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

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Linkee-poo where'd all the pączki go?

Howard Tayler's lecture on humor. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"For the very first time, NASA has captured the shockwaves of two supersonic jets interacting in mid-flight, and the result is so brilliant, even the researchers are amazed."

"One of the big questions surrounding the first launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft was how the Russians would react. They have held considerable sway in the International Space Station partnership by controlling access to the orbiting laboratory since the 2011 retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle. So far, the Russian response has been one of throwing small bits of shade here and there but trying not to be too obvious about it." Waves to our Russian friends. (Grokked from John)

"For more than a month, oil has been pouring out of a large ship that ran aground in the Solomon Islands next to a fragile UNESCO World Heritage site, and there's growing outrage that the companies responsible have not taken action to stop the environmental destruction."

How go the Trade Wars? "The US trade gap with the rest of the world jumped to a 10-year high of $621bn (£472.5bn) last year, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump's deficit reduction plan." (Grokked from Dan)

How goes Brexit? "Britain’s government should urgently unveil its plans for tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit, MPs said on Wednesday after media reports that levies could be slashed for up to 90 percent of imports." Someone is late with their homework.

(This is an opinion article, but has some good research) "Major defeats for center-left political candidates are partly the reason for the decline in top marginal tax rates, but now the topic is back on the table. This extraordinary chart from Saravelos could perhaps be of use to progressive Democrats. In terms of post-tax income, the 34 years to 1980 (when Ronald Reagan and the low-tax agenda arrived) saw virtually everybody in the U.S. double their income, apart from the very wealthy. The years since have seen almost half the population fail to register any growth in their income at all, while the very wealthiest have enjoyed extraordinary growth." Almost forty-years of "trickle-down" philosophy, and they still expect us to believe in it. It's time to recategorize streams of revenue as income again, and increase the marginal rates. It's time to end the charade of conservative economic theory. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"A petition signed by more than 1,000 Catholics asks church officials to reconsider a decision banning a child of a same-sex couple from attending a local Catholic grade school, reports CBS Kansas City, Missouri affiliate KCTV. The petition is signed by parishioners of the St. Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village, Kansas and more than 20 other parishes in the metropolitan area." So what does the marriage status of the parents have to do with the education of the child? The Church also teaches against divorce. Are children whose parents are divorced also excluded from the school?

"A bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour has cleared a legislative hurdle that sets it up for a vote by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks." Hurrah! It doesn't have a chance in the Senate. You know what would be nice along with this bill, a mechanism for increases. Say something tied to inflation so it's not another decade before minimum wage workers see a raise.

"A new study suggests the reforms contributed to a rise in problematic teen behaviors, such as skipping school, getting in fights and using drugs. These problems were especially pronounced in boys, researchers report in a paper posted online February 11 on the National Bureau of Economic Research website." You say that like it wasn't the intended effect. The research here is a little murky, and will probably be mostly used for the "Families Should Stay Together" crowd (to which I retort, "domestic violence, fuck you").

"Income inequality and disparities in access to resources are factors that pose serious threats to human rights across the globe and have already sparked violent protests in some countries, a top United Nations official said Wednesday."

"A rule drawn up by the CFPB under then President Barack Obama would make it harder for Angela to get her payday loan. Under the proposed rule, which did not take effect, lenders would have to determine that borrowers could afford to repay their loans. Now the bureau has proposed rescinding the rule. It is the first high-profile move by Kathy Kraninger, who was confirmed as the CFPB's director in late 2018." So instead of fixing the economy, we'll make sure companies have unfettered rights to rip off the poor. That'll work.

"Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a House committee Wednesday that she was 'not familiar' with the idea of toxic stress, which can be the result of intense, repetitive or prolonged adversity, particularly in children." If we cataloged all of the things this cabinet didn't actually know about real life, we're gonna be here all month. (Grokked from Liz Winstead)

"Democrats in the House and Senate introduced companions bills aimed at reinstating the Obama-era net neutrality rules that prohibited broadband providers from blocking or throttling websites or offering preferred businesses higher-quality service for additional fees." I doubt it'll get anywhere, but it's good to see Democrats fighting.

"What began as a fresh effort to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of Rep. Ilhan Omar's latest controversial comments on Israel policy has evolved into a sprawling debate and expanding resolution exposing deep fault lines in the Democratic caucus." But here's the difference between the parties is the Democrats will learn from this and change.

"US intelligence officials will no longer be required to publicly disclose the number of civilians killed in airstrikes against terrorist targets 'outside areas of active hostilities' due to a new executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday." Not that it'll really change much in the real world, but before this they should have. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"'(MSB has) gone full gangster,' said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 'and it's difficult to work with a guy like that.'" Oh Sen. Rubio, allow me to introduce you to the 70s,. Also you may be familiar with Fulgencio Batista.

"North Korea’s state TV has aired a documentary glorifying leader Kim Jong Un’s recent visit to Vietnam that omitted the failed nuclear negotiations with President Donald Trump." Because for the North Koreans it was still a success.

Strike two! "A second federal judge has issued a court order to block the Trump administration's plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census."

"The Democratic National Committee will not allow Fox News to broadcast any of its 2020 presidential primary debates, citing a recent report about the close relationship between the Trump administration and the conservative cable network." Queue the right-wing outrage machine!

"For as much information as Trump's former lawyer has given Congress — and prosecutors — about his previous life, there are as many questions raised by his testimony that don't yet have clear answers."

"The Conservative Political Action Conference… It’s like Burning Man for Republicans, only instead of inclusion, self-expression, and cheerful nudity, there was conservative rage, xenophobia, and howling conspiracy." Jim Wright on the president's asteroid strike of a speech.

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