What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Friday, November 30, 2018

Linkee-poo and when you lose control you'll reap the harvest you have sown

"Since 2002, no other cases of paternally inherited mtDNA have been reported in humans, despite several research groups actively looking. But a paper in this week’s PNAS reports mtDNA inherited from both parents in 17 different people from three families. This kind of inheritance is still extremely rare and seems potentially linked to mitochondrial disease, but the robust confirmation of it in humans is huge news for biology and medicine." Something new has been added. Although, please note that the cases that have been found have been because of mitochondrial diseases. (Grokked from John)

"In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump cited his own 'high levels of intelligence' when asked why he was skeptical of the report, which was prepared with the input of 13 different federal agencies and 300 scientists. 'One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers,' Trump said… The full, rambling, hardly-coherent digression that followed has to be read to be believed…" In the next revision of the dictionary, for the Dunning–Kruger Effect they'll just have a picture of Trump. Which really isn't true, because for Dunning-Kruger you have to have some intelligence, just not a lot. Our president has none. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"The total figures are inconceivably large. From 1998 to 2015, the Pentagon made at least $21 trillion worth of unaccountable transactions (some of these were on the positive side of the ledger) -- five times the annual US GDP!" And yet the party who always shouts that we have to root out fraud an inefficiency is also hellbent on just increasing the Pentagon's budget and not increasing budgetary controls. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"President Donald Trump arrives here for a G20 summit Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping — and their eye-for-an-eye trade dispute — at the top of his dance card, a scheduled talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin below it and a possible encounter with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman not yet penciled in… Most of the action will occur on the sidelines of the official meetings in this European-style capital city that features narrow brick roads, Spanish and Parisian architecture, and cafes on nearly every street corner." I hope the administration remembered to book a room for the president this year.

"President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement — or USMCA — in Buenos Aires Friday, using the backdrop of the G-20 Summit to resolve a trade dispute between America and its closest neighbors." I wonder if he knows he needs to get the Senate to ratify it?

"With President Trump — who has spent much of the week defiantly defending his zero-tolerance immigration policies, angry over his coverage in the news media and insistent on the innocence of his incarcerated former campaign hands — it has been abundantly clear that not even the frothiest of White House holiday events would be carried off without an icy airing of Festivus-like grievances." Petulant is the word you're searching for.

"Trump’s anger over the Mueller investigation — and his compulsion to publicly declare his innocence — threatens to overshadow the Argentina trip, which will feature several important policy-related events, including a Friday morning signing of a new trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico."

"Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman and associate of President Donald Trump, confirmed Friday that the Trump Organization was pursuing a deal with a sanctioned Russian bank at the height of the 2016 election." Whelp, there's another crime. We'll just add it to the pile, shall we? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter… According to many lawyers who have experience in cases such as this, adding the caveat that he has no recollection, as the President apparently did with these written answers to Mueller, is standard procedure as a way to try to shield a client should their recollections be challenged."

"Escalating his attacks on the special counsel investigation, President Trump said on Wednesday that a presidential pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is 'not off the table,' casting him and other subjects of the inquiry as victims of prosecutorial abuse." And here we begin to see the latest public defense, that Mueller is pressuring people to lie and accuse other of Trump's associates with crimes. And that it's the people who refused to bend who are being prosecuted.

"President Trump on Wednesday defended sharing an image on Twitter showing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with Trump critics behind bars."

"Right-wing author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi said on Thursday that he intends to file 'criminal charges' against special counsel Robert Mueller." Conservatives are so cute when they're so dumb. Considering this fuckwhit doesn't know the difference between complaint and charges, or even civil versus criminal (note, a civilian can not file "criminal charges" against someone) I'mma going to go with the concept that he doesn't know WTF he's talking about and can't tell shit from shingle. But also, just to be clear, what this fucktard is expressing is exactly what criminals say when they're dealing with honest police officers.

But then, "Right-wing conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Jerome Corsi wants you to believe that God, not Julian Assange or any other human source, provided him with foreknowledge about WikiLeaks’ plans to publish emails hacked from the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election." So, take into account his inability to make coherent statements. Plus there's also this, "If Stone passed along Corsi’s information to Trump during that conversation or at another time, that could directly involve the president in a criminal conspiracy meant to swing the election in his favor." Of which Corsi would be a part of that criminal conspiracy. Also note the president has gone from "completely never did that," to "by his recollection he never…".

"President Trump on Friday defended his pursuit of a real estate project in Russia at the same time he was securing the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, saying it was 'very legal & very cool.'" Remember when the president said (both in the election and afterward) that he never tried to build a hotel in Russia, didn't know anyone there, and so didn't have any connection to Russia? Good times.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Linkee-poo Wednesday

Alligators still on overload. Heck, I'm still dealing with yesterday's alligators.

"A new government watchdog memo says the Trump administration waived rigorous background checks for all staff working at the nation’s largest detention camp for migrant children… None of the 2,100 staff has gone through FBI fingerprint checks either, but the Tornillo contractor says staff are vetted in other ways." WTF? Full disclosure, I had to be fingerprinted to take x-rays (but then I'm already in the federal databases from my AF days). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of uninsured children in the United States increased. Recently released data shows an estimated 276,000 more children were uninsured in 2017 than in 2016… Three-quarters of the children who lost coverage between 2016 and 2017 live in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to parents and other low-income adults. The uninsured rates for children increased at almost triple the rate in non-expansion states than in states that have expanded Medicaid." This is not a good thing. (Grokked form Xeni Jardin)

In related news, "Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises… The CDC issues its health statistics report each December. The 2017 report is the third in a row to show a decline in life expectancy." We're the only industrialized nation where life expectancy is decreasing. Funny that we're also the only one that doesn't have universal healthcare and we have the largest income/wealth disparity as well. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Ivanka Trump says she was heartbroken after seeing images this week of US border patrol agents firing tear gas into crowds that included migrant children… But when asked about the president’s recent decision to authorize the military to use lethal force on migrants, the first daughter—who serves as a senior adviser to her father—appeared to be learning the news for the first time. Visibly perplexed, she also suggested it was likely untrue… 'He’s not talking about innocents,' she added. 'So, he’s not talking about innocent asylum-seekers.'" Yes, they don't know what the fuck they're doing or talking about. Also, Dear First-Daughter and senior advisor, CBP are not part of the armed forces. Your Dad's position as CnC has diddly to do with this. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

For your consideration, a sociological statement

Dogs, Animals by Pink Floyd, David Jon Gilmour and Roger Waters, 1977.



Remind you of anyone?

"Have you heard the news? The dogs are dead."

Linkee-poo can ruin your faith with her casual lies

Alligator overload, both professional and personal. So not a lot of stuff today.

Worldbuilders is back with their annual fundraiser for Heifer International.

"An effort to describe the diversity of birds led to one of the first modern color systems. Published by Smithsonian ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1886, A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists categorizes 186 colors alongside diagrams of birds." Ah, color history. Almost as fun as color theory and color physics. (Grokked from John)

"For more than fifty years, he’s traveled deep into the heart of America. But with his new Netflix special—a film of his intense, powerful one-man show on Broadway—Bruce Springsteen reveals that his bravest journey has been wrestling with his own mental health." (Grokked from Delilah S. Dawson)

"The National Rifle Association of America reported $98 million in contributions in 2017, down from nearly $125 million in 2016, according to new tax records obtained by The Daily Beast. Nearly a fifth of its contributions last year came from a single anonymous donor, who chipped in nearly $19 million to the group." For the math challenged, that's almost 20% of their fundraising from one person. I wonder whom it may be? But don't cry for them, Argentina, that's only just the fund-raising, they also have membership dues and magazine sales. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Hey, remember Chief Justice John Roberts talking about there being no "Bush", "Obama", "Clinton", or "Trump" judges? Yeah, its' bullshit. "Senate Republicans are working to soon fill the nation's longest judicial vacancy with a North Carolina lawyer whose nomination has raised objections from black lawmakers and civil rights groups concerned about his work defending state laws found to have discriminated against African-Americans." Funny how not being a racists himself, he has often found himself working for racists and working on campaigns that have included racial intimidation. It's almost like a pattern. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Manafort might think his only liability is to the crimes he's already copped to. He's wrong. "Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told." Mueller is going to make an example out of him. Hang on folks, it's going to get bumpy from here on out. Manafort might have misgambled against drinking polonium tea (but then he also probably figures he'll have enough money just to keep his mouth shut and won't need to work again, this is also a bad bet). (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"A reporter earned praise Monday after she called out President Donald Trump, over one of his more questionable claims, right to his face." We praise this as extraordinary, but I remember a time when this was normal. The problem is, not many people have either the depth of knowledge to do this (or the time to do homework), or they're very busy trying to make their own point. Also this is one way to lose a press pass (see Jim Acosta) or lose access to "sources" (note those sources don't meet with reporters in darkened garages, but typically are behind a podium). It also comes off as "accusatory", and in the age of "balanced" coverage reporters try not to be. The people who claimed the press was biased are the ones using this desire to appear fair to their own advantage. So good on Paula Reid of CBS. Hey all you other people, you may want to follow this example. Don't let the bald-faced lies get past you. And then we can start working on the "disingenuous" comments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Linkee-poo winter is here

Alligator quotient growing. Everybody must have recovered from their turkey comas, because damn.

Jim Hines on World Fantasy Con Guests of Honor lack of diversity and their lame excuse. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

NPR's Book Concierge guide to 2018's great reads.

"NASA’s InSight landed safely on Mars on Monday afternoon, with scientists now hopeful they’ll get a below-the-surface look at the Red Planet." (Grokked from Dan)

"Watch a rocket launch from space." Wow.

"Rice University has launched an investigation into one of its professors after reports surfaced that he is connected to alleged genetic editing in China that resulted in the birth of two babies with altered DNA."

"In the past decade or so, China has been expanding its commitment to scientific research, and it shows. Chinese researchers now produce more scientific publications than U.S. scientists do, and the global ratings of Chinese universities are rising." Because they value science and are willing to fund research as well as putting few ideological barriers on the extent of the research. America isn't about to fall behind, we've already fallen behind the rest of the world.

"President Donald Trump responded on Monday to the bombshell climate assessment released by his administration on Friday, saying he doesn't believe the economic impact it's predicted to have on the US." Water is wet.

Who needs regulations? "Every year, federal OSHA conducts an audit of all 28 state plans to ensure they are 'at least as effective' as the federal agency at identifying and preventing workplace hazards… According to this year's audit of Kentucky, which covered fiscal year 2017, KY OSH is not meeting that standard… The audit was sharply critical, depicting an understaffed, under-resourced agency that's failing to protect Kentucky's workers. It also included a special study exclusively examining how Kentucky falls short at investigating deaths on-the-job." And people are dying as a result of it. Yes, the "no regulations" (typically phrased in "fewer" regulations, or "light" regulatory atmosphere) is about profit over the lives of workers and the general populace.

How's that promise of "moar jobs" doing? "General Motors Co said on Monday it will cut production of slow-selling models and slash its North American workforce in the face of a stagnant market for traditional gas-powered sedans, shifting more investment to electric and autonomous vehicles." What the article doesn't tell you is American automakers (the traditional Big 3) have let their offerings of smaller cars rot on the vine, which is one reason sales are down. Add that to the US consumers' traditionally short memory and the temporarily low gas prices all contribute to sales shifting to larger vehicles. Sort of like 2005-2007. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"U.S. President Donald Trump demanded General Motors Co add a new product to replace a plant in Ohio that the company said it planned to close next year due to lagging small-car demand." That and a ten-dollar bill might get you a cup of coffee.

"On Monday, GM kicked off plans to close five plants, including the Detroit factory that built the Chevy Volt and the Ohio factory that built the Chevy Cruze compact car. It will kill those cars, and a few others, after the assembly lines shut down.Thousands of American workers are likely to lose their jobs, from the factories that are closing and from the parts suppliers, transportation workers and the like whose jobs support the assembly plants… We know what that's like in this country. We've seen it before." The Volt was an amazing car and the technology was a good mix. However, just like other great cars (like the Saturns), GM let it rot on the vine. They did little to sell it, did little to keep it fresh, basically didn't do much after the launch.

"North American customers want SUVs, crossovers, hatchbacks and trucks. Sedans have fallen out of favor." Well, one, that's what the car companies advertise (because they make a lot of money). Two, I remember another time when the "car is dead." That was right before $4 gasoline. The American consumer is notoriously short sighted.

How go the Trade Wars? "Wisconsin dairy farmers barely hanging on as crisis deepens with no end in sight." (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea is an 'outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory,' says U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, calling it 'another reckless Russian escalation' in a deadly and years-long conflict." Ukraine declares Martial Law in the border provinces. But they know this president won't do anything.

"Kushner, in a bid to symbolically solidify the new alliance between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia while claiming a victory on the president's first foreign trip to Riyadh, pushed State and Defense officials to inflate the figure with arms exchanges that were aspirational at best, the officials said. Secretary of Defense James Mattis supported Kushner's effort and ultimately endorsed the memorandum, according to a former NSC official familiar with the matter." Ah, fake news from the headquarters of fake news, the Trump family (aka the administration). This is the car salesman asking if you'd like tires on that new car you bought. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"'The president's behavior towards me made me wonder, what did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican?' (Representative Mia) Love said. 'It was not really about asking him to do more, was it? Or was it something else? Well, Mr. President, we'll have to chat about that. However, this gave me a clear vision of his world as it is — no real relationships, just convenient transactions. That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.'…cLove then tore into Republicans for their treatment of minority voters before vigorously defending conservative policies as more beneficial to all Americans." But of course she wonders why minorities don't wake up and vote conservative.

"As incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi works to consolidate votes for her leadership bid, a group of largely centrist House Democrats have remained holdouts. Publicly, they’re pushing for tweaks to House rules once Democrats take over the chamber in January. But behind the scenes, a leading advocacy group that has helped organize this coalition of moderates has been itching to make life hell for Pelosi." Yes, the left has it's own power hungry jerks who only care for themselves. The good thing is they aren't the entirety of the party, or diving the agenda. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A Republican who will soon step down as chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives tax committee late on Monday released a sweeping, nearly 300-page tax bill that he said would affect Americans’ retirement savings, numerous business tax breaks and redesign the Internal Revenue Service." One last "fuck you" to the American people.

"Manafort lied 'on a variety of subject matters,' violating his plea agreement, prosecutors said in a three-page filing signed by both the defense team and prosecution. Both sides ask the judge to now move his case toward sentencing." Someone's betting on a pardon. Either that or they really aren't as smart as I give them credit for. Or, as some people have mentioned, he's worried about a radium sandwich or slippery door knob (either himself or his family). (Grokked in a roundabout way from Jim Wright)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Linkee-poo back to work

"A Chinese researcher has claimed he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born this month that represent perhaps the next monumental test of science and ethics." Well, 1) someone had to be first, but 2) the technology isn't all that mature to really do this experiment. And 3) it's not like China doesn't have a history of "advances" that turn out to be nothing.

"Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said a new experimental Alzheimer's disease vaccine showed promising results during recent testing in mice and are hopeful the vaccine will make it to human trials." Unfortunately we don't really understand the relationship of amyloid plaques and tau to Alzheimers.

"For more than a decade, it’s been clear that there’s a gaping hole in American food safety: Growers aren’t required to test their irrigation water for pathogens such as E. coli… After several high-profile disease outbreaks linked to food, Congress in 2011 ordered a fix, and produce growers this year would have begun testing their water under rules crafted by the Obama administration’s Food and Drug Administration… But six months before people were sickened by the contaminated romaine, President Donald Trump’s FDA – responding to pressure from the farm industry and Trump’s order to eliminate regulations – shelved the water-testing rules for at least four years." How's that "less regulation" thing working out for us? (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

How goes the economy? "The total debt shouldered by Americans has hit another record high, rising to $13.5 trillion in the last quarter, while an unusual jump in student-loan delinquencies could provide another signal that the nation's economic expansion is growing old." So when you hear about comparing how a government is run as compared to personal or business finances (as a way of saying no to debt), just remember how much we all are in debt. And two, it's almost as if we're about to hit a recession again. I can't wait to hear how it's the Democrats' fault.

"Migrants approaching the U.S. border from Mexico were enveloped with tear gas Sunday after a few tried to breach the fence separating the two countries." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"President Trump on Monday urged Mexico to deport Central American migrants who are attempting to reach the U.S., and threatened to permanently shut down the southern border." Yeah. That'll work. It'll play well to his base, though.

"A major US-Mexico border crossing in San Diego was closed for hours on Sunday after a group of migrants on the Mexican side rushed the border area, leading US Border Patrol agents to fire tear gas at the group." The border was closed before the incident. This was manufactured.

"A Fox News guest on Monday brushed off worries about using pepper spray on migrant women and children, while suggesting that it was so harmless that it could be used as a condiment on snacks… 'It’s natural,' he insisted. 'You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it! So it’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm.'" Okay Ronald Colburn, President of the Border Patrol Foundation, I fucking dare you to do this. Not what you think it is, but the actual component used in pepper spray. And oh, by the way, we have photos of the empty canisters, you racist moose-dropping. (Grokked form Laura J Mixon)

"Ohio is poised to become the first state to allow businesses to pay taxes with bitcoin in a new initiative that may become available to individual taxpayers as well." Why? Because we're stupid. Or at least our lawmakers are stupid.

"When federal agents searched the Washington, DC, house of two brothers they had linked to the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, they found a troubling scene… There were hollow-point bullets, 'ballistic vests and helmets,' a 'marijuana grow' operation, and a Nazi flag. A noose dangled from a bunk bed, a small toy hung by its neck, and a flyer was found promoting the neo-Nazi organization known as Atomwaffen Division." Again, can't wait for the NRA to defend this jerk (one brother killed himself) for his high-capacity magazine. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Republicans are plotting a strategy to vigorously defend President Donald Trump amid a barrage of expected Democratic investigations into the President, with some of Trump's allies urging the White House to resist cooperating with Democrats at all costs." The strategies are firming up.

"Nine Democratic members of the Problem Solvers Caucus are urging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to back three rules changes as she aims to drum up enough support to take over the Speakership in the next Congress."

"'Justice Roberts can say what he wants,' Trump tweeted, referring to a rare statement from the top-ranking member of the Supreme Court defending the independence of the judicial branch of government, 'but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.'" All those talking heads who say the Democrats should work with conservatives to find the middle ground. Tell me again where the middle ground is here, because I've seemed to have lost it again by the "with us our our enemy" stance of conservatism. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina and the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Sunday he believes former FBI Director James Comey's planned testimony to Congress should be videotaped and made public. Appearing on 'Face the Nation,' Gowdy said he does not agree with Comey's insistence that he should testify in a public hearing." Why do it this way instead of having an opening meeting? Because written testimony and video can be redacted… to leak information in the same way as Comey has accused Congress of doing.

Why would Putin want a weakened West? "Russian warships seized three Ukrainian naval vessels on Sunday in a narrow waterway that provides access from the Black Sea to the much smaller Sea of Azov near Crimea, ramping up already bitter tensions between the two countries… Trump has not commented on the incident."

Just because I've seen this "argument" come up. "What's True… President Obama attempted to delegitimize Fox News by calling their oppositional stance 'destructive' for the country, took questions from Fox News correspondents less frequently than he did from those of other major networks in press briefings, and his administration expressed a willingness to exclude Fox reporters from interviews with top officials… What's False… The Obama administration never rescinded the press passes of Fox News reporters nor ejected or banned them from White House press conferences."

"The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office declined to file felony domestic violence charges against attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday, choosing instead to refer the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office for consideration of misdemeanor charges." This really doesn't mean anything because domestic abuse often isn't prosecuted to the fullest extent of the (already weak) laws. It doesn't argue for innocence or guilt. But just part of the continuing drama. What I think is interesting is the fact that Avenatti is still married (while in the process of divorce) and the women he's been living with since January 2017 is still married ("separated") to someone else. Even ten years ago that would have been the scandal.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Linkee-poo Noir Friday

"Participating in the ritual known as årsgång, or 'year walk,', promised information about the future—if a walker followed the rules and reached the local church or graveyard." (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"As many CPAP users discover, the life-altering device comes with caveats: Health insurance companies are often tracking whether patients use them. If they aren't, the insurers might not cover the machines or the supplies that go with them. And, faced with the popularity of CPAPs — which can cost $400 to $800 — and their need for replacement filters, face masks and hoses, health insurers have deployed a host of tactics that can make the therapy more expensive or even price it out of reach… Patients have been required to rent CPAPs at rates that total much more than the retail price of the devices, or they've discovered that the supplies would be substantially cheaper if they didn't have insurance at all." That was certainly true in my case. While the machine I have isn't WiFi or Bluetooth compatible, every month I'd have to send off the data card if I wanted to keep covered. However I did convince the insurance company to buy the machine (after I "successfully" used it for 6 months). And yes, the "lease" would have paid for the machine by that time (although the insurance was paying the lease to a subcontractor, I started using a BiPAP about 8 years ago)). And I now buy my masks myself. For the one I like, it's cheaper, and I don't have to constantly send the data card in. Also, if you do have to use CPAP, and you can tolerate it, I highly recommend buying the machine and not using the insurance's supplier. There are plenty of places to purchase machines (including Amazon, although they often don't have the best price). It's a little more hassle that way, but you can save a lot of money. The one thing I haven't done is have a followup sleep study.

"The Intercept has published slides from Partnership for America’s Health Care Future -- a lobbying group representing the for-profit health-care sector -- detailing the organization's plan to kill Medicare for All." Their plan includes using several former Democratic officials who are now paid lobbyists and spokespeople for the health insurance industry. You know, for an idea that they say would create a terrible system, be horrible for patients, and cost way too much they seem awfully afraid of the prospect of that competition. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"A milestone oil development project in Alaska's Arctic waters is having to extend its construction timeline to accommodate the warming climate. The recently approved Liberty Project — poised to become the first oil production facility in federal Arctic waters — has altered its plans due to the shrinking sea ice season… To get at the oil targeted by the Liberty Project, Texas-based oil company Hilcorp is planning to build a gravel island about five miles from shore… In order to build that island, Hilcorp needs to use what's called landfast sea ice, or ice that attaches to the coast each winter. Hilcorp would build an ice road on top of it, and transport the gravel in dump trucks." Um, I think I see karma warming up on the side-lines.

"But when farmers in Punjab set fire to leftover rice straw, smoke wafts across northern India – poisoning the air 200 miles away in Indian capital, New Delhi, and beyond. It's even visible in NASA photos taken from space. The Indian government estimates that more than 103 million acres of land in Punjab are under cultivation – about 83 percent of the total land area."

"President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving video teleconference call with U.S. troops in which he gave himself credit for allowing them to win was 'somewhat insulting,' a retired lieutenant general said." It's sad that I give the president points for at least making a call. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

"The Trump administration allowed troops to engage in some law enforcement activities and potentially to use deadly force, according to a report by Military Times on Wednesday… The order, which loosens the engagement restrictions on military personnel at the southwest border, was not signed by President Trump, but by White House chief of staff John Kelly." That should go over well. I can't wait to see the world's reaction as we shoot asylum seekers because they got a little rowdy at being forced to wait for hours in line only to be told to come back next week. Dear Congress, it's your goddamn job to roll this back. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"President Donald Trump withdrew from a planned meeting with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after his lawyers saw the list of questions the president would be asked, according to a new report released by The Associated Press." I can just imagine the conversation, "Oh shit, he's on to us." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Linkee-poo and straight through the barnyard gate

"At an event promoting the new National Geographic Channel’s series 'Mars,' scientist and science educator Bill Nye spoke about the Red Planet’s future…'This whole idea of terraforming Mars,” said Nye, “As respectful as I can be, are you guys high?'"

Speaking of high, "The review, which is expected to begin next year and take months to complete, was spurred largely by SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk's behavior on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast in September, three unnamed officials told The Washington Post's Christian Davenport."

Oh science, you silly rascal. "Three jugs placed as offerings in a roughly 3,600-year-old tomb in Israel have revealed a sweet surprise — evidence of the oldest known use of vanilla… Until now, vanilla was thought to have originated in Mexico, perhaps 1,000 years ago or more… 'It’s really not surprising that vanillin reached Bronze Age Megiddo given all the trade that occurred between the [Middle East] and South Asia,' says archaeologist Eric Cline of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. But no evidence exists of trade at that time between Middle Eastern societies and East Africa, says Cline, who did not participate in the Megiddo research." What they meant to say was "use of vanilla was thought to have originated in Mexico" since vanilla is produced in both Africa and SE Asia. As to evidence of trade… seriously? After all the discoveries in the past half-century of the interconnectedness of the world you still don't think these things happened?

"For some two decades, Eliot has pondered and researched the origins of gender differences between boys and girls. She says she didn't start by looking at boys' brains and girls' brains. She started with an insight about all brains. More than any other organ, the brain is uniquely adaptable, designed to change in response to the environment." The Hidden Brain podcast on gender.

"A global diabetes epidemic is fuelling record demand for insulin but tens of millions will not get the injections they need unless there is a dramatic improvement in access and affordability, a new study concluded on Wednesday."

"The Centers for Disease Control is advising U.S. consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce in response to a new multi-state outbreak of illnesses caused by a dangerous type of E.coli." Here we go again. I guess they didn't solve the problem of the upstream cattle feedlot. That's just speculation, I don't know if we've changed where our lettuce comes from to Yuma yet.

"About 2,000 parents answered the online poll in October. The top three reasons parents gave for not getting their children a flu shot are concerns about side effects, beliefs that the shot doesn't work very well, and they say their healthy child does not need to be vaccinated." You all are fucking high. You know what are good reasons? Your child is allergic to eggs, your child has a weakened immune system, your child has had a past reaction to the flu shot, you can't afford medical care, there's a history or concern for Guillain-Barré Syndrome. But you know how I really know you all are high? Because I see kids in the ER every damn weekend with flu or flu-like symptoms who have high temperatures, whose lungs are filling up or are having problems breathing because of other effects of the flu. The flu doesn't give a shit how healthy you are (in fact several years ago the strain of flu going around was worse for "healthy" young adults), what your income level is, where you live, or how clean you keep your house.

"Perhaps as a result, demand for exorcisms—the Catholic Church’s antidote to demonic possession—seems to be growing as well. Though the Church does not keep official statistics, the exorcists I interviewed for this article attest to fielding more pleas for help every year." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

On the Media podcast with segments on "the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt" and the anti-trust activities of Amazon and their HQ2 search. The GOP has been working hard to weaken our trust surrounding our elections. This is exactly the effect our Russian Friends (waves) have been working hard to instill. Collusion much, Mr. President (and the GOP)? And a lot about the machinations of Amazon and their business practices. Full disclose, I sell shirts on Amazon.

"China has installed a new platform on a remote part of the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea which could be used for military purposes, according to recent satellite images reviewed by a U.S. think tank."

"An American is believed to have been killed by an isolated Indian island tribe that is known to fire at outsiders with bows and arrows, police said Wednesday." What is it about "hostile to outsiders" that they didn't understand?

"US oil prices plummeted nearly 7% on Tuesday to $53.43 a barrel. That marks the cheapest closing price since late October 2017… The latest deep selloff coincided with more mayhem on Wall Street. The Dow shed more than 600 points on Tuesday as fears about slowing earnings and economic growth deepen." Hmm, much uncertainty.

"In their only debate Tuesday night, when pressed, Hyde-Smith did apologize to 'anyone that was offended by my comments,' emphasizing that 'there was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements' and saying, 'I've never been hurtful to anyone.'" Who among us hasn't joked about public hangings in a Southern state with a large black population and history of racist attacks? And she misspoke. What she meant to say was she would be in the front row with a torch if Colin Hutchinson invited her to an old-fashion cross-burning, she has that much regard for him.

"Arthurs said the apartment had served as a nerve center for Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist organization of 60 to 70 people that has spoken openly of its hopes of igniting race war in the United States. If the authorities could access the group’s encrypted online chats, Arthurs said, 'it’d be easy to track down each member.' The interrogation was videotaped, and a recording was obtained by ProPublica and Frontline." Instead the government decided to disarm itself by disbanding task groups assigned to right-wing terrorism. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Rachel Martin talks to Pro-Publica's A.C. Thompson about his latest documentary: Documenting Hate: New American Nazis, which airs on PBS' Frontline Tuesday night." I'm not saying Trump is a racist and a Nazi, I'm saying racists and Nazis think he is one.

The documentary online. "In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, FRONTLINE and ProPublica present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America – in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military."

Atomwaffen is very small, but the way they are going about this is very different from other supremacists groups. They accept that they are terrorists and have bought into the whole terrorism mindset. Their goal is to overthrow the US government and while doing so instigate a race war. They have studied terrorism tactics and goals and have the ability to adjust them to the peculiars of the American system (whether or not they've realized they have to isn't clear to me yet). It also is yet to be seen if they will try to tie into the disruption al Qaeda already started and push it along (yes, I'm tired of discussing 9/11, but we're still dealing with the aftermath of some very stupid decisions made back then), or if they'll start from square one. It could also be that the group is so small and so little is known about them that there is too much mystery here to make adequate judgements and they may be just like the others. But never underestimate your enemy. This group could probably withstand the standard disruption the FBI does to many other groups, if the FBI is still working on domestic terrorism. IMHO they need to be rooted out and burned to the ground (jail is a large recruitment pool for groups like this). And that should be done before such action would play into the narrative they want to sell, not after they start acting on a larger stage. I doubt it will happen, though, given the current political leadership.

"President Trump vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia, whatever the CIA concludes about the involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi." The president is voting on who is a person and has just cheapened out claim on the moral high-ground.

"The White House has been struggling to square a widespread sense the crown prince directed the killing with the administration's desire for Saudi support for its foreign policy priorities and a need to manage close relationships between bin Salman, the Trump administration and members of Trump's family." Well, that's one way to say "compromised."

"Trump's 'Operation Faithful Patriot' was a $200,000,000 exercise in which 6,000 US troops were deployed within the USA, to the US/Mexico border, nominally to repel the migrant caravan of desperate, poor, terrified asylum seekers." Party of fiscal restraint and "good businessman" my Aunt Fanny. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"US President Donald Trump has submitted his written answers to the special counsel over alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign… Mr Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said some of the questions posed by special counsel Robert Mueller had gone 'beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry'." What Giuliani meant to say, "We didn't want to answer those questions." Funny how the person being investigated doesn't have control on what the investigator may ask about. Basically he wants to set the precondition that whatever charges Mueller may bring against the president (or, technically, report to the AG) were not a legitimate area of inquiry and should have been out of bounds. Good luck with that argument. I have no doubt Fox News will support you.

"At the very least, the latest developments underline how Trump's senior subordinates may have shielded a President unschooled in constitutional norms from disastrous steps that could have put his presidency in peril… They also raise questions about the capacity of a now-understaffed White House and legal counsel's operation to protect the President from current or future transgressions."

Just a general note, even though Russia helped place the president in office, their objectives of weakening the West would also be served by impeaching Trump or coercing his resignation from office. The only way Russia loses here is if we're somehow able to make lemonade out of this lemon. And most paths (including him staying in office) don't run that way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Linkee-poo Tuesday

"'The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology,' said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate."

"This image of a dusty, gas-rich nebula looks pretty, but appearances can be deceiving. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star system, it’s poised to unleash a catastrophic gamma-ray burst when it finally goes supernova. What’s remarkable about this particular Wolf-Rayet system, however, is that it’s the first to be discovered in our own galaxy." Gamma-ray burst which come from supernova like this (and the x-ray jets coming from blackholes) are thought to be able to "sterilize" whole systems.

"In the not-too-distant future, disasters won't come one at a time. Instead, according to new research, we can expect a cascade of catastrophes, some gradual, others abrupt, all compounding as climate change takes a greater toll." We're boned.

"What’s the benefit of cleaner air? An extra two years of life for the average person in the world, a new study finds." Say, did I mention that as a part of the Trump administrations plan on reducing regulation, they're looking at rolling back rules made under the Clean Air Act?

"These days a restaurant like Tacolicious in San Francisco’s Mission District can be really busy but look really slow. That’s because much of the food is now being sent to customers through third-party delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Caviar." What I love about this is the pervasiveness of the thought, "OMG, there's money on the table, I must go after it" is in business. We are watching the "Amazon-ization" of food. You have to get in now, even though you won't make money, even though there is no real plan to make money, and this might not be the actual best solution to the problem. Yes, delivering hot prepared meals could work, but outsourcing that function may not be the best choice.

"The FBI describes the group Proud Boys as an 'extremist group with ties to white nationalism' in a document provided to reporters by law enforcement in the state of Washington."

"Flags outside a Chicago police station have been lowered to half staff Tuesday in honor of a fallen police officer killed in a shooting at Mercy Hospital Monday afternoon on the Near South Side. An ER doctor and a hospital worker killed in the shooting are also being mourned… The other victim, killed in the parking lot, police say was Doctor Tamara O'Neal. Dr. O'Neal was an emergency room physician at Mercy. A family member said she was engaged to the shooter for about a year, but called off the wedding in September." The shooting started with Dr. O'Neal, but you have to get to the 3rd to last paragraph to find that out and even learn her name. The listed her after the pharmacy resident who was killed. In case you ever wondered why Black Lives Matter. Seriously, she is the story here, the pharmacy resident and police officer killed, while news, were secondary or incidental targets. This is a domestic violence story.

And then a few hours later, "One person was killed and four others were injured in a shooting in downtown Denver late Monday afternoon, authorities said. The shooter or shooters remained at large Monday night." (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

How bad could gerrymandering be? "Popular vote versus seats won in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina." Now we should have a nuanced discussion on the use of gerrymandering that can help minorities gain representation, but should be the exception to the map, not the rule of the map. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"A voter in Chatham County, Georgia, had a mail-in ballot returned and listed as 'undeliverable' even though it was addressed to a county-approved P.O. box." It was in a pre-printed envelope.

"The Justice Department has discussed the possibility that federal law protecting the confidentiality of responses to the U.S. census may eventually be reconsidered, an internal Trump administration email shows." Oh fuck no. "'There is no debate about whether to keep census information protected — census confidentiality is protected by law,' said Vanita Gupta in a written statement. Gupta is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a former acting head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division under President Obama. 'The Justice Department's failure to confirm that guarantee is cause for great alarm,' she added." The problem here is the administration is the enforcer of the law.

"The 5,800 troops who were rushed to the southwest border amid President Donald Trump’s pre-election warnings about a refugee caravan will start coming home as early as this week — just as some of those migrants are beginning to arrive." Why it's almost like it was a political stunt or something. Can't wait for all the stories about people running into the concertina wire (or more likely animals running into it).

"The message for the migrant caravan was clear from marchers on Sunday in Tijuana, Mexico: We don't want you here." Nationalism is contagious.

"U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order on Monday, preventing the Trump administration from following through with its latest efforts to crack down on immigration at the southern border."

But here emails… "Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of President Trump, sent hundreds of emails to government officials through a personal email account last year, according to The Washington Post." Let's see, what was that thing Ivanka's daddy encouraged his followers to think of when they thought of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server? Oh yes, "lock her up."

"U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed the (California's) fires on 'radical environmentalists' who he said have prevented forest management." Note in this case, "forest management" equals "clear cut." Also, this is my favorite part… "'It's not time for finger-pointing,' Zinke said. 'We know the problem. It’s been years of neglect, and in many cases it’s been these radical environmentalists that want nature to take its course.…You know what? This is on them.'" It's not a time for finger-pointing but those fuckers are responsible. Please feel free to fuck off, Secretary Zinke. Say, aren't you still mired in budgetary scandals?

"The worst fear they have is that there could be another election meltdown in two years, when the state could again be instrumental in deciding the presidential race." Better get your act together, Florida. One of the problems is that in Florida county election supervisors are an elected position (IIRC).

"The Democrats organizing an effort to block Nancy Pelosi from retaking the House speaker's gavel have finally gone public." This is a protest without any real goal. They have no alternative candidate. This is Tim Ryan puffing out his chest.

"'Ronald Reagan in 1987 was technically the first president to use the word "pardon" about a turkey, but it was really just a way to deflect questions about the Iran-Contra scandal and whether he would pardon key players involved — Oliver North and John Poindexter. The bird, "Charlie," was already headed for a petting zoo, but after Sam Donaldson of ABC News pressed Reagan on whether he'd pardon North and Poindexter, Reagan responded, "If they'd given me a different answer on Charlie and his future, I would have pardoned him."'" Same as it ever was.

"This year, Arkansas became the first state to roll out the requirement. It — so far, it affects a small percentage of those who got Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. But more than 12,000 people have lost their coverage for not complying, and thousands more are expected to follow suit." Work requirements are not about "dignity" and making sure "those who deserve it, get help." They're about adding complicated rules which are difficult to follow. "Users or their authorized designees then have to record that time in an online-only portal. That portal shuts down every night at 9:00 until 7:00 the next morning. And Arkansas has the lowest household Internet access of any state." There's no fucking reason the portal should shut down. It's all an attempt to throw people off the roles. Besides being intentionally cruel, it's wasteful. "Without his meds, he landed in the hospital multiple times and missed a lot of work. His supervisor tried to accommodate him, but he wasn't healthy enough to perform his job. So he lost it." So for saving $420 of medication, we now will have to cover his multiple hospital visits (more than likely through the ER, which is already the most expensive way to get care) and now we have to cover other support costs for him. "On the day we visited, he opened bills totaling more than $4,000… But even if he can get his meds, and the state covers the backlog of bills, and he gets his job back, his health may be permanently damaged." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"An influential eastern Ohio Republican leader says he has deleted an 'inartful' image he’d published to his Facebook page that said the ongoing California wildfire was 'God’s punishment to Liberal California.'… 'Look, that’s a meme. And it’s how I feel about liberals, but did I mean that God is going to punish everyone who lives in California? No. It’s a figure of speech, and I probably shouldn’t have done it. But I did, and it doesn’t change how I feel about what’s happened in California,' Johnson said." You're all going to burn in Hell, it's a figure of speech. Sure. And he's sorry if anyone is offended. Dear Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman Dave Johnson, please fuck off and die. It's a figure of speech. Sorry if you were offended.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Heads up

Just a general heads up that with the holiday this week that posting may be light toward the end of the week. Also, there will be days of outages in December. Especially as we hit the middle of the month.

Linkee-poo, welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends

William Goldman, and so it goes.

"Small models of dogs are one of many types of protective figurines TT found at Nimrud, which were used in Assyria to prevent evil and sickness from entering a building and plaguing its occupants." Passive and sympathetic magic. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"A team of scientists claims to have unraveled one of the animal kingdom's more peculiar mysteries: why wombat poop is cube-shaped." The world can rest easy now.

"Texas cases of infant botulism linked to honey pacifiers dream Mexico." Don't feed honey to infants, peoples.

"For instance, he says, if Congress ever repeals the Affordable Care Act, insurers could use the fitness data they're collecting today to deny you coverage based on a medical condition that your tracker picks up." In case you didn't know, many corporations use Wellness Programs and Health Fairs as a way to circumvent HIPAA and get your health data. Full disclosure, yes I wear a fitbit which is tied to my employment at the hospital. I don't have my insurance through there (as I'm PRN, and they have horrible insurance), but I do get some benefits (gift cards). Plus I also like to have the data. You can really tell the difference from the times I'm just at the day thing and when I'm working at the hospital.

"Chickenpox has taken hold of a school in North Carolina where many families claim religious exemption from vaccines… 'What's the big deal with chickenpox?' one city resident, Amy Gordon, told the Citizen-Times." Ask someone who has had shingles, because it's the same damn virus. And although you can catch shingles (for which there are also vaccinations), it is usually an outbreak of Varicella-Zoster virus that has been hiding in your nerves since you had chicken-pox. This is why the infection usually follows dermatome regions (parts of your body innervated by single sensory nerves). Chicken-pox attacks the nervous system and destroys your nerves.

"Thirty-four percent of US parents said their child was unlikely to get the flu vaccine this year, according to a report published Monday by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital." I understand there are extenuating circumstances that can lead to not getting a flu shot (allergies, cost, availability, etc), but if you can get a flu shot, get the gorram flu shot.

"After more than a month on the move, a caravan of migrants from Central America has come to a halt just a few yards from the border wall that divides Mexico and the United States." The invasion is here. But they may have a 2 month wait because there are already long line for asylum seekers. Just imaging how long D-Day would have taken if that invasion had to go through passport control.

"President Trump's effort to limit the number of people seeking asylum in the United States will face legal challenges in two different federal courts on Monday."

"Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey has resigned after pleading guilty to trafficking a teenaged boy for sex; when Shortey was serving as Trump's Oklahoma campaign manager, he introduced an anti-sanctuary cities bill, claiming that immigrants trafficked their children for sex." I just can't. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A former Ohio judge and state lawmaker who went to prison for brutally assaulting his wife in 2014 was taken into custody after she was found dead, authorities said."

"The governor of Kansas is demanding the resignation of a white county commissioner who claimed he was 'part of the master race' when talking to an African-American consultant during a public meeting last week." Louis Klemp, chairman of the Leavenworth County Board of Commissioners, was not elected, but appointed by the Republican Party to serve out the term of the elected chairman who is ill. Which, frankly, is a stupid way of filling the vacancy.

"Election after election, pundits predict that Latinos will be a powerful voting bloc. And Latino voters consistently underperform those expectations by failing to turn out at the polls in big numbers… But this year's midterm results in Nevada, Arizona and other states suggest that Latino turnout is up dramatically — a development that could reshape the electoral landscape for 2020 and beyond."

"CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett on Friday said that it 'should be noted' that the Obama administration attempted to 'demonize' Fox News regularly." Oh look, it's a "both side-ism". Well howdy, little fella. Was wondering when you'd show up. Let me see, (checks notes), I don't seem to remember President Obama declaring that Fox was an "enemy of the people." I don't seem to see anywhere where he denigrated reporters who worked there (although I believe he did say something about Bill O'Reilly, but by Bill's own words, he wasn't a reporter and about whosehisface who started up the Blaze but even he was so over the top Fox cut him). I don't seem to remember Obama degrading reporters at the briefings saying they were horrible people. I don't remember him telling his supporters they should be angry with Fox, and I don't remember people yelling and spitting at Fox News reporters during his campaign stops. I also don't seem to remember pipe bombs and daily death threats from Obama supporters. So, yeah, it's exactly the same thing. "'Now, they never tried to pull my pass, but they had this sort of arms-length relationship to Fox and tried to demonize it on a daily basis. So that's another part of American history and journalism in the White House press corps I think at least should be noted at this moment,' he said." Lighten up, Francis.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Linkee-poo on a Friday

"More thoughts on the nature of story from The Mystery Feast by Ben Okri… When they want to destroy a people they begin telling stories about them. Even when negative stories about a people are not believed they still leave an imprint on the underside of the mind, a residuum of doubt, a sinister grain that in time can become an evil pus of perception." The power of story.

"But to the extent that books have transitioned to digital, the flow is almost entirely through Amazon. With its data and power, the company could make books designed specifically to keep people reading and buying, and with its impressively wide-reaching marketing strength, it could get those books in front of hundreds of millions of people with credit cards." I don't doubt that Amazon has been collecting and collating the information in seriously deep and multi-dimensional connected databases. They'd be fools not to. But exploiting that data assumes that 1) there is a writing formula and the discussion about that could fill volumes including that yes, there are some (but mostly defined by the exceptions), there are also programs that currently can write copy. But 2) looking at the various learning algorithms attempts at other endeavors, "computers writing copy" are rudimentary at best when it comes to fiction. And 3) too much pablum becomes boring. I know I certainly have different tastes in fiction than when I was younger (I haven't read LoTRs for almost a decade now and I doubt I'd be able to do so again, nothing against the story or the writing, I just don't have the patience or time for it). And while various genres are derided as being formulaic, they really aren't and those perceptions are created and held by people who don't actually read widely in those genres. So like the rumored and highly anticipated Singularity, I have a feeling this is more hype than actual chance. That doesn't mean they won't try it and it doesn't mean that such product wouldn't take a good percentage of sales. But if I had to place money on a bet, my guess is those sales would just be in the "direct to e-book/published on Amazon only" stories (not to say that wouldn't be terrible for a lot of authors). As the joke goes, "All we needed was one more monkey, one more typewriter." (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"For the first time in six years, a new mission is about to land on Mars. On November 26, NASA's Mars InSight lander will touch down on the Red Planet at 3 p.m. EST."

"Miscarriage, or the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks, is so common that Americans often stay quiet about their pregnancies until after the first trimester, when the majority of miscarriages occur. Improvements in early pregnancy detection and the use of fertility treatments have increased the likelihood that couples learn they have miscarried, when they once might not have even known they were pregnant." And if the miscarriage happens later there can be some pretty terrible outcomes associated with it, which is reason #783 why I support legal, and safe abortion options. "In reality, most miscarriages are caused by genetic problems." But that won't stop conservative lawmakers from enacting laws that will criminalize women who experience miscarriages.

"Over the next few decades of climate change, the country’s first national park will quite likely see increased fire, less forest, expanding grasslands, shallower, warmer waterways, and more invasive plants — all of which may alter how, and how many, animals move through the landscape. Ecosystems are always in flux, but climate change is transforming habitats so quickly that many plants and animals may not be able to adapt well or at all." Glad I saw it when it was still good. Note the climate conversation is no long, "what will happen in the future" but is now, "what have we lost, what can we possibly save." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Chinese authorities have announced strict new measures in an attempt to halt the country's fast-growing African swine fever crisis, which has spread to 18 provinces and led to the culling of more than 200,000 pigs."

How are those tax cuts working for increasing revenues? "The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60 percent from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue." Oh, about as good as the last 4 tax cuts were at increasing revenues. So in January, as Republicans and conservatives suddenly remember they're against deficit spending and are all about fiscal responsibility as the Democrats take control of the House, remember when, where, and why these deficits appeared.

I'm not saying Trump is a Nazi, I'm saying Nazis say Trump is a Nazi. "A man laced the atmosphere of a Baltimore theater with menace when he began shouting 'Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!' during intermission of a classic play set in a Jewish village in czarist Russia… The patron’s pro-Nazi and pro-Trump outburst during a Wednesday night production of 'Fiddler on the Roof' sent dozens of panicked people running for the exits at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Women carrying lacy underwear took to the streets across Ireland this week after a man was acquitted of rape in a trial that featured a 17-year-old's thong as a line of defense." Her underwear… as a defense. I guess her skirt wasn't short enough or her blouse not transparent enough that they're now saying the kind of underwear she wore was an excuse for rape. I suppose next we'll finally just get to, "Well, she had a vagina… she was asking for it."

So why was Turkey all hellbent on going after the Saudis for the killing of a US Green Card holder? "The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests." And the president is just weak enough to do it. It's an embarrassment all around. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The U.S. Justice Department said it is planning to prosecute controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange." And while everybody continues to focus on the releasing of the DNC emails, Julian Assange is wanted on crimes much older than that. You might remember Chelsea Manning.

How do you followup passing a Stand Your Ground law after gaveling down a speech by a prominent African-American representative? "Ohio’s GOP-controlled House passed a bill to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks before many people even know they’re pregnant. In a 58 to 35 vote Thursday, the House sent the measure to the Senate." Ohio, the heart of fuck you conservatism. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In partnership with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump White House has secured lifetime appointments for 29 appeals court judges and 53 district court judges. That's not to mention two Supreme Court nominees." And they're mostly white males (Trump's nominees are 77% male and 83% white). I know you're shocked.

"Something happened at the Capitol Tuesday to reaffirm my long-held view that liberals should stop believing what conservatives say liberals believe." A tweet storm of truth. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a speech to the conservative Federalist Society… In it, Lee warned of a brewing civil war, and claimed that the only way to avert violence would be to eradicate a long list of federal programs including 'the interstate highway system,' funding for 'K through 12 public education,' 'federal higher education accreditation,' 'early childhood education, the Department of Commerce,' 'housing policy, workforce regulation,' and what Lee labeled the 'huge glut of federally owned land.'" BINGO! I got Bingo! And yes, there are conservatives, considered "mainstream" who believe this. Dear Sen. Lee, that's exactly what will have us liberals shooting mad. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"It's one thing to read about the 340,134 Georgia voters who were wrongly purged from the rolls. That is, to be sure, an eye-popping number — if even a quarter of those voters had gone to the polls and been permitted to vote on Election Day, the odds are overwhelming that Democrat Stacey Abrams would have at least been able to force a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp, if not defeat him outright. But as with all statistics, the abstract number can obscure the human toll." Yes one party is attempting to steal elections, and it's the party shouting the loudest about other people stealing elections. The GOP's habit of projection continues.

Flipping twenty House seats is considered a "wave" election. "On Thursday, Democrat Jared Golden beat Maine Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, marking the 33rd seat pickup for Democrats in the 2018 election."

Michael Avenatti was arrested on charges of domestic abuse, however Jacob Wohl's Surefire Intelligence claimed it as a victory. There's very little information than that, so I'm not linking to any articles. Just like Project Veritas reports, these should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office is exploring whether longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit a witness who is contradicting Mr. Stone’s version of events about his contacts with WikiLeaks, according to people who have spoken to Mr. Mueller’s investigators." (Grokked for someone, sorry, lost the link)

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday indicated during an interview that he tapped former US attorney Matthew Whitaker to replace then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation." I still have the feeling the Presidents personal lawyers are just drinking themselves into a stupor at night.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Linkee-poo Thursday

"The latest problem to be linked to global warming: male sperm counts." Now they're just reaching for things to get conservatives' attention. It won't work. Those you're trying to reach are also those who buy the testosterone pills on TV.

"The Food and Drug Administration said Losartan could contain an impurity that has been classified as a probable human carcinogen, known to cause cancer." That sucks. I wonder how that contaminate mysteriously got into the process? Doesn't Big Pharma continuously tell us how stringent their production quality issues are, which are a reason why drug prices are so high? It's almost as if they were lying the whole time.

"A couple of raccoons in West Virginia aren't rabid, they're just 'drunk,' police say." Alright, buddy, recite the alphabet backwards.

"NASA has announced the discovery of a massive meteorite impact crater hidden deep beneath the Greenland ice. The crater measures over 19 miles wide and 1,000ft deep, making it one of the top 25 largest impact craters on the planet. The discovery was made by a team of researchers led by the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark."

"Scientists announced this week that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei has finally achieved a temperature exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius, setting a new record in fusion technology and bringing us closer to a new age in energy." Imagine going away and forgetting that you left that oven on. "Tokamaks like China's EAST reactor use the magnetic fields produced by the moving plasma itself to keep its wobble in check. This makes it less stable, but allows physicists to turn up the heat." What could possibly go wrong.

"Americans seeking to stay healthy can get their exercise in small increments of just a few minutes at a time, according to new guidelines issued by the government Monday that again encourage a largely sedentary nation to start moving."

"Researchers expect that three dozen new drugs will come on the market over the next few years with astronomical prices — some likely topping a million dollars per patient." So, how do you pay for a $1m dose of medicine? And will insurance actually pay for it? And if they do an installment plan, while they are covering their asses in case the treatment doesn't work, what happens if you change insurance plans (or employers, or get laid off, or switch to Medicare…). They don't cover that part.

"Ford Motor Co. delivered a message to skeptical investors wanting answers about its Auto 2.0 strategy: We're doing more than you think." (Look busy, the boss is coming) No, really we are working hard.

The rich are just like you and me. "Just like in many of the towns and neighborhoods in this region, Hidden Hills residents were ordered to evacuate their homes as the Woolsey fire approached. But unlike thousands of others, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian did not have to leave their fate up to erratic winds and unpredictable floating embers. They had other options. They called in a team of private firefighters who saved their $60 million mansion and many of the other houses in their neighborhood." 'Cause that's cheaper than paying actual taxes that would support everybody's safety.

"As the scope of a deadly Northern California wildfire set in, the sheriff said more than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through the charred remains in search for more bodies. The blaze has killed at least 56 people and authorities say 130 are unaccounted for."

"If California electric utility PG&E is responsible for California's wildfires, it may not be able to afford the payouts it would owe." This is why you carry insurance, they just didn't carry enough insurance. Also note that utilities are actually responsible for a lot of the wildfires in California.

An in an attempt to give cover to conservative candidates and their racist or ignorant statements, Fox News would like you to know that people also get upset over liberals' statements. Like John Cleese making a joke about people escaping the California wildfires eating diner in a restaurant and ordering everything "flambeed." Because, yes, that's just like calling immigrants "dirt", making a public hanging spectator reference when your opponent is African-American, or saying people are evil for condoning (and trying to make safe) abortion. Exactly the same. I didn't get a harrumph outta that guy.

"'He tried to explain to us that he was making his own version of a firework,' Lake Helen Police Chief Mike Walker said." While there's a lot of "TATP is used by ISIS" in the article, understand that it's a well known compound. But they are correct, most people who try making it without some assistance usually blow themselves up (making bombs is a skill). And he might have been making it for himself, except for the switches. It depends on his construction of those switches (and exactly what type of switches they are). While there's not much to go on from the photo on the article, that doesn't look like it's meant for home use (but I'm not an expert here).

"Tyler Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making a false report resulting in a death, after he placed a hoax call late last year that resulted in police fatally shooting an unarmed man in Wichita, Kan."

"Saudi prosecutors said Thursday they would seek the death penalty for five people allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi… It also shared details of the journalist's murder, saying Khashoggi was killed following 'a fight and a quarrel' at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him, then his body was chopped up and given to a local collaborator, the prosecutor said." Yeah, that totally sounds accidental. Do you all test these ideas outside a conference room?

"Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s senior campaign adviser, Brad Todd, repeatedly refused to commit to certifying the results of Florida’s US Senate election, during CNN interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning, if Scott ends up losing in a recount to Democrat Bill Nelson." Republicans want all votes counted, unless it means they lose. This sloppy rhetoric isn't just aspirational, it's the kind that will get people killed. "Scott’s evidence-free howls about election fraud have been echoed by President Trump. On Tuesday, Trump suggested Democrats in Broward and Palm Beach counties are fabricating ballots. Again, there is no reason to believe they are." If these charges were true, that is a crime of immense impact. But they're treating it like someone stealing a pack of gum.

"Sterling plunged by over 1 percent against the dollar Thursday morning after U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned from his post, piling yet more pressure on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May." I'm not sure 1% constitutes a "plunge", but the narrative is "ZOMG! The. Sky. Is. Falling."

"The slump reflects a fundamental change in the outlook for the oil prices. A month ago, traders were concerned that a looming shortage of oil would push crude futures to $100 a barrel. Now, supply is expected to swamp demand at the start of 2019." Why it's almost as if there's a global slowdown (as well as "tough sanctions again Iran" that are neither tough nor real sanctions). Fancy that.

"Gas prices are plunging as the Thanksgiving holiday travel period approaches… Gas prices neared a four-year high in October, when they briefly topped $2.90 per gallon, but have since retreated." Why it's a Nightmare Before Christmas miracle. Here I'll just note that over the summer the American oil industry was riding high. Prices were back in the "time to explore/speculate, again" range and crews were getting back to work. Drilling platforms were in short supply. Now all that ramping up with either try to coast on fumes, expecting another oil price spike, or will collapse even more than before. "Other factors include declining global demand. Investors believe the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may cut production in a bid to prop up prices, but anticipating that relief hasn't helped boost prices." How's our relationship with the Saudis and Venezuela?

"President Trump on Tuesday announced the nomination of retired Army Gen. John Abizaid as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia — a move that would fill a vacancy that's been open since the administration's first days." Oh, hey, 2 years in and we're finally getting around to filling (some) ambassadorships. Great work there, Donny.

"Vice President Mike Pence confronted Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday over the 'violence and persecution' of her country's Rohingya Muslims." The VP goes for the low hanging fruit. Also, conservatives are still upset at Suu Kyi winning the peace prize when they think GW should have. Not to mention they're still stinging from President Obama having won one. While you'r sin the mood, Mr. VP, and in the area why don't you call out China's persecution of Uighurs and point out to our friends in the Philippines that the extra-judicial kills need to stop. And while you're at it, maybe tell our Saudi allies to stop their campaign of assassinations and political extortion. And then look Putin in the eye and tell him to stop the killing and harassment of the LGBTQ population. Frankly, Mr. Pence, I don't think you have the intestinal fortitude to do it.

"Israel's defence minister has resigned over the cabinet's decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza."

Trump is doing such a good job for veterans. "A House committee will hear testimony Thursday from Department of Veterans Affairs officials over delayed GI Bill payments potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of veterans. NBC News reported Sunday that IT glitches at VA have caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed for months or never be delivered, forcing some veterans to face debt or even homelessness." That person is leaving that position to run one of the local VA facilities. The problem is still not fixed.

Whelp, thank the gods that election is (almost) over. Whew. "The holiday dinner conversations are going to be intense in several high-profile Democratic households in the coming weeks, as potential candidates near decisions on whether to run for president in 2020." Oh fuck. Well, for me, I could scratch 9 off that list right away.

"Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's temporary appointment was legal, the Justice Department said in a memo on Wednesday — but it did not address whether he must recuse himself from the Russia investigation." So the DoJ, which Whitaker now head, released a memo that states his appointment was legal. So, "Man says what he's doing is legal." Not exactly unexpected. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

"'Yes, he's pissed -- at damn near everyone,' a White House official said, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week. After nearly a month straight of campaigning before adoring crowds, the applause has gone silent and the President has retreated. The tempest has led to rampant speculation inside the building about the fates of other senior staffers, some of whom are beginning to plan their exits." Apparently the president is a sore loser (as well as a sore winner). Can't wait to hear the hot takes on how all this disfunction is actually good for the country and exhibits Trump's winning style.

"The U.S. will not require North Korea to provide a complete list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites before President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un meet for a second time, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News exclusively on Thursday." The world is laughing at you, Donnie.