And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Linkee-poo feels alive and the world I'll turn it inside out

Apparently a lot of the press is upset about the comedian selected for the White House Correspondent's Dinner, or Prom Night for Reporters as it appears. They say they're upset because she attacked Sarah Huckabee Sander's appearance. I haven't played the video, yet, but from transcripts it doesn't appear she did so. She caller her a liar, and she burnt truths and used the ashes to get that "smokey-eyed look." But what Michelle Wolf did do was call out the press for creating, supporting, and contributing to the rise of Donald Trump so they could profit from him (notes the various calls to "subscribe" to news sources… only to have all those same new subscribers drop them months later when they discovered that the press was "compromised"). So if I had to bet money on what the real reason the WHCD attendees were really upset about it would be the later point. They got called on their complicity and profiteering and they don't like it. Too bad. As for the conservative reporters who "left early" because they wouldn't be mocked by "elites"… Dudes, seriously, you're at a fucking black-tie event at a pompous hotel where you have an actual Red Carpet out front (not to mention your actual positions, connections, and personal wealth). I doubt there was a Funyon or can of Miller beer (I was going to use Schlitz or Blatz, but I didn't want to go too far) to be found in that hall. Allow America to point at you and laugh.

"The war was over — Japan had surrendered. The third plutonium core created by the United States, which scientists at Los Alamos National Lab had been preparing for another attack, was no longer needed as a weapon. For the moment, the lab’s nuclear scientists were allowed to keep the sphere, an alloy of plutonium and gallium that would become known as the demon core." (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"The French president’s office says there’s nothing mysterious about the disappearance of an oak tree he planted on the White House lawn… It was put in quarantine, like other plants or animals brought into U.S. territory." But the President wanted the photo op. So, you know, they actually violated quarantine, and then reimposed quarantine. That's not how quarantine works.

"A medical device that can add years to the lives of cancer patients is about to become unavailable, because its manufacturer has decided to stop producing it."

Are probiotics good for babies (and you)? No real big studies yet, but preliminary research looks good. Here's the thing that isn't stated clear enough, kids do get probiotics. It's just usually from breast feeding and all the family kissing and coddling the baby (yes, there is an actual evolutionary benefit to that behavior). It's just now we're looking at customizing the inoculation for specific diseases or standardizing everyone's exposure to them. One of the final thought I have about this is I think we're about to see a call for regulation and oversight of the supplements industry or at least create a new category that would be regulated.

"Military personnel may be endangering their own brains when they operate certain shoulder-fired weapons, according to an Army-commissioned report released Monday." To which anyone who has fired these weapons would respond, "Duh." There are ways to mitigate such problems, like new helmets and redesign of weapon systems. Then we can study the effects of being around heavy cannon, tanks, artillery, ships batteries, etc.

"A Mexican rapper and YouTube star with hundreds of thousands of followers confessed to dissolving the bodies of three missing film students in acid, authorities confirmed Wednesday."

If only the MSM would stop persecuting conservatives. "Salem Media, owner of the influential conservative outlet RedState, froze the site on Friday and dismissed many of its writers. Bloggers were locked out of their accounts -- some just temporarily, while the cuts were made, and others permanently… 'They fired everybody who was insufficiently supportive of Trump,' one of the sources who spoke with CNNMoney said, adding, 'how do you define being "sufficiently supportive" of Trump?'" Always to the right, never to the left, always to the right.

"U.S. economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year to a 2.3 percent annual rate, down from 2.9 percent at the end of last year… One reason is that consumers didn't keep up with the blistering pace of spending at the beginning of the year, which means slower economic growth overall, analysts say. But, if recent trends are any indication, the economy will pick up steam soon." It's all your fault.

This article demonstrates what is wrong with American Business Culture. "Amazon demolished Wall Street's profit expectations for its first quarter, thanks to a boom in online sales and huge demand for its cloud services… CEO Jeff Bezos owns 16 percent of Amazon and is the richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine. He is the first person to top $100 billion as No. 1 on the Forbes list of the Word's Billionaires… Amazon also announced on Thursday that its annual Prime membership fee is going up to $119 a year from $99. Company executives said that the 20 percent hike is due to higher costs to maintain the program, such as shipping fees."

Maybe it's easier to see in other people. "He wanted to see if this rejection was limited to existing prejudices. So, in 2006, inspired by a 1946 study by American psychologist Eugene Hartley, he added a fictional ethnic group to the survey question — the Piréz people, or the Pirézians… Most Hungarians rejected them, too." Change Hungry to the USA and Catholics to Evangelicals and you get a rough parallel to modern conservative politics. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) floated the idea Friday that Republicans are retiring from Congress in record numbers due to their fear of being assassinated, according to a Friday morning Roll Call report." Not really believing it, but maybe try not being such disks, then.

Just a reminder, the right never accepts "defeat." "I reported in January that a number of conservative groups, under the leadership of former Sen. Rick Santorum, was working hard to craft a new Obamacare replacement that could both pass Congress and work well in the real world. Behind the scenes, those groups (indeed, representatives from a growing number of groups) have continued to meet and tweak their plan, and they seem just a few weeks away from being able to unveil it." (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Linkee-poo one goal, one golden glance of what should be

"Over the course of three years, archaeologists in Peru uncovered the graves of 140 children, all killed by a swift cut to their chest, presumably to rip out their hearts. The massive gravesite is shedding light on the mysterious ancient Chimú Empire, and raises question on what could have driven these people to do such a heinous act." Some gods are more demanding than others. And when you thinking you're witnessing the death of your culture/civilization that can prompt you to extremely desperate acts. Not parallels in modern conservatism.

"So why do I care? As a health psychologist, I often see people choose unnecessary and unpleasant diets based on unsubstantiated claims. Sweeping statements that vilify entire food groups (or specific foods) lead to eating rules that can backfire into overeating the forbidden foods or can become unhealthy obsessions, occupying valuable mental space and leading to self-shaming and other miseries." No, sugar is not like heroin. And I know I'm being a little pedantic here in the same vein as people who shout, "I won't put chemicals in my body" and I want to say, "Well, Sunshine, I've got news for you." I know they mean "processed sugar", but basically anything listed as carbs are sugars. Fat is a lippo-protein with stacked sugars. Not all carbs are the same. And basically you'd die if you avoided all sugar. Neurons pretty much only subsist but by carbs. Yes, processed sugar is bad for you because it's a simple sugar and nothing else (your body processes it quickly, and there's no other good stuff that comes along for the ride with it). All processed foods should be avoided as much as possible (the only exception being breakfast cereal fiber). On the extreme end are the new Keto Diets. Before starting one I'd google the medical effects and potential problems with Keto Diets. (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

"Faced with a new tax that could force them to hike prices in a competitive soda market, the maker of Irn Bru decided instead to cut the sugar in half. These days Scottish shop owners aren't surprised to see customers, and the occasional reporter, squinting at the Irn Bru labels, checking the sugar content."

"Across the country, community groups, hospitals, government agencies and nonprofits are starting to do more to support at least some of the estimated 42 million friends and family members who are the primary caregivers of adults and children who have disabilities, are recovering from surgeries and illnesses or are coping with Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases."

"Researchers in the US say they have managed to keep the brains of decapitated pigs alive outside of the body for up to 36 hours by circulating an oxygen-rich fluid through the organs… While the scientists, led by Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan, say the brains are not conscious, they say the feat might help researchers to probe how the brain works, and aid studies into experimental treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to dementia." Because, you know, if the brains were "conscious", that would be a severe ethical problem. So they're not conscious. Because they can't be.

"A new analysis finds that NASA will pay significantly more for commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station in the 2020s rather than enjoying cost savings from maturing systems."

"The US and European space agencies are edging towards a joint mission to bring back rock and soil samples from Mars… Nasa and Esa have signed a letter of intent that could lead to the first "round trip" to another planet." Buys NASA and ESA dvd copies of Andromeda Strain.

Who needs regulations. "Safety officials have lifted an evacuation order for miles around an oil refinery in Superior, Wis., after an explosion and a large fire erupted Thursday at the Canadian-owned facility. Police officers went door to door to enforce the evacuation, which extended for miles around the refinery."

"The Happiest Hour denied that Piatek had been removed in the first place, stating Piatek 'was sufficiently pleased with his service at the bar [and] that he added' a $36 tip onto the $186 tab, according to the New York Post. The bar owners suggest Piatek’s lawsuit was a 'publicity stunt.'" But yet Fox News is outraged, Outraged, that somehow he racked up a $186 tab while simultaneously being refused service for wearing a MAGA hat. Little note, many NYC bars refuse service to people wearing hats (any hat, not just MAGA hats). So my guess is he put his hat on, and was told he could remove it or leave.

"Sacramento investigators tracked down East Area Rapist suspect Joseph James DeAngelo using genealogical websites that contained genetic information from a relative, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office confirmed Thursday." So, good that they finally caught the bastard, bad that it makes the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal look like small potatoes.

"We were recently made aware that @alhousedems had received a barrage of unexpected followers that look like bots." A tweet storm on spotting bots. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The infighting around the big Chaplain Conspiracy might seem melodramatic, but the actual reason some point to as to why Ryan was unhappy with Conroy is as petty as it gets. As a HuffPost reporter tweeted, during a prayer on Ryan’s signature tax bill, Conroy said he wished for no 'winners and losers' under the legislation, 'but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans,' which Ryan apparently didn’t like." (Grokked from Jer)

"But as my colleague Ishaan Tharoor summarized, after repeatedly hugging Trump, Macron tore down his worldview — delivering a clear rebuke of his core policy stances during a speech in Congress… In fact, throughout that speech, Macron sounded a lot like a president Trump certainly wouldn’t have invited back to the White House for three days: Barack Obama." Funny how being thoughtful and knowledgeable about how the world really works and caring for people makes you sounds like Obama and definitely not Trump.

"'Hannity hates this deal (Iran Nuclear Deal) too, so there was not really a way to get a moderating voice into this conversation short of buying time on Hannity's show this week.'" So that's what John Oliver did. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"A federal judge in Washington state has issued a permanent injunction that blocks the Trump administration from slashing grants to a Planned Parenthood program that funds teen pregnancy prevention programs across the country." Hey, remember as all the conservative shouted that Obama was acting illegally and sued him. Some of those did rule that he acted illegally, or at least without authorization. But I think in the past year and a half Trump has lost more cases than the Obama administration did in 8 years all while protesting that he's the lawful acting president. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Now new documents reviewed by HuffPost show that Pompeo’s links to foreign-owned oil and gas companies are even more extensive than was previously reported. But, despite the evidence, Pompeo continues to deny his foreign entanglements, according to a Senate source who asked to remain anonymous to talk to HuffPost about proceedings that haven’t been made public yet." While some Republican Senators are saying it's no big deal, if this was a low-level government employee this would be grounds for immediate revocation of security clearances and dismissal. And there's a big difference between this and buying shoes at K-Mart, because those shoes are typically less than $50, and you're buying them from a supplier who outsourced instead of thousand dollar equipment that you personally outsourced. And for most people buying those shoes it is no big deal, but for someone who is at the top level of government he should fucking know better. Is the actual contact reason to exclude him from service? Probably not. But failing to properly disclose it is. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday warned that the federal government is prepared to prosecute Central American migrants from a caravan planning to cross the U.S. border this weekend." Good luck with that. My personal favorite is when she threatens lawyers with criminal prosecution for any attempt to help these people.

"A Utah militia leader accused of trying to blow up a federal cabin in Arizona pleaded guilty in a Salt Lake City courtroom Thursday, as part of a late-hour plea deal that avoided a potentially lengthy federal trial."

"Patrick Little is a Republican running for U.S. Senate in California on a platform so extreme that he is urging supporters not to donate to campaign 'unless you are doxed,' since campaign contributions are public record… The chances that Little makes it through in California’s top-two primary may be slim, but he still joins the ranks of open extremists running as Republicans… On his blog, Little urges supporters to 'vote with their feet' by supporting him at the ballot box to let the government know that 'we want to be around other whites, safe from non-whites.' Little also wrote that 'whites who advocate for their people, or just question certain historical narratives, are often thrown into prison without due process.'" If that were actually true, Patrick Little would be rotting in a jail cell somewhere. This, again, is projection. What they want to do is throw the rest of us in jail if we try to stop them. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump appeared to acknowledge Thursday for the first time that his attorney Michael Cohen represented him as part of a payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels." You know, after months of saying he had no idea or knowledge of Cohen's actions in this regard. If this weren't so dumb I'd wonder if this weren't a strategy to confuse everybody like a Three-card Monte dealer. And the president is increasingly unhinged and showing signs of dementia.

"The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels suggested that a $1.6 million hush money payoff to a Playboy model was actually made on behalf of President Donald Trump — and not a Republican donor." Not enough popcorn in the world. This whole thing could have been handled so differently, but instead Trump and his lawyers followed (and are still following) their standard playboy and Acenatti and Ms Daniels are running three-steps ahead building the traps anticipating that this is what they'll do. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Rudy Giuliani and President Trump's newly reconfigured legal team met Tuesday with special counsel Robert Mueller and his staff to discuss a possible interview, sources close to the process confirm to CBS News' Major Garrett. Giuliani last week joined Mr. Trump's legal team, along with Jane and Marty Raskin, who are former federal prosecutors." I love how this is portrayed as a choice for the president. He can either willfully meet, or when the time is right be served with a subpoena to appear.

"Manhattan federal prosecutors seized as many as 16 cell phones when the FBI raided the home, office and hotel room of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen." While some of these are historical purchases, you really need to dump burner phones on a regular basis. (Grokked from Chang)

"With (Trump's) victory, Republicans held more power than they have had in nearly a century. Conservatives had control the House of Representatives, the Senate, the White House, and held a majority of the country's governors mansions. Conservatives have a majority on the Supreme Court, in no small part because of Trump's election… But apart from politics, Hawkins said that the average American conservative feels bombarded daily with disrespect." I've got a crazy idea, try not being dicks. There's this joke, it comes in different forms, but basically it states, "When this person is an asshole to you, and that person is an asshole to you, when everyone is an asshole to you, maybe it's you that's the asshole." Dear conservatives, maybe the problem isn't us lefties, or the world, or the "media", or the movies/TV, or science. Maybe it's you. You know, when everyone agrees you're dicks, you might want to think about if you're a dick or not. I guess conservatives never watched 70s and 80s sitcoms where one of the family members would win some contest only to realize they still weren't popular.

Tweet of my heart: @feministabulous As you celebrate the cosby verdict, remember that it took dozens of women, dozens of news stories and several years for our court system to find him guilty of something he himself admitted he did to women. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Linkee-poo is lining up on both sides of the ocean

Very busy day after a long night.

"Human bones make the best bone daggers, researchers studying weapons prized by the people of New Guinea have discovered… Using imaging, computer simulations and good-old-fashioned stabbing tests on daggers made from bird and human bones, researchers found that human thigh bones produced the very best blades. Their results were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science." The cassowary, while a flightless bird, still has lighter bone density because it's a bird. So, yes, human bone would be better.

"So-called 'dry drowning' or 'secondary drowning' are not medical terms, but are used to describe incidents where water enters the body through the mouth, but the resulting symptoms occur even if the person is not submerged." We'd call it "aspiration pneumonia" and "chemical poisoning".

"From 1978 to 1986, he killed 12 people in attacks ranging from the Sacramento County city of Rancho Cordova to the Orange County cities of Irvine and Dana Point. In Ventura, he tied up a couple with a drapery cord and raped the wife before fatally bludgeoning them with a fireplace log. In Goleta, he bound a doctor and his wife, a clinical psychologist, and shot them both." The finally think they've figured out who did it and arrested them.

"'Dr. Jackson deserves a fair hearing and we are not going to write him off in any way before his hearing, and quite frankly neither should members of Congress,' White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Rachel Martin on NPR's Morning Edition Wednesday." And he's right, Dr. Jackson should get a fair and full hearing. The IG report should be made public (you know the one, the one that Dr. Jackson says doesn't exist by Hogan Gidley has said everyone in the White House has seen). We can bring in people to support him as well as the coworkers he tussled with. Ask those who came forward to explain that Dr. Feelgood was a little lose with the Rx pad and maybe had a few intraday drinky-poos. Yeah, that would be a "fair" hearing wouldn't it? Also, by the by, "White House spokesman Hogan Gidley" should be forced to go back and repeat high school civics class for not knowing it's the Senate that confirms White House appointees.

"A large-scale manhunt is underway in Maine for a 29-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a sheriff’s deputy in Norridgewock early Wednesday morning, officials said." Wonder if the Blue Lives Matter people are up in arms. Although the suspect is white, so probably not.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Linkee-poo it's Wednesday again?

Sorry for all the uninspired blog titles. Things have been very hectic.

"When Trump assumed office, N.S.C. staffers initially generated memos for him that resembled those produced for his predecessors: multi-page explications of policy and strategy. But 'an edict came down,'… The staff dutifully trimmed the memos to a single page. 'But then word comes back: "This is still too much." ' A senior Trump aide explained to the staffers that the President is 'a visual person,' and asked them to express points 'pictorially.'… 'By the time I left, we had these cards,' the former staffer said… Current and former officials told me that filling out a card is the best way to raise an issue with him in writing. Everything that needs to be conveyed to the President must be boiled down, the former staffer said, to 'two or three points, with the syntactical complexity of "See Jane run."'" Given the trajectory of GOP presidential candidates, our next conservative President will instead demand to have sock-puppet shows instead of a briefing book. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Alex Jones: 'Because let me tell you, the big real secret is the real KKK at the midlevel is a bunch of racist black people who hate black people.'" You know, when I was a kid, conspiracy theorists were at least in the ballpark of "hmm, you know, that might actually be true." Now its like splatterporn, but with words. I'll also just let you read some of the headlines in the "Previously" section in case you have any doubts. They guy's own internal logic isn't consistent. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The alleged Waffle House shooter had declared himself to be part of the rightwing extremist 'sovereign citizen' movement, according to USA Today." I now have "resting shocked face." (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"Solidarity marches to protest anti-Semitism are planned in Berlin and other German cities on Wednesday after an attack last week on a man wearing a yarmulke sparked widespread outrage… The attack in Berlin, caught on video, involved a 21-year-old man wearing a Jewish skullcap, also known as a kippa, who was suddenly attacked by an assailant calling out 'Yehudi!' — the Arabic word for Jew."

The Hidden Brain podcast on the weight of words when it comes to our preconceptions using terrorism reporting statistics as well as the lowering of the bar on racism because of the president's election. On average, non-Muslim terrorists need to kill at least 7 more people to get the same news coverage than if the terrorists were Muslim. And the president's speech (and actions) have both given license to people to behave and speak in more racist and misogynist ways as well as normalized such so that we feel less racist and misogynistic because of it.

"A federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration's decision to end deportation protections for some young immigrants, saying the White House was 'arbitrary and capricious' in moving to end the Obama-era DACA program… He said that the decision to rescind DACA must therefore be set aside, but he gave Homeland Security 90 days to 'better explain its view' that DACA is illegal."

"The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has proposed a new rule that restricts scientific research that can be used by the agency for its regulatory decisions… The proposed rule only allows the use of studies that make all data publicly available for anyone to analyze. Pruitt proposed the new rule as a way to make the agency's decision-making more 'transparent, objective and measurable.'" Sounds fair. Like, sure, all the data should be out there so that people can understand the science behind the decisions. Right? Nope. "The EPA's regulatory decisions are often based on epidemiological studies looking at the potential health effects of pollutants, like pesticides and particulate matter. 'Those studies involve people like you and me, signing confidentiality agreements that the scientists doing the studies won't reveal my personal health information, like my vital statistics, or my death certificate, if I die during the course of the study,' says Gallagher. 'This is the kind of science that the EPA relies on, whether it looks at chemicals or particulates and their mortality or health effects. It involves private data.'" So basically any study on the impact on human health would either violate HIPAA or couldn't be used.

"Lesko won 52.6 percent of the vote, with Tipirneni getting 47.4 percent. Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by 21 points. In 2016, the former GOP congressman won the seat with more than 68 percent of the vote. Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December over allegations of sexual harassment." The GOP is feigning nonchalance in a "well, that was an easy landslide and it was never in question" way. For this district, this race shouldn't have been that close. And it shouldn't have taken all the heavy weights who waddled into the field, not to mention the amount of money poured in (on both sides). I'm not going to say that was a win for progressives, but that was a damn fine showing in a race that should have easily gone to the republican.

"A new court filing by Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel confirms that Paul Manafort was raided by the FBI to look for documents relating to the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Russian lobbyists, which was brokered by Donald Trump Jr." Shoutout to the person walking behind Manafort and his lawyer with the sign "Traitor." Thumbs up. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is examining allegations that President Trump’s nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department oversaw a hostile work environment as the White House physician and allowed the overprescribing of drugs, according to congressional officials briefed on the committee’s work… They have also received claims that Dr. Ronny L. Jackson drank too much on the job." Vetting, it's an important process. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives and lobbyists on Tuesday that they should increase their campaign donations to influence lawmakers, revealing that he would meet only with lobbyists who contributed to his campaign when he served in the House." Mick Mulvaney admits to influence peddling and graft while encouraging the banking industry to continue bribery of elected officials to gain favor. Anybody want to explain to this douchebag that he just publicly admitted to a felony and corruption? "Mr. Mulvaney said that trying to sway legislators that way was one of the 'fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy. And you have to continue to do it.'" Sure this is how they operate, when you're corrupt. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Tweet of my heart: @joshtpm so basically trump nominated jackson on a whim and now his career is probably destroyed. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Linkee-poo one thousand and one yellow daffodils begin to dance in front of you, oh dear

"Until recently, simulations of the cosmos’s history haven’t given the lumps their due. The physics of those lumps is described by general relativity, Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity. But that theory’s equations are devilishly complicated to solve. To simulate how the universe’s clumps grow and change, scientists have fallen back on approximations, such as the simpler but less accurate theory of gravity devised by Isaac Newton." A whole new map.

"Internal polling and focus groups conducted by Republican campaigns find that Clinton remains one of the most unpopular high-profile Democrats in the nation, second only to Pelosi, the House minority leader. Just 36 percent of Americans viewed Clinton favorably in a December Gallup poll, an all-time low mark that bucked a trend in which unsuccessful presidential candidates typically gain in popularity over time." The GOP has long had a woodie for the Clintons. And gee, what to Hillary and Nancy have in common that they've been the go-to baddie to scare up the support of their base? It's almost inscrutable. (Grokked from Michele)

"Police in Canada's biggest city are piecing together witness accounts and surveillance video trying to determine why a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what many said appeared to be a deliberate attack." With some video of the aftermath, including the arrest. For the arrest video, that's what "suicide by cop" looks like (notice the stance, the frantic action of multiple "draws", compare this with the video of LaVoy Finicum at the end of the Malheur standoff). At this point the Canadian police aren't tying this to international terrorism, which I applaud them for.

"The National Rifle Association is hot and bothered after cooler company Yeti put its relationship on ice… Former NRA President Marion Hammer said that the decision, which comes after the NRA has been criticized for attacks on survivors of the Parkland school shooting, 'isn't sportsmanlike.'… 'This YETI ain't ready,' South Carolina man Bryan Atkinson said on Facebook before opening fire on a cooler filled with explosives." Such a quality organization with such stable members, it's a wonder that more people aren't joining.

This is a nice way of saying "racism." "Meanwhile, a few things did correlate with support for Trump: a voter’s desire for their group to be dominant, as well as how much they disagreed with Clinton’s views on trade and China. Trump supporters were also more likely than Clinton voters to feel that 'the American way of life is threatened,' and that high-status groups, like men, Christians, and whites, are discriminated against." This is my shocked face. I wonder when the think pieces about Trump's lure of Authoritarianism was also a big driver in the last election. The article ends on the line of "Now what?" Now the Democratic Party really needs to start messaging that we are the party of everybody, that by making sure "minorities" are protected, we're making sure everyone is protected. That the thought of one people being better than another is a conservative ideal meant to divide us and weaken our response to their punitive policies and ideology. And point out that conservatives are empowering corporations and organizations that have consistently screwed the little guy and the only difference is now their actions are affecting more and more white people. By making sure everyone is protected from these rapacious actions and that there is a level playing field for everyone, we are making the world better for everybody, minority and majority included. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"The U.S. Department of Education was investigating why black students in Bryan, Texas, are almost four times as likely as white students to be suspended. Then Betsy DeVos took over." And by saying, "Justice delayed is justice denied," they've dropped a lot of the investigations into schools to "speed up" the investigations in other schools. So, Sec. DeVoss, if justice delayed is justice denied, what exactly is it when justice is denied at the get go? (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations… Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest." Not to mention Trump's personal bodyguard who testified that he turned hookers away from Trump's hotel room before the guard retired for the night. (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Linkee-poo another manic Monday

Movie scripts for the downloading. (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

"NASA said some of the features had an easy explanation: The ice in the area was young and thin. When these types of floes collide, 'finger rafting' ― the zipper-like feature at the top right ― will form. However, the agency conceded that the holes were little harder to explain, and no one could quite say for sure what caused them." Cthulhu? Are the stars in the right positions?

"As more states legalize marijuana, there's growing interest in a cannabis extract — cannabidiol, also known as CBD."

"Shaw Jr. rushed the gunman, grabbed the gun’s barrel, pulled it away and threw it over the Waffle House counter. He suffered a gunshot wound and burns from grabbing the gun’s barrel." Heroes are ordinary people who do the thing they feel is right at the right time. They typically don't count themselves as heroes, they just did what they thought needed to be done. It doesn't make them any less a hero. I'll also point out that the shooter did have their guns seized by police, who then gave them to the shooter's father, who promptly gave them back to the shooter.

"But recent research, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, suggests that millions of tons of fish caught in deep-water trawl nets have gone unreported in the last 50 years." This is my shocked face.

"Gina Haspel, the first woman nominated to lead the CIA, has a five-foot-tall poster of Johnny Cash in her office. She's an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan — though she transferred from that school and graduated from the rival University of Louisville. She majored in journalism." She sounds wonderful. To bad. "The CIA and Haspel's former colleagues clearly want to provide a sense of a woman who has left a nearly blank public record. Yet the one topic they won't discuss is her time at a CIA black site prison in Thailand — where al-Qaida suspects were waterboarded in 2002." So, she's like Himmler, but with whimsy. This nomination should be poison for anyone voting for her.

Sometimes disarming a weapon is more dangerous than building it. "In Energy Department facilities around the country, there are 54 metric tons of surplus plutonium. Pantex, the plant near Amarillo, holds so much plutonium that it has exceeded the 20,000 cores, called 'pits,' regulations allow it to hold in its temporary storage facility. There are enough cores there to cause thousands of megatons of nuclear explosions. More are added each day." One of the problems with repurposing this fuel for commercial power plants is nuclear power plants are shutting down. The genie is out of the bottle and it's hard as fuck to stuff it back in.

"The Trump administration says Native Americans might need to get a job if they want to keep their health care — a policy that tribal leaders say will threaten access to care and reverse centuries-old protections." (Grokked from Fran Wilde)

"Republicans are showing little appetite for big action in what may be their last months in full control of Congress." So it's pretty much business as normal for the GOP Congress; kick the bucket down the road, yell a lot, but don't really do anything.

"Many political campaign workers spend long hours at low pay, living off of pizza and coffee, all in the hope of seeing their candidate win… Now, labor organizers are setting their sights on bringing those workers into the labor movement at a time when the percentage of U.S. workers who belong to a union is falling steadily." Most election workers are the original "exposure" workers. They hope to either gain experience to land one of the higher paying jobs or to secure an appointed position if their person wins.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Shifts

So there's something I've been tracking for a little while now. Our Russian friends have been changing and adjusting their tactics. Since the beginning of the New Year, and accelerated in the last month, it appears the trolls have changed their composition.

Since the 2016 election we're now in stage 2 (or 4, depending on how you count these things) of operations. Without doing a deeper analysis their nominal composition was about 70/30 conservative (Trump)/liberal (mostly Bernie Bro). Our Russian friends now seem to be putting more resources into the liberal side, developing histories and credentials for the coming mid-term elections.

Again, without doing an analysis, it feels like the composition is roughly 50/50. It looks like the Russians are either playing the odds, or it's a concerted effort to bring more liberals into office. Doing so, while still pushing Trump, will lead to the instability and weakening of the West and the diminishment of the US (they believe) which are their goals.

There are, however, two things working against them. First of all, liberals don't bite on fake news as much as conservatives (although with the election of Trump it appears that more liberals are willing to believe conspiracy theories, it has to do with being out of power and influence and wanting to believe the worst about the opposition). The second part is poor operational controls and old dogs not learning new tricks (at least not fast enough). So for many of the social media accounts the profiles and pinned posts appear to be nominally liberal leaning (or using keywords), however their day to day posting really hasn't changed. For now it's still fairly easy to look behind the front. Old habits are hard to break, and their metrics goals haven't changed.

Or it could be a move to divide and demoralize the left. A play to drive the narrative. But I don't think so. I'm more included to believe their motivation is less ideologically based and more a power play.

I expect several briefings in your guys' futures. Just saying.

The landscape of the battlefield is changing. Their goals remain the same. It'll be interesting to see if they bring their kompromat into the open in an effort to weaken Trump earlier than what I expected (sometime in August/September 2020). It'll also be interesting to see if there's fallout from this switch. Although to be honest, the conservative side of the equations was pretty much self-sustaining, if somewhat isolated. I expect they'll continue to play both sides trying to point us at each other (like they did in 2016). It's also my personal view that they misunderstand the liberal mindset and our somewhat schizophrenic outlook as it doesn't play well into standard planning.

Also while some of us play the "who is more pure", it's not as much of a thing on the left as it is on the right. At this point they appear to be using the same playbook and just plugging in different words.

I don't give this much chance of success. At least not until they get better at this game.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Linkee-poo is it Friday, yet

John Scalzi talks about accepting criticism, writing the other, and how to grow.

Happy (early) birthday Hubble. "The iconic Hubble Space Telescope is about to turn 28 years old, and a batch of gorgeous new imagery helps mark the occasion."

"Life on Earth used to look a lot more impressive. Just a little more than 100,000 years ago, there were sloths as long as a giraffe is tall, monstrous bears whose shoulders were six feet off the ground, and Bunyanesque beavers that weighed as much as an NFL linebacker. But over time, all of these creatures disappeared in a manner so rapid and so mysterious that scientists still can’t fully explain what went down." Hint, it was us.

"Two decades ago this week a pair of colleagues and I published the original 'hockey stick' graph in Nature, which happened to coincide with the Earth Day 1998 observances. The graph showed Earth’s temperature, relatively stable for 500 years, had spiked upward during the 20th century. A year later we would extend the graph back in time to A.D. 1000, demonstrating this rise was unprecedented over at least the past millennium—as far back as we could go with the data we had." And two decades on, the predictions have been pretty accurate. Also, "(i)f anything, climate model projections have proved overly conservative; they are certainly not an exaggeration." We're boned.

"A researcher was surveying seabirds off the coast of Vancouver Island when he spotted something unexpected: a huge group of common bottlenose dolphins — about 200 of them — breaching and swimming… This was a bizarre sight because this kind of dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has never before been spotted in this area. Bottlenoses like the warmer waters farther south."

"Both Zagat and Consumer Reports surveys have found that excessive noise is the top complaint diners have, ahead of service, crowds, or even food issues. Tom Sietsema, the restaurant critic for the Washington Post, also told me noise is 'by far' his chief complaint about the restaurants he reviews." Yes, this. A thousand times this. I have an hearing problem where I can't discern individual voices if there's a lot of noise. And trust me, there's a lot of noise almost everywhere. The other weekend I had dinner with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I could barely hear the people sitting next to me let alone friends two seats away. A lot of times I'm also reading lips. And the problem is, this is all avoidable. Right now the noise is affecting me like smoking used to. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy… If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group’s recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals’ syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S." Not happy about the price, though. But if this does win approval it will be very hard to keep cannabis on the Schedule 1 list. The definition for Schedule 1 drug is "Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." It's the "and" that's going to throw the federal government for a loop. However, changing it to "or" would move a hellalotta Schedule II and III drugs to Schedule I status.

"The Senate's top Democrat — Charles Schumer of New York— plans to endorse legislation that would decriminalize marijuana." I doubt Majority Leader McConnell will ever allow a vote on it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"But because of dueling rules and laws that have been well-known to Medicare officials and members of Congress for years, none of that covered my elderly mother when she needed care." Medicaid and Medicare rules are extremely baroque and they are all designed to not pay (or lower payment). My wife and I are pretty smart cookies and it's daunting even for both of us (and believe me, we have help from people who work with Medicare/Medicaid every day). For an elderly patient who may not have all their faculties it would be impossible.

"Music superstar Prince died two years ago because he thought he was taking the common painkiller Vicodin when, unbeknownst to him, it was laced with deadly fentanyl, authorities said Thursday."

Who needs regulations? "Tainted, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., is the source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened at least 53 people in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Somebody forgot to wash their hands (actually it's more likely to have been tainted during processing).

"It's no secret that many states have badly underfunded their teacher pension plans for decades and now find themselves drowning in debt. But this pensions fight is also complicated by one, little-known fact… More than a million teachers don't have Social Security to fall back on." Ohio is one of those states and I can tell you from first hand experience, STRS is a fucking nightmare. It's fabulous if you're a full time teacher (although it's become less fabulous in the last 10 years). But if you're a part-time or "adjunct" faculty, chances are you won't see anything. But you still can't opt in for Social Security.

So, it's 19 years from Columbine which shook our country awake to school mass shootings (it wasn't the first). Today is "National School Walk Out Day", a student led initiative. So, what's happening? "A student was wounded and a suspect is in custody after a shooting Friday morning at a high school in Ocala, Florida, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office." (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"According to an IRS official, the problem arose at 4 a.m. EDT Tuesday, which was the day tax returns were due and the busiest day of the tax year for the IRS… According to the agency, a piece of hardware connected to the IRS's master file, the core processing system that holds all taxpayer information, went down." Master File is trigger memories of TRON. "Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the computer glitch was the predictable consequence of years of congressional budget cuts which, in turn, led to significant staff cutbacks." Yeah. That.

"Someone fired through the window of a north Florida restaurant Thursday afternoon, killing two deputies who were getting food, officials said… The deputies were getting food at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton when the shooter walked up to the building and fired at them through a window, Schultz said. Fellow deputies responding to the scene found the shooter dead outside the business."

"The (British) Race Relations Act was intended to protect immigrants… 'But there came the idea that white people would be crushed by the rights that black and Asian people demanded' Sanghera recalls… The tension was especially obvious in Sanghera's hometown, Wolverhampton, in England's West Midlands, which he calls 'one of the first cities in Britain to experience mass immigration.'" So then a xenophobic politician gave an infamous speech called "The Rivers of Blood" speech. Sounds oddly familiar to today. But sometimes it's easier to see these flaw in others than it is to see it in ourselves.

"A day after President Trump promised to slash the red tape involved in weapons sales, the administration announced on Thursday a new policy that could vastly expand sales of armed drones, a contentious emblem of the shift toward remotely controlled warfare." I'm sure this won't come back and bite us in the ass.

Real reporters shocked that Fox News doesn't hold their hosts to any ethical standards. Uh, yeah, Bob. Where the fuck have you all been? (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

The kids are all right. "If you ask Wayne Christian, the biggest threat to the oil and gas industry in Texas is millennials — and a general public that's been brainwashed into thinking that fossil fuels are bad for the environment… That’s what the former Republican state representative — who now regulates the state’s oil and gas industry as one of three elected members of the Texas Railroad Commission — told his former colleagues during a legislative hearing on Wednesday where state, local and industry officials detailed the many challenges of the latest oil and gas boom in West Texas." Almost everyone who enters the oil and gas industry in drilling now will need federally subsidized jobs retraining by the time of their retirement. The rank ignorance of our elected officials continues to surprise me. At this point it's time to stop arguing logically because these troglodytes have no capacity. The money has blinded them. All they can see are dollar signs. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Upstate NY farmer says ICE officers stormed his farm without a warrant, cuffed him, threw his phone." ICE must go. (Grokked from Xopher)

"That Mr Comey's memos are so detailed - they include information about who was sitting where in meetings, the precise times that conversations began and their durations - also add to his credibility, the New York Times reports." It's almost as is FBI agents have training on how to take detailed notes that they may need to refer to later in court.

Why did Trump pardon Scooter Libby? "President Donald Trump and his outside advisers are increasingly worried that his longtime personal attorney might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors." That's why. You know, people who are innocent don't have these worries. But here's the thing, Mueller isn't prosecuting Cohen. It's "independent." Mueller just passed on what he knew, and that lead to the raids. If Cohen decided "to flip", it's not clear how that would go for him. Mueller may not even be interested in a deal. After all, he has the information already. (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Linkee-poo Thursday's alright by me

"Stephen King, The Art of Fiction No. 189." Marked for reading later. (Grokked from Delilah S. Dawson)

"Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny… and there are trillions of them… New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up." The magic of compound interest, only in this case, of compound physics. And then there is also this part, "The visualization method (used to determine volume of material moved) was developed a few years ago with a grant from the National Science Foundation, and was held up as an example of wasteful government spending by Sen. Tom Coburn, who described the research as 'synchronized swimming for sea monkeys.'" A lot of what conservatives (and some liberals) have thought of as "wasteful spending" is actually useful science. It's just our elected leaders are both ignorance of real science and are trying to impose their ideology on society.

Day of the Triffids, or, well, tumbleweeds. "Dozens of homes in his neighborhood, which borders an undeveloped tract of desert land, were seemingly swallowed up by mounds of the dry brush."

The claim: Two people in Florida were arrested for selling golden tickets to heaven. The rating: False. I can't remember if I shared a link to this story, I certainly remember it going around social media. If I did share it without a caveat, I'm sorry.

"A tenacious epidemic of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid in Pakistan is just one small genetic step away from becoming untreatable—and health experts expect it to spread worldwide." We're boned. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Ah, capitalism. "As NPR's Jacob Pinter pointed out earlier this month, the (human waste) in question comes from New York and New Jersey, which, to resolve complications with local regulations, often avoid those regulations entirely by regularly shipping their waste across state lines to areas with looser zoning laws."

"The uncertainty is leaving farmers in a quandary about what type of soybeans to plant. If the state's dicamba ban stays in place, a substantial number of farmers… will plant soybean varieties that can tolerate a different herbicide… If the ban is overturned, however, some of those farmers would switch to dicamba-tolerant soybeans, either because they'd prefer to use dicamba or because they fear that their neighbors will — which means they may need to plant a variety that won't be harmed by the drifting chemical." And that's what's known as having a lock on the market.

"Scientists used to make graphene-based membranes in small batches in a laboratory. But a new breakthrough at MIT enables researchers to spool out long rolls of high-quality graphene." You know that word "paradigm"? Yeah, here's a new one. (Grokked from Dan)

"Lawyers for a journalist who was arrested in Tennessee and then placed in an immigration detention facility said Monday that the government was trying to suppress his reporting and violated his rights of freedom of speech and the press." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Well, at least we aren't Mexico. Yet. "At least 82 candidates and office holders have been killed since the electoral season kicked off in September, making this the bloodiest presidential race in recent history, according to a tally by Etellekt, a security consultancy based in Mexico City, and Reuters research." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Syracuse University suspended an engineering fraternity on Wednesday after footage surfaced of members speaking and acting in ways 'that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities,' the university’s chancellor said." Look, guys, if you want to close your chapter, there are easier ways to do it. And I know "not all young people," but just where the fuck have you kids been living all your lives? Yeah, I know.

Tell me again how the Stars and Bars isn't a racist symbol. "'I’m not saying I’m supporting it or for or against it, but people in this country have to start realizing we have to tolerate all peoples’ views,' the mayor added. 'That’s preached a lot out of Washington and a lot of other places, but it’s not practiced. Democrats don’t like Republicans' views and Republicans don’t like Democrats' views. People have to grow up and need to respect other peoples' views.'" This is not free speech, this is intimidation, you fucktard. And it's your goddamn job to do something about it. People are already being hurt, don't wait until someone is in the hospital or morgue. (Grokked from Chang)

"At Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami this week, executives with the nation's payday loan industry are holding their annual conference with receptions, breakout sessions and a golf tournament… It's been a good year for the payday lending industry. Shortly after taking over as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney put tough new regulations for the industry on hold. Since then, stocks for publicly traded payday lenders have shot up." I'm sure it's just a coincidence that their annual meeting is being held at a place the president owns and not at all an attempt at a bribe or kickback.

"A Kansas federal judge on Wednesday ruled Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) was in contempt of court for failing to follow her order to register voters who had signed up to vote at the DMV, but failed to present proof of citizenship." (Grokked from Katheryn Kramer)

"Science Magazine has published a video showing the consequences of a simulated nuclear attack near the White House in Washington carried out by terrorists." Posted by Sputnik News. You may remember them from the other fun going on with Russia. Dudes, seriously, Gen-X grew up in the 70s and 80s, we ate nuclear threats for breakfast. I've seen the missiles go to launch position. I fucking know the numbers and (given actuate maps) can roughly outline Ground Zero and Zones 1-3 for almost any scenario. Here's the thing I know that most people don't, nuclear material is trackable to the reactor that creates it. The chance of an actual nuclear explosion by a terrorist cell is fairly low (and we'll know where they got it from by the forensics). More likely is a "dirty bomb", which is nuclear material strapped to conventional explosives (like you pack ball bearings and nails on the outside of IEDs). That's a little harder to followup on, but if it's Cesium we have a good guess already. As you may have gleaned before on this blog, I once swore an oath to burn the world down. Don't think we have softened. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would roll back policies designed to protect minority car buyers from discriminatory loan terms. Republicans passed the bill by a narrow margin, and it now moves on to the House." Yes, your elected representatives are trying to screw you over.

"Pittsburgh police ordered its detectives to bring riot gear to work Thursday in anticipation of protests should President Donald Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller… Police Cmdr. Victor Joseph reportedly sent an email Wednesday, instructing Major Crimes detectives to bring full uniforms and riot gear to work 'until further notice.'" I have questions. Like why are police storing riot gear in their homes?

"President Donald Trump said Wednesday that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's 'not going to be fruitful.'" Somebody is getting cold feet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Linkee-poo, set my alarm, turn on my charm, that's because I'm a good old-fashioned lover boy

In one day we lose Carl Kasell and Barbara Bush (the least objectionable member of the Bush family). And so it goes.

"In 2008, pieces of diamond encased in rock descended from space and landed in the Nubian Desert of Sudan. And, according to a new study, these meteorite crystals provide the first physical evidence of an ancient lost building block from the dawn of the solar system… In the study, a research team found that the Almahata Sitta meteorite once belonged to a protoplanet, one of tens of early worlds that experienced impacts and buildups to ultimately create the rocky planets in our solar system."

"Sky burial isn't a burial at all, of anything. It’s the act of leaving a corpse exposed to the elements, often in an elevated location, and only a few different cultures do it, for different reasons and in different ways." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'We have a part of the aircraft missing.'" Southwest flight 1380's emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of the engines suffered damage from what at first appears to be metal fatigue. While a lot has been made of the plane "plunging" 20,000 feet, that's standard procedure in the event of loss of cabin pressurization. You have to get the plane to an altitude where there is sufficient atmospheric air pressure.

Just because the politicians deny climate change doesn't mean the effects of climate change are not a golden business opportunity.

"More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found." Great time for the president to roll back regulations designed to protect on our air quality.

"There are many different types of costs associated with the opioid epidemic: including emergency response, health care, criminal justice, rehabilitation and lost productivity. It's no wonder the total estimated burden from the epidemic is enormous. Health care research firm Altarum put the figure at $1 trillion since 2001… The biggest share of that burden is borne by families — who measure the damage not only in financial terms, but in terms of anxiety and heartache." Remember when the president declared a health emergency? Good times.

"Police say a 3-year-old girl accidentally shot and wounded her pregnant mother in a car parked outside a northwestern Indiana thrift store." So if only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, who's going to stop all these kids?

Going out with a bang. "Last summer, on August 12, photographer Ryan Kelly arrived at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., to take pictures for the city's newspaper, The Daily Progress… It was his last day on the job — and it was a memorable one. A photo he took of a car plowing through a crowd of counterprotesters became the defining image of the chaos that day… On Monday, Kelly was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for the photo he took."

"Parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School attacks filed defamation lawsuits on Monday against right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones, who has questioned the authenticity of the 2012 shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children." Goes and makes more popcorn.

Remember when anti-abortionists were plugging the line about abortion providers being racists and born in the eugenics movement? "Kristen Walker Hatten, former vice president of the anti-abortion group New Wave Feminists and a contributor to The Dallas Morning News, has spoken at universities and events around the country about the need for mainstream feminism to embrace women who oppose abortion rights… Hatten wrote in late 2016 that she found Trump to be so 'creepy, gross and tacky'… But after he won, something changed. Hatten began sharing white supremacist content on social media. She self-identified on Twitter as alt-right and 'ethnonationalist' ― the same term used by white nationalist icon Richard Spencer. She mused on Facebook that immigrant 'invaders” are replacing white Europeans in their own countries…" This is my shocked face. They're characterizing this as a "sudden turn", but except for brain injuries, just like "being racist when they drink" isn't a thing, these sudden turns aren't either. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

"After publicly flirting last week with having the United States rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Trump appeared to rebuff the idea once and for all late Tuesday… Mr. Trump said that although Japan and South Korea would like the United States to join the 11 other nations in the multilateral trade agreement, he had no intention of doing so… 'Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work,' Mr. Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida… The comments confounded some trade experts on Tuesday night because South Korea is not in the Trans-Pacific Partnership." So basically, the agreement is too long for the president to grasp. The word you're looking for is "erratic."

"A broadband adviser selected by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to run a federal advisory committee was arrested last week on claims she tricked investors into pouring money into a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme… The adviser, Elizabeth Pierce, is the former chief executive of Quintillion, an Alaska-based fiber optic cable provider operating out of Anchorage… Pierce allegedly raised more than $250 million from two New York-based investment companies using forged contracts with other companies guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue. Pierce resigned from Quintillion in August of last year, and she stepped down from her role in Pai’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) the following month." Only the best people. (Grokked from Dan)

"The city of Memphis could lose a quarter-million dollars as punishment for removing statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis last year… The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Tuesday to strip the money from next year's state budget. The sum had been earmarked to go toward planning for Memphis' bicentennial celebrations next year."

"(Sean Hannity) denies that Michael Cohen was ever his lawyer—but Hannity was represented by a pair of legal advisers who also have close links to the president." Damnit, I didn't bring enough bread crumbs.

"Russia said Wednesday that it has received word that the U.S. has no plans for further sanctions after confusion over the issue involving U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced fresh sanctions only to be contradicted by the White House." I'm sure just the threat was enough to get the Russians to change their ways. No, I can't say that with a straight face. (Waves to my Russian friends)

"CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea earlier this month and met with leader Kim Jong Un — a meeting that 'went very smoothly,' President Trump said on Wednesday." I'm not saying he's a good guy, but if we could come to a peace deal for the Korean Peninsula and maybe walk Kim Jong Un back from his nuclear arsenal, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. And before you raise the objection, while Kim is on the far end of the spectrum, it's not like the US hasn't negotiated with or supported rulers who have worse records on human rights (El Salvadore Death Squads anyone?). However I will point out that while we continually focus on N. Korea's relationship with China, that is based on their shared border and economic ties. Kim Jung Un's biggest economic and political supporter, the person that probably helped most with development of their nuclear weapons program and influx of hard currency it required is (wait for it) Putin. I'll also point out that N. Korea is no slouch when it comes to negotiations and they have the long-term vision to advance their interests.

"Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll." It's early, and we (as progressives and liberals) have a definite bias against impeachment. But the same was true with Nixon and Watergate until there was a moment of crystallization during the Saturday Nite Massacre and the publication of stories by Woodward and Bernstein. That's one of the reasons behind the intense campaign by conservative to discredit the news media.

"Filling out this picture of how Cohen fell into this milieu we’ve always been focused on the fact that Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, owned and ran a Brooklyn social club, El Caribe, which was a well-known meeting spot for members of Italian and Russian organized crime families in the 1970s and 1980s." Russians by the bushel. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Linkee-poo late edition

Harry Anderson, better known as Judge Harry Stone of Night Court, has passed on. So it goes.

"Internet freedom advocates have argued strenuously against FOSTA-SESTA. One of the biggest fears surrounding the bill combo is that it could create room for more bills that attempt to create even more exemptions in Section 230." Regulating speech in the name of "ending sex trafficking." Although the bills almost never actually make sex workers jobs safer, sex traffickers find new avenues to sell people, and honest discussions of sex (including LGBTQ and ersatz sex education sites) get shut down. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

If you stop people from carrying guns, they'll just use knives. "Authorities say an 8-year-old student took a kitchen knife to a central Minnesota elementary school and attacked three other children." Oh look, nobody dead.

The Interior Department's fire sale. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A tariff is not a targeted strike. China has not placed a tariff on U.S. soybeans, but the mere suggestion that it might, has already begun shifting the global flows of the crop across four continents, creating arbitrary winners and losers well beyond U.S. soy producers."

"Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says that trillion-dollar deficits could not have been avoided by the GOP-controlled Congress, responding to critics within his party who say that leaders have behaved irresponsibly." Because, you know, what could we do when we have idiots and ideologues running the country. So yes, we couldn't avoid trillion dollar deficits because Brit-Forbid we would raise taxes on the rich, instead lets paddle fast with the current as we go down the drain. You know, we tried to cut all these social programs and didn't get anywhere, so there was nothing left to do (but raise taxes on the rich), so we didn't even try anything. And Ryan is supposedly the smart one of the group. (Grokked from Michele)

"A 14-year-old African-American boy stopped to ask for directions to school in a Detroit suburb but was shot at instead, according to prosecutors… Retired firefighter Jeffery Zeigler, 53, who is white, was arraigned on Friday "on assault with intent to murder and felony firearm" charges, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office."

"This is why many activists and internet freedom advocates have charged FOSTA-SETA with threatening free speech. As for Section 230, making it susceptible to more exemptions would render the whole clause useless as a governing tool." Once again the moralists are making sex-work more dangerous and making it more difficult to find traffickers (and the people they traffic) all in the name of trying to protect them. Oh, and as we do that we crack down on free-speech on the internet. Fantastic. Say, remember when Congress wanted web browsers to ship with filtering software built-in and turned on to protect the little kids? I'm not saying nothing should be done, but I really wish Congress would stop trying to use bad situations to enforce their own twisted morality which has no chance of helping anyone. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A judge revealed (Sean Hannity) to be Cohen's mysterious third client, in addition to the president and Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy." Did not see that plot twist coming. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Donald Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen is set to appear in federal court on Monday afternoon as he and the president argue that they should be able to review documents seized last week by federal agents before prosecutors do." This is why it's a separate team going through the documents first before handing them off to the team that will prosecute. And then there's this, "In other words, although Cohen is a lawyer, most of the work that has interested investigators and prosecutors is not legal in nature and so none of the public discussions about attorney-client privilege apply here."

"California has rejected the federal government’s initial plans for National Guard troops to the border because the work is considered too closely tied to immigration enforcement, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press." First counter move.

Sorry

Very busy day with meetings at both jobs and attempting to get all this shitload of work done. Probably no other posting until later tonight at the earliest, possibly not until tomorrow. Sorry. I know it was an eventful weekend.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Linkee-poo for a Sunday, because I expect tomorrow to a shitshow

So two black guys were waiting at Starbucks for a friend, and then employees called the police and the cops put handcuffs on them and escorted them out of the restaurant. They weren't bothering anyone. One did want to use the restroom. Yeah, sure there's no systematic racism in this country.

"An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature." We're boned.

"Blizzards are affecting much of the Great Lakes region this weekend, and the National Weather Service says it's 'shaping up to be a historic storm.' The snow is just one part of a massive storm system affecting areas from the Gulf Coast to northern Wisconsin and Michigan." This makes, what, the third or fourth "historic storm" this season?

"In Goldman Sachs's April 10 report, 'The Genome Revolution,' its analysts ponder the rise of biotech companies who believe they will develop 'one-shot' cures for chronic illnesses; in a moment of rare public frankness, the report's authors ask, 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'" (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"If Denis Winter suffered from heart failure, cancer or almost any other deadly disease, his family could rest assured that his care would be largely covered by insurance… But Winter has Alzheimer’s disease. So the extraordinary cost of his care — $8,500 a month, or $102,000 a year — is borne entirely by his wife, Linda. It is quickly draining their lifetime of savings." Medicare/Medicaid does not cover dementia care, which usually lasts longer and is more expensive than standard nursing home or assisted living care. Facing this myself, the article is a little light. It's a much darker experience and affects whole extended families. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"'Like, of course they see that they’re different. They’re five. They’re not stupid. They see each other, but they don’t care. It doesn’t matter.'" Because it doesn't matter. You have to be carefully taught. (Grokked from Xopher)

"After Mark Zuckerberg's two-day testimony before Congress, we consider whether a reckoning for the social media giant might finally be on the horizon. A new documentary looks at how the state of Montana has been fighting back against dark money ever since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and a legal scholar explains the unlikely history of corporations' rights. Plus, a second look at two infamous, misunderstood crimes: the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the Steubenville rape case." On The Media show from this weekend.

"The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011." Mostly a lot of the incidents fall into the "I was so scared something was going to happen, but I had my gun with me." Also note the line about how there's not even an effective training measure for police.

"'Modern thinkers feel the need to strip away our natural born right to self-protection by limiting the available weapons that are at our disposal. They blame mental illness without documentation. They blame everything except the sole responsible party, the person involved in the action.'" As others said, I think the guns help the criminals a lot. And again, there are more damaging firearms available in the world than are available to the general public in the US. And yet, the guns used in crimes in the us, including mass shootings, are all those commercially available in the US. If the line about criminals would still get guns was true, you'd expect to see more high-capacity shotguns, automatic weapons (not semi-autos that have been modified), and non-improvised high-explosives.

"'As surely as we're having this conversation, children were harmed - some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone. It's offensive, really. If you want to write a story, that's the kind of thing you should talk about.'" The GOP governor of Kentucky everybody. What a wonderful person. Say, dickhead, if that's your belief, maybe you should actually fucking fund social programs to help protect those kids, reduce family stress (security and economic), and maybe, I don't know, pay teachers well because obviously they're the front line of your family intervention program.

"More than 100 missiles were launched early Saturday morning by the U.S. and its allies France and the U.K., targeting three chemical weapons sites in Syria. The mission, according to Pentagon officials, has 'significantly crippled' Syrian President Bashar Assad's ability to manufacture chemical weapons. No casualties have been reported." This article highlights what feels to me like wrestlers trash talking each other before the main event.

"A report by the department's inspector general confirmed that investigators concluded McCabe had violated Justice Department policy by authorizing an aide to talk with the Wall Street Journal about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation — and that McCabe had 'lacked candor' in discussing the matter afterward inside the Justice Department."

For there being no collusion, there sure are a lot of Russians hanging around. Rotem Rosen, "CEO of the American branch of Africa Israel, the Putin oligarch Leviev’s holding company", son-in-law to a Russian oligarch who made his money catering to Soviets in NYC in the 70s (whom Trump called "a great friend). His marriage was at Mar-a-Lago. Strangely he keeps showing up in pictures with Trump and this past week having cigars with Michael Cohen as they played hooky outside of his court hearing about the raids on Cohen's office and hotel room. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Linkee-poo weekend

So, thinky thoughts. Of course we warned the Russians. We'd be stupid to not warn them to move their people out of the strike areas. The question is did we want them far enough in advance that they could move tangible assets out of the strike areas, or if it was just enough time to get personnel out (choosing to move assets would delay bugging out and lead to having people in the strike zone as the assets hit). And again we' spend hundreds of millions to inflict hundreds of thousands of damage. This is not the way to win. What would have been better, and had more impact, is if we had destroyed his helicopter fleet (not put holes in a runway). Assad uses helicopters to deliver the barrel bombs that include the chlorine gas, so they're a legit target and while not proportional, close enough for government work. We could deny Assad his weapons experts (yes, that's a euphemism). But first we need to get Assad labeled a criminal, and we need to exploit our casus belli (intentionally targeting a US citizen for killing), and he needs to get a AUMF from Congress. And hey, what a way to change the conversation on the Sunday Morning Talking Head Shows. With the involvement of our allies, this isn't completely a wag the dog exercise. I just wish I could confidently say it didn't play a small part in the decision.

"Billy Mitchell, an arcade virtuoso whose symphonies with the joystick once won him the title 'Video Game Player of the Century,' has been cast down from the heights of the high score lists. The organization that tracks video game world records announced Thursday that it is removing his records and banning him from future leaderboards." That's gonna leave a mark.

The Trump administration starts to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty. Because, I don't know, Canadian geese like to poop on top of Trump Tower. Changing the definition from incidentally killing bird to only prosecuting actions which are directed at killing birds is a cheap cop out, and a big win for the fossil fuel industry. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"President Trump issued an executive order late Thursday creating a special task force to examine the U.S. Postal Service's finances, which he claims have been crippled by a money-losing deal to deliver packages for shopping giant Amazon." No, Mr. President. The USPS has been crippled by a conservative initiative to privatize the postal service by bankrupting the current service by making them prepay retirement pensions for employees who haven't even been born yet. With the loss of flat-mail postage, parcel delivery has been the savior of the postal service.

"In Baltimore’s most crime-ridden zones, city officials are conducting an experiment in government. They started last year by targeting four small, deeply troubled areas to be flooded with more police patrols and city services. They called them “Transformation Zones,” at first, then rebranded them as “Violence Reduction Zones.” They’ve since added three more zones, bringing the total to seven… Each zone gets several dedicated police officers… and an extra focus across city government for ramped-up services. Mayor Catherine Pugh has put $1.6 million in the city’s budget for two 'rapid response' crews from the Department of Public Works to quickly clean up these areas, three more housing inspectors to enforce code violations such as peeling lead paint and extend hours at local recreation centers." This isn't an "experiment." This is good governance, this is the basic minimum these neighborhoods should have had all along. And gee, look, it's working. And yes, the crime has moved to other areas nearby. Why? Because they're betting that the government can't keep it up or expand the "experiment." Mostly because they've seen it before. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Part of the culture war and the war against the poor. "For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute… 'Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty,' Desmond says. 'Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.'"

Another front on the war against the poor. "If Republicans in Congress have their way, millions of people who get food aid through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) will have to find a job or attend job training classes for about 20 hours each week, or lose their benefits."

"A teacher at a Pennsylvania Christian school accidently left her loaded pistol in a bathroom, where elementary school children found it, Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday." Whelp, that didn't take long. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"'Here's what you don't get, Mr. Mulvaney. This isn't about me. This is about about active-duty military. It's about first responders and students and seniors and families ... and millions of other people who need someone on their side when consumers get cheated,' (Sen. Elizabeth) Warren said." You're correct Sen. Warren, conservatives don't get it.

"The Trump administration has condemned a suspected chemical weapons strike in Syria and is considering military action. 'We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity,' President Trump said earlier this week… In 2017, the country let in 3,024 (Syrian refugees). So far this year, that number is just 11. By comparison, over the same 3 1/2-month period in 2016, the U.S. accepted 790." Fuck Trump's concern. It's a show for the cameras. He's only going to use it as a stage to show his (read: our military's) might. Assad is a little guy he thinks he can beat up.

"Burying bad news is one half of the story. But what about the other half -- the Enquirer's promotion of pro-Trump storylines?… We went through the Enquirer's cover archive dating back to the week of Trump's inauguration. It's really remarkable: The Enquirer has been telling a consistent tale for more than a year." Fox News isn't the only propaganda. Someone needs to be Goebbels.

Eating their own. "More rank-and-file Republicans predicted Friday that the Wisconsin Republican probably won’t be able to hang on to the Speaker’s job for the rest of the year, despite Ryan’s insistence a day earlier that he would stick around until January and that no one in the GOP could raise more money ahead of the crucial midterm elections later this year."

"James Comey's much-anticipated memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, doesn't pull any punches when it comes to condemning the tenure of President Trump. The former FBI director, whom Trump unceremoniously fired, paints a picture of a chief executive only concerned about his own image in the press instead of the safety of the nation." Yeah, we already knew that.