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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"If you've ever wondered what Waititi's creative process is like, then you'll want to dig into the insight offered up in this interview with the good folks at BAFTA." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin) The universe wants us dead. The Crab Nebula Pulsar… "An object just a few kilometers across… generates power on such an enormous scale that a single photon screaming away from it at 300,000 kilometers per second can travel 6.5 quadrillion kilometers across space with so much energy in it that if it were to hit you and you absorbed that energy in your skin you could actually feel it. From a single photon." Whoa. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"What will I see during a black moon?… A black moon is really just a new moon, the only real significance is that it's the second one. So you won't even see the moon, because it will blend in with the sky. The moon is also going to be a supermoon, meaning the moon will appear bigger than usual because it's closer to the Earth, but because it's a new moon you still won't be able to really see it." There's just… I can't… Jesus Haploid Christ (as my friend Jim says) help us.

"On July 3, the Indiana State Department of Health approved an application submitted by Dillinger's nephew, Michael Thompson. Dillinger's body will be exhumed and reinterred by September 16 at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, according to the permit."

"Two men were killed Tuesday in a shooting at a Mississippi Walmart in Southaven, and a suspect described as a disgruntled former employee was in custody, Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore said." And then they came for us at the Walmarts. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"With the legal fight to block a citizenship question from the 2020 census behind them, immigrant rights groups and other advocates are now turning towards what they consider an even greater challenge – getting every person living in the U.S. counted."

Let's allow concealed carry in places that serve alcohol. What could go wrong? "According to the incident report, Dennard fired his gun inside the Tunnel Hill restaurant because 'someone stole his wallet and he was in fear for his life'… One witness told deputies Dennard had 4 shots of tequila and got his own beer from a refrigerator." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

How go the Trade Wars? "U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a brief round of trade talks on Wednesday that Beijing described as 'constructive', including discussion of further purchases of American farm goods and an agreement to reconvene in September." Man, we've been having "constructive" talks for almost 2 years now. You'd think they would have actually built something by now.

"A week after similar tests, North Korea has again fired two short-range missiles into the waters that separate it from Japan, according to South Korea's military." But I'm sure the next letter to the president will be just as lovely as the first couple.

So after the biggest give-away to the richest among us, known as the Trump tax bill, what's next? "In a letter sent to Steve Mnuchin on Monday, (Sen. Ted Cruz) urged the Treasury Secretary to use his 'authority' to index capital gains to inflation, a move that would almost exclusively benefit the mega-rich." Because it's never enough. Tax the rich. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The far right traffics heavily in projection, and this 'antifa panic' is no exception. The far right is desperately trying to depict the radical left as doing what the far right itself is actually guilty of: engaging in sustained, murderous violence with deliberate indifference from the highest levels of the government." The fascists are trying to consolidate power and make illegal any resistance to their white-nationalist agenda. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

A long article on the Rise and coming Fall of Alan Dershowitz (with his connections to Epstein). (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Oh look, Himler Without the Whimsy is at it again. "White House operative Stephen Miller is maneuvering to further sabotage the asylum process by replacing highly trained career staff with border cops at a crucial early stage… The scheme would shift responsibility for initial 'credible fear interviews' with asylum-seekers away from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency where it’s rested for years. Miller is eager to replace USCIS’s professional asylum interviewers with Border Patrol officers, emails reported by NBC News suggest."

"The U.S. and Guatemala are still negotiating a deal to establish a 'safe third country' agreement, despite President Trump's announcement on Friday that Guatemala had agreed to take in more asylum-seekers from other Central American nations." Many people that are showing up at our southern border are from Guatemala. If they can't protect their own citizens, how can they take in other countries' citizens and protect them?

The racism problem in the GOP is only new so they haven't been able to figure it out yet. "Reagan said, 'To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes!'"

"We can, however, definitively fact-check his claim that African Americans are generally pleased with his performance… They are not." But Diamond and Silk still love him, amIright?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesdays

"Scientists don't know much yet about the long-term effects of 'vape juice,' the liquid used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. But researchers analyzing the liquid and the vapor produced when it's heated say some kinds of e-liquids are reacting to form irritating chemicals called acetals while they're sitting on shelves." Oopsies.

"To summarize: The bill would subsidize four uncompetitive power plants, remove all incentive to build more renewable energy projects, and cancel efforts to help customers use less energy. It is a bill only a utility (and the lawmakers who do its bidding) could love, an extravagant gift to utility investors that hoses Ohio ratepayers." Yep. Our conservative government at work, for their sponsors. We've paid for these plants over and over (and over) again. Conservatives are all for the free market, until it's their money about to be lost.

"They've created a contact lens, controlled by eye movements, that can zoom in if you blink twice." Because why the fuck not. Waits for the inevitable traffic crashes and other accidents that will result.

The thing about the "opioid crisis" is that they is always a drug crisis in America. It's just that the drug of choice changes are market forces put people in different directions (and this is why the "pain misuse" argument is bullshit). "Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018." Remember meth? The reason why you can't buy good decongestants until you have your license information scanned in and star of the "Breaking Bad" series? It's back. Remember cocaine? It never left.

"The gunman who police say opened fire at a popular garlic festival in Northern California and killed three people reportedly referenced a neo-Nazi manifesto on social media before the shooting." This is my shocked face. So while the government is attempting to classify antifa as a terrorist organization, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists continue to kill people where as antifa doesn't.

They're just like you and me. "A rising number of American workers may be feeling nearly as dazzled on the job. One of the fastest-growing job categories of the past decade has been in what David Autor, an economics professor at MIT, calls 'wealth work': Catering to the whims and desires of affluent households." Well, I guess they are at least creating some jobs. "Yet economists note that most so-called wealth jobs don’t benefit workers or the economy as much as traditional employment does. Most wealth workers are self-employed and so lack employer-provided health insurance, retirement plans and other benefits. They often earn relatively low wages, and their incomes tend to fluctuate depending on how many clients they have. Nor do they have many opportunities to learn new skills, undergo advanced training or move up a career ladder."

How go the Trade Wars? "President Donald Trump is threatening to get 'much tougher' with China on trade if he wins reelection in 2020." There's only so much blood in a stone.

How goes Brexit? "The pound has continued to fall on currency markets as the government insists that the UK is prepared to leave the EU without a deal… Sterling hit a fresh two-year low of $1.2120 against the dollar on Tuesday, before recovering some ground."

What was in your wallet? "Millions of Capital One customers have been affected by a data breach that the bank says happened in March when a software engineer allegedly exploited a vulnerability to access its systems."

"Central bank officials are expected to cut interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis not because Trump demanded it. Instead, they will move in part because the president’s bruising trade policy has helped fuel a global manufacturing slowdown and injected deep uncertainty into executive suites around the world." This is all just, "they gotta cut rates" argument, ignoring the argument about keeping your powder try in case you have to lower rates later.

"U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro contended Monday that analysis of federation finances showed that it paid members of the women's national team millions of dollars more than members of the men's national team over a period of nearly a decade." But only when you don't include the amount FIFA paid for World Cup bonuses and when you consider that the women's team has won how many championships in that time whereas the men have even failed to qualify most of the time. Also USSF just ignored a lot of other money that has been paid out to the men's team.

"Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against their family members are no longer eligible for asylum." Performative cruelty.

"Carol Evans approves of Donald Trump’s immigration policy. She gives him credit for the strong economy. But the Republican from the affluent Milwaukee suburbs of Waukesha County, a GOP bedrock in the state, just can’t commit to voting for the president next year like she did in 2016." They aren't full-on racists, just mildly racists. Don't worry, they'll still vote for him over choosing a dirty liberal.

"Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in recent months saw his warnings about threats posed by Russia watered down by the White House, The New York Times reported Sunday." If only we could see a connection…

"Mary Anne Marsh, a political analyst for Fox News, raised concerns on Monday that President Donald Trump appeared to be consolidating his control over the U.S. intelligence community with the nomination of GOP Representative John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence." Almost there…

"A conservative lawyer and writer who argues for selling off the nation’s public lands is now in charge of a nearly quarter-billion acres in federally held rangeland and other wilderness." It's a fire sale.

"When candidate Donald Trump prepared to give a major energy speech during the 2016 campaign, one of his closest advisers provided a pre-speech review to senior United Arab Emirates officials, an unorthodox move that caught the attention of federal investigators, according to emails and text messages uncovered by a House Oversight Committee investigation." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump is claiming a groundswell of African American support in response to his comments insulting Rep. Elijah Cummings and calling his majority-black Baltimore district a 'disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.'" They love him in the emails.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Linkee-poo late Monday

"Gray is at the hospital because she volunteered for one of the most anticipated medical experiments in decades: the first attempt to use the gene-editing technique CRISPR to treat a genetic disorder in the U.S."

So how's our greatest healthcare system in the world going? "After Kim Lauerman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, doctors wanted to give her a drug that helps prevent infections and fever during chemotherapy. Her insurer said no."

"Mass shootings like the one that struck the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, have become the 'new normal' in the US, James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst, said Monday." Ain't that fucking happy.

"Opus Bono established itself as a counterpoint to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups that have accused the church of trying to cover up the scandal and failing to support victims of clergy misconduct. Opus Bono focuses on what it considers the neglected victims: priests, and the church itself." Uh, yeah, Bob.

"Often described as a 'slow-moving disaster,' the problem is caused by an iron sulfide known as pyrrhotite, which causes concrete to crack and break gradually as it becomes exposed to water and oxygen. The material containing pyrrhotite has been traced to a Willington quarry used between 1983 and 2015 by a now-defunct concrete company."

How goes Brexit? "Britain is turbo-charging its no-deal Brexit preparations and will be ready to leave the European Union with or without a deal on Oct. 31, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday." For a country that sometimes bemoans the loss of empire, I'm not sure they'll realize just how much they'll miss where they were 3 years ago.

"U.S. central bankers are expected to lower borrowing costs this week for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago. That’s the easy part." Chickens. Basket. Hatching. Hell. Going to. Counting. "One reason: No clear consensus from Fed officials about why they need to cut rates in the first place, particularly with the U.S. unemployment rate near a 50-year low and the American economy puttering along as the best-in-class performer among developed nations."

"Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Sunday announced his plans to step down in a letter to President Trump."

"The Trump administration determined that more than 500,000 children would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals under a proposed overhaul to the food stamp program, but left that figure out of its formal proposal, according to House Democrats." Fuckers. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"US President Donald Trump has denied being a racist after remarks he made about a black Democratic Congressman and the US city of Baltimore." Prominent racists says he doesn't hate anybody so can't possibly be racist. As to why the row started, uh, Rep. Cummings just won approval to subpoena Ivanka and Jared's emails where the conducted government business using their private email accounts. Naughty naughty.

"The goal is a new round of "working-level" talks between experts from the two nations. President Trump and North Korean president Kim Jong Un agreed to make such an effort during their dramatic meeting in June at the fortified boundary between North and South Korea." Low energy, no-followthrough.

"Four days after being arrested by Russian authorities, Alexei Navalny, a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin, has been hospitalized with what his spokeswoman has described as an 'allergic reaction.'" For those of you born after the fall of the Iron Curtain, "allergic reaction" is Kremlin speak for "poisoning" (and possibly radiation poisoning).

Alligators

Sorry, alligators ate all my homework, paper, pencils, pens and most of my desk. If I get a linkee-poo out today it will be laters.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Linkee-poo is off for the weekend

Caught a bunch of typos at the last minute. Hope I caught them all.

Jerry Seinfeld's 5 step comedy writing process.

"A friend recently asked me, 'I’ve written a short story! Now what? How do I sell it?'" Marie Vibbert with some advice for beginners.

"Upon reexamination in the light, these stories are as simple and plainly told as folktales and urban legends. Which is exactly what they were. Schwartz, the man behind your childhood nightmares, was in fact a scholarly folklorist, author of more than fifty books, and the father to four children, who helped him to develop his work. As the children’s literature scholar Sylvia M. Vardell writes: 'Who has done for folklore for children in the United States what the Grimm brothers did in Germany…? Alvin Schwartz, that’s who!'" (Grokked from Bo Bolander)

The Throughline podcast about Milliken v. Bradley. "After the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, public schools across the country were supposed to become more integrated, but by the 1970s, many weren't. As a way to remedy segregation in their city, the Detroit school board introduced busing across Detroit, including the suburbs. But the plan was met with so much resistance that the issue eventually led all the way to the Supreme Court."

And a little more about the Milliken v Bradley fallout. "Roughly 9 million children — nearly 1 in 5 public school students in the U.S. — attend schools that are racially isolated and receive far less money than schools just a few miles away. That's according to a sweeping new review of the nation's most divisive school district borders from EdBuild, a nonprofit that investigates school funding inequities." Why do we celebrate Brown v Board of Education in our culture (well, not everywhere), but then like to ignore the Milliken v. Bradley decision? Because we're all about thinking we are socially progressive (or at least for most of my life), but we just don't want to have to actually do the hard work.

How is this still working? Well, here's an example just up the road from me. "Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday blocked a last-minute provision, stealthily inserted by state lawmakers into a 3,000-page budget bill earlier in the week, that would have cut property taxes for residents of wealthy Hunting Valley and cost the local school district millions of dollars." Hunting Valley is very wealthy (locally only Moreland Hills is more wealthy) and very white, but they're a part of the Orange City Schools. Orange is a magnet school that families will break themselves buying any home in the area to send their kids to that school. Many of those people are black. And note the governor's veto wasn't because this was a dumb ass idea (capping total property tax), but that specific communities were called out and not everyone benefited from the tax break. Not that our way of funding schools in Ohio hasn't been found unconstitutional (twice) or that there are systemic funding issues. The amendment "…would have capped the property taxes Hunting Valley residents paid at four times the average operating expenditure per village student enrolled in Orange schools." Most students in Hunting Valley attend private schools, so that catch about how many student "attend" the public school would have drastically cut their taxes.

"Anti-LGBTQ Tennessee Republican resigns after he’s busted for trolling for young men on Grindr." So that's makes how many? Shit, I've lost count. Also, the site is RawStory, which does have a political bent to it, but is somewhat reputable, however just a warning that I did receive a malware invite while clicking off of the story (fake Flash upgrade). My guess is it was one of the ads on the site. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Some models of Airbus A350 airliners still need to be hard rebooted after exactly 149 hours, despite warnings from the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) first issued two years ago… In a mandatory airworthiness directive (AD) reissued earlier this week, EASA urged operators to turn their A350s off and on again to prevent 'partial or total loss of some avionics systems or functions'." So that's what Boeing Execs have been up to all this time. Update your OS, y'all. (Grokked from Dan)

How goes Brexit? "On his first full day in office, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the European Union on Thursday to rethink its refusal to renegotiate the Brexit deal, setting himself on a twin-track collision course — with the bloc and his own lawmakers — over his vow to leave the EU by Oct. 31." The EU is preparing for a hard Brexit. While I expect them to "talk" with Boris (or his proxy), which Boris will claim as a victory, the meeting will consist of explaining the EU's position where they've already given the "best" deal and it's up to the UK to accept it or walk away. Hey Boris, let us know how that "positive thinking and a can-do attitude" works out.

"Sixteen U.S. Marines were arrested Thursday on human smuggling and drug allegations at a base in Southern California, military officials said." All the news stories would like to remind you these Marines were not deployed to the border in support of the president's military operations. So, they were self-deployed. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

How go the Trade Wars? "U.S. stocks retreated from record highs as large companies delivered weak earnings reports and disappointing forecasts."

"President Donald Trump failed to achieve his much-ballyhooed 3% target for economic growth in 2018 after all… Updated government figures show that gross domestic product expanded 2.5% on a fourth-quarter-over-fourth-quarter basis last year. That compares with a previous estimate of 3% and an upwardly revised 2.8% in 2017, the first year of Trump’s presidency." They always get you in the corrections.

And "GDP rose 2.1% in the second quarter, down from 3.1% in Q1." So much for that "great economic growth" he's been touting. Expect much tweeting about every other damn thing this weekend.

"An 18-year-old American citizen says he lost 26 pounds because he wasn’t given enough food during the more than three weeks he was wrongfully held by U.S. border agents."

"A U.S. Border Patrol chief on Thursday testified before the House Judiciary Committee that 18-year-old Francisco Erwin Galicia never claimed to be a U.S. citizen when he was in Border Patrol custody for 23 days… But that contradicts a notice to appear in immigration court served to Galicia in which the Department of Homeland Security accused him of falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen while in custody." Well, I know who needs to actually be in custody for making false statements to Congress and on government documents. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Planet Money podcast on a wealth tax.

"This is a fundraising script developed for Conservative Majority Fund, a political action committee. Its aggressive fundraising calls have raised millions of dollars in donations from individuals, many of whom gave small amounts. But most of the money ended up lining the pockets of the PAC’s fundraising firm and political consultants. The PAC and its fundraisers did not respond to requests for comment." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The U.S. government is poised to carry out the death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades, the Justice Department announced Thursday." I wish I could say this was about justice and not just more performative cruelty.

"A pro-Trump Republican candidate for Congress who is aiming to unseat Ilhan Omar in Minnesota has been charged with a felony after allegedly stealing from stores." Stellar candidate selection you've got there. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s warning that Russian interference is still happening 'as we sit' is putting pressure on Republican leaders in Congress to join Democrats in passing additional election security legislation." We'll see.

"Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure on Wednesday in the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller warning about meddling attempts during his public testimony before congressional lawmakers." So the answer is "nope".

"According to Axios, Trump has narrowed the list of possible sites for the 2020 G-7 conference down to a few finalists, and the Trump National Doral golf club in Miami is on the list." For most intelligent people in positions of power and in the public spotlight, they would eliminate the obvious conflict of interest without hesitation. Instead, Trump is probably trying to push this decision. Why? "The host country of each year’s conference foots the bill, and last year’s G-7 conference in Canada cost Canadian taxpayers an estimated $450 million." Your tax dollars at work.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Linkee-poo Thursday

Rutger Hauer, and so it goes. Also, Roy Batty isn't an "android", he's a "clone", but more like an engineered post-human. While most focus on his line about tears in the rain, what I remember most was a little before that. And as a writer, it's an excellent expose. Roy is asked exactly what his motivation is. "I want more life, fucker." All your characters should want something, even if it's just a glass of water (to paraphrase Vonnegut).

"Hulu might not have the answer to The Great Question, but it's cooking up something tHGttG fans may appreciate... if it does things right. The streaming platform is developing an adaptation of Douglas Adams' beloved classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, according to Deadline." Please don't suck.

More on the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 craft. (Grokked from Dan)

"According to Military.com, Wilson was speaking at the Apsen Security Forum when she remarked that the X-37B 'can do an orbit that looks like an egg and, when it's close to the Earth, it's close enough to the atmosphere to turn where it is… Which means our adversaries don't know—and that happens on the far side of the Earth from our adversaries—where it's going to come up next. And we know that that drives them nuts. And I'm really glad about that.'"

"The SpaceX rocket’s engine started for a short flight test on Wednesday — but the prototype did not move and an enduring flame shot skywards near the top of the rocket." Space is hard.

"But a pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years — a finding that undercuts claims that today’s global warming isn’t necessarily the result of human activity." It isn't that the deniers just don't see or understand the science the people driving the denial movement have strong economic interests, and the followers have a strong ideological interest, in ignoring reality.

"He quickly found he wasn't the only person reliant on Paonia's water with a dry tap. What he didn't know at that point was how long the shortage would last. From mid-February to early March most of the town's about 1,600 water customers were issued boil notices, and eventually saw their water turned off for a combined 13 days." The coming water wars.

Elsewhere, "It technically began last fall when Hurricane Florence swelled the Ohio River, but really it was all the unnamed storms that came after her — one after another after another, bringing rain on rain on rain across the central U.S. until the Mississippi River hit flood stage this winter." Climate change, we have our cities and where we produce food all in the wrong places.

"What's a Mexican restaurant without guacamole? What's a hipster cafe without avocado toast? Some restaurateurs may be contemplating these questions this summer as the price of avocados has spiked to almost double the price a year ago." Fake avocados to the rescue.

"In an about-face, the Pennsylvania school district that threatened to place children in foster care over past-due cafeteria bills is now accepting donations following its initial rejection of those who offered help, a decision that left many observers puzzled." Oh, we're on national news and everybody can see how mean we are to our fellow citizens? I guess we'll have to be nice for a while then.

"Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday days after demonstrators at the island's largest protest in recent history called for his ouster over a scandal involving leaked private chats as well as corruption investigations and arrests." We all saw that coming.

"Two sources told NBC News that Epstein may have tried to hang himself, while a third source cautioned that the injuries weren't serious, questioning whether Epstein might have staged an attack or a suicide attempt to get a transfer to another facility." The daily soap opera of news.

"Nissan (NSANF) said it will slash roughly 12,500 jobs from its workforce worldwide. That's more than twice as many as the company was reportedly expecting to cut in May."

"South Korean shares fell on Thursday after North Korea launched two missiles." Kim decides to help his buddy, by breaking the launch ban.

"'I couldn't care less about politics,' he says. 'I just want things in our town to be OK. I'm not asking for wonderful, beautiful or super. I'm fine with OK.'" The revolution in local Russian politics. THey're also starting to realize that… "'People are beginning to connect the dots, namely that things are so bad here not because the local authorities work poorly, but because they're put in that situation by the federal government — because the rot starts from the top,' she says."

"The US Navy sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait Wednesday, a move that came on the same day Beijing warned that it would not rule out using force against self-governed Taiwan to block any move toward formal independence." The Cold War, I remember it well.

"Pettyjohn was leading a war-game exercise on North Korea. Typically, military commanders and policymakers use war gaming to test strategies and their likely consequences. But nothing about this game was typical. It was designed by women — RAND's 'Dames of War Games' — for teenagers from Girl Security, a nonprofit that introduces girls to defense issues. The partnership was a first for both groups; it's among a series of recent efforts to boost women's participation in national security." Ender? And besides the social implications of this, there was also this part, "Nobody won. Nobody ever wins in this simulation, which is why policymakers complain that their North Korea options range from bad to worse."

"'I'm not saying it would cause no irreparable harm' to migrants seeking asylum in the U.S., Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, said before the ruling. But, he stated the immigrant rights organizations had failed to show how many clients they would be unable to reach as a result of the new rule, how many people would be turned away and how many migrants would ultimately qualify for asylum. He added that both CAIR Coalition and RAICES had failed to demonstrate that the new rule would "greatly increase" the amount of time it takes to prepare for migrants' imminent danger interviews."

Meanwhile, on the other coast, "Hours after a federal judge on the East Coast refused to block a Trump administration rule requiring most asylum-seekers to ask for protection in another country before they try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a judge on the West Coast put a stop to the new policy."

"Donald Trump has vetoed a trio of congressional resolutions aimed at blocking his administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates." Of course he did. And don't kid yourself, so would anyone in the White House.

"Speaking on Tuesday at a student activist conference hosted by the conservative advocacy organization Turning Point USA, President Donald Trump walked onstage in front of a presidential seal that, upon closer examination, appears to have been altered to include symbols representing Russia and golf." Hat tip to the pranksters. (Grokked from Dan)

"Mueller's hearings did not feature a telegenic star who could deliver a message as exuberantly as President Trump's opponents hoped." We'll see if the needle moved when the weekend polls come out Sunday night. While conservatives like to say just how boring it was, and that Mueller isn't the White Knight Democrats wanted, blah blah blah. The point of this exercise was to explain to people who haven't read the actually Mueller Report what Mueller actually found (and cut through the spin). If you watched it, they Dems accomplished that goal. They divided up the report and the committee members went through point by point and didn't really step on each others' questions.

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday ramped up pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying that the House should put aside political concerns and get lawmakers on the record for where they stand."

"In deciding who would lead the White House in budget and debt-ceiling negotiations with Capitol Hill, the president learned a lesson from his embarrassing government shutdown earlier this year: Brush aside the budget hawks in his own party, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and focus on minimizing any drama heading into an election year… Trump looked to Steven Mnuchin, his longtime friend, 2016 campaign official and now Cabinet member who earned a new reputation this week as a political deal-maker in Washington and helped Trump postpone any risky financial brinkmanship until after 2020."

"President Donald Trump, his company and three of his children must face a class-action lawsuit in which people claim they were scammed into spending money on fraudulent, multilevel marketing ventures and a dubious live-seminar program." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Linkee-poo, here we are now, entertain us

"Dream Foundry 2019 Contest… The GRAND PRIZE winner will receive $500 USD and three written critiques of their winning story from professional writers selected by the Dream Foundry… SECOND and THIRD place winners will receive two written critiques each of their winning stories from professional writers selected by the Dream Foundry." Unfortunately for me CC Finley has already read the stories I would have ready to submit. And, damnit, I would still qualify. (Grokked from CC Finley)

"Living with anxiety can be tough — your thoughts might race, you might dread tasks others find simple (like driving to work) and your worries might feel inescapable. But loving someone with anxiety can be hard too. You might feel powerless to help or overwhelmed by how your partner's feelings affect your daily life." With some tips on how to handle it with a loved one.

"LightSail 2 has successfully deployed its solar sails. Shortly after 12:00 pm PST The Planetary Society tweeted that the sails were deployed, and that the spacecraft was sailing with sunlight. We can all enjoy their success and start to wonder how solar sails will fit into humanity’s plans for space exploration."

"In fact, the federal government spends, on average, about $8 billion a year subsidizing crop insurance for farmers… That number could be a lot bigger this year. Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are expecting up to $1 billion in 'prevented planting' payments to farmers in Henry's situation. At the end of the season, more claims will arrive from farmers who planted seeds but ended up with poor harvests." The cost of climate change is higher than the cost to try and mitigate it.

"An Idaho wildfire sparked by a lightning strike Monday burned 90,000 acres in less than 24 hours, forcing the partial evacuation of the nation's leading nuclear energy research laboratory." Water and fire in the west.

Meanwhile in the East, "Cape Cod was hit by a rare tornado Tuesday, the National Weather Service said."

Further East, "The French city of Bordeaux has hit its highest temperature since records began, as Western Europe braces for the second heatwave to hit this summer."

"Fearful that communities of color will miss out on the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy, Carney is working to introduce solar in places where it has yet to take off and to people who may not think that solar is for them."

"A growing number of states have been passing laws saying that only foods made of animal flesh should be allowed to carry labels like 'meat,' 'sausage,' 'jerky,' 'burger' or 'hot dog.'… Who has a beef with this deal? Makers of plant-based foods, of course — like Tofurky. But also the American Civil Liberties Union. Both are in a coalition that this week sued Arkansas, arguing that the state's new label restrictions… censor speech and play favorites with industries. Similar lawsuits are pending against Missouri and Mississippi." I wonder if there would be a case to then also stop that labeling if there is a certain percentage of "fillers" added?

The On the Media podcast which talks about the history of racism (and the president's language), Puerto Rico meltdown, and "left-tube." All of it is great, but highly recommend the 3rd segment on YouTube. "(On the Media) Producer Micah Loewinger considers how YouTube creators on the left, like Natalie Wynn, are challenging the platform’s surge of far right extremism. Listen."

"And with 40 million D&D players, there’s a growing need for dungeon masters, or DMs. Some voice actors and playwrights are turning to D&D as a source of income. High-end DMs charge up to $500 per session, according to Mary Pilon, who wrote about professional dungeon masters for Bloomberg Businessweek." Professional DMs. I just can't. I mean, good DMing is a skill and damn hard work, but $500 a session? Shit, we were happy if we could afford pizza and pop. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced, with great glee, that I was going to be dead within six months,' (Justice Ginsburg) recalled. 'That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now dead himself, and I,' she added with a smile, 'am very much alive.'" "Whose name I have forgotten," and that's how you throw shade like a pro.

"A public school district in Pennsylvania that faced a national outcry after threatening to place children in foster care over unpaid cafeteria debt has received several offers to pay off the entire tab, but school officials do not seem interested." It's almost like it wasn't about the money, but to punish certain parents. There's that story about crabs in a bucket pulling each other down. That doesn't mean the fishermen don't shake the bucket to help keep those crabs down. Yeah, I remember the whole, "they need to learn moral lessons" arguments. My answer remains the same.

How goes Brexit? "Theresa May has faced MPs' questions for the final time before Boris Johnson becomes prime minister… She told them she would continue as a constituency MP and was happy to hand over to a successor committed to delivering Brexit and creating 'a bright future for this country'."

"Boeing reported second-quarter results on Wednesday with a massive loss, as costs continue to pile up for the aerospace giant while its flagship 737 MAX jet remains grounded."

Beating the drums of war. "China has warned against what it describes as a growing threat from 'separatists' in Taiwan, and said it would not rule out using force against the self-governed island Beijing regards as part of its territory."

"An Arkansas federal judge has temporarily blocked three new abortion restrictions, including a requirement that physicians providing the procedure be board certified — a move that would likely have caused the closure of the state's only surgical abortion clinic."

"Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign Wednesday after more than a week of protests that rocked the island's capital city, a source familiar with the situation told CNN."

"Director Wray says FBI made about 100 domestic terrorism arrests this year, and a 'majority of domestic terrorism cases that we have investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.'" "What you might call"? WTF does that mean? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"And that’s because the exchange Trump described apparently didn’t happen in reality. It wasn’t long after the president made his public comments that Indian officials delicately contradicted the American leader, explaining, 'It has been India’s consistent position … that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.'" Never make up things about people who 1) will be told, 2) can affect actual outcomes and 3) have a microphone themselves. Actually it's best to never make things up. Our president is an embarrassment. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Trump makes a hand gesture while saying AOC's name." Remember when the conservatives we all, "this 'okay' hand sign thing, totally a joke." No. No it's not.

"After reasserting that investigations into Russia’s election meddling found 'no collusion,' Trump claimed, 'Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.'"

"Special counsel Robert Mueller's deputy Aaron Zebley is expected to appear next to the special counsel as his counsel at Wednesday's hearings on the special counsel's report, according to a House Judiciary committee source."

What's clear to me is the Democrats had a good plan and divided up the Mueller Report so they wouldn't stomp on each other's questions. The Republicans just had attacking points. While either side might not move the needle today, and the Democrats' might be going a little too legal for the "average person" to follow and the Republicans are making Fox News (and their own newsletter) sound bites, the Democrats are coming off as more unified and informed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesday redux

Second post of the day, posted late (sorry).

This just in, Fox News host thinks people tip at McDonalds. Just your ordinary folks who are in touch with Real People™. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Oh, Onion. "Outlining what a shift in public consciousness regarding global ecocatastrophe might require, a study published by researchers at the University of Oregon Monday found the average American must have their life destroyed by a natural disaster every six minutes in order to finally fear climate change." Don't ever leave us. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Which is probably why (Ford) just released video of a prototype BEV F-150 towing more than a million pounds (453,592kg). Linda Zhang, chief engineer for the electric F-150, used one of the prototypes to pull 10 double-decker train cars carrying 42 2019 F-150s over a distance of more than 1,000 feet (300m). Until now, the heaviest thing pulled by a BEV for a publicity stunt was probably a Qantas Boeing 787 weighing 286,600lbs (130,000kg), which was pulled by a Tesla Model X in 2018." Electric engines are hella powerful at the low-end.

"Scientists have a new theory about the origins of a dangerous, drug-resistant fungus that can strike the sickest patients in hospitals and other facilities that provide long-term care: global warming." We're boned.

Clean coal. "Dozens of coal miners are expected on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, where they'll press federal regulators and members of Congress to address the epidemic of deadly progressive massive fibrosis, the advanced stage of black lung disease."

"Malaria drugs are failing at an 'alarming' rate in Southeast Asia as drug-resistant strains of the malaria parasite emerge." This is fine (not).

"House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris are introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and repair 'the damage done by the war on drugs' as cannabis reform gains steam in Congress." I give it a 30% probability. I also expect to see this rehashed in dark money mailers for 2020.

How go the Trade Wars? "China said on Tuesday that U.S. officials were behind violent chaos in Hong Kong and warned against interference, following a series of protests in the city, including bloody clashes on the weekend." Ah, it's the "people are only upset because of foreign agitation" gambit.

"Relatives of the Colorado woman murdered with her two children by her husband say they have been subjected to 'horrible, cruel abuse and outright bullying on a daily basis' since the killings nearly a year ago." America.

"Warplanes from four countries faced off Tuesday in a chaotic and unprecedented confrontation above a small, disputed island off the coast of South Korea and Japan… South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement claiming they had fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian A-50 command and control military aircraft early Tuesday morning after it had twice violated the country's airspace, the first such incident between the countries." You know, I don't miss the 80s Cold War that much.

SO that makes me wonder what's happening in North Korea. "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a large newly built submarine, state news agency KCNA reported on Tuesday, potentially signalling continued development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) programme." Ah.

"The Trump administration is set to propose a rule Tuesday that would cut about 3.1 million Americans from the food-stamp program in an effort to save taxpayers about $2.5 billion a year, reports said." I'm sure we'll find a way to give that to the rich.

"An 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen has been in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than three weeks, his attorney says." Can you sue ICE for unlawful imprisonment? Abolish ICE. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"As a veteran News of the World reporter, Stuart Collier spent much of his Fleet Street career exposing villains. But the only criminal he investigated who prompted a threat to him and his family’s safety was Boris Johnson’s close friend Darius Guppy… Guppy’s secretly recorded plot in 1990 to have Johnson – then a young Daily Telegraph Brussels correspondent – supply him with Collier’s address so he could send over heavies to beat him up came to nothing." Bullies and braggarts. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Sleepwalking Into War With Iran… Trump is drifting toward conflict and has no idea how to stop it." When the UK says to the US, "No thanks, we'll set up our own protection force" for the Straits of Hormuz, that let's you know just how far Putin's plan has progressed.

"Appearing on Hill.TV, (Rudy Giuliani) told the hosts of 'Rising' that the fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case is 'obviously going to implicate a lot of people—I can’t tell you who but it’s not going to end up with just Jeffrey Epstein.'"

"President Trump on Monday insisted 'there is no racial tension' with the black community caused by his sustained attacks on four minority Democratic lawmakers, which have been widely condemned as racist." All of his black friend tells him so (not a typo). (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Former special counsel Robert Mueller is testifying before Congress on Wednesday, and lawmakers have so many questions they may not have enough time to ask them all."

"A Justice Department official told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that his upcoming testimony to House lawmakers 'must remain within the boundaries' of the public, redacted version of his report, in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday evening." The "redacted" version. It's almost like they're afraid of something.

"Read the letter here…"

"President Trump announced an agreement on a two-year budget deal and debt-ceiling increase… The deal would raise the debt ceiling past the 2020 elections and set $1.3 trillion for defense and domestic spending over the next two years." No real attempt to address the deficit or the debt.

Linkee-poo Tuesday

Sorry so light today. Alligators. What can you do with them?

"The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross, according to four people with knowledge of the inner workings of the department. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary, who has for months endured whispers that he is on the outs, spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain President Donald Trump’s favor, the sources said, leaving his department adrift… 'Because he tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen so they’re very careful and conscious about how they schedule certain meetings,' said the former outside adviser. 'There’s a small window where he’s able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep.'" Of course according to the public relations people, "'Secretary Ross is a tireless worker who is the sole decision-maker at the department,' said Commerce press secretary Kevin Manning." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"If the Dems blow this election it will not be because they were 'too far left on policy' or because they 'weren't left enough.' It will have little to do with policy at all. They are making a mistake caused by traditional consultant theory that does not apply here…" A twitter thread which states a lot of what I have been thinking. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Linkee-poo and look where my hand was

I like to say that in healthcare we aren't there to judge, especially in the case of emergency medicine. But we do. And if you bring your sick kid in to the ER with a temperature and nausea and vomiting then tell us you're anti-vaxers, refuse diagnostic imaging and standard blood tests, we're going to judge you harshly.

"Thousands were without power in parts of Brooklyn on Monday morning as New York dealt with another blackout and intense summer weather."

"Dave Davies has confirmed that The Kinks are recording new music after more than two decades apart." Wut?! (Grokked from Dan)

"India has successfully launched its second-ever mission to the Moon, and hopes with it to join a handful of countries that have landed on the lunar surface." Meanwhile in the US we're having a discussion wondering if it's worth the cost to go back to the Moon or to land a human on Mars.

Why did the showrunners and writers of Game of Thrones not show up for this year's ComiCon? "The Game of Thrones cast took the stage in Hall H this weekend for their last San Diego Comic-Con panel for the show, which aired its series finale earlier this year… Those fans were not so pleased, however. The HBO hit's final season was infamously divisive, with many fans taking issue with everything from specific characters' arcs to the pacing of the episodes."

A story on reversing Type II Diabetes, "All these people will have to find a way to get active at home, because there's no gym anywhere close. There's not a proper grocery store nearby either, so healthy cooking can become a real chore. These communitywide obstacles reveal why it can be a struggle for people to maintain their health in rural America."

Who needs costly regulation and a strong EPA? "In the predawn hours of June 21, explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia shook houses, sent fireballs into the air and woke up nearby residents… Masur watched as the refinery spewed black smoke above the city, easily visible from his home. But what he didn't know at the time was just how close he and his family came to getting exposed to hydrogen fluoride, one of the deadliest chemicals used by refiners and other industrial manufacturers." Anybody remember Bhopal?

On browser extensions. I have this thing in my head which sets off klaxons whenever someone or a company attempts to appeal to greed.

"Iran said Monday it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites, and that some have already been sentenced to death."

"Dozens of families in Pennsylvania received an alarming letter from their public school district this month informing parents that if their kid's lunch debt was not settled, their child could be removed from their home and placed in the foster care." In this story I hear absolutely no compassion from the elected school board members. Also what I don't hear is any attempt to say, "Hey, if you need help, we have these programs (like free school lunch), if you qualify we can help set you up." But this coming year it may not be an issue because, "Since the poverty level among students has risen in the district recently, new federal nutrition assistance is expected district-wide to cover meals for all students, regardless of their family's economic means."

"US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has recognised the 'significant advances of Mexican operations' in reducing migrant flows to the United States, Mexico's foreign ministry has said." I'm not sure this is a "win".

"Equifax will pay at least $575 million, and potentially as much as $700 million, to settle allegations over its massive over 2017 data breach, U.S. regulators said in a statement." Here's your twenty-five cents. "Consumers eligible for the fund must submit claims showing they were fraud victims or set up credit-monitoring services following the breach."

"Toys R Us… is making a comeback in time for the 2019 holiday season with a new approach. Instead of providing mile-long aisles filled with a plethora of toys, the company is switching its focus to smaller stores that will feature interactive toy demonstrations, spaces for special events like birthday parties, new activities every day and open play areas." The zombie brand awakens.

Conservatives are all for the free market, until it's one of their own. "(TX Gov.) Abbott surrounded himself with associates and Chick-fil-A menu items and vowed to protect religious liberty in response to criticism citing the fast food chain’s owner's support for anti-gay groups and opposition to gay marriage." Seems San Antonio said no to a siting permit for a wanker chicken outlet near their airport. Well, that can't stand. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The French army is creating a 'Red Team' of science fiction writers to help military strategists anticipate future threats to national security." Most militaries have done this exercise. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"European stocks lingered on Monday, hamstrung by dialled-down expectations for a larger U.S. rate cut this month, while escalating tensions in the Middle East boosted oil prices and rising fears for a no-deal Brexit haunted the pound." But oil is still below $60 a barrel.

"Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Sunday that he will not seek reelection in 2020." And he thought that might quell the upset. Yeah. That never works.

How go the Trade Wars? "Chinese foreign direct investment into the United States has plummeted since Trump took office, with real estate, autos, tech and agriculture — industries which have all benefited from China's boom — set to lose out."

"Trading on China's new Nasdaq-style stock market got off to a spectacular start Monday as investors sent share prices soaring, creating several new tech billionaires in the process… Beijing hopes Star will help China's high-tech companies tap into vast wealth held by local investors, and entice global leaders such as Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY) to return from stock markets in New York and Hong Kong." It's all fun and games until the grandparents lose their life savings speculating in the market.

"Some three dozen people were injured Sunday night in Hong Kong at a railway station in a turn of violence in which a group of pro-democracy activists and other bystanders were attacked following a night of street demonstrations, according to local reports. The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear." Which only gives the government the pretext to violently clamp down on the protests. Yeah. I wonder who those white shirts were?

How's it going with our Russian friends? "As many as 25,000 protesters rallied in central Moscow Saturday to protest the refusal by city election officials to allow several opposition figures to run for the Moscow city council."

"Israel has begun demolishing a cluster of Palestinian homes it says were built illegally too close to the separation barrier in the occupied West Bank."

"Red faces in Moscow this weekend, with the news that hackers have successfully targeted FSB—Russia's Federal Security Service. The hackers managed to steal 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor, exposing secret FSB projects to de-anonymize Tor browsing, scrape social media, and help the state split its internet off from the rest of the world. The data was passed to mainstream media outlets for publishing." Ah, we're deep in the information warfare trenches now. Actual hack or coordinated misinformation campaign? Who knows. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said Thursday that the Trump administration's new asylum rule, unveiled earlier this week, is being rolled out as a small 'pilot' and that officials expect it to be blocked in court." How the fuck do you "pilot" that? Isn't that just agents deciding whom they like and whom they want to turn away?

"Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies before the House Oversight committee as Democrats push back against Trump administration's policies to address the border crisis." Well that didn't go well. And another report on that testimony. Are all these "acting" heads suffering from TBI? 'Cause it sure sounds like it.

"President Donald Trump on Sunday again ripped into four freshmen Democratic congresswomen who've been the target of his sustained attacks, calling them 'weak' and 'insecure' minutes after blasting a Washington Post story on the fallout over his initial comments about the members a week earlier." The president is unAmerican. He's trying to pick his fight and he thought four women with little power would be his best bet. I think he's chewed off more than he can swallow.

"'I think the term "racist," Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by the left, Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don't want to hear,' (noted Himler whisperer Stephen) Miller said." I'm sure that gambit worked well in his college dorm and drunk people thought he was being clever.

"House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Sunday said Robert Mueller's report presents 'very substantial evidence' that President Donald Trump is 'guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors' -- an impeachable offense." I really wish news rooms would hire intelligent people, because at this moment in our history, we need people who understand exactly what they're saying. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is not an offense, it's a description of a category of offenses.

"Robert Mueller's appearance in Congress this week will be a hinge moment — the question is which way it might swing the political trajectory in Washington." Hope everybody has their bingo cards ready. I really hope the Democrats don't just try and get good quotes out of Mueller, but instead coordinate their questioning to bring out of Mueller the story of the 2016 elections and the president's repeated attempts to subvert justice and make totally clear Mueller's language about not indicting the president because Mueller didn't have the power to indict.

"The historian Jon Meacham described Donald Trump as the most racist president in American history alongside slavery-era Andrew Johnson… Meacham, who has written several presidential biographies, was reacting on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews to Trump's racist tweet about progressive Democratic congresswomen." Next up, water is wet. Now, he's not only racist, he a misogynist, abusive personality, and an authoritarian. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Linkee-poo one small step for (a) man

John Paul Stevens, and so it goes.

"Dangerously hot weather is hitting most of the U.S. this week, the National Weather Service says. Temperatures are expected to soar across the Central and Eastern United States. The heat wave is covering the Central Plains from Eastern Colorado into Kansas, and extending up to the Great Lakes. By Saturday it will blanket much of the East Coast from Virginia up through New York City, where temperatures are expected to reach or be close to 100 degrees." So where's all those smart asses who like to say, "look, it's snowing, so much for global warming" now?

"Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion as record-breaking temps grip the U.S."

"'Game of Thrones' showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with some beloved 'Thrones' actors, have canceled their scheduled appearances at San Diego International Comic-Con." You always show up for the victory lap. Unless you expect criticism. (Grokked from Kim)

A self-solving Rubik's Cube robot. (Grokked from Dan)

"China's second space lab will return to Earth in a controlled demolition Friday, according to the country's space agency… Most of the craft will burn up in the atmosphere, but a small amount of debris is expected to crash into the South Pacific, far from any land, according to state news agency Xinhua."

"Researchers have been cataloging moonlight’s effects on animals for decades and continue to mark new connections. Several recently discovered examples reveal how lunar light influences lion prey behavior, dung beetle navigation, fish growth, mass migrations and even birdsong." But don't forget, kids, the waxing and waning of the Moon doesn't affect human behavior because mumble mumble mumble (insert pleading cry about how humans aren't "animals").

"Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades… But not everyone was celebrating. Some states actually saw double-digit increases." And here it's good to parse the language. OD "deaths" are down, not actual overdosing incidents.

"There are similarly parched scenes at Chennai's three other main reservoirs. This city of nearly 10 million — India's sixth largest — has almost run out of water. Municipal taps work only a few hours a week. Trains are arriving every few days with emergency water supplies. Residents who can afford it buy truckloads of water from private tankers that carry it from bore wells — deep, narrow wells typically equipped with a pump — drilled farther and farther out into the countryside, way beyond the city limits." The coming water crisis.

"Records kept by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration show that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills — the vast majority of them generics, not brand names — were shipped to U.S. pharmacies from 2006 to 2012. The data was reported first by The Washington Post, which had sued along with HD Media to obtain the data. During that time, prescription opioids contributed to more than 100,000 deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Not stated was the Post (and lawyers) had to construct (I'm not going to say "re-construct") the data to get those numbers. The database used to track these pills was so broken it's doubtful anyone in the government really knew the extent of the problem. In my personal opinion, it was built broken on purpose.

Why does it matter who runs government? "The Environmental Protection Agency has decided against a ban of the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say is associated with neurological problems in children… The agency concluded there is not sufficient evidence of the chemical's dangers to justify the ban requested by environmental groups and a group of states. Those groups cast the decision as another example of the Trump administration siding with industry." So, it's too poisonous to use in the home, but hey, just spray it all over your fields.

"Starting Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the Kazakhstan government has started intercepting all HTTPS internet traffic inside its borders… The certificate, once installed, will allow local government agencies to decrypt users' HTTPS traffic, look at its content, encrypt it again with their certificate, and send it to its destination." Hey, remember that day when all internet traffic was suddenly routed through one server farm in Fort Meade? Good times. (Grokked from Dan)

How goes Brexit? "Most lawmakers, however, oppose a no-deal Brexit, and want to try to stop it happening. Johnson, who is the strong favorite to win the Conservative leadership race next week, has not ruled out suspending Parliament if it tries to block his plan to leave the EU at Halloween."

"Brandishing a kipper at a packed campaign event, Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to become Britain's next prime minister, railed against EU red tape he said was punishing the producer of the smoked fish. He said the fish was from Isle of Man, which is not a member of the EU but as a British Crown Dependency, has access to the bloc's customs union. Brussels insisted any regulations on processed fishery products are actually British." It always comes back to the kippers.

"The chance that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal is the highest since October 2017, economists polled by Reuters say, as arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson looks set to take over as prime minister next week."

"U.S. stock index futures gave back much of their gains Friday morning after initially rallying when two influential Fed officials hinted at more aggressive policy easing." They slept off the lunch-time drunk. Tell me again how markets are rational and the economic theory of how crowd can be accurate forecasters (note, traders are not diverse enough for that really to apply to the stock markets).

Post-racial America my Aunt Fanny. "A black family in California said they were racially profiled at a Nike store in Santa Monica when a white manager accused them of stealing a $12 basketball they had bought and then flagged down police officers." (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"A judge denied bail for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges Thursday, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the 'heart of this decision.'" Good.

"Nearly five years after Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot 16 rounds into teenager Laquan McDonald, a city panel voted nearly unanimously Thursday night to fire a sergeant and three other veteran officers, accusing them of betraying their duty by 'outright lying or shading the truth.'" And I'm usually for unions, but these FOP reps need to sit down and shut up. If you defend these people, the ones who blatantly flaunt the rules, who wantonly kill, you'll lose credibility. I'm going to go with the conversation being different in the lodge meetings, but this public face is going to get you in trouble. These officers lied, blatantly and overtly lied as can be shown by the video. There's no, "well, from a certain point of view" here. Officers who lie, and lie to cover up crimes, deserve all the punishment they get.

"A former PhD student has been sentenced to life in prison for the kidnap and murder of a Chinese graduate student at the University of Illinois… Brendt Christensen received the life term after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether he should be given the death penalty." I would like to say this is pushback against the death penalty, but it smacks more of our acceptance of violence against women.

"The United States said on Thursday that a U.S. Navy ship had 'destroyed' an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone." One side could be lying (with this administration it's difficult to rule out our side). Or both could be correct, in that we destroyed a drone, but it wasn't Iranian.

"After Murad explained how her mother and six brothers were killed and that 3,000 Yazidis remained missing, Trump said, 'And you had the Nobel Prize? That's incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?'… With little pause, Murad, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, repeated her story." JFC, he's not even prepared for people he meets in the Oval Office. There are people who do this professionally, that is it is their job to brief the president (or executive, or whatever official) and remind them of the pertinent facts before they embarrass themselves this way. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents reportedly detained three children, all U.S. citizens, for about 13 hours Thursday morning at Chicago O'Hare International Airport after traveling with a cousin from Mexico… According to the Chicago Tribune, the children were given food and drinks in the meantime before they were released to their mother. They were reportedly released after an official from the Mexican Consulate helped reach an agreement that the girls' mother could pick up the girls without fear of being taken into custody."

"Video footage has emerged showing Donald Trump bragging about kissing a married talk show host on the lips while her husband’s back was turned."

"Donald Trump once saw a country that had lost its greatness — its cities wracked with crime, its borders a pathetic sieve, its leadership corrupt, its standing in the world a joke. 'The American dream,' he said, 'is dead.'" Also in defending the president's racist remarks, Kellyanne Conway said she hated Americans. Love it or leave it. It seems like a lot of conservatives would leave it.

"President Donald Trump says he 'was not happy' when his supporters at a rally Wednesday night in North Carolina chanted 'send her back' in reference to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar." Waits for his next rally where he leads the chant. The whole thing was scripted. Or, if you want to go this way, the president is a coward who knows he can't stand up to his supporters. The president is only tough when he's not face to face.

"Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the freshman Democratic congresswoman facing attacks from President Trump and his supporters, received a hero's welcome back at her home district in Minnesota on Thursday." However she now has increased security, though.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Donald Trump is "on to something" with his inflammatory attacks against four congresswomen, attempting to frame the president's racist rhetoric as rooted in ideological differences between the Republican and Democratic parties." Of course Senator Droppy-Dog is reframing his arguments to be political instead of just racists attempting to make it about "creating socialism." But this is just a new kind of dog whistle.

"This maneuver doesn’t mean that impeachment gets a final vote, or even debate. What it does get is a 'motion to table,' which means that lawmakers can vote to either keep the resolution as pending business or kill it off. When Green did this in 2017, 58 Democrats voted to keep the impeachment measure alive. In 2018, 66 did so. This time, it was up to 95."

"House Democrats are intensely preparing a pointed line of questioning for Robert Mueller, banking that his testimony will shift public perception about the President's alleged criminal activity outlined in the special counsel's report, according to Democratic committee aides… As part of their strategy, Democrats plan to hone in on five areas of the Mueller report where they think the President clearly obstructed justice, including his efforts to fire the special counsel and to tamper with witnesses like his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the aides said." They're actually prepping for this. It means they're serious.

"In between calls with Hicks and Trump – one of which was a three-way phone conversation – Cohen communicated by text and phone with two executives at American Media Inc., publisher of The National Enquirer, at times immediately afterwards. In those discussions, Cohen repeatedly invoked the name “Keith,” referring to Keith Davidson, the lawyer representing adult film-star Stormy Daniels… During her testimony before Congress last month, Hicks denied ever being present during conversations between Cohen and Trump about Daniels, or ever having direct knowledge of Cohen's payments to Daniels… Two sources familiar with the probe told ABC News neither Hicks nor anyone else would be charged in the as it relates to the investigation in the Southern District of New York." Bill Barr earning his stripes in hell. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Linkee-poo Thursday

Still fighting off the alligators.

"Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, featuring a 363-foot Saturn V rocket projected on the east face of the Washington Monument and a special 'Apollo 50: Go for the Moon' show. This presentation was conceived and commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum, and is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and 59 Productions… On July 16, 17, and 18 the projection will be live from 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm." (Grokked from John)

"When astronauts first saw Earth from afar in the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 - the US's second manned mission to the Moon - they described a cognitive shift in awareness after seeing our planet 'hanging in the void.'" One of the greatest aspects of space exploration is perspective.

"Hawaii's governor has issued an emergency proclamation as protests continue over the construction of a major new telescope."

"None of us are prepared to be caregivers — the role is thrust upon us. More than 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or loved one. Here are six tips to make the caregiving burden more sustainable…" The Life Kit podcast with some good advice. I'm of an age where this topic is more important.

"Elon Musk took his colleagues by surprise with an unplanned announcement at a presentation by his secretive neurotechnology company, Neuralink, on Tuesday." Yeah, we've been doing this for years to help people control robotic prosthetics. No word on if Musk has been able to prevent the scaring that eventually renders the electronic connections useless.

"Broken heart syndrome, which is also called stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is a temporary condition that can be brought on by stressful situations. During broken heart syndrome, one part of the heart stops pumping normally, which may cause the rest of the heart to pump more forcefully, according to the Mayo Clinic." And now there's a probable link to cancer. Although a 1 in 6 result seems more coincidental than causal.

The Planet Money podcast with "After a 6,000 mile journey, The Garbage Barge, as it came to be known, resulted in an epic mess… But it was also the birth of residential recycling in the U.S. as we know it." Interesting now in the age where recycling is going away. But that's another story about how China used to buy our recycling materials. "But China's economy is different now. It doesn't want our garbage anymore." In our local area, they're no longer accepting glass, the most recyclable of materials (which also has to be heated to a temperature that burns away any organics or paper).

"At least 26 people are dead and dozens injured after a man set fire to an animation studio alight in the Japanese city of Kyoto, officials say."

"Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years and was ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture on Wednesday in what is likely the last time he's seen in public before he goes to Colorado's Supermax prison."

"'What’s your ethnicity?' Kellyanne Conway asks a reporter when the reporter asks her about the intent of the president’s tweets." My ethnicity is asskicking American. What's yours? One, it's a dumbass question and two, what a stupid frame to try and impose. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

On the Media podcast with, "On this show, we’ve often observed that what happens online rarely stays online. In the age of Pizzagate, Trump tweets and Wiki Leaks data dumps, it is obvious that conversations online increasingly dominate, even define, our politics — a fact demonstrated yet again last Thursday when the president invited his favorite online trolls, memers and political operatives to clink champagne glasses in the White House and discuss an alleged anti-conservative bias on social media. Will Sommer, tech reporter for The Daily Beast, wrote about the odd cast of characters and what this social media summit tells us about the president’s 2020 re-election strategy." An exploration of right-wingnuttery on social media, the meeting, and exactly what is said in those rat-infested places of the internet.

"President Donald Trump uttered a rapid series of false claims, at least 13 in all, during his Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He made another claim for which there is no public evidence, and he offered positive words about an ally's accusation for which there is no public evidence." President pants-on-fire went on a new tear.

"Comedian and advocate Jon Stewart blasted Sen. Rand Paul Wednesday hours after the Kentucky Republican delayed a vote after the Senate attempted to reauthorize a fund that compensates victims of 9/11." I'll also note that Rand Paul didn't ask for the same offsets on tax cuts because he's just fucking slime of the Earth.

"Some of Puerto Rico's biggest stars rallied a crowd of many thousands in San Juan on Wednesday calling on the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign. It was the fifth day in a row of protests following a leak of hundreds of pages of misogynistic and homophobic texts between the governor and his main advisers." Coming to a neighborhood near you.

"Trump’s better deal with Iran looks a lot like Obama’s… Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to negotiate, saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern, talking points that experts say echo the 2015 deal." Just like NAFTAv2. Why yes, this is my shocked face.

"The U.S. 'shot itself in the foot' by pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, offering a grim outlook for the chance of opening talks with President Donald Trump."

"McKenzie is trying to set up an international flotilla of ships that would keep the vital maritime traffic in the Gulf safe from Iranian interference."

"Iran has seized an oil tanker it claimed was carrying 1 million liters of 'smuggled fuel,' state news agency Press TV said on Thursday."

"Congress and President Trump are headed for a second veto showdown over Saudi Arabia after the House approved three resolutions Wednesday to block emergency arms sales to the kingdom."

"Amid criticism for attacks on four Democratic congresswoman of color, President Donald Trump is expected to continue to weigh in on the controversy at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday, his campaign aides told ABC News."

"Omar came under the harshest criticism as Trump played to voters’ grievances, drawing a chant from the crowd of 'Send her back! Send her back!'" Like we couldn't see that one coming.

"In response to their chant, Omar, 37, made it clear that she was not intimidated by their hurtful words in a message on Twitter… 'I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!' the Minnesota politician stated on Wednesday evening, alongside a photo of herself wearing a hijab as she sits on the House floor."

"Big-money Democratic donors have jumped off the sidelines of the presidential race, and three candidates are the clear winners of their support: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris." And this is where the rubber starts hitting the road.