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

Monday, November 30, 2020

Linkee-poo Monday Nov 30

Dave Prowse, and so it goes.

"From the Carolinas to Central America, many are glad to see the end of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It set a number of records, including the most named storms. The 30 hurricanes and tropical storms used all the names on the list maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, and the final nine were named for letters of the Greek alphabet… The last hurricane of the season, Iota, was the latest in the year that any storm has reached Category 5 status."

In local news… "A Winter Storm Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of Northeast Ohio… Heavy snow is expected with accumulations from 8 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts possible."

And because the adults around them can't handle it, the kids are also suffering. "As a toddler, Kenley Gupta stopped speaking after her mom died. Over the years, she recovered from the anxiety disorder, called mutism, but in March the 8-year-old went silent again… The change occurred soon after her school shut down, and Kenley was shocked when her school closed."

"Across the country, medical personnel are now bracing for what they fear will be a new wave of infections after millions of Americans ignored the advice of public health experts and traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. Already, hospital resources are being stretched thin, with many institutions reporting a dire shortage of beds and personnel to handle the influx of new patients." Also, and her's the thing, hospitals lie about how many beds they have. Sometimes it's the number of actual beds a hospital owns, not that they have clinical space for them (ie. an actual room). Also "bed space" tends to include the emergency room, pre-surgery and post surgery rooms. Not all of those can be repurposed to care for patients in a long-term way. Also, and here's the big rub, they don't have enough nurses to staff all those beds (and are pressing floor nurses into service as ICU nurses).

To wit… "But beds and space aren't the main concern. It's the work force. Hospitals are worried that staffing levels won't be able to keep up with demand as doctors, nurses and specialists such as respiratory therapists become exhausted or, worse, become infected or sick themselves."

"French activists fear that a proposed new security law will deprive them of a potent weapon against abuse — cellphone videos of police activity — threatening their efforts to document possible cases of police brutality, especially in impoverished immigrant neighborhoods."

"Two American citizens have reached a settlement in a lawsuit they filed against US Customs and Border Protection after an agent asked them for IDs because he heard them speaking Spanish… Ana Suda and Martha 'Mimi' Hernandez, who live in the small town of Havre, Montana, say they were detained by a border patrol agent while waiting to pay for groceries at a local convenience store in May 2018."

"The Supreme Court on Monday will return and take up another of President Donald Trump's immigration-related policies as it considers the attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the Census totals when seats in Congress are divvied up between the states next year."

"On Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to strip same-sex couples of their equal parenting rights. He did so at the request of the court, which is considering taking up his case. Hill implored the new conservative majority to rule that states may deny married same-sex couples the right to be recognized as parents of their own children. The case gives SCOTUS an opportunity to start chipping away at Obergefell v. Hodges by allowing states to withhold marital privileges from same-sex spouses. If the majority wants to begin eroding Obergefell, they will probably start here." Here we go.

"Counting in some metro Atlanta counties resumes today as the presidential recount in Georgia begins to wind down."

"President Donald Trump said Sunday he was 'ashamed' for endorsing the Republican governor of Georgia after he lost in the state to Democrat Joe Biden."

"Tensions over the election results came to a head Saturday after a group of supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally outside the Georgia secretary of state's home… Trucks flying Trump and 'Stop the Steal' flags drove up and down the street outside of Secretary Brad Raffensperger's property, honking their horns as they passed by."

"Bartiromo opened the interview with a question about election fraud, telling Trump, 'The facts are on your side.' Trump responded, falsey saying, 'This election was a fraud; it was a rigged election.' The Fox anchor then reflected the president's anger, saying, 'This is disgusting and we cannot allow America's election to be corrupted.'"

And further, from Bullshit Mountain itself… "President Trump told 'Sunday Morning Futures' in his first interview since Election Day that the Department of Justice is 'missing in action' regarding alleged election fraud… He went on to tell host Maria Bartiromo in the exclusive interview that he has 'not seen anything' from the DOJ or the Federal Bureau of Investigation on investigating the 2020 election."

And in reality, Joe Biden continues to win the presidency.

"President Trump's push to overturn the election results suffered another in a series of defeats on Friday — this time in Wisconsin, where officials in the state's most populous county announced that a recount had added to President-elect Joe Biden's lead. Albeit slightly: Out of the roughly 460,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee County, Biden made a net gain of 132 votes on review."

"President Trump this week acknowledged that the transition for President-elect Joe Biden to take office is going ahead. But on Thursday, he made clear he's in no mood to concede the election, even after the Electoral College formally votes this month." I don't care why you leave, just as long as you leave.

And so begins the spectacularly bad election takes. Like this one… "President-elect Joe Biden has white men to thank… Two years ago, I wrote that Democrats and progressives needed to appeal to white men and address the problems particularly of non-college educated white men. Although the party may not have been so explicit about what the problems of this population are and the ways in which they would tackle them, at least at the presidential level, Democrats were successful in winning many of them over."

"Campaigning in Georgia's two Senate runoffs is well underway, but Republicans are still fighting over the state's November election and casting doubt on its voting system without evidence."

"It's not just the Senate majority on the line in Georgia’s runoffs. It's also Joe Biden's chance to reshape the courts." It's the same thing. Also, it's not a chance to "reshape", it's a chance to bring some balance back.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Linkee-poo walk right in, it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track

"Alice Brock is a living legend —an icon of the 60s, an artist, a writer, a cook, and a daydreamer. She has outlived her savings, and no, she never even got a royalty from the song or the movie! Alice has always been a generous and supportive friend, especially kind to the lost, the weird, and the wild. Whether asked for a place to stay, a job, or a twenty, she never turned anyone away. She nurtured people’s creative ideas and dreams, and she always encouraged them to take the leap. Alice will soon be 80. She’s not in good health and just trying to stay alive. Will you help Alice?"

"But a lack of clarity surrounding several aspects of the data from the AstraZeneca vaccine trials have raised some eyebrows in the scientific community, potentially setting back the timing for the vaccine to be authorized in Europe and the US."

I don't know. Can I just tell you that COVID-19 continues to ravage the country and set new records for infections and deaths? Or do you need the actual articles?

"America’s coronavirus surge showed no sign of abating over the Thanksgiving holiday, which saw over 100,000 new cases and hospitalizations continue to break records… Thursday marked the 24th consecutive day that the US reported more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases and the 17th day straight that the number of patients in hospital with the virus has hit a new record."

"Far more people in the U.S. are hospitalized for COVID-19 now than at any other moment of the coronavirus pandemic — more than twice as many as just a month ago… Hospitals in some of the hardest-hit states are exhausting every health care worker, hospital room and piece of equipment to evade the worst-case scenario, when crisis plans have to be set in motion and care may have to be rationed."

"Firefighters in Silicon Valley were sent out to enforce statewide business restrictions as the state faced a Thanksgiving shadowed by an out-of-control coronavirus surge and health officials begged people to avoid large family gatherings that could become 'superspreader' events."

"Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world."

It's a local story, but… "The Champion Fire Department recently posted on its Facebook page recommending people not be taken to the emergency room, depending on their symptoms." And while the situation may be unique, IMHO this is what should be happening anyway. I'm sure in this case the bar will be raised as to whom gets transported, but there are many cases of "you really could have seen your doctor about this." Or "Wait until the urgent care is open and go there." The problem with this are those cases that start off looking "this is minor" could be masking major, acute health problems. And that's where this all falls down. EMS techs are highly skilled, but they're still not ER doctors.

"For over a decade, her Yuko Kitchen has fed Los Angeles Japanese comfort food — something like your friend's mom might cook for you after the school, Watanabe says. But this pandemic spring, when streets emptied and her phones grew quiet, a mini-jungle took over the chairs and tables, her cafes pivoting to sell nourishment both for the body and the soul."

"The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily barred New York from enforcing strict attendance limits on places of worship in areas designated coronavirus hot spots, in a decision released just before midnight on Wednesday." Your right to be parted from your money and your life shall not be abridged.

"A top Iranian scientist believed to be responsible for developing the country's military nuclear program has been killed, Iranian state television said Friday."

"Social network Parler has allegedly hidden posts on its website that are tagged as #WriteInTrumpForGA. The hashtag is encouraging disgruntled supporters of President Donald Trump to write the president in rather than any candidate for the upcoming Senate Runoff elections." It's a "glitch" they say. (Grokked from John)

"A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. If she does so, she apparently won’t be alone."

"It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet… credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called 'prosperity gospel'… As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on 'hidden' truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base."

"President Trump has pardoned his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who spent years enmeshed in an often bizarre legal war with the government that sprang from the Russia investigation." Just a reminder that Flynn's treasons are multiple and wide ranging. He was acting as a foreign agent (of Turkey, for whom he prepared a plan to kidnap a Turkish national living in the US for rendition) and forgot to tell anyone (including the agency in charge of registering foreign agents), and he had contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (who also doubled as a high end controller of spy assets) which he lied about to the FBI. The only good part of this is if Flynn is subpoenaed by Congress (or the court), he can not plead the 5th Amendment to hide his crimes and the crimes of others.

"Sidney Powell, the lawyer recently distanced from the Trump campaign, on Wednesday filed typo-filled lawsuits in both Michigan and Georgia alleging election fraud." And then there's this… "A GOP county chairman who is listed as a plaintiff on ex-Trump attorney Sidney Powell's typo-filled fraud lawsuit says he never agreed to take part in the legal action." This is the caliber of lawyer Trump attracts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Linkee-poo goes straight through the barnyard gate.

Have a great Thanksgiving if you'rein America. And if not, I hope you have a great Thursday.

"ViacomCBS has agreed to sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for more than $2 billion in a deal that will create the first megapublisher… Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the United States, is owned by the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Adding Simon & Schuster, the third largest publisher, would create a book behemoth, a combination that could trigger antitrust concerns."

"On Monday, China successfully sent the latest in its Chang'e missions on its way to the Moon. Chang'e 5 is the most ambitious to date and, if successful, will make China just the third country to return samples from the lunar surface (after the Soviet Union and the US). While the mission is quite complex with lots of potential for things to go wrong, it's also happening on a short schedule, so we'll have a good idea of how things are going within three weeks."

"Nasa has started assembling the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a launch platform ahead of its maiden flight next year… The SLS is the giant rocket that will send US astronauts back to the Moon this decade - with the first crewed landing targeted for 2024."

"Theresa Arevalo was in high school when she first tried finishing drywall at her brother’s construction company. 'It’s a fine art,' she says of mudding—applying and smoothing drywall. 'Like frosting a cake, you have to give the illusion that the wall is flat.'… Fast-forward a few decades: Arevalo now works at Canvas, a company that’s built a robot using artificial intelligence that’s capable of drywalling with almost as much artistry as a skilled human worker."

"Once a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, allocations will be made based on the total number of adults in the state. 'We wanted to keep this simple,' Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, said at a media briefing Tuesday. 'We thought it would be the fairest approach, and the most consistent.'"

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aiming to reduce the quarantine requirements for someone potentially exposed to the virus from 14 days to somewhere between 7 to 10 days." At the hospital, our official guidance is that a patient is considered "recovered" when we reach 10 days after their positive test… no matter if they're still symptomatic or not.

"Federal government officials said the first 6.4 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed to U.S. communities as early as December within 24 hours of approval from the Food and Drug Administration… But the U.S. recorded its highest daily death toll since May on Tuesday, and experts warned that good vaccine news doesn't mean Americans should let down their guard over the holidays."

"Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has blamed delay of a second stimulus check on Republicans, saying that they're demanding corporate COVID legal immunity to be included in the relief deal." Funny how you'd need legal protection from a "hoax" disease.

"With promising news from three COVID-19 vaccine trials showing 90% to 95% efficacy, employers are now weighing whether they should simply encourage their employees to get vaccinated or make it mandatory." This year at the hospital the flu vaccine was mandatory (in previous years you could opt out and wear a mask).

"When the Department of Health and Human Services released Pfizer's $1.95 billion coronavirus vaccine contract with Operation Warp Speed last Wednesday, the agreement revealed that the Trump administration didn't include government rights to intellectual property typically found in federal contracts." Your tax dollars not working for you.

"The texts from an Alabama census supervisor had an urgent tone. 'THIS JUST IN …,' one of them began. It then laid out how census takers should fake data to mark households as having only one resident even if they had no idea how many people actually lived there." If true, that's a crime with both jail time and financial penalty.

"The pace of first-time filings for jobless claims picked up last week, with the jobs market showing increasing vulnerability to the coronavirus spread… Claims totaled 778,000 for the week ended Nov. 21, ahead of the 733,000 expectation from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and up from 742,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Wednesday."

"President Donald Trump briefly emerged Tuesday to tout the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking 30,000 for the first time ever, and then vanished after a minute without taking questions."

Meanwhile on Bullshit Mountain… "White House reporters were left befuddled by President Donald Trump's brief statement about the stock market Tuesday afternoon, with one remarking afterward it was 'weird as s--t.'"

"The 'economic emergency' caused by Covid-19 has only just begun, according to (UK) chancellor Rishi Sunak, as he warned the pandemic would deal lasting damage to growth and jobs… The UK economy is expected to shrink by 11.3% this year and not return to its pre-crisis size until the end of 2022."

"U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday he did not want to see a guarded border between Ireland and the United Kingdom, adding that he had previously discussed the matter with the British and Irish prime ministers and other European leaders."

"Periods are a biological predisposition of being born a female, and the average female will spend more than 2,500 days, or roughly 7 years, of her life menstruating, but many women and girls around the world cannot afford period products. On Tuesday, Scotland became the first country to legislatively combat this issue by making menstrual products free in public facilities nationwide."

"Tens of thousands of prison and jail inmates, including convicted serial killers and notorious inmates like Scott Peterson, have carried out what prosecutors described Tuesday as possibly the largest fraud scheme in California history… The alleged crimes, which center on pandemic unemployment benefits, could total as much as $1 billion, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said."

Why I believe in cancelling student loan debt… "The couple’s original $40,000 loan to cover the cost of sending their son and daughter to public universities in Indiana, where the family lived at the time, has snowballed in those 18 years, with interest rates as high as 8.5 percent. Their bill now stands at more than $100,000." It's not just the students' problem. This is a hidden tax on the low and middle classes. We need to rethink how we, as a society, pay for education. Know that there is plenty blame to go around (societal norms, state funding of education, federal funding of education, college presidents and boards…). But we're forcing families to bear the brunt of all of those bad decisions.

"The White House has discussed a possible pardon for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, and others, three sources told CNN on Tuesday." This should never happen. After all, Flynn now says he's not guilty.

"As the ravages of the novel coronavirus forced millions of people out of work, shuttered businesses and shrank the value of retirement accounts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged to a three-year low… But for Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, the crisis last March signaled something else: a stock buying opportunity… And for the second time in less than two months, Perdue’s timing was impeccable. He avoided a sharp loss and reaped a stunning gain by selling and then buying the same stock: Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based financial technology company on whose board of directors he once served." It's time for that bill prohibiting any elected federal office holder from owning stocks (or at least, trading stocks while in office).

"This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost — my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him." Hi, welcome to Authoritarianism 101. In today's lesson, in strong man rules of governance, everyone is expendable and everyone will be expended with eventually. I have no pity for the Georgia Secretary of State. To quote Trump, you knew he was a snake when you agreed to carry him.

"More votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election than in any other U.S. election in history, and the turnout rate was the highest in more than a century."

"Modern, recent, robust evidence is *everywhere* that election theft is abundant… It’s called voter disenfranchisement, suppression, and disinformation. It’s not new-but it is getting more sophisticated." An important twitter thread. Saying the Trumpists didn't "steal the election" or "they were very bad at it" shouldn't be a dismissal. It should be a wake up call. It's akin to saying, "What was all the fuss about Y2K?" The bad stuff of Y2K didn't happen because people worked themselves to death to make sure we avoided it. Trumpists stealing the election… "It didn’t work because Black, Indigenous & marginalized people BUSTED OUR TAILS to beat back our own suppression. PERIOD."

"Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed Tuesday that her office is 'actively investigating' threats against members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers." Criticizing is not "threatening." I'm pretty sure the AG understands this difference.

"President Donald Trump is expected to join his attorney Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, where Republican state lawmakers are holding a 'hearing' on allegations of fraud in this month's election, two sources familiar with the plans told CNN." Gee, why Gettysburg?

"Rudy Giuliani was brought in to lead an 'elite strike force' of lawyers to guide President Donald Trump's legal challenges to the 2020 election, but their efforts have been 'dysfunctional' and 'an embarrassment,' based on 'unsubstantiated evidence' and 'outlandish claims,' legal experts told NBC News."

"But the president’s campaign now finds itself on the other side of a legal case in a newly filed federal lawsuit alleging that it violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it sought to 'disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters,' particularly African Americans in metropolitan areas of Michigan." I wish them success, but I doubt it will get very far.

"The Fox News Channel has reached a private settlement with the parents of the slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. The network had baselessly reported in May 2017 that Rich leaked thousands of Democratic party emails to Wikileaks during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign."

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Linkee-poo is eyeing the overseas page, the trains are running late, as you close the garden gate

"Every time a cell inside your body replicates, a slither of your youth crumbles to dust. This occurs via the shortening of telomeres, structures that 'cap' the tips of our chromosomes… Now, scientists in Israel say they've been able to reverse this process and extend the length of telomeres in a small study involving 26 patients." Waits for the first "hyperbaric" facial cream to be advertised. Yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but neither does a lot of skin care advertising. Also, 26 people? That's an exceptionally small group for an industry that specialized in exceptionally small study groups.

My God, it's full of… red dust? "And there it was -- in the middle of the red rock was a shiny, silver metal monolith sticking out of the ground. Hutchings guessed it was "between 10 and 12 feet high." It didn't look like it was randomly dropped to the ground, he told KSL, but rather it looked like it had been planted."

One more time, for the people in the back who haven't been listening… "People who aren’t showing COVID-19 symptoms but have the virus are causing most of the spread, the Centers for Disease Control said in a new guidance." Also… "In most COVID-19 cases, people do not begin to show symptoms, such as coughing, fever and shortness of breath, for about six days after they are infected. During that time span, people are highly infectious and typically unaware that they have the virus, leading to unintended spread. People can also be asymptomatic and have the virus but never show symptoms." Waits for all the post Thanksgiving stories where people are shocked and horrified about how, "I didn't feel bad Thanksgiving Day, I thought we were in the clear." Those should start around Dec 4th.

"Public health officials and drugmakers must be transparent about the side effects people may experience after getting their first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, doctors urged during a meeting Monday with CDC advisors as states prepare to distribute doses as early as next month."

"Millions of Americans are ignoring the advice of public health experts and traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday… The Transportation Security Administration reported that more than 1.04 million people went through airport security checkpoints Sunday, the most since mid-March, and about 1 million more went through TSA checkpoints each day on Friday and Saturday." Y'all are gonna fuck up my vacation, ain't ya?

"The Strategic National Stockpile, which the U.S. has traditionally depended on for emergencies, still lacks critical supplies, nine months into one of the worst public health care crises this country has ever seen, an NPR investigation has learned."

"The 24-hour increase of 11,885 reported cases is a cumulative of all positive test results as a lagging indicator the Ohio Department of Health received on Monday; not a total number of new infections reported in a single day."

"Back to the future. Next week England will return to the tier system, where the country is carved up into different categories… Areas where there are higher levels of coronavirus will be under tighter restrictions. Parts of the country where it is less prevalent will have looser limits… It is the same model that didn't do enough to slow the winter surge of the disease last time. But second time round, it's different in some important ways." Nods my head as I make more popcorn.

"France’s interior minister ordered an internal police investigation Tuesday after officers were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a protest camp in Paris."

"The leader of Ethiopia’s dissident Tigray region has said his people are 'ready to die' defending their homeland, rejecting the prime minister’s Sunday night ultimatum that they surrender within 72 hours."

"Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile attack against an oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia."

"The Admiral Vinogradov, a Russian destroyer, verbally warned the USS John S. McCain that it would be rammed if it didn't leave the area after it violated the boundary by more than a mile, according to Russia's Defense Ministry. The McCain, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, immediately returned to neutral waters after the warning, according to the Kremlin… However, the U.S. is telling a different story. It says that the McCain 'asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan.'" More fun along the border.

"The veteran Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein has publicly named 21 Republican senators he says have 'repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for [Donald] Trump and his fitness' for office." Hey, you know what they called people who joined the Nazi party, but privately expressed concern for the actions of Nazis? They called them Nazis. So begins the Memory Hole diving with the "I was secretly with you guys all the time." You know when would have been a good time to show your disdain? The vote for impeachment, you cowardly fucks. And no, you don't get credit for the "I'm concerned" act when you eventually voted in line with the party.

"The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon and obtained by CNN." Well that only took :: looks at watch :: way too fucking long.

"'To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,' Murphy wrote. 'I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law.'" Yes, I'm sure people shouting, "Do your goddamn job" was all very intimidating. No, I'm sure there were actual threats, but you know what, the police and FBI are there to investigate those.

"President Donald Trump's campaign on Monday took its fight to block Pennsylvania from certifying its election results to a federal appeals court, even as his administration agreed to let government agencies prepare for the transition to Joe Biden's administration."

"Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump campaign's effort to block the counting of absentee ballots with missing dates or names, clearing the way for 10,000 votes to be counted in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, in another defeat for President Donald Trump's desperate legal battle."

"President Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the November election in Georgia will 'absolutely' hurt Republicans in two U.S. Senate runoff races there, an election official in the state said Monday." Oh, so Republicans feel the system can't be trusted and so they won't vote. One, that's not suppression, that's their choice. Suppression is when the state removes your name from the polls, closes your local polling station, makes you get an ID card while moving the office that supplies those cards more than an hour drive away, and then actively works to disenfranchise your right to vote. you know, what white Republicans in the state have been doing to the Democrats and minorities ever since Federal oversight was removed.

You know, like this… "While Biden won Black voters overwhelmingly across the country, they were key to his victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — places where President Trump and his allies have been targeting ballots in cities with large Black populations in an attempt to overturn the president's defeat and retain power."

And Democrats begin to form the circular firing squad… "It is still early in the Biden transition. There are thousands of jobs to fill. But a similar sense of dread is starting to bubble up from veterans of the Biden campaign, particularly those who were there with the president-elect from the Philadelphia announcement speech to the Wilmington victory speech. The target of their ire? The Obama establishment, which has eclipsed the Clinton name as shorthand for yesterday’s Democratic Party."

Monday, November 23, 2020

Linkee-poo Monday Nov 23

Just a programming update. I work all these weekend (including Thanksgiving), and frankly, I feel tired and beat up from the last 4 years. So don't expect posts Thursday through Sunday this week unless something catastrophic happens. And given my previous track record on these predictions, you can expect at least one post.

"The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years' worth of rain in the next two days… Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It's the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati's winds were measured at 115 mph."

"As the permafrost thaws with increasing rapidity, scientists' emerging challenge is to discover and identify the microbes, bacteria and viruses that may be stirring. Some of these microbes are known to scientists." We're boned. (Grokked from Dan)

"Chinese technicians were making final preparations Monday for a mission to bring back material from the moon’s surface for the first time in more than four decades — an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally."

"The concept sends employees to individual insurance markets where they can find more choices for coverage. It also protects employers from huge annual cost spikes. But it’s a big change for workers who are used to having their employer give them benefit choices every year… This new approach — known as an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement or ICHRA — started with coverage plans for this year. More workers will likely see them offered this fall during their company’s annual sign-up window for 2021 coverage."

And then there were three… "U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has developed a vaccine that initial results show to be "highly effective in preventing" COVID-19, the company announced Monday… The vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, showed an average efficacy of 70% in preventing the coronavirus, according to the company. However, that is an average of two dosing regimens — one involving two full doses at least a month apart that proved to be 62% effective. A second regimen, involving a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective, the company said."

"It has become the battle cry of public health officials around the world: 'Wear a mask to slow the spread.' Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new evidence supporting this advice… Researchers analyzed coronavirus infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise."

"Donald Trump appears to have admitted that coronavirus is 'running wild' across the US, in contrast with his statements throughout the election campaign that the country was 'rounding the turn' on the pandemic." Whelp, that only took :: looks at watch :: 8 months. Baby steps. I wish we were "rounding the turn" (something they've been saying since March), because if we're not, December is going to be extremely bad.

"In the past two weeks, the (University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha) had to convert an entire building into a COVID-19 tower, from the top down. It now has 10 COVID-19 units, each taking up an entire hospital floor. Three of the units provide intensive care to the very sickest people, several of whom die every day. One unit solely provides 'comfort care' to COVID-19 patients who are certain to die. 'We’ve never had to do anything like this,' Angela Hewlett, the infectious-disease specialist who directs the hospital’s COVID-19 team, told me. 'We are on an absolutely catastrophic path.'"

"Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a three-week 'statewide pause' that starts Tuesday to fight the wildfire-like spread of coronavirus across Nevada, but said he was not yet ready to again shutter the state’s economy to battle spiraling infection rates and caseloads." A slow walked shut down by any other name.

"Since Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened Florida in late September, the number of reported Covid-19 cases per week in the state has tripled." Ya'll are gonna fuck up my vacation, aren't ya.

"U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler tested negative for the coronavirus on Sunday but will continue to self-quarantine as she awaits more results, the latest twist in a Jan. 5 runoff campaign that will determine control of the U.S. Senate." The tests are for shit. But while most tests are weighted toward the false positive, at least IMHO, these tests are weighted toward the false negative. Most of these tests are difficult to administer and a little tricky on the processing.

"U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that a nationwide lockdown in England will be lifted next week, but the easing will come with conditions… Johnson told Parliament that the country’s coronavirus lockdown will end on Dec. 2, almost a month after this second lockdown was imposed. He is due to address the country later in the afternoon." He'll know if you've been naughty or nice.

"Hours after being released, L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, who is a member of Rittenhouse’s defense team, tweeted a photo of Rittenhouse, Ricky Schroder and attorney John Pierce, under a title of 'FREE AT LAST!!!' Lin earlier tweeted that a donation from Schroder helped put Rittenhouse’s bond fundraising effort 'over the top.'" Kyle is a murderer. He should be locked up.

"The men were detained in Yiwu, China, an international commercial hub on the country's wealthy east coast and home to a growing community of Muslims. The detentions are emblematic of increasingly harsh restrictions targeting spiritual and educational life for Muslims in China."

Will they or won't they… "Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has denied that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to the Gulf kingdom on Sunday to secretly meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman… 'No such meeting occurred,' Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud tweeted… Mr Netanyahu has declined to comment on the Israeli reports that he was on board a private jet that travelled from Tel Aviv to the Red Sea city of Neom."

"President Donald Trump is threatening to veto legislation to fund the military as one of his final acts in office unless a widely supported, bipartisan provision to rename military bases honoring Confederate military leaders is removed, according to White House, defense and congressional sources."

"Yes, Biden soundly defeated President Donald Trump — and there was even some partying in the streets — but the results were brutal down the ballot for Democrats in ways that could haunt them for years." The only good new is many states have enacted redistricting reforms since 2010. And yes, Democrats, you need to work on your ground game and communications. You still expect people to be able to see the truth and work out the implications of your initiatives beyond the immediate goal. You need to tell people explicitly where you stand, why you're fighting, and who stands to benefit. And tell them specifically how it'll work.

"In the two weeks since it became clear that President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden — a period bookended by befuddling press conferences from his longtime lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — the president has made it clear that he will spend his remaining days in the White House in the same way he spent much of his term in office: fighting."

"President Donald Trump appears to have cut ties with Sidney Powell, a key member of his legal team who also represents former national security adviser Michael Flynn in his long-running attempt to unravel a guilty plea for lying about his 2016 contacts with Russia… The abrupt shake-up came in a terse Sunday-evening statement from the Trump campaign that offered no explanation for Powell’s removal." You can't out-crazy the boss.

"Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county accused observers for President Donald Trump on Saturday of seeking to obstruct a recount of the presidential results, in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count."

"Georgia's nearly 5 million votes in the presidential race will be counted for a third time, as President Trump's campaign has formally asked for a recount because his loss is within the legal margin for that request."

"The envoy of Michigan Republican lawmakers who traveled to the White House Friday for a controversial meeting with President Donald Trump returned home Saturday… Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey refused to answer questions despite releasing a statement the day before. The Majority Leader was without Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield as he walked through Detroit Metro Airport. The Speaker and several other GOP legislators were on the trip."

"In a blistering decision, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Matthew Brann dismissed the (Trump) campaign's lawsuit alleging that Republicans were disadvantaged because election officials in Democratic-leaning counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail-in ballots."

"In the weeks before Election Day, the court weighed in on more than a dozen cases in a way that many portrayed as a mixed bag for voting rights—allowing voting expansions to stand in some cases and sharply curtailing them in others. But that scorecard approach obscures the principal effect of the court’s rulings: In all of the cases, regardless of whether the Trump campaign won or lost, the justices quietly—yet dramatically—rolled back Americans’ voting rights in ways that could do permanent harm—that is, unless Congress steps in."

"Citing the journalists' First Amendment protections, U.S. Judge Beryl Howell on Friday evening ordered U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack to stop interfering in the (Voice of America) news service's news coverage and editorial personnel matters. She struck a deep blow at Pack's authority to continue to force the news agency to cover the president more sympathetically."

"Of all the perks of being president, Donald Trump may soon miss most the legal protection that it affords… For four years, Trump has benefited from the de facto immunity from prosecution that all presidents enjoy while in office. But that cloak will pass to Joe Biden when he's sworn in on Jan. 20, leaving Trump out in the legal cold." There's a lot of calls (mostly from the right) for Biden to pardon Trump. This should never happen. We are in this position because Ford pardoned Nixon, and since then we have not held presidents to account for their actions in office. Plus most of Trump's legal jeopardy stems from actions before he took office.

"Few high-profile Republican members of Congress have publicly acknowledged Joe Biden's presidential win… And many Republican politicians have refused to denounce Trump's legal challenges and false allegations of widespread voter fraud… John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio who was a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, says it's because Republicans are 'either in complete lockstep with [Trump] or they're afraid of him.'" Thank you for weighing in, Capt. Obvious.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Linkee-poo Friday Nov 20

"The venerable Arecibo radio telescope, a mammoth 305-meter dish nestled in the forested hills of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after a pair of cables that support a huge platform above the dish broke." Well, fuck.

Full house… "For the first time, seven crew members -- and Baby Yoda -- are living on the International Space Station for an extended stay of six months." Hmm, for the toilet there is long wait times.

"An international team of researchers led by the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia said Wednesday they have created two types of diamond at room temperature by using high pressure equivalent to 640 African elephants balancing on the tip of a ballet shoe."

"Pfizer announced it will submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday for an emergency use authorization for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine." Pump that stock, baby.

"How infectious individuals are depends on many factors, including how much viable virus (essentially, virus that is able to replicate) they are carrying and the amount of virus they have in their bodies… Some reports have shown people are most infectious just before they have symptoms and in the first week of having the virus." Ta-da!

"We've written at length on the current pandemic, how it's been handled, and how best to handle yourself through these discombobulating times. This article will hopefully serve as a useful refresher on some of those topics, particularly the latest science on masks, how to use them, and what to look for when buying them."

"Kyle Rittenhouse cashed a coronavirus stimulus check to purchase the semi-automatic rife that authorities say he used to fatally shoot two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he said… In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, posted Thursday, the jailed Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense and has no regrets for arming himself that fateful August night as protesters marched in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting by police." Fuck you, Kyle. you intentionally put yourself into a dangerous situation you had no business being a part of it. And then you played out your fantasies. Real life is not a video game.

How goes Brexit? An opinion column… "British business and finance are holding their breath. Few can quite believe that a British government could drive the British economy this close to the brink. Surely no sane government, entrusted with our collective wellbeing, could calmly contemplate imposing on its citizens immense trade disruption, transport chaos, shortages in medicine, fresh foods and key technologies?" I'm sorry, haven't you been paying attention? The goal is to create chaos in the West.

"A row has broken out after Boris Johnson’s adviser on the ministerial code resigned in the wake of the prime minister standing by the home secretary, Priti Patel, despite a long-awaited official inquiry finding evidence that she bullied civil servants." Bully protects bully.

"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that he and senior GOP lawmakers will attempt to draft a targeted stimulus package with Democrats in the coming weeks… Mnuchin explained that he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will later Friday convene with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to brainstorm ideas for a more-targeted relief package." Hey Stevie, that doesn't sound like meeting with Democrats to work out a deal. Also, you already have several deals on the table. Why don't you pick one.

Oh, and while you at it… "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday asked the Federal Reserve to return all unused coronavirus relief funds set aside for its emergency lending programs by the end of the year, taking away a lifeline even as a resurgence in Covid cases threatens to upend the budding economic recovery… Mnuchin said the programs are no longer needed, but the move goes against the Fed’s desire to keep them going, according to a statement from the central bank, in a rare show of public disagreement between the two government agencies." This move is just a way to fuck with the incoming Biden administration. I hope you rot in a jail cell, Stevie.

Late stage capitalism… "Tyson Foods Inc., which says it produces 20% of the beef, pork and chicken in the U.S., has suspended managers at an Iowa plant accused of participating in a betting pool on how many employees would become ill with COVID-19."

"The Vatican is investigating how the official Instagram account of Pope Francis 'liked' a photo of a model in a schoolgirl outfit… A team runs the pope's social media accounts, but the Vatican believes the 'like' came from an outside source." Uh huh. Sure. Say, can you hold while I go make more popcorn?

"New filings claim there was a Plan B the militiamen had drawn up, that involved a takeover of the Michigan capitol building by 200 combatants who would stage a week-long series of televised executions of public officials… And, according to government documents now on file in lower Michigan court, there was also a Plan C -- burning down the state house, leaving no survivors."

"The U.S. Census Bureau has determined it cannot put together the first set of results from this year's census by its Dec. 31 deadline. The bureau says it needs to resolve routine 'processing anomalies.'… So, the bureau is looking toward Jan. 26 as a new target date, according to a bureau employee who learned about the shift during an internal meeting Thursday and spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation in the workplace."

"The subpoenas were in response to a New York Times investigation into President Donald Trump's tax returns that first disclosed that he took $26 million in write-offs that came from fees he paid to consultants, including an apparent $747,000 fee that the Times said matched a payment disclosed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "'This is harassment pure and simple. This "inquiry" by NYC Democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage,' Ivanka Trump tweeted. 'They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless.'" If you did nothing wrong, you've got nothing to worry about. Isn't that what Fox has been telling people all along? Oh, and sweetie, welcome to the fucking Bigly Leagues. And "Prosecuting a former president would be an unprecedented step in a country that has long sought to sweep aside a departing commander-in-chief’s alleged transgressions in favor of a peaceful transition of power." Bullshit. This action happened before Trump was president, and there's only been one case close to this, which Ford officially pardoned Nixon. I doubt that will happen in this case.

Yes, this is sensationalism, but seriously… "The staff at Blackstones salon in New York City’s East Village watched in fascinated horror Thursday afternoon as the slick brown trickles of maybe hair dye, maybe makeup, maybe fake tan oozed from Rudy Giuliani’s sideburns."

"In a wild, tangent-filled and often contentious press briefing led by President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the Trump campaign's legal team laid out its case for widespread voter fraud in the election. The roughly 90-minute briefing was overflowing with falsehoods and conspiracy theories."

And on Bullshit Mountain… "President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani aggressively made the case on Thursday for the Trump campaign's legal challenge of the 2020 election results, alleging in a fiery news conference that there was a 'centralized' plan to carry out voter fraud around the country."

"Though all evidence points to the contrary, President Trump's campaign is insisting that Trump has a path to reelection victory and that it will pursue legal challenges to results in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. To date, the campaign has lost more than two dozen challenges filed since the Nov. 3 election in which Joe Biden has been declared the decisive winner."

"Monica Palmer, the Republican chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers who initially voted on Tuesday against certifying the county's election results, then reversed her vote, said Thursday she received a phone call from President Donald Trump Tuesday evening after the meeting ended."

"President Donald Trump has invited Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the President and his legal team are mounting an effort to overturn the results of the election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden."

"Georgia has finished its statewide audit of the razor-thin presidential race, confirming that President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump, according to a news release from the Secretary of State's office… Biden beat Trump by 12,284 votes, according to the final results from the audit. This is a slight drop for Biden compared to the pre-audit results… Officials have said repeatedly that the audit confirmed there was no widespread fraud or irregularities in the election."

"US election results 2020: Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump to win presidency." Again.

"'These are just bald assertions, they have been repeatedly rejected by the courts, and I think I’m, I’m less surprised by Donald Trump doing this, he has shown, you know, only a flimsy relationship with the truth,' Obama told MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart during a sit-down interview. 'I’m more troubled that you’re seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it, not because they actually believe it, but because they feel intimidated by it.'"

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Linkee-poo Thursday Nov 19

Jim Wright is asking help for a friends.

"The larger problem has the potential to affect every writer. Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish work, but are not obligated to pay the writer no matter what the contract says." This is a bullshit argument on Disney's end. That's not how contracts work.

"A satellite scheduled to launch from California later this month will measure sea level rise and provide other crucial data to scientists who study how global warming is affecting the Earth's oceans… Melting ice has already caused sea levels to rise by about 8 inches since 1880, and the trend is accelerating. The Earth's oceans have soaked up the vast majority of the extra heat, and about one quarter of the extra carbon dioxide, that humans have generated by burning fossil fuels."

"Then they processed these images to remove all known sources of visible light. Once they'd subtracted out the light from stars, plus scattered light from the Milky Way and any stray light that might be a result of camera quirks, they were left with light coming in from beyond our own galaxy… They then went a step further still, subtracting out light that they could attribute to all the galaxies thought to be out there. And it turns out, once that was done, there was still plenty of unexplained light."

"'More than 900 staff members across the Midwest Mayo Clinic system have been diagnosed with Covid-19 over the last 14 days, a spokesperson told CNN… 'Our staff are being infected mostly due to community spread (93% of staff infections), and this impacts our ability to care for patients,' Kelley Luckstein wrote to CNN in a Wednesday email.'"

"The Ohio Department of Health has yet to release the state’s full coronavirus numbers for the day (yesterday)… Throughout the state, some county and city health departments have had trouble keeping up with reporting as cases have skyrocketed."

"Ohio Governor Mike DeWine… stopped at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to discuss the recent spike of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions throughout Ohio and locally… He was joined by Mercy Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. James Kravec, who spoke of the challenges that the healthcare community is facing… 'If people do not stop gathering in large groups, our hospitals will be overwhelmed,' he said. 'I truly wish the general public could see the stress the staff is under.'"

"Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand is addressing Ohio’s statewide curfew and the statewide mask order… On his Facebook page, Sheriff Hildenbrand wrote, 'There is no law to enforce, so please do not call us in regards to this… It is up to the business owners to enforce this as they do with the requirements to wear a shirt and shoes,' he says… On the curfew, Hildenbrand says it is simply a suggestion… 'We do not have the authority, the time, or the willingness to even attempt to enforce this,' he says." Sheriff Hildenbrand is wrong on this. These were issued as health department orders, which have the force of law. If someone opened an unregulated restaurant his officers would be required to close the business down. It's the same thing here. I appreciate that he doesn't want to respond to every report of someone in public without a mask, but when push comes to shove, his deputies will definitely be involved.

"Later today, the U.S. International Development Finance Corp, or DFC, is expected to announce that it has extended a $590 million loan to ApiJect Systems America, NPR has learned. The Connecticut company makes a disposable injection device that it says can be mass produced to deliver vaccines and medications around the world… The single-use, self-contained devices are designed to be an alternative to traditional vials and syringes. 'This is going to be, we believe, the next generation of safe injections worldwide,' ApiJect Systems Corp. Executive Chairman Jay Walker told NPR."

"In U.S. cities, the health effects of past housing discrimination are plain to see."

"The pace of workers filing for unemployment claims picked up last week and was a bit higher than Wall Street had been expecting… Jobless claims totaled 742,000 for the week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, ahead of the 710,000 estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones."

"About 12 million jobless workers around the U.S. will lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, according to a new analysis. The benefits cutoff could push many households into poverty while creating headwinds for the economic recovery, experts say… Two key government programs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act expire on December 26."

"A coalition of native groups in Canada bought stake in Clearwater Seafoods last week in a groundbreaking acquisition for the indigenous communities whose livelihood has long been threatened by commercial fishing… Under the deal, worth nearly $765 million, two groups of the Mi'kmaq tribe — Miawpukek and Membertou First Nations — agreed to 50% ownership. Vancouver-based Premium Foods secured the other half."

"Former Army Green Beret Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to charges of espionage Wednesday… Debbins, a 45-year-old Virginia man with Minnesota roots, had an illustrious military career. He spent seven years on active duty, three of them serving in special forces, spying for Russia during that time and after he left the Army."

"A shocking Australian military report into war crimes has found evidence that elite Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians… Australian Defence Force Chief Gen. Angus Campbell said Thursday the shameful record included alleged instances in which new patrol members would shoot a prisoner in order to achieve their first kill in a practice known as 'blooding.' He said the soldiers would then plant weapons and radios to support false claims the prisoners were enemies killed in action."

"The head of the U.N. watchdog responsible for inspecting Iran’s nuclear program has warned against launching a military strike on Iran."

"Thailand's prime minister has vowed to use all available laws to quash protests calling for his ouster, after parliament rejected key demands of the demonstrators by rejecting a motion to revamp the country's constitution and overhaul the monarchy."

"Ultimately the fact that Election Day came and went without serious cybersecurity or foreign disinformation campaigns suggests that the lessons of 2016 were learned — because the threats to this election were real."

"Monica Palmer, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, and William Hartmann, one of two Republicans on the Board, filed signed affidavits Wednesday night demanding to rescind their 'yes' certification votes." Here's my advice to anyone in positions of power, always vote your conscience. You can repair almost anything else, but your self-worth. I voted against my conscience once (it was a trivial matter and at the time I felt showing solid support was more important). I still regret that vote. What I see here are two people who don't know which way the wind is blowing and they don't have the intestinal fortitude to do what they think is right. Instead, they're trying to straddle the middle and they don't release that by trying for that center ground, there will be no peace (and that is what they want). Either side will vilify them, any position in the GOP will be denied them (county canvassers are not a stepping stone to part power in the first place, they're some place to park and placate trouble children), and the Democrats won't take them in. There's word that Trump personally called both of them. It's a hail Mary play.

"Getting nowhere in the courts, President Donald Trump’s scattershot effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is shifting toward obscure election boards that certify the vote as Trump and his allies seek to upend the electoral process, sow chaos and perpetuate unsubstantiated doubts about the count."

"But after Trump lost Georgia to Joe Biden by around 13,000 votes, Raffensperger has emerged as one of the few Republican officials across the US who has aggressively disputed Trump’s baseless claims that fraud tainted the election result in the state. Trump, who endorsed Raffensperger in 2018, is now directing his ire at the secretary of state, and Georgia’s two Republican senators, both locked in separate runoff contests against Democrats, have called on Raffensperger to resign."

"Georgia election officials expect to release the results of a statewide audit by noon Thursday, as a handful of counties finish data entry from a full hand recount of 5 million presidential votes… Gabriel Sterling with the secretary of state's office said Wednesday afternoon that at least 21 of 159 counties show their risk-limiting audit is still in process, including some of the large jurisdictions in metro Atlanta. The deadline for the audit is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday."

"Trump made it okay to be a racist, a bigot, a sexist. Trump made it so they didn't have to hide who they really are, down there underneath the thin veneer of civilization. Trump let them wave the Nazi flag and said they were good people. The Klan, the Confederates, the Proud Boys, the Incels, and the raggedy-ass militia just spoiling for a limpieza social of their own, Trump was their Jesus -- a white Republican Jesus, who didn't tell them to be better, but instead gave them permission to be who they already were." Jim Wright does it again.

"A handful of current Trump administration officials, as well as some political appointees who left in recent months, have quietly started to reach out to members of President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, according to people briefed on the matter." While I applaud them for reaching out (as long as it's to help the smooth transfer of power), what they really should do is pressure Trump to concede so they can do this officially. To not do so is to be cowardly. They know Trump is a bully, and has empowered bullies, and I don't think they're wrong to be afraid.

"President-elect Joe Biden acknowledged in a private video call with supporters on Wednesday that he will face 'real brick walls' in the Senate if Republicans maintain their majority but said he thinks he can overcome the political divides that may exist… 'We're going to run into some real brick walls initially in the Senate, unless we're able to turn around Georgia and pick up those two seats, but even then it's going to be hard,' Biden said, referring to the two Senate runoffs underway in Georgia, which won't be settled until January. 'But I believe I know the place. I believe we can ultimately bring it together.'"

"Congress will be more likely to negotiate over a second coronavirus relief after President Trump leaves office in January, president-elect Joe Biden said Wednesday." Too late.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday Nov 18

"More than 500 years ago, a medieval soldier's dead body settled at the bottom of a Lithuanian lake, and for centuries it lay hidden beneath the mud. Now, those submerged remains have finally been found… The skeleton was discovered during an underwater inspection of the old Dubingiai bridge in eastern Lithuania's Lake Asveja."

"During deep sleep, the brain appears to wash away waste products that increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease… A host of new research studies suggest that this stage of sleep — when dreams are rare and the brain follows a slow, steady beat – can help reduce levels of beta-amyloid and tau, two hallmarks of the disease."

"A recent Ohio wedding attended by 83 people has become the latest super-spreader event amid a nationwide surge in Covid-19 after nearly half of them tested positive for coronavirus, the newlywed couple said… Among the 32 people to contract the virus were the couple… and three of their grandparents, two of whom visited the emergency room, the Bishops said in an interview with NBC affiliate WLWT of Cincinnati." Nobody thinks it'll happen to them.

"With a vaccine on the horizon, Gov. Mike DeWine is implementing a three-week, 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. general curfew starting Thursday in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and “build a bridge” to immunity." This will have no effect.

Eight months in… "'We're still far behind where we need to be with testing. And as these cases skyrocket, the need for tests are far outpacing what we have,' says Heather Pierce, senior director for science policy and regulatory counsel at the Association of American Medical Colleges."

"Medical workers don’t get enough protective equipment. 'They’re given one N95 mask and have to keep it in a bag to reuse for days,' the nurse said, fretting about her husband’s safety. 'He should at least get a new mask for every shift, right?'… I looked at the calendar: It was Oct. 30, but it might as well have been March." Hell, we're now supposed to reuse our "procedures" mask for multiple days. There are days where I sweat through 2 or 3 in a shift. The most precious commodity are the masks that come in some procedure trays (sterilized prepackaged tools for doing things like arthrograms, chest tubes, SVC line placement). And not just because they tie around the head instead of having ear loops.

"U.S. regulators on Tuesday allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed entirely at home. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration represents an important step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options for COVID-19 beyond health care facilities and testing sites — but the test will require a prescription, likely limiting its initial use." Did someone ring a bell, or was that at the starting gate opening? Also, at least for other test the nasal swab has to be performed well, and it's a deep nasal swab, for it to register properly.

"Israel launched air raids against what it called a wide range of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, sending a signal that it will pursue its policy of striking across the border despite U.S. President Donald Trump's election defeat."

"Boeing's troubled 737 Max airliner)'s)… return to the skies will not be immediate, however. The FAA is requiring a series of design changes laid out in a 115-page directive. It also put forward training requirements for pilots and maintenance requirements for airlines."

"For years, immigrants in the Atlanta suburbs lived in fear that a routine traffic stop would lead to deportation. Thousands of immigrants in the country illegally have been deported for minor offenses, advocates say, because of close ties between county jails and immigration authorities… But now, there are some new sheriffs in town."

"Judy Shelton's nomination as a member of the Federal Reserve Board is stalled… The Senate failed to advance President Trump's controversial pick to the powerful central bank on Tuesday after Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine joined the Senate's Democrats in blocking Shelton's appointment."

"With millions of Americans in desperate financial straits due to the pandemic, he says, more people are vulnerable to predatory (financial) practices… But under the Trump administration, (the CFPB) had its teeth removed. President Trump put one of the bureau's fiercest Republican critics, Mick Mulvaney, in charge of running it."

"Christopher Krebs, the Department of Homeland Security director who had spearheaded a campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud, has been fired, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday."

"According to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News on Sunday evening, dozens of Trump supporters blasted music, honked horns, shouted through megaphones and carried pro-Trump flags as they walked past the Clintons’ and Cuomo’s residences. Signs read: 'Cuomo sucks,' 'Expose the corruption,' and 'Dead people don’t vote!'… Chelsea Clinton tweeted on Sunday evening that Trump supporters were outside of her parents’ residence chanting 'lock her up' — a phrase that the President has egged on since the 2016 cycle when he ran against his Democratic rival and has recently appropriated during campaign rallies when attacking Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D)."

"As President Donald Trump’s legal efforts challenging the election results continue to hit dead ends, his campaign and legal teams have descended into chaos behind the scenes as many brace for the end of the post-election fight, multiple sources tell ABC News."

"Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday slammed Rudy Giuliani’s leadership of the Trump campaign’s election-related legal challenges, saying that the effort to reverse the presidential race’s outcome 'is not a television program' and should be handled by more experienced attorneys." Actually Micky, it is made for television. That you don't understand this is, frankly, stunning.

"At almost the same time that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was in federal court in Williamsport, Pa., complaining that Republican observers were illegally denied access to vote counting in Philadelphia and other Democratic areas, the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg concluded otherwise. By a 5-2 vote, it ruled that Philadelphia election officials had acted properly in their handling of the observation process."

"U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign on Tuesday announced a lawsuit to halt President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Nevada, the latest in a flurry of challenges that legal experts have said will not change the election’s outcome."

"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stood firm Monday on his account that Sen. Lindsey Graham had hinted that he should try to discard some ballots in Georgia, where a recount is underway after the state went for President-elect Joe Biden in the presidential election." There is no reason for Sen. Graham to be involved in the Georgia election. This is blatantly unethical and quite probably illegal interference.

"In an abrupt about-face, Michigan’s largest county on Tuesday night unanimously certified election results showing Democrat Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump, hours after Republicans first blocked formal approval of voters’ intentions… The initial move was quickly condemned by Democrats, election experts and spectators at the Wayne County Board of Canvassers online meeting as a dangerous attempt to block the results of a free and fair election."

Lots of "missing" ballot being found in Georgia. "Those votes changed the margin by about 800 in favor of President Trump. The margin was similar in the Perdue-Ossoff race and will not affect the runoff, Secretary of State Official Gabriel Sterling said… Sterling said they are also investigating a potential memory card with 224 votes on it in Walton County that may have been missed." This is why it takes so long to certify the vote. This is normal in a general election.

"As the only obstacle between President-elect Joe Biden and the formal start of the presidential transition, General Services Administrator Emily Murphy is struggling with the weight of the presidential election being dropped on her shoulders, feeling like she's been put in a no-win situation, according to people who have spoken to her recently." Except for garnering Trump's (and his supporter's) wrath, this really isn't a hard decision.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Linkee-poo busy busy Tuesday No 17

"Taylor Swift has confirmed that the rights to her first six albums have been sold to a private equity firm without her knowledge, in the latest dispute over the pop megastar's lucrative back catalog. The 30-year-old singer has become one of the most bankable musicians in the world after more than a decade of chartbusting hits including 'Shake It Off' and 'I Knew You Were Trouble.'"

"An Arianespace Vega rocket suffered a major failure shortly after launch on Monday (Nov. 16), leading to loss of satellites for Spain and France." Space is still hard.

"After a surge of new infections over the summer, California's Covid-19 numbers began showing signs of progress and counties slowly transitioned toward less restrictive tiers in the state's reopening plan… Then things took a turn for the worst."

"As hospitals in Iowa fill up with COVID-19 patients amid a major surge in cases in recent weeks, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who once dismissed coronavirus restrictions as 'feel-good' measures, has abruptly reversed course, issuing the state's first mask mandate."

"Anger in North Dakota after governor asks Covid-positive health workers to keep working." :: Waves in Ohio ::

"If you think a negative test result means you don't have coronavirus, you could be wrong… It can take days before a new infection shows up on a Covid-19 test." Jazz hands.

"Pfizer's vaccine must be kept at nearly minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit to remain effective. That's about 20 degrees colder than extreme winter temperatures at the South Pole… In order to get around that, Pfizer has developed specially built deep-freeze 'suitcases' that can be tightly sealed and shipped even in non-refrigerated trucks. But while Pfizer may have solved the problem of how to ship the frozen vaccine, these highly engineered shipping containers create other problems, particularly for the hospitals, pharmacies and outpatient clinics that will have to administer the vaccinations to hundreds of millions of Americans."

"The latest example of a cozy relationship between law enforcement and the far-right Proud Boys happened in the nation's capital last week when the Metropolitan Police responded to a stabbing involving members of the Proud Boys and an associate… Provocateur Bevelyn Beatty and the chairman of the Proud Boys, who was with her, told police they were both stabbed by people associated with Black Lives Matter in a street fight early the morning after the presidential election. The Metropolitan Police Department repeated their claim to media outlets, leading to headlines around the country claiming Black Lives Matter had attacked the Proud Boys… There's no evidence Black Lives Matter had anything to do with the incident. Police officials have since walked back their initial statements, saying it's unclear whether anyone involved was affiliated with political groups."

"Craig Easton’s photographs of the Williams family in Blackpool in the early 90s exposed Thatcherism’s legacy of child poverty. Over two decades later, he tracked them down."

For your "college is full of liberals" friends… "Paul Ewell, the now former dean of the Virginia Wesleyan University Global Campus, resigned from both his deanship and his faculty post after allegedly writing a Facebook post on his since-deleted account that referred to voters for President-elect Joe Biden as 'anti-American' and 'anti-Christian.'"

"Peru’s political crisis appeared on the verge of resolution Monday as Congress cleared the way for an elder statesman and consensus candidate to become the country’s third president in a week."

"Ethiopia’s prime minister on Tuesday declared 'the final and crucial' military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious northern Tigray region."

"President Donald Trump asked senior advisers last Thursday about potential options for attacking Iran's main nuclear site, US media report… The advisers warned him that military action could spark a broader conflict, officials were cited as saying… The White House has not commented on the accounts of the meeting." Withdrawing form that deal isn't looking so good now, is it?

"The recount uncovered more than 2,600 ballots in Georgia's Floyd County that weren't initially tallied, which could give Trump about 800 new votes, Floyd County's Republican Party chair Luke Martin told the AJC. President-elect Joe Biden's lead in the state is currently around 14,000, so those votes seemingly won't alter the result, especially since Martin said that while the uncounted ballots are 'very concerning' there does not appear to be a 'widespread issue.' Martin added that he's "glad the audit revealed" the missing votes."

"Republican senators in Georgia, where runoff elections in January will determine which party controls the Senate, expressed concerns about their chances of victory and described President Donald Trump as a political liability in a conference call on November 10, The Washington Post reported on Monday."