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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Linkee-poo for Wednesday

"Venus is an important destination for future space exploration endeavors. However, it presents a unique set of challenges. Though its internal geology is similar to Earth’s, its surface is hot enough to melt lead and is covered with craters, volcanoes, mountains, and lava plains." How to explore Venus (I think I've read a few stories like this). (Grokked from Dan)

"The state’s top school official is trying to downplay — and in some cases remove entirely — references to evolution in the science standards of what students are supposed to be taught in Arizona high schools." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In the weeks since the Kilauea volcano began belching lava into Hawaii's residential areas, the fiery flow has destroyed dozens of structures and covered scores of acres on the Big Island. But authorities fear its destructive reach could ravage at least two more cornerstones of the state: its power supply and, a little less tangibly, its all-important tourism industry." Remember a few years ago when we were building a new telescope observatory that was going to disturb an area sacred to the goddesses of Hawaii and they hired some priestesses to offer balm to the goddesses? Yeah. Think we might have to do that again, and maybe this time spring for the good whiskey.

Remember that Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate story about his facebook page that I said you should take with a big grin of salt. Here's a Snoopes post on him (including that claim, which they say is "unproven", but has a whole bunch of other stuff). "A Tulsa-based businessman running for governor of Oklahoma was the center of controversy in May 2018, when posts appeared on his campaign’s Facebook page in which he appeared to call for disabled people in receipt of government benefits to be euthanized or left to 'starve and die.'" He and his husband seem to be serial litigators constantly calling others Nazis and "little Hitlers." And they seem like wonderful people, not. But finally, "Mangum (his "maiden" name) is unlikely to feature among the contenders in a ten-way race which — as of May — was led by Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, and businessman Kevin Stitt." Well thank the gods for that.

"A sinkhole has developed on the White House’s North Lawn, reporters observed Tuesday." Melania trying to dig her way out? Nascent hell-mouth? Even the Earth attempting to swallow the evil of Trump? It's where the minions will emerge? I could go on for days. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday that she was unaware of intelligence assessments concluding that Russia favored President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election." To be fair, the government does generate lots of memos on any given day. It's impossible to read all of them. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"So the special counsel's office just wants to silence Stone, he said — but it's not doing a very good job… Stone is reaching out to reporters daily, appearing on news shows and promoting a new book, Stone's Rules, about his rules for life as mentioned in a Netflix documentary about him called Get Me Roger Stone… He is also raising money for his legal defense, hosting a show five days a week on the conspiracy-minded website InfoWars and writing a regular political column on his personal website." So two thoughts here. One, if I were cynical I would think this was just a publicity grab to sell books. Two, oh hell, Roger, you keep right on talking (as the prosecution takes notes).

"At this point, it’s looking as if Trump’s tough talk on China trade will turn out to be as empty as his tough talk on, say drug prices. Faced with the prospect of actually going toe to toe with powerful interests – as opposed to doing harm to desperate immigrants, poor people who need health care, etc. – Trump keeps backing down, ignominiously. But what happened to all that bluster about trade wars being 'good, and easy to win'?" (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Linkee-poo, by flash and thunder fire I'll survive, then I'll defy the laws of nature and come out alive

"'Also, we will mention the irony of the pig in a police car now so that anyone that thinks they're funny is actually unoriginal and trying too hard,' the police said on social media." (Grokked from Dan)

The company you keep. "Another Ivanka Trump-related business could have a scandal on its hands. A court document filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York this summer and obtained by GQ, who published a report on Friday, December 22, claims that the now-defunct jewelry company Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry was allegedly involved in a scheme to cover a $100 million debt owed by an oil trading family to the Commercial Bank to Dubai." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private-sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws." Yes, conservatives are coming for all of us.

"Der Spiegel reported all parents have been given two weeks to explain to school officials why they pulled their children out of class. If they fail to persuade educators that it was for a worthy cause, each family could be fined up to €1,000, about $1,177… It is not uncommon for parents in the U.S. to be fined — and, in some instances, they are even jailed — for their children's truancy, said Deborah Fowler, executive director of the public service law center Texas Appleseed." Looks at all the rich people with kids I've worked with. Yeah, right. I wonder which families they're talking about?

"A man who shot dead a tech worker from India has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges."

"Two U.S. citizens said they were detained last week by a Border Patrol agent in Montana after he overheard them speaking Spanish to each other in a convenience store… Ana Suda and Mimi Hernandez said they’d popped into the store in Havre, a small town near the border with Canada, early Wednesday morning when they were approached by a uniformed Border Patrol agent, KRTV reported."

"There are an estimated 6,500 undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with end-stage kidney disease. Many of them can't afford treatment or private insurance, and are barred from Medicare or Medicaid. This means the only way they can get dialysis is in the emergency room." Where they are 14 times more likely to die (not because of ER treatment, but because of delaying treatment until they qualify to go to the emergency room). And, yeah, we may look cal, cool, and detached in the ER working on patients who are dying, but we're not that way on the inside. And everytime a patient dies from something we know was preventable (or manageable), there's a little part of us that dies as well.

"Clean modern homes, antiseptic wipes and the understandable desire to protect small babies against any infection are all part of the cause of the most common form of childhood cancer, a leading expert has concluded after more than 30 years of research." Babies getting sick is a part of the process, it's a feature not a bug. (Grokked from John)

Government work should never be privatized. "The Department of Education now tells NPR it has launched a new, 'top-to-bottom' internal review of all aspects of the TEACH grant program. Officials say the review is aimed at fixing the issues and that the department is 'absolutely committed to improving' the program." It's just another way to screw the poor.

"When targeting his message to white evangelical voters, President Trump has often focused on traditional priorities for social conservatives, such as abortion and religious freedom. But in recent months another issue – criminal justice – has become a priority for Trump's influential group of evangelical advisers." Well that, and Jared Kushner's dad went to jail for several years.

"Roger Stone, a longtime adviser of President Trump, complained of partisan behavior by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation on Sunday, but also speculated that he could be under investigation by Mueller for a crime unrelated to coordinating with Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election." When the lights get turned on, the cockroaches scatter. If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to worry about. At least that's what conservatives have been telling the rest of the world for years. Also, there is no such thing as an "extraneous" crime.

"'It was also agreed that White House chief of staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested,' Sanders said… The top Democrat in the Senate questioned the propriety of such a meeting but said that if it occurs, it must be bipartisan." Good luck with that, Chuck. My prediction? There will be six months of conservative leaders acting like Ralphie and Randy fighting to get downstairs in a Christmas Story as they race to Fox News with the latest half-truth/conspiracy theory.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Linkee-poo Monday

Sorry, not much from today's destruction of our Constitutional Democracy.

"Two CubeSats developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched May 5 with the InSight mission to Mars have deployed their miniaturized antennas and captured a distant family portrait of the Earth and the moon."

Drug resistance isn't just for bacteria. "Scientists are warning that levels of resistance to treatments for fungal infections are growing, which could lead to more outbreaks of disease."

"But the stress of farming — especially during springtime planting — can take its toll. Farmers have one of the highest suicide rates of any job in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

How's those votes for Trump and conservatives working out for the heartland? "Suicide rates among farmers are higher than any other profession in the United States and now some experts and Senators worry Washington politics could be making farmland stresses even worse." But here's the thing, they'll never admit they backed the wrong horse.

"The House rejected a $867 billion farm bill on Friday — after spending days negotiating with key conservatives in an attempt to pass the bill without the support of Democrats… The vote was 198 to 213. Every Democrat voted against the measure, as did 30 Republicans. Many of the GOP lawmakers are members of the House Freedom Caucus and voted no after failing to get concessions on spending and a future vote on immigration in exchange for their support." Or, you know, actually negotiate with Democrats to create a bipartisan bill that a majority could vote for. But this fairly common way of governing never occurs to Republicans. You might remember the last Farm Bill had to be extended several times before the great of idea of compromise (for which John Boehner was excoriated) finally won out. I don't give this leader the benefit of a backbone to go against his own party and go that route.

"During hearings before trade officials, leaders of U.S. companies, large and small, voiced both concern and support for the president's strategy. Buchzeiger pleaded her case, hoping to save her company." Guess who she voted for? No, go on and guess. Look, it's not a game unless you guess. As they say on the twitter, "'I never thought leopards would eat MY face,' sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party."

"After his NPR interview went viral, an activist genealogist named Jennifer Mendelsohn posted a page from the 1900 federal census. She says it shows Kelly's maternal great-grandfather, John DeMarco, was an illiterate Italian day laborer who spoke no English and did not have citizenship." Okay, who ever thought "activist genealogist" would ever be a thing?

In the beginning of Orwell's 1984 we're introduced to the idea that everyone's face is a mask being worn because of the constant surveillance. "Northern Lebanon School District students in Pennsylvania must smile while walking the hallways at the institution or they will be punished, according to a report." (Grokked from Julie)

"President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars." Because the president does feel he is king and should be able to do this. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Linkee-poo descend upon your earth from the skies I command your very souls you unbelievers, bring before me what is mine

"As many as eight people have been killed Friday in a shooting at Santa Fe High School, according to a source close to the investigation."

"A gunman ranting about President Donald Trump walked into the lobby of Trump National Doral Miami resort early Friday morning, draped an American flag on the counter and began firing."

"12 Free 'Go Into The Story' eBooks" (basically the blog repackaged as ebooks). (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

"What the researchers found instead suggests that the ancestors of all of the lizards had red blood, and that green blood then evolved independently four times, in separate lineages." The world is weirder than you think. "'It's rare in the animal kingdom,' says Rodriguez, 'but because it does appear, this suggests there has to be some beneficial properties to green blood.'" That's not really how evolution works and stems from our bias that some animals are better than others. It could just be because the mutation is not harmful and animals that carried the mutation might also have some other mutation that helped them out breed others (or it's recessive and now everyone has it).

"A new case of Ebola has emerged in an urban area of Democratic Republic of the Congo, a troubling development in the country's new outbreak of the contagious and often fatal virus. Until now, the outbreak had affected a rural area." Rhut rho.

"The oceans are getting warmer and fish are noticing. Many that live along U.S. coastlines are moving to cooler water. New research predicts that will continue, with potentially serious consequences for the fishing industry." Oh gods, now the fish are in on the global climate change conspiracy theory. Darn you Al Gore! Actually, the problem is if fish stocks move far enough out of their customary range, fishermen will also have to move or go out of business (and much of our regulation is based on where fish used to be). We're boned.

"The Trump administration is expected to announce that organisations that offer or mention abortion to their patients will lose federal funding." And now you know why White Evangelicals love Trump. But if this is done, we should end a lot of funding for other projects that are a clear violation of the separation of Church and State.

"Bill Gates discloses in newly revealed footage that President Trump twice asked him to clarify the difference between HIV and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)." Only twice? Geez Trump is getting better.

"A Massachusetts state lawmaker has been accused of choking a political challenger during a chance encounter at a restaurant." I have a feeling there's a lot more to this story, but, yeah, totally not cool no matter who does it.

"A school resource police officer is being lauded as a hero for intervening when a former student at Dixon High School opened fire Wednesday morning near the school gym where students were gathered for a graduation rehearsal, authorities said." Many will say, "the cop is a hero, look at what destruction he prevented," and I will say, "There was an armed officer on duty, and that still didn't prevent a shooter from trying." (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

"On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez shot down the federal government’s efforts to strip Daniel Ramirez Medina of his DACA status. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had arrested and detained Ramirez last year, then falsely claimed that he was affiliated with a gang and attempted to deport him… The judge did not simply rule against ICE. He accused the agency of lying to a court of law." (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

"An argument between two Republican Louisiana state lawmakers turned physical Tuesday night, with the men exchanging blows at a Baton Rouge bar… State Rep. Stuart Bishop and state Sen. Norby Chabert became involved in a dispute on the House floor and duked it out later that evening, USA Today reported." Of course they're still the best of friends, because, um, friends? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"They see the Russia investigation as President Donald Trump does, as a witch hunt that has expanded far beyond its initial mandate with the explicit aim of delegitimizing or perhaps even overturning his 2016 election victory… Yet these most steadfast of Trump supporters who gathered (in San Francisco) Tuesday night as part of a focus group evaluating public opinion said the president ought not fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a view shared by the Trump critics around the table."

Someone has been reading their Archimedes. "Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) on Wednesday claimed that falling 'rock or whatever' is contributing to rising sea-levels and that global warming was actually causing the Antarctic ice sheets to grow, not shrink, trade publication E&E News reported." Dude, seriously, volumetrically it would take a heckofalotta rock or dirt or whatever to raise water levels. You'd notice that kind of land shift. Michael Bay would make movies about it.

"The White House said Thursday that President Trump was 'clearly' referring to members of the MS-13 gang when he called some immigrants 'animals' and argued the controversial label is more than appropriate." Dehumanizing, it's an old tactic of racism.

"U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Thursday gave a federal court a classified memo describing the extent of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related crimes."

"President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has reportedly confided in friends that he’s at his wit’s end with federal investigations into his business dealings, Vanity Fair reported Wednesday." Don't do the crime if you can't serve the time. Also, that "selling access to the President" thing. Yeah, that ain't traffic court, Bucko. And, gee, so sorry it's affecting your family. Talk to all the families you've injured through your law practice and by helping Trump become President.

"If Michael Cohen doesn’t want Michael Avenatti to show up at his federal court hearing next week, Cohen’s lawyers are going to have to find a legal basis to block him – and fast." I don't think they judge will buy "we think he's a stinky poopy-head." Even if it is on fancy legal office stationary.

"President Donald Trump’s outspoken lawyer Rudy Giuliani described special counsel Robert Mueller as acting like a mob boss from 'The Godfather' when his team discussed whether Trump could be indicted by the special counsel." These guys are so transparent they could be repackaged as cellophane.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Linkee-poo learned my passion in the good old fashioned school of loverboys

Programming note, some upcoming time off in the next two weeks where I will (hopefully) not have access to either the internet or the extra time to put these together. Sorry, folks, but it's been long over due and I really need it. Expect normal operations to be back in swing by the first of June.

Just wanna say I've been looking at my stats. All my Russian friends seem to be putting in some long hours with early days and late nights. Waves to all my Russian friends.

Yanny or Laurel? I really couldn't care less. But it's just another example that what you think of as "reality" is just a holographic construct built and only existing in your brain.

"When Henrietta Lacks was dying of cancer in 1951, her cells were harvested without her knowledge. They became crucial to scientific research and her story became a bestseller. Since then, Lacks has become one of the most powerful symbols for informed consent in the history of science… On Monday, when the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., honored Henrietta Lacks by installing a painting of her just inside one of its main entrances, three of Lacks' grandchildren were there." Mrs. Lacks is the powerful symbol for informed consent because she wasn't asked for consent nor was she (or her family) compensated for her contribution (from which thousands of patents have been granted).

"The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, finds that Earth’s wetland areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles." Makes a note of how Southern California, which produces a lot of vegetables and fruit for our nation, is naturally a desert.

The state of climate science at Fox News. "Could reviving Woolly-Mammoth genes fight the effects of global warming?" While the explanation is (laughably) plausible (requiring the reintroduction of genes to modern elephants to help them tolerate cold temperatures, and then reintroducing them into northern land masses and then have them knock down a shitload of trees, which would help - somewhat - keep permafrost perma-frosty), it's totally non-sensible and basically, "oh, shit, I guess we should have saved the elephants" bad. Seriously? Make elephants cold tolerant and then release them in huge masses to destroy the northern forests so that cold air and ice can reach the ground? That's not even Ig Nobel Prize worthy.

In other Fox News news, Breaking News! (as they'd say); "The parent company of Fox News has paid approximately $10 million to settle 18 lawsuits filed by former employees, according to two sources with knowledge of the deal. The cases arose from intense scrutiny of Fox's workplace culture after it was convulsed by a sexual harassment scandal." Fox news has a racial and misogyny problem? Shocked, shocked I am…

"A sharp and mysterious rise in emissions of a key ozone-destroying chemical has been detected by scientists, despite its production being banned around the world… Unless the culprit is found and stopped, the recovery of the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from damaging UV radiation, could be delayed by a decade. The source of the new emissions has been tracked to east Asia, but finding a more precise location requires further investigation."mystery mo Warm up the Mystery Mobile, this is a job for Scooby Doo.

"Despite protests from employees, Google is still charging ahead with a Department of Defense collaboration to produce machine-learning software for drones. Google hasn't listened to a contingent of its employees that is unhappy with Google's involvement in the military-industrial complex, and now a report from Gizmodo says 'about a dozen' employees have resigned over the issue." From "Do no evil" to "Try not to be evil" all the way to "Why not evil?" (Grokked from Dan)

"An angry white man insulted and threatened two women for speaking Spanish at a midtown lunch chain on Wednesday, threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on them because he didn't want to hear the language in 'my country.'" (Grokked from John)

"President Trump, speaking on Wednesday to a gathering of officials from California who oppose the state's 'sanctuary' law, compared some people who illegally cross the U.S. southern border to 'animals.'" Keep trying to tell me about how these people aren't racists, because they keep proving otherwise.

"The number of kids who struggle with thoughts of suicide – or attempt to kill themselves – is rising. New research, published Wednesday in Pediatrics finds children ages 5-17 visited children's hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts about twice as often in 2015 as in 2008." As someone who works next to an ER, I can attest this is true.

"An explosion at a medical office building in Southern California that killed at least one person and seriously wounded three others is reportedly being investigated as possibly intentional."

"At MGM Grand Las Vegas, a bookmaker takes bets on sports events at the round counter at the Race & Sports Book near the casino. Hockey is among the games being broadcast on 47 flat screens above while gamblers sit in leather seats to watch and strategize." And now we can do that nation wide! Yeah, not as big a thing for me. On the plus size it'll swell the coffers of NJ in the way Atlantic City did; big for a few years, until neighbors also approve gambling, and then it crashes.

"Whose Bot Army Is Following Manoush?" A Note to Self podcast about bots, bot armies, junk news versus fake news, and what they (may) be trying to do (and how). Also, why are the Europeans (in general) doing better than us.

Why is immigration important? "The birth rate fell for nearly every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S. in 2017, reflecting a sharp drop that saw the fewest newborns since 1978, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." It's also why we should fix both our economy (income distribution), our job market, and our environmental mess.

"Revlimid appears to have caught the attention of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar who used it as an example Wednesday — without naming it outright — of how some drug's prices rise with impunity. He said the copay for the average senior taking the drug rose from $115 to about $690 per month in the last year." From the personal files, just paid for an antibiotic outside the insurance coverage (for various reasons), the cost was over $600. For what's basically a Z-pack. Pharmaceutical execs are making a strong case for being the first against the wall when the revolution comes. This is all a short-term money grab and this type of behavior is exactly why we have regulations, and companies behaving this way typically receive a heavy amount of regulation and oversight… eventually.

"Trade negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico are running out of time to complete an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement, making it likely the effort won't be completed this year." Not surprising given the President's actual goal of scrapping the deal entirely.

And today in the "water is wet" category, "Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday appeared to offer an implicit rebuke of his old boss, as he warned of a 'growing crisis in ethics and integrity' during a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute." I guess now he's on the outs it's a problem, when it wasn't a problem a few months ago.

"The transcripts and notes reaffirm accounts of the meeting that people involved already have given — that Donald Trump Jr. and his compatriots sought "dirt" offered to them on Hillary Clinton and received at least one political intelligence tip but nothing as explosive as they had hoped."

"The Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed a new tranche of records on Wednesday that offered the most detail yet about one of the most important subplots in the Russia imbroglio."

"President Donald Trump revealed in his financial disclosure that he reimbursed personal attorney Michael Cohen as much as $250,000 for unspecified 'expenses,' with no mention of a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual tryst she said they had."

"But in Knox County, Tenn., it wasn't the fact that Glenn Jacobs, also known to wrestling fans as Kane, was running for mayor that gained national attention on the county primary day, May 1… It was that the county's election website, at the time the site was supposed to begin posting election results, came under attack… Malicious cyber actors shut down the county website and broke into the web server, according to county officials and a report done by the cyber security firm Sword and Shield." (Waves to my Russian friends) The cat is on the roof and won't come down. This works to erode people's trust in elections, even though the result reporting sites aren't connected to the vote tallying machines. Mostly because people don't understand (or accept) that. Hell, they don't understand how the internet works let alone their computers and smart phones, so they don't understand that there are still systems where it takes a human to transcribe information from one machine to another.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Linkee-poo for Wednesday

Still running like a hamster on a hot plate. I think I got that wrong.

"The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high last year and officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, state health authorities said Monday." Good thing those abstinence only programs are working so well, eh?

"Friday night’s prom at the Double Tree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center featured the tiger and several other animals — and also included fire dancers dressed in animal costumes, WPLG-Ch. 10 reported."

"Facebook revealed Tuesday that it removed more than half a billion fake accounts and millions of pieces of violent or obscene content during the first three months of 2018… The site removed 583 million fake accounts in the first quarter of the year, roughly 100 million fewer than were removed in the last quarter of 2017." So I wonder if it's in the general consciousness that not only are computers driving a lot of the content, they're also the ones creating the accounts in the first place? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The so-called Amazon Tax will cost the city's biggest companies, with annual sales of more than $20 million, around $275 a year for each full-time employee over a period of five years. While that figure is about half of the original proposal of $500, Seattle hopes to raise around $250 million from the new tax plan and use the cash to build affordable housing and improve services for the city's homeless." Of course they're fighting it.

"Over the past century, Louisiana has lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastline, leaving it more vulnerable to storms, flooding and sea level rise. State officials have been fighting back, building levees, artificial marshes and barrier islands. Now they want to harness the muddy Mississippi River, diverting its sediment-rich waters into shrinking marshes and wetlands." Reads history, "Um, guys, I think there may be a problem here." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

On the Media podcast episode "This is America." "Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented 'Busted: America's Poverty Myths,' a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream."

Sure there's no rampaging racism in America. "On April 29, a black family set up their charcoal barbecue in the designated barbecuing area in Oakland, Californias' Lake Merritt, only to have a hostile white woman come and demand that they move on or face arrest, because they were using charcoal in one of the areas designated for gas grilling."

"A barista at a coffee shop in Riverside, Calif., refused to serve a man after he appears to insult the woman, who was wearing a black niqab, a headscarf that covers most of the face except her eyes." I think we can dispense with the softening tone of "he appears". There's video.

"The Trump administration is making preparations to warehouse migrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications, the latest sign the government is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally." IIRC the Obama administration program was in response to a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. This Trump plan is different in that they will separate children from parents and then house them in the bases. (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

"A federal judge ruled Sunday that anonymous teenage plaintiffs helping to challenge Florida's sweeping anti-gun law must identify themselves publicly, even as he acknowledged the order would probably expose them to intense leftist 'vitriol' and 'harassment.'" You gotta show up for these things, peoples. And no, it's not a new precident. If you're suing, your name goes on the docket. It really is that fucking simple.

Big stinking caveats for the next story. "A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oklahoma proposed euthanasia for people on food stamps who are too disabled to work." There's some question if his facebook page was hacked. Mostly because he doesn't seem to be able to write a coherent sentence. But the guy certainly looks like a whackaloon (his campaign page). And frankly the claim doesn't seem all that out of line for this guy. Fortunately Oklahoma has several other whackaloons they can pick from. However please note I wasn't able to find more mainstream reporting on this. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Georgia gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams campaigns with 'deportation bus'." Guess which party. It's no fun unless you guess. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Political appointees at the White House and Environmental Protection Agency worked to block the publication of a federal study that found dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in water supplies, according to a new report from Politico." (Grokked from Michele)

"The Trump administration has killed NASA's Carbon Monitoring System, which was responsible for compiling data from separate satellite and aircraft measurements of CO2 and methane emission across the Earth… This program allowed scientists to have a picture of the flow of carbon all over Earth."

"Russia is seeking to undermine European democracies with 'malign activities', the MI5 chief has warned." Taps earphone, "Also, water is wet."

"The CIA -- a spy agency charged with effecting propaganda and disinformation campaigns in foreign countries -- is now waging a propaganda campaign in support of Haspel. They have selectively declassified documents about Haspel that put her in a good light (while refusing to declassify documents that their Senate oversight committee wants made available to the public) and have sent lengthy, upbeat news briefings to national media."

"Democratic worries are mounting in the House, as well, where the party has been more confident of gaining the 23 seats it needs to retake the majority. Democrats are picking strong candidates in dozens of Republican-held suburban districts where Trump has lost significant support — but recent surveys suggest the races may be tightening." Just wait until gas is $3.25 again this summer.

And then there's the GOP candidates who are phoning it in. "As GOP Rep. Ann Wagner prepared to introduce candidates in a Republican Senate debate here Friday, she took a pointed jab at one contender who didn’t make it — front-runner Josh Hawley."

"Eisen on Monday tweeted in response to a recent report that a major development project linked to Trump in Indonesia is expected to be supported by $500 million from the Chinese government." I'm sure this has nothing to do with our president's tweet over the weekend about directing the Department of Commerce to reverse it's rolling regarding ZTE, a Chinese telecom that was found to be supporting the Chinese spy apparatus. You know, even through it happened at the same time. I'm sure it's just a coincidence and not our president selling out our country for his (family's) personal gain. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Linkee-poo for Monday

Scientists in New Zealand have documented what they believe is the largest wave ever recorded in the southern hemisphere." We're all gonna die.

"The physics responsible for the formation of stars is also responsible for shaping the clouds. But even with the most advanced telescopes in the world we can only see the two-dimensional projections of clouds on the plane of the sky… Thankfully, there is a way around this problem. A recently discovered type of structure in molecular clouds, called striations, was found to form because of waves." Something new has been added.

"By working on the Horten Ho 299, the Hortens kept themselves away from the most dangerous aspect of the German war effort. They were under a strict deadline to get their new plane into the air, and working on it kept the Hortens and their employees off of the front lines, where thousands of their countrymen were dying." (Grokked from John)

"Michigan Republicans are pushing a new, Donald Trump-inspired bill that would require Medicaid recipients in the state’s mostly black cities to work to keep their health benefits, but exempt some of the state’s rural white residents from the same requirement." Because why the fuck not. Just in case you don't think there's a culture war going on, and that it's (mostly) racially driven. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Just in case you didn't think that moving the embassy to Jerusalem wasn't a play to the evangelical crowd waiting for the Rapture, Pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress gave the prayers for the ribbon cutting. "Dear Lord, please smite these heathens…" probably not the best way to start.

"President Trump's chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, said that he's never seriously considered leaving his job and indicated that he's in lock-step with the president on many issues. Kelly says they have 'a close relationship' and spend up to eight hours a day together."

"CBS News has confirmed an email was sent to researchers at the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research responding to apparent efforts to change the channel on internal television screens… 'The reason for the change is that a decision from the current administration administrative officials has requested that all monitors, under our control, on the White Oak Campus, display FOX news,' the email reads." I wonder if Fox News will decry this blatant attempt at indoctrination like they do about kids learning about climate change and actual human health? (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told colleagues she was close to resigning after being criticized by President Donald Trump during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing several current and former officials familiar with the incident." Apparently President Trump is upset that he hasn't created such a terrible cess-pool of the US that brown-people are still coming to their country illegally because it's still better than staying where they were.

"Embracing his role as party leader, President Donald Trump issued a stern warning at a rally Thursday that Democrats would disrupt the economic progress of his administration if they win in the 2018 midterm elections." "Only I can keep you safe," is the hallmark of despots and tyrants (and abusive personalities). And I love the continuing narrative of "Do as I tell you because if you don't all these other people who want to destroy our country will do what they're told." Drain the swamp, kill the pig, whatever.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Linkee-poo is it Friday already

Sorry, lots of personal life stuff as well as the jobs.

"And a third has confirmed that a star blazing through the outskirts of the Milky Way actually hails from another galaxy altogether, the Large Magellanic Cloud." Look who's coming to dinner. (Grokked from Dan)

"Major depression is on the rise among Americans from all age groups, but is rising fastest among teens and young adults, new health insurance data shows." This is my resting shocked face.

"Tourists have been tearing up slabs of ancient rock and tossing them into a nearby reservoir, the Utah State Parks blog reported… These chunks of rust-colored sandstone are marked with the 200-million-year-old footprints of dinosaurs."

"Over the past two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant… A group of students from University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website… This month, some of those Berkeley researchers published a research paper that went further, saying they could embed commands directly into recordings of music or spoken text… 'We wanted to see if we could make it even more stealthy,' said Nicholas Carlini, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in computer security at U.C. Berkeley and one of the paper’s authors." Our robot overlords are already betraying us. (Grokked from Dan)

"The FCC announced Thursday morning that it would fine Adrian Abramovich, a Miami man who the commission said made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls over a three-month period at the end of 2016. The FCC argued that Abramovich’s operation made the phony calls to trick consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages. The fine was based on 80,000 spoofed calls the commission had verified." I'd be lying if I said it's probably not because Ajit Pai had a bad vacation experience himself. Actually it's wanting to show he's actually doing something other than rolling back net neutrality.

"In The Coal Counties Of Central Appalachia, Will Trump's Promises Come True?" Narrator, "They won't have lasting power except in very specific industries where coal in an ingredient."

"Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin admitted that hearing Senator John McCain’s regrets about appointing her as his running mate in 2008 feels 'like a perpetual gut-punch.'" Imagine what it was like for the rest of us when there was a chance you may have been close to really getting elected.

"Mr. Giuliani took a leave of absence last month from the firm, Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s largest, to represent Mr. Trump. But the firm announced on Thursday that he no longer worked there as of a day earlier." Ah, yeah, Bob. The ending of that article is just fabulous, BTW.

"In addition, the administration wants to freeze (federal employee) salaries next year, and is considering a broader overhaul of civil service laws, all of which has public-employee groups nervous." But I thought the tax cuts meant we'd be swimming in all the increased revenue from the improved economy? "'We're not doing a great job of attracting young people to government,' said Thomas Ross… 'We need to do that, because the workforce is aging — 41 percent of the federal workforce is eligible to retire in five years." I guess calling them "the problem", blaming the hard working employees for all the failures of law, and labeling them as "takers" wasn't a big recruitment tool these last 30 years. So, hey, while we're facing such a crisis I know how we fix it. We show there's no chance of improving your life by working for the government (which used to be a big driver of bringing people into the middle-class) and we'll also cut your retirement benefits (probably the biggest sales point in recruitment for government workers). That aughta bring them in by the barrel-full.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"Wiley cleared her throat. 'Duke University has instructed us to terminate the employees that were working that day,' she said." Contract work is wage-slave labor. (Grokked from Vincent O'Connor) "Cheerleaders for the Washington, D.C., NFL team are describing a uncomfortable topless photo shoot followed by a possibly mandatory night out with sponsors that took place in Costa Rica in 2013. The situation underscores the lack of power NFL cheerleaders have across the league."

"The doctors she saw told her that she probably had allergies. But this year, Jackson went to physicians at Nebraska Medicine and learned the real reason behind her nasal discharge: a cerebrospinal fluid (or CSF) leak caused by a small hole in her skull." After a car accident, go to your doctor (or the ER).

"The government of Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola after at least two people were infected and possibly as many as 17 died — from the disease in the country's northwest." Rhut rho. I guess we're going to get a live test of that new vaccine.

"lmao... the White House/Melania Trump Be Best pamphlet about your kids being online is almost the exact same thing that the FTC published in Jan. 2014." In the designing world we call this "separated at birth." (Grokked from Dan)

Apparently, most of the content was also a copy. "First lady Melania Trump’s anti-cyberbullying campaign brochure was largely recycled from an Obama-era publication in 2014, with most of the material copied over verbatim."

"The average concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere just topped 410 parts per million, according to measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii." We're boned. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"[Eugenia Morpurgo] has created a portable, open-source batik bot that rolls along the floor and draws with wax, CNC-style, on a potentially infinite expanse of cloth. The hardware should be familiar: an Arduino Mega and a RAMPS 1.4 board driving NEMA 17 steppers up and down extruded aluminium." We welcome the robot overlords. (Grokked from Dan)

"The DOL will propose relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)—that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, said the two sources. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youth younger than 18." I don't see any possible way this could go wrong. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

"In other words, just through this single shell company Cohen was receiving major payments from a Russian oligarch and additional moneys from various Fortune 500 companies looking for access to President Trump. On the US corporate side these are classic off-the-books pay-for-play payments to what appears to have been a slush fund. If you’ve spent any time covering political scandals you can’t look even at these initial details and not think this is the kind of story) that sends a bunch of people to prison." Somebody going to emergency, somebody's going to jail. (Grokked from Vincent O'Connor)

"The Senate Intelligence Committee… report finds that Moscow conducted an 'unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign' against the nation’s voting infrastructure. Through its investigation, the committee found that Russia-linked hackers were in a position to 'alter or delete voter registration data' in a small number of states before the 2016 vote." We've reached "The cat is on the roof and won't come down." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Linkee-poo Tuesday edition

Ah, 40 years of spam emails. (Grokked from Dan)

"Lava continued to spew out of cracks in the ground Sunday night after increased activity at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano last week, which destroyed at least 26 homes and forced more than 1,700 people to evacuate." Volcanos essentially remind us that nature doesn't give a damn for us. It just does so in real time instead of decades and centuries.

"In a desperate attempt to make up for years of aimless planetary wandering, the Curiosity Rover spent most of Monday frantically driving around the Red Planet in order give the impression that it had been busy before the impending arrival of NASA’s InSight Lander." Ah, the Onion, don't ever change. (Grokked from Dan)

"They came to see Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel — a surround-sound show with live performances by actors, dancers and acrobats, orchestral music and high-definition projections that highlight the Renaissance master's depiction of Genesis and the Last Judgment." While some deride the spectacle (and I can't talk to the actual production), but being a multi-media event sort of was the original task of the frescos. Much is made of the statuary, paintings, and frescos in churches were there because of the illiteracy of the time (both of the populace and of some of the officiants, JK Rowling wasn't the first to mumble latinate sounding words) the Sistine Chapel is the private sanctuary of the Pope (while it's argued some Popes were illiterate, most weren't). Sorry, while they could be used as teaching tools, all of these were originally designed to be something akin to laser light shows in the 70s and 80s (if you doubt this, early Gothic aesthetics eschewed decoration as an impediment to accessing the divine, so these churches are stark when compared to Romanesque churches).

"It's a tradition for culturally black sororities and fraternities to 'stroll' across the graduation stage and perform their Greek organization's signature dance, but that tradition was interrupted Saturday at the University of Florida by an 'aggressive' graduation marshal."

"The four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger last October were trying to capture or kill a senior ISIS terrorist, but the two officers in charge of their 12-man unit misled their higher-ups by reporting they were going on a far less risky mission, according to two U.S. officials and a congressional official familiar with the classified investigation of the deadly ambush." Somebody went cowboy. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Paul Ryan appeared at a financial conference to warn that, if Democrats win control of either the House or the Senate in the November elections, “you’ll have gridlock, you’ll have subpoenas.” The gridlock part is true, but it is basically the case already… What really would change with Democratic control of a chamber is the subpoena part. But it’s worth spelling out just what it is Ryan is warning will happen — and what, by implication, he is confessing." (Grokked from Joy Reid)

While it's being overshadowed by the abrupt resignation of New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the Southern Baptists are having their own problems. "A prominent Southern Baptist leader faces demands for his dismissal after women from his own denomination reacted angrily to the news that he once advised abused women to pray for their husbands and gave a sermon in which he defended a lewd remark about a teenage girl as 'biblical.'" As so often is states, one side removes those who have hurt others, the other side promotes them to the highest offices.

"Mr. Pruitt takes a different approach. The emails show agency officials defining prospective guests at events as friendly or unfriendly, and reorganizing events at the last minute if there were concerns that people who are considered unfriendly might show up." Administrator Pruitt is skating awfully close to the edge of the law and it exposes that his security detail is more of a barrier to the general public than as a needed measure. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

The NRA skips the middle-man and elects an illicit gun-runner as it's president. Hey all you Marines, remember when Good Ol' Ollie defiled the uniform by wearing it to Congressional hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal when he was specifically told by the brass not to (as it was against regulations)? Also interesting on this day when the current president may back out of the nuclear arms agreement with Iran that the NRA elevates the man who illegally sold arms and spare-parts to the Iranian government to help fund the Contras (which was also against the law).

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will partner to prosecute anyone illegally crossing the southwest border and separate children from parents." Yep, when parents bring their children we'll charge them with "smuggling" the children and separate families. The word you're searching for is "heartless". Unseemingly cruel for no apparent reason also works.

"When last we heard from Donald Trump legal adviser and freelance public-relations chaos agent Rudy Giuliani, he was explaining on Friday that his own May 2 assertion that Trump reimbursed attorney Michael Cohen for a payment to Stormy Daniels did not necessarily reflect the president’s understanding of what happened…" And these are the smart ones in the room. Dear news media, if you book this asshole to speak for the president when he's just stated he has no frickin' clue as to what the president knows or wants to say then you're participating in the cover up. (Grokked from Vincent O'Connor)

Get your programs here, can't tell the players without a program. "Since Rudy Giuliani claimed to Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that President Donald Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for his hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, the former New York City mayor’s explanation of the matter has evolved several times over." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Linkee-poo is it Monday again To check for bots. You know, if it wasn't obvious (the bot's behavior as well as the URL). (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Mars rendezvous window opens. "(NASA)'s InSight Mars lander lifted off today (May 5) atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, rising off a pad here at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT, 4:05 a.m. local California time) and disappearing into the thick predawn fog moments later."

"Winter sea ice cover in the Bering Sea did not just hit a record low in 2018; it was half that of the previous lowest winter on record (2001), says John Walsh, chief scientist of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 'There’s never ever been anything remotely like this for sea ice' in the Bering Sea going back more than 160 years, says Rick Thoman, an Alaska-based climatologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration." We're boned.

"A high school senior's video on the trend of 'juuling,' a kind of e-cigarette use that is popular among teenagers, has highlighted how appealing and addictive e-cigarettes — specifically the 'JUUL' — can be to teenagers, with kids as young as 14 talking frankly about using the device. In April, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb highlighted what the agency was doing to stop e-cigarette use among teens and what steps it has taken to stop online sales of JUULs to minors." The new nicotine wars. Remember when low-tar cigarettes were supposed to be "safe"?

"Coming into this month, 'wages showed a moderate 2.7 percent annual increase,' NPR's John Ydstie reported. 'Analysts have been expecting wages to rise more rapidly, as the number of available workers shrinks.'" That's because "analysts" don't get modern business practices. Most of those wage gains have been at the top of the scale, and have been so great as to skew the entire dataset.

"Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country's most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday… The so-called 'heartbeat' legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency." And just a point of clarification, in death the heart does not beat, but that's not the definition of death. Therefore the argument about "life begins with a heartbeat" is also not true and just demonstrates the medical (and factual) ignorance of the supposed "right to life"ers.

"A top US navy admiral announces the re-establishment of the US 2nd Fleet -- a Cold War command disbanded in 2011 -- to patrol the North Atlantic and face a resurgent threat from Russia… The 2nd Fleet command was disbanded as a cost-savings measure in 2011, and its assets and personnel dispersed within the navy." So much winning.

"The Washington Post reported Sunday that Haspel was willing to step down Friday rather than go through a grilling by senators that could embarrass her and the agency… But White House officials persuaded her to press ahead, and she remains on track for the Wednesday hearing." And now we'll all find out exactly why undercover agents should remain undercover. She would be, no doubt, a good director. However her lack of judgement with being involved in the Thailand black site, waterboarding, and the destruction of the video of that torture should be instantaneous disqualification. And putting her through the confirmation process could exposure lots of sensitive information, relitigate the whole torture/enhanced interrogation problem, and should (although I doubt it will) bring up the individual officer's duty to the law, integrity, and conscience.

President Trump on the NRA says he'll buck them when it's politically expedient, but then backtracks. I would say he has no spine, but this is the actual NRA playbook. "Oh sure, we're for 'sensible' changes," they'll say as everybody is upset. But then when it comes down to it, they'll say no to anything.

"On Friday, President Donald Trump traveled to Texas to address the annual convention of the National Rifle Association… I watched the speech then combed through the transcript to pull out the 40 most, um, memorable lines." As someone who deals with people having memory issues (both professionally and personally), our president is exhibiting signs of dementia.

"Here is a sampling of Trump’s comments that we’ve fact-checked or for which we’ve provided additional context." They're only winning if they're able to lie and get away with it.

Speaking of lying. "Addressing the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas on Friday, the president cited the rising number of knife attacks in Britain while speaking in support of gun rights in the United States."

"President Trump is throwing doubt on statements made by his new attorney Rudy Giuliani that indicated the president reimbursed attorney Michael Cohen for his payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels." Also, "there was no campaign violation" is the new "no collusion."

"Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to President Trump's legal team, spent much of the weekend trying to clarify statements he made earlier concerning his client's legal troubles." At this point, I'm torn between the thoughts of "yes, there are just this dumb" and "they're trying to poison the waters, either hoping to dazzle the prosecution with footwork or attempt to say it's impossible for Trump to get a fair trial because of all the hype." I'm still going with the saying, "Never ascribe to genius what can be explained by stupidity." So, yeah, plead the 5th, Mr. President. Let's have another run of your statements about what pleading the 5th means (and who does it). Or, you know, try to refuse the subpoena and create a full-blown Constitutional Crisis.

"Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a 'dirty ops' campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Linkee-poo is taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River line

Still running like mad, now with more running like mad.

"In 1931, Zora Neale Hurston sought to publish the story of Cudjo Lewis, the final slave-ship survivor. Instead it languished in a vault. Until now." As others have pointed out, it didn't "languish", the rights to the work were uncertain so it couldn't be published.

"Dutch scientists have built "synthetic" embryos in their laboratory using mouse cells other than sperm and eggs."

"Women who eat more fast food spend longer trying to get pregnant, while those who eat more fruit conceive more quickly, researchers in Australia reported Thursday… It’s one more finding adding to evidence that a healthy diet can help make people more fertile." Yes, processed foods are not good for you. Although this was a retrospective study (meaning they asked women who were already pregnant to remember their diets and how long they took to get pregnant), and the sampling was small (note, these are the classic ingredients in the category of "non-replicable data set" studies).

"A 132-pound ovarian tumor was removed from a 38-year-old Connecticut woman this year, according to two doctors involved in the case." Note for both the case details (ovarian cysts and tumors are somewhat common and could become dangerous) as well as for the example of doctors saying they couldn't help this woman until she found the "right" doctor. Also, I'm not fat, that's my tumor.

"An elementary school principal in Houston is being criticized after she reportedly joked about telling police that a black special-needs student brought a gun to the school… The boy has had behavioral problems and has been known to run from class… Swearingen reportedly told the staff members that the next time that happened, 'We won’t chase him. We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.'" Of course they offered the, "It was a careless remark and it's not how I really feel" apology. Yeah, not buying it. This person shouldn't be near kids. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Cambridge Analytica, the embattled London-based data analytics firm that famously did work for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, has shut down." It's all fun and games until people find out about it. The company's statement is hilarious, BTW. I hope they don't just dump the data, 'cause that might be more of a criminal act. (Grokked from Dan)

"Britain's Information Commissioner's Office and Electoral Commission will continue to pursue Cambridge Analytica, which shut down on Wednesday."

"ProPublica obtained the chat logs of Atomwaffen, a notorious white supremacist group. When Samuel Woodward was charged with killing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein last month in California, other Atomwaffen members cheered the death, concerned only that the group’s cover might have been blown." And then there's this classic trait of all terrorist movements, "For Mason, the way forward was obvious: He no longer wanted to convince the masses of the rightness of Nazism. They would never get it. Now was the time for true believers to go underground and launch a clandestine guerrilla war aimed at bringing down 'The System.'" Terrorists are failed revolutionaries. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"But images of the migrant caravan belie the reality on the ground. The question of whether an invasion is actually occurring at the Southern border is, of course, an empirical one, and the federal government’s own statistics tell a much different story than the one offered by Trump. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, illegal crossings are now at historic lows—about one-fifth of what they were at their peak in the late-1990s and early-2000s—and a large proportion of the immigration flows from Mexico that once occurred illegally now occur through legal channels." I'm sure conservatives will trumpet, "Our strategy is working!" Yet, they've been declining for a while (a major contributor is that because it's more difficult and expensive to cross the border, the seasonal migrants are now staying in country). But then theres this, "In 2000, 8,580 Border Patrol agents apprehended 1.7 million migrants on the Southwest border. In 2017, nearly twice as many Border Patrol agents apprehended less than a fifth as many migrants. Adjusted for inflation, the Border Patrol’s budget more than doubled between 2000 and 2017." And Trump and the GOP want to spend more. It's another, "We NEED a second engine for the F35, because reasons." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year recipient, had brought with her from Spokane, Wash., a stack of letters that her immigrant and refugee students wrote ahead of her trip to the White House, where she accepted the award Wednesday."

"Chinese personnel at the country's first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN." (Grokked from Dan)

"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, when he joined the EPA, drew up a list of his preferred travel destinations and told his staff to find official reasons for him to travel to those countries, according to The Washington Post."

"A Republican candidate in Wisconsin’s heated Senate race questioned the thinking of military service members who are Democrats, arguing that their service contradicts their political views." Dear candidate Kevin Nicholson, please feel free to fuck off and die.

"At the end of March, the White House dismissed the allegations that Stormy Daniels had an affair with President Trump in 2006 and was paid for her silence just before the 2016 election, claiming she can’t keep her story straight. 'The president has strongly, clearly and consistently denied these claims,' said White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah. 'The only one who’s been inconsistent is the one making the claims.'" Yeah, not so much. Waiting for the social conservatives to being wondering how Melania can still stay married to him. I'm not holding my breath.

"President Trump hired on Wednesday a Washington lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment, a sign that the White House sees no immediate end to its legal problems and is girding for a combative relationship with a new Congress after the midterm elections."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Linkee-poo for a Wednesday

Still up to my eyeballs in alligators.

"Tornadoes strike the Plains with more severe weather expected." When will some courage lawman stop these tornado outbreaks! Seriously, people, it's the fucking weather, not sports. It's not like tornadoes have intent.

"Stanford University's Annelise Baron has developed a synthetic version of something called lung surfactant." If this proves out, this is big.

"Nearly 4,000 ill-gotten artifacts will be returned to Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says. The ancient objects were bought by Hobby Lobby, a national chain of arts and crafts stores, then smuggled into the United States in violation of federal law." And while they want to be all, "We didn't know…" Yeah. You were warned, several times, even by the experts you hired. So much for being all religious and stuff.

Say, did you know we're still at war in Afghanistan? "NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, about the latest report on Afghanistan reconstruction. Despite the record amount of coalition munitions dropped, the security situation continues to deteriorate and civilian deaths from coalition munitions are at a record high." This thing is taking forever.

"The Sunday before Scott Pruitt's confirmation hearing to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Pruitt stood on the stage of his hometown church, bowed his head, and prayed… 'I stand on a platform today with a man of God who's been tapped to serve our nation,' said Nick Garland, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla." Yes, among other things Scott Pruitt is a whackaloon who believes the God gave us the world to use up. Another "We'll be Raptured before we all die from climatic destruction" tin-foil hat Republican.

"Texas and six other states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to force it to end the Obama-era program protecting about 700 young immigrants from deportation." Ah Texas. Why do you have to be the racist crazy Uncle of the US? Mostly this is an attempt to get a contrary ruling to other courts which have upheld DACA (and stopped the administration from ending the program). That would strengthen a case to bring it before SCOTUS.

"Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times." The questions aren't all of that much of a revelation, IMHO. And the breathiness surrounding the whole, "if Trump doesn't submit to an 'interview' Mueller may subpoena him" is a load of crap. We knew this was a possibility, it's completely within his powers to do so, and the president can't claim executive privilege to get out of it (see the Clinton Whitewater investigation). What's more interesting is who leaked it and why. Smart money is on Giuliani as it fits his MO. So the question is, why leak the questions? Is this an attempt to discredit the investigation (playing on the ignorance of the president's supporters), to frame what they this is acceptable to ask, or is this a part of a longer game (doubtful, these people aren't smart enough) or "just what we do." And then there's the part, "The president also said collusion was a 'phony' crime." No, Mr. President, it's not.

"Donald Trump’s current team of lawyers lacks the security clearances needed to discuss sensitive issues related to a possible presidential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to two people familiar with the matter." That's one way to stall, but not a problem if Mueller subpoena's Trump.

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dismissed threats from antagonists in Congress on Thursday following months of tension between the Justice Department and conservative supporters of President Trump… Rosenstein appeared at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Law Day and was asked about threats from members of Congress, including the putative 'articles of impeachment' about him drafted by allies of Trump." All those who sign on to that bill have thrown their lot in with being traitors. The GOP should never be able to claim to the the Rule of Law Party again without people laughing in their faces (although, the GOP has used the cry, "Rule of Law" as a racist dogwhistle since the Nixon administration).

"When Dr. Harold Bornstein described in hyperbolic prose then-candidate Donald Trump's health in 2015, the language he used was eerily similar to the style preferred by his patient… It turns out the patient himself wrote it, according to Bornstein." This is my resting shock face. Yeah, we all kinda knew that, didn't we? So now the question becomes "did he lie then or is he lying now" (Narrator, he lied then). Unfortunately, while IANAL, while what he did was borderline ethical, it wasn't criminal or probably rising to the level of putting his license at risk. And then there's this, "Now, as Bornstein re-enters the spotlight claiming Trump's ex-bodyguard Keith Schiller robbed his office when Schiller retrieved Trump's medical records, the story behind the letter is becoming clearer." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Linkee-poo clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

Severely over scheduled at the day and night jobs. So things are going to be light for a while.

"The caterpillars can be easily spotted by their name-sake nose-to-tail processions, but their most dangerous feature is their coat of toxic hairs. Each caterpillar has approximately 62,000 of the white bristles. The hairs are full of a toxic protein called thaumetopoein, and they can be ejected if the caterpillar feels threatened. Thus, humans can be exposed by touching the caterpillars or being brushed by shed hairs swept up in the wind." Invasive species are a pain. (Grokked from Christopher Cornell)

"The Defense Department’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program has demonstrated the Radio Frequency Vehicle Stopper, an experimental "direct energy weapon" that causes car and boats' electronic engine control units to enter into an endless cycle of rebooting, immobilizing the vehicles until the weapon is switched off… The weapon has a range of 50 meters and weighs 400 pounds, drawing on a 300kw gas-powered turbine for energy." The call it a "non-lethal" weapon. While microwaves are considered non-ionizing radiation, there has been documented cases of medical issues stemming for intense microwave radiation (mostly between microwave communications stations). And while they show cars and boats, imagine what would happen if this was deployed against close combat aircraft. And yes, copper based Faraday cages will probably be used to defeat this, so could using older non-computer controlled engines.

George Soros is controlling American Universities? Wait, squints at notes, nope. "Virginia’s largest public university granted the conservative Charles Koch Foundation a say in the hiring and firing of professors in exchange for millions of dollars in donations, according to newly released documents." Note here the Koch's (and several conservative think tanks they work with) "fund" the faculty positions. This is different than "endowing" a professorship/chair. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)