No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Friday, May 28, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday May 28

For those of you in the US, have a great long Memorial Day weekend. More than likely with my schedule there won't be any updates until Tuesday, and probably not until Wednesday.

"Telemetry from Flight Six shows that the first 150-meter leg of the flight went off without a hitch. But toward the end of that leg, something happened: Ingenuity began adjusting its velocity and tilting back and forth in an oscillating pattern. This behavior persisted throughout the rest of the flight. Prior to landing safely, onboard sensors indicated the rotorcraft encountered roll and pitch excursions of more than 20 degrees, large control inputs, and spikes in power consumption." Oppsie.

"The cause of the excitement was the sighting, last week, of a wild giant river otter – an animal feared extinct in the country due to habitat loss and hunting – on the Bermejo River in Impenetrable national park, in north-east Argentina’s Chaco province. The last sighting of a giant otter in the wild in Argentina was in the 1980s. On the Bermejo, none have been seen for more than a century."

"The average temperature on Earth is now consistently 1 degree Celsius hotter than it was in the late 1800s, and that temperature will keep rising toward the critical 1.5-degree Celsius benchmark over the next five years, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization."

"(French) Oil and gas giant Total will be rebranded as TotalEnergies as it shifts some of its focus towards renewable energy sources… Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the move and approved the firm's environmental goals."

Hey, ho, way to go, Ohio. "The city council in Lebanon, Ohio, voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass an ordinance that outlawed abortion in the town… The ordinance declares Lebanon a "sanctuary city for the unborn," with abortion punishable with six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the city council. It takes effect immediately." Well, Lebanon, I hope you have the budget for the lawsuits. I don't think ya do.

"President Biden said on Wednesday that he has asked the U.S. intelligence community to push to get closer to a 'definitive conclusion' on how the pandemic started… In a statement, Biden said the intelligence community has 'coalesced around two likely scenarios' — that the coronavirus either came from human contact with an infected animal, or from a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China."

"Facebook said it's no longer removing from its platforms claims that coronavirus was man-made… That announcement comes shortly after President Joe Biden announced he had directed the US intelligence community to redouble its efforts into the origin of Covid-19." Understand that the "lab leak" theory as proposed by scientists is not that it was made, but was gathered in the wild, brought to the lab for study, and then somehow escaped.

Also in Ohio news… "Lawmakers are working on legislation to call off the lottery immediately. They’re also trying to head off any plans for 'vaccine passports.' And last month, they introduced a sweeping anti-vaccination bill that would essentially demolish public health and vaccination requirements in the state—and not just requirements for COVID-19 vaccines—requirements for any vaccine." Ya know, those reeducation camps the conservatives were all worried about during the Obama administration are starting to look like a real good idea about now. (Grokked from John)

"Data obtained exclusively by CNN shows that interest in getting vaccinated against Covid-19 increased right after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced two weeks ago that vaccinated people could take off their masks."

"If an employer wants its workers back in the office, can it mandate a vaccine to come back? And if a reluctant worker refuses to get immunized, can an employer show them the door?… There is no federal law specifically addressing that issue. The matter remains up to private businesses, state or other local laws, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." The answer is in most cases, because of conservative law making, they can.

"A Pennsylvania judge has ordered former Penn State President Graham Spanier to report to jail on July 9 for charges related to the child abuse scandal that embroiled the university a decade ago… A Daulphin County Court judge ordered Spanier to serve two months in a Centre County correctional facility followed by two months of house arrest for charges of endangering the welfare of children."

"Amy Cooper, the White woman who went viral last year for calling 911 to claim that a Black birdwatcher in Central Park was threatening her, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer. She temporarily surrendered her dog and was fired from her job shortly after the incident." Okay, Karen.

"The U.S. jobs market edged closer to its pre-pandemic self last week as initial jobless claims totaled just 406,000 for the week ended May 22, the Labor Department reported Thursday… While that level is still well above the pre-Covid norm, it is the closest to the previous trend since the crisis began in March 2020 and a decline from the previous week’s 444,000." I'm starting to think CNBC doesn't have actual statisticians check their reporting.

"U.S. consumer prices surged in April, with a measure of underlying inflation blowing past the Federal Reserve's 2% target and posting its largest annual gain since 1992, reflecting pent-up demand as the economy reopens."

A visual representation of the wealth divid in America. A scrolling version showing in a volumetric way the difference between the average person and the wealth of Jeff Bezos.

"In the last year, major social media companies have raced to announce dozens of features aimed at attracting creators, an estimated 50 million people like Feeney and Shaw who range from internet personalities posting beauty tutorials on YouTube and TikTok to independent journalists selling newsletter subscriptions on Substack to video gamers live-streaming on Twitch."

"A database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University found that between 2006 and February 2020, there had been 13 mass workplace shootings carried out by a current or former employee — roughly one a year on average… 'The reason they seem more frequent right now is because we haven't had them really for the last year because of COVID,' Schildkraut says. Such restrictions have also served to limit opportunities for potential shooters 'because it reduces the available targets for a person.' she says."

"Germany on Friday apologized for its role in slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros."

"In a key speech on his visit to Rwanda, French President Emmanuel Macron said he recognizes that France bears a heavy responsibility for the 1994 genocide in the central African country… Macron solemnly detailed how France had failed the 800,000 victims of the genocide but he stopped short of an apology."

"Stewart was arrested after he posted the photo on the encrypted messaging service EncroChat, via his handle 'Toffeeforce.' Unbeknownst to him, the service had been cracked by police in Europe. From that, his palm and fingerprints were analyzed and police had their man."

"Now, merely a day or so after the company mistakenly put a bounty on an L.A. homeless man and falsely accused him of starting wildfires, Motherboard reports that ex-employees and leaked internal documents show Citizen’s next cool thing: imminent plans to contract with major security firms to send private goon squads to your neighborhood, where they will ostensibly check on whether you’re OK or not." What could possibly go wrong?

"The Russian hackers thought to be behind the catastrophic SolarWinds attack last year have launched another major cyberattack, Microsoft warned three weeks before President Joe Biden is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin… Microsoft said in a blog post Thursday that the hacking group, known as Nobelium, had targeted over 150 organizations worldwide in the last week, including government agencies, think tanks, consultants and nongovernmental organizations."

"Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to President Joe Biden." What $928 billion? Because Biden has said it needs to be at least $1 trillion.

"It’s been less than two weeks since South Carolina Republicans rejected Lin Wood’s Q-Anon-inspired run for state party chair. In Arizona, the GOP is still consumed with infighting over a farcical review of November election results… Now comes Nevada, where open warfare has broken out in recent days between state and local party officials over a pro-Trump insurgency involving far-right activists with ties to the Proud Boys."

"The former speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, sounded a pointed warning to the GOP in a speech about its future, arguing that voters will have little patience for a party built on fealty to former President Trump. He told conservatives gathered at the Reagan Library, in Simi Valley California, Thursday night that they were at a crossroads… And leaving no doubt about who he was talking about, though he did not name Mr. Trump, Ryan continued, 'They will not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago.'" Trump as "he who shall not be named" is not a good look.

"In a filing, Joseph Bondy, an attorney for Lev Parnas, accidentally revealed statements he had made under seal by blackening lines in the court document while leaving it possible for them to be copied and pasted to another file, CNN first reported." Thank the gods for stupid criminals and their lawyers… although in this case I'm not convinced it was completely "on accident." Remember, Parnas has offered to turn state witness, and the "redacted" parts don't concern him completely, but instead give a wider view of the case against Giuliani. (Grokked from John)

"But in recent weeks, those hopes have been extinguished, and what was already a tense relationship between Capitol Police and some lawmakers has only gotten worse. Officers bristle at the efforts of some Republicans to whitewash and move past the January 6 insurrection, and many worry the moment will go down as a missed opportunity to fix the substantial shortcomings the attack revealed."

"Senate Republicans were poised on Friday to kill an attempt by Democrats to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the 6 January attack on the Capitol in which a pro-Trump mob ransacked the building in an attempt to disrupt the formalization of Joe Biden’s winning of the presidency… The bill was intended to set up a 9/11-style commission that would examine its causes and impact and exactly who was involved."

"Those who wonder why Republicans today are resisting the creation of a new independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol might review the tape of that moment in 2004 for a potential insight. That's because the new commission plan has been advertised as being modeled on the 9/11 Commission, and Republicans have long memories."

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Wednesday May 26

"A recent study suggests that active volcanoes may lurk on the seabed of the 1,940-mile-wide (3,120 kilometers) Europa, which harbors a huge ocean of salty water beneath its icy shell… Such volcanoes could power deep-sea hydrothermal systems, environments rich in chemical energy that potential Europa lifeforms could exploit, researchers said."

"The Biden administration plans to open the California coast to offshore wind development, ending a long-running stalemate with the Department of Defense that has been the biggest barrier to building wind power along the Pacific Coast."

"That skepticism is understandable when a new battery design promises a revolution, but it risks missing the fact that batteries have gotten better. Lithium-ion batteries have reigned for a while now—that’s true. But “lithium-ion” is a category of batteries that includes a wide variety of technologies, both in terms of batteries in service today and the ones we've used previously. A lot can be done—and a lot has been done—to make a better lithium-ion battery. In fact, gains in the amount of energy they can store have been on the order of five percent per year. That means that the capacity of your current batteries is over 1.5 times what they would have held a decade ago."

"This year, the tick population is expected to surge due to a mild winter and early spring as well as abundant rainfall. Also, people who have been getting outdoors because of the coronavirus pandemic are encountering the insects more frequently."

"Forty-nine percent of both vaccinated and unvaccinated respondents who still wear masks said they did so to protect themselves from the coronavirus, 42 percent said they wanted to make sure they didn’t spread the virus to those around them, and 21 percent said they wore masks to protect themselves from illnesses other than the coronavirus. Only 8 percent said they wore masks because they worried others would judge them, and just 6 percent said they did because it was an expression of their political views." It's that last one that gets me. The disinformation campaign is so prevalent that people on all sides are believing it.

And the disinformation campaign continues to ramp up… "A US intelligence report found that several researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized, a new detail about the severity of their symptoms. It's not clear the researchers contracted Covid-19 and the lab strongly denied the report, calling it a lie to push the so-called lab-leak theory for the disease origin." Until you know what those workers were hospitalized for and how they contracted a disease or fell ill, you've got nothing. Again, we know the virus was circulating in the Fall, long before anyone (publicly) called it a new disease (there are always novel viruses causing disease in humans, most burn out before we can identify them). Also, again, the scientists live in Wuhan. It's not like the lab is an isolated community. What you are seeing here is the workings of medicine being exposed and it's hitting the lack of scientific education and knowledge in the general public.

Don't think so? Okay, did you know about Candida auris and Aspergillus?

So why did I point to the disinformation campaign about SARS-CoV2? Because on Bullshit Mountain from the mouth of Tucker Carlson… "At other parts of Michael Gerson’s own newspaper, we’ve learned, they’re working on new stories about how the virus did in fact escape from the lab in Wuhan. So, the debate among serious people over the origins of COVID appears to be pretty much winding up. Pretty much every sane person acknowledges at this point that the government of China likely caused the single worst man-made disaster in human history. As if we need more evidence, over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the first people infected with COVID-19 were probably researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In November of 2019, three of them were taken to the hospital with symptoms. The Journal did solid reporting, but it wasn’t entirely new. Back in January of this year, the State Department issued a fact sheet telling the entire country the same thing." So let me state clearly here, if SARS-CoV2 was created or adjusted in a lab (and there are no indicators that it was, and yes you can tell by sequencing the RNA), by the standards of biowarfare it is infinitesimally a failure.

Also on Bullshit Mountain from the mouth of Sean Hanninty… "Sean Hannity criticized mainstream media Tuesday for their reporting on the origins of COVID, saying there is a 'very real possibility the Wuhan lab was the origin,' and that most journalists and 'so-called fact-checkers…called this a debunked conspiracy theory.'"

So it's time to say it out loud, Fox News is a propaganda organization that is peddling Russian sponsored disinformation. They are anti-American and anti-democracy. They are purposefully trying to destroy our society, our nation, and our civilization. And the worst part about it, is they're doing it for the ad revenue.

As I've stated before, you can tell when a protagonist reaches their goal, because the movie ends soon after. We are still in the middle of an intense information (or disinformation) war… "But also online are posts riddled with disinformation, including those specifically targeting BLM. Activists charge that those disparaging posts are part of an overall effort to undermine the movement and its message." Waves to my Russian and Italian friends.

"Amazon has made a deal to buy Hollywood studio MGM for almost $8.5 billion. It's the second-largest acquisition for the company after purchasing Whole Foods."

"(At the beginning of the month), the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report, and the numbers were...disappointing… But for weeks prior to the report, the press had offered stories across the country with a simple explanation: there are jobs, but no one wants them. The great labor shortage. And as anecdotes of fast food chains begging for workers and local restaurants limiting hours poured in, so did theories of an alleged culprit keeping potential employees away: covid-era unemployment benefits were depressing America’s work ethic. Bob spoke with Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and former chief economist for the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, to find out what the numbers can really tell us, and what they can't."

"U.S. Treasury yields are flat on Wednesday, as Federal Reserve officials restated their dovish views on easy monetary policy and inflation."

"About 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic. The percentage of women in the paid labor force has not recovered from the steep drop in the spring of 2020… Many had to leave their jobs last year to take care of their children when schools closed… A new business coalition wants companies to take the lead in creating better options for child care and elder care, as well as push the federal government to create a minimum standard of federally funded family and medical leave. The group also advocates better working conditions for people who work as caregivers." I'm old enough to remember when having in-office daycare was a radical new idea that was sweeping the nation.

"But beyond the ridiculousness of how journalists told the story, is there actually a 'nationwide shortage' of truck drivers? The lobbying organization for the nation's big trucking employers, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), has been making this argument since the 1980s, yet store shelves somehow remained stocked. In a capitalist system, where you can pay people to do basically anything, how is it even possible to have a worker shortage for multiple decades?"

"A Dutch court on Wednesday ruled oil giant Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels… That’s a much higher reduction than the company’s current aim of lowering its emissions by 20% by 2030… The landmark ruling comes at a time when the world’s largest corporate emitters are under immense pressure to set short, medium and long-term emissions targets that are consistent with the Paris Agreement. The climate accord is widely recognized as critically important to avoid an irreversible climate crisis."

"Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Amazon, accusing the online retail giant of unfairly inflating prices and stifling competition… The lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, alleges violations of the city's Antitrust Act."

"Law enforcement and firefighters on Wednesday responded to reports of an active shooter during a union meeting at the VTA light rail yard in San Jose in a situation that left multiple people, including the shooter, dead, according to authorities and sources."

"President Biden announced his intention Tuesday afternoon to appoint four new members to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the body that oversees design and architecture of federal buildings in Washington, D.C… The four intended appointees are meant to replace four commissioners who had been installed by former President Donald Trump, and who helped shape a controversial executive order intended to promote neoclassical architecture as the official style for federal buildings in Washington and at new federal courthouses elsewhere."

"Boris Johnson's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has made a series of explosive claims about mistakes made by the government in handling coronavirus… Here are the key points so far from his evidence to a joint session of the Commons Heath, and Science and Technology committees."

"Former President Donald Trump 'derailed' the UK government's coronavirus planning at a crucial moment in March last year after he asked the UK to 'join a bombing campaign in the Middle East,' members of the UK parliament have been told."

"President Biden has proposed a jobs and infrastructure plan of more than $2 trillion that would set aside billions to replace the nation's lead water pipes. When he announced his American Jobs Plan in April, the president pointed to Flint's troubles as a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting infrastructure decay… But Flint is also an example of how to fix the problem — and the many challenges along the way that could slow progress."

"Instead, they stuck with (Trump), which has led to many GOP members downplaying the Capitol attack, fighting the creation of a bipartisan commission to study what happened on Jan. 6, and watching the former president continue to question the legitimacy of a contest he lost fair and square… And now they face the very real possibility of seeing their party’s de-facto leader and potential 2024 frontrunner getting indicted in the coming months." Again, I'll believe it when I see it.

"New York prosecutors have convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's business dealings, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday."

"Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Tuesday called for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to be booted from the House Republican conference over her comparing mask requirements to the Holocaust." I believe what we are seeing is a "last stand" of people who could be called "moderate" in the GOP. Note in this instance, "moderate" would have been considered "far right" only 2 decades ago. As I've stated elsewhere, there are calls for a "new party" made up of the "sane" members of the GOP. What those people know and that most of the general public haven't realized is that the GOP (with Democrats' help) have spent the last four decades making it nearly impossible to launch a third party.

"Top House Republicans including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday repudiated comments by Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene comparing vaccination requirements to the Holocaust… McCarthy did not say whether Greene, who was removed from her committee assignments in February because of her history of promoting conspiracy theories and posting videos with antisemitic and anti-Muslim sentiment, would face any repercussions for her latest offensive remarks." Why do I think not much will happen, and that eventually the Greenes of the GOP will win? I don't know, maybe because… "However, neither Scalise nor McCarthy proposed any consequences for Greene's remarks, and both took the opportunity to criticize Democrats in their statements."

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Rural Broadband Sucks, and especially Consolidated/Fairpoint/Orwell Cable

Sorry, rural broadband is more than it's usual sucktastitude today. And I have to reserve bandwidth for the paying jobs.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday May 24

"Virgin Galactic's rocket-powered plane, carrying two pilots, soared into the upper atmosphere on its third mission to reach space Saturday morning… The success cues up Virgin Galactic to begin launching paying customers within the next year as the company works to finish its testing campaign at its new headquarters in New Mexico."

"Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo unleashed lava that destroyed more than 500 homes on the outskirts of Goma, but witnesses said Sunday that the city of 2 million had been mostly spared after the volcano erupted at night and sent thousands fleeing in panic."

"An elderly man had the wrong leg amputated during surgery, a hospital in Austria has admitted… The 82-year-old was due to have his left leg removed on Tuesday, but due to 'human error' the right leg was amputated above the knee instead, the Freistadt Clinic said Friday." Oopsie.

"Most of more than a million bees shipped by a Pennsylvania distributor died when they were left on a hot UPS truck for weeks, CBS Boston reports." What the fuck?

"John Oliver explains why the integrity of local news is so important, how sponsored content could damage that integrity, and why the Venus Veil is so much more than a blanket! (It’s not.)" Video link.

"A new study has found that two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine give effective protection against the Covid variant first discovered in India, however it underscored the need for two doses, as both vaccines were significantly less effective after only one shot."

"Home Secretary Priti Patel has denied claims the government pursued a herd immunity policy early in the pandemic… The prime minister's former aide Dominic Cummings claimed the UK's original plan was to let the virus spread through the population - thereby achieving so-called 'herd immunity'." They think no one has memory or that there isn't video of the press conferences. The story changed quickly once it was pointed out how many people would actually die pursuing that course, but yes, if memory serves, "herd immunity" was the UK government's first plan.

"Britain's early plan to combat COVID-19 was a 'disaster' and 'awful decisions' led to the government imposing lockdowns that could have been avoided, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former top adviser said."

"Top U.S. health officials recommended further study into a rare heart condition possibly linked to COVID-19 vaccines… A statement dated May 17 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some teens and young adults, mostly male, had developed an inflammation of the heart muscle called myocarditis after receiving their vaccine."

Incoming bullshit alert. Here is an example of the classic Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc logic failure… "Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, a month before China reported the first cases of COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a U.S. intelligence report… The newspaper said the previously undisclosed report - which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits - may add weight to calls for a broader investigation into whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory." The report declines to mention why those researchers sought "hospital care." Secondly, while the report talks about the "first cases of what would eventually be known as COVID-19 were reported at the end of December 2019", but that's not true. We now know SARS-CoV2 was spreading earlier, as possibly early as August of that year (and shows up in pathology samples from November in Europe). This is a major push to change the narrative, to rewrite history. Unfortunately the people behind this push are just as ignorant as they people they intend to persuade. But let's say it's true. Let's say the report is true, that 3 people (from another report by the Independent) from the lab (that employs hundreds) went to the hospital with COVID-19 (note, no where have I found any report that states what they were "hospitalized" for). They lived and worked in Wuhan, the outbreak center. The outbreak began in earnest in November and was only identified as a novel virus at the end of December.

"It's been 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre — one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. An armed white mob attacked Greenwood, a prosperous Black community in Tulsa, Okla., killing as many as 300 people. What was known as Black Wall Street was burned to the ground."

"An activist who has played a leading role in antiracism demonstrations in Britain is in critical condition after being shot in London, her political party says… The Taking the Initiative Party says Sasha Johnson was shot in the head on Sunday. It said Johnson, who played a leading role in Black Lives Matter protests last year, had received 'numerous death threats.'"

"But while some press coverage implied that Amazon took these actions in response to the database leak, internal employee messages viewed by Recode show that pressure from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) led to at least one of the notable bans. Communications between Amazon employees viewed by Recode also appear to expose an inconsistent punishment system in which employees need special approval for suspending certain sellers because of their sales numbers, while some merchants are able to keep selling products to Amazon customers despite multiple policy violations and warnings."

"Samoa was plunged into a constitutional crisis Monday when the woman who won an election last month was locked out of Parliament and the previous leader claimed he remained in charge. The fast-moving events marked the latest twist in a bitter power struggle that has been playing out in the small Pacific nation since it elected its first female leader. Not only is Samoa's peace and stability at stake, but also its relationship with China."

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to the Middle East to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on last week’s Gaza cease-fire by laying the groundwork for an eventual resumption in long-stalled peace talks."

?"A leading Belarusian opposition activist has been arrested in Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a fighter jet to escort his Ryanair plane to Minsk, according to Pull Pervogo, Belarusian state broadcaster… Raman Pratasevich, in exile and a vocal critic of Lukashenko's regime, was detained at Minsk airport, the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs said Sunday… The original flight route was from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, a path that crosses through Belarus."

Just in case you think the US is an enlightened culture… "Yoga can legally be taught in Alabama public schools, after the southern state overturned a nearly 30-year ban… The state's department of education had barred yoga in 1993, citing its connection to Hinduism."

"CBS Jacksonville affiliate WJAX reports 80 students — all female — at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns had their yearbook photos altered without their permission. Exposed shoulders and low necklines were covered up."

"The Texas Senate passed a bill early Saturday morning that would ban schools from requiring teachers to discuss polarizing current events or social issues in class. It now heads to the governor’s desk… One of those subjects is critical race theory, a relatively new concept that looks at how race relations have shaped the current social, cultural and legal world around us. The Texas House passed the bill on May 11, but will have to approve it again due to changes made by the Senate."

"Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the US military 'woke' and 'emasculated' compared to Russia's military in a tweet on Thursday… Cruz based his criticism on a TikTok video comparing a Russian recruitment ad with a US Army commercial spot. While Russia's ad featured moody lighting and buff, shirtless men writing in the dirt, the US Army clip offered an animated telling of the life of US Army Corporal Emma Malonelord, who was raised by a lesbian couple in San Francisco." Because, ya know, the best comparison of military capabilities is by comparing their :: checks notes :: social media recruitment ads. But Cruz is very upset he never joined the military when he was young. Uh huh. Sure.

"California Democrats have no backup option if Gov. Gavin Newsom is voted out of office in his upcoming recall election — and they’re working hard to keep it that way… Democratic officials want Newsom to be the only prominent Democrat on the ballot this fall, even though it would mean forfeiting the governorship to Republicans."

"Republican lawmakers blasted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., over the weekend for comparing the House's mask mandate to the Holocaust… The Republicans who criticized Greene were among those who either voted to impeach President Donald Trump this year or, in addition, voted to strip Greene of her committee assignments."

"Washington’s Metropolitan police department recorded threats to lawmakers and public facilities in the wake of the 6 January attack on the Capitol, according to documents made public in a ransomware hack on their systems this month… The documents also show how, in the month following the Capitol attack, police stepped up surveillance efforts, monitoring hotel bookings, protests in other jurisdictions, and social media for signs of another attack by far-right groups on targets in the capital, including events surrounding the inauguration of Joe Biden as president." Oh those wacky tourists, again.

"With a showdown vote looming, Senate Republicans are misrepresenting the timeline of a proposed independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection."

"But in the end, the stance reflects the fear from McConnell and top Senate Republicans that extending their support to an inquiry likely to find Donald Trump at fault for inciting the Capitol attack could be used as a cudgel against Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterm elections."

"Published in 2012, that Washington Post piece demonstrates more than the foresight of its political scientist authors, Tom Mann of the center-left Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the center-right American Enterprise Institute. It shows the disease within the Republican Party had spread long before Trump metastasized it."

Liz Cheney is not your friend. "The Republican pariah Liz Cheney has repeatedly refused to admit a link between Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud and restrictive voting laws being introduced in Republican states, telling an interviewer on Sunday night she will 'never understand the resistance to voter ID'."

Friday, May 21, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday May 21

"A tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico is being watched for possible development and this system may bring more heavy rainfall to water-logged areas of Texas and Louisiana into this weekend."

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued it's seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast Thursday afternoon… The forecast calls for 13-20 total named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). All of those categories are above the average of 14 total named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes."

"A secret cache of clean energy is lurking in sewers, and there are growing efforts to put it to work in the battle against climate change." It's basically a large geo-thermal unit, but uses the large sewer lines as the energy source.

"We humans have been evolving for millions of years and — as any good biologist will tell you — in response to pressures in our environment, we are evolving still… So how come our bodies are so flawed? Why does sharp vision so often elude us, for instance? Why do our backs hurt so frequently?" Because evolution doesn't give a shit about "perfection" as we see it. Here's what evolution cares about; can you (as a species, not as an individual) reproduce your genome and successfully launch the next generation. While that's complex in its implications, that is the entirety of evolution.

"For many scientists, this pattern points to a disturbing trend: Coronavirus outbreaks aren't rare events and will likely occur every decade or so." On tracking viruses and the fast evolving science behind this search.

"Covid vaccines in use in Europe appear to protect against all new variants but progress in region remains 'fragile' and international travel should be avoided to prevent pockets of transmission quickly spreading into 'dangerous resurgences', the World Health Organization has said."

"In early May, doctors in India began raising the alarm about a rise in mucormycosis -- a rare and potentially deadly infection also known as black fungus… Many of those being infected are coronavirus patients, or those who have recently recovered from Covid-19, whose immune systems have been weakened by the virus or who have underlying conditions -- most notably diabetes."

"When it gave permission to fully vaccinated Americans to shed their masks in many situations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a tacit gamble: that easing mask rules will inspire more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19… But that's far from a sure bet, say experts who study human behavior."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "The press loved the Centers for Disease Control — until it did something they didn’t like. The CDC changed its masking recommendations and suddenly found itself in a firestorm of criticism… So much for following the science." The willful misunderstanding of the right is at times performative, at times strategic, and at times simply because they don't have the brain power to follow what's really happening. And most of the backlash against the CDC advice is because of the right's willful misunderstanding.

"Now, more than two years later, body camera video obtained by the Associated Press shows what happened to Greene after the crash on a dark road outside the northern Louisiana city of Monroe on May 10, 2019."

"Victory came just after 5pm when, after a tense standoff between police and a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during the sunny day, including families celebrating the first day of Eid alongside asylum rights activists, the two Indian nationals were released back into their community."

"The Labor Department has exhausted its options for continuing to pay an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits to jobless people in the 22 GOP-led states that are ending them early, an administration official told CNN Thursday… Roughly 3.6 million out-of-work Americans will forgo a total of $21.7 billion in benefits as a result of the state actions, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation. Texas, Indiana and South Carolina are among those terminating the pandemic jobless programs early."

"The first appraisal came back at $125,000 and she was shocked. After an independent market analysis estimated her home at $187,000, she tried again… When she applied for refinancing with a new lender she left her race and gender off the application. One of her friend's husbands, who is white, agreed to stand in during the third appraisal… Before he did, she took out everything that might indicate her race and left her home. She got another shock when she got that appraisal back… The number, $259,000. More than double the original appraisal."

"On Wednesday, Texas joined this bloc when GOP Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s own “heartbeat bill,” SB 8, into law. Like the other states that have passed these laws, Texas cannot actually enforce the ban under Roe, which prohibits state officials from banning abortion before viability. But lawmakers believe they have devised a workaround to Roe’s roadblock: Rather than empower state officials to implement the ban, they have granted virtually every private citizen the right to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The goal is not simply to outlaw abortions, but to terrify and punish patients by bankrupting those who support them." Cruelty is the platform. And given the propensity of conservative lawmakers infidelity and "encouraging" abortions on their lovers, might not have been the wisest of moves. But conservatives never think these laws would ever be applied to them.

"The Duke's comments come after the BBC offered an unconditional apology over the controversial 1995 interview by BBC journalist Martin Bashir with Diana, in which she detailed the breakdown of her relationship with Prince Charles. An inquiry had found that he used 'deceitful' methods to secure the landmark interview."

"An investigation… found that while survivors waited, a special Fire Victim Trust in charge of compensating them racked up $51 million in overhead costs last year. During that same period, the Trust disbursed just $7 million to fire victims — less than 0.1% of the $13.5 billion promised — according to an analysis of federal bankruptcy court filings, court transcripts, and correspondence between staff of the Fire Victim Trust and the victims themselves… During its first year of operation, the Trust spent nearly 90% of its funds on overhead, while fire victims waited for help, KQED found."

"There’s now an answer to the question of how many nooses would make Amazon shut down a workplace—seven. According to NBC News Connecticut, the company has shut a construction site in Windsor after the series of nooses were found in the past month."

"Two death row inmates in South Carolina, now required by law to choose between a yet-to-be-formed firing squad and a 109-year-old electric chair, have decided to sue instead. They call the state's recently signed legislation unconstitutional because lethal injection was the main method of execution when they were sentenced."

"Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Thursday that the voting machines Republicans turned over to private companies as part of their audit of the 2020 election are no longer safe for use in future elections… In a letter sent to Maricopa County officials and shared with NBC News, Hobbs, a Democrat, cited security concerns about losing the chain of custody over the equipment when it was handed over to the auditors and urged the county to get new machines."

"The Justice Department informed CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a May 13 letter, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. The letter listed phone numbers for Starr's Pentagon extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cell phones, as well as Starr's work and personal email accounts… The seizure of Starr's records is the third disclosure in as many weeks where the Trump administration used its Justice Department to secretly obtain communications of journalists or to expose the identity of critics of former President Donald Trump's allies."

"After more than four months of letting their power to obstruct lie unused in the Senate, the 50-member Senate GOP is ready to mount a filibuster of House-passed legislation creating an independent cross-aisle panel to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. If Republicans follow through and block the bill, they will spark a long-building fight over the filibuster’s very existence." You have to wonder at the argument that the GOP thinks it's to their advantage to take the mid-term hit on blocking an investigation over what may come out of the investigation.

"In rural Oregon, voters in several counties want their state to go from Democratic blue to Republican red — and to do that, they hope to leave Oregon altogether and join neighboring Idaho. Five counties approved ballot measures this week, joining two others that had already voted in favor of the idea." Conservatives wanna take their little red ball and go home now. Other than an interesting psychological study, and a failure in civics education, the plan has very little chance of success.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday May 20

Apparently I forgot to hit the publish button yesterday. Sorry about that and if this combined post is a little jumbled.

A brief history of (mostly computer) type. (Grokked from John)

And because they're pretty and they were pointed to in my twitter TL, Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers.A If I had to get wallpapers, they would be something like these. They're expensive, though. (Grokked from Stina Leicht by way of many others)

And you think COVID is rough on us, at least you're not a cicada.
"'It’s this gender-bending, death-zombie fungus,' Lill said." A fungus parasite that evolved to match cicada broods, hijacks their bodies to spread it's spores anyway possible. Oh, and because evolution, it's evolved to pump those little bodies full of amphetamine and the hallucinogen that makes magic mushrooms special. Somewhere right now a grad student is trying to come up with a way to measure how high a cicada is.

"As with the original processor, known as the Wafer Scale Engine (WSE-1), the new WSE-2 features hundreds of thousands of AI cores across a massive 46225 mm2 of silicon. In that space, Cerebras has enabled 2.6 trillion transistors for 850,000 cores - by comparison, the second biggest AI CPU on the market is ~826 mm2, with 0.054 trillion transistors. Cerebras also cites 1000x more onboard memory, with 40 GB of SRAM, compared to 40 MB on the Ampere A100." Okay, again, actual brain function is not a computer (computers are just the most complex machines we have, so that's the comparison we make). But that might actually be a game changer, at least for the limited AI we have now. Also for the kids, true story, when I started with computers back in the 80s, the size of that silicon wafer (which isn't really that large for the manufacture of processors, it's just normally that silicon would be cut apart to form a hundred or so CPUs not used as one giant processor) was roughly the size of a 4kb memory unit. In a distant alternate reality, one of those 4k units that I bought at a college "get this shit out of here" auction sits on my desk (I think it sold for $25 or so, originally purchased it was probably over $1000). I is olds. (Grokked from John)

"NASA Administrator Bill Nelson congratulated China for successfully landing a rover on Mars, but also used the milestone to warn Congress of China’s competitive threat to American leadership in human spaceflight." Let's get ready to ruuuummmbbbblllleee! Whispers, Russia is still the only country to successfully land on Venus.

"The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to the half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year."

"Now, a team of scientists have developed a realistic and colorfully stunning simulation of what just the beginning of a star's life looks like… It's called STARFORGE, or Star Formation in Gaseous Environments, and it models an entire gas cloud that serves as a stellar nursery. It's the place where stars are born… From this swirling gas cloud, stars form and evolve, showing off the dynamics of this process. The model also accounts for other activity, like radiation, wind and supernovae, or the explosions of nearby stars, and how they impact the formation of a star."

"This past year, the nation's more than 300 safety-net hospitals found themselves on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affected the communities that safety-net hospitals are most likely to serve. They took on a greater share of the patient burden, even as other hospitals emerged from the pandemic with huge profits, an investigation by NPR and the PBS series Frontline has found, further widening the gap between wealthy hospitals and hospitals like LAC + USC." Best health care system in the world, eh?

"Nearly two-thirds of people tested in India have shown exposure to COVID-19, a chain of private laboratories said on Wednesday, indicating a runaway spread of the virus as the daily death toll rose to a record 4,529."

"The B.1.617 variant (India) is one of the factors driving the current crisis in India and neighboring Nepal. It may also be linked to recently rising cases among unvaccinated people in the United Kingdom… The variant is believed more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but as yet there’s no clear evidence it causes more severe disease or more deaths. The same public health measures — masks and social distancing — can prevent the spread of the virus variant, experts say. And while it might have some impact on the vaccines, its mutations will likely not be enough to weaken protection against serious illness, research suggests."

"But vaccination rates across the United States are uneven -- a worrisome trend that could obstruct efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Rates range from more than 78% of adults in Vermont with at least one vaccine to less than 45% of adults in Mississippi… And over the past week, states with higher vaccination rates have generally had lower Covid-19 case rates, a CNN analysis of data from the CDC and Johns Hopkins University found."

"Lifting mask mandates represents a monumental step toward a pre-pandemic public life and confidence in the United States' vaccine-driven offensive against the coronavirus, but the move is not being met with enthusiasm everywhere." I think they meant "post-pandemic", because it's very doubtful things will be the same.

"The first Americans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus could require a third 'booster' shot as early as September, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna told Axios." Hopefully not, but again this is all very new.

"The European Union took a step toward relaxing travel rules for tourists from outside the 27-nation bloc Wednesday when EU ambassadors agreed on measures to allow in fully vaccinated visitors."

"The authors say what they found shows just 44 films — 3.4% — featured an (Asian American and Pacific Islander) lead or co-lead performer, and only six films were led or co-led by an API woman. Breaking it down further, the group's work reveals that of those 44 movies, 14 of them starred Johnson. That is a third of the films starring API people. Additionally, nearly 40% of the films reviewed had no API representation at all."

"Two reporters for the USA TODAY Network were arrested on Wednesday night while covering a protest in Elizabeth City, North Carolina."

"What a difference a year makes. When the pandemic began, the BBC spoke to some economists to make sense of what was happening to the US economy. We went back to those same experts to see how things played out, and what they're keeping their eye on in the future."

So in Canada they did an experiment where they gave 50 homeless people $7,500, no string attached, and compared their lives over 1 year to 65 homeless people who were given the same access to support services, but not the cash. "The people who received cash transfers moved into stable housing faster and saved enough money to maintain financial security over the year of follow-up. They decreased spending on drugs, tobacco, and alcohol by 39 percent on average, and increased spending on food, clothes, and rent, according to self-reports… 'Counter to really harmful stereotypes, we saw that people made wise financial choices,' Claire Williams, the CEO of Foundations for Social Change, told me." Also, for $7,500 cash payments, they saved the Canadian government $8,100 per person over the "standard" way they were dealing with the homeless. There are, of course, caveats. It's a small study, the people chosen for for the cash payments had been homeless for less than 2 years and had no history of addictive behaviors or mental health issues.

"The procession of Americans heading to the unemployment line fell last week, with jobless claims totaling a fresh pandemic-era low of 444,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday… Economist surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 452,000 new claims as the jobs picture improves thanks to an accelerated economic reopening across the country."

"Microsoft Corp is pulling the plug on its once omnipresent browser, Internet Explorer, next year as it prepares to battle market leader Chrome with its slicker Edge browser… Launched in 1995, Internet Explorer became the dominant browser for over a decade as it was bundled with Microsoft's Windows operating system that came pre-installed in billions of computers." Kill it with fire. Note, the system we use to manage radiology appointments, and enter data, requires IE.

"The day that a white mob came to Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Okla., Viola Fletcher was just 7 years old… During emotional testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Fletcher, who is now 107, recalled her memories of the two-day massacre that left hundreds of Black people dead."

"It’s known as the stepped-up basis rule, or, as President Joe Biden called it this month, the 'trust fund loophole,' and Biden’s American Families Plan aims to put an end to it for many people who inherit big estates."

"In 2019, more than 130 million metric tons of single-use plastics were thrown away, with most of that waste burned, buried in a landfill or dumped directly into the ocean or onto land. Now, a new report finds that just 20 companies account for more than half of all single-use plastic waste generated worldwide."

"French police officers held a huge demonstration outside parliament Wednesday to press for a law that protects the protectors who are feeling vulnerable to attacks, angry and useless."

"Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories went on strike in a rare collective protest Tuesday as Israeli missiles toppled a building in Gaza and militants in the Hamas-ruled territory fired dozens of rockets that killed two people."

"Over 3,150 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militant group Hamas from Gaza into southern and central Israel over the past week, targeting both Israeli population centers and border villages. Approximately 90% of those Hamas rockets have been intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, according to Israeli officials."

"Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip early Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding several others. The latest strikes came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against U.S. pressure to wind down the offensive against Gaza's militant Hamas rulers, who have fired thousands of rockets at Israel."

"Belgian forces kept up their manhunt for an armed soldier who is on a terror watch list because of his extreme right sympathies while the government remained nonplussed over how a known threat to society could have had access to an array of heavy weapons."

"The Biden administration is leading a campaign against Russian attempts to assert authority over Arctic shipping and reintroduce a military dimension to discussions over international activity in the area."

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed into law a bill that bans abortion the moment a fetal heartbeat has been detected, a move that makes Texas the largest state in the nation to outlaw abortion so early in a pregnancy… The Texas law effectively prohibits any abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy — before many women are even aware they are pregnant."

"Now Thomas is 72 years old with a head of gray hair and he is awaiting a new season on a 6-3 conservative majority court. The justices have agreed to hear a case next term that critics -- and some supporters -- say is meant to gut Roe. They will also hear a Second Amendment case that could expand gun rights. And Thomas, the longest-serving member of the court, will likely find himself in the majority."

"When the Pentagon launched its first-ever independent financial audit back in 2017, backers of accountability in government welcomed it as a major step for a department with a track record of financial boondoggles… But the Defense Department failed that audit – and the next two as well. Now lawmakers are introducing a bipartisan bill that would impose a penalty for any part of the military that fails to undergo a 'clean' audit." After "non-discretionary" spending (Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid), the Department of Defense is the largest budgetary item by far.

"A Florida man was arrested Tuesday after an 11-year-old girl fought back during an attempted kidnapping and escaped to safety Tuesday morning, the Escambia County sheriff said."

"De Young spent her career studying moral panics — specifically, what became known as the 'Satanic Panic' of the 1980s, when false accusations of the abuse of children in satanic rituals spread across the United States… Decades later, echoes of that same fear had emerged in QAnon. The seemingly novel conspiracy theory has grown in far-right political circles since November 2017. Adherents of QAnon believe that a shadowy cabal kidnaps children, tortures them and uses their blood in satanic rituals. The alleged perpetrators in the QAnon conspiracy theory are Democratic politicians — not preschool teachers, as had been the case in the 1980s — but the accusations are eerily similar." And the problem with these Satanic Panics, as it was in the 80s, is that there are actual child trafficking and sexual abuse problems in the US. And these stupid outliers tend to discredit legitimate political actions to solve these longstanding social ills. The 80s and 90s were a huge cultural shift when it came to child abuse (and harassment in the workplace). But the effects, echos, and memories of the Satanic-Panic blunted efforts to help society change for the better, to the point that the problems are nearly as bad as they were when they first "came to light" (true story, Freud's initial theories centered around child sexual abuse, he published monographs on his research into how this trauma warped culture and scared people for life causing generational and personal dysfunctions, and for that he was exiled from the psychiatric community until he recanted and came up with the Oedipal Complex).

"President Biden's commission tasked with studying potential reforms to the Supreme Court is set to gather for the first time Wednesday as pressure to expand the number of seats on the high court grows following its decision to hear a blockbuster abortion dispute in its next term."

"The State Department will now approve U.S. citizenship for children born abroad to same-sex or heterosexual American parents via in-vitro fertilization, surrogacy and by other assisted reproductive means."

"One in 10 US police departments can now access videos from millions of privately owned home security cameras without a warrant."

"Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner survived a challenge in the Democratic primary that pit his progressive reforms against growing concern over a rising tide of homicides and gun crimes… The primary was seen as referendum on whether a wave of prosecutors elected on promises of criminal justice reform - measures like shorter probation and parole and a curtailing of cash bail that disproportionately keeps poor defendants confined before trial - would be blamed for increasing violence."

"New York Attorney General Letitia James is joining the Manhattan district attorney's office in a criminal investigation of the Trump Organization, James' office said Tuesday… The attorney general office's investigation into the Trump Organization, which has been underway since 2019, will also continue as a civil probe, but the office recently informed Trump Organization officials of the criminal component." That usually means they've found something, however that doesn't mean it'll come to actual charges.

"A US House of Representatives vote Wednesday on setting up an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection will expose the quandary that now defines the Republican Party… Republicans everywhere are making the same choice, and almost all of them are siding with former President Donald Trump, his false claims of election fraud and his unchecked assault on US democracy." And the vote is no longer one of the representatives' conscience, as originally promised by the minority leader. Instead for conservatives the vote will be whipped, that is the party leadership will expect members to vote as a block. And as of this moment that means they are expected to vote no. Deals may be made to keep members in line, and the stick will definitely be wielded against any who fall out of line. Considering that some in the House Minority leadership (and rank and file) may be implicated by a forthright investigation, and Trump will most certainly will be, this isn't exactly unexpected. "Yet McCarthy's claims were undercut by the fact that the framework for the inquiry was agreed on after weeks of negotiations produced a bipartisan deal between New York Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, and that committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi."

"Firms hired to run a partisan audit of the 2020 election for Senate Republicans in Arizona said Tuesday that data was not destroyed, reversing earlier allegations that election officials in the state's most populated county eliminated evidence." Funny how many of these claims are abandoned when people are asked to show their evidence.

"A recently unsealed search warrant application shows the FBI believes a Hawaii defense contractor illegally funneled $150,000 to a pro-Collins super PAC and reimbursed donations to Collins' campaign. There's no indication that Collins or her team were aware of any of it." But you have to ask yourself, why would the Russians want you to be in the Senate?

"A statement released Wednesday on Capitol Police letterhead, said to be authored by multiple officers on the force, delivered a rare public rebuke of top Republicans for opposing a proposed bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that injured scores on their force… The department distanced itself from the statement, noting that it 'has no way of confirming it was even authored by USCP personnel. The U.S. Capitol Police does NOT take positions on legislation.'"

"The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to form an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol… The bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and John Katko, R-N.Y., passed the Democratic-controlled House 252-175… Thirty-five Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which was opposed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy."

"The state attorney general is joining forces with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been conducting a separate criminal inquiry into Trump's business practices and possible insurance or financial fraud as well as alleged hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump before he became president."

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday May 18

"India was slammed on Monday by the strongest storm on record to reach its west coast, hampering authorities' response to the Covid-19 crisis in some of the country's hardest hit regions… Tropical Cyclone Tauktae, a storm with wind speeds equivalent to a high-end Category 3 hurricane that formed in the Arabian Sea, made landfall Monday night local time in Gujarat. It strengthened slightly as it hit the western state with maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (125 mph), according to the United States' Joint Typhoon Warning Center."

"People working 55 or more hours each week face an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to people following the widely accepted standard of working 35 to 40 hours in a week, the WHO says in a study that was published Monday in the journal Environment International." Rhut rho. But, yes, working these long hours physically hurts after a while.

"The field of behavioral science has some answers. Author and researcher Katy Milkman of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is out with a new book, How to Change, that's packed with research-backed paths to personal growth. Science has tried-and-tested methods to help us stop procrastinating, save more money and make healthier choices. She says that if we apply these lessons more widely, they have life-lengthening and even lifesaving potential."

"Top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official Anne Schuchat is planning to step down from her role as the agency's principal deputy director this summer, the agency confirmed to POLITICO."

If you're in Ohio, vaccinated, and want to be part of the $1M drawings, you have to register. Or you can go directly to the Vax-a-million website here. I'm licensed in the State of Ohio, so they already have my info anyway. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Dan)

"But when she pointed a question specifically to Zuckerberg, about whether he acknowledged a connection between children's declining mental health and social media platforms, he demurred… 'I don't think that the research is conclusive on that,' replied Zuckerberg… It's a position that he and his company, which is working on expanding its offerings to even younger children, have held for years. But mental health researchers whom NPR spoke with disagree." Sure, the tobacco company CEOs all agree that smoking their product does not give you cancer. And while I agree that both the use of social media, especially by people in the process of discovering themselves might have harms, for some it's a boost. But the way the algorithms now deliver content, and what content they deliver, can be especially harmful if for no other reason than they reenforce "Western Culture"/conservative norms. What had once been a way to find your "tribe", is now mostly about battering down the small groups of like minded people and forcing predetermined ideas on them. That we all must like the same things, we all must believe the same things. And many of those are especially harmful to young people (the unexamined disfunction of our culture). And that needs to be addressed. But this can also be a faint to increase government regulations and control of social media, which would also be harmful.

"See what happens when employers have a hard time finding workers.....? They can afford to pay you." A tweet thread with photos of help wanted signs.

"U.S. restaurants and stores are rapidly raising pay in an urgent effort to attract more applicants and keep up with a flood of customers as the pandemic eases… McDonald’s, Sheetz and Chipotle are just some of the latest companies to follow Amazon, Walmart and Costco in boosting wages, in some cases to $15 an hour or higher."

"Walmart on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings that surged past Wall Street’s estimates as the company reported strong grocery sales and e-commerce growth and raised its outlook for the year."

Because I've pointed to the podcast, and am still listener and supporter… "New York Public Radio has fired commentator Bob Garfield, who co-hosted the WNYC show "On the Media," for allegedly violating the company's anti-bullying policy."

"Fighting between Israel and Hamas entered its ninth straight day despite a call by President Joe Biden for a cease-fire… Israeli warplanes carried out another round of airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, leveling a six-story building, while militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel."

"A Channel 2 Action News investigation has found that Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband have two active homestead exemptions, which is against Georgia law… A homestead exemption is a big tax break any Georgia homeowner is entitled to for their primary residence. It is against the law to file for more than one." It's not that they're going to arrest her and drag her to jail in cuffs. She'll pay the tax she owes and get a wagging finger in her lawyer's face. But it does show the inherent corruption that is at the base of these "conservatives."

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday against warrantless searches by police and seizures in the home in a case brought by a man whose guns officers confiscated after a domestic dispute… 'The very core of the Fourth Amendment's guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and "there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion,"' Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court."

"Rep. Andrew Clyde said during a House oversight committee hearing on Wednesday that it was a 'bald-faced lie' to call the riot an insurrection. He said the riot, in which hundreds of Trump supporters breached the Capitol, resembled a 'normal tourist visit.'… After Clyde's comments, a photographer shared a photo he had taken of Clyde using furniture to barricade the House against rioters trying to force their way in to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory. Several people died in the riot." You know; calling for hangings and heads on pikes, bear spray and smoke, setting up a gallows, beating Capitol Police, climbing the walls, breaking windows… normal touristy things.

"Lawyers for Rudy Giuliani -- who exhorted Trump supporters in Washington on the day of the Capitol riot to 'have trial by combat' -- are now arguing that he wasn't literally advocating for an insurrection over the 2020 election results… The assertion comes in Giuliani's response to a lawsuit filed by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell seeking to hold Giuliani, former President Donald Trump and others accountable for inciting the violent siege on January 6 at the US Capitol." See, Guiliani was just practicing for a revival of A Knight's Tale.

How's that bipartisan things going? "After months of negotiations in the House culminated in a bipartisan deal on a Jan. 6 commission, Republicans might not go along with the agreement after all… Several Senate Republicans on Monday evening expressed worries about how the commission will be formed, whether it should have a broader scope and if it might hinder the work of congressional committees that are already probing the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. With the use of the filibuster power, the Senate GOP can demand changes or bottle up the legislation altogether." The GOP never really meant to have bipartisanship.

"For months, officials have been saying the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of a classic intelligence failure. Now key officials are questioning whether that was the case… A report written by the former head of intelligence at the New York Police Department, Mitch Silber, and titled Domestic Violent Extremism and the Intelligence Challenge makes clear that officials at the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies had collected plenty of intelligence leading up to the insurrection at the Capitol. What they failed to do was analyze it."

"Arizona Republican officials are pushing back against false claims from former President Donald Trump and his allies about the 2020 election -- another sign of how the same divisions that led the House GOP to oust Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as No. 3-ranking member last week are fracturing the party outside of Washington."

"But there was no introspection or soul-searching in the Georgia GOP’s high-gloss 'After Action Report,' even in a year following Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state in November’s presidential election and the Democratic sweep of U.S. Senate runoffs in January." The worrying part is the denial of reality, and that they're bringing in new converts to the conspiracy.

"What in other years would likely not be huge news is this year making headlines: President Joe Biden has released his tax returns… The release of his financial records, as well as those of Vice President Kamala Harris, marks the return of a White House tradition defied by former President Donald Trump during the 45th president's term in office." Nature is healing.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday May 17

Adobe is dropping support for Type 1 fonts.

"The agency said Thursday fully vaccinated Americans don't need to wear masks or social distance indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions, triggering announcements nationwide from state leaders and businesses who lifted their mask requirements for people who've gotten their Covid-19 shots… But with a big part of the country still unvaccinated, some experts say the move came too fast and has resulted in many more Americans now shedding their masks than the CDC recommended."

"Nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of millennials (ages 25 to 40) say they have at least one regret about purchasing their current home, according to a new poll of more than 1,400 U.S. homeowners from Bankrate." Good thing not a lot of them have been able to, then.

"The price of lumber has more than doubled over the past year, and economists warn that things might stay this way for a while. That's why people like Hans Dow are getting crafty."

I have come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him… "Bill Gates's 2020 resignation from Microsoft's board of directors came after the board hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship he had with a Microsoft employee, according to new reporting from the Wall Street Journal."

"Police in the German city of Dresden said Monday that 185 of their officers were hurt in clashes with fans celebrating third-tier soccer club Dynamo Dresden being promoted."

"Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people Sunday, Palestinian medics said. Despite the heavy death toll and international efforts to broker a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled the fourth war with Gaza's Hamas rulers would continue on."

"The Israeli military unleashed a wave of heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early Monday, saying it destroyed 15 kilometers (9 miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders, as international diplomats worked to end the weeklong war that has killed hundreds of people."

"A fiery train derailment in northwest Iowa has sent thick black smoke billowing into the air, prompting authorities to evacuate part of a small, nearby town."

"Tammy Fournier-Alsaada was addressing a crowd in front of Ohio’s domed Capitol building one day last spring when someone whispered in her ear: Police were arresting protesters… Fournier-Alsaada, 59, knew a thing or two about protests. She was an organizer with the People’s Justice Project, which had been fighting police abuse in Columbus since 2015. Fournier-Alsaada also knew the police. She had sat across the table from top officers as a member of a mayor-appointed commission on public safety reform."

"But an uncomfortable reality hangs in the background of Tuesday’s primary election (in Philadelphia): The voters who will show up to pick the city’s top prosecutor by and large won’t be the people who are most directly affected by that office."

"Still, Ayazudin Hilal was turned down when he applied for one of the scarce special visas that would allow him to relocate to the United States with his family. Now, as American and NATO forces prepare to leave the country, he and thousands of others who aided the war effort fear they will be left stranded, facing the prospect of Taliban reprisals."

"Frost says rising childhood obesity rates in the U.S. also are of concern to top military brass, who have largely focused their support on prevention programs — advocating for food subsidies to low-income families to ensure basic nutrition, for example… But addressing obesity in older children and teens, once it's already set in, is notoriously difficult… All those issues feed bigger worries about the sustainability of the country's military, Frost notes. 'In a generation or two, this is going to be a potential existential threat to our nation,' he says."

"The Supreme Court ruled Monday that prisoners who were convicted by non-unanimous juries before the high court barred the practice a year ago don’t need to be retried."

"The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a key abortion case next term concerning a controversial Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks, rekindling a potentially major challenge to Roe v. Wade at the majority conservative court."

"South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed into law a bill that forces death row inmates for now to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad in hopes the state can restart executions after an involuntary 10-year pause." Let the lawsuits begin.

"As an 11-year-old, student reporter Damon Weaver landed the interview of his dreams with then-President Obama. In the 10-minute interview, the two discussed education in America, with topics ranging from funding to whether Obama had the power to change school lunches… Weaver, who continued to pursue a journalism career into college, died May 1 at age 23. His sister, Candace Hardy, told The Palm Beach Post that Weaver died of natural causes."

Look, look, actual voter fraud… "The county clerk immediately knew something strange was going on last fall. A mail ballot had arrived from Suzanne Morphew — a woman missing since May… The ballot didn’t have Morphew’s signature as required, Mitchell said. But someone had signed on the 'witness' line: The woman’s husband, Barry Morphew." Oh wait. It's another Republican. Never mind. Although the good part of this story is he's already in jail awaiting trail for murdering his wife. Also… "Last month, a Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges after he cast a ballot for Trump under his dead mother’s name, after registering with her driver’s license… Bruce Bartman apologized for his actions and blamed them on pandemic isolation and listening to 'too much propaganda,' according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Two other men in Pennsylvania have been accused of committing voter fraud by casting illegal ballots for Trump, the Inquirer reported."

"Last month we learned that Apple had approved the latest update that Parler had submitted, giving the green light to allow the social media platform back on the App Store. However, Parler hadn’t released the update and the app wasn’t available – until today. Here’s how Parler was able to 'address Apple’s concerns without compromising' its 'core mission.'… In April, it surfaced that to get its iOS app to be approved, Parler put in place new moderation improvements…"

"Maricopa county recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database 'unhinged' and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations… 'We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,' Richer tweeted… Richer became recorder in January, after defeating the Democratic incumbent."