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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Linkee-poo tomorrow I'll miss you

"Spectacular 3D maps of the universe have revealed one of the biggest cosmic structures ever found — an almost-inconceivable wall stretching 1.4 billion light-years across that contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies."

"Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a surprising shift in the Arctic Ocean. Exploding blooms of phytoplankton, the tiny algae at the base of a food web topped by whales and polar bears, have drastically altered the Arctic's ability to transform atmospheric carbon into living matter. Over the past decade, the surge has replaced sea ice loss as the biggest driver of changes in uptake of carbon dioxide by phytoplankton."

"The World Health Organization has expanded its coronavirus guidance to include the possibility in certain circumstances of airborne transmission, in which the virus could be spread through tiny droplets that linger in the air."

"With a cough and shortness of breath, it took Austin, Texas, resident Sam Lee three tries to get a COVID-19 test. He's not alone, with some Americans going at least a week without receiving a diagnosis amid new testing demand as coronavirus cases spike in states like Texas and Arizona." And that's just getting a test, there are big delays in getting results. A "hot mess" indeed.

"'Vaccine nationalism' is turning the search for a Covid-19 cure into an arms race, which will ultimately damage the economy and public health, experts have warned… Analysts at Eurasia Group speculated that tension over a vaccine would heat up over the summer, predicting a battle for access that will stretch into 2021 or 2022."

"President Donald Trump's campaign rally in late June, as well as the accompanying counterprotests, likely contributed to the area's recent spike in coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday… 'In the past few days, we've seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,' Dart said at a press conference." Only 500?

"As Brazil's coronavirus cases surge by the tens of thousands each day, the country is contending with a parallel outbreak -- a flurry of corruption investigations into the alleged misuse of public money rapidly shelled out for Covid-19 emergency procurement… The investigations have reached all levels of government, including three state governors who have come under federal scrutiny in the past two months. Nearly 1,500 federal criminal judicial proceedings have also been opened into coronavirus-related cases, including investigations into misuse of federal funds, fraud, overpricing, and money laundering, according to a summary the federal prosecution office shared with CNN." Now do it here in the US.

"United Airlines and the union that represents its some 13,000 pilots have reached a tentative agreement on voluntary furloughs and early retirement packages, the latest effort to slash costs as the coronavirus pandemic devastates travel demand."

"Another batch of one-time stimulus checks could be coming. But this time, far fewer Americans could get paid… Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is considering a compromise: disbursing funds to people making $40,000 or less a year."

"The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups."

"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday formally reconverted Istanbul’s sixth-century iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque and declared it open to Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had turned it into a museum."

"The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a decision that state and federal officials have warned could throw Oklahoma into chaos… The court's 5-4 decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the second-largest city." Wow, that's gonna be interesting.

"After a frenetic few weeks, the Supreme Court gaveled out Thursday, bringing to a close an unprecedented term that defied expectations and shifted perceptions of the court in the heat of an election year."

"Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed Thursday that he had been briefed on information regarding Russian payments to the Taliban, seemingly acknowledging that Russia's support for the militant group in Afghanistan is not a 'hoax,' as President Donald Trump has claimed. However, Esper also made clear that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the 'bounty' payments, walking a delicate line between acknowledging a well-known threat and potentially clashing with the President."

"The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is working with county elections officials to avoid a repeat of June’s chaotic primary elections that included hours-long lines to vote… Poll worker jobs will be advertised through social media, newspaper and radio. Tech experts will be dispatched to set up voting equipment. State election officials will tell counties where precincts need to be added." Yeah, that last part is the problem.

"A Michigan town wants machines to speed up counting of absentee ballots. In Ohio, officials want to equip polling places so voters and poll workers feel safe from the coronavirus. Georgia officials, rattled by a chaotic election last month, want to send voters forms so they can request absentee ballots more easily… In all three cases, the money is not there to make it happen…" Breaking government.

"Congressional Republicans are now signalling a new willingness to provide that, after initial fears from voting rights advocates that the federal government would provide no more support than the $400 million that came as part of a March relief package."

"'We can't have a repeat of Tulsa,' a campaign official said, bluntly conceding that a rally on Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, must be approached differently as the coronavirus pandemic sets daily case records and creates havoc for political planners." Mostly about the empty seats than the virus transmission.

"'This rally is really a make-or-break moment for Trump,' said Dan Eberhart, an energy company executive and GOP fund-raiser. 'This needs to be a success to prove out the strategy that in this kind of COVID environment, these kinds of rallies still have legs, still have purpose and that this type of campaigning can continue.'"

"The 30-second ad by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign ends with 'You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America' emblazoned across a flickering hellscape. It blames a push by progressive activists to defund the police as 'violent crime has exploded.'" Fear fear, booga booga. It's not their last lever, but it's about the only one that might get "moderates" (ie. former right of center conservatives).

"President Donald Trump took a swing at Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday in the aftermath of two Supreme Court decisions involving his closely held financial records, lamenting that the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and close Trump ally was not doing enough to target the president’s political foes."

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