I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Friday, December 14, 2018

Linkee-poo closes out another week

"French authorities say the man suspected of launching a shooting attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market that killed three people and wounded 13 others was slain by police Thursday, ending an extensive two-day manhunt."

"Quindar Tones" for your world building exercises. (Grokked from Dan)

"But this year brings a skywatching bonus: the Geminids peak comes Thursday and Friday night, just as the brightest comet of the year, 46P/Wirtanen, is set to come historically close just a few nights later on Dec. 16."

"During a test flight Thursday morning in Mojave, Calif., a pair of pilots flying the company's SpaceShipTwo spacecraft hit an altitude of 51.4 miles. That height clears the 50-mile threshold that is sometimes considered the boundary of space."

"SpaceX has completed what might be its most important Falcon 9 reuse yet after successfully launching and recovering booster B1046 for the third time in just six months. Prior to this launch, the company had never before flown a reused Falcon 9 booster more than once." There's a lot of "rah rah team" going on in the article, but still interesting. (Grokked from Dan)

"Organizers of a Christmas event have apologized to outraged parents after a fire alarm reportedly prompted Santa Claus to burst out of his grotto, rip off his beard and scream at children to 'get the f**k out.'" (Grokked from Anne Wheaton)

"The Arctic has experienced the 'most unprecedented transition in history' in terms of warming temperatures and melting ice, and those changes may be the cause of extreme weather around the globe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2018 Arctic Report Card." We're boned. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"House Republicans on Thursday worked to build a case for the Trump administration to stop federal funding of research on tissue from aborted fetuses while Democrats brandished a scientist's letter that undercut the GOP claims." This argument is not about facts or even religion, it's about keeping power in conservative hands. And fuck everybody else.

"Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. The latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113 percent each year from 2013 through 2016."

"About twenty people were in line at 11:00 am today for the start of a free Narcan distribution at the Blasco Library… The 120 kits were gone in two hours." America's drug problem is bigger than anyone wants to admit.

The Takeaway podcast with "A new survey from Bankrate.com suggests that six in ten Americans did not see a pay raise in the past year."

"Over the past two years, the Geauga County Sheriff's Office tells News 5 there have been nearly 80 crashes involving Amish buggies with many of them involving some kind of injury. Those injuries appear to be happening at a faster rate than data provided by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) , which said from 2010 - 2014, there were 83 crashes and a few fatalities." I drive some of those roads with "buggy lanes." Yeah, they're not as helpful as you might think. But I do agree that the rural infrastructure has been ignored. If you think roads are bad in your suburb (or city neighborhood), just take a step off the main highways in the rural US.

"'Sandy Hook Promise,' a non-profit anti-gun violence group formed after the attack, is training students around the nation to spot warning signs in other would–be shooters, and to anonymously report concerns through a mobile app. The Say Something Anonymous Reporting System soft launched earlier this year, and is now rolling out in earnest; SHP says the total number of school districts using it will jump from about 150 to more than 600 next month." I think it's an interesting idea, but I think it's solely based on reverse thinking. "This person did this and they were the shooter ergo all shooters do this…" While ignoring that not all shooters do that, and many people do those things and they will never be shooters. But I am glad it's catching kids who are headed to suicide.

"A criminal complaint filed this week in federal court details what agents found when they entered and searched a Willow Run Drive home in South Toledo — an AK-47, a shotgun, multiple handguns, ammunition, and a shopping bag full of end caps, a component often used to build pipe bombs." (Grokked from Michele)

"By Thursday night, more than 25,000 people had signed a petition for Judge Ralph Strother of McLennan County, Texas, to either resign or be removed from the bench after he accepted on Monday a deal that allowed Jacob Anderson to plea down to unlawful restraint, with deferred probation, counseling and a fine but no requirement he register as a sex offender." Good, but it won't do anything.

"Dozens of institutions across the country, including locations in Cleveland and Geauga and Stark counties, have received emailed bomb threats that appear to be hoaxes… The email appears to have originated from outside the United States, according to Stark County authorities." I guess the Nigerian princes are getting restless.

"A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday." When you take someone into custody you have a legal and moral obligation to see to their health and wellbeing. CBP, and the US, failed in this regard.

And then there were two. "China has detained a second Canadian citizen this week, a Chinese government news site has confirmed. China's state security bureau is holding Michael Spavor on suspicion of jeopardizing China's national security. As NPR's Rob Schmitz reports, the detentions appear to be retaliation for Canada's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou."

Brexit? "EU refuses to help British PM over Brexit, says 'it is not open for renegotiation'". Dear Britains, since your country voted to leave you have never been in the driver's seat, and the only reason you thought you would be were dreams of Empire Past.

"The United States and South Korea have failed to agree on a bigger South Korean share of the cost of maintaining U.S. troops, an official said on Friday, as the U.S. military warned Korean workers they might be put on leave if no deal is reached." Yeah, this won't end well either.

"Rep.-elect Mark Green (R-TN), a physician, is walking back his statement about vaccinations possibly causing autism after sharp backlash, according to a Wednesday night Washington Post report." The guy is a doctor, but he's going to find the actual reports to prove vaccines cause autism once he's in office. Proving once again, just because you have a fancy degree does not mean you're intelligent.

"Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen warned party leaders that what she sees as the GOP's focus on conservative, white, male voters harms its electoral prospects. In an interview with Morning Edition host Rachel Martin, Ros-Lehtinen said Republicans would 'lose this whole generation' if it did not 'aggressively pursue' young voters." I love conservatives who talk about how all the stuff the GOP supports and the direction it's going isn't "their" Republican Party. No, it is. You have to wake up to the fact that it's always been this party (at least since mid-last century). Until conservatives realize they need to dump social conservatives (reverse the Reagan Compromise) they went full in on the path codified by Nixon's Southern Strategy and born from the embrace of what was once called the lunatic right-wing fringe (Birchers).

"From televised blow-up to relative silence: spending negotiations remain frozen as the days tick away toward a partial government shutdown. The next big question now is what House GOP leaders, in their final days in the majority, will do to kick the legislative process into gear. As of Wednesday night, decisions hadn't been finalized -- and there were clear strategic disputes inside the conference about the next steps."

"The House and Senate left town Thursday with no strategy to avert a partial government shutdown next week, putting Congress on the brink of an intractable conflict that could drag out through New Year’s Day — furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers and costing taxpayers millions." There is no plan. That pretty much defines GOP control of the House for the last 8 years.

"Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to President Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over American policy, according to people familiar with the inquiry." There are also questions as to where all the money went.

"Admitted Russian spy Maria Butina’s Republican operative boyfriend wrote in private communications that he was involved in setting up a 'very private line of communication' between Russia and the Trump campaign using the National Rifle Association as a 'conduit.'" So my first thought is that this is interesting. I wonder how much of the NRA membership will like that? And my second thought is have we now entered a new phase of this operation where some of these big shoes will begin to drop (which will further erode confidence in out institutions and add more chaos to the situation)? (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"Parkland, Fla., school shooting survivor David Hogg offered 'thoughts and prayers' to the public relations team at the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Thursday after a Russian woman with ties to the group pleaded guilty in federal court to acting as an unregistered foreign agent." Aw, that's nice of him.

"The President did not dispute directing Cohen to make payments to women who accused him of having an affair in order to keep them quiet, but said he did not direct Cohen to break the law while doing so." Ah, we've arrived at the "sure, okay, it was illegal, but I never said to do it" stage. That's not how the world works. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

"In Trump's universe, Mexico is already paying for the wall. And the crimes for which Michael Cohen is going to jail aren't crimes after all; they were added to his rap sheet by prosecutors as a dig at Trump." The weather is just fine in Trump's head.

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