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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Linkee-poo Wednesday

Too many alligators to talk.

"Strange Horizons is a weekly online magazine of and about speculative fiction—science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of imaginative fiction—and related non-fiction. Since September 2000, we have been publishing new issues every Monday, including fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews. In 2017, we published almost 1,000,000 words over 51 issues, all paid to our contributors, and all paid for by you, our supporters." Strange Horizons' kickstarter campaign is underway.

I haven't had the time to research this fully, so use at your own risk. "The latest Authors Alliance project is The Authors Alliance Guide to Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts, a free, open, indexed, searchable guide to contracts that explains standard clauses, gives tips on negotiating better deals, and helps with specific scenarios, like academic authors who want to ensure that their work can be used by scholars, researchers and educators." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who has been missing since Monday, when police found her parents dead inside their home, is considered 'endangered.'"

"Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis." We're boned.

"Starting Wednesday, the sale of recreational marijuana begins in Canada following a law passed over the summer." So, the long running story of seniors going to Canada to get their drugs will continue.

"Personnel from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who have been stationed in the Democratic of Congo to help control the ongoing Ebola outbreak have been pulled back from the worst impacted areas due to safety concerns, a US government official familiar with the situation told CNN Monday." This will not end well.

It's baaaa-ack. "An unvaccinated child in Florida has died from the flu, becoming the first person to succumb this disease season, Florida state health officials announced Monday."

"The lead paint industry’s efforts to avoid a cleanup bill for more than $400 million has reached the end of the road… The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review California state court rulings finding Sherwin-Williams, Conagra and NL Industries responsible for lead paint contamination in thousands of homes built before 1951. That date is when the companies said their predecessor firms ceased actively advertising lead-based paint as a residential product." Expect bankruptcies to follow.

"It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads." I admit the whole "smart speaker" thing baffles me. But seriously, why the hell would anyone allow Facebook to look and listen in to their actual real lives? (Grokked from Dan)

"For more than a week, details in the case of a Lakeland city commissioner who fatally shot an alleged shoplifter came mainly from police accounts… Then, on Monday, Lakeland police released surveillance video that gives the public an up-close view of the shooting. It’s a crucial piece of evidence that investigators are using to decide whether City Commissioner Michael Dunn, 47, should face charges in the Oct. 3 killing of Christobal Lopez, 50." (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

How go the wars? "Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan are just days away, and the Taliban and ISIS fighters, countered by Afghan and U.S. troops, are doing all they can to disrupt voters."

"Voters in the German state of Bavaria went to the polls this weekend and dealt a serious setback to German Chancellor Angela Merkel." While the far-right did gain some support, it's sorta good news that it was the Greens who came on strong. Although it does weaken Merkel's coalition government.

"The Trump administration said late Monday that it will require drugmakers to reveal the list prices of their medicines in television ads. The move sets the stage for months or possibly years of battle with the powerful industry." This will die in litigation and is just meant as a distraction. The rules would be nearly impossible to enforce, and in fact there is not actual enforcement clause which would leave it up to individuals to sue.

"The battle for the Senate is being fought on Republican-friendly turf, and with three weeks until Election Day the GOP is increasingly optimistic that the upper chamber will remain in their grasp."

"North Carolina's stated reason for shutting down Sunday voting was that counties with heavy Sunday voting were disproportionately African-American, and that African-Americans tended to be Democrats." A tweet with a link to the court filing with evidence. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." Yes, Republicans are coming for your Social Security and Medicare. Because they think Snidley Whiplash is a perfect role model. And yes, that was their plan all along. And here I will note for the umpteenth time, you pay a separate tax that supports Social Security and Medicare, a tax that was not cut.

"An app called 'Donald Daters,' specifically curated for MAGA-loving singles, had a bug that allowed outsiders to download the database of the 1,600 users who had already signed up when the app launched, according to a Monday TechCrunch report." (Grokked from Dan)

In case you thought I was crazy about the GOP plan to dominate the courts as a way to extend the rule of conservative ideology, I offer you this. "This year, Florida has very good odds of electing Andrew Gillum, the charismatic, progressive Tallahassee mayor, as their next governor. But outgoing GOP governor Rick Scott thought he had a perfect plan to ensure that even if Gillum won, the state courts would remain in solid Republican control for years to come… On Monday, however, the Florida Supreme Court put a stop to his scheme." Also see West Virginia.

"On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to put to rest the controversy over an old story about how she claimed to have Native American heritage while she was a law professor. She released a DNA test that concluded that there is 'strong evidence' for 'Native American ancestry'… Reactions were swift, and often brutal. Conservatives who had mocked her claims of Native ancestry for years scoffed at the idea that the test vindicated her. But criticism came from other quarters too—most notably, the Cherokee Nation issued a statement that said in part that using DNA to claim heritage in a tribe is 'inappropriate' and 'wrong.'" And everyone misses the point.

"Donald Trump won a legal battle Monday against one of his accusers, Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. But despite the (expected) spin from Planet Trump and the (unexpected) way many media outlets are buying into it, the war is far from over."

"Trump suggested in an interview on Tuesday that the wave of criticism the Middle Eastern kingdom has faced over Khashoggi's disappearance is premature, comparing the case to sexual assault allegations against recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh." Because, ya know, Brett was totally innocent… for a lying sack of shit. "By the time Turkish investigators gained access to the consulate Monday evening, a fresh coat of paint had been applied 'everywhere' inside the building, a Turkish official told CNN Tuesday. The source said Saudi Arabia must make 'a genuine contribution' to the investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance in Istanbul." That's totally not suspicious. Not in all of this it's not like Turkey is all that favorable to journalists.

"U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said President Donald Trump has reassured him of his full support after the Republican president described his Pentagon chief as 'sort of a Democrat' who could leave the administration."

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials." They don't say who those sources are, or even if they are within Mueller's team. My guess is that yes, he is nearing the end of his investigation (he's been laying off lawyers which is a signal they're done with their work), but Mueller will submit his report once it's fully done and he's checked every iota. But there may be an early Christmas present for all of us. Santa, baby, hurry down the chimney…

"(Donald Trump's) deals have often been scrutinized for the large number of his partners who have ventured to the very edges of the law, and sometimes beyond. Those associates have included accused money launderers, alleged funders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and a felon who slashed someone in the face with a broken margarita glass… Trump and his company have typically countered by saying they were merely licensing his name on these real estate projects in exchange for a fee. They weren’t the developers or in any way responsible… But an eight-month investigation by ProPublica and WNYC reveals that the post-millennium Trump business model is different from what has been previously reported. The Trumps were typically way more than mere licensors or bystanders in their often-troubled deals. They were deeply involved in these projects. They helped mislead investors and buyers — and they profited handsomely from it." The supposed business acumen of Trump isn't what it's cracked up to be (much like the rest of the Trump business). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The Huffington Post reported over the weekend that this troll attack is a counter-measure against the potential 'blue wave' coming this fall, with the WalkAway hashtag intended to simulate real-world Democrats who have apparently chosen to leave the party due to its (try not to laugh) alleged intolerance and lack of civility. It’s a ludicrous concept, given the galactically more egregious incivility of Trump and his Red Hats, extending back at least three years and including a deadly terrorist attack in Charlottesville, among myriad other examples… In any case, this 'hashtag has been connected to Russian bots,' according to the HuffPost report." The tell is "vote republican down the line." I've seen way too many of these attempts. (Grokked from Geoffry Landis)

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