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

Friday, February 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday Feb 26

The symbolism on Perseverance. Design is communication. (Grokked from Steve Popernack)

"An influential current system in the Atlantic Ocean, which plays a vital role in redistributing heat throughout our planet's climate system, is now moving more slowly than it has in at least 1,600 years. That's the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience from some of the world's leading experts in this field." We're boned.

"North Dakota has lots of coal. It also has strong and consistent winds. It might be the perfect spot to showcase the long-awaited "energy transition" from climate-warming fossil fuels to climate-saving renewables… Yet that transition has hit a snag. Two counties in the state have enacted drastic restrictions on new wind projects in an attempt to save coal mining jobs, despite protests from landowners who'd like to rent their land to wind energy companies. It's a sign of how difficult that transition can be for communities that depend on coal for jobs and tax revenue. The economic benefits of wind power, even though substantial, often flow to different people." Those good old conservative values at play.

"Costco plans to edge up its starting wage to $16 an hour starting next week, CEO W. Craig Jelinek said on Thursday… Costco raised its starting pay to $15 per hour in 2019. More than half of Costco's hourly workers in the U.S. are paid above $25… 'I want to note this isn't altruism,' Jelinek said. 'At Costco we know that paying employees good wages ... makes sense for our business and constitutes a significant competitive advantage for us. It helps us in the long run by minimizing turnover and maximizing employee productivity.'"

"One of the key aims of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is to send money to people who were already at risk of falling behind on bills or slipping into poverty… Democrats say the relief bill set to pass the House Friday includes several new programs intended to create a new social safety net that some in the party are comparing to a new, smaller version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal."

"Eight employees of Russia's Embassy in Pyongyang and their families spent more than 34 hours trying to leave North Korea this week, a grueling trip that ended with at least one diplomat pushing his luggage and young children on a railway trolley into Russian territory."

"The UK Supreme Court ruled Friday that "ISIS bride" Shamima Begum cannot return to the United Kingdom to appeal the revocation of her UK citizenship… The President of the Supreme Court, Lord Robert Reed, said that the UK Court of Appeal made four errors last year when it ruled that Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to carry out her appeal."

"Late Wednesday, President Biden revoked a controversial executive order that then-President Donald Trump signed in December called 'Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture.' The announcement from the White House was included in an executive order that revokes a number of Trump's actions as president." Good.

"The Biden administration is facing growing criticism for failing to lift US sanctions imposed last year on war crimes prosecutors at the international criminal court, at the same time as Israel is lobbying to keep the punitive measures in place… The sanctions, targeting officials in the ICC prosecutors and their families were imposed by the Trump administration in September in retaliation for launching investigations into the Afghan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts."

Good news, everybody! "Mass shootings jumped nearly 50% in 2020, due in large part to a pandemic year rife with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth… With COVID-19 cases falling and vaccines rolling out, some criminologists hope a rebounding economy and reopened schools will drive down those numbers in 2021… Early results are promising, says Mark Bryant, founder of the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun incident trends. In the first seven weeks of this year, there have been 63 mass shootings — defined as four or more people injured or killed in one incident —which if continued would show a drop from 2020, he said."

"Office of Management and Budget director nominee Neera Tanden previously sent a tweet taking issue with the salary of former CEO of pharmaceutical company Mylan, Heather Bresch, who is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)… Tanden's confirmation has been cast into doubt due to opposition from lawmakers, including Manchin." So was it a mean tweet? If you're Heather Bresch or family, yes. But it was a true tweet about rapacious capitalism.

"The head of the state's power grid operator on Thursday defended the group’s decision to order widespread blackouts during last week's winter storm, telling state lawmakers that doing so helped prevent a larger disaster… Last week’s freezing weather led to skyrocketing demand and unprecedented strain on the power grid, forcing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to enact sustained outages across the state to keep its grid from collapsing."

"The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday targeting Iranian-backed militia groups in the first known offensive military operation carried out by the Biden administration… The Department of Defense said the strikes are a response to recent rocket attacks against Americans in Iraq, including one in which a civilian contractor working with American forces was killed and several U.S. service members were injured. Officials believe the Feb. 15 attack in Erbil, Iraq, was conducted by Shia militants."

"Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, testifying remotely through a video link, told a House committee that her agency head had requested military backup about a half-dozen times in the first hour after the Capitol complex was breached on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection."

"One of the rioters accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was turned in by his ex-girlfriend after sending her several videos and texts from the scene, including one calling her a 'moron,' court documents show." Who's the moron now, asshole.

"Republican legislators around the country are moving aggressively to strip governors and other officials of their power to change election rules -- after states made it easier to vote last year during the coronavirus pandemic and turnout surged to record levels… The measures have been introduced in at least eight states with Republican-controlled legislatures -- including the key battlegrounds of Georgia and Arizona. Some bills would give more authority to lawmakers to establish the ground rules for voting, in an escalation of the already bitter partisan fights that have erupted following the 2020 presidential contest."

"Nearly eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Democrats in Virginia are poised to enact state-level legislation they say would boost voter protections."

"The agenda for the Conservative Political Action Conference, the influential right-wing summit best known as CPAC taking place in Florida this weekend, provides attendees multiple forums that appear to perpetuate conservative mythmaking around the 2020 election as well as ways to discuss the new wave of voting restrictions pushed by the Republican Party. The featured speaker is the former president himself on Sunday." Russian propaganda continues to find a home in the conservative mind.

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