, only one of the three major credit ratings agencies — Moody's Investors Service — gives the United States a top-notch AAA rating." Thanks to the petulance of the Republicans and conservative politics. Heck of a job, Brownie.

"IRS will stop making most unannounced visits to taxpayers' homes, businesses"

"The Israeli parliament on Monday passed a law stripping the Supreme Court of its power to block government decisions, the first part of a planned judicial overhaul that has sharply divided Israeli society and drawn fierce criticism from the White House."

"Spaniards woke up Monday to find their country in political disarray after a general election a day earlier left no party with a clear path to forming a government... The uncertainty deepened as both of Spain’s two main parties indicated that they hope to take power. The only sure thing seems to be that the country faces weeks, perhaps months, of political negotiations and possibly a new election to sort out the mess."

"The Department of Justice sued the state of Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday for building a floating barrier at the southern border that the state says will deter migrants but that the Biden administration calls a threat to public safety."

"More notably, researchers analyzed the data to show how officers spend their time, and the patterns that emerge tell a striking story about how policing actually works. Those results, too, comport with existing research showing that U.S. police spend much of their time conducting racially biased stops and searches of minority drivers, often without reasonable suspicion, rather than 'fighting crime.'"

"A graphic designer and activist who made TikTok content debunking the claim by Jason Aldean that his controversial music video only uses 'real news footage' has been facing a wave of racist and violent hate mail by defenders of his song." Good thing this video isn't a racist piece of shit, or this might be bad. I mean, how hard would it be to just claim ignorance and say, "oops, my bad," pull the video and redo it. Unless you really are a racist piece of shit where you would do exactly as Jason Aldean has done.

"In 2017, a military judge told attorneys in Bowe Bergdahl's court-martial case that he was impervious to pressure from then-President Donald Trump — but he made a crucial omission: one week earlier, the judge had applied for a new job in the Trump administration… That's the conclusion of U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who on Tuesday vacated the former soldier's court-martial conviction and sentence that were overseen by former military judge Jeffrey Nance." Oopsie.

"A jury has ordered anti-government extremist Ammon Bundy and associates to pay more than $50 million in damages to Idaho's largest hospital in connection with armed protests last year that led to a security lockdown."

Elon Musk has unveiled a new “X” logo to replace Twitter’s famous blue bird as he follows through with a major rebranding of the social media platform he bought for $44 billion last year." But fails to secure "x.com" or clear trademark protections held by Google and Microsoft.

"Elon Musk's X, the company formerly known as Twitter, is suing a nonprofit that researches hate speech on social media, accusing it of conducting 'a scare campaign to drive away advertisers.'" Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with someone calling out his bullshit and this isn't an attempt to further the degradation of Twitter's usefulness in the coming election.

"A Texas A&M University professor was suspended, investigated and ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing for allegedly criticizing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during a lecture about the opioid crisis. The probe has free speech advocates concerned about political influence over academia in Texas."

Oh look, actual political considerations and attempts at stifling open debate at a college. "Texas A&M University reached a $1 million settlement Thursday with a Black journalism professor whose hiring was sabotaged by backlash over her past work promoting diversity." Wait, again, it's conservatives who did the Bad Thing™. Never mind.

"Several Ohio agencies are investigating why an officer allowed his police dog to attack a truck driver who was surrendering with his hands raised, despite State Highway Patrol troopers urging the officer to hold the dog back."

"Three months after Ms. Cotham took office in January, she delivered a mortal shock to Democrats and to abortion rights supporters: She switched parties, and then cast a decisive vote on May 3 to override a veto by the state’s Democratic governor and enact a 12-week limit on most abortions — North Carolina’s most restrictive abortion policy in 50 years." Groomers. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"McCarthy said he has not talked to Trump about any impeachment probe. But several far right House Republicans argue that because Democrats voted twice to impeach Trump it is appropriate to move forward now to remove Biden. Last month the speaker pushed back on an effort to hold an impeachment vote on a resolution introduced by Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert that cited the president's immigration policies, and instead the House voted to refer the matter to committees to investigate."

"The judge in the Hunter Biden case said Wednesday she is not ready to accept the plea deal struck between the president's son and the Justice Department, and asked both parties to submit additional briefs and return to the court on a future date… Judge Maryellen Noreika demanded that the lawyers from both sides make clear that the deal does not convey broad immunity offered to Biden from prosecution on his business dealings."

"The lead prosecutor in the case against President Joe Biden’s son Hunter says he is willing to testify publicly this fall, setting up a clash with House Republicans who have demanded he come in soon for a closed-door interview." Or no, considering the case is still ongoing.

"The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the judge who oversaw the penalty trial of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz on Monday for showing bias toward the prosecution."

"The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate met in a special session Monday and overrode GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vetoes of two bills to extend existing agreements with Native American tribes for another year."

"The most recent Republican nominee for Michigan attorney general faces criminal charges for an alleged effort to gain access to voting machines after the 2020 election as the results were being contested by then-President Donald Trump. That's after Democratic nominee Joe Biden won Michigan."

"State Issue 1, the sole question on the ballot, calls for raising the threshold for passing future changes to the Ohio Constitution from a simple majority to 60%. Starting next year, it also would double the number of counties where signatures must be gathered, from 44 to all 88, and do away with the 10-day grace period for closing gaps in the total valid signatures submitted." Save our democracy, vote No on Issue 1 (if you're a voter in Ohio).

"A U.S. District Court in Mississippi on Tuesday temporarily blocked a voting law in the state that was supposed to go into effect July 1. The law, known as Senate Bill 2358, creates new restrictions for who can assist someone while voting by mail."

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly stopped talking at his weekly press conference with top Senate GOP leaders on Wednesday when he froze and appeared unable to continue for more than 30 seconds as he gripped the podium. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the third ranking Republican and a physician, walked with McConnell for a few steps near the Senate floor as other leaders resumed the press conference."

"The criminal charges against former President Donald Trump related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election are some of the most serious allegations facing him, one law professor told NPR."

"Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to four felony charges that he attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election." And no criming while you wait for trial (oh, this is gonna be good).

"Rudy Giuliani conceded in a court filing that he made false statements when he said two Georgia election workers mishandled ballots during the 2020 election."