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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Linkee-poo Friday Late Edition

"SpaceX will make history with NASA astronaut launch next week. But will it draw crowds to Florida?"

"NASA’s troubled space telescope, WFIRST, has been renamed the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope in honour of NASA’s former chief of astronomy."

"The eastern Indian city of Kolkata has been devastated by a powerful cyclone which has killed at least 84 people across India and Bangladesh."

"The giant tectonic plate under the Indian Ocean is going through a rocky breakup … with itself… In a short time (geologically speaking) this plate will split in two, a new study finds."

"With traffic dramatically down in recent months, the United States is in the middle of an accidental experiment showing what happens to air pollution when millions of people stop driving… The air is clearer. But the pollution declines aren't nearly as large as early indications suggested, according to an NPR analysis of six years of Environmental Protection Agency data."

"According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, the vibrant color is caused by microscopic algae blooming across the surface of the snow. Using satellite data and fieldwork observations, a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have created the first large-scale map of the green algae and predicted the future spread of the bizarre snow." Wow, they didn't mention how algal blooms on snow darkens the mass, which then traps more heat, which then increase snowmelt.

"Last month the White House issued guidelines suggesting a way to reduce the number of false positive results in antibody tests: Run two tests. But that strategy has not yet been validated for coronavirus testing. And the details matter."

"In new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic… The CDC also says its 'best estimate' is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have Covid-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick." Really? So then why does it look more like 3 to 4% in almost every country's statistics? Although 0.4% is still 4x as many as the seasonal flu.

"Meat processing plants across the country are struggling with outbreaks of the coronavirus. That includes the Tyson Foods chicken processing facility in Wilkes County, N.C.… More than 2,200 workers were tested at the Wilkesboro plant and 570 were positive for the coronavirus. Tyson said a majority of the workers who had the virus didn't show any symptoms."

"Two-thirds of Americans do not expect their daily lives to return to normal for at least six months, and as states reopen, three-quarters are concerned that a second wave of coronavirus cases will emerge, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds." Americans, always optimistic.

"Essential workers are losing their hazard pay even though the hazard isn’t over… Kroger and other companies provided 'hero pay' to employees as the pandemic ratcheted up the risk to their safety. For many, it will end this month." The worm is turning (back to normal). Hey Congress, instead of Hero Pay hows abouts y'all increase the minimum wage to like $15-$20/hr and then track increases to inflation? How about using this crisis to highlight exactly where the strength and wealth of this country really belongs and then reward those workers? How about we change the system to be more equitable? How about we change how health insurance is provided and expand it to everybody so that no-one should have to chose between work and living. While the vision is still clear as to how shit really gets done, how about we do those things.

"The coronavirus has taken a hatchet to municipal budgets everywhere, forcing cities and towns to lay off librarians, parks workers and even first responders like police and firefighters… From big cities like Detroit to small towns like Ogdensburg, N.Y., workers are being furloughed, programs are being cut and major capital projects are being shelved."

"More facilities in Texas, including gyms, childcare centers, youth clubs and personal care centers, were reopened on Monday. Bars, aquariums and bowling alleys will resume service from Friday… On Saturday, Texas recorded its highest single-day rise in cases since the outbreak began. In an interview Monday with CNN's New Day program, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the record spike was likely to be connected to recent reopenings, as well as increased testing across the state." Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

"President Donald Trump on Thursday said 'we are not closing our country' if the U.S. is hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections… 'People say that’s a very distinct possibility, it’s standard,' Trump said when asked about a second wave during a tour of a Ford factory in Michigan." The president is willing to have you die for his economy. On a better note, the president doesn't have dick to say about this as he didn't close or open the economy this time either, the governors did.

"Another week, another grisly job reports for the US. The data is still streaming in, but it’s time to start calling this what it is—a global economic depression." Ta-da!

"The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is falling on poorer Americans, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday… 'And while the burden is widespread, it has not been evenly spread,' Powell said… 'Those taking the brunt of the fallout are those least able to bear it.'" I would maker a Capt. Obvious joke, but I really think people in power need to hear that story told many more times.

"A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday reached agreement on a bill that would ease restrictions on emergency small business loans that are designed to curb massive layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The man who filmed the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has been arrested on felony murder charges, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation… William 'Roddie' Bryan Jr., 50, was arrested Thursday and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail, the bureau announced. GBI Director Vic Reynolds said earlier in the month the department was investigating Bryan, while Kevin Gough, the man's attorney, had previously called on the GBI to clear his client's name." Good. Just a reminder he released the video believing it exonerated his friends, Gregory and Travis McMichael.

"China will move to pass a hugely controversial national security law for Hong Kong, in what could be the biggest blow to the city's autonomy and civil liberties since its handover to Chinese rule in 1997… The move by China's rubber stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), which is meeting in Beijing this week, is sure to fuel further anger and protests in the city, which was rocked by over six months of increasingly violent anti-government unrest last year." Well that's a nice looking rabbit hole they've got there.

"Norma McCorvey, known as Jane Roe in the US Supreme Court's decision on Roe v Wade, shocked the country in 1995 when she came out against abortion… But in new footage, McCorvey alleges she was paid to switch sides." Ah, those principled conservatives.

"The Trump administration is asking local Planned Parenthood affiliates around the U.S. to return millions of dollars in loans received through the federal government's coronavirus relief package." Because of course they are.

"Congressional Democrats have accused U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of trying to reroute hundreds of millions of dollars in coronavirus aid money to K-12 private school students. The coronavirus rescue package, known as the CARES Act, included more than $13 billion to help public schools cover pandemic-related costs." Because of course she did.

They burn churches, don't they? "The fire Wednesday in Holly Springs destroyed the First Pentecostal Church, and investigators found graffiti in the church parking lot that reads, 'Bet you stay home now you hypokrits,' NBC affiliate WMC of Memphis reported." Yeah, that intentional misspelling feels fake.

"In the statement, posted on Friday, Salah Khashoggi said his family pardons those who took the reporter's life in 2018 when he visited Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul… Under Islamic law, death sentences in Saudi Arabia can be commuted if the victim's family pardons the perpetrator, but it is not clear whether that will happen in this case." Well I bet MBS sleeps a little better now. Good thing he doesn't have the power to intimidate and threaten the Khashoggi family into a political act of… wait a second.

"President Donald Trump confirmed the US will be exiting the Open Skies Treaty, a pact designed to reduce the risk of military miscalculations that could lead to war, and said Russia's actions had prompted him to take the decision." Oh FFS.

"The Trump administration failed to turn over hundreds of emails and other internal documents before going to trial over the now-blocked census citizenship question — and a federal judge says it has to pay for it… U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York — the first judge to block the administration's plans to include the question last year because of its 'sham justification' — is now ordering the administration to cover the attorney's fees and other costs related to a legal dispute over the previously undisclosed documents."

"Michigan's attorney general sent a warning to Ford for allowing President Donald Trump to refuse to wear a mask in front of cameras during his visit Thursday to a manufacturing plant." Ooo, it's a pissing war now.

"In a statement later that day to The Miami Herald, DeSantis' communications director, Helen Aguirre Ferré, said, 'Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the Department's COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.'" Uh huh, sure. Say, would you be interested in buying any of these turnips? But they're going to try and smear her as much as they can, because they think she's disposable.

"The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to subpoena documents and depositions from Blue Star Strategies, a consulting company that worked with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma when Hunter Biden served on its board… Democrats on the committee said Republicans were chasing conspiracy theories and bolstering Russian disinformation efforts by using their power to investigate the Biden family instead of the government response to the coronavirus pandemic, which falls under the committee's jurisdiction." These circuses would be much more fun if the bread was better.

And as a surprise to no one… "A Trump election conspiracy theory fell apart Wednesday when Florida’s law enforcement agency said it had found no widespread voter fraud in the 2018 races for Senate and governor… President Donald Trump had complained repeatedly about election 'fraud' and theft in heavily populated, Democrat-rich Broward and Palm Beach counties, which had slowly but erratically updated their vote totals after polls closed on Election Day."

Prison reform? "Michael Cohen is just the latest well-connected federal prisoner to be sent home early because of the coronavirus, even though he has served only a third of his sentence — well shy of the 50 percent threshold federal officials often cite in denying requests for early release. By contrast, prisoners like Eddie Brown, an Oklahoma man who has served a bigger portion of his sentence than Cohen and also cites health problems, remain behind bars, raising questions about the Bureau of Prisons' opaque process and its fairness." Not so much.

"A former White House aide won a $3 million federal contract to supply respirator masks to Navajo Nation hospitals in New Mexico and Arizona 11 days after he created a company to sell personal protective equipment in response to the coronavirus pandemic… The IHS told ProPublica it has found that 247,000 of the masks delivered by Fuentes’ company — at a cost of roughly $800,000 — may be unsuitable for medical use. An additional 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the type specified in the procurement data, the agency said." (Grokked from Michele)

No comments: