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

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Aug 3

"Earth hasn't always experienced the 24-hour day we're so familiar with now. In fact, the way the world turns not only determines the length of our day, but it could have contributed to an influx of oxygen on early Earth that helped life to flourish, according to new research… Researchers studying a unique environment in Michigan's Lake Huron used it to effectively look back at ancient Earth and how changing day length could have impacted the earliest forms of life that existed: tiny organisms called cyanobacteria."

"A toxic invasive species that can be deadly if eaten is spreading, wrecking havoc across parks, flower beds and backyard gardens… Poison hemlock, which resembles Queen Anne’s Lace, can be spotted in highway right-of-ways, along fences and on the edges of farm fields. In just the last year, however, the plant that was originally brought to the U.S. from Europe has migrated near more populated areas, which has experts concerned."

"Years after Kathy Griffin shaved her head in solidarity with her sister who was undergoing chemotherapy, the comedian and actress has announced she has lung cancer… 'I've got to tell you guys something. I have cancer,' Griffin began a note posted Monday on her verified Instagram account." She was never a smoker. But here's the thing about cancer, you have a chance of getting it even if you don't engage in any "high risk" activities. It's just those "high risk" activities give you a greater chance to develop those cancers. Or in other words, smoking can lead to lung cancer, but lung cancer doesn't only affect smokers.

Fuck around and find out. "The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19… Delta breakthrough infections likely contagious… Lambda variant shows vaccine resistance."

"Cuyahoga County has reached the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) definition of 'substantial' coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, triggering a recommendation that even people who have been vaccinated wear masks or facial coverings indoors." Here we go.

"McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) on Monday confirmed that all its customers and staff will need to start wearing masks again inside its U.S. restaurants in areas with high or substantial transmission, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not."

"Meatpacker Tyson Foods announced Tuesday that it will require its 120,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated fully this year and will pay them a $200 bonus to do so… The company said 56,000 U.S. employees have been vaccinated. Office workers face a deadline of Oct. 1 to be vaccinated fully, while plant employees have until Nov. 1." They're coming for you, Barbara.

"The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer when the nation didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday, citing data published over the weekend." You remember last Summer, when we were all locked down to help prevent the spread.

"New York City will now require proof of vaccination for a wide range of indoor activities like dining, fitness and entertainment, part of an increasing crackdown on those who remain unvaccinated." Well, hello vaccine passport.

"Florida prosecutors on Monday filed charges against five Miami Beach police officers for allegedly using excessive force in arrests made in a hotel lobby, officials said… The five law enforcement officers were charged with misdemeanor battery in the incident that was caught in hotel surveillance footage and body-worn cameras, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters."

"The Japanese government confirmed on Monday that Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is safe after she alleged that her country attempted to forcefully remove her from Tokyo… Hours later, a Polish government official announced that she had been granted a humanitarian visa and was staying at the nation's embassy in Tokyo."

"A Belarusian dissident who helped his countrymen flee persecution was found dead in a park on Tuesday in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where police have launched a murder investigation… Vitaly Shishov, the head of the Kiev-based Belarusian House in Ukraine (BDU) organization, was reported missing by his partner on Monday after going for a run, police said. By Tuesday morning, the activist was found hanged in a forested area of a park near his Kiev home."

"The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act focuses on investments in roads, railways, bridges and broadband internet, but it does not include investments that Biden has referred to as 'human infrastructure,' including money allocated for child care and tax credits for families. Democrats are looking to address those priorities separately."

"Just weeks after its launch, the pro-Trump social network GETTR is inundated with terrorist propaganda spread by supporters of Islamic State, according to a POLITICO review of online activity on the fledgling platform… The social network — started a month ago by members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle — features reams of jihadi-related material, including graphic videos of beheadings, viral memes that promote violence against the West and even memes of a militant executing Trump in an orange jumpsuit similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay."

"A 100-year-old alleged former guard at a Nazi concentration camp will stand trial in Germany accused of complicity in 3,518 murders, prosecutors say… The unnamed suspect is accused of assisting in the murder of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin between 1942 and 1945." This is what you do to Nazis.

"A fourth police officer who defended the US Capitol during the 6 January insurrection by extremist supporters of Donald Trump is now confirmed to have taken his own life."

Monday, August 2, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday August 2

"Starting Monday (Aug. 2), you can find Saturn shining in the sky as part of a celestial phenomenon called opposition. Earth and the ringed planet will be on the same side of the sun and connected with our star by an invisible line, allowing skygazers on Earth to see a fully illuminated Saturn." And this time the rings won't be edge on.

"DeWine said despite a surge in cases he has no plans to bring back mandates on masks or crowds… The governor, along with state health officials, came out with recommendations for masks in schools. He said that due to the fact that most kids are unvaccinated, they're strongly recommending students continue to mask up at school… 'We leave it up to the local schools, 600 and some local schools, we leave it up to them. We had great success last winter, last school year, we saw virtually no spread in the classroom when all the kids were wearing masks. So we recommend, strong recommendation, that they do that,' DeWine said." That's a failure of leadership. "I highly recommend this, but you do you," is the leadership you give for a spicy dish at a restaurant, not about a deadly communicable disease that we know what works to prevent its spread. Leadership is hard, ask anyone who has done it successfully. It's a series of compromises where usually you get to be the good person, but often enough it means being the bad person when people don't want to change, but you've done the hard work and can see why certain things need to be the way they are. Many young leaders don't know when to be either. And there's a lot of older "leaders" who always wanted to be the good person and never accept the responsibility of being the bad person for the greater good. It's a lot like parenting.

"Provincetown, home to roughly 3,000 year-round residents, was thrust into the national spotlight last week after it became the subject of a study that persuaded the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change its face mask guidelines."

"Florida's largest school district said it's worried about funding if it does not follow Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order preventing the implementation of mask mandates in schools."

"Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber blamed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the state reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, its highest single-day total during the ongoing pandemic." But we were very confidently told DeSantis aced the COVID response.

"COVID-19 cases are rising sharply in the U.S., thanks to the more easily transmissible Delta variant, but while many Americans may have to mask up again, 'I don't think we're going to see lockdowns,' Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease expert, said on Sunday's ABC This Week. 'I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country — not enough to crush the outbreak — but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter.'" Uh, yeah, Bob.

"To avoid lockdowns, people in the United States will have to do things that they won't necessarily want to do, such as wearing masks at indoor gatherings even if they're vaccinated and having kids mask up in schools, the director of the National Institutes of Health said Monday." And who thinks that's gonna happen?

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team on Sunday urged President Joe Biden to immediately renew and extend the eviction moratorium until Oct. 18 after House Democrats failed to marshal the votes to prevent its lapse this weekend." That's not how it works (except in the game of press releases).

"The New York Democrat and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told NPR that the party is hopeful an ambitious, multitrillion-dollar economic agenda trumpeted by the Biden administration will resonate with voters when it's time to head to the polls next fall." Only if you go out and sell it. You can't sit around waiting for people to applaud you, especially in an election. Hey Democrats, can we have a talk here. You tried this exact plan with Obamacare. It didn't work. Because change is hard. Unless you leave your offices and go out to where the people are and explain to them, even if they don't want to hear it, how your plans will change their world for the better, you're gonna lose big. Again. Let's say you actually pass these big bills (and that's still an "if" in case you don't know). And let's say you're able to keep poison pills out of the bills. The money will only be hitting the street just a month or so before the next election. You can't sit in your offices and wait for people to realize that their lives are better. Because they won't tie any of their improvements to your actions unless you tell them directly how the dots are connected. You need a fucking ground strategy.

"Republicans are beginning to catch up with Democrats in online fundraising, creating for the first time in modern history a political landscape where both parties are largely funded by small donations — for better or, some say, for worse."

"Critics note Trump has built an arsenal of political committees and nonprofit groups, staffed with dozens of ex-administration officials and loyalists, which seem aimed at sustaining his political hopes for a comeback, and exacting revenge on Republican congressional critics. These groups have been aggressive in raising money through at times misleading appeals to the party base which polls show share Trump’s false views he lost the White House due to fraud."

"The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act clocked in at some 2,700 pages, and senators could begin amending it soon. Despite the hurry-up-and-wait during a rare weekend session, emotions bubbled over once the bill was produced Sunday night. The final product was not intended to stray from the broad outline senators had negotiated for weeks with the White House." I still don't understand the fetish around the number of pages in a bill.

"Make America Great Again, a super PAC chaired by Trump’s former campaign manager, quietly purchased $300,000 in Ohio television advertising. The buy was intended to provide a late-stage boost to another Trump-backed candidate facing a crowded field of Republicans in a special election on Tuesday."

"A group of Texas Republicans wants to audit the 2020 election results in just the large, mostly Democratic counties across the state. If they get their way, they'll miss many of the real — but minor — errors in the state's vote count… That's according to a team of researchers that conducted a statewide analysis of the results across both Democratic and Republican counties. The group found a series of errors that would not come close to changing Republican Donald Trump's victory in the state or any other statewide race. But the errors stretch across both Republican and Democratic counties." Way to miss what the real purpose of the audits are meant to find. The headlines will be "faults found in Democratic Counties" and nobody will wonder why they didn't find anything in the Republican Counties. It's the same function as "the IRS demanded documents and denied applications (they didn't deny any) of Republican groups!" The IRS did the same with Democratic groups, but none of the "research" focused on them, so the narrative stuck.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Linkee-poo Sunday Aug 1

"A new generation of soil studies powered by modern microscopes and imaging technologies has revealed that whatever humus is, it is not the long-lasting substance scientists believed it to be. Soil researchers have concluded that even the largest, most complex molecules can be quickly devoured by soil’s abundant and voracious microbes. The magic molecule you can just stick in the soil and expect to stay there may not exist." Soil is not dead, no doth it sleep. (Grokked from Sheila)

"For my book The Authority Gap, which looks at why women are still taken less seriously than men, I commissioned Nielsen Book Research to find out exactly who was reading what. I wanted to know whether female authors were not just deemed less authoritative than men, but whether they were being read by men in the first place. And the results confirmed my suspicion that men were disproportionately unlikely even to open a book by a woman." The arguments that center around, "I read what I like" are perfectly fine until you hit the wall of experience and reinforcement of gendered norms. But the good news for authors who are women is that more women read books than men.

"A big part of the problem results from places like IFPI and RIAA using bots to automate the DMCA takedown process and, as Adam stated, hosting services assuming these requests are always correct. And it appears there are more and more bots in recent months making more and more requests." Jason Sanford's Grapevine column is full of chunky goodness.

"Johannsson is the film's star and also its executive producer. She says in her lawsuit — which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal — that her agreement with Disney's Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release and based her salary in part on the film's box office performance."

"Yesterday's unexpected tilting of the International Space Station was caused by a software glitch, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos."

"The head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency said on Saturday that pressure in a Russian service module on the International Space Station had dropped as a result of an air leak." Just a reminder, Russia has already said they plan to withdraw from the ISS (which is nearing the end of it's life anyway) and launch their own space station.

"Astronomers recently saw something they'd never seen before while peering at a black hole some 800 million light-years away: X-ray light emissions coming from directly behind the black hole at the center of a distant galaxy."

"Recently discovered fossils belonging to ancient sponges might be the earliest known remnants of an animal body and pre-date other sponge fossils by 350 million years."

"Stability in Earth's climate hinges on a delicate balance between the amount of energy the planet absorbs from the sun and the amount of energy Earth emits back into space. But that equilibrium has been thrown off in recent years — and the imbalance is growing, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications."

"Surveys done by UCLA researchers reported that around one-third of unvaccinated individuals said they would get a vaccine for cash… But in states such as Arkansas, vaccination rates remain low despite incentive programs. And while incentives in other states have had better luck, their success has been short-lived in many cases, including Ohio's."

Why the changed on masking protocols? "An internal slide presentation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dated Thursday gives new details on how dangerous the delta variant really is… One chart shows that it could be as contagious as chickenpox, which is one of the more transmissible viruses out there. It spreads more easily than the common cold, the 1918 flu and smallpox… It also says that in addition to being more contagious, the delta variant likely increases the risk of severe disease and hospitalization, compared with the original strain."

"And here's the part that really could change your day-to-day life: It seems vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections may be able to transmit the virus, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Whoopsie.

"Even as the White House highlighted what it considers alarmism in reporting of the surge in cases of the Delta coronavirus variant across the US, reports in the same national media suggested vaccinations are increasing in hotspot areas." Here's the thing, the vaccine still works against the Delta variant, even with breakthrough infections, etc, these are not reasons to not get the vaccine. Because, again, Delta won't be the last variant, and the virus now has a large pool in which to grow.

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday issued an executive order that bars local school districts from requiring students to wear masks when they return to the classroom next month." Florida just had its highest reported new cases the other day.

"Thousands of people protested France’s special virus pass with marches through Paris and other French cities on Saturday. Most demonstrations were peaceful, but sporadic clashes with riot police marked protests in the French capital."

"As the clock runs out on a nationwide eviction ban for what’s expected to be the final time, millions of tenants are staring at the prospect of losing their homes as they wait for emergency rental aid that the government has failed to deliver… The federal eviction moratorium in place since September is set to expire (yesterday), after the Biden administration refused to extend it and Democrats in Congress couldn't muster the votes to intervene. Now lawmakers and activists fear an unprecedented surge in evictions in the coming months just as the highly transmissible Delta variant causes a spike in coronavirus cases."

"The U.S. economy rose at a disappointing rate in the second quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday in a sign that the U.S. has escaped the shackles of the Covid-19 pandemic but still has more work to do… Gross domestic product, a measure of all goods and services produced during the April-to-June period, accelerated 6.5% on an annualized basis. That was slightly better than the 6.3% gain in the first quarter, which was revised down narrowly."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "US GDP falls short as supply-chain disruptions, labor shortages stunt comeback… US economy grows at a 6.5% annual pace in second quarter." Leave it to Fox to find a way to find the black lining in the silver cloud of a 6.5% GDP growth.

"At the beginning of next year, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves… Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa, and pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market." Now, before you lose your shit over the prospect of not being able to get your bacon fix in California, note this is the real reason you're hearing about it… "The National Pork Producers Council has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for federal aid to help pay for retrofitting hog facilities around the nation to fill the gap. Hog farmers said they haven't complied because of the cost and because California hasn't yet issued formal regulations on how the new standards will be administered and enforced." Corporate welfare. Most other industries facing a loss of 15% of business would do the right thing.

"'Ladies and gentlemen, rock 'n' roll.'… Those were the words spoken by Warner Cable executive John Lack on Aug. 1, 1981, at 12:01 am when MTV — Music Television — went on air for the very first time." Remember when MTV played music?

"Maritime tensions are escalating in the Middle East following the deadly attack on a tanker connected to an Israeli billionaire in the Arabian Sea… Two crewmembers, a Briton and a Romanian, died on Thursday when the Mercer Street tanker was attacked by an armed drone believed to be operated by Iran off the coast of Oman."

"The Russian hackers behind the massive SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign broke into the email accounts some of the most prominent federal prosecutors' offices around the country last year, the Justice Department said."

"The White House is unveiling a strategy to address root causes of migration, a long-term effort that includes increased cooperation with the private sector and with other foreign governments to try to accelerate change in Central America… The proposal comes as thousands of migrants arrived at the U.S. southern border every day last month."

"The Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal finally moved forward on Wednesday night after weeks of grueling negotiations, handing a group of centrists and President Joe Biden a major win."

"McCarthy also tweeted: 'Make no mistake—The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.'… Responding to McCarthy's comments in his speech in the House on Wednesday, Ryan said that his remarks were 'immature' and "'beneath' a leader of Congress."

"Ken Bennett, the state senate liaison in charge of overseeing the audit of the Maricopa County 2020 presidential election results, will no longer be resigning from his position despite telling a radio station that he intended to resign earlier Wednesday."

"Lawmakers on the Jan. 6 select committee describe their probe’s reach as still undefined, saying in interviews that they have yet to formalize the confines of an already closely watched and fast-moving investigation. Minutes before the panel’s first hearing on Tuesday, however, its members scored a key win thanks to a legal opinion from President Joe Biden's Justice Department that allowed them to freely seek witness statements from former Trump administration officials."

"The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the plaintiffs' agreements to arbitrate claims against the multi-level marketing company American Communications Network did not extend to the Trumps, who had not signed those agreements."

"Then, to prove his point about preparation, (Mo Brooks) revealed a new detail to me: that because of a tip he’d received about potential violence, he’d been wearing body armor at the very same Ellipse speech in which he encouraged rally attendees to 'start taking down names and kicking ass.'" "The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."

"It was previously known that Trump publicly and privately pushed the Justice Department to investigate his baseless claims that the election was stolen, but the new documents — nine pages of contemporaneous notes from a Dec. 27 phone call between Trump, then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue — provide new insights into those efforts."

"A new report by The Daily Beast claims that, privately, the 75-year-old former president has described some of the police officers on duty during the Capitol riots as 'p-------,' who he deems to be weak." How's that for your Back the Blue conservative.

Thin blue line… "Michael Fanone, a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer, received a vulgar, threatening voicemail while testifying Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, with an unidentified caller saying he wished the mob of rioters who breached the Capitol would have 'killed all you scumbags.'"

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joked at a Saturday night event that it 'will be hard not to hit' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans take control of the chamber in the 2022 midterms and he becomes speaker." Another schoolhouse bully raised to power within the conservative sphere.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday July 29

Sorry, mostly NPR stories, I haven't been able to read all the sources I normally do.

Dusty Hill and Ron Popeil, and so it goes.

"So I mean it as high praise when I say that I've never seen an Arthurian sword-and-sorcery epic quite like The Green Knight. With this boldly inventive adaptation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an anonymously written but enduring 14th-century poem, the writer-director David Lowery has taken a young man's journey of self-discovery and fashioned it into a gorgeous and moving work of art." Please don't suck. The major changes outlined in this article make me a little upset – Gawain is now the son of Morgan le Fey, sorry, that's Mordred, and that Morgan le Fey gives Gawain the green sash instead of the Green Knight's wife, which is a pivotal plot point as Gawain fesses up to where he got it. While I understand there are some differences between the story in a book and on the screen, but these two points are integral to the overall story. It's sort of like how Jackson changed the Ford of Bruinen from Frodo resisting the Nazgul (the Black Riders at the time) to Arwen doing the resisting, which makes sense from the "we have to give Arwen more of a story", but then defeats the original purpose of showing that Frodo just might be able to do this quest.

"Cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly would save tens of millions of lives worldwide, a new study finds. It's the latest indication that climate change is deadly to humans, and that the benefits of transitioning to a cleaner economy could be profound."

"He'd just assumed that those bins were already open and overflowing — nothing clever about that. But Major later began observing several of the birds actually opening the bins themselves, and now he was intrigued. If this behavior spreads, he thought, 'There'll be cockatoos opening bins all over the place and they'll have this endless supply of rubbish.' A cockatoo smorgasbord."

"The new proposed law would eliminate the birthday rule. That rule dictates how insurance companies pick the primary insurer for a child when both parents have coverage: The parent whose birthday comes first in the calendar year covers the new baby with their plan first. For the Kjelshuses of Olathe, Kan., that meant the insurance held by Mikkel, whose birthday is two weeks before his wife's, was primary, even though his policy was much less generous and based in a different state."

"There's more potentially worrisome news for vaccinated people: In very rare cases, people experiencing breakthrough infections may be at risk for long-COVID symptoms… That's according to a small new study of fully vaccinated health care workers in Israel, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine." You know, like they do with some of the unvaccinated as well.

"The U.S. economy grew at a strong pace in the spring as the country emerged from the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic. The question now is what happens next, especially as the delta variant continues to spread."

"President Biden on Wednesday will roll out a new proposed rule that would change the way the federal government assesses products made in America… Right now, the federal government has to spend tax dollars on products made in the United States, but purchases qualify for that label with 55% of their materials coming from the U.S. Biden is proposing raising the threshold to 75% by the end of the decade."

"Minneapolis voters will decide this November whether to end their city's police department, replacing it with a new 'Department of Public Safety.'… The city council last week signed off on language for a ballot question to change the city charter to create a new agency."

"Now Texas lawmakers are considering a measure to limit charitable bail funds by restricting who they're allowed to help. That means, in the future, the Bail Project may not be able to help someone in Galvan's shoes. Or someone like Hervis Rogers, the Houston voter accused of voting illegally." Cruelty is the point.

"After a years-long legal battle with the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, some of the victims' families are deliberating over a $33 million settlement offer from Remington Arms… The offer, presented by the now-bankrupt gun-makers in court documents on Tuesday, comes just a day after a judge denied the company's request to dismiss the lawsuit." Remember, Remington entered bankruptcy specifically to deny a large settlement in this case.

"But the FBI had gotten wind of the murder plot. A confidential informant had infiltrated the group, and his recordings provide a rare, detailed look at the inner workings of a modern klan cell and a domestic terrorism probe… That investigation would unearth another secret: An unknown number of klansmen were working inside the Florida Department of Corrections, with significant power over inmates, Black and white."

"The Justice Department rejected a request by Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks for legal protection in court against a lawsuit linking him to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol… (they say) Brooks was engaged in campaign activity when he participated in the rally. That is not within the scope of his duties as a member of Congress, so he doesn't qualify for legal immunity for his actions, the department said." He can still get a judge to force the DoJ to defend him.

"In the weeks afterward, there was a general sense that the Jan. 6 cases would be of the slam-dunk variety. After all, the events took place not just before our eyes but also at a time when the endless selfies, livestreamed video and GPS locations were easily vacuumed up for use in court later. But attorneys working for the defense describe prosecutors as overwhelmed by the evidence and struggling to build cases." The preponderance of evidence, the cycling of lawyers, change of administration, and changing priorities have slowed down the processing of the cases.

"The panel's first hearing on Tuesday was emotional, as four law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol that day gave firsthand accounts of being overrun, assaulted and harangued by rioters as 'traitors.' All described lingering physical and emotional trauma. Some rioters hurled racial epithets at African American officers."

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday July 27

"Baby salmon are dying by the thousands in one California river, and an entire run of endangered salmon could be wiped out in another. Fishermen who make their living off adult salmon, once they enter the Pacific Ocean, are sounding the alarm as blistering heat waves and extended drought in the U.S. West raise water temperatures and imperil fish from Idaho to California."

"An explosion at an industrial park for chemical companies in Germany killed at least one person Tuesday, with 16 injured and four still missing. Fire officials who tested the air said there did not appear to be a danger to nearby residents after authorities initially urged people to shelter inside."

"Spurred by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, new cases of COVID-19 have risen in the U.S. by 170 percent over the last two weeks. Accompanying that rise, which is expected to continue to worsen heading into the fall, a slew of new vaccine mandates are being enacted across the country."

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend Tuesday that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates, according to people familiar with the matter." Expect minimal compliance.

Welcome to the Masque of the Red Death… "In a county designated a Covid hot spot, in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, and in a region where hospitals are nearing capacity as the Delta variant takes hold, Erin, a bartender at Backwater Jack’s, couldn’t be in a more vulnerable position. She interacts closely with hundreds of maskless customers—sometimes on a single day. She knows most of them are probably not vaccinated. And she doesn’t care. She isn’t either."

"'What I would say bluntly is: If you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar, you should probably not eat at a restaurant. You are at great risk of becoming infected,' CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said."

"The International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that there’s a risk inflation will prove to be more than just transitory, pushing central banks to take pre-emptive action… The issue is currently dividing the investment community, which has been busy contemplating whether a recent surge in consumer prices is here to stay." Cue the ominous music here.

"Home prices continue to break records, as strong demand slams up against weak supply… Nationally, home prices were 16.6% higher than in May 2020, the highest reading in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report’s 30-plus years. In April, it rose 14.8% year over year." Bubble, what bubble?

"A power struggle in Tunisia threatens the fragile democracy that was one of the few bright spots of the 2011 Arab Spring, the movement to oust dictators across the Middle East."

"As the number of migrants stopped at the southern border surges to the highest level in two decades, the Biden administration has drafted a 21-point plan to weigh their asylum claims more quickly and deport those who do not qualify, according to a copy of the plan obtained by NBC News."

"Fann selected Bennett to oversee this operation for the Senate. On Friday, though, he was not even allowed into the building by the audit team. By Monday, he was spilling tea about the many areas of the audit that had been kept secret from him by Logan and Cyber Ninjas, threatening to quit his job, and all but confirming that Logan’s audit had cooked up a fake result. (On Monday, it was reported that assistant audit liaison Randy Pullen was continuing to ban him from the facility.)" Who could have know you couldn't trust a company called Cyber Ninjas?

"Former President Donald Trump's influence with Texas Republicans faces a stern test on Tuesday as voters in the state's 6th Congressional District choose between a pair of GOP candidates in a runoff to fill the late Rep. Ron Wright's seat."

"In what could be a preview of what is to come, House Republicans have planned a number of events on Tuesday designed to distract and undermine the first hearing of the January 6 select committee."

"House GOP leaders teed off on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Tuesday morning, accusing her of neglecting her duty to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6 and demanding answers about her role in the violent attack that injured more than 140 police officers… The accusations served as a prebuttal to the House select committee's investigation into the attack, which was set to kick off shortly after the Republican press conference without any allies of former President Trump on the panel." Wait, no, look over there!

Here we go again… "The redistricting cycle arrives at a moment when American democracy is already in peril. Republican lawmakers in states across the country, some of whom hold office because of gerrymandering, have enacted sweeping measures making it harder to vote. Republicans have blocked federal legislation that would outlaw partisan gerrymandering and strip state lawmakers of their authority to draw districts… Advances in mapmaking technology have also made it easier to produce highly detailed maps very quickly, giving lawmakers a bigger menu of possibilities to choose from when they carve up a state. It makes it easier to tweak lines and to test maps to ensure that their projected results will hold throughout the decade."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Former California Sen. Barbara Boxer was attacked and robbed of her cell phone Monday in Oakland, but anyone who relies on CNN or MSNBC’s primetime lineups for news was left in the dark about the stunning attack."

Monday, July 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday July 26

Just a heads up, expect outages in the coming days.

"Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in Shanghai early Sunday after Typhoon In-fa barreled into China's east coast… Days after unprecedented flooding devastated huge parts of the country's center, forcing more than 1 million people from their homes, around 330,000 residents were evacuated from Shanghai's Fengxian District, the state-run newspaper China Daily reported."

"This week, Burton takes his temporary place on the twinkling azure set ruled for 37 seasons by the beloved Alex Trebek. Or, some would say, his rightful place. No other potential replacement for Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer in the objectively terrible year of 2020, has excited the popular imagination as much as Burton."

"These fascinating and beautiful creatures are disappearing, ant by ant, bee by bee, day by day. Estimates vary and are imprecise, but it seems likely that insects have declined in abundance by 75% or more since I was five years old. The scientific evidence for this grows stronger every year, as studies are published describing the collapse of monarch butterfly populations in North America, the demise of woodland and grassland insects in Germany, or the seemingly inexorable contraction of the ranges of bumblebees and hoverflies in the UK." Yet, oddly, there are still enough mosquitoes to piss me off.

"More than 200 of the world's leading climate scientists will begin meeting today to finalize a landmark report summarizing how Earth's climate has already changed, and what humans can expect for the rest of the century."

"Although reports of breakthrough COVID-19 cases occurring among fully vaccinated Americans are garnering much attention, as the country experiences a viral resurgence, new data illustrates just how rare these breakthrough infections are likely to be, and further shows that the vast majority of those becoming severely ill are the unvaccinated."

"Of parents with unvaccinated children, 3 in 4 say the recommendation of their child's health care provider will be integral in their decision to vaccinate. However, 70% of parents with children ages 3 to 11 and 50% of parents with children ages 12 to 18 have not discussed the Covid-19 vaccine with their pediatrician, according to a new report."

"As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the United States, more than 50 health care groups -- including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association -- issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to mandate employees be vaccinated against Covid-19."

"Alzheimer's researchers sharing findings on COVID-19… Now, researchers at UT Health San Antonio are studying patients like Hernandez, trying to understand why their cognitive problems persist, and whether their brains have been changed in ways that elevate the risk of developing Alzheimer's."

"France's parliament approved a law early Monday requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel and mandating vaccinations for all health workers… Both measures have prompted protests and political tensions."

"Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said Sunday he thinks the U.S. is further into the COVID-19 epidemic driven by the Delta variant than Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) models are picking up. He said that could mean 'hopefully we're going to turn a corner' in the next two to three weeks." Is that the same corner we've been waiting to turn for the last 18 months?

"A WPLN News investigation finds the Tennova Lebanon hospital sued more than 1,000 patients including Hope Cantwell over the past two years across multiple counties after striking a deal to be sold. And hundreds of those suits were filed during the pandemic, at a time when many companies have been backing away from taking patients to court over unpaid medical debt. The state of New York even banned the practice."

"A liquor shortage that is affecting the country is being felt here in Northeast Ohio… Eric McIntyre, owner of B2’s Bourbon & BBQ in Richmond Heights, said some liquor brands have been out of stock for so long that customers are trying to bring in their own favorite bottles." Starts flipping tables.

"The increase in murder appears to be a uniquely American phenomenon. While murder rates rose in some developed countries last year, like Canada and Germany, the increases are far below the double-digit spikes America is seeing. That’s especially notable because the United States already had a higher baseline of murders, after controlling for population. Despite claims that Democratic mayors or progressive criminal justice policies are driving the increase, it also appears indifferent to the political party in charge: As Asher and criminal justice expert John Pfaff have shown, murder rates increased in cities run by Democrats and Republicans, progressive and not."

"Tobacco group Philip Morris International has reportedly said it plans to stop selling cigarettes in the U.K. in 10 years’ time… It could bring an end to the cigarette maker’s flagship Marlboro brand and comes two years after the U.K. government said it wanted to end smoking in England by 2030."

"The US has been told to stop 'demonising' China, in their most high-level talks under President Biden… China's Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said relations had reached a 'stalemate' because the US saw China as an 'imagined enemy'."

"Foreign journalists reporting on the aftermath of China’s flooding disaster have faced hostile confrontations in the street and been subjected to 'vicious campaigns', amid increasing nationalistic sensitivity to any negative portrayals of China."

"The Taliban say they don’t want to monopolize power, but they insist there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until there is a new negotiated government in Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani is removed." Because, you know, you can trust the Taliban at their word.

"At least seven people have been killed in a 20-vehicle pileup during a sandstorm in Utah, the highway patrol said."

The pendulum swings again… "That’s what a growing number of lawmakers, investors and even some Fed officials themselves are demanding to know. They are warning that the central bank’s vast purchases of government bonds and mortgage-backed securities are feeding financial bubbles in the housing, stock and even cryptocurrency markets, and stoking higher consumer prices, with little apparent benefit to ordinary Americans."

"Private firms, straddling traditional marketing and the shadow world of geopolitical influence operations, are selling services once conducted principally by intelligence agencies… They sow discord, meddle in elections, seed false narratives and push viral conspiracies, mostly on social media. And they offer clients something precious: deniability." Buying "influencers" to push disinformation. (Grokked from Erick VanNewkirk)

"After Georgia Republicans passed a restrictive voting law in March, Democrats here began doing the math… The state’s new voter I.D. requirement for mail-in ballots could affect the more than 270,000 Georgians lacking identification. The provision cutting the number of ballot drop boxes could affect hundreds of thousands of voters who cast absentee ballots that way in 2020 — and that’s just in the populous Atlanta suburbs alone."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the rare vocal critics inside the Republican Party of former President Donald Trump, to serve on the special committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol."

"The push to seek punishment rose to a new level on Sunday, after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger's addition has changed the conversation and has put a new level of pressure on McCarthy."

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Linkee-poo Sunday Just 25

Jackie Mason, and do it goes.

"The nation's largest wildfire raged through southern Oregon on Friday, but crews were scaling back some night operations as hard work and weaker winds helped reduce the spread of flames even as wildfires continued to threaten homes in neighboring California."

"Dozens of wildfires currently blazing across the West have been exhibiting extreme fire behavior: demonstrating alarming rotational patterns and wafting smoke across the country while also creating their own weather."

"Officials believe a tornado might have touched down Saturday evening in Armada, one of the areas hit hard by storms that moved through Southeast Michigan."

"Facing an ongoing drought that is squeezing surface water supplies, farmers are extracting groundwater at higher rates to continue growing food as usual… California's farmers probably will pump an additional six to seven million acre-feet of water from their wells this year, above what they normally use… and far exceeds the amount that naturally replenishes the aquifer, even during a year with normal rainfall."

Of interest to the current WIP… "The winding streets of old Istanbul are an overlapping cacophony of seagulls, ship horns and vendors of colorful fresh fruit. Shady fig trees cluster near crumbling Byzantine walls and sweeping Ottoman palaces, remnants of the empires that conquered and lost this strategic point on the Bosporus Strait, which formed the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire… Underneath it all is an ancient world that's almost invisible, unless you know where to look."

"The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now." Ta-da!

"Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest lockdown restrictions amid another surge in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants."

"'Every single day... you're getting ready to intubate the patient in ICU, which means putting them on a ventilator, and they say, "If I get the vaccine now, can I not go on the ventilator?"' the nurse told CNN's Randi Kaye." At the point you're having sever symptoms, the vaccine is not going to help you. In fact, because of the extra load on your immune system, it would probably make things worse.

"Health Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised after saying people should no longer 'cower' from coronavirus… He made the comments in a tweet announcing he had made a 'full recovery' from Covid, a week after testing positive… Labour accused him of denigrating those who followed the rules, while the founder of a victims' group said his comments were "deeply insensitive"." It how these stupid bravado comments help expose the mindset of conservatives who have bought wholesale the false narrative of the alpha male.

"The week began with Florida’s high-flying governor, Ron DeSantis, in Texas, bashing Joe Biden over immigration at the southern border. But with the highly contagious Delta variant pushing new cases of Covid-19 in his home state to their highest level since January, DeSantis’s road trip was looking increasingly deaf in tone and timing."

"That one-two punch — a new wave of cases followed by the looming expiration of enhanced jobless benefits, a ban on evictions and other rescue programs — is sparking concern among lawmakers and economists who say that while widespread business shutdowns are unlikely, renewed fears of the virus alone can slow the economy just as it's getting back on track."

"China said on Friday that it has imposed counter-sanctions on U.S. individuals including former U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in response to recent U.S. sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong."

"Now, like the Cuc Cac sisters, thousands of rural Guatemalans — as well as Salvadorans and Hondurans in agrarian areas — increasingly are leaving their communities. These days, migration — including the record number of unaccompanied children — is on the rise in rural areas, as an increasing portion of the country’s land and population faces the fallout from climate change… And it’s not just climate change acting alone. It’s food insecurity. Malnutrition. Poverty. It all ties together."

"But today, instead of carrying soybeans and other American products back across the Pacific as usual, many of the containers are going back empty as shippers rush to bring in even more imports."

"States have also enacted the most restrictions in any single year since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research organization. This year, many of the laws ban abortion at a certain point in pregnancy, for a specific reason, or altogether."

"In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said the unneighborly neighbors yelled at 'Tony' to 'get off our lawn' and 'get the man out of here, have him die somewhere else.' At the time, Tony was trying to assist a man who was having convulsions inside his vehicle, deputies said."

"It's 2021, but the policing of female athletes' bodies is a practice that continues to thrive… The Norwegian women's beach handball team is in a battle with the sport's governing bodies to wear less-revealing uniforms. After the team's repeated complaints about the required bikini bottoms were reportedly ignored, they wore shorts during a recent game… Welsh Paralympian Olivia Breen recently recounted a competition official remarking that her briefs were 'too short and inappropriate.'"

"Dobbs, which the Court will hear this fall, concerns a Mississippi law that prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It’s the first major abortion case to receive a full briefing and oral argument since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation gave the Court a 6-3 conservative majority. And abortion opponents have every reason to be optimistic that the Court’s new majority will use Dobbs to undo the right to an abortion."

"A New York City pilot program that dispatches mental health specialists and paramedics instead of police for certain nonviolent emergency calls has resulted in more people accepting assistance and fewer people sent to the hospital, early data shows."

"'This is not a Trump rally. Let 'em holler. No one's paying attention,' Biden shot back."

"The Republican overseeing the controversial GOP-backed election audit in Arizona has reportedly been banned from entering the building where the recount process is ongoing, after he shared some data with experts that showed the results match the officially certified numbers in Maricopa County."

"Just two months later, Cheney’s stature is rising again, this time as the lone Republican on the House select committee charged with investigating that Jan. 6 attack. While her participation has triggered more attacks from Trump and others within her own party, she’s drawing strong reviews from Democrats who praise her work ethic and contributions to the committee thus far."

The Freedom Phone… "The fact the phone is already available to order -- and that there are more buy buttons on the website than phone hardware specs describing the phone's capabilities -- are all red flags. The phone is marketed entirely on its politically conservative branding and seems like nothing more than a savvy entrepreneur looking to make money from conservatives frustrated with Facebook and Twitter banning former President Donald Trump."

Friday, July 23, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday July 23

"The tennis star, who competes for Japan, was the final carrier of the Olympic flame in a ceremony that was a long time coming… When the 2020 Olympic flame at last illuminated an enormous cauldron in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, it was lit by Naomi Osaka, Japan's 23-year-old tennis superstar." What if we threw an Olympics where nobody could come.

"Cleveland's Major League Baseball team has changed its name to the Guardians, ridding itself of a previous name that many found highly offensive."

"But instead of going on NPR to discuss her memoir, which explores the history of women like herself debilitated by autoimmune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome, Ramey is talking about the cosmically terrible timing of its release date: March 17, 2020. 'That's also essentially the same week that COVID-19 came out,' she observes. 'For it to come out that week, of all weeks, was really ... challenging.'" I've been hearing stories on the various writing podcasts about authors who had book debuts this last year.

"Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has been mated to its rocket ride ahead of its July 30 launch… The mission, called Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2), will be Boeing's second attempt at launching its new astronaut taxi to the International Space Station. The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was stacked atop its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on July 17 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, marking a key milestone ahead of the mission's launch next week."

"For the first time, astronomers have found a disk around a Jupiter-like planet outside of our solar system -- the kind of disk where moons could actively be forming."

"NASA's InSight lander arrived on Mars in 2018 to learn about its interior by monitoring "marsquakes," and now the project is starting to really pay off. NASA has announced that researchers have mapped the red planet's interior and discovered some big surprises and major differences with Earth. "

"Record-breaking rainstorms – which dumped a year’s worth of rain on and around the capital of Henan province, Zhengzhou, earlier this week – have since moved north, affecting outer cities and regional areas, trapping people without electricity or fresh water, including at hospitals."

"Just one week after Google's DeepMind AI group finally described its biology efforts in detail, the company is releasing a paper that explains how it analyzed nearly every protein encoded in the human genome and predicted its likely three-dimensional structure—a structure that can be critical for understanding disease and designing treatments. In the very near future, all of these structures will be released under a Creative Commons license via the European Bioinformatics Institute, which already hosts a major database of protein structures." Note that at the sizes we're discussing here and with the interaction with other proteins and molecules, physical shape is as important as valency.

"Thursday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that an additional 275,000 low-income individuals in the state are again eligible for publicly-funded health care… Missouri voters successfully pushed through a state constitutional amendment on the ballot last August to adopt Medicaid expansion, but the Republican-dominated legislature refused to implement it, prompting Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, to pull the plug on plans to bolster the health care program."

"Thursday morning, Florida is one of about a dozen states seeing COVID-19 cases surge… Local health leaders say the majority of those testing positive for the virus are not vaccinated."

"Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an impassioned plea for residents of her state to get vaccinated against Covid-19, arguing it was 'time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks' for the disease’s continued spread."

"People who are severely immune-compromised should consider getting a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, several members of a federal advisory committee said Thursday, and should definitely take other precautions like wearing masks and making sure those around them are vaccinated."

"'One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine,' she wrote. 'I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late'… In her post, Cobia wrote that when a patient dies, she hugs their family members and urges them to get vaccinated. She said they cry and tell her they thought the pandemic was a 'hoax,' or 'political,' or targeting some other age group or skin color." I've seen people online call her cruel and heartless, but once you've developed symptoms, it's too late for the vaccine.

"The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April."

"New Zealand will pause its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia for at least eight weeks starting Friday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as Australia fights an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant."

"Weekly jobless claims unexpected moved higher last week despite hopes that the U.S. labor market is poised for a strong recovery heading into the fall… Initial filings for unemployment insurance totaled 419,000 for the week ended July 17, well above the 350,000 Dow Jones estimate and more than the upwardly revised 368,000 from the previous period, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

"Come 2034, incoming revenues will be enough to pay about 76% of scheduled Social Security benefits, a 2020 Social Security Administration trustees report predicts." That's just before I reach full retirement. Time to eliminate the cap on what income is taxed for SSI. As to the admonition that younger people shouldn't worry about it, fuck that shit. They're just trying to keep your voices out of the struggle.

"Texas is beginning to arrest migrants on trespassing charges along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's actions that he says are needed to slow the number of border crossings, jailing at least 10 people so far with more on the way, authorities said Thursday."

"For Kimberly, an undocumented 20-year-old in Missouri, last week’s decision by a Texas judge to not allow immigrants to file new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), a program that shielded them against deportation and provided work permits and other benefits, could have immediate impacts."

"Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. is charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud through bribery or kickbacks under the deal, Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel said at a press conference Thursday." I've had governmental dealings with First Energy, this isn't nearly enough.

"Pacific Gas & Electric plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines in an effort to prevent its fraying grid from sparking wildfires when electrical equipment collides with millions of trees and other vegetation across drought-stricken California… The daunting project announced Wednesday aims to bury about 10% of PG&E's distribution and transmission lines at a projected cost of $15 billion to as much as $30 billion, based on how much the process currently costs. The utility believes it will find ways to keep the final bill at the lower end of those estimates. Most of the costs will likely be shouldered by PG&E customers, whose electricity rates are already among the highest in the U.S." I'm sure they'll find a way to go over the $30B top estimate. Or, ya know, this is a ploy to go back to the days where they wouldn't be liable for the fires their equipment starts. Because… "After previous leaders allowed its equipment to fall into disrepair in a apparent attempt to boost profits and management bonuses, the utility's grid was blamed for igniting a series of devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that prompted the company to file for bankruptcy in 2019."

"Tax authorities in India raided several offices of one of the world's biggest-selling newspapers on Thursday, a move journalists and leading opposition politicians described as an attack on press freedom… The paper shocked India with its reporting of dead bodies in the river Ganges during the brutal second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic this spring. It criticized authorities for under-reporting Covid-19 deaths and challenged state officials and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over their handling of the crisis."

"Another hearing was held Wednesday as Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman considers the future of the site and compensation for the survivors and victims’ families… Hanzman said the families will get a minimum of $150 million in compensation initially. That includes insurance on the condo building and the expected proceeds from a sale of the property where the structure once stood."

"Lara, along with six more residents, is a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Maryland this week against their landlord, Arbor Realty Trust Inc., and its subsidiaries. The complaint alleges violations of the Fair Housing Act, including intentional discrimination based on race and national origin. The company's business strategy, the complaint alleges, involves the 'intentional targeting of these low-income communities of color.'"

"The Justice Department is launching an effort in five cities in the U.S. to reduce spiking gun violence by addressing illegal trafficking and prosecuting offenses that help put guns in the hands of criminals."

"Mississippi's attorney general told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Roe v. Wade was 'egregiously wrong' and should be overturned as she urged the justices to allow a controversial law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks to go into effect." The whole thing on the Right-to-Life side has not been to find reasonable accommodation, it has been to roll back the sexual revolution.

"The FBI disclosed that it received more than 4,500 tips on a phone line in 2018 as part of a background investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and provided 'relevant' ones to former President Donald Trump's White House counsel… The exact number of tips was disclosed in a June 30 letter released by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Thursday. The letter was in response to a two-year-old request from Senate Democrats seeking more information about the handling of the investigation."

Just a reminder… "The commanding general of the Washington, DC, National Guard testified (in February) that he did not need authorization from Pentagon leaders before deploying troops in response to protests at the nation's capital last summer but that changed in the days before the January 6 insurrection… The shift in guidance, according to DC National Guard Commanding Maj. Gen. William Walker, was communicated in a January 5 memo that stated he was required to seek approval from the Secretary of the Army and Defense before preparing troops to respond to a civil disturbance."

"A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6 insurrection from his helmet-worn camera… The judge granted the Justice Department's request to place Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt in front of his laptop so they could use facial recognition to unlock the device. The maneuver happened after the hearing ended and Reffitt's lawyer confirmed to CNN that the laptop was unlocked."

"Fox News host Tucker Carlson called a Black police officer who said he was called the N-word while defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 an 'angry, left-wing political activist' on Wednesday… In April, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn told MSNBC's 'The ReidOut' host Joy Reid that Black officers fought a "different" battle than everybody else as they endured both physical trauma and racist slurs while fending off supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol." Tucker once asked to be shown what a white-supremacist looks like. Just take a look in the mirror, Tucker.

Sometimes the article titles are the best summary of the story, and then there are these kinds of titles… "Pelosi Kicks Kooks Off Coup Committee." This story is mostly about people lining up the chess pieces for future arguments.

"Pelosi's decision to reject the two Republicans -- and McCarthy's response to pull the rest his members -- injected new fuel into the partisan fight over the select committee that's been raging since Democrats created the panel last month to investigate the circumstances surrounding the January 6 attack on the Capitol."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering naming GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger to join the select committee investigating the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol… During a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning, Pelosi said, 'We'll see,' when asked about the potential appointment." He would join Liz Cheney as the only Republicans on the panel.

It's the Daily Beast, so take this as it is… "At the height of the controversy surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and the revelations that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) bet big on a nationwide joint fundraising tour with her embattled colleague. But new campaign filings show that not only did the gamble not pay off, but that the much-maligned Republicans actually spent four times as much as they raised." But don't feel so bad for them just yet… "In fact, the big winner from the Gaetz and Greene barnstorming appears to be Gaetz’s PR firm… The Logan Circle Group, which the campaign hired in early April, made off with more than a million dollars in the second quarter of 2021." And that's money in pocket, to the debt of the joint campaign. Grifters gonna grift.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday July 22

"China's military has blasted a dam to release floodwaters threatening one of its most heavily populated provinces, as the death toll in widespread flooding rose to at least 25."

"Despite this conflict of interest, Manchin chairs the influential Senate energy and natural resources committee, which has jurisdiction over coal production and distribution, coal research and development, and coal conversion, as well as 'global climate change'."

"US life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since the second world war, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years… The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline."

"Last month, Michigan's two largest hospital systems, Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health, announced they wanted to become one. The $12.9 billion 'megamerger' would create a health industrial complex spanning 22 hospitals, 305 outpatient facilities, and an insurance company. It would employ 64,000 people, making it the largest employer in Michigan. Local newspapers had expected the merger to 'sail through' government approval. But now they're not so sure."

"Despite the Affordable Care Act's guarantees for free contraception coverage, Force's experience illustrates that even for women whose health plans are subject to the law's requirements, obtaining the right product at no cost can be onerous. New types of contraceptives aren't automatically incorporated into the federal list of required methods that insurers use to guide coverage decisions."

"With the highly contagious Delta variant spreading, particularly among unvaccinated Americans, it may be time for much of the country to put masks back on, experts said." And especially this coming fall. Ta-da!

"The United States could see a wave of Covid-19 vaccine mandates as soon as the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval to one or more of the shots, public health experts predicted… The three vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use against the coronavirus have proven safe and effective under that expedited review process and in the real world, and doctors and the nation's top public health officials have said there's no need for anyone to wait to get inoculated."

"A popular Massachusetts tourist destination issued a mask advisory Monday after an outbreak of Covid-19 cases following the July 4 holiday weekend."

"Visitors now need a special COVID-19 pass to ride up the Eiffel Tower or visit French museums or movie theaters, the first step in a new campaign against what the government calls a “stratospheric” rise in delta variant infections."

"Pfizer and BioNTech will start to manufacture their Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, they announced jointly on Wednesday, in a move that could significantly increase the availability of doses across the continent next year."

"White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul traded barbs in a heated exchange at a Senate hearing Tuesday over whether the National Institutes of Health funded controversial research Paul claims could have contributed to the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The United States has extended border restrictions on nonessential travel yet again as COVID-19 infections rise in every state… U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed through Aug. 21, according to documents to be published in the Federal Register. The previous U.S. border restrictions were set to end Thursday."

"Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kan., are in their third week of a strike, citing so-called 'suicide shifts' and poor working conditions at the manufacturing and distribution plant at a time when the company's net revenue growth has exceeded all of its targets."

"Dependence on tipped wages, along with job requirements to appear friendly and pleasant — in other words, 'service with a smile' — jointly create a culture of sexual harassment, according to a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame, Penn State University and the Emlyon Business School in France, who say their study is the first to empirically link tipping to sexual harassment."

How goes Brexit? "The UK has launched an audacious bid to rewrite a key plank of the Brexit deal, saying the Northern Ireland protocol was flawed at conception but served its purpose to get the UK out of the EU as 'one country'… The European Commission immediately ruled out a renegotiation of the deal, which was trumpeted by Boris Johnson as a solution to the Irish border impasse two years ago. The commission is understood to be open to some changes on the special arrangements for Northern Ireland, however."

"Marks & Spencer has warned it is already cutting Christmas products in Northern Ireland due to concerns over forthcoming post-Brexit customs checks… Chairman Archie Norman told Radio Four's Today Programme the changes could mean higher prices and less choice for Northern Ireland customers." The Brexit that stole Xmas.

"Moments after returning from the edge of space, Jeff Bezos thanked the Blue Origin team that made his flight possible. He also thanked the Texas town of Van Horn, which hosted Tuesday's launch. And then he said this… 'I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, 'cause you guys paid for all this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart very much.'… The internet responded with an incredulous gasp." And then he gave about $200M. That sounds like a lot. The Median net worth in the US is $121,760, at the same percentage that's roughly about if a normal family gave away $118.79, or just a little over a 1 day ticket to the Magic Kingdom (without Park-Hopper, for non-Florida residents). Tax the mother fuckers already.

"An Ohio man federal prosecutors say is an 'incel' was charged in federal court this week with attempting a hate crime for his plot to kill women… Tres Genco, 21, was arrested Wednesday and is also facing charges related to illegally possessing a machine gun, according to the Justice Department."

"The U.S. Treasury Department is projected to exhaust its borrowing authority in October or November, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday, as a partisan fight over raising the nation's debt ceiling erupted in Congress." Here we go again.

"Republicans will not vote to increase the federal borrowing limit, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a new interview, setting the stage for a huge battle in Congress as it stares at a deadline to avoid a debt default… Republicans, however, voted to approve increases in the debt ceiling under former President Donald Trump, and McConnell did not mention in the Punchbowl interview that under his own leadership of the Senate last year, members approved an additional $1.4 trillion in spending to fight the coronavirus and fund the federal government."

"The allegations that spy software known as Pegasus may have been used to carry out surveillance on journalists, activists - and even perhaps political leaders - highlights that surveillance is now for sale… The company behind the tool, NSO Group, has denied the allegations and says its customers are carefully assessed."

"A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Arkansas law banning nearly all abortions in the state while she hears a challenge to its constitutionality."

An extraordinary effort by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to block nominees from being confirmed to vital jobs in the State Department is creating hurdles for the Biden administration and hindering US diplomacy, according to Democrats and Republicans who spoke to CNN."

"Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump's who chaired the former president's inauguration committee, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign government… Prosecutors said Barrack, 74, parlayed his close ties to the Trump White House to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates."

"Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the new House select committee to scrutinize the Capitol attack, says he will investigate Donald Trump as part of his inquiry into the events of 6 January – a day he sees as the greatest test to the United States since the civil war."

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Working for a living

Everybody is asking for something this morning, so if I'm able to get a linkee-poo post out, it will probably be late. Sorry. The paying work gets the attention.