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

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"Hugo Award-winning editor/publisher John Joseph Adams is pleased to announce the return of Fantasy Magazine. The first new issue of Fantasy will publish in November 2020 and will join sister-magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare under the same publishing umbrella. Adams has named Arley Sorg and Christie Yant as co-editors-in-chief and will continue in his role as publisher."

"Dungeons and Dragons is reconsidering what it means to be evil… The classic role playing game's publisher, Wizards of the Coast, recently announced some changes it was making to the game in response to the ongoing protests over racism and police violence. While this includes editing some past racist descriptions, as well as adding more diverse writers, the game's designers are also making a fundamental change to the way certain playable characters are portrayed."

"A company wants to use an advanced balloon to fly customers from Earth’s surface in Alaska to the highest reaches of the planet’s atmosphere." I think this is the same thing I liked to the other day, but now they're saying they'll launch from Kodiak and it's just the test launch that will be from Florida.

"NASA says it will be forced to delay the launch of its multibillion-dollar Perseverance mission to no earlier than July 30. The Mars-bound large rover must launch on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida before the middle of August, or it will miss Earth's conjunction with the Red Planet."

"Every year now, gardeners should be rethinking what they grow and where because of climate change, experts say." We're boned.

"The U.N. nuclear agency says slightly elevated levels of radioactivity that have been detected in northern Europe pose no risk to human health or to the environment but it’s still unclear what the cause was." Looks suspiciously at our Russian friends.

How are those "Law and Order" patriots handling the COVID-19 shutdowns? "Although Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus closure orders prohibit parades and other mass gatherings until at least July 3, that’s not stopping a group of Geauga County residents who plan to parade their freedom July 4, no matter what the state says… 'Governor DeWine can shove it up his nose,' Mario Innocenzi told Facebook followers in a live video June 29. 'He lets protesters riot, destroy, burn, beat – but patriots, veterans cannot have a parade. I call bullshit.'"

"A person has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in a sprawling refugee camp on the U.S.-Mexico border where an estimated 2,000 people await their immigration court dates, according to a nonprofit group providing medical care at the camp." Here we go.

"Coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, stores and restaurants have reopened — a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater peril than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths."

"Trials of the controversial anti-malarial drug taken by US President Donald Trump to try to prevent catching coronavirus are to be resumed… UK regulators say hydroxychloroquine and a similar drug chloroquine can be given to healthcare workers in a clinical study to test the theory… Recruitment to the COPCOV trial had been paused amid concerns about side-effects raised by other research that has since been discredited." To be clear, they haven't been "discredited", the "healthcare firm Surgisphere that was involved in the work would not allow an independent review." Which is normal for peer-reviewed studies. Since Surgisphere won't allow those audits (citing "privacy concerns" IIRC), the studies must be withdrawn.

"In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others."

"Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their seasons Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections." Oh shit. So sorry for all the minor league players (who do it for peanuts). That's a huge blow to their income.

"Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order on Wednesday ordering demonstrators to clear the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest Zone (CHOP), just two days after one person was killed and a 14-year-old boy was injured in a shooting… 'Anyone who remains in the area, or returns to the area, is subject to arrest,' the department said on Twitter." There are people who live there.

"No charges were brought against McCloskeys. Police said they were still investigating but labeled it a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters in the racially diverse crowd." It's called "menacing" and it's a felony.

"The police department in Aurora, Colo., is investigating several officers who posed for photographs near the site where Elijah McClain was forcibly arrested as he walked home from a convenience store last summer. The site became a memorial to the 23-year-old who died in police custody. He was not suspected of committing any crime."

"Fox News said Wednesday that Ed Henry, one of its top news anchors, had been fired after the network received a complaint last week of sexual harassment from years ago." Still need to clean house over at Fox.

"Companies in June continued to bring workers back from their pandemic furlough as the national economy slowly came back to life… Private payrolls grew by 2.369 million for the month, a bit lower than the 2.5 million expectation from economists surveyed by Dow Jones, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics." Note these are not the government figures.

"Macy's posts nearly $4 billion in losses, doesn't expect another shutdown." You let us know how that goes.

"Even with the June rebound, the confidence index remains well below its pre-pandemic levels. The reading on consumer confidence is closely watched for clues it can give about future consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity."

"U.S. home prices gains accelerated in April even as sales have stumbled, a sign the coronavirus outbreak has had little impact on real estate values… The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 4% in April compared with a year earlier, the largest gain since December 2018, up from 3.9% in March."

"A resurgence of confirmed COVID cases across the South and West — and the suspension or reversal of re-openings of bars, hotels, restaurants and other businesses — is endangering hopes for an economic rebound in the region and perhaps nationally. At stake are the jobs of millions of people who have clung to hopes that their layoffs from widespread business shutdowns this spring would prove short-lived." Easy come, easy go.

"As the (U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement) kicks in, the Trump administration is threatening Canada with new aluminum tariffs, and a prominent Mexican labor activist has been jailed, underscoring concerns about crucial labor reforms in the replacement for the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The risk of disputes among the three trading partners is growing, analysts say." Trouble in paradise.

"Germany’s defense minister reportedly plans to restructure the country’s special forces unit after numerous allegations of far-right extremism."

In Hong Kong the first arrests made under the new security law. "Police later said on Twitter that more than 70 people had been arrested for participating in 'unauthorized assemblies,' including two suspected of violating the national security law."

"Workers are speaking out against the constitutional changes that would allow Putin to stay in office until 2036 amid growing frustration over their dire living conditions, which have not improved despite all the promises. A nationwide vote on the amendments has been scheduled for Wednesday, but polling stations have been open for a week already to allow for early voting and to prevent election-day crowds amid the pandemic." It's all fun and games until you become a tyrant.

"U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of immigrant nonprofits and asylum-seekers who argued that the rule known as the 'third-country asylum rule,' which was jointly published by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, violated the Immigration and Nationality Act."

"Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence." And who can be expected to remember what last year was like?

"The Senate will incorporate the annual intelligence policy legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act -- but only after stripping language from the intelligence bill that would have required presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election help… Sen. Mark Warner… said Tuesday that Senate Republicans forced the removal of the election reporting provision as a condition to include the intelligence bill on the must-pass defense policy legislation." The fuck? Look, it really shouldn't have to be law (again), but apparently it needs to be.

"President Donald Trump set off a 'five-alarm fire' in the White House on Sunday morning after he retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying 'white power,' according to two White House officials… The video remained on the president's Twitter page… for more than three hours because White House officials couldn't reach him to ask him to delete it…" They had to ask him to delete it. I know this leak is meant to calm people, but you couldn't get in touch with the president because he put his phone down? You had to ask? This is like a five-alarm failure. Although, it's hard to blame to president, when he heard the guy shouting "White Power" twice he really couldn't distinguish it from all the times Steve Miller shouts it in the hallways.

"A five-term Republican congressman endorsed by President Donald Trump conceded his primary reelection bid in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday evening, a stunning upset that will vault his far-right challenger, Lauren Boebert, into the state's general election." Whackaloon quotient going up again.

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