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

Friday, October 26, 2018

Linkee-poo Friday

"Authorities have arrested one person in connection with the wave of suspicious packages sent this week to political enemies of President Trump, the Justice Department said on Friday."

"Authorities found two more suspicious packages on Friday addressed to U.S. Senator Cory Booker and James Clapper, the former U.S. director of national intelligence amid a manhunt for the person who sent bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of U.S. President Donald Trump."

"Why I’m Not At Arisia Anymore: My Rapist is President. Again… Content warnings: rape, trauma, sexism, gaslighting, harassment, intimidation, stalking, and general asshattery of a group of people in general and one rapist in particular." (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

"How to make your own distraction-free digital typewriter." Or, you know, you could get an alpha or other dedicated word processor. (Grokked from Dan)

"Three days after Nelson launched the WeRateDogs Twitter account (@Dog__Rates), he was receiving too many dog photo submissions to keep track. He enlisted four friends to come by his dorm room and help him sort through Twitter messages to find the best furry prospects." And he makes good money from his idea. And it's a fantastic idea and an excellent study on brands and branding (note, his products don't actually include "We Rate Dogs", but are all very on brand). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Only 37 percent of Americans got vaccinated against flu last season, just as one of the deadliest flu season in decades hit, health officials reported Thursday." And that's why we had more deaths last year. Get your flu shots, peoples (if you can).

"The cradle of vertebrate evolution was limited to a zone of shallow coastal waters, no more than 60 meters deep… In those waters, fish — the first vertebrates — appeared roughly 480 million years ago, a study finds. For nearly 100 million years, those creatures rarely strayed from that habitat, where they diversified into a dizzying array of new forms, scientists report in the Oct. 26 Science. The study resolves a long-standing mystery about where our earliest backboned ancestors arose."

How go the Trade Wars? "Tariffs are dominating earnings calls with more than a third of companies discussing the fallout." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The economy expanded at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. That's slower than the second quarter's blockbuster 4.2 percent, but it puts the economy on pace for the fastest annual growth in 13 years." But not all is sunny in the report. Of course they mostly blame the hurricanes, but like to skip over the part where the housing market is slowing. On the positive side there's still some of the lingering "pre-order before tariffs strike" in there boosting the numbers.

"'For decades, other countries have rigged the system so that American patients are charged much more,' President Trump said Thursday in a speech at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare. 'American patients pay more, so other countries can pay less.'" Um, no Mr. President. Americans pay more because we don't have price controls like other countries. Prices aren't higher in the US because other countries demand it, it's higher because you've gotta pay those pharma executives' high salaries somehow. Mostly this affects Medicare Part B. Want to really affect drug prices, allow Medicare Part D to negotiate prices. Or do what other countries do (Socialism!) and set price controls.

"Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order as early as Thursday sending 800 or more troops to the southern border to support the Border Patrol… There already are about 2,000 National Guard troops assisting at the border under a previous Pentagon arrangement." When is it de facto martial law without declaring martial law? Asking for a worried country. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

How's the civility coming along? "Speaking at an Axios event in Washington Thursday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that Trump's attacks on the media as 'the enemy of the people' don't help improve the American political divide, but that he thinks 'they've earned it.'" Right on track. I'm sure he said that politely and with only the minimum amount of spittel flection necessary. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"An NYPD spokesperson said that no charges had been filed against the driver (who ran a red light, struck another car and then hit two people), and declined to elaborate further. 'With everything going on with packages and bombs, we're not going further into this because no one was likely to die or seriously injured,' the spokesperson added." Hey New Yorkers, thinking of a smash and grab at Tiffany's (or one of the other great jewelers)? Now's the time, what with "everything going on." Maybe hijack a car or two while you're at it. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

"In 2014 Google investigated a claim that Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, coerced a Google colleague to perform oral sex on him. Google found the claim to be credible. Instead of unceremoniously booting Rubin out of the company, it eased him out with lavish praise and $90 million. This New York Times investigative report reveals a sleazy underside of the company." (Grokked from Xeni)

"The man accused of killing two people at a busy grocery store was seen on surveillance video trying to get into a predominantly black church a short time before he unleashed his attack." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"A white man was arrested for brandishing what turned out to be a BB gun and yelling racial slurs at a black campaign volunteer outside a North Carolina polling station, authorities said Thursday." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released on Tuesday found that 35 percent of the country is more inclined to support Democrats in the midterms because of their opposition to Kavanaugh. Twenty-seven percent prefer Republican candidates who voted to confirm Kavanaugh." (Grokked from George Takei)

Still think I'm crazy talking about how conservatives are stacking the courts as their last ditch effort to entrench their ideology? "Only two senators were present for the testimony of two Ninth Circuit nominees at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Oct. 24… Republicans are racing to get nominees confirmed in the unlikely chance they lose control of the Senate after midterm elections. If that happens, Democrats would likely grind Trump’s fast pace of judicial confirmations to a halt." One, the Senate is in recess for the elections, and two I believe that violates quorum rules. One of the nominees has been "blue slipped" by both Senators from their home state. That would usually end the nomination process, but rules and protocol be damned. IIRC, at least 4 or 5 nominees were blue slipped, but still voted onto the courts. (Grokked from Fran Wilde)

"Unsurprisingly, after Trump sullenly read a scripted condemnation of the bombing at the White House earlier Wednesday, he landed on a strategy that both minimizes the seriousness of the situation and encourages the bomber: Blaming the victims." Because of course he did. One, it's never his fault. And two, the conservative mantra of "fine for me, sin for thee." "Clearly, 'civility' is just code for 'Liberals and journalists: Shut up.'" Ain't gonna happen. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"'A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,' Trump tweeted. 'It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description… Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!' he continued." The president threatens the "Mainstream Media" at 7:18am via tweet.

"The Trump administration is drafting an executive action that would make it exceedingly difficult for Central Americans seeking asylum to gain entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to three sources familiar with the proposed measures." Considering the travel ban also affect many countries who citizens are seeking asylum, this would essentially mean America is closed for asylum seekers worldwide.

Tweet of my heart: @MariaHaskins Reading about various forms of voter suppression & thinking about how corrosive it must be for a political party (and a political system) when politicians pin a lot of their hopes NOT on attracting more votes, but on suppressing enough of the vote that they can win anyway. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

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