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

Friday, October 19, 2018

Linkee-poo is tired of screwing up, tired of goin' down, tired of myself, tired of this town

Terri Windling on Death personified in folklore and fairy tales.

"It's called Pando, a forest of around 47,000 genetically identical quaking aspen trees that share an estimated 80,000-year-old root system." And now it's dying.

"A new experiment captured the most detailed view of electrons to date, using lasers to reveal evidence of particles surrounding the particles, researchers reported in a new study. By lighting up molecules, the scientists were able to interpret how other subatomic particles alter the distribution of an electron's charge."

And this year's dumbest idea in science goes to: "The night skies might soon have company: Chinese scientists are planning to launch an artificial moon into orbit by 2020 to illuminate city streets after dark." (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

"The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to put a stop to a massive environmental lawsuit, just over a week before it is scheduled to go to trial… The suit was filed in 2015 by a group of young people, ranging in age from 10 to 21, who said the federal government has failed to stop climate change by promoting the use of fossil fuels for more than 50 years. They claim that policy violated their constitutional right to 'a climate system capable of sustaining human life.'"

"Marijuana has been on fire this week: Canada legalized recreational use, the White House may look to federal cannabis reform after the midterm elections, and the industry saw a $682 million merger." But all ain't happy in them green fields.

"One aspect of Warren's defense is based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, also known as RFRA. At root, Warren is saying that his faith compels him to offer assistance to people in dire need, including immigrants." Goes and makes popcorn. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"Thousands of migrants are about to be at Mexico's doorstep. And US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is about to meet with officials in Mexico's capital… The Honduran migrants, trekking in a caravan toward Mexico's southern border, say they're headed for the United States -- fleeing violence and searching for economic opportunity." So, one, remember the Pentagon report about climate change and mass human migration (this is what it looks like). And two, the president is not a happy camper and has threatened economic repercussions if the caravan is allowed to pass. "The key questions: Will Mexico let the migrants in? And what will happen if they do?" Considering we just signed a trade deal with Mexico (and probably Canada although the last I heard it wasn't really finalized) that's a big question. And the current Mexican president only has a month and a half left in office.

So, Steve, (you may be saying) where's that recession? "China said on Friday its economic growth slowed to 6.5 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2018, missing expectations." Oh, it's coming. I mean it's easy to say, "recession in the future" because, well, yeah it's gonna happen. But signs are pointing to sooner than later.

"U.S. stocks slumped again Thursday as investors continued to sell shares of technology and internet companies, industrials, and companies that rely on consumer spending… Several industrial companies tumbled after releasing weak quarterly reports, and European stocks also fell as European Union leaders criticized Italy's spending plans." US consumer spending grew (so it's still growing) by an anemic amount in August and September. July wasn't much either.

"The Economist magazine's annual special section on the world economy this year focuses on the impact 'toxic politics and constrained central banks' will have on the next downturn. They find that 'the rich world in particular is ill-prepared to deal with even a mild recession. This is partly because the policy arsenal is still depleted from fighting the last downturn.' Marketplace's Sabri Ben-Achour spoke to Economist editor Henry Curr about the state of the world economy."

"…the Senate Majority Leader came close (to) admitting that changes to programs like Medicare and Social Security might be 'impossible to achieve' as long as Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. It was a quietly refreshing moment, in which McConnell effectively dropped the entire charade that Republicans are a party that prioritizes fiscal prudence—making explicit what has long been obvious to anyone who has paid the faintest bit of attention to Washington over the past decades." Actually I think it's the exact opposite that their one party control would be the only chance they'd have to make those changes. But Mitch doesn't want the GOP to take all of the blame for ending Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Also, so much for the party of fiscal responsibility. "Any even-handed observer would have to look at all this and conclude that Republicans mostly see the deficit as a political club with which they can opportunistically beat Democrats, rather than an actual existential concern."

And here I'll say things that I've spoken of in private and whispered on twitter, your taxes will have to go up. The good thing is that since the tax cuts barely affected most of you, tax increases won't either. The corporate rate, the top tier income, and the reclassifying of capital gain as different than income will all need to be addressed. But the good news is, "Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot has reached a record $970 million, but what the winner will actually take home depends on picking the annuity or the lump sum payment—and, of course, taxes." Go out and support your schools.

"Trump’s campaign has still not returned gifts from at least three white nationalists after the Forward exclusively reported their donations on July 30. The president’s 2020 election operation still has hundreds of dollars from those individuals, FEC records show, and one of the extremists, former Aryan Nations leader Morris Gulett, gave $100 to the Republican National Committee on Aug. 1." Funny how conservatives keep on taking their money (and speaking at their events). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"'Our candidates are able to deal with it,' McConnell said regarding a barrage of Democratic ads criticizing his party’s candidates on the (repealing Obamacare and ending its protections). 'There’s nobody in the Senate that I’m familiar with who is not in favor of coverage of pre-existing conditions.'" And yet they keep on trying to end those protections. It's almost as if they're lying to keep their jobs. Not like GOP senators have been "concerned" about a lot of legislation and nominees, but vote party line in the end. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

How's that whole swamp draining thing going? "House Democrats are asking the Trump administration for more information about the decision to keep the FBI headquarters across the street from Trump International Hotel downtown, which they criticized as $500 million more expensive than moving to the Washington suburbs." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"President Trump says he believes missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, telling The New York Times that his judgement is based on intelligence reports 'coming from every side.'… If Saudi Arabia is responsible, the consequences will be 'very severe,' he told the Times." I'm guessing we'll still sell them the weapons and MBS will get a hand slap. Bad prince, no cookie.

Also, it's amazing to hear the president be upset about the death of a journalist (and my guess is he was handed those words and told to say them). Why? Because later last night, "President Donald Trump praised Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter during his campaign last May, saying 'any guy who can do a body slam ... he's my guy' and made a gesture mimicking a body slam." Tell me again how it's the left instigating violence, because that joke never gets old (hint: it's way passed old). "The President's comments were met with laughter and applause from the crowd in Montana."

"The closed-door 'training academy' was aimed at a select group: recent law school graduates who had secured prestigious clerkships with federal judges. It was organized by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group that has played a leading role in moving the courts to the right, and it had some unusual requirements… 'Generous donors,' the application materials said, were making 'a significant financial investment in each and every attendee.' In exchange, the future law clerks would be required to promise to keep the program’s teaching materials secret and pledge not to use what they learned 'for any purpose contrary to the mission or interest of the Heritage Foundation.'" It's almost like some secret society hell bent on subverting the rule of law indoctrinating young lawyers and keeping them in the fold, instead of letting them learn how the law actually works. I'm sure they won't learn secret code words, how to identify other members of the elite group, or any secret handshakes. Not at all. Hail Hydra.

"President Donald Trump's critics have spent the past 17 months anticipating what some expect will be among the most thrilling events of their lives: special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on Russian 2016 election interference." Yes, yes, Mueller's report will not be some J'accuse moment, but it will lay out facts (according to their investigation). It's then up to the DoJ or Congress to take action (or not) based on those results. "Perhaps most unsatisfying: Mueller’s findings may never even see the light of day." Uh, yeah, try that idea and see how far it takes you.

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