There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Linkee-poo June 18

"Astronomers expect that this year you'll be able to see the explosion of a star system in our Milky Way galaxy by simply looking up at the sky."

"The tour was not organized by Reay’s publisher, Harper Muse, an imprint of HarperCollins, which organized its own promotion of the book. Reay footed the bill for the tour herself… This arrangement is far from unique. According to independent events planners, publicists and marketers, more and more authors are seeking out their services to augment the efforts of their publishers’ in-house staff… Depending on who you ask, the trend is a result of surging promotional workloads over decades – or publishers’ disinvestment in staff."

"The websites are tantalizing: 'You can catch conditions before they become crises,' reads one. Another promises to make cancer 'easier to beat' and claims it can detect 'over 500 other conditions in up to 13 organs.' Full-body scans are attracting celebrity promoters, tech mogul investors and long waiting lists of people hoping to identify life-threatening conditions, usually more treatable in early stages." These are scams. I work in radiology, and I have personally suffered the consequences of submitting images for report that show potential pathologies but that don't meet the criteria for quality imaging practices (and yes, two of those were cancer, and I received a "fail" for one comp and a "QC report"/professional reprimand on another). And yes, incidental findings are definitely a thing and many diseases do not show up symptomatically (pain, etc) until it can be too late. However, these full body scans are a scam run by unscrupulous fucks usually using outdated equipment and they don't do anything to help you. Human bodies are full of anomalies (look up sesamoid bones or "lumbar vertebrae L6") that have zero impact on your health BUT could be potentially an indicator of disease. You have cysts, muscle anomalies, calcifications (especially if you're older) and size variants that can be read as a pathology that have no real impact on your health now or in the future. These companies are banking on the latent hypochondria present in American culture. If you have a concern, most certainly talk with a doctor who will take your concerns seriously (this is a whole other very long conversation), but don't get a full body scan unless your real symptoms/family history warrant such a scan.

Why do we need a strong regulatory function in government? "The air throughout south-east Louisiana’s 'Cancer Alley' is probably being poisoned with a highly carcinogenic gas at levels much higher than previously thought, new research reveals… Using cutting-edge equipment that more accurately checks for the gas, ethylene oxide, which is primarily used in plastic production, researchers found levels more than 1,000 times above previous measurements, and about 10 times higher on average than regulators’ modeling."

"A federal judge on Monday ordered BNSF Railway to pay the Swinomish Tribe $395 million for illegally running mile-long oil trains through the tribe’s reservation for nearly a decade… BNSF has permission from the tribe to run two oil trains a day, totaling no more than 50 tanker cars, through its reservation… Instead, BNSF has been running oil trains with 100 or more cars each across the reservation’s northern end up to six times a day." Wow, actual consequences.

And talking about a strong regulatory function of government, from the FTC blog… "Your therapy bots aren’t licensed psychologists, your AI girlfriends are neither girls nor friends, your griefbots have no soul, and your AI copilots are not gods. We’ve warned companies about making false or unsubstantiated claims about AI or algorithms. And we’ve followed up with action, including recent cases against WealthPress, DK Automation, Automators AI, and CRI Genetics. We’ve also repeatedly advised companies – with reference to past cases – not to use automated tools to mislead people about what they’re seeing, hearing, or reading." Someone is about to open a big can of whoop ass.

"As far back as 2006, when Google launched Google Translate, the translation industry has been 'speculating about the potential for AI to replace human translators,' says Bridget Hylak, a representative from the American Translators Association… So, yeah, translators have been grappling with AI for a while. Yet, despite the fact that anyone with a smartphone has long been able to use this machine translation technology for free or at a relatively low cost — there are still a ton of jobs for human translators and interpreters out there."

"President Biden is set to announce Tuesday new executive actions that will offer protection against deportation to an estimated half a million undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens."

"Today, an eight-member jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, found Chiquita Brands International liable for funding a violent Colombian paramilitary organization, the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), that was responsible for major human rights atrocities during the 1990s and 2000s. The weeks-long trial featured testimony from the families of the nine victims in the case, the recollections of Colombian military officials and Chiquita executives, expert reports, and a summary of key documentary evidence produced by Michael Evans, director of the National Security Archive’s Colombia documentation project." Unfortunately, though, no one will go to jail over it and their total fines ($35m from this judgement and $25m from having been found to supporting a terrorist organization) of about $60m are a drop in the bucket of their profits.

"A federal judge in Kentucky blocked a new Biden administration Title IX rule Monday in six states that would have banned discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation — not solely sex. The opinion applies to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia… Chief Judge Danny Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky began his 93-page opinion by writing, 'There are two sexes: male and female.' He concluded by blocking the enforcement of the new rule that would have been implemented in August." As a medical worker and husband of a biologist I can tell you the judge is absolutely fucking wrong here.

"Other states considering wealth tax proposals, like Pennsylvania and Vermont, are taking note of Massachusetts' revenue numbers. The voter-approved surtax here brought in nearly a billion dollars more than the state budgeted for. But officials are still watching for whether the wealthy are leaving in droves; economists say there's not yet enough data to know."

"A federal jury in Delaware has convicted President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on felony gun charges stemming from his purchase of a Colt revolver in 2018 when he was addicted to crack cocaine."

"Like her husband, Mrs. Alito is unbowed by the criticism and controversy — as she makes clear in comments recorded by liberal documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor. Windsor, posing as a Christian conservative, spoke at length with Mrs. Alito at a dinner reception hosted by the Supreme Court Historical Society last week. Windsor attended the dinner as a dues-paying member and bought a ticket; a colleague joined her."

"An influential group called the True Texas Project is hosting a conference in July that will actively promote Christian nationalism and the racist 'great replacement theory,' the Texas Tribune reports. The group, which subscribes to the idea of a 'war on white America,' has ties to many Texas GOP officials, the report says, including Senator Ted Cruz and Attorney General Ken Paxton, a major supporter of Donald Trump."

"The Republican-led House of Representatives voted 216 to 207 to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress, escalating a tug-of-war over audiotapes of President Biden’s interview with a special prosecutor."

"George E. Norcross III, a powerful executive and political figure in New Jersey for decades, was indicted Monday on racketeering and related charges, the state attorney general announced… The sweeping indictment alleges he led a criminal enterprise that used extortion to promote his vast business and political and philanthropic empire — in the process, illegally securing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits and rights to build developments on the valuable Camden waterfront, across from Philadelphia." Jaw drop. While the impact and focus of this is very local, the bringing of this indictment, IMHO, is even bigger than charging the former president with insurrection.

They're at it again. "Tens of thousands of Columbus-area voters are at risk of seeing their registrations canceled ahead of the upcoming presidential race, but they have about a month to prevent it from happening… By the numbers: A total of 158,857 Ohio voters face cancellation this year, Secretary of State Frank LaRose recently announced. That's around 2% of total registered voters."

Monday, June 10, 2024

Linkee-poo June 10

So, doing search for t-shirt designs for a general Radiology (instead of the specific topic I'm designing). And I gotta say in the last 4 years the t-shirt biz has produced a lot of good work for Radiology. Part of me is, "hey, that's great, I'm jazzed" and part of me is, "get the fuck off my lawn!"

The Hidden Brain podcast on… "Thinking is a human superpower. On a daily basis, thinking and planning and effort bring us innumerable benefits. But like all aspects of human behavior, you can sometimes get too much of a good thing. This week, we talk with philosopher Ted Slingerland about techniques to prevent overthinking, and how we can cultivate the under-appreciated skill of letting go." And I think this is in part what happened to my writing. In 2009 I was in a good place, I had learned enough and internalized enough that I was able to relax. I could hit the writing equivalent of my designing mind. Since my life was turned upside down in January 2010, I've learned more, but have been trying too hard because I'm 1) running out of time, and 2) need to break out quickly. And so I became like the centipede who was asked how they can walk with all those legs. I'm thinking about the process. Suddenly I couldn't. I would break down. It was too important to let go. I lost the "ease" of writing. Can I still find it? Sure, but not when I'm working on fiction. Instead of flow, my mind is racing, "am I building tension properly, and I including all the Chekov's guns I'll need, and I using the correct homophone?"

"A majority of Americans believe that the economy is in a recession even though it’s not. On this week’s On the Media, hear why there’s a mismatch between facts and feelings about the economy. Plus, how the outlandish claims of AI companies often go unchecked by the press."

https://www.npr.org/2024/06/04/nx-s1-4992305/housing-innovation-showcase-affordability "On the wide open, grassy space on the National Mall, halfway between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument, a temporary village has sprouted up in recent days. Several tiny houses line the paths, and workers assemble what looks like an instant log cabin. A few manufactured homes are clustered near the Smithsonian Castle." The problem, I've looked for these solutions, and I can't really find them.

"Enter the 'hospital facility fee': a charge hospitals can add to bills from doctors’ offices, outpatient surgical clinics and diagnostics centers that they own, rebranding them as 'outpatient hospital departments', even if the facility is miles from a hospital campus… 'It’s one of the most egregious examples of hospital financing at the expense of consumers,' said Liz Hagan, director of policy solutions at the United States of Care, a non-profit advocacy group that released a new report on the practice." My own hospital system does this, and it was announced to great fanfare as "what a wonderful thing." No, it's not. And I made my opinion known. It didn't do anything, of course, because the administrators don't think the patients are going to do anything at all about it (unlike me who sees a major reform coming).

"Demoralized doctors and nurses are leaving the field, hospitals are sounding the alarm about workforce shortages and employees are increasingly unionizing and even going on strike in high-profile disputes with their employers." Our hospital system has a 23% turnover rate for healthcare providers. And they think this is "normal" and "sustainable." And it was slightly possible (ignoring the morale and 'tribal knowledge' issues that level brings) when there were so many people graduating from nursing and allied health programs. But what's not mentioned here is that schools have hit the demographic cliff, that is the student population has plummeted. When I went through radiography there was a 2 year wait after you were accepted to the program (this was after 1 full year of pre-req courses which we had to pass before we could even apply to the program). Of the two schools we accept students for clinical experience, there is now no wait times. We may not even have students from one of the schools this Fall. Management has begrudgingly begun to work on this problem, but only on the recruitment side (we now have several "tech assistants", ie. student we pay nominally to lock them into working for the system before they realize all their options). There is zero work on the retention side.

"More than half of patients (60%) diagnosed with advanced forms of lung cancer who took lorlatinib were still alive five years later with no progression in their disease, data presented at the world’s largest cancer conference showed. The rate was 8% in patients treated with a standard drug, the trial found." "Battlefield medicine has come a long way. But that progress could be lost…" And then there was this part… "A Defense Department internal memo obtained by NPR found that outsourcing did not actually save the military money, but it did hurt readiness." Outsourcing government functions always costs more, and does not provide better services.

"Top-line results from two clinical trials were impressively positive, with MDMA therapy in combination with psychotherapy showing statistically significant, clinically meaningful improvements for PTSD symptoms. But, as the discussion dove deeper into the data, the experts identified a damningly large number of trial flaws, including missing data and bias, that threw the validity of those positive results into serious question." This really is on the poor record keeping and mismanagement of the company seeking the approval. Which is a shame, because it appears (except the double-blind portion of the test really wasn't) that it is an effective treatment.

"Now, new disclosures seen by HuffPost shed some light. Just weeks before she issued the ruling, Mizelle had discreetly attended an all-expenses-paid luxury trip from a conservative group whose primary mission is to persuade more federal judges to adopt the use of corpus linguistics. For five days, Mizelle and more than a dozen other federal judges listened to the leading proponents of corpus linguistics in the comfort of The Greenbrier, an ostentatious resort spread out over 11,000 acres of West Virginia hillside." JFC, there's this long running social media thing about, "but the dictionary defines this word to mean…" completely missing both the actual real definition (which is usually multipart) and the connotation of the words. And now we're going to have judges pulling this trolling bullshit. Great.

"Anna Harrold should have been celebrating her victory at the Great West Run in Exeter on Sunday, but instead she faced a barrage of abuse from people online who called her “disgusting”, 'revolting' and a 'disgrace'… The comments were centred on false claims she was born a man." Gee, who could have seen the anti-trans people trying to police women's bodies to see if they're "feminine enough"?

Prepare for eyerolls. No, I'm serious, you might want to stretch first because it's gonna be a big one. "But there are foods, the bullies and the priggish suggest, that alert the world you are gay in a negative way. It’s mostly the stuff of immature oooOOOOOooos and teenage razzing, but studies show men will avoid everything from yogurt to rosé to “products with rounded edges” because they are associated with femininity, and for a man to do a womanly thing could give someone the wrong idea. Because to come off as queer is still the “wrong idea.” The feeling behind the joke is that to be queer is to be lesser, and that you could be perceived that way with the slip of the tongue across a scoop of mint chip." The article does do a good breakdown on gender and how culture perceives it. This week we decorated the workroom with our names of Summer icons, cutouts of watermelon, sandals, icecream cones, etc. There was a brouhaha (not from me) because whomever did the names (it was the students I think) put my name on "pink" flip-flops. Much profuse apologies and a call for making a new item for me. I stopped it. I don't care if my name is on a pink piece of paper I told them to their objections. Seriously, my "maleness" and "manhood" was settled long ago and frankly cannot be affected in the slightest by something exterior to me, especially not by what someone else may say, think, or do. Pink as feminine is a 1950s marketing construct. Most of this bullshit is created by insecure social gatekeepers or by someone trying to sell you something. Don't fall for it.

"The Affordable Connectivity Program, which helped low-income Americans get online, is no more… On (May 31), the US government announced the final closure of the broadly popular federal program, which has helped tens of millions of households afford internet service, after Republicans in Congress ignored calls by consumer advocates and Democratic lawmakers to approve more funding this spring… The program’s lapse threatens to throw nearly 60 million Americans into financial distress, CNN has reported."

"Moreover, retailers’ decision to hike prices in the first place can’t all be attributed to inflation, Lindsay Owens, executive director of economic policy group Groundwork Collaborative, argued. She told the Washington Post that companies actually increased their margins in times of increased operating costs. A March 2024 Federal Trade Commission report found retail revenue for food and beverages increased 7% above total costs in the first three quarters of 2023, indicating that grocery stores’ decision to raise prices wasn’t just a result of inflation, supply-chain disruptions, or the rising prices of commodities." There's another name for this. It's called "price gouging." And some companies are realizing that they went too far, and even with their increased margins were starting to lose overall revenue.

"'When a cop tells you to do something, you fucking do it,' one officer told the shopkeeper… The surveillance video was shared with THE CITY on the condition that the identity of the shopkeeper be protected. The arrest and criminal charge was confirmed by police records… The shopkeeper’s lawyer, Steve Zissou, told THE CITY that the video shows both due process violations and personal civil rights violations." Well, there's a lawsuit waiting to happen. And it might be a class action.

"An off-duty armed security guard shot and killed a teen who he thought had a gun and was about to rob a Renton sporting goods store, detectives said. According to court documents, the teen didn't even have a real gun on him."

"Alex Jones, who spread lies about the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that killed 26 first-graders and staffers, has dropped efforts to declare bankruptcy and agreed to liquidate his assets in order to finally start paying the nearly $1.5 billion in damages he owes the victims' families." That's a good start.

"Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, must report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol insurrection, a federal judge ruled Thursday." Again, a good start.

"A liberal former neighbor of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is publicly offering her account of a series of tense interactions she had with Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann, around the time of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol." You mean the Alitoes lied? Shocked, shocked I am…

"A Manhattan jury on Thursday found Trump guilty of falsifying business records in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. Soon after the verdict was read, right-wing politicians and pundits including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Fox News contributor Guy Benson and far-right conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander shared images of an inverted American flag on social media. Alexander, organizer of the 'Stop the Steal' rally that pushed false claims about the 2020 election, posted the upside-down flag on Telegram with the message: 'No one is coming to save us. We must.'"

"When Donald J. Trump was found guilty on all counts in the hush money trial, some in the press were caught off guard. But the former president and conservative pundits primed for this result with a strategic messaging campaign. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Trump uses Truth Social to disseminate talking points to a web of right-wing influencers."

"Nine witnesses in the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump have received significant financial benefits, including large raises from his campaign, severance packages, new jobs, and a grant of shares and cash from Trump’s media company… The benefits have flowed from Trump’s businesses and campaign committees, according to a ProPublica analysis of public disclosures, court records and securities filings. One campaign aide had his average monthly pay double, from $26,000 to $53,500. Another employee got a $2 million severance package barring him from voluntarily cooperating with law enforcement. And one of the campaign’s top officials had her daughter hired onto the campaign staff, where she is now the fourth-highest-paid employee." Criminals gonna criminal.

"The Proud Boys say recruitment is growing and they’re ready to serve again as Donald Trump's unofficial protection force." As long as there have been supposed strong men, there have been toadies. However, the long term prospects of such groups, especially if the "strong man" gets into power, is not a good one. I think the Proud Boys really should look at Operation Hummingbird, or as it's more often called, the Night of the Long Knives.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Linkee-poo June 2

"Heat-related howler monkeys deaths have now been reported in two more states in southern Mexico, after two other states reported die-offs earlier this month, environmental authorities said."

"'We are at record levels for 11 consecutive months now – so since last June through April,' she said. 'And we're still counting, of course.'… It's already been so hot that 2024 is guaranteed to be one of the five hottest years ever recorded. As another sweltering summer approaches, the potential for climate-fueled disaster comes with it."

"With this year’s Atlantic hurricane season expected to be yet another stampede, Florida and other states around the Gulf of Mexico should keep an eye out for an underappreciated ingredient in the Gulf that can quickly turn storms into lethal monsters: hot ocean eddies."

"The new initiative between the feds and 21 states aims to make faster fixes and improvements to the grid, committing to build a bigger and more modern grid as part of a larger effort to reduce power outages and increase electrical transmission capacity – a massive hurdle to getting more clean energy on the grid and reducing the planet-warming pollution causing the climate crisis."

"Wind farms have been the primary source of electricity in the United Kingdom for the past two consecutive quarters, marking the longest stretch on record that renewable energy has surpassed fossil fuels in U.K. electricity generation."

"These days, an unknown author’s chances of success hinge on cobbling together an audience through aggregate. Last fall, while reporting Esquire’s “Future of Books” predictions, I asked industry insiders about trends they’d noticed in recent years. Almost everyone mentioned that debut fiction has become harder to launch. For writers, the stakes are do or die: A debut sets the bar for each of their subsequent books, so their debut advance and sales performance can follow them for the rest of their career. For editors, if a writer’s first book doesn’t perform, it’s hard to make a financial case for acquiring that writer’s second book. And for you, a reader interested in great fiction, the fallout from this challenging climate can limit your access to exciting new voices in fiction."

"For decades, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) served as a champion for the mostly female authors of one of the country’s most popular – and denigrated – genres of fiction… But even as sales of romance novels have boomed in recent years, RWA has struggled, reporting that its membership has declined 80% amid bitter internal battles over racism within publishing, and within the group itself."

"Ohio lawmakers are advancing a new bill that would charge teachers and librarians with felonies for handing out books and materials deemed 'obscene.'" But they'll still allow Shakespeare, which just tells me these people have never read Shakespeare.

"South Australian public hospitals are under strain with the health department boss declaring a system-wide internal emergency due to many staff being sick with COVID… SA Health chief executive Robyn Lawrence called a code yellow on Thursday afternoon, opening all available beds and paused almost all elective surgeries in metropolitan and regional public hospitals."

"Antibiotics cannot cure COVID. They don’t help a bit. And yet, new data shows that, during the pandemic, COVID patients were given antibiotics – a lot of antibiotics… That’s bad because the overuse of antibiotics can breed superbugs that are resistant to medications. The impact of this pandemic overuse has lingered even as the pandemic has faded."

"She never expected a diagnosis of babesiosis, a dangerous and potentially deadly disease transmitted by the bite of the Blacklegged tick infected with the Babesia microti parasite. That diagnosis is on the rise in New England, due to climate change and more human interactions with ticks."

"A synthetic rubber manufacturer accused of increasing the cancer risk for the nearby majority-Black community in Louisiana told a federal appeals court it will have to shut down 'likely permanently' if it’s forced to meet the Biden administration’s deadline to reduce emissions." Don't threaten me with a good time.

"A trial to determine how much Ohio’s historical society must pay to restore public access to a set of ancient ceremonial earthworks that has been leased for over a century to a country club has been rescheduled for July 15."

"Erlinger acknowledged that he and many franchisees were frustrated by a post on X last summer about a Big Mac meal in Connecticut that cost $18, calling the price 'an exception.' He noted that franchisees own and operate 95% of U.S. McDonald’s locations and set their own pricing but 'work hard to minimize the impact of price increases.'" And they blame it all on their costs. So let's take a look at the numbers, shall we… "McDonald's gross profit for the twelve months ending March 31, 2024 was $14.688B, a 9.03% increase year-over-year, McDonald's annual gross profit for 2023 was $14.563B, a 10.26% increase from 2022, McDonald's annual gross profit for 2022 was $13.207B, a 4.98% increase from 2021, McDonald's annual gross profit for 2021 was $12.58B, a 29% increase from 2020." And… "According to McDonald's latest financial reports and stock price the company's current Operating Margin is 41.16%. At the end of 2022 the company had an Operating Margin of 33.76%." Razor thin margins my ass. This isn't, "ZOMG, we gotta pay our workers at least $15/hr" this is, "Hey, most low income workers are making $15hr, we can charge them more."

"The state department falsified a report earlier this month to absolve Israel of responsibility for blocking humanitarian aid flows into Gaza, overruling the advice of its own experts, according to a former senior US official who resigned this week." Oh look, an actual scandal. Probably won't hear of it again.

"Critics of a new Louisiana law, which makes it a crime to approach within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of a police officer under certain circumstances, fear that the measure could hinder the public’s ability to film officers — a tool that has increasingly been used to hold police accountable."

"Colorado legal officials on Tuesday approved an agreement with Jenna Ellis, a onetime attorney for former President Donald Trump, barring her from practicing law in the state for three years after she pleaded guilty to helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election."

"CLAIM: New York Judge Juan M. Merchan told the jury in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial that they don’t need a unanimous verdict to convict Trump… AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Merchan said that to convict Trump the jury will have to find unanimously, on each of 34 felony counts, that he falsified business records and that he did so with the intent of concealing another crime — in this case, violating a state election law during his 2016 campaign. The judge said jurors could consider three different ways the law may have been broken and that they don’t have to be unanimous on this decision."

"Michael Fanone, a former police officer who was nearly killed by a mob during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, spoke outside the courthouse during closing arguments in Donald Trump's hush money trial on Tuesday, calling Trump 'an authoritarian' with 'a violence fetish.'… Hours later, Fanone's mother was 'swatted' at her home in Virginia."

"Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has condemned the removal of Confederate statues, saying he had a 'visceral reaction against' the destruction of monuments honoring southern leaders from the Civil War." Dumpster fire.

"The conservative media company behind the book and film '2,000 Mules,' which alleged a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to steal the 2020 election and was embraced by former president Donald Trump, has issued an apology and said it would halt distribution of the film and remove both the film and book from its platforms." To fucking late.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

GUILTY

on all 34 felony counts. The wrap up on NPR. Sentencing on July 11, just a few short days before the RNC. And then we'll have the appeal. In the mean time there will be joy, followed by nastiness and whatevertherfuck the militias have been brewing. But a big win for the rule of law today. And the best part of today? It is no longer a high bar to charge abd convict a former president of felony crimes. Because its now been done.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Linkee-poo Memorial Day

"This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be extremely active, putting tens of millions of Americans in the eastern half of the country at risk from flooding and damaging winds, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warn. The increased activity is partially caused by abnormally warm ocean temperatures driven by climate change."

"Hospital staff are forced to write notes by hand and deliver orders for tests and prescriptions in person in the ongoing fallout from a recent ransomware attack at the national health system Ascension… Ascension is one of the largest health systems in the United States, with some 140 hospitals located across 19 states and D.C." In healthcare we are never that far from paper systems. But mostly this is about hardening systems and creating actual penalties for the asshats who make these attacks.

"But Braun’s scramble to find long-term care for a loved one is an experience shared by many families. And many of them are unprepared for what can be an emotional, costly and guilt-inducing process… Advance planning helps, but an AP-NORC poll in 2021 showed most Americans don’t discuss the possibility of long-term care, let alone prepare for it."

"For thousands of older Americans like the Whites, Third Age Adult Day Center and similar adult day services provide safe, stimulating places for those who have physical or cognitive disabilities and give respite to their caregivers."

"More than 100 hospitals have downsized services or closed altogether over the past decade in rural communities like Williamston, where people openly wonder if they’d survive the 25-minute ambulance ride to the nearest hospital if they were in a serious car crash." And just like the Red Lobster story where they blamed "unlimited shrimp" when the actual problem was having been bought by private capital, had their property stripped out from under them (to enhance profit skimming by the private capital company) and having been locked into a high cost single supplier, I wonder how many VPs/Directors/Chairs this hospital had?

"More and more people who started taking the new GLP-1 agonist drugs are now confronting the realities of their limitations; medications like Wegovy and Mounjaro tend to help with sustained weight loss only while people are on them. But because of cost, for example, negative side effects, or supply shortages, many people are having to transition off of them — while trying not to regain the weight."

"Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced in late April that California hit the 10 gigawatt mark for installed battery capacity, well beyond what any other states — or entire countries — have achieved. That’s about 13 times more battery capacity than the state had installed just five years ago, and it’s enough to make batteries a meaningful portion of the state’s power supply. For reference, 10 gigawatts are enough to meet about 20 percent of the peak electricity demand recorded in the grid managed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO)."

"Jobless claims for the week ending May 18 fell by 8,000 to 215,000, down from 223,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

"The job posting sparked outrage and accusations of discrimination when it circulated online last year, reading, 'Only Born US Citizens [White] who are local within 60 miles from Dallas, TX [Don’t share with candidates].' The words in brackets are not paraphrases; they appeared in brackets in the posting, the Justice Department noted."

"An Israeli airstrike triggered a fire that killed 45 people in a tent camp in the Gazan city of Rafah, officials said on Monday, prompting an outcry from global leaders who urged the implementation of a World Court order to halt Israel's assault."

"The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a settlement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company over the railroad’s discharge of toxic substances following the 2023 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio… Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern will pay nearly $235 million to cover the EPA’s past and future clean-up costs for the contaminated air, water, and soil in and around where the train derailed."

"As some Republicans try to moderate their messaging on abortion over concerns about voter backlash this November, some activists are trying to go much further." There is no moderation. It's faked. It's always been about rolling back the sexual revolution and shaming women. They will come for birth control, even banning condoms, they will come for fertility medicine, they will not stop until it's all shoved back into a closet.

"But amid confusion over what abortion care is allowed in Mississippi, Regina says she was unaware Ashley qualified for an abortion in Mississippi under the law's exception for cases of rape. Yet, even if she was aware, it's unlikely Ashley would have been able to get an abortion in Mississippi; with heavy restrictions in effect and the high penalties on physicians who violate the abortion ban, it is unlikely she would have found a doctor willing to perform a procedure… Ashley, now 13 years old, is the mother of an 8-month-old baby boy nicknamed Peanut."

"Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary panel, wrote Roberts on Thursday asking him for a meeting to discuss Supreme Court ethics and to take steps to ensure that Alito recuses himself from any cases before the court concerning the Jan. 6 attack or former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat."

"The Democratic political consultant behind a robocall that used artificial intelligence to impersonate President Biden is facing a steep federal fine and criminal charges in New Hampshire." Good.

"A New Jersey electrician who repeatedly attacked police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, siege at the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Friday to 12 years in prison by a judge who called him 'a menace to our society.'" He seems smart.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Linkee-poo May 23

Girding my loins for the annual Summer of Remembering People Who Died for Your Freedom bullshit. The traditional launch of which occurs on Memorial Day, which ironicly is a day set aside for us to remember those who have died to protect our freedom (or at least our "national interests" for the various definition of those). So in honor of those who gave all, don't forget to shop the crazy sales of mattresses, cars, and everything else.

"The economic damage wrought by climate change is six times worse than previously thought, with global heating set to shrink wealth at a rate consistent with the level of financial losses of a continuing permanent war, research has found." We're boned.

"The crew of a sinking yacht was rescued off the coast of Spain this week after a pod of orcas apparently rammed the vessel – the latest "attack" by the marine mammals in the area that has left scientists stumped, several boats at the bottom of the ocean and scores more damaged." Team Orca.

"More than 200 people with diabetes were injured when their insulin pumps shut down unexpectedly due to a problem with a connected mobile app, the US Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday… Version 2.7 of the t:connect Apple iOS app – used with the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ – has been recalled due to a software issue that causes the app to crash and relaunch. This cycle drains the pump battery, causing it to shut down sooner than expected and suspend insulin delivery." Oopsie.

"So Americans are not likely to get those other sunscreens — which do a better job of blocking UVA rays that can cause skin cancer and lead to wrinkles — in time for this summer, or even the next… Sunscreen makers say the U.S. approval standards are unfair because companies, including BASF Corp. and L'Oréal which make the newer sunscreen chemicals, submitted safety data on sunscreen chemicals to the European Union authorities some 20 years ago."

"'Steward Health Care has done everything in its power to operate successfully in a highly challenging health care environment,' said Steward's CEO Ralph de la Torre… Flanked by health care officials, union leaders and the state's attorney general Monday morning, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey placed the blame for Steward's bankruptcy squarely on the shoulders of company leaders… 'This situation stems from and is rooted in greed, mismanagement and lack of transparency on the part of Steward leadership in Dallas, Texas,' Healey said."

"Military servicemembers like Grahfls are known as 'atomic veterans,' and they're on the verge of losing federal benefits meant to compensate for the long-term health effects of their work… They're part of a group fighting for a critical lifeline known as the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA. The 34-year-old law is set to expire next month."

"Red Lobster, America's largest seafood chain known for its shrimp and Cheddar Bay biscuits, has filed for bankruptcy… Its seafood restaurants are in hot water after a series of bad choices by a parade of executives, including an ill-fated promotion for all-you-can-eat-shrimp starting at $20." Most of the articles surrounding this site the "all you can eat shrimp" but then hide… "A private equity firm bought the chain ten years ago… The firm… funded the deal partly by selling Red Lobster's real estate… That's now a major financial factor in Red Lobster's bankruptcy filing, which asks the court to reject 108 leases, letting the company abandon those locations… After massive financial losses during the pandemic, followed by increases in the costs of food and wages, Thai Union pursued extensive cost-cutting at Red Lobster. The chain was run by a conveyor belt of executives; it had no CEO for a year." So I'm thinking it wasn't really the shrimp deal.

"Congress has less than a decade to fix Social Security before the popular program runs short of cash, threatening a sharp cut in benefits for nearly 60 million retirees and family members, according to a government report released Monday." Remove the income cap for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. Reclassify streams of income that have been removed from taxes (pass through, capital gains, etc) back into "earned income."

"President Biden has quadrupled tariffs on electric vehicles from China — from 25% to an eye-watering 100% — in a move designed to bolster U.S. jobs and manufacturing." Now the question is, while American businesses take the baton and run with it. History points to no. We tried to do the same thing with HD TV. And what did we do? American companies produced a fairly robust system, and then sold all their IP to Asian companies (or at the very least, outsourced the manufacture and licensed the IP).

"About 8.9% of credit card balances fell into delinquency over the last year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — a sign that a growing number of borrowers are feeling the strain of rising prices and high interest rates." Rhut rho.

"Major U.S. airlines are suing the U.S. Transportation Department over a new rule requiring upfront disclosure of airline fees, the latest clash between air carriers and the Biden administration." On noes, someone is upset they have to be honest and forthright with their customers.

"Target says it is dropping the prices of 5,000 common items, joining a growing list of stores trying to draw inflation-weary shoppers… Target's list of price cuts, posted on Monday, includes 'milk, meat, bread, soda, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks, yogurt, peanut butter, coffee, diapers, paper towels, pet food and more.' The company said it has already lowered prices of about 1,500 items and will continue to do so throughout the summer." If they can lower the prices, that means they raised the prices without cause in the first place.

"Lawyers for Scarlett Johansson are demanding that OpenAI disclose how it developed an AI personal assistant voice that the actress says sounds uncannily similar to her own… Johansson's legal team has sent OpenAI two letters asking the company to detail the process by which it developed a voice the tech company dubbed 'Sky,' Johansson's publicist told NPR in a revelation that has not been previously reported." OpenAI thinks it can do whatever it wants because they have been able to get away with it so far.

"Individual members of Israel’s security forces are tipping off far-right activists and settlers to the location of aid trucks delivering vital supplies to Gaza, enabling the groups to block and vandalise the convoys, according to multiple sources… Settlers intercepting the vital humanitarian supplies to the strip are receiving information about the location of the aid trucks from members of the Israeli police and military, a spokesperson from the main Israeli activist group behind the blockades told the Guardian."

"Photos: Authorities move in to clear pro-Palestinian protesters from UC Irvine."

"Spokespeople at several Ohio universities, including Ohio State, Kent State and University of Akron have said they are reviewing race-based scholarships and programs for potential noncompliance." Segregation comes in many forms.

"The problem is getting worse. Sheriffs' officers are twice as deadly as they were a decade ago, according to a CBS News analysis of FBI data, and increasingly, they are taking on a larger role in policing American towns, since small police departments have been shutting down and ceding their responsibilities to county sheriffs… A dozen sheriffs interviewed by CBS News said they hold themselves to a high standard. But some acknowledged that there is little is in place to hold them accountable if they don't. Many attribute that to their unique status as independently elected officials who are, nonetheless, empowered with the discretion to take away a person's life or liberty."

"A new report adds to a growing line of research showing that police departments don’t solve serious or violent crimes with any regularity, and in fact, spend very little time on crime control, in contrast to popular narratives."

"For decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has routinely warned its agents that the white supremacist and far-right militant groups it investigates often have links to law enforcement. Yet the justice department has no national strategy designed to protect the communities policed by these dangerously compromised law enforcers. As our nation grapples with how to reimagine public safety in the wake of the protests following the police killing of George Floyd, it is time to confront and resolve the persistent problem of explicit racism in law enforcement."

"Republican lawmakers in Tennessee gave final approval on Monday to an aggressive plan to split Nashville, a Democratic bastion, in a deeply Republican state, into several congressional districts as part of an effort to tilt the state’s congressional map in their favor. The plan is now waiting for approval from Governor Bill Lee, who is likely to sign it."

"After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag… One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors." They're not really hiding anymore. Although, when the shit hit the fan, Alito started blaming everyone else, including his wife and a neighbor.

"Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, argued that President Joe Biden should have pardoned Donald Trump after the Justice Department brought indictments against the former president and pressured New York prosecutors not to pursue Trump's ongoing hush money trial." Romney is so wrong, it's almost impossible for him to even see what is right.

"Donald Trump’s lawyers rested their defense Tuesday without the former president taking the witness stand in his New York hush money criminal trial, moving the case closer to the moment the jury will begin deciding his fate."

"Arizona prosecutors have tried for weeks – and so far failed – to serve Rudy Giuliani with notice of his indictment related to an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in that state."

And then… "Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was officially served with a felony indictment on Friday night for allegedly interfering in Arizona's 2020 presidential election. Officials with the office of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes served Giuliani in front of nearly 100 guests at his 80th birthday celebration in the Palm Beach, Florida area."

"In 2010, Kennedy, now 70, experienced severe memory loss and mental fog, he said in a deposition two years later. According to the Times, he consulted top neurologists familiar with the medical history of his uncle, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had died of brain cancer in 2009. A New York doctor, after reviewing a scan of his brain, told him that his health issues could be 'caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died,' Kennedy said in the 2012 deposition, which concerned a divorce from his second wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy. Robert Kennedy said at the time that his earning power had been negatively affected by the cognitive issues, the Times reported." In a normal election, that would be the end of his campaign.

"Former President Donald Trump posted a video on Monday showing images of a fake newspaper article that references a 'unified Reich' if he’s reelected in 2024… The video details 'what happens after Donald Trump wins”' with a narrator reading hypothetical headlines like 'Economy Booms!' and 'Border is closed,' styled as World War I-era newspaper clippings. Under one headline that reads 'What’s next for America?' is a reference to the 'creation of a unified Reich.'"

"Nearly three in five Americans wrongly believe the US is in an economic recession, and the majority blame the Biden administration, according to a Harris poll conducted exclusively for the Guardian. The survey found persistent pessimism about the economy as election day draws closer… The poll highlighted many misconceptions people have about the economy…" It's like there's a constant stream of misinformation that is sometimes amplified by the media. No, the information war has not ended. "Another thing that hasn’t changed: views on the economy largely depend on which political party people belong to." Shocked, shocked I am…

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Linkee-poo May 9

"New York police entered Hamilton Hall at Columbia University to end a student-led occupation of the building late Tuesday after Columbia University said it was left 'with no choice.'"

"But this initial hesitance from Columbia to allow reporters onto campus amid a crisis was only the beginning of a day marked by suppression of free press unlike anything we’ve ever seen during our time on Spectator."

"'The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there — with or without a deal — in order to achieve the total victory,' Netanyahu said, according to a statement released by his office… More than a million displaced Palestinians have fled to Rafah, the city along the Gaza Strip's southern border with Egypt." So, no reason to have negotiations then.

"Astronomers expect that this year you'll be able to see the explosion of a star system in our Milky Way galaxy by simply looking up at the sky."

"Almost from the start, arguments about mitigating climate change have included an element of cost-benefit analysis: Would it cost more to move the world off fossil fuels than it would to simply try to adapt to a changing world? A strong consensus has built that the answer to the question is a clear no, capped off by a Nobel in Economics given to one of the people whose work was key to building that consensus."

"Almost a third of all working adults in the United States are carrying some kind of medical debt — that’s about 15% of all U.S. households. This debt is also the leading cause of bankruptcies in the country."

"More than half of cats around the first Texas dairy farm to test positive for bird flu this spring died after drinking raw milk from the infected cows, scientists reported this week, offering a window into a toll the virus has taken during its unprecedented spread through the cattle industry." Oopsie.

"A former U.S. Marine was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for firebombing a Southern California Planned Parenthood clinic in 2022, federal prosecutors prosecutors said."

"Feeling burned out and looking for reasons to work less? A new study shows that working nights and volatile schedules in young adulthood can leave you vulnerable to depression and poor health in middle age." Rhut rho.

"An owl. A sharky looking bullet. The Hindu deity Ganesh. The Yin and Yang sign. All painstakingly selected and etched onto a microchip that measures about an inch square. Each microscopic silicon doodle was the handiwork of engineers at Qualcomm Incorporated, a San Diego-based company that creates wireless technology-related products and services. The engineers slipped the drawings into Qualcomm's Q1650 data decoder with care not to disturb any of the chip's functions."

"Armed to educate; teachers across the state are picking up their weapons and vowing to protect their students… State leaders say they're pledging to train those educators by purchasing two modular 'shoot houses' demonstrating live active shooter simulations." Hey, ho, way to go Ohio.

"A Maryland high school athletic director is facing criminal charges after police say he used artificial intelligence to duplicate the voice of Pikesville High School Principal Eric Eiswert, leading the community to believe Eiswert said racist and antisemitic things about teachers and students."

"Terra Morehead, who retired as a federal prosecutor last August, has agreed to turn over her law license as part of an agreement with a Kansas disciplinary board. As a Wyandotte County prosecutor in the 1990s, Morehead helped KCKPD Detective Roger Golubski frame an innocent man who spent 23 years in prison."

"Each girl was to receive a proclamation to recognize their projects. Lindley’s original proclamation would’ve told the full story of her unique project to fight book bans, as well as detailed the School Board’s decisions that inspired her project. Then, of all the Girl Scout proclamations, Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg decided to change only Lindley’s. The revision stripped the proclamation of any mention of book banning and censorship, including a line that explicitly referenced Hanover County Public School libraries’ book bans. Herzberg’s unnecessary changes were approved almost unanimously by the Board."

"The Arkansas Legislative Audit released a report on Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ purchase of a lectern Monday afternoon, saying the governor may have broken state law after she spent tax money on a pricey Falcon podium… In June, the governor spent in-total $19,029 on the purchase. The price of the podium itself was a little over $11,000, combined with an additional $2,500 for consulting fees, $2,200 for a road case, plus additional costs for freight, shipping and taxes. The report says even the governor found this price to be high."

"Fox News has pulled down a six-part series in which it staged a mock trial of hypothetical criminal charges against Hunter Biden after the president's son threatened to sue the network… The series, which was first posted on the cable network's right-wing streaming service back in October 2022, was removed only a day after Biden's legal team publicly made its threat. Biden says the network defamed him, among other accusations." Wow, look at that old dog learning new tricks.

"The Supreme Court announced on (April 15) that it will not hear Mckesson v. Doe. The decision not to hear Mckesson leaves in place a lower court decision that effectively eliminated the right to organize a mass protest in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas… Under that lower court decision, a protest organizer faces potentially ruinous financial consequences if a single attendee at a mass protest commits an illegal act."

"Trump’s response stunned several of the (oil and gas) executives in the room overlooking the ocean: You all are wealthy enough, he said, that you should raise $1 billion to return me to the White House. At the dinner, he vowed to immediately reverse dozens of President Biden’s environmental rules and policies and stop new ones from being enacted, according to people with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation." He's selling us out, and he isn't even in office. And these idiots are just dumb enough to buy it. "'(Fossil fuels) got a great return on their investment during Trump’s first term, and Trump is making it crystal clear that they’re in for an even bigger payout if he’s reelected,' (Alex Witt, a senior adviser for oil and gas with Climate Power) said." That's not how this scam works, Alex. Will Trump trash the environment? Yes. But that's a given if the oil and gas industry pays him or not. But if you think you're in line for a payout if you give Trump his billion and he gets in, you're sorely mistaken. Because he'll ask you for a cut. And then he'll ask you for your business. And if you don't give it to him, he'll move you out of the way just take it. That's how a protection racket works.

"About a year ago, Florida Governor- and then presidential candidate- Ron DeSantis passed one of the toughest crackdowns on immigration in the country... Many local Florida businesses say the new law has led to workers leaving the state that's hurt their bottom line. 'A lot of people are scared,' says Sanchez. 'A lot of people went north and never came back.'... The Federal government estimates that nationwide over 40% of farmworkers are undocumented." Time for all those retirees to get a job picking fruit.

"A Delta Air Lines flight that departed from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City was forced to make an emergency return to the airport Friday morning after an emergency slide came apart from the Boeing 767, the airline said. A search for the slide was ongoing."

"Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Monday that he thinks workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga made a mistake by voting to unionize under the United Auto Workers in a landslide election but acknowledged the choice was ultimately up to them."

"The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to reclassify broadband as a public utility, such as water and electricity — to regulate access to the internet. The move to expand government oversight of internet service providers comes after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the magnitude of the digital divide, forcing consumers to rely on high-speed internet for school and work, as well as social and health support."

How goes the war? "Ukraine has sidelined U.S.-provided Abrams M1A1 battle tanks for now in its fight against Russia, in part because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack, two U.S. military officials told The Associated Press."

"All charges have been declined against the 57 people arrested in connection with Wednesday's pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Texas... The Travis County attorney's office said the 57 arrests, which were all criminal trespassing charges, lacked probable cause."

"Columbia University students who inspired pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the country said Friday that they had reached an impasse with administrators and intended to continue their encampment until their demands were met."

"The owner of a suburban Detroit business that caught fire and exploded, killing a man, was arrested at a New York airport as he was preparing to depart for Hong Kong on a one-way ticket, authorities said Friday."

"Recognizing that some members of cleanup crews had likely become sick, BP agreed to a medical claims settlement two years after the 2010 disaster. Experts hailed it as 'an extraordinary achievement' that would compensate workers fairly with little hassle... But it hasn’t turned out that way."

"A Maryland high school athletic director is facing criminal charges after police say he used artificial intelligence to duplicate the voice of Pikesville High School Principal Eric Eiswert, leading the community to believe Eiswert said racist and antisemitic things about teachers and students." Not where I thought it would emerge first, but sure. Right on time.

Conservative can't be that bad. Like they don't shoot their dogs or anything. "South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — a potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — is getting attention again. This time, it’s for a new book where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too." And look, yes, the dog was trouble and would probably never be the working dog she wanted, but it could be a family pet, or some family's pet.

"The Supreme Court on Thursday appeared likely to reject former President Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from prosecution over election interference, but several justices signaled reservations about the charges that could cause a lengthy delay, possibly beyond November’s election."

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Storybone

From a dream the other night. I remember it being a very cool premise, but all of that is gone except for the note: Fredda and Heathis, werecats (various species, IIRC, linxs and cheetah) who fight vampires/eldrich horror Nazis in WWII.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Linkee-poo April 14

Robert MacNeil, and so it goes.

"Israel, its allies and other world leaders are assessing how to respond after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles toward Israel overnight. The great majority of strikes were shot down outside Israeli airspace by Israel, with help from allies that included the U.S. and U.K. Israel says at least one person, a young girl hit by shrapnel, was seriously injured. This is the first time Iran has directly attacked its regional foe from Iranian soil." And so begins the stupidity. Including a completely ineffectual "The House Supports Israel" bill because ignoramus Steve Scalise believes this was "unprovoked" (no, it may not be a proportionate response, but Israel destroyed the Iranian Consulate in Syria, that was an escalation calculated to provoke such a response no matter what Israel may say on TV).

"A spike in measles cases, largely caused by people not getting vaccinated, poses a 'renewed threat' to the declaration in 2000 that the highly contagious airborne disease had been eliminated in the United States."

"A St. Louis judge has ruled that Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is entitled to Planned Parenthood’s transgender care records, ordering the nonprofit to turn over some of its most sensitive files to the man who has built his unelected political career on restricting health care access for trans people." One, HIPAA is quite specific here (from my training) that he will have to issue a subpoena for an active criminal investigation. Anyone's record given to this douche should sue him and Missouri for as much money they can for violation of their rights under HIPAA.

"Customers who purchased certain 'weighted goods' — including meat, poultry, pork and seafood products — and bagged citrus in person at Walmart locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico between Oct. 19, 2018 and Jan. 19, 2024 may be eligible for cash payments, according to the settlement administrator's website."

"The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said one person died and there were 'multiple serious injuries' Friday after a man drove a stolen 18-wheeler into its office in Brenham, which is about 75 miles northwest of Houston… Clenard Parker, a 42-year-old resident of nearby Chappell Hill, was arrested at the scene, according to DPS Sgt. Justin Ruiz, who said Parker had visited the DPS office the day before and was denied a commercial driver’s license. Local law enforcement was pursuing Parker at the time of the crash, Ruiz said."

"The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy were able to successfully rescue three sailors who were stranded on a small Pacific island for over a week, after they spelled 'help' in the sand with palm tree leaves… The three men, all in their 40s, left Easter Sunday on a 20-foot skiff from Polowat to Pikelot (both places are two small Pacific islands that make up the Micronesia archipelago), the Coast Guard said."

"The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum accepted on Thursday the remnants of the vandalized statue. The cleats will be added to an existing exhibit about the first Black American to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier."

"'Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for everybody else, counterintelligence, it turns out, is a growth business,' he told NPR in an interview. 'More players are getting into it with more tools, going after more targets.'… The list of concerns is a long one. The usual suspects — China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — lead the way, he says, but there are other actors, including private sector entities and cybercriminals who are also getting involved."

Both parties are both the same… "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a law that prevents cities or counties from creating protections for workers who labor in the state's often extreme and dangerous heat… Two million people in Florida, from construction to agriculture, work outside in often humid, blazing heat." One wants to regulate business and the other :: checks notes :: just wants workers to die.

"Google has temporarily blocked links from local news outlets in California from appearing in search results in response to the advancement of a bill that would require tech companies to pay publications for links that articles share. The change applies only to some people using Google in California, though it is not clear how many." I'm sure it's fine.

"Former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., appeared together Friday to tout legislation aimed at stopping something that is already illegal in America: noncitizens voting in federal elections… Johnson gave a broad overview of a bill House Republicans will soon introduce that would implement new citizenship documentation requirements for people to register to vote, which experts have said would make voting harder for many eligible voters like naturalized citizens and young voters." It would be easy to say that Republicans love making illegal things which are already illegal, but the real focus of this is to discourage voting by people who have every right to vote. It's also to give the GOP a talking point for this coming election.

"President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is wrangling with Republican-dominated state governments in Ohio and Alabama to assure he is listed on their fall ballots, as once-mundane procedural negotiations get caught up in the nation’s fractious politics."

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Linkee-poo pre-eclipse

"Baron, author of the 2017 book American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World, wants others to witness its majesty too. On April 8, millions of people across North America will get that chance — a total solar eclipse will appear in the sky. Baron promises it will be a surreal, otherworldly experience. 'It's like you've left the solar system and are looking back from some other world.'"

"When the container ship Dali struck the base of the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning, it set off a rapid chain of events. The bridge crumpled into the Patapsco River, its twisted metal draped over the ship and its thousands of containers. Eight construction workers and their cars tumbled into the water. Two of the workers are dead; four are still missing and presumed dead. And the whole disaster is now blocking one of the country's busiest ports, the Port of Baltimore."

"A few weeks ago, something from the heavens came crashing through the roof of Alejandro Otero's home, and NASA is on the case… In all likelihood, this nearly 2-pound object came from the International Space Station. Otero said it tore through the roof and both floors of his two-story house in Naples, Florida."

"During times when energy is abundant and cheap to produce, SRP pumps water from Saguaro Lake - one of the reservoirs it manages at a lower elevation - uphill to this reservoir. Then at times when energy production slows, SRP can release that same water back downhill to produce power. Then the process starts over again… This method of storing electricity has become especially critical as SRP has invested more in solar power."

"A mere 57 oil, gas, coal and cement producers are directly linked to 80% of the world’s global fossil CO2 emissions since the 2016 Paris climate agreement, a study has shown." But I'm sure your choice to drive a small car is what will save us.

"But while hundreds of thousands of new residents have flocked to (Florida) on the promise of beautiful weather, no income tax and lower costs, nearly 500,000 left in 2022, according to the most recent census data. Contributing to their move was a perfect storm of soaring insurance costs, a hostile political environment, worsening traffic and extreme weather, according to interviews with more than a dozen recent transplants and longtime residents who left the state in the past two years."

"On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced that a person who was exposed to dairy cattle presumed to be infected with bird flu had also caught the virus." Ahhh…

"Unauthorized enrollment or plan-switching is emerging as a serious challenge for the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Brokers say the ease with which rogue agents can get into policyholder accounts in the 32 states served by the federal marketplace plays a major role in the problem, according to an investigation by KFF Health News… Indeed, armed with only a person's name, date of birth, and state, a licensed agent can access a policyholder's coverage through the federal exchange or its direct enrollment platforms. It's harder to do through state ACA markets, because they often require additional information." Here's the thing, in my profession anything like this would result in the loss of the license, removal from the national registry, and a lifelong ban from working in healthcare.

"So anyone who's been told they have cancer must wrestle with difficult decisions about sharing the news. Do you tell little kids in the family? Elderly relatives? Colleagues at work? All your friends and neighbors?"

"You've heard that it's a tough time to buy a house, but exactly how tough is it?… A pair of recent studies predicts that you'd need to earn more than $100,000 per year to comfortably afford a typical home in much of the U.S. right now."

"The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) appears poised to mandate a SawStop-type safety brake on all new table saws sold in the United States. The move would follow years of failed efforts and false starts by the agency to impose such a standard."

"Tesla has canceled the long-promised inexpensive car that investors have been counting on to drive its growth into a mass-market automaker, according to three sources familiar with the matter and company messages seen by Reuters… The automaker will continue developing self-driving robotaxis on the same small-vehicle platform, the sources said."

"All of the world’s billionaires younger than 30 inherited their wealth, the first wave of “the great wealth transfer” in which more than 1,000 wealthy people are expected to pass on more than $5.2tn (£4.1tn) to their heirs over the next two decades." And now you know why the conservatives were hell bent on removing the inheritance tax, but not willing to reform Medicaid claw back actions.

"José Andrés, the founder of the World Central Kitchen that feeds people in war and disaster zones, said Monday that his organization has lost 'several' of its international volunteers in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip… The Israeli military said in a statement it is investigating the report 'at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.'"

"Iran said Monday that Israel killed two of its generals and several others in an airstrike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus… Iranian state media said at least seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite overseas wing, known as the Quds Force, were killed when Israeli F-35s struck the building with six rockets, almost entirely demolishing it. Syrian state media said the airstrike leveled the Iranian embassy annex." That is what's called an escalation. I would like to be generous and say that it was a mistake, but unfortunately it's too easy to see this as deliberately provoking a response from Iran, widening the war in an attempt to justify the harshness and continuation of operations in Gaza.

"A doctor at a field hospital for detained Palestinians at Israel’s Sde Teiman army base has described 'deplorable conditions' and 'routine' amputations due to handcuff injuries, according to an exclusive report from the newspaper Haaretz."

"Michigan U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg suggested that nuclear weapons should be dropped on Gaza, which his office said was a metaphor to 'support Israel’s swift elimination of Hamas… It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick,' Walberg says in a video circulating on social media, referencing the Japanese cities that the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on at the end of World War II." What an asshole.

"This would certainly be a worrying world news development. Earlier that week, Israel had conducted an airstrike on Iran's embassy in Syria, killing two generals as well as other officers. Retaliation from Iran seemed like a plausible occurrence… But, there was one major problem: Iran did not attack Israel. The headline was fake… Even more concerning, the fake headline was apparently generated by X's own official AI chatbot, Grok, and then promoted by X's trending news product, Explore, on the very first day of an updated version of the feature."

"Meta blocked a newspaper’s critical report about it on Facebook and its other social sites for hours, sparking a backlash that intensified after the company appeared to subsequently block links to the website of an independent journalist who republished the report."

"Newly released law enforcement footage captures the moment California police fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old girl who was a reported kidnapping victim."

"Voters in Enid decided by a nearly 20-point margin Tuesday to remove a City Council member over his ties to white nationalist groups… Judd Blevins lost his seat on Enid’s six-member City Council by 268 votes, according to unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board. Nearly 1,400 people turned out, about a quarter of Ward 1’s registered voters and hundreds more than voted when Blevins was first elected last year." Good.

"A judge ruled this week that a top Georgia Republican Party official, who has promoted former President Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud affecting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, has repeatedly voted illegally… Brian Pritchard, first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and a conservative talk show host, was fined $5,000 for voting illegally and registering to vote while serving a sentence for a felony conviction. Pritchard was also ordered not to commit further violations, to face public reprimand for his conduct and to pay the State Election Board's investigative costs." There's a lot to unpack in there.

"Former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million bond Monday in his New York civil fraud case. Meanwhile, a judge approved the expansion of Trump's gag order in his hush-money case to include the judge's family."

"At RePlatform in Las Vegas, GabPay got to be the hero. But it's also possible that the company was part of why Stripe froze the conference's money in the first place. A few weeks earlier, a news story by Mother Jones about the event highlighted a promotional appearance that GabPay's executives had made on far-right conspiracy theorist Stew Peters' streaming show." It's so amazing that we keep hearing from all these people who have been "cancelled." It's almost like the claim of being cancelled is bullshit.

"Before Clark's testimony, his lawyer talked about wanting to prevent him from having to repeatedly assert his Fifth Amendment right and 'avoid us being on MSNBC for no good reason.'… Once his testimony got underway, Clark repeatedly asserted his Fifth Amendment right, as well as law enforcement privilege, deliberative process and attorney-client privilege."

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Linkee-poo March 28th

"Baltimore Key Bridge collapses after ship collision."

Photos: Baltimore's Key Bridge collapses; search and rescue efforts continue."

"On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk."

In the path of totality. For what is happening where on April 8th.

The Great American Eclipse.

"Most of the United States is expected to see warmer-than-average temperatures this spring, federal forecasters say, with dry conditions likely in the West." Here we go again.

"Now, in a new perspective paper in Nature Communications, Plowright and a team of 24 ecologists, infectious disease scientists and policy experts have distilled their collective observations into three recommendations to prevent spillovers and halt epidemics and pandemics before they even start."

"Dreaming of sleep? You could try a 'sleep vacation'." I have questions…

"A growing number of Americans are likewise eager to see more environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional burial and cremation. Human composting is the latest option."

(An older article, but one we missed) Let's check back with Brexit, shall we. "British children who grew up during the years of austerity are falling behind many of their European peers in terms of height, a study has found… GPs in poorer areas of the country have reported a resurgence of Victorian diseases such as rickets and scurvy caused largely, they say, by nutritional deficiencies. NHS data shows that about 700 children a year are admitted to hospital with malnutrition, rickets or scurvy in England." Okay, austerity predates Brexit. "Food experts point out that a diet of cheap junk food makes people simultaneously overweight and undernourished." Really?

"A majority of Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical Tuesday of the idea of a nationwide ban or new limits on mifepristone, the primary drug used for medication abortions... At issue in the case are lower-court rulings that would have rolled back recent Food and Drug Administration decisions to ease access to the mifepristone. A district court had instituted a nationwide ban as well."

"Consumers may also bear some of the blame for the use of pesticides. One example, Pritts said, is that growers have had to use pesticides on their apples to keep them free of spots and blemishes, because otherwise shoppers wouldn't buy them." Side eye intensifies.

“'Holy mackerel,' wrote John Swez, Duke Energy’s director for generation dispatch, in a recently released company email about losses from the old coal plants subsidized by House Bill 6, Ohio’s coal and nuclear bailout law. Critics say that and other emails show utilities knew the coal plants were run in a way that increased their losses and the resulting costs to consumers... 'Holy mackerel' can also apply to other developments in Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal. Among other things..." And in other news I've been engaged in fighting anti-solar people on NextDoor. Apparently a landowner in a nearby community wants to install a solar "farm" on their land. The people fighting against it sound an awful lot like my interactions with First Energy. The 2 links they've shared to "prove" their position that solar energy installations are harmful to the environment and health were easily debunked as corporate propaganda. But of course that hasn't moved them off their position. If they're still checking this blog, I suggest they read this article and understand they're carrying these companies' water for them. Also note that those coal plants, which supply Ohio's baseline power, are neither profitable or maintained properly despite how much FE and AEP are sucking out of our economy because of Issue 6. '

"Plastic producers have known for more than 30 years that recycling is not an economically or technically feasible plastic waste management solution. That has not stopped them from promoting it, according to a new report… 'The companies lied,' said Richard Wiles, president of fossil-fuel accountability advocacy group the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), which published the report. 'It’s time to hold them accountable for the damage they’ve caused.'" I know, weird, right?

"Immigrant children as young as 14 were found working illegally amid dangerous heavy equipment at a Tennessee firm that makes parts for lawn mowers sold by John Deere and other companies, according to Labor Department officials."

"As government officials debate how to handle the influx of new arrivals, the Girl Scouts — whose Troop 6000 has served kids who live in the shelter system since 2017 — are quietly welcoming hundreds of the city’s youngest new residents with the support of donations. Most of the girls have fled dire conditions in South and Central America and endured an arduous journey to the U.S."

"The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ordered Rafael Rivas’ RDV Construction Inc. and RVR General Construction Inc. to pay $16.2 million for defrauding more than 1,100 workers in Southern California. But the agency, which issued the citations for back wages and penalties in 2018 and 2019, had recovered just 2% as of last month, according to a department spokesman."

"The report found that some large firms “accelerated and distorted” the effects of supply chain snarls, including by pressuring suppliers to favor them over competitors. Food and beverage retailers also posted strong profits during the height of the pandemic and continue to do so today, casting doubt on assertions that higher grocery prices are simply moving in lock step with retailers’ own rising costs, the authors argued." This is my shocked face.

"Children who displayed aggressive behaviour at school, such as bullying or temper outbursts, are likely to earn more money in middle age, according to a five-decade study that upends the maxim that bullies do not prosper."

"Big changes are coming to the way people buy and sell houses in the United States. The National Association of Realtors settled a lawsuit last week that could up-end the way real estate agents are paid, doing away with the traditional agent's commission of 5-6%. That's prompting a reckoning for buyers, sellers and real estate agents. Here are six things to know."

"A union that’s organizing Waffle House workers filed a petition with the Labor Department on Monday, asking federal officials to investigate the iconic chain’s policy of deducting mandatory meal costs from workers’ paychecks… Waffle House takes at least $3 for each on-shift meal out of workers’ pay, whether they end up eating it or not, according to the petition from the Union of Southern Service Workers. The USSW called it 'especially alarming' since many workers are paid a tipped sub-minimum wage 'as low as $2.90 per hour,' not including gratuities."

"What are the new rules for tipping?,,, Businesses that never seemed to ask for a tip before — like grocery stores, self-checkout machines and fast food restaurants — are now asking for one these days." I've got an idea. We don't have a subminimum wage. We reform billing to remove all fees and tips and quote the actual price. "... It allows restaurants to get more money to workers while still keeping their prices low, says Sean Jung, a professor at Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration." Here's the thing, they're not keeping their prices low if you have to tip. Just like baggage fees and extra fuel fees and "touch tone dialing" fees and all the rest. That's a part of the price. How it's broken out is bullshit. Pay your workers a living wage and if you can't, maybe you shouldn't be in business. And Square Space is taking a piece of the tip? Whelp it's back to all cash tipping for me again. This reminds me of several years ago it came out that some Ohio restaurants were deducting the meal's swipe fees from workers tips (and also skimming, especially in a "shared tips" establishment).

"Israel says Hamas's rejection of a current proposal for a Gaza truce deal with Israel shows the 'damage' done by the UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire."

"A core tension in Israeli society has grown more urgent since the Hamas attack on Israel last October: Whether to draft the ultra-Orthodox into military service." Welp, that's one way to end the conflict.

"The controversial decision to allow international arms sales is expected to help secure Japan’s role in a year-old project to develop a new fighter jet together with Italy and the U.K., but it’s also part of a move to build up Japan’s arms industry and bolster its role in global affairs."

"A federal judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit by Elon Musk’s X that had targeted a watchdog group for its critical reports about hate speech on the social media platform… In a blistering 52-page order, the judge blasted X’s case as plainly punitive rather than about protecting the platform’s security and legal rights.' The champion of "free speech" is a lying douche canoe?

"Wenhold was among the last to speak. She looked to her left where her fellow representatives were sitting in a row. There was Scott Freeman, the board vice president, who had answered her many questions about the district’s budget process. There was Karen Beerer, a former teacher, who had helped her understand how the school system chose curriculums. And there was LeBlanc, whom she was still trying to figure out… This was a version of American democracy that bore little resemblance to the horror show that Green and Barton described each day on their podcast." Not sure it's a true or full conversion, but yes, if you come to the table ready to help and learn, you tend to find out that what a lot of uninvolved people told you was incorrect. The difference here between what happened in other nearby school districts is that the person who wanted to "bring change" actually could listen.

"New FBI data confirms previous indications that crime in the U.S. declined significantly in 2023, continuing a post-pandemic trend and belying widespread perceptions that crime is rising."

"Bailey, who is campaigning to keep his seat, said last week that he is investigating possible violations of the state’s human rights laws by the Hazelwood School District, after a March 8 fight left a girl hospitalized with severe head injuries." Racists gonna be racist.

"In a stunning decision announced just weeks before he was scheduled to face a jury, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached a deal with prosecutors to have the felony securities fraud charges against him dropped and his trial canceled."

"Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has filed a motion to remove Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., as House speaker."

"Susquehanna founder and TikTok investor Jeff Yass has avoided $1 billion in taxes while largely escaping public scrutiny. He’s now pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers… Gregg Polsky, a University of Georgia law professor and former corporate tax lawyer who was retained by ProPublica to review Susquehanna’s tax records, said the tax agency may have more to scrutinize. The strategies revealed in Yass’ records, he said, were 'very suspicious and suggestive of potential abuse that should be examined by the IRS.'"

"A judge on Tuesday imposed a limited gag order on Donald Trump ahead of his criminal hush money trial in New York... Trump’s statements about various figures involved in the case “were threatening, inflammatory [and] denigrating,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan said in a court order." This is my shocked face.

"For the Trump campaign, Jan. 6, 2021 is not a moment of national shame but of celebration... To political scientists, that's been puzzling." Only for those who aren't paying attention. Trump is not concerned about the vote because it's his intention to steal the election. They've been working on the strategy for 4 years, getting people elected and appointed to oversee the next election. They learned from their failures in 2020.

"Trump's social media venture soared as much as 59% in its trading debut on Tuesday delivering a potential windfall of billions of dollars to the former president's net worth... Trading in Trump Media and Technology Group, the company behind the Truth Social app, was so frantic that it was briefly halted at one point. It's trading under the stock symbol DJT, or short for Donald J. Trump." Yeah, talk to me April 30.

"Former President Donald Trump is bringing together church and state in a gilded package for his latest venture, a $60 'God Bless The USA' Bible complete with copies of the nation's founding documents." He's now a Bible salesman. There are few cons older than selling Bibles at inflated prices.

"NBC's newest contributor hire is earning backlash — even from the network's own talent... Ronna McDaniel, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, has been hired by the news network, according to a statement from Carrie Budoff Brown, NBC News' Senior Vice President of Politics." There are a lot of calls to fire her. I disagree. She should be on every show, and the host and producers should fact check her on the air. This would continue to demonstrate the perfidity of the GOP. Of course that will be met with cries of censorship and "cancel culture."

"NBC News cut ties Tuesday with former Republican National Committee chief Ronna McDaniel less than a week after hiring her as an on-air political contributor, a decision that came following a furious protest by some of its journalists and commentators." And here it comes.