What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Friday, October 30, 2020

Linkee-poo and the sky is a hazy shade of winter

"Gray wolves, a species that has long been vilified and admired, will no longer receive federal protections under the Endangered Species Act in the Lower 48 U.S. states, the Trump administration announced Thursday."

"For the first time, the United States added cases faster than one every second on Thursday, Johns Hopkins data shows. The United States reported 88,521 new coronavirus cases, a record for one day. That equaled a new coronavirus case every 0.976 seconds."

"As coronavirus cases rise swiftly around the country, surpassing both the spring and summer surges, health officials brace for a coming wave of hospitalizations and deaths. Knowing which hospitals in which communities are reaching capacity could be key to an effective response to the growing crisis. That information is gathered by the federal government — but not shared openly with the public."

Why we can't have nice things… "Statz thought this could be a teachable moment, so that week she used a children’s book, an educational video and a worksheet to lead a discussion on racism and why people were protesting. She considered the materials neutral. The worksheet posed questions like, 'What is the Black Lives Matter Movement trying to do?' and 'How Do We Stop Systemic Racism?' The students seemed engaged, and asked a lot of questions, she said." And then the parents got involved.

"The young man came to the protest over the police killing of George Floyd wearing a tactical vest on his chest and a skull mask over his face. In grainy video footage captured outside of Minneapolis’s 3rd Police Precinct on the night of May 28, the man can be seen pulling out an AK-47 style rifle and blasting 13 shots into the police building. The shooting happened shortly before the structure was set ablaze… On Friday, federal officials issued a complaint against a 26-year-old Texan, Ivan Harrison Hunter, they say they have identified as the man in the video. Hunter faces one count of participating in a riot, with a sentence of up to five years in prison… But along with the charge, federal officials unsealed an affidavit accusing Hunter of being part of a loose nationwide network of violent extremists, known as 'boogaloo' boys (also spelled 'bois')." You'd think the Blue Lives Matter people would be shouting about this.

"Two grand jurors who heard the Kentucky Attorney General's Office presentation of the Breonna Taylor case say prosecutors were dismissive of their questions and that there was an "uproar" when jurors realized Louisville police officers wouldn't be charged with Taylor's death… The grand jurors -- who are choosing to remain anonymous, citing security concerns -- spoke to journalists by phone Wednesday evening along with their attorney, Kevin Glogower, and community activist Christopher 2X. They spoke about how their service on the Taylor case was unlike dozens of other cases they heard throughout their month of service."

"Louisville police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg during the deadly March 13 raid at Breonna Taylor's apartment, filed a lawsuit against her boyfriend alleging assault, battery and emotional distress."

"When asked why the family, who has yet to bury Wallace, would not want to pursue murder charges against the two officers who fired seven rounds each into him on Monday, Johnson replied, 'Here's why: they were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job.'" It's a complex response.

"Three civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit Thursday challenging the Trump administration's recent crackdown on diversity training… The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Urban League and National Fair Housing Alliance call President Trump's Sept. 22 executive order 'chillingly punitive' censorship that violates guarantees of free speech, equal protection and due process."

"Jeremy Corbyn joined Labour 55 years ago as a teenager and led the party into the last general election… But the Islington North MP has now been suspended, pending an investigation… We can't tell you what the result of that will be, but we can explain why the party says the decision has been taken..."

"President Donald Trump's senior adviser Stephen Miller has fleshed out plans to rev up Trump's restrictive immigration agenda if he wins re-election next week, offering a stark contrast to the platform of Democratic nominee Joe Biden… In a 30-minute phone interview Thursday with NBC News, Miller outlined four major priorities: limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing so-called sanctuary cities, expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants and slapping new limits on work visas."

"Wilbur Ross, an investor-turned-U.S. commerce secretary, has long been accused of ethical violations because of his failure to extricate himself from his business ties. Documents obtained by Foreign Policy show that Ross’s potential conflicts of interest around Chinese business are greater than previously known… In Chinese corporate documents obtained by Foreign Policy, Ross is listed as serving on the board of a Chinese joint venture until January 2019—nearly two years into his term as commerce secretary. That joint venture, now called Huaneng Invesco WLR (Beijing) Investment Fund Management Co., is an investment partnership formed in September 2008 between Huaneng Capital Services, the U.S. management company Invesco, and a firm Ross founded, WL Ross & Co. Huaneng Capital Services is an arm of China Huaneng Group, a major state-owned power producer." A relationship Mr. Ross just conveniently forgot to disclose on his security declarations.

"The emails show that Susan Pompeo routinely gives instructions to State Department officials from her personal email address about everything from travel plans and restaurant reservations to the elite Madison Dinners that NBC News reported on in May… Many involve routine matters like logistics and scheduling for official events that would involve coordination with the secretary's spouse in any administration. But other requests, such as seeking assistance with planning a multiday visit for an elite group of young executives from Kansas, appear to be less directly connected to advancing the State Department's core mission… They include maintenance requests for the house the Pompeos rent on a Washington-area military base, which Susan Pompeo appears to be routing through the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. Emails show special agents from the service's Secretary of State Protective Division updating Susan Pompeo about repairs to the HVAC system in 2018 and to the porch and stairs in 2019."

"The final debate between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled after Perdue dropped out to attend a campaign rally." You know, after he got owned in the last debate.

"With apologies to The Raconteurs, the presidential race continues to be 'steady as she goes,' with little sign of tightening despite a plethora of new polls. FiveThirtyEight’s presidential forecast gives Joe Biden an 89 in 100 shot at winning the election, while President Trump has just an 11 in 100 chance. This makes Biden the favorite, but still leaves open a narrow path to victory for Trump, for whom a reelection win would be surprising — but not utterly shocking." If you haven't voted and you're registered, go out and vote.

"President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden plan to crisscross Midwestern battleground states on Friday, with each staging three events across the critical region. Both plan to appear in Minnesota and Wisconsin, while Biden is also touching down in Iowa and Trump is also traveling to Michigan."

"A Florida entrepreneur is the first defendant to plead guilty in a campaign finance and business fraud case involving associates of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and attorney for President Donald Trump… David Correia, 45, pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony counts: one of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one of conspiracy to commit wire fraud." The friends you keep.

"One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden's laptop, a fake 'intelligence' document about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son and business in China… The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake 'intelligence firm' called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents." Compare and contrast with the media treatment of the Steele Dossier, and then realize this is how the media treats actual disinformation.

"Long before Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced her as his running mate, Kamala Harris was the target of widespread online misinformation… Social media posts included racist claims that she was ineligible to serve in the White House or that she was lying about her Black and Indian heritage. Her mother is from India and her father from Jamaica."

"Walmart on Thursday said it has pulled guns and ammunition from the sales floors of its U.S. stores as it seeks to keep firearms from being stolen should social unrest erupt." Just your normal pre-election action.

"According to the latest Gallup poll, released this morning, 69 percent of registered voters say that they are more enthusiastic to vote this year compared to previous elections. That is a stark contrast to the 2016 election, when enthusiasm to vote was relatively low. According to Gallup, which has asked voters about how enthusiastic they are to vote for at least the last two decades, only about half of registered voters said they were more enthusiastic to vote in 2016 than they had been in previous elections."

"The memes were 'trying to push this narrative of, "The system is a mess and there's no point in you participating,"' Bannerman said. She recalled statements like, '"Democrats and Republicans are the same. There's no point in voting." "Obama didn't do anything for you during his term, why should you vote for a Democrat this time around?"'… Black and Latino voters are being flooded with similar messages in the final days of the election, according to voting rights activists and experts that track disinformation." Waves to my Russian friends.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Linkee-poo Thursday Oct 29

Sorry so late, hope you saw the post form late last night.

"Some of the most popular products of biotechnology — corn and cotton plants that have been genetically modified to fend off insects — are no longer offering the same protection from those bugs. Scientists say that the problem results from farmers overusing the crops, and are pushing for new regulations." Wrong. The problem is we thought they would "solve the problem." Build a better shield, someone will build a better sword. It's called evolution.

"Rosenthal found that about 1 in 20 people in the U.S. has SAD. If you have it, you may feel sluggish or depressed, oversleep, overeat, gain weight and be uninterested in doing things you previously enjoyed. Many more people have the winter blues, a milder version of SAD, where you feel like a sadder, sleepier or slower version of yourself." It's that time of year.

"When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Manchester, N.H., a week before the 2016 election, he said the opioid crisis was destroying lives and shattering families." That other pandemic the president fumbled.

"'If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths,' Fauci said in an interview Wednesday evening on 'The News with Shepard Smith.'"

"Following long negotiations with Germany's 16 state governors, Merkel, who's been urging the public to dial down socializing for weeks, persuaded the governors that closing bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, theaters, cinemas and concert venues is their best option."

"People's bodies produce an army of immune compounds in response to an infection and some are overwhelming at first, dying off quickly, while others build up more slowly. Measurements that show a waning antibody response in the first months after infection might be measuring this first wave -- but there's a second team building its forces in the background… The new report out Wednesday shows 90% of people who recover from Covid-19 infections keep a stable overall antibody response." Well that's good news.

"The ambitious drive to produce Covid-19 vaccine at warp speed seems to be running up against reality. We all probably need to reset our expectations about how quickly we’re going to be able to be vaccinated." Well, no shit.

"Moving beyond the annualized figure, however, the economy actually grew about 7.4% during July, August and September from the previous quarter, after shrinking 1.2% in the first three months of the year and another 9% in the second quarter."

"Initial weekly U.S. jobless claims came in at 751,000 for the week ending Oct. 24, down 40,000 from the previous week. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial jobless claims to come in at 778,000. It was the lowest initial claims total since the week of March 14, when they came in at 282,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 778,000 new claims for last week." Whoohoo, jobless claims were only three-quarters of a million just last week.
"The Small Business Administration may have handed out billions of dollars in loans to businesses that falsely claimed to have been damaged by the coronavirus lockdowns, a report from the agency said on Wednesday… Officials at the agency were so inundated with requests for disaster aid starting last March that they couldn't adequately vet the applicants, according to the report from the Office of SBA Inspector General Michael Ware." Breaking government.

"A Mexican search group said Wednesday that it found 59 bodies in a series of clandestine burial pits in the north-central state of Guanajuato and that more could still be excavated. The head of the official National Search Commission, Karla Quintana, said excavations began a week ago based on a tip from relatives of missing people… Given the deficiencies of local law enforcement in Mexico, relatives of missing people in many states have formed their own search groups, collecting information and exploring possible body dumping sites and clandestine graves."

"Three people have been killed in a knife attack at a church in the French city of Nice, police say… Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said there had been a 'terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica'."

"PELOSI: '[A]s the coronavirus surges and the stock market plummets, we are still awaiting the Trump Administration's promised responses on multiple items of critical importance.'"

"Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall, according to data reviewed by CNN from the Texas Civil Rights Project… In the final days of the presidential election, President Donald Trump, along with senior administration officials, have cited the border wall as a cornerstone accomplishment of his first term." Remember when conservatives were against eminent domain?

Turning the government into propaganda for Trump. "Public relations firms hired by the Department of Health and Human Services vetted political views of hundreds of celebrities for a planned $250 million ad blitz aimed at portraying President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in a positive light, according to documents released Thursday by a House committee." When asked to go with a tagline about how "Helping the President will Help the Country" and there were no takers. Now ask them if they want to make a PSA that's just about protecting people from the coronavirus and see if you get any takers.

"Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney to Donald Trump and former mayor of New York city, threatened to walk out of a tense interview on Fox Business… Recently embarrassed by his appearance in a compromising scene the new Borat movie, Giuliani was being pressed on the provenance of stories about what is claimed to be Hunter Biden’s laptop." You know, when you can't get Fox News to go along with your crazy shit, you really are out there. And of course the reporter is being threatened.

"As President Donald Trump pleaded for the support of suburban women at a Michigan rally Tuesday evening (amidst a pandemic and economic crisis that have caused a mass exodus of women from the workforce), he argued that he deserved their votes because 'we're getting your husbands back to work.' The implications here -- that he believes all women have or should have husbands and that workplaces are the province of men -- are so sexist and outmoded that they will likely alarm American women who have long become accustomed to inappropriate treatment from their commander in chief."

"The Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been mocked for his attempt to explain why he could not produce some documents he had promised relating to Joe Biden… He said the only copy of the papers, which he claimed added to claims about Biden’s son Hunter, had been lost." The dog ate his homework. Hey Tucker, there's this thing called "production" where the offices in NY could do the video/photography of the documents for you.

"Everything about the act of voting in 2020 has been shaken by COVID-19. A record number of ballots have been cast early, either by mail or in person. All over the country, sports teams are turning over their arenas to be used as large-scale, socially distanced polling places… But in some states, the pandemic has also meant a reduction in the number of polling places, a potential roadblock for voters amid a period of already-heightened stress and confusion." Making it harder to vote both by intent, and because of circumstance.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for a second time, a Republican Party effort to block a three-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Pennsylvania. That means that at least until after the election, the court will not intervene in the way the state conducts its vote count."

"Election officials in many states say it is now too late for voters to return absentee ballots by mail and are encouraging them instead to deliver their ballots by hand or vote in person… State rules differ about how late ballots can be received and still count. Absentee ballots must be received on Election Day in more than two dozen states, including a handful of key swing states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin."

"With Election Day less than a week away, anxiety, distrust and suspicion are running high. Activists and extremists on both the right and left are worried the other side will somehow steal the election, and they're making plans for what to do if they believe that's happening… Experts in global conflict warn that this is a toxic brew and that conditions are ripe for conflict and maybe even violence in the U.S. There's a good chance that no clear winner will emerge on election night, and experts are concerned about what will happen after that — especially if protesters and counterprotesters collide in the streets." For me, it's not about protestors clashing, it's that one side has been hyping themselves up for civil war and if they lose the election, they feel they will have their cause. And yes, I point the finger directly at Russia. This has all the hallmarks of their kind of pys-ops.

About that story last night with the errors in an opinion by Kavanaugh… "Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday night tweaked a line in his controversial opinion on Wisconsin mail-in voting this week, after he received criticism for incorrectly saying Vermont had not changed its election rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Linkee-poo late Wednesday edition Oct 28

Way too much to read today before noon, and too much to hold off until tomorrow.

"So, for various reasons, I'm rereading the HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH books about the writing of Lord of the Rings. They're fascinating (for certain values of fascinating); what I'm going to do this time try to extract writing advice (thread)." Tolkien was a panster, and he left notes.

"Scientists have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean – known as the 'sleeping giants of the carbon cycle' – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast, the Guardian can reveal." We're boned.

"After your team wins the World Series, it's only natural to run onto the field to celebrate with your teammates… But when you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 — and gotten a warning from security to leave the field — that natural instinct can lead to a 'full investigation' by Major League Baseball." Don't be that guy.

What could the holidays bring this year? Funny you ask… "Experts say there are a variety of factors contributing to Canada's recent surge in record breaking COVID-19 cases including Thanksgiving celebrations, fewer restrictions and increased testing capacity."

"A member of Congress, who has led efforts to investigate alleged coronavirus scams, is calling for the federal government to crack down on an unproven treatment for COVID-19. Widespread sales of that purported treatment - a drug known as thymosin alpha-1 - were first identified by an NPR investigation earlier this month. More than 30 doctors in more than a dozen states around the country have marketed the drug as a treatment for the coronavirus, despite the fact that it has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for any condition and such claims are, in the words of the FDA, 'not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.'"

COVID brain… "People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years, researchers warned on Tuesday."

"In fact, a USA TODAY investigation last winter into Reagan National had found no evidence of students or faculty at the college at all, even though the institution was approved to operate by an accrediting agency sanctioned by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos."

"After years of feuding and lawsuits, the utility Entergy Arkansas Inc. had agreed to shut down two coal plants over the next decade. Weeks later, the Arkansas Attorney General and a local coalition called the Arkansas Affordable Energy Coalition intervened, asking a judge to stop the settlement. They argued that other fuel sources would be more expensive and less reliable… But emails obtained through public records requests show the coalition represents more than just coal, gas and steel businesses in Arkansas. In fact, it was created by a nonprofit — the Energy Policy Network — whose largest financial contributor most years is the state of Wyoming, home to the coal mines that feed the two Arkansas plants slated for shut down." Your tax dollars at work.

"Sixty-three percent of workers who lost jobs because of the outbreak have changed their industry and 4% have changed their field or overall career path, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA TODAY." One of those. I haven't mentioned it here, but now seems a good time. Back in April I went part time at the graphic design job and full time at the hospital. And while this article is all "rah rah, aren't we better now?" Nope. Those computer programers, ask people who have been in the field a long time, your skills degrade fast in the marketplace. For medical, you wouldn't believe the amount of continuous training we have to do. Also this… "That downturn (2007-2009), triggered by a housing crash…" No it wasn't. It was triggered by over speculation in the housing market which created a corrupt system that churned mortgages for profit (the fees generated by the loans) by suckering in people desperate for housing and left everyone else holding the bag on bad loans while demolishing those people's credit.

And then… "It’s been more than seven months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, leading to sweeping shelter in place orders in March that put millions of Americans out of work. While some of those laid off due to shutdowns have been able to return to their jobs, permanent unemployment has increased."

"US immigration officers allegedly tortured Cameroonian asylum seekers to force them to sign their own deportation orders, in what lawyers and activists describe as a brutal scramble to fly African migrants out of the country in the run-up to the elections." Abolish ICE.

"On its surface, economic growth data out this week will look like one for the record books. But dig in, and the picture is not as bright… The Commerce Department is expected to report on Thursday record-setting growth in gross domestic product during the most recent quarter, reflecting pent-up demand as businesses reopened and consumers streamed back into the marketplace."

"A total of 70,032,485 early votes had been cast as of Tuesday, according to the United States Elections Project. When President Donald Trump won the election of 2016, the estimated total number of votes cast was 138,846,571. Early votes cast in the current election show Democrats with a substantial lead over Republicans in mail-in votes, while GOP voters have a modest edge in early in-person voting."

"'We couldn't stand it anymore': why disaffection with Devin Nunes is growing among his constituents."

"President Donald Trump has had more than $270 million in debt forgiven since 2010 after he failed to repay his lenders for a Chicago skyscraper development, The New York Times reported Tuesday… An analysis of his tax records by the Times shows that after the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago encountered financial problems, big banks and hedge funds cut Trump considerable slack, granting him years of additional time to repay his debts, much of which was ultimately forgiven."

"Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, has revealed himself to be 'Anonymous,' the author of a New York Times op-ed and book critical of the Trump presidency."

"Now, lessons learned about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election have brought the most intense focus ever on the U.S. information environment, elections practices, voter databases and other parts of the infrastructure of democracy… With seven days to run until the end of voting in this year's election, here's what you need to know." Just a reminder that the most successful computer hacks don't involve a computer at all, but rely on psychological tricks played on humans. Waves to my Russian friends.

"While the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett on Monday night, Justice Brett Kavanaugh handed down a startling opinion that laid out how the Supreme Court could steal the election for Donald Trump. Kavanaugh’s opinion was an assault on the integrity of America’s upcoming election; it was also extraordinarily sloppy, riddled with errors that would make even a traffic court judge blush. It’s worth highlighting these mistakes, not just to set the record straight but also to show how Kavanaugh uses falsehoods to twist the law against voting rights."A What happens when you appoint partisan hacks and people deemed "no qualified" to the bench.

Meet the new swamp, same as the old swamp.
"Ballrooms, candles and luxury cottages: During Trump’s term, millions of government and GOP dollars have flowed to his properties." Drained right into the president's personal accounts.

Linkee-poo Wednesday Oct 28

"In a study published Monday in the journal 'Scientific Reports,' Kloess identified the birds as pelagornithids, a group of predators that roamed the Earth's southern oceans for at least 60 million years. They are known as "bony-toothed" birds because of their sharp teeth and long beaks, which helped them grab fish and squid from the ocean… The birds were huge, with wingspans reaching up to 21 feet (6.4 meters)."

"Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation could open the door to a world that many anti-abortion-rights activists have been envisioning for decades." An article on just what a post-Roe USA would be like. And let's be honest here, there will still be abortions. It's just they won't be safe except for the rich. The timing of abortions will slip later into pregnancies.

"Gov. Mike DeWine urges Ohioans to reconsider Halloween gatherings amid coronavirus surge; Ohio Dept. of Health issues guidance for Trick-or-Treating." Yeah, you're a little to late there Mikey. And then there's this recommendation… "Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container or set up a hand-sanitizing station. Consider placing treats on porch steps or a table in the driveway with a sign asking children to take only one. Or use other creative ways to distribute treats, such as using a candy 'slide' made of PVC pipe, or hanging treats from a wall or fence." Have these people met kids before or seen trick-or-treating outside gated communities?

"Eli Lilly & Co. is ending a clinical trial of its antibody drug bamlanivimab in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after federal researchers concluded the therapy produced no marked improvement."

But… "The U.S. government will pay Eli Lilly $375 million to supply 300,00 doses of its experimental antibody drug to treat the coronavirus, the company announced Wednesday." It's unclear if that's the same drug, bamlanivimab, as above as the drug's name is not listed.

"The stock market rout continued Wednesday, deepening this week’s losses on concerns that rising numbers of coronavirus infections in the U.S. and Europe will push governments to bring back restrictions on businesses."

"The path toward recovery continues to be inherently antisocial and runs counter to how humans interact, live lives and conduct their business. This unwelcome policy — which has already harmed families, societies and economies — has the potential to lead to a tectonic shift in how the world functions in the foreseeable future."

"As hundreds of thousands of women dropped out of the workforce in September, Latinas led the way, leaving at nearly three times the rate of white women and more than four times the rate of African Americans. That could have lasting consequences for both household budgets and the broader U.S. economy."

"The CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter released prepared remarks on Tuesday that warn against repealing Section 230, the statute that protects the social networks from liability for their users’ posts. The remarks were released in advance of Wednesday’s hearing with the Senate Commerce Committee… The CEOs have been called in front of the committee because lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned about how each company moderates, or sometimes fails to moderate, content posted by users." How do you like not stopping those Nazi's now, Jack?

"A regulatory 'firewall' intended to protect Voice of America and its affiliated newsrooms from political interference in their journalism was swept aside late Monday night by the chief executive of the federal agency which oversees the government's international broadcasters." The damage being done by this administration will take at least a generation to recover from.

"Hundreds of President Donald Trump supporters were left in the freezing cold for hours after a rally at an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, with some walking around three miles to waiting buses and others being taken away in ambulances."

"Claiming he was 'saving suburbia' at a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan, the President pitched himself as the candidate for suburban women voters because he's 'getting your kids back to school' and 'getting your husbands -- they want to get back to work. We're getting your husbands back to work.'" Sherman, set the Wayback Machine…

"The Wall Street Journal and Fox News have both reported finding no evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden benefited from the Hunter Biden business dealings that have drawn scrutiny. More explicitly pro-Trump media outlets — OAN, Breitbart, Newsmax — have mostly shied away from publishing fresher, more salacious allegations. And conservative talking heads — pundits, politicians and loud MAGA Twitter personalities alike — have been more focused on the meta narrative around the laptop, arguing that mainstream media, social media companies and the deep state are conspiring to prevent President Donald Trump’s reelection by suppressing the story."

"Some pro-gun Facebook pages are fearmongering about mass violence from the left after the election." Well, more like it's a desire of the Right to have violence. It's just they're trying to pre-justify their own actions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Linkee-poo Tuesday Oct 27

"'The detection is very unique for molecular water,' says Shuai Li, a planetary scientist at the University of Hawaii and co-author on one of the new studies. The water signature was detected on the moon's illuminated surface, where the molecule would be exposed to UV radiation and where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between dawn, noon and dusk. It's somewhat surprising, but it's conclusive. 'Based on our knowledge, it cannot be anything else,' Li says."

"A wildfire that nearly quadrupled in size Monday, prompted tens of thousands of people to evacuate and caused two firefighters to suffer critical injuries may have been started by a power company's equipment."

"The 2020 hurricane season continues to overachieve as Hurricane Zeta formed Monday as it heads toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The storm is taking a track similar to Hurricane Delta, striking near Cozumel, Mexico, and then heading towards the Northern Gulf Coast." Damn overachievers.

You have to get pretty deep into this article titled "Diet drinks linked to heart issues, study finds. Here's what to do" to get to this… "Compared to people who didn't drink artificially sweetened beverages, high consumers were 20% more likely to have cardiovascular disease at any particular time. There was a similar result for higher consumers of sugary drinks when compared to nonusers, the researchers found." Again, small study, and preliminary findings. But that means that your risk of cardiovascular problems is the same when using either sugar (glucose) or artificial sweeteners to sweeten drinks. But people don't drink Diet Cokes to reduce their chance of heart disease.

"Antibodies against the coronavirus fall as people recover from the disease, according to the findings of a major U.K. study, potentially dealing a blow to those pushing for so-called herd immunity." This is why you need actual science reporters reporting on science. This is not news. It is common for your antibody counts to decrease after you've cleared an infection. Any infection. What matters is if your T and B cells remember how to make those antibodies and are triggered by a new infection.

"Police in Philadelphia said 30 officers were injured during violent protests Monday night that broke out after police shot and killed a 27-year-old Black man who authorities said had a knife… More than 300 people marched through the streets of Philadelphia late Monday into early Tuesday to protest the shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. which was captured on video. Dozens of officers were injured with rocks, bricks and other projectiles and a 56-year-old female officer was hit by a pickup truck and hospitalized with a broken leg, WCAU-TV reported."

"The Trump administration is considering declaring that several prominent international NGOs — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam — are anti-Semitic and that governments should not support them, two people familiar with the issue said… The report would cite such groups’ alleged or perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has targeted Israel over its construction of settlements on land Palestinians claim for a future state."

"While President Trump's chief of staff on Monday attempted to clarify the assertion that the United States is “not going to control” the coronavirus crisis, the president himself complained that the media is too focused on a pandemic that has killed more than 225,000 Americans and infected more than 8.6 million… Trump said news coverage of COVID-19, which he has described as an attempt to hurt his campaign, should be 'an election law violation.'"

"Seven people have died and at least 123 more have been injured in a blast at a religious school on Tuesday in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar, according to local authorities."

"With Amy Coney Barrett now seated on the Supreme Court, Republicans are pushing for reconsideration of a Pennsylvania case on mail-in voting -- the first potential test of how the new justice will handle election challenges." Here we go.

"A divided Supreme Court said Monday that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin could be counted only if they are received by Election Day… Democrats in the state had asked the court to allow the counting of ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day if they were postmarked by November 3… The ruling was 5-3, coming just before the Senate voted to add Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court."

"Democratic congressional candidates are swamping Republicans on the airwaves in another sign they’re poised to pad their House majority in November… In the most competitive 94 districts, Democrats have booked over $177 million in ads since Sept. 1, while their GOP opponents have booked $93 million, according to a POLITICO analysis of advertising data. Republican outside groups have partly made up the difference, but the party is still bracing for a string of defeats next month." Despite ample evidence, the news media continues to equate spending with winning.

"Worldy Armand, a 39-year-old Boston resident, was taken into custody late Sunday, hours after he started a fire inside a drop box outside the Boston Public Library in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood, authorities said. The box contained more than 120 ballots."

"Nov. 3 promises to be an Election Day unlike any other, and public safety entities say they're preparing for the tensions and the possibility of violence."

"Seven people were arrested after fights broke out between supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump in New York City on Sunday. The clashes came after a Jews For Trump convoy of hundreds of cars draped with American flags and Trump 2020 banners rolled slowly through Manhattan and Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon."

"Heading into the final week of the 2020 presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden now holds his largest-ever lead over President Trump, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — a 12-point margin that’s four times the size of Hillary Clinton’s national advantage over Trump at this point in 2016." Again, polls don't matter, votes do. As does the electoral college. Get out and vote (if you haven't already).

"With nine days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year’s presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "A huge swath of the country no longer trusts the elite media, which has been battered by Trumpian attacks as well as their own increasingly blatant biases and blunders. Many people no longer believe the fact-checkers will deliver the facts. Many reflexively dismiss a story in the New York Times or Washington Post, no matter how well-documented, as trash because of the perception of political animus." I didn't eat any cookies, claims child with chocolate smears all over their face and a pile of crumbles at their feet. This story is a complete hash meant ostensively to "clear the air", but instead actually muddles the waters even more. It's an argument for why news organizations should just print what they're given and not do any actual "reporting" (ie. checking sources). It argues that Fox News should have run the Hunter Biden story, even though Fox's own newsroom i investigated and founded that there is no evidence that the claims made are true. What complete bullshit.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Linkee-poo Monday Oct 26

"Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is shutting off power for approximately 361,000 customers in Northern California on Sunday to help prevent sparking wildfires amid extreme weather conditions. The utility says the shutoffs are affecting customers across 36 counties as weather forecasts predict wind gusts over 70 mph in some areas combined with dry conditions."

"White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that the US is 'not going to control' the coronavirus pandemic, as cases surge across the country and nearly 225,000 Americans have died from the virus." Throwing in the towel. Of course they are. They vilified and politicized any of the measures that could actually help. To do anything they would have to admit they're wrong, and they won't do that, especially this close to an election. So we get the shrugged shoulders and "Whatchagonnado?" It's what happens when your worldview isn't predicated on reality.

Cooking the books in real time. "Since Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service’s coronavirus dashboard has posted a message that the total number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has been underreported since Oct. 17. The note blamed 'challenges entering data' to the portal used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for collecting daily hospitalizations around the country."

"El Paso, Texas, is turning its convention center into a field hospital and asking residents to stay at home for two weeks after the city recorded a roughly 200 percent increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations in less than a month, officials said Sunday."

"Among the crowd was a group of armed Black men and women who call themselves the 'Not F**king Around Coalition' or NFAC. The group did not run toward the gunshots or break formation. Instead, they kneeled on the ground amid the confusion, and then walked away after their leader shouted, 'fall back! fall back!'"

"Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating the latest ceasefire over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, minutes after it came into effect on Monday… The US-brokered ceasefire had been announced in Washington on Sunday… Two other ceasefires agreed earlier this month over the conflict were broken almost immediately."

"A man accused of abducting his two young daughters from a Kansas home where two boys were found dead was arrested on Sunday after a three-state search for the children, state officials said. The two girls were found safe and the father is being held in custody."

"LGBTQ Catholics and their allies in the U.S. welcomed Pope Francis’ endorsement of same-sex civil unions, the first time he’s done so as pontiff, while some prominent members including a bishop said Wednesday that he was blatantly contradicting church teaching."

"Judge Amy Coney Barrett is poised to become the ninth justice on the Supreme Court on Monday, solidifying a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court that Democrats warn could have lasting impacts on the nation's health care and rights for individuals."

"Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group."

"A New York City police officer is suspended without pay after videos shared over social media Saturday night appeared to show him using his patrol vehicle's speaker to say 'Trump 2020.'"

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Linkee-poo Weekend Oct 25

Jerry Jeff Walker, and so it goes.

"Photos taken of the head on Thursday showed that so much sample was collected that some larger rocks seemed to fail to make it all the way inside, wedging a mylar flap meant to seal the container partially open, allowing some small bits of dust and pebbles to escape back out into space."

"A tropical depression east of Mexico strengthened Sunday morning into Tropical Storm Zeta and could reach the US Gulf Coast by midweek… Zeta could be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and could bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts to areas from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle."

"The first nest of giant 'murder hornets' ever discovered in the United States has been eliminated, two days after it was located in Washington state… The Asian giant hornet nest was found on Thursday at 4 p.m. local time by entomologists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in the cavity of a tree on a property near the town of Blaine." We get it, 2020. You can stop now.

"Is there a safe way to trick-or treat this year?" I see about 600 trick or treaters every year. This is a very big question. The short answer is no. The longer answer is there are ways to mitigate your risks. And wear a goddamn mask (and I don't mean a costume mask).

"Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Pence, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, making him the closest aide to Pence and the latest senior White House official to contract the virus… Short did not travel with Pence on Saturday to rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee, Fla. Aides deemed to have had close contact with Short were pulled from the trip before departure, White House reporters who traveled with Pence were later told."

"While the publicly posted Moderna contract includes previously unknown details, extensive redactions leave the public in the dark about some of the company's obligations as well as the extent of protections for taxpayers."

How's that "more guns = more freedom" idea going? "A Texas child is dead after accidentally shooting himself in the chest during his birthday party, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office."

How go the Trade Wars? "US President Donald Trump started a trade war with China to fix what he's repeatedly blasted as an unfair relationship between the world's two largest economies… But as the president makes his case for a second term ahead of November's election, he doesn't have much to show for a bruising trade battle that has been a cornerstone of his foreign policy."

"Officials in Afghanistan say at least 24 people are dead, including schoolchildren, from a suicide attack outside of an education center in the capital of Kabul… The country's interior ministry confirmed that more than 57 others were wounded Saturday after the explosion went off in a heavily Shiite neighborhood, The Associated Press reported."

"But on Thursday, Walmart filed a lawsuit saying that the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration are blaming the company for the government’s own lack of regulatory and enforcement policies to stem the crisis." Well at least Walmart has smart lawyers.

"With Nov. 3, the last day of the presidential election season, rapidly approaching, officials with the U.S. Postal Service say they have already processed a record amount of election mail this year… The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many more voters to send in their ballots by mail. USPS officials say 100 million ballots have already been sent to or from voters. And while there have been delays reported in a number of key states, experts say that voting by mail has gone relatively smoothly so far."

"'2020 has been a year like no other because not only have we seen a higher volume of online mis- and disinformation, we have also changed a lot of processes about our society, including the way we administer elections,' said Jesse Littlewood, who leads the Stopping Cyber Suppression program for Common Cause. His nonpartisan group has already identified close to 5,000 incidents this year."

Friday, October 23, 2020

Linkee-poo Friday Oct 23

"NASA is set to announce on Monday what its calling 'an exciting new discovery' about Earth's moon… The space agency was tightlipped about further details, but did drop a clue."

"The oil company ConocoPhillips had a problem… It wanted to pump 160,000 more barrels of oil each day from a new project on Alaska’s North Slope. But the fossil fuels it and others produce are leading to global heating, and the Arctic is melting. The firm’s drilling infrastructure could be at risk atop thawing and unstable permafrost… A recent environmental review of the project describes the company’s solution: cooling devices that will chill the ground beneath its structures, insulating them from the effects of the climate crisis."

"The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July… Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News." Here it comes again.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has broadened the definition of what it means to be a 'close contact' of a person with COVID-19… Previous language defined a close contact as someone who spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed case… The CDC now defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period." People seem to be wondering why the change. I guess they forget that one school system, to nominally maintain compliance with the "15 minutes or less" rule, mandated that students should change seats every 14 minutes.

"Settles was also uninsured and had just been sent home from an emergency room for the second time, and he was worried about medical bills. An investigation into his death found that, like many uninsured COVID-19 patients, he had never been told that cost shouldn't be a concern."

"Tens of millions more people across Europe face tougher coronavirus restrictions going into the weekend as countries across the region battle to bring down rising infection rates."

"But recent studies suggest that for-profit ownership may have endangered residents by skimping on care, while funneling cash to owners and investors… A chain of Midwestern nursing homes called Aperion Care provides a good example of the way for-profit nursing homes are run and why that business model is is coming under scrutiny in the wake of the pandemic. Their 45 facilities, mostly in Illinois and Indiana, get low ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the federal agency that regulates nursing homes. Out of a possible 5 stars, most Aperion Care homes get just one or 2. They also get low marks for nurse staffing."

"A Black teen was killed and a woman was injured Tuesday night after a Waukegan police officer shot into a car that allegedly reversed toward him." Note that neither in the initial stop, or the subsequent stop do they say the police identified themselves or the reason why they believed the vehicle was "suspicious."

"Pope Francis’ call for legal recognition of same-sex relationships has raised both hope and doubts among LGBTQ Catholics."

"After fits and starts, the negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House's chief negotiator, have hit another roadblock with aides behind the scenes telling CNN that while the prospects for a deal Monday were always slim, they are growing harder to imagine now." This is my shocked face.

"For families living in or at the edge of poverty, the effects of the pandemic have been especially devastating. While child care centers and schools are closed and safety nets disintegrate under enormous demand, families that have been thrust into poverty see little hope of getting out. Meeting basic needs such as food and shelter has become a daily challenge; many are one eviction notice away from homelessness. Parents go without food to feed their children, relying heavily on free lunches from schools and food banks, many of which have strained to meet demand."

How goes Brexit? "Britain and Japan have formally signed a trade agreement, marking the UK's first big post-Brexit deal… The deal, unveiled last month, means nearly all its exports to Japan will be tariff free while removing British tariffs on Japanese cars by 2026."

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not answer questions about his health Thursday, only saying there were 'no concerns' after reporters asked him about what appeared to be bruises and bandages on his hands in recent days." Looks like circulation issues.

"A North Carolina man searched earlier this year for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s home online, traveled near the home and wrote a checklist that ended with the word “execute,” according to federal court documents… The information was contained in documents related to a detention hearing for Alexander Hillel Treisman, who was indicted last month on child abuse imagery charges, held in US district court in Durham. A magistrate, in an order signed 8 October, ordered Treisman to remain in custody." Put that in your QAnon pipe and smoke it. The article is a little sensational. But it demonstrates that the whackaloon quotient is off the charts.

Same guy, but some more details… "A man was arrested in Kannapolis with a van full of guns and explosives with plans to carry out an act of terrorism, including trying to assassinate Joe Biden."

"This face-off in Hailey, Idaho, wasn't a typical debate night. Beforehand, incumbent state Sen. Michelle Stennett, a Democrat, had sought assurances for her safety, fearing riled-up supporters of her Republican opponent, Eric Parker. He, in turn, posted guards outside to avoid a ruckus like the one at a recent GOP picnic. That time, a heckler interrupted Parker's speech to call him a domestic terrorist." It's a kinder, gentler militia leader. Fuck this guy, specifically.

"Five states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon — have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections: everything from demonstrations to violence… That's the conclusion of a new report by ACLED, a crisis-mapping project, and the research group MilitiaWatch. They worked together to map out potential hot spots for militia-style activities around the elections."

"In a foreword, Wolf wrote that he was 'particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years. [They] seek to force ideological change in the United States through violence, death, and destruction.'"

The election threat report that flagged the vulnerability was written by cybersecurity experts at the cybersecurity firm RiskIQ and by Northrop Grumman, and compared voter registration websites around the country with those that appeared to have been hacked in 2016… The report makes clear that the threat today is hypothetical, and had no evidence of a current attack on American elections. U.S. intelligence officials contacted by NPR before last night's announcement, who read the contents of the report, agreed however that voter registration websites are a favored target of foreign hackers for a simple reason: They can be an easy target." Wow, we're starting with "the cat is on the roof" early this year.

"In an unusual move he had been teasing for days, President Trump on Thursday released his recent, unaired interview with the CBS News program '60 Minutes,' in which he complains repeatedly about the questions he is asked before abruptly ending the discussion." The whiner-in-chief releases the video.

"With less than two weeks until Election Day, more than 50 million people have already voted, and elections experts predict historic rates of turnout this cycle…It's possible that 85 million people could vote before Nov. 3, with 150 million voting in total. That would mean an eligible voter turnout rate of more than 62%." 62%. Historic. I wouldn't be happy, America. That's still pretty dismal compared to other countries.

"President Donald Trump won the final debate against Democrat Joe Biden, but that’s not going to be enough to get him reelected, Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz told CNBC on Friday." The president wasn't completely unhinged last night, so they're declaring victory. Also fuck Frank Luntz. He's an asshole and has been since he was a marketing person group testing phrases for the GOP in the early 90s.

"Election-related lawsuits have proliferated this election cycle. According to the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, which tracks Covid-19-related election litigation, almost 400 lawsuits have already been filed this election cycle. There are more than 35 lawsuits in the battleground state of Michigan, about 28 lawsuits in Texas in both the federal and state courts, almost 20 in Pennsylvania (which could be the state that decides the election) and 10 lawsuits in North Carolina, which President Donald Trump most likely also needs to win if he is to have any shot at re-election." Fighting in the courts. And here you have a template for how the GOP will try to win elections going forward as their base dwindles.

"President Donald Trump’s campaign spent some time last week surveilling and videotaping voters dropping off mail ballots at Philadelphia City Hall, prompting some swift pushback from Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor… Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in a statement, warned Trump that his campaign’s actions are not covered by the state’s Election Code provisions for poll watching."

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Linkee-poo Thursday Oct 22

"It is being described as one of the biggest attacks on art and antiquities in post-war German history, but it has taken more than two weeks to emerge… At least 70 artefacts were sprayed with an oily liquid on Berlin's M

useum Island, a Unesco world heritage site that is home to five famous museums."
"A painting by an esteemed New Jersey artist that hadn't been seen since 1960 has been reunited with other paintings in its collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all thanks to a museum visitor with keen eyes… The Met on Wednesday announced the discovery of a Jacob Lawrence painting that belongs to a 30-panel epic called "Struggle: From the History of the American People." The art that depicts a 1786 uprising of struggling farmers in western Massachusetts led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays was bought at a local art auction by current owners six decades ago, according to the museum."

"Ten badly decayed coffins apparently laid in pairs in a trench decades ago have been found in Oaklawn Cemetery, officials said Wednesday… A research team searching for unmarked burials from Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre said the discovery is consistent with reports that 18 Black men killed on May 31-June 1, 1921, were buried in Oaklawn."

"DHL is one of a growing number of companies using AI. Besides the pallet scanning system, AI helps route deliveries, control robots that ferry packages around warehouses, and control an experimental robot arm that picks and sorts parcels. DHL is also among a small minority of companies using AI—just 11 percent—that say they’ve reaped a significant return on investment from using the technology, according to a new report." Business AI is the new "magic." Also AI isn't so much A or I.

"Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating the nation's opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and close down the company." It's not enough.

"How badly is COVID-19 hurting Americans on the cusp of retirement? Maybe worse than we thought… In an interview, economist Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at The New School in New York City and one of the nation’s leading experts on retirement, told me that half—that’s right, half—of Americans aged 55 and up will retire in poverty or near poverty." So when the 401k economic bomb hits, they're going to blame COVID-19. While the economic devastation cause by COVID will make the situation worse, this really isn't too much different than before COVID.

"New filings for jobless claims in the U.S. totaled 787,000 last week, the lowest total since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic… The total reflected a decline of 55,000 from the downwardly revised 842,000 in the previous week. The last time the weekly claims total was lower was the 282,000 on March 14, just before an avalanche of layoffs that followed shutdown efforts to combat the virus."

How goes Brexit? "Brexit trade talks are resuming in London on Thursday after negotiations hit a deadlock last week… The decision to return to the negotiating table boosted confidence among investors that a post-Brexit trade deal will eventually be reached. Sterling saw its biggest one-day appreciation on Wednesday since March following bullish comments by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator."

"The talks are back on… The (UK) government says it is now 'ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations' after studying the address given on Wednesday morning by the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to the European Parliament." I wouldn't expect much.

"Thailand’s government on Thursday canceled a state of emergency it had declared last week for Bangkok in a gesture offered by the embattled prime minister to cool student-led protests seeking democracy reforms."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she believes she's found President Donald Trump's Achilles' heel in negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package: his desire to send out stimulus checks to people." Newsweek enters their bid for the Captain Obvious Award 2020. What's not being said here, is let's say the miracle occurs and the stimulus bill is passed and signed today. Checks won't go out before the election. And I doubt Trump is really worried about his legacy. Here's the real message, Trump wants to be seen "fighting for" sending you money.

"In the film, released on Friday, the former New York mayor and current personal attorney to Donald Trump is seen reaching into his trousers and apparently touching his genitals while reclining on a bed in the presence of the actor playing Borat’s daughter, who is posing as a TV journalist… Although unfortunate, the circumstances of the setup appear consensual, with Giuliani led to believe he was being courted. Bakalova, 24, is highly plausible in the sting, despite also having to pretend, for the benefit of viewers, to be a feral child posing as a far-right journalist." With friends like these.

"Ghislaine Maxwell's answers to questions about the sex-trafficking operation she allegedly ran with the late Jeffrey Epstein were made public Thursday, as a federal court released Maxwell's 2016 deposition. The transcript is more than 400 pages long, but it has been redacted to protect the privacy of some people it mentions."

"China threatened on Thursday to retaliate against the latest $1.8 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, as the island welcomed the weapons package but said it was not looking to get into an arms race with Beijing." Of course they did.

"Senior officials throughout various departments and agencies of the Trump administration tell CNN they are alarmed at White House pressure to grant what would essentially be a no-bid contract to lease the Department of Defense's mid-band spectrum -- premium real estate for the booming and lucrative 5G market -- to Rivada Networks, a company in which prominent Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump have investments." Trump also apparently is an inventory in Rivada. How's that swamp draining going?

"Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court over a boycott from the committee’s Democrats." Because of course they did.

"A post on Instagram by Betches Sup — the politics and news hub of the feminist website — states six claims to back up its sentiment that we are 'living under minority rule.'… We went through them to see if they hold up."

"Top intelligence officials announced Wednesday evening that Iran and Russia have taken actions to try to compromise the U.S. election and have obtained some voter registration data… Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told reporters at a last-minute announcement that Iran had sent spoof emails "designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump." He suggested that there had been reporting on these emails 'within the last 24 hours.'" Sure, it was Iran. Sure. That totally makes sense. That doesn't mean Iran and Russia haven't hacked voter data. But I see this more of the campaign to spread confusion and doubt about the election results.

"Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to tarnish Joe Biden’s presidential campaign continued in Delaware when he visited a police station Monday to share files from what he said was Hunter Biden’s laptop… (the) Delaware Attorney General Kathy… Jennings’ office gave the device to the FBI, which reportedly is investigating the veracity of claims about the origin of the laptop and how its contents were shared with Giuliani’s team, Marshall said." Everything about this is fishy.

"Fox News host Sean Hannity had a film crew camped outside of Joe Biden's home for the second night in a row on Wednesday as he called on the Democratic presidential nominee to answer questions from the network." Or another way of looking at this is Hannity sees what little influence he had slipping away as Trump's fortunes tank. This is truly a pathetic attempt at spectacle.

"A tsunami of litigation over election rules is already underway, and analysts expect more in November, as disputes over the legitimacy of mail-in ballots continue to rise. A global pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 people has prompted a record number of Americans to vote by mail, creating at least two nightmare scenarios: Thousands of ballots could be rejected for various technical reasons, such as allegedly mismatched signatures, and an anxious country may have to wait weeks for the election results."

"President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire… Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $356 million in spending from disclosure, records show." Follow the money… right into Trump's pocket.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday 10-21

"A Nasa spacecraft has successfully landed on an asteroid, dodging boulders the size of buildings, in order to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for analysis back on Earth."

"Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness." As with other studies, this is a small one (just one health system), and the death rate is still 7.6% for hospitalized patients.

"Ireland will be the first European country to return to a nationwide shutdown as COVID-19 cases rise, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said Monday… Nonessential retail businesses are ordered to close. Residents are expected to stay within about 3 miles of their homes, except for work and other essential activities."

"Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job." Note these studies were not on US schools, but in countries with widespread testing and contact tracing (And where the infection rate had been controlled).

"California will allow large theme parks to reopen with modifications when the counties where they’re located move into the state’s least-restrictive 'yellow' tier, a change that likely puts theme parks at least weeks — and potentially months — away from resuming operations."

"A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has spoken out, challenging statements made by the Kentucky attorney general and saying that the jury was not offered homicide charges to consider against officers involved in Taylor’s killing… In a written statement, the grand juror, who was not identified, said that only wanton endangerment charges were offered to them to consider against one officer."

"COVID-19 has been a massive disaster. But it has also been like a massive natural experiment. During the last nine months, we've learned a lot about the coronavirus, its economic effects and effective interventions to help manage the pain of another wave. So we decided to sum up some of the economic research."

"A federal judge scrapped a settlement Tuesday over the Trump administration’s slow processing of loan forgiveness for borrowers who have accused their colleges of fraud, ruling that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos undermined the deal… U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in a sharply worded decision that DeVos undercut the settlement by denying large swaths of the claims without sufficient explanation."

"Protests against police brutality in Lagos turned bloody on Tuesday despite a state-wide curfew, with eyewitnesses telling CNN that multiple demonstrators have been shot by soldiers… Demonstrators have taken part in daily protests across the country for nearly two weeks over widespread claims of kidnapping, harassment, and extortion by a police unit know as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Tuesday saw the state governor impose a 24-hour curfew and deploy anti-riot police to the city."

"Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say that they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children and that about two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing Tuesday from the American Civil Liberties Union." Heads should roll over this.

"The U.S. and Russia on Tuesday came closer to extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty for one year in exchange for a freeze on all nuclear weapons, a breakthrough as President Donald Trump seeks a foreign policy win ahead of the election." And there you have why it actually happened. Trust, but verify.

"President Donald Trump's tax records show he has pursued expansive business projects in China for years and even maintains a Chinese bank account, The New York Times reported Tuesday, disclosures that deal a blow to the President's efforts to paint Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the presidential candidate who is soft on China."

"President Trump on Tuesday renewed his pitch to Pennsylvania voters, painting himself as the only candidate who can save the country from Washington corruption, the degradation of the American dream and a decimated economy."

"'We’ve got to get the attorney general to act,' Trump said in a telephone interview with 'Fox & Friends' when asked whether a special prosecutor should be appointed to probe unverified allegations against the Bidens. 'He’s got to act. And he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election.'" As a reminder, there is no law for appointing a "special prosecutor." The GOP let that expire during GW Bush's administration.

"Dozens of voters in a heavily Democratic county in Florida and across several states reported receiving emails on Thursday purporting to come from a right-wing group threatening to "come after" them unless they vote for President Trump… But an examination of the messages, which are now under investigation by state and federal authorities, shows they were sent via servers located overseas, raising questions about their origin amid concerns about voter intimidation just two weeks before Election Day."

"President Donald Trump abruptly ended a solo interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" Tuesday and did not return for an appearance he was supposed to tape with Vice President Mike Pence, according to multiple sources familiar with what happened… The President later accused Stahl of not wearing a mask and tweeted out a brief clip of her without one while at the White House." Hey, remember the president tweeting about he was now "immune", so this is a bullshit reason. The president has also threatened to release his own tape of the interview before the 60 minutes segment. My guess is he thought it was going to be a softball interview and just didn't want to answer any of the questions Stahl was bringing up. Also it sets up his excuse, that the media was out to get him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Linkee-poo Tuesday Oct 20

"Rush Limbaugh is giving an update on his stage four case of lung cancer, saying that despite some success in treating the disease, recent scans showed the cancer has progressed. 'It's not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction,' Limbaugh told listeners to his conservative radio show." I normally don't wish progression of diseases on people, but I'm willing to make an exemption in this case, or at least to remain neutral.

"They turned out to be eels that had escaped from one of two large plastic bags that split open as a man dragged them to the shoreline. After dumping the eels in the lake, the man walked away, explaining to bystanders that 'I just want to save lives.'"

"At least seven people have been arrested and charged in an "elaborate organized enterprise" to smuggle Florida's flying squirrels -- protected wildlife in the state -- and sell them, investigators announced Monday… Up to 10,000 traps were set up across the state to capture the flying squirrels and as many as 3,600 of the animals were shipped overseas within three years "to be sold as exotic pets for hundreds of thousands of dollars," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said in a news release."

"After orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Bennu for nearly two years, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is ready to reach out its robotic arm and collect a sample from the asteroid's surface on Tuesday. That sample will be returned to Earth in 2023."

"But even those with more realistic expectations for what could happen if nations went to war in space—perhaps satellites using orbital kinetic weapons to attack other satellites?—may not fully appreciate the physics of space combat. That's the conclusion of a new report that investigates what is physically and practically possible when it comes to space combat."

"Excavation crews are breaking ground on Monday at a new site in Tulsa, Okla., in an effort to find the remains of Black victims of one of the nation's bloodiest race massacres… This will be the second such excavation led by the city this year, as it tries to determine where the estimated 150 to 300 victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre were buried."

"Passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong on Tuesday will be the first to have the option of paying for a rapid Covid test before checking in… The test will cost £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour… The aim is to help people travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival."

"U.S. President Donald Trump mocked his political opponent Joe Biden for vowing to 'listen to the scientists' in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic." True.

What going for "herd immunity" without a vaccine looks like… "A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in a Kansas nursing home, and the local health department said every one of the residents had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, along with an unspecified number of staff. The affected home is in northwest Kansas' Norton County, which has seen one of the largest proportional increases in confirmed coronavirus cases over two weeks in the country."

"'It’s like in "The Godfather" – nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned,' Fauci told Southern California AM radio station KNX1070. 'I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.'"

And in case you might believe people will act rationally… "The July death of a woman from the Dallas-area suburb of Garland has been confirmed as being related to COVID-19… According to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced on Sunday that the woman, who died before the Arizona plane she was on departed for Texas, died on the jetway after having difficulty breathing."

"Like other older adults who've become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls "brain fog" — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to remember what happened a short time before… This sudden cognitive dysfunction is a common concern for seniors who've survived a serious bout of Covid-19."

"The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will stay closed to nonessential travel for at least another month."

"Theodoridis told NPR's Weekend Edition that 'dehumanizing language,' which includes people referring to others as animals, can lead to people believing that those who disagree with them don't deserve the same treatment or respect as those who agree with them."

"An apprenticeship program that matches employers with community colleges has launched graduates into middle class careers and could be a way to address the flagging fortunes of Americans lacking four-year degrees, according to a study published Monday."

"The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google has been abusing its online dominance in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press."

"The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, two countries at war with each other, are scheduled to separately meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday."

"In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, voters could legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. In Mississippi and South Dakota (in a ballot initiative separate from the full legalization measure), voters could also legalize medical marijuana."

"A federal court has cleared the path to unseal the transcript of Ghislaine Maxwell's deposition from 2016, a lengthy document that may shed light on the sex trafficking operation she allegedly ran with the late Jeffrey Epstein that catered to rich and powerful men." Watch which rats run for cover.

Remember this story? "US spies and diplomats are suggesting a cover-up by President Donald Trump's administration, saying it refused to properly investigate a mysterious illness that had affected officials in Cuba, China, and Russia, according to The New York Times… In 2016, US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba started hearing strange sounds and later reporting symptoms like nerve damage and experiencing headaches. Doctors said they were caused by mild traumatic brain injuries." BTW, all signs point to Putin.

"The Justice Department unsealed charges against six alleged Russian government hackers on Monday and said they were behind a rash of recent cyberattacks — from damaging Ukraine's electrical grid to interfering in France's election to spying on European investigations and more… The men work for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU — which also led Russian cyber-interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Justice Department officials said Moscow has only sustained or heightened its intensity of effort since then." Waves to my Russian friends.

The Foxconn factory that never was. "The renovations never arrived. Neither did the factory, the tech campus, nor the thousands of jobs. Interviews with 19 employees and dozens of others involved with the project, as well as thousands of pages of public documents, reveal a project that has defaulted on almost every promise. The building Foxconn calls an LCD factory — about 1/20th the size of the original plan — is little more than an empty shell. In September, Foxconn received a permit to change its intended use from manufacturing to storage." It's a parable of the Trump administration, all bluster and promotion, nothing ever comes after. But people's lives have been damaged, homes taken, careers ended, a carnage of personal dreams. It's a long read.

"Scrambling to save his reelection campaign, Donald Trump is trying one last-ditch con: He’s pretending to care about people of color. 'I love the Hispanics,' the president declared last month. 'I’m doing so well with African American, with Asian American, with Hispanic American, and with women,' he said. But in front of white crowds on the campaign trail, Trump hasn’t changed a bit. He’s slandering minorities to exploit fear and bigotry."

"The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said… Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation." Even they know the sourcing was bad.

"Authorities are investigating a fire that ignited inside an official ballot drop box outside the Baldwin Park Library on Sunday night… Crews responded to 4181 Baldwin Park Blvd. at around 8 p.m. to find the fire, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said… Baldwin Park police also responded to the scene and said the fire was inside the secured ballot box." Who didn't see that one coming.

"Pennsylvania can accept mail ballots received up to three days after Election Day, despite objections from state Republicans, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday evening… The high court split 4-4 on a motion from the top Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate to halt a ruling from the state's top court. Amid mail delivery delays, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had ruled in September that the late ballots would be accepted so long as they don't have a postmark clearly showing they were mailed after Election Day."

"'The only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules,' the commission announced. After that, there will be time for discussion with both candidates' microphones open."

"It's possible — because some rules have changed, and some haven't — that Nov. 3 could come and go without a clear answer as to who the next president will be… But despite what some people may claim, that in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem." Elections aren't over until they're certified, which is usually 2 to 4 weeks after the election. Candidate conceded, or declare victory, on the percentage chance they will be declared the winner.