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

Friday, January 24, 2020

Linkee-poo Friday

Jim Lehrer, and so it goes. "China has widened its travel restrictions in Hubei province - the centre of the coronavirus outbreak - as the death toll climbed to 26… The restrictions will affect at least 20 million people across 10 cities, including the capital, Wuhan, where the virus emerged." The N.K. Jemisin's profile in the New Yorker.

"And that is one of the many problems with American Dirt, according to several critics. There have been tweet threads and essays, all arguing that the book deploys harmful stereotypes. Even a hashtag — My Latino Novel — has popped up on Twitter, where people are writing their own parodies. But there is so much more to say about race and identity in publishing, about who gets to tell what stories and which of those voices are elevated in the mainstream culture."

"The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing federal pollution protections for rivers, streams and wetlands – a move welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but opposed even by the agency's own science advisers." They are trying to kill us.

"What does Trump actually believe on climate change?" Not much.

"The ongoing destruction of life-supporting ecosystems such as coral reefs and rainforests means humans risk living in an 'empty world' with 'catastrophic' consequences for society, according to Mrema, who is responsible for spearheading a Paris-style agreement for nature that will be negotiated this year." While she then went on to explain how biodiversity is actually of to importance to how we live, it's that part that's getting the press. So let me say here, that won't happen. We can't live in an "empty world." We will all die before that ever happens as the ecosystems that support us collapse and take our food and water with them. And no, there is no technology that will replace the natural world.

"Antonio hadn’t broken the law, but his detention in Virginia felt like a punishment: Once, when he got in a fight with an American kid who taunted him, he says staffers restrained him by tying him to a chair for four hours, allegedly hitting him while he sat there. Over a year and a half at Shenandoah, Antonio (not his real name) says he was tied to the chair about five times. In court documents, he recounted that staffers who restrained him would sometimes put a bag over his head, meant to deter biting or spitting." Kids, tied to chairs with a bag over their head. Sometimes peeing themselves while in the chair. Cruelty is the objective here. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Sure we live in a post-racial society. "A US man is suing a bank in Detroit after employees called the police when he tried to deposit cheques at their branch… Sauntore Thomas had attempted to put in money he had won after settling a racial discrimination lawsuit against his former employer… But the bank allegedly said they would have to verify the cheques. As Mr Thomas waited, the police arrived."

"A black teenager in Texas is claiming that he was suspended and told that he would not be able to walk in his high school graduation ceremony unless he cut his dreadlocks."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain, "Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday increased the pressure on New York City's sanctuary policies -- putting out a list of illegal immigrant fugitives who have been released into the city despite requests from ICE to hand them over for deportation… Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence presented the list to reporters at a press conference in New York where he spoke of the dangers of sanctuary cities -- in which jurisdictions ignore detainers issued by ICE for arrested illegal immigrants." NYC still cooperates and coordinates with ICE, though. ICE just can't get it's shit together in time.

"The founder of an Arizona pharmaceutical company was ordered Thursday to spend 5½ years in prison for orchestrating a bribery and kickback scheme prosecutors said helped fuel the opioid crisis." Well, that's one.

"Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists released a statement that the group's Science and Security Board had moved the hands on the symbolic Doomsday Clock forward by 20 seconds to 100 seconds before midnight. Since the advent of the Doomsday Clock—even in the peak years of the Cold War—the clock's minute hand has never before been advanced past the 11:58 mark." (Grokked from John)

"The State Department has rejected a request from London to hand over a U.S. diplomat's wife who fled the U.K. last year after she was involved in a head-on car crash that killed a young British man."

"End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles warned on his 'TruNews' program last night that the rise of companies like Impossible Foods, which is developing plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products, is part of a satanic plot to alter human DNA so that people can no longer worship God." And the Trump administration (wait for it) just renewed their press credentials to be in the briefing room (if they ever decide to have regular press briefings again). Although that's an interesting take that food can change our DNA, and that our soul is encoded into that DNA. (Grokked form Random Michelle K)

"World leaders commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by warning against a global rise in anti-Semitism." The wounds of WWII are still not healed, and there is more than enough culpability to go around.

"Vladimir Putin has been running Russia since 2000 when he was first elected as President. How did a former KGB officer make his way up to the top seat? Was it political prowess or luck? In this episode, Throughline dives into the life of Vladimir Putin and tries to understand how he became Russia's new 'tsar.'" This is actually on the Planet Money podcast, but same thing (it's a rebroadcast). On how red flag operations actually happen and work. Nice government you've got there, shame if something happened to it. Waves to my Russian friends.

The psychologists who helped develop (and participated) in the CIA torture at black site are being questioned at GitMo. "A man accused of helping finance the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was subjected to "excessive" abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators who used him as a training tool for employees learning the agency's torture techniques."

"It’s hard to keep up with President Donald Trump’s scandals. One day he’s covering up taxpayer-funded travel expenses for his family. The next, he’s stealing money for his border wall. The next, he’s being implicated by an accomplice in the extortion of Ukraine. But one horror is right out in the open: Trump is a remorseless advocate of crimes against humanity. His latest threats against Iran, Iraq, and Syria are a reminder that he’s as ruthless as any foreign dictator. He’s just more constrained."? Ruthless wasn't the word you were looking for. Authoritarian was.

"This is FRESH AIR… As the impeachment trial gets underway in the U.S. Senate, we take a look at the Trump presidency through the eyes of two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters from The Washington Post. Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig's new book is an unsettling look at the first 2 1/2 years of the Trump administration."

The accountant. "While (Lev) Parnas has described his turnabout and prime-time TV interviews as patriotic truth-telling, he's also angling for leniency in a campaign finance case brought against him by federal prosecutors in New York." This is what happens when you consider people in your inner circle as disposable. Once they feel they're on the outside, they will tell your secrets. Also, while Parnas had times of no available cash, he suddenly seems to have found money to donate to the Trump election and buy his way into "the club". Funny that.

"House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Thursday played a 1999 video of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham arguing that 'high crimes' don't 'even need to be a crime,' a statement that runs counter to a central Republican talking point in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial." Look, that's kinda a low blow using someone's own words against them. But at least we've reach the "Sure we did it, but it's not a crime" stage of denial.

The president's legal strategy? Shoot the messenger (and the message). "The lawmaker walking U.S. senators methodically through the case for removing President Donald Trump from office is also becoming Exhibit A in efforts by the president’s allies to defend him."

"Both the managers and the president's defense team have set up messaging operations to repeat their cases for and against impeachment. They know senators are required to listen in the chamber. But the public is also digesting the arguments and catching up on what they missed when they tune in to press coverage online and on air on their favorite media outlets." Our divided world view, our echo chambers, on display.

"Around dinnertime on Tuesday, just about four hours into the impeachment trial of President Trump, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, did not look enthralled by House Democrats' presentations. In fact, he looked the opposite. Eyes closed, he was slumped over and appeared to be snoozing." Our elected officials.

"With less than two weeks until Iowans line up to cast the first votes to pick a Democratic presidential nominee, party officials are reassuring voters that a new app used to report its caucus votes is secure. It’s not clear if they are correct." And instead of actually researching it, they just called a bunch of random people. And there is a paper backup, so mostly this is just an experiment.

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