There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Linkee-poo's sleeping on a planter at the Port Authority waiting for my bus to come

Edit 12:11 pm EST Apparently Trump has fired John Bolton for "being to hawkish."

In case you haven't heard, The Testaments Margret Atwood's long awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale has finally arrived. They have always fought. "More than a millennium ago… a wealthy Viking warrior was laid to rest, in a resplendent grave filled with swords, arrowheads, and two sacrificed horses. The site reflected the ideal of Viking male warrior life, or so many archaeologists had thought… New DNA analyses of the bones, however, confirm a revelatory find: the grave belonged to a woman." (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"The U.S. government will allow oil and gas companies to make lease bids Monday on lands considered archaeologically sensitive near a national monument stretching across the Utah-Colorado border that houses sacred tribal sites." As I've said before, I want a candidate for president who will appoint a Czar of Fixing All This Shit so they can focus on moving the needle forward.

"A formal statement issued by the American Sociological Association…, and endorsed by 17 other scholarly associations, describes the current use of student evaluations of teaching as 'problematic' and identifies ways to use student feedback appropriately as one part of holistic assessment of teaching effectiveness in institutions of higher education." Yes, this. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"After seven states passed sweeping abortion bans this year, speculation soon arose about the potentially onerous travel burdens the laws could someday impose on women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies." In some parts of the country, like West Texas, it's already here.

"Today, when older homes are renovated or repaired, contractors are required to take special precautions to avoid exposing residents to lead-laden dust and paint chips that are dangerous, especially to children and pregnant women… But an internal investigation by the federal watchdog for the Environmental Protection Agency finds that the EPA is not enforcing many of those requirements adequately."

How goes Brexit? "Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached to ensure Britain leaves the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline, as he prepared to suspend Parliament and send rebellious lawmakers home until two weeks before the country is supposed

to leave the bloc."
What a lot of these stories tends to ignore is that there is another half of this process, just what will the EU do? "A law that would stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal has been given Royal Assent." That doesn't mean it won't happen, but it makes it much tougher. It all depends on your view of what Boris Johnson is really up to. But then, it would be just as easy to push through a crappy deal which might be as harmful as crashing out. But it definitely means elections before Xmas. (Grokked from John)

"A colorful era in British parliamentary history is coming to a close with Speaker of the House John Bercow’s abrupt announcement Monday that he will leave his influential post by the end of October."

"With the U.K Parliament now shuttered for five weeks and the recent political turmoil throwing up more questions than answers, analysts have been busy contemplating what could happen next in Britain as it approaches its Brexit deadline."

"The head of the National Weather Service issued a strong public defense Monday of forecasters who contradicted President Donald Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian posed a threat to Alabama as it approached the United States."

"The Department of Homeland Security has released additional guidance on visa requirements for Bahamians trying to travel to the U.S. after Hurricane Dorian. The details follow a day of U.S. officials sending mixed signals about how Bahamians, especially those traveling by boat, will be allowed into the U.S."

"After days of seeing nobody coming over to their booth at the N.C. Mountain State Fair in Asheville, the Republicans began giving inflatable assault rifles away to kids." Ain't that special. (Grokked from Dan)

More on those USAF crews staying at Turnberry… "The partnership, which began a year before Trump’s presidential campaign kicked off, worked to add Trump Turnberry to a list of hotels used by the airports aircrew, despite the fact that it is significantly farther away from the airport than other hotels used in a similar manner and has higher advertised prices, according to the Times."

"The granite slabs were installed on the memorial plaza this spring. They recognize an initially unseen toll of the 2001 terrorist attacks: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage."

"Even opposition from within his own national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, could not deter Trump from pressing forward with his plan to host Taliban leaders at the rural presidential getaway." Proactively covering your ass by throwing the boss under the bus.

"'When he does stupid stuff, people will mention it to others they consider confidants and not keep it totally secret,' a trusted adviser to Falwell, the school’s president and chancellor, told me. 'But they won’t rat him out.'… That’s beginning to change." Liberty University is more than just a power play, it is the reason and fulcrum of the Reagan Compromise. Reagan promised to end the IRS's inquiry into Liberty (that potentially would have revoked it's tax exempted status) as long as Falwell delivered the social conservatives to the GOP and helped him get into the White House (and consequently kept Republicans in power since the 80s, a grip that has only recently been crumbling as the older members die out). IT's time to revoke their non-profit status and tax Liberty (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"President Donald Trump’s job approval rating fell several points in a new survey, while Americans’ fears of a looming recession have escalated and their confidence in Trump’s handling of the economy has sagged." Basically it's back down to it's rock bottom after having floated a little in previous months.

"The North's projectile launches and demand for new proposals were apparently aimed at pressuring the US to make concessions when the North Korea-US talks resume. North Korea is widely believed to want the US to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from US-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearisation steps."

Just when you think it can't get any more ridiculous… "The trial of a Chinese businesswoman charged with lying to a Secret Service agent and trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club bogged down Monday before jury selection over her lack of underwear, the latest bizarre moment in a case that has been filled with them." And at the time of her arrest she was supposedly carrying a lot of tech with her, but apparently some of those accusations have been rolled back.

"A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy." Because the president might fuck it up, we had to extract a highly placed source from Russia.

"A handful of media outlets published details about a former CIA asset this week that could put that person's safety at risk." I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure our Russian friends know who the person was, even if it's just at the level of, "I don't see Ivan at the daily meetings anymore. Shouldn't he be back from vacation by now?"

"President Trump is betting that his political brand will help Republicans keep hold of a North Carolina U.S. House seat in a special election Tuesday." You might remember this was the election where there was a trial about actual election interference by operatives working for the Republican candidate collecting absentee ballots and either changing them or just dumping them.

Just how nasty will 2020 be? "'To stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow's special election,' Trump told attendees, before slamming Democratic candidate Dan McCready as a dangerous proponent of 'sanctuary cities' and rolling back gun rights." Notice how this Fox News article phrases the points here including this being a redo election "after uncovering alleged ballot fraud efforts." They're not alleged. Also it was wishy washy whom the election fraud was meant to help. They also tick off the main talking points even when they're not really relevant to the story.

On the death of democracy… "And therein lies the core of his argument: Democracy is hard work and requires a lot from those who participate in it. It requires people to respect those with different views from theirs and people who don’t look like them. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic." Unfortunately there are forces who fight against that and make the work even harder than it needs to be. And there's also some lazy thoughts in this article (like "social media" = "greater democracy"), but it's fundamental truth holds, people (especially white people in some power) will gravitate to the easy answers to hard problems and swallow the lies those easy answers require. "It’s easier to pledge allegiance to an authoritarian leader than to do the hard work of thinking for yourself demanded by democracy." It's the fundamental aspect of government, might makes right.

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